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October 05, 2004

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» On Global Permission To Protect America And Other Idiotic Ideas from La Shawn Barber's Corner
I'm not following the post-debate news because frankly, I don't care. But I'll assume the role of clearinghouse to keep those who're interested in the latest developments informed. Bloggers, the big boys and others, are covering post-debate polls a... [Read More]

Comments

pajama_jihad

not just in the globe, but elsewhere

The Kerry Kosmic Koalition,henceforth to be known as the KKK.

Geoff Matthews

You just know if Bush had said this, there would be joks about aliens on late-night TV.
Of course, if Kucinich had said this, it wouldn't have surprised anyone. Maybe Kerry is going for the New Age vote.

abb1

Medium Lobster has some thoughts on this subject: The Momentary Test. Enjoy.

Forbes

In the quoted statement at the CFR, Kerry qualifies his "resolve to use [preemptive] force" with "if necessary." And further, that the US "cannot succeed without cooperation and compromise with friends and allies."

It's plain to see that Kerry isn't primarily concerned with US national interests, as he's conceding that the use of force against an adversary may not be forthcoming, while success, by definition, includes compromise (of US national interest). With a hypothetical threat on the table, he has unilaterally negotiated away US strength and resolve regarding a future crisis in a potential Kerry administration.

In this manner, Kerry is choosing to deal, on behalf of the US, from a position of weakness, while allowing adversaries the position of strength. Kerry has given allies a seat at the negotiating table by presumptively telling them that there's something (US compromise) in this crisis for you (and telegraphing to adversaries to use their leverage on our allies [the French?]), while stating up front a reluctance to use force (as opposed to stating that force very much remains a potent option, in any crisis).

How much better regarding preemption would it have been for Kerry to have said:

As president, I will not cede our security to any nation or to any institution, and adversaries will have no doubt of my resolve to use force. But I understand that success for the only superpower on earth may require the cooperation of our allies.

More than likely, this is too muscular a statement for Kerry. His instincts for multilateralism is palpable, if unfortunate.

The strength of a policy of preemption is its likely effect as a deterent, as potential adversaries--but more likely upon states used as safe havens by terrorists--understand the US's willingness to use force, including preemption. In the hands of Kerry, such a policy becomes a failure, as it has no credible use.

abb1

...such a policy becomes a failure, as it has no credible use...

Duh. Of course it's a failure and has no credible use. In case you missed it - it has been vividly demonstrated by your president who can't even deal with one of the weakest states on Earth: Iraq. This policy has united our enemies and divided our friends; made our enemies stronger and us weaker. Where have you been, man, that you haven't noticed?

Pouncer

Surely the "Global" test is a reference to the Boston newspaper, "The Globe"? Kerry tells us that if the local (U.S.) press is with the President, no nation can stand against him -- but if the press is against the President, all his efforts will availth him naught.

This may or may not be true, but it IS a mesage I expect availth much with the Globe. And the Times. And the Post. And CBS ...

Dan

abb1 is appearently one of those from "elsewhere".

Appalled Moderate

You know, if Kerry had said "common sense" test -- which is what he meant, rather than "global" test, y'all would have nothing to amuse yourself with (well, maybe mythical index cards). I have to admire Kerry's talent for magnifying his mispeak to intergalactic proportions. However, doesn't it bother you all that -- if the past debate is any indication -- the President has dragged this country into a new strategic doctrines that he has difficulty either describing or conceptualizing?

ATM

It is obvious that Kerry is trying to say that approval of Klingons is necessary. And we know that the Klingons are for Kerry.

Ripper

"not just in the globe, but elsewhere."

This explains a lot, the Senator has "spent" 20 years of his wonderful life in the Sentate. This rich powerful man has never passed any significant legislation that we know about, and hardly ever shows up at the committees we are told of. What has he been up to? Do you think Area 51 administers itself? Just think of all the darkly secret meetings it must take to oversee the vast organization we glimpsed in Men in Black.

