January 29th, 2007

Congress: don’t blame us, we pass resolutions!

New bumper sticker: Don’t blame us: we’re from Congress, and we pass resolutions!

It’s reminiscent of the post-Watergate 1974 message that used to be plastered all over the cars in Boston, where I lived at the time: “Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts!” That state–you may remember–had been the only one to vote for McGovern rather than Nixon in 1972.

Of course, the bumper sticker was mum on what you might have blamed McGovern for, had he been elected instead. But no matter; it certainly wouldn’t have been Watergate.

The current hue and cry in Congress accompanying the race to pass resolution after resolution is an effort that can only give aid and comfort to an implacable and evil (yes, evil) enemy bent on our destruction (yes, destruction). It’s inexplicable when looked at with any sort of logic, except the logic of self-preservation–Congressional self-preservation, that is.

For example, Congress thinks the world of General Petraeus; no problem with his confirmation. It’s just that everything he says must be bunk, because Congress is trying to undercut his recommendations even as he speaks.

As Robert Kagan points out, why is blocking these 20,000 new troops so important, when there are already so many troops there that will remain for a while, no matter what Congress says? Haven’t some of these very opponents been clamoring for more troops anyway, not less? How does Congress choose what Kagan refers to as “the magic number” of troops that should be there right now? Isn’t that for that sterling commander they all know and love, General Petraeus, to decide?

And, of course, there’s the question of alternatives; opponents to the surge have none. “Just go away, close our eyes, and everything will be okay–or, at least, okay enough” seems to be the gist of it. And, by the way, such stupidity and shortsidedness is an equal-opportunity trait: it’s mostly Democrats speaking, but quite a few Republicans have succumbed.

It seems clear that the main force driving this is politics–the politics of short-sighted self-interest. And the “self” involved, I’m afraid, are the members of Congress themselves. Once they’ve gone down the path of turning on Bush and on this war, they have no other way out (unless coming up with workable alternatives would be a way out–but that, of course, would take work, and thought, and new ideas).

Members of Congress opposing the surge have positioned themselves so that our loss in Iraq would be a “win-win if we lose-lose” situation–for them. This is the way it works:

(1) If they can stop the surge before it has even a chance of succeeding, Congressional opponents of the war will win for sure. Their constituents will like them. Few will blame any ensuing carnage in Iraq on them–even if they manage to force a pullout–and they know it.

If those members of Congress have studied the history of Vietnam, they know that after some initial upsetting “helicopter on the roof” photos (that can be blamed on Bush, no doubt) they’ll be pretty much home free. Only some diehards on the Right will assign blame to them for that, or for the deaths resulting from the abandonment of the Iraqis. And what if there are more terror attacks afterwards, here, there, or everywhere? Blame Bush for inflaming Muslim world, and get re-elected.

(2) There’s even a possible win for them if the surge does manage to go forward against Congressional opposition, and it doesn’t immediately turn the whole thing around. Then those members who are on record as having passed resolutions to oppose it will end up looking prescient. That may indeed be the real thrust behind resolutions, which, after all, are non-binding and Bush isn’t going to listen to: getting their names down as opposing it.

This is especially and vitally important for those such as Hillary Clinton–and they are many–who originally voted for the war. The resolutions are meant to undo that error, even if they have no real effect in the real world–except, of course, as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates pointed out, to “embolden the enemy.”

One reason it’s important for Democrats on the Left in particular to make sure the surge doesn’t succeed is that any such success might even cause people to look back at Vietnam and question what happened there in the mid-70s. Maybe those helicopters on the roof would come home to roost in the laps (sorry for the tripley-mixed metaphor) of the Left itself. Maybe (oh, heresy! revisionism!) the Vietnam withdrawal wasn’t the Left’s finest hour, after all.

(3) But what if the resolution passes but the surge goes forward, and is successful in improving the situation in Iraq? What then? This is the only possible “lose” situation for war opponents at this point.

Well, one possible solution is to count on the MSM to downplay any successes, or even negate them. But it’s still a dilemma. Members of Congress who vote for such a resolution will have staked their reputation on a loss in Iraq; a win there, and they’re sunk. So the only answer is to stop it before it has even a chance of succeeding.

For proponents of the resolution, the die will have been cast. The biggest risk to them, paradoxically, would be a win in Iraq.

72 Responses to “Congress: don’t blame us, we pass resolutions!”

  1. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Winning has always been a liberal’s nightmare, in any war since Korea. That republicans now need us to lose is a new item.
    The question is what happens if we actually win.
    It will have to be negated.
    For example, read the website Rantburg. Ignore the snark. Most of his entries are straight news articles (plus comments)
    of the Middle East, South Asia, Southwest Asia, Southeast Asis. It wouldn’t be an authentic Muslim culture that didn’t blow up civilians from time to time as a political activity.
    If Iraq’s violence decreases to the Muslim average, the hopewelose school will insist, having no other reed to which to cling,that we’ve “lost”.

    The particularly vile thing is that they won’t be passively waiting for us to lose as expected. They will be working for it. That is unacceptable, except I can’t think of a single thing I can do about it.
    I come from a state–Michigan–which would elect the devil if he ran as a democrat.

  2. Trimegistus Says:

    It’s not “self-interest” on the part of the Democrat leaders. If they were really self-interested, they’d wrap themselves in the flag and make fire-breathing speeches about fighting the Islamic menace. Sure, they might lose a couple of hemp-clothing stoner voters, but they’d make up for it with the bulk of the population.

    They’re opposing the war, I’m afraid, because of sincere conviction. They _really want America to lose_. The Democrats and other liberals just don’t like this country and its people very much. They want us beaten, humiliated, and impoverished.

  3. stumbley Says:

    “Rock bottom can’t be far from here.”

    You should know, you live there.

  4. Isaiah Hunahun Says:

    Living in a rock down bottom, yeah… lalalala

  5. Lee Says:

    The opponents of victory are so invested in the notion that “we’ve already lost”. If victory is actually achieved, they would receive NO credit for it, and would thus lose seats in government. This must be avoided at ALL costs. But, this notion that if I disagree with those who actively work toward defeat is to be disloyal to THEM is the height of hubris, arrogance, and elitism. BUGGER OFF!

