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Questions for Our Liberal Friends
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bruce is a big boy, and certainly doesn't need me to help him out, but let's talk about Iraq for a moment. Because I have questions for people like Oliver Willis to which I'm curious to hear the answers. And I'm not asking in a snarky way. I'm honestly interested.

And let's dispense with silly arguments about whether we should've gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. We are there. So what do we do now?

First, I'm wondering what you think the result of an American withdrawal would be? And we really have to ask that about two spheres, the internal Iraqi results, and the effect on America's security.

Do you reject the "you broke it, you bought it" idea? If you do, that's fine. I'm not a priori opposed to punitive expeditions myself when it appears necessary, but punitive expeditions have never been a liberal "thing".

Do you think the Iraqis will find a way to cobble their state together? Do you think it will descend into a civil bloodbath? If so, then why don't we have any responsibility to try and prevent it? Compare and contrast with Kosovo and Darfur. What if Iraq turns into a Taliban-like cesspool, and becomes a base for terrorist operation against the US in the same way Afghanistan was?

Do you think that the Iraqis can build a stable, functioning democratic state? If not, why? Are they just not suited for Democracy as a people? If so, what are their deficiencies?

The other half of the question is what effect will it have on American security? Will it embolden terrorists? Will our withdrawal make it more or less likely that terrorists will begin marshaling forces for another 9/11 style attack? Why?

On the Global War on Terror more generally, will a withdrawal from Iraq help or hinder that effort? Or do we need to make an effort at all, other than some Special Ops stuff here and there, and intelligence, prevention, and law enforcement operations otherwise? What would be the US's military role after a withdrawal from Iraq? Does the US military actually have much a role beyond repelling an invasion?

Are we doomed to fail at achieving anything worthwhile in Iraq? Why? Is it something organic to Iraq, or simply a problem with the current president? Would another administration be able to achieve some reasonable level of peace and stability?

Oh, yeah, and one final question: What if you're wrong?

I mean, you're advocating a policy change that will have wide-ranging effects. It's not enough to say that everything will be OK. You have to show your math. You have to explain why you're not just whistling past the graveyard.

Because, if we do what you say, and we get a replay of events worse than the 70s, that's gonna be...disturbing. And, keep in mind that you are essentially betting the future of left-liberalism's credibility on national security on the outcome of that policy. There's a reason why the Democrats were kept away from the national security switches and levers for 12 years after Jimmy Carter, and were only allowed to return when we were having a holiday from history in the 1990s.

So, other than sunny optimism, what assurances can you give that the consequences of quick pullout from Iraq will be relatively painless?
 
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What if Iraq turns into a Taliban-like cesspool, and becomes a base for terrorist operation against the US in the same way Afghanistan was?
The premise of this question is false. When we leave, the Shia will dominate Iraq. They will not tolerate in their presence of a terror organization of the kind that would find a home in Afghanistan, and not because they have any fondness for the USA.

Those who want us to continue to socially and politically engineer Iraq fail to understand this simple fact. When we leave, the Shia will kill all the Sunni radicals in their presence. Why? Because the Sunni radicals will become the biggest threat to their power, and because the Shia militias have overwhelming force, organization, and backing. It’s that simple.

The Shia will kill the Sunni radicals, it will be bloody, brutal, but it will be over within a year. And then Shias will ally formally with Iran.

Why is this a mystery? When we leave, the Shia will kill and dominate the Sunnis. The better question is why American troops should continue to die in Iraq.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
The Shia will kill the Sunni radicals, it will be bloody, brutal, but it will be over within a year. And then Shias will ally formally with Iran.
Ah. Well. That’s alright then, is it? No unpleasant repercussions from that, I guess. Nothing to trouble ourselves over, I’m sure.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Dale,

Iran helped us overthrow the Taliban and has been an ally in our fight against Al Qaeda.
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
It’s not enough to say that everything will be OK.

And just who has said that?
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
Oh, yeah, and one final question: What if you’re wrong?
Technically that wasn’t your final question since you ask one at the very end, but I’ll shut up now and await the humor.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
what assurances can you give that the consequences of quick pullout from Iraq will be relatively painless?
None.

Who has been talking about "relatively painless"?
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
So what do we do now?

withdraw most of our troops, but station a significant force in Kirkuk and recognize the independent country of Kurdistan. Use Turkey’s desire to enter the EU and the Kurd’s need for a pipeline to the sea to broker a peace deal between Turkey and Kurdistan. allow the Maliki government to fall and a strongly pro-Iranian govt to rise w/out our opposition.

what you think the result of an American withdrawal would be? limited. doubtless some mouthy punks will claim victory, but ending our occupation is worth that price. and the iraqis will do what they want to do — fight — whether we’re there or not.

Do you reject the "you broke it, you bought it" idea? at this point, YES.

(going to bed.)

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
I’ve answered you on my site.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
"Iran helped us overthrow the Taliban and has been an ally in our fight against Al Qaeda."

Iran did not like the Taliban, that is true, and they were helping the northern alliance prior to 9/11. That doesn’t equal "helping us." Let me know if you have more evidence.

They also claim to have tried and convicted some AQ guys in Iran...but no details forthcoming - hmmmmm, funny how they show the Brit sailors all over the news but are hush hush about Al Aqaeda...
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Oliver’s answer was very interesting, and I hope he will follow up:

1. What happens if we withdraw to Kirkuk, and while trying to find and kill terrorists in Baghdad keep having soldiers captured and killed? Do we then leave Kirkuk? How do we get better intel on terrorists in Baghdad/Anbar when we are based in Kirkuk? What if the Shia refuse to assist us in that manner? What if the Sunnis feel Kirkuk should not become part of Kurdistan and keep attacking us there?

You claim that once our forces are no longer babysitting, they can focus on killing terrorists. Say both the Sunnis and the Shia end up in their collective spheres building up militias and terror cells, including exporting those to the Gulf, Europe, the USA, etc. Will we leave those enclaves alone? Will we just do more law enforcement to catch their teams as they try to enter the US? I’d like more detail on this point.

2. What is the worst case scenario for the non-Kurdish area? I’d say what happens when the Saudis/Syrians race in the rescue the Sunnis only to meet the Iranians doing the same for the Shias. How would this affect your plan? Would that be an acceptable result?

3. If there were essentially a genocide of the Sunni population in Iraq, how would that reflect on the US position in the world? How would it reflect on the Democrats? If thousands of Iraqi allied forces end up besieging our embassy desperate for visas or just a helicopter to Kurdistan after mass beheadings have been televised, what will be the US policy?

4. Would we keep any role with the Iraqi army after our main forces leave? Trainers? Intel? Support?


I do think that we are probably underselling the Iraqi government - corrupt, third world governments all over the globe manage to put down insurgencies all the time, or at least hold them at a simmer. If we keep enough trainers there, and give them aid and advice, I think at some point we should be able to pull out - but the question is when is that?

Also, it might be instructive to recall that US forces intervened in Lebanon’s civil war under Reagan, and we promptly pulled out when attacked. We did not respond and simply left Lebanon. So, really, the Democrats plan could be compared to that actually.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Many of Oliver’s answers were US troops are dying.

For discussion purposes, say if by pulling out now leads to a mess that at some later date we need to go back and US troops start dying again, except we get to start from scratch again and have an uphill fight because no one wants to ally with us.

Will the Withdrawal Now crowd sign up to go fight if we need to go back to Iraq later or are they, for lack of a better word, ChickenChickens?
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
On principle I skip anything written by mkultra. Today I didn’t, and I have a couple questions to ask you, MK.

Given that you say this

...When we leave, the Shia will dominate Iraq. They will not tolerate in their presence of a terror organization of the kind that would find a home in Afghanistan...
and

...When we leave, the Shia will kill all the Sunni radicals in their presence. Why? Because the Sunni radicals will become the biggest threat to their power, and because the Shia militias have overwhelming force, organization, and backing...
and

The Shia will kill the Sunni radicals, it will be bloody, brutal, but it will be over within a year. And then Shias will ally formally with Iran.
Do you find this outcome to be acceptible? Do you see any moral obligation to prevent this genocide you expect? If not, how can you advocate going into any other country where genocide could/does occur in order to stop or prevent it?
Do you not believe that the Shia uprising you describe will basically turn them into a hostile, militant, and terroristic state?

Additionally, what explaination do you have to offer as to why the Shia haven’t already destroyed the Sunnis as you expect? Is the greatest military force in the world in the way of their goal? Do you see the stupidity of you saying something like that yet?

Lastly is a question of foresight: do you believe anything can be done to stop the prophetic Slaying of Sunnis at any point during the next 1-5 years; and is the Western world (specifically the U.S.A) part of that equation?
 
Written By: Ike
URL: http://
They’ve shown little to no interest in a Western style democracy. They’re hamstrung by tribalism and religion (so is a lot of American politics, especially on the right, frankly). It’s all about the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, and Sharia Law. Us wishing Ben Franklin upon them does not make it so.
This is the most compelling answer. But if it is the case that tribalism and Sharia law will reign and ascend to power in a oil-rich country during the age of black-market nuclear weapons and global transportation, then we are bound for an apocalyptic WWIII scenario where thousands more Americans will die anyway.

Maybe there are enough secular Muslims in Iraq who could hedge this, and fighting the radicals for the time being would be necessary to enable the secularists to rise politically; or perhaps Iraq needs a Shah or Attaturk who will brutally repress Islamic institutions through a reign of terror of his own. Damn, Islam sucks.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
I think that when we leave the result will depend on how we leave, and what regional powers do as we leave. If we simply push the surge to the end, find out we still have chaos, and then give in to domestic pressure to leave quickly, the result would likely be messy, but there is a good chance that without the US to blame or try to use, regional powers will assist in creating a stable Iraq out of fear of regional instability. Iraqi groups that now use emotional anti-Americanism and/or try to use the US to promote their interests will realize they are responsible. It is not clear that things will disintegrate with a US withdrawal; that’s possible, it’s also possible that the US leaving is necessary condition for improved security in Iraq.

The best option is to combine an oderly withdrawal with active involvement of regional powers and the UN to create agreements and a security plan to increase the likelihood that Iraq will have stability. While anyone can cherry pick failures of UN missions, if the Security Council backs and works hard on a mission, it can work — the UN is what the member states make it, and Security Council actions are what the permanent members make them.

Still, ultimately, this is out of our control. The biggest problem with "you broke it you own it" rule is that we can’t take ownership of another country, and we can’t fix deep sectarian and political divisions, even if our actions helped bring them to the surface. The assumption that we are capable of fixing the situation is, I believe, wrong — and staying around when we can’t fix things is even worse than leaving, things have deteriorated constantly since we’ve been there. Moreover, given the US public mood on Iraq, the idea that we’ll be able to increase efforts if necessary, or stay long enough to perhaps turn things around (if it is even possible) is even less.

So, in a world of poor choices, leaving is the best option. The question, however, is how do we leave, and how do we try to develop a regional and international replacement for American efforts. Ultimately Iraq can not be "won" as an American project. As an international project, there is some hope, but no guarantees.

Oh — there won’t be a genocide of the Sunnis if we leave; if that starts there will be intervention by Sunni states and we’ll see a regional Shi’ite-Sunni war. I don’t think the countries of the region want that, and thus they’ll work to stabilize Iraq. The big danger is not Islam vs. the West, but internal conflicts within the Islamic world.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It’s rather amazing to watch some liberals count on the prospect of Shi’a genocide of the Sunni population in Anbar, Mosul, and West Baghdad to make Stalin’s Omelet, as it were. It’s also instructive to read Oliver’s response and see nothing about the activities of the Anbar Salvation Council, the Diyala Awakening, or other tribally based reactions to the foreign infiltration by Al Qaeda.

A subtext of Willis’ article is a dismissal of the Tribes as pernicious. Yet another hideously ignorant member of the "reality based" community who should walk away with a Paul Bremer Award. What he misses is that it is the Tribes who are becoming the basis for an Iraqi national reaction to interference from Al Qaeda and from their old nemesis, Persia.

It’s not that the Tribes are ready to send delegates to Philadelphia to debate the rights of man and declare, Voltaire-like, their readiness to tolerate the dissenting opinions of others. Far from it. Islam is still the Religion of Honor Killings, and the Iraqi tribal structure predates even that culture. However, Petraeus, Kilcullen, and others have figured out that one must work with the Iraq one has and use it to one’s own advantage.

Willis, like most Democratic bloggers and activists, simply wants to throw up his hands and walk away. He does not wish to deal with the reality of what al-Qaeda is and what their millenialist, triumphalist objectives are.

Willis is one of those people who believes that the Islamic Fascists hate only Republicans. That is why the Left fails. Historians will write that in 2007, Democrats made an enormously bad and short sighted bet. They bet that the U.S. Army and Marine Corps could fold their flags and lose to Al Qaeda, and that that would be a good thing. Democrats will wonder how Giuliani won in 2008. This will be one of the reasons. Americans hate the way Bush has mismanaged the war.
But Americans will not tolerate those who want to lose this war to Al Qaeda because they cannot stand the President.

Do not let liberal Democrats lie to you and tell you any other thing. Their politics recalls the corrupt knavery of the French Third Republic. Period. Democrats just don’t hear the hobknailed boots of the Friedrich von Paulus’ Sixth Army marching down the Champs Elysee quite yet, So, they sip their lattes and go on with their pig-headed, ignorant self-righteousness. Lenin called these people "useful idiots". John Edwards’ article is just the latest example of this kind of beclowned opportunism masquerading as a serious approach to the problem of Islamic Fascism. "Shiny Pony", indeed!

Let no one here question their patriotism, however. That would be letting Willis and others off the hook. It’s much worse than that. To borrow from Shakespeare, it is not that they love their country any less, it is that they hate George W. Bush so much more. This is the source of their flight from reason, and their fear of Al Qaeda. See, when all is said and done, all the Democrats have left to offer is fear itself.





 
Written By: section9
URL: http://
Section9,

Very good points.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Hmmm, we went into Iraq to build democracy and stop WMD programs, with the idea it would be quick and Iraqi oil will pay for itself. Now the argument for staying in is a claim that if we leave there will be genocide? LESSON: intervening in a place like Iraq destroys the political culture and can lead to genocides and mass violence. That is clear from the arguments by the pro-war crowd. Therefore if a genocide or mass atrocities do not exist, we should not intervene. Let that lesson of the Iraq war ring clear — interventions like the one in Iraq are a bad idea, and the arguments of the pro-war side prove it.

Second, there seems to be an assumption that the US can improve things in Iraq and prevent atrocities. Yet the American presence has seen a continually deteriorating situation, and it’s clear that the American public will not tolerate continued presence in Iraq, and with the military overstretched, it hurts national security. So just waving the specter of "genocide" as a boogey man is not enough to prove we should stay.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Damn, Islam sucks.
That’s like taking a fascist movement in the West and saying "damn, Christianity sucks."

The biggest myth out there is that there is some kind of major confrontation between the West and Islam, or that the fascist terrorist element represents Islam, or is somehow a major threat. No. This is not a romantic threat to our civilization, the Islamic extremists are a minority and do not represent Islamic ideals as defined by the vast majority of Muslims. The real danger is not to the West, but internally within Islam as the extremists try to stop modernization. So put away the paranoia and collective condemnation.


 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Section 9 is full of the stuff that makes the grass grow. Nobody wants a genocide of the Sunni population, but they seem to be hopelessly saturated with nihilistic terrorist organizations that we aren’t, realistically, making even a dent in. (The localized tribal recruiting in ramadi is a drop in the ocean).There’s not going to be a genocide if we leave. There might, however, be some brutal war. Frankly, if the U.S. doesn’t back it, doesn’t run it, doesn’t encourage it, doesn’t sell weapons to it, that’s good enough for me. We have deeply screwed the Iraqis over in our attempt to help them and continue to do so. The best we can do for them now is to stop ripping the wound wider. Closing it is going to be bloody, and nothing can change that now - having US troops there sure hasn’t stopped the slow-motion massacre.

As for Dale:

First, I’m wondering what you think the result of an American withdrawal would be? And we really have to ask that about two spheres, the internal Iraqi results, and the effect on America’s security.

Internal results first.

I think the results would be a period of escalating Sunni-Shiite war, some Shiite takeover of mixed areas, and then some form of political deal, involving regional parties as well the internal players, with a Shiite-run government. There will probably be new elections, which would probably be run by a Sadrite-secularist-semiBaathistSunni coalition.

I don’t expect a genocide, because the beefiest swath of the Sunni insurgency has said repeatedly that they are fighting for a U.S. withdrawal - I could name the groups if I felt like looking them up - and I expect them to come to the table when we leave.

No unpleasant repercussions from that, I guess. Nothing to trouble ourselves over, I’m sure.

As for this, Dale, anything other than a Baathist or American dictator in Iraq is going to be tight with the Iranians. The current one is trying to be both Iranian and American stooges at the same time. This cannot be changed. There’s no public support for an American dictator. Or a Baathist one. Get used to it. Send George Bush a thank-you card.

What if Iraq turns into a Taliban-like cesspool, and becomes a base for terrorist operation against the US in the same way Afghanistan was?

We’ll need to keep troops in Kurdistan to disrupt any serious international plots. Iraq will probably be such as cesspool to one extent or another, just like Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, etc, etc, etc, you could add another 20 names. None of that means we can afford to keep 90% of our military there for another two decades. For that matter, as Zarqawi demonstrated in 2005, the presence of US troops doesn’t guarantee that the terrorist organizations can’t launch serious international plots right now. In the long run, the swamp will be drained by popular, effective government, which will never happen under U.S. occupation. Never.

The other half of the question is what effect will it have on American security? Will it embolden terrorists? Will our withdrawal make it more or less likely that terrorists will begin marshaling forces for another 9/11 style attack? Why?

This is a pile of cr*p. Terrorists are emboldened by definition. That’s why they’re called "terrorists". The next 9/11 will be plotted when the psychopaths in question feel like they’ve come up with a good enough idea and manage to get trustworthy people inside the U.S. If a U.S. withdrawal would embolden them, what would a U.S. ’victory’ do, huh? Make them really, really mad, perhaps? Or would the psychopaths suddenly be too scared to continue? Please. Events outside of the immediate security environment of the given terrorist don’t much impact their ideologies one way or the other.

The idea that Al-Queida can’t blow up U.S. soldiers in Iraq while simultaneously plotting another 9/11, as if they can’t handle two operations at once, seems sort of naive and juvenile to me.

On the Global War on Terror more generally, will a withdrawal from Iraq help or hinder that effort? Or do we need to make an effort at all, other than some Special Ops stuff here and there, and intelligence, prevention, and law enforcement operations otherwise? What would be the US’s military role after a withdrawal from Iraq? Does the US military actually have much a role beyond repelling an invasion?

The GWOT will be won be economic development and the promotion of democracy - but by non-violent means. We need to lean on our Arab ’friends’ instead of trying to ram changes down the throats of our enemies, who our better prepared to resist. You can’t make a democracy in the middle of a war. The US military may have a chance to intervene in conflicts where one of the two sides actually invites us there (peacekeeping), or in punitive strikes on states who become territorially aggressive, or promote international terror, especially against the West.

Are we doomed to fail at achieving anything worthwhile in Iraq? Why? Is it something organic to Iraq, or simply a problem with the current president? Would another administration be able to achieve some reasonable level of peace and stability?

Yes and no. We’ve already accelerated Iraq’s democratic growth in the long run, albeit at a horrific cost to the Iraqi people that I would not have had them pay. There’s nothing more than that we can do. Part of it is indeed this president - you can’t always get over a terrible start. Momentum is real. Part of it is not the current president. Democracy tends to spread in geographically linear fashion. Iraq’s neighbors are too strong and too motivated to drag it down. If you can’t control the neighbors, you’re destined to go down the tubes, especially if you leave a ton of troops in the country, because that adds political Teflon to the neighbors.


Bottom line is: five years after the troops leave, Iraq will be better for the Iraqis than it is today. U.S. security doesn’t really change much either way. The threats are the same. The available tools are the same. Radical Islam exists in close to one hundred countries. Iraq is a small piece sucking dry disproportionate attention. For that matter, so is Iran.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Hmmm, we went into Iraq to build democracy and stop WMD programs, with the idea it would be quick and Iraqi oil will pay for itself. Now the argument for staying in is a claim that if we leave there will be genocide?
We are there Scott. Can’t change that. Regardless of how we got there or why, we ARE THERE. So the questions are what happens if we leave? Is that acceptable? Saying what we should not have done, or what we should have done is irrelevant at this point.

Dude - why is this stuff so hard for you? Are you from Maine or did you move there? Most of the Mainers I know at least have common sense.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Do you see any moral obligation to prevent this genocide you expect?
The commenter wasn’t predicting genocide, I don’t think. At any rate, I anticipate essentially the same thing: a process by which the Shia majority destroys the Sunni insurgency by "taking the gloves off," in exactly the manner the right in America has been urging America to do.

It would be more or less a condensation of the current slo-mo trainwreck.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
section 9 makes a lot of sense.

And Erb; The Nazis were a minority, even when counted in Germany alone.

So the idea of them being a minority and therefore not a threat is laughable on it’s face. And given the goal of said Nazi minority; IE world domination, and it’s meshing with the goals of the Islamo-facist minority, the comparison seems apt to me.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
The commenter wasn’t predicting genocide, I don’t think.
No?
The Shia will kill the Sunni radicals, it will be bloody, brutal, but it will be over within a year. And then Shias will ally formally with Iran.
Sure sounds like it to me...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
"Oh — there won’t be a genocide of the Sunnis if we leave; if that starts there will be intervention by Sunni states and we’ll see a regional Shi’ite-Sunni war. I don’t think the countries of the region want that, and thus they’ll work to stabilize Iraq. The big danger is not Islam vs. the West, but internal conflicts within the Islamic world."

You are most likely correct, but again, from our Iraq experience I think we need to look more carefully at worst case scenarios.

Let’s say that the conflict ignites rather like WW I...would a Shia/Sunni war in the middle east be something we want to see? Do we want Iraq to look like Lebanon?

Even if they manage to intervene and calm their militias, can they truly control their "puppets?" Will they be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together?

Another point in favor of what some of the liberals are saying, though: Yugoslavia. Imagine trying to keep that country together post-Tito. It makes more sense to let it fall apart. Supporting Kosovo is much easier than trying to enforce Kosovo / Bosnia / Croatia and Serbia to stay together.

That said, are we at that point yet? While it would have made eniment sense to do that in Iraq after a civil war broke out with Saddam’s death before we invaded, we are at a different ball game now.

And why even defend Kurdistan? Let them be run over, too. Why should we base any troops there if Iraq will end up the same as " Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria" It would be easier to bring every troop home, no? What’s the compelling reason to defend the Kurds but not the Iraqi government?

p.s This has been a most interesting thread.




 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
”Hmmm, [(1)]we went into Iraq to build democracy and [(2)]stop WMD programs, with the idea [(3)]it would be quick and [(4)]Iraqi oil will pay for itself...Yet the American presence has seen [(5)]a continually deteriorating situation, and it’s clear that [(6)]the American public will not tolerate continued presence in Iraq, and with [(7)]the military overstretched, it hurts national security.”
Encouraged by favorable comments, we see Professor Erb coming off of his "reasonableness" and returning to his message. These comments could have been written a year ago and put away while waiting for an opportunity to offer them. Perhaps they were. Discerning readers will observe that they are a pure dose of LN.

Like Mona was a libertarian, Professor Erb is a fiscal conservative. Like her, he must inform us of that fact since none of his comments would disclose that information. He hates the Democrats, if he is to be believed. Uh huh. Well, although I don’t know about that, I know the LN when I see it. Look again at the blockquote above.
Once more I must remark on the coincidence that Professor Erb’s independent thinking reaches the exact same conclusions. Amazing.

Could it be that I am mistaken and that the real world is the LN? That would account for it.

Nah.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
This is an interesting post and I’ve read over it much to quickly but I have to mow the grass before it gets too hot. I would, however, like to ask my own question. Many, many people keep saying this:
...and it’s clear that the American public will not tolerate continued presence in Iraq,...
I don’t mean to single out professor Erb by quoting him but my problem with this view is do we have to accept it. I think it’s a matter of educating the public on what the actual goals of the Islamists are. Some people think that Al-Queda is fighting to remove our military from the middle east. If it is our military presence there that is causing the fighting what are the reasons for what is going on in Indonesia, the Philipines, Thailand, India, Burma, Chechnya, Africa, etc.
TROP (The Religion of Peace) keeps a running account of terrorist activity. here is a listing for only the last 3 months. Something like this should be on page A1 of every major newspaper in America. It’s not until we have a complete understanding of the breadth and scope of their intentions that we can begin to discuss what our actions should be.

P.S. Why is comments requiring me to put in a URL? It’s never done that before.
 
Written By: tom
URL: www.nospam.net
The Shia will kill the Sunni radicals
Emphasis mine. The commenter seems to be predicting that the Shia will dispatch the insurgents and terrorists.
What’s the compelling reason to defend the Kurds but not the Iraqi government?
The Kurds are willing to be defended as a group. ie, they’re not actively undercutting U.S. attempts to help.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
Boy, let’s just dismiss my comments by saying that I’m full of merde! If the Anbar Salvation Council is a drop in the bucket, howcome Michael Yon’s reporting is showing a virtual cratering of violence in Anbar?

The tribes are coming around in Anbar, glasnost. You refuse to accept this. Yet Yon, who is there, and who knows considerably more about this situation than do you or I, maintains that the Anbar tribes have decisively swung against AQI.
This explains their movement to Diyala, leading to a similar awakening movement among the tribals there.

So your dismissive wave of the hand is belied by the facts on the ground, glasnost. Or so at least Yon would probably maintain, at least in Anbar.

Further, the notion that al-Qaeda will not be emboldened by an apparent victory over the United States, handed to them in a gift wrapped box by the Democratic Party and their Netroots Torchlight Parade supporters, is a fantasy that I will not let you get away with. You’re merely trying to escape the ultimate responsibility for your party’s Vichyite defeatisme by peddling the notion that "they’re angry at us already, so what if we leave in defeat". In fact, bin Laden counts Bill Clinton’s retreat from Somalia as his organization’s first victory over us. Democrats are prepared to hand Al Qaeda a monumental strategic victory of the first order.

Your party simply does not have the will to lead this nation in war. The American people are slowly, but surely, getting over their disgust with Bush and figuring this out. It’s why Rudy will probably be the next President.

You simply don’t have the intellectual honesty to admit that. Your explanations are so many rationalizations and, if I may say, bullcr*p. I’m not fooled, and what is worse, neither is bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, or the young Persian Fuhrer.

They understand that you Democrats are weak. They know that you will run. They know that you will accept Peace at Any Price.

It’s why they want you in power.
 
Written By: section9
URL: http://
I’m a little late to the party, and don’t consider myself the object of the question (a liberal) but thought I’d weigh in anyway.

I accept the premise that we must deal with the situation in Iraq as it exists and not as it should have been absent the wildly incompetent decision making from this administration. Just as "liberals" must accept the reality of dealing with the situation on the ground in Iraq today, "Bush-ists" must accept the political reality in the US, that we have a Commander in Chief executing a war strategy without the support of or any degreee of confidence from a significant majority of Americans. We can no more go back in time and fix their decisions than we can rely on the Jedi reinforcements flying out of my @ss, or by drafting a million boot occupying force to be led by a Commander in Chief without portfolio or support from the American people. This is all simple reality.

All we can do now is deal with reality and face our limited choices squarely. We are not able to provide a level of security that is adequate for any semblance of normal life for Iraqi’s. That this state is not going to be acceptable to Iraqis is exactly why we cannot stay there indefinitely and part of the reason we are likely creating more terrorists than we are killing. They live there, we don’t. At some point they’ll be there and we won’t. The Iraqis, both friend and foe know this. Knowing this, they will and are positioned to reach for any security arrangment that will fill the gap we created, as well as further their sectarian ambitions for power.

Reality is that we are well into the end-game of our military involvement in Iraq. Rather than talk about victory or defeat, I find it more useful to think in terms of End State.

My best guess is the end state is a Moqtada al-Sadr led Iraq supported by the US militarily. I hate the idea, but he is wildly popular with the majority Shia, he has an army, and like any good politician will promise whatever the Iraqi people want to hear. In this case - a semblance of security in an Iraq free of American occupiers. Make no mistake - that is exactly what a majority of Iraqi’s want, and that is what al-Sadr is offering. I don’t know if he can deliver. You don’t know if he can deliver. The Iraqi’s don’t know that he can deliver or how much blood will be shed in getting there from here. But they do know now, that the US cannot deliver a peaceful safe Baghdad for them.

If al-Sadr is the end state, the only question is how and when we get there. At some point we will have to take the risk that things will not get appreciably worse when we leave. We could be wrong, but we will have to take that risk eventually, it is only a question of when. If we had other leadership here, we might be able manage a transition to an al-Sadr government with at least a facade of democracy in place and a minimum of bloodshed. With this administration, we are likely to see nothing but pushing this problem over the horizon to the next administration, at enormous additional cost to our treasury, our military, our standing in the world, and an even greater cost to the Iraqi people.
 
Written By: mw
URL: http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/
p.s This has been a most interesting thread.
What’s interesting is the number of forward thinking "liberals" who are willing
to let the funny little brown people kill each other off if it means some kind of peace and economic savings in the short term

contrasted against

the facist conservatives who are willing to stay in place and endure cost and casualties if there’s even a small hope for peace in a longer time frame


I wonder how much shifting in those positions we’d see if GWB wasn’t President.


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"First, I’m wondering what you think the result of an American withdrawal would be? And we really have to ask that about two spheres, the internal Iraqi results, and the effect on America’s security. "

Disaster. But, a disaster withour Americans dying.

There is no easy answers...we stay and there is one going disaster, day by day...we leave and there is real possibility for chaos.

I’m still for leaving.

Hey, it’s not our fault. The true sign of a failed leader is one where he leads us into a blind canyon...where all choices are evil and no choice is positive.

This is why we should take going to war very, very, VERY seriously...and only do so as a last resort.

And I fully reject the simplistic and immature slogan of fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here. That may work in movies from the 1950s but it never was really true. look no further than the foiled plot by Al Queda operatives on Fort Dix. Hey! I thought fighting them in Iraq meant they wouldn’t be over here? Another piece of Bush propaganda is dead.

And chaos and disaster that happens if we leave is the fault of the CinC, period.
 
Written By: Tim
URL: http://
We are there Scott. Can’t change that.
Of course we can change that. In fact, I guarantee you we will, given the lack of political support the war has and the continuing violence — May has been an especially deadly month for both American troops and Iraqi citizens — we will leave. That is a political reality.

You evade the points made: We don’t have the capacity to fix the problem, while we’ve been there things have been deteriorating. You also ignore the issue of HOW we leave, and what we help set up in our place. It shows no common sense to say "well, things have been getting worse continually for four years, but we chose this path and we have no choice but to continue it." Common sense: This isn’t working, let’s figure out what can work and embrace reality. (For more detail on the situation check my blog.)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

And Erb; The Nazis were a minority,
LOL! When you get to that level of absurdity, Bithead, you’re essentially giving me the point. Thank you. *eyes rolling*
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I don’t mean to single out professor Erb by quoting him but my problem with this view is do we have to accept it. I think it’s a matter of educating the public on what the actual goals of the Islamists are.
There is a reason for the Weinberger and Powell doctrines which demand public support. Once it’s lost it’s almost impossible to regain. Nothing in the current political climate suggests that’s even remotely possible. Moreover, given all the warnings and talk about Islamic extremism, what "education" do you consider necessary? Everyone in America knows that the extremists have horrific goals. But does overstretching our military in Iraq in a sectarian struggle the best way to counter terrorist threats? And if our presence is actually increasing recruitment of terrorists as experts of the region say, aren’t we making things worse by continuing this policy? Extremists are a small minority, and the conflict is more internal to Islam than a threat to the west. Right now, we’re helping the extremists with this policy.

The public understands the threat, and I think that means there is a basis for a bipartisan counter-terrorism policy, but Iraq isn’t it. Some ideas:

1. Embrace reality. The discussion of the war has been mostly political, with people attacking and criticizing the other side, and defending positions held so long that they feel they can’t shift without embarrassing themselves. Reality has to be embraced by all; the current policy can’t work, but we can’t simply wash our hands of the situation. We need to recognize the limits of our power and realize that we are not capable of shaping Iraq to what we want it to be. Iraq is going to be shaped by the Iraqis.

2. Place Iraq in the regional context. All of the groups involved fighting for power have allies and share interests with other states and groups throughout the region. The states can be dealt with in terms of their national interests, and they have leverage.

3. Develop a multi-lateral counter-terrorism strategy that has bipartisan support at home and has international legitimacy, preferably a UN treaty leading the way. This effort will include Iraq, but as a focus of dealing with terror threats, not trying to shape the political system. As much as many countries oppose US policy now, they do know terrorism is a threat; we need to create partnerships rather than try to control what is done.

4. Develop positive outreach programs to moderate Muslims. This can be modeled after current efforts within Europe and modified to help improve relations in the Mideast.

5. Create a long range energy strategy that reduces the dependence of the world economy on oil from the region, especially as the region may be nearing peak production.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Oh, yeah, and one final question: What if you’re wrong?"

Well, then I’d expect a Medal Of Freedom.
 
Written By: Tim
URL: http://
You evade the points made:
Ummm, this from you Scott? You who spent ALL day yesterday avoiding specific questions directed at you in another thread? Pot -> Kettle, Kettle -> Pot...

And, I did not evade the points. This discussion is predicated on ’reality’ ie; we are in Iraq (care to go read what Dale wrote?).
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
There is a reason for the Weinberger and Powell doctrines which demand public support. Once it’s lost it’s almost impossible to regain. Nothing in the current political climate suggests that’s even remotely possible. Moreover, given all the warnings and talk about Islamic extremism, what "education" do you consider necessary?
A couple of things in this paragraph: 1)Once it’s lost it’s almost impossible to regain. It may be difficult but it’s not impossible because the American people want to prevail. 2)We have been beaten for 3 years-longer if you go back to the brutal Afghanistan winter-with a constant drumbeat from the media about how bad Iraq is. Another commenter referenced Michal Yon’s observations from Anbar. Think we can get the media to mention it? If we have not 3 years of negative coverage but merely 3 months of positive coverage I believe that the comment "it’s clear that the American public will not tolerate continued presence in Iraq." will become a phrase to be mocked on Saturday Night Live. The education I refer to is the media putting on page A1 the boxscore of Islamist attacks worldwide. If the media is not dedicated to reporting the negative the American people will become more educated on the extent of Islamist terror.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Maybe San Diego and Baghdad can become sister cities!
 
Written By: coater
URL: http://
I was seriously considering embracing YOUR reality and then you had to bring up the UN. So close
 
Written By: coater
URL: http://
Erb:

Erb: I refer you to Cliff May:
In 1917, most Russians were not Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks were a minority, but they were fanatical and ruthless. So they prevailed — and for most of the 20th century Russians lived and died under Communist oppression.

In 1933, most Germans were not Nazis. The Nazis were a minority, but they were fanatical and ruthless. Tens of millions would perish before Hitler’s dream of world conquest collapsed.
Well, gee, Scott; what about this doesn’t mesh with where we find Radical Islam, today, hmm?


As to the rest, What’s absurd is the your of a serious lack of historical understanding, or alternatly, the lengths you’ll go to to avoid reality.

And you’re teaching?
Yeah, that figures.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
By the way #5 will actually be solved by a long range capitalist with a good idea. Sorry I know how deeply you embrace the Federal Government (or UN) for strategy, planning and leadership.
 
Written By: coater
URL: http://
well since my server at the office crashed, i can jump back in.

On the media: the press is in the business of keeping its listeners. Whether it’s NPR or Fox, the executives’ only internal narrative is ensuring that people tune in tomorrow. Since death and destruction is more interesting than peace and quiet, if it bleeds it leads. Virtually all major news sources are owned by publicly traded corporations that are interested in one thing only — $$$$.

On strategy: having a peaceful, secular, unified Iraq that is a reliable ally in the War on Terror would be nice. so would my winning the lottery. but odds are that it ain’t going to happen. so what’s the best possible likely outcome? unclear. The Kurds want to declare independence, but Turkey, a NATO ally, doesn’t want that to happen. Can a deal be made? That largely depends on Turkish and Kurdish leaders, no matter what we do. Sunni extremists and Baathists want their power back. But the Shia have discovered their majority status and don’t want to surrender. Can a deal be made? Again, that’s between them.

On tactics: Does the US presence impede or promote settlement discussions between the various interests? Both, probably. Forces of unification and forces of dissolution are both getting trained by the US. If the next president is elected on a campaign promise to stay in Iraq indefinitely, then he’ll have the political capital to keep the war funds coming from Congress. But that appears unlikely. So we will leave sometime after 2009, and get to see which sides learned their lessons best.

on sovereignity and international relations: I doubt this country has much credbility with pro-liberty and pro-democracy forces in the Middle East. We have sent billions in aid to profoundly authoritarian countries like Eygpt and Saudi Arabia and cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority when Hamas won. Bremer tried to sell off Iraqi oil assets when he was viceroy. You can understand why polls show that the prevailing attitude in the Middle East toward the US is, essentially, leave us alone.

on what liberals want: peace and prosperity, mostly. The Algerian Civil War was a brutal affair between the secular military and islamic fundamentalists. It would be nice if that could be avoided in Iraq. BUT THE US DOESN’T GET TO DECIDE THAT ISSUE.

In 1776, we decided to fight for our liberty from occupation. What happened to the loyalists once the revolutionaries won? some fled, some changed sides, some were killed. In 1861 we decided to resolve the issue of union vs. federation, with slavery as the key point of disagreement. That was a nasty affair, but occupation by the British would not have prevented it.

People everywhere will at some point find things worth fighting for, and there’s not much to stop them. We are thousands of miles from home, in a culture few know, which has a language that few speak. How can we possibly expect to deliver peace and prosperity?

The Iraqis will figure things out for themselves eventually. The only question for the US taxpayer is at what cost in OUR blood and treasure.


 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
I mean, you’re advocating a policy change that will have wide-ranging effects. It’s not enough to say that everything will be OK. You have to show your math. You have to explain why you’re not just whistling past the graveyard.

In a way, I do appreciate the effort to think about this in this way, but in a profound way, it is sad that we did not require this kind of review before we ever got into Iraq. Can we count on this being a lesson learned?
 
Written By: PSoTD
URL: http://
What we do now is, we attack Iran. And then, if need be, we attack Syria. When Turkey’s Kurds decide to secede and join up with Iraq’s Kurds, we attack Turkey. We attack Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, and Oman. We attack Ethiopia and Libya and Morocco and Algeria and Indonesia and every other vaguely Islamic country we can find except Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and we don’t stop until we have unified all of them in their hatred and fear of the US.

Once they all have a common threat, they will make peace with each other and form a common front, and the internecine warfare will end.

 
Written By: Lyle
URL: http://
May has been an especially deadly month for both American troops and Iraqi citizens
Typical Erb...

Here are the US deaths in Iraq this year so far:
Jan:83 - Feb:80 - Mar:81 - Apr:104 - May:83

Here are the Iraqi Security and Civilian deaths in Iraq this year so far:
Jan:1802 - Feb:3014 - Mar:2977 - Apr:1821 - May:1384

You do realize that words have specific meanings, right?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I see a common thread through this link, that being the worst case scenario if we leave.

I can’t help but point out that if the worst case scenario were taken into account, we simply would not be there, because the worst case scenario was that as a result of our intervention, Iraq would become a failed state and a terrorist haven, and Americans would die, and continue to die, in the middle of it for the foreseeable future.

So NOW the war supporters want us to look at the worst case scenario IF WE LEAVE.

We have well and truly screwed the Iraqi people out of the chance to redesign their nation which would have happened in the natural course when Saddam died or was killed. It may have been bloody (as if it isn’t) and we may have gotten involoved, but we would not own it.

We own it now, and sadly, whether we keep sending our boys to die there or not, we may not be able to fix it. If there was a certainty, or even likelihood that our presence was going to be able to bring Iraq to the point that they are a stable nation (forget democratic at this point, anything short of failed nation would be golden at this point), we would owe it to the Iraqi to fix what we broke, even at the cost of our blood and treasure. But there is no such likelihood, and perhaps the opposite, our presence may be corrosive, and the only difference between Iraq whether we are there or not may be whether 100,000 Sunni’s will die at the pace of 100 a day or a 1000 a day.

There’s no good answer here, but watching from the sidelines with a metaphorical sniper rifle may be the best answer.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Harun is absolutely right to bring up worst case scenarios, and as much as I’d like to say "when we leave things won’t fall apart" there is a real chance things could get very ugly, which would increase the appeal of radicalism in the region and threaten the world economy with high oil prices — though that might be the best way to limit green house gas emissions ;-)

Francis is right in pointing out the complexity and how our presence in many ways hinders regional efforts. Also, we don’t have the capacity (or right) to determine the outcome, the people of the region make their own choices.

I’d also add that this has hurt the US immensely in budget (the cost will certainly reach a trillion or more), loss of American life as well as tens of thousands wounded soldiers and contractors, with economic disruption and costs on families. It breaks my heart when I hear of fathers not seeing their young children, or of mothers having to leave kids behind. Beyond that America’s capacity to act on other threats has been curtailed, and the US is no longer as respected or even feared as before.

I hope too people recognize the unintended and unexpected consequences of the decision to go to war — and then continue in an effort to try to socially engineer an outcome in Iraq that didn’t fit with Iraqi traditions and politics.

Yet it’s not too late to change. I think all us so-called liberals ask is that the so-called conservatives (bad to see this as liberal vs. conservative — is Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan liberal, is Joe Lieberman conservative?) is to consider the possibility that we need a fundamental change, that this cannot be won militarily, that the current policies aren’t working, and the drumbeat of "slow progress" and "good news not being reported" simply wasn’t true — we’ve seen consistent deterioration. Because as much as some of you may not like the "international community," if we can’t do much to help stabilize the region, that’s the only alternative. And while bold talk may sound nice, in world politics its important to understand the limits of our power — because a relatively small insurgency in Iraq is pushing us to those limits. What lesson is there for us? What does this mean for policy moving forward?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

Here are the US deaths in Iraq this year so far:
Jan:83 - Feb:80 - Mar:81 - Apr:104 - May:83
Note that there is still a lot of May to go.

And check out this article for perspective on how bad it’s been this month.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, interesting comment from our buddies in the UN. We really ought to consider partnering with them for the global police action on terror (gPAoT).

"The U.N. agency that oversees the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, the scene of three days of battles between Lebanese troops and Muslim militants, said yesterday it had been aware for months that heavily armed foreigners were moving into the Palestinian enclave but were helpless to stop them."

Maybe we could get the cast and crew of CSI to take the case against terror it would be solved in 1 hour, of course they would have to watch syriana first to get up to speed.
 
Written By: coater
URL: http://
What’s interesting is the number of forward thinking "liberals" who are willing
to let the funny little brown people kill each other off if it means some kind of peace and economic savings in the short term

contrasted against

the facist conservatives who are willing to stay in place and endure cost and casualties if there’s even a small hope for peace in a longer time frame


Looker, this is a dishonest characterization of most people’s views, including mine.

What you totally overlook is that in that "longer" time frame, either tens or hundreds of thousands of people a year are dying. I can’t speak for everyone, but a lot of liberals, including myself, expect that less people will die in Iraq in the next ten years if we leave than if we stay.

You’re the one washing away humanitarian issues with a wave of the hand- we’re killing Iraqis, both innocent and guilty, every day and every week, as Col. Andrew Balegovich (sp?) pointed out last week in the WA-Post - and you think we can infinitely overlook that, just because we can spout our noble intentions off about how we’re here to bring peace. The Iranians can spout that rhetoric the same way, but if we put the Iraqi people’s lives first, we’d scale back our efforts to kill vast blocks of said Iraqi people. Yeah, we’re trying to kill the Iraqis who are trying to kill the Iraqis, yada yada yada, bottom line is that we’re there, and the place is a human tragedy, therefore we are not having the effect neccessary to justify the effort on humanitarian grounds, period.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
And let’s dispense with silly arguments about whether we should’ve gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. We are there. So what do we do now?
Says the supporter of the man who dug this massive hole. Is who got us into this mess and how really irrelevant when considering that same person’s plans for getting out of it? If Bush was the contractor who’d been working on your house for 4 years and just had it fall down again, do you ask him what we do now?
First, I’m wondering what you think the result of an American withdrawal would be? And we really have to ask that about two spheres, the internal Iraqi results, and the effect on America’s security.
In Iraq leaders of the various factions, Shia, Sunni, Kurd will have to come to some accomodation with each other, or fight each other at various possible levels of intensity. They will no longer be able to hide the fact - that not all of them can pursue their maximalist agendas successfully - behind the occupation. I think we’ll see continued violence at or just above the level we have been seeing unitl that accomodationis reached. Of course it is possible to spin out the scenario under which violence escalates and various neighboring countries join in a war that ignites the whole region, but I have seen little appetite for such a war from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, or Turkey. These neighboring counrties, are the ones who will dictate to those in Iraq who might expect their help, how far to take the conflict. Thus our relationships with those countries are another vector by which we will influence the shape of the post occupation Iraq. At any rate the p[layer in Iraq will no longer be able to pretend that if it weren’t for the Americans they’d be getting everything they ever wanted.

RE america’s security: It will be enhaced in three ways by our leaving Iraq. First, we will be able to rebuild our capacity to respond to any other crisis instead of every two-bit thug knowing we’ve got our army caught in the meatgrinder in Iraq. Second, Iran will no longer have 160,000 American hostages. Third, we will finally no longer be printing and distributing the Jihadists recruiting posters for them.

Do you reject the "you broke it, you bought it" idea? Well, I think we do have a responsiblity to do what we can to fix what we broke. But to strain the analogy, usually once you drop the vase, you got to the cashier and shamefacedly pay. You don’t get to sit in the middle of the store trying to glue the shards back together for four years.
Do you think the Iraqis will find a way to cobble their state together?
Yes, as Harun noted lousy third world governments limp along all arround the world, and they don’t have the external sponsors for the full scale war it would take to break Iraq apart.
Do you think it will descend into a civil bloodbath? If so, then why don’t we have any responsibility to try and prevent it?
It could, but I foresee more of a blood-shower, violence a bit worse than what it is today. Whether it does or not will depend on the willingness of Iraqi leaders to compromise (and their ability to sell such compromises to their constituents) just as it does today. But we won’t be there delaying such choices.
What if Iraq turns into a Taliban-like cesspool, and becomes a base for terrorist operation against the US in the same way Afghanistan was?
What if Egypt does? What if Florida does? Why would any potential government of Iraq make such basing arrangements?
Do you think that the Iraqis can build a stable, functioning democratic state? If not, why? Are they just not suited for Democracy as a people? If so, what are their deficiencies?
Probably eventually, if the occupation ends and they are allowed to make such arrangements with each other that minorities can have some confidence that losing an election doesn’t mean losing their lives. With the US attempting to impose that instead of the Iraqis agreeing it among themselves, they never will. Likely it will be demcracyish for a while with real decisions being made in smoke filled back rooms for a while.
The other half of the question is what effect will it have on American security? Will it embolden terrorists? Will our withdrawal make it more or less likely that terrorists will begin marshaling forces for another 9/11 style attack? Why?
They took down the world trade center and have lived to brag about it. How much more emboldened do you think they can get?
On the Global War on Terror more generally, will a withdrawal from Iraq help or hinder that effort? Or do we need to make an effort at all, other than some Special Ops stuff here and there, and intelligence, prevention, and law enforcement operations otherwise?
Help, see the security answers above. More generally though yes we do need a lot more law enforcement style activity, a lot more intelligence and a lot less invading and occupying.
Are we doomed to fail at achieving anything worthwhile in Iraq? Why? Is it something organic to Iraq, or simply a problem with the current president? Would another administration be able to achieve some reasonable level of peace and stability?
Getting rid of Saddam was worthwhile. But given the way Bush screwed up the first six months of the occupation, we can no longer do anything useful - as occupiers - to help.
Oh, yeah, and one final question: What if you’re wrong?
Then I, unlike the President, would be happy to try something else.
So, other than sunny optimism, what assurances can you give that the consequences of quick pullout from Iraq will be relatively painless?
Is our current policy painless? All the new policy has to be is less painful than the endless occupation we’ve got now.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
The tribes are coming around in Anbar, glasnost. You refuse to accept this. Yet Yon, who is there, and who knows considerably more about this situation than do you or I, maintains that the Anbar tribes have decisively swung against AQI.

I’ll section out the one factual segment of your hateful little rant, section9, and deal with it factually. I’ve got nothing against Mike Yon’s reporting, insofar as reporting. What’s he’s reporting is a tactical success that is not significant to the strategic whole. Take a reality check please .

I’ve heard about pattycake with the tribes in Anbar, section9. It’s been trumpeted from the rooftops. Michael Yon doesn’t make it sound like the War in Anbar province is over, but you do. And being against AQI, while a great thing for humanity as a whole, does not equal "not blowing up Americans".

In fact, bin Laden counts Bill Clinton’s retreat from Somalia
You mean the one that Congressional Republicans demanded loudly, on the record, and enforced by stripping funds from the budget for further peacekeeping efforts there?
as his organization’s first victory over us.
Except Osama Bin Laden, of course, is also full of sh*t, as Americans of all stripes ought to be happy to agree on.

Democrats are prepared to hand Al Qaeda a monumental strategic victory of the first order.

Republicans are prepared to hand Al Qaeda a monumental straegic victory of the first order by staying in Iraq. Four years of such have already helped them get off the mat, avoid the killing blow in Pakistan, regain their global popularity, and reenergize their fundraising . That’s why they want you in power.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
The education I refer to is the media putting on page A1 the boxscore of Islamist attacks worldwide. If the media is not dedicated to reporting the negative the American people will become more educated on the extent of Islamist terror.
Actually I think you are the one misguided about the extent of the threat — if anything it’s being hyped up. Moreover, the media has reported progress in some areas — and noted, correctly, that insurgents have shifted their activities to other provinces and violence has gone up rather than down. You can’t focus on the "good" and ignore the "bad" either.

Ultimately for what you want the media leaders would have to have a major change in perspective, and I think you know that’s not going to happen. The depth of antipathy for the fighting in Iraq is intense. I think that’s a reality that you (and the Administration) has to deal with. I mean, it’s not like the White House hasn’t been trying to put out a message to gain support. It just isn’t working, the American people have lost faith in the President. So I think we have to analyze policy options given that reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
BTW to the issue of if Iraq is suitable for democracy. It’s not that the people themselves aren’t suited for democracy, it’s only that it is very difficult to implement a democracy and have it function. It rests on values of compromise, toleration of difference, and acceptance of defeat if one loses an election. That’s only a skimming of the surface — those values rest on societal cohesion, secular understandings, etc. European states had trouble moving to democracy. France is on its 5th republic, democracies in Italy and Germany turned fascist, and Japan’s early attempt turned into a militarist empire. In the US we had slavery for the first eighty years, women couldn’t vote for 140. Democracies are not natural for a nation-state, given the possible centralization of power. Where corruption and sectarian differences are huge (like Iraq) it becomes nearly impossible. You have to limit corruption and end sectarian violence before democracy becomes feasible. Nigeria looked set to have a successful independent democracy in 1960 when it got independence. Within six years corruption and ethnic violence led to civil war. Now their third effort is pretty much failing too due to rigged elections and oil violence.

Democracies are not easy, and usually it takes generations of developing a stable political culture before they can take. Americans tend to overlook that, we tend to think that if the bad guys were removed everyone would go vote and be happy with their liberties. But that’s not how the world functions.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
BTW, to those who say "we’re there, it’s irrelevant if the choice to go was right or wrong" are missing an important point. We have to learn from our mistakes. We have to learn very deeply the dangers of choosing war, the disadvantages, unexpected pitfalls and unanticipated consequences. This experience should make it virtually impossible to choose war for regime change elsewhere, war and military action should only be chosen for self-defense, sometimes other-defense, and only when a threat is imminent and clear, not imaginable. It should not be done with grand social engineering schemes in mind to reshape a political system or region.

Yes, that doesn’t change the reality of what we face today, we don’t get a redo. But we can’t dismiss this without taking very seriously the lessons that must be learned from this experience.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Now that I’ve answered some questions, here are some in return:

Why isn’t AQ in the US now blowing up subways and deploying sniper teams?

How should the presidential candidates persuade the American people to pay for another 4 years in Iraq?

What are the likely consequences of assassinating Al-Sadr? What are the consequences of not doing so?

What can be done about the Palestinians?
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
When we leave, the Shia will kill all the Sunni radicals in their presence. Why? Because the Sunni radicals will become the biggest threat to their power, and because the Shia militias have overwhelming force, organization, and backing. It’s that simple.

The Shia will kill the Sunni radicals, it will be bloody, brutal, but it will be over within a year. And then Shias will ally formally with Iran.


While I agree with your reasoning vis-a-vis what the Shia militias would like to do given a free hand, you make it sound like a fait accompli.

What makes you think that relatively poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly led Shia militamen will fare better than US forces in al Anbar province? and what of the Kurds? and what do you think will happen once the Saudi’s and the other Gulf states openly start supporting the Sunni militias?

Bloody and brutal, that we agree on. Over in a year? keep dreaming beautiful dreams.
 
Written By: I R A Darth Aggie
URL: http://
Use Turkey’s desire to enter the EU and the Kurd’s need for a pipeline to the sea to broker a peace deal between Turkey and Kurdistan.

Oh, that’s bloody likely to happen. Look, if an effective peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians can’t be brokered in 40 years, what makes you think you can broker a deal between the Turks and the Kurds by waving your hands?

Go read up on some history of the Turks and the Kurds. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there are Kurdish minorities in Syria, Iran and Azerbijan. And they’d probably like to join this Kurdistan and create a greater Kurdistan. Care to guess how the governments would feel about losing land and population?
 
Written By: I R A Darth Aggie
URL: http://
Looker, this is a dishonest characterization of most people’s views, including mine.
I disagree. I’ve wrangled with you enough to agree, I don’t think you feel that way, but it applies to others.



 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Bloody and brutal, that we agree on. Over in a year? keep dreaming beautiful dreams.
Or worse, bloody brutal and short. A truce may be agreed in which both Sunni & Shia agree to blame all the violence on the American invasion and begin a new era of interdominational goodwill. That way both the Shia and the Sunni get to claim victory.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
From Winds of Change nearly two years ago.
In a previous Winds of War report, we noted that Thailand has one of the world’s worst terrorism problems: over 600 deaths in less than two years as a result of Islamofascist terrorism. Focus by the media? Hard to find, except for scattered articles in places like TIME Asia (Nov. 29/04: Buddhists Under Siege). Faithful Winds of War readers will have followed our continuing coverage, but I thought it was time to up the profile a bit.
Anyway, we have more beheadings and murders by Muslim terrorists there... and of course, the Associated Press won’t call them that. Their moral cowardice surpasseth all understanding. Or decency.
I think the death toll in Thailand is now up around 2,000. Nearly that of the WTC.
Actually I think you are the one misguided about the extent of the threat — if anything it’s being hyped up.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: www.nospam.net
It’s not patriotic to leave our soldiers in Iraq to fight and die for a Shiite theocracy. Whether this president or the next withdraws from Iraq there will be dancing in the streets of Baghdad. Shiites and Sunnis alike will celebrate their “victory” over the occupiers. That’s the only “victory” that’s going to be won there. As soon as the aid money buyoffs run out the stooges who run the country, whether it’s Maliki or another set of Iranian approved goons will start making public anti-American utterances in order to hang onto their phony baloney jobs or just to keep themselves from being strung up from lampposts. They’ll tear up any godawful hydrocarbon law forced down their throats by Cheney in a New York minute.

Why would they be so ungrateful? First of all because they’re Arabs and live in the ME. The US has been getting bad press in those parts for decades. Secondly because Bush 1 told them to overthrow Saddam in 1991 and then had coalition soldiers stand idly by, sometimes as Republican Guard troops moved right through their ranks to massacre them. Then we sanctioned the whole country into the poorhouse for over a decade for Saddam’s sins. Now we’ve invaded, occupied and destroyed their country. We’ve arrested them without charges, locked them up without trial and tortured them. 4 million are displaced. 2 million outside the country. Those 2 million btw are most of the people (with money and brains) who could’ve formed a decent government. Probably a million have died. 53% in the last poll said they have a close friend or family member who has been killed or wounded by the violence. 69% say coalition troops make the security situation worse, not better. 71% say killing American soldiers is justifiable. 60% are unemployed with no way to feed their families. A majority say there may be a short term spike in violence once we leave but they still want us out.

Al Qaeda is using the money they pull out of Iraq from rackets, kidnapping rings and I wouldn’t be the least surprised to find out, US aid, and rebuilding their organization in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Meanwhile the US military is crumbling.

Bush knows all that and it’s the reason he won’t withdraw. If he can just hang on til January ‘09 someone else, be it a Repub or Dem, (and there’s no way it’s going to be a Repub if we’re still in Iraq) will be left holding the bag, taking the blame for his latest failure as has been the case his whole life.

If that doesn’t answer your specific questions too bad. I have better things to do than read wingnut
gloating about a pyrrhic political "victory" that will in the end hopefully destroy the Republican party before it destroys the US Army.
 
Written By: markg8
URL: http://
"Oh, yeah, and one final question: What if you’re wrong?"

For Oliver, the important part of the question is "what if." For Dale, you must take out the "what if," which means it’s no longer a question. Every assumption by the Administration has been proven wrong (aside from the fact that Saddam was a horrible human being and that he would be easy to take down - not insignificant points, but those were not the real reasons we took on the task of regime change either). We can imagine - though I bet a few tidbits of quotes exist out there to take away any need for imagination - what the response would have been if President Bush’s critics asked the "what if you’re wrong question." Smarmy, arrogant, "we’re not wrong" kind of answers. In fact, Wolfowitz told us that Shinseki’s troop number estimates were "wildly off the mark." And Rummy told This Week’s George S. that the war should cost under $50 billion. When George told Rummy about some much higher estimates (that have since been surpassed), Rummy said "bologna."

So again, the "what if you’re wrong" question is legit, but with Oliver, at least there’s a chance he’s right. With Dale, no chance.
 
Written By: Jack
URL: http://
The Mahdi army is only about 160,000 in strength versus the current army, police, and paramilitaries who are also mainly Shia.

If it is so easy to wipe out the insurgents with a Shia militia why hasn’t the Shia army already done so?

What’s being implied is that once the gloves come off it will be easier to kill the insurgents - but on the ground what we saw the Mahdi army doing was ethnic cleansing and death squads - not exactly killing insurgents per se, but the entire Sunni population. Many of the refugees in fact are not fleeing US forces, but Shia death squads. So I think the risk of a genocide or at least bitter ethnic cleansing is a bigger risk than people assume.

BTW, the worst case scenario with Iraq when we invaded was not that it would become a failed state, but that WMDs would get into the hands of AQ and that Iraq would use WMDs on our forces and we would be fighting a "Stalingrad" in Baghdad, followed by an insurgency.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"Why isn’t AQ in the US now blowing up subways and deploying sniper teams?"

When your organization is on the run, its hard to plan such attacks and have the right personnel. Also, they can simply go to Iraq/Afghanistan if they want some action against American troops. Defending the Islamic lands might be their first priority. Also, there have been several home grown AQ cells that have been broken up, so its not like they are not planning. (I guess we also have to consider incompetence - its not just an American monopoly.)

"How should the presidential candidates persuade the American people to pay for another 4 years in Iraq?"

Leadership means having to sell tough deals to people. Or they can just pass the bills over the week-end ala the immigration bill. ;)

"What are the likely consequences of assassinating Al-Sadr? What are the consequences of not doing so?"

I think the time to have worried about Al-Sadr was in 2004. He personally is not that big a threat as his fractured Mahdi army is. The devil you know and all that.

"What can be done about the Palestinians?"

I think if you believe we should leave the Sunni and Shia to fight it out, why shouldn’t we do the same for Hams/Fatah? People are telling me we have to defend the Kurds because they like us - well, since the Palestinians don’t like us, why should we help them have a state - we can monitor them from Kirkuk or Okinawa and be plenty safe, no?

Seriously, the wall has kept the suicide bombings way down in Israel - so now I think its mainly a matter of the Palestinians fighting amongst themselves until they finally decide to be serious about negotiating - that means the negotiating power has a monopoly on violence and Israel can be sure when it signs a deal that some splinter faction won’t simply appear to do more attacks.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Although not exactly invited to this particular discussion, I think Mr. Franks’s questions need to be addressed and have taken a shot at them, myself, here.
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://daridgely.blogspot.com/
I have replied to Oliver Willis’s reply here.
 
Written By: Paul Edwards
URL: http://antisubjugator.blogspot.com

I hope too people recognize the unintended and unexpected consequences of the decision to go to war — and then continue in an effort to try to socially engineer an outcome in Iraq that didn’t fit with Iraqi traditions and politics.
Interesting how Erb is so respectful of Iraqi culture.... particularly when he has such a long history of exactly the opposite take on our own, and shows as a matter of routine a willingness to over-ride American traditions and politics to further his ’vision’.
We have to learn from our mistakes.
Well, Erb, you’re assuming our actions are a mistake. Based on what, exactly? I’m quite serious, here. What in your mindless, creates the idea that the outcomes, given the inaction previously counciled by the left and rightfully ignored, wouldn’t have been worse?

Interesting too, how so many varied answers show up in the links posted to this thread’s responses. The common thread, of course is an Orwellesque "Four legs good two legs bad" style attacks on Mr. Bush. But beyond that, the commonality, seemingly, ends. PAW; the only thing they share is a hatred for GWB.


Harun:

When your organization is on the run, its hard to plan such attacks and have the right personnel.
Quite so. And can you imagine that was it otherwise, the left would not be screaming that the President wasn’t protecting the country? So, why is it that when such attacks do NOT occur, they can’t bring themselves to even admit the possibility that it’s because the security job’s getting done correctly?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Interesting how Erb is so respectful of Iraqi culture.... particularly when he has such a long history of exactly the opposite take on our own, and shows as a matter of routine a willingness to over-ride American traditions and politics to further his ’vision’.
No, Bithead, I’m respecting American culture. You’re using worn out 1990s and early 2000s talk radio style rhetoric. It doesn’t work. That era is over. The "liberals bad conservatives good" Orwellian bit has been pushed aside. You better find a new schtick.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Harun, if al qaeda is on the run, it’s not because of Iraq. Most foreign fighters in Iraq are Syrian; al qaeda’s main operation is in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and there the taliban has been growing in strength and al qaeda has been infiltrating new towns. Iraq is a cheap way for them to make America bleed and cost America a lot of money and international respect. But it’s not where most of their assets are, nor is it where their main focus is (they make wild claims in their propaganda, but since when does one believe al qaeda propaganda?) Our presence in Iraq is a gift to al qaeda and despite their propaganda, they’d love it if we stayed there, tried to do mission impossible, kept bleeding, dying, dividing our society, spending hundreds of billions of dollars and looking weaker on the world stage. We’re being played for suckers here, man. We gotta change policy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
No, Bithead, I’m respecting American culture
Ummm.... Yeah, right.
Ever hear of Usenet, Scott, my boy?

ANd I note you sidestepping the question, again.
Just so we don’t lose it, try again:


Well, Erb, you’re assuming our actions are a mistake. Based on what, exactly? I’m quite serious, here. What in your mindless, creates the idea that the outcomes, given the inaction previously counciled by the left and rightfully ignored, wouldn’t have been worse?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
"Hmmm, we went into Iraq to build democracy and stop WMD programs, with the idea it would be quick and Iraqi oil will pay for itself."

We were never told it would be quick. In fact, Bush stated publicly, on more than one occasion, that it would be long and difficult. He also gave quite a few more reasons than building democracy and WMD’s, but the left (and the media) have decided to forget those reasons and chant the mantra "it’s to HARD! it’s taking to LONG! there were no WMD’s!". Pitiful.

That seemed acceptable to the left then, judging from their overwhelming voting on the matter. Now, just a few years later, they’ve changed their minds based on the lightest casualties the US has ever suffered in an effort of this scale and would prefer to render the sacrifice of those American (and coalition) men and women meaningless. The Arab world must already be mystified by how little loss of life it takes to set us back on our heels.

Yes, we should learn from our mistakes. But that doesn’t mean we should react to those mistakes by making bigger mistakes, such as a premature withdrawal from Iraq.

Our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan place an enormous amount of pressure on Iran. We have all witnessed, in recent weeks, how Iran reacts to perceived weakness. To withdraw from the region would be a dream come true to Iran’s leadership, and a green light to pursue their anti-western agenda ever further, confident we’d continue to back down. And their confidence would not be misplaced, given the predominant attitudes of the left in the USA and Europe.
 
Written By: Yashmak
URL: http://
but it applies to others.

I guess I was projecting what I’d like to believe. You’re right, there are examples of that. I’d like to believe that it’s not the majority of genuine liberals. It might be a strong majority of ordinary people, of all political stripes.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
The only question for the US taxpayer is at what cost in OUR blood and treasure.
I submit that’s only half the question.

The other half; what’s it going to cost in both lives and money if we don’t stay in the fight... and I submit that any serious examination which includes that half of the question, can only conclude the cost of removing ourselves before the job is done is far too high.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://

The other half; what’s it going to cost in both lives and money if we don’t stay in the fight
We will be much better off, and our security will be enhanced. Iraq is a drag that harms our national security and national interest. It is a strategic disaster of immense proportions, as Gen. Odom has correctly noted.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You’re still not answering the question, Scott.
Try again, and quit dodging.

As for this new attempt at sounding like you know what you’re talking about, you’ve failed, as usual.... thusly: Would you say our security was good on 9/10 with our troops yet to be deployed?



I am fully anticipating your silence on this matter as well.
But that’s OK. Answer the original question.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
The American people are slowly, but surely, getting over their disgust with Bush and figuring this out.
Uh huh -

President Bush’s approval ratings remain near the lowest of his more than six years in office. Thirty percent approve of the job he is doing over all, while 63 percent disapprove.

A majority, 76 percent, including 51 percent of Republicans, say additional troops sent to Iraq this year by Mr. Bush either have had no impact or are making things worse.

Sixty-three percent say the United States should set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq sometime in 2008.

 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
Willis, like most Democratic bloggers and activists, simply wants to throw up his hands and walk away. He does not wish to deal with the reality of what al-Qaeda is and what their millenialist, triumphalist objectives are.
Right now, Iraq is a money-maker for Al Qaeda. When we withdraw, the money will dry up.
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
It is a strategic disaster of immense proportions, as Gen. Odom has correctly noted.
Odom isn’t the only one to have that opinion:


Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid
for a Foolish War

By MARTIN VAN CREVELD
November 25, 2005

For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president’s men. If convicted, they’ll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.

Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, is author of "Transformation of War" (Free Press, 1991). He is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army’s required reading list for officers.
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
the age of black-market nuclear weapons
Please, cut out the histrionics!
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
What makes you think keeping our troops in Iraq will accomplish anything at all? In the four plus years since the invasion, things have gotten steadily and rapidly worse. Four years from now, if things are even worse, should we leave then? How about four years after that?

I applaud our Congress for pushing the president, even if a timetable for withdrawal is the wrong solution. I applaud anyone willing to seriously propose a different course of action. Radical change is needed.

Accountability is needed even more. I predict that talk of timetables will fade away in favor of benchmarks. We need to demand progress in Iraq. Congress needs to set reasonable measurable goals for progress in Iraq, and consequences (people fired, money withdrawn, etc) for not meeting those goals.
 
Written By: Shawn
URL: http://www.metapede.com
As Jim Henley says:
What the United States actually did to the roaring sound of the cheers of Dale Franks and the rest of America’s Security Moms and Republican publiicity team is all “shoulda woulda coulda.” On no account are we to dwell on the past for which they are responsible. But what the United States might do at the urging of us peaceniks, is a whole other matter. No “shoulda woulda coulda” for you, hippie! You’re on the hook. There’s a crucial principle of personal responsibility for other people at stake.
 
Written By: Mithras
URL: http://mithras.blogs.com
And let’s dispense with silly arguments about whether we should’ve gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. We are there. So what do we do now?


Reality orientation is fine for you. Strike that. Reality orientation is a necessity for you. Yes we are there. Glad you can see that. We are there because of folks like you who have been wrong on every count.

You guys have set the world on fire.

Feel powerful yet?


The rest of us, ie, the rational people, like to engage in failure analysis, ie, why are we there? We do this in order to prevent such calamitous mistakes as you have made, in the future.

I will leave the shrinking to others regarding the ideation that drove us into Iraq - and its etiology.

Suffice it to say that people like you, who have been so wrong , so often, about so much of such importance, should be allowed nowhere near the levers of power for at least a generation.

Really? You live in an alternative universe, and should stay locked firmly within its bounds.
 
Written By: Blue Engineer
URL: http://
Look. You people in the pro-war camp don’t deserve "assurances." When we said, "But attacking Iraq in retribution for 9/11?! that doesn’t make any sense at all!" you all got up in our faces, shouting and spitting, and told us all to go straight to Hell.

Well, just like we tried to warn you, you guys completely screwed up. You were too busy waving your arms and bellowing to use your eyes, so you marched right off the cliff. You blew it.

And we didn’t. We owe you absolutely nothing. Since you guys are losers, you’re failures, nobody cares what you think or how you feel any more. So why don’t you just STFU already and get out of the way? Thanks.
 
Written By: W. Kiernan
URL: http://
Shorter moronic brownshirt f*ck: Forget how WE f*cked up. You’re a poo-poo head! So there!!!

Jesus, what a maroon...
 
Written By: dave
URL: http://
And let’s dispense with silly arguments about whether we should’ve gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. We are there. So what do we do now?

What do we do now? For starters, not take seriously anyone who made the colossal mistake in the first instance, and then pretends that it does not matter that their judgment has been proven both horribly wrong and proven that they cannot be trusted to correct erroneous thinking when faced with new questions.

The Shia will have no trouble putting down the Sunni, and they will not bother to pacify Al Anbar. They will wall it off and let it rot in isolation.

I would predict that in the next year, the Shia as led by Sadr after he muscles out Maliki and the now sick Hakim will have the Iraqi government order the Americans out. Then what?

It is disgusting how easy it is for war-supporters to send Americans to their death for a lost cause that does not serve our interests — only the egos of those proven horribly wrong by this war policy.
 
Written By: dmbeaster
URL: http://
Kiernan, among others above, says what needs to be said. The post is moronic and insipid. The benefit in me coming here to read it is that now I know Dale Franks is a zero and safely ignored. Thanks for saving me the time in the future I would have wasted reading your crap.
 
Written By: Winner
URL: http://
Generally Dale, here’s what I say to people like you:

“Who cares what you think? You’re a conservative. You’ve had how many years of running things, and where has it gotten us?

You’re wrong, just flat out wrong about everything.

I would no more listen to what you have to say about what should be done in Iraq anymore than I’d seek Mussolini’s council on Ethiopia.”

Conservatism is dead, and your utility to the body politic is non existent.
 
Written By: TB
URL: http://
W. Kiernan wins.
 
Written By: PhiloBeddoe
URL: http://
Oh, yeah, and one final question: What if you’re wrong?

Well, in that case, all we have to do is to say: "Let’s dispense with silly arguments about whether we should’ve left Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. We left. So what do we do now?"

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

 
Written By: Brautigan
URL: http://
...and late entry Brautigan makes a strong showing for Honorable Mention.
 
Written By: PhiloBeddoe
URL: http://
And let’s dispense with silly arguments about whether we should’ve gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Ah yes. That famous Republican sense of responsibility.
 
Written By: Molly, NYC
URL: http://
Jimmy Carter was proved effing right!
 
Written By: youboob
URL: http://
And let’s dispense with silly arguments about whether we should’ve gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

You and all supporters, promoters, architects of this war, with your Panglossian theorizing, your 19th Century strategic thinking, your Jr. High school moralizing have got to overcome your cowardice, confront your failure, and stand aside for anyone that has demonstrated guts and brains and retained a shred of credibility.

Then America might make headway in Iraq or the region.
 
Written By: Boronx
URL: http://
What the United States actually did to the roaring sound of the cheers of Dale Franks and the rest of America’s Security Moms and Republican publiicity team is all “shoulda woulda coulda.” On no account are we to dwell on the past for which they are responsible. But what the United States might do at the urging of us peaceniks, is a whole other matter. No “shoulda woulda coulda” for you, hippie! You’re on the hook. There’s a crucial principle of personal responsibility for other people at stake.
Yup. That’s because folks like Henley and the rest would much rather dwell in the past and ignore the reality of the situation at hand. They’d much rather use the hammer they have than actually confront the present situation, actually figure out what is in the best interest of the US’s national security and put that forward.

Because that would take thought, and it might even entail backing down from the rhetoric they’ve so carelessly thrown around, and most of all it might actually mean we’d succeed ... which of course, given the mindless virulence of their opposition, would be the worst possible outcome.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
All I see is a big, painfully prolonged "How do you wanna unsh*t the bed, huh?"
 
Written By: scarshapedstar
URL: http://
"And let’s dispense with silly arguments about whether we should’ve gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda."

A FOUR PART PLAN FOR IMPROVING THE SITUATION IN IRAQ.

Step 1. Don’t listen to people like you about anything important ever.

Step 2. Remove the entire Bush administration from power. They have consistently proven that when they do ANYTHING, they will do it in the worst most incompetant manner possible.

Step 3. Put adults in charge of foreign policy.

Step 4. Hope they can figure out how to clean up your mess.

 
Written By: ec1009
URL: http://
"And let’s dispense with silly arguments about whether we should’ve gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda."

You coulda, shoulda and if you woulda listened to us in the first place we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.
 
Written By: ec1009
URL: http://
So Mr. Franks contention boils down to "Our magical pony plan did not work, so what’s your magical pony plan?"

There’s the problem, right there. The real world doesn’t work that way. We’re tried the "shoot, there’s nothing hard about running the world. It’s looks easy, so it’s time folks with a simple-minded worldview had a shot". We tried the simple-minded worldview, and guess what? It failed miserably. Just because somebody thinks something is easy doesn’t mean it is. Kristol and Wolfowitz thought everybody just wanted to run an American-style business, so once Saddam was out of the way, everything will just fall into place. Not quite that simple in a place with 10,000 years of history. Rebuilding a country can’t be all that hard, so let’s send some clueless 20-somethings to run the Provisional authority. Not quite that simple, as real-life military folks will tell you. This is going to be difficult for people who have spent their whole lives figuring this stuff out - clueless amateurs never had a chance, regardless of political affiliation.

No, we tried the simple approach, and the simple approach failed. That does not mean, as Mr. Franks believes, that we picked the wrong Magical Pony Plan, it means there is no Magical Pony Plan. Of course the Democrats don’t have a magical solution - THERE ISN’T ONE. Lack of a Magical Pony Plan is not a weakness, Mr. Franks, it is a strength; it is indicative that people who understand that not every problem has a simple solution (aka Real Life) need to be put back in charge.
 
Written By: LittlePig
URL: http://
You really are a fvcking cretin, Franks. Henley pwned you.
 
Written By: Hulk Brogan
URL: http://netscape.com
"Oh, yeah, and one final question: What if you’re wrong?"
I don’t know. But I do know what if you’re wrong: We wind up with thousands of dead Americans, tens of thousands of Americans wounded, billions of American dollars wasted, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, and America being hated by millions throughout the world.
 
Written By: bg
URL: http://
That’s because folks like Henley and the rest would much rather dwell in the past and ignore the reality of the situation at hand.
You clowns have no business talking about reality.
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
Willis is one of those people who believes that the Islamic Fascists hate only Republicans.


Another promising candidate for "Stupid Post of the Week."

 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
I think it’s a matter of educating the public on what the actual goals of the Islamists are.
We KNOW what the goals are. Afterall, we haven’t been self-medicating ourselves with Oxyxontin like a certain fat*ss radio show host.
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
We were never told it would be quick
.

Yes we were told that!

For Immediate Release March 24, 2003
BACKGROUND BRIEFING
BY A SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL
ON THE SUPPLEMENTAL
Presidential HallDwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
6:10 P.M. EST

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: For all those purposes, the President will be asking for $74.7 billion total. ... Six months, as I say, contemplates a conflict, a period of stabilization in Iraq, and the phased withdrawal of a large number of American forces within that six-month window.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I’m not going to talk about numbers of people, except I will say that the assumptions built in here do include a significant withdrawal or redeployment of troops out of the region well within the six-month period.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No answer for that question. The Secretary of Defense has right along said that he thought that fighting was likely to last weeks, not months. And I’ve told you that we do foresee an end to the conflict within the six months, and the beginning of withdrawal of troops. That’s about as detailed as I can give you.

Q You said the beginning of withdrawal. But I thought you said earlier that it envisioned a fairly substantial withdrawal before the end of the six months?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It does. I say at least the beginnings of withdrawal.
He’s asking whether the fighting could run all through this period.
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
I’ve never read your blog before (oh shame, think of alllll I’ve missed) but you have some nerve demanding liberal answers when the grounds for entering Iraq, and pretty much everything thereafter, have been unexplained and unjustifiable. I wouldn’t even deign to answer this question. You put us into this mess, you go over and fix it if you so like this battle against Islamo-fascism, or whatever stupid effin’ title you give to this pointless, illegal, soul-destroying war. You need to get off the sinking ship and admit your own faults before you start demanding ANYTHING from people who were RIGHT about the war, AND HAVE BEEN FOR FIVE DAMN YEARS (and there’s no end in sight, oh, except, what are the odds that Bush will try to wind things down right around, oh, October 2008 in order to curry up some support for a party whose ill-begotten war will have by then lasted nearly twice as long as the US involvement in WW II).
 
Written By: TC
URL: http://
First, I’m wondering what you think the result of an American withdrawal would be?


It’s hard to see how not having 180,000 of our troops involved in a middle east quagmire is anything but a big +++ for our security.
Do you reject the "you broke it, you bought it" idea?
Of course not. Bush and his people own this failure.
Do you think the Iraqis will find a way to cobble their state together? Do you think it will descend into a civil bloodbath? If so, then why don’t we have any responsibility to try and prevent it? Compare and contrast with Kosovo and Darfur. What if Iraq turns into a Taliban-like cesspool, and becomes a base for terrorist operation against the US in the same way Afghanistan was?
Iraq is already a civil bloodbath. Regardless of what our responsibility is, apparently it’s not within our power to do anything to prevent it. If Iraq becomes a terrorist haven someone smarter than Bush and more competent than his DOD is going to have to do something about it.
Do you think that the Iraqis can build a stable, functioning democratic state? If not, why? Are they just not suited for Democracy as a people? If so, what are their deficiencies?
What a stupid series of questions. The Iraqis may not be able to build a stable democratic state for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with their deficiencies as human beings.
The other half of the question is what effect will it have on American security? Will it embolden terrorists? Will our withdrawal make it more or less likely that terrorists will begin marshaling forces for another 9/11 style attack? Why?
I’m no expert, but I’d think that withdrawal would make another 9/11 "style" attack less likely because it would free resources currently tied up in Iraq, and would position us to maybe start mending fences with the world’s eleventy-billion Muslims. Oh, and you get an F for using the word "embolden". It’s a horses**t concept.
On the Global War on Terror more generally, will a withdrawal from Iraq help or hinder that effort? Or do we need to make an effort at all, other than some Special Ops stuff here and there, and intelligence, prevention, and law enforcement operations otherwise? What would be the US’s military role after a withdrawal from Iraq? Does the US military actually have much a role beyond repelling an invasion?
I guess using law enforcement, intelligence, prevention, and special ops count as doing nothing in your book. Maybe there’s a role for artillery and Abrams tanks in there, but clearly your people aren’t the ones to figure out what it is.
Are we doomed to fail at achieving anything worthwhile in Iraq? Why? Is it something organic to Iraq, or simply a problem with the current president? Would another administration be able to achieve some reasonable level of peace and stability?
I think we’re doomed to fail because
Oh, yeah, and one final question: What if you’re wrong?
I like to err on the side of not serving up Americans as IED bait. Call me nuts. Anyway, what if you’re wrong? If you think staying in Iraq is a risk-free proposition you’re out of your mind.
I mean, you’re advocating a policy change that will have wide-ranging effects. It’s not enough to say that everything will be OK. You have to show your math. You have to explain why you’re not just whistling past the graveyard.
Show your own math. How are we supposed to believe your "in hole, continue digging" strategy is going to make everything OK?
Because, if we do what you say, and we get a replay of events worse than the 70s, that’s gonna be...disturbing. And, keep in mind that you are essentially betting the future of left-liberalism’s credibility on national security on the outcome of that policy. There’s a reason why the Democrats were kept away from the national security switches and levers for 12 years after Jimmy Carter, and were only allowed to return when we were having a holiday from history in the 1990s.
You should be more worried about your own people’s access to the "switches and levers". Their credibility has been absolutely destroyed by this failure.
So, other than sunny optimism, what assurances can you give that the consequences of quick pullout from Iraq will be relatively painless?
Who ever said it would be painless?
 
Written By: tb
URL: http://cafepress.com/shipdrummer
You state right off: "let’s dispense with silly arguments about whether we should’ve gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. We are there. So what do we do now?"

How hubristic! You were wrong about the Iraq invasion and then have the gall to deman an accountability from the war’s opponents (who were right) that you refuse to accept yourself.

Personally, I think people who screwed up so thoroughly as those who supported this war really should go to the back of the room and sit quietly. You did your damage so don’t go preaching accountability now.

However, as to your questions. If we leave Iraq now, there will be a civil war with devasting loss of life before eventually a political accomodation happens. If we leave in 5 years, there will be a civil war with devasting loss of life before eventually a political accomodation happens. It’s just that in 5 years, even more outside combatants would have been drawn into Iraq and the resultant war will be longer and more violent. There is no good end to this mess.

The longer we stay, the more disastrous and violent the eventual firestorm after our leaving will be. That’s the reason we have got to get out sooner, rather than later.

The longer we stay, the more Afghanistan will devolve back into the hands of the Taliban, the longer we will focus anyone but al Qaeda. Al Qaeda in Iraq is not the same as the al Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11 and the longer we play around with proxy-enemies rather than the real ones, the more al Qaeda will gain power, recruits, money and influence and the more foolish we will continue to look.

The worst thing about this war — aside from the deaths of civilians and American soldiers — is by choosing to attack a proxy for the real terrorists, we demonstrated to al Qaeda and their ilk that we haven’t the creativity, intelligence and discipline to go after stateless terrorists like them. Of course, the lack of creativity, intelligence and discipline is not an American failing; it’s a failure of the leadership of this administration. Thankfullly, they will replaced, and let us hope by people who understand who the real threats are and how to fight stateless enemies.

 
Written By: Kija
URL: http://
Dale asked, "Do you reject the "you broke it, you bought it" idea?"

The answer to that has already been played out. There can be no question that the US ’broke it’. Having done that, there can be no question that the US now ’owns it’. In much the same way that the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran sowed seeds that didn’t yield a harvest for a couple of decades, so have we sown seeds in Iraq that may only serve to yield future ’problems’ for America at the hands of Iraqis seething at us for our miserably failed occupation.

Similarly, George Bush is finding that, domestically, he broke Iraq and he now owns it—just look at his unpopularity and his job approval ratings.

The real question is "Having broken it, can you fix it?" which differs significantly frm the question Dale asked. In the case of George Bush the answer is clearly "No". He’s been at it a long time now—going at it on the cheap, then changing strategy to ’surge’ to victory. To date, he (and the people making policy around him) have only demonstrated a proven ability to insulate themselves from reality and spout slogans for their followers.

Hoping and wishing that a ’surge’ will glue Iraq back together is not the same as actually fixing it. Calling Democrats ’Defeatocrats’ won’t fix it, either. In fact, there comes a time when you have to say, "We’ve given you ample time to try and fix what you’ve broken, but it’s clear that you are unable to do so. Here’s the bill." At that point, you find someone with more expertise to fix what’s been broken, and hope against hope that you can find someone with better skills at fixing broken things.

Any candidate for President in 2008 who refuses to disown the strategies of President Bush is guaranteed to fail at ’fixing’ Iraq. The only hope for ’fixing’ (and there are no guarantees) is to elect someone with a strategy for fixing Iraq that is not a reprise of current strategies that have already yielded such awful results. Even then, that only addresses the ’fixing it’ aspect of the Pottery Barn concept. It doesn’t address the ’ownership’ aspect. George Bush deservedly owns it, and unfortunately, so does America.
 
Written By: Deadeye Dick Cheney
URL: http://
HARUN -

Here’s some more infornation:

Analysis: Al Qaeda is organising an offensive on a worldwide scaleBY JESUS TORQUEMADA
02/15/2007

Although it may look strange, Iranian Ayatollahs’ regime and Bin Laden’s followers are not friends. In the Iranian area of Baluchestan, at the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan, an Al Qaeda-linked group killed 11 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard two days ago.


Al-Qaida suspects color debate over Iran
White House offensive could prompt Tehran to free terror suspects
By Dafna Linzer, Washington Post
Updated: 12:44 a.m. PT Feb 10, 2007

Since al-Qaeda fighters began streaming into Iran from Afghanistan in the winter of 2001, Tehran had turned over hundreds of people to U.S. allies and provided U.S. intelligence with the names, photographs and fingerprints of those it held in custody, according to senior U.S. intelligence and administration officials.
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
Who ever said it would be painless?

Written By: tb


I asked the same question earlier in the thead. I’m guessing it was Sean Hannity describing a non-existent liberal claim.


 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
I know I’m probably too late to this party to get any dessert, but I thought I’d mention that my answers to the questions are here.
 
Written By: LarryE
URL: http://whoviating.blogspot.com
...but punitive expeditions have never been a liberal "thing".

When will nominal "conservatives" get it throught their thick skulls that such expeditions into Iraq ARE liberal.

Wilson, FDR, Truman and Kennedy/Johnson were all acting left-of-center when they entered wars. Not to say cometimes it is warranted, but Bush’s war is not a conservative expedition.

Bush’s problem is that he LOST the war. Period.

He is not a conservative. He is not comptetent. All you people who call yourselves conservative were sold a bill of goods.

 
Written By: Grodge
URL: http://kalamazoopost.blogspot.com
You were wrong about the Iraq invasion...
—They weren’t "wrong about the Iraq invasion," no more than "the US broke it." The latter opinion flatters American-Western military power and drastically understates the actual level of existing local instability - instability the US war planners should have been better prepared for, perhaps, but whether the unsustainable "400,000" troop level suggested by some staff generals could have prevented the chaos of the immediate postwar period is a moot point.

The former verdict (that the decision to go to war was mistaken in light of events at the time), unfortunately, is taken as a given because Iraq looks to be a shambles. The obvious rebuttal to that is that large parts of Iraq have been a shambles for a very long time but are now showing signs of improvement. In addition to Saddam’s economic mismanagement and costly wars, consider the legacy of Iraq’s prewar nationality law; this law, reworked by the Ba’athists in the 60s and again during the Iran-Iraq War, prevented a significant portion of the population from even qualifying as "Iraqi" and consequently kept them poor, uneducated, rebellious and violent. (Was this grounds for Western intervention? Possibly not; more immediate justification for war with Baghdad was provided by Saddam’s incorrigible behaviour and proven links to Al-Qaeda et al.) We’re only just hearing about "how bad it is" because the United States is involved.
 
Written By: JP
URL: http://

 
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