Powered by TypePad

« Winning The Battles, Losing The War | Main | Flying Grievance Theater »

December 06, 2006



I shudder to think what consensus with the other side would entail. As for me, I think we ought to send the reporters and JAG officers home and fight to win.

Florence Schmieg

I agree Clarice. Where are the words "American victory" in this report?




If anyone here knows anyone at TH, tell them to get rid of the effing popup ad. It somehow gets abround both popup blockers. I've unsubbed from their email list because of it. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


In their Q&A session, the study group members said they were really trying to show everyonee that we can come to a consensus, work together, because we cannot continue in wartime with the current division in this country.

It will never happen. All through the Q&A the main interest of the questioners was "Bush was wrong, wasn't he?" Even though they refused to play along, this just shows what will happen. If Bush did everything the left wants, they would still be trying to undermine his efforts.

BDS has cause the left to decide that we should not win this war. I think they will do anything to prevent it.


The Iraqis are speaking up


Tony Snow will be on Hannity this afternoon. This should be interesting.


Ten U.S. Soldiers were killed today.


We can come to a consensus providing we agree to do what I want.

This is always the problem with the win-win concept of negotiation. Everyone has to give something regardless of the merits of each sides starting position.


Breitbart quotes the report as recommending (insisting) the withdrawal of all combat brigades not required for force protection.

Protection of what, the force will have gone?

Just wait till they get started on Afghanistan.


Don probably does not believe in having a military.

Right Don?

Here is news for you. When these guys train, they get a gun. A big gun. They learn how to use it. Why do you think that is? Do you think they do not believe that they might have to use their guns? Or that they won't get shot at, blown up or whatever? Or is this gun stuff just a charade they go through to get money for college?

They are all adults. They all decided to serve. They want to be allowed to win this war. You antiwar, "bring them home" people are the ones hurting them, not those of us who believe in what they are doing.

They know what is at stake.


By all means let's sell out Lebanon and Israel to Syria and Iran for false promises in Iraq.

And they call this group of people realists?


"Realist" has been consigned to the Graveyard of Misspent Words along with "liberal," "conservative," and "gay."


Ironic isn't it? Albeit a bitter irony, it seems to me.

The US lost in Vietnam (mostly) due to nationalism - the belief among the Vietnamese people that the US was, like the French, an occupying imperialist outsider suppressing their independence - and now we're losing in Iraq because of a lack of nationalism among the Iraqi peoples.

Instead of uniting around a Iraqi national character, the nation is splintered into innumerable sects, tribes and village identities. Self-government, among other things, requires the governing of the self. And unless that "self" has a larger identity that transcends one's local tribe or clan, any nation will inevitably spiral into factionalism and anarchy.

My guess is that any local regional power (umm, that's Iran) will find it as difficult to manage this mess as we have.

Sometimes history not only doesn't repeat itself, it doesn't even rhyme.


Iraq is the only muslim country with a woman's team in the Asia games. They're out in shorts playing volleyball.

And yet there are Americans who are willing to abandon our efforts in Iraq.

It's al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists who have caused the mayhem in Iraq.

And yet there are Americans who have forgotten that al Qaeda is our declared enemy and who wish to pull us out of Iraq before al Qaeda is beaten down.

The controversy has NOTHING to do with Iraq, because those who are pulling for our defeat have NO CLUE what the real deal is over there. Nope, it's all about hatred of Bush.

Bush's war. Bush's mistake. Bush's lies.

It's worse than childish, it's delusional.



and now we're losing in Iraq because of a lack of nationalism among the Iraqi peoples.

That's incorrect. In fact, totally wrong.

A few thousand Iraqis who want Sadaam back, is not a nation divided. A few thousand al Qaeda who declare Iraq is the center of their caliphate is not a nation divided.

The Iraqi PEOPLE want a unified Iraq. SOME shia want to exterminate the sunni who are causing the problems, SOME of these shia are indiscriminately killing sunni.

The extremists sunni and al Qaeda are indiscriminately killing anybody but are concentrating on killing shia to ensure civil strife. That was Zarqawi's goal, for Pete's sake.

One cannot project the feelings of an entire nation on the actions of a few thousand out of millions.


Now, people. Relax and enjoy the show.

