Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 27, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TRAINING THE ENEMY....In the New York Times today, Michael Kamber writes that after spending a week with an infantry company in Baghdad he can find virtually no one who still believes they're doing any good in Iraq:

The pivotal moment came, he says, this past February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber's body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

"I thought, 'What are we doing here? Why are we still here?' " said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. "We're helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us."

...."In 2003, 2004, 100 percent of the soldiers wanted to be here, to fight this war," said Sgt. First Class David Moore, a self-described "conservative Texas Republican" and platoon sergeant who strongly advocates an American withdrawal. "Now, 95 percent of my platoon agrees with me."

....On April 29, a Delta Company patrol was responding to a tip at Al Sadr mosque, a short distance from its base....When the battle was over, Delta Company learned that among the enemy dead were at least two Iraqi Army soldiers that American forces had helped train and arm.

...."Before that fight, there were a few true believers." Captain Rogers said. "After the 29th, I don't think you'll find a true believer in this unit. They're paratroopers. There's no question they'll fulfill their mission. But they're fighting now for pride in their unit, professionalism, loyalty to their fellow soldier and chain of command."

The reports of individual soldiers provide a very limited view into how well or how badly the war is going. But eventually their voices add up, and it sounds like Delta Company has figured out the truth: that they're mostly just training Iraqi soldiers to be more efficient at killing both Americans and each other. They're inflaming a foreign civil war, not defending America, and the fact that their commander in chief continues to insist that they risk their lives anyway represents a betrayal of trust rarely equaled in modern history. These guys deserve better. They deserve a president who understands when to fight, how to fight, and how to win. George Bush plainly understands none of these things.

Cato ended every speech with "Carthago delenda est!" — Carthage must be destroyed. We need just the opposite. Does anyone know the Latin for "We must leave Iraq"?

Kevin Drum 9:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (129)

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Comments

nos must licentia iraq

Posted by: martin Richard on May 27, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

nos must licentia iraq

Posted by: Martin Richard on May 27, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

If only Cheney were there to lead the way...

Posted by: craigie on May 27, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

At a first stab, Iraquia abita est.

Posted by: Minivet on May 27, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Dems will accomplish very little without dealing with the issues of media narratives that Bob Somerby talks about at the Dailyhowler.

We should all take the release of "Assault on Reason" as an opportunity to fight back against the brainless media narratives that dominate our discourse. Otherwise, we're just playing ourselves for rubes.

Posted by: Chuck on May 27, 2007 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

from the source: It has not worked out that way. Still, Captain Rogers says their mission in Kadhimiya has been “an amazing success.”
...
“We’ve captured 4 of the top 10 most-wanted guys in this area,” he said. And the streets of Kadhimiya are filled with shoppers and the stores are open, he said, a rarity in Baghdad due partly to Delta Company’s patrols.
...
Captain Rogers acknowledges the skepticism of many of his soldiers. “Our unit has already sent two soldiers home in a box,” he said. “My soldiers don’t see the same level of commitment from the Iraqi Army units they’re partnered with.”
...
Yet there is, he insists, no crisis of morale: “My guys are all professionals. I tell them to do something, they do it.” His dictum is proved on patrol, where his soldiers walk the streets for hours in the stifling heat, providing cover for one another with crisp efficiency.

an amazing success, streets filled with shoppers, no crisis of morale. Sounds like something Marler would make up.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 27, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

from the source:

Sergeant Griffin understands the criticism of the Iraqi forces, but he believes they, and the war effort, must be given more time.
...
“If we throw this problem to the side, it’s not going to fix itself,” he said. “We’ve created the Iraqi forces. We gave them Humvees and equipment. For however long they say they need us here, maybe we need to stay.”

YJCMTSU

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 27, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

The oft-scorned Modo had an excellent summation of the administration's crazy-making rationales in today's Times:

*We have to push on in Iraq because Al Qaeda is there,
even though Al Qaeda is there because we pushed into Iraq.

Our troops have to keep dying there
because our troops have been dying there.

We have to stay
so the enemy doesn’t know we’re leaving*


This war nearly defines insanity.

Posted by: walt on May 27, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

an amazing success, streets filled with shoppers, no crisis of morale.

First, the streets were filled with shoppers before we invaded and for the LAST FIFTY YEARS, you witless baboon. The difference is that before the invasion you could shop without getting blown up.

Now not so much.

Secondly, the officer "insisted there was no crisis in morale" when in fact interview after interview after interview with the troops showed a crisis of morale, which was the whole point of the article. The officer, like you, was denying the empirical reality in front of him and saying it was something else.

That's what we in the scientific community call "bullshit."

Try again, Orwell junior.

Posted by: trex on May 27, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Take your pick:

Mesopotamia relinquenda est. ("Mesopotamia must be relinquished.")

e Mesopotamia nos discedere oportet. ("We must depart from Mesopotamia")

Posted by: lampwick on May 27, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Dementis men es cursor ostendo

Posted by: gregor on May 27, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Why do the troops hate the troops?

Posted by: Kenji on May 27, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

(for "romans", replace with "americans". I've got a wriggly 5-month old in my lap, sorry)

Scene 8
Romanes Eunt Domus

[scary music]
CENTURION:
What's this, then? 'Romanes Eunt Domus'? 'People called Romanes they go the house'?
BRIAN:
It-- it says, 'Romans, go home'.
CENTURION:
No, it doesn't. What's Latin for 'Roman'? Come on!
BRIAN:
Aah!
CENTURION:
Come on!
BRIAN:
'R-- Romanus'?
CENTURION:
Goes like...?
BRIAN:
'Annus'?
CENTURION:
Vocative plural of 'annus' is...?
BRIAN:
Eh. 'Anni'?
CENTURION:
'Romani'. 'Eunt'? What is 'eunt'?
BRIAN:
'Go'. Let--
CENTURION:
Conjugate the verb 'to go'.
BRIAN:
Uh. 'Ire'. Uh, 'eo'. 'Is'. 'It'. 'Imus'. 'Itis'. 'Eunt'.
CENTURION:
So 'eunt' is...?
BRIAN:
Ah, huh, third person plural, uh, present indicative. Uh, 'they go'.
CENTURION:
But 'Romans, go home' is an order, so you must use the...?
BRIAN:
The... imperative!
CENTURION:
Which is...?
BRIAN:
Umm! Oh. Oh. Um, 'i'. 'I'!
CENTURION:
How many Romans?
BRIAN:
Ah! 'I'-- Plural. Plural. 'Ite'. 'Ite'.
CENTURION:
'Ite'.
BRIAN:
Ah. Eh.
CENTURION:
'Domus'?
BRIAN:
Eh.
CENTURION:
Nominative?
BRIAN:
Oh.
CENTURION:
'Go home'? This is motion towards. Isn't it, boy?
BRIAN:
Ah. Ah, dative, sir! Ahh! No, not dative! Not the dative, sir! No! Ah! Oh, the... accusative! Accusative! Ah! 'Domum', sir! 'Ad domum'! Ah! Oooh! Ah!
CENTURION:
Except that 'domus' takes the...?
BRIAN:
The locative, sir!
CENTURION:
Which is...?!
BRIAN:
'Domum'.
CENTURION:
'Domum'.
BRIAN:
Aaah! Ah.
CENTURION:
'Um'. Understand?
BRIAN:
Yes, sir.
CENTURION:
Now, write it out a hundred times.
BRIAN:
Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar, sir.
CENTURION:
Hail Caesar. If it's not done by sunrise, I'll cut your balls off.
BRIAN:
Oh, thank you, sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar and everything, sir! Oh. Mmm!

Posted by: anonymous on May 27, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Parthia discedenda est.

Posted by: Ekim on May 27, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if there are any polls of the military that give an indication of their views on Iraq. Why heavens to betsy there are!

When the military was feeling most optimistic about the war — in 2004 — 83 percent of poll respondents thought success in Iraq was likely. This year, that number has shrunk to 50 percent.

