Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Across the desert

Read this pair of point and counterpoint pieces, courtesy of Michael Totten.

Who protects those in Iraq who have no militias? asks Christopher Hitchens. Who destroyed the equilibrium that brought those militias to being asks the Washington Post? (Hat tip: Michael Totten)

Commentary

Despite the different emphasis of their titles, two arguments in the two essays are not that far apart. In both is the suggestion that following the fall of Saddam the United States did not restrain the external forces which fueled ethnic conflict between the two. Inaction or timidity began a problem which has grown to the point where only decisive action can provide a remedy. But the question of course is whence the decisiveness will come. If there was never enough commitment, even in 2003 for more than a limited foray; with America even then unwilling to finish the job if that meant twisting a number of other countries into line then where will it find the will today?

One school of thought is that necessity will force President Bush to conjure it from somewhere. And the other that since a divided American polity will never have enough will at any time anyway, then the best course is to up stakes and go to Okinawa; and have done pretending to possess the will to see things through. The first has the virtue of hope and the second the appeal of cynicism. But neither really addresses the question. And maybe America has to get a whole lot more hurt before it nerves itself meet the problem squarely.

Update

Right after reading Hitchen's piece I ran into this at the WSJ Opinion Journal, which shows that rightly or wrongly, many Iraqis have bet their lives on America. People tend to do that and occasionally you hear about Rip Van Winkle groups of hill tribesmen in Vietnam still keeping the faith for their old friend, Colonel Joe. What do you tell them? That we didn't mean it, that it was all a mistake? I know that's not true but sometimes it looks that way.

he has risked his life--and lost more than his life--for the cause. In September 2004 he attended a counterterrorism conference in Herzliya, Israel; after which insurgents threatened his family. The following February assassins opened fire on Mr. al-Alusi's car as it approached his Baghdad home. He wasn't in the vehicle, but his sons, 30-year-old Ayman and 22-year-old Gamal, were. Both were killed as their father watched. Still, Mr. al-Alusi was unbowed. "Even if these terrorists try to kill me again, peace is the only solution," he told reporters minutes after the attack. "Peace with Israel is the only solution for Iraq. Peace with everybody, but no peace for the terrorists."

51 Comments:

Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

I do not want the USA to leave Iraq.

I advocated the war, in hopes of removing saddam, and his people from power. This power that had murdered 400,000 of his own and millions of others. Saddam had paid millions to blow up jews in israel.

That being said, now the PEOPLE of Iraq are murdering each other, not in open civil war, but like crypts and bloods on crack.

Interesting days, let me ask this. If the arab/islamic world decends into self killing murder machine, why should I not pop open a bud, put my feet up and watch the show, after all they have been exporting this crap for hundreds of years. Karma is a kick in the pants.

11/01/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Wrecthard said . . .
If there was never enough commitment, even in 2003 for more than a limited foray; with America even then unwilling to finish the job if that meant twisting a number of other countries into line then where will it find the will today?

What would it have meant to "finish the job" in Iraq? Such speculation shows the complete impossibility of the whole adventure no matter the many mistakes: if we were going to try to introduce democracy to Iraq, we were going to hand the country over to Shiite Islamists. That was the predominate constituency of the majority Shiites in 1991 when Bush senior rightly decided against handing the country to them and Iran and its still the consituency in '03-'06. We can't get around that fact. Democracy in Iraq means Islamofascism in Iraq. If you've got some alternative history in which Iraq turns into a colorful version of Nevada with just a little sprinkling of liberal magic, then I'd love to read it. I like fairy tales, I just don't confuse them with politics.

I suppose we could have taken Iraq with 600,000 troops, locked it down for five years and flooded the country with massive largesse in a social engineering attempt to build up a liberal non-Islamic politcal base from scratch, but there's no way Bush was going to do that. Would've failed anway, in my book, but I'm a conservative that was opposed to this liberal crusade from the get go. What do I know?

11/01/2006 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

If the arab/islamic world decends into self killing murder machine, why should I not pop open a bud, put my feet up and watch the show, after all they have been exporting this crap for hundreds of years.

That sounds good to me, WiO, so long as our own boys and girls are on the sidelines and not right in the middle of the shit getting their HMMV's blown out from under them.

11/01/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The Exit Strategy will be rolled out after the mid-term election. I would predict that it will be couched in a “the decision is up to the Iraqi people” language and some pseudo-intellectual demarche from state that will make Condi feel like she best represented the symbology of high ground. There will be a few Iraqi’s hanging on the skids of the last Huey on the way out but this endless pussy footing is grinding down the resolve of even the most apathetic. We have lost all initiative to influence the Iraqi experiment. Our money corrupts. The insurgents no longer fear us and those who would stand behind us are not comforted in our shadow. We have lost the respect and fear of these animals and we are compassionately letting them get away with murder. The administration has one more chance to lay it on the line, tell the Iraqi government what will be accepted and what wont. We need to have a plan of positioning ourselves in a permanent US base in the nether regions of Iraq and let them know that we will be back to pay our dividends in high explosives if they want to be assholes. The Middle East speaks and they want Sadr, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the brotherhood. Tell them that we respect their decision and then kill them. Democracy works in the ME, you want to vote for f’ing with us? Excellent. Reap what you sow. The region is getting closer to the brink of all hell and we might as well let the whole Shiite box go up in smoke. A war for oil would be a good thing because sitting around and being bled by a thousand cuts is a coward’s death.

