Thursday, November 23, 2006

Un Bel Di

Max Boot details the history of "cutting and running" throughout American history. The consequences were often tragic and somegimes wide-ranging. The inevitable rhetorical question is asked. Why should any ally trust America?


Many Americans have been wondering why so many Iraqis are willing to fight for militias and terrorist groups but not for the American-backed government. Look at it from their perspective. Would you stake your life on a regime whose existence depends on Washington's continuing support? Given our long, shameful record of leaving allies in the lurch, that has never seemed to be a smart bet.

Some of those incidents are long forgotten. Others are green in memory.

But that was nothing compared to the betrayal of the Iraqi Kurds and Shiites in 1991. President George H.W. Bush urged Iraqis to "take matters into their own hands" and overthrow Saddam Hussein, yet stood by as Hussein's henchmen brutally put down the uprisings. The U.S. did not even shoot down Iraqi gunships, which could have been done at little risk to American forces.

All might be forgiven if the twists and turns of policy were guided the constant star of national interest. Boot wonders if even that compass is heeded.

This long trail of American treachery has grave consequences for our foreign policy. It emboldens our enemies (the Bay of Pigs led to the Cuban missile crisis, for example), dispirits our friends and makes it harder to achieve our objectives. Knowing our history, few Iraqi leaders are counting on American support in the future. They're making their deals with the devil, whether neighboring states or sectarian militias. And if we do scuttle out of Iraq prematurely, Afghans and others whose support we seek will get the message again: Don't trust Uncle Sam.

It was the great novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald who best captured the peculiar essence of betrayal committed by those too rich, too secure and too self-absorbed to care. Gatsby was destroyed through the single chink in his armor, his love for a woman who never gave him, beyond the attention for a fleeting novelty, a second thought: Daisy, his one and unworthy love. "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…" And it was Puccini who might have written the final score.

Un bel di, vedremo
Levarsi un fil di fumo
Sull'estremo con fin del mare
E poi la nave appare

Chiamerà Butterfly dalla lontana.
Io senza dar risposta
me ne starò nascosta
un po' per celia e un po' per non morire
Un bel di.

39 Comments:

Blogger Wu Wei said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/23/2006 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Almost none of those incidents described in the article are "cut and run". Rather the author is incorrectly blaming the US for not fighting other countries battles. Apparently he is making the same mistake about Iraq.

Both in those past incidents and now in Iraq, I think the world will think far, far better of the US for letting other countries fight their own battles. That is the normal state of military affairs, that each ally does some of the fighting by itself, in addition to the shared responsibilities.

It really gets down to what the US promised the allies. We can't have promised Iraq that we would stay in their territory forever, policing it and fighting their civil wars while they sit safely on the sidelines.

It also gets down to the difference between right and wrong. Should the United States force minority groups like the Sunnis to accept a Shiite government if they don't want it, and if they think it is tyranny?

Considering that our own top general has said that the Iraqis should be doing more of the fighting, the world could begin to think we are fools if we don't make the Iraqis fight for themselves.

Indeed, that is my big concern, that if we follow the "fight all wars like world war II" strategy, then the whole world will begin to think we are weak and foolish. Our enemies will know they can tie down 100k to 150k of our troops for years just by shooting at each other. No other military in the world fights under such restrictions. Plenty of countries are willing to invade, wipe out their enemies, and then pull out, leaving the survivors to pick up the pieces.

11/23/2006 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Depends upon the perspective, I guess.
Mr Diem, he thought we cut his throat.
The Shah, he thought Mr Carter cut and run, back in the day.
The Shia, in '91, they just thin we ran, and will again.
I thought we cut and ran in Somolia, but that is from my perspective in AZ.

So, from the view of the Iraqi, to count on the US standing shoulder to shoulder, with them, when the US public becomes fickle, would be suicide. From their perspective.

11/23/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Beware of sentimental alliances where the consciousness of good deeds is the only compensation for noble sacrifices.
- Otto von Bismarck

11/23/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Bismarck was writing for the stronger side, but it applies more so to the junior partner.

11/23/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

desert rat wrote:

So, from the view of the Iraqi, to count on the US standing shoulder to shoulder, with them, when the US public becomes fickle, would be suicide. From their perspective.

