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Surge of Ignorance

The only real question about the planned "surge" in Iraq — which is better described as a Vietnam-style escalation — is whether its proponents are cynical or delusional. -- Paul Krugman, NYT, 1/8/07

There is nothing ahead but even greater disaster in Iraq. -- NYT Editorial, 1/11/07

What anyone in Congress with half a brain knows is that the surge was sabotaged before it began. -- Frank Rich, NYT, 2/11/07

Keeping troops in Iraq has steadily increased the risk of a bloodbath. The best way to reduce that risk is, I think, to announce a timetable for withdrawal and to begin a different kind of surge: of diplomacy. -- Nicholas Kristof, NYT, 2/13/07

W. could have applied that to Iraq, where he has always done only enough to fail, including with the Surge -- Maureen Dowd, NYT, 2/17/07

The senator supported a war that didn't need to be fought and is a cheerleader for a surge that won't work. -- Maureen Dowd, NYT, 2/24/07

Now the ''surge'' that was supposed to show results by summer is creeping inexorably into an open-ended escalation, even as Moktada al-Sadr's militia ominously melts away, just as Iraq's army did after the invasion in 2003, lying in wait to spring a Tet-like surprise. -- Frank Rich, NYT, 3/11/07

Victory is no longer an option in Iraq, if it ever was. The only rational objective left is to responsibly organize America's inevitable exit. That is exactly what Mr. Bush is not doing and what the House and Senate bills try to do. -- NYT Editorial, 3/29/07

There is no possible triumph in Iraq and very little hope left. -- NYT Editorial, 4/12/07

... the empty hope of the "surge" ... -- Frank Rich, NYT, 4/22/07

Three months into Mr. Bush's troop escalation, there is no real security in Baghdad and no measurable progress toward reconciliation, while American public support for this folly has all but run out. -- NYT Editorial, 5/11/07

Now the Bush administration finds itself at that same hour of shame. It knows the surge is not working. -- Maureen Down, NYT, 5/27/07

Mr. Bush does have a choice and a clear obligation to re-evaluate strategy when everything, but his own illusions, tells him that it is failing. -- NYT Editorial, 7/25/07

The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. -- Paul Krugman, NYT, 9/14/07

U.S. Hands Off Pacified Anbar, Once Heart of Iraq Insurgency. -- NYT, 9/1/08

James Lindgren (mail):
Thanks, Eric, for the reminder.

This reminds me of the views of the pundits on Reagan's challenging the Soviet Block and thinking its days were numbered.
9.2.2008 10:16pm
Dave D. (mail):
... Surrender monkeys, and without the grace or dignity to admit they were rooting for the other side.
9.2.2008 10:16pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
thats a fun collection...though you will be accused of cherry picking in 3-4 more comments and provided with counter-examples from other publications will be collected by the 10th comment.
9.2.2008 10:19pm
Cold Warrior:
To deter the flamers, I'll start with this:

The totality of the evidence suggests that the troop surge played an important part in the improvement in the security situation in Iraq.

Having said that, is it really fair to attribute 100% of our (Iraq's?) successes to the surge? Is is plausible that a roughly 15% increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq brought about a profound change, from chaos to stability?

I would suggest that a more thorough explanation is in order.
9.2.2008 10:24pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
It *is* fair to say that many of the alternative circumstances you desperately seek to change the subject to were enabled and protected by the surge.
9.2.2008 10:26pm
Hoosier:
Those quotes from Dowd are clearly fake. None of them compare policy makers to high school kids at the prom. Nor do they blatently suggest that Maureen Dowd is smarter than everyone else, even if she went to CUA and not one of those elite East Coast colleges and her dad was a cop and thus blue collar and so she really really must be where she is because she is smarter than everyone else did she mention that? because look at where she is now and she didn't need to be one of the "cute" and popular girls in high school anyway and I wonder if Bobby O'Neil now wishes he'd asked me to prom instead of that no-good cheerleader with the big hooters whose name escapes me now oh god I'm so lonely where's my whiskey?!
9.2.2008 10:31pm
JB:
Let's see if the Iraqis can keep things quiet and US-friendly.

We will not have won the Iraq War until 4-5 years after the last U.S. soldier leaves the last combat zone (possibly remaining in in-country bases). If at that point Iraq is peaceful and pro-West, we'll have at least broken even. By that time we'll also know if it was worth the hundreds of billions of dollars we spent and will continue to spend, the economic crisis that spending exacerbated, and the deaths and maimings of U.S. and Iraqi people.

At that point, it may be clear that we indeed won, or that we'd have been better off leaving Saddam alone. If we don't reach that point, then it will be clear that we lost.
9.2.2008 10:33pm
Cold Warrior:
Ryan Waxx, what exactly am I trying to change the subject to?

What I am suggesting is this: I am no military strategist. Neither are 99.9% of the people who attribute a fundamental change in Iraq to the troop surge.

I am suggesting that those who refer to "the surge" usually refer to it in terms of raw numbers: 20,000 additional troops, etc., etc. I suspect that the effectivenes of the surge is to a much greater extent a product of what those troops (the original numbers + the additional "surge" component) were actually doing in Iraq. In other words, when we use the shorthand "the surge," we should really take it to mean, "a fundamental change in our security strategy and tactics in Iraq."

And I think it has been successfull, in the way that NYC's "broken windows" policing policy under Giuliani was successfull in greatly reducing crime. Certainly increased numbers in the police force mattered, but they didn't matter as much as the fundamental change in policing strategy and tactics mattered.

Another piece of evidence: didn't the U.S troop surge coincide with a big reduction in force among British and other troops? What I haven't seen numbers on is the total "coalition of the willing" troops in Iraq, 2003 to 2008. Anyone have that handy?
9.2.2008 10:37pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):


We will not have won the Iraq War until 4-5 years after the last U.S. soldier leaves the last combat zone (possibly remaining in in-country bases). If at that point Iraq is peaceful and pro-West, we'll have at least broken even. By that time we'll also know if it was worth the hundreds of billions of dollars we spent and will continue to spend, the economic crisis that spending exacerbated, and the deaths and maimings of U.S. and Iraqi people.



while i think you are correct, i can't help but think of the michelle obama line about the ever-moving bar.


"folks set the bar, and then you work hard and you reach the bar -- sometimes you surpass the bar -- and then they move the bar!"
9.2.2008 10:39pm
Hoosier:
"What anyone in Congress with half a brain knows is that the surge was sabotaged before it began. -- Frank Rich"

Agreed.

So what did the members with a whole brain know?

Frank Rich is one of my favorites. Ever sine he wrote the story about "Grungespeak," which, it turned out, was a complete fabrication invented by his main "source" on the topic.

No connection, really. But I'm a huge grunge fan, and this was one of my favorite stories to come out of that era. Frank, if you are listening now, you are a total lamestain, and a HUGE cob-nobbler. Harsh realm, isn't it?
9.2.2008 10:39pm
Scaldis Noel:
Cold Warrior,

No, it isn't plausible that the surge of 15% more troops by itself was responsible. I don't think that anyone is suggesting that it was.

However, it was the most crucial factor, in combination with the change in tactics that General Petraeus put in place as a part of the surge. Without the surge, we wouldn't have the success in Iraq that we have. With the surge, we do.
9.2.2008 10:44pm
Cornellian (mail):
Am I the only person who has a hard time remembering which one is Kristof and which one is Kristol? And isn't there more than one Kristol?
9.2.2008 10:50pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Hard to avoid the impression that we are seeing wishful thinking.
9.2.2008 10:54pm
Cold Warrior:
Scaldis Noel,

I think you're probably right.

But someone, someday, will write a comprehensive military history of the Iraq campaign, and then maybe I'll really understand what happened. I actually think we do Petraeus a disservice when we refer to "The Surge" as a key factor, as if raw numbers caused the change. I think we saw a fundamental change in tactics, and I suspect (though I don't know) that a lot of it was done the old-fashioned way; i.e., abandoning the neo-conservative "democracy formation" notions of de-Baathification and starting from scratch, and instead securing the cooperation (through pay-offs, the promise of local control, etc.) of local clan leaders.
9.2.2008 10:54pm
Sassr:
Are the Dowd quotes fake?
9.2.2008 10:55pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Predicting what will happen in the future is folly, and those who did it got embarrassed. (Of course, surge proponents also, for the most part, predicted quick success in Iraq in 2002 so you could do another post establishing THEIR bad predictions.)

But the real argument against the surge was (1) that even if the surge was successful, it wasn't going to serve US interests because Iraq was never the central front in the war on terror and the most the surge was going to do was bring things from worse to bad anyway, and (2) that we needed to get out because the Bush Administration and movement conservatives favored an indefinite occupation in Iraq (and still do) and even if leaving means some chaos in Iraq, it's worth the cost in order to get our troops out of an occupation that never should have occurred in the first place.

Those arguments still hold.
9.2.2008 10:56pm
Smokey:
Hoosier,

Your 10:31pm post was a classic. IMHO you're the funniest poster on the VC, bar none. I live for your posts... well, I enjoy them immensely, anyway.
9.2.2008 11:04pm
Cold Warrior:
Dilan, even more importantly:

I'm going to be an optimist and say that "the surge" has, indeed, made the prospect of a stable Iraq 5 years from now a strong possibility.

But that "stable Iraq" will hardly resemble the foothold of democracy in the Arab world envisioned by Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Co. It will, in fact, resemble the kind of stable, totalitarian regime we displaced. I hope it is a more pro-American version, but I think the dream of a Middle Eastern Belgium (o.k, bad metaphor these days) is just that: a dream.

