Thursday, June 28, 2007

Timing is everything

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are expected tomorrow to announce a new coordinated effort to force votes in July to end the Iraq war, according to Democratic insiders," says the Politico. Glenn Reynolds thinks that after having "suckered" President Bush into destroying his coalition they sense the time to strike.

Pelosi and Reid in making the conventional political calculation and headcounts, may be ignoring the underlying reason for the immigration bill's defeat: a concern that the President was not doing enough to ensure national and border security. By making attempting to force a withdrawal from Iraq now, the Democrats seem determined to show that not only are they deaf to that message but don't mind opening themselves to the accusation that having failed to undermine national security one way, they will now proceed to try another. There may be good reasons for supporting a withdrawal from Iraq and as there were good reasons for supporting the defunct immigration bill, but Pelosi and Reid's reported plans will convey none of them.

If the iconic image of Vietnam was the helicopter, its equivalent today may be those of Nancy Pelosi posing in her designer hijab and President Bush appealing for moderation at a Washington mosque. Those images, subliminally transposed onto the immigration debate surely raised the explosive, unspoken, and insidious question: who are you working for? And that unspoken innuendo, magnified by the tone-deaf procedural handling of the immigration bill has already proved politically lethal. Pelosi and Reid can now try it with Iraq, but I am not sure that their calculations will play out. They are playing with a more dangerous element than they seem aware of, and the amazing thing is that they don't even now, seem to have a clue.

And in other news, is it going to be a long, hot summer? Donald Sensing says some Israelis are wondering whether a second round of fighting with Hezbollah will erupt this summer. "From his home in Galilee, Daniel has seen many rigorous military exercises conducted by the IDF over the last year. ... 'I think Iran will not like the response.'"


Blogger NahnCee said...

Wretchard, I'm not at all sure that after the bone-crushing fight over immigration, there's anyone still left in America that gives a tinker's damn about Iraq, one way or the other.

I certainly am not prepared to support any Bush proposals for ANYthing right now, given that he seems positively eager to give our country to Mexico. If he doesn't sell it to Saudi Arabia first.

If the Senate decides to stay in Iraq, fine - then fund them for what they need to do there, and quit jerking their budgets around. If the Senate decides we should pull out - equally fine. Just don't piddle it out so that more American people are killed, and it'd be nice to keep some soldiers around to protect the Kurds.

But the Iraqi's simply are not worth the continuing heartache and expense, especially when we've got some major problems/issues on the homefront.

The only way Bush can demonstrate that he wants us on his side again is for him to do something that we've been asking for for years -- build the fence, dammit! And not an electronic one that doesn't work, either. I want a big honking fence that the Israeli's would be proud of, and I want it started next week.

Then we can talk about Iraq again ... maybe.

6/28/2007 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I think, from the Land of Oz, you misread the US public, dear host.

72% of the public believes Mr Bush has mismanaged the War.
There are no do overs.

We've run out of time.
Mr Webb and Bob Kerry, have already made the Democrats case.

"You do not have to occupy a country, to fight the terrorists in it"

What will Mr Bush offer in retort? He needs more time, "Stay the New Course"?

Mr Maliki is the man we pin US hopes upon? He is the key to US success? Nah, that will not sell, not in todays enviorment.

The GOPs elected politicos will bail on Mr Bush, as Mr Lugar and Mr Voinocich already have.
The public will buy into a new Democratic definition of Victory, since there is no GOP definition that is not as dysfunctional as the Iraqi Government.

Mr Bush has misspent his political capital, on a project that alienated his core support, Mr Reid certainly has not.

The Congress can authorize a war, we'll soon see if it can de-authorize one, as well.

6/28/2007 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Well I guess you've got a better sense of what will happen politically. Last night I was on the blogger round table with the coalition training folks and the question I asked was whether we were out of time. The frank answer was that he "didn't know". There was a kind of fatalism to the reply. Que sera, sera. I guess that says it all.

