Moran on Iraq

A lot is being made of Rick Moran’s excellent series of posts on Iraq over at Right Wing Nuthouse.

Sample reaction, from Newshogger:

The big news over on the rightwing blogs today is Rick Moran, of Right Wing Nut House, recanting his support for Bush’s occupation of Iraq. Rick blames the incompetence of Bush’s policy and its execution saying that waning US support for that incompetence “will ultimately doom our efforts to take any military success achieved via the surge and turn it into progress on the political front.” Perhaps with another dozen or so Fiedmans, Rick says, Bush’s failings could be turned into success, but those Friedmans will not now be allowed by the American people.

If you actually read Rick’s post, it’s far from clear that he’s sitting and supping with Dennis Kucinich just yet. Actually, he’s come to pretty much the same conclusion I have – that the war is likely to fail because we can’t maintain the political consensus necessary to stick it out.

Here’s Moran:

If we had 3 or 4 years and the political will to maintain troop levels where they are now, then we would have a real chance to make the difference. But our commitment to the military aspects of the surge will be measured in months, not years. By early fall, the race for President will be in full swing and the obvious lack of political progress in Iraq will increase calls for some kind of redeployment – probably from even some Republicans.

He has no useful prescription, except that the political forces here in the U.S. need to play together better (note that I don’t either…).

For now, the imperative is preventing unmitigated disaster. It may involve giving in to the Democrats and withdrawing some of our troops and redeploying some others. Is the President a big enough man to do this? Or is he more in love with his legacy and would therefore resist changing course to reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground and in the councils of government in Iraq?

Yeah, that’s just fricking great. We’ll come up with a solution that mollifies the warring political parties here while ignoring the realities of the real warring parties in Iraq. Maybe not.

Rick’s not wrong about his analysis. But his prescription is pure poison.

82 thoughts on “Moran on Iraq”

  1. Al Qaeda, bin Laden, and before him Khomeni, Khameni, Rafsanjani (the fabled “moderate) and of course Ahmadinejad have all said: America is weak, easily intimidated, kill enough of them and they will collapse.

    As a national security issue, any perceived defeat by us to Al Qaeda only makes this assertion seen as accurate. Al Qaeda the winner and us the losers.

    Since intimidation is the only think that we have with Pakistan’s ISI and various Taliban-allied forces (see Bill Roggio’s blog) we could see: Iraq’s provinces carved up between Al Qaeda and Iran; the Taliban/Al Qaeda in control of Pakistan; and from that latter the loss of Aghanistan.

    Once we retreat it turns into a rout. All across the Globe.

    There is no use working with the Dems. Moveon/Kos control them, they want to live a dream of holding hands and singing. The very IDEA of using force even in retaliation to a hypothetical Al Qaeda nuclear attack that wiped out two US cities had Obama the Messiah and Edwards running away from even the suggestion of force.

    The only person besides Joe Lieberman with any balls at all in the Dem Part is Hillary Clinton. Who is despised by most of her own party and depends on the patronage machine Bill created.

    Yes clearly the money the terror Oil Sheiks poured into Moveon, Kos, UFPJ, ANSWER, etc. paid off. I’m sure we will lose here at home, politically, and withdraw.

    HOWEVER: I agree with VDH. The American people think the Iraq War is not worth it because Iraqis and Muslims in general are not worth it. That “rubble doesn’t cause trouble.” Turning Iraq into defeat which inevitably becomes a rout will not be popular. Still less mass terror attacks which will be inevitable. At that point a response on the order of the Tokyo Firebombings but orders of magnitude higher will be inevitable.

    Partly this is due to Bush’s laziness in communication, inablity to find a way around the Media hostility, and his deep indebtedness to the noxious House of Saud. But a great deal has to be laid at the feet of the Dem Party which used to believe America was worth fighting for.

    NO ONE at the Debate save Hillary was able to offer even a flicker of military response to Brian Williams hypothetical. Rudy was indeed right.

  2. To further my point, look at “Appeal for Redress” which is an astro-turf campaign by Fenton Communications, a hard-left SF Public Relations company. One of Fenton’s clients is a guy who is married to Dana Priest, the WaPo National Security Correspondent.

    Fenton himself got his start working for Liberation News Service, named after the South Vietnam Communist group. He has backed every Marxist or hard-left anti-American government out there.

    His ties run deep into both Democratic political circles and the media.

    No wonder Dems want defeat. They are merely a step away from guys like Fenton and the media is part of the same inter-related group. They all come from the same wealthy Marxist background, all know and hire each other. It’s like the French nobility.

  3. Jim Rockford:

    Partly this is due to Bush’s laziness in communication, inablity to find a way around the Media hostility, and his deep indebtedness to the noxious House of Saud.

    True, but the one thing Bush has not done is cave in to the defeatists like a rotten pumpkin, the very thing which Moran now advises him to find the “courage” to do.

    Which Democrats to surrender to? The spectacularly stupid Harry Reid, the Karma Chameleon Hillary Clinton, or will any of the blow-dried and poll-driven foreign policy nihilists do? Moran expresses no confidence in anyone, yet thinks this crew will help Bush restore public confidence in the war, somehow.

    Bush and the Democrats are bad enough on their own; Bush plus Democrats would be trouble squared. And Moran asks in all innocence, “will politics trump the national interest?” Judas Jumping Iscariot on a Freaking Pogo Stick, ya think?

  4. #4 Glenn,

    Totally with you on this one.

    True, but the one thing Bush has not done is cave in to the defeatists like a rotten pumpkin, the very thing which Moran now advises him to find the “courage” to do.

    As long as he doesn’t cave we have time to change the terms of the debate.

    It is the old “maybe pigs will fly” strategem. If we help maybe pigs can fly.


    It is time to stop focusing on the doctors and the hospital and take a look at the real patient. Iraqi Democracy.

    This is not about the “Iraqi people” such as they are. It is about the Iraqi democrats. Who may even be a minority. Doesn’t matter.

    It will be impossible for real Americans even of the leftist variety to repudiate democracy with any degree of conviction.

    What will they say: Iraq is not ready? So what do we do, wait until they are ready and invade again?

    Arabs can’t do democracy? That is racism.

    Then hit them with a good old JFK right between the eyes:

    Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. John F. Kennedy

  5. The one thing that bothers me about the refrain I hear from the Left and now increasingly from the Right is this matter of the incompetence of President Bush or the mismanagement of the War in Iraq.

    It is ever so easy to declame at social gatherings or to hit send on the keyboard “Bush is an idiot”, “Rumsfeld is an idiot”, “Paul Bremmer, Doug Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney (who is missing here?) are all idiots.”

    OK, maybe I am going to join in. I never thought that George W. Bush was the brightest star among the pool of Republican candidates although his general election opponents Messrs Gore and Kerry may not have been top-of-class among Democrats either. But when 9-11 happened, and when the President, his advisors, the men and women in Congress rallied to wage war on those who did this to us along with those who threatened to do this to us in defiance of the Gulf War Armistace, I decided to close ranks with our leadership and leave differences and petty criticisms behind.

    Whenever the topic of the War in Iraq and incompetence and the War-is-a-disaster comes up with liberal friends, and I generally try to avoid expressing opinions on this because there is such a dense cluster of talking points defending the position of anyone coming out against the war, there is the inevitable “everyone thought the war was supposed to be a cakewalk” and by implication the disaster that is current Iraq suggests both deep delusion and deep incompetence.

    I express that based on my life history as having immigrant parents from the Balkans (I guess I left out the prefix war-torn, which has applied for a over a century or more), I never personally thought that Iraq would be a cakewalk, and given the traditions for ethnic strife and militia and insurgent fighting in that general part of the world (Near East and Middle East have much in common historically and culturally), I am surprised that Iraq hasn’t turned out worse.

    Everyone has an opinion — that Saddam should have been left in place but in his box, that Saddam should have been toppled, but by a coup of his trusted officers, that we should have invaded Iraq as we did but turned it over to the mid-level ranks of the Iraqi army, that we should have invaded Iraq, and yes the Iraqi army collapsed, but we should have turned it over to a new pet dictator and left, that we should have invaded Iraq, did what we did, but it is now time to say good bye and good luck and that anyone who disagrees that we leave now is an idiot. That Bush should have dismissed Rumsfeld as he did and gotten a fresh start with new people but did this by Summer 2006 instead of after losing the election over it.

    Maybe we have done all we can in Iraq, maybe Harry Reid is the “bad cop” of a “good cop-bad cop” routine to place pressure on the Iraqi people that they have benefited from American help long enough. Maybe setting deadlines for phased troop reductions is a good thing — we pretty much did that in Vietnam, and we got a Paris Peace accord and a decent interval for withdrawal, and the South Vietnamese held their own until they faced a massive conventional tank army in 1974 and we completely pulled the plug on them by completely cutting off all funds and didn’t give them any ammo let alone air strikes on exposed NVA tank columns — is Harry Reid or Jack Murtha promising an “over-the-horizon strategy” where we plan to make good on the over-the-horizon part by pledging the Iraqi government the funds and if necessary air strikes or target military actions to hold things together (this time)?

    Let us discuss and debate how to move forward and fulfil or obligation of honor to the Iraqi people and their elected government without this arm-chair “he is an idiot”, “she is an idiot”, “Iraq is a disaster”, “Bush is incompetent”, “we have no strategy” (we have a strategy – is is popularly called the “surge”, and it involves dispersing our soldiers among the populace and Iraqi units to provide neighborhood security in Baghdad and Anbar in connection with the tribal sheiks who have thrown in with the Coalition in order to boost security in the streets to help build confidence among the populace — is it working (yet) — well I guess the enemy is still fighting to frustrate us as the enemy often does).

    I am open to the idea that it may be time to wind down our participation, and perhaps the scenario that withdrawing will have terrorists on the streets of Chicago spreading radioactive dust is a little bit fevered in imagination. But let us openly discuss directions to take an possible consequences without calling everyone an idiot and calling the normal state of human affairs (managed chaos) a disaster.

  6. I think the case can be easily made that the Bush Administration was stubborn in the early years of the occupation and made strategic blunders that have come back to bite them (ala letting Sadr and his militia live), troop levels were fine for an overthrow of the Saddam regime but not for an occupation and rebuilding effort. The Bush Admin allowed the media to craft the war in the sole aspect of WMD’s and of course when they were not found in significant quantities to placate war critics and the media, a certain level of trust was lost between the American population and the Administration.

