August 03, 2004

Kerry's Iraq Plan

Truth be told, at the height of the Abu Ghraib scandal, with thoughts of Dick Holbrooke at State and a Sam Nunn type of guy at Defense, I had the occasional fleeting thought that I would pull the donkey lever come November.

Of late, however, I've disavowed myself of that fleeting fancy (ed. note: Don't worry: I won't subject you to 'who will B.D. vote' for speculations going forward. Frankly, it's really no-one's business. And it's a tad prima donnaish to go on and on about it regardless. And, I guess, it likely wouldn't be much of a surprise to regular readers of this blog anyway!).

Recently, I noted how I thought much of the foreign policy jaw jaw at the Democratic Convention had, as barely concealed subtext, talk of (too hasty) withdrawal from Iraq.

Then yesterday came such stories:

"There is a potential to be able to put a deal together over the course of time," Kerry told The Associated Press in his first interview as the Democratic nominee. "At least, that is the perception that smart people like Joe Biden and, you know, Carl Levin and other leaders who've been there for a long time."

He said his fellow Democratic senators, reporting on their foreign travels, have told him, "A change in the presidency is essential to our ability to restore our respect and relationship."

But when asked for hard evidence that his victory would produce a troops-reducing deal for America, neither Kerry nor his fellow senators cite anything other than their vague perceptions and utmost hopes.

"I can't give you the details of any deal, obviously," Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said Monday. "You don't negotiate a deal until you have a leader who is there to negotiate a deal."

[my emphasis throughout]

This hogwash reminds me of Karl Marx's aphorism that: "History always repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, and the second as farce." The tragedy was, of course, the whole (quite sad) 'peace with honor' denouement to the Vietnam war. Now cometh a farcical neo-Nixonian 'peace with honor' gambit--aka Kerry's Iraq policy.

Let's summarize 'Kerry thought' on Iraq:

1) I will be "realist" about what is achievable in Mesopotamia (insert obligatory phrase about how a flourishing Jeffersonian democracy cannot be our realistic goal in Iraq);

2) Following from #1 and contra Bush's messianic propensities I, Davos-man of the world (what with that racy dash of the French cynique), would never have buffoonishly fallen under Wolfy's Leninist utopian sway;

3) Not only will an Iraq withdrawal be facilitated because I will be more comfy installing a Shi'a strongman or such in macho-realist vein, but also because (stifle laughter here) I have a "deal" all teed up that will facilitate such a withdrawal; and

4) Therefore I will bring "significant numbers" of U.S. troops home during my first term.

As I said, first time as tragedy, second go around as farce.

Why is this a farce? Because what Kerry is basically saying is that people like Carl Levin and Joe Biden went on little senatorial boondoggles to places like Berlin and Paris. And there they found a lot of people who vented that they didn't like the cretinous Crawford cowboy. Kerry would be better, bien sur, and (wink wink) we will be more helpful in Iraq should he assume power.

I've heard this type of stuff before. A retired American diplomat who was recently at the Quai D'Orsay told me that a senior French diplomat turned to him, and in urgent, exasperated tones asked: "what are we going to do about this Bush"?, ie. how to get rid of ze bloody bastard! Then all will be well again--the intimations run...

I don't buy this line. Longtime observers of the trans-atlantic relationship well know there are much more structural and fundamental variables at play (that negatively impact Euro-American relations) than mere dislike of Simian Georgie (and/or just the Iraq war).

And regardless, the French have all of 800 troops in Afghanistan today. How many more will they move to Iraq should Kerry win? Answer: a de minimis amount, if any (and much more likely the latter, btw). Ditto the Germans. So what, pray tell, does such a secret deal consist of?

After all, Powell is already trying to cobble together a Muslim contigent. Will Kerry get a better audience in Islamabad and Algiers than Powell? Is the secret deal that Chirac will get the Algerians to send in thousand of troops? C'mon, let's be serious here!

Increasingly, I feel that Kerry's entire Iraq policy is symptomatic of and proving a foreshadowing of an abdication of an American leadership role in the Middle East. He wants us to get us out so badly that I fear he would do so under circumstances that would perhaps scuttle the Iraq project.

This isn't about sticking around ad infinitum so as to support some imagined Shi'a Thomas Jefferson busy creating an utopian oasis where the Federalist Papers are fervently read in cross-secretarian meetings halls in downtown Fallujah. But it is about preserving an unitary Iraqi state, largely democratic in orientation, that protects (critically) minority rights.

Contra this, Kerry's 'cut and run' bias would likely allow for Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to start trouble-making because of the consequent vacuum we'd leave behind. That's not only dumb policy on realist grounds; it's also pretty morally bankrupt. We can and must do better.

Posted by Gregory at August 3, 2004 12:22 PM
Comments

Actually, I think the first time this history was played out was in the early 1920s. Replace "George Bush" with "Lloyd George" and it all pretty much plays out the same ...

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 01:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think Kerry has made it more than obvious what he plans.:

Give up on the troublesome self-determination of the Iraqi nation. Allow the French and the Russians to put in a strong man with whom they can deal. "Deal" means to basicially turn Iraq into a virtual colony by locking up the oil reserves for Elf and Gasprom. France and Russia promise no more gassing of pain in the ass minorities, on their honor as Europeans, and we go back to September 10th, just like magic.

If anybody can find anything in his words that contradict the above theory, I would like to hear them.

Posted by: Moptop at August 3, 2004 02:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I've yet to see anywhere in big media an analysis of just how many troops that the French and Germans could provide. What I've been able to find out on my own leads me to believe that their armed forces are simply not capable of supplying and supporting very many actual combat troops in the field. (And since they haven't trained and aren't equiped for this kind of warfare they're going to pay a big price to climb the learning curve).

What's Kerry's plan if only 30,000 new allied troops (or less) are available?

And in the terms of his 1971 congressional testimony, isn't Kerry's whole Iraq plan just to convince the French to supply the last man to die for a mistake?

Does anyone think the French are that generous and foolish?

Posted by: Jos Bleau at August 3, 2004 02:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh yeah, and they hate Bush because he is not willing to sell out the Iraqis in the name of realpolitik, like his dad did.

Well his dad was president pre-Sept 11th.

Posted by: Moptop at August 3, 2004 02:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Monsieur Bleau,
You obviously are too stupid to understand that what the French are offering is the imprimateur of their moral superiority, and the full force of their "soft power".

This is the foreign policy that made Canada so feared abroad that Iran was afraid to execute one of her citizens... Oh yeah, give me a minute and I will come up with a better example.

Posted by: Moptop at August 3, 2004 02:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"There is a potential to be able to put a deal together over the course of time," Kerry told The Associated Press in his first interview as the Democratic nominee. "At least, that is the perception that smart people like Joe Biden and, you know, Carl Levin and other leaders who've been there for a long time."

