September 16, 2007

Anbar the Model?

Blowback is not just for Americans anymore.

KUT, Iraq — American commanders in southern Iraq say Shiite sheiks are showing interest in joining forces with the U.S. military against extremists, in much the same way that Sunni clansmen in the western part of the country have worked with American forces against Al Qaeda.

Sheik Majid Tahir al-Magsousi, the leader of the Migasees tribe here in Wasit Province, acknowledged tribal leaders have discussed creating a brigade of young men trained by the Americans to bolster local security as well as help patrol the border with Iran.

He also said last week’s assassination of Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, who spearheaded the Sunni uprising against Al Qaeda in Anbar province, only made the Shiite tribal leaders more resolute.

“The death of Sheik Abu Risha will not thwart us,” he said. “What matters to us is Iraq and its safety.”

The movement by Shiite clan leaders is still in the early stages but offers the potential to give U.S. and Iraqi forces another tactical advantage in curbing lawlessness in Shiite areas. It also would give the Americans another resource as they beef up their presence on the border with Iran, which the military accuses of arming and training Shiite extremists.
My next article from Ramadi is almost finished. Stay tuned.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 16, 2007 06:36 PM

Comments

Posted by Omar at ITM on 9/14/07:

Abu Dsheer, a massacre and a moment of unity

A story of the savagery of al-Qaeda and the compassion of Iraqis took place two days ago in one of the southern suburbs of Baghdad. The story began when the people of Hor Rijab, a village inhabited by mostly Sunni farmers, made up their mind that enough is enough and formed a "battalion" of local fighters to confront al-Qaeda hardly two weeks ago. Al-Qaeda was definitely not happy with this rebellion and on Tuesday morning attacked the village

Locals fleeing the area said the attack started at 10 in the morning and the shooting didn't stop until after 5 in the evening. Al-Qaeda militants who are mostly Afghans and non-Iraqi Arabs killed dozens of the locals; some were beheaded and their heads were put on top of their chests; among them were women and children.
One woman who was fleeing the fighting added:
The people of Hor Rijab turned against al-Qaeda but since there was no support for them al-Qaeda returned back, broke into the homes and slaughtered men, women and children. And the Americans did nothing…

So, the terrorists of al-Qaeda attacked the Sunni families in this poor village and no one was there for the rescue; not the government and not the MNF. The rescue came from was thought to be a very unlikely source; the Shia families in the neighboring district of Abu Dsheer

The whole story is at:
http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/

7 hours of massacre in a Bagdad suburb...

Perhaps the MNF needs to have a 911 emergency number for the Iraqis to call for help from the closest rapid response team.

Also, the villagers probably should have informed the MNF that they had formed an awakening.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 16, 2007 07:31 PM

Finally, they're starting to get it. This is very encouraging news. But it's some very bad news to the Moveon.org types. We might actually pull this off! No wonder they're in such a mad rush to surrender and declare defeat.

Posted by: Carlos at September 16, 2007 11:23 PM

Michael: you showed us a convincing chart of decreasing attacks in the Topeka area. Please tell us, how this Topeka area relates to Ramadi? is it part of the city or a suburb or countryside? how many inhabitants leave there?
Thanks.

Posted by: nevertheless at September 17, 2007 04:33 AM

Dan's (predicted) response:

"Yes, but how many Shi'ite tribal leaders have we alienated ? Far more than the number who have agreed to help us.

"How is this good news when 90% of the country is still against us? Unless we make that 90% happy--by withdrawing our forces--we're going to lose the war on terror and make America a more dangerous place."

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 05:49 AM

I'm less impressed that the Shia are co-operating against al Qaeda that I am about the Anbar Sunni. That would seem like natural self defense, whereas in Anbar, AQ could at least make the pretense of being natural allies of the insurgency there.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 07:26 AM

Oh, wait, I was reading "extremists" as "al Qaeda". Never mind.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 07:30 AM

Carlos, why would this be bad news to "MoveOn.org types" and why do you propose they are in a "mad rush to surrender and declare defeat"? Specifically, if one were to assume as you apparently do that all (or at least most) anti-war proponents want to see failure in Iraq, what is their motivation?

I only ask because I see this kind of sentiment bandied about quite a bit. It seems that some supporters of the war believe that the anti-war set would like to see catastrophe for no greater purpose than a profound "I told you so." Surely this can't be your thinking.

I haven't really been following the comments here lately, so I apologize in advance if I'm raking up an old topic that has already been done to death.

Posted by: Naha at September 17, 2007 09:13 AM

Naha: I apologize in advance if I'm raking up an old topic that has already been done to death.

Apology accepted. You're right, it has been done to death.

Here is what was finally determined: the anti-war crowd doesn't just want the chance to say "I told you so!" They also want the war effort to fail simply because they're evil and hope that terrorism will triumph over the forces of good.

Sorry if I've over-simplified things. I know it's a complex issue.

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 09:26 AM

Good point Edgar. I have been to more than a few of the anti-war protests and the imagery and language used by the majority of the protesters makes it seem pretty obvious that they want the United States to fail. The generalization that all protesters want the US defeated is a little broad, but there has been no clear answer from the anti-war community to counter this.

Posted by: mantis at September 17, 2007 09:30 AM

Good point Edgar.

<muffled laughter.>

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 09:36 AM

I have it on good authority that the anti-war types drink the blood of patriotic babies. And while this too is a broad generalization, there has been no clear answer from the anti-war community to counter this.

They secretly control the school system as well.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 09:38 AM

I'm sorry I disturbed your peace of mind by making a statement based on personal experiences. It seems I may have offended your superior intellect with my plebeian thoughts. I sincerely apologize.

Posted by: mantis at September 17, 2007 09:42 AM

I'm sorry I disturbed your peace of mind by making a statement based on personal experiences.

Apology accepted.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 09:45 AM

Would you care to enlighten me what your experiences have been at these anti-war "demonstrations" and what type of people you encounter there?

Posted by: mantis at September 17, 2007 09:46 AM

I think DPU is Patrick's secret sock-puppet.

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 09:47 AM

Would you care to enlighten me what your experiences have been at these anti-war "demonstrations" and what type of people you encounter there?

Wait, does that mean you're taking your apology back?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 09:48 AM

DPU: They secretly control the school system as well.

Actually, DPU, that isn't far from the truth--at least if we're talking about post-secondary academia.

Their control is anything but secret, though.

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 09:51 AM

Let me clarify my argument a little, if you do not mind. I was merely pointing out that my experience at the anti-war protests, pointed to a group of people who were disgusted with the United States. They brought up several points of illegal war, killing of innocent people, et al. The final rallying cry tended to be "get out now", "we can't win", which seems to bring a pretty defeatist attitude. My only point was there does not seem to be a clear message from the anti-war protesters other than 'we need to leave now, b/c we can't win'.

Posted by: mantis at September 17, 2007 09:52 AM

Naha,

Victor Hanson has given an answer to that question, and I believe it to be the most coherent response to date.

"What the Left is Thinking?

A frequently asked question recently has been something like the following: do you think the Democratic Left really wishes us to lose in Iraq? Or how can you explain the overwhelming emphasis by the liberal media and politicians on Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo and the relative neglect of medal-winners in Iraq?

I think the answers are something like the following. The liberal Democratic leadership believes that Iraq can fail, thereby repudiating the Bush doctrine and the current war on terror, discrediting conservative candidates at large, teaching the American people about the limits of empire and foreign adventurism, restoring humility to foreign policy, ushering in a Democratic renaissance under which higher taxes, more entitlements, and greater government intervention promote egalitarianism and ‘correct’ the past mistakes of the unenlightened electorate—and do so without serious or lasting harm to their nation’s security.

Indeed, in this defeatist view, the take-over of liberal government following flight might well be salutary in showing the world that the US has learned its lessons from Iraq, now elected the right people, and promises never again to commit such mistakes. The cost in blood and treasure was never worth the supposed goal of a constitutional Iraq, and the money would have been better spent on social programs at home that promote the general welfare of poorer Americans.

So in that sense, yes, I believe a great number of liberal politicians, journalists, and academicians think it would not be so bad if the US failed, pulled out of Iraq, repealed the anti-terror legislation that followed 9/11, and accepted their own liberal critique for such failure. As far as the recognition that thousands of Americans have died in Afghanistan and Iraq for the idea of offering an alternative other than jihadism and dictatorship that would enhance the security of the region and of the United States, I think it just doesn’t register against the “higher good” brought on by withdrawal and admission of defeat."

As for why Moveon would not want to hear good news of American success: c'mon, gimme a break.

Posted by: Joe at September 17, 2007 09:52 AM

Given the recent testimony before Congress, there does seem to be some positive news from Iraq. If you believe the testimony, or not, the numbers can not be distorted. The number of attacks and fatalities is down. I do not know if this will last nor do I have a clear idea on how the US military can improve on it. On the point of some success in Iraq, the anti-war protests seem to be unable to respond on why, if we are losing the war and killing innocent Iraqis everyday, the number of attacks and fatalities has gone down?

Posted by: mantis at September 17, 2007 09:57 AM

Let me clarify my argument a little, if you do not mind. I was merely pointing out that my experience at the anti-war protests, pointed to a group of people who were disgusted with the United States.

And if I said that in my experience with the pro-invasion folks that I found them to be attracted to simple answers to complex questions, that they flaunted their ignorance of the issues that they proclaimed themselves experts on, and that the only thing that they were more obsessed about than being right was their obsession about proving everyone else wrong?

That, of course, is true of a subsection of those who supported the Iraq invasion. However, I wouldn't extrapolate that profile to all. Nor would I call them evil or think they were supporting the collapse of the US.