And, of course, one may legitimately ask this: if the surge was successful, why did it take the Administration 4 years to figure out that something like the surge (in troop numbers and in tactics) was necessary? If the Administration gets credit for the success of the surge, clearly it must take blame for the lack of success of the pre-surge. Which means one side was horribly wrong in 2003-2006, the other side was horribly wrong in 2007-2008.

I fail to see any political point there, and I see no way to rationally predict what Iraq 2011 will look like.
9.2.2008 11:04pm
Hoosier:
"Sassr:
Are the Dowd quotes fake?"

No. The quotes are real. It is Maureen Dowd who's fake.
9.2.2008 11:05pm
Beem:
Yes, those Maureen Dowd sound fake. I am not a fan, but The Dowd is usually much more facetious and much less earnest in the tone of her writing.

Honestly, is this just a copy-n-paste job from one of those kooky conservative emails?

I look forward to Posner's future posts in all their ALL-CAPS glory. Sheesh
9.2.2008 11:08pm
Cold Warrior:
I second the props for Hoosier's 10:31 comment. I went back and read it ... I had missed several of the O'Dowdisms that Hoosier nailed in one short paragraph ...
9.2.2008 11:08pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Iraq? Where's Iraq?
9.2.2008 11:10pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

What anyone in Congress with half a brain knows is that the surge was sabotaged before it began. -- Frank Rich, NYT, 2/11/07


This play must have opened and shut quickly, I don't even recall who were in the leading roles, and Frank certainly is giving it a scathing review, here.

That aside,

the surge was, IMO, the intensity with which the war should have been prosecuted from the beginning, and while I'm at it, with less restrictive rules of engagement.
9.2.2008 11:13pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Having said that, is it really fair to attribute 100% of our (Iraq's?) successes to the surge? Is is plausible that a roughly 15% increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq brought about a profound change, from chaos to stability?

I would suggest that a more thorough explanation is in order.
The troop levels were just an enabling part of what actually caused the turn around. Most importantly, tactics were radically changed, from sitting in strongholds and only venturing out in force, to a clear and hold program where joint U.S. and Iraqi forces remained embedded in the cleared areas to maintain the gains and convince the people living there that they were there to stay and to bring peace to the area. Of course, the Awakenings also helped, but would have likely failed without the new clear and hold tactics.

Many of the "Surged" troops went in as blocking forces, so that when al Qaeda, et al. were pushed out of areas, they could be funneled. And that is what ultimately ended up happening, the terrorists being pushed into smaller and smaller areas with their mobility being slowly circumscribed and then mostly eliminated.
9.2.2008 11:14pm
Cold Warrior:
Bruce, is there a good summary of the military strategy behind the surge somewhere? Something along the lines of your summary, but in greater detail?
9.2.2008 11:17pm
John Neff:
This is the second time that Petraeus has pacified Anbar province. I hope he does not have to do so a third time.
9.2.2008 11:28pm
The Ace:
Of course, could you please put the Bush Adminstration quotes up up like the war "will only cost a few billion dollars," "last throes" and "greeted as liberators." Eventually, they will have to be right. Its like someone who has picked the Red Sox to win the World Series every year since 1925. They have been right recently, but I would not call that feat that impressive.
9.2.2008 11:35pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
What exactly was the surge supposed to accomplish? Let's roll the tape, straight from the horse's mouth[?].
So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced. To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year [2007!]. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution.
The last time I looked, there was limited progress in reform of the anti-Baath lustration law and security handover (we don't know if it will work), and almost complete zeroes on everything else. The provincial elections have not been held, the constitutional amendments are non-starters, the oil revenue law has stalled numerous times, and despite a surplus of $80 billion from the higher price of oil, infrastructure has not been improved.

The idea that the goal of the surge was improved security arose only after that's all it accomplished; while originally security was to be the means towards political ends that are still not in view.

Indeed, there's substantial reason to worry that the Maliki government will botch the Sunni Awakening out of sectarianism.

Once upon a time not so long ago, Iraq was going to be a pro-American, pro-Israel[!] democracy under the stewardship of the consummate con-man, Ahmad Chalabi, who was clever enough to tell the marks what they wanted to hear. Since then, the meaning of "victory" has changed quite a bit.
9.2.2008 11:36pm
AKD:

This is the second time that Petraeus has pacified Anbar province. I hope he does not have to do so a third time.



I don't recall security being transitioned to Iraqi forces before this point.
9.2.2008 11:38pm
LTDan (mail):
John Neff makes the most important point here.

We can hand off all the pacified provinces we want.
The issue is whether we need to go back and re-pacify them in 3, 6, or even 12 months.

Everyone made a big hoopla about the Iraqi operation in Diyala earlier this year as well. It's great progress that they planned it largely on their own. That isn't the whole picture, though. The US Stryker Brigade responsible for Diyala at the time were who closed the deal.

The surge only worked if it fulfilled its purpose, giving the Iraqis breathing room to train and become competent. That can't be assessed until the Iraqis take over and control provinces for the next year.

I wouldn't mind just sitting on my ass when I head there next year. Because regardless of who gets elected or what may see or hear on the news, I'll be judging the success of the surge around Xmas of 2010 in Iraq.
9.2.2008 11:39pm
LTDan (mail):
Oh, and all due respect to you, Mr. Bowen, but 3rd ID's "shoot anything that moves" ROE they used during the lauded "Thunder Run" probably didn't win us any friends.

A loose ROE doesn't equal success in a counterinsurgency.
Disciplined, trained troops with smart, empowered leaders on the ground who have been provided the manpower and tools needed win an insurgency.

The next battle is ensuring the Iraqis have the equipment, not just the manpower, they need to do the job the most advanced Army on Earth has been doing. That will be a tough sell to the American public. But think about how well the Iraqis will be able to hold onto territories when they have to have Officers clear IEDs with scissors and hand tools when we zip a specially equipped armored vehicles for the job.
9.2.2008 11:45pm
TruthInAdvertising:
Too bad that the rest of us can't play the games that the conservative pundits have with the war in Iraq. After cheerleading the US into the war, they then largely defended its execution, even as it was clear that the strategy of Rumsfeld, as endorsed by Bush, was failing. When Bush was finally forced to dump Rumsfeld, they savaged the proposals for sending more troops into Iraq until Bush embraced it and then suddenly, it was the right course of action. Now, over 5 years after the start of the war, 5 years after we were told "Mission Accomplished", the conservatives are out crowing again about how victory has been won. No mention of the thousands of American dead or the tens of thousands of Americans who have been maimed for life. No mention of the hundreds of billions spent to fund the war in Iraq. Nope, the most important accomplishment is the chance to show their arrogance that led us into this war of folly in the first place. Apparently, being a conservative means no matter what position you take, you can always claim you were right, no matter how many times you were wrong.

From such dishonest ranks, I shouldn't be surprised that Mr. Posner deliberately omits any voices from the conservative side of the debate who voiced doubts about the surge. It's not that they didn't exist. But like other conservative pundits, Mr. Posner never lets reality interfere with a good talking point. So for those interested in a more honest spectrum, here's some conservatives who also questioned the surge:

The Perils of a Surge by George Will

Senator Norm Coleman (R) of Minnesota questioning the surge
9.2.2008 11:54pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
my anti-iraq war friends, can you at least say it once with me - there has been progress. it will be cathartic...say it with me "general patraeus, you and your boys did a hell of a jobs since the middle of last year."


there is work to be done, but one more time with me "there has been progress"
9.2.2008 11:56pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
truth in advertising, thank you. it was much later than i expected, but you came through
9.2.2008 11:57pm
Simon P:
I'm happy, as anyone should be, that the tactical adjustment to the Iraq strategy (called "the surge") seems to have resulted in a decline in casualties for U.S. troops in Iraq.

So Bush got lucky.

To be fair to the detractors, they had every reason to expect the "surge" to fail. Iraq was on the verge of an all-out civil war, the U.S. strategy seemed only to result in more casualties, and political progress was slow. Apparently not even the military advisors to the administration were entirely convinced it would work. But it was a last-ditch effort, and for now, it seems to have bought something of a reprieve.

I'm not sure it makes sense to make hay over it, though. Five years on, and just now something that looks like concrete success? To congratulate the administration for not mucking things up all that much worse seems a little premature.
9.3.2008 12:06am
MJG:
Here's my question, which I'm not arguing is the definitive answer but is worth considering:

Let's for the moment agree that the surge "worked" in some meaningful sense, i.e. "surge = success." But let's also say that, when the surge was considered and then implemented, the probability of it succeeding was only 20%. Would the fact that it did, in fact, succeed change your judgment of those who denounced it and said it was bad policy?

I'm not saying that's the answer but it's one possible theoretical answer. I always think of this in reference to the fact that the Cold War ended without thermonuclear war, though we now know that we were awful close on a number of occasions. What if the probability of escaping the Cold War without nuclear war was only 8%? Does that mean that, because we did in fact avoid nuclear war, that the policies of Kennedy/Reagan/whomever "worked"?

For all of these must we infer that success was the higher probability outcome because success is what happened?
9.3.2008 12:16am
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

So Bush got lucky.


he identified the man, ok'd his strategy, and then gave him all the support he needed. sounds like a world of luck to me.


I'm not sure it makes sense to make hay over it, though. Five years on, and just now something that looks like concrete success? To congratulate the administration for not mucking things up all that much worse seems a little premature.


i fear for your children.
your child: look, i got an A- on my test!
you: seems a little pre-mature to congratulate you for not mucking things up worse. we will make hay over your accomplishments after you secure your graduation from harvard.

though i imagine when you aren't commenting on the political opposition's success, you are a little less dour.
9.3.2008 12:19am
js5 (mail):
wonderful. the surge has been a success. if only someone would realize the surge was completely unecessary to begin with. Patraeus saved Bush and McCain's ass's.