We get to see the world's finest journalists analyze the study and ask the deep penetrating questions they are paid the big bucks to ask.


Actually I think it is good that the Iraqi's are getting angry. It might just motivate them.


That's incorrect. In fact, totally wrong.

Totally wrong? This problem - factionalism - has been repeatedly reported by US forces trying to train Iraqi security and military forces. I'm talking about the civil institutions and not necessarily about the population at-large; although I think it is also prevalent there.

Iraqi political institutions - the ministries, the military, the police - are riddled with factionalism and tribalism. Shi'a dominated police or military units are unwilling to protect Sunni neighborhoods or go after Shi'a militias. Ministries are riddled with personnel more interested in providing services to their own village/tribe/sect than the country at large.

Why has the Iraqi police been so dismal in mitigating the sectarian violence?



The report does not call for American withdrawal from Iraq. It calls for something in between which means it will not make anyone happy.

Rick Ballard

Steve MG,

Shut up and cheer, dammit. Sure, Iraq is a fantasm created by the Brits in their obstinate delusions after WWI, but surely you understand the importance of a national volleyball team? If that's not the sine qua non of democracy what is?

The fact that the average Iraqi's allegiance runs - family, tribe, sect, Islam, Iraq has no real bearing on our efforts to bring democracy to a people who, on the whole, don't give a damn. The important thing is to remember all the purple fingers that signified the hope of the Shia that they would finally be able to put the Sunni in their place without actually having to expend any more effort than going to the voting place. That's the delicious attraction of democracy - you don't have to do anything but show up and cast your vote for the side that promises you the greatest benefit.

Get with the program, Steve. There's no place for rational observation in this climate.


I'm thinking of smuggling arms to Chalabi--He's back in Iraq. If we're going to have a strongman--he's my pick.



Speaking of rational observation how about making note of the fact that Iraqis die for their own country every day?

And how about not denigrating those purple fingers? Maybe you would risk your life to vote, but I do not know many Americans who would. And the Iraqis are not the Borg, they do not all think alike. Some of them might have voted for revenge, some for empowerment and some just because they wanted to be like other people in modern countries.

I am getting tired of snarky people passing judgment on an entire culture of people based on what they see on the evening news. That country is full of mass graves of Shia, many of them women and children who were killed in the hundreds of thousands by Saddam... many of them less than 15 years ago. How are people supposed to act after something like that?

The Kurds had their own problems finding a way to live together but they had a ten year headstart and are showing promise in spite of the fact that they are Muslims.

And stability is not a bad thing. It can be if it comes about as a result of ignoring real problems, but it is very difficult to build political parties and create the institutions necessary to sustain a representative government without some stability.


Speaking of rational observation how about making note of the fact that Iraqis die for their own country every day?

No one (at least here) is denying that there aren't some heroic Iraqis trying to create a multi-sect, multi-tribe democracy. In fact, one could argue that most Iraqis are trying to make a go of it.

It's just that there doesn't seem to be enough of them.

If tribalism (however manifested - religion, sect, region, ethnicity) trumps a sense of national identity, then there's nothing the US can do to rectify that. How can one create a national government with national institutions in a populace that doesn't (I'm using broad brush strokes, please) embrace that larger national identity?

Can't be done.



Thanks for screwing the country Republicans!!!



No one? I beg to differ. I have heard some people say things about the Iraqis that make me wonder if they think they are human, much less heroic.

And of course it can be done. I read somewhere that when Thomas Jefferson opined about his country he was talking about Virginia. There was not a big "U" in the United States until after the Civil War.

We all started out as one tribe or another.

Taranto {at Best of Web} had an interesting observation on the ISG:

The recommendations of the Iraq Study Group are out, and those who are eager for a quick American defeat will be disappointed. The full report is here, and the Associated Press summarizes the findings:

President Bush's policy in Iraq "is not working," a high-level commission said Wednesday in a blunt, bleak assessment that urged an immediate diplomatic attempt to stabilize the country and allow withdrawal of most combat troops by early 2008. . . .

"Military priorities must change," the report said, toward a goal of training, equipping and advising Iraqi forces. "We should seek to complete the training and equipping mission by the end of the first quarter of 2008."