Only 35 percent of the military members polled this year said they approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, while 42 percent said they disapproved.

Just as telling, in this year’s poll only 41 percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65 percent in 2003.

For those who doubt the veracity of these polls I suggest a shopping trip to Baghdad -- I hear the streets are positively littered with bodies -- combined with a survey of troops in the country, conducted while rambling around in an unarmored humvee decked out with American flags.

Posted by: trex on May 27, 2007 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

... they're mostly just training Iraqi soldiers to be more efficient at killing both Americans and each other...

In other words, ... they're mostly just training Iraqi soldiers to be more efficient at killing their enemies... which we appear to have become.

But they're fighting now for pride in their unit, professionalism, loyalty to their fellow soldier and chain of command.

You fight against something, or for something. That these troops appear to feel they are fighting for something that has nothing to do with the administration's ostensibly stated goals pretty much says it all.

Posted by: has407 on May 27, 2007 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

eeway ustmay eavelay . . .

Posted by: ferd on May 27, 2007 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Nos must vado ex iraq

Posted by: Solis Pervado on May 27, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know the Latin for "We should kick George Bush's and Dick Cheney's butts into the Potomac"?

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 27, 2007 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Why is the NYT abandoning its neo-con project? There are still threatening Muslims out there, aren't there?

Posted by: luci on May 27, 2007 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Nos must vado ex iraq

Solis Pervado

As learning Latin for 8 years, just wondering where "must" comes from. Doesn't seem very Latin to me! Can't find it. Translation?

Oh! OK! You're just pretending. Lack of language. OK!

Nice fake.

Posted by: notthere on May 27, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Latin for We should kick George Bush's and Dick Cheney's butts into the Potomac

Pervalidus fockos kickos Georgie Bushio Dicko Chenios demergo Potomac.

Posted by: rational on May 27, 2007 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Moomaw -

clunes G. Bush et D. Cheney in flumen Potomac pellere pede debemus. ("The buttocks of G. Bush and D. Cheney into the Potomac river to drive by foot we ought.")

Posted by: lampwick on May 27, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see if I get this straight: American troops are killing terrorists, and liberals say that's bad news. I'm not surprised.

As for the terrorists being in the Iraqi army: did you ever consider that they might be carrying false ID as disinformation?

And if they were in fact in the Iraqi army - they aren't anymore.

Every terrorist's death advances the cause of democracy in Iraq. All we have to do is stay the course.

Posted by: Al on May 27, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

In 1966 and 1967 I was in the 101st Abn in the RVN. I served in a five man recon team and later in a rifle company. In early 1968, as a result of the Tet offensive, I returned to the RVN on an involuntary second tour with the 82d Abn. I had spent seven months in the U.S. But by the time of the deployment I had been able to change my MOS and I had scored the much desired “job in the shade”. I was relatively safe. Even so I was nervous and had no desire to get killed on a “humbug”. We all knew we were marking time and we all knew the war was going nowhere. This background gives me some small (very small) idea of what today’s military is experiencing. In 1968 demonstrations against the war were going on. My mother’s letters were full of accounts of the marches in which she and my father had participated. The unanimous feeling on the ground was that we were in favor of anything that would get us a boarding pass on the “freedom bird”. I can’t help but believe that the folks in Iraq feel the same. They are doing their very best under horrible conditions without precedent in the U.S. military because they have pride in themselves and their units. They are the best educated and best informed bunch of soldiers in history. They are proud and they’re going to do their duty but they are not going to be bullshitted. They know what the situation is -- better than anybody. They’re going to be in favor of whatever gets them home soonest but they are going to continue to do their very best to complete their mission because they have pride in themselves, their units and the US Army. Marines too. They are Americans. The President is abusing his power and strongly abusing the trust and loyalty of the U.S. military. He doesn’t deserve the service and loyalty that he enjoys from the extremely high quality people who populate today’s military. Bottom line? The sooner the drop dead date, the happier the troopers.

Posted by: MichaelG on May 27, 2007 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Eway ustmay otnay eavelay Iraqway.

Posted by: Al on May 27, 2007 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Al - To answer your rhetorical question, no, you don't get it straight.

American troops are killing their Iraqi allies; they have to, because terrorists are joining the Iraqi army and pretending to be on our side, or because guys on our side are being lured into terrorism. The situation is a tragic one for American troops, and this is why human beings, that is to say liberals, are 'sad', as you say.

False ID? Ok. I'm sure the ability you possess to tell a false ID found on an Iraqi corpse from a real one is much better than that of Sergeant Safstrom. After, he is merely the one who was present at the discovery and had all the incentive to get at the truth; and he lacks Al's super mental detective powers.

As for your third point, terrorists are, as I'm sure you would grant, just like termites: when you see two or three, there are bound to be dozens if not hundreds of others lurking unseen.

And if you think we can impose democracy on a country where our soldiers can't tell terrorists from civilians until they're stone-cold dead, well... dream on.

Posted by: lampwick on May 28, 2007 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

What MichaelG said.
Been there myself, in a lesser way.

Posted by: thersites on May 28, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Talking about that Iraqi Army ID card - I'll bet the Redcoats used to bitch about the way those Yankee rebels didn't wear nice bright uniforms so they could be identified easily...

Imagine. Insurgents using trickery, deception and betrayal.

What is war coming to?

Posted by: floopmeister on May 28, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Thersites was the ugliest man in the Greek army, at least according to Homer.

So were you there at Troy, thersites?

Posted by: lampwick on May 28, 2007 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

extricatia clusterfuckum prontus

Posted by: Vern Acular on May 28, 2007 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

And if you think we can impose democracy on a country where our soldiers can't tell terrorists from civilians until they're stone-cold dead, well... dream on. lampwick

Spot on - although for brevity it could be shortened to:

And if you think we can impose democracy, well... dream on.

;)

Posted by: floopmeister on May 28, 2007 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Arbusto delenda est.

Posted by: ogmb on May 28, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the question. If Homer hadn't made the one truth-teller in the Greek army the ugliest man, would he have kept his head when he sang for the gentry? Not that Brad Pitt would've played me, if I'd been in the movie...

Why do you hate Greece, anyway?

Posted by: thersites on May 28, 2007 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

[This comment posted by a Troll]

Mr. Drum,
Your gleeful excitment about losing wars is utterly disgusting. You were once considered a decent leftist. Now you're just trash

Posted by: Ricky W. on May 28, 2007 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Ricky W – a lovely demonstration there of the mindset of roadkill on the highway of history.

Please try and be quiet as you slip into irrelevance.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 28, 2007 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, time for some lyrics, do they have DJ's
for the soldiers in Iraq?:
"Another Song About the Rain"-Cracker

Wind of fate has pried us loose, light of mercy hurts my eyes
Is it worth the things you lose
To board the train and watch the sky

I'd sing myself to sleep at night
I'd sing myself to sleep

Another song about the rain
Coming down it burns through me
Another song about the rain

Got a line straight from my heart
Was a time it ran to you.
Another place where we were smart
Before the flood and time was through

Sorry now I never made you see
Sorry now sounds so far away
Will our child cry for me
When he hears the dragons flame

Highway flares make red the streets
My fingers spin the dial again
But every station on the news, yeah

(another song about the rain) another song about the rain
(another song about the rain) another song about the rain
(another song about the rain) another song about the rain
(another song about the rain) never rained so viciously

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on May 28, 2007 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

> extricatia clusterfuckum prontus
> Posted by: Vern Acular

Good one Vern! Caused two of us here to collapse laughing.

Posted by: Jim on May 28, 2007 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

MichaelG >"...In early 1968, as a result of the Tet offensive, I returned to the RVN on an involuntary second tour with the 82d Abn..."

Were you by any chance in the group that LBJ flew in to speechify in front of as you enplaned for your ride to Tet ?

