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September 20, 2004

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MaDr

That article is priceless. A few of my favorite cuts:

with his trusty world atlas beside him

Kerry knew from Vietnam what it felt like to face the bullets without the support of the folks back home.

After the summer's phony war over Vietnam medals and memos

For Camp Kerry, it's a liberating feeling to engage in straight talk about Iraq, shaking off debate about the candidate's Senate votes.

They also planned to stay positive, shunning political attacks in the belief that slime could alienate swing voters.

Kerry argues that only a new president can change the dynamic in the region, bringing in new international troops as well as the support of Arab nations.

TexasToast

I look forward to reading what you've got to say. Seems to me that this is _the_ issue this time around. Its about time we discussed it.

PS I do hope we can avoid the flame wars.

TM

Thanks. As to the flame wars, I hope so, too.

John Thacker

Well, given Novak's biases (he was against going into Iraq in the first place, and he would like us to leave soon) but also his history of doing actual reporting, I suspect that this reflects the opinion of someone in the government, but is far from policy. I assume that there should be at least a plan for leaving if the new Iraqi government asks us to; after all, we've already said that if they want us to leave after the election, we will.

TexasToast

Based on your update, I hope your "tirade" will explain why supporting Kerry is supporting "cut and run"? That seems to be the consensus of the pro Bush crowd, but I just don't see it. I support Kerry and I think the worst thing we could do at this point is “cut and run”, with the possible exception of what we are doing right now, which is “duck and cover”. I think a large portion of Kerry supporters feel like I do.

Kerry seems to be taking flack for not articulating a "plan" – as if the right “plan” would magically make up for all the time and opportunities we have lost and give us a “replay”. It’s too late for a low cost low casualty “plan”. Its going to be ugly no matter who wins this election, and its going to be uglier than it has to be because we are allowing the bad guys at least three more months to get ready.

Kerry has said repeatedly that he would not “cut and run”. Any “plan” he articulates with the detail demanded by his critics would be picked apart and roasted within 24 hours and would probably be overtaken by events over the next 60 days – let alone by January. Any thing he says would be branded as "evidence" of a "flip flop" and would serve no useful purpose. Nixon’s "plan" to end the Vietnam War was as secret plan because it was an _escalation_ – that was the secret!

Lets face it, Bush has painted us into a corner and its not going to be pretty getting out of it. There simply is no magic bullet! But at least Kerry would have a shot at some international help and cooperation (even if a "bail-out" is not in the cards). There is no chance of that happening with Bush in charge.

martin

Ok-assume Iraq has free and fair elections in January.

What happens if a party hostile to the US wins and immediately asks us to leave the country?

Slartibartfast
What happens if a party hostile to the US wins and immediately asks us to leave the country?

We leave. There's no upside at all to staying, when we've been asked to leave.

Paul Zrimsek

Well, yes: when you're a presidential candidate, any proposal you make is more than likely to be argued against by the opposition. Anyone who regards this as a good reason not to make any proposals would probably be better off not being a presidential candidate.

I don't seem to recall hearing much talk about the general uselessness of plans-- or "plans", for that matter-- back when it was Bush who was being criticized for not having one.

George

I don't seem to recall hearing much talk about the general uselessness of plans-- or "plans", for that matter-- back when it was Bush who was being criticized for not having one.

Bush didn't have a "post-war" plan. All the right-thinking people assumed that none was needed.

We know better now, I hope.

Chopper-seven

Texas Toast, Bush didn't paint us into a corner. Islamic Jihad painted us into a corner. Your whining about no international help is pathetic. The only international help that would have mattered in the run up to war on saddam would have been solidarity with Bush as the troops were being deployed. That might have forced saddam into living up to the cease-fire agreement saddam signed after GW1. But our foes on the security council were in bed with saddam, selling arms to him and profiting by the UN oil for food scam. Or do you disagree with that. And please, understand TToast. That France, hasn't any force projection capabilities. ZIP. They can play no part other than cop duties. Only Britain has any quality force projection and they stood up and acted.

Slartibartfast

Bush didn't have a "post-war" plan.

