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January 05, 2007

Comments

Don

oh please. Just go pull the Bush-2000 candidate's remarks about the wisdom of "nation building" if you want a good laugh.

ed

Hmmm.

IMHO I don't think the issue is necessarily too few troops. I think the primary issue is that nobody seems to treat this as an actually ... you know ... WAR.

Let's use the Wayback Machine for a moment. During WWII when the Allies prepared to liberate France did they:

A. Ensure an active native resistance movement capable of acting as local intelligence sources to provide in-depth local intelligence for battlefield, post-battle and anti-guerilla purposes?

B. Don't worry, be happy.

C. Consider how it'll look in the NYT.

Another one, same scenario:

A. Form the Free French military units that provided a nucleus for forming a new French polity along with obvious utility in combat, anti-guerilla and propaganda operations?

B. Don't worry, be happy.

C. Worry about it'll look in the NYT?

...

Frankly there are a lot of examples of what works and doesn't work in such instances. My irritation is that the current command, such as it is, doesn't seem to treat this as an actual fighting war. The Rules of Engagement are one significant indicator. Another are the ridiculous rules that govern how capture insurgents are treated and then ... ta-dah! ... released.

Unserious people involved in serious issues.

Don't worry, be happy!

Don

Here: I'll do it:

October 3, 2000

The First Gore-Bush Presidential Debate:

" MODERATOR: New question. How would you go about as president deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force, generally?

BUSH: Well, if it's in our vital national interest, and that means whether our territory is threatened or people could be harmed, whether or not the alliances are -- our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force. Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear. Whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be. Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win. Whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy. I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders."

P.S. 9-11 changed everything!

Foo Bar

iraq - Failure Of Conception, Or Execution?

A failure of capitalization, I'd say.

boris

United 93: Failure Of Conception, Or Execution?

Sometimes you just gotta do the best you can do.

Birkel

-OR-

Perhaps is not a failure because the time frame through which such a judgment could be made at this point is simply too short for proper evaluation.

(Example stolen from Victor Davis Hanson)

Perhaps we should consider Reconstruction of the South a failure because after 12 years the project was abandoned. Oh, for the days when we can look forward to the American South being a full-fledged member of the Union.

/sarcasm

BumperStickerist

The only option that avoids 80,000-100,000 US troops stationed in the Middle East for the past 4.5 years is to have had no UN Inspections in Iraq at all.

Period.

The question for Andrew and Matthew (and Kos, and cetera) is this: Should UN Inspectors have to be in Iraq at all?

If the answer is 'Yes' - then we know that it took a massive deployment of US Troops to Kuwait to convince Saddam to allow 17 UN inspectors in his country.

We also know that Hans Blix self-reported through CNN the tremendous logistical difficulties faced by the UN to put 17 inspectors into Iraq.

Leave aside the Oil-for-Food scandal and the bribery stuff - at its peak capability the UN could put around 100 of its Inspectors in a Saddam-controlled Iraq.

Just how comfortable is Andrew with the ability of 100 or so inspectors to do their job and is he prepared to pay the costs associated with keeping 100,000 troops in Kuwait until the inspectors complete their mission?

.

Barney Frank

Matt Y comes close on Kosovo and Bosnia vs Iraq but doesn't get to the larger picture. The reason Kosovo and Bosnia were so much easier is partly, as Yglesias points out, because we haven't held them to the same standards as we have the Iraqis.
But its mostly because in the Balkans we had an artificial country composed of several incompatible nations disintegrating and we assisted them in redrawing their borders and seperating.
In Iraq we have an artificial country composed of several incompatible nations which we are attempting to hold together.
We were not 'nation building' in the balkans. We are in Iraq.
Now that doesn't mean Iraq is doomed to failure, only that it will be a difficult, expensive and drawn out project. One which I unfortunately doubt we have the patience for. And more importantly, given our unwillingness to deal with Iran, Syria or to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia it might not be possible at all. The other thing the Balkans lacked which Iraq has in spades is meddlesome neighbors determined to defeat us and supply our enemies.

happyfeet

The status quo in Iraq is sustainable and is better than lots of possible alternatives. Americans have become such pussies.

clarice

Better yet, there is little coverage of the aftermath debacle in the Balkans and since most of the awful stuff is done under an international flag it--like the UN peacekeepers' raping young children around the globe--is immune from criticism.

I have no idea whether it is even possible ever to answer such a question. Anyone who had the slightest notion of what was involved would have told you that the war would be easy, the aftermath hard.
And anyone who knew anything about such things would have told you it is impossible to do such things in an error-free way.

cathyf
The status quo in Iraq is sustainable and is better than lots of possible alternatives. Americans have become such pussies.
It looks to me that if reforming the islamofascists doesn't work, then our only remaining option is to commit genocide against 1 billion muslims. I myself would rather be really really really really sure that Plan A is really a failure before moving onto Plan B. I have observed that there seem to be lots of people out there who are quick to say that they see failure, but I don't believe them. If they really saw failure then they would be moving on to organize genocide.
southside

Clarice,
Thank you for that comment. My husband left Wed for Baghdad for another year's contract in Iraq. He previously spent 18 months, Feb 2004-August 2005 and has been back periodically since. Most of those he works with have been in country on and off for the last three years... Many of these including my husband are retired military; they do logistics, engineering, security, construction. In many ways they have more continuity than the active forces. The same with State(huge factor in what went wrong argument)
Their stories are made up of unbelievable success and frustrating failures mostly due to tactical and institutional blundering. Yes, there have been strategic mistakes, but not for one moment does he believe the project itself was anything other than a neccessary and noble cause.
I cannot even begin to do justice to the incredible stupidity that is part of operating in a war zone where the guys on the same side are more interested in protecting their own department. If there is blame to be passed around my vote goes to bureaucratic idiocy and the fog of war. There is no pre war planning that can adequately take that into account, but that aspect most certainly does not negate the rightness of the war.

Don

"If they really saw failure then they would be moving on to organize genocide."

