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Why We Went to Iraq
#71
Quote:

Originally Posted by NoahtheStud

My name is NoahtheStud and I am a "true-believer" in the power of Democracy. Sorry, Seabass

An admirable quality for sure but regrettably one that is of no help in the current situation. Democracy, at least in the form that we in the west practice it, isn't something that can be handed from above. It has to come from the people. They have to grow into it. And it's a process that takes not decades but centuries to naturally occur. And they are violent and ugly times. Greece, the country that founded the concept is just going through it's first prolonged period of unbroken democratic rule and stability after god knows how many years.

How could anyone expect that just showing up in Iraq and proclaiming to people that haven't experienced a democratic government ever, that they were a democracy, would work just baffles me.
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#72
Quote:

Originally Posted by Seabass Inna Bun

This doesn't justify invading the United States, and it does not justify invading Iraq.

Irrelevant. The point was that people did believe that it was and would be considered a liberation.

Quote:

You didn't invade Iraq in order to liberate anyone. That's just guff Bush came up with after Iraq turned out to be no threat at all.

America went to Iraq for a number of reasons. It would be incorrect to say that we went there for the sole purpose of liberating the Iraqi people. It would be equally incorrect to say that that did not number among the reasons.

Quote:

Colin Powell, however, explained to the world in the forum created just for such things why it was that invading Iraq was necessary and justified. It's on tape and everything. His claims were not true.

Yes, his claims turned out to not be true. He was wrong, not lying.

Quote:

Well no. I don't. I just know what I see in the news. But legal investigation would show more, I think. If I were shown to be wrong in court, then I'm sure Mr. Bush's acquital would be swift and just. ... I notice you didn't say 'because it isn't true' here.

You don't bring charges against someone unless you can make the case. Unless, that is, you're a North Carolina prosecutor.

Quote:

Nevertheless it's hard not to see the attack on Fallujah as anything but retributive killing of civilians, and Bush is Commander in Chief.

This is one of those statements that makes me feel like we come from different planets. 1 and 2 Falluja were legitimate military actions that were intended to deny the city to the insurgents who had made it one of their bases.

Quote:

This is all about a permanent American presence in Iraq, and a friendly government that will let Western corporations profit from the sale of Iraqi oil whereas before they did not.

All right, this is where it gets interesting. Let's talk about strategic goals. A stable, secure Middle East is a US strategic goal. Two reasons: First, we need oil, and they've got it. A stable, secure Middle East is conducive to commerce, which is conducive to the purchase and shipping of oil. Since Western coporations are in this business, they'll make money. So will Middle Eastern and Eastern corporations. Everybody wins. Second, the Middle East is spawning a movement which represents an existential threat to the West. Security and stability represent our best bet to counter that movement. Now, here's the catch: one of the major gripes of people in that region (correct me if I'm wrong, Ali Mohammed) is that the US supports dictators, otherwise known as sheiks, in the region. What's the answer? Promoting self-determination, which we've loosely (and incorrectly) identified with democracy.

Quote:

The US military is hunkering down for the long term; you've expressed embarrasment at the US's failure to do so on your own blog, so you have to admit I'm right about that.

This is actually something that's bothering me about the current debate in Congress. When Congress confirmed General Petraeus, they hailed him as the man with the plan for victory. I wrote that he's our last best hope for success in Iraq. General Petraeus always said that victory would take time, and that he'd get back to us with an interim report in September. Now, we in the American polity are talking about pulling the rug out from under the guy. This constant shifting of strategy is no way to run a war: in fact, it's a recipe for defeat. General Petraeus may fail, but time is a critical component of his plan. If we don't give him time, he will certainly fail.

Quote:

A law that will profit western oil corporations is in some state of passage right now.

It's dead in the water, and there are no Iraq oil corporations able to exploit their oil fields. Iraqi failure to come to an agreement about sharing revenue marks yet another failure in what's becoming a long list of them.

I want us to succeed in Iraq. I don't want to see an all-out civil war coupled with Turkish invasion of the Kurdish north. I want a stable and secure Middle East. I want self-determination to become the norm. And I harbor serious doubts about our ability, as a nation, to achieve these objectives. Many of our efforts in Iraq have become case studies in how to do things wrong. Nevertheless, I think that Petraeus is on the right track. I only hope we give him time to report back before we knife him, and the Iraqi people, in the back. If we don't, and we bug out early, Zhukov will be right and the blood will be on our hands.
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#73
Quote:

Originally Posted by Seabass Inna Bun

This doesn't justify invading the United States, and it does not justify invading Iraq.

Irrelevant. The point was that people did believe that it was and would be considered a liberation.

Quote:

You didn't invade Iraq in order to liberate anyone. That's just guff Bush came up with after Iraq turned out to be no threat at all.

America went to Iraq for a number of reasons. It would be incorrect to say that we went there for the sole purpose of liberating the Iraqi people. It would be equally incorrect to say that that did not number among the reasons.

Quote:

Colin Powell, however, explained to the world in the forum created just for such things why it was that invading Iraq was necessary and justified. It's on tape and everything. His claims were not true.

Yes, his claims turned out to not be true. He was wrong, not lying.

Quote:

Well no. I don't. I just know what I see in the news. But legal investigation would show more, I think. If I were shown to be wrong in court, then I'm sure Mr. Bush's acquital would be swift and just. ... I notice you didn't say 'because it isn't true' here.

You don't bring charges against someone unless you can make the case. Unless, that is, you're a North Carolina prosecutor.

