June 27, 2005

"Last Throes," Or 12 More Years?

Second, the implication of the question was that we don't have enough to win against the insurgency. We're not going to win against the insurgency. The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years.

Coalition forces, foreign forces are not going to repress that insurgency. We're going to create an environment that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces can win against that insurgency.

Don Rumsfeld, on Chris Wallace's FOX show yesterday.

Compare and contrast, now, with the Veep. On the evening of May 30th on Larry King, the now famous "last throes" statement:

The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

And, just last week, Cheney again during a Wolf Blitzer interview:

BLITZER: The commander of the U.S. Military Central Command, Gen. John Abizaid has been testifying on Capitol Hill.

CHENEY: Right.

BLITZER: He says that the insurgency now is at a strength undiminished as it was six months ago, and he says there are actually more foreign fighters in Iraq now than there were six months ago. That doesn't sound like the last throes.

CHENEY: No, I would disagree. If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period -- the throes of a revolution. The point would be that the conflict will be intense, but it's intense because the terrorists understand if we're successful at accomplishing our objective, standing up a democracy in Iraq, that that's a huge defeat for them. They'll do everything they can to stop it.

When you look back at World War II, the toughest battle, at the most difficult battles, both in Europe and in the Pacific, occurred just a few months before the end, the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944 and Okinawa in the spring of 1945. And I see this as a similar situation, where they're going to go all out.

They'll do everything they can to disrupt that process, but I think we're strong enough to defeat them. And I think the process itself of establishing a democracy and a viable security force for the Iraqis will, in fact, signal the end, if you will, for the terrorists inside Iraq. [emphasis added]

Now, Rumsfeld on Meet the Press yesterday (yeah, he sure did the show-boaty rounds hier):

MR. RUSSERT: I think the concern that many people have is that if we were wrong or misjudged that, are we making some other misjudgments now? This is how The Washington Times reported in exchange before the hearings. "[Sen. Carl] Levin asked whether the general thought the insurgency was in its `last throes,' as Mr. Cheney said ... last month. `In terms of the overall strength of the insurgency, I'd say it was the same as it was' six months ago, Gen. [John] Abizaid replied."

For the sake of clarity for the American people, what about this insurgency? Is it in its last throes or is it alive and well and vibrant and strong as it was six months ago?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, there are various ways to measure it. If you measure the number of incidents, it's gone up during the election period and now it's back down. If you look at lethality of those instances, it's up. Now, what does that mean? Does it mean that the insurgency's stronger? Is it in its last throes? The last throes could be violence, as you well know from a dictionary standpoint. I think the way to think of it is that the insurgents are foreigners in some significant number. They are attacking Iraqis and killing them. They are opposing an elected Iraqi government. They know they have a great deal to lose. If they lose this and if Iraq becomes a constitutional representative system in the middle of the Middle East, the effect on the terrorists will be devastating. So they are going to fight very hard. And you saw that when the elections--they wanted to disrupt those elections on January 30th and so the peak went way up in violence. They're going to feel the same way about the constitution and the elections coming up in December. So I would anticipate you're going to see an escalation of violence between now and the December elections.

MR. RUSSERT: But you wouldn't say the insurgency is on its last legs?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, if you are successful in having a constitution and having another election under the new constitution, that will have an effect on the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people will see that the people opposing that don't have the interest of Iraq in mind. They have the interests of the violent extremists. And will that hurt the insurgency? I believe it will. I think there's no question but that if we get through this period we will see that the Iraqi security forces will be stronger. They're very well respected today by the population in Iraq, and we will have more and more of an Iraqi face on this, less of an occupation face, which is a good thing. And over time--I mean, foreign troops are not going to beat the insurgency. It's going be the Iraqi people that are going to beat the insurgency and Iraqi security forces. That's just the nature of an insurgency and it may take time, but our task is to get the Iraqi security forces sufficiently capable that that process of defeating the insurgency by the Iraqi people can take place.

So Rumsfeld is now, pretty much, openly contradicting Cheney. He's too smart to realize that--by going on Chris Wallace's show and talking about an insurgency that might go on for another 12 odd years--he's not at least implicitly repudiating Cheney's "last throes" nonsense. And yet, Rumsfeld makes a somewhat disingenuous bow in Cheney's direction by bringing up that Clintonian, parsing dictionary thang again. Well, sure, they are right about what "throes" means: "throes A condition of agonizing struggle or trouble: a country in the throes of economic collapse." But it's the "last", not "throes," isn't it, that is the issue? Last, of course, means a terminal, final stage. So, combining our definitions, could we really fairly say that we were in late May (or, er, today) in the final agonizing stages of struggle (or trouble) in Iraq? Well, perhaps in turn, that depends on the meaning of "final". I mean, such absurd parsing could go on and on. Cheney, in his defense of the usage of the "last throes" phraseology, hints at the time frame he has in mind:

When you look back at World War II, the toughest battle, at the most difficult battles, both in Europe and in the Pacific, occurred just a few months before the end, the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944 and Okinawa in the spring of 1945. And I see this as a similar situation, where they're going to go all out.

So are we now just a "few months before the end" per Cheney? Or, per Rummy, perhaps over a decade away from defeating the insurgency (leaving aside whether we or the Iraqis will ultimately defeat them--I remain concerned that Rumsfeld will recommend a too hasty Vietnamization style exit strategy to POTUS--his comments on the talk shows yesterday further heighten such fears for me--hey, the insurgency could go on for 12 years, but it's won't really be our battle to fight...wink-wink...once they've got a constitution in place or such). Look, Rumsfeld even predicts increased violence through at least December, some half a year away ("So I would anticipate you're going to see an escalation of violence between now and the December elections"). I just don't see how this squares with "last throes," and wish the Vice President would have disowned it and chalked it off to sloppy verbiage on one news interview. Shit, it happens, you know.

My plea to the President tomorrow evening in his speech to the nation. Talk straight and don't pull any punches. Explain the effort could take years yet. Concentrate on the massive stakes at play if we retreat (major instability in the Middle East, perhaps a civil war that drags in neighboring countries, and a safe-haven and rallying point for jihadists the world over, for starters). But, most important, straight talk throughout. So, no, don't mention a "dictionary meaning" or such ludicrousness. This Ahab-like obsession with staying on message is juvenile, transparent, and one of the reasons you are losing support. Rise above it!