Saddam seems like a horirible Human, but by galactic standards we have higher priorities. The 4ID can't be tied up until the Anteres incident cools down.

Rex

AM, just what new strategic doctrines are you referring to? Pre-emption is not really new; it just doesn't get a lot of attention until the actions take place on a large scale. Or maybe you didn't notice the 42 operational deployments that the Marines made in the first 2 years after Operation DESERT STORM ended. Or do you mean the GWOT? I thought that was well articulated, and is going well. Anyone who thought that GWOT would be a cakewalk is nuts, and I remember Bush saying that it could take decades. Ya gotta take the long view, and I for one am glad that we are finally doing something in response to the Beirut barracks bombing. And if you don't think that the GWOT is attacking the root causes of that incident, you have your head in the sand.

Sandy P

And Europe couldn't handle Yugoslavia, ABB.

But somehow I think that after 7 years, Iraq will be in better shape than the former Yugoslavia.

Appalled Moderate

Rex:

Bush's actions made Iraq part of the WOT. It wasn't previously. If we retreat there now, we lose a battle in the WOT. But if we had decided not to fight that fight, we'd have been better off.

We do have a bright shiny new Bush doctrine. There was a speech at West Point about it a few years back. Problem is, I think the essence of that doctrine in Bush's haead are not the resolute words of his scriptwriters, but "You mean puny human, Hulk smash"

Matt Evans

*Bush's actions made Iraq part of the WOT. It wasn't previously.*

Really ? You could have fooled the terrorists living and training in Iraq and the bombers receiving death benefits from Hussein's piggybank.

But thank god we have someone with such an insight into foreign policy posting on this board to tell us things like this.

Madshark

Didn't Gray Davis (remember him? Former Governor of California.) make a similar misstatement about extra-terrestrial beings during the runup to his recall? What was that statement? I'm sure that Scrappleface had an article about that.

Appalled Moderate

Matt:

I do believe I am a blessing to all who encounter me -- so I'm glad you agree.

As to your point -- it all depnds on whether you believe America's war on terror includes Hamas, Hezbollah, and all the other Palestinian outfits. Saddam's connection to Al Q were debatable...His connection to Palestinian suicide bombers unquestioned.

SSG B

"not just in the globe, but elsewhere."

Well, Kerry is running with John Edwards on his ticket. He wasn't referring to aliens, he was referring to the spirit world. John Edwards is going to use his ability to talk with the dead to get the opinions of passed (on) world leaders about American actions.

Bill Peschel

I wish I could find the link, but there was one blogger who compared the coalition fighting in Iraq with the coalition that fought in Korea, and found that the U.S. has more countries in the current alliance and a slightly smaller share of troops than from the Korean War. The blogger had it all fixed up in a handy chart format. And, yes, most of the countries who sent troops to Korea were numbered in the hundreds back then as well.

abb1

His connection to Palestinian suicide bombers unquestioned.

Really? Giving money to their families who are innocent people whose houses are demolished as a matter of policy - this somehow makes connection to suicide bombers themselves unquestioned? I beg to differ on this one.

spongeworthy

Kerry and his supporters act is if, had we captured bin Laden and thumped the stragglers of Al Qaeda, there would be and end to terror. And they seem to believe that Iraq would not have been a terror center if we weren't there.

Well, on the first count they don't even believe that themselves. They just say it and their followers nod and look to each other for reassurance.

But on the second, why wouldn't there be real advantage in having a center in the War on Terror. Who wants to go running willy-nilly about the globe hunting down cell after cell of lonely hard-up psychopaths. Not me!

No, what you want is a center to the War. A place you can draw them like flies, and then give them a good look at what attrition and the Marines can do to your adolescent angst.

Want a quicker end the the War on Terror? Take a dump like Iraq and fill it full of lunatics. Use modern warfare methods to persuade them to return to their homes and their herds.

Appalled Moderate

Boy. Makes you happy to be an Iraqi liberated from Saddam's terror. You got good ol' America attracting destabalizing nutballs from all over to trash my country, just so the marines can zap 'em.