What if every one is not as mindbogglingly stupid and immoral as you?

Try to think outside the sadistic box.

clarice

You're welcome, southside , and best to you and your family. I have known people who served there in the military and for the DoD and they say much the same thing. On a daily basis some really wonderful studd is going on, there are many brave and decent Iraqis risking all in this endeavor, and there is--as one unfortunately must expect--lots of bureau-nuttsiness.
What really burns me up though, is that the worst stuff was done by DoS under Powell and Bremer and they remain --like UN peacekeepers--immune from scrutiny or blame.

clarice

***stuFF***(I have this new supersecret see thru the screen stuff, and a glimpse of PUK made me type studd instead.)*wink*(

happyfeet

Don - that's just mean. There's nothing sadistic about genocide unless you actually *enjoy* doing it.

Don

Happyfeet-if genocide is your first (and only) option after "reform", I'd say there's an element of pleasure there.

southside

It is precisely the bureau-nuttiness as you descrbe it that leads me to forever reject any conspiracy theory of large porportions. Petty intrique is one thing, but herding cats is not possible. I think that's why so many leftists are conspiracy nutters; they fervently believe that someone can dictate human behavior whether in the marketplace or government.

Here, here, on the Iraqis, there are many taking all sorts of risks for a better life that we take for granted.

Completely concur on DoS. Will it ever be possible to clean out Foggy Bottom?

steve sturm

Perhaps this is a difference without distinction, but bringing democracy to Iraq was simply a component of Bush's big goal, which was to turn Iraq into a peaceful, free market, enlightened (i.e., Western values), democratic beacon of hope that would inspire all the oppressed people of the world, especially in those countries whose leaders sponsor terrorism, to rise up against the tyrants and to turn their countries into a peaceful, free market, enlightened (i.e., Western values), democratic beacon of hope for the ever-dwindling number of oppressed people of the world... with the end result that we would have a world in which there was no hate, there was no war, there would only be people sitting around the campfire, drinking coke and singing Peter, Paul and Mary songs.

And viewing Bush's goal this way, he was doomed from the start... for the simple reason that the Iraqis don't want to be a peaceful, free market, enlightened (i.e., Western values), democratic beacon of hope that would inspire all the oppressed people of the world.

Thus, no matter how much tinkering he does - more troops, firing generals, whatever - he has absolutely no chance of accomplishing his impossible dream. No chance then, no chance now, no chance a year from now.

Interestingly, since Bush had no chance of pulling it off, no matter what he did, all of the armchair generals who criticize him for having done X or for not having done Y are equally delusional in thinking that their ideas would have worked better.

happyfeet

Don - I guess that's possible, but it seems that genocide as a fallback position has come about largely from what I think is a mistaken perception that we've exhausted ourselves and the possibilities, not from some kind of incipient bloodlust. And I seem to hear the "let's just blow them all away" idea come much more often from my lefty friends than from my Republican friends. Given the news coverage we've had, it doesn't seem "mindbogglingly stupid and immoral" for some people to be unable to imagine bringing fresh energy to a constructive, new approach in Iraq or against terrorism. Listen to NPR for a couple weeks and you too may soon agree that the world is shit, America is shit, it's all shit, Nancy Pelosi is super-neato, Republicans are shit, democracy is shit, capitalism is shit...

maryrose

DoS has been a huge disappointment under Powell and Armitage. The current libby fiasco has its roots in State's powerful fighting with the White House.
I feel better now that Condi is in charge. powell in sour grapes mode never has anything positive to say about the administration.
OT: i heard clinton's back on Capitol Hill trying to recapture some of his faltering mojo. Hello, Clinton, the 90's are so over! You built a shaky bridge to the new century and you are now slavishly attempting to be a player again. Meanwhile, back at the ranch,Hil just wants you to stop sucking all the air out of the room so she can get on with her bid for the presidency. Reminder to the Clintons: New York State is not the rest of the country!

cathyf

Gee, if I were going to assign the adjectival phrase "mindbogglingly stupid and immoral" to anyone, I would be hard-pressed to find a more deserving target than those who would sabotage all of our efforts to find and carry out a solution to our islamofascism problem which is less than genocide.

You are the one who wants to take away all of our choices besides genocide, Don.

PeterUK

Clarice,I hope there is some good studd going on in Iraq,wouldn't do to get the reputation of fun killers.

clarice

I told you I could see thru the screen PUK, so why did you don that pink chenille robe? It doesn't do a thing for you.

Don

CathyF-can you entertain the possibility for one second that our involvement in Iraq is making our Islamofascism problem WORSE?

happyfeet

cathyf - I think in your heart you know that Don doesn't want genocide to be the only option on the table.

happyfeet

Don - that's just Friday-afternoon crazy talk. Love each other people. I'm going to Starbucks.`

PeterUK

It can be done, as any study on Roman or Mongol history will tell.
Defeat the enemy militarily,create prosperity and stability in areas where possible so the locals will fight to keep it.Install leaders favourable to you.Train local militia to do the fighting.When necessary take punitive action against dissident forces,quick,nasty and brutal.
The basic concept,life under you is better than strife

PeterUK

Goes with my eyes Clarice.

maryrose

PeterUk;
Obviously sylvia has some good studd living next door to her which she can't appreciate because she can't tell them apart.
happyfeet: Agreed Friday afternoon crazy talk.

Don

Ok-you've got an alien culture with a way of life you regard as immoral and a threat to your existence. You see no way to "reform" these freaky people-so genocide is your only option...

Or maybe you could just hijack some planes and fly them into Riyadh office buildings and terrorize them into retreating across the seas forevermore.

Small minds think alike.

clarice

You know the last figures I saw on this--about a week ago, Iraqis are becoming far more prosperous.

Outside of Baghdad, much of the country is thrumming.

We are working under enormous difficulty and yet we had three free elections, are vastly improving the economic climate and the utterly destroyed by Saddam infrastructure. In an atmosphere of less self-hatred of ourselves, most people would regard the progress as quite good.

