July 06, 2005

Some Good News...

...from Iraq:

In what might be a sign of a new political landscape, a major Sunni umbrella group called on its members on Monday to register for the next round of elections and take part "despite our reservations."

Adnan al-Dulaimi, the head of the group, called the Sunni Endowment, said in a briefing in Baghdad that clerics would be asked to issue fatwas, or religious rulings, essentially ordering Sunnis to vote in elections. Among its other functions, the Sunni Endowment is charged with oversight of Sunni Arab mosques and holy sites throughout Iraq, giving it wide influence among clerics.

"I ask all Sunni people to register their names for the next election, because we are in a political battle that depends on the vote," he said.

Meantime:

Syrian security forces clashed early Monday in the hills overlooking Damascus with men believed to be militants connected to Iraq's insurgency, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported.

Some of the militants were believed to have been former bodyguards for Saddam Hussein, the report said, but it gave no further details and did not say how it was known who they were or where they might have escaped to afterward.

Here is the best case scenario. Sunni nationalist extremists, Baathist restorationists, and assorted fundamentalists/jihadists become increasingly marginalized as a) Sunni leaders begin to veer in a more participatory direction vis-a-vis both constitution drafting and going forward elections; b) the Syrians get more serious about stemming insurgent infiltration into Iraq; c) negotiations with insurgent groups and various local sheikh buy-offs reap fruit in terms of varied elements of the 'resistance' laying down arms; and d) trends "a" and "c" above continue to be spurred on by sheer disgust at the horrifically nihilistic tactics of the foreign jihadis. And this is just the Sunni side of the equation. Meantime, we must hope the Shi'a don't become overly resentful that we are becoming too pro-Sunni in an effort to beat-back the insurgency via too many concessions (the nightmare scenario here being a resurrection of Sadrite rebellion that spreads to other segments of the Shi'a community), whilst complex sectarian/ethnic brews like Kirkuk remain, relatively of course, stable.

All this is still possible, which is why I remain cautiously optimistic we will prevail in Iraq. But the chances of all these positive events (or positive non-events) occuring simultaneously in lockstep are, in my view, rather de minimis . So, put simply, while I remain optimistic all told--I nevertheless fear there will be many ups and downs ahead--not least a still concerted guerrilla movement that will go on for several years yet. And, always looming, the threat (if often overstated) of sectarian ruptures and violence leading to dissolution of a viable, unitary Iraqi state. My point? Yes, there have been some real positive developments of late. And I can only imagine how feverishly the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is working negotiations with the Sunni so as to take more air out of the insurgency. But the dynamics and variables at play in theater are very complex, and it would be irresponsible for war planners to assume some of the variables I've sketched above will all move in lockstep in the 'right' direction. All this, not to mention the difficult 'train and equip' effort, point to an effort that will last a good while yet--likely through the end of Bush's second term.

Posted by Gregory at July 6, 2005 01:45 AM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I think that there is at least one thing going on in our favor WRT Syria--While Assad Jr. may want to keep America from becoming too powerful in the region, he's also got a strong interest in not letting a collection of homicidal Wahabbis set up shop in his country. I think that he probably knows that they would be more than happy to make mischief in his country since he is a member of a heterodox sect.

Posted by: Andrew Reeves at July 6, 2005 02:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

given the conditions under which a Constitution is ratified, I'm not so sure that this call to participate in elections is all that good. If four Sunni dominated provinces reject the proposed Constitution, the whole process has to start all over --- with minimal Sunni participation in the referendum, the Constitution had a much better chance of passage...

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 6, 2005 03:11 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


I wouldn't be too sanguine about prospects for denying the insurgents the necessary level of support from a Sunni base. Extremists usually are quite adept at using violence, provocation, and intimidation to squelch attempts at moderation and cooperation.

That may NOT be the case if the insurgent leadership is dominated by foreign fighters and Saddam loyalists as opposed to real Sunni leaders.

Posted by: POTUS B at July 6, 2005 04:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

So much for the best case scenario.

How about the most likely scenario?

a) The Shias and Kurds...having long memories about their historically awful treatment by Saddam, the Sunnis, the Baathists, and now the insurgents...work towards the establishment of a federalist Iraq where the oil is controlled by the Kurds and Shias, and where the Sunnis are relegated to political castrati if not occasional targets of opportunity.

b) The Syrians need only to appear as though they're cooperating on the GWOT, while not actually commiting themselves to a substantive course of action. I'm not optimistic that the Bush administration is sophisticated enough to understand the difference. The Syrians...being consummate Baathists and longstanding players in ME political skullduggery...can effortlessly play a superficially cooperative game while actually engaging us in quite another game.

c) While the Chalabi type insurgent groups if existent may be there for the money, the reality is that the bulk of the insurgents are nationalists whose main strategy revolves around film-at-eleven gore and casualties. They understand that the war is rapidly losing the support of the American public as the public sees casualties rolling on home accompanied by expanding revelations of the DSM kind as well as the other more familiar falsehoods that led us to war. Seen in this light, cash is no incentive for a change of action. They are winning the war, and they know it.

d) trends "a" and "c" above continue to be spurred on by sheer disgust at the horrifically nihilistic tactics of the foreign jihadis. I agree. Unfortunately most Iraqis think of Americans when speaking of foreign jihadis.

Posted by: James Emerson at July 6, 2005 05:33 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Emerson:

Proof on (a), (c) and (d), please. And, if (c) were the strategy, how come so many Iraqi deaths, and so few (comparatively) US deaths?

Also, on (b), I am skeptical about the strategic excellence of the Syrians. Lebanon has not worked out so well for them, has it?

Posted by: Appalled Moderate at July 6, 2005 01:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thankfully for the "isurgents" they have people like James helping them to acheive their goals every step of the way

There are two groups of people today who yearn for the Bush Admin goal in Iraq to collapse into chaos and anarchy - the "insurgents" chopping off heads and blowing up mosques and markets...and James and his fellow travellers in the West

Here's hoping they are all miseralbly dissapointed and Iraq becomes democratic and free despite their efforts

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 6, 2005 02:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1. Sadr, during his first two uprisings, reached out to Sunni Arabs on the basis of a common opposition to the US. Can he really credibly lead an uprising based on hostility to the Sunnis?

2. Im not sure all these trends are independent. AFAICT they are all being driven by events on the ground -including the steady movement of the Iraqi political process (the train leaving the station) despite the bombings, and the progress of training Iraqi forces. To the extent these are NOT independent uncertainties, but linked ones, the odds of things going well on all fronts are not as low as one might think.

3. Im not real confident that the Syrians will effectively crack down. But Im not sure thats crucial. If the internal Iraqi processes advance, - training of IRaqi forces, leading to insurgents thinking they will lose, leading to more successful negotiations with Sunnis and inclusion of them, leading to some insurgents laying down arms, leading to an insurgency that is easier for the Iraqi forces to contain, etc then Syria and the border tend to become an irrelevancy. Alternatively the growth of Iraqi forces for action in Bagdad and other heavily populated parts of the triangle leaves more US troops for action on and near the border.

Posted by: liberalhawk at July 6, 2005 02:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

In your previous post you said that Bush was "walking back" Cheney's comments. I think Bush was just being consistent with his own statements. He has always said it would take as long as it takes.

What I really smell from you, Andy Jr., is a walk back of your own.

Posted by: Jack Wayne at July 6, 2005 03:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Dulaimi tribe have been strong supporters of the insurgency. If this statement indicates the tribe has chosen to enter the non-violent political arena, this is good news indeed. I guess the bottom line here is (pardon the allusion to Reagan), "trust, but verify".

