Thursday, January 25, 2007

Play It As It Lays

It's an article of faith among many that "Iraq is lost"; that since the chance of establishing a moderate, stable country has effectively been lost, none of the Administration's efforts should be supported. Robert Novak says that the Democrats have effectively bet the farm -- and much else -- on that premise.


The self-confident Democratic leadership is uninterested in being cut into potentially disastrous outcomes in Iraq. It wants to function as a coordinate branch of government, not as friendly colleagues in the spirit of bipartisanship. Pelosi and several Democratic committee chairmen are leaving for Iraq on Friday. ... The Democratic leadership is beyond consultation on Iraq, as demonstrated by the selection of Sen. Jim Webb to deliver the party's response to the president Tuesday night. Webb, whose unexpected election in Virginia last year gave Democrats a Senate majority, is a hard-edged critic of the war not interested in bipartisanship. Discarding staff-written talking points, professional writer Webb declared: "The president took us into this war recklessly."

But whatever one may think of Iraq today, it is undeniable that the events of the last four years have fundamentally altered the landscape in Iraq. New groups have been empowered in addition to the new enmities created. There is no way back to the antebellum state. This snippet from the Canadian Press for example, contains references to current issues between political groups, none of which existed during the Saddam era.

The mayor of Baghdad's Sadr City says he has reached an agreement with political and religious groups to keep weapons off the streets of the heavily populated Shiite militia stronghold and has presented the deal to U.S. and Iraqi government officials in an apparent attempt to avoid a military crackdown on the area. ... Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has promised the operation will focus on militia violence as well as Sunni insurgents amid criticism that his reluctance to confront his political backer al-Sadr contributed to the failure of previous attempts. Asked if the Mahdi Army militia was among the groups that promised not to carry arms, al-Darraji said, "all the groups with no exception."

Those immense and irrevocable changes must compel even critics of President Bush to consider what an adjustment in strategy should constitute. And the problem is that any reasonable vision of a stable Iraq will contain many of the elements the current Administration has been trying to build: a working mechanism for reconciling the concerns of the ascendant Shi'ites, the battered Sunnis and the Kurds; some way of apportioning oil revenues; a working security apparatus responsible to all three major ethno-cultural groups in Iraq. In a summary, practically any conceivable solution requires a working Iraqi Government and Army. It requires disarming militias and neutralizing terrorist groups. How much of what has been built should be thrown away? How much of what the current administration is trying to achieve can be "safely" undermined?

Many of the administration's critics naturally long for a Way Back Machine. Some method of waking up in 2002 and persuading a nation then considering the invasion of Iraq to change its mind. But unfortunately that is impossible. Saddam is dead. His party and his supporters are scattered and their traditional enemies have been empowered. Nearly every air traveler is familiar with the concept of the Point of No Return, that calculated position in an airplane's path where it requires more fuel to turn back than to continue onward. Even those who have decided to give up on the President as a bad job and who think bipartisanship is dead must ask themselves which parts of the airplane, whose design they obviously hate, can be safely sawed off and jettisoned in flight. Because they will perforce have to rely on much of this airplane -- the past administration's infrastructure, the institutions it has built, the programs it has started -- when it assumes the control it aspires to.

And parenthetically I received an email from someone whose opinion I deeply respect which asserts that despite all that we hear, many of the people on the ground in Iraq (where he writes from) don't believe that "we are losing". That the despair is not only overblown; it is misplaced. And despite the tendency to regard such opinions as the naive enthusiasm of junior observers, there is always the possibility these men on the spot might be right. All the more reason to be careful about what America intends to jettison and what promises it plans to break.

26 Comments:

Blogger Meme chose said...

The reason why the Democrats donm't feel they have 'bet the farm', and a substantial part of the reason they feel comfortable adopting their present stance, is that if things should start to go undeniably well they will instantly rewrite history and declare that they were just calling all along for a series of sensible modifications to policy, and that these being achieved by them were in fact critical to 'turning the corner'.