We have to continue the course PUK outlined and do a better job on the Iran and Syrian borders.

Terrye

Don:

If this is such a crazy idea why didn't the liberals tell that to Clinton when he suggested doing this very thing, bringing democracy to Iraq. No one laughed at him or told him he was crazy or that the Iraqis were too alien to want to live like "regular" people. This only became a crazy idea when the man suggesting it had an R behind his name and thus shortly thereafter Democrats began to undermine the effort for the sake of short term political gain. As usual when they had to choose between party and country...party won.

I don't think it is a debacle or hopeless or anything else of the kind. I have no idea what will happen in the long run of course, but given the death toll of Saddam's regime, the violent history of Iraq it is simply not realistic to think that in a few short years the place will turn into Finland.

lonetown

I like the false dichotomy.

I presume there is no way things would have been worse if we left things as they were?

Complete nonsense, of course, but I guess that is the essence of punditry.

lonetown

I like the false dichotomy.

I presume there is no way things would have been worse if we left things as they were?

Complete nonsense, of course, but I guess that is the essence of punditry.

clarice

If we did nothing, the Dems would be citing Clinton and Gore et al. demanding we do something. If we'd just invaded and turned over the keys to the locals, they'd be bitching we always support dictators. If it ain't one thing, it's another.
Personally, I sort of wish the day after we took Baghdad we called the Mullahs and said"Next".

Bob

Because Terrye, Clinton was going to do it the way he did in North Korea. He would cook up some silly paper agreement and claim victory, just as Neville Chamberlain did with the Germans. Liberals like Don love to talk ad nauseam!

Don

Terrye-your useless partisan analysis is as irrelevant as it is false: "As usual when they had to choose between party and country...party won."

A majority of Americans voted for Democrats in 2006-a majority of Americans now want to withdraw from Iraq. 23% of Americans approve of Bush's war leadership.

A majority of Americans are opposed putting their love of Democrats above their love of country and actively hoping for the defeat of the United States?!

And I thought Iraq had problems.

happyfeet

If things would have been worse the way they were we should definitely make sure that when we leave things are at least not any worse than the way they would have been. Vote Democrat.

clarice

OT: On day teo of the most open, honest and ethical Congress:
(1) Wm Jefferson illegally uses Congressional stationery and franking privileges to send out a fund raising letter
(2) Mollohan under federal investigation for corruption is put in charge of overseeing the FBI budget.
(3) And Murtha will be overseeing the defense budget.

In the words of the great Don Surber:
"Forget that investigation of Mollohan. He now chairs the subcommittee that oversees the FBI budget. Some swamps are drained, others are protected wetlands.

Murtha chairs the subcommittee overlooking the defense budget. His brother will be lining up the suitors on K Street."

lonetown

This sounds so much like the argument over the Soviet Union.

People like Don and Happyfeet could see no benefit in taking on the cold war or even in trying to win it.

To think the average Iraqi will not be overwhelmingly favorable toward GWB, shows haw insulated and self serving you thinking is.

Bob

OT but good Friday laugh!

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20070105/D8MFAGLO4.html>Keep People Out of Wash, Label Warns

Thank you lawyers!

PeterUK

It must be comforting to the world community to know that under the Democrats and their handmaidens in the MSM the only super-power can never fight another major war.Of course Iran and Syria knew that all they had to do was wait out the George Bush presidency for America to fold.
How the world laughed at Vietnam,the Tehran Embassy and Mogadishu,America may as well don a clown suit if she runs in Iraq.
Can Taiwan or South Korea be far behind?

Don

hey PUK-you Brits surrendered your empire (though you still had a pretty good run after failing to quell the American insurgency).

How's life in post-Empire UK?

And if you have a reason why one American should die to keep Taiwan free, do tell.

boris

And if you have a reason why one American should die to keep Taiwan free, do tell.

Sorta depends on who the one "American" is don.

PaulL

It's going to take a lot more than providing a link for me to read Andrew Sullivan--maybe, maybe, a gun to my head would do it.

In recent months it's become all the rage to talk about the mistakes made in Iraq, usually without mentioning them specifically. In that way everyone can nod in agreement, because everyone knows there were mistakes made, just that different people consider different things to be the mistakes.

At least TM mentions some specifics, but the three specifics are not convincing--there are good counters to each policy position. As a matter of fact, there are good counters to ANY AND EVERY policy position, bar none. And no matter what the President decides to do, he will have 2/3 of the country saying it was the wrong decision or could have been implemented better.

In my opinion, the Rules of Engagement should be changed or forget it.

Iran and Syria should be dealt with harshly instead of just having to hear the comments Rumsfeld and the President made, that the countries were being "unhelpful." I sure hope that things are being done behind the scenes and that it's not all in the imagination of Seymour Hersh. Otherwise, if we literally are letting Iran get away with murder, it's incomprehensible.

happyfeet

lonetown - I think you are absolutely right about the average Iraqi. I think we have earned an enormous amount of goodwill among the Iraqi people - you know, for liberating them and stuff. If you look back - my whole point is to assert that we can hang in there with out current Iraq policy just fine and dispense with the kabuki "strategy change" theatrics. If you recall, that's pretty much the way we won the Cold War too. There's a lot to be said for just hanging in there.

PeterUK

WE gave it back Don,it was costing us too much money.

Now what about hearing your solution to Iraq.

Taiwan,still don't understand do you? A super power has to be credible,if you can't fulfill alliances and responsibilities you are a dead duck on the world stage,that include liberals.

Terrye

Don:

Isn't it interesting how if the Republicans win an election and a slim majority the Democrats claim the were robbed and if the Democrats win an election and slim majority they claim it is a mandate to do what you want. Well I don't know about the Democrats up there, but the Democrat who won here said he does not support cut and run. Now it is just possible that he was lying to the locals to get them to vote for them, but I would not consider that last election a bugle call to retreat just yet.