Just curious

"A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." - John F. Kennedy

Posted by: daCascadian on May 28, 2007 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

Al: "Every terrorist's death advances the cause of democracy in Iraq."

Death = Freedom
Life = Slavery
Al = Idiot

Posted by: Kenji on May 28, 2007 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

The passive periphrastic construction takes sum + gerundive (in agreement with the subject). I would go with:

Parthia relinquenda est

relinquo -linquere -liqui -lictum [to leave behind]; at death , [to bequeath]; [to leave unchanged]; pass. [to remain; to omit, leave out, pass over; to desert, abandon, forsake].

Some other possibilities:

Parthia desolanda est
Parthia deserenda est

desolo -are [to leave solitary , forsake].

desero -serere -serui -sertum [to forsake , abandon, leave; to neglect, disregard]. Hence partic. desertus -a -um, [forsaken, abandoned]; n. pl. as subst., [deserts, wildernesses].

Posted by: Augustus on May 28, 2007 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

Octavian, didn't your schoolmasters teach you properly?

relinquo and desero have connotations of abandonment, which plays into the "cut and run" rhetoric of the barbarians.

Also, it would be more tasteful to use an impersonal construction:

ex Iraquia discedendum est

Posted by: Julius Caesar on May 28, 2007 at 5:28 AM | PERMALINK

an analogy, worth contemplating, concerning our probs. in iraq:

leaving george bush in charge of things in iraq
is equivalent to putting the bull, who destroyed the china shop, in charge of fixing up afterwards.

Posted by: wschneid25 on May 28, 2007 at 5:33 AM | PERMALINK

Raptores orbis, postquam cuncta vastantibus defuere terrae, mare scrutantur: si locuples hostis est, avari, si pauper, ambitiosi; quos non Oriens, non Occidens satiaverit. Soli omnium opes atque inopiam pari adfectu concupiscunt. Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

"Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; nor East nor West has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet riches and poverty alike. Robbery, slaughter, plunder, they falsely name empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

--Tacitus (the original, not the Red State guy)

Posted by: derek on May 28, 2007 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

We should also couple this Times story with its companion piece, the insurgents are already exporting their training to terrorism outside of Iraq, even while the US is there. So Iraq is a magnet for terrorist and a training ground. It turns out many of the Iraqi security forces we've teained are loyal to insurgent groups.

How long before one of the US trained Iraqi soldiers turns up as a terrorist in Europe or here?

Posted by: AJ on May 28, 2007 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

anus obit, onus abit
the asshole expires, the burden departs

Posted by: schopenhaur on May 28, 2007 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Al, you hate America and you hate Americans. You spit on the troops with every fetid breath. Burn in hell.

Posted by: Real American on May 28, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Every terrorist's death advances the cause of democracy in Iraq. All we have to do is stay the course.
Posted by: Al on May 27, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK"

Well this is completely wrong. They are becoming terrorists faster than we can kill them. Going into a foreign country for no good reason, setting up shop and then killing people who resist is immoral. Come on Al, I thought conservatives were supposed to have some sort of monopoly on morality.

In this case we have invented an enemy in addition to training them to kill us. But they weren't an enemy until we made them as such.

Posted by: coldhotel on May 28, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

meka leka hi

meka hiney ho

Posted by: mr. irony on May 28, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

lampwick, "The buttocks of G. Bush and D. Cheney into the Potomac river to drive by foot we ought."

I had no idea Yoda spoke Latin!

Posted by: cld on May 28, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Klaatu barada Buscho.

Posted by: cld on May 28, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"an amazing success, streets filled with shoppers, no crisis of morale. Sounds like something Marler would make up."

Not made up, but simply ignoring the very real costs and failures, just as you've done for the past few years. You've done this over and over and over again, and you've been wrong every time. How many more times do you have to be wrong before you finally face reality?

Posted by: PaulB on May 28, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

"the fact that their commander in chief continues to insist that they risk their lives anyway represents a betrayal of trust rarely equaled in modern history. These guys deserve better. They deserve a president who understands when to fight, how to fight, and how to win. George Bush plainly understands none of these things."

Well said.

Posted by: Mazurka on May 28, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

We have our own version of Pilate and Biggus Dickus right here in Washington, only they probably won't be addressing a "wabble of wowdy webels" anytime soon.

From Scene 20, "The Life of Brian." Pilate kinda sounds like Porky Pig, doesn't he? (I'll get dat cwazy wabbit!)

BRIAN:
Aah.
PILATE:
Well, Bwian, you've given us a good wun for our money.
BRIAN:
A what?
[slap]
Aaagh.
PILATE:
This time, I guawantee you will not escape. Guard, do we have any cwucifixions today?

GUARD #1:
A hundred and thirty-nine, sir. Special celebration. Passover, sir.
PILATE:
Wight. Now we have a hundwed and forty. Nice wound number, eh, Biggus?

BIGGUS DICKUS:
Hm hm hm hm hm.
CENTURION:
Hail Caesar!
PILATE:
Hail.
CENTURION:
The crowd outside is getting a bit restless, sir. Permission to disperse them, please.
PILATE:
Disperse them? But I haven't addwessed them yet.
CENTURION:
Ah, no. I know sir, but--
PILATE:
My addwess is one of the high points of the Passover. My fwiend, Biggus Dickus, has come all the way fwom Wome just to hear it.
CENTURION:
Hail Caesar.
BIGGUS:
Hail Thaethar!
CENTURION:
You're not-- ah, you're not, uh, thinking o-- of giving it a miss this year, then, sir?
PILATE:
Give it a miss?
CENTURION:
Well, it's just that they're in a rather funny mood today, sir.
PILATE:
Weally, Centuwion? I'm surpwised to hear a man like you wattled by a wabble of wowdy webels.
CENTURION:
A... bit thundery, sir.
PILATE:
Take him away.
BRIAN:
I'm a Roman! I-- I can prove it, honestly!
PILATE:
And cwucify him well! Biggus.

CENTURION:
Ah, I-- I really wouldn't, sir.
PILATE:
Out of the way, Centuwion.
BIGGUS:
Let me come with you, Pontiuth. I may be of thome athithtanth if there ith a thudden crithith.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 28, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Mesopotamiâ nobis exeundum est. (or 'abeundum')

Impersonal passives of the verb 'to go' are veddy Roman. And 'exeo' is free of the whiff of cut-and-runnery some other verbs have

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on May 28, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

The Times reporter talked to "more than a dozen" soldiers in a single company and it is supposed to have some great meaning? It is a legitimate story, but the Times and now Kevin exaggerate its significance. Don't you think the Times could find 12 soldiers in Iraq who would have a very different opinion? How often does the Times provide a positive story?

And as for Kevin, he is supposed to be a judge of whether a president or candidate for president "understands when to fight, how to fight, and how to win." Aside from the naive platitudes of that concept in the judgment of a president or candidate, what background does Kevin have to make the judgment and who, pray tell, amount the current democratic candidates satisfies that test? John Edwards? Give me a break.

[Warning one]

Posted by: brian on May 28, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

daCascadian: No I was not on that "chalk" or plane load. I was lucky and crafty enough to get myself assigned to a cargo chalk. That way I rode on a C-141 with about a half dozen other guys and a bunch of vehicles and pallets. Much easier and more laid back than traveling with a group.

Posted by: MichaelG on May 28, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I had an argument with a veteran of the First Gulf War about what patriotism means yesterday. (Yes, I opened my big mouth.) He thought patriotism was obedience to the commander in chief, no matter what. I think patriotism is disobeidience to the commander in chief, when s/he makes unlawful and immoral commands.

Debamos salir de Iraq.

(Spanish is the Romance language I have a very limited knowledge of.)

Posted by: Brojo on May 28, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Brian, you are always dismissing Kevin, asking something along the lines of what background does Kevin have to make the judgment?

What is your background by which you can so airily dismiss out-of-hand what he says?

