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February 24, 2005

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Frank Martin

Give them 10 years, and they will be saying that all of the Bush initiatives were their idea and that he was being bravely bipartiasan to accept their ideas.

You notice how no one is talking about getting back to 'The Peace Process' anymore?

Bob Hawkins

You remember what Napoleon would always ask, when deciding whether to promote a general: "But is he lucky?"

The Kid

Good luck has been described as preparation meeting opportunity.

9/11 came out of the blue, Bush stepped up to the plate on that. But he’s made his own opportunities – his dismissal of Arafat could have been done by the previous administration, his lead in establishing the Proliferation Security Initiative has brought other countries into the effort of policing the sea lanes and international shipping. There are more.

I overuse the poker analogy with Bush, but he seems unusually able to sense the play, size up his opponents, gauge the stakes, and bet accordingly. He’s no amateur.

GT

Success of the Iraqi elections?

What on earth are they talking about?

The insurgents are as strong as ever and support for the war in the US continues to fall and the number of americans tha think the war was a mistake continues to rise.

Doesn't anybody even read the news anymore?

Frank Martin

The insurgents are strong? based on what? they cant change policy, they couldnt stop an election in a country they supposedly control, they are losing control of Lebanon, a state they have owned for 20 years, and Afghanistan now counts itself among those places where women are citizens and not property, a condition that is still found in supposedly safe places like saudi arabia.America was a free country for 140 years before women could vote. Afghanistan and Iraq did it on the first pass. That's pretty damn good if you ask me.

Did the insurgents stop any of that from happening? The dreaded "afghan winter" the "stalingrad of mesopotamia"?
The human waves of refugees? Arabs dont want democracy they wont vote and if they do they will put the mullah in charge.

All of those things were predicted, none of them happened. Why? Because the insurgency is weak, has always been weak, and its getting weaker every day. The evidence is self-evident.

Any half-wit monkey can blow up a car, but it takes concerted effort to build a state, and thats what the vast majority of the people of Iraq are doing, building a state. The insurgents arent winning any more territory than the Imperial Japanese Army was winning on Iwo Jima.Their days are numbered, there is no "win" for them to achieve and they know it. Car bombs arent strategy to win as much as they are strategy for negotiation the same way that the kamakaze was at the end of WWII. The insurgents are simply looking for the best terms to surrender under, nothing more. They know they cannot win, there will never be a return to another dynastic dictatorship in the middle east. Iraq is free, and there is nothing the insurgents can do to stop it. The Insurgents are simple black-hand extortionists, nothing more. It's simple desperation the drives them, not ideology or higher ideals and no one follows the desparate.

You could understand that if you would stop painting "insurgents" as "heroic rebels" but your loathing for your own society allows you only to portray any foreign insurgency as superior in motive to the United States, instead of the decrepit criminal class that the "insurgency" truly is.

Forbes

Yes, GT, given current reportorial standards, the media would've called for retreat and abandonement of NYC in the '70s and '80s when 2,000-2,500 killings occurred every year. Equally, I guess you would've backed those insurgents, too?

Yes, elections were held in Iraq and 8 million Iraqis cast votes. Doesn't anybody even read the news anymore?

(You might be careful not to conflate polling with news. When citizens cast ballots that determine outcomes--like last November in the US, for example--that's news. As such, I'm sure you've heard the line regarding opinions and a**holes, well, opinion polls are for a**holes, everybody's got one to fit their agenda--it's just not news, IMO.)

GT

Frank,

I see you are another one of the inasamne right wingers that believe those that don't agree with them are traitors. You and people like you are a cancer on our society.


Forbes,

There were insurgents in NY in the 1970s? Funny, I lived here and never saw that.

Now if you were trying to make a comparison between the US and Iraq why don't you let someone who knows what he is talking about do so? Read http://www.juancole.com/2004/09/if-america-were-iraq-what-would-it-be.html>here.

Sadly Forbes, you have no clue. WE can't continue the war for long is Americans don't support it. We haven't reached the point were a clear majority wants out now but we are getting closer and closer to that moment.

The prowar Right is becoming more and more detached from reality on Iraq. Unfortunately reality has a way of rearing its ugly head.

Frank Martin

Thank you for illustrating leftist defeatism and cowardice with such perfect precision and timing. I could not have conjured up a better example to illustrate my point.

Geez, a Juan Cole quote in response? Whats the problem? Was Chomskys site down?