Quote:

Nevertheless it's hard not to see the attack on Fallujah as anything but retributive killing of civilians, and Bush is Commander in Chief.

This is one of those statements that makes me feel like we come from different planets. 1 and 2 Falluja were legitimate military actions that were intended to deny the city to the insurgents who had made it one of their bases.

Quote:

This is all about a permanent American presence in Iraq, and a friendly government that will let Western corporations profit from the sale of Iraqi oil whereas before they did not.

All right, this is where it gets interesting. Let's talk about strategic goals. A stable, secure Middle East is a US strategic goal. Two reasons: First, we need oil, and they've got it. A stable, secure Middle East is conducive to commerce, which is conducive to the purchase and shipping of oil. Since Western coporations are in this business, they'll make money. So will Middle Eastern and Eastern corporations. Everybody wins. Second, the Middle East is spawning a movement which represents an existential threat to the West. Security and stability represent our best bet to counter that movement. Now, here's the catch: one of the major gripes of people in that region (correct me if I'm wrong, Ali Mohammed) is that the US supports dictators, otherwise known as sheiks, in the region. What's the answer? Promoting self-determination, which we've loosely (and incorrectly) identified with democracy.

Quote:

The US military is hunkering down for the long term; you've expressed embarrasment at the US's failure to do so on your own blog, so you have to admit I'm right about that.

This is actually something that's bothering me about the current debate in Congress. When Congress confirmed General Petraeus, they hailed him as the man with the plan for victory. I wrote that he's our last best hope for success in Iraq. General Petraeus always said that victory would take time, and that he'd get back to us with an interim report in September. Now, we in the American polity are talking about pulling the rug out from under the guy. This constant shifting of strategy is no way to run a war: in fact, it's a recipe for defeat. General Petraeus may fail, but time is a critical component of his plan. If we don't give him time, he will certainly fail.

Quote:

A law that will profit western oil corporations is in some state of passage right now.

It's dead in the water, and there are no Iraq oil corporations able to exploit their oil fields. Iraqi failure to come to an agreement about sharing revenue marks yet another failure in what's becoming a long list of them.

I want us to succeed in Iraq. I don't want to see an all-out civil war coupled with Turkish invasion of the Kurdish north. I want a stable and secure Middle East. I want self-determination to become the norm. And I harbor serious doubts about our ability, as a nation, to achieve these objectives. Many of our efforts in Iraq have become case studies in how to do things wrong. Nevertheless, I think that Petraeus is on the right track. I only hope we give him time to report back before we knife him, and the Iraqi people, in the back. If we don't, and we bug out early, Zhukov will be right and the blood will be on our hands.
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#74
Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankCobretti

General Petraeus may fail, but time is a critical component of his plan. If we don't give him time, he will certainly fail.

On the other hand, Petraeus is a hired gun. The preceding Generals who disagreed with Bush were shown the door. There seems to be a pre-exsting notion in Bush's inner circle as to what the war effort needs to look like. It isn't unreasonable to assume that Karl Rove has a say in this, and that politics are trumping genuine military thought.

I think your statement is constructed wrong. If George Bush doesn't let the military accurately assess the situation and react to it, then the Military will certainly fail. Pertraeus will be given all the time he wants, so long as his direction meshes with Bush's.

What happens then when political support for Bush disappears (as is happening as we speak?). Petraeus, or any successor, won't be given an opportunity to do what needs to be done because Bush pissed it away. This is a failure of leadership at the most fundamental level. It's either impeachment or disaster. Given the collective spine shown by Congress, my momey is on disaster.
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#75
Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankCobretti

General Petraeus may fail, but time is a critical component of his plan. If we don't give him time, he will certainly fail.

On the other hand, Petraeus is a hired gun. The preceding Generals who disagreed with Bush were shown the door. There seems to be a pre-exsting notion in Bush's inner circle as to what the war effort needs to look like. It isn't unreasonable to assume that Karl Rove has a say in this, and that politics are trumping genuine military thought.

I think your statement is constructed wrong. If George Bush doesn't let the military accurately assess the situation and react to it, then the Military will certainly fail. Pertraeus will be given all the time he wants, so long as his direction meshes with Bush's.

What happens then when political support for Bush disappears (as is happening as we speak?). Petraeus, or any successor, won't be given an opportunity to do what needs to be done because Bush pissed it away. This is a failure of leadership at the most fundamental level. It's either impeachment or disaster. Given the collective spine shown by Congress, my momey is on disaster.
Reply
#76
Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankCobretti

All right, this is where it gets interesting. Let's talk about strategic goals. A stable, secure Middle East is a US strategic goal. Two reasons: First, we need oil, and they've got it. A stable, secure Middle East is conducive to commerce, which is conducive to the purchase and shipping of oil. Since Western coporations are in this business, they'll make money. So will Middle Eastern and Eastern corporations. Everybody wins. Second, the Middle East is spawning a movement which represents an existential threat to the West. Security and stability represent our best bet to counter that movement. Now, here's the catch: one of the major gripes of people in that region (correct me if I'm wrong, Ali Mohammed) is that the US supports dictators, otherwise known as sheiks, in the region. What's the answer? Promoting self-determination, which we've loosely (and incorrectly) identified with democracy.

