Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 1, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SETTING UP SHOP....Speaking of former Monthly editors, Jonathan Alter is getting shrill at the news that the Bush administration sees Iraq as the new Korea:

All of that White House chatter about staying in Iraq for decades means that Bush has essentially given up on democracy there.

....So why the move to permanent bases in Iraq?....The only two reasons to station troops in the Middle East for half a century are protecting oil supplies (reflecting a pessimistic view of energy independence) outside the normal channels of trade and diplomacy, and projecting raw military power. These are the imperial aims of an empire. During the cold war, charges of U.S. imperialism in Korea and Vietnam were false. Those wars were about superpower struggles. This time, the "I word" is not a left-wing epithet but a straightforward description of policy aims — yet another difference from those two older wars in Asia.

It's nice to finally see a few people in the mainstream press taking seriously the question of why the Bush administration has, for the past four years in Iraq, been busily building permanent military bases the size of small towns to go along with an embassy compound more suited to be NATO headquarters than a diplomatic outpost to a country of 25 million. What's more, this isn't a "move" to permanent bases in Iraq. That's been the plan all along. I remember there was a period a couple of years ago when I'd write about this periodically, but then finally gave up because it didn't seem to get more than a shrug from anyone else. As if building an embassy compound the size of the Pentagon in downtown Baghdad didn't really mean anything special.

I expect that the White House will back off pretty quickly from the South Korea analogies that started all this, but hopefully a few people will have taken notice anyway. An occupying force that's planning to leave someday doesn't need the kind of infrastructure we're building in Iraq. Only a country planning to use Iraq as a staging area for further conquest needs that.

Kevin Drum 12:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (58)

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Comments

Exactly how many and how large are these sites? And did the 'contractors' build them?

Posted by: cindy on June 1, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Only a country planning to use Iraq as a staging area for further conquest needs that."

Under any other president I would describe that line as crazy talk.

Posted by: Fred on June 1, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Under any other president I would describe that line as crazy talk."

Bush foreign-policy -- crazy talk. You say tomato...

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on June 1, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

All of that White House chatter about staying in Iraq for decades means that Bush has essentially given up on democracy there.

What nonsense. America has had troops for decades in South Korea but freedom and democracy has flourished during that time also. Having American troops in a country does not it means it's undemocratic. In fact it means the exact opposite. That is what the South Korean example demonstrates. Are Democrats against our troops being in South Korea? It would be hypocritical for them to support keeping troops in South Korea for over 50 years while opposing American troops in Iraq for 50 years at the same time.

Posted by: Al on June 1, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Someone needs to go back and look at the administrations previous statements and orginal plans for Iraq. I don't think anyone ever said we'd be there for 50 years. I don't think even the most rabid war supporter signed on for a 50 year tour. In think this is another example of Bush making it up as he goes along.

Posted by: henk on June 1, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

"finally gave up because it didn't seem to get more than a shrug from anyone else"

The only place I've seen those bases mentioned in my local newspaper is in the Doonesbury comic strip. I think it was Uncle Duke who pointed out way back in 2004 that the U.S. was digging in for a permanent occupation. Nobody else in the newspaper business seemed to notice.

Posted by: Oregonian on June 1, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "What nonsense. America has had troops for decades in South Korea but freedom and democracy... blah, blah, blah"

Sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing between Al & his parody (is there a real Al?), but I'm biting. Josh already fisked Al's point when the White House trotted it out initially, but it bears repeating.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2007_05_27.php#014375

The South Korea/Iraq analogy is one of the weakest historical precedents put forth by the administration -- which makes this one kind of like the winner in an Ugliest Troll contest.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on June 1, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Al,

You mean democratic places like Saudi Arabia where troups have been for years?

henk,
Just because the administration did not mention long term presence does not mean that it was not in the plan. You don't really belive the reasons he gave, at this point, do you?

Posted by: bushburner on June 1, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

So, when should I expect a formal apology from the MSM who laughed at us lefties when we said YEARS AGO that the Iraq adventure was primarily (not exclusively) about oil and access to oil, and that the US was intending on a military presence there for years to come?

