Iraq

"It is time to bring the war to a close"

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I remain underwhelmed by the Democrats' generally and much-ballyhooed legislative agenda for their first 100 hours in office. Who would have guessed that trimming student loan rates was that pressing a national concern? And the fact that the Dems kicked off their new majority with a bunch of lame parties rather than digging right in is hardly inspirational.

So I was surprised–and heartened–to read this in today's Wash Post:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid declared yesterday that "it is time to bring the war to a close" and warned President Bush that sending more U.S. troops to Iraq would be unacceptable to the Democratic majorities that have just taken over Congress.

Directly challenging Bush's wartime leadership on their second day in charge on Capitol Hill, Democrats Pelosi (Calif.) and Reid (Nev.) sent Bush a letter suggesting that, instead of starting a short-term escalation, he begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces in the next four to six months. The mission of remaining troops, they said, should be shifted away from combat toward more training, logistics and counterterrorism.

More here.

NEXT: Et tu, Brute?

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  1. We’ll see if it amounts to anything, but this is more spine than I expected from them. (Which admittedly isn’t saying much.)

  2. Cut the funding!!!! The oil is not going to pay for this shit, and we don’t want to!!!!

  3. I’ll believe this shit when I see it.

  4. Very gutsy sending that letter, NOW THAT THE WHOLE COUNTRY HAS MADE IT CLEAR WE WANT OUT.

    Where were these cowards when it counted?

    Leaders lead, they don’t run to catch up with the polls AFTER the damage is done.

    Rant, rant, rant …

  5. For some strange reason these little announcements by Democrat leaders show up just before the President is about to do what the Dems ‘demand’ be done, as if they got a briefing beforehand and decided to demand the President do whatever he was going to do anyway.

    Might be different this time. Waiting to see what he says at the upcoming announcement.

    Kerry was doing this for two years in his runup for losing his election.

  6. I saw Nancy up at via Nancy D’Allesandro Pelosi in B’more’s lil’ Itly around 3 or 4 yesterday. Had to have taken her at least an hour to get up there in Friday rush hour traffic. Those were probably 3 of the cheaper 100 hours we’re going to see outta the new speaker.

  7. suggesting?

    Wait, isn’t the CONgress in charge of sending American troops to war in the first place?

    I’m not even saying I agree with the strategy but wouldn’t the gutsy thing to do be for the courageous dems to simply take over and vote the troops home. Grab the bull by the horns so to speak.

    Now that would be Some Bad Hat, Harry.

  8. The Wine Commonsewer,

    The Congress has full control on how many people are in the military, down to the component level and can go even lower level than that.

    They also have full control over what equipment the military has.

    Since the 1974 Anti-Impoundment Control Act the Congress has had full control of the budget AND spending. If the President deploys troops where the Congress does not want them, the Congress can de-fund that effort and prohibit any funds from being spent on it.

    Before any scholars pop up with the Feed and Forage (sp?) Act, the Congress can get rid of that one too, or pass other law that negates the old.

  9. Very gutsy sending that letter, NOW THAT THE WHOLE COUNTRY HAS MADE IT CLEAR WE WANT OUT.

    Well…since the Republican majority wouldn’t do it when the whole country had made it clear they wanted out…

    …and since the Republicans even campaigned on keeping things going…

    …and since they continued to blast anyone that was running on opposing the war…

    …and since there are dozens of new representatives who weren’t in office before this week driving the issue…

    …I’m just pleased the whole mess looks like it might unwind and get us out of there.

  10. Considering their recent success, I think the Democrats would have been foolish to oppose the President on the war before they had control of Congress. Strategically, that would have gained them…what? …more than they have now?

    Opposing the President in war time is a job for private citizens–politicians in general and major political parties specifically are just too squeamish for that task. Politics reflects culture more so than the other way around–and a President’s war is defeated at the water cooler, in the lunchroom, in restaurants after church on Sundays, around the table at Thanksgiving and in forums like this one. …not by politicians.

    I’ll take a people committed to good sense and the principles of liberty over a politician with a spine any day–God save us all from politicians with a spine!

  11. Ending the war without impeaching Bush would be a bitter-sweet victory for the forces of reason.

  12. Mad

    Not quite sure why my criticising the Dem’s for speaking out NOW, when it’s safe, is some endorsement of the Repub’s. It’s not.

