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Tilting at Windmills

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January 14, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

KRISTOL, WEEK 2....This week, in an apparent effort to make phoning it in look good, freshman New York Times columnist Bill Kristol tells us that the surge is teh awesome. Now that's fresh copy. I guess I was dead wrong about Kristol being a safe, predictable, boring choice for the Times op-ed page.

Kevin Drum 1:42 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (98)

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I hate to be so out-of-date, but what does "teh" mean? And, "meh"?

Posted by: Richard W. Crews on January 14, 2008 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

Next week: Democrats like big government. And Jimmy Carter mishandled the Iranian hostage crisis.

Posted by: Ned on January 14, 2008 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

meh = indifference - a verbal shrug of the shoulders

teh is much richer. See the wikipedia entry for a reasonably good guide.

Posted by: Pete Guither on January 14, 2008 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

The surge was a success, we won, let's leave without wasting one more life for US corporate profits.

Posted by: Don Bacon on January 14, 2008 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Sorry to go off topic, but when are you going to cover Clinton's (or her "allies" -- she always has implausible deniability) blatent attempt to disenfranchise 1000s of hotel and casino workers in Nevada, now that their union has endorsed Obama? You can read the story here:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/01/tough-guy-pol-1.html

and here:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/01/12/post_271.html?hpid=topnews

Please note that the procedure NOW being objected to was agreed to by all the campaigns 10 months ago in March 2007. The lawsuit was not filed until a week before the caucuses take place -- 2 days after the Culinary Workers Union endorsed Obama.

It seems Hillary will stop at nothing to win -- even Rove-Republican voter suppression tactics. (Of course, this doesn't jibe so well with her new "softer" image....)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago on January 14, 2008 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

By focusing on the surge, the Democrats allowed the Republicans to shift the narrative from how we got into the war to how we are going to end it.

This was (and continues to be) a mistake, because:

- It gets the feet of the Bush admin off the fire about starting the war.
- It levels the field -- because the Democrats have no magic wand to set things in Iraq right, nor a crystal ball to predict the outcome of every tactic at this stage.

This is the fruit of the decision of Democrats in Congress to make the conduct of the war their own problem and take all investigation of the Adminstration for starting it "off the table".

Posted by: JS on January 14, 2008 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

JS,
Except for historians, it's irrelevant how the US got into the war. Both parties were compliant. Now, it's how do we get out of it.

That's the problem with wars. They're easy to start and nearly impossible to end.

Posted by: Don Bacon on January 14, 2008 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

Except for historians, it's irrelevant how the US got into the war.

You might have a point, Don, if the bone of contention was the plan to get out, and not, as it is, whether we ought to get out at all.

How we got in, followed by how we ran the occupation are fundamental reasons why continuing the war is detrimental to US interest.

Posted by: Boronx on January 14, 2008 at 4:32 AM | PERMALINK

Don Bacon, this logic is what enebles Kristol, one of the prime movers behind this war, to now fly high and dump on the Democrats for getting the surge wrong. If we let this happen, we will see President McCain, Kristol will be exalted, and, as they promised, we will get more wars.

So yes, I think it's important to keep on the subject of whose fault Iraq was, especially in this election year.

Posted by: JS on January 14, 2008 at 4:52 AM | PERMALINK

How you guys got in is fundamental to prosecuting those responsible for the con. Something which IMESHO might actually work to restore U.S. standing in the world as opposed to sending Bill and George Sr. out on a dog and pony show which is somehow supposed to wow us foreigners back into line. Long live the Empire! (And it goes without saying that those who propose such a mission ain't gonna do any looking into the how you got where you are).

As for Mr. Kristol's conviction that his surrogate phallus is successfully surging ... uh, yeah, um, that's uh nice Bill...

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 14, 2008 at 4:55 AM | PERMALINK

Don Bacon: "The surge was a success, we won, let's leave without wasting one more life for US corporate profits."

Agreed. Hooray. Let's bring our troops home, because we want them to parade down Pennsylvania Ave. on Memorial Day, and then we can celebrate and party and get drunk and re-bond, before going to the polls in November to kick some GOP ass for putting them in that Mideast hellhole in the first place.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 14, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

The correction at the bottom of Kristol's column says it all...

(quote)

In last week’s column, I mistakenly attributed a quotation from Michael Medved to Michelle Malkin. I regret the error.

(end quote)

Neocon echo chamber. Tool. Fool. Waste of time.

Posted by: Neal on January 14, 2008 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the "correction to last week column" segment will be a weekly feature.

I don't think he really beat down Obama's and Clinton's idea very well. It strikes me as fairly plausible.

Let's not let Kristol rewrite history:

The main driving force for the initial "anbar awakening" was the realization that US was willing to take sides (fund and arm elements of the Sunni resistance) in an intra-sunni power struggle. We started that in 2005 on the Syrian border.

In September 2006 it was very obvious what the Democrats had the momentum for the November elections. The surge was not even on the table (although a certain presidential candidate was arguing for it). The official bush policy was that we were doing everything perfectly and didn't need any more troops.

That didn't change till January 10th 2007. It is commonly assumed that the reanalysis and announcement of the surge was a reaction to the electoral defeat in November 2006.

The one thing that is clear is that "the surge" was not responsible for the Anbar Awakening.

I think it's clear that Bush's declining domestic political fortunes actually forced the administration to reevaluate their policies including willingness to fund "terrorists" in Anbar, willingness to repeal debathification, willingness to pressure the iraqi government, and willingess to consider a surge. At the same time these declining fortunes gave the Iraqi resistance a light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. -- Barrack Obama, 2002

Dummies support dumb wars.

Posted by: Bob M on January 14, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

OTOH, Krugman's column is a thing of beauty. He suggests:

here’s a modest suggestion for political reporters. Instead of trying to divine the candidates’ characters by scrutinizing their tone of voice and facial expressions, why not pay attention to what they say about economic policy?

And then he succinctly compares and contrasts the three major Dem and four major GOP candidates' proposals to respond to the economic slump we seem to be headed into, within the confines of a single op-ed column.

Definitely recommended.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on January 14, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Clark Hoyt was on this yesterday, about the storm of complaint on Kristol. Of the two (of hundreds) quoted, one mentioned a public hanging of Kristol, which allowed Clark to go on about the uncivilized tone of complaint and nothing Kristol wrote being as bad as, the importance of diverse opinion, we already have a bunch of liberals, etc.

Nothing about his already working for Times competitor Murdoch. Nothing about his degradation of the debate and nothing about his advice being worth the output of a Magic 8 Ball.

I'd complain to Clark Hoyt but it's pretty obvious that Clark doesn't care. Back at ya, Clark.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on January 14, 2008 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Week 2 of surgery on my hard copy of the New York Times - my husband did it before I got to see the paper. If I want to read Kristol's sage writing will have to do it online.

Posted by: NYer on January 14, 2008 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Next column: Why we really need to have a military confrontation with that evil, evil Iran!

Posted by: Greg in FL on January 14, 2008 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Bill Kristol "tut-tutting" other people for being wrong? W...T...F??

Posted by: ckelly1 on January 14, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary's attempt to claim credit for the de-Baathification law is beyond parody. It's inconsistent to claim credit for success, while continuing to assert that success is not possible.

Here's a better response to Hillary's chutzpah:

A soldier who has just returned from service in Iraq with a fighting unit writes:

Having just gotten back from Iraq about a month ago, I'm stunned to see Hillary Clinton taking credit for the progress (political and otherwise) going on in Iraq. While she was jetting around the country, raising money for her personal political ambitions, I was riding around the streets of Iraq, fighting terrorists and raising the hopes of people I don't even know. For Clinton to suggest that her promises of future policies had more effect on the improvements in Iraq than even ONE of our soldiers is disgraceful and insulting. I will not allow her to take credit for the results of our hard work, especially when she opposed the policy to give us the help we needed ( i.e., the surge).

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/01/019532.php

George Bush long ago admitted that he was wrong about WMDs in Iraq. It's time for Dems to admit that they were wrong about the surge.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 14, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

taking credit for the progress (political and otherwise) going on in Iraq

What progress?

Posted by: ckelly on January 14, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

You would think that the neo-con cheerleaders would be more cautious with their declarations of victory after the "Mission Accomplished" and "Final Throes" disasters.

Wishing doesn't make it so.

Posted by: Stephen on January 14, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Part of the Surge was/is paying Sunni tribe $300
a month not to kill Shites
Is this diplomacy?

Posted by: apeman on January 14, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Neocon echo chamber. Tool. Fool.

Speaking of which, I note "ex-liberal" couldn't resist a typically dishonest post in defense of the failed neocon project in Iraq -- citing Powerline to ensure that his insulting bad faith would be crystal clear.

The surge failed to achieve the objectives Bush spelled out for it, period, full stop -- even the Administration's initial halfhearted attempts at obfuscation on the benchmarks seem to be no longer operative.

As predicted long ago by myself and others, the surge gave dishonest Administration apologists like "ex-liberal" an opportunity to cite "progress" in place of always-elusive "success" or "victory," thus punting the Iraq mess into the lap of the next Administration. After that, let the Dolchstosslegende commence. "ex-liberal"'s every post is a clear-cut confirmation of this agenda. One only wonders why Kevin's moderators tolerate this insultingly repetitive and dishonest propaganda.

Posted by: Gregory on January 14, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Part of the Surge was/is paying Sunni tribe $300 a month not to kill Shites / Is this diplomacy?

Actually, if you look at what Petraeus has actually done, given the inadequacy of even the "surged" forces to carry out the recommendations of his own counterinsurgency manuual, it looks more like "surrender."

Posted by: Gregory on January 14, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

apeman,

Actually you meant $300 a person each month, right?

Is it diplomacy? Well, kinda. It works in the short run to pay off your enemies, and the next election is all the Republicans worry about.

I think total it is costing us all about 3/4 $Billion a month, or was that 1/4 $Billion? No matter, really, it is cheap at the price if it keeps the Republicans elected. After all, it is not like they are spending their own money.

Posted by: Tripp on January 14, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Except for historians, it's irrelevant how the US got into the war. Both parties were compliant. Now, it's how do we get out of it.

This is basically apologist logic. Since the same people who go us into the war are the same people still running the war, and the people now in charge of getting us out of it, it's not irrelevant at all. Their motivations and methods remain the same, and we have to consider why and how they did things in the past when judging why and how they will continue to do things in the future.

Otherwise it's like saying "it's irrelevant how the drunk driver crashed into the ditch, what's relevant is his plan for continuing his drive home."

Posted by: Stefan on January 14, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary, Kerry, Edwards, and the other Democrats claim that they voted for the AUMF because they received assurances from the president that it was needed to put the inspectors in place.

If that's true, and if Bush misled them on this as clearly as Hillary claims -- shouldn't Congress hold him accountable for this lying? Doesn't this qualify as a high misdemeanor? In any case, such assurances must have come from Bush at some specific time and in some specific form. The details of this should be made public -- because either Bush lied then or Hillary is lying now. And in this election year, it's important to know.

Posted by: JS on January 14, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Bush and Rumsfeld were talking publicly, also, about the need for the AUMF -- but Hillary has referred to private assurances that were more specific.

Posted by: JS on January 14, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Why should we expect Kristol to do any better? His role models are what? Talking heads at Faux News, columns at The Weekly Standard and the National Review, etc. OK, his first two columns were awful when compared to some of the stuff one reads at the NYTimes (mind you I only use David Brooks columns to line my bird cages) but when compared to something Jonah Goldberg (who infested my LATimes for a while) or Rich Lowry might write, this stuff ain't that bad.

Posted by: pgl on January 14, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: As predicted long ago by myself and others, the surge gave dishonest Administration apologists like "ex-liberal" an opportunity to cite "progress"

Now that we're regularly seeing good news from Iraq, some are flailing around to deal with their opposition to the surge. There seems to be number of excuses, some of them contradicting others:

1. There's no real improvement in Iraq.

2. There are improvements in Iraq, but they're not due to the surge:
2a) Credit goes to Sunni leaders
2b) Credit goes to comments by Hillary and other Dems

3. There are improvements in Iraq, but they won't last

4. The surge may be working, but even so the cost was too great.

Any other alabis or excuses that I missed?

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 14, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

The penultimate paragraph is especially good.

Posted by: Brian on January 14, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

How many dead Iraqis did it take to get to this point? How has this trillion dollar rathole improved our national security? What possible difference does it make to the dead that you've finally stopped making things worse every day?

Posted by: heavy on January 14, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: When assigning blame about Iraq, what's important is not how the latest surgery is working. It's who shot the patient in the head for no good reason in the first place.

So what if the Democrats were wrong about one specific turn of events? Does that change the overall responsibility and culpability of the Republicans for this historic disaster? And doesn't it take a lot of chutzpah for the one who pulled the trigger to be criticizing one of the doctors about suggested treatment options?

Posted by: JS on January 14, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, ex-liberal--

What were those deferments for during the Vietnam War? Were you just too chickenshit to fight for your country?

I see you're still asking for "Mary Martin and Ethel Merman - Their Legendary Appearance on the Ford 50th Anniversary Show (1953)" on your Amazon.com wishlist--why haven't you updated it lately?

Is an answer forthcoming or are you just too chickenshit?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 14, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

There are many reasons for the falloff in violence over the past few months.

The so-called "Anbar Awakening" is a double-edged sword, with the U.S. paying and arming an unstable coalition of local Sunni tribal chieftains and warlords to fight against their fundamentalist Sunni power rivals who call themselves "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia." Unfortunately, some tribal leaders have made it clear to their American military liaisons that, once their annoying AQIM rival is neutralized, they intend to turn their brand-new American-supplied weaponry on the Shi'ite-led Iraqi government (if they don't first collapse into a local civil war among the Sunni tribes for dominance of al-Anbar).

This is yet another example of the sort of short-sighted Reagan policy that led to the funding and arming of both Islamic fundamentalists and tribal warlords to fight the USSR in Afghanistan. After the Russians left, the warlords began a brutal civil war, while the fundamentalists began switching their hatred and rage to their one-time armorers, the United States. The CIA uses the term "blowback" to refer to the unanticipated negative consequences of short-term, poorly-thought-out strategies.

And, as pointed out already here, it had nothing to do with the surge.

The lowered violence in Baghdad is due to several factors. The surge did quiet some neighborhoods. But, then, that is not unique for the application of military presence. After all, Saddam used his Republican Guard to keep the lid on sectarian violence for decades. The heavy-handed presence of the Nazi Army did likewise all through occupied Europe. So did the Soviet Union in the Balkans after World War II, and we see what happened there the minute the occupying troops were withdrawn.

Also, most of Baghdad has now been successfully ethnically cleansed. What was a 65% Sunni majority in pre-invasion Baghdad is now an 85% Shi'ite majority. The few Sunnis who haven't been killed or forced out of town now live in ethnic enclaves, surrounded by fences and guarded from the Shi'ites by American patrols and outposts.

An estimated three million Iraqis, including most of the middle class necessary to restore Iraq to a working society, have fled the country, while another two million are internal refugees, forced out of their homes and neighborhoods into internal exile.

another factor is Muqtada al-Sadr's strategic decision to disengage his Mehdi militia in Baghdad for the time being, presumably to wait out the surge and the likely fall from grace of al-Maliki in the near future.

The entire southern half of Iraq is now in the hands of the Shi'ites, with virtually no western military presence. Already, factions there have begin bloody battles for ultimate control (figures not reported in the administration's shrinking casualty reports because they are Shi'a on Shi'a violence). Yet, the ultimate fate of Iraq very much depends on this struggle between those Shi'ites who are ardently pro-Iranian, and those who are more nationalist and don't want to cede their power to Iran, but merely be their allies.

Meanwhile, in Kurdish Iraq, the Kurds are supporting and providing sanctuary to groups of Kurdish terrorists who are infiltrating into Turkey and (though the American media rarely mention it) into Iran to commit terrorist acts in an attempt to expand the territory of a new "Kurdistan." Both Turkey and Iran have been increasingly responding to these attacks by artillery and rocket barrages into Iraq and, at least in Turkey's case, military incursions into Iraqi territory - threatening to turn the Iraq war into a theater war.

Add to all this the fact that more Americans were killed in 2007 (surge notwithstanding) than in any year, and even more Iraqis died in 2007 than in any year except 2006, it is difficult to swallow the Kristol attempt to spin this as yet another "Mission Accomplished," let alone even a significant improvement.

And, BTW, while only 23 Americans were killed in December (an average of 0.74 a day), already the increasing violence of the new year has seen 19 American deaths in less than half of January (an average of 1.36 deaths a day). That is a higher rate than any of the preceeding three months and may presage an end to the current lull in violence.

Meanwhile, the Maliki-led central government, while making token gestures to meet some of Bush's "milestones," is basically powerless and most of its remaining members don't dare venture outside the Green Zone.


Posted by: Blue Sun on January 14, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, every thread you show your sad-sack face on, I will call you out publicly.

How many deferments did you ask for and receive during the Vietnam war?

Do you ever think about the men who went in your place?

Did one of them die, so you could turn your back as soon as it was convenient for you to do so?

But being the shameless, loathsome neo-con toad you are, you don't even have the balls to answer a question when you are called out.

You were then and shall forever remain, a chickenshit.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 14, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Mearsheimer's and Walt's book The Israel Lobby should be required reading for all Americans. Ridiculous we should put the interests of Israel before our own to the extent of fighting their wars of choice.

Posted by: Luther on January 14, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK
Any other alabis or excuses that I missed? ex-lax at 1:33 PM
Er, Dave, --- may I call you Dave? --- Here's is your Dear Leader's own standard, your escalation has failed. It's time for you to join up and save the day. Bring home the refugees. Bring the dead back to life. Restore society and infrastructure.

(It's spelled a-l-i-b-i. Town clerks should know that better than anyone.)

Posted by: Mike on January 14, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

George Bush long ago admitted that he was wrong about WMDs in Iraq.
It's time for Dems to admit that they were wrong about the surge.

Really? What was your position on a surge before Bush suggested it? Oh,
that's right, you were against more troops in either Iraq or
Afghanistan because to admit that adding forces in either area would
help would be to admit that Bush was failing at his job.

I am dubious that a brief "surge" will turn the tide.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 19, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Even if we had put more troops into Afghanistan, the Taliban dead-enders
and drug lords would likely still be fighting.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 8, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Dishonest much?

Posted by: trex on January 14, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Bush ia now talking of stopping the troop reduction and McCain is talking of staying for a hundred years...how is either one of these signs that the surge has worked?

Recall: "As the Iraqis stand up we will stand down."

Kristol is irrelevent.

Posted by: Ya Know.... on January 14, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry to go off topic, -Jim in Chicago

Then dont do it.

Posted by: Ya Know.... on January 14, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Now that we're regularly seeing good news from Iraq

Ah, the dishonest opening assertion -- a favorite tic of "ex-liberal"'s; it makes the insultingly bad faith of his posts all too clear.

a) We aren't "regularly" seeing good news out of Iraq (and would this alleged regular seeing of good news be by the same so-called "liberal media" your Dolchstosslegende claims refuses to carry good news? Talk about contradictory!). And as has been pointed out before -- but "ex-liberal" is too dishonest to acknowledge -- the recent so-called "de-Baathification" law is not good news at all, nor is the US arming and funding all sides in a civil war (in an unaccountable fashion, yet!). And while the downtick in violence is welcome, only a dishonest tool like "ex-liberal" crow about violence returning to the unacceptable levels of 2006. (Except it's perfectly acceptable to "ex-liberal," because he nor his aren't susceptible to said violence.)

some are flailing around to deal with their opposition to the surge

Not at all; bonus straw man points, though, for employing Bush's "some are saying" straw man construction. Posting such a disingenuous argument must have given you a special sick thrill.

There seems to be number of excuses, some of them contradicting others

Well, we do need to note that at long last "ex-liberal" acknowledges the repeated refutations of his bullshit neocon talking points. Previously his tack was to ignore them unless they gave him an opportunity to cite another bullshit neocon talking point.

Note, too, "ex-liberal"'s feeble attempt to distract from his failure to address my original criticism -- that "ex-liberal"'s dishonest propaganda falls exactly into line with the predictions of myself and others -- that the surge would fail to meet its stated goals, but that dishonest tool like Petraeus and "ex-liberal" would instead point to "progress" in an attempt to punt Bush's failure in Iraq into the lap of the next President, at which point the Dolchstosslegende will fire up in earnest.

There's no question about "ex-liberal"'s eager, if reprehensible, participation in this dishonest propaganda campaign. The only question is why Kevin's moderator(s) now censor the current iteration of "Al" yet tolerate "ex-liberal" pissing on the floor in here with his repetitive and insulting bad faith bullshit.

Posted by: Gregory on January 14, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's time for Dems to admit that they were wrong about the surge. -ex-liberal.

If the surge worked we would be leaving Iraq not planning to stay for another ten to fifty years.

Why is it so difficult for the people that keep falling for the 'mission accomplished' over and over to realise they are being flimm flammed?

Mission accomplished, purple fingers, Iraq is sovereign, surge has worked...etc etc

The only thing that people who ingest this bile accomplish is exacerbating a bad idea.

Posted by: Ya Know.... on January 14, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, there's a certain grim irony in "ex-liberal" unleashing this tide of repetitive bullshit in the comments to a post noting that his neocon fellow traveler William Kristol is also a dishonest, mendacious, repetitive hack...

Posted by: Gregory on January 14, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

trex, I had forgotten that post. I admit I was wrong to be so pessimistic about the surge. Will you do the same?

Mike, your cite is from Sept 11, 2007. A lot has changed in the last 4 months, as is shown at the chart of civilian casualties in Iraq at http://engram-backtalk.blogspot.com/2008/01/on-left-troop-surge-is-failure.html#links I believe Kevin linked to this same chart a few days ago.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 14, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

In other news, 'down' has been taking a decidedly 'up' look recently, but the libricals don't want you to realize it.

Posted by: hexatron on January 14, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

We have a Jew arguing that inflicting a near-holocaust on an innocent, secular people who posed no real threat to us or to Israel is a good thing. No good Jew would believe that.

Posted by: bob h on January 14, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

The whole purpose of the surge(tm) was to give the political parties 'breathing room' to push for national reconciliation. Has that even remotely happened yet?

Posted by: SK on January 14, 2008 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

I admit I was wrong to be so pessimistic about the surge.

So in your view, you were wrong about the surge and yet you neither disclosed your former position nor thought twice before deriding others for being wrong about the some thing?

That's seedy.

Will you do the same?

Why would I? I'm not wrong. When the surge was implemented violence skyrocketed. Feb '06 thru Aug '06 saw unprecedented levels of violence, and wingnuts everywhere attributed said violence to the surge as being only "natural."

The violence died down when our efforts to buy off Sunni insurgents began to pay off, along with the Sunnis' decision to suppress Islamist groups. The surge was merely political cover for Bush's massive debacle that got lucky with some unrelated developments on the ground. There things happen.

I understand from this thread that you received deferments rather then fight in Vietnam. Was that another instance of you being conveniently "wrong" about something in hindsight while others died for your sins?

Posted by: trex on January 14, 2008 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Casualties are down in Iraq, ex-liberal. Have a cigar.

If you want non-abusive debate, you'd be wise not to label the positions you listed as 'excuses'. By doing so, you suggest that those positions are in some way obviously or empirically invalid. You have done nothing like demonstrate that.

If Iraqis *stopped* unneccesarily dying violently for no good reason *tomorrow*, and as of today they have *not* stopped, don't confuse decline with cessation - but if, it doesn't magically validate you, George Bush, or the Republican party for finally stanching the bleeding from their stupid, pointless mistake. It doesn't erase the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have already died violently for no good reason. You can be basically compared to someone expecting us to applaud a serial murderer for his promise to stop killing people. It may be a good thing that it happens, but he doesn't become a hero.

Posted by: glasnost on January 14, 2008 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, here's the damning post by ex-liberal I'd been searching for. When asked by a progressive poster here why Bush wasn't committing more troops to Iraq, ex-liberal asserted:

As I said, I don't think Iraq now needs more American troops. It needs the Iraqi troops to be deployed more effectively. There are over 300,000 Iraqi security forces. Their fighting capability, training, and equipment isn't up to American standards, but it must be better than the insurgents.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 29, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, this post reveals you to be an unprincipled Bush defender. You were dead set against a surge when the absence of one made Bush look bad. Then you were all for it when he became all for it.

Now that you've been outed as a fraud I assume you will be moving on to another blog, yes?

Posted by: trex on January 14, 2008 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal did forget one more excuse/denial/what-have-you: the surge has no actual purpose beyond itself. It's a tactic that dimwits are somehow conflating with a strategy. And even its success as a tactic is very much up in the air, seeing as the general anti-surge consensus was that it was an inherently temporary measure and that violence would go back up as soon as the surge drew down. So, last time I checked, the war has still achieved almost none of its pre-war objectives- no WMDs, no viable secular state in the middle of the Arab world, no 9/11 connection, no deterrence to Islamic guerilla activity either in Iraq or elsewhere, and so on down the line. So what is it that the surge is possibly supposed to "win?"

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