Don't laugh, just watch should this come to pass, as the media and the nation's teachers, academics and assorted 'chattering classes' all wheel as one to parrot (and indeed will themselves to believe) this line, and immediately commence vilifying anyone who dares to deny it.

The end of the Cold War showed us exactly how the left deals with an unexpected collapse of all its positions - this is how they go about it.

1/25/2007 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

a substantial part of the reason they feel comfortable adopting their present stance, is that if things should start to go undeniably well they will instantly rewrite history and declare that they were just calling all along for a series of sensible modifications to policy, and that these being achieved by them were in fact critical to 'turning the corner'.
/////////////////////

this is correct.
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The end of the Cold War showed us exactly how the left deals with an unexpected collapse of all its positions - this is how they go about it.
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this is correct

1/25/2007 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Those immense and irrevocable changes must compel even critics of President Bush to consider what an adjustment in strategy should constitute

The Democrats can't do that, for the reasons you say, so they just pretend that negotiations can solve everything, and that pulling US troops back will make negotiations work.

The Democrats don't plan on sticking their necks out and "betting the farm". Instead, they will work to lose the war politically, then only cut off funding once the polls deteriorate and many Republicans join them. The Democrats will be safe if half of the Republicans in Congress vote against the war. So every day they talk about the killing, our poor soldiers, the body bags coming home, nothing works in Iraq, the President is bad, blah, blah, blah. Liberal organizations are spending millions on anti-war rallies and ad campaigns.

The next step for the Democrats is to get as many Republicans as possible to vote on one of the Iraq resolutions week after next. Republicans are trying to come up with their own wording, but that won't matter because no matter what they vote for, the headline will look like this week's committee vote headline:

Senators Rebuff Bush on Troop Plan

Then there will be endless speeches that 60% of the Senators, including 10% of the Republicans, don't support the President's Iraq plan and the "surge". That will help drive the president's poll ratings down further, and will help Democrats take the next step. It's the death of a thousands cuts, they need to keep driving Bush's approval down, and support for the war down.

Of course, even without that politics, whatever they vote for will be terrible for the troops and the war. One Senator got it correctly by saying:

Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, warned that the resolution could demoralize the troops and embolden insurgents in Iraq.
"Usually, nonbinding resolutions are designed to show unity on an issue or to highlight an issue that few members know about," he told his colleagues. "In this case, we are laying open our disunity without the prospect that the vehicle will achieve meaningful changes in our policy. This vote will force nothing on the president, but it will confirm to our friends and allies that we are divided and in disarray."


A meaningless symbolic vote which does nothing other than help our enemies, both in the US and outside it. The classic Republicans "self defense", a circular firing squad.

Then eventually there will be some bipartisan deal, probably to pull most of the troops out of Iraq, but leave some there to fight Al Qaeda. Since it will be bipartisan, the Democrats won't have any risks. In fact, voters will blame Republicans no matter what they do.

(I don't want that stuff to happen, but am just answering the question about what the Democrats are trying to do.)

