January 25th, 2007

Defeatism feels so good–for now

This WSJ editorial by Daniel Hettinger clear-sightedly, and with some puzzlement, describes the remarkable defeatism that seems to be spreading throughout the American Congress and public like some easily transmitted virus. Defeatism is the new feel-good emotion; it allows us to lay down the heavy burden we took up on 9/11.

Why is so much of Congress intent on a “you say tomato, I say tomahto” attitude towards President Bush and the surge, even though they have offered no viable alternatives to his plan? Even though the stakes are remarkably high if we abandon Iraq and it falls to greater chaos, and/or more closely into the orbit of Iran?

Well, as Hettinger writes: As a political strategy, unremitting opposition has worked.

Most of today’s politicians are pragmatic, rather than principled (perhaps it was ever thus); and their pragmatism tends to focus on a single goal: getting re-elected.

Unremitting opposition–with no need to come up with a better alternative–has defeated the Republicans, put the Democrats in power, and contributed to the lowest approval ratings for Bush of his Presidency (he’s done his bit in that endeavor, as well). So it’s not surprising that so many Republicans (especially those in somewhat liberal states) are jumping on the oppositional bandwagon as well.

Hettinger’s frustration is almost palpable. But the current military leadership has even greater cause for frustration. As Hettinger writes:

On the “Charlie Rose Show” this month, former Army vice chief of staff Gen. Jack Keane, who supports the counterinsurgency plan being undertaken by Gen. David Petraeus, said in exasperation: “My God, this is the United States. We are the world’s No. 1 superpower. This isn’t about arrogance. This is about capability and applying ourselves to a problem that is at its essence a human problem.”

…The mood of mass resignation spreading through the body politic is toxic. It is uncharacteristic of Americans under stress. Some might call it realism, but it looks closer to the fatalism of elderly Europe, overwhelmed and exhausted by its burdens, than to the American tradition.

As I wrote the other day, it’s as though we were intent on repeating Dunkirk before there’s any need to. Our weariness this time has come when the sacrifice has been relatively light, and the consequences of loss are great.

In relation to this loss of will, commenter “Unknown Blogger” asked an interesting question on another thread. He (or she?) first quoted my statement:

I wonder whether the unrelentingly gloomy prognostications in the press, the short attention span of modern life, the lack of knowledge of history, and the frivolity reflected in the overheard comments with which I began this piece don’t make it impossible to sustain anything like the sort of mindset we are going to need for this battle.

Then he asked:

I think what you describe above may be play a role in why the President is having trouble sustaining political support for this war, have you also considered the following?:

1. The changing nature of the mission – from removing a “grave” WMD threat to nation-building.

2. The Administration’s relentless public insistence for years that everything was going fine even when it obviously wasn’t, the endless “turning of corners” that just led to more blind alleys (the “gloomy prognostications” haven’t been coming only from the press – the DOD’s own reports have been showing it for years, among other sources), the implicit (and even explicit) assumptions before the war that it wouldn’t *really* be so hard, and wouldn’t take *too* long.

3. The acknowleged unpreparedness for and mishandling of the occupation and insurgency: Why should the public be convinced that *now* they’ll get things right?

4. The uncertainty of the consequences for US security after even the most positive of outcomes: Given all the other actors (and potential actors) in the world, how exactly a free and democratic Iraq, even after a guerilla war lasting many years and costing tens of thousands of lives and billons of dollars, will decisively reduce the likelihood of another major terrorist attack on the US remains unclear.

Excellent questions all, each perhaps worthy of a separate post. But I’ll take them briefly here:

(1) I’ve been thinking about my next couple of “change” posts (yeah, yeah, right, they say; we’ll believe it when we see them), which will cover–among other things–the buildup to the Iraq War.

I recall that I always assumed some form of nation-building would be part of the task. If you go back and look at the speeches Bush gave, one of our goals was the freeing of the people of Iraq from Saddam’s clutches. I don’t have the time right now to do the research and look at what he actually said on the subject of nation-building itself–my recollection, however, is that he didn’t say anything like “we will need to fight an insurgency for years.”

The original hope of the administration seemed to be that, somehow, the Iraqi people–with the help of former expat Iraqis who would return–would get their act together more quickly. I remember hearing that and not really believing it to be so–hoping that it would be so, certainly, but assuming the way would be much longer and harder.

Perhaps that’s just a sort of natural pessimism on my part–or realism–but I assumed that it was clear that the aftermath of the war could be a lot harder than that, and that our intervention meant we might have to stay there for a long while. In fact, I believed the “hot” part of the war itself would probably go on for years, with street and guerilla fighting far worse than it has been, both for American troops and even for the Iraqi people.

But that’s just me, perhaps. And I’m not saying it to show my prescience; I wish I had been more wrong, as it turns out. But I do not understand those who thought otherwise–and that includes the Bush administration, if they really did think otherwise. I would have hoped they had been more ready for the sort of thing we are facing than they apparently were, and this was a big disappointment to me from the start–beginning with my profound unease about the way they handled the looting.

I understand, however, why the war wasn’t presented in that light at the outset, and why the WMDs and the “flaunting the UN inspections” arguments became paramount. After all, the latter was true, the former was thought to be true, and they both were solid arguments that would appeal to supposed “allies” whose help we wanted to get. Why not emphasize them, then, rather than some lengthy and difficult occupation that might or might not be necessary in the process of rebuilding the country?

What’s more difficult to understand–and to forgive–is the lack of preparedness of the administration for the very real possibility of a lengthy and difficult occupation.

But UB’s first question was a different one, and the answer is this: I do think the perceived changing nature of the mission (at least in emphasis) was part of the reason the public has lost faith in this war.

Which brings us to:

(2) Once again, perceptions are strange. I never really heard a simple message of “everything is fine” from the administration. What I heard was that things were improving there–and for quite some time they seemed to be. The turning point was more recent; the bombing of the Shiite shrine and the increase in sectarian violence. I do believe this has been a turning point, as well, in public perception of the way the war is going, and in the spread of the idea that the situation is hopelessly chaotic.

Although I agree that this trajectory and direction in Iraq is a bad one, I don’t see it as hopelessly chaotic. I see is (as General Keane said) as a problem we can apply ourselves to.

That’s really the heart of the difference, not the events themselves. As I’ve written many times before, virtually all wars have setbacks when it would be easy to give up. Until Vietnam (or perhaps, arguably, until Korea), Americans didn’t give up so easily. And that (at the risk of being repetitive) is a matter of will, not of these particular facts on the ground. There is nothing about these events that says “all is lost.”

(3) I’ve given my answer in (1), and it is this: yes, our unpreparedness for the occupation was definitely a factor. So, why should the public think we’ll get it right now? Because, once again, the history of almost all wars represents just such a learning curve. The public today wants instant gratification, even in war. Not possible, except in the first Gulf War–whose unfinished nature, paradoxically (although it pleased the public–easy in, easy out) was a significant part of what led to the need for this one.

(4) This is not a factor for me at all. I think those who would have expected a successful resolution of the Iraq War to have decisively reduced our terror risk are living in a dream world, and are underestimating this enemy to an almost fatal degree. Such wishful thinking is misplaced and dangerous; Islamist totalitarians will not be so easily deterred, I’m afraid. They take the long view of history, and see their rewards as taking place not just in this world, but in the next. They have more than enough of the patience we lack.

For me, one of the major reasons for this war was to set a standard for what would result when nations repeatedly defy weapons inspections. If one is to be serious about not letting WMDs fall into the hands of regimes such as Saddam’s (or Iran’s, or North Korea’s), and if there was to have been any hope for the UN at all in that role (I now believe there is none), then the Iraq War was a pivotal moment in firmly declaring to all who would do as Saddam did that they’d have to answer for it. I believe that the power vacuum and confusion in Iraq today has not only empowered Iran to have greater influence locally, in Iraq itself; but that our losing heart with Iraq has signaled to Iran to go right ahead and develop WMDs, because we (and of course the UN) won’t do a thing about it. Same for North Korea.

Defeatism is painless, I guess. For now. The only thing is–it might end up being suicide.

167 Responses to “Defeatism feels so good–for now”

  1. Ymar Says:

    Hey, Neo.

    Cab you hear us, now?

  2. TalkinKamel Says:

    Defeatism is painless—for now.

    But if the Left gets its away, eventually it’s going to hurt quite a bit.

    (Good article, as always, Neo.)

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    TalkinKamel–I just added a last line to the post, before I’d seen your comment. (Click on the link in that last paragraph and you’ll get the reference, if it wasn’t clear already.)

  4. stumbley Says:

    Neo said:

    “my recollection, however, is that he didn’t say anything like “we will need to fight an insurgency for years.”"

    IIRC, Bush didn’t say this necessarily about Iraq, specifically, but I believe he did state in a speech that the WOT might take “generations”. In this week’s SOTU speech, he stated “The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others,” so it’s not something that we all haven’t heard.

    I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, that anyone who thought Iraq was going to be a functional democracy along the lines of Switzerland in a mere 5 (or 10) years was simply foolish. I don’t believe the Administration ever thought that…but I do believe that they thought the security situation would be better than it was more rapidly. But then, did anyone imagine that Iran and Syria would so brazenly support destabilization without being called to task for it—not by us, but by the rest of the world? Where are the outcries against “interfering in the affairs of sovereign nations” from the UN? EU?

    At times, I just see the U.S. as being ankle-deep in a sewer formed by the naked self-interest of the rest of the world’s nations, nations that are blind to the creeping darkness on the horizon.

  5. Steve Says:

    I think the main factor at this point is a lack of trust. I don’t think the American people in general trust this president or this administration anymore. And I think the main reason for that is, first, the war was sold as something different than what it has become, and second, because there have been myriad captures, campaigns, purple thumbs, assassinations, etc. over the past 4 years and usually they were always advertised as the turning point but it never seems to change.

    Henninger also made it clear that lack of leadership at the top was part of the problem. Having argued that for the past year, I would agree.

  6. JonBuck Says:

    The widespead disapproval of the way things are going are not all for uniform reasons. A close friend of mine who is very right-wing is disgusted because, in his view, Bush does’t know how to conduct a war. He thinks that if we’re unwilling to commit fully, we should cut our losses and pull out.

    I think that a lot of these problems can be traced to Bush’s mediocrity as a leader. It’s why I could not bring myself to vote for him in 2004. Bush was a weak candidate in 2000 and remained one four years later (Kerry still came very close). Bush seemed complately paralyzed throughout 2006 on what to do in Iraq. Endless discussion, planning, and whatnot and little action.

    So I completely understand why we’ve turned to despair as a nation.

  7. Ymar Says:

    I drink a bucket of defeatism every day. Eventually you’ll become immune to it. Assuming you don’t die of an overdose.

  8. TC Says:

    I think what needs to be discussed by rational and informed peoples is what the stakes actually are – and what the stakes are if a long-term occupation of Iraq will continue to be the apparent course that Bush has opted for.

