Iraq

Run, Chuck, Run

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If you're curious about the details of Bush's escalation—sorry, "surge"—in Iraq, The Drudge Report has posted his speech.

On a related note: One establishment pundit, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, thinks Chuck Hagel could lead an antiwar insurgency in the Republican primaries next year. Maybe I'm just engaging in a little wishful thinking here—Lord knows I'm not usually in the habit of linking to Jonathan Alter articles—but I'd love to see him pull a Eugene McCarthy on John McCain.

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  1. Republicans better hope that Chuck Hagel runs for president and gets some traction with the base. After GWB’s impending “surge”, the 2008 election will be about the war and little else. There is exactly one Republican candidate who has been on the right side of this war since the beginning, and that is Hagel, and that makes him the only electable Republican in 2008.

    Chuck is prominently featured in my most recent YouTube effort “It’s the war, stupid.” and recent blog post of the same name.

  2. If a majority of Republican primary voters are against the war, it will because they used to support the war and changed their minds. As we’ve seen on many, many threads, people who fit that description have an emotional block against admitting that people who were against the war from the beginning were right all along.

    To jaded hawks, the only serious, responsible people are those who were strongly in favor of the war in 2002-2003. Having been wrong is, perversely, treated as the only reasonable conclusion one could come to.

    These people are going to flock to someone with a convincing line of bull about having a “come to Jesus” moment, not to someone who reminds them, by his very presence, of how wrong they were.

  3. What a great idea! Go Chuck!

  4. Bush says the following about the consequences of failing in Iraq:

    The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq.

    Many of the things he describes have already come to pass:

    -Radical extremists are far more active in Iraq than they were before we invaded. No, no, I’m not saying the days of Saddam were something good, I’m just saying that things have gone from awful to even worse.

    -Iran is certainly pursuing its nuclear ambitions while we are tied up in Iraq and unable to act.

    -With so many forces tied up in Iraq, we’re distracted from the problem in south-east Afghanistan, where radicals apparently plan attacks on the West.

    Failure is not a possibility. Failure is happening. Iraq is in chaos. Sending a few more troops and vowing to take off the gloves won’t help. This thing is lost. Bring the troops home now. Right now.

  5. As someone who has been against this war from the very beginning:

    Well said, thoreau.

  6. Since the consequences for failure are so grave and since Bush is the one that guaranteed the failure, at the very least he deserves to be impeached.

  7. I certainly hope Chuck Hagel runs for President. He’s the best person for the job.

  8. Bush said:

    Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve. It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a Nation.

    Um, I wasn’t aware that freedom was a burden. I knew that it came at the cost of eternal vigilance, but I thought we were supposed to direct most of that vigilance at our politicians.

  9. Also, Chuck Hagel is a genuine fiscal conservative. An end to needless wars as part of a plan for smaller government in general will lead to an increase in both individual liberty and prosperity. And it will tend to engender government that is kept within constitutional bounds.

  10. thoreau: It is certainly true that acknowledging a disastrous mistake is a grave test of character, one that the American people seem to have passed last November. It’s not easy to admit poor judgement and overreliance on ignorant assumptions, but the voters, at least, showed a little bottom. Fearless Leader refuses to show that kind of character, apparently because he doesn’t have any.

  11. “Escalation”? Bullshit. It may not be effective, but to say that the deployment of additional forces is somehow “escalating” the conflict is nonsense. If “escalating” the conflict would bring victory, wouldn’t that be worth it?

    Did you learn that word in the sixties?

  12. jkp

    Suggest you read up on a Greek general by the name of Phyrrus ca. 280 BC.

  13. Aresen-

    When suggesting reading you forgot to add- “before you embarrass yourself further” 😉

  14. We might want to have a smaller government and no wars, but realistically war is a great impetus for techological innovation and often produces prosperity. Our entry into the Second World War did more to end the Great Depression than Roosevelt’s New Deal projects. With or without the war in Iraq, our government is larger than it has ever been. I doubt Chuck Hagel’s fiscal conservatism will do much to stunt the growth of government. The end of the Iraq adventure will swell the ranks of the unemployed and provide further impetus for welfare. Some sort of populist backlash against the effects of globalization seems inevitable. I hope popular anger can be chanelled into a movement to impeach Bush.

  15. I like America.

    I am always among the first to take its side over religious nuts in third world countries, regardless of circumstances.

    That being said, even if Bush’s plan is a success, why should a patriotic American support a plan that has the goal of putting a radical Shiite Islamic government in power over Baathists? Is there any redeeming feature about this Iraqi government at all?

  16. Jesse, when you say you want Hagel to pull a Eugene McCarthy — you mean you want him to ultimately lose the nomination to a pro-war member of his party, who then goes on to lose to a Democrat who promises “peace with honor” before spreading the war into Iran?

    Who’s the Dick Gregory in this scenario, by the way? Because that’s probably who I’m voting for.

  17. Hang on…did we ever catch that guy who master-minded 9/11? I thought there was some “Wanted” poster up in the old West…

    Eh well, looks like we’ll be staying the course by even more.

