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July 27, 2007

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boris

Let's settle the question of the execution for flight 93 next.

We need to determine if Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham and others selected the optimal plan to retake the plane. Clearly the perfect plan would have resulted in a better outcome.

Bill in AZ

Sounds like a moore-onic one-sided crockumentary to me.

anduril

I'd like to link a really fine article by Doug Hanson at American Thinker. While the title, The Surge: Another View, suggests that the article is focused on relatively recent events, it actually probes much more deeply into the nature of the insurgency, etc.

The">http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/07/the_surge_another_view.html">The Surge: Another View

Jim in Chicago

Missteps there certainly were, but I'm not sure that what has happened since could at all have been avoided.

Under Garner, at first -- who seems to have been wholly Rumsfeld's man, no? -- looting etc occurred b/c we wanted to dominate the Iraqis as little as possible. A laudable approach as far as I'm concerned. As Rumsfeld said -- it's their country. And we already know how bogus the great claim of looting, the museum, was.

The turning point to my mind was when Bush got wet feet about the Garner/Rumsfeld plan of getting an Iraqi gvt in place asap -- 90 days was the limit iirc.

As for the old nonsense about keeping the Baath around and somehow reconstituting the Iraqi army -- and reconstitution is what would've had to be done, there was no army to dismantle -- what more can be said?

I was arguing with someone about the Baath recently, and that person said, well, we kept some Nazi party members around after WWII. To which my response is, the equivalent would be to maintaining Nazi party members in power in a post-WWII Germany that was majority Jewish.

What Garner et al miss is that the Baath were the instrument of Sunni domination of a majority Shia nation. It would have been ludicrous to allow that domination to continue, a repeat of the same mistakes made in 1990-91.

The same applies to the army, which was, iirc, dominated by a Baath/Sunni officer corps.

What needed to be done in 2003 was exactly what Rummy planned, which was a Shia-led gvt being quickly put in place, iirc with Chalabi helping lead and Sistani's quick imprimature.

But that plan was scuttled in pt b/c of the outrageous "looting" stories, and in part b/c of the CIA/State attacks on Chalabi, no doubt with the help of their Sunni friends in Saudi. Wouldn't want to miss out on all those post diplomatic corps "consulting" and "think-tank" jobs the Saudis finance.

To me, it continues to be outrageous that Rumsfeld, who's instincts and ideas were correct, gets the blame for all of this. The only thing I fault him for was for not standing up for his ideas when Colin Powell's State Dept took things over -- and remember, Bremer is a creature of State, a life-long diplomat, and connected with the same sort of "realist" Republican State Dept people -- recommended for the post by George Schultz, etc.

Rick Ballard

Boris,

Obviously they needed a better plan - even if they had been 100% successful in gaining control, was there anyone on board qualified to land the plane if the pilot and co-pilot were disabled? They should never have made the attempt without making sure that that the pilot or co-pilot were in good enough condition to make a safe landing.

"the long term goal of a stable and democratic Iraq"

I wonder what "long term" means? Protection of "individual rights", hell, the concept of "individual rights" isn't an identifiable part of the suicide cult's teachings. How long should one anticipate that it would take for the concept of "everyman's home is his castle" or the rights enunciated in the First Amendment to be embraced by cult members who flatly deny the "self evident truth" that we are all created equal? Shariah explicitly sets the value of a cult members word (and his intrinsic value) at double that of a non-cult member.

How long would we presume it should take for a cult member to renounce a basic precept?

kim

Jim, Sistani, and Chalabi, will still determine the future course of Iraq.

One is the Master of the Bazaar, and the other the Master of the Mosque.
===============================

clarice

Jim, I am in full agreement with you. Once again the goof ups get the credit and the smarties made the fall guys.

Jim in Chicago

I should qualify what I said before by noting that I don't think Iraq is by any means lost, or that it wasn't worth it.

Putting an Iraqi gvt in place quickly would've helped, but at the end of the day, we'd still be fighting a counter-insurgency due to the idiotic refusal of the Sunni to accept a democratic, Shia-led Iraq, and the result of this refusal might well be Shia brutality to them that matches their treatment of the Shia earlier.

clarice

Chalabi is still in Iraq. He is still a genius and he still is influential despite the CIA and DoS war against him. The Iraqi stock market, real estate market and currency are doing very well. I regard that as a sign that--despite the reports from native stringers to the bien pensants in the Green Zone Bar and Grille to the MSM, things are going reasonably well.

kim

The Sunni will eventually accept oil payoffs to function as buffer people to the Sunni/Shia divide.
=====================

maryerose

I agree that things are going much better in Iraq than what the msm is reporting. To that end I think the dems will be in a real pickle a year from now when they will have mistakenly jumped on the Clinton bandwagon. I think Obama is the biggest threat to repubs now. The African-American vote is his for the asking and Europe likes him also. Clinton is like a bad back to the future film.

boris

Shia have a democratic majority but can't stand against Sunni without help. What needs to happen is US help to create prosperous stability that Shia want to keep and are willing to share political power to do so and Sunni are willing to forgo armed conflict to accept.

As long as Al Qaeda can prevent prosperity and stability there is nothing to be gained by a Shia and Sunni deal.

narciso

You mean the same Barbara Bodine, who was in the Baghdad embassy; along with William Eagleton, another early ORHA/CPA hire (I'll come up with the National Security archive document link) at the time of the Anfal and anti Shia campaigns. Seriously, how would it have looked to keep the same people that acquiesced if not abetted the genocide of the ethnic majority of Iraqis. The same one who blocked John O'Neil's investigation into the Cole bombing; by running
interference for the Yemenis; forcing him out of the FBI and toward his security job at the WTC. It could have been worse, they could have brought Saudi bootlicker and PRC sychophant Charles Freeman out of retirement
to head the post. It's sad the department's
best Polymath, Hume Horan, was probably too ill to take up the post. He had ticked off
the Saudis in '87 reporting too honestly
on their Silkworm missile purchases and other intrigues fronted by Prince Bandar. It was decide they won't make that mistake again, enter Freeman, Fowler, Mabus, Jordan et al.Bremer was held in high regards because of his Counter terror position in the Reagan administration and the pre 9/11 Commission he headed which ticked off CAIR suggesting that more infiltrations and surveillance of likely Middle Eastern terror cohorts like foreign graduate students be applied. De-Baatification of the security services (Mukharabat, SSO, Amn-As) and the Army seemed no brainers. Despite Prince Abdullah's protestations to Woodward & Co. This is the same army that came very close to marching onto the predominantly Shia Hasa oil fields, and driving the Saud's into exile along with the Al Sabah's in Jordan, Egypt a little over a decade ago.