Ah, what it must be like to be with those on the left, and to have lost yet another battle in the war of ideas.

GT

Thanks Frank for showing once again how many lunatics are part of the Right.

The good news is that I know that Tom is a sensible and intelligent blogger and really has nothing in common with fools like you that accuse those that disagree with them of treason. I suspect you will be happier with LGF.

richard mcenroe

GT — Nah, I think this woman is a traitor.

I think the people I saw marching in Santa Monica, waving their Kerry signs alongside A.N.S.W.E.R. banners could be traitors, but they're more likely just insular delusionals like their candidate.

I think the people I hear shouting "F*** the troops!" out the windows of their SUV's in Studio City every week are just asses.

But I can't think of a good reason to put up with their horseradish anymore.

Frank Martin — But... but... the insurgents must be strong! They're onna teevee all time!

GT

Richard,

The insurgents are strong because despite all our efforts we haven't beat them. Insurgents don't need to win militarily. They need to outlast us.

Frank Martin

Cut to the chase GT, you think they are strong because they are not us. You hope they will win, despite all evidence to the contrary that they are losing. You need them to win, so that you can feel superior and justified in your indignity.

For the record, I dont think you are a traitor, I just dont think you understand whos team you are playing for. The "insurgents" that you hold in such high regard will kill you and everything you stand for if given half a chance, and we are all in a race against time to stop them from killing millions. Instead of working to see that they dont win, you encourage them to keep fighting by giving them hope that they might win. It's you and your kind that keeps them in the field killing, and the people they are killing in Iraq are just people who are working to be free ( like you ) and its those people who should be your allies and not the murderous thugs you have adopted in your fetish like need to get "even" with the West.

The insurgents you hold in such high regard want to kill you, they are not your brothers in rebellion. Despite your position that you are better than the rest of us, they hate everything you stand for. They also hate everything I stand for, so on that level we are equals. The difference between myself and the insurgents is that while I will laugh you away, if given half the chance, they would do more than just laugh at you.

Thats what my side is trying to stop. Im not sure what your side is trying to stop.

TM

Interestingly, the same trip to the dentist office that led me to the "Blink Presidency" led me to this, also in TIME:

The Iraqi's very presence conveys a message: Members of the insurgency are open to negotiating an end to their struggle with the U.S. "We are ready," he says before leaving, "to work with you."

n that guarded pledge may lie the first sign that after nearly two years of fighting, parts of the insurgency in Iraq are prepared to talk and move toward putting away their arms—and the U.S. is willing to listen. An account of the secret meeting between the senior insurgent negotiator and the U.S. military officials was provided to TIME by the insurgent negotiator. He says two such meetings have taken place. While U.S. officials would not confirm the details of any specific meetings, sources in Washington told TIME that for the first time the U.S. is in direct contact with members of the Sunni insurgency, including former members of Saddam's Baathist regime.

There are divisions on the insurgent side, of course, and many obstacles. But this is far from hopeless.

From GT: We haven't reached the point were a clear majority wants out now but we are getting closer and closer to that moment.

IF, I say if, we show progress (and the elections did go well),that moment won't come.

Aaron

If the insurgency were truly strong, there would be more direct attacks on US forces, not IED and car bombings.

In Vietnam, the VC could overurn bases and even embassies.

In Iraq, they don't even attacked US forces that much anymore...all the headlines suggest they hit the locals a lot more than us.

That's a sign of weakness.

ed

Hmmm.

"In Vietnam, the VC could overurn bases and even embassies."

Actually that's incorrect. The VC never actually overran the US Embassy. They made it past the outside wall, and then were machinegunned down by the Marines inside.

"If the insurgency were truly strong, there would be more direct attacks on US forces, not IED and car bombings."

True. Also there would be places where the US/Iraqi forces absolutely would not go. But then Fallujah fell, and so there isn't that argument either.

Jim Glass

"...the media would've called for retreat and abandonement of NYC in the '70s and '80s when 2,000-2,500 killings occurred every year..."

Congress certainly would have fled Washington DC in the 1990s when the murder rate there was four times the killing rate attributed to the "insurgents" in Iraq on a nationwide basis.
~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Success of the Iraqi elections? What on earth are they talking about?

"The insurgents are as strong as ever and support for the war in the US continues to fall and the number of americans tha think the war was a mistake continues to rise.

"Doesn't anybody even read the news anymore?"