You got a long tab or something?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

I don't claim that I have the background to make military assessments and try not to offer them.

Kevin, who basically is a political junkie with no miliary background or expertise, repeatedly makes simplistic and unequivocal military assessments. In this post, he adds the childish comment that we need a "president who understands when to fight, how to fight, and how to win."

Kevin is way out of his league on military issues. It is fine for him to express his expertise on how the war affects politics, but I don't see how anyone can take him seriously on military matters, yet he continues to pontificate on them.

Posted by: brian on May 28, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

One last point of fairness in terms of my opinion on Kevin's posts (not to suggest my opinion is of any great value, but since I was so critical on military issues, I thought I should add this). On non-military stuff, I find him smart, interesting and honest, much more so than most other commentators both left and right.

Posted by: brian on May 28, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

brian: It is fine for him to express his expertise on how the war affects politics, but I don't see how anyone can take him seriously on military matters, yet he continues to pontificate on them.

well. We all have opinions, and we all have some responsibility to think about our opinions and discuss them in order, among other things, to help us decide how to vote. Kevin has a priveleged forum, that he earned, for sharing his opinions and inviting people to comment upon them. I disagree with Kevin at least as much as anyone who writes here, but I would not call his presentations "pontificating". It just sounds that way in this electronic/textual medium. In person, facial expressions and vocal modulations would express his true modesty. You can infer the true modesty, or at least I infer the true modesty, from the frequent equivocations on diverse topics. Also, it's the same with my postings, and probably the postings of everyone here: typed out, and expressed succinctly, they read as more confident, extreme, or doctrinaire than they really are.

And for what it's worth, America's senior genarals and admirals, who are among the most knowledgeable people on earth in military matters, disagree among themselves at least as much as Kevin and I disagree with each other. It isn't always about "expertise"; in the American Civil War, Generals Halleck and McClellan may each have had 10 times as much expertise as General Grant, but Grant could read the battles, and carry out aggressive plans, which they could not. And Lincoln, who knew nothing of military matters, was able to judge who could really win the war. I doubt that Bush will ever be considered as good as Lincoln, but both have the non-military job of trying to decide which generals can actually win, and of doing so by trial and error and success (if you can call Grant's campaign in the summer of 1864 a "success" -- an advance that cost about 500 federal dead per mile, and ended up south of its goal.)

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 28, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Well, cut me and I bleed blue - starts Navy and turns Strata - and Kevin is not that far off. He is certainly closer than the snarling right whose position is so rapidly deteriorating.

My friends and family still serving have been losing faith in this president and this war since early 2005. Oh, the O club conversations I won't repeat...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Discedere ex Iraqia debemus protinus!

Posted by: Emily Crockett on May 28, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

America's President Death is Al Qaeda's best ally.

Bush has increased Al Qaeda recruiting and funding a thousand fold, while enabling their protectors, the Pakistanis, the Saudis, and the Afghans.

Posted by: anonymous on May 28, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Brian,

You state that Kevin is not qualified to pass judgment on military issues because he is "basically is a political junkie with no miliary background or expertise."

That sounds like a good description of Dick Cheney to me.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 28, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

The only Latin I remember is:

Ecce! In pictura est puella nomine Flavia
and
Davus rompit cum baculo or something like that.


And for the trolls, the Onion's motto:
Tu Stultus Est

Posted by: Kuz on May 28, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

As Americans who pay taxes to support the Military, everyone is entitled to state their opinion. Preserving and protecting that right is what prompts a lot of folks to join up in the first place.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

One more thing: Citizenship as defined in Starship Troopers was a warning, not an ops manual.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Why does Sgt. Safstrom hate America?

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 28, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Matthew:

You are probably right about most of what you say, especially that people tend to sound more sure of themselves in these comments than we really are. I assume that included Kevin, since he often expresses uncertainty. I just don't understand his frequent certainty with respect to military matters.

I am more of a fan of Grant than you. He did succeed in the 64-65 campaign against Lee, although it took a great deal of time and casualties. I would attribute both to Lee doing a good job and having some good fortune. With some better luck, the second Wilderness battle could have gone Grant's way and produced a quick victory. Grant did end up south of Lee and Richmond, but with a clear winner's hand.

I don't think Halleck had any real battle experience prior to or even in the Civil War. I'm not sure about McClellan's prior experience, but he obviously was not sufficiently aggressive in battle, whereas that was one of Grant's great strengths as a general. Grant did a great job in the "west" and, ultimately, he won in the east and showed great judgment on the surrender and aftermath. I think generally Grant is underrated as an American soldier and even as a president.

Lee also made some foolish moves. At the Wilderness, after it was too late to win, he made a frontal assault and, of course, at Gettysburg he made a big mistake in day three with Picket's charge and possibly even in allowing the general engagment to happen. There is supposed to be a good new book on Lee, titled Discovering the Real Robert E. Lee.

Posted by: brian on May 28, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal - I know you are being snarky, but therein lies a prescient warning.

How long will it be before the rabid snarling right turns on these guys the way they did on the Vietnam vets when they had the temerity to tell their unvarnished truths? I ended on that note in my post. (Kevin and I were writing simultaneously.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Brian,

One more thing -- civilian control of the military is embedded in the very core of the Constitution. Our Founding Fathers (and mothers, too) clearly understood the abuses of power inherent in the old, European monarchic forms of government.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states that Congress shall have the power "to raise and support Armies …" and "to provide and maintain a Navy." In addition, Congress must provide for the state militias when they are called to federal service.

Article II, Section 2 states, "The President shall be the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States when called into the actual Service of the United States."

Congress also has the power to declare war and make the rules for governing the military.

If you have a problem with civilians commenting on military issues then you have a problem with American democracy. So, your attempts to silence Kevin don't sound very patriotic to me.

After 220 years why can't the GOP get with the program?

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 28, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

anonymous: Bush has increased Al Qaeda recruiting and funding a thousand fold,

Probably not. Globally, maybe two-fold on the recruiting; as to funding, bank accounts have been frozen and transfers interrupted. The effort was more successful before the press advertised it, but global funding for al Qaeda was severely hurt.

brian: I am more of a fan of Grant than you.

Probably not. Grant's blitzkrieg at Vicksburg after he got the troops across the river was the most brilliant campaign of the war. But Halleck did write well-received text-books, McClellan thoroughly retrained and re-organized the Army of the Potomac. You and I, and Lincoln, Grant, Sherman Longstreet and Lee knew that Grant's 1864 campaign was a death grip on the Confederacy; but the Union public was appalled, and would have voted Lincoln out of office had not Sherman captured Atlanta.

In like fashion, the voting public now, if not appalled, is at least seriously disillusioned about Bush's Administration's performance. If Gen. Petraeus does not deliver some dramatic success by the time of the September review, the Republicans will join Democrats to vote a hard end to American involvement in the war. I would support the war effort as long as a stalemate prevails, but I am in a small minority.

In a rough analogy, in 1864 I imagine BGRS/GC would probably have voted for the experienced General McClellan over the fool Lincoln (all the scuttlebutt was that Grant could not defeat Lee, and Grant's nickname, "the butcher" or "Butcher Grant" was not an expression of respect and confidence), whereas my attitude is that of a man who would have voted for Lincoln even if Atlanta was still holding out.

OTOH, I hope that I am not advocating that Gen Petraeus eventually earn the nickname of "the butcher".

