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June 28, 2005



Ok, forget the time table for EXITING Iraq. How about setting some quantitative performance guidelines into a time table, and FIRING Rummsfeld when he fails to meet them 3 times in a row? (I assume he woudl have been fired about 10 times now, if we had something like that). I know this is a very mean, conservative idea, measuring performance, but sorry, that's what my parents taught me.

Appalled Moderate

Do you have any standards to suggest, Jor?


Appalled Moderate: Electricity, Car Bombings, Soldier Causalities, Economic GDP/capita Estimates, OIL output, *effective* Iraqi security forces trained, whatever. You can't measure everything important, but that doesn't mean you can't measure anything. I don't know which criteria are the best, I know the same about nation building as you do, but I know there are a bunch out there, and you can select some set and show continual progress, or continual decline.


It's much harder to pick this set now (because there are obvious conclusions to draw right away) -- than it would have been to at the start of this misadventure.

Geek, Esq.

Jor is right. The problem isn't that there's no timetable for withdrawal--there's no plan for withdrawal at all.

Under what circumstances will the job be considered done? What if, as was the case in Vietnam, victory is not an option?

The administration's message has been a bunch of disingenuous rhetoric ("last throes") and accusing their critics of being wimps.

Also note: The American people are losing confidence in this effort, and are demanding answers. Understandably, they want to know how long their sons and daughters are going to be stuck in Iraq.

The Iraq war is having serious consequences for our military capabilities.

The Kid

Excellent points, all of ya! Cohen, Clinton, and crew did not get us out of Bosnia and Kosovo, and they’re history!

Geek, Esq.

Is someone seriously comparing US troop commitments and casualty rates in the Balkans to those in Iraq?

Btw, we were able to have such a low number of troops in the Balkans mainly because of all the European peacekeepers there.

But, multilaterialism sucks!

Geek, Esq.

And so does my spelling.


Btw, here's the info on the Balkans:

The U.S. force contribution to SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina is approximately 2,400 personnel. United States personnel comprise just under 15 percent of the total SFOR force of approximately 15,800 personnel. During the first half of 2002, 18 NATO nations and 17 others, including Russia, provided military personnel or other support to SFOR. Most U.S. forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina are assigned to Multinational Division, North, headquartered in the city of Tuzla. Additionally, U.S. military personnel are deployed to other countries in the region in support of SFOR. These deployments include approximately 60 U.S. military personnel deployed to Hungary and Croatia to provide logistical and other support. The U.S. forces continue to support SFOR efforts to apprehend persons indicted for war crimes. In the last 6 months, U.S. forces have not sustained any combat-related fatalities.

This is from 2002, but still . . .



I don't know how many businesses have to be engaged in during the course of human history before people finally realize that the only acceptable timetable for profitability is "when the product is ready." Make no mistake: These seemingly innocent demands for timetables are only meant to grease the skids towards financial collapse where demands for withdrawal--whether or not the job is done--are made outright.

So much for the "MBA president".


Geek, your Vietnam analogy only holds up if, well after the fact, Rumsfeld publishes a book, as did McNamara, that says the he knew in January '04 that the Iraq war couldn't be won, and then sends in another 300,000 troops over the course of the next couple of years.

Otherwise, my guess is that the Left is simply waiting for an evening news anchor to show their antics and ride to their cause by declaring that the war is 'unwinnable' - all evidence to the contrary.

I don't place a lot of faith in public opinion polling or decisions based on that information (witness John Kerry's campaign) If you look over the results of polling on Iraq - http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm

You can cherry pick a wide range of opinions. For starters, most Americans believe that the Iraq war has made America safer --hmmmmm, Vox Populii Vox Deus --- and that "the United States should keep its military forces in Iraq until civil order is restored there, even if that means continued U.S. military casualties; [and not that]the United States should withdraw its military forces from Iraq in order to avoid further U.S. military casualties, even if that means civil order is not restored there?"

So, that might put a hitch in Jor's 'Democralpyse Now!' giddy-up.

As to the efficacy of the Multilateral forces and Kosovo ... my reading of a map shows that Kosovo is about as far from Paris as Washington DC is from Little Rock, Arkansas (now *that's* a happy coincidence.)