For the record, I think that you might find that Edgar's point that you agreed with was made in jest, that he was caricaturing an extreme point of view.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 09:58 AM

The Moveon crowd does want to see America to fail. Why? I don't know, but my guess would be that they hate Bush and want him to be viewed by history as the worse president ever. What is in the best interest of the USA is not really what motivates most of them. I also think that they want this to be a lesson for future Presidents who must make a decision to go to war.

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 10:01 AM

I never stated they were "evil" or "supporting the collapse of the United States". I said they were supporting the failure of the United States in Iraq and this has been my experience at these protests. I can't post pictures, but feel free to do a google search

Posted by: mantis at September 17, 2007 10:08 AM

Thanks Joe. That was the kind of answer I was looking for. So while there's an element of I told you so in there, it's also believed that anti-war types also see a failure in Iraq as a means of recapturing both political power and civil liberties.

It's quite a tidy theory, yet inconsistent with nearly every person of anti-war disposition I have spoken with (myself included...which I guess means I'm talking to myself)...

...which is irrelevant. I wasn't so much interested in the "correctness" of the thinking, so much as what the thinking actually was.

Posted by: Naha at September 17, 2007 10:27 AM

Most Americans who oppose the war in Iraq do not want us to lose. They oppose it because they think we are losing.

International ANSWER pretty obviously wants us to lose. They support North Korea for God's sake.

Remember: loud activists get all the attention, and some ideologies are smaller than they appear on the Internet.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 10:42 AM

I never stated they were "evil" or "supporting the collapse of the United States".

You said that Edgar's point was good. In that point he said (jokingly, I suspect) "They also want the war effort to fail simply because they're evil and hope that terrorism will triumph over the forces of good."

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 10:43 AM

So while there's an element of I told you so in there, it's also believed that anti-war types also see a failure in Iraq as a means of recapturing both political power and civil liberties.

This is not a well thought out position, though. If the US withdraws as a result of political pressure, the pro-war forces will go from highlighting every positive aspect of the war and minimizing the negative to the opposite polarity. As things are bound to get worse in Iraq, the Democrats and anti-war movement will be blamed for every bombing, massacre, and bombing that takes place.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 10:48 AM

As things are bound to get worse in Iraq, the Democrats and anti-war movement will be blamed for every bombing, massacre, and bombing that takes place.

And for bombings too. Oh, and bombings.

Sorry folks, not enough caffeine yet.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 10:54 AM

wow, look at all the straw men in the comments. Do conservatives really and honestly and sincerely believe liberals want to see America fail? Have y'all really fallen that much for your own bullcrap propaganda?

I personally know of no liberal who wants to see America lose. We would all love for Iraq to come out a successful venture. When we say it won't, it is not because we desire it to fail, it is because we really believe that 1) the plan is inherently flawed and will fail anyways, and/or 2) the execution of the plan was so poorly done that the only real outcome is failure. This does not equal us desiring defeat, just giving absent-minded conservatives who have their heads in the cloud a good reality slap in the face, "Wake up boneheads!" ;)

As for the article. Shi'ite sheiks in the South of Iraq turning to the US for some help. Hmmm, I wonder why. Who just pulled out from the South? It seems that Shi'ites in the South see that with the British leaving, they really have to do something and stop relying on outsiders as a crutch.

The real threat of withdrawal does marvelous things for motivating people to get off their asses.

Posted by: Dan at September 17, 2007 11:01 AM

Michael,

I had a question for you. Why would you think Anbar was the model for the Shi'ite sheiks? Why wouldn't the withdrawal of British troops really be the cause of these sheiks going to the Americans for help?

Posted by: Dan at September 17, 2007 11:03 AM

"They oppose it because they think we are losing." - MJT

Absolutely true.
Although I take issue if it is being implied that "Most Americans who oppose the war in Iraq do not want us to lose. They oppose it because they think we are losing," and "So in that sense, yes, I believe a great number of liberal politicians, journalists, and academicians think it would not be so bad if the US failed," are mutually exclusive statements.
My personal feeling is that they're both absolutely true, and give a very broad look (albeit an admittedly simple one) at the overall makeup of those who oppose fighting this war (although I couldn't possibly begin to speculate the percentages to assign to the respective minority and majority viewpoints).

Posted by: Joe at September 17, 2007 11:08 AM

I tried to refine my argument, but let me be even clearer. I am speaking of those who participate in the vast majority of anti-war protests as pertains to my personal experiences. I am not attempting to speak broadly on the entire liberal field. In this limited field, I do believe those people wish to see an American failure. As these people receive a large amount of media coverage, it is upto those who have a lucid and intelligent response to the Iraqi invasion to provide a counterbalance. As of yet, there have been very little response from national politicians to these protests and way of thinking. If there has been a critical response to groups such as ANSWR, Code Pink, from a prominent Democratic politician besides Joe Leiberman, please offer the URL.

Posted by: mantis at September 17, 2007 11:09 AM

Dan: I personally know of no liberal who wants to see America lose.

I do. They aren't typical, but without a doubt they exist.

And I wouldn't call them liberals. Leftists is the word.

Don't make me quote them.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 11:17 AM

As of yet, there have been very little response from national politicians to these protests and way of thinking.

Why would they have to?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 11:17 AM

And I wouldn't call them liberals. Leftists is the word.

Say what?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 11:19 AM

Dan: Why would you think Anbar was the model for the Shi'ite sheiks?

Many of them have been talking about it for a while. They're the ones saying Anbar is the model. I'm just repeating it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 11:19 AM

DPU: Say what?

I'm making a distinction between "liberals" and "leftists."

The neo-Stalinist North Korea supporting goons at International ANSWER, the ones who supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan but not the American invasion, cannot be fairly called "liberals." They're the ones who organize the big anti-war rallies.

They and, say, Barack Obama, have nothing meaningful in common. They just both happen to not support the war for vastly different reasons.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 11:24 AM

The neo-Stalinist North Korea supporting goons at International ANSWER, the ones who supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan but not the American invasion, cannot be fairly called "liberals." They're the ones who organize the big anti-war rallies.

Yeah, but let's not go tarring with an overwide brush. I'm not sure that the "leftist" label here has any relevance.

They and, say, Barack Obama, have nothing meaningful in common.

OT and FYI, by most non-US standards, Obama is a moderate conservative, not a liberal, as are most of the other Democratic candidates.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 11:36 AM

"I'm making a distinction between "liberals" and "leftists.""
"They and, say, Barack Obama, have nothing meaningful in common. They just both happen to not support the war for vastly different reasons."

I was going to take a crack at explaining there's a difference, but Michael did it so well.

Posted by: Joe at September 17, 2007 11:40 AM

I tend to think that the Move on crowd is more leftist than liberal, thats just my view judging from what I have read from those weblogs. I still believe they would rather see America fail in Iraq rather than succeed.

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 11:48 AM

Edgar,

I think DPU is Patrick's secret sock-puppet.

Did you leave the service with the assistance of your last urinalysis, or are you living in fear of your next one?

As to your central insult, there comes a point where practicing accommodation aids and abets evil people. A lot of the anti-war communities are so far detached from accountability that they will help enemies of the United States.

We make mention of the results of cutting off military supplies to South Vietnam because it is a stinging indictment of the anti-war movement. Hundreds of thousands of people died and millions were traumatized because the anti-war movement effectively blocked the shipment of goods. The intention was to stop the war, the result was to brutalize the Vietnamese.

The military and its supporters have been flogged endlessly by the anti-war movements over accountability for their actions. This has resulted in a military that is much more aware of and sensitive to the use of force.

The anti-war movement has overwhelmingly escaped accountability for their actions. This has resulted in an anti-war movement that is oblivious of and insensitive to the need for the use of force to maintain civilization.

It really doesn't matter what their intentions are, the anti-war movement's lack of accountability is allowing evil to happen. I guess some of us are just tired of hearing "I didn't know it was loaded!" when another genocide goes off.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 17, 2007 11:55 AM

I do not support the war in Iraq. I do support the War on Terrorism, that is the War on Al Queda and other extremists that have attacked the US. I do not want to see the US fail, because this will cause serious complications in the future. However, I also do not want to see the US involved in wars with piss-poor planning and no realistic goals. Export Democracy?! What bonehead thought that was possible?

If we had gone into Iraq with clear reasons, clear intentions and realistic goals, I doubt there would be as many anti-war people today. Look at the numbers, people are opposing the war, not because they don't have the guts to stick it out, but because they have been misled (unintentionally). They were misled on the strength of evidence that took us to war, they were misled on the difficulty, the reaction of the Iraqis and the preparedness of our military to deal with the sort of problems that we had in Iraq.

People don't like incompetence and the prosecution of this war was fraught with incompetence. Had the war been better planned, better executed and with honesty... Americans may have still been in a much more receptive mood. Even now, some people are so defensive of any criticism of the war, the administration or anything... that it seems they are bound and determined to repeat the same failings that have plagued the execution of this war since 2004.

If Bush had been honest, instead of trying to make the reduced surge numbers look like "hey we're doing fine!" Maybe more people would have been receptive. However, the spin is still as obvious, only its a near self-parody at this point.

In a capitalistic society, one thing we should all understand is salesmanship and product quality. The salesmanship of this war was done poorly and was full of errors. The product quality has not been even close to the sales brochure. At the end of the day, Bush sucks as a salesman anyway. If Bubba had done exactly the same thing, he'd probably have many more supporters, because he could sell anything, even the redefinition of 'is'.

But, its easier to assume that all of the anti-war people just hate America.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 17, 2007 11:55 AM

The anti-war movement has overwhelmingly escaped accountability for their actions.<.i>

What kind of accountability did you have in mind, Patrick? And will those who supported invasion of Iraq have to face the same type of accountability if it fails and there are disastrous consequences?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 11:58 AM

Lassy: The intention was to stop the war, the result was to brutalize the Vietnamese.