The commission recommended the number of U.S. troops embedded to train Iraqis should increase dramatically, from 3,000-4,000 currently to 10,000-20,000. Commission member William Perry, defense secretary in the Clinton administration, said those could be drawn from combat brigades already in Iraq.

Then, by early 2008, combat troops could begin to leave the country.

More than a year ago, Rep. John Murtha caused a stir when he said America should "immediately redeploy," though he later claimed this wasn't what he meant (another botched joke?). The ISG's recommendation is much more moderate: a partial withdrawal, beginning more than a year from now, contingent on the success of efforts to train Iraqi forces. It seems like a plausible approach.



And what does that mean? I think people on the left must have been doing drugs in the 90's or they would remember Clinton pledging to deal with Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. Sooner or later it had to happen, the difference is if the guy in the White House had a D behind his name the Democrats would not be trying so hard to rewrite history and undermine the war.


No one? I beg to differ. I have heard some people say things about the Iraqis that make me wonder if they think they are human, much less heroic.

No one here in this conversation.

I can't (and won't) speak for others at other sites or venues.


Rick Ballard

And stability is not a bad thing.

Saddam provided a stability that Kim Jong Il or Castro would be hesitant to criticize.

Maliki isn't doing quite as well.

I could not care less concerning what tires you. Islam never seems to tire, nor should its opponents.

The "new" Iraqi constitution formalized adherence to a slave doctrine (sharia), arguments as to the attributes of the agreed upon slavery couched in terms of versimilitude to some simulacram of democracy do not impress.

The Shia died under Saddam because they would not fight. "Iraq" today is dying because the Shia won't fight. They constitute the majority of an Iraqi security force that is double the size of our entire commitment in Iraq but they seem to be armed with guns lacking triggers.



Oh really? Maybe not in this particular conversation, but I have heard some things from some people that lead me to wonder, {perhaps unfairly} if they really think the Iraqis {or perhaps all Muslims} are regular people.

In fact not so long ago someone said we should just bomb Mecca to get the attention of all of them, including those bad Iraqis.

Yep, bomb Mecca. That is officially the frying pan to the fire.



The new Iraqi Constitution says the same thing that the Afghanistan Constition says: that no law contrary to Islam will be enacted. That leaves a lot of room for debate. And it is their constitution for heaven's sake not yours.

We made a lot of compromises here in order to get a Constitution here as well. In fact a lot of people wanted to outlaw both slavery and Catholicism. Somehow both survived. They had to in order to get ratification. But then came the Civil War of course and the ongoing fight over states rights.

And considering the fact that Iraq is bordered by hostile people and Americans keep threatening to up and leave it is not surprising that the majority Shia might remember the last time we left them in the lurch and figure that this time they will try to survive.

And Saddam was not stable. Ever. He had one war after the other, he had a foreign country flying no fly zones over his territory. He had to use terror and genocide to keep his people in line. That is not stable and sooner or later it would have collapsed. The question was then what? With Iraq, that has always been the question.


And they are fighting. Every day and they are dying every day. Just because they are not fighting and dying at a rate that pleases all the folks who are not in the line of fire does not make them cowards.


Maybe not in this particular conversation, but I have heard some things from some people that lead me to wonder

Agreed, I've heard that ugliness too.

It's contemptible.

I am arguing that the characteristics or qualities or institutions or beliefs or "worldview" (whatever one wants to call them) that are necessary for a democracy to take root are not now prevalent enough in Iraq for that to happen.

And it has nothing to do with any innate characteristics of the Arab or Iraqi people.

Lamarck not Mendel (so to speak).


Rick Ballard

That is not stable and sooner or later it would have collapsed.

The mark for that was the USSR - they managed for 70 ought years, which exceeds Husseins life span. Who knows if his kids might not have done better?

The Shia seem to do quite well in dying while waiting in line to sign up for a jobs program in an organization which doesn't seem to be able to fight at all. When their combat caualties reach a noticeable point a discussion might be held as to their efficacy.

The Shia do seem to be able to raise sufficient numbers of thugs to incite the Sunnis to form recognized militias that will give credence to assertions of civil war. Ramadi as Richmond is an unborn meme - as yet.

Give the appeasers time and it will show up.


"I suppose they blame me, too, but there it is."

I suppose you are coming around, albeit slowly and late.


"Iraq has no real bearing on our efforts to bring democracy to a people who, on the whole, don't give a damn."