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 28, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK
....Where have you gone, Harry Truman? ... meathead republican at 1:22 PM
He was replaced by Republican Eisenhower who ended the Korean War in a statement. It's a shame how the 101st Fighting Keyboards demand that others, braver, continue to sacrifice their lives for illegitimate wars based on lies like Vietnam, Korea, Grenada, Iraq I and II.
"president who understands when to fight, how to fight, and how to win." ...brian at 1:15 PM
That would be a circumstance to be wished for. From his first lies to justify this war, Bush has ignored expert opinion in favor of the foolish claims of the so-called experts at the AEI and neo-con clowns selling their anti-American agenda.
why can't the GOP get with the program? pj in jesusland at 2:31 PM
Ever since Lincoln, they put party over country. Posted by: Mike on May 28, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK
Probably not. Globally, maybe two-fold on the recruiting; as to funding, bank accounts have been frozen and transfers interrupted.....but global funding for al Qaeda was severely hurt.... MatthewRmarler at 2:39 PM
Two assertions, both easily proved to be nonsensical. CIA report war spawns Islamic radicalism Influx of funding to al Qaeda into Pakistan. Republicans can never set aside their ideological blinders. It's like smoking crack to them. Posted by: Mike on May 28, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

brian writes:

In this post, he adds the childish comment that we need a "president who understands when to fight, how to fight, and how to win."

How is that a childish comment? If it's childish, why can't Bush understand it? If it's childish, is Bush infantile?

When to fight: Attack a country that is an imminent danger to our country. Don't lie to the American public about the rationale - it was never about WMDs. Never.

How to fight: We put in over a million soldiers in Germany after they surrendered, and Germany didn't even have postwar sectarian violence. All the intelligence that Bush ignored showed the possibility of sectarian violence in Iraq.

How to win: If a war is worth fighting, it requires the totality of the nation to be engaged to win. Bush encouraged to go about our business and shop.

Now, exactly why does someone need a military background to figure that out?

Posted by: Andy on May 28, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Ricky w:

You were once considered a decent leftist. Now you're just trash

Instead of attacking the argument, you attack the person. I see a lot of this nowadays - it seems like the right has run out of arguments, and is only capable of launching personal attacks.

And I'm sure Kevin is just touched that you once thought him to be a "decent leftist."

Posted by: Andy on May 28, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, folks, want to spend an hour or so watching something educational?

Rent a copy of 'Red Dawn'. Cheer on the rag-tag band of American freedom fighters as they use ambush, sniping, IED's and bombings to fight off the foreign invaders who are occupying their homeland. As a red-blooded American patriot, wouldn't you do the same?

But wait, aren't they doing the same things as them evil 'terrists' in Iraq? (Bush speak here)

Oh yeah, that's different.

Interestingly, the movie depicts the 'beginning of the end' of the occupation when the Nicaraguan soldiers start to realize that they are in the wrong. Eventually they defy their Russian commanders, pack up and go home en masse.

Sounds like there is a glimmer of that realization among the troops in Iraq.

Posted by: Buford on May 28, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, that's different.

If Heinlein's idea about citizenship were realized, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq would have made many Iraqis voting citizens.

Posted by: Brojo on May 28, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Matthew:

Again, I think you are right on most everything you said.

The 1864 democrats are the same as the 2007 democrats in the sense of wanting to give up in a war. But I think the problem of today is that the 2007 democrats seem to be so largely motivated by a desire for political power. It is very hard to conclude that the virtually unanimous democrat opposition to the war (other than Leiberman) reflects anything other than the desire for greater political power. Any objecive group of hundreds of intelligent persons (analogous to the senate and house democratic caucuses) would have a more evenly divided split of opinion on the best approach in Iraq.

In comparison, I don't know to what extent the 1864 democrats were motivated by politics -- I think they probably sincerely concluded that the country would be better off accepting the succession of the south. Of course, there also was a sizable number of War Democrats in 1964 who supported Lincoln, so it was not a complete political party acting against an ongoing war like the 2007 democrats.

Andy:

You also are probably right that, at least with respect to Kevin's "when to fight" criticism, it is a legitimate issue to raise. As to the "how to fight and how to win," it is harder to see the legimitacy of those issues, at least as Kevin raised them. You, I guess, think we should have been more aggressive in the fight, which may in hindsight be a legitimate issue, but I doubt that is what Kevin really actually has in mind or that he wants a president who will be more aggressive.

Posted by: brian on May 28, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

brian writes:

How often does the Times provide a positive story?

How is that relevant? If the NY Times is doing their job correctly, they should be portraying an accurate picture of the situation in Iraq. You're discounting the possibility that the majority of the news coming out of Iraq is negative. But in fact, there are stories in the Times that are positive - I always read about successful raids and captures of Iraqi insurgents. Maybe you don't read the Times and just assume they never print positive stories, because if you did, you would know that. But it's plainly obvious that the overall situation in Iraq is quite grim - what would printing more "positive" stories do? Wouldn't that in fact not be portraying the situation accurately? But if you think the situation in Iraq is not that bad, why has 2 million Iraqis left the country? Are they all on an extended vacation?

Posted by: Andy on May 28, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK


brian: It is a legitimate story, but the Times and now Kevin exaggerate its significance.


how many "Curveball's" were there for bush and cheney?

Posted by: mr. irony on May 28, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

brian: The 1864 democrats are the same as the 2007 democrats in the sense of wanting to give up in a war.


76%, including a majority of GOP - say that the additional American troops sent to Iraq this year by Mr. Bush have either had no impact or are making things worse there. - New York Times/CBS News 5/24/07

Posted by: mr. irony on May 28, 2007 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Andy:

You say the overall situation in Iraq is quite grim, which is highly subjective and no doubt what the Times repeatedly states. I don't know about the 2 million figure, but if true, it obviously is a bad fact as to the status of events.

But the Times has become notorious for slanting news. To step away from Iraq, remember how the Times slanted the Masters Golf controversy and the Duke rape allegations. One more point that sealed the deal about how I view the Times is a photo the paper ran after Lamont won the Conn Primary. There was the scene on election night where he proclaimed victory and had Jackson and Sharpton standing prominently behind him. Somehow, the Times came up with a photo of that scene where the angle blocked the reader from seeing either Jackson or Sharpton. It is almost impossible to believe that it was not a deliberate attempt to avoid showing the role of Jackson and Sharpton.

Posted by: brian on May 28, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

brian: You, I guess, think we should have been more aggressive in the fight, which may in hindsight be a legitimate issue, but I doubt that is what Kevin really actually has in mind or that he wants a president who will be more aggressive.


hindsight?...

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

Posted by: mr. irony on May 28, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Octavian, didn't your schoolmasters teach you properly? relinquo and desero have connotations of abandonment, which plays into the "cut and run" rhetoric of the barbarians.

Strange that you suggest someone doesn't know the definitions of words for which they copy/pasted full definitions.

Also, it would be more tasteful to use an impersonal construction: ex Iraquia discedendum est

As for your use of discedere, in military context it could imply retreating or surrendering, as well as abandoning a post:

decedo, decedere, decessi, decessus V (3rd) INTRANS 3 1 INTRANS [XXXAO]
withdraw/retire, go off/away, depart, leave; relinquish/cease; desert/abandon;

or

discedo -cedere -cessi -cessum (1) [to go asunder , part, separate]. (2) [to depart, go away]; milit., [to march away]; 'discedere ab signis', [to break the ranks]; 'ab armis', [to lay down arms; to come out of a contest, to come off]; ...

But of course you can play tertiary definition tag with almost any Latin word; the primary definition is usually the acceptable one, and in any case the definition is usually driven by context.

As for your Latin grammar, first "ex" is redundant here. Second, ex takes the ablative; since the gerundive needs to be in agreement with the subject, it would be discedenda est, assuming Iraquia is feminine singluar; if you're assuming Iraquia is neuter plural, then it would be ex Iraquis discedendis sunt.

I still prefer Parthia reliquenda est over discedenda because it is, like it or not, more accurate; it is also easier for an English speaker to say and is near enough to its English equivalent "relinquish", in the 'handed back'/'let go of' sense.

Discedenda is a mouthful with no obvious English analog, though it does sound a bit like a combination of "disconcerting" and "skedaddle". :)

However, if you want a more neutral and impersonal choice of words:

Parthia exeunda est

exeo -ire -ii (-ivi) -itum intransit. , [to go out, go away, go forth; to pass from] state to state; [to get out, to become known]; of time, [to come to an end, pass away]; transit., [to pass over]; also [to ward off].