    ‘Defeatism’ is a subjective term – as is U.S ‘victory’ in Iraq.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that wars that are fundamentally flawed – i.e criminal, outside the recognized boundaries of the Geneva conventions and international law – tend not to have particularly favorable outcomes, as in Vietnam…..

  9. Gene Says:

    Unfortunately, EVERYTHING that might possibly happen in the next, oh, half-century or so will be blamed on this war. (I am not saying they SHOULD be blamed on it, only that they WILL be.) Iran nukes Israel? NK nukes Japan? Pakistan nukes India or Israel? All the fault of GWB and the neocons. EASY ain’t a strong enough word for it. This misadventure will allow generations of defeatists to justify their position, and to avoid blame for anything bad that happens. Isolationists, pacifists and apologists for tyrants have been given a free pass to avoid responsibility for everything from now on.

  10. Sergey Says:

    The same spirit of hedonism and decadance prevailed the decades between WWI and WWII. This is human nature. Every generation feel itself exeptional, excluded somehow from grim realities of history. But present interwar period has been exeptionaly long, so this illusion of everlasting peace and Golden Age arrived, put down deep roots. But when I read now “Tender Is the Night” by Scott Fitzgerald, I encounter political disputes that sound just the same as can be heard now. This is time machine experience. For example:
    “Why do you want to fight the Soviets?” – McKisco said. “The greatest experiment ever made by humanity? And the Riff? (Morrocan guerillas. – Sergey) It seems to me it would more heroic to to fight on the just side.”
    “How do you find which it is?” asked Barban dryly.
    “Why – usually everybody intelligent knows.”
    “Are you a Communist?”
    “I’a a Socialist,” said McKisco. “I sympathize with Russia.”
    “Well, I am soldier,” Burban answered pleasantly. “My business is to kill people. I fought against the Riff because I am a European, and I have fought the Communists because they want to take my property from me.”
    McKisco knew what ideas were, and as his mind grew he was able to recognize and sort an increasing number of them – but faced by a man whom he considered “dumb”, one in whom he found no ideas he could recognize as such. and yet to whom he could not feel personally superior, he jumped at the conclusion that Barban was the end product of an archaic world, and as such, worthless.

  11. gcotharn Says:

    I always remember that President Bush, as the Bush Administration built towards the 2003 invasion, had to deal with the political reality of 2002. Powerful, capable forces were coalescing to stop the mission in it’s tracks, or at least to greatly reduce it. The political reality of 2002 might not have allowed for the blatant invasion purposes of
    1) overthrowing a dangerous dictator +
    2) injecting an Arab/Persian democracy into “madrassa-land/hate-America-land.”

    Politics exist. Pres. Bush may have chosen the best course – or not. He made his call.

    I wish Pres. Bush could or would say:
    “We cannot allow Isla-fascists to gain control of dangerous weapons; and we cannot allow Isla-fascists to expand their ideology of hatred, and of murder, for everyone who does not share their beliefs. We bear a special burden. As the foremost example of a society who doesn’t share their beliefs, the Isla-fascists have especially targeted us for murder.”

  12. Lee Says:

    Back in WWII, The Allies came up to the Gustav Line in southern Italy. It’s most important feature was the abbey on Monte Cassino. Intelligence told us the abbey was occupied by the Germans and being fortified. In fact, it was not, until we bombed it based upon the “faulty intelligence” of the time. That mistake cost thousands of American, British, New Zealand, French, and Polish casualties. Of course, the real solution should have been a “phased withdrawal” back to Sicily.

  13. Richard Aubrey Says:

    The discouragement has a number of causes.

    The lying media is part of it.

    People who peddle defeatism have a combination of causes.

    It would be silly to overlook the impact of BDS. There are people who want to beat Bush so badly that working to lose the war seems perfectly fine. Some of them know the likely consequences but think them a reasonable price to pay, others have deceived themselves about the consequences, while others comfort themselves that the consequences can, as well, be blamed on Bush.
    This is a new factor, I submit, to the usual war/antiwar debates.

  14. Isaiah Hunahun Says:

    the war was sold as something different than what it has become ~ but humanitarians still see the war as a just and necessary intervention. I just hope we really don’t abandon our socialist and democratic friends to the wolves, because I think this is why when people say, “The world hates the US” — if there is any truth to this motto, it is because we engage our enemies and abandon our allies, of course everyone is going to hate you for that, and it all may be cute and funny to our parochial opposition but – shame.

  15. TC Says:

    “It would be silly to overlook the impact of BDS”.

    That’s part of it – but I think it would be even sillier to overlook the real concern at the moment amongst Americans and indeed the world that the Iraq war could morph into something far bigger and far more dangerous than any weak and rhetorically alarmist voices warning of an Islamist backlash upon withdrawal.

    Some may call it defeatist – I think most would call it simply in the security interests of the United States and it’s people.

    A war with Iran poses the very real possibility of drawing other nations into confrontation i.e Russia China – with the U.S as vital interests clash – and other nations with serious hatred for the United States may take the oppurtunity to arm Iran.

    Those following closely events in these countries and familiar with military predictions of the outcome of a war with Iran will most certainly view this as just a little bit more of a concern than America looking weak for withdrawing from a meaningless occupation of a nation no longer – if ever a threat to the people of the U.S..

  16. the Unknown Blogger Says:

    Thanks for taking those things into consideration, Neo.

    I see your point in most cases, but I really have to take issue with your reply to number 4, on our success in Iraq bringing safety at home:

    I think those who would have expected a successful resolution of the Iraq War to have decisively reduced our terror risk are living in a dream world, and are underestimating this enemy to an almost fatal degree.

    Want to guess where these quotes came from?

    August 31, Salt Lake City, American Legion: “If we give up the fight in the streets of Baghdad, we will face the terrorists in the streets of our own cities. The security of the civilized world depends on victory in the war on terror, and that depends on victory in Iraq, so America will not leave until victory is achieved.”

    September 2, Radio Address: “We’re staying on the offense against the terrorists, fighting them overseas so we do not have to face them here at home.”

    September 7, Atlanta, Georgia Public Policy Foundation: “The Terrorists know that the outcome in the war on terror will depend on the outcome in Iraq — and so to protect our own citizens, the free world must succeed in Iraq.”

    September 7, Atlanta, Georgia Public Policy Foundation:“If America pulls out of Iraq before the Iraqis can defend themselves, the terrorists will follow us here, home.”

    September 11, Washington, Oval Office: “The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad.”

    September 11, Washington, Oval Office: “If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.”

    Obviously there are many more of these kinds of quotes out there, so it is no mystery why many Americans might have been under that impression. I agree with you though that “such wishful thinking is misplaced and dangerous…”

    (By the way, it’s “Henninger,” not Hettineger.)

    regards
    UB

  17. stumbley Says:

    “The Terrorists know that the outcome in the war on terror will depend on the outcome in Iraq — and so to protect our own citizens, the free world must succeed in Iraq.”

    To quote William Goldman: “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

    Notice the linkage, UB: the outcome in the greater war on terror will depend on the outcome in Iraq. We may or may not be more secure by stabilizing Iraq, but we will definitely be infintely more INsecure if we leave before stability is gained.

  18. Lee Says:

    Does the left and anti-Bushies really believe the things they say? It always amazes me that they can talk out of both sides of their mouths whenever the situation warrants. We are told “Bush lied to justify an illegal war for profits”, yet, the same group who knew exactly where to park cop cars in Dade County to intimidate black voters and manipulated little old Jewish ladies into voting for Pat Buchannan let the no-brainer of planting wmd’s in Iraq to justify their crimes went right overr their heads. For years we heard them say “Bush didn’t send enough troops to keep the peace”, yet when he does send more, all they can say is “this ‘dangerous escalation’ will only increase the violence”. They say “there are no foreign jihadists in Iraq, it’s a homegrown insurgency”, yet this “dangerous escalation will force others in the region with interests in Iraq like Syria and Iran to send in MORE fighters to counter our increase in troops!” It would be nice if you would tell us where you sit, before you tell us where you stand.

  19. Cappy Says:

    TC said: “Another thing to keep in mind is that wars that are fundamentally flawed ”

    Living under Islam is more fundamentally flawed.

  20. Gray Says:

    //And I think the main reason for that is, first, the war was sold as something different than what it has become, and second, because there have been myriad captures, campaigns, purple thumbs, assassinations, etc. over the past 4 years and usually they were always advertised as the turning point but it never seems to change.//

    Yeah, war is heck….

  21. debewley Says:

    Great post as always Neo. I can’t help but wonder how much time you devote each day to this.

    Many have faulted this administration for a lack of planning or of failing to anticipate potential problems. Are they also guilty of not anticipating what cost would be involved with our failure there?

    I’m old and will probably be gone before the worst of the consequences are realized. But I can’t help but mourn for what my children and grandchildren will experience.

  22. colagirl Says:

    Hi neo,

    Sigh….at the outset I thought it would be *nice* if they could put together a fully functioning democracy in five or ten years and then go home, but I thought it was unlikely, and instead much more likely that we were undertaking a project that would last at least a generation, maybe more. That was one of my misgivings about the war–I wasn’t sure that we had the national resolve to see it through.

    I just don’t get where the defeatism comes from. I don’t see this at all as an “unwinnable” or “lost” war–it’s, as you said, a human problem to which we can apply human solutions, as long as we have the will. The defeatism can’t come from sacrifice–so far the public has been asked to bear almost no sacrifice for this war. And if three thousand American casualties in four years are enough to make the US public want to pack up and go home, god forbid we should ever get into a major war where we start seeing the sorts of casualty figures we saw during WWI and WWII.

    I also agree that the clear lack of support for this war has caused problems with Iran and North Korea, because it means that there are effectively no weapons in the world’s arsenal to deal with them. What have we got, sanctions? We might as well be using harsh language for all the good those will do. I’m fairly certain Iran saw the lack of world response to the North Koreans’ atomic test and has been drawing lessons very carefully. Heck, even China was probably paying attention as well.

    Now I’m going to stop typing about this before I make myself more depressed. I’ll just close by saying I can’t wait for your next change post and I’m glad to hear you’re at least still considering the series.

  23. Trimegistus Says:

    It’s not defeatism. If America gives up in Iraq, suffers more terrorist attacks, and declines as a world power, that’s not defeat for the Left.

    That’s victory. America is their enemy.

    This makes Bush Derangement Syndrome easier to understand: liberals don’t want America beaten because they hate Bush — that would be irrational. They hate Bush because he’s so iconically American and has worked hard against incredible domestic opposition to advance the nation’s interests and security. In other words, BDS is just a manifestation of the Left’s unceasing and boundless hatred for America itself.

    Islamists are just the Left’s proxies in their war on their own nation. If we completely smash Muslim fanatic terrorism, the Left will find some other anti-American movement to support. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before American leftists turn to direct violence themselves — an electoral defeat in 2008 might send them over the edge.