Frankly we kept too many of the Nazis employed;through the Gehlen Org, SS men like
Eichmann's deputy Alois Brunner manned the
Damascus station; founding their Mukharabat
and directing a post war WMD program against Israel from Cairo (it was the subtext for Forsyth's the Odessa file) Mengele, Barbie, (terror instructor for the Cocaine junta in the 80s)Sassen, Lebed, the Ukrainian partisan colloborator and rival of Bandera; were all ratlined to South America, Canada, et al.
even minor functionaries of death like Demjanjuk got the get out of jail free
card to America; log before Buchanan & Traficant took up their cause. They came in through the Lodge Act.

John McCloy, rehabilitated Krupp, Thyssen,
the Deutsch Bank board of Directors, as well most of the I.G. Farben infra-structure.(BASF, General Aniline, Bayer
sound familiar) Paperclip brought in the
seemingly apolitical technicians behind
the Nordhausen Peenemunde V-2 program; Von Braun, Rudolph, Dornburger; to run the Space program and the board of Bell Helicopter. Only Goering, Von Shirach, and less clever liars really faced the noose at Nuremberg. Not unlike Saddam and Chemical
Ali. Tariq Ali, Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax
seemed to get the kid glove treatment.

And now we learn through the NY Times, that the Saudis have been forging documents to
shape our abandonment of Malaki's government. We never expected that, from the home country of 9/11 hijackers, bulk of remaining Gitmo detainees, and at least 1/10th of our casualties in Iraq

From today's

Anything that comes from George Packer, who's wanted to earn the Halberstam role for this role; relying on Juan Cole, Col. Kwiatkowski's Fletcher Prouty (the Donald Sutherland conspiracy whistleblower in
JFK)like ramblings to Lew Rockwell & Anti-War.com. as historical fact seems suspect for me.

PeterUK

What is irritating about people like Ferguson,is that they measure the Campaign in Iraq against some perfect hypothetical and not against reality.For example casualty figures could be measure against German casualties in occupied Europe before Overlord,excluding casualties from allied bombing.It is worth remembering France was occupied from 1940 to the end of the war in europe.The former Yugoslavia saw much fierce partisan fighting,there still remains evidence of these struggles today. A vast cavern,still with railway tracks but entirely burned out,a German arms dump destroyed by partisans.
Similar attacks took place throughout occupied Europe.

RichatUF

What is irritating about people like Ferguson,is that they measure the Campaign in Iraq against some perfect hypothetical and not against reality

Ferguson is engaging in turnspeak and not really interested in pointing out the flaws in execution only in moving the his anti-war talking points forward. Nothing is really new and using Armitage, Powell, and Bodine [who was counter-terrorism director during the EA Embassy bombings and then Ambassador to Yeman for the Cole bombing] as the white hats is goofy. It was Powell's presentation at the UN the cemented the "case". It was his deputy, Armitage that lead the charge against Chalabi. It was Bodine, on the ground in Baghdad that put in place the passive defense-training strategy that no one seemed to like.

And isn't this all just old news...we knew that there was looting (though it wasn't as bad as the BBC made out), but shooting a couple hundred looters in the days after the fall of Baghdad wasn't going to make any measurable difference in a country of 25 million people on a piece of geography that is sitting on an ocean of oil, which is also surrounded by enemies of various levels of hatred.

MikeS

Not long ago all the violence around the world and particularly in the Middle East, was blamed on U.S. policies or Israeli settlements.

After four years of intense scrutiny of the war in Iraq, the real villains are becoming unmistakable. I think this realization is essential.

All the people in Iraq who are running around with purple fingers are starting to realize that extremists and extremism are tearing their country apart.

Pofarmer

Richard L. Armitage, the deputy secretary of state under Colin L. Powell,

Not very reliable sources, their. The initial invasion was supposed to be handled by DOD. Garner was put in place under DOD to handle any humanitarian crises that arose. Didn't happen. DoS was supposed to handle reconstruction, and getting partners on board for reconstruction. That didn't happen. How that can be Rumsfeld's fault is beyond me. Most of the "failures" in Iraq fall squarely on the useless beauracrats at the State Department.

JM Hanes

If a guy on the slab isn't dead when you start the autopsy, he will be when you're through.

RichatUF

from the review-

...Mr. Ferguson’s focus turns out to be fairly narrow. He does not dwell on the period between Sept. 11, 2001, and the beginning of the invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein

And it interesting that he doesn't dwell on the Clinton War in Iraq before the Bush II War in Iraq. How else does he propose to describe the Oil-for-Food program, the NFZ's, the embargo, the on-again-off-again inspection regime, or the coup attempts all of which failed miserably...none of these activities were cost free, but they don't fit into the 'war of choice' narrative that so many in Ferguson's circle seem to believe.

nor does he spend a lot of time chronicling the violence that has so far taken the lives of more than 3,000 American soldiers and marines and tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of Iraqis.

I suppose that it would be redundant to cover the violence, since the DNC-Media Complex is doing a bang up job documenting the violence with their "grim milestones". I will disagree with the "perhaps hundreds of thousands" charactization of Iraqi's killed. This is the context free number of the left, and has been pulled apart and picked over. Even the recent MIT critique shows how flawed it is. The tranzi-left just cannot for one minute accept that their plans and strategy are in the end worthless and in the case of Iraq [as bad as it is today] probably has saved more lifes than it has taken.

Instead, most of the movie deals with a period of a few months in the spring and summer of 2003, when a series of decisions were made that did much to determine the terrible course of subsequent events.

As if a few decisions by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Bremer made in 2003 are the operational DNA for the surge strategy currently in place today. And it is curious that Powell and Armitage get a free pass, in this deterministic look at that "what could have been" window "in the spring and summer of 2003". This was the period of greatest acrimony between the Powell and Rumsfeld factions and the highly disfunctional LTG Gardner administration. And why does Powell get a free pass, he ran State and they failed miserably vis-a-vie Iraq [the Northern Front through Turkey, few Arabic speakers, and a general laziness]. Not only did they fail, the State Department has been more interested in re-habilitating Powell's image. So this film is just another greatest hit in the Powell Image Rehabilitation Tour. I might try and catch the film when I have some time, but I'm not going out of my way when I can pretty much play the thing in my mind's eye.

cathyf
For example casualty figures could be measure against German casualties in occupied Europe before Overlord,excluding casualties from allied bombing.
Don't even look at that. In 4+ years, there have been ~3600 casualties in Iraq -- a bit less than 900/year. If you want a real perspective on that number, look at it this way: In the US, about 2300 babies die of SIDS (aka "crib death") every year. The majority of those SIDS deaths are from known risk factors -- second-hand smoke, putting babies to sleep on their stomachs, failure to breastfeed being the big three. So we can say that between March, 2003 and July, 2007, mommies and daddies and babysitters have been more effective killers of Americans than al Qaeda has...
JM Hanes

Narcisco:

It always amazes me that the same folks who slam the Administration for not anticipating the so-called consequences of disbanding the army have never seriously contemplated the downside of relying on it or utilizing it -- assuming you could even figure out who and where it was. What the complaint usually boils down to however, has very little to do with the political/military ramifications of deBaathification, but sees the lack of alternative employment as the most dangerous and debilitating result.