Look at downtown Najaf. Look at Fallujah. Aren't the native Iraqis so happy with our strategy. Aren't the results wonderful to behold?

spongeworthy. I can't say whether flypaper is a stupid theory or not. But on the basic level, it's unbelievably immoral.

abb1

Someone had a real good metaphor for this theory: let's open a really dirty hospital and fight nasty microbes that will gather there on our terms. Idea that's exactly as smart as yours.

More and more people get radicalized, hate America and, possibly, become terrorists or terrorist sympathizers all over the globe (and elsewhere) every minute.

TomB

More and more people get radicalized, hate America and, possibly, become terrorists or terrorist sympathizers all over the globe (and elsewhere) every minute.

I don't suppose you have any facts to back up that assertion?

abb1

I watch news and read newspapers. Once in a while they even publish international polls.

You have to live in a bubble somewhere at an undisclosed location to not see it.

Bostonian

Appalled Moderate,
Think a little longer about that condemnation of the flypaper strategy.

This strategy would apply no matter where we fought, any place in the globe. It may as well be a place that
1) has strategic value to us
2) we owe the people a debt (having failed a promise of support 12 years earlier)
3) has a terrain better than Afghanistan

Believe it or not, but there actually are a lot of Iraqis who are glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein and who are gradually realizing (despite the world press) that we are not there to steal from them.

I would reserve the phrase "unbelievably immoral" for other things like these:
1) Letting Saddam Hussein crush a popular uprising after we had encouraged it.
2) Continuing the Oil for Food program which put money in SH's pocket while starving the people it was meant for.

But hey, that's me.

TomB

I watch news and read newspapers. Once in a while they even publish international polls.

Great, how about some links? There's this great thing called the internet, and it has all kinds of information in it. But sorry, your assertion that it is so doesn't make it so.

There are terrorists in this world, and they continually attacked us before we invaded Iraq or Afghanistan. The idea that we just "made them madder" is assnine in the extreme. They already hated us, and no appeasement in the world would change that.

Slartibartfast

When making a claim concerning fact, the sane thing to do is:

a) Find some data backing up your claim, or

b) Go look at an opinion poll to see what people believe to be true.

I know which way I'm going on this.

abb1

The idea that we just "made them madder" is assnine in the extreme.

That's your idea not mine. I said that 'we' (I am not included) made many more of them. You can see it Iraq, if you have eyes - unless you somehow argue that all those roadside bombs are being planted by those who already were terrorists before the invasion.

Mark Kleiman

Tom, I see that your lack of success in attempting to attribute to Sen. Kerry things he didn't say has motivated you to try the same trick on me. Keep practicing. You'll get it right someday.

Kurmudge

Heaven spare us from the crowd that one one hand professes to look for subtleties and nuance wherever the eye can see, but requires a sledgehammer to see anything more camouflaged than a notarized treaty signed by all the bad guy Islamofascists (note that I very specifically did NOT say Muslims, if CAIR is out there lurking and needing help to understand the difference).

Appalled Moderate, may I suggest that your notion of foreign policy, based on your comments here, makes the title more appropriately "Appalling Moderate". I have grown increasingly weary with the drumbeat of "al Qaeda this" and "al Qaeda that" as though that group has a nice trademark, organization charts, a succession plan, and secret decoder rings.

If you seriously believe that these shadowy groups behave any differently than every such set of groups has over the history of mankind, be my guest. But don't pretend to be disseminating wisdom as you pontificate here.

The name "al Qaeda", for all the smoke coming out of Mr. Kerry (as he attempts to obfuscate the fact that his only objective in life is to become president by any means possible in order to fulfill his childhood JFK the Second fantasy, then unilaterally withdraw from Iraq for the benefit of TotalFinaElf), was invented by our CIA, not some foreign terror group. And, by now, due to three years of crushing blows inflicted in the distant fever swamps rather than Manhattan, it makes almost no difference any longer where UBL is, alive or dead. The petrie dishes are being smashed daily, and the bacteria go looking for new breeding sites, but it is ludicrous to suggest that the smashing process has no effect on the germs. When mosquitoes infest, you spray yourself, you fog the area over and over, and you go drain the swamps where they breed.