Posted by: scott on June 1, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

It should be recalled that the orginal Paul Wolfowitz/Doug Feith plan for the aftermath of the invasion was a rapid drawdown to about 30,000 troops, planted in key strategic bases on the outskirts of the major Iraqi population centers. Rumsfeld refloated the same idea in early 2004 -- back when the chump thought he was actually winning the war. Gen. Casey talked about something similar in 2005, the FIRST time he promised a major troop drawdown would start "any day now." So there's really nothing new about any of this -- other than the half-assed Korea analogy. At one point Wolfowitz even offered up the need to transfer the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia to Iraq as one of the many official rationales for the war. Granted, it's a shell game, but maybe that really is the one the pea was under.

Posted by: Peter Principle on June 1, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

TPM says, "the Democrats have been pushing for a timeline ...". Well now they have one, fifty years. Some people are so hard to please.

Posted by: bushburner on June 1, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

"America has had troops for decades in South Korea but freedom and democracy has flourished during that time also."

As always, Al has brightened my day with some good humor. South Korea has been democratic in recent years, but it wasn't for a long time. My father did a lot of business in South Korea during the late 80s and early 90s. He described South Korea as a police state. Of course, a police state is probably what Al would desire for America as well.

Posted by: fostert on June 1, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

What nonsense. America has had troops for decades in South Korea but freedom and democracy has flourished during that time also.

You might want to review the history of South Korea.

Posted by: Stephen on June 1, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Bush has seen an opportunity in Dick Cheney's Middle East project- the opportunity for his own greatness. This is something quite rare for men of George Bush’s abilities. For Cheney it has always been about bare-knuckled resource control and imperial management with only a tinge of messianic destiny. But Bush sees himself as the resplendent character at the center of the god-ordained narrative in Mesopotamia. It is his simple way of coming to terms with the messy real world failures and it soothes his chronic self-doubt.

The Middle East is punctuated with castles and fortifications of long vanished empires. The American bases in the region are only the latest. Like the others they are there to mark the borders of imperial control and to serve as forward bases against other powers, including the locals. But the British and the French had a hell of a time trying to maintain control less than a century ago. It is hard to image that the US will have any more luck especially since the vision of Middle East hegemony is not an American vision, one shared by the broad American public or even its elites, but that of a few men with occult knowledge and the will to power. Being unable to lead they have had to resort to lies, subterfuge, demagoguery, and the bully stick only to find how inadequate even these tools are in their hands.

If you travel in Africa or India you will see neglected yards that serve as the last resting places for the statues of British imperial heroes. During the high days of empire they would have stood along the great boulevards and in front of municipal buildings. Now they decay in the tropical sun overgrown with weeds. Bush and Cheney will not be so well remembered.

Posted by: bellumregio on June 1, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Aircraft carriers deployed to protect international trade: not imperialism

Ground bases deployed to protect international trade: imperialism

Leftists: stupid

Posted by: x on June 1, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

On the Issue of Permanent Military Bases
...Bush: They weren't called permanent bases, but they were called arrangements that will help this government understand that there will be a U.S. presence so long as they want them there. And at the appropriate time, I'm confident we'll be willing to sit down and discuss the long-term security of Iraq...
They will call them long term, but not permanent as a purely semantic dodge.
Then again here's Bush at his megalomaniac best:
Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."

Posted by: Mike on June 1, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to merely point out that this is not a policy unique to the Boy Emperor.

This has been American policy, whether Democratic or Republican, for decades.

Posted by: truthlover on June 1, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Fixed the link for the insane POTUS rant referenced by Mike above.

Posted by: Disputo on June 1, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

You might want to review the history of South Korea.

History, for the right-wing, is whatever they want it to be.

Posted by: asdfg on June 1, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

X: Aircraft carriers deployed to protect international trade: not imperialism

Ground bases deployed to protect international trade: imperialism

Leftists: stupid

There's a difference between using the Navy to ensure the safety and reliability of trade routes, and occupying a country to ensure trade.

1) U.S. Naval Forces don't position themselves in foreign nation's territorial waters to promote free trade - that would be an act of war (assuming the country's waters were occupied without consent).

2) The use of an occupying military force to promote trade, or any domestic policy issue, is the very definition of imperialism. What do you think the British Empire was all about? Occupations of India, Egypt (and the Suez Canal), Malta, Hongkong, South Africa, and on and on were about maintaining British global economic hegemony, and ensuring the movement of trade and consumer products between commodity sources (spice, minerals, lumber, luxury goods, and even slaves for a time), manufacturing centers (the U.K.), and the market (U.K., British Colonial Territories).

Posted by: Everblue Stater on June 1, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

You're missing the whole point of this exercise, from the 9/11 point of view.