Posted by Gregory at June 27, 2005 02:33 PM | TrackBack (18)
Comments

"My plea to the President tomorrow evening in his speech to the nation. Talk straight and don't pull any punches. Explain the effort could take years yet."

And, maybe, a call for those who support his war to sacrifice for the country and enlist.

Which would be a first. They've tried to keep this a war of convenience, where "sacrifice" means buying an SUV at 0% interest. Where the pain is felt only by the suckers who signed up.

Now is the time for all good men, etc, etc, etc.

Posted by: Jon H at June 27, 2005 03:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Not just calls to enlist, but I think a repeal of many of Bush's multi-trillion dollar tax cuts are in order. Consider Anthony Cordesman's assessment based on his two-week tour of Iraq in early June at the behest of the Departments of State and of Defense.:


"I did not meet any American, any other member of the Coalition, or any member of the Iraqi government who did not see this insurgency as going on for at least 2 to 3 more years, and probably in some form lasting much longer. ...Iraq is 5 to 10 years of instability, regardless of the military outcome. It is a country which will require some 5 to 7 billion dollars in US expenditures per month for at least several more years. In the best possible case, thousands more of Americans and Coalition partners will be killed and wounded, and tens of thousands of Iraqis. And if you ask me to assign odds, I would say 50-50 under the best circumstances, simply because none of us have a basis on which to assign odds."


OK. Five to seven billion a month for several more years ($60 to $85 billion a year). Who exactly is going to pay for this when the Treasury is bleeding money on paltry revenue streams? Time for patriotic Americans to forego some of the boons of the Estate Tax cut and other upper, upper income niceties that are hurting our effort in Iraq (I'd sacrifice mine btw). You cannot be both serious about winning in Iraq and Afghanistan yet unwilling to do what's necessary to fund the effort. At a certain point, the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan will be too pyrric to the American people if we are forced to lop off other indispensible parts of the budget. We must head off that crisis at the pass.

It's time to put up or shut up. Choose between the cult of supply side-ism and this grand strategy of regional remake. I'm with the latter.

A summary of Cordesman:

http://williamkaminsky.typepad.com/too_many_worlds/2005/06/anthony_cordesm.html

Posted by: Eric Martin at June 27, 2005 04:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree with you as long as blunt talk doesn't mean giving time-lines and predictions. We are at war for Christ sake.

The comment of twelve years was meant as a broadside to Syria, Iran, and others in the Middle East who think they can continue supporting the insurgency and just wait things out.

re: Jon H.

Is this suggestion in good faith? Would you support the President and the war effort if he made such as a proposal?

If so great. However there will be huge political blowback that Americans will have to be prepared to defend. Do you really think the call for sacrifice will be supported by Ted Kennedy, Pelosi, and Reid? My guess is that it would immediately get thrown in the administration's face as a sign of a failed policy?

Sadly, the sacrifice being called for should have been done immediately after 9/11.

Posted by: bob at June 27, 2005 04:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well Jon H,

Thanks for the 'suckers' comment. Your superior knowledge to myself in the ways of the world is quite apparent as I was one of the several hundred thousand military personnel that have served in Iraq. We all should of known our SUV driving overlords were pulling one over on us.

However, I don't have too much respect for Bush right now. He should be clearly--and repeatedly--articulating what is considered victory in Iraq, and he is not. I'm not sure if this is correct, but my sense is that the US public believes that anything short of a violence-free Iraq will be a US failure. By this metric, the US will never suceed. Unless Bush continually combats this view (a few speeches is not enough), public support will erode for an unrealistic goal--I don't think anyone believes that the Middle East will suddenly become violence free overnight. I would say the US troop occupation (but not smaller scale US support) will end with the creation of a stable democratic Iraqi government and armed forces, with the clear statement that a stable democratic state doesn't mean a state completely free of terrorism, that once the US leaves the Iraqis, as a free people, will have to continue to fight Al Queda as Al Queda has already indicated that democracy is incompatible with their brand of Islam.

Sorry about the long comment, I don't think comments should be long as hogging someone else's blog, but one more thing. There will always be people willing to trade in security for freedom. In any country. I distinctly remember a poll given last year around the time of the Iraqi elections, about how many Americans would actually vote under a similiar threat of violence. The number was depressingly only about half the population. What a vote of confidence from home when 150,000 Americans were trying to bring elections to Iraq. For being such 'manipulators', Bush or any of his administration seem to act like they don't know what they are facing with public opinion.

Posted by: Steve Wood at June 27, 2005 04:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

So Rumsfeld is now, pretty much, openly contradicting Cheney.

Huh?

Precisely the opposite! Rumsfeld is backing Cheney to the hilt. As I read it, Rumsfeld is saying that the last throes of the insurgency will last from now until the elected government under the permanent constituion is seated. After that, the insurgency will be pretty much defeated, because "if Iraq becomes a constitutional representative system in the middle of the Middle East, the effect on the terrorists will be devastating." The violence may go on after that, but without significant effect. (When was ETA defeated in Spain, BTW? They still create a small amount of violence from time to time, yet it is obvious that they have been defeated - in terms of their political goals - for an awfully long time now.)

And, clearly, "last throes" can be months and months long, as Cheney's comment makes clear.

It seems to me that Greg has this precisely backwards.

Posted by: Al at June 27, 2005 04:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jon,
Maybe the leftists shouldn't be actively interfering with the military recruiting efforts. And maybe if the MSM and the Democratic politicians portrayed the situation accurately, this wouldn't be an issue.

Greg,
You are confusing terrorists who will be around for awhile (Rumsfeld - 12 years) with a group that is very close to no longer being a serious threat to the government (Cheney - last throes).

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 27, 2005 04:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Just an addition, for supposedly being smarter than Bush, Cheney is acting like an unrealisitc idiot right now. It seems everyone in the DoD is tap dancing around his statements. That isn't helping. It's almost as if the administration believed that admitting the insurgency will be around for a while is the same as an admission of defeat. Since the terrorists haven't stopped anything yet, i.e. creation of an elected government or nascent armed forces, this is a poor position to take.