    There are rational and non-hyperbolic ways to criticize the administration and its handling of the war, sadly they are almost never made in the press and the Democratic party, and most certainly not by anyone in the anti-War crowd.

    The Bush Admin has always been horrible and the PR battle, and because of this support for the war wanned far earlier than it should of. They allowed their opponents to craft the message, and when the message was false, they did little or nothing to counter it.

    If anything, this war is being lost by the Administration exactly because it refuses to fight it at home as well as abroad, thats why you see support from the right starting to drop. You never really had it from the Left, but the middle and now parts of the right are either coming to the realization that the Bushies screwed up royally and its time to cut them off, this mindset was apparent in the mid-term elections results.

    Its really hard to take an American public that appears so vastly ill-informed about the enemy we face (yet another flaw of the Bush admins PR team) and rally them behind a war when the conditions for Victory are so unclear.

    I still support the removal of Saddam, and the mission in Iraq, I sadly cannot support the actions of the administration and their too little too late means of carrying it out. Hindsight is always 20/20, but many of the problems we are facing were pointed out before they occurred, its just that no one listened.

    I’m hard pressed to come up with a plan on how to fix the situation now. The Democrats have no plans at all, other than total fixation on the political points they can score , the Republicans seem adrift without true leadership, still licking their wounds from 06, but not learning any of the lessons that cost them the election. The press continues to root for the terrorists and support their PR efforts. It seems like the only people who are actually discussing the issue anymore are people like us, and sadly, none of us are in a position to do much about it.

  7. I take comfort in the fact that thus far Rudy Giuliani is considered the front runner in the 2008 Presidential campaign. Interesting to note his dominate support comes from Americans who do not want to cut and run from Iraq or back down from radical Islam in general.

    I have to also note that when 9/11/2001 oocurred both our military and our intelligence agencies had been basically castrated ever since Jimmy Carter was in office. Blame Bush all you want but he had to deal with some thirty years of government implemented defense impotence. As it stands now the military recives 3.9% of GNP yet our entitlement programs receive three times this amount.

    Rumsfeld was correct in saying that when we are at war we must go to war with the military that we have and after thirty years of depleating the military we were left with almost nothing. Had we waited to ‘built a 400,000 troop army to invade Iraq’ the sanctions against Saddam would have been removed, his nuclear programs would have been regenerated and we would be today facing both a nuclear Iraq and a nuclear Iran.

    I also must point out that Tony Blair was considered the eloquent speaker that Bush was not yet look at what happened to Tony Blair’s standing in his own country.

    Perhaps the first step towards fixing the problems we face would be to cease blowing holes in the ship we all are riding, attacking Bush is just another bomb throwing tactic used to sink our American ship. Stop the attacks before it sinks us all.

  8. Our Democracy can easily handle political attacks on Bush, syn. If you don’t think so I don’t think you appreciate the resiliency and strength of our system of government. After all, didn’t the Nation survive all those years of senseless Republican attacks on Clinton?

  9. The Democrats are using Iraq as a club to beat the Republicans silly. They will not take the current Islamic War seriously until a) a Democrat is in office b) a massive terror attack occurs in US, either NYC or DC my guess and c) there is no possible Republican fall guy they can blame.

    Maybe during Hilary’s second term…

    Until then, the so-called War will be a political football.

    Unfortunately Pres. Bush has proved the master of the reverse wedge issue: split your base and embolden the opposition. No matter how intelligent he and his advisors may be, effective communication with the public is essential in a democracy. On that scale he has failed utterly and spectacularly. The Clintons had the savvy to run their press operation like a campaign with rapid response- maybe short on truth but making up for lack of content with sheer volume of sound bites and lip biting compassion.

    Inland Empire

  10. Paul, in #8 you wrote “Let us discuss and debate how to move forward and fulfil or obligation of honor to the Iraqi people and their elected government without this arm-chair “he is an idiot”, “she is an idiot”, “Iraq is a disaster”, “Bush is incompetent”, “we have no strategy”….”

    That’s all well and good and I would wholeheartedly agree with you but for this problem:
    Who is “us”? Those who are running the war, i.e. the Bush Administration, won’t engage in the discussion or the debate. They won’t admit to having made a mistake or that the consequences of that mistake resulted in exactly the prediciment that we now find ourselves in.

    You are suggesting that we have a debate with the very people who got us in the mess and who won’t accept responsibility for the mess. What hope is there that following the debate you suggest we have that they will behave any differently than they have up to this point.

    If the administration refuses to engage in the debate and/or continues on its present course of action, the practical result of your suggestion in the end will amount to nothing more than supporting the administration’s decisions and hope they eventually get it right. How is that effectively any different than blind support?

    I’m sorry, but I am left thinking that Bush is an incompetent idiot and there is no hope until his term expires. Hopefully, next November we’ll have a choice between two different courses of action and the summer leading up to the election there will be a debate about which of the two is the better one.

  11. The Democrats are using Iraq as a club to beat the Republicans silly.

    Bush and the Republicans gave them that club.

    No matter how intelligent he and his advisors may be, effective communication with the public is essential in a democracy.

    If if weren’t for the grip that the Repubicans have exerted on the media since 9/11, then the war in Iraq may never have happened to begin with. I would classify it as very effective communication with the public…the problem is that it is increasingly clear that the message was built upon a foundation of lies. Even the Right wings numerous media allies hare having a hard time saying anything coherent any more…a house of cards is sure to crumble eventually.

    Your complaint amounts to litle more than a desire that the Republicans do a better job of lying to the public…a situation that is achieved more easily in fascist states, I’m sure you know. Now you see what many people are thinking when Rightwingers such as syn and yourself go spouting off about the danger of “criticizing” or “questioning” the Commander-in-Chief in an alleged Time of War. Sure seems to explain a lot of what the Right has been doing over the last few years.

    I’ll let the little quip about Bush’s alleged “intelligence” go…that’s been well covered over the years…but I don’t think I’ll ever tire of finding that odd curiosity…a person who actually believes this. You folks really amuse me.

  12. If if weren’t for the grip that the Repubicans have exerted on the media since 9/11, then the war in Iraq may never have happened to begin with.

    in what fantasy land did this exist?

  13. I guess I am belaboring a point, but I still have issues with blaming the Bush Administration for “running an incompetent war.”

    I see myself as a “natural Conservative” with perhaps a “Libertarian” streak on tax and economic issues. One of the central principles of Conservatism is that men are not angels, and leaders of men are not Archangels, and that while governments and governing structures may be built on sound foundations, the men and women in government are flawed. Just as there is Clausewitzian “friction” in war, there is similar friction in all affairs of government — Katrina response, immigration policy, everything.

    It is the Liberal who sees some bad outcome of governmental action and cries out that it is the result of incompetence because Liberals believe in the perfectability of men or at least in the existence of women and men who are perfect enough to implement all of the desired policies to reform other women and men. There are some Conservatives who see bad outcomes in governmental actions and cry out that Government itself is the problem. My brand of conservatism is that most things government takes on, most things many individuals or other organizations of persons take on, has some fault or problem with it, and we try to temper the damage and preserve liberty by limiting what we do with government and accepting some inefficiency, failure, and incompetence with those things that by necessity are done by government.

    The basic premise of the Bush foreign policy and war policy is that 9-11 has demonstrated that the modern globalized world leaves the homeland vulnerable to mass casualty attacks and that our ocean borders no longer afford the kind of protection we once imagined they did. The next premise is that the Cold War policy of tolerating dictatorship if such a dictator was somehow aligned with our interests (such as Saddam being a secular, not Islamist dictator) was no longer workable as such dictatorships may be capable of supressing terrorists when it served their interests, but such states were breeding grounds for terrorism owing to their oppression. The third premise is that we have been at war with a non-nation state actor that forms fluid alliances with nation states in a shifting and secret network and that it served the security interests of the United States to take that war to the enemy rather than simply react to acts of war as they happened.

    One thing that has gotten us to where we are is the decision to engage in “nation building” both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the “good war” in some quarters and Iraq is the “bad war”, but Iraq could by some miracle improve and Afghanistan could be some disaster deteriorate, but in both societies, the U.S. is committed to building liberal democracies in countries that either never had such a thing or never had it in a long time.

    The idea of fighting to overthrow a tyranny that is threatening our security and then doing what it takes to remold those societies in our own liberal democratic image is a Liberal idea in the days when liberals were Marshall and Kennedy — those liberals have morphed into those blasted neoconservatives. The idea of being skeptical of foreign entanglements, foreign wars, and the our ability to engage in “nation building” is a naturally conservative one, so I can see where some conservatives have made common cause with the anti-war faction, which has become main-stream Democratic Party territory for a variety of reasons but is divorced from its history as recently as being tough in Bosnia and Kosovo.

    I fail to see how the Bush Adminstration has been less or more incompetent than any other group of leaders operating on the same premises and thrust into the same situation. Not fighting Sadr until he is taken captive or killed? There is always criticism on the Right that wars are not fought vigorously enough, but what I know about Sadr, the Shiite militias, the connection to the Maliki government, I get from blogs, and it is an armchair second guess at this stage to argue that point. It is the Liberal failing that there is some magic policy and some smart group of people that can make it work.

    As to President Bush not coming out swinging against the Media and other critics, that is just not his style. His predecessor was famous for “Rapid Response” and for “spin” and “damage control.” I am sure Mr. Bush and his spokespeople engage in spin and management of message and PR like everyone else in public life, but Mr. Bush has been reputed to have a more “rope-a-dope” style where he lets his critics expend themselves and lets events unfold according to his long-range planning.

    There is a little bit of mythology that President Bush knows the outcome and is waiting for his critics to make fools of themselves. There was a public relations debacle about WMD in Iraq, and many were convinced that there was another shoe to yet drop to prove the critics wrong, but it never came. But what if the WMD really went to Syria and the President wants to concentrate on Iraq before it is Syria’s turn, and all of this will work out in the end? I suppose it is a fine line between “incompetent Bush” and “Bush so supremely competent that his critics will self-immolate and just you wait and see.”

