Some Irrelevant People and Their Opinions About Iraq

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As we've all learned this week, to our delight, after Congress grants the president authority to go to war he can botch it with as great or as small an army as he wants. Here's the speech; here are some vaguely important public figures staking out their territory.

Rudy Giuliani:

The thing I would add to it is a lot of accountability. I think you need measures. You need statistics. You need to be able to determine whether you've brought the violence down. If it doesn't work, then you've got to put more people in.

And if that doesn't work, you've got to put more people in. And if that doesn't work, blame Al Sharpton.

Michael Ledeen:

Those "networks providing advanced weaponry and training" certainly are based in Iran and Syria. It sounds like he said we are going after terrorist training camps and the IED assembly facilities, doesn't it? Well?

Indeed, it does. Not so fast, please.

Joe Lieberman:

Success is attainable in Iraq, and tonight the President has offered a comprehensive program to chart a new course in both winning the military struggle to establish order and in achieving the political and economic objectives to build a more promising future for Iraqis.

Lieberman endorses this 21,500-troop surge even though six days ago he claimed a plan for 30,000 troops—not less—was the only way to win. Give me a Necronomicon, a cabinet of deadly ingredients, and a first-rate cauldron, and I don't think I could conjure a slimier homunculus than the senator from the Connecticut for Lieberman Party.

Sam Brownback:

Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution. In the last two days, I have met with Prime Minister Maliki, with two deputy presidents and the president of the Kurdish region. I came away from these meetings convinced that the United States should not increase its involvement until Sunnis and Shi'a are more willing to cooperate with each other instead of shooting at each other.

Which is it going to be—Brownback/Hagel '08 or Hagel/Brownback '08? I'm indifferent.

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  1. The thing I would add to it is a lot of accountability. I think you need measures. You need statistics. You need to be able to determine whether you’ve brought the violence down. If it doesn’t work, then you’ve got to put more people in.

    Typical government attitude. “If at first you don’t succeed, throw more resources at it. Hell, they’re not yours.”

  2. Giuliani was absolutely superb on Iraq last night and the President’s speech on Fox News. This guy is really Presidential material. He commented about how our troops needed to fight smarter urban warfare using greater police tactics like the NYPD. And coming from Rudy, whose had success in that department (no pun intended), it was entirely believable.

    Rudy is vastly becomming the choice for “fiscally conservative/socially tolerant” yet Pro-Defense voters. I’m starting to think it’s deliberate. He sees an opening in the field among the non-extremist libertarian set.

    There are rumors that famed Las Vegas Sports Oddsmaker Wayne Allyn Root may run for President as a Libertarian Republican. If Root doesn’t run, Rudy is the clear choice.

    Rudy’s comments are detailed over at RedState.com this morning.

  3. “Rudy is vastly becomming the choice for “fiscally conservative/socially tolerant” yet Pro-Defense voters.”

    One can be “Pro-Defense” and Anti-Unnecessary-Wasteful-and-Deadly-Excursions-into-Volatile-Areas-of-the-World-that-Really-Didn’t-Even-Pose-a-Threat-to-Us at the same time. They’re not exactly mutually exclusive.

  4. I agree with Rudy’s call for the release of Iraqi civilian casualty statistics.

    These numbers are important and should not be held as a military secret.

    If Guiliani became President, I doubt he would actually go ahead and release the stats.

    I could see Feingold releasing the numbers. I could see Eliot Spitzer releasing the numbers. Guiliani not so much.

  5. The Democrats should use the power of the purse and stop funding the war. There are precedents for this.

    “In 1969, Congress’s ruling Democrats began to offer amendments to funding bills – often approved with Republican votes – to limit President Richard M. Nixon’s military alternatives in Southeast Asia. Although the Hatfield-McGovern amendment to cut off money for the war was defeated in August 1970, it accelerated Nixon’s steps toward Vietnamization of the fighting. And three years later, with withdrawal of U.S. forces having begun, Congress voted to cut off all funding for ‘offensive’ military action, sealing the deal.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/17/AR2006111701495.html

    After the Black Hawk Down incident, Congress also used the power of the purse to make sure U.S. involvement in Somalia was limited.

    Needless to say, if the Democrats were to this now, they would be drowned in accusations of not supporting the troops. It’s one of those cases where a simple–and ostensibly inoccuous–rhetorical tic has been tailored to prevent any disturbance of the hawks’ nests.

  6. Give me a Necronomicon, a cabinet of deadly ingredients, and a first-rate cauldron, and I don’t think I could conjure a slimier homonoculous than the senator from the Connecticut for Lieberman Party.

    Spot. Fucking. On.

  7. Reading through the speech, he mentions terror or terrorists thirteen times. He also drops this gem.

    “Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror.”

    Is there a scarier combination than “good advice from Joe Lieberman” and “bipartisan working group”?

  8. “Is there a scarier combination than “good advice from Joe Lieberman” and “bipartisan working group”?”

    QFMFT (as dhex would say)

  9. bipartisan working group

    Glad to see the Republican Party and the Connecticut for Lieberman Party are finally getting past their petty partisan rivalries and working together.

  10. The thing I would add to it is a lot of accountability. I think you need measures. You need statistics. You need to be able to determine whether you’ve brought the violence down. If it doesn’t work, then you’ve got to put more people in.

    We put “more people in” in the beginning of 2003 and look where it got us. We already count the number of attacks and casualties. If you want accountability, impeach Bush.

    I agree with Rudy’s call for the release of Iraqi civilian casualty statistics. These numbers are important and should not be held as a military secret.

    Does the military even count civilian casualties anymore?

  11. Dubya considers working with yes-men like Joe Leibermann “bipartisanship.” And there you have it folks, in a nutshell, what is wrong with this administration.

  12. Wait a sec. WE ALREADY HAVE A STEVO!

    So, Steve-o, may we call you Bruce instead? How about Loretta, lest ye feel oppressed!

  13. If Brownback and Hagel were not a leader of immigration amnesty, Brownback/Hagel would be a very attractive ticket to anti-war conservatives like me. Both men voted for the war, of course, but the truly ideal ticket of Paul/Duncan is obviously not going to materialize. Brownback provides the social conservative leadership and Hagel has been quietly solid on those issues (unlike other media darling Republicans like John McCain). Their immigration stances are dealbreakers, however. (Plus, a ticket from two dinky, solidly Republican, adjoining Midwestern states might have limited geographical appeal.)

  14. Does the military even count civilian casualties anymore?

    I am quite sure they do.

  15. Here we are fighting a ground war against guerrillas…once again.

  16. Here’s an interesting piece for all you Rudytarians out there in fantasyland.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/
    2006/12/05/giuliani/index.html

  17. Ashish George:
    Needless to say, if the Democrats were to this now, they would be drowned in accusations of not supporting the troops. It’s one of those cases where a simple–and ostensibly inoccuous–rhetorical tic has been tailored to prevent any disturbance of the hawks’ nests.

    But why should that matter…I thought [bring the troops home] ‘by any means necessary’ was what got them elected?

  18. What this operation needs is spirit fingers.

  19. I would think that one of the unintended consequences of the “You voted for the war so now he can do whatever he wants” philosophy would be that, from now on, any sane congressperson would have to vote against every war, no matter how justified.

    I was trying to come up with an analogy using a neighbor and my lawnmower, but that seems sort of FDR-ish.

  20. I do not believe the gov’t/military counts civilian deaths, unless they are Americans.

  21. I do not believe the gov’t/military counts civilian deaths, unless they are Americans.

    that is what you are supposed to believe. that is what most people believe.

    Once in a while I make the gentle suggestion that some of the journo’s round these parts do FOIA requests.

    I think it is time for Weigs to pop his FOIA cherry on this particular issue. His readership is curious.

  22. steve-o | January 11, 2007, 10:13am | #

    Dubya considers working with yes-men like Joe Leibermann “bipartisanship.” And there you have it folks, in a nutshell, what is wrong with this administration.

    VM | January 11, 2007, 10:30am | #

    Wait a sec. WE ALREADY HAVE A STEVO!

    So, Steve-o, may we call you Bruce instead? How about Loretta, lest ye feel oppressed!

    Oh boy, one thing we need is another poster named Steve or a derivative thereof.

    Actually, I use the spelling “Stevo,” like in “Devo,” which I think is most logical, but a lot of H&R people around here address me as “Steve-o” anyway. Spelling isn’t the most consistently strong skill around here.

    This is also why I added a surname for my handle.

    However, Steve-o, if you really don’t want to risk being mistaken for me (and most people wouldn’t) I can offer you another handle that I’m not using: “Ted Tosterone.” It’s very manly. Or if you don’t like that, try “Skippy.” Handles that beging with “S” and end in “Y” are very popular here, but we’ve never had a Skippy yet.

  23. “Some Irrelevant People and Their Opinions About Iraq”

    And you’re different from them how, David Weigel?

  24. “but we’ve never had a Skippy yet.”

    Like a dagger to the heart. Sniff…

  25. Cuz he makes your eyes flash with fury as you type, BBB. Cute as a button, that is!

    Stevo: now lookat whatcha gone dun: Skippy’s now upset. And when Skippy is upset, Ted Tosterone starts singing Billy Squire. And you know what happens then. Oh, yes. You do know what happens then.

    [evil laughter, fades away]

  26. I’d love to see Hagel/Brownback in 2008.

  27. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a political collapse happen so fast.

    The Democrats have aboslutely nothing to to fear but fear itself. They can do whatever the hell they want to end this war. The only thing Republicans can accomplish by rolling out the tired “treason,” “coward,” “pro-terrorist,” and “anti-American” cards is to discredit those hoary old lines of attack, and effectively mark themselves as idiots who can be safely ignored.

  28. Does anyone bother calling/writing/visiting their congressional representatives anymore? Or do we just sit back and let the media-grubbing blowhards do the talking for us? …for the people, BY the people… duh, let’s get bitter about marginalizing ourselves by passive non-involvement. Democracy is a responsibility, simply voting is not enough ( and usually pointless, anyway)

  29. Stevo: now lookat whatcha gone dun: Skippy’s now upset. And when Skippy is upset, Ted Tosterone starts singing Billy Squire. And you know what happens then. Oh, yes. You do know what happens then.

    Oops! My apologies to Skippy! I knew we had a Smacky and a Shecky and and a Smappy and maybe even a Scruffy and a Scrappy, and possibly also a Sharky, and perhaps a Smokey, but I haven’t been here lately on a daily basis and I somehow forgot about our existing Skippy.

    I strongly suggest Ted Tosterone, then.

    Otherwise, I’m pretty sure these handles are still open: Surly, Spasticky, SubmarineSandwichy and Superbly.

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