Posted by: Jem at July 6, 2005 03:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What exactly should Cheney be saying anyway? Isn't part of the role of leaders to project a positive message

Should the entire admin be singing a tale of woe about Iraq - talking about the years and decades more of violence - helping the "insurgents" wear down US public resolve

Its seems only such a one-note version of Iraq will make some people happy

On the other hand - perhaps our leadership should be dismissing the jihadist thugs as the scum they are and indeed suggesting the dead end path they are all on

Lets be honest shall we - the people who read this, and similar, blogs are well aware of the reality of Iraq as a long term struggle with nihlistic islamic facists - Cheney could say whatever he wanted to - informed people know the truth

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 6, 2005 03:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Meantime, we must hope the Shi'a don't become overly resentful that we are becoming too pro-Sunni in an effort to beat-back the insurgency via too many concessions"

That would be my fear except that Sistani keeps reaching out himself and that alone will ease the Shia. (It also makes him target #1 for both the Islamists and for Sadr. I know that he trusts in God, I just hope his bodyguards can be trusted also).

In the area of best-case scenarios, I think that if the rebels/terrorist do lose (which I think they will), their demise will be more startlingly abrupt that most people would believe. When ths native Sunnis turn on the foriegn fighters, who are not hidden from clannish native Iraqis, they will be swiftly eliminated, either by the tribes themselves or by the US after intelligence is passed to us.

From my keyboard to God's ears I hope.

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 04:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue --

The reason that BD is a worthy blog is that people can think outside of partisan blinders. You seem to be the exception.

Of course Cheney's statements are dumb because it is DEMORALIZING for the troops and the public to have the VP say something like that when its not credible. Foolishly optimistic predictions will only tear down the credibility of our leadership even further... already pretty ragged on Iraq policy. The VP should be seeking to restore credibility, not further undermine it.

As for the idea that critics of the Administration are hoping for defeat in Iraq, you must be so blinded by your own venom that you can conjure up such a concept. That's more absurd than Michael Moore and Oliver Stone on their more paranoid days. Learn to embrace criticism as a healthy part of democracy and you'll realize that smearing motives is as silly as foolish optimism. I'm sure any troops in Iraq reading this blog would be heartened by your accusation that some Americans are rooting for them to be killed. Americans are staunchly behind our troops, we want them to succee and come home safely, and we want peace and stability in Iraq and the Middle East. The fact that we are deeply CONCERNED about the policy and the war does not shake those views.

Posted by: POTUS B at July 6, 2005 04:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

POTUS B,
I believe you are speaking for yourself. It is pretty obvious that many (not all, but a significant percentage) on the left desperately want this administration to fail. Unfortunately, that means that the strategy in the Middle East must fail. That, in turn, means that the military will, at a minimum, suffer more losses. While I doubt that more than a very small number of the leadership on the left specifically want American troops to die/be injured (BTW, I do believe that some on the left do want that specific thing), the end result of their desires will be more American casualties.

And if you doubt the truth of the above paragraph, just ask yourself why so many on the left continue to promulgate lies about what the President has said, about what he knew before the war, about what was thought about WMD before the war, about this being a U.S. oil grab, etc. You cannot HONESTLY say that the same people who espouse that bull shit want the strategy in the Middle East (and thus our troops) to succeed.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 6, 2005 04:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"As for the idea that critics of the Administration are hoping for defeat in Iraq, ou must be so blinded by your own venom..."

POTUSB, save your indignation. Clearly some Americans ARE rooting for our defeat (they flat out admit it), even as they have during all our wars. I will grant these people the courtesy of thinking that they sincerely believe that it would be better for the world,and even for this country, to have America's nose bloodied to discourage foreign adventurism, but sincere or not, they are defeatist. Our troops are just colateral damage to these people.

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 04:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It is not true that leftists want Bush to fail in Iraq. We all want him to be successful, so that his legacy will be positive and other politicians will want to emulate him. We want him to bring democracy to the middle east so the world will be safer for capitalism. We leftists want a republican president to succeed in bringing democracy to a corrupt and lawless part of the world, so that americans can see the good things that republicans can do and elect more of them to office.

Posted by: KingoftheWorld at July 6, 2005 05:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"It is not true that leftists want Bush to fail in Iraq. We all want him to be successful,"

That must be a royal We there, KOTW. Other than Hitchens, you appear to rather singular if those truly are your desires.

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 05:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As others have noted Potus - there are indeed many on the left who do want to see the US led effort in Iraq fail - they want this to vindicate their own opinions about the folly of current US policy

They sincerely believe that the whole effort to remove Saddam and assist in the building of a new democratic Iraq has been A) none of our business and/or B) a pointless excercise since arabs don't do democracy

Since those of us who do support this noble effort are constantly attacked as chickenhawks or gung ho warmongers I see nothing wrong with pointing out the fact that many on the left do want to see us fail in Iraq

Do most leftists want to see US troops killed? They deny this charge, but the end result of their desire to see us fail in Iraq and pull out, means that every US and CoW casualty will have been in vain. Their vocal support for the "insurgents" - didn't Michael Moore call them "minutemen" - means they feel they can win the propganda war as the Vietcong did 30 years ago

The left wants to replay Vietnam - and so does AQ

No - its not venom that makes me point this out - its a realistic look at the facts

I'm sorry if it makes you uncomfortable to consider what the actual result of the contant criticism and negatavism related to Iraq does to our efforts there - but the truth is the truth


As for VP Cheneys comments - while I can agree that he mispoke - I find it offensive to see The Daily Show enjoy weeks of hilarity about the idea that the "insurgents" are on the wane in Iraq

Surely we ALL hope that Cheney is right....don't we?

Think about it - because the reaction to his comments really says more about how many people actually don't WANT him to be right

AQ is playing on western public opinion - they have been doing so for years now

Maybe we need more comments like Cheneys - maybe we need to send the message that these dead-enders are the ones engaged in a pointless struggle they can never win

But no - that would get in the way of Bush bashing - and really - what is more important to you - lowering the morale of AQ wannabe's or seeing Bush humiliated

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 6, 2005 05:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Toby -also Paul Berman. It really depends on how you define left. The FAR left - the neoStalinists and anarchists have close to zero who want Iraq to succeed. The Socialist left, has a small minority - Hitchens, Berman, a few others - who want it to succeed. The liberals and Democrats, most want it to succeed.

Posted by: liberalhawk at July 6, 2005 05:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

LH said it best. The far left probably don't want the US strategy in Iraq to succeed, though the far left is the fringe not "most" or even "many." The far left is not the Democratic Party or its leaders. Repeating "many" or "most" or "Michael Moore said this..." does not make it so. Making nasty insinuations about the motives of reasonable critics and criticisms on this blog does not make it so either.

Pogue, you need a lesson in civics, free speech and dissent. Maybe you should study up on that nifty little thing called Democracy that we, through great expenditure of blood and treasure, are trying to help Iraq to realize. Can't be all bad right?

Remember, many on the far right don't want us to succeed either. The lesson from that: Ignore the fringes.

Posted by: Eric Martin at July 6, 2005 06:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric.
You are not being honest with yourself here. You can't possibly look at the statements of people such as Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Al Sharpton, Terry McAuliffe, Howard Dean, to name just a few, and say that. They are consistently lying on a number of subjects related to Iraq, in a deliberate attempt to take away support from the President and his policy.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at July 6, 2005 06:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

" The liberals and Democrats, most want it to succeed."

liberalhawk, I have to disagree with you. Truman, JFK, and Scoop Jackson are dead, as is the Democratic party that they lead and to which I belonged. The entire leadership of the current party could fairly be described as 'the fringe'. Give me leadership that stands up for America and the working man and I might consider returning.

Tob

The Democrats are not your father's party.

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 06:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Don't worry Eric - I am familiar with free speach and dissent

I am also familiar with Hanoi Jane, Lord Haw Haw and Tokyo Rose

Are you?

I think there are limits to what should be acceptable among reasonable people in terms of dissent This doesn't mean that Michael Moore should be prevented from his ranting about the "minutemen" in Iraq - what it does mean, imho, is that maybe a person who says such things should not be sharing the same box seats with an ex-President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention

When you suggest that it is only a far left fringe who holds such views - that earnesty wishes us to fail in Iraq - I can only wonder if you have heard of Howard Dean - the Chairman of the DNC

The ELECTED Chairman of the DNC

And now your saying what - he doesn't represent the Democratic party or liberal thought in America?


