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Tilting at Windmills

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July 28, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

DIVIDE AND CONQUER....In a review/essay critiquing both the phraseology and the underlying reality of the "war on terror," Samantha Powers notes the following from Ian Shapiro's new book, Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy Against Global Terror:

Shapiro is at his most persuasive when he argues against lumping Islamic radical threats together. He points out that at the time of the cold war, George Kennan, the formulator of the containment policy, warned against treating Communism as a monolith. Policy makers, Kennan said, ought to emphasize the differences among and within Communist groups and "contribute to the widening of these rifts without assuming responsibility." The Bush administration, by contrast, has grouped together a hugely diverse band of violent actors as terrorists, failing to employ divide-and-conquer tactics.

Although it is tempting to feel overwhelmed by the diversity of the threats aligned against the United States, Shapiro says that very diversity presents us with opportunities, since it "creates tensions among our adversaries' agendas, as well as openings for competition among them." To pry apart violent Islamic radicals, the United States has to become knowledgeable about internal cleavages and be patient in exploiting them.

This is the serious side of dumb gaffes from people like Rudy Giuliani, who seem unable to distinguish between even simple divisions like Sunni and Shia. They're not just demonstrating a willfull ignorance, they're demonstrating an ignorance of one of the key levers we have for fighting violent jihadism. If you treat everyone who's ever said a salaat as an enemy, you've lost the battle before it's even started.

Kevin Drum 12:11 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (57)

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Comments

How can the Republicans be so oblivious to such basic concepts? Is it stupidity or rank dishonesty?

Colinn

Posted by: Colin on July 28, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Is it any wonder that if any of the Republicans get elected, that we'll drift farther backwards into the abyss?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on July 28, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

"This is the serious side of dumb gaffes from people like Rudy Giuliani, who seem unable to distinguish between even simple divisions like Sunni and Shia."

Yes, but then there's the question as to whether the Republican base to which he's trying to appeal sees any distinction, either. (It's probably fair to ask about the extent to which the general voting population sees any distinction between the sects. Maybe they're more savvy than I'm assuming, but I'd be surprised.) So yes, Giuliani's got a grade schooler's handle on this stuff, but who's going to call him on it? Certainly not his Republican rivals. And don't hold your breath waiting for the press to do it, either.

Posted by: junebug on July 28, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if someone, say, like, Cheney ever read the likes of Powers. Ideologues have a tendency to overlook indepth, rational analysis that could serve as a foundation of good "policy." -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on July 28, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me there are two issues here:

1. Lumping all terrorists together
2. Lumping all Muslims together as terrorists

Regarding #1: We have had some success at turning terrorists against each other. In al Anbar, Sunni insurgents who had been using terror tactics against our side are now fighting with us against al Qaeda.

Regarding #2: American and European leaders have bent over backwards to proclaim that the war on terror is not a war on all Muslims. As a result, some think we've not paid enough attention to allegedly mainstream Islamic groups that provide soft support for terrorism, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 28, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Is there anyone, outside of Norman "Bates" Rogers, who thinks Giuliani is a serious candidate -- as in a serious person running for high office?

Meanwhile, I wish Kevin or someone could answer my cookie questions. This site hasn't "remembered" for several months now.

Posted by: Kenji on July 28, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding #1: We have had some success at turning terrorists against each other. In al Anbar, Sunni insurgents who had been using terror tactics against our side are now fighting with us against al Qaeda.

Good point ex-liberal. The WSJ reports the same thing is happening in Diyala Province, Ramadi, and Fallujah. Looks like we are reaching in Iraq a turning point against Al-Qaeda.

Link

"In Anbar Province and increasingly in Diyala Province, tribal sheikhs have turned against al Qaeda and are now siding with American and Iraqi Security Forces (these are examples of "bottom-up" political reconciliation for which we had been hoping). Attack levels in Anbar have reached a two-year low. Ramadi, once among the most dangerous cities in Iraq, is now dramatically safer. Violence in Fallujah has declined. Al Qaeda's networks and safe havens are being disrupted beyond anything we have seen before."