Posted by: Steve Wood at June 27, 2005 04:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Steve,

Just to be clear, *I* don't think the troops are suckers.

exhelodrvr:

"The leftists" are not the problem. The recruiting shortfalls are not happening because of interference with recruiters on campuses. There are plenty of pro-war people who could find a recruiter if they wanted to enlist. The problem is they don't want to enlist, or don't think they need to, because they believe the administration when it says everything is fine.

That's also the problem of blaming it on the MSM. If you believe the MSM is making the situation look worse than it really is, then there's no need to sign up, is there? If the 'true' situation is all sweetness and light, then the recruiting shortfalls aren't a problem.

So in that case, you've got the pro-war faction believing they don't have to sign up because everything's swell in Iraq and everything's under control, Rummy keeps saying he doesn't need any more troops.

And you have the anti-war faction who don't want to sign up because they believe the Iraq war was a mistake and don't feel like sacrificing their life by signing up to fight a charity war under incompetent lotus-eating civilian leadership. And, naturally, they're ready to accept all the bad news that comes out of Iraq, and then some.

And you have the swing faction in the middle, who don't quite know who to believe, but are rational enough to decide that it looks like a raw deal, especially with the stories about people buying their own body armor, and improvising armor on their humvees.

Posted by: Jon H at June 27, 2005 05:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Maybe the leftists shouldn't be actively interfering with the military recruiting efforts.

the leftists are trying to help the recruiting effort! (see Operation Yellow Elephant at http://www.patriotboy.blogspot.com )

OYE is, of course, and effort to get the president's strongest supporters to immediately enlist in the Arimy infantry where the need for highly motivated troops willing to fight and die in Iraq is greatest. OYE believes that the military recruitment drives should concentrate on groups like College Republicans and Yong Republicans (you can enlist up to age 38 right now) because people who believe in a mission make the best soldiers.

And its far more economically efficient for Army recruiters to concentrate on these people. Why should the Army be lowering its intelligence standards and going into high schools trolling for those who are stupid enough to fall for the "be all that you can be" line, when they could be talking about really supporting the President's policies to people who claim to support those policies. Why should the Army be offering each new recruit up to $40,000 in cash bonuses, when there are tons of Young Republicans who don't need that kind of cash, but who support our war in Iraq?

I personally think that Bush should engage in a "60 stops in 60 days" recruitment tour just like he did with Social Security.... no doubt Bush supporters would flock to these events, and Bush could use his considerable rhetorical skills and moral leadership to convince hundreds of thousands of his supporters to sign up with the Army.


Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 27, 2005 05:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Maybe the conservative universities could make military service a requirement for graduation...

Posted by: Jon H at June 27, 2005 05:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

but seriously....

My plea to the President tomorrow evening in his speech to the nation. Talk straight and don't pull any punches. Explain the effort could take years yet. Concentrate on the massive stakes at play if we retreat (massive instability in the Middle East, perhaps a civil war that drags in neighboring countries, and a safe-haven and rallying point for jihadists the world over, for starters). But, most important, straight talk throughout. So, no, don't mention a "dictionary meaning" or such ludicrousness. This Ahab-like obsession with staying on message is juvenile, transparent, and one of the reasons you are losing support. Rise above it!

Greg, do you really think this will work --- at least without Bush acknowledging that he and his subordinates have completely screwed things up?

IMHO, this war is losing support because the American people no longer consider Bush a credible leader in terms of military and political decisions in Iraq. The majority of Americans now believe that Bush deceived the American people into occupying Iraq and/or failed to consider the consequences of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The only way that this war is going to regain the support of the American people is if Bush changes course, and that requires admitting that the original course was wrong, and firing those responsible for the situation we find ourselves in.

If you think someone is a liar, or doesn't understand the issues, "straight talk" is going to have no impact (indeed, it could have a negative impact), because the people who consider Bush a liar are going to suspect he's still lying, and the people who don't consider him competent aren't going to consider him any more competent because he is being "honest". Bush needs to do far more than just talk --- he needs to change course!

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 27, 2005 05:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I don't mean to quibble with Greg, but Rumsfeld is not contradicting Cheney. Cheney is contradicting Rumsfeld.

This is Rumsfeld's war. His department is waging it; he is the guy who signs off on the decisions that get made, and on the officers charged with making them. Whatever Cheney's value as a counsellor -- and opinions of this will no doubt vary widely -- he should not be speaking on this subject on his own. His remarks to the press about the insurgency have not been helpful, imposing on administratin officials from the Secretary of Defense on down the burden of explaining them in a way that does not suggest that the Vice President of the United States is just wrong. Better he should have said exactly what Rumsfeld is saying; better, actually, that he had said nothing at all.

Posted by: Zathras at June 27, 2005 06:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Al,

Er...Rumsfeld didn't say months and months long, he said years and years long - as long as 12 because "that insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years." Are you saying that Rummy backed Cheney to the hilt by saying that the insurgency, which is in its "last throes," could last 12 more years? Well past elections in December (roughly .5 years away)?

Considering that, to date, the insurgency itself is little over 2 years long, if the "last throes" last 12 more years that would seem to suggest that the "last throes" would be five to six times as long as the prior periods. If that's the case, what exactly does "last throes" mean? Sounds more like a decade long slog than anything else. In which case, thanks for clarifying the situation Mr. Vice President.

In the meantime, let's figure out who pays for this perpetual "throe."

Posted by: Eric Martin at June 27, 2005 07:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The insurgency has no chance in winning unless we lose our resolve. It is in its last throes and all these bombings and failed attacks on police stations are the last spasms before its death.

There was a period a few years ago when it seemed like a Palestinian bomber was succeeding in killing scores of Jews almost every other day. But they had no chance in hell of destroying Israel as a whole, and the Islamofacists have no chance in distrupting the establishment of democracy in Iraq so long as we don't lose our resolve.