In a bizarrely ironic sort of way, such critics do have a point. Empowering a Sunni army would certainly have eliminated the need for an insurgency, wouldn't it?

clarice

A far more difficult problem I think and one rarely discussed is that in the absence of a personal banking system , many of the new troops were not paid in a timely fashion and when they were paid(in cash) rushed home to give it to their families. A friend of mine worked on the DoD reconstruction team and the inability to get salaries to those working with us was a big problem.

I do think Bremer dilly dallied on setting up a perfect civil administration structure and that Garner would have turned this over to the Iraqis sooner. Of course there'd have been the (endemic) graft and corruption but there are no easy choices.

Blues

What about Ferguson's interview with Saddam? Seems to me he and his cronies should be blamed for something.

As for all the looting, how are you supposed to stop it? Order American kids to fire on civilians? Somehow I don't think a re-enactment of the Boston Massacre would have been helpful!

Barney Frank

--On the other hand, if the war was winnable at the outset, then maybe the errors can be fixed and the war still "won".--

Tom, is there a difference between "winning" a war and just plain old winning one?
*************************

It seems hard to argue that Rumsfeld's and his generals' strategy of counter-insurgency-light was very effective. It's even harder to argue that Bremer wasn't a disaster.
That hardly means Iraq is unwinnable only that it's hard to win a war with lousy tactics.
What's amusing is to watch Bush, the supposedly rigid imbecile who lives in a coccoon finally changing course and implementing a sensible new battle plan. Many liberals, who pat themselves on the back for their clear thinking were, to their credit, the ones stating that more troops were needed early on. Now that more troops are there and doing what they claimed to want, they run away from their own policy as fast as they can. Is it possible they only wanted more troops because Bush didn't and now they don't because he does?

RichatUF

JM Hanes-

...the so-called consequences of disbanding the army have never seriously contemplated the downside of relying on it or utilizing it...

I've never full understood the argument either...maybe "disbanding the army" was a formality that in retrospect wasn't all that important

graf-

After the war, several of the more capable military commanders commonly noted four other factors that seriously affected military readiness: the mostly irrelevant military guidance passed from the political leadership to the lowest level of military operations, the creation of "popular" militias, the tendency of Saddam's relatives and sycophants to rise to the top national security positions, and the combined effects of the onerous security apparatus and the resulting limitations on military authority. Many senior Iraqi military officers blamed this "coup-proofing" of the regime for most of what befell the Iraqi army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

see here

Extraneus

Mistakes were made, undoubtedly, which in my view were mainly made by Bush and relate to his ineffectiveness in confronting domestic enemies. In addition to discussing our contingency plans for withdrawal, perhaps Edelman will use his opportunity next week to talk to Hillary about DOD estimates for how many fewer casualties we and the Iraqi civilians might have taken if it weren't for the Democrats' encouragement of the our foreign ones.

BOATBUILDER

The idea that Armitage has any credibility whatsoever, about anything, after the Libby trial is laughable. Or would be, if honesty, honor, or basic human decency carried any weight in these matters. (Obviously they don't, or we wouldn't have to endure John Kerry, Joe Wilson ... I could go on, but won't).

Carol Herman

The left can make all the movies they like. They own hollywood. They own the elite driven media. They can even review this crap well; and smack Oscars all over this crap. And, it still won't sell.

What it does, however; is create an under current. Not recognized at the surface. Where plenty of Americans are now really, really angry.

Let's see what happens when people go to vote?

In 2004 Dan Rather tried to tip the scales in favor of Kerry. Instead, he tipped the scales in favor of Bush. How? Answering that challenge is easy. Bush got 4-million MORE votes than Kerry. And, they blossomed at about the same time Dan Rather went on TV.

It cost Dan Rather his career.

While C-BS still has not figured out how to regain its former stature. Katie Couric hasn't delivered the female viewers. And, the whole young audience (under 25) upped and left.

What's becoming more and more apparent, though; is that this DEFEAT that the left wants to pass onto the rest of America, happens to be stuck to them. And, what they keep doing, so far only to themselves, is has the smell of defeat stinking them all up.

RichatUF

Barney Frank-

Is it possible they only wanted more troops because Bush didn't and now they don't because he does?

The question answers itself. I would disagree that "liberals...to their credit, the ones stating that more troops were needed early on". I would not disagree that the post-invasion was handled poorly (I thought it should have been given to Treasury and Commerce), but the problems post-invasion were not military per-say [as in personnel], and the lack of progress in reconstruction made the insurgency worse that it would have been otherwise [too many unemployed in hot weather].

Maybe I'm parsing this inartfully...more soliders on the ground in 2003 would not have made a difference in the political outcome in 2007. The numbers tossed about are trivial or unrealistic. The insurgency is more a creature of the reactionary political dynamic of the neighborhood than of a few weeks post-invasion in 2003. The left (or at least how it is presented in the media) thinks that armies are the same all around the world. Give them guns and a some uniforms and poof an army.

Creating a modern Arab fighting force is going to be the greatest challenge we face in Iraq. It is going to take time, and in some cases produce meager returns.

clarice

I think that's right, Richard.And I also think the surge is right and might have been undertaken a bit sooner. The country's infrastructure was a mess and once the Revanchists started up it became measurably more difficult to deal with that without more troops to provide security. OTOH it is unlikely we'd be seeing this same level of (necessary) public support if the enemy had not been so stupid and attacked civilians.

Barney Frank

Rich,

More troops do not by themselves guauantee victory but, especially with the evaporation of any Iraqi security forces, time and again the US would clear a city or province and then, primarily as we had neither sufficient US forces nor reliable Iraqi troops, we moved on and abandoned the cleared city leaving a power vacuum which would immediately be filled by one form of enemy or another. Enough troops to not only clear but hold would have made our job vastly easier.
And while not all or even most "liberals" were calling for more troops, the fact is that is where most of the non military calls for more troops came from.
Now, I was only facetiously giving them credit as of course they now demonstrate they were not even slightly serious; they were merely playing politics with our country and our troops. Big surprise.

clarice

"First, one of the principal purposes of the surge is to persuade the Iraqi population that we are going to stay in their neighborhoods until the Iraqi army and police can take over and bring an end to violence. Only when they have confidence that we will not abandon them to the terrorists will Iraqis come forward—as they now appear to be doing—with information about who among them are the terrorists, militia members and other killers, and where they can be found.

