Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 21, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

IRAQ WITHDRAWAL THOUGHTS....If the Journal is right and we're about to sign an agreement to withdraw combat troops from Iraq, what does it mean domestically? For starters, I assume that the agreement allows for some kind of long-term "residual force," and I also assume there will be a bit of weasel wording about the withdrawal depending on conditions on the ground. Still, a document that commits both sides to pulling out troops from the cities by next summer and completing the rest of the withdrawal by 2011 is a big-time game changer. Here are a few miscellaneous thoughts:

  1. This is very good news for Democrats. It means that our eventual withdrawal from Iraq will not only be a bipartisan action, it will have been the creation of a Republican president. This is going to make it almost impossible for conservatives to ramp up any kind of serious stab-in-the-back narrative against anti-war liberals.

  2. Basic Obama spin: "I'm glad to see that President Bush has finally come around to my view etc. etc." This ought to be a big win for him: he visits Iraq, meets with Nouri al-Maliki, gets Maliki's endorsement for a near-term troop withdrawal, and then gets to applaud as President Bush signs on.

  3. Looking ahead, it's also a big win for Obama if he wins in November. Instead of a bruising congressional battle on withdrawal starting in January, he can just continue along the path Bush has set out. At most he'll tweak it a bit, which he can do on his own and without expending a lot of political capital.

  4. This is also good news for Dems in conservative districts, since it eliminates a campaign issue that potentially hurts them.

  5. Basic McCain spin: "It's good news that Iraq is now secure enough that we can envision bringing our troops home etc. etc." He'll also talk about how the surge deserves all the credit and he'll claim that 2011 is a totally different thing than Obama's plan to withdraw by 2010. This isn't great spin, but it's probably the best he's got.

  6. Outside of spin alley, the news for McCain is mixed. The agreement takes Iraq largely off the table as a partisan campaign issue, which might be good (the public supports withdrawal, so it's been an Achilles heel for him) or might be bad (it takes the spotlight off foreign affairs, which he considers his strong suit). Overall, though, it's got to be a negative for a guy who just a few months ago was talking about staying in Iraq for a hundred years.

  7. I wonder what McCain's initial reaction to this is going to be? When rumors of an agreement like this were being floated last month, he insisted that he had talked to Maliki personally and he knew that Maliki didn't really want a timetable for withdrawal. Looks like he was wrong about that. Is he going to stick to that line, or, like Jerry Brown after Prop 13 passed in 1978, is he suddenly going to become withdrawal's greatest advocate?

Thursday should be interesting. At least it gives us something to talk about other than Obama's VP selection, anyway.

Kevin Drum 2:56 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

I ... really doubt your first point.

To coin a phrase, nature finds a way.

Posted by: mattstan on August 21, 2008 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

I just said it would make it harder, not that some of them won't try anyway. But with Bush signing off on this deal, it's going to be very, very hard to make a stab-in-the-back narrative stick.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on August 21, 2008 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

It's all window dressing.
Someone better look through the curtains!

Come on people. this is the Commander guy, Mr. Codpiece, when they stand up - we'll stand down.

It's all lies. Catapult the propaganda. Same as the last 7.5 years.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on August 21, 2008 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK

Good news. There must be some serious caveats built in. does this mean we won in Iraq? McCain is going to take credit for the win. He knows how to win wars and he will claim he has proved it in Iraq.

Posted by: Gaucho Politico on August 21, 2008 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

I'm confused. Is this a "timetable" or a "horizon"?

Posted by: Bush Lover on August 21, 2008 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

While I personally like the sound of what you have to say, I most respectfully disagree.

The media wants winners and losers. And McCain will simply, and quite effectively, point to THE SURGE as the most critical battle in human events in the last 100 years and how it was HIS IDEA from the beginning. Blah, blah, blah and victory and blah and surge and blah and flag pins and blah and democrat surrender, etc. and that will be all she wrote.

While people who actually like to look at events with more than a sound bites worth of attention span could see things as you lay them out, its sad to say the US is not such a place. We like simple easy answers and THE SURGE just sounds great. VICTORY sounds great.

There will be no introspective about the ramifications of what we wrought, how we got snookered into it or any price to pay for the horrors we unleashed. All that matters is now is VICTORY. And McCain will gladly take, and the media will galdly give, all credit to him.

Obama loses big on this sorry to say.

Posted by: pattonbt on August 21, 2008 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin is an honest guy, but I think the emotions of the election will make it difficult for him to see anything over the next 75 days that he does not consider good news for democrats.

I suppose it is possible that sufficient Americans are gullible enough to fall for Obama's line that this shows he was correct, but the truth is that in 2006 he was advocating that we should be out entirely by March 2008 and accept defeat with genocide and whatever else it entailed.

