33 Million Troop Surge Fans Can't Be Wrong!

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Responding to yesterday's post about Harry Reid (apparently) endorsing a Bush-McCain plan for sending more troops to Iraq, commenter Madpad speculated:

After lettin[g] Republicans galvanize the idea that Democrats are soft on defense, Reid & company are signing on for the same reason they rolled over on the war.

Simply put, they don't want to look like pussies.

That's a tempting analysis of the loopy Iraq debate we're having right now. But the fact was that when Democrats and Republicans-except-Lincoln-Chafee voted for the Iraq war, support for a war on Iraq hovered around 70 percent. What's the support for a "troop surge"? It's buried in this CNN story:

Support for the conflict fell to a new low of 31 percent in the poll, conducted Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corporation, while a record 67 percent expressed opposition to the nearly 4-year-old war.

Nearly three-quarters said Bush administration policy needs a complete overhaul or major changes. But only 11 percent of those polled backed calls to send more American troops to Iraq, as President Bush is said to be considering.

Eleven percent. That's about 1/3 as many people as favor the no-strings legalization of marijuana. Suffice to say that Washington political classes don't spend a lot of time discussing ideas that almost 9 in 10 Americans oppose. Why are they considering this one?


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  1. As proud as I am that my post was singled out, I take the thread-poster to task for not including their name/handle.

    And popular opposition doesn’t necessarily mean that the Democrats still don’t want to look like pussies.

    In fact, the idea that they might be stringing the Republicans along further only to ‘turn popular’ (or more likely ‘turn sensible’) kind of supports Dave’s original post.

  2. “Suffice to say that Washington political classes don’t spend a lot of time discussing ideas that almost 9 in 10 Americans oppose. Why are they considering this one?”

    I don’t know Dave, maybe they are just trying to win the damn war and have access to some facts and opinions that you don’t? Substantively, there are arguments both ways for increasing the number American forces in Iraq. Time will tell which side is right. Regardless, I would like to think that the people in charge are doing something besides sticking their fingers to wind by taking a few polls and then making a decision. Maybe I am wrong about Weigel. Maybe he does in fact hate the Democrats, if he thinks that they are so craven and political that they would let their opinions on the conduct of a war be ruled completely by public opinion and political considerations rather than what is the better decision.

  3. Bush is just gonna keep sendin’ troops ’til that damned ‘pocalypse comes!

  4. To make themselves look busy, like they’re “doin’ something” about the war, without actually having to discuss any real probable solutions, because that would require having to think. This way, they get to ponder an impossible action without any danger of having to act on it.

    That, and madpad’s analysis still holds. If democrats say “hey, let’s send more troops like the republicans want”, even though they know damn well that it’ll never happen, then they look a little hawkish, without ever having to deal with the actual repercussions of the act itself.

    9/10ths of americans may disagree with the act itself, but if democrats can at least act hawkish, it bodes well for them. The american people like the idea of being “tough”, but the don’t always like the consequences of it…so, there’s very little to lose for the dems in this case.

    Or maybe they’re just really stupid.

  5. “even though they know damn well that it’ll never happen”

    Why won’t it happen. They have the troops to send. Not 100s of thousands, but they have them and are making plans to send them. Further, even from a political prospective which is better for the Democrats; Iraq ends in a complete disaster and Democrats get to say I told you so, but the Republicans get to play the Vietnam Democrats don’t have the stomach to defend the country card, or things go better in Iraq and the Democrats get to say “Bush fucked the whole thing up until we showed up and fixed it.” I think the latter is the better option for the Democrats. Like I said above, I don’t think the Democrats want to see the country loose and are just trying to find a way to win the war. Good for them.

  6. I agree with Evan, it seems that sometimes it politically makes sense to support ideas that you know will never come to fruition.

    So when troops are pulled out of Iraq, Reid can say, “why is Bush surrendering?”

  7. Like I said above, I don’t think the Democrats want to see the country loose and are just trying to find a way to win the war

    The war in Iraq is lost.

    Now it’s both parties trying to figure out how to get out of the mess without looking bad.

  8. Politics aside, there is no point in sending any additional troops unless they’re ready take an all-out, Salvadoran-style fight to the insurgents.

