Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 26, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

SURGE UPDATE....I guess the surge is working so well that we have to keep it up forever:

The Pentagon is projecting that when the United States troop buildup in Iraq ends in July there will be about 8,000 more troops on the ground than when it began in January 2007, a senior general said Monday.

Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, head of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that by July the troop total was likely to be 140,000. There were 132,000 troops there when President Bush approved orders to send five more Army brigades to Iraq to improve security and avert civil war.

....Asked if the total would be below 132,000 by the time President Bush leaves office next January, General Ham said, "It would be premature to say that."

I think this means that Atrios wins a bet or something.

Kevin Drum 2:02 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (63)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Atrios sure has been calling it right from the beginning, hasn't he? Iraq will be the most important issue in the Presidential elections of 2012.

Posted by: Rick Taylor on February 26, 2008 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

I think it means too many Americans remain in harm's way while the corrupt Iraqi government stays on the dole and the major oil companies continue to rake in record profits.

In Oregon now, we're paying the highest pump prices we ever have seen (about $3.34/gal for regular at Chevron).

And it means Bush can't be trusted with any projections and a lot of people died for absolutely nothing that's benefited our country in any way.

Otherwise, it's not a big deal...

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on February 26, 2008 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

It's going to be very difficult for any Democratic President to withdraw, not if s/he intends to be re-elected.

When troops are drawn down, it will most likely be done by a Republican, and people will say, "It took a Nixon to go to China." But Nixon's trip to China wasn't because Republicans had some magically better foreign policy, it's because Republicans would never let a Democrat do the right thing.

Posted by: jerry on February 26, 2008 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

I need a Prozac.

Posted by: Anon on February 26, 2008 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

When troops are drawn down, it will most likely be done by a Republican

and if the oil taps run dry on a Democrat's watch?

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 26, 2008 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

And what will be the number of US paid mercenaries there?

Posted by: Keith G on February 26, 2008 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the US troops finally left Vietnam. The blame came later as a political spoof to blame Democrats for an unwinnable war lost.

I can't tell you if it is the psyche or the politics, but the US loves simple declarative explanations for complicated problems. Hence "dominoe theory" or "reshaping the Middle East". For those in power it seems irresistable to be drawn to the idea that the US will bring victory and good wherever they go. It's the fabric of mythological USA.

So the US is relearning (or not) just 30 years after the last major mistake -- this one less in life (for the US) and more in treasure.

Bottom line, of course any general wants more troops, equipment and firepower rather than less to execute any given task or achieve any given objective. That's a given. It is also the generals responsibility to say what can possibly be achieved with the means available under the constraints applied. It's the responsibility of the politicians to limit the generals resources, proscribe the limits of warfare, and define the objectives, and listen to the generals.

The problem today and ever since 11th September 2001 is that noone in the administration is fulfillilng their responsibilities or listening, and the generals folded to the administration.

We will all breath a sigh of relief when the US leaves Iraq. Another unwinnable war.

Posted by: notthere on February 26, 2008 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Iraq's government on Sunday urged Turkey to withdraw its ground forces from northern Iraq, where they are battling Kurdish rebels, and to sit down for talks to resolve the crisis.

Posted by: bad credit credit cards on February 26, 2008 at 3:40 AM | PERMALINK

Iraq's government on Sunday urged Turkey to withdraw its ground forces from northern Iraq, where they are battling Kurdish rebels, and to sit down for talks to resolve the crisis.

Turkey invading Kurdistan? Honestly, whodathunkit?

It would have been better if we had a government agency that could have come up with a list of possible alternative outcomes to invading Iraq before the war.

Posted by: H. Salt, Esq. on February 26, 2008 at 4:03 AM | PERMALINK

Rolling Stone has a great article this month called “The Myth of the Surge”. We are paying Sunni groups $32 million a month for their loyalty. General David Petraeus is the largest extortionist in American history. What a joke. How stupid can the American public be???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 26, 2008 at 5:56 AM | PERMALINK

there's absolutely no sense to the left's position on Iraq: there's only one question that matters - is it best to have a stable Iraq or an unstable one? McCain no doubt regrets his '100 years' statement but his point is still valid: it's to no one's benefit if Iraq destabilizes and that's what dictates the troop presence. The democrats have boxed themselves into a corner for even if you accept their naive logic on troop withdrawal you have to ask yourself what happens if once we withdraw Iraq plunges into chaos? Will it be president Obama's position that we stand on the sidelines and do nothing? Will he allow Iran to fill the vacuum? Democrats are already congratulating themselves on how a president Obama is going to end the war - but only an absolute fool believes it can be that simple.