Jon H:

Modern warfare costs lots of money. Every worker in their office or on the factory floor is doing their part for the war effort by keeping the economic engine running. No, the sacrifice isn't as great as someone on the front lines, but not all can give equally. Just a fact of life.

Posted by: nash at June 27, 2005 09:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

nash writes: "Every worker in their office or on the factory floor is doing their part for the war effort by keeping the economic engine running"

Hey, then let's just bring all the troops home, put them to work stateside, and we can Whip Insurgents Now!

Posted by: Jon H at June 27, 2005 09:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric,

It seems to me Cheney at best misspoke, but to help you out the statements are not necessarily at odds, they are just inconsistent with some interpretations, which at best means it is a poor job of communicating. What is new! I am not sure what the hell Cheney was saying, but he can make an argument the insurgency has passed beyond the point of succeeding. That may be untrue, but it is not necessarily so. Yet, the violence could go on for many more years.

Also, Rumsfeld could quite easily believe the insurgency as a serious fomenter of violence is only months away from defeat. He said five years which is less than 36 months away. That may not happen, but is well within the realm of possibility. Rumsfeld was not saying he thought this insurgency would last 12 years, but that insurgencies can last that long given history.

I don't know myself, I would lay the odds closer to five than twelve, with or without tax cuts, but I have trouble seeing the insurgency succeed without some kind of large scale internal civil war between the various ethnic groups as a whole. Could Jafarri or some other try and seize power in a coup and end the democratic process, sure. I don't think it will happen though.

For those who might yell the civil war is already there, I said large scale, with all sides mobilizing significant military force independent of the government, and no, the wolf brigade doesn't qualify, yet!

Posted by: Lance at June 27, 2005 09:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Were there no other dead horses in need of a beating today?

Posted by: Ed at June 27, 2005 10:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jon H,

This is a tired argument. Supporting the war doesn't mean you should have to fight. Eric supports staying (though maybe he gets an out because he doesn't support the way we initially intervened, feels Bush is mismanaging the war, etc.) I hardly think that means he need walk the streets of Baghdad. Similarly those who supported intervention in the Balkans or Haiti or Somalia didn't have to go to be able to credibly advocate it. I certainly do not remember a large croup of those in the Republican party who opposed the intervention claim all the Clinton voters needed to mount an assault on Sarajevo (and yes I realize the opposition pubs did have some ridiculous arguments of their own, but that doesn't mean I have to allow you to be just as ridiculous.) Nor does it mean if you want to vote for foreign aid to Africa you are obligated to quit your job, sell all of your possessions and go be an orderly in a Kinshasa aids clinic. Nor does it mean if you want to increase education funding you have to become a teachers aid to have the moral authority to vote or opine on that basis.

This kind of reasoning is far more threatening to the liberal-left than conservatives or libertarians. The liberal left wants to do all kinds of things that require compulsion of others to accomplish. The soldiers are there voluntarily at least. Most of the liberal left platform would be impossible if all who advocated it had to carry the burden of accomplishing it themselves.

Finally, those who support the war have sent more than their fair share of family members to Iraq. I know mine has, and I know that myself, and a very liberal friend of mine would have enlisted if we had not been too old. It however would have given me no superiority in the public debate over you. Your silly arguments however do.

Eric,

As a misguided(he he) but sane liberal don't you see the problem with such nonsense? If I have to wade in with the "nuke tehran" types and Greg expose himself to charges of being a liberal pantywaist over abuse of detainee's (of course maybe it is that liberal pantywaists can't imagine his pain:) can't you do more to kill this meme? I don't mean an occasional aside, I mean a persistent campaign against such rhetoric ala Greg on torture. This really is a kind of thinking which is quite troubling and should be especially so to contemporary liberals. It gives conservatives a weapon to be used on almost anything libearls might want to accomplish, and shows an unseriousness about the security of our nation and the proper role of the military in a democratic society.You could certainly help the credibility of the left you want to support and make it easier for people such as myself to support the liberal left on security. Most importantly you could do a much better job of it than me to boot!

Liberals will not listen to me, or the boys at QandO. It will take liberals such as yourself to undo the damage people such as Jon H and Oliver Willis are doing to your party and the left in general. Just as it will take people such as Greg, Robert Tagorda and QandO to repair the damage this administration has done to Iraq war supporters over abuse if it even possible.

Posted by: Lance at June 27, 2005 10:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I thought the point was that once the permanent government is in place, the insurgency will be effectively over, since its goals will be virtually impossible to achieve. However, "effectively over" doesn't mean "no more violence". As we see in Spain, the violence can last for a long, long, long time, even if the goals of the insurgency have long since been unachievable.

Posted by: Al at June 27, 2005 10:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Lance writes: "Supporting the war doesn't mean you should have to fight."

Absolutely.

However, one's willingness to enlist marks the limit on just how important the war really is to you, doesn't it?

Plenty of hawks support the war, just so long as someone else is fighting it.

Posted by: Jon H at June 27, 2005 10:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Steve Wood,

Thank you for your service. Two points:

First, there is a better than even chance that many of the Sunni Arabs who sat out the January elections will participate in the December 2005 elections. Once they saw the turnout among other Iraqis in January, many Sunni Arabs began having second thoughts about abstention. I wouldn't want to raise expectations of things getting dramatically better after the December elections, but the participation of all three major groups would be a landmark event.

Second, the President could call on the American people to support voluntary groups like www.SpiritofAmerica.org that are trying to assist the civic action missions of our troops. If the President called for more such support in his speeches, millions of Americans (instead of just the tens of thousands who have helped these groups so far) could do something tangible. They could overwhelm our troops with support and also speak directly to the Iraqi and Afghan people.

Posted by: David at June 27, 2005 11:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's all in how the goals are defined, and Bush/Rummy/Cheney are now lost in the vagueness of their strategic goals for the war on terror. As Dr. Record noted in his strategic analysis of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) for the Strategic Studies Institute at the Army War College, by defining the enemy to conflate deterrable Saddam's Iraq with undeterrable Al Queda, by defining our goals not just to eliminate Al Queda, but to eliminate terror, WMD proliferators, and the absence of democracy in the Muslim world, conflated into a monolithic threat, the Bush team has "subordinated strategy clarity to the moral clarity it strives for in foreign policy and may have set the US on a course of open-ended and gratuitous conflict with states and non-state entities that pose no threat to the US." See http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi/pubs/2003/bounding/bounding.htm
The goal should have been tracking down and eliminating every last Al Queda operative, and enhancing homeland security. Cleaning up WMD, especially those left over from the USSR should be an equally important, but essentially separate goal. This Iraqi insurgency, like Saddam before it, is largely a distraction from these goals, and through drainage of resources and sewing of ill will abroad, puts off, rather than hastens, bringing UBL and his cronies to justice.
Early on, Bush was quoted as saying UBL wasn't that important, demonstrating that he was losing focus on the enemy. Now we've bet our credibility on being able to exit Iraq in a form better than we found it, while little if any progress against Al Queda, other than its new Iraq arm, can be reported.
The situation won't improve until our strategic focus is cleaned up.
Doppler

Posted by: Doppler at June 27, 2005 11:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Al,

The problem is, once a permanent government is in place, the insurgencies (better plural for accuracy's sake), will not be effectively over, nor will all of the various goals be "virtually impossible to achieve." Further, the levels of violence in Iraq are currently leagues above ETA's, IRA's or other comparable low level insurgencies. For example:

The Baathist strain of the insurgency will still have a cause to fight for, and will continue to do so. Their complete defeat is dubious, and there is as much a chance of sparking a civil war as there is of renunciation, so their efficacy depends on the measuring stick. If their goal is restoring the Baath, they are probably, at that point or already, beyond the point of realizing their aims. But if their goal is to destabilize the government, disrupt their power and possibly incite a civil war, those goals remain all too intact.

Similarly, the foreign fighters will not be in any way disuaded in their mission by the formation of a government, and their ability to destabilize the government will continue apace. If they are intent on creating insecurity, fear and perhaps overreaction that results in civil war and/or retreats to despotism, they might yet succeed with or without a new government. If they want to create a Taliban-like theocracy, well that was probably impossible from the get go.

For the insurgents whose main goal is the ouster of the US military forces, again, the formation of a government will not necessarily satisfy their goals, nor will it make their goals virtually impossible to achieve. Their willingness and ability to fight on will continue, and their goal will be a tangible one - and ironically, the one most likely to be realized...eventually.

To sum it up, if a government is formed in December (or January or February as delays are unfortunately the norm), that does not eliminate the threat of civil war, the continued threat of destabilization and/or the prospect of coup and/or other undemocratic developments - some of which ARE the goals of various strains of the insurgency. As such, I don't think I would pick December as the safe haven date past which such goals have become virtually impossible to achieve. So, if it is not a date at which the threat of the aforementioned developments has substantially subsided, and the risks remain - as Cordesman put it - at 50/50, I fail to see Cheney's point.

In my opinion, the insurgency will be in its "last throes," and effectively over, when it no longer possesses the ability to wreak such levels of violence on the nation so as to forestall the distribution of social services, disrupt the supply of oil and other economic activity (unemployment hovering between a third and a fourth of the population), and kill so many Iraqi citizens and policemen so as to keep the nation teetering on the edge of violent reprisals and a revenge cycle that results in a civil war. Until the violence is brought under control, the insurgency is as effective as ever. If and when the violence lowers to ETA levels, then we can talk "last throes." Until then, we are in the pre-last throes era.

Posted by: Eric Martin at June 27, 2005 11:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Lance,

I'm thinking about exactly what is at stake. I don't think every war supporter need enlist, though if there is a draft and one seeks to avoid the draft yet supports a given war, then that is certainly a dubious ethical position. Of course, now there is no draft so that would probably apply more to WWII or Vietnam.

That being said, I return to my earlier point about economic sacrifices. The fact that we just eliminated the tax Paris Hilton pays on her inheritance, when such a move could have such dire impact on our budget, is mind-numbing. As excerpted from James Fallows' latest piece in The Atlantic:


In the spring of 2005 the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that ending the estate tax would directly cut federal revenue by $72 billion in 2015. Other groups calculated that the total impact on the budget, including higher interest payments on a larger federal debt, would be $100 billion a year, or $1 trillion over a decade. All this tax relief flowed to the wealthiest one percent of Americans.


I find it hard to square with the magnitude of the significance to security related to the grand strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan - and the enormous costs of such a grand strategy. Rather than require every war supporter to enlist lest they be called a hypocrite, shouldn't we be taking mature, adult decisions to generate the funds to equip, train, safeguard, pay (how bout a raise?), care for (VA hospital budget cuts?), etc. or soldiers, rather than kneeling at the altar of supply side economics (or voodoo economics as Bush Sr. called them).

How can someone want to spend all this money to achieve such grandiose goals, but then not want to chip in their fair share when the bill comes due?Quite literally, put your money where your mouth is (assuming you or any war supporter is blessed enough to actually have money from Bush's multi-trillion dollar tax cuts).

My sister is Army, as are more than one close friend - one of which is poised for his second stint in Iraq. The fact that we are giving Paris Hilton and Ben Affleck millions in tax cuts while these men and women are struggling to make ends meet, being denied health care, and making due with "hillbilly armor" is beyond my grasp of common sense.

And the costs will only continue, but as of yet, the only response from the Bush administration is let's make Paris and Ben's tax cuts permanent. Brilliant. Meanwhile, we're running up quite a tab for our children and grand children, and their children and grandchildren. Not to mention the fact that on current trajectory, people will begin to tire of this war and its enormous costs unless we can ameliorate those costs with increased revenue at Treasury. Where are the Vulcans? The adults?

Posted by: Eric Martin at June 27, 2005 11:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My plea to the President tomorrow evening in his speech to the nation. Talk straight and don't pull any punches.

What if this doesn't mean what you think it means? What if "straight talk" and honest assessments don't actually result in the pessimistic view you've espoused? Is it possible for the President to step up tomorrow and give a speech which is honest, accurate, and which completely disagrees with you?

Somehow, I doubt it. I used to enjoy this site Greg. You're a smart guy and a keen observer. These days you're so heavily invested in your being right and CheneyRumsfeldTortureKlan being wrong that your analysis is suffering. That and the comments section here is populated with the most bitter of the "moderate" class.