  6. Lee Says:

    neoconned, allow me to offer a rebuttal at a level even you can understand: I KNOW YOU ARE, SO WHAT AM I?

  7. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Justaguy. You are somebody I should worry about because….?

  8. Lee Says:

    Justaguy, Let me see if I’ve got your assertion right: “If I disagree with you, it’s freedom of speech; If you disagree with me, it’s censorship”. Is that about right?

  9. Dave Says:

    Let’s see — some of these folks were for the war before they were against it; for the surge before they were against it; support General Petraeus, but don’t want to give him what he needs; support the troops by bringing them home, but that’s not cut and run.

    There seems to be some uncertainty. They were hired as leaders, but don’t seem able to lead a group of Boy Scouts. They are constantly looking over their shoulders to see which way the wind in blowing so they can change their views yet again.

    I think the real reason is that they cannot allow Bush to be successful, no matter how bad it turns out for America or the rest of the world.

  10. Justaguy Says:

    Justaguy, Let me see if I’ve got your assertion right: “If I disagree with you, it’s freedom of speech; If you disagree with me, it’s censorship”. Is that about right?
    Lee | 01.29.07 – 7:10 pm | #

    Not even close. Sigh.

    Calling someone a traitor for disagreeing with you is diametrically opposed to the founding principles of democracy.

    Can you say – hypocrite?

  11. Lee Says:

    Dum de dum duh duh dum de dum, dum de dum dum DOO, de duh duh duh duh, dum de dum duh duh dum de dum, DUM de duh duh DUM DUM DUM, BOOM BOOM!

  12. Lee Says:

    justajerk, 55 million died(give or take a few million) the last time “patriots” like you achieved “peace in their time”. How many millions more are you willing to sacrifice just so you can look yourselves in the mirror and say “at least no one’s dying in MY name”, you sanctimonious, self-righteous POS!

  13. Wild Rice Says:

    …the last time…“:

    If the last time this particular situation occurred was in 1938 then it follows that the probability of the occurrence is very low. Therefore it is unlikely that Justaguy’s prescription will cause a sacrifice of millions.

  14. Lee Says:

    BTW, we were founded on the principles of Constitutional Republicanism!

  15. Lee Says:

    Oh, Israel is the aggressor, huh? YOU’RE the one that sounds like Hitler now NAZI! NAZI!

  16. Lee Says:

    How much gas did you pump into YOUR car this week, HYPOCRITE?

  17. somuch Says:

    I remind myself of this. I was never for the war.

    |quote|Traditionally, “pre-emptive” action refers to times when states react to an imminent threat of attack. For example, when Egyptian and Syrian forces mobilized on Israel’s borders in 1967, the threat was obvious and immediate, and Israel felt justified in pre-emptively attacking those forces. The global community is generally tolerant of such actions, since no nation should have to suffer a certain first strike before it has the legitimacy to respond.

    By contrast, “preventive” military action refers to strikes that target a country before it has developed a capability that could someday become threatening. Preventive attacks have generally been condemned. For example, the 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor was regarded as a preventive strike by Japan, because the Japanese were seeking to block a planned military buildup by the United States in the Pacific.|quote|

    Would we be justified on capturing or killing the 911 team as they plotted on coming into U.S? Sure, if we had discovered them in time. WE didn’t. But that doesn’t mean start a full scale offensive into Iraq.

  18. Lee Says:

    somuch, now take the logic to the next step: Would we be justified in a full-scale invasion of Afghanistan if we knew the 911 attackers were being protected, trained and sponsored by the Taliban State apparatus?

  19. sam Says:

    BushCo: Don’t blame us, we don’t give a rat’s ass.

  20. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Actually, we couldn’t have done squat about the 9-11 guys. Except for a few visa issues, they did nothing illegal until they started assaulting the airline crews. Even the knives they carried were, at the time,legal.
    It is unlikely that Bush would have been impeached for imprisoning these guys for the crime of trying to buy a ticket while Muslim, but whoever tried to prosecute them would have not a leg to stand on.

    There seems to be a thought–probably not believed by those who preach it in the hope some of the unwary will believe it–that we are fighting 9-11.

    We’re fighting Islamic expansionism. It’s been going on for fourteen hundred years and I see no evidence that 2007 is the year they stop. Even the west’s victories are defensive, Tours, Lepanto, the siege of Vienna.

    After all, we got the guys who did the 1993 WTC bombing. Which did us how much good?

    It isn’t goat humpers in the mountains, as the previous poster surely knows, but a bunch of end-timers with nukes and a pathological hate of Israel and the west and a view that losing a fifth of their population–in Iran–is a fine price to pay for achieving their goals.

    Saddaam with no sanctions, no inspectors, and boatloads of oil money would have been trouble till the day he died and then his sons would have had several more decades at it.

    Anyway, the arguments of the anti-war types impeach themselves upon being verbalized. The only strength those arguments have is that it takes more time to refute them than it does to make them and so the refuters may get tired first. Old tactic.

  21. sam Says:

    Lee was home-schooled by the Branch Davidians.

  22. Wild Rice Says:

    …the arguments of the anti-war types impeach themselves upon being verbalized.“:

    In which case there is no need to refute them. Why it should take so long to refute arguments which do not need refuting is unclear.

  23. somuch Says:

    Well, there is also a consideration of force commiserate with threat, and what other options we have tried. In the case of the 911 hijackers, we tried to have the Taliban oust them, but they refused. We didn’t know exactly where Osama was, so we couldn’t just nail him with a smart bomb. Considering the offense already committed we nearly had a duty to invade at that point. We moved point by point.