Posted by: heeltoe on February 26, 2008 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

How could atrios win anything - all he does is link to other sites and lead a comment board of childish snark and insults?

He never says anything of substance that was not lifted from someone else and the fake "advertise liberally" crowd is anything but liberal.

But they have proven that if you link back and forth endlessly, you can fool a lot of people by entrapping them in an endless cycle of links.

Posted by: little bear on February 26, 2008 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK

How stupid can the American public be???

Evidently, from the number of mindless comments on atrio's board, the stupidity is endless.

To say that atrios somehow had some insightful perspective on this is also proof of ignorance.

Posted by: little bear on February 26, 2008 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

"a lot of people died for absolutely nothing "

No, they died to keep the American people entertained. War is a game for them--like football or basketball. It is an aphrodisiac and a "legal" way to get high.

Bring it on.


Posted by: x on February 26, 2008 at 7:23 AM | PERMALINK

The people are not amused.

Posted by: Kenji on February 26, 2008 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

The blame came later as a political spoof to blame Democrats for an unwinnable war lost.

Try telling John McCain the Vietnam War was "unwinnable".

Posted by: Lucy on February 26, 2008 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

More than anything else the lack of any public shame, remorse or embarrassment for their actions is most galling. Bush is but one of dozens of sociopaths in this administration. Sometimes you draw satisfaction from knowing a person's misdeeds come back to haunt them, the guilt weighing them down and hounding them. Not with this crew. They'll just retire and spend the rest of their lives counting their money.

Posted by: steve duncan on February 26, 2008 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

The coalition of the willing is once again growing and all you guys can do is hide your head in the sand and stare at few papers from the Pentagon. Turkey now has between 1 and 10k troops in Iraq. They may now outnumber British, Georgian, and Australian troops combined. Iran is now reinforcing their presence on the border in response. Syria and Jordan have likewise militarized their borders and are clamping down on the passage of potential Iraqi terrorists/refugees out of Iraq. Local muslim nations are showing their willingness to step up to the plate.

Posted by: john on February 26, 2008 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

It's funny because so many were griping about how the military was over-stretched and needed relief before the surge. The surge didn't work well enough to stop the need for a lot of manpower, though, so now we're leaving in more guys than when we started.

As for the comment at 8:17 about the "coalition of the willing," that's a joke. Look at how many other coalition members screwed us- turned out to not really be helping us, or to waste money we gave them for fighting terrorism. Bush offends other countries so bad that when they agree to "help" him, they just decide to swindle him, to make him a stupid American sucker. It's a typical example of refusing to acknowledge that all the military actions are doing little to convert the Iraqi people from thinking they need to fight us and each other. It's like trying to romance a girl who hates country music with country music-- she makes it well known that she hates it, so then you decide to just try more of it. That doesn't work. You have to try something different.

Posted by: Swan on February 26, 2008 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

I wrote:

It's a typical example of refusing to acknowledge that all the military actions are doing little to convert the Iraqi people from thinking they need to fight us and each other.

That is, the comment at 8:17 is.

Posted by: Swan on February 26, 2008 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

"Try telling John McCain the Vietnam War was "unwinnable"."

And what great insight does John McCain have on this question? His plane got shot down and he was kept in a POW camp, where, to his credit, he, like most American POW's, didn't embarass himself. The war was, in fact, unwinnable on any reasonable terms no matter what McCain's emotional reaction to that simple statement of fact might be.

Posted by: CJColucci on February 26, 2008 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

[Trolling Deleted]

Posted by: ex-liberal on February 26, 2008 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

john: Local muslim nations are showing their willingness to step up to the plate.

Regional players will tend to "step up to the plate" when the guy on the mound is pitching regional war.

Posted by: JM on February 26, 2008 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Evidently we lost WW2 and won the Vietnamese War.

And the situation in 1940s Europe and in Vietnam is exactly the same as in present day Iraq!

