Somewhere there is an Al Queda terriorist doing the happy dance because the U.S. took out Al-Zarqawi, and now he gets to be top dog and call the shots and prove his cunning and his devotion to Islam.
Not that Al-Zarqawi didn't deserve his end, but chopping off the head of a hydra isn't usually considered progress.
Someone needs to get Pat Buchannan to a doctor. He's showing leftist tendencies. Maybe he should be sent to a Republican Conversion Camp to cure him of this disorder.
The 9-11 terrorists were over here because we were over there. They are not trying to convert us. They are killing us to drive us out of their countries.
Before the U.S. invasion, says [Robert Pape, author of "Dying to Win: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism], "Iraq never had a suicide attack in its history. Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly, with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004 and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005.
Every year since the U.S. invasion, suicide terrorism has doubled. ... Far from making us safer against terrorism, the operation in Iraq has stimulated suicide terrorists and has given suicide terrorism a new lease on life."
That seems a bit to me like saying the king wouldn't suppress the peasants if they would stop revolting. Or the husband would stop beating his wife if she would stop giving him lip. If the Iraqi's would just stop trying to establish a democratic society and submit to repression by fascist Muslim clerics, they wouldn't have to be blown up anymore.
No one ever said the terrorists were trying to convert us. Their mandate is to kill infidels. I can see how one would get kill and convert confused. They do both start with the same hard consonant.
Exactly my point:
If under those terms Don Rumsfeld or any other administration official ever came before the Senate and acknowledged a miscalculation of any sort in this large enterprise, would Mr. Biden or the others accept the admission in good faith and build from it, or would they flog it as an admission of failure and proof of a Vietnam-like credibility gap?
One more time: We are in Iraq, like it or not. Whether or not you think the war was justified is a non-issue now. Your personal feelings and beliefs about Bush and his radical right wing agenda, don't mean jack where Iraq is concerned.
We have only two choices now: finish the job properly and leave Iraq stable enough to govern itself, or do a half-assed job and then bail like we did in Vietnam. If we opt for the second choice, Iraq will almost certainly disintegrate into chaos, like Vietnam did—and we will spend the next 50 years wiping the egg off our face. Here's a clue for you: no one thinks of Vietnam as Johnson's war or his fiasco. No one thinks of it as Nixon's war. In fact, no one seems to remember or care that the violence began between the Vietnamese and the French, or that the first deaths of U.S. servicemen occurred way back in 1959, under Eisenhower, six years before U.S. troops officially arrived. The U.S. was there initially to support our ally who was defending its sovereignty over one of its colonies. The U.S. will be judged by the outcome in Iraq, just like the U.S. has been and continues to be judged by the outcome of Vietnam.
I think the Bush administration does need help in Iraq. But the notion at this point in time that Mr. Biden or the Senate Democrats wish to make a good-faith effort to provide it strains, in a word, credibility.
The job needs to be finished timely and properly. Name calling and finger pointing isn't going to achieve that. Set aside your (*)@#$*@ personal differences, act like grown ups for once and work together to get the job done and get us out.
One individual has taken issue with my post yesterday, and I deserved it. I was incorrect in asserting that the US could have done something to quell the insurgency. There really is nothing we could have done, short of being complete and utter bastards. Many if not most of the insurgents are transplants and not even Iraqi. No military force would have been big enough to seal Iraqi borders. There is also the difficulty of determining exactly who the enemy is. Oh, dammit. Did I just make another reference to Vietnam? We could have adopted a "scorched earth" policy toward insurgents and leveled mosques from which they operated, etc. That would not have exactly endeared us to the Iraqi public whose attitude toward the U.S. seems best described as skeptical gratitude. So we opted for a "kinder, gentler" approach, to foster better relations with the Iraqi people. Maybe we did learn something from Vietnam after all.
I know all this. Some of my past writing will support this contention. It was just sloppy writing on my part and I was called on it. That's what I get for having a friend who occasionally re-posts my entries on his own (much more widely read) blog. The six readers of my blog generally aren't so critical.