And you know this for a fact?

George

The post-war plan was to humbly except the exhilarating gratitude of a newly-freed Iraqi public.

Slartibartfast

The post-war plan was to humbly except the exhilarating gratitude of a newly-freed Iraqi public.

And you know this for a fact? Just assume I'll be repeating this until you offer something that's not wholly opinion.

abb1

Toast,
first you have to define what exactly the 'cut-and-run' means.

I suppose what it means is leaving Iraq independent, failing to make it a US client state.

If that's what 'cut-and-run' means, it's hard to believe right now that it's possible to avoid the 'cut-and-run' outcome without murdering a very large number of people, hundreds of thousands possibly. Reducing Fallujah to rubble would be the first step. That's what the Republicans plan to do as soon as the election is over. If you prefer this to 'cut-and-run', then I'm sorry to hear that.

dex

Chopper-seven, Bush did screw up by letting the ineffectual provisional government broker a 'peace deal' in Fallujah after our troops had already paid for the land in blood. Too bad Ollie North isn't president instead of W.

bethl

I believe Novak had us leaving after the provisional government was set up too. The Dem have said there will be a massive call-up of troops, Novak has us leaving-----truth is somewhere between the two. Kerry would probably call the troops home and when they were 1/2 way home change his mind and send them back.

capt joe

abb1

Ah yes, the Bush plan involves genocide!? That is sort of what you call, "murdering a very large number of people, hundreds of thousands possibly"

Yeah that's the ticket.

With this statement, "a US client state", now I understand, you are a Chomskyite. Well, I guess someone has to ride the short bus.

TexasToast

C7

Looks like we agree that we are painted into a corner (and if you believe Novak, the administration agrees as well). I don’t think I was whining about not getting international cooperation for the invasion of Iraq (we were getting cooperation for putting the inspectors back in), but it seems to me that “cops” are exactly what we need for its pacification. We actually need non-Turkish Muslim cops.

Hopefully the Novak column means that we have given up on the “democratization” dream and are willing to settle for stability.


ABB1

I actually think if we back off and let non-puppet international (read Muslim) cops supervise elections, we can avoid the bloodshed you fear. The bloodshed I fear is a civil war if we withdraw precipitously after the elections (both theirs and ours). We must assist by whatever means necessary in preventing that from happening. We have destroyed the Iraqi army and the police force and have no credibility with which to build another. Someone else will have to do it and, unfortunately, we will probably have to pay for it.

Chopper-seven

Dex, not necessarily a screw up. A political gamble yes. We now know how much Sunni malitia formations are worth. But no military disaster has happened. Currently Falluja is still just a dot on a map filled with several hostile formations.

As far as a post war plan, FOAD. This isn't a term paper with a neat opening paragraph and a tidy little ending with every question summed up. The Iraqi camapaign is in middle game. Know that. If it goes into a full scale civil war how much does "balance of power" mater?

If I could read the teas leaves correctly about what the endgame of Operation Iraq Freedom, a battle in the War on Terror, is to see who the players are and how to interact with the players. Either violently or as allies. Cut the thing some slack. Iraq was under a brutal boot. Just because we took out the boot doesn't mean we have all the cards in hand to deal with the pot. Shit happens and you have to be ready to adjust. Falluja will be addressed, one way or another. The main thing is not allow a military defeat.

George

And you know this for a fact?

Yes, I know that for a fact.

abb1

TT
Why shouldn't they have a civil war? If they have scores to settle, they'll have a civil war sooner or later no matter what you do. And a civil war with AK-47s and car bombs will kill far fewer people than 2000 pound bombs and missiles fired into a crowd of boys, as they did the other day in Baghdad.

martin

Slartibartfast-so we leave? That's it? All that blood and money spilled and we leave?
It's crazy-if Osama Jr. wins the election how can we leave? How soon before we would have to go back in?
These elections are a mistake. The time is not right. They should be canceled.
Apparently though Bush plans to use them as our pretext to get out.

Slartibartfast

Apparently though Bush plans to use them as our pretext to get out.

Hmmm...but this is the plan that George, above, is claiming we didn't have.