    Iraq just doesn’t compare. Saddam wasn’t on the move. Intelligence turns out to be cherry picked (IMO).
    Where is the imminent threat? Also, according to my logic, I am refusing the option to bomb the “potentials” – the first-he-secretly-gets-nuclear weapons-then-he-uses-them idea. Doesn’t necessarily follow. Also, doesn’t necessarily follow there aren’t other options available. I can even quote Bush in repeating war is the last option. Always. Period.

    Right now, based on words alone, Israel should bomb Iran (nuclear), or us. Fortunately politicians (like Iran’s president) never do even half the things they talk about, so maybe there are other options.

  24. sam Says:

    “We’re fighting Islamic expansionism. It’s been going on for fourteen hundred years and I see no evidence that 2007 is the year they stop.”

    Let’s see. We were not attacked by Iraq yet we invaded Iraq. BushCo preached premption yet Iraq had no WMDs (as most of us knew). Now the pinhead neocon Richard wants us to buy the “fighting Islamic expansion” schtick yet we are the imperialists.

    I guess the paleocons would rather grasp at wet grass as they slide off the cliff than ask for help from those who told them to stay away from the edge.

    [from neo-neocon: Sam is using a fake IP. A troll, but which troll? Perhaps a new one, but certain stylistic similarities lead me to believe this might be our old friend stevie.]

    Edited By Siteowner

  25. somuch Says:

    correction – Osama and co (hijackers were dead)

  26. Wild Rice Says:

    …we tried to have the Taliban oust them, but they refused.“:

    That is not true. the Talib government offered to arrest and transfer them to any third country for trial. We declined this offer.

  27. somuch Says:

    Ah, I don’t remember that Wild Rice. But I was going by memory. I do seem to recall the Taliban was being rather testy about the whole thing.

  28. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Sam. As has been said often, after Pearl Harbor, we invaded North Africa.
    We didn’t pursue–as if we could have–the Japanese fleet which put in the strike and call it square.

    As has been said before, Bush did not say the threat was imminent. He said we could not wait for the threat to become imminent.

    I know you know the list of other attacks on us the Islamofascists have made, although you pretend 9-11 is the only one. They were coming after us and they said so. Maybe they’re lying?

    The North Koreans had no chance against us. But it took probably three to four million dead to prove it.

    The point is not to have a war, and if it takes pre-emption, then there are several that would have been profitably pre-empted. World War II comes to mind. Germany was no threat to anybody in 1936, as Hitler and his generals knew. They didn’t have the combat power to fight the French if the occupation of the Rhineland had been contested, as it should have been. I wonder if part of the calculation to allow it was that the Germans weren’t a threat.

    Obviously, trying to be nice didn’t help.

    “most of us” didn’t know the WMD didn’t exist. Those who claimed it was the case were acting on hope and it appears Saddaam got the stuff out of the country, so “most of us” seem to have been right. But most of the world’s intel thought otherwise. We have between five hundred and seven hundred WMD of various types. You don’t make just one, say, Sarin shell, unless it’s the first and you want to know if the factory works and then you stop. So, since they had one, they had more or they had the opportunity to make more.
    It was up to Iraq to account for them and, for some reason, the dispute got framed as hide and seek and if Saddaam beat the inspectors, well, that was the game. No problem.

    Well, I am trying to make this point in substantive terms and you and others like you have no interest in them.

    Wild. You may be right. It’s a waste of time trying to convince a liar of the truth when you know he’ll ignore it–knows it already–and will keep on lying.

    But there is always the possibility that some unwary type, possibly a malleable student, might be convinced. That would be unfortunate.

  29. Wild Rice Says:

    I do seem to recall the Taliban was being rather testy about the whole thing.“:

    They were. This offer came rather late in the day. It was made by the Talib Foreign Minister.

  30. Wild Rice Says:

    As has been said before, Bush did not say the threat was imminent.“:

    So you agree that the invasion was contrary to US law and illegal.

  31. Wild Rice Says:

    World War II comes to mind.“:

    We have already discussed the probability of the World War II applying to the invasion of Iraq.

  32. Wild Rice Says:

    But most of the world’s intel thought otherwise.“:

    Is that so. Which intelligence services do you claim thought the Iraq had WMD?

  33. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Look I have and do disagree with justaguy, Wild Rice, et alia at most points. But the juvenile insulting of them has just got to stop. If you find that they don’t engage with your arguments, ignore them. Until then, respond with something better than name-calling.

  34. Wild Rice Says:

    But there is always the possibility that some unwary type, possibly a malleable student, might be convinced.“:

    But refuting the argment is unlikely to address this problem. By your own admission “The only strength those arguments have is that it takes more time to refute them than it does to make them and so the refuters may get tired first.

  35. Wild Rice Says:

    …the World War II applying…“:

    That should read:

    We have already discussed the probability of the World War II case applying to the invasion of Iraq.

    To Wild Rice: Warning. Don’t post a whole bunch of short comments, one right after the other. Condense them instead into one or two. You are very close to being labeled a troll.

    Edited By Siteowner

  36. Ymar Says:

    Haven’t some of these very opponents been clamoring for more troops anyway, not less?

    East Asia has never been at war with Oceanian, Neo…. don’t you know that?

    Clinton said that she supported more troops, but these 20k were too few, so to her she should knock it down since it is just sending more i nharm’s way without doing anything that “her more troops” would accomplish. East Asia, get it?

    The resolutions are meant to undo that error, even if they have no real effect in the real world–except, of course, as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates pointed out, to “embolden the enemy.”

    They need to stop using that word embolden. It is old, cliched, and makes the entire Admin sound like zombies repeating each other. Get some other new term, jeez, can’t be that hard.

    For proponents of the resolution, the die will have been cast. The biggest risk to them, paradoxically, would be a win in Iraq.

    They don’t call it the domestic insurgency for nothing, neo.

    If they were really self-interested, they’d wrap themselves in the flag and make fire-breathing speeches about fighting the Islamic menace.

    There’s a diff between self-interest and enlightened self-interest Trim. And then there is long term and short term as well, basically enlightened being long long term.

    Hey, I got a bright idea. Here’s a message that I want to send to conned and justa. They might recognize some of their buddies here.

