Tips for the Modern Man Who Wants to Surge

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The men of Wonkette apply the appropriate helpings of scorn on the buildup to the surge, which has really been masterful. Two weeks of leaks and a prime time address scheduled for Wednesday—the night when most people are watching TV! High five! (But it's not like this is a political solution to a policy problem.) The Washington Post, it's got details.

President Bush yesterday began promoting his plan to send more troops to Iraq, bringing more than 30 Republican senators to the White House as part of a major campaign to rally the American people behind another effort to stabilize the country.

Senators who met with Bush said the president made it clear that he is planning to add as many as 20,000 U.S. troops to help quell violence in Baghdad. They also said the president is arguing that his new plan has a better chance for success than past plans because of a greater willingness of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to commit Iraqi forces against all perpetrators of violence, including Shiite militias.

You know what? No. No, you don't get to "rally the American people" by making a speech and buttonholing a bunch of senators. We're getting ready to celebrate the glorious fourth anniversary of the conflict, and we're pretending it's both the Most Important War ever (for political purposes) and a mere outgrowth of the war Congress originally approved (for Alberto Gonzales' purposes). Enough of this. Here's a few things the White House should do if they want to sell the surge.

1) Let Congress debate another resolution. We really shouldn't have to listen to Joe Biden debate whether, as Wonkette puts it, "it's unconstitutional for me and the Senate to exercise our constitutional authority to direct the military during wartime." Read the 2002 resolution—it's all about 9/11 and the invasion of Kuwait and the United Nations (Does that even exist anymore?). Let the House and Senate debate a resolution on sending more troops and one on pulling them out, and then let the president command-in-chief his way to another disaster with only a Cromwell -style rump backing him up.

2) Take it on the road! One prime time speech to endorse the surge (or more likely, "surge and a billion dollars of schoolhouse paint")? Weak. I'm hesitant to compare this to the Social Security campaign, since that was the nugget of a good idea and this is a bad one, but is a hypothetical reform really dozens of times more important than the future of Iraq? If not, put Bush (and Cheney, et al) on the road to give speeches explaining why the surge is important, why it will work, and why you, citizen, should join the military to win this war and whatever comes next.

3) The Bush or Lieberman families* have to convince one of the prime fighting age members of their extended families—for argument, let's say Pierce Bush—to enlist. Yeah, I'll go there. This is a "war for civilization" or it isn't. If it is, let's get some skin in the game.

4) A promise that if the surge doesn't work, the president and vice president will resign and hand the White House over to the gentle lady from San Francisco. That's not a serious idea? Hey, neither's the surge.

*This originally included a reference to McCain; I temporarily forgot that McCain has a son in the Marine Corps. All joking aside, good for them.

NEXT: Bernard Henri-Levy, He's Alright

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  1. It’s just weird the way Bush doesn’t take foreign policy advice from an ass-fucking blog.

  2. Alas, Wonkette 2.0 is not nearly as sodomy friendly now that Ana Marie (Wonkette 1.0) departed.

  3. 1) Let Congress debate another resolution.

    we also need one for Somalia now, too. So make that 2 new resolutions.

    I hope those Democrats are well rested.

  4. Hmm. Paul, I’ve been reading H&R for a few years now, and I think your post may be the first time anyone has discussed ass-fucking. So, it doesn’t make sense to call this an ass-fucking blog. The subject simply doesn’t come up.

    Your snark regarding the likelihood of Bush taking advice from this blog misses the point. Since when is public commentary on political issues restricted to those who have the ear of the powerful?

    I’ll help. The answer, at least in the case of the United States, is ‘never.’ But you knew that, right Paul? But you didn’t want to let thought get in the way of a perfectly smartassed, and perfectly stupid, comment.

  5. “A promise that if the surge doesn’t work, the president and vice president will resign….”

    Could we make that “and commit ritual suicide on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial?” I think that would be fair.

  6. Number 6:

    Well spake, sir knight!

    Maybe Paul went crazy from surging alone too many times. (How’d the Nair that I sent you work out?)

  7. Number 6,

    paul was referring to Wonkette, not H&R.

  8. I love the political set-up on this one. The theoreticians and neocons and that sort speak rapturously of the potential effects of a surge of 50,000-500,000 troops. The president offers up a dribble of 20,000 troops. If violence in Baghdad goes down, they can take credit for having the winning idea. If violence doesn’t go down, they can dust off their old “our theory was never properly implemented, and so is not discredited at all by real-world disaster” excuse from their Communist days.

  9. Maybe Paul went crazy from surging alone too many times.

    That’s a myth! And it won’t make you go blind, either. (Woohoo.)

  10. If violence doesn’t go down, they can dust off their old “our theory was never properly implemented, and so is not discredited at all by real-world disaster” excuse…

    c.f. Richard Perle

  11. We need a new internet forum law for crying chickenhawk. Like Godwin, only for lefties.

    Its not quite as common as it used to be, but there’s still way too many anti-war folks who can’t seem to resist. To wit:

    The Bush or McCain or Lieberman family have to convince one of the prime fighting age members of their extended families to enlist

    But wait, wasn’t McCain actually in Vietnam? Yet he still somehow gets chickenhawked. But if McCain is (now) discredited as a policy-maker on the war because he is no longer in the military, then what does that say about all those Dems who were qualified to make policy because they were veterans?

    I mean, if chickenhawking were just a cheap partisan shot, I could understand it. But I thought it was supposed to be a principled way of sorting the sheep from the goats, of determining who has Absolute Moral Authority.

  12. The dumbocrats should suggest a punitive war tax, say the top 10% of income earners get to hand over 50% of their income (including cap gains, dividends, etc.) to pay for the Most Important War Ever. Or maybe a wealth tax: hand over 50% of your assets, whatever they are.

    We’d be withdrawing in about 2 weeks.

  13. RC Dean – I made a mistake where McCain is concerned. Fixed now.

  14. Number 6,

    paul was referring to Wonkette, not H&R.

    Cause he’d of said ‘dog-fucking’ if he was referring to libertarian musings

  15. gaijin,

    That, or Rick Santorum’s musings on the slippery slope of same sex marriage.

  16. The sheer irrelevance of an additional 20,000 troops makes it clear that Bush is still pushing a “stay the course” strategy, but attempting to sell it in new packaging.

    His rhetoric makes it clear – leaving is losing, staying is winning. As long as American troops are in that country, engaged in combat operations, we’re winning.

    Bush intends to keep winning, just like we’ve been winning all along.

  17. Not sure if everyone has seen these videos of the US military in Iraq or not, but they are pretty amazing: Hopefully our ‘surge’ will not include too many of these types…
    http://minor-ripper.blogspot.com/2006/12/winning-hearts-and-minds-part-three.html

  18. 3) The Bush or Lieberman families* have to convince one of the prime fighting age members of their extended families – for argument, let’s say Pierce Bush – to enlist. Yeah, I’ll go there. This is a “war for civilization” or it isn’t. If it is, let’s get some skin in the game.

    I served in the military, and have a sister serving now. I suppose that means, by your logic, you must agree with my position on the war? Or is there any attempt at logic with such an argument?

    And, I am not saying whether I agree with your position or not. I am simply saying that such idiotic, logic-deficient arguments are best left to others to make.

  19. Being a chickenhawk doesn’t mean your arguments are wrong.

    It just means that your assertions about your own superior morality and courage, and of the deficiency of your opposition in these areas, can be safely and immediately discarded.

  20. I served in the military, and have a sister serving now. I suppose that means, by your logic, you must agree with my position on the war? Or is there any attempt at logic with such an argument?

    There’s a difference between a necessary and a sufficient condition.

    Not that Weigel’s arguing for the necessary condition… cf. joe in the post above.

  21. Great Banana: no, because you (probably) aren’t the president trying to sell your escalation to the public.

  22. C’mon people. You are all smarter than to use the chickenhawk argument.

    Take the argument to its logical conclusion. Only military personnel and/or veterans can/should be Reps, Senators, or presidents.

    If your point is that only those who serve can make decisions regarding use of military, than ipso facto, only those who serve can be Senators, Reps or President. Thus, the military should control our government.

    Or is that not what you are saying when you make this “argument”?

  23. I was suggesting that the enlistment of a member of the first family (even the extended first family), or another major hawk’s family, would provide a huge PR boost for the “surge” campaign. Unless you’d care to argue with that…

  24. I was suggesting that the enlistment of a member of the first family (even the extended first family), or another major hawk’s family, would provide a huge PR boost for the “surge” campaign. Unless you’d care to argue with that…

    Please. You were taking a cheap shot at the “person” making the policy as opposed to arguing “about” the policy.

    Every time I see that argument come out, I lose respect for the person making it. I’m sorry, but that is the truth. I believe deeply in our constitution and in civilian control of the military. And, I served and have family serving in the military.

    I expect such “arguments” from the left. I don’t expect them from sites such as this, which generally has very well thought out and reasoned arguments in support or opposition to policies.

  25. Does the comment by Le Grand Banane mean that we all have to drink now?

    (reference: Reason Drinking Game)

  26. Great Banana – I invite you to find someone arguing that only military veterans should be able to argue about military issues, and to go and debate this with him or her.

  27. ‘Or is that not what you are saying when you make this “argument”?’

    I explained what I was saying when I made that argument.

    You ducked, and made up something nobody has said.

  28. Great:

    I didn’t read David (don’t call me Theo) Weigel’s words a little differently. Do you remember when the Clintons sent Chelsea to Sidwell Friends? And there was comments to the effect that the Clintons missed a PR opportunity to show their support for public education…

    or something like that. I apologize if that was a terrible reproduction of the story. Wasn’t David simply pointing out that there is a PR side to things too, and that current administration policies don’t address those issues? And I apologize and will retract if that misstates David’s position.

    (David – wasn’t Clinton being a draft dodger a campaign issue that he, as CiC, wouldn’t be capable of making military decisions?)

    (1992-1993-1994 is sort of a blur. Fortunately)

  29. RC Dean – I made a mistake where McCain is concerned. Fixed now.

    Thus disproving your thesis that you were only talking about how to sell the surge. I mean, if all it needed was for a proponent to be able to point to a family member in the military, then, voila, it is done!

    Nah. You were chickenhawking, and we all know it.

    Being a chickenhawk doesn’t mean your arguments are wrong.

    And being a former service member doesn’t mean your arguments are right. Like all ad hominem arguments, your status is irrelevant to the value of your argument.

    It just means that your assertions about your own superior morality and courage, and of the deficiency of your opposition in these areas, can be safely and immediately discarded.

    Not really. Just because I never served doesn’t mean that everyone who disagrees with me is above reproach. In fact, whether I served or not is completely irrelevant to the morality or courage of those who disagree with me. See above observation re ad hominems.

  30. Hey! If gays may serve in the military, Mary Cheney could go, too!

    (naughty Moose. Bad moose)

  31. #6. brilliant retort sir! clearly i’m the one that missed the point brainiac. and check out google’s 1st listing for ass fucking blog: the foreign policy geniuses at Wonkette! is there anything they can’t do?

  32. Read it again, RC. You misunderstood.

    Which is not surprising. I’ve made this same point to you dozens of times over the years, and you still pretend not to get it.

    Let me put it another way: if I object to your position on Social Security by calling you a greedy, heartless bastard, and declare that people who support the existance of the program are more decent, selfless people than those who want to eliminate it, it would be entirely appropriate for you to point out that I don’t give any money to charity.

    If I responded by chastising you for saying that only people who donate to charity can opine on Social Security – your reaction to every chickenhawk accusation – I would be dishonestly dodging the charge.

    If I continued to take this tack every time the issue came up, despite being corrected over and over and over again – exactly what you’ve been doing – I would be a dishonest prick, deserving of exposure as a hack and intellectual coward.

  33. Oh no he di-int!!

  34. joe’s on a roll today.

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