We *HAD* permanent bases in the mideast. In Saudi Arabia. Bush's best friend, Osama bin Laden complained. If you read Osama's threat-letter, as to WHY they did 9/11, one of his big arguments was the infidel presence in their holy land, home of Mecca and Medina. Bush obliged, and moved US troops to Iraq.

That's ALL this is about: Saudi royals, soaked in oil-money, and the power that brings, appeasing their radical domestic faction by pointing fingers at the US (who prop them up), funding madrassas, and, kicking around their local enemies by using their hired-help, US muscle.

Josh thinks we're trying to establish a permanent western presence for the middle east oil? Idiot. We've been doing that for decades. Ever since domestic oil production peaked in 1973 - and even before that, if you count Operation AJAX.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 1, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

The US is just building an infrastructure for the next Iraqui dictator. After kicking out the US, he will use the embassy as his palace and the bases to maintain his authority.

Posted by: Bob M on June 1, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

x : Worshipper of the codpiece. Is there something worse than "Dumbest fucking guy on the planet aka Dough Feith - stupid"?

Posted by: horatius on June 1, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Bob M, Who do you think that might be? Allawi?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 1, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

What did war-supporter Alter think was gonna happen in Iraq? I assume he's not stupid enough to buy the "threat" justification for the war, so he must have signed up for the "reverse domino's of democracy - clean out the Middle East" argument.

He must have anticipated such an undertaking would take years/decades - why's he bitching?

Posted by: luci on June 1, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Scott, yes, that apology would be nice, but it ain't happening.

X, I actually I agree, to an extent. Of course, many Democrats are OK with "imperialism lite."

OBF, rue, we've been imperialist in that sense for decades, but this is more naked, more ramped-up, etc.

Posted by: socraticgadfly@hotmail.com on June 1, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I share your frustration that "no-one seemed to care about the 'enduring' bases" being built in Iraq, but I think at least here that there's always been a contingent which cares very much about them. We've even pointed them out in discussions when you didn't, and, as you say, it was pretty much the end of that thread of the discussion because no one either cared or had any good responses about them. Certainly, though, Rep. Barbara Lee has cared enough to introduce resolutions banning such bases.

Posted by: thump on June 1, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Some just want to ask while on their deathbed "How goes the Empire?".

Posted by: R.L. on June 1, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Of course monkeyboy and his friends want to have permanent bases there. Thats where the oil is. The whole point of this fiasco was to knock off Saddam so we could put bases in Iraq to ensure the oil supply gets to the US & UK. And why do you think the big energy task force meetings in 2001 were secret? .. because thats where this plan was assembled. But there are laws against overthrowing a soverign state without some semblance of reason, so they came up with WMD's and a variety of other reasons. Setup Saddam up as a big bad guy, which basically he was, and get rid of him. So Big oil just used the US military to hand them their own little country. Democracy in the mid east? Thats the last thing these clowns want. It was an evil plan, but it worked very well. Several thousand American troops? Collateral damage. Couple hundred thousand Iraqies? who cares? Its all about the Oil ... always was. And no ... we're not leaving.

Posted by: Erika on June 1, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

But by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny.

Does this sound like a man who plans on leaving? Does it sound like an insane person? How scared should be be?

Posted by: jrw on June 1, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

All of that White House chatter about staying in Iraq for decades means that Bush has essentially given up on democracy there.

I don't think that's true, inasmuch as S. Korea evolved into a sort of democracy.

The analogy to S. Korea has shortcomings, but that isn't one of them.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 1, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not forget these maniacs were carrying on about empire and imperialism the day they took office, and how, as an empire, it would be necessary for everyone to realize we would pay attention to no interest but our own and that everyone would come to enjoy that as the exceptional glory of our great era.

Posted by: cld on June 1, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Does this sound like a man who plans on leaving? Does it sound like an insane person? How scared should be be?

jrw, that's what I'm worried about. I don't think Bush is going to want to leave in 2008. He'll issue a signing statement making him president for life, or something.

Posted by: pol on June 1, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

The “imperialism lite” crowd is made up of the same well-meaning types who believed in a more kindly, more philanthropic version of the White Man’s Burden. The goal of which was always to tear down Asiatic tyrants and liberate the toiling masses to a world of free trade and modernity. It was the story of 1900 and it was the story in 2000. These people have always regard themselves as more virtuous than their marauding, profiteering brothers and usually function as a fig leaf for the carnal truths of invasion and foreign coercion. They are also the first to ask what went wrong when the project is rejected by the natives. The language of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands” is antiquated but you can hear the sentiment any night on CNN. Kipling, unlike the lazy commentators of the nattering class, did understand the cost and futility of the "civilizing", or in today's language, "democratizing" project.