Well, the intention of allying ourselves with the Soviets during the Second World War was to defeat the Germans.

The result was hundreds of thousands of rapes when the Red Army invaded Germany.

We wanted to defeat the Germans very badly and that's why we allied ourselves with Stalin. The anti-war crowd wants us out of Iraq very badly, and that's why they don't care if people die because of it.

It's not because they are evil.

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 12:16 PM

The anti-war crowd wants us out of Iraq very badly, and that's why they don't care if people die because of it.

Or it may be that they think that less people will die if the US withdraws. Just a thought.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 12:26 PM

"The result was hundreds of thousands of rapes when the Red Army invaded Germany."

If you were to compare this to level of brutality Germans unleashed on Soviets you wouldn't talk about it. It was payback time. It may look ugly but by all accounts Germans got off very easy then.

Posted by: leo at September 17, 2007 12:28 PM

So, referring to my original question, we have a case of bad apples and broad brushes. The bad apples being those anti-war elements who may indeed actively or tacitly wish for U.S. failure and the broad brushes or war advocates who use this relatively minute percentage to characterize the whole gang.

I'm really not trying to be cute here, I'm just trying to get to the bottom of how seriously people believe there is a pro-failure movement of any size. Obviously, my above tale involving apples and brushes could be reversed in this case.

Posted by: Naha at September 17, 2007 12:35 PM

leo: If you were to compare this to level of brutality Germans unleashed on Soviets you wouldn't talk about it.

I'm not trying to draw a moral equivalence. I'm just stating that in desperate situations we'll undertake actions that will lead to death and suffering.

The anti-war people cannot be blamed for this while the pro-war crowd get off scot-free.

DPU: Or it may be that they think that less people will die if the US withdraws.

First of all I would have thought that fewer --not less -- people would have died...(Ok, I'm officially a complete loser for a grammar flame).

Seriously, though - I'm not saying the left doesn't care if a bloodbath results. I imagine they think they're saving American lives and probably Iraqi lives (though I definitely think they're closing their eyes to the dangers the latter are facing upon American withdrawal).

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 12:38 PM

DPU,

What kind of accountability did you have in mind, Patrick? And will those who supported invasion of Iraq have to face the same type of accountability if it fails and there are disastrous consequences?

The US military fired tens of thousands of officers after Vietnam.

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/17/teacher-sends-home-letter-asking-parents-to-renounce-us-citizenship/

This teacher should be given a fair hearing and then probably should be fired. Sending home a letter asking for parents to sign a statement renouncing their citizenship is simply beyond the pale. It doesn't matter how much you oppose the war, directly comparing the actions of George W. Bush with King George III and finding them functionally identical is bad history. Since the teacher in question is instructing history, their competence is legitimately in question.

Gen. Curtis LeMay http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_Lemay failed as Chief of Staff of the US Air Force because he directed strategies that did not prepare the service for war. Although his status as a judo enthusiast remains intact, his assertion of entirely the opposite military strategy was strongly repudiated. The Air Force took drastic cuts after the fall of the Soviet Union, largely because his strategic vision was unable to meet the change in direction conflicts took.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 17, 2007 12:40 PM

I'm just trying to get to the bottom of how seriously people believe there is a pro-failure movement of any size.

I've read a couple of opinions along the lines that it is important for the US to fail in Iraq because failure is inevitable, it's better to get the failure out of the way quickly so that the damage may be contained and that US forces become available as a credible tool of US foreign policy, and that foreign relations will continue to deteriorate along with US influence as long as this disaster continues to trail on.

They were from conservatives though, so I'm not sure that counts. Certainly not a movement, at any rate.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 12:42 PM

The US military fired tens of thousands of officers after Vietnam.

Did anyone understand this as an answer to my questions, or am I just being dopey?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 12:44 PM

First of all I would have thought that fewer --not less -- people would have died...(Ok, I'm officially a complete loser for a grammar flame).

My first language is Scottish.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 12:45 PM

Naha,

So, referring to my original question, we have a case of bad apples and broad brushes.

Not really. The people who sang, "We Aren't Going to Study War No More" meant it. Most people are ignorant of military matters and use of force, but the ignorance of the anti-war movement makes them arrogant when they make proclamations on use of force. It is a shame to be badly educated, but it is excruciating to put forth that bad education as the only truth. Their intolerance of other schema marks them as more than just a few bad apples. That constitutes a systemic failure of the community and deserves censure.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 17, 2007 12:48 PM

Most people are ignorant of military matters and use of force, but the ignorance of the anti-war movement makes them arrogant when they make proclamations on use of force. It is a shame to be badly educated, but it is excruciating to put forth that bad education as the only truth. Their intolerance of other schema marks them as more than just a few bad apples. That constitutes a systemic failure of the community and deserves censure.

Try replacing the word "anti-war" with "war hawk" and see how this reads.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 12:56 PM

Ratatosk,

I give the military and Bush a little more slack than you do. While it is true they have made many mistakes in this war, the same can be said about every war ever fought. Lincoln went through 6 Generals, many desasterous battles in 3 years before Grant, and even then lost as many men in 1 year as the previous 3 years combined before a winning strategy was in place. Who is to say that a different strategy would have yielded better results now. The casuality rate for this war is by historical standards very low. As far as GWOT goes we still haven't been hit since 9/11 so we must be doing somthing right, no? It all depends on how you look at things, the Iraq war which is, as Bin Laden said, the central theater of GWOT, could have gone much better but it could also have gone much much worse.

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 12:59 PM

DPU: Try replacing the word "anti-war" with "war hawk" and see how this reads.

Or try replacing `apples' with `oranges.'

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 01:00 PM

Naha at September 17, 2007 12:35 PM

I read on some Lebanese blog. One guys said he was against Hezbollah and many people he knows were too but when war started last July they all supported HA. At that time it did not matter to them who started what.

I do not know if Iraq war was right or wrong to start but it did so all I can do right now is to hope that we will win it. I also believe, the less opposition to war we will have at home the sooner we will be able to end it.

There are few things, which I think are present in all of this.

I am under impression that many believed on Jan, 19th of 2001 that it is time for Bush to be impeached. I also believe that there are people who think that country, which elected dummy (not my words) TWICE! in favor of two great intellectuals must be punished.

Posted by: leo at September 17, 2007 01:04 PM

Joeframmass,
All great Joe's must think alike ;-) Hit it right on the head with your previous statements. Well done.

Edgar,
"Or try replacing `apples' with `oranges.'"
I laughed out loud when I read that. Very nice.

Posted by: Joe at September 17, 2007 01:09 PM

Or try replacing `apples' with `oranges.'

Except that my point is that the whole statement is a standard boilerplate complaint about the other side of the political fence, regardless of who speaks it. Broad assertions about the stupidity of other people, the sad head-shaking about their abysmal state of mind, the tut-tutting about how it represents more than a few nut cases.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 01:11 PM

DPU,

Try replacing the word "anti-war" with "war hawk" and see how this reads.

The Milblogger community is composed largely of long service veterans and people actively fighting the war and they are overwhelming pro-Iraq war. Describing these people as ignorant about the use of force is ludicrous. The military community actively discusses alternative tactics and strategies, including a broad range of methods of "waging peace." So your thought experiment is shown to be false on a number of levels.

The pro-war community is not the only one with valid opinions about the war, but they do show a more pronounced tendency to discuss a variety of options. It's almost as if their lives depended on it!

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 17, 2007 01:15 PM

The Milblogger community is composed largely of long service veterans and people actively fighting the war and they are overwhelming pro-Iraq war.

Where did I say anything about Milbloggers? The war hawk community encompasses far more than those in the military, Patrick.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 01:23 PM

And, by the way: What kind of accountability did you have in mind, Patrick? And will those who supported invasion of Iraq have to face the same type of accountability if it fails and there are disastrous consequences?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 01:56 PM

DPU: What kind of accountability did you have in mind, Patrick? And will those who supported invasion of Iraq have to face the same type of accountability if it fails and there are disastrous consequences?

As punishment, all of them will have to read at least one of Lassy's bloated, headache-inducing 1000+ word posts.

And if they can't figure out his point, they go to the gallows.

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 02:09 PM

Ratatosk: Export Democracy?! What bonehead thought that was possible?

Well it's working in Kurdistan, which is part of Iraq, so yes it is possible.

I'm sorry that it doesn't work so well with the Arabs.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 02:17 PM

Edgar,

You often make interesting points, but when you start calling me names, you start looking a lot like a troll. I use my real name and I'm proud of it. If you don't have anything better than making fun of it, you're showing yourself to be pretty limited. That you are unwilling to check google or Wikipedia to properly spell the common insults based on my name is just lame. What is this, eighth grade? I'm not expecting great things from you, but a baseline level of insult is not too much to ask.

Also, complaints that your reading comprehension level makes big words and long paragraphs painful, is perhaps not the best posture to adapt amongst intellectuals. Perhaps you didn't join the military to pay for college...I guess the break-dancing scholarship fell through?

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 17, 2007 02:26 PM

Don't make me pull over this car.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 02:30 PM

"Defeatist" is a pretty dismal word, isn't it? I knowI wouldn't want to vote for a "defeatist". But according to the latest AP poll, a large number of Americans agree with the "defeatists":

By 59 percent to 34 percent, more people said they believe history will judge the Iraq war a complete or partial failure than a success.

Y'all must be making a pretty sucky case then, eh?

You just got your asses whipped by a bunch o' god damn defeatists.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at September 17, 2007 02:33 PM

If there has been a critical response to groups such as ANSWR, Code Pink, from a prominent Democratic politician besides Joe Leiberman, please offer the URL.