However, that does not invalidate the point I was making that Bush did not have the balls to approach this war properly. There is no excuse Bush for caving to political pressure and reducing troop strength in Iraq. It was done more to save face than anything else, if you ask me. It was done to "prove" that his sunny assessment of Iraq is correct. It does not excuse the Pentagon and the administration for failing to equip our troops for guerilla warfare. Warfare they had to know was inevitable. Warfare that is costly in every sense of the word.
There is no excuse for the constant spin about progress in Iraq. The now famous "the insurgency is in its last throes" quote is only the latest in a string of spin that does little to reflect reality in Iraq. Talk about trying to polish a turd. From the very beginning the administration he has downplayed the threat of the "insurgents." That in itself is some euphemism. Why don't we just call them terrorists? Because we are fighting a "war on terror" and getting nowhere against terrorists is bad PR, so they are not terrorists. They are "insurgents." Whatever.
The rising price tag isn't very popular either. Frankly, money should be a non-issue, but no one has the balls to cut domestic spending to fund the war in Iraq. Would I support tax increases (which are coming whether support them or not) to pay the bill? I would not be happy about it, but yes, I would. We are not talking about spending money on Iraq, people. We are talking about bringing our sons and daughters home safely. We have lost 1589 lives since "mission accomplished." If only one more solider comes home safe, the cost is worth it. And, back to my point, if Bush didn't have the balls to stand in front of the American people, give an honest assessment of the situation and ask them to tighten their belts so we could afford to do the job properly, then he shouldn't have started the ball rolling in the first place.
The debate over whether or not we should be in Iraq is moot at this point. It's done. The current violence is not a battle we can win, but we should be doing our damnedest to ensure the safety of our troops who are doing their best to maintain some kind of order until Iraq is stable enough to assume responsibility for their own safety.
The debate about Iraq is heating up again, mostly thanks to all the sunshine The White House is blowing these days. I don't suppose it should surprise anyone. The policy machine has been spinning yarn inconsistent with assessments of the commanders in the field from the beginning.
I hesitate to draw comparisons to Vietnam, but there are lessons that should have been learned that were not. First and foremost, the decision to go to war may be a political one, but once that decision is made, politics are over and everyone must be focused on an effective campaign and a decisive victory. As soon as our troops put their feet on Iraqi soil, those in Congress who disagreed with the President's decision, should have said, "We disagree with the President's course of action, but we as a country are now committed to this act. Our supreme and overriding concern is to provide our troops the resources and support necessary to affect a quick and decisive victory and bring them home as soon as possible."
But, no. It was politics as usual. Instead of making tough decisions and getting the job done, something we used to call leadership, policy has been designed to placate the dissenters. Now we have a lingering problem with insurgents that should have been dealt with a long time ago. What will the price tag be by the time it's all over? Had we done the job right in the first place, I'd be willing to bet the final cost would have been lower, not just in terms of dollars, but loss of life as well.
Bush had balls enough to start the war, but not to actually fight it effectively. That would have required a honest assessment of the price tag up front. That would have required a much greater commitment of troops and cash. That would have meant sacrificing domestic goals to achieve his goals abroad. Any fool who knows anything about history and war knows that military success isn't the hard part. It's maintaining order afterward. But Bush was not willing to risk re-election to do the job properly, so he shied away from unpopular decisions to make sure his ass stayed in a cushy chair.
I'll bet there are men who really are missing a testicle who have more balls.
The election results are in: Iraqis voted overwhelmingly to throw out the US-installed government of Iyad Allawi, who refused to ask the United States to leave. A decisive majority voted for the United Iraqi Alliance; the second plank in the UIA platform calls for "a timetable for the withdrawal of the multinational forces from Iraq."