    Link

  37. neo-neocon Says:

    Please don’t feed the trolls.

  38. somuch Says:

    Aubrey says |quote]The point is not to have a war, and if it takes pre-emption, then there are several that would have been profitably pre-empted.|quote|

    Hard to say. Would we still be dealing with large populations of true believing Nazis’ all over the world if we had acted early? Can you really answer that? The Nazi dream realized IS the Nazi nightmare, and is why we only have small pockets of believers in a discredited idealogy.

    I think the idea, of prevention, is at least suspect at best. It’s a cautionary tale to say you’d have prevented anything — unless, you can for sure stomp out all traces. Nero violently tried to stamp out Christianity — spread like roaches.

    When you do take early action though– you guarantee peoples deaths, no doubt about that but I don’t know that you guarantee anything else.

    I don’t necessarily think we need to wait until several countries have fallen to join in a war against an evil, but I believe there is the other side of scale of exacerbating a situation and actually make it worse. (I believe we did that in Iraq)

  39. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Somuch. Back when I had a stronger stomach, I read a bit about how Hitler came to power. Shirer and some others.
    Hitler was a mad genius. It is hard to think of who else could have coordinated the rat fight that was Nazi politics. He was one of a kind, by God.
    The Nazi party included about 7% of the population. Even Austria did better, with 9%. Germany was unified by this tiny minority of extremists through terror, oppression, and propaganda.
    Without Hitler, with the various faction leaders (SS vs. Wehrmacht, etc.) probably fighting each other, the thing would have fallen apart.
    The particular consideration of the 1936 issue is that, at that point, the western Allies, just France alone, had more combat power than the Germans had. So even if the French had resisted and the Germans fought, it wouldn’t have been much of a fight, all things considered. And, to make the point further, most of the guys who would have been killed in this hypothetical war, pre-war regulars, probably didn’t survive the war that really happened. So, as to playing God, the cost to being pro-active is, at worst, a tiny fraction of what cost Europe and the rest of the world paid.
    There are no choices without costs, but to pretend choosing to do nothing is not a choice and has no costs is usually considered silly.

    Just as the people in the alternate universe don’t know what they missed by having pre-empted Germany and can argue fruitlessly for decades, we don’t know what we have missed, or bought in this case.
    We do the best we can and in this case, it appears it was the right choice, in the sense of being the least wrong choice.

    On Jeff Goldstein’s blog, some posters have linked to extensive documents about the WMD. I won’t bother neo with the volume, but folks here might find them interesting.

  40. somuch Says:

    Should have been: The Nazi dream realized, IS the Nazi nightmare realized…

    heh.

  41. Lee Says:

    Iraq was no threat to us. Somehow, a guy with a few bucks in his pocket(Bin Laden) proved he could be a threat, but the left insists a soverign nation-state like Iraq couldn’t possibly be a threat because they had no backfire bombers or ICBM’s. What did Bush say in 2003: “The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons materials, sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax”.(Bush’s “lie” not refuted at the time). “The United Nations concluded that Saddam hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin”.(sounds like the U.N. was lying to us). “Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard, and VX nerve agents”.(ok, fine, our bad). “U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents”.(these we HAVE found all over Iraq). “From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990′s, had several mobile biological weapons labs”.(found a couple of these as well, but dismissed as the “dual purpose” thing which we all know he was using for commercial purposes only, right?). “The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990′s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb”.(another outside source lying to Bush, perhaps? nah!). And I know all you head-in-the-sand types are waiting for this one: “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”.(believe Wilson or the Brits, hmmm…who has more credibility I guess is in the ideology of the beholder). If all these were “Bush’s lies”, why didn’t the U.N. or the I.A.E.A. speak up until WELL after Hussein’s ouster?

  42. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Richard Aubrey: On Jeff Goldstein’s blog, some posters have linked to extensive documents about the WMD. I won’t bother neo with the volume, but folks here might find them interesting.

    Could you post a link, please?

    Wild Rice: Is that so. Which intelligence services do you claim thought the Iraq had WMD?

    Actually, good evidence came from Hans Blix. His March 7, 2003, final report to the UN stated tons of chemical weapons agent were still unaccounted for and Saddam was not completely cooperating. Additionally, US intel (especially the “slam dunk” CIA, and CENTCOM), UK intel, etc.

  43. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Of course, Richard Butler (head of UNSCOM before Blix) and Bill Clinton both believed Saddam had WMDs. Butler wrote a book about it, The Greatest Threat, and Bill Clinton publicly supported the invasion. In fact, most Democratic congresscritters thought the intel was credible as well.

  44. Lee Says:

    Good to see you’re back, pj guy. But, I’m off to slumber. Be back, though. Same Branch Davidian time, same Branch Davidian channel.

  45. Lee Says:

    BTW, thanks, neo-neocon for this forum. I’m rather new here, but enjoying it immensely.

  46. TC Says:

    How much longer will neoconservatives continue to insist on making claims that have been demonstrated to be false and/or ridiculously exaggerated? I know forwarding false claims and threats is an acceptable and acknowledged necessity (the ends justifiying the means)in neocon dogma(the “you can’t handle the truth” argument) – but there has to be a ceiling whereby even a modicum of self-respect comes into play?

    Have you not been following what various generals are saying about the insurgency? Are you not aware that the estimates are roughly 1200 or so foreign fighters in Iraq – jihadis. If they were ‘hell-bent’ on our destruction there would be a hell of a lot more of them in Iraq right now. So how does that translate into a threat to our existance? It doesn’t – not in a million years.

    Which is probably why there in no support for the war – and why congress – as beholden as they are to elite interests to support the war – are giving the impression they opposse the irrlevant and meaningless ‘surge’- it is what the vast majority of the country supports. Hard to understand what the author finds offensive given that she must be aware of the lack of evidence of any coordinated Islamist threat of any significance – and the fact that military figures know the complete opposite is true – despite the intense pressure to tow the party line.