Any Dem candidates denounce the Moveon.org ad yet?

Posted by: Yehudit at September 17, 2007 02:37 PM

Ratatosk: Export Democracy?! What bonehead thought that was possible?

Well it's working in Kurdistan, which is part of Iraq, so yes it is possible.

I'm sorry that it doesn't work so well with the Arabs.

MJT,

You've been there, so maybe that's true. From reading your articles though, I was under the impression that the Kurds had already begun laying their own framework for a more democratic society, before we invaded. Weren't the Pershmerga already in place?

I guess what I meant was that it seems like a bad idea to "export democracy" to people that have no concept of democracy. In democracy, it's not majority rule, but rather people rule (something we've forgotten at home I guess). Ideas such as cooperation and compromise must already be in the minds of the individuals, else they will simply elect in partisan hacks rather than politicians interested in the future of their nation (Holy Crap, am I talking about Iraq or America!!!).

The Kurds, I think (again based on your articles mostly) seem to have begun the conversion to an 'awakening' long before the invasion, maybe back in 91 or maybe even before then, I dunno. The majority of Iraqis though, don't yet seem to have figured this out. The Kurds seem to understand separating their religious life from their political life, the Arabs do not. The Kurds seem willing to compromise both within the Kurdish area and on the larger national stage, the other do not.

Am I incorrect in thinking that the Kurdish mindset was already headed toward democracy, or have I misinterpreted your dispatches? (I'm fully aware that I may be smoking the proverbial crack pipe).

I fully support encouraging democracy whenever it pokes its head out (ex: Lebanon), but I'm really unsure of the formula:

Invasion + Removal of Dictator = Democratic Allies

It just seems a fantasy sort of policy.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 17, 2007 02:41 PM

Any Dem candidates denounce the Moveon.org ad yet?

Again, why would they have to?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 02:46 PM

If we had gone into Iraq with clear reasons, clear intentions and realistic goals, I doubt there would be as many anti-war people today.

The intentions and goals were clear, which you wouldn't know if you just get your news from mainstream media. I know this is a cliche, but the difference between what Bush actually said and what most people THINK he said is astounding and you can lay that squarely at the feet of the medi.

Look at the numbers, people are opposing the war, not because they don't have the guts to stick it out, but because they have been misled (unintentionally).

see above.

they were misled on the difficulty, the reaction of the Iraqis and the preparedness of our military to deal with the sort of problems that we had in Iraq.

I agree that we misjudged the readiness of the Iraqis to take over. Although Bush did say several times it would be a long hard slog. I think also we gave the Iraqis more responsibility sooner than we should have, because if we didn't we would be seen as oppressors who just wanted to rule them, not help them have democracy.There was no clear path on that one. (Same with disbanding Saddam's army.)

Posted by: Yehudit at September 17, 2007 02:47 PM

Invasion + Removal of Dictator = Democratic Allies

A similar formula is being expressed regarding Iran.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 02:49 PM

I've read a couple of opinions along the lines that it is important for the US to fail in Iraq because failure is inevitable, it's better to get the failure out of the way quickly so that the damage may be contained and that US forces become available as a credible tool of US foreign policy, and that foreign relations will continue to deteriorate along with US influence as long as this disaster continues to trail on.

Hillary: "The day I'm elected," she said, "I'm going to be asking distinguished Americans -- including my husband -- of both parties, to start traveling around the world, and not just talking to governments and leaders, but talking directly to people and telling them that America is back."

Posted by: Yehudit at September 17, 2007 02:49 PM

Any Dem candidates denounce the Moveon.org ad yet?

Again, why would they have to?

If you don't understand that, we are on different planets. But I hope that ad haunts the 2008 election. If the Dems don't get that smearing the character of the general in charge of US forces in iraq, just because you don't like his message, they should not be in the Oval Office. The President is the Commander in Chief, among his/her other roles. You do the math.

Posted by: Yehudit at September 17, 2007 02:52 PM

Any Dem candidates denounce the Moveon.org ad yet?

Again, why would they have to?

Just to clarify, the italics above are DPU's response. Not what showed up in my comment.

Posted by: Yehudit at September 17, 2007 02:55 PM

"Any Dem candidates denounce the Moveon.org ad yet?

Again, why would they have to?"

I don't know why the html is being squirrely - the above was what DPU said, the next part is what I said.

Good riddance.

Posted by: Yehudit at September 17, 2007 02:56 PM

Ratatosk,
I give the military and Bush a little more slack than you do. While it is true they have made many mistakes in this war, the same can be said about every war ever fought. Lincoln went through 6 Generals, many desasterous battles in 3 years before Grant, and even then lost as many men in 1 year as the previous 3 years combined before a winning strategy was in place.

True, and surely no one can say that any strategy would have worked better. However, we can approach this from a scientific perspective. We can look at the models that were proposed before invasion and then observe the events that have unfolded since then. The two most well defined models that we have been publicly aware of are Rumsfeld's Shock and Awe vs. Gen. Zinni's recommendations.

Rumsfeld's model predicted that we would take Baghdad quickly. This was correct. Rumsfeld's model predicted that we would only need a few troops to hold the country. This was incorrect. Rumsfeld's model predicted that Iraqis would flock to democracy and throw flowers. This was not correct. The model also predicted a cheap and fast war that would be covered by Oil profits. Again wrong.

Gen Zinni predicted that we would take Iraq quickly, this was correct. He predicted that without a very large force, we could not hold the nation. This appears to have been correct. He predicted that if we did not hold the nation well, an insurgency would build and cause serious problems. Again, correct. He stated that our military wasn't ready for a 4th generation war and should be better trained in counter-insurgency before an invasion would happen.

When we compare the two, we cannot guess which would have worked better, but we can identify that the expectations of Mr. Rumsfeld appear to have been unfounded while the expectations of Gen. Zinni (the man they charged with running the Wargames on the topic) appears to have hit quite a few home runs.

Further, Mr. Lincoln was forthright with his men and with the nation. Failures were stated as failures and successes stated with cautious optimism. Compare that to the current administration, unable to admit mistakes and willing to spin anything to support their side.

As I said before, it's all about salesmanship. Real world numbers pale in the face of public opinion. This administration sold us a lemon and people are fed up with the oily sales pitch from a poorly spoken statesman. If Bush were Bubba, the war would have more support.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 17, 2007 02:56 PM

If you don't understand that, we are on different planets.

Well, different countries. Is it considered usual in yours for politicians to have to comment on things like ads from third-party groups? For example, were Republican candidates required to comment on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads in the last presidential campaign?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 03:01 PM

Ratatosk: Am I incorrect in thinking that the Kurdish mindset was already headed toward democracy

Yes, that's about right. I figured that clearing a space for the Arabs would work for them, as clearing a space for the Kurds worked.

Apparently not.

You can't force democracy on people, true, but you can clear a space and help people get there if they're willing. It was the Arabs' call, and too many said no. Many also said yes.

Just because it didn't work in that case doesn't mean it was a crazy idea or never works. But I'm less optimistic about the concept in general than I was. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Ok. Noted.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 03:03 PM

I don't know why the html is being squirrely

MJT's comment section has some eccentricities. You either have to format each paragraph with the italic tags, or insert paragraph tags to create the separate paragraphs.

EG : <i>First paragraph.<p>Second paragraph.</i>

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 03:05 PM

History will judge wheather invading Iraq was a good idea or not. The success or failure of Iraq will be the determining factor. We may know the answer soon, if we withdraw now, or it may be 20 years from now if we see it through. I believe for Prez Bush that after 9/11 he felt that of all of his options that the status quo policies of the past 50 years was the least likely to protect America from terrorism. Will he be proven right? I just don't know. But I have yet to hear another plan other than returning to the failed policies of the past.

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 03:10 PM

Patrick: I'm not expecting great things from you, but a baseline level of insult is not too much to ask.

Ok, ok. I'll stop. I'm only 1/4 Irish, anyway. Shouldn't hold grudges that long.

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 03:19 PM

I'm only 1/4 Irish, anyway.

Three quarters Dutch?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 03:20 PM
Most people are ignorant of military matters and use of force, but the ignorance of the anti-war movement makes them arrogant when they make proclamations on use of force. It is a shame to be badly educated, but it is excruciating to put forth that bad education as the only truth. Their intolerance of other schema marks them as more than just a few bad apples. That constitutes a systemic failure of the community and deserves censure.
And that there, Patrick, is exactly the kind of broad brush I'm talking about. Posted by: Naha at September 17, 2007 03:22 PM

Three quarters Dutch?

No. I'm actually a federally registered trademark of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), if you were wondering about the name.

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 03:33 PM

Ratatosk,

I'm really not into cherry picking qoutes to suit my arguments. It is obvious now that Rumsfeld was wrong on many accounts and Bush has replaced him with a new Sec of Def and a new strategy thus admiting his errors. Rumsfeld however did predict a long hard slog as you'll recall. I'm sure that gen Zinni is a brilliant man but he is also just guessing and if his quotes and predictions were given the same scrutiny as Rumsfelds were perhaps they would be just as flawed.

I'm sure if we went back in time we would see that Lincoln had just as many detractors and critics as the current president has. Lincoln like most people in 1861 thought that the war would be over in 1 battle. America lost over 600,000 men in 4 years from a nation of less that 30,000,000. There were draft riots in New York and Lincoln was having his political enemies thrown in jail without due process. Lincoln was probably the most hated president in our history while he was alive, but he did what he had to do to save the country.

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 03:42 PM

Well, different countries. Is it considered usual in yours for politicians to have to comment on things like ads from third-party groups?

It is if the organization is considered to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of a particular party.