Look...if it's truly the will o' the Iraqi people that we pack up and get out, pack up and leave we must. Are you saying we ought to ongoingly thwart the will of the Iraqi people?

abb1

I'm afraid by now the will of the Iraq people might be to do something very unpleasant to you, folks. And as time goes on that will may just be getting stronger and stronger.

Chopper-seven

I wouldn't be so sure martin. Bush has more balls than that. Have you not noticed that Iraqies are joining the police forces in large numbers. Have you not noticed that those are the targets of the counter forces. If we stay allied with those Iraqies that are the target of the counter forces, isolate the counter forces into competing formations, identify who is supporting those counter forces then bring violence on them, all the while building up our Iraqies allies (not our fair-wx friends ala kerry) then you may start to see a victory. Ahh victory. BTW Kerry's speech today sickens me. Guys like him lose wars. I'm not into that. loseing in VN ala Kerry, the prick, was a crime! Tell the 56000 dead Americans and those that gave up boddy parts that it was ok to lose. So it's time to play to win in Iraq. Not lose ala Kerry.

Slartibartfast
And as time goes on that will may just be getting stronger and stronger.

Good. That's just what we want.

Chopper-seven

Whatever government comes about after elections will be attacked by counter forces. Got that! That gov., like SVN and Skor, will want us as allies against those forces. We will allie against that counterforce. Which is why Fallujas' clock is ticking. Sadrs is not very long for this earth either.

As to being painted into a corner. 911 was the last nail. We are not painted into a corner in Iraq. Hell no! Thats the main front in the War. Thats been a cake walk so far. Dude, think about Batan death marches. MacArther was painted into a corner. Shit this is a hot war not with frontlines. The main is not to lose.

Chopper-seven

TT, I reread you comments, sounds like whining to me but compared to Kerrys' whining about such....)

Chopper-seven

I meant this is a hot war with frontlines. Abb1. Those recruits that have been blown up with car bombs recently, are those the people you refer to? Or do you refer to the ones who packed the TNT in the trunk? Who do you think The boomers are? Joe Iraq.

ATM

The only reason why we were painted into this corner is due to the incompetance of the Clinton administration and cheerleaders of it like Kerry. They should have realized that working through the UN when France, Russia, and China are trying to save Saddam's ass was pointless. They should have realized that launching a bunch of cruise missiles in response to attacks and in response to kicking out weapons inspectors was pointless. They also should have realized that al Qaeda was opening up a second front against us in the containment of Iraq. They should have boosted security at airports and increased scrutiny of students and visitors coming to the US by 1999. If they had done all this we could have safely continued containment of Iraq with the exception of the casualties that would be taken amongst the forces in the Gulf that would have continued to be attacked.

Of course the biggest failing was allowing France to weasel out of its responsiblities with regards to patrolling the no-fly zones. If they had put a stop to it France probably would not have been able to ingratiate themselves with Saddam, and probably would have put more pressure on Iraq to come clean.

TexasToast

C7

I don't agree that Iraq was a necessary part of the WOT (whereas Afganistan was). I think it was a destraction at best. Thus, the lack of international support for a destraction is not something I would be complaining about.

It was a mistake from the start, and the "reason" has changed so many times as to be almost (sadly) funny.

We can win all the military battles, but we cannot possibly kill all the bad guys as we are created more of them every day. If Iran and Syria are next on the GWB agenda as many beleave, than the WOT really is the modern "crusade" and the arab on the street (those that we don't kill) well hate us for generations to come.

capt joe

Texastoast, do you think that neutralizing Libya as a terror haven and source of money is part of the WOT?

What about getting the illegal trade routes in nuclear weaponry between Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, Iran, et al. exposed? part of the WOT?

I am sure you will agree that it was? Would any of this happened if Quadhafi (sic) had not seriously considered that this time the US was not going to screw around with anyone? I don't think so.

If you can prove that Kerry was not going to go back to the Clinton "hear no evil, see no evil", I would be willing to admit his desirability. Unfortunately, I see a guy that will do what is politicially expedient. Those sorts do not stay the course. The polls lead them, they do not lead the people.

