Allies and Axis

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It seems many recent news reports on Iraq, TV especially, have failed to stress that much of the fighting with Shi'ite militias is taking place in areas technically outside the U.S. zone of responsibility. Already some allied forces have pulled back, while others are asking for U.S. help.

This is why U.S. commanders wonder if they have enough troops on the ground. The implicit deal with Coalition partners, with the exception of the Brits and possibly the Poles, is that they do some peacekeeping and beat back the occasional lawless outburst, but as for sustained offensive operations, no thanks.

Of course, offensive ops is exactly what the U.S. now plans. You do not have to agree that "an Iraqi version of the siege of Waco" is likely in Najaf to see that American forces will face some dicey calls in the near future.

Meanwhile, Moqtada al-Sadr obviously sees some potential for scaring off some Coalition forces.

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  1. Quoth the President, “Mission Accomplished.”

  2. On the bright side, we have accomplished at least a temporary unification of Sunni and Shiite factions. Lets hear it for nation building! On to Northern Ireland.

  3. You’re right, Jeff. It won’t be “an Iraqi version of Waco”; that’s crazy talk. Less than a hundred people who never did anything to us were murdered in that raid. The body count will be much, much higher in Najaf (and don’t forget Fallujah!).

  4. Justin Raimondo has it figured out,send in Janet Reno and the BATF.Give em 53 days and burn those Mosques to the ground.

  5. Too bad we dismantled our inventory of neutron bombs. One the size of a baseball would do quite nicely in a mosque.

  6. Dear Russ,

    And not to forget that this war has served to strengthen the Franco-German Alliance. You know, served to strengthen the core of (Maastricht Violating) Europe. Hep Hep!

    Could it be that the Iraqis already got their fill of US Forces? Enough of a pounding for a few days, probably.

    The interesting aspect is that the State Run ORF reported that “America has lost control of the Country”; In the Newspaper, Der Standard, there are quotations from other papers across Europe that share this opinion, including Le Monde and Corriere della Sera. (derstandard.at/?id=1625428), and there are reports of “American Bombs falling on Mosques” and “Ukrainian Soldiers abandoning a city on American orders”.

    “Die Presse” rather triumphantly reports on the Vietnam of Bush (along with the overly optimistic EU drivel it usually reports first) and the loss of control of the Coalition for the country.

    Since Waco was against the “right wing”, the Press was not as tough on that action. At least the press here. Jean Bart, what is going on in the French Agencies with these informations?

    Regards,
    KK

    P.S.: the Prayers in the Synogogue next door have begun :-). With the window opened it can be heard. It is still fantastic and not to be believed to think that when my parents were born, such behavior was impossible and almost eliminated 🙁 scheiss NSDAP. We were spared that stain on our culture. And now it is possible again to worship and it must be celebrated. May Iraq get the same gift as we got from the US Forces – that is a to be sure simple explanation, but You know, what I mean. Peaceful prosperous pluralism.

  7. I posted this link on a thread yesterday, but it deserves more attention here. This is NOT a joke site; it is the actual propaganda site run by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and, if it and our government is to be trusted, everything in Iraq is JUST FINE, and Ambassador Bremer has just unveiled the new Iraqi Olympic Team Logo (which is much better than the logo Hussein would have used), and there’s a fun essay contest for Iraqi high-school students, and NOBODY is being killed. Mission accomplished, remember? Mission accomplished!

    http://www.cpa.gov/

  8. Jennifer,

    Are you saying that there are no successes in Iraq? I should think that, given the overwhelming emphasis on the bad news, the occasional success story might actually be considered newsworthy.

  9. Critic-
    I’m saying that if you ignore street battles, armed insurrections and horrific civilian casualty rates whilst trumpeting news stories about the pretty new Olympic logo and essay contests on “What a Free Iraq Means to Me,” cynical folk like myself will think you’re more about demagoguery than action.