Does this surprise anyone? The Iraqi's want to feel like they are running their own country. Of course they're going to vote out the temporary government. But that's not Iraqi's asserting their independence, it's Iraqi's sending the U.S. a "single digit message." Does this mean Iraqis want U.S. forces to commence an immediate withdrawal? I don't read that in there. They want a timetable. A plan. Bush refuses to set some arbitrary date. He's been lambasted every time his predictions for a turn of fortune turn sour. Now they want him to make another one? Still, I doubt that the U.S. would object to sitting down and making a concrete plan for training and deploying Iraqi military forces.
Iraq's elections were delayed time and time again, while the occupation and resistance grew ever more deadly.
Wait a minute. Every article I've read says it was the Iraqi's requesting a delay. Well, the Sunnis mostly. Their reason? They are concerned about security at the polls. What a touching change of heart. Just a few months earlier they were going to boycott the election because of the U.S. led offensive against Falluja. But wait. Wasn't Falluja the largest center of terrorist activity? Isn't it terrorists who are causing security problems at the designated polling stations? If the Sunnis are really concerned about security shouldn't they cease to harbor Baathists and foreign jihadists like they've been asked?
...if it weren't for the invasion, Iraqis would not even have the freedom to vote for their liberation, and then to have that vote completely ignored.
Who said the vote is being ignored? Just because Bush won't give some arbitrary date for withdrawal? In case you haven't noticed, the terrorists have been targeting other Iraqis. Sure we could drop a ton of weapons and ammunition at the door of the new parliament and say, "Here you go! Have a good time!" How long do you think it would take before it degenerated into a blood bath? Maybe that's why Bremmer "summarily shot down" early spontaneous, disorganized attempts at elections. On what authority would they have taken place? Who would have recognized them as more than local power grabs?
And that's the real prize: the freedom to be occupied.
Occupation. There's that word again. The Webster definition that seems to best fit the intent here is "the act or process of taking possession of a place or area." Since when has the U.S. ever intended to take possession of Iraq? The U.S. is there to maintain some semblance of order while a fledgling government tries to get its feet on the ground. Maybe there was a reason Iyad Allawi "refused to ask the United States to leave." Where do you think Iraq would be right now without U.S. forces? Would they be holding elections? Hell no. It would almost certainly have degenerated into chaos with the group with the biggest guns and most ammunition winning out. You think that would have been the 8.5 million poor, unarmed Iraqis who voted? Yeah, right.
The Opinion Journal article is essentially a run down on the election results, what it means for each of the groups vying for power.
...the coalition of Shiite parties, known as the United Iraqi Alliance, took 48.2% of the 8.5 million votes cast ... this falls short of what the Shiites had hoped for, which means they cannot dictate terms to anyone and will have to make compromises to form a working coalition government.
Sounds like tyranny of the majority which was brought up by alarmists isn't going to happen.
Then there are the Sunnis. Their candidate slates are barely represented in the new parliament--in part because many Sunni parties boycotted the election, and in part because the comparatively low Sunni turnout did little to help those that took part. As a result, prominent Sunni figures like State Department-favorite Adnan Pachachi did not even win a seat in the parliament.
Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face...
Do you notice a pattern here? Is it just me or does one article sound much less inflamatory and editorial than the other? If you haven't seen it thus far compare the following two quotes:
We hope the Bush Administration looks at all this with confidence rather than concern, and that it especially resists the (CIA) temptation to play kingmaker or otherwise try to influence the result. The next Iraqi government will surely make some calls with which the U.S. is going to disagree... As it is, it's difficult to imagine a democratic Iraq being any more hostile to basic U.S. interests than, say, France.The Opinion Journal
So what's the prize? An end to occupation, as the voters demanded? Don't be silly--the US government won't submit to any "artificial timetable." Jobs for everyone, as the UIA promised? You can't vote for socialist nonsense like that.The Nation
The left seems hell bent on bringing our troops home now. There's really nothing wrong with that. No one wants our men and women in uniform in harms way any longer than is absolutely necessary. And yet, the left has been carping from the beginning about the loss of American life on Iraqi soil. If we pull out prematurely and Iraq goes to hell, then the deaths of those who were fighting to free Iraq from tyranny really will have been for nothing. To assume the terrorists will hang up their guns and head to the polls if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq is naive and foolish. The U.S. is simply the symbol for the very thing they fear and hate: democracy, the ability for a people to determine its own future and not have it dictated to them by someone with the will and the power to do so.