  18. Thoreau, I had the same reaction during that section of the speech. Hm, each of these consequences of “failure” you enunciate seem to already be consequences of the invasion itself. Perhaps Bush is sending us a coded message indicating he actually understands what a massive screw-up this has been: “invading Iraq = failure.”

  19. Sam Brownback has come out against the troop surge, so at the very least there will be one quasi-dovish Republican in the primaries.

    But even if the troop surge does nothing, I’m not counting on a majority of conservatives turning against this war at any point for one simple reason: The Big Bad Lefties are against the war. And to most conservatives, that’s all they need to know.

  20. Our entry into the Second World War did more to end the Great Depression than Roosevelt’s New Deal projects.

    War is destructive – you can not possibly measure the cost of war in any real sense, because you can never really know exactly what might have been created had you not shipped your resources (human, technological, and economic) overseas in the first place.

  21. Anybody else see this? I’ll bet you five dollars that even though this is an absolutly necessary step, if they try to carry it out in the current climate it turns out to be the action that turns a low-grade civil war into an all-out battle between the factions.

  22. Just to nitpick on one talking point:

    Iraq is in chaos.

    Er, no. Baghdad and a few of its suburbs are under constant attack by various terrorist gangs seeking to stake out territory in anticipation of a precipitous US withdrawal.

    Big chunks of Iraq are doing, well, not too bad.

  23. “I hope popular anger can be chanelled into a movement to impeach Bush.”

    Uhm, who cares? What will impeaching him solve? He’s gone in just under two years anyhow. What good does a circus do now? The voters already made a decision for something different in the midterm elections.

    Impeachment at this point will just embolden the Hannity-faction’s cries of “they just hate our President” and give Pelosi & Co. warm fuzzies. In the end it does exactly *nothing* but build a media smokescreen, just like it did for Clinton.

    All these calls for impeachment just reek of personal vendetta, it’s 5th grade vengeance. The only plausible solution we have, sadly, has to wait until next November to be put into place.

  24. Big chunks of Iraq are doing, well, not too bad.

    “Big chunks” of Iraq are also deserts that don’t support any sort of serious human habitation. The cities, on the other hand, like Basra, Baghdad, Kirkuk, the places where people actually, well, live, are chaotic, violent places. Implying that the problem isn’t that bad because most of the country is safe is like saying that we don’t really need to worry about crime prevention measures because given it’s size, our Solar System has a remarkably low rate of crime. Yeah, it’s true, but it’s also a non sequitur.

  25. Perhaps Bush is sending us a coded message indicating he actually understands what a massive screw-up this has been: “invading Iraq = failure.”

    Perhaps he’ll start blinking Morse Code: “Dick Cheney is holding me here against my will. Somebody rescue me. I never wanted this.”

  26. The fact that foreign fighters are still being killed in Baghdad tells me that the mission is not a total failure. And don’t pull that “they hate us because we’re in Iraq” bullshit. It can’t be denied that something has kept us from being attacked. The Iraq war may or may not be the reason, but if it has prevented one attack, then it has been worth it.

  27. Jesse, when you say you want Hagel to pull a Eugene McCarthy — you mean you want him to ultimately lose the nomination to a pro-war member of his party, who then goes on to lose to a Democrat who promises “peace with honor” before spreading the war into Iran?

    I was afraid someone would start picking at the edges of that analogy. McCain isn’t exactly equivalent to LBJ either, given that he isn’t the incumbent. Oh, well.

  28. Wow.
    “The Iraq war may or may not be the reason, but if it has prevented one attack, then it has been worth it.”

    wow. um. wow.

  29. Look, it’s the Democrats’ turn to win the White House.

    We better start thinking about who could be the most libertarian candidate on the Democratic side. Oxymoron? Perhaps. But I feel a lot better about a Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton. Give me Gore over Edwards any day.

    Perhaps these are merely the gut rumblings of certifiable lunatic. I make no iron-clad professions of my own sanity.

  30. Considering the last rather crude attack brought us the Patriot act, the TSA, billions in damages and thousands of civilian lives lost, yes, its been worth it. Imagine the costs in freedom and treasure the next attack will bring. I don’t want to give Nanny Pelosi the opening to double the size of government under the guise of protecting the homeland.

  31. Oh – like that. Mea culpa – misunderstood.

    Nancy Pelosi under any guises is a frightening thought.

    Although, she is very useful as a merkin farm. Kinda like an alpaca is to sweaters, she is to merkins.

    Welll, at least that’s what I think. hrumph

    /kicks pebble.

  32. jkp,

    Sending in additional forces in order to take the fight to a group – in this case, Shiite militias – who we have not been fighting is indeed an escalation.

  33. “Look, it’s the Democrats’ turn to win the White House.” – monk

    No thanks. I am just starting to like this divided government. With their structural advantages in ’08 there is no realistic likelihood of the Dems losing Congress in ’08. A single party controlled Democratic Government?

    Pass.