11/01/2006 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger ppab said...

America may leave Iraq under a certain rationale yet that rationale does not seem the most salient let alone dominant factor in any consensus driving America. I hope people simply want us to finally up the ante and make them play our games, having tired of theirs.

And to a related point, I think it has been strange how easily forgotten is is that media productions re: Iraq are awful and lacking fidelity with reality. If the sensory organs of teh embeds aren't there, how do we even think were informed about anything re: Iraq?

The consequence of the absence of those embeds is that media productions get to dictate each soldier's death is a car accident. Its not a sacrifice for a cause. Just a car accident caused by heartless bureaucrats out to make a buck.

Any deaths reported are presented as stage direction, if even unintentional (as in ignorance), all playing to the theme of chaos. Never anything different than chaos. Just chaos chaos chaos. Chaos and the same prefabricated questions re: whether the chaos has finally become SOO chaotic that it becomes super-chaos etc. Listen to NPR, their coverage NEVER gets more in depth than that re: Iraq or Afghanistan.

Anyone want to remember the ideas of defeating an enemy by killing their will?

What have we been witnessing happen in Iraq for the past few years?

You have to scrounge around the blogosphere to find a hopeful note. And the note is a windchime against the orchestrated cacophany of "chaos" intonations day in and day out, as dutiful as a Muslim's bows to Mecca.

What is mysterious to me is, even if adaptation is demanded of where we are right now, how anyone can reasonably consider departing?

Some have suggested retreating to a few parts of the country and reserving the right to strike AQ at will. This sounds cathartic, but I fail to see how such a thing would be a departure from where we are now. Drawing new lines in the sand dont matter at all in this world. You will HAVE to cross them again to go and get this or that asshole.

Which brings up the good question, anyone want to venture on what the US is presently doing over there, other than dying?

You wouldn't know it from any newspaper or any broadcast out there right now. The election cycle has scrubbed all such info, leaving an artistic manipulation of Iraq for us all to ponder, while the real Iraq is embroiled in its own struggles.

Its this persuasion that those struggles are just chaos which will mean America never breaks its old habits in the middle east.

11/01/2006 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Porki,

Putin's dictatorship is starting to look smarter and smarter with every day that passes in Iraq, no?

11/01/2006 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger meow to you said...

"Mee nymes Crist'pher 'ittchenz!"

11/01/2006 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The previous thread has a new link to another new Ledeen article:
It's really the same message he's always had, except he, like most of us has become convinced Bush/Rice are completely ignoring the real war, a larger regional-global war.
Very strange how Bush has evolved into making some of the Democrat charges come true over time:
Distracted and tied down in the Iraqi quagmire of our own making since he would not address Syria and Iran, making the situation unwinnable, with Iran calling the shots unmolested.

11/01/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A Father's Tribute to his Son
---
Laura Ingraham adds:
"There is nothing I can add to the words of a grieving father, except to say that we owe it to these young men and women and their families to accept nothing less than victory against the dark, evil forces that rejoice every time a young Marine is killed."
---
Amen

11/01/2006 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Redaktor posted this sad link at the Elephant Bar.

11/02/2006 12:49:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

Originally posted at the Elephant Bar

I read last nights previous post moments ago and gained some amusement from a dicussion about post war Japan vs. the Iraqi situation.
The one huge salient,huge,enormous one was never mentioned (unless my bifocals missed it).
Japan was gone,only the name remained. Bombed into the stone age.Atom bombed twice. Firebombed a dozen times. THEY WERE TOTALLY AND UTTERLY DEFEATED.
We never did that in Iraq. We don't do that anymore period. That's why we keep losing..It really is that simple. You defeat the enemy until his civilization is gone along with his will to resist.
Beneficence and magnanimity follow TOTAL VICTORY they do not coincide with it.
Until we learn this very basic law of war we will not win anything substantial again.

11/02/2006 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Habu1 said...
. . . Japan vs. the Iraqi situation.
The one huge salient,huge,enormous one was never mentioned (unless my bifocals missed it).
Japan was gone,only the name remained. Bombed into the stone age.Atom bombed twice. Firebombed a dozen times. THEY WERE TOTALLY AND UTTERLY DEFEATED.
We never did that in Iraq. We don't do that anymore period. That's why we keep losing..It really is that simple. You defeat the enemy until his civilization is gone along with his will to resist.
Beneficence and magnanimity follow TOTAL VICTORY they do not coincide with it.