Like you, I'm reluctant to represent myself as the spokesman for all people in the Middle East, but as someone who was born and raised there for a number of years, I can tell you that's not exactly whats going on there. It's more than support for oil sheiks or dictators that is feeding the animosity felt by many people against the Western world. It's the sense of helplessness and anger fed by CENTURIES of direct interference and subjugation by Western countries in their race to accomplish their own national interests. Any attempt by outside countries (especially ones from the West) to attempt to directly affect the political situation in Arab countries will just be viewed by their residents as another attempt by the West to control their fate.

Invading Iraq just put the latest nail in that coffin. Rulers and their citizens can only look at the situation there to validate their fears of what Western manipulation and their imposition of their version of self-determination can create. It set back any homegrown democracy efforts who knows how many years. Democracy activists in Iran have even repeatedly called for the US to not get involved in their countries in a effort to not paint themselves as being puppets of American interests. So what's the answer? I don't know, but I do know our current policies of promoting self-determination is condescending and ineffectual at best and actually detrimental at its worst.
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#77
Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankCobretti

All right, this is where it gets interesting. Let's talk about strategic goals. A stable, secure Middle East is a US strategic goal. Two reasons: First, we need oil, and they've got it. A stable, secure Middle East is conducive to commerce, which is conducive to the purchase and shipping of oil. Since Western coporations are in this business, they'll make money. So will Middle Eastern and Eastern corporations. Everybody wins. Second, the Middle East is spawning a movement which represents an existential threat to the West. Security and stability represent our best bet to counter that movement. Now, here's the catch: one of the major gripes of people in that region (correct me if I'm wrong, Ali Mohammed) is that the US supports dictators, otherwise known as sheiks, in the region. What's the answer? Promoting self-determination, which we've loosely (and incorrectly) identified with democracy.

Like you, I'm reluctant to represent myself as the spokesman for all people in the Middle East, but as someone who was born and raised there for a number of years, I can tell you that's not exactly whats going on there. It's more than support for oil sheiks or dictators that is feeding the animosity felt by many people against the Western world. It's the sense of helplessness and anger fed by CENTURIES of direct interference and subjugation by Western countries in their race to accomplish their own national interests. Any attempt by outside countries (especially ones from the West) to attempt to directly affect the political situation in Arab countries will just be viewed by their residents as another attempt by the West to control their fate.

Invading Iraq just put the latest nail in that coffin. Rulers and their citizens can only look at the situation there to validate their fears of what Western manipulation and their imposition of their version of self-determination can create. It set back any homegrown democracy efforts who knows how many years. Democracy activists in Iran have even repeatedly called for the US to not get involved in their countries in a effort to not paint themselves as being puppets of American interests. So what's the answer? I don't know, but I do know our current policies of promoting self-determination is condescending and ineffectual at best and actually detrimental at its worst.
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#78
Quote:

Originally Posted by Zhukov

I was against this War from the very beginning. It was plenty obvious to me that we simply did not know what we were getting into. Unfortunately, my opinion was in the minority.

Now that the War Opposition has found a majority presence in the general public, the demand for critical thought has evaporated. It's either Get Us Out ASAP, or you're a Republican stooge. The tables have been reversed, but the national discourse has not benefited.

Like it or not, the United States (and the majority of it's population) wanted this War. It's not George Bush's War . . . it's Americas' War. I'm sure most of us here can understand Colin Powell's maxim 'if we break it, we buy it.' Now that we have broke it, and the price is proving too high, we simply want to leave it somewhere, regardless of our responsibility.

I with Zhukov 100%. I was also against the war from the get-go, as I'm sure so many here were. Its understandable, considering the corrupt nature of the administration and the resentment that's hardened among the anti-war left, that people want to get out now.

However, being on the right side of the argument in '03 doesn't justify taking the wrong side in '06/'07. Getting out now should not be an option. This does not mean that we shouldn't begin to withdraw troops--given the right plan.

There are a number of possible paths that have been put on the table--dividing Iraq into 3 states; our troops moving out of the cities to protect the borders; asking for assistance from the Arab League and/or NATO and/or the UN to help tamp down on the sectarian violence; negotiating with Syria and Iran, etc. Any one of these plans might not be effective but a combination of some of these might, at least, lead to some progress.

The Democrats are playing politics right now--getting ready for '08 and trying to appease their base (a nearly impossible feat, considering their uncompromising demands)--while the President, whose incompetence grows more staggeringly obvious by the day, just bides his time.

According to polls, the country hasn't been this united about the War in Iraq since we invaded. Hopefully, in September, cooler heads will prevail...if the surge is a failure (most signs pointing towards this outcome) than the Republicans--free from the chains of loyalty that have bound them to the President for so long--will start discussing openly ways to get out without putting the whole region in jeopardy. And, hopefully, the Dems will be listening and participating.

Everybody knows that Bush is a joke, among the worst Presidents in history, so there doesn't seem to be much point in the left continuing to push this argument. Its time to channel some of that negative energy into a positive push to have our representatives try and fix this.
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#79
Quote:

Originally Posted by Zhukov

I was against this War from the very beginning. It was plenty obvious to me that we simply did not know what we were getting into. Unfortunately, my opinion was in the minority.

Now that the War Opposition has found a majority presence in the general public, the demand for critical thought has evaporated. It's either Get Us Out ASAP, or you're a Republican stooge. The tables have been reversed, but the national discourse has not benefited.

Like it or not, the United States (and the majority of it's population) wanted this War. It's not George Bush's War . . . it's Americas' War. I'm sure most of us here can understand Colin Powell's maxim 'if we break it, we buy it.' Now that we have broke it, and the price is proving too high, we simply want to leave it somewhere, regardless of our responsibility.

