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February 24, 2010

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TCO

It's nationbuilding and incredibly wasteful to have all those troops stationed there. Pull them out. Use troops to kick ass and kill people in DISPROPORTIONATE ways. Not to patrol tribespeople.

Clarice

I am twisted I know, but I do love this insight:
"Late August or early September? Like, two months from the election? I don't see Obama making an announcement like this, unless he has a subtle political strategy that relies on every liberal in America sitting out the 2010 election. "

 Bush's greatest accomplishment; fixing Iraq so that even Obama couldn't ruin it.

Hey TCO, Phil Plait had a nice 360 comment thread at Bad Astronomy that's worth a read. It's one page back in archives now.

And yeah, we can turn it over to the Shia Grand Master of the Mosque, now. They'll do fine.
==========================

bgates

the Obama administration could find itself in the uncomfortable position of reconsidering its vows

I bet that's been programmed in as a keyboard shortcut by the tech support departments of the media companies of the world by now. Ctrl-Alt-O.

 Al Gore's Great Achievement is unraveling.  Or raveling.  Which is it, 'Ol Will?

Rob Bradley and Steve McIntyre liken the AGW cabal to Enron at the LUN.
==========================

Clarice

Excellent,bgates--steal worthy.

vinman

I HEARD - and it's just chatter, mind you - that it may or may not rain this weekend.

Ignatz

--And yeah, we can turn it over to the Shia Grand Master of the Mosque, now. They'll do fine.--

Maybe, maybe not. The shia/sunni problem is intractable enough, especially with Mookie apparently reenergizing, but I suspect the seemingly eternal question of the Kurds is what may pull the thing apart.

Old Lurker

Was that a O or a 0?

Jane

Rob Bradley and Steve McIntyre liken the AGW cabal to Enron at the LUN.

I've been saying that since before teh scandal broke - probably because I am clueless, but that is always what it sounded like to me.

Additional Blond Agent

"Was that a O or a 0?"

Yes.

lowendd

There is a time for politics and there is a time for responsible action. I can't even imagine a responsible statesman giving thought to anything other than ensuring stability where we've invested so much in time, money, and blood.

Clark

He won't go back on his promise leaglistically. Note, his promise was to remove US "combat forces", not all US personnel. So he can simply keep troops there and call them "force protection" or some other vague description and say he is keeping his word.

Tcobb

Iowendd
You've answered your own question with the phrase "responsible statesman." At the current time an argument can be made that the species is extinct.

Chuck Simmins

Observers have warned of the fragility of the Iraqi government since its beginnings. Perhaps someone ought to ask the Iraqis. So far as I can tell from talking to the ones that I have, they are very committed to continuing the course they are on.

One could look at the activities of the two parties in our Congress and make similar predictions. Political turmoil is a good thing, a sign of a vibrant political life in a nation.

r3VOLutionist777

Ron Paul was right.

We should pull out ASAP and let the savages get on with what they love and do best: Massacring each other like dogs.

We've shamefully allowed the neo-con socialists to turn our proud military into an international "meals-on-wheels" program.

It's appalling.

Barry Soetoro (D-King Of The World!)

Dare not question my awesomely-awesomeness,,, now bow your heads!!

OsamaHusseinIslamObama 2012′
(the terrorist-Uighur-ACORN-media choice)
-It’s never too early to campaign-

bgates

I thought the "3VOL" in "r3VOLution" was supposed to evoke "love".

We should pull out ASAP and let the savages get on with what they love and do best: Massacring each other like dogs.

OK, he does use the word "love" in that sentence. Still.

Fred

It's nationbuilding and incredibly wasteful to have all those troops stationed there. Pull them out. Use troops to kick ass and kill people in DISPROPORTIONATE ways. Not to patrol tribespeople.

Posted by: TCO
----------------------------When that was done, the left raised nine kinds of h*ll. Now Obama will let our troops throw a book at terrorists, well a field manual really....kicking ass isn't allowed anymore. Obama can't stand to see his Muslim brothers suffer for their crimes...

LTC John

Don't count the Iraqis out of all this. As Chuck S. says, shouldn't we be asking them?

I think they are a bit more resiliant than they are being given credit for.

As for a coup, the 2 Iraqi Divisions I worked with wouldn't/couldn't do that. Of course, they were outside of Baghdad...

Ignatz

--Political turmoil is a good thing, a sign of a vibrant political life in a nation.--

To a point. That point is generally recognized to end somewhat short of blowing your rival party to smithereens or declaring yourself an independent state.

Mark Buehner

I suspect all our combat troops will be out by the summer. And 110,000 'support' troops will remain.

narciso

Like a pointed out, in the LUN. Nir Rosen, virtual poet laureate of the resistance, takes
a different view

hoipolloi

No choice for Obama but to straddle this issue for a while.

bunkerbuster

I don't understand all the high dudgeon about Biden's remarks.