  10. Critic-
    I’m saying that if you ignore street battles, armed insurrections and horrific civilian casualty rates whilst trumpeting news stories about the pretty new Olympic logo and essay contests on “What a Free Iraq Means to Me,” cynical folk like myself will think you’re more about demagoguery than action.

    CORRECTION: more about demagoguery than useful action. (I suspect this will be a double-post. Damn this software!)

  11. Jennifer – It’s most likely not as bad as the media would have you believe. The media has a profit motive in keeping you watching through the commercials. Believe the stories if you want, but don’t start imagining that the individual stories speak to any particular qualitative assessment of the situation as a whole. There exists no lens with that angle.

    The media, be they left, right, jew, goya, or whatever, could easily paint our own country as a combat-torn hell on the verge of civil war, even to its inhabitants, just by being more selective about what makes the front page. They plant one core idea, then branch off and plant another, and another, until people stop questioning how the media’s line of reasoning began in the first place. The provisional government has a similar motive but in the other direction – calm the anachronistic loonies down a bit. As for us we’ve mostly recognized that in general you can get along nicely and save the blowing people up routine for special occasions, as opposed to a prerequisite for paradise. Spreading that message of human economy – I seriously think human “rights” is yet a stretch for Muslim culture as a whole to cede – takes propaganda by the buckets.

    We’re talking about a people whose level of civilization allows for hanging burning corpses off bridges and dragging them through city streets. Why would anyone be surprised that at an economic and political nadir some firebrand was able to incite these nomadic morons to gather to action? Hitler anyone? We will “right the wrongs”?

    So why not pull the allies out from enemy cities? I’m sure we have leftover MOAB IIs from the shock and awe that never happened. Have we not been overwhelmingly patient with the Make Allah Happy, Kill An American routine?

  12. Stories of successes in Iraq –

    “Sniper Misses American Soldier?”

    “IED Fails to Go Off as Humvee Passes?”

    “School Looted After Invasion Refurbished?” (Photo caption, “Looking just as it did the day before the war began…”

    “Death Toll Falls Below Two Per Day?”

    “No Civilians Caught in Crossfire Today?”

    “Latest Poll: Bremer Narrowing Saddam’s Lead in Approval Ratings?”

  13. Karl,

    Yeah, and all it took was for Dresden and a few other “unimportant” German cities to have large proportions of their citizens killed by the U.S.’s and Britain’s “Greatest Generation”. Oh, and to hand over about 1/3rd of German territory to the Soviets for a few decades (under the DDR). War (and the schei?ekerl who forces it to happen) sucks ass :-b

  14. OK there are disputing views on this war. From the reasons to wage it, to the measure of success up to now.

    One thing to remember: we in the western world are there. The only thing to hope for and work for is the ultimate success.

    The current violence is awful. And it probably comes as no surprise to Bush and his team, that this fighting is happening and taking place. The potential for Iraq to be split into a Sunni, Shi’ite, and Kurdish section might be the solution. But the most important point is that defeat is not possible anymore. This is most for sure the long run for the Allies in Iraq.

    May the violence stop soon, may victory be assurred, and may a Liberal Iraq emerge!

    Karl

  15. Tip to see your message after the first post: After you wait your 45 seconds for the submittal to go through, hold CTRL and hit the F5 key.

    For whatever reason, the blog software doesn?t automatically update for you.

    Thus, you can see a post the first time, and avoid mulit-posting.

  16. Joe,

    I guess “success” depends on your point of view. Not gettting fed feet-first into a plastic shredder by a sadistic despot for criticizing his regime might be considered a success story. Not being raped by his son could be another. Not having your entire village gassed would be yet another. Your statement suggests that Iraq was better off under Saddam. You are quite the humanitarian, Joe.

  17. Hi Shawn,

    I was just travelling through Dresedn to Berlin last week. You are right on with that observation.