6/28/2007 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Except Desert, offering what is in effect an unconditional surrender to Al Qaeda and Iran in Irag ... and AFGHANISTAN (Maxine Waters and the CBC are demanding an immediate pull out and surrender there too) means nothing but defeat by our enemies.

Has Osama and Iran stopped trying to kill us? Are they still are our enemies? Are they going to redouble their efforts to kill enough of us until we convert to Islam and submit to their authority as slaves?

You can't END THE WAR. The enemy will keep fighting until we are beaten or they are. The war encompasses Manhattan, Arlington VA, Shank's Field PA, as well as Anytown USA, London, Bali, Iceland, and anywhere else on the planet.

Osama won't stop. Iran won't stop.

Sure, turn over Iraq, it's people, it's wealth, to bin Laden and Iran. See how popular that is.

You would likely find a lot of public support for just nuking the hell out of Iran, Pakistan, Saudi, and Iraq and leaving. But a surrender in Iraq and Afghanistan? Pelosi and Reid seem to be racing Bush for who can commit political suicide first.

6/28/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Attempting to establish a democracy among barbarians was a bad idea to begin was difficult enough in Europe.

The part that makes me sad is that American service personnel will somehow feel as if they are at fault. They were asked to do the impossible by a President who could not face the fact that we are in a religious war. A President who btw thought that asking the Military to build nations was a bad idea...

MODERATOR: Sure, absolutely, sure. Somalia.

BUSH: Started off as a humanitarian mission and it changed into a nation-building mission, and that’s where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price. And so I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. I think our troops ought to be used to help overthrow the dictator when it’s in our best interests. But in this case it was a nation-building exercise, and same with Haiti. I wouldn’t have supported either.

MODERATOR: You said in the Boston debate, Governor, on this issue of nation building, that the United States military is overextended now. Where is it overextended? Where are there U.S. military that you would bring home if you become president?

BUSH: First let me just say one comment about what the vice president said. I think one of the lessons in between World War I and World War II is we let our military atrophy. And we can’t do that. We’ve got to rebuild our military. But one of the problems we have in the military is we’re in alot of places around the world.

There is Bush in a debate with Gore back in 2000. Its nice to know that while he was complaining about the state of the military back then he never raised defense spending over some of the lowest points in Clintons term. We stand at 3.6% of GDP, Clintons lowest was 3.4% and he didn't have a war to eat up the Military. Clinton's highest was 5.7% of GDP.

Candidate Bush on Nation Building and Can Islam and Freedom survive one another?

6/28/2007 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

We should spend our time making rubble bounce and governments fall if they harbor those who would war on us.

6/28/2007 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Personally I don't think Iraq has ended any more than the immigration question is itself ended. There's still no fence. There are still about 12 million illegal aliens around. Al-Qaeda will be swarming around in the event of retreat. And it is the Persian Gulf. Where or not there are any "do-overs" I think it is extremely unlikely that one can be indifferent to events there. But for the moment, que sera, sera.

6/28/2007 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I would not argue against your points, whiskey.

But they have run out of time.

The US Military will succeed, tacticly, in Baghdad, but the Iraqi politicos will not, not in time to obtain a strategic success for US.

The US Politicos will abandon the fight, one that the US Military admits it cannot win, using present Doctrine, in a timely manner.

To much time was wasted.

When General P tells the Congress that five or more years will be required, as he alluded to earlier.

They will not go for it.

6/28/2007 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Then the Dems will get their shot at Security Policy.

They and the US Military will succeed or fail, with a new Stratergy.

6/28/2007 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There are / were sections of Baghdad where the US Military has not tread for over three years.

How else would one define an aQ sanctuary, in Iraq?

They exist with the US presence in place. The PKK attacks a NATO ally from US controlled Iraq.

We cannot deny those terrorists sanctuary, while we are there in Iraq. The current course has run, its course.