  9. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1754864/posts

    Harry Reid has FREEPERs questioning The Iraq War. Let me repeat that slowly in case your mind failed to blow the first time:

    FREEPERs

    questioning

    The

    Iraq

    War.

    Accordingly, “What’s the support for a “troop surge”? It’s buried in this CNN story” should have read –What’s the support for a “troop surge”? It’s being done because the Republicans have put themselves over a barrel and Harry Reid is now applying the bottom spank, ouch, ouch style.” I mean, for gosh sakes, Harry Reid has Freepers questioning the Iraq War. Just can’t get over that.

  10. Oh we’re havin’ a surge bitches. Who’s gonna stop me?

  11. “The war in Iraq is lost.”

    Bullshit. Why is it lost? Because Iraqis are killing one another? Because the U.S. has lost few people in nearly four years that it took in a week during the Second World War or a month in Vietnam? Because wars suck and they are hard and some of them not 100 hour live fire exercises? Becuase the New York Times says so?

  12. “I don’t know Dave, maybe they are just trying to win the damn war and have access to some facts and opinions that you don’t?”

    Can’t help but chuckle every time you mention “winning” the “war”.

    “Substantively, there are arguments both ways for increasing the number American forces in Iraq.”

    What substance is there behind “the reason we’re unable to put an end to a 1400-year-old sectarian conflict in a few years is because we’re 25,000 troops short”. I can think of a few “substances” behind that argument…but they’re NSFW ;->

    “Regardless, I would like to think that the people in charge are doing something besides sticking their fingers to wind by taking a few polls and then making a decision.”

    You might like to think that, but the reality is, we’re a representative democracy, so something that 9/10ths of the people disagree with is unlikely to happen. Nobody said that anyone is basing their decisions entirely on public opinion, but…to go back to yesterday’s discussion, the idea that, if only we could send 25k more troops, we could fix this dern mess, is wrong on its face.

  13. “Bullshit. Why is it lost?”

    Because it was never really a “war”, and it was never really “winnable”. I laid out my argument yesterday in the “Congressmen Br’er Rabbit” thread. These sects have been in conflict for near’n 1400 years, in one form or another. Our military is equipped to defeat an enemy on the battlefield, not to reform an entire culture. We “won” the “war” that was fought. Done. What we’re involved in now is not a “war” in the sense we’re talking about right now, because it cannot really be won…unless the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds just decide to make up and play nice. The hubris that is involved in believing that a bunch of tanks and guns and abstract notions about democracy is enough to “win” (IOW, end this age-old sectarian conflict), is amazing. And the idea that, if we just send 25,000 more men to Iraq, then we could “win”, is even MORE absurd.

  14. “Why won’t it happen. They have the troops to send.”

    Again: whether you like it or not, no politician is going to sign onto something that 89% of the American people disagree with. It’s the reality, John. You can sit here all day long and discuss why that’s wrong, and how much it sucks, but I’m just pointing out the facts here.

  15. “Why is it lost?….Becuase the New York Times says so?”

    No. Because Bush thinks it hasn’t been. 🙂

    Actually we won a long time ago. Its time to leave.

  16. John =

    Tell me what the criteria for “victory” are please.

    I can tell you what some of the criteria of failure were:

    – starting an Iraqi civil war,
    – turning the country into a ‘safe haven’ for international jihadists
    – Handing a windfall to Iran, eliminating enemies on east and west flanks, allowing them maneuvering room to develop nukes with no fear of American direct action…

    Now, if you think any of the above can be “reversed” though American military action, explain how.

    The ‘surge’ is BS. It’s for show. And Madpad was right, Reid is just trying to position dems as ‘we’ll try that’. Less obstructionist.

  17. I don’t think the Democrats want to see the country loose and are just trying to find a way to win the war.

    Odd–judging from every other post I’ve ever read of yours, you believe the Democrats DO want to see the country lose. Is it that they only have the best interests of the country at heart when they agree with you?

  18. Bullshit. Why is it lost? Because Iraqis are killing one another? Because the U.S. has lost few people in nearly four years that it took in a week during the Second World War or a month in Vietnam? Because wars suck and they are hard and some of them not 100 hour live fire exercises? Becuase the New York Times says so?