An interesting option with one major problem, Habu. This was supposed to be a war of liberation, and a relatively easy one at that. We're fighting a two front war against the Shi'as and the Sunni and we don't have a distinct ally of our own, unless you consider the Kurds, which doesn't really help us in 2/3rds of the country. Nuking Shiite cities would just prove to ourselves and the world how wrong the entire initial bases were for going in the first place. Democracy is the last justification for us being there, and once we start bombing "democratic" citizens . . . well, damn. That threat is why Sadr is able to push us around. The Islamofascists got us by our prinicples and I think the mistake was offering them up for cooption in the first place.

11/02/2006 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Habu: There is no substitute for victory, but you are leaving something very important out.

The people and leadership of Japan were clearly coimmited to what was best for the advancement of the country. And they always had been. There was a strong national identity and it was possible for people to see what needed to be done in the best interests of the country. It was a form of racism, but a variant that enabled them to recognize superior methods developed elsewhere and adopt them.

For example, the Imperial Japanese Navy so admired the Royal Navy that they adopted many of the RN practices, including the unifroms, and even issued orders on IJN ships in English.

Ultimately, this practice of emulation to further their own beliefs of superiority led them to utter disaster, but once presented with convincing evidence that a better way existed they sought to utilize it in a manner that was in the best interests of the country.

In Iraq no such tradition of working in the National interests existed. It is hard not to admit that many, if not a majority, of the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq are more concerned with making sure the other party does not do well than they are in seeing that the country as a whole does. They would rather bring down the whole country in flames - and even ensure their own deaths - than see the "other" prosper as well.

The guys at Iraq the Model and The Mesopotanian are not like that. Too many others are; utter defeat in Iraqi terms would mean killing all those who think that way.

11/02/2006 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Nuking Shiite cities would just prove to ourselves and the world how wrong the entire initial bases were for going in the first place.

Gosh reocon, you sound like that Teresita chick right there, with your pinko mushy-headed notion that battle should be targetted at soldiers and materiel and not the people. Now Habu has to start talking about the Rape of Nanking and Bataan Death March, etc, to put that spine back into you in preparation for dropping Little Boy on little girl.

11/02/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

The IF should go Turkish.

11/02/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/02/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Annoy Mouse said...

"The Exit Strategy will be rolled out after the mid-term election."

If Bush and crew really had this 'plan' why the heck would they wait til after the elections? Bush has been saying quite the opposite for ages now and I've seen no evidence to indicate he has been willing to deviate from his cherished divinely inspired notions in the past why the heck would he do that now? Instead he is busy defending Rumsfeld, Iraq and all else that has passed.

If Bush actually came out before the elections and said "We won, its up to them now, we are moving out" the 'pubs very well might maintain control of both houses but noooo, more of the same to come unless the Congress pulls the financial rug out from under our Glorious Leader.

11/02/2006 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

I really don't understand what's the problem. Muslims are finally taking responsibility and killing other Jihadi radicals and you people are whining like it's a bad thing.

11/02/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I make no advocacy for bombing Iraqi citizens. Our time to act with great ferocity against the nascent combatants is long passed. But I think we need to forge a new deal with the Iraqi’s and if a national consensus could not be forged then we need to pull back from our positions between warring factions and let them duke it out. Meanwhile, we need to police their borders with utmost prejudice. The Iraqi’s can settle their disputes in the manner that suits their temperament which will most likely lead to a bloody conclusion. A hands off policy would also create a problem with refugees and perhaps we can offer humanitarian assistance in that area.

11/02/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Ash,
James Baker is co-chairing the Iraq Study Group who published rumors would have it, will spell out a “new course” for US foreign policy in Iraq. I doubt that what ever the findings are that they will go down smoothly and in this political season, inter-party diplomacy demands that the election date be respected. The odds are favoring Rumsfeld going…

11/02/2006 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

Ah,yes the squeemish.
Never resolute.
Always willing to hide behind the nuance, but never face the reality.

Let me count the number of important military engagements your philosphy has won.

Lets see, there's none and none.
The great struggles in history are won through domination and submission of the enemy. No other way.
Let's say we're at war and I have a gun pointed at your head. You would ask me if you could write a term paper for extra credit.
Then you would be no more. That's the way victory in war. No extra credit for jaw-jaw.

11/02/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

what do you mean by "election date respected"? Wouldn't it have been prudent for the study group to release their findings before the election so that politicians could discuss the findings and the electors could vote with the information at hand as opposed to this murky 'plan' which will be revealed from up high after the election is done?

It sounds like an excuse for Bush to have a 'plan' without having one. Baker, ever the family fixer.

11/02/2006 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Ash,
I am not making any excuses for the administrations pussy footing around in these matters. I concur that at this point in time there is no strategy at all and we are left with some very difficult choices, namely, up the stakes or fold. You are tilting at windmills as always.

11/02/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

reocon,
(why do I even bother but)

"Nuking Shiite cities would just prove to ourselves and the world how wrong the entire initial bases were for going in the first place."