6/28/2007 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

The thing that critics fail to acknowledge about Somalia is that the change in mission was overwhelmed by an steadily increasing burden of political correctness. It may have been okay trying to coordinate and integrate US forces with a bunch of UN commands, with all the differences in language, chain of command, rules of engagement, autonomy of action AS LONG AS IT WAS A HUMANITARIAN MISSION. But when the mission became one of military assault, pursuit, capture, and elimination of warlords, Clinton and his pack of numwits didnt' have the wisdom to grasp the reality of the dangers, nor the experience or judgment to use the military properly.

The Left, immersed in contempt for the military, continually misused US Forces, setting unrealistic goals for the forces they were simultaneously dismantling.

6/28/2007 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

I agree Desert Rat, but I don't think that Dems will like the fallout from what will be perceived accurately as a "run away, run away," strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think they can push it through, and demand an unconditional surrender, but it will destroy the Dem Party as Amnesty and Open Borders destroyed Compassionate Conservatism, aka JFK-style Liberalism under a GOP cloak.

Iran will claim victory and parade up and down, nuke Israel out of existence then threaten the US unless we "submit." Bin Laden will do the same, perhaps with control of Pakistan's nukes.

What then?

We will with Democratic insistence put a giant "nuke me" sign on all our cities, which WILL get answered. Then in the ashes of several dead US cities, we will have to figure out what to do.

The answer will likely be internment for all Muslims, no exceptions, closing down all Mosques, and nuking the hell out of the Muslim World. Reducing it by about half. Which will probably work.

But the idea embodied in the Dem position tonight during their debates is that if we just surrender hard enough, often enough, we can abase ourselves (see the "Dream Speech" by Sorenson promising abasement of America for it's sins to the UN, like the Holy Roman Emperor before the Pope) and find "forgiveness." A couple of Dems are talking about disarming America. Eliminating the military altogether (Gravel and Kucinich). The rest complain we spend too much on the military and want to focus on a Constitutional Amendment for Affirmative Action, spending more on Black Children (translation, less on everyone else).

Pretending real hard so the bad man will go away. This is not serious, and will blow up in their faces.

Suppose Pelosi and Reid are successful, and we get a withdrawal date in a few months from Afghanistan and Iraq. How quickly will Musharaff fall? About three seconds after. Then the Taliban and bin Laden have control over Pakistan's nukes and we face a constant threat of being nuked by bin Laden unless we surrender to him.

Fundamental difference: Ho Chi Minh was not bin Laden. He's not going to be happy with our humiliation, abasement, groveling and withdrawals as Dems suggest. Bin Laden wants nothing more than our total slavery or destruction.

IMHO we are likely to see Dems collapse as they face immediate consequences BEFORE the election, as the world consists of more than DC politics.

6/28/2007 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

desert rat:

I will concede this much. If President Lincoln had taken as much time to replace General McClellan to run the Army of the Potomac as President Bush took to replace General Casey to run our military in Iraq, Clement Vallandigham would have been setting Union policy and the Confederacy would have won its independence.

I don't think the war is lost. Not yet. I do think there is far more support for continuing some intervention in Iraq than there is in letting President Bush continue to run it. And there is far more support for fighting against al-Qaeda in some other way than for continuing the war in Iraq. The war isn't over. I dare say, it may not have even begun.

Yes, our military will need time to heal and regroup. I will also point out that far from breaking our military, the Moros one century ago inadvertently trained our military to fight future wars. One key metric is whether our military is learning faster than our enemy is. Another key metric is whether our future political leaders is learning faster than our enemy is. That remains to be seen.

6/28/2007 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger R said...

We can win the war in Iraq any time we choose to. Bush can withdraw our troops from there right after he either captures or kills Bin Laden or his number two--with honor and purpose.

We can wait till a little smallpox enters a couple of Southwest Airline planes, before we address all the nuances one can contemplate while creating a legacy.

I would not follow Reid nor Pelosi down any alley! Nor will I tolerate my sons serving in our military with a president named Hillary.