Several years back, when Charleton Heston compared federal agents to jack booted thugs, members of the GOP were called upon to denounce the comments of the NRA's president.

Also, I believe many Dems were demanding that Bush & Co. denounce the Swift Boat Veterans, but he never did.

In this case, MoveOn.org is generally considered to be the Dem party's pitbull. The organization represents the party's base, so its not completely out of line to ask Dem candidates to repudiate the ad.

Its not likely to happen, of course, but its good politics and may harm Dem efforts next year, especially in swing districts for Congress.

A Congressional candidate associated with a left wing organization that denounces our country's war-time general as a traitor won't help win votes in flyover country or the deep south.

A Congressional candidate associated with a presidential candidate that refuses to distance him or herself from that ad can hurt the Dem candidate as well.

This line of attack will prove very effective if Iraq continues to improve over the next 12 months. If momentum is lost in Iraq, then the ad will lose some of its bite.

In short, MoveOn.org may have done some damage with that ad, but only time will tell for sure.

Posted by: Dogwood at September 17, 2007 04:07 PM

Well, different countries. Is it considered usual in yours for politicians to have to comment on things like ads from third-party groups?

OK I get it, you just didn't understand the relationship. My apologies. But I have been confronting defenders of Moveon's ad and there is a real culture clash there.

About the relationship: Moveon.org donated heavily to Dems in the 2000 and 2004 campaigns, and is considered as representing the left wing of the Democratic party, and its founder has been explicit about its goal of taking over the party, saying "We own it."

Moveon.org is part of the general movement of the liberal "netroots" to support leftist/ultraliberal Dem candidates and take down moderate/centrist Dems. They want to be the kingmakers of the Dem party - everyone is watching that struggle, so it makes sense to ask Dem candidates if they repudiate the ad.

For example, were Republican candidates required to comment on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads in the last presidential campaign?

Yes, many were asked to repudiate it, most did. The White House did.

However there are big differences between the two.

Posted by: Yehudit at September 17, 2007 04:16 PM

Tosk:

You Wrote: "Gen Zinni predicted that we would take Iraq quickly, this was correct. He predicted that without a very large force, we could not hold the nation. . . . He stated that our military wasn't ready for a 4th generation war and should be better trained in counter-insurgency before an invasion would happen."

Your historical analogy to Lincoln is ironic since, Lincoln would have been quite familiar with relatively more passive Generals like Zinni, who being enamored of the military they had built and trained, were relucant to see it wrecked in actual combat. These same traits gave Lincoln's pre-Grant general's the annoying habit of repeatedly delaying offensive action due to asserted shortages of men, material or inadequate training. While at the same time, General Lee, was continually on the offensive with fewer men and less resources.

Upon taking commdand, Grant, in contrast, ground up the Union Army in a grisly campaign of attrition. Grant and Lincoln knew Grant's bloody campaigns would eventually wear down the Confederacy. Lincoln loved Grant because he finally had a General who took the fight to the enemy. The point is that Lincoln would have held a cautious General like Zinni in very low esteem.

Also, it is unfortunate that you mention fourth generaton warfare. It seems that Zinni was correct in his opinion that the U.S. was not really prepared for it. However, I doubt if any amount of sterile state-side training he envisioned would have been sufficient for the task at hand. The first issue would have been to destroy the strong post-Vietnam bias against the value of counter-insurgency training and tactics in favor of high-tech, cold war style tactics. Even if that institutional bias could have been overcome without facing an actual insurgency, I doubt very much that it would have been superior to the learning cycle that U.S. troops have been through in Iraq. Thus, I don't think the Zinni 4th generation crticism holds much water.

Of course, I don't think any sane person can disagree that signficantly more troops were needed to ensure an occupation of any substantial length was sucessful. But then, Rumsfield's original plan was for a very short occupation. It seems that his preference would have been to prop-up any relatively compliant Iraqi leader and drawdown troop levels within six months. It was Rumsfeld's view that it would be better to come back and "drain the swamp" again, if Iraq once again was percieved as a threat, than to waste his precious military of a long occupation. This, as the course of events in Iraq has shown, was hubris.

Posted by: Mark-In-Chi-Town at September 17, 2007 04:26 PM

Ratatosk,

This was not correct. The model also predicted a cheap and fast war that would be covered by Oil profits.

Iraq has a GDP of maybe $90 billion at the outside including all oil sales. The US has a GDP of $13 Trillion, more than two orders of magnitude greater than Iraq's. For reference, Saudi Arabia has a GDP of ~$370 billion.

Given the figures, how are you doing the math where the US needs the oil so badly that we will invade for it? Unlike a lot of games, in reality oil is not this precious holy grail that can only be obtained through special propitiation of the war gods. Oil is all over the place, it is just more economically viable to obtain it some places than others. This is just business, and if you've got the money to pay for expensive oil, you can have as much of it as you want.

Canada has more petroleum than Saudi Arabia, it's just that theirs is largely locked up in tar sands that are expensive to process. Ten years ago the maximum price of oil was considered to be $30 a barrel. After that it became profitable for Canada to tear up giant stretches of lifeless tundra to get at tar sands and then put it back into pristine condition lifeless tundra.

Petroleum is wildly available if you want to pay for it, and right now our economy is strong enough that we can. So could you please retire that argument, it is getting in the way of good points you are making?

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 17, 2007 04:41 PM

After that it became profitable for Canada to tear up giant stretches of lifeless tundra to get at tar sands and then put it back into pristine condition lifeless tundra.

Spoken like someone who knows next to nothing about tundra. Or the Athabasca oil sands, which aren't even on tundra (compare this and this).

Actually, Patrick, you should probably just stop talking about Canada. You seem to get everything about it wrong.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 05:07 PM

Petroleum is wildly available if you want to pay for it, and right now our economy is strong enough that we can. So could you please retire that argument, it is getting in the way of good points you are making?

Good lord, how you do go on. Rat did not say that the war was to steal the oil.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 05:09 PM

You can't force democracy on people, true, but you can clear a space and help people get there if they're willing. It was the Arabs' call, and too many said no. Many also said yes.

Just because it didn't work in that case doesn't mean it was a crazy idea or never works. But I'm less optimistic about the concept in general than I was. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Exporting democracy doesn't seem to have any precedent for working, as far as I can tell. Even Germany post-WWII had already been democratic before Hitler. Maybe we could use Japan as an example, but I think the very large bombs sorta skew the situation.

In areas where the people want democracy, clearing the way is a great idea. If the people aren't ready for it though, no amount of exporting seems to work. I think.

joefrommass,

I'm really not into cherry picking qoutes to suit my arguments. It is obvious now that Rumsfeld was wrong on many accounts and Bush has replaced him with a new Sec of Def and a new strategy thus admiting his errors. Rumsfeld however did predict a long hard slog as you'll recall. I'm sure that gen Zinni is a brilliant man but he is also just guessing and if his quotes and predictions were given the same scrutiny as Rumsfelds were perhaps they would be just as flawed.

So this is exactly my point. The American people were told that this would be a Shock and Awe sort of thing... I believe we have statements which indicate days, weeks or six months "but not more than that".

When a person gets sold product X and it doesn't have any of the features, functionality or usefulness that was advertised, they are likely to be hostile to that brand in the future. If a contractor puts up a house that looks nothing like the blueprint and the end result isn't even livable, he will probably get fired.

Some (not all) anti-war protesters are against America as a dogmatic position. Some are against war as an answer to problems. Some are against the war, because they philosophically find pre-emptive war to be anamatha. Some are Democrats and are against Republicans as a dogmatic position. All of these folks were against the War in the beginning (unless they had some insane vision that caused them to convert.

Some people have decided not to support the war since then, because they felt that they got sold a bill of goods. Some have decided that democracy in Iraq was worth a 6 month and small $$ investment, but not a six year $$$$$ investment. Some have decided to be against the war, because they feel that the entire thing was bungled and we need to extract ourselves and try diplomacy.

If you examine my original post, you'll find, I think, that was the point I was making.

Patrick,

Ack, I think you may have misread my statement.

Given the figures, how are you doing the math where the US needs the oil so badly that we will invade for it?

I did not say that, nor did I try to hint at it. My statement was that the plan laid out included the cost of the war being paid for by oil revenues post-war, not some asinine conspiracy that we invaded for oil!

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 17, 2007 05:29 PM

Gas prices must go down!

Invade Iran NOW!

Posted by: Edgar at September 17, 2007 05:59 PM

Ratatosk

Alright, let's just say I want America to win because I believe it is in Americas interest to win and I'm an American. Do you think there is somthing wrong with that? Am I supposed to hate my government because they are not perfect?

If we were attacked tommorow would you blame Bush for failing to prevent that attack? If we go to the end of his term without being attacked will you give him credit for protecting us?

You don't have to answer these questions because we both know what the answer is, don't we?

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 06:07 PM

Edgar: Gas prices must go down! Invade Iran NOW!

I was just reading about the Canadian tar sands (above)....That target would be a lot closer.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 17, 2007 06:13 PM

Joefrommass,

I know Ratatosk personally. I don't know what he'll say about Bush if we aren't attacked again in the next year, but I am certain he doesn't think there's anything wrong with wanting the U.S. to win in Iraq or that you're supposed to hate the government because it's imperfect.

Not everyone who opposes the war is a radical anti-American leftist.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 06:19 PM

Well let's invade Canada then. What kind of insurgency or resistance could they possibly put up?

You better run, DPU. Edgar and Tom here have convinced me. I always thought Vancouver should be ours anyway.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 06:21 PM

You better run, DPU. Edgar and Tom here have convinced me. I always thought Vancouver should be ours anyway.

We're small, but wiry. Think you're having insurgency problems in Iraq? Phhht.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 06:23 PM

We've completed the "horizontal" manifest destiny. Now it's time for the "vertical" manifest destiny.