As for civility - I don't recall if you sprang to the defence of those who support Iraqi freedom when they were called chickenhawks on this blog by Lukasiak and Jon H

Or when Jon H called our troops in Iraq "suckers"

If you did - good job - if you didn't - your selective indignation is telling

In short - the criticisms leveled by Michael Moore and Howard Dean have not been reasonable - they are not covered by any rules of etiquitte regarding respect for free speach

I think they are defeatist regarding the war on terror and represent a line of thinking that yearns for a return to the "peace" of the Clinton years

We've seen the result of this tactic - no thanks

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 6, 2005 07:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

exhelodrvr,

I would be happy to respond to specifics, but your allegations are too vague for me to say anything beyond, "no they're not," which is not entirely productive for any of us. In particular, I am interested in what Dean and McAuliffe have said, but would accept any example.

Posted by: Eric Martin at July 6, 2005 07:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Politically, Democratic Party leaders' problem isn't that they want America to fail in Iraq but that they differ from Bush on what to do there only in details to evanescent or technical for the public to track.

Personally, in their place I would repudiate explicitly the Moveon types, the fringe elements who are doing now what some elements of the anti-Vietnam War movement also did in romanticizing a vile and ruthless enemy out of hatred for their own government. In the long run this would do them more political good than decorous aversion of eyes from the rhetorical excesses of the left fringe. But even if they did this, Democratic Party leaders would still need an alternative to what the administration is trying to do -- not an easy thing to come up with when they share all of Bush's goals and assumptions about what is possible in Iraq.

Here's one thing that might help, though admittedly it is advice from a Republican. The Democrats ought to let Richard Holbrooke and Joe Biden get together and work out a platform on Iraq and other foreign policy issues, and stick to it. Right now their talking points are obviously being written up by electioneering hands who think they understand foreign policy because they read the Washington Post. They all sound like they are just doing pre-campaign campaigning because they are doing pre-campaign campaigning. This suggestion doesn't address the difficulty raised by the fact that the Democrats' main disagreement with Bush is over what happened in Iraq two years ago, not with what is being done there now. It would, though, help them seem less feckless and less apt to go for cheer lines that make it sound as if they think Bush is a greater threat than the Islamists.

Posted by: JEB at July 6, 2005 07:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Politically, Democratic Party leaders' problem isn't that they want America to fail in Iraq but that they differ from Bush on what to do there only in details to evanescent or technical for the public to track."

JEB, I think the point is that they want Bush to fail, and with the economy continuing its slow and steady rise and the hard-edged social issues cutting against them, failure in the war is the only arrow in their quiver. So I guess that you could say that they don't want the US to fail and our troops to die, its just the price they are willing to pay to regain power.

I know that sounds harsh and I feel uncharitable to make that charge but I do believe it to be true.

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 07:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Leaving aside the "leftists hate America" nonsense, this article (linked to by Juan Cole) says:

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Iraq's most influential Sunni Muslim religious group rejected appeals to support a religious decree calling for Sunnis to vote in Iraq's next election. Isam Rawi, spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars, dismissed the edict announced Monday by Adnan Dulaimi, head of the government's Sunni affairs agency, because it sought to share political power on a factional basis. Rawi told al-Arabiya television that Dulaimi ''should have called for an Iraqi national gathering to include all the sides that oppose the current regime and its call for occupation forces to stay in Iraq for an indeterminate time."

I wonder how much influence Dulaimi has relative to the AMS.

Guy

Posted by: Guy at July 6, 2005 08:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Er, Tob, Bush's numbers have been fading, and not the least on some of those social issues. For example, his social security privatization tour went so well that the more he toured, the worse the numbers got in terms of the public's approval of such plans. The Schiavo fiasco certainly didn't cut against the Dems (quite the opposite in overwhelming numbers) and more and more people are starting to feel uncomfortabel about the environmental policies of Bush - not the least of which are several formerly die-hard GOPers out west in states like Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, etc. who are starting to get a taste of what unregulated drilling and mining rights can do to their beloved vistas.

As for the economy, I would emphasize the slow part in your description. The indicators are a mixed bag, and for many in the middle class, the skyrocketing costs of health care and college have been increasing anxiety, not alleviating it.

Posted by: Eric Martin at July 6, 2005 08:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Carl Levin is in Bagdad, met with President Talabani, and expressed opposition to a timetable for withdrawl. The only important Dems in Congress I can think of who have called for a withdrawl timetable are Kennedy and Byrd, neither of whom is a foreign policy spokesman.

Posted by: liberalhawk at July 6, 2005 08:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interesting comments from Iraq the Model - from Jan 04

Sorry for the length of the post - but I think Ali's comments deserve to be read in full


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Ambition that blinds.

"You can say that it's great that Saddam is gone and I'm sure that a lot of Iraqis feel it is great that Saddam is gone. But a lot of them gave their lives. And their living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before." Howard Dean

What did Mr. Dean meant by this statement? I didnít want to write about it from the beginning despite what I felt and the questions asked by some of the readers. I said, ďthis is an American affair and I might offend some of my American friends through expressing my opinionĒ. But the statement was too irritating and insulting and as I said before thereís no such thing as an internal affair anywhere in the world, not to mention the USA, the country in which the tiniest change in policy might well have a great impact elsewhere in the world. Anything that happens in America concerns everyone on this planet, and moreover as an Iraqi who his whole countryís future relies considerably on how the things go on in America I have additional reasons to care about such things.

To summarize my response I was not surprised, but it added to my confusion about the justification of the position of some Americans regarding this issue.
To have such approach from some Arabs and Muslims, itís more than expected, still nauseating though. To have such an approach from some European countries is also (natural). But to come from Americans? Well, this is just more than I can understand.
Iíd like to (debate with) Mr. Dean and his supporters on few points.

Iím not going to comment about the rightness of the statement with more than saying that only a (blind) man would believe it and only a man blinded by his ambitions would dare to say it, but when you say such words, donít you mean in other words that the sacrifices made by the American soldiers are all in vain? And that these soldiers are not doing a service to the world, nor to Iraqis and not to America. In fact you are saying that since they didnít do the world, America or us a favour then theyíre only doing a favour to GWB and his administration.

Donít you agree that by saying those words you accuse the American soldiers of one of two charges each of which is worse than the other;
You are saying that, either they are stupid enough to sacrifice their lives for the sake of GWB political future, or they are evil people who love fighting and killing and they are doing this only for money, in other words theyíre no more than mercenaries. Saying that you only disagree with the way this issue is handled will also not change the fact that you are only harming your men and women on the battlefield.

By statements like these you deny any honourable motives for the great job your people are doing here. How in your opinion will this affect the morale of your soldiers? Feeling that their people back at home donít support them and that theyíre abandoned to fight alone in the battlefield.

And all of this for what? For staying in the white house for 4 or 8 years? Is it worth it?
And this is not directed only to Mr. Dean, itís for all the Americans who support such allegations without being aware of their consequences. Whatís it that you fight so hard for, showing your soldiers as s occupiers and murderers, the soldiers who I had the honour of meeting many, and when talking to some of them, I didnít see anything other than gentleness, honesty and good will and faith in what theyíre doing.

Your words and those of others were insults to the Americans, Iraqis and moreover to yourself, and Iím certain you donít represent the number of Americans you fanaticise about. Iím sorry for being so rude, but I really tried hard to restrain myself from being more direct, and thus nearly as rude as you were. If I wanted to respond just as an Iraqi who is so offended by your words, my feelings wouldnít have been expressed without using a language nastier than what Iíve committed myself to on writing on this blog.


Please consider this for a moment, does winning the elections and getting rid of GWB and the republicans worth the damage youíre inflicting on your men and womenís morale?

My heart goes with those brave people and the widows, orphans and mothers of the American soldiers who died while doing this great service for their country, ours and humanity.
I canít imagine what their response would be to such thoughtless words motivated with nothing more than selfish ambitions.


-By Ali.

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 6, 2005 08:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue.

I admire ali and his courage, and I agree that Deans statement is insulting. I think it was mistake for the DNC to choose Dean as chair.