    But in a liberal democracy, we are governed by the outcome of a seeming messy political compromise of favorite sons and Southern strategies, and if we were to select our leaders based on test-based IQ scores alone, I believe we would just give the post to Mitt Romney. WF Buckley, however, famously said that he would rather be governed by the first however many names in the Cambridge, MA phone book than by the Harvard Faculty (smart people, all, I am sure) because there are other qualities to leadership besides smarts, and smart people can mess things up too.

    My biggest gripe with the “he’s and idiot” line is that yes, the ability to call our highest leaders idiots is in the best democratic tradition, and the suggestion that people shouldn’t criticize our government for fighting foreign enemies does reek of McCarthyism or worse. But can’t we as a liberal society see that we have a common stake in the outcome of what is happening? Is giving up in Iraq such an abstraction with so few personal consequences to any given person? Don’t we have any shared interest in the success and security of our society? In the words of a Mr. Rodney King, can’t we just get along, especially when we have a shared, national interest in something, or does calling everone who didn’t conduct matters our way an “idiot” suit our national character?

  14. Paul:

    I guess I am belaboring a point, but I still have issues with blaming the Bush Administration for “running an incompetent war.”

    You’re right, on the one hand. The war fighting itself is far from incompetent. The armchair generals talk endlessly about “failed strategy”, as if they knew what strategy was outside of a political campaign. Worse, they talk about “changing course, changing course” when the only sure strategy in asymmetrical warfare is perseverance.

    Since guerrilla-terrorist warfare lacks fixed objectives, perseverance is the only way the guerrilla can win, and the only way he can be defeated. Historically, the guerrilla loses nine times out of ten, but he rarely loses quickly.

    Compared to the British in Ulster, or the French anywhere that the French flag flies, we’re doing remarkably well. Our commitment in blood and treasure is a mere fraction of Vietnam, as befits an enemy that – on their best day – is not fit to be called a pale shadow of the Viet Cong.

    But successful combat does not win wars, and compared to the moral and political dimension of modern war it shrinks almost to insignificance. It is in the political arena that the Bush administration has failed, often conceding ground to lamers that Reagan or Thatcher would have demolished in their sleep.

    I give Bush credit for taking hit after hit without backing down. But Reagan showed that when the political playing field is fixed, you take the war right into the grandstands. You don’t just sit there and take it from people who think they’re right because they can hit without being hit back.

  15. Glen —

    Exactly. My frustration with GWB is his refusal to go before the American Public on a weekly basis and lay out his general strategic aims. Yes the Media is deeply hostile to him, but he never even tries to build public support, falling back on his Texas Governorship model where he would cut “deals” with Democrats.

    On the Democratic Side, I’m APPALLED at Richard Holbrooke basically promising an Balkans War with the Russians to force the Serbs out of Kosovo “to make the Muslims like us again.” Which is pure idiocy on so many levels I don’t know where to begin.

    Dems have no plan to combat the Taliban in Afghanistan after withdrawing from Iraq. If Turkey denies us the air bridge we can’t supply the folks we have their and will have to withdraw from there as well. Meanwhile the Taliban and Al Qaeda are surging there as well, every jihadi will go from Iraq to Afghanistan to fight us there.

    Moran is a fool. So too are Dems. Following their Hard Left (funded IMHO mostly by Gulf Oil money) to pacifist appeasement and idiotic schemes in Kosovo or Darfur (where Biden wants to send US troops).

    The battle was ALWAYS going to be waged in the Media. IMHO GWB totally abdicated that battlefield. Yes the Media is made up of Ivy League Aristos who all know and are married to each other in nepotistic fashion. And being aristos naturally loathe and despise the average American while idolizing foreign aristos whether it’s Osama, Saddam, Ahmadinejad, or Arafat. But in the most critical battlespace: ABC, CBS, NBC, GWB was AWOL.

    Every press conference should have been a battle, with the President taking apart the comfortable aristo pretensions of folks like David Gregory. Instead he’s acted like he’s still Governor of Texas and taking the high road. Sadly because he also is indebted to the House of Saud he has refrained from attacking Dems on this issue (their money from the Oil Terror Sheiks).

  16. Paul, in #17 you wrote, “The idea of fighting to overthrow a tyranny that is threatening our security and then doing what it takes to remold those societies in our own liberal democratic image is a Liberal idea…”

    I think you are ignoring the reason that most of us who oppose this war feel it is a mistake. Iraq was not threatening our security and, therefor, the war is perceived as an act of imperialism.

    That was the intitial mistake. It was followed by the mistake of not anticipating that there would be significant armed resistance to a US occupation. The 3rd mistake was not anticipating that in the chaos that ensued, Al Qaeda would find a foothold and a recruiting cause–not to mention a training ground–right in the heart of its target audience, so that we now find ourselves in a MUST WIN situation that has grown out of a war that was completely unnecessary to begin with.

    The tragic irony of this war is that by attacking Iraq we have increased the strength of Al Qaeda.

    You are wrong about the beliefs of us liberals. We do not beleive in the perfectability of men. We do believe that conditions can always be improved–not perfected—improved. Public schools, in this country, for instance, have much to be desired. But it is a far better state of affairs having today’s imperfect public schools than when there were no public schools. We would argue that one of the reasons for bothering to have a government is to collectively improve the lot of all members of society. We urged restrictions on tailpipe emmissions, for example, back in the 60s when it became clear that unrestricted emmisions were having harmful effects. These are just two examples of how gov’t action can improve the lot of most citizens. It doesn’t mean that I believe ALL gov’t action is necessarily good. I believe each socieity must use its collective intellegence to decide how best to go about improving life on a case by case basis. If there is a single difference between liberal and conservative thought, I think, it is that liberals tend to be a little less dogmatic and need to rely a little less on absolutes to make decisions and to rely (& trust) a little more human decision-making.

  17. Mark —

    Iraq certainly was threatening our security. Whether it was wise to get rid of Saddam when we had the opportunity is another matter. But the idea that the US UNLIKE other countries CANNOT exercise it’s own national interests and when it does it is guilt of “imperialism” is the most noxious contribution and the greatest danger Liberals have put forward.

    It is no exaggeration IMHO to say that Liberalism’s conflation of national interest with “imperialism” and the desire to be loved around the world represents the single most dangerous threat to the well being and security of the people of the United States.

    Joe Biden wants to “do something” in Darfur so we can be “respected” etc. Because doing something (or perhaps a war in the Balkans as that idiot Holbrooke wants) would “prove” to the world that we are not imperialists.

    Imperialism drains away resources from the conquered country to fill the coffers of the victorious state. See: Spain and the conquered Aztecs. It is NOT the other way around. Imperialists do not overthrow rulers to improve the lives of the ordinary people, build roads, bridges, schools, power plants, and spend blood along with treasure in the lives of it’s soldiers to make the people safer. To fight terrorists who kill mostly the people not soldiers.

    That is the problem with Liberals. Shabby intellectualism that substitutes “feeling” with actually thinking things through.

    WAS Saddam a threat to the US? Tenet says he would have “only” gotten nukes (so the CIA predicted) by 2007 or 2009. Imagine Iran and Saddam racing towards nukes. Saddam absent constant US air pressure (which destabilized Saudi) presented a mortal threat to our oldest regional partner, the Magic Kingdom. Which loathesome as they are supply the world with “market power” oil (meaning the Saudis can lower prices by increasing production) and if threatened or conquered by Saddam could produce a world-wide Depression akin to that of 1929-39.

    Saddam also refused to come clean on his WMDs which shocked everyone after the Gulf War on how far he’d come. Duelfer Report said it was because he believed bluffing he had them insured his survival and the US was never serious about invading.

    Saddam was indicted by Clinton along with Osama for conspiring on WMD plots to kill Americans. Saddam hosted a bunch of terrorists, some Al Qaeda and some not. Saddam tried to kill Bush 1. Saddam had an ongoing and forbidden by armistice Ballistic Missile program.

    MOST importantly, Saddam’s victory over the US in the first Gulf War (he survived, that was victory) re-inforced Osama’s point that the US was weak, cowardly, and impotent.

    You could argue, with 20-20 hindsight, that maybe leaving Saddam in place might have been preferable. That a Saddam with nukes now, and arming every terrorist in sight, collaborating with Osama, threatening Saudi again, etc. would be preferable to the situation now.

    But not that Saddam was not a threat to National Security. Removing a threat is not “imperialism.”

  18. Jim,

    Try re-reading my post. This time a little more carefully. I said it was perceived as an act of imperialism. The point being that this perception fuels both the insurgency and AQ recruitment.

    In my view, Iraq was not sufficiently a threat to US security to justify an invasion. If invasions are justified because the possibility exists that sometime in the future one country might acquire nuclear weapons then every nation has a constant and automatic excuse to invade another nation. In my view, the threat must be both imminent and realistic —also otherwise undeterable.

    Let’s face it, Jim, the nuclear weapons threat was merely a pretext to flex muscle in the mistaken belief that such flexing would have the desired effect on perceived enemies. It was a terrible and naive miscalculation as it has increased, not decreased threats to our national security.

  19. Gabriel…I guess you missed the part where a majority of Americans believed that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, had WMDs and was trying to produce nukes, and had close connections to Al Qaeda terrorist groups? What world are YOU living in?

  20. A majority of Americans may also believe in JFK conspiracy theories and the Second Coming, but that doesn’t have a whole lot to do with whether policy choices are good ones or bad ones – except in so far as they will have an impact on the decisions policymakers take in the face of those beliefs.


  21. tcg:

    It’s only a non-sequitur if you accept your assertion to Gabriel as relevant. Since AL doesn’t, it’s not a non-sequitur from his perspective — but your comments are.

    It appears that you are putting forth the proposition that the US population is misguided, while AL is trying to address what policy ought to be. There’s a mismatch there.

    If you can’t address the thread topic substantially, maybe you shouldn’t be posting on this thread.



  22. tgc:

    The vast majority of Arabs believe that the Mossad and the Jews were responsible for 9/11, does that make it true? There is far more evidence to support Saddam’s ties to al Qaida members, possesion of WMD’s that were not declared in the 91 cease fire, and his pursuit of nuclear weapons capability than there will ever be to support the existance of God, yet close to 95% of Americans believe in his existance.