So saith, Marmalard. Where were you in '03?
For that matter. where were you in '04?


What is the percentage of countries in this world that are safe, stable democracies?
I have a friend that just moved from Brazil, where she had a bomb-proof, bullet proof SUV to tool around town in.
Vacation paradises Thailand and Fiji are in the midst of coups.
I'm not justifying what is going on in Iraq in any way, but I do think the number of places that live up to my standards of safe and stable living is pretty small.


Where were you in '03?
For that matter. where were you in '04?

So, now the left are realists?

The same left that criticized Reagan for providing support for Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war?

The same left that condemned US policies during the Cold War as being insufficiently concerned about democracy promotion abroad?

Pardon me if I think your new found love for Kissingerian realism a bit opportunistic.

IOW, a bunch of hooey.



Well, something the report showed was that the total amount America has spent for EQUPPING the Iraqi army is the equivalent of equipping OUR guys for two weeks.

They can't fight if they haven't got the guns that Rick is accusing them of not firing.

Rick Ballard


You won't find a post of mine anywhere that supported the democracy thesis for Iraq. Elections, perhaps, but not democracy.

Leaving 70K troops in laager to watch Sunnis and Shia slaughter each other for ten years is an acceptable outcome from my POV. Withdrawal to Kurdestan to watch is also agreeable.

I've never held that democracy (let alone republican democracy) was amenable to Islam and I never shall. You can shake a bottle of oil and water until it appears to be mixed but five minute later the truth will appear.

ASFAICT Iraq is going just fine. It would be a bit better if the KSA was drawn in to defend the Sunni but there's plenty of time for that to happen. Iran vs the KSA would be a match that would be interesting to watch.

As long as our ROE allow maximum protection for our forces there isn't a real downside to the contest.

Good to see that you're as stupid today as you were in your first post. I've always said that hoping for an improvement on the left is a waste of effort. Better lice are still lice - and the left isn't getting better.


Get a grip - no fighting man in the world is as well supported as an American infantryman. Try using Indian standards (they have some hellacious fighters) for comparisons. Money won't turn cowards brave - although it's great for energizing Sunni bandits.

Sunni muslims are looters and vandals and we should respect their heritage. They fight very well (unless opposed) when there is an opportunity for personal or tribal gain. That's how they've gotten to where they are (sheiks of thieves) and we should recognize their talents. They'r not that much different from medieval knights. Aside from being oathbreakers and liars, that is.



I am arguing that the characteristics or qualities or institutions or beliefs or "worldview" (whatever one wants to call them) that are necessary for a democracy to take root are not now prevalent enough in Iraq for that to happen.

This is cartoon talk, Steve. There are MILLIONS of people in Iraq and you have just dismissed all of them with a wave of your hand.

Of all the countries in the M.E. Iraq had the best prospects for democracy, for self-rule, for a government that people could feel they have a say in. Highly educated, mixed neighborhoods not only of shia and sunni, but of various national origins as well.

The fact that most Iraqis were originally from somewhere else rather than being a reason they can't think of themselves as one nation, has given them a more cosmopolitan view and tolerance than most other M.E. countries. Iraq, as a country, does mean something to them. In a sense that has similarities to America. In all the polls ever taken, the majority want Iraq as Iraq not as separate entities.

They have a topnotch judicial system with western educated judges and lawyers which nobody seems to notice.

They've also got, like other muslim countries, a bunch of hothead religious fundamentalists who are causing all the trouble. The majority of Iraqis don't go along with that fanatical crap. But, it must be understood, that muslims have been living with their hotheads for CENTURIES and are somewhat used to living with them. And intimidation still works.

One of the hopes of the democracy project is that it will finally create a situation where the government through the people will finally be able to marginalize the hotheads and condemn the behavior. Will finally be able to neutralize the effects of intimidation.

And after centuries of living with it, I don't expect that a turnaround would happen in 4 years.

Re Sharia law, the Iraqi constitution ALSO says that no law shall be made that contradicts human rights.

People forget that part.



Iraq is NOT ALL ABOUT ISLAM. So get off your tiresome kvetching.


There are MILLIONS of people in Iraq and you have just dismissed all of them with a wave of your hand.

Please, I did no such thing. I said there weren't enough of them to create a stable, multi-sectarian, multi-tribal democracy.

