November 26th, 2007

Political posturing

Advice for the Democrats, from Clive Crook (love that name!) of the Financial Times:

Up to now, Democrats have been stinting in their recognition that the situation in Iraq has improved: “Yes, violence is down a bit, but . . .” That is the wrong posture. They need to celebrate the success, as long as it lasts, as enthusiastically as the Republicans…. Any suspicion that they are rooting for defeat in Iraq could sink them.

I’ve referred before to the growing—if somewhat begrudging—acknowledgment in the MSM that things are going significantly better lately in Iraq, and the fact that, if trends in that country continue in an upbeat direction, the Democrats may need to change course in their attitude towards our efforts there. But the advice in the Crook article demonstrates one of the flaws in that approach, and that is this: even if the Democrats ultimately take his advice, will they be seen as acting on principle, or merely as adopting a strategic new pose designed to further politics as usual—in other words, their own re-elections in 2008?

Perhaps it’s wrong (and it certainly is naive) to expect politicians of either party to consistently act out of sincerity, principle, statesmanship, and to further the good of the country. It may be like asking a tiger to change its stripes. It’s certainly not wrong to want them to, however.

The danger for the Democrats right now is that they may already have tipped their hand by acts such as pronouncing the surge a failure before it had even begun, and continuing with efforts to cut off funding way past the time when it appeared that results were encouraging. The nearly-inescapable conclusion is that—at least, ever since the surge—they’ve been playing self-serving and partisan politics with the military and the war effort, despite all those “ah, but I support the troops” protests on their part. Any reversal at too late a date might likewise seem self-serving, partisan, and political.

There is evidence that the public is beginning to think the war effort is going better. Although it’s still not a majority opinion, the trend is towards more positive opinions about the Iraq effort—which means, against the Democrats. They must be getting a bit worried:

Though the successes have been underreported, a Pew Research Poll found that 44 percent of Americans think the war is going “very” or “fairly” well, while a CBS poll found the number of Democrats thinking the war was going “very badly” had fallen 12 points (to 45 percent) over three months.

Making policy by poll, and pandering to whatever may be the more popular position at the time, is often called “democracy” by supporters, and “pandering” and “waffling” by critics. Democrats are especially susceptible to these latter criticisms. Just think of Bill Clinton, or those Republican ads in 2004 featuring John Kerry windsurfing.

Most people want a president and other elected officials to be responsive to public opinion, but also to have their own well-founded positions based on important philosophical principles they hold dear, and to have the backbone to stick with them. Of course, the latter can be taken to an extreme—that’s what’s behind the cries of “too stubborn, too inflexible” leveled at Bush.

The bottom line is that people want politicians to take stances based on integrity, which requires being flexible enough to change position when facts dictate such a fine-tuning—or even a reversal—of position. But those facts should not be based simply on what the MSM suggests, or what is merely popular (we have a representative government rather than a pure democracy, after all)—or, especially what is expedient in terms of their own electability.
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Regrading Iraq, Bush is vulnerable to charges of stubbornness and rigidity for not responding earlier to the decline of the situation there. Many observers suggest it would have been better policy to have appointed General Petraeus sooner (see this post of mine on the subject, as well as some of the comments there suggesting that the policy might not have been successful, however, had it been adopted any earlier). But even among Bush’s enemies, few accuse him of having no spine, or of lacking the ability to buck public opinion.

Many of the Democrats are vulnerable to just these charges, especially those who supported the war in the first place but changed their minds afterwards and who continue in attempts to block funds for it, even post-surge. It is probably already too late for them to change their minds once again in favor of it and to still be considered principled (unlike, for example, Brian Baird, who established his bona fides in the principled mind-changing department some time ago).

Crook writes that if Democrats continue to oppose the Iraq effort at this point it would be the wrong posture for them to adopt. The problem for many Democrats lies in the fact that any change in attitude at this point will probably be seen as just that: a pose.

114 Responses to “Political posturing”

  1. Xanthippas Says:

    Crook writes that if Democrats continue to oppose the Iraq effort at this point it would be the wrong posture for them to adopt. The problem for many Democrats lies in the fact that any change in attitude at this point will probably be seen as just that: a pose.

    So, if the Democrats continue to oppose the war then they’re traitors trying to undermine the troops for politically convenient reasons. If they change their mind to try and acknowledge the limited successes of their surge, they’re fake…and they can’t win. Well done!

    This nonsense is so tiring. Republicans have a principled (if unthinking) support for the war, and Democrats have a principled opposition to the war. If you disagree with either of them, then that’s fine. But it’s absurd to argue that Democrats were dishonest when they took a stance against the war, and would be dishonest now if they moderated their opposition to the war in the face of the surge’s limited successes.

    Your “analysis” presumes the dishonesty of Democrats, it doesn’t prove it.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    Many observers suggest it would have been better policy to have appointed General Petraeus sooner

    If they can get rid of the Betray-us movement, then sure, appoint Petraeus earlier. Just don’t complain that it was harder than folks thought.

    (see this post of mine on the subject, as well as some of the comments there suggesting that the policy might not have been successful, however, had it been adopted any earlier).

    It would have been successfull, it just would have taken longer. Time is not something that people can create out of thin air in war. It is a precious commodity that can’t be bought. It is or it is not there.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    Republicans have a principled (if unthinking) support for the war

    Republicans in 2003-7 just wanted things to work out well for Iraqis and Americans. In the face of negativity and propaganda campaigns designed to induce suicidal depression amongst Americans, the Republicans resisted and lashed out in frustration.

    Even an optimist will eventually dislike being around morose people all the time.

    If the Democrats spent half as much time being a loyal opposition as they spent cultivating the domestic insurgency here in the US, Republicans would be far more pleased and happy.

    But it’s absurd to argue that Democrats were dishonest when they took a stance against the war, and would be dishonest now

    That is because that is based upon the philosophical assumption that the Democrats were correct about their analysis of the facts and the conclusions they derived.

    The Democrats were never correct about those conclusions, including WMDs before 2003 (endless inspections by Hans Blix) and WMDs after 2003 (shipped to Syria)

  4. Xanthippas Says:

    Republicans in 2003-7 just wanted things to work out well for Iraqis and Americans.

    Yes, Republicans only had the best intentions in their pure little hearts. Never mind that dishonest cherry picking resulted int he WMD rationale, or that the war for some was premised on the “throw a little country up against the wall” rationale, or the desire to secure energy, or to increase American influence in the Middle East, or had the convenient side effect of benefiting Republicans at the polls in 2004 when the bad side effects of the war had yet to manifest themselves clearly.

    That is because that is based upon the philosophical assumption that the Democrats were correct about their analysis of the facts and the conclusions they derived.

    No, it’s not. A principled position does not require you to be right; only consistent. Which is good for Republicans, who have been consistently wrong about how the war in Iraq would go.

    If the Democrats spent half as much time being a loyal opposition as they spent cultivating the domestic insurgency here in the US, Republicans would be far more pleased and happy.

    “Loyal” opposition, meaning none at all of course. And Y, you give away the game: of course Republicans would be happy with such an arrangement, though I’m surprised at your quickness to admit it. However, democracy and health of our country might suffer for it, though that’s hardly a concern for those on the right.

  5. harry9000 Says:

    Xan:
    “Your “analysis” presumes the dishonesty of Democrats, it doesn’t prove it.”

    Xan, in the same post, you characterized the Democrats position on the war in Iraq as “based on principal” as equally sound as the Republicans position. This, in itself, is dishonest. What principal compels you to abandon people to a fate exceeding Darfur or Rwanda? So far, the only reasons we get from your quarter is that its too hard, may take a long time or ignores Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iran/N. Korea etc.

    The dishonesty is also in repeating the “cherry picking, ‘WMD rationale,’”, a contention also held by many prominent Democrats right up to the moment the poll numbers started to dip.

    Lets face it; the only “principal” the Democrats have on this and many other issues is what polls and focus groups dictate. I’ve wondered aloud here what would drive Democrats to support yet another funding bill that demands a withdrawal date in the light of security improvements, and the only thing that makes sense is that they’ve invested too heavily in predicting defeat that they have to loudly maintain that meme at any cost. Much in the same way they force “Global Warming” on all of us.

  6. Trimegistus Says:

    Yeah, Xanth, I’d say you’ve summed it up. The Democrats are traitors for opposing the war, and hypocrites if they suddenly support it. That’s what those words mean.

    If they work actively to bring about defeat for their own nation, that’s treason. Look it up. If they change their statements out of expediency, contradicting what they actually believe, that’s hypocrisy. Again, look it up.

    There are honorable exceptions — genuine “loyal opposition.” Lieberman comes to mind. Bill Clinton, surprisingly, comes to mind. They understand the difference between opposing a war and working for defeat. Murtha, Reid, Pelosi, et al do not grasp this simple concept — or have consciously decided to work against their own country.

    I think the source of the Democrats’ problem — and yours — is that they see this war as nothing but a question of “issues.” To them it’s a public-relations exercise, not, you know, an actual war against a dangerous enemy.

  7. harry9000 Says:

    Trimesomthing:
    “There are honorable exceptions — genuine “loyal opposition.” Lieberman comes to mind. Bill Clinton, surprisingly, comes to mind.”

    Oh yes. And Hillary has had to agree that the surge is working while trying to figure out how to triangulate an answer as to whether or not we stay. Seeing her recent political gymnastics on illegal aliens and drivers licenses, this should be interesting.

  8. stumbley Says:

    How to be a good Democrat (in relation to Iraq):

    1. Claim that the invasion will be a “quagmire” (without any evidence to back up the claim).
    2. State that Iraq is the “wrong country” and that we “should’ve utilized our resources to capture bin Laden” (maintaining, of course, that capturing bin Laden—the lynchpin of global terrorism and be-all and end-all of all things wrong in the world—would thereby usher in an age of Aquarius in which butterflies would fly and children would sing). Maintain this position throughout any discussion on Iraq, no matter the facts.
    3. When the invasion goes well, claim that “casualties are too high” (though lower than almost any other conflict, and in fact lower than some peacetime years) and that the US “didn’t provide enough armor or supplies for the troops”. When said armor is provided and up-armored Humvees finally make it to theater, claim that it’s “too little, too late” (all the while attempting to cut funding and to interfere generally in the conduct of the war).
    4. When the “surge” is proposed claim that it’s the “wrong tactic”. When it appears to be successful, claim that “it’s too little, too late.”
    5. When it appears that the success of the “surge” may actually lead to sustained periods of lowered violence, claim that “the political situation isn’t progressing as fast as it should” (forgetting how long it took America to get its act together).
    6. When Iraqi sheikhs and the government appear to be reconciling, when Shiite militias stand down, when Muslims, Christians and others raise a cross on a newly-reopened church, claim that “a Civil War is imminent”.
    7. Steadfastly maintain that Iraq’s problems are “not military” and that the solutions are “political”, ignoring that security is a necessary predecessor to any political solution.
    8. Claim again and again that we’re dealing with “the wrong problem,” that Iran’s influence is what’s at work in Iraq (while conversely demanding that no military action should be necessary in Iran).
    9. and finally, never fail to move the goalposts whenever your hastily-constructed straw arguments are in danger of being demolished by facts.

  9. harry9000 Says:

    Oh, and as far as that last issue illustrates….principal my ass!

  10. bunkerbuster Says:

    I wonder what advice the unwittingly self-effacing chauvanists here have for the Republicans?

    Isn’t it a little presumptuous for people who think Democrats are traitors to be giving political advice to those same Democrats when they’re leading in every poll by every measure and when the Bush administration’s political capital is well south of subprime?

    I wouldn’t presume to give political advice to Republicans, but I am willing to recieve the advice their presidential campaigns present. Specifically, every candidate is trying to distance himself from the failed Iraq policies and persona of George W. Bush. Again, that’s not my advice for a hypothetical candidate, it’s what Rudy, Mit and John are actually doing.

    I will dispense some suggestions for war cheerleaders: war isn’t at all like a football game. In war, it is possible, even likely, that both sides will lose. One side may indeed lose less completely than the other, but calling that a victory would be silly.

    More important, opposing the war isn’t the same as rooting for defeat. I’m not rooting for anything, I’m taking the facts as I see them, analyzing them and drawing conclusions. The war just isn’t a psychodrama for me, it’s a policy question and I just don’t think the policy we now have will ever work.

    Such is the case in Iraq. America invaded a country that had neither attacked nor even threatened it with and then proceeded to destroy that country’s infrastructure and inflame ethnic and religious divisions to the point of civil war.

    How can any future outcome possibly be called victory? This war will always be a stain on American history and the hundreds of billions of dollars we borrowed from our children will never magically reappear in the form of oil revenue, or any other revenue, for that matter. Needless to say, the beautiful American boys and girls killed in Iraq will never come back either.

    What the chauvanists here make plain is that they see “war” as some kind of moral blank check. Their core assertion as that any doubt or check on the government’s power to wage war is a threat to the nation’s survival.

    They need a blank check because the policies they advocate are so costly in blood, treasure, human rights, political and diplomatic capital that they CAN”T EVEN BE ASKED TO ESTIMATE, what the final tally is. Don’t ask, is their message. Just spend, spend, spend. And anyone who asks questions is a traitor.

    The American people are on to this scam, a very old one and while a slim few may react to improvements in Baghdad security by easing their opposition to the war, it is a lost cause.

  11. nyomythus Says:

    Asking the post-modern wing of Liberalism to stand up for internationalist democratic values is like asking Billy Graham to give up his gig, “There’s no turning back now ! It’s a business and people are expecting us to stay the course!”

