Saturday, October 15, 2005

The End of the Beginning

In a situation rich with irony, voting was heavy in the former rebel stronghold of Fallujah, secured by the USMC in November 2004. Most of the Fallujans chose to reject the proposed Iraqi constitution, though the nationwide results are expected to heavily confirm it. US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad didn't seem to mind whether people voted for or against the proposed constitution, so long as they voted.

With hours to go before the polls closed Saturday, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad made his first trip to Fallujah since he took over the post in July. ... Khalilzad congratulated residents on their participation but cautioned them against being consumed by "nostalgia" for the past. 
"The past is finished," Khalilzad said.

Despite the widespread description of an Iraq on the 'brink of civil war' beset by 'a widening insurgency' and 'descending into chaos', the Times of London reports it was an "almost a peaceful day as Iraq votes".

Amid unexpected calm, millions of Iraqis turned out in the sunshine yesterday to vote on a new constitution whose advocates claimed it would unite the country in a progressive democracy but whose critics warned that it would ultimately prove divisive.

Naturally, some observers regarded the ratification as only another signpost on the road to a total American defeat in Iraq. Even the 'unexpected' peace was attributed, not to the Iraqi Army but to the insurgents who granted it as a boon.

... critics warned that it would ultimately prove divisive ... Sunni insurgents appeared to have made surprisingly little effort to disrupt the voting, however. Following threats of slaughter at the polling stations, American Humvees roared through the streets of Baghdad and helicopters hovered in the skies as voting began at 7am.

But it seems clear, despite the consistently dire predictions of the press,  that the Iraqi constitution will be approved and that before the end of 2005 Iraq will have a new and regular government. In the words of the Guardian, after the ratification process:

Iraqis will choose a new parliament in national elections to be held by 15 December. Parliament will then select a new government, which must take office by 31 December. The new administration will be first permanent, fully constitutional government in Iraq since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's rule in 2003.

(Speculation alert) I think most rational observers, however anti-American, must have by now come to the grudging conclusion that the insurgency is a lost cause in Iraq. As Athena at Terrorism Unveiled and Dan Darling pointed out in their analysis of the captured letter from Zawahiri to Zarqawi, the insurgency's terror tactics have been a huge mistake from Day One. Athena puts summarizes Zawahiri's message to Zarqawi eloquently. "His cowboy ways aren't winning him any strategic alliances. And on the sectarian strife among Sunni Muslims, Zawahiri is basically saying 'Drop it.' "

If Zawahiri is now looking for a Mr. Nice Guy, however, Zarqawi is probably the wrong place to start. But it doesn't matter. Any realist must guess that we are now moving into the post-OIF era. While there will continue to be fighting in Iraq and many challenges remain, the ultimate outcome is no longer a mystery. One hint this is understood by Washington is a New York Times sourced article (hat tip DL) describing the hitherto hidden border fighting with Syrian soldiers:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 - A series of clashes in the last year between American and Syrian troops, including a prolonged firefight this summer that killed several Syrians, has raised the prospect that cross-border military operations may become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war, according to current and former military and government officials. ... 

In a meeting at the White House on Oct. 1, senior aides to Mr. Bush considered a variety of options for further actions against Syria, apparently including special operations along with other methods for putting pressure on Mr. Assad in coming weeks.

American officials say Mr. Bush has not yet signed off on a specific strategy and has no current plan to try to oust Mr. Assad, partly for fear of who might take over. The United States is not planning large-scale military operations inside Syria and the president has not authorized any covert action programs to topple the Assad government, several officials said. 

The timing of this release suggests that Syria's participation is now an issue which Washington is prepared to publicly discuss. While the situation in Iraq seemed doubtful, the US could not credibly address the Syrian issue because its Iraqi commitments precluded any action against Damascus. Now the Assad regime knows that US forces will not long be occupied in Iraq they are sweating bullets. Ironically the availability of US forces means that they will probably not have to be used in Syria. Newsweek Magazine claims that the US had considered launching cross-border operations against Iraqi insurgent targets Syria on October 1 -- another publicly released telltale that US policy is ready to come out of the closet -- but were dissuaded by Condoleeza Rice who argued that "diplomatic isolation is working against al-Assad, especially on the eve of a U.N. report that may blame Syria for the murder of Lebanese politician Rafik Hariri". Diplomacy would not have been enough while the insurgency tied down America. With the insurgency fading fast, diplomacy may be enough.

Just as the ouster of Saddam by OIF touched off a wave of changes in Libya, Lebanon and the entire region, the impending defeat of the insurgency will paradoxically enhance the ability of diplomacy to address many of the remaining issues. Saddam's defeat confirmed what many military analysts knew from Desert Storm, that it was impossible for any conventional army to stand up against US forces. And that modified the behavior of many rogue states. Yet there remained the hope that the terrorist model of warfare, forged in Algeria and refined against Israel in Lebanon, would bring America to a halt: that rogue regimes acting discreetly could operate within that strategic shadow. Now, for the first time since Algeria, a terrorist force of the highest quality, supported by contributions from oil-rich countries, in the heart of the Arab world, with sanctuary in a friendly regime across the border and eulogized as "freedom fighters" by dozens of major international publications is on the verge of total and ignominious defeat. There are no more strategic shadows.

Victory is arguably the most perilous moment for any great power. In that instant it can be goaded into the destructive path to hubris, or if it is wise, go on to attain real greatness. The fruits of freedom throughout the region may not always be congenial, as the example of the voters in Fallujah showed in microcosm. But that is what the mission set out to attain all the same: Operation Iraqi Freedom.

211 Comments:

Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard is in full throated gregoriant chant!!!

He might not be the fat lady - but he's the best we got!!!

10/15/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

We can only hope there is an optimistic outcome to this war.War seems to have a mind of its own which makes the naysayers' pronouncements all that much more bizarre and ludicrous.What does some clown amongst the talking heads really know about anything.
I just scanned Michael Scheur's book about the War against the Wahhabis and was struck by how here's a smart guy working at CIA who has crafted an elaborate myth about the invincible Islamists.Of course what credibility does anyone have at an agency that has totally misread the geo political scene for the last 20 years?
He reminded of Cedarford in his preening arrogance.
I hope we triumph,buy some years of peace in the middle east and throw a collective cream pie in the face of the media and lefty defeatists

10/15/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

"Victory is arguably the most perilous moment for any great power."

Admiral King - after the defeat of Germany, but before the defeat of Japan:

"For out of this Total War,
Must Come Total Victory..."

Japan had to be completely destroyed so it would not regenerate itself.

Our current adversary is an enemy that must be destroyed - not treated with.

I do not want to go back in twenty years - after another deadly attack...

10/15/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

More and more it is being shown that speaking softly and carrying (more importantly showing you are not afraid to use it) a big stick is very important in the world outside of the ivory towers. How is that for a cliche packed paragraph?

The fact of the matter is though bad guys like little boys do not stop until they provoke a less than gentle response.

Our forces are much less involved with force protection and instead focused on licking the enemy (and doing it). The Iraqi army and police are now much more well trained and motivated, they are taking over much of the work to stabilize their nation. What does this mean? We will have large numbers of unemployed infantry unless some bad boys do not start behaving.

10/15/2005 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

This is the painful, smashing, humiliating defeat the left has sensed from the beginning might come screaming at it, out of this war.

Too bad.

Funnily enough, their fear about this was the sole aspect of the situation about which their analysis has proved at all grounded in reality.

10/15/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger heather said...

Victor Davis Hanson, in his speech on the Peloponnesian Wars, noted that most people will support the winning side, and desert the losers.

I think lot of surprising people will be giving the USA and Dubya a great big thumbs up now!!!

And I have to say - very selfishly - I am so happy to be on the winning side, this time...

10/15/2005 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

There are three ways the vote count might go.

1. Landslide approval.
2. Outright rejection.
3. Ambiguous results.

The belief that a landslide approval will expedite an Iraqi return to relative normalcy is fair in my opinion. But what could happen if either of the other two events occurs? A resurgent insurgency? A genuine civil war? Or in a best case scenario some kind of widespread voter apathy?

10/15/2005 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Nathan,

You are thinking like an American...

Rejecting THIS Constitution is the right of the Iraqis. If THIS Constitution does not fill their needs it should be rejected. That is part of the process they are going through. I cannot see a democratic rejection of a founding document to be a forshadowing of a defeat to a Democracy.

An ambiguous result would probably lead to amendments of the Constitution. We were not able to get ours 'through committee' without ten of them.

The act of deciding their own fate, in an environment of growing GDP, will force progress.

10/15/2005 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Three cheers for our military. What a heads-up job they have done and continue to do.

Better wait till the vote count comes in and is made official before I get all teary.

This is a watershed.

The (relative)quiet of the country is a harbinger of things to come I think.

Does anyone see any Biblical prophecy being fullfilled here? I've looked and nothing jumps out at me.

God bless all you guys (believers anyway).(Don't want to offend the Ayn Rand, Old Rock Little gods crowd.)

10/15/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Amen to Boghie's post.

If we got the killers on the run - run them down.

But, on a balanced note, I agree with most of what Wretchard projects. I believe the killers were making all the wrong moves for almost a year. They have shown themselves to be hideous sadistic apes and even their top dog Dr. Z at al-Qaeda's HQ knows that. The terrorists will be driven out - it will not be instant but it will happen. Our military (up and down the chain), our President and our allies have done a good job - they deserve the recognition.

As to the Constitution, it looks like it will be ratified. Now, has I have said in the past, even if it's not ratified, I believe TAL will suffice until it does get ratified (the game is about over). The level of operations will significantly decline. But, that doesn't preclude some unexpected event or the need to do some urban renewal within that entire area. Or, it could be similar to the Korean conflict. I think we should take it one step-at-a-time.

10/15/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Defeat is an orphan, but victory has a thousand fathers. Simon Jenkins of the Times of London is now sniffing good news in the air. He suggests the sudden reversal of fortunes is due to an American willingness to do things the British Way.

"The American policy of helicoptering half-hearted Iraqi battalions from distant provinces to 'crush the insurgents', usually for a week or two, is counter-productive. Iraq needs the old British way: seek out the most powerful local sheikh and give him more guns."

That is a classic example of MSM analysis. Victory had nothing to do with Iraqi force generation, the campaign along the river lines, the battle for the borders. Nothing to do with logistics, strategy or tactics. It sprang out of the sudden application of a Public School lore. But no matter. Maurice Thorez, the leader of the French Communist party who had fled to Moscow during World War 2 managed to characterize the liberation of Paris in the same terms as a wife chasing her husband out with a broom:

"Paris is free. The people of Paris have chased out the Germans. The people of Paris have put a term to the activities of the traitors. Paris, ardent and tremulous rose up against the occupiers at the call of the Conseil National de la Résistance and the Comité Parisien de la Libération. Paris has liberated Paris."

In his remarkable broadcast over Radio Moscow, he managed to describe the entire German collapse without once mentioning the role of the Allied armies.

When people are vying for credit it's a sure sign that the enemy is on the ropes.

10/15/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Interesting, ain't it, that on 1 October a fairly public discussion took place about the US policy towards Syria takes place, and days later the Syrian Minister of the Interior 'committed suicide'. (Probably shot himself twice in the back of the head. Amazing how facist government officials have the ability to do that.)

Perhaps Assad got the message. It will be interesting to see if he allows Syria to continue to be a staging area for a now obviously doomed insurgency, or if Syria starts to 'play nice'. To me the question is whether Mr. Assad feels he has more to fear from the US than Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda.

10/15/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger blanco said...

keep up your speculation alerts, wretchard. they are a welcomed oasis in a desert of msm "analysis."

as for these words...

"Victory is arguably the most perilous moment for any great power. In that instant it can be goaded into the destructive path to hubris, or if it is wise, go on to attain real greatness,"

...what will "real greatness" look like? what are some paths to that?

[and hello, everyone. been reading everyone's comments without one of my own for a long time.]

10/15/2005 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

*Wet towel mode*

The Sunnis have never shown themselves as the types who'd pack up their bags merely over an election. That's why they never allowed them in the first place. I'd wait to see if they accept the result as legitimate before declaring victory.

10/15/2005 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

...but of course, unlike so many of our political opponents, I would love to be wrong.

10/15/2005 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I think one of dangers to the international political system is American dominance. Apart from the "obvious" risk of centralizing decision-making, the hidden downside is that the US is being relied on to provide another public good to the world.

For nearly half a century it has provided the public good of keeping navigation of the oceans free; in the last ten years it has also served to make cross-border agression (at least in Europe and Northeast Asia) a thing of the past. That's why European armies are now so small. I am afraid GWOT success will also increase "international" reliance on the US to manage the consequences of chaos in the Third World. In a way it would have been better if the US had failed in Iraq, because it would have forced other nations to step up to the plate.

The more subtle consequence is that Washington will become the target of lobbying from all over the world because it is where things ultimately "happen". And that can be corrupting. Maybe the wise way is to find a way to rebuild the international system in ways that distributes responsibility more equitably. Otherwise we will have a global political welfare system.

10/15/2005 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger blanco said...

agreed that a more equitable power distribution seems wise at first blush. but (with no guile or judgment in my mouth) history has shown that certain socio-religious modes of political/governing thought tend to lend themselves more to compassion versus others that tend toward fatalism.

10/15/2005 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger heather said...

Further to Wretchard's concern over American predominance: American success in this GWOT will mean that more and more real power will drift to its own Armed Forces.. already they are extremely impressive... while American business and intellectual elites box themselves into power dead ends, along with the rest of the transnational twits.

Yep, we are living in interesting times.

Maybe, though, the American taxpayer - in the end - will balk at financing world peace. And I depend on a strengthening India, which will balance America's presence on the other side of the world (leaving China to sort out its own serious problems, I hope without war, external or internal.)

10/15/2005 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

heather,

Yes, the twits' influence should decline, but the screaming we'll have to endure will be enough to plant thoughts of a purge in our widdle heads...

Also, one wonders how long the Left will continue to alienate the military. And is there a way to subtly nudge them into putting a sock in it?

10/15/2005 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Wretchard, your post 10:24 is extremely prescient. I've been worrying about the same thing myself.

At the same time, to be fair, during the 1990s it was people in the Democratic Party who were the primary promoters of allowing international competitors. Unfortunately, I'm always suspicious of their motives, fearing that they see it as a way to handicap the US, rather than to aid it.

The biggest problem I see is that there's so few potential partners to work with. Can we trust the Chinese? Europeans? Japan's a demographic timebomb. India is perhaps the obvious choice, so far as size and political orientation is concerned. But it is a long history, mixed with solely American traits, that allows the United States to play the role that it does. I fear we're irreplaceable, and that it is going to kill us.

I think we've already been corrupted by it. Leon Blum once called the French Communist Party the "foreign nationalist party," I think too much of the Democratic Party's establishment and intelligentsia resembles something similar. Transnational-progressivism is our biggest weakness.

10/15/2005 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"Further to Wretchard's concern over American predominance: American success in this GWOT will mean that more and more real power will drift to its own Armed Forces.. already they are extremely impressive... while American business and intellectual elites box themselves into power dead ends, along with the rest of the transnational twits."

Also important. I know there's someone who comments on this board who floats the idea that we'll be a Spartisan military state by the end of it. I know someone else who thinks we'll wind up authoritarian due to unfortunate political realities.

10/15/2005 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Wait, wait, wait. Whoa, just a minute!

Let's not bury the American military just yet. I'll grant you victory in Iraq seems imminent, but we've still got those pesky mad mullah's in Iran to deal with, not to mention the religious maniac Wahhabi's in Saudi Arabia, AND that nut case in North Korea. AND, the dreadful Palestinians who will be killing both themselves and anyone who steps within range for the foreseeable future.

In other words, even if Iraq is settled down and under control, I do *not* see suicide bombing jihadist Muslims will be going away any time soon. And the only successful way to deal with a jihadist bent upon death is to give it to him.

I think the American/Brit/Aussie military have all proven quite proficient at that, and if the Aussies and the Brit's think we're going allow them to bow and then leave the stage, they're nuts.

When England had its empire, it was called the "white man's burden", and until we have somehow convinced the Muslims to re-interpret their Koran to get rid of the "death to the infidel" parts, we're going to have to be killing them.

There's that whole roiling Indonesia/Phillippines Muslim thing, too, that it would probably not be a bad idea to get under control.

I don't think you're going to have to worry about American dominance in the foreseeable future, while all these global outspots are breaking out, and froot loops can still strap on a dynamite belt an make an explosive nuisance of themselves.

Except on the internet. America *will* remain the dominant force in charge of that, and we're prepared to get quite snarky about that as an issue, too.

10/15/2005 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I don't suppose we'll ever get to see a ceremony where Zarqawi hands over his dynamite belt in surrender to who-ever the top general in Iraq that day is.

Maybe we could lop a few years off of Saddam's sentence if he agreed to be the official surrenderer in a televised and otherwise heavily publicized "official event".

10/15/2005 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/15/2005 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Oops, didn't mean to endorse the idea that we've won the WOT yet, moreso the idea that American dominance is corrupting our political spectrum. Course, I'm a wannabe isolationist at heart. Insane foreigners, just let me get fat in peace.