Bush, 4 more years. At least with him, WYSIWYG.

capt joe

Tom, just read your update.

Where Kerry says, "We know that while Iraq was a source of friction, it was not previously a source of serious disagreement with our allies in Europe and countries in the Muslim world."

OBL stated that beside troops in Suadi Arabia (there because of Saddam), the iraqi sanctions were number 2 followed by the palestinian issue.

Yes, that is a remarkable piece of bs. If any leftie here agrees with Kerry that Iraq was not a source of serious agreement then either they are completely into the koolaid or they were asleep for 15 years, woke today and never read any articles except that speech.

But the funny thing about the left is its ability to change direction 180 degrees on a dime and pretend that nothing happened.

Recently I have read articles by prominent left of center icons that declared that the containment was working although such a containment has been proven not to be effective whatsoever. Oil for Food anyone. The most recent arms inspection reports states categorically that Saddam's regime was waiting for the end of sanctions to begin afresh their programs.

Brian

Since we are allowed to split hairs here, I don't think Kerry was lying. He was generalizing an implication.

J_Crater

The Robert Novak story smells of a Karl Rove fish story. Put out a little bait and see if John Kerry gogbles it up, then just reel him in, when he says he intends to withdrawl troops quickly.

Chopper-seven

TT of course you don't think Iraq was a necessary part of the war. That would require you to back the guy in charge of the war. We aren't creating squat anymore than was previously being created prior to 911. It is Islamic Jihad that is creating it. Not Bush, what a joke! 911 was for what? Payback for arrogant American foreign policy? Get a grip white bread. It's a blood libel with this jihadie movement. And playing cops and perps isn't what it's about. Jihadi cut-throats did their murder again today. Call France, somebody call France. How childish TT, play nice so we can all be friends. Guys like you would have us send all our recources out to get OBL. As if a dead OBL would have done anything to stop jihad. Thats like saying killing Longstreet or Lee would have stopped the War Between the States. A saddam, enriched with petrol dollars, would soon be a terrific threat. He had his chance too. Way to go GW. But you can stand back with your nose in the air and pretend that all the bad guys were in Afganistan and we should have left saddam alone to party down with lowlifes like Dan Rather, Jim McDermot, and Sean Penn while he plans his revenge. BTW I hope you don't think I'm flaming you. It's just your talking points are juvenile.

capt joe

Yes, the french had their moment recently when two french reporters were kidnapped.

The French were appalled because everyone knew they had nothing to do with Iraq. But so what, the terrorists didn't care. They found some reason (as they always will) to justify their POV. The head scarf band was enough.

Even sending prominent diplomats around the ME looking for someone to surrender too did not seem to work until the reporters themselves surrendered by agreeing to cover the glorious revolution or some such thing for Moore's minutemen.

I find it humorous when someone thinks this is just an American problem as in, "will of the Iraq people might be to do something very unpleasant to you, folks". What do you mean you, kemo sabe. Unless the speaker of this drivel is of middle eastern origin and a firm believer of Salafism/Wahabism then there is no you, there is only us. The Jihadis will (like the French example) always find some cause bete on which to lather and blather and justify the murder of innocents. It is time that Europe stopped feeding the cycle of co-dependency.

Chopper-seven

Way to go CJ.

abb1

As if a dead OBL would have done anything to stop jihad.

Yeah, like if starting your own jihad is going to stop their jihad. Good thinkin, Chopper.

Brian

Tom,

Three things. First, are you sure that you're not misreading the statement by Kerry regarding Europeans and the Muslim world?

Second, why ignore the rest of the speech? Except for the minor bits of partisanship that accompany anything like this, it was a good speech. Kerry actually told us the truth, whereas Bush wants to pretend everything is good.

Third, can anyone tell me what Bush's plan for Iraq is?