And in another post above I acknowledged that there are many Iraqis risking their lives in order to create such a polity.

You do recognize that all of us posting here speak in generalities? In a 60-70 word post, we have to use broad strokes.



Speaking of 'realists'.

What is the basic assumption they make?


Baker is running around with ideas to STABILIZE the MIDDLE EAST.

What that really means is to stabilize the GOVERNMENTS in the middle east. Which leaves all the problems in place that area has had for decades.

One of the reasons I've supported Iraq ALL ALONG was to DE-stabilize the region a bit. Shake things up. Let the fault lines become apparent. Shine a light on the problems that actually exist, not just the problems we THOUGHT existed.

We can't FIX anything or hope they FIX anything themselves if nobody understands what the problems are.

Has anybody learned anything at all because of Iraq?

I can't speak for anyone else but this is what I've learned that I wouldn't have learned just from Afghanistan:

That muslims do want to live in societies where they have a say in what their government does and how it operates. They do want to live in societies where speech is free, where they can run their own newspapers, where they can purchase what they want, where they can own their own property, where they can start their own business, where law is respected, and punishment is meted out fairly.

That these societies do not know how to deal with their fanatics! Why? Because they've always had somebody else to do it for them. Now when they're responsible through their government, they haven't figured it out yet.

This is a learning process and IT WILL TAKE TIME.

That's enough for now.

(But just as a tidbit for S-leo, I'll add that I've learned what multiculturalism REALLY means is to keep everyone in a zoo, never allowing them any self-determination).

Rick Ballard


So what's the BFD about competing in shorts?

CAUTION: Untying logical pretzels has been known to cause damage to tightly held shibboleths!

richard mcenroe

So, how many Kurds died the last time anyone took Baker's Iraq advice again?

Foo Bar

Hey, Rick Ballard. This is off topic, but I wanted to be sure to thank you for having had both the grace and foresight to acknowledge 8 months ahead of time that the Democratic Party's recapture of Congress would be well deserved.

That was presciently magnanimous of you.



So what's the BFD about competing in shorts?

It shows that Iraq is not what you think it is.



Please, I did no such thing. I said there weren't enough of them to create a stable,
multi-sectarian, multi-tribal democracy.

Well, that's okay then. NOT.

This is just glass half-full half-empty speculation. You have NO idea if there are
'enough' or not.


This is just glass half-full half-empty speculation. You have NO idea if there are
'enough' or not.

Great. The daily slaughter of 60-70 Iraqis found in Baghdad alone is no evidence?

The polls that show 60% of the Iraqi people supporting the attacks on US troops is also meaningless?

The reports from our troops over the unwillingness of the Iraqi recruits to set aside their tribal affinity can also be dismissed?

The reports of Iraqi Shi'a troops and police unwilling to prevent the attacks on Sunnis is no evidence?

What evidence would convince you of the need for more help from the Iraqi people?



Yes, James Baker, always one for stability, if he can get his customers the right price. Such a nice man willing to coddle terrorists, tyrants and thugs for economic stability.

He does forget that this enemy cannot be bought off, save in a price much higher than cash. Somehow those 'realists' always miss that point.

Rick Ballard

Foo Bar,

Jeez, it wasn't just that. There was so much that I was absolutely wrong in. My opinion of the electorate was far, far, too high. I thought that they might be bought off by simple compromise on a multitude of issues and instead the defining percentage actually had expectations that the Republicans involved had principles. When confronted by a lack of principle on both sides, the electorate naturally chose the side that lied better and the Democrats (proven through history as better liars) took the laurels.

I'll never overestimate the perspicacity of the electorate again.

Do you think that the Dems will be able to lie well enough to overcome the evidence of their incompetence over the next two years in order to achieve victory in '08?

Will the Beast of Chappaqua fool enough people to gain the throne? Can the republic endure a Rodham presidency (be careful of the sushi, Bill - it can turn you very blue)?

Enjoy, Foo Bar, the tide is still rising but you've gained a respite.



The Iraqi police are more problematic than the army. In many provinces the army is performing just fine, thank you. It's not every frickin' Iraqi who ever signs up. Please don't over-generalize. There are problems, yes. Are they unsurmountable? No.