    Barack will have to wait his turn. Maybe sometime after the Republicans take back the Senate in 2010. Stick with the boomers in ’08.

  34. sr2 asks, “What will impeaching him solve? He’s gone in just under two years anyhow. What good does a circus do now? The voters already made a decision for something different in the midterm elections.”

    Deterrence. The next time we have a President who finds himself tempted to lie us into a war; to engage in irresponsible hyperpartisanship in the runup and througout that war; to refuse to engage in the hard work of actually planning that war; to put troops in the field without the material and manpower support they need for the mission; to engage in criminal spying, torture, and detention; and to ignore the laws passed by Congress and all but declare himself to be a king beyond the reach of the law, I want that President to look back at George Bush’s fate and tremble.

    There are only two things politicians understand – electoral defeat, and public disgrace. We blew out chance to hand King George the former, so the future of our Republic depends on giving him the latter.

  35. “…people who fit that description have an emotional block against admitting that people who were against the war from the beginning were right all along.” – joe

    I expect you are right, but hope you are not.

    After all, even GWB admitted he was wrong on the war last night. Didn’t he?

  36. “It can’t be denied that something has kept us from being attacked.”

    It was seven years between the first and second WTC attacks. Let’s have a big hand for President Clinton!

  37. mw,

    He “admitted” that the execution of his brilliant, noble plan was imperfect, and promised to get it right next time. Sort of like the communists i/r/t Stalin.

    Not really an admission of error.

  38. “He “admitted” that the execution of his brilliant, noble plan was imperfect, and promised to get it right next time.” – joe

    That is a relief. I was afraid we would be making the same mistakes in Iran. Good to know this next one will go off without a hitch.

    OTOH, I’m back to supporting a military combat vet who had it right in the first place, and the balls to say so at the time. Chuckie for President.

  39. One more bit of follow-up:

    Republican Senator Chuck Hagel’s Statement on the escalation:

    “I am opposed to the escalation of American involvement in Iraq, including more U.S. troops. This is a dangerously wrong-headed strategy that will drive America deeper into an unwinnable swamp at a great cost. It is wrong to place American troops into the middle of Iraq’s civil war. It is not in America’s national interest to increase our troop presence in Iraq. The President’s strategy will cost more American lives, sink us deeper into the bog of Iraq making it more difficult to get out, cost billions of dollars more, further strain an American military that has already reached its breaking point, further diminish America’s standing in the Middle East, and continue to allow the Iraqis to walk away from their responsibilities. The fate of Iraq will be determined by the Iraqis-not the Americans. We have already given four years, thousands of lives, and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to Iraq…”

    I wish he would just say what he really thinks.

  40. Iraq war has cost more US casualties and money than 9/11 attacks while accomplishing absolutely nothing. Osama is still around. The terrorists have no reason to scale back their plotting/attacks. The terrorists have already succeeded in some of their goals–such as scaring the hell out of free citizens, enough to give up some of their freedoms, enough to support this stupid war, and enough to scare even the media (both US and Europe’s) from even criticizing Islam and self-censoring to avoid the extremist reactions. And instead of helping, the Iraq war has made things WORSE. Iraq is more unstable than before (yes Baghdad IS part of Iraq), the civil war is now pretty much inevitable with no hope of containment (except in those who continue to engage in magical thinking), and things are now generally bleaker than before the war. Overall, I’d say that Bush is responsible for more harm on the US than any terrorist has done. What good is impeaching this clown? It’s not revenge, it’s punishment. It’s holding someone accountable for their actions. I don’t even care about deterrence. This is what he deserves. I don’t care what Hannity, O’Reilly, and Co. think. If they can’t understand what holding someone accountable for their actions means, it’s their problem. Justice requires what it requires regardless of what some idiots think.

  41. So, when the neighboring crack house is busting down your door, you would turn down reenforcements and sit down for a chat?

    Interesting and puzzling.

    When this happens to you perhaps Mr. Weigel will be of assistance.

  42. Iraq war has cost more US casualties and money than 9/11 attacks

    Well, to be fair, the 3000+ 9/11 attacks happened in less than 2 hours. The kicking the ass of terrorists and their sponsors happened over several years.

    Perhaps that ass kicking part rubs you the wrong way, but it is the only way to deal with people who wish to destroy you, no matter how tolerant you frame yourself.

  43. Guy, is English your second language? What does “So, when the neighboring …blah blah blah” has anything to do with what I said?

    Stop guessing what “rubs me the wrong way” and respond to what I ACTUALLY say. And, btw, what asskicking of terrorists? What the fuck are you talking about? Was Osama and his gang in Iraq? Did we get them? Or you got evidence that Saddam was behind 9/11?

  44. Yong Kim,

    Lay off the poor Guy. Once, some reporter took him to dinner, and he’s been really upset ever since.

  45. This thread is dead, but I just had to congratulate highnumber for succinctly describing my feelings re: Guy. Between constant mentions of slashdot, his Dodge Charger, and that skank from The New Republic, it’s gotten quite tiresome.

  46. Thank you.

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