10/15/2005 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Trangbang68, still banging his clueless war drums:

I hope we triumph,buy some years of peace in the middle east and throw a collective cream pie in the face of the media and lefty defeatists

1. Scheur's main points have come to pass:

A. The clout of the neocons is all but destroyed.
B. Two years overdue, and possibly too late to matter - the world and the American public may wait to believe it when a fresh President is in office, Bush finally had the balls to admit this isn't a global military-only involved war on the tactic of terrorism. It is a war of ideas between radical Islam and the progressive ideas of the modern world.
C. Scheurs dismay about the lack of diplomacy, strategic communications, and ability to translate is noted and finally being acted on.
D. Scheurs emphasis on the Israel-Palestinian final border being paramount to overall ME peace is accepted by Condi Rice and it appears Cheney is moving away from his neocon days and agreeing too, with Rice, Blair..
E. The idea we were going to clean up the ME with a series of "cakewalk" military victories mainly to allow Israel to keep it's land grabs and "vast, secret" nuke WMD stockpile monopoly is now a non-starter with the American public, as Scheur warned.

2. With less troops needed in Iraq, we can once again have our best out trying to mop up resurgent Al Qaeda and Taliban elements in Afghanistan and refocus on turning the screws on Pakistan, which backed off the hunt after the vehement reaction of the Pakistani people against the Iraq invasion.

3. We also need to address our steadily depleting inventory of fighter jets, tankers, bombers, Naval Fleet, and money to restock ground force vehicles in the Reserves, and reset the largely burned out Reservist eligibility for activation. We have less numbers in most principal weapons and logistics systems than Clinton gave Bush. Now is a good time to rebuild the military and reverse recruitment woes rather than Bush invading some other place.

4. Wretchard worries about US dominance. We are constrained by being diplomatically isolated until we finish the worst of Iraq, stop favoring Israel, and Bush leaves office. We are also constrained by being turned into the world's largest debtor nation. The 2nd is our biggest excuse NOT to have to intervene in every global conflict - "Sorry, but unless it affects a vital American national security interest - we simply can't afford to - and our Chinese, Japanese, and Saudi moneylenders agree with that assessment"

10/16/2005 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"B. Two years overdue, and possibly too late to matter - the world and the American public may wait to believe it when a fresh President is in office, Bush finally had the balls to admit this isn't a global military-only involved war on the tactic of terrorism. It is a war of ideas between radical Islam and the progressive ideas of the modern world."

Bush never shied from condemning radical Islamics, he merely kept the WOT neutrally named. From the beginning he treated this as a war on the pressive ideas of the modern world, which Scheuer does not agree with. Scheuer believes that this is a war over political objectives. That is why he believes it is able to capitulate/negotiate w/regard to the demands. What Bush did do was minimize radical Islamic influence and numbers.

"D. Scheurs emphasis on the Israel-Palestinian final border being paramount to overall ME peace is accepted by Condi Rice and it appears Cheney is moving away from his neocon days and agreeing too, with Rice, Blair.."

And this is a change how? "Road to Palestinian peace is through Baghdad"? Oslo through the 1990s? The point is it isn't practical because the Arabs are generally insane, not that we don't want it.

"2. With less troops needed in Iraq, we can once again have our best out trying to mop up resurgent Al Qaeda and Taliban elements in Afghanistan and refocus on turning the screws on Pakistan, which backed off the hunt after the vehement reaction of the Pakistani people against the Iraq invasion."

Pakistan backed off the hunt before our invasion of Iraq for its own domestic reasons. It is true that we are less able to intimidate them, but we don't want 100,000 troops in Afghanistan anyway, and the odds we're actually going to physically force Pakistan to move are low.

"C. Scheurs dismay about the lack of diplomacy, strategic communications, and ability to translate is noted and finally being acted on."


"4. Wretchard worries about US dominance. We are constrained by being diplomatically isolated until we finish the worst of Iraq, stop favoring Israel, and Bush leaves office. We are also constrained by being turned into the world's largest debtor nation. The 2nd is our biggest excuse NOT to have to intervene in every global conflict - "Sorry, but unless it affects a vital American national security interest - we simply can't afford to - and our Chinese, Japanese, and Saudi moneylenders agree with that assessment"

Our difficulty with C, and our diplomatic isolation are partially due to our dominance. We're playing a losing hand in the public relations game because everyone resents us from the start. France and the EU, and China [/Russia?], are the long awaited attempts to balance American power. Various outlets and supposed transgressions, such as Israel, are used to justify their resentments and balancing.

Frankly, they can stick a sock in it. The poor Palestinians are supported to the hilt by everyone but us, so shove the "neutrality" and "even broker" bit.

10/16/2005 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

so they can shove the "neutrality" and "even broker" bit.

10/16/2005 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

From the Guardian, "The new administration will be first permanent, fully constitutional government in Iraq since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's rule in 2003."

Is the implication here that there was a fully constitutional government in Iraq under Saddam Hussein?

10/16/2005 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Well said, and I hope, truly predictive.
But the insurgency's terror tactics were not a "mistake." I am afraid that is like saying that the Nazis would have been Okay if they had kept the freeways and continued development of rockets and not started the death camps and done all those invasions.
If they had done things that way, they would not have been Nazis.
The terrorist philosophy is part and parcel of the ideology that uses it.
Heather: I have thought for some time that much of the anti-war movement was driven by just what you describe. Because of who they are they feel smbarassed and diminished by the success of the U.S. Military.
Both the Islamic Terrorists and the anti-war group are what they are because of who they are.

10/16/2005 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I love it when Wretch is in an ebullient mood.

10/16/2005 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

By the way, the voting percentage in TIKRIT has been quoted as 73%.
I think we can assume that the Tikriti thugs they voted "No".
But does not the fact that they voted indicate that they know they have lost?
They embrace democracy in order to defeat democracy.
Isn't that like holding a race to protest the cost of gasoline?

10/16/2005 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As I said months ago, with Victory in Iraq,, the WoT will become a kissin' cousin to the War on Drugs.

There will be no US assualt on the mad Mullahs of Iran. We will not attack our money lenders and Japan's oil providers in the KSA. Syria, a mior plater, will come around under soft power pressure or covert operations or not at all.

As long as the Russians and Chinese support Iran's nuclear program, they will have a nuclear program. Get used to the idea.

Do not think that Israel will strike, preemptively, at the Iranians with the clandestine nukes the Israelis have built. Have NO doubt that the Russians would strike back, Iran still being their Nuclear client state. The Russians would reestablish their Major Power designation, by destroying Israel, an outlaw country that had used Nukes in a preemptive strike against a peaceful and lawful country, Iran, killing many Russians in the process. It is still a MAD MAD world.

The US is not at war with Islam or Mohammedans. Perhaps we should be, but we are not. Bush has said so, often and loudly.
Get used to the idea.

The only page left unread in the WoT story has Osama's name on it.

10/16/2005 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rwe
Exactly, in Tikrit, Fallujah and across Iraq, the folk have chosen the "Strong Horse".
Maj Gen Bob Scales reported on FOX News, the other day, about an IA Division commanded by an Iraqi General with over 30 years in the IA Army. His troops were reportedly 75% veterans, as well. Gen Scales reported these troops were actively engaged in combat with the Insurgents.
If Gen Scales reporting is accurate, there is no reason to doubt it, then the IA is moving forward and the Insurgency is doomed.
Without Iraqi Insurgents the aQ operatives will sufficate, like fish out of water.

10/16/2005 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger gmat said...

An update from my favorite on the scene guy in Iraqis here. He's betting that only Anbar will reject it. (one reason I like this guy cause he's 73 years old, and still right in the middle of things.)

As to concerns about the US being asked by the world to handle all the problems with failed states, a strategy for dealing with just this issue is exhaustively outlined in Tom Barnett's 2 books.

In short, the US is well equipped to provide the Leviathan that takes down the rogue state, but the System Administrator that stands up the new state will be a multinational effort, and not an ad hoc effort, either. Still the best Grand Strategy I've seen for the 21st century (way beyond Kaplan's vision, btw)

Finally, I'm not sanguine about eliminating radical islamism as a force in the muslim world, because it is embedded in the religion itself. It is a centuries old violent struggle among muslims, it will continue, and to the extent the US is involved in the muslim world, we'll take a hit now and then.

10/16/2005 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

What too many people (C4 include) mistake diplomacy for is idle chatter.

The UAE is diplomatically engaging Iran to get some islands in the Khaleej al Araby (Arabic Gulf or more widely known as the Persian Gulf). Iran is of course obliging the UAE by talking but has no serious intention of surrendering those islands. It wasn't diplomacy that Iran used to kick the UAE off of those islands and it isn't diplomacy that will get them back.

There was a lot of diplomacy involved in all of this (and continues to be involved) what the left and Admin opponents don't like is it wasn't just crystal glass & champagne diplomacy.

10/16/2005 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

PSGInfinity said: Also, one wonders how long the Left will continue to alienate the military. And is there a way to subtly nudge them into putting a sock in it?


Perhaps a good start would be to get Richard to stop quoting the BBC and New York Times.

10/16/2005 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Naturally, some observers regarded the ratification as only another signpost on the road to a total American defeat in Iraq.

Yes, for some it's the message of a broken record, stuck on... Did anyone else catch Carl Levin's laughable act on "Meet the Press" this morning? The (dis)Honorable Democratic Senator from Michigan told us with a straight face that no matter whether the Iraqi Constitution is ratified or not, either way it will result in a defeat for the U.S. at the hands of a constantly strengthening insurgency.

I'm not quite sure he wishes it so, but one does get the impression.

10/16/2005 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

sirius
Mr Levin has been a Democrat for so long, he thinks losing IS winning.
In every defeat they find some slim excuse for claiming a "moral" victory. In every victory they find some reason to discredit the victor, or the process.
It does not change the outcomes. It just soothes the shattered egos.

10/16/2005 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Wretchard:

"In a way it would have been better if the US had failed in Iraq, because it would have forced other nations to step up to the plate."

Don't we know that world already? Didn't Vietnam lead us down that path? I'm not sure I noticed the Europeans acting more responsibly about any threat other than the one right on their doorstep (and often not even then).

I don't think you can get around the fact that the Europeans' comfort zone on security issues over the post 100 years, for whatever reasons, has meant taking positions which time and again cost them their entire frickin' countries. As Americans we are quite rightly just not willing to go there.

This fact alone appears likely to enforce a continuing asymmetry on who bears the costs of global security.

10/16/2005 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

An interesting series of posts so far: they illustrate the point made by W. and others, namely, that once a major victory is achieved, there is going to be some wandering of attention in various directions as people try to re-calibrate their hierarchy of "the next things to be done."

In a way, the terrorist attacks in Iraq in retrospect have something of the "gang-that-couldnt-shoot straight" character of the Taliban actually trying a face-off with U. S. + No. Alliance troops in the trenches in the early hours of the Afghanistan fight. Roadside bombs being the only thing left in Iraq at the present moment, and the retreat of the organized fighting to the Syrian border, tells me that the "war fighting" is seriously attenuated by the vigor of the general Iraqi commitment to an organized political solution, wherever it may lead. W. seems right to me when citing "leaked" news stories signalling a shift of war-fighting to now disclosed U. S. engagements with Syrian military units at the Iraq-Syrian border.

What is at the top of my list? The general liberal-lefty-marxoid notion in the west that terrorist tactics are such that they cannot be defeated. A muslim-american playwright was cited in our local paper saying that it is necessary to understand why terrorists terrorize because "You can't stop them . . ."--ellipses in the original story.

"Can't stop them" DOT DOT DOT trails off to what? "This is obvious: they can't be stopped"? "I really don't have any articulate words for dealing with terrorism"? "We're all going to be living under Wahabi muslims eventually, so we better start 'understanding' them now"?

I suggest something of all of the above.

In brief, I conclude that the most important task facing those in the west who want to stop these people is a serious rethinking from the bottom up (if necessary) of the language, the concepts, and the rhetoric for talking about and conceiving terrorism that will place the "undefeatability" of terrorism on the table for frank discussion.

I've talked to a number of people--all more-or-less politically and militarily naive--for whom the first and last thing they can say about terrorism is that it can't be defeated.

Is that the same as saying that its victory is inevitable? Probably.

I put these thoughts down on this blog because I think that Belmont is the only place I know where this sort of discussion is fruitfully possible because W. has already gone over it in some respects in previous posts.

What does a "final defeat" of terrorism look like?

10/16/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Desert Rat: You have a worrisome point there. When the War started I said that our real problem would not be the enemy, which we surely could defeat, but the "reasonable men" that would arise.
"Be reasonable," they would say "You cannot - invade a nation without permission from the U.N. -- kill so many people, even in battle - lock up suspects indefinitely - continue with Iran and Syria and North Korea in same manner you have with Iraq..." etc. And what is amazing is that so many more come out after a victory that proved them wrong. They don't need logic, they are "being reasonable."
The Pentagon is full of "reasonable men" and across the Potomac in D.C. that is about all that is left anymore.
Michale Mc: Close, but the Left also goes so far as to say that the nature of the tactics (terrorism) proves the rightness of the cause, because it is usually employed by the underdog, who is never personally reponsible for being "under".

10/16/2005 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger gmat said...

Language is certainly important. We could start by not trying to "defeat terrorism". It's just a tactic that's been around for a long time. And any old malcontent can use it whenever he finds a soft target.

If we're talking about final victory over radical islamists, I've already said I'm a Barnett guy, so the idea is to ultimately globalize them to death, ie, " In other words, al Qaida might attack on ground of their own choosing but we can ultimately determine what ground matters, and al Qaida cannot."

But the 4GW guys like Lind and Robb, who believe the VNSAs hold the advantage over the state, they have some good ideas, too.

A good parallel conversation on your question here

10/16/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

Re: GMAT

The Robb statement below from the NYT, dated yesterday seems to me inconsistent with reports other than those of the MSM re: current frequency of attacks. The notion of body-counts has not to my knowledge been used by the Bush administration.

"Insurgent attacks have been increasing steadily since the invasion, and the insurgents' methods are growing more sophisticated. American casualty rates remain high despite an increasingly experienced force and improvements in armor. The insurgents have also radically expanded their campaign of violence to include Iraqi troops, police officers, government officials and Shiite civilians. Since the American military's objective is to gain a monopoly on violence in Iraq, these developments indicate that it has sustained the commercial equivalent of a rapid loss in market share.

"Despite this setback, the military and the Bush administration continue
to claim progress, though this progress appears to be measured in the familiar metric of body counts. According to the military, it kills or captures 1,000 to 3,000 insurgents a month. Its estimate of the insurgency, however, is a mere 12,000 to 20,000 fighters. Something is clearly wrong. Simple math indicates we have destroyed the insurgency several times over since it started."

IOW, Robb is giving us the usual NYT pap, which is why his Op Ed was published by the NYT.

re: RWE

True, marxoids have a real, increasingly overt sympathy with the insurgents because they read them according to the standard radical leftist narrative template. These people are beyond redemption.

I was referring earlier to ordinary citizens who tag along with leftist defeatism simply because they have not been presented with an alternative template. By that, I mean I would like to see some alternative scenarios floated and publicly discussed, narratives that determine and list specific tactics for combatting specific dimensions of terrorist threats. Nortoriously, the Bush administration is very absent on such discussion, possibly because it gets one into some rather specialized tactical thinking.

My main point is that the outlines of a very specific hole or vacancy in public discourse have already been sufficiently defined to tell the rest of us what kind of thinking and verbalizing of this thinking is both needed and possible.

Defeatism is often, as here, covered by the DOT DOT DOT ellipses I mentioned in my earlier post. I.e., it marks a site of conscious thinking and articulation where thinking and articulation simply stop operating and undefined fears and despairs take over.

Which is precisely the psychological effect which terrorist tactics aim at.

10/16/2005 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Terrorist type movements have been defeated and crushed in the past. The lefties want us to forget it because these movements were typically leftist in nature.

10/16/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Dean Douthat said...

To those ignorati who claim that terrorism cannot be defeated, name a success.

Terrorism has been around since at least the Zealots 2000 years ago. They managed to get the Temple flattened and the Jews scattered to the winds.

Nowhere on the entire planet in its entire history has there been a successful terror-based political movement, to my knowledge.

10/16/2005 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Russia becoming the Soviet Union was definately a case of "terrorism" successfully bringing in a new Power Structure. That Structure enduring for multiple generations of Leadership. They lost their power when they became unwilling or unable to wield terror, effectively, as a weapon against their captive States.

Mao in China to a lesser extent, gaining Power through regular military means, but excercising control through Terror.

The Romans were successful for centuries, wielding terror in Europe and the Middle East. Again losing their Empire as they became reluctant or unable to continue utilizing Genocide as a political tool.

Mugumbe in Rhodesia is still successfully utilizing terror, as are the Mohammedans of Sudan. In Uganda, Idi Amin ran a successful Terror State for years.

In Burma the terror continues, today.

10/16/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Michael McCanles -

I've talked to a number of people--all more-or-less politically and militarily naive--for whom the first and last thing they can say about terrorism is that it can't be defeated.

Your apocryphal talks with military and politically naive people clearly omit military historians that state human civilizations have used the tactic of terror from time immemorial.

Revolutionary terror has been used since the French Revolution and crops up in a large number of the bloody revolutions and anti-colonialist insurrections of the mid-20th Century. It frequently worked. At one point in the 70s, half the nations of Latin America, Africa, Israel, China, and several nations of Europe were headed by individuals that had originally led oppositional groups that heavily relied on the tactic of terrorism.

During the Cold War, both the Soviets and Americans sponsored terrorists as long as the group using terrorist tactics was "on their side". Their side's terrorists were the "freedom fighters", the other side's terrorists were called "terrorists". Perspective varied on whose ox was being gored.

State terrorism. Terrorism as a leveler in assymetric war. Terrorism of the revolutionaries and insurectionists. Just a tactic that various groups have used, again, as military historians say, since time immemorial.

