Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE ARGUMENT....Last night, mulling over the contradictions in the way people answer various poll questions, I guessed that there's "something like 30% who want to stay in Iraq, 30% who want to get out, and 40% somewhere in the middle who aren't really sure what to do." No poll will ever confirm this beyond doubt, of course, since polls (at best) measure only inclination, not depth of feeling. But given the way people respond to different wordings of different questions, it seems like a reasonable guess.

Here's why it matters: we're not going to get out of Iraq until a sufficient number of people get pissed off enough about it to demand action — and we're kidding ourselves if we think a casual answer to a poll question counts as "pissed off." Support for withdrawal is almost certainly not as deep or as wide as a quick glance at the polls suggests, and that's why congressional Democrats haven't worked up the gumption to defund the war. They don't think there are enough voters firmly on their side.

So why are so many people unsure of what to do? Because Iraq is a big, messy problem, of course. But there's more than that. Conservatives have presented a clear message: If we leave, al-Qaeda will take over Iraq. If we leave, there will be genocide. If we leave, Iraq's civil war will spread and the entire region will erupt in flames.

Liberals, by contrast, mostly just argue that the surge isn't working and there's been no political progress. And that's true. But it's a lousy argument. Conservatives are making a persuasive and spine-chilling prediction of disaster if we leave. Liberals are just saying our presence isn't accomplishing anything. That's not enough. Instead of merely claiming that we're not doing any good in Iraq, we need to make persuasive arguments that we're actively doing harm. There are plenty to choose from:

  • A significant chunk of the insurgency is motivated by opposition to the American occupation. Our presence is actively inflaming the violence, not reducing it.

  • The Maliki government will never make any political compromises as long as they know we're around to prop them up. Leaving is the only way to force them into action.

  • We're arming both sides in a civil war. The longer we stay, the worse the eventual bloodbath will be.

  • Our presence in Iraq is al-Qaeda's greatest recruiting tool. They're going to keep getting stronger until we leave.

  • The real disaster is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We desperately need to more troops into that theater.

These aren't nuanced arguments. If you were writing a 5,000-word piece for Foreign Affairs you'd hedge them until they were barely recognizable. But in the hurly-burly arena of blogs and op-eds and TV shoutfests, this is what it takes to drive public opinion.

When we argue that the surge isn't working, we're playing on conservative turf. We're accepting their frame for the debate. We need to stop, and instead start making positive arguments of our own that conservatives have to parry. It's the only way we're going to turn the leaners into genuine war opponents.

Kevin Drum 5:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (137)

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In B-school, they always tell you that a persuasive argument is predictive. "If you do X, then Y will happen." Conservatives are doing exactly that - we aren't.

So the arguments need to be more like -

If we stay in Iraq, 1000s more soldiers will die.

If we stay in Iraq, we will continue to arm our enemies.

If we stay in Iraq, we will continue to incite violence.

etc etc


Posted by: kis on September 26, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives are making a persuasive and spine-chilling prediction of disaster if we leave. Liberals are just saying our presence isn't accomplishing anything. That's not enough. Instead of merely claiming that we're not doing any good in Iraq, we need to make persuasive arguments that we're actively doing harm.

What the hell?!?!!?! I seem to recall me and many many others here and elsewhere making persuasive (and spine-chilling) arguments that we're actively doing harm for the last four and a half years. You can claim that these arguments aren't getting through, but you can't claim they haven't been made again and again and again. Just pick any comment thread on Iraq for proof.

Posted by: Stefan on September 26, 2007 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

We need to stop, and instead start making positive arguments of our own that conservatives have to parry.

Jesus Christ.... Once again, we do make positive arguments. But that doesn't mean conservatives have to parry them -- they simply ignore then, or parrot their talking points in the face of all reality, and the news media happily assists them in doing so.

Posted by: Stefan on September 26, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is exactly right. One upshot of the talking point that Democrats are ineffectual about Iraq is to further solidify the whole ineffectuality/ Jimmy-Carter/loser meme that the right makes about us. Democrats (and even most Republicans) in Congress know that Iraq is lost and that the whole exercise is futile. But to state it as such plays into the LOSER meme. Only anger gets us out of the trap. I'd add, too, lots of ridicule, contempt, and dismay. Americans are right to be confused when we're not talking about this debacle in terms that fully illustrate the meaning of the word DEBACLE.

Posted by: walt on September 26, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

When the State Department stonewalls any investigation into private contractors in Iraq how on earth will "bringing" the troops home end our involvement in this perpetuawar?

When generals question the wisdom of our commander in chief while he goes on asking for brazilians of dollars for the war, how does outrage extricate us?

When the Senate squanders voting energy over a juvenile ad (Move-On) versus holding serious debate over WHY we are in Iraq in the first place, then no amount of public outcry will turn the tide.

We are in Iraq... probably for a generation.

Prove me wrong.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on September 26, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Who is the 'we' you're referring to in the last paragraph? I've politicians and pundits make these points, fairly ad nauseum. Perhaps, we need shrill and amplitude? Some Emeril Lagasse punctuations at the end of each talking point?

Posted by: Crusty on September 26, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam Hussein had Iraq under control up until March 2003. Now, with the Republican-mismanaged invasion having created chaos, we must stay in Iraq indefinitely in an effort to achieve something approaching the level of stability Hussein had in place before we arrived. 600 to 1000 Americans will have to die each year in the effort. And Medicare and Social Security will be destroyed under the debt of the war.

We need to stay, but it's the Republican's fault that we have to stay.

Posted by: Fidelio on September 26, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

How about this:

BEING IN IRAQ IS BAD FOR AMERICA!

Posted by: Cassidy on September 26, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

There was that one news anchor who challenged a Congressman's outrage at the MoveOn ad effectively:

1) You're outraged about the ad.
2) Who was the last person killed in Iraq from your district?
3) You don't follow the details of the Iraq war as closely as an advertisement?
4) Ad don't kill people; Iraq kills people.
5) Gotcha!

I'd like to see more of it.

Posted by: absent observer on September 26, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

A significant chunk of the insurgency is motivated by opposition to the American occupation. Our presence is actively inflaming the violence, not reducing it.

Nonsense Kevin. Now that the surge is going full throttle in Iraq, Prime Minister Maliki said civil war and Iranian involvement in Iraq has been prevented and eliminated in Iraq.

tinyurl.com/2xnoev

"Civil war has been averted in Iraq and Iranian intervention there has "ceased to exist," Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said yesterday.
"I can't say there is a picture of roses and flowers in Iraq," Maliki told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "However, I can say that the greatest victory, of which I am proud . . . is stopping the explosion of a sectarian war." That possibility, he said, "is now far away.""

Posted by: Al on September 26, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, great post. Another one in a few great posts you've had over the past couple of weeks.

Posted by: Swan on September 26, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

A "significant chunk of the insurgency" is switching sides. If not to the American side, at least to the Iraqi one.

The Maliki government is consolidating its power, easing out Shiite and Sunni radicals, and easing in the Sunni Anbar leaders.

By any objective standard, al Qaeda in Iraq is getting weaker. The belief that our surrender in Iraq will somehow discourage al Qaeda and other radicals around the rest of the world is completely inane, and I can't believe people keep bringing it up as a rational argument.

More troops in Afghanistan? The Taliban are getting nowhere in Afghanistan. The problem is Pakistan. Put troops on that border, and then what? Invade Pakistan? Is that what the Democrats are promising?

What if it works? Can Democrats even entertain the possibility any more, or has this become a religious argument?

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Support for withdrawal is almost certainly not as deep or as wide as a quick glance at the polls suggests, and that's why congressional Democrats haven't worked up the gumption to defund the war. They don't think there are enough voters firmly on their side."

As a non-libertarian, Kevin, you should realize that humans don't act on the pure basis of carefully calculated, rational determinations.

I think that Democrats don't challenge the funding of the war because they're afraid they will be criticized by the GOP and their media enablers, and they will lose their seats in Congress.

Nothing to do with public opinion.

Of course your broader point-- that if 70 percent of people were super pissed off about the war and really, really wanted withdrawal to start yesterday, it would happen-- is still correct.

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on September 26, 2007 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, great post. Another one in a few great posts you've had over the past couple of weeks.

This isn't sarcasm, by the way, despite my post's unfortunately following an Al post. Just wanted to make that clear since you're letting the trolls have their full go at undermining my credibility and now they're writing that I have a grudge against you.

Posted by: Swan on September 26, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq + Occupation = Screwed

Posted by: Rust on September 26, 2007 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Condemn America's occupation of Iraq everyday by pointing out Americans kill Iraqi civilians, that the US is complicit in fomenting sectarian violence, that the US desires chaos and promotes it with its policies. Nothing the US does in Iraq prevents Iraqis from killing themselves, destroying their food supply or brings about political and economic stability.

Everyday the US now launches air strikes in Iraq. It is usually not reported. Many of these strikes kill civilians. This week a story broke about US snipers baiting Iraqi civilians and then putting bullet holes in their heads. How many were children?