    I suppose, for some, the horrendous results that 19 unarmed men wrecked one fateful September morning is the stuff of nightmares and phobias; visercal fears that are not easily relinquished whatever the facts.

    As for the fear of the ‘left’ – I know of no simple cure except just using your common sense….

  47. Sergey Says:

    Stupid, this is existential struggle, that is struggle for existence, not an exercise of diplomatic niceties or splitting hairs about some vague provisions of so-called “international law”! Some see that western civilization is in mortal danger; some refuse to acknowledge this. The same situation predated WWII. We are now on Munich stage of it. Do we need Dunkirk type cut-and-run to understand this?

  48. Sergey Says:

    Iran recently demonstrated its ballistic rocket capable to launch into orbit 300 kg payload. It was built in colaboration with NK. It can easily accomodate nuclear warhead – may be, from the same source? If this is not a treat, what is? Or you prefer to wait confirmation in the form of mushroom cloud?

  49. Sergey Says:

    Psychology of appeasement and denial is excellently analysed in Swiss playwriter Max Frisch play “Biedermann and Arsonists”:

    “Biedermann is a fairly well-off man who believes that the arsonists who have recently attacked the city should be hanged. When a man who seems suspiciously like he might be an arsonist comes to Biedermann’s house, he talks about throwing him out, but he never actually does. Instead, he allows his own guilt over having so much money to convince him to allow this man to stay in his attic. Later, he even allows the man’s friend to stay in his attic, even though he catches the two loading barrels of gas into his attic. It’s both funny and depressing to see how far Biedermann will go in order to ignore the evidence that his guests are arsonists and convince himself that he is a good person.”

  50. Richard Aubrey Says:

    The “no support” for the war is not true.

    And those who are polled as disapproving of the president’s path here include a good many–you can get a taste by reading conservative blogs–who think Bush is a wimp and ought to be prosecuting the war with considerably more zeal.

    But if the question is solely, “do you approve of the president’s handling of the war?”, the only answer for those seeking more vigor is “no” and people like TC pretend the “no” means pull out now.
    They know better, but, like Wild and Justa, hope the rest of us don’t.

  51. Richard Aubrey Says:

    When our mind games stop considering pre-empted world wars, we can try imagining what people like Wild and Justa will do when we win.

  52. Ymarsakar Says:

    Please don’t feed the trolls.
    neo-neocon | Homepage | 01.29.07 – 11:14 pm | #

    I think you have to be a little bit more specific. Are you refering to Lee and Justa?

  53. TC Says:

    “And those who are polled as disapproving of the president’s path here include a good many–you can get a taste by reading conservative blogs–who think Bush is a wimp and ought to be prosecuting the war with considerably more zeal.”

    Perhaps I should have said “‘virtually’ no support for the war”. Both among Americans in general and in congress.

    What I don’t understand – and I do read conservative blogs – is how do you prosecute the Iraq war with greater ‘zeal’? Does this mean putting down the Sunni resistance? The Shia resistance? Standing in the middle of a civil war of which there are literally millions of participants? Attacking Iran of which there is alot of accusations of ‘infilitration’ of Iraqi society very little proof – and even more vexing is the fact that the current Shia government is Shia and favors stronger links between Bagdhad and Tehran.

    Even with the McCain plan – 500 000 more troops(where you’d get the troops from is another bit of neoconservative fantasy)- you’d basically open up a war between both Iran and Iraq – with both attacking U.S troops with millions of insurgents. This is apart from the distinct possibility of drawing China and Russia into confrontation with U.S troops – not a situation where one would anticipate a victory parade through Washington at it’s conclusion.

    So maybe you could help me understand how instigating a major war in the name of fighting ‘militant Islam(Islamofascism)’ of which U.S sources admit is a minor force in Iraq and even in the ME in general(the Saudis, Pakistanis, Yemeni etc governments all seem to be having no problems beating back Islamic fundamentalists in their countries with nothing like the military effort of the U.S)- is a path to victory.

    Or is this generally a religous question(a “clash of civilizations??”) – or of complete domination of the ME regardless of the facts ‘on the ground’?

    Your not ‘feeding’ anybody by stating your arguments clearly and addressing honest critiques that may get your argument across much better than it appears to be in the country as of late…

  54. TC Says:

    “But if the question is solely, “do you approve of the president’s handling of the war?”, the only answer for those seeking more vigor is “no” and people like TC pretend the “no” means pull out now.
    They know better, but, like Wild and Justa, hope the rest of us don’t.”

    Most of the continental United States opposse the war fundamentally because it was prosecuted for reasons of ntional security – it’s not a handful of ‘leftists’ that are against it – and not because of the “President’s handling of the war” – it’s oppossition to the war because it’s seen to be making America more vulnerable – not by leftists but by serious conservatives(even more so I’d wager)and most of the military establishment….

  55. Richard Aubrey Says:

    TC. I am not in a position to “help” you.
    To “help” you would require agreement on fundamentals like, oh, the results of restrictive ROE. The response would be—you like killing kids. Seen this before, from Viet Nam to Somalia.
    We’d pretty much have to have a contract to use English, and get a codicil for every word, including “and” and “the”.
    We’d need a contract on the issue of not reversing as convenient lessons drawn from other wars.
    We’d need to actually ask the question whether the fact that Iraqi insurgents blowing up civilians is the same as winning–them winning, I mean–and us losing.
    We’d need to agree–which would never happen ecause it would be inconvenient–that the history of Muslim/Arab aggression against the west in the last ten years means something, not nothing.
    We’d need to recall that the lead reason terrorists gave for blowing up the nightclub in Bali is that the Australians had taken the lead in stopping the slowmotion genocide in East Timor, and that at least ten percent of the population of Indonesia thinks that was a good thing to do to “defend the faith”. In other words, the faith being defended was trespassed upon by being thwarted in its infidel killing.
    It was also the same reason given for blowing up the UN mission in Baghdad.

    Ten percent of the population of Indonesia–as polled–were willing to admit this to strangers. How many think so and don’t admit it is an interesting question.