And people make fun of GWB's language...

Posted by: James at August 3, 2004 02:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Kerry's not being vague because he's not ready to announce details (not that there's a plan), he's being vague so he can be all things to more people.

What Kerry's said will allow his audience to fill in the blanks with the policy they'd prefer:

The looney left will read it as "I'll bug out first chance I get."

Others will read it as "I'll wrap up our involvement as soon as it's safe, and I'll make that day come more quickly by getting other nations more involved."

The second Kerry starts being specific is the second he starts taking on water. Why? Because [a] whatever specifics he gives will alienate someone in his audience; and [b] it'll give his opponents something to shoot at - right now they're being given nothing but clouds.

Kerry's plan - at least, by implication - is this: His sunny face in the White House will lead the French, Germans & Russians to drop all their objections to the war, after which they'll gladly come in and help build the peace.

Now, no one believes that - so Kerry has to be prepared to offer them something if they come in ...

but it's kinda hard for him to say so, given he belittled the coalition which fought the war as having been "bought".

Think it through - to get France, Germany & Russia to come in, what will Kerry have to give them? And if Kerry pays that price, is it good for Iraq & the United States in the long run?

Posted by: BradDad at August 3, 2004 03:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, at best, the French have the capacity to send some troops - say about 5000 tops, about the same as the British. Rather less for the Germans. However, given that any French decision to send troops to Iraq would be the green light for France's thousands of islamic radicals to start a jihad in the Arab ghettos, you can be sure that they won't send any.

Posted by: Martin Adamson at August 3, 2004 03:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My take is that French and German antipathy toward Bush is not simply about Iraq and the GWOT. The French and Germans so desperately want a lighter shade of pink in the White House. Bush was threatening to them prior to 9/11 precisely because he wasn't a socialist. In the months prior to the attack Bush already a foolish. ignorant cowboy to the urbane Europeans (urbane solely because of obsessing over pastimes like Marxism and psycho-analysis). Therein lies the rub -- he's not going to dance to the socialist tune on Kyoto or the ABM, etc., because fundamentally Bush has a different worldview than the "international community."

Aside: It is not surprising that the "international community" is often invoked, because as we all know, "It Takes a Village" to steward a "Planet in the Balance."

It is a mistake to claim that Bush offended or alienated erstwhile "allies" -- at fault are fundamentally exclusive ideologies. Kerry might have more clout with France and Germany -- but only because he's just like them: a no-apologies socialist with crypto-fascist psychological tics!

Posted by: Andrew Schouten at August 3, 2004 03:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well said Andrew.
What I'm hoping that the RNC is doing, is finding a way to articulate in campaing commericals that Kerry is basically embracing the values of the French and Germans ("internationalize", "reckless foreign polict", etc.) over those of the current President, in the time of war.
Its obscene and should be treated as such.

Posted by: acebb at August 3, 2004 03:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You people's faith in Bush is very interesting ... I can't fathom why you don't realize that Bush's exit strategy took shape in November 2003, and we're seeing it already. Install Allawi, pull the troops back, reduce patrols, reconstitute the Mukhabarat and the Iraqi army, bring back the Ba'athist generals, concede control in South Kurdistan, Najaf, Kut, Karbala, Kufa, Ramadi, Fallujah, Samarra, Baqubah and -- eventually we'll be out of Mosul and Kirkuk as well.

The withdrawal has begun in earnest, folks. You just don't realize it yet.

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 03:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I found this post to be beneath Greg's considerable talents. He speculated about Kerry's motives, abilities and policies, dressed up the straw man as factual observation, and then set fire to him. Bravo.

Not to mention this thread. All I can say is, carefully read praktike's post. We don't have to wait for the French and Russions to put in a strong man, we have one of our own their now.

The pullout has already begun. Al-Sadr's militia is already patrolling many of the Shiia cities and providing the de facto law enforcement. Fallujah has never been occupied, even Saddam couldn't tame it, so I don't expect four more years of Bush to get it done. Our forces are retreating, not advancing.

It is admirable that we are training new Iraqi forces, but recent history has shown that they are less than reliable, and there is not enough of a civic ethic to expect them to overcome tribal and ethnic biases.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are already stepping into the vacuum, most notably Iran, by sending in intelligence operatives to arm Shiia militias like Sadr's Mahdi Army.

To argue that Kerry would "cut and run" is spurious considering that Bush is trying to figure out the best way to do just that. The seams on the dam are bursting. The various ethnic groups do not seem destined to co-exist in a unified Iraq. The Kurds, armed and funded by the Israelis, will not yield to Shiia majority rule, and that is an impasse without resolution. Regional war is more likely.

I must admit, in some ways I am torn about the upcoming election. A part of me wants Bush to win so that this mess will not be blamed on Kerry. Because a mess it is, and a mess it will be.

As for statements like: "a no-apologies socialist with crypto-fascist psychological tics!"

I wont even respond.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 03:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Building on what Eric Martin said -- here's the thing.

Allawi, as a secular Shi'ite has no natural constituency inside Iraq. Right now the government is relying on Sistani's restraint, Kurdish assistance, ex-Ba'athists, al-Yawar's tribal, business, and Saudi connections (through Abdullah), and ... the US military.

To whom will the new Iraqi military be loyal? Allawi? Iraq itself? What happens when Kurdish refugees launch an all-out guerilla attack on Turkmen and Arabs in Kirkuk?

His intelligence agents are good at sniffing out traitors within the Ba'ath party, not at penetrating Islamist groups. Look up the "Gehlen syndrome" sometime.

The only way this will work is if Allawi plays his cards perfectly.

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 04:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Unfortunately, what Eric Martin and praktike state is incorrect. The al-Sadr brigades do NOT patrol much of anything at this point -- they've been reduced by about 80%, thanks to Marine snipers the last few months, and are a dispirited lot. Sadr himself controls little more than his mouth. He's been effectively defanged.

New Iraqi police/paramilitary/military forces are significantly unreliable now. But there is considerable hope on this if we stay with it for another five years (at least); numerous reports and anecdotes suggest that a fair number of Iraqis understand and want to do the right thing. What they need is training and experience, something one doesn't get without the hard work. I have no optimism that a Kerry administration would understand, let alone implement, this. Bush could drop the ball, of course.

Finally, Praktike's comment in his second post actually contradicts the rest -- Allawi can't be a strongman if he's dependent on so many others, including us.

Posted by: Steve White at August 3, 2004 04:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Allawi can't be a strongman if he's dependent on so many others, including us.

Aha ... I see that you get it now.

Very good, Steve. Perhaps you can now explain to the class why this is a problem.