Posted by: Brojo on September 26, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Your fourth and fifth points are the strongest and should be the ones all of us should be shouting out over and over and over again.

It is obvious that Harry hasn't read even the unclassified NIE reports.

Posted by: optical weenie on September 26, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Don't underestimate the chickenshit factor, ie, if anything (and I mean anything) bad happens it will all be the Democrats fault. In their hearts of heart that fear drives the Democratic congress' lack of will. It is the fear factor, it is real, and above all, it is not rational so you can't argue or demonstrate or whatever. It sucks the air from the room. With you in spirit, not too hopefull....
David

Posted by: David on September 26, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

There's one you missed: spending 200B a year to fight terrorists who are getting by on a multi-million dollar budget is just bad strategy on its face. Unless Bush can get the cost down to something reasonable (


The way this war is shaping up is like the 30 years war: the only winners will be those nations who stayed out in the first place.

Posted by: pete on September 26, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

"By any objective standard..."

Al, what standard?

"The problem is Pakistan. Put troops on that border, and then what? "

Good question. Al, what's your solution?
-----

Put the adults back in charge and start engaging the Middle East to help them solve their own problems. We'll never do it for them...and we shouldn't.

Posted by: omonubi on September 26, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

"A 'significant chunk of the insurgency' is switching sides. If not to the American side, at least to the Iraqi one."

And your evidence for this is what, exactly? Anbar? Don't make me laugh. And precisely which Iraqi side are they switching to? And yes, that is, in fact, a serious question.

"The Maliki government is consolidating its power, easing out Shiite and Sunni radicals, and easing in the Sunni Anbar leaders."

Oh, nonsense. The Shiites that oppose him and the various Sunnis left; they weren't "eased out." And he's "consolidating his power" only among blocs he already controls, which means that it's far from the kind of national government required to actually make any progress. Now you're just making shit up.

"By any objective standard, al Qaeda in Iraq is getting weaker."

So what? It has never been much of a factor in the first place.

"The belief that our surrender in Iraq will somehow discourage al Qaeda and other radicals around the rest of the world is completely inane, and I can't believe people keep bringing it up as a rational argument."

The belief that our presence in Iraq will somehow discourage al Qaeda and other radicals around the rest of the world is completely inane. In any case, since nobody has made the argument you are pretending we made, forgive me if I treat this as the strawman that it is.

"More troops in Afghanistan? The Taliban are getting nowhere in Afghanistan."

ROFL.... You don't read much, do you? You really should get out more.

"The problem is Pakistan. Put troops on that border, and then what? Invade Pakistan? Is that what the Democrats are promising?"

No, dear, we're not. But ignoring Pakistan, as Bush is doing, doesn't seem to be doing much, now does it?

"What if it works?"

What if what works? "The Surge?" Yeah, right.

"Can Democrats even entertain the possibility any more"

Dear heart, there is a possibility that I will be struck by lightning in the next thunderstorm. Personally, though, I don't take that into consideration when planning my life.

"or has this become a religious argument?"

Nope. We prefer facts.

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, Kevin, for these insightful thoughts.

“When we argue that the surge isn't working, we're playing on conservative turf. We're accepting their frame for the debate. We need to stop, and instead start making positive arguments of our own that conservatives have to parry.”

Kevin, you are on your way toward being a Lakoffian. Congratulations!

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on September 26, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

I love how harry uses a totally self-serving interview with Maliki himself as "evidence" that everything is hunky-dory on the political front. When you look at the actual milestones and metrics that were supposed to have been achieved by the Maliki government, it's still a big fat zero.

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

After todays debacles in both the house and Senate I think the anti-war base of the Democratic party has to give the Beltway Wing of the Democratic Party a reason to be afraid. Right now they don't have any reason to fear progressives. They are taking the Democratic wing of the party for granted. They don't think we have any place to go.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 26, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK
Liberals, by contrast, mostly just argue that the surge isn't working and there's been no political progress.

Most liberals I've seen have argued quite a bit more than that.

Most Democratic politicians I've seen have argued that or less. But many Democratic politicians are not (or only occasionally) liberals; the Democratic party is, generously, a centrist party with very substantial corporate/conservative leanings.

If you were writing a 5,000-word piece for Foreign Affairs you'd hedge them until they were barely recognizable.

If I was writing a 5,000-word article for any serious publication on a serious policy issue, then I would hedge it only as much as the facts justified. Which, on most of the positions you outline, would be "not much".

When we argue that the surge isn't working, we're playing on conservative turf.

I don't think that's the case. When we argue only that the surge isn't working, and fail to use that as a launching point into a broader attack on the failure of the war, perhaps that is true.

We need to stop, and instead start making positive arguments of our own that conservatives have to parry.

That's part of it, but we have to also attack at the heart of their arguments. Changing the frame isn't just arguing past the Right, its attacking the core and premises of the arguments of the Right.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 26, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

I still argue that based on the poll you cited and your logic, you should conclude that 30% definitely want to get out, 35% lean towards getting out but are somewhat undecided, and of the rest, perhaps 15% lean towards staying but are somewhat undecided, and 15% firmly want to stay. The poll you cite shows that 35% (percentage points) of the 65% who were in favor of pullout are soft in their support of a pull-out when the question is framed in a pro-war way; were the question framed in an anti-war way, presumably *some* of that 30% pro-war group from the original poll would sway anti-war. Claiming that 30% simply want to stay in Iraq is contrary to the logic you yourself are applying to these polls.

Posted by: JD on September 26, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell?!?!!?! I seem to recall me and many many others here and elsewhere making persuasive (and spine-chilling) arguments that we're actively doing harm for the last four and a half years. You can claim that these arguments aren't getting through, but you can't claim they haven't been made again and again and again. Just pick any comment thread on Iraq for proof.

Stefan's right. You haven't been making this argument in your posts, Kevin, but many have been doing so eloquently and persuasively in the comments threads. And other bloggers are doing it, too, of course.

Posted by: shortstop on September 26, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

The belief that our presence in Iraq will somehow discourage al Qaeda and other radicals around the rest of the world is completely inane. In any case, since nobody has made the argument you are pretending we made, forgive me if I treat this as the strawman that it is.

"Strawman?" Kevin's statement was:

Our presence in Iraq is al-Qaeda's greatest recruiting tool. They're going to keep getting stronger until we leave.

If this statement is assumed to be true, then the corollary is that they will stop getting stronger when we surrender in Iraq. This is not true, in Iraq or anywhere else al Qaeda is based, and the argument is still inane.

And what WOULD the "enlightened" here do about Pakistan?

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

And to add to the list of active liberal arguments about the folly of Iraq:

* Our presence in Iraq has killed approximately 1,000,000 Iraqis.

Perhaps no one cares about that, but they should. The methodologies of the two real polls on this issue were solid, and the results largely matched. Make the right spend their time explaining why it's only 500,000 Iraqis we've killed; it's still awful, and makes war supporters look bad. Liberals shouldn't be wimps -- don't defend these polls, brandish them.

Posted by: JD on September 26, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

If we stay in Iraq, 1000s more soldiers will die.

I've been watching the PBS series "The War" a documentary series on WW II, and one of thoughts that come mind is the relative loss of lives.

The episode yesterday chronicled the loss of 5,000+ marines, 50% of the attacking force, that was lost in one battle to regain some small god-forsaken Pacific island occupied by the Japanese. People that watch this series and see the tens of thousands of lives lost in foreign battles where soldiers are sent in waves to land on a beach (see Saving Private Ryan) may be far less prone to consider the loss of a couple of thousand lives as being that significant. Especially when we don't see those WW II-type newsreels on the Iraq war. The message seems to be something like why were we willing to see thousands of soldiers sacrificed for an island or piece of beach, but we're unwilling to see 3,000 soldiers sacrificed to occupy a country and kill Muslims as a revenge for attacking our country?

I somehow feel that this is the type of messaging that will be spun during the election to blunt the antiwar messages.

Posted by: pencarrow on September 26, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Certainly poll questions don't always expose the real sentiments people harbor. But in the case of Iraq, we have a lot more than poll questions. We have the results of the 2006 elections.

I don't see how one can interpret that landslide election as anything other than a rejection of staying the course in Iraq. And I don't know how anyone could interpret the continued presence in Iraq of American troops in numbers basically equivalent to those of recent years as anything other than staying the course in Iraq.

How, under these circumstances, can one expect that the American public will want anything other than a significant reduction in troop strength come Nov 2008?

Really, the Democrats have no political choice here. Come November 2008, they will be elected, likely in landslide. Their marching orders will be to get out of Iraq, and they had better do so.

Now, it's at least conceivable that when we do withdraw from Iraq that the American public will change its mind when things fall into chaos in Iraq. Certainly the Republicans will do all they can to act as if it's a terrible thing that we're withdrawing.

It will be important for Democrats to have their counterarguments on the ready at that time. But I just don't see the Republicans winning this argument. Their responsibility for the situation in Iraq is too obvious. They are not omnipotent in their ability to persuade the public, even though many Democrats act as if they are.