    Citing the ignorance of the American public is only proof of their ignorance. Anecdotal evidence should rarley if ever be taken seriously.

  23. Mark —

    Point taken but who CARES what Leftists, Third World Kletpocrats, thugs, and NGO aristos think

    CARING one whit about being accused of “imperialism” is bad. It paralyzes the ability of the nation to act. It puts perception of the nation by others over it’s national interest. It leads to actions like Olmert’s conduct of the post-Modern war, in a way that your enemies will still have their propaganda victory (inevitable given the Press’s hatred of ordinary people and their solidarity with thug-aristos abroad) and also a PHYSICAL victory.

    It’s also a vastly different issue if say, Germany or Japan acquired nuclear weapons today than Saddam. Nations, leaders, cultures, and peoples are not equal. Despite the PC multi-culti blather put out by Dems over the decades.

    A Saddam, or a Ahmadinejad with nuclear weapons means the loss of US cities. We did nothing with Pakistan and will pay the price there too when Osama ends up running it. North Korea is under China’s umbrella, we can’t do anything without war with China.

    Waiting until the threat is “imminent and realistic” means waiting for the plane to crash into the skyscraper. THAT policy was explicitly and bipartisanly rejected after 9/11. Your prescription is the paralysis prescription because acting always takes on risk, while not acting takes on none …. until you lose 3,000 + people in a single day to planes crashing into buildings.

    We live in a dangerous world where oceans don’t protect us. Only force and willingness to use force will deter nuclear attacks on our cities. Sadly since Dems are unwilling to use force and realistically threaten anyone, we will lose likely several cities (even Brian Williams can see it and he’s the epitome of conventional thinking).

    THEN we will get down to industrial, organized killing on a national scale.

    tcg: the 9/11 Commission as a matter of record notes Saddam’s intelligence officer facilitated a 9/11 planning meeting in Kuala Lumpur, even attending. And gave Zawahari a check for 300K two months before the Cole. Presumably it was not a tip for a lapdance by ole Ayman. It is the conclusion of the Duelfer Report that Saddam as soon as sanctions were dropped planned to produce nukes, a project he had worked on from … 1972 to 1991.

    I somehow doubt Saddam worked for nukes for 19 years only to drop it because the UN said it was naughty.

    Saddam was a real risk. Allowing him to stay was the easy choice and what call Bush 1 made. But letting him stay had risks of it’s own not the least of which was being seen as weak, like a 100 year old woman in a walker in a building filled with thugs. She was lucky to get away with a fractured face.

  24. Furthermore:

    How anyone could think for a second that the media was under the thumb of the GOP boggles the mind. How many faux scandals have been trotted out and pushed that damaged the GOP over the last 6 years? How many covers of the newsweeklies have been dedicated to Bush the: Moron, Idiot, Loser, Incompetent, Jesus Freak, etc? How many episodes of Frontline have been nothing but hour long DNC hit pieces? I take it you’ve never read an op-ed page in the NYTimes, LATimes, Clevland Plain Dealer, Houston Chronicle, SFGate, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Des Moines Register, etc. etc. etc.

    If anything, given that so many people on the left seem to think like yourself and Wei, it would be far more easy to prove a causation between the medias leftist biases and the absolute ignorance of so many people from the DU/DailyKos strain of the Democratic party.

  25. “mark –

    Looking at modern international relations through the lens of ‘colonialism’ or ‘imperialism’ is an artifact of past times.”

    Sez who? You? Does that make it true? This is a classic WoC thread. All sorts of labeling, selective recognition, baseless assumptions, wildly inaccurate stereotyping and talking points permeate each and every comment by the right wingers here.

    and that’s not all….the pot calling the kettle black phenomena around here is amazing…

    Glenn Wishard writes, “The armchair generals talk endlessly about “failed strategy””. Really now Glen. What are you? A genuine five star pentagon dwelling military mastermind? Have you ever even been in the service?

    It just so happens that many very non-armchair generals are indeed calling Iraq a failed adventure and an unwinnable fight (as well as some very non-armchair colonels like Pat Lang). Would you like a list?

    Guys, allow me to let you in on a little something……..opinions aren’t the equivalent of facts. They aren’t even close to the careful assessments of experts.

    Why is that around here whenever a counter to the hard right is put forth it is dismissed as the musings of stoned hippies. Why is it never mentioned that the same counters have been put forth by sources more experienced, more expert and more respected than those supporting the right wing position?

    I mean you guys really are interested in truth aren’t you? Not just some sort of echo chamber designed to hype your own perspective and keep out that which threatens it?

    So how about an honest get out of/stay in Iraq post where the assessment of military experts on both sides of the debate are considered?

  26. So can some one tell me the moral calculus?

    What is an Iraqi democrat worth to an American Democrat?

    It appears that Iraqi democrats are only of value to Republicans and not all of them.

    Whe know what South Vietnamese democrats were worth to American Democrats. Nothing. We know what self govrernment in South Vietnam was worth to American Democrats. Nothing.

    Heck, we even know what fighing slavery in North America was worth to American Democrats. Nothing. Where did the Democrats stand on Jim Crow? The Democrats were the party of Jim Crow. So what were blacks in the South worth during Jim Crow? Their standing had improved from nothing to not much.

    And this is the party that will lead us to an era of universal peace, love, and good vibes by abandoning the Iraqi democrats to the head choppers?

    It could happen.

    What are the odds?

    If you are interested in the rantings of an old man on the subject you can read more at Moral Calculus.

  27. M. Simon,

    I would venture to say that there is no moral calculus at all to be used in a situation such as this, at least not one that uses an individuals political ideology as a factor. Right now, approx. 100 Iraqis die each day in the violence that is the aftermath of the US invasion. Some of those Iraqis may indeed be democrats, some may be children who have yet to develop a political ideology, some may be so religious that political ideology takes a back seat to a faith-based view of their lives. But I don’t consider that one person’s life has more value than another because he or she believes that democracy is the better form of government.

  28. Mr. Rockford,

    Again, you seem to miss my point, although I am very willing to take the blame for that as perhaps I wasn’t clear enough.

    I was arguing that the perception of imperialism IS important because it is what fuels both the insurgency and AQ. I was referring to their perception, they being the people who are doing all the killing, not NGOs, leftists, etc. (though that you would be so down on NGOs, a group of people who dedicate their lives to helping people less fortunate than themselves is somewhat troubling to me).

    You, Jim Rockford, may have felt Iraq was a threat to the US. But your views matter even less than those of leftists, NGOs, etc. What matters is what Iraqis think. To the extent that several thousand of them seem to regard the invasion as an act of imperialism, Bush miscaluclated. To the extent that the general population of the middle east, from which pool AQ draws new recruits, sees it as an unjustifiable act of imperialism and are then more willing to support anti-US movements with either their bodies, money or homes, Bush miscalculated in his “War on Terror.”

    My point is that the negative unintended (or unforseen) consequences of the invasion far outweigh any potential positive intened results, especially as the very few of the latter have ever materialized.

  29. A.L.

    “Looking at modern international relations through the lens of ‘colonialism’ or ‘imperialism’ is an artifact of past times.”

    With all due respect, I would say that you are rejecting this view because it doesn’t support what you want to believe.

    Imperialism, as I understand it, is a universal phenonomen that has existed in international relations for as long as recorded history has been able to peer into the past. I see know reason to believe that it has suddenly disappeared from the arsenal of human ills.

    If by imperialism and/or colonialism (you’ll notice I never referred to colonailism—you did) you mean the period of European dominance over what we now call the 3rd world between, say, 1650 and 1938, then, yes, that era seems to be over. But that is a such a narrowly construed meaning of imperialism that I should have hoped it unnecessary to qualify any other & more common use of the term as not being the narrow one.

    The US is an imperial power to the extent that it uses its military power to control and influence the economic and political networks beyond its borders in a way that is advantageous to what it perceives as its own interest. All nations may wish to do so, but not all nations are able. Today, e.g., Sweden is not an imperial power, nor is Bolivia. Iraq was a classic imperial venture, as worthy of 19th century Britain as 2nd century Rome, or the 14th century Aztecs, or the 12th century Mughals. We are using our military power to create a client state (“an ally in the war on terror”) and secure a major supply of important resources, and create a regional balance of power that is in our interests, halfway around the world.

    So long as we have a fleet in the Indian Ocean, we are an imperial power.

  30. In #16, Gabriel’s comment indicates disbelief that the media have been unduly influenced by Republicans in the lead up to the Iraq war .

    In #24, I pointed out several prominent examples of public misconceptions that I believe offer strong evidence that this is not accurrate. These misconceptions arose because the Republicans were pushing them to the public through the media. The media failed to question or challenge these claims either because they’re incompetent journalists or administration supporters.

    A series of posts followed, first from AL, refuting a different point and that have nothing to do with the media or the Iraq war: that public polls are accurate reflections of reality. Thus, they’re non-sequitors, clearly.

    In #30, Gabriel comes back again to provide an emotionally charged and rambling expansion on his point in #16 but provides no evidence to refute the original claim regarding the media performance in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion. Another series of non-sequitors basically.

    If any of you want honestly want to see what I’m basing my claims on, I would suggest you watch the Bill Moyers Buying the War documentary that aired last week on PBS. While to me the program was nothing new, it is useful because it does an excellent job of presenting the evidence in a succint and well-organized way.

    I really don’t think it’s meaningful to argue with anyone like Gabriel who claims a Left bias in the media (and whose own perspective is highly suspect) unless they can say they’ve watched this show and are more familiar with the arguments from my side. The evidence is strong for a Right bias in the lead up to the war and on other issues where the Media and the Administration’s goals are in synchrony.

    I hope this helps you all understand the comment flow in the thread a little better.

  31. TGC:

    In #24 you provided anecdotal support that proved nothing but the ignorance of the American public. As I pointed out above, the same public believes in all sorts of crazy things that have no basis in fact or logic. Public sentiment or generalized knowledge of a topic doesn’t prove its existence, it only supports public perception. To begin with, polls are inaccurate measures, and can be skewed easily, I put little or no faith in them.