You may have notice in your readings of war that "initial" basis' and other such pre war clap trap get trampled in the reality of war.
I always get a great laugh when before a conflict even begins the NYT and other fuzzy heads start wanting to know the "exit strategy" ..
War is chaos,unpredictable, and since the host population supports their army there are no "uninvolved".c

11/02/2006 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

habu, don't forget that the Iraq war was a war of agression. We invaded and occupied their country. Either we plan on going in and staying or we have an exit strategy. Most don't want to stay there forever, hence, exit strategy.

11/02/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

many Iraqis have bet their lives on America....What do you tell them? That we didn't mean it, that it was all a mistake?

I can tell you what we will tell them when we eventually leave the Shiite and Sunni areas of Iraq: "here are your visas so you can move to the US." Just like we ended up with a million or so Vietnamese and Cambodians after Vietnam, and a load of Somalis after Black Hawk Down, we will end up with a few million Iraqis after the war in Iraq.

And then down the line, they will be the nucleus of the muslim demographic wave that will eventually lead to racial and religious civil war in the US before mid-century.

11/02/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

And besides, as per the Iraqi Death Blossom post, our guys know this is the just way. So let's do this. Pandering to cynics like Chirac, fuck-ups like NGO employees, and people like Teresita and Ash, is just stupid. Start killing, stop talking. Everything in war is a weapon.

11/02/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

ash,
Have a nice day.
BTW your logic is so FU that I'm not gonna take the time to try to refute it. You just enjoy the sunshine.

11/02/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Habu1 said...

You may have notice in your readings of war that "initial" basis' and other such pre war clap trap get trampled in the reality of war.

That's assinine and I recognize nothing of the sort. The initial goals in the Gulf War, WWI and WWII (and many others) were all achieved. America didn't go into those conflicts and have our initial cassus belli disproved then flail about for another reason to stay, or just wait in a crossfire until we "discovered" another goal. You're either not serious or not educated.

I always get a great laugh when before a conflict even begins the NYT and other fuzzy heads start wanting to know the "exit strategy" ..

Going into a conflict without clearcut goals, a strategy to win and a way to get out is how we got bogged down in Vietnam. In response, the dominant playbook was written by Caspar Weinberger and his aide, Colin Powell, and it worked pretty damn well in the Gulf War: limited and achievable goals, overwhelming force and a clearcut exit strategy. Rummy threw out the Powell Doctrine and now look where we are -- wandering around the f*cking desert looking for a reason to stay. Wise up.

War is chaos,unpredictable, and since the host population supports their army there are no "uninvolved".

So what you're saying is that 70% of the Iraqi population is our enemy and we should start firing in all directions. After all, when you look at the voting patterns for those who elected either Shi'a or Sunni Islamist parties you get a mighty big chunk of the electorate. If that's really what this conflict boils down to, then where are the good guys, the liberal secularists that Bolshevik Hitchens keeps babbling about? Mr. al-Alusi's Iran Nation Party has one seat in parliament and no militia: that's not going to cut it.

We can't reach a peace between 70% of the warring population that's set on destroying each other. You want to kill them all and I say let them do it to each other. Besides, it will look bad for us and our alleged "values" of democracy if we have to overtly declare war on another democracy, which is, in fact, what we're in. The Sadr/Badr/Dawa alliance is our enemy and I've said so on this blog way before you ever bothered to notice.

11/02/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Ralph Peters:

My disillusionment with our Iraq endeavor began last summer, when I was invited to a high-level discussion with administration officials. I went into the meeting with one firm goal, to convince my hosts that they'd better have Plan B in case Iraq continued to disintegrate. I left the session convinced that the administration still didn't have Plan A, only a blur of meandering policies and blind hopes. After more than three years, it was still "An Evening at the Improv."

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2006/11/post_6.html

11/02/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I support our wars and would expand hostilities in key countries, but the geopolitical calculus isn't easy:

We take out the Taliban, it disperses and reinfests/ reinforces extremist (nuclear) Pakistan. We target them and al Qaeda in Pakistan, and they're rewarded a sanctuary in Waziristan.

We take care of Saddam, and nuclearizing Iran and Syria are emboldened. If we take care of them (Hez and Hamas, too), Saudi Salafists/ Wahhabists and alQaeda are stronger. But we can't take care of Saudi fundy/terrorists until we and our trading partners are weened off the kingdom's oil. Meanwhile, Iran never would have been completely taken care of and embarks upon pay-back. Big time.

Oh, we also need to deal with the manipulations, machinations and back-stabbing of nuclear Putin, nuclear Hu, sorta nuclear Kim, wannbe WMD Hugo and dysfunctional bloody Africa. And also of the enlightened UN, EU, and "internationalist" Dems like Hill on the hill.

All this is nothing compared to the biggest apocalyptic challenge we face as a nation and human race: a possible rise in temp in the future sometime, in some places, maybe or maybe not. Thank goodness Tony and Al are on the job.

11/02/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Here at the EB and the BC, others and I have linked to a number of credible polls which show that support for suicide bombing targeting Israeli civilians, for one example, is supported throughout the Muslim world, i.e. by Muslims, i.e. those who have submitted to Islam and its prophet. I have no intention of wasting additional time reinventing the wheel, reposting information that you would not accept in any case. Check out the links for yourself. Stalling does not become you.