Accordingly, efforts to force the withdrawal of our troops at a time certain undermine this policy and the work and bravery of our soldiers. They cause Iraqis to doubt our promises of long term support, and weaken their incentive to assist us with intelligence. Timetables, then, and pressing for a quick withdrawal, become a self-fulfilling prophesy. In other words, if the surge fails, President Bush will not be the only politician who takes the blame.

Second, although Senator Reid and other war opponents can glibly claim that there is no hope that an independent Iraq can survive, there is one group that is truly expert on that question, and they clearly don't believe it. That group consists of the Iraqis who are now in the Iraqi government—from Prime Minister al-Maliki on down—who risk their lives and the lives of their families every day that they serve. They are Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, and all of them are targets of the insurgency and the terrorists of al Qaeda. What motive could these dedicated Iraqis possibly have to place themselves in such a position unless they believe that they can keep the country together and in the end produce a peaceful and unified state?

When we hear war opponents expound on the fact that the enmity between Shiites and Sunnis goes back a thousand years, and that it can't possibly be resolved by the United States in any reasonable period of time, we should think of the Sunnis and Shiites in the Iraqi government today, and whether they think this is a persuasive argument. If they did, they would have been gone long ago—now in Iran or Syria—trying to start their new lives. But they're not—they're in Baghdad—a completely irrational act unless they believe that this historic religious rivalry can be controlled and subdued. It is a wildly arrogant idea that we can tell them that their history cannot be overcome.

Finally, if—as seems apparent now—the surge is succeeding, opponents of the war are going to be hard-pressed to make the case for abandoning Iraq, even if there is no Shi'ite-Sunni political settlement in sight. The inconvenient truth here is that, apart from the irreconcilable Left, the American people's support for withdrawal has been based on an assessment that we were losing the war. If that no longer seems true, support for withdrawal will melt away. The Democratic leaders know this; that's why they made a concerted effort last week to get a vote on withdrawal in July. September, which will likely see a favorable report by General Petraeus, will be too late. Claims that the inability of the Iraqis to reach a political settlement is a reason for us to leave will ring a bit hollow in the face of a possible military success. After all, the American people have noticed that our Congress, unthreatened by anything more serious than an upcoming election, couldn't pass an immigration bill, can't eliminate earmarks or adopt ethics rules, and can't agree on energy legislation when gasoline is $3.50 a gallon. Politicians, they know, will be politicians, but that doesn't mean we should hand our enemies a victory instead of a defeat.

Nevertheless, because weakening the will of the American people is the only way that al-Qaeda and our other opponents in Iraq can hope to win, between now and September we will see an all-out effort to inflict heavy casualties on our troops and on Iraqi civilians. Unfortunately, this can be a winning strategy. If we are unprepared for it, a bad August and early September could still lead to a collapse in public support that would even sweep congressional Republicans with it. We should not forget that the North Vietnamese Tet offensive of 1968—although it resulted ultimately in a military defeat for the North—became a turning point in the war because it destroyed the American public's belief in our ultimate military success. A series of spectacular and dramatic attacks could do the same for our enemies in Iraq. They know that, and we should expect them to try.

But if these attacks do not occur—or if they do and are quickly quelled—the success of the surge will be an inconvenient political truth that many in the Democratic party will not easily survive. "


http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=072707A


windansea

Nifong Syndrome is “the mind virus that causes otherwise intelligent people to embrace likely falsehoods because they validate a preconceived belief.”


stolen from Kathleen Parker

TerryeL

I have to wonder why the United States ever bothers to have other countries sign cease fire agreements if we are not going to enforce them? And why complain about a man like Saddam for years, make his removal national policy, endorse the concept that he is a dangerous man with wmd and then complain about whether or not it was a good idea or a bad idea to depose him, when he is dead and gone.

So, now the Hollywood experts have their experts do a film and blah blah blah.

I realize that people think there is an easy way to depose a dictator, subdue a country of 25 million people and rebuild a nation with a destroyed infrastructure and a traumatized citizenry...but these people always show up after the fact and they are never people who really matter. They do not have to make the decisions, carry out the plans, back up what they say. All they have to run is their mouths.

Let us imagine for a moment the reaction of the American people and the world in general if American troops had started mowing down looters.

Let us imagine the reaction of the Shia majority if we had chased down Saddam's fleeing army and begged them to come back and take over the country.

Some things are just hard. That is all there is to it. And btw, back in 2003 when this all started I thought we would lose more than 3,000 people before we got to Baghdad. After all, it is a war not a civics project.

clarice

Brava, Terrye

coolpapa

JM Hanes -

"It always amazes me that the same folks who slam the Administration for not anticipating the so-called consequences of disbanding the army have never seriously contemplated the downside of relying on it or utilizing it..."

It always amazes me that people still think "folks who slam the Administration" are arguing from principle. It wouldn't have mattered if "the Administration" had disbanded the army or not. The critics/"slammers" would have argued that we had made the Iraqis worse off either way.

Whatever happens, according to the meme, is always Bush's fault.

Garth

so this is where all of the 18%er's hang out.

RichatUF

Barney Frank-

More troops do not by themselves guauantee victory but, especially with the evaporation of any Iraqi security forces, time and again the US would clear a city or province and then, primarily as we had neither sufficient US forces nor reliable Iraqi troops, we moved on and abandoned the cleared city leaving a power vacuum which would immediately be filled by one form of enemy or another. Enough troops to not only clear but hold would have made our job vastly easier.

This was a problem of strategy not of numbers. I hate to be ghoulish about it, but the problem has always been the international media spin in the Greater Baghdad area. If the "clear-and-hold" strategy was the position at the beginning there would not have been a need for offensive operations in and around Baghdad in 2007. I think the surge strategy is correct and should have been policy much earlier, but the federal gov't takes a while to change course.

This is also a problem that goes to the heart of creating a modern Arab army [and a police force]. The problems weren't in the de-Baathification, the problem was there was no institutions left to breath life into. The problems on the ground were a hell of a lot worse, both in infrastructure and in institutions, than the media will ever portray.

My criticism (this is about a Powell image rehabilitation project after all) is that focusing on these few weeks in 2003 is irrelevent to what Gen. Petraeus is going to report in mid-September 2007.

Garth

how exactly does the media spin prevent the electricity from functioning or cause American casulties?

we have been in Iraq four years and innumerable corners have been turned.

does media spin create real ammunition to shoot at our troops as they patrol baghdad providing easy targets and no security?

does media spin train mortar commandos, improving their green zone accuracy...

maybe our media is to blame for Iraqi Parliamentary failure to develop a cohesive national plan for the country.

who thought it would be this site to revise the classic Smith's tune;

Media is murder.

RichatUF

Garth pipes in...