Posted by: Augustus on May 28, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK


brian: But the Times has become notorious for slanting news.


In daytime, FNC devoted 6 percent of its time to Iraq, and 17 percent of its time to Anna Nicole.


fox could be more positive....i guess..

if they could find the time..

(For CNN, the mix was 20 percent Iraq, 5 percent Anna; for MSNBC, the mix was 18 percent Iraq, 10 percent Anna.)

- Project for Excellence in Journalism's first quarter News Coverage Index 2007


Posted by: mr. irony on May 28, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Brian, mhr, Ricky W: Who's stopping you chickenshit blowhards from getting your fat asses over there? Other priorities? And Ricky, the troops hate YOU.

Posted by: Kenji on May 28, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

brian: Andy...You say the overall situation in Iraq is quite grim, which is highly subjective


perhaps...subjective to those with no facts..

May 2007 caps the deadliest 6-month period for America of the entire Iraq war.

http://icasualties.org/oif/


Number of unidentified corpses found in Baghdad 5/1--5/23: 321

- Iraqi Health Ministry

321: same number of bodies found in all of January, the month before the launch of the Baghdad security plan. - Washington Post 5/24/07

brian...here's a tip..

i know you -feel- you are right..

but why not try some facts?

they tend to make arguments stronger...

Posted by: mr. irony on May 28, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Brian: In 2005 Syria was hosting 700,000 Iraqi refugees.

the situation has not improved.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB:Not made up, but simply ignoring the very real costs and failures, just as you've done for the past few years.

I certainly do not ignore costs and failures. If I wanted to do that, I would avoid Political Animal. When reading the bad news here, I click on the links, or cut and paste where necessary when people put other links in the threads. I follow all of the links.

You've done this over and over and over again, and you've been wrong every time.

Not every time. For example, I have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that, when the US and Iraqi troops fight against the Sadr Army, they always have help from the local citizanry. That was true when the US/Iraqis recaptured the mosques in Najaf and Nasiriya, and the other day when they attacked in Sadr City, and always in between. No one has ever proved this wrong, though anyone could reasonably question exactly how important it is. I have sometimes been wrong, but most "proofs" that I am wrong are more fallacious than my supposed errors.

I have also written that the war has no winner, that is is a stalemate, and no one has proved that to be false.

And so on. I put back into the picture some of the complexities that our host persistently omits. He once wrote that Iraq is an "unmitigated disaster", so I wrote about some of the mitigation. I think I have written that Iraq is a mess, and "chaotic, where every action has maximum impact." No once has proved those false either.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 28, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Here is another link that supports the 2 million number. This is from march of 2007, and appeared in the Israeli press.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

The refugee issues is, of course, negative, but it does not seem to be that large an issue, at least not yet. Also, anyone have the number of refugees from Iraq before the war?

An interesting related point. After Edwards encouraged his supporters to engage in anti war protests on Memorial day, his web site statement on Memorial Day states not a word about Iraq. All the candidates have flaws, but I think the lack of genuiness, and the plaintiff's lawyer mentality of being confident about being able to persuade/trick people regardless of the facts, put him at the bottom of the list.

Posted by: brian on May 28, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Brian, et al,

Two members of my church are currently serving in Iraq. One, a retired military officer & now a civilian, writes us every few weeks.

He says missiles & mortar shells are falling in the Green Zone frequently with increasing precision. The Coalition loses 2-3 people a week from the shelling (we only hear about the troops it seems, not US or Iraqi civilians). When the shells start coming He says everyone dives under their beds (in those flimsy trailors). A missile hits your trailer from above and you're done. Not much sleeping getting done. Our friend sleeps in his helmet and kevlar vest.

He says the violence is reaching deeper into the Green Zone & is as bad as ever around Baghdad. There's a lot we never hear about. Not much hope of an American-directed solution, in his opinion.

You have generals, colonels, enlisted men and women, State Department experts, contract employees, etc. etc. etc. all telling us the occupation (not the war!) is unwinnable on the terms we wish to impose. Again and again, it's the spoiled, mean-spirited, partisan, reality-denying brats who intentionally distance themselves from the painful and dire warnings coming from all the people who should know best about Iraq.

Why? To try and save the GOP's face in the 2008 elections, that's why.

I hope you think good and hard about what you are asking our troops to do for you this Memorial Day. Patriotism indeed.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 28, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK


brian: but it does not seem to be that large an issue


based on what?

your empty assertion?

try a fact or two...

if you have any..

Posted by: mr. irony.. on May 28, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

brian: but it does not seem to be that large an issue

Unless you consider the fact that the refugee crisis is destabilizing the entire fucking region, and this has been well documented.

Hannah Arrendt never met you, did she?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Irony:

I asked you how many refugees there were before the war. You apparently don't know. Now, you say there are 2 million current refugees, which if true, obviously is not good. But we do not see much in the way of stories of refugee problems and, with the anti war slant of the MSM, if it was a big deal we surely would hear alot about it.

pj:

Okay, terrorists are lobbing mortars into the green zone. That demonstrates there is a war and the terrorists are having some very limited success. As I assume you agree, they would like to blow up the entire green zone and kill thousands, but instead, according to your friend, they kill 2 or 3 people a week. So, because they have this "success," we are supposed to do what?

Look, the issue is whether us simply getting out of Iraq is going to: (1) help the situation in Iraq; and (2) help America's long term national security interest. I don't see how it helps either objective. I think Iraq will become a far worse situation and America will pay the price of losing the war for years. But if the politics of America forces us to get out, which is a real possibility, we then will see what happens.

The 08 elections should have nothing to do with this. Do you think it is only the republicans who a taking into account the 08 elections? To the extent they do, it is more likely to be bailing out with the democrats.

Of all the various people involved, isn't Bush the one who logically will take the 08 elections into account the least?

Posted by: brian on May 28, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

The last entry at Baghdad Burning was about the author and her family's decision to flee Iraq.

Posted by: cld on May 28, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

brian: Of all the various people involved, isn't Bush the one who logically will take the 08 elections into account the least?

No, because Bush is controlled by Cheney who needs the GOP to remain in power in 2008 to further his interests in eventually attacking Iran, his ultimate target all this time.

And Rove of course will continue to advance partisan goals in his advice to the president, as will Al Gonzales and Condi Rice.

BTW, it takes no great medical expertise to see that a surgeon has removed the wrong arm.

Likewise, it takes no great military expertise to tell when a CIC and his advisers have screwed up.

It is false logic, and intellectually dishonest, to say that military or any other expertise is always required to evaluate the success or failure of an operation, military, medical, or of any other type.

Posted by: anonymous on May 28, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

brian: I asked you how many refugees there were before the war. You apparently don't know. Now, you say there are 2 million current refugees, which if true, obviously is not good. But we do not see much in the way of stories of refugee problems and, with the anti war slant of the MSM, if it was a big deal we surely would hear alot about it.


i didnt ask nor state anything about refugees..

i did post with evidence included that refuted many of your empty assertions..

thanks for conceding those points..

as to refugees...bgrs has posted 2-links backing up the assertion that millions have fled iraq since 2003...

on the other hand... you offer nothing..

why do you make such a weak argument?

dont you believe in what you write?


Posted by: mr. irony on May 28, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK


brian: Look, the issue is whether us simply getting out of Iraq is going to: (1) help the situation in Iraq; and (2) help America's long term national security interest. I don't see how it helps either objective.


you dont see?....

well that's convincing...

(sarcasm off)

Posted by: mr. irony on May 28, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

brian, let me tell you about this nifty gadget i just discovered called "teh Google" - it's fascinating, really. I typed "Iraqi Refugees" into the search bar, and BAM! .02 seconds later, I had all these clickable links, and the very first one is an academic site, dealing with Iraqi refugees from the Gulf War of 1991 to 2002.