And we don't seem to have a handle on it even now, post 9/11, in terms of defining it - and discerning between what is terrorism and what is legitimate armed resistance to an oppressive gov't that blocks peaceful resolution or an occupier that must be expelled.

10/16/2005 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Michael McCanles asked the question:

What does a "final defeat" of terrorism look like?

A much easier question to ask:

What does a "final defeat" of the United States look like?

Wretchard decribes it effectively with his
Three Conjectures, where the United States ends up slaughtering a billion muslims in nuclear exchanges. General Tommy Franks is probably correct in his assumption that if the United States were hit with a weapon of mass destruction, the Constitution would likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government. Both of these scenarios are examples of American "defeat". Ultimately, the "final defeat" of Islamic terrorism is achieved only when the danger of our own "final defeat" has been removed.

10/16/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

On taking Iran to the Security Council, I'm trying to envision exactly what "going to the Security Council" would consist of. Sadly, all I can come up with is that it's a Machiavellian ploy to put another knife in the back of an already-mortally wounded UN.

What I think is going to happen is that Iran will refuse to back down (REALLY dumb move on their part, but since no one's done anything to them so far, they're probably feeling cocky -- they need to go have a long heart-to-heart chat with Saddam on the wisdom of going toe-to-toe with Dubya).

So Iran will refuse to back down, and Bolton will take it to the Security Council. There will be the normal yadda-yadda discussions, which we already know pretty much how they will turn out and who will vote for what. Although it will be interesting to watch to see how France votes, if Les Frogs have the spine and the stamina to go another round with the Great Satan.

My prediction is that the Security Council will vote to study the situation. Or to send in Hans Blix to talk to the Mad Mullah's. At most, they'll vote on one of those ephemeral many-worded proclamations similar to what they voted on for Iraq: "Do it or VERY BAD THINGS might maybe possibly happen to you." I would be surprised if they actually inflict any sort of international sanctions on Iran.

After the vote, Bolton and the White House will issue many very sad statements about how difficult it is to actually ACCOMPLISH anything in the United Nations, which has a long long history of never doing anything about anything.

And then after a week or so of UN-bashing, so the whole world is aware of how really really hard we tried to be civilized about the Iran question, we'll nuke 'em. Just do it.

Essentially, it will be a replay of everything that went on in the lead-up to Iraq, except this time France will be a non-player because no one cares any more what France has to say, and it's dribbled away what was left of its prestige in the past three years. We, the US, this time also won't need anyone's permission to fly over their ticky-tacky little countries, nor walk soldiers across their actual dirt. We'll just do it.

And then sit back and watch to see who has what to say, and how shrilly, about anything. Because you KNOW that no one - not Russia, not China, not India -- is actually going to *do* anything once the Mullah's are staggering around in their blowed-up nuclear labs, whining and crying and cursing. As a poster here noted, Russia might do something if it was Israel, but there's no way Vladimir is gonna go one-on-one with Dubya.

And frankly, underneath all the certain-to-come anti-American hoo-haw, there will be mass heaving breasts of relief that the Iranian nuke question has gone away. And from what I can read out there on the internet, that relief will also be felt by all the Middle East countries with the possible exception of Syria. Although certain editors and bloggers will feel compelled to write some sturm and drang pieces about American arrogance and hubris, and oh by the way, the world doesn't love us any more and we've squandered our image as good guys before the rest of that most-righteous world.

But it seems to me that what we're seeing is the slow unfolding of a deliberate plan which will encompass both the end of Iran's nuclear aspirations and the UN's world domination inclination. And just because it *is* slow doesn't mean it's not happening.

The whole Condi thing is just a dog and pony show, pre-choreographed to lead into the eventual final bullfight as Bolton teases the previously wounded and bleeding UN to charge --- or to walk away -- one last time before it is finally dispatched and put out of its misery with a slashing sword's blow to the neck. I suppose it would be too much to ask that one of Kofi's ears be hacked off to signify the successful completion of the plan, just to flash a clue to watchers around the world (such as myself) that "it's over".

10/16/2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

All responses to my question as to what defeat (not of terrorism but) of these terrorists would look like seem to come down to the answer I've already heard: it's always been around, and we have no answer to how to do it this time (Cedarford).

Exactly my point. Like the daft conclusion to "Portnoy's Complaint," after all the disaster and the pain and suffering, the Freudian therapist gives what the novel calls the "punch line" (of the long jewish joke which is the novel): "Now ve vill begin."

10/16/2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

We need to nuke Iran? Umm.. Why? Because they are the kind of state that might nuke another state without provocation?

10/16/2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Cedarford,Like I said I scanned Scheur's book so I can't address all of his concerns.I will stick to my analysis that the CIA is an utterly failed intelligence gathering organization gelded by the anti American leftist crowd in the 1970's.In my opinion that colors Scheur's viewpoint.He's like Gore and Kerry and others who offered no meaningful foreign policy platform other than appeasement and cowardice and now profess to have had a better plan.
What I found appalling about Scheur's book is found between the lines.In his shadings, Bin Laden and his depraved cohorts come off as noble warriors with a just cause enflamed by western policies.They become larger than life foes rather the evil monsters they are.Like those of the left-media axis,Bush and the dreaded neo-cons are a bigger threat to the world than our enemies .
If Scheur believes the solution to the GWOT lies in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,he hasn't been listening to the Wahhabi communiques.They oppose us because we're infidels.
I heard the NPR analysis of the Iraqi elections this morning.The reporter all but came out shilling for Zarqawi and hoping the insurgency lives.

10/16/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Well, Michael, blogger ate my homework...again. But my point I wrote, eloquently and with unreproducible skill now lost to the ether *sigh*, was that the war on terrorism is like that of slavery or piracy; wars may last for years but some wars last for centuries. The wars against slavery and piracy have lasted over two.

What you can do is establish sanctuaries where you by and large defeat your enemy and then deny your enemy purchase in new territory and encroach on his. By next August, the Iraqis will have another 70,000 troops (270,000 total), and probably have at least 80 battalions reasonably independent where we can withdraw sufficient numbers. With Iraq and Afghanistan reasonably secure, we can isolate Iran and Syria, and the others and begin to deny the battlefield in East Africa, Central Asia, Indonesia, and Europe (Kosovo); roll back enough fields and then we can press again on the hard centers of Islamism and the terror masters. Repeat as desired.

And Cedarford is dead wrong on his history. For whatever utility that terrorism had, it was against extremely weak 'states' (like post-colonial Africa) or authoritarian states (like Latin America, Europe, even nationalist China). Countries that had the support of only a minority in power and that had weak civil societies (or nonexistent) failed in the face of terrorism. In fact, Cedarford's point neatly contradicts his point; countries that liberalized were mostly immune, sometimes spectacularly so, to terrorist misadventures and fringe group movements. So Cedarford actually bolsters the case for success against terrorism for Iraq, one that is undoubtedly nationalist and with the machinery of democracy.

10/16/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

exactly james
Then the US would be the world's most powerful pariah.
What a concept. What a legacy. Doubt if it would ever happen, pray it does not. Violates every one Bush's core principles in the call to freedom campaign.
No, the US will huff and puff and stand down, the Iranians have been informed we have over 300 targets, within Iran. Their Nuke Program is that decentralized, learning from Saddam the dangers of centralization.
If the Mullahs were not replaced, concurrent to an attack on their Nuclear Program, world war could likely be the outcome. A US invasion of Venezuala on a coordinated time schedule guarenteed.
Not the legacy Bush wants to leave to posterity.
A problem to be kicked, like a can, down the road. To some other President, at some other time.

The CIA reports the Iranians are at least a decade away from an operational weapon, but then they thought finding WMD in Iraq was a "Slam Dunk".

10/16/2005 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/16/2005 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

what does victory look like?

Well first you have the dream and then you have the reality.

the key technologies needed for a successful 21st century are cheap energy and water--water and energy so cheap that all the world's deserts can be turned green by sticking pipes in the ocean, desalinizing the water as it passes into the pipes and then pumping desalized water 1000 miles inland with hydrogen cracked out of the water itself. Even 1000 miles inland the desalinized water would be cheap enough to make farming profitable.

This will become possible in 5-10 years. All the research tools to accomplish this task are available now. The work is going forward at a very brisk pace. (though most of the original research work is being put into killing the cost of hydrogen production and storage--the research strategies for killing the cost of desalination are very similiar.)

The people who cultivate the green earth have to also own it. why? Because today there is a great imbalance of power between property owners and capital owners. (in part as a consequence of the immense upfront capital costs of oil.)

while cheap water and energy is the consequence of the current generation of research tools-- an outcome in which property ownership is widely spread to all the desert countries of the world is not as likely an outcome. Though the defeat of pharonic communism and jihadist islam augers well.




/////////////////////////////
blanco said
wretchard
"Victory is arguably the most perilous moment for any great power. In that instant it can be goaded into the destructive path to hubris, or if it is wise, go on to attain real greatness,"

...what will "real greatness" look like? what are some paths to that?

Michael McCanles said...

An interesting series of posts so far: they illustrate the point made by W. and others, namely, that once a major victory is achieved, there is going to be some wandering of attention in various directions as people try to re-calibrate their hierarchy of "the next things to be done."

10/16/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Desert Rat wrote: "a problem to be kicked, like a can, down the road. To some other President, at some other time."

A great point to keep in mind. It's useful to consider that in fact no action may allow us to sit back satisfied thinking that "it's over." Especially as people continue to die from radiation sickness and cloud of radioactive fallout slowly moves over a continent.

10/16/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

You can't stop them...

That was the buzz all the while the buzz bombs were raining down on England. But you know what? Turns out they could be stopped. Both the bombs and those who sent them. Not to say it was easy. Or ever will be.

10/16/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Just keep building that "Missile Defense."

10/16/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There are many strategies that could be employeed against the Iranian Mullahs. There is no need, yet, to contemplate war, especially nuclear war, before any of those strategies are attempted.

Our success in Iraq coming not so much from force of arms or destruction, but from the strength of ideas. While I have advocated greater use of force in Iraq, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

The newly liberated Shia of Iraq will be more destabilizing to Iran than the Mullahs will constitute a threat to political freedoms in Iraq.
That idea, that Freedom is contagious, is at the core of the US program. A greater threat to Iranian Mullahs than the avian flu.

10/16/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Charle, now let's add the convergence of Nano/Solar and Ethanol/Biodiesel/hybrid/lithium ion battery technologies into your "Dream," and envision the States of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico as Huge Biofuels Factories. Good-bye Middle East; and have a nice day!

10/16/2005 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

BTW, Wretch, while it is true that being the "Dominant" Military power ( and thus being the policeman ) of the world is "Expensive," it, also, has Tremendous Advantages. It is in such a country ( the Shining City on the Hill ) that all rational investors wish to invest.

This leads to Economic Vitality, low interest rates, high degree's of employment, and a high rate of Research and Development; all leading to higher and higher standards of living. It, also, gives your voice greater exposure and Credibility in the International debate over Morality, and Social Contracts.

In short, "It's well worth it."

10/16/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger gmat said...

Michael Mccanles

Sorry, but you're not reading very carefully. In fact, my post linked to two answers to your question, one from Barnett, one from Robb.

You didn't like Robb's answer, but it wasn't "It's always been here, there's nothing we can do about it."

Review the conversation I linked at Zenpundit. It's all about answers.

By the way, I emphatically agree that we need a public conversation, led by the policy elite, about such answers. I'm encouraged to see someone here that recognizes that most americans who don't get it, are not "lefties".

They're just not being properly led.

10/16/2005 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Rat,

Given the decrepit state of the Iraq's oil industry during Saddam's reign, and given that that state of affairs is now coming to an end, it wouldn't surprise me if the US decides to blockage Iran's shipping ports and have the lost oil supply from Iran replenished with increased production quotas in Iraq.

10/16/2005 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Wretchard, you wrote:

I am afraid GWOT success will also increase "international" reliance on the US to manage the consequences of chaos in the Third World.

If the management remains organic in the way Kaplan describes, there is no reason to be afraid. Americans don't want to control, they want to deal. Plus, from my point of view the alternatives are much, much worse.

I was delighted to read Condi's assessment of Assad. I've always maintained that Bush's vehicle for change will be the UN, that victory in Iraq will strengthen our diplomatic hand against Syria (perhaps Iran is a different beast, but we shall see). The new Iraqi Constitutional Government is a wild card, and its presence at the UN will play a decisive role in arguing both our and there cause in front of the security council. Bush will be able to play the supporting role when Iraqi demands are made. Such a dynamic will substantially improve the likelihood of international pressure on Syria, and such pressure will spell the end of Assad and perhaps the end of a Syrian autocracy.

The issue remains of leadership, dominance, and hubris. I don't think anyone would argue that OIF was a lesson in dominance. Many would argue that it was also hubris, but I don't think it was. Dominance is the ace in the hole that must occasionally be played, and in Iraq we played it. But as you say, our victory paradoxically weakens the utility of dominance in the near future. We are entering a stage where leadership, true leadership, will be of paramount importance. Until leadership once again issues its diminishing returns, dominance will move into the background for the time being.

Michael Jordan was both a leader and a dominant player. His maturation came when he accepted that only a team could win a championship. His greatness came when, with all on the line, he stepped up and became something more than a leader. But without a team those moments would have never come.

And so it is with America.

10/16/2005 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

mika
I agree. That will become a viable alternative in the near future. There are many other options, short of an embargo, that we can begin to implement. Iranian people are far from rock solid in their support for the Mullahs. There may not be many that wish to start an insurection, but there is substantial political discontent.
As freedom establishes itself in Iraq, the fallout will drift into Iran. Nasty stuff, fallout.

You have to know which way the wind blows. Today, at least, Freedoms sails are billowing, spinickers flying...all ahead full.

10/16/2005 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Trandbang68 -

What I found appalling about Scheur's book is found between the lines.In his shadings, Bin Laden and his depraved cohorts come off as noble warriors with a just cause enflamed by western policies.They become larger than life foes rather the evil monsters they are.

You might wish to stop flag-waving for a few moments and ponder why Bin Laden, in particular, is popular among ordinary Muslims.

First, he risked his ass fighting the Soviets. If he had been known to Reagan, no doubt he would have been invited as several other Arabs and Talibani were - to Reagan's White House to be feted as a "Noble, heroic Mujahadeen Freedom Fighter".

Second, he articulated several key Muslim grievances that the US is belatedly trying to address: A. US support for corrupt repressive governments throughout the Muslim World. B. Stationing of US troops in Saudi Arabia to prop up a corrupt, swindling monarchy and defiling Islams most holy area. C. Lopsided support for Israel and betrayal of the rights of the Palestinian people as determined by International law agreed to by the US and Israel in previous UN commitments. D. The pushing of a decadent western culture into Muslim nations, a culture that promotes materialism over God, pornography over following holy teachings, etc.

Foes of consequence are always more than the simplistic, evil monsters you wish them to be, Trangbang68. They have intelligence, real goals and grievances, and widespread support they have earned by deeds and actions.

Like those of the left-media axis,Bush and the dreaded neo-cons are a bigger threat to the world than our enemies .
If Scheur believes the solution to the GWOT lies in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,he hasn't been listening to the Wahhabi communiques.


There is no GWOT, btw, Trangbang68. That's just Bush's slogan. Terrorism is simply a tactic.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is the biggest driver of recruitment to radical Islam next to wishing to purge the Ummah of what ordinary Muslims believe is a decadent Western culture. Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Nixon, Kissinger, Lee of Singapore, Bush I all believe that establishing final borders for Israel is an essential step in defeating radical Islam. Saying that many radical Muslims wish to go further is soooo obvious. You would get no disagreement from Schuer on that. Any major foreign policy problem faces extremists on the wings and it is a thin argument that Israel in particular makes, that the status quo of more land grabs and status quo Occupation repression must continue because "extremists exist wishing to destroy us". The same argument is used by partisans in American domestic disputes. Partial birth abortions must be supported because if they aren't - extremists will just go on a slippery slope to outlaw ALL Abortions. Such arguments are always used to justify intransigence - pro-abortionites, zionist land-grabbing, Pal insistence on a Right of Return of all Pals into Israel...

To win a war of ideas between the modern world and radical Islam for the 1.2 billion muslims, we need a little more thinking, and a lot less sloganeering and thinking "hero troops" blood is a substitute for wise policy. New "evildoer-ending" wonder weapons will not end an Islamofascist movement that is actively prosyletizing and winning converts with the power of their intellectual and religious arguments - from Detroit to Jakarta.

This war of ideas has a military part to it, but Shuer in Imperial Hubris and most strategists following the discrediting of the neocon approach now say it is reckless and lazy to only use military and not all the other tools and wisdom the US and the rest of the modern world can employ.

10/16/2005 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Osama Bin Laden is hugely popular because he knocked down the Twin Towers, and killed thousands of Americans. The rest is Horse-Hockey!

10/16/2005 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

the worst thing that could happen from the outcome of this election is that the Sunnis feel _more_ disenfranchised because the lost, and end up stepping up their insurgency.

There will certainly be hold outs, but I'm thinking we will see the U.S. forces downsized by early next year. We will keep a small footprint there, but not be involved in daily anti-terrorist operations. It should be interesting to see how this final result is spun by the Islamists and their brothers-in-(not so)arms the liberal media.

10/16/2005 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

We're not in the Nuke'in business. But, you can be sure that when the B-2's land ( in 07',) Iran won't be either.

10/16/2005 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Schuer's a hack. Muslims also supported Hussein, an accomplished butcher of Muslims and hate America[ns] despite our best efforts (which are pretty damn good, like Kosovo, the tsunami relief, Afghanistan, Somalia, and on). If we don't support Muslim causes enough, too bad.

