Monday, November 20, 2006

The Victor

Ahmadinejad Invites Iraqi, Syrian Presidents to Tehran Summit -- breaking on Fox News.

Commentary

It was Mark Steyn who said that however evasively the Democratic party phrased it, the platform upon which they ran would be understood by its true name throughout the Middle East. George Packer, writing in the New Republic, said that now was the time to make arrangements to evacuate the thousands of Iraqis who believed in America; and that those Iraqis were even now making deals with whoever they thought would be in charge -- after the policy with the unstated name was implemented -- in order to survive.

But the Iranians can hardly contain their glee. They know what last elections meant; and so do Iraq and Syria. There may be no need to wait for the Baker report. It is being overtaken by events.

69 Comments:

Blogger Wu Wei said...

> They know what last elections meant;

I think they misunderstand. The American people don't want to give up. They just want the leadership our president refuses to supply.

Will Bush finally lead?

11/20/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Medcalf said...

If George Bush wanted to head this off, he could do so by signing long-term (20+ year) leases on two or three bases in Iraq. However, the domestic political reaction would be so fierce that it might instead reinforce the message that we are undependable and cowardly. What a fun decade we are having.

11/20/2006 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Is Mr Talabani going to the meeting representing Iraq or Kurdistan?
Is he just blazing a trail for Ms Rice?
Some combination of all three.

The choices of scenarios are varied in deed.

11/20/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wu wei said:

I think they misunderstand. The American people don't want to give up. They just want the leadership our president refuses to supply. Will Bush finally lead?

Bush is almost ready to lead, but he's just waiting for the Baker Blue Ribbon Panel to tell him what to do. The choices are Go Long, Go Strong, or Go Away. You can pretty much rule out Go Strong, because that would mean killing bad guys and stuff.

11/20/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Bush could have been in control and Iran still on the sidelines if he had done this two months ago. Instead of being pushed to it by the Democrats and Iran, Bush could have asked for the same review months ago, had the same leak about "go long, strong, away", then he could have made the same speech he is going to make on why he wants Go Long+.

Control your destiny or someone else will.

11/20/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The only reason I can think why President Bush delayed is because he has the same attitude as his father's administration, which said "Talk to Congress? We'll consult with them somewhere between impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate." Ha ha ha.

11/20/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

So does Ah-whatsit think the President of Iraq is going to *stay* President of Iraq for more than another month or so, or is he fixing to make him "an offer he can't refuse"?

Yo, George! The elections are over - you can nuke Tehran any old time now, you know.

11/20/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

- get nukes, destabalize neighbors that won't bow and scrape, increase exports of energy to China, better arm hizbullah, take full political control of southern Iraq, make strong allies of al qaidah in an attempt to destabalize the Guld royalty in order to assert influence on the oil there - now that's a mullahs dream! I would even have my eye on the Suez Canal visa-via assisting the Egyptian brotherhood to destablize Mubarak, who is after all a puppet of the West. It all hinges on those few missles with nuclear tips, don't it? Let the West wallow in its narcissism and multi-culturalism equality and rights of the individual - there are plenty of outlying business and political targets ripe for attack, far from the homeland so preoccupied with stem cell research, abortion, gay rights and holiday sales. Allah akbar, baby!

11/20/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Iraq is finally becoming the next Vietnam. Here's a little blast from the past, courtesy of the History News Network at George Mason U, "Because the Past is the Present, and the Future too."

What happened when Democrats in Congress cut off funding for the Vietnam War?

Historians have directly attributed the fall of Saigon in 1975 to the cessation of American aid. Without the necessary funds, South Vietnam found it logistically and financially impossible to defeat the North Vietnamese army. Moreover, the withdrawal of aid encouraged North Vietnam to begin an effective military offensive against South Vietnam. Given the monetary and military investment in Vietnam, former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage compared the American withdrawal to “a pregnant lady, abandoned by her lover to face her fate.” 2 Historian Lewis Fanning went so far as to say that “it was not the Hanoi communists who won the war, but rather the American Congress that lost it.” 3

In January of 1973, President Richard Nixon approved the Paris Peace Accords negotiated by Henry Kissinger, which implemented an immediate cease-fire in Vietnam and called for the complete withdrawal of American troops within sixty days. Two months later, Nixon met with South Vietnamese President Thieu and secretly promised him a “severe retaliation” against North Vietnam should they break the cease-fire. Around the same time, Congress began to express outrage at the secret illegal bombings of Cambodia carried out at Nixon’s behest. Accordingly, on June 19, 1973 Congress passed the Case-Church Amendment, which called for a halt to all military activities in Southeast Asia by August 15, thereby ending twelve years of direct U.S. military involvement in the region.

In the fall of 1974, Nixon resigned under the pressure of the Watergate scandal and was succeeded by Gerald Ford. Congress cut funding to South Vietnam for the upcoming fiscal year from a proposed 1.26 billion to 700 million dollars. These two events prompted Hanoi to make an all-out effort to conquer the South. As the North Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary Le Duan observed in December 1974: “The Americans have withdrawn…this is what marks the opportune moment.” 4

The NVA drew up a two-year plan for the “liberation” of South Vietnam. Owing to South Vietnam’s weakened state, this would only take fifty-five days. The drastic reduction of American aid to South Vietnam caused a sharp decline in morale, as well as an increase in governmental corruption and a crackdown on domestic political dissent. The South Vietnamese army was severely under-funded, greatly outnumbered, and lacked the support of the American allies with whom they were accustomed to fighting.