Well, the news I read has even Hillary Clinton saying things are looking up in Iraq...

Sen. Clinton Says Iraq Insurgents Failing

Clinton said insurgents had also failed to disrupt Iraq's landmark Jan. 30 elections, won by the Shiite clergy-backed ticket...

"Not one polling place was shut down or overrun and the fact that you have these suicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray, is to me, an indication of their failure," she said.

"The results of the election are a strong rebuke to those who did not believe that the Iraqi people would take this opportunity to demonstrate their own commitment to their own future."

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=515156

Look! The US election is over, the train is leaving the "Iraq = Viet Nam" station, and sensible Democrats are getting aboard. Don't be left behind!
~~~~

"Insurgents don't need to win militarily. They need to outlast us."

They don't have to outlast us. The have to outlast the Shiites who represent the bulk of the population and who won the election.

The Shiites live there and aren't going anywhere else. They also aren't particulary fond of the Sunnis and Baathists who oppressed them for generations (your "insurgents", a rather Romantic name for such ilkish remnants of brutal dictatorship).

And as the big majority holding power now, it seems rather unlikely that they will anytime soon say to that minority: "Ok, you've outlasted us, please oppress us again."

Oh, and then there are the Kurds to be outlasted too.
~~~~~

BTW, to have the fun of drawing comparisons like Cole, just realize that the latest data say 200,000 people are killed in US hospitals every year, needlessly, by medical mistake.

That's 200,000 Americans killed -- in hospitals! Where's the outrage??

Now, look at the number of annual hospital admissions compared to that, then at the number of soldiers sent to Iraq compared to the number killed there. Then compare the ratios and figure out when they say you are more likely to be needlessly killed, after being admitted to a US hospital or being sent as a soldier to Iraq.

We seem to be living in a time when a lot of people "define war down" for some reason.

Quite a difference from days when Jack Kennedy said we'd "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Well, times change. He probably never meant for Arabs anyway.

GT

Jim,

No, right now they just have to outlast us. The Shiites they can probably beat, maybe not fully (meaning they can't occupy militarily the Shite south) but can probably stand up to and force a civil war. It is us they can't beat militarily. Once we are out of the picture they are in a much better position to beat the Shiites or at least to force a partition of the country.

Tom is right that if things change so will American's views on the war but that's practically a tautology. Americans have soured on the war because things are not going well. I have no idea how things will play out but right now the facts are they are not going well. Quoting Hillary Clinton is not going to change that. After every major event (killing of Saddams' sons, capture of Saddam, turnover of power) the prowar Right claimed that was the beginning of the end, the turning point. They were wrong every single time. It appears the Iraqi elections are simply one more case we can add to this long list of faulty predictions.


Finally, your comparisons with the US are quite silly. Were you joking? Are you really comparing medical malpractice with the insurgency? Are you really comparing murder rates in certain localized parts of the inner city with murder rates in whole country?

GT

TOM,

I was tempted to respond to Frank's hate-filled lunacy above but someone did it much better than me.

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2005/02/hatred_is_a_poi.html

Something is happening with the Right. Not you, but many on the Right are simply going insane with rage saying things that are simply crazy.

Cecil Turner

"No, right now they just have to outlast us."

Dang, how can we get some of that "insurgency" stuff? It sure looks mighty powerful!

Seriously, I'm having a hard time understanding how a rational person could believe this stuff. Neglecting the obvious point of how they became an insurgency in their own country in the first place (losing a war), their utter failure to accomplish any military objective ought to be a clue. If things "are not going well" for us, how would you characterize how it's going for the opposition?

Similarly, the predictions of civil war (as if the current conflict isn't), or how the badly outnumbered Sunni Arabs would prosper in such a scenario, are hard to credit. And if you want to talk about predictions not coming true, I think we can find a few dire ones from the left that were just a tad off.

GT

How are things going for them? Pretty well actually.

You should read up on the Vietnam War. The VC never beat us militarily in battle. Never.

But they won the war.

I don't know if the Sunnis will prosper but they have the skillset to beat the Shiites. They have the organization and training. If the whole US armed forces can't beat the insurgents I doubt the Shiites will.

What I'm having a hard time is understanding the sheer level of denial in the pro war Right.

creepy dude

I admit that Iraq is not Vietnam. But I think looking at how things are going for the opposition is not a good predictor of the outcome.