  24. stumbley Says:

    “god forbid we should ever get into a major war where we start seeing the sorts of casualty figures we saw during WWI and WWII. ”

    Right, colagirl. Imagine if we had to face the losses of the first Battle of the Somme: 30,000 in the first half-hour alone!

  25. Loyal Achates Says:

    If president Bush had 20 years to run the war as he saw fit, we wouldn’t achieve ‘victory’ in Iraq.

    ‘Defeatism’ is just another word for accepting reality – that maybe, just maybe, arrogance and blindness have their limits.

  26. Wild Rice Says:

    Imagine if we had to face the losses of the first Battle of the Somme…“:

    You seem to forget, or possibly you are unaware, that in response to WWI and WWII we have ratified two treaties that bind us under international law not to attack another country. And, of course, these treaties are incorporated into US law. This means that President Bush and others within the administration are indictable under US law for war crimes. Now is the time to convene a grand jury.

  27. Wild Rice Says:

    …that maybe, just maybe, arrogance and blindness have their limits.“:

    No! I simply refuse to accept your proposition! Arrogance and blindness forever.

  28. stumbley Says:

    “bind us under international law not to attack another country.”

    And perhaps you have forgotten, troll, that Saddam’s Iraq attacked us first—you know, firing on aircraft in the no-fly zones, and that the UN passed several resolutions warning of “grave consequences” if inspectors were not given free rein to conduct their operations.

    But facts will never matter to a dunce like you.

  29. Good Ole Charlie (SE Penna) Says:

    stumbley:

    Remember what I said above about Wild Rice…

    Was I right?

    Right…

    Next breathless communique will feature the demise of the Snail Darter. Remember him/her/it?

    Wild Rice – harvested by North Country Indians (people of color so it’s alright) and ground into a shapeless paste. Really fits, eh?

  30. Ymar Says:

    Victory is whatever pisses the Left off most and makes Neo happy.

  31. Wild Rice Says:

    …firing on aircraft in the no-fly zones…“:

    The trajectories of any projectiles fired on aircraft in the no fly zones originated within Iraq and terminated within Iraq, and the trajectories exist wholly only with Iraq.

  32. Dan Says:

    To address your comments about whether or not nation building was in the plan for Iraq: Read “Cobra II” or “The Assassin’s Gate” both of which are even handed but critical views of the war. According to the authors, nation building in the sense that it was handled in Bosnia was rejected by the Bush administration. It was assumed that the liberated Iraqis would gravitate willingly toward democracy. As we have seen, they were so used to totalitarian government that they moved first to anarchy, revenge, and the insurgency. No one really predicted it, but in clear hindsight it is easy to see how it happened.

  33. Lee Says:

    “the trajectories exist wholly within Iraq” That’s true, but they weren’t supposed to have been fired anywhere in the first place. You do remember that Saddam signed a “cease-fire agreement”, not a peace treaty(i.e. if you return to firing, we return to war), and the no-fly zones were a part of that agreement?

  34. Wild Rice Says:

    No one really predicted it…“:

    It was both predictable and predicted.

  35. Wild Rice Says:

    You do remember…“:

    Iraq signed an agreement with the UN. The US, Great Britain and France had no special standing with respect to this agreement other than they are members of the UN. In fact they were not even mentioned.

    The no fly zones were unilaterally declared by the US, Great Britain and France some time (many months) after the agreement between Iraq and the UN was signed. The no fly zones were not part of the agreement between Iraq and the UN. Remember?

  36. stumbley Says:

    Yeah, WR, and the Geneva Conventions are part of “international law” too. Any thoughts on what the war criminals Al-Zawahri and his ilk should receive?

    You are without a doubt the densest of our trolls.

  37. Lee Says:

    “Iraq signed an agreement with the UN”. “No special standing”? with respect to this agreement? I thought the U.S. U.K. and France were the “UN Coalition Forces” whose task was to enforce the cease-fire agreement on behalf of the UN. Or was that Kofi Anon’s job? If the no-fly zones weren’t part of the original agreement, they were certainly part of the “amended” agreement endorsed by the UN. remember?

  38. somuch Says:

    The political situation in Iraq is such that one would think peace is right around the corner.

    Sadr never sits with Americans to converse — well, except through intermediaries if at all, and I’m not sure who represents the Sunni insurgency.

    Plus, we still have foreign fighters and al qaeda planting the random bombs.

    Once everyone agrees to stop fighting there will be a magical solution, Iran & Syria will stop interfering and Bush and his ‘death before reason‘™ followers will dance and hand flowers to everyone . I think the timeframe we’re talking about — well with negotiations we should have a solution just before the Palestinians and Israel make lasting peace.

  39. Lee Says:

    WR, as long as you’re on this “UN” thing, since the US “IS” the UN in Iraq, didn’t he fire on the “world’s” forces, while his country is in the “world”?

  40. Sally Says:

    The no fly zones were not part of the agreement between Iraq and the UN. Remember?

    When they’re not fantasizing about having their political enemies dragged into imaginary courts, people like Riceroni like to dream that the UN is some sort of legitimate legal or, even funnier, moral entity, rather than the corrupt playpen for tyrants and thugs that it is. But they and their friendly dictators, who understand nothing but force, should learn that if you’re going to sign agreements they had better be with the real powers that had been threatened in the first place, not some phony, toothless front.

    How are those war crimes trials coming there, by the way?

  41. Sergey Says:

    True realism supposes that civilized nations will fight aggressive barbarians as long as both parties exist, since no true peace between them is possible (see Palestine as illustration). And since US is the only civilized nation posessing armed forces sutable for the job, they have no choice other than win or perish. It may, indeed, take decades. The second target, obviously, is Iran. And I do not think Russia or China would intervene: Russia is too weak and has not real vested interest in Iran beside weapons and nuclear technology market; India suits this as well; and China seeks only oil, which it can buy elsewhere.

  42. TC Says:

    “Living under Islam is more fundamentally flawed.”

    Perhaps, Cappy – but an entirely different topic….

  43. TC Says:

    It seems the neoconservatives in this this thread would rather rant incoherently about some type of undefinable, monolithic entity called the ‘left’ than address the complexities of the Iraq war and it’s consequences on their lives.

    Their most despised and powerful enemy appears to be any group that would bring any form of critical analysis of the U.S government’s war to the discussion – or point to any consequences that don’t involve ‘losing’ the war or having a few insignificant fundamentalistd declare the U.S ‘weak’.

    Today’s old school, Reaganite conservatives have now offically become sniveling, traitorous Communists now as well.

    Apparently…

  44. Cover Me, Porkins Says:

    Strong post.

    You wasted your time on the first question, however. Apparently, everyone, including those on the new right, has forgotten about the first two-and-a-half months of 2003. From a NYT article in January of that year, on the planning for “administering and democratizing Iraq”:

    Administration officials involved in the planning caution that no matter how detailed their plans, many crucial decisions would have to be made on the ground in Iraq.

    Back to you, Neo-Neocon. You can keep apologizing for nothing if you like.

  45. Wild Rice Says:

    …they were certainly part of the “amended” agreement endorsed by the UN. remember?“:

    No I do not remember. Strangely neither does the UN. They have no record of an amended agreement establishing the no fly zones.

  46. Wild Rice Says:

    WR, as long as you’re on this “UN” thing, since the US “IS” the UN in Iraq, didn’t he fire on the “world’s” forces, while his country is in the “world”?“:

    I’m not sure if I can parse your grammar to a definite meaning. Here goes.

    The planes of the US, Great Britain and France were under the orders of the governments of those countries. They were not there as a result of any commitment to the UN.

    If you are trying to imply that the US and UN are somehow synonymous then you are very wrong. The UN Charter was ratified unanimously by the US Senate (there were no abstentions) and the US became a member of the UN. There is no doubt that we have accepted the provisions of the UN Charter and that the Charter is, as a consequence, part of US law.

  47. Lee Says:

    WR, your memory is VERY selective. You say you can’t remember U.N. Security Council Resolution 688, adopted TWO DAYS(not many months later) after U.N. General Assembly Resolution 687, the actual cease-fire agreement? Well, let me refresh your memory. Resolution 688 “Condemns the repression of the Iraqi civilian population, including most recently in Kurdish populated areas, the consequences of which threaten international peace and security in the region.” It also states it “requests further the Secretary-General to use all resources at his disposal, including those of relevant U.N. agencies to address urgently the critical needs of the refugees and displaced Iraqi populations.” In case that was too hard for you to comprehend, “relevant U.N. agencies included the “U.N. Coalition Forces” there at the request of the U.N.(under orders from U.N. member nations: U.S., U.K., France, etc.). I’m not trying to imply the U.S. and the U.N. are synonomous, I’m stating the FACT that as the U.N. representative in Iraq at the time, Saddam violated the “amended” cease-fire agreement by firing on the “world’s” forces, not just the U.S., U.K., and French forces, et.al. Or do “facts” make your synapses explode?

  48. Loyal Achates Says:

    Every time I go to this blog it’s like the real world doesn’t even exist. In Neo-Neoconland, there are not 3,000 American deaths, no hudnreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, no hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, no lies about WMDs, no setbacks for Democracy. Everything will be just fine if we shut up and let Bush do what he wants.

    Back in reality, my brother the Army psychologist sends me regular e-mails about the fragile morale of the troops in Anbar provnce being utterly shattered by the surge plan. Now, while there’s nothing he’d rather do than spend all day trying to stop soldiers from killing themselves, so many of them are incapacitated he has to go out on patrol himself. And you say that people who want to reconsider our plans in Iraq are ‘defeatists’! It’s such a piece of allmighty bullshit.

  49. Wild Rice Says:

    …requests further the Secretary-General to use all resources at his disposal…“:

    You forgot to include the text that authorizes the no fly zones and requests the coalition forces to implement them.

  50. Tom Grey Says:

    Riceroni — Bush called Darfur “genocide” almost 3 years ago. The UN disagrees. How many Black Muslims have to be murdered before you think the US was correct and the UN was wrong?

    Neo, the defeatism might well be associated with the lack of personal sacrifice — no pain, no accomplishment, no gratification. Just too many deaths on TV.

    Gene’s comment was the key — when Tel Aviv (or some other city) gets nuked or MassDestroyed, the Bush haters will blame Bush. But most will wake up and agree with the Neocons about the threat. “Too late” to save that city, but not too late for civilization.

    Losing a city is not quite suicide. But it is certainly tragic, and not painless. The “Fall of Islamofascist Terrorism” will likely be quite rapid after the city is destroyed.

  51. Wild Rice Says:

    Looking at the Surge From the Other Side.

  52. Sergey Says:

    LA, these plans already are reconsidered, and new plans proposed. But half of Senate try to derail them as soon they heard of them, before any results could emerge. What it is, if not a defeatism?

  53. Sally Says:

    There is no doubt that we have accepted the provisions of the UN Charter and that the Charter is, as a consequence, part of US law.

    Funny that you’re having such little luck in getting that grand jury together, then, isn’t it? You know, for all those violations of the UN Charter that the US has been engaged in? Maybe everybody but you is in the pay of Big Oil? Or maybe you just don’t know what you’re talking about. Yeah, I think that’s it.