Posted by: JM on February 26, 2008 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Fuck you, ex-liberal. That you have the gall to even mention Vietnam, after you dodged the draft for a full decade and let other men die in your place without so much as a twinge of conscience is sickening.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on February 26, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Rick Taylor, it will be that important because either Schmuck Talk will have us there for 1,000 years, or Obama will have actually done little about Iraq, depending on who is elected.

I stopped reading Atrios years ago, for exactly the reasons Little Bear mentions.

Speaking of Rolling Stone, in a previous issue, Matt Taibbi called Harry Reid the Matt Taibbi "biggest pussy" on Iraq.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 26, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

And the situation in 1940s Europe and in Vietnam is exactly the same as in present day Iraq!-jm

Really, or are you being facetious? They pretty much seem each unique to their own historical perspectives, certainly WWII and Vietnam had totally different reasons and origins of cause for engagement, not to mention the separate, and very different out comes. There are similarities with Iraq and Viet, in that we initiated military engagements, fairly unprovoked, (unless you felt threated by Saddam shooting a few rounds into the air from a balcony, while disparaging the U.S.) and have ended up fighting an insurgent quantity, and in the case of Iraq, a very complicated one. We did not do so well with the rather straight forward insurgency within the Vietnam war, this current one in Iraq will be impossible to sort out, not to mention the long tired world history of failed occupations and righteous insurgencies. It is very simple, the longer we stay in that region as a military presence, the longer "terrorism" will continue on a global level.

As far as our military is concerned, the concept of less is more is not something these folks typically entertain in their culture of over kill...it will always be more, just look at the price tag to date.

Posted by: benm erc on February 26, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry for the snark. The point I was trying to make is that ISTM there's an effort to find a negative in Iraq. Many indicators are looking positive. It seems like a stretch to focus on someone's prediction of whether the number of troops there 11 months from now will be above or below 132,000.

Posted by: ex-liberal on February 26, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

A permanent US presence in Iraq is the goal of the war, whether you're a bone-headed imperialist, a corrupt oil man or a Jihadi.

The only people who want otherwise are ordinary Iraqis and Americans, but we don't count.

Posted by: Boronx on February 26, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

What we're doing in Iraq has never been defined or limited. It's a whack-a-mole game. As a result, there's "success" but never Success. It's a con game with lots of death and large contracts and the side-effect that we're now in the business of torture.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 26, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

there's only one question that matters - is it best to have a stable Iraq or an unstable one?

Duh! A stable one (unlike now), which requires removing the provocation of a foreign, infidel occupier that drew foreign fighters into the country.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 26, 2008 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

there's only one question that matters - is it best to have a stable Iraq or an unstable one?

To follow on with Grand Moff Texan, that is not the question at all. Of course it's best to have a stable Iraq. The question is, is the US capable of achieving that goal at an acceptable cost of blood and treasure? The evidence so far is that the answer is no.

Posted by: Gregory on February 26, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Many indicators [in Iraq] are looking positive.

Really?

General(Ret) Barry McCaffrey just returned from a trip to Iraq. The highlights:

Iraq Army
The ISF still lacks credibility as a coherent counter-insurgency and deterrent force. It has no national logistics and maintenance system.

Iraq government
There is no functional central Iraqi Government. Incompetence, corruption, factional paranoia, and political gridlock have paralyzed the state.

local government
The US company and battalion commanders now operate as the de facto low-level government of the Iraqi state…schools, health, roads, police, education, governance.

sunni
The Sunnis Arabs have stopped seeing the US as the enemy and are now cooperating to eliminate AQI -- and to position themselves for the next phase of the Civil War when the US Forces withdraw.

shia
There is no clear emerging nation-wide Shia leadership for their 60% of the Iraqi population. It is difficult to separate either Shia or Sunni political factions from Mafia criminal elements-- with a primary focus on looting the government financial system and oil wealth of the nation.

kurds [before the Turkish invasion]
The Kurds are a successful separate autonomous state---with a functioning and rapidly growing economy, a strong military (Both existing Pesh Merga Forces and nominally Iraqi-Kurdish Army divisions), a free press, relative security, significant foreign investment, and a growing tourist industry which serves as a neutral and safe meeting place for separated and terrified Sunni and Shia Arab families from the south.
http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/documents/iraqaardec2007.pdf

Posted by: Don Bacon on February 26, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

I want a stable Iraq. And a pony. And a million dollars.