To me it's obvious: the administration's success is in extricating the U.S. from the quagmire without it turning into a Vietnam-style defeat.

He's not claiming "success'' for turning Iraq into a democracy, because anyone with an ounce of intellectual integrity and at least two brain cells can see that Iraq is very far from being a democracy as we know it.

Inasmuch as the reason for the U.S. invasion was WMD, that much was "lost" from the moment it became clear they didn't exist. The goal of demonstrating the benefits of cooperating with the U.S. also failed inasmuch as the invasion led to the country's utter destruction, a fate no budding Middle Eastern democrat would welcome, no matter how despotic a regime they lived under.

Every despot from Beijing to Damascus could see the U.S. epic fail in realtime, right before their eyes, including the years of denial of that failure that only made it worse. The U.S. put its prestige on the line in Iraq and instead of simply killing the bad guy and replacing him with a good guy, it started a civil war that destroyed the nation's already weak political, social and physical infrastructure. If anyone doubted that the awesome U.S. military power was a helpless giant against tribal 4G warfare, the Iraq war erased those doubts.

The Bush decision to cooperate with terrorists in Iraq and pay them off to turn against Al Qaeda (aka the "surge'') was a much delayed recognition that the initial mission had failed utterly. By accepting that the goalposts had moved, because the enemy put the initial ones out of reach, the Bush administration did set the war on a more viable course, but, again, only by acknowledging that the failure of the initial mission was irretrievable.

But why was such a demonstration necessary? The U.S. has a perfect record of failure at bringing democracy to Third World countries by invading them. There should be no need to keep experimenting with that strategy, we know it doesn't work.

The Iraq war will go down as a moral, geopolitical and strategic blunder, no matter what happens after August. We can only hope that the Iraqi people themselves will find a way to heal their shattered nation.

South Korea

The U.S. has a perfect record of failure at bringing democracy to Third World countries by invading them.

Fuck you.

bgates

Iraq is very far from being a democracy as we know it.

They have elections and transfers of power and stuff. OK, sometimes leading politicians get put on trial for their political views, but that happens in Holland. OK, the head guy may have advisors who conspired to murder members of the opposition in the past, but that's happening here.

(I'm talking about Barack Obama's longstanding relationship with the terrorist Bill Ayer_, and I left that blank space because you expressed some pride in the other thread at being able to puzzle your way through my elliptical references. You're welcome.)

James

bunkerbuster, your opinion is misguided on several levels. First, the Obama administration has adopted a policy Bush initiated before he left office.

While the administration advertised WMDs as its rational for invading Iraq, its planners had other motives they should have better advertised. One goal was to create a relatively free country in the heart of the Muslim world to let people see an alternative from the authoritorian regimes which ruled them.

The surge which Obama and many Democrats opposed made the relative peace in Iraq possible. The current situation is due to Bush's policy, not Obama's.

In such a war, long term success comes when the war becomes the occupied nation's struggle. That is what the surge helped accomplish.

Al Quaida declared Iraq the central front of the war against the infidels, and used it as a recruiting tool. So far, Iraq has been a stunning victory against Al Quiada and Iran which sought to dominate the country.

Our niece and her husband just returned from their second tours in Iraq, and life for them was much easier this time.

narciso

He really is clueless about the Anbar/Dulaimi
awakening 'Sahwa' that was happening just as
Rick's 'Fiasco' was going to press. Around the time of the General's mutiny as Zarquawi had called it, (Baptiste, Eaton, et al) almost
all who refused to acknowledge it

matt

Dear Leader wants out of Iraq in the worst way and set an arbitrary date to exit. The reality is that now the Iraqis look at the U.S. as the guarantor of public safety and sectarian fairness.Funny that. From infidel invader to Officer Krupke in 2 years.

As the date for exit gets closer, it's going to turn into a 3 ring circus. How much of this affects the everyday Iraqi will determine the long term future of the country.

Our kids could be training up for Afghanistan there just as easily as in the California desert at much lower cost. That would allow a limited American presence with little potential downside, while giving the Iraqis a sense of security.

People in that part of the world just don't trust each other or their political institutions very much.

Losing Iraq lose any chance of peace in the ME.

Rob Crawford

While the administration advertised WMDs as its rational for invading Iraq...

No, they didn't.

They failed to keep the media from fixating on that one, to the detriment of the other dozen reasons.

bunkberbuster

``The surge which Obama and many Democrats opposed made the relative peace in Iraq possible.''

Indeed it did, in the same way a kidney transplant makes relative health possible for a cirrhosis victim. That doesn't make heavy drinking a successful lifestyle, does it?