Given the European sensibilities of ignoring mass slaughter in their own backyard, and given that the distance can be covered in all of 20 hours by Buick Park Avenue (I've doen it several times), figure maybe 30-40 hours by convoy, I fail to see the need for American involvement at all. If the Europeans gave a damn, they could have gone to Austria, turn right at the Adriatic, look for the smoke.

Yet American intervention was necessary.

Go figure.


The job will be done when (1) the insurgency is gone or (2) the Iraqis are ready to fight it on their own. Period. Those are the only two metrics that should matter to when we leave.

Jor - You would really have the job of the Secretary of Defense rise or fall based on quantity of oil output? I mean, seriously, if Kerry was in office now, would you say he should fire Wesley Clark or whoever if Iraq didn't pump enough oil?

(Of course, setting hard targets for # of car bombings would just incentivize additional car bombings - nothing like giving the other side a propaganda goal to shoot for).



...all evidence to the contrary....

It's amazing how your post is devoid of any #, or evidence, or anything objective at all.


Crank, you would fire the CEO to GE, based on the fact the compnay had four quarters of unprofitability? The CEO of the largest company in the world should be held to standards such as profitability or growth? What? Nothing like giving competing companies a morale goal to shoot for, than to fire the CEO of GE, by temporarily undercutting prices on their products.


Crank, btw, you do realize, you are trying to save face for a guy who thinks "last throes" means 12 years and didn't think a prolonged insurgency was one of the top 15 worries for post-war Iraq. It's almost comical, at how wrong one guy can be. You would think, by just randomly flipping a coin, you couldn't be wrong this much. God really hates rumsfeld.


Hmmm... to quote another frequent commenter herein. This "misadventure" seems to be having some pretty good results so far. Saddam ignored his nation's infrastructure for 20 years - I don't believe this fact is in dispute, is it? So what constitutes effectiveness in providing electricity, or clean water? Does the coalition and Iraqi gov't have to meet Saddam's standards, or the US's? Car bombings - I'd like to see stas on how successful recent car bombings are proving to be; if just post-invasion an average car bomb was able to kill 20, my skim through recent news indicates a significant jump in security with the average more like 3-5 (and whether the suicide bomber himself is included in that number, unstated but obviously important). A high-cost strategy, in bombers, explosives, and cars. Soldier casualties - 1,740 or so Americans in over two years. Tragic as that number is, each of those soldiers has bought a huge chunk of progress with his untimely death. Would that all military engagements could be simultaneously so effective and so relatively safe... Economics - I read that Iraq is finally getting off a cash footing, is beginning to issue ATM and credit cards (I understand there are some religious issues surrounding credit), has been provisionally accepted into the International Federation of Stock Exchanges, and (on the subject of oil production) is near 2 million barrels per day at present with a plan to treble that number in ten years. Recent production highs under Saddam (I discount highs in the late '70s because of lack of infrastructure maintenance and improvements since then) were about 2.58 million barrels per day, just before the war, when Saddam was pumping the holy heck out of Iraq's fields in preparation for war; prior to that, production was steady at 2.5 million barrels per day between 1999 and 2001, in the (ahem) OFF era. (Oil data from http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/iraq.html). "Effective" Iraqi security forces trained - name me a metric; "effective" is an obviously subjective term once a basic level of competence is reached. Iraqi security forces are at present going halvsies with Coalition forces in many missions, and are even starting to carry out entire missions from planning through successful execution. What percentage of Iraqi security forces have to be completely independent of American forces at this point in order for Rummy to have met his personal evaluation goals or whatever business-speak term is in vogue now?

IOW, even a sounds-good-on-paper idea like "performance guidelines" is subject to the opinions and biases of the evaluator. I look at Iraq and see millions voting, women-owned businesses, cellphone contracts going through the roof, Iraqis providing increasing intel to security forces both native and foreign, factions arising among the "insurgents," a populace deeply interested in constitution-writing even to the extent of holding what we would call town meetings to hash it out, 34% GDP growth projected this year after 54% last year, and Iraqi forces gaining in competence, armament, and esprit by the day... You look at it and see quagmire, quagmire.


Yeah, Jor, what Jamie said.


for godsakes, man - read a Chernekoff roundup once and a while it's not all Doom and Gloom.


Jor, your "how many businesses" thing is frankly a crock. I'm sure you know it. The product can be as ready as it'll ever be and still never turn a profit - the market has to be there too, and the ability to deliver the product to the market, and what-all else. If the analogy falls so quickly on its face, I feel pretty comfortable rejecting it.

But your re-phrasing of Pejman's statement is certainly instructive. As you say, "These seemingly innocent demands for timetables are only meant to grease the skids towards financial collapse where demands for withdrawal--whether or not the job is done--are made outright." You re-make Pejman's point in ever-so-slightly different lingo, not bothering to refute it - a handy window into the Democratic soul.


"The American people are losing confidence in this effort, and are demanding answers"

Once again geek the projector refuses to let the facts stand in the way of a rant.

From today's Washington Post/ABC poll:

"The survey found that only one in eight Americans currently favors an immediate pullout of U.S. forces, while a solid majority continues to agree with Bush that the United States must remain in Iraq until civil order is restored -- a goal that most of those surveyed acknowledge is, at best, several years away. ....

"A narrow majority -- 52 percent -- believes that the war has contributed to the long-term security of the United States, a five-point increase from earlier this month." (emphasis added)

PS Still waiting for geek to retract and apologize for his 'they're on the other side' smear of Glenn Reynolds.


Bumperstickerist - "Democralpyse Now" gets zero Google hits, so I want to hijack it - I've got the headline, I just need the post.

And I love the Kosovo prescription:

If the Europeans gave a damn, they could have gone to Austria, turn right at the Adriatic, look for the smoke.


by all means, but go with 'Democralypse Now' -

and add the past tense to the other verbs in the prescription.


Jor (and Geek, too): If you want an observable metric, here's one: try winning an election, it's the only metric that counts in politics. Election losers don't get to dictate the terms of policy. The Kerry campaign--and hence, Democratic Party--was notable for the lack of a serious and discernable policy alternative regarding Iraq. The child-like whining confirms that Democrats are still not "ready for prime time".

Other than that, bitch until you're blue in the face.


They used to say Generals fought the last war.

Who knew it was Democrats who kept fighting the last election?

And they think they're smarter than Generals. Too funny.

Geek, Esq.

Wow, are people reading the same poll results I did?

Bush handling:
43% Approve/56% Disapprove

Worth fighting:
46% Yes/53% No

Bogged Down or Good Progress:
62% Bogged Down/ 37% Good Progress (!)

Making progress towards restoring civil order:
48% Is making progress/ 51% Is not making progress

Insurgency stronger, weaker, or same:
24% Stronger/22% Weaker/ Same 53% (in other words, 77% disagree with Cheney)

Has Iraq war made US stronger or weaker:
25% Stronger/ 39% Weaker/ 36% No difference

Was the Iraq war the right thing or a mistake?
48% Right Thing/ 51% Mistake

Did Bush say what it believed about Iraq, or did they intentionally mislead American public:
48% Bush told the truth/ 52% Bush lied his ass off

Did Bush at least exaggerate WMD evidence?
57% Did exaggerate/ 41% Did not

And that's Bush's GOOD poll. Oy.

Forbes: Oh, we're just going to hold Bush accountable for Iraq. He's responsible for every death and wound suffered by our soldiers over there.

The Kid

The comments to Greg’s thoughtful post quickly turned ugly when the Chickenhawk charge was hurled: “If you support the war, why haven’t you enlisted?”

Can’t we all just get along? Questioning motivations is a cheap trick that does nothing to advance the argument.

Is there any support for a “Chickenhawk declaration” in which the one who hurls the charge is recognized as having lost the argument, in much the same way that tradition holds the fruition of Godwin’s law?


"the only acceptable timetable for a mission is 'when the job is done'" would only be a good rule for setting mission timetables if it were combined with a mission-selection rule which ensured that the only missions which were undertaken were worth taking. I would replace it with "the only acceptable timetable for a mission is 'when the job is done, or when it becomes apparent that the original decision to start the mission was an error'"

By this reckoning, the US was about five years late in getting out of Vietnam; Iraq I suspect could be argued both ways.


I would replace it with "the only acceptable timetable for a mission is 'when the job is done, or when it becomes apparent that the original decision to start the mission was an error'"

Hold that thought - I suspect that that rule is wrong and easily rebutted by historic example, but real life calls...


Ok, a bit more on "when it becomes apparent that the original decision to start the mission was an error'"-

This ignores the concept of fixed costs. Suppose I were running a company and had invested $100 million to open a factory making truck tires, with a target profit of $20 million per year.

Circumstances change, and I learn that I can either (a) abandon the plant, at an incremental shut down cost of $5 million (and a write-off of the $100 million), or (b) run the plant at a *net* profit of $2 million per year.

The right answer would be to (1) consider firing whoever decided to open the plant, since it will never produce an acceptable return on the invested capital, and (2) continue running it to earn the $2 million.

From the pages of history, a battle such as Gettysburg was not inherently consequential - unlike for example, Vicksburg, no one could have looked at a map in January of 1862 and predicted that a major battle at Gettysburg was highly probable.

However, once the battle was joined, the effect on morale of withdrawing became an issue (I have read).

And so with Iraq - we are there. Changing management may have made sense, but the Dems offered Kerry, and here we are.

creepy dude

True-the Dems deserve contempt for offering Kerry, but the Repubs offered Bush, although under no obligation to do so, thus equally deserving contempt.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"By this reckoning, the US was about five years late in getting out of Vietnam; Iraq I suspect could be argued both ways."

Iraq is beng argued both ways...by Democrats who are claiming both that we don't have enough troops there and we should have never invaded. But, if we want Vietnam analogies, then calls for Bush to escalate, ala LBJ, would be perfect.


Don't forget that McNamara later admitted that, at the time, he knew Vietnam was a lost cause. Yet McNamara sent troops in for another couple of years.

I don't think Rumsfeld will be expressing similar sentiments regarding Iraq.

Geek, Esq.

Well, McNamara is significantly smarter than Rumsfeld.

It's worth noting again that, had Bush et al adequately prepared for the occupation and nation-building that was to come in Iraq instead of botching it, this debate would not be happening.

Had Bush removed Saddam and done things largely right afterwards, I (and many others) would have tipped my cap to him. The problem is that statements like "last throes" are evidence of either complete mendacity or a complete disassociation from reality. How can one have confidence in someone demonstrating either trait?


John Kerry is once again taking his cues from the opposition. He supported the North Vietnamese demands. He supports the demands being made by the jihadi terrorists (and no, they are not "insurgents").

John Kerry, his "wife", his best friend and next door neighbour George Soros and the Democratic party are now little more then a thinly veiled fifth column. Their problem is that it is not 1968 and the tactics that worked back then will not work now. At the rate the Democratic party is going they will be fighting the Watermelon Green* party for that all important "tin foil hat" constituency.

*green on the outside, red on the inside.


McNamara may be significantly more intelligent than Rumsfeld, but I don't see how Bob in any way has proven himself to be smarter than Rumsfeld.

As both served in the military, I suppose we could request that each fill out an SF-180 and .... no, let's not do that.

btw - I disagree with your take on 'last throes' as being the words of someone who is either mendacious or belonging to the reality-based (as opposed to the realists). Apparently, if the military is to be believed, there are more and more foreign terrorists coming into Iraq and, apparently, the threat they represetn is about the same.

Which, to me, means that there are two things happening - fewer and fewer Iraqis are terrorists and that the Iraqi population will more and more see the terrorists not as insurgents but as, well, terrorists.

And, as a result, they can use their newly available cellphones and trained security forces and get on with that whole 'Democracy' thing.

That said, I think the Democrats have adopted a strategy right out of 'Blazing Saddles':


Bart: Well, can't you see that's the last act of a desperate man?

Nancy Pelosi: We don't care if it's the first act of Henry V, we're leaving!

Admittedly, the analogy fails, unless Halliburton can build a fake Baghdad a couple of miles out of town and lure the terrorists over there.

But, anyway, one of the difficulties that the Democrats and Left in general (I'm told there's a distinction there) is that Bush tends to mean what he says.

In case Jor is reading this, I'm not going to cut and paste a half dozen examples but rather rely on people having some sort of functioning memory.

The entire 'run up' to the war was basically laid out in the first speeches and, gasp, what followed was utterly predictable .... in the good sense.

My hunch is that Saddam's take on his current plight boils down to: "Damn, Bush meant it."

That doesn't bother me in the slightest.

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