    Forgive me if I don’t bother to patronize the work of admitted liberal and disingenuous lying hack Bill Moyers given that the conclusions to his “story” were written before he did any “investigation” into it. Anyone can produce a slick one-sided psuedo-documentary that can make their claims look valid. How many people were suckered by the idiots who made Loose Change? How many fools bought into the lies of Michael Moore in all of his “documentaries”? How vast is the pool of scientific ignorance that bought Al Gore’s 90 minute campaign commercial? Its pretty clear that your opinion was already made up before you watched the show. Putting this little self promotion tool out now, years after the fact, and when the wars popularity is low is nothing more than Moyers tooting his own horn to those who already share his views.

    What I find so interesting is that Moyers will push hard on something like this, but will continue to ignore so many other major media failings. It’s only when the topic will hurt Republicans that he bothers to “investigate”

    The media did manage to screw the pooch on the pre-invasion reporting, but thats a far different animal than the Bush administration controlling the press.

    Multiple factors go into media decisions to move with a story, and I’ll admit they are not all partisan in nature, profits certainly take precedence over partisan hackery, but only in few cases, note the NYTimes downward spiral as a good example of a media outlet that has put its liberal biases in front of its profitability.

    Claiming there is no left-leaning bias in todays media is an exercise in self-delusion and willfull ignorance. Many in the “profession” admit this fact. To attempt to persuade someone who doesn’t see the obvious is an exercise in futility.

  32. If you’re claim was that the media was “unduly influenced by government” it may hold more weight, but since you approach it from the aspect of partisanship your claims are bogus. People on both sides of the political isle in Washington voted for and pushed for this war. Democrats and Republicans alike were in favor of this action. But you and your ilk seem to think that the Bushitler mind rays somehow nullified a press corps that has always been hostile to Republicans.

    Odd thing, people forget that regime change in Iraq was US policy set by the Clinton administration in 1998, and if you go back and watch the reporting from that time period, there was no major push for invasion. Instead you have the same Democrats (who voted for the war this time around, and who all made the same WMD claims that were made in 2002/2003) cheer leading for invasion and a press corps that seemed merely disinterested. And honestly most people were placated with a few worthless cruise missle strikes.

    What changed? Perhaps it was that little incident in New York and Washington that may have altered the press outlook a tad, they are afterall still human (except for Helen Thomas).

  33. Gabriel,

    I’d like to chime in here, if I may. I have not seen the Moyers’s show. However, there is nothing in your post to suggest that it would be innaccurate. Just because there are 3 other documentaries that you find objectionable, but which have nothing to do with Moyers, is no reason at all to conclude that Moyers show is as objectionable. Just because a documentary CAN be made to present false claims doesn’t mean that all documentaries do or that any one in particular does. It seems that you are pre-judging and coming to conclusions prior to investigation (in this instance a simple viewing), which is the very thing you accuse Moyers of doing.

    Secondly, because Moyer’s choses to invistigage some claims and not others in no way invalidates the accuracy of those claims. If some one choses to look into poverty in China rather than AIDS in India, it doesn’t mean poverty in China doesn’t exist. Obviously, we all have our interests and no one has the time to cover or look into everything.

    Thirdly, it seems that you are making tgc’s point for him or her when you state how easily the public is fooled. After all, that is exactly tgc’s original point. The public was fooled by the republican-fed media into believing the wmd claims and the iraq/9/11 claims.

    How do you figure the NYT is on a downward spiral? it has the 3rd largest NATIONAL circulation in the country. It is a publicly traded company with a good earnings record for its stockholders.

    Finally, just because the media in general does not advance the conservative agenda does not make it biased in favor of the left. The media in general does not advance the liberal or the conservative agenda. Sometimes the simple facts support one side or the other, but the media does a pretty good job, in my view, of steering cleer of cheerleading for either side. I think the lead-up to the Iraq war is a sad exception, where, in a misplaced spirit of blind patriotism (or simple fear), the media failed to treat administration claims with the skepticism it would normally employ.

  34. tcg,

    Has it ever occured to you that many of the American people may have believed those things independent of the media? Due, of course, to their innate good sense, as opposed to your enlightened characterization of them as being ciphers for Peter Jennings, mega-phoning neo-cons (heh).

    BTW: Moyers did yoemans PR work for LBJ getting Vietnam rolling.

  35. avedis:

    It just so happens that many very non-armchair generals are indeed calling Iraq a failed adventure and an unwinnable fight (as well as some very non-armchair colonels like Pat Lang). Would you like a list?

    It’s nice of you to offer. Are you sure your busy schedule of hectoring, lecturing, and Zionist baiting will allow it?

    Let me guess, instead. It surely includes the likes of Zinni and Shinseki, aka Clinton’s Generals, aka “The Chinese Berets”. These people should never have been given stars – and so of course they were given stars by Bill Clinton, who wanted generals who would fight his enemies, while judiciously avoiding doing any damage to persons hostile to the United States.

    None of these guys have led in Afghanistan or Iraq. Shinseki could have commanded in Afghanistan, but he went home to sulk and plot instead. They’ve done all their fighting against Bush and Rumsfeld, who have undone some of the damage the Clintonistas did to the Pentagon during “The Great Period of Neglect” and put working generals in charge.

    Their civilian counterparts are Tenet’s miserable CIA crew, but I’ll let “your friend Colonel Lang”: explain Tenet to you:

    I dislike George Tenet. I always have disliked him. I knew him well when he was head of the staff at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). I then thought that he was an ignorant, oily, political “hack” who “weathervaned” constantly to know which way the wind blew. He was pitifully under-qualified to be DCI and his lack of integrity under pressure in 2002 reflects his character in general.

    Reflects the character of a lot of people, in fact.

  36. _”The media in general does not advance the liberal or the conservative agenda. Sometimes the simple facts support one side or the other, but the media does a pretty good job, in my view, of steering cleer of cheerleading for either side.”_

    Mark, do you think its a good idea to have women and minorites in the newsrooms, to that a variety of different backgrounds and perspectives are heard? I do, i think its very important. Yet in the NYT and the vast majority of newsrooms in this nation, the personal political bent is overwhelmingly to the left. Every study and survey has found that to be true.

    Does that mean the MSM deliberately cheerleads? Perhaps occasionally, but generally no. But that’s not the point. You don’t bring a black reporter or editor onboard so they can champion affirmative action stories. You bring them in to bring a more diverse opinion- a different background, a different point of view. And thats wise! So if you accept that to be true, i find it hard to believe you can accept that a newsroom that is overwhelmingly of the same opinion on abortion, gay marriage, taxes, foriegn policy (which only perhaps 50% of their prospective audience agrees with) will explore alternative opinions as fairly as they should. And for anyone that has a passing aquaintance with the news, that is obvious. When its a woman’s rights story, someone from NOW is interviewed. A black story- Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson. Because these are considered the ‘moderate’ representatives of those issues. Think about that. If Fox News started bringing in an anti-abortion mom type to respond as a neutral voice on, say the ERA debate, it would be absurd! But the opposite happens all the time, not because of intentional bias, but because well intentioned people go through their entire day never running into anyone in the Manhatten or K Street lifestyle who would challenge this assumption.

  37. Mark:

    Good points except for:

    How do you figure the NYT is on a downward spiral? it has the 3rd largest NATIONAL circulation in the country. It is a publicly traded company with a good earnings record for its stockholders.

    The market begs to differ. Plus, NTimes circulation is in the shitter.

  38. #41…How were people going to form opinions on whether Iraq had “sought significant quantities of Uranium in Africa” or were involved in 9/11 independent of media? By traveling to Iraq with the UN inspectors themselves? So while it has “occurred to me” that people could form opinions based on facts not presented through the media (like, for example, how to raise their kids), in this particular case it is kind of silly to even suggest this.

    #43…This is an old and tired argument and I very much doubt that it is 1) relevant or 2) true. News is not created in a Democratic way such that the opinions and points that find their way into print or out onto the airwaves reflect primarily or even largely those of the reporters or researchers. The EDITORS, PRODUCERS and CORPORATE BOARDMEMBERS are the gate-keepers of the news. They’re the ones that soften the wording or change the headlines that their alleged “Liberal” reporters give to them. They’re Republicans or Corporatists (money first, party second), and War certainly is a nice attention-grabbing product as far as they’re concerned.

  39. Mark B.,

    I do not think that reporters are–or ought to be–selected according to their political or ideological beliefs–at least not by the MSM. I do agree that in all probability MSM reporters & editors, like novelists, musicians, scientists, acedemics and a whole host of others in the general category of liberal arts and sciences do tend to be a self-selecting group who lean toward the political left; whereas, in general, people who go into business tend, on the whole, to lean more toward the political right.

    But I don’t think that you can conclude from that, or from reading & watching the MSN, that there is any actual bias. I think the problem that many conservatives have with the MSN is not that the politics, but with the very nature of investigative reporting itself, which is necessarily distrustful of and skeptical towards authority, especially governmental authority. The function of the media is essential one of a watchdog.

    I’m not sure how much it matters what an individual reporter’s stance on abortion is since abortion doesn’t really generate much “news.” The recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the constitutionality of abortion was reported in a reasonable manner by the MSM. I didn’t see any bias in the reporting.

    I don’t think the MSM ever interviews Sharpton or a NOW representative as a neutral party, but as advocates of specific causes.

    But again, the fact that MSM-employees are a self-selecting group that tends to be more liberal than, say, you, does not mean that they are biased and cannot in a fairly grownup manner present facts and stories in a reasonable way. I would simply argue that they are biased towards the truth rather than towards an ideologically-driven agenda.

  40. It’s the fourth anniversary of “Mission Accomplished”, and re-reading the extended blow job the MSM gave George Bush that day makes it difficult to credit the charges of left-wing bias. The MSM reflects and reinforces the narrative of the day. In 2003, that was Commander Codpiece, Bring ‘Em On, the President of Swagger. (All arranged by Karl Rove, I suppose.) The received wisdom is a little different now: puny, clueless idiot mismanaging his pet project to the tune of thousands of lives and billions of dollars, thinking his suffering is somehow the worst of all. The mills of the gods grind exceedingly fine.

