Cheney’s question

by Chris Bertram on November 22, 2005

Cheney asks

“Would the United States and other free nations be better off or worse off with (Abu Musab al-) Zarqawi, (Osama) bin Laden and (Ayman al-) Zawahiri in control of Iraq?” he asked. “Would be we safer or less safe with Iraq ruled by men intent on the destruction of our country?”

Let me get this straight. At time t you advocate a policy involving the invasion and occupation of Iraq on multiple grounds, none of which include the forestalling of an Al Qaeda seizure of power in Iraq (since such an eventuality is risibly improbable). At time t+n , as a direct consequence of that brilliant policy, the only options are (a) its continuation or (b) an Al Qaeda takeover of Iraq. Genius. No wonder that man got re-elected.

{ 99 comments }

1

rea 11.22.05 at 7:50 am

Well, but an al Qaeda takeover of Iraq is STILL risibly improbable, even if every US solider were out of there tomorrow. Nasty civil war, yes; Shiite fundamentalist takeover, yes; massacre of Sunnis and secularists, yes; but Sunni fundamentalist takeover? Not enough of them.

But the war’s basic premises always involved ignoring the differences between Shiites and Sunnis, anyway . . .

2

Russell Arben Fox 11.22.05 at 7:56 am

And you thought the “flytrap” theory was something that the Bushies cooked up on the fly! As you can see, it’s actually infinitely pliable. If you start a war, which has consequences, you can then continue the war…against the consequences! It’s brilliant.

3

soru 11.22.05 at 8:15 am

Sunni fundamentalist takeover? Not enough of them.

Sheerest wishful thinking.

Sunni/Ba’athist reassertion of control is not inherently implausible, they still probably have a majority of men with military training, certainly at officer-level. For a restoration regime like that, foreign and local fundamentalists would be indispensable allies against the shi’ites and kurds, just as al qaeda et al were to the Taliban.

soru

4

y81 11.22.05 at 8:18 am

Well, this doesn’t prove very much. After defeating the Nazis, we had to maintain a military presence in Europe, despite the protests of the local population, in order to prevent a Soviet takeover. After helping drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan, we probably should have stayed involved to prevent a Taliban takeover, though we didn’t. I don’t conclude from these examples that defeating the Nazis or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a mistake.

5

Alex 11.22.05 at 8:30 am

And there was me thinking OBL, Zawahiri and Co. were wandering the mountains of the Northwest Frontier. At least that is where Cheney’s legions are supposed to be looking for them. Now we are to believe, it seems, that Osama himself is in Iraq. Withdrawal? Not till we get the bugger!

6

Chris Bertram 11.22.05 at 8:34 am

_After defeating the Nazis, we had to maintain a military presence in Europe, despite the protests of the local population, in order to prevent a Soviet takeover._

Or as Uncle Joe would have had it

_After defeating the Nazis, we had to maintain a military presence in Europe, despite the protests of the local population, in order to prevent a capitalist takeover._

7

Steve 11.22.05 at 8:47 am

“After defeating the Nazis, we had to maintain a military presence in Europe, despite the protests of the local population, in order to prevent a capitalist takeover.”

What is a ‘capitalist’ takeover? I understand a ‘Soviet’ takeover. But ‘capitalist’? Didn’t you mean ‘American'(and isn’t that patently absurd)?

Sheesh. You can’t even get your moral relativism right.

Steve

8

Chris Bertram 11.22.05 at 8:55 am

_Sheesh. You can’t even get your moral relativism right_

Since I wasn’t making a moral argument, I think your comment fails on grounds of relevance Steve.

9

Hektor Bim 11.22.05 at 9:00 am

Chris Bertram,

You’re forgetting a few things. As Uncle Joe would have it, it is

“After defeating the Nazis, we had to annex lots of land, ethnically cleanse the inhabitants and maintain a military presence in Europe, despite the protests of the local population, in order to protect Mother Russia.”

10

david 11.22.05 at 9:06 am

What’s the world come to when you can’t make a simple Stalin joke?

11

Chris Bertram 11.22.05 at 9:07 am

Well you know David, there’s no political correctness like neocon political correctness.

12

abb1 11.22.05 at 9:37 am

What is a ‘capitalist’ takeover? I understand a ‘Soviet’ takeover. But ‘capitalist’? Didn’t you mean ‘American’(and isn’t that patently absurd)?

Capitalist takeover such as installing fascist dictatorship in Greece, for example. Or ‘strategy of tension’ terrorist campaign in Italy.

13

jlw 11.22.05 at 9:53 am

as a direct consequence of that brilliant policy, the only options are (a) its continuation or (b) an Al Qaeda takeover of Iraq.

It’s as if the Supreme Court set aside the 2000 elections and installed. . . a consultacracy!

Solutions not directed at actual problems? Check.

Expensive, self-perpetuating programs? Check.

Arrogant, incompetent administrators? Check.

Ye gods.

14

Donald A. Coffin 11.22.05 at 9:53 am

I note (in this morning’s papers) that the Iraqi political leadership has called for a schedule for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Does this mean that the Iraqi political leadership has abandoned to global war on terror and welcomes the victory of the terroritst?

Maybe that only applies to John Murtha.

15

Brendan 11.22.05 at 9:55 am

The one thing the aptly named “Dick” Cheney failed to mention of course was the threat to the ‘free world’ from an Iraq essentially run and controlled by Iran. Why could this be do, we all think? And why is Soru so concerned with the non-existent threat of a resurgent Ba’athism, and not concerned at all with the fact that the US have handed large chunks of Iraq over to the Mullahs of Teheran? And why is Christopher Hitchens (“I hate Islamo-fascism except when I don’t”) not on the case?.

The mysteries deepen, eh?

16

Brendan 11.22.05 at 9:59 am

‘After helping drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan, we probably should have stayed involved to prevent a Taliban takeover.’

Yeah becuase we all know how much Bush et al hate Islamo-fascism, yeah? And Tony Blair’s principled stand on the anti-semites and woman haters is well known.

17

Disgruntled graduate student 11.22.05 at 10:11 am

Cheney asks
“Would the United States and other free nations be better off or worse off with Megatron, Starscream and the other Decepticons in control of Iraq?” he asked. “Would be we safer or less safe with Iraq ruled by robots intent on harvesting all the energon?”

18

Peter 11.22.05 at 10:19 am

The genius of the situation is the number of suckers who fall for the false dichotomy.