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 04:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pratike,

Well, your corresponding faith in Kerry is even more amazing.

Posted by: capt joe at August 3, 2004 04:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Praktike- withdrawal of a sort was supposed to start in May 2003 (or whenever major combat operations were deemed to be over).

Your list of 'withdrawals' is laughable in its one-size fits all coverage of situations and scenes that the US is far from giving up on. The fact is simply that the new Iraq needs to deal with its detractors for itself, ultimately. To fight its enemies the US does not need to micromanage the localities of Iraq- it needs to hammer the enemy where it is firmly located- hence bombing raids destroying Zarkawi's hideouts in Fallujah or wherever they are believed to be.

As for Allawi, opinion polls indicate he has overwhelming support among the Iraqi people.

As for Al Sadr, most indications are that he is a spent force- not least from democratic local elections which he has never been able to place candidates successfully.

As for Iran and co.- this is certainly not a 'lost cause' since the Iraqis generally regard them as their No 1 enemies. If the US wants to stand up to Iran, guess who will be right behind them (my enemy's enemy might for once work for the Westerners)?

The question really is this: do you want a rapid and unfocussed withdrawal that blames previous decision-making, that throws the dice in the air and faintly hopes they fall reasonably, or do you want a phased and conditional withdrawal, which seeks to shape the region and leave options of further preemption open, which sets no ultimatum to aspiring democrats in Iraq but instead seeks to fortfiy the bulk of public-spirited Iraqis for as long as seems beneficial.

What Kerry and co. want is the sort of withdrawal that makes the thought-processes of the neo-conservatives look like an unfortunate aberration. Uncoincidentally, this is what the French, the Germans, the Arab strongmen, the Palestinians, and the terrorists all want too.

The real choice come November is between those who believe in a strategy for Iraq and the Middle East, and those whose strategy revolves around assuaging the US appetite for engagement with its enemies by ass-covering gestures and otiose rhetoric.

Posted by: ed at August 3, 2004 04:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

capt joe - I know you are but what am I?

ed-
I'm going to point to this interview with a Kerry advisor Jonathan Winer:

Quote:
"We need to have security and stability in Iraq, in order to move beyond what has happened, and not have it turn into a terrorist haven. An Iraq which is a terrorist haven is very dangerous to us, given its location, and given the passions that have been unleashed. It would be untenable and unacceptable, and if a Democratic president permitted it he would be hounded by the Republican opposition as a political matter. ItÕs neither acceptable in policy terms or in political terms. ItÕs not good for the world, for the nation, or for the political fortunes of a Democratic president. Bush can cut and run more easily than Kerry could cut and run, as a political matter Š not that either one of them should."

I think that's about right.

Now, as for Iraq -- obviously, our/Allawi's intelligence isn't good enough to stop major attacks like that against the Chaldeans or today's latest atrocities. As such, I have zero faith that our airstrikes in Fallujah are based on good data. I'm encouraged that Iraqis seem to be united against terrorism of the sort we saw on Sunday, but Allawi's grace period may not last. If he can't provide security, will he remain popular?

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 04:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The withdrawal has begun in earnest, folks. You just don't realize it yet."

With the exception of your unsupported (outside of your hatred of Bush) insinuation that the plan was to re-install the Baathist with a more pliable tyrant, I agree with you.

One other thing I disagree with your contention that those of us who supported the war did not believe that Bush would be withdrawing forces to bases by this time.

It was always YOUR characterization of Bush's motives, as well as the motives those of us who supported him that

A: The war was sold on the basis WMD alone. Bush never said that, and I never believed it. Though I think the evidence is clear that Saddaam was at a minimum dabbling in that area, as even Joe Wilson conceded.

B: That is was about controlling and even micromanaging Iraq. Bush has never supported nation building. He has however given the Iraqis a chance to build their own nation. As a last resort, he has stationed troops in a position to strike either Syria, Saudi Arabia, or Iran should they be found to be behind and Sept 11th style attacks on the US.

He now has Pakistan's manhood in a vice between arch enemy India and source of to all practical purposes infinite troops and US bases in Afghanistan so that they have no choice but cooperation with us or total war which they will lose, nuclear weapons or no.

Of course you can see none of this because of your faith that Bush and his followers have been collectively bamboozled by "Volfovitz et Cie".

Posted by: Moptop at August 3, 2004 04:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interesting, Moptop. Funny that I haven't commented on this blog until about a month or so ago. So I don't know to what prior comments of mine you're referring.

As for Allawi reconstituting the Ba'ath, no I don't think it was Bush's fervent desire to install a strongman. If anything, the utopian Pentagon types went too far with their de-Ba'athification. But a lot of water has flowed under the bridge.

And again, I urge you to look up "Gehlen syndrome" to see why we're in such big trouble with the Islamist insurgency.

My position is this: there are no good options at this point. We're basically crossing our fingers and praying for the best.

So all this high-faluting rhetoric about Bush v. Kerry is really meaningless. By January the fiction will be apparent for all to see, unless by some miracle Allawi and al-Yawar are able to pull it off.

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 04:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

" By January the fiction will be apparent for all to see"

Well, if you can see the future, I guess I am foolish to argue with you. But let's leave it at that. We have arrived at an impasse and only time will tell. I think you are wrong, but lacking your powers of precognition, I guess I will just have to wait to find out.

In closing however, I would like to say that the news on the ground seems to indicate that the "insurgency" is getting more and more dispirited. Why are they now attacking Iraqis? Because they have lost their support would be one guess, and are trying to intimidate them. Trouble is, it is difficult to intimidate people who have spent decades being intimidated into accepting the rule of those who would govern by intimidation without a struggle.

But I guess the fact of a car bomb outweighs the thousands of volunteers that still show up to work for the new goverment. IMHO, one is an trend, perhaps even a mass movement and the other is an event perpetrated by a shrinking minority. Since you can see the future, you can see how wrong I am.

Posted by: moptop at August 3, 2004 05:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sorry about the "YOUR", by this I meant the oppostion to Bush in general, or at least that of those with the loudest mouths.

Posted by: moptop at August 3, 2004 05:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dispirited? Eh. The reason they aren't killing as many US troops anymore is because US troops aren't there anymore, doing patrols. Meanwhile, they've knocked out a few coalition partners and managed to scare Greg's vaunted Islamic coalition off the block before it even got started. Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Libya -- all those boys bugged out. The Egyptians negotiated with the Islamists. The Jordanians are negotiating now. The Turkish truck drivers won't go anymore. No doubt the Saudis are hedging their bets.

Why, I believe it was almost a year ago that these folks were getting more and more desperate with each attack ...

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 05:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Unfortunately, what Eric Martin and praktike state is incorrect. The al-Sadr brigades do NOT patrol much of anything at this point."

First of all, if your assessment is correct, there is nothing "unfortunate" about it. I resent the repeated insinuation by some on this site that those on the left want failure in Iraq. FYI, my sister is a Capt. in th US Army. Several of my close friends are over there now, or just returned. I want nothing more than complete an utter success. I want the violence to end yesterday, and peace and democracy to reign indefinitely. Please, let's agree for decency's sake to stop that senseless demagoguery.

As for their patrolling of cities in the South of Iraq, here is an article that discusses some of their activity.

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/9289875.htm?1c

"The question really is this: do you want a rapid and unfocussed withdrawal that blames previous decision-making, that throws the dice in the air and faintly hopes they fall reasonably, or do you want a phased and conditional withdrawal, which seeks to shape the region and leave options of further preemption open, which sets no ultimatum to aspiring democrats in Iraq but instead seeks to fortfiy the bulk of public-spirited Iraqis for as long as seems beneficial."

As I stated above, that is a straw man Kerry. A false choice. Speculation based on stereotype and propaganda. Kerry never said that, and it is actually inconsistent with everything that he and his advisers have said. As praktike has pointed out, it would also be political suicide, and if nothing else, I think we can all agree that Kerry is prone to take the politically expedient path.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 05:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And once again, the Lefty knob-jobbers hijack a blog thread that is critical of Kerry and redirect it to another subject.
They can't take the heat.

Posted by: Les Nessman at August 3, 2004 05:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Les,

I have not redirected anything. Read my last post regarding Kerry's policies....????

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 05:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

praktike is correct. The withdrawl is already taking place.

However, he glances past the obvious reason why a withdrawl is taking place. Saddam is gone. The Ba'ath Party is predominatly dismantled as a political force. The means of economic and political control have been severed into thousands of capillary factions all feeding into the overall sanctity of Iraq.

The attacks, bombings and gun battles are not about US presence in Iraq. They're about political and economic issues. People want to be heard. They want contracts. They want to self determination. But the Arab way is nothing like the Turkish way or the Italian way or the French way.

As the media will inform the masses, uproar outside of Iraq will focus on the "foreign presence" in Iraq. This is a distraction from the obvious. The haves under Saddam are finding they are now the havenots. Many are not high enough targets to warrant their own playing card, but they are former strongmen that were the heads of their own clans.

Neither the Bush or the Kerry team was sounding these calls months ago, but editorialists were. Removing the US troops from many of these battles was necessary because they had to happen. Each team was consistentyly pitching inside to the other and eventually someone had to get hit and the benches cleared. The strongman is supported because that's exactly what Iraq needs right now. He's an arbitrator. Give him time.

Kerry's position is the same as Bush. Keep your mouth shut. However, Kerry has the tougher battle ahead to try and separate himself from Bush. The tired old "build a real coalition" to draw in France, Germany and Belgium isn't going to happen. It can't happen.

If there's one thing independent voters want it's foreign control of US elections. Right?

Posted by: Brennan Stout at August 3, 2004 06:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My quick hits.

Kerry isn't going to withdraw any troops.
Holbrooke won't add any nations to the coalition.
The UN will provide no further support.

Neither will a re-elected Bush. I just don't see Bush saying he's gonna do all these things Kerry says he can do.

Posted by: Brennan Stout at August 3, 2004 06:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'll be happy to listen to the reasons why I'm wrong, but I honestly don't believe the results of the U.S. Presidential election will have a major effect, one way or the other, on the schedule for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

I don't think France, Spain, or Germany will send any troops even if Mr. Kerry is elected. Actually, the leaders of these nations have already said as much.

But it doesn't matter. The key to finishing this job is not internationalization. The key is Iraqification. And I believe Iraqification will succeed, no matter who is U.S. President.

Posted by: Arjun at August 3, 2004 06:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

By the way, as a Lieberman Democrat, I'm in favor of democracy in Iraq. But Mr. Kerry's "realistic" emphasis on stability, while unappealing, is not important: Everyone knows there can be no democracy without stability, and President Kerry will discover that there can be no stability without some form of democracy.

Posted by: Arjun at August 3, 2004 06:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Just to give some context -- Iraqification is going to take something on the order of 5-10 years.

Keep that in mind.

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 06:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have always maintained, on this site and elsewhere, that there is not much difference between the Kerry and Bush plans.

The realistic options now are limited to the exigencies of the situation on the ground. That is why I find all of this "cut and run" rhetoric to be so disingenuous.

Similarly, I do not believe that Kerry has a magic wand for getting the recalcitrant France, Germany and Russia involved.

My differences with the Bush team is more on the post-war planning (or lack thereof), and the ultimate decision to invade in the first place.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 06:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I believe you (since I don't know). Looks like my timeline is excessively optimistic.

Nevertheless, Iraqification is the solution -- not Gallification.

Posted by: Arjun at August 3, 2004 06:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You lefties sure know how to run from your own claims. I've never seen a forum with so many incorrect claims made, it seems, simply to determine if the crap will slip by.

If you think Sadr's hardboys are in control of all those cities, why, back it up. Don't run from it.

We're just chuckling on the utter BS your Democratic base will swallow from your candidates. They don't say a damn thing except "secret plan" and your base just laps it up, each hearing from that what they wish to be so. It's pathetic and therefore quite funny.

Posted by: spongeworthy at August 3, 2004 06:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Actually, I never said Sadr is in control, just that we aren't. But keep attacking the evil forces of straw if it makes you feel better.

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 06:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

OK, Spongeworthy let me walk you through this.

I never said that Al-Sadr was in "control" of any cities. What I said was:

"Al-Sadr's militia is already patrolling many of the Shiia cities and providing the de facto law enforcement."

Not control, patrols acting as de facto law enforcement.

Then you said back it up don't run from it.

I did back it up, and I didn't run from it. I posted above:

"As for their patrolling of cities in the South of Iraq, here is an article that discusses some of their activity."

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/9289875.htm?1c

Sigh.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 07:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well I remember a time when the French were eager to send troops to Afghanistan. But the top political appointees at the Pentagon scoffed at the idea, made private jokes about how useless the French would be, and then proceeded to quarantine the meager contingent they would authorize in Uzbekistan until they were finally "allowed" to go to Mazar to paint schools. So no wonder the French are not eager to help out this administration. Why would their sons die forBush? Does anything match the sheer incompetence of Rumsfeld and co.?

Posted by: John M. at August 3, 2004 08:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

John M.,

French military capabilities, even if they were committed to the mission, are pathetic compared to ours.

But, the French don't support the mission; involving the French only makes the job harder and invites failure. We haven't the time, energy or other resources to hold French hands while they "help" us. Afghanistan and Iraq are already welfare cases – we don’t need the French adding to our burden, and sharing operational intelligence with the enemy as they did with Serbia in Mr. Clinton’s war on Milosevic’s Serbia in ‘97. It’s a loser all the way around.

As to Kerry and Iraq, all things remaining equal, IF he should be elected, of course he'll pull out. His base demands it, and no incumbent president wants a primary challenge - which he'll surely get if he keeps American troops in Iraq.

By the way, this chasm between his base wanting withdrawal and swing voters who want to win in Iraq is ultimately unbridgeable, which is why he won't win in the first place (that and "journalists" like Stephanopolous having to remind him in mid-interview that we are at war...).

Posted by: Tim at August 3, 2004 08:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"As to Kerry and Iraq, all things remaining equal, IF he should be elected, of course he'll pull out. His base demands it, and no incumbent president wants a primary challenge - which he'll surely get if he keeps American troops in Iraq."

First of all Tim, you overstate the case that his base wants withdrawal. That is simply not borne out by the numbers or the primary season. Most Democrats hold the opinion that we must try to stabilize the situation before any type of withdrawal could be fathomed (even if they opposed the invasion in the first place).

Even Howard Dean, who was famously opposed to the invasion, said repeatedly that he was not in favor of pulling out until the job was done (meaning stability and order instilled, and any progress toward democracy that is feasible). Even liberal columnist Bob Herbert acknowledges that there is no feasible exit strategy in the near future.

So if that is Dean's stance, and liberals like Herbert, and Dean was so popular with "the base" in the primaries, then why should Kerry assume that there is some other base to contend with? The only candidate who took that stance was Kucinich, and he was marginal throughout the process. Then of course there is Nader, and we all see how popular Nader is (at least among Republicans trying to get him on the ballot).

Furthermore, you underestimate the ability of the Party itself to quash potential primary rivals. Clinton didn't get any despite his bold economic platform, and neither would Kerry if and when he tries to make Iraq a success story (assuming there was even that type of will in the party to begin with).

Of the chasm you discuss, that is why I suspect the right wing punditry is trying to paint Kerry that way: to create a sense of unease among the swing voters, and to falsely assert Kerry intends to "cut and run." Take that phrase, bounce it around in the echo chamber a couple of millions of times, and voila: an effective campaign theme like "compassionate conservative."

Don't believe the hype though.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 08:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well I can hardly blame the pentagon for not wanting it's hands tied in Afghanistan by using the french. They had proved to be a royal pain in the ass the first Gulf War and in Kosovo. The french would have wanted pre-approval of bombing targets in Afghanistan like Kosovo. After a while don't you think there are diminishing returns having such "allies" on board?

Posted by: gk at August 3, 2004 08:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The value of the French, and many of these allies, is really in the post war process. The French do have several governmental and non-governmental entities that are capable of dispensing humanitarian aid and initiating civil projects. Further, they are part of the Security Council so it helps to have them on board when trying to convince the UN to mobilize its humanitarian wing.

But I fully concur that there presence on the battlefield is at best a wash. That is not essentially the point though.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 09:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There needed to be something done in the pre 9-11 world... we just didn't do it until after 9-11.

We were faced with two plans: the use of 'Soft' power--Isolation, sanctions, and non-co-operation-- and 'Hard' power--Pre-Emption, Military Action, Active Containment, Proposals to end Terrorism, and the force to back them all up. Bush chose hard power for a reason: soft power had already been proven ineffective. If anything, the terrorist acts and the actions of Al-Qaeda proves this.

What Kerry is proposing is 'Soft' Power. It 'may' be more desirable to some, but the core of his plan is flawed. He's offering a plan that would not work even if everything went his way. Look at the failure of the Sanctions in Iraq and the Oil for Food (Palaces) scandal. Look at Somalia and the Rawandan Genocide. In an age like this, Soft Power has been proven, time and time again, to our own peril, and the loss of many lives, irrevelant, ineffective, and a costly form of buying peace.

So long have we bought peace with the blood of innocents in sin. We now make up for it with the blood of soldiers to right this terrible wrong we've been living in for so damn long. What Bush has proposed may be risky, may be bloody, may be costly, may be embarrassing, but it's got a heck of a better chance of succeeding in the end, and that's why I'm voting for him.

Posted by: Charles Hammond Jr. at August 3, 2004 09:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh, and you may not know what Kerry Actually said.

He said that he would speak of his plans after (if) he was elected.

Isn't that one of the reasons he's being considered for elections: his views on the war?

Sound dubious to some. To others it sounds downright fishy. To me, it sounds like the Manchurian Candidate.

Posted by: Charles Hammond Jr. at August 3, 2004 09:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I will be "realist" about what is achievable in Mesopotamia (insert obligatory phrase about how a flourishing Jeffersonian democracy cannot be our realistic goal in Iraq)"

OK then, how about a flourishing Clintonian democracy. Thats setting the bar low enough that the terroists would even accept it. If its good enough for Kerry, why not for the Iraqis.

Posted by: R. Willis Cook at August 3, 2004 09:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Charles,

First of all, it is not all so black and white. The wisest route is one that incorporates both hard and soft power. Even the Bush team, although reckless in some ways, has not abandoned the use of soft power (al-hurrah, numerous appearances by admin officials on al-jazeera, etc.)

Kerry, and his fellow Dems, supported hard power in the context of Afghanistan. He has also repeated the notion that in other scenarios hard power may be the best option.

As for Rwanda, Somalia, and currently in Sudan, I agree that hard power is needed. Although I note with a head scratch that Bush has not employed his "hard power" to lift a finger in Sudan despite the ongoing slaughter of thousands of civilians daily (please note that I hold Clinton accountable for his abject failure in Rwanda as stated above).

You said:

"In an age like this, Soft Power has been proven, time and time again, to our own peril, and the loss of many lives, irrevelant, ineffective, and a costly form of buying peace."

I'm not quite sure history agrees with you here. Take Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and the former republics. This victory of Soft Power is truly remarkable and a watershed in its own right. We did not invade any of these places, yet through the exertion of soft power, we were able to reverse the ugliness of Communist totalitarianism.

As for your suggestion that the Sanctions and inspections regimes were failures, that depends on what criteria you use. In terms of choking off money for Saddams palaces, you are right. A failure. But in terms of keeping Saddam in a state of disarmament, they were an overwhelming success. Below is an excerpt from an article by two fellows of the right-leaning Council on Foreign Relations (published in Foreign Affairs):

"Public debate has focused on the question of what went wrong with U.S. intelligence. Given the deteriorated state of Iraq's unconventional weapons programs and conventional military capabilities, this is only appropriate. But missing from the discussion is an equally important question: What went right with U.S. policy toward Iraq between 1990 and 2003? On the way to their misjudgments, it now appears, intelligence agencies and policymakers disregarded considerable evidence of the destruction and deterioration of Iraq's weapons programs, the result of a successful strategy of containment in place for a dozen years. They consistently ignored volumes of data about the impact of sanctions and inspections on Iraq's military strength.

The United Nations sanctions that began in August 1990 were the longest running, most comprehensive, and most controversial in the history of the world body. Most analysts argued prior to the Iraq war -- and, in many cases, continue to argue -- that sanctions were a failure. In reality, however, the system of containment that sanctions cemented did much to erode Iraqi military capabilities. Sanctions compelled Iraq to accept inspections and monitoring and won concessions from Baghdad on political issues such as the border dispute with Kuwait. They also drastically reduced the revenue available to Saddam, prevented the rebuilding of Iraqi defenses after the Persian Gulf War, and blocked the import of vital materials and technologies for producing WMD."

If you care to read on, here is the link:

http://www.cfr.org/publication.php?id=6966

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 09:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And Charles, I will say nothing of your conflation of Iraq and al-Qaeda throughout that post, as if the use of hard power on the former is seen as an action against the latter. Suffice to say, the evidence is against you on this.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 09:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Several of the comments above seem to claim it would be a bad thing if US troops are still required to stabilize Iraq over the next 5 to 10 years. They seem to forget that US troops were present in Saudi Arabia to restrain Iraq for almost 10 years preceding 9/11, where they had the unfortunate collateral effect of providing Muslims with a cause for belligerence, i.e., the "infidel" occupation of the holy land of Mecca and Medina. Seems to me that the need to settle things down persists, and at least the troops now contribute to rather detract from the stability of land where they are based.

Posted by: toot at August 3, 2004 10:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

For what it's worth, I do not object to their presence in Iraq for 5-10 years if there are reasonable prospects for success, and if their presence does not incite intense anti-Americanism across the region, such that al-Qaeda gains valuable support.

Of course, it does kind of make Wolfowitz look a bit silly:

"We will be down to approximately 30,000 troops by August 2003"

and

"There is not the same history of ethnic strife in Iraq, so the peacekeeping requirements will not be as rigorous"

and

Via Chalabi, arguing that an insurgency is unlikely.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 10:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric-
My comment was not directed at you.
I was just noting that, right from the start, the subject was changed from Kerry to other things.

Posted by: Les Nessman at August 3, 2004 10:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Fair enough Les, I lost track of the back and forth.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 10:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Actually it's not at all clear that Putin would prefer Kerry to Bush. Not long ago there was the odd slip out of the Kremlin that Iraq had WMD and was a major threat. And we know that Putin, like a good sovok, is a child of the Soviet correlation-of-forces theory who couldn't care less about bogus platitudes such as "multilateralism."

Add to this Putin's visceral hatred of military dissidents (cf his brutal treatment of that naval officer who told the Norwegian press about the envirnomental havoc caused by the Russian navy) and I suspect the attitude in the Kremlin toward our conflicted Vietnam vet candidate is more contempt than anything else.

Posted by: lex at August 3, 2004 11:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

One thing that disturbs me about the Democratic Party is that while they talk (admirably, I think) about mutual respect between nations, they are not above base appeals to resentment of "foreigners".

For example, I agree with Mr. Kerry that the U.S. needs to use its economic power, not just its military power, to win the war on al Qaeda terrorism. But in that case, why do the Democrats always seem to complain about the disproportionate burden on U.S. taxpayers? How else can we use our economic power, except by burdening U.S. taxpayers?

For example, I'm very grateful to Senator Joesph Biden and Senator Maria Cantwell. They are the only two true Democrats in the U.S. Senate who voted against forcing Iraqis to use their oil wealth to pay us back for the 18 billion of reconstruction funds. (I'm grateful for Senator Zell Miller's vote too, but with all due respect, he's not a true Democrat.) As for the rest of the Senate Democrats, hadn't they ever heard the slogan "No Blood for Oil"?

Posted by: Arjun at August 3, 2004 11:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric Martin,

The CFR alleges that sanctions "drastically reduced the revenue available to Saddam, prevented the rebuilding of Iraqi defenses after the Persian Gulf War, and blocked the import of vital materials and technologies for producing WMD."

Perhaps the above would have been true without Oil-for-Fraud (OFF), but we now know that the latter program-- which one could argue was essential to secure continuation of the sanctions-- allowed Saddam to sock away at least $10B in ill-gotten profits.

So if by the late 1990s OFF was an inevitable concomitant of the the sanctions approach, then it's fair to say that the sanctions approach did NOT "drastically reduce the revenue available to Saddam." Neither did sanctions prevent the French from signing in Nov 2002 a deal to develop the W Qurna oilfields, which contain about 20 billion bbl of oil. So clearly the French and the Russians were determined to gut the sanctions, and OFF aided them in their effort.

Still worse, of the billions that Saddam and Uday and QUsay were able to funnel through Dubai and Geneva, significant sums ended up in the hands of terrorist groups.

Based on the above, it seems pretty clear that whatever effectiveness the sanctions had in the mid-1990s was fading rapidly by 2002. It strikes me as extremely unlikely that such a regime, given the determination of Saddam's pimps in Paris, Moscow, Dubai and Geneva to scuttle it, would continue to deny Saddam access to materials needed to recreate bio or other WMD stocks. In short, sanctions to remain effective required unanimous pressure from UNSC members, and this had evaporated by 2002.

Given the undeniable fact that Saddam's manipulation of the sanctions was causing the deaths of 3,000 innocent Iraqis (2,000 of them children) each month, I think a fair-minded person would conclude that by 2002 sanctions were a moral and a strategic failure.

Overthrowing Saddam, not winking at the sanctions and Oil-for-Fraud charade, was the moral and strategically appropriate choice. Not a good choice, mind you, but the least bad of a set of bad choices.

Posted by: lex at August 3, 2004 11:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I feel that "the Iraq project" should be an Iraqi project, not an American project. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his execrable "Unification and Jihad" terrorists continue their killing spree, but I feel much more comfortable about the situation in Iraq now than I did 2 months ago. That is because Iraqis, and in my opinion very good Iraqis, are in charge.

Posted by: Arjun at August 4, 2004 12:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The whole problem of the United States is having ambitions in the world that they cannot afford.
The big idea of Kerry is to share the cost of US hegemony in the world with "friends". I wish Kerry good luck ! The only viable alternative to Bush policy is to have ambitions that the US taxpayer can afford and nothing more ! And keep in mind that any entreprise whose cost has to be shared has to be decided on a mutual agreement among those who are "invited" to share the cost....

Posted by: Frogof at August 4, 2004 12:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Frogof,
Wow, a post om Jack Irak himself, or his thought clone.

BTW, here is a funny but true picture of the 'war hero' with his comrades in arms.

http://www.swiftvets.com/index.php?topic=SwiftPhoto

Posted by: moptop at August 4, 2004 12:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The U.S. has an annual GDP of 11 trillion dollars. We can "afford" quite a lot.

Posted by: Arjun at August 4, 2004 01:04 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I feel like a schoolmarm who has to disrupt an unruly classroom of 17 year old, hormone-inflicted male students:

First of all, I travel extensively in France, Germany and Russia and I can assure you that there are three reasons why these countries are not heavily involved in Iraq above and beyond the fact that Germany temporarily has a socialist government in place and, alone among the three, would prefer a socialist American president like Kerry (Putin would definitely prefer Bush because Putin is as right wing as they get and he wants a conservative world order).

Reason #1) Europe wasn't attacked on 9-11 so they would prefer to sit back and watch the fireworks as Bush rips Jihadists a new one. Europe was not against the Iraq War. Putin said on day one of the war that the USA had to do what it felt it had to do. Chirac announced in the first day of the war that, if WMD was used against American troops, France would join the war on the side of the Americans.

Reason #2) Even if the French, German and Russian populations felt they were directly involved in the war on terror (and many do), there is only one city in France of any noteworthiness and two in Russia. Three terror nukes would destroy those two countries. Meanwhile, America could withstand 20 terror nuke explosions and only really lose the bulk of their left wing urban moonbats. In other words, America can afford to agressively fight a war on terror while France and Russia are in a position to secretly root for a country like America to fight it for them while they play "Good Cop" in the background.

Reason #3: In and of itself, it makes sense for Russia and France and Germany to play "Good Cop" to Bush's "Bad Cop" in this war on terror. This way, they can not only do more with behind the scenes negotiating, they can also double cross the Jihadists at crucial points and make statements like Chirac did about the Jihadists "playing by the rules" (such as not using WMD or not committing terror acts outside of Iraq).

Reason #4: A *supposedly* divided west robs Al Qaeda of a public relations bonanza in the Islamic world. In fact, it would seem that Al Qaeda's best recruits over the past 2 years would be those who sympathise with the western left wing point of view. But Al Qaeda would prefer to get recruits from CONSERVATIVE Arabs. The very fact that the western left seems to be on the side of Al Qaeda is probably a major negative marketing tool for that organization.

So once you understand that France and Russia are probably doing exactly what Bush might WANT them to do...that they are keeping everybody safe by pretending that the west is "divided" and will "destroy itself" simply because of a minor insurgency in an otherwise liberated Iraq...then you will see that the entire left wing meme about Bush not having good relations with our "allies" is really just a stupid sop to the uneducated who cannot grasp Realpolitikal nuances and permutations like I just mentioned.

This is why Putin made the gesture he made last month to help Bush. It is why France and Russia will probably vote for a Security Council Resolution against Iran in September. Putin and Chirac will help make Iran (not Iraq) the focal point of the upcoming US election.

Posted by: Jennifer Peterson at August 4, 2004 02:02 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Let me clean up some points:

The Democratic Party base is, by definition, the poor and uneducated. Like liberals in all countries, populist candidates of the left do not have to tell the truth, recite accurate history or forecast the future in the manner that a businessman would invest. The key to winning over the poor and uneducated is to use Marxist marketing principles and to pretend that, without France, you are being unilateral no matter how many giant countries (like Japan and Australia) are in your coalition. In this election, I doubt Kerry can win, but he is using the only formula liberals know how to use.

Another point: After Labor Day, and especially after the next terror attack, the Bush administration is going to openly prepare for war against the Iranian Mullahs. He will hopefully say something like "On my watch, Iran's nuke program will no longer be a problem"...implying that Bush will deal with Iran even if it has to be from a lame duck presidency. With a liberated Iran and Iraq before January...there will be room for an exile government of the USA in the region that will make sure that a President Kerry doesn't try to reverse things too much (remember also that the Secret Service is almost 100% Republican and will not let itself be altered nor will it let Kerry betray his country).

Frankly, I would hope for an "Iranian Revolution" before Election Day. I know that many liberals would pretend that the Iranians freed themselves DESPITE the "chaos" in Iraq just like liberal ostriches pretend that Libya didn't forfeit its nuke weapon program because of Saddam's capture (even though Saddam was paying for the whole program).

There were at least 4 reasons for liberating Iraq:

1) End 1000 years of Sunni Muslim dominance in the Middle East as direct revenge for 9-11...and a warning that the Shiites might be given control of Mecca itself if the Sunni Al Qaeda organization tried another 9-11 style attack (I believe that the next 9-11 would, however, be used by Bush to get rid of the Shiite hardliners in Iran first).

2) Iraq's Nuke Program was the Libyan Program. It was staffed by 100 Iraqi scientists. The Iraq War was about getting at the Libyan program indirectly because stopping the oil money to the program was the best way of capturing the program itself.

3) It was better for Iraqis and Americans to control one third of Mideast oil than for $20 Billion per year to flow into the coffers of terrorists like Saddam, Arafat and Company.

4) Judging from the fact that 9-11 meant to kill 20,000 people, nukes would have been used in a world where Bush had not aggressively fought a war on terror. Israel was going to be toast in a few years if the Mideast wasn't rapidly democratized. Several American cities would have been nuked if Bush hadn't gotten started on "mixing it up" in the Arab world and changing the status quo. That would also entail the nuclear destruction of most Arab cities. Bush and Blair, in effect, spared about a dozen major world cities from nuclear annihilation.

Everyone knows that, if Bush had stopped the 9-11 attacks and arrested 1000 Muslims and just attacked in Afghanistan...he would be the most reviled man on Earth and impeached...and a new president would be making speeches about him at the World Trade Center saying that he did a lot of very bad things. The employees in the World Trade Center would all be cursing George Bush to this day for his right wing mania.

That is why, if Bush knows specific Al Qaeda plans now, it is sorrowfully in the world's best interest for him to let things happen so we all get on the same page again. It appears that leftists need an injection of terrorism every now and then to get sufficiently motivated to do what has to be done (which right now is to liberate Iran). If Bush stops a major Iranian attack on US soil...and then attacks Iran...the liberals of the world would scream that it was an "unprovoked" attack.

Posted by: Jennifer Peterson at August 4, 2004 02:24 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think the Kerry foreign policy was all sumed up as "Kerry would be better, bien sur, and (wink wink) we will be ...". Emphaisi on the (wink wink) part. Say no more.

Posted by: J_Crater at August 4, 2004 03:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jennifer, lay off the crack rock. It's for your own good.

Now, for all you Chrenkoffian roseglassed optimists out there, ponder this graph:

http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/images/iraq_oil_system_attacks.jpg

Posted by: praktike at August 4, 2004 03:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yikes!

What an awful graph! Let's quit while we're behind...

Seriously, there are attacks on oil pipelines, therefore????

Posted by: sickles at August 4, 2004 05:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Good riposte, Priktake. Not. Are you a noun or a verb?

Posted by: Les Nessman at August 4, 2004 05:21 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There are attacks on oil pipelines, and they are becoming more frequent. Oil supplies are tight right now. Everytime the price of oil goes up, guess whose revenue streams are enhanced?

Posted by: praktike at August 4, 2004 01:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Finally someone gets it and can write it so others can at least grasp whats going on. They can choose to ignore the truth but that wont make any difference. Well done Jennifer.

All one needs to do is look at a map of the middle east to see that were involved in a classic divide and conquer strategy. We took out Iraq first for a reason. It was the weakest and would also position us to take out Iran and Syria. Most likely Iran first since they are so bent on using nukes ASAP. We didnt dump 130k troops into that area just to stabilize Iraq. A quater of that would of been enough. This puts us right on their border without having to go through all the political pandering and telegraphing of a military buildup. We are already there and primed for the assault.

The left doesnt get it because they think with emotion rather than logic, besides haveing a knee-jerk reaction against anything that might stop their attempt at turning America socialist. Under their breath they pray for America to fail. But we will not fail.

Kerry DOES get it but he is tring to relive the 60s because everything he fought against he has become. This is his last chance at redeeming hisself as he sees it. Thats why he eludes to a nonexistant Iraq plan. He cant tell the truth, he wouldnt get any votes from the immoral minority and the moral majority would never trust a socialist anyway.

Im not as good at describing their thought process so I will leave it at that.

Forgive misspellings, I never was good at that.

Posted by: Big Al at August 4, 2004 08:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interestingly enough (and completely unplanned on my part), heres how fast and quiet it can happen.

U.S., Iraqi forces in major move to secure Syrian border
http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_7.html

Posted by: Big Al at August 4, 2004 09:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

NATO has made a "major committment" to assist with security in Afghanistan for the September elections there. So far, all that the Europeans have been able to come up with is committments to supply 7,500 troops. European governments are now saying that their resources are stretched to the limit and that they cannot possibly supply any more troops for service overseas. Germany, for example, has supplied approximately 3,000 of the troops; the German government now claims that only a total of 10,000 of its troops are suitably trained for deployment overseas and that they do not have the logistical capability to support any more on foreign deployment than are currently deployed to Afghanistan. Europe is not militarily capable of living up to a committment that it claims to support in Afghanistan. What, in the name of God, makes anyone think they are ABLE to commit significant numbers of troops to Iraq?

Posted by: Ben at August 5, 2004 02:44 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Praktike, I think maybe you aren't being cynical enough.

Until recently, the USA spent the oil money and the rules for how to spend it weren't nearly as stringent as they were for US funds. So we had an incentive for the oil to get through.

But now Allawi gets to spend the oil money. We spent it all but more is coming in. The less oil money he gets, the less chance he gets to spend it on his own crackpot ideas. The less of his own money he has the more he has to come crawling to us to pay his policemen etc.

So isn't it reasonable that before we tried hard to stop pipeline sabotage, but now we would tend to let the iraqis deal with it themselves? Allawi was talking about buying tanks and planes and heavy artillery, and Bremer told him we didn't want him to do that and he didn't have any money he could do it with -- all his money was already spent or already allocated. Why would we want him to have more money? Why should our troops risk their lives to protect his pipelines?

High gas prices at election time wouldn't be good for Bush, if less oil now would affect gas prices in two months, but chances are the guys at this level aren't thinking about the effect on the elections.

Posted by: J Thomas at August 5, 2004 04:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Didn't Nixon refer to a "secret plan to end the war" -- and isn't that exactly what Kerry is offering? (Of course, he's not stupid enough to use the exact quote.)

About our French friends. Suppose it's 1944. Who would they have rather had as President then, Bush or Kerry?

Posted by: AKDave at August 5, 2004 03:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Message for Charles Hammond Jr.

Are you related to Charles Hammond: a US diplomat who served in London during the 1960s?

Posted by: adam luck at September 21, 2004 08:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

7077 http://www.online-poker-big.com check out this online poker site!

Posted by: online poker at September 22, 2004 06:21 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

8744 http://www.texas-holdem-now.com play texas holdem here!

Posted by: texas holdem at September 29, 2004 07:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

5563 http://www.casino-online-i.com the best online casinos on the web.

Posted by: online casinos at October 1, 2004 03:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

4170 http://www.play-poker-i.com

Posted by: Play Poker at October 2, 2004 06:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

3021 http://www.caribbean-poker-web.com very fun

Posted by: play caribbean poker at October 5, 2004 01:24 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

8487 Play poker here poker

Posted by: http://www.888-texas-holdem.com at October 5, 2004 07:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

4979 Very well said in the first place! http://www.online-poker-net.com

Posted by: online poker at October 6, 2004 02:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1938 How can this all be as nice? Check out my site http://www.pai-gow-keno.com

Posted by: pai gow at October 8, 2004 08:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

3391 http://www.texas-hold-em-i.com play texas hold em online here.

Posted by: texas hold em at October 11, 2004 11:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

2658 http://www.e-texas-holdem.info

texas holdem

Posted by: texas holdem at October 14, 2004 01:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

7070 count sheep or use ambien for your
sleeping pill needs.

Posted by: ambien at November 4, 2004 07:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

4893 http://www.e-online-poker.info
online poker

Posted by: http://www.e-online-poker.info at November 5, 2004 03:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

8439 http://top-online-poker.info
poker online

Posted by: http://top-online-poker.info at November 7, 2004 08:27 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1297 online poker
http://online-poker.ownsthis.com

Posted by: online poker at November 7, 2004 11:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

2294 http://www.real-online-poker.net

poker online

Posted by: online poker at November 8, 2004 06:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
Reviews of Belgravia Dispatch
"Awake"
--New York Times
"Must-read list"
--Washington Times
"Always Thoughtful"
--Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit
"Pompous Ass"
--an anonymous blogospheric commenter
Recent Entries
Search
English Language Media
Foreign Affairs Commentariat
Non-English Language Press
U.S. Blogs
Western Europe
France
United Kingdom
Germany
Italy
Netherlands
Spain
Central and Eastern Europe
CIS/FSU
Russia
Armenia
East Asia
China
Japan
South Korea
Middle East
Egypt
Israel
Lebanon
Syria
Columnists
Think Tanks
Security
Books
B.D. In the Press
Archives
Categories
Syndicate this site:
XML RSS RDF

G2E

Powered by