    It’s lost because we don’t want to fight it anymore.

  19. I, too, would like to see a clearly defined “victory” scenario. Particularly one which does not implicitly include the outcome of the 2008 election in this country.

    I’m sick and tired of this “democracy” whimwham that comes out of the White House like the nervous patter of a second rate magician with his arm in the top hat up to the shoulder, fumbling around for something even vaguely similar to a bunny rabbit.

  20. I don’t know Dave, maybe they are just trying to win the damn war and have access to some facts and opinions that you don’t?

    Well if that’s the case, they should share these facts and opinions with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    It seems they are unanimously opposed to adding more troops.

    Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility that these Generals and Admirals are just defeatists.

  21. “SUUUUUUURGE!”

    Is anyone else picturing lame-ass ‘extreme’ teens running after a Mountain Dew clone?

  22. What do the majority of Americans want regaurding Iraq?

    67% say they opposed the war. Does that mean that they want an immediate pullout? A timetable? More attempts at diplomacy? Some combination of these ideas?

    I think its quite likely that, although a large majority are dissatisfied with the status quo, there is no specific policy change that most Americans would agree to.

    There may even be a significant number of people who have the attitude of “I don’t like the way things are going and I want them to do something different, but I don’t agree with any of the specific ideas that have been proposed”. It is an understandable attitude, since clearly things are not going as we’d like but any solution proposed has a significant chance of failing and possibly even making things worse.

  23. 67% say they opposed the war. Does that mean that they want an immediate pullout? A timetable? More attempts at diplomacy? Some combination of these ideas?

    We want those who supported the war most strongly to admit that it was a mistake. If it takes a few more casulties to do that, then it takes a few more casualities to do that.

    We are making good progress, but still waiting on kwais and john.

    Now that we are in endgame, the war is no longer such a scary or emotional issue for us as it was in 2003.

    Watching them Freepers twist in the wind, at least you get the feeling that US soldiers aren’t completely dying in vain anymore. you even get the feeling that some of those soldiers may sit out the next election.

    Things may not be improving in Iraq, but they are improving in the US — and that is the real criteria of victory for me.

  24. 67% say they opposed the war. Does that mean that they want an immediate pullout? A timetable? More attempts at diplomacy? Some combination of these ideas?

    There is an assumption here that I think might be off a bit.

    You might be assuming “most people think that US actions of one sort or another will result in very different intended outcomes for Iraq overall”

    I think many people see things the way I do, which is that our window for influencing ultimate outcomes in the country has more or less closed. If not closed, it’s narrowed to the point where we have fewer, often all-bad options about what to do.

    The country is partitioning on it’s own, and whether or there are internal borders mandated by the Iraqi gov, recommended by the US, whatever…it will be the eventual, defacto result. I think many people see this, and see that it was not what we’d intended going in there, but that there’s no real hope of reversing the trend in that direction at this point.

    anyway, maybe thats not what people think. but from polls i’ve seen, the “67%” you mention tends to range from people who want immediate pullout to phased withdrawal/redeployment.

  25. We want those who supported the war most strongly to admit that it was a mistake.

    You can exclude me from that “we”. I dont see any particular benefit from politicans recanting, or from public floggings. In time, reality takes care of failures for us.

    I’d be a bit happier to not be spending 2billion+ a week on a military/political disaster.

  26. We want those who supported the war most strongly to admit that it was a mistake. If it takes a few more casulties to do that, then it takes a few more casualities to do that.

    Which confirms something I’ve suspected all along: Most opponents of the war never cared about winning it. They just wanted to make BusHitler look bad, consequences be damned.

  27. It’s lost because we don’t want to fight it anymore.

    That’s probably the most correct statement written here.

  28. Which confirms something I’ve suspected all along: Most opponents of the war never cared about winning it. They just wanted to make BusHitler look bad, consequences be damned.

    We are wrong for not sufficiently wanting to win a war that we thought should never have been prosecuted in the first place.

    Gosh.

    Guilty as charged, I guess.

    And proud of it.

  29. You can exclude me from that “we”. I dont see any particular benefit from politicans recanting, or from public floggings. In time, reality takes care of failures for us.

    I don’t want politicians recanting. i want people like GILMORE recanting. I want people like Captain Holly recanting. i am willing to stay the course in Iraq until you guys do. in fact, I say we have a big surge and a draft just to speed the process along.

  30. And if you are wondering what you could possibly recant in connection with the Iraq War, GILMORE, I would have you start with the Hitchens luv.

  31. I don’t want politicians recanting. i want people like GILMORE recanting.

    Recanting *what*? I’ve never endorsed the Iraq campaign. Just because I think your desire for public obeiscience is meaningless/useless to the issue/unhelpful, etc. doesnt by default make me a warmongering pig.

  32. We want those who supported the war most strongly to admit that it was a mistake. If it takes a few more casulties to do that, then it takes a few more casualities to do that.

    I mean, whats a few dead bodies if it helps you score political points?

  33. Sam – apologizing is pointless and ineffective (see Janet Reno).

  34. We are wrong for not sufficiently wanting to win a war that we thought should never have been prosecuted in the first place.

    Gosh.

    Guilty as charged, I guess.

    And proud of it.

    So, you’re willing to allow more men to die just so you can say “Nyah, nyah, nyah, I told you so!” and so your political candidates can make an issue of it in the next election.

    Surprising. Not that you would hold such sentiments — I suspect they are widespread throughout the anti-war community — but that you would openly admit to it.

    Most Democrats/anti-war Lefties at least pretend to care about the troops…

  35. So, you’re willing to allow more men to die just so you can say “Nyah, nyah, nyah, I told you so!” and so your political candidates can make an issue of it in the next election.

    Surprising. Not that you would hold such sentiments — I suspect they are widespread throughout the anti-war community — but that you would openly admit to it.

    Most Democrats/anti-war Lefties at least pretend to care about the troops…

    I’m a sworn enemy of leftists and I have a lot of friends in the military.

    That being said, be mad at the people who put them in the middle of this situation, dying half way across the world for people who hate them then those who are against it.

  36. And if you are wondering what you could possibly recant in connection with the Iraq War, GILMORE, I would have you start with the Hitchens luv.

    Thanks for the added detail.

    What @#*$& “Hitchens Luv”? I’ve maybe made a couple of comments about the guy in the last 3 years on the board, and dont recall ever echoing his particular sentiments wholesale – although many times in the context of his criticisms he does manage to make a point that is 100% on the money. But agreeing with “some” of the man’s observations shouldnt require a public apology from me, simply becaue he was in the pro-war camp? I think Hitch has made a lot of interesting commentary on the war, but crediting Good Commentary shouldnt be the same as “responsible for his views” I’ve never once made any defence of the Iraq war, or made ‘stay the course’ noises. I dont know where the hell you’re coming from with identifying ME as part of some cabal here that used to cheerlead Iraq.

    Hitch would be the first to point out that your attitudes are kind of emblematic of the ‘bitch and whine’ anti-war left that he abandoned…. the wing thats more concerned with “right-thinking” posturing than any actual policy that achieves goals. And you identify someone who differs with you (over a tiny issue!) as being “Water Carriers” for The War. You want ‘apologies’ from people so you have your little piece of Shoddenfreude – not because it will help anything.

    Excuse me if I’m not overwhelmed.

    I personally felt we should have invaded Western Pakistan (baluchistan?), and come back with Osama’s head on a stick.

  37. That being said, be mad at the people who put them in the middle of this situation, dying half way across the world for people who hate them then those who are against it.

    Then I’d have to be mad at the soldiers themselves, because the US hasn’t had a draft since 1973. They volunteered for this duty, many of them signing up after March 2003, and many of those re-enlisting (and continuing to re-enlist) since then. And if polling data are accurate, a solid two-thirds of them voted for President Bush in 2004.

    Look, I was in the military myself once, a long time ago. I know how screwed up the military bureaucracy is, and I can certainly identify with being fresh out of high school and being stuck somewhere you don’t really want to be.

    But the idea that our troops are just helpless, ignorant dupes who were sent there by President Bush to protect the interests of moustache-twirling Oil Barons is silly, and completely inaccurate. US troops today are far better educated and far more motivated than their Viet Nam era counterparts.

    And I’m still wondering how someone can seriously claim to “support the troops” while simultaneously cheerleading for their death or defeat.

  38. “””I don’t know Dave, maybe they are just trying to win the damn war and have access to some facts and opinions that you don’t?”””

    Either they are not trying very hard or their “best efforts” are failing. Actually if you take what the Bush admin and the Generals are saying, we aren’t trying very hard at reducing the violence. We have been pulling troops from combat to train the Iraqis. I’m still not sure how we expect a new, not so good military to do the job we haven’t been able to do in three years. I don’t think the Iraqis have the will for status quo either, and they are doing something about it, albeit by sectarian warfare. The Iraqis have all day and night, 24/7/365 to provide their own solution, on a whole, the Iraqis don’t seem to interested in peace. So what now?

    “””Bullshit. Why is it lost? Because Iraqis are killing one another? Because the U.S. has lost few people in nearly four years that it took in a week during the Second World War or a month in Vietnam? Because wars suck and they are hard and some of them not 100 hour live fire exercises? Because the New York Times says so?”””

    If the war is lost (I don’t say it’s so yet) it is not because of our extremely light death toll, (God bless everyone of them) or a newspaper that has nothing to do with war operations even though some right-wingers act like they do, but because the Iraqis don’t want peace with each other. The current failures are based in the same issue we have failed at for decades, PEACEKEEPING. It is fair game to say “technically” the “war” has been over for 3 years and went from a war stance to a peacekeeping stance. THAT is the essence of the problem. We are trying to succeed in a mission that combat troops rarely ever, if ever, succeed. The real question is how to bring peace to a country that is fighting themselves?

    History has something ugly to say about it. The purpose of our military is to defeat enemies, not to teach people how to get along.

    “”67% say they opposed the war. Does that mean that they want an immediate pullout? A timetable? More attempts at diplomacy? Some combination of these ideas?”””

    I believe it means they don’t like the way the war is being ran. If we started making real progress soon, that number would drop. If we were kicking ass, 67% would be for it.

    “””We want those who supported the war most strongly to admit that it was a mistake.”””

    The mistake is in how the war was managed, not that it happened.

    “”””It’s lost because we don’t want to fight it anymore.

    That’s probably the most correct statement written here.”””””

    No I’d say it’s the least most correct, because our “will to fight” has NOTHING to do with how the war is planned, or how it is executed. To think that we back home make a difference is crap. When I was in Beirut I didn’t give a rats ass about what anyone back home thought. You’re focused on your mission.

  39. What @#*$& “Hitchens Luv”? I’ve maybe made a couple of comments about the guy in the last 3 years on the board, and dont recall ever echoing his particular sentiments wholesale – although many times in the context of his criticisms he does manage to make a point that is 100% on the money. But agreeing with “some” of the man’s observations shouldnt require a public apology from me, simply becaue he was in the pro-war camp? I think Hitch has made a lot of interesting commentary on the war, but crediting Good Commentary shouldnt be the same as “responsible for his views” I’ve never once made any defence of the Iraq war, or made ‘stay the course’ noises. I dont know where the hell you’re coming from with identifying ME as part of some cabal here that used to cheerlead Iraq.

    after apologizing for what a smart guy you used to think Hitchens was (when the truth is that no one who supported the Iraw War was smart), you can move to the next step of failing to rail against the war when it was not convenient for you to do so. You weren’t part of the solution, GILMORE, you were part of the problem. When john and kwais sees you apologizing for failing to oppose the war, then hopefully they will rethink their continuing support for it.

    Oh, and thanks in advance for making things right cheerfully and not bitching about how others were even worse than ol’ “Silent GILMORE.”

  40. So, you’re willing to allow more men to die just so you can say “Nyah, nyah, nyah, I told you so!” and so your political candidates can make an issue of it in the next election.

    No. I am saying I am willing to allow more volunteers to die just so you can say “Captain Holly and all the people like Captain Holly are not as stupid as they used to be about important issues and vote for a different type of candidate than they used to vote for back when they used to be stupid.”

  41. No I’d say it’s the least most correct, because our “will to fight” has NOTHING to do with how the war is planned, or how it is executed. To think that we back home make a difference is crap. When I was in Beirut I didn’t give a rats ass about what anyone back home thought. You’re focused on your mission.