If you find a poll showing that in the aggregate, Muslims do not support suicide bombing against Israeli civilians, do share.
12:23 PM, November 01, 2006






Ash said...
allen wrote:

"I have linked to a number of credible polls which show that support for suicide bombing targeting Israeli civilians, for one example, is supported throughout the Muslim world,"

While I do not support suicide bombing targetting civilians as a good tactic either morally or pragmatically it is understandable that many would.

You do think that it is necessary at times to engage in total war do you not? Do you believe that dropping the atomic bombs on Japan was a necessary tactic? The fire bombing of Dresdan? Basically the Palestinians have their backs to the wall, they are penned in by a superior military power and they have little to fight back with. In their view their existential existence is at stake, they have no other means to fight back against the Israelis. The targetting of civilians in this case is similar to the targetting of civilians by the west in other conflicts. We, as humans, use all kinds of excuses in an attempt to get our way. It is immoral, as is torture.
12:58 PM, November 01, 2006

Islamic Trinity of Death. The Undeniable Link Between Islam and Terrorism.

11/02/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

We were driving along, listening to top forty radio, having a good time. until we came upon a feral, mange ridden cur with an enormous litter of starved pups. Being good Samaritans with tender hearts, we took them home and now we have a cur that we are deciding how to put down and a litter of mean growing pups that are infested with parasites and beset with fits and seizures, fighting each other over the food bowl and biting our hands every chance they get. The vet bills are eating us alive and we're beginning to wonder if the pups will ever amount to anything. What are going to do? Keep pouring money into them in or take them back where we found them and anonymously call the Iranian Humane Society?

11/02/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Here is some advice from an Iraqi who should know. His answer isn't to declare war indiscriminately, but to get rid of the "terrorists, chauvinists and extremists" ...who condone and "openly incite the violence on TV" that is destroying what remains of the capital and the country.

11/02/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Well heck, Sirius. That's what we thought was happening all along. Apparently, we were mistaken.

11/02/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Catherine's got it right, specially the last paragraph. We need to be building those nuclear generating plants, big time.

11/02/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

reocon,
#1 you changed my "initial basis" to "initial goals"..two distinctly different things. Our goal was victory, that never changed, but the basis on which we fought for that victory was modified many times over. Error on you.

#2"Going into a conflict without clearcut goals, a strategy to win and a way to get out is how we got bogged down in Vietnam."
Refer to #1 for clear cut goal.Victory. But don't try to tell me that you get into a war with a strategy and that strategy remains static and carries you to your pre-defined exit strategy and then, like magic it's done. That is completely false and any reading of any conflict will show that strategy changes quite often.Oops another error on you.

To your final flaccid attempt at a critique of my post, yes war is chaos, and yes the indiginous population supports their forces, ergo they are also the enemy. I don't see too many signs that say,"This way to the al Sadr Barracks". Somebody provides a bed,food,sanctuary. Is that not aiding our enemy?

So we tally the score and yes, there it is, you fall into the "stupid fool" catagory, just misssing the "ignorant stupid fool catagory" by a point.
Now with two errors you could be picked last and play right field, but with three, you ride the pine.
Have a nice day.
All the best, Habu

11/02/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

The initial post mentions a desert. I am looking at a graph depicting the drought record from Moon Lake, North Dakota from fossil algae in sediments from this lake for the last 2000 years. The dust bowl of the 30's was a relatively minor event. Tree ring records from California show these droughts were widespread. Dig down a ways in the mid-west, you find sand. Now we are adding elements to the stew and do not know what the affect might be. Nuclear generating plants-a national insurance policy. It can change fast. Now's the time to build a more secure energy future.

11/02/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Habu1 said...
reocon,
#1 you changed my "initial basis" to "initial goals"..two distinctly different things. Our goal was victory, that never changed, but the basis on which we fought for that victory was modified many times over. Error on you.


No, the basis of the conflict formed the goals in the 3 examples I gave: the defeat of Kaiser's Germany, the defeat of Nazi Germany/Fascist Japan and the expulsion of Saddam Hussein from Iraq. Now lets' look at the bases for the present war: 1. WMD 2. Operative ties to al-Qaeda and 3. "Democracy". 1 and 2 have been taken of the table by the President himself and #3 has led to a Shiite Islamist gov't that we'd be fools to trust.

Nowhere in those initial bases was the goal of fighting a Sunni insurgency, which is why the administration fought so long and futilely against calling the insurgency what it obviously was. And nowhere was there any discussion of a fighting a legitimately elected Shiite gov't, which is what we're doing now.

Refer to #1 for clear cut goal.Victory.

Please. You can't even define what victory is. If it's declaring war on 70% of the Iraqi populaton then you've got nothing, especially no large block of liberal secularist to form a new basis for the Iraqi state.