"However, one's willingness to enlist marks the limit on just how important the war really is to you, doesn't it?

Plenty of hawks support the war, just so long as someone else is fighting it."

National service is about serving the nation, not scoring political points or proving your commitment to a political strategy. Jon, you politicize service in a way that the Armed Forces work directly against with deliberation and effort throughout training. Bush isn't a King or a warlord. Those who enlist don't serve at the pleasure of the President. They serve the citizens of the U.S.A. Descisions about going to war or not are political descisions. Descisions about whether to serve in the military or not, aren't. It is entirely possible for someone who opposes the war in Iraq to enlist today, be deployed to Iraq, fight and die in that war and still have a clean conscience and a coherent philosophy. Not just coherent, but consistent with traditions of military service. Your reflexive equating of 60's radicalism (an objection to conscription) with your more cynical and disdainful breed is uninformed and poorly considered.

Antagonistic and disingenuous stuff like this...

Maybe the conservative universities could make military service a requirement for graduation...

...reveals you for what you are. Some may call it spoiled and snarky. I would simply call it a disgusting taunt of people you percieve to be losing the political momentum. It doesn't matter that you're wrong. It doesn't matter that you're uninformed. It's still reprehensible behavior and a good example/indication of why this site is become so tiresome.

Posted by: The Apologist at June 27, 2005 11:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric, Fallows peice in the Atlantic was an embarrassment. There are perfectly reasonable arguments (with substatial evidence) for supply side economic theory. It's an argument to be sure, but Bush Sr.'s characterization, "voodoo economics", was a reflection of his economic ignorance and his willingness to accept Keynesian fallacies at face value, not an indication of informed skepticism.

The "cuts" at VA hospitals aren't cuts but are part of a reorginization which ultimately provides better service for less cost. Unless you accept the idea that the Pentagon is screwing the military in a fit of self-destructive pique. Perhaps it's the upper-class officers finally iniating the last horrible counter-offensive in Marx's legendary class war.

Your obsession with the idle rich undermines any point you might have, but I can't imagine you have one worth making. Clearly you believe that the tax cuts were a "giveaway" for the wealthy taking monies which belonged to the people and transfering them from the state to Hollywood (and Corporate Executives no doubt). We've spent some 200 billion in Iraq. This amounts to less than 1% of our GDP. The war is not too expensive. Stop reading hacks like Fallows.

Posted by: The Apologist at June 28, 2005 12:03 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric Martin,

This is way off the thread topic, but since you brought it up, I have to ask why any reconstruction taxes would have to permanent. I would suggest a separate tax--let's say a temporary tax added on top of the gas tax called the 'Iraq Reconstruction Tax', not repealed until most--let's say 85%--of US forces have left Iraq. At least more people would sit up and monitor progress! Even if only as a symbolic way to share the burden. This is mainly an academic issue, and as a libertarian leaning conservative I expect to be roundly attacked for advocating taxes :)

Unlike you, I am not convinced that the wealthly backed the war anymore than any other segment of society--so why should they pay more? To be blunt I'm curious if this is more of an issue to use the war to repeal tax cuts, not repeal tax cuts to fund the war.

But I would say that equipment problems are supply-chain related or due to the Byzantine purchasing nature of the Pentagon. Are you seriously suggesting that the defense budget is inadequate?

Posted by: Steve Wood at June 28, 2005 12:08 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Steve,

I'm all for a temporary tax, and no I am not saying the wealthy disproportionately supported the war. But they did receive a disproportionate amount of the tax cuts. Things like the Estate tax elimination by definition only accrue to the benefit of the wealthiest Americans (your Estate had to exceed roughly a million before you were even eligible to start paying taxes at all, and most Estate planning attorneys can shelter assets well in excess of a million dollars).

As for the defense budget, I think there are problems with priorities in some instances. That is not purely the Pentagon's fault, but becoms a horse trading among lawmakers who want to keep weapons systems in their home state active regardless of efficacy. In terms of soldiers' salaries and benefits, yes I think the budget is inadequate. In terms of equipment, I have my doubts about what is and what is not made a priority.

Apologist,

There are reasonable arguments for supply side economics, though raising tax revenue is not one of them. There is a time and place for everything, and I am not black and white about it. For instance, when there was a surplus and a surging economy, there was a good argument for cutting taxes top down since such cuts would provide less stimulus to an already overheating economy, and there were vague fears about paying down debt too quickly (though I would have loved to have seen THAT problem materialize). But when the economy slowed down, and the deficits began mounting, Bush's solution was exactly the same. Then, after that, there was a third round that mirrored the first two. This is not the proper approach in all settings - no tax strategy really is. Being doctrinaire and lacking flexibility is not conducive to sound policy.

To quote Jonathan Rauch in the same issue of the Atlantic (perhaps you consider him less of a hack than Fallows?):


Bush's first-term deficits were defensible as responses to emergencies, but the emergencies are over; and the strategy of avoiding the extreme downside and picking up the pieces later works only if you do pick up the pieces later. That would involve cutting spending more deeply than Bush has yet proposed, revoking some of his tax cuts or reforming the tax system in ways that generate new revenues, and, at the very least, paying for his initiatives. So far he has shown little inclination to do any of those things; in fact, he wants to make the tax cuts permanent.

Posted by: Eric Martin at June 28, 2005 12:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

[Where the pain is felt only by the suckers who signed up.

Posted by: Jon H at June 27, 2005 03:18 PM]


[Steve,

Just to be clear, *I* don't think the troops are suckers.

Posted by: Jon H at June 27, 2005 05:20 PM]


Yeah, that's real clear.
No free pass for you, my friend:

Which is it, Jon? Liar or idiot?

Posted by: Tommy G at June 28, 2005 02:36 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric, Fallows peice in the Atlantic was an embarrassment. There are perfectly reasonable arguments (with substatial evidence) for supply side economic theory.

I'd be glad to see any serious economic studies that show large supply-side gains generated by the Bush tax cuts. Got any handy?