And yes, Clinton both in the Iraqi Liberation Act and in his speech to the Pentagon in 1998 did say Saddam had weapons, not only that he gauranteed us he would use them. In the Iraqi LIBERATION Act he called for the removal of Saddam from power the return of Iraq to the community of nations with the same chance at democracy other people have. If you don't believe me, go read the texts yourself. I am sick of giving this history lesson to liberals in denial.

And what is more most of the intel was gathered by that same administration. There is no reason to believe that Tenet would have been telling President Gore anything different than he told Bush.

And the Democrats voted for the force resolution giving the President authority to go to war.

Why do I say when forced to make a choice they chose party? Because they voted for war when it was politically advantageous for them to do it and then when things got difficult they saw an oppurtunity to exploit the situation and turn on Bush and the war and they did that.

I have often wondered if things would be different today if the Democrats had not decided to treat Saddam like victim, rewrite history and try to remake Iraq into Viet Nam. I honestly thought after Viet Nam I would never see a major political party use the troops like political fodder.

The Democrats, a party I was part of for many years, proved me wrong.

So don't get snarky with me. If Saddam Hussein was not worth going to war with, if he was not worth all this, then Clinton should have resolved the situation and normalized relations with Saddam and his murderous regime years ago. So why didn't he?

Jane

In my opinion, the Rules of Engagement should be changed or forget it.

Boy do I ever agree with that!

lurker

What do you think about staying with United Nations or divorce from them?

Don

Clinton? WMD? Water under the bridge Terrye. I live in today.

The only issue is escalate or withdraw.

A majority of Americans want to withdraw.

And, as a democracy, it would seem theoretically impossible for a majority to betray the country.

vnjagvet

Terrye:

Don's amnesia apparently extends back to the nineties. That damn legislation? It is a neocon hallucination, donchaknow.

clarice

From someone who does know what she's talking about.
http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/?p=1429

jerry

A fraudulent war on a shoe-string in 2003, wanders into a fog of testosterone for the 2004 elections, languishes in euphoric post-election unreality in 2005, slides into cynical neglect for partisan self-interest in 2006, morphs into a hypocritical troop buildup in 2007, slides into cynical denial in the name of Presidential pride until 2008, sanity thankfully returns in 2009 - the US withdraws and the economy takes 20 years to recover (speaking optimistically).

Terrye

The majority of Americans do not want to just yank the troops out of Iraq. The majority of Americans want to begin to withdraw troops as soon as is reasonable. Don't we all? The debate comes about when one talks about what is and is not reasonable. Four months, six months? A brigade or two at a time? Based on the facts on the ground of course. That could go on for awhile.

And no, Clinton is not water under the bridge. I get so sick of hearing Democrats call Bush a liar for saying the same thing Clinton did. As usual you have two sets of rules, one for the Democrats and one for the Republicans. And so anything the former president of the United States who actually made the removal of Saddam from power our national policy might have said about the subject does not count. But the present does not exist in a vacuum.

Kind of like the guy saying, Hey why should I pay child support? It has been nine whole months since I laid her.

But what do you care Don? After all, so we gave them our word? That means nothing. What's America's word? So what if there is a massacre? In fact if a couple of million die and you can somehow blame it on Bush, that is all good... right?

But they might not blame Bush, they might blame the Democrats. And if Iraq turns into Afghanistan and we have to go back in there someday after an attack on our country or our interests somewhere, who gets blamed?

The majority of people might not have supported Carter going after the mullahs in their infancy, but we would be better off today if he had.

After awhile people just get tired, but tired or not most Americans do not want to run. They just want it over.

I know a lot of people who voted for a Democrat this year who do not just want to pull out of Iraq, it seems there is some disconnect between the leadership and the new Congressmen and women. Quick, somebody tell the people of the 8th District in Indiana that Brad Ellsworth lied to them.

It is interesting however, that when there was no doubt that the majority of the American people and the Democrats in Congress supported the war... the die hard Bushbashers had no respect for majority opinion. They could have cared less. Now they think all of America is like Monty Python screaming Run away Run away, and somehow that means we do just that. Well wars on not fought on referendum. If they were the southern half of the United States would be the Confederate States of America and New York would probably be part of Canada.

Tell me why is it so important to the anti war movement to lose in Iraq? Why is removing a vicious dictator from the world and enforcing the resolutions of the saintly UN and giving the Iraqis an oppurtunity to vote such a bad thing?

What were the alternatives? In the long run it was inevitable that we would have to deal with Saddam. And given his track record what other way than bad could it end?

Terrye

The Iraq Liberation Act:

TATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Today I am signing into law H.R. 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998." This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress that the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi opposition that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the bitter reality of internal repression and external aggression that the current regime in Baghdad now offers.

Let me be clear on what the U.S. objectives are: The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and law-abiding member. This is in our interest and that of our allies within the region.

The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.

My Administration has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these objectives through active application of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The evidence is overwhelming that such changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership.

In the meantime, while the United States continues to look to the Security Council's efforts to keep the current regime's behavior in check, we look forward to new leadership in Iraq that has the support of the Iraqi people. The United States is providing support to opposition groups from all sectors of the Iraqi community that could lead to a popularly supported government.

On October 21, 1998, I signed into law the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, which made $8 million available for assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition. This assistance is intended to help the democratic opposition unify, work together more effectively, and articulate the aspirations of the Iraqi people for a pluralistic, participa--tory political system that will include all of Iraq's diverse ethnic and religious groups. As required by the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for FY 1998 (Public Law 105-174), the Department of State submitted a report to the Congress on plans to establish a program to support the democratic opposition. My Administration, as required by that statute, has also begun to implement a program to compile information regarding allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes by Iraq's current leaders as a step towards bringing to justice those directly responsible for such acts.