But I see no evidence he doesnt honestly beleive what he says, or that he wants America to lose in Iraq. Just as we in America cannot alway understand whats going on in Iraqi politics, Ali and others in Iraq have no particular insight into American politics.

Posted by: liberalhawk at July 6, 2005 08:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric,

So, do I take it that you disagree with me that the Democrats want Bush to be somehow discredited and fail and with him, the Republican party? That was my painful point. I'm sure that they don't think to themselves; "I don't care if we lose the war on terror, just so long as I get back to the majority" Humans are capable of amazing rationalizing. I'm sure that they have convinced themselves that they have the best interests of the country at heart.

If you want to cherry-pick issues I can too: Anti-gay marriage ammendments and bills are passing left and right. GDP is still growing at 3% or better. Home ownership at record levels. Total employment at record levels. There's plenty to be happy about.

Besides, Bush isn't running for election again so his numbers (which are actually going up in June) aren't that important.

All this is beside the point. Elections tell the tale. 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004. Holds or increases in Republican representation in the elected branches in each one. When the real polls show conservatives losing, I'll start to worry.

Until the Democrats get plausible on national security again, they will just be rudderless at the top.

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 08:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I doubt there is such a quote from Howard Dean - its my opinion that he is quite willing to pay the price of defeat in Iraq in exchange for vindication of his views and electoral victory in 08

You may think otherwise - but this is my read of the man

And I don't think he is so different from most democratic party members - the only exception would be the right of center ones like lieberman

And lets not confuse members of the democratic party with John Kerry or Al Gore voters

I am speaking of the members of the party here

Lots of people voted for Kerry without holding opinions like Deans

Dean has been spewing this red-meat to the party base for over a year now - why is it hard to believe he is not interested in victory in Iraq?


Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 6, 2005 08:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

At one time it was possible to win in Iraq. Even in spite of the manufactured reasons for war, it was possible to win if the war and following occupation had followed the Powell Doctrine, and established civil control.

But...

We were incapable of guarding the vast stores of weaponry that is now being used against us. We fired the entire Iraqi army. We rejected the participation of all Iraqi civil servants who had any Baath Party connection. We staffed our CPA with politically acceptable but technologically inept candidates bereft of world experience. We emplaced a body of law (the TAL) in violation of the Geneva Conventions to ensure Bush's interests were being served at the expense of the Iraqis. We placed the horror of Abu Ghraib under new management with instructions from General Miller as how to interrogate detainees. We stirred up a sectarian battle in the holy city of Kabarella and succeeded in uniting the Shias against us. We levelled Falujah. We only agreed to elections because Sistani would have it no other way, and then we claimed a success for democracy as Iraq voted along relgious party lines.

The powers elected to run Iraq are friendlier to Iran than they are to us. The Iranians have lately agreed to assist the Iraqis in training their forces. Things are looking up for Iran.

The time for winning has passed us by.

I don't see how we can win in a way where we look like winners. Our options are now reduced to something between losing and losing badly. Too bad really. But the whole endeavour was a house of cards. War built upon lies and deceptions...because America wouldn't have supported a reality based war...is a war to lose.

Six out of every ten American now think the war wasn't worth fighting. About the same number feel that Bush misled us into war. With falling numbers like these how do you propose to end this well?

Only being somewhat to the left...I used to be planted firmly in the middle...I can only speak for myself. I think the people who claim that I want to see our soldiers die are despictable, and speak with the same evilness in their hearts that is possessed by the jihadists we fight. That is a trait shared by all "true believers." I don't want to see our soldiers die, and I don't want to see us fail.

I ask you though...how can an administration that has failed America so badly be now so capable of the where-with-all to turn the tide and win the war, when they don't even recognize their momumental failures, let alone hold someone accountable for them?

How is that possible in a sane and rational world?

Posted by: James Emerson at July 6, 2005 08:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Powell Doctrine...what was his doctrine for creating a democracy in Iraq again?

As I recall - his doctrine was to go in with massive force and defeat the enemy army in a quick decisive battle

Are you saying this didn't happen? Because I think it did What Powell didn't do in 1991 is what the Bush admin is doing today

Does Powells doctrine cover this?


You have quite a list of errors that were made there James - I don't suppose it helps to point out that there will inevitably be errors made - but I do so anyway

Lets see what made your list -

We were incapable of guarding the vast stores of weaponry that is now being used against us.

Considering that Iraq had TENS of Thousands of bunkers of weapons - this is not too surprising - but you have a plan to prevent this from happening as we were toppling Saddam?


We fired the entire Iraqi army.

WELL, they weren't such a good army were they ;) Who knows, maybe we could have done that differently. Of course then Howard Dean and co would be complaining about how we SHOULD have gotten rid of the old army that was created by the dictatorship and used to oppress the people
Can't you just hear John Kerry on that one? Keeping the iraqi army intact, in part or whole, is no guarentee we wouldn't have the same issues you know - and we would be open to the charge that we were the new dictators with the same army


We rejected the participation of all Iraqi civil servants who had any Baath Party connection.

At first - see de-Nazification for precedent Again - if Howard Dean found out we had some evil Baathist kept in his job,,,what then?


We staffed our CPA with politically acceptable but technologically inept candidates bereft of world experience.

Not saying this isn't so - but who would you have used?

We emplaced a body of law (the TAL) in violation of the Geneva Conventions to ensure Bush's interests were being served at the expense of the Iraqis.

????? Don't even know what this means?


We placed the horror of Abu Ghraib under new management with instructions from General Miller as how to interrogate detainees.


"under new management" - very clever - so we are the SAME as Saddam's regime....how subtle

We stirred up a sectarian battle in the holy city of Kabarella

Its OUR fault there was sectarian violence in Karballa?

and succeeded in uniting the Shias against us. We levelled Falujah.


Yes - we did level Fallujah - you dissaprove of this? You would have preffered the terrorists nest to remain off limits? Wouldn't this endanger our troops?

We only agreed to elections because Sistani would have it no other way, and then we claimed a success for democracy as Iraq voted along relgious party lines.


And now the elections are no good either


So tell me James - have we done ANYTHING right in Iraq?

This is priceless though - "because America wouldn't have supported a reality based war...is a war to lose. "


Well lets just say it shall we - YOU never supported this effort from day 1 - you ALWAYS felt we would lose

It didn't matter what happened in Iraq - you always knew it was a bad idea to topple Saddam

You list of "mistakes" would be a bit more convincing if you provided ANY alternative suggestions to the specific mistakes you cite

Apart from not toppling Saddam at all that is

So do explain - I hope you have some plan that you will share, unlike John Kerry :)


Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 6, 2005 09:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I ask you though...how can an administration that has failed America so badly be now so capable of the where-with-all to turn the tide and win the war, when they don't even recognize their momumental failures, let alone hold someone accountable for them?"

James, there truly exists a schism in this country, call it left-right, progrssive-conservative, pragmatist-ideolog, or what have you, but I think it is real and significant. I reject most of the premises in your post. I know that you believe them to be true, (and the first duty of a person in debate is to try to see the issue from the side of your opponents, after all, so one hold views that they think are nonsensical) but I just can't agree. There have been set-backs in the GWOT of which Iraq is a theatre, but I don't believe that our military or this administration has been incompetent. The problem with 20/20 hindsight is that you can never really know what result would have occurred had things been done differently. If we had used huge numbers of troops (where would they have come from?) perhaps we would have been, correctly, viewed as trying to establish a Governat of Viceroyal colony. Had we delayed even longer, to better equip our troops with the state of the art armor, would the resistance have been even better organized. I don't know and truthfully, neither do you.

I think that the war can be won and will be won if the American people continue to support it. We started WWII with 3 carriers and no battleships. We ended it with over a hundred. We can do what we must do to win. Hell, I haven't even been inconvienced yet. Raise my taxes as long as the money buys me more divisions and air wings. I don't care.

That's why I think that the defeatism shown by the left and the MSM. (and I believe it to be nothing less) hurts our cause by discouraging the people. Strength and resolve, which Bush has in buckets whatever else you may say about him, will see us through.

