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December 01, 2005

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kim

We'll base our forces just over the horizon that the sun never sets on.
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Al

Wait for the movie.

Cecil Turner

On Hitchens's second article, he can do (and has done) better. I was particularly struck by this bit of silliness:

My tax dollars do go to pay the salary of Scott McLellan, who ought to be looking for other work after he accused the honorable but simple-minded Rep. Murtha of being a Michael Moore type.
Dunno about Chris, but I think I'd rather be compared to Michael Moore than be called "simple-minded" (I think) at any rate, there's not much to choose between 'em. Similarly, his castigating Rep Schmidt for her "squeals" about cowardice (lamenting a crestfallen Murtha being "assailed"), whilst opining troops "are unlikely to burst into tears" when hearing criticism of the war effort seems to be committing the same sin he sees in others.

As to the book, I'm heartened by the fact Hitchens thought it covered the neocon argument well. However, I'm generally suspicious of anyone explaining a belief they obviously disagree with. (I'm also suspicious of anyone who feels the need to use the term "neocon" when explaining US strategy.) Judging from the other reviews, it plays well to the 63% of media folks who think we're doomed to failure in Iraq. As I happen to be in the 56% of the general public who believe otherwise, I suspect it isn't for me. (Maybe if the library has it . . .)

TexasToast

We knocked Humpty Dumpty (Iraq) off the wall and now we are desperately trying to put him back together again – but only after it became abundantly clear that he was indeed broken into many, many pieces. None of us know exactly what is going on in Iraq, but it appears that much of the “happy news” is planted by our very own Defense Department. Democracy building through “infomercials”.

Packer points out in great detail how our leadership rejected any input in the run up to the war that might have lead to a smoother post-invasion transition –and this from the point of view of a supporter of the war. The leadership assumed the war would be over quickly and that Iraq would recover quickly after Saddam was gone, “nation-building” would not be required, and our forces would be out quickly. They never let go of this notion – in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary. This extends from Cheney’s “Greeted as liberators” (March 16, 2003) to his “last throes” (May 31, 2005) and from Rumsfeld’s “no guerrilla war” in June, 2003 to the President’s speech yesterday. There were opponents then and there are opponents now and no amount of whining about “revisionist history” will change the fact that these people still think that opposing viewpoints are merely political opportunism.

It appears from our President’s speech yesterday that he still rejects any notion that we might have done this better and even less any notion that the whole enterprise may have been a mistake. He has apparently learned nothing. We have spent three hundred billion dollars, 2000+ lives and 15000 injuries for an election not recognized by one third of the country. All our horses and all our men have not succeeded in creating a sustainable society in Iraq.

Rep Murtha channeling the military thinking with whom he has constant contact says we must get out so that Humpty can begin to adjust to the new reality. Whether that means Iraq will be able to remain one country is still an open question – but it is a question the Iraqis must answer for themselves. We cant put Humpty back together – maybe they can – or maybe not.

ISTM that it is now simply a matter of spinning our leaving as “redeployment” rather than “retreat”. Lets not be precipitous and just drop all the balls we have managed to get thrown in the air – but let us be proactive in finding Iraqis to catch them (or drop them, as the case may be). I’ll let you guys have the spin as long as we start the process.

windansea

He has apparently learned nothing. We have spent three hundred billion dollars, 2000+ lives and 15000 injuries for an election not recognized by one third of the country.

Iraq had a 63% turnout for the last election

Care to list how many western democracies had better turnouts in recent general elections??

boris

None of us know exactly what is going on in Iraq

If none of you know what's going on then why all the bellyaching. If you mean to assert that your state of ignorance applies universally ... stuff it.

My brother (who saw combat in Nam) recently returned from his second tour in Iraq with the Army Corps of Engineers interfacing between military and contractors. That intel's good enough for me.

Cecil Turner

It appears from our President’s speech yesterday that he still rejects any notion that we might have done this better and even less any notion that the whole enterprise may have been a mistake.

On the latter point, I'm sure he doesn't agree (nor do I). On the former, I'd note several references to "adjust[ing]" and "change[ing]" the approach. Which suggests he's rather less stuck in a rut than the doomsayers on the left.