The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 provides additional, discretionary authorities under which my Administration can act to further the objectives I outlined above. There are, of course, other important elements of U.S. policy. These include the maintenance of U.N. Security Council support efforts to eliminate Iraq's weapons and missile programs and economic sanctions that continue to deny the regime the means to reconstitute those threats to international peace and security. United States support for the Iraqi opposition will be carried out consistent with those policy objectives as well. Similarly, U.S. support must be attuned to what the opposition can effectively make use of as it develops over time. With those observations, I sign H.R. 4655 into law.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

THE WHITE HOUSE,

Terrye

One more and then I will stop hogging the thread. This is a part of the statement Clinton made that same year when he explains bombing Iraq. Now maybe there are some folks out there that think America was not at war with Iraq when Bush became President, but we were not at peace either:

The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm's way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq's military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties.

Indeed, in the past, Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm's way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.

We must be prepared for these realities. At the same time, Saddam should have absolutely no doubt if he lashes out at his neighbors, we will respond forcefully.

Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.

And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.

Because we're acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.

Let me close by addressing one other issue. Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down.

But once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America's vital interests, we will do so.

In the century we're leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we'll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.

Tonight, the United States is doing just that. May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America.

PeterUK

The war with Iran begun in 1979 under the auspices of Jimmy Carter

PeterUK

BTW Where are all those who stamp their tiny feet and go into a hissy fit because this blog wasn't discussing Iraq?

Terrye

Peter:

Hiding.

You see these folks have the attention span of a gnat, so they think they have won the election, in a day or two there will be world peace let's go bitch about global warming or something.

They forget that Bush won an election too, in fact more than one in the last 12 years and in his election he got more votes than any President in history and he made it perfectly plan that he was actually going to try and have a victory in Iraq.

But that election was rigged doncha know. It does not count.

PeterUK

Wellthe democrats have got their running shoes on,"The Last Exit to Beltway"

Soylent Red

Vital interests, geopolitics, redrawing borders, blah, blah, blah.

I take my attitude from the spirit of Thomas Paine: Never, ever tolerate a despot. Anywhere. For any reason. Never.

When I watched Saddam drop, I cheered. Mass graves, rape rooms, and so forth were the only reasons I needed to support invasion. All of the other stuff was icing on the cake.

I would support invasion of any country with despotic mass murderers running them. And I don't care what flavor of President is ordering the bombing.

Likewise, in the postwar, my only separation is between those who want to set up their own democracy, and those we ruthlessly hunt down and kill. I don't care if you are Sunni, Shiite, or Lesbian Biker for Jesus. You either are pro-democracy, or are our enemy.

You don't negotiate with the enemy. You don't placate them. You don't try to understand them, or treat them as equals. You identify them and kill them.

I realize that's a very un-postmodern way of thinking, and I've probably just set some stinky moonbat's eye to twitching, but that's exactly the way of thinking that has preserved us this far. Don't mess with what works. Confront and subdue anything that opposes your way of life.

America does well when America does good. If anyone would like to tell me why wiping out enemies of democracy and their henchmen is "immoral" or "illegal"(or any of the other hackneyed adjectives favored by the left), I'd be fascinated to hear the rationale.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

Naming Petraeus to Abizaid's job does not bode well for a successful outcome. Petraeus was far too willing to take casualties by going along with the stunningly stupid catch and release program that was a centerpiece of sorts for the idiotic 'hearts and minds' nonsense promulgated by Casey and Abizaid.

Gates is stumbling in the gate - there are plenty of full birds who executed their missions with minimal losses in Iraq. Gates seems to be doing the Pentagon shuffle rather than reaching down and bringing up fighters who know how to get the job done.

The reconstruction project is just about complete and the Iraqis have received more of the 'hearts and minds' crap than they know what to do with. More of the same won't cut it. Changing the ROE is far more important than changing brass hats.

Terrye

All I can say is I am glad that the Republicans did not look at all the mistakes made in WW2 and say to themselves, Time to undermine Roosevelt, kiss up to the enemy and hope for defeat, it might win us the White House.

clarice

Rick, I hope you're wrong..Catch and release IS stupid and hearts and minds are more easily swayed when there has been a clear cut victory and there's no where else to go.
PUK sent me this--I love Phillips and I think her sense of the direction the wind is blowing is closer to my own.

http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/?p=1429

Terrye

Rick:

Maybe we should wait and see what Bush's plans are before we start talking about mistakes. Some of these people like Gates, have only been in there for a few weeks.

Specter

Don,

As usual you have spouted a tremendous amount of rhetoric with no proof. Dems won by a very small majority vote - not a mandate. I will also point out that many of the dems elected are not of your liberal branch of thought - they are more mainstream. The most liberal of them all, Unready Neddy, got trounced and now Lieberman is the most powerful Senator - and is POd at netroots like you!

I will also point out that according to the biased AP/IPSOS poll done, 56% of Americans - in other words the majority - do not believe that democrats have any plan whatsoever for Iraq. How do you reconcile those facts with your noodling?

lurkerOT:

Isn't Iraq government based on Shariat law?

lurkerOT:

Afhganistan - also based on Shariat law?

clarice

BTW per Rasmussen after only 2 days of a Dem Congress, Bush' approval rating is back up--now 45%.
I want to see more Pelosi, Frank, Jefferson, Biden etc etc on tv every day.

PeterUK

Read my link before you get your hope up the Dems are at the blocks ready for a quick sprint.

Rick Ballard

Terrye,

The President does not have the luxury of depending upon hope that a different general following the previous generals 'plan' will achieve a different outcome. The President has less than two years remaining, less if the Defeatocrats start fiddling with the defense budget (which they will). Gates knew he was taking over two months ago - roughly ten per cent of the time he has left in the job. If this is the best he can come up with regarding change then color me unimpressed.

I would be quite cheerful if it became apparent next week that the ROE had changed - and they well might. Perhaps the firing of the Secretary, the generals and Negroponte are indicative of a more significant change than the appointment of Petraeus would indicate but that needs to become clear very quickly.

lurkerOT:

"BTW per Rasmussen after only 2 days of a Dem Congress, Bush' approval rating is back up--now 45%.
I want to see more Pelosi, Frank, Jefferson, Biden etc etc on tv every day."