Democrats must simply do what they will have been elected to do, and defend their actions as they must. There's no reason to be filled with fear about this prospect; it's called leadership.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 26, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Kevin: "we're wrong. quick, let's make stuff up".

Posted by: a on September 26, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

After todays debacles in both the house and Senate I think the anti-war base of the Democratic party has to give the Beltway Wing of the Democratic Party a reason to be afraid. Right now they don't have any reason to fear progressives. They are taking the Democratic wing of the party for granted. They don't think we have any place to go.

So where exactly are you going to go?

There aren't as many "progressives" as you might think if you only hang around places like this.

Hillary is still four months away from the primaries, and she's already starting to ditch the netroots. And most of you will hold your noses and vote for her anyway in the presidential election.

I bet the Democratic Convention is going to be fun to watch, though. Chicago deja vu.

Maybe you can write in Pigasus.

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

I think you mis-stated the problem, Kevin: "congressional Democrats haven't worked up the gumption to defund the war ... (because they) don't think there are enough voters firmly on their side..."

Believe it or not, a fair amount of Representatives and Senators are open to argument and evidence. They don't do EVERYTHING exclusively because of political calculations.

Sure, they know that a big chunk of the Democratic base wants to be out of Iraq yesterday and thinks that Congress should find a way to force the troops out so that anybody actually calling home on a landline at the time would have to leave the phone in mid-air.

But they're not oblivious that, unlike the folks who are so angry for that chaotic approach, THEY'RE the ones who will be responsible for it. The veterans are especially conscious how dangerous a withdrawal can be.

Likewise, Republicans know that a narrower chunk of THEIR base is angry that the war has gone badly, and is sorta in denial about how and why, which makes 'em all the more politically dangerous.

But they're not stupid, and they're not all the cartoon of crooks and cynics, neither, even though politics ain't beanbag, nor innocent.

So a lot of 'em look at McCain with genuine admiration: this is a guy who is obviously willing to lose on an issue. In their heart of hearts, a lot of them -- both Republicans and Democrats -- wish they had the opportunity to show guts like that: and as professionals, they know that they DON'T -- the art of the possible, and all that.

But I assure you, there isn't a democrat up there who doesn't know Bobby Kennedy used to takl about

So a lot of it is stalling for time, hoping that some constellation of forces is gonna make it possible to GET OUT, without a clear defeat or unending commitment.

But it's not cuz the public is wishy washy, or the politicians are cowards.

It's cuz the situation sucks.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 26, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

"'Strawman?'"

Yes, dear a strawman.

"Kevin's statement was: Our presence in Iraq is al-Qaeda's greatest recruiting tool. They're going to keep getting stronger until we leave."

Dear heart, I'm afraid that Kevin's statement and your statement are not equivalent. Should he have used smaller words?

"If this statement is assumed to be true, then the corollary is that they will stop getting stronger when we surrender in Iraq. This is not true, in Iraq or anywhere else al Qaeda is based, and the argument is still inane."

Actually, Kevin's statement is not only not inane, the available evidence is that it is likely to be quite true.

"And what WOULD the 'enlightened' here do about Pakistan?"

I don't know, dear. Has it really slipped your mind that you're the one who brought it up?

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

"So where exactly are you going to go?"

We're going to continue with what we're already doing -- working to replace some of those Democrats we disagree with with more progressive Democrats.

"There aren't as many 'progressives' as you might think if you only hang around places like this."

LOL... On the issues that really matter, the "progressives" are in the majority. Certainly more so than you would think from looking at Congress.

"Hillary is still four months away from the primaries, and she's already starting to ditch the netroots."

Oh, nonsense. Again, you're just making shit up.

"And most of you will hold your noses and vote for her anyway in the presidential election."

Against the current Republican candidates? In a heartbeat. And I certainly would not be holding my nose.

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Shorter Kevin: 'we're wrong. quick, let's make stuff up'."

Shorter "a": *

Do come back when you've actually got something to say, won't you, dear?

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly0:

I don't see how one can interpret that landslide election as anything other than a rejection of staying the course in Iraq.

Easy. Check the exit polls.

"Asked which issues were extremely important to their vote, 42 percent said corruption and ethics; 40 percent, terrorism; 39 percent, the economy; 37 percent, Iraq; 36 percent, values; and 29 percent, illegal immigration."

Iraq didn't win for the Democrats in 2006. DeLay, Abramoff and Foley did, along with Republican voter disgust with pork-slinging and corrupt Republicans in Congress, and blue dogs running in conservative districts.

Go back and look at the major races, one by one, and see what the issues were.

The idea that 2006 was about Iraq was something the Left wrote for itself out of thin air, and has now become Common Wisdom. There's no real objective evidence for it.

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

If this statement is assumed to be true, then the corollary is that they will stop getting stronger when we surrender in Iraq.

I am so sick of this trope. Those who make it know that it is bullshit, so start calling them on it. Who the fuck would we surrender to, I wonder? Occupiers neither win nor lose, they just leave, eventually. Why not sooner rather than later?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 26, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Only when the Green Zone is depleted of western-type folks will Iraq "settle" down. Sure we can bring the troops home, but what about the WORLD'S LARGEST EMBASSY?

I'll say it again, we're (US tax dollars) in Iraq for at least a generation. At 3 billion a week x 300 wks. Wow, what a bargain!

We have created a hell=hole. Oops, I forgot, they attacked us first (9-11).

No political posturing will make any difference.

War sucks, but it is profitable for a few.

I predict a further decline in the dollar, to levels no one dared dream about. THAT will be the ultimate legacy of GWB and his sortie into the heart of the Arab world.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on September 26, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillary is still four months away from the primaries, and she's already starting to ditch the netroots."

Oh, nonsense. Again, you're just making shit up.

Yeah? Maybe you need to get out more. Wait for it.

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK
What the hell?!?!!?! I seem to recall me and many many others here and elsewhere making persuasive (and spine-chilling) arguments that we're actively doing harm for the last four and a half years.

You don't have a big-media backed blog, don't get interviewed regularly on major TV news outlets, and aren't a Democratic national officeholder or candidate, and therefore aren't a "liberal" in the sense that Kevin is using the term, I think.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 26, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK
Hillary is still four months away from the primaries, and she's already starting to ditch the netroots.

Uh, was Hillary ever courting the netroots? When? When she was bragging about her ties to corporate lobbyists?

Posted by: cmdicely on September 26, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

"The idea that 2006 was about Iraq was something the Left wrote for itself out of thin air, and has now become Common Wisdom. There's no real objective evidence for it."

Well, other than the polls and the fact that the Iraq War was the single most widely talked about issue in the months preceding the election. But hey, no sweat.

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Uh, was Hillary ever courting the netroots?"

The meme was that she was "pandering" to them when she took DailyKos' side on the O'Reilly spat, or something like that. As far as I know, she's never really "courted" them nor "ditched" them, which is why Harry cannot back up his silly claim.

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Yeah? Maybe you need to get out more. Wait for it."

ROFLMAO.... In other words, you were making shit up and you cannot back up this claim any more than you can your other claims.

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

pencarrow -

Agreed, the relative loss of life (between WWII and now) is significant.

But so too is the threat. Whatever intentions the fanatical Muslims might have, they have very little ability to project power in the same way Japan and Germany had in WWII. We have very little danger of being invaded and imprisoned like a China or Poland or France.

The republicans/neocons have been masterful at conflating the Muslim threat.

Posted by: kis on September 26, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the winning argument:
"More war means a draft."

Here in North Carolina at least, the chickenhawk support for Iraq is a quarter-inch deep. Make sacrifice a reality instead of something to bloviate about on discussion boards, and this Iraq adventure ends within one election cycle.

Posted by: Fred Arnold on September 26, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

"I am so sick of this trope."

Yup. It's silly on two counts, since, as you correctly point out, there's nobody to "surrender" to, and there is a huge difference between Kevin's statement and harry's "our surrender in Iraq will somehow discourage al Qaeda." Dumb... just dumb...

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Watching The War reminds me of how difficult it is to get a country to concede defeat in a war. The Axis powers incurred Heaven knows how much death and destruction well after their side had virtually no hope of succeeding. So, it will not be easy to convince the American government and people to give up. It will take more than a slogan.

Compare Iraq with Vietnam. In Vietnam, American loss of life was 15 times as high. The horror of war was on our TV every night. It was apparent (rightly or wrongly) that we were losing. Our troops had poor morale. We seemed to have no effective war plan. That's not the case in Iraq. Also, rightly or wrongly, many Americans see a connection between Iraq and 9/11.

I think we will not withdraw unless it becomes absolutely clear that our failure in Iraq is assured. As long as the surge is producing even partial success, I don't think even a Democratic President would declare defeat.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 26, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, dear a strawman.

"Kevin's statement was: Our presence in Iraq is al-Qaeda's greatest recruiting tool. They're going to keep getting stronger until we leave."

Dear heart, I'm afraid that Kevin's statement and your statement are not equivalent. Should he have used smaller words?

"If this statement is assumed to be true, then the corollary is that they will stop getting stronger when we surrender in Iraq. This is not true, in Iraq or anywhere else al Qaeda is based, and the argument is still inane."