The Iranians were willing to assist the US with Afghanistan because the Taliban and the Iranians are ideological enemies of each other.

The folks who were in favor of linking Sadam with alqeda kept ignoring the pesky little facts of alqeda attacking his regime. Or coalition forces protecting alqeda bases under the northern-no-fly-zone. You see, Sadam was considered apostate by many in the muslim world (especially alqeda who want to install a total islamic theocracy in the region, called the caliphate), and apostacy (renouncing Islam) is about the worst crime imaginable. Infidels don’t know any better, but apostates knew better and rejected Islam anyway.

19

Matt Weiner 11.22.05 at 10:23 am

Hitler was more of a threat to the United States than Stalin, at the time (having declared war on us and all).

The Soviet Union was more of a threat to the United States at the time than the Taliban (I don’t need to persuade you of this, do I?).

Saddam Hussein was a lot less of a threat to the United States at the time than Al Qaeda.

That’s one reason why Gulf War II, which made it a lot easier for Al Qaeda to operate in Iraq, was a stupid idea.

(Note also that U.S. soldiers in Western Europe may have been there over the objections of the local populace–or some portion thereof, I don’t have polls–but the local populace wasn’t going so far as to kill them most of the time.)

20

robert the red 11.22.05 at 10:40 am

Today’s Washington Post has a picture of the baby panda (in its infinite cuteness) front and center, and directly below that a largeish headline about Cheney’s speech. Glancing at the paper extremely briefly, I half expected the headline to be something like “Cheney eats baby panda”.

21

soru 11.22.05 at 10:59 am

The folks who were in favor of linking Sadam with alqeda kept ignoring the pesky little facts of alqeda attacking his regime

Can you point me to a source for that ‘pesky little fact’?

Only Islamist attacks I have heard of on saddam were from Shi’a groups like al-Da’wa.
http://middleeastreference.org.uk/iraqiopposition.html#dawa

soru

22

Justin 11.22.05 at 11:10 am

Was the whole point of the exercise of Iraq to destabilize the region and train Shi’ite military units so the Shia could massacre the Sunnis and weaken al Queda?

Or is that too Dr. STrangelove?

23

bob 11.22.05 at 11:14 am

y81 sez: I don’t conclude from these examples that … the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a mistake.
Some of us think that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was as much a mistake as the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
(Yes, I realize that y81 probably mistyped, but whatever he meant to type was probably almost as stupid.)

24

abb1 11.22.05 at 11:20 am

This just in, from Reuters:

LONDON (Reuters) – Big oil firms may rob Iraq of billions and grab control of its oilfields unless ordinary Iraqis can have a greater say in how their country’s riches are tapped, U.S. and British campaigners said on Tuesday.

Big oil is being lured by the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), promoted by Washington and London, which gives them huge returns on investment, but deprives Iraq of up to $194 billion (113 billion pounds), according to “Crude Designs: The rip-off of Iraq’s oil wealth”.

Hey, look over there – Al Qaeda!

25

y81 11.22.05 at 11:45 am

Is it your thought, bob, that being deliberately obtuse is the way to win an argument among grown-ups? My statement would be properly excerpted as “I don’t conclude from these examples that defeating . . . the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a mistake.” If it were to be interpreted as you suggested, there would have to be commas after the words “Nazis” and “Afghanistan.”

26

bob mcmanus 11.22.05 at 12:01 pm

“Or is that too Dr. STrangelove”

No, except for the different “precious fluids” at stake.

27

Jussi 11.22.05 at 12:55 pm

“…the Iraqi political leadership has called for a schedule for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Does this mean that the Iraqi political leadership has abandoned to global war on terror and welcomes the victory of the terroritst?”

Is it inconceivable that the Iraqis have been prevailed upon by Washington to make that request?

It does sound outrageous, I know; but if there is a new assessment that the US can’t beat the insurgents, or at least not quickly, and/or the insurgency is only continuing because of the US presence, and that the Iraqis could handle it better without them, BUT the Administration could never publicly admit it…. is there any other way the Administration could honorably pull out, other than by getting the Iraqis to ask them?

I don’t know how this looks to more knowledgable people, but support for the Administration is plunging in the polls, and they must be motivated to reverse the trend. Aren’t there mid-term elections next year in the US?

28

KCinDC 11.22.05 at 1:01 pm

But Jussi, doesn’t it unnecessarily complicate matters to have the Iraqis call for withdrawal at the same moment that the administration is denouncing as traitors anyone who’s calling for withdrawal? I realize the Bush administration really loves doublethink, but it seems a bit much to be playing such games when their political position is so weak.

29

rea 11.22.05 at 1:31 pm

I say,”Sunni fundamentalist takeover? Not enough of them.”

To which Soru responds, “Sheerest wishful thinking. Sunni/Ba’athist reassertion of control is not inherently implausible”

Soru, you don’t seem to be grasping the difference between Sunni Islamic fundamentalists and Baathists, here . . . That’s another one of those differences, like the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, which Cheney and his allies ignore in their public deuiscussions of the war.

A neo-Baathist takover of postwar Iraq is not the same thing as an al Qaeda takeover.

30

Jussi 11.22.05 at 1:53 pm

“…doesn’t it unnecessarily complicate matters to have the Iraqis call for withdrawal at the same moment that the administration is denouncing as traitors anyone who’s calling for withdrawal?…”

kcindc:

I’m not sure. But if they think withdrawal would improve their chances of retaining power in the US, or at least cut possible election losses, it doesn’t seem unthinkable.

Of course, it would help to know the true reasons for the US being in Iraq in the first place, which I don’t.

31

Grand Moff Texan 11.22.05 at 2:04 pm

“Would the United States and other free nations be better off or worse off with (Abu Musab al-) Zarqawi, (Osama) bin Laden and (Ayman al-) Zawahiri in control of Iraq?”

I think we’re all about to find out.
.

32

Doctor Slack 11.22.05 at 2:18 pm

Is it inconceivable that the Iraqis have been prevailed upon by Washington to make that request?

In the way it was done, yes. In the course of demanding the pull-out they proclaimed (and “they” is a full spectrum of Iraqi movers and shakers, from Kurds to Sunnis to Shiites) that the opposition had a legitimate right of resistance, and also issued a specific denunciation of terrorism which pointedly excluded attacks on US troops. It would be bizarre for the White House to ask its own puppet government to turn against it so explicitly.

The Iraqi politicos, of course, can see the writing on the wall. 80% of their populace wants the foreign troops gone; unless they want to spend their lives in exile driving cab in London, they have to know that their only route to any real legitimacy lies in siding with the insurgents.

Moreover: from the very beginning, most experienced observers of the region contended that the foreign terrorists were not embedded in or allied with an Iraqi nationalist insurgency. They would appear to be vindicated. If anything, an American withdrawal would be a huge disaster for “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” as it would mean the full fury of people who actually know the ground and the communities turning against them. Cheney, as per usual, is either badly mistaken or outright lying.

33

ed_finnerty 11.22.05 at 2:38 pm

Soru

With due respect, how can any reaonable person think that Al Qeada or any terrorist organization is going to takeover Iraq. Come on, really. Iraq is 60% Shia with a least a large portion of that closely allied with Iran and with a strong militia. The Kurds form another 20% and are also heavily militraized and not subject to takeover. At best, the Al Qeada types would have western Iraq, but again, my money would be on the traditional tribal structure asserting control.

Really, this Dick Cheney comic book representation of Iraq is beneath serious consideration.

34

KCinDC 11.22.05 at 3:04 pm

Jussi, I meant more that if the Bush administration had planned to ask the Iraqis to make that announcement, that they might have toned down the “withdrawal = losing” traitor-denouncing rhetoric a bit beforehand to minimize cognitive dissonance. But Doctor Slack’s point is even stronger.

35

Louis Proyect 11.22.05 at 3:30 pm

Chris Bertram might be interested in the latest evolution of his old “get Milosevic” pal Marko Attila Hoare. Like Hitchens, he has dropped any pretensions to the left and is railing at the uppity natives here and there from the pages of the Henry Jackson Society (http://www-hjs.pet.cam.ac.uk/) where he is Section Co-Director for Greater Europe. Frightening, just frightening. Oliver Kamm is associated with the project as well, which should come as no surprise. Hoare dropped in on Doug Henwood’s mailing list to briefly troll for bombing the Islamofascists into submission. He was driven off like a pig at a bar mitzvah. The “patrons” of the Henry Jackson Society (Jackson was known as the Senator from Boeing) are a real rogue’s gallery:

Bruce P. Jackson–President of the Project for Transitional Democracies

Robert Kagan–Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

William Kristol–Editor, The Weekly Standard

Vytautas Landsbergis–Former President of Lithuania

Michael McFaul–Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution;
Senior Advisor, National Democratic Institute

Joshua Muravchik–Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Richard Perle–Former American Assistant Secretary of Defence

General Jack Sheehan–Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic

James Woolsey–Former Director of the CIA

See, kiddies, that’s what happens when you demonize the Serbs. Straight from NLR into the neoconservative dustbin of history.

36

Bro. Bartleby 11.22.05 at 3:44 pm

I think the gamble was (and is) to destabilize the Islamic world, thereby forcing the issue of Islamic reformation. A risky gamble, yet to wait doesn’t seem to be an option, pre-WWII Japan and Germany were armed to the teeth, mass producing armaments on assemble lines that would make GM proud. Islam is still tribal. Tribalism doesn’t bode well in the modern world, and to image for a moment an Iran arming up like pre-WWII Japan or Germany is not a very pretty image. Just as the Christian reformation broke Christianity free of Rome’s dictatorial control, and thereby opened the door to, as Jesus said when handed a coin, render unto Caesar what is Caesars, and unto God that which is God’s. Voila! Church and state can now coexist, maybe not in harmony, but certainly more harmonious than church and tribe.

37

ed_finnerty 11.22.05 at 3:49 pm

bro b.

you may be right they may have thought this. if so, they are imbeciles. Islam is a big place, and not all of it is tribal.

38

abb1 11.22.05 at 5:07 pm

…they may have thought this…

Not even for a half-second they would think about any ‘reformation’ or ‘harmony’. They think about upcoming elections, next quarter profit, how to bully everyone into submission. That’s what they think about.

39

Bro. Bartleby 11.22.05 at 5:34 pm

The ‘they’ as in ‘they’? I do hope you understand that the ‘they’ are not the ‘they’ that are elected. And secondly, how long does Islam continue to expand without a reformation? The Vatican pre-reformation was tribal. Christianity pre-reformation was as Islam is today, fundamentalism with no room for Biblical debate, and with one brand name. Count the brand names in Christianity today, in your own town or city, then on one hand count the brand names in Islam. In religion, diffusion of dogma lessens the threat of fundamentalism.

40

Ben P 11.22.05 at 5:56 pm

bro. bartleby: The Vatican pre-reformation was tribal. Christianity pre-reformation was as Islam is today, fundamentalism with no room for Biblical debate, and with one brand name. Count the brand names in Christianity today, in your own town or city, then on one hand count the brand names in Islam. In religion, diffusion of dogma lessens the threat of fundamentalism.

I’m guessing you don’t know very much about Islamic history, or for that matter, Christian history. Islam is very schismatic – Shi’ites vs. Sunnis, for starters. And most practicing Christians are fundamentalists. Maybe not in Europe, but in the rest of the world. Do you know much about contemporary Latin American or African Christianity? Or American Chrisitianity for that matter?

I think it is extremely reductive and jejeune to imagine that Islam is somehow destined to follow some kind of pre-ordained “path.” Human society doesn’t work this way. It isn’t physics.

Ben P

41

Doctor Slack 11.22.05 at 6:00 pm

Christianity pre-reformation was as Islam is today, fundamentalism with no room for Biblical debate, and with one brand name.

This doesn’t make any sense.

For one thing, to assert that Islam has “one brand name” is just flat-out wrong; depending on how you count and who you include, there are between nine and twelve major Islamic sects and movements (including Sunnis, Shiites, Sufis, Wahhabis, Ismailis and so on). It’s also hard to compare Islam of any era directly to Catholic history, since Islam has never had a central “church” body in the way that Christianity has.

Second, it’s hard to see how a proliferation of sects or “diffusion of dogma” necessarily connects to the threat of fundamentalism. Islam’s history of diffuse religious jurisprudence arguably “diffuses dogma” to a much greater extent than your average Christian church (and helps to explain why it’s less prone to developing sects), but this hasn’t staved off the threat of fundamentalism in the Islamic world. Come to think of it, the multipicity of Christian sects in North America hasn’t staved off the threat of fundamentalism here, either; it’s civic constitutional restraint, not “diffusion of dogma,” that has kept the would-be theocrats of the religious right at bay.

That Islam is sorely in need of a reformation movement is plain; problems go deeper than just the recent rise to prominence of Salafis, Khomeinists and other revolutionary Islamic movements. How that happens I’m unsure — but I am reasonably sure that half-baked attempts at “regional transformation” are doing the precise opposite of hastening it.

42

engels 11.22.05 at 6:10 pm

Islam is… fundamentalism… with one brand name

Huh?

43

Brett Bellmore 11.22.05 at 6:35 pm

Some of this sounds like declaring that you never should have carved out the tumor, just because if you walked away from the operating table before the patient was stablized, the patient would die of massive bleeding, or a bit later of peritonitis.

We’re not DONE. Wars are NEVER justified on the basis of what things are like halfway through. They’re justified, if at all, based on what things are like years afterwards.

So stop demanding that the surgeon walk away from the table RIGHT NOW! Your desire that this particular patient die on the operating table just so that you can be proven right is amazingly ghoulish.

44

brendan 11.22.05 at 6:55 pm

‘Some of this sounds like declaring that you never should have carved out the tumor, just because if you walked away from the operating table before the patient was stablized, the patient would die of massive bleeding, or a bit later of peritonitis.’

Ironically enough a metaphor like this was used by Hans Blix (I think) who compared us getting rid of Saddam and then hanging about, occupying and colonising the country to someone being woken up from surgery and being told: ‘we cut out that tumour. Oh by the way, we cut your legs off as well, was that ok?’.

45

engels 11.22.05 at 7:56 pm

Yes, Brett, no one could possibly be against this war now for any other reason than the desire to be “proven right”.

“Oh by the way, we cut your legs off as well…”

“By the way, we cut your legs off and sold your house to pay our medical bills. Yeah, I know that says ‘Bandaid @ $20 each’: that’s what they cost, dickwad.

“Oh and while we were doing it, we kind of couldn’t stop a bunch of thugs coming into the operating theatre and nicking your money and beating the crap out of you while you were under anaesthetic… Don’t worry we locked some of them up and tortured them. Oh that was your family? Sorry, they all look the same to us.

“Now how about some gratitude?”

46

fifi 11.22.05 at 8:19 pm

Any questions Cheney has about future US involvement in Iraq he should ask Iran.

47

soubzriquet 11.22.05 at 8:20 pm

brett: Among other things, your (weak) analogy assumes the person standing at the operating table is a (competent) surgeon with a reasonable chance of success. From what has been seen so far, that assumption is at least worthy of questioning.

48

Doctor Slack 11.22.05 at 11:05 pm

We’re not DONE.

When the patient is sitting up and telling his family they have his blessing to do what they can to kill you, you’re pretty much done. I mean, you can insist on cutting into the guy and claim to all and sundry it’s for the best, but it’s hard to operate in conditions like that.

Your desire that this particular patient die on the operating table just so that you can be proven right is amazingly ghoulish.

Someone in this whole equation is most certainly looking desperate to be proven right. And it is, indeed, ghoulish. If you want someone to lecture about that impulse, you might want to go find a reflective surface of some kind.

49

'As you know' Bob 11.23.05 at 12:28 am

Here’s a thought:
This week’s rationale for our presence in Iraq is that “we must prevent an al Qaeda takeover”.

But some of us remember that LAST week’s rationale for our ongoing occupation of Iraq was that we are there to “install democracy.” (…this was the rationale LAST week, BEFORE we found the Interior Ministry’s secret torture prison….)

But, anyway, if we’re fighting for democracy: why don’t we simply ask the Iraqi government to hold a referendum on the continuing presence of the Occupation army? After all, they’re already holding an election next month, it would be trivial to add such a question to the ballot.

The Iraqi people could democratically have a voice in their future, and – since opinion over there is running at about 80% for our immediate withdrawal – we would then have justification for leaving. A little democracy, and we could have the troops home for Christmas.

I’m being snarky, but i’d like someone (ideally, George Bush) to tell me why this is simply inconceivable.

50

Bro. Bartleby 11.23.05 at 1:36 am

Vietnam redux

“Many have forgotten how the United States lost in Vietnam, but not former Defense Secretary Melvin Laird. When the last American military unit was withdrawn in 1973, the Viet Cong had been defeated and the North Vietnamese army checkmated. For the next two years, “South Vietnam held its own courageously and respectably against a better-bankrolled enemy,” Laird writes in the current Foreign Affairs. “Given enough outside resources, South Vietnam was capable of defending itself.” Instead, “we grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory [in 1975] when Congress cut off the funding for South Vietnam that had allowed it to continue to fight on its own. . . . Without U.S. funding, South Vietnam was quickly overrun.” It was a stunning and unnecessary defeat for America and for a free Vietnam. And the lesson is clear: A war can be won on the ground overseas and lost in Washington.”

51

Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 4:03 am

A war can be won on the ground overseas and lost in Washington.

Laird’s piece in Foreign Affairs was interesting (probably a good idea to provide a link if you’re going to pull quotes from it), but it’s really not the sort of thing you want to be quoting as gospel.

The picture he presents of the years after ’73 is seriously misleading AFAICT: his assertion that the Viet Cong was “defeated” at that point appears simply false, and he skates over the inconvenient matter of South Vietnamese corruption eating up huge quantities of aid money (which was one of the reasons why Congress wasn’t willing to continue bankrolling South Vietnam). So, the “Vietnamization worked” part of his thesis — and consequently, his claim that the war was “lost in Washington” — is questionable at best.

This makes it a lot harder to make sense of his advice on “Iraqization,” which differs from Vietnam in ways crucial to the particulars of any such policy, e.g. more centrifugal forces at work and an insurgency that appears to have totally infiltrated the apparatus of government, for starters.

52

Chris Bertram 11.23.05 at 4:22 am

I’m puzzled by the point of Proyect’s comment above. Since people who opposed Milosevic now occupy every possible nuance of position on Iraq it is rather implausible of him to suggest that there is an inevitable connection between a person’s position on that issue and more recent ones. Indeed some people who lined up with Proyect in opposing the Kosovo intervention are now Iraq hawks: Nick Cohen being a prominent example.

53

just a lurker 11.23.05 at 4:41 am

“A war can be won on the ground overseas and lost in Washington.”

I guess that’s true if you define winning as ‘creating a puppet regime that needs constant massive outside aid in order to survive’.
By that definition the Soviet Union won in Afghanistan.

54

brendan 11.23.05 at 4:44 am

To follow up ‘as you know’ bob’s point: First we were told about an imminent threat (45 minutes…remember that?) then WMDs, then whatever else it was, then ‘bringing democracy to the Middle East, one state at a time’ (a justification that was, let us never forget, introduced to the argument post hoc).

What I am curious about is what the pro-invasion crew are going to say after December 15th. After all, that is the end of the ‘democratic process’. If this war really was about bringing democracy to Iraq (Oi! Stop your sniggering at the back, you can’t prove it wasn’t) then by any rational standards American and British troops should be making plans to leave after mid-december, and could be all out of the country by…oh i don’t know…March, say?

What I am curious about is what new justification for our continued ‘presence’ throughout 2006 (and beyond) will be conjured out of the air? Battle against terrorism? Helping the heroic Kurds (this is the heroic Kurds in Iraq, not the nasty Kurds in Turkey…anyone remember Chris Morris’s skit about ‘good AIDS and bad AIDS’?)? Helping to protect Western oi….oh sorry I don’t know what came over me there.

55

soru 11.23.05 at 8:30 am

With due respect, how can any reaonable person think that Al Qeada or any terrorist organization is going to takeover Iraq. Come on, really. Iraq is 60% Shia with a least a large portion of that closely allied with Iran and with a strong militia. The Kurds form another 20% and are also heavily militraized and not subject to takeover

And those demographics are largely unchanged from the days of saddam’s rule. Trained, equipped and hardened men were what counted when the Ba’athists defeated the post-Gulf war revolt, no reason that won’t apply again. And that is an area the Sunnis still have at least parity in now. But, not in a year’s time, _if_ US training is allowed to continue. Last chance saloon for the Ba’athists, now or never for them, they can’t afford to be too picky about their allies.

If they ever were – it amazes me that the same people who talk of the CIA planting false flag bombs also discount the possibility of the ba’athists ever doing such a thing. Meanwhile, a group signing itself ‘al qaeda in iraq’ is distributing leaflets threatening anyone who testifies against saddam in his trial…

You can, of course, add and subtract outside powers to a port-withdrawl civil war to get any result you want. Perhaps Syrian assistance to the Ba’athists and their Islamist allies could cause overt Iranian asistance to SCIRI and al Da’wa which causes the Saudis to decide to deal with their Islamist problem by persuading them all to head off North, but then…

Anyone can make up scenarios where any side comes out on top. But the underlying unfortunate fact is this: Bin laden might or might not win an election in Saudi Arabia, but he would have an excellent chance of winning a civil war there, absent US/UK military support for the monarchy.

Given the military, economic and religious power of Saudi Arabia, that makes complete withdrawl from the region never something that could be risked by any US president. The options are Iraqi majority rule, ideally democratic, or various varieties of rather bad things.

soru

56

lillemask 11.23.05 at 9:01 am

Bin laden might or might not win an election in Saudi Arabia, but he would have an excellent chance of winning a civil war there, absent US/UK military support for the monarchy.

Given the military, economic and religious power of Saudi Arabia, that makes complete withdrawl from the region never something that could be risked by any US president.

Let me see if I got this right: What you’re arguing is that the US and any imaginable US president is all for democracy in the Arab world, except where democracy might lead to someone unfavourable to America coming to power?

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Bro. Bartleby 11.23.05 at 9:33 am

“A war can be won on the ground overseas and lost in Washington.”

Don’t you think the Viet Cong were in fact defeated, defeated by the NVA? The suicidal Tet Offensive was brilliant, in a cold-blooded military sense, for the NVA, it solved two problems, disposed of the rag-tag VC, and at the same time handed the American anti-war movement an American ‘defeat’ that the media bought into and the American public was all to ready to accept.

Just read David McCullough’s 1776 and if I were blogging during December of 1776, I’m sure most of the posters would be calling the revolution a lost cause. The performance of Gen. Washington’s army make the current Iraqi army seem somewhat stellar. But then again, that was then, and now is now.

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soru 11.23.05 at 10:40 am

Let me see if I got this right: What you’re arguing is that the US and any imaginable US president is all for democracy in the Arab world, except where democracy might lead to someone unfavourable to America coming to power?

bin Laden, ‘unfavourable to america’?

Well I guess that’s one way of putting it.

As to what I actually said, you are close, but not quite. Admittedly, most presidents probably wouldn’t risk him winning an election, but that is just about imaginable, for someone sufficiently idealistic and optimistic.

What isn’t is any president letting him win a civil war, choosing to stay out of that fight.

soru

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 12:02 pm

if I were blogging during December of 1776, I’m sure most of the posters would be calling the revolution a lost cause.

So, you think the British should have stuck it out until the Americas were “stabilized,” no matter how long it took or the cost in lives, and no matter how clear it was that the rebels enjoyed momentum and popular sympathy (whatever their military setbacks)?

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 12:23 pm

And that is an area the Sunnis still have at least parity in now. But, not in a year’s time, if US training is allowed to continue.

It’s stuff like this that makes the cross-spectrum Iraqi demand for a pullout timetable — and endorsement of resistance — comprehensible: even among supporters of the war, the whole idea of “success” has been downgraded to arming ethnic factions against each other and calling the result “democracy” before America leaves.

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Brett Bellmore 11.23.05 at 12:39 pm

Geeze, the “rebels” may enjoy momentum and popular support on counter-Earth, orbiting on the far side of the planet, but from what I hear on THIS world, they’re really pissing people off by murdering peaceful Iraqis, and are highly dependent on supplies and troups coming in from Syria and Iran.

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Bro. Bartleby 11.23.05 at 12:57 pm

“…no matter how clear it was that the rebels enjoyed momentum and popular sympathy (whatever their military setbacks)”

In 1776???? The ‘rebels’ enjoyed zilch. Sympathy? The ‘good folk’ of New York City were relieved that the riffraff finally turned and fled … And the ‘riffraff’? The purchased ‘revolutionary’ soldiers were fleeing in droves, in 1776 … any ‘momentum or popular sympathy’ had to await 1777 and beyond …

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 2:11 pm

Geeze, the “rebels” may enjoy momentum and popular support on counter-Earth. . .

Yeah, “counter-earth” indeed.

In 1776???? The ‘rebels’ enjoyed zilch.

I’ve always understood that a roughly-estimated forty to forty-five percent of the colonial populace, distributed differently depending on geography, supported the Whigs at the onset of war. But maybe McCullough argues that percentage started out lower (say around ten to fifteen percent) and increased as the war went along? If so, I guess maybe I can see why you’re bringing it up as a comparison to Iraq.

So, what you’re saying then is that as the rebellion gained momentum in 1777 and beyond, the British should have made an open-ended commitment to quelling it? Perhaps if that was going to be too expensive in terms of men and materiel, they should have Americanized the conflict by focussing on training and equipping the Loyalists to replace them as colonial governors?

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MQ 11.23.05 at 2:23 pm

There should be some new comment thread rule whereby anyone who claims that the U.S. actually won the Vietnam war up until our mysterious decision to withdraw is automatically deemed to have lost the argument. Yeah, the Vietnam war, that was a real winner, if we try hard the Iraq war can be just as successful! I wish the Bush administration had been honest enough to use that as the argument for its neocolonial adventure going in, not even the American public is dumb enough to fall for that one.

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 2:44 pm

There should be some new comment thread rule whereby anyone who claims that the U.S. actually won the Vietnam war up until our mysterious decision to withdraw is automatically deemed to have lost the argument.

No doubt. Particularly so if said claim comes bundled with any species of “stabbed in the back” bromide about the Tet Offensive.

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brendan 11.23.05 at 2:54 pm

‘Let me see if I got this right: What you’re arguing is that the US and any imaginable US president is all for democracy in the Arab world, except where democracy might lead to someone unfavourable to America coming to power?

bin Laden, ‘unfavourable to america’?

Well I guess that’s one way of putting it.’

Er…I’m not sure (i’m never sure about anything Soru writes) but I think this is Soru agreeing with my point here . Yeah the one he claims only a loonbat would agree to.

Which is nice. I think.

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Bro. Bartleby 11.23.05 at 3:09 pm

Vietnam War redux

The Vietnam War, like the Korean War, were part of the post-WWII strategy of containing the USSR. Both tactical wars, violent and deadly and misread as strategic wars, but in the end just part of the overall strategy to bankrupt a Soviet-funded world-wide revolution.

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 3:09 pm

Oh hey, incidentally:

What I am curious about is what the pro-invasion crew are going to say after December 15th.

What I’d look for is a complete reversal of the whole “elections” narrative. After all, it can’t be argued that the “democratic process” to this point has done a great deal to shore up the legitimacy of the Iraqi government it produced. If that government starts trying to accrue some legitimacy by playing to popular anti-occupation sentiment instead of singing from the Administration’s hymn sheet, it should be easy enough to reverse gears and argue that this crew of Iraqi pols are a gang of corrupt opportunists (which, of course, is probably true), and that American troops should stay there until truly free and fair elections have been held and a new constitutional process is undertaken. However long it takes.

‘Course, they’ll lose a few more hawks at that point who still have certain shreds of self-respect. But not to worry, Roger Simon and Glenn Reynolds will stand fast and see that conflict through from their keyboards to the last Iraqi life (or at least the last Sunni — apparently they’re disposable nowadays), and I think that’s what the Iraqi people really need to hear.

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 3:18 pm

The Vietnam War, like the Korean War, were part of the post-WWII strategy of containing the USSR.

Sure, it was part of that strategy; the messed-up part. Partly because the people involved (as even Laird admits) made the mistake of thinking that Vietnam was interchangeable with Korea.

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Bro. Bartleby 11.23.05 at 3:57 pm

“Sure, it was part of that strategy; the messed-up part.”

No more messy than the Greek losses before the Battle of Marathon.

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 4:16 pm

No more messy than the Greek losses before the Battle of Marathon.

Or Persian losses at Marathon, for that matter. Guess the Persians are lucky you weren’t around back then to give them military advice, their empire might have collapsed a lot sooner. ;-)

(Since you’re keen to dig into classical history, though, you might want to look into the meaning and origin of the phrase “Pyrrhic victory.” I also recommend this rather intemperate rant by Gary Brecher on the perils of comparing modern counterinsurgency wars to things like the Battle of Marathon.)

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soru 11.23.05 at 4:24 pm

What I’d look for is a complete reversal of the whole “elections” narrative.

Let’s be clear – if that happens, it’s a one-way route to helicopters from the roof of the embassy.

I don’t suppose it can be completely ruled out, but it would demonstrate a degree of wilful incompetence and detachment from the reality of the limitations of the use of military force that’s below even my very limited expectations of the Bush administration.

When the elected government has got its forces in place, it will want the coalition to leave. The coalition will want to leave. Is it maybe possible that between them, they will manage to get what they both want?

soru

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Brett Bellmore 11.23.05 at 4:50 pm

“After all, it can’t be argued that the “democratic process” to this point has done a great deal to shore up the legitimacy of the Iraqi government it produced.”

I think maybe you mean that you don’t agree with arguments to that effect. Because it sure as hell can be argued, and is. Respectable turnout, decent margin… Sure, some groups boycotted the election, but if they were disenfranchised it was only by their own choice.

If the current Iraqi government isn’t legitimized by that election, there aren’t many democratic governments that ARE legitimate.

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 5:27 pm

Is it maybe possible that between them, they will manage to get what they both want?

I think it’s more probable that neither will get what they want, since:

a) The pseudo-elected Iraqi government is apparently too tainted by association with the occupiers to command a genuinely loyal military (though they’re useful as a figleaf for Iraqi militia and American “allies” alike). And

b) The White House is unlikely to genuinely want to leave Iraq, given the resources it has sunk into enduring bases there and evidence of its continued hopes of pursuing “regional transformation”. Getting into Iraq was part of a “global grand strategy” whose abandonment could cost them political points among former supporters … and if there’s any area where they’ve shown they’re genuinely dedicated, politics is surely it.

Who knows, though? Maybe Bush will surprise us all in a good way, for once. But I’m not holding my breath.

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 5:50 pm

Because it sure as hell can be argued, and is. Respectable turnout, decent margin…

Producing a government with no meaningful sovereignty…

(The Arab world knows all too well about largely-cosmetic election processes, of course; it’s not like the Bush Administration is an innovator in this regard.)

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Bro. Bartleby 11.23.05 at 6:06 pm

“comparing modern counterinsurgency wars”

Actually, not comparing anything but the ‘messiness’ … isn’t that why folks want to avoid all warfare, the messiness? (remember, your choice of terms, not mine)

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 6:18 pm

Actually, not comparing anything but the ‘messiness’ … isn’t that why folks want to avoid all warfare, the messiness? (remember, your choice of terms, not mine)

No, my choice of terms was “messed-up,” because I thought it would be marginally classier than saying “f*cked up.” (“A-ha! Proof that know-it-all antiwar hippies hate sex!”)

And I notice you snuck the “avoid all warfare” strawman in there, which hopefully doesn’t mean you’re yet another movementarian who’s refighting the Sixties with some distorted Birkenstock-clad hippie stereotype in his head. (I don’t know many “folks” who “want to avoid all warfare,” personally… but I know plenty who won’t cheerlead for silly, unjustified or criminal warfare. Perhaps to your mind there’s no difference?)

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Bro. Bartleby 11.23.05 at 6:43 pm

I do think we have come to this — Harpo and Groucho dancing the tango. Looking a bit silly to others, but maybe a bit fun for us?

And I’ve know folks (Friends) who wanted to avoid all warfare, in fact, all agression. Taking literally and absolutely Jesus order to turn the other cheek. Ben Franklin ran up against many of these Quakers, and he did make a little progress when he finally got one to transport some powder for him … alas, his Quaker friend may have turned a blind eye to the ‘powder’, allowing that it may have been flour powder, but Ben knew that he knew that it was in fact gunpowder.

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MQ 11.23.05 at 7:12 pm

“The Vietnam War, like the Korean War, were part of the post-WWII strategy of containing the USSR.”

I thought Vietnam was all about containing the dangerous menace of Red China? Anyway, it is hard to dispute that even if we had never fired a shot in Vietnam the Soviet Union still would have collapsed at about the same time it did.

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Doctor Slack 11.23.05 at 8:41 pm

I do think we have come to this—Harpo and Groucho dancing the tango. Looking a bit silly to others, but maybe a bit fun for us?

Heh, I know I’m having fun. But only if I get to be Groucho!

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Brett Bellmore 11.24.05 at 7:09 am

I see, so you’re defining “meaningful sovereignty” in such a way that they posess no sovereignty at all until we leave, even if they want us there. And, yes, their elected government DOES want us there, for at least a little while longer.

Defined in these… interesting terms, the claim that the election didn’t result in a legitimate government says nothing whatsoever about the election. It only says that the resulting government and our government aren’t complying with the left’s demands.

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Doctor Slack 11.24.05 at 10:56 am

I see, so you’re defining “meaningful sovereignty” in such a way that they posess no sovereignty at all until we leave, even if they want us there.

I’m defining it in such a way as when they have no control over foreign troops on their soil, what they do and don’t do and whether or not they choose to carry out arbitrary raids, arrests, detentions, conduct sieges and so on… they’re not sovereign. What’s so “interesting” about such a definition? It seems pretty basic to me.

This of course is precisely why they do not want you there. Or, at least, why they have to say they don’t (in realistic terms, the Iraqi Green Zone politicians would probably be dead without US protection).

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Doctor Slack 11.24.05 at 11:01 am

“This of course is precisely why they do not want you there.”

Which is to say, their “little while longer” isn’t all that different from Murtha’s proposal (which was for a six-month long withdrawal process). I don’t know that anyone’s saying withdrawal could be accomplished by Saturday or something.

And yes, the sovereignty situation is a Catch 22. However unfair it seems, one of the realities of life is that once you get into some situations, there aren’t any redeeming solutions — just a selection of bad ones.

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soru 11.24.05 at 11:25 am

Which is to say, their “little while longer” isn’t all that different from Murtha’s proposal (which was for a six-month long withdrawal process).

There is a fundamental difference between, on the one hand, the Iraqi government making the democratically legitimate decision that it can do without further direct US support, and on the other, the US government deciding it is no longer going to provide such support, whether or not it is asked to.

Now, from 10,000 miles away, they may look similar, and at that distance, one could perhaps be disguised as the other.

But I hope we can agree that what things are like for those actually involved, not the reports read by people on another continent, is what defines the reality of the situation.

soru

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Doctor Slack 11.24.05 at 11:45 am

There is a fundamental difference between, on the one hand, the Iraqi government making the democratically legitimate decision that it can do without further direct US support, and on the other, the US government deciding it is no longer going to provide such support, whether or not it is asked to.

Well, frankly, when you have data that indicates the bulk of the population supposedly represented by the Green Zone government wants you gone and / or dead, one would have grounds to conclude that you’re not being “asked to” provide support by anyone who “defines the reality of the situation.” Even if the Green Zone politicians hadn’t chosen to side with anti-occupation sentiment, Murtha’s proposal would have seemed correct and reasonable in light of the reports we’re able to read on our continent. That they have chosen to do so lends it (and other proposals similar to it) some extra weight, obviously.

Incidentally, is the reference to “people on another continent” meant to be a jab at Murtha? You do realize he stated that he was moved to propose what he did in part by his experiences on a fact-finding mission to Iraq, right?

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dsquared 11.24.05 at 12:06 pm

And you thought the “flytrap” theory was something that the Bushies cooked up on the fly! As you can see, it’s actually infinitely pliable. If you start a war, which has consequences, you can then continue the war…against the consequences! It’s brilliant

There is of course a precedent for this particular fly-control strategy:

she swallowed the dog to catch the cat
she swallowed the cat to catch the bird
she swallowed the bird to catch the spider
that wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
she swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
perhaps she’ll die.

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soru 11.24.05 at 12:40 pm

Well, frankly, when you have data that indicates the bulk of the population supposedly represented by the Green Zone government wants you gone and / or dead, one would have grounds to conclude that you’re not being “asked to” provide support by anyone who “defines the reality of the situation.”

http://www.pollingreport.com/terror.htm

‘Do you think the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can often be justified, can sometimes be justified, can rarely be justified, or can never be justified’

never justified: 33%

I am unconvinced of the merits of government by opinion poll, let alone third party reports of opinion polls that do not show the questions asked, categories present, and raw numbers.

soru

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Doctor Slack 11.24.05 at 1:44 pm

I am unconvinced of the merits of government by opinion poll

Purely by opinion poll, sure. If you didn’t have other sources of information to help lend veracity or at least plausibility to the reported MoD poll — say, reports from multiple sources about deteriorating living conditions and an insurgency able to operate almost entirely through roadside bombs (and the network of local support that strongly implies) and so on — a given poll would be of limited usefulness.

(I look forward to seeing the full text of the MoD poll as much as you do, but in the meantime I have no reason to distrust the Telegraph’s reportage of it, in part because it tracks well with other, more complete sources of information.)