I with Zhukov 100%. I was also against the war from the get-go, as I'm sure so many here were. Its understandable, considering the corrupt nature of the administration and the resentment that's hardened among the anti-war left, that people want to get out now.

However, being on the right side of the argument in '03 doesn't justify taking the wrong side in '06/'07. Getting out now should not be an option. This does not mean that we shouldn't begin to withdraw troops--given the right plan.

There are a number of possible paths that have been put on the table--dividing Iraq into 3 states; our troops moving out of the cities to protect the borders; asking for assistance from the Arab League and/or NATO and/or the UN to help tamp down on the sectarian violence; negotiating with Syria and Iran, etc. Any one of these plans might not be effective but a combination of some of these might, at least, lead to some progress.

The Democrats are playing politics right now--getting ready for '08 and trying to appease their base (a nearly impossible feat, considering their uncompromising demands)--while the President, whose incompetence grows more staggeringly obvious by the day, just bides his time.

According to polls, the country hasn't been this united about the War in Iraq since we invaded. Hopefully, in September, cooler heads will prevail...if the surge is a failure (most signs pointing towards this outcome) than the Republicans--free from the chains of loyalty that have bound them to the President for so long--will start discussing openly ways to get out without putting the whole region in jeopardy. And, hopefully, the Dems will be listening and participating.

Everybody knows that Bush is a joke, among the worst Presidents in history, so there doesn't seem to be much point in the left continuing to push this argument. Its time to channel some of that negative energy into a positive push to have our representatives try and fix this.
Reply
#80
Beautiful post, Ali Mohammed.

Electro97, I had the same thinking as you until I realized that the people in charge of forging this democratic path have never made a single attempt to understand the cultures in Iraq or discussed the people's view of how they want to move forward, and showed no interest in protecting that country's cultural heritage during Shock n' Awe. It has always been top-down dictates designed to facilitate western business interests.

I have since come to believe that that there will never be peace in Iraq as long as the US is there. You talk about the bloodshed that will result, but that's happening now. If the US were to pull out, at least then it would give the Iraqis a chance to resolve their path without worrying that whoever takes power will give their natural resources away to foreign companies.

Throughout this war, I've also noticed a pronounced dichotomy between what the troops on the ground, working with and among Iraqis, observe through their interaction with the people, and what the administration, which has never set foot outside the Green Zone, dictates from their offices in Washington. The insight and understanding of the troops themselves has never been put to work in a substantive way. In on-the-ground news stories I've read, they've always expressed frustration at this disconnect.
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#81
Beautiful post, Ali Mohammed.

Electro97, I had the same thinking as you until I realized that the people in charge of forging this democratic path have never made a single attempt to understand the cultures in Iraq or discussed the people's view of how they want to move forward, and showed no interest in protecting that country's cultural heritage during Shock n' Awe. It has always been top-down dictates designed to facilitate western business interests.

I have since come to believe that that there will never be peace in Iraq as long as the US is there. You talk about the bloodshed that will result, but that's happening now. If the US were to pull out, at least then it would give the Iraqis a chance to resolve their path without worrying that whoever takes power will give their natural resources away to foreign companies.

Throughout this war, I've also noticed a pronounced dichotomy between what the troops on the ground, working with and among Iraqis, observe through their interaction with the people, and what the administration, which has never set foot outside the Green Zone, dictates from their offices in Washington. The insight and understanding of the troops themselves has never been put to work in a substantive way. In on-the-ground news stories I've read, they've always expressed frustration at this disconnect.
Reply
#82
Quote:

Originally Posted by yt

Electro97, I had the same thinking as you until I realized that the people in charge of forging this democratic path have never made a single attempt to understand the cultures in Iraq or discussed the people's view of how they want to move forward, and showed no interest in protecting that country's cultural heritage during Shock n' Awe. It has always been top-down dictates designed to facilitate western business interests.

I have since come to believe that that there will never be peace in Iraq as long as the US is there. You talk about the bloodshed that will result, but that's happening now. If the US were to pull out, at least then it would give the Iraqis a chance to resolve their path without worrying that whoever takes power will give their natural resources away to foreign companies.

I think yr 100% right about the Administration and could be right about the need for Americans to leave.

I agree with Zhukov, tho, that we're at a point where it seems like there are only two options: surge or go home. I think there are more options than that and I'm disappointed that the Dems haven't tried (or at least, tried harder) to shift the debate.

At this point, it doesn't seem plausible that we would stay in Iraq (at least at current levels) past Spring '09 and, given the sudden collapse of GOP support for the surge, we might even see some radical changes in policy coming this fall.

I think if the Dems were really concerned with doing the best thing here--not just the thing most likely to insure electoral victories--they would be talking about all the options the admin. isn't exploring and focusing on getting people enthusiastic (maybe the wrong choice in words) about the possiblity of fixing the problem...even if that means getting out. Instead, I feel like they're happy to watch the GOP implode while the situation over there just gets worse.
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#83
Quote:

Originally Posted by yt

Electro97, I had the same thinking as you until I realized that the people in charge of forging this democratic path have never made a single attempt to understand the cultures in Iraq or discussed the people's view of how they want to move forward, and showed no interest in protecting that country's cultural heritage during Shock n' Awe. It has always been top-down dictates designed to facilitate western business interests.

I have since come to believe that that there will never be peace in Iraq as long as the US is there. You talk about the bloodshed that will result, but that's happening now. If the US were to pull out, at least then it would give the Iraqis a chance to resolve their path without worrying that whoever takes power will give their natural resources away to foreign companies.