Truth in Advertising, thank's for the comment above. It's disappointing that it took so long for someone here to say it. You posted a few links above, but there are dozens upon dozens of conservatives like myself who believe just the same.


To the contrary, I question the conservative credentials of anyone who does support this war at this point. I would also question the sanity and the pulse.
9.3.2008 12:19am
Mac (mail):

And, of course, one may legitimately ask this: if the surge was successful, why did it take the Administration 4 years to figure out that something like the surge (in troop numbers and in tactics) was necessary?



Because Bush listened to the wrong advisors. We are told Obama will surround himself, somehow, with smart people and listen to them so he doesn't need experience. Well, maybe. Then again, maybe not.

LtDan,

Thank you for your service. We appreciate what you are doing. We thank your family and loved ones as well and appreciate their sacrifice. My son was in Iraq in 06 &07 as a Marine. Hardest thing I've ever done was to have him there.

I hope the Iraqi's make a go of it. Turkey has so it is not impossible. Your point is well taken about getting the Iraqi Army the equipment they need. I hope we do. Thank, again.
9.3.2008 12:24am
Redlands (mail):
Cold Warrior, until someone with the experience to break it down explains it differently, I'm going the Occam's Razor route and giving credit to the surge.
9.3.2008 12:25am
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

they savaged the proposals for sending more troops into Iraq until Bush embraced it and then suddenly, it was the right course of action.


on the internet you can cherry your pick your way to whatever conclusion about an ambiguous "they" that you want. i am sure there are many conservative pundits who did not support the surge now calling it brilliant, much are there are many liberal pundits who decry a policy until its success. your post merely points out the obvious of political journalism, make bold predictions and then crow about the ones you got right and fudge the ones you got wrong. the fact that conservative pundits did this or that does nothing to take away from the fact that bush and mccain got the surge right and you were wrong. eat your crow and get over it.
9.3.2008 12:31am
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

To the contrary, I question the conservative credentials of anyone who does support this war at this point. I would also question the sanity and the pulse.



really? conservative credentials? im calling BS on yours...even Mr. Republican got on board with the war he opposed after it got started. i didn't like the start of the iraq war either, but good lord its 5 years after the mistake at the outset...the outset isn't the reality anymore. we need calculations and policies based on the reality we face not the fantasy land of domestic policy desires.
9.3.2008 12:37am
NickM (mail) (www):
js - you were the one on another thread who wished McCain had chosen Senator Olympia Snowe as his running mate.

You are not a conservative. Quit being a seminar caller.

Nick
9.3.2008 12:49am
Mark F. (mail):
Lost in all of this is the fact that the United States attacked and invaded a country that did not attack us or threaten to attack us in clear violation of international law. Bush is a war criminal. Germans were executed after World War 2 for invading countries with no just cause.

And now we have bloggers defending war crimes. Lovely.

Yes, I know about Godwin's law, but if the shoe fits...
9.3.2008 1:02am
Brian G (mail) (www):
Lucky they only work for the sinking ship that is the NY Times. In the real world, with that track record they would have gone through 10 different jobs in the last few years.
9.3.2008 1:40am
Tony R:
Reminds me of the media-created controversy over the introduction of the V-22 Osprey into combat last year. Time magazine ran the V-22 story ("V-22 Osprey: A Flying Shame") on its cover and every media outlet in the country jumped on the bandwagon. The article, in no uncertain terms, stated the hybrid helicopter/airplane was a disaster destined to result in massive casualties and military commanders didn't seem to care. One year after introduction there have been no accidents or injuries and the Osprey has exceeded even the most ambitious expectations. Israel, NATO countries, and even Japan can't wait to place orders. I haven't seen Time or any other media outlets report on this success and I don't expect to.
9.3.2008 1:48am
Da Black Helicopters (mail):
Mark F, formerly of Wisconson, currently residing in San Francisco, CA: The black helicopters have been released and will swoop down on you momentarily. We will not have our war crimes discussed openly on public message boards.

On a more serious note, if Nancy Pelosi promised you a war crime trial would you believe her this time? Keep in mind she didn't defund the war as promised. Can you close your eyes really really tight and believe that this time it will be done?
9.3.2008 1:48am
Brian G (mail) (www):

Lost in all of this is the fact that the United States attacked and invaded a country that did not attack us or threaten to attack us in clear violation of international law. Bush is a war criminal.


Guess that cease-fire in 1991 that was continually violated and all of the U.N. resolutions that were violated are non-existent to Mark F. Must be nice to just conveniently forget these things to get to that "Bush is no different than the Nazis" point.

By the way, please cite the "international law" that Bush violated. I'd like to see which ones you are referring to.
9.3.2008 1:49am
js5 (mail):
I'm a conservative. I've stopped my affiliation with the GOP after 15 years just two years ago. The republicans have leaned too far left. As far as my support of Snowe, as I said in another thread, if he was going to pick a female for the sake that she is a female, he should have at least chosen the brightest and most distinguished one. I thought Snowe would be it and I articulated as to why I thought this. I suppose you could throw Elizabeth Dole in there as well. Not suprised that she's been overlooked on these boards.

Astrangerwithcandy, let me clarify, because I understand why you say what you do. To clarify my statements, while I agree that we need to face the realities of Iraq right now as it sits, there is an incalculable number of conservatives who think starting a conflict in Iraq years ago is still a great decision! Unbelievable! I hope that helps.
9.3.2008 1:50am
js5 (mail):
Brian G: what's funny is, all of these so called 'conservative' pundits who call for the end of the UN (or its equivalent demise) also use the UN Resolutions to substantiate thier argument that it was imperative that we send in thousands of americans and spend billions of dollars on a country that had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11. And no WMD's. Which we pretty much knew before we called the troops up for deployment.
9.3.2008 1:53am
TruthInAdvertising:
"the fact that conservative pundits did this or that does nothing to take away from the fact that bush and mccain got the surge right and you were wrong. eat your crow and get over it."

Wrong-O candyman. I strongly opposed going into Iraq but knew that it was going to happen anyways. At the time, I argued that we needed more troops on the ground, not fewer as Rumsfeld insisted. If you want to claim that the surge is the reason for the decline in violence than I was way ahead of McCain or Bush or yourself. I'm assuming that you know the taste of crow from your misguided support for getting into the war and Bush and McCain's premature claims of Mission Accomplished. Or did you never fess up to those misguided beliefs?
9.3.2008 1:57am
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

in clear violation of international law.



i eagerly await your citation of international law with jurisdiction in the United States.
9.3.2008 1:59am
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
truth-

how is the campaign lead by the best anchorman money can buy? i guess to paraphrase you, "wrong-o lying man" i didn't support the initial invasion. it is cute, however, that you know better than the secretary of defense. god bless your clairvoyant soul.
9.3.2008 2:02am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
stranger:

i didn't like the start of the iraq war either, but good lord its 5 years after the mistake at the outset.


Except that one of the main leaders behind the "mistake at the outset" now wants to be president. Because of his allegedly superior judgment. Even though he said we would "win it easily."
9.3.2008 2:11am
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
i forgot obama campaign staffer, see above i negated your comment before you made it.

not that this really applies, i just want to quote it:


It hurts doesn't it? Your hopes dashed, your dreams down the toilet. And your fate is sitting right besides you.


- Teddy KGB
9.3.2008 2:11am
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

Except that one of the main leaders behind the "mistake at the outset" now wants to be president. Because of his allegedly superior judgment. Even though he said we would "win it easily."



uh oh- don't look at the democratic record on this.
9.3.2008 2:12am
A. Zarkov (mail):
The far left in America has always taken a pacifist position towards every war except of course WWII, but only after Operation Barbarossa started. Funny how the German invasion of Poland from west bothered them, but not Soviet invasion of Poland from the east.
9.3.2008 2:15am
LM (mail):
The Ace:

Of course, could you please put the Bush Adminstration quotes up up like the war "will only cost a few billion dollars," "last throes" and "greeted as liberators." Eventually, they will have to be right. Its like someone who has picked the Red Sox to win the World Series every year since 1925. They have been right recently, but I would not call that feat that impressive.

Once again I demand to know who's hacking Ace's password and randomly posting measured, nuanced comments. I'd think this would be an important website security issue.
9.3.2008 2:23am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Why can't both sides be mistaken?

Or all three sides?

The American invasion was a disastrous failure. The Sunni suicide campaign was another disastrous failure. The Times critique was a disastrous failure.

'But that "stable Iraq" will hardly resemble the foothold of democracy in the Arab world envisioned by Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Co.'

At a minimum. Iraq isn't a real country, nobody there shows any long-term interest in governing it as if it were. The Sadrists are only biding their time for another opening, and I'm sure they'll get it.
9.3.2008 2:24am
ManBearPig:
i will truly never understand the problems people have with the "mission accomplished" banner. What was the mission? To defeat saddam. was it accomplished? yes. does the accomplishment of this mission preclude the existence of others? No. Does the accomplishment of this mission mean that all missions have been accomplished? No.

Where's all this nuance i hear that liberals are capable of? When i have time i think i'm going to look up what Obama's said on this particular issue. I do know he once said that one thing he's pround of is that he never simplifies issues.
9.3.2008 3:54am
JPG:
I especially like to see the snake bite its own tail.