These problems rose over a 30 year period of not-so-benign neglect, and we have devoted 3 years to making up ground, with almost spectacular progress and achievements, yet the debating-society-French-veto-wing of the body politic is restive because we were right when we said in late 2001 that this war would require at least a decade, with lots of ups and downs, to prosecute.

All of you Holbrooke-school diplomats, show me one country, including France, that is not cooperating and actively assisting our own intelligence services in fighting the GWoT. The fetid breeding swamp included Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Libya, with some peripheral outposts in the Sudan and Somalia. We have relatively effectively neutralized half of those countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Libya) since late 2001. We have a forward base staffed by >100,000 troops on the border of three of the other problem sites (Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia).

We have accomplished all of this with an annual casualty rate among our tremendous, brave, all-volunteer fighting force that is less than the annual homicide rate in Chicago or New York. And this is all a foreign policy failure.

God save us from these people and everything they represent. As Mr. Hewitt stresses, they might even mean well, but based on their "understanding" of foreign and military affairs, they are going to get us killed.

Appalled Moderate

Bostonian:

I do not believe Bush had some grand plan to invade Iraq so we can get lots of terrorists there. He did not send in the truly overwhelming force that would be required for something like that. This flypaper thing is a blog invention to explain the genius of Bush we all hoped was lurking beneath the inarticulation.

I have a real problem, though, who keep howling out this theory. Because the whole idea (lets invade another country so we can entice a lot of people there and kill them, and some other country's civilians who get in the way) smells really rotten. Iraqi civilians are dismissed as regrettable collateral damage by such a theory, and that doesn't particularly speak well of theorizors.

Deoxy

"unless you somehow argue that all those roadside bombs are being planted by those who already were terrorists before the invasion."

I would argue that, largely, that is exactly the case.

Members of Saddam's fallen regime, aka Baathists, were already terrorists in my book - look at what they did to their own people; look at the assassination attempt on former President Bush; look at the killings of many Iraqi exiles.

It doesn't take many people to plant many roadside bombs. It DOES take resources and places to hide. As the resources are used up and the hiding places are found (not to mention the terrorists are killed), things will calm down.

To support this thoery, let's look at where these bombs are being placed - well over 80% are being placed in and around 4 towns (Fulluja, etc). We let these places go to pot - that's unfortunate for them. But it does convince many of the terrorists that have "gone to ground" to come out and join them.

How else can we find them? How can foreigners tell locals apart? They dress the same, act the same, speak the same (at least, to our eyes). The choices are simple: convince them to come out and fight (which is hard) or let the locals deal with it (the Iraqi police and Iraqi army).

Personally, I'd like to the see the Iraqi forces get more involved - the world only cares about force if WE use it. The Iraqi forces could flatten entire towns, and the world would yawn. Of course, they also probably wouldn't have to, since they have a much better chance of determining who the terrorists are without doing that.

Brian

First, it's easy to mock the idea of "buddies having your back," but that's what having allies really is. It's just an idea expressed in really simple terms. What's wrong with that?

Second, Kerry doesn't think it's pathetic that people are trying to figure out what he's saying. He think it's pathetic that people so willfully distort and mishandle what he says. Why he's shocked about this after three years of administration that lies and distorts practically everything is beyond me, but it's not that important. In any event, your characterization, if you were being serious, is such a gross distortion of what actually happened.

"But at least in this speech, the words that came out of his mouth made sense and were not absurdly overqualified with words like 'prove' and 'test'."

I cannot imagine why you think it's bad to qualify his statements some of the time. In this case, he's saying that we need to apply a series of standards to a situation to see if a particular outcome is necessary and/or desirable.