Your obsession with the idle rich undermines any point you might have, but I can't imagine you have one worth making. Clearly you believe that the tax cuts were a "giveaway" for the wealthy taking monies which belonged to the people and transfering them from the state to Hollywood (and Corporate Executives no doubt). We've spent some 200 billion in Iraq. This amounts to less than 1% of our GDP. The war is not too expensive. Stop reading hacks like Fallows.

1% of GDP isn't a trifling amount. It also understates other hidden costs of the war -- the depreciation of our army's strength from overuse, as well as the strategic risks incurred by the fact that we don't have a lot of spare soldiers handy in case another strategic conflict arises.

Posted by: Guy at June 28, 2005 03:05 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jon H wrote

Lance writes: "Supporting the war doesn't mean you should have to fight." Absolutely. However, one's willingness to enlist marks the limit on just how important the war really is to you, doesn't it? Plenty of hawks support the war, just so long as someone else is fighting it.

This rhetorical device is known as the Chickenhawk gambit. It is axiomatic that your beliefs about the war are inauthentic unless you are enlisted in the military. Or opposed to the war. Or on the other side.

Similarly, you cannot be serious about education if you are not a teacher. If you're not a policeman or a judge, you don't really care about the criminal justice system. Don't even talk about disaster response; join up or shut up.

If the Chickenhawk gambit is correct, we should apply it ruthlessly. The logical conclusion is that only soldiers are entitled to an opinion on the war. I hear they're damn proud of the work they're doing, as they should be.

Posted by: pwyll at June 28, 2005 04:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jon H wrote

Lance writes: "Supporting the war doesn't mean you should have to fight." Absolutely. However, one's willingness to enlist marks the limit on just how important the war really is to you, doesn't it? Plenty of hawks support the war, just so long as someone else is fighting it.

This rhetorical device is known as the Chickenhawk gambit. It is axiomatic that your beliefs about the war are inauthentic unless you are enlisted in the military. Or opposed to the war. Or on the other side.

Similarly, you cannot be serious about education if you are not a teacher. If you're not a policeman or a judge, you don't really care about the criminal justice system. Don't even talk about disaster response; join up or shut up.

If the Chickenhawk gambit is correct, we should apply it ruthlessly. The logical conclusion is that only soldiers are entitled to an opinion on the war. I hear they're damn proud of the work they're doing, as they should be.

Posted by: pwyll at June 28, 2005 04:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric Martin,

re: Baathists "insurgency". First, there are signs that the Baathists realize that their strategy will lead them down a dead end. If they cannot regain power, what is the point of destabilizing the government? That doesn't make much sense. Presumably, the impetus for the civil war is for them to sweep back in, pick up the pieces and restore Sunni Baathist rule. Why would they want a civil war if they become increasingly convinced that they may well be the biggest losers and that THIS time, the Shiites and the Kurds are prepared to fight back?

re: jihadi "insurgency". It seems to me that you believe that the jihadis will have the ability to kill, maim and murder Iraqis at will for as long as they wish. It appears that their strategy is one of mass death, preferably targeting Kurds and Shiites, but increasingly Sunnis as well. Now, if most of the Sunnis can be brought into the political process, what makes you think they will continue to tacitly support Zarqawi and his thugs? If they increasingly target Sunnis as well, isn't safe to say that they will reach a point when they have completely alienated Iraqi society as a whole. Heck, they are even signs that they've alienated a good chunk of Arab public opinion as a whole. If their Sunni support vanishes, I believe it will only be a matter of time before they are finished off, perhaps not completely, but enough to get back to much lower levels of violence.

That said, I agree with you about when the insurgency will be "in its last throes", militarily that is. Politically, I think they're pretty much finished, provided we remain steadfast and maintain our course.

Posted by: Mike at June 28, 2005 05:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,
To judge by your post it rather seems to be that you have become the sort of person to become upset when one physicist describes light as a particle and the second one describes it as a wave. The proper answer is that *both* are true. If you like you may think of "a few months" as the low-end estimate and 12 years as the high end estimate.

But the reason why "last throes" does not contradict "escalation of violence" is a simple one: Rats bite harder when they have been cornered. But a rat that is cornered and dying is still dying however long it takes! ^_^

Posted by: Towering Barbarian at June 28, 2005 05:38 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This rhetorical device is known as the Chickenhawk gambit. It is axiomatic that your beliefs about the war are inauthentic unless you are enlisted in the military. Or opposed to the war. Or on the other side. Similarly, you cannot be serious about education if you are not a teacher. If you're not a policeman or a judge, you don't really care about the criminal justice system. Don't even talk about disaster response; join up or shut up.

ooh! look! the false analogy!

This is war we are talking about here --- a war that the cowards who "support" the war are unwilling to sacrifice for. They want to sent "others" to fight, suffer, and die halfway around the world, being completely separated from their families and friends, while they sit on the sidelines and cheer (and insist that their taxes not be raised to pay for the war.)

The issue here isn't about the willingness to fight the war per se --- its what this war is doing to our military readiness under the all volunteer army. This wouldn't be an issue if the Army was having no problem meeting its recruitment goals --- but this war is making it impossible for those goals to be met. In this instance, its up to those citizens that believe in the mission -- who support this war -- to step up, because those who recognize that this war is a complete clusterf*ck aren't going to volunteer (and, given the fact that soldiers who believe in their mission are infinitely more effective, it only makes sense that those who support this "optional" war accept the consequences of choosing to engage in this optional war.)

The excuses and complaints of GOP chickenhawks are pathetic and disgusting --- and nothing demostrates how pathetic and disgusting it is than the complete failure of George W. Bush to call on his supporters to enlist. This war was not forced on the USA --- so stop making excuses for your craven desire to avoid taking responsibility for your own choices.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 28, 2005 11:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh dear, things are getting intemperate around here. Just one point to add to the throes argument: perhaps some of you should consider that maybe we are just seeing the "first" throes of the insurgency?