A. Zarkov wrote:
The far left in America has always taken a pacifist position towards every war except of course WWII, but only after Operation Barbarossa started. Funny how the German invasion of Poland from west bothered them, but not Soviet invasion of Poland from the east.



Interestingly enough, the American Communist Party was the very first nationally organized political group to advocate a direct military confrontation against the fascist forces. In Spain and China, notably. Ironically, American conservative forces were the ones who nationally benefitted the most the fascist uprising worldwide. As the left was shouting for war, American business leaders viewed fascism as a viable system to both preserve their interests and end the economic woes of the Depression. Truth is, FDR had to face more isolationism on his right than on his left...
9.3.2008 6:02am
Positroll:
"Bruce, is there a good summary of the military strategy behind the surge somewhere? Something along the lines of your summary, but in greater detail?"
Try this book by Michael Yon: www.amazon.com/
Moment-Truth-Iraq-Greatest-Generation/dp/0980076323

Lots of papers here:
http://smallwarsjournal.com/mag/

Lots of stuff here too:
http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/
9.3.2008 7:47am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
zarkov.
What Soviet invasion of Poland? Not only did the communists support it, they made sure nobody in the US knew about it. Ask anybody. And, recently, Russia has said the Katyn Forest massacre was justified. Some things never change.
Various folks have detailed the head-snapping 180s the commies in the west did, as the line up changed. Anti-fascist. Then stay out of the bosses's war. Then be nice to the Germans (Molotov Ribbentrop), then, after Barbarossa, help the suffering Russian people.
Pete Seeger released an album calling for non-involvement. Ron Radosh, a pink diaper baby, recalls hustling around to record stores to retrieve the disks after Barbarossa.
The only thing anybody recalls from Seeger in those days is "Reuben James". Radosh &Co. did a bang-up job.

Yup. Commies are really the side of good and peace and all....
9.3.2008 8:46am
AAA:
I dont necessarily think the article cites the "surge" as the mani reason for handing over the Anbar province. The US has won over Iraqis and insurgents by throwing money at them, keeping them on American payroll and using that the incentive for change... the article also cites to the change in philosophy among some of the insurgents, as they began to turn against Al Qaeda as a result of Al Qaeda's pressure to kill other Iraqis who joined the new government... the article gives credit, it seems, to the "Awakening Council" and not once credits an increase in US forces for the change in Anbar
9.3.2008 9:00am
Positroll:
Good summary + discussion:
http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com
/2008/06/gentile-not-gentle.html

In many of the capital’s most dangerous neighborhoods, the enhanced number of U.S. troops, a greater commitment by the ISF, and their permanent presence improved local security, allowed forces to “hold” cleared areas, and tamped down sectarian killings. Gentile is right, however, that the decision by many Sunni combatants to switch sides and Sadr’s decision to have JAM stand on the sidelines were the biggest causes of the reduction in violence in 2007. But, even here, the relationship to the surge is more complex than Gentile acknowledges. The Sunni Awakening began in Anbar months before the surge as a consequence of changing Sunni calculations regarding the utility of partnerships with U.S. forces to protect them from AQI atrocities and Shia militias (not just the “bribes” Gentile emphasizes). Nevertheless, although the beginning of the Awakening had little to do with the surge, in some areas, particularly in Baghdad and Diyala, the addition of extra forces and the provision of retail-level population security did facilitate the expansion of the Awakening. Likewise, although Sadr’s decision to freeze JAM activities in August 2007 was largely a reaction to intra-Shia competition, JAM’s deteriorating image, and a desire to achieve better command and control over his militia, it was also partly driven by a desire to avoid a direct confrontation with the more numerous and more present Americans.

Interesting discussion here, too:

http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/
showthread.php?t=4782&highlight=Mansoor

These two excerpts sum it up in my opinion:

... the realationship of causes and effects in Iraq will be debated for a long time. I agree that there was no wholescale change in tactics, except possibly in certain local areas. The "surge" enabled us to more effectively execute those tactics in critical areas. Also, I think that beyond the simple increase of troop numbers, the surge represented a political statement of will to continue the fight in Iraq at a time when we were signalling transition and withdrawal.

... I think that some people fail to realize that there is no quick win in a COIN environment and the perceived success of the surge is also a result in part of seeds planted and actions taken long before the surge was devised or implemented. ... And of course COIN takes presence, patience, and persistence. You have to have security forces present in sufficient forces engaged with the population and providing the necessary secure environment. You must have patience because change does not happen over night, the enemy has a vote and most importantly the essence of COIN (as in all warfare) is about dealing with human behavior. And finally you must be persistent because not all strategies and tactics work in every situation. You must adapt strategies and tactics to suit the specific conditions and most importantly the changing conditions.
9.3.2008 9:30am
SeaLawyer:

American Communist Party was the very first nationally organized political group to advocate a direct military confrontation against the fascist forces.


That is only because the fascist’s where fighting against the communist's. It is not like the American Communist party was advocating military action to further American interests.
9.3.2008 9:39am
GMS:
the American Communist Party was the very first nationally organized political group to advocate a direct military confrontation against the fascist forces.

... having first received their talking points from their Russian overlords. And then when Hitler and Stalin cut their deal on Poland, it was "our wonderful allies the fascists." Until Hitler broke the deal. I imagine many a communist suffered a sprained neck as their Russian puppetmasters kept pulling their strings in different directions. "It's Tuesday, so I must be an anti-fascist."
9.3.2008 9:41am
mpbk (mail) (www):
The elephant in the room that no one seems to talk about when airchair quarterbacking this thing is that it is quite possible that the success we see now could not have been achieved without the sectarian infighting plus Al Qaeda stupidity playing out for a couple bloody years first. You clamp a lid on a society as tight as Saddam did for 30 years, you got to expect a little steam to blow off before the waters settle.

This shouldn't be a radical thought - it happens all over the world in similar situations, when dictators loose grasp of a multi-ethnic society previous held together by brutal force - we certainly saw it in Yugoslavia without even being involved.

So yes, the surge and a change of tactics worked in *2007*. But would have the extra manpower and the different tactics have worked in 2004? I'm thinking not. I don't think we would have had the cooperation of the Iraqis in 2004 that we have in 2007. Not only that, our men on the ground did not have the cultural understanding of the Iraqis in 2004 that they now do in 2007.

I'm not sure what would have worked best in 2004. There's always the cold possibility that nothing would have.
9.3.2008 9:47am
Kilo (mail):
Surrender monkeys, and without the grace or dignity to admit they were rooting for the other side.


5 years of discussing Iraq and this is still the only level of reasoning your brain can achieve is it ?
9.3.2008 9:51am
Hoosier:
The elephant in the room that no one seems to talk about when airchair quarterbacking

Now there's a mixed metaphor that givev me a good mental image.
9.3.2008 10:02am
Hoosier:
JPG--You really do have your history wrong. The Popular Front era was superceded by the Non-Aggression Pact era, which was then superceded by the War Against Fascism.

"Interestingly," the ACP followed the line on war and intervention coming out of Moscow. So between June 1940 and June 1941, interventionists were capitalist war mongers. Then came Barbarosa, and they stopped being evil once again.

Interestingly.
9.3.2008 10:06am
Kilo (mail):
Kind of an odd choice to pull these quotes out now and attribute the term "ignorance" to them Eric.

Apart from these people talking only about the troop increases and the situation in Anbar only relating to that decision in part, even if you wanted to cite this, is there a reason other than ignorance about Iraq that you waited until now to do it ?

Seriously, your ignorance is my only guess for why you post this now rather than 2 months ago.
Since then, the only thing that has has changed in regard to the positive security situtation in Anbar is that the SoI forces -- former insurgents numbering greater than 100000 -- which were largely responsible for this pacification have now started being targetted by the Iraqi government they were formerly promised employment with.

What explanation is there for this other than your complete ignorance of what is reported in the Iraqi media ? It's been rosy for quite a while until now. Now it looks decisively dark. And you've decided to pin the surge to it.
9.3.2008 10:12am
LogicalUS (mail):
What we see in the comments are here by our leftist "friends" are that under no circumstances must Iraqi Freedom be seen as a success for America and especially not for George Bush. Everything else must take a backseat, even reality.

The fact is that the Middle East, Iraq and the world in 2008 is a much better place without a government as atrocious as that of Saddam's in it. The Iraqis are free from the horrid terror of Saddam and his sons, the Kuwaiti's no longer have to wonder if that rumble to the north isn't the Republican Guard coming again to pillage their country, Palistinian families are no longer compensated for the murder of Israelis, and terrorist the world over have one less place to acquire funds for their plots. Of course the left's favorite "international law" arbitators, France, Germany and the UN, are no longer getting millions of dollars of bribes and weapon deals for protecting Saddam and I guess that's a shame. Iraq must be a failure at all cost.

I suspect that in 10 years, much like Reagan and the Soviets, you won't be able to find any leftist who wasn't standing right beside Bush and, as you can see from the comments, the leftist are frantically searching for their Iraqi Gorbachev, whom they can credit for winning the war.

All this conjecture about whether Bush's surge was responsible, misses the main point. We absolutely know that following the recommendations of the leftists would not have resulted in the current state of affairs in the Middle East. At the very least, Saddam and his sons would still be in charge or, if Obama had been listened to in 2006, Iran would now have de-facto control and hundred of thousands of Iraqis who joined the US in struggling for freedom for their country would be dead.
9.3.2008 10:19am
TCO:
I'm glad that they stabilized the country. I ALWAYS wanted to "be wrong" about the surge. I think it's a real stretch though to justify more axiomatically this kind of nation building and the economy of using US forces in this type of thing. Iraq is not out of the woods yet, by any means. The government might (still) fall if we left. And troops are more usefully used for Decatur like raids on beys than for this sort of quagmire.
9.3.2008 10:21am
Sarcastro (www):
LogicalUS friggen leftists! The Iraq war had no downside at all. And it got Saddam out of power! I call that an unmitigated victory.