What are their ratings (Pelosi, Frank, Jefferson, Biden, etc., etc.?

clarice

Pelosi is at 43%. I don't know about the others.

narciso

Lets compare with the only other example of occupation, we have with regards to Mesopotamia. The Brits in 1914, in order to
challenge the Ottoman turk stranglehold in
the Middle East, sent an expedition to that
land. The trek from Basra to Baghdad, took
2 1/2 years mostly due to sizable defeats
at Kut Amara and Ctesiphon, as a result of
the former battle, the British garrsion
surrendered and the casualties were in the
tens of thousands. Once arriving there, they
set up a proxy regime, relying on the Sunni
bureaucratic class, legacy of four centuries
of Ottoman rule. They ignored entirely, the
rising Shia majority, ultimately leading to
the Thawra of 1920, which claimed nearly 2,000 casualties. This led to a political handover that made the naquib (regional
imam) of Bagdad, the first prime minister,
thus began a strong campaign to get out of
Mesopotamia.
This of course, created a powervaccum that then former RAF captain JohnGlubb would discover by 1927-1929, around the time of the departure of the main British force(as Pasha, would found the ArabLegion, and train the Jordanian army) dealtwith when the Al Queda precursors, the Ilkwan, proceeded to attempt what they had
already done a century before; (raid the Shia sanctuaries of Najaf and Karbala) The
Dulaiymi tribe (the tribe for which Al Anbar province is now known for) based Sunni army and security service proceeded to persecute all non Sunni-tribes, included
the predominantly Christian Assyrians in
the massacre of 1932. They consolidated their power, in the Golden Square group, which led the two coups against the Hashemite regime. Their leader was Rashid
Ali Ghailani (or Kailani) son of the first
prime minister, and at the time of the April 1941 coup, sponsored by Arafat's uncle Haj Amin Husseini, the former Mufti
of Jerusalem, turned Hitler associate. The
coup prompted another expeditionary force,
that proceeded to Baghdad, on a more expedited schedule, Upon arriving in
Baghdad, which required destroying the
network of oil pipelines in order to starve
the regime; the would be Nazi puppet split
but not before touching off the farhud, (pogrum)of Jewish residents of Baghdad,

One of the profiles in covardice of that
era was a Sunni politicos , was Nuri al Said, an associate of Lawrence, who served in a dozen governments between 1930 and 1958. Others were Musa Pachachi (of the clan of the current State Department's preferred candidate for ruler)and Musa
Sadr, the great grandfather of Muqtada,
and along with Jafar Askari, one of the
few Shiite prime ministers of the era. Excluded from politics and most aspects
of the bureaucracy, the Shia formed the
bulk of the growth of the ICP (Iraqi Communist Party)Another branch headed by Musa's son, Mohammed formed the Shia political movement of Al Dawaa. The former figure was of course, the leader at the time when Iraq, got involved in the '48 war, after that defeat, there was a massive repatriation of the remaining Jews in Baghdad. It is around this time, that the nominally secular proto fascist philosophy of Baathism, imported by Syrian emigres. further turmoil, fomented by the like minded Nasser, led to the 1958 coup, that
claimed both Nuri al Said, and the last
member of the Hashemite clan. The resulting
chief, Brig Karem Kasim, was supported by the Communists, and Baathism was nominally
anti-communist. It is at this point that
various intrigues by Baathist, including
Saddam's first appearance on the political
scene, occur. Ironically, the same Americans who had supported Nasser' challenge over the Egyptian monarchy; and
were proven horribly wrong in anticipating his pro-Soviet tilt, Miles Copeland (father of the Police's drummer, and inspiration for the Equalizer's Robert McCall)and James Eichelberger, directed Iraq policy leading to the '63 coup, which led the '67 coup, which led to Saddam 'coronation' in 1979.
In the interim, the Dawaa grew, and Saddam
moved against them, ultimately leading to the death of Mohammed and his son, in 1980
and 1999, respectively.
He did move significantly against a seemingly greaterthreat, Ayatollah Khomeini, who lived inNajaf, from 1963, to 1978, when he was exiled to Paris, as part of a treaty, thatSaddam would break only two years later. Almost all the major figures of the Shiarising tide; including Imad Mugniyeh's(former Arafat security chief, Hisbollah'sBeirut bombing czar, lead figure during lastsummer's Lebanon war)Fadlallah, chief religious inspiration for Hezbollah)Nasrallah, current Hezbollah head, Ibrahim Midhir aka Azziz al Abub, Soviet trainedHezbollah interrogator of William Buckley;all got their start in Iraq.
not Iran. Hesbollah, was formed by the imput
of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards upon the rump element of the Dawaa like Amal faction, in Beirut, not unlike the current
day influence of the Quds force in Iraq.

In the intervening period, Iraq turned strongly pro-Soviet, violently anti-Semitic,
and due to the pro Arab orientation of Gaullist foreign policy, strongly Franco-philic. The lead figure of this last trend
was Jacques Chirac, who expedited the Iraqi
nuclear energy program, whose flagship was
was the Osirak reactor. Ironically, France,
by providing sanctuary to Saddam's supposed
chief foe, Khmoneni, facilitated the Iranian
revolution, which became Saddam's pretext
for breaking the previous mentioned border
agreement, and initiating the Iran/Iraq war,
(based on some faulty advice by ex Savak
officials) This prompted the taking of sides
between predominantly Sunni (Wahhabi)Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt and the Iranian bloc of Lebanon, Bahrain et al. In that
capacity, the Dawaa did threaten Us interests in Kuwait, the Badr Brigades were
formed from defecting Iraqi conscripts, and
we know the rest of the story, as they say

lurkerOT:

ugh! Hope Bush goes up and Pelosi goes down.

Pete

Tom Maguire - Maybe this is not a either/or proposition.

It is extremely difficult to impose democracy. Many third world countries have flirted with democracy only to have a military coup overthrow the elected government. Pakistan has alternated several times between democracy and military rule. For there to be meaningful and lasting change, it has to come from within (the kind that we have seen in East Europe).