I suspect the average citizen will vote out of office a number of arrogant politicians, sooner rather than later. Prayers do get answered!

I also think real trouble awaits us from Iran and North Korea. China bothers me too...every time I visit Wal Mart!

I wonder if we'll elect true leaders who will deal with these problems.

As to those Mexicans who keep coming here: Let's offer the citizens of Mexico a chance to vote whether or not they would like for Mexico to become part of the United States! At the same time we can ask our fellow Americans if we want to absorb Mexico.

Don't they need better drinking water? Do you really think those Mexicans who come here would not prefer to enjoy good lives in Mexico?

Let's put 15 million Americans into Mexico; not as tourists, but as workers building a great infrastructure and making sure those resorts are pristine!

Oh yea, let's kiss off those idiot Palestinians while we really supply Israel with deadly weapons.

This narcissistic generation of mine is coming to it's final roundup, even if Dennis Hopper doesn't think so. Perhaps we could find some fine leaders to elect from a younger generation.

It's time for the real America to show itself again.

"My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty!" I like that song, don't you?

That's just what I thought!

6/28/2007 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

And there is far more support for fighting against al-Qaeda in some other way than for continuing the war in Iraq.

Break out the nukes. Short and sweet. I'm tired of this trying to talk them into being civilized, and them trying to behead us for the effort.

I've been reading the new bio of Gertrude Bell, and it's absolutely dismaying to realize that Britain already did every single thing we are trying to do after WW1. The Brits had the exact same problems with corruption, the exact same problems with jihadists blowing up shit and killing everyone in sight, the exact same problems with benighted imams, and the exact same problems with tribes that couldn't decide what kind of government they wanted (if any) -- the exact same tribes in the exact same cities as who are shooting at Americans today.

The Brits tried really really hard to give the Arabs in Iraq a form of government that would work, the Iraqi's ended up with Saddam, and they STILL haven't figured out what does and doesn't work.

To hell with 'em -- let them kill and torture and mutilate each other, and quarentine the whole mess of them in the Middle East. I simply do not believe any more than Arabs are teachable. Nor that they can ever learn to be good neighbors.

6/28/2007 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Alexis, I agree with just about everything you said. My exception, and it is a viewpoint I have heard many times elsewhere, is that our military needs to "heal and regroup." If you will all excuse my bias by being an active member (in Iraq currently)and possibly conceding my vantage point is better from within than seen from a distance or through a (often selective) media lens, thank you, but it is not needed. While I do not have the exact figures, we are losing substantially fewer soldiers and Marines than our enemy and winning the fights. Yes, we have had to adapt to the tactics of our enemies. In which war have we not? As my mentors have stressed to me before, the enemy gets a vote in the outcome of any battle. If you want to read a good example of this in action read An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson. We got our butts kicked for a while in Africa by the German Army. But we adapted and re-equipped (does the armoring of humvees come to mind?)and eventually turned the tide. And yes, commanders were fired. My main point is our military will always find a way to win and we will do so losing men and women but at a much lower rate than our enemy. The tough part is doing it while pretending that war is civilized and can be fought without civilians getting killed. As ugly as they can be, wars are sometimes necessary. Let us start there. Otherwise, we may as well submit now. Is that not what some are in fact saying? As Winston Churchill said, "It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required."

6/29/2007 01:42:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"You can't END THE WAR. The enemy will keep fighting until we are beaten or they are. The war encompasses Manhattan, Arlington VA, Shank's Field PA, as well as Anytown USA, London, Bali, Iceland, and anywhere else on the planet.

Osama won't stop. Iran won't stop."

That is the reason I keep saying:

Slaughter now or slaughter later.
Slaughter later = slaughter more.

6/29/2007 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

3Case said...

"Osama won't stop. Iran won't stop. That is the reason I keep saying:

Slaughter now or slaughter later.
Slaughter later = slaughter more."

I totally agree. The Islamic fascists have made their choice. The only real question is how many Americans and Western Europeans are going to be dead after the smoke clears, i.e. few or many.

It is obvious that the moonbats are prepared to see many Americans killed needlessly. Why are we allowing national security decisions to be made by moonbats?

6/29/2007 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

We still livin' way fat.
Pols n' Diplos living fattest of all.
Pols n' Diplos don't want to risk their fat, so are willing to allow incidental killing of us.
Welcome to the Monkey House.

6/29/2007 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Christopher, desert rat isn't trying to hear you.

Been trying real hard for a long time.

6/29/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No, not at all rattle.

I listen to General P, he has more experience, authority and knowledge than christopher, one assumes.

I listen to Bing West and Michael Yon. Expecially I listen to Mr Bush.

Reconciliation of Iraq's diverse political structure is the key to US success, in Iraq.
All the US authorities play that tune. I assume that the US military can eventually secure Baghdad, then what?

Who do we turn it over to?

Or do we stay for a decade, as General P says? Perhaps, if we do, we may succeed.
Two more Presidental election cycles, five more Congressional ones.

The cornerstone of the Bush Doctrine of democratization, representitive democracies do not vote for War.

Which is as true, truer in fact, for the US than for any other country. That is why Mr Bush believes it, as do I.

The "Long War" statergy was a bust from the get go. Does not, did not fit the US publics need for success.

As George C Scott told US, while portaying General Patton, the US cannot abide a loser.

After for years of responsibility for security operations in Baghdad, for the US to have secured only 19% of that city, by April of '07, after rolling into it in June of '03, is losing, by any rational military perspective.

Especially after expending 3,000 lives in combat losses and $500 Billion USD in the attempt to secure it, over four years.

I'll listen to the experts, letting the rabble rattle on.

6/29/2007 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Now, rattle, chew on this, all from todays news, the over lay it on the need for Iraqi Reconciliation for success/

In the face of stiffening insurgent resistance, U.S. and Iraqi security forces now control about half of Baghdad, the American commander overseeing operations said Friday.

Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil, Jr., commander of Multi-National Division Baghdad, told reporters at the Pentagon that progress in securing the capital has been steady and that while he could use more U.S. troops he believes he has enough - with the recent arrival of reinforcements - to complete his mission.

"Some wonder: Are we progressing fast enough? Are we ahead? Are we on track?" he said in a video teleconference from his headquarters in Baghdad.

"This is a fight against extremists. It's a fight to put power back into the hands of the average Iraqi citizens and to give them a vote and a voice in their own future, without intimidation or fear. I see progress, a steady progress, in every neighborhood that we've cleared and then established a full-time presence."

A reinforced U.S. troop presence has been conducting stepped-up security operations since the launch in mid-February of a new campaign designed to tamp down sectarian violence in Baghdad to a degree that the Iraqi government is able to begin functioning normally and moving toward political reconciliation.
Fil said American and Iraqi security forces now control 48 percent to 49 percent of the 474 neighborhoods in Baghdad. That is up from 19 percent in April, he said. Two weeks ago his boss, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, said about 40 percent of the city was under control.

Fil defined "control" as "where we have our security forces there and we're denying that space to enemy forces."

U.S. and Iraqi forces are conducting clearing operations in 36 percent of the capital's neighborhoods - about the same percentage as in April, he said. In neighborhoods that are neither under control nor in the process of being cleared, coalition forces are "disrupting" insurgent forces, Fil said.

So, the General says plainly, we control where we are, do not where we are not. Seems reasonable.

Reconciliation then is the key, the Iraqi have to close ranks and come to terms.

In the mean time the Iraqi Government has charged a Sunni Minister with murder, al-Sadr '04 redux.

That indictment has caused the boycotting of the Government of four Sunni cabinet ministers.

The US is accused of helping the fugitive, though the Embassy denies it. Our track record on that count, though, is less than stellar.

Al-Alusi was a leading figure in the secular Iraqi National Congress Party of former Pentagon favorite and secular Shiite Ahmad Chalabi, but he was expelled from the party after visiting Israel. He was elected to parliament as the head of his own group, the Iraqi Democratic National Party, which holds one seat.

Directing his words to President Bush, al-Alusi said Thursday that he and the Iraqi people were "waiting for your response to order your employees not to interfere in the Iraqi judiciary."

"The same situation of that with the electricity ministry is being repeated," al-Alusi said, referring to former Electricity Minister Ayham al-Samaraie.

Al-Samaraie, who holds both U.S. and Iraqi citizenship, was convicted of corruption and sentenced to two years in prison. He escaped from an Iraqi-run jail in the Green Zone last year and turned up in Chicago, where he said the Americans helped him escape.

Despite the creation of more "breathing room" the Iraqi do not seem to be on the course of reconciliation. But that is just an observation, from afar.

6/29/2007 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Then, rattle, we move on to the recent "success" in Anbar.

Success, of course being a relative term. It is not moving Iraq towrds reconciliation, not according to General Lynch, the man in charge there.

Although the American engagement with the Sunni groups has brought some early successes against Al Qaeda, particularly in Anbar, many of the problems that hampered earlier American efforts to reach out to insurgents remain unchanged. American commanders say the Sunni groups they are negotiating with show few signs of wanting to work with the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. For their part, Shiite leaders are deeply suspicious of any American move to co-opt Sunni groups that are wedded to a return to Sunni political dominance.

With the agreement to arm some Sunni groups, the Americans also appear to have made a tacit recognition that earlier demands for the disarming of Shiite militia groups are politically unachievable for now given the refusal of powerful Shiite political parties to shed their armed wings. In effect, the Americans seem to have concluded that as long as the Shiites maintain their militias, Shiite leaders are in a poor position to protest the arming of Sunni groups whose activities will be under close American scrutiny.

But officials of Mr. Maliki’s government have placed strict limits on the Sunni groups they are willing to countenance as allies in the fight against Al Qaeda. One leading Shiite politician, Sheik Khalik al-Atiyah, the deputy Parliament speaker, said in a recent interview that he would rule out any discussion of an amnesty for Sunni Arab insurgents, even those who commit to fighting Al Qaeda.
General Lynch said American commanders would face hard decisions in choosing which groups to support. “This isn’t a black and white place,” he said. “There are good guys and bad guys and there are groups in between,” and separating them was a major challenge. He said some groups that had approached the Americans had made no secret of their enmity. “They say, ‘We hate you because you are occupiers’ ” he said, “ ‘but we hate Al Qaeda worse, and we hate the Persians even more.’ ” Sunni militants refer to Iraq’s Shiites as Persians, a reference to the strong links between Iraqi Shiites and the Shiites who predominate in Iran.

An Iraqi government official who was reached by telephone on Sunday said the government was uncomfortable with the American negotiations with the Sunni groups because they offered no guarantee that the militias would be loyal to anyone other than the American commander in their immediate area. “The government’s aim is to disarm and demobilize the militias in Iraq,” said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a political adviser to Mr. Maliki. “And we have enough militias in Iraq that we are struggling now to solve the problem. Why are we creating new ones?”

So the US is acting in direct opposition to the elected Government of Iraq and the US's own strategic goals of 2004, when the Tribes were to have no place in the new Iraq.

Regardless, there does not appear to be any reconcilitory actions on the part of the Tribes of Anbar or from the government in Baghdad.

6/29/2007 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Then of course there is the Hotel bombing, that took the lives of the past Governor of Anbar and a few of his fellow Sunni shieks, last week. This behind a triple ring of security checkpoints.

Could it be that the bomber was facilitated by the Security? That, true to form, the Government of Iraq, or members of it, do not wish to see a US empowered Sunni militia in Iraq, and took steps to decapitate it.

Perhaps not, but not a sign of reconciliation, regardless.

Are you listening rattle?

6/29/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Got your ears on?

6/29/2007 06:31:00 PM  

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