    Nurnberg has the scars, too. And the Soviets left here in 1955, leaving a heap of monuments in the process behind! Travel to the Border with the East Bloc countries, and the Graveyards have Soviet Monuments to the dead. Cross the Border to the poor rural towns on the other side, and you have the monuments created by living Soviets.

    That is an excellent point! Thise schei?kerle really can piss off! (schlei si iwa di heisa!) 🙂

    With friendly greetings,
    Karl

  18. RST_
    I agree that selective use of the media could make anything look as bad as it is in Iraq, but I still think things are considerably fucked up there. Take the Fallujah thing, for example. I’ll agree that here in the US we have people just as brutal (like the white men in Texas who dragged a black man to his death a couple of years back) but when evil brutality happens here our government *usually* doesn’t make things worse by, say, sealing off that entire section of Texas and conducting an all-out military campaign against all who live there. Likewise, when the FBI takes on organized criminals here in the US they *usually* don’t do it by declaring all-out war on Chicago.

    If, however, this was actually done here, then the world media would probably treat the situation as they are the current one in Iraq.

    Incidentally, a day or two ago I saw a story saying that Hans Blix agrees with Joe–overall, Iraq under Saddam was probably better than Iraq now.

    Also, I don’t understand your desire to bomb the ‘enemy cities’ in Iraq. I thought we were there to LIBERATE them, not bomb to the Stone Age any city containing anti-American elements (i.e. any city, period.) When did ‘liberate them’ and ‘kill them’ merge together?

  19. If you are looking for historical analogies to use in describing the current actions in Iraq, you might consider the Battle of the Bulge and the Tet Offensive.

    These are acts of desperation by extremist elements, not signs of strength, and are likely being directed and supplied by their patrons Iran and Syria for obvious, self-interested reasons that also suggest desperation, not vindication. If there was a large, popular, armed insurrection by “the Shi’as” or “the Sunnis” the casualty figures and the pictures would be different.

  20. Dink says in one post:

    “Too bad we dismantled our inventory of neutron bombs. One the size of a baseball would do quite nicely in a mosque.”

    Afew posts later, Dink says to joe sarcasticly:

    “You are quite the humanitarian, Joe.”

    No comments needed.

  21. “These are acts of desperation by extremist elements, not signs of strength, and are likely being directed and supplied by their patrons Iran and Syria for obvious, self-interested reasons that also suggest desperation, not vindication.”

    SO, depending on how you look at it, we Americans should actually be *encouraged* by this sort of thing, huh? I mean, Fallujah proves that we’re winning the war!

  22. I’m suspicious that this deadly chaos will be used as an excuse to postpone the June, transfer of power date. That would delight the neo-cons who lied us into this tragedy. That might well be the intention.

    Stories of success? Succsess toward just what goal?

    The government’s first excuses for the war are exposed and now they want us to swallow their BS for staying there!

    If the government’s goal was really to bring more individual liberty and encourage civil society, they wouldn’t be so complacent about the conditions in nations where they have much more influence…like the brutal Egyptian regime that gets billions of US tax dollars every year,(second only to Israel) where there is no freedom of political expression.

    Like the Israeli government’s administration of occupied Palestine where widespread deprivation of individual rights and malnutrition go hand in hand for the Palestinian people.

    Like Uzbekistan, where the government of President Islam Karimov has arrested and tortured thousands of nonviolent Muslim dissidents who practiced their faith outside state-controlled mosques. Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that this regime has one of the most deplorable human rights record extant. (a per capita torture tally far worse than even Sadam’s) They called on Uzbekistan’s Western allies, of which the United States is the most important, to apply real pressure to improve its human rights performance:

    http://antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=2216

    Contact your congress people and tell them to bring the troops home now before even more die needlessly in one of the government’s most tragic follies in the history of our republic!

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

  23. “Your statement suggests that Iraq was better off under Saddam.”

    I don’t think Iraq is worse off now. I think it’s just as bad off, maybe a hair better. But then, it’s about to get even worse.