    It’s remarkable how this wretched failure can still command such personal loyalty. I guess it’s throwing good karma after bad, but it’s nevertheless egregious to see “Clinton’s Generals” excoriated simply for not following the path of Dear Leader. It’s not as if they weren’t 100 percent right, after all. (Found a War Czar yet?) How weird, to see a Cult of Personality as extreme as North Korea, embedded in a democracy.

  41. Gabriel,

    You were right and I was wrong about the value of NYT stock. I looked only at the last 6 mos (it’s doing very well today), but over the last 10 years it has gone down, along with most newspaper publishers, considerably. However, I do believe (based upon a little googling) that NYT circulation remains high and is increasing–one of the few newspapers in the US that is increasing–and that it remains firmly #3, after USA Today and WSJ, in terms of national circulation.

  42. _”I would simply argue that they are biased towards the truth rather than towards an ideologically-driven agenda.”_

    In a perfect world that might be possible. One of the major selling points (that i have a hard time disagreeing with) of affirmative action has always been that different perspectives are important, correct? Thats one of the legal foundations of allowing students with lower credentials into universities, right? Beyond that, the media of all people tries to hold corporations accountable for living up to this standard. But there is something inherintly contradictory in this philosophy. Why is it that our law schools believe people of different backgrounds and experience are required for good jurisprudence in the future of out nation- yet you are trying to tell me that the media is able to not just put their inherint (and one sided) predudices aside from their subconscious, but also able to embrace and do justice to the side of the argument they dont agree with philosophically? Isnt that pretty arrogant? I mean- i believe i understand the global warming debate pretty well, but i wouldnt dream of trying to describe the side i disagree with in an allegedly neutral manner. I just dont have the arrogance to believe i would be doing the debate a service. Thats just a simple example. Again- its not so much intentional championing- its the simple truth that you understand the positions you agree with much more thoroughly than the opposite. How can that _not_ be true?

    And the recipe to mitigate this very natural human phenominon, at least when it comes to color, is to put in place a balance of people who can course correct and challenge each other. I just absolutely fail to see how even if you can somehow look at the MSM as neutral to your eye(Rathergate?! can you honestly see Dan Rather going after a democrat with such shoddy reporting?) you cant acknowledge that you may just be in the same ‘lensing’ that we are talking about. Of course you would find it to be moderate! Thats how i can watch Fox and find it very reasonable- but i know in my heart the truth falls somewhere in the middle. Believe me, i’d much rather see Fox and CNN somehow melded into the same newsroom and see what kind of reporting sprang from it than have to have to listen to 2 different sources to have any hope of figuring out the happy medium where truth and good policy almost always lies.

  43. “The political problem of the Bush administration is grave, possibly beyond the point of rescue. The opinion polls are savagely decisive on the Iraq question. About 60 percent of Americans wish the war ended — wish at least a timetable for orderly withdrawal. What is going on in Congress is in the nature of accompaniment. The vote in Congress is simply another salient in the war against war in Iraq. Republican forces, with a couple of exceptions, held fast against the Democrats’ attempt to force Bush out of Iraq even if it required fiddling with the Constitution. President Bush will of course veto the bill, but its impact is critically important in the consolidation of public opinion. It can now accurately be said that the legislature, which writes the people’s laws, opposes the war.”

    Ultra liberal, afro-American studies professor, and founder of National Review: William F. Buckley

  44. Andrew:

    I guess it’s throwing good karma after bad, but it’s nevertheless egregious to see “Clinton’s Generals” excoriated simply for not following the path of Dear Leader.

    Who says they’re not following the path of their Dear Leader?

    How weird, to see a Cult of Personality as extreme as North Korea, embedded in a democracy.

    Cult of Personality? Come on, Andrew, read the freaking thread.

    But if this is North Korea now, I’m off to see if the May Day parade has any nuclear missiles – or as our great leader Kim calls them, “Crintons”.

  45. WFB Con’t:

    “What he succeeded in doing was aborting a speech by Vice President Cheney which alleged a Saddam/al Qaeda relationship which had not in fact been established.”

    “But beyond affirming executive supremacy in matters of war, what is George Bush going to do? It is simply untrue that we are making decisive progress in Iraq”

    “It was four years ago that Mr. Cheney first observed that there was a real fear that each fallen terrorist leads to the materialization of another terrorist. What can a “surge,” of the kind we are now relying upon, do to cope with endemic disease? The parallel even comes to mind of the eventual collapse of Prohibition, because there wasn’t any way the government could neutralize the appetite for alcohol, or the resourcefulness of the freeman in acquiring it.”

    fucking liberal…

  46. Mark B.,

    I believe you are twice mixing up two different things.

    One mix-up is between a set of characteristics like race, gender, etc, which have been proven historically to result in economic inequities for those with the wrong ones, a situation that affirmative action is meant to help rectify, and an individual’s political ideology or opinion. I suppose that If it could be established that conservative-thinkers have been economically disadvantaged in the past, there might be good reason to make sure they found places in schools and businesses to redress this disadvantage.

    Yes, it does seem a good idea to have people of different backgrounds go to school together in order to give everyone a broader perspective. It’s also important to pry open professional fields that have been closed to certain groups based upon their race.

    But I don’t see any need to try to balance political opinions evenly among ANY field, especially in the media. I mean, putting aside for the moment of why you would want to do that, HOW would you do it? Do you weed them out in journalism schools? What happens if someone’s viewpoint changes over time.

    The other mix-up, I believe, is between what a reporter does and what an advocate for a cause does. You reference your views on global warming. A reporter doesn’t really need to sympathize with any side in the debate or to be able to “see” or understand any side in the debate.

    Let me try a different approach here: I am a very very liberal thinker. From my point of view, the MSM seems terribly conservative. But I know that really isn’t the case. It’s just that they are not responsible for siding with me or advocating my opinions. They report the news….facts…imperfectly, to be sure, but not out of ideological fervor but for all the human reasons that you and I make mistakes. When someone accusess the press of a liberal-bias, as a liberal, I just have to laugh, cause everyday I see them as too damned conservative.

  47. #33 mark,

    Finally a Democrat who doesn’t believe in democracy. Excellent!

    I suppose despotism is good enough for the wogs.

    How refreshing to know that self government is not for everyone.

    Modern day liberalism at its best.

    You sound a lot like the French Third Republic in its last days (June 1940) with its muted admiration for the governing methods of the Austrian Corporal and his Italian Stooge.

    Hoo Raw for liberalism. As long as the killing stops it doesn’t matter who governs.

    We have the shining example of ‘Nam post April ’75. 100,000 killed outright. 500,000 driven to sea out of fear. 1/2 dying at sea. If it turns out no worse than that it will be fine.

    The Democrat Copperheads had the same attitude in 1864. “As long as the killing stops slavery is fine with us”, was their platform.

    I remember the “Better Red than dead” liberals. Shining examples of those who would rather live on their knees than die on their feet. Thanks for maintaing that honorable tradition. We need examples of that every now and then. It separates the men from the realists.

  48. M. Simon,

    I have re-read my post (#33) several times to see what was in that could possible have caused such an incoherent rant on your part and I have concluded that you are not arguing against anything I said but rather the voices in your head. Good luck with those.

    Knowing full well that I do this futilly, let me nonetheless point out that there is no functioning democracy in Iraq and that there is unlikely to ever be any so long as we continue to occupy it. If there was any realistic chance of our presence aiding such an outcome, I would support our staying there because we have a moral obligation to help the Iraqis after the chaos we have unthinkingly unleashed upon them. Sadly, however, our presence can be of no help and they must sort out their own future as best they can under the miserable circumstances in which we placed them.

    Democracy is fine form of government–though not synomous with self-determination–and I would love to see it take root in Tibet, Zimbabwe, Congo, Burma, Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, Eygpt and many other places. I don’t think however that it is best spread as the byproduct of a military invasion whose objectives have nothing to do with democracy or its spread. I think that the hypocracy of our actions vs. our claims do not go unnoticed by those whom we invaded.

    There are some very good psycho-pharmacueticals, by the way, that might be able to help you with those voices and calm down those rants.

  49. _”But I don’t see any need to try to balance political opinions evenly among ANY field, especially in the media. I mean, putting aside for the moment of why you would want to do that, HOW would you do it? Do you weed them out in journalism schools? What happens if someone’s viewpoint changes over time.”_

    Fair enough, and i suppose i shouldnt have assumed you agreed with this philosophy- but there is a very strongly made argument that (aside from historical oppression) _diversity_ is a key goal in affirmative action. If im not mistaken, it is the states overriding interest in a diverse campus that has kept the door open for AA from a legal standpoint.

    _”The other mix-up, I believe, is between what a reporter does and what an advocate for a cause does. You reference your views on global warming. A reporter doesn’t really need to sympathize with any side in the debate or to be able to “see” or understand any side in the debate.”_

    A reporter doesn’t need to, certainly. But a reporter almost certainly _does._ Back to the self-selection, people become reporters by and large to ‘change the world’, not to report facts. Reporting facts with no frame of references isnt journalism- its trivia. Lets be honest- every bit of journalism affected by personality, starting with which stories to cover to which stories not to cover. To stay with the Global Warming example, why does an ice shelf sliding into the Artic get massive media coverage, but evidence that Mars is warming in step with Earth does not? Someone is choosing which stories are ‘important’, and immediately you run into judgement calls that _must_ be affected by an individuals worldview. Political correctness is rampant perhaps no where more extensively than news rooms, precisely because news folk are so deeply aware of their power over the debate. Bernie Goldberg’s books provide tons of examples, ranging up to the absurd.

    _”They report the news….facts…imperfectly, to be sure, but not out of ideological fervor but for all the human reasons that you and I make mistakes. “_

    I agree, and again its _not_ idealogical fervor. Its simple human nature. If you put 50 carpenters in a room, every problem starts to look like a saw can fix it. If i’m a reporter, i will select stories that i care about, that make sense to me. I will find an interesting slant- god knows thats the number 1 priority. But my idea of an interesting slant will be different from a guy who grew up on a ranch in Montana or a mountain in Colorado. What am i suggesting should be done? Nothing. The market has provided the solution, imperfect as it is. Half the nation got fed up with not having their perspective validated, and so Fox News and the Wall Street Journal were invented. Which is a good and fine, but it still deserves to be recognized that for the same reasons we talked about, the much larger majority of mainstream media organs remain staffed almost exclusively by people who were born, grew up, went to school, and now go to work exclusively with like minded people who all happen to be lefty.

