September 15, 2003

Ted Rall: Left-wing Terror Apologist

Ted Rall demonstrates how the far-left meets the far-right on the nasty side of the political circle.

NEW YORK--Nearly 70 percent of Americans tell Newsweek that "the United States will be bogged down in [Iraq] for years without achieving its goals." Yet 61 percent tell the same poll that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. The reason for this weird disconnect: people think that we're in Iraq to spread democracy and rebuild the Middle East. They think we're The Good Guys.
You mean, we’re the Bad Guys? I thought Saddam Hussein was the bad guy. His complaint department was a machine gun and a tree shredder.
But the longer we keep patting ourselves on the back, the more we tell ourselves that the Iraqi resistance is a bunch of evil freedom-haters, the deeper we'll sink into this quagmire.
Well, considering that the “Iraqi resistance” is made up of Baath Party remnants and foreign theocratic jihadists, I’d say they are a bunch of evil freedom haters.
It's time to get real.
How do we get real, Ted? Tell us.
In war, the side that most accurately sizes up the situation ultimately prevails. In this war in Iraq, our leaders thought the fall of Baghdad meant the end of the conflict. "Mission accomplished," as the banner behind George W. Bush read on the aircraft carrier.
So far, so good.
But Saddam understood the truth: the war began with the occupation.
Let’s just say the war continued with the occupation. Unless you think “Shock and Awe” and a ground invasion was something other than war.
Guerilla warfare offered the only way for Iraq's tiny, poorly armed military to resist the U.S. The Baath Party planned to provoke U.S. occupation forces into mistreating the population.
Actually, the Baath Party is mistreating the population, just as it has been for decades now. You know, poison gas, mass graves, rape as policy, all that.
It worked.
Random bombings and sniper hits have made the American occupiers jittery and paranoid. They've withdrawn into fortified cantonments where they've cut off contact with civilians.
Any evidence for this? No. I didn’t think so. It’s just a baseless assertion.
Their ignorance causes them to offend Iraqi cultural and religious sensibilities.
How can we do that if we have cut off contact with civilians as you claim above?
Even better, from Saddam's perspective, U.S. troops push people around: shooting unarmed motorists, stealing their money and jewelry at roadblocks, breaking into houses in the middle of the night, manhandling wives and daughters, putting bags over men's heads and carrying them off to God knows where for who knows how long.
I can’t stick up for manhandling or stealing jewelry. But the shooting of an unarmed motorist is obviously an accident and a mistake, unlike what used to happen in that country six months ago. And carrying off Baath Party suspects in the middle of the night isn’t exactly a good thing “even better, from Saddam’s perspective,” as you claim.
"U.S. troops put their boots on the back of men's heads as they lay face down, forcing their foreheads to the ground," the Associated Press' Scheherezade Faramarzi writes about the procedure used by U.S. troops during sweeps. "There is no greater humiliation...because Islam forbids putting the forehead on the ground except in prayer." Amnesty International says the U.S. subjects Iraqi prisoners to "cruel, inhuman or degrading" conditions.

In Iraq, we are the bad guys.