Except for the leftists who luuved them some Iraq, cause Iraq luved France Germany and the UN (the REAL axis of evil).

And the left also luvs terror, which is the only explanation for why they weren't for this totally awesome war to begin with, and why they don't support it now that the surge has clearly brought us the satisfaction of total Mission Accomplishment(tm).
9.3.2008 10:28am
BC (mail):
Apparently the surge was a very uncertain gambit by the Bush and the US military.

And its "success" also involved Iraqis getting really, really fed up with all the violence provoked by both the Americans and al-Qaeda, as well as payments (also labeled bribes) to thousands of Sunni insurgents to play nice.

But there is no way to call Iraq a "success" in any manner. Even if you take the thoroughly discredited reasons for invading in the first place off the table, it's already been a disaster for the Iraqi people. The utter lack of follow-up planning to the invasion allowed chaos to ensue and opened the door wide open to al-Qaeda and its allies to enter Iraq for real, and the resultant bloody mashup of American and insurgent forces was like a super Katrina washing over Iraq, leaving death and destruction behind. The "surge," even if it truly is working as advertised, was like the federal response to Katrina — too late and still half-assed.
9.3.2008 10:34am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Kind of an odd choice to pull these quotes out now and attribute the term "ignorance" to them Eric.


Well he's trying to be nice. "Mendacity and stupidity" would have been more accurate.
9.3.2008 10:38am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Very telling that no defenders of the Surge have compared its results with its original goals as articulated by W himself.

The Surge has had very limited, partial, incomplete (and easily reversed) "success" far short of its original goals, and it stands out mostly because every other Administration plan for Iraq was a total and unequivocal failure.

With enough troops and bribe money we have been able to reduce, although not eliminate, violence. Political reconstruction of Iraq as intended? Not yet, perhaps not ever.
9.3.2008 10:39am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

LogicalUS friggen leftists! The Iraq war had no downside at all. And it got Saddam out of power! I call that an unmitigated victory.


Speaking of mendacity and stupidity.
9.3.2008 10:39am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
stranger:

don't look at the democratic record on this


Dems who said we would "win it easily?" Really? I hadn't noticed. In any case, this is the number of Dems who said that, who are currently running for president: zero.
9.3.2008 10:40am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zarkov:

The far left in America has always taken a pacifist position towards every war except of course WWII


I guess that why Bush's approval ratings hit 90% shortly after he invaded Afghanistan. Then again, I guess it depends how you define "far."
9.3.2008 10:40am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
eagar:

The Sadrists are only biding their time for another opening, and I'm sure they'll get it.


Indeed. And the time will come that Maliki will return to his roots as an Islamist terrorist, and we'll have the same epiphany about him that we eventually had about Saddam, and the usual suspects will tell us about the grim threat posed by Maliki. We supported Saddam before we didn't.
9.3.2008 10:40am
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
While we're talking up the virtues of "reminders," I seem to recall two other occasions advocates of the war were able to engage in like bouts of triumphalism: Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech; and the 2005 elections.

I'd have thought this sad history would have chastened such advocates rather emboldened them.
9.3.2008 10:51am
matt (mail):
you really should read Col Peter Mansoor's book. He noted in 2004, as did a number of senior officers, that we simply did not have enough troops on the ground. Gangs, terrorists, looters, and hooligans of all types stripped Iraq of its infrastructure faster than a Cadillac in South Central on Saturday night. The lack of forces then allowed the insurgency to grow stronger.

Talk to any field grade or senior officer and they will tell you the surge has worked. Will it stay this way? Who knows? Do we and the Iraqis have a shot at building a stable society? I think so.

Lessons are learned the hard way, and almost all leaders fight the last war. Mistakes were made, but the progress now is real.
9.3.2008 10:52am
matt (mail):
JPG;

As soon as the Germans and Russians signed the non-aggression pact in 1939, the CPUSA and every other major communist party reversed their stance against intervention.

The Russians stole the Spanish treasury during the Civil War and used much of the money to fund the Comintern. Leftist volte faces are nothing new...
9.3.2008 11:02am
Sarcastro (www):
Changes in position are specific to leftists. That's how you can spot them!
9.3.2008 11:12am
submandave (mail) (www):
"We will not have won the Iraq War until 4-5 years after the last U.S. soldier leaves the last combat zone (possibly remaining in in-country bases)."

JB, I'd say we can be sure we've won in Iraq when the first military orders to Iraq are written allowing dependents to accompany the member.
9.3.2008 11:21am
Hoosier:
Sarcastro :
Changes in position are specific to leftists. That's how you can spot them!


Nope. But the timing of surprising about-faces could give one pretty good circumstantial evidence that some leftists organization were merely fronts for TzK USSR.

Although I have no idea why I ever respond to you: You've posted, like, a billion times, and never once finished your comment with "Spooooooon!"

How can I take you seriously under those circumstances?
9.3.2008 11:43am
Sarcastro (www):
[Hoosier I agree re: the Soviets funding leftist groups back in the day. Doesn't mean too much about current leftist politics, though. Especially after McCarthyism.

As for the Spooon ref, wrong character! But thank goodness for the joke. I'd worried that the recent bout Palin Blog Madness had sapped your sense of humor!]
9.3.2008 11:48am
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
Having said that, is it really fair to attribute 100% of our (Iraq's?) successes to the surge? Is is plausible that a roughly 15% increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq brought about a profound change, from chaos to stability?


Since you obviously don't know what "the surge" is, you should probably just read up on it to find the answer to your question.

It was not just throwing a few dozen thousand extra troops at the problem. It was a change in strategy and in basic antiinsurgent philosophy. Just a little resolve goes a long way, and that showed the Sunnis who were terrorized by Al Qaeda that we would stand with them against that evil, despite the constant whine in Washington about retreating in shame.

And Bush and the military accomplished this despite America's past broken promises to stand with the true freedom fighters of history, who were often then obliterated by tyrants.

And when we got the Sunnis to stand up against the oppressor, and lent just enough extra muscle to beat the crap out of the extremists, they took a large stake in victory, and in the success of their new democratic nation.

The extra military might, relatively small compared to the troops already there, added a good deal of flexibility to quickly move from target to target, and to morph with the changing conditions on the ground as the year progressed.

All this gave the Iraqi government time to solidify, to slowly gain the confidence of its constituents, and to root out troublemakers like Al Sadr.

Now if our own Congress could be as focused on "reconciliation" as the Iraqis. The Dems are more hopelessly bent on vengeance over dangling chads from 2000 than Iraqi Shias are over their tortured and disappeared families and mass graves.
9.3.2008 11:56am
Thales (mail) (www):
Hoosier:

I don't think Frank Rich wrote the Times' Grungespeak article (which I agree, was very unintentionally funny):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grunge_speak

As for the surge--the cited article attributes the pacification of Anbar primarily to Sunni revolt against Al-Quaeda. We can plausibly claim that more American troops was a contributing factor, but what about simple internal sickness with everyday bombings, and what about our infrequently-spotlighted bribery of Sunni tribes to stop fighting us? If the latter counts as an element of the "troop surge" strategy, I think a new moniker is in order.

So yes, in a very qualified sense, liberal Times columnists have been wrong about the surge--but given that the war as a whole has been a pretty colossal and expensive failure, regardless of a tactic that restores violence to pre-bombing of the Askariya shrine levels, I think this lapse is pretty forgivable in comparison to the consistently wrong and goalpost-moving initial promoters of the war in the first place.
9.3.2008 12:06pm
Hoosier:
Thales--

Your'e right. I looked back, and I did say that Rich "wrote" the story. Harsh realm! He was the section editor who set up some poor slob--whose name escapes me--to write the thing. Mr. Poor Slob added a few more mistakes, including calling Hole an all-female group. Which, if true, means that Kristen Pfaff was involved in a same-sex relationship with Eric Erlandson. And I'm not sure how that can be explained. And getting wrong the origins of the term "grunge" itself. Oops.

All to be discussed in its broader cultural and generational significance in my forthcoming book: "Grunge! What I Write about After I Get Tenure."
9.3.2008 12:31pm
Mark Bahner (www):
"We will not have won the Iraq War until 4-5 years after the last U.S. soldier leaves the last combat zone (possibly remaining in in-country bases)."

We won the Iraq "War" a long time ago. Saddam Hussein and his sons no longer rule Iraq. They have a democratically elected government.
9.3.2008 12:32pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
How was the war "a failure"?

Before we went in, there was a brutal tyrant in power, who murdered and tortured his own people, who filled mass graves, who violated the ceasefire agreement from the 1991 Gulf War (which was never officially ended), who violated UN resolutions, and who used corrupt governments and Marxist apologists and the treacherous United Nations to get around all sanctions.

We had a mad dictator who had possessed WMD, and who then failed to account for their current status, and who we now know planned to ramp up their production as soon as those pesky sanctions were lifted, which they would have been. That includes nuclear weapons, despite all the mockery from his compatriots on the Left. You think Iran and Libya were getting favoritism from AQ Khan over Saddam? Think again.

We had a wealthy financier of world-wide terrorism, who gave training and aid and sanctuary to some of the world's worst terrorists, including Abu Nidal and an architect of the original WTC attack of '93. He paid suicide bombers' families in Israel to motivate the killing of innocents. He sent death squads to kill political enemies abroad, including a former President.