The NVA began its final assault in March of 1975 in the Central Highlands. Ban Me Thout, a strategically important hamlet, quickly fell to North Vietnam. On March 13, a panicked Thieu called for the retreat of his troops, surrendering Pleiku and Kontum to the NVA. Thieu angrily blamed the US for his decision, saying, “If [the U.S.] grant full aid we will hold the whole country, but if they only give half of it, we will only hold half of the country.”5 His decision to retreat increased internal opposition toward him and spurred a chaotic mass exodus of civilians and soldiers that clogged the dilapidated roads to the coast. So many refugees died along the way that the migration along Highway 7B was alternatively described by journalists as the “convoy of tears” and the “convoy of death.” 6 On April 21, President Thieu resigned in a bitter televised speech in which he strongly denounced the United States. Sensing that South Vietnam was on the verge of collapse, the NVA accelerated its attack and reached Saigon on April 23. On the same day, President Ford announced to cheerful students at Tulane University that as far as America was concerned, “the war was over.” The war officially concluded on April 30, as Saigon fell to North Vietnam and the last American personnel were evacuated.


http://hnn.us/articles/31400.html#_ftn3

11/20/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

We have heard "this is another Vietnam" for every war since then. Democrats originally said that Afghanistan was another Vietnam, until we won, at which point the Dems said they strongly supported it all along.

Hopefully Bush will choose "Go long", then he can prove that Iraq is not Vietnam, in fact it is the exact opposite.

In Vietnam we chose sides in the civil war. In Iraq / Go Long, we don't take sides or participate in the civil war. Our goals are to train the Iraqis, stay in Iraq in relatively safe positions with low casualties, and be patient while the Iraqis take 5 or 10 years to sort it out. In the meantime our troops there will be ready if Syria or Iran need any attitude adjustment, and go hunting for global terrorists, the ones that want another 9/11, anywhere in the area.

The Democrats will say "But we are losing", and Bush could say "How dare you try to blame the US military for Iraq's mistakes?" Imagine how much fun it will be to watch the liberals and netroots slowly come to realize that it isn't our fault if the Iraqis kill each other.

11/20/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Wu Wei, conviction in the Senate? What are you smoking? Read your constitution. Takes a two-thirds vote to do that. House can start impeachment proceedings, but by the end of the day explain how you get to 67 votes in the Senate? Doubt you'd even get a simple majority vote. Libermann and other Democrats won't vote for it. Even though Clinton was caught dead to rights the perjury charge was defeated with 55 "not guilty" votes and 45 "guilty" votes. On the obstruction-of-justice article, the chamber was evenly split, 50-50. Just ain't going to happen.

As to the Iranians understand the meaning of the election, so too as the implications begun to sink in with the American elecorate. The more the Iranians and Syrians "dance in the street", the less likely a withdraw of US forces any time soon.

11/20/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Wu Wei, conviction in the Senate? What are you smoking?

I was not joking or making up the impeachment quote myself. It really came from someone in the Bush 41 (first Bush) administration, back around the time of Gulf War 1. My point is the bad attitude which Bush 43 also seems to share of not communicating enough with his allies in Congress or the American people.

11/20/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Since the first Bush knew he would not be impeached, it was the same thing as saying, we'll consult Congress about the war when hell freezes over.

11/20/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger foxenburg said...

Wu Wei said...
We have heard "this is another Vietnam" for every war since then. Democrats originally said that Afghanistan was another Vietnam, until we won, at which point the Dems said they strongly supported it all along.

until we won

wu wei, you might be a little premature on this.

11/20/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger ryoushi said...

I feel so sorry for the troops. How frustrating to work so hard and so well and not be allowed to finish the job. God bless them all and peace to them.
http://ryoushisblues.blogspot.com/2006/11/day-america-lost-war-on-terror.html>The day America lost the war on terror

11/20/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I could see a happy ending to this. President Bush pushes for "Go Long", starting with a temporary "Go Strong" (although it would be strong-lite since we don't have the troops). That's the beauty of the thing, that once the public is committed to a long term war, they could add troops as needed. It's a lot easier to sell "Let us have 40k more troops for three months, even though it will mean more casualties". It also knocks Iran, etc. off balance since we can switch between a lighter force which makes it easy to stay a long time, and a temporarily heavier force. If the enemy knows we are in for the long term, things could really change for the better as they see the need to negotiate.

11/20/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

wretchard wrote:
It was Mark Steyn who said that however evasively the Democratic party phrased it, the platform upon which they ran would be understood by its true name throughout the Middle East.

Once again the world misreads the US.

I do not believe the voting public asked to "cut & run". I do think it is easy to forget that the mindless left in America is temporarily in power because of the sucesses of the moderates.

It will take some time, but I predict that the moderates will rise up and quash the nuttiness of the left and refocus the US efforts in Iraq to establish a working democratically elected republic. Not cut & run.

Iran's "Ineedanewjob" is being smart. Diplomacy and essential power-brokering work in his favor. He knows that he has to tone down his "burn Israel to the ground" message before someone calls his bluff.

11/20/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

tony wrote:
Iraq is finally becoming the next Vietnam

Totally wrong. Not even close.

Vietnam was a 10 year effort that killed 57,000 US servicemen, and involved a noticeable portion of the US GDP.

Iraq is a 3 year effort that has killed 3000 servicemen and cost less than 1% of the US GDP annually.

So please get off this "another Vietnam".

11/20/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Dla,

I'm not the one who's on "this another Vietnam." It's our elected Democrats who have been on it since, oh, about 1975.

The point that Wretchard makes, is that our enemies see the electoral success of the Dems as their success, because it weakens Bush and is a sign of weakening American national resolve. For those on this list who may be too young to know what the first Vietnam was like, and how it ended, I thought that history lesson was appropriate. The point is, we lost Vietnam in the Capitol Building in D.C., not on the battlefield in SE Asia.

I buried my brother in law in Arlington, I understand what the original Vietnam was.