Compared to whom? The Baath Party “resistance”? Because they are humiliated when we crack down on them? Seriously, Ted, boo hoo.
What about the "terrorists" who bombed the U.N. headquarters and Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, who sabotage oil and water pipelines, who use rifles and rocket-propelled grenades and remote-controlled mines to kill our soldiers?
So, terrorists who massacre UN humanitarian workers get quote marks. They are “terrorists,” not terrorists, meaning they really aren’t terrorists. They are something else.
Aren't these "killers" evil, "killing people who just want to help," as another AP writer puts it?
What, they aren’t even killers now? The people who killed Sérgio Vieira de Mello are merely “killers.”
In short: no.
No! They aren’t killers, they aren’t evil, and Sérgio Vieira de Mello wasn’t really there to help.
The ad hoc Iraqi resistance is comprised of indigenous fighters ranging from secular ex-Republican Guards to radical Islamist Shiites, as well as foreign Arab volunteers waging the same brand of come-one-come-all jihad that the mujahedeen fought against Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan.
Yes, that’s true. And this acknowledgement of reality makes me pretty concerned about what I know is coming down below…
While one can dismiss foreign jihadis as naïve adventurers, honest Americans should call native Iraqi resistance fighters by a more fitting name: Iraqi patriots.
Jumping Jeebus on a pogo stick. Theocratic fundamentalists and genocidal killers are “patriots.” No wonder Ted Rall despises patriotism here in America. He really believes patriotism is terror.
I collect propaganda posters. One of my favorites, from World War II, depicts a strapping young SS officer holding a smiling local kid in his arms. "Trust the German soldier," the caption exhorts citizens of occupied France. But when liberation came in 1945, Frenchmen who had obeyed that poster were shot as collaborators.
Yes, Ted. That’s because the Nazis were totalitarian fascists and race murderers, not because they were foreign.
The men and women who resisted--the "terrorists" who shot German soldiers, cut phone lines and bombed trains--received medals and pensions.
That’s because they fought for freedom, Ted, and against fascists.
Invaders always say that they come as liberators, but it's almost never true.
Every single poll of Iraqis thus far shows that Iraqis think we are liberators. Don’t listen to me, listen to them.
Whether you live in Paris or Baghdad or New York, you're expected to know that, and to act accordingly. "We want deeds, not words," says Abu Mohammad, a retired teacher about our inability (unwillingness?) to restore basic services to the city of Baghdad.
We are unable to restore basic services because “Iraqi patriots” keeping sabotaging the infrastructure.
Here are our deeds: Talking about democracy as we cancel elections.
Guarding the oil ministry building while museums are sacked.
The museums weren’t sacked, Ted. That’s a hoax. Come on, man.
Exporting Iraqi oil to Turkey as Iraqis suffer fuel and power shortages.
Iraqis need money. They can get some by selling their oil.
Iraq's natural resources are being raped.
How so?
Its people are being murdered.
Yes, by “Iraqi patriots.”
Yet it's the patriotic Iraqi resistance, which is trying to stop these outrages by throwing out the perpetrators of an illegal war of aggression, that the Bush Administration dares call "terrorists."
Should I even dare to continue?
On July 5 a bomb killed seven recruits for a U.S.-trained Iraqi police force in Ramadi. U.S. occupation administrator Paul Bremer deplored the murder of "innocent Iraqis." Cops who work for a foreign army of occupation are not innocent. They are collaborators. Traitors. They had it coming.
Ted Rall started out as a liberal American. But he ended as a supporter and spokesman for terror.

UPDATE: Court at Miniluv has more on this sort of thing.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 15, 2003 09:35 PM

That Mr. Rall is an easy target doesn't diminish my admiration for the surgeon's skill in slicing him into ribbons. Nicely done, Mr. Totten.

Posted by: Beldar at September 15, 2003 11:56 PM

We need a new party for the sane people in the middle.

Posted by: Court at September 16, 2003 12:08 AM

This guy sounds like he's in a time warp. Maybe he's a cryogenic experiment from 1971.

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at September 16, 2003 12:37 AM

"They had it coming"

oh boy

But the far left 'really supports the troops and just wants out boys and girls home!'

Sorry Michael, but guys like Rall make me soo damn happy. Makes you liberal's moderatly disagreeable positions look like they were concieved on freaking Mars.

Posted by: TCallion at September 16, 2003 05:38 AM

I have not seen anything of American Soldiers robbing citizens. I know that the Army would take care of them right proper, in Leavenworth(sp).

As far as no contact, that is indeed false, there is a Web Log of an intelligence officer somewhere talking about having meetings with Iraqis all day. Them bringing food to the soldiers and trying to help locate the bad guys.

This man is full of it, as Michael pointed out so well.

Hear hear.

Posted by: James Stephenson at September 16, 2003 06:43 AM

Hey, what do you expect from a guy who whines about the Crushing of Dissent™, while he actually sued a guy for mocking him in public.

Moral consistency?

Posted by: Bill Herbert at September 16, 2003 06:53 AM

What would happen if Ted Rall and Michael Moore had themselves a love child?

Posted by: Ian Wood at September 16, 2003 06:56 AM

"What would happen if Ted Rall and Michael Moore had themselves a love child?"

He would be named Noam Chomsky.

Posted by: ChomskyFan at September 16, 2003 07:05 AM

So, I'm curious Michael. Do you believe that people like Riverbend and Salam Pax are hoaxes, perhaps Baathists spreading propaganda? They claim to be Iraqis, with probably a better idea of what's going on than either you or Ted Rall. And while they don't take Rall's position in blatantly siding with the Iraqi resistance, they also would vehemently deny that everything is as rosily black-and-white as you seem to feel.

Posted by: Xthlc at September 16, 2003 07:32 AM

There's a better word for the people who caused the death of Sérgio Vieira de Mello and his associates in Baghdad: ASSASSINS! And Ted Rall's screed was totally ridiculous even before your fisking.:)

Posted by: Bloodthirsty Warmonger at September 16, 2003 07:58 AM

I yield to no man first place in the line that loathes Ted Rall. I claim it for myself and myself alone. That said, you must know that this insect mind is unworthy of your talents.

He fisks himself.

What he is good for is to remind everyone that vileness persists.

As for making sense of his emissions, well, it is a case of fish. barrel. bang!