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead...

Posted by: bellumregio on June 1, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Regardless of the quality of Alter's assertions, it drives me nuts when a guy who is paid reasonably good money to peck at a keyboard writes a sentence like this....

"These are the imperial aims of an empire."

Posted by: Will Allen on June 1, 2007 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Only a country planning to use Iraq as a staging area for further conquest needs that.

Or a force that anticipates a need for reinforcements in case of an invasion from a neighboring country.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 1, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Or a force that anticipates a need for reinforcements in case of an invasion from a neighboring country.

So we are setting up permanent bases in Iraq out of concern that Canada may invade us?

Posted by: Disputo on June 1, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Or a force that anticipates a need for reinforcements in case of an invasion from a neighboring country.

What country would that be, Matt? Do tell.

Posted by: trex on June 1, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: So we are setting up permanent bases in Iraq out of concern that Canada may invade us?

That's about as likely as Canada invading S. Korea, I suppose.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 1, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

trex: What country would that be, Matt? Do tell.

I was thinking of Paul Murtha's recommendation that Americans should be redeployed to Okinawa (or alternate "over the horizon" places that he named), so that they could be rapidly redeployed back to Iraq when necessary.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 1, 2007 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

I was thinking of Paul Murtha's recommendation that Americans should be redeployed to Okinawa

I was unaware that Paul Murtha, famous composer, had any over-the-horizon plan.

However, and despite his lack of expertise in the field of military strategy, I am yet inclined to give it more charitable consideration than the utter lunacy you post here regularly.

Even your attempts at defending your arguments with no basis in reality have no basis in reality.

Posted by: trex on June 1, 2007 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

Why would they be building permanent bases? The Republicans' hold on power in the US seemed pretty tenuous in 2004. Why would they be so confident that they or a subsequent Dem president and Congress will let this go on?

I think the real question this raises is, "Does the Bush regime have any intention of relinquishing power after the next election?" I'm not confident at all that they will.

Posted by: jussumbody on June 1, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

trex: I was unaware that Paul Murtha, famous composer

oops. I meant John Murtha. He did give speeches advocating that American forces be positioned for rapid redeployment to Iraq: "over the horizon", "Okinawa", etc.

utter lunacy

I misattributed the idea that I cited. It was really due to John Murtha. Lunacy? perhaps. Utter lunacy? Perhaps.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 2, 2007 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

The “imperialism lite” crowd is made up of the same well-meaning types who believed in a more kindly, more philanthropic version of the White Man’s Burden.

I do appreciate the Kipling, which rates the left-wing trolls on this site about 30 IQ points higher than the right-wing trolls.

However, could you flagellants take a minute to explain what the hell it is you are ranting about? How is a the modern age of 140 sovereign nations engaging in mostly peaceful relations exactly the same as the old world of a couple of dozen militaristic, racist, class-hobbled empires mostly ruled by inbred hereditary despots?

The right-wingers are trying to restore the glorious times of President McKinley and the Robber Barons, while the left-wing insists we haven't changed a bit since 1900. If you all could hold hands and reassure each other that Grover Cleveland, the Kaiser, the Tsar, and the Raj are still secretly running things, the rest of us could carry on a rational discussion.


Posted by: Berken on June 2, 2007 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think Bush is going to want to leave in 2008. He'll issue a signing statement making him president for life, or something.

Cheney'd do that in a heartbeat, but Bush? Nah. 2008 rolls around, he'll be outta there like a shot. Being president was just a game to him, and it's not fun anymore.

And even if a Democratic follows him into the Oval Office, I don't expect the troops to be withdrawn.

Posted by: Geoduck on June 2, 2007 at 5:57 AM | PERMALINK

I misattributed the idea that I cited. It was really due to John Murtha. Lunacy? perhaps. Utter lunacy? Perhaps.

Not only did you misattribute it you totally misunderstood it. It wasn't in case of an invasion, you dipshit.