  12. nyomythus Says:

    Such is the case in Iraq. America invaded a country that had neither attacked nor even threatened it with and then proceeded to destroy that country’s infrastructure and inflame ethnic and religious divisions to the point of civil war. This is just beyond all contempt and moral cowardice. America did not invade Iraq; as if Iraq were a sovereign country, ha! It had been a ward of the international community since Iraq’s illegal invasion, rape/pillage, and attempted annexation of Kuwait. For the Kurdish Genocide alone, signatories of the International Genocide Convention are MANDATED to intervene. And don’t forget the Clinton administrations 1998 Iraq Liberation Act. Do I need to go on? Don’t displace the destructive force of a 35-year despotism to the “better late than never” U.S. led coalition – how dare you wipe your arrogant western shoes off on the people of Iraq who suffered for generation, and with your advice would have suffered for generations to come; other peoples misery is cute and funny, huh? I’ll conclude with pointing out that the Islamic civil war did not begin with our intervention in Iraq.

  13. Sally Says:

    X: So, if the Democrats continue to oppose the war then they’re traitors trying to undermine the troops for politically convenient reasons. If they change their mind to try and acknowledge the limited successes of their surge, they’re fake…and they can’t win. Well done!

    By Jove, I think he’s got it! Well, almost. There certainly can be a principled position of opposition to the war, but the great majority of the Congressional Democrats didn’t adopt that that position initially — they voted to support it. Then, when things were going badly, when it looked like they might gain political advantage in opposing the war, and urged on by their nutroots left wing, their tune changed — now the line was that the war was lost, and we should cut-and-run, though of course they lacked the political courage to put their votes where their mouths were. And now it looks like events are about to undermine their latest about-face again, and they’re already starting to spin themselves dizzy as they try to tack with the polling winds. They can’t win morally or on principle because, with a few honorable exceptions on both sides of the debate, they’ve dug themselves into a hole with their partisan hackery that’s too deep to climb out of. Just keep digging, Nancy & Harry!

  14. Sally Says:

    Bunk, aka yee-haw jimmy: This war will always be a stain on American history … blahdeblahdeblahengaging with an argument (see, e.g., X, for lessons in how you might do that). Or, you could just stick with donkey sounds — does as good a job as repetition and saves words.

  15. Tap Says:

    “They can’t win morally or on principle because, with a few honorable exceptions on both sides of the debate, they’ve dug themselves into a hole with their partisan hackery that’s too deep to climb out of.”

    But………but…………but………BUT…………….
    THAT’S NOT FAAAAIIIIIR!

  16. Sally Says:

    Tags got a bit mixed up above (I miss the preview!) — here’s the gist of what was dropped:

    I think we’ve heard that [the war a stain, etc.] from you already, jimbo — it’s quite wrong, of course, and the multiple errors it encapsulates have been pointed out repeatedly. Saying it over and over doesn’t make it any more rational. Using caps doesn’t make it any more convincing. Since you’re dispensing suggestions, here’s one for you: try engaging with an argument rather than indulging in mere repetitious rhetoric….

  17. Tap Says:

    BB says “How can any future outcome possibly be called victory?”

    This is what we’re dealing with. BB can’t envision any better outcome than abandoning the Iraqis, despite the obviously predictable outcome that would ensue from such an abandonment.

  18. harry9000 Says:

    bunkerbuster:
    “I wonder what advice the unwittingly self-effacing chauvanists here have for the Republicans?
    Isn’t it a little presumptuous for people who think Democrats are traitors to be giving political advice to those same Democrats when they’re leading in every poll by every measure and when the Bush administration’s political capital is well south of subprime?”

    How come “unwittingly” self-effacing? Were we not critical of Democrat politicians for forsaking principal for popularity? Isnt your question yet another example of polling numbers over values? How does the word “presumptuous” fit into your argument at all?

    Polling numbers does not equal principal. Especially when Democrats are doing everything they can to maintain the illusion that it just isnt worth it. How valuable is public opinion then? Why dont we argue this issue on its merits?

    “More important, opposing the war isn’t the same as rooting for defeat. I’m not rooting for anything, I’m taking the facts as I see them, analyzing them and drawing conclusions. The war just isn’t a psychodrama for me, it’s a policy question and I just don’t think the policy we now have will ever work.”

    I disagree. I think there’s every possibility It will work. I agree it will take time, cost money, cost lives. Whats the Democrat alternative? Abandonment. Tell me Its really not that simple.

    Now liberals can spin this as freeing more resources against Bin Laden because for liberals it limits a very real global threat of radical Islam to one guy. Find him and we can pretend the problem goes away. You have to know better, you just dont care.

    “They need a blank check because the policies they advocate are so costly in blood, treasure, human rights, political and diplomatic capital that they CAN”T EVEN BE ASKED TO ESTIMATE, what the final tally is. Don’t ask, is their message. Just spend, spend, spend. And anyone who asks questions is a traitor.”

    I think its a gross mischaracterization, but just out of curiosity, why would we see it like that? To what end? Whats our motivation? It would be interesting to hear you say why we want to spend lives and money in this manner. As you say, it certainly couldn’t be for the political capital! Then why?

    “What the chauvanists here make plain is that they see “war” as some kind of moral blank check. Their core assertion as that any doubt or check on the government’s power to wage war is a threat to the nation’s survival.

    Funny that the invasion of Iraq also had the blessing of 30 Democrat politicians until the poll numbers when south. Now many liberals are saying that Iraq is a distraction from other world problems that may require military force…that we are not supposed to take as a “moral blank check” invitation for the use of military power. What is it you do want? You want to pretend there really isnt a need for the military. That there really isnt a threat to this country. That 3,000 dead Americans in one morning is a sacrifice we must pay for being ourselves, and that moral assertiveness in US foreign policy should be confined to a “Free Tibet” bumper sticker.

  19. bunkerbuster Says:

    Let me respond to Stumbley:

    1. Claim that the invasion will be a “quagmire” (without any evidence to back up the claim).

    No evidence? Stumbley and the other chauvanists are the ones saying their is no end in sight for the U.S. occupation. They admit it’s a quagmire, they’re just unwilling to use that word.
    We’re hundreds of billions of dollars in the hole on Iraq and the lights still don’t work in Baghdad for most of the day, oil wells are producing far below capacity and are in fact being destroyed, the parliament isn’t functional, millions of refugees have fled and Iran’s power within Iraq is still growing. These are the facts, Stumbley.

    2. State that Iraq is the “wrong country” and that we “should’ve utilized our resources to capture bin Laden”

    One difference between adults and children is that adults learn that limited resources means limited options. In other words, they learn that you can’t have a candy bars and steak for dinner. It’s one or the other. Children, however, do not understand this. In their minds, it’s perfectly fine to buy the bicycle AND the train set AND the video game. They don’t understand that a dollar spent on the bike is one they won’t have to spend on the train. People who think the U.S. can invade any country it wants, at any time, without diminishing its military resources for other conflicts, such as the one in Afghanistan.

    3. When the invasion goes well, claim that “casualties are too high” (though lower than almost any other conflict, and in fact lower than some peacetime years) and that the US “didn’t provide enough armor or supplies for the troops”.

    The invasion hasn’t gone well and the casualties are not “lower than almost any other conflict.” Half a million Iraqis are dead from this invasion. More than three thousand Americans have been killed and tens of thousands have been seriously injured. That’s more than any conflict in more than three decades. Those are facts, Stumbley. Your statement is fantasy.

    4. When the “surge” is proposed claim that it’s the “wrong tactic”. When it appears to be successful, claim that “it’s too little, too late.”

    “Appears to be” to whom? Any success is limited and tentative. As I’ve explained, the losses are final and irretreivable. At best, the surge has succeeded in slowing the rate of defeat. What facts show that this will be different from the killing of Saddam’s sons, the capture of Saddam himself, the elections, the “handover” of “sovereignty” and every other false dawn that was treated by the mediocre media as “Success in Iraq,” but which led to only more killing, more expense and more excuses from war cheerleaders.

    5. When it appears that the success of the “surge” may actually lead to sustained periods of lowered violence, claim that “the political situation isn’t progressing as fast as it should” (forgetting how long it took America to get its act together).

    “Lowered violence”? What exactly does Stumbley mean? If violence is insignificant in Iraq, the troops should be preparing to withdraw yesterday. Presumably, Stumbley is imagining invasions or attacks on Iran, Syria and so on, so the troops will need a bit of rest. The measure of success is simple: our troops are on their way home. By that simple, concrete, factual measure, Stumbley is admitting the war’s a huge failure.

    6. When Iraqi sheikhs and the government appear to be reconciling, when Shiite militias stand down, when Muslims, Christians and others raise a cross on a newly-reopened church, claim that “a Civil War is imminent”.

    This is just Stumbley’s fabrication. No one’s claiming “civil war is imminent.” Most, if not virtually all, Americans know that a civil war is underway in Iraq. And Iraqi sheikhs and the government aren’t “reconciling.” Stumbley, apparently, either doesn’t recall or doesn’t know that the Iraqi government’s policy had been to disarm tribal militia. They have surrendered on that policy and are now focusing on trying to recruit specific militias in hope of dividing the insurgency. They have yet to reach the point where these militia can be disarmed and/or incorporated into the Iraqi military itself. These are the facts, Stumbley.

    7. Steadfastly maintain that Iraq’s problems are “not military” and that the solutions are “political”, ignoring that security is a necessary predecessor to any political solution.

    Again, no one’s making that claim. The claim is that the solution to Iraq’s security problems is primarily political. As everyone from Patreaus to Perle have admitted, there is no military solution. Stumbley just pulled that one straight out of his butt.

    8. Claim again and again that we’re dealing with “the wrong problem,” that Iran’s influence is what’s at work in Iraq (while conversely demanding that no military action should be necessary in Iran).

    Inasmuch as the U.S. “success” is so far limited to diminishing problems it directly, immediately created by invading Iraq, I think it’s safe to say that the problems in Iraq aren’t related in any way to preventing radical Islamists from launching attacks on the U.S.

    9. and finally, never fail to move the goalposts whenever your hastily-constructed straw arguments are in danger of being demolished by facts.

    “Goalposts” are irrelevant. This isn’t a football game. There is no “score” that will bring back the lives and treasure squandered on this war. Let’s keep focused on the costs and benefits of the war. If the costs are greater than the benefits, it’s a loser. There are no “goalposts.”

  20. harry9000 Says:

    Bunkerbuster:
    ““Goalposts” are irrelevant. This isn’t a football game. There is no “score” that will bring back the lives and treasure squandered on this war. Let’s keep focused on the costs and benefits of the war. If the costs are greater than the benefits, it’s a loser. There are no “goalposts.”

    This after:
    “Half a million Iraqis are dead from this invasion”.

    How many are to die after we hastily retreat? Suddenly, that cost is on no significance.

    “As everyone from Patreaus to Perle have admitted, there is no military solution.”

    Not a military solution alone, you should say. There would have to be a political solution, no one argues that. You skirted Stumbley on the issue. How do you reach a political solution with out military security? Your not interested in finding out. In any case, at the very least you should stop couching your arguments in moral terms.

  21. Rick in NY Says:

    This is really a simple issue. For the Democrats, it’s always been more important for Bush to fail as opposed to the US and Iraqi people succeeding. The Dems are held hostage to their core constituents, MoveOn.org as an example. They have no principle other than a desire to win, and a centrist, responsible position would represent a betrayal of the core principles of the left…a betrayal that they believe they cannot afford. The country is center-right. The Dems are held hostage by the left. No matter what happens in 2008, they will still campaign and govern from a position of weakness, and the Republicans will, over time, continue to be the majority party.

  22. Laura Says:

    Well, if you think that Crocker saying this will be a “long hard slog” over the weekend is any indication of a “win” coming in the near future, then think again.

    It’s a sobering slap. The truth is, the people fighting the war won’t be able to sustain it, and we won’t be able to respond to another threat with all our guys over there policing the joint.

    The issue of supporting it or not will be decided by the American people in the next election. The dems just have to point out the billions and billions spent, the massive corruption and cronyism and lack of oversight and a progress report on the political front which has stalled. The American people need look no further than Afghanistan and Pakistan to see just how failed a strategy the war was in an attempt to keep us safe. And, all fingers point to Bush and co.

    Our troops have done everything we have asked them to do. With honor and courage and more sacrifice than they should ever have been asked. The fact that it has been fought by so few in our country points to the ugly hypocrisy…we all want them to win it for us, but we personally don’t want to have to shoot the guns, or spill the blood.

    The American people will not allow this to continue. It will eat away at them until they throw down the gauntlet and play umpire at the last republican up to bat and strike them out. The dems don’t have to do a thing in their position on the war. All they need to do is say “it is what it is” and it is all about the GOP. People are smart.

  23. Occam's Beard Says:

    It will eat away at them until they throw down the gauntlet and play umpire at the last republican up to bat and strike them out.

    Metaphor alert!

  24. Laura Says:

    Occam, why do the dems need advice? All they need to do is recap.

  25. bunkerbuster Says:

    There’s at least one point on which I agre with the pro-war posters here:

    Many, though certainly not all, Democrats have shown the same pusillanimity in opposing the war that they did in supporting it in the first place.

    For these Democrats, Hillary among them, the failure in Iraq is primarily a political opportunity and only secondarily a tragedy for America and the people of Iraq.

    I don’t support these Democrats, though I can imagine a circumstance in which I would vote for them as the lesser of two evils.