11/20/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wu Wei - The American people don't want to give up. They just want the leadership our president refuses to supply.

Au contraire. A majority of the American people believe the "noble purple-fingered Iraqis" aren't worth it, possibly with the exception of the Kurds. But everyone, especially the Ruling Elites in America, fears all out civil war spreading through the Gulf and 200 a barrel oil. The powerful Jewish component of the Ruling Elites fears for Israel's long-term future. Americans are - aside from the Lefty nuts - getting the idea that all of the alternatives are bad, but cutting and running and handing the Region over to a nuclearizing Iran and Radical Islam, may be the worst alternative.

Au contraire on Bushie "strong leadership". Remember that it was exactly "Strong Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice-Blair Leadership", bucking world opinion and the advice of all who were the West's experts on the ME - except a few in the Neocon Camp - that got us there. The same Strong Leadership in pursuit of an ill-conceived, barely vetted strategy, then made a series of disastrous post-war decisions.

Bush has even lost the confidence in his Base. Our top military brasses 3 years of asserting "things are getting better and better in Iraq, every day" now appears to be exposed as was the case in Vietnam - of generals lying and prostituting themselves to Pentagon civilian boss's political goals in return for career protection.

The country wants strong leadership. From a smarter Team with the ability to guide Bush better than he has been - and tell him what he should sign or endorse.

I personally would like to see the remaining neocons purged. Cheney to resume the traditional VP role of being as useful as a pitcher full of warm spit. And the head of his main foreign policy and national security advisor, Condi Rice, to roll if the reports of her bad management are true.

It is in the nation's interest not to ensure Bush has a failed Presidency, but to give him a team that can mitigate the damage inflicted on American foreign policy and domestic fiscal strength - plus Open Borders - by the original Bushies. He has two years left. Much as he deserves to be tossed from office - he was elected against the worst possible candidate the Democrats could have run when the voters could have removed him. As much as certain Democrats want him impeached, as much as many Republicans and Conservatives convinced he personally betrayed candidates in the 2006 election and the whole Party philosophy want it - impeachment would not be good for the nation.

11/20/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The point that Wretchard makes, is that our enemies see the electoral success of the Dems as their success, because it weakens Bush and is a sign of weakening American national resolve.

Exactly. That's why it is all up to President Bush now. The next fight is political. Bush needs to convince the country to fight whatever war he chooses, like Go Long.

He and his team need to take the Democratic left apart, rip them to shreds over the issue. Bush should put his political team like Karl Rove on this, and fight just like an election. If President Bush doesn't want Joe Biden and Cindy Sheehan running the war, then he needs to show the public that they are full of it.

11/20/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Hunter, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said Monday in an interview that he wants to "Go Iraqi." Hunter says the Pentagon tells him some 114 Iraqi battalions are trained and equipped, and 27 of those units are operating in areas that see less than one attack a day.

"We need to saddle those up and deploy them to the fight" in dangerous areas, primarily in Baghdad, said Hunter, who hopes to run for president in 2008.

11/20/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Iraq is not Vietnam, although the process of capitulation was like Vietnam. It is potentially worse than Vietnam. The difference is that in Vietnam, the enemy was simply fighting for local control. Here the enemy is fighting for regional dominance, as a precursor to a worldwide advance. That's why we are seeing immediate regional effects. Already Iran is casting itself as the Godfather. Already Syria is asking for the Golan.

But I beg to differ with Cedarford about disgust with the "purple fingered Iraqis" as being at the bottom of it. The US voter may be sick of bailing out the Iraqis, but the war was only partly about them. It was about helping Iraqis to be sure, but the war in Iraq also involved protecting US national interests, though President Bush put it so poorly that often the point was forgotten. Many voters may have honestly thought it was all about whether or not to support the "purple fingered Iraqis" and as Cedarford said, they had enough. However, Teheran and Damascus will soon remind everyone just what it was all about. And then the public will come to realize the part the Liberals left out. In throwing out the purple fingers they were throwing out other important stuff too. And now we start seeing just what else got thrown out with them.

Segolene Royale just told Tony Blair to leave America or to leave Europe. And for the first time I think many Brits might say, "choose Europe". The "superpower's" check just bounced, even though there are funds in the bank, because the capital of will has dried up. However powerful America as a nation is, if the will of its political leadership is gone, like the Third Republic, then nothing matters.

I wrote after the election that we would see a rout; that things would get far worse before they got better. The pain has not even begun, nor will it begin to cease until both parties decide something is worth defending and convey that message to the enemy. But that day, alas, is far.

11/20/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger ryoushi said...

Wu Wei,

The American people won't listen to President Bush anymore. I'm sorry to say it, but he has no political capital left and whatevever case he could have made should have been made months if not years ago.

Perhaps even worse, Americans are more worried about getting a new Play Station than winning the war.

11/20/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard wrote:

The "superpower's" check just bounced, even though there are funds in the bank, because the capital of will has dried up. However powerful America as a nation is, if the will of its political leadership is gone, like the Third Republic, then nothing matters.

This is a strange disease which also afflicts the mini-superpower in the Middle East, Israel. The military capabilities are there, but the political will to maim and kill the enemy and smash and break the enemy's stuff like they do in **WAR** is not there. In Iraq, America is turning out to be the Happy Gilmore of empires. In a power drive we always get on to the green, but our short game sucks.

11/20/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

It all comes down to simple denial.

It isn't Bush's inability to properly articulate the situation. It's not the mistakes in the prosecution of the war. It's not some central flaw in the thinking of some neo con cabal.

The west simply doesn't see radical islam as a valid threat. They've intellectualized their denial and closed off any emotional appeal.