  54. Lee Says:

    Wr, what part of “use all resources at his disposal” didn’t you understand?

  55. Loyal Achates Says:

    This ‘surge’ is not a new plan. We’re going to have as many troops in Iraq as we did in September 2005. It’s ‘stay the course’ by another name.

  56. Lee Says:

    WR, not to mention that the U.N. DOES have a record of the amended agreement(i.e. Sec. Council resolution 688), which strangely you couldn’t find in their records.

  57. Lee Says:

    Sorry, typos, resolution 688

  58. Wild Rice Says:

    Wr, what part of “use all resources at his disposal” didn’t you understand?“:

    The full item days:

    ” 5. Requests further the Secretary-General to use all the resources at his disposal, including those of the relevant United Nations agencies, to address urgently the critical needs of the refugees and displaced Iraqi population;”

    The item addresses the Secretary General and requests him to address the needs of refugees etc. The text you have missed is the request from the Secretary General to the US, Great Britain and France to implement the no fly zones in response to the item.

    Further, during the period that the no fly zones were in force the Secretary General stated many times that the no fly zones had nothing to do with the UN.

    The defendants may, of course, use your argument at their war crimes trials. I do not think it will fly (no pun intended). We will see how it goes.

  59. Wild Rice Says:

    WR, not to mention that the U.N. DOES have a record of the amended agreement(i.e. Sec. Council resolution 68, which strangely you couldn’t find in their records.“:

    Resolution 688 is not an agreement between the UN and Iraq. Resolution 688 does not amend Resolution 687. Resolution 688 does not authorize no fly zones, or any military action, in Iraq.

  60. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Loyal. They’d let a shrink go on patrol?
    Not if I were the squad leader.

    The suicide rate was flogged around last year and died, so to speak, when it turned out to be about the same as for guys in that age group but not in the military.

    Try again.

    Try to digest the re-enlistment rates.

    Or, don’t bother.

  61. Isaiah Hunahun Says:

    Every time I go to this blog it’s like the real world doesn’t even exist. In Neo-Neoconland, there are not 3,000 American deaths, no hudnreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, no hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, no lies about WMDs, no setbacks for Democracy. Everything will be just fine if we shut up and let Bush do what he wants.

    TRANSLATION: Everything will be OK if we let the radical islamist have their slaughter fest — they’re all just a bunch of filthy ignorant rag-heads anyway.

  62. TalkinKamel Says:

    Rice, nobody cares about the UN’s toothless resolutions.

    And it can’t even police itself, let alone put anybody on trial for war crimes.

    But, just remember—everybody but you is in the pay of Big Oil.

  63. Bryan C Says:

    The drumbeat of doom leaves me unmoved. The war in Iraq is going remarkably well by any realistic historical standard. It’s like complaining that your bread is a failure because it’s not fully baked after 5 whole minutes in the oven. If you thought that would be enough then it’s your fault and no one else’s. We’re doing the right things. Faster would be better, but if we don’t get there at all it’ll be our own fault.

  64. grackle Says:

    my brother the Army psychologist

    Yeah, sure. How about the OTHER brother, the army general, or the nephew on the Whitehouse staff? Yeah, uh huh.

    Hey folks, let’s abandon Iraq! Quickly! Before his relatives get even MORE upset!

    Sheeeeesh!
     

  65. Isaiah Hunahun Says:

    Well isn’t this interesting

    Jimmy Carter has apologized for what he called a “stupid” passage in his book that critics say is a de facto endorsement of Palestinian violence against Israelis…

  66. Loyal Achates Says:

    Richard Aubrey: Are you calling me a liar? Or, more importantly, are you calling him a liar? The rate of post-traumatic stress disorder is higher in Iraq than it was in Vietnam, and more of them ended up committing suicide than actually died in the war. Some effects take time. Think about that: these are soldiers, people who actually know what combat is like, unlike Neo-neocon or most of the other people here. And you want to put them in that situation for no purpose? THIS IS NOT A NEW PLAN. It is stay the course all over again. You keep saying “Give it a chance! Give it a chance!” It’ll have its chance, and it will fail. What will you suggest then?

    Isaiah Hunahun: No one said anything about ‘letting’ the ‘Islamists’ start slaughtering people (although there seems to be a fair amount of slaughtering going on already). The fact is, the US troops stationed in Iraq aren’t really defending anyone other than themselves, which is a big enough job to start with. Besides, very few people are suggesting the US leave the entire region; there’s no reason to think we couldn’t get the same (if any) benefits from having troops near Iraq instea dof actually in-country.

  67. Promethea Says:

    A few somewhat related points:

    1. This is 2007. What would the conversation be like today if the “no WMDs in Iraq” people were discussing what to do or not do about Saddam’s resurrected nuclear program?

    2. It took many years for South Korea to establish a democratic government. Ditto Taiwan.

    3. The war, in my opinion, is proceeding as well as could have been expected. Like Neo, I’m disgusted with the vile defeatism of our so-called representatives. Our enemies can see the weakness of the United States.

    4. Those with patience should read William Shirer’s The Collapse of the Third Republic. France was sold out by its politicians, and it has never recovered.

  68. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Loyal. I am calling you a prevaricator. The idea of a shrink with no combat training going on a patrol to fill a slot is silly.
    If he decides to go to see what it’s like, that is marginally more admissible, although he probably won’t learn much since he’d be a handicap and they wouldn’t take him where it is dangerous.

    I got some e-mails from some of the troops. They have 220 volts, so they can use microwaves. They would like CDs. Body lotion.

    When I was in, and my father, if you had something at the start of the war and you wanted it at the end of the war, you humped it through the war. You put the meat from C-ration cans loose in your pockets so you didn’t have to carry the can.

    This is not do dismiss the difficulty of serving in Iraq, but to claim that it’s worse than other wars is silly. Even the grunts have down time where they are in a perimeter when others are responsible for security.

    I’ve sent old paperbacks in crates because that’s what my correspondents wanted. The stuff, like food and toothpaste and so forth, they can get right there.
    In other wars, the paperbacks would have been welcome except nobody would have wanted to carry them.

    If I had a choice to fight the Germans in wet, cold Europe as my father did, or crawl through jungles in SEA, or fight in Iraq, I’d choose Iraq. Tough, dangerous, but not as bad as the other two choices.

    One reason for PTSD numbers is better reporting. Another reason is dragging in any kind of distress as PTSD because bigger numbers discredit the war.

  69. Isaiah Hunahun Says:

    I suppose we could park the coalition on a nearby cloud.

  70. Ymar Says:

    The reason for PTSD is because the US mil isn’t allowed to kick the pocking arse of the enemy. Go see an example of that here.

    Iraqi beatdown

  71. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Well, Ymar, there is that.

    I have an elderly neighbor who fought the Japanese in the Phillipines. When my wife and I visit, he’s pretty good. When I visit by myself, he gets going on what he saw the Japanese do to civilians and prisoners. To the point where, sometimes, he can’t speak.

    Is that PTSD? I suppose so. Loyal would certainly jump at the chance to use it to punch up the numbers.

    But it makes the case that nobody who’s been in combat comes out unscathed. Just like callouses on the feet and an aversion to canned corned beef. You will be marked. It’s not new, it’s not unexpected.
    More to the point, that it happens wrt the Iraq venture is in no way a unique and unprecedented issue useful in many ways to discredit the war. Or, I suppose, it is, presuming you can find an audience with the sufficient level of ignorance.

  72. Good Ole Charlie Says:

    The history of PTSD goes a long way back.

    I remember reading – in high school – Steven Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage. The novel was highly successful in the late 19th century: the setting is the American Civil War.

    But the crux of the novel is the long term effect of a young man’s panic after running away from a battle, IIRC. He had to live with his cowardly action the rest of his life…

    I wonder what the long term effect of a defeat would be on our leftish fellow citizens. I rather doubt it would really bother them much…finely tuned liars that they are.

  73. TC Says:

    “Just like callouses on the feet and an aversion to canned corned beef. You will be marked. It’s not new, it’s not unexpected.”

    Err, right – just like callouses and aversion to canned corned beef.

    Gotta love you old-timers.

    Have a great day Richard.

  74. Good Ole Charlie Says:

    Also see Joseph Conrad’s “Lord Jim”…

    Another (civilian) variation of the coward theme.

    Things happen…most people can’t see beyond tomorrow, if that far.

    Wild Rice, Loyal Achates (mistranslation that, BTW), and the ever-popular
    MSM are good examples of “none so blind as those who will not see…”

  75. TC Says:

    “Just like callouses on the feet and an aversion to canned corned beef. You will be marked. It’s not new, it’s not unexpected.”

    Err, right – just like callouses and aversion to canned corned beef.

    Gotta love you old-timers.

    There are plenty of reasons of discrediting the war that have nothing to do with the troops well-being – but for those that truly care, than you’d do well to listen to the facts that are being offered rather than offer callous rhetoric and assigning suspect motivations of matters you really don’t understand or have little exposure to – even if your grandfather served in Germany or you did in Vietnam….

  76. Ymar Says:

    The thing is, the Marines already handle PTSD through various improved ways, based upon their forefathers in Vietnam and WWII. Back then nobody really understood what the hell was going on, all they knew was that some just “burned out” or “couldn’t take it anymore”. Panic, freeze, hell, there was a study that said a major portion of Allied forces Would Not Even Fire their weapon when faced with the enemy.

    These people talking about it as if (Iraq), don’t even know how to alleviate it, let alone where it is present.

    David Grossman, if I recall, wrote a book about the Psychology of Killing and the effects it has on people.

    Mo here

    The point is, the Marines debrief their soldiers now, sometimes around campfires, because talking about combat and what they have faced with their buddies, reduces fracturing of a person’s psyche. And they don’t do this every like six months. They do this almost after every patrol. This is like the argument of “not enough armor” or something. It is bogus for people to talk about PTSD in Iraq as if it was a problem not being addressed or ignored.

  77. Ymar Says:

    Btw, concerning the numbers. The numbers don’t matter, because back in Vietnam, nobody even reported in for PTSD because of shame issues. So nobody knew and nobody was being treated. It is better now that the Army tells soldiers to report it in. That it isn’t something to feel ashamed about.

  78. stumbley Says:

    “Richard Aubrey: Are you calling me a liar?”

    No, LA, I am. What’s his name, division and rank?

    If you refuse to provide proper credentials, I’m afraid we’ll have to discredit your comment.

  79. Lee Says:

    Well, WR, actually you are right(I mean correct, you sound like you’re left). I got a little fixated on U.N. resolutions because of lack of sleep(yeah, yeah, excuses). The actual cease-fire agreement is the Treaty of Samawa signed Feb28, 1991 by Iraq and Coalition forces.

  80. Anonymous Says:

    “The numbers don’t matter, because back in Vietnam, nobody even reported in for PTSD because of shame issues.”