    And, one of the biggest reasons the war supporters here are so unpersuasive is that there argument hinge exclusively on hypotheticals. IF we withdraw, X will happy. IF we stay long enough, Y will happen. Given that on every single point from WMD to elections and allies, the conservatives have been wrong about the “what ifs” of this war.

    When we talking about “winning” wars, we may want to look back at Afghanistan in the 1980s. That’s won “we” “won” hands down, according to the mediocre media.

    Really. Were the people of Afghanistan better off? Was American security enhanced?

    Well. We do know that bin Laden’s movement was hatched in Afghanistan and metastasized directly from there.

    We know that the Reagan administration lobbied and won for lifting U.S. sanctions on Pakistan for developing nuclear weapons, because Pakistan was the essential ally in the U.S. “secret” war in Afghanistan.

    More specifically, Pakistan’s intelligence agency was in charge of “secretly” distributing U.S. money to bin Laden and comrades–even as Pakistan’s Khan was selling nuclear technology to North Korea, Iran and others.

    Later, after Afghanistan’s civil/tribal wars were won by the Taliban, U.S. allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia became the regime’s primary supporters and enablers.

    Look where “winning” in Afghanistan lead. What makes anyone confident that “winning” in Iraq would lead in a different direction?

  26. Occam's Beard Says:

    only secondarily a tragedy for America and the people of Iraq.

    Not to mention a tragedy for Al Qaeda. Oh the humanity!

    (We draw a discreet veil over the metaphor alert, so as not to embarrass further those who don’t grasp what that means.)

  27. bunkerbuster Says:

    Harry9000 writes:
    “How many are to die after we hastily retreat? Suddenly, that cost is on no significance.”

    No one is advocating a hasty restreat. Rather, the only proposals are for an orderly, planned withdrawal.

    Under the present configuration, the U.S. occupation is unsustainable, even BY ITS OWN PROJECTIONS.

    Withdrawal from Iraq is an indisputable outcome. The only question is when and under what circumstances.

    My position is that planning for the withdrawal should begin immediately, as it will be militarily and diplomatically complex. Once a plan has been developed, we can begin to implement, preferably with renewed help from our traditional allies and Iraq’s neighbors.

    How many people would die in such a withdrawal? There is indeed a risk that fighting could escalate, though predictions of mass killing of the kind that’s gone on recent years are surely overblown. Why are people who’ve been insisting for six long, brutal, deadly years that we’re meeting with “success” in Iraq now arguing that a withdrawal would occassion a bloodbath. Can’t they see the contradiction?

    And, as any child could tell you, there is a big difference between bad things you make happen and bad things you allow to happen. It’s called responsiblity and supporters of this war spend more of their time evading it than anything else.

  28. Laura Says:

    As seen from today’s signing of a treaty between Iraq and the US, the seal has been set and the final stage of the occupation begins. If the American people had been told from the outset of the war that the US planned a permanent presence there, how much support would Bush have gotten? So telling Iraq and the US, “we’ll stay as long as needed” to stabilize Iraq and “not one day more” is essentially a lie. I have always said in my posts that the reason we didn’t see a clear “exit” strategy is because there wasn’t one.

    So, where does that leave the Sunnis in the official alliance? The Kurds? How does this new alliance help to bring the other political elements into the fold?

  29. Tap Says:

    This is a beautiful summation of the events of the last year from Democratic politicians’ point of view. If you wonder why the term traitor gets bandied about, perhaps you should read this:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/405lrbpc.asp?pg=1

  30. Tom Says:

    In life,as in baseball, nobody bats 1000. Yup, W made mistakes. So did Eisenhower: for example, he was so confident Berlin would be taken in Fall 1944 that winter uniforms were witheld from our troops in Germany; then came winter and the Battle of the Bulge, both brutal.

    But the Dems’ mistake is sitting on the sidelines, rooting for our team to lose. I do not for a moment accept the bizarre assertions that the Dems are “principled” antiwar pacifists. They are treasonous. Their identical position re Vietnam, blocking aid tothe winning side in 1974, caused the deaths of millions of Lao, Viets, Cambodians. With their Dem. offspring now in DC calling for a pullout and doing their level best to make our troops impotent, is it any wonder most Iraqis tremble to side with us?

    So let’s not delay our verdict: Democrats today are vermin. The “principled” Democrats are like “moderate” Muslims; both are avidly needed, both are very rare, endangered species.

  31. gcotharn Says:

    Y’all are arguing some excellent arguments about different things.

    Those on the left do not perceive the same threat as those on the right.

    If everyone perceived the same threat, you would then have the problem that those on the left rarely perceive the American/Western example of freedom as a good thing. They rarely perceive democracy, and Western civil values, as solutions to national problems.

    You are making some brilliant arguments, and I have enjoyed reading your reasonings. Yet, at the very foundation, you are most often talking right past each other, imo.

  32. harry9000 Says:

    “Those on the left do not perceive the same threat as those on the right. “

    I have no doubt thats true. I think the “talking past each other” thats going on is purposed, which is why Laura launched into the “talking points” memo while bunkerbuster looses his own argument the moment he makes it. I had asked bunkerbuster what he thinks motivates us “chauvanists” to spend blood and treasure so recklessly. Laura acts as if she’s convinced its for oil and war profits, but its clear that’s what she would like to believe. So instead about talking about the issue, its the talking points.

    So how do each ideology perceive a threat here?

    The right perceives the threat in that failing to fight violent religious thugs in Iraq and other regions weakens our resolve. It weakens the trust of those who live in that region and depend upon our matching our commitments to freedom and democracy. The threat we perceive is that if we give-up because its too hard in Iraq, we will be less willing to stick it out anywhere else that matters until we’re running around in our own countries (Europe and Canadians as well), trying to nail down when the next mass casualty event is going to take place, because we havent done enough to fight their violence and their radicalism on their own turf.

    What the left is afraid of? That we might win. Worse, that we might be right. That you cant just slap it on a bumpersticker and move off to save the spotted owl. That all morals are not relative or subject to reductionism, and that there are real and subjective differences in culture or that evil actually exists. Thats what the left fears. A conscious.

    Prime example; bunkerbuster:
    “How many people would die in such a withdrawal? There is indeed a risk that fighting could escalate, though predictions of mass killing of the kind that’s gone on recent years are surely overblown. Why are people who’ve been insisting for six long, brutal, deadly years that we’re meeting with “success” in Iraq now arguing that a withdrawal would occassion a bloodbath. Can’t they see the contradiction?”

    A contradiction? How? The “success” (less violence) is derived from an increase in US ground forces in Iraq. Not the absence of it. I’m pretty sure your dismissal of post US pull-out violence comforts you more than it does the Iraqi people. Overblown did you say? Thats amazing. Whats it matter to you though? As long as its off your Television screen and out of your conscious.

  33. bunkerbuster Says:

    Harry9000:

    How do you explain that every poll shows a majority of Iraqis favor U.S. withdrawal?

    And ask yourself this, Harry: Just how certain are you a carefully planned U.S. withdrawal would lead to massacres?

    Would you say your more sure, or less sure, than you were that Iraq had WMD?

    Are you more sure, or less, than you were that the U.S. invasion would be greeted with flowers and candy?

    Are you more sure, or less sure, than you were that Saddam was working with Al Qaeda?

    Just how sure are you that you’ll finally be right, just once, for the very first time, about something in Iraq?

    And let me spell out the contradiction for you:

    According to the conservative media, we’ve had nothing but success in Iraq. The invasion was tactically brilliant, our troops like gods and our leaders “steely” and “undaunted” and “courageous” and on and on. Nothing but good stuff. The bad news? That was all evil propaganda from the treasonous media, simply not true.

    But if that’s the case, why was a “surge” necessary? If the invasion is a success, why aren’t we even planning a withdrawal?

    The answer is simple and obvious. We cannot withdraw tomorrow or next week or next month, because the situation remains chaotic. How can we call that a success?

    Anyone can predict success in the future, or claim that the rate of failure has slowed, but you can’t do either rationally unless and until you admit that the invasion initially failed.

    Maybe will find a cure for cancer, but if the biopsy shows it’s metastasizing, you may want to seek remediation of some sort.

    Harry9000 wants to know what I think motivates “chauvanists” to spend blood and treasure so recklessly. Glad you asked Harry.

    They’re confident it won’t be either their blood or their money that gets spent. They know our children, not us, will pay financially for this war and only the most economically desperate classes will sign up to fight it.

    It’s no accident that Bush has refused to call on Americans to volunteer for the war, or to take any special steps to pay for it. He’s a good enough politician to know that support for the war is based on the assumption that it isn’t bankrupting the economy and that only the lowest-economic classes who volunteer because they perceive it as the only viable way out of poverty will actually fight in it.

    One reason support for the war has declined so precipitously is that the economy has failed to gain momentum. A lot of semi-chauvanists and fence-sitters are losing their jobs and/or their homes and, naturally, are in a much less gracious mood when they learned that still more tens of billions are needed to continue the “success” in Iraq.

    Not everyone who supports the war is a chauvanist. But anyone who equates dissent with disloyalty is indeed a chauvanist. If the shoe fits, wear it.

  34. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left fears the use of violence unsanctioned by the UN and international writ. The paleo-con allies of the Left believe that isolationism is a good thing because American power is only diluted by staying in foreign countries such as Japan, German, Kosovo, etc.

  35. Sally Says:

    Bunk: According to the conservative media, we’ve had nothing but success in Iraq. The invasion was tactically brilliant, our troops like gods and our leaders “steely” and “undaunted” and “courageous” and on and on. Nothing but good stuff. The bad news? That was all evil propaganda from the treasonous media, simply not true.

    But if that’s the case, why was a “surge” necessary? If the invasion is a success, why aren’t we even planning a withdrawal?

    See kids, this is called setting up a straw man so you can knock it down. It can often work well, because it’s much, much easier than knocking down actual arguments. On the other hand, you do have to careful not to be too blatant about it, or it can make your whole case look flimsy, as in the specimen here.

    The problem with this example is that not only can you not find one “conservative” who argues that “we’ve had nothing but success in Iraq”, you can’t find any human being who says that. Indeed, everyone saw that the war was going badly — conservatives and honorable liberals hoped to find a way to turn it around, because they realized that more was at stake here than the fate of one particular administration; dishonorable (and obtuse) liberals hoped that it would not turn around, because they couldn’t see what was at stake other than a nice, politically opportunistic election issue (the polls!); the anti-American, anti-Western left, on the other hand, hoped that it would only worsen, because they were smart enough to at least realize the stakes, and wanted to see America defeated.

    Hence the surge (and the possibly more important change in tactics that accompanied it) brought new hope to the conservatives and honorable liberals, but brought only consternation, upset, and fear to the mixture of opportunists and, yes, traitors who hoped to find some advantage in an American defeat.

    Not everyone who opposes the war is a traitor. But anyone who hopes to see their country defeated is a traitor. If that shoe fits, wear it.

  36. bunkerbuster Says:

    I should have known that some readers would take my hyperbole literally and actually believe that I was asserting that conservatives think the success in Iraq is complete and total and always has been.

    That wasn’t my point at all. Rather, it was that conservatives have been cheerleading the war, not analyzing it objectively. Partly as a result of that, they’ve insisted the war was being won, even when it was rather obviously being lost.

    Many conservatives assert that any failure to cheerlead the war is somehow disloyal or, even, treasonous. Given that, no one should take their assessments as genuine.

    Sally asserts:
    “Indeed, everyone saw that the war was going badly — conservatives and honorable liberals hoped to find a way to turn it around.”

    Well, not everyone, Sally:

    Here’s a brief overview of some of the most risible, and dead wrong, we now know, cheers coming from conservatives over the years since the start of the war:

    Richard Perle, September 22, 2003
    “A year from now, I’ll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush.’’

    Frank Gaffney, Jr. Front Page Magazine, September 30, 2003
    “The characterization of the post-war situation in Iraq as a “failure” – or, even a “miserable” one – has become so frequently and so vociferously applied that an observer could be forgiven for believing it is accurate. It is not. I have concluded that – far from a failure – the U.S.-led effort to consolidate a Free Iraq is on a decided, if still tentative, trajectory for success.’’

    Ann Coulter, on Fox News Channel, May 28, 2004.
    “The war is going magnificently.”
    (That’s after Abu Ghraib, after the siege of Fallujah and long after destruction of the U.N headquarters.)

    Fox News Channel, Dec. 2, 2005
    “Winning Iraq: The Untold Story” A full documentary dedicated to showing that the U.S. is winning the war. Unfair and unbalanced, of course, but more importantly, dead wrong, as we can now demonstrate.

    J.R. Dunn, “The American Thinker,” November 18, 2005
    Essay titled: “Winning in Iraq – and losing at home’’
    “Based on mainstream media reporting, many Americans, including some in elective office, are coming to the wrong—headed conclusion that we are losing our war in Iraq. The facts say otherwise.’’

    Year after year, time after time, conservatives either claimed or predicted victory. Why on earth does anyone expect someone to believe them this time?

    What would take to make conservatives take responsiblity for getting so much about the war wrong? Why do they think that even though their predictions have been wrong time after time after time they can insist that the people who disagree with them are somehow deranged, or evil or treasonous?

  37. Laura Says:

    Sally writes:

    “dishonorable (and obtuse) liberals hoped that it would not turn around, because they couldn’t see what was at stake other than a nice, politically opportunistic election issue (the polls!); the anti-American, anti-Western left, on the other hand, hoped that it would only worsen, because they were smart enough to at least realize the stakes, and wanted to see America defeated.”