    Oh and Dink, “Too bad we dismantled our inventory of neutron bombs. One the size of a baseball would do quite nicely in a mosque.” 1:34 PM. Next time you feel like criticising my lack of humanitarian concern, go stick your head in a pig.

  24. Rick Barton-
    If you check the “countdown to Iraqi Self-Governance” on the CPA website, you’ll see that Iraq will absolutely positively govern itself by the June deadline. To say otherwise would be to admit that Bush and Company are capable of being wrong, and as you may have noticed, there are a LOT of people on these postings who absolutely cannot wrap their minds around that concept.

  25. Success, not Succsess. Sorry, I’m no mad I can’t type straight.

  26. our government *usually* doesn’t make things worse by, say, sealing off that entire section of Texas and conducting an all-out military campaign against all who live there.

    *Usually*. And Iraq is an occupied country with no force capable of keeping the peace except that which is stationed there. The options are limited.

    I thought we were there to LIBERATE them, not bomb to the Stone Age any city containing anti-American elements

    Ok, MOABs was a bit of hyperbole. I do however think that a much larger offensive is warranted in places like Fallujah and the triangle as a whole. W.r.t liberation there is still a large margin by which we can en masse speed to their precious virgins those who are or are to be armed members of an illegal army. Major combat has resumed; we might as well snuff it out quickly. Nothing says “God has forsaken you” like a quick and decisive military defeat.

  27. Jennifer,

    Those that think that it’s unlikely that Bush could be wrong are really betting against the odds. After all, he is with the government.

  28. Jeff A. Taylor,

    The allies are pulling back because they lack the technical capacity to fight in urban areas without resorting to heavy fire power. Only the U.S. and to a lesser extent the British, have the informational tools and tactical training to fight effectively within urban areas without leveling the them.

    Most allied forces also lack the communication tools necessary to closely coordinate with US forces. If heavy fighting is expected it is safer just to have US forces take over the entire area than it is to try integrate the forces.

  29. I would guess that dink’s neutron bomb quip was typed with tongue in cheek.

  30. Yeah, we can’t wait til we have our own West Bank.

  31. neutron bomb

    I wonder whether we’d call such an event “a gift from God”.

  32. We should be more willing to allow these artificially created “countries” to separate along their historical ethnic lines. The tribal mentality of the Sunnis, Shias, Kurds and others shows no sign of abating, and I am not optimistic that Iraq can ever be a peaceful “melting pot” like the more civilized parts of the world. Let ’em go their separate ways. Those who are against civilization will be ostracized (except by France); those who would like to join the modern world will be rewarded.

  33. SO, depending on how you look at it, we Americans should actually be *encouraged* by this sort of thing, huh? I mean, Fallujah proves that we’re winning the war!

    NO, the way I would put it is that Fallujah doesn’t at all prove that we are not winning the war. The outcome is uncertain, though the likelihood of the Syrian/Iranian puppet elements succeeding is low if we deploy our superior resources effectively.

    And, yes, if the al-Sadr militia was induced to launch attacks precipitiously because their thug was about to get scooped up, then, yes, this might turn out to be encouraging ? though some would argue that a move against al-Sadr has been delayed too long. The goal should be to force the enemy to fight on our timetable, not his or his patron’s.

    Oh, and Bush spends too much money, the administration is full of big-government bureaucrats, the feds have overreacted on civil liberties, boy what a stupid steel tariff, etc., etc. Can we have a conversation now, among fellow freedom-loving folks, without devolving into Shrub jokes and hyperbolic nonsense?

  34. Pick a date for those “historical ethnic lines,” dreamer. But be careful, it you pick anything between the end of the first century and the middle of the 20th, you’re an antisemite.

  35. Some of you people need to go back and review your comments april 29 “Fredom of the press in Irag”

    Given where this has gone, I think some of you will find your views at the time quite stupid.