Posted by: Al on July 28, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Shapiro makes the mistake of assuming that the Bush administration's framing of the War on Terror is supposed to help defeat terrorists. But terrorism is nothing new, the framing is just a way to harness the fear of terrorism for domestic politics.

So Bush is handing al Qaeda a propaganda victory by crediting them with everything that goes boom. So what? He's also helping their global strategy by staying in Iraq. Bush doesn't give a shit, this is a winning strategy in American domestic politics. Someone else will have to clean up his mess.

9/11 was the best thing that ever happened to the Bush administration, it allowed them to become something more than a joke. Why in the hell would Bush kill the golden goose?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on July 28, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

But, but, but...Kevin. Rudi is a SERIOUS thinker on defending our national interests.

Seriously. No. Really seriously.

Posted by: bobbyp on July 28, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody seeking power or influence gains by making the world seem more complex, even where the complexity exists. It's much easier to get the folks riled up about a supposedly monolithic era. It worked during the cold war, and it works now. Seeing complexity and nuance is less than manly.

The media could help with this, but they won't. There's a reason why Faux News has been successful, and it doesn't say anything good about us, as a nation or as a species. There are exceptions, of course, but the O'Reillys and Savages will always be able to shout them down.

Posted by: thersites on July 28, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Considering many American soldiers refer to all Iraqis as “Hajis” and kill even innocent ones wantonly, as noted here, we can expect suicide attacks in the United States for the next several generations or so.

When Americans like Giuliani spread hate and ignorance, expect the same in return. You reap what you sow.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 28, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

or even a "a supposedly monolithic "

Posted by: thersites on July 28, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

So, when one conservatives cites the shifting loyalties of sheiks, who are not the kind of international terrorist organization threatening America that Shapiro was talking about, against al Qaeda, which was brought into Iraq by the invasion, another conservative interprets this as:

"Looks like we are reaching in Iraq a turning point against Al-Qaeda."

In both cases, the irrelevant serves to justify continuing failure while the nature of the enemy and scope of the problem remain conveniently obscure, if only to conservatives.

Brilliant.

This is the kind of ignorance that gets people killed. How's that for social darwinism?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on July 28, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Holy crap! Is anyone going to post on the Simpsons Movie?

Posted by: doug r on July 28, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Is there anyone, outside of Norman "Bates" Rogers, who thinks Giuliani is a serious candidate -- as in a serious person running for high office?"

Sadly, the most recent polls suggest he's the front-runner for nomination. Speaks volumes about the state of that failed political party.

I wonder who'll they'll finally choose. Any guesses?

Posted by: wileycat on July 28, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

But recognizing the multi-faceted nature of terrorism requires data, theory and analysis. This is complicated and hard work that undermines black and certitude.

Republican decision-makers were well aware of the potential for a sectarian mess in Iraq before the invasion. But, if repeated muddling of the message re: Saddam's role in 9/11 cemented the monolithic view of Islamic terrorism with the public, then so what? Right? Ends, whatever they may be, justifies the means.

"Bombs away" in 2003 and re-elected in 2004? These douchebags got away with it, n'est-ce pas?

Posted by: Soviet Canuckastani on July 28, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Whoops. I meant "black and white certitude".

Posted by: Soviet Canuckastani on July 28, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Grand Moff: Excellent post. It is indeed difficult for all of us to separate the real threat of terrorism to the US from the use of the threat for political purposes. Beyond this, there is the additional US rationale (rarely mentioned) of securing the ME oil fields, all of them, Saudi, Iraqi, Iranian, Central Asian. How do we get the oil from under their soil now that India and China are coming online for their share? Claim that inhabitants of the Islamic world are a mortal threat to us all, no need for more detail.

Al:

"In Anbar Province and increasingly in Diyala Province, tribal sheikhs have turned against al Qaeda and are now siding with American and Iraqi Security Forces." WSJ

As Juan Cole points out, our arming the Sunnis with state of the art US weapons is hardly looked upon with gratitude by the Shia. Remember, the big problem in Iraq is the Sunni/Shia split, not the presence of a few al Qaeda jihadists.