BTW, Bush is the FIRST US president to come out officially in support of a Palestinian state, but I see in your derangement, no credit given for what is a concrete commitment.

And I'm very pleased to announce that the neo-cons evidently have not been discredited enough.

A series of clashes in the last year between American and Syrian troops, including a prolonged firefight this summer that killed several Syrians, has raised the prospect that cross-border military operations may become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war, according to current and former military and government officials.

The firefight, between Army Rangers and Syrian troops along the border with Iraq, was the most serious of the conflicts with President Bashar al-Assad's forces, according to American and Syrian officials.


From the NYTimes

10/16/2005 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rufus, old boy
Osama was popular in Central Asia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordon, Somalia and a host of other places well before 9-11.
His earliest attacks against US came in '95. He had been an Mohammedan icon prior to that, building a PR legend in Afghanistan against the Soviets. If you think that his charisma and popularity is horse-hockey, well that's for you to decide. The Mohammedan Border Bandits of Warzistan are, most likely, harboring him today.
He is the Frontman, the "Face" of Radical Mohammedanism in the World today.
That's not horse-hockey at all.

10/16/2005 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

NahnCee,

Anything that ELIMINATES the UN is a blessing for all of humanity. Just keep one or two agencies like WHO.

10/16/2005 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Cedarford,
Am I to apologize for my abysmal ignorance in calling Bin Laden and associates "evil"?So what if he is idolized among the primitive back water tyrannies that Islam is so adept at producing.Let them idolize him with his head on a pike.While no doubt he is a devote Wahhabi,he is also a prototypical ideologue in the mode of Guevara,Daniel Ortega,Carlos the Jackal,Bernadine Dohrn,Mark Rudd and others;a pampered upper class youth who attempted to inflict his utopian worldview on others through the use of the gun .
So the neo-cons' error is refusing to address Muslim grievances through other means than military?Oh for the heady days of Madeline Albright begging Arafat to come back to the bargaining table.That really made the world a safer place.

10/16/2005 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I'm not saying he didn't have his fans. I'm just saying that his 15 minutes of "Huge" Popularity sprung from the fact that he was able to kill thousands of Americans in a Spectacular matter.

I would also make the argument that there are Millions of "Jihadists" in Indonesia, today, that didn't know UBL from Rufus's Pig unti we got Stupid and let him get lucky.

10/16/2005 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Indonesia?, perhaps so.
His head on a pike, his body wrapped in hog hide and cremated, sending his soul to Valhalla, were he would not recieve his allotment virgins.
That would be all right with me. Most likely ok with the virgins, too.

10/16/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Where does the Mohammedan's allah find the virgins?
I mean, just whose daughters and sisters are those girls, anyway?
Do the brothers get to honor kill them for their promiscuity, like in Germany? Or is slutish behaviour permitted in Paradise?
Sex outside of the family, if it ain't incest, it ain't right. That is the Mohammedan way, isn't it?

10/16/2005 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Let's hope they mis-translated. Maybe that was 72 "VIRGINIANS." You know, like Washington, Madison, Jefferson ....yeah, I know, it's an old joke, but I still laugh every time I think about it.

10/16/2005 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

There a lot of good comments. Let me just touch on a few of them.

Brett L: Interesting, ain't it, that on 1 October a fairly public discussion took place about the US policy towards Syria takes place, and days later the Syrian Minister of the Interior 'committed suicide'... perhaps Assad got the message.

Good point. Yes, many be Assad got the message - and maybe it was a token gesture. I believe Abu Nadal [sp?] committed suicide just as Saddam's men visited him over his possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Could this be a replay? I don't know but I am suspicious.

Wretchard: ...one of dangers to the international political system is American dominance... the hidden downside is that the US is being relied on to provide another public good to the world... we will have a global political welfare system.

This is the "World Policeman" argument. It's valid but has been going on for about a half a century. Economics and military power go hand-in-hand. After WWII the rest of the world was in shambles. There were many countries ruined and no economic or military power to police the sea lanes and hold hostile states in check. By default it fell upon the US. As certain Asian countries and certain European countries became comfortable with the US playing the global policeman of last resort these countries shifted economic resources from military endeavors to economic endeavors (thus saddling the US tax payer the global security bill). How to rectify this situation is still mater of debate. I don't have the answer.

Wretchard: In a way it would have been better if the US had failed in Iraq, because it would have forced other nations to step up to the plate.

Hum, I am not so sure that would actually happen. There was a lot that could have gone wrong. I feel more comfortable with Bush's method of preemptively fighting the war with the enemy in his back yard (a lot less damage to American cities).

blanco: ...history has shown that certain socio-religious modes of political/governing thought tend to lend themselves more to compassion versus others that tend toward fatalism.

I agree on that.

Cutler: The biggest problem I see is that there's so few potential partners to work with. Can we trust the Chinese? Europeans?...

I agree. There are few partners. The British have been the best partners so far. But, There could be new ones from the emerging European counties. In the short run the US will play the main role.

NahnCee: Whoa, just a minute!

Let's not bury the American military just yet. I'll grant you victory in Iraq seems imminent, but we've still got those pesky mad mullah's in Iran to deal with, not to mention the religious maniac Wahhabi's in Saudi Arabia, AND that nut case in North Korea
...

Exactly. I say take it one step-at-a-time. We have a distance to go. We still have to get past the presidential elections in Iraq in December. I can just imagine some clever thug putting Saddam on the presidential ballot just for fun. Once this presidental election is done then all of your names above will have to be dealt with in some fashion. It's going to be a long haul.

RWE: But the insurgency's terror tactics were not a "mistake." I am afraid that is like saying that the Nazis would have been Okay if they had kept the freeways and continued development of rockets and not started the death camps and done all those invasions.

Well, terrorists usually terrorize to gain power. But, the only real tactic they performed correctly was the massive propaganda campaign and getting the US MSM on board. The brutal head sawing and splattering of children did not help them gain respect (if they were solely successful in killing huge numbers of American troops they would have projected strength - they did not. The killing children and civilians showed weakness).

Michael McCanles: ...In a way, the terrorist attacks in Iraq in retrospect have something of the "gang-that-couldnt-shoot straight" character of the Taliban actually trying a face-off with U. S. + No. Alliance troops in the trenches in the early hours of the Afghanistan fight. Roadside bombs being the only thing left in Iraq at the present moment, and the retreat of the organized fighting to the Syrian border, tells me that the "war fighting" is seriously attenuated by the vigor of the general Iraqi commitment to an organized political solution...

That's a fair assessment of the situation. And, I agree with most of your other stuff.

MM: What does a "final defeat" of terrorism look like?

I don't know. But, would guess that it would be evidenced by increased tourism in those terror plagued areas and increased industrial economic activity. That would include, modern cities, good housing and urban areas devoid of gun toting gangs.

Vercingetorix: ...my point I ...was that the war on terrorism is like that of slavery or piracy; wars may last for years but some wars last for centuries. The wars against slavery and piracy have lasted over two.

What you can do is establish sanctuaries where you by and large defeat your enemy and then deny your enemy purchase in new territory and encroach on his. By next August, the Iraqis will have another 70,000 troops (270,000 total), and probably have at least 80 battalions reasonably independent where we can withdraw sufficient numbers. With Iraq and Afghanistan reasonably secure, we can isolate Iran and Syria, and the others and begin to deny the battlefield in East Africa
...

Yes, that sounds reasonable (particulary the thing about the pirates - that played out to their near extinction). Yes, good points. As Col. John "Hannibal" Smith of the mythical A-Team would say, "I love it when plan comes together."

10/16/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

In Al Qaeda letter, a strategic blueprint:

The question is not whether there will be a struggle against Shiites, but when.

"Such insurgents do not have to 'win' in Iraq, at least in any conventional sense of the term," writes Mr. Cordesman in his latest report on insurgent patterns. "An outcome that leaves Iraq in a state of prolonged civil war, and forces a spreading conflict in Islam between Sunnis and other sects ..., would be seen as a prelude to a broader eschatological conflict they believe is inevitable and that God will ensure they win."

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1017/p02s02-usfp.html

10/16/2005 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Johnboy said...

Brilliant. The administration will not laud , boast etc. Better to let the idiots who tried to undermine this project babble on and on. Its already started with Hagel and Biden, look out guys we will have a regional war with Syria Iran etc. Another example of the maxim " If you can't solve the problem , MAKE IT BIGGER".
Quiet satisfaction is called for how sweet it is.
Well done USA and GWB etal.
Wonder what Schroeder is having for supper Sourkrout!

10/16/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

What bothers me is that the US is playing both sides. By supporting/not-supporting Shiia and Sunni forces, it allowed both sides keep parity. The US needs to decide which side it wants to support and allow that side to crush its opponent. My personal sympathy will always go to the Iranian/Shiia side, due to their prior great culture and history. Also, the Arabs/Sunnis bring nothing to the table. There's no reason they should be allowed to maintain their position.

10/16/2005 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

It is not surprising to me that the hotbeds of Sunni Islam may vote to reject the current Constitution. To those who see the big picture, this is not some bogeyman harbinger of civil war. The devout Sunni Muslim WILL reject any governing document that does not put Shari'a Law front and center as THE basis for law and government. However, I would not be surprised if a significant minority of Sunni Arabs did vote in favor of the document. Why? I think that you will find sizeable groups and communities that have had a taste of the cleaner, fresher air of terrorists and Baathists in retreat. Plus, they are sensible enough to know that they simply cannot win this fight. Experience should have taught these folks that even if they try to slink in the shadows and kill anonymously it only hardens the rest of the country against them. I suspect that there are not enough hard-core clerics to go around.

This has to be a hard pill for the Left to swallow, since their opposition of this entire project is premised upon, among other itens, the frequently running CNN report card of failure.

My wife and I had been up in Burlington, VT all weekend - a lovely place but quite smitten with socialism. We could not find one place in our comings and goings up there, in hotel and restaurants, that had FOX reporting on the Constitutional ratification vote. Everywhere we went we were seeing tv news broadcasts of CNN's report card of failure. When I got home and tuned into FOX and the blog sites, the take on Iraq's process was quite different.

As Iraq becomes a more stable country, it will put enormous pressure on our external and internal enemies. Indeed it already is accomplishing that.

10/16/2005 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Rice Interview on Meet the Press With Tim Russert:

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, welcome. Are you confident the Iraqi people adopted a new constitution yesterday?

SECRETARY RICE: I'm confident, Tim, that the Iraqi people went to the polls in large numbers, apparently perhaps as much as a million more than they did in January. I'm confident that Sunnis participated in large numbers, which means that the base of politics has expanded in Iraq.

QUESTION: But you said a few hours ago you thought it probably passed.

SECRETARY RICE: There were some early reports from the ground that the numbers looked that way, but I think -- I underscored when I made that statement that we would not know until we know. And I just want to be very clear.

QUESTION: If it did go down, it would set the political process back significantly.

SECRETARY RICE: Tim, it's an argument I don't understand. If it passes, then democracy has been served. If, for some reason it does not, then democracy has been served. It would be like saying that a referendum in the United States, because it didn't pass, that it somehow was against the democratic process.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0510/S00289.htm

10/16/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Good to have you back, Fred.

10/16/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Letter a fake?:

Indeed, the text is conspicuous for the way in which it seems to counter, almost point for point, the objections raised by Western critics of the coalition campaign in Iraq, in that:

- al-Qaeda's aims are not confined to "resistance" of a foreign invader;

- the war would not end with American withdrawal but extend to neighboring states and to Israel;

- the "foreignness" of the mujahideen in Iraq may be a de-legitimizing factor;

- al-Qaeda has actually resigned itself to defeat in Afghanistan;

- the organization is experiencing difficulty in communications; and

- funding has become a problem for the organization.

http://www.jamestown.org/news_details.php?news_id=145#

10/16/2005 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

Thank you, Mika. I have been reading, from time to time. Been sort of busy and sometimes I simply cannot compose anything significant to add to the discussion.

Russert really stepped into that one. I wonder what it was like to be in his skin when she said those things! There are a lot of glib journalists out there in the world. Still... thinking back to twenty-five years ago when I was an undergraduate student at UNH, whenever discussing majors at universities in general the scuttlebutt was that education majors were the bottom of the ladder, with journalism and English majors on the rung just above it. The main reason for that reputation had to be the observation that those folks just don't think outside the box.

I remain pleased with what I see happening in Iraq, but still guarded in my opinion of what can be hoped for in a culture suffused with Islam. I am not one of those people who think that traditional Islam is compatible with democracy. However, we simply have to try... All in all, at least the ME has a choice to make. A very serious choice, since the wrong road is going to make them, in the long run, road kill.

10/16/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

'The Results indicate YES vote for the Iraqi constitution'

According to sam at hammorabi blogspot the Iraqi Constitution has been essentially ratified.

[Sam's numbers]:

The nine southern provinces from Basra to Hila voted between 75-95% by yes.

Baghdad region voted by 65-75% yes.

The three northern Kurdish provinces voted by 70-80% yes.

Kurkuk and Diyala voted for 60-65% yes.

Ramadi is gloomy but expected to vote for no.

The birth place of Saddam Tikrit (Salah-aldeen) voted by 75% for no.

The constitution will be rejected if the majority of votes rejected it which is according to the above results is impossible... The only other way by which it may be rejected is if more than two thirds of the votes in three provinces or more vote for no. This option is very unlikely. Even taking Tikrit votes in account this will need at least another 2 provinces to say no by more than 66%. Even if Ramadi achieved this is not enough. Mosel votes were 643,000 from which until today we got the results of 419,000 ballots counted. Out of this 419,000 there is 75% voted yes. Therefore even if the rest are all no, which is impossible, the final results will not be enough to reject the constitution.


see: hammorabi

10/16/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"What bothers me is that the US is playing both sides. By supporting/not-supporting Shiia and Sunni forces, it allowed both sides keep parity. The US needs to decide which side it wants to support and allow that side to crush its opponent. My personal sympathy will always go to the Iranian/Shiia side, due to their prior great culture and history. Also, the Arabs/Sunnis bring nothing to the table. There's no reason they should be allowed to maintain their position."

I've thought about it, and I've said that I eventually hope we can work with a post-Mullah Iran, but I wouldn't run head first into a centuries old religious feud. Allowing the Kurds and Shi'ites to crush the Sunnis would be an easy short-term solution within Iraq, but it wouldn't fit our long term objectives - considering the majority of the Muslim world and its most dangerous states [Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc] are Sunni.

10/16/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Potential problems with "no" vote:

-It could hit harder on the homefront [with doom and gloom reporting] than in Iraq. It seems to me our shorter time table is domestic.

-There's no guarentee that they'll eventually come to any agreement given even more time. There's a chance it may simply be unworkable within the format given. For example, in Czechoslovakia, where the old Soviet Constitution allowed minorities in both Slovakia or Czechia to cause legislative deadlock, effectively forcing seperation over unworkable electoral procedure. Though I don't think this one would be "Velvet" divorce.

10/16/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Sources say SAS surveilled cop, jail Prison torture investigated:

"The finger of suspicion started to point in the direction of a senior officer inside the Jamiyat," said a senior army source. "We believe victims were strapped into a chair and then the torture would begin. We think it was more to do with intertribal warfare than clamping down on terrorist activity. This is a very corrupt society."

As part of the investigation, two SAS men were ordered to monitor the movements of the Iraqi police officer, but the operation was compromised Sept. 19 when the SAS team became involved in a shootout with four plainclothed police officers just as they were about to withdraw from the surveillance operation.

To try to avoid a shootout with the police, the SAS men decided to surrender.

http://washingtontimes.com/world/20051016-092840-5528r.htm

10/16/2005 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

But is it not Sunni Islam that is most rejectionist of democracy and the concepts of individual rights? If this is so, then if crushing Sunni Islam with our might, in the end, may be inevitable, so be it. The world would not be the poorer if that bunch was tossed down hard into the ashbin of history. Fourteen hundred years ago, at the very beginning of Muhammed's legacy, and for centuries thereafter, Sunni Islam has been the very potent force which came very close to extinguishing Western culture and religion. I dare say that had things gone differently, we would not be even having this heretical discussion today.

I am all for giving the Sunni a choice. They can choose to embrace the risk of the fruits of liberty and consensual government, or they can choose death. We must be equally committed to the energetic pursuit of either direction. With all our energies advocate the path of democratic institutions and individual liberty, or, if the Sunni Muslims choose to reject that path, to putting an end to their totalitarian dreams.

10/16/2005 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger William Knight said...

Beginning of the End of the Iraq War:

Apr 2003: Fall of Baghdad...not
Dec 2003: Capture of Saddam...not
Jun 2004: Iraqi Interim Government...not
Nov 2004: Fallujah Campaign...not
Jan 2005: Iraqi Elections...not
Oct 2005: Iraqi Constitution...not
Dec 2005: Iraqi Elections!

10/16/2005 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Fred, in the long run I'm pretty pessimistic and see things similar to you. I don't know if we're going to be able to beat out so many of their cultural defects in so short a time. I expect a democratic Iraq to wind up anti-American, after all the conspiracy theories and arab scapegoating is done. I also think Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and a number of these places are too reactionary, and the people too prideful, for us to tranform in any short time. But I'm hoping I'm wrong, a victory in Iraq will certainly give optimistic and less bloody solutions a shot.

10/16/2005 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraqi Constitution Appears Headed For Voter Approval:

Although precise numbers were not released, electoral officials said that Anbar province had voted overwhelmingly against the constitution, a result that was expected and which no one disputed. In Salahuddin, according to election official Salaf Khalid Farag, 81 percent of the voters opposed the charter.