    What good is a loyal opposition that doesn’t oppose?

  13. The Democrats are spineless, but at least they aren’t committed to nut-bar Bible thumpers and tax cuts for the rich.

  14. Madpad,

    Why are you typing like Captain Kirk talked?

    Or is the hangover interrupting your thoughts?

    … … … … … … … … … … …

  15. What good is a loyal opposition that doesn’t oppose?

    Scare-mongering over social security and cat food?

  16. [i]The mission of remaining troops, they said, should be shifted away from combat toward more training, logistics and counterterrorism.[/i]

    perhaps i’m just ignorant at this point, but what’s the difference between “combat” and “counterterrorism” in iraq at this point?

    sounds like bullshit spin to me.

  17. and that, kids, is why you should always preview your comments before posting.

    *sigh*

  18. I’m not surprised. Seeing America defeated, and damn the consequences, has been #1 on the Democrats’ agenda for some time now

  19. rox_publius,

    It’s OK, everybody else is overusing like mad.

  20. Oh Lord.

    Everybody else is overusing [adhominem][/adhominem] like mad.

  21. rdkraus,

    It’s sad that one’s tone of voice cannot be conveyed by writing. My response was not meant to implicitly accuse you of endorsing the Republicans.

    You simply pointed out so well the craveness of the Democrats, I thought it worked well for pointing out the obstinance of the Republicans.

    I would rather have a late-to-the-dance politician who (eventually) responded to public opinion than a tilting-at-windmill idealogue incapable of acknowledging public opinion.

    As for my punctuated Kirkian prose, I offer no excuse as I am not hungover or otherwise suffering from any defect in motor skills. (I do, however, hope to have some martinis later tonight that do NOT lead to a hangover tomorrow.)

    But as an erstwhile Trekkie and Shatner admirer, I’ll take your query as a modest compliment. Denny Crane!

  22. I’m not surprised. Seeing America defeated, and damn the consequences, has been #1 on the Democrats’ agenda for some time now

    And burning strawmen has been #1 on the trolls’ agenda ever since the first internet forum started.


  23. Opposing the President in war time is a job for private citizens–politicians in general and major political parties specifically are just too squeamish for that task. Politics reflects culture more so than the other way around–and a President’s war is defeated at the water cooler, in the lunchroom, in restaurants after church on Sundays, around the table at Thanksgiving and in forums like this one. …not by politicians.

    True enough, when 70% of people support a war and those who don’t are demonized as traitors their isn’t much a politician can.

    That being said though, what the hell is the point of being involved in politics if you are not going to stand up on possibly the most important decision of your generation? Who as a kid says I want to grow up and be the lesser of two evils?

    And you don’t know what a real opposition could have done had it been there. As an example a majority of people thought that Saddam ordered the 9/11 attacks. A real opposition party could’ve done a lot to dispell the myth, gotten rid of some of the thirst for revenge and maybe had a snowball effect allowing us to debate this war in somewhat of a rational fashion.

  24. I’m not surprised. Seeing America defeated, and damn the consequences, has been #1 on the Democrats’ agenda for some time now

    One might observe that “Seeing America defeated, and damn the consequences” has (inadvertantly) been #1 on Bush’s agenda ever since he got into office.

  25. Larry,

    I think you might be well advised to read about something called a Phyrric victory.

  26. They can’t cut off funding! Bush is the Great Commander-in-Chief ™ of the whole world!

  27. And you don’t know what a real opposition could have done had it been there. As an example a majority of people thought that Saddam ordered the 9/11 attacks.

    This has always bugged me since people started citing that poll. I live in frickin’ Texas and I’ve never heard anyone ever say that. Not even my brother’s drunkenly pontificating in-laws.

    Hell, the only instance that comes to mind was reading some SCA twit’s pre-invasion comment on a blog saying he totally thought Saddam was behind 9/11 and that he was completely justified for what the US had done to his country.

    Where are these supposed people who think Saddam was the 9/11 mastermind? Seriously. Anecdotes are not data, but I somehow think I would have run into someone holding a majority opinion in this country, one presumably biased towards red states, while living in a red state.

  28. I’d feel a damn sight more confident about heading off this “surge” if at least a few elected democRATS were camped out by the White House, stamping their collective foot, and holding their collective breath until they turn blue.

  29. Larry,
    America has already been defeated but not by terrorists. America has been defeated by fear itself.
    Bush has reverted to form: as a cheerleader: a cheerleader for fear.

  30. Good point above about spineless politicians. Better that they’re spineless than principled, courageous, and wrong.

    Of course, the spineless ones have to feel the pressure from the public. If we want change, flooding Congressional offices with our messages could be more effective than elections.

  31. Where are these supposed people who think Saddam was the 9/11 mastermind? Seriously. Anecdotes are not data, but I somehow think I would have run into someone holding a majority opinion in this country, one presumably biased towards red states, while living in a red state.

    Your drunk Texas relatives were a lot smarter than the people I was talking to in 03.

    Turns out they were smarter than a lot of people. I checked up on it and its even worse then I thought. 6 months AFTER the invasion 70% of people believed Saddam Hussein PERSONALLY ORDERED the 9/11 attacks.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

  32. Eric,

    From 9/2003:

    Poll: 70% believe Saddam, 9-11 link
    WASHINGTON (AP) – Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists’ strike against this country.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

  33. Seven out of ten Americans will believe almost anything.

  34. Nine out of ten doctors who have tried Camels prefer women.

  35. I’ve been postin’ a link to that poll for so long on this site, it’s amazing. …in fact, some of the nastiest things people have said to me on this site were in response to posting that poll.

    I love that poll–it explains so much. It’s okay to be fooled. When the President and the vice-President are tellin’ you something, and the Secretary of State goes in front of the world and, apparently unwittingly, shows up with fake pictures of WMD labs. …and still nobody seems to know for sure where the Anthrax attack came from, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that the President and the vice-President and the Secretary of State are telling you the truth.

    Really, it’s okay to be fooled.

    But now we’ve got all these people out there who claim to have never been fooled. I’m not sure they’re being dishonest, maybe it’s just hard for people to remember when they knew what they know. In another way, it’s like Woodstock–if everyone who claimed to have been at Woodstock really was at Woodstock, there would have been some 60 million people there. People want to be cool and people want to be on the winning side–the right side.

    But it’s okay to have been on the wrong side. It’s not okay to stay on the wrong side once the facts come in. …just embrace freedom and fallibilism and pray we don’t get fooled again.

  36. I should say I like that poll, but I like Ruthless’ poll better.

  37. I’m with you, Eric.

    I’m in a blue state, but I live in a very red rural area. I’ve NEVER heard anyone say that. Not once.

  38. I love that poll–it explains so much. It’s okay to be fooled. When the President and the vice-President are tellin’ you something, and the Secretary of State goes in front of the world and, apparently unwittingly, shows up with fake pictures of WMD labs. …and still nobody seems to know for sure where the Anthrax attack came from, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that the President and the vice-President and the Secretary of State are telling you the truth.

    True enough on WMD, but we were never told that there was an Iraq/911 link.

    What we got was brilliant propoganda from Bush & co.

    “We were attacked on September 11th. All over the world evil doers develop weapons and plot our destruction. Saddam is a man who tried to kill my daddy.”

    You keep bringing up Saddam and 9/11, put them in the same sentence enough times and people believe there’s a connection. No need to come out and say it and have to eventually defend a position that has no basis in facts. The only thing that had a chance of foiling that plot was if there was an opposition party with some spine.

    Let’s not blame the average joe, who was not any more ignorant than usual, for this. But why not hold the Democrats accountable for ever calling them on this bullshit?

  39. What a load of crap from all

  40. There was no brilliant bullshit, there was bad intelligence, calculated assumptions, and a history of that WMD story dating at least to term one of Albright and Clinton. You can’t hold the Dems accountable because they were the ones that passed the story to GWB administration. They were all true believers until it became politically expedient not to believe any more.

  41. “True enough on WMD, but we were never told that there was an Iraq/911 link.”

    As I recall, the war was sold, in no small part, as a war of preemption.

    There’s no longer much controversy about Iraq’s role in 9/11, but it was suggested by the Bush Administration that there was a link. …much of it revolving around Atta in Prague.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein_and_al-Qaeda

    “But why not hold the Democrats accountable for ever calling them on this bullshit?

    I think we should hold them accountable. I’ve been doin’ it for years. I actually convinced a person or two to vote for a third party candidate rather than an opposition candidate who didn’t oppose the war. …an integral part of being the loyal opposition is being the opposition.

    But we shouldn’t look to the major political parties to stand firm in the face of gale force winds–the courts maybe. The game’s set up for them to blow with the direction of the wind, not to stand firm against it. When they change their minds, it’s ’cause the wind changed direction.

    You may find some individual exceptions–Murtha comes to mind. …but generally speaking, especially when we’re talking about a party collectively, they’re takin’ our lead. For future reference, should something like this happen again, I think it’s more important to be against a war than to support the party opposite the President. I just think a lot of the energy we put into politics is wasted that way.

  42. Eric the .5b wrote: “Where are these supposed people who think Saddam was the 9/11 mastermind?”

    Try WorldNetDaily.com. Several of their columnists are still insisting that 9/11 was at least financed by Saddam if not outright ordered. Also look up Laurie Milroy, who has posited that Saddam was behind every single bad thing that happened in the US between 1991 and early 2003.

  43. And now, after contemplating all the remarks over a glass or two of Nebbieolo while tending the grill, I think that the Bush Lied question is largely irrelevant to the real question at hand, which is:

    What do we do we do now?

  44. I think that the Bush Lied question is largely irrelevant to the real question at hand, which is: What do we do we do now?

    Well said…but then the corollary here is: If you except the proposition that “Bush Lied”, then (to the extent that IS relevent), the logical thing would be to NOT do whatever Bush says we should do.

    My suggestion to you TWC, (at least for the short run) is to have another glass of red. I’m drinking a margarita, myself (ran out of martini supplies).

  45. My suggestion to you TWC, (at least for the short run) is to have another glass of red

    Done.

    And here’s to your health, Mad. Salud!

    …to NOT do whatever Bush says we should do.

    Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into Stanley………..

  46. Booze is the only answer.

  47. Slainte, TWC

  48. On my post at 12:50, the word should be “accept.”

  49. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

    Yeah, that’s the poll I, you know, mentioned

    Try WorldNetDaily.com. Several of their columnists are still insisting that 9/11 was at least financed by Saddam if not outright ordered. Also look up Laurie Milroy, who has posited that Saddam was behind every single bad thing that happened in the US between 1991 and early 2003.

    A couple of wingnuts bloggers doesn’t equate to widespread public belief any more than a trawl of Democratic Underground would substantiate the claim than 70% of Americans believe that we invaded Afghanistan so we could build a pipeline.

    I just don’t buy the claim.

  50. Yeah, that’s the poll I, you know, mentioned…

    And decided not to believe because of a couple conversations with some drunk in-laws?

    This really isn’t arguable. It was shown in many other polls while worded many different ways from many different organizations. Current polls show that almost half the people STILL believe it.

    http://regimeofterror.com/archives/2006/07/harris_poll_64_americans_belie/

    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/13081

    http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/headlines03/0701-05.htm

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/vault/stories/data082303.htm

  51. You know I heard an interesting statistic the other day.

    The United States STILL has troops in Kosovo after some 15 years.

    Why don’t we ever hear about how we “need to bring the troops home from Kosovo.”

    Could it be that that was a Democrat War? And it’s not politically correct to bash Democrat Wars, only those conducted by Republicans??

    Just a thought.

  52. Why don’t we ever hear about how we “need to bring the troops home from Kosovo.”

    Because in Kosovo, our troops aren’t being uselessly and pointlessly slaughtered on a daily basis and the mission there is largely a measurable and definable success.

  53. Yeah, there are several things that make Kosovo different from Iraq–the slaughter of our troops on a daily basis being an excellent one. Beyond that, however, someone seems to be missing the point. Continuing the Iraq War isn’t unpopular with Democrats–it’s unpopular with the American people, Democrats and Republicans alike.

    Past that, why would we compare the lack of support for the War in Iraq, or support for it rather, to the War in Kosovo? If we’re comparing levels of support, apples to apples, shouldn’t we compare support for Iraq to support for the War in Afghanistan? …a war that has always enjoyed tremendous support among Democrats and Republicans alike.

    Again, I think party politics plays a much smaller role in what people think than what people think plays a role in party politics. …and while you may find that some politicians flip-flop on the issues depending on which party initiated the policy or war, what have you, except for those cultural identity types–be they Red State types who support the President ’cause he speaks with a drawl, or be they minority rights groups who support a party ’cause they think it’s their ethnic duty.

    …which is to say, I think those cultural identity politics types, who support everything their party does and oppose everything the other party does, actually represent a relatively small slice of American society.

  54. Grand Chalupa | January 6, 2007, 7:51pm | #

    Turns out they were smarter than a lot of people. I checked up on it and its even worse then I thought. 6 months AFTER the invasion 70% of people believed Saddam Hussein PERSONALLY ORDERED the 9/11 attacks.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

    mccleary | January 6, 2007, 7:58pm | #

    Eric,

    From 9/2003:

    Poll: 70% believe Saddam, 9-11 link
    WASHINGTON (AP) – Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists’ strike against this country.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

    Watch as “personally involved” turns into “personally ordered” (two very different things). Notice how the poll uses the word “involved”, which traps in a lot of responses that aren’t quite the same thing as “ordered the whole thing from his living room.”

    I think its safe to say that back in 2003, with the whole WMD debate still up in the air and the upfront posturing from all levels of the government that were trying desperately to find a link there, that you could excuse most people for thinking there was likely a personal link between saddam and 9/11/OBL/etc.

    But how that proves much of anything other than “we’ve learned a lot of things since then”, I don’t know.

    There is this basic rule in economics about ‘sunk costs’, whereby rational actors shouldn’t base their decisions about the future on the costs that have already been incurred in the past. We’ve sunk a few hundred billion dollars, a few thousand of our young men in uniform, perhaps up to half a million iraqi lives and about four years of our involvement into this ‘war’ so far.

    The american people were never sold a personal commitment to be policemen in the middle east for decades to come. Its about time we start to make some decisions based on the realities of the here and now.

  55. I’m sorry, but at the time there was an alleged meeting between Atta and Iraqi security in Prague–a meeting we now know didn’t happen. At the time, there was an allegation that Saddam Hussein was providing traing to al Quaeda as represented by the presence of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi in Iraq, an allegation we now know to be false. You may recall an incident involving yellow cake and Nigeria…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein_and_al-Qaeda

    I remember hearing stories–not necessarily from the Bush Administration–about an airplane in the Iraqi desert that Al Qaeda used for training. I could go on.

    The point is that it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that, not so long ago, there was a time when most people believed that Saddam Hussein was complicit in 9/11.

  56. I am curious if any of you heard that a congressional committee recently chastized the FBI for botching the Oklahoma City investigation? Laura Milloy may be a wing-nut, but what if she’s right? If Nichols really was bunking up with Iraqi agents in the Phillipines, and there really was a dark skinned John Doe #2, would the government cover it up to avoid all the nastiness of a confrontation? And why the rush to execute McVie?, that had to of been the shortest death row stint in history.

  57. Let’s say an organization blew up the federal building it Oklahoma City.

    Why would they do it? Obviously the actors who drove the bombing forward thought that they would be better off as a result of it (in an ex-ante sense). How would they benefit?

    Then, after the first bomb went off, why did they stop?

    If Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were only a part of a much larger conspiracy, and the other conspirators got away cleanly, why are they not resuming terrorist activities against the federal government?

    A violent campaign to cast down the Federal Government would have to be a long drawn out affair. I can’t see a group credibly thinking that one bomb would do the trick.

    Now, McVeigh clearly wanted to go the route of Castro, using his trial to publicise and get support for his cause. I am convinced that he felt responsible for the bombing by his answer to Bradley’s question about the children killed in the explosion.

    However, given the lack of any further militant antifederal activity a la the Turner Diaries, I think that McVeigh and Nichols were the only central characters in any conspiracy.

  58. James Ard | January 7, 2007, 11:11am | #
    …And why the rush to execute McVie?

    ==============================================

    They’re going to execute McVie? Quick, somebody warn Buckingham and Nicks! (Or, perhaps it’s all just Rumours.)

  59. The only problem with this idea

    Good point above about spineless politicians. Better that they’re spineless than principled, courageous, and wrong.

    Of course, the spineless ones have to feel the pressure from the public. If we want change, flooding Congressional offices with our messages could be more effective than elections.

    is this idea.

    Seven out of ten Americans will believe almost anything.

    We really, really don’t want a pure democracy.

    Spineless politicians are only of value in a system where nobody, but nobody, gets to violate the Bill of Rights.

  60. TWC,

    …I think that the Bush Lied question is largely irrelevant to the real question at hand, which is:

    What do we do we do now?

    Hate to sound like anybody else around here, but I’ve been thoroughly beaten up by people around here (or else outright ignored) for saying that very thing.

    Right now that question, more than any other, demands attention. After you get your tit out of the wringer, you can go after whoever got it stuck in there to begin with [and, you may also come to apprecite the virtues of silicone].

  61. Right now that question, more than any other, demands attention. After you get your tit out of the wringer, you can go after whoever got it stuck in there to begin with [and, you may also come to apprecite the virtues of silicone].

    Not a damn thing we can do. A couple hundred or thousand more brave, honorable young men will die because of one man’s pathologies. Its a tragedy that keeps repeating itself throughout history.

    Nancy Pelosi came out and said they won’t cut funding. So congress isn’t going to do anything about this. We’ll have to wait till 08 and support the biggest cut and runner we can find.

  62. I am curious if any of you heard that a congressional committee recently chastized the FBI for botching the Oklahoma City investigation?

    I saw it, noted it with interest. I’ve heard lots of conspiracy theories, but don’t pretend to know the truth of any of it.

    On the surface it does have the look of maybe somebody wanting to cover something up. But it could also all come down to sheer incompetence and stupidity.

  63. Ah… this is all being done so that the failure in Iraq can be blamed on Democrats. The Democratic victory was quite a nice present for the Republicans.

  64. Regarding the poll on links between 9-11 and Saddam, it would be interesting to know exactly how the question was phrased. Tried to find that from following the link but couldn’t. Interestingly, another poll a few moths later (after invading Iraq) shows that 45% percent of the people believed there was a link between Saddam and 9-11:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0314/p02s01-woiq.html

    I think the belief in a connection between 9-11 and Saddam before the Iraq invasion was not an unreasonable belief. Certainly the Baathist and Al-Quaeda have been able to work together in Iraq since the invasion. It doesn’t seem impossible that they may have collaborated secretly previously.

    Just before the election the New York Times criticized the Bush Admin and the repubs in Congress for making public Baathist documents online which gave away information about how to make an atom bomb. The same document archive (published in Arabic online and translated by bloggers and other volunteers) had several documents recording contact between the Iraqi Baathist government and Al-Quaeda.

    To the posters on this board who know with such certainty that Saddam had no connection to 9-11: are you certain Alger Hiss was or (was not) a communist spy? When in chain of evidence of revealed over four decades should one have become certain that the belief you now hold was the truth?

  65. I have been wondering recently, does Bush have anything to lose be agreeing to a timetable now (or at least considering it as a bargining chip)?

    Nobody who states an intention to keep US troops in Iraq much longer will be elected in 2008. So even if he things “staying the course” for several more years will end the sectarian violence and lead to stability, he must know that US troops probably won’t be there long after he leaves anyway.

    And now that midterm elections are over, it is not as if he has to worry about what effect his change in policy will have on his party; unless he thinks he will get something significant done during 17 days in January 2009.

    If there is any chance to end this without civil war, despotism, or worse; the administration and Iraqi government will have to get more sunni arabs on board. This is the group that is most strongly opposed to the presence of US troops and probably has the most to fear from Sadr & company. If the US offers to set a timetable and take a tough stance on the Madhi army in exchance for a cessation of hostilities with certain insurgent groups some sunni nationalist insurgent groups might be inclined to take the deal. If such a deal were put in place, some people (including myself) would be more amenable to a surge. Such a deal would allow the additional troops to focus on going after al-qaeda and death squads and training the Iraqi army. Also they could put more pressure on the Madhi army.

    If Bush wants to maximize the amount of time that US troops are in Iraq, he could set the deadline around mid-2009. Maybe he wants to avoid changing his mind just to save face (assuming he has any face left to save). Or maybe he will surpise us and include a timetable as part of his new strategy. But I wonder if there is anything he could accomplish by continuing to oppose such a policy.

  66. I think the Oklahoma thing was something similar to what those idiots were “planning” in Chicago, but with folks that were much more commited to the idea, etc (ie McVeigh and Nichols).

    I remember reading something about how there was an FBI undercover agent that the two ran into briefly that sort of gave them the idea. At the time, I thought maybe it alluded to some sort of vast conspiracy (I was much more willing to believe rather outlandish things like that at the time), but now, if there is any truth to the agent thing, I just think they actually did it, and that perhaps that’s what the gov’t is hiding – that one of their agents planted the seed for one of the worst mass-killings in American history.

    Yes, I realise that’s still quite a stretch, but after what’s come to light recently, not nearly so much of a stretch as to believe something like that was done in some high-level conspiracy to take away freedoms, etc.

    But yeah, we really need to end this Iraq bullshit, pronto.

  67. If Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were only a part of a much larger conspiracy, and the other conspirators got away cleanly, why are they not resuming terrorist activities against the federal government?

    Maybe the co-conspirators sent the anthrax out in the autumn of 2001.

    Maybe they shot down TWA 800.

    Maybe they co-ordinated the 7/7 London bombings.

    Maybe the co-conspirators were government agents.

    First, there is no particular reason to believe the co-conspirators (if any) stopped in their attacks. Second, even if they did stop their attacks, maybe they stopped their attacks for some reason (eg, fear of arrest, not able to spin the message in their desired way).

    Maybe that Oklahoma City reporter really did figure out who the co-conspirators were and they went up to Boston and helped out at Logan Airport just like the Oklahoma TV reporter says they did.

    Your inference is plausible, but by no means conclusive.

  68. TWC,

    There were WMD programs in Iraq during “the first Clinton/Albright term.” They were destroyed after Operation Desert Fox in 1998. Perahps it’s my partisan bias showing, but I draw a distinction between saying Iraq has WMDs when Iraq has WMDs, and saying Iraq has WMDs when it does not.

    Eric Dondero,

    Off the top of my head, I’d say the three biggest reasons we aren’t haring calls to bring the troops home from Kosovo are:

    1. There are less than 1/10 the number of troops in Kosovo as in Iraq.

    2. Those troops aren’t getting killed, or blown up, or shot at.

    3. Our efforts in Kosovo are working.

  69. 1. There are less than 1/10 the number of troops in Kosovo as in Iraq.

    2. Those troops aren’t getting killed, or blown up, or shot at.

    3. Our efforts in Kosovo are working.

    Joe,

    Number three is a laugher. God, you really kill me sometimes. Kosovo is being run a combination of the UN and Albanian criminal organizations. They are yes keeping people from killing each other but there is no sollution to the issue in sight. It is a matter of time before the Albanians go into open revolt against the UN over the sovereighnty issue. China and Russia will never allow Kosovo to have sovereignty and there is no way to give it back to Serbia. The whole situation is completely untenable. People have forgotten about Kosovo but the problem hasn’t gone away.

  70. Actually, John, they are in the final-status phase of the negotiations right now.

    “It is a matter of time before the Albanians go into open revolt against the UN over the sovereighnty issue.” In light of your record of predicting outcomes over the past five years, you’ll understand if I’m not inclined to simply take your word about how a military intervention is going to play out.

    Face it, dude – the Clinton administration succeeded, over the objections of the Republicans, in ending a humanitrian catastrophe and turning that corner of the world democratic. He succeeded where your heroes have so utterly failed.

    BTW, Captain Kosovo, are you still pushing the line that there was no genocide or mass graves in Kosovo?

  71. Face it, dude – the Clinton administration succeeded, over the objections of the Republicans, in ending a humanitrian catastrophe and turning that corner of the world democratic. He succeeded where your heroes have so utterly failed.

    How long did it take, joe?

    Why does a Clinton initiative get, what, 10 – 12 years to succeed, while a Bush initiative is a failure after only a few months?

  72. RC,

    If Clinton’s Kosovo effort had looked like Iraq 1, 2, and 3 years after it began, I would have called it a failure a long time ago.

    You know how many Americans have been killed by IEDs in Kosovo? Why, that would be zero.

    Why was Clinton’s effort given longer to work than Bush’s? Because Clinton’s didn’t create a catastophe, and actually made progress over time.

  73. And decided not to believe because of a couple conversations with some drunk in-laws?

    Work on your reading comprehension, Chalupa. If necessary, reread what I said. My sum experience with people who think Hussein was behind 9/11 since 9/11 starts and ends with extremist idiots on web sites. Not even the dumbest and most mindlessly Red of people I know in a Red state buy into this supposed propaganda that most of the country supposedly bought into.

    So yeah, I doubt it. If you don’t think it’s arguable, don’t.

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