BTW, Texas pumps more oil than it needs for its own consumption. Also has a sizeable refinery
capacity and exports gasoline. We don't need no stinkin' Iraqi oil.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 17, 2007 06:28 PM

DPU:

Didn't I read an earlier post by you about being on a diet, and knocking off some pounds?

Doesn't sound so small & wiry.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 17, 2007 06:34 PM

Didn't I read an earlier post by you about being on a diet, and knocking off some pounds?

Well, personally, I'm 6' 5" and 230 lbs, and look something like the illustration here on my blog.

But I meant small in number. We have a tenth of the population and no nukes.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 06:44 PM

Yeah, Michael: "Dispatches from Canada".
Cooler weather & closer to home.
Probably a lot of other advantages too.

Do you think AQ would open up a 2nd front there?

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 17, 2007 06:47 PM

That's a funny link DPU - the comments are pretty funny too.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 17, 2007 07:01 PM

DPU: look something like the illustration here on my blog.

Dude, you have serious neck problems.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 07:15 PM

MJT: Not everyone who opposes the war is a radical anti-American leftist.

Why does this have to keep being said?

At present, 59 percent of the population believes the war was a mistake. How many Americans are anti-American? 59% of us?

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at September 17, 2007 07:35 PM

DPU,

How do you know there's no tar sands under the tundra until you tear up a stretch about the size of Iowa to find out. It's not like anybody will notice if you don't tell them.

Well let's invade Canada then. What kind of insurgency or resistance could they possibly put up?

You better run, DPU. Edgar and Tom here have convinced me. I always thought Vancouver should be ours anyway.

We could make a good start by announcing that Quebec will be allowed to form its own independent state. Later on we can explain to them what the word "landlocked" means...it's an English word meaning "honoraires de canal". If any Canadians try to form an insurgency we can deport them to Quebec.

Under no circumstances will Canadian insurgents be sent to Guantanamo. I've been to Canada and I've been to Gitmo. Telling Canadians that they'll get a free vacation to the Cuba will cause terrorist activities starting in November and lasting until April. (It might also cause the creation of a new religion that requires observers to consume Labatt's, just so they receive proper dietary requirements in prison.)

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 17, 2007 07:41 PM

Creamy Goodness,

At present, 59 percent of the population believes the war was a mistake.

Yeah, and 27+ percent will sign a petition to ban di-hydrogen oxide. (It causes thousands of deaths every year, as well as doing billions of dollars in material damages! We've got to ban that H2O!)

Setting your moral compass on the basis of the latest polling data is a common activity, but that doesn't make you anything other than despicable. Seventy-five years ago polls said that the KKK was a reasonable civics organization by a substantial margin. Maybe DPU can tell us what Canadian polls were saying about treatment of the Indians?

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 17, 2007 07:49 PM

So, give me a ballpark percentage Patrick. How many Americans do you think are traitors?

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at September 17, 2007 07:55 PM

Creamy,

I know plenty of people who believe the war was a mistake, including myself, but who still want us to win. Frankly, most people I speak to are quite ignorant about Iraq, American casualty counts is about the extent of thier knowledge for the most part. "Ramadi? Anbar? The Surge? Never heard of it." "I think we should just nuke them and get it over with". I can't tell you how many time I've heard that one. So I really don't put much stock into these polls.

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 07:56 PM

Lassy: Also, complaints that your reading comprehension level makes big words and long paragraphs painful, is perhaps not the best posture to adapt amongst intellectuals.

Just to clarify, I believe Edgar is referring to just your paragraphs. I'd have to agree they're fairly convoluted and at times difficult to follow because your word choice is terrible at times. You seem to use a thesaurus to select the biggest and most sophisticated looking word, rather than to choose the synonym which best represents what's being said. Intellectuals use synonyms in the latter, armatures use the former.

Posted by: Johndakota at September 17, 2007 07:57 PM

Lassy:

I should mention that I do fully agree with you in the case that ant-war proponents get to do whatever they want with impunity, irregardless of the consequences of what they do. They should be free to tote those beliefs and exchange them freely, but be open to criticism and welcome it, rather than become offended by it.

Posted by: Johndakota at September 17, 2007 08:00 PM

Johnd: I believe that's supposed to be Lassie.
Armatures are in motors (or armored?)

CG: 59% - 27% = 32% (approx. 1/3, if those numbers are correct). Those numbers could change - when the Yankees start winning, everyones a Bronx Bomber fan (including Hillary)

BTW Michael, those were some funny politicos pictures you posted a while back - I especially liked Hillary's - wonder if I can find a mask like that for Halloween.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 17, 2007 08:13 PM

re: di-hydrogen oxide

http://www.gopetition.com/online/2479.html

They have 200+ signatures.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 17, 2007 08:25 PM

Michael,

Many of them have been talking about it for a while. They're the ones saying Anbar is the model. I'm just repeating it.

Just to clarify, many of whom? The Shi'ite sheiks? What is your source?

Posted by: Dan at September 17, 2007 08:42 PM

Joefrommass: So I really don't put much stock into these polls.

So, in your opinion fewer than 59% of Americans are radical anti-American leftists?

Should we just say half?

Tom In south Texas: Those numbers could change - when the Yankees start winning, everyones a Bronx Bomber fan

So if we start winning and the polls move, are we going to let these anti-American scumbags off the hook just because they've changed their minds? Or are we going to demand accountability?

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at September 17, 2007 08:42 PM

Yes, Dan, the Shia Sheikhs.

I've seen several mentions of it in newspaper articles, but I don't have one handy, sorry.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 17, 2007 08:44 PM

Michael,

You can't force democracy on people, true, but you can clear a space and help people get there if they're willing. It was the Arabs' call, and too many said no. Many also said yes.

What does that mean, "clear a space?"

Why in God's name would anyone think that attempting to "clear a space" in a dictator's land would be more effective at creating democracy than working with the people in lands belonging to our allies who have been pleading for democracy for far longer than those in the lands of an enemy dictator? Is there any evidence of this working before?

Furthermore, doesn't "clearing a space" MEAN "forcing a change?" Don't you in effect, by "clearing a space" forcibly remove that which the people were living under? How can you then claim that you DON'T force democracy on a people when you "clear a space?"

And did those who claim this war was about bringing democracy to a dictator's land ever ponder about the effects that nationalism would have on the venture? Not to even mention the inevitable and inexorable tribalism in a fractured country like Iraq. Why was most of the insurgency Sunni based? These are questions that you MUST consider carefully if you are to attempt democratic rule. None of this was taken into consideration. Hence the major problems.

Posted by: Dan at September 17, 2007 08:54 PM

Ratatosk

Alright, let's just say I want America to win because I believe it is in Americas interest to win and I'm an American. Do you think there is somthing wrong with that? Am I supposed to hate my government because they are not perfect?

Well, I think its in America's interest to win (usually, when a nation is at war, it is in that nations best interests to win) and I'm an American. I don't think that there is anything wrong with that. I don't believe, feel free to correct me, I stated that Americans should be against the war, or that I hoped we would lose, or that I expected perfection (competence yes, perfection no).

See, I am an American. I like America, I like democracy, I like capitalism, I life free enterprise and free markets. I also like personal responsibility, hunting, fishing, a good scotch and a little pot occasionally. And by god, if my country goes to war, I expect it to be done right, or at least close to right. Further, I expect my government to at least have the decency to be occasionally honest about the situation. Instead, we have constant spin and people denying remarks that were videotaped for Christ sake. Competence, I demand that my government behave in some competent fashion, if they expect me to jump behind their plans. I supported Bush going after OBL in Afghanistan. In Iraq however, I thought it was an entirely ill thought out game in 2004 and I have held that position since. Based on the situation in Iraq, though, its obvious that we can't pull out now... So you be American and "want" us to win, maybe you'l find a bottle with a genie inside and get your wish!

If we were attacked tommorow would you blame Bush for failing to prevent that attack?

What? What the hell kind of idiotic question is that? How could President Bush possibly prevent every potential terrorist attack on our soil? Oh gods, you aren't one of those idiots that actually believe we can stop terrorism through the majicks of the PATRIOT ACT and reduced Civil Liberties are you? Don't tell me you actually believe that creating a Dept of Homeland Security and "stressing" people for information will actually make America SAFE?

If we go to the end of his term without being attacked will you give him credit for protecting us?

1993 - OBL Attacks the World Trade Center... he gets mostly ignored.

2001 - Eight years later OBL attacks the World Trade Center. We spend billions and thousands of lives.

2008 - Seven years later... yeah, this is a great benchmark.

You don't have to answer these questions because we both know what the answer is, don't we?

Well, I know what my answers were, I'm not sure what you thought that they would be.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 17, 2007 09:02 PM

Creamy,

"So, in your opinion fewer than 59% of Americans are radical anti-American leftists?"

You said that I didn't. I think most Americans are uninformed both liberals and conservatives but mostly liberals. Most of my family are liberal democrats, I live in Massachusetts you know. Most of them hate Bush. Most of them are against the war. None of them know anything other than what is being spoon fed to them by MSM. I would never call any of them anti-American. Most American never read blogs like this one and this is where the best information is.

I read somewhere that only a third of the colonist actually supported the war for independence, and about a third supported King George. The other third was neutral. So you could say that 2/3rds of Americans thought the revolution was a mistake. We don't govern by polls and for good reason. What's right isn't always popular and what's popular isnt always right

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 09:23 PM

I read somewhere that only a third of the colonist actually supported the war for independence, and about a third supported King George. The other third was neutral. So you could say that 2/3rds of Americans thought the revolution was a mistake.

And, apparently, that 2/3 thought that British rule wasn't worth defending.