TexasToast

Chopper and Cpt Joe

I just can’t get behind your call for a new crusade against the entire Islamic world. It didn’t work in the middle ages, and it won’t work any better now. AQ is not the Islamic world. They are a bunch of extremists that we need to destroy, and our boneheaded Iraqi policy seems to have played right in to their hands. Fear of our military doesn’t seem to be working too well against non-state actors. I assume you agree that our Iraqi policy has created lots and lots of new non-governmental actors who seem unafraid to commit suicide with a car bomb. Just answer me this – when do you stop? How will you know you have won? Seems to me that your path requires us to kill them all.

As to “enemy” states, seems to me that Libya got sanctions lifted and is now actively seeking western investment to revive its economy. Reagan actually bombed Tripoli to try to kill Khadafi, IIRC, so why didn’t “intimidation” work then? As to Mushariff, didn’t we make a deal about the bomb doctor and lift sanctions? Are these state actors afraid of our investment in their economies or something like that? Seems to me that the opposite is true. Its not "fear" that keeps the peace, its prosperity.

TexasToast

I am actually quite amused at the tremendous mental gymnastics it obviously takes to discount Novak's piece. Novak is hardly a friend of Kerry, and occams razor leads us to the inevitable conclusion that some folks in the administration think we made a mistake by invading Iraq and want to cut our losses!


Slartibartfast
occams razor leads us to the inevitable conclusion that some folks in the administration think we made a mistake by invading Iraq and want to cut our losses!

No, it doesn't. Novak not being a friend of Kerry doesn't in any way imply that he's got an in on the administration's policy on Iraq. Nor does it imply that anything he says about the administration's intentions can be directly tied to actual intentions.

TexasToast

Sorry for my inelegant phrasing. The fact that "well-placed" sources in the administration are in favor of "declare victory and leave" leads to the application of occam’s razor. The simplest explanation is that things are not going well and the administration (or at least these sources) has given up on “democratization”. Moreover, the piece doesn't say that these "well-placed" sources are the same sources making the "informed guess" about national security posts in a Bush second term. (Wolfowitz? Wow.)

Getting out in January is also consistent with the fact that Bush was never really in favor of "nation building". "Democratization" was just the second to last “fill in the blank” reason for the invasion of Iraq. Finally, it’s consistent with the current (and possibly now the last) “fill in the blank” reason for the invasion . "Saddam was a bad man and now he is gone. Mission accomplished. Se ya later!" (smile)

Whatever it means, Novak’s piece makes the “It’s going great in Iraq” crowd sound more and more like Baghdad Bob.

Slartibartfast
The fact that "well-placed" sources in the administration are in favor of "declare victory and leave" leads to the application of occam’s razor.

No, it doesn't. A few sources do not equate to official policy. This isn't Ockham's Razor. It's not even a vague resemblance.

martin

Slarti-don't you see what's happening here-you yourself said above we would leave if the government elected in January asks us to. We are leaving in January-if people we don't like win we are gone as they will tell us to go and if people we do like win-we will tell them(quietly) to ask us to leave. Either way we are out of there.

abb1

Don't be silly, folks - nobody is going nowhere. It's our oil now.

Slartibartfast
We are leaving in January-if people we don't like win we are gone as they will tell us to go and if people we do like win-we will tell them(quietly) to ask us to leave. Either way we are out of there.

It probably ought to go without saying that I both disagree with this, and disagree with the notion that this is the policy that the administration is going to implement.

nobody is going nowhere

Now, this I can agree with.

abb1

Hi capt joe.
Ah yes, the Bush plan involves genocide!? That is sort of what you call, "murdering a very large number of people, hundreds of thousands possibly"

OK, here is the actual Bush plan presented by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld at his News Conference a week ago:

Iraqis are being killed, as they were yesterday and the day before. At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the Iraqi security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country and we’ll be able to pare down the coalition security forces in the country.

I concede - it's a brilliant plan. I don't think you can call it a 'genocide' (your word, not mine), but it certainly smells like a lot of corpses.

Cheers.

Slartibartfast

Yes, why didn't I see it before? Our strategy is to murder Iraqis until they get tired enough of being murdered that they begin to self-rule?

Or maybe it's context that's getting murdered. I think that's more likely.

abb1

Hey Slart,
you sound a tad smarter than the rest of the wing folks here.

Now all you need to do is see the light.

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