Rep Murtha channeling the military thinking with whom he has constant contact . . .

From the poll noted above, Mr "Unwinnable" is channeling no more than 32% of the military thinking. I suspect if they were polled about cutting an running, it'd drop far lower (perhaps to single digits). His featuring prominently in Al Jazeera's propaganda campaign is also "unhelpful" to the military cause. (And warfighters tend to notice such things.)

ISTM that it is now simply a matter of spinning our leaving as “redeployment” rather than “retreat”.

ISTM that the only way we can lose this thing is by leaving before it's over. The rather nauseating spectacle of politicians rushing to garner a political advantage from touting American defeat on the eve of Iraq's first democratic elections is, well, nauseating.

Sue

How many links to Iraqi newspaper stories have any of you seen? I myself haven't seen any.

Syl

Well, I'll not be voting for anyone in the Party of Defeat for the forseeable future.

That's the bottom line.

All this talk about redeployment and starting the process of leaving is fine and good but it ignores the bigger problem: What will al Qaeda be doing next now that it doesn't have Iraq to concentrate its energies on?

That's what we should be worried about.

kim

Maybe they'll be abledangered into pusillanimity, like bin Laden walled alive into his Baluchistanic tomb.
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kim

I like that image for all the souls entombed by dynamite in all those Bamayanic caves.
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Crew v1.0

TM wants to parse "Assassin's Gate," but can I dissent? We'd all much rather read and discuss "The Scorpion's Gate" (what's with all the gates?) by some bright boy named Richard A. Clarke. Gee, who might he be?

I'm trying to understand why a review of this first novel received a review printed on the first page of the Arts Section of the New York Times on Tuesday if (as the review says) it reads like a "journeyman effort, " with awkward exposition stuffed into the story, stilted conversations, and characters most of whom "have the cardboardy feel of generic figures in a thriller..."? When was the last first novel with characteristics like these that landed a review on page B-1 of the Times' Arts Section?

Anyone care to hazard a guess how this unusual circumstance came to pass?

I have a hint for you: Bush lied, and people died. Didn't you hear the news?

Personally, I think Clarke should title his next novel "Boogie to Baghdad". After all, he certainly called first dibs on that phrase...

TexasToast

On the latter point, I'm sure he doesn't agree (nor do I). On the former, I'd note several references to "adjust[ing]" and "change[ing]" the approach. Which suggests he's rather less stuck in a rut than the doomsayers on the left.

Cecil

Bush appears to want it both ways.
"We will settle only for complete victory"
vs.
"We will stand down when they stand up."
(paraphrased)

I already said I'll let you guys own the spin. When can we expect "complete victory" to start?

Syl

TT

What is the contradiction?

Victory means a country which can stand on its own both militarily and politically.

Is that so hard to understand?

kim

TT's just being cranky. He's afraid that the next American adventure won't turn out as well as this one.
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Cecil Turner

TT: what Syl said. (In fact, in order to achieve complete victory, at some point we must stand down . . . perpetual US policing of Iraq is not part of the desired end state.)

(what's with all the gates?)

Yeah, why does every lefty wet dream have "gate" on the end of it? (BTW, if you want to read something with "gate" in it, might I recommend Gates of Fire?)

kim

The January of our Discontent.
==============================

TexasToast

Packer talked to quite a few Iraqis before that enterprise became deadly – and he points out that the average Iraqi “wants both sides to lose”. In light of the “issues” regarding Defense Department “infomercials”, how can you guys believe the “happy talk”?

Kim talks about the “January of our discontent”. When can we expect the “glorious summer” and just who is going to be the “sun of York”? GWB seems to be closer to Henry VI.

We have wasted lots of time and lots of lives. I’m quite sure we can extract the basing rights we want from the “democratic” Iraq we leave behind. Lets get happy, have the “victory” dance, and go after the real “terrorists”.

Cecil Turner

In light of the “issues” regarding Defense Department “infomercials”, how can you guys believe the “happy talk”?