Here ends my jingoist sermon for the day. ;-)

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 09:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I ask you though...how can an administration that has failed America so badly be now so capable of the where-with-all to turn the tide and win the war, when they don't even recognize their momumental failures, let alone hold someone accountable for them?"

James, there truly exists a schism in this country, call it left-right, progrssive-conservative, pragmatist-ideolog, or what have you, but I think it is real and significant. I reject most of the premises in your post. I know that you believe them to be true, (and the first duty of a person in debate is to try to see the issue from the side of your opponents, after all, so one hold views that they think are nonsensical) but I just can't agree. There have been set-backs in the GWOT of which Iraq is a theatre, but I don't believe that our military or this administration has been incompetent. The problem with 20/20 hindsight is that you can never really know what result would have occurred had things been done differently. If we had used huge numbers of troops (where would they have come from?) perhaps we would have been, correctly, viewed as trying to establish a Governat of Viceroyal colony. Had we delayed even longer, to better equip our troops with the state of the art armor, would the resistance have been even better organized. I don't know and truthfully, neither do you.

I think that the war can be won and will be won if the American people continue to support it. We started WWII with 3 carriers and no battleships. We ended it with over a hundred. We can do what we must do to win. Hell, I haven't even been inconvienced yet. Raise my taxes as long as the money buys me more divisions and air wings. I don't care.

That's why I think that the defeatism shown by the left and the MSM. (and I believe it to be nothing less) hurts our cause by discouraging the people. Strength and resolve, which Bush has in buckets whatever else you may say about him, will see us through.

Here ends my jingoist sermon for the day. ;-)

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 09:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sorry for the double post, Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 09:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Its not that progressive's want to see Bush fail in Iraq --- its that progressives see Bush failing in Iraq as an inevitability.

Wingnuts (and most conservatives) seem to forget that "democratization" of Iraq was extremely low on the list of priorities for Bush. And they've obviously forgotten that the direct elections in January for which the Bush regime took credit were opposed by the Bush regime --- and were only scheduled because Sistani made it abundantly clear that there would be a Shiite uprising in Iraq if direct elections were not scheduled. Bushco wanted to maintain control over the entire process (and its outcome) through a "caucus" process --- and only allowed elections when they were backed into a corner. The US also insisted that direct elections could not be held without a census and delayed elections because of that---while Iraqis were saying that the "Oil for Food" rosters and ID cards could be used to determine voter eligibility. Of course, the elections were held using the "Oil for Food" rosters....

What the Bush regime now wants is a "stable" Iraq allied with the United States that will allow the US to maintain permanent garrisons on its territory. (face it, wingnuts, Bush could not care less about whether the Iraqi government was democratic, as long as it was allied with the USA. ) But guess what? The vast majority of Iraqis don't want American troops in Iraq --- even those who support current troop deployment see it as a necessary and temporary evil. And the Shia who are now running the Iraq government want to ally themselves with Iran -- and if what Juan Cole is reporting is accurate, will wind up allowing Iranian "peace-keeping" troops in Iraq in the not too distant future. This will be unacceptable to the lunatic neocons running the show, and things are just going to fall apart from there.

Anyone who thinks that Bushco can succeed in Iraq while doing everything in its power to alienate Iran (not to mention Syria and the rest of the world) is simply out of their minds. And anyone who thinks that Bushco can reach the necessary accomodation with a member of the "Axis of Evil" (let alone Syria or the rest of the world) in a timely fashion has been letting their memory hole work overtime.

Its not that we want Bush to fail --- its that we already know failure is inevitable. We're just pointing that out --- just like we were pointing out that the invasion was a bad idea in the first place, and was based on a campaign of lies, deception, and disinformation. We were right about that, and we're right about this.

That doesn't make us disloyal....just smarter than the wingnuts (which ain't saying much...)

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 6, 2005 09:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Powell Doctrine: Use overwhelming force to destroy a country's military force AND ensure complete civil control once "major combat operations" are complete. That would include the thousands of ammo dumps.


Skipping to the bottom....

I never supported this war. I continue to believe it was an unnecessary distraction from our primary goal of capturing and killing Bin Laden and his associates. I also continue to believe that this war was conceived, timed, and executed partly for political gain (election 2002 and 2004), partly as Dubya's revenge, and partly to satisfy the neoconservative agenda. If the push towards war had been properly explained as a neoconservative adventure in nation building it never would have gotten off the ground.

I refer you to this article for further consideration about mistakes made and points I alluded too...

Posted by: James Emerson at July 6, 2005 09:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Its not that we want Bush to fail --- its that we already know failure is inevitable."

So you've already lost. Thats the thinking and politicing that has been losing elections for 3 decades now. Bring it on.

"That doesn't make us disloyal....just smarter than the wingnuts (which ain't saying much...)"

And nothing like a little snark to convince people that your right.

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 09:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wow Luka - Bush "regime" - "bushco" "wingnuts" - you have it all in there - just left out ChimpyMcHalliburton -

I wonder if Eric will chide YOU for lack of civility - one expects not

------------------------------------------------

In any case - James - can you provide the source for your Powell Doctrine please - it wasn't what we did in 1991 when said Doctrine was crafted and put into practice

We destroyed the iraqi army and routed them from Kuwait - as per UNSC resolution

So how did Civil Control, occupation, democratization and securing Ammo Dumps work its way into the doctrine?

And I'll ignore most of your comments about how Bush was driven by politics ( your saying invading Iraq in 2003 HELPED Bush get re-elected? ), oil ( 60$ a barrel now? ) and revenge ( oh please ) - and focus on this

"I continue to believe it was an unnecessary distraction from our primary goal of capturing and killing Bin Laden and his associates"


NO NO NO - this is NOT our primary goal James...our primary goal is preventing the next 9/11 - a WMD 9/11 even

YOUR primary goal is the Clinton era response that managed to send Sheik Yabooti to Supermax in Colorado in response to his minions failed 1993 attempt to slaughter 50,000 innocent americans

And this is the fundamental difference between our views

Of course you don't support our efforts in Iraq - you don't understand the lesson of 9/11 and continue to think this is a law enforcement problem

You think we should get OBL and that will be the end of it

Frankly we were stupid to not do something after 1993 WTC, after 1998 - African embassies, after 2000 - USS Cole .... but what you propose is that we continue to ignore the threat islamic facism and terrorism pose to our very lives

No thanks - I work in midtown

I am happy there has been no followup to 9/11 - I hope we continue to hunt and kill those scum all over the world, and I think a democratic ME is our only long term security


Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 6, 2005 10:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And nothing like a little snark to convince people that your right.

trust me Toby, you'd remain unconvinced of the truth regardless of snark content.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 6, 2005 10:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"trust me Toby, you'd remain unconvinced of the truth regardless of snark content"

I'm just blistered by that retort. ;-)

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 10:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You think we should get OBL and that will be the end of it

just curious james.... are you really that stupid, or is pogue that stupid for thinking you are that stupid? :)

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 6, 2005 10:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"just curious james.... are you really that stupid, or is pogue that stupid for thinking you are that stupid? :)"

Another smoking comeback. Your on fire man, on fire!

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 6, 2005 10:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

just curious james.... are you really that stupid, or is pogue that stupid for thinking you are that stupid? :)

I'm hoping for the latter.


In an alternate universe our leadership would realize that terrorism is a tool and an expression of frustration and political powerlessness. After 9/11, we had the world's sympathy at our disposal, but we squandered away that goodwill with our invasion of an Islamic country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

In an alternate universe, our wizened leadership would have pursued to the death and dismemberment the people and organization which attacked us. It would not have relented. It would have also productively engaged the Muslim world so as to minimize the sympathy for Bin Laden and the Al Queda types. This isn't rocket science. You defeat the terrorists by eliminating their support mechanism. You eliminate their support mechanism by winning the hearts and minds of Muslims, and if THAT isn't possible you at the very least engage in activities they find offensive. You don't have to win everyone's heart and mind, but you do have to make an effort to reduce the support the terrorists enjoy from the greater Muslim community. We haven't come close to doing that. We haven't even tried that. We should.