Silly Americans. If you'd just waited, you'd have independence AND universal health care.

What's right isn't always popular and what's popular isnt always right

Who decides what's right?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 09:43 PM

Ratatosk,

OK maybe I misread you, thought maybe you had BDS, quite common you know. If MJT can vouch for your patriotism I guess thats good enough for me.

This war has been a political disaster more that anything else. Your average American hasn't really been suffered hardships usually associated with wars, other than military families. Very low casualities when compared to past wars. We are seeing some progress if I can believe what I am reading here and on other blogs. Iraq is the only democracy in the mid east other than Isreal of course. Most of the provences are quite stable. I just think that you may be focused a little too much on the negatives, but what do I know.

As for my idiotic question, I think that many if not most leftist would in fact blame Bush and very few would give him credit.

Oh, and you left out USS Cole, the embassy bombings in Africa (US soil you know) and Kobalt towers, did I miss any?

Hey Smoke a bone for me I'm going to bed

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 09:52 PM

History decides

Posted by: joefrommass at September 17, 2007 09:55 PM

Creamy Goodness,

So, give me a ballpark percentage Patrick. How many Americans do you think are traitors?

100% of the ones who commit acts of treason.

Plus that jerk who ax murdered a civilian in the Netherlands because he couldn't find a soldier before he lost his nerve.

A fair few are just stupid people addicted to the ideal of cultural deviancy looking for the next big kick.

I don't spend a lot of time looking over the biographies of the treacherous and deadly, but I put in some time to keep my awareness up. A big part of the problem with most of these people is that they surround themselves with people who never make them question their descent into treason. The communists were quite good at forming this sort of community and keeping it ideologically isolated.

The hard part about numbering these people that they self select for undetectability. It is not like there is any ethnic identifier ready for tallying.

Or were you just looking for a number you could get contentious about.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 17, 2007 10:05 PM

Iraq is the only democracy in the mid east other than Isreal of course.

Lebanon... you know that country where the people decided to have a democracy? Lebanon, where their government functions in at least some sense? Iraq IS a democracy? I think not. Iraq has begun down a path which may lead to a democratic government. Currently, they are an occupied nation, where the people that they voted for have yet to actually become a government. There's a lot of progress and a lot of potential disasters before we can call Iraq a democracy. Purple fingers do not a democracy make.

I understand that BDS exists, I see far too much of it myself. The larger problem up to this point, though is that the opposite also happens... that is many people have had a derangement syndrome where Bush could do no wrong, his way was the best way and anything else was unpatriotic. You seem frighteningly close to that yourself... Am I some sort of provisional citizen that I must have MJT vouch for my patriotism?

My post this evening had focused on why so many people oppose the war now... not because of BDS, not because they hate Americans, but for the reasons I've laid out here. Good, solid reasons. Reasons that would make anyone with their thinking faculties still attached say , "Ah, I see why some of my fellow Americans may feel that way". Instead, there exists a spout from which ensues a dogmatic gushing of "Wit' Us or Ag'in' Us!" in some unthinking tongue, more appropriate to a vassal in the twelfth century rather than a Free born man of the twentieth. Freedom, the freedom to agree, disagree, love Bush, hate Bush, stick a puppet of Bush on a bonfire... all of it is the reason we are free. The biggest disaster of this war has been political, I agree. The politics of this nation have mired further in a quagmire of Dem vs GOP with useless idiots on both sides, thinking that if they just wave their flag furiously enough, it will make them patriots.

I think not.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 17, 2007 10:17 PM

History decides

That's tripe, banal, and meaningless. Who decides? The majority of people in the future? At what point in the future? Which people?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 10:23 PM

History decides

That's tripe, banal, and meaningless. Who decides? The majority of people in the future? At what point in the future? Which people?

Ah, D-P-U, History does decide and it will be decided by the EVIL LIBERAL CABAL of History Professors who are invading colleges right now so that they can call Bush "Chimpy McHitler" in the History Books. Or at least, 50 years from now, I believe that may be the argument of some, if history disagrees with their beliefs.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 17, 2007 10:32 PM

I would say 5% of the citizens in the US are traitors. I wouldn't execute them, but they should just move somewhere else and let everyone get on with their lives. Babyboomers have a treason-chic thing going on (still going on and you are around sixty years old, grow up fuckers) that annoys everyone and it spreads like genital warts so the number of traitors seems higher than it is. If I were to rank my national enemies I would go with:

1. boomers, please go away
2. Canadian and germans, hate them
3. Muslims, don't dislike you personally (like boomers and canadians), but it won't work out and there are plenty of muslim states to move to if you and your children^10 are not secular.
4. random liberal and conservative douchebags.

*I hate "group-work" also.

Posted by: mikek at September 17, 2007 10:33 PM

Something in Mikek's post stirred a memory:
Damned Traitors!

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. -Some Old Document that Doesn't Matter

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 17, 2007 10:47 PM

Someone needs to get laid, or just have another drink. Too much hate for 10:30 at night sitting at keyboard. Lighten the fuck up. Life is way too short as it is.

Posted by: allan at September 17, 2007 10:49 PM

Ima nazi. Oh noes.

Posted by: mikek at September 17, 2007 10:57 PM

mikek,

No, not a Nazi... but that sort of thinking tends to lead to bad places. I would have provided a counter example, where labeling fellow citizens as traitors turned out to be a positive thing... oddly I couldn't find a single example.

Oh noes, indeed.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 17, 2007 11:15 PM

If I were to rank my national enemies I would go with:...

What, no Dutch?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 11:30 PM

So Mike, you aren't about to invite a 45 year-old Canadian/German liberal Muslim to dinner anytime soon?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 17, 2007 11:33 PM

Rat, it is a bad place. Boomers have made a ton of money fucking this country over. It's their thing.

I can't think of a single example where boomers put the country and the people who live here ahead of their own immediate satisfaction and profit. They don't give a fuck about anyone else and expect everyone to pay for their sweet ret. What a deal for me! Piss all our money away (or even go into debt, you won't have to pay it) and then act like we owe you something. Fuck off.

I am probably going to get banned anyway, but I stick by the comment about Canadians and Germans (hate them). Good luck to the Muslims, it won't work out here just like everywhere else...ever (one time ever?). Muslims and everyone else need to get as far away from each other as we can or deal with a religious war in the next two decades.

Posted by: mikek at September 17, 2007 11:47 PM

"So Mike, you aren't about to invite a 45 year-old Canadian/German liberal Muslim to dinner anytime soon?"

lol. 55 would cover America's kidney-stone generation. I wouldn't invite a 58 year old american-canadian-german muslim (don't have a problem with liberals btw jackass) over to dinner because I would probably choke them out, maybe for good. They earned that choke.

Posted by: mikek at September 17, 2007 11:55 PM

Just got back fom having some cervasas.

Seems to me this threat has become kind of rowdy.

Will reread manana.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 18, 2007 12:32 AM

Dan: Furthermore, doesn't "clearing a space" MEAN "forcing a change?" Don't you in effect, by "clearing a space" forcibly remove that which the people were living under? How can you then claim that you DON'T force democracy on a people when you "clear a space?"

Yes, clearing a space forces a change. Not any particular kind of change, necessarily, but a change of some sort by definition, yes. We could have forced a different dictator on the Iraqis, but we did not. If we had, no one like Maliki would be prime minister.

Space was cleared for the Kurds in 1991 with the no-fly zones and they created a more or less democratic system with no occupation forces telling them what to do. They are very happy we did this for them, and I assumed the Arabs would follow suit. I'm sorry I was wrong about that, especially for their sake.

No one forced the Kurds to do anything in particular in Northern Iraq. Space was cleared for them, but democracy was not forced.

Does this make sense?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 18, 2007 01:46 AM

Dan: And did those who claim this war was about bringing democracy to a dictator's land ever ponder about the effects that nationalism would have on the venture? Not to even mention the inevitable and inexorable tribalism in a fractured country like Iraq.

The Kurds are tribal and nationalistic (Kurdish nationalism, rather than Iraqi nationalism) and neither of these things triggered anti-Americanism or an insurgency.

The troubles with the Arabs of Iraq are more complicated, and are different among Sunnis and Shias.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 18, 2007 01:49 AM

Joe to Tosk: If MJT can vouch for your patriotism...

I wasn't thinking of it that way. I was just defending him as a reasonable person.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 18, 2007 01:57 AM

Mikek: I can't think of a single example where boomers put the country and the people who live here ahead of their own immediate satisfaction and profit.

Wow, that's a hell of a generalization. You're talking about my parents, as well as tens of millions of other people.

My father was in the Army when I was born. He did not meet me in person until I was nine months old.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 18, 2007 02:04 AM

And what's up with the hate on for Germans and Canadians?

Glad to see you don't "hate" Muslims anyway.

Chill, dude, seriously.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 18, 2007 02:06 AM

DPU
History does decide. Harry Truman was less popular than bush, if you can believe that, due in large part to the Korean War. Today history looks kindly on HST because South Korea is a success by most accounts. History proffesors did not decide this, the facts did. It will be the same in Iraq. If 23-30 years from now Iraq is a somewhat stable democracy as a result of what we do today than history will judge it to be a good thing.

Posted by: joefrommass at September 18, 2007 04:26 AM

Rast,

So defending my president is ...bad? OK

Posted by: joefrommass at September 18, 2007 04:43 AM

Michael,

No one forced the Kurds to do anything in particular in Northern Iraq. Space was cleared for them, but democracy was not forced.