The constitution won approval in the two other toughly contested provinces, officials said. In Nineveh province, 76.6 percent of voters approved the constitution and 21.5 percent rejected it, electoral commission spokesman Abdul Ghani Ali Yehya said. In Diyala, about 55 percent of the 727,000 voters approved the constitution, according to an electoral commission official, Mahir Darwish.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/16/AR2005101600309_pf.html

10/16/2005 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Don't you feel sorry for William Knight, condemned to live in whatever dark, dreary, bitter, mean, spiteful and backwards universe he inhabits?

10/16/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

c4:

that the status quo of more land grabs and status quo Occupation repression must continue because "extremists exist wishing to destroy us".

and yet, israel has has returned 99.99999% of all disputed lands, from sinai to the return of BOTH the gaza and additional west bank lands equaling 2x the size of gaza, israel has rejected the status quo, they have unilaterally given back what the arab world doesnt want... self determination... Israel keeps offering 97% of the west bank to the arabs for their own state, and they just cant say yes...

c4, your still rewriting history, israel was created peacefully in the UN, the arab world rejected the 2 state solution, and again after 67 the israeli government OFFERED to return the newly conquered lands, and again were turned DOWN by the arab world, again at Taba, (even if you dont agree) barak offered 97% of the west bank and additional negev land to offset settlements, this too was turned down.

so now sharon, your land grabbing enemy, has unilaterally RETURNED 2 MILLION palestinians to their control lands, what do they do? they murder, kidnap, riot and loot....

nope, there are "land grabs" just not israeli ones of any significance, 20 square miles doesnt add up the arab land grab of the british mandate for palestine for the homeland for the Jews, remember jordan was to be jewish and now 2/3 of historic paletine is Juden free, no jews in 21 nations of the arab world, all 800,000 jews thrown out, their lands all grabbed... Now Gaza and an area twice the size of gaza are jew free, no status quo, those days are gone....

10/16/2005 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Jeremy M. Hodge

Sgt. Jeremy Michael Hodge, 20, of Rushsylvania, Ohio, was tragically killed in the line of duty on Monday, Oct. 10, 2005, while proudly serving his country in Baghdad, Iraq.

A National Guard soldier of Bravo Company, 612th Engineering Battalion, Jeremy was an unselfish, hardworking leader who exemplified honor and duty. He was a 2003 graduate of Ridgemont High School where he was a member of the football and baseball teams and an active participant in swing choir and musicals. He will be remembered as an all-American boy who loved four-wheeling, motorcycles, hunting and fishing, watching NASCAR and rooting for Mark Martin. He dearly loved his family and made his parents, family and the community very proud.

http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2005/102005/10172005/138014

10/16/2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Winston Wolfe (played by Harvey Keitel), in Pulp Fiction gave some sage advise that is quite appropriate for this situation. When John Travolta and Samuel Jackson got a little premature in their celebrations he told them, “Well, let's not start ******* each other's ***** quite yet”

Look, there is only one measure of US victory in Iraq, and that is how many troops need to be in theater to maintain a semblance of order. If the number boots on the ground is above that which is sustainable over the long term, then the insurgents are winning. An acceptable long-term manpower commitment for the US would be on the order of 30,000–50,000. Right now we are above 150,000. For the moment, we are losing. If troop levels remain high, sooner or later America’s wealthy elite will lose the ability to both shield their children from actually serving in the war and/or may lose the ability to transfer the added tax burden to the middle and working classes. If either of these two things were to happen, the upper class elite will pull the carpet out from under Operation Iraqi Freedom in a heartbeat. Troops will be withdrawn from Iraq - not because of a lack of military necessity - but because of political expediency. That’s the trajectory we are currently on. When we have three months of relative calm with less than 100,000 troops in Iraq then a strong argument can be made that we are headed towards victory, until that happens, listen to Winston Wolfe.

10/17/2005 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

Spurning America:

"A nation's morale and strength derive from a sense of the past," argues historian Wilfred McClay. Ties to those who came before -- whether in the military, in religion, in general patriotism -- provide a sense of purpose rooted in history and tested over time. Secular transnational elites are on their own, without a useful tradition, in constructing a morality to help them perform their duties.

Most Americans sense they need such ties to the past, to judge from the millions buying books about Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Jeffersonand other Founding Fathers. We Americans are lucky to live in a country with a history full of noble ideas, great leaders and awe-inspiring accomplishments. Sadly, many of our elites want no part of it.

http://realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-10_17_05_MB.html

10/17/2005 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

it wouldn't surprise me if the US decides to blockade Iran's shipping ports and have the lost oil supply from Iran replenished with increased production quotas in Iraq.

This would suprise me a LOT.

Look at the Iranian order of Battle and weapons systems they've been buying the past decade.

They would just shutdown the strait and that Iraqi oil (or anyone else's in the gulf) ain't going anywhere.

10/17/2005 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Purple avenger
They could do that for about 2 weeks, after that period of tume the assets they would need to persue that policy any further would be destroyed.
The real fear is not control of the Straits, but the oil infrastructure World Wide that would/ could be targeted.
Both Mexico and Panama are open targets. KAS and Kuwait have poor Security against organized Military strikes. Pipelines across Turkey and Boliva are vulnerable.
These targets are all outside US direct control, but required to sate our thrist for oil.
The Iranians have been prepping for this showdown for well over twenty years, they have successfully attacked both US territory and Armed Forces before, do not doubt they would again. In a manner we are not prepared for.

10/17/2005 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

An acceptable long-term manpower commitment for the US would be on the order of 30,000–50,000. Right now we are above 150,000. For the moment, we are losing.

Yes, yes, of course. Makes one yearn for those long ago days when a 150,000 manpower commitment (I think it used to be refered to as "boots on the ground") was deemed insufficient and a sure marker of our impending defeat. Oh well, just goes to show the more things change the more they stay the same--for some people.

10/17/2005 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

In a manner we are not prepared for.


Translated, this simply means they will be more barbaric than we can contemplate as a civilized society.

However, it seems to me that given Iran's physical location, an aggressor *against* Iran can be more more flexible, maneuverable and surprising than Iran can be if it is the aggressor pushing out against the world.

In a three-dimensional world, Iran will have to defend itself against all three dimensions. In attacking outwards, the Mullahs will assume they have the dimension of Islam and Allah on their side, but as we have seen repeatedly, Allah tends to not be a very good ally.

Iran may have been thinking about this since Carter was pseudo-Prez, but that doesn't mean they've thought it through accurately. I have to believe that 85% of their plotting is the same sort of wishful thinking that we see in Europe, in Africa, and in the rest of the Middle East. And in the case of the Middle East, the wishful thinking is abetted by deluded science as well.

I just don't see Iran as being a competent bogey-man, nor will it ever have the capacity to be flexible in any real aggressive sense.

10/17/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

yeah, yeah, Kevin, too few troops and too many both at the same time, but the US military is the best in the world and they are running things right now. As I won't second guess the Mayo clinic's policies on life-saving, I'll defer to experience of the best in Iraq; not a single thing you said is true.

The measure of democracy is only after 4 election cycles and a transfer of power (the last Iraqi president or prime minister was Kurdish, so that very well could apply), so Iraq isn't completely established yet. On the other hand, Iraq's al qaeda and dead-ender enemies are so far behind the power curve, we need to find other enemies sufficiently powerful to worry about. The combination of those two enemies is not now and will never be again powerful enough to stop the Iraq project. That's something to celebrate and throw back in the faces of their smug supporters.

10/17/2005 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Iran is not going to stop producing oil to spite us; that would destroy them economically. And we are not going to cut off Iranian oil from the rest of the world, that would have huge repercussions on the world economy. Neither of those options is viable to either side.

10/17/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

nahncee
On a strictly military level within Iran you are correct. However the Iranian agents are already in place, have been for years.
If the Iranians followed an aQ model, attacking civilians in office buildings and buses, well, that would be insignificant. We could lose tens of thousands of civilians, but militarily it would not be effective.
If they destroyed the Panamanian pipeline, the Persian Gulf loading stations and other oil infrastructure targets, world wide the economic dislocation in the Western World would be, economicly, disasterous.
Their Allies in Russia would be strengthen, their oil worth more than ever, their enemies in KSA would have severe problems when their cash flow stopped.
There are other aspects of power we can use, outside of the Military, in regard to the Iranians, we should utilize those options.

10/17/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger foxenburg said...

forgive off-piste posting, but i see that robert mugabe was invited to give a speech at a united nations forum on hunger taking place in rome today. he made a predictable speech, comparing bush & blair with hitler & mussolini. apparently it is the eu & usa farm subsidies which have caused starvation in zimbabwe. anyway, he was wildly applauded at the end of his speech. as british left wingers - such as claire short - would say, the united nations is the only institution that can give moral authority........presumably to mugabe.

10/17/2005 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger fred said...

Foxenburg

When are we finally going to tire of this anti-American debating society and serve them the eviction notice? They are and have been bad citizens in New York City and have been ungrateful guests for God knows how long. Would any of you out there suffer a boorish and insolent guest in your homes?

The U.N. has not been a bad investment for our country - it has been an utter waste of energy, time, and money for the rest of the world. I think we ought to practice a policy of containment with respect to the U.N. They should be shuttered up in any one of these destinations of ideological homogenaeity: Brussels, or Paris, or Berlin, anyone?

10/17/2005 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/17/2005 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

re: Mugabe's speech and Italian reaction.

I think we must resign ourselves to the negative effects of globalization. Eric Hoffer once wrote that envy and proximity are directly correlated, so that the closer you get to the top the more militant are your grievances. Someone living hand to mouth has no inclination to envy the wealthy aristocrat, for the aristocrat's life is as distant as Saturn for the pauper in the street. But let a man live in a slightly smaller house on the same street as our aristocrat, and his envy for his neighbor can become a ruinous obsession.

We see this phenomenon in racialist movements, feminist movements, socialist movements, etc. The rhetoric of liberation becomes the sophistry of powerlessness, with the latter as disingenuous as the former was sincere. A history of past gain becomes a reminder of present want. A taste of success, and an agitated addict is born.

For the time being we are that aristocrat on the hill, and our presence and power mocks those with lesser means. Amongst themselves the powerless vent their passions, but before their superiors the powerless are polite. We should expect and tolerate the former. If the latter should cease, if politeness should give way to open belligerence while we remain at the table, then worry we shall, and with good reason. In such a way is a Brutus born; in such a way does a Caesar fall.

Until then, vigilance should suffice. Let them believe their tropes, so long as we believe ours.

10/17/2005 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Aristide
To choose the Hero that destroyed the Republic and transformed it to a Dictatorship.
How does that bode well for ours?

10/17/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Aristides said...
For the time being we are that aristocrat on the hill, and our presence and power mocks those with lesser means. Amongst themselves the powerless vent their passions, but before their superiors the powerless are polite.
/////////
I don't think so. I think the deep question for the US right now is "how do we make the Mexicans rich." That's what the biz about fatalism above was all about.

10/17/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Back on the direct topic
This is an interesting view of the events in Iraq and around the Mohammedan world

We Won... Again!

"... In recent weeks heightened discussion in Washington, and in centers of Islamic debate I visited, such as Jakarta, focused on these claims. Muslims knew the Sunnis would prefer to take advantage of their new right to vote, and would favor a constitutional order in Iraq rather than continued violence. The meddling of the Saudis was considered gross and embarrassing. Muslim leaders I met were more interested in the future of the "Shia-con" phenomenon, i.e. of Iraqi Shias aligned with the U.S. neoconservatives.

What does it mean to be a "Shia-con?" Nothing very different from what it means to be an ordinary neoconservative: bedrock belief in governmental and personal accountability, entrepreneurship, popular sovereignty, and a place for religion in public life. Sunni intellectuals with whom I met pointed out that "neocon" has become a term of abuse in the Muslim world no less than in the West. But when exposed to the foundations of neoconservative thought, they expressed approval.

Nonetheless, moderate Sunni Muslims who tried to tell Western media and government the facts about the probable outcome in the Iraqi constitutional election were ignored. Instead, numerous MSM reporters applied the practice they have pursued since the Sandinista era in Nicaragua: they found radicals and marginal, anonymous grumblers, and presented their clichés as the voice of all Iraqi Sunnis. ..."

10/17/2005 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

re: victory over terrorism.

A tough problem, but not an interminable or impossible one. Terrorism has always been a tactic of the weak, and its success has waxed and waned with the will of the strong. To say that terrorism cannot be defeated is an imprecise statement. Terrorism as a tactic will always be a danger, because there will always be Destructors who care nothing for gain and cherish only the moments of fire purchased with their fetishes.

Terrorism as a political tactic, however, can be discredited through attention, ability, and will. Movements have goals, however fantastical, so our success will be determined by how certain we can make terrorism and hopelessness, as ideas, intertwined. When the world knows that to speak one is to speak the other, our war will end.

In this respect Iraq speaks loudly for our cause. Hopefully we need not impose another example, but we must be ready and willing if we do.

Persons will always be ready to kill at random for no reason at all. It is on the level of peoples where we fight this war.

10/17/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Aristides, I think your last sentence should be modified to say:
It is on the level of ideas where we fight this war.

And your post speaks accurately of the need to discredit their ideology so completely that even they know it is a lost cause.

10/17/2005 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Desert Rat,

A limited analogy, to be sure. We do not have to be Caesar incarnate to be stabbed in the back.

Charles,

I agree that Mexico needs its own riches. But if and when she gains them, she will be less inclined to be our friend, culturally. Politically she will be shrewd enough to avoid open belligerence, but the envy will fester deeper in her people as they dream less and compare more.

The negative effect of globalization is the rhetorical animosity and material envy it engenders. It is to the last that we must be resigned, and the former where we must be vigilant.

As long as we reign supreme, we can expect speeches like Mugabe's, and receptions like Rome's.

10/17/2005 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Fred,
"it has been an utter waste of energy, time, and money for the rest of the world."

On the contrary, it has given the "enemies of freedom", and other nations who are simply jealous of the U.S. (specifically the Communist nations, and the Middle East and African dictatorships/Islamic societies, with France, Russia, et al falling into the latter category) a very cheap means to keep themselves in power/minimize American influence.

10/17/2005 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger foxenburg said...

tasmall point, aristides, but it wasn't "italian" reaction to mugabe's speech - in fact the italians were miffed. biggest applauder, complete with brotherly hugs and kisses, was hugo chavez. and i daresay the usual suspects if they were present, castro, gaddafi, kim2, etc,

personally, i think it demeans the west, particularly the usa, to associate with these people. think how it feels to be a starving, tortured, zimbabwean - and then see the usa sitting around the table with your oppressor.

more prosaicly, it's like being robbed and raped and your local rotarian president comes around and offers sympathy. you take him at his word, and then walking past a fancy restaurant you see the rotarian and your rapist sitting down purportedly enjoying a meal together. i wouldn't be too impressed by an argument along the lines of "well, i didn't really enjoy the meal but i feel i have to socialise with the guy because he's a fellow rotarian". simplictic, i know, but.......

10/17/2005 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Military commitments and obligations should become part and parcel of economic alliances and partnerships. You can't be our Free Trade partner unless you contribute your full military share towards maintaining the system. This should be made very clear to countries like Canada and Mexico that have been freeloading their security obligations by taking advantage of the America's military umbrella. There's no reason for the US to shoulder all the expense in keeping the world safe for commerce. The US should make that clear to all its trading partners when it negotiates trade agreements with them.

10/17/2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I'm not sure what to do about the UN other than use its recent scandals and failures to spur reform. Ultimately its worth lies in the cover it gives to American foreign policy. When it ceases to provide that function, or when it starts to work actively against us, it ceases being useful. But we should only quit it when remaining carries more cost that leaving. I don't think we are there yet.

Iran could very well be the final test for the UN. I sincerely hope it is not. The UN's authority is an illusion, but it can be a useful one. Much better to have it available when you need it than to not have it at all. I think Bush recognizes this, and will seek to restructure the UN to be more advantageous for us and less so for Mugabe and Chavez.

10/17/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Aristides said...
Charles,

I agree that Mexico needs its own riches. But if and when she gains them, she will be less inclined to be our friend, culturally. Politically she will be shrewd enough to avoid open belligerence, but the envy will fester deeper in her people as they dream less and compare more.
//////////////////
the problem is that US policy towards Mexico has long been in the hands of one worlders like council of foreign relations. The US could have stopped illegal immigration over the border in a heart beat long ago. They didn't. Why? Its not just that the republican elites are looking for cheap labor or that democratic elites are looking for cheap votes. It is as well that the overarching vision of the one worlders is that the way to go about creating a one world (unaacountable) government is by creating large blocks of nations first and then later assembling the blocks. The illegals coming over the border are a way of implimenting this policy. Already Mexicans running for government in Mexcico are coming north of the border to campaign for votes.

The whole logic of the political drift last half of the 20th century was that either the US southwest would be broken off from the USA or that north america would be grouped together into one superstate.


I am in favor of neither eventuality.

10/17/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Kevin - your perspective, as all the maudlin sentimentalists, is ridiculous. If all that stands between a successful war and a failure the fear of the "upper class" and "elites" that their precious children will be sent into some overseas blender, then American power is not long for this world, and rightly so, because that is a detestable point of view.