America will hold the football for a little while but you gotta bust a move, you gotta run up and kick it before the clock runs out.

11/23/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wu wei wrote:

Plenty of countries are willing to invade, wipe out their enemies, and then pull out, leaving the survivors to pick up the pieces.

This is more or less what Russia did in Afghanistan and Chechnya, but it is indicative of strength only to the most shallow of observers. To be able to take out Zarqawi holed up in one house yet not so much as crack the paint on the neighbors' houses, that is true power. In the Palestinian areas this power has resulted in the use of "spontaneous" flash crows of human shields for defense. Olmert ought to (but will not) hit a few of these sites and take his lumps in the media. It's not like the MSM is well-disposed toward the Israelis otherwise.

11/23/2006 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Now Ms T says:"...but you gotta bust a move, you gotta run up and kick it ..."

But the Iraqi are kickin the ball, they are bustin' their moves. It's just that while both US and Iraq are playing "football" the games are not at all similar.

Can we think World Cup, instead of Super Bowl?

11/23/2006 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

To me its a question of what application of US force makes the most sense in terms of US interest. That's the essence of the quote fellow peacekeeper shares.

Further, I agree with WuWei, much of what Max Boot call cut and run is really the divergence of lofty rhetoric and actual capabilities.

Further, having read a bit about Wilson, his efforts to cobble together something that wouldn't automatically result in WW2 failed in large measure because of the sneering cynicism of the victors in WW1. After centuries of being at each others throats, they took a father knows best attitude and dismissed Wilson as an indealist hayseed from that bothersome America. We'll call you when we need you woodrow That call came about what, thirty years later?

No, Max Boot is wrong on that count as well. It wasn't US that sold out those countries, it was the Euros.

DR points to some true examples of American leadership failure. Viet Nam is the principle example IMHO because I don't know that anyone could have withstood the onslaught of radical islam that brought down the shah.

It is interesting the Henry the K is getting some face time right now. IMHO that's because he's saying what the newsies want to hear. As the architect of one of Americans most ignominious deeds I wonder how the guy can show his face. But hell, the assholes in the media would resurrect Nixon if they though he'd say what they want to him to.

Finally I agree with CW. Our strategy in Iraq has to be one where we hold it together losely enough for the Iraqis to settle their scores and face the modern world. It is easy to understand the seething rage many Iraqis must feel. I have a harder time connecting to the clear denial of the sunnis who have made one deal with the devil after another in an effort at regaining control.

Still we don't want a police state here. We don't want to substitute Sadam's machine with ours no matter how much better we are as people.

I have to believe that the people in the ME can overcome thier heritage and join us in the modern world.

11/23/2006 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Well said Skip. You took my post, so I think it borders on brilliance and insight. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

11/23/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

There are long term consequences to defeat and to running from those you promise to stand by as Ally and Friend. Those that are in the 'realist diplomacy' camp have tried to wash their hands of the stench that has accrued to doing that and the consequences to the Nation.

Unfortunately those self-same realists have now handed us an enemy that no longer uses 20th century conceptions of warfare and Nation States that act in a non-rational manner by holding to fantastical belief. If they could have solved these problems we have today, then why didn't they when they had the ears of those in Power and it could be done at far less cost than today?

We are seeing the butcher's bill get longer and we quiver at the mere interest accruing to it in forestalling that self-same butcher. When does America stop running? They have *already* come to our doorstep.

Perhaps hide under the bed and hope that a fateful day does not arrive when the hand is on Our ankle and the entire bill comes due. Because that is what you get when you set an upper cost in blood and money upon friendship and liberty. You can then be *bought* by the highest bidder, and then it is a bit too late to fight.

11/23/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Its nay so much a problem of cutting and running as a habit, as a bad habit of going in half-assed to places and situations (basically 3rd world holes) where there never really was a compelling reason to go in, let alone stay:
- Vietnam
- Lebanon
- Iraq during Gulf 1
- Somalia
- Iraq

The places the US went in serious, cause they really mattered, the US stayed serious
- WWII
- Cold war Europe
- Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

I have no idea why the US continues to back the Kosovo Albanians, maybe noone except Madeline Albright ever did. Korea was 50/50.

Where that leaves Afghanistan is anyone's guess, but the likes of Darfur is and will be a guaranteed looser.

11/23/2006 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Here is an article that is too long to post in comments that I believe explains why we run.

No it’s not our fault! We didn’t know. They lied to us. The nonsense of no-fault citizenship!

11/23/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Here's the problem: We lost sight of what the original bargain was.

1.Remove Saddam and his cronies. check.

2. Remove Iraqi WMD. Check.

3. Help Iraqis hold elections and establish a government. Check.

4. Train an Iraqi army and security forces. Being done.

5. Rebuild infrastructure. Being done.

6. Make it all work. Priceless -- for the Iraqis, not the US.

Personally, I think we should cut and run from Germany but not be so quick about redeploying from Iraq. But now is the time to set the time.

We should reach and agreement approved by the Iraqi parliament and by the US Senate. We should live up to the agreement and then leave. Make it for three years -- until Dec 31, 2009 -- which will give the next President time to reach an extension, if such is desirable. The Democrats can improve it to Dec. 31, 2008 -- if they want to make it a bipartisan policy where they share in the results. Earlier still, if they want most of the "credit" for the disaster they hope will result before the 2008 election.

Six months ago we were told the Iraqis need 18 months to get up to snuff. If that is the truth such an agreement should do the trick.

When Iraqi's bargain with Iran and Syria what is their biggest chip? US forces. There second biggest chip? US forces leaving. Because once the US leaves they can--indeed, in self defense must--do to their neighbors what their neighbors have been doing to them. They will harness a revolutionary ideology as a force multiplier. Sounds far fetched? Not to Syria. That is why they need those UN bodyguards (or hostages -- your choice) in South Lebanon.

11/23/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> President George H.W. Bush urged Iraqis to "take matters into their own hands" and overthrow Saddam Hussein, yet stood by as Hussein's henchmen brutally put down the uprisings. The U.S. did not even shoot down Iraqi gunships, which could have been done at little risk to American forces

Did any of the Shiites ask their USA CIA contacts if we would provide them air support? Only insiders can know for sure. If the Shiites had no assurances and decided to gamble that we'd back them up, then they choose their own fate. No reason to blame the US. We aren't obligated to do things we didn't promise.

> the Bay of Pigs

Again, what did we promise them? Only insiders know. If President Kennedy told the Cuban exiles they were on their own, then there's no reason to blame us. They tried, out of their own free will, to overthrown their government, Castro's government. Since it is their country, not ours, any assistance we provided them was a favor.

> Many Americans have been wondering why so many Iraqis are willing to fight for militias and terrorist groups but not for the American-backed government. Look at it from their perspective. Would you stake your life on a regime whose existence depends on Washington's continuing support?

That is an amazing paragraph, one which seems to reverse cause and effect. The government was selected solely by the Iraqis in elections, elections based on a constitution they wrote themselves. The only reason why the government seems to depend on our support is because the Iraqis are choosing not to support it.

I don't see how that can be blamed on us. We don't prop up the governments of Poland and Iceland, yet their people still support them anyway. We followed the same pattern in Iraq as Afghanistan, and always had many more troops in Iraq, yet the Afghan government is much more stable. The difference clearly is not the US, but that many Iraqis are rejecting the new government and being sectarian.

It seems amazing that any Iraqis would lose faith in us when they are the problem. "USA, stop us before we kill each other again. USA, make us love our government".

11/23/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I personally don't think we should pull out. We should sign a 20 year basing agreement to make that clear, and because it is in our self interest.

But we need to make clear that it isn't our job to make the Iraqis love each other, and it isn't our fault if they shoot one another. We would stay in the country, hunting global terrorists, US-hunting terrorists, and keeping an eye on Iran and Syria. But it would be up to us when and where we get involved in the Iraqi civil war.

Our casualties would be greatly reduced, which would stop the calls for us to be pulled out. At that point I think peace would come fairly quickly in Iraq. The parties would see that they can't outlast us, so sooner rather than later they'd get tired of being shot and living in a war zone. They'd finally sign a peace treaty and accept the government, which is all that is needed for peace, for the Iraqis to choose it.

11/23/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I mean let's face it, all we need for peace in Iraq is for al-Maliki and al-Sadr to embrace in a bear hug saying "Let's have peace Iraqi Brother", while the Kurds look on with joy. Then they would say, "Let us begin our happiness by eliminating the foreign terrorists from our land. That should take two or perhaps three days if we move slowly."

11/23/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger onesimus said...

I only too well remember the words,
"From this day forward, let the word to forth... bear any burden, pay any cost "

I can hardly bear to watch my country bug out again.kmbamo

11/23/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ww
your lack of historical knowledge, as to historical precedent is overwhelming, to say the least.

Study up on what the "insiders" did, who funded what and when as well as where, in reference to each occurance, then come on back.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. No knowledge and an opinion is even more so.

11/23/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I’m not understanding, WC. Are you advocating “cut and run”, or not? Yesterday you posted this elsewhere, analogizing 9-11 to gangs crashing some cars in your front yard and Iraq to a boondoggle “Goofy miniature golf course” that our authorities forced you into installing in your front yard, killing some of your cats and dogs in the process. As an American taxpayer, you want to quit the project, since you never wanted that putt-putt course in the first place and the construction wasn’t going well.

Woman Catholic wrote:

“I had a problem with gangbangers crashing their cars in my yard. The police, with the help of a local vigilante group called the "Northern Alliance" scattered the gangbangers, but then the police chief started tearing up my yard to put in a miniature golf course, and he said it would take a long time and it would be hard work too, but it was all part of the Fight Against Gangs. He kept sending me continuing resolutions so I could keep the money flowing and the work going forward, and accidents kept happening which sometimes killed my cats and dogs. Finally after three years, the yard still didn't look anything like a Goofy Golf Course, so I fired the construction committee and hired new folks to provide better oversight.The police chief accused me of wanting to cut and run, which I suppose is fair, but no one asked me if I even wanted my yard turned into a golf course in the first place!

11:14 AM, November 22, 2006

The “hired new folks to provide better oversight” are the Dems you wanted to win this past election to take back Congress. I particularly like how your analogy fails to account for the ME security threat we’re trying to address through the Iraq War. You apparently see our Iraq intervention as a recreational money-making venture that’s not only been a big bother, but one you never supported.

11/23/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

WC's tragic assumption is that the "gangbangers" in Iraq have been scattered. Someone with some tactical knowledge (that eliminates virtually everybody in the U.S. who has not served in the officer corps) would say they have taken cover.

She then compounds her inconsequence by likening the search and destroy effort against the "gangbangers" in their cover by likening it to the building of a golf course! Worse yet, she and her ilk seem to believe, quite childishly, that the "gangbangers" will not operate against us from their cover.

11/23/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger foxenburg said...

posting at wrong end of a bottle. people around the world dislike a braggart. and the usa tends to talk a very tough fight. bomb y’all back into the stone age. people of my generation remember the usa fleeing viet nam in bad order. no other way to describe it. but i remember americans insisting a few years ago, you don’t understand, we didn’t have any real vested interest in viet nam but now the bastards are after us (viz 9/11) and we’ll take casualties till the cows come home if necessary. and a lot of the rest of the world thought, yeah, right. sure thing, podner. and now the rest of the world is sniggering because those arabs did call it right. like a fist fight, it does no good to say so and so could have won if he’d really wanted. if he’d taken off the gloves. if he’d done this and that like he really wanted to but was constrained, etc. we’re talking the here and the now. and sadly it looks like the here and the now is déjà vu all over again. better to have gone in more modestly. like clint in a spaghetti western, extraordinarily polite and then blow them away when need be. incidentally, there are a lot of brits i meet who are still very bitter about ike slipping a knife in their allied back re suez. this accounts for a lot of anti-americanism in the uk. it happened at a time in history the uk hoped it wan't as washed up as it suspected. and ike sort of confirmed they were. ditto france in spades, which is a big reason they hate you. as a rhodesian, i recall “henry the k “ selling us down the river for political expediency. thus ut ever was. btw, whatever happened to murray the k?

11/23/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3case wrote:

WC's tragic assumption is that the "gangbangers" in Iraq have been scattered.

3case, the scattered part means the attack on Tora Bora that sent AQ to the four winds. At any rate, take a break from the Wars and go have some turkey with your family.

11/23/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

we didn’t have any real vested interest in viet nam but now the bastards are after us (viz 9/11) and we’ll take casualties till the cows come home if necessary. and a lot of the rest of the world thought, yeah, right. sure thing, podner. and now the rest of the world is sniggering because those arabs did call it right. like a fist fight, it does no good to say so and so could have won if he’d really wanted. if he’d taken off the gloves. if he’d done this and that like he really wanted to but was constrained, etc.

We are cowards and the sooner we realize this the sooner we might do something about it.

11/23/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wu Wei is on a roll. His best quotes were:

1. Almost none of those incidents described in the article are "cut and run". Rather the author is incorrectly blaming the US for not fighting other countries battles. Apparently he is making the same mistake about Iraq.

2. (by staying the course) Our enemies will know they can tie down 100k to 150k of our troops for years just by shooting at each other.

3. It seems amazing that any Iraqis would lose faith in us when they are the problem. "USA, stop us before we kill each other again. USA, make us love our government".

And Wu Wei is right. This whole fiasco could have been avoided if Iraqi tribes only abandoned thousand year animosities and agreed to work together.
Which of course was tremendously unlikely..
To work together for a secular, freedom-loving, Israel-friendly nation?
Impossible!
*****************
Max Boot is one of the last of the Jewish neocons clinging to a dream that Israeli-friendly Americans could somehow "guide" America into a series of major wars that would remove Israel's security threats, yet not cost the Zionists a single life or shekel in the process.
When the price America would pay proved far higher than the Neos originally calculated, and America's confidence in BUsh sharply eroded over issues of bumbling and disastrous decisions - the Neos sought to reframe it as "an obligation to stay the course to preserve America's credibility (from being savaged more than the Neos and Bush had done so far).
****************
Wretchard, in that vein, says:

The inevitable rhetorical question is asked. Why should any ally trust America?

Well, as Wu Wei amply illustrated, the Iraqis are not our allies.

As for the rest, aside from Blair breaking with the British public, we had no allies...just a number of countries willing to grudgingly provide token troops to what leaders privately thought was Neocon-Bush idiocy. They provided troops based on IOUs they had with previous American Administrations like Reagans for standing up to the Commies...or did it like Tonga, the Thais, and Australia did for future IOUs for the day when Rising China seeks to make new regional vassal states.

Given the worldwide sentiment that other nations expressed that they are NOT America's allies in the Iraq invasion and occupation - they don't have a leg to stand on if they alledge, as Wretchard fears, that the US "abandoned them" and "betrayed their trust".

They didn't contribute and pushed from day 1 for us to not invade, or to then get out after we knocked the military and the Ba'athists out of control of Iraq and found no WMD. So no "leaving Frace, et. al. in the lurch" no "betrayal of Gallic, et. al." trust.

Of course, there is America's "Special Friend"...the only nation that does want America to fight and die in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabian Wars.

Let's just say what our "Albatross" thinks doesn't matter if America's reputation, clout, diplomatic alliances, wealth, military, political cohesiveness were all badly damaged.

And, if we see three years of brave efforts of a small band of 25,000 frontline troops did not accomplish much but the somewhat senseless loss of 23,000 casualties for a nation of shithead Arab ingrates made further intransigent by colossal Bushie blunders and lack of planning. It ill-served America's vital interests. Once again, Fallujah is back in insurgent hands.

The 23,000 casualties sound small, but it hits marines and frontline troops hard. The other 100,000 or 120,000 are generally as safe in their megabases or Green Zone than they would be stateside. Some combat outfits brigade size or larger have suffered 20% casualties cumulative in 3 combat tours.
*******************
In 3 1/2 years, it has cost us 650 billion dollars to do a 2-week invasion of a dysfunctional 3rd world military force, then keep 20,000 US troops in contact with the enemy. Or painting schools of the enemy or handing out candy to enemy villager's children. Or training future militia members in good fighting skills once they bail from the regular Iraqi army or police force to get on a good sectarian death squad. The rest of "Our American Heroes" are support - safe in bases, rarely interacting with Iraqis, thus rarely in danger...as they prefer..

Or slightly more than 25 million a person to maintain a frontline soldier presence in those 3 1/2 years to interact, or failing that, to become IED hamburger for the "noble purple-fingered" sectarian Arab fanatics.

This appears to be quite expensive. Especially given on top of that, the Bushies quietly stripped the regular DOD budget of 60-70 billion a year from other activities to divert funds for "evildoer" fighting. Which has crippled new ship construction, tanker replacement, led to them trying to end C-17 fleet acquisition, end modern artillery procurement, cut AF staff involuntarily by 20,000, implement BRAC like 9/11 never happened, and recently to end the Stealth Fighter Program --all based on Rummy's august judgement that despite resurgent Russia, rising China - DOD must focus mainly on hightech toy Transformation or "evildoer" fighting. Nothing else is "urgent".

Knowledge of the Bush Blinders that only "evildoer" terror kinda folks who hijack the Religion of Peace matter has led the Airforce into some rather sad territory. Proposal to build a "command fast attack missile" that for a few billion in development and only 45 million a missile, could launch a missile in the USA to deliver on the head of "an evildoer" - beating the "Clinton sending a million-dollar cruise missile into an empty tent" scenario anyday. Then the AF seeks to recast the F-22 as the F-22G - the premiere counterterror ground attack plane with advanced stealth features at only 400 million per "evildoer terrahist kinda guy eliminator if we only knew where the guy was" plane.

Of course, the biggest reason why we are paying 27 million per IED target is the contracts. Which apparantly have not been well thought out in terms of utility or cost. Chairman Waxman, (who by the way supported the Iraq war as did most liberal allies of "Our Special Friend"), will have years of fun investigating what parts of Iraq or the sadly named GWOT were disguised pork in reality for Republican fatacat donors under pay to play.

11/23/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Why should any ally trust America?
--
That point is well taken.

The better question is who else should an ally of America trust?

Blair and W as odd as they might be to some understand which way is up.

Neither one is Thatcher. Then again you play the cards you are dealt.

Once again. Who else with real power deserves trust? Putin? Kofi?
Chirac? Chavez? Pelosi? Murtha? Obama? Kerry? Gore? Dore? Gold?

A good thatcher weaves a watertight, weatherproof roof.

11/23/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

By the definition of cut and run some people use, we could never support any covert operation. According to some, it seems that once a US soldier is involved at all, then we must follow all the way through with conquering the country and a 20 year world war II type Marshall Plan to rebuild them.

The Cubans in the Bay of Pigs certainly knew what they were getting into. It was totally covert, with the understanding that we weren't going to openly fight on their side.

Prouty, the first “focal Point” officer between the CIA and the Air Force for Clandestine Operations, quotes the report by General Maxwell Taylor, a member of the Kennedy-appointed Cuban Study Group: “From its inception the plan had been developed under the ground rule that it must retain a covert character, that is, it should include no action which, if revealed, could not be plausibly denied by the United States and should look to the world as an operation exclusively conducted by Cubans. This ground rule meant, among other things, that no U.S. military forces or individuals could take part in combat operations.”

11/23/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Cedarford,

"the Iraqis are not our allies". But individuals are, and whatever we undertake, whichever individuals come in on our side, whatever their political status or citizenship may be, they are our allies. And they are less likely to do that when one has a record of leaving them in a lurch.

At one level the question is entirely practical. I'm sure many readers have had the experience of trying to convince someone in the field to take a risk. You are more likely to succeed if they know you either a) will not ask them to get in over their head; b) stand by them. Or you can ask yourself what the greatest fear of a locally recruited intelligence agent is. It is being sold out.

Criminal organizations understand the prestige that comes with a reputation for being a "stand up". It has less to do with morals than credit. When you let people down, you use up your credit. And one day you have none left.

11/23/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/23/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

that was a mighty cold bucket of water, foxenburg.

11/23/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger moneyrunner said...

Wretchard,

What is the function of Cedarford on this site? Vitriol and name calling are not typically the currency your trade in. Is he your pet bigot?

11/23/2006 05:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I,in part, wrote to the President last week:
The Iraqis are looking for the eventual winner in this struggle and our divided nation certainly does not project that strong “onward to victory” image. No wonder we have difficulty in crafting a unified nation there. I’m sure they know that supporting the Americans could get one abandoned and killed as has happened in the past. I will always remember the message from Cambodian statesman Sirak Mitak who penned a final note to the U.S. ambassador refusing his offer of evacuation just days before his execution at the hands of the Khmer Rouge:

"I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty....You leave and my wish is that you and your country will find happiness under the sky.