    Mudflap

  36. John Hood,

    I didn’t intend to make historical analogies, but if we look at yours, I’m not any more comforted. The Allies won the Battle of the Bulge because, AFIK, the Wehrmacht ran out of fuel, and they had bigger concerns in the East. And although the U.S. won the Tet Offensive, I have the impression that the resulting protests back here finally convinced the U.S. to pull out, which I believe was (one of) the aims of the NVA and VC.

    The two MAJOR wars the U.S.A. has won (Civil War, WWII) had over 300,000 casualties each, and inflicted at least that much on the other side. If the Japanese hadn’t surrendered when they did (and there was a coup in the works to see that emperor Hirohito didn’t) commanders estimated we would have killed 1-2 million Japanese people (soldiers and civilians) and lost another 500,000-1,000,000 Americans. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out the death toll for the Vietnamese was comparable to those numbers, and the U.S. STILL didn’t win.

    If the U.S. isn’t willing to fight the “war it would take” to “pacify” the region, then what the fuck are we doing there? Blowing some stuff up? Making Iraq safe for democracy? Avenging GHWB’s loss in the 1992 elections? Preventing terrorists from using Iraq as a base? Sending a message to Iran and Syria? What?

  37. “The goal should be to force the enemy to fight on our timetable, not his or his patron’s.”

    The Shiites who were persecuted by Saddam are no longer the oppressed Iraqis who we went to liberate. They are now our enemies. April 7, 4:21 PM, the “humanitarian action” argument (originally trotted out to replace the failed WMD and Baathist/Al Qaeda connection arguments) has officially collapsed.

    The funny thing is, this isn’t just in John Hood’s head. I don’t recall, in all the terrorist events that have taken place over the past 25 years, hearing about Iraqi Shiites killing Americans. Until now. This is not a case of making people who were already our enemies hate us more. This is about a population that was never our enemy until the war, now cursing our name and working to figure out ways to kill us.

    Gee, did anyone predict such a thing occurring a year and a half ago?

  38. Why are so many Iraqis, of various ethnic lineages, including those persecuted by Sadam’s regime, fighting so hard against occupation forces?

    After a war perused under false pretence, the government is carrying out an occupation with aspects that seem devoid of American values thusly shaming Americans.

    U.S. administrator Paul Bremer shut down the Al Hawza newspaper. If the newspaper had called for attacks or assassinations on specific targets, the United States government might have been on better ethical ground, but it did not. Thousands of Iraqis showed up outside the shuttered offices to protest, some yelling “No, no America” and “Where is democracy now?” The reaction of the Iraqis was predictable and justified.

    The military is using “soft torture”, torture methods to extract information from Iraqis. Or, as it is called by the Israeli military, “physical pressure”. Whatever information is extracted, a bitter and enduring hatred is the by-product. We should demand of congress that this barbarity be stopped. It is beneath the dignity of the American people.

    When our government does turn over control we can hope, in the name of decency, that those new in power don’t emulate Bremer’s occupation regime.

    We should demand that the troops be brought home now before any more Americans loose their lives without good cause. And, if we allow American military bases to be left there, the neo-cons who lied us into this tragedy will have gotten their ultimate goal and be rewarded for their duplicity.

    Bases in Iraq will only act as a very expensive trip wire for further American deaths with out just cause when the neos become persuasive that yet another nation’s conquest is worth American blood and gold.

  39. John:

    I almost mentioned Hue in comparison to Najaf — ancient holy city thing — but thought that too negative in that the US ended up leveling it to take it back after Tet. And Tet itself is huge yin-yang thing. The Uncle Ho and Co. were utterly wrong that the South was ripe for an uprising and basically slaughtered thousands of Viet Cong with their mistake. The VC never recovered. But neither did American public opinion, thanks to vid like US MPs fighting off VC sappers inside the US embassy compound. Light at the end of the tunnel indeed.