And after the war, we have a democratic Iraq, a potentially powerful ally in the region. We have a state that actively fights terrorists, and finances none of it. We already have a more stable republic, run largely by Shiites. Contrast that with their neighbor Iran, which before was the only Shiite game in town.

We don't [all] know where Saddam sent or hid his WMD stock. But we now know where it isn't.

Also, directly because of the Iraq invasion, we thwarted a nuclear Libya. Now there's a bonus. We also got to reveal a whole host of world leaders, UN heads and British MPs to be corrupt traitors, selling out their responsibilities for a few thousand pounds. When history is finally recorded, George W. Bush and his wars (yes, "his" wars) will look very noble compared to the weasel traitors with their hand in Saddam's pie, and the smelly hippies preaching "peace and love" in favor of a ruthless mass murderer.

Only the Democratic party would paint the founding and fostering of free democracies around the world, where before there was only misery, as a "failure."

I guess the only revolution they approve of happened in 1917.
9.3.2008 12:56pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
So yes, in a very qualified sense, liberal Times columnists have been wrong about the surge--but given that the war as a whole has been a pretty colossal and expensive failure...


Yes, Lord Cornwallis. In a very qualified sense, good King George has been wrong about the Battle of Yorktown, but given that the American Revolution as a whole has been a pretty colossal and expensive failure...
9.3.2008 1:01pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
matt sez:

'He noted in 2004, as did a number of senior officers, that we simply did not have enough troops on the ground.'

Shoot, I was complaining about that BEFORE the invasion started. My view was that Bush I failed to drive on Baghdad in Gulf I not for some prudential political reasons but because he had no infantry of his own and his borrowed infantry was not going to go with him.

Bush I tried to tell Bush II that you cannot occupy hostile territory without infantry, but Rumsfeld and his senior officers thought different.

The high command of the Army, both civilian and military, is thoroughly incompetent.

Getting rid of Saddam was great. But now we're in a hell of a fix.

I'm not in public life, so no one listens to me. There has been one -- and only one -- person in public life who has called for more infantry. That's Romney, and nobody listens to him either.
9.3.2008 2:02pm
Mac (mail):
mpbk.

Thanks. I think yours was an excellent analysis.

I do believe the Iraqi Congress has accomplished a whole lot more than ours has in the last year or so. I don't think you really want to go there.

Could we have a little less "Ugly Americanism" on the part of our Leftist friends here, please? "Bribes" are a part of the Arabic culture. Have been since long before we existed as a nation. What would you have us tell the Arabs? They have to be Just like us or they are no good? We should have continued with our cultural ignorance and not figured out how their society works? Only if you wanted us to lose would that be a plan.

When did the Left get so damned elitist that everyone has to be like them or they are no good? Different societies do things differently. I think we just maybe can respect that. Get used to it, Sahibs.
9.3.2008 2:09pm
Sarcastro (www):
Mac


When did the Left get so damned elitist that everyone has to be like them or they are no good?


Yeah! Not like the Right, who is willing to let the surrender monkeys rooting for the other side live and let live!
9.3.2008 2:16pm
Anderson (mail):
Prof. Posner -- did we not have enough wingnuts here? -- left out a quote:

[Oregon GOP Senator Gordon] Smith said he recently spoke with Gen. David Petraeus, the new top military commander in Iraq, who told him the troop surge has only a one in four chance of succeeding.
9.3.2008 2:19pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
What we really needed and sorely lacked in this war wasn't infantry. It wasn't armor. It wasn't Bob Hope USO tours.

It was support from the home front. It was a loyal opposition, standing shoulder to shoulder with the President.

In its place, we had a constant wall of naysaying and white-flag waving and American flag burning.

We had a bursting-at-the-seams cauldron of anti-Americanism that bubbled night and day in all the world's capitals, including those of our fair-weather allies. We had the corruption of all the international institutions that were supposed to be responsible for doing what Bush finally had to take on by himself. America stood alone.

We had the non-stop partisan game-playing and outright treason that gave the enemy reasons to believe, good reasons to believe, that all they had to do was kill another thousand innocents, to blow up one more school, to behead one more journalist, and we would cut and run like the cowards they hoped we would be.

The terrorists had all the more reason to think that if they looked at history. The history of Beirut, the history of Somalia, the lack of consequences for the USS Cole, the embassy bombings, the '93 WTC bombing. If they look back a little further, the lesson of Viet Nam: the only way to defeat America is to get the "anti-war" Marxist left wing to lobby for surrender.

Even with victory on the immediate horizon, the Dems are still pushing for retreat. This is where deadender "insurgents" get their motivation to go on.

If the Democrats were not owned outright by the enemy, and made it clear that we mean what we say, then maybe war could have been avoided to begin with. And the insurgency would not have had so much traction.

Remember, the success of the surge was not in its troop numbers. The war had already been won. What we need to win is the peace, and defeatist propaganda machines almost made that battle unwinnable.

But even that battle is finally seeing signs of victory. Not victory for the NY Times and George Soros. And not for the Democratic/moveon/Kos Party.
9.3.2008 2:29pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
What we really needed and sorely lacked in this war wasn't infantry. It wasn't armor. It wasn't Bob Hope USO tours.

It was support from the home front. It was a loyal opposition, standing shoulder to shoulder with the President.

In its place, we had a constant wall of naysaying and white-flag waving and American flag burning.

We had a bursting-at-the-seams cauldron of anti-Americanism that bubbled night and day in all the world's capitals, including those of our fair-weather allies. We had the corruption of all the international institutions that were supposed to be responsible for doing what Bush finally had to take on by himself. America stood alone.

We had the non-stop partisan game-playing and outright treason that gave the enemy reasons to believe, good reasons to believe, that all they had to do was kill another thousand innocents, to blow up one more school, to behead one more journalist, and we would cut and run like the cowards they hoped we would be.

The terrorists had all the more reason to think that if they looked at history. The history of Beirut, the history of Somalia, the lack of consequences for the USS Cole, the embassy bombings, the '93 WTC bombing. If they look back a little further, the lesson of Viet Nam: the only way to defeat America is to get the "anti-war" Marxist left wing to lobby for surrender.

Even with victory on the immediate horizon, the Dems are still pushing for retreat. This is where deadender "insurgents" get their motivation to go on.

If the Democrats were not owned outright by the enemy, and made it clear that we mean what we say, then maybe war could have been avoided to begin with. And the insurgency would not have had so much traction.

Remember, the success of the surge was not in its troop numbers. The war had already been won. What we need to win is the peace, and defeatist propaganda machines almost made that battle unwinnable.

But even that battle is finally seeing signs of victory. Not victory for the NY Times and George Soros. And not for the Democratic/moveon/Kos Party.
9.3.2008 2:29pm
Mac (mail):
Actually, perhaps our society is really not so very different from Arab society after all. It could just be a matter of semantics.

Just think of the Sheiks as the US Congress and the US Military as lobbyists.

Or perhaps an even better analogy would be to think of the Shieks as non-profits and the US Military as Congressmen, including Senators, getting them Federal funds in the form of earmarks. Considering that the only difference between a for profit and a non-profit is that the non-profit doesn't pay taxes on their profit, this is probably better as the Shieks probably don't declare the "bribes" and pay tax on them either.
9.3.2008 2:30pm
matt (mail):
remember, in 1864 the Democratic Party nominated George McClellan as their candidate, and the center of their platform was an immediate cessation of hostilities with the CSA and a negotiated peace. Not that much has changed, frankly...
9.3.2008 2:37pm
melk (mail):
As a Democrat, I can only say that if one was against the Iraq War, one was effectively pro-Saddam. The decision was easy for me. Those here who are denying the effect of the Surge are simply delusional. As others have said, they will eventually believe that they were in favor of this war from the start. Read UN Resolution 1441. And, yes, it does NOT suggest war against Iraq. That was its shortcoming.
9.3.2008 2:42pm
Sarcastro (www):
matt the 1864 Democratic party is every so relevant to current political climate. Indeed, nothing has changed in the last 140 years. I hear FDR was secretly as Republican as MLK was.

I also wish we lived in Korla Pundit's America. In times of war, any disagreement with the war is treason.

And when we need to "win the peace" any dissent is treason.

It's brilliant! As long as we have troops deployed, the country is unified! I see no way this lack of any political check on the executive could backfire at all!

(Please note Kosovo counts as neither war nor peace, so NOT dissenting to that war was treason)
9.3.2008 2:45pm
Hoosier:
matt--Well, the current Democratic nominee does have a different position on slavery that Little Mac. I mean, I assume he does. it hasn't been much in the news this cycle.

But I've also been thinking in terms of Civl War analogies. Petraeus may be remembered as a Grant-like figure if the US withdrawal from Iraq ends on a reasonably positive note. (I.e., not like Saigon in 1975.) The general who came in and radically revamped a losing strategy, bringing victory where others were ready to give up.

Anderson: Just a word of caution on sources like Smith's. I've just seen this over and over: Someone says that X said y, but we have no further evidence. Truman's "keep your agreements" comment to Molotov in 1945 comes to mind.

Has Petraeus confirmed the 1 in 4 statement? Has anyone else reported this as the probability he gave at that time? I honestly don't know. The author of the link you posted also seems unsure. Any follow up?
9.3.2008 2:49pm
Hoosier:
Sarcastro: I hear FDR was secretly as Republican as MLK was.

FDR? Never.

MLK? He voted for Eisenhower. And his dad warned Americans not to vote for JFK, since he was Catholic. So the "secretly" part is the only part that's way off.
9.3.2008 2:56pm
Hoosier:
As a Democrat, I can only say that if one was against the Iraq War, one was effectively pro-Saddam.

melk--Your perspective intruiges me. I lean GOP, and was against the war from the beginning. But I never thought of myself as "pro-Saddam." Anymore than was Bush I or Scowcroft.