But democracy is being forced upon the whole country. Tell me, how are the Kurds doing at joining with the Sunnis and the Shi'ites? Doesn't the evidence show that they would rather keep that regional autonomy instead of giving it up for the greater good of the nation as a whole? Why did the Kurds recently sign a deal with an oil company that has ties with the Bush administration, instead of going through regular Iraq channels for the creation of that deal? The Kurds, while liking their autonomy, have little trust of the Sunnis and Shi'ites and don't really want to participate in a national country. If they would, they would give up many of the things they have enjoyed to this point.

Posted by: Dan at September 18, 2007 07:19 AM

History does decide.

Nonsense. History doesn't decide anything, people who read and write history do, so it's just another version of "popularity". There is no objective universal force called "History" that decides anything. Using a stock cliche phrase like "history decides" only indicates that you don't really have a serious answer to the question.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at September 18, 2007 07:35 AM

DPU,
Most Americans at one time believed that Aficans were 3/5ths of a human being. History, in other words, the collective concensus of the population decided that was wrong. Most Americans felt that Sewart was wasting Americas treasure buying Alaska from Russia, history proved that most people were wrong. There are thousands of examples I could give you where consensus opinions are changed by results. Results and facts are what history is all about. What is so hard to understand about that?

Posted by: joefrommass at September 18, 2007 08:06 AM

joefrommass,

Rast,

So defending my president is ...bad? OK

I don't think I said defending the President was bad. There exists a huge gulf between defending the President as a good American citizen, and defending the President as a dogmatic mantra, blinding you to other views which might not agree with his.

If you want to support the war and have well thought out reasons (like MJT) then I approve and think you're a great American. If you no longer support the war and have good reasons (like a number of Republican senators) then again, I approve and think you're a great American. If however, you simply chant Talking Points and label your fellow Americans as traitors, idiots, anti-american and all the other lovely slurs I've seen on this board (and on Daily Kos)... then I find you a repugnant flop, a failure as a Free person. Therein lies the difference.

If you support the President, while maintaining some sort of halfway sane position and a slight attachment to reality... thats good. If you don't support the President, while maintaining some sort of halfway sane position and a slight attachment to reality... thats good.

If however, your political opinion is based on how evil half your fellow countrymen are, then I fear that you have left the realm of sanity and entered the world of Pro-BDS or Anti-BDS and both appear equally dangerous to our nation.

I have NEVER said that supporting the war was bad or Un-American (MJT would come over and hit me in the head, I think). Yet, you have tried to twist every post I've made, discussing why some people have a rational reason to not support the war into some broad condemnation of the president, the war and anyone who supports it. This is not the case. I'm one of the Americans that still think people should make up their own mind. The only thing I condemn are all the Americans who have redirected all energy for their brains, to their flag waving arm.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 18, 2007 08:16 AM

Ratatosk,

I really think you are projecting here. I have my problems with Bush just as I've had my problems with every president. I think he is about the dumbest president, at least verbally that I've ever seen. I've never called anyone who disagrees with me anti-american. I happen to be very conservative on some issues and very liberal on others. I supported McCain in 2000 but support Guilani now. As for Anti BDS people I don't think I've ever met one of those, Endangered species in these parts I guess

Posted by: joefrommass at September 18, 2007 08:39 AM

Please excuse my ignorance everyone, but what is BDS?

Posted by: Kevin at September 18, 2007 08:54 AM

joefrommass,

I really think you are projecting here.

I was replying to you comments... From this post you seem to agree with my position, so did we simply misunderstand each other?

If so, I would like to issue a heartfelt apology.

Kevin,

BDS = Bush Derangement Syndrome, the idea that some people hate (or love) Bush so much that either he can do no right, or he can do no wrong.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 18, 2007 09:12 AM

Ratatosk

We probably agree on most issues, and yes it was probably a misunderstanding, I see so much BDS that somtimes I dig my heels in when I assume i am confronted with it once again. I may be a little more forgiving than you seem to be judging from you're posts. Yes I too am frustrated with the war, I supported it in the begining and see the original strategy as a failure. I am dissapointed in my fellow American who initially supported the war by 80% who when the going got tough decided that running away from AlQueda was th best option. I also understand the need to give the plan a chance to work because the mlitary cannot change strategies
on a dime. This new Strategy seems to be paying off and I believe we need to give it a chance to work

Posted by: joefrommass at September 18, 2007 09:42 AM

I am dissapointed in my fellow American who initially supported the war by 80% who when the going got tough decided that running away from AlQueda was th best option.

Do you really think that's why people no longer support the war? Do you believe that some 50+% of Americans are just scared of Al Queda?

I would love to see things work out in Iraq, I'm doubtful... but I would still like to see Iraq become some sort of successful state (unless its gonna get cozy with Iran). However, I'm not about to attribute cowardice or treason to the millions of Americans that were told one thing and have seen another. At some point individuals should be able to say "Stop, Mr. President. You have apparently been full of shit since we invaded and you still seem completely unaware of it."

This has been a difficult 7 years, difficult because of Terrorism, difficult because the Religious right kept trying to drag all sorts of dead carcases in as important debates, difficult because the Republicans in power acted like idiots, eschewing fiscal responsibility and taking partisan politics to a new level. Now that the Dems have been in power for a bit, they've failed to repair the situation or even start down the path to reconciliation. Is it any wonder that many of our fellow citizens want this whole thing to be over? We've all been punching bags for the past seven years and many are simply tired of it.

Jumping on BDS, because some opposes (or points out why some oppose) the war doesn't seem helpful.

I hope the surge has helped, though based on the way that the Maleiki government is behaving, I doubt anything we do will stabilize the nation. But, I don't fault my fellow Americans who look at the situation and see that in large part its goals have failed and successes were more happenstance, rather than planned.

That being said, maybe we can be on the same side of the next comment war ;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 18, 2007 10:15 AM

I don't know why most American want to turn and run. I just know that they do and that AlQaeda is there right now. I also know that running away will be a victory for AlQaeda and denying them that victory trumps everything. I also know that every military campaign requires adapting to the enemies tactics and that mistakes are always made by both side and that both sides are continuously learning and evolving. I also know that the rational at the beginning of wars are often not the same at the end of a war. And I don't think most Americans understand all that is a stake here. Good luck man see you on the next thread.

Posted by: joefrommass at September 18, 2007 10:49 AM

Ratatosk,

Thanks

Kevin,

BDS = Bush Derangement Syndrome, the idea that some people hate (or love) Bush so much that either he can do no right, or he can do no wrong.

Posted by: Kevin at September 18, 2007 04:04 PM

Dan,

But democracy is being forced upon the whole country. Tell me, how are the Kurds doing at joining with the Sunnis and the Shi'ites? Doesn't the evidence show that they would rather keep that regional autonomy instead of giving it up for the greater good of the nation as a whole? Why did the Kurds recently sign a deal with an oil company that has ties with the Bush administration, instead of going through regular Iraq channels for the creation of that deal? The Kurds, while liking their autonomy, have little trust of the Sunnis and Shi'ites and don't really want to participate in a national country. If they would, they would give up many of the things they have enjoyed to this point.

This is not the space for a proper review of the history of aggression against the Kurds by Arabs in Iraq. Suffice it to say, there were significant problems well before the actual genocide started.

About the oil, you can always tell when an energy trader is lying, their chest rises and falls in a manner indicative of breathing. This is the community that brought you Enron, and the California rolling blackouts. I have friends who put most of the imprisoned Enron traders in jail, so I hear about this regularly. If you are not fully conversant with energy trading, you are getting screwed. Which is why politicians are responsible for some of the stupidest energy policies in history. (See California rolling blackouts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis )

In the past four years the administration in Baghdad has consistently screwed the Kurds on oil revenues. The Oil Ministry gave the KRG their share of oil revenues for all oil sold at $23 a barrel, when the market rate was $60 a barrel. And there was the Oil for Food frauds. And thousands of other rotten deals imposed on the Kurds for generations. There is no trust there.

This deal with Hunt Oil is perfectly reasonable for both parties. Hunt Oil was exploring in risky places before W's grandfather was a senator. Hunt Oil is not the first bunch of wildcatters to come into Kurdistan, they are just the first Americans of any size.

Now as for the conspiracy theory, "No War for Oil" garbage. Please stop doing this. I makes you look stupid when you aren't. If the deal had gone through four years ago this might be suspicious. If the deal had been made five years ago it would have been damning. Today it's just good business and anybody who says differently is being a dolt.

Everybody in the oil business in Texas has "connections" to George W Bush, that happens when you are Governor of Texas. It would be amazing if they didn't have connections. The left has got to get used to the notion that people engage in business in for profits and socialize with other people who do the same thing. This happens, and there is nothing wrong with it. Please stop putting a sinister spin on businessmen knowing each other.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at September 18, 2007 04:14 PM

MJT,

Any commentary from your friends in Lebanon on Antoine Ghanem's murder?

I love your Iraqi stories, but an update on Lebanon, even if its just emails from your contacts... would be nice too ;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 19, 2007 09:27 AM

Isn't it very simplistic to just say, as MJT does, that the Kurds were ready for democracy and the Arabs were not and who knew? Apples and oranges? The Arabs 'not accepting' the democracy offered them has nothing to do with them being Arab at all. If they were as united and monolithic as the Kurds they would gladly have taken it. It's comparing one fairly monolithic group, the Kurds, who have the history of their oppression binding them together, to another much larger and more heterogeneous group, the Arabs, who are really not a group at all, but are primarily divided into two tribes that have a millenium old feud between them and whose history exacerbates the bad blood by having one group dominating the other for a very long time. If Iraq consisted of a 1/3 Kurdish population and the 2/3 rest of the population wholly either Sunni Arab or Shiite Arab, then MJT's remark would bother me less. But this is not news to anyone so why the tolerance for this simplistic analysis?

Posted by: John Mc at September 19, 2007 11:43 AM
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