    Sally, if you are going to make this argument, please back it up. Can you site actual proof of any American wanting defeat? This argument is used time and again without any salient example of who exactly these people are, these traitors. Also, can you tell us who these leftists are who are wanting to use it as an election issue, along with some quote or fact?

  38. bunkerbuster Says:

    “Not everyone who opposes the war is a traitor. But anyone who hopes to see their country defeated is a traitor. If that shoe fits, wear it.”

    Is the failure of U.S. diplomacy “defeat?”

    To the extent that you can call liberal objections to the war “rooting” for defeat, you can certainly say that conservatives were “rooting” for the failure of U.N. inspections in Iraq. In the same way, plenty more are now “rooting” for the failure of U.S. diplomacy with Iran and some, even, for a failure of diplomacy in North Korea.

    Keep in mind, I don’t believe the many non-wingnut conservatives actually root for the failure of diplomacy. Rather, they are deeply suspicious of diplomacy and, in Iran and North Korea, believe that it has already fundamentally failed, even as talks are still ongoing.

    My point is rather that many conservatives feel free to oppose U.S. diplomatic efforts and gleefully declare them dead on arrival, but you never hear anyone in the mediocre media accusing them of “hating America” or “seeking America’s defeat.” Why is that?

  39. Sally Says:

    Bunk: Year after year, time after time, conservatives either claimed or predicted victory.

    So let me see — is that “hyperbole” talking now? Or do you mean it this time?

    It’s certainly true that people from time to time let their hopes get the best of them, and make mistakes in doing so — for people of good will (conservative or liberal), those mistakes were to err on the side of American and Iraqi defeat of the “insurgent” butchers; for opportunists and people of ill will, those mistakes were to err on the side of American stalemate and defeat, Iraqi “civil war”, and victory for the terrorists. I leave it as an exercise for both Laura (who likes to play dumb) and Bunker here to cherry pick quotes from that latter camp, whose predictions, based upon their hopes, have invariably been of American humiliation and defeat, from Afghanistan to Iraq, and onward now to Iran. Everybody makes mistakes — it’s the direction of, and motivation behind, the mistakes that’s revealing.

  40. Laura Says:

    But Sally, you still didn’t answer the question of who these people are that you are referring to, the traitors the defeatests.

    I think it’s an important point since you raise it so often. Can you do that?

  41. Sally Says:

    Start with the Pilger quote, Laura, and go from there — you can do it too!

  42. Laura Says:

    Iraq as a construction project

    Where the Gen contractor (bush and administration) say “I’m going to build you a lovely house” to the clients (American and Iraqi people). Just sign the paperwork and we’ll get started. It’s just that the GC doesn’t bother to pull a permit, digs the foundation on swampland and ships in timber that is rotted. The construction workers (American soldiers) are constantly telling the GC, “you can’t build with this wood, it’s rotten”, not to mention there are no nails to fabricate the frame. The CG tells the workers, “just tie it together, use whatever you have, we have deadlines” and the workers do what they are told, scratching their heads.

    Heavy rain and delays and cost over runs, and the clients get nervous. The GC tries desperately to keep the client happy and goes ahead and puts sheetrock over the rotted frame, just to show that they are making progress. It’s just that they missed some steps along the way, like plumbing and electricity.

    More costs over runs and the clients have now brought their attorney into the mix. The GC gets nervous and brings in more workers, keeping them busy 24/7. The workers tell the GC that the sheetrock they used is hollow and they don’t have any insulation. The CG tells them to just start putting the windows and doors in. We have deadlines.

    As the last coat of paint gets slapped on, the clients look at the GC and ask, “where are the outlets, the lights, the sinks? The GC tells them, “look, I know it’s rudimentary, but it’s a fine house.” All the while the GC is thinking he just needs to get the sale wrapped up. Banner headlines in the local paper announce the completion of the lovely new house; the plumbers and electricians union are none too happy and plan a protest at the grand opening. Thing is, the GC had their licenses pulled and banned them from attending. The lovely new structure gleams in the sunlight. It brings a tear to the eyes of those in the community. The money changes hands and the keys are given to the clients.

    One year later during a heavy rain, the house starts to creek and crumble. The clients run outside and see all their hard earned money disintegrate before their eyes. The GC has closed up shop and moved to another state. All the workers stand in the client’s yard and sadly say to the client, “we should have used nails”.

  43. bunkerbuster Says:

    Sally writes: “It’s certainly true that people from time to time let their hopes get the best of them.”

    But this isn’t a case of that. It’s a case of conservatives consistently, repeatedly getting the war in Iraq wrong. And consistently, repeatedly for the same reasons. This isn’t a case of from time to time, it’s a case of time after time. And they’re doing it again.

    Some conservatives have turned against the war themselves and many more no longer actively support it, either out of embarrassment or disgust. It’s getting to where it’s only the wingnuts still chanting the pom pom routines, but the recent round of victory speeches may briefly bring some of the apostates back in line.

  44. harry9000 Says:

    Bunk: (Sally ;))
    “My point is rather that many conservatives feel free to oppose U.S. diplomatic efforts and gleefully declare them dead on arrival, but you never hear anyone in the mediocre media accusing them of “hating America” or “seeking America’s defeat.” Why is that?”

    Because its pretty hard to conclude you hate your own country by opposing diplomatic means to undermine it.

    Sheesh.

    Actually, I know of no conservatives (much less any “chauvanists”), who are fundamentally opposed to diplomatic efforts, just diplomatic efforts made from a position of weakness or not backed by credibility. You’re not likely, for an example, going to get a concession from N. Korea on its nuclear weapons program unless N. Korea perceives a credible threat of loosing it through an air strike. As it is, N. Korea’s position for a long time seemed to be nothing more international extortion to pay for the fact that their version of socialist paradise is no better than anyone elses.

    We can, however, make the argument of liberals and progressives seeking America’s defeat in the weakening of US military resolve, therefore weakening this country diplomatically. Why would they do that? You’ve lost the ability to objectively judge better than/worse off thru the horrid liberal mindset of cultural and moral equality.

    After all, its all good right? Supposedly, if no culture or religious practice can be seen as superior
    to another there would be no reason for war, because we all would be equal. No “chauvanists”, no war. Liberals seek a defeat in Iraq because it takes America down a notch. Its better we flounder around seeking OBL, a much narrower defined goal rather than propping up liberty and democracy in the heart of a religiously disturbed culturally depraved region, because liberals dont think we should be able to make such judgements. Its all just a “chauvanists” short-sighted misunderstanding of someone elses culture. The honor killings, the beheadings, the car bombs the assassinations the explosive laden suicide vests in the name of Allah. All a cultural misunderstanding. High jacking commercial aircraft and fly them into office buildings in New York? Hell. Its probably our fault.

    With that rationale, its easier to believe that threats of widespread post “cut & run” violence is “overblown”. Why dont you just say it doesnt matter. That would be closer to the truth.

    Bunk again on what motivates conservatives to continue to fight this war:
    “They’re (the “chauvanists”), are confident it won’t be either their blood or their money that gets spent. They know our children, not us, will pay financially for this war and only the most economically desperate classes will sign up to fight it.”

    Yes, yes, yes….but why? You havent answered that.

  45. Sally Says:

    Bunk: This isn’t a case of from time to time [getting things wrong], it’s a case of time after time.

    You’re referring to the lefty war opposers? The one’s who, time after time, told us that only defeat and humiliation await us as we try to bring down a terrorist supporting tyranny in the very heart of the the terrorist-spawning region? Perhaps you’re referring to yourself, bunker, who even now, and even as your usual backers in the MSM and Democratic leadership are starting to get a little queasy about their defeat-laden predictions, continues to chant obsessively, over and over again, the same refrain of doom, defeat, and disaster. Those the people who get things wrong time after time, and for the same reasons? Hmm?

    Well, I’m being disingenuous, yes. But I think I’ve made the point.

  46. stumbley Says:

    Let’s see…it’s “civil war” in Iraq, the government is in a shambles, the militias are just biding their time while the Americans are there before unleashing their murderous violence again, and bunky thinks it’s a really good idea to leave, because the Iraqis are so much worse off because of the American presence. Sure, there may be “additional violence,” but that’s okay, because it won’t be the American troops he so ardently “supports,” but just those poor, mistreated (by the US, of course) Iraqis. No matter that the situation is likely to revert to Saddam-like, pre-invasion conditions, in which up to 30,000 Iraqis were dying per year.

    bunky says, “I’m all right, Jack.” Pathetic.

    Oh, and re:casualties in Iraq:

    WWI = US casualties (dead) in 3 years: 117,000 (107 per day)
    WWII = US casualties in 4 years: 291,557 (200 per day)
    Korea = US casualties in 3 years: 54,229 (50 per day)
    Vietnam = US casualties in 11 years: 58,193 (14 per day)
    Gulf War = US casualties in 212 days: 148 (.7 per day)
    Iraqi Freedom = US casualties so far (1487 days): 3906 (2.6 per day)
    Just for reference, Grenada: US casualties in 36 days: 19 (.5 per day)
    …and peacetime US casualties in 1980 (365 days): 2,392 (6.5 per day)

    So, the only conflicts (utilizing ground forces) with less casualties than Operation Iraqi Freedom were the first Gulf War and the invasion of Grenada.

  47. Gray Says:

    Bunkerbuster accidently leaves his opinions and swerves into ‘facts’–getting everything wrong:

    Well. We do know that bin Laden’s movement was hatched in Afghanistan and metastasized directly from there.

    No. ‘bin Laden’s movement’ was hatched in Egypt by Ayman al Zawahiri and metastasized to Sudan where they gained support of bin Laden. bin Laden was offered to the US by the Islamic Authority of Sudan who wanted him gone. We declined and he sought exile in his old digs from the Afghan war.

    We know that the Reagan administration lobbied and won for lifting U.S. sanctions on Pakistan for developing nuclear weapons, because Pakistan was the essential ally in the U.S. “secret” war in Afghanistan.

    No, that was Carter:

    “This will require a review of our policy toward Pakistan, more guarantees to it, more arms aid, and, alas, a decision that our security policy toward Pakistan cannot be dictated by our nonproliferation policy,” Brzezinski wrote Carter in a memo dated Dec. 26, 1979.

    More specifically, Pakistan’s intelligence agency was in charge of “secretly” distributing U.S. money to bin Laden and comrades–even as Pakistan’s Khan was selling nuclear technology to North Korea, Iran and others.

    No. bin Laden and his “Afghan Arabs” were funded by himself, wealthy financial backers and most importantly Muslim charities in Europe, Indonesia and America. The ISI didn’t like him and his weirdo arabs. We did fund the Mujahideen through the ISI and sent advisors to train the Afghan fighters , but not the Arabs. The Mujahideen eventually became split into the Taliban and the Nothern Alliance. The Taliban came to harbor the arabs and Saudi exiles in Afghanistan

    Later, after Afghanistan’s civil/tribal wars were won by the Taliban, U.S. allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia became the regime’s primary supporters and enablers.

    Not so much. The Taliban only ever held the areas around Kandahar and Kabul–the poppy growing areas. Saudi Arabia was terrified of the Taliban because the Taliban wanted to overthrow the Saudi family and create an Islamic paradise in SA. Some radicals in Pakistan supported the Taliban, but overall, the Taliban was a nice place for Pakistan to exile its Islamic radicals.

    As far as Iraq goes, How long were we supposed to enforce those sanctions and no-fly-zones anyhow?

  48. stumbley Says:

    Also, the funding of the Afghan rebels was promulgated and supported by that Texan redneck, “good-time” Charlie Wilson:
    http://www.amazon.com/Charlie-Wilsons-War-Extraordinary-Congress/dp/0802141242/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196188822&sr=8-1

    …a Democrat, BTW.

  49. ymarsakar Says:

    War is not a matter of life and death to the bunkers. That is why they think that somehow you can actually afford to admit that you are losing. That, in fact, you should so do and often.

    THey believe there is some virtue in admitting defeat and refusing to fight. There isn’t, but they think otherwise.

  50. Tap Says:

    Laura wants examples:
    “Can you site actual proof of any American wanting defeat? This argument is used time and again without any salient example of who exactly these people are, these traitors. Also, can you tell us who these leftists are who are wanting to use it as an election issue, along with some quote or fact?”

    Laura, the link I provided above shows exactly that. I’m sure that would be why you won’t click on it and read.

  51. ymarsakar Says:

    The phrase “admit defeat” has two meanings. It can mean that you recognize when you are beaten. Or it can mean that you allow yourself to be defeaten. Admit, as in allow inside.

    There is a reason why that word has both kinds of meanings. The Left thinks that admitting defeat is not what the right says, which is that the Left is admitting defeat. Never underestimate the Left’s ability at semantics and doublethink.

  52. ymarsakar Says:

    Again, no one’s making that claim. The claim is that the solution to Iraq’s security problems is primarily political. As everyone from Patreaus to Perle have admitted, there is no military solution. Stumbley just pulled that one straight out of his butt.

    “Primarily poiltical” to the Left means the same thing as “primarily diplomatic”. THe way the Left looks at diplomacy is that they can force people to work together and abide by agreements. This is the same way they approach political matters. The big brother government orders people to do things and people do them. That is how the Left thinks. THey think top down. Orders come from above, and the people below follow them to the letter. You have seen examples of Leftist ideological purity when someone disobeys a Leftist edict. Lieberman, Neo-con, Bookworm, and etc all experienced what the Left saw as punishment for disobedience.