And whatever little chance there was of creating a stable democracy, it was blown by the Bush admininstration because a) they had to sell the war to the US public, and b) because of ideological blinders and constraints, and c) sheer incompetence.

Specter

ewwww....that gave me Clintonite flashbacks....LOL

Terrye

Rick:

I know that and so does Bush. And believe it or not he access to information that we don;t have. Now unlike some people I do not fancy myself a military expert. I don't feel comfortable second guessing Generals and people like Gates just because they have not whipped Iraq into shape in what I might consider a good time frame, like yesterday.

The Defeatocrats might be problem but so are all the arm chair generals.

Terrye

Pete:

Incompetence? puhleaze, this war has been fought with everybody watching. There were far more mistakes, far worse in Korea and WW2...but since people did not see it on cable it did not happen. And there have been a lot of fine young people lose their lives doing a difficult job, how about some respect? Acknowledgment?

The Phillipines? Thousands of American soldiers were abandoned without the means to defend themselves. Would MacArthur be a hero today? Not with this press he would not. But then again the Japanese would have slaughtered the press so no one would have seen the death march anyway.

It took years just to begin the Marshall Plan. After WW2 people in Europe were starving and the NYT was running editorials about the US losing the peace. In Korea the US had to make a record breaking retreat just to avoid annihalation.

I am wondering if we have gotten to a place where it is not even possible for America to really fight a war. Between all the people who think they can do the DoD's job better than he can and the opposition using anything and everything they can for short term partisan gain and the world media playing judge and jury for everyone maybe it is not possible. All the enemy has to do is hang in there and blow something up everyday.

Rick Ballard

"And believe it or not he access to information that we don;t"

Well that certainly explains the White House reception that Hakim received. The President obviously had the information concerning Hakim's relationship with his Iranian handlers and was just engaging in a super secret ploy that was a cunning plan designed to...

Actually, there's not much evidence at all that the President is receiving much in the way of truly accurate information concerning either the Iraqis or the Iranians. There would be a lot more dead mullahs, ayatollahs and imams if he were.

On the bright side, the religion of peace crap seems to have disappeared from public utterance.

Pete

The real arm chair generals here are the Iraq war proponents like William Kristol, who have been wrong time and again on Iraq.

Recently I read an interesting article about the Iraq statements made by Kristol during the past few years. Wrong, wrong, wrong again, wrong. And yet the guy fancies himself as an expert on Iraq.

Ditto for Lieberman who said more than a year ago that our Iraq policies were working and that we would be able to start drawing down our troops in 2007.

Part of the Iraq problem is that we pay too much attention to these "Iraq pundits" who have been repeatedly wrong.

Terrye

Rick:

Well you know Rick not everyone is as smart as you. Some of us are but mortals and make mistakes.

And what kind of reception did he get? Were you there? Do you really know what was said?

Terrye

Pete:

Part of the problem is that we think we can make all this work right now because we are tired of it.

We are like children on a long trip. Are we there yet Are we there yet.

I am not a big fan of Kristol's but in truth he was calling for Rumsfeld's resignation a long time ago. And Lieberman said he hoped we could draw down the troops.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen in Iraq if all the rest of us let it alone. It seems that so much of this is for public consumption. The terrorists are very good at that kind of thing and have talked about how the media is part of their strategy.

But the truth is fewer people are dying in Iraq now than dead when Saddam was around, but no one cared back then.

clarice

Rick, as Phillips notes the President was personally informed of the shocking evidence we picked up on theIranian intel-provacateurs proving the Mullahs were supporting both the Sunni and Shia thugs.

I am quite certain that is true.
Terriye, the most astute observer of America ever (Tocqueville) noted democracies have no patience with long wars--and that was well before the 24/7 news cycle.

The Prsident MUST prevail. If he cannot overcome this, we will never be able to do more than fight weak, defensive wars on our soil and serve overseas as a well-equipped meals on wheels program.

What is really astonishing to me is the persistent fight to foreclose DoD's intel gathering program, even by the handful of people in Congress who are in a position to recognize that we get NO actionable intel from our bloated, not very smart intel agencies.

Pretend you are a president who must make real time decisions--open up the NIE and tell me what use it is to you. (Then, remember, even if you follow it some leftist asshole in the bowels of Langley will ring up Kristof with some cock and bull story that you "manipulated" the intel because you ignored his overriden footnote.

Soylent Red

There's two very simple truths that Democrats ignore in this argument:

1. For many years we did nothing to shut down Saddam's killing machine. We are morally responsible for everyone we could have saved during that period, when we chose to do nothing for various reasons. However many that number is.

2. If we leave Iraq before the Iraqis can govern and protect themselves, we condemn millions of Iraqis to certain death, many of whom we will be morally responsible for because we could have stopped some or all of the killing by staying.

I don't know how the compassionate Left ever got to be so cavalier with human lives. We had a duty to these people that we shirked for many years. Now, when we've finally started down the path to doing the right thing, a segment of society wants to shirk responsibility again.

Pete

Terrye - The anti-war side has left Iraq alone. Bush got his war resolution. Bush got all the funding he needed. Bush got all the men and material he asked for.

The players in Iraq were the US armed forces under the direction of Bush. The "rest of us" have left it alone.

Almost four years into the war is not a "trip". It is longer than our involvement in WWII. And the honest truth is that the Bush administration has no accomplishments which can convince people that patience will deliver results. If you ask people for patience, you have to convince them that patience will pay off. We are burining hundreds of billions of dollars and yet Iraq is sinking further and further into violence. Iraq was not a hotbed of anti-US violence. Now thanks to the Iraq war it is one.

I've yet to see any analysis of how fewer people are dying now. If fewer people are dying now, why is the Iraqi middle class fleeing Iraq?

Terrye

Clarice:

I understand that. I also understand that the last time some intel specialist said "slam dunk" to Bush, Bush was the one who when it hit the fan was called a liar.