You're right that the word "elsewhere" doesn't make any sense, but we cannot read too much into this one word.

Cecil Turner

"Tom, I see that your lack of success in attempting to attribute to Sen. Kerry things he didn't say has motivated you to try the same trick on me."

I put what he quoted and what was on your website side-by-side on my screen, and I can't spot the difference. What is it? Do I need a decoder ring?

"Well, Kerry is running with John Edwards on his ticket. He wasn't referring to aliens, he was referring to the spirit world."

You're not putting it together: 1) Johns; 2) another planet; 3) red complexion; 4) trying to take over. C'mon guys, this has Planet Ten written all over it.

TomB

You can see it Iraq, if you have eyes - unless you somehow argue that all those roadside bombs are being planted by those who already were terrorists before the invasion.

And what, exactly, do you think their job description was prior to the invasion?

Do you get a diploma or license when you become an actual "terrorist"?

pajama_jihad

Is there anything sadder than someone who can link, but cannot read?

Abb1 writes:

Really? (Saddam) Giving money to their families who are innocent people whose houses are demolished as a matter of policy - this somehow makes connection to suicide bombers themselves unquestioned? I beg to differ on this one.

Googling “Saddam Palestinian bomber bounty” one will find dozens of links to articles mentioning Saddam paid money to suicide bombers, not innocent families with demolished houses.

TomB

I have grown increasingly weary with the drumbeat of "al Qaeda this" and "al Qaeda that" as though that group has a nice trademark, organization charts, a succession plan, and secret decoder rings.

Indeed. Hence my "diploma" comment.

Some people around here seem to think there were mild-mannered Iraqi shopkeepers hanging around the store when **poof**, they magically turn into blood-thirsty terrorists.

Here's a clue for the Kerryites out there. The VAST MAJORITY of terrorists fighting the Iraqis are either Baathist thugs, Shiite theofacists looking for the imposition of sharia, or well-financed foreign terrorists from Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

TM

Tom, I see that your lack of success in attempting to attribute to Sen. Kerry things he didn't say has motivated you to try the same trick on me. Keep practicing. You'll get it right someday.

Mark Kleiman

I think I may have gotten it right now. Can anyone tell me what this means? I posted a link, I copied him exactly - what's up?

Korla Pundit

Here's tonight's debate, condensed down to the basics. Saves us all 89 minutes of filler.

This also applies to appeasers and terror apologists like abb1 etc.

Abu Qa'Qa

Appalled moderate

In 2001 Bush had to make some choices. The first was to shut down the primary terrorist training camps and the government that sponsored them. That was Agfganistan and the Taliban. He did that. Should he then have pulled the troops or not?

With the entire Clinton Adminsitration, the US Congress including Kerry, and all the world agreeing that Saddam had WMD's as evidenced by UNSCR #1441, he had another choice to make. Should he just bring the troops home from Afganistan or should he embark on a high risk/high reward program to take out Saddam?

If Saddam had come clean between November 2002 to March 2003, Bush would have had no choice but to pack them up and come home. However, Saddam, encouraged by the French and Russians, was convinced that Bush would turn tail and run. He called Bush's bluff and the rest is history.

It doesn't matter that there were no WMD's. Saddam wanted the world to think that he had them and he paid dearly for that bluff.

Why is that so difficult for you and other lefties to understand, or is it that you choose not to understand it? Regards

Jeffersonian

Wasn't it George Patton that said he'd rather have a German division in front of him than a French division behind him?

Appalled Moderate

Abu --

Once Bush embarked on raising the issue of Iraq's weaponry in a highly public fashion in Summer 2002, we were on the way to war. Backing off our demands in early 2003 would have been a diplomatic defeat with seriously harmful results.

My problem is Bush bringing Iraq to the forefront in the first place -- given the that nobody had ever established much of a link to Al Q -- and then trying to do this war on the cheap. He probably decided he could do this war because he allowed himself to be persuaded that we would not be tied up in Iraq for years.