    I wanted to bring up a whiplash opportunity from the NYT.
    The feds were eventually prevailed upon to put on the web various documents discovered after the invasion. There are millions of them and most are either innocuous and a waste of paper, or suggestive of something.
    Several months ago, the NYT excoriated the feds for posting particularly detailed plans for making an atomic bomb. Stupid Bush administration. They could depend on readers of the NYT, and people like TC, Justa, and Wild, to ignore the howlingly funny origin of the plans, Saddaam’s documents.

    And that ignoring is the reason I can’t “help” you.

  56. stumbley Says:

    In order to be “helped”, you have to first want to be helped. TC is not interested in a “thoughtful discussion” (that would be Neo’s original post), he/she’s interested only in dropping rancid little socialist pellets about how the U.S. is wrong about everything, and has “caused” all this suffering.

    It’s simple, TC. Islamic radicalism is dangerous precisely because a “man with a few dollars” can acquire wildly destructive technology from a hostile nation like Iran or NK and convince some zealot to strap it to his body/fly it into a building/put it on his boat in NY harbor, and blow quite a few of us to bits. This is not an “unreasonable” fear, especially when it’s espoused every Friday in mosques all over the world—including, for instance, Dearborn, Michigan.

    It’s a danger to the U.S., because—as has been explained to you before—destruction of just two buildings in New York caused several trillion dollars of economic damage to this country. Imagine what a suitcase nuke could do? Now imagine what several, placed in strategic Western cities could do to Western civilization as a whole…but that’s your dream, isn’t it?

  57. cold pizza Says:

    It’s not the surge that should be the issue, it’s the ROE. What’s the point of having Ntn’l Guard on our borders if they’re not allowed to do anything but watch? It’s the same with the troops if Iraq. If we were really serious, we’d take over all the warfighting functions ourselves.

    HOWEVER, the intent is to help the fledgling Iraqi military learn to handle their own country–and sometimes that means dealing with the political interference from al-Malaki and his group. The Shia/Sunni confrontation would have erupted eventually, but at least we’ve got some containment otherwise it would have devolved into a true death spiral.

    The surge could work if the ROE changes and allows capture and imprisonment of all sectarian militiamen bearing arms, capture and interrogation of Iranian agent provocateurs, summary execution of anyone caught planting IEDs.

    Seriously, does anyone really think the political situation would improve over there if the US pulled out without leaving behind a viable government and police? As things stand right now, we have a mitigating effect on the chaos and violence. We have some influence in the direction Iraq will go—but without our presence, no one can predict the eventual outcome, but I’d wager that we’d be paying a far higher price in the future. -cp

  58. TC Says:

    Well.

    Where to start?

    Richard – I’m sorry you feel I’m not in a position to be helped to understand your reasoning and concerns – but I’d have to say that I’m wasn’t asking what your reasons are for supporting the war in the first place – I think that’s clear. I’m asking how you think escalating the war will accomplish the very goals you are offering in your assessment of the threat. Putting aside your reasons – of which I must say I don’t understand in the way that you’ve presented them (“killing kids”???) – how to you envision the path to victory? Am I to infer that a much more aggressive, if not outright genocidal approach is what you are advocating? While you’d be correct if your saying I would find this morally reprehensible, the point is how this will work to bring victory as you have/haven’t defined it. How do you determine who the enemey is? Without a plan and a clear defintion of the goals in Iraq there can be no victory – so I’m not asking you why. I’m asking you, ‘how’? But please – I’m not looking for a slagging match – I’m aware of the limitations of my own views, and whether or not I agree with everything you say isn’t important – I am attempting to open my mind to what you are saying – or do you absolutely have to define those who don’t understand your fears and views as ‘the enemy’???

    BTW – what are you refering to in regards the Bali attack? Are you saying it was rationalized on the grounds that Indonensia invaded and violently annexed East Timor? Do you have a link? And I’m not being snide, so please don’t take offense.

    Stumbley -don’t presume I don’t want help understanding your views because I am critical of them – I’m quite sure that despite the polarized view you are expousing, you understand that not everything is black and white or you see some contradiction or doubt in the war – even if you think it shouldn’t be discussed by the media or the average American. I don’t need to agree completely with your views on Islamic fundamentalists and terrorism completely(I’m not saying it isn’t a serious threat)to find problems with your view that the war should be escalated without clear goals in mind.

    So yes the scenario you mention is a serious threat – but how will continuing on the current course in Iraq, if we agree with the President that it isn’t going particularly well , aleviate that threat? Seems to me the only way to address that problem is to completely destroy these countries or police them indefinitely – options that have their own severe concequences(and if we’re going to imagine threats that require preemptive action – than why aren’t we imagining threats that will result from our action as oppossed to our history of inaction – as you would claim?

    BTW – I do not dream of having my country attacked or my people killed – I hope you don’t seriously believe that. Because I do not in any shape or form.

    You might take some small relief from the fact

  59. TC Says:

    …from the fact that the damage from a nuclear device in a suitcase – a ‘dirty bomb’ – would actually cause very little damage – no more than a conventional bomb – according to several CIA explosive experts. I was surprised to hear that myself, but apparently that is the case….

  60. stumbley Says:

    “would actually cause very little damage – no more than a conventional bomb ”

    Very little physical damage…but the resultant radiation damage would be disastrous.

    Okay, a nicely worded response, so I will respond in kind. I think the problem that folks have with the “war in Iraq” is a misunderstanding of what’s at stake and how our presence there will deal with the “success” or “failure” of the mission.