It's interesting that the people who once upon a time were arguing that we would be welcomed in the streets of Baghdad with showers of roses and little American flags, now are arguing that the situation over there is such a colossal catastrophuck that we can never leave.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 26, 2008 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

OT: Dodd endorses Obama.

Please cover your mouth when you yawn.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 26, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

And the situation in 1940s Europe and in Vietnam is exactly the same as in present day Iraq!-jm

benm erc: Really, or are you being facetious?

Facetious.

Posted by: JM on February 26, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

there's only one question that matters - is it best to have a stable Iraq or an unstable one?

No, the question that matters is it possible for US efforts to achieve a stable Iraq at a reasonable cost in lives and money, taking into account the opportunity cost of staying in Iraq while losing time, opportunities and alliances elsewhere, and for what ultimate purpose? The answer to that question is quite clearly no.

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2008 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Lucy wrote: "Try telling John McCain the Vietnam War was 'unwinnable'."

I am not a military strategist, and I don't know whether or not the Vietnam war was "winnable" or "unwinnable".

I do know, and would be happy to tell John McCain, that the Vietnam war was a war of unprovoked imperialist aggression and a crime against humanity, which like the invasion of Iraq was based on lies about a nonexistent "threat", which directly caused the deaths of millions of innocent Vietnamese civilians, and the deaths of some 50,000 Americans.

I would be happy to tell John McCain that the politicians who sent him to Vietnam to kill innocent Vietnamese with bombs, and subsequently to suffer in captivity as a prisoner of war, were corrupt liars, and that it is very unfortunate that he himself has become a corrupt liar just like them, ready to send more people to kill and suffer and die in yet another war of unprovoked imperialist aggression based on lies.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

"McCain no doubt regrets his '100 years' statement but his point is still valid: it's to no one's benefit if Iraq destabilizes and that's what dictates the troop presence. The democrats have boxed themselves into a corner for even if you accept their naive logic on troop withdrawal you have to ask yourself what happens if once we withdraw Iraq plunges into chaos?"

Hey, if we can NEVER allow Iraq to destabilize, and that's what dictates the troop presence, why should McCain regret his statement that he'd be fine with having American troops there for ten thousand years? He's just following your assumptions to their logical conclusion. If the elected Iraqi government likes being propped up by the American military better than going it alone, we simply have to stay there, right? Just because our stupid little Commander Codpiece executed a terrible idea in the worst possible way in 2003, we are committed to ten centuries of enabling corrupt Shi'ites to profit from their country's oil and contracts to provide services to the U.S. military. Sounds sensible to me. We've seen lots of commitments like that kept throughout world history, although none come to mind right off the bat.

Here's the part that really puzzles me. McCain "explained" his 100 years remark by qualifying it. "As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. That’s fine with me, I hope that would be fine with you, if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Queada is training and equipping and recruiting and motivating people every single day." When does the part about the Americans not being injured, harmed, wounded or killed start? He didn't specify how many years of mayhem on American soldiers we're supposed to accept before the 100 years of peace begin. I suspect the "years of peace" will always start next year, according to the McCain plan. And the air strikes against Iraqis will continue forever.


Posted by: cowalker on February 26, 2008 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Sorry for the snark.

Sure you are -- you post insultingly bad-faith bullshit here all the time, so your lame attempt to redeem your nonexistent credibility as an honest commentator is wasted breath.

It is interesting, though, to see the failure of Iraq -- and, implicitly, your own propagandizing on behalf of Bush and the neocons -- getting under your skin.

The point I was trying to make is that ISTM there's an effort to find a negative in Iraq.

Sure it seems that way to you -- dishonest war cheerleaders like you have been bitching about "we aren't reporting on all the painted schools" throughout the insurgency that people like you first denied was happening.

There's no need to make an effort to find a negative in Iraq, you simpleton -- Iraq is a bloody mess, a tremendous cost in lives -- both American and Iraqi -- and American treasure and prestige. The surge failed by most of Bush's own benchmarks. And the American people are rightly sick of it.

Many indicators are looking positive.

You've been yammering -- predictably -- about "progress" to maks the stench of failure in Iraq for months now. That dog just won't hunt any more.