    In Iraq, the US can’t and won’t enforce a top down diplomatic or political solution. They tried in 2003, but you saw how that worked. The same applies to the Left’s attempts at diplomacy. They just don’t have the power or the skill in violence to make people do what they tell them to. The Left has been trying to tell Israel-Palestine what to do for awhile. But the Palestinians just tell the Left to go off themselves.

    Europe’s diplomatic treatment with Iran and North Korea is the same way. It was the same way even with Hitler back in the 1930s.

    So, when bunker talks about Petraeus words about “a political solution”, bunker is essentially telling you all that he will produce a political solution but without the means to actually make it solve anything. He won’t use the necessary degree of violence, killing, intimidating, and grassroots support to make such a political solution work. He won’t use warfare and security to protect the people that he is trying to convince to buy into this “political solution”.

    Petraeus knows what it will take and has been doing it. It is ridiculous for bunker or any other Leftist to claim that Petraeus agrees with their position. They do it anyways.

  53. Chris White Says:

    I continue to find it ironically amusing that a blog run by a woman who feels hurt and dismayed that her conversion from liberal Democrat to neo-con elicited harsh and sometimes personal attacks from her former friends. Around here anyone to the left of Dick Cheney is considered part of some grand leftist conspiracy and attacked as a stooge at best and traitor at worst. Mainstream Democrats are considered traitors. I have not been following the blog long enough to know, but it wouldn’t surprise me to discover suggestions that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, et al should be given an all expenses paid one way ticket to Gitmo where waterboarding awaits them, presumably to find out what state secrets they’ve passed along to OBL.

    Just from among the comments on this one thread alone we have these choice bits of hyperbolic attacks on Democrats who are supposedly leading

    negativity and propaganda campaigns

    cultivating the domestic insurgency here in the US

    Democrats are traitors for opposing the war, and hypocrites if they suddenly support it.

    the Dems’ mistake is sitting on the sidelines, rooting for our team to lose. I do not for a moment accept the bizarre assertions that the Dems are “principled” antiwar pacifists. They are treasonous.

    Democrats today are vermin. The “principled” Democrats are like “moderate” Muslims; both are avidly needed, both are very rare, endangered species.

    What the left is afraid of? That we might win. Worse, that we might be right.

    Liberals seek a defeat in Iraq because it takes America down a notch.

    Laura wants examples:
    “Can you site actual proof of any American wanting defeat?”

    Laura, the link I provided above shows exactly that. I’m sure that would be why you won’t click on it and read.

    [The link is to an op ed piece from the well right of center Weekly Standard and would not be out of place among the comments here. In short, it has about the same validity as ymarsakar quoting stumbley to "prove" that Democrats are traitors.]

    ymarsakar offers his view that Leftists want big brother controlling things from the top down. Presumably the opposite of this is when policies come from the grass roots, a bottom up approach. Yet, faced with majority opinions that want to pull troops home, this principle gets diverted to a siding in favor of ‘stay the course’ allegiance to the Commander in Chief.

    As noted previously, I am not and have never been affiliated with any political party. I did not think we should have gone into Iraq in the first place, especially as an essentially unilateral preemptive strike. Now that we ARE there, we need to remain until a stable Iraqi government is sufficiently on its feet. This may take a decade or more. It ties up our military in ways that make us less nimble in dealing with other problems as they arise, thus does not strengthen our position in the ME. It will also take loads of international support and diplomatic effort. Of course, around here suggesting we need to be more fully engaged in international diplomacy is, in and of itself, prima facia evidence of being a leftist traitor.

    One issue that seems to have the sides talking past each other remains the notion of “taking the fight to the enemy.” Some of us who do not consider ourselves traitors think that a strategy that has created 4 million refugees, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of civilian casualties, placed unknown numbers of Iraqi men in detention centers where harsh treatment if not outright torture is tacitly condoned is a prescription for creating far more of the very Islamic fanatics we claim we want to defeat than we are successfully neutralizing on the battle field.

  54. Xanthippas Says:

    Xan, in the same post, you characterized the Democrats position on the war in Iraq as “based on principal” as equally sound as the Republicans position. This, in itself, is dishonest. What principal compels you to abandon people to a fate exceeding Darfur or Rwanda? So far, the only reasons we get from your quarter is that its too hard, may take a long time or ignores Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iran/N. Korea etc.

    Sigh. Again, you presume dishonesty because I disagree with you. If you understood your own points, you might know better. For one, we didn’t invade Rwanda and cause 900,000 Rwandans to die. So, not the same. Second, we didn’t invade Darfur and cause that conflict either. So, not the same. However, we did invade Iraq, which was not seeing thousands of Iraqis killed by bombs and insurgents before we did so. I know that it’s difficult to keep track of these differences, but they are pretty basic and I’d appreciate it if you’d try at least. Lastly, the arguments you list at the end are actually substantive arguments. That you disagree with them does not make them any less so.

    If they work actively to bring about defeat for their own nation, that’s treason. Look it up. If they change their statements out of expediency, contradicting what they actually believe, that’s hypocrisy. Again, look it up.

    There are honorable exceptions — genuine “loyal opposition.” Lieberman comes to mind. Bill Clinton, surprisingly, comes to mind. They understand the difference between opposing a war and working for defeat. Murtha, Reid, Pelosi, et al do not grasp this simple concept — or have consciously decided to work against their own country.

    As to your first paragraph, that’s all a bunch of nonsense that I won’t even bother arguing with, except to say that it is extremely lazy intellectually to presume things that aren’t true. If you don’t know what I mean…well, think about it.

    Secondly, Lieberman is actually a very poor example of “loyal opposition” because he’s not actually opposed to the war. So for that purpose, he’s the same as a Republican. Which of course is what Y admits to the Republicans wanting. Fair enough, but spare us tropes about “loyalty” and whatnot, when what you really want is the political expediency of not having someone disagree with you.

    …How to be a good Democrat (in relation to Iraq):

    Blah blah blah. Stumbley, were you to bother actually paying attention to what is fundamentally going on in Iraq at the political level, you might realize that some people putting a cross on a church will not in the end turn out to be the “Iwo Jima” moment of the Iraq war, so to speak.

    By Jove, I think he’s got it!

    Sally, like with Y, I am amused and surprised at your willingness to admit that Republican (and you) are merely playing rhetorical games that allow Republicans to come out as the winners each time. Which, if you note bunkerbuster’s comment, is fairly amusing since all the rhetorical tricks in the world have not prevented the American people from realizing that Republicans are incompetent in matters of foreign policy and national security. As for partisan hackery, see scaring voters with terrorist to get them to vote for your party…and then see that fail.

    This is really a simple issue. For the Democrats, it’s always been more important for Bush to fail as opposed to the US and Iraqi people succeeding….

    Thank you Rick, for summarizing the right-wing talking points that-despite their pervasiveness-have not proven to be a recipe for actually winning elections.

    In life,as in baseball, nobody bats 1000. Yup, W made mistakes. So did Eisenhower: for example, he was so confident Berlin would be taken in Fall 1944 that winter uniforms were witheld from our troops in Germany; then came winter and the Battle of the Bulge, both brutal.

    This historical misunderstanding and misinterpretation is mighty pervasive on this blog. Comparing Bush, the man who has led us into a costly and lengthy war of an uncertain outcome, to Eisenhower, the man who led the greatest sea to land invasion in human history, and who directed the British/American victory over Germany, is either extraordinarily ignorant or insane. I particularly enjoy how the vast and egregious mistakes made in Iraq are summed up with a casual baseball metaphor.

    The Left fears the use of violence unsanctioned by the UN and international writ.

    Y, you’ve finally gotten something correct. You are right that we fear just that, because it’s exactly what got us the war in Iraq.

  55. Xanthippas Says:

    In short, it has about the same validity as ymarsakar quoting stumbley to “prove” that Democrats are traitors.

    Hah.

  56. Bugs Says:

    “A principled position does not require you to be right; only consistent.”

    Are you ok with being consistently wrong?

    OK, you be consistent. Me, I’m going to dodge and weave a bit. Let’s see who survives the longest…

  57. Xanthippas Says:

    Are you ok with being consistently wrong?

    Well, at least you didn’t accuse me of being a traitor for being wrong. Though of course, I’m not.

  58. Xanthippas Says:

    Some of us who do not consider ourselves traitors think that a strategy that has created 4 million refugees, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of civilian casualties, placed unknown numbers of Iraqi men in detention centers where harsh treatment if not outright torture is tacitly condoned is a prescription for creating far more of the very Islamic fanatics we claim we want to defeat than we are successfully neutralizing on the battle field.

    Of course, to people like Ymarsakar, this merely proves that we haven’t been vicious enough in prosecuting the war. After all, if everyone is either a refugee or dead, they can hardly fight us any longer and our national interests are secured, right? Note: questioning the morality or long-term effectiveness or sanity of such an approach is a sign of a treasonous mind.

  59. Gray Says:

    This historical misunderstanding and misinterpretation is mighty pervasive on this blog. Comparing Bush, the man who has led us into a costly and lengthy war of an uncertain outcome

    As opposed to the costly and lengthy enforcement of the sanctions and No-Fly-Zones in Iraq in perpetuity towards an uncertain outcome.

    Or until Saddam finished reconstituting his nuclear and chemical programs with help of the French and Russians.

    Besides, why chase the Mujahideen all over the foothills of the Himalayas when you can enforce the UN resolution on Saddam and shoot the Jihadis as they flock to Jihad in Mesopotamia at the same time?

    We should have immediately gone to war in ’97 when Saddam shot at our aircraft and threw out the UN Inspectors: he was in total violation of the resolutions that allowed him to stay in power.

  60. Gray Says:

    Note: questioning the morality or long-term effectiveness or sanity of such an approach is a sign of a treasonous mind.

    As opposed to the morality of enforcing economic sanctions that starve a people while a dictator becomes wealthy?

    While he murders his rebellious ethnic minorities?

    While he shoots at our aircraft protecting the ethnic minorities?

    While using the Oil for Bombs program to rebuild the weapons we destroyed in the First Gulf War?

    While he funnels protection money to terrorist organizations as long as they leave him alone?

    Huh?

  61. Gray Says:

    Never mind that dishonest cherry picking resulted int he WMD rationale, or that the war for some was premised on the “throw a little country up against the wall” rationale

    Oooooohhhh, I almost missed this!

    Frought with the psychological pain of former personal humiliation, Xan anthropomorphizes the entire Bush administration into jocks who picked on him in high school.

    I’m sorry you got picked on, I’m sorry there are bullies who like to pick on the weak.

    I wish I could heal that personal wound so that you could support your country and clearly see our goals and victories in this current conflict….

  62. stumbley Says:

    “It ties up our military in ways that make us less nimble in dealing with other problems as they arise”

    Yeah, I know…sort of like having 116,00 troops in Europe and 22,500 in Korea, with 47,000 in Japan. Let’s see, that’s 188,500, a bit more than we have “tied up” in Iraq. Oh, and there are still 2,000 in Kosovo, you know, where we would have the “troops home by Christmas.”

    “we did invade Iraq, which was not seeing thousands of Iraqis killed by bombs and insurgents before we did so”

    No, Iraq was just “seeing thousands” killed by its own government before we got there.

    Again, pathetic. The same, tired, discredited arguments against intervention. And what, Chris and X, do you expect to see if America withdraws?

    Oh yeah, kite-flying children. Pathetic.

  63. stumbley Says:

    “Stumbley, were you to bother actually paying attention to what is fundamentally going on in Iraq at the political level, you might realize that some people putting a cross on a church will not in the end turn out to be the “Iwo Jima” moment of the Iraq war, so to speak.”

    X, strangely enough, I do pay attention to what’s going on politically in Iraq:

    “The call for negotiations reflects the failure of the Baath’s military option. This failure can be attributed to a number of reasons, the most significant of which is the determination of the Iraqi people and American administration to continue the march in spite of the pain involved in doing so. It became evident with time for the “resistance” that for the average Iraqis, going back to totalitarian rule is not an option and that an American pullout is not visible in the horizon.” Iraq the Model, 11/13/07

    “On the other hand, the rise of rational political and popular tribal Sunni leaderships, who are seen as heroes in the Iraqi west, caused the old “stars” to fade out. In fact the new leaderships seem to be more capable of leading the populace in the provinces where the insurgency was dominant even more efficiently than the Baath was.

    The incremental building of a nation and the simultaneous prelude for the contraction of an insurgency were not easy to see through the smoke of battle, but now things have changed and the results will be clear.” ibid.

    Additionally, reading Michael Yon occasionally might do you some good. You know, get out a bit and avoid that stuffy MoveOn cocoon.

  64. bunkerbuster Says:

    Xan should have known that Gray would miss the reference: “throw a little country up against the wall.”

    Defaulting to psychodrama, as usual, Gray asserts that Xan’s referencing being bullied in high school. Sorry, Gray, it’s a verbatim quote from Richard Perle, explaining the motive for invading Iraq.

  65. Laura Says:

    I am curious about the argument that is made about how noble it was to remove Saddam, since he was a dictator that we once did business with and probably would have been fine with him in power had he ponied up and shared that oil.

    I mean, aren’t the Saudis pretty heavy handed and the Pakistanis? Arent we allied with them? The standard that is used as some sort of compassionate measure doesn’t add up when we conveniently look the other way for the many other despots that we are happy to deal with.

    That to me is hypocrisy. I would much rather be told the truth than to be lied to and patronized.

  66. stumbley Says:

    Laura, you pick your battles. Yes, the Saudis are reprehensible. You favor removing them from power? And replacing them with…what? Yes, Musharraf is not the most appealing government figure. You relish replacing him with…the Taliban (the most likely replacement)?