Today in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal, Brendan Miniter comments on Germany and France's sudden support for democracy in Iraq...now that most of the hard work has been done. Capitializing on and continuing with the George Bush as cowboy metaphor, Miniter likens the European nations to wayward cattle and Rice as Bush's most trusted hand bringing in the strays.
That is so perfect. Europe loves painting George Bush as a feckless, impetuous cowboy. And where do they end up in this picture they have painted? The cows. Priceless.
Today in the Washington Post:
...Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba attributed the [Abu Ghraib] scandal to the willful actions of a small group of soldiers and to "a failure of leadership" and supervision by brigade and lower-level commanders. ...
But several senators challenged the notion that low-ranking soldiers could have devised the particularly humiliating measures on their own...
What planet do these people live on? Human beings don't need to be coached on how to humilate others. It seems to come naturally to most. I still remember vividly a boy named Phillip in my Jr. High gym class. Phillip was a couple inches taller than the rest of us, gangly and uncoordinated. The "cool" guys in the class seemed to think it quite entertaining to snap Phillip on the butt with their wet towels as he bent to put on his underwear. They found great amusement in listening to him yelp in pain. Once was rarely enough and Philip was often in tears with multiple red marks on his butt and legs before he was dressed enough to be protected. One could hardly blame the coach for this behavior. They certainly didn't learn it from him. One can blame him for not intervening since I find it hard to believe he couldn't hear Phillip's cries.
I got an email from a friend of mine, chiding me for my Amero-centric response to the events in Spain following the terrorist attacks. I was also given a lecture about the American imperialist actions in Iraq questioning our imposition of democracy on the Arab world.
First of all, I don't care what your opinons about the war in Iraq are. What the Spainiards did was f***ing stupid. No, the Spanish people didn't vote out the old goverment because it was pro-American. It voted out the government because it supported the Iraq war, which led to the attack. However, since America is currently in Iraq and since al'Queda don't want us (or Spain) in Iraq, and since the previous goverment supported the war and the new government won't support the war...it's ends up being about America doesn't it? Yes, it was also stupid of the Spanish goverment to try and pin the attack on the Basques before really having full information. I seriously doubt it would have changed anything if they had said it was the Arabs from the start.
I still don't get the characterization of the U.S. engaging in imperialist colonization. Afghanistan and Iraq where military targets. We are at war, people. Make no mistake. We are not at war with the Arab world, or with Islam, as many would like to paint it. We are at war with an extremist faction and the governments who support them and their terror. Even with all the mistakes that have been made in the esitmations of the costs, even with the misinformation, misinterpretation or outright lies about weapons of mass destruction—depending on your political leanings—the fact remains that al'Qaida is rapidly running out of governments willing to give them shelter and funding. Do you think they don't get that? Saddam was stupid and/or arrogant enough to believe he could win a war with the United States. bin Laden isn't either. His only hope is to drive a wedge between the United States and everyone else. So he blows up his own people while they are at prayer. He blows up innocent Spainiards on their way to work.
It is foolish to think that the war in Iraq has increased terrorist animosity. Desperation, maybe, but not animosity. We always have been the target of suicidal muslism extremists. 9/11 wasn't the first. Only the worst so far. Europe has borne a heavier burden of these attacks. Proximity has as much to do with that as anything else. I was in Europe in 1986. There were still soldiers with automatic weapons in the airports from the attacks in the early 80s. Now Spain has shown the terrorists they will cave to blackmail. France has already stated they will not retaliate against terrorist attacks. Europe seems to think that if they just ignore the terrorists they will leave them alone. Why is it so hard to understand that the nut jobs responsible hate the West? They blame the west for their poverty. They see the West as a threat to their backward, misogynistic, homophobic society. Constitutional democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq is their worst nightmare. They will stop at nothing to undermine those efforts. They will stop at nothing to destroy the West, even if they have to do it a bit at a time. They aren't just going to go away.