Yes, military service is noble, but it's not like surviving cancer. It's not heroic per se. It's not as though we don't expect people to die in a war. It's not as though whole enormous swaths of any given population from the dawn of history until undoubtedly well into the future have been called up, conscripted, and volunteered for military service. Just because it's now far from the mainstream experience, due to our well-earned unrivalled wealth and technical prowess and the goddamn auto-disintigration of every other empire on earth, doesn't mean "the elites" live in fear of their children "being sacrificed" or that if they truly did they would remain "elite" for very long.

It will be an optimistic outcome to this war to avert the total disintegration of the Arab world's political culture from quasi-Fascism - it would have long ago been total but the Arabs are inept - to full-blown Fascism. It will be optimistic if we insert into the fractious bickering cosmos of grievances in the Arab world the notion that more democracy is what they need, not an Islam interpretted to manifest the pre-Abu Bakr intentions of Islam in its imperial conquistador pahse. It would be optimistic if the dan media could be disabused of their pathetic Philistinism and get people to LOOK AT THE ARAB AND ISLAMIC WORLD with their eyes instead of their miseducated and commonly lazy, distracted minds. It will be optimistic because it will reinforce our position as dominant, and consequences will flow from that conducive to the spread of individualism and republicanism - witness the fortunes of the formerly British colonies, which work we are continuing.

Please. Stop being distracted by the damn media. It is a trick that is barely 10 years old, and has only been mastered by them for 5. Don't be such easy prey and for god's sake stop whining about "the elites." We're not going to need a draft army until some one decides we're going to take over Asia, Mongol-style. Until then, just chill out.

10/17/2005 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger William Knight said...

nahncee said:
Don't you feel sorry for William Knight, condemned to live in whatever dark, dreary, bitter, mean, spiteful and backwards universe he inhabits?

No need to feel sorry for me, my life is pretty good. However, I feel sorry for people in wingnut fantasy land who get all upset when I point out the numerous previous predictions of success made by right-wing pundits that have been simply...wrong.

10/17/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

if being a wingnut, you mean, believing in Democracy and Freedom - then by all means sign me up for the funny farm.

10/17/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

It must be a good feeling, Willy Knight, being right so often. After the dread "Burial Ground of Empires" and terrible "Afghan Winter", the punishing eco-disaster, 10,000 casualty invasion of Iraq, the 'ever-growing unstoppable nation popular front' *spit* 'insurgency' *spit*, the 'impossibility' of 'imposing a democracy' at the 'barrel of a gun' so dramatically revealed this last January and this weekend, you must be high on the hog of being soooooo right. How's that housing bubble going for you, btw? Odd that every leader of the Coalition of the Willing has been vindicated in the polls and every leader of the Axis of weasel has been punished severely (Chirac, Schroeder, the UN and on), it just strikes me as odd to find a single instance where the left and our little resident John Bircherite Cedarford have been right.

Btw, wing nuts typically have two 'wings,' a right and a left, so that little name is embarrassingly underwhelming as an insult.

10/17/2005 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"I point out the numerous previous predictions of success made by right-wing pundits that have been simply...wrong."


How so? How have these predictions of success been wrong?

Specifically, how was:

Apr 2003: Fall of Baghdad... a failure?
Dec 2003: Capture of Saddam... a failure?
Jun 2004: Iraqi Interim Government... a failure
Nov 2004: Fallujah Campaign... a failure?
Jan 2005: Iraqi Elections... a failure?
Oct 2005: Iraqi Constitution... a failure?
Dec 2005: Iraqi Elections!... a failure?

Please feel free to elaborate, William.

10/17/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Dan and WK: As someone not a child of the "elites" and who entered AFROTC at a time where open distain and being splattered with red paint was a normal experience for someone in uniform on a American college capmpus - and someone who spent 25 years in active duty in the USAF - I can tell you that no one in the military gives a rat's rump whether they serve alongside the children of the "elites." Rather, I think we all generally regard military service as one of the few things in our society that separates the men from the boys. Let them cruise around in their Learjets; I'll be freezing my butt off working in the bomb bay of an F-111. Let them show off their new toys at a night club; I'll be working all night to overhaul some F-105 fuel tank pressure regulators so that the Wild Weasels can deploy on time to Europe. Let them invite their friends over to see their new plasma screen TV; the TV screen I'll be looking at is at a launch complex where we are getting ready to put up a new NRO satellite.
And I will feel damn good about it all.
Let them laugh all the way to the bank. I'll cheer all the way to glory. They were born elites; we proved ourselves to be elite.
And by the way, highly paid famous athelete Pat Tillman knew what was important. He gave his life.
And rather than celebrating him as an elite that did not have to go but did, the anti-war crowd jeered at him over it.

10/17/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Let’s recap, shall we.

Apr 2003: Fall of Baghdad... A numerically inferior, multinational fighting force mounts the fastest, and one of the longest, armored drives in history, capturing all of the significant population centers in 28 days. No other power in the world could have even got into the fight (Europe couldn’t even muster forces to fight in Europe, China can’t even get to Taiwan) much less defeated a dug-in Iraqi national army two times in a row.

Dec 2003: Capture of Saddam... a moral victory of the highest caliber, capturing and now putting to justice one of the 20th centuries nightmares, terror supporter, and a fearsome dark horse over the political scene. Killed both of his sons as well: bonus points.

Jun 2004: Iraqi Interim Government... with no experience in colonial affairs at least for the last fifty years, established an interim government that actually works, unlike ones in Africa, in old Yugoslavia, in all of the hellholes around the world, subject to benign UN ‘administration.’ Beat the internationalist critics at their own game. Score!

Nov 2004: Fallujah Campaign... a smashing military success won by our guys on the ground, shattered the illusion of the insurgency’s power, and inaugurated pushing the “Islamic republics” of whatever-stan back to Syria. The largest urban battle since at least Grozny and probably Korea, WWII, which first blooded the Iraqis; this is dramatic evidence of 2005’s campaigns to purge the jihadis and reactionaries from Iraq’s Sunni areas.

Jan 2005: Iraqi Elections... Embarrassing leftist doubters, European snobs, one ex-Presidential hopeful and Lerch-love child, and jumpin’ jihadi crazies that swore up and down that the elections would A) not happen and B) if they happened it would be a bad thing; Priceless.

Oct 2005: Iraqi Constitution... Iraq has a constitution in 2 and a half years, the EU has none, oh, the irony, the irony. But now Iraq is more democratic than Europe (including some European nation-states themselves) and has over 200,000 troops to defend it. Incidentally, that’s way, way, way more than nearly all of Europe could cobble together if they tried. And to embarrass the lefties once again and the jihadis’ vaunted Ramadan campaign…ahhh, success, sweet success.

Dec 2005: Iraqi Elections!... yeah, I’m sure it will be terrible. Just like all of the rest.

10/17/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger William Knight said...

mika said:
Specifically, how was:

Apr 2003: Fall of Baghdad... a failure?
Dec 2003: Capture of Saddam... a failure?
Jun 2004: Iraqi Interim Government... a failure
Nov 2004: Fallujah Campaign... a failure?
Jan 2005: Iraqi Elections... a failure?
Oct 2005: Iraqi Constitution... a failure?
Dec 2005: Iraqi Elections!... a failure?

Please feel free to elaborate, William.


Good grief people, do you even read and think about posts before responding to them? As the top line of my initial post clearly indicates, each one of those events was clearly predicted to be the beginning of the end of the insurgency by numerous right-wing pundits, including, I suspect, Wretchard (feel free to correct me if you did not do so after any of those events, Wretchard).

10/17/2005 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

how about - another nail in the coffin of the insurgency? It may not be the end of them - in fact, the battle may go on for years. But, I would be suprised if the terrorists won...

Unlike you, WK, I'm not rooting for our enemies.

10/17/2005 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

Thanx Wretchard
You are one of the most intelligent conservatives on the web, most seem to spend their time whining about the media and the UN and how victimized they felt because someone criticized I.D.

10/17/2005 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Sirius Sir, Verc,

We are talking about two totally different types troop numbers here. The high figures (those critics who say we don’t have enough troops) represent the estimated number of troops needed to affect a Germany / Japan post-WWII type occupation. The 30,000 – 50,000 troop numbers I cite are the number of troops the US could sustain long-term (assuming no other major international incidents). The fact that these two numbers are so widely different, far from being a positive sign, is a serious problem.

10/17/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger William Knight said...

kstagger said:
Unlike you, WK, I'm not rooting for our enemies.

Once again, you reveal the pathetic, flawed reasoning process of the wingnut mindset, where people who point out flaws in your arguments are equated with the enemy.

I am not rooting for the enemy. Just the opposite, in fact. I take the trouble to call out the blatant errors of the right wing precisely in order to attempt to reverse the ruinous course that my own nation has been following.

10/17/2005 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

The bloody fact about the insurgency is that that Iraq is surrounded by enemy jihad friendly regimes with tons of money and willing kamikazes, as well as a jihad religion, exhorting the crazies, that is not going to vanish to soon. I support what we are doing but let's be real, we are still in for a hard fight when the Pentagon admits only 1 Iraqi battalion is combat ready and trustworthy. Sure, we can win militarily, that is a foregone conclusion, Saddam's army was always third rate. But before we start crowing about just how mighty we are, the US's successes against first rate forces were long bloody affairs that included many setbacks. It's incredible about the utter lack of hubris so many conservatives evince, usually the same ones who complain about how victimized they are.

10/17/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Your complaint at being misrepresented, William Knight, would ring true if only you didn't commit the same sin. Look at the title of the post, "The End of the Beginning," and what does that tell you about how the majority of us feel about these milestones.

Hell, it is completely unthinkable to consider the initial invasion as being the end-all of the matter, as the goal was to establish a democracy, which takes time. We can truncate your entire ill-advised list just on that matter of misrepresenting our positions; we needed the invasion to set up the interim government to provide a civil society with which to reinforce with initial elections to draft a constitution to provide for further elections to create a government that will administer Iraq and prosecute terrorists. Obviously every step is necessary but not sufficient for that end.

It is apparent that you wholly misrepresent us.

10/17/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Good grief people,.. each one of those events was clearly predicted to be the beginning of the end of the insurgency by numerous right-wing pundits, including, ..Wretchard).


I read you clear. I'm still waiting to hear from you why these people were wrong. Why these events did not signal "beginning of the end" for the "insurgency". And btw, that's not what Wretchard wrote. Wretchard wrote this was The End of the Beginning.

10/17/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

William and KStagger's dialogue highlights what I have been saying for quite a while. We need more people like William and less like KStagger, who thinks any criticism and skepticism makes one a traitor. He reminds me of the yahoos at LGF & the A.I.R. who go ballistic at any doubt or criticism.

10/17/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Well that is the problem with the naysayers - they don't offer any constructive criticism. What are your alternatives? What course should we follow?

Hindsight is always 20/20 in terms of what we should have or could have done. But what should we do now to alter the course for the better? Pulling out of Iraq would only strengthen the enemy... or would it?

As far as being a 'wingnut' - I'm actually not a Republican, or 'Right Wing'. But I do realize that Freedom and Democracy is more important than trying to score cheap political points in justifying your skewed views.

10/17/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Jakester - I'm not trying to say WK is a 'traitor' - but someone who should examine the bigger picture and longterm effects of this course he wishes to the U.S. to follow.

There have been many mistakes in this conflict, but I'm looking for an optimistic outcome.

10/17/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

Jakster

The New Iraqi Army has -- at last count -- 80 combat effective battalions.

This has been covered here at the Belmont Club already.

Check prior musings.

10/17/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

I'm not for withdrawl, we are in way to deep to cash in our chips. Anything we can do is better than Saddam. I don't want another Vietnam cut and run op. But there is plenty of meat for naysayers and jihad cheerleaders. Since so many people love to use WWll models: Both Churchill and FDR took great pains to co-opt their domestic opponents and win over fringe allies. Meanwhile, during this war and record deficits, we have a leader who wants more tax cuts, in short, war with no sacrifices.

10/17/2005 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Dan,

So I take from your comment that, if or when push comes to shove, and the insurgency in Iraq lasts a few more years, and as a result we are forced to ask our wealthy elites for their children or their treasure to help bring Democracy to Iraq; you are confident they will enthusiastically (or even grudgingly) say “YES!”

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

BTW I threw my TV away years ago and I can assure you that I hate the MSM (and therefore boycott it) far more than you can imagine.

10/17/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

If there are 80 effective battalions, they why are our guys still needed? I may be wrong about just one, but no one can tell me the Iraq army is very effective.

10/17/2005 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William wrote:

" I take the trouble to call out the blatant errors of the right wing precisely in order to attempt to reverse the ruinous course that my own nation has been following."

I'm skeptical of this, William. If that is indeed your motive with your posts here, you appear to be failing miserably. I don't see that your posts here are in any way leading to a reversal in the course of your nation's actions. You seem to be unable to convince anyone of your sincerity, let alone a different course of action.

Perhaps it's just due to the intransigence and thickness of people here that you're unable to get through. But whatever character or intellectual flaws we would wish to project upon them, it still equates to a wasted effort. If you are really so concerned about victory and changing the course of action, it would seem that an intelligent fellow like yourself would have no problem finding a forum that would offer you a more productive use of your energy.

Additionally, I don't detect much sincerity in you. Insults, provocations, and various charges of things such as "hypocracy" seem to be your primary object. As I pointed out in a previous thread, this generally isn't very persuasive and doesn't really seem to provoke effective communication - if we define effective communication as convincing anyone of anything that would change the "ruinous course" you believe our nation is on.

Nevertheless, I'd like to hear the course of action that you'd recommend.

10/17/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Kevin, I hear your point...50K is more sustainable than 150K, but the serious flaw is in the sequence of events. We could maintain 150K troops in Iraq at least well into next year. We accomplish our main objectives then withdraw. We withdraw after we accomplish our objectives. We don't accomplish our objectives by withdrawing.

Look, there is only one measure of US victory in Iraq, and that is how many troops need to be in theater to maintain a semblance of order. If the number boots on the ground is above that which is sustainable over the long term, then the insurgents are winning.

Which couldn't be more wrong. That's why God invented integers, it's possible to balance the checkbook later and survive, thrive even, now. Ever take out a student loan? Missions first, then accounting, period.

And blert, jakester, its ~36 operational combat battalions with 80 in the fight of nearly 120 battalions total. And the question isn't if they are any good or better than American troops...it's if they are better than the insurgents, with 13 incidents Saturday versus 350 in January (all of this from a 'stronger and growing' insurgency btw...yawn) as pretty damning proof. They are.

10/17/2005 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

Jakester

I can report the Pentagon's count. I can't speak for their utilization.

I suspect that the better formations are constantly being exploited for new cadres. So that on the one hand a unit is rated highly. And on the other hand Patreous (LtG) won't commit it to combat: it is to be twinned up with a new formation.

I am presuming this based on America's rapid formation of the WWII US Army. I have to believe that is the model.

Linear growth in numbers -- in war time -- triggers an exponential increase in combat power.

It seems plain that the priority is to increase the size of the new Iraqi Army, only later to use it.

I expect the IA to clear Rahmadi almost solo on the ground before December 15.

10/17/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

William, you're rooting for the enemy, and you know it. C'mon bud. Nothing would make you happier than the collapse of Iraq into Lebanon-style civil war and the evacuation of US armed forces.

This is the problem with you shallow, everything-I-know-is-political types: you're bad-faith idiots.

Yes, you've noticed I'm sick of arguing with you frauds who will not say what you mean and therefore presume conspiracy behind every act and utterance of your opponents. So get the F off this site. Thanks.

10/17/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

More military triumpalism!
More super wonder toys!
More victory parades for our glorious troops!
More tax cuts!

Sacrifice? Heck no! That is why we have volunteers, so elites can focus on money and putting their kids on an elite track.

Some of those soldiers may end up waxing the lawyer-daughter of the elites car while she makes the money that is her due, but be sure, the valet's service past and present is appreciated!

On to Syria! On to Iran! More pork! More tax abatement goodies! Go troops, go! God Bless the Maximum War Leader for the freedom he brings and the wheelbarrows of money he borrows to give to deserving plutocrats!

10/17/2005 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger William Knight said...

james kielland said:
Additionally, I don't detect much sincerity in you. Insults, provocations, and various charges of things such as "hypocracy" seem to be your primary object. As I pointed out in a previous thread, this generally isn't very persuasive and doesn't really seem to provoke effective communication

If you conclude that I'm insincere because it seems like I'm only interested in condemning the hypocrisy that I read in this forum, I can only say that it's not my sole motivation. It's true that I'm often astounded and disgusted by some of the views I read here, but I am also driven to try to understand, to some degree at least, perspectives that are so far removed from my own.

If I were only interested in a flamefest, I suppose I would spend more time trading insults on a blog like LGF. If my responses on Belmont Club have become more venomous over these many months, it's only because of my increasing amazement at the depths people will go to defend what I perceive to be an abysmally wrong-headed point of view.

Finally, I feel compelled to respond to your prior post about hypocrisy (yeah, I misspelled it). The very fact that you seem compelled to defend and/or deflect hyprocrisy leads me to wonder if it's become some kind of new and necessary talking-point in the right-wing rhetorical arsenal:

Just because people are or may be hypocrites doesn't mean they are wrong. Many smokers, alcoholics and drug addicts will warn you to not start up the habit. Hypocracy (sic)? Maybe. But so what? Pointing out that someone is a hypocrite in no way suggests that their arguments are illogical or that their conclusions are incorrect.

I'm sorry, but this is just pure nonsense. A hypocrite is someone who doesn't practice what he preaches. Such a person loses all credibility. Would you listen to someone who tells others they should risk their life for something if you knew that person would not do likewise? Would you believe a person who complained of theft if you knew they were a thief? Would you believe a person who denounces the honesty of others when you know that they are a liar?