And it wasn't the surge per se that turned things around in Iraq. It was the decision to ally with terrorists by paying them to turn against Al Qaeda. That decision required the Bush administration to acknowledge, by its actions, the epic failure of its earlier approach.

What Democrats opposed was the increase in troops and there's no evidence that the increase is the main cause of Iraq's relative stability. If the increase in troops was what was needed, why did the administration also find it necessary to reverse it's keystone policy of not negotiating with terrorists?

James

Keep fucking that chicken bunky.

And you must be one of those vampire surgeons that Obama was talking-who would get a kidney transplant for cirrhosis?

Moammar Quaddafi

"Every Despot from Beijing to Damascus could see the U.S. epic fail in realtime, right before their eyes."

You tell 'em, Brother!

matt

Bullshit, bunker. I have direct knowledge of the surge, and it worked as advertised. We had a policy in place that wasn't working, and Petraeus fought his superiors and a lot of senior politicians on that change.

It was working with the local sheikhs, who then started turning in the baddies, that had the greatest effect, and then the Marines and my paratroopers who pinned them down and squashed them like bugs.

The co-option of many of the Iraqi insurgents into the security forces also had its effect. An awfully high percentage of insurgents were Sunnis frozen out by the Shiites.Once the militias had an Iraqi uniform, it went a long way towards reintegrating them as Iraqis, rather than as a minority.Iraqis are very patriotic.

There was one battle specifically where a company of Marines and a company of airborne smacked 2,000 jihadis very hard. I actually had a Marine tell me "your guys saved our asses".

Even today, the story of Anbar remains largely unwritten.Petraus' strategy was a masterstroke put at risk by a bunch of feckless bureaucrats and morons 6,000 miles away, including the current president and vice president.

bgates

in the same way a kidney transplant makes relative health possible for a cirrhosis victim. That doesn't make heavy drinking a successful lifestyle, does it?

I laughed so hard I wet myself - though maybe that's a medical problem; I should see a hepatologist to be sure.

Now then - organ transplants are interventions performed by someone other than the patient, as the Iraq invasion was an intervention undertaken by other than the Iraqis. "Heavy drinking" would be analogous to the behavior of the Iraqis before the intervention - and no, it's not healthy. Neither can it be blamed on the cure.

The rest of your post doesn't suck any less, but I'm not going to bother with it.

narciso

What's that line, "Baathism is bad for children and other living things" it was what young punks like Michel Aflaq took from
the continental experience, 1939-1945. It is quite nearly the Nazi experience, as Saddam's
uncle Khairallah Tufa, was a foot soldier in Rashid Ghailani's puppet militia. it was already way past broken

Terry Gain

Posted by: bunkberbuster | February 24, 2010 at 06:50 PM

What Democrats opposed was the increase in troops and there's no evidence that the increase is the main cause of Iraq's relative stability
--------------------------------------------
The Surge, combined with the Anbar Awakening and the build-up of Iraq forces to the extent that a COIN strategy was feasible, brought peace to Iraq.

I visited MNF-Iraq every day for 18 months after the Surge started.

I learned two things. Firstly, the Surge targeted al Qaeda. Secondly the more al Qaeda forces that were killed and captured, the more peaceful it became.

Obama wanted to concede Iraq to al Qaeda and Iran. Clueless. Beyond belief.

Ricks has been hysterically negative about Iraq throughout. There's no reason to believe him now.

Captain Hate

That decision required the Bush administration to acknowledge, by its actions, the epic failure of its earlier approach.

This discussion has occurred here and elsewhere previously; in the course of conducting a war strategies change. The Surge wouldn't have worked during the early parts of the war when overwhelming concentrated force would've turned the Iraqi people against us. As for when was the optimal time for the Surge to occur, that's a subject for debate; that it worked means it didn't happen too early. Maybe it happened later than would have been optimal but isn't the most important thing that it worked?

pagar

"into a Vietnam-style defeat."

A defeat made possible only by Democrat John Kerry and and his Anti America American North Vietnam supporting friends.

" advertised WMDs"

" having been forewarned by Sen. Rockefeller’s solo mission to the Arab world — was busy ferreting his WMD out of Iraq.

Loftus, an attorney and former Justice Department prosecutor, once held some of the highest security clearances in the world, with special access to NATO Cosmic, CIA codeword, and Top Secret Nuclear files.

As early as January 2003, Loftus said, U.S. intelligence had identified a stream of tractor-trailer trucks moving from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon, but that "the significance of this sighting did not register on the CIA at the time." U.S. intelligence sources, Loftus continued, "believe the area contains extended-range Scud-based missiles and parts for chemical and biological warheads."

Anytime it seems the American military is not doing as well as expected against US declared enemies, just look around for the Democrats-- Sen Rockefeller, John Kerry and/or their friends

sbw

Rob: They failed to keep the media from fixating on that one, to the detriment of the other dozen reasons.