Posted by: dan at June 28, 2005 12:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I can accept the chickenhawk label from Jon and Luka actually - as long as its ok to tell the truth about them in return -

They are both racist arseholes who feel dusky skinned sorts like Iraqi's aren't really up to Democracy and "higher thinking" like they do

Just a bunch of sand-niggers to Jon and Luka - who were better off under Saddam, and eventually Uday

Their moral preening is revolting - these defenders and apologists for dictators

Just a couple of usual racists pretending to be concerned with something, anything


As for the actual content of this section - what can one say - WHATEVER any of the Bush admin says about Iraq it will be attacked

Here we have the VP stating that the insurgency is losing big time - so what....do we want the VP giving the terrorists ecouragement???

Then we have the Sec Def making logical observations about the nature of terrorism...and this is linked to Cheneys comments? To what end?

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at June 28, 2005 03:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mike,

re: Baathists "insurgency": You're right in as much as the Baathist's perceive their own limitations in terms of prevailing in a civil war or coming to power again via coup. I think those prospects are minimal, but my take is less important. I'm not sure to what level of self-delusion there is in the rank and file. As an example, Sunni myths in the region tell that the Sunnis actually make up the majority of Iraqis, not Shiites, which may lead some to overestimate their strength. In addition, losing power is hard for any group to accept and often leads to irrational decisions and counterproductive moves. Present history vis a vis the Sunnis confirms this. Further, many are scared of acquiescing to Shiite/Kurd dominated rule. This might make some willing to fight for partition or their own autonomy past the point of logical utility.

If they DO realize their limited prospects and if they overcome the fear/displeasure at Shiite/Kurdish rule, they may be willing to accept a compromise, and if they get involved in the new government, that would provide an out for some willing to travel this route. But those "ifs" are by no means foregone conclusions or even more likely than not at this point. Though that is the hope.

re: jihadi "insurgency": I do not think the jihadis will have the ability to kill, maim and wreak havoc as long as they wish. My point is that that strain of the insurgency will continue as long as they have that ability - and their goal of civil war and undermining democracy will remain intact as long as they have that ability.

You said "Now, if most of the Sunnis can be brought into the political process, what makes you think they will continue to tacitly support Zarqawi and his thugs?" There's a good chance they wouldn't, but, again, that is a big "if." Further, we also have to be wary of bet hedging - in other words the Sunnis engaging the political process while maintaining the insurgency in order to hedge bets and cover all bases until they figure out how to best secure their objectives, whatever those evolve into along the way.

The hope is that the jihadis overreach, and in the process alienate everyone in Iraq and then can be rounded up and executed - to the man. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened yet, and while there are positive signs, nothing resembling a tipping point yet.

In other words, not quite the last throes, though that is the hope.

Posted by: Eric Martin at June 28, 2005 07:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric,

In addition, losing power is hard for any group to accept and often leads to irrational decisions and counterproductive moves.

Very good point. This is actually what I'm most afraid of. That rather than naked self-interest, what might end up driving the Sunnis into a catastrophe is illogical and emotional miscalculation. In any case, news like this: Top Shiite Cleric Hints at Wider Voting Role for Sunnis is heartening. (Incidentally, I find there is no man more deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize)

Present history vis a vis the Sunnis confirms this. Further, many are scared of acquiescing to Shiite/Kurd dominated rule.

The hope is that the more rational Iraqis, of all stripes, can come to some understanding which would be mutually beneficial to all. Otherwise, EVERYBODY loses. The US removed Saddam, but the US alone cannot bring democracy to the Iraqis. They have to want it bad enough for it to succeed.

But those "ifs" are by no means foregone conclusions or even more likely than not at this point. Though that is the hope.

I agree that they're not foregone conclusions, but I'm a bit more optimistic though.

Further, we also have to be wary of bet hedging - in other words the Sunnis engaging the political process while maintaining the insurgency in order to hedge bets and cover all bases until they figure out how to best secure their objectives, whatever those evolve into along the way.

Good point. Again, I wouldn't put it past a good chunk of the Baathists or Sunni nationalists (those that can potentially be brought into the political process) to be using the more lethal and bloodthirsty terrorists as a negotiating tool in order to gain leverage and as many concessions as possible from the Shiites and Kurds. But it's a dangerous game that can backfire on them as well.

The hope is that the jihadis overreach, and in the process alienate everyone in Iraq and then can be rounded up and executed - to the man. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened yet, and while there are positive signs, nothing resembling a tipping point yet.

See, I don't think it is a "hope" that the jihadis will overreach, it is almost a guaranteed certainty. They can't help themselves. It is their nature. Hence the term fanatics. Perversly, they, in all their gory and bloodthirsty glory, are the best PR (apart from a succesfully functioning and democratic Iraq) that the US has. Unfortunately, it is the poor Iraqis (along with coalition troops) that are paying the highest price for this fanaticism.

Posted by: Mike at June 28, 2005 10:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

See, I don't think it is a "hope" that the jihadis will overreach, it is almost a guaranteed certainty. They can't help themselves. It is their nature. Hence the term fanatics. Perversly, they, in all their gory and bloodthirsty glory, are the best PR (apart from a succesfully functioning and democratic Iraq) that the US has. Unfortunately, it is the poor Iraqis (along with coalition troops) that are paying the highest price for this fanaticism.

That's probably true about the inevitability of fanatics overreaching, but it becomes a question of when the push back occurs. Many odious and unpopular regimes/social movements have been able to dominate for many years absent broad popular support. For example, the Taliban would probably still be in power today but for our effort to unseat them and they went about murdering a lot of innocent Afghani men and women. The good news, if I dare use such a phrase in the present discussion, is that Iraqis have nationalism on their side and a natural rejection of outsiders interfering in their country. That being said, fear is a powerful deterrent/motivator. Saddam well understood this.

Posted by: Eric Martin at June 29, 2005 12:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That being said, fear is a powerful deterrent/motivator.

So is hope. Things look promising, but it's still too early to tell which of these two motivators will prove the more persuasive.

Posted by: Mike at June 29, 2005 05:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That being said, fear is a powerful deterrent/motivator.

So is hope. Things look promising, but it's still too early to tell which of these two motivators will prove the more persuasive.

Posted by: Mike at June 29, 2005 05:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Crap, sorry for the double post...

Posted by: Mike at June 29, 2005 05:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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