I also know that there is more going on than we are aware of. I don't expect the government to keep me on speed dial and let me know all the secrets.

Will Bush prevail? I hope so, but there is such a thing as political viability. I am not sure what is and is not politically viable. We shoud also remember than the majority of the population of Iraq is Shia so chances are some of their leaders might be people who Shia. That is just a fact of life. I am not saying we should allow these people to kill our troops, not at all. But if a Shia comes to the White House from Iraq and Bush does not shoot him on sight that does not mean he is caving.

Terrye

Pete:

Oh pleaze. Cindy Sheehan stalks the president. Zarwhiri starts sounding like Democrat memo complete with talking points and the Democrats by the way voted for this war too.

The Iraqi economy is booming, there are more businesses, more money flowing into that country now than in years and the population is not declining. I am not saying that no one is leaving, but it can not be compared to the millions that left when Saddam was president. And of course less people are dying now. No one seriously disputes that.

And the anti war movement has never answered the question then what? If we just leave then what? The UN has stated that the coalition forces should be there another year anyway. I think you need to answer that question. And yet the answer seems to be that there is no problem that can not be solved just be removing America.

clarice

The Iraqi "middle class" which is fleeing is for the most part the Baathist party members and supporters. In fact, I recall at the start of the invasion the internationalists predicted a major refugee crisis. Big tent cities were set up at the border. They remained empty and were dismantled.

The estimate of Iraqis murdered by the Saddam regime is 1 million. The number of Iraqi civilians killed in this endeavor is far smaller; occurs mostly in the Sunni Triangle; and is lower than it is in a number of big US cities.
The number of military killed is far smaller than the number of fatalities on our roads.
Soylent, J.R. Dunn, a brilliant man, may have an answer to your question.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/01/hegemonism.html

Soylent Red

It seems that so much of this is for public consumption. The terrorists are very good at that kind of thing and have talked about how the media is part of their strategy.

Now you're on to it Terrye.

Short of operating the battlefield in a media vacuum (which I would be all for, if feasible), this is what the future holds for every conflict. We'd better start to recognize that this is primarily an intelligence and media driven war.

Which is why when people disdain "hearts and minds" operations, I get nervous. "Hearts and minds" and aggressive ROE are not mutually exclusive. In fact, properly used, they're not even directed at the same targets. Let me stress: Properly used.

H&M is useful in fighting the media aspect of the war. Or I should say, it is useful when the media cooperates. With all the Bushhate, the media cannot be trusted to disseminate positive information to the public.

There has been a common media narrative about Iraq since the beginning. Once Saddam had fallen, that narrative was transitioned from "Is this war the right thing to do?" to "Determined Insurgency thwarts Imperial Hubris".

Knowing that, we can expect media cooperation in the H&M game only when their boy is in office. Conversely, we can expect flat out media confrontation (bordering on treason) with a Republican president who advocates agressive ROE.

That is, IMO, the situation we are in. At least until new media fully supplants MSM.

maryrose

Soylent Red and TERRYE:
Enjoyed your posts and agree wholeheartedly.
The Left doesn't have the cojones to fight the war on terror. Remember these people were the 60's hippies that wanted to "make love not war"They sported long hair, burnt draft cards and used their parents' money to go to college and not attend classes. They passed out flowers and went to peace rallies. I don't expect much from them and they have not aged well.

Soylent Red

Damn. Thanks Clarice.

Ever read a piece and say, to no one in particular, "Yeah! What he said!"?

Terrye

Soylent:

Yes, a part of me wishes we could just go in there and wipe out the militias. Just like that. Of course there is not any just like that to it. It would mean a hundred Hadithas.

And I also know that we can not expect the Iraqis to declare war on Iran. Although truthfully they have a right to.

I think their fear is that they will suffer the same fate the Viet Namese who sided with the US did, or the same fate they suffered when Saddam killed them in the hundreds of thousands more than a decad ago. They are trying to cover their asses.

But they need to stand up to the Iranians, not cower before them.

But these people fought a war with Iran that killed a million people. They lost hundreds of thousands under Saddam, maybe more. And the Sunni terrorists killed a lot of the Shia before Sadr became more than an annoyance. I suppose it was inevitable that they would start to fight back.

I have wondered how would Americans react under the same circumstances? But then I can not even imagine Americans being in that position in the first place.

But you are right. On one hand we need to win this thing, on another we might not be allowed to.

clarice

I am glad you liked it, Soylent. Send it around. It deserves the braodest circulation.

clarice

Of course it's a media (propaganda) war..and here's what that shmuck Armitage did making sure we'd lose it right from the start.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/10/richard_armitage_and_the_quiet.html

Soylent Red

Clarice:

As Arte Johnson used to say: "Veeeery interesting".

It would appear that, prior to Armitage torpedoing them, others had made plans for the turn this conflict would take.

All the way back, in fact, to 1998, before invading Iraq was illegal, immoral, a war for oil/Haliburton, fattening, etc.

But again, this goes to my previous point. The media will not be sympathetic to the key elements necessary to win the broader war if they perceive winning to be beneficial to a Republican. Unless it's a RINO they can manipulate, like Hagel.

What we need is a Republican sleeper inside the Democrat party...

Rick Ballard

Maliki doesn't appear to want any additional troops sent:

"President Bush told the prime minister he was ready to send additional troops, but al-Maliki said he would have to talk that over with his senior military officers to see if they were needed,"
while Representative Heather Wilson (R) has reservations about sending any and Representative Pete Hoekstra (ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee) is less than enamored with the new intelligence czar.

Perhaps there's a virus going around.

At least Fatah and Hamas are continuing their rather spirited debate in customary fashion. And the Ethiopians have adopted correct ROE for dealing with terrorists:

”They have dug huge trenches around Ras Kamboni but have only two options: to drown in the sea or to fight and die.”
Perhaps Gen. Petraeus will find the time to study them and implement something similiar.

clarice

Two of the "foreign fighters" killed by the Ethiopians in Somalia had US passports. That should focus the mind.

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