I think McCain has the better argument that he advocated a strategy that produced victory while Obama advocated a strategy that would have produced a disastrous defeat. But Obama is audacious enough to claim just what Kevin says in his acceptance speech next week and we will see if it works.

Posted by: Brian on August 21, 2008 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

us and russia both imperialists.

Posted by: jack on August 21, 2008 at 4:20 AM | PERMALINK

it's also a big win for Obama if he wins in November. Instead of a bruising congressional battle on withdrawal starting in January...

What batttle? Congress doesn't really have any mechanism for making a President keep troop levels high somewhere if the President wants to reduce them.

OK, it's got one: they'd have to pass a bill requiring that the President maintain troops at a certain level in Iraq, and be able to override a veto. But that's not even a remote possibility. And even then, the President could claim it was within his Article II authority as C-in-C to reduce the troop levels if he damned well pleased.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on August 21, 2008 at 4:51 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin is an honest guy, but I think the emotions of the election will make it difficult for him to see anything over the next 75 days that he does not consider good news for democrats.

I have no idea if you're an honest guy, Brian, but do the emotions of the election make it difficult for you to see anything over the next 75 days that you do not consider bad news for Democrats?

Oh wait, you wrote: "the truth is that in 2006 (Obama) was advocating that we should be out entirely by March 2008 and accept defeat with genocide and whatever else it entailed."

Any illusions about your honesty went out the window with that whopper. Aren't those anti-partisan pills you take guaranteed to deliver truthiness in a gullible world?

Posted by: Clap_Louder on August 21, 2008 at 5:10 AM | PERMALINK

Given how utterly political all decisions are that come from this administration, I look for the worst intentions behind this. My guess is they want to start pulling troops out of Iraq to prepare for an October Surprise™.

Posted by: jimBOB on August 21, 2008 at 5:54 AM | PERMALINK

McCain has the better argument that he advocated a strategy that produced victory....

Another victory like that and we're finished.

Posted by: anonymous on August 21, 2008 at 6:38 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, your naivete is stunning at times. This will be turned into an issue to beat the Dems over the head with. The spin will likely be something like "The Democrats wanted to surrender in Iraq before the Surge was given a chance to work - the cowards. But John McCain knew the right thing to do". Count on it.

The American people have short memories and short attention spans and will forget this whole war and multi-billion dollar occupation was based on lies and that the top two masterminds of al-Qaeda are still running around loose.

Hello, President McCain and endless war in Central Asia!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on August 21, 2008 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

Why can't Obama run an ad on that particular point? An ad that dispels how Obama isn't ready to lead, when indeed Obama already is leading? Obama meet with the Iraq leader and encourage withdrawl - isn't that what Obama did despite McCain say Obama isn't ready to lead? Obama already took the initiative to do what American people wanted to do - get out of Iraq, which has been a huge financial burden weighting this country down.

Basic Obama spin: "I'm glad to see that President Bush has finally come around to my view etc. etc." This ought to be a big win for him: he visits Iraq, meets with Nouri al-Maliki, gets Maliki's endorsement for a near-term troop withdrawal, and then gets to applaud as President Bush signs on.
Posted by: Independent Perspective on August 21, 2008 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

It means that our eventual withdrawal from Iraq will not only be a bipartisan action, it will have been the creation of a Republican president. This is going to make it almost impossible for conservatives to ramp up any kind of serious stab-in-the-back narrative against anti-war liberals.

Yeah... just like Viet Nam, after Democratic president Nixon negotiated our withdrawal.

Wait ... what?


Posted by: on August 21, 2008 at 7:45 AM | PERMALINK

McCain will say that this is the course HE always favored (using the extra years as his hook) and the media will say, yes McCain was always right.

Posted by: lilybart on August 21, 2008 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

It mystifies me that when you can put up a list like that which includes recent comments by McShame in regard to what he KNOWS are the thoughts of Maliki that no one in the Obama campaign seems able to find and take out his words on this issue (and others) and put them into an ad that will be played over and over (just make it a bit controversial and they can get OUR MEDIA to play it for nothing)...where is all this SMART and MONEY doing good for Obama to counter (and counter them must) the "can't vote for a black man who wants to kill babies" meme that the wingnuts have no problem getting out there...we're still getting the unsolicited crap e-mails (easily debunked by a quick visit to Snopes or truthorfiction) from folks we know who think we might care...perhaps it's time to a more concerted effort of TRUTHFUL e-mails that are designed to be shared in this fashion from our point of view...

Posted by: Dancer on August 21, 2008 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

All Condi has to do is run the "Russia withdraws from Georgia" agreement through a copier, change a few names, and they're good to go.