    My opinion is that “success” in Iraq consists of a country that has a relatively stable democratic government, with security forces that can maintain a level of order consistent with that of other countries in the region (without resorting to brutality or excessive violence). Our “mission” in Iraq is to be there long enough for the Iraqis to be able to establish such a government. This is important in that it will deny al-Qaeda and other radical elements a “safe haven” for training, equipping and proselytizing terrorists (which, despite what others have said on this thread, had been occurring and would certainly have continued under Saddam). A stable, prosperous, democratic Iraq would also act as a beacon of hope to democratic reformers in the area, most notably in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. We have already seen what the US’ actions in Iraq have done to get Libya in line. Iraq thus has strategic importance not only for the US, but for the West in general, as a prosperous, democratic Iraq will help to damp down the fires of Islamic radicalism, however minimally that might be. You know, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

  61. Sergey Says:

    This evident for me that fighting Nazi-like ideology by killing its exponents at every possible occasion has its own merits irrespective of any other considerations. This is the only way to win it eventually, so I wish to read more stories like yesterday slaughter of more than 200 or 300 trained militiamen near Najaf, especially if their lider, another self-proclamed Mahdi, is killed too. Victory is destruction of enemy hope of success; that is how all wars end.

  62. Richard Aubrey Says:

    TC. East Timor used to be part of Indonesia.
    The Muslims were doing what they (a tiny minority of fanatics) are doing in southern Thailand but at a much higher rate. Genocide, rape and ethnic cleansing.
    The UN, with Australia in the lead, took East Timor and made it independent so that the government of Indonesia couldn’t continue to back the murderers.
    That was the offense against the faith (not the nation of Indonesia, not the Muslims who were moved, but the FAITH) that was revenged by bombing the nightclub which was known to cater largely to Aussies.
    The head of the UN mission in Baghdad, dead in the bombing, was the UN official in charge of the East Timor op. Both the Aussies and he were mentioned by the terrorists as needing to be killed for their East Timor activities. The point about radical Islam is that their idea of the Faith stretches considerably further than a westerner’s idea of Christianity.
    A kid in our high school, parents from Saudi Arabia and wears the robe or whatever it was, well assimilated, declined to do a report on El Cid because it demeaned her faith. Her faith stretched to thousand year old story of a Spanish mercenary who fought anybody for anybody and only got his creds because the fight in which he died happened to be against the Moors and fit into the reconquista corpus. But this is central–apparently most things are central–to her faith. Islam is DIFFERENT. Better or worse is another question, but you need to understand what ordinary Muslims think is connected to their faith. Stupid cartoons–riots and death. Bogus stories in Newsweek about Koran desecrations–riots and death. Slaughter of Muslims in Iraq by Muslims–nada.

    When you talk of a change of ROE as being “genocidal”, you make it clear there is no point talking to you. You’re not stupid and you know the difference, so using “genocidal” is bogus, and so is an indicator.

  63. TC Says:

    Actually Stumbley, what I watched CIA and various other atomic experts claim was that the nuclear damage would be minimal to non-existant – again, I know that seems hard to believe but this was based on a series of tests with a device and human beings too apparently…I’ll see if I can find something to show you…

    I’d only say to your considerate response is that it sounds more like the original aims rather than a outline of steps needed to be taken to bring about those goals. Goals that even you would have to consider might not be attainable as the situation now stands. And yes I know that you feel there in no option to simply leave Iraq and have a failed state(it needs to be said that even those on the left opposed to the war are NOT advocating immediate withdrawal) whereby fundamentalists can organize and be funded through oil profits to attack U.S targets home and abroad.

    But if certain developments are true(and I know there is the challenging gulf in interpretation and difference)- such as the number of foreign fighters in Iraq and just how the Iraqis themselves feel about the U.S role(I’m assuming it’s negative – and not because I want it that way either – so relax)in their country and THIER interpretation of the U.S role -than at what point, for you, is this venture simply not worth it i.e growing fundamentalism, U.S troop deaths, possible terrorist attacks in the U.S directed by Iraqi nationals opposed to foreign troops in their country? Is their a ceiling in terms of cost to America – and of course to Iraq – where it simply becomes counterproductive to have U.S troops in Iraq? If a Shia, democtratically elected goverment comes into power and attains some measure of stability as asks the U.S to leave would you support that – particularly if U.S troops were to remain?

  64. TC Says:

    Richard – so your saying that Muslim fanatics bombed the Bali nightclub where Aussies who backed the independence of East Timor after Indonesia invasion and slaughter. Fine. So your saying that it was a bloody reprisal for opposing a Muslim sponsered genocide? Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. What I am wondering about though is what you mean when you say the Muslim armies ‘sponsered’ by the Indonesian government. I could be wrong but I thought it was the Indonesian army that invaded East Timor in 1976 under the auspices and approval of then President Gerald Ford(and later Clinton, who eventually put and end to it). Was the government of Indonesia a muslim theocracy or fundamentalist regime? That I wouldn’t know – I’m not sure if that’s your point…

    But, no I don’t agree with the notion that violence is meaningfully connected to Islam – and yes I’ve reviewed the ‘evidence’ – I feel it is a canard to blame Islam for being a violent religon – simply put I don’t believe that about Christianity either or Judaism despite the many references to murder and mayhem in the Torah and Old Testament – or the history of violence surrounding Christianity that simply is far greater in scale than it is in Islam.

    None of which has much to do with dicussing the Iraq war and it’s success and failure – unless your telling me that, for you, it is simply necessary to conquer Muslim nations because they are evil – in which case, I haven’t much to argue one way or the other.

    My comment was the number of deaths in Iraq is reaching genocidal numbers – total deaths i.e Iraqi, American, civilian, insurgent. And yes I believe that most accurate number is over half-a million as the John Hopkins study proposed – simply put it is the most stastically reliable – and morally reliable source about the IBC.

    As such a very serious topic. That’s what I mean. But I’m glad you think I’m not stupid – but I’m not sure what that is an indicator of – other than I might have some points of disagreement with you. Nothing to be afraid of though.

    BTW – what in ROE?

  65. TC Says:

    Sorry – what ‘is’ ROE?

  66. Richard Aubrey Says:

    TC. Aw, jeez. OMG.

    What is an ROE? Hell, you thought I must be proposing a genocidal ROE. And now you don’t know what it is????

    Crap.

    “Rules of Engagement”. When a soldier may or may not fire. The stricter the ROE, the tougher it is to decide to fire, the easier it is for the bad guy to do his thing and the less likely it is that the civilized soldier will survive the encounter. The bad guys are greatly interested in ROE, since,with proper planning, they can do anything they like.