The U.S. has tried to play nice. We have tried the the rule of law to find and prosecute terrorists. Or we have at least pretended at it anyway. We've known all along it was bin Laden. Our allies have been telling us that for years. If Clinton had had the balls to slap some terrorist ass around after the first attempt on the Twin towers, or after the bombings of the embassys in Africa or the attack on the Cole in Yemen, they would not have dared 9/11. They would not have supposed that such a brutal attack would sway American public opinion to inaction. Whatever his other failings, Bush did the right thing in taking the war to them. I'm no international relations expert, but having been the target of bullies through my whole childhood, I did learn one thing. They are all cowards at heart. You stand up to them and they back down. You can't reason with them. You can't negotiate with them. You either cave to their demands or you fight back. Period.
The best possibility for curtailing the terrorists ability to wage war is to establish democratic rule in the Middle East. When people have control over their own destiny, when prosperity reigns, people are much less inclined to strap TNT to their bodies and detnonate. It is going to take a lot of hand holding for Democracy to have a chance in the Middle East. Democracy would come to the Middle East eventually. Take a quick look at Iran. As Iran is learning, when people become more educated, more capable of free thought, they quickly see through the lies that their current station is the result of oppression from the West, who sold its soul to Satan.
Arabs deserve the same freedom that we enjoy. Most of them want it, but they are hedging their bets. France refuses to engage the powers that have visted terror on them for decades. Spain rolls over and plays dead after a single attack. Not exactly encouraging signs for an oppressed people afraid of coming under the rule of another despot and afraid of repraisals if the United States doesn't stay its course. What have the United States and the world ever done to show that we care more about the people who live in the Middle East than we care about their oil? Not a damn thing. And we are surprised they don't trust us? We are surprised they don't like us?
What will the cost be for democracy in the Middle East? Will wars need to be fought as in America? Will there need to be a period of hellish anarchy as in France? If the United States is in a position to coach these countries through the growth process and avoid such bloodshed, shouldn't we at least try?
Nicholas De Genova, a professor at Columbia University, recently spoke at a teach in on said campus. Speaking of the war in Iraq Mr. Genova said "If we really (believe) that this war is criminal ... then we have to believe in the victory of the Iraqi people and the defeat of the U.S. war machine."
Okay. He's entitled to his opinions. Two problems here:
- It is the U.S. "war machine" that has kept this country a place where he can have his cushy job at a university and spout such nonsense.
- I don't see the Iraqi people fighting the US. The Republican Guard is, by no stretch of the imagination (except maybe De Genova's) "the Iraqi people." Even some of the Republican Guard don't seem to have their hearts in it.
Not content with wishing our forces defeated, Mr. De Genova had more words on the subject. "I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus." For those of you who don't know what a Mogadishu is (I didn't), it refers to the dismembered bodies of American servicemen that were dragged through the streets of Somalia in 1993. So apparently it is not enough to wish our armed forces defeat, they must be savaged and humiliated as well.
Since there really is no discussion to be had about the appalling nature of such a comment, let's skip that part. What I want to know is why is war criminal, referring I assume to the hundreds and maybe thousands of Iraqi troops who will die in the conflict, but it is okay to wish death on our own troops? Does that strike anyone else as, oh, hypocritical? Isn't that just the flip side of Bush calling Baghdad an evil regime except that you're naming America as the evil regime? What's that old saying? Something about a pot and a kettle...
You know what? If America is such an evil place, why don't you move to Iraq? I'll even help you pack.