    Its like the great anechdote after Nixon was reelected with 48 states- Pauline Kael at the New Yorker despondantly remarked, _”I don’t know how Richard Nixon could have won. I don’t know anybody who voted for him.”_ I mean, thats pretty telling! Is your story the next day, ‘Nixon sails to easy win?’ Or something along the lines of ‘Nixon produces groundswell of surprise support?’ If you heard rumors of voting fraud, which perspective would make you more likely to pursue the lead?

  50. Mark B.,

    I think we pretty much agree here except perhaps on some of the details. As an example of that minor disagreement I would cite the fact that Pauline Kael was a movie reviewer for the New Yorker. She was paid for her opinions (about movies) and not a reporter or headline selecter. But I do understand your point about potentional headlines. I would argue that overall the headlines seem to be congruous with reality.

  51. All those in favor of abandoning the Iraqi democrats to the death squads raise your hands.

    What if the Iraqi death squads are the democrats?

    And I’ll add, Republicans have a long history of being a bit torn on the idea of spreading democracy. Ike loved it, except in Guatama and Iran. Reagan was on board, except in Nicaragua.

    And of course, few on the right seemed too concerned with democracy in Haiti.

    Why? Because the whole “spreading democracy” meme is a sick and twisted lie offered up by folks who’ve finally grasped the last possible justification for their actions.

  52. All those in favor of abandoning the Iraqi democrats to the death squads raise your hands.

    By all means, give all surviving eight of them visas.

    This is the same ploy con-men always use, setting up the false promises and the false dichotomies.

  53. Andrew #47…it is certainly more than ironic that the conversation on this thread is taking place on this particular anniversary.

    Here’s more on this from Digby:

    “After 9/11 the whole world was open to US leadership and willing to work together as never before to deal with our common challenges. Imagine if we’d had a visionary in the presidency instead of what we had. Think of how we could have parlayed this international goodwill into comprehensive renewable energy agreements, nuclear non-proliferation with teeth and common security goals. Instead he treated the world like he owned it, was disrespectful and rude and when it came time to get his allies on board with his misbegotten war, there was no more goodwill left.

    And the American people are left with the bill, both finacial and moral, not that we don’t deserve it. But it is still galling beyond belief that the man who was in the white house on that fateful day was not the man a majority of the American people really chose to lead them. And it continues to gall that the American press pumped up this character from the moment he came on the scene and gave him the rope he needed to hang us all.”

  54. Can we just start every thread with the following rant and assume its a given:

    Halliburton, Mission Accomplished, Florida 2000, Katrina.

    There. Now perhaps something that is remotely relevant to policy can be discussed. I understand how a picture of a man standing under a banner on an aircraft carrier is equivalent to a dialog of Xenophon in certain circles, but some of want to hear a little bit about how our _current_ decisions are going to affect our _future._

  55. Mark B.,

    You are being uncharacteristicly unfair. I count one post (excluding yours) that obliquely refers to Mission Accomplished (& it is the anniversary, after all) and one reference (in a lengthy quote) to Florida 2000; zero on Hailburton, zeron on Katrina, in this 64-post-long thread. You are attacking the bare fringes and ignoring the heart of much reasoned arguement. If you want to criticize rants, check out M. Simon a few posts back…only his is a rant against an anti-war stance.

  56. Good call on William Buckley’s column.

    Do the “good folk” here call him a “defeatocrat” as well?

    Notice the stunning silence.

    Notice A.L.’s stunning silence regarding Phil Carter’s last article. When Phil Carter, a democrat, says something he agrees with – promoted full force here on Winds.

    When he then says something else – Plan G – Get Out – crickets chirping, crickets chirping…

    Andrew, Davebo, I think I’ve lost my intestinal fortitude to post here, as it seems an ever dwindling clique of people who don’t/can’t actually look at any of the larger issues of the day, in any upfront way. So why bother? I mean, if every general and colonel who disagrees with the war – and there are a lot of them – are automatically idiots, not much chance of dialogue.

  57. hypocrisyrules, apparently their not idiots, they’re Clinto zombies. And notice that only a few of the many names available were mentioned in the retort.

    There really is a paucity of rational objective thinking here. Yet, I find the pathologies that are present to be at least as enlightening as sound discourse because the likes of “Rockford”, Wishard, A.L., et al show just how this country could lose its soul and plummet into the chasm of fascist warlord madness.

  58. Davebo:

    Republicans have a long history of being a bit torn on the idea of spreading democracy. Ike loved it, except in Guatama and Iran. Reagan was on board, except in Nicaragua.

    And of course, few on the right seemed too concerned with democracy in Haiti.

    This is mind-blowing. Who forced democratic elections in Nicaragua? Republicans, with the help of New Republic Democrats (now apparently extinct) who used to believe in democracy, and who knew the difference between a democrat and a Sandinista.

    Democracy in Haiti? You refer to Mr. Aristide, whom you might have noticed has been kicked out of his country again – or rather, kidnapped either by us or by the French, depending on who he’s talking to at the moment?

  59. Who supported fascist death squads in Nicaragua? Does Iran/Contra ring a bell???? Answer; Reagan republicans. Who assassinated the legally elected Alende and replaced him with a fascist dictator? Answer; A Republican administration. Who supported Saddam Hussein? Answer; Republicans (and it was Rumsfeld’s smiling face and hand shake with the “Butcher of Bahgdad” that says it all)…….need I continue? I will, if you retort – again – with some irrelevant misconstrued fact. I just hope that A.L. has enough bandwith to manage the entire list of Republican supportive associations with dictatorships.

    Glen, I think you were sort of thinking about El Salvador – and then you’d only be very partially correct.

    Come on man, get it right for once.

    You know, this shouldn’t be a good republican versus bad democrat issue. Who really gives a crap; democrat versus republican. Grow up for chist sakes. This is about what is best for America. Until GWB I would have said that neither party had a monopoly on what is good for America. After GWB I say that the Democrats are, by far, the lesser of two evils. This republican versus democrat, liberals versus conservative crap is just so reminiscent of Monday night football; except this not a simple a game. This is a dialogue about our country and its future that you are so degrading with your mindlessness.

  60. oh, and BTW, Clinton may have supported region change in Iraq, but he go off half cocked and launch a hal baked invasion. Stating that you support the idea of someone else in charge and invading mindlessly based on lies are two entirely different things. How can you construe them to be equivalent?

  61. Hey, avedis – take the month off. I’m tired of your playing would-be shrink to your peers instead of making arguments.

    Yet, I find the pathologies that are present to be at least as enlightening as sound discourse because the likes of “Rockford”, Wishard, A.L., et al show just how this country could lose its soul and plummet into the chasm of fascist warlord madness.

    Bombast and posturing are on another aisle, this one is for argument.

    I’ll unban your IP and stop deleting future comments from you on June 1.


  62. #56 Mark,

    There is no functioning democracy in Iraq.

    The same is said of America.

    Thank you for proving my point.

    So let me ask do you support democracy in Iraq? Do you want to do what it will take to get it functioining according to your lights?

    Or do you propose abandoning the Iraqi democrats (such as they are) to the death squads?

  63. hipocracy –

    I’m actually working on a piece on Phil’s article (as well as his dialog with Austin Bay in the LAT). I’m just way, way behind.

    It’s an interesting problem – at some point new stuff comes up and you wind up responding to more-current issues and losing interest in older ones.

    That’s bad, but unavoidable since this isn’t my day job, sadly.

    But you’re right to call that article out, as was ‘cornell west’ to point out Buckley’s.

    The far-right in this country has always been nativist and isolationist; true conservatives don’t believe in spending blood and treasure abroad.

    Phil, from my reading of him, is walking a very tight rope. He supports the mission, feels that the resources and strategy are inadequate, wants to stand on the side of the room with the cool kids – he’s a moderate liberal – and when we have talked acknowledged the bleak outcomes that I forsee but hasn’t yet put his own response to them together. I think the world of him, and the fact that we disagree on this makes me look at my own positions very seriously – if that makes you feel any better.


  64. #59 from Davebo

    What if the Iraqi death squads are the democrats?

    I’m sure they are killing people in the market places to show their support for resolution of political difference by elections and petitioning government.

    However, if bombing people in markets is democracy, I can’t wait until it arrives here in America. Do you have a plan?

    #61 from Andrew J. Lazarus,

    By all means, give all surviving eight of them visas.

    Well I guess despotism is good enough for the wogs. Democracy is for white people who can handle it, eh?


    I have never seen a question so far like:

    “Do you support democracy in Iraq” stiking such fear into our resident lefties.

    Of course they don’t support democracy in Iraq. Of course they will betray their political principles in an instant to get one over on their political oppositioin.

    Really nice fellows.

    The illiberalism of liberals is nothing new to me. It was evident in the aftermath of ‘Nam. This is just version 3.1.0. It is one of the reasons I no longer count myself as a member of the liberal left.

    I Support Democracy In Iraq


  65. “Omar in Baghdad:”:

    I am Iraqi and to me the possible consequences of this vote are terrifying. Just as we began to see signs of progress in my country the Democrats come and say ‘well, it’s not worth it, so it’s time to leave’.

    Evidently to them my life and the lives of twenty five million Iraqis are not worth trying for and they shouldn’t expect us to be grateful for this.

    I guess that’s why the Democrats don’t care about Iraqis – they’re such ingrates. Don’t they realize that the Democrats could win Senate seats? No, all they think about is themselves.

  66. A.L. -

    The far-right in this country has always been nativist and isolationist; true conservatives don’t believe in spending blood and treasure abroad.

    Buckley would rightly object to being called a nativist. True nativist-isolationist conservatives – like Patrick Buchanan and Joseph Sobran – have of course opposed the war all along. “Nativist”, by the way, is generally associated with polite racism – except when it comes to Jews, in which case the racism is not always so polite.

    The nativists, who include the likes of Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, have been opposing the war for the same reason many of our friends here have: because it’s all a big Israel deal pushed by Hebrew Fifth Columnists. These people hate Buckley almost without exception, and most of them have clashed with him personally (especially over the issue of anti-Semitism) so a parallel with them is inaccurate.