I think yr 100% right about the Administration and could be right about the need for Americans to leave.

I agree with Zhukov, tho, that we're at a point where it seems like there are only two options: surge or go home. I think there are more options than that and I'm disappointed that the Dems haven't tried (or at least, tried harder) to shift the debate.

At this point, it doesn't seem plausible that we would stay in Iraq (at least at current levels) past Spring '09 and, given the sudden collapse of GOP support for the surge, we might even see some radical changes in policy coming this fall.

I think if the Dems were really concerned with doing the best thing here--not just the thing most likely to insure electoral victories--they would be talking about all the options the admin. isn't exploring and focusing on getting people enthusiastic (maybe the wrong choice in words) about the possiblity of fixing the problem...even if that means getting out. Instead, I feel like they're happy to watch the GOP implode while the situation over there just gets worse.
Reply
#84
No one--no one--is seriously advocating Getting Out Now. There is no policy being put forward for commencing immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Here is the substance of the Reid-Levin amendment that was just successfully filibustered by Republicans:

-Commence reduction of forces within 120 days

-Reduction complete by April 30, 2008

-After April 30, 2008, Armed Forces may be deployed or maintained to protect US and Coalition personnel and infrastructure; train, equip and support Iraqi Security Forces; engage in counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and al Qaeda-affiliated groups.

So, a nine-month deadline for a reduction in troop levels down to a force still capable of protecting itself, training Iraqis, and fighting al-Qaeda. That's not even close to immediate and total withdrawal.

The push isn't to Leave Now, it's to change the strategic focus from staying to leaving.
Reply
#85
No one--no one--is seriously advocating Getting Out Now. There is no policy being put forward for commencing immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Here is the substance of the Reid-Levin amendment that was just successfully filibustered by Republicans:

-Commence reduction of forces within 120 days

-Reduction complete by April 30, 2008

-After April 30, 2008, Armed Forces may be deployed or maintained to protect US and Coalition personnel and infrastructure; train, equip and support Iraqi Security Forces; engage in counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and al Qaeda-affiliated groups.

So, a nine-month deadline for a reduction in troop levels down to a force still capable of protecting itself, training Iraqis, and fighting al-Qaeda. That's not even close to immediate and total withdrawal.

The push isn't to Leave Now, it's to change the strategic focus from staying to leaving.
Reply
#86
Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

No one--no one--is seriously advocating Getting Out Now.

I presume you mean besides the anti-war left, which has been calling for getting out now for a while. There's bumperstickers all over my fair city and weekly protests to this effect.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

There is no policy being put forward for commencing immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Here is the substance of the Reid-Levin amendment that was just successfully filibustered by Republicans:

-Commence reduction of forces within 120 days

-Reduction complete by April 30, 2008

I still think this is a political move more than an attempt at a realistic policy shift. These measures would be a small element to a bigger plan for Iraq's stability...the other facets of said plan are notably absent, not only in this bill, but from the overall debate. Sen. Biden is, I believe, the only person who realistically talks about what would be needed for Iraqi stability in a more wholistic sense. And--for obvious reasons--his statements are mostly focused on his own '3 state solution'.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

-After April 30, 2008, Armed Forces may be deployed or maintained to protect US and Coalition personnel and infrastructure; train, equip and support Iraqi Security Forces; engage in counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and al Qaeda-affiliated groups.

So, a nine-month deadline for a reduction in troop levels down to a force still capable of protecting itself, training Iraqis, and fighting al-Qaeda. That's not even close to immediate and total withdrawal.

This is also, in my opinion, a bait-and-switch. Afterall most people--on either side of the overall issue--agree that there could be big problems after we leave (even if American presence is inflaming the situation, the sects are more than likely going to go after each other a little harder when we leave...). If there is an increase in fighting after we leave, "Coaltion personell and infrastructure" will be targeted, as will "Iraqi security forces", etc. Once that happens, according to this plan, will go back in and be right back where we started.

I feel that, if the Dems really wanted to better the situation (and come up with legislation that could realistically be passed) they'd focus their efforts more on lobbying the Bushies to get the UN, etc., involved. Its ludicrous, to my mind, to talk of removing the troops before we have a plan for what will happen after. That's why the Vietnam pull-out was such a clusterckuf and lead to the Dems getting blamed for that debacle.
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#87
Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

No one--no one--is seriously advocating Getting Out Now.

I presume you mean besides the anti-war left, which has been calling for getting out now for a while. There's bumperstickers all over my fair city and weekly protests to this effect.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

There is no policy being put forward for commencing immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Here is the substance of the Reid-Levin amendment that was just successfully filibustered by Republicans:

-Commence reduction of forces within 120 days

-Reduction complete by April 30, 2008

I still think this is a political move more than an attempt at a realistic policy shift. These measures would be a small element to a bigger plan for Iraq's stability...the other facets of said plan are notably absent, not only in this bill, but from the overall debate. Sen. Biden is, I believe, the only person who realistically talks about what would be needed for Iraqi stability in a more wholistic sense. And--for obvious reasons--his statements are mostly focused on his own '3 state solution'.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

-After April 30, 2008, Armed Forces may be deployed or maintained to protect US and Coalition personnel and infrastructure; train, equip and support Iraqi Security Forces; engage in counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and al Qaeda-affiliated groups.

So, a nine-month deadline for a reduction in troop levels down to a force still capable of protecting itself, training Iraqis, and fighting al-Qaeda. That's not even close to immediate and total withdrawal.