Since they are convinced that we won't face death at the hands of some barbarous madmen thousands of miles away, they believe that there's is nothing more to be done.

the Iraq arguments are no longer couched in terms of our safety, because that's a given it seems. We're safe, or we think we're safe and so the Iraqis are no longer people with which we need be concerned. Fighting Iran in Iraq won't, in our current state of denial, make us any safer, so screw it.

The Democrats have yet to make anything like a cogent foreign policy pronouncement and I doubt they will. Right now we have the usual suspects repeating their rote lines.

My suspicion is that the far left will demand something like a goal line stand. They will advocate that we as a nation withdraw behind a strong barrier and rely on isolation and the benign goodwill of other soveriegn nations to keep us safe.

the question I keep asking myself is this: What will it take to get the west out of denial?

I am heartened by the fact that there are some differences between today and 1939. the west is not ill prepared for a military conflict and the disparity that lead to fascism's early gains doesn't exist now.

But I am saddened to think that we must experience pain of a significant nature before we come to recognize that the threat is real and growing. Killing 200 people on an train in a remote section of India won't get us out of the doldrums. Even a string of such attacks will do nothing to shake the iron clad denial of the Michael Moore types.

Do we as a society have a death wish? Or have we indeed magnified the threat beyond its real potential?

11/20/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Just for alt-history's sake, dail back the Vietnam time machine a couple of years, to a time perhaps more like our current state in Iraq. In the four years after Tet, we were fighting a feckless series of battles, the media concentrated only on our horrific losses, and chaos seemed to rein.

A snapshot of Viet-raq was the historic seige of Khe Sanh. The enemy threw everything they could at an isolated Marine firebase in Indian Country, and we used everything we had, even B-52's in something like close air support. The enemey suffered horrific losses, we held on. Then, after a few months, our troops destroyed their bunkers and pulled out.

This happened all over the country, if you weren't alive then, you can't imagine the intensity of the anti-war passion in the streets of America then. At that point, it was obvious that either we would surrender, or the enemy would surrender. This shadow war had bled us white, left us shaking.

Then came Operation Linebacker II, around Christmas 1972. (Btw - We stopped hostilities back then for holy days, only they were Christian religious days.) The Air Force and Navy finally was unleashed and pounded everything that could contribute to the enemy's war effort, from harbors and railroads to radio stations. Guess what? The enemy sued for peace.

To translate to Viet-raq, I suppose Hanoi and Haiphong would be Iran and Syria, and that's where the bombers would go to strategically kill the enemy war effort.

If history is to be our guide, Linebacker II did lead directly to the Paris Peace Accords. Think Tehran and Damascus would follow suit?

The reason so many of us are disheartened by the Dems' win, and their immediate calls for surrender, is that we have seen this before.

When we imagine the libs will see the light, you have to remember that we are talking about people who purposely believe fallacies. They are not pro-abortion, they are pro-choice; there were no terrorists in Iraq until Bush created them there; Al Qaeda was no big deal until Bush promoted them to world fame; there were no WMD's; after 9/11, the best thing to do was ignore the ongoing war in Iraq and bask in the world's love. These Democrats running the American Congress people are NOT going to see the light and fight the good fight.

11/20/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

For C4, it's always the Joooos and the Mexicans. Geesh. And what exactly has Bush done to warrant being tossed from office? Any personal scandals involving the President? Nope. Any financial scandals involving the President? Nope. Violating or overstepping his Constitutional authority? Not by my reading of the Constituion. But then of course some of the liberals think so. They can try to impeach him I guess, but however exactly to they get the 67 votes in the Senate? Answer, they don't and the voters will punish them in 2008 just like they did to the Republicans in 1998 for the Clinton impeachment.

I guess Bush's real crime is a record stock market, record employment, record tax revenues, record home ownership, etc. etc. Or maybe it was the defeat of two of the most brutal regimes in the Middle East in campaigns that will go down in the annals of military history. Yes, we went into Iraq with hope and promise and found out that the jihadists weren't going to go quietly into the night. But, the President has said from day one that this would be long and difficult. Problem is no one listened. Everyone wants the quick and easy solutions. Sorry, there are none. Go Long is the only solution. Making the Iraqis stand up for their own country and security is the only solution. Not wringing our hands in despair the moment things get messy or a little difficult is the only solution. Time to remember what one of the great American generals had to say about war --

"This war differs from other wars, in this particular. We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war."

"War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it, the crueler it is the sooner it will be over."

"If the people raise a great howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking."

"Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster."

"War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say give them all they want."

-- William T. Sherman

11/20/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

Wretchard wrote:

"The "superpower's" check just bounced, even though there are funds in the bank, because the capital of will has dried up. However powerful America as a nation is, if the will of its political leadership is gone, like the Third Republic, then nothing matters.

I wrote after the election that we would see a rout; that things would get far worse before they got better. The pain has not even begun, nor will it begin to cease until both parties decide something is worth defending."

Succinctly and correctly said.

I keep wondering why the administration is so flat-footed. Iran moves like a blur to consolidate its gains and then, like today, moves again to take the initiative. We are still putting the finishing touches on a "study" of the events ten Iranian moves ago.

Do you think this is why the founders gave the jobs of foreign policy and war-making to the executive rather than the legislature? Heh.

Wu Wei's comment, "Bush needs to convince the country to fight whatever war he chooses, like Go Long", might hint at a reason why administration appears particularly paralyzed at this time.

After the election, Bush might think that he must appear to be receiving and carefully considering input on a "new" Iraq policy from all sources (including the Iraq Study Group - whose report is still incomplete) before he can make a "consensus" decision and then go and sell it to the public.

More likely though, is that the administration appears particularly paralyzed because it is paralyzed.

11/20/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

It all boils down to this:

We have got to kick ass in Iraq and Afghanistan starting with the Sunni insurgents, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Pashtuns, the war lords and anyone else that gets in the way or we will have our asses kicked all over the world for a very long time.