    I love the way the left tends to deflect all arguments to “well, what about…?” and offering no solutions that, or to the present situation, but only a hypothetical reliance on “diplomacy” (it’s worked so well with NoKo, Iran, and the Palestinians, after all).

    And Laura, I wouldn’t harp so much about lying, either.

  67. bunkerbuster Says:

    Gray asserts:
    “ ‘bin Laden’s movement’ was hatched in Egypt by Ayman al Zawahiri and metastasized to Sudan where they gained support of bin Laden.”

    At that point, it wasn’t bin Laden’s movement. Morever, the infrastructure and fame within the radical Islamic movement all came from winning the CIA-backed war in Afghanistan. Thus Al Qaeda as we know it, was hatched during the war in Afghanistan.

    Gray also preposterously denies that the Reagan administration lobbied and won for lifting U.S. sanctions on Pakistan for developing nuclear weapons, because Pakistan was the essential ally in the U.S. “secret” war in Afghanistan.

    But that is exactly what happened. Brezinski may have recommended it, but Reagan actually did it. More important, the point isn’t that Reagan is solely responsible for “winning” the war in Afghanistan. It’s that it’s silly to pretend that “winning” a war is necessarily a good thing for America.

    Perhaps Gray is correct on one point:
    “bin Laden and his “Afghan Arabs” were funded by himself, wealthy financial backers and most importantly Muslim charities in Europe, Indonesia and America. The ISI didn’t like him and his weirdo arabs. We did fund the Mujahideen through the ISI and sent advisors to train the Afghan fighters , but not the Arabs.”

    But this actually supports my analysis.

    The U.S. “won” the war in Afghanistan. But, based on Gray’s point, the faction that came to rule Afghanistan was actually not the one the U.S. had supported. The victory turned out to be a huge loss for the Afghan people and U.S. national security. The Taliban turned out to be our very worst enemies.

    Would it have been “treason” to oppose “victory” in Afghanistan when, in fact, the “victory” directly empowered terrorists who later committed the worst attack ever against America?

    Who can possibly believe that a U.S. “victory” in Iraq could not lead to a similar scenario? It’s just silly to think whatever government emerges in Iraq will necessarily be pro-Israel and pro-U.S. The situation is very similar to Afghanistan.

    Gray veers back into fantasy in claiming the Taliban weren’t supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and didn’t control all of Afghanistan.

    He asserts: “The Taliban only ever held the areas around Kandahar and Kabul–the poppy growing areas.”

    In fact Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s supreme leader, banned poppy growing and issued a fatwa making it contrary to Islam.

    The Taliban controlled 95 percent of Afghanistan and famously set fire to heroin laboratories and jailed farmers until they agreed to destroy their poppy crops.

    Gray asserts:
    “Saudi Arabia was terrified of the Taliban because the Taliban wanted to overthrow the Saudi family and create an Islamic paradise in SA.”

    Yet the Saudis and Pakistan were among the only countries to recognize the Taliban regime.

    And I’d like to that Gray for offering a fresh example of right-wing negativism/defeatism:

    He writes:
    “As far as Iraq goes, How long were we supposed to enforce those sanctions and no-fly-zones anyhow?”

    When America chooses diplomatic and/or containment, Gray suddenly demands deadlines and implies America’s policy was being defeated.

    So there you have it.

    When America chooses containment and diplomacy that costs a tiny fraction of what war does and kills almost no Americans and a tiny handful of Iraqis, it’s a “failure” if it doesn’t solve the problems in a given time frame.

    And it’s okay to call it a failure, point to its weaknesses and advocate ending the policy.

    But…when America chooses war that costs hundreds of billions of dollars, kills thousands of Americans and tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Iraqis, we simply cannot impose a time frame for success. We have to keep the same policy and anyone who says it’s failing or calls for a deadline and advocates changing the policy is a traitor.

  68. bunkerbuster Says:

    “You pick your battles.”

    Stumbley, November 28, 2007

    classic.

  69. Gringo Says:

    @ Laura
    Sally, if you are going to make this argument, please back it up. Can you site actual proof of any American wanting defeat? This argument is used time and again without any salient example of who exactly these people are, these traitors.

    There is a poll that Fox News took in September, which is cited in the Weekly Standard article that poster Tap linked to @ 11:10 p.m. on Nov 26.

    Do you personally think the world would be better off if the United States loses the war in Iraq?

    19 percent of Democrats agreed.

    To quote Monty Python: say no more. On the other hand, this may have been a rhetorical question on your part, since had you read the Weekly Standard article that Tap linked to, your question would already have been answered.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,299374,00.html

  70. Sally Says:

    X: Sally, like with Y, I am amused and surprised at your willingness to admit that Republican (and you) are merely playing rhetorical games….

    Like with jimmy, then, your sense of humor is impaired. The point of the comment, which you don’t appear to understand, is that the Democrats’ political hackery and opportunism have put themselves into a position from which they can’t win morally or on principle. I.e. — to spell it out for you — nothing to do with “rhetorical games” from any source.

    I do note, however, your repeated reliance on “the polls” as not just your ultimate but really your only argument. Kind of the lefty herd instinct in action, I suppose. And it’s true, of course, that being battered by a defeatist news media on a daily basis, the American people are tired of the war. But now that even the MSM are starting, albeit begrudgingly, to report some success, the polls are changing. Whatever will you do if and when they reverse? Will you change course too, to stick with the herd? (Those who live by the polls, etc.)

  71. Sally Says:

    X: Comparing Bush, the man who has led us into a costly and lengthy war of an uncertain outcome, to Eisenhower, the man who led the greatest sea to land invasion in human history, and who directed the British/American victory over Germany, is either extraordinarily ignorant or insane.

    Here you can see the really mendacious hyperventilating of the left at its ripest. Taking Eisenhower as simply an example of the fact that even great leaders make mistakes isn’t to compare him with Bush in any substantive way, and X knows that very well. To call such a use of an example “either extraordinarily ignorant or insane” therefore is nothing more than careless, over-the-top, empty rhetoric. And that, in itself, says a great deal about the clammy fear that grips so much of the left these days.

  72. stumbley Says:

    “classic.”

    Yo, bunky: I’m assuming that you agree? No?

    Perhaps then you’ll answer the same questions I asked Laura: What do you propose we do about the Saudis and Pakistanis?

    Oh, right, “diplomacy”…which pretty much amounts to Harsh Language and Economic Sanctions that hurt…nobody but citizens, certainly not the governments you hope to influence.

    Again, pathetic. Fighting the Saudis and placing forces in Pakistan are unreasonable alternatives; invading Iraq was not. It will be seen in the fullness of time to have been the most effective course of action. But I don’t expect the likes of you to realize that, ever.

  73. Sally Says:

    Bunk: When America chooses containment and diplomacy that costs a tiny fraction of what war does and kills almost no Americans and a tiny handful of Iraqis, it’s a “failure” if it doesn’t solve the problems in a given time frame.

    Amazing, no? “… a tiny handful of Iraqis…”! The Saddam regime, of course, was directly responsible for the torture and murder of a good deal more than a “tiny handful”, and indirectly responsible, by choosing to perpetuate the sanctions, of the deaths of many, many more. As hand-wringing liberals never failed to point out at the time — how quick they “forget”.

    In any case, “containment”, like appeasement, is a failure if it’s an unstable and unsustainable policy that would only ever end in war, or, worse, in a resurgent, nuclear armed Iraq (and maybe war under much worse circumstances) anyway. Virtually everyone could see that the sanctions were crumbling, and most knew that as soon as they ended, the regime would renew its nuclear ambitions. After 9/11, that likelihood suddenly acquired considerably greater pertinence. In fact, any responsible policy maker, Democrat or Republican, neocon or “realist” or Wilsonian, would have been led to consider very seriously a pre-emptive strike against such an irredeemable regime under the circumstances. Luckily, Bush had the courage to actually do so.

  74. bunkerbuster Says:

    I certainly agree Stumbley on that point. Invading Saudi Arabia or Pakistan would fare no better than the invasion of Iraq has. Same goes for Iran.

    In fact, a glance back a the history of U.S. invasions and “military interventions” in Third World countries shows they have seldom or never, depending on how you want to slice it, succeeded in installing democracies. Let’s recap:

    Korea: still home to the world’s only remaining Stalinist regime.

    Vietnam: still Communist, with a capital C. Though, tellingly, no threat whatsoever to the U.S. If you’d have told an American right-winger in 1964 that a communist Vietnam could peacefully coexist with the United States and its neighbors, they’d have called you a traitor, a fool and all kinds of other bad names. Where are these people now? Doing the same pom pom routine for the war in Iraq.

    Cuba: still communist and no threat whatsoever to either its neighbors or the U.S.

    By contrast, let’s look at the places where the U.S. relied on diplomacy, rather than military intervention.

    The Soviet Union, of course, collapsed under its own contradictions. The mainstream simply stopped believing the governments lies and the advance of communications technology from fax machines to television allowed dissent to reach critical mass.

    And within the Soviet empire, the first to turn were countries where the U.S. had adopted the most diplomatic approach and relied the least on military intervention.

    Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany. The wall didn’t come down behind American tanks. It came down from the OTHER side, with East Germans deciding at long last they’d had enough.

    Then there’s China: Nixon, after building a career on sewing fear of Chinese communism, suddenly decide it wasn’t a threat and promised Mao the U.S. wouldn’t attack.

    China is still technically communist, but no one can argue that it hasn’t steadily improved its human rights record and become, at least, a stable, rational member of the world community.

    Had Nixon continued down the road toward aggression against China, there’s every chance the place would look a lot more like North Korea does today.

    If history is any gauge, we can expect Iraq to be among the very last Middle Eastern country to develop a democracy.

    Democracy isn’t built on the chauvanist fantasies of imperialists. It’s built on stable economic growth, established civil institutions and the will of the citizenry, not the will of foreigners.

    The war in Iraq, like the wars in Vietnam and Korea, have badly damaged the social fabric needed to establish civil institutions. This is why we cannot expect Iraq to develop a meaningful democracy for a very long time. The social infrastructure of Iraq: schools, the economy, liberal religious institutions and rule of law will have to be rebuilt from scratch now, rather than from the torn but still functional foundations still remaining under the Baathist regime.

    And, as Stumbley points out, we should expect any invasion of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan to follow that same course. No reason to believe Iran would be any different.

  75. bunkerbuster Says:

    Sally: are you blaming America for murders Saddam’s regime committed? If not, what is your point?

    Sally writes:
    ““containment”, like appeasement, is a failure if it’s an unstable and unsustainable policy that would only ever end in war, or, worse, in a resurgent, nuclear armed Iraq (and maybe war under much worse circumstances) anyway.”

    Why the resort to hypothetical if if ifs? We know what happened. The sanctions worked. We know Saddam wanted WMD but did not get them. Perhaps he may have. Perhaps we’ll find a cure for cancer. But that isn’t an argument against getting a melanoma taken off your face and what may have happened in Iraq is far less relevant than what did happen.

    And why so “defeatist” about diplomacy and containment. What makes you so sure America’s policy couldn’t have worked? By what yardstick are you saying it failed? Are you comparing it to perfection or to the actual alternative: war.

    To people like Sally, incomplete success is always failure if it’s diplomacy and incomplete failure is always success if it’s military aggression.

    They pretend to be cheerleading for America, but their words prove that they’re just cheerleading for war.

  76. Laura Says:

    Surely Gringo you jest if you think that I would take anything that Fox news says seriously.

    I am certain that the post was a parody.

    Thanks

    how bout this counter link, to counter you link

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1067

  77. Laura Says:

    This story reflects quite well what I posted over the summer. It is about how the military has had to lower the bar on it’s recruitment in order to fill boots.

    This is a story repeated time and again by average Joes as well as commanders who find it increasingly difficult to deal with troubled soldiers. But, the Armys got to do what the Armys got to do.

    That other guy, the Princeton grad who wrote the piece “party here, sacrifice over there” talks about this as well.

    from today’s boston globe

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/11/27/stepped_up_army_recruiting_enlists_many_with_problems/

  78. stumbley Says:

    bunky:

    We could just as easily say “To people like bunky, incomplete success is always failure if it’s military aggression and incomplete failure is always success if it’s diplomacy”, no?

    Vietnam “failed” because the US failed to stay the course—because people like you counseled withdrawal, and people like Pelosi, Reid, Murtha, et. al. were successful in withdrawing funds.

    Korea’s still Stalinist because the US wisely chose NOT to enter into a real shooting war or nuclear exchange with China. You need to study your history, boy.

    Cuba’s still Stalinist and still fomenting revolution throughout South America (see Venezuela, for instance).

    Talking past each other again…it’s pointless, so I’ll leave this thread to others with more fortitude.

  79. stumbley Says:

    “Korea’s still Stalinist”… of course that’s North Korea, and because of US intervention, NOT South Korea.

  80. Laura Says:

    article 58, section 4 of the iraq constitution requires a 2/3 majority in order to pass legislation. So, in essence the treaty signed yesterday that Bush says doesn’t require our legislative to pass, needs to pass in Iraq’s. Hmm, sounds like they might have a problem since most of the leadership is hostile to the idea.

    What to do if Iraq chooses NOT to have that long term committment? Do we force it?

    Just sayin

  81. Sally Says:

    Bunk: Why the resort to hypothetical if if ifs? We know what happened. The sanctions worked.No, it’s a failure if it’s an unstable and unsustainable policy that would only ever end in war, or, worse, in a resurgent, nuclear armed Iraq (and maybe war under much worse circumstances) anyway.” Get the point? The sanctions “worked” only in the way that appeasement worked, by staving off the inevitable. And like appeasement, such a policy simply puts us into a steadily worse position, as we face an eventuality that we’ll have to confront anyway.