From Juan Cole:

"Steven R. Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra of the Associated Press get the scoop that relations between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and US Gen. David Petraeus are so tense that aides to al-Maliki say he has considered asking Washington to pull the general out of Baghdad. The two major sources of tension appear to be al-Maliki's continued lack of control over all Iraqi military units and operations, and Petraeus's policy of arming Iraqi Sunni Arab tribesmen willing to fight the foreign Salafi Jihadis. Al-Maliki fears that once the Sunni tribesmen have dispatched "al-Qaeda," they will turn on the largely Shiite government with their new American weapons."

Posted by: nepeta on July 28, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush Still Doesn't Get It"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/20/AR2007072001805_pf.html


Not only are there differences in Islam such as Sunni and Shia, but there are the mystics, modernists, and literalists. Hmmm. Sounds like that could be said of all humans.

"Fear is just another word for ignorance"
-Hunter Thompson

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on July 28, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

@Al

Let's assume for a moment that whatever is happening in anbar province is genuine and permanent. It may not be -- remember how Mosul was supposed to exemplify peaceful reconstruction?

We would be doing great... except our primary enemy in Iraq isn't Al Qaeda.

We are currently being attacked by Shi'ite death squads and Sunni guerillas. Both are funded in part externally, but both rely on local support.

Quick Question: How could you be so up in arms about explosively formed penetrators but a short while ago, and now be puffing on about Anbar? If Iranian provided EFPs are the reason for our setbacks then anbar is a sideshow. If Anbar demonstrates a way forward, then Iranian meddling in Iraq is a sideshow. Which is it?

Posted by: adam on July 28, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

>"The Bush administration, by contrast, has grouped together a hugely diverse band of violent actors as terrorists,"

George II proclaimed himself as the 'Uniter'. I was always wondering what in the world he could have meant by that. Aha! So that's what he meant, he has united the Islamic world against us.

Posted by: Buford on July 28, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Repukeliscum strategy for 2008:

1) Scare the crap out of Americans

2) Say "Democrats are weak"

3) Say "You must elect Repukeliscum or you will die"

That's the entire strategy folks.

Posted by: POed Lib on July 28, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Who does, or even advocates doing, what Kevin and Shapiro allege in terms of "lumping Islamic radical threats together"?

I don't mean taking lines out of campaign speeches and extrapolating from them. I mean what action has the administration taken, or do others advocate taking, that constintutes mistakenly lumping all Islamic threats together?

Isn't the current "Anbar awakening" an example of the opposite, in terms of dividing groups who might be viewed under the generic "Islamic threats" and having them turn against each other and to some extent join with us?

Posted by: brian on July 28, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I tend to think Bush's reason for this willful ignorance is that they were more interested in selling "the terror" than in understanding it. They have a short term view of their war on terrorism despite all their rhetoric, it's to get them through the next election. Their actions aren't based on trying to understand the issue but rather to keep selling it to a largely ignorant public.

Unfortunately, with a dishonest administration, it's up to the Press to explain these complicated issues and they've failed (or rather, they never tried). I was reminded of this just yesterday (or maybe Thu) on Hardball when Bruce Fein was talking about Bush's breaking of the FISA laws and Matthews kept cutting him off saying, who cares about FISA, that's too complicated for the people to understand, they understand perjury, so lets talk about that. He must be doing great in the ratings if he can both ignore the larger crime and insult his viewers at the same time.

Posted by: tom.a on July 28, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

You all realize that before we invaded Barack Obama, even though he was merely an Illinois state senator, was smart enough to know the difference between the Shia, Sunni, and Kurds, and that they would probably be at each other's throats. He also realized the Iraq invasion was a dreadful diversion from the real war against Bin Laden's minions in Afganistan.

It isn't that hard to keep track of the all the different factions. All you have to do is try.

If are in government and you "feel overwhelmed by the diversity of the threats aligned against the United States" you aren't as smart enough to hold your job. If you are a civilian, just buy a score card. If you are smart enough to keep the players on your favorite football team straight, you are smart enough to understand the political differences between Sunni, Kurd, Shia, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Afganistan and Syria straight. You are also smart enough to realize they all have their own national and/or religious interests.

Posted by: corpus juris on July 28, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

When the senior Republicsns on intelligence and foreign affairs committees and senior repubublicans in the CIA can't say the difference between Shias and Sunnis, what chance do we have for reasonable policies to prevail?

Only if Dems decide among themselves what is right and ramrod it through to be signed by a Democratic president. Until then, reason is doomed.

Posted by: anandine on July 28, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Anandine,

Who are the senior republicans you are talking about who "can't say the difference between the Shias and the Sunnis?

Posted by: brian on July 28, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, the fascist were proud to proclaim that "We think with earth and blood."

Strategic thinking, complexity, unanticipated side effects are all lost on them.

Posted by: c4logic on July 28, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

They're not just demonstrating a willfull ignorance, they're demonstrating an ignorance of one of the key levers we have for fighting violent jihadism.

Kevin's quote presupposes that Giuliani, et. al., are interested in actually fighting and defeating violent jihadism.

They are not. They are primarily interested in using violent jihadism as a vehicle to further other objectives. These include justifying massive defense expenditures on high tech weaponry, a militaristic culture that also features extensive imprisonment and the vaunted "War on Drugs," a centralized preeminent executive, a culture and economy that celebrates "meeting high standards" - a vigorous energetic output - over making standards easier to achieve and elegant solutions.

In short, asserting a united massive jihadi threat justifies a massive, united "War on Terror." And this massive unity is what they want - not victory. That would eliminate the need for the massive unity.

Anyone who doubts this should explain the recently announced arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Indeed they should explain our entire policy towards Saudi Arabia and toward Pakistan, both of which have been far more closely linked with Al Qaeda than Iraq or Iran have ever been.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on July 28, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

More good news!

Bush and his war-profiteering cronies are planning to sell billions of dollars in advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia. Click here for details. What a brilliant man! Don’t you think it is incredibly smart to sell weapons to the people who financed the 9-11 attacks? Saudis also represent the largest percentage of foreign fighters killing our troops in Iraq. What a dandy idea to sell weapons to this Middle Eastern dictatorship! I can see democracy blooming in the Middle East like roses spiked with Miracle-Gro soon!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 28, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

POed Lib wrote: The Repukeliscum strategy for 2008: 1) Scare the crap out of Americans 2) Say "Democrats are weak" 3) Say "You must elect Repukeliscum or you will die" That's the entire strategy folks.

The Dems invite this strategy by doing so little to address security. Their debates don't focus much on the war on terror. The Dems have no plan on how to win in Iraq, nor do they have a plan to win in Afghanistan nor in Waziristan. They strive to weaken laws that facilitate prevention of terrorist attacks here (for the sake of civil liberties).

The Dems have done fine by criticizing Bush, because there's a lot to criticize in Iraq. However, the Dems have offered nothing to make Americans more secure.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 28, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

The problem in this argument is that the liberals create fictional strawmen.

Shapiro and Kevin rail against fictional Republicans who allegedly to our detriment lump together all "Islamic radical threats" and Anandine rails against undidentified senior republicans who allegedly can not "say the difference between the Shias and the Sunnis."

Posted by: brian on July 28, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

How about the president himself saying something along the lines of 'I thought they were all Muslims?'

You lot sure seem eager to cleave to fear. Which is, ironically, the exact reaction the "terrorists" want you to have.

I much prefer defiance.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 28, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the conservative deflator about our policy toward Saudi Arabia. Rather than see weapons to them, we should insist that they support the war on terror by discontinuing their support for Madrassas and the support of man of their citizens for terrorist organizations.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 28, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I don't pretend to know much about Saudi Arabia, but since 9/11, it does not seem like many of the prominent terrorists have been from there and within Saudi Arabia the government seems to be pretty effective at controlling terrorism.

Posted by: brian on July 28, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

'and within Saudi Arabia the government seems to be pretty effective at controlling terrorism.'

Brian, I'm afraid you disagree with your President. There is quite a bit of friction right now between the US and Saudi Arabia because the US has accused the Saudis of being lax about keeping their border secure. Most of the al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq are Saudi.

Posted by: nepeta on July 28, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Brian,

For your enlightenment:

Saudis Role in Iraq Frustrates US Officials

Posted by: nepeta on July 28, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK
.... mainstream Islamic groups that provide soft support for terrorism, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations.... ex-laxi at 12:33 PM
Any American Muslim group provides "soft support for terrorism" according AIPAC and neo-con nutjubs. Now wonder the US has attained most hated nation status through out the world.
.... the Dems have offered nothing to make Americans more secure. ex-lax at 2:54 PM
By not being Bush, by not agreeing with Bush's simplistic labeling off all anti-occupation groups as 'al Qaeda' and by not acceding to Bush's counterproductive policies, the Democrats have done more to make the US secure than 6 years of Republican rule.
.... we should insist that they support the war on terror by discontinuing their support for Madrassas and the support of man of their citizens for terrorist organizations. ex-lax at 4:49 PM
If you think that, you should not say that Bush is working to reduce terrorism.
....undidentified senior republicans who allegedly can not "say the difference between the Shias and the Sunnis." brian at 3:03 PM
Read this and identify a couple Trent Lott for one: said in September that Sunnis and Shiites "all look the same to me". By the way, there are Democrats who don't know the difference either. Posted by: Mike on July 28, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

I was aware that terrorists were coming into Iraq from Saudi Arabia, but I was under the impression they were underlings rather than the leaders. Regardless, it obviously is not a good thing.

Posted by: brian on July 28, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Brian, lots of Dems and Reps don't know the difference between Shia and Sunni, but I've noticed it more among the latter than the former. Some who came up on Google just now are:

Silvestre Reyes D-Tex

Trent Lott, R Miss, Terry Everett, R-Al, Jo Ann Davis, R-VA (Everett and Davis are on the intelligence commmittee)

Willie Hulon, chief of the FBI's national security branch

Posted by: anandine on July 28, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: By not being Bush, by not agreeing with Bush's simplistic labeling off all anti-occupation groups as 'al Qaeda' and by not acceding to Bush's counterproductive policies, the Democrats have done more to make the US secure than 6 years of Republican rule.

I'm sorry, Mike, but that's just not how the world works. Even second-rate plans can work when they're carried out in a unified manner. But, internal dissention can ruin even the best of plans.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 28, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. to Mike. The Dems haven't done that all well at fighting Bush's mistakes in Iraq. They approved the original invasion. They didn't object to an occupation plan that proved ineffective.

Now that things have gotten out of hand, the Dems after-the-fact disparage Bush's decision. But, they were AWOL when the mistakes were made.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 28, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

anandine,

Thanks. I think you are right that many republicans and democrats have a shortage of knowledge on Shia/Sunnis and many other things that they pass laws about. I still have not heard much that supports kevin's argument that republicans or the administration lumps all "Islamic radical terrorists" together.

Posted by: brian on July 28, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, quit carrying the republicans message.

THIS ADMINISTRATION IS NOT INTERESTED IN REDUCING TERRORISM.

THIS ADMINISTRATION IS ONLY INTERESTED IN USING "TERRORISTS" AS A BOOGEY MAN TO CREATE FEAR, SO THEY CAN JUSTIFY ALL THE ACTIONS OF THE LAST FIVE YEARS.

THIS ADMINISTRATION UNDERSTANDS PERFECTLY THE SITUATION IN IRAQ. CHENEY LAID OUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF INVADING IRAQ, BACK IN 1991, THAT WERE SPOT ON ACCURATE.

GIULIANI IS JUST PARROTING THE PARTY LINE.

Posted by: they are evil on July 28, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, Mike, but that's just not how the world works. Even second-rate plans can work when they're carried out in a unified manner. But, internal dissention can ruin even the best of plans.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 28, 2007 at 6:58 PM

So say dictators and totalitarians everywhere.

Hitler and Stalin alike would agree with you, our founding fathers would not.

Posted by: tanstaafl_63 on July 28, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, good point brian.

It is obvious to anyone who has even put a cursory effort in learning about the terrorist groups in the Mideast, that they are a fractured, disconnected collection.

Have you ever heard Bush, anyone from Bush's administration, or any Republican official, ever talk about "terrorists" in any terms except as a unitary group.

Me neither.

Posted by: call bs on July 28, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

"... They're not just demonstrating a willfull ignorance, they're demonstrating an ignorance of one of the key levers we have for fighting violent jihadism. If you treat everyone who's ever said a salaat as an enemy, you've lost the battle before it's even started."

And SO ... Considering that this has long been a NeoConNazi propaganda mainstay, we must seek some OTHER, rational explanation for this erstwhile "foolish" tactic. And it's not at all unreasonable to conclude, based on the entirety of post-9/11 history, that this "war on terror" meme has from its very inception been an utterly contrived RUSE, in which "victory" is not ar ALL desired by the powers that be.

Blind loyalty to a government NECESSITATES the proffered existence of a "strong, malevolent enemy", real or fabricated. In the absence of such an overwhelming extermal "threat", citizens tend to actually think for themselves, refusing to merely be led.

Hitler wielded the "threat" of Bolshevism to terrify his own masses into submission; the Bush-Cheney Reich utilizes the bogus threat of "Islamo-fascism". As one post-9/11 graphic depicting the two leaders side-by-side plainly put it, "Same shit, different asshole."

There is no "War ON Terror"; it's a "War OF Terror", waged by the Bush Regime against its own people (among others) for its own self-serving, megalomaniacal purposes. Without deliberately perpetuating that fanciful bogeyman of "Islamic jihadism" to "justify" its myriad, dictatorial excesses, this White House "protection racket" would have no viable excuse for its relentless, anti-Constitutional criminality.

Posted by: Poilu on July 28, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. to Mike. The Dems haven't done that all well at fighting Bush's mistakes in Iraq. They approved the original invasion.

No they didn't, some Democrats gave their approval to an AUMF that said Bush could use force if Saddam didn't cooperate.

Saddam did cooperate, and Bush invaded anyway.

They didn't object to an occupation plan that proved ineffective.

In point of fact, Congress asked over and over to be briefed on the occupation plan and the White House and Pentagon refused to comply -- you know, just like they do every other fucking time Congress asks them for something.

Turns out the reason they didn't comply in this case is because there literally had been no plan for occupation.

Once again you're either dense or a liar, and I'd like to think it's a lot of both.

But, internal dissention can ruin even the best of plans.

Internal dissention can only ruin a plan if those dissenting have some control over it. Bush has had complete and utter control over the Iraq invasion and occupation from the beginning and has not been denied one tool he has requested. The weak dissent from the Democrats has been ornamental at best.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is -- suck me.

Posted by: trex on July 28, 2007 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Even second-rate plans can work when they're carried out in a unified manner. But, internal dissention can ruin even the best of plans.

Sharpening up the Dolchstoss axe, I see, you lying neocon toad.

It's always amusing to see "ex-liberal" and brian pretend anyone takes them seriously when they offer nothing but bad faith neocon bullshit.

Posted by: Gregory on July 28, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

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"But, they were AWOL when the mistakes were made."

ROFL.... Not only are you factually incorrect, but this comment is hilariously stupid in that the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House for almost all of the time when "mistakes were made." Sorry, dear, but you're stuck with the war, the mistakes, and the consequences.

Posted by: PaulB on July 29, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Cheneys heart device replaced, what heart? you have to have one to replace the device.

Posted by: Al on July 29, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

This idea -- emphasizing the divisions among Muslims as a tool for fighting terrorism -- makes a lot of sense to me. One thing that concerns me, though, is the fact that the Iraqi security forces that are supposed to "stand up as we stand down" are also troubled by these divisions.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/world/middleeast/29iraq.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

So we'd want to take care not to shoot ourselves in the foot. Just something to think about.

Posted by: part time hustler on July 29, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sun Tzu said something like: "Know your enemy well; a thousand battles, a thousand victories".
The Republican equivalent: "Know nothing; a thousand battles, a thousand fiascos."

Posted by: fafner1 on July 29, 2007 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

The actual Sun Tzu quote is: "Know thy self, know thine enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand vicotries".

Posted by: fafner1 on July 29, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

The actual Sun Tzu quote is: "Know thyself, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories."

Posted by: fafner1 on July 29, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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