    Post-traumatic stress disorder was first added to the DSM-III in 1980. It couldn’t be reported because it wasn’t a recognized or named disorder. Why do you say things that can be so quickly and easily demonstrated as false?

  81. Anonymous Says:

    “If you refuse to provide proper credentials, I’m afraid we’ll have to discredit your comment.”

    Hm. Well, I can’t speak for LA, but if I had to weigh being taken seriously by you versus preserving the anonymity of my family from freaks like you, I can’t say it would be too hard a choice to make.

  82. Richard Aubrey Says:

    TC. You have a problem with my assertion that everybody in combat is psychologically marked?

    My point is that, between better reporting and the need for higher numbers to discredit the war, much of what is normal for combatants is being touted as if it’s something new. Which is a lie.

    There are reasons for and against the Iraq venture. That it is somehow uniquely difficult for the troops is not one of them. Only a person who presumes or hopes his audience is ignorant would even try it.

    Take a look at what the guys registered with “Anysoldier” want. They want the nicetohaves, and, God bless them, I’ve sent some. But that means they’ve got the gottahaves. Things are different when KBR has a fully-funtioning mess hall where even grunts can eat frequently. It means there isn’t so much hostile metal flying through the air. And if there isn’t that much hostile metal, that’s better than when, on the Ruhr plain, nobody stood up in daylight because he’d be seen and killed, for weeks. And food, and water, to the extent it was available, was brought up by carrying parties at night, eaten cold. It’s not the food that’s the issue, directly. It’s that the food indicates the difference in the level of hostility 24-7.

    If lefties really cared for the troops, they wouldn’t be arranging for a really, really big and catastrophic war which we would have to fight if we retreated every time they said so.

    Better, as has been said before, to risk a few lives stopping the German occupation of the Rhineland in 1936 than having to fight the Second World War.

    Ditto Iraq, or wherever we fight which will be exactly the place the lefties want us to leave.

  83. stumbley Says:

    Hey, Anon, LA’s the one putting his family out there…and the “shrink’s” not too timid to go on patrol in nasty ol’ Baghdad. I agree that it’s a stretch to out your relatives on the Web—but he/she’s the one who’s making statements that we’re supposed to be impressed by. I seem to remember a commenter much like yourself discounting “anecdotal” evidence in one of my posts….

  84. Anonymous Says:

    “I seem to remember a commenter much like yourself discounting “anecdotal” evidence in one of my posts.”

    How much of the argument here would you say is unsourced assertion? 98%? 99%?

  85. Lee Says:

    Anon, not to mention that since being asked to put-up or shut-up, the Iraqi expert LA seems to have disappeared, only to be defended by an “anonymous” third-party. Interesting.

  86. Anonymous Says:

    “Anon, not to mention that since being asked to put-up or shut-up, the Iraqi expert LA seems to have disappeared, only to be defended by an “anonymous” third-party. Interesting.”

    LOL! You people can be such clowns sometimes. Someone doesn’t respond to you for a little while and they must be so shamed by your witty remarks that they can’t bear to face you any longer! No thought that he might be driving home from work, cooking dinner, at a meeting, asleep, whatever, anything but your solipsistic insistence that a blog comment is what caused his mysterious absence.

    Yes, I am LA. I’ll admit it. I’m also every other person who ever disagreed with you. There’s only one…THE LEFT!!!

  87. stumbley Says:

    “How much of the argument here would you say is unsourced assertion?”

    In my case, maybe 20-30%. And that’s usually stated as opinion.

    You? For instance, “98%? 99%?”

  88. Anonymous Says:

    Stumbley, I was just asking your opinion. Since you stated that 20%-30% of your posts are sourced, rather than unsourced assertions, could you please point to the 70%-80% of your comments that were sourced to some credible (and I’ll use “credible” very loosely here) source, as opposed to assertions without sourcing? Any source at all?

  89. kungfu Says:

    This from dictionary.com:

    defeatism (noun) the attitude, policy, or conduct of a person who admits, expects, or no longer resists defeat, as because of a conviction that further struggle or effort is futile; pessimistic resignation.

    I’m most struck by “a conviction that further struggle or effort is futile.” How many out there, like myself, who were willing to give this a chance are now just sobbering up to the futile reality of our continued presense in Iraq?

  90. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I don’t care how “timid” or not “timid” the shrink is. If he’s not combat trained, he’s not going on patrol to fill a slot due to a lack of trained combatants, such as Infantry or Military Police, or some of the other combat arms such as Field Artillery who’ve got “instant Infantry” training.
    That was loyal’s first assertion and it’s false.
    I admit that there are some guys who would go as a supernumerary to find out what their future patients are facing. That’s different and it doesn’t mean there is a lack of grunts to kick in doors.
    In earlier wars, dedicated flight surgeons would occasionally deadhead on an op for the same reason. Given the layout of current aircraft, that’s probably not possible today. But the point was not that the earlier wars were putting in flight surgeons because they were short of gunners.

    The discussion of PTSD indicates that it is a malleable enough subject, in the right hands, to be useful as a method for discrediting the war in Iraq. If there were honest reasons that held water, this one wouldn’t be necessary.

  91. stumbley Says:

    Yo, anon, you want the answers, you do the work. Point to the facts you don’t believe, I’ll give you the sources.

  92. Lee Says:

    Well, anon, since you ARE LA, you obviously weren’t driving home, sleeping, masturbating, etc., you must have been ducking the hard question! Then, you posted defenses under another pseudonym, yet still ducking! I guess I must have been RIGHT about you(as Duncan MacLeod would say: “There can be only one.).

  93. Anonymous Says:

    “Yo, anon, you want the answers, you do the work. Point to the facts you don’t believe, I’ll give you the sources.”

    I’m confused, so maybe you could clear something up for me. Previously you stated that about 20% to 30% of your comments consisted of opinion, while the other 70% to 80% cited some source (since this was in the context of a discussion over sourced statements versus unsourced assertions). All I did was ask which of your comments cited some source; I don’t notice too many, and certainly not 70% or 80%. So perhaps you were wrong? Did you forget?

  94. Anonymous Says:

    Sorry Lee, I was lying. I’m not LA!

    OR AM I??!?!?!?!?

  95. Lee Says:

    Well, anon, now that you,ve admitted that you’re a LIAR, it makes no difference. Anything you say is just simply dismissed as another lie.

  96. stumbley Says:

    So, anon, you can’t point to any that you want sources for?

    Thought so.

  97. Anonymous Says:

    “So, anon, you can’t point to any that you want sources for?”

    No, no, you have mistaken my meaning. I’m not taking umbrage with any particular comment you wrote (Lord knows I don’t want to actually have to go back through the garbage you have written). I’m taking umbrage with one particular point you made, a sort of metapoint. You asserted that 70% to 80% of your comments were sourced. I’m asking you to point out which ones. If LA can’t make unsourced assertions without being called a liar, I’m afraid I’m going to have to call you a liar unless you can demonstrate that 70% to 80% of your comments aren’t unsourced assertions. Unless that, too, was an unsourced assertion. Ha!

  98. stumbley Says:

    Again, anon. You’re the one who has problems with my “garbage.” If you want to address a specific point I’ve made that doesn’t have the proper sourcing for your tastes, I’ll be happy to provide it, or freely admit that it was one of my opinions. I’m not going to put a link to something in every statement I make; most would probably not follow it, and I know where it’s from or can source it, so I don’t bother. If you have a problem with that, so be it. LA made a rather doubtful assertion, as Richard has ably pointed out; my calling LA out on that assertion was legitimate.

    And again, you’ll notice that for someone who has been quite quick to respond to previous contentions with his posts, LA has been conspicuously absent from the subsequent discussion.

  99. Anonymous Says:

    “And again, you’ll notice that for someone who has been quite quick to respond to previous contentions with his posts, LA has been conspicuously absent from the subsequent discussion.”

    The mystery thickens!!!!!!

    OOOOR, maybe you should learn to stop taking yourself and blog comments so fucking seriously, as if there were an actual mystery to solve when someone stops commenting for five seconds.

  100. Ymar Says:

    This is why turkeys aren’t allowed to have duels, people.

  101. stumbley Says:

    “stop taking yourself and blog comments so fucking seriously”

    A little testy, are we? Kettle, meet pot.

  102. neo-neocon Says:

    I haven’t read all these comments, but I think I get the drift–and I have to say that whoever “anonymous” is, he’s not Loyal Achates. The latter has been a commenter here for a long, long time. I ordinarily get enough information about commenters to tell whether someone is posting under two names, and that’s not the case here. And I think “anon” was just joking when he said he was LA, not lying.

  103. neo-neocon Says:

    Also, anonymous, lose the f-word, please.

  104. Isaiah Hunahun Says:

    Why do you say things that can be so quickly and easily demonstrated as false?

    Oh I forgot, “Shell Shock” and “PTSD” have NOTHING in common.

    One-dimensional thinking makes the world taste sooOOooOOoo good.

  105. Lee Says:

    BTW, just because the psycological condition wasn’t called “PTSD” until 1980, doesn’t mean the condition wasn’t identified before that. In WWI it was called “shellshock”. In WWII and Vietnam it was called “combat fatigue”. Maybe you should look up the number of cases reported under these phrases.

  106. Loyal Achates Says:

    Sheesh. I didn’t intend to become such a focus in my absence; some of us do have to work, you know.

    I should say: he is a Specialist, and went through basic training like everyone else. But I won’t give out his identity over the internet.

  107. Loyal Achates Says:

    Oh yes, and Aubrey: if some soldiers aren’t willing to pour out their deepest frustrations to you via e-mail, who can blame them? My brother talks about dodging mortar attacks in the same e-mail he asks us to send him a dustbuster (Iraq being terribly dusty, you know). Unbearable situations tend to make us focus on the samll things.

    Lost in all this is one small question. The surge. It’s most likely going to happen, despite the opposition of the Congress, the American public, the military, the Iraqi public, the Iraqi government etc. So, IF it fails, what then?

  108. TC Says:

    Richard – I don’t have a problem with your assertion(everybody who fights in a war is psychologically marked).

    “My point is that, between better reporting and the need for higher numbers to discredit the war, much of what is normal for combatants is being touted as if it’s something new. Which is a lie.”

    I don’t agree with your point, though. I don’t see a media ‘campaign’ to discredit the war through highlighting the hardships of the troops fighting it – I see a discredited war in the eyes of the American people and a media drawing attention(as they should)to those fighting it suffering debilitating injuries and conditions for a ‘lie’. The war was prosecuted under false premises and it is my opinion that it continues to be fought under false premises i.e “cut and run”(for the sake of the Iraqi people -whose country we have unnecessarily destroyed and who are dying for a lie in genocidal numbers); “embolden the enemy”(leaving Iraq would eliminate on e of their primary causes(Al-queda and the like), the more likely outcome would be a massively enhanced credibility in the world among allies and enemies alike – a benefit far surpassing the threat of radical Islamist insurgents. I’ll leave it at that so as not to stray to far off topic.