Our response to the tsunami did wonders along that line. The polls from Indonesia show a real turnaround in opinion, but our invasion of Iraq only served to fuel jihadist hatreds, a trend that continues unabated.

Like I said...It isn't rocket science. But it takes an administration steeped in pragmatism enough to step aside from its ideological leanings when that ideological path is antithetical to larger American interests.

The Powell Doctrine"

1) Military action should be used only as a last resort and only if there is a clear risk to national security by the intended target

2) The force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy

3) There must be strong support for the campaign by the general public

4) There must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged.

No, it says nothing about guarding ammo dumps. General Shinseki said about 300,000 troops were required to secure the country. The Rand study suggested a figure closer to 500,000. My point is this. General Powell never wanted us to get into a war without the resources and public support required to win. Winning can be assumed to mean that an invasion and followup occuaption be handled in a way to put the country immediately back on track and to minimize the potential for growing an insurgency. We didn't do that...not because we didn't understand the consequences of not doing that...we did, or at least it was a known known to many of the experts, but because ideology guided the entire enterprise.

There is no other explanation.

American are dying because of a neoconservative theory, and a bungled one at that.

Posted by: James Emerson at July 7, 2005 12:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

hel...hello?

Is this thing on?

I... I. OK, good.

Hey, Hi - I see the civility filters are off, and luka and crew refuse to discuss the topic at hand. So let me just say; Thanks, Pogue, as always, and thanks Toby, for taking up some slack. And Luka?

Go fuck yourself. I mean seriously, DJ - How long do we have to see this guy before you ban him?

Have you heard anyone ask you to ban Eric Martin - no. or me? Or the helo driver? And yet we and quite a few others use to get into it last year, and it never descended to this.

Go check your archives, see what it was like before he set up shop here. What is it he adds to our discussion again? Do I have to be the case against? You want this place to end up like that farce over at optruth.org, that site your friend over at democracyarsenal has a link to?

Posted by: Tommy G at July 7, 2005 01:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

^^^^^^

Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black??

In my short time observing here I have watched the comments degenerate into the metaphorical equivalent of kids kicking sand at each other in the sand pit, which if I had any desire to watch I'd go to my local preschool at lunch time.

Its about time some of you lot on here grew up - on both sides of the fence. Greg asked several posts ago to lift the level and in fact all that seems to have happened is that its degenerated further. In fact as sad as it is, I've been on a site devoted to growing pot and seen better reasoned political analysis which is better supported with articles and data and a lot less inane mud slinging..... By a bunch of stoners for God's sake.

If your views are so intractable and you are unwilling to have a fair debate, listen reasonably to WELL presented arguments (which admittedly is half the problem), then why not go find a blog where you can cheerlead to your hearts content. Then I won't have to wade my way through so much dross in order to read the comments of those such as Greg, Joseph and Eric whose posts show they take more than a milisecond to think about what they're saying before they post it.

Much as I'm loathe to do it - those in particular who are the worst culprits are often those on the right, although the left has a share of them to. If you think having a dissenting view from your own somehow equates to treason or being a wingnut or a chickenhawk, or a islamofacist loving pansy then I'd delicately suggest that you should paint an eye on your forehead, roll yourself in tin foil and crawl back under the stair to mutter some more as you really have nothing to contribute to this blog, that's worthy of the effort Greg puts into this blog. As the very least read a dictionary definitions of reason, intellegent and debate, and try to put it into practice...

Posted by: Aran Brown at July 7, 2005 05:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg -- Sherman understood how the War was being conducted, and how to win. While Grant kept an attrition slaughter in the East, Sherman boldly marched into the heart of Dixie, and carefully burnt down every public building, mansion, railroad terminal, railroad, dockworks, and anything else of economic value while leaving the hovels of the poor tenant farmers alone.

Southerners found out very well that they'd lose their wealth and power if they kept fighting. As it turned out, they loved their money and power more than their ideals. Sherman burnt out their property, killing few and losing fewer of his own in the process.

I expect something similar will happen with the Shias. Eventually the Sunni will understand, they can be tribal chiefs with power and prestige in their community, or they can continue to fight the Shia and Kurds who form the majority of the Government, and lose all their property to become (horrors) just like the folks they rule over.

So far the worst the Sunni tribal chiefs have courted is death. Loss of their wealth is another thing entirely. You'll see real progress there when that threat materializes. No one wants to be poor, much less having been rich in a place like Iraq.

Potus B -- when you hear the rhetoric of the Democratic Party echoing Daily Kos or DU ("we love the troops when they shoot their officers" or Ward Churchill, who approves of fragging) you can only draw one conclusion. Durbin comparing US troops to Nazis or Pol Pot didn't come out of stupidity or nowhere, but pandering to the Kos crowd which runs the Party. Dems are not offering any alternate plan to win decisively, just calling Iraq a "quagmire" and saying we have already been defeated (as Teddy Kennedy one of the leaders of the Party has said). When, you know, they're not saying "screw em" when Americans are strung up or cheering on the "Minutemen" aka the terrorists.

Bush has not conducted a smart campaign (his moves have been marked by timidity and stupidity far too often) in Iraq post-victory against Saddam's regular forces. However, the Dems have basically parroted "blood for oil, Evil Chimpy Mchitler Bushco Haliburton illegal war," and then basically stopped when asked for solutions or alternatives. I mean, quick name ONE Democrat in Congress who's known for military expertise. There's not a single Democrat outside of Wes Clark who actually KNOWS anything about the Military, and Wes Clark has a lot of problems (like almost getting into a shooting War with the Russians in Bosnia). Clark couldn't even bring himself to condemn Michael Moore saying we "deserved it" for 9/11.

Dems willingness to support ANY military action save a few impotent missile strikes ended in 1968. That's just the way the Party is. Dems have other good features (more environmentalist, poverty-fighting, anti-discrimination) but to deny their fundamental dislike to hatred of the military is like pretending the Dems are NRA-friendly or fight crime.

James -- to answer your question, the reason Bush has NOT been held accountable is that Teddy Kennedy wept on the floor of the Senate (a few too many Martinis I guess) about the Waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the 9/11 architect who put together the plan that murdered 3,000 Americans. Joe Biden opposed the War in AFGHANISTAN and said we would pay for what we did there. Nancy Pelosi and Teddy and Babs Boxer worry about Mohammed Al-Qhattani the go-between for Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Mohammed Atta (the lead 9/11 hijacker) having too much A/C.

The American people are not happy with Bush, in much of anything, but Dems consistently fail the FIRST duty of government which is to provide the common defense. Dems won't even fight, so Bush's inept fighting continues. As long as Dems deny their is a problem with terrorism and parrot the line that 9/11 was some sort of illusion, conspiracy, "plane accident" (a Kos ranting), a one-off that will never happen again, "an inside job/frameup" (saw that one at Live 8) or some "jewish conspiracy" (as alleged by Democratic Staffers passing out flyers at DNC hq or John Conyer's fantasy impeachment hearings) ... well Americans will just tune them out as an alternative and Bush has no effective check on his conduct of the War. No audit at all.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at July 7, 2005 07:40 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Re: civility:

if we look at this thread, we see where and how it has degenerated.

I noted early on that given the nature of the constitutional ratification process, Sunni participation in the elections might not be such a good thing. (nobody flamed me for it)

James noted that the "best case" scenario was not the only scenario, and pointed out a number of facts that suggested that "positive developments" were unlikely to have much impact on overall trends.

the response to James post was a very nasty slur of James personally, and those who disapprove of this war in general.

Thankfully for the "isurgents" they have people like James helping them to acheive their goals every step of the way

There are two groups of people today who yearn for the Bush Admin goal in Iraq to collapse into chaos and anarchy - the "insurgents" chopping off heads and blowing up mosques and markets...and James and his fellow travellers in the West

the author of the above was taken to task for this by POTUS B....