Media is murder

When they operate had in glove with our enemies it certianly is. I see that you didn't bother to read the thread or the context of my comments.

You must be one of the 14%-ers

TerryeL

Well garth the media encourages the terrorists to blow things up. They have a symbiotic relationship.

And of course the media would say that the Bushies "claimed" the people taking aim at the green zone were trained by Iranians, as if the administration were just making it all up.

Back before the war Saddam nearly destroyed the ecosystem of Iraq by draining the marshes. Who cared? Saddam used to turn off the electricity to the Shia south so that the Sunnis in Baghdad would have power. He spent the money he stole from the food for oil scam on palaces and illegal weapons instead of electrical grids, and who cared? Back when Saint Bill was president we were hearing that 100,000 children were dieing every year from the sanctions that the Clinton administration helped maintain because of Saddam's weapons and weapons programs. Today we hear that Saddam's Iraq was a veritable paradise.

People like you say whatever works at a given time and the truth means nothing to you.

RichatUF

Garth...

we have been in Iraq four years and innumerable corners have been turned

We have been in Japan and Germany for 62 years and South Korea for about 60. It took us 13 years to move from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution...what exactly is your point about 4 years

narciso

O for God's sake the country had an unfair distribution of electricity, water, et al: benefiting the Dulaimi, Jibbur, Ubeidi
tribes.(This why Saddam now Sadr City a Shia stronghold became a slum) The CPA sought to remedy the situation; which caused the power spike when all the new applications caused an overload. That and blowing up the power stations to create a 'Talibanizing' effect. Sniper videos on CNN and the moebius loop of Abu Ghraib, does have a demoralizing effect on coalition forces and encouraging the insurgents.The impass at the Iraqi Parliament is due to the unrelenting terror campaign visited by the jihadist and he likes of the 1920s Brigades, the theft of
oil from the Shia and Kurds fields, etc.

Barney Frank

Media spin gives encouragement to our enemies and defeatism to us.
It isn't so much bullets that lose wars as deterioration of will. That's why they keep spinning.

reliapundit

Tom;

How many histories of WW2 were published DURING the war?

MY POINT: it's too soon for any real history to be written.

All this movie and Moore's F911 really do is push PRECONCEIVED notions.

It just so happens that they are the notions of a political ideology which has always rejected the use of American military force.

That's why they are not thoughtful.

That's why they are propaganda.

BOTTOM-LINE: wars are hell; they go badly until one side loses - in which case one can say it went well (or better) for the victor's side.

BELOW-THE-BOTTOM-LINE: the enemy we now face is decentralized and transnational and will not be vanquished for many years, if not decades, which means we need to be more untied if we want to win.

As someone who resides 1.5 miles from Ground Zero - and who lost a cousin in the Pentagon that fateful day in September, 2001 - I fear what kind of mega-attack it will take to re-achieve and maintain that unity.

PeterUK

"does media spin create real ammunition to shoot at our troops as they patrol baghdad providing easy targets and no security?"

Yes,every pronouncement encourages the Iranians and the Syrians to load up the trucks,every handwringing paen of defeat from some lickspittle,selfserving politician enlists more suicide bombers for al Qaeda,each bleat of the whinging liberal left convince the enemy to place another car bomb to put more casualties on the front pages.
Yes you are guilty and you should be deeply ashamed.

lurker

You might like Dr. Santy's post about the cost of freedom.

THE COST OF FREEDOM: Fighting and defeating the new barbarians will exact a great toll. The question is, are we willing to pay it?

Use this to challenge the likes of Garth.

Also, another of Dr. Santy's post:

PREDICATED ON DEFEAT as well as VDH's:

Lincoln went through Gens. Burnside, Halleck, McClellan, McDowell, Pope, and Rosecrans before finding Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and Thomas. In World War II, we never did get Mark Clark out of Italy. No need to mention the train of generals in Vietnam before Creighton Abrams turned things around. Good generals study the errors of their predecessors as they wait for history’s call. In the case of Sherman and Grant, the key difference that marked them as great men, other than an instinctive genius for tactics and strategy, was insight into the mind of the enemy, especially his motivations and contradictions, and a complete calmness in the face of the battle hysteria around them and the backbiting at home.

I preface all that by saying I believe Gen. Petraeus is the right commander after Franks, Sanchez, and Casey, unflappable in the face of bad news at the front and politicking at the rear. If we can give him a year, he will stabilize the country—and the US will have pulled off the impossible of establishing some sort of consensual society, analogous to a Kurdistan or Turkey, in the heart of the ancient caliphate.

How will we sense any progress? Mostly to the degree which Democratic rhetoric insidiously lessens, as Sens. Like Biden, Clinton, Obama et al. begin to hedge their bets in fear that good news will embarrass them around midyear next.

And Dr. Santy's conclusion:

Frankly, any presidential candidate whose success is predicated on ensuring the defeat and humiliation of his or her own country by a group of murderous medieval barbarians is not a candidate I want to lead my country under any circumstances.

I agree.

PeterUK

"BELOW-THE-BOTTOM-LINE: the enemy we now face is decentralized and transnational and will not be vanquished for many years, if not decades, which means we need to be more untied if we want to win."

..and that's even before you start on al Qaeda.

lurker

Dems: I've been Had!!

So now the Democrats were claiming that Roberts and Alito fooled them.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Meanwhile in Niger:

The head of French nuclear group Areva in Niger has been ordered to leave the uranium-rich west African state, the company said Thursday, denying media reports that he backed Tuareg rebels.

Dominique Pin was expelled after a decision Wednesday by Interior Minister Albade Abouba, according to the daily Republicain, which reported government concerns over Areva's alleged links to the rebels. There was no confirmation from the government.

....Areva, which has been operating mines in Niger for 40 years and is the country's biggest private employer, stressed that despite the expulsion it intends to "remain an important player in the social and economic development of Niger", the world's third-largest uranium producer.

Seen as a key partner for Niger previously, Areva has become the target of heavy criticism despite investing one billion euros (1.4 billion dollars) in its Imouraren exploration site, its biggest uranium project in the country.

Some national media have accused Areva of supporting a Tuareg rebellion since February in the uranium-producing north of the country.

hit and run

lurker:
Dems: I've been Had

Since the article is about Schumer being "had", let's just note:

Schumer voted against confirming both Roberts and Alito in commitee and when the nominations came before the full Senate.

Ralph L

Peter, don't question their patriotism!

MikeS

Can I get this on a bumper sticker?

"Frankly, any presidential candidate whose success is predicated on ensuring the defeat and humiliation of his or her own country by a group of murderous medieval barbarians is not a candidate I want to lead my country under any circumstances."

clarice

Told you that's where the Dems were heading, Lurker.
Neas said it a couple of days ago.

maryerose

Sorry Schumer-no do-overs or mulligans allowed!

Bill in AZ

Re: lurkers "Cost of Freedom" post above...

Bush reminds me most of Washington in the way he deals with the non-stop crap from the other side - ie, he doesn't, and neither did Washington.

Washington had to deal with fighting a war while an unbelievable number of whining, sniveling second-guessing fence-sitters in congress bickered and pissed and moaned about his every decision back in Philedelphia. They also had problems funding the troops, and some of them when they got too scared that the British might prevail, crossed the line to the other side to try to save their own hides. But Washington firmly believed and stood behind the notion that they were the duly elected representatives of the people, and that he needed to honor their decisions, no matter how stupid. It's amazing that we ultimately prevailed when you go back through the history of what he had to deal with.

President Bush seems to be of the same mold in that he never seems to strike back, even when it would seem he is well beyond the point that he should. It will make the whiners and snivelers look small in retrospect when the history books are written.

RichatUF

I was thinking about a YouTube political advertisment...

Working Title: If democrats are being fooled by their domestic political enemies, what makes them think they won't get fooled by our international enemies?

Get clips of all the big time democrats saying they were "duped" or "fooled"

Intersperse those clips with clips of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at his greatest "Great Satan" moment, Lil' Kim, et al...a clip of Pelosi in a headscarf in Syria...

Then get clips of an atom bomb going off, aftermath of a chemical weapons attack (get some tape from the 1995 Tokyo Subway attack), and clips from the Buenos Aries bombings...

I'm trying to think up of the song to put it to: I'm thinking something from NIN...

Just brainstorming...that has got to be a way to bite democrats "I've been duped" theme

Ralph L

Except that the weiners will be writing the history books.

RichatUF

Patrick R Sullivan-

The head of French nuclear group Areva in Niger has been ordered to leave the uranium-rich west African state...

Get super-sleuth Joe Wilson on the case

Bill in AZ

RalphL - "Except that the weiners will be writing the history books."

You're prolly right - they're busy rewriting them as fast as they can right now. You have to go back to older books just to see what Washington went through. Forget your kids history books from school.

willem

The US 4th ID didn't transit through Turkey as planned because political sabotage kept them on the boats. Their critical mission to clamp down the Sunni Triangle in the first weeks of the war never happened. Powell lied to by the French; both he and Armitage humiliated by the political failure in Turkey. And what of cryptic collusion with the French? Were there Americans pleading French policy interests in Turkey? Americans playing footsie with French intel? What kind of Joe would do a thing like that?

PeterUK

"Peter, don't question their patriotism!"

They are steadfastly transnationally patriotic.

kim

Let us pray that Pin's move has to do with Villepin and not rebels.
=======================================

PeterUK

Latest insanity from the left,there are no depths of depravity to which the left will not sink,personally.I think it is projection,it is what they would do in the same situation.

reliapundit

peter uk: do you blog? do you wanna? TAB is a global blog. check it out. maybe join up.

Brett

Ralph--

Regarding the fifth column's patriotism: I have no questions.

mds

i know'knew charles reasonably well...folks with a sense of history and context should look at charles' policy proposals in technology detailed in his book and splashed on the harvard business review...
i give away nothing by revealing that every single one of his policy perspectives and assumptions were completely disproven by actual, historical events...

,,,charles is a very, very smart man who will always manage to find evidence that supports his point of view...he does a very, very poor job of honestly identifying and weighing with integrity evidence that conflicts with his point of view...his 'documentary' is a damning indictiment etc, etc, etc? Of course it is...

....In this regard, michael moore is more upfront than charles about his bias, leanings, sensibilities and his 'respect' for those who disagree with him and his ideas

Extraneus

Bill in AZ:

President Bush seems to be of the same mold in that he never seems to strike back, even when it would seem he is well beyond the point that he should. It will make the whiners and snivelers look small in retrospect when the history books are written.

I'd go along with this if the Democrats and their media allies weren't strong enough to actually defeat us, but they are. They are the only ones strong enough to defeat us, and they aim to do it. Turning the other cheek, while very moral and gentlemanly, is a losing strategy.

Gates could have stuffed Hillary with his response on whether or not planning for defeat encourages the enemy -- but he didn't, probably on Bush's orders. To me, that's not strategically smart. The subject is easily grasped, hard to spin, and a golden oppportunity like that doesn't come around very often.

kim

Tillman's about to bust loose. Kos has his death a Cheney plot.
=====================================

kim

Along with an AP article making it look like an execution rather than a fragging or from enemy fire.

Anybody surprised?
============

kim

Too stupid to notice the inconsistency in the AP article about enemy fire.
===================

boris

Turning the other cheek, while very moral and gentlemanly, is a losing strategy

When there is no winning strategery it has a certain amount of pragmatism. One might say with integrity that the president is not just the president of Republican Americans and partisan battle is not part of the job description.

If Democrats are intent on taking the country over a cliff and the MSM gives them the public support to pull it off ... hey that's democracy in action.

Frankly IMO it makes more sense for us to decide WTF we're going to do about that than complain about Bush or the RNC.

kim

Excellent perspective, mds; TNX.
====================

Soylent Red

Hi folks. Just a couple of things...

The "war" is not lost because the "war" was over in the spring of 2003 when Saddam went into hiding. Properly and accurately speaking, the "war" was the maneuver part of the current conflict. SO let's all choose up sides and stop referring to "losing the war". We already won it.

Likewise, let's accurately portray what's going on right now for what it is: nation-building. Yes, I know that is a liberal-coined term. That's why I prefer it. If "nation-building" was cool for Clinton, the "failed state" in Iraq definitely fits the parameters of that policy. End of discussion. Iraq = Haiti. That's the argument from our side.

Taking that idea forward, when have we EVER been first time go's on nation building. Our best and most effective effort took a bilateral and sustained policy that lasted for the better part of 20 years (Japan and Germany) and was fueled by a desire not to turn strategic regions over to the Soviets. Our most relative effort (in terms of cultural similarity), in the Philipines, happened more than 100 years ago and was accomplished with a fair amount of screw ups.

Bottom line: We have NEVER been good at nation-building. And neither has anyone else, including the U.N. Their one shining example, Bosnia, ain't really that shining when you scratch the surface.

Coming back to topic...

All of this arguing over the "war" and "losing the war" is flat a-historical nonsense. Making movies about it? It might as well be Harry Potter for all of the relevance it has to reality.

The purpose of these films is not to inform, as has been amply discussed here. Go up to IMDB and search for movies about Vietnam. Just as the arguments from the politicians of the left have followed a playbook, so too will the narrative from the great historians of the left, Hollywood. Let me give you the preview:

1. Corrupt politicians fabricate justifications for an illegal war.

2. Inept military, additionally hampered by corrupt politicians, fails to defeat a determined, but noble foe who wants only to defend themselves.

3. A generation of young men return from the inept execution of an illegal war mentally and socially screwed up. Victims of corrupt political motives, if you will. They can't assimilate back into society which causes a lot of angst and drama.

4. Screwed up young men eventually straighten themselves out through emoting and consultations, and learn the painful lessons that "WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER" and "VOTE DEMOCRAT".

End credits.

My advice to all of you is this: Open and stock a crow ranch now. Because when we get these people squared away, you're gonna make a fortune for all of your product Libs are gonna be eating.

PeterUK

reliapundit,
Thanks,I don't blog,I just sit up here in the bell tower waiting for targets of opportunity.

Extraneus

Is that actually considered ranching?

Extraneus

Can we have crowgirls, I guess is my real question.

MikeS

Can we have crowgirls

I'm not sure, but I don't think a crow ranch is anything like a chicken ranch.

PeterUK

"Gates could have stuffed Hillary with his response on whether or not planning for defeat encourages the enemy -- but he didn't, probably on Bush's orders. To me, that's not strategically smart."

But very politically savvy,there might come a time when the president indeed does have to make such plans,why give a hostage to fortune.

boris

why give a hostage to fortune

Interesting phrase. Wish "conservatives" were more in tune with the prudence of the sentiment given an unfortunate propensity to literally do exactly that.

MikeS

To me, that's not strategically smart.

We can only hope that someone is thinking ahead to Sept. when the whole world will be listening to Gen'l Patraeus. I'm hoping some Republican will ask him if all this redeployment talk has any effect on the Iraqi morale or the enemies plans and actions.

Sue
how exactly does the media spin prevent the electricity from functioning or cause American casulties?

we have been in Iraq four years and innumerable corners have been turned.

does media spin create real ammunition to shoot at our troops as they patrol baghdad providing easy targets and no security?

does media spin train mortar commandos, improving their green zone accuracy...

I agree, media spin is not the problem. Democrats (and some republicans) are the problem. The media wouldn't have anything to spin if we were all in this to defeat Islamofacism. Sadly, the media's job is made simple. They merely have to quote the defeatism that comes from those who would rather see Bush's legacy go down in flames than win an essential fight.

bin Laden knew us well, didn't he? He predicted the fight would end with us tucking tail and running.

Sue

In the run-up to the midterms in 2002, the country was united. It was almost taboo to say anything negative towards the Bush administration. (Almost, some did and paid at the ballot box for it.) I sat and listened to democratic pundits, after the votes were counted and they lost, make the claim that they had to go negative on Bush. In those words. And as luck would have it, the Joe Wilsons out there were listening and ready to the bidding. The negatives were in action. Had they run anyone besides John Kerry in 04, they would have had the WH.

My biggest beef with the media is they give more airtime to what democrats are saying than what republicans are saying. Any whiff of a scandal gets major airtime, if a republican is involved. Ask the average person who Tom Delay is, in a heartbeat, they know. Ask them who Mollohan, Jefferson, Burger, Reid, Feinstein, etc. are, and they will look at you with a blank face.

I blame republicans for that, though. They shot their wad with Clinton, when I felt it was totally unnecessary. We knew he was a scoundrel and voted for him anyway. They should have continued on the path that got them elected in the first place and let the ballot box take care of democrats. Part of me wants to see the republicans take down the next democratic president, just as Bush has been, and part of me wants this madness to end. Which part of me will win? Stay tuned...

boris

shot their wad with Clinton

Ewwwwww!

Hate to say it but BJ shot his own damn wad.

House Repubs finally impeached him but the public hype was 99.999% MSM. Besides a Dem congress would have impeached a president Quayle for far far less. (no the argument is NOT 2 wrongs make a right) Just like laws, cultural no-nos apply to everybody and a big part of what got BJ was doing the no-no made no-no by his own side.

Poppy

"""if Rumsfeld was putting too much effort into the invasion planning and not enough into the reconstruction phase, Bush should have re-directed his effort.""""

Bush didn't give Rumsfeld that task. Its was the State Departments task - they insisted on it. they didn't want it to look like an occupation.

Hindsight is usually 20/20 but in this case, you have no idea what NOT disbanding the Iraqi army would have done. It may very well have led to tens of thousands of terrorist sympathizers INSIDE the wire.

Truman dropping the A-bomb looks good until you find out the Emeror was planning to surrender two days later.

Sue

boris,

I'm not excusing Clinton. I'm blaming us, the ones who put him there to begin with. We knew, more so the 2nd time around than the first, but we knew, and voted for him anyway. And just because a dem congress acts the fool is why I vote republican now. I don't want the congress I vote for acting the fool.

PeterUK

I think that where everyone makes a mistake about President Bush is simply they don't understand the man's principle,the reason that the Democrats could do so much damage is that the man could not comprehend how Americans could subvert their own country in wartime.When you think about it,it does take some feat of comprehension.

PeterUK

"Truman dropping the A-bomb looks good until you find out the Emeror was planning to surrender two days later."

But then it looks good again when you learn that the militarists were plotting to assassinate the Emperor for surrendering.

boris

I'm blaming us, the ones who put him there to begin with.

Not sure republicans were the ones who put him there to begin with, but I'll take your word that I missed your point.

PeterUK

"Truman dropping the A-bomb looks good until you find out the Emeror was planning to surrender two days later."

But then it looks good again when you learn that the militarists were plotting to assassinate the Emperor for surrendering.

boris

was planning to surrender two days later

The ability to see two days into the future would prevent a lot of tragic events. I don't understand why more people don't just take the time to look into a crystal ball now and then.

Sue

I wasn't really republican when I voted for him. I was the elusive 'independent' that everyone searches for. But nevermind. It was because of Clinton I became a republican, so I have him to thank in the long run. ::grin::

ajacksonian

For over 30 years our INTEL and Foreign Policy structure have been working at cross-purposes to actually find out what it was like in Iraq. Before that the limited access there under the prior Ba'athist regime and the military regime before that... then you start getting to when the US didn't pay much attention at all to the Middle East in the 1920's... then the Ottoman Empire before that... so without knowing what the society looked like going *in* how was any post-war plan to succeed? And when we, in the West, decide to be myopic and just limit our post-war lesson learnings to years that start with a 196_ prefix, is it any wonder that things get fouled up?

And I thoroughly agree with the commenter above who points to the De Atkine work on Why Arabs Lose Wars, and our understanding of how to Create an Army that is capable and accountable to its society is also not taught in schools because it involves actually understanding the ways in which the Armed Forces of a society reflect its society. The reason the old Saddamist Army wasn't there is because it was disintegrated as a fighting force, and the rest of the terror regime that rested upon the Republican Guards evaporated within days after it went. Understanding that as a basis for rebuilding, along with the problems of that and not understanding the society that actually exists, means that anything done is with the most general of plans made up as we went along. Those that opine on COIN must acknowledge that there are underpinnings to it and when those are not there, then no traditional COIN can *work*. In point of fact we are only now finding if the Iraqis have a society that they can hold in common... that is *not* 'Nation building'.

It is far more fundamental than that.

It is finding out if there is a Nation there and what it looks like, because all of those in charge of funding all the intelligence services, foreign policy schools and various programs to back those up have not done so and have blinded the Nation to the actual, real life problems we see in the world. Building up an understanding of what it means for the population that has lived through their history in Iraq, is essential to understand the basis for the current mission there. I, personally, could not imagine any decent sized population center in which individuals so distrusted the power structures of government around them, and the factional power games that went on to further sow distrust, that the walls on the family compound are the very FIRST thing people want rebuilt. That isn't even 'bunker mentality'. That is a society in which the family, not even the tribe, is the most trustworthy level of governing. The West, by being unable to want to think about that, then comes out with great and fanciful notions of things being done 'so much better'.

I have a question for those who put that forth: How can you get something better if you don't even know what is there to start with?

We get those decrying the 'lack of continuous electricity' when neighboring Syria has that exact, same problem. Of course it is an authoritarian dictatorship that utilizes the instruments of government to imprison and torture its people and remove dissent. Just like Saddam's Iraq. Apparently dictatorships like that don't much care about supplying those that are not in favor with much of anything to help them. Then when one group brown-noses better than another, the supplies get switched. Do that with electricity, food, water, jobs... for decades... and just what sort of society do you get? Now throw in a few hundred major tribes, each with multiple families and clans, at least two or three major divisions between Sunni and Shia sects, two major ethnicities with a dozen smaller communities thrown in... and what, exactly, do you expect without good on-the-ground intelligence before Saddam is removed after he is gone and his entire governing structure evaporates with him? Where were these treatises from the late 1990's and all the way up to 2002?

No post-war plan made in that sort of vacuum survives contact with reality... to parallel the military maxim of plans and enemies.

Were there fumbles, problems and such? Yes, many of them. There is in EVERY post-war and COIN operation that has ever been done in the history of mankind. I tried to peg my expectations for the post-war work based on past history, which points to 8-16 years as a reasonable timeframe to get things quieted down after such conflicts. The Moro campaign in the Philippines runs to that and the failed work in Haiti ran a bit over that maximum before the US left in 1934.

Mind you that is before adding in two hostile regimes, Iran and Syria, and one Nation as a major funder of terrorism, Saudi Arabia, on the borders of Iraq. But then, no one in State, DoD or any other part of the government for 30 years have dealt with *them* in finding out, on the ground, what the problems were. Which is why the CIA didn't think the '79 revolution in Iran would be a problem for the Shah....

Poppy

""But then it looks good again when you learn that the militarists were plotting to assassinate the Emperor for surrendering.""

Yes, but the militarists were working for Truman.....

I think the point, made much shorter then JOMs orginal thesis, is you have no idea what the future will bring. I could say most likely if Sept 11th had not occurred, then Iraq wouldn't have occurred and since Clinton gave us Sept 11th, its all his fault.

The point is, if your going to fight a war, use all you got to win it and win it quick othewise the left is going to take the enemies side.

hit and run

PUK:
I think that where everyone makes a mistake about President Bush is simply they don't understand the man's principle


I may have told this story before? But hopefully it won't be too improper to retell it if I have.

My cousin used to work in the WH. Low level assistant to the assistant to the whomever. But he worked there. At one point his mom and dad came up to DC to see him, and he took them on a tour of the WH, and they got to be in the receiving line as President Bush was leaving the WH to go somewhere.

President Bush was going down the line shaking hands, nodding his head, smiling, etc. When he got to my cousin's mom, she simply said, "My husband and I pray for you every day."

He was moving quickly through the line, but when he heard this, he stopped and went back to her, took her hands back in his, looked her in the eyes, paused what to her seemed like forever and said something to the effect of, "Thank you. I wouldn't be able to do this job if people like you weren't praying for me."

Honestly, even to this day, when I retell that story I tear up a little bit.

I believe that this man, our President, is earnest in what he does.

PeterUK

"The point is, if your going to fight a war, use all you got to win it and win it quick othewise the left is going to take the enemies side."

The point is the left is the enemy,Iran,al Qaeda,are just their current military wing,where the Administration went wrong is not having a plan to crush the left in the event of war.Imagine WWII if there had been no Operation Barbarossa,Britain would have collapsed because the dockers would not have loaded the cargo ships.Luckily Hitler had a brain fart and the left went into to action fighting for Uncle Joe.

Extraneus

I agree with Boris:

Frankly IMO it makes more sense for us to decide WTF we're going to do about that than complain about Bush or the RNC.

And on that note, I'd say "go negative" on the Defeatocrats. Any of their efforts at sabatoge or willingness to throw innocent Iraqis under the bus should be called out. Any hint of defeatism should be greeted with derision and actively confronted by the WH, except by Bush, who should stay on the high road and shake his head with benevolent concern.

Hillary publicly asks for withdrawal planning? She was rightly hit for that. (Obviously not quite hard enough in my view, but I give them credit for taking the shot.) One thing I'll say about that Edelman dust-up is that using low-level deputies to strike at the big Dems is smart, and that should continue. It's not as if they don't deserve it.

Just like getting a new general and a new strategy for Iraq, this is a two-front battle, and they should surge here just as hard.

(How do you spell that Howard Dean scream?)

Jason Van Steenwyk

The reason the Pentagon did not adopt the "surge" strategy sooner is because the "surge" is not sustainable.

Counterinsurgency campaigns are marathons, not sprints. The surge was a cop to our growing political impatience. I never liked the idea, as the surge strategy can be defeated by avoiding decisive engagement until the surge is over, and then coming back and hitting the Iraqis with everything they have.

Boom: Instant failure-in-a-box.

But when intransigents in Congress and useless mooj tools in the media make a sounder, long-term marathon strategy politically impossible, the President was forced into the Hail Mary surge idea.

If there were simply no doubts at all in anyone's mind that the U.S. was going to stay in the fight until the cows come home, Al Qaeda would be looking for a third front to open rather than focusing their resources into forcing an American withdrawal in Iraq.

Ralph L

"Because when we get these people squared away, you're gonna make a fortune for all of your product Libs are gonna be eating."

Like they did in the early 90's? To admit Reagan/Bush was right and they weren't would be like admitting they were wrong to oppose the Vietnam War and Nixon. Massive change of heart required.

kim

Or admitting that Clinton was wrong about al-Qaeda.
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