Actual withdrawal? Not so much.

Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki on August 21, 2008 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

This will be good news for the candidate who convinces the media it is good news. This will be a full blown spin battle for days. My guess is McCain will win the spin war unless John personally screws it up. The media just love the Rovettes.

This result is good for America. It stops the bleeding.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 21, 2008 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

I think that #5 is more powerful than you think. It will be backed up by the full Republican Wurlitzer. Furthermore, the fact that we're not really leaving Iraq (residual force) will be obscured. Nobody will have any idea what we're really going to do until after the November election.

Posted by: John Emerson on August 21, 2008 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Looks like Condi is on the TV this morning walking back the agreement. Not a done deal.

Posted by: wasa1 on August 21, 2008 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

If this is true, it makes the Iraq disaster George W. Bush's war, start to finish. (Just how far Cheney's arm was up George's oro-anal tubing is a question we can examine at our leisure.)

Sometimes an international delinquent has to take responsibility whether he likes it or not. An international criminal--an unrepentant murderer--has to take responsibility when no one else will. When your support has crumbled to the point where your quislings contradict you, responsibility naturally flows back home: It's all yours, George. If you want to share the blame, feel free: Give us the names and dates; rediscover the documents and recordings.

The idiot who declared war on terror and evil is so close to uncovering them, right here at home. The people who set him up for this are his friends and allies.

Posted by: Boolaboola on August 21, 2008 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I thought you had read Heads in the Sand, but it's sure not looking like it. "It eliminates a campaign issue that potentially hurts them"? Think about it. 2002, 2004.

Posted by: Minivet on August 21, 2008 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

McCain: "But... but... it will be based on conditions!" Except that this agreement will mean that it won't - thus rendering moot his entire rationale for undercutting Obama's withdrawal plan. I also hope the bitter irony of the White House's refusal to include congress in any approval is not lost on the Manchurian Candidate.

Posted by: kiweagle on August 21, 2008 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

The Below link exposes and reveals John McCain's really bad lack of knowledge regarding foreign affairs -- supposedly his strong point!

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-john-mccain-and-his-secretive-plot-to-kill-the-un-903998.html

Unfoturnately, we have to get the truth from other countries rather than our Republican-owned main stream media -- which is a derelict of duty to the American public.

Posted by: Angellight on August 21, 2008 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

The guy this really hurts is Ghouliani. He's lost his saliency.

If Iraq is the Central Front in the War on Terror, and we're leaving Iraq, then we won the War on Terror, too!

George Bush -- first US President to win two wars!

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 21, 2008 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

It may be the GOP is smarter than LBJ and is willing to take Senator George Aiken's advice.

Posted by: molly bloom on August 21, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

The guy this really hurts is Ghouliani. He's lost his saliency.

If Iraq is the Central Front in the War on Terror, and we're leaving Iraq, then we won the War on Terror, too!

George Bush -- first US President to win two wars!

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 21, 2008 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

oops. wrong mouse button.....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 21, 2008 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, Kevin. You are really in the tank for BHO.

It doesn't take a genius to just leave Iraq. The hard part was winning the war first.

Bush and McCain did it. Obama would have abandoned Iraq in defeat.

Even if you can't see this, voters will certainly understand it.

Posted by: Everett on August 21, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

It doesn't take a genius to just leave Iraq.

It did, on the other hand, take a bunch of mendacious fools to invade in the first place.

The hard part was winning the war first...

Is our oil still under their sand? I'm guessing on the 'kick their ass and take their gas' metric, we're batting .500....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 21, 2008 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Everett is demonstrating how they will keep the stab-in-the-back narrative.

Just loudly claim the war was won, but then when the cowardly dems returned to power they screwed it up, and are thus to blame for the bad outcomes that came after GWB rode off into the sunset.

With a little creativity you can even blame Obama for anything bad that happens now, before the election, by claiming it happened because he was ahead in the polls and so the evildoers expected him to win and acted accordingly.

(Man I hope the Mother Jones blog's "Remember personal info" button works, unlike this site's.)

Posted by: jimBOB on August 21, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

This is not a victory for those who opposed the war in Iraq or for those who argue for withdrawal, and who knows how true any of it is? The imperial invasion of Iraq is cut from the mould as the imperial invasion of the Philippines 100 years ago. The Cheney military was never going to keep large numbers of troops on the ground. This is very expensive and politically untenable. Putting aside the jingoism and propaganda this is not a war for American national survival and therefore it is not supported by the American public. It is a private war in a long line of private imperial wars. The imperial hope is that the new government keeps order at least enough to get the oil out. Americans will stay in the country and influence the allocation of resources and the access to markets, and maintain the strategic position so desired by the folks at the imperial American Enterprise Institute. For all the blood and suffering the Iraqis loose their sovereignty just like they did when the British took over for the same reasons in the same way after WWI. The American people loose their loved ones and money is poured into private pockets at the same time the public budget is cut.