As for the idea that critics of the Administration are hoping for defeat in Iraq, you must be so blinded by your own venom that you can conjure up such a concept. That's more absurd than Michael Moore and Oliver Stone on their more paranoid days. Learn to embrace criticism as a healthy part of democracy and you'll realize that smearing motives is as silly as foolish optimism.

which opened up the floodgates of "liberals are traitors" nonsense that sounded far more like Free Republic than Belgravia Dispatch in its venom. It was at that point that the subject of this thread degenerated into a discussion whose premise was that "Democrats are traitors" with the only "debate" going on concerning what percentage of Democrats were actively supporting the terrorists. (Shockingly, JEB who is usually pretty sensible, actually accused the left of "romanticizing a vile and ruthless enemy")

It was much later that I chimed in, trying to explain to those here who did have a clue that progressives didn't want this to be a failure, they saw failure as inevitable because of the nature of the Bush regime. I used the word "wingnut" a couple of times, but no names were mentioned....

And I'm not apologizing for it. I'm a liberal, and I'm not going to sit back while my patriotism is repeated and viciously impugned because I did not support this war, and do not support this war. I, and others who think like me, were right about the campaign of lies and deceit that got us into this war, and were right about the sheer stupidity of this enterprise --- this war is creating far more real terrorists who see it as a religious obligation to attack America, and far, far more people throughout the world who sympathise with their agenda (if not with the methods).

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 7, 2005 11:16 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

London is under attack. I repeat, London is under attack. Stop taking an attitude of appeasement and dhimmitude. Submit, die, or resist. Resistance is futile? Decide.

Posted by: Luke at July 7, 2005 12:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Aran Brown,

That's right. I couldn't think of other names at the time, but you were another of those I remember being strongly at odds with, but it never came to what we have now.

But as to pots and blackness - look to yourself. The more people like you choose to stay away, the more the void is cleared for people like Luka to come in. Nature abhors.

You like your neighbors garden, Brown? Then tend to it more often, and for the love of god, tell the owner to pull the weeds.

Posted by: Tommy G at July 7, 2005 02:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Luka snarked:

just curious james.... are you really that stupid, or is pogue that stupid for thinking you are that stupid? :)

----------------------------------------------

RIGHT - and this is civility?

---------------------------------------------

I'm hoping for the latter.

-----------------------------------------

HOPE is not a strategy James - you confirm everything I said below

-------------------------------------


LOAD of BS #1 -
In an alternate universe our leadership would realize that terrorism is a tool and an expression of frustration and political powerlessness.

----------------------------------

THIS is the old terrorist justification idea James...so why were the 19 hijackers ALL well off...why aren't africans and SE asians who are POORER than arabs involved in terrorism? puzzle this and maybe you will understand why this "tool of frustration" meme is complete nonsense
And more than nonsense - frankly its offensive
So the mass murderers of 9/11 were using a "tool of frustration"?
The mass murderers of London today - they were using this "tool" because they felt politically powerless?

Let me clue you in here - they are using terrorism because it has WORKED It has worked because too many in the West are self loathing apologists for terrorism - people who justify the actions of mass murderers - who seek to understand why they do these things and try to find out how WE can change to stop it

--------------------------------------------------

LOAD of BS#2
After 9/11, we had the world's sympathy at our disposal, but we squandered away that goodwill with our invasion of an Islamic country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

-----------------------------------------------------

- Where were you after 9/11? I was in Europe - I saw a few weeks of sympathy - and then - even BEFORE afghanistan - this became a "they had it coming" attitude

We didn't squander anything James - I happen to know
Do you get your information from the Kerry 04 campaign?

-------------------------------------------------------------

LOAD OF BS#3
In an alternate universe, our wizened leadership would have pursued to the death and dismemberment the people and organization which attacked us. It would not have relented.

---------------------------------------------------------------


LAST I checked 2/3 of AQ were captured or killed. We have many top AQ in custody. We don't know where OBL is - maybe he is in Iran- many senior AQ are you know. Do you think we should invade Iran? Lets see if you answer that one - thats called a SPECIFIC question - you can't answer with some hypothetical "pursued to the death" motto So lets hear it - we get a picture of OBL reading the Tehran Times on Sunday - do we invade to "pursue to the death"

Or do you "relent"?

--------------------------------------------------------

LOAD OF BS#4
It would have also productively engaged the Muslim world so as to minimize the sympathy for Bin Laden and the Al Queda types. This isn't rocket science. You defeat the terrorists by eliminating their support mechanism. You eliminate their support mechanism by winning the hearts and minds of Muslims, and if THAT isn't possible you at the very least engage in activities they ( DON"T ) find offensive. You don't have to win everyone's heart and mind, but you do have to make an effort to reduce the support the terrorists enjoy from the greater Muslim community. We haven't come close to doing that. We haven't even tried that. We should.

------------------------------------------------------


JAMES - how do you think we should have gone about winning these hearts and minds? Are you familiar with wahabbi islam? Have you looked at Memri.org? Do you understand how arab states are goverened - how women are treated in muslim societies?

Again - be specific please

In my view - the Bush Doctine seeks to change the way arab/muslim societies operate by promoting democracy in the region

Universal suffrage, the rule of law, an open press - this is how we can transform arab societies

The short version is we won't win by conceding to arab "sensitivities" - like not agreeing that israeli's use arab childrens blood to bake matzoh - sorry - I am all in favor of continuing to offend arabs who think such things

We win when they no longer are subject to a constant barrage of blame propaganda - against Israel, the US and the West - in that order

This will happen when arab citizens can hold their governments responsible for their roads and schools and sewers

See - to me - they are the same as us - people all want the same things - a better life for their children The reality is that the arab states have been miserable failures - for decades we have supported "our thugs" - the Bush response to 9/11 is to change this

Once I imagined the party of JFK would agree with such a thing

Now it is clear that if Bush is in favor of sunshine and lollipops then the Dem's will be against it

------------------------------------------------------------


Our response to the tsunami did wonders along that line. The polls from Indonesia show a real turnaround in opinion, but our invasion of Iraq only served to fuel jihadist hatreds, a trend that continues unabated.

------------------------------------------------

THERE was just a jihadist head chopping in Thailand James - they still have the same problems But not to worry - there was a blip in the opinion polls - so all is well

-----------------------------------------------------

Like I said...It isn't rocket science. But it takes an administration steeped in pragmatism enough to step aside from its ideological leanings when that ideological path is antithetical to larger American interests.

---------------------------------------------------------------

LIKE the Clinton Admin's policies?

-------------------------------------------------

The Powell Doctrine"

1) Military action should be used only as a last resort and only if there is a clear risk to national security by the intended target

2) The force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy

3) There must be strong support for the campaign by the general public

4) There must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged.

------------------------------------------------

DID you get this somewhere? What is the source? Did Powell write this? I am honestly interested

-----------------------------------------------------

No, it says nothing about guarding ammo dumps. General Shinseki said about 300,000 troops were required to secure the country. The Rand study suggested a figure closer to 500,000. My point is this. General Powell never wanted us to get into a war without the resources and public support required to win. Winning can be assumed to mean that an invasion and followup occuaption be handled in a way to put the country ( immediately ) back on track and to minimize the potential for growing an insurgency. We didn't do that...not because we didn't understand the consequences of not doing that...we did, or at least it was a known known to many of the experts, but because ideology guided the entire enterprise.

-----------------------------------------------

IMMEDIATELY back on track - is that so? And to do this in the midst of a terrorist campaign is possible how?

---------------------------------------------------

There is no other explanation.

American are dying because of a neoconservative theory, and a bungled one at that.

------------------------------------------------------

JAMES - let me further educate you - Americans DIED on 9/11 thanks to a willful ignorance of the gathering danger posed by Islamic facism

You propose we stick our heads back in sand and send CARE packages to Iran et all - so we can duplicate the wonderful rise in the opinion POLLS after the Tsunami

Sounds a little batty to me

You say we need to "win hearts and minds" - by doing what?

What should we do to make the Jihadists like us? What should we do to make the people in the ME hate the jihadists?