No redeployment, no go long, just go strong or go down.

11/20/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Buffy said...

Time to get rid of the whiny little boys in Tehran and Damascus. If their friends in Moscow and Beijing can't stand that, they can look the other way and pout.

Europe was too weak to take out Hitler when he was vulnerable. Europe's too weak to take out the jihad while it's still vulnerable.

If any rough men and women care about the future of freedom in the world, it's time to make theselves heard and felt.

11/20/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Wretchard, you came up with two somewhat contradictory ideas: (emphasis added)

> but the war in Iraq also involved protecting US national interests, though President Bush put it so poorly that often the point was forgotten.
...
The "superpower's" check just bounced, even though there are funds in the bank, because the capital of will has dried up

Is it because the American people think the Iraq war has nothing to do with the Global War on Terror, or because they lost their will? (And if they lost their will, why aren't they demanding that every US troop be pulled out of Afghanistan?)

I'll also add in some statements from others before I make my point.

> In Iraq, America is turning out to be the Happy Gilmore of empires. In a power drive we always get on to the green, but our short game sucks.

An alternative view point is that we did a great job with the initial conquest of Iraq, but we messed it up by overstaying our welcome. IOW messed it up by not starting the transition to special forces / long term war immediately.

> Killing 200 people on an train in a remote section of India won't get us out of the doldrums.

The thing is that some well intentioned people (not left wing) wonder if bombings in India and civil wars in Iraq have nothing to do with 9/11 or our national security. If the case is so easy and obvious, then why doesn't Bush just make it?

> The military capabilities are there, but the political will to maim and kill the enemy and smash and break the enemy's stuff like they do in **WAR** is not there.

But who is the enemy? That this the problem. Is everyone in Iraq the enemy because they are Muslims? Is every Iraqi who shoots at another our enemy and a threat to the United States? Is Al-Maliki a good guy even though he looks the other way when his Shiite militia sponsors do something wrong, but arrests every Sunni in the same situation? Is our role to shoot everyone in Iraq who won't bow down to Al-Maliki since he won the election?

If someone in Al-Sadr's group needs to be eliminated / arrested and al-Maliki won't do it, do we always say "OK, we'll do it".

What is the end point of the war, for everyone in Iraq to say "uncle"? In order to say that we "won" we need to get Iraq peaceful for a few weeks until we withdraw, because then we say that all the future problems are theirs? Why was all the Iraqi in-fighting before withdrawal our fault?

So I hope I haven't lost my will, but I have serious questions about the way to fight this war. It seems sometimes there is a concept that we must fight every war like world war II, that we must fight with conventional armies, then completely conquer and occupy for 30 years like Germany and Japan.

In WWII we had luxury of doing that because the war was over. But we could potentially have to take out the governments of half a dozen countries quickly in the GWOT, so setting a goal that we pacify every bickering tribe within each country and occupy them for decades might not be practical.

One of the biggest problems with treating Iraq like Japan in WWII is that Iraq didn't attack Pearl Harbor, or the twin towers like Afghanistan did. Iraq's attacks on our planes in the no fly zone provide some casus belli, but with Saddam and his government captured and the Iraqi military destroyed, it's hard to see justification for strong action against the entire population, people who did nothing to us.

Anyway, I doubt if I am the only person with these questions. If Bush and Team explain what our mission is in Iraq and what victory means, I think they could really turn things around quickly.

11/20/2006 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretchard wrote:

"It is potentially worse than Vietnam. The difference is that in Vietnam, the enemy was simply fighting for local control."

Don't you remember the domino theory? Holding back the tide of communism and all that beautiful stuff we were fed about the importance of fighting back the nasty ole commies and dire consequences if we should fold?

Now you are trying to feed the same old stuff in a different guise. There is a nasty fight going on in Iraq and we are participating in just a part of it. The world will not end if we depart Iraq, the blood fueds will continue for sure but binny will not come riding in to seize the reign of power as Bush warned just a few short months ago. No, Iran will have its hands full dealing with the mess without us supporting their allies.

11/20/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

No domino theory, but a hornet's nest instead. We kill the terrorist hornets wherever we find them, so they can't fly to the US and attack us.

That's why we need bases in Iraq, to keep an eye on terrorist Iran and Syria.

11/20/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger ricpic said...

What now?

We wait.

We wait for a nuke.

It's as simple and terrible as that.

11/20/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

No dominoes fell after we purposely lost in Vietnam, that's the new refurbishment of history the liberals have added to their psychosis.

After you stomach the liberal idea that millions of people killed and driven into the sea is of no consequence to America and the West, you have to pretend none of the rest followed.

By the end of America's last stagger into isolationism after surrendering and purposely losing the war in Vietnam, under Jimmy Carter we were losing one country per continent per year against our global enemey of the time. By 1979, our enemies in the Cold War had sent conquering Cuban armies into Angola, the Red Army itself into strategic Afghanistan, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

We know what American weakness leads to, and it's not just a million or so unfortunate boat people here and there.

It's almost enough to make a reasonable person consider the existence of Good and Bad, but that's offensive to even ask these days.

11/20/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Tony, thank you for that post on VietNam, the one you 'bolded'. It makes Wretchard's (ands a few others) point about how quickly the world changed on Nov 07.

I notice that a lot of Nov 07 anti-administration folks are now getting a little hawkish on OIF. Well, it'll be nice if it will become "better late than never", but that is not likely. What IS likely is that it's simply too late. The time to understand the stakes was before Nov 07.

As far as the lament that "Bush should have told us", all you have to do is read the texts of a few hundred POTUS speeches over the last year or three. He has hammered every last point, unto the limits of language.

11/20/2006 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

oh tony, you commiserate all that was lost, the dominos that fell, all that died because, because...

and today we see dubya cavorting about that very country we lost, Vietnam, in a silk dress whilst in the background his minions ruminate on the domestic failure of the free trade deal with that oh so evil, domino knocking, enemy. Spare me, please, the crocadile tears, for all that you wish to pin upon that 'loss'. Many died, true, but the dominos did not fall, in fact, the evil Soviet Empire, did fall even though we 'lost'. Spin that...

11/20/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Hell, *I* was listening--and had no trouble at all understanding what the guy was saying, over and over and over, about the stakes in play. And I'm no einstein, by any means. Just tried to stay un-hissie-fitted over other issues that, however critically important, held no candle to the war issue. Oh, well, everybody had their fit, and now they can blame Bush for being a poor leader. It's probably true (hell it MUST be true, he lost the elections, after all) but so freaking what, he's not God, never claimed to be, no president is, and no president can possibly prevent determined fools from being fools. Oh, well. Happy Trails.

11/20/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ash, in the late 70s and early 80s, in many places, the USSR was on the march--to the Persian Gulf, to the Panama Canal, to sole owner of the theater nuke-missile weapons in Europe. It was pretty touch & go. Great leaders had to arise--against fierce domestic opposition, and even attempted murder in the Pope's case, to lead us through the valley of death.

Are you saying that Frank Church forsaw all that?

11/20/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Tony - Historians have directly attributed the fall of Saigon in 1975 to the cessation of American aid.

Only the proximate cause. The real reason was that N Vietnam had half the people and 1/5th the wealth of the South, but they "wanted it" more than the S Vietnamese people and their Elites who had most of the wealth but priveleged their sons from having to fight, did.

The course of the war was "tipped" at the end by the sudden withdrawal of aid, but the outcome was determined by 15 years of the S Vietnamese failing to step up with equal motivation and committment the Commies had - and failure do the reforms to break the small Elite's grip on wealth and get the S Vietnamese peasantry solidly on "freedom's" side.
*****************************
Tarnsman - For C4, it's always the Joooos and the Mexicans. Geesh.

For Tarnsman, loyalty to Israel above America makes him think any criticism of Israel or it's proponents is out of bounds. Geesh!
*******************
Wretchard - The American public thinks it is about the "noble purple-fingered freedom loving" Iraqis and their drive to get a secular, Western Democracy because THAT is the reason Bush gave to us and the world why the US was staying on and "fixing things:" with the war over and Mission Accomplished, except for a few "dead-enders".
Even the worst of the Democrat leaders understand we do have vital interests in the Region - and now they are exposed to the political repercussions if they blow it as bad as Bush did.
I just am pretty convinced that the public is fed up with the "noble purple fingers" and the Democrats would be wise to cast it from here on as America being there in a way that best serves the American, not the Iraqi purple fingered, people.
If full Civil war breaks out - they say, fine. It was going to happen anyways. We did our best to stop it and spend most of our 650 billion (so far) on stabilizing the place. We saw that opportunity cost making other needs in America ignored, and sucked up 23,000 casualties trying to prevent on purple fingered person from killing another one.
Enough.
If hundreds of thousands, even millions die in Sunni-Shiite Civil War, well, we tried and delayed the inevitable by a few years. Bush makes a good scapegoat. He's at fault, but now America is moving past him and the neocons....too bad about the butchery of Iraqi-on-Iraqi. Anyone objects is welcome to take America's place. No? OK, shut up and let us, KSA, and Iran do what is needed to reach a finalized, stabilized outcome...
********************
Buffy - Time to get rid of the whiny little boys in Tehran and Damascus.....

Europe was too weak to take out Hitler when he was vulnerable.


Well, "buffy", when do you think America should end the tax cuts for the wealthy, gear up a Draft, add the ships and planes and troops to get back to early Clinton-era levels military strength - prepare America for years of austerity and 100,000 casualties and begin to take out those "whiny little boys"???

BTW - who is "Hitler"? Who is your target?

If any rough men and women care about the future of freedom in the world, it's time to make theselves heard and felt.

I presume you are ready to fight instead of shopping and enjoying your tax cuts - as Bush said you must to best fight the "evildoers", buffy? As a "rough man" willing to fight for global freedom, have you joined up yet? Ready to fight to "liberate the noble Iranian people"?

As for "rough women", most of them are committed to feminist groups or are in lesbian clubs - or both.

11/20/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Hey, C4, I finally joined you in the utterly-pissed-off corps. Gee, it sucks. I don't see how you have stood it for so long.

11/20/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

hardly Buddy, but lets fast forward to today and Wretchard's contention that Vietnam was local while Iraq, is, is, something different, global. We are confronted with the boy who called wolf here...

Sure, even a paranoid may be right about a conspiracy against him but take a look at the conflict in Iraq and the historical legacy of foreign powers success in the middle east. Tribe is fighting tribe, sectarian group is fighting the other, individual neighborhoods feel the need to form their own militia to protect their own, the major political parties have their own militias, and we, the US are sitting in the middle, sometimes taking sides, slowly but surely making enemies with each raid, each kill. It is a mess, and sure it has regional implications but to assert that failure is 'the end' the dominos will fall is hysterical overstatement. As Trish would say, 'let Iran nurse this tar-baby!'

11/20/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/20/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Pelosi could not have said it better, Ash. Your assumption--your whole party's assumption--is that we are over there on a humanitarian mission that we now see the natives never deserved.

If I were you, I'd be as pissed off as C4, as a humanitarian mission this costly in blood and treasure would be a total, complete, unforgiveable, outrage.

11/20/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Anyway, stick around, you're going to soon see what your oppo has been trying to say.

You won the referendum, and the fat lady is onstage working into her finale. She may bring down the house this time.

11/20/2006 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

so Buddy, what is the mission? Secure the oil? Please help us plebes understand the thinking of the obermench 'pubs...those non-neo-con non-paleo-con hearts of the republican party to which you have pledged your undying love...

11/20/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I'm an independent, Ash. I don't even like Pubs. I just like Dems even less.

The mission? You tell me--it's your turn now.

If I may make a wee prediction: when the new line-up, the Caspian Axis and the Jihadi supremos, starts dictating the energy markets, you won't be sneering at oil, anymore.

At the very least, you'll be wondering how you happened to miss the fact that nations will fight world wars over it, for some damn-fool reason.

11/20/2006 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

It's the terrible, un-face-able question of whether there is such a decision as Good v. Bad.

If one of the competing Ideas tends to spread by itself all around the world, and Capitalism makes people freer and richer, and Islamofascism makes people slaves and suicidal and needs to be spread by the Sword, one would think that reasonable people could agree.

But Nooooo. No way, Capitalism CAUSES Islamofascism, and every other pernicious evil infecting this planet.

While in this country, Liberals abhor Religion and want the Ten Commandments torn off every obscure wall of every hundred year old courthouse in America, they love Religion amongst foreigners. They are so sensitive, doncha see?

And as Scarlett O'Hara explained to us all: Tomorrow is another day.

Unfortunately, that's the scariest thing about the AA motto, today is the ONLY day, you never pay attention to Tomorrow.

Just like Eve in the Garden of Eden, things go awry when you only live in today. As hot, holy and all together as you feel Today, Tomorrow ALWAYS comes.

I'm sorry if I offend anyone by mentioning that Today v. Tomorrow thing.

11/20/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Buddy, you are chickening out.

I, like you, prefer to think of myself as an independant so let's forgo expecting the other to defend the strawmen of either party.


Oil, my opinion, we need it, we're addicted, and we should work to beat that addiction. The fact that we are addicted does not support our right to seize it. I'm keen on property rights and the right of those who have it to dispose of it according to their wishes. We've got lots to offer those who 'have' it to get them to sell it to us, if they don't want to, that's their business.

Iraq, the place is a mess and I wish we could transform them into a nice peaceful functioning democracy but alas that is not in our power, militarily. We should realize this and act accordingly. We should tell them we are withdrawing, we will support them if they can manage a cease fire, but we will not police their state for them. Tough love!

11/20/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Come on, Ash, Iraq wasn't just about that country but the whole region, especially Iran, Syria (and the KSA).

Problem: vast oil reserves + $$ + radicalization + terrorism + America-hating regimes + nukes and other WMD = x.

Define x.

You can throw in increasing "final solution" hostility towards Israel, too, if you're part of Bush's neo-con cabal. The value of x wouldn't appreciably be changed, though, so no need to offend your Dem friends by including our Zionist "puppet-meisters" in the equation.

11/20/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Okay, Ash. Your economics, geopolitics, & humanitarianism lesson is coming. You ordered it, now it is in the mail, coming right to your doorstep. Holler at me when you get to the end of chapter one, I'd like to know how you're feeling.

11/20/2006 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

tranzizoroaster, I don't deny that much is interconnected in the region nor that the stakes are high. Jumping in with both our military boots, and tanks and all was a mis-step of historical proportions.

11/20/2006 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

buddy, I await with bated breath...

11/20/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

what the hell happened to the Zionist Puppetmeisters last Nov 07? Did they get the date mixed up or something?

11/20/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I think they had a kids' show to do that day and forgot to manipulate the voters' strings.

11/20/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

yep, I noticed that I spent the whole day in a steamer trunk, with my nose scrunched up against my knees.

11/20/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Why am I having Twilight Zone flashbacks now?

11/20/2006 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

zoroaster, listen closely.

11/20/2006 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Did you hear the one about Jose Padilla?

Cheney picked him out of lineup because he was Hispanic from Chicago who turned Muslim.

Or, as this week's headlines show, some boss Al Q dude Abu Zubadaya whatevah dropped a dime on his ass.

Still don't make Cheney no less guilty. Just cause he's guilty don't make him no less whateveah?

Are we funny yet? Viet-raq hah ha ha?

11/20/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

i'm laffing tony, i'm laffing as hard as i can....

11/20/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Listen closely--

Gah, THAT's not it, Buddy. I was only eleven or twelve back then and missed out on everything but blacklight posters. You don't remember those creepy talking dummies and people as toys stuck in a big drum episodes?

If not, where were you in '69?

11/20/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oh, yezz--Twilight Zone & Outer Limits both--great tv. Do remember the big puppets, too--yikes--power of images--

11/20/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The State Department said yesterday the United States did not feel "snubbed" in being excluded from the Tehran gathering, and that it was up to Iraq to determine its relations with its neighbors.
"If [the Iraqis] believe this is a positive opportunity for them, then they are more than welcome to go ahead," said spokesman Tom Casey. "They don't need our invitation or approval to do so."
U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, briefing reporters in Iraq, said that between 70 and 100 foreign fighters are still crossing each month along the lengthy Syrian border.
Arab-language press accounts in recent days reported details of a far more extensive accord that could be on the table in Tehran.

Citing Iraqi government sources, the Baghdad newspaper Azzaman over the weekend reported that Mr. al-Moualem's visit was meant in part to discuss a "partnership" among Iraq, Iran and Syria and a series of coordinated steps to stabilize the security situation inside Iraq.
Under the accord, Iraq would repeal the law barring members of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party -- who had close ties with their Syrian counterparts -- from government posts and would move to expel fighters from the anti-Iranian Mojahedin Khalq still based inside Iraq.
Both Syria and Iran would move to tighten their own borders against foreign fighters infiltrating into Iraq, and Iran would "deal with" al Qaeda figures inside its borders with suspected ties to terrorists in Iraq.