Cecil Turner

"My problem is Bush bringing Iraq to the forefront in the first place -- given the that nobody had ever established much of a link to Al Q -- and then trying to do this war on the cheap."

Personally, I find the suggestion that Al Qaeda's suddenly created a terrorist infrastructure in Iraq after the invasion a bit hard to credit. Zarqawi was operating in Iraq well before the invasion, and it's now clear he's well connected to the old regime. The memos from Al Zawahiri show Al Qaeda sees this as an important theater of operations . . . the "no connection" bit seems a little naive.

But the real head scratcher in your statement is "on the cheap." What are you suggesting should have been done differently? Offer a bigger bribe to Turkey? Put more of our "overstretched" land forces in Iraq? Offer A bigger Halliburton contract? In any event, it stands in stark contrast to Senator Kerry's position that it was "too expensive."

Appalled Moderate

Cecil:

On the cheap means too few troops, with the expectation that there would be no insurgency to put down.


Cecil Turner

"On the cheap means too few troops, with the expectation that there would be no insurgency to put down."

Too few troops for the invasion? Or afterward? There are some very good practical military reasons for keeping troop strength down, which most armchair strategists tend to gloss over. And again, I'm looking for a specific you'd have done differently.

The obvious one from the standpoint of the insurgency is that we have a limited pool of manpower to draw from. And we have to be prepared to be "tied up in Iraq for years," so troop rotations have to be sustainable.

SaveFarris

Obviously by "on the cheap" he means we should have spent MORE than the "$200 billion" quoted by Kerry/Edwards.

Appalled Moderate, I'm sure you remain appalled at Kerry/Edwards for not spending enough to win. Right?!?

Appalled Moderate

I'm not an armchair military stragest. If you ask me what would it take beforehand, I would have said "no idea." All I can see are the results, which suggest poor planning.

If I were Bush, I would get the opinions of the army brass on what it would take to subdue Iraq, and the range and likelihood of contingencies. I would then weigh the costs outlined against the benefits in the War on Terror. I would then see if there were other places I could put those resources with similar outcomes, again consulting with my trusted advisors.

It may be that Iraq was the right thing to do, based on the information available in 2002. But I think Bush's assessment of the risks was warped by an unquestioning acceptance of Rumsfeld's belief that a lighter/quicker force could handle Iraq and keep it subdued. In a conflict between a senior civilian advisor and army brass over troops needed for combat, though, I think I would side with the brass.

Cecil, I am unaware of any steps Bush took to increase troop recruitment after 9/11. Are you? Because this is something you'd think would be top of the list if an invasion of Iraq that's not on the cheap were contemplated.

Appalled Moderate

Savefarris:

By having undermanned the job to start with, Bush made it easier for the insurgency to grow. So, it's very possible that, if the job were staffed right, it would have been more costly in the initiual stages, but cheaper down the road.

Note I have hedged this. I am NOT a military expert. Just using common sense.

Cecil Turner

"I'm not an armchair military stra[tegist]."

Wasn't meant to be derogatory, it's the common term for folks who opine about military campaigns. It certainly applies to me.

"I would then see if there were other places I could put those resources with similar outcomes, again consulting with my trusted advisors."

We're three years into the WoT, and more than a year into the invasion. At this point, if you want to credibly claim the Administration plan is wrong, it's time to propose an alternative.

"In a conflict between a senior civilian advisor and army brass over troops needed for combat, though, I think I would side with the brass."

If by "army brass" you mean the combatant commander who'll be conducting the campaign, I agree wholeheartedly. But to my knowledge there was no such conflict. In any event, OIF troop strength was almost entirely determined by logistics, and it was clear during execution we were very close to the practical limit.

"I am unaware of any steps Bush took to increase troop recruitment after 9/11. Are you? Because this is something you'd think would be top of the list if an invasion of Iraq that's not on the cheap were contemplated."