    Suffice to say that I don’t believe the ‘left’ that you site have any agenda in boosting the numbers of troops dying or suffering under the war, nor do I believe that this has anything to do with the near unanimous disgust with the Iraq war….

  109. Lee Says:

    “If it fails, what then?” Then, I guess people like you will stick out your chests, scream “See, I told you so!”, and really feel like the cat’s ass. Congratulations, your self-fulfilling prophesies will be proven correct. Because it’s not about “supporting the troops”, it’s not about how much you care for the “Iraqi public”, It’s about your sense of sanctimony and self-importance.

  110. grackle Says:

    I agree with Lee. PTSD is simply a new phrase for ‘shellshock’ and ‘combat fatigue.’ Most who live through or have to operate constantly under such trauma are able to handle the after affects, some are not. PTSD is real and will sometimes manifest itself in various symptoms well after the original trauma is past, just as with the delayed symptoms of some concentration camp survivors. Sometimes the sufferers are not aware of the cause of the symptoms. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to treat.

    Danger and risk, both mental and physical, is part and parcel of existence in the military. I was 17 when I joined up but even at that naive age I was fully aware that I was agreeing to risk my life if the need arose. To try to use an occupational hazard for the military profession as an excuse to flee Iraq is ridiculous.
     

  111. armchair pessimist Says:

    I feel like I’m living on Planet Goofus here. Will nobody say the O word? Will nobody explain certain facts of life to the Ammericum peepul?

    We’re stuck in the middle east. Nobody;’s going home. That’s where the oil you and I need to lead our fat-assed Ameicun lives is. There and in Putin’s Russia, in Chavez’s Venezuela, in our alien-exporting neighbor to the South. We’re going to have to send the troops one of those sh*tholes; if not Iraq, take your pick from the above irrestiable locations.

    Oh, yes, I forgot. Oil is “fungible”. Well so is the American blood to pay for it. It’s only the exact exchange rate that needs to be worked out.

    My humble Rx: “Redeploy” to the oil wells, include the Kurdish zone–they seem to be the most sensiible of the lot out there–and let the remaining loonies send one another up the virgin escalator. If we’re lucky, the whole middle east will explode, the world’s oil will get cut off, and the other oil-hungry powers, China, India, the EU, Japan and others, will have to step in and help us run the nuthouse.

    In the spirit of multi-lateral cooperation, maybe we’ll label the take-over something pc, like the WERA: World Energy Resources Administration.

    “night all….

    .

  112. Isaiah Hunahun Says:

    a Specialist — that’s about equivalent to a corporal. I would think that a shrink would be an officer.

  113. somuch Says:

    Ot a bit.

    Ha, I just read one of “best?” of Neo’s “Terrorists and their Western apologists–therapists hatch some theories “

    All I can say to that is, when liberals punish their children then they look for causes of why their children are acting that way (might I be sending mixed signals to my kids about proper behavior,) or does he/she have a earache, etc.,?

    Whereas, conservatives must just punish the little terrorists. Evil is evil.

    I have no idea what the mugger hit neo-neocon in the head with to convert her. It must of caused some serious damage.

  114. holmes Says:

    Liberal posts summary: War is bad.

    Yes, we know. War is hell. So is living in a nuclear age with terrorists running the resources of nation states.

  115. stumbley Says:

    According to the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) affiliated with Fort Sam Houston (Army Medical Services) in San Antonio, Texas, interns in clinical psychology are admitted with the rank of Captain.

    Just for you, anon: http://www.bamc.amedd.army.mil/MedEdu/GME/GME_RESIDENCIES/Clinical_psychology.htm

  116. Good Ole Charlie (SE Penna) Says:

    Loyal Achates:

    I see I have to explain.

    Your nom de plume is a mistranslation, serious variety.

    “Fides Achates” is the buddy of “Pius Aeneas” in Virgil’s Aeneid. A companion in arms, you might say.

    The correct translation of the tag should be “Faithful Achates” in the sense that my Black Labrador is faithful to me. Dog-like devotion, not necessarily reasoned.

    Go back and try again for a handle…this time with a more than a comic book knowledge of literature.

    If you’re unsure, variations on “Anonymous” are always safe.

    Vide Supra…

  117. Lee Says:

    somuch, you mean liberals punish their kids, THEN try to figure out if they have an earache? No wonder you have to worry why they may be getting “mixed signals”.

  118. Richard Aubrey Says:

    A couple of points:

    Specialist is a pay grade. The Army has three “private” pay grades. The E1 is a trainee. The E2, also a “private” is just out of training. After a bit, he becomes an E3, a Private First Class.
    To give the troops with skill and motivation a chance at higher pay grades, we have the “Specialist” class. So a Spec4 is the next pay grade up from a PFC. He’s a junior enlisted man. A corporal is the same pay grade but he’s a noncommissioned officer and would have command of a small unit. There are two parallel paygrades after that. Specialist, for guys who are moving up in pay grade and corporal through several levels of sergeant. E5 pay grade could be a Spec5 or a junior sergeant “buck sergeant” who might command a fire team in a rifle squad, which might contain a Spec5, same paygrade but no command function. The Army now is said to have an oversupply of mid-level noncoms, not specialists, because it is functioning, unofficially, as a cadre army. If things get bigger faster, we have junior and midlevel sergeants to take charge of lots of new troops. In the meantime, they do jobs that specialists of the same paygrade would do.

    A shrink, strictly speaking, is a psychiatrist, which is to say, MD. They start at captain.

    You can dodge a half dozen mortar shells in a fire base and be shaken, as you should be. That’s not the same as getting hammered by a hundred while in a muddy trench, waiting for tanks–in WW II, the German tanks were better than ours and proof against many of our lighter antitank guns, as well–and then finding artillery added to the mix.

    It’s a different war. One difference is that a Iraq tour for the Army is a year. Few guys in WW II fought for a year. D-Day was June and the war was over in eleven months and many of the units that finished the war didn’t land until long after D-Day. Or the units were fought out and relieved or the guys were killed and crippled. In the Pacific, the island campaigns were savage but over in weeks or months. Italy took a long time and those units had it pretty bad for a long time.

    Many guys in the Army have had two full year tours. That can tell on a guy.

    There are any number of horrid days in war. Somebody mentioned the Somme. Or Okinawa.

    The one that I have always remembered was in the Pacific. A carrier was hit badly. A cruiser came along side to pass over hose lines to help fight the fires and take off wounded. A magazine on the carrier blew up and killed three hundred sailors on the cruiser. That took about a second.

    Somebody’s friend who wants a dustbuster has…something that needs dusting, which is to say, he has a home. It isn’t destroyed so regularly as to not accumulate much dust or make it silly to dust. He has a place to put the dustbuster. All of which is to say the shit isn’t flying past his head with the same intensity that was characteristic of other wars.
    His facilities for personal hygiene are suffici

  119. DeShawn Q. Williams Says:

    The New York Times reports today about the latest attack on a Baghdad market:

    ““We were standing in the middle of the market, looking at the birds, and suddenly there was a massive explosion,” said a man who gave his name as Qusay, and who liked to scout for rare pigeons to breed. Both his legs were broken by the explosion. He said he was taken to the hospital, where he found doctors with no supplies trying to treat ghastly wounds.”

    Why is there no money in Baghdad hospitals to buy supplies to treat the wounded?

    If we want to keep occupying the country, isn’t it our moral duty to make sure that the hospitals are funded?

  120. Loyal Achates Says:

    He is not an M.D.

    Perhaps ‘psychologist’ was a bit misleading. Perhaps ‘counselor’ would be more accurate. A large difference, I know. But he deals with traumatized soldiers all the same.

    and Charlie, I’ve read ‘The Aeneid’ in the original Latin. Don’t lecture me about ‘comic-book knowledge’ of literature.

  121. Lee Says:

    LA, Lemmie see…he’s a psychologist, I mean, he’s a specialist, I mean, he’s had basic training, I mean, he’s a counselor. Just a few “facts” could clear this up, and still retain his anonymity. What is his MOS? What is his rank? What unit does he serve with, and where are they currently stationed? BTW, be specific and not some generality such as “Anbar Province”.

  122. Richard Aubrey Says:

    At one time, as an Infantry officer, I met with an enlisted social worker. He was qualified,as far as I could tell–my BA was in psychology–and we resolved the issue of a particularly wacky trainee.
    He’d been through basic training. Like the cooks, clerks and jerks, ash and trash, odds and sods. Basic training was a lot of things and if it had a combat point to it, it made you capable of defending a fixed position with a rifle and hand grenades.
    Infantry training was considerably more rigorous and nobody’s supposed to be kicking in doors in Iraq without at least some unofficial MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training in addition.

    So we still have a question. Why would anybody spend training time on a guy whose entire job presumes a settled and quiet place in which to talk and listen to combatants? Presuming Loyal’s relation is now an enlisted kind of social worker.

  123. somuch Says:

    Bad editing on my part.

  124. Lee Says:

    Richard, I believe the photo of the carrier you are recalling was of the U.S.S. Franklin, hit by a single bomb sometime in March, 1945 off the Japanese coast. The cruiser that came to her assistance was the U.S.S. Santa Fe. The secondary explosion which killed many of her crew forced her away, but she still returned, the fires were extinguished, and the Franklin eventually left the area under her own power. It probably should have been scuttled, but I guess they didn’t think in terms of “It’s a lost cause”, or “cut and run” back then.

  125. grackle Says:

    IF it fails, what then?

    If the surge fails there will likely be a real bloodbath after the US leaves. Anyone who has been friendly to the US will be doomed if they stay in Iraq. I can imagine political refugees(no doubt salted with terrorists), and roughly equivalent to those who ended up in the US after the fall of the Shah and the ‘Boat People’ being sheltered inside the US. The MSM will probably be pretty quiet about it unless they can devise a way to blame it on someone powerful they dislike.

    Iran, Syria and possibly a new, less friendly regime in Iraq will be flooding Afghanistan with operatives and weapons, that is unless Pelosi and Co. has the US flee from there too even before the ‘need’ arises.

    But I believe it’s likely that the US will be back in both places before long unless the US is destroyed or wounded beyond ability to respond to what will surely come if Iraq and Afghanistan resume their naughty ways; again, as in pre 9/11 days, leaving an increasingly lonely and desperate Israel and a wavering Turkey and Pakistan as the only non-hostile states in the area. Terror Heaven on earth. I guess I’ll try to push these worries to the back of my mind and hope it’s not the sacrifice of my city or my loved ones that goads the lethargic American public – if the surge fails.
     

  126. Lee Says:

    Just as a humorous aside, or, perhaps, to fan the flames of “conspiracy”; Is it just me, or did ‘anonymous’ leave the room just as Loyal Achates returned from his “conspicuous absence” during the day’s discussion? Seems a little like Clark KentSuperman to me(or maybe Clark BentStuporman).

  127. Good Ole Charlie (SE Penna) Says:

    LA:

    Read it in the original too, plus two more years above Aeneid. All twelve books, pal.
    And a couple of years of Greek, too.