The goal for all freedom-loving people is for the military bases in that sad country and the fortress embassy in Baghdad to be closed and for all the troops- private and public- to come home. The goal for all freedom-loving people is to identify what Dick Cheney's goals in the country were, his long term strategic ambitions, including enriching his political friends and corporate supporters, and work for the opposite end.

Posted by: bellumregio on August 21, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

The hard part was winning the war first...

What was won?

1.Bush has had to concede to Maliki's insistence on a timeline for withdrawal.

2.Bush has had to throw Cheney's precious mercenaries under the bus by agreeing they are not immune from prosecution under Iraqi law. Another concession by Bush.

3.Bush and Maliki have tenatively agreed that US military personnel would be subject to prosecution under Iraqi law on a case by case basis. This is a Bush concession as well.

Sure smells like victory to me. Not.

Bush, and by extension McCain, are losers who should never have started an invasion/occupation they could not successfully finish in the first place.

Posted by: jcricket on August 21, 2008 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

I KNOW it isn't because Bush loves the country and wants to protect America from terrorism.

Wow, Orwell gets one right for once.

Posted by: Gregory on August 21, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

This is very good news for Democrats. It means that our eventual withdrawal from Iraq will not only be a bipartisan action, it will have been the creation of a Republican president. This is going to make it almost impossible for conservatives to ramp up any kind of serious stab-in-the-back narrative against anti-war liberals.

Just as after our withdrawal from Vietnam under a Republican president it was impossible for conservatives to ramp up any kind of serious stab-in-the-back narrative against anti-war liberals.....

Posted by: Stefan on August 21, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

McClatchy reports today that al-Maliki and the Shiites are about to go to war with the "Sons of Iraq." When--not if, when--that occurs, it will be a lot harder for those who proclaim "the Surge" as the beacon of victory in Iraq: there will be no "victory" when the sectarian bloodshed re-ignites, with both sides armed by the U.S.

Posted by: Petronius on August 21, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

My reaction was relief, the lid is off the pot.
The big question on Iraq now moves from the past tense to the future tense. Which candidate will uphold the agreement?

Posted by: Myles on August 21, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

I don't share Kevin's enthusiasm for this development as political boon. I think Bush/McCain are trying to take Iraq off the table for 2008. McCain will start the victory parade and counter arguments about the economy, etc. with "look how right I was about victory in Iraq."

I still think Obama will win, and I think this agreement, if it is what it purports to be and if it happens, is by and large a good thing. But it does not do the Democrats good politically.

Also, I have serious doubts that this agreement will get pulled off. It is the sad pattern of affairs in Iraq that ALWAYS the parties to various issues are "close to an agreement" which then falls apart (or is implemented as the very nearly the reverse of how it was described). Oil law, election law, Sunni integration into the armed forces, "re-Baathification," and so on.

Posted by: Daddy Love on August 21, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Withdrawing troops from Iraq is not "winning the war." The military invasion succeeded in 2003. Based on the original criteria of the invasion, only one -- regime change -- was met. There was no WMD, there were no 9/11 terrorists.

Iraqi oil hasn't paid for the war. We were not met with rose petals. A civil war ensued that cost tens of thousands of American lives and limbs. The financial cost has wildly surpassed the most pessimistic estimates. Countless Iraqis have been killed and wounded by each other. Al Queda showed up and grew. Corruption by private contractors has cost billions of US tax dollars. Huge portions of the Iraqi middle class have fled the country. Professionals have fled. The civil war is in remission based on US bribery, not goodwill. Iran has no counterweight. Infrastructure remains pathetic and reconstruction shoddy. Afghanistan has been neglected, so the Taliban is in resurgence. Pakistan is a dangerous mess. The US Army is severely worn. Regulars and reserves are exhausted, their families in dire straits at home. Traditional American alliances have been damaged by arrogance and lies. The outpouring of worldwide sympathy on 9/11/01 has been replaced by hostility and mistrust. Even General Petraeus warns that current low levels of violence are fragile.

If this is victory, it is classically Pyrrhic. George Bush should be given all the credit. He broke it. We own it forever.

Posted by: alibubba on August 21, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

This is going to make it almost impossible for conservatives to ramp up any kind of serious stab-in-the-back narrative against anti-war liberals.

You mean this is going to make it almost impossible for conservatives to ramp up any kind of RATIONAL stab-in-the-back narrative against anti-war liberals?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on August 21, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

"This is going to make it almost impossible for conservatives to ramp up any kind of serious stab-in-the-back narrative against anti-war liberals."