The "issues"? The only issue I can see here is not that the DOD is running a pro-US propaganda campaign in wartime (is that not part of their job description?), but that the US media (and some members of congress) are running one for the enemy.

TexasToast

I cant say how many times people on this very blog have said to read the Iraqi bloggers to find out what is "really" going on in Iraq - Iraqi bloggers on the payroll or being spoon fed by guys on the payroll.

Cecil Turner

Well, at least there's one place with a pro-US viewpoint. If you want the other side, you can always subscribe to the LA Times . . . and they sure need the support.

Brian

I am completely behind our Iraq mission, but in the interest of absorbing contrary points of view, I gave this book title to my wife as part of my Xmas "wish list". I think it was Lawrence Wilkerson who mentioned it in his speech last month that got everyone excited about a former BushCo staffer coming out against the administration.

So, I don't have a review, yet, but I will upon completion. I'll be watching out for yours.

Syl

TT

Stop being dishonest!

There was nothing given to Iraqi bloggers.

Brian

I truly cannot understand those who are getting into a lather over the propaganda fed by the U.S., wherever it is in fact occuring. During the run-up to conflict, we dropped leaflets, and during the conflict it is acceptable, even expected to manipulate the enemy with misinformation. But according to all accounts, we're not even doing that, we're writing stories with a pro-U.S. slant. Is this not what the NYT does every frickin day, but in the opposite direction?!?!

kim

The January of our Discontent was homage to Janus. By the way, I see kite shaped flowers poppin' up all over the landscape in Iraq: It's Springtime in the Iraqis.
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kim

The flutterbys are all over the former no-fly zone.
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kim

It's Springtime in the Iraqis.
The Kurds are finding their way.
Despite Saddam and his lackeys,
The Shia will have their day.
==============================

Cecil Turner

Is this not what the NYT does every frickin day, but in the opposite direction?!?!

No kidding. Here's an entertaining contrast of that compared to enemy efforts (and our media's willingness to play "useful idiot"):

Whether or not paying for the placement of accurate stories should be a scandal, two things are true: first, it is now a scandal, and no one is questioning the stories' accuracy. Here we have a situation where one of the two wire services that all six American news networks rely on overwhelmingly for their footage, and therefore for their reporting (television being, indeed, a visual medium) and therefore one of the primary sources shaping the perception of the American people of the war in Iraq may well have just passed on a hoax, and not just any hoax but an enemy information operation. [emphasis in original]

Brian

One of my leftist pals has a point about the information campaign, and it is that we are purporting to install democratic institutions within Iraq, and that using the new press there as a tool of agitprop, we are thus undermining a this key institution (free press). But I counter that they need to walk before they can run, and it's it much too soon to relinquish complete control of the press during this time of war. Their press there is no NYTimes, for better or for worse.

Cecil Turner

Ralph Peters had a very similar take on PBS's Newshour (HT: VodkaPundit). I'd suggest the Ranting Prof above has it closer to correct though . . . which is worse, us planting true stories in their media, or them planting false stories in ours? I don't think that's a very close call.

kim

TT went for that Juan Cole garbage about the Texas server for some Iraqi bloggers. It is against some people's religion to admit success in Iraq.
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kim

That 'insurgency' has been going on for awhile, and everytime it gets the upper hand, it enslaves the Kurds and the Shia. At least this round the Kurds and Shia intend to pay-off the Sunni, at least partly for protection, from them and from the Syrian and the Wahabbi. Peace and prosperity might result.
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kim

Peace and prosperity might be produced along with vegetables in the valleys.
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Doq

Miss the 'Vanity Fair' article and Plame's organized work right after it? Spain's history and France and Italy just can't seem to get the message.

kim

I don't get it but sure I want it.

You can't always get what you want.
But if you tried sometime, you might find,
You get what you need.

A Nobel Prize in Economics for that wise head. A Nobel Peace Prize for whoever figures out how to pacify Paris.
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kim

Janus, the God of Gates. I think 'gate' has stuck as a suffix for scandals, because they commonly represent gateways into new paradigms.
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Wilson/Plame