But don't try to tell me that you get into a war with a strategy and that strategy remains static and carries you to your pre-defined exit strategy and then, like magic it's done. That is completely false and any reading of any conflict will show that strategy changes quite often.Oops another error on you.

Knucklehead. Of course strategy will change over a long conflict (it didn't alter much in Desert Storm), but if you start shifting around strategic objectives or goals, you've better have really convincing new ones to replace them. We didn't in Vietnam, which is why the Powell-Weinberger Doctrine came about. So, what are the new goals or strategic objectives in Iraq? If you can't answer that then you've got nothing.

I don't see too many signs that say,"This way to the al Sadr Barracks". Somebody provides a bed,food,sanctuary. Is that not aiding our enemy?

Sure, but Sadr killed over 100 Americans BEFORE his henchmen got elected to parliament. How did that happen, eh? Go back and read the post in which Wretchard declared that a great "victory" and you'll see me very lonely in my dissent. Now that they have democratic legitimacy, what does it mean to throw out our last reason for going into Iraq (democracy).

So we tally the score and yes, there it is, you fall into the "stupid fool" catagory, just misssing the "ignorant stupid fool catagory" by a point.
Now with two errors you could be picked last and play right field, but with three, you ride the pine.
Have a nice day.
All the best, Habu


As you can see from my rebuttals, you've neither scratch nor claw to your credit. If you did, I'd worry about rabies, for with all the hissing and fury do you really have a single point to deliver, a mere suggestion to offer up? Nope. You got nothing.
It's time to stick the fork in 'cause you're done.
Best,
RC

11/02/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

habu, you are the funniest poster in the western hemisphere.
:-)

11/02/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger paul a'barge said...

"brought those militias to being"?

Did this history of one of the oldest regions just begin yesterday for you?

Good lord, spare us from fools.

Look, sectarian rivalry and middle east militias go back to well before recorded history.

Given that we're trying to inject liberty into this environment, should we not coin a new phrase to describe those who are surprised that the slog is taking some time?

Oh wait. We already have that word. Up there, right after "spare us from".

11/02/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It's no damn joke. It is the early stage of the final battle--for the future, between Good and Evil. What's being debated by the left and the right in the USA is, "which one IS we?"

Personally, I think the side that doesn't lie as a matter of course, is the most likely "good" side.

Now, that gets it to where it can perhaps be quantified some.

11/02/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

reocon,
In your refutation you deny doing what I said you did in #1.

If you insist on defining what I say then there isn't really much reasoning with you, you'll just create whatever world you want to and proceed apace.

You also stated I had not defined victory when in only a few posts before you clearly read what I meant by victory. Very obtuse or perhaps it's just the best you can do.

You also made some reference to Nazi Germany/fascist Japan. I've looked at your posts today and perhaps I overlooked hte Germany/Japan thing..could you direct me to the post time on that please?

Also it's casus belli, one s..sticky keyboard's whaddya gonna do?
And then if you could also direct me where you mentioned strategy.
Anyway good try ole boy on redefining everything. Kind of reminds me of Bill Clinton parsing the word "is".
PS. If you don't care to respond that's ok with me. I'm sure we're both convinced the other is a rogue and all around bad guy, when I'm sure neither is the truth.

11/02/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Give me four hours for errands and kid-sitting and I'll get back to you. You're a funny fellow, Habu, no doubt, and if there's a place for rogues in puzzling through this fiasco maybe we'll be lucky enough to find it.

11/02/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Dusty said...

Frederick Kagan was on Lehrer yesterday and he basically argued that Bush needs to step up, that he needs to brace the pubic for an increase in troop levels and acknowledge that we have to make a greater sacrifice to achieve our goal of a settled and peaceful Iraq before we leave.

In the interview, Kagan spoke about the little thought about consequence of leaving or turning it over to the Iraqi's too early. Especially poignant to me was his pointing to what would look like if we don't act decisively and leave too soon or before the Iraqis are capable of taking over. Here's that part:

"It's a question of trade-offs. Right now, there are about 650,000 soldiers in the active Army, in the active Marines. We have 160,000 troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you look at the numbers, absolutely, we could find more soldiers and send them to Iraq.

It would require accepting greater risk. It would require hastening training timetables. It would require extending the tours of soldiers who are in Iraq. It would require in general asking for increased sacrifices on the part of our soldiers.

I feel very badly about that. I think it's very unfortunate that we're in a situation that it's necessary to ask for these sorts of sacrifices. But I'm much more worried about the consequences that defeat will have on the Army.

I think people have not really thought through what the scenario will look like as we pull out in defeat, as the ethic cleansing gets going in earnest, as our soldiers withdraw, as we have pictures on CNN and Al-Jazeera of atrocities being committed with American troops in the background, of women and children rushing at the FOBs, trying to get protection and having to be turned away.

This is going to be an incredibly searing, emotionally devastating defeat if we allow ourselves to be driven out right now. And I'm much more worried about the consequences of that on the morale of the Army than I am on the consequences of asking for some slightly greater sacrifices in order to stabilize the situation."