And you know damn well that when Iraqis who took that poll were assured the Americans weren't staying forever, that number dropped.

As for daily casualties, yes it's horrendous, but some of that is al Qaeda.

It's almost as if people haven't forgotten they're involved.


er have forgotten. But you know what I mean.


Aren't we losing a little perspective here, and simply taking the bait of the MSM? How many Americans have been lost since we've been in Iraq? More than have been murdered in the U.S. per capita in the same amount of time?

This isn't about America. It's not about threatening Iraq while making nice with Iran. It's not even about American politics, although that's unfortunately how it's all framed now that it appears safe to do so. It's arrogant to downplay the fact that we have allies in Iraq, for one thing. More particularly, although I haven't read the report, I have yet to hear what the Iraq Study Group defined as the objective in Iraq, or what the so-called problem actually is. Are we failing at the objective of taking Saddam out? No. How about failing at what was surely a side-objective of eliminating the Oil For Food gravy train? No. Is there any WMD prolifieration going on in Iraq right now? No. Which objectives are we failing at? Safeguarding Iraqis from enemies both foreign and domestic? If that's the concern, what could be better for these enemies than what we're doing now? Besides, so what if some Shias kill some Sunnis? If the objective was to eliminate that, would withdrawal be on the table? Uh... No.

We went in there for multiple reasons, none of which was to find a way out. Most of those agitating for that way out are not friends, or even consciencious peaceniks, but transparent enemies. Otherwise, they'd have the same position on whether there should be police in Detroit or Washington, D.C. Maybe they think they're only enemies of Bush, but defeating Bush is the same as defeating us. All of us, and many more innocent people who depend on us.

The way things are shaping up politically, Islamic terrorism will surely come here. Kids will be killed in their schools, and people will be cowed. Remember what happened to the airline industry and the entire economy after 9/11. I don't know about you guys, but it doesn't appear likely to me that that the American people will be able to deal with it when it does eventually happen.


Do you folks think Bush will allow Iran to obtain nukes?

I'm of the opinion that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Once Iran shows that the US is all bluster and no balls every Middle Eastern and third world despot, crackpot and Mullah will race to get them and this unchecked proliferation inevitably will usher in Wretchard's Third Conjecture.

Hell, we came close to nuclear war with just two antagonists, neither of which had any aspirations of achieving immortality in paradise through martyrdom.

Bush must understand this. He has stated that he will not allow Iran to acquire nukes. He has generally done what he said he would do, particularly in matters of great import.

Just because he hasn't acted yet many seem to feel he has lost his nerve. I suspect he has his own idea of when to act.

It seems hard to believe he'll allow Iran to get nukes, because it seems hard to believe that he can imagine that they could get them and the world could avoid unchecked proliferation and certain nuclear conflict.


A look at this blog confirms that consensus among all will not be reached, though it seems to me that the views of the regulars on this blog are getting to be a smaller and smaller minority position.

It will be interesting to see what the decider decides about the Baker report.


Oh. I know what he'll do with it-He'll pretty much ignore it as he should.

What he should do is some adjustments on the ground..like forcing the Iraqis to hold and try those thugs our troops arrest committing acts of violence.

Like actually arming the Iraqis.

Like holding Maliki's nuts to the fire on Sadr.


OT...but Clarice...MJW has posted a link to a new "Libby" filing under the "Day in the life of Lewis Libby" thread...would love to hear your take.


clarice - The problem isn't that the Iraqis are not armed. The problem is that they are armed and are killing each other and are killing our troops.

Adjustments are not going to improve things, nor is staying the course going to improve things. The decider has two more years to keep deciding.


Iraqis have to step up now. If the Sunnis don't want to compromise and become a part of the government then they need to be marginalized. sadr needs to be eliminated unless he gets on board with the new government. He has been a thorn in the peace process since day one. The only time he gave in was after he was hit in the arm while he was holed up in a mosque. Deport him and move on with the plan to stabilize the government. If his supporters kick up a fuss take them out. It's time to play hardball with the insurgents, not placate them.


Deport him....... Posted by: maryrose | December 07, 2006 at 07:49 AM
Maryrose, this a**hole has a warrant for murder. It's no wonder the place is lawless when alleged perps like this are allowed free rein or are even idolized.

The comments to this entry are closed.