I’m not trying to imply, incidentally, that I personally was recently converted to the case for withdrawal. (I was contingently in favour of a continued American presence on the “broke-it-bought-it” rationale until May.) But certainly I think that case has become more emphatic in the intervening months.

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Carlton 11.24.05 at 2:28 pm

Cheney is brilliant- next time I get chewed out at work I’m going to say to the boss:
“Hey, would you rather Zarqawi, bin Laden and Zawahiri were doing this job?!”

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soru 11.24.05 at 5:27 pm

You mean like (from your link):

http://www.cipe.org/regional/mena/Zogbyreport05.pdf

which is both recent, quite frankly glowingly optimistic and actually publishes its questions and answers in detail, unlike trying to play the game of chinese whispers of working out what ‘up to’, ‘could be justified’, etc. actually mean.

The point is not whether withdrawl will happen – no known force on earth could prevent it, it is as inevitable as gravity. Campaigning for withdrawl is like holding up a sign at the Olympics saying ‘bring our jumpers down now’.

The question is whether that withdrawl will come as part of the successful conclusion of the Iraqi political process, or through retreat leaving behind a civil war.

soru

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Brett Bellmore 11.24.05 at 6:08 pm

Doc, that the left would benefit politically from things going to Hell in Iraq, preferably while Republicans are still in charge, is transparently obvious. So when you advise a course of conduct which would have the effect of making that destination essentially unavoidable, the inference as to your motives is obvious.

Yeah, maybe you think a bad end is inevitable, and just want to accelerate the timetable a bit so it happens before Bush leaves office. That’s the positive spin on things, and it’s still awfully ugly.

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Doctor Slack 11.24.05 at 6:32 pm

Quoth Brett, plumb out of actual arguments, does the usual: Yeah, maybe you think a bad end is inevitable, and just want to accelerate the timetable a bit so it happens before Bush leaves office. That’s the positive spin on things, and it’s still awfully ugly.

Again, man, you want to talk about “ugly,” take a look in the mirror. Warfloggers benefit from demanding a presence in Iraq for as long as it takes to make them (and in some cases, their chosen President) look better than they currently do, no matter how vain that hope may be or what this means to the situation on the ground and the actual lives of the people involved. Don’t waste anyone’s time with motive-guessing / name-calling; seeing as you’re in the mother of all glass houses and still haven’t figured out that you have a credibility problem, nobody has much cause to care what you think.

Soru: You mean like (from your link):

Yes, I even take into account surveys of thin slices of Iraq’s population. (In that one, for instance, I noticed considerable optimism in business owners since 1990, which indicates a state of affairs that preceded American presence and arguably doesn’t rely upon it.) Of course, the much broader surveys are a bigger help in evaluating the occupation as a whole.

The question is whether that withdrawl will come as part of the successful conclusion of the Iraqi political process, or through retreat leaving behind a civil war.

Or whether postpoining withdrawal will exacerbate the civil war outcome, or stands a reasonable chance of averting it. Is it so difficult to believe that others might have more credibility than you do when talking about the issues and probabilities here?

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Brett Bellmore 11.24.05 at 8:25 pm

Doc, we are currently fighting in Iraq, alongside the Iraqi government, a foe whose idea of how to fight “us” is to murder wedding parties. Not because they want to free Iraq from our hated yoke, but because they want an unfree Iraq with themselves as the jailers, a state of affairs they enjoyed under Saddam.

To imagine that we’ll improve the situation by leaving before the Iraqi government is fully prepared to deal with these monsters is absurd. But it WOULD improve the situation here, for Democrats, that much is obvious.

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Doctor Slack 11.24.05 at 8:35 pm

Doc, we are currently fighting in Iraq, alongside the Iraqi government, a foe whose idea of how to fight “us” is to murder wedding parties.

Like this?

To imagine that we’ll improve the situation by leaving before the Iraqi government is fully prepared to deal with these monsters is absurd.

To imagine you’ll improve the situation by continuing to fuel the insurgency indefinitely with your presence while claiming you’re helping them “prepare to deal with monsters” is absurd. But it WOULD spare Republicans some embarrassing admissions in the States for a little while longer.

Now, I’m not actually questioning your motives. For all I know, your confident chatter about what should be done in Iraq might actually be backed up by some compelling argument that you and others like you haven’t managed to articulate yet. I’m just pointing out to you that the questioning-motives is easy, and contempible, and childish; even assuming that what passed for your “insights” about your targets were true, it’s perfectly simple to use those methods in either direction. Basically, I’m hoping you’ll eventually have the smarts to realize this accomplishes nothing for you. Particularly in a setting where you have to actually persuade people instead of just browbeating them.

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soru 11.25.05 at 7:39 am

Is it so difficult to believe that others might have more credibility than you do when talking about the issues and probabilities here?

Such people certainly exist, but they are not the ones advocating an american-led withdrawl, for internal america-oriented reasons.

soru

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wren 11.25.05 at 9:19 am

Cheney changed: “In light of the missteps our country has made in Iraq, and
given the ineptitude of the Bush Administration, those who advocate staying
the course in Iraq should answer a few simple questions: Would the United
States and other free nations be better off, or worse off, with Bush, Cheney
and Rumsfeld no longer in control of the United States? Would we be safer,
or less safe, if the US was ruled by men not intent on the destruction of
our country’s reputation and honor?”

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Bro. Bartleby 11.25.05 at 10:26 am

I do think Bro. Doc is a neo-con … who else would spend Thanksgiving day with head bowed before a monitor? We at the monastery stuffed ourselves … and today? Turkey sandwiches!
Out,
Bro. Bartleby

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Doctor Slack 11.25.05 at 12:33 pm

I do think Bro. Doc is a neo-con

Or worse… a Canadian! ;-)

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Bro. Bartleby 11.25.05 at 3:46 pm

Bro. Doc! A freeloading Canadian?! Like the wayward brother-in-law that moves in, a bit quiet at first, then settles in and enjoys all the comforts of … of what dear sister and her husband provide, free of course. After a further bit, begins spouting his likes and dislikes — his opinions! Even going so far as to voice how the world should be run! And when the burglar breaks in and empties the pantry, the home owner giving the burglar chase, and back in the living room, wayward brother-in-law takes control of the remote and gives voice to the unsafeness of the house and his crazed sister’s husband that would actually give chase to the fleeing burglar.

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