Your premise is that one could somehow keep the media from fixating on that one. The argument made before the United Nations was broad, well-argued, and regularly available. A Teaching Company course on argumentation refers to the multiple premises and warrants made to back them up.

You cannot make people who believe think. They only believe they think.

Ignatz

--in the same way a kidney transplant makes relative health possible for a cirrhosis victim. That doesn't make heavy drinking a successful lifestyle, does it?--

Again with the goofy metaphor? Friends don't let friends write similes while drunk.
I'm guessing when you watch Sesame street and Cookie Monster says "two of these things are not like the other" you're tuning out.
Same with anatomy class.

Rob Crawford

Your premise is that one could somehow keep the media from fixating on that one.

Yes, it's a faulty premise. But it's the only fault I can find with the manner in which the Bush administration made the case against Saddam.

pagar

Here are some other well known Democrats doing their best,but not for US. JB Williams says it much better than I can. In addition to Sen Rockefeller:

"“U.S. Senator Dick Durbin accuses American soldiers of being Nazis and terrorists”, or “U.S. House Rep. John Murtha calls for immediate withdrawal of American troops and an end to hostilities in the Middle East”, or “U.S. Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean announces America CAN’T win in Iraq”, or “U.S. Senator and prospective Presidential candidate John Kerry accuses American soldiers of terrorizing innocent Iraqi kids in the dead of night as they sleep”."

narciso

The problem was as Wolfowitz put it, WMD's was the common denominator argument, You can't use terrorism, because a sizable majority of countries leadership shot their way into power, known tea drinker Joe Wilson's
Niger, to use a recent example. For similar reasons, you can't use democracy as a main selling point

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bunkberbuster

Matt writes: ``I have direct knowledge of the surge, and it worked as advertised. We had a policy in place that wasn't working, and Petraeus fought his superiors and a lot of senior politicians on that change.''

Exactly. The Bush policy "wasn't working.''

And it "wasn't working" for long enough to assure that the war was irretrievably lost. Sure, the surge mitigated that loss for precisely the reasons Matt sites (working with, instead of against, locals previously branded as "terrorists), but the war remains a tragic loss for Iraq, the U.S. and just about everyone, except for the broader Al Qaeda organization and their ilk and Iran.


bix

Bunky. To reaffirm your warped and narrow view you, and your ilk, not only toss aside the fluidity of battle as if the enemy doesn't adapt, but you minimize all gains and amplify loses to neatly fit your predisposed bias. You conveniently blur insurgents with terrorists, Muslims and Islamists, baathists and Iraqis..WMD: The burden of proof was on Saddam. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Period. Tribes: They certainly didn't want Marines but they definitely didn't want foreigners chopping off their nicotine stained fingers. The Sons of Iraq were not "terrorists" but merely Iraqis trying to stay alive. Until they knew we were there to stay they did what they must to survive the day. Our track record in this regard is lacking. They didn't need the NY Times to tell them this. Osama's "strong horse theory" was bloody evident to them. But when foreign terrorists, and suddenly out of power, baathists try to foment a civil war, you think we should declare defeat and leave, again. It's no wonder we can't get support from allies, let alone the oppressed, when your views hold the media's headlines. Shame!! Your liberal relative reasoning is beyond reproach. The conflicting voices in your head must keep you up at night and entertained all day long.

bgates

the war remains a tragic loss

Fuck you. The war's a loss for people like you and al Qaeda. America and the decent people of Iraq won.

bunkerbuster

Bix makes some good points.

I should have put terrorists in irony quotes because what I meant was: people who the Bush administration and mediocre media insist on calling terrorists, whether or not the actually are.

Bix is absolutely right to point out that it's a mistake to blur the distinction between insurgents, who are merely defending themselves, and terrorists, who are not interested in self-defense, or even self-preservation, but are motivated by a sense of ideological entitlement and the paranoia that naturally follows.

As for the Sons of Iraq, however, Bix is wrong. They were not merely trying to protect themselves. Well, perhaps some were, but the majority were either hired guns or ideological devotees of al Qaeda. They were exactly the same Sunni militia who murdered the four U.S. contractors in Falluja, prompting the U.S. to vow revenge and sending the war into its most fatal, futile stage.

I certainly don't think we should "declare defeat" and leave. But I do think we should leave.

Interestingly, victory in Iraq has been declared by the wingnutsophere month after month, year after year from the moment the U.S. invaded. It's nothing short of hilarious that some now equate a U.S. withdrawal to "declaring defeat."

It's not all that meaningful whether anyone "declares" victory or defeat. What matters is, were the goals achieved at an acceptable cost. The obvious answer is no, they were not.

Pofarmer

between insurgents, who are merely defending themselves,

Defending themselves from what?

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