Just being too obtuse to take a peek around and see what you can find doesn't negate a damned thing, just so you know.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Brian, Blue Girl, Mr. Irony, etc. It's a shame you guys are squandering a perfectly good (and rare) opportunity to argue about Latin grammar. For shame.

De gustibus non dispundandum est.

Posted by: Augustus on May 28, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

I was the only Jew in Catholic school (the cannon is constant and we were Brats) so Latin makes me break out in hives.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Gaius Julius filio(?) suo Octaviano s.p.d.

scilicet filius mihi non modo adoptatus sed etiam suppositiosus eras. sine dubio ex aliqua serva vitiosa et barbarissima natus eras, quandoquidem nihil scias de quo longe verboseque dissereris. cum sermonem Latinam plane non cognoscas (et libros meos ipsius egregios et sermonem purissimum spreveris), legendus est tibi liber barbarica lingua quae "Anglica" appellatur scriptus a viris doctis (quamquam barbaris) "Allen & Greenough" aut "Gildersleeve & Lodge" in sectionibus de "impersonal verbal construction" vel sim. de aliis quid dicam? Si differentiam inter "relinquo" ac "discedo", aut discrimen inter "decedo" ac "discedo" non sentis, quid plura? magno mihi sumptu doctus es. num ad ventos pecuniam ieci?

cura ut valeas, G.I.C. cos. pont.max. imp.

Posted by: Julius Caesar on May 28, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Canon not cannon.

(But what do you expect from a military waif?)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Matt,

"In a rough analogy, in 1864 I imagine BGRS/GC would probably have voted for the experienced General McClellan over the fool Lincoln (all the scuttlebutt was that Grant could not defeat Lee, and Grant's nickname, "the butcher" or "Butcher Grant" was not an expression of respect and confidence), whereas my attitude is that of a man who would have voted for Lincoln even if Atlanta was still holding out."

I understand that this isn't exactly the point you were making, but that analogy is weak enough that it should be discarded. The failings of McClellan as a general were tactical - lack of aggressiveness. The Union's strategic situation (and thus the question in the '64 presidential campaign) was fairly clear. The questions with Bush and Iraq are, as they have always been, strategic in nature, and should be fair game to every last citizen -

a)Does he understand the strategic nature of the staggeringly ambitious war he launched? Does he view it primarily as an attrition, fires heavy campaign against relatively discreet groups of terrorists, or as a campaign to build a stable, decent regime in a hostile region (replacing an ongoing problem)? Could he articulate the difference to subordinates, never mind the public? If he does understand, has he understood all along? Does he think about this kind of thing very much at all? If someone raised this issue with him, would he consider it thoughtfully, or denounce them as eggheads?

b)If he does understand, has he imposed his "vision" of the campaign on his government and military? Has he marshaled the necessary resources to conduct the campaign? Are all the instruments of national power, to include the public communications strategy, pointed in the same general direction?

c)Has he selected those personnel best qualified and able to help him and the nation reach the goals? Whereas a) and b) were merely loaded questions, I'll give you an answer here.
The Army and Marines deserve some criticism. Until Chiarelli (sp?), there wasn't a senior tactical commander that really understood the issue. Until Petraeus, there wasn't an operational\strategic commander that "got it".
But above all, the absolute fucking disgrace and shame on America that was and is Donald Rumsfeld, and a number of other jackasses, buffoons, and fools, deserve the lions share of blame, both for starting this war and fighting it incompetently.

Shorter version - the Lincoln comparison is apples and oranges.


Brian,

"Kevin is way out of his league on military issues. It is fine for him to express his expertise on how the war affects politics, but I don't see how anyone can take him seriously on military matters, yet he continues to pontificate on them."

Look, I get what you're saying, but Kevin is weighing in on strategic issues. Every citizen has a claim on those concerns. If you think he's wrong - point out the disagreement. Don't try to silence him.

There have been times in the past that Kevin has raised lower level, more tactical issues. In some cases, such as the Special Operations post of a few days ago, it was more of an opening for discussion. In other cases, such as one where he confused the Army Chief of Staff as an operational commander, he was off base, and called on it.

To some degree, I feel really sharply about this, because in the days of mid-2003, the warning signs were coming fast and furious. They had been there before the war started, to be sure, but not many people really believed the worst case scenario. Anyway, the war was on - and the problems were blindingly obvious to the professionals and\or educated. My (and I'm hardly the most educated) first "oh, shit" moment was Rumsfeld's "free people are free to do bad things" press conference. In the days that followed, the praises of Rummy and Franks were sung loudly, and the professionals were mocked, often quite viciously, by accountants, teachers, brick layers, etc, etc. In short - people that never spent a day with a ruck on their back or the moral burden of command on them. And now it's abundantly clear, that whatever we need to do next - no, it's not all going according to plan.

As re: the notion that hacks who discounted professionalism and knowledge at every opportunity (this may not be you, Brian, but it certainly applies to some) should now shout down those who disagree with them by hiding behind knowledge they don't, themselves, have - No Thanks. If someone is wrong, then identify the mistake. If they're a utter fool and whackjob (Brojo), call them on it. Don't tell them to be silent.

Above all - political discourse in this country, about matters of war and piece - is absolutely poisonous. Right now, the blame lies mostly, perhaps overwhelmingly, on the right, but that doesn't mean others are saints. 1LT Andy Bacevich was a casual friend of mine - and just fell in Iraq. His dad, COL Bacevich, a prominent critic of the war and the Bushies, recently did an oped in the WaPo. In it, he mentions some that wrote "condolences" to him, blaming his son's death on his criticism of the war. In the age of the internet, it would be a mistake to hold an entire point of view repsonsible for the cruelty of a couple of motherfuckers. That said -if putting up with the rantings of the occasional amateur (Kevin, in this case) takes us farther away from the idea that criticism (by COL Baecvich, or anyone else) of matters of war and peace isn't acceptable - I'm happy to pay that price.

Posted by: hotrod on May 28, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hello Hotrod! Very well put. As usual.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Why, thank you, BG. I'll post over at your blog later, as well.

Posted by: hotrod on May 28, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Always happy to see my favorite Reservist is in fine fettle.

Busting my ass on this end to try to stop this madness before you get called up.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 28, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Marler: Grant's blitzkrieg at Vicksburg after he got the troops across the river was the most brilliant campaign of the war. But Halleck did write well-received text-books, McClellan thoroughly retrained and re-organized the Army of the Potomac....

"blah blah blah Grant Vicksburg blah blah I have to hear myself opine on something else when my ass has been handed to me so I don't cry blah blah blah look over there, don't look at what's happening in Iraq blah blah blah...."

Posted by: trex on May 28, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

It seems so hopeless. US soldiers speak of kids' roles as well. Former US Army captain Jonathan Powers, who directs a non-profit in Iraq for kids, says when he served in Iraq in 2003, the going rate to have an IED planted was $1000, with another $1000 paid for killing an American.
Now, he says, kids in Iraq will set bombs for as little as $20

Posted by: consider wisely on May 28, 2007 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

hotrod,

I'm not sure I understand everything you wrote but sure, I agree that we cannot say that criticism in matters of war or peace is unacceptable. But my points are that: (1) I wonder how Kevin can be so confident on military issues outside of his expertise; and (2) the politicizing of war by both democrats and repubicans is harmful - I happen to see the democrats as more guilty at this point because they seem to be using the war as a vehicle to acquire more political power, without trying to honestly assess what is best for the country.

Posted by: brian on May 28, 2007 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

WTF kind of drugs are you on Brian?

The Republicans, starting right at the top with Bush and Cheney have politicized every aspect of this war from the beginning.

Everything from scheduling the original AUMF vote for a week before the 2002 mid-term elections, to AWOL's fake photo-ops, to you and all the other scumbags questioning the sincerity and patriotism of the Democrats and all the other incidents in between.

The only way your suggestion that Democrats are more guilty of this right now has any merit is that even most Republicans recognize Iraq is a losing issue for them right now and realize there is no way changing positions can help them. So they are doing the best they can by keeping their heads down, launching the occassional shot questioning the Democrats patriotism and hoping (without any real plan of how to get there) that things will somehow turn around.

As for the NY Times and its 'slant', this is the paper whose lead reporters (Judith Miller, et. al.) provided the Bush administration one of its biggest conduits for stories supporting the pre-war sales job and attacking war skeptics.

BGRS, Mr. Irony and others have done a better job than I could of pointing out why someone honestly committed to the best interests of the U.S. might oppose this war now. Your failure to even attempt to rebut these arguments on their merits shows how shallow and partisan your own approach to this issue is.

Posted by: Tanstaafl on May 29, 2007 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

trex: "blah blah blah Grant Vicksburg blah blah I have to hear myself opine on something else when my ass has been handed to me so I don't cry blah blah blah look over there, don't look at what's happening in Iraq blah blah blah...."

I was just sharing with Brian my admiration for General Grant. Perhaps you don't admire Grant.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 29, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Tanstaafl:

As you noted, I said that "at this point" the dems are more guilty of attempting to use the war to political advantage. I agree with you that in 2002 (prior to the war) the republicans used the prospect of war to their political advantage (with the dems mostly voting to authorize the war). I think in 2004 both sides tried to use it, probably the republicans with greater success. But I think it is more of a problem today because there is such a difference between the parties over a vitally important decision on how to handle the war, a situation that is somewhat comparable to the 1864 dispute between anti war dems and Lincoln and his supporters.

Matthew:

I thought our discussion of Grant was interesting, but I guess I could understand why someone else might not be interested, or perhaps a little sensitive about the comparison between the 1864 anti-war dems and the 2007 anti-war dems.

Posted by: brian on May 29, 2007 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry Brian,

You can't give the Republicans a pass just because after 4 years of playing politics with the war, the situation in Iraq and the public opinion thereof have detoriated to the point where it is no longer a winning issue. Particularly when things have come to this point in large part because of the way they have played politics with it going all the way back to the decision process for invading Iraq in the first place.

And in order to dismiss the Democrats of trying to use the issue for political gain without considering the good of the country, you first have to identify what the Democrats position is and why it is wrong. You have done neither.

Posted by: Tanstaafl on May 29, 2007 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

Furthermore, you have repeatedly passed up chances to discuss honestly the situation as it exists and what our practical options are for going forward from here.

Posted by: Tanstaafl on May 29, 2007 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

One, two, three, what are we fighting for?

they're fighting now for pride in their unit, professionalism, loyalty to their fellow soldier and chain of command

Little did they know that's ALL they've been fighting for the whole time.

Posted by: e. nonee moose on May 29, 2007 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

tanstasfl:

You illustrate my points. You talk about whether Iraq is a "winning issue" in political terms and you reveal the uncertainty about trying to identify the democrat position by asking me to do so.

Simply put, the democrats handling of Iraq is now largely motivated by two things: (1) satisfying the far left "get out now" crowd; and (2) getting a democrat president elected in 2008. If you listen objectively to any prominent democrat, you cringe when they fall back on the talking points of how they support the troops, we should not be involved in a civil war, we should "redeploy," the Iraqis will be better able to sort out their problems without us, and we need to fight the real terrorists in Afghanistan. These are dishonest or irrelevant arguments. If the democrats honestly believe the costs in Iraq are too high and we need to leave and accept whatever bad consequencs come from it, they should say so and cut off the funding. If not, and I realize this is a pipedream because Leiberman is he only democrat willing to do this, they should show unity and support the war.

Posted by: brian on May 29, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Gaius Julius filio(?) suo Octaviano s.p.d."

[snip - flame war in latin]

Man, this was funny for the 1% of us who had Latin beaten into us by the priests.

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on May 29, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK
(1)... and (2) the politicizing of war ...is harmful ... brian at 10:55 PM
Kevin has evinced more expertise than Herr Bush who only listens to those he wants to hear and the politicizing of the war by Republicans began before the war itseft with the jingoistic 9-11 propaganda.

I see Republicans more guilty because of their mindless smear&lies against all who questioned their initial misstatements, exaggerations, and lies they used to promote the war.

Since this war has proven counter productive to American national interest and to reducing terrorism around the globe, it is right and proper to oppose it and its supporters.

... the democrats handling of Iraq is now largely motivated by two things.... brian at 10:47 AM
Your analysis is as poor as that of the Neo-cons who thought attacking Iraq would be politically doable and a good thing. Since your war was sold to the American people based on lies, it is an unjust war, illegal and immoral. Arguing against the war is not a political issue, it's a moral one. The fact that Republicans have been supporting this failed war and all of Bush's failed policies shows their unfitness for office. By the way. Lieberman is not a Democrat. Posted by: Mike on May 29, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,
I think you really are arguing about the decision to go to war, not about what is the best course of action today, although you apparently relate the two, i.e., since the decision to go to was wrong (you actually argue unjust, illegal and immoral), then we should now get out. I think instead the decision today should be based on what bests helps Iraq (to whom we owe some obligation) and our national security. Even if you are assumed correct about the original decision, it does not answer the question of what to do now.

Posted by: brian on May 29, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

one last post. this is a very good site

http://www.outsidethewire.com/blog/outside-the-wire/kharmah-awakens.html

It makes the point of how hard it is to generalize about what is going on in Iraq and the importance of understanding that different things are going on in different areas. Very good stuff.

Posted by: brian on May 29, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

brian: Simply put, the democrats handling of Iraq is now largely motivated by two things:

you didn't mention even one of these....

Six in 10 Americans surveyed say the USA should have stayed out of Iraq. - New York Times/CBS News 5/24/07

63% say the United States should set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq sometime in 2008. - New York Times/CBS News poll 5/24/07

Bush approval rating: 34% - Fox News 5/23/07

70% disapprove of the job the Bush Administration has done in meeting the needs of the vets who have returned home from Iraq. - Marist 5/25/07

Number of terrorist attacks that occurred around the globe in 2006: 14,000

Percent of those attacks that took place in Iraq: 47%

Percent of worldwide fatalities that happened in Iraq: 66%

(Source: TIME)


Bush overall job approval: 28% - Newsweek 5/5/07


Americans who believed Iraq war was worth fighting - 5/1/03: 70%

Americans who believed Iraq war was worth fighting - 5/1/07: 34%

(WaPo-ABC poll)


Terror attacks 2006: 14,338

Terror attacks 2005: 11,111

- National Counterterrorism Center 4/30/07


Victory in Iraq still possible? 55% - No - NBC/Wall Street Journal 4/25/07


Do you think it is accurate to compare withdrawal with surrender?

No: 61 percent..........Yes: 33 percent - Fox News 4/17/07


brian...try more information...

then...you might have more luck creating a less emotional but more coherent argument...

Posted by: mr. irony on May 29, 2007 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Irony:

You also illustrate my point that dems are motivated by the politics. Citing public opinion polls is just another way of saying the decision should be premised upon short term politics. The notion that the opnion of a 1,000 poll participant should control the national security decisions of the United States is absurd.

Posted by: brian on May 29, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

brian: You also illustrate my point that dems are motivated by the politics.

You illustrate your intellectual dishonesty and partisanship with this statement, since it requires an a prior conclusion that the public is always wrong and that the war is in the best interests of the US, yet you have never made an argument, much less a convincing one, as to why the war is in the best interests of the US or why the public is wrong.

Then again, you will lie when you do try to make such an argument, so it is a moot point.

Posted by: anonymous on May 30, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK


brian: You also illustrate my point

since when was your empty assertion...

a point?

Posted by: mr. irony on May 30, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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