    It took several years for the North to regroup, but regroup it did, even though the ’73 Easter offensive was beaten back by the South, but once Congress pulled the plug in the wake of Watergate it was all over but the fuzz guitar coda.

    The Bulge is an interesting case as it too, at heart, rested on splitting off Allies from the US. But that was based on the separate peace with Britain fiction that Hitler clung to. Is it a fiction that Coalition partners can be made to turn tail and run? Probably. But there is little doubt that if you are spoiling for a fight, you’d opt to take on, say, the Salvadoran army rather than the 82nd Airborne.

  40. …make that “pursued under false pretence…” some day I’ll learn…..preview button!

  41. But there is little doubt that if you are spoiling for a fight, you’d opt to take on, say, the Salvadoran army rather than the 82nd Airborne.

    Hey, now, don’t be ethnocentric: some of those Salvadorans may be death-squad veterans.

  42. If we ever need the Salvos particular death squad skill-set things are dire indeed.

  43. Boy, and I had no idea the Battle of the Bulge and the Tet Offensive were fought almost a year after we won those wars. I guess I should shut up and listen to the people who really know their history.

  44. “…mean we’re winning the war?”

    SinC: I would submit that in the 21st century it is Impossible to ‘win’ a war of any kind.

    It may be possible to successfully defend oneself against attack, and/or to successfully repel invaders, but otherwise, “war” assures there will be no winners on any side.

  45. WHAT WE WERE TOLD: Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and is on the verge of using them against the United States

    WHAT WE LATER DISCOVERED: Uh, no they don’t.

    WHAT WE WERE TOLD: Iraq was involved in the 9-11 attacks.

    WHAT WE LATER DISCOVERED: Uh, no they weren’t.

    WHAT WE WERE TOLD: Iraqis would welcome us as liberators.

    WHAT WE LATER DISCOVERED: Uh, lobbing bombs and bullets is apparently the Iraqi version of ‘aloha.’

    WHAT WE WERE TOLD: The murderous Iraqis in Fallujah were all ex-Baathists.

    WHAT WE LATER DISCOVERED: Damn, that twelve-year-old ex-Baathist in the photo must be one heck of a prodigy, huh? What, did he sign on with Saddam in the womb?

    WHAT WE WERE TOLD: The only Iraqis who don’t like us are a few nasty bad apples who would’ve given us trouble anyway.

    WHAT WE LATER DISCOVERED: Iraqis who were oppressed under Saddam and used to like us are now trying to kill us.

    So please, Bush fans, explain why the burden of proof is on those of us OPPOSED to the Iraq war?

  46. a population that was never our enemy until the war

    How presumptuous of you to think that the Shiites have ever had love for Israel’s rock and shield. But their being our enemy is a light switch; a moderate Shiite cleric – if credible – rising to prominence could just as quickly change that.

    So please, Bush fans, explain

    Do not confuse people who supported the administration’s decision to invade Iraq with fans of Bush or that administration. The distinction is not difficult to make. That having been said, opposition to the war in the Bush II era hinged on the propaganda itself (WMD vs. no WMD) vis-a-vis the omnibenevolent, uber-progressive international community and its paper tiger U.N. The world failed Iraq when it decided not to remove Hussein in ’91 because doing so was not politically en vogue. What did the U.N. provide instead? A cease fire that never actually happened, weapons inspections that never actually happened, and resolutions that might as well have been directed at Mars for all they accomplished. What reason did we have to continue allowing the U.N. to fuck it up? When the rubber meets the road, all the U.N. can do apparently is resolve to do things. When you want action, if you can’t wait 10 years for ambassadors and diplomats to find their own assholes, you are going to have to do it yourself.

  47. Jennifer,

    As this blog tends to be frequented by those who value individual liberty, you probably won’t find an abundance of Bush fans here. There are, however, quite a number of good folks in his party who hold both office and higher principles.

  48. if you can’t wait 10 years for ambassadors and diplomats to find their own assholes, you are going to have to do it yourself

    Well, we certainly found a lot of assholes in Iraq, but most of them left us alone before we went and bombed the crap out of their country. Those who had loved ones killed or maimed in bombings are not likely to care that we meant well when we did it.

    Rick-
    Yes, I know there are good Republicans, just as there are good Muslims, but lately both groups have been made to look totally psychopathic by a few determined fools. I just don’t get why the Iraq hawks are so obsessed with ignoring reality that they can’t even admit things are going badly despite all evidence to the contrary.

    Bush’s own dad wrote in his autobiography that the reason he decided not to take out Hussein during Gulf War 1 is because he felt that Iraq, while easy to topple, would be extremely difficult if not impossible to peacefully occupy. What about that statement has changed?

    And remember: every single reason we gave for this war was wrong. Even if you believe the administrations current fall-back excuse: “Saddam was a really bad guy who needed to be brought down,” there were still many far worse dictators by that criteria who should have been higher on the list.

    Yet still there are plenty of people who insist that we were right to go there, and this will be winnable, and this has made America safer, and all the bad news from Iraq is just a bunch of anomalies in an otherwise vastly improved society. Wrong. Things are just going to get worse both for Iraqis and our own soldiers.

  49. Jennifer:

    Look, we are looking at the same story and drawing entirely different conclusions. I strongly disagree with virtually all of the “facts” you assert.

    On weapons programs, no stockpiles were found. Either Saddam Hussein bluffed, was misinformed by his underlings, hid the material well, or smuggled some material out to Syria. I’m betting some combination, with the latter a distinct and disturbing possibility. On the other hand, weapons research was found. Disallowed programs were found. The regime’s weapons scientists were found and, one hopes, detained to keep them from cooperating with terrorists (read the Kay report).

    No person in any position of authority has ever argued that Iraq masterminded the 9/11 attacks. However, there is compelling evidence that Iraq was an enabler and supplier of the thugs who carried out the 9/11 attacks. We will never win the war on terror by chasing after a few fugitives in the mountains; it took years to catch anti-abortion extremist Eric Rudolph here in the mountains of my own state. Success will come in part by eliminating state sponsors, something that the current policy seems to be making progress on — Afghanistan and Iraq pro-terror regimes were deposed, Libya quaked and gave in, Saudis and Pakastanis are moving, though too slowly, in the right direction, and Syria and Iran are possibly about to draw themselves into a dangerous mess by playing around with al-Sadr.

    Much of Iraq did welcome coalition troops as liberators. Some did not. No one in any position of authority or responsibility ever suggested the post-Saddam phase of the operation would be easy.

    Most Iraqi Shi’ites are not joining the current uprising. Read carefully the various print reports coming out of the region right now. Even the New York Times is valuable on this point, believe it or not. Of course, al-Sadr and his thugs have enough support in Shi’ite neighborhoods to be dangerous.

    On the “Mission Accomplished” sign on the carrier: it was idiotic for the Bush people not to make sure that sign was gone before he came in. It apparently referred to the actions of the ship itself, not the Iraqi campaign, though obviously it was construed as such. The mission is far from accomplished.

  50. “The mission is far from accomplished.”

    And it will be in 2 1/2 months?

  51. John:

    ” Either Saddam Hussein bluffed, was misinformed by his underlings, hid the material well, or smuggled some material out to Syria.”

    More likely is that Bush bought the long held neo-con advocacy for an attack on Iraq and palmed off what ever lies the neos cranked up for pushing the war.

    If they thought that they had real evidence they wouldn’t have engaged in such duplicity as they did in the presentation as well as the content of the report that Powell presented at the UN and described as; “valuable intelligence” but turned out to be an altered, plagiarized and dated grad student thesis!

    A wild fabrication of such magnitude would surely have landed them in prison had they been corporate CEO’s instead of government officials and if the venue of the presentation was an investor meeting instead of the UN.