    Your attempt to weasel out of the “tiny handful of Iraqis” crack, by the way, is contemptible — you tried to pass off Saddam’s direct and indirect murder of his own people as inconsequential because it occurred under your favored “containment” regime. And when called on it, you somehow tried to imply that it was America’s fault…. Again, I think we see the results of lefty bad conscience.

  82. Sally Says:

    Sorry, done in by angle brackets again — here’s what should have come after bunker’s quote:

    The hypothetical simply referred back to your own: “…it’s a “failure” if it doesn’t solve the problems in a given time frame”. I thought that might have been apparent at least to the person who wrote it, but no. So let me complete the thought now: “The hypothetical simply referred back to your own: “…it’s a “failure” if it doesn’t solve the problems in a given time frame”. I thought that might have been apparent at least to the person who wrote it, but no. So let me complete the thought now: “

  83. Laura Says:

    Sally, one word, Darfur.

  84. Sally Says:

    Okay, I’ve done myself in. Fuggetaboutit.

  85. bunkerbuster Says:

    Stumbley writes: “We could just as easily say “To people like bunky, incomplete success is always failure if it’s military aggression and incomplete failure is always success if it’s diplomacy”, no?

    You bet. I’ll cop to that, basically, if we take away the “always” to cover borderline situations.

    Military aggression, history shows, is an extremely high risk strategy. It costs a lot and, at best, the ends justify the means and the loss in human life is compensated by a restoration of security.

    As I’ve shown, American military aggression in the Third World has been, on balance, counterproductive. Diplomacy has proven to be a far better approach for containing and eventually, taking down, dictatorships.

    That’s because diplomacy doesn’t destroy the social and economic fabric needed to form the foundations of democracy. War usually does.

    As we can see today in Iraq, there will be no meaningful democracy until the economy starts functioning and the ethnic cleansing enabled by the U.S. invasion is settled in some way.

    Inasmuch as the insurgents come from both sides of the civil war, “defeating” them won’t bring Iraq any closer to settling its tribal, ethnic and religious divide. Rather, continuing the occupation will only deepen these divides and further degrade the economic infrastructure.

    People who are pretending their is a choice between victory and defeat in Iraq are ignoring what’s happening in the country and ignoring the region’s history.

    The question isn’t defeat or victory. It’s how, under what specific circumstances, the U.S. will end the occupation.

    For instruction, we can look at what happened in Afghanistan–which had also been torn asunder by a long, brutal civil war–and conclude that any “victory” would not be worthy of the name.

  86. bunkerbuster Says:

    Sally writes:
    “you tried to pass off Saddam’s direct and indirect murder of his own people as inconsequential because it occurred under your favored “containment” regime.”

    No, the heighth of Saddam’s atrocities took place during the Reagan administration, which successfully defeated Congressional efforts to deploy sanctions against Iraq.

    You may recall that Rumsfeld himself was sent to fellate Saddam, in the diplomatic sense of that word, assuring him that his mass murders would not result in a cutoff of U.S. agricultural trade or other benefits.

    By the time the containment policy began, Saddam was struggling on an almost daily basis to keep his regime afloat. To be sure, he maintained his authority ruthlessly, jailing and executing political opponents and retailiating mercilessly against Shitte and Kurdish uprisings. But the scale of these murders is insignificant compared with the killing that took place with the Reagan administration’s tacit approval and, in the case of the attacks on Iran, complicity.

    Sally also, preposterously, writes:

    “And when called on it, you somehow tried to imply that it was America’s fault…. ”

    Read my post again, Sally. I was crystal clear. I asked you whether you blame America’s containment policy for Saddam’s atrocities. Apparently, you do, but, please, correct me if I’m wrong.

    I’ve been both clear and emphatic that America’s containment policy cannot be blamed for Saddam’s atrocities.

  87. Ymarsakar Says:

    Chris doesn’t actually have any arguments. All he can tell people is his observations and conclusions based upon his beliefs. That is pretty much useless, except to people that think like him.

    Yet, faced with majority opinions that want to pull troops home, this principle gets diverted to a siding in favor of ’stay the course’ allegiance to the Commander in Chief.

    Petraeus’ course is not the same was undying allegiance to Hitler, Chris. You need to recognize this before you fabricate any more conclusions.

    Well, at least you didn’t accuse me of being a traitor for being wrong. Though of course, I’m not.-X

    This is coming from the guy that talks big about the US Constitution and how anyone that doesn’t believe like he does, is a nationalist while he is the true patriot.

    As commentary on the reasoning ability of X and Chris, it is no recommendation.

    Vietnam: still Communist, with a capital C. Though, tellingly, no threat whatsoever to the U.S. If you’d have told an American right-winger in 1964 that a communist Vietnam could peacefully coexist with the United States and its neighbors, they’d have called you a traitor, a fool and all kinds of other bad names. Where are these people now? Doing the same pom pom routine for the war in Iraq.

    The Left really does believe that losing a war has no cost attached to it. They think it is like a lottery. You can always try again. Incorrect.

    There is no getting past the Leftist blinders people have on. Since they don’t even admit they believe in the things that they believe.

    Military aggression, history shows, is an extremely high risk strategy. It costs a lot and, at best, the ends justify the means and the loss in human life is compensated by a restoration of security.

    It is quite zero sum to the Left. War is never about creating some new wealth and value, it is always about exploiting or at best maintaining the status quo of exploitation.

    As I’ve shown, American military aggression in the Third World has been, on balance, counterproductive. Diplomacy has proven to be a far better approach for containing and eventually, taking down, dictatorships.

    That speaks for itself.

    That’s because diplomacy doesn’t destroy the social and economic fabric needed to form the foundations of democracy. War usually does.

    War of 1812, American Civil War, American Revolution, WWII that made Japan and Germany fascist and Russia communist, and etc. All of this, to the Left, is nothing but a poor substitute for international sanction.

  88. Gringo Says:

    @ Laura

    Perhaps Fox is biased. One can similarly made a case that the rest of the MSM is also biased, but in the opposite direction. So what? When visiting a relative I watched a PBS talking-heads news show. I did not simply blow it off as “biased,” but gave a point-by-point objection to it. Similarly, you should be able to do the same with regard to the Fox survey. ( And did you ever bother to read the Weekly Standard article that Tap linked to?) What is your objection to the poll results? If you cannot give any specific objection to the poll results, then you do not have a leg to stand on.

    There are objections that one can give to results of surveys. They basically narrow down to three objections: 1) the bias of the sample, 2) false reporting of results, and 3) the bias of the question, the fairness of the question.

    For example, if in the spring of 1964, a pollster had asked his questions about the impending Civil Rights legislation only to a KKK group in a small Southern town, the survey results would have been thrown out because the sample group was not representative of the American population as a whole. Is your objection that Fox biased its sample?

    We will compare the results of a Fox poll and a Quinnipiac University poll on approval of President Bush. The October 31 Quinnipiac University poll gave a 35% approval rating (Question # 28). A November 16 Fox poll gives Bush a 36% approval rating. This tells me that as Fox’s survey gives similar results to Quinnipiac’s survey, that their sample is not biased relative to the Quinnipiac sample, and that Fox’s results are truthfully reported.

    Do you similarly disbelieve the 36% approval rating of Bush that the Fox survey got? After all, if Fox is as biased and as right wing as you believe, wouldn’t Fox have come up with 45% of 55% approval rating?

    Consider the third issue: the bias of a question, the fairness of a question. Last year the Democratic National Committee twice sent me a questionnaire on issues of current interest, ostensibly because according to the DNC I was a “leader in the community.” (Out of the goodness of their hearts, they also requested money.) I considered the question on Iraq a loaded question, because all choices were phrased with regard to a timetable for withdrawal. As I recall, there was no choice which would have represented my point of view- fight until victory.(My point of view on Iraq was that a timetable for withdrawal made as much sense as a timetable for withdrawal would have made for Lincoln and the Union in the spring of 1864. You fight until the war is over. War is not a football game with a delineated beginning and end.)

    Here was the Fox poll question:

    Do you personally think the world would be better off if the United States loses the war in Iraq?

    How is this a loaded question, a biased question? To me it seems to be a straightforward question.

    In summation, there are three main reasons for throwing out survey results: sample bias, false reporting of results, and biased questions. Given that Fox and Quinnipiac give similar results on Bush’s approval rating, it would appear that Fox has neither sample bias nor false reporting of results. The question is straightforward, not biased.

    http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1284.xml?ReleaseID=1113&What=bush%20approval&strArea=;&strTime=3
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,144315,00.html

  89. harry9000 Says:

    Bunk:
    “Diplomacy has proven to be a far better approach for containing and eventually, taking down, dictatorships.”

    Ah yes. Peace in our time.

  90. Sally Says:

    Bunk: I’ve been both clear and emphatic that America’s containment policy cannot be blamed for Saddam’s atrocities.

    Oh good. So, for example, the variously estimated 500, 000 to 1 million deaths as a result of the “containment” regime are to be laid at the door of Saddam, not America? Not to mention the — what do you call it ? — the “insignificant” (compared to Reagans’ killings) scale of Saddam’s own slaughters after the first Gulf War, including the southern Shiites and the Marsh Arabs? And these are the “tiny handful of Iraqis”, are they?

    Never mind, bunker. I think you’ve amply demonstrated the moral vacuity of the left in our time. The “containment” policy was simply a slow-motion disaster, and all the lefty a hopin’ and a wishin’ wasn’t going to change that. It took someone with both clarity and courage to move us off of what was a long slide into a perpetual defensive posture, and a real quagmire.

  91. Truth Says:

    “Making occupation and calling it peace. Killing fewer and calling it progress. Rotating troops and calling it a withdrawal. Setting up new death squads and calling them allies. Lowering standards and calling it opening new opportunities.”

    “All of the above phenomena seem to be part of the current campaign by Washington in Iraq. ”

    http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2007/11/28/the_myths_and_lies_of_military_progress

    If Saddam killed ONE million Iraq in 35yeras of his regime we wonder if US occupation last 35yeras long how many millions Iraqi will be killed?

  92. bunkerbuster Says:

    Sally writes: “The sanctions “worked” only in the way that appeasement worked, by staving off the inevitable.”

    It’s good to see her acknowledge that sanctions staved off war in Iraq. Can there be any clearer measure of success than that?

    Sanctions are currently staving off war in North Korea and Iran and we can expect them to continue to succeed in that for some time, much to the disappointment, apparently, of American chauvanists, who desperately need more wars to cheer for.

    It’s nothing short of hilarious that Sally’s argument for war instead of sanctions is that sanctions may well lead to–wait for it–war! But only after having staved it off for what, a decade.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting sanctions and diplomacy are any kind of panacea. Improperly applied, they can of course worsen a situation. But that should go without saying, as it applies to any and every possible course of action.

    My point is that diplomacy is much lower risk and never eliminates the possibility of military action, should it become necessary. Military action, on the other hand, does eliminate the possibility of a diplomatic solution.

    Interestingly, it’s no baldly obvious that there cannot and will not be any military solution in Iraq. Any end to the war there will be the result of negotiations and diplomacy. There is no to surrender. How’s that for a “military” victory?

    Sally accuses me of downplaying the murders Saddam committed after the Gulf war, but of course, I’m not downplaying anything. To point out there their number is a tiny fraction of the total that took place while Saddam was a U.S. ally is not to downplay them at all, but to clarify the facts.

    But to suggest that somehow the few thousand Saddam killed under the sanctions even approaches the slaughter that’s taken place as a direct result of the U.S. invasion is nothing more than a transparent attempt to rewrite history.

    There are people who downplay death and destruction, of course. We hear over and over again that the killing in Iraq is nothing compared to World War II or Vietnam. The American chauvanist thinks this is actually a rational, persausive argument in favor of the war: it’s killed fewer people than War War II. That would be unbelievable, were it not so pervasive here in the rightwing blogosphere.

    The record shows clearly that Sally’s as anti-American as they come when the question is American diplomacy. It’s been a huge disaster, according to her analysis. Responsible for untold slaughter, she asserts. By the right’s own standards, that’s flat out, hardcore anti-Americanism.

    But of course it’s not. I don’t believe for one minute that Sally is anti-American.

    She simply has a different view than I do of what America stands for, what ideals it should stand for and what the American people really want.

    Her view is that diplomacy doesn’t work. Mine’s that war doesn’t. We simply disagree and both of us do so as undeniably patriotic Americans.

    Why is it so hard for infantile wingnuts to understand that?

  93. Truth Says:

    So they said its about regime change, freedom, democracy but now one after one admitting its was God was “hugely important” in influencing his decisions in power, including going to war in Iraq.

    So, its not about life saving for Iraqis?isn’t?

  94. bunkerbuster Says:

    You’ve gotta love Gringo’s math. He’d be right at home in the Bush Office of Budget Management.

    He’s now touting a Fox survey showing that only 19 percent of Democrats hope for a U.S. military defeat in Iraq as evidence that this is what “the left” wants.

    It doesnt’ occur to him, apparently, that 80 percent is four times bigger than 19 percent.

    So it turns out a huge majority of Democrats say they don’t wish for a military defeat in Iraq.

    Should we assume that Gringo and his ilk failed elementary math or that they focus on the tiny fringe minority because they have no cogent arguments against the views of the vast majority?

  95. bunkerbuster Says:

    Fox News Channel:
    “Do you personally think the world would be better off if the United States loses the war in Iraq?”

    Prompting Gringo to wonder:
    “How is this a loaded question, a biased question? To me it seems to be a straightforward question.”

    It’s loaded because assumes it’s possible to “win” someone else’s civil war. It isn’t and never will be. It also assumes that the outcome of the war is yet to be decided, when many, if not most, security analysts and military scholars conclude that loss is a foregone conclusion.

    Thanks Gringo, for helping explain why its easy for someone like you to believe Fox News Channel, founded, owned and operated by former Republican party hacks, isn’t biased like its owners and operators are.

  96. bunkerbuster Says:

    One clarification: I’m not intending to call Rupert Murdoch a Republican party hack. He’s actually more of a global right-winger, and tends to choose his political affiliation on the basis of how they might help his businesses.

  97. Sally Says:

    Bunk: Her view is that diplomacy doesn’t work. Mine’s that war doesn’t.

    As simple-minded a summation as all the rest of bunker’s increasingly twisted self-apology. Diplomacy, or what Churchill called “jaw-jaw”, works most of the time, in fact. But not all of the time. Even when it doesn’t “work”, war is by no means the only or obvious alternative — war is only ever a last resort. It is, however, that, and when all else fails, or is in the process of failing, then war becomes an alternative that we must have the courage to face. As most of us (but obviously not all) understand, trying to stave off or deny an inevitability generally only makes the situation that much worse. Not, however, for the likes of “peace in our time!” bunker here, who seems to think that as long as his head is still safely buried in sand, everything’s just fine.

    In trying to justify himself, he even distorts his own words:
    Sally accuses me of downplaying the murders Saddam committed after the Gulf war, but of course, I’m not downplaying anything. To point out there their number is a tiny fraction of the total that took place while Saddam was a U.S. ally is not to downplay them at all, but to clarify the facts.
    But, “of course”, that wasn’t what he said — what he said was that only a “tiny handful of Iraqis” were killed under the policy of “containment”, both as a direct and indirect result of the Saddam regime, which, to any normal speaker of English would certainly qualify as “downplaying” those deaths.

    Not that it matters — bunker’s problems with complexity, difficult choices, and the plain meaning of words are just a reflection of his basic problem with trying to rationalize a belief system that looks to be failing him — starting with the faith that, as he puts it, “loss is a foregone conclusion”. Such a deep and sad faith doesn’t make him a traitor, of course — it just makes him, and the others like him, defeatist, in the plain sense of the word. And of no help whatsoever, to their country, their culture, or to people of good will anywhere.

  98. Chris White Says:

    Do you personally think the world would be better off if the United States loses the war in Iraq?

    How is this a loaded question, a biased question? To me it seems to be a straightforward question.

    This is a question that, for most Americans regardless of political party, or whether they think we should have gone in to Iraq militarily in the first place, or whether they think the occupancy is going well or badly, should and probably did answer in the negative. It’s a question designed to elicit a particular response that creates an opportunity to point to the result in support the established biases of FOX. It is no less (or more) biased than a question the DNC might ask on a poll phrased something like this; “When should we withdraw our troops; immediately, six months, one year?” It is phrased in a way that makes it virtually impossible to answer except in the way the polling group wants to use.

    To me this is obviously biased.

  99. bunkerbuster Says:

    “War is only ever a last resort.”

    Here here Sally. We agree on something after all! I have to admit, I’m surprised.

    Perhaps, then, you can explain why invading Iraq was a “last resort.”

    Iraq had neither attacked the U.S. nor threatened to and was certainly in no military position to do so, given that Saddam was not even able to exercise military control of 2/3 of his country at the time.

    Iraq, it’s neighbors and most of our long-standing allies believed that continued diplomacy and sanctions were viable options.

    How then, do you arrive at the conclusion that war was a “last resort?”

  100. bunkerbuster Says:

    Wow, a two-fer, I find myself agreeing again with Sally, who writes:

    “As most of us (but obviously not all) understand, trying to stave off or deny an inevitability generally only makes the situation that much worse.”

    Why then, does Sally insist so vehemently that we “stave off or deny” military defeat in Iraq?

    She has through much effort been forced to admit that, up to now, the effort in Iraq has failed. But why, then, her insistence that the failure be “staved off and denied?” Doesn’t she claim “most of us” know that only makes it worse?

    Time after time, Sally exposes her bias. She makes clear that for her, there are two standards: one for judging policies she supports and one for judging those she doesn’t.

    You gotta love blogs. Given enough time on them, people almost always end up wearing nothing!

  101. Sally Says:

    Why then, does Sally insist so vehemently that we “stave off or deny” military defeat in Iraq?

    The very mark of the defeatist, no? All for ducking, denying, staving off, running away, when he has to stand up for something, but at the front of the herd when it comes to surrender. Trying to paint such spinelessness as realism, though, is touching — Orwellian misuse of language again, but touching in its attempt at retaining a shred of dignity. The attempt, unfortunately, is wasted.

    Still, I can agree with bunker on his last couple of sentences.

  102. Gray Says:

    So BunkerBS’ solution to Saddam’s violations of the UN Resolution that kept him in power is:

    o Starve the Iraqi people.
    o Buy more oil from Saddam and his sons.
    o Fly more US sorties over Iraq
    o Keep a carrier group indefinitely in the Gulf
    o Sell him Russian weapons technology
    o Station US troops indefinitely in Kuwait and SA
    o Make sure Saddam can keep making his protection payments to the Islamic terrorist organizations.

    How long can we do this until it’s as expensive and deadly as the current war? 12 more years? 20 years?

    And at the end of all this cost, starvation, military activity, containment and ‘diplomacy’ what do we get?

    To fight a war with Saddam, or his sons, at a time/place of their choosing with reconstituted weapons and military….

    The filthy international left just isn’t happy unless they have a dictator they can cuddle ‘cuz Reagan was bad….

    Of course BunkerBS’ history of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and our efforts at diplomacy with Saddam are just wrong factually incorrect and naive, but that’s what you get from reating The Nation and listening to NPR.

    We can’t even agree on a common set of facts….

  103. Gray Says:

    but that’s what you get from reating The Nation and listening to NPR.

    ‘Reating’ Heh…. I guess it’s a combination of reading, eating and bleating.

    When it comes to the filthy, filthy left, every President is Nixon, every war is Vietnam, every democrat is Bobby Kennedy, every republican is Spiro Agnew, every minority spokesman is MLK, every terrorist is Che Guevara, every dictator is Castro, every soldier is LT Calley, every battle is the Tet Offensive and every patrol is My Lai

    The world has changed, they haven’t, they are just richer and in political power.

  104. Gringo Says:

    As bunkerbuster misrepresents what I say, there is no point in dialogue with him. Proof follows.
    @ bunkerbuster:

    You’ve gotta love Gringo’s math. He’d be right at home in the Bush Office of Budget Management.
    He’s now touting a Fox survey showing that only 19 percent of Democrats hope for a U.S. military defeat in Iraq as evidence that this is what “the left” wants.
    It doesnt’
    (sic) occur to him, apparently, that 80 percent is four times bigger than 19 percent.
    So it turns out a huge majority of Democrats say they don’t wish for a military defeat in Iraq.
    Should we assume that Gringo and his ilk failed elementary math or that they focus on the tiny fringe minority because they have no cogent arguments against the views of the vast majority?

    Here is the original posting where I cited the Fox News poll.

    @ Laura
    Sally, if you are going to make this argument, please back it up. Can you site actual proof of any American wanting defeat? This argument is used time and again without any salient example of who exactly these people are, these traitors.

    There is a poll that Fox News took in September, which is cited in the Weekly Standard article that poster Tap linked to @ 11:10 p.m. on Nov 26.

    Laura asked for evidence of “any American wanting defeat” , and I provided it. In no way shape or form did I ever state or imply that a majority of Democrats wanted defeat, nor did I state that this was “what ‘the left’ wants.” Blockbuster is putting words into my mouth that I did not say/type.

    BTW, a “tiny fringe minority” of 19% of the Democratic Party is not that tiny. For example, blacks/Afro-Americans comprise roughly 20% of the Democratic Party. Would you say that blacks/Afro-Americans represent a “tiny fringe minority?” of the Democratic Party, or of the US? I think not.

    In summation, it is a waste of time to attempt a dialogue with someone like bunkerbuster who misrepresents what others say.

  105. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s loaded because assumes it’s possible to “win” someone else’s civil war.

    The idea that foreign wars and occurences do not impact upon American interests and security, is a bit obsolete post 9/11.

    Does not the Left advocate social harmony and cooperation? How will people learn to cooperate if they simply let other people fight things out across the oceans?

    The Leftist version of socialist utopia does not include resolving the problems that make people fight. No, the Leftist version of socialist utopia forwards the proposal that fights can be avoided by removing the beliefs that caused the fight in the first place. Like the belief that you can win in someone else’s war. Without such a belief, less wars would occur and less fighting would occur, at least to the Left.

    This cannot be “safely” presumed. I seriously doubt American forces are responsible for most of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that have died in the war; mostly that has come at the hands of insurgents and al Qaeda and the militias and whatnot. However, it’s impossible to argue that the majority of deaths are “bad guys” when our forces are most certainly responsible for a incredible number of deaths in bombings, roadblock shootings, convoy shootings, raids into homes at night, ground operations such as that carried out in Fallujah, and so on. I don’t presume to know the numbers, but neither should you.-X

    There is an incredible amount of cognitive dissonance here, X.

    I won’t speak for bunkerbuster, but for myself and many other liberals, the problem is we believe that we are not capable of remedying the situation in Iraq, no matter how long we stay. This is what eventually persuaded me into thinking that withdrawal is our only recourse. I d

    That’s certainly an honest philosophical position. Every other argument should take this into consideration when speaking about Iraq events.

    Admitting defeat, meaning letting it in not just recognizing it when it occurs, does indeed cause people to favor withdrawal as the only recourse. That is just a fact.

    And by withdrawing, therefore, we prevent….what?-S

    It isn’t about prevention so much as ignoring problems until they get big enough that you can smash them with extreme methods.

  106. bunkerbuster Says:

    I stand corrected, Gray.

    You’re point was only that someone, somewhere had said they think a U.S. “loss” in Iraq would be good.

    You may want to think about why you’ve been dwelling on what a small minority within the left thinks, rather than what the average, mainstream Democrat thinks.

  107. Laura Says:

    Gringo, 80-20. Which is the larger number?

    I rest my case.

  108. Gringo Says:

    @ Laura: a summation of the discussion. I first post.

    @ Laura
    Sally, if you are going to make this argument, please back it up. Can you site actual proof of any American wanting defeat? This argument is used time and again without any salient example of who exactly these people are, these traitors.
    There is a poll that Fox News took in September, which is cited in the Weekly Standard article that poster Tap linked to @ 11:10 p.m. on Nov 26.

    I provide you actual proof of any American wanting defeat, as you requested.
    Your reply shows that you do not accept the Fox News poll as valid proof:

    Surely Gringo you jest if you think that I would take anything that Fox news says seriously.

    I go into an extended on how and why one should evaluate the credibility of polls/surveys.

    You reply:

    Gringo, 80-20. Which is the larger number ?I rest my case.

    In summation. At the beginning, you ask Sally for “actual proof of any American wanting defeat”. You stated there was no “salient example” provided to support such a claim. I provide the proof, the “salient example” . You then state that the Fox News poll is not valid proof. I go into an extended discussion of polls. In your “rest my case” reply, you then quote the results of the poll: 80-20. By that statement you accept the validity of the poll, which you previously denied. At no time did you ask for proof that MOST Americans or Democrats wanted US defeat in Iraq. You asked for ANY. I provided it. Your stating that 80 is greater than 20 is an example of changing the goalposts.

    You “rest your case”, but you lost it, as your 80-20 statement accepts the validity of the poll and of evidence for “actual proof of any American wanting defeat.”. Your initial claim that there is no “salient example” provided to support the “wanting defeat” statement is refuted.

  109. Sally Says:

    Wow. 80-20. Proof, proof that the Democratic Party isn’t completely rotten or treasonous! Why, no more than one in five will openly admit they would like to see their country defeated! Granted, many more would like to see their country humiliated and forced to flee, but they won’t call it “defeat” at least. And granted, it does seem as though that 20% is the segment leading the rest of the party around with a ring through it’s nose, but still — they’re only a tiny, tiny, minority, infinitesimal really. See that’s what Laura originallymeant to say — not “Can you site actual proof of any American wanting defeat?”, but “Can you site actual proof that more than 1 in 5 Democrats want defeat?” Isn’t it, Laura?

  110. Gray Says:

    You may want to think about why you’ve been dwelling on what a small minority within the left thinks, rather than what the average, mainstream Democrat thinks.

    But I don’t believe that the average mainstream democrat ‘thinks’ at all.

    I think 1 in 5 feel very strongly that America must lose in Iraq ‘cuz Bush reminds them of their daddy, or they don’t like jews or something.

    I think the other 80% feel very strongly that America ought to just give up in Iraq so that Uncle Sugar will have more money to give them instead of paying for the war.

  111. Tap Says:

    Gringo, you should be impressed with yourself that Laura bothered to read something you wrote. It seems that all she does anymore is drive-by comments. She’s been pretty careful not to read anything that might upset her world view.

  112. Local Jobs Guide Says:

    Local Jobs Guide…

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting…

  113. diane ballou Says:

    sickened in the sixties by my first sight of so much suffering, I went along with any group who said they were against it.

  114. diane ballou Says:

    sickened in the sixties…

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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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