I have to agree with him that leaving before we're done, shown live and up to the minute, will be a spectre a hundred-fold worse than what the media reported as we left Vietnam. On the one hand, I doubt Bush would allow it before his term is up though I worry he cannot act decisively enough to correct the eventuality of having to pass on a brightly burning torch. I worry more that a decisive Dem win in the elections will force his hand towards this spectre, but we'll see about that a few weeks.

Here's the transcript of the interview.

11/02/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

buddy larsen said, "Personally, I think the side that doesn't lie as a matter of course, is the most likely "good" side.

That's rich. It's hard to find an honest man. Plenty around that are trying to be, though and maybe that's good enough for most.

We have so many on either side that are rallying to the cry of their side and seeing only the truth they wish for.

Give me a man who will see through all the peripheral BS and discern the truth that lies right at the crux.

Oh, never mind. He would never make it in Washington...or Bagdad.

-Zell Miller.... retired.
-Joe Leiberman... sold his soul to the devil to become the VP. See where that got him.
-Rick Santorum...losing in PA
-George Allen...target of the left

11/02/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

It seems like a futile battle for "hearts and minds" because no matter what the President does, the Leftists revile him so much that he can not possible escape their venomous attacks, both within the country and in the International arena. If we leave Iraq then every hostile bombing there, no matter what the cause, will forever be laid at the doorstep of America for having "destroyed that country". If we stay, the same will be said. We simply have to face facts. People hate the Conservatives because they are Anti-Capitalists and no matter who was President, if he was a Republican he would have gotten the same exact treatment from the Left regardless of whatever happenned in the world, good or bad, right or wrong. The Leftists/Fascists/Communists (all versions of Totalitarians) mean to lord it over us all, and they do not give a flying fig for how they achieve their goal. Lying? Done deal. Killing innocent children by sawing their heads of in the street? Done deal. Faking "News" to make the US/West/President look like a monster? Done deal. It makes absolutely no difference if Iraq falls into civil war or we remain there to baby sit them forever. Either way, they will hate us - to death.

When you face an enemy that has absolutely no scruples and is completely amoral, you have a big problem. I agree with those who say this fight must be fought in the realm of ideas, but the fact is that ideas bounce off of people who are not interested in the truth. When all they are interested in is Winning at all cost then ideas, no matter how good, tend to fall on deaf ears.

So then what? Overwhelming force? Well, sometimes that does work. It has, in fact, worked in the past for a time for many Civilizations. Somewhat like when Parents use overwhelming force to control their kids (not that anyone in the West would dare do that anymore). It's not hate that makes them do it, but necessity. But when parents/governments fail to institute effective deterence, you get chaos. That's where we are, and the worse the chaos gets the more deterence will be necessary to compensate for the prior failures.

Fasten seatbelts - this may get bumpy.

11/02/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

It's difficult to think about Iraq's problems without looking beyond its borders, and, to me, the
way of Baker is the way of capitulation. The US may be overextended militarily and diplomatically during this period of global terrorism and geopolitical realignments, but the time to act against the gathering threat of Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah-Hamas (with Russia-China-NoKo behind them) is now and not later when they've gained dangerous momentum and nuke capability. There appear to be no inducements and threats that will deter the Iran-Islamist axis, since it seeks dominance, period.

We can forget trying a MAD approach with nuclear armed ME/ SW Asia and terror-agents, when the martyrdom of many Muslims is of little or even felicitous consequence and given that most of our own humanity-first politicians would be loathe to vote for, much less actually implement, retaliatory genocide. Of course, our enemies know this.

What Annoy Mouse says in this thread and the last is well-stated, depressing, and may come to pass. If, in fact, Bush has no intention of reshaping the ME except through holding action in Iraq and shifting sands diplomacy elsewhere, then ultimately we lose. The problem with the suggestion of "securing" Iraqi borders and letting happen what will is that the physical and communication borders are not easy to lock down. Even were we to carefully midwife Iraqi democracy for a few more years, Iran and her proxies will still undermine our efforts with agents, materiel, propaganda, funding, bribes, threats, and "deals" made with the lawfully constituted government of Iraq over the next umpteen years. Iran already has a firm presence in Iraq and might end up owning the country through a bought-and-paid-for or intimidated government, in which case our expenditure of blood and treasury will have been in the service of an ascendant Iran. Can we afford this not unlikely prospect?

Iraq is not lost yet, and many Iraqis, our troops and contractors have made substantial, brave progress. But we're poised at a juncture that could make or break the final outcome of the project, because internal factionalism and external manipulations are effectively threatening the nature of what Iraqi governance needs to be. Not only on account of Iraq (and Afghanistan), but because of its terror ways and nuke aspirations, we must deal with Iran and proxies, and not by trying to box them in through UN sanctions (there's a joke in there somewhere) or by waving our big stick, which is to laugh, as well. Our stick needs to make contact and hurt, decisively.

11/02/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Iran after Syria may be the plausible route if any progress is to be made in the GWOT and indeed if our already sizable investment in the ME is to bear any semblance of fruit. But it won't be as easy as Ledeen makes it sound.