Actually, Kevin's statement is not only not inane, the available evidence is that it is likely to be quite true.

Your argument kind of collapses on itself. You might want to work on your logic. I said if Kevin's statement was true, then the corollary would be, too, and the inanity of the corollary is what makes the primary argument inane. Am I going too fast for you?

A Coalition retreat from Iraq when the war is still ongoing would be hailed worldwide by al Qaeda and their allies as the greatest victory they have ever won. Anybody with a shred of intellectual honestly would agree with that. You really think they'll be weaker then?

Oh, just an aside:

"More troops in Afghanistan? The Taliban are getting nowhere in Afghanistan."

ROFL.... You don't read much, do you? You really should get out more.

Well, I read this, today. Again, maybe you're the one who needs to get out more.

If you do the article's math, 3,900 militants have been killed in Afghanistan this year. If they're winning, they're doing it the hard way.

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

The meme was that she was "pandering" to them when she took DailyKos' side on the O'Reilly spat, or something like that. As far as I know, she's never really "courted" them nor "ditched" them, which is why Harry cannot back up his silly claim.

Oh, okay, I stand corrected. The leading Democratic candidate for 2008 never DID back the netroots.

Does that help your situation?

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

"...we're not going to get out of Iraq until a sufficient number of people get pissed off enough about it to demand action..." - Kevin

The IRAQI government is starting to see the net advantage of rallying ITS people who are pissed off enough to demand action, rather than seeking protection from our military. That will be the mechanism that will give us the needed assist on the way out. I'm wondering now if the Dem strategy is simply to watch and see if the Iraqis throw us out with the Republicans in charge *before* Jan 2009. That way the Dems don't have to risk much to sit on their hands.

I agree with Kevin that the Dems could try really hard to remove our troops and it wouldn't be as successful as we would like (because the public isn't feeling any direct pain due to the conflict), but I don't think it would *hurt* the Dems that badly if they tried.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 26, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

The fact of the matter is that Bush and the Republicans are able to keep the occupation of Iraq going because of our relatively (to the size of our nation) small volunteer army can get bloodied and beaten without it having much of a real-world impact on the broader society. The trillion plus dollars that this whole debacle will end up costing over the next year or so seems like so much pretend money as long as Bush and the supine Democratic Congress keep putting it on the country's credit card. In the end, skyrocketing interest rates, a major recession, and reinstituting the draft are the only things that will get us out of Iraq. People start getting a lot less equivocal about things if it's their job being eliminated because of a downturn, or their kid getting shipped off to war.

Posted by: jonas on September 26, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to stop letting the Republicans frame the debate, stop using their terms.

This is not a "war." It is an occupation.

If we leave, it is not "surrender." It is a withdrawal.

There are no "enemy combatants" in Gitmo or our other dispicable black sites around the world.

etc...

Posted by: ex-Republican on September 26, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK


I think the argument that needs to be made is that by staying in Iraq, we are fighting to establish, in the best case, a Shia Islamist theocracy that's friendly to Iran. The longer we stay, the more likely is that outcome.

If we withdraw now, and Iraq becomes a battleground where Al Qaeda, secular Sunni groups, and Shia Islamists all fight for supremacy, that's not a good outcome, but it's the best we can now expect.

Posted by: Swami on September 26, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Your argument kind of collapses on itself."

ROFL... Only if you cannot read, dear heart. Kevin's statement was correct. Your restatement of Kevin's statement was both silly and a strawman. Your "corollary" was mildly better, which is why I wasn't able to ridicule it. Do try to keep up, won't you?

"You might want to work on your logic."

I'll be sure to treat that advice with all of the respect it deserves.

"A Coalition retreat from Iraq when the war is still ongoing would be hailed worldwide by al Qaeda and their allies as the greatest victory they have ever won."

Dear heart, al Qaeda has already hailed worldwide the U.S. presence in Iraq as the greatest victory they have ever won. Here's a free clue, dear: no matter what happens in Iraq, al Qaeda has claimed, and will continue to claim, victory.

In any case, are you you seriously proposing that we base our foreign policy on what al Qaeda is going to say??? The mind boggles at the foolishness of that position.

"Anybody with a shred of intellectual honestly would agree with that."

Oh, I agree that they'll say it, just as they've said a lot of things over the years. I just don't agree that it's true.

"You really think they'll be weaker then?"

Yup. Robbing them of a cause? Damn right. Over and over again, past events have shown that without an occupying power to fight against, groups like al Qaeda are considerably weakened. Kevin has covered this in the past, which is why he said what he did.

"Well, I read this, today. Again, maybe you're the one who needs to get out more."

ROFL... I doubt it, dear; I really do.

"If you do the article's math, 3,900 militants have been killed in Afghanistan this year. If they're winning, they're doing it the hard way."

ROFL.... You're using a body count as a metric for, well, anything??? Are you really that dumb? Did you not pay attention to Vietnam? Or to Iraq over the past four years?

In any case, try this statement from that same article: "This year has been the most violent since the fall of the Taliban, and opium poppy cultivation is also at a record high, fueled by the insurgency and corrupt government officials, the U.N. said last month."

Posted by: PaulB on September 26, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Man, talk about not getting out much:

" If we leave, al-Qaeda will take over Iraq. If we leave, there will be genocide. If we leave, Iraq's civil war will spread and the entire region will erupt in flames."

Except for maybe the "region will erupt into flames" part, and then only because that situation - which will never happen - will spike gas prices, the Average American can give a flying fuck about anybody but himself. And yeah, I'm looking at you, Israel. Hell that's what this whole country seems to be about. Brown people killing brown people - Yawn.

The guy from NC is right - give 'em a draft, then watch the action start.

However, the fact that most of our countrymen are not really thinking about Iraq on a daily basis is not equal to not having an opinion at all. And anybody who has kidded themselves into believing that 2006 election was not a bunch of people thinking "Iraq is sure fucked up, I'm gonna pull the 'D' lever" is....

....well, I was going to say "truly delusional" but that's pretty much the fuel that the Al's and Harry's of the world run on, isn't it?

I mean do you think they voted on Ag policy? Abortion rights? Corrupt Politicians!!!???## ROTFLMAO, Americans think they are all corrupt. It's easier to think that way then actually expect something from them.

Posted by: doesn't matter on September 26, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

As long as the 'war' is not a 'shared' sacrifice, [except for the money, of course], we can stay there as long as there are poor chumps who need a $20K signing bonus. Forever. It's no problem, really.

Posted by: bobbywally on September 26, 2007 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter conservative argument: "We've made a godawful mess of Iraq, and if you don't allow us to keep on doing it, something even worse is going to happen."

Posted by: global yokel on September 26, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! Check this out!

The surge *is* working!:

Bombings Surge as Iraqi Militants Go on Offensive

Posted by: Disputo on September 26, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on September 26, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

If you do the article's math, 3,900 militants have been killed in Afghanistan this year. If they're winning, they're doing it the hard way.

Why are there 3,900 militants left to be killed in Afghanistan six years after our supposed "victory"?

Posted by: Stefan on September 26, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Daily, the pictures of Iraqi dead civilians need to broadcast and associated to the policies of the US occupation and its leaders. Everyday, W. Bush, VP Cheney, the general of the hour and other strategists and apologists for the US occupation of Iraq need to be blamed for that day's deaths of those Iraqis. Let us begin to fill the rolls of the dead also with the names of the murderers and advertise their crimes.

there's nobody to "surrender" to

We must make the American warrior culture surrender to reason and international fellowship. The criminals of W. Bush's regime must be brought to justice with Nuremberg-like trials and the guilty punished similarly. Otherwise, America will continue pushing other nations around until something cataclysmic occurs. This debacle in Iraq may be the last time we really have a chance to diminish the power of the US military/petro industrial complex. We let the Vietnam occupation leadership off without prosecution and it has led to the killing fields once again. Sooner or later the US is going to experience the killing fields form the wrong side of history if it cannot end its WW II infatuation with heroic warrior culture. What I fear most is not rogue atomic weapons, but a violent overthrow of our government by a Praetorian Guard, who would become the political legitimizing power.

Posted by: Brojo on September 26, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

'Conservatives are making a persuasive and spine-chilling prediction of disaster if we leave.'

I don't find it at all persuasive, Kevin. Who the fuck are they that they think they can predict the future? The neocons have done a piss poor job of predicting the future to date (e.g. "we will be greeted as liberators", "the invasion of Iraq will pay for itself, from their oil revenues", etc., etc.). Further, how does this "disaster" they so confidently predict, differ substantively from the humanitarian catastrophe that is happening right now (e.g. 1 million dead civilians, 1 million refugees, 1 million internally displaced, cholera, ruined infrastructure, depleted uranium everywhere, et al)??

This is a fool's game, Kevin. Don't get drawn into believing predictions these assholes make. Speak the truth and the light will shine through this darkness...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 26, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Truth x 5, Kevin. The fantasies they are peddling these days won't make the landing any softer.

mhr, how about heading straight to Iraq? If you live, maybe we'll be interested in what you have to say. But maybe not.

Posted by: Kenji on September 26, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

Believe that your arguments 1, 3 & 4 are the strongest. the conservatives make 3 arguments:

Al Qaeda will take over - 4 is the counter
Genocide - 1 & 3 counter that
MEIF - to a degree 1 & 3 counter that argument

Do not believe that Maliki has the desire or strength to compromise & war fatigue will prevent us sending many troops to Afghanistan.

I might add that Syria & Iran prefer proxy wars to actual wars.

will agree with previous poster that this is one of your best of recent vintage

Posted by: tarylcabot on September 26, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

.

What I wanted to see in Iraq was an occupation like what General MacArthur carried out in Japan and Paul Nitze and friends, with British and French help, carried out in Germany, after WWII.

There was a simple name for this: Ba'ath -- Arab renaissance and Islamic renewal -- aka Saddamism without Saddam.

Damn shame: it isn't going to happen.

Now I'd be happy just to see Bush and Cheney on trial at The Hague. They believe in the death penalty; let them be glad the rest of us don't.

Iraq has been smashed all ends up, but America has neither the moral authority, nor, apparently, the ability to do anything useful there. Out. Out, damned Bush.


.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on September 26, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Our presence in Iraq is al-Qaeda's greatest recruiting tool. They're going to keep getting stronger until we leave.

showing what's the trouble with harry...If this statement is assumed to be true, then the corollary is that they will stop getting stronger when we surrender in Iraq. This is not true, in Iraq or anywhere else al Qaeda is based, and the argument is still inane

Wha...? What an amazing non-sequitor. I really don't think you should be throwing around words like 'inane.' It makes you look doubley silly.

V.e.r.y...s.l.o.w.l.y. Some al Qaeda-like organizations are currently tolerated in Iraq as useful allies in the fight against the U.S. occupation. Otherwise, they are not much liked. Further, these al-Qaeda-like organizations are much much weaker than the various Iraqi resistance groups. Now try supposing again what is likely to happen when you guys give up on this little Imperialistic venture (though half of me wishes you stay bogged down in it - at least until you discover a bit more democracy at home).

and pencarrow... The episode yesterday chronicled the loss of 5,000+ marines, 50% of the attacking force, that was lost in one battle to regain some small god-forsaken Pacific island occupied by the Japanese....The message seems to be something like why were we willing to see thousands of soldiers sacrificed for an island or piece of beach, but we're unwilling to see 3,000 soldiers sacrificed to occupy a country and kill Muslims as a revenge for attacking our country?

well, as pointed out upthread, you've conflated the 'Muslim' threat. If this is your reckoning, you might as well have declared war on Malaysia or Brunei (hey, and they've got oil too). One small difference might be that Japan actually attacked you guys. Quibbling, I know.

As for battles, why don't you try WWI's Battle of the Somme? 600,000 young men bled to death in the trenches there. But somehow this scale didn't make it seem a case of worthy sacrifice... also somehow it always seems to be the pencarrows calling for others to do the sacrificing for them (though in this case it's not sacrifice at all as with sacrifice there is something positive to be gained; here the only positive is for the rest of us who want to see America's muscular nationalism -bellumregio's phrase-tamed. For Americans it's just a stupid and sad waste of young life).

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 26, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Snicker-snack:

"You guys?" Just curious...where do you happen to live where you would feel so much safer with the U.S. "tamed," and can lecture us on democracy?

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! Kevin got fired up! I agree with his sentiments that the rest of us need to stop letting the Bushies define the issues & attack with the issues we have.

Now about those polls & Kevin's interpretations of them. I have to agree that there is a large group of undecideds who aren't sure where to go from here. While 70% of us are disgusted with the course of the occupation as it is being conducted, way less than half think we should immediately pull everyone out. We just don't know, & frankly, do not agree entirely with the issues as Kevin states them. We are stuck with the "who do we trust to tell us the truth?" dilemma. Now most of us will vote for "anything but the status quo" - Democrat or Anti-Republican - or just sit out the damn election because it just doesn't matter who we elect anymore because "they are all the same".

For those of you spouting off about how the majority of "us" are progressive liberals who understand the issues, know what needs to be done, & prove it by all the posting on this & other liberal blogs, I suggest you come out to the real world of the average Joe or Jane who are not political junkies & have no idea even what the issues really are because all they see & read comes straight from the MSM. Guess what? Most of us are moderates - you know, the group everyone seems to forget exist? Most of the voters don't even know what a blog is, much less read them or participate in the discussions. Unless we get out there face to face & make the effort to talk with them, they won't even know we or these ideas exist, believing our ideas are shared only by those "moronic libtards at MoveOn.org." These, my friends, are the people who will actually be deciding who serves in our government come January 2009. In order to reach them, we need to get out from behind our keyboards.

Posted by: bob in fl on September 26, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

harry, there are about 40 countries I could live in that I could lecture you guys on democracy, all your nationalist sentiments aside. And if snorting sentiment is all you have...

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 26, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Nicholson: "$3 billion per week..."

Update: Today Secretary of Defense Gates asked Congress for $190 billion for the wars for FY 2008, which comes out to $3.65 billion per week. This is just the budget request; it does not include the supplementals which have been added every year since this was has started. The 2008 fiscal year starts next Monday.

But, hey, don't worry. The US $ seems to be heading for a crash soon, so the money won't be worth as much. Why else would the Saudis be looking at the Euro as their new medium of exhange?

Posted by: bob in fl on September 26, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

I think the deal is this. I think all are fairly clear that if a Democratic President is elected a lot of troops are going to come out of Iraq. Most are for that. However much can change on the ground in two or three years. The time to make a decision about total troop withdrawal is two or three years away. Of course there should be contingency plans of all sorts, for total troop withdrawal etc. True to form the Bush administration has labeled calls for contingency plans as abbetting the enemy. A partial troop withdrawal and then a 'wait and see' approach makes sense assuming the President is sane.

Posted by: zed on September 26, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

As long as the 'war' is not a 'shared' sacrifice, [except for the money, of course], we can stay there as long as there are poor chumps who need a $20K signing bonus. Forever. It's no problem, really.
Posted by: bobbywally on September 26, 2007 at 7:32 PM
--------

Yeah, and what about folks getting laid off from decent paying jobs that are under, what is it now- 42, that need to meet a few payments or need health care for their family...

The New Cannon Fodder will be the refugees from the upcoming recession. Hell, they might raise the age to 52, for clerks-but the signing bonuses will be smaller. If the Repubs can get away with an unlimited-unenforced immigration policy-that would do as well. A World Mercenary Army of the Unemployed Masses. I thought Marx had only his Theory of Alienation left that was salvageable and relevant. Given this-I'm not so sure.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 26, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

"And what WOULD the 'enlightened' here do about Pakistan?"

Why I'd outfit the whole country with a slinky, spandex burka, equipped with faux fur thong for support of course. Faux fur is the new black. Then, we'd head over to Tibet and liberate through the use of psy/ops...something in the neighborhood of Kathy Ireland singing I'm Afraid of Americans piped in 24/7...

Posted by: blissonboard on September 26, 2007 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

What turned my very apathetic Republican mother firmly against this war was the 2-3 billion BORROWED dollars a week this war is costing, while our own security is ignored.
It's also good to point out Afghanistan is a major reason why the USSR is no more. The Soviets were bled dry in men and treasure in a 10-year struggle until they were broken.

Posted by: magisterludi on September 26, 2007 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/09/26/MN9CSAVTH.DTL

I think the article sums it up pretty good why we have not seen a withdrawal plan from Democrats. In an election year, no pols would dare try something new and have the thing explode in their faces. If Iraq explodes next year, Democrats might be the fall guys/gals. As of now, the war is a GOP problem til Democratic prez if elected has to deal with it.

Posted by: bob on September 26, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's right.

Another difference is leadership. Republican leaders are consistent, and Democratic leaders are not. Pelosi and Reid need to declare that this war is such a disaster that they are going to do everything in their powers to end it. If they won't, then some member of Congress needs to. Everything in their powers.

It's hard to stay upbeat when you keep getting let down by your own party.

Posted by: reino on September 26, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

There are how many countries in this world other than the US? Why is the entire argument always about what will happen if WE leave Iraq? Where is the rest of the world and when are they going to go to Iraq and start cleaning up the chimps mess? Obviously, the US is too broken down to do a damn thing about anything. We need an intervention.

Posted by: sid on September 26, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Surge is Working!

Posted by: charlie don't surf on September 26, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Here'e the problem: We're ashamed of ourselves, and looking for a way out that won't force us to face the unpleasant consequences of what we did.

Between 500k to one million Iraqis are dead. Their country is in ruins. They have no electricity, no clean water, no fuel, no law and order, no doctors. Three million Iraqis have been driven from their homes, either inside Iraq or to neighboring Jordan and Syria.

WE DID THIS. We did this to a country that had never attacked us, and posed no threat to us. The United States of America, and her Congress, and her lap-dog press, and her jingoistic, unthinking citizenry, did this.

And now, all we want is a way out that won't force us to face the magnitude of what we did.

And THAT, my friends, is why Bush still has 30%, like the delusionals upthread, still clinging desperately to their fantasies that the surge is working.

I love these guys - their whole argument boils down to "OK, so I've been completely wrong about Iraq for the last four years. But THIS time, I'm right. Really. Trust me on this. "

(well, except for the part where they admit they were wrong for the last 4 years. They always skip right over that part. )

The ADULT portion of the citizenry, however, knows they have a huge mea culpa to make - to the world, to the families of our dead and wounded soldiers, and to the Iraqi people.

Until they steel themselves to make it, we'll be in Iraq. And when they do, we'll be out in three months.


Posted by: mldostert on September 26, 2007 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Another reason: The only reason congress agreed in the first place is because they and the American people were LIED TO!

This is why I never understood Kerry's inability (or anyone else's for that matter) to just go foaming at the mouth livid that the administration can't be trusted for ANYTHING! and W should be impeached immediately for several counts - all other Congressional business should have been halted.

sorry....honey, where the hell is my lithium?

Posted by: mezon on September 26, 2007 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Let me propose four neater and more central talking points:

(1) There's no conceivable way we can win the damn war without a draft, which Bush isn't asking for.

(2) Saying that al-Qaida will run amok in post-American Iraq is hogwash -- the Shiites have always murderously hated it, and now we learn that even the local Sunnis can't stand it. The only possible way there will be any significant al-Qaida presence in Iraq is if the local Sunnis decide to embrace it after all as an emergency ally in their coming war with the Shiites -- and if that happens, since the Shiites outnumber the Sunnis three to one, any al-Qaida fighters in Iraq will be too busy either shooting at Shiites or running for their lives to think about doing anything to us.

(3) There IS a real chance that post-American Iraq will turn into a dangerous new ally of Iran -- but since the Shiites comprise the overwhelming majority of Iraq's population, if they decide to do so there is not a damn thing we can do about it.

(4) Staying stuck in Iraq means that we're militarily paralyzed in dealing with any crisis produced by the current or imminent nuclear capability of North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on September 26, 2007 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Although I oppose the war totally - my son is serving in Baghdad now, and I would do anything (legal) to bring him home - it is important to realize that the majority of the American Public does not oppose the war on philosophical.

They oppose LOSING the war. On very pragmatic grounds.

That's what these ambivilant poll results demonstrate, at least in my opinion.

It's nice to demand of our democratic leaders that they 'get us out' - but there is a limit to what the critical independents will accept. Push for too much and we don't win the next election.

And, for purposes of winning the election - we must emphasize Republican incompetence - because that's what will cost them the election

And we must win the next election. On as many levels as possible. I'm not certain the country can survive 4 or 8 more years like the ones just past.

Recognize that if we lose, then the war(s) go on for many years to come.

Keep it pragmatic, Democrats - Please.

Posted by: Pat on September 26, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

How about: "A trillion dollars just to keep Republicans in office is too much."

I mean, that's really why we went into Iraq, right?

Posted by: craigie on September 26, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

We "lost" the day we went into Iraq. Anyone who doesn't get that by now probably still has the "W" sticker on their car.

Posted by: mezon on September 26, 2007 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats in Congress do not want this to end until they've gained more seats in 08.


It's simple, and it's immoral. And tonight in the debate, none of the top 3 promised we'd be out by 2013!

Posted by: amberglow on September 26, 2007 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq didn't win for the Democrats in 2006. DeLay, Abramoff and Foley did, along with Republican voter disgust with pork-slinging and corrupt Republicans in Congress, and blue dogs running in conservative districts.

How odd, then, that Republicans themselves are resigning in remarkable numbers in anticipation of the 2008 election. You'd think that they would take heart, knowing that the corruption factor is effectively behind them. How strange, too, that they should, in article after article, be found wringing their hands over the upcoming election, and the damage that Iraq is going to wreak on them.

Really, you don't need to be convincing any of us of the irrelevance of Iraq to 2008. You need to persuade your own politicians, who choose giving up their jobs rather than face a general election.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 26, 2007 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

These, my friends, are the people who will actually be deciding who serves in our government come January 2009

Moderates are condescended and pandered to by politicians because they are like sheep. Unwilling to think for themselves, they are easily manipulated by the persuasion of demagogues. They are the reason Americans are killing Iraqis in Iraq.

Moderates should have the blood of dead Iraqis thrown in their faces every day. The only way to appeal to this group is with fear. Democrats need to develop a theme that will make this hysterical group fear Republican leadership. Daily displaying the pictures and names of dead Iraqis and reminding them of what happened to the Germans and Japanese after WW II might wake them out of their heard like stupor, but I doubt it. Something more real to them will have to be used to make them fear Republicans. A theme needs to be developed that Republicans want to conscript White upper-middle class children for sacrifice in the Middle East, and they are planning to do it with a victory in 2008.

Posted by: Brojo on September 26, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone catch the Dem debate tonight? Every time I hear these people talk a few more are eliminated from my list of possible primary votes. On Iraq Hillary wasn't even willing to 'promise' that she would bring troops home immediately if elected. Maybe by 2013, after a remaining contingent of combat troops had dispensed with Al Qaeda in Iraq. I'm telling you folks, vote for Hillary and you'll be sorry. Obama was pretty much the same story, he couldn't 'promise' because he just couldn't forecast what the situation might be in Jan 2009. Both Hillary and Obama were trying to sound 'responsible' by not forecasting the future. The old-timers Biden and Dodd were more liberal than their younger rivals, except of course for Kucinich and Gravel. Btw, Hillary was scolded for voting FOR the Kyl/Lieberman resolution today, giving the Prez too much authority to unilaterally take action in Iran. I forget which candidate scolded her now. All candidates were careful to supply the requisite support for Israel in the face of the Iranian threat. Looks like I'll be voting for either Kucinich or Gravel in the primaries, just like last time. And get this...their last question was to name their favorite Bible verse. Excuse me??? I couldn't believe my ears.

Posted by: nepeta on September 26, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

When we argue that the surge isn't working, we're playing on conservative turf. We're accepting their frame for the debate. We need to stop, and instead start making positive arguments of our own that conservatives have to parry. It's the only way we're going to turn the leaners into genuine war opponents.

"Positive Arguments?" What the deuce?

THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING TO KILL US.

What part of that do you liberals not understand? You can hate George W Bush, you can hate anyone who doesn't do what you tell them to do and you can hate, hate, hate until the cows come home but the simple fact of the matter is--

THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING TO KILL US.

All that stands between us and them is a thin line, wearing digital camoflage, of underpaid men and women who cannot even drink a beer and relax tonight. They're in an Arab country, observing the customs, weapons slung but ready to fire. They control the narrow battlespace and the op tempo is frenetic. The lack of sleep makes these warriors squint their eyes in order to focus on the threats that are hidden everywhere.

But they are there to keep us all safe. And liberals are trying to come up with "Positive Arguments" in order to advance whatever flavor-of-the-month Anti-Bush cause they've hitched their hybrid wagons to?

I am disgusted and appalled at my countrymen. Have you not seen the burning of the enemy and their hatred for us? Will you welcome the enemy to your bosom? Or will you surrender your lives to avoid having to admit that

THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING TO KILL US.

Moderates should have the blood of dead Iraqis thrown in their faces every day

Extremism in the defense of liberty ain't a vice, you clown. It's all that separates us from oblivion. And liberals like you want oblivion.

And you wonder why I think you're morons.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 26, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Norm,

Ever think of writing as a career? I think maybe you'd do quite well, a la Steven King.

But Norm, it's quite possible that the US bully will be plagued by terrorism for years to come.
3000 innocent American citizens, plus or minus, every so many years (we just passed year 6 without a terrorist attack). Compare that to the 600,000(or whatever the number really is, quite large in any case) Iraqis killed because of the US invasion and close to 4,000 US soldiers, not to mention the millions of Iraqi refugees who have had their lives destroyed. And remember why the US invaded Iraq? No, not democracy. Because Iraq had WMDs and terrorists in Northern Iraq (under US control at the time). No wonder you're so afraid. You should be.

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Well Norm, they better get busy. I'm not de-heading myself, you know!

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

There is a fool proof way to end the war in Iraq and prevent a post war bloodbath.


WIN IT!

Posted by: majarosh on September 27, 2007 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

The same people made the equally "persuasive" argument that we'd be welcomed as liberators.

Posted by: Dr Zen on September 27, 2007 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

wearing digital camoflage,

?????

Posted by: craigie on September 27, 2007 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

wearing digital camoflage,

haha...I was stumped by that too. Think maybe he's worried about a cyber attack?

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

And Kevin, some people argued against that fiercely, you may not have noticed in the clamour to kill Arabs that was going on then.

It's incredibly difficult to argue against the right's talking points in the same way, because they have no regard at all for the truth. If they were counterarguing, they could simply say "we should leave because then the war would end because AQ wouldn't have us to fight". We are stuck with having to acknowledge the facts on the ground because we base our arguments in reality, not masturbatory fantasies.