BZZZZZZZTT!!! The correct formulation is "This is going to make it logically impossible..." As logic has never constrained Republican messaging (nor anything else for that matter), we can look forward to ample stab-in-the-back narratives even as Republicans scramble to wrap themselves in the Democratic sheepskin.

Posted by: poliwog on August 21, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Iraq, the forgotten war? It's the economy, stupid.

Posted by: Luther on August 21, 2008 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

I was watching CNN this morning as they discussed McCain's comments about "the surge" (a subject of which he apparently never tires). While watching, I wondered why there is NEVER any reporting on the availability of electricity, food, medicine, or clean water in Iraq. Never.

Smells like victory.

Posted by: Daddy Love on August 21, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

It's good news for the country, but if you think this is good news for the Democrats, you're dreaming. They'll sell that it was a "success" and "victory," and it will work.

Posted by: John Petty on August 21, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

USAID just put out its first Iraq Update newsletter (dated August 2008--one wonders why not until now).

http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/updates/2008/iraq_news_0808.pdf

The word "electricity" occurs in this newsletter 0 times.

Posted by: on August 21, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Seems like an easy argument to me. Democratic pressure, and the fear of losing the Presidency, has caused John McCain and George Bush to abandon their policy of occupying Iraq indefinitely. George Bush and John McCain started this war for political and personal gain, and are ending it for the same reason. Anyone with such disdain for the lives of OUR TROOPS doesn't deserve to be anywhere near the White House, ever again.

Posted by: enozinho on August 21, 2008 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

By promising to withdraw troops from Iraq, Bush did what the country elected the Democrats to do in 2006, and who never found the courage to do it.

The country was looking for an authority to relieve them of the low-grade anxiety and angst over this frustrating occupation. Whether or not the Democrats possessed easy choices in the matter is debatable, but the reality is that by giving the majority of Americans what they wanted Bush gets to take credit for the withdrawal and define the narrative to his advantage - and that narrative needs to have little to do with reality.

For instance, the average low-information voter isn't able to understand the nuances of the situation, that this is actually a reversal to Bush based on the Iraqi government unexpectedly asserting its sovereignty. They don't know and won't care that Bush was actually seeking a large, permanent force. They're so tired and stressed from the shocks and trauma of the last eight years they can't even remember that we invaded to disarm a regime of weapons that our government knew it didn't really have. All they'll know is that "Iraq is over" and in some nebulous sense "we, er....won."

Clearly Bush cynically used the troops as pawns for purposes of his domestic and political agenda, not to mention his "legacy." I don't believe that outrageous fact will be recognized by this distracted generation. Hence, this portends ill for the Democratic party.

Posted by: Windhorse on August 21, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Ditto Windhorse
"The surge worked so we won and the troops are coming home" Releived Americans overlooks all else.

Posted by: Nukev on August 21, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Agree that Windhorse has it right, as does ckelly in the thread below.

Posted by: shortstop on August 21, 2008 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Windhorse and Nukev.
Making the case that Bush and McCain are moving to the timetable approach for cynical political purposes, after calling it surrender and appeasement a year ago, is extremely easy to do. It can work with the press, because it doesn't require them to admit to any culpability of their own, which is why the "retreat and defeat" line worked so well in the past.

It's very simple. 4000 dead Americans and a trillion dollars was not enough to convince George Bush and John McCain that getting out of Iraq was important. The prospect of a Democrat in the White House was. Case closed.

Posted by: enozinho on August 21, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

...after calling it surrender and appeasement a year ago, is extremely easy to do.

Make that a month ago.

Posted by: enozinho on August 21, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

While watching, I wondered why there is NEVER any reporting on the availability of electricity, food, medicine, or clean water in Iraq. Never.

Smells like victory.

Or raw sewage. It's hard to tell them apart.

Posted by: Colonel Kilgore on August 21, 2008 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Just hope you're not one of those "residual force" guys, like National Guard and USAR combat support units, (military intelligence, etc.) who are still going to have to fuck up their personal lives to go over there...

Posted by: Amanda in San Jose on August 21, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

It's very simple. 4000 dead Americans and a trillion dollars was not enough to convince George Bush and John McCain that getting out of Iraq was important. The prospect of a Democrat in the White House was. Case closed.

That's a great, pithy way to communicate the issue. And I don't disagree that we SHOULD be making this case vigorously.

I'm just projecting forward and anticipating the outcome based on how these things have turned out in the past. Right wingers are already making the argument that the war was won just one month after the situation was too dire to withdraw. Supporting that argument violence is down, but the public lacks any images or context to explain why and why it isn't "winning" (paying "terrorists" not to fight, 15% of the population living in exile, Baghdad a modern-day version of post-war Berlin on crack, women's rights set back fifty years, a population living without access to basic services, etc).

The American public isn't going to take a few weeks off of work, head down to the local library, and begin analyzing this issue in depth to where they discover these contextual realities and have some kind of epiphany. They're going to accept the simplest solution that seems to make sense and that coincides with what they want to hear, which is that "it's finally over and that there's no need to sling blame over issues so understandably grave and complex."

Because that's how they save face.

There has been insufficient outrage in the past even over such incredible travesties as false intelligence claims by government officials, forged documents, ever-changing rationales for invasion and occupation, lack of troop support, et al. I don't see how on this issue the result will ultimately be any different.

That said, I think Obama and the Democrats need to continue to hammer Bush and McCain over the glaring inconsistencies in their declarations about Iraq -- intelligently and cautiously -- and make what hay they can. But as it becomes a dead issue they need to refocus on developing substantive, innovative ideas to turn around the economy that appeal to voters.

Posted by: Windhorse on August 21, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Right again, Windhorse!

Posted by: shortstop on August 21, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Phelps did not win the Olympic Butterfly 100 meter final. Milorad Cavic of Serbia won the event and after the race stated that he had won the event. Cavic had already soundly beaten Phelps in the Semifinals of that event! After the race Phelps also stated that he thought he had lost. And even Phelp’s mother first acted as though she thought Phelps had lost! She appeared totally dumbfounded but accepted it! Cavic’s coach said that he would launch a protest. Serbia also “launched a protest.” Then later both the Serbian government (a U.S. proxy/puppet regime installed after the U.S./NATO-led dismemberment/ethnic cleansing of the sovereign country of Yugoslavia, where under Tito everybody lived together in peace) and Cavic and his coach both withdrew their complaints. U.S. Puppet/Proxy Serbia was clearly under extreme pressure from the United States. Serbia in turn put extreme pressure on Cavic and his coach who withdrew their complaint. The United States wanted their “Golden Boy” (Bloomberg TV, August 18, 2008), and refused to permit the reality of the loss to Cavic to spoil the headline heralding Phelps: “A PERFECT FINISH, AN UNMATCHED RECORD.” New York Times (August 17, 2008) The FINA executive Director, Cornel Marculescu, stated that FINA would not permit the release of the footage by Omega the official timekeeper for the Beijing Games of the finish under the phony hard-sell pretext: “We are not going to distribute the footage. We are not doing THESE KINDS OF THINGS. (!) EVERYTHING IS GOOD. (!?) What are you going to do with the footage? See what the Serbians already saw? It is clarified for us beyond any doubt. He’s the winner in any way. (?) He’s the winner no doubt. Even if you could see the pictures, I don’t know how you could use them.” And Cavic the actual winner stated: “If you ask me, it should be accepted and we should move on. I’ve accepted defeat, and there’s nothing wrong with losing to the greatest swimmer there has ever been.” (!?)(New York Times, August 17, 2008) Parentheses added. The answer to this sort of tripe is simply: “What are you afraid of? What do you have to hide from an actual frame-by-frame analysis? Except the victory of Cavic over Phelps! You sound like a liar caught in a clumsy cover-up! You don’t make decisions for me! Big Brother.”

The event was apparently also not actually shown LIVE. It was on a time delay despite the LIVE claim on the TV screen. Within seconds of the finish which showed Phelps in the water after the race he was suddenly being interviewed on the tarmac! Not credible! It is very easy to rig such an event if the race is that close. The U.S. knew that it might be close because of the fact that Cavic had already beaten Phelps in the Semifinals and they could not let anything alter their propaganda use of Phelps to try to improve the true image of the U.S. as the source of all war as well as all economic disparity. A software program can be easily written to cover all eventualities in. The U.S. government can and does routinely hack computers of their adversaries and send computer viruses which completely destroy their adversaries’ hard drives and the entire computer, for example, and more (e.g. monitors by overloading them), as this writer has experienced firsthand. The bottom line for this particular computer program was that unless Cavic won by a clearly visible margin he would “lose” in a very close race, even if he actually won! The 2 electronic touch pads on the walls of the pool can be reversed in their polarity in a digital twinkling, so that even if Cavic touched the wall first it would simply register as Phelps touching the wall. Because if you look closely in that part of the replay which was permitted directly after the race it is quite clear that is exactly what happened. Phelps lost! And he knew that he lost! But he was very happy to accept the false victory! It should be recalled that with the Zapruder film of the JFK Assassination the “commentator” Dan Rather lied about what it showed, falsely stating that Kennedy’s head flew backwards due to totally fabricated so-called “jet effect” violating all laws of physics in response to a supposed bullet fired from behind him, when in fact JFK was hit only by 2 shots from the front. One went through his tie knot and the other was the Dum-Dum bullet that hit him in the head and killed him instantly. (Writer is number one authority on JFK assassination who gave keynote talk on JFK at Ethical Culture Society on November 12, 1975, twelfth anniversary of JFK Assassination but who is not permitted to speak on anti-Communist WBAI radio!)

Both Serbia and the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) went along with the fraudulent Phelps’ victory in the 100 meter Fly because of political pressure from the United States. China was indubitably blackmailed and threatened that unless they went along with the crime the U.S. would push the age issue with the clearly underage Chinese girl gymnasts and take away their Olympic Team gold medal. Humiliation the Chinese did not want to accept! This is also the reason that the PRC went along with the U.S. all around victory in girls’ gymnastics which was accomplished by U.S. puppet judges grossly inflating the level of difficulty and execution by the U.S. and doing the reverse and chiseling big-time the level of difficulty and the execution of the vastly superior Chinese girl gymnasts. Shawn Johnson for example, was permitted to usurp second place in the all-around title after putting in very simple routines in the uneven bars and balance beam. Even in the floor exercise Johnson’s level of difficulty and execution were pumped up like a balloon. This modus operandi occurred over and over! The Serbian government is a U.S. puppet/virtual proxy state which was installed after the U.S. division of Yugoslavia, a country where everyone got along. Serbia is a U.S. puppet just like the government of Georgia, which was incidentally authorized and directed by the U.S. The U.S. openly encouraged Sakashvilli to invade South Ossetia and now falsely denies it. In July 2008 Kindasleezy Rice standing beside him in Tbilisi, offered encouragement to Sakashvilli similar to that given to the later-sacrificed Saddam Hussein on July 25, 1990 by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, to invade Kuwait. Glaspie gave Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait by telling him: “We have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” (New York Times, 9/23/90)) The U.S. told Sakashvilli to invade the independent area of South Ossetia while the world was being distracted by the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Rice also blurted out at a dinner in Spring 2004 in Washington, D.C. that she was the mistress of the usurper Bush!)

In addition, the U.S. and so-called “Israel” has supplied virtually all of Georgis’s military hardware and the U.S. has admitted to having 2000 military “advisors” and “trainees” in Georgia. Russia Today TV initially reported that “American mercenaries” (all U.S. military personnel today “volunteers” a euphemism for mercenaries) accompanied the invading force into South Ossetia and that some may have been killed. The U.S./Georgian Invasion of South Ossetia was carried out with the primary objective of trying to create ethnic division in the U.S. attempt to discredit, weaken and divide Russia just like they did with Yugoslavia! The U.S.-led capitalist media is a privatized arm of the U.S. government’s so-called “intelligence community” and United Nations have focused only on Russia’s response to the U.S./Georgian invasion of South Ossetia by sending its forces into Georgia. The United States long-range objective is to try to eventually overthrow the Russian government and steal Russia’s unbelievable wealth of natural resources just like the U.S. is doing in Iraq. The situation surrounding Russia today looks dangerously similar to the beginning of a replay of 1940 with the NAZIS on the border of the USSR preparing to invade.

The invasion of South Ossetia was thus a deliberate provocation which Russia had no choice but to respond to and was carried out to achieve several objectives, the first of which is described above but it also has disturbing parallels to the Full Court Press Nuclear Arms Race that the Reagan Regime put on the USSR in the 1980’s which ultimately forced the surrender by Mikhail Gorbachev to the threat of a nuclear war. Capitalist media focus on the Russian response to the invasion of South Ossetia has been used to build public support in Poland for the so-called U.S. “Missile Defense” to be placed in Poland and later the radar to be built in the U.S.-puppet Czech Republic. Public support in Poland, which opposed the U.S. “missile defense” prior to the Russian response in South Ossetia, now support it! The U.S. was able to place Pershing Nuclear First Strike Nuclear Missiles in Germany 10 minutes from Moscow only after carrying out the 1983 Korean Airliner Provocation in order to discredit the European opposition to the placement of Pershing II First Strike nuclear missiles in Germany, which later caused the surrender by Gorbachev to the threat of an imminent nuclear war. (There was no Soviet “economic collapse” as testified by the CIA on U.S. network TV news in 1990, who stated that they saw no indications of an incipient “economic collapse in the USSR.” This was because there was no economic collapse, but a Soviet surrender to the threat of a nuclear war followed by a long and painful dismantlement of the Soviet Workers’ State leaving the leadership structure in place.) Mikhail Gorbachev’s Op-Ed column in the New York Times, August 20, 2008, was the typical Stalinist (Not Communist!) opportunist response, which did not explain the clever U.S. strategy of provocation and that Russia is forced to respond to these provocations. He also lied through omission by omitting the U.S. objectives of these provocations. By explaining the provocations Russia would be able to explain how the U.S. intends to manipulate public opinion. This way the public in all countries can be on their guard not to allow themselves to be manipulated by the country which lied about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq.

The U.S. has just signed an agreement to build a so-called “missile defense” system in Poland which includes missile interceptors. Obviously the number of missiles in Poland will begin to increase exponentially as the U.S. orchestrates provocation after provocation on the border of Russia. This so-called “missile defense” is actually part of a Nuclear First Strike plan by the United States as was explained back in the 1980’s when the U.S. put a full court press on the USSR with a runaway nuclear arms race and “Star Wars” to force the Soviet surrender by Gorbachev in 1988. The “Missile Defenses” are used simultaneously with a U.S. Nuclear First Strike in order to try to cripple the Russian response to the U.S. First Strike. The U.S. is hoping that they will win the game of “chicken” like they did in the 1980’s and that the Russians will back down and make a second surrender as they did in 1988. This is the present strategy centerpiece of U.S. “statecraft” with Russia.

Today ninety-five percent of New Yorkers agree that we need a new system based on human need not private profit. A Socialist Revolution in the United States will end the basis for all war and set the stage for solving the entire complex of problems created by capitalism, which threaten the survival of humankind. Capitalism cannot be reformed through elections or by any other means because the capitalist dictatorship is left in place and because capitalism has an internal dynamic of its own which leads to a constantly hardening capitalist dictatorship finally to Fascism, barbarism and the end of civilization. Politicians rise to the surface to the extent that they express and further this almost entirely one-way dynamic. The “presidential elections” are the primary weapon of the capitalists, which is used to try to perpetuate the illusion of “democracy” in what is a constantly hardening capitalist dictatorship. If you vote for anyone you are neutralized and are a sucker! Today capitalism is in its Final Stage of Permanent War and State Terrorism.

The United States Invasion of Iraq is one more act of State Terrorism and has resulted in the deaths of 1.2 million Iraqis by September 2007 according to National Public Radio. Now the number is more like 1.5 million. Capitalism offers a world with no future! Remember that in the end all wars are won and lost on morale and every movement begins with the call. The first call must be to deprive the capitalists of bodies of armed men to send against the masses, by calling for the only political position with successful historical precedent: Call for Mutiny in Iraq as in Vietnam, the real reason and the ONLY reason the Vietnam War ended on the spot in 1975 after the Third Marine Division turned their guns around on their officers forcing the immediate and total evacuation of all U.S. troops in days and hours. The capitalist demagogues/stooges Obama, Clinton, McCain, etc. all call for “Phased Redeployment,” which means in practice simply transferring some forces from Iraq to Afghanistan (Obama, e.g.) or elsewhere and leaving a puppet government in place in Iraq. Mutiny Saves Lives! Mutiny is provided for by the Declaration of Independence which is actually a transitional document which supports a Socialist Revolution in the United States! Remember that when the U.S. invades a country they never leave. The U.S has a military presence in over 130 countries right now...and counting. Blackwater USA, Custer Battles, Dyncorp, etc and all 45,000 armed military contractors are paid 4 times what the regular U.S. mercenary marauder/cutthroat forces are paid in order to induce loyalty and are a NAZI-like SS (Schutzstaffel) formation which is in Iraq for one purpose only—to protect the Officer Corp in the event of another Mutiny—NOT to protect “diplomats,” the phony cover story foisted on an unsuspecting public. The U.S. created a mercenary army to replace the previous enlisted army used in Vietnam as the yet another tactic to try and prevent reoccurrence of mutiny. Therefore the present U.S. military mercenary army must get its act together, realize that their interests as well as the interests of all humankind are violated by the invasions of Iraq, etc. They will have to turn their guns around on their officers who must all be immediately arrested unless they join and support the Mutiny and then they must fight and decisively defeat Blackwater and the other 45,000 military contractors, which they can easily do if they organize themselves to do it, because the regular army is much larger and has heavier weapons. The key is organization. That is why the Call for Mutiny in Iraq must come from the United States!

Posted by: WHD2 on August 21, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on August 21, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

We're there till the oil runs dry...

Posted by: Dr Wu, I'm just an ordinary guy on August 21, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

8. Don't you think this thing was crafted in the White House specifically to solve McCain's Iraq problem? These guys have shown nothing over the last 8 years if not a willingness to sacrifice good policy to successful politics. Somebody up there thinks he's screwing it up.

Posted by: Paul Camp on August 21, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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