    I would disagree, public opinion is supremely important. Because, as in Viet Nam, the military can decisively win every major engagement but still lose the war when the politicians decide to give up and bring the troops home.

    If, as the original post suggests, an overwhelming majority of the American public truly wants to pull out of Iraq, all those brilliant military manuevers, tactical victories, open and free elections, rebuilt schools and mosques won’t mean jack shit if President Bush throws in the towel.

    The Jihadis will be considered the winners, and we will be considered the losers. And everyone in the world will know it.

  42. after apologizing for what a smart guy you used to think Hitchens was (when the truth is that no one who supported the Iraw War was smart)

    a) I havent apologized for anything
    b) I still think Hitchens is plenty smart
    c) Invading Iraq – which I often argued against, because it was not *necessary*, or part of any WoT – was a failure, but not a failure because it was a mistake. It was a failure because many, many mistakes were made. Vic points this out above. Understanding this doesnt make me a baby-killer, mon frere.

    ….you can move to the next step of failing to rail against the war when it was not convenient for you to do so.

    “Failing to rail against the war?”… because, what, you’re implying I’m just too *lazy* or something?

    Are you a freaking troll??? I dont even know you! WTF? You’re saying that because I wasnt part of the shrill, “Arrest BusHitler & Teh Corporshons!! No Blood for Oil!” crowd, I am complicit in the Great Evil of our time??

    You weren’t part of the solution, GILMORE, you were part of the problem.

    OK, i guess you are! Wow.

    I guess we can narrow it down to you being either a semi-skilled troll, or a major douchebag.

  43. I guess we can narrow it down to you being either a semi-skilled troll, or a major douchebag.

    After reading this jewel of a comment from Sam

    No. I am saying I am willing to allow more volunteers to die just so you can say “Captain Holly and all the people like Captain Holly are not as stupid as they used to be about important issues and vote for a different type of candidate than they used to vote for back when they used to be stupid.”

    I’m not sure he could even be called a semi-skilled troll.

  44. “””If, as the original post suggests, an overwhelming majority of the American public truly wants to pull out of Iraq, all those brilliant military manuevers, tactical victories, open and free elections, rebuilt schools and mosques won’t mean jack shit if President Bush throws in the towel.”””

    It purely depends on what the Iraqis want, not what we want. If the Iraqis prefer to fight each other than make peace, there is nothing our “desires” or “will” can do to change it.

    I’ve never known a time when America or the President has thrown in the towel because we were winning.

  45. all those brilliant military manuevers, tactical victories, open and free elections, rebuilt schools and mosques won’t mean jack shit if President Bush throws in the towel.

    Brilliant military manuevers, huh….. you must have read Keegan’s book, “The Iraq War” (Nov 2003)

    The guy was smart: he declared victory as soon as the statue was coming down and wrote a “history” book about how awesomely successful the whole enterprise was. Before it, like, wasnt.

    In other interesting Iraq news, apparently it’s hard to keep the lights on in Baghdad

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/19/world/middleeast/19electricity.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  46. You have Captain in front of Holly, so what’s your ideas for an Iraq solution? “””The Jihadis will be considered the winners, and we will be considered the losers. And everyone in the world will know it.””””

    FYI, the Jihadis will say that regardless if we win or lose. If we leave victorious 10 years from now they will call it a U.S. defeat. They said that after Gulf War I. Why would you even care what the Jihadis say? F them. The important issue is “are we winning?” That’s a no by any standard, except make believe land.

    Our military is great at killing, taking land by force, and occupying. But, give me an example of where we succeed as peacekeepers?

    Damn, for a pro-send more troops guy, I seem to be talking myself out of it. lol.

  47. It purely depends on what the Iraqis want, not what we want. If the Iraqis prefer to fight each other than make peace, there is nothing our “desires” or “will” can do to change it.

    Yes, that’s correct: It is ultimately up to the Iraqis to determine what will happen in Iraq.

    It’s incorrect, however, to assert that we are powerless to do anything to help them, or that our troop presence is insignificant.

    I’ve never known a time when America or the President has thrown in the towel because we were winning.

    My previous point was that it doesn’t matter if you’re winning or losing; if you perceive you’re losing and decide to quit, it’s the same as if you did lose. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    You can call it a pullout or redeployment or drawdown or whatever you want to. But the Islamists who view this as a clash of civilizations will correctly perceive that if you can simply make things inconvenient for the Great Satan, he will eventually leave.

    And they’ll take that lesson, along with every jihadi currently in Iraq, with them to Afghanistan.

  48. Invading Iraq – which I often argued against, because it was not *necessary*, or part of any WoT – was a failure, but not a failure because it was a mistake. It was a failure because many, many mistakes were made. Vic points this out above. Understanding this doesnt make me a baby-killer, mon frere.

    You are still not getting it, GILMORE. I think a draft may be in order. People like you really, really still have some learning to do about unjust wars. Go, Surge. I hope they make the surge even surgier than they were going to. Keep the dollars flowing until GILMORE learns.

    Was I part of the solution?

    Well, in 2003 I moved to a country that was not part of the coalition of the willing as both a statement and a way of having less of my tax money used to perpetrate violent injustice. So, yeah, I was part of the solution in a way you should have been but weren’t.

  49. “After lettin[g] Republicans galvanize the idea that Democrats are soft on defense, Reid & company are signing on for the same reason they rolled over on the war.

    Simply put, they don’t want to look like pussies.”

    It’s easy to “not look like a pussy” when you’re spending other people’s money and sending other people’s loved ones to hostile territory for naught.

  50. You have Captain in front of Holly, so what’s your ideas for an Iraq solution?

    Just a note to all the curious, my name Captain Holly comes from the book Watership Down. I was neither a Captain, nor is my name Holly.

    As for a “solution”, I’m not sure a new one is necessary. Simply reducing the violence and taking out the bad apples will probably be enough to keep a lid on things; in that regard, a troop surge would be a good thing.

    The number and frequency of attacks is not constant or even increasing; things have already calmed down alot since the “Ramadan Offensive” in October. Furthermore, 2006 is on track to have the lowest number of US casualties since 2003. (see http://icasualties.org/oif/)

    But I do know that if we throw up our hands and leave, it won’t just be the jihadis who think we’re the losers. It will be everyone else in the region, and that will have long-term security implications.

    For those who suggest that we should leave Iraq and focus on Afghanistan, I would say that’s incredibly short-sighted. Because we’ll just be trading one difficult war for another one. And if we don’t have the political will to win in Baghdad, I doubt we’ll suddenly find it in Kabul.

  51. It’s incorrect, however, to assert that we are powerless to do anything to help them, or that our troop presence is insignificant.

    The vast majority of Iraqis, in poll after poll, have made it very clear that they don’t want our help. Should we force it on them?

  52. This macho posturing and worry about US’ reputation as a, ummm, non-pussy is just stupid. The Islamic extremists will do what they will do because that’s what they believe, there’s no rhyme nor reason. Us looking tough will not sway one single terrorist from doing one terrorist act. Us actually doing the smart things will.

    As for the others in the region, they already know we’ve won against Saddam and his government and that we’ve already lost against this current mission of bringing stable democracy to Iraq because THAT is not up to us. And nothing will change THAT perception because, like it or not, no amount of US occupation will change Iragis’ desire for religious extermination. The Iraqis’ culture, their religious intolerance, is the bad apple. Until you kill that, you won’t prevent the civil war unless you occupy Iraq forever as a US-controlled police state. And since you have no idea how to kill THAT bad apple, I suggest you STFU with your “things will somehow get better if we just keep dealing with the symtoms of the disease one at a time” magical thinking.

  53. The number and frequency of attacks is not constant or even increasing; things have already calmed down alot since the “Ramadan Offensive” in October

    ?

    From yesterday =

    “Attacks in Iraq at Record High, Pentagon Says”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/19/world/middleeast/19military.html?_r=1&ref=middleeast&oref=slogin

    Data since the Samarra bombing in february shows a steady increase in attacks throughout the year, producing ever increasing civilian deaths.

    There have been mild lulls of a month or so before. There was a lull in august after a peak in July, then a ramp up again.

    The graphic on the sidebar link, which shows average daily casualties, numbers of attacks, and kidnapping/executions directly contradicts your point.

    For those who suggest that we should leave Iraq and focus on Afghanistan, I would say that’s incredibly short-sighted. Because we’ll just be trading one difficult war for another one. And if we don’t have the political will to win in Baghdad, I doubt we’ll suddenly find it in Kabul.

    it’s not short sighted; it’s pragmatic. I dont care how long we stay in iraq – what outcome do you think we can bring about at this point that would be worth the committment? Afghanistan is worthy to conside because it’s ‘winnable’, and because we would in fact be fighting the ‘war on terrorism’ we set out to fight. In Iraq, we’ve provoked a national conflict that has nothing to do with terrorism, and one which we have lost any perceivable ability to influence.

  54. it’s not short sighted; it’s pragmatic. I dont care how long we stay in iraq – what outcome do you think we can bring about at this point that would be worth the committment?

    That people like GILMORE, who insufficiently opposed the Iraq War (in both tone and words uttered), will be more vocal about opposing the next war than s/he was about opposing the last one.

  55. “I don’t know Dave, maybe they are just trying to win the damn war and have access to some facts and opinions that you don’t?”

    That’s a great theory, John, except that Reid specifically said he might support a surge IF IT WAS PART OF A PLAN TO GET OUR TROOPS OUT.

    Troops out = Defeat, remember?

  56. “If, as the original post suggests, an overwhelming majority of the American public truly wants to pull out of Iraq, all those brilliant military manuevers, tactical victories, open and free elections, rebuilt schools and mosques won’t mean jack shit if President Bush throws in the towel.”

    Those brilliant military manuevers, tactical victories, open and free elections, and rebuilt schools and mosques won’t mean jack shit, whether President Bush throws in the towel or not. They don’t mean jack shit now – they’ve produced a massive terrorist campaign, a civil war, and a massive surge in Iranian political and military power.

  57. Sam you asshole, I’m here criticising the idea of a surge, AND advocating withdrawal from iraq. Whats the bug up your butt about making me into some war criminal? …That I linked to Hitchens *once*, long ago about how he considered like you as being deluded tits with your reverse-morality logic? (“defending Saddam, calling US ‘imperialists'”)

  58. sorry = “PEOPLE like you”

  59. “””The number and frequency of attacks is not constant or even increasing; things have already calmed down alot since the “Ramadan Offensive” in October. Furthermore, 2006 is on track to have the lowest number of US casualties since 2003.””””

    That’s almost funny being that the Pentagon just reported that attacks are up.

    “””For those who suggest that we should leave Iraq and focus on Afghanistan, I would say that’s incredibly short-sighted. Because we’ll just be trading one difficult war for another one. And if we don’t have the political will to win in Baghdad, I doubt we’ll suddenly find it in Kabul.””””

    The target is and has been OBL, he is not in Iraq. Every friggin day, more than once I’m facing downtown Manhattan and noticing the twin tower, which were my favorite buildings in Manhattan, no longer exist and I ask myself what the hell have we not caught the guy?

    I believe, as many do, that you get results where you put your efforts. Saddam down, OBL still at large speaks volumes.

    Of course I’m not advoctaing leaving Iraq, but I’m sure as hell pissed that Bush has spent more money and resources, not to mention bogging us down, going after someone else other than OBL.

    I also believe that our failure to get OBL gives terrorist the idea that they may never be caught.

    “””My previous point was that it doesn’t matter if you’re winning or losing; if you perceive you’re losing and decide to quit, it’s the same as if you did lose. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.””””

    How about when you are losing and decide to cut your loses because you can’t afford status quo anymore?

    The reality is that we are losing. In counterinsurgency warfare, if your not winning you are losing because you can’t maintain the expense of status quo forever. So you are either winning or losing, and we ain’t winning. That’s not to say we can’t turn it around next month. Oh wait Bush is waiting till next month to make a decision. If you don’t want to believe that way I have another. If the insurgency is gaining ground and local population support, we are losing. A General recently said they are gaining support in Western Iraq and without an influx of Western Iraq will be lost.

  60. Vic =

    the towers were never my ‘favorite buildings’, but dammit if they werent handy when you were dunk and navigating your ass through much of lower manhattan, like chinatown or the ‘beca.

    i live in brooklyn baby

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