Posted by: Dr Zen on September 27, 2007 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

still, a nice turn of phrase, don't you think?

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

digital camoflage-the current method of design of the military's combat fatigues

Posted by: majarosh on September 27, 2007 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

aha...very high tech

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

One couldn't ask for a better example of the astounding ignorance of liberals.

None of you know what digital camoflage is???

Take a gander, morons. After all, it IS what our TROOPS wear into the battle space.

If you had to pick one shining example of how foolish and stupid a pack of drooling liberals could be, and if you set it up so that they could pull their pants down and look like self-flagellating imbeciles, you couldn't have set this up better than how I just did.

I know you hate the troops and want them to fail so you can keep hating George W Bush, but come on--didn't anyone explain to you that our troops have new uniforms? Do you think they go to war in their birkenstocks and their Abercrombie & Fitch?

KUDOS to me for the delivery of this masterful strike at the heart of what's WRONG with liberals.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 27, 2007 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Food for thought: Why do Norm and Majarosh both know about digital camo and Craigie and I do not?

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

No, Norm. 'Fraid I don't accept your explanation. You spend a lot of time looking at military mags? Soldiers of Fortune, stuff like that? I'll bet you're really up on all of this stuff. I'm sooo impressed...

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Food for thought: Why do Norm and Majarosh both know about digital camo and Craigie and I do not?

Eat this--you're morons.

How's that for the simple answer to the simple question you're too stupid to figure out on your own?

You liberals need to wake up

THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING TO KILL US.

Wear your comfy jeans and get yourself a latte. The rest of us will stand guard.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 27, 2007 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

"didn't anyone explain to you that our troops have new uniforms"

Norm,

You're cracking me up. Is this digital camo designed for urban warfare? Maybe little pics of faces and buildings, car doors? Any sort of leafy camo would really look out of place in Iraq, huh? Anyway, too bad the 'new uniforms'
came without sufficient body armor.

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

"The rest of us will stand guard."

OK, if you PROMISE that that's all you do. Just stand and guard. OK? No more invading countries on the basis of your overly active imaginations, no more gutting of the constitution. Just stand the f*uck there and GUARD, Norman!!!

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure Pat knows what digital camoflage looks like.
Pat, I honor your son's service and pray he comes home safe and sound.
Please forgive nepeta's idiotic comments. I'm sure he didn't mean to insult you or your son.

Posted by: majarosh on September 27, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack:

C'mon, whats yer 20? Worried someone's going to find you if the country you come from is only fifty miles across? Is it one of those European nations that's been smugly sitting behind America's defense shield for fifty years, had to drag us in to solve their Bosnia problem, and still likes to tell us how to handle security issues? Or one of those little nations that could vanish in a puff of purple smoke and nobody would notice for three weeks except the guy next to them at the U.N. who would just steal your monogrammed U.N. pens from your place at the table?

Sid says, There are how many countries in this world other than the US? Why is the entire argument always about what will happen if WE leave Iraq? Where is the rest of the world and when are they going to go to Iraq and start cleaning up the chimps mess? Obviously, the US is too broken down to do a damn thing about anything. We need an intervention.

Where is the rest of the world? Same place they've been since the end of WWII. Happily passing out their vacation time, health care, and social benefits while the U.S. spent trillions of dollars and no small amount of blood keeping the Soviets from rolling over them like Eastern Europe. Believe me, I'd love to see some other nations do some heavy lifting for a while so I could just read about it in the papers and second guess them the whole way.

Posted by: harry on September 27, 2007 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Norman said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty ain't a vice, you clown. It's all that separates us from oblivion. And liberals like you want oblivion."

Which would be fine if our liberty was being threatened by the terrorists rather than by the pseudo-fascists Norman keeps apologizing for.

A much more appropriate quotation for these times is:

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Posted by: tanstaafl on September 27, 2007 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

"...if our liberty was being threatened by the terrorists..."

Good God, we ARE in Fantasy Land!

Posted by: majarosh on September 27, 2007 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

We are if you are suggesting that our liberty IS being threatened by our terrorists.

Our safety is being threatened by terrorists to some small and difficult to quantify degree, but our liberty is not.

Posted by: tanstaafl on September 27, 2007 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Look what I got when I went to Norm's site. His link works to get you to the 'camo fashion' page but if you try to go to the home site you get:

The security certificate presented by this website was not issued by a trusted certificate authority.

Security certificate problems may indicate an attempt to fool you or intercept any data you send to the server. We recommend that you close this webpage and do not continue to this website.

It look like a legit USMC site. The Marines don't have a valid security certificate for their website???

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

tanstaafl,

This is not meant to be condescending, but it will probably sound like it. I just want to make sure I understand what you're saying.
So, if you are killed by a terrorist, you will no longer have life or be able to pursue happiness, but your liberty will still be intact. Have I got it straight?

You ignore my post regarding your idiotic insinuation about folks who know what our troop's uniforms look like, then you say I'm the one living in Fantasy Land because being killed is not a threat to one's liberty.

Keep digging.

Posted by: majarosh on September 27, 2007 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

tanstaafl,
I apologize. I mistakenly identified you as the idiot who made the remarks about knowledge of digital camoflage. My bad.

Posted by: majarosh on September 27, 2007 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

"KUDOS to me for the delivery of this masterful strike at the heart of what's WRONG with liberals."

Norman, don't take this the wrong way, but you've lost what's left of your mind.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on September 27, 2007 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a really fascinating piece by an anthropologist who knows Iran and talks about sexual practices there. In a way, Ahmadinejad was telling the truth about there being no gays in Iran.

"Editor’s Note: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comment that homosexuality does not exist in Iran like it does in the West is true in a sense, writes anthropologist William Beeman. In fact, same-sex relations in Iran do look very different from what is called gay behavior in the West."

No Gays in Iran But Many Same-Sex Couples

Posted by: nepeta on September 27, 2007 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

You can try and address the issues you've been slapped down on harry or you can flail around like a desperate tool looking for something new to attack. No surprise which tactic you've chosen.

The topic of this thread concern the actions of your country not mine nor those of any of the other countries I've lived in. Let's try and keep it focused, eh? (ooh, look, I've given you a tell... cue an anti-Canadian remark as harry desperately flails cause he ain't got nothing else).

Re. democracy, close to half your votes can no longer be verified but have to be taken on trust, faith-based politics you could say. Exit polling methods used to judge the honesty of elections elsewhere are suddenly out of whack in the States, your citizens have anything but equal access to the ballot box and your candidates anything but equal access to the media, and your electoral districts are carefully crafted to allow the minimum possible competition. Until you get these things in order don't even talk about democracy. You're standing buck naked here. Look I'm sorry if I've hurt your nationalist sensibilities but don't you think it's a little silly to expect us non-Yanks to join you in your nativist delusions? It's the mark of a man who hasn't been anywhere. And spare me any tripe about how your sacrifice has kept us free, you guys who failed us for two and a half years in the biggest test of the last century. Now can we get back on topic?

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 27, 2007 at 4:00 AM | PERMALINK

'THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING TO KILL US.'
--Stormin' Norman Rogers

Two words, Normie - WHERE'S OSAMA???

Hint - He isn't in Iraq. The terrorists that you are peeing your soiled pants over who may or may not be coming to kill us, are in Afghanistan or Pakistan NOT in Iraq. Iraq doesn't have a Navy or an Air Force, to speak of. What are they going to do, rent paddle-wheelers to come over here and get us? If our Numbnuts President had shown some leadership when we had Osama cornered at Tora Bora and funded the Nunn-Lugar Initiative to keep fissile material out of the hands of terrorists, we wouldn't have anything to worry about. Face it, jerkwad, this president is an abject coward and an utter failure and all your mewling is not going to change those facts. GET OVER IT!!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 27, 2007 at 5:43 AM | PERMALINK

kd: Our presence in Iraq is al-Qaeda's greatest recruiting tool. They're going to keep getting stronger until we leave.

harry: If this statement is assumed to be true, then the corollary is that they will stop getting stronger when we surrender in Iraq. This is not true, in Iraq or anywhere else al Qaeda is based, and the argument is still inane.


Pentagon estimate of terrorists in Iraq - 2003: 5000

Pentagon estimate of terrorists in Iraq - 2005: 25,000

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/10/30/iraq.casualties/index.html


The Pentagon claims that since January, U.S. forces have killed or captured more than 20,000 insurgents. Although this figure is impressive, it suggests that the total number of active insurgents has risen dramatically from the top level of only 20,000 in U.S. military estimates during much of 2005 and 2006. - UPI 6/7/07

Pentagon estimate of terrorists in Iraq - March 2007: 70,000


how's that denial working for ya?



Posted by: mr. irony on September 27, 2007 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

pencarrow: I've been watching the PBS series "The War" a documentary series on WW II, and one of thoughts that come mind is the relative loss of lives. The episode yesterday chronicled the loss of 5,000+ marines, 50% of the attacking force, that was lost in one battle to regain some small god-forsaken Pacific island occupied by the Japanese.


also from "The War"....

cost of ww-2 in today's dollars: 3-trillion...