Posted by: Vanderleun at September 16, 2003 08:06 AM

I simply an unable to fisk Mr. Rall in any short amount of time, in much the same way that I am unable to empty the ocean with a bucket. The size of the bucket becomes irrelevant after a while.

Except to say that his quote "In war, the side that most accurately sizes up the situation ultimately prevails." is pretty patently untrue. To be sure, intelligence and understanding are useful, but they also exist in a context of tempo, doctrine, training and a whole host of other factors. In other words, it is entirely possible to be able to read the writing on the wall and still be unable to do anything about it.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation at September 16, 2003 08:36 AM

Xthlc: vehemently deny that everything is as rosily black-and-white as you seem to feel.

The terrorist have a point? Is that really what you're saying?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 16, 2003 09:11 AM

If he thinks that the new Iraqi police had it coming, (deserved to die!) for wanting to serve their own people, then it is clear: he thinks Saddam has more moral authority than the USA. He thinks that they were better off with him.

Rall, we're not the bad guy. You are.

What an evil twisted goon. I have to confess I am struggling with violent images in my head against Rall. If he ever goes to Iraq and says how he feels, I wouldn't be surprised if the Iraqis abandonded him in the desert.

It's sad, but there are those in our society who will put more weight in what he says, a sub-par cartoonist with no clue, than people like Rice or Powell or Rumsfeld. I see a certain continuity between his attitude and the position of C Amanpour-- that CNN was "intimidated" by Bush but says nothing about Saddam, although Eason Jordan confessed to inacurate reportage under Saddam's minders. A freakish myopia.

Michael, I am glad you're around. I hope you send your reply to the editors that posted that piece of crap. All the best to you.

PS- Got out to Eastern Oregon last week.

Posted by: Bleeding Heart Conservative at September 16, 2003 09:35 AM

That was beautiful!

Posted by: Plunge at September 16, 2003 09:51 AM
Monday's killing of Ali underlines the risks facing Iraqis in the area, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in Iraq, when they join U.S.-backed security forces that the Americans have set up with the aim of allowing them to gradually take over security.

In many cases, they are seen as collaborators who sold out in exchange for an income at a time when unemployment in Iraq is as high as 60 percent.

``We are not in the police to serve the Americans, but to protect our community,'' said Abdel-Salam Elaiwah, a policeman from Khaldiya. ``Those who attack us are just thieves.''

Not patriots, thieves.,1280,-3154336,00.html

Posted by: Bleeding Heart Conservative at September 16, 2003 10:13 AM

White becomes black and black becomes white, right becomes wrong and wrong becomes right.
Un. Friggin. Believable. Lock and load gentelmen.

Posted by: jak at September 16, 2003 10:40 AM

That has to be the best example of a line-by-line response I have ever seen.


Posted by: Roark at September 16, 2003 11:29 AM

That just floors me. And so does the idea of a true centrist party.

Rational libertarians, moderate liberals and centrist republicans with the religous right thrown out.

A true, democratic party with sanity, freedom, responsibility and humanity at its core.

Posted by: scotty the body at September 16, 2003 11:47 AM

Michael: The terrorist have a point? Is that really what you're saying?

Not every Arab with a gun is a terrorist, Michael.
And you failed to answer my question.

There are certainly terrorists among the factions in Iraq right now. They are committing acts of terrible violence against their own people, in order to create fear and unrest, to aggravate their countrymen's extant distrust in the American ability to govern and rebuild. These are the terrorists.

There are also groups waging guerilla war, mostly ethnic factions and other nationalists. They attack US military personnel and equipment, and kidnap and murder those they perceive as collaborating with the occupation forces. These are guerillas.

Your dismissal of Rall's assertions implies that you consider these two categories of resistance to be one and the same. That's a dangerous and ignorant mistake. While some groups are probably engaging in both activities, their place in public perception and the means by which we must fight them are radically different.

The terrorists in Iraq can be fought by restoring services, establishing order and security (which is currently minimal at best), making sure people have enough to eat, and giving people hope for the future. You fight terrorists by fighting fear, by coming down hard and replacing chaos with order.

Nationalists can only be fought be restoring the rule of law, giving the Iraqi people self- determination and control over their own destinies. It means raising up leaders from the Iraqi people instead of appointing opportunistic scum like Al-Chalabi. It means local elections, punishment for US soldiers who steal and kill, and a UN occupation force instead of a US one.

No, I don't believe the terrorists have a valid point. But the nationalists do. The Iraqi people deserve a say in their own future; what they're getting are appointed toadies, thieving and murdering soldiers, and family disappearing in the night. Until we address these problems, the nationalists will find Iraqi public opinion a fertile ground.

Posted by: Xthlc at September 16, 2003 12:14 PM

Scotty - I've spent time in 49 States (not Alaska, yet) and your - "Rational libertarians, moderate liberals and centrist republicans with the religous right thrown out.

A true, democratic party with sanity, freedom, responsibility and humanity at its core." - pretty well describes my experience of Average America.

Posted by: Stephen Meyer at September 16, 2003 12:24 PM

XTHLC,Instapundit's archives--you know the URL--has a rich and varied link array of people and reports, as equally grassroots as Salam Pax, that say things in Iraq are improving. They seem to be credible, non-Republican party aligned observations. No one serious says it Iraq is a wonderful Buelah land, a paradise with a rich resource base to boot.

Things are hard there now, per Salam Pax. No one disagrees. ALso per Salam Pax, things are improving. This is called a mixed bag, trending towards the upside.

No one serious denies there are problems; no one serious thinks that the U.S. doesn't have its work cut out. But we are readying 87 billion in expenditures, we have hundreds of thousands of troops there...this is not Stalingrad, it is not even Beirut..

The way I read what's coming out of Iraq is that civil society in that land--a land that has been kept face down in the mud for 35 years plus by one of the top 10 butchers in recorded history--is slowly and surely begining to emerge. They have newspapers, they are free of mass get the drift.

Posted by: rod boyd at September 16, 2003 01:39 PM

Xthlc, your basic position--that there are terrorists and there are non-terrorists currently conducting violence in Iraq--is true, and widely acknowledged. Terrorists blow up mosques. Non-terrorists fire RPG's at tanks. Fine.

However, your statement that "terrorists in Iraq can be fought by restoring services," et cetera, is so incredibly wrongheaded it makes me want to spit nails.

You don't "fight terrorists" by complying with their agenda. That's not "fighting." That's appeasement.

Now, in this case, it's complicated, because we're doing all that stuff you talked about already. Yes, security in Iraq is minimal; that's because we're turning it into a free country, not a police state. And the reason there haven't been elections is because there is no facility in Iraq for holding elections. Hell, they don't even have electoral districts. We're having to start completely from scratch, and it's a slow process.

Every single Iraqi ministry is being run by an Iraqi-appointed Iraqi today. That's a big deal. Don't dismiss it.

And as for the scary rhetoric, of course the terrorists have a point. That's what makes them terrorists, as opposed to just criminals. They've got a point. They've got an agenda. They're trying to affect political or social change. And, in some cases, their points might even be legitimate. But that doesn't change the fact that you do not comply with terrorist agendas, ever, under any circumstances. Doing so only legitimizes further terrorism.

Have you ever heard the old saying, "Add a teaspoon of shit to a gallon of ice cream and you end up with a gallon of shit?" It's apt. Take a perfectly legitimate political cause and add a single act of terrorism by its supporters, and you end up with... well, with a gallon of shit.

(Oh, one more thing: there will, of course, be no UN occupation force in Iraq. No way, no how. If you want to know why, first review the newspapers for late 2002 and early 2003, and then refresh your memory on a little entity called UNEF and how effective they were in maintaining a cease-fire in the Suez Peninsula in 1967.)

(Sorry for the long comment. I had a lot to say, as usual.)

Posted by: Jeff Harrell at September 16, 2003 01:57 PM

There is a distinction between Guerilla and Terrorist tactics - this is true, but it doesn't necessarily follow that terrorism can be much better fought by non-violent means than can guerilla attacks.

For instance, I don't recal (and I could be wrong here) that any of the terrorist attacks committed by the IRA, ETA Basque Seperatists, RAF Baader-Meinhof Gang, et al., were ever caused by electrical outages. Simply assuming that returning the country to a ante Bellum standard of living is not necessairily sufficient or necessary.

The counterpoint is, however, that military means alone aren't going to win this either. In much the same way that our "shooters" are more effective when supported by logistics, intelligence, local liasons, reconnaissance, psyops and a whole host of non-combat support units, the fight against terrorism cannot rely on shooting alone.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation at September 16, 2003 04:01 PM


"rosily black-and-white"?

Egad. I'm calling the Bad Metaphor Police right away.

Posted by: Oberon at September 16, 2003 04:10 PM

Scotty - I've spent time in 49 States (not Alaska, yet) and your - "Rational libertarians, moderate liberals and centrist republicans with the religous right thrown out.

A true, democratic party with sanity, freedom, responsibility and humanity at its core." - pretty well describes my experience of Average America.

Which is exactly my point. Neither party really represents any of us. I have a problem with associating with Republicans because of the religious right aspect, and I'm sure some democrats have a problem associating with the Democrats because of some of their far-left people. Yet we are basically forced into one or the other. If we had another option that was more in the middle, I think it would be quite popular. It's too bad it's almost impossible to get started.

Posted by: Court at September 16, 2003 04:39 PM

If anyone is interested, the blog for the intelligence officer mentioned by James Stephenson is:

It is a facinating and informative read, updates a couple of times a week. If you visit, go back and read as many of the old posts as possible. This is the REAL story about what is going on over there.

Posted by: Michael J Taylor at September 16, 2003 05:44 PM


This is just a hack opinion, but it seems to me that moderates/centrists tend to lack the kind of fire that draws people to grassroots political organizing on one side or the other. You can stand on a box on the corner and shout at the top of your lungs, "for God's sake, be reasonable!"--almost everybody will agree with you, but who's going to come to your rally?

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at September 16, 2003 06:49 PM

"In war, the side that most accurately sizes up the situation ultimately prevails."

Actually this is a whole cartload of manure. War goes back millenia and here are some examples that disprove the notion:
1. Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by...
2. Swiss Pikemen
3. Any US Marines surrounded in the 20th Century
4. The United Kingdom in the Napoleonic Wars

In all these instances, rational assessment was irrelevant. Morale triumphed over simple assessment and overwhelming force. What matters in war is will and the ability to apply it. What Ted Rall is trying to do is diminish our morale and will to satisfy his political position. At our current levels of loss, we can hold Iraq until the next millenium without serious harm to the nation.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at September 16, 2003 06:52 PM

Ah, Ted Rall: I see that he hasn't changed much - well, at all - from when I stopped reading him (vitriol is one thing, unimaginative vitriolic drivel is another).

Posted by: Moe Lane at September 16, 2003 07:25 PM

Ted Rall is insane. He seriously compares the United States of America to Nazi Germany. Nothing more needs be said.

Posted by: Doug at September 16, 2003 08:13 PM

If I had a time machine, I'd go get a resident of Berlin circa 1948, show them present-day Iraq, and broadcast their opinions of how "slowly" we're rebuilding the country.

Posted by: Squander Two at September 17, 2003 05:09 AM

------- WOW -------

Posted by: Gaijin at September 17, 2003 06:14 AM

I notice that Rall is now bylined as the author of an Afghani travelogue book, and not the author of "Gas War: The Truth Behind the American Occupation of Afghanistan". Which posited that we went to Afghanistan in order to build a pipeline that still hasn't been started and that nobody has plans to start. As late as two months ago that was still the book reference in his mini-bio...

Every American should punch Ted Rall flat in the effing mouth. As long as he has front teeth there is not justice in this world.

Posted by: Undertoad at September 17, 2003 06:53 AM

"We support our troops...."
Knew that wouldn't last long. Another month or so, and the leftists will start looking for a Mai Lai.
Another party?
No, let the Dems have their Buchanan Moment (um, probably next convention), then let Liberals take back the party.

Posted by: beets at September 17, 2003 09:01 AM

I remember when Ferdinand Marcos was ousted as President For Life of the Phillipines. I was heartened when Corazon Aquino became President, a good and decent woman who had truly fought for peace and freedom. But I didn't get really encouraged about the Phillipines until I saw her hand over office peacefully. The orderly and legal transfer of power is what told me things were really going well.

Bringing democracy to Iraq is going to take a long time, because it's going to take more than holding an election. They've had elections before, and the salient point about them has been that if you openly supported the "wrong" side, then you and your family and half of your friends were likely to be murdered. Iraqis will have to stop fearing this for democracy to take hold, and what that will take is for several elections to be held in which the losing side remains perfectly safe. They will have to see officials hold power, use it responsibly, lose elections, hand over power to their opponents, and not get brutalized. This will take several election cycles, one election will not do it, and that will take years.

We must be patient.

Posted by: Steve Teeter at September 17, 2003 09:22 AM

We were told, repeatedly, that we wouldn't have to be. Of course, we were told a lot of things.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 17, 2003 10:07 AM


Who told you we wouldn't have to be patient? Surely you are smart enough to reject such atrocious advice.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2003 10:39 AM

Kimmit was told by his 'outerself'

Explanation of an 'outerself';
An outerself is the imaginary being that tells liberals the things that they WISHED the opposition said. i.e. Since we DO have to be patient in dealing with Iraq Liberals WISH that we were told not to be patient in order to make others look bad. Therefore a liberals 'outerself' appears and repeats the statement until the lib believes it. When questioned later, they can never recall who said the untrue statement due to the 'outerselfs' trickery, but it must be true because they heared it!

Posted by: TCallion at September 17, 2003 01:04 PM

No one authorized to speak on the subject told us Iraq would be rebuilt as a free society overnight. In fact, it was you and others like you who wailed about quagmire, and are now wailing about other things because it didn't turn into one. A glance at your website, and the (lack of) comments on your "thoughts", indicates you're probably very angry because no one listens to you. There appears to be good reason for this. Good luck with your graduate studies in economics; here in the real world we just can't hire your type fast enough.

Posted by: Rob at September 17, 2003 01:40 PM

Please. Any given random vanity blog doesn't get many comments until and unless it catches on. Save your dime-store psychoanalysis.

We were promised a short result by Rumsfeld; we were told that it would be entirely paid for by oil from Pearle; and Wolfowitz ridiculed Shinseki's occupation opinion.

Now, a lot of folks here know better than to trust what the Administration says. But the American public does not share that view, and the Administration held as a unit that occupation would likely be short and that even if it were extended, it would be inexpensive.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 17, 2003 02:05 PM

We were promised a short result by Rumsfeld;

(Buzzer!) Sorry, try again. Here's a link to the actual source material: a rational look at it will indicate that he was clearly comparing the length of the possible ground conflict in Gulf War II to the length of the ground conflict in Gulf War I, not the whole shebang - which would be an impossible comparison, as Gulf War I did not include occupation duty.

The other stuff I won't comment on, as the Pearle item is blocked by my work's software and the Wolfowitz item is a summary of an article: I can say neither aye nor nay to your opinions on them. But look somewhere else if you want to prove that Rumsfeld offered us a short occupation.

Posted by: Moe Lane at September 17, 2003 02:24 PM


Rumsfeld was not referring to rebuilding and de-Baathification. He was referring to regime-change, which did come rapidly.

Perle may have thought oil money could finance the whole thing, but I'm very glad that's not the case. My biggest worry was that the Bush Administration would become penny-pinchers instead of Marshall planners, and I'm glad I was wrong about that.

Your Wolfowitz link is dead, so I can't comment on it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2003 02:43 PM

I also seem to remember the president saying, several times on the tube -- especially about an hour before the first strike on Saddam himself -- that Iraq would not necessarily be easy.

Posted by: Mason at September 17, 2003 02:59 PM


If the first link in your post is any indication, you either have a reading comprehension problem or you're being disingenuous when you say "Rumsfeld promised us a short result." Rumsfeld said that the use of force would be short.

Two longer cites from the article:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld predicted Thursday that a war with Iraq -- if there is one, he stressed -- would not turn into World War III.

"I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won't last any longer than that," he said in an hour-long radio interview for Infinity Broadcasting.


Rumsfeld said that if coalition forces had to go to war with Iraq, there would be a period of time after the fighting in which those forces would have to remain in the country to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction, provide humanitarian assistance, and assist "some sort of provisional government of Iraqis" that would find its way to power.

"Absent a dictator, absent the Saddam Hussein regime, our goal would be first to have a single country, not have a country broken up into pieces, it would be to see that it would be a country without weapons of mass destruction, a country that did not try to impose its will upon its neighbors and it was a country that was respectful of the rights of minorities and the ethnic groups that exist in the country," Rumsfeld said.

Please try again.

And for what it's worth, I didn't know that university HAD a graduate Economics program. I certainly hope you got a scholarship and aren't paying for that degree. In my experience if you don't get a full ride to a top-20 school, the present value of your graduate education in Economics will be negative.

Posted by: DrSteve at September 17, 2003 03:01 PM


This guy sounds like he's in a time warp. Maybe he's a cryogenic experiment from 1971.

You're not going back far enough. All of this propoganda is essentially Soviet era propoganda that has been recycled by Chomsky, Zinn and lesser lights like Rall.

Its all BS written by the KGB 50 years ago but doesn't sound as threatening when translated from the original Russian.

To get the full effect, Rall should be pictured pounding his shoe on a podium Kruschev style.

Posted by: HA at September 17, 2003 06:25 PM

The first quote is ambiguous. This quote is not. Rumsfeld makes clear that he expects a functioning representative Iraqi government within "months." Now, one could state that "months" could mean anything, but most folks interpret it as "less than a year."

We were sold a short war with few casualties (which, thankfully, we got) and a short occupation with little cost (which we most certainly did not).

Separately, since I wish to work as a professional economist, the satisfaction I gain from my work (not to mention the pleasure I currently take from my studies) should tide me over. I appreciate your concern on my behalf, and if it will put your mind to rest, I assure you that I am receiving a full tuition waiver and stipend in exchange for executing my duties as a Teaching Assistant.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 17, 2003 07:09 PM

"Over some period of months" is the quote, Kimmitt. I suppose that if you're desperate, you could say that means "less than a year"; but it doesn't mean that. It means "some period of months". And that's all.

Posted by: Phil Smith at September 17, 2003 08:06 PM

The first quote is ambiguous. This quote is not. Rumsfeld makes clear that he expects a functioning representative Iraqi government within "months."

Geez, Kimmitt, learn to read. Here's the context (bold quotes to spell out stuff):

And the task is to create an environment that is sufficiently permissive that the Iraqi people can fashion a new government. And what they will do is come together in one way or another and select an interim authority of some kind. Then that group will propose a constitution and a more permanent authority of some kind. And over some period of months, the Iraqis will have their government selected by Iraqi people.

This is all in response to Chalabi's video clip, which says ... wait, we'll post that, too:

RUSSERT: So you believe that General Garner's job will be finished in a few weeks, and then the Americans can leave?

CHALABI: Americans are--I'm not saying that Americans can leave. I am saying that the Iraqi interim authority will be able to function. It is the U.S. plan to have General Garner finish quickly, and that is the decision of the U.S. government. Their government has also decided to support the establishment of the Iraqi interim authority. We're happy about that, and we will work to do so.

The interim authority will draft a constitution, put it to public referendum. Once the constitution is approved, we will have free elections, and there will be a freely and democratically elected government.

This process should be under two years, and I think the U.S. forces should remain in Iraq until the first democratic government is installed in Baghdad.

You'll note that Rumsfeld wasn't disagreeing with Chalabi's sequence of necessary actions: indeed, his remarks were clearly referencing them.

So, the progression:

1). Interim authority.
2). Constitution and permanent authority.
3). New government a few months after that.

Hint: this is still step 1: step 2 is still being worked on (there's some potential meat for your Bush-bashing in there, so be sure to click the link). Once that's done, we go to step 3.

(shaking head) Well, at least we got you to use a real source this time.

Posted by: Moe Lane at September 17, 2003 08:10 PM

Ted Rall has been hard to defend since he started picking on 9/11 widows - however the museums were looted - there are still 10, 000 objects outstanding acourding to this .

Posted by: Duncan Young at September 17, 2003 08:38 PM

Ahem, you mean someone's surprised the Rall is a terror apologist?

The guy urged people not to support our troops, for goodness sakes.

He's just your random nut-case & little else (except other nut-cases usually have talent).

Posted by: RW at September 18, 2003 07:00 AM

Rumsfeld made quite clear in context that the entire process -- declaration of end of conquest, interim authority, constitution, elections -- was supposed to take "months," and you laid out that it was supposed to take at most "two years."

Does anyone here really think that we'll be in Iraq for only two years?

We can quibble about specifics, but the theme is unchallengable -- we were promised a short, inexpensive occupation by the Administration. That is why the American people expect a short, inexpensive occupation.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 18, 2003 02:29 PM

Hey Mike,

Bravo! Helluva job on that Fisking. Ted Rall is a raving idiot, and his columns are my comic relief. Thanks for feeding his dumb-a$$ ideas into a paper shredder. If this was Saddam's Iraq and he dissed the Pres like that, he would not be singing the same tune, that's for sure. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Chris Whittaker at September 18, 2003 04:16 PM

Rumsfeld made quite clear in context that the entire process -- declaration of end of conquest, interim authority, constitution, elections -- was supposed to take "months," and you laid out that it was supposed to take at most "two years."

Fascinating. Were you hoping that no-one will notice that your response simply reiterates your assertion without any attempt to prove it from the text - which wouldn't surprise me, 'cuz you actually can't - or were you just assuming that people have gotten used to the fact that your loathing for this current administration transcends all logic or reason and comes perilously close to violating the laws of physics, and so wouldn't call you on it?

Does anyone here really think that we'll be in Iraq for only two years?

As for the second... sorry, my name ain't Chalabi. I simply reprinted what he said; my opinions on how long this occupation's going to last are irrelevant to the actual point: which is that you are either stubbornly or knowingly misreading what Rumsfeld actually said. You're still doing it, only now you've expanded out past the SecDef and are now trying it on your fellow-posters. Well done.

We can quibble about specifics, but the theme is unchallengable -- we were promised a short, inexpensive occupation by the Administration. That is why the American people expect a short, inexpensive occupation.

Contrary to certain subculture's popular superstitions, you cannot in point of fact retroactively make something turn out to be true by wishing for it hard enough. The theme is indeed challengable - indeed, your 'evidence' for it is very easily challengable - but, alas, your disinclination to retreat from an untenable position is apparently not.


Posted by: Moe Lane at September 18, 2003 05:34 PM

You mean, we’re the Bad Guys?

Lots and lots of Iraqis seem to think so.

They seem to be credible, non-Republican party aligned observations.

Written by Instapundit's friend's brother's dog.

But Michael hasn't answered Xthlc's question:

"Do you believe that people like Riverbend and Salam Pax are hoaxes, perhaps Baathists spreading propaganda?"

But obviously he knows the situation far far better than random Iraqis. In Iraq.

Posted by: ahem at September 18, 2003 06:18 PM


Do I think Salam Pax is a hoax? Goodness, no. I just heard him a few hours ago on NPR.

I don't claim to know the situation in Iraq better than Iraqis. So I let Iraqis explain it to me.

Here's the lastest, from an Iraqi woman named Sama, quoted by Johann Hari.
I find it absolutely incredible that the anti-war people are now calling for the coalition to leave straight away. Nobody in Iraq wants that. The opinion polls show it's just 13 per cent. Don't they care about the Iraqi people and what they want at all? This isn't a game. This isn't about poking a stick at George Bush. This is our lives.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 19, 2003 12:54 AM

I keep reading comments like .."thieving soldiers" and I must jump in. First, I am a retired soldier (retired 2 years ago from one of the units currently deployed) some of the deployed soldiers are my personal friends. The company I work for has several technicians deployed all over the country and I speak to them several times a week. I am currently scheduled to deploy in the spring. Please give a specific instance of an American or British soldier that has stolen from Iraqi civilians. There were several that tried to keep found cash (remember the millions in cash found on the early days of the occupation?) Those soldiers were looting found cash and still ended in FT Leavenworth. Please name a single instance of a UN occupation that resulted in a democratic country. I can mention at least 3 cases of US occupation that resulted in a democracy. Germany, Japan, South Korea. To those of you that demand we leave Iraq now, a bit of history. The US Army occupied liberated South Korea after WWII. Based on a UN agreement, the US established a Korean police force in South Korea and then left. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, established an army in the north. Less than a year after we left South Korea, the north, backed by Soviet equipment and Chinese troops invaded the south. The result was TF Smith, a failed UN response with US troops to retake the peninsula. This led to the Korean War. If we leave Iraq now, what is there to stop Syria from claiming Iraq as a new territory, or Iran from invading southern Iraq, or Turkey from invading the Kurdish north? What would the results of those actions be? A series of ineffective UN resolutions? A re-invasion of Iraq but now including Syria and Iran? A direct war with Turkey, a NATO member, resulting in bringing European troops in direct warfare against US troops? What would you say then? Can you spell ARMAGEDON?

Posted by: Rey F. Arbolay at September 19, 2003 10:15 AM


I'm glad to hear about the stipend, sincerely. Hawaii sounds like a nice place to "consume" a graduate program, as long as you're clear on what you're doing there.

I tend to think I pay some considerable attention to what the Administration says, as a person generally in support of their positions. And I don't think I was "sold" any of the things it is the constant refrain from some quarters that I was. Maybe it's because my wife's in international development, and actually involved in matters of this kind, but no one in that community who's receiving USAID money has had any illusions about how long it's supposed to take.

Of course, if the administration had said "years and years" every time they'd spoken on the subject, the charge would be that we had colonial intentions towards Iraq, or that it was "all about the OOOILLLLL." As is so often the case on the left, both A and not-A imply evildoing by the class enemy.

Posted by: DrSteve at September 19, 2003 11:16 AM

No one I know expected us to be out of Iraq in anything less than a half-dozen years (at minimum), and abandoning Iraq now or at any point in the forseeable future would more or less inevitably lead to great horror.

But then, I'm not part of the 50% of the American public which was apparently suprised enough about the $87 billion request to believe that the Bush Administration should not be granted it. The Administration did not come clean about the likely timetable and costs of the war (or simply did not want to think about it), and so the public is not familiar with it. You can quibble with me about what the definition of "months" is, or try to get around Rumsfeld's confident "two years" prediction, but my other quotes have not been challenged; the Administration, when making the case for this war, used the fact that the occupation was expected to be brief and inexpensive as part of the justification.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 19, 2003 12:52 PM

"You can quibble with me about what the definition of 'months' is, or try to get around Rumsfeld's confident 'two years' prediction..."

Wasn't it Chalabi who referred to "two years"? Or would that be "trying to get around Rumsfeld's confident 'two years' prediction?"

You'll make a hell of an economist, Kimmit.

Posted by: lyle rath at September 19, 2003 06:35 PM

Someone said the Wolfowitz link is dead; I'm showing it as live.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 19, 2003 09:25 PM

Nobody said it was rosy.

Everyone is just commenting about how much of an idiot he is to think that terrorists are "Iraqi Patriots". Why would an Iraqi Patriot attack his own resources, oil they need for money, Shiite clerics, and the like? They are flat out evil.

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions"

Posted by: Greg at September 22, 2003 11:11 AM


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