Hyprocrisy deals a fatal blow to one's credibility and respect among others. Anyone who feels compelled to be an apologist for hypocrisy had better take another look at who and what they are really defending.

10/17/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

More rambling from Cedarford!
More nonsequiturs!
More nonsense about how pain = sacrifice!
Forget endurance! We're masochists!

10/17/2005 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Verc,

I totally agree. That's what my main point was, if we are able to at some point reduce troops to near a sustainable level, then we can talk about victory. As it stands, we are not there yet, which doesn't equate to defeat, it only means victory celebrations are premature.

10/17/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Super 6 said...

James K wrote: William....
Nevertheless, I'd like to hear the course of action that you'd recommend.

Still waiting for this William...

10/17/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

Vercingetorix

The best numbers I have seen come from The Fourth Rail, October 7:

80 Army battalions in the fight total
35 Iraqi Police battalions

36 out of 115 combined were rated #2
1 out of the 115 was rated #1
another 78 the balance was rated #3:

in the fight but only alongside coalition forces

LtG Petraeus did not break it down further in his off hand remarks.

10/17/2005 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

The Pentagon is projecting an additional 70,000 in security forces between now and mid 2006. At least that's what has been tossed in the air.

One might assume that this value reflects the openings in training camp to be available in that time frame. Which in turn implies surging strength in all Iraqi Security Forces.

10/17/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

William Knight, the point isn't your intention, which we don't care about, or your pretenses. We care about your ham-handed comments on 'hypocrisy,' like somehow opposing the Zimbabwean, Sudanese, and North Korean mass murderers from 'getting' the internet is somehow discrediting to those who supported deposing a blood-stained dictator. This incessant appeal to flawless credentials is nothing short of the worst Puritanic impulses, made hilarious by your own failure to make your case that your point is virtuous. Judging by the previous example, your charge of hypocrasy is merely wonderful consistency of virtue; not presenting the rump to dictators everywhere, opposing butchers.

Blert, Kevin agree.

10/17/2005 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William wrote:

"A hypocrite is someone who doesn't practice what he preaches. Such a person loses all credibility. Would you listen to someone who tells others they should risk their life for something if you knew that person would not do likewise? Would you believe a person who complained of theft if you knew they were a thief?"

The courts do it quite frequently. Hence we have the Witness Protection Program, a program that seems to have the primary function of getting thieves to testify against other thieves. (Although I will grant that undoubtedly there are some decent people being protected by this program.)

The hypocrisy argument is just a variation of ad hominem, nothing more. It's like saying that Bill Clinton had no right to order military action in Bosnia or Somalia because Clinton himself was a draft-dodger or lacked military experience. Constitutionally, it was legal for him to order these missions. But even taking it a step further, Clinton's lack of military experience would not necessarily mean that any argument he could make for or against military action would necessarily have "no credibility."

From Wikipedia:

Ad hominem tu quoque (literally, "at the person, you too") could be called the "hypocrisy" argument. It occurs when a claim is dismissed either because it is inconsistent with other claims that the claimant is making or because the claim is about actions the claimant has engaged in, too.

Example 1:

"You say airplanes are able to fly because of the laws of physics, but this is false because twenty years ago you said airplanes fly because of magic."
Example 2:

"You cannot accuse me of libel because you yourself have been convicted of libel."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

10/17/2005 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

DAN - William, you're rooting for the enemy, and you know it. C'mon bud. Nothing would make you happier than the collapse of Iraq into Lebanon-style civil war and the evacuation of US armed forces.

Just as Medal of Honor winner Chuck Hagle is obviously rooting for the enemy when he criticizes Dan's Dear Beloved Maximum War Leader and Crony Rewarder.

This is the problem with you shallow, everything-I-know-is-political types: you're bad-faith idiots.

Translation: Anyone who unlike Dan does not have their lips planted on neocon buttocks are shallow, everything-I-know-is-political types

Yes, you've noticed I'm sick of arguing with you frauds who will not say what you mean and therefore presume conspiracy behind every act and utterance of your opponents. So get the F off this site. Thanks.

Now we have Dan presuming to have the ability to control posters on HIS Belmont Club, and to disinvite those who disagree with him, including the obviously more cogent than Dan - William Knight -agree with him or not.

A clue, Dan. If you wish to have a private little coterie of like-minded unquestioning tools and cheerleaders of the Great Dubya, start your own Blog. Make sure you invite Verc and his pom-poms.

10/17/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger William Knight said...

james kielland said:
The hypocrisy argument is just a variation of ad hominem, nothing more. It's like saying that Bill Clinton had no right to order military action in Bosnia or Somalia because Clinton himself was a draft-dodger or lacked military experience.

In tying hypocrisy to the ad hominem argument, are you implying that it somehow becomes meaningless? If so, you are making a poor argument. Believe it or not, there are situations where 'ad hominem' is valid. Especially in situations of leadership, a person's actions can be much more important than what they say.

This is a point made frequently by conservatives, especially in such leadership positions as POTUS. In fact,right-wingers asserted that Clinton was not suited to be president precisely because of his lack of service (among a zillion other reasons, I'm sure).

So your continuing attempts to defend hyprocrisy strike me as rather pathetic.

10/17/2005 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/17/2005 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

Simply by pointing out that your charges of hypocrisy are fallacious in no way implies that I believe hypocrisy is meaningless.

But we're not talking about political leaders. We're talking about people posting on Belmont. This subject was brought up in a previous thread discussing the attempts by some governments to establish control of the internet via some UN mandate. Many people posted strong sentiments of disagreement with such a proposal. Your response was to accuse them of being hypocrites.

You could have, perhaps, tried to present some compelling reasons for moving ICANN out of the control of the Department of Commerce.

The reason I'm making an issue out of this is not a compelling need to "defend hypocrisy" so much as it is my intention to bring the point home to you and others that merely accusing someone of hypocrisy rarely advances any kind of dialogue or discussion. In fact, it tends to do the complete opposite. Just because I do not see the utility in you charging hypocrisy and just because it seems to be that it's not helping you advance any particular case does not mean that I'm advocating or even defending hypocrisy.

In general, I find that people who harp the most about their opponents' hypocrisy, integrity, or dishonesty are generally uninterested in a serious exchange of ideas or in being persuasive. Nearly all the time, these kinds of charges are accompanied by various put downs, insults, and other symptoms of grandiosity. It seems the speaker is trying to convince no one other than himself.

Now, again, what were some ideas you had for alternatives to your country's ruinous course?

10/17/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger rsc294 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/17/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger rsc294 said...

To cederford;

http://hagel.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Biography.Home

MoH...not quite

***********************************

"elites" ... "wealthy" ...

hum college/education, work, shrewd investment, creativity

I suppose the GI Bill and Army College Fund just doesn't pay what it used to

Exactly how many "millionares" in the US served at some point in the armed forces of the
US? Or does military service just exclude you from being "elite"

***********************************

economic hysteria, take an antidote

http://www.optimist123.com/

http://www.econopundit.com/

Long time reader, first post...this has to be one of the best sites on the net
Thanks Wretchard

10/17/2005 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger William Knight said...

james kielland said:
In general, I find that people who harp the most about their opponents' hypocrisy, integrity, or dishonesty are generally uninterested in a serious exchange of ideas or in being persuasive.

It may be true that people who just want to bitch are often the ones who fling the hypocrisy charge. But there is another important instance where that is not the case. To bring the discussion back to the original issue, the desire of other nations to take control of the root DNS servers, we see a perfect example of the damaging effect of hypocrisy.

Let us make the argument to the EU and others who no longer want US control, and tell them, "Look, let us keep control, we'll ensure that there is no censorship, we'll be fair, we won't abuse our authority in the future."

To which they respond, "Hah! Why should we trust you? Your actions to invade other countries when you see fit, in defiance of international opinion proves that you won't necessarily act fairly in other situations in the future, and instead may again act for your own interest, only this time for control of the internet."

Whether or not you agree with the EU and others who don't trust the US, I still maintain that those who criticize this preemptive action, while at the same time having no problem with preemptive US military actions to protect US interests, are hyprocrites.

And such hyprocrisy is not irrelevant. Others around the world listen closely to our political debates and ideology. It has real-world consequences for the character and reputation of the United States.


Now, again, what were some ideas you had for alternatives to your country's ruinous course?


Start acting like a responsible member of the world community. Don't appoint people like John Bolton to be diplomats. Elect leaders who are honest, capable and can take responsibility for their actions and for those work under them. Put a stop to complicity in torture via 'special rendition'. Don't detain people indefinitely without due process.

Those are just a few small steps we could take towards restoring the credibility and reputation of our nation.

10/17/2005 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Congrats WK. You just made my list of commentors I now just scroll past because of your incessant whining and pathetic, victim mentality.

You're not fooling anyone.

BTW, we're human. There's a little bit of hipocrite in us all.

10/17/2005 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

"Those are just a few small steps we could take towards restoring the credibility and reputation of our nation."

By taking care of Saddam and liberating the Iraqi people, the US has all the credibility it wants from me.

In contrast, the UN, by its actions and its words, has pissed away any credibility it has with me.

When 'responsible' members of the UN like Mugabe can get applause and hugs, it's time to bug out and clean house.

10/17/2005 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

William,

I'm unsure if you're playing a semantic game or if a semantic game is playing you.

Somehow you've come to the conclusion that the fundamental defining characteristic of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the UN's desire for control of ICANN to be an issue of pre-emption.

We could grant, for the purposes of discussion, that the UN move is a "pre-emptive" move, but I would regard this as carrying abstraction to absurdity. By this standard, just about anything a government could do would be labeled as "pre-emptive." From installing a stop sign where accidents may occur to handing out condoms. Genocide itself could be considered "pre-emptive."

By this logic, opposing any government's desire to do just about anything could be considered hypocritical. "You don't want us to pre-emptively deal with our jewish problem? Well, you pre-emptively passed the endangered species act!" This is truly absurd.

It seems this whole issue of pre-emption is only relevant to you and you're making it to be the most relevant of all possible issues. I'm skeptical of the UN's move for all sorts of reasons that go beyond whether it's pre-emptive or not. With that out of the way, the parallels between Operation Iraqi Freedom and the UN's current internet obsession seem exceptionally thin. Crying hypocrisy over it seems rather irrelevant compared to more pressing issues as: is giving up control of the DNS servers a good idea for the US and even for the world?

Speaking of hypocrisy and inconsistency, it seems you regard one of the problems with OIF to be that it was a pre-emptive war. In that case, wouldn't you be against the UN's internet grab, as well?

I think you're right that the world watches how we debate issues. And hopefully we can debate and discuss the issue of the surrender of ICANN in a substantive way that leads to a deeper discovery of the relevant issues involved.

10/17/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraqi Electoral Workers to Audit Results:

Many Sunnis fear the new decentralized government outlined in the constitution will deprive them of their fair share of the country's vast oil wealth by creating virtually independent mini-states of Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south, while leaving Sunnis isolated in central and western Iraq.

If the constitution indeed passed, the first full-term parliament since Saddam Hussein's fall in 2003 will install a new government by Dec. 31 following Dec. 15 elections. If the charter failed, the parliament will be temporary, tasked with drawing up a new draft constitution.

http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2005/10/17/ap/headlines/d8da2aqo0.txt

10/17/2005 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

In 1992 the UNPROFOR entered Bosnia to buffer warring factions. The next year saw the most intense fighting since WWII. The final peace agreement between the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina was signed in December 1995. US forces transitioned to the EUFOR at the end of 2004. That is something like 9 years. By that bench mark it can be many years before we call Iraq a failure.

In 1999 the Clinton administration intervened in Kosovo under the aegis of NATO and basically said “Make peace or we will bomb you”. The war was something of a “death from above” campaign that wrought many civilian casualties. The left remained mostly silent because as crypto-fascists, whatever their leaders do is OK and cannot be criticized.

WK said:
“I am not rooting for the enemy. Just the opposite, in fact. I take the trouble to call out the blatant errors of the right wing precisely in order to attempt to reverse the ruinous course that my own nation has been following.”

I know we have been over this before WK but it is clear that you’d put your ruinous self interests before the interests of this nation, just so you can excoriate your enemy, POTUS Bush.

En.e.my
1) One who feels hatred toward, intends injury to, or opposes the interests of another; a foe.

So you’re an American, so was Ted Kaczynski. At least he exhibited some original thinking.

Jake-stir:
You can have more WK, he is a belligerent jack ass and the two of you should start your own mutual blog. May I recommend that you call it “Circle of Jerks.”

10/17/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

RWE that was a lovely post celebrating a warrior's ethos that some here in their cynical anti American bile will only sneer at.
I appreciate the poster who pulled Cedarford's cover on his lie about Hegal's war record.Where did that convenient little factoid come from?
Cedarford likes to smirk at victory parades and flag waving .Where I live those things are still celebrated .I'm not ashamed to say I get choked up occasionally to hear"God Bless the USA".What trips your trigger ,Homeboy;"We are the World",'The Internationale"?
William Knight can deny all he wants about people on the left rooting for our enemies.They do and that's the tragic truth.

10/17/2005 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/17/2005 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Come on, people... let's all try to be a little more civil. The appearance of an opposition is necessary and helpful to the discussion. Unless someone is being openly abusive I don't think there's any need to insist they go elsewhere. Disagreement is healthy; the trick is in how we voice it and address it.

10/17/2005 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

The Hard Left Socialists and the Far Right Isolationists both exhibit the worst kind of moral rectitude: the kind that never loses an opportunity to scorch political enemies if by exercise of sophistry one can combine canard, straw men, and embellished fact to make the case. Both of these groups are also utopians, and judge the actions of others by impossible, dangerous, and impractical standards. Both hate the existing order, because they lack the power to command that their vision of society be made manifest. If these types of characters cannot get their way, the childish tantrum is thrown and nothing but the destruction of the hated political enemy will do.

Over twenty-five years ago, when I was a student, I was a neo-Marxist, which to those who find that nomenclature to be obscure simply describes a kind of Communist who rejected Stalinism. However, it took hints of totalitarian behavior and attitude peeking out of the veneer of the “humanistic” cell handlers for me to begin to entertain doubts that the road I was on was fraught with dissimulation. I learned other things as well during my seven years or so journey in that execrable company. I learned that almost all of my fellow-travelers hated the United States of America. I also learned that very many of the useful idiots of other allied political, activist groups also shared, to one degree or another, that same contempt for my country. Many are currently rooting for the enemy to persevere enough to remain viable, while the folks here work hard to enervate the nation’s will to finish the job in Iraq and move on to other menaces. Some of these same people really have no love for the enemy, but this enemy suits their political objectives to politically wound GWB and wreck his policy initiatives. Some of these people even see themselves as true patriots, because they think that it is wrong for the United States of America to project its power abroad without the express permission of “International Law.”

Because legions of lawyers and committees have applied the standards of criminal law to assess the evidence and analysis of Iraq’s multifaceted threat to us and to the free world, these people have been able to strut their “I told you so’s” about, in an attempt to dismantle the Bush Doctrine.

Let’s not fool ourselves here. This domestic political war is not really about the invasion of Iraq. The really contentious issue is the Bush Doctrine, delivered and explained in October of 2001 before both houses and the nation. The domestic and international opposition did not want to see this policy to bear fruit. The political opposition only wants to see terrorism and revivalist, traditional Islam as a criminal matter, not an act of war. So willful is this determination to oppose the Bush Doctrine, these people are still fighting hard to leave entrenched the historical revisionism that distorts fourteen hundred years of jihad. With respect to Iraq, the symbolic transition of the Babylonian Baathists from “secularists” to Islamic rhetoric and symbols as the lightning rod for resistance to the United States, a rather remarkable and obvious development during the Nineties, is ignored altogether by the Left. It prefers to still maintain the fiction of Iraq as a secular society where Islam plays no real role. They use this distortion of history in order to argue away the fact of Iraq’s involvement in Islamic jihadism. Not even the evidence uncovered in the amazingly intact Mukhabarrat files concerning these links to terrorist organizations makes one dent in their blatant refusal to acknowledge the truth.
I have seen this pattern of polemic across several blog sites where this Doctrine’s ramifications are argued. It never changes. One side has its facts; the other side has its facts. Each side’s facts do not change because only certain “approved” sources of information are held valid. I find it interesting that occasionally I have deemed it valuable for my mind to read the interpretations of the Left from its approved sites, and I weigh what is composed. Naturally, I expose myself more to my approved sites and magazines for my information about current events. However, I have yet to know any of the Leftists I am acquainted with, real people with whom I am in contact with, who venture to sample and read the approved sites of my side’s persuasion.

This is why I believe that the current political war is not so much about facts as it is about worldviews. I am INTIMATELY knowledgeable about the Left’s worldview, since over two decades ago I believed in it. It colored and shaped how I interpreted the opposing facts undergirding the opposing worldview. Once I began to confront, absorb, and synthesize the facts against the socialist worldview I was accustomed to, my worldview began to change and I became, understandably, suspicious of the socialist worldview because the habit of lying and revisionism I had observed there.

So, when these people tell me that thus and such really are no threat to my country and our way of life, that there was or is no such thing as state sponsors of terrorism, I am very skeptical. Knowing the real world as it is, I do not give the benefit of the doubt to the pacifists (useful idiots), communists, socialists, trotskyists, or anarchists. I do not give the benefit of the doubt to the Dhimmicrapic Party, which has had a long history of appeasement of Islamic militants going back to 1979. One’s worldview largely determines to whom and to what you give the benefit of the doubt to.