    John, you said: “read the Kay report”

    Indeed; read what Kay said and how it exposes the government’s lies:

    “I wrote that it looks as though they did not produce weapons,” Kay reveals in an interview with the new Vanity Fair.

    It wasn’t until late January this year that Kay told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “we were almost all wrong” on Iraq.

    Kay told Vanity Fair, in its 22,000-word opus, “The Path to War,” that he was actually ready to come home in mid-December. Tenet said no.

    “If you resign now, it will appear that we don’t know what we’re doing and the wheels are coming off,” he said Tenet told him. “So I said, ‘Fine, I’ll wait.'”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/story/180602p-156891c.html

    John, you wrote:
    “However, there is compelling evidence that Iraq was an enabler and supplier of the thugs who carried out the 9/11 attacks.”

    What compelling evidence?

    “We will never win the war on terror by chasing after a few fugitives in the mountains.”

    There shouldn’t even be a “war on terror”. Instead of a war on terror; those who committed the 9/11 attack should be hunted down and killed so they can’t do it again. Conservatives have asked; why in the Hell is so little of this silly “War on Terror” budget ear marked for this end? Iraq was a needless diversion that could breed more terror attacks.

  52. Was it the Tet offensive that may have begun convince LBJ not to run again?
    Well, this is the beginning of Iraq’s Tet offensive.
    Granted Bush is slower on the uptake.

    One difference is this “war” is more like the war on drugs. The more intensively it’s fought, the greater the supply of drugs/ terrorists.

  53. “…or smuggled some material out to Syria.”

    There was never any evidence for that. The idea was tossed there out by those who lied us into this war and wanted to go right after Syria next.

  54. go right after Syria next.

    I think that’s a good idea.

    Those who had loved ones killed or maimed in bombings are not likely to care that we meant well when we did it.

    How beholden am I to pity the lives of people who danced in the streets and praised their god for 9/11? That I neither danced in the streets nor praised a god for their deaths is all I will grant them.

    The dispute between suffering from death and injury at the hands of an occupying power vs. starvation, death and torture at the hands of a dictator notwithstanding, Iraq was an issue that did not have closure in 1991. The U.N. did a half-assed job, and the indolence and greed of the entire international community, the United States included, led inexorably to this confrontation.

  55. What compelling evidence?

    Compelling evidence is a rarity in forensics.

    The F.S. was being trained at Salman Pak to take over planes using close combat. They had a Boeing 747 (767?) parked out there.

    So guess who came to town not long before 9/11? Mohammad Atta.

    Given that Hussein had already publicly declared Iraq to be an enemy of the United States, and the only fools who believed we had a real cease fire were the perpetually ignorant and/or U.N. employees, tactically it was/is a safe bet that there was some degree of support involved, although direct complicity does not appear likely. Do not confuse American laws of evidence with the pratical applications of intelligence in state-to-state relations. Highly incongruous.

  56. rst,

    If you think going after Syria is a good idea, you right ahead. But, don’t try to force the rest of us to help. Yet another war not in our nation’s interest really doesn?t sound to inviting with the Iraq folly still playing out.

  57. don’t try to force the rest of us to help.

    What an odd statement. How would I force anyone to do that? It will either happen or it will not, at the hands of a relative few which likely do not include anyone in this forum.

    It is rather arrogant to assume you know the interest of the nation. You perhaps have your finger on the pulse of popular sentiment, but sentiment and interest are not synonymous.

  58. “How would I force anyone to do that?”

    Via politics, of course.
    It’s no more arrogant of me to think that attacking Syria is not in the nation’s interest than it is for you to think the opposite. Really, the idea seems so counter productive that perhaps the nations interest does not concern you here.

    How do we define “the nations interest” anyway? Actually, it’s pretty subjective, which forms the basis of why elective wars and have been considered off-limits by pro-liberty schools of thought going back to the founders of our republic.

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