This is also, in my opinion, a bait-and-switch. Afterall most people--on either side of the overall issue--agree that there could be big problems after we leave (even if American presence is inflaming the situation, the sects are more than likely going to go after each other a little harder when we leave...). If there is an increase in fighting after we leave, "Coaltion personell and infrastructure" will be targeted, as will "Iraqi security forces", etc. Once that happens, according to this plan, will go back in and be right back where we started.

I feel that, if the Dems really wanted to better the situation (and come up with legislation that could realistically be passed) they'd focus their efforts more on lobbying the Bushies to get the UN, etc., involved. Its ludicrous, to my mind, to talk of removing the troops before we have a plan for what will happen after. That's why the Vietnam pull-out was such a clusterckuf and lead to the Dems getting blamed for that debacle.
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#88
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Originally Posted by elektro87

I presume you mean besides the anti-war left, which has been calling for getting out now for a while. There's bumperstickers all over my fair city and weekly protests to this effect.

To be fair, "Bring our troops home in a measured, orderly and sufficiently well-planned manner" doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely. Seriously, "bring our troops home now" is rhetorical. No one with half a brain literally means tomorrow.


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This is also, in my opinion, a bait-and-switch. Afterall most people--on either side of the overall issue--agree that there could be big problems after we leave (even if American presence is inflaming the situation, the sects are more than likely going to go after each other a little harder when we leave...). If there is an increase in fighting after we leave, "Coaltion personell and infrastructure" will be targeted, as will "Iraqi security forces", etc. Once that happens, according to this plan, will go back in and be right back where we started.

While I know what you mean, if it's actually a bait-and-switch, no one told the Republicans. That should tell you something about how far they're dug in.

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I feel that, if the Dems really wanted to better the situation (and come up with legislation that could realistically be passed) they'd focus their efforts more on lobbying the Bushies to get the UN, etc., involved. Its ludicrous, to my mind, to talk of removing the troops before we have a plan for what will happen after. That's why the Vietnam pull-out was such a clusterckuf and lead to the Dems getting blamed for that debacle.

This is entirely my subjective, out-of-my-ass opinion but I don't think you're going to get any country to touch this clusterfuck with a ten-foot pole. I think that's probably about as realistic an option as hanging around until the insurgency falls asleep. Maybe I'm pessimistic but I think our choices at this point are between bad, worse and worst. There's no way to extricate without blood on our hands, and the longer we dither the worse it gets.
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#89
Quote:

Originally Posted by elektro87

I presume you mean besides the anti-war left, which has been calling for getting out now for a while. There's bumperstickers all over my fair city and weekly protests to this effect.

To be fair, "Bring our troops home in a measured, orderly and sufficiently well-planned manner" doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely. Seriously, "bring our troops home now" is rhetorical. No one with half a brain literally means tomorrow.


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This is also, in my opinion, a bait-and-switch. Afterall most people--on either side of the overall issue--agree that there could be big problems after we leave (even if American presence is inflaming the situation, the sects are more than likely going to go after each other a little harder when we leave...). If there is an increase in fighting after we leave, "Coaltion personell and infrastructure" will be targeted, as will "Iraqi security forces", etc. Once that happens, according to this plan, will go back in and be right back where we started.

While I know what you mean, if it's actually a bait-and-switch, no one told the Republicans. That should tell you something about how far they're dug in.

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I feel that, if the Dems really wanted to better the situation (and come up with legislation that could realistically be passed) they'd focus their efforts more on lobbying the Bushies to get the UN, etc., involved. Its ludicrous, to my mind, to talk of removing the troops before we have a plan for what will happen after. That's why the Vietnam pull-out was such a clusterckuf and lead to the Dems getting blamed for that debacle.

This is entirely my subjective, out-of-my-ass opinion but I don't think you're going to get any country to touch this clusterfuck with a ten-foot pole. I think that's probably about as realistic an option as hanging around until the insurgency falls asleep. Maybe I'm pessimistic but I think our choices at this point are between bad, worse and worst. There's no way to extricate without blood on our hands, and the longer we dither the worse it gets.
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#90
Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

This is entirely my subjective, out-of-my-ass opinion but I don't think you're going to get any country to touch this clusterfuck with a ten-foot pole. I think that's probably about as realistic an option as hanging around until the insurgency falls asleep. Maybe I'm pessimistic but I think our choices at this point are between bad, worse and worst. There's no way to extricate without blood on our hands, and the longer we dither the worse it gets.

I wish you were wrong but commonsense tells me otherwise.
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#91
Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

This is entirely my subjective, out-of-my-ass opinion but I don't think you're going to get any country to touch this clusterfuck with a ten-foot pole. I think that's probably about as realistic an option as hanging around until the insurgency falls asleep. Maybe I'm pessimistic but I think our choices at this point are between bad, worse and worst. There's no way to extricate without blood on our hands, and the longer we dither the worse it gets.

I wish you were wrong but commonsense tells me otherwise.
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#92
Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

To be fair, "Bring our troops home in a measured, orderly and sufficiently well-planned manner" doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely. Seriously, "bring our troops home now" is rhetorical. No one with half a brain literally means tomorrow.

Not that it would be a surprise, but I think the extreme end of both right and left are lacking brain matter. That being said, much of the Sheehan-oriented anti-war movement is quite serious about getting 'out now'...which I think does hinder the debate to a certain extent. But no more the neocons who'd like to set-up a joint US Embassy/Haliburton HQ in the middle of Baghdad.
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#93
Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd

To be fair, "Bring our troops home in a measured, orderly and sufficiently well-planned manner" doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely. Seriously, "bring our troops home now" is rhetorical. No one with half a brain literally means tomorrow.

Not that it would be a surprise, but I think the extreme end of both right and left are lacking brain matter. That being said, much of the Sheehan-oriented anti-war movement is quite serious about getting 'out now'...which I think does hinder the debate to a certain extent. But no more the neocons who'd like to set-up a joint US Embassy/Haliburton HQ in the middle of Baghdad.
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#94
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Originally Posted by Zhukov

On the other hand, Petraeus is a hired gun. The preceding Generals who disagreed with Bush were shown the door. There seems to be a pre-exsting notion in Bush's inner circle as to what the war effort needs to look like. It isn't unreasonable to assume that Karl Rove has a say in this, and that politics are trumping genuine military thought.

Y'know, if we were talking about anyone other that Petraeus, I'd probably agree with you. If you read the excellent Fiasco, you'll learn that Petraeus is the guy who brought peace to Anbar, only to have that peace destroyed when his unit rotated out and another unit, with another strategy, rotated in. Further, he helped write the Army's field manual on counterinsurgency: he's a heavy hitter operationally, strategically, and intellectually, with a proven track record of success in Iraq.

All major command appointments are political: when Lincoln replaced McLellan with Grant, people cried politics - same thing happened when Truman replaced MacArthur with Ridgway. In this case, as in those, I think the political decision was the right one. Let's hope I'm right about that.

PS This has turned out to be a thoughtful and interesting thread. Gold stars all around!
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#95
Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankCobretti

Y'know, if we were talking about anyone other that Petraeus, I'd probably agree with you. If you read the excellent Fiasco, you'll learn that Petraeus is the guy who brought peace to Anbar, only to have that peace destroyed when his unit rotated out and another unit, with another strategy, rotated in. Further, he helped write the Army's field manual on counterinsurgency: he's a heavy hitter operationally, strategically, and intellectually, with a proven track record of success in Iraq.

All major command appointments are political: when Lincoln replaced McLellan with Grant, people cried politics - same thing happened when Truman replaced MacArthur with Ridgway. In this case, as in those, I think the political decision was the right one. Let's hope I'm right about that.

PS This has turned out to be a thoughtful and interesting thread. Gold stars all around!

The problem I have with this is that it seems to be backhanding the blame for our failures in Iraq onto the generals (or commanders, or down to the troops). Whereas pretty much all of what I've read has indicated that they're hands were pretty much always tied by orders from the civilian command. I'm glad someone who's had some success under the terrible strategy we've been employing is in charge, but unless he has more autonomy than previous commanders, that strategy is going to be just as unsustainable.
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#96
Quote:

Originally Posted by Schwartz

The problem I have with this is that it seems to be backhanding the blame for our failures in Iraq onto the generals (or commanders, or down to the troops). Whereas pretty much all of what I've read has indicated that they're hands were pretty much always tied by orders from the civilian command. I'm glad someone who's had some success under the terrible strategy we've been employing is in charge, but unless he has more autonomy than previous commanders, that strategy is going to be just as unsustainable.

I'm convinced that Tommy Franks was the wrong man for the job - he was a tactician, not a strategist. That said, there's plenty of blame to go around.
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#97
Yeah, there was an excellent Frontline episode recently that examined the role that our generals played in the planning and execution of the war. It pretty much pinned much of the blame on Franks and the other generals around him along with the administration. They had a role to advise, and at times even confront, the civilian leadership with the military realities present on the ground. Instead they just went along with and aided their disastrous policies, like bottling up troops in bases and letting the rest of Iraq go into chaos in an effort to have the inept Iraqi forces shoulder the burden. Great documentary.
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#98
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Originally Posted by FrankCobretti

Irrelevant. The point was that people did believe that it was and would be considered a liberation.

I see. Well, they were wrong.

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America went to Iraq for a number of reasons. It would be incorrect to say that we went there for the sole purpose of liberating the Iraqi people. It would be equally incorrect to say that that did not number among the reasons.

I don't think it was. Partly because I can't comprehend anyone thinking that invading and occupying a country constitutes liberation, partly because it's exactly what the Bush Administration would have to say - they can't talk about invading and leaving the Hussein government intact or invading and leaving total anarchy behind - partly because the motives of the people who planned, executed, and sold this war are not only obvious but public knowledge if one takes a little time to look, and partly because all the other reasons the Bush Administration and his apologists give for staying in Iraq have also turned out to be either ridiculous or outright lies. The only motives that are born out by the actions of the US are oil and soil.

But let's pretend it was all about liberating Iraq. There was no humanitarian crisis present in Iraq that was so dire only a widespread, long-term military presence could stop it. The situation did not justify the US's invasion and occupation.

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Yes, his claims turned out to not be true. He was wrong, not lying.

I didn't say either way - although you know my opinion on the matter - because it doesn't matter either way. The argument for invasion hinged on those claims, the claims turned out to be false, so the argument has no merit.

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You don't bring charges against someone unless you can make the case. Unless, that is, you're a North Carolina prosecutor.

Or discussing current events. If I'm to believe Bush, he invaded Iraq out of revenge. He's said so publically, and apparently privately as well. A confession isn't a bad place for a legal case to start. I'm not sure what more you want from me. A legal deposition? A notice that I'm suing him in The Wall Street Journal?

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This is one of those statements that makes me feel like we come from different planets. 1 and 2 Falluja were legitimate military actions that were intended to deny the city to the insurgents who had made it one of their bases.

I don't think any US military presence or action in Iraq is legitimate, but never mind that. If it was about insurgents, why were refugees being forced back into the city to be killed rather than detained and questioned and either arrested or set free. And as I said, I'm not a strong believer in coincidence. The US government is not above making an example of a city.

It invaded a country for no reason, after all. What's a city?

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All right, this is where it gets interesting. Let's talk about strategic goals. A stable, secure Middle East is a US strategic goal. Two reasons: First, we need oil, and they've got it. A stable, secure Middle East is conducive to commerce, which is conducive to the purchase and shipping of oil.

Yes, I know this. Oil and soil, as I said. What you have to understand is this: I do not care if it is a strategic goal of the United States or not, it does not justify invading and occupying a sovereign nation.

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Since Western coporations are in this business, they'll make money. So will Middle Eastern and Eastern corporations. Everybody wins.

Except the 650 000 (and counting) dead Iraqi citizens, some 5 million displaced Iraqi citizens, countless wounded and maimed Iraqi citizens, and no doubt even more Iraqi citizens whose life was drastically and permanently affected in other ways.

And some 3500 or so dead American soldiers as well.

All of the above are more important than the fortunes of fat white men (and no doubt a few swarthy men) who I will never meet, who will never give me a thought, and who will be dead in a couple decades anyway.

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Second, the Middle East is spawning a movement which represents an existential threat to the West.

Iraq posed no threat to the US. You aren't saying Iraq was invaded because it was a convenient place for a large-scale, permanent military presence, are you? I'm glad you agree with me in that the US went to Iraq for oil and real estate, but I'm sort of surprised that you think it's okay to do so.

Besides, the War on Existential Threats is best fought through law enforcement, not large-scale military action.

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Security and stability represent our best bet to counter that movement.

Certainly an argument for unrepentantly invading other nations on false pretenses if ever one there was.

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What's the answer? Promoting self-determination, which we've loosely (and incorrectly) identified with democracy.

Overthrowing governments because it's convenient for long term strategic goals and economic greed is not promoting self-determination. The answer is minding your own business. If you want to do business with these nations, fine. I'm all for international trade, but not conquest.


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This is actually something that's bothering me about the current debate in Congress. When Congress confirmed General Petraeus, they hailed him as the man with the plan for victory. I wrote that he's our last best hope for success in Iraq. General Petraeus always said that victory would take time, and that he'd get back to us with an interim report in September. Now, we in the American polity are talking about pulling the rug out from under the guy. This constant shifting of strategy is no way to run a war: in fact, it's a recipe for defeat. General Petraeus may fail, but time is a critical component of his plan. If we don't give him time, he will certainly fail.

I predict . . . six months. It seems to be the standard time measure used in pro-invasion arguments. But that's neither here nor there. You do agree that a permanent US military presence in Iraq was a goal, yes?

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It's dead in the water,

Good news.

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and there are no Iraq oil corporations able to exploit their oil fields.

Well, no. Someone went and messed up the place. No one is able to do much of anything in Iraq at the moment.

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I want us to succeed in Iraq.

I do not.

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I don't want to see an all-out civil war coupled with Turkish invasion of the Kurdish north.

I don't want that either. I don't want lots of bad but inevitable things to happen. Nevertheless, the US military is a conquering force, I do not agree with the reasons Iraq was conquered, and I want the conquest to fail.

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I want a stable and secure Middle East.

Not just stable and secure, but stable and secure in a way that benefits the US financially. Certainly an argument for unrepentantly . . . oh, never mind.

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I want self-determination to become the norm.

Admirable, but so what? This is a reason for invading sovereign nations?

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And I harbor serious doubts about our ability, as a nation, to achieve these objectives.

Not through invasion and occupation you can't. Nor should you try.

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I only hope we give him time to report back before we knife him, and the Iraqi people, in the back. If we don't, and we bug out early, Zhukov will be right and the blood will be on our hands.

Too late. The blood already spilled is already on your hands, and there will be chaos of some sort, whether you leave in six days, six months, but certainly not in six years. That blood will be on your hands too.
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#99
The treatment Gen. Shinseki got for telling it straight was probably a red flag for any generals who might have been inclined to rain on Rumsfeld and Bush/Cheney's parade.
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Stunning post, Seabass.
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Couldn't agree more Seabass.
And all this "Let's just forget about all the dead Iraqi innocents slaughtered in this senseless conflict, let's get back to business!"-talk is really turning my stomach.
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Thanks, guys.

I wouldn't waste your energy getting angry at Frank. Go to a place like politicalcrossfire (if it still exists) if you want something to rail about. I think Frank is wrong, but not insane. And at least he hasn't told us that we all want the terrorists to win or pretend that libertarian think tanks are valid climatological scientific references and other stuff the more rabid Republicans expect us to believe.
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FC is what my son would call 1337. His posts are always interesting, and he expresses his opinions honestly and clearly, and with good humor. I think he also comes at these subjects from a unique perspective. I think the variety of opinions and backgrounds is what makes this forum so great to read (for me, anyway). There's nothing more tedious than an echo chamber of either the right or left perspectives.
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I agree with everything yt said, and anyone who disagrees can get fucked with a 3-wood.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by seabass

You aren't really claiming its okay to invade a country because it's run by a bastard, are you?

Not on just that premise but considering all else involved, the fucker being hanged was icing on the cake.
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