It's an underappreciated fact of military personnel planning that increasing recruitment initially decreases available deployable troops. If you plan on using them in the near future, that's not a good plan.

abb1

Pajama:


Is there anything sadder than someone who can link, but cannot read?
[...]
Googling “Saddam Palestinian bomber bounty” one will find dozens of links to articles mentioning Saddam paid money to suicide bombers, not innocent families with demolished houses.

I am still waiting for your link on this, my friend. And it better be a link to decent news organization, not "Muslims for Bush" or Ann Coulter.

Thanks.

TomB

I am still waiting for your link on this, my friend.

Here ya go, Sparky:

Saddams Palestinian bounty

Saddam">http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/03/25/1017004766310.html?oneclick=true">Saddam stokes war with suicide bomber cash

TomB

Something worth pondering as you debate with your invincible 20-20 hindsight the prosecution of the war in Iraq is that, contrary to previous administrations (see: Kennedy, Johnson), this President did not plan the war or any component thereof. He left that up to the commanders. Tommy Franks makes that point crystal clear. If you think the war should have been fought differently, fine. But it is something that should be taken up with the people who made the recommendations/decisions.

Appalled Moderate

TomB:

You can't fight wars or insurgencies with troops you haven't got. Those who are in charge of the war or peace decisions should bear in mind the troops available for a war before embarking on a series of decisions that lead to war.

Bush did not do that. Based on his records with tax cuts, deficits, wars -- taking in account limited resources is something he just doesn't bother doing.

TomB

Bush did not do that. Based on his records with tax cuts, deficits, wars -- taking in account limited resources is something he just doesn't bother doing.

Well, thanks for at least proving you didn't even take the time to read my post. You just regurgitated your talking points.

abb1

TomB,
the second one of you links doesn't work. The first one says: "...distributing a million dollars to the families of Palestinians killed in conflict with Israel." Well, like I said before: to give money to families of those who died is a good deed, that's what we call 'mitzvah', my friend.

Cecil Turner

"Those who are in charge of the war or peace decisions should bear in mind the troops available for a war before embarking on a series of decisions that lead to war."

A.M., you still haven't provided a single alternative. And frankly, the discussion thus far doesn't suggest you have immense expertise in the area.

Appalled Moderate

Cecil:

With due respect, looking back two years and providing an "alternative" is somewhat futile. Not committing the troops was an alternative. Another alternative was a surgical run at Zarqawi's group (which -- if I recall -- was in Kurdistan at the time.) I don't think pouring more troops in to Afghanistan would have been all that useful.

I think it is still unclear what intelligence Bush had available to him at the time of his decisionmaking. For that reason, I am not going to say he made the "wrong" decision based on what he had before him. What he did not seem to do was plan for an extended occupation of Iraq or for keeping Iraq secure. And, if the expectation was that Iraq was chock full of terrorists, this seems rather odd. Because aren't suicide bombings and sneak attacks and the infliction of anarchy what terrorists do?

I'm sure it shows I have no experience in military planning. I am but a mere voter, just trying to evaluate which candidate will foul things up the least in the next four years. And in Bush, I see a man who is sure glad he went to Iraq and would do it all over again, but can't give a coherent explanation why that is the case.

Appalled Moderate

TomB:

Um. I read your post. It's fine for Tommy Franks to say "I only need 120,000 troops". But if he says that in a context of the President is not going to do anything to increase our military staffing", what else is he going to say?

TomB

AM:

Um. I read your post. It's fine for Tommy Franks to say "I only need 120,000 troops". But if he says that in a context of the President is not going to do anything to increase our military staffing", what else is he going to say?

Huh?

I have absolutlely NO IDEA what that means.

Cecil:

And frankly, the discussion thus far doesn't suggest you have immense expertise in the area.

I am inclined to agree.

Cecil Turner

"I'm sure it shows I have no experience in military planning."

Yes, it does. And while I wouldn't challenge your criticism of the decision to go to war (which essentially boils down to a value judgment anyway), the criticisms of the actual war execution effort are mostly bunkum. In particular, the various suggestions by many pundits that we should have used more troops in the assault are almost entirely hype (or in some cases ignorance).

