I'll Tip My Hat to the New Constitution

Iraq's constitution "seems assured" of passing, according to the Associated Press. That's either a great victory for the democratic process or another step towards Islamic theocracy, depending on how your political team chooses to spin the results' dozens of potential consequences. The most important issue is whether this brings the country closer to or further from full-fledged civil war, and the answer to that depends on whether all those new Sunni voters have been drawn into the political system for good, as opposed to giving this voting thing a try and then throwing up their hands in disgust at where it's gotten them.

Patrick Cockburn laid out the U.S.'s best hope for retaining Sunni involvement in Saturday's Independent:

Up to last week Sunnis were united in their opposition to the constitution because they oppose federalism, devolving power to Kurds and Shia. But under a deal this week the constitution can be amended by the National Assembly to be chosen in an election on 15 December. Since Sunnis are likely to vote, unlike in January when they abstained, there will be more Sunni members of parliament. New amendments will then be voted on in a second referendum.

The compromise was brokered by Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador, far more skilful than previous US envoys in Iraq, who sat in on all negotiations.

In a mostly bleak dispatch for Back to Iraq, Christopher Albritton argues that "The absolute worst-case scenario is if the Sunnis come close to defeating the constitution, but fail. There will be accusations of vote-rigging and any political momentum the Sunnis felt was moving their way will be spent."

The hawks at Strategy Page stress the best news for the Iraqi regime:

The government is getting better at running national elections under the threat of terrorist attacks. The legislative elections last January had fewer than ten million people voting (69 percent of those registered), and over 40 people killed by terrorists opposed to the elections. This vote, on the new constitution, brought out over ten million, and left fewer than ten dead.

I can't vouch for those precise figures, but the body count is definitely much lower -- great news from any humane perspective. On the other hand, Albritton notes that "violence in the last 19 days...killed more than 450 Iraqi civilians. Saturday's quiet could indicate that the draconian security measures that banned almost all vehicular traffic, international travel and movement between provinces were effective in curbing insurgents' attacks. Or it might mean the insurgents just decided to keep their powder dry until a more politically opportune time." (Seems to me that those options are not mutually exclusive.)

For early returns, go here. For the silliest spin of the weekend, go here.

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  • ||

    "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"

    The stark reality is that the US military needs to get the hell out of the oil zone. Everything else is a pitiful distraction.

  • ||

    I don't see that as being terribly likely.

    Assuming the US actually is a stabilizing influence in the area, it's my belief that Iraq is to "The Struggle Against Global Extremism" as West Germany was to The Cold War.

    Having known a couple of people who had contract gigs in the ME (The Green Zone and Kuwait) their assessment is that the infrastructure being put in place isn't indicative of a short stay.

  • David Rossie||

    Simon later quotes an even sillier appraisal of the vote by an Iraqi blogger:

    "Secondly: I guess Zarqawi is also eager to know what the real situation in Iraq is, surely he knows about the Kurds and the Shia's but he really need to know about the Sunni and who's with him (people who said NO) and who's against him, and this Vote is like a free survey that will help him to set his future plans."

    So people who don't like this constitution are terrorist supporters? Was that the case in 1787?

  • ||

    "Body count" is not an intelligent way to access the situation. The "body count" and enemy activity was low when I was over there in Fallujah for the January elections. Of course, we saw how things heated up all over again, came spring and summer.

    I'm convinced that it's a mess whether we stay or go, but as both a combat vet and college-educated egghead I've given up on the Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

    I remember that the much-worshipped Council of Foreign Relations was so apoplectic that the January elections were going to be a dismal, bloody failure. Of course, all those degreed morons got it TOTALLY wrong, and I haven't bothered to read one lousy page of "Foreign Affairs" since ....

  • ||

    Our government has no business being over there and never did. Bush is upping the ante for an extended commitment. This is all the fruition of long standing neocon designs to have American blood and money serve the interests of the neos' vision of what's beneficial to the Israeli state.

  • ||

    "So people who don't like this constitution are terrorist supporters?"

    Well, terrorist supporters don't like the consitution or elections. And they can go pound sand, both are happening anyways.

  • ||

    David Rossie,

    Interesting site. "Books for the weekend" is a nice feature. I loved The Constitution of Liberty by Hayek BTW, so are you a triple major?

  • ||

    For the sake of the Iraqi people, here's hopin' that all the most optimistic projections bear out.

    ...although I've already heard a report that Kurds brought Kurdish "border ruffians" to vote in one of the Sunni dominated provinces considered tough to call either way--also, I heard a complaint that the majority of the polling places shut down for security reasons were in Sunni dominated areas. ...Of course, Sunni dominated areas are the most vulnerable to attack, so I'd expect that.

    ...If two of the three necessary provinces voted the constitution down, and another Sunni dominated province was real close, that would be Albritton's worst case scenario, no?

  • ||

    Whatever the outcome may be, I hope that the elected leaders find peaceful resolutions to the issues and lead Iraq into an era of peace, freedom, prosperity, and stability.

    I really do hope so. It would be indecent and immoral to hope for anything less.

    Hopes are not predictions.

  • ||

    thoreau,

    Hope springs eternal, then gets beaten back down by reality. :)

  • ||

    In reading the the percentages for and against I don't see much to be encouraged about. For obvious reasons, a 95% to 5% vote differential strikes me as the sort of thing one sees in zones where "machine politics" is the norm.

  • Jesse Walker||

    "Body count" is not an intelligent way to access the situation. The "body count" and enemy activity was low when I was over there in Fallujah for the January elections. Of course, we saw how things heated up all over again, came spring and summer.

    In fairness to Strategy Page, I think the real gist of their post was that the insurgents appeared unable to disrupt the elections, not that fewer people were killed this day than on January 30. But your point is well-taken.

  • ||

    Hakluyt,

    Not necessarily, for if that was the case, the US would either return to being a colony of the UK again or would be several different warring countries (the People's Republic of Pennsylvania vs. the Democratic Republic of Greater New York, etc.) after the Revolutionary War. There just might be a chance yet, and that's a big MIGHT.
    There are sooooooo many issues that still need to be solved that everything could still end up totally FUBAR, but, always but, the situation has been to the brink and back over and over again in Iraq that from what I can see anything is possible at this point.

    I guess I'm too much of a foolish optimist still, I've got a couple of years to gain the crotchety wisdom of Hakluyt to condemn everything to failure yet. ;)

    As for voting no, yes there were a lot of jihadi/Baathist sympathizers who voted no, like A Star from Mosul's family, but Zeyad of Healing Iraq voted no because of all that religious crap, and he was probably the most truthful of the Iraqi bloggers back in the day, so totally repsect his decision. I think it's foolish to condemn everyone who votes against the Constitution as a terrrorist sympathizer. They should be able to vote like anyone in a real democracy to vote via their conscience, right?

  • ||

    In reading the percentages for and against I don't see much to be encouraged about. For obvious reasons, a 95% to 5% vote differential strikes me as the sort of thing one sees in zones where "machine politics" is the norm.

    There's also a built in bias toward approval, I think. Those against the whole process are much more likely to stay home. I know, we can't take a vote without that kind of imlicit bias, still it's there.

    ...A chunk of that 5% may represent those who support the process well enough, but are against the constitution itself. It'll be interesting to see participation rates in different areas.

  • ||

    Even after those spoilsports at the UN shot down the attempt to rig the voting last week, there was zippo way the referendum was going to fail - the same Shiite and Kurd politicos who set up the constitution to favour their groups made damn sure of that...

  • ||

    Tom Crick,

    There are also seem to be large numbers of disqualified votes. Did they import Floridian election officials and Florida voters into the system? :)

  • ||

    Hey Nellie! The White Sox are in the World Series!

  • ||

    Nice work by Mr. Walker with the title. I guess we'll be looking at all military proposals by the administration with more scrutiny in the future, eh?

  • ||

    You guys crack me up. You are so determined to see the worst in Iraq.

    And of course, in your own minds, you've put yourself in a win-win situation. If things go badly, it's "See! I told you so! Stupid Bush!". If things go well, there will always be nitpicks to chew over, and the process will take so long that you'll never have to face up to the fact that you were wrong. You can just move on to your next isolationist fantasy.

    I'm excepting thoreau here, who honestly seems to think there is at least a small chance of things going well, and hopes it happens in spite of his fears. The rest of you seem to take some kind of perverted pleasure in finding purported problems in Iraq, even when things look like they might be improving. That's just sick.

  • ||

    the same Shiite and Kurd politicos who set up the constitution to favour their groups made damn sure of that...

    Just like Saddam made damn sure the Sunnis were on top before.

    I don't expect the Sunnis are ever going to accept this. There will always be some who expect they should rule. The excuse to keep blowing people up will be that the whole thing was rigged by the US.

    The Kurds, of course, would probably like to get all this business over with, so they can just go back to shooting at each other.

    Universal political freedom is a sort of stalemate, where nobody gets to really control too much of anything. We'll see if they can grok that one.

  • ||

    Joe Bonforte,

    No, I'd say I determined not to gloss a happy, happy spin on everything coming out of Iraq. Of course, you're likely one of those fucking fools who agreed that Iraq was just like post-WWII Germany when historically ignorant Rumsfeld made that claim. You will get fooled again I am sure.

  • ||

    I'm excepting thoreau here, who honestly seems to think there is at least a small chance of things going well,

    thoreau said he wasn't predicting, just hoping.

    and hopes it happens in spite of his fears.

    He's certainly not the only one who hopes.

    The rest of you seem to take some kind of perverted pleasure in finding purported problems in Iraq, even when things look like they might be improving. That's just sick.

    Some around here are maybe like that.

    I would level the criticism that most around here are far more interested in rehashing the questionable grounds for going to war in the first place, than in looking for creative ways to get our asses out of Iraq. Without simultaneously either creating a) the security threat we went into Iraq to prevent, or b) all manner of attrocities in a civil war, for which the world will look down on us.

    I maintain that b) is a relevant US issue, because we should not give up the moral high ground now as unattainable (whether or not Bush f'ed up to begin with). It is by no means certain to some measure of good outcomes is still possible. I suspect many here will disagree with me.

    I, for one, still hope that a good outcome is possible. I just think it could take a whoooole lot longer than the first few elections.

  • ||

    Kahn,

    ...are far more interested in rehashing the questionable grounds for going to war in the first place...

    Well, that's about our only option.

    I just think it could take a whoooole lot longer than the first few elections.

    Expect the insurgency to last at least another decade.

  • ||

    You guys crack me up. You are so determined to see the worst in Iraq.

    Ahem...

    "For the sake of the Iraqi people, here's hopin' that all the most optimistic projections bear out."

    ----Comment by: Tom Crick at October 16, 2005 10:36 PM

    If things go badly, it's "See! I told you so! Stupid Bush!". If things go well, there will always be nitpicks to chew over, and the process will take so long that you'll never have to face up to the fact that you were wrong.

    Just for the record, I've argued for some time that Bush is the problem here. ...as I've said before, I prefer a competent withdrawal to an incompetent occupation and a competent occupation to an incompetent withdrawal...blah blah blah. I just think the Bush Administration is entirely incompetent. ...and whatever the best strategy is for Iraq, the Bush Administration will likely come upon it only by chance. So, yes, whether I'm right or wrong, the Bush Administration will still be incompetent.

    ...and if I'm wrong, the facts will show it whether I face up to it or not.

    You can just move on to your next isolationist fantasy.

    Do you equate opposition to the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq with isolationism? I would agree that most isolationists were probably against the Iraq War, but I don't think you can go so far as to suggest that being against the Iraq War makes one an isolationist.

    The rest of you seem to take some kind of perverted pleasure in finding purported problems in Iraq, even when things look like they might be improving. That's just sick.

    You're right, there are a lot of problems in Iraq--purported and underpurported. This election is hopefully a sign of good things to comes, but, tell me, what evidence shows that things are actually improving?

  • ||

    their assessment is that the infrastructure being put in place isn't indicative of a short stay.

    Which is why I contend that we ought to make oil production a high priority, and we ought to be using the proceeds to pay for the whole mess (cost of US military, cost of all rebuilding efforts in Iraq, etc).

    Any left over money goes into a bank account, which we hand to the Iraqis when they put together a stable, half-decent government.

  • ||

    Joe Bonforte:

    The rest of you seem to take some kind of perverted pleasure in finding purported problems in Iraq...

    Pleasure? The whole fiasco has been depressingly tragic. Purported problems?? Like there was a purported sunrise this morning.

  • ||

    I would level the criticism that most around here are far more interested in rehashing the questionable grounds for going to war in the first place, than in looking for creative ways to get our asses out of Iraq. Without simultaneously either creating a) the security threat we went into Iraq to prevent, or b) all manner of attrocities in a civil war, for which the world will look down on us.

    That's part of my problem with the Bush Administration. ...Like Cortez, they basically burned the ships. They seemed to purposely leave no sensible option but a strategy based on their pet theories. ...No, there probably won't be any troop swap with the International Exit Strategy Agency--I mean--the UN, not for many years anyway.

    I agree with the suggestion that the occupation may have increased the long term security threat Iraq presented to the United States. ...and while our presence there may entice some terrorists to aim at us rather than their rivals, I think the only reason we haven't had a civil war yet is because Sistani, among others, has managed to persuade those that listen to him to refrain from retaliating . ...I doubt that will last for long. ...regardless of whether we stay or go.

  • ||

    Hak,

    ...are far more interested in rehashing the questionable grounds for going to war in the first place...

    Well, that's about our only option.

    I disagree.

    As you said in another thread, we in the West historically have not been good at nation building. I agree with that. And it tells me we need a different stratagey.

    I just think it could take a whoooole lot longer than the first few elections.

    Expect the insurgency to last at least another decade.

    Also very probable.

    But I contend the US has an interest in seeing Iraqi oil fields kept out of the hands of Islamo-Lunatics, who are the most likely winners if we just packed up and went home today.


    The big security problem is control of the oil, and there is a technological solution to this.

    You can build a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) in your garage today. The sensors and electronics need to build a UCAV (unmanned combat aerial vehicle) are more sophisticated. But if you think about it, they can't be that far out of reach. It's something that could be developed.

    So, we develop UCAVs that can handle the lion's share of the job of gaurding Iraqi oil infrastructure. It takes lots of US troops out of the line of fire. I ought to bring troop levels down.

    Then we turn on the oil faucet and start using the money, as I described above.

    Face it. Bush isn't going to pull out tommorrow, and neither are any successors until it's become prohibitively expensive. That's exactly the end game the terrorists will wait for.

    Make this "venture" (which I agree, I wish we'd never gotten into) economically viable. For the simple reason that we do have an interest in keeping the oil wells out of the wrong people's hands.

  • ||

    Tom,

    Ditto.

    However, in terms of good news, there seems to be at least some improvement in the Iraqi army since the tempo of counter-insurgency operations has increased in Anbar and the number of level 2 trained units is increasing. This increase in operations may just be due to the fact of holding down the insurgents until the Constitutional vote and so might dry up soon and it's a shame though that our rush to train more reather than better means that several level 1 Iraqi forces have been downgraded. But again, the Iraqis have shown that they are willing to fight and take responsibility for planning their own ops, but again we will see if the Iraqi army degrades into a division of SCRI/Badr/Sadr, and if they can develop their own logistics ops, and if they develop credible NCO's, etc, etc, etc... (sigh)

  • ||

    Somehow, I'm left with the feeling this will amount to the same thing as the much-ballyhooed elections of January did. There will be a few weeks of peace and quiet, the war supporters will slap each other on the back, and then everybody will go back to shooting each other, business per usual.

    "But we had an election! An election!"

  • Warren||

    MEET THE NEW BOSS
    SAME AS THE OLD BOSS

    some one had to say it.

  • ||

    The rest of you seem to take some kind of perverted pleasure in finding purported problems in Iraq, even when things look like they might be improving. That's just sick.

    Yeah, yeah, I keep hearing the same argument from those who support the war: "If you think things will turn out badly, that means you take pleasure in the thought of things turning out badly." (And if I think sending your bank account info to those Nigerian e-mail spammers is a bad idea, that must mean I take pleasure in the thought of you losing your life's saving, huh?)

    Speak for yourself. Better yet, show me a quote from just one Iraq War opponent who posted here anything along the lines of "Boy, I can't wait until things get worse. Ha ha! That'll show those Republicans a thing or two!" or "Whoopee! We're approaching the 2,000-dead-Americans body count! Boy, that'll really piss off the Bushies!"

    Just one quote. That's all.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    Clap harder or Tinkerbell will die! And it will be your fault.

    I don't recall ever hearing a Democrat accuse those who opposed the Kosovo war of wanting to see Albanians killed, or Kosovo cleansed, or Milosivic triumphant, or American personnel killed.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Anyone who expects No Child Left Behind to fail must take a perverse pleasure in the prospect of ignorant kids.

    Anyone who expects Social Security to dry up must take a perverse pleasure in old people starving to death.

    Etc.

  • ||

    Anybody who thinks the war on drugs is unwinnable must want to see our streets flooded with crack babies.

  • ||

    I'm been telling FEMA about the upcoming Crack Baby Flood for years, and they still won't build a wall around my neighborhood.

    The old timers say the Crack Babies reached the bottoms of stop signs back in '56.

  • ||

    I have no patience whatsoever for people who equate opposition to this war with isolationism - it betrays either ignorance or a transparent political motivation. I also have no patience for people (like Hitchens) who claim that Gulf II was the natural and necessary sequel to Gulf I. Some wars *are* necessary - but before embarking on one that isn't, the costs and rewards have to be very carefully weighed. To be fair, the administration may have done that - they just bungled the job horribly (flowers in the streets, woohoo! Ahmad Chalabi the new Bolivar! Free oil for everyone! Woohoo!)

    And it should be noted that the supposedly iron-clad reason for staying the course - securing democracy etc etc - was never mooted until our collective dick was alrady firmly rammed in the sausage grinder; I doubt anyone who wasn't already a proponent of that view would have found it a convincing rationale pre-war. It only popped up once the original rationale - the WMD boogeyman - had been exposed (and *that* was chosen on the basis of convenience, rather than truth, as admitted by the charming Wolfowitz.)

    In short, we have an unnecessary, expensive, badly handled war we were cozened into - and we're supposed to cheer like madmen every time the administration manages to not fuck up?

  • ||

    Ooooo. Sounds like I touched a nerve.

    Oh, yeah, Jesse. And the Japan occupation after WWII was the same as Social Security too, wasn't it? A massive failure...

    You guys can take the "well, we don't want to see things go bad, see, but we just don't see how things could possibly go well" tack all you want. But you're just deluding yourselves about your own motives.

    First, you people can't seem to suggest any alternative except to pull out and let the Middle East fester, which would likely lead to the immediate deaths of hundreds of thousands, and the long term likelihood of the Islamic terrorists getting their hands on nuclear weapons would then risk even more American deaths. (We certainly can't exert much influence to stop that if we have no influence or presence in the Middle East, eh?)

    So if some people are getting killed right now, but it stops that kind of wholesale carnage and at least has some reasonable chance of leading to a future alternative that's open and stable, it would seem to be a bargain. But instead of at least conceding that it's a legitimate point of view to see things that way, you people instead ooze the desire to see it all fail, just so you can be proven right. And I say it again, that's sick.

    Second, you all seem to believe in Arab exceptionalism, which crudely stated is "those wogs will never figure this freedom thing out anyway - let 'em rot". That seems a strange attitude from people for whom freedom is supposed to be a universal, high moral value. Again, you are letting your desire to be proven right lead you into attitudes you would condemn among your ideological opponents.

  • ||

    See, joe, crack babies are just a zoning problem. You're just the man we need tackling this one!

  • ||

    Joe Bonforte,

    I know, for a fact, that I neither want the Middle East to collapse, nor believe that Arabs are doomed to permanent tyranny, nor want to see Americans influence curtailed.

    Since your arguments, such as they are, presuppose three beliefs on my part that I don't actually hold, you have nothing useful to say.

  • Jesse Walker||

    What they say: "Sounds like I touched a nerve."
    What they mean: "I have lost this argument."

    What they say: "Ooooo. Sounds like I touched a nerve."
    What they mean: "I have lost this argument, and I am an asshole."

  • ||

    But instead of at least conceding that it's a legitimate point of view to see things that way, you people instead ooze the desire to see it all fail, just so you can be proven right. And I say it again, that's sick.

    You keep repeating this, Joe B,. yet you still haven't found a quote where an opponent of the war expresses pleasure in the unfavorable outcome. Instead, your sole argument rests on the assumption that you can read minds: you're just deluding yourselves about your own motives, you say, or you people instead ooze the desire to see it all fail, just so you can be proven right.

    How do you know this? Did you see quotes to that effect here on Hit and Run? Did the Angel of the Lord appear unto you in a dream and tell you so? Or do you simply insist it must be true because your own worldview is a hell of a lot more comfortable if you can convince yourself that those whose opinions differ from yours must be evil perverts who take pleasure in the pain of others?

  • ||

    Nice dodge there, Jesse. Got anything to say in response to 300 words of argument against you besides glib quips? Nah, probably not.

  • ||

    And Joe B. attacks Jesse Walker but still ignores my question.

  • ||

    "You delight in the suffering of others, you racist," isn't exactly an argument per se, even if stretched out to 300 words.

    How would one respond to such an argument?

    "Nuh-uh!" How's that?

  • Jesse Walker||

    Got anything to say in response to 300 words of argument against you besides glib quips? Nah, probably not.

    Offer an argument that engages something I've actually said, and I'll respond to it. Imputing ugly motives to other people doesn't cut it, and neither does announcing, sans evidence, that "you all seem to believe in Arab exceptionalism, which crudely stated is 'those wogs will never figure this freedom thing out anyway - let 'em rot.'"

  • ||

    What they say:

    Comment by: Jesse Walker

    What they mean:

    I am incapable of intelligent thought.

  • R C Dean||

    Are the Iraqi people taken as a whole likely to be better off because of the American invasion than under the rule of the Husseins? I think things are definitely moving in that direction, as demonstrated by the vote today.

    The "insurgency" needs to be settled, of course, but the cooption of the Sunni leadership seems to be underway, as is the continued development of native Iraqi security forces. The infiltration routes from the Syrian safe haven have been choked down in the recent campaigns. While the insurgents have shown quite the willingness to kill Iraqis, it is hard to detect any strategic benefits (to them) from their recent killing campaign.

    There are a lot of data points out there, and people are predisposed to selecting the data that supports their views and the fears, if not their preferred outcomes. I still think the invasion of Iraq was the least bad alternative, and that it is going tolerably well, once you realize it is a war against religious fanatics and not a bake sale. Sure, some things could go better, but on the whole we are moving toward our objectives, however fitfully, and our enemies are not.

  • ||

    Oooh, Thunderdome on Hit n' Run! :)

  • ||

    Joe Boyle in "suddenly opposed to putting words in people's mouths" shocker!!

  • ||

    It is my fate to be haunted by the anonymous voices of the vanquished.

    That's just part of being joe, I guess.

  • ||

    History repeats itself:

    2005: Are the Iraqi people taken as a whole likely to be better off because of the American invasion than under the rule of the Husseins? I think things are definitely moving in that direction, as demonstrated by the vote today.

    1967: Are the South Vietnamese people taken as a whole likely to be better off because of the American invasion than under the rule of the Commies? I think things are definitely moving in that direction, as demonstrated by the vote today.

    2005: The infiltration routes from the Syrian safe haven have been choked down in the recent campaigns.

    1967: The Ho Chi Minh trail has been choked down in the recent campaigns.

    2005: While the insurgents have shown quite the willingness to kill Iraqis, it is hard to detect any strategic benefits (to them) from their recent killing campaign.

    1967: While the North Vietnamese have shown quite the willingness to kill their countrymen, it is hard to detect any strategic benefits (to them) from their recent killing campaign.

    2005: Sure, some things could go better, but on the whole we are moving toward our objectives, however fitfully, and our enemies are not.

    1967: Sure, some things could go better, but on the whole we are moving toward our objectives, however fitfully, and our enemies are not.

  • ||

    Jennifer-

    Maybe Kerry's experience in Vietnam was relevant after all! :)

  • ||

    It seems to me that people who *supported* the invasion ought to be the ones considering ways to remedy the situation they've created...

  • ||

    *sigh*

  • ||

    Sadly, the hawks are quite aware of The Lessons of Vietnam. They're terrified that public opposition is going to end this war in humiliating retreat, as it did that one. Unfortunately, they consider such opposition to be a consequence of the inferior character of our populace, combined with a media establishment that is actively rooting for the insurgents. The ideas that opposition to ongoing war is inevitable in a democracy, that an insurgency on its own turf can always outwait an army from a distant nation, or that there could even be legitimate reasons for the public to dissent from the military policies of its government don't ever seem to make it into their analysis.

  • ||

    joe,

    That's because all wars should be like what they envision WWII was like (which it really wasn't).

  • ||

    Exactly right, Hakluyt.

    That's when we went to war to stop the Holocaust, right?

  • ||

    I used to wonder why the libertarian party couldn't get its ass up off the ground.

    We agree on nothing, except that some subset of us is against virtually everything. At the end of the day, that's all we have to offer -- and if anybody bitches about it, we tell them "that's just the way democracy and free speech work".

    We're really, really good at bitching about what happened yesterday. Nobody is as good at it as we are.

    What a compelling vision.

  • ||

    joe,

    I was thinking more along the lines of the trope that "American society" was united and undivided in WWII, which is horseshit. Knowledge of the "Double-V" movement by itself (and efforts by Hoover to prosecute its supporters with treason) busts such notions apart quite easily.

  • ||

    joe,

    The "Double-V" stood for victory abroad against Nazism and victory at home against Jim Crow. Many now non-existant black newspapers (like Pittsburgh Courier) were involved in starting the movement and Hoover wanted to prosecute the publishers, editors, etc. of the newspapers for treason, but forces within FDR's administration stopped him (after making a deal with the newspapers not to call into question the war itself).

  • ||

    First, you people can't seem to suggest any alternative except to pull out and let the Middle East fester, which would likely lead to the immediate deaths of hundreds of thousands, and the long term likelihood of the Islamic terrorists getting their hands on nuclear weapons would then risk even more American deaths.

    Once again, this sounds like faulting Cortez's men for not suggesting a viable alternative to taking on the Aztecs--after Cortez scuttled the ships. ...Now that the President willfully destroyed our traditional options, we're supposed to cheer for the President's plan--no matter how flawed--because it's the only one we've got? ...I refuse.

    ...What has the Bush Administration done to repair relations with our traditional allies?

    So if some people are getting killed right now, but it stops that kind of wholesale carnage and at least has some reasonable chance of leading to a future alternative that's open and stable, it would seem to be a bargain. But instead of at least conceding that it's a legitimate point of view to see things that way, you people instead ooze the desire to see it all fail, just so you can be proven right. And I say it again, that's sick.

    You're overlooking at least one fact. As a recent thread on Hit & Run regarding Syria shows, there are those who would repeat this fiasco elsewhere. ...and pointing out our failures in Iraq is, at least in part, a function of that concern.

    ...and I don't think there's anyone here with the "desire to see it all fail". ...Search the archives, and I believe you'll find comments from several commenters in this thread proclaiming how wrong we hope we are--going back to the time of the invasion.

    Out of curiosity, would you engage in argument with someone who projected nefarious motives onto you?

  • ||

    Tom-

    Whatever else can be said of Cortez, he succeeded in conquering Mexico for Spain. If you're trying to say that an endeavor is flawed, don't make analogies with a guy who succeeded.

  • ||

    thoreau,

    ...he succeeded in conquering Mexico for Spain.

    Well, the diseases he and his companions did at least. When the major epidemics hit he was on the run to the coast fleeing for his very life.

  • ||

    The Aztecs were defeated for three reasons:

    Disease decimated their numbers just when they made their decision to take out Cortez and his men.

    The Aztec way of war kept them from killing Cortez' men on their march from what is now Veracruz to Tenochtitlan. They were more interested in capturing them than killing them so as to sacrifice them. What one ends up with is a sort of "How the bad guys try to kill Bond" scenario.

    Cortez allied with the surrounding nations in his assault on the Aztecs, and they provided the bulk of Cortez's fighting force. The importance of their efforts is generally ignored.

  • ||

    What one ends up with is a sort of "How the bad guys try to kill Bond" scenario.

    I'm a freaking emperor and I can't even get some sharks with laser beams on their foreheads? What am I paying you people for?

  • ||

    Second, you all seem to believe in Arab exceptionalism, which crudely stated is "those wogs will never figure this freedom thing out anyway - let 'em rot". That seems a strange attitude from people for whom freedom is supposed to be a universal, high moral value. Again, you are letting your desire to be proven right lead you into attitudes you would condemn among your ideological opponents.

    I remember when some hawk stormed in here and called me a racist for questioning the machinery of Reverse Domino Theory. ...I'm not suggesting it was you, but this seems to come from a place not too far from there.

    My understanding is that the desire to bring the benefits of civilization and to end slavery--particularly in the Sudan--fueled the initial push of British imperialism in the 19th Century. I wonder if the jingoists of the period suggested that the opponents of British imperialism thought the locals incapable of civilization.

    ...Rather than being a function of the failures of local culture, isn't what we're dealing with in Iraq--at least in part--a function of good intentions from yesteryear?

  • ||

    Whatever else can be said of Cortez, he succeeded in conquering Mexico for Spain. If you're trying to say that an endeavor is flawed, don't make analogies with a guy who succeeded.

    Cortez had a good strategy, superior technology, etc. ...If you can have a "good" strategy for conquering, robbing and enslaving a people. ...Still, if I'd been one of his men, I would have resisted the burning of the ships. ...Why throw an exit strategy away?

    Our goal wasn't to conquer, rob and enslave the people of Iraq. Still, the Bush Administration burned our ships too. ...Unfortunately, their strategy--unlike that of Cortez--was deeply flawed.

    ...and my comment answered Bonforte's question as to why I--or we maybe--don't suggest a better alternative.

  • ||

    Nobody else wants post #69? Well, alright then. I'll take it. Just you watch me.

  • ||

    Always a day late and a dollar short, I am....

  • R C Dean||

    Jennifer, claiming that the South Vietnamese are better off under the Communists may not be your strongest rhetorical ploy, given the horrific suffering said Communists inflicted after we left.

    The rest of your mocking comparison of my assessment to 1967 Viet Nam might be more persuasive if it were backed up by any facts or analysis.

    I'm just sayin'.

  • ||

    Are the Iraqi people taken as a whole likely to be better off because of the American invasion than under the rule of the Husseins? I think things are definitely moving in that direction, as demonstrated by the vote today.

    I wish the best for the Iraqi people--really I do. ...but I'm still more interested in what's best for the American people.

    Sure, some things could go better, but on the whole we are moving toward our objectives, however fitfully, and our enemies are not.

    That's the thing about occupations... The occupier has to make progress to win, but the insurgency just needs to tread water.

  • ||

    Yes, RC, and your belief that, thanks to our invasion, things will eventually be fine in Iraq would also be more persuasive if backed up by facts or analysis.

    I'm just sayin'.

  • ||

    I think the small body count in indicative of the size of the armed opposition in Iraq. It's really not that large or organized. The insurgency is still very small, compared to the number of people willing to settle things more humanely, and doesn't seem to be gathering very much speed.

  • ||

    Smacky,

    Would you please give us a synopsis of the H&R get together last Friday? Any photos out there?

  • ||

    I think the small body count in indicative of the size of the armed opposition in Iraq.

    If you're talking about American body counts,we're actually doing worse than we did in Vietnam. Fun quote off zee Web:
    A Reuters analysis of Defense Department statistics showed on Thursday [November 13, 2003] that the Vietnam War, which the Army says officially began on Dec. 11, 1961, produced a combined 392 fatal casualties from 1962 through 1964

    What are we up to after two years?

  • ||

    I meant the civilian body count at the Iraqi Constitutional vote this Saturday. Also "is" instead of "in."

  • ||

    I see, JDM. Well, the American Vietnam vs. Iraq body count is still worth mentioning.

  • ||

    Crushinator,

    The get-together went swimmingly well! 6, count 'em 6 Hit and Runners (myself included) showed up at the Ireland's Four Courts for a few drinks and/or dinner. There is still no verdict out on the pictures yet...so far, I hate all of the pictures I was in, but I am trying to pick out which, if any, I would be willing to let anyone see. To be perfectly honest, I look godawful in all of the photos. Will keep everyone updated, though.

    I can say that from meeting everyone there, that I would happily attend a second DC Reasonoid gathering in the future!

  • ||

    I can say that from meeting everyone there, that I would happily attend a second DC Reasonoid gathering in the future!

    Well, you'll have a chance November 12.

    (Hint, hint, to all those who haven't responded yet.)

  • ||

    I wonder if Hakluyt or other history buffs can answer this, what was the Vietnamese army's capabilites (on the whole) compared to Iraq as of right now?
    Did we even have the same metrics in 1967 as we do now to evaluate how far the training progress is?

    From several reports that I have gotten, some things are encouraging: Sunni enrollment is up, the readiness (at least at level 2 is up), they are building up mechanized and airbourne units, they are taking the initiative on planning and executing operations (at least in the level 2 units). Furthermore, there have been several operations in Anbar that seem (and I reinforce the the SEEM in that sentence) to be taking a toll on the jihadi hold on the Euphrates and the bombings of all this last month failed to discourage voting by the populace/only several small attacks occured on election day. Also of note, the infamous road to the Baghdadi airport has gotten relativly safer since the Iraqi army has taken over security. This is why I want to know the capabilities of the South Vietnamese in 1967 since my history is very deficient and to see how the Iraqis compare...

    Of course, as I said earlier, the Iraqi army has a long way to go. But the one thing that troubles me the most is how much of the Iraqi army works as an operative for someone else. I know that in Vietnam that infiltration rate by the NVA and the VC was pretty high and even included several generals. I wouldn't be suprised if the Iraqi army is infiltrated by Baathists, jihadis, the Peshmerga, Sadrists, Badrists, etc., but seemingly a critical difference is that I don't know of any internal/tribal factions within the South Vietnamese army, which may be a good thing if they are fighting against the Baathists remnants but may be a bit of a problem say if Sadr decides to restart his uprising or if Badr/the Peshmerga want to grab the whole enchilada.

    Namely what I'm reaching at here is that if the Iraqi army is at a better condition than the South Vietnamese army then it is conceivable that if all the major actors play the political game then the army could become an institution that unites the country.
    Any thoughts on that hypothesis? Flames? Possible scorn cut with bile and hatred at my utter neoconnish propaganda that the Iraqi army might be getting better? ;)

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