1/25/2007 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

What could it possibly mean that Iraq is Lost? There will be an Iraq there, even if the Persians or Russians or Turks should conquer it. "Iraq" was festering boarderland for virtually its entire history; we intended and still intend to provide at least a paranthetical reprieve from that tradition. Democrats' political-cultural myopia and shallow adolescent ignorance prevents them from appreciating the pathetical aesthetic cul-de-sac in which they happily gratify themselves on illusory moral victories and sate themselves on Blackberries and arms-length resentment and aping immemorial Afro-Asiatic squalor reinvented as fashionable bullshit. Above all, they are in the service of an incohate philosophy of history upon which they cannot possibly reflect; in fact, in some ways, it is a simulacrum of Christianity, a testament to a bizarre degenerated longing after forms which they have abandoned clearly for reasons they about which they have no idea. And yet - Iraq will go on, and if it should be lost - that is, if we abandon the field to the Persians, House of Saud, general Arab idiocy and the designs of Russia, who is behind much of this - these unlovely Democrat minds will inherit an America reduced beyond their comprehension. It is fortunate for Russia they are such brutal and vicious assholes who are ultimately incompetent at the modern world; when the Soviet Union collapsed people actually just ignored them thereafter, except for discursive crumbs of pity and encouragement, as if no one noticed that the Soviets had been - Russians! The same will not be the case with America. We are the culture that are. There are no contenders. And yet we will have to carry on, providing, financing, broadcasting, innovating, writing, reading, launching, exploring, because the rest of the world's dignity, it has apparently convinced itself, depends upon incidents of American character and historical evolution that cannot simply be replaced, and are prefered, largely, to respective domestic capabilities, however much these are putatively prefered. NO: instead, the defeat that only the Democrats or other domestics could force on us - a country who for 50 years funded a military capable of fighting a two-front global world war, a country at the species-historical apex of economic prosperity - will force the USA back onto its heels, will make the Democrats the head eunuchs at the suddenly powerful 'international community' that in Reality counts for Shit, and will above all invite - as it wuld invite from me if our places were exchanged - an Islamic offensive well beyond what we have seen. It will have been observed by now, I think, that the Arab world is not a brave culture, however much it once was purported to have been; a fanatical, venal, solipsitic, ignorant, violent, hysterical, adolescent culture perhaps, but not a courageous one. The last person to be enable it to lift it beyond its primordial tribalism was fucking Mohammad, and that of course is only a fiction adorned for the purposes of tribal aggrandizement with the trophy-concepts of its conquered vastly superior but degenerated neighbors. The question is not probably one of conquest, because if you actually took these goddamn Pelosis flat-screen tvs away they'd blind and drawn you with your own blood, but one of warping the global system that after all had just (a decade) achieved the apotheosis of its purpose: to render the dominant political personality in a world of collapsed empires the democratic-republican, rather than the fantasit-totalitarian. Of course, there always was a fearful pathetic bad-student population amng the victor nation who'd rather quaver at its enemies' declarations and ape them like quivering little daughters, yapping at indulgant fathers. But now they could actually deliver a defeat, and utterly typical fucking Jim Webbs and Pelosis not even fit to rule a country club social scene will facilitate it.

I say we launch "the revolution" if that should happen, and send in 101st Airborne to do what these stupid fucking hippies have so pointlessly and self-inducedly supposedly been afraid. Goddamn right it's about time this nonsense came to an end. Enough talking. More killing. (In Iraq - and no motherfucking "deals" either, no more niec guy: just kill them, thank you.)

1/25/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger sefton said...

Dan-
Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

1/25/2007 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

The Democrats are only voicing and acting upon the opinion of many, if not outright majority, in this country. Unfortunately, for better or worse, the United States is no longer the nation that would rather send in the Marines than pay a cent in tribute. We are no longer the nation that would send men to storm the beaches and entrenched positions of the enemy, taking causalities that numbered in the hundreds every hour, and sometimes every minute, and send even more men until the position was taken. We are no longer the nation that that believes that ideals and freedom are worth the price in blood. We are no longer the nation that believes that doing right is far more important than doing what is safe. We are no longer the nation that believes that a just cause is worth dying for. We are no longer a nation willing to sacrifice. We have become a nation of the self-absorbed and self-important. A nation that spends more cosmetics that it does its military and believes that it can’t afford the troops and material needed to win this fight. A nation that once fielded armies numbering in the millions but now believes fielding one of less than two hundred thousand is beyond its abilities. A nation that has lost its way, and its will.

“The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

1/25/2007 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> A nation that has lost its way, and its will.

Because we don't want our soldiers to die fighting for a bunch of Iraqis who won't fight for themselves? Because we don't want to fight a civil war for the Iraqis? Because we don't want to fight a war that has nothing to do with the future of the United States? We don't want to fight a war where there is no enemy and no definition of victory?

No, the people are strong and the President is weak. Every other wartime president, including Teddy Roosevelt, rallied the country behind the war. President Bush thinks it undercuts his authority as commander-in-chief to talk to anyone. He gives the orders and the people and Congress say "Yes, sir".

I don't agree with the questions, but a lot of people have them because the President refuses to lead the country.

1/25/2007 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wu Wei,

Chinese? Your comments sound very Chinese. All this blather about leaders. Americans despise authority and do the right thing because...well...it's the right thing. Our Anglo-Celtic culture I suppose.

America is incapable of being led and as Dan and Tarnsman describe, the current Americans ain't their fathers nor their grandfathers. FDR didn't lead my father to enlist in the US Marines after Pearl Harbor, my father did the right thing because, to him, it was the right thing to do.

Nope. Bush ain't the problem. It is the American people. America has the leaders it deserves. Fat, lazy, self-centered, irresponsible and now cowardly. Goodnight America.

1/25/2007 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Chinese?

No, native US citizen with German ancestors.

My dad fought in world war II, US Navy. Before Pearl Harbor people were so anti-war that some of the new recruits had to train with broom sticks because there weren't rifles available.

So people were no better back then. Not one bit.

The difference is that Japan attacked us in Pearl Harbor, but Iraq hasn't done anything to us.

9/11 came from Afghanistan, which we already beat.

If Bush wants to fight real terrorists in Iraq, then everyone is behind him. If he wants to lose the war on terror by wasting time fighting an Iraqi civil war instead, then the people will stop him.

1/25/2007 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

wretchard says:

And the problem is that any reasonable vision of a stable Iraq will contain many of the elements the current Administration has been trying to build: a working mechanism for reconciling the concerns of the ascendant Shi'ites, the battered Sunnis and the Kurds; some way of apportioning oil revenues; a working security apparatus responsible to all three major ethno-cultural groups in Iraq. In a summary, practically any conceivable solution requires a working Iraqi Government and Army. It requires disarming militias and neutralizing terrorist groups.

The delicious irony here is that Wretchard starts to desribe, as a precondition for success, an extraordinarily liberal, perhaps even socialist (sharing oil revenues), multiethnic Iraqi state, that will have to be better and more intricately balanced among competing factions than even pre-War Lebanon. This seems so preposterous that he drops it to conclude that this means a strong military will be needed! Please. This shows a complete ignorance of what is takes to succesfully deploy a military against multiple internal enemies: strong linkages to a centralized political system. Otherwise, under conditions of a civil war, the state military will fragment into sectarian loyalties. See the history of Lebanon or Yugoslavia for examples.
Such a sophmoric over-reliance on the military is yet another way of Wretchard avoiding the central paradox of this entire fiasco. The primary requirment for state stability in Iraq is liberal nation-building. That means more than mere physical infrastructure, it means laws and bureaucracies and constitutional balances to increase the power, reach and authority of the state. And furthermore, it means that these tremendously expensive tools of nation building will be used by the US to build up the capacity of avowedly Shiite Islamist parties that dominate the "unity" government of Iraq (SCIRI and Da'wa).
No, even when groveling Bush apologists attempt to grapple with the scale of the knot they've tied themselves into, they can't see past the nearest tangle. Wasn't this sold to us on being easy, a "house of cards" (Cheney) and "cakewalk" (Adelman)?

1/25/2007 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Here's what I'm talking about:

Angry Dispute Erupts Among Iraqi Lawmakers
By MARC SANTORA
BAGHDAD, Jan. 25 — Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s presentation of a new Baghdad security plan to the Iraqi Parliament on Thursday broke down in bitter sectarian recriminations, with Mr. Maliki threatening a Sunni Arab lawmaker with arrest and, in response, the Sunni speaker of Parliament threatening to quit.

Eventually, the tensions eased and lawmakers approved the security plan, which gives Mr. Maliki, a Shiite, more authority. But the episode provided the Iraqi public with a live televised view of the extent of raw anger dividing Shiite and Sunni politicians.

Outside of Parliament, bloody sectarian battles continued on the streets of Baghdad. Three hours after the confrontation between lawmakers, a huge car bomb killed at least 25 people in the Karrada district, less than a mile from Parliament in an area favored by leading Shiite politicians. Residents there reported a horrific scene, with two busloads of people trapped in their vehicles and burned alive.

Mr. Maliki made his threat to arrest the Sunni lawmaker shortly after promising once again that a crackdown on illegal activity and would be carried out with equal vigor in Shiite as well as Sunni communities.

The prime minister’s claim was challenged by Abdul Nasir al-Janabi, who represents a powerful Sunni Arab bloc. “We can not trust the office of the prime minister,” he said over jeers from the Shiite politicians before his microphone was cut off.

Mr. Maliki could barely contain his rage, waving his finger in the air and essentially accusing Mr. Nasir of being a criminal.

“I will show you,” Mr. Maliki said. “I will turn over the documents on you” showing all your crimes, “then you can talk about trust,” Mr. Maliki said.

Shiite politicians in the room erupted in applause.

But Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the speaker of Parliament and a Sunni Arab, slammed his gavel down and condemned the prime minister and those who applauded.

“That is unacceptable, Mr. Prime Minister,” Mr. Mashhadani said over the tumult. “It is unacceptable, Mr. Prime Minister, to make such accusations against a lawmaker under the dome of Parliament.” . . .

As the prime minister continued, Shiites encouraged him on and Sunni Arabs tried to shout him down.

Mr. Mashhadani yelled for everyone to “shut up.”

“I cannot see how it is possible that a new security plan can work,” he said in disgust.

1/25/2007 06:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iraq did nothing to us?

What about disruption of critical resources, violation of the terms of a cease fire agreement after drawing us into a shooting war over critical resources, attempting to assassinate a former US President and costing US taxpayers a fortune enforcing a no-fly zone? Are these transgressions not an Acts of War?

What about the mockery of international law and civilized behavior? Do these things no longer matter to modern Americans? Is there a price to be paid for taking Americans hostage or blowing them to pieces if they are not on American soil? Or is it only attacks on Americans at home that matter?

If Americans really believe that their fellows abroad don't deserve any safety then perhaps we should prohibit travel abroad. Is our new policy; that Americans abroad are fair game for anyone with a cause? Perhaps we have determined that we have no right to trade nor access to any resources, hence no need to assert our rights.

Is that the new least common denominator of modern Americans?

Iraq did attack us. And the entire civilized order. And the attacks continued. So America invoked the same rights that Jeffersonian Americans did vis-a-vis the Barbary pirates. As it should.

Isolation didn't work in 1940 and it won't work in an even more connected world. America must engage or atrophy. Where is the American spirit in modern America?

1/25/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The Iraqi parliament squabble was just make believe for the cameras. Afterwards they unanimously approved the Maliki Plan.

Parliament approves Maliki Plan

Shatha al-Mousawi, a lawmaker from the Mr. Maliki’s leading Shiite bloc, the United Iraqi Alliance, said some politicians were simply grandstanding for the cameras.

1/25/2007 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Speaking of the assassination attempt on 41, can anyone find an article that rebuts Seymour Hersh's reporting on that most curious non-event in the Kuwaiti desert?

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/content/articles/020930fr_archive02?020930fr_archive02

Lugh?

1/25/2007 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Iraq did attack us.

Even if I agreed with that, we responded by overthrowing their government, destroying their army, killing their dictator and sons, and occupying their country for four years.

None of that, or talk about "isolation", is any reason for us to be fighting an Iraqi civil war for them, while both sides sit on the sidelines attacking us and laughing at us.

Bush had support all through killing Saddam and setting up the government. But what are we doing now? We are the police force of Iraq while they sit on their bottoms?

Fortunately President Reagan realized that the Cold War was not World War II, so he didn't try to fight it that same way, like by invading every communist country on earth.

1/25/2007 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Wu Wei said...
The Iraqi parliament squabble was just make believe for the cameras. Afterwards they unanimously approved the Maliki Plan.

Of course, Wu Wei, how silly of me. That whole Sunni/Shia split is simply . . "grandstanding". So too, I'm guessing, Maliki's charge of 150 murdered by a Sunni parliamentarian's brother.

1/25/2007 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Question for Wu Wei: Why do you think Iraqi parliament members ranging from unapologetic supporters of the Sunni insurgency to Sadr's representatives voted FOR the Maliki plan? Don't overthink it kiddo, cause it ain't that hard.

1/25/2007 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Wu Wei said:
“Because we don't want our soldiers to die fighting for a bunch of Iraqis who won't fight for themselves?”

More Iraqi soldiers die fighting the bad guys than do Americans. Many Iraqis are willing to fight for their country. In fact, more of them have signed to serve in their military in relation to Iraq’s population that in our own country. Problem is Iraqis are fighting Iraqis with help from their neighbors who want the chaos to continue. And I think that they are a little concerned about the 200,000 plus American trained and equipped Iraqi Army taking shape. So they send in their agents and money to fuel the unrest.

"No, the people are strong"

Wu Wei, do you really believe that? I don't. My seventeen year son has decided to enlist once he reaches eighteen. "I want to make a difference, dad." He is the exception, not the rule. If the people were strong as you claim the military would be turning away thousands upon thousands of young men stepping up to "make a difference". Instead the overwhelming majority is like my eighteen nephew whose only thoughts involve chicks, booze, dope and pie-in-the-sky dreams. He, and many like him, thinks it is someone else’s fight. Sorry, this nation is as strong as a cream-filled donut.

"the President is weak."

Really, in what sense? Politically, perhaps and only because of people like yourself and the media who only want him to fail. But morally, spiritually and character-wise we haven't seen his strength since Truman (btw, another President who was considered weak and ineffective in his day and is now counted among the greats).

"Every other wartime president, including Teddy Roosevelt, rallied the country behind the war."

You mean like Johnson and Nixon did? Or perhaps you are referring to Truman and the Korean War. Here is a little fact you might want to consider:

Wilson (1918), FDR (1942), Truman (1950) and LBJ (1966) all lost seats both in the House and Senate when the country was at war. Also in historical terms, the midterms of 2006 were “normal”. The historical average is a loss of 3 Senate seats and 34 House seats for the President's party in the midterms. For the "six year curse" the average is 6 Senate seats and 39 House seats. The 2006 losses (6 Senate and 28 House seats) fit the historical norms. It is far from the extraordinary event many portray it as.

The big difference for Mr. Bush unlike the President you cite is the complete lack of support by the press. Unlike the other Presidents you cite Mr. Bush has not had the support of the media and press at any point in the war. Second-guessed every step of the way. Remember how we could never conquer Afghanistan? It fell in less than a month. Remember how the media wrung its hands when our advance into Iraq was briefly halted by a sand storm? The delay was only for a couple of days and the advance proceeded without a hitch. Or how about how the battle for Baghdad was going to be another Stalingrad? It fell with a whimper. Every mistake, every miscue is amplified and blown out of portion. Iraqi’s neighbors do not want to see an independent, free and prosperous Iraq arise on their doorstep. And one allied with the United States. So they fight it with the means available. Knowing that if they bleed us a little that many like yourself will wring their hands in despair and claim that all is lost. Please explain to me how we are going to be defeated in Iraq? What army is going to force us to leave with our dead and material behind on the battlefield? The answer is none. Defeat will only come about one way: the United States losing its nerves and leaving on its own. And make no mistake there is only one outcome of our withdrawal. Defeat. And who benefits from our defeat? Russia, for one. China, another. And then is the list of bad guys that stand to gain as well. That fact is just ignored by your strong American people. All because the effort requires effort, treasure, blood and patience. Success in Iraq is in the best interests of this country. A free, prosperous Iraq is in the best interests of the world. Liberty and freedom in the Arab world is just and noble cause. If the people were as strong as you think they are, then fighting and sacrificing for the interests of their nation and the world’s interests would a no-brainer.


Recon said:

“Wasn't this sold to us on being easy, a "house of cards" (Cheney) and "cakewalk" (Adelman)?”

It was a cakewalk. Iraqi fell in three weeks to history’s fastest armored assault ever. Iraq was a house of cards waiting to crash down. My seventeen year old gets it. “The war in Iraq was over in April 2003. War is when armies fight. What we’re in now is an occupation, and occupations are never easy.” Also, the President has said from day one that this was going to be long and difficult. You wanted to believe it was going to cheap and easy, like the rest of our so strong countrymen. Unlike you, I am not surprised this is going to long and difficult. I always knew it would be. Twenty, maybe thirty years. Think in another two years things will stabilize and be less of a headache, but the Iraqi project is going to be the equal of our Japan and Germany projects after WWII.

"Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.'
~William Tecumseh Sherman

1/26/2007 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Many Iraqis are willing to fight for their country.

Where are the Sunni divisions in the Iraqi Army? Why didn't Iraq deliver even half the troops it promised for the last Baghdad operation, which caused it to fail? US troops have cleared some neighborhoods three or four times, then handed them to the Iraqis who let the insurgents take them back over. If Iraqis are willing to die for their country, then why won't Sunni groups denounce suicide bombing and kick Al Qaeda out of the country? There were zero police in Anbar until a few months ago. Why do we need a US "surge" if there are enough soldiers in the Iraqi army?

> unlike the President you cite is the complete lack of support by the press. Unlike the other Presidents you cite Mr. Bush has not had the support of the media and press at any point in the war.

Bush had it easier than Reagan and the others, not harder. The media hated Reagan's guts, like they hate every conservative. There were millions of dollars spent by the Communists paying off reporters and protesters to try to turn the public against us during the Cold War.

But President Reagan played the media like a violin. Reagan succeeded, Bush failed. It's partially because Reagan had more talent, mostly because Bush doesn't try.

Bush had the support of a lot of the media after 9/11, an opportunity Reagan never had. Now Bush's approval rating is as bad as Nixon's, which is Bush's own fault. Bush lost all that support because of his own mistakes.

> If the people were strong as you claim the military would be turning away thousands upon thousands of young men

The military has been growing ever since 9/11, almost 100,000 new troops. This in spite of the fact that Rumsfeld and Bush said we didn't need a bigger army! They had a bright idea that we'd have a new army that needed less troops. The generals and even some Democrats wanted to expand the military more quickly, but the Bush Administration refused, and even demanded that we call the troops added since 9/11 a "temporary" expansion of the military. Now Bush has finally given in and allowed the military to expand.

> "the President is weak."

> Really, in what sense?

Bush is too weak to watch Iraqis kill each other, so he has American troops die fighting the Iraqis battles instead.

Bush doesn't have the will power to fight the media day by day like other presidents have done, which is exactly what he would need to do in order to win a decades-long war on terror. Instead he acts like a green lieutenant who thinks that leadership is nothing more than pulling rank and screaming orders.

Bush is too weak to help win the war by admitting mistakes. Bush is so weak that he doesn't have patience or imagination. His ego won't allow him to change tactics and details of a plan. His ego won't allow him to even discuss his ideas with friendly members of Congress, some of whom have always supported him.

> Defeat.

What is defeat in Iraq? What is victory? Didn't we already win by destroying the old government and then setting up a new one?

Who is our enemy in Iraq? The Shiites? The Sunnis? Everyone in Iraq? What is victory? Is it our job to make the Iraqis love each other? Is it our fault, a failure, if some Iraqis use the freedom we gave them to shoot each other? Is it the duty of our troops to defend and protect Maliki's government, the government of Iraq(even though the Iraqis won't fight for it)?

1/26/2007 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Why do you think Iraqi parliament members ranging from unapologetic supporters of the Sunni insurgency to Sadr's representatives voted FOR the Maliki plan?

Because they want peace. Sadr's group is already negotiating terms, as has been reported in the media.

The Bush / Maliki plan has already "drastically decreased" deaths from sectarian cleansing:

The numbers of unknown bodies that carry signs of torture have decreased significantly over the last two weeks, an official in the health ministry told al-Sabah:

The source told al-Sabah that the number of unknown bodies that are collected by the security forces and brought to the morgue has drastically decreased…the number of bodies in the refrigerators is only 35 now and was as low as 11 on one day. Through daily presence near the morgue Al-Sabah noticed a significant decrease in the number of people searching for missing relatives.


Iraqi blog

1/26/2007 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The primary requirment for state stability in Iraq is liberal nation-building.

What good would nation building do when most Sunnis refuse to participate in the government in any way, shape, or form?

No, a military solution is called for, but it isn't our battle to fight. We just need to stop interfering. The elected government of Iraq has the right to use whatever force necessary to put down the Sunni insurgency. As long as the Sunnis refuse to join the army or police force, they will be suspicious of it, and perhaps mistreated. That's the choice the Sunnis made, and we shouldn't lie awake at night worrying about it.

The Sunnis are deliberately following a "rule or ruin" strategy, and they should pay the price for that.

1/26/2007 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

For a true idea of what we are dealing with in regards to mentality...peruse the comments that the WP readers are leaving for Mr. Novak...if you dare.

1/26/2007 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I think the solution is to declare the war over in Iraq, because we won it.

We can then begin working with the government of Iraq like we do Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This would stop the pointless talk about "victory". It would stop the Democrats from saying that we need to pull every soldier out of the country, and that this is Vietnam.

1/26/2007 06:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New ROE may well effect a significant change in Baghdad, as well as more stringent Martial Law--like rules of gatherings and movement, day and night. We will try to rule the day, rule the night, rule the blocks, rule the roads, and kill anyone with a weapon. We ring the city with blockades, and perform clear and hold operations. We force the Iraqi army to come with us and "lead" the clearing and holding. We assault every mosque, and search every house and building for arms. Those found with arms will go to prison, not to be let free. Reluctant Iraqi soldiers will be cashiered and their officers will be punished.

Do it this way for a year or two and Baghdad will simmer down. Let up after a month or so, and we have solved nothing.

The Dems opposition, aided by the MSM, is only prolonging the idea in the minds of the Islamofascists that we will give up and withdraw sooner or later. With Hillary in the White House, Iraq will disintegrate into full-scale civil war, and we lose.
Some say that is a 50-50 chance in 2008.

1/26/2007 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Oliver North reports progress.

A few hours after this odious exchange, an officer with whom I had spent many months in Iraq called me. "Do these people know what they are doing?" he inquired, clearly agitated.

"Which people?" I asked.

"These politicians who think we can win a war by committee. Do they even know that in the last two weeks we have set AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) and the Mahdi Army both back on their heels?" he answered. I was silent, so he continued, "Is there anyone in Washington who understands what this means? AQI terrorists are running like rats out of Ramadi. And the Mahdi Army is being cleaned out of Baghdad. Do they know how much harder all this rhetoric makes our job?"

1/26/2007 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Iranians have "bet the farm" that if they drive the 'Great Satan' and 'Little Satan' out of the Middle East, they will achieve regional dominance.

Unless I've missed something, the GCC,Jordan,Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and most of Lebanon are less than happy about that prospect.
Lots of meetings and blathering on about grave consequences if the Americans fail. Given adequate funding, the Pakistani and Egyptian Armies could easily transform Iran into a killing field of biblical proportions. Somehow I don't see Mubarrack or Musharaf getting themselves all into a tizzie if a few hundred thousand Iranian prisoners are 'mistreated'.

Too early to tell, but the Chinese might be smart enough to undertand that if their Iranian pals try and fail, the Chinese won't see a single drop of Middle Eastern Oil ever again.(Really hard to avert social unrest when the affluent Chinese are trying to run their BMWs on cow dung)

The usual suspects need to take a real long look at what will happen if US efforts at stabilizing the region fail. The bombs won't be falling on just TelAviv.

Poking the 'Great Satan' in the eye has become a worldwide sport, but what happens when the 'Great Satan' decides 'Pax Americana' is no longer worth the price.

1/26/2007 11:33:00 AM  

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