"But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad because we all are born and must die one day. I have only committed this mistake in believing in you, the Americans."

11/23/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Moneyrunner -
And what is your purpose? To prove those with dissimilar loyalties do patrol blogs and express their discontent with some people looking after what should be the Anglosphere's vital interests?

That you believe instead those interests must be suborned to "Our Special Friend"?

What exactly do you have to contribute in way of discussion of allies, "cut and run" philosophy as applied to Iraq, or Wretchard's point of possible loss of trust?

I've expressed my opinion. Which is primarily that Iraq has badly weakened America strategically, diminished our strength in several vital areas.

Wu Wei and other posters, have their opinions.

Come on, boy, why not crawl out from under your rock and say what you believe...
Rather than engage in feeble attempts to delegitimize other opinions without offering a countering opinion.

11/23/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Here's a thoughtful essay --in the WSJ--on the state of the USA/Israel alliance.

The Cambodian letter is an authentic heartbreaker. And as with so many heartbreaking things, whether or not one's pissant little heart is broken after the fact, is utterly, supremely, irrelevant.

11/23/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

amr - In your post you assume a certain omnipotence to the USA. Call it the "it happened because America failed to act" school of thinking.

Which goes -

America is responsible for 200 years of Latin American dictatorships. We failed to stop the Bolsheviks. Or stop the Armenian genocide. Then our inaction caused WWII and the Holocaust. Followed by us "losing China" and setting up a divided Korea, then did not stop the Chinese from making Tibet into a vassal state.

Of course along the way, besides military intervention, America "failed" to remake the world to an equitable economic system. Cure cancer and AIDs. Not only failed to prevent famine, but failed to go in and feed every hapless citizen of every disfunctional nation.

Then we of course had Vietnam and Cambodia - which we "failed" to fight and die for when leadership, including Cambodian Sirak Mitak, was unable to get the vast majority of their own people to fight and perhaps die against the tiny fraction of the population that did have commitment and zeal. That small band of brothers, perhaps not St Crispins Day fodder, but who repeated Agincourt with a Commie flavor.


The lessons of history for America is that we do well when we fight against external aggression or what a consensus of Americans believe is the nation's vital interests. We absolutely suck at trying to impose "what America thinks is ideal" in cases of internal conflict within a nation.

Most Americans strongly believe, and have throughout our history, that it is not our place to fight an unending series of wars to "save" non-Americans overseas. From foreigner's own self-induced messes. From whatever lack of freedom, inequities they themselves refuse to fight for. Our Vets and present military agree - if asked when they swear the oath to defend America and lay down their lives against aggressors or those that our democratic leadership tell us harm America's vital interests - they glady subscribe. If they have a voice about the risk dying to save some 3rd Worlder too diffident to fight for his beliefs, the answer is that a Haitian or Iraqi "purple-finger" isn't worth it. Same regarding American asses on the line to invade (and attendent public support) to watch our own blood and treasure flow to "reorder" a country's internal politics as demanded by multinational corporations or battalions of NGO do-gooders, activist lawyers unwilling to risk their own asses. The answer would be, No!
No way!

11/23/2006 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The Iraqis are looking for the eventual winner in this struggle and our divided nation certainly does not project that strong “onward to victory” image. No wonder we have difficulty in crafting a unified nation there. I’m sure they know that supporting the Americans could get one abandoned and killed as has happened in the past.

Both this Iraqi attitude, and Mitak from Cambodia, have it reversed. It is up to their countries to solve their own problems. Any assistance we provide them is a gift which they should be greatful for.

Also, our allies end up being the ones who betray us, not the other way around. We have been in Iraq for 3 1/2 years, yet they are still holding back and "are looking for the eventual winner in this struggle"? Why should we help save someone that weak, who sits on the sidelines instead of fighting for his own country? During that 3 1/2 years most Iraqi groups have been telling us to "Get the hell out of our country now" and supporting or at least tolerating insurgents who are shooting at us. None of the Iraqi groups have been providing us as much intelligence information as they should.