Troop levels after the assault are a bit more nebulous. A larger force might increase stability by mere presence. Tradeoffs include logistic footprint, greater local resentment against occupation, and stress on men and equipment. I am not convinced there's a good case for a larger presence, but there are many who believe there is (and some, like Kristol, are presumably not swayed by DNC sympathies).

Lastly, the whole lefty meme about troop shortages and a new draft are pure demagoguery. If we needed more troops, we could simply recruit more . . . but there's no obvious need. We have less than 10% of our active force in Iraq (138,000 out of 1.4 million). We still have huge numbers of troops in Europe and Asia (~200,000 total), prepared to fight the last war. The requirement is not for a larger standing Army, but for putting the ones we have in the right places. The Administration is doing precisely that (though later than I'd have wished, due in part to Democrat foot-dragging . . . and not surprisingly, Kerry was one of those playing politics with the issue.)

I am a single-issue voter (defense), and I have a lot of experience at military planning. So does the current Administration (especially Cheney, but also Rumsfeld and Powell . . . and the President). And so far in the WoT I can see very few things I'd have done differently. Kerry has no such expertise, nor do I see any prospective advisors with similar credentials, and some of his defense positions swing from clueless to utterly incoherent. Personally, I want to win the war on terror. And IMHO the best choice in that regard is blindingly obvious.

TomB

abb1:

Are you that slow or just being obtuse?

From the first article:

Saddam's men summoned the families of 22 "martyrs" to receive cheques worth in total $245,000 (£160,000).

and from the second article (try www.bugmenot.com for a login):

The hall was packed and the intake of breath was audible as a special announcement was made to the war widows of the West Bank - Saddam Hussein would pay $US25,000 ($47,000) to the family of each suicide bomber as an enticement for others to volunteer for martyrdom in the name of the Palestinian people.

I'm not sure what is so hard about admitting that Hussein was paying suicide bombers.

TomB

In case you aren't convinced, here are more links:


Salaries">http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/04/03/world/main505316.shtml">Salaries For Suicide Bombers





Ripper

That 25k was for contract killing, some of the victims are Americans, therefore we have the right to try and execute him in America.

To oppose this war is to be soft on crime.

abb1

I'm not sure what is so hard about admitting that Hussein was paying suicide bombers.

It's that he wasn't paying suicide bombers, but giving money to their families who are perfectly innocent people suffering from repression by the Israeli government for their accidental association with suicide bombers, for being their relatives.

Let me ask you this: are you saying that special treatment bin Laden family members in the US received from the Bushies within a few days after the 9/11 is equal to enticement for Al Qaeda attacks? Or was it a payment to Al Qaeda?

What says you?

TomB

It's that he wasn't paying suicide bombers, but giving money to their families who are perfectly innocent people suffering from repression by the Israeli government for their accidental association with suicide bombers, for being their relatives.

Interesting that he only gave money to those "suffering families" who had suicide bombers or otherwise died "fighting" those dirty JOOOOOS.

I also laugh at your choice of the term "perfectly innocent people". It clarifies a lot.

Let me ask you this: are you saying that special treatment bin Laden family members in the US received from the Bushies within a few days after the 9/11 is equal to enticement for Al Qaeda attacks? Or was it a payment to Al Qaeda?

What says you?

Urban Legend

abb1

I also laugh at your choice of the term "perfectly innocent people". It clarifies a lot.

Could you elaborate on this, please. What exactly are they guilty of? If your adult relative commits a crime - do you agree that your house has to be bulldozed?

Bush's grandfather was Hitler's financier - should the White House be bulldozed?

Thanks.

Urban Legend

Your link says:

In the two days immediately following the September 11 terrorist attacks on America, the U.S. government allowed bin Laden family members to fly within the country during a general ban on air travel: True.

So, again, was it enticement for Al Qaeda attacks or was it a payment to Al Qaeda or both?

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