    So I called your bet…and now for the raise.

    Please be accurate. Thank you.

  128. Wild Rice Says:

    Stop the Iran War Before It Starts.

  129. Sergey Says:

    WR, I have read this nonsense you recomended. In the article the only thing about which author worries is the image of senators and representatives in public view. Perspectives of nuclear Iran and nuclear terrorism do not worry him a bit.
    Such populist approach is always bad enough, but in questions of national security this is pure madness.

  130. Lee Says:

    WR, Not to mention Mr. Ritter just HAD to get a jab in on the REAL problem: the undue influence of the “Israeli Lobby” on their gentile lackeys in the White House and Congress. Why is it that every problem in the world can be solved if we just abandon Israel?

  131. TC Says:

    And what is the real ‘perspective’ of a nuclear Iran Sergey? From yours and mine I mean.

    Are you afraid that the Iranians will launch an unprovoked attack on the U.S or even Israel? Do you really believe that Aminajehad is planning to wipe Israel off the map?(Even if he wanted too, of which there is no evidence of whatsoever, it’s starting to appear as though various elements of the Iranian heirarchy are getting fed up with his rather grandoise and ridiculous orations – I don’t imagine him being around much longer.

    Regardless – any war with Iran involving the United States will be to solidify Israeli nuclear superiority in the region and nothing else. And if the United States unwisely gets involved it will be in no small measure the work of the Israel lobby – who have been the only real group calling for military action against Iran.

    ‘Abandoning’ Israel wouldn’t solve all the problems of the world, but allowing U.S foreign policy to focus on U.S interests would solve one of the major ones – particularly if there is a war with Iran, in which case the world will be a very different place after, that much we can be sure….

  132. Lee Says:

    TC, So there is no U.S. interest in standing by or protecting long-time friends and allies like Israel? The arab states turned to the Soviets for succor and help, some even becoming satellite states(Egypt, Syria and Iraq for instance, the Ba’ath Party being essentially Islamic Socialism), and the Arab-Israeli wars became a cold-war hot spot. If succesful, Soviet influence in the area would have spread(yes, that’s right, the domino theory) throught the Middle East, North and Central Africa. They deserve our THANKS, not abandonment. When Nasser said they would wipe out Israel, they tried. When Assad said they would wipe out Israel, they tried. Now Ahmadinijhad says they will do so, but he’s just spouting off his mouth?

  133. TC Says:

    Lee – again I’m not advocating abandoning Israel.

    And your history is just plain wrong…..

  134. douglas Says:

    “Back in reality, my brother the Army psychologist sends me regular e-mails about the fragile morale of the troops in Anbar provnce being utterly shattered by the surge plan. Now, while there’s nothing he’d rather do than spend all day trying to stop soldiers from killing themselves, so many of them are incapacitated he has to go out on patrol himself.”
    -Loyal Achates

    Let’s put aside for a moment the ‘inconsistancies’ and say it’s true. You suppose his view is a little tainted, like the proverbial proctologists view?

    “Lost in all this is one small question. The surge. It’s most likely going to happen, despite the opposition of the Congress, the American public, the military, the Iraqi public, the Iraqi government etc. So, IF it fails, what then?”
    -Loyal Achates

    The ‘Surge’ has been happening for a few weeks already. Where have you been? If it fails? Probably lots and lots of Iraqis die. Think we should root for success, myself.

    “It’s a different war. One difference is that a Iraq tour for the Army is a year. Few guys in WW II fought for a year. D-Day was June and the war was over in eleven months and many of the units that finished the war didn’t land until long after D-Day. Or the units were fought out and relieved or the guys were killed and crippled. In the Pacific, the island campaigns were savage but over in weeks or months. Italy took a long time and those units had it pretty bad for a long time.

    Many guys in the Army have had two full year tours. That can tell on a guy.”
    -Richard Aubrey

    Richard, words not heard of late- “for the duration”. Certainly heard in WWII. Units that were in North Africa entered Germany at the end of the war. James Webb’s father flew in the Berlin Airlift, a ‘peacetime’ operation. He was away for three years (said it right in the SOTU rebuttal, picture and all). You are correct, though- they fought fewer days than soldiers in Vietnam did in a one year tour. I’m not sure how it pans out for Iraq- probably somewhere in between. We’ve learned things from experience. Just being nitpicky, no question going on patrol and worrying about IED’s, even if ‘only’ for a few hours a day has got to wear on you.

    “He is not an M.D.

    Perhaps ‘psychologist’ was a bit misleading.”

    Ya’ think?

    “Perhaps ‘counselor’ would be more accurate. A large difference, I know. But he deals with traumatized soldiers all the same.”

    Fine, see above.

    “and Charlie, I’ve read ‘The Aeneid’ in the original Latin. Don’t lecture me about ‘comic-book knowledge’ of literature.”
    -Loyal Achates

    Then you have no excuse. Makes you more the fool, I say.

  135. sam Says:

    Paleocons

    After all the idiotic justifications for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq we now have come to the final one: “You don’t want to lose and show the world that the US power has limits do you?”.

    Well guess what. The rest of the world already knows that our power is seriously limited. In fact the only folks that do not know this are the imperialist paleocons. And this my friends is precisely why we are still in Iraq.

  136. alan Says:

    “Defeatism is the new feel-good emotion; it allows us to lay down the heavy burden we took up on 9/11.”

    Defeatism, emotion, burden, 9/11? Perhaps it’s time (or actually, long past the time) that we get over the PTSD that has afflicted too many of us for too long. There were folks who needed to be dealt with after 9/11 and one place they weren’t was Iraq.

    It is hardly defeatism to recognize an error that has been an expensive distraction from the real challenges we faced after 9/11. The sad reality is that we may not be able to anything to avoid a bad ending to our Iraq misadventure. We certainly aren’t going to do it with the resources we realistically have available at this time or in the near future.

  137. stumbley Says:

    “the real challenges we faced after 9/11″

    Which are? How do you suggest we solve them?

  138. Sergey Says:

    After Iran acquires a Big One, it will use it to blackmail everybody in the region, including US. And it is not so hard to smuggle it in every US port. This will be a child game to blast New York or San-Francisco, you will not need even get permit to moor, and any private yacht will suffice. Knowing Iran record in sponsoring international terrorism, such scenario should be absolutely excluded, and at present state of affairs this can be done only by going to war.

  139. Lee Says:

    TC, If “my” history is “just plain wrong”, then perhaps you can elaborate on “your” perspective of the history of Arab-Israeli interaction.

  140. Wild Rice Says:

    After all the idiotic justifications for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq we now have come to the final one…“:

    This was pretty much the last argument for the Viet Nam war as well.

    I think the Paleocons (i.e. traditional conservatives) have come to realize our power limitations (if they did not know them already). It is the Neocons, the followers of Strauss, who do not. Fortunately, the Neocons now have no credibility at all.

  141. Lee Says:

    Isn’t it amazing that the left seems to think Al-Qaeda is everywhere EXCEPT Iraq. Richard Cohen had evidence of their cooperation(911 Commission Report pg.128), Richard Clark had evidence of their cooperation(911 Commission Report pg.134), yet the left continues to repeat in Goebbelsesque fashion that Iraq and Al-Qaeda were enemies.

  142. Lee Says:

    My fault, typo pg.128

  143. somuch Says:

    We could invade the island 90 miles off the coast (again).

    “Abu Iyad, a close aid to Yasser Arafat, stated in 1978 that hundreds of Palestinian had been sent to Cuban terrorist camps.

    The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that there were 300 Palestinians training in Cuban camps.

    Cuba welcomed the founding of the PLO. First contacts with Palestinian FATAH in 1965 in Algiers and Damascus

    Fidel Castro created The National Liberation Directorate …to support revolutionary groups throughout the world. DLN was responsible for planning and coordinating Cuba’s terrorist training camps in the island, covert movement of personnel and military supplies from Cuba and a propaganda apparatus.

    Castro sent weapons via Cairo, to the NLF in Southern Yemen. Cuban agents were sent on fact-finding missions to North and South Yemen

    Cuba and Syria developed a close alliance and supported FATAH and the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF).

    Castro sent military instructors and advisors into Palestinian bases in Jordan to train Palestinian Fedayeen”

    http://www.cartadecuba.org/castro_and_terrorism.htm

    Or we could just let the dude die.

  144. TC Says:

    They were enemies Lee – Al-qaeda is an ideology not a group – an ideology that viewed Arab secular leaders(and even certain Islamist leaders) as non-muslims, infidels and so to be killed.

    There is no credible link between terrorist groups and Iraq – none.

    There is a small number of Al-qaeda influenced foreign fighters in Iraq – an estimated 1200 according to U.S sources.

    The insurgency is primarily Iraqi – fighting against a foreign occupation.

    BTW – Perhaps you’d ask the question, Lee about Arab-Israeli relations rather than have me try to answer what is a somewhat complex question I’m sure you’d agree…

  145. a guy in pajamas Says:

    TC: Al-qaeda is an ideology not a group – an ideology that viewed Arab secular leaders(and even certain Islamist leaders) as non-muslims, infidels and so to be killed.

    Al Qaeda is certainly a group. They have an ideology, but that ideology allows them to use anyone and anything to achieve their aims. This is common enough that we have sayings like ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend.’ If AQ and Saddam thought they could hurt their chief enemy by colluding in some way, they would have. Of course, had they vanquished the US, or had some falling out, they would have turned on each other.

    TC: There is no credible link between terrorist groups and Iraq – none.

    Do you mean now, or in March 2003? Either way, the Iraq-terrorist connections are fairly well documented. Here is a selection from that article, and the sources are linked on the page there:

    Abbas al-Janabai, a personal assistant to Uday Hussein for 15 years, has repeatedly stated that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden that included training terrorists at various camps in Iraq.

    CNN, 7-23-2003
    Gwynne Roberts, Sunday Times, July 14,2002
    Richard Miniter, TechCentralStation, 9-25-03

    ·Two Moroccan associates of Osama bin Laden, arrested in Rabat in Nov 98, confirmed that Col Khairallah al-Tikriti, the brother of Iraq’s top Intelligence official (Mukhabarat), was the case officer in charge of operations with al-Qaeda in Kashmir and Manila

    Jacquard, Roland, In the Name of Osama Bin Laden, Duke University Press, 2002, pg.112

    ·Wali Khan Amin Shah, an al-Qaeda operative in custody, told the FBI that Abu Hajer al-Iraq had good contacts with Iraq Intelligence Services (reported to Senate Intelligence Committee)

    Stephen Hayes, Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, 7-18-05

    ·Farouk Hijazi, former #3 in Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat, although he denies the well documented reports of his later meetings with bin Laden, Hijazi admits that he met with Osama bin Laden to discuss antiship mines and terror training camps in Iraq during the mid-90’s.

    9-11 Commission, Staff Statement 15

    ·Abdul Rahman al-Shamari, who served in Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat from 1997-2002, says that he worked to link Saddam Hussein regime with Ansar al Islam and al-Qaeda.