Seems to me that extending democracy is a pretty good plan - imperfectly executed but again, what plan survives contact with the enemy ( bet you would want Eisenhowers head in 1944 if you were around then - "what - they didn't know about the Hedgerows - they should be following the Pershing Doctrine!" )

And the JIhadists are blowing up innocent Iraqis and now targetting arab diplomats

Hmmn - maybe its a good thing that arabs are the targets of these terrorists - maybe that will help Joe Muslim to understand that Israel, the US and the West are not the problem - that it is the islamic facists among them that are the problem


I am sure I won't change your opinion James - its been my experience that opinions are quite hard to change

But at least you should know that the "winning hearts and minds" stuff you peddle above may sell among like minded fellow travellers - but when you try to sell it to informed people, its a non-starter

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 7, 2005 02:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You go Pogue. ;-) I think your right to hit on the lack of specificity from the left. I've argue with many leftists in both blog and skin space and that is the thing that bothers me most. Its like wrestling with smoke. You'll make a long argument, end with a throwaway line and they will respond to that line and ignore the point of your post. (thats what luka did with my last significant post) argh.

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at July 7, 2005 03:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I don't expect to get any specific suggestions from James really

I do hope that he takes some time to ponder what his inability to provide any specific suggestions means

And frankly I am interested to know where he gets his Powell Doctrine from - is this some interpetation being peddled?

Next thing it will have 57 points - running the list from how to run prisons in liberated dictatorships ( #33 )to the proper handling of a Koran by an unclean infidel to avoid offending the jihadist prisoners (#45 )

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 7, 2005 03:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tommy G,

Thanks for fronting up. I'm just making the point that a lot of people hear need to take a breath before hitting send sometimes.

Unfortunately I'm neither a cheerleader of the left or right. I oppose the Iraq war, but support the GWOT, although have questions about how effectively its been run. I favour free market based economics, but despair of the general short terminism of most Western Governments around fiscal matters... I try to avoid ideology for the sake of it, and try to operate on a framework lossely based on Utility Theory.

I suppose the same gardening comment could be levelled at those who are cheerleading on the far right too...

But anyway I'm just hoping - particularly given the events in London yesterday that we all remember that for the most part most people here so share similar aims - we're just disagreeing about the best way to acheive those aims - create a safe prosperous environment for ourselves and our children. And to lance the pustule that is Wahabism, and indeed any forms of religious extremism...

I sincerely hope that no one on these boards suffered the loss of friends of family in London yesterday. If so you have my deepest condolences.

Posted by: Aran Brown at July 9, 2005 08:02 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think facing down Saddam and turning Iraq into a battlefield was a genius idea. I keep hearing about how going into Iraq was taking our eyes off the ball, but what were supposed to do if the enemy we are fighting is no state army but a loose condederation of terrorists bound by an ideology rather than a government? You can either start romping across borders and through countries with your soldiers chasing down your leads ( that would feed the hatred of us for a thousand years ) or you can invite your enemy to come to you and knock you off the top of the hill. Now these fighters are dealing with Americans a little better prepared for the meeting than were the ones in New York or Philadelphia.

Saddam wanted to play chicken with us - he lost after a undefeated streak of 10 years. He invited us in. We were grateful for the invite. Libs are upset because they are afraid 1) Bush might win and 2) America could be creating more enemies by fighting them than addressing the root causes of the terrorists plight. Nush must win because a loss for him means we all will suffer long after he is gone - Islamofascism understands nothing but strength and weakness. To debate the root causes for terrorism is futile - they don't hate us for what we do but what we are - they don't want anything from us, they just want us dead. Just ask them, they'll tell you in no uncertain terms.

Posted by: Evrviglnt at July 10, 2005 02:10 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Aran,

I wanted to thank you for your stance against the personal attacks, name calling and insults that have crept into this blog. I share your view that Greg carries on a noble service by maintaining a very high standard of integrity and analysis in his posts. Indeed, I once questioned a little slip of his and he immediatly fessed up. I like that. We all stumble some times.

I feel that Luka makes a valuable contribution here even though I don't often agree with him and he has called me an idiot. However, I have criticized him for the name calling and will continue to do so. He is clearly an intelligent individual and has much to offer. Such is the case with virtually ever poster on this site regardless of perspective. However, some are too quick to rumble.

I am very stimulated by the debate that proceeds here and, perhaps selfishly, I want it to continue as it forces me to think and rethink the issues we discuss. I don't think it too much to ask that we all strive to maintain the very high standards that Greg sets. When the debate becomes personalized, and the dignity degenerates, our contribution to the evolution of better solutions to the problems we discuss is severely compromised. That is an unfortunate cost.

I cannot accept the notion that someone who disagrees with me is somehow defective and worthy of insult. I suspect that this blog is read by many who do not post, but who find the discussion interesting or, dare I say it, helpful in improving their understanding of the issues discussed. I feel that we here have a responsibility to do what we can to elevate our portion of the national dialogue to a standard that hopefully, will be more productive of better, more satisfying solutions. Is that too much to ask?

Michael

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at July 10, 2005 07:21 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Aran,

I wanted to thank you for your stance against the personal attacks, name calling and insults that have crept into this blog. I share your view that Greg carries on a noble service by maintaining a very high standard of integrity and analysis in his posts. Indeed, I once questioned a little slip of his and he immediatly fessed up. I like that. We all stumble some times.

I feel that Luka makes a valuable contribution here even though I don't often agree with him and he has called me an idiot. However, I have criticized him for the name calling and will continue to do so. He is clearly an intelligent individual and has much to offer. Such is the case with virtually ever poster on this site regardless of perspective. However, some are too quick to rumble.

I am very stimulated by the debate that proceeds here and, perhaps selfishly, I want it to continue as it forces me to think and rethink the issues we discuss. I don't think it too much to ask that we all strive to maintain the very high standards that Greg sets. When the debate becomes personalized, and the dignity degenerates, our contribution to the evolution of better solutions to the problems we discuss is severely compromised. That is an unfortunate cost.

I cannot accept the notion that someone who disagrees with me is somehow defective and worthy of insult. I suspect that this blog is read by many who do not post, but who find the discussion interesting or, dare I say it, helpful in improving their understanding of the issues discussed. I feel that we here have a responsibility to do what we can to elevate our portion of the national dialogue to a standard that hopefully, will be more productive of better, more satisfying solutions. Is that too much to ask?

Michael

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at July 10, 2005 07:21 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sorry for the double post.

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at July 10, 2005 07:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hi Michael,

Thanks for that - I do share your sentiments and indeed I spend my time on this site as I wish to improve my understanding of foreign affairs and the events that shape the world we live in.

It does however Irk me when those on the right by and large continually suggest that opposition to the war somehow equate to a desire to see America defeated and being an sympathiser for Muslim extremists. Whilst I was opposed to the war on various ground most have been hashed and rehashed numerous times here, at the same time I have no wish to see America stuck in a long term conflict, or win a Pyhrric Victory. The stakes, as we have seen from Thursday's disgusting attacks in London, are simply too high.

The only comment I have to make on the attacks other than offering the victims my deepest sympathies, is that it shows more than ever the importance of Sun Tzu's exhortation to know your enemy. The better we know and understand this enemy the better we will be able to combat them. Simply condemning them as warped and twisted extremists wont cut it. We know this to be true but without a real understanding of what drives them, and the environment that creates them, we cannot find effective ways to end the threat...

Posted by: Aran Brown at July 10, 2005 11:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Test
Test

Test Test testy-test test

Posted by: red at July 16, 2005 01:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The rain in spain falls mainly on the drain

Posted by: red 2 at July 16, 2005 01:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The rain in spain falls mainly on the drain

Posted by: red 3 at July 16, 2005 01:24 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
Reviews of Belgravia Dispatch
"Awake"
--New York Times
"Must-read list"
--Washington Times
"Pompous Ass"
--an anonymous blogospheric commenter
Recent Entries
Search
English Language Media
Foreign Affairs Commentariat
Non-English Language Press
U.S. Blogs
Columnists
Think Tanks
Law & Finance
Security
Books
The City
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
B.D. In the Press
Archives
Categories
Syndicate this site:
XML RSS RDF

G2E

Powered by