The direction of the discussion on this thread has strayed far from the original topic, which is the largely positive implication of the Iraqi referendum on the proposed constitution for that country. It has been dragged away from this theme because the usual hectoring individuals who never believed in the Bush Doctrine to begin with still will not move on from the worldview that would regard this development as a positive thing.

10/17/2005 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Tribal Ignorance:

When Syrian Baathism implodes, and when the many Arab and Kurdish Muslims it has oppressed take revenge, and when its killers prowl the streets of Beirut as well as Damascus and Aleppo in the hope of saving what they can, will we hear again that this chaos and misery would never have happened if it were not for American imperialism?

Actually, we are already hearing rehearsals of this stupidity. Discussing the possibility of cross-border tussles to deal with Syria's wretched, spiteful sabotage of the new Iraq, the New York Times kept tight hold of its only historical analogy and announced—in a news story, not a sidebar—that this was Cambodia all over again.

http://politics.slate.msn.com/id/2128193/

10/17/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Now, again, what were some ideas you had for alternatives to your country's ruinous course?

WK answers: Start acting like a responsible member of the world community. Don't appoint people like John Bolton to be diplomats. Elect leaders who are honest, capable and can take responsibility for their actions and for those work under them. Put a stop to complicity in torture via 'special rendition'. Don't detain people indefinitely without due process.


Gee. That's odd. Must certainly be a total oversight that I see absolutely nothing about preventing another 9/11.

Doubtless in this utopian world a la W. Knight, the Mohammad Atta's of the Middle East would recognize our good intentions in turning over a new leaf, and quit trying to get us all to become Muslims, obeying Shariah Law only, or become blowed up.

10/17/2005 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Kevin,

A quick review of Congressional Elites regarding children in the Armed Services…
http://boghieonyoursix.blogspot.com/2005/08/i-shouldnt-do-this-but.html

To bad for the Left that three stats stand out:

1.9% of Americans serve in the military that are of age to serve

2.8% of Republican Congressmen have close relatives in service

0.8% of Democratic Congressmen have close relatives in service

So, in reality, given that our Congress Critters are generally in a rather advanced age bracket (meaning that their children are middle aged) we have better than decent representation of these elite families in the Armed Forces.

However, it does look as if the LEFTIST ELITES are statistically underrepresented!!!

Why is that???

10/17/2005 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

William Knight,

I'm still waiting an answer from you. Btw, why call it an "insurgency"? Why not call it for what it is? Why not call it the old IslamoFascistic order trying to maintain its grip on Iraq? If anything, the real insurgency is made up of those Iraqis that just voted the old IslamoFascist order out. Don't you think?

William, I'm trying to be very patient with you. I have not hurled any abuse at you, yet. But if you go on the way you have and do not back up your implied assertions when pressed and called to do so, I might well start and join in with the others.

10/17/2005 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

William Knight

Getting the discussion back to basics:

"Beginning of the End of the Iraq War:

Apr 2003: Fall of Baghdad...not
Dec 2003: Capture of Saddam...not
Jun 2004: Iraqi Interim Government...not
Nov 2004: Fallujah Campaign...not
Jan 2005: Iraqi Elections...not
Oct 2005: Iraqi Constitution...not
Dec 2005: Iraqi Elections!

Wretchard's title is 'The End of the Beginning'. I think he was referencing a Churchill speech made after the London Blitz failed to break the will of the British people:

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." Speech given at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon, Mansion House, London, November 10, 1942.
http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=388

I am concerned that you did not pick this up. It is a very, very, very famous quote.

There is a HUGE difference between 'The Beginning of the End' and 'The End of the Beginning'.

10/17/2005 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Warfare wanes and terrorism rises, new study says:

Armed conflicts have dropped 40 percent since the end of the Cold War and those that persist are killing far fewer people, says a three-year study that attempts to debunk current myths about war and peace.

But Ian Levine, program director at Human Rights Watch, said he was concerned that the report's message might be construed as "we need not worry so much."

He pointed to renewed debate on torture and the degradation of prisoners in Iraq. "We feel at the moment we are fighting hard to protect international standards. There is a real danger of going backwards,"he said.

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N17264317.htm

10/17/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

William King,

Admiral King said the following in a situation more analogous of a 'Beginning of the End'.

"For out of this Total War,
Must Come Total Victory..."

There was a movement in America to treat with Japan for an 'honorable and lasting' peace following the complete defeat of Nazi Germany. King, rightly, realized that the totalitarian, fascist, imperial Japan would have to be completely destroyed or it would reemerge... America, and the western democracies, could not live in peace with despotic and aggressive fascists....

10/17/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

sam
Syria is very analogous to Cambodia and the "Parrot's Beak" region. I've said so on the site before, often. That is because it is true. The US has allowed it's enemies a Safe Zone, both in Cambodia and Syria.
The NY Times report is quite accurate in that regard. It reports a firefight across/ over the borderline, not US operations designed to destroy Enemy positions or their supplies, material or troops. Just like the "Parrot's Beak".

Mr Knight
Where to start... nah

Aristide
George Washington & Benedict Arnold, stabbing an old friend and his own honor in the back. A better, American analogy, I think.

verc,
I think you are wrong about troop strength and eventual victory. If the aQ forces, just a few thousand individuals, can be isolated from Sunni Insurgents they will be immensely weaken. One of the main recruiting tools for those Insurgents is our troop presence.
As we withdraw, the Insurgency will lose it's premier recruiting tool.
A responsible phased withdrawal should be part of our Victory strategy. As Bush says, "As the Iraqis stand up, we stand down."

10/17/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

One of the main recruiting tools for those Insurgents is our troop presence. 
As we withdraw, the Insurgency will lose it's premier recruiting tool.

I'll have to disagree with you on that, Rat. Mainly because that's an assertion made by Islamofascists and their apologists, like Cedarfart. Also, it would seem to me that by now most Jihadis know that the chances for success against US forces are indeed slim. Whereas against the yet unproven Iraqi security forces, the odds are yet to be determined.

10/17/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Rat,

Thanks for making the analogy with Cambodia clear in my mind.

We Won... Again!

For many months, the MSM and their assorted political allies have indoctrinated the world in despicable lies:

· That the Wahhabi terror in Iraq, financed by and recruited among radical Saudis, was an "insurgency" or "resistance" caused by the actions of President Bush.

· That the Sunni Arabs in Iraq backed the alleged insurgency, were uniformly opposed to the constitutional process, and would prevent its completion.

· That anti-Shia blandishments by Saudi and other Sunni rulers would seal Sunni opposition to the new reality in Iraq.

http://www.techcentralstation.com/101705F.html

10/17/2005 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Rat, for the record, I do believe that there is an element there that does actually respond to our presence; there does exist a mechanism that increases terrorism by American involvement. But there is also a group that exists regardless; the Islamists. We know that it is a fact that the reactionary 'insurgency' is composed of Baathists and jihadis (and presumeably run of the mill criminals and professional regional militaries). But the nationalist (Sunni Arab) Baathists will likely continue to struggle against a Shia-dominated or pluralist Iraqi army. By withdrawing, we will not deactivate that nationalist element even as we hamstring our fighting forces. On the other hand, the jihadis will still be in active, still in the fight, if we withdraw (their numbers will not be affected by our presence, the Shia 'apostates' work just fine, again).

So we stay in whatever numbers we need to, secure the areas we have to, hold them until the nationalist Iraqi army can replace us, and then withdraw our large formations for smaller units, special forces, and on. You are absolutely correct that our presence there does not help matters, and as Kevin is that large deployments, almost by definition, cannot be maintained indefinitely. But the presence of Shia, Kurdish, and democratic elements are enough to activate those Sunni nationalist fighters and the jihadis.

We have 30 years of bloody proof that the same Sunni elements we are fighting now are irredeemably hostile to the Shia/Kurds. Especially ask the Kurds.

10/17/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Desert Rat,

Concur with all, but far more optimistic...

I think we have a strong blocking force near the Syrian border. It is these forces, no doubt with some SF, that are firing warning shots across Assad’s brow…

I also seem to remember very direct nation to nation threats emanating from the Iraqi leadership toward their esteemed neighbors. I am guessing that an American trained and supplied Iraqi military might present a problem to Syria (which has problems on its other borders as well) that leaves that fine dictator one way out. And, um, there are 140,000 increasingly bored US ground troops stationed in Iraq – even though it will soon be 50,000 (like ‘occupied’ Germany).

On Iran, I see a similar issue. It doesn’t look like a friendly region for them. Also, a ‘embargo’ could simply be long duration safety reviews of foreign flagged oil tankers coming and going to Iran. Miraculously, tankers going to and from other locations might not receive such invasive safety checks. Have to make certain no fanatical Jews or Crusaders abuse their freedoms and sabotage (maybe even with Nukes) a tanker going to, or leaving, Iran. Kinda like what the Japanese do (used to do, hopefully) with our auto exports to Japan.

By the way, aQRD, Iraq has proven to be a rather dismal training Depot. All those disorganized (for the ‘insurgents’) live fire exercises have left many drill instructors, company commanders, and a battalion commander or two rather indisposed.

Wretchard is positing that the carrier Fallujah has sunk, the carrier ‘Qaim Caliphate’ has sunk, the carrier ‘Mosul’ has sunk, and dive bombers have found the carrier ‘Ramadi’ in the middle of rearming its fighters. Rommel has been shoved hard in Najaf. It is the End of the Beginning.

If al Qaeda, and the rest of the Islamofascists, continue to make Iraq central to the GWOT than they will remain in decline.

I do not think Osama has an option to change his theater of operations.

However, as we all know, the battles of Midway and al-Alamein and Stalingrad occurred in 1942/3. That war was not over. This war is not over...

10/17/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Desert Rat,
I think the Cambodia analogy breaks down a little on examination.True,it was a disaster to let the NVA have safe sanctuaries in Cambodia,Laos and North Viet Nam itself.
The motivation for not invading Syria differs from Cambodia and Laos.Full hot pursuit into Syria threatens to inflame the entire region and open up a second front we may not have the means to fight now.It also could trip the Hezbollah trip wire and pull Israel into a regional war with unknown consequences.
The failure to pursue the NVA into their border camps was symptomatic of the intellectual pygmies running the war,MaNamera and company who literally didn't know which end the round came out.Its why their political children in the Democrat party can't be trusted to run our wars.
Cambodia and Laos were primitive states which were proxy provinces of north Viet Nam.Syria, while its history has been largely Israel's punching bag ,is at least a modern state with a real army.

10/17/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Where is doug?

10/17/2005 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I think Vercingetorix is quite correct about how to manage the size of our deployment in Iraq. The more we find the Iraqi forces capable of supporting and defending the government, the more this is a sign that our footprint can diminish, although never disappear entirely - unless this is requested by the Iraqi government.

I think part of the worldview of the domestic political opposition simply does not know how to think about what armies are for and how they are to be used. The talking head community lacks a sophisticated knowledge of things military, hence does not know how to interpret the meaning of the sporadic terror bombings in that country. It is this lack of understanding of scale of activity in proportion to sdthe field of possibilities that befuddles them.

Thus, the tremendous disconnect between the journalistic community and the military, beginning during the Vietnam conflict, has not really abated - embedded journalists notwithstanding. Having never studied battle and never truly experiencing it, they think that a Beruit-light situation is evidence of an enemy that is defeating the best, most professional army ever assembled.

10/17/2005 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

TrangBang68,

When folks talk about us failing in the GWOT they should remember that America has yet to mobilize for war. To this point, we haven't had to. This is NOT a first world power.

To date, only 1.9% of the military eligible age group is in the military. We spend 3% of our GDP on the military. We have not adjusted production to build more weaponry. We have not destroyed cities from the air.

We have some space to accommodate conflict progression if our enemy proves worthy. By proving themselves worthy, they will doom themselves. Osama bin Laden now understands this.

10/17/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

And Rat, the problem with the Indochina comparisons is the glaring differences in both technology and geography. While the basic idea is fairly sound (a safe haven across the border), the difference in scale is astounding. The traffic is likely to be a fraction of the size over relatively open terrain and under an aerospace dominance that is frankly unparalleled (there are no Syrian Migs contesting the battlespace, and hardly any credible air defenses even in Syria itself).

The matter of scale does affect what is and is not possible even if it preserves the general scheme of things, like midget boxing, for instance ;). But even if the entire Syrian regular army mobilized and came over themselves, it would still not be a very good metaphor; the NVA were better matched against the US, even in a guerrila war setting, than Syria is versus the modern US military, there is no superpower support much less a dual support, and on.

But functionally, you always establish a base of operations, firm that up and then use that base for further advances. It is sound strategy and is the actual strategy we have used in Iraq to date; get them off balance by attacks only then capture and hold once other gains are consolidated.

And thanx, fred, for the backup ;).

10/17/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Sorry folks, in a reply I checked the www.winstonchurchill.org site to verify a quote - namely 'The End of the Beginning'

Check who this sounds like:

"We did not make this war, we did not seek it. We did all we could to avoid it. We did too much to avoid it. We went so far at times in trying to avoid it as to be almost destroyed by it when it broke upon us. But that dangerous corner has been turned, and with every month and every year that passes we shall confront the evil-doers with weapons as plentiful, as sharp, and as destructive as those with which they have sought to establish their hateful domination."

10/17/2005 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Gore? no, definately Kerry

10/17/2005 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

18 grandmothers arrested at Iraq war protest in New York:

The 18 went to the recruiting office saying they wanted to enlist. They were jailed after they sat down to protest the war in Iraq. Police say the women ranged in age from 49 to 90.

Grandmothers Against the War director Joan Wile says they tried to enter the facility but it was locked. Wile says she saw a head poke from behind a counter and believes those inside didn't how to deal "with a bunch of grannies."

http://www.wkyt.com/Global/story.asp?S=3991903&nav=4CAL

10/17/2005 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

One of the things I am befuddled about is the fixation among the liberal media about a possible civil war within Iraq. Objectively, the Sunni Arab power base is finished. Saddam Hussein was its anchor and he is gone and his "successors" in the "insurgent" movement live pretty much a hand to mouth existence. The Sunni Arab in Mesopotamia and on the Arabian Peninsula face a basic choice. They can either get with the program, modernize, allow for freedom to take root, and end their dreams of a revived caliphate, or they face, realistically, extermination. There are plenty of folks who would oblige their death wish, not the least of which is the United States of America. About the only place outside of Sunni Arab culture they would find eager allies (but perhaps not reliable ones)would be in Europe. And I do not think that Europe would want to risk being on the wrong side of a war in which Sunni Arabs have pissed off America, have savaged Kurds and Shi'a, or have unilaterally ramped up their terror campaign against Israel.

Plus, there are Sunni Arabs who truly see that their best interests are in reforming their attitudes and their culture. Right now, who cares if al Anbar province voted against the constitution? The only way they can assert their "significance" is to ramp up their pro-Baathist and pro-Islamist guerrilla campaign. If they do that, they are done for.

Assimilation or death. Which will they choose?

10/17/2005 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Fred,

You are assuming that Islamofascists see allies the same way we do.

Germany and France are not allied to them. At least not not on the part of the Islamofascists.

I think it is likely that Islamic Terror hits France (subway attack that was thwarted) and Germany (where we seem to hear of monthly cell roundups). I think it likely that our adversary makes this mistake.

How bout a militarized Germany as an enemy!!!

10/17/2005 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Uuuhhh, sorry to have to do this...

Churchill is awesome...

And some things never change:

"On top of all this came the great French catastrophe. The French Army collapsed, and the French nation was dashed into utter and, as it has so far proved, irretrievable confusion. The French Government had at their own suggestion solemnly bound themselves with us not to make a separate peace. It was their duty and it was also their interest to go to North Africa, where they would have been at the head of the French Empire. In Africa, with our aid, they would have had overwhelming sea power. They would have had the recognition of the United States, and the use of all the gold they had lodged beyond the seas. If they had done this Italy might have been driven out of the war before the end of 1940, and France would have held her place as a nation in the counsels of the Allies and at the conference table of the victors. But their generals misled them. When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, "In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken." Some chicken; some neck."

10/17/2005 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

'Standing Up' a Constitution:

Garner was talking about putting in ninety days in Iraq and then heading home. ... At dinner in the Hilton restaurant (in Baghdad in April 2003) ... Garner laid out his timetable: reconstruct utilities, stand up ministries, appoint an interim government, write and ratify a constitution, hold elections. By August, Iraq would have a sovereign, functioning government in place. There was a stunned silence. Someone at the table said, "Which August?''

-- George Packer, ``The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq''

When Baghdad was engulfed in the lawlessness and looting that gutted the Iraqi state after Saddam's regime fell, Donald Rumsfeld's response was: ``Stuff happens'' and ``it's untidy, and freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.'' These now-famous words, writes Packer, ``implied a whole political philosophy'' which had what Packer calls ``the purity of untested thoughts'':

``The defense secretary looked upon anarchy and saw the early stages of democracy. In his view and that of others in the administration, but above all the president, freedom was the absence of constraint. Freedom existed in divinely endowed human nature, not in man-made institutions and laws. Remove a thirty-five-year-old tyranny and democracy will grow in its place, because people everywhere want to be free. There was no contingency for psychological demolition. What had been left out of the planning were the Iraqis themselves.''

Which means there was almost no planning. Why plan for what will sprout spontaneously?

10/17/2005 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Link to the above:

http://realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-10_18_05_GW.html

10/17/2005 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Sam - your point being?

Or is this your method of ululating in victory?

* * *

Do you suppose the media will ever give up and cede that,indeed, Bush has won Iraq?

10/17/2005 10:47:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger