Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Gones of August

This item was just posted at Iraq Slogger:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced a new legislative proposal that would establish a deadline for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Under the plan, the redployment would commence March 2008, with most troops withdrawn by August. Some would stay behind to continue training Iraqi forces and to protect the US diplomatic mission. If Maliki's government failed to meet established benchmarks of progress on the security situation, allocation of oil revenues, and reforming the Constitutional amendment process, the withdrawal could begin as early as July of this year.


The this proposal ostensibly "forces" the Iraqis to reform on pain of US withdrawal. But here's the problem, the more punishment is inflicted in the form of withdrawal, the less leverage is available. With every American withdrawal, the power of the US to influence any government in Iraq diminishes proportionately making every subsequent demand for reform that much more toothless.

If the intent is to force the Iraqi to reform along certain lines, would it not be more effective and direct to authorize steps to compel by many means legal and possible, the result desired? For example, the required constitutional and oil-sharing changes could be drafted then endorsed in some fashion by the UN Security Council and supported by bipartisan resolution US Congress and then more or less force it down the Iraqi government's throat. This would be possible because US troops are a physical power in Iraq. But to start to leave town if your way isn't adopted and then progressively leave town as you get more frustrated seems a dishonest way to do what perhaps you really wanted to do in the first place: leave town.


Blogger ibm said...

"But to progressively leave town if your way isn't adopted and then progressively leave town as you get more frustrated seems a dishonest way to do what perhaps you really wanted to do: leave town"

Well d'uh. Its simply another incarnation of the Dhims agenda for defeat, item 1, which is: RUUUUUUNNNNN

3/08/2007 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Given that the people who devised this plan are also the most likely to cite polls that say that the vast majority of Iraqis don't want us to be there, would not it be more logical to use the approach where we tell them that the more they "disappoint us" the longer we will stay?

And Heads' up! Just saw an unbelievable ad for a special show coming on ABC TV on Sunday night. It was described as being about "a new war that has began, a war we will be fighting for generations" and is entitled "Our Children's Children's War"

Will have to watch it, but my first response is:
Holeee Kerrrrap!

3/08/2007 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

rwe...clash of civilizations acknowledgement by ABC...Islam ain't gonna stop pushing, nukes all over the ME soon, India/Pakistan ..the list is endless nd they are out for world domonation and they love to die...makes it hard to negotiate a peace, so it'll be whowa forwa yearyas.
Hell they've been bombing us here and there for 25 years already..they got nothing to lose and paradise to gain.

3/08/2007 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger patrick neid said...

august 08...hmmmm. election in nov 08. oh i get it. the troops are out and the dems claim it was their plan and nothing else that led to success in iraq. elect us. if iraq fails they run on the "we tried" but bush et al high-jacked the government and now look at the mess we are in. elect us.

what a bunch of wankers......

3/08/2007 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


The subject of the Iraqi polls came up in the round table discussion I was in the other night. Apparently nearly every Iraqi wants America to leave eventually, but very few want America to leave just yet.

But returning to the subject of forcing Iraqis to act in a rational way: the moment to force a change is at the moment of maximum leverage, that is to say now. Consider a shareholder in a corporation. If he cannot force the board to see things his way at his point of maximum ownership, then he is progressively less likely to succeed as he reduces his equity.

If you were pushing a car out of a rut, the ideal strategy would for all hands to push together. It doesn't make sense to say, well if we can't move it now, we'll reduce the numbers each time we try again. If Pelosi really wants to create maximum pressure, she should craft a cliff function. That is, if you don't shape up, we are all out tomorrow. And no asylum for anybody either. Then the pressure arrives all at once.

Moreover, I am not unmindful that Pelosi's plan is the diametric opposite of what Gen Petreus wants. He says things are getting better but we have to be patient. What Pelosi will do is essentially cut the ground from under him. Well if they are going to do it, do it all at once. Otherwise it is Chinese water drip torture: not only wrong, but cruel.

3/08/2007 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

President George W. Bush's government has made significant mistakes in its Iraq policy. Unfortunately, the US Democratic Party's response is imbecilic in its inanity and counter-productivity.

Nancy Pelosi is a major league incompetent. The fact that she is the most powerful opposition figure in the US Government suggests the sad state of the US left.

3/08/2007 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...

The House Democrats' latest position on Iraq has far more to do with primary challenges to incumbents than to Iraq.

3/08/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Yes, yes, yes, we all know that the DemoDummy loons like Pelosi do stupid things.

But I think the real danger with Pelosi's idea is two-fold:

(1) It will likely produce a Fallujah, where the Shiites obliterate the Sunni's in a desperate "use it or lose it" ploy to harness the American military one last time.

(2) The timing is wrong for the Presidential elections. Being the party in power, the DemoLoons will be blamed for every negative event before, during and after the withdrawal. The American public has repeatedly said they don't want to "cut and run".

Pelosi will hand the Whitehouse to the Republicans on a golden platter and perhaps Congress as well. I wonder if Karl Rove is secretly controlling Pelosi's very tiny mind?

3/08/2007 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I think Americans are becoming increasingly fed up with Iraqi incompetence. If the only reason we are staying there is to keep them from murdering each other, then why on earth is that our problem?

If the Iraqi's can't step up to the plate and get a functioning government together, and a functioning military, and a functioning police force, then for god's sake will they EVER be able to?

I'm not interested in rebuilding their ticky-tacky little country from them providing a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage and 24/7 air conditioning ... FOR FREE.

I'm sure there are some very nice Iraqi people, both Sunni and Shiite, but really ... when they're disappearing BILLIONS of our taxpaid dollars on projects that aren't happening, when they're trotting back and forth across the Iranian border bonding with their good buddies the Persians, and when they're gleefully still doing their damndest to kill American soliders as a daily sport ... then why on earth should I care what happens to them, and why shouldn't we pull out?

As far as I am concerned, "peace" is highly over-rated as an end-goal, as is "stability". I think we've brought a decent amount of instability to the whole region and it would be interesting to step back now and see what will come of that. At least they seem to be more interested in killing each other now than they are in killing us, so that is one good thing that's come out of it.

I just don't want American withdrawal to be painted as a defeat, nor the American solider to be portrayed as a coward. But if Iraqi's want to continue playing their little tit for tat games for the rest of their seedy little lives, that's fine with me and I think we're better off out of it all, to give them a free rein to do what comes naturally to them.

3/08/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

May I ask a serious question of the august loungers at the Belmont Club?

Pelosi is saying we should take the troops out of Iraq so we can send them to Afghanistan.

Pelosi said, "And fighting the war on terrorism where it began, where it is a challenge, and where -- because we left it as an unfinished and nearly forgotten war -- the terrorists have had an opportunity to re-emerge."

Is not Afghanistan a sideshow in this global war? Iraq is in the center of not only the battlefield, but the entire Middle East (notice I didn't say on top of the oil).

Chasing the Taliban around in distant wilds of Afghanistan while "re-deploying" from our 15 year war in Iraq - wouldn't that be like calling Patton back from his charge through France to concentrate on chasing the Mafia in Sicily? While Hitler played on?

What war are the Democrats fighting, for God's sake?

What the hell do they think is going on here?

3/08/2007 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger linearthinker said...

For example, the required constitutional and oil-sharing changes could be drafted then endorsed in some fashion by the UN Security Council and supported by bipartisan resolution US Congress and then more or less force it down the Iraqi government's throat.

Ummm. With due respect to the host, it's a nice idea, but it ain't gonna happen with this Congress, unless the preamble reads something like "Bush lied, thousands died."

3/08/2007 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...


Given your statement:

"I just don't want American withdrawal to be painted as a defeat ..."

why are you posting at all here?

3/08/2007 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

First, folks, a correction. The show I mentioned is on The Discovery Channel at 2100 EDT on Sunday. Although it does feature Peter Jennings, I guess it is not on ABC itself. The good news is that I guess that people in the bloomin' outback may be able to see it (I will tape it; let me know if anyone wants a copy).

Habu, it is a bit much to expect the MSM to mainstream reality. Cable is still way down the list when it comes to the size of the viewing audience, but on CNN, of all places, Glenn Beck even managed to do a show on what the Imams are really preaching. There may be breaks in the dam but only on cable.

Wretchard: As I have said before, if the choices are to bomb the crap out of a country or airdrop food to them, the default "moderate" middle of the road position in DC will be to do a little of both. Eg., Bay of Pigs: still bomb Cuba but only do half as much to address Sen Fullbright's concerns. Pelosi's plan is simply more of the same old same old, but probably sounds like a brilliant compromise for the DC viewpoint.

Tony: Yes! Even an editor of The New Republic recently said in a WSJ piece that Afghanistan was the noble "get the 9/11 killers and throw your burkas away, ladies" war the Democrats wanted to fight but in reality did not matter worth a damn. I have said that for years now. All that matters is that the guy in charge in Kabul is not giving us the finger. If the Pashtun are upset over not enough foreign aid and there are people plotting our demise in the mountains of the country, then who really gives a damn. So what. A little Preparation B-52H will handle it as required. I doubt there is a mountain range in the entire world that does not have some pathetic losers plotting the end of the U.S. - and that includes the Appalachians, Rockies, Serrias, Catskills, and maybe even the Arbuckles.

3/08/2007 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Yes, the mighty Arbuckle range brought that thought to mind when last I negotiated its treacherous passes.

3/08/2007 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


From the sound of things, the House and Senate Democrats have about 32 different proposals. That should keep them busy awhile; because, as the number suggests, the Democrat Party is fragmented on Iraq. While Speaker Pelosi talks about an August 2008 deadline, debate may still be raging within the Democrat ranks then. Of course, none of this accounts for Republican input, which will be substantial.

Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Murtha got their sound-bites. Now, they have to get a deal.

3/08/2007 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Tom_Holsinger said...

Given your statement:

"I just don't want American withdrawal to be painted as a defeat ..."

why are you posting at all here?

Perhaps because Nahncee is articulating a widespread doubt of the American people.

Are the noble, freedom-loving Iraqi people who hate us and want to kill us and ultimately boot us out - but not before we have served our uses - worth the sacrifice?
30,000 casualties, 800 billion spent on covert killers or people who sit on the fence and spit as we go by or bitch that fucking infidels have "failed" to get the air conditioning back on?
Enough patience. They step up, or we leave, and we best not let any of these back-stabbing shitheads in the USA on asylum.

The other misjudgement Bush made besides an almost dilatory involvement of "whenever the Iraqis feel up to helping", with minimal national American involvement despite Churchillian speeches about "center of gravity" --is the major damage the US suffered is outside the Iraq tunnelvision.

America is far weaker now, with far more new enemies and abandoned allies than in 2001.

1. Our military is run down, less ships, planes, mech army pieces than in 2001.
2. Our Guard is run down. 90% of units now report they are "not ready" for combat due to equipment shortages.
3. Latin America and Europe have grown hostile to us.
4. China has all but defeated us in economic competition and is engaged in a massive military buildup.
5. Russia is being driven into an alliance with China against us because of our provocations in Easter Europe.


And Holsinger, Democrats are not doing what they are doing purely for posturing when deep down they believe in your Dear Leader. They represent substantial majorities that have become fed up with Bush's blundering and lack of urgency as troops with no defined mission for 3 years, operating under ridiculous ROE and catch and release policies, were picked off and wasted.....

3/08/2007 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I disagree. I don't think America is weaker now than pre-Iraq. I don't think America is weaker now that pre-9/11. We may have more or less the same amount of strength, but when people say we have more enemies around the rest of the world, you simply have to stop and look at those enemies and *their* strength.

Is Russia more or less weak than 2001? Maybe a little stronger financially, certainly not anything for us to have to worry about if Putin is scurrying around the globe poisoning and dropping people out of windows who are merely criticizing him.

Is China more or less weak than 2001? Big drop on the stock market last week directly attributable to a shakey Chinese economy. HUGE amounts of polllution coming out of that country. The internet keeps tap-tap-tapping on their computers and Chinese leaders haven't figured out how to keep it out yet. I'd say temporarily strong, with a very big correction overdue.

Australia -- stronger.

India -- stronger.

Great Britain/ France/ Germany/ Europe -- all weaker.

Canada - weaker.

Mexico - weaker.

Israel - same.

The Middle East -- unstable(r). Yum.

Just who exactly are these enemies "out there" that we are supposed to be trembling over in our supposed weakness, and just exactly *what* and how are we weaker now than we have been since the USSR crumbled?

3/08/2007 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...


nahncee can speak for herself. Her statement indicated a significant degree of "wishing will make it so". The discussions here tend to focus on things that have actually occurred, or might actually occur.

3/08/2007 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

The estimated Chinese military budget for 2007 is $21B.

The United States will spend in excess of $600B on defense during FY 2007, including special appropriations.

3/08/2007 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger TM said...

I thought that the entire purpose of running the Iraq conflict the way we have run it was to force adulthood, responsibility, and national pride on an area and peoples that have been actively discouraged from those character traits for centuries.

What we didn't want, I thought, was to grow another petulant FRG which, all merits of the german people aside, has never grown up and taken its proper place in the world. Forcing the adoption of laws ruins the entire enterprise.

It is just plain unfair on our part to expect these people to do better than we ourselves did. Even if we're generous to those critical of Iraqi maturity and map the end of major combat operations in 2003 to the Treaty of Paris in 1783, it wasn't until six long years later tht we got a stable political arrangement which would start to excuse US impatience around 2009.

But 2003 is not the same as 1783. If anything, it's the surrender of Cornwallis. The Iraqis are human beings. Human beings take a reasonably long time to rework their entire way of living to adopt freedom. We should press them to move as fast as they can but not be surprised if they're just as fallible as we are.

The surge seems to be working. The unified Shia bloc seems to be on its last legs which means the end of a persistent ethnic majority and the dawn of hope for Sunni governance in coalition. This was always going to happen but until it does, the insurgency is going to drag on.

3/09/2007 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger the mad fiddler said...

It never ceases to amaze me that so many folks continue to insist that imposing "democratic" governmental forms and culture on Iraq is impossible.

Of course they are willfully disregarding the examples of Japan and Germany and the cultures and economies that emerged after their defeat in WWII.

They are probably loathe to consider the vast bloodletting that finally defeated them, and convinced the survivors to adapt to the new culture.

3/11/2007 10:11:00 PM  

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