Russia, China and Venezuela are convinced that a relationship with Iran is more important than a relationship with US. Both Russia and China see a correlation between a weaker US and their ascendancy and Chavez will follow their lead.

What that all means, of course, is that any covert action in Iran will have consequences far beyond the ME.

If anyone expects Muslim Iran to embrace a third incursion into the heart of Holy Islam by Christian crusaders after what we are seeing in Iraq....well, they just don't see. But this is what Ledeen keeps harping.

I've thought all along that the best way to handle these barbarians is via covert activities leading to insurrections within respective states. Actually, it's the same outcome we have now in Iraq except we have 130K troops there. It shouldn't have taken that many to oust Saddam and it didn't take that many to ignite the type of bloodletting amongst Muslims we see there now.

These animals don't need much rope with which to hang themselves.

11/02/2006 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Habu1 said...
reocon,
In your refutation you deny doing what I said you did in #1


Let's see if we can't tone down the rhetoric and gain a little more clarity here. What you wrote was:

You may have notice in your readings of war that "initial" basis' and other such pre war clap trap get trampled in the reality of war.

By "initial basis" I assume you meant -- correct me here if wrong -- the initial causes of war (casus belli) and the goals that flow from them. Since we invaded Iraq is response to a percieved threat (preventative war) the initial bases were 1. WMD 2. Links to AQ and 3. The spread of democracy. However, in a follow up post you write:
Our goal was victory, that never changed, but the basis on which we fought for that victory was modified many times over.

In that case you're talking about tactics that flow from strategic goals, and tactics shift all the time. Usually it's bad news when your strategic goals do so. So what are our goals right now in Iraq? You write:
You defeat the enemy until his civilization is gone along with his will to resist.
Beneficence and magnanimity follow TOTAL VICTORY they do not coincide with it.
Until we learn this very basic law of war we will not win anything substantial again.


I think you have a point here, but that's not the present engagement. We came not to destroy Islam (POTUS takes many an oppurtunity to say nice things about the Mohammedan) but to transform it with minimal bloodshed into a pro-American, pro-Israeli, stable, peaceful, prosperous democracy. I thought that was crazy and ahistorical. But what if we did switch tactics and started bombing whole cities in a bid for total war in Iraq. Well then our final justification for being there (3. democracy) would be negated. They had elections, we gladly and very foolishly accepted the results and declared the purple finger moment a great victory. To bomb the hell out of the victors (Shiite Islamists parties) would unravel a whole thread of justifications that the Bush admin. has sold the public for the last year. I don't think Bush'll do that, do you seriously? That's not the war that was promised us, especially one that was supposed to be comparitively easy. Our goal of a peaceful democratization that will be an "examplar" to the Middle East constrains any real sort of strategic bombing against a "democratic" people.

You also made some reference to Nazi Germany/fascist Japan. I've looked at your posts today and perhaps I overlooked hte Germany/Japan thing..could you direct me to the post time on that please?

That was in regards to WWII, as when I wrote:
"The initial goals in the Gulf War, WWI and WWII (and many others) were all achieved. America didn't go into those conflicts and have our initial cassus belli disproved then flail about for another reason to stay, or just wait in a crossfire until we "discovered" another goal."
(posted at 10:04:40 AM)

Also it's casus belli, one s..sticky keyboard's whaddya gonna do?

I'd blame it on the arthritis, but in truth it's what my son has alternately diagnosed as either dyslexia or "Homonymal Aphasia". I think he's making the last one up, but it does nicely capture the fact that after decades of struggle and plenty of ribbing, I still routined flub there/their/they're, one/won, were/where/we're, etc. I guess I can add to that list Cassius and casus.

And then if you could also direct me where you mentioned strategy.

Me: "Going into a conflict without clearcut goals, a strategy to win and a way to get out is how we got bogged down in Vietnam. In response, the dominant playbook was written by Caspar Weinberger and his aide, Colin Powell, and it worked pretty damn well in the Gulf War: limited and achievable goals, overwhelming force and a clearcut exit strategy. Rummy threw out the Powell Doctrine and now look where we are -- wandering around the f*cking desert looking for a reason to stay."

I'm not sure that's what your looking for but was from 10:04:40AM.

If you disagree with my logic on the constraints to strategic bombing then let me know. You're right in that I don't see how to otherwise transform a recalcitrant culture but I just don't see it as being remotely politically viable owing to the misguided goals we jumped into this engagement with.
Regards,
RC

11/02/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

reocon'
Well our cases are stated with clarity. We'll agree to disagree on some points and not on others.
It's the true beauty of our way of life.
I believe I do hold a view of war, (WWII type , where you totally win, no question about it) For now the Western world has moved beyond that but I'm not confident out advisaries have. I suppose the coming decades will tell.
Good colloquy ... I wish you & your goodness and health.
Habu
PS sorry for the late response I shut down early to listen to a new book on CD about Geo. Washington.

11/03/2006 03:16:00 AM  

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