It seems like a stretch to focus on someone's prediction of whether the number of troops there 11 months from now will be above or below 132,000.

No, it doesn't, when it represents yet another in a long string of missed benchmarks and broken promises.

No one is convinced by your bad-faith propaganda, "ex-liberal." Why do you keep insulting this forum with your repetitive bullshit?

Posted by: Gregory on February 26, 2008 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Guerrilla wars (aka "insurgencies") are always unwinnable. They are political conflicts that cannot be won conventionally, even with overwhelming force. Why? Because the combatants aren't armies, they're civilians, usually with legitimate political objectives (overthrowing a corrupt South Vietnamese government or throwing off French colonial rule in Algeria). Bush invaded Iraq for many reasons (to have U.S. troops protecting oil company profits, to get U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia where they were a threat to the royal family, to funnel obscene amounts of money to his Republican friends) but a big one was to put Democrats in a box: either keep us in a bankrupting quagmire or be blamed for (horrors!) losing a war. The most immoral thing about the illegal invasion of Iraq was that it had nothing to do with national security and everything to do with politics, Karl Rove's "permanent Republican majority" that could be bought at the "small" price of thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. There's a special place in hell for Bush and Cheney and I hope they both get there real soon.

Posted by: dalloway on February 26, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Atrios has been right so often for so long that he attracts the stupidest trolls. Makes for entertaining reading until you realize the trolls can vote--then it gets scary.

Posted by: tom on February 26, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK
The point I was trying to make is that ISTM there's an effort to find a negative in Iraq.

Finding a negative in Iraq takes about as much effort as finding saltwater in the Pacific Ocean.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 26, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

How could atrios win anything - all he does is link to other sites and lead a comment board of childish snark and insults?

Also, his blog is a stupid color, and he de-linked me just because I don't have a blog anymore.

Posted by: Michael Brub on February 26, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

We don't have a surge. We have an occupation.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 26, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on February 26, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't we just make Iraq a state? Then it won't be an occupation and we won't have troops serving overseas anymore.

Posted by: tomeck on February 26, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Michael, I think someone (maybe Floyd Alvis Cooper?) told me it was because Atrios could never figure out whether the accents were grave or aigu. And him a Doctor and all!

Posted by: SFAW on February 26, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

"It seems like a stretch to focus on someone's prediction of whether the number of troops there 11 months from now will be above or below 132,000."

totally dudeit's pointless. (except to those people whose spouses, parents, sons, or daughters are among the 132,000 americans in iraq.)

Posted by: cha cha cha on February 26, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

it's to no one's benefit if Iraq destabilizes
I wish someone had informed the President of this before he ordered the invasion.

Posted by: chasmrich on February 26, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy wrote: "Try telling John McCain the Vietnam War was 'unwinnable'."

There's a fascinating dynamic that exists between people like McCain--who are intellectually dishonest about Vietnam--and people who have accepted the fact that the United States fought the Vietnam War for too long over a lie to avoid being held responsible for something that didn't exist. If you do any serious study, you'll see that we escalated our involvement because we didn't want to lose Vietnam as we "lost China" and that our military tactics were completely wrong. We were unable to win the hearts and minds because we kept blowing up entire villages with airstrikes based on faulty intelligence. We backed a corrupt regime that had no intention of bringing Democracy or good government to the people of South Vietnam. And we failed to take care of the men we sent to fight the Vietnam War.

Remind you of anything?

People like McCain, who have never been able to accept the reality of Vietnam and instead prefer a Reaganesque, delusional view of how the dirty hippies cost us the war because they quit being good Americans, face insurrection from within: there is a Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain group that thinks he betrayed them on the issue of the Missing In Action troops.

The very act of his shootdown over Hanoi--he was hit while bombing a power plant by a Russian SAM--doesn't escape the notice of that group. It was the fifth plane he had lost on active duty. Apparently, the joke is, Have they made him an Ace in the Vietnamese Air Force yet?

If you accept the idea that Vietnam was a war lost by Americans because they didn't understand their enemy, it raises too many parallels to the war in Iraq, none of which these people are intellectually honest enough to try to answer.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 26, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Funny to read the various comments deriding Atrios (for his linking, for his snark, for his commenters, for his advertisers). This guy has been right, period. He hasn't couched his views or predictions in the telephone-psychic-like vagueness used by many other pundits. He has been immune to the lure of identifying virtue as inevitably falling in between the two sides of any debate. He has been right - and about more than Iraq. That matters to some of us.

Posted by: christor on February 26, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Funny to read the various comments deriding Atrios

Funny how none of the milblogs have anything approaching his blog traffic.

Not only is he right, he's right about things and these people know he's right--they're too fucking dishonest to face reality and admit they're wrong.

All they have is snark. And snark doesn't work if there isn't a grain of truth to it.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 26, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

@Conservative Deflator: "How stupid can the American public be???"

Hmm not very IMO. Americans haven't supported the war in a long time and DEFINITELY didn't support the surge. They don't think of Petraeus as a God-Warrior-Scholar. Americans put Democrats into office to get us the fuck out of Iraq once and for all.

It's the political class in the Beltway that supports the surge. It's the political class in the Beltway that talks about opposition to the war is "unserious" and "politically damaging". It's the political class in the Beltway that reveres Petraeus and rushed to his defense because of one ad and can't stop talking about painted schools and bribes to Sunnis. Just. Like. It. Was. 2003.

The real question then, is, "how stupid can the political class in the Beltway be???"

Posted by: on February 26, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Turkey now has between 1 and 10k troops in Iraq.

Are you counting the Turkish troops that invaded Iraq in that number? Because it seems the Iraqi government isn't quite as happy to have them there as you are.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on February 26, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

If our military planners were as stupid as Atrios, there'd be no Al Qaida in Iraq, no WMDs in Iraq, no US troops in Iraq.

Yeah, there'd be a blustery old strongman with a horrific record of war crimes. But even that got solved in 9 months and doesn't excuse the 4+ years of incompetence and corruption that's gone on since.

Withdrawing can mean an awful short term aftermath. But a long term occupation can prove just as deadly, in a slow motion way without achieving the desired stability.

Withdraw and the Shia majority will drive the remnants of Al Qaida out. And they'll stabilize their oil production out of economic necessity. Stay, and the government officials will keep lining their own pockets instead of working out the necessary compromises to make their society functional.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on February 26, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

7 PM nightly Iraq war report:


Things are going well. Freedom is on the march. Less bombings and killings but we still have a long way to go since the country is in ruins, there are no jobs, soldiers get blown up regularly and a few stray rockets always seem to go off in the wrong places. Overall, the Pentagon says: " we're cautiously optimistic."

Repeat over and over again for the next 50 years or before the oil runs out, whichever comes first.


Posted by: Fran the Upper East-Side Limousine Liberal on February 26, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

The vast majority of Iraqis want us out. We are not going to win their hearts and minds -- espeially not since most of them are Islamic fundamentaloists who like Iran.

If you can't win the hearts and minds of the population, you can only defeat an insurgency through the application of horribly brutal violence that is too repugnant to be a real option for us.

If we can't defeat the insurgency, that leaves us with occupatio. But you can't "win" an occupation. You either continue to occupy or you don't. Why do we want to occupy Iraq? What makes it worth the cost?

Posted by: The Fool on February 27, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

"there's only one question that matters - is it best to have a stable Iraq or an unstable one?"

Actually, there are easily a couple dozen, or even more, questions that "matter". But your post epitomizes precisely why we're in the mess we're in: that morons like you thought there was "only one question that matters."

And because they didn't ask, or even think about, those other questions, we're screwed.

Posted by: PaulB on February 27, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

"And snark doesn't work if there isn't a grain of truth to it."

Bingo.

Posted by: PaulB on February 27, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

"totally dude - it's pointless. (except to those people whose spouses, parents, sons, or daughters are among the 132,000 americans in iraq.)"

And the people who are paying the hundreds of billions of dollars to keep those troops there.

And the people who are made less safe because of this ill-advised war.

And the people who would prefer that we have a healthy military that can be used to respond to genuine threats instead of a military dangerously close to the breaking point.

And so on....

Posted by: PaulB on February 27, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hello!!! www.washingtonmonthly.com is one of the best resourceful websites of its kind. I enjoy reading it every day. I will be back.

Posted by: bad credit loans on December 30, 2009 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK


All of these spammy comments seem a bit ridiculous!

Posted by: Kendra Wilkinson Sex Pics on June 19, 2010 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly