August 04, 2007

Thank You All

by Michael J. Totten

I want to say thanks to everyone for being patient while blogging is slow, and thanks even more to those of you who have donated through Blog Patron and Pay Pal. The Army has me insanely busy right now, and my access to the Internet is very strictly limited. I don't have time to blog, answer emails, or send thank-you letters to those of you who have donated. But I won't be off the edge of the world for too much longer. All is well here (for me) and I'll be back as soon as I can.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 4, 2007 10:46 AM
Comments

Just remember to drink a lot of fluids!

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at August 4, 2007 10:50 AM

And to duck as neccessary!

Posted by: joe at August 4, 2007 11:58 AM

Even if you can't do any reporting, a little check-in like this goes a long way in reassuring your fans here that you're okay. Do them as much as you can might be the request of more than a few who feel as I do...

Posted by: allan at August 4, 2007 12:17 PM

Josh remember, that all Iraqis want American armies in their country so Americans don't have to be bothered fighting terrorism in America.

It's the least the Iraqis could do.

Every Iraqi supports the idea of turning their country into a terrorist battleground to achieve American aims, and welcomes each terrorist from Saudi Arabia (#1) which our presence attracts.

Why wouldn't any Iraqi want that? Just because the New York Times runs front page headlines about this every day doesn't mean they are against Iraqis.

And even if Bush does surpass Saddam in terms of numbers of Iraqis killed (who is next after that, Tamerlane?), Saddam was a dictator, while Bush is a liberator.

At least our support of brave, freedom loving Saudi Arabia and Pakistan will never turn to bite us in the butt!

Hah, those liberals are so stupid.

Posted by: Jonah SN at August 4, 2007 12:46 PM

Jonah_SN,

The terrorists have a lower kill count and a less detrimental effect on the economy than Saddam did. While the terrorists were only welcomed at first by their sectarian communities, they were welcomed at first. What is newsworthy is that they have overstayed their welcome and are being invited to leave at the point of a gun.

What you fail to acknowledge is that the behavior of militant fundamentalists is being revealed to the world. Although the terrorists certainly utilized the media exceptionally well in Iraq, at some point they lost their control. I suspect that attrition finally took its toll on the terrorists and experience started to get a foothold in the Coalition Public Affairs community.

We may have outlasted this Tet. You appear to think that is a bad thing.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at August 4, 2007 01:39 PM

"And even if Bush does surpass Saddam in the numbers of Iraqis killed...."

And how many Iraqis do you alledge Bush has killed? The type of rhetoric you just engaged in highlights the very reason I can't take you seriously. You are nothing but a troll.

Posted by: joe at August 4, 2007 02:56 PM

Patrick,

The terrorists have a lower kill count and a less detrimental effect on the economy than Saddam did

Um, you're stretching, a lot. Saddam Hussein may have been a bad guy and all, but under his rule Iraq actually happened to be one of the most advanced Arab states economically speaking. Saddam was a secularist, not a fundamentalist. He did not have a hard time doing business with the west, opening up his country to business.

I know you REALLY want to justify our failing actions, but please, do what you can to keep it real.

Posted by: Dan at August 4, 2007 05:19 PM

Lol! Dan, I hate to say it but you're correct in a manner of speaking. Other favorite trading partners of Saddam's were the French, the Germans and the Russians. Actually, I think he bought weapons from anyone willing to violate the arms embargo.

Posted by: Paul MacPhail at August 4, 2007 06:00 PM

Dan wrote, "Saddam was a secularist, not a fundamentalist." Saddam was whatever he needed to be to save his own skin. He did order "God is Great" to be printed in Arabic on the Iraqi flag remember.

Dan also wrote, "He did not have a hard time doing business with the west, opening up his country to business" Most western goods were banned under Saddam's rule.

Pat wrote, "The terrorists have a lower kill count and a less detrimental effect on the economy than Saddam did"
This is absolutely correct. Just look at the Kurds in the North. They are building hotels and airports where before they were being gassed. In the South, their life is comfortable enough to start restoring the native marshes where before they were hiding in them to escape Saddam.

Posted by: Keith at August 4, 2007 06:12 PM

Dan, you are right in a way. Saddam was the head of economic development in his early years and was decent enough at it to get the support of others. I guess that is why people initially like dictators; they get the trains running on time. But later the power goes to their heads.

Posted by: Keith at August 4, 2007 06:25 PM

Keith,

When you shoot everybody who complains about late trains, pretty soon everybody cheers the quality of the schedule keeping.

Saddam was a disaster for Iraq's economy. First he embroiled the nation in a disastrously expensive war against Iran (which is still not paid for). Then he got the country sanctioned by the UN for more than a decade. In between times he tried to eradicate 1/5th of his country's population outright, and decimate the remainder besides.

In 1979 Iraq had the same GDP as Korea. Now Korea's GDP is within shouting distance of Russia. Iraq under Saddam, not so much.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at August 4, 2007 08:35 PM

Hah, those liberals are so stupid. --Jonah SN

Sigh.

I am a busy guy Jonah. A busy, busy, guy and time is money as they say. I had to wade through to the very end of your comment just to get to the 'money-shot'. And it was tough sledding, my man. Tough sledding indeed. So much superficial and 'conventional' sarcasm(and not FUNNY sarcasm I might note in passing) --- so little anything else.
Would it be possible for you to accomplish the small goal of putting the 'true' information at the very beginning of any future posts? It would be an invaluable public service. Save me simply oodles of time, don't you know.

Thanks anyway, in advance, for any help you can provide in this matter.

ps -- Nice to hear that you are doing fine MJT. Welcome back to an alternative reality. Hope you have enjoyed your most excellent adventure. I surely have. As you see things trundle on as usual here. It's a quagmire, I tells you --- a quagmire.

Plus ca change --- plus c'est la meme chose.

Sigh .

Posted by: dougf at August 4, 2007 10:05 PM

Dear America,

It is October 2002, and America has a choice before it.

I know you have The War On Terror to fight, and since I wouldn't want you to have to bloody your own, pretty, little country with any fighting, I would like to offer you Iraq, my land, to you.

Please come, blow lots of cities to garbage, attract terrorists from around the world to my home, because, as everyone knows, you don't want to have to fight terrorists in America.

Inshallah, you will be able to use your guns to stop the people who violently resist the way you use your guns.

Much love,
Hugs and Kisses,
Muhammad"

(dougf, this is close to what I should have posted the first time, making it clear that as long as Americans use the phrase "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" every Iraqi will naturally resist)

(keith, saddam was definitely an opportunist, but there's also a long history of Iraqi-Kuwaiti unification efforts)

(Patrick Lasswell, servicemember of the United States Armed Forces, this war is more unpopular than ever, and so is the President who leads it. This makes me think that what you think is being "revealed" to the people of the world (terrorism=bad) is in fact a truism, but which does not excuse our current MO in al-Iraq.)

Posted by: Jonah SN at August 5, 2007 06:17 AM

Jonah,

You're partially right. Basically the Americans are happy to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq (instead of at home) and the Iraqis like the idea of letting everyone use Iraq as a battleground.

But don't forget the Iranians! Duping the U.S. with snake oil salesmen like Chalabi, they tricked the U.S. into deposing Saddam. Now they're happy that the U.S. is pissing off the Shi'ites. More potential allies.

Everybody wants the U.S. there, for some reason or other. So why leave?

Posted by: Edgar at August 5, 2007 09:19 AM

Edgar...to be flippant, it seems more the cliche of can't live with 'em, or without 'em.

Posted by: allan at August 5, 2007 09:39 AM

(dougf, this is close to what I should have posted the first time, making it clear that as long as Americans use the phrase "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" every Iraqi will naturally resist) --Jonah SN

Oh please.

You are making me break my self-imposed 'refrain from commenting because its useless', thingy. I am relegated to pleading 'irresistible impulse'.

So to recap,--- if Bush stops saying that we are 'fighting them over there' it will make a major quantifiable difference to the 'facts on the ground' in Iraq? Things really are a lot simpler than I had been led to believe.

And here I thought that the 'facts on the ground' were resultant almost SOLELY from the catastrophic Sunni ethnic based decision to snatch likely genocidal retribution from a mere well-deserved defeat. A function of an almost brain-dead decision by the deposed Baathist power structure, to use any and all means to re-establish their dominance in Iraq via terrorizing the 'others'. A decision so profoundly clueless and destructive that the Shias are waiting now only for the US to leave so that they can cleanse the vast majority of Sunnis right out of Iraq in a burst of justifiable RAGE.

Now for example I believed that the reasons for the 'insurgency' were not really 'Nationalistic' as we might understand that term. They were founded primarily in a misunderstood, wrong-headed, and perverted sense of perceived self-interest, and a complete 'false historical consciousness' which has been bred into generations of the old Sunni POWER STRUCTURE. They don't know when to say when.

I thought that the Sunnis were committing a nasty form of slow motion suicide in Iraq and it had NOTHING whatsoever to do with fighting them over there . Perhaps the latest trend of Sunnis 'turning' on the Al-Queda types will prevent the final plunge over the now obvious cliff, but I would not hold my breath in expectation. It seemed that not only the Palestinians "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." That is what I had mistakenly believed.

Now I am quite gratified to learn differently.

Just a 'different' word or two here and there and 'Bob's Your Uncle', so to speak. Problem solved.

If only Bush were as powerful as you make him out to be. If only. ALL the problems would be solved. Just re-defined into meaninglessness. Poof. Fortunate I guess that in addition to being almost omnipotent he is not too bright. What that man could do if he could think.

Why I even have a few personal difficulties I'm sure he could eliminate without even noticing the effort.

Who knew ?

I am truly in your debt.

Posted by: dougf at August 5, 2007 09:46 AM

Jonah SN did say...

And even if Bush does surpass Saddam in terms of numbers of Iraqis killed (who is next after that, Tamerlane?), Saddam was a dictator, while Bush is a liberator.

Al Queda and the Sadr Militia are working for us?!. God, Bush is so nefarious and crafty it's unbelievable! Who knew he's such a machiavellian mastermind. Next thing, you'll be telling us of his deft manipulation of the Iranian mullahs and the Russian Mafia.

But tell me please, how did he get Jacque Chirac to follow the program?

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at August 5, 2007 09:47 AM

I'm not saying that any particular action is going to make everything better in Iraq.

I am completely under the impression that it is mostly up to Iraqis. They could all stop fighting tomorrow, or they could redouble their efforts.

If you want the Iraqis on your side, you can't tell them you are blowing up their country so your country doesn't have to suffer.

Makes you sound like a bunch of wusses, to boot. It makes it sound like you can't handle a little death and bloodshed.

Thanks for missing the point, yet again, and having the gall to suggest that I'm the incorrigible one.

At least you are brighter than Carlos.

Posted by: Jonah SN at August 5, 2007 10:14 AM

Alan Kellog,

The largest portions of the death tolls attributed to Saddam were the efforts to put down the uprisings of Kurds and Shia.

Another way to get Iraqis to think they don't count is not to count them when we kill them. The US military has consistently for four+ years refused to release the numbers of Iraqis the US has killed.

All deaths of Iraqi military and in the fight against the Sunni insurgency have to count on Bush's tally. The violent efforts against the Mahdi in Fallujah, etc, also have to be counted.

Of course, since to the military Iraqi dead don't count, I mean, aren't counted, we'll never know.

"Has my son been arrested by US forces?" "Hah! You think we'd tell you that?"

Not counting the dead and not telling who has been arrested are supposed to be marginal measures to reduce Iraqi resistance. After four years, maybe these policies, too, could be reviewed.

Certainly the message I get when people say "We don't count those bodies, we only count our own" is "Iraqis don't count" or "It's so horrific that we are scared to tell you."

Either way, it is a sure way to prevent Iraqis from being on our side.

Posted by: Jonah SN at August 5, 2007 10:28 AM

Jonah, the basic problem here is that you're a lousy writer. The people who thought up those "talking points" were not only smarter than you are, they're better at expressing themselves. Your paraphrases are clumsy and sophomoric. You'd be better off using cut-and-paste.

Regards,
Ric

Posted by: Ric Locke at August 5, 2007 07:47 PM

Thank you, Michael. Take all the time you need. Stay safe, and God keep you in your great work.

Posted by: Rafique Tucker at August 5, 2007 08:34 PM

The people who thought up those "talking points" were not only smarter than you are, they're better at expressing themselves.

Notice he doesn't post a comment, but a scattershot blast of talking points. You'd have more success trying to reason with Osama Bin Laden than this dope. Without allowing myself to get suckered in, allow me to observe just how upside down his world is where our GIs (and Bush) essentially trying to stop the bloodshed in Iraq are also "responsible" for the bloodshed where their efforts fall short. Thus our GIs trying to prevent a sunni-shiaa massacre are nonetheless at fault for the sectarian violence, just because. Same with AQ. I guess we can also assume our Founding Fathers were "responsible" for all the deaths they unleashed when they declared independence, and the Allies in WW2 for the deaths they unleashed by declaring war on Japan and liberating Europe. It matters not to the "nuanced" Leftard that Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his own people for the sake of his own personal power. To the nuanced and "discriminating" Leftard who claims to see everything in "shades of gray" this is still equivalent to Bush and our GIs Liberating Iraq and preventing a massacre for the sake of a young democracy. People died in both cases!!! See? They are equivalent!!! This is what passes for "nuance" and "subtlety" on the Left. This is the famous "shades of gray" we keep hearing about. LOL. My ass. If these people saw the world in "black and white" it would be a step up from the monochrome world they live in were everything is one color and equivalent. It's all the same in their dumbed-down worldview! Observe how the modern Leftard is the master of simplisme unable or unwilling to make distinctions. And presumably we'd also be "responsible" for all the deaths if we walked away from Iraq tommorow. No doubt in my mind about that. Thus there's no winning with these Leftards. So I say damn the torpedoes, we might as well stay and finish the job and to hell with these assholes.

Posted by: Carlos at August 6, 2007 12:28 AM

Ric,
Your comments seem baseless. Certainly the central point I am making, using the letter from Muhammad, isn't a paraphrase, and it is sophomoric, but I'm not trying to lay down an hypothesis on the ontological nature of hermeneutics here, I'm commenting on a blog.

Carlos,
The 300,000 number for Saddam does not include the war dead in the Iran-Iraq war (at least, as far as I can tell). It does include attempts to put down violent insurgencies.
To deny that there was a cost in human life to the decision of the colonists to declare for the American Revolution is foolish. Was it worth it? So far, so good. It was certainly worth it to them.
You say our guys are trying to prevent a Sunni-Shia massacre. Technically, I don't think this is entirely true. Certainly back in 2005 we stood back and let jihadis and sunnis fight it out, hoping they'd kill each other. I'm sure individual soldiers don't want to get caught in a full scale Iraqi civil war, but our official policy is to back the government, and many agents of the government are part of the mass murdering going on. I'm not saying we haven't tried to stop it, I am saying that we haven't withdrawn support for the Maliki government, even though it engages in death squad activity that dwarfs the type of activity that this same President Bush said was grounds for supporting a coup against Chavez.

Your coloring of WWII is confusing. The Axis had invaded China, Albania, Austria(effectively), Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Poland was a (convenient?) ally of the British, so the Commonwealth declared war, and France, allied with Britian, joined in. The Allies in Europe were not directly responsible, although certainly they could have taken a stronger stand of German violations during the Spanish Civil War.

After Pearl Harbor, and the subsequent declaration of war by Germany, the US could not be seen as having started the war, despite silly claims by right-wingers that FDR should have kept sending oil to fuel Hirohito's war machine and the rape of Nanking, and by not doing so was in fact the culprit.

Posted by: Jonah SN at August 6, 2007 06:48 AM

What's "Maten"? Does this count for the whole country?

Posted by: tsedek at August 6, 2007 09:33 AM

Please, Please, Please,
Don't feed the Trolls.
Just don't.
Thanks.

Posted by: Lindsey at August 6, 2007 09:48 AM

Aoun didn't win the by-elections in that messed up country with a small (20%) christian minority where only a Christian can be President.

He did better than Gemayel, but it wasn't like he won 100% of everything.

Posted by: Joshua SN at August 6, 2007 11:08 AM

Lindsey,

Good point. Some of the trolls are new to me and I am giving them too much credit. Also, occasionally, a troll sees the light and becomes rational. Regrettably, there is not a way to recognize the popping sound of their head coming up for air.

This post's comment thread has been polluted and the pool isn't going to cleaned because most of the trash isn't sufficiently objectionable for Michael to take time for. I'm pretty sure that the out of the closet gunsel for fascists will get booted, but the rest of the minions will stick. (Check the original meanings of those words. )

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at August 6, 2007 11:12 AM

Patrick!

Good to see you buddy! It appears that you missed my request for citations as to where your super awesome philosophy publications have been published (you know.. since you're a wicked awesome philosopher, as you self proclaim).

Could you post those citations man? I'm really interested in reading anything you've had published and critically reviewed.

YOU"RE MY HERO!!!! =P

Posted by: JohnDakota at August 6, 2007 02:06 PM

I don't know about you folk, but I'm just trying to make sure we do better at this war.

Last poll I read said over 60% of Iraqis approve of attacks on US troops. With those type of numbers, we'll never do well. Those are Viet Nam like numbers.

Sure, to your face, when you are carrying a gun and part of a deadly unit, they will smile and pretend all is well, because, let's face it, the alternative is almost suicide. "Hi, I favor the Sunni insurgents in their struggle to kill you, how are you today?"

One thing that this blog has noted, and lots of top Republicans say, is that we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here.

I just want to make it crystal, crystal clear that if this is really our idea of a strategy, it is no wonder we have 60% of the Iraqis inwardly applauding when Americans get shot.

Some of those Americans, and relatives of same, are on this list.

Posted by: Jonah SN at August 6, 2007 03:04 PM

Thanks Patrick,

For those who don't already know, Hezbollah Lover is a banned Troll. He is not allowed to post in the comments of MJT's site. There is a lot of history there and believe me, it is a well deserved banning, so we don't even need to get into that.
Like many types of vermin the Troll is persistent and resilient and occasionally finds away around MJT's blocking technology. The best defense is to refrain from feeding the infestation. It will get bored and go away. MJT has no time to baby-sit, so we will have to self moderate for the time being. Thank you in advance for your restraint.

Posted by: Lindsey at August 6, 2007 04:20 PM

Great site! Would you consider a link exchange to The Internet Radio Network?? At the IRN you can listen for free to over 26 of America's top Talk Shows via FREE STREAMING AUDIO!

http://netradionetwork.com

Posted by: Steve at August 6, 2007 05:14 PM

Mr. Totten, have you considered having your blog's comments moderated by a trusted associate?

A good blog devoted to all matters Korean struggled with comment issues back in March. In the end, the blogger arranged for another blogger to serve as "comment sheriff." The effort is documented at

http://www.rjkoehler.com/2007/03/05/new-comment-section-sheriff-in-town/#comments

Every approach has drawbacks, and this is just a suggestion. Keep up the great work, and be as safe as you can.

Posted by: Gray Hat at August 6, 2007 06:51 PM

Lindsey,

The ideal trusted moderator is one who doesn't have anything of their own to say that puts them at risk, which regrettably removes their motivation from play. The first thing the trolls are going to do is attack the moderator in ways that will drive a wedge between them and Michael. So any moderator will have to remain anonymous.

This leads to another significant problem, how do you fire a moderator you like enough to hire, once they start slacking off on their job or enforcing too much? At this point for Michael hiring a moderator is about as much as doing it himself.

Right now there is the additional problem that several third generation trolls are abiding the rules and still polluting the comments section. They aren't abusively offensive, but they are reducing the quality of the discourse. They are penicillin-resistant social diseases.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at August 6, 2007 09:56 PM

Hezbollah LoverYou wouldn't be saying that if March 14 won .... or would you?

I've no idea what you're talking about. Can you tell me what Maten is, or what?

Posted by: tsedek at August 7, 2007 04:21 AM

Patrick,

No social disease I'm aware of can be treated with beta-lactam antibiotics. So wouldn't that mean they're all penicillin resistant?

Either way, I'm still waiting for that citation man. If you have published I'd expect you'd be more than willing to post the reference as you'd be proud of it. If not, then you may not want to strut as a learned philosopher, that would be just lame.

Posted by: JohnDakota at August 7, 2007 06:26 AM

What was that "eve" stuff? Super Spam?

Who was being anti-semetic to an arab (h-lover).
What was that all about??

Posted by: Tom at August 10, 2007 08:16 PM
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Terror and Liberalism
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The Men Who Would Be Orwell
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Looking the World in the Eye
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In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
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