Posted by: trex on June 2, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin I am a big admirer of yours, but please get over using the phrase “ mainstream press” or, for that matter. “Mainstream media”. Time and again, public opinion polls have shown the CORPORATE MEDIA to be far to the right of the majority of the American electorate. By attributing those false labels to said media, you confer on them an authority that is undeserved. And that specious authority helps in the skewed framing of our political dialogue. I’m just sayin’….

Posted by: jaf on June 2, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

trex: It wasn't in case of an invasion, you dipshit.

In fact, Murtha was completely silent on whatever would prompt the redeployment, so it might or might not have been some kind of invasion. It could have been something as vaporous as an increase in al Qaeda activity or a large number of vagrant Saudis. Anything prompting his hypothetical redeployment would justify building the wherewithall to carry it out.

I think that what you mean to say, and are avoiding saying, is that Murtha would not support any redeployment back into Iraq. It was a rhetorical device to avoid sounding like he advocated bugging out.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 2, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

think that what you mean to say, and are avoiding saying, is that Murtha would not support any redeployment back into Iraq. It was a rhetorical device to avoid sounding like he advocated bugging out.

You can't even keep track of what you mean to say, so don't presume to think you know what I'm saying. And you've totally bollixed up your numbnuts arguments about this and other topics again in these recent threads and you're trying to salvage something out of it. Truth be told you were the one making intimations about invasions -- and then completely withdrew from that point when I called you on it.

And I think you know me well enough by now from my writing that I don't avoid saying anything, Matt. I would certainly hope that Murtha would not support any redeployment back into Iraq; that would suggest to me that unlike you -- he is not insane or merely abysmally stupid.

In the particular interview where this idea came up, Jack Murtha -- not Paul Murtha, the arranger whose musical chairs theory of military strategy you're apparently a student of -- was crystal clear that once deployed out of Iraq that we could deal with emergency situations in that country using airpower if necessary. That's the whole point. He never, EVER contemplated an invasion. That particular brand of stupid is all yours. Nice try at saving your ass, but no cigar.

I'm not avoiding saying anything and Jack Murtha is not avoiding saying anything -- we've both made it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that we believe it is time to remove troops from Iraq for good, no matter where they go. Actually, I correctly advocated that they never should have gone there in the first place.

Posted by: trex on June 2, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. You friggin' loon.

Posted by: trex on June 2, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and May was the third deadliest month ever for Iraqis and the third deadliest month for U.S. troops. How's that surge going for ya? Enjoying feeding Americans and Iraqis alike into the meatgrinder so you can get an ego trip arguing on blogs?

You're beyond loathsome.

Posted by: trex on June 2, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

trex: Truth be told you were the one making intimations about invasions -- and then completely withdrew from that point when I called you on it.

I do not think I ever withdrew the point. Redeploying to repel an invasion is why the Americans are in S. Korea, and could be a reason for maintaining a rapid redeployment capability to Iraq. What country might invade would presumably be one of Iraq's neighbors.

I had the idea when considering Murtha's suggestion that Americans be ready to redeploy back to Iraq from Okinawa, or the other places Murtah has mentioned moving U.S. forces to.

KD wrote this: Only a country planning to use Iraq as a staging area for further conquest needs that.

However, repelling an invasion, or redeploying for whatever reasons Murtha had in mind, are two alternatives.

trex: we've both made it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that we believe it is time to remove troops from Iraq for good, no matter where they go.

Actually, Murtha has not made it clear that the American troops should be removed from Iraq for good. If you are asserting that he has made it clear that Americans should never redeploy to Iraq, then you are asserting what I said said Murtha was possibly implying.

Enjoying feeding Americans and Iraqis alike into the meatgrinder so you can get an ego trip arguing on blogs?

That question pretty much answers itself. My guess is that you get more satisfaction from American and Iraqi deaths than I do, but that's a rank ordering, not an absolute.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 2, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

another partial report on al Anbar province here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18881803/site/newsweek/

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 2, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Murtha has not made it clear that the American troops should be removed from Iraq for good.

Wrong again:

Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME.

http://www.counterpunch.org/murtha11172005.html

Don't you ever tire of it?

What country might invade would presumably be one of Iraq's neighbors.

Yes, that's the stupidity I was trying to get you to own up to in the first place. Other than our erstwhile ally Turkey possibly crossing the border into Kurdistan -- and if they do we're not going to hinder them because it's in the name of "stopping terror" -- no country would possibly invade Iraq, although it's typically bizarre of you to think so. Iran and Iraq have great relations, Syria couldn't possibly, give me a break on Kuwait or Qatar, and Saudi Arabia is building a goddam fence to keep the Iraqis out.

Just a little more hysteria on your part passed off as "analysis."

My guess is that you get more satisfaction from American and Iraqi deaths than I do, but that's a rank ordering, not an absolute.

Yes, that's why I campaigned against going to war on the grounds that thousands would be killed in sectarian violence. That's why I've lost sleep at night because the 20 year-old kid next door neighbor joined the Guard to pay for college and ended up in Iraq on dangerous convoy duty so Bush could have the political capital to get elected to a second term. That's I why worry for an old high school friend in the Guard with young children who was deployed last year, and for the family members of my Chaldean friends who live there. I do all of this because I get satisfaction at the deaths of the very people whose deaths I tried to stop in the first place.

You, on the other hand, are a loathsome fucking turd who doesn't care how many die in Iraq as long as it doesn't damage Bush too badly and that in the end some little experiment you'd like to think you're a part of has results that aren't so unsatisfactory that you can't spin them away. Worse, you're a serial denier of the Holocaust that has taken place there, a denier of the actual living conditions and sheer misery the Iraqis live in, and a denier of every possible cost to this endeavor that threaten to weaken your arguments. The only time you EVER show any passion is when you argue about the future of alternative energy. People slaughtered daily in Iraq? Piffle.

And I love these little conversations of ours because everyone reading gets to see just what a debased, diseased, conscienceless individual you are.

Posted by: trex on June 2, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

another partial report on al Anbar province here:

Another full report on the violence right here:

"May was the third deadliest month ever for Iraqis and the third deadliest month for U.S. troops."

I wonder which report has more weight? If only there were a statistician around to tell us.

Posted by: trex on June 2, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Only a country planning to use Iraq as a staging area for further conquest needs that."

Yes, just like we used Japan, Germany, and South Korea as staging areas.

Kevin Drum is being pretty cynical here regarding why the US might keep bases in Iraq for a long time. How about this: if we stay on bases we can get our forces out of harm's way while continuing to provide training and logistical support to the Iraqis.

The alternative, a complete withdrawal, may lead to a failed state and unbelievable carnage.

I predict, if a Democrat is elected president, in 2012 we will still have large bases in Iraq. So get used to it - this is the future US policy unless the Iraqi government demands we leave.

Posted by: Dan Morgan on June 3, 2007 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum is being pretty cynical here regarding why the US might keep bases in Iraq for a long time. How about this: if we stay on bases we can get our forces out of harm's way while continuing to provide training and logistical support to the Iraqis.

This was the mission prior to the "Surge."

The "Surge" was conceived precisely because this mission did not work. A cohesive Iraqi Army is not possible due to a myriad of other more primary allegiances, infiltration by militias, and corruption. The military is so untrustworthy that Maliki himself said this week he fears elements of it, as do those in the general populace who've come under attack from it in the form of death squads.

So why would we need large bases in Iraq in perpetuity again? Particularly because our presence inflames the populace. Kevin likely wasn't being cynical enough. Not only a potential staging area for another attack but a force on the ground to protect access to oil.

Posted by: tRex on June 3, 2007 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Matthew Marler:

The problem here is that the presence of U.S. bases doesn't seem to have played a role in South Korea's evolution into a democracy. In fact, the earliest U.S. influence in the southern part of the peninsula after V-J Day consisted mainly of suppressing grass-roots democracy at the village level (often led by Korean Christians) in favor of installing the megalomaniacal Syngman Rhee and a cabal of authoritarians and Japanese collaborators.

The U.S. sat by quietly while South Korea's military government and the KCIA rooted out democratic movements, executed democratic critics of the regime, and perpetuated a series of undemocratic transfers of power within the military leadership. Efforts toward democracy were viewed skeptically, democracy activists like Kim Dae-Jung were regarded as naive at best and dangerous at worst (it was the Japanese who saved him from being murdered by the KCIA), and what the U.S. asked of the South Korean government was little more than to provide a site for U.S. bases... just as that's all it asked of Ferdinand Marcos in the Phillipines.

The eventual turn to democracy by South Korea is due to the efforts of that country's people, not to the presence of U.S. bases.

...S. Korea evolved into a sort of democracy. ... The analogy to S. Korea has shortcomings, but that isn't one of them.
Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 1, 2007 at 4:26 PM |

Posted by: keith on June 4, 2007 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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