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Tilting at Windmills

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November 8, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PROGRESS vs. SUPPORT....Via Andrew Sullivan, here's a series of public opinon charts compiled by Charles Franklin showing that support for the war has ticked upward over the past few months. No, strike that. Here's the interesting thing: the trendlines show that opinions about how well the war is going have ticked moderately upward over the past few months. But while I was pondering that and scanning my RSS feeds, Think Progress pointed me to the latest CNN poll, which shows a record high 68% of the public opposing the war.

So: over the past three months the PR campaign from General Petraeus combined with the decline in casualties has produced about a five point increase in the number of people who think the war is going well. But over the same time, it's also produced a three or four point increase in the number of people who oppose the war. Apparently, the American public increasingly opposes the war regardless of how well it's going.

Both the numbers and the timespan are small, so don't read too much into this. Public opinion on both questions has been jumping around within about a ten-point range on both questions for the past year. Still, the fact that opposition is increasing even though more people think the war is going well is striking, and strongly suggests that opposition to the war is past the point of no return. Apparently the American public is smart enough to realize that military progress isn't really that meaningful without political progress, and we haven't seen a dime's worth of that. Unless and until we do, I don't expect this trend to change.

Kevin Drum 12:28 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

Probably more than a few people think that "war going better" implies "what a dandy time to leave." I suspect some of the reluctance to get out of Iraq comes from a disinclination to leave things a dire mess.

Posted by: idlemind on November 8, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Staying isn't a winning proposition. Never was.

Posted by: David W. on November 8, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Makes sense to me. The better the war is going, the more sense it makes to GTFO. When it was bad, they needed us -- if we're winning, give them their country back. Amurkins are smarter than ya think ...

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on November 8, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Probably more than a few people think that "war going better" implies "what a dandy time to leave." I suspect some of the reluctance to get out of Iraq comes from a disinclination to leave things a dire mess. Posted by: idlemind

Were this the case, don't you think our duly elected representatives would be getting letters, phone calls and e-mail from their constituents telling them this? Naaaah.

Open another bag of Doritos and pass me the remote! There's got to be an auto race, poker game, reality show or bass tournament someplace on television!

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to make a point but ManOutofTime(see comment above) has already said it and said it succinctly. To wit:
Makes sense to me. The better the war is going, the more sense it makes to GTFO. When it was bad, they needed us -- if we're winning, give them their country back. Amurkins are smarter than ya think

Posted by: cognitorex on November 8, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

But over the same time, it's also produced a three or four point increase in the number of people who oppose the war. Apparently, the American public increasingly opposes the war regardless of how well it's going.

Nonsense Kevin. Most likely, it's just that the polls are old and aren't reflecting the current opinions of the American people. Or the liberal media is deliberately reporting the good news in Iraq really slowly. But once the good news is known, it's certain support for President Bush's and General Petraeus's liberation of Iraq will go up to o. This is explained by Howard Kurtz of the liberal Washington Post.

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2007/11/06/BL2007110600505.html

"The war will be a big issue no matter what, given the circumstances under which President Bush took the country to war, the international fallout and the thousands of dead and wounded American soldiers. But could the impact be muddled if the trend toward reduced violence continues?"
""It hasn't become much of a campaign issue--yet--but for the first time in a long while the news from Iraq isn't unrelentingly ghastly," writes the New Republic's Michael Crowley."
"Democrats will [reasonably] argue that the adventure wasn't worth the cost in lives and dollars. But the notion that Bush's patience really did save Iraq from unmitigated humanitarian and strategic catastrophe might be a powerful one."

Posted by: Al on November 8, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

The NYT is reporting that AQ in Mes has been "routed" and cleared from Bagdade allowing US troops to leave. RW blogs are all over this as the "Beginning of the End" and that now we can start the rebuilding process. http://www.memeorandum.com/
And Milike ins't giving the Sunnis anymore conssesions, So what is the avg Amer sposed to think of all this? I was never for the war, but also never for leaving a big mess. Are we being played here or is this real progress?

Posted by: Teak111 on November 8, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Al when you say liberal media, you really mean mainstream media, or mainstream thinking, as opposed to your way of thinking, which is convervative authoritianism (CA). The MSM doesn't plot. That would be a CA thing to do. CA is on the fringe, must people don't think that way. The left has it fringe thinkers too and there is a liberal, agenda driven media, but its only mainstream to you, becuase you are on the fringe.

Posted by: The fake fake al on November 8, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Clearly, 68% of Americans now hate America.

Posted by: thersites on November 8, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

... the fact that opposition is increasing even though more people think the war is going well is striking, and strongly suggests that opposition to the war is past the point of no return.

—Kevin Drum

Not necessarily. If opposition to the war is a function of whether we are perceived as losing but lags, say, three months, we could still see opposition to the war decline between now and the election.

In fact, I would bet that we do see opposition decline -- as the rollout of the "We're winning" meme progresses.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 8, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on November 8, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

I don't read too mucb into the question, "Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war in Iraq?" War is Hell. Nobody favors war.

Note that 65% to 34%, respondants said things are going badly in Iraq. That's because the good news hasn't been trumpeted by the media. E.g., today's NY Times put the story about the defeat of AQI on an inside page and watered it down with bad news.

According to independant reporter Michael Yon, who I find trustworthy, the war is nearly won. As the reality gets out, opinion will gradually shift.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 8, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

The primary difference, definitely so far as perceptions are concerned, is that the war has metastasized:


  • Turkey is threatening Kurdistan.
  • Pakistan is in turmoil.

That Baghdad arguably is better pales in comparison to these items.

(It is entirely appropriate to criticize these perceptions, the Turkish / Kurd thing has been simmering for many years now; Pakistan, IMHO, actually has always been the central front on the war on terror; Afghanistan is deteriorating; Somalia is disintegrating. But these points are not part of the current perception - although they should be.)

I really don't feel much sympathy with the public at large. They overwhelmingly supported Bush, they still "support the troops," and favored the war when they thought it would be a "cakewalk." Like the Congressmen who went out for a picnic at the First Battle of Bull Run, they thought the war would be a party. Now they are dashing back home with their tails between their legs.

i suggest they take out a second mortgage and patriotically spend away, the way Bush urged them to do. That's what they were shouting for.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on November 8, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and never will lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.

Posted by: semiot on November 8, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

over the past three months the PR campaign from General Petraeus combined with the decline in casualties has produced about a five point increase in the number of people who think the war is going well. But over the same time, it's also produced a three or four point increase in the number of people who oppose the war.

And so the Dolchstosslegende -- as exemplified by the tireless efforts of ex-liberal," such as his 1:14 pm post -- proceeds apace.

As "ex-liberal"'s bad-faith posts go, though, hia 1:14 pm was a doozy. "Nobody favors war" -- except neocon scum like "ex-liberal" and the other bloothirsty chickenhawks of his own loathsome ideology. And note the insultingly obvious bullshit of complaining about media bias and then approvingly citing Michale Yon, who makes no secret of his pro-war bias.

Why Kevin's moderator(s) tolerate "ex-liberal"'s using Kevin's site to promulgate the Dolchstosslegende with his repetetive bullshit is a mystery.

Posted by: Gregory on November 8, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

"But once the good news is known, it's certain support for President Bush's and General Petraeus's liberation of Iraq will go up to o."

Is that the number on the dial after 11?

Posted by: Steve Paradis on November 8, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Not necessarily. If opposition to the war is a function of whether we are perceived as losing but lags, say, three months, we could still see opposition to the war decline between now and the election.

Well, I have heard from righties that the war has been going awesome since, oh, about March 2003, so maybe the actual lag is more like four and a half years, right?

Posted by: Joshua on November 8, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

The war has been a bad deal for most Americans. The spending has ballooned the debt, which means we get less for our tax dollars in decades to come (more goes to paying interest) and programs which make people's lives better, like Medicare and Social Security, are endangered.

Also, the war in Iraq has disrupted Iraqi oil production and added a "terror premium" to oil prices. When the war started, oil production from Iraq was higher and steadier than it has been since.

Oil was $29 a barrel in March 2003 when the war started, and now it is $95 a barrel -- a 320% increase.

At the end, the best we can hope for is that Iraq will be as stable as it was before we invaded -- and the American people will be several trillion dollars poorer.

Posted by: mccord on November 8, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK
....I wouldn't call liberal Democrats unpatriotic....Posted by: meathead republican at 1:11
But yet you do all the time and all the while you and your fellow Republican ideologues are among the least patriotic people in practice.
....According to independant reporter Michael Yon, who I find trustworthy...ex-lax at 1:14 PM
You've been pimping the same crap for years and it's still a lie. Reliance on US military supported propaganda does not truth make. American deaths are at their highest in 2007 and each was an unnecessary waste for bone Bush/Cheney have for Saddam and Iraq's oil. This war was a total disaster for Iraqis and for the US.

As to those who do not favor war, you can exclude Bush, his neo-con allies like yourself and the Giuliani Gang.

Posted by: Mike on November 8, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I wish the nitnoids would stop conflating the Iraq freedom operation with the war on terror and we'll never get out of Iraq if the sky is falling, APOCALYPSE!, CALIPHATE!, crowd keep confusing the issues

Posted by: Ya Know.... on November 8, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: And so the Dolchstosslegende -- as exemplified by the tireless efforts of ex-liberal," such as his 1:14 pm post -- proceeds apace

Not at all. The Dolchstoßlegende (stab-in-the-back) was an excuse for defeat. I believe we're going to win in Iraq.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 8, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

That's why Americans have never lost and never will lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Posted by: semiot

Are you some kind of Rip van Winkle who's just been awakened after a 57-year nap or do have an even lower threshold for declaring victory than the trolls? I wouldn't characterize Korea or Vietnam as victories. Grenada and Panama were just embarrassing.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I think the first uptick is because the war isn't really going any worse...Hell, how could it? Since it isn't getting worse, a portion of people can perceive that as getting better.

Similarly, since its sort of a stabilized catastrophe, people can look at it and say, "This is holding steady, and its bad. Let's get out of there right now..."

Posted by: do on November 8, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I would have hoped Kevin could have introduced the topic without resorting to the insulting "PR campaign from General Petraeus" line. I'm not saying you need to agree with Petraeus or his strategy but his is dealing with the lives of the men under his command and charged with the responsibility of trying to craft a strategy for them to succeed. The results on the ground are mixed but generally seem to be trending in the right direction. To dismiss all this by calling it a "PR campaign" is a bit beneath what I would have expected from Kevin.

Posted by: Hacksaw on November 8, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

The public is finally realizing that no matter how well the military portion of the war may go in the short term, there are no long-term prospects for a positive military or political outcome.

Iraq is a black hole that will suck American treasure and lives into the abyss of futility and failure and nothing will change that.

It was doomed from the start because it was prosecuted on the basis of lies, an utter lack of necessity, and a complete absence of the resources to handle even a well-planned, well-reasoned, and necessary invasion.

It was the wrong war, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons, by the wrong "leaders."

Calling Bush a nasty, poisonous turd of a human being is a slight against human beings and turds alike.

Posted by: anonymous on November 8, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I have heard from righties that the war has been going awesome since, oh, about March 2003, so maybe the actual lag is more like four and a half years, right?

What we have heard from righties over the last four and a half years ran counter to the mounting evidence that we were in fact losing. The evidence now seems to suggest that we are winning militarily, if not politically.

It is in the interest of every republican candidate to insist that we are indeed winning. And the dem candidates will go along with that for fear of being painted as traitors, against our troops in the field. That doesn't mean that the American public will ever come to believe that it was a good investment of blood and treasure. But it does mean that opposition to the war will effectively likely decline.

When HRC was asked a few months back if we were better off than before 9/11, she said yes. When she is asked by Timmy if she believes that we are now winning as Rudy says we are, what do you think she will say?

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 8, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, current-mentiroso: I believe we're going to win in Iraq.

Define "win."

According to independant reporter Michael Yon, who I find trustworthy, the war is nearly won.

Cheney has been saying that for the last four years.

He's never been right.

As for someone you find trustworthy, a mentiroso like you is not a credible character reference.

mhr: When US liberal Democrats think of the US Army, they think of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, torture and the alleged indiscriminate slaughter of innocent Iraqi civilians.

Posted by: anonymous on November 8, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Not at all. The Dolchstoßlegende (stab-in-the-back) was an excuse for defeat. I believe we're going to win in Iraq.

Nice try, "ex-liberal," but as I've commented before, your tireless efforts on the Dolchstosslegende show that deep down, you and your neocon chorts know Iraq is a disaster.

Just out of curiosity, though, how do you define "winning" an occupation? And why are your claims of imminemnt victory any more credibile than the war apologists's bullshit claims over the past couple of years?

Posted by: Gregory on November 8, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Or perhaps its like "Hey things are going good, let's get out while we can!"

Which also makes sense.

Posted by: MNPundit on November 8, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: Just out of curiosity, though, how do you define "winning" an occupation?

(Similar question from "anonymous")

I define winning as Iraq having a stable, democratic government, with security adequate for the survival of that government.

And why are your claims of imminemnt victory any more credibile than the war apologists's bullshit claims over the past couple of years?

I haven't seen claims of imminent victory in the last couple of years. Some war supporters said we must not lose. Some said we'd win ultimately. But, few if any said that victory was imminent. The President sure didn't make any such statement in the last couple of years.

Michael Yon was quite pessimistic. He was talking about civil war in Iraq months before the anti-war folks were. That's why his current optimism impresses me.

BTW, Gregory, it's true that Yon has a prejudice, but he's not pro-war. He's pro-American-victory He thinks we and our allies are the good guys in Iraq. I do, too.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 8, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo is going to post on what the new Franklin poll portends. Should be interesting to see Josh's take, since he's been both a realist on Iraq and a big asset to the Democratic party grassroots.

Posted by: Minneapolitan on November 8, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

I define winning as Iraq having a stable, democratic government, with security adequate for the survival of that government.

And -- pretending for the moment that you're a good-faith commentator, though we both know the contrary -- if we're "winning," how long before Iraq has a stable, democratic government, with security adequate for the survival of that government? Because eventually, of course, it could, either because of or despite Bush's invasion.

I haven't seen claims of imminent victory in the last couple of years.

Well, since there's no longer any reason to pretend you argue in good faith (see below), what you claim to have seen is meaningless. We have, however, seen plenty of bullshit claims from the pro-war side claiming that we were, in fact, winning, even though circumstances make it impossible to pretend that was actually the case.

Now, of course, with the vastly increased disaster that is Iraq, despite all the winning the pro-war side said we are doing, the key is to claim we're "making progress," since even the so-called "surge" didn't achieve most of the benchmarks it was intended to. "Progress," though, is so wonderfully accountability-free, isn't it, "ex-liberal"?

it's true that Yon has a prejudice, but he's not pro-war. He's pro-American-victory He thinks we and our allies are the good guys in Iraq. I do, too

Thanks for showing why no one mistakes you for a good faith commentator. Even more than your laughable claim that Yon isn't pro-war, I love your citation of him as "pro-American-victory," with its snide and insulting insinuation that opponents of Bush's disastrous policies are anti-American victory, and don't see America as the good guys. Bravo! Another point for the Dolchstosslegende!

But the Americans as good guys has nothing at all to do with whether they're winning. You undermine yourself, "ex-liberal" -- by reverting to the Dolchstosslegende and advocating "optimism," "Americans are the good guys," etc., you're once again pushing the Dolchstosslegende, which is, as you've acknowledged, an admission of incipient defeat.

Shame on you, "ex-liberal."

Posted by: Gregory on November 8, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

I would have hoped Kevin could have introduced the topic without resorting to the insulting "PR campaign from General Petraeus" line....To dismiss all this by calling it a "PR campaign" is a bit beneath what I would have expected from Kevin.

The Time Has Come, the General’s Here: Petraeus Preps for Testimony on Iraq

By THOM SHANKER
Published: September 8, 2007

...The appearance will be the culmination of a carefully choreographed campaign that has included the lobbying of lawmakers by White House officials and supporters, and the coordination of a $15 million, 20-state television advertising blitz by a new group called Freedom’s Watch, led by a former White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer.

Military aides have coordinated the general’s schedule with the White House....

....A joint news conference by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker is scheduled for Wednesday. The venue will be a large public hall, not at the Pentagon or State Department....Interviews with television anchors and newspaper and magazine reporters are planned.

“Presidents galore have hidden behind the military and tried to use the military in war or national security situations in which there is controversy or their policies are under assault,” said Richard H. Kohn, a history professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who specializes in civilian-military relations.


Posted by: Stefan on November 8, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Should be interesting to see Josh's take, since he's been both a realist on Iraq and a big asset to the Democratic party grassroots. Posted by: Minneapolitan

True. Just don't bring up Israel. You'll find his position a lot closer to Marty Peretz than, say, Eric Alterman's.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

I would have hoped Kevin could have introduced the topic without resorting to the insulting "PR campaign from General Petraeus" line....To dismiss all this by calling it a "PR campaign" is a bit beneath what I would have expected from Kevin.

REPORT: Petraeus Spent At Least 17 Days In August Flacking For Bush’s Escalation

The Washington Post reported this weekend that the White House political office and Gen. David Petraeus’ unit have been “hard-wired” together, working jointly to “map out ways of selling the surge.”

....The White House has used Petraeus as a PR flack over and over again to sustain its failing Iraq strategy. Last month, Petraeus kicked his political activities into overdrive. He hosted over 38 congressional members inside the Green Zone, and he gave numerous radio, print and TV interviews.

ThinkProgress has compiled a report of Gen. Petraeus’ public activities in August which show that the top general in Iraq spent at least half the month flacking for Bush’s escalation. [bolding mine]

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/09/10/petraeus-august/

Posted by: Stefan on November 8, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

ex-human, we were the good guys in WWII. The other side were the torturers and abusers. But now, we are filling that role thanks to the Bush criminal and his enablers. Seems you're confusing the current America with that long-ago time before the Republicans took power.

As to establishing a stable democratic government in Iraq, there wan never any possibility of that. Never in the history of the world has a nation had a democracy been forcefully imposed on a group of disparate people pretending to be a nation. Ain't gonna happen, purple fingers notwithstanding. The current Iraqi government is hanging by a thread over here in the real world, and isn't ever going to be stable. Of course, over in Republican la-la-land, everything over there is great, and we can safely pretend that the Republican party isn't actively shitting on everything that made this country great.

What the polls are showing is that most Americans would like to see a stable democracy established here in this country, like the one we had back when we WERE the good guys.

Posted by: CN on November 8, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, "ex-liberal," I notice you failed to answer the question of "why are your claims of imminent victory any more credibile than the war apologists's bullshit claims over the past couple of years." But of course, we all know the answer to that one, right?

Posted by: Gregory on November 8, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of people are simply realizing that regardless of "how well the war is going", as far as they are concerned, the occupation of Iraq is all cost and no benefit. So they want out. It's pretty simple.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 8, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK


mccord...its even worse when you consider...

price of a barrel of oil on gwb's 1st day in office: $22.50

price of a barrel of oil at the close on 11/08/07: $95.46

Posted by: mr. irony on November 8, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of people are simply realizing that regardless of "how well the war is going", as far as they are concerned, the occupation of Iraq is all cost and no benefit.

One reason for that, of course, is that many war supporters prefer not to talk about thw costs. Which is a little odd, because so many of them won't pay any.

Posted by: Gregory on November 8, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Adding to Stefan's posts in response to Hacksaw's whining over the gross unfairness of calling Petraeus's PR effort a PR effort, I'd point out that the efforts of Davy P.'s own PR flack, Col. Steve "I Didn't Write It--It Was the Whiskey Speaking" Boylan are horrendously political, not to mention unprofessional, sophomoric and suggestive of severe emotional and/or mental problems.

That Petraeus chooses to keep him on speaks volumes about the general's own beliefs about exactly how information regarding this occupation should be spun and shaped. If Petraeus hadn't already managed to badly compromise his own credibility, starting with the 2004 pre-election op-ed he wrote and continuing through the August PR surge he starred in, Boylan's ongoing presence would have murdered Petraeus's believability all by itself.

Posted by: shortstop on November 8, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: "I believe we're going to win in Iraq."
How do you define "winning," ex-liberal, and what does "winning" look like to you? Are you seeing some political progress that the rest of us are missing?

Posted by: PSD on November 8, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of the war and the whole question of national security, one Democrat seems to have figured it out. No mystery which one. We'll see what happens next year. The public has been sold a conviction that Iraq is not worth it. Advertisng sells. They've been sold. The question is what happens when they realize that they bought something that wasn't true ? You can write nasty things about what I say but that won't affect what happens next year. None of us know.

Posted by: Mike K on November 8, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

LOL--your link's as non-functional as you are, as broken as Joe Lieberman's morals, Mike K. You always deliver...just never the message you're intending.

Posted by: shortstop on November 8, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII,

I think Josh's position regarding Israel is a far cry from Marty Peretz's knee-jerk vitriol. Josh supports a two-state solution with geographic contiguity within the West Bank. He was critical of the most recent war with Lebanon, and has been calling out the saber-rattlers regarding an attack on Iran. He's a rational, pragmatic, and most appealingly, non-angry supporter of Israel. That's my take from afar.

Posted by: Minneapolitan on November 8, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Similarly, since its sort of a stabilized catastrophe, people can look at it and say, "This is holding steady, and its bad. Let's get out of there right now..."
Posted by: do on November 8, 2007 at 2:44 PM
^^^^^^^^^
"Stabilized catastrophe". I like that. Just like the economy, too. It is like millions of asteroids are crashing into the Earth-but they are doing it at 2mph, they are relatively small, spread out all over the place, but some serious shit is gettin' broke anyhow.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 8, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

PSD: How do you define "winning," ex-liberal, and what does "winning" look like to you?

See my post above at 3:52 PM

Are you seeing some political progress that the rest of us are missing?

Yes. I see a functioning democracy. Those supposed to be elected were elected according to the Constitution. People who were supposed to leave office have done so, unlike Pakistan or Venezuela, e.g. Iraq has a free press that's reporting the activities of government. If Iraqi citizens don't like what their elected representatives are doing, they can vote for others to replace them.

What many call "lack of political progress" really just means "failure to pass laws that we think are a good idea." In particular, failure to pass an oil revenue sharing law.

First of all, even in the absense of this law, oil revenue is actually being shared. That shows a degree of cooperation.

Second, we may be wrong about the need for this law. After all, there's lots we Americans don't know about Iraqi culture.

Finally, even if this law is a good idea, that doesn't mean that the government will fall without it. We have lots of bad laws in the US, but the government muddles on. Iraqi democracy is in place. Once the terrorist attacks cease, the democracy will simply continue.

Gregory, I actually did respond to your question of "why are your claims of imminent victory any more credibile than the war apologists's bullshit claims over the past couple of years." I refuted the question's premise.

I pointed out that the war apologists had not been making such claims over the last couple of years. And, Michael Yon has been especially pessimistic, having been one of the first to call the situation in Iraq "civil war".

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 8, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

According to independant reporter Michael Yon, who I find trustworthy, the war is nearly won. As the reality gets out, opinion will gradually shift.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ex liberal, You are full of shit & lying. I also read Michael Yon and at no time does he say the Iraq War is almost won, or anything close to it. What He does say there is more reason for hope than ever before, but everything could still easily go sour. And he does say that our presence there is the last hope for the Iraqi people to live in a democracy. Another point he makes is there is widespread opposition for a permanent US force in Iraq, which falls far short of winning according to Bush.

I suggest people here read what he has to say for yourselves - Google Michael Yon, & click the first entry to go directly to his weblog.

BTW, you may also want to read his Oct 30 dispatch entitled "The Perfect Evil: Coming To Roost" concerning how we are losing Afghanistan.

Sorry about the rant, folks. I so often plead for reason on here, but this guy finally really, really got my goat.

Posted by: bob in fla on November 8, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry about the rant, folks. I so often plead for reason on here, but this guy finally really, really got my goat. Posted by: bob in fla

Rant? That's pretty mild compared to my frequent, foaming at the mouth, profanity-laced invective. Just try and remember Don't feed the trolls, and then you don't have to worry about coming off as bad as I do. Posters like ex-lax, Americanist, Al (if he's not just a parody any more) and Trashhauler just thrive on the attention.

Then again, if you like venting in such elegant fashion, party on!

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

bob in fla: You can judge Michael Yon's degree of optimism by what he said on the radio recently:

I don’t believe this is a lull. I believe this is the real thing. I believe that we’ve seen lulls before, and I’ve always been very circumspect on taking a chance and saying hey, this is the real thing. But I’ve seen a change in the mood of the people, and it’s remarkable. And I believe if we can just continue to help them progress, and we’ve got a little bit more serious fighting to do up in Ninewa Province, and then in Kirkuk and Salahaddin Province, and also out in Diayala Province, those four provinces. Other than that, I think really, it’s a matter of pouring on the juice and helping them to get this country going again. I mean, they’re just finished with the war, as long as we can help get the monkey off their back in the form of al Qaeda, which is pretty much crushed at this point. http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/blog/g/645fe332-765f-4ee4-940c-5819a72c2d44

As you point out, Yon says we are losing Afghanistan. That worries me. But, at least it shows that Yon isn't just a cheerleader. He calls 'em as he sees 'em.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 8, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

No, "ex-liberal," war proponents have been making bullshit pronouncements since the get-go, as you continue to do now. Your claims are no more credible now than they were then, as you continue to prove.