    It also applies to supporting fires such as artillery and close air support. How long to get clearance for artillery support, I asked in a class going on forty years ago. An hour, maybe a day. Maybe never. I tried to explain that to my father who’d been in a less restricted war and his question, once he decided I wasn’t pulling his leg, was to ask, what traitors did that. LBJ and McNamara.

    Restricted fire zones and no-fire zones got a lot of guys killed and hurt in Viet Nam.

    The ROE are promulgated ostensibly to protect civilians, but apply even where there are no civilians, probably in a vain attempt to appease the hippies.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. The US just loved the East Timor genocide. Is there a genocide anywhere we didn’t either do, support or cheer? Beats me.
    The Muslims were doing the killing supported and supplied by the Indonesian army which works for a majority Muslim state.

    You can connect violence with Islam or not. My point is that Muslims, the tiny minority amounting to about a hundred million, have a different idea of what their faith consists of than we who are familiar with the Judeo-Christian tradition will easily understand. Therefore, it is easy to offend their faith. What they do about it is, of course, write letters to the editor. Never anything else.

    The 650,000 additional deaths report was kind of odd. They figured a far lower pre-war death rate than other organizations have. So even if the post-invasion rates were correct, the dodgy early rates would give an incorrect (higher) figure. One poster speculated that the way it happened is that the evil sanctions killed off the weak and vulnerable and the OIF program later fed the tough survivors. Well, we know about the half million kids.
    There was no explanation for the vast disproportion of military age males, either. One would suspect they would be the least vulnerable to reduced nutrition and medical care. But apparently not. What the hell. If some dead civilians are good for the left, more are better. Whatever it takes.

  67. Matthew M Says:

    Getting back to Congress…

    Perhaps we need a Constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms of Representatives to six and Senators to two–a twelve-year limit for each office. The effect on members of Congress would be a greater number of individuals holding office and heightened competition among the long-timers. There must be some measure that will reduce the resemblance of Congress to a peerage.

    The people could still send someone to Washington for twenty-four years, and if that person serves so brilliantly that the people want more, they can elect him governor of their state, campaign for his presidency or lobby for his appointment to the Supreme Court. That should be more than enough governance from anyone.

  68. stumbley Says:

    Matthew M:

    I’m all for limiting anyone’s time in office, at any level. The fact that an individual can spend a lifetime in “public service” only underscores the fact that that individual gets more and more out of touch with those he/she claims to represent the longer he/she’s in office, and increases the opportunities for corruption to flourish. Early lawmakers had to sacrifice to be in government; Jefferson was only a few miles away from his home in Monticello, but didn’t see his family for more than two years while in office.

  69. Ymarsakar Says:

    Richard must have learned his patience in the fires of Vietnam.

  70. grackle Says:

    If a Shia, democratically elected government comes into power and attains some measure of stability and asks the U.S to leave

    The commentor evidently believes that if there was a stable Iraqi government(able to defend itself against outsiders) and reasonably free of former Ba’athist high officials(the US is in Iraq for a reason, after all) that said stable Iraqi government would have to ASK THE US TO LEAVE. In reality their heads would be spinning from the suction created by the US leaving. No one would have to ask anyone – the US would be GONE.

    just how the Iraqis themselves feel about the U.S role

    The Iraqi government wants the US there and has said so repeatedly. Not forever of course, just until the Iraqis can fend for themselves. And it is good to pay attention to the wishes and desires of the Iraqi government in regards to the presence of US troops and other US policy matters. But it should not be forgotten that US forces are not visiting Iraq for pleasure; the troops are there to carry out US policy – not to have the Iraqis tell them what to do or when to leave. Foreign governments, whether Iraqi or any other government, should not be making US foreign policy decisions. Frankly, I don’t much care how the Iraqis “feel about the U.S role.” No more than I would’ve cared how the Germans ‘felt’ after WW2.

    … is this venture simply not worth it … growing fundamentalism, U.S troop deaths, possible terrorist attacks in the U.S directed by Iraqi nationals opposed to foreign troops in their country …

    We in the US are very lucky that the US leaders didn’t consider that fighting the Axis powers during WW2 was a “venture simply not worth it.” If US leaders during those days performed similar calculations of(to rephrase slightly) growing Nazism and Fascism, U.S troop deaths, possible Axis powers attacks in the U.S directed by Axis citizens opposed to foreign troops in their country” the Nazis, Japanese and Fascists would probably have won. It just wouldn’t have been “worth it.”

    Inherent in this attitude is the assumption that fighting terrorism only creates more terrorism(which is a fallacy) – otherwise the cracked equation offered up wouldn’t make any sense. As a foreign policy attitude it could be summed up as …. If the US would only be nice the bad, bad terrorists would go away … which WAS the US foreign policy before 9/11.

    I believe that most accurate number is over half-a million as the John Hopkins study proposed

    The only folks who believe the John Hopkins study are the anti-war crowd. Pro-war blogs have debunked it to death. But leave all that aside. Most of the deaths that DID occur didn’t have to happen. The insurgents could have sought representation in the Iraqi government but chose to kill instead; outsiders trained, armed and funneled through Iran and Syria could have stayed home and minded their own business, the Muslims in Iraq could settle their sectarian differences peace

  71. grackle Says:

    I believe that most accurate number is over half-a million as the John Hopkins study proposed

    The only folks who believe the John Hopkins study are the anti-war crowd. Pro-war blogs have debunked it to death. But leave all that aside. Most of the deaths that DID occur didn’t have to happen. The insurgents could have sought representation in the Iraqi government but chose to kill instead; outsiders trained, armed and funneled through Iran and Syria could have stayed home and minded their own business, the Muslims in Iraq could settle their sectarian differences peacefully instead choosing to kill. The groups are not dictated to by the US – they CHOOSE to kill.
    &nbsp

  72. Wild Rice Says:

    From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq.

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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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