    Buckley is not what you would call a movement conservative. Nor is he a neoconservative, though he has more in common with them than he does with the “paleoconservatives” (again, Israel is a major sticking point). Politically, he’s neither a leader or a follower, and he likes to travel on his own tangent.

    So Buckley is wrong about the war, but his opposition is not surprising, let alone embarrassing. Anybody who knows anything about Buckley is used to that kind of thing.

    It’s interesting that in Buckley’s novel Saving the Queen, the young American hero gets in trouble at a British public school for opposing US entry into World War II. The headmaster gives him several strokes of the cane for his isolationism, and the hero eventually gets his revenge by giving the freaking Queen several strokes of his glandular organ.

    Not that’s commitment to peace, and some of you posers could learn a thing or two from that.

  67. Something has been bothering me about the latest round of politicking over the war, and then i read “this”: Lawrence Kaplan piece and realized whats been tossing my stomach like a belly full of ferrets.

    _”First, Reid and Pelosi could be purposefully minimizing the stakes in Iraq. Or, second, they don’t know what they’re talking about. My guess is some combination of the two.”_

    Mind you, this is Lawrence Kaplan, not Sean Hannity. I am dispairing because, try as i might to hope otherwise, the above is correct. Look, there are valid, lucid, well thought out reasons to end the war in Iraq as quickly as possible. And i respect the debate- but whats been bothering me about Pelosi, Reid, and their fellows is that they are acting exactly like Bush acted for the first 3+ years of this war. They are simply not playing with a full deck of facts, and they have convinced themselves that if they can win the political fight everything else will take care of itself. That is a devastating position to stake out.

    We all have a pretty good idea at this point what continuing this war will cost us in lives, power, and treasure (barring disaster or providence). But Reid and Pelosi _wont_ have an honest conversation about what happens next October when we leave Iraq. They wont do it. How irresponsible is that? Pelosi apparently wont so much as admit Al Qaeda is fighting us in Iraq! Reid was us to have a ‘diplomatic surge’, what the hell is that supposed to mean in real life, nuts and bolts?! How do we convince Iran to stop being Iran? No ones ever tried that in the last 20 years? But Harry Reid has a plan to keep the top terrorist nation on the planet from crossing the terrorism finish line? Excuse me, but bullshit. Im sorry, but i cant play this game with them anymore. The stakes have gotten to real.

    I want a Democratic plan for what happens after the bill they want is passed- i want it DEVOID of nonsense that insanely assumes us leaving will somehow magically temper the violence and i want an honest accounting of what this retreat will mean for Iraq, ourselves, and the security of the Middle East. Our Congressional leadership OWES us that, if they want to control our foriegn/war policy.

    Pelosi wasnt kidding when she said the gavel of Congress was finally in the hands of America’s children, but its time to grow up. Bush needs to call these people out and demand accountability, demand answers that arent completely inane. The American people are smart enough to know when they are being handed a palm full of magical beans. And btw, if Im angry with the Dems, im _furious_ with the Republican party for pissing away their standing with the American people on petty crap and getting us in this position. A pox on both houses. We need a deal done or we need nuclear political war with 1 clear victor.

  68. Mark B.

    Let me offer an alternative hypothesis for the reason behind Pelosi’s and Reid’s attempt to force a withdrawal of US troops for Iraq in the near future. We live in a democracy. There was an election over this issue. The voters voted them into power to do exactly that. They have an obligation to push Bush toward withdrawal and to come up with his own plan for what to do at that point. Next summer the voters will chose between two candidates, each of whom will offer a plan of what to do next, following the withdrawal. I realize that you think this is a foolish course of action, but with each passing day it becomes more clear that such is the will of the American people and will be expressed in the next election. It’s misplaced blame to single out Pelosi and Reid for following through on campaign promises. At this point, your gripe is with the public at large.

    My opinion: One way or another, the US will withdraw from Iraq before all the terrorists are gone–for the simple fact that our presence there attracts them and judging by the reports of captured/killed and the subsequent increase in attacks it would appear that terrorists are being created faster than we can kill/capture them. Whenever we do withdraw there will be a struggle among Sunni’s, moderate Shia, and radical Shia for power. It will be bloody. The Kurds will separate. 150,000 US troops in Iraq for another 5 years is not going to change that fundamental situation. And, even if it could, the next president will not attempt such a course. No one who advocates such a course is going to win the election.

  69. I find it odd that the tables are almost turned now when it comes to Iraq planning.

    The administration is moving forward with their surge strategy with mixed results, and the administration is finally showing the public what its plans are in a more clear/concise manner which is something they didn’t do in the beginning years of the war. They were criticized for this by the left, who said that the administration didn’t listen to the Generals/experts on what to expect in the aftermath of the invasion.

    But now we have the Democrats pushing for a withdrawal without really much of a plan at all, and now they are the ones who refuse to address concerns of the Generals/Experts. The stonewall being put up by the likes of Reid/Pelosi is astonishing given the relentless carping that came from them over the last few years.

  70. _”We live in a democracy. There was an election over this issue. The voters voted them into power to do exactly that.”_

    I dont recall seeing that on the ballot. Whatsmore i dont recall all that many democrats running on pulling us out of Iraq (some obviously did). I absolutely dont recall the DNC or any major player advocating a long term foriegn policy initiative and asking the voters to judge them on it. Dems won for a variety of reasons, most of them having to do with how tin eared, arrogant, and corrupt the Republicans were.

    I dont agree with your premise Mark. I can quote you chapter and verse of Dems waffling, flip flopping, and in fact stating unequivically that they would NOT do exactly what they are now trying to do. Pre-election and post election. Reid in particular is now going completely against everything he was saying this winter.

    _”They have an obligation to push Bush toward withdrawal and to come up with his own plan for what to do at that point.”_

    Now that is as wrong as it is wreckless. They have an obligation to jump off a cliff and _then_ develop a plan for surviving the fall?

    _”Next summer the voters will chose between two candidates, each of whom will offer a plan of what to do next, following the withdrawal.”_

    If Dems get what they are demanding, we will have withdrawn by then and the next president will have nothing to do but try to pick up the pieces. Thats exactly why what is happening now is so idiotic and dangerous. We know the cost another year and a half will cost us in Iraq (all things being equal, assuming the surge isnt decisive and nothing cataclysmic happens). But the Dems have offered us ZERO information on what they expect their current demands to yeild.

    _”I realize that you think this is a foolish course of action, but with each passing day it becomes more clear that such is the will of the American people and will be expressed in the next election.”_

    Then logically we should be waiting until the next election to make decisions about the foriegn policy and war conduct of this nation. One might come to think that Reid et al are trying to score political points with this withdrawal to win that election, instead of vice-versa. One might think that because REID HAS SAID AS MUCH. That is egregiously irresponsible. I dont honestly think they Dems are looking to ‘throw’ the war consciously, but i do think they are intentionally ignoring facts that might cause them to reconsider, which is exactly what Kaplan is suggesting . Politicians do it all the time, but in a time of war it is simply unacceptable.

    _”My opinion: One way or another, the US will withdraw from Iraq before all the terrorists are gone–for the simple fact that our presence there attracts them and judging by the reports of captured/killed and the subsequent increase in attacks it would appear that terrorists are being created faster than we can kill/capture them.”_

    Well obviously killing ‘all the terrorists’ is a Quixotian goal at best. That isnt the goal. Helping Iraq establish itself as a viable national government and deal with the terrorists itself is the goal. And this would be a great defeat for terrorism, without question. Whether they are being created faster than we kill them is obviously debateable, but another question unanswered by the Democrats is what will happen to theose self-same terrorists once they manage to wreck Iraq to their liking. I’m not even going to snark up an obvious answer. They havent touched that, and its a critical and entirely relevant question.

    _”Whenever we do withdraw there will be a struggle among Sunni’s, moderate Shia, and radical Shia for power. It will be bloody. The Kurds will separate. 150,000 US troops in Iraq for another 5 years is not going to change that fundamental situation. And, even if it could, the next president will not attempt such a course. No one who advocates such a course is going to win the election.”_

    Now _that_ is an honest argument. In that case we should be strategizing how to mitigate the damage as much as possible- through de facto partitions, whatever. Particularly we have a grave national duty to help the Kurds remain viable, and the Dems again havent touched that question. I happen to disagree with the premise, and believe it is entirely possible to create a consensus federation in Iraq that is relatively peaceful- but it requires time and (well spent) resources. But thats not what Pelosi and Reid are arguing. Reid flat out says that our leaving will reduce the violence, and that is simply a fairy tale. If he’s lieing thats pretty scary. If he actually believes it thats REALLY scary.

  71. Bottom line- our foriegn policy cant be treated like an Etchosketch. If the Dems dont like what the Republican president did, they cant take the board and shake it to start over. Maybe thats unfair, but its disturbing to think the holdest of some of the highest levels of our government seem to think its actually possible. ANY plan needs to be grounded in the reality of where we are today and where the planner thinks to take us. There is no ‘Bush’ foriegn policy, there is American foriegn policy. Our interests havent changed and neither have the circumstances- anyone seeking to change our course needs to account and be held accountable for the results. Thats just life, fair or not. The next president (much less this Congress) isnt going to get a do-over to show how things should have been done. They are required to show us how what they plan now will benefit us and secure our interests.

  72. AL

    You are right, the country can not maintain the consensus to “see it thru.” And it is the fault of blogs like this that failed to realize thatthe current administration has incompetently handled the situation from the beginning. Course corrections, if they can be called that, have been incremental and rarely have they been called for. You simply can not arrive at the situation “WE ARE IN” without a deliberate willfullness not to change.
    Many times I have seen various posters comment on the successful COIN campaign in Malaysia and yet no one here demand it of the administration. What has been demanded is that those Democrats opposed to the war is cease their complaining and a fealty to Republican party talking points not seen since Lenin became the dictator of the USSR.
    I have seen comment after comment on how doctrine has to be changed so people are proactive against danger and no demand made of this administration.
    Decry the fact the end result of just pulling out may be a genocidial bloodbath and a massive shock to the oil based economies of the world but until you take responsibility for so blindly rearranging the deck chairs and recognize the captain has ran the ship aground your protests are hollow. So just “MAN UP”

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