The only thing the Iraqis need for peace is to make a deal with each other. They don't need our permission for that.

All the comparisions with world war II, Vietnam, etc. are irrelevant because in Iraq we have no enemy and no allies. It is just a bunch of warring tribes, each of which is looking out only for itself, and using the same "terrorist" tactics. There is no good guy. There is no one group that we can go crazy on and end the war by killing.

11/23/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wu Wei - Definitely agree we are not abandoning the Iraqi "purple fingers", they have abandoned us to get better 'creds with other killer tribes and groups that see infidel-whacking as a sport. And the noble purple-fingered folk hardly shed a tear when they hear Americans have been turned into living or dead hamburger by "brother Arabs".

After all, 80% of Sunnis and Shia say infidel-killing is a Holy Obligation.

During that 3 1/2 years most Iraqi groups have been telling us to "Get the hell out of our country now" and supporting or at least tolerating insurgents who are shooting at us. None of the Iraqi groups have been providing us as much intelligence information as they should.

The lack of intelligence from "freedom-loving friends" in Iraq is additionally disturbing.

The only thing the Iraqis need for peace is to make a deal with each other. They don't need our permission for that.

And of course they haven't. Why should they risk their necks with supporters? The "noble Iraqi democracy lovers" don't want peace, they want a killin'. But before that is worked out, if multimillion-dollar packages of Yankee infidels venture onto IED pathways like ducks in a shooting gallery and provide hunting sport amusement - why not cheer Jihadis 1st? Once the "zionist pawns" clear out, then the needed Civil War can start.

Meanwhile, the US troops allow the militias to form. And for Arabs there and their equally cheerful women and children hoping to be involved in Westerner killing, Americans are great fun as targets.

11/23/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

cedarford; 1:25:50 PM

re: Air Force cuts

You are mistaken. The Air Force will be reduced by 40,000 by 2009.

That "Special Friend" schtick is starting to sound Fred Rogersish. You can do better. Judenschwein has that certain ring of "Old World" authenticity, don't you think?

Hey, habu_1 might be helpful. Quite apart from his vast credentialing as a "Secret Agent Man", he has recently taken an interest in the USS Liberty and Jewish terrorism. Oh, and Rufus has shown his support of das Vaterland in a new minimalist post.

Link

I do like to be helpful to the worthies of the blogosphere.

11/24/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger moneyrunner said...

Cedarford,

My question was not directed at you. But since you chose to intrude, I’ll respond.

And what is your purpose? To prove those with dissimilar loyalties do patrol blogs and express their discontent with some people looking after what should be the Anglosphere's vital interests?

I don’t understand what you are trying to say here so I’ll ignore the badly written question. Are your loyalties “dissimilar?” To whom and what are they dissimilar? And why should one’s loyalties lie with the “Anglosphere?” Are non-Anglos “lesser breeds without the law?”

That you believe instead those interests must be suborned to "Our Special Friend"?

Ah yes, “Our Special Friend.” Why be so prissy about it, Cedarford? Why not just call them Jew? Go ahead, have a cathartic moment. It may cure that verbal diarrhea you exhibit.

What exactly do you have to contribute in way of discussion of allies, "cut and run" philosophy as applied to Iraq, or Wretchard's point of possible loss of trust?

I’m here because I find Wrethard’s views interesting. Yours, not so much; your moral position repulsive.

I've expressed my opinion. Which is primarily that Iraq has badly weakened America strategically, diminished our strength in several vital areas.

Oh no, my friend. You have done a great deal more than that. You have engaged in constant personal slanders, your posts contain an endless stream of anti-Semitism and hatred of the Jewish state. You don’t reason or bring arguments to the table, you ridicule. That is why I asked Wretchard why he tolerated you.

Come on, boy, why not crawl out from under your rock and say what you believe...

I am not your “boy,” nor anyone else’s. You see, that is what seems to pass in your mind as reasoned discourse. It’s not. That’s why you are not a blogger, but rather a commenter on other people’s sites. A parasite.

Rather than engage in feeble attempts to delegitimize other opinions without offering a countering opinion.

You felt delegitimized did you? What tender feelings for one so prolix.

11/26/2006 03:19:00 PM  

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