    Preston Mendenhall, MSNBC, “War Diary”
    Jonathan Schanzer, Weekly Standard, 3-1-04

  146. Lee Says:

    TC, It doesn’t seem that difficult a question to me. Your assertion is that my “version” of history posted previously is “wrong”. I asked what you think the “correct version” of that history is. Also let me paraphrase(since I don’t currently have the 911 Commission Report right in front of me, anyone who does please offer corrections) what was said on pg.128: “During the ’90′s, Al-Qaeda and Iraq agreed to cease hostilities against each other(how an ideology agrees not to fight another nation is another question for you to answar). They further agreed to cooperate together in the development of chemical and biological weapons.”

  147. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Oh, TC, here’s some more:

    From a Salon article on 9/21/01. Woolsey is former head of the CIA, and Mylroie is an intelligence analyst who specialized in Iraq.

    The chief reason intelligence analysts have given for dismissing the notion of a specific Saddam/bin Laden connection has been the supposed enmity between the two men, based on Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, which bin Laden violently opposed. But Mylroie is skeptical, pointing out that the invasion occurred more than 10 years ago, which is an aeon in diplomatic years. Woolsey, too, has his doubts.

    “First of all, that may be a cover story,” he says. “Secondly, they have the same chief hatred, which is for us. Thirdly, bin Laden is Sunni, so there’s not any of the Sunni-Shi’a tension that there would be if the allegation were that he was working with Iran.

    “And finally, Saddam has gotten reasonably close in the last few years to some of the fundamentalist terrorist Sunni groups. They have meetings in Iraq — I can’t point to any personal meetings or any personal link between bin Laden and Saddam, but if you just look at his relationships with the terrorist groups generally, and particularly the fundamentalist Sunni ones, it’s striking. Some of them call him ‘the new Caliph’ [an Islamic term for a temporal and spiritual leader].”

    “My main concern is that the administration will put this off and choose to just focus on bin Laden, for policy considerations,” Mylroie says. “I think we run the risk of focusing on the individuals and not looking at the states — forgoing security concerns for the sake of prosecuting criminals. If the states go untouched, we’ll just have more of the same.”

    Also, Laurie Mylroie published a book on this topic in 2000, “Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein’s Unfinished War Against America.”

  148. TC Says:

    Yeah, hard to figure how an ideology and a government at complete odds with each other agreed to cooperate on weapons production.

    Nor is that the only problem with the 9/11 commission report either.

    “Perhaps you can elaborate on “your” perspective of the history of Arab-Israeli interaction.”

    Not quite what your story about dominoes and Soviet support for Arab states implied.

    Basically your claim that Egypt, Iraq etc were satellite states of the Soviet Union is extremely weak – as is the claim that Arab Israeli wars were cold war hotspots – at least from the Soviet perspective – I’m not sure what you mean when you say Soviet ‘influence’. It’s certainly a topic that can hardly, if at all, be concluded by saying that Israel was a cold war ally by fighting Arabs states – quite ridiculous really.

    Anyway -Nasser didn’t have any designs on ‘wiping Israel off the map” and certainly didn’t try and neither did Assad (any serious expert in middle east history know that to be typical Israeli revisionist history long abandoned by the Israeli establishment – nevertheless such stories continue to be the staple of U.S rightwing Jewish propaganda).

  149. TC Says:

    “Al Qaeda is certainly a group.”

    Fine. What evidence is there that Al qaeda is a group – with a leader, operatatives etc – functioning in an organization called Al-qaeda?

  150. a guy in pajamas Says:

    And here’s a blog devoted to the topic. From one of the posts (Gen. DeLong is USMC Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong, deputy commander of CentCom under Tommy Franks):

    These comments are nearly identical to what Gen. DeLong told PBS Frontline during their interviews for their special “The Dark Side.”

    “When are you first aware that Iraq and Saddam Hussein are on somebody’s gun sights somewhere and that it may be job two?”

    “We also knew we had thoroughly good intelligence that there was an Al Qaeda base on the Iraq-Iran border, that the Al Qaeda were coming through Iran into Iraq. We’ll call it a dual-use base; in other words, chemicals that could be used for putting on your crops or chemicals that you could mix together and make a chemical weapon out of. We had on the ground intelligence that they were coming through there, and then some of them were meeting with some of the senior people in the Saddam administration, not with Saddam himself. We knew there was a tie to Saddam, to Iraq. And nothing happens in Iraq without Saddam knowing about it, so we knew that was true.”

    “Were you aware that by the 21st of September, say, Tenet and the CIA had already delivered to the president and to others that there was no Al Qaeda-Saddam connection? (Regimeofterror.com note: Tenet’s 2002 testimony to Congress was actually quite supportive of an al Qaeda-Saddam connection)”

    “Yeah, we didn’t agree. Now, the only place we saw it was this one compound on the Iraq-Iran border, which was so troubling to us. We almost took them out three months before the Iraq war started. We almost took that thing, but we were so concerned that the chemical cloud from there could devastate the region that we chose to take them by land rather than by smart weapons. …”

    DeLong, who briefly mentions the intelligence on the camp in his book “Inside Centcom” (new paperback “A General Speaks Out”), says that the camp on the Iran-Iraq border had been in existence for a “long time” and the intelligence indicated that it was indeed a dual use chemical factory intended for AG (agricultural) and warfare. …

    DeLong also said that there were enough concerns about the amount of chemicals in the area( bombing could produce a lethal chemical cloud large enough to affect numerous civilians in the region), that ground troops were used to check the place for chemical weapons early in 2003 . By the time the troops got there “most” of the chemicals had been removed and the site was more or less sanitized.

  151. a guy in pajamas Says:

    On WMD’s, here’s a selection from PBS’s interview w/ Gen. DeLong:

    And this debate about weapons of mass destruction and developing all that information, all the talk about whether the stuff existed, did that ever cross your field of vision while you were down here, both running Afghanistan and preparing for Iraq?

    Yeah, because we saw it in Iraq. We had people on the ground in all the different places, and we knew where the stuff was, and we also knew that the U.N. inspectors during this period of time had to tell Saddam a week ahead of time they were coming to place X. We watched trucks come in, take the stuff out, go to another place as the U.N. inspectors would go in. By this time now, this is 12 years that Saddam has been moving his chemical weapons around. So we knew there were weapons of mass destruction. Now, how much or what kind, [we] weren’t sure.

    But two days before we did go into Iraq, we watched truckloads of it go into Syria, truckloads of it. Now, these chemical weapons, you’ve got stuff here and stuff here that by themselves are not potent. You mix them together and you put them in the nose of an artillery shell or a bomb and you weaponize them, and it becomes a weapon. …

    You saw it how? How did you know?

    With people on the ground and with technical systems. We saw it. It wasn’t a matter of speculation; we saw it happen. Now, are they ever going to find it in Syria? Hell, no. Is there still some buried in Iraq? Yes, there is. It wasn’t too long ago we uncovered an artillery round with sarin gas in the nose. I mean, it was old, but why was it buried? You’ve got a country the size of California in square miles, and we now find MiG-25s, the largest fighter in the world. Occasionally, our guys with metal detectors will say, “Oh, there’s something here”; we’ll dig up one of these MiG-25s that have been buried.

    So you still believe –

    No, this is truth. Whether they find it out or not, I don’t know. But it went to Syria; probably some went to Lebanon; and maybe some even went from the south, went across to Iran. But we saw it go to Syria. …

  152. TC Says:

    I’d be very careful about citing the Western press for information about Al-qaeda and other terrorist groups – and even more from most U.S government sources – their track record for being correct is abysmal. But then it never was about being correct – it was about selling papers and scaring a domestic audience into supporting criminal state sanctioned terrorism; solidifying neo-liberal policies in the face of growing public rejection of these polices i.e privatization of vital services and the elimination of public services such as Social security and health care etc

  153. TC Says:

    …all of course to keep the defense establishment quite busy.

    Of which the evidence is quite clear and not ambiguous at all.

  154. Lee Says:

    TC, are you blind? Or blinded by ideology? Weaponry of Israel: French, British, American. Weaponry of Arab states: Soviet. Military advisors in Israel: French, British, American. Military advisors in Arab states: Soviet. Support of Israel in U.N. Security Council: French, British, American. Support of Arab states in U.N. Security Council: Soviet. Really not that difficult to figure out.

  155. Lee Says:

    And who exactly would your “credible” sources for info on Al-Qaeda be, Al-Jazeera?

  156. TC Says:

    Not that simple Lee – nothing to do with ideology – I’m just saying there is a history of U.S relations with those very states too.

    And it is complex and isn’t simply a matter of who supplied who with what weaponry – and you’d be surprised who sold what to who when and thereafter.

    Anyway – I’ll leave it at that….

  157. a guy in pajamas Says:

    TC, on al Qaeda being an organization, here’s part of the Wikipedia entry on al Qaeda to start with:

    Al-Qaeda or Al-Qaida or Al-Qa’ida (Arabic: القاعدة al-qāʕida, trans. ‘the base’) is the name given to an international alliance of militant Islamist organizations established in 1988 by Osama bin Laden. Osama oversees the movement’s finances and, with Ayman al-Zawahiri, provides ideological and strategic guidance. Al-Qaeda’s objectives include the elimination of foreign influence in Muslim countries, eradication of those deemed to be “infidels”, and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate.[1] al-Qaeda does not have a formal structure, but recruits field operatives to work independently in support of its goals.

    The United Nations Security Council[2] and several UN member states[3][4][5][6][7] have labeled al-Qaeda a terrorist organization.

  158. Lee Says:

    Especially since evidence supporting my assertions are well documented and cited. Your “evidence” is polemic.

  159. Lee Says:

    BTW, thanks pajama guy.

  160. TC Says:

    Not exactly – but I apologize for coming across so arrogantly. I’ve actually been looking into it for the last little while but this will give you an idea of what I’m talking about with regards to Al-qaeda…

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0523/p11s02-coop.html

  161. TC Says:

    Hopefully we’ll get to chat another time – I’m off to bed…

  162. Lee Says:

    Yeah, I guess we just “exaggerated” the twin towers down.

  163. Lee Says:

    But, regardless, have a good night, TC

  164. a guy in pajamas Says:

    TC: I’d be very careful about citing the Western press for information about Al-qaeda and other terrorist groups – and even more from most U.S government sources – their track record for being correct is abysmal.

    You have not a shred of evidence to go up against the sources I cite, do you? You’re not even willing to check them out. You’re brain is closed to new or contrary information.

    Just for the sake of curiosity, what sources do you consider reliable? Please tell me where your information comes from, and provide links.

  165. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Well, that was enheatening (vs. enlightening).

    Catch ya later, Lee.

  166. Lee Says:

    Since you’re already dressed for the occasion, g-night pj guy.

  167. jgr Says:

    Dr. Sanity provides a cartoon snapshot of the real Defeated America.

    http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2007/01/democrats-under-reaction-to-911-and.html

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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