Perspectives differ in surprising ways. Don't know what else to conclude.
9.3.2008 2:59pm
B Dubya (mail):
In Iraq, as in every other area of contention between America and her sub-culture of treason, the fellow travellers will always continue to try to wrest defeat from victory, regardless of the facts on the ground and regardless of the consequences to our posterity.

I, personally, am glad that Saddam has been deposed and is now executed like the murderous animal he was. But I am not really interested in Saddam or his hideous offspring and their much deserved fates. What interests me is the strategic value of Iraq in the still hot war against Islamic terror. It's flypaper; if we are there, then they must also be there, and we can engag and kill them on their own soil, and not in the streets of American towns and cities. If it wasn't Iraq, it could as well have been Iran, or Syria or even Saudi Arabia; each and any of them would have been just as effective as an irresistable magnet for these nihilistic freaks.
On 9/11 I saw Arab muslim women and children dancing in the streets in rapture at the news that thousands of American citizens had been murdered by Jihadis. From that day forward, until those people redeem themselves as fit to share my planet, I wish upon them every evil that they dream of for me and mine. Furthermore, I intend to support any program that will deliver this to Muslim Arabs where ever they are, for as long as this so called religion is not considered the corrupt cult of brigands and caravan robbers that it is.
9.3.2008 3:00pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
I also wish we lived in Korla Pundit's America. In times of war, any disagreement with the war is treason.


You can disagree. That's not treason.

But leaking classified top secrets repeatedly on the cover of the Times? Broadcasting enemy-created propaganda and snuff films of American soldiers? Creating your own propaganda with Photoshop to harm the war effort? To accuse Marines of "cold-blooded" murder? To take Saddam's blood money and advocate desertion and insubordination? To print lies about fake war atrocities? To weep and cry about possible discomfort of Khaled Shiek Mohammed when some of his victims' ashes are still floating in the New York City air? To travel to Baghdad before the war on Saddam's dime to get in front of his cameras and make accusations against your own government on foreign soil? To out secret agents who gave us the dirt on AQ Khan's nuclear blackmarket and put them at risk? To lie about "korans in the toilet," causing riots and death just to make George Bush look bad?

Yeah, that's treason.
9.3.2008 3:09pm
Sarcastro (www):
Hoosier dude, Civil War? WW-2 is the way to go. The Civil War was all bad for us. Well, all bad except for the emancipation.

But WW-2 has it all! Great Villains (Hitler, Chamberlain) great American heroes (FDR, Churchill, Stalin) and a heckuva explosive ending.

Petraes would be Omar Bradley, cause they both have pretty cool names. And then like all of AlQueda that's still alive could be Rommel (Desert Fox, get it?).

I think that makes Palin Truman, with FDR being a Bush/McCain hybrid.

And Pakistan is totally France, I think.

-----
But I thought MLK was one of those Communist Republicans!

I don't blame him for voting for Ike. I always mixed Ike up with Truman anyhow.
9.3.2008 3:10pm
Mac (mail):
Anyone here heard of Ho Chi Men and his diary? He said they were defeated and ready to surrender but then decided the protesters in the States were their ticket to victory. He was right.
Whether you like it or not, there is a very fine line between disagreement with policy and aid and support for the enemy especially in a world as small as this one has become.

I do hope Viet Nam is not too far back for most of you to remember.
9.3.2008 3:23pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
I do hope Viet Nam is not too far back for most of you to remember.


Are you kidding? The '60s has been the Dem platform for years now. Only they were wrong then, too.
9.3.2008 3:24pm
Sarcastro (www):
Mac Google is biased! I found this out when I found no mention of any discussion of surrender in Ho Chi Men's diary.

But then I found an article on Vietnam General Vo Nguyen Giap's diary on Snopes.

Looks like Snopes has been taken over by leftists too!

Looks like all that's left to trust is Rush Limbaugh and Free Republic!
9.3.2008 3:31pm
Hoosier:
Mac Google is biased! I found this out when I found no mention of any discussion of surrender in Ho Chi Men's diary.

Perhaps if you spelled his name right more answers would come up?

(But you've now given me a great name for Hanoi's first gay-themed night club, should I decide to go into that business.)
9.3.2008 4:05pm
Hoosier:
Sarcastro:

I don't blame him for voting for Ike. I always mixed Ike up with Truman anyhow.

it's hard on tape until you get used to it. their accent is pretty similar. Though Truman's speech was oddly clipped when "speechifying."
9.3.2008 4:07pm
Sarcastro (www):
But Hoosier, I was merely repeating the name as noted Ho Chi Men expert Mac did!

[I did do the search with minh, btw. Couldn't find anything. I would be interested if this were true, though. I think current protestor culture is largely silly and ineffectual feel-good crap (kinda like my persona on this blog), but I do wonder about the one time it seemed to be effective.]
9.3.2008 4:10pm
Hoosier:
Sarcastro
But Hoosier, I was merely repeating the name as noted Ho Chi Men expert Mac did!


Well, then you don't expect me to give you a fee for naming rights for the club. Right?

But I missed mac's post. Ho didn't leave a diary, just a "testament" to the people of Vietnam. He did write at least one biography of himself under an assumed name. probably more. Is that what mac means? Or was he refering to Giap?
9.3.2008 4:23pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Hoosier.
Giap said that, among other things the left would not like to hear made public--but cheer among their own kind.
9.3.2008 5:04pm
Sarcastro (www):
[Richard Aubrey No, he didn't. Though some lower ranking Viet Cong commanders did say similar things.

Why would the left care that they stopped a war that has since been proven not to have been necessary for the survival of Capitalism?]
9.3.2008 5:14pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
Wall Street Journal, August 3, 1995:


Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, answers these questions in the following excerpts from an interview conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota attorney and human-rights activist. Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of North Vietnam's army, received the unconditional surrender of South, Vietnam on April 30, 1975. He later became editor of the People's Daily, the official newspaper of Vietnam.

.....

Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi's victory?

A: It was essential to our strategy. Support for the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.

Q: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?

A: Keenly

Q: Why?

A:Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making ability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.


via http://www.applet-magic.com/NorthVietnam0.htm
9.3.2008 5:14pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
Why would the left care that they stopped a war that has since been proven not to have been necessary for the survival of Capitalism?


Why would the left care about the millions who died as a result of American withdrawal and the abandonment of the South Vietnamese to a ruthless dictatorship?

Answer: they wouldn't. They don't care about much, except taxing you up the wazoo.
9.3.2008 5:17pm
Sarcastro (www):
[So we went into Nam to trade American lives for South Vietnamese ones? I learned we were worried about some domino effect that never happened.

And does anyone think the draft might have had something to do with sapping America's desire for foreign adventurism?

Remember, we were fighting not the Viet-Cong, but China by proxy. How was China's fighting spirit?]
9.3.2008 5:27pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
The point is that leftist propaganda is indeed detrimental to our military efforts. Or it attempts to be, at the least. And it's always accompanied by "How Dare You Question My Patriotism?!"

It's transparent now. You're not antiwar. You just root for the other side. You know, for the "freedom fighters."
9.3.2008 5:40pm
Sarcastro (www):
[Korla Pundit so in a time of war, no dissent is allowed? Really? What about Kosovo? I saw a lot of dissent there.

And how is it transparent to any but a crazy person that anyone who disagrees with Iraq loves the insurgency?]
9.3.2008 5:42pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
[Korla Pundit so in a time of war, no dissent is allowed? Really? What about Kosovo? I saw a lot of dissent there.


Read my comment again.

Dissent does not mean leaking classified secrets. It does not mean aiding the enemy. It does not mean making false accusations against the troops.

You can dissent all you want. But actively hurting the war effort is treason.

Get it now?
9.3.2008 5:46pm
Sarcastro (www):
[Korla Pundit I don't recall the anti-Vietnam protestors revealing any secrets, were they not traitors?

I thought we were talking "leftist propaganda," not classified secrets.

But As for classified secrets, I daresay this may have something to do with the extension of what is classified these days. Indeed, Republicans have fallen prey to this issue as well.

Moreover, it doesn't look like anyone has actually been harmed by these so called leaks. I guess those traitors at the times are kinda bad at aiding the enemy, eh?

And the Murtha false accusation thing you alluded to...yeah, looks like he got some bad info there. But that's hardly treason. His intent seemed to me to be to show the strain the troops were under, not to undermine the war effort.
9.3.2008 5:52pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
What about Kosovo? I saw a lot of dissent there.


OK. Did Newt Gingrich leak secrets to the enemy?

Did Bush Sr. go around the world denouncing his successor and America as a whole for its actions in the Balkans?

Did the NY Post print false accusations of war crimes to make Clinton look bad?

Maybe those who didn't like our presence in Kosovo were right, since it's still a bigger mess there than it is now in Iraq.

Or do you only dislike Republican wars?
9.3.2008 5:52pm
Korla Pundit (mail) (www):
[Korla Pundit I don't recall the anti-Vietnam protestors revealing any secrets, were they not traitors?


We're talking about the current war. I know it's hard to keep track.