11/20/2006 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

When Bush finishes thumbing through the Baker study, he has two more to go through that don't have the cut and run imprint. The Pace report and the NSC analysis.

11/21/2006 01:56:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

From Powerline:

On the regional war

Over the past several years Michael Ledeen has strenuously argued that the question "How can we win in Iraq?" is the wrong question. According to Ledeen, once you start formulating an answer you're trapped in Wittgenstein's fly-bottle. Ledeed formulates the real question as "How do we win the war in the Middle East?" This is the case he made most recently in his NRO column last week anticipating the work of the Baker-Hamilton Commission:

Instead of trapping themselves in an imaginary quagmire, the commissioners can help us face the real war. What’s going on in Iraq is not “the war,” which is raging over the entire world. The real question — the life and death question — is: How can we win the war in the Middle East, which now extends from Afghanistan to Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, and Somalia?

That question forces us to devise a strategy to deal with multiple enemies instead of limiting our strategic thinking to the Iraqi insurgency alone. It forces us to confront the terror masters in Tehran and Syria as well as the killers in Iraq. If we ask how to win in Iraq alone, we are led into a fool’s errand of trying to convince our sworn enemies–Iran has been at war with us for twenty-seven years—to act like friends. But if we ask how to win the war, we can see that we have many good cards to play, and many real allies, from the Iranian and Syrian people to the millions of Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Syria, to several other oppressed groups throughout the region, and even to leaders who today denounce us.

Ledeen argues that the Iraqis and others on whom we rely for victory will perform as we want them to only if they are convinced we can and will win: "Talk to any soldier or marine who has worked with the Iraqis and you will hear that, over and over. And winning means, as every Iraqi knows, defeating Syria and Iran." Ledeen continues to argue this case, whose gravamen is Iran, in today's New York Sun. Today's column elaborates his argument in the context of counterinsurgency doctrine: "Unlike previous counterinsurgencies."
Posted by Scott at 06:29 AM |


Links to Ledeens articles in original post at
http://powerlineblog.com/archives/015974.php

11/21/2006 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

Oil, my opinion, we need it, we're addicted, and we should work to beat that addiction. The fact that we are addicted does not support our right to seize it.

And of course, that's not what we've done. Nor is it the reason we went to Iraq. If that was our intention, you wouldn't think we'd have given the contracts out for the Iraqi oil to non US countries. . .but that's precisely what we did. IIRC the majority of the contracts were handed out to European oil companies. Yes, it's still the West, but it's a far cry from the USA 'siezeing' the oil.

11/21/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Bush kept reminding us of the dire need to stay on the offensive against Islamic terrorism ... but the problem is that our involvement in Iraq looks nothing like "offense" and everything like "a miserable exercise in policing people who detest us."

Or, to put it another way, the American electorate reasons, "If we're not going to win this thing, why the &$^% are we even there?"

JR

11/21/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Al Qaeda released an audio attempting to take advantage of the Democratic election victory. This article points out the real problem in the US, that the president and Congress are "silent", letting Al Qaeda be the only one which speaks.

Link

Al Qaeda welcomes Democratic victory

The latest audio by al Qaeda's Iraq commander -- posted 48 hours after the midterm elections -- sends a clear signal to the readers of the jihadi strategic mind: Al Qaeda and its advisers around the world want to provoke an "American Madrid." Portraying the United States as a bleeding bull in disarray, the war room projects its wish to see America's will crippled. The video attempts to do the following:
1. Convince the jihadists that the United States is now defeated in Iraq and beyond. While no reversal of the balance of power has taken place on the ground, the jihadi propaganda machine is linking the shift in domestic politics to a withdrawal from Iraq. It projects the change in Washington as a crumbling of the political process in Baghdad and America's foreign policy. Interestingly, others in the region are also "announcing" the upcoming defeat of America in the war on terror. Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah declared: "The Americans are leaving, and their allies will pay the price."
2. Spread political chaos at home. Jihadists portray the Democratic takeover of Congress and the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (and maybe others) as signs of American weakening in the resolve to fight jihadism. The video had a potential to frustrate U.S. citizens if it is not accurately interpreted by experts. Americans may end up believing that the message reflects the situation in the Middle East and that it is a logical outcome of a faulty U.S. policy. If the Bush administration and the new congressional leaders do not respond adequately to the video, some "chaos" of this sort may ensue.

In short, al Qaeda wants an American Madrid: it wishes that a change of power in January would be accompanied by a change of national determination, not just a change of course within Iraq.
In the Salafis chat rooms, the commissaries explained to their audiences, that the Democratic Party victory in Congress means that America is now divided and al Qaeda can push to create more cracks in the system -- as it has successfully done in Spain. The masters of the forum, emulating al Masri's audiotape, said not only that "we got their soldiers on the run in Iraq," but "we got their citizens on the run on their own soil" referring to the November electoral outcome. They promised that with more killings in Iraq, they will break the will of Americans at home; and that the new Congress, seeking to fulfill one of its electoral promises will force the Bush administration to pack up and leave the Middle East.
In Washington, both the administration and the new congressional leaders failed to seriously respond to the al Qaeda message. Grave mistake; for ignoring the speech would help convincing the jihadists that America is divided and crumbling and would embolden them to strike further, not only in Iraq but also inside the United States. The silent treatment works in favor of the Salafi combatants: It only leads them to believe that they are right and that their strategy is working; just as Allah had crushed the Soviets in Afghanistan, he has divided the Americans. It is, therefore, imperative that Washington strikes back in a unified manner at every opportunity that arises.

11/22/2006 03:40:00 AM  

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