Report: Iraq war costs could top $2 trillion - Christian Science Monitor - Jan. 2006...

ww-2 = invasion of -dozens- of countries involving millions of american troops

iraq = 1-invasion....involving about 150k troops..

Posted by: mr. irony on September 27, 2007 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK


harry: And what WOULD the "enlightened" here do about Pakistan?


"you are either with us...or against us" - the decider...

hows that working out?

Posted by: mr. irony on September 27, 2007 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

norman: Extremism in the defense of liberty ain't a vice, you clown. It's all that separates us from oblivion.


this is why conservatives, like vitter, wear diapers..

for them..

the gratification apparently makes it a win-win..

Posted by: mr. irony on September 27, 2007 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK


harry: Believe me, I'd love to see some other nations do some heavy lifting for a while so I could just read about it in the papers and second guess them the whole way.

where's the money in that?

Posted by: R.N.C. on September 27, 2007 at 7:57 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "Conservatives are making a persuasive and spine-chilling prediction of disaster if we leave. Liberals are just saying our presence isn't accomplishing anything."

And I am saying that:

  • The Cheney-Bush administration's war of unprovoked aggression against Iraq, and the ongoing US occupation of Iraq, has no other purpose than to seize control of, and the vast majority of the profits from, Iraq's vast oil reserves -- by putting in place a subservient and corrupt US-backed puppet government which will enact the US-written "Iraq Oil Law" and acquiesce to the permanent occupation of Iraq by a large US military presence to enforce that law;
  • The Cheney-Bush administration's war of unprovoked aggression against Iraq, and the ongoing US occupation of Iraq, were and are based on the repeated, deliberate, elaborate, and sickening lies told to the American people and the US Congress by Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, General Petraeus, and other principals of the Cheney-Bush administration about what they knew and know to be nonexistent "threats" to the USA from nonexistent "Iraqi WMD", nonexistent "links between Saddam and Al Qaeda", and nonexistent "Al Qaeda in Iraq, the same people who attacked us on 9/11";
  • The Cheney-Bush administration's war of unprovoked aggression against Iraq, and the ongoing US occupation of Iraq, has directly caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and the impoverishment and displacement of millions, not to mention the deaths and maiming of thousands of US troops;
  • The Cheney-Bush administration's war of unprovoked aggression against Iraq, and the ongoing US occupation of Iraq, is an act of grotesque treason and betrayal against the American people and the US Constitution, a misuse of the US military for corrupt purposes of private financial gain for the Cheney-Bush administration's cronies and financial backers in the US-based multinational oil companies, and a crime against humanity;
  • The US occupation of Iraq must be ended, and all US troops withdrawn immediately, and impeachment proceedings initiated against both Cheney and Bush immediately, because the war is a crime and they are the criminals who perpetrated it, and must be brought to justice.
  • I don't care what "conservatives" say -- they are liars.

    I don't care what "sensible liberals" say -- they are enablers of the "conservatives" and are also liars.

    Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 27, 2007 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

    "Civil war has been averted in Iraq and Iranian intervention there has "ceased to exist," Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said yesterday.
    "I can't say there is a picture of roses and flowers in Iraq," Maliki told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "However, I can say that the greatest victory, of which I am proud . . . is stopping the explosion of a sectarian war." That possibility, he said, "is now far away.""
    Posted by: Al"

    Wow Al, how stupid can you get? al-Maliki is scared shitless that the US is going to dump him so he is happy to shill for Bush in order to try to keep his cushy job. It doesn't take much to sell you a load of crap, does it.

    Posted by: Kate Henry on September 27, 2007 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

    The Pentagon claims that since January, U.S. forces have killed or captured more than 20,000 insurgents. Although this figure is impressive, it suggests that the total number of active insurgents has risen dramatically from the top level of only 20,000 in U.S. military estimates during much of 2005 and 2006. - UPI 6/7/07

    A kill/capture rate of 20,000 enemy would tend to indicate that there were several hundred thousand enemy still in the field.

    So, two options: the Pentagon is either (a) wildly over-inflating the number of rebels it has killed or captured, (b) wildly under-inflating the number of rebels in total, or (c) doing both (a) and (b).

    I vote for (c)....

    Posted by: Stefan on September 27, 2007 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

    Wear your comfy jeans and get yourself a latte. The rest of us will stand guard.

    You fucking chickenhawks sure can squawk! Norman, your weak ass couldn't fight your way out of a paper bag. But I bet in your former life you were a kickass barbarian warlord!

    Your pussy's wet, Norman. Go dry it off...

    Posted by: elmo on September 27, 2007 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

    Norm

    Will you welcome the enemy to your bosom?

    The real question is whether or not your girlfriend welcomed the enemy to her boson.

    You doofus.

    Posted by: tomeck on September 27, 2007 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

    Here's why it matters: we're not going to get out of Iraq until a sufficient number of people get pissed off enough about it to demand action — and we're kidding ourselves if we think a casual answer to a poll question counts as "pissed off." Support for withdrawal is almost certainly not as deep or as wide as a quick glance at the polls suggests, and that's why congressional Democrats haven't worked up the gumption to defund the war. They don't think there are enough voters firmly on their side.

    Kevin, what I'm wondering is what you imagine when you say that the people need to "demand action". Really, you don't strike me as the type to advocate protest activism as a way to bring about change. There's always voting, but the next election isn't for over a year, and the last election seemed pretty decisive on this score anyway.

    What I suspect you want to see changing is the polling. You want to see a higher margin in the polls. 65% to 30% that breaks down upon closer inspection to 30/40/30 is too mushy, you want 90% to 10%, or some such. Am I wrong? Are you, in effect, saying not that polling doesn't matter, but that better, more solid polling numbers are needed before change happens? Or is there some other method of "demanding action" that you're hoping for?

    Posted by: Royko on September 27, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

    There is hope for Harry and Normie - Your glorious leader said, yesterday, that "Childrens can learn"

    Three more car bombs, killing 42 and injuring scores, in Muncie, Indiana, yesterday - Don't despair, the Farmer's Market will be open - For that special pumpkin, just step over the gore.

    And, to the Canadian bashers, the 72nd soldier killed in Afghanistan was flown back to Canada this week. "Amazing Grace" is being piped far too often these days.

    Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 27, 2007 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

    3rdP

    "Canadian bashers" ???????Have seen neither hide nor hair of the dreaded CBer's.
    A simple acknowledgement of a soilder's sacrifice without the basher comment would have been appropriate and not distracted from the truthfullness of your, and my, lament of the piper's wail.

    Posted by: majarosh on September 27, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

    The line needs to be less circumspect than what Kevin suggests. It needs to be more direct, personal and brutal, along the lines of:

    The longer we stay, the more dangerous Iraq becomes. On 9/11, we all witnessed the consequences of a failed state in Afghanistan, just imagine how much worse the next 9/11 will be if we don't let the Iraqis solve their differences themselves.

    ...and...

    America depends upon the Muslim and Arabic countries of the Middle East for a large amount of our oil imports. It just stands to reason that the more Iraqis we kill, the less secure our energy supplies, our jobs and our way of life become.

    Posted by: Chesire11 on September 27, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

    Anti-war advocates need to assume the persona of pro-war advocates and start asking moderates' middle-class children to kill Iraqis in Iraq. Take the war to the middle-class moderates and communicate the expectation that their children should serve, kill and die in it. If done from the point of view of the pro-war advocates, I think that will effectively stop moderate support for war policies.

    THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING TO KILL US. ENCOURAGE YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS TO JOIN WITH PRESIDENT W. BUSH, SENATOR MCCAIN AND SENATOR CLINTON AND ENLIST IN THE ARMY TO KILL IRAQIS IN IRAQ.

    YOUR CHILDREN'S SACRIFICE WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED, AND HONORED, BY THE PRESIDENT AND THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADERSHIP.

    Posted by: Brojo on September 27, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

    Its simple. Follow Warner's example and ask "Is the Iraq War making America safer?" NO. Its provoking war with Iran, inciting terrorists, and generally pissing off Muslims. While not accomplishing anything productive.

    that is how it should be done. "Safer" is the key word. Why have I not seen more of that?

    Posted by: nathan on September 27, 2007 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

    Its true that we're in Iraq for the foreseeable future--perhaps even beyond that.
    And it is true we can blame it on the ineptitude of BUSHISTAs.

    So lets get on with a universal draft, and continue to piddle away our national wealth and our national pride to preserve our petroleum pipeline from the middle east.
    There is, after all, nothing left of the United States of America except its Economy.

    But lets get on with punishing the maledroit buggers who lied, cheated, and stole their way into this overt act of aggression:
    Lets turn the entire BUSHISTA crowd over to the international court at The Hague!
    And lets support their prosecution with our tax dollarss--and lets get back to turning the United Nations into something more than the lackey organization it has been since the 1950s...

    Posted by: jed on September 29, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK




     

     

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