GT does have a point that if you looked at how things were going for the opposition in Vietnam, the answer would always be- pretty goddamn bad.

Note:

There are about 58,000 names of fallen soldiers on the Vietnam Memorial.

On the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese Government's release of official figures of dead and wounded during the Vietnam War indicated the true civilian casualties of the Vietnam War were 2,000,000 in the north, and 2,000,000 in the south. Military casualties were 1.1 million killed and 600,000 wounded in 21 years of war. The government stated that these figures were deliberately falsified during the war by the North Vietnamese Communists to avoid demoralizing the population.

http://www.rjsmith.com/kia_tbl.html

Mr. Smith notes: Given a Vietnamese population of approximately 38 million during the period 1954-1975, Vietnamese casualties represent a good 12-13% of the entire population. To put this in perspective, consider that the population of the US was 220 million during the Vietnam War. Had The US sustained casualties of 13% of its population, there would have been 28 million US dead.

richard mcenroe

GT "You should read up on the Vietnam War. The VC never beat us militarily in battle. Never.

But they won the war. " — Because you, or maybe your daddy, listened to Walter Cronkite. We're not making that mistake this time.

"I don't know if the Sunnis will prosper but they have the skillset to beat the Shiites. They have the organization and training." – Do you even listen to the words that are coming out of your mouth? You are cheering on the people who dug the mass graves, who gassed the Kurds, who invaded Kuwait, who grew fat under Saddam, Uday and Qusay.

You ignore the presence of the Iranian, Syrian and even Palestinian terrorists we've been capturing and killing in Iraq. You completely ignorn the fact that the Sunnis are shoehorned between the Kurds and Shi'ites. Hell, you ignore the Kurds completely. And you say the right is in denial.

GT

Yes, richard that's yet another example of how crazy the Right has become. We lost the Vietnam war because of Cronkite.

Sadly for you it seems we are making the mistake again. American's support for the Iraq war is slipping, much, much faster that it did in Vietnam.

The rest of your post is another example of the hate-filled drivel that now passes for intellectual analysis from the Right. You have to learn to control yuorself.

Jim Glass

"....your comparisons with the US are quite silly. Were you joking? Are you really comparing medical malpractice with the insurgency? "

Comparing death rates.

Maybe if the higher rate doesn't appall and shock you, the lower one shouldn't either?

Are you going to recommend a general withdrawal of patients from hospitals because they are more dangerous than Iraq?

That's 200,000 deaths a year! Where's your outrage?

"Are you really comparing murder rates in certain localized parts of the inner city"

Tut, tut -- the entire city, including Georgetown.

"with murder rates in whole country?"

You've got it backwards. The insurgents are trying to take over the whole country, right?

But the murder rate in Washington DC was four times higher than across the entire country. So how are they going to drive us and the Shiites out of the entire country using a general level of violence that is only a fraction of what all our good government bureaucrats and their families have been happy to live with in our nation's capital?

If you adjust for the much higher level of violence in the Sunni triangle, a limited area of parts of just three provinces, than elsewhere, then in the rest of the entire country the insurgents have imposed a level of violence no higher than the average American lived with in the early 1990s.

Did you live in fear of your life then?

Did you think you had to surrender to the will of the criminals around you to save yourself?

Now, if you were to say "The insurgents only have to outlast us in the Sunni triangle", ceding the rest of the entire country, that is 80% of it, to a new elected government of Shiites and Kurds, you'd be on more plausible ground.

But then again even in the Sunni triangle, according to Senator Hillary, how many polling places were they able to close down on election day?

Man, even on their very worst day the Viet Cong were always able to do better than that!


Cecil Turner

"You should read up on the Vietnam War. The VC never beat us militarily in battle. Never."

Actually, you need to qualify that with "major" battle--we certainly lost some skirmishes. (And in fact, regardless of how it was portrayed by Hollywood, the Ia Drang battle--We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young--was arguably a strategic victory for the North.)

But as for using that conflict as a parallel, could you remind me what year we captured Hanoi and drove the NVA from the field? I seem to've forgotten that part.

GT

Jim,

You really make no sense. Do you think that Iraq doesn't have deaths due to medical malpractice? Do you have any reason to believe that medical errors are worse in the US than in Iraq? I certainly don't. So at best the likelihood of getting killed due to medical error is the same in both places. (Having some experience with Third World medicine I'd say the chances are much, much higher in Iraq.) Sop your point is meaningless. There is nothing special about US medical death rates, and I suspect they are much, much better than in Iraq.

I don't know what murder rates you are talking about. Clearly Georgetown never went through killings like Iraq is today.

You like to make some really strange points some time but the idea that Iraquis face the same level of violence as average Americans is simply ridiculous.

GT

Cecil,

If you want to believe we are beating the insurgents I doubt there is anything I can say that will make any difference.

A growing number of Americans realize that is not happening which is why support for the war has fallen so much.

Cecil Turner

"If you want to believe we are beating the insurgents I doubt there is anything I can say that will make any difference."

Probably not, especially considering this is my primary area of expertise . . . and it apparently isn't yours.

"A growing number of Americans realize that is not happening which is why support for the war has fallen so much."

And that couldn't have anything to do with the ridiculously biased news coverage, could it? (BTW, a very steady 55% support keeping troops in Iraq 'til it's over, which is the only poll that counts . . . except for the election, of course.)

GT

Propaganda is your area of expertise?

As the Time article Tom linked to says In the U.S. command, there is increasing skepticism that the insurgency can be defeated through military might alone .

I have no idea what you claim to be an expert on but it doesn't seem to be anything related to Iraq or defense. Those that actually know what they are talking about, those that are in the ground in Iraq realize we are not winning this war and that it's almost impossible to beat them militarily. Which may be why we are willing to negotiate.

As for the polls, it seems that's not your expertise either. You quote just one poll (Pew) but conveniently leave aside al the other polls (WSJ, Harris, Gallup) tha show a growing number of Americans want to start drawing down troops. In some polls this is now the majority.

Cecil Turner

"I have no idea what you claim to be an expert on but it doesn't seem to be anything related to Iraq or defense."

Oh, I think more than two decades as a Marine officer, the better part which as a weapons and tactics instructor, various staff tours, command and staff, war college, and a front-line combat assignment against Iraqi troops gives me some basis for holding forth. And your claim to defense expertise is . . . ?

"Those that actually know what they are talking about, those that are in the ground in Iraq realize we are not winning this war and that it's almost impossible to beat them militarily. Which may be why we are willing to negotiate."

I'm having a hard time believing you got that from guys on the ground in Iraq. And it's a pretty healthy stretch from the Times article, which admits up front that its primary sources are in the insurgency, and gives as the reasoning:

"But in recent months, the persistence of the fighting and signs of division in the ranks of the insurgency have prompted some U.S. officials to seek a political solution." [emphasis added--but construing it as a sign of US weakness seems dubious]
"You quote just one poll (Pew) but conveniently leave aside al the other polls (WSJ, Harris, Gallup) tha show a growing number of Americans want to start drawing down troops."

I used pollingreport. Some results were as you cite, but the question was projected a year down the road. Unless you have another source? And again, the election results have a certain . . . cachet.

creepy dude

I missed the memo where we now negotiate with terrorists, but, snark aside, General Abizaid says the insurgency has grown worse over the last year, though he does not say or seem to believe the U.S. is losing.
However, if he's right about the opposition, I really don't think negotiations are going to do the trick:

"BAGHDAD--Standing in the thick mud before a giant Paladin howitzer, Capt. John Benoit, an artilleryman from the Louisiana National Guard, looked Gen. John Abizaid squarely in the eye and asked bluntly: How's the war going? Many soldiers, even those who give no quarter when fighting insurgents, tend to clam up in the presence of four-star brass. So when Abizaid, commander of all U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, finds a group like the Louisiana grunts willing to ask tough questions, he sticks around. And he doesn't just answer their questions but tries to share his view of the war in Iraq and what he sees as the larger struggle against Islamic extremism.

The insurgency, Abizaid acknowledged, has grown worse over the past year. There's no defensiveness on that point, though, as he segues into a discussion of why the insurgents--particularly the radical Islamists--must be confronted. "What we can't allow to happen is guys like Abu Musab Zarqawi to get started," Abizaid told Benoit and the soldiers of the 1-141 Field Artillery. "It's the same way that we turned our back when Hitler was getting going and Lenin was getting going. You just cannot turn your back on these types of people. You have to stand up and fight."

(My Yahoo link will break but its USNWR story-Wed Feb 23, Julian E. Barnes)

creepy dude

And, reading the thread, did Jim Glass really say it's more dangerous to go into a hospital than be a soldier in Iraq? That's really nutty.

Yes, I see the statistics you cited Jim (and we appreciate your presumed support in opposing Bush's medical malpractice 'reforms'), but can you break out how many completely healthy 18-32 year olds checked into a hospital and didn't come back out?

Cecil Turner

"I missed the memo where we now negotiate with terrorists, but, snark aside, General Abizaid says the insurgency has grown worse over the last year, though he does not say or seem to believe the U.S. is losing."

You don't negotiate peace deals with friends. And I suspect you've heard "Divide and conquer" or "Defeat in detail" before. I'd also like to know the exact wording the reporter paraphrased into "The insurgency, Abizaid acknowledged, has grown worse over the past year." I note it's not a quote, and the actual quote seems more of an operational lesson learned rather than a lamentation. And here's another quote from him that seems on point (though it was actually about adding more troops):

"Is there a military threat there that I have to defeat with more force? The answer is no. There's not a company of infantry of the United States Army that can be defeated by any threat that I've seen there since May 1."

creepy dude

I'm with you CT. A man with a shotgun can't be defeated in a snakepit, either. But no matter what he does he will remain in a snakepit.

Luckily General Abizaid has apparently started his own think tank (what that says about the ones in DC I can only guess):

(from the same article):

"It was during his posting in Jordan, Abizaid says, that the foundation of his views on the Middle East was established, after watching the fall of the shah of Iran. "Being out here during the Iranian revolution," he says, "gave me a clearer idea of the emotional sorts of movements that can sweep the region very quickly and very powerfully."

Within Central Command headquarters, Abizaid has established an advisory group of six officers and two civilians with Middle Eastern expertise. The task of this mini think tank is to turn up ideas about the region from academia and find new ways of thinking about, and fighting, Islamic extremism. These advisers contend, for instance, that the United States missed the significance when Saddam Hussein, never a devout Muslim, embraced religion and, mindful of the growing American efforts against him, gave Sunni imams wide latitude to preach a fiery new brand of Islam. "We didn't appreciate how people got radicalized," says a member of the advisory group. "We didn't appreciate it, and it hurt us after the invasion."

In policy circles, there continues to be debate about the nature of the Iraqi insurgency--the role of disaffected Sunnis, of Iraqi nationalists, and of foreign jihadists. The most important enemy, Abizaid argues, is Iraqis who have come to follow the brand of extremist Islamic fascism preached by Zarqawi or al Qaeda. Those are the insurgents, Abizaid argues, on whom the military must focus. "There are all kinds of complexities," the general says. "But . . . the point is, there is a main enemy in the theater, and it is al Qaeda-inspired, [with an] ideological desire to dominate the region."

"al Qaeda inspired" says General Abizaid.

What's the best way to prevent further such inspiration?

Cecil Turner

"A man with a shotgun can't be defeated in a snakepit, either. But no matter what he does he will remain in a snakepit."

The solution, already begun, is to stabilize the Iraqi government, train Iraqi forces, and increasingly give them a front-line role, while reserving US forces for reaction to threats requiring more firepower. That also decreases friction between young US servicemen more worried about staying alive than being polite, and the citizenry they react with. (A problem in any status of forces arrangement, but especially acute in an occupation--or "liberation"--or whatever the PC term is.)

The challenge is that the pace of the effort is not determined by the US, but by Iraqis committing to the new government. And the single most important consideration, from their standpoint, is trust that we're not going to run away and leave them holding the bag (of snakes, if you like).

""al Qaeda inspired" says General Abizaid.

What's the best way to prevent further such inspiration?"

The time-honored Marine tradition is to kill enough of them that the rest decide to give it up as a bad job. And the first part of that process is to deny them safe haven. Fallujah was a good start, these negotiations, assuming they're going as described, are another.

creepy dude

Well I quoted some Vietnam stats above. They lost about 12% of the population (civilian + military) and still didn't quit.

Even the most exaggerated left-wing numbers don't hit that percentage counted against Sunnis alone; add in the Shiites, and it dilutes even further.

I believe we have forfeited the opportunity for mass slaughter (not that we were so inclined anyway-(a mistake?)) and can only maintain a holding pattern while the Iraqis come on line.

But the Sunnis have ruled over the Shiites for some 500 years. Right after our Civil War, former slaves served in Southern legislatures, but as the Northern disturbance faded, the former social order reassembled such that a century of further oppression was imposed.

It's clearly documented that these were not the elections the Bush administartion wanted; this is what al Sistani wanted. We always pressed for regional caucuses.

Now we have Shiites with a mandate. And we have to put on a happy face.

I don't think there's a happy ending. Today's AP wire brings increasing signs of a Shiite-Kurdish standoff over Kirkuk.

These negotiations are only to get us out of the way.
We need to partition the country into three sectors, even though it's already too late.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"I have no idea what you claim to be an expert on but it doesn't seem to be anything related to Iraq or defense."

That's almost as good as when GT was telling Arnold Kling he couldn't understand economics because he lacked the requisite education.

Cecil Turner

"Even the most exaggerated left-wing numbers don't hit that percentage counted against Sunnis alone; add in the Shiites, and it dilutes even further."

I'm not sure where you got the idea the purpose was to exterminate the population, rather than just the insurgents. That number is unknown, but surely is in the thousands, not millions. Discretion, not mass slaughter, is key.

"Now we have Shiites with a mandate. And we have to put on a happy face."

I don't see it. Any democratic government is a vast improvement, and this election merely establishes a temporary government and constitutional convention, with elaborate checks to prevent tyranny of the majority. The fact that a coalition seems inevitable is also hopeful.

"I don't think there's a happy ending. Today's AP wire brings increasing signs of a Shiite-Kurdish standoff over Kirkuk. "

Sausage-making. Beter get used to it, democracy is inherently messy.

creepy dude

I know. See the U.S. election. 1860.

GT

Cecil,

As the cartoon says, in the Internet no one knows you are a dog. I have no way of knowing if you really are a Marine. Over at tacitus,org I have long debated with several posters that are fromer military and their posts make that clear. Yours don't.

You say you have a hard time believing that the military on the ground doubt we can win this by arms alone. I have a hard time believing that you haven't read or heard the many military that have said that including sorldiers comning from Iraq.

The number of estimated insurgents, the amount and severity of the attacks all show the insurgency is as powerful as ever. They simply have to wait us out.

Cecil Turner

This one's post-war. Besides, any group can torpedo the approval process in the province votes. Significantly different dynamic, hopefully more reminiscent of 1787.

creepy dude

CT-I really do hope you're right.

Cecil Turner

"As the cartoon says, in the Internet no one knows you are a dog. I have no way of knowing if you really are a Marine."

Retired, actually. And though I probably can't prove it to your satisfaction, at least I'm smart enough to have pre-arranged with a friend back up my story with a good photo (number 10) of me in my younger days.

"The number of estimated insurgents, the amount and severity of the attacks all show the insurgency is as powerful as ever."

Or as weak as ever. Disrupting an election isn't really a high bar--they failed miserably. And if we manage to split the Al Qaeda types from their Sunni support base with the current negotiations, their position will be completely untenable. As they wait, the new Iraqi government becomes stronger. It's a losing proposition, and the most logical explanation for negotiations is that they know it.

GT

Cecil,

All you are saying is how good things would be if things were good. Yes, if we manage to split the insurgents and beat them that would be great. There is no evidence that is happening or is likely to happen.

The hard evindence, the number and severity of the attacks, shows the insurgents are much more powerful than when they started. And estimates of the number of insurgents continues to rise despite us having killed or imprisoned thousands of them.

Cecil Turner

"There is no evidence that is happening or is likely to happen."

Come on GT, what do you think those negotiations are all about? If the Sunnis (and former regime types) want to be involved in the political process, we can help negotiate amnesties and political involvement. We want them to stop harboring Al Qaeda. And if the former regime elements want to get involved politically, why would they want a bunch of loose cannons blowing up everyone in sight? So who gets left without a seat when the music stops? Will it happen? Who knows? But it's fairly obvious that's the goal from our side, and Time's "signs of division in the ranks of the insurgency" would seem to indicate it's at least possible.

"And estimates of the number of insurgents continues to rise despite us having killed or imprisoned thousands of them. "

Right. Which numbers are we using this week? It's obvious we underestimated them initially, and I suspect we're overestimating them now. Regardless, nobody on our side knows, and the other side has zero incentive to tell us the truth.

triticale

GT says that the "insurgents", more correctly the medievalist terror thugs, only have to outlast us in order to win. If they only have to outlast him they already have. They have to outlast the majority of the Iraqi people, and the fact that they needed to draft a mentally disabled child for their laughable attempt to stop the elections is pretty solid evidence they won't.

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