Posted by: Gregory on November 8, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of bullshit, "ex-liberal," you must have gotten a special sick thrill out of the bad faith inherent in quoting Hugh Hewitt's show. Why Kevin's moderator(s) tolerate you pissing on the floor in here with your insultingly obvious bad faith is a mystery.

Posted by: Gregory on November 8, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

The difference is, Stefan, that I would expect to read something like that from you. I think that generally Kevin is better than that, which is why I mentioned it.

Posted by: Hacksaw on November 8, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

I think Josh's position regarding Israel is a far cry from Marty Peretz's knee-jerk vitriol. Josh supports a two-state solution with geographic contiguity within the West Bank. He was critical of the most recent war with Lebanon, and has been calling out the saber-rattlers regarding an attack on Iran. He's a rational, pragmatic, and most appealingly, non-angry supporter of Israel. That's my take from afar. Posted by: Minneapolitan

Wish I'd saved the e-mail exchange I had with him about 18 months ago. Josh may be Mr. Even-Handed at TPM, but he does not take kindly to criticism of Israel privately.

Posted by: JeffII on November 8, 2007 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with ex lib that Michael Yon is not just another cheerleader for the war. Yon has his biases, which he is quite upfront about. While reading him, I keep those biases in mind.

From his dispatches, it seems quite clear there has been a remarkable change in the attitudes of the populace, which is good news. The fact that he often goes into the field with as few as one officer in the company of many Iraqi forces tends to prove his point, that the degree of mutual trust between Iraqi & American has never been higher. All this does not mean, however, the war is almost won, which Yon has also been very clear about.

There are circumstances at work which greatly narrow the window of opportunity he talks about. Number 1 is the necessity of drawing down the number of US boots on the ground, which has already just begun, because we are out of replacements. Another is the problem of Sadr's militia, the country's largest, being in a temporary cease fire; when that ends in about 4 months, what will he do? Who Knows? Keep in mind we will have about 20,000 less people on the ground at that time. Then there is Turkey vs. the PKK in the north, & the area around Basra, which is still a big question mark. Iran & Saudi Arabia will continue to arm insurgents into the forseeable future. While there is cooperation between the various ethnic groups locally, there is no such cooperation nationally.

Still progress is being made. The question is, is it enough progress happening fast enough? Another question: Is it worth it that we took the chance of losing Afghanistan, & possibly Pakistan, to get here?

Posted by: bob in fla on November 8, 2007 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

The difference is, Stefan, that I would expect to read something like that from you. I think that generally Kevin is better than that, which is why I mentioned it.

What do you mean "from me"? Both of my posts were direct quotes, one from a newspaper article and one from an analysis of Petraeus's publicly available schedule. If you have a specific factual counter-claim, make it, but smarmy insinuations based on nothing but hot air don't cut it around here.

Posted by: Stefan McGrath on November 8, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

"How do you define "winning"?"

When the other guy knows he's lost.

"Jihad has failed, former Libyan Islamist tells al-Qaeda"

http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=1.0.1524980329

Posted by: Mr. Forward on November 8, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, the link worked when I checked it before posting. I'm frankly surprised to see the post still there as your moderators have been deleting any post of mine with links. Maybe they just deleted the link this time. You apparently know what it is anyway. Great debating technique anyway.

Posted by: Mike K on November 8, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

I define "victory" as leaving Iraq in better condition than we found it, such that the outcome was worth the cost.

This occupation has already gone on longer than WWII. Victory today is no closer than it was last week, last month or last year, and the cost keeps growing.

American troops should leave now.

Posted by: Jalmari on November 9, 2007 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK
I define winning as Iraq having a stable, democratic government, with security adequate for the survival of that government.

Boy, not a word about a net gain in US security or reduction in anti-American sentiment worldwide. So you'd be OK if the Iraqi people elected Hamas to run the government?(yes, I know, Hamas is a Palestinian organization, I'm trying to make a point about democratically-elected governments.)

Posted by: kenga on November 9, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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