NY Times does it all the time. Many useful intelligence operations have been destroyed by their BDS.
9.3.2008 5:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Eric Haney referenced the WaPo's leak of an op to retrieve Americans from Laos. They had to abort the plan.
I called the WaPo because of other info about that. The guy who answered the phone happened, by coincidence, to be the lead writer. He lied about the circumstances, but seemed proud of the result.
WaPo had to get the info someplace.
That person was a traitor--the WaPo, too, in reality if not legally--and I hope they can be punished in some way.
Haney doesn't say who he thinks burned these ops, but I get the impression he thinks it was Kissinger. Just a feeling.
9.3.2008 6:05pm
Sarcastro (www):

Many useful intelligence operations have been destroyed by their BDS.


I can only assume it was because of Bush's manliness that we haven't been attacked yet, what with these constant and important leaks leaving us wide open.

Hmmm. American Wars I like:

Revolution.
1812.
Civil War.
Mexican–American War
WW-II.
Korea (except for the ending)
Kosovo.
Iraq I.

Looks like in the modern era I lean a bit dem war-wise, I guess. But is that bias, or is it an alignment of policy positions?
9.3.2008 6:05pm
LM (mail):
My favorite war is the culture war. Because accusing liberals of hating America is the most patriotic thing you can do. And we don't have to pay PTSD claims to liberals who snuck into the Army looking for a civil service check.
9.3.2008 6:49pm
Mr. Jon Burdick Hisself (www):
The way I see it: We needed to kick out Saddam for a great many reasons. Once that was accomplished, we faced the proverbial "securing the peace is harder than winning the war" problem, it's a real bitch trying to keep terrorists from occupying a sudden power vaccuum like the Iraqis were suddenly faced with. The war was jus bellum, but execution was poor because Rummy et al. tried to win it on the cheap rather than doing what they should have: follow the Powell Doctrine "by the book" and do it with massive infusions right up front. (Pay now or pay a lot more later).

As a result of political internecine skirmishing in the Administration, Powell was rudely shoved aside (I'm sketchy on details right now, but that's what I recall from reent books by Karen DeYoung and Bob Woodward). Hence the necessity for the surge, which appears to have been a rousing success. (Do I oversimplify? Very well then, I oversimplify. I'm large, I'm American, I'm complex, and I'm usually very busy.)
9.3.2008 8:00pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
All true, Jon, but that does not explain why Bush did not ask for taxes to pay for his war.

It wasn't only the left that didn't learn anything from Vietnam.
9.3.2008 8:19pm
PA (mail) (www):
"Would the fact that it did, in fact, succeed change your judgment of those who denounced it and said it was bad policy? "

Ummm, no.
9.3.2008 10:40pm
Brian G (mail) (www):

Brian G: what's funny is, all of these so called 'conservative' pundits who call for the end of the UN (or its equivalent demise) also use the UN Resolutions to substantiate thier argument that it was imperative that we send in thousands of americans and spend billions of dollars on a country that had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11. And no WMD's. Which we pretty much knew before we called the troops up for deployment.


Another of Saddam's useful idiots.
9.3.2008 11:56pm
Mac (mail):
Korla Pundit,

Thanks for the Viet Nam info. I had not had time to look it up. Appreciate it. Right war, right fact, wrong guy. Sorry

Sarcastro (www):
But Hoosier, I was merely repeating the name as noted Ho Chi Men expert Mac did! Also, I never claimed to be the best speller in the world.



I never claimed to be the best speller on this blog, especially with foreign names.


Remember, we were fighting not the Viet-Cong, but China by proxy. How was China's fighting spirit?]


Please, read a history book, Sarcasto. Viet Nam and China have a fascinating relationship going back centuries. I think a good many Vietnamese would take some very serious exception to your view of them and their relationship with China.

Harry Eager wrote:

All true, Jon, but that does not explain why Bush did not ask for taxes to pay for his war.

Harry, 2007 end of year revenues to US Treasury were at record levels. We were in a recession when Bush took office and then 9/11 happened and devastated our economy. We do seem to increase revenues to the US Treasury every time we lower taxes and it happened this time, too. So I never get this raise taxes thing. Besides, Johnson paid for his war by putting social security into the General Fund, thus insuring the mess we are in today and it's inevitable insolvency. Bush didn't have a slush fund to raid like Johnson did. Oh yeah, Johnson had to pay for the Great Society, too.
I think taxes were pretty darn high back then and I don't think the economy was so great. I could be wrong though.

Kennedy lowered taxes to get the economy started as it was in a recession when he took office. It worked. The economy was a mess until Reagan got in and lowered taxes.

Your thoughts?
9.4.2008 2:42am
Tatil:
Mr. Posner,

You seem to assume "surge" is the reason behind a pacified Anbar Province. I remember the reduction in violence starting before the surge, which first took place in Baghdad, weeks if not months before Anbar.

Could it be because we decided to cooperate with the powerful tribal leaders in the area, so that they have de facto autonomy in managing the region instead of trying to impose democracy, protection of ethnic or religious minorities, women's rights and a host of other political achievements? I am not saying that is not a wise choice given the hostility, but that is clearly not our stated original aim of spreading real democracy. You know, the one we used after failing to find any WMDs. This is just a way of re-defining success, so that we can declare victory and leave. Fortunately, the enemy is not a coherent entity unlike the communists in Vietnam, so we can claim we won this war as long as Saddam is not there even if we leave behind a collection of regions governed by autocratic tribal or religious leaders. Still, I am happy we can finally get out, as we are wasting too much money on this project.
9.4.2008 3:07am
Public_Defender (mail):
You don't get credit for partially fixing the damage resulting from your own screw up. McCain and Bush invaded Iraq unwisely based on false premises (I'll leave for others the question of whether they lied or just got their facts horribly wrong). They created a mess that would not have happened under President Obama. They don't get credit for making that mess less bad.

I once screwed up a case, badly. By the intent of the rules, any chance my client had to challenge his conviction should have been over. But I found a creative way around the intent of the rules, and executed it in a way the prosecutor did not notice what I was doing (even though I served him with all documents, of course). It worked.

Normally, you can take credit for such creative litigation. But it's a little unseemly to say, "Look how great a job a did fixing my major screw up."

When McCain brings up the success of the surge, he's only reminding us of the disaster that resulted from his bad judgment to support the invasion in the first place.
9.4.2008 5:46am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
thales:

what about our infrequently-spotlighted bribery of Sunni tribes to stop fighting us?


Good point. If we want to win via bribes, we could have done that from the start.

Imagine taking all the money we spent on the war, and dropping it from airplanes over Iraq. Bomb them with cash, in other words. If you do the math, the per capita sum is very impressive. Tens of thousands of dollars. Especially if you include our realistic long-term costs (like caring for injured vets).

And, in a way, we did bomb them with cash. There are literally hundreds of tons of cash (billions of dollars) that are unaccounted for.
9.4.2008 11:49am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
We had a wealthy financier of world-wide terrorism … He paid suicide bombers' families in Israel to motivate the killing of innocents.


I didn't realize we were discussing Dubya's pals in the Saudi royal family.

To out secret agents


I didn't realize we were discussing Valerie Plame.

leftist propaganda is indeed detrimental to our military efforts


Here's something that Dubya said while 3 Americans were being held as POWs: "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." Please explain why that should be seen as something other than "propaganda … detrimental to our military efforts."
9.4.2008 11:49am
Harry Eagar (mail):
'I could be wrong though.'

Yeah, you could.

Apparently you've forgotten the 10% income tax surcharge war tax of the '60s. Which proved to be inadequate. Which contributed a lot to problems later on.

It doesn't matter so much how much your revenue rises if your outgo rises faster. Bush is paying for his war with Mugabenomics. Crank up the printing presses.

Funny how the ol' world turns. When I was a lad, the Republicans were the party of tight spending, isolationism and witch hunts, and the Democrats were the party of international adventurism, big deficits and free speech.
9.4.2008 12:43pm
JPG:
Hoosier wrote: "You really do have your history wrong. The Popular Front era was superceded by the Non-Aggression Pact era, which was then superceded by the War Against Fascism.

"Interestingly," the ACP followed the line on war and intervention coming out of Moscow. So between June 1940 and June 1941, interventionists were capitalist war mongers. Then came Barbarosa, and they stopped being evil once again.

Interestingly.
"

I suggest you re-read my previous post Hoosier. I mentioned, as an example of a leftift organization advocating war rather than peace (to debunk the forementioned perception by A. Zarkov that left=pacifism in all occurrences), that the CPUSA (or ACP) hed been faster on pressuring FDR to take military actions against fascists abroad, which is historically accurate.

Your point seems to be that the official line advocated by Earl Browder was pinned by Moscow, which I concur with in most instances. But it should be noted that the left didn't start, nor ended, within the borders of the CPUSA. Even within the party's sphere of influence, nombrous groups kept pressuring the American political class to get involved, despite Moscow's position on the matter. Such was the case for American Friends of the Chinese People and the Chinese Handlaundry Alliance, for example, who kept going with their warmongering even under the Molotov-Ribbentrop era, despise their tight links to the CP.

And I didn't even mention the nombrous Unions who went the same way, while industrials were complaining that the left had influenced FDR in such that they couldn't freely trade scrap iron to the Axis forces anymore.

Peace!
9.4.2008 4:31pm
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9.5.2008 10:45am
Hoosier:
JPG: I suggest you re-read my previous post Hoosier. I mentioned, as an example of a leftift organization advocating war rather than peace (to debunk the forementioned perception by A. Zarkov that left=pacifism in all occurrences), that the CPUSA (or ACP) hed been faster on pressuring FDR to take military actions against fascists abroad, which is historically accurate.

"Historically accurate" but so chronologically incomplete as to be deceptive. The actual narrative would be: "They were against the war before they were for it."

Программа отказывается работать в Windows Vista, в XP работает нормально.

You just need to hit Windows with a bigger hammer.
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