Iraq

The Buck Stops There (Hillary Clinton on Iraq Edition)

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Talking to Iowans, presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) makes it clear that, despite voting for a resolution clearly understood by all as the equivalent of a declaration of war (why can't we actually follow the Constitution even on this?), Iraq is all George W. Bush's fault:

"This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy."

The second half of that statement is completely true, methinks. More here.

In another account of the same event, Clinton is quoted thus:

"I have said on numerous occasions that if we knew then what we know now…the congress never would have voted to give the president authority and I would have not voted to give the president authority," Clinton said. "I think that I've taken responsibility for my vote, but there are no do-overs in life. I wish there were. You know, I acted on the best judgement that I had at the time, and at the time I said that this was not a vote for pre-emptive war."

Skip the typos and zero in on the logic here, especially for a would-be commander-in-chief. What does it means to say "if we knew then what we know now"? That Iraq would be a clusterfuck once Saddam Hussein was deposed? That there weren't weapons of mass destruction? That two-thirds of Americans don't want the war anymore? And how wasn't the resolution authorizing whatever Bush wanted not a vote for preemptive war, especially given his theorizing on precisely that subject? Not a great performance in terms of presidential leadership, though I suspect it will be the basic template for all candidates with the exception of John McCain, who will argue for doubling down in Iraq. More here.

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  1. Let’s read that again:

    “This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy.”

    Was it Hillary’s decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan? Was it Congress’s decision to go to war with an incompetently executed strategy?

  2. I do think there is value in looking closely at the “If I knew then …” position, which, Nick is right, will be the claim everyone hangs their hat on.

    Straight answers for those who were really opposed would be “I was intimidated into voting for something I didn’t believe in.”

    Straight answers for others might be “I supported the war at its outset, but I don’t think this can be done now.”

  3. Hindsight is 20/20. So what if Hillary’s is even better than that?

    We need a leader with 20/20 foresight. She has effectively admitted that she ain’t it.

  4. If not this, then what? Who cares what she did or did not think in 2003. Unless you are some 60s leftover wanting to meet the groovy people in the desert this time and do the happy dance over the defeat of the evil Americans, the issue is what does she offer as an alternative? Leave tomorrow? Okay, what about the consequences of that? Are we better off with a few million refugees and Al Quada using Iraq to attack Europe, the rest of the middle-east and possibly the US than we are slugging it out for a few more years? That is what the Baker Commission, which all of the war critics treat like gospel, said would happen. What are the alternatives?

    Further, the interesting thing about turning points is that you never know until after the fact when you hit one. The Soviets had no idea in 1942 that Stalingrad was the beginning of the end for the Germans in Russia. The allies in the summer of 1918 had no idea that the spring offensive broke the German Army. Grant seemed in a hopeless stalemate in September of 1864. We know now of course he had won the war that summer, he just had to wait for the inevitable.

    No one knows how long things will go on in Iraq. When they say things like “its unwinnable” they only say that because they are obsessed with domestic politics and want Iraq to be unwinnable. Vice President al-Mahdi said in Davos this week, “In 2003, we were fully optimistic, and now we are fully pessimistic” – but remember, “things can change.” And “I see no other alternative but to succeed.”

    If Hillary or anyone else thinks failure is an alternative, then they ought to be saying what that alternative really entails and be honest about the risks associated with it.

  5. “Not a great performance in terms of presidential leadership, though I suspect it will be the basic template for all candidates with the exception of John McCain, who will argue for doubling down in Iraq.” – ng

    I agree completely that we need to hold the ’08 presidential candidates feet (or other parts) to the fire for their positions on the war before the war. What better test of the fitness to be Commander in Chief?

    I disagree that their vote on “Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq” in October, 2002 is the only criteria or even the most important. There were many good reasons to vote for that resolution, including a reasonable hope that it would lead to a negotiated settlement with Saddam and/or stimulate additional action out of the UN. More important than the vote, is what the candidates said or did not say in the six months before the war started. Ambiguity -or- lack of clarity -or- absence of a publicly stated position -or- political waffling on the war in the crucial six months is (IMHO) automatic disqualification to be elected President in 2008.

    What ’08 candidates were saying about the war, before the war – is the subject of this post “It’s the war, stupid.” and video with the same title.

  6. There were many good reasons to vote for that resolution, including a reasonable hope that it would lead to a negotiated settlement with Saddam and/or stimulate additional action out of the UN.

    I am constantly amused by people who think that, if we had just gone to the table one more time, the pattern of the previous 12 years would have changed, with the UN magically transforming from a corrupt kleptocracy into an effective force for peace and justice, and Saddam suddenly becoming a trustworthy, um, non-insane statesman.

  7. “I am constantly amused by people who think that, if we had just gone to the table one more time, the pattern of the previous 12 years would have changed, with the UN magically transforming from a corrupt kleptocracy into an effective force for peace and justice, and Saddam suddenly becoming a trustworthy, um, non-insane statesman.”

    Get used to it RC because you going to hear the same thing about Iran. Some people refuse to accept reality that you can only negiotiate with people who are willing to compromise.

  8. No wonder conseratives dislike diplomacy so much.

    They have no idea what it is.

  9. Given the choice of someone who got the question wrong and came to here senses vs. someone who got the question wrong and refuses to admit it, I’ll take the candidate capable of admitting a mistake.

  10. “Skip the typos and zero in on the logic here, especially for a would-be commander-in-chief.”

    Nick, you used “logic” and “would-be commander-in-chief” in the same sentence. I believe those are attributes of mutually exclusive sets.

  11. “I’ll take the candidate capable of admitting a mistake.”

    I will take a candidate with a plan and an honest assessment of the reality on the ground. “I made a mistake in 2003”. So what? You can’t change the past. What is the plan for the future?

  12. No wonder conseratives dislike diplomacy so much.

    They have no idea what it is.

    Is that you Joe or Neville Chamberlain? Amazingly enough Joe some people really do mean the world harm.

  13. mw:

    thanks for the heads up!

    If Obama really did say that in Oct 2002 about the war, kudos to him.

    The passions about the war get stirred up so much that many of the arguments pro and con at the beginning got lost in the shuffle, and that’s important to bring up!

    Remember the CATO institute cop-out about the war? They claimed they were “against” but didn’t really offer a good argument. (kinda like their earlier stances on climate change)

    Plus, while informed decisions are very important, the expectation that one cannot change one’s mind or be wrong at some time is a little extreme. As more info or technology or other changes happen, you do have to change priorities, etc. at times.

    The black-and-white, entrenched to a single position, even when it seems incorrect with current best info, appeals to those who want their Team Red/Team Blue to win first, have good policy second. sigh.

    (full disclosure – this citizen doesn’t think HRC is anything other than a sleazy opportunist: “Yankees fan”?)

  14. I wasn’t aware the following sentence was admitting to making a mistake:

    “You know, I acted on the best judgement that I had at the time, and at the time I said that this was not a vote for pre-emptive war.”

  15. Was it Hillary’s decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan? Was it Congress’s decision to go to war with an incompetently executed strategy?

    The point, joe, is that it was Hilary’s decision (along with others) to go to war. If she wants to make it clear that she shares that responsibility (and who can blame her if she doesn’t?), then she would leave the “decision to go to war” part out of what she’s accusing Bush of. She could say, “Yes, it was my decision, in conjunction with the rest of Congress, to go to war, but it was Bush’s ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy that doomed this decision.” Instead, she’s clearly using language to obscure the fact that she participated in the decision to go to war and is intended to pin the decision on Bush instead.

    That said, it’s what any politician would do in her situation and hardly a disqualification for presidential leadership, if hardly a shining moment either. And to answer Nick’s question about what if she knew then what she knows now means, I would guess she’s borrowing Kerry’s meme that Congress was misled by Bush about WMD’s, though it would be nice if she were clearer about that (assuming she wasn’t). Perhaps she’s avoiding saying that because her husband said he believed Hussein had the WMD’s. In which case Nick is right and it’s a meaningless “what if”. Of course to a certain extent it’s meaningless regardless, as John points out, since all that matters is the future, although how do we judgue future performance without referring to past and present performance?

  16. Iraq in 2003 and Iran now scare no one except the most paranoid Likudniks. This hawkish tendency to inflate every thug into some ambassador of the apocalypse sitting on a Wehrmacht ready to go into action has got to go.

    I’m not sure what windmills RC Dean and John spy on the horizon for us to charge at, but America is best served by reminding itself that it accounts for 48% of the world’s military spending while its enemies are, um, shall we say less than daunting adversaries…

    “Most of Iran’s military equipment is aging or second rate and much of it is worn. Iran lost some 50-60% of its land order of battle in the climatic battles of the Iran-Iraq War, and it has never had large-scale access to the modern weapons and military technology necessary to replace them. It also has lacked the ability to find a stable source of parts and supplies for most of its Western-supplied equipment, and has not have access to upgrades and modernization programs since the fall of the Shah in 1979.”

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2006/08/iranian-war-machine.html

  17. Good post john.

    The war is costing money and lives. Will it really cost less if we get pull out?

    Maybe. I don’t think so.

  18. “I will take a candidate with a plan and an honest assessment of the reality on the ground.”

    …says the man who voted for George Bush twice.

    “Amazingly enough Joe some people really do mean the world harm.”

    See? They honest-to-God have no idea what they’re talking about. John thinks the difference between people who want to involve diplomacy in our foreign policy, and those who do not, is that the former don’t realize that there are bad people in the world.

  19. Most of Iran’s military equipment is aging or second rate and much of it is worn. Iran lost some 50-60% of its land order of battle in the climatic battles of the Iran-Iraq War, and it has never had large-scale access to the modern weapons and military technology necessary to replace them. It also has lacked the ability to find a stable source of parts and supplies for most of its Western-supplied equipment, and has not have access to upgrades and modernization programs since the fall of the Shah in 1979.”

    They are looking for a small upgrade in that. A weapon involving a plutonium trigger with tritium acting as a fusing agent. A few megatons will definitely help that capablility. By your logic, who were the Taliban? A bunch of kooks running around in SUVs with Ak47s and explosives. Ignoring them sure turned out well.

  20. “I will take a candidate with a plan and an honest assessment of the reality on the ground.”

    …says the man who voted for George Bush twice.

    Way to not answer the question Joe. Do you admit the Democrats have no plan for Iraq?

    “John thinks the difference between people who want to involve diplomacy in our foreign policy, and those who do not, is that the former don’t realize that there are bad people in the world.”

    No Joe it is not that Diplomacy doesn’t have its place it is that it is ineffective when dealing with some people. It is the mindless worship of diplomacy as the sollution to all problems with no idea of what that diplomacy really entails and how there is any possibilty of an agreement that is the problem.

  21. Given the choice of someone who got the question wrong and came to here senses vs. someone who got the question wrong and refuses to admit it, I’ll take the candidate capable of admitting a mistake.

    joe, Hilary is admitting that Bush made mistakes. As Cab and Nick point out, she is only admitting for herself an inability to clairvoyantly see the future. Now, I’ll concede it’s just politics as usual and no big deal. But if you’re claiming some actual straightforward honesty and courage on her part, we’ll have to show you how you’re wrong.

  22. “The point, joe, is that it was Hilary’s decision (along with others) to go to war.”

    Actually, fyodor, it was Hillary’s decision to divest the Congress of that authority, and give the president the power to make that decision.

    I think it’s important to pin down exactly what she deservers criticism for. She, and Kerry, thought it important for the President to have that authority, in order to do his job. They decided that having to pursue our foreign policy without the authority to start hostilities would hamstring the president. Not being able to credibly threaten war, or take small-scale actions to enforce our policies, or even to make the decision to take us to all-out war without going back to Congress was, according to this line of thought, too much of a burder, and would interfere with the Presiden’t ability to do his job.

    THAT is the major intellectual error Clinton has to answer for, in my mind.

  23. John,

    Based on your logic, seems we should just go to war against Iran right now? I’ve seen hawks say that the whole point of invading Iraq was to create a viable threat to make negotiations with Iran effective. Would you say either that that was never the (or “a”) goal of invading Iraq, or if it were that we failed to achieve it?

  24. THAT is the major intellectual error Clinton has to answer for, in my mind.

    No Joe she is running for President in 08, not 03. She has to answer for what she is going to do going forward. She apparently has no idea.

  25. John,

    You have surrendured your right to be taken seriously in a discussion such as this, through the determined idiocy you’ve displayed over the years. I’d sooner discuss foreign policy with my cat.

    Quiet, son, the grown ups are talking.

  26. Did any of you Posters go out and spray paint the Capiol or spit on disabled veterans this weekend?

    I’m glad to see Jane Fonda is standing up and speaking out.That should push the remaining fence-sitters to the anti-war side.

  27. “Based on your logic, seems we should just go to war against Iran right now?”

    No I don’t think we should go to war with Iran. They are as much other people’s problem, the rest of the middle east, Israel and Europe’s as they are ours. Further, I don’t see a good option for taking out thier nuclear capablility. If there was, I would support it. They are still a ways away from getting the bomb. I think you have to use what time you have to hopefully get more support to stop them. If not, you can only fight wars where there is the will to do so. We might have to take a chance of a former Iranian hostage taker who claims openly his plans to destroy America and Israel having a hydrogen bomb. It may take a nuclear war to do anything about it, which is horrible, but I can’t see any real way to go to war to stop it under current conditions.

  28. “No Joe she is running for President in 08, not 03.”

    As your continued yapping demonstrates, the idiots who got us into this mess haven’t gone away. In fact, you’re eager to replicate our “success” over and over again.

    That’s why we need to make sure the next president won’t go down the same path – because the Idiocracy that has taken over the right half of the political spectrum keeps making it clear that they still believe in walking down that path, and will do so again and again if they are given the chance.

  29. joe,

    At the moment, I will reply with “fair enough” and only add that it would be nice if Hilary were as clear about the nature of her “error” as you have just been, though again, it’s nothing that makes her look bad in comparison with most any politician.

  30. John,

    You have surrendured your right to be taken seriously in a discussion such as this, through the determined idiocy you’ve displayed over the years. I’d sooner discuss foreign policy with my cat.

    Quiet, son, the grown ups are talking.

    Translation, I have no idea what to do with Iraq and have no idea how to answer your question so I will avoid it by saying stuff like “you have surrendered your right to talk seriously about this”. Yeah Joe, great response. Keep it up.

  31. joe,

    If I considered John not worth paying attention to because I found him absurd a certain portion of the time, then I wouldn’t find you worth paying attention to either! 🙂

    Everyone here is crazy but me — and sometimes I wonder about me!!!

  32. Re: Diplomacy and who understands it

    I’m all about diplomacy, but there is naivety in the belief that diplomacy functions absent a credible possibility of bad consequences for bad behavior.

    I’m sure we don’t need to hash that conversation out again, but I’d like to point out that a view of hawks on one side and diplomats on the other is a tad simple.

  33. Fyodor,

    That is just Joe’s tactic when you make a point for which he has no answer. A week or so ago, I asked him about Nancy Pelosi getting the exception to the minimum wage for the Tuna industry and micronesia. His response was something to the effect of “oh you are so cute when you are angry.” The worst thing you can do with Joe is win an argument.

  34. There is no policy Hillary Clinton could pursue that would be as harmful to our country as replicating our eager charge into the Iraq quagmire.

    I’d like to hear more affirmative planning from the Democratic candidates, too, and I’m sure we will.

    But Issue #1, above all others, is whether or not they are going to allow a disaster of this magnitude to befall out country again.

  35. I’ve provided my plan for going forward a couple dozen times on this board.

    I have no interest in hijacking the thread into yet another discussion of it with you, John, because there is nothing to be gained from what you have to say.

  36. Not a great performance in terms of presidential leadership, though I suspect it will be the basic template for all candidates with the exception of John McCain, who will argue for doubling down in Iraq.

    John McCain, most notable victim of the sunk-cost fallacy.

  37. John,

    If you had a better source of information than your own navel and National Review, you would have learned weeks ago that Nancy Pelosi had the years-old exemption from the minimum wage in America’s Pacific territories written out of the law.

  38. “I’m all about diplomacy, but there is naivety in the belief that diplomacy functions absent a credible possibility of bad consequences for bad behavior.”

    Right, but sometimes you don’t have the resources to make good on any of the consequences you’d like to have associated with bad behavior. Such is our situation vis-a-vis Iran.

    People who really think we are in a position to attack Iran are deluding themselves.

  39. joe,

    There is no policy Hillary Clinton could pursue that would be as harmful to our country as replicating our eager charge into the Iraq quagmire.

    Oh, I dunno. One of my favorite personal sayings is, “As bad as things are, they can always be worse!” Just pointing out that Bush screwed up hardly proves anything Hilary does will be better. And it hardly provides a reason to vote for her over anyone else. Republicans could also say they would have handled the situation better.

    JasonL,

    “The only diplomat I trust is a fully loaded phaser!” [or something very close to that] — Scotty 🙂

  40. We sure needed people speaking out against the Iraq War in 2002 and 2003. Even more than we need that today.

    So was Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason, using his position of power and influence to speak out against the war at its inception:

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/33463.html

    No. No, he wasn’t. Nick Gillespie was riding the fence. People with splinetres in their behind shouldn’t be criticizing people other than themselves right now. Introspective, Nick. Time to go introspective. That is the only way the cred comes back.

  41. Actually, we don’t need much of a stick vs. Iran in this particular case, because our interests are roughly aligned.

    The greatest threat to our interests – the creation of a lawless Sunni mini-state in which stateless jihadist grouops can operate – is also the greatest threat to Iran’s interests. Just yesterday, Al Qaeda blew up another Shiite mosque in Pakistan, following up on the Taliban’s slaughter of the Iranian embassy staff in Kabul and the massacres of Shiits by al Qaeda in Iraq.

    That is why Iran approached us with an offer to help stabilize Iraq three years ago – because they realize how dangerous it is for them if our bungling allows a third of Iraq to become a Somali-style “wild west” for Al Qaeda.

    It’s too bad the people responsible for our foreign policy have an understanding of international polics akin to John’s.

  42. Aside from “cut-and-runners” like me and the “shoot everything in sight until they don’t shoot back” crazies, no one has a clear strategy in Iraq.

    The country is in a low-level civil war and no proposal to “fix” it seems likely to fly. If the Iraqis cannot fix it for themselves, the coalition forces certainly cannot do it for them. It is almost tautological to say that an Iraqi regime dependent on foreign troops is going to collapse as soon as those troops withdraw, as they must someday.

    If the Iraqi regime can survive on its own [possible, though I doubt it], the presence of and dependence on foreign troops weakens its legitimacy in the eyes of Iraqis.

    The coalition forces inherently cannot “fix” Iraq. For better or worse, the troops should withdraw now.

  43. as long as the military industrial (and now congressional )complex is running the country, you bet. Eisenhower wasnt kidding.

  44. fyodor,

    “Republicans could also say they would have handled the situation better.”

    If they continue to insist that their strategy was correct, and should be replicated, no, they cannot credibly say that they would have handled the situation better, or that they would handle future situations better.

    Anyone can say that they won’t make so many tactical errors, but the tatical errors weren’t the problem here. The fundamental understandings of pre-emption, of what can be achieved through military force, and of the nature of the threats we face are where the Bush Iraq policy started to go wrong.

  45. That is why Iran approached us with an offer to help stabilize Iraq three years ago

    Would this be the same Iran that is currently doing so much to destabilize Iraq?

    Why yes, yes it would be the same Iran! I can’t imagine why we didn’t trust their offer to help out a few years ago.

  46. Like joe, I’d also prefer somebody who can admit a mistake over somebody who cannot. But anybody running in 08, Dem or Reb or Ind, should be forced to lay out his or her comprehensive plan for what to do now. Lots of folks were duped into voting for the war, but very few are (thus far) discussing concrete plans for moving forward. Then again, everything seems drowned out by Hillary coverage these days.

    I also believe that somebody should be allowed to give the UN the skepticism it deserves as an effective diplomatic body without being labeled as somebody who sees no value in diplomacy.

  47. Childishness really is the hallmark. It’s like everyone else is discussing calculus, and RC Dean bursts in with an observation about simople division.

    Iran is destablizing Iraq right now because we are planted there, and threating to expand the war to their country.

    Now, try to keep up here, this is where some understanding of international relations comes in handy – under those circumstances, where the American troops freed up by the estblishment of a stable political order in Iraq are expected to turn their attention to Iran, it is very much in Iran’s interests to keep us busy. If a stable Iraqi regime is one that would be belligerent to Iran, then Tehran would have a great interest in destabilizing the country.

    On the other hand, if the Iranians were considered partners in the stabilization of Iraq, then they could be confident that the ensuing government would not be a hostile regime. If their assistance with our mutual problem was utilized, then their interests vis a vis the stablization of Iraq would change.

    This really isn’t that hard. You have to deliberately try not to understand this – which is exactly what people who “just know” that nothing can ever be accomplished diplomatically are determined to do.

    RC Dean and John aren’t looking at the facts to figure out if and how a diplomatic solution can be found. They “just know” that one cannot, without even having to know anything about the issue. If they had spent the last decade in a closet, and were asked “what could diplomacy achieve in Iraq,” they would absolutely confident replying “Nothing.”

    That’s why they’re opinions are worthless. It’s like asking a Luddite how often should oil an assembly line. They don’t know, they don’t care, and they don’t care to know.

  48. I dont have any power or influence of any kind, but I condemned the war on the eve of “shock and awe” on my blog at the time. I know… BFD. I had 600 readers a day at one point, but probably more like 100 on the eve of the war.

    I cant say I have much satisfaction in “being right”…..quote-unquote….

  49. I have to agree with joe on this one. Seriously what is she supposed to say? And what difference does it make?

    Even if Hillary (and others) should shoulder more blame, I think its safe to say if elected (not my choice but whatever)the same mistake will not be repeated.

  50. I can’t imagine why we didn’t trust their offer to help out a few years ago.

    Brilliant, RC Dean.

    We rejected Iran’s offer to help, so they didn’t help us, which proves that we were right to reject their offer to help. You should write that in crayon and put it on your fridge.

  51. I agree with John in the idea that it doesn’t really matter what anybody thought in 2003. What matters is one’s position today. If we continue to base our electoral decisions on who “flip flopped” we will continue to get incompetent stooges who can’t change their minds when facts warrant it. One nitpick with John’s post: all of the war efforts you cited were military efforts. None of them had the US or allies acting as referee to internal bloodletting. When George W. stood on the carrier and declared “Mission Accomplished” he was right about one thing: the military mission was accomplished. I don’t doubt that there are rags to riches stories, october surprises and how’d-he-do-thats that apply here, but I don’t think Stalingrad is a worthy analogy, despite Ollie North’s good looks.

  52. Joe how is Iran going to stabilize Iraq? The Sunnis hate them and are terrified of them. The last thing Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States want is an Iranian dominated Iraq. The Saudis have already told us that if we leave they will go into Iraq to protect Sunnis if necessary. The Iranians want to dominate the Middle East. The country in the best position long term to stop them from doing so is Iraq. The idea that the Iranians want a stable and powerful Iraq is just nuts. If they are so interested in a stable Iraq, why are they funding both Sunni and Shia extremists? They are doing so because they want the U.S. to quit and leave and for their main historic enemy to be left engulfed in chaos.

    Lastly even if Iran with their hard-line rulers and former hostage taker who pledges to bring about the return of the 12th Imam and destroy the U.S. and Israel did want out of the goodness of their hearts to help the U.S. in Iraq, what could they do? Do you think a large number of Iranian troops in Iraq is going to help the situation? Can the Iranians stop Al Quada?

    Perhaps they could stop the Shia death squads and that is a big maybe. But that is only half the problem. What are the Iranians going to do about the Sunnis?

    Joe you don’t even think this stuff through. You just live in a fantasy world sometimes.

  53. “Even if Hillary (and others) should shoulder more blame, I think its safe to say if elected (not my choice but whatever)the same mistake will not be repeated.”

    What are you talking about? She wont go back into Iraq? Or someother country? Or because of her ambiguos feel good leadership we wont be forced to go into some other country under worse conditions?

  54. we wont be forced to go into some other country under worse conditions?

    Contractors go by choice.

    So, no worries for u, just so long as President Clinton decides to deploy somewhere. When she does deploy, then check out the conditins. If they are good, then go (sweet ride gets sweeter). if they are bad, then don’t (more time to maintain the sweet ride from the last war).

  55. John,
    Your last post is consistant with what I’ve heard and read about the imperialistic urges of Persian society. It isn’t a military imperialism, though that is a main tool. It is a cultural imperialism where the extremist Persians believe that they are the only true ‘cultured’ Muslims and should naturally be the leaders of the Islamic world.

  56. Joe,
    Do you really think think Irans offer wasn’t just posturing at best? Do you really think that they were serious?

  57. “Joe how is Iran going to stabilize Iraq?”

    By ceasing to support forces that are working against the government and American forces, and by using its influence with different parties in Iraq to push them towards a settlement.

    As for the rest, haven’t the last four years taught you that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about? They’ve taught all the rest of us that. You make these confident assertions about what’s going on there – haven’t you noticed that your assumptions have turned out wrong each and every time?

    “If they are so interested in a stable Iraq, why are they funding both Sunni and Shia extremists?” I just answered that question. This is I mean by “deliberately ignorant.”

    “out of the goodness of their hearts” You just keep getting dumber, and less honest. There is not plausible way to read anything I wrote as relying on their altruism.

    “If they are so interested in a stable Iraq, why are they funding both Sunni and Shia extremists?…But that is only half the problem. What are the Iranians going to do about the Sunnis?” Classic. The problem with coming to conclusions without relying on reason is that when you try to bring reason to bear, you do dumb shit like this.

    BTW, the answer to the question about the Sunnis is: 1. the broader Sunni resistance (not the jihadist fringe, but the Iraqi Sunnis) is based on hosility to Shiite dominance and American occupation, which are both to be negotiated away, and 2. that’s why the Kerry, Baker, and Murtha plans all call for involving Saudi Arabia and the other regional powers, and not just Iran, in the negotiations.

    “Joe you don’t even think this stuff through. You just live in a fantasy world sometimes.” How would you know? You deliberately ignore the facts and reasoning I describe. You assume I haven’t thought any of this through because you “just know” that there couldn’t possibly be an answer. That’s your problem.

  58. Sam Franklin,
    In case you weren’t being tongue in cheek. I meant “we” as in the USA.

  59. kwais,

    As I explained, avoiding a failed state and the rise of trans-national, Shiite-hating Al Qaedist forces on their border is a very strong motivator for Iran.

    We don’t have to speculate on whether Tehran would work with us when we are trying to stop that from happening. They already did, providing assistance to us during our anti-Taliban war.

  60. I suspect that the Sunni nations would come to the aid of Sunni Iraqis much the same way Russians come to the aid of slavic people.

  61. Slowly, we inch closer to the truth

    that the invasion/occupation of Iraq was the result of criminal fraud

    I hope we someday see criminal indictments of the scofflaw conspirators

    what’s sad is that if the occupation of Iraq had gone anything like it was projected to, the fact that we were (shoddily) lied into this “war” would be nigh on moot due to our success in nation-building

  62. In case you weren’t being tongue in cheek. I meant “we” as in the USA.

    I meant “we” as in you, kwais, personally.

    You have a personal stake in this stuf and that is important for people to keep in mind when they lissen to your warmongering at the margin.

    I should disclose my personal stake, too, which is that the hyposcrisy surrounding the Iraq War made me so sick, I had to leave the US for a bit. It is looking like enough people (such as Nick Gillespie, for instance) are getting enough of their sense back that I can come back. I want to come back. I am homesick for the US as it was before 9/11. So, I have an interest in counteracting the warmongers, even when it is a basically nice person (albeit with a few messed up ideas) like you.

  63. LSB,

    You are right, it is time to bring charges against Saddam for intentionally fooling the world into believing he had WMDs. Get on it right away.

  64. Criminal fraud or not, this administration will go down as one of the worst in history. Who engages in a war of choice based on not knowing the facts (i.e., “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”)? Who understands so little about the Middle East that he destroys a balance of power which Reagan fought to preserve? Did these idiots ever ask why we supported Saddam in the past (see Rumsfeld handshake photo)? This administration shall be eternally condemned for crimes against idiocy. Was it too little experience? Was it too much hubris? Too much reliance on failed hawks from the past? Too frustrating, and we re-elected GWB. Can you blame us north eastern elites for being frustrated?

    Hillary is too calculated to go on these damned fool idealistic crusades.

  65. I read of at least one Iranian official (who probably represents a faction of the gov’t) who is concerned that Iran will not be able to contain the chaos in Iraq if the U.S. leaves. They want a shi’ite dominated, friendly Iraq, not what is there now.

    The Iranian president’s power is limited. He may be nuts, but he depends on the good will of the clergy and the voters, and last I checked they were turning away from him. His slate did poorly in the last elections.

  66. When you actually answer questions that people have been assured are unanswerable, it takes a while for them to contact the mother ship to download the next set of talking points.

  67. Did these idiots ever ask why we supported Saddam in the past (see Rumsfeld handshake photo)?

    Hmm, that seems to be asking if Rumsfeld asks himself questions! We can only speculate…

  68. Joe

    I am not responding to your insults. You never answer questions, you just rant and rave and throw out insults. There are people on here like Lamar and Kwiz and Fyodor who actually want to have a serious discussion and throw out personal insults just because people disagree with them. There is a point where you just can’t let yourself be drug down to such a low level. I have reached that with you.

    Lamar,

    There are some strange things going on in Iran. The form of Islam practiced by the Mullahs is a far cry even what the Saudis practice. In much the same way that Bin Laden’s main beef was with the Saudis, the Mullahs in Iran are more interested in transforming the Islamic world than they are in the west. I suppose they plan to deal with us eventually but we are not the first targets.

  69. You are right, it is time to bring charges against Saddam for intentionally fooling the world into believing he had WMDs. Get on it right away.

    that might wash if we had managed to get the votes out of the UN to authorize the invasion/occupation of Iraq

    instead, we withdrew the proposed resolution in the face of growing international skepticism

    why were they skeptical?

    because it was fairly obvious that the Bush league was playing fast and loose with the facts in their drive to annex Iraq sooner, rather than later

    “The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”
    ~George Orwell “In Front of Your Nose”

    speaking of Rummy’s visit to Saddam…

    I wonder what happened to the gold spurs that Reagan had Rummy gift to Saddam

  70. “The Iranian president’s power is limited. He may be nuts, but he depends on the good will of the clergy and the voters, and last I checked they were turning away from him.”

    People say that but I am not sure anyone knows how much power he has. It is kind of like the old Soviet Union, it was hard for outsiders to figure out who really had the power. Also, the clerics are just as crazy as he is. They just don’t get as much press. Who knows what the people actually think but they don’t seem to have much power anyway.

  71. You ARE the lowest level, John. And you also can’t back up your arguments.

    I’m not surprised you won’t deign to notice that I’ve answered and refuted you.

  72. There is no policy Hillary Clinton could pursue that would be as harmful to our country as replicating our eager charge into the Iraq quagmire.

    Oh, I have confidence that she’ll be able to find at least one.

  73. joe:

    Is your read that Iran’s interest is a peaceful Iraq or is it a peaceful Iraq controlled by like minded people? I get that they don’t want chaos, but it is unclear to me that they wouldn’t prefer chaos to an unfavorable political outcome in Iraq.

  74. “All you do is rant and rave and throw out insults” – John’s latest comment.

    Let’s see here:

    “When they say things like “its unwinnable” they only say that because they are obsessed with domestic politics and want Iraq to be unwinnable.”

    “Some people refuse to accept reality”

    “Is that you Joe or Neville Chamberlain? Amazingly enough Joe some people really do mean the world harm.”

    “The worst thing you can do with Joe is win an argument.” (How would you know?)

    “Joe you don’t even think this stuff through. You just live in a fantasy world sometimes.”

  75. Jason L,

    Obviously, in the mullah version of the best of all possible world’s Iraq would be a Shiite satellite state.

    The fact that they offered to cooperate with us is pretty strong evidence that they’d be willing to settle for half a loaf.

    “unfavorable political outcome” – the question becomes, how unfavorable would they be willing to accept? Given their cooperation in Afghanistan, it appears that they are quite capable of settling for a non-aggressive neighbor, even one closely alligned with us.

  76. I agree with both John and joe. They have both gratuitously insulted each other.

    I haven’t bothered to see who “started it” because, in addition to not being especially interested, they could both probably point to previous threads, and I certainly don’t have that time or energy!

  77. joe-

    I don’t know much about their assistance in Afghanistan. Could you elaborate?

  78. So many words, so little accomplished.
    The blogosphere at work.
    Rinse, repeat.

  79. So when President Clinton travels to Tehran to negotiate a strategy for stabilizing Iraq, will she have to wear a burhka?

  80. As I explained, avoiding a failed state and the rise of trans-national, Shiite-hating Al Qaedist forces on their border is a very strong motivator for Iran.

    It sounds so plausible, except that Iran is doing everything it can to make sure that the current Iraqi state fails, including providing support to Sunnis as well as Shiites that are trying to overthrow that government.

    And except that when we did try to engage the Iranians in talks on Iraq, they insisted on linking any help with Iraqi stabilization to US permission to pursue nuclear weapons.

    Your theory is beautiful, joe. Makes it such a a shame about the facts getting in its way.

  81. “The fact that they offered to cooperate with us is pretty strong evidence that they’d be willing to settle for half a loaf.”

    You may be reading too much into this. This could easily have been some combination of “See? No reason to invade here!” and “This idiotic administration won’t talk to us, so we might as well milk this to shine our apple.”

    Still, it is an interesting thought. We should have talked back then, just to see what was on the table. From my point of view, the big mistakes of the administration were in the flat refusal to deal after you’d done what nobody thought would ever happen – established a credible threat.

    Note that I do not in any way believe that such talk was possible prior to the toppling of Saddam. They’d just nod and do whatever they wanted to do, as usual.

  82. THAT is the major intellectual error Clinton has to answer for, in my mind.

    And until she answers for the act of handing over a significant Congressional power to a president she now deems incompetent – in other words, helping to make Bush the Decider by absolving herself of the responsibility of her position – and repudiates such courses of action, maybe people shouldn’t be so eager to put her in the Oval Office.

  83. “maybe people shouldn’t be so eager to put her in the Oval Office.”

    you got it. Between that and the socialized medicine stuff, and her claiming to be a lifelong Yankees fan, ‘n’ suchlike

    “So when President Clinton travels to Tehran to negotiate a strategy for stabilizing Iraq, will she have to wear a burhka?”

    somehow that’s a really, really disturbing visual. Maybe cuz the fear that there’s only a hot neon pink thong underneath.

    And that’s an image that nobody should have to face….

  84. Remember the CATO institute cop-out about the war? They claimed they were “against” but didn’t really offer a good argument.

    VM,
    As I see it, one doesn’t need to offer a reason to be against a war. It should be one’s default position.

  85. You know, I love how folks are throwing around “diplomacy doesn’t work” line so flippantly. Pre-War US diplomacy wasn’t exactly the type I would hold up as a shining example. This overly simple one act play will illustrate my point.

    WMD in Iraq

    US: Let the UN look for weapons or we will invade.
    Iraq: Okay but we don’t have anything.
    UN: Um, we’re not finding anything.
    US: Iraq is hiding them, look harder.
    Iraq: We are not hiding them! You don’t belive us, get out!
    US: If you don’t let them back in we are seeking war.
    UN: Guys cut it out. Iraq, let us in.
    Iraq: Okay, but just this one last time.
    UN: Still no weapons. Give us a bit more time, if they are here we will find them.
    US: You guys are idiots, move over we will invade and find them.
    US: Oh shit, no WMD.

    If the US had actually had the goal of ensuring a stable, peaceful Iraq instead of conquering it when it approached the diplomatic tables, I don’t think we would be having this conversation.

    Granted, this has jack all to do with HRC, and I fully agree with Eric the .5b that any member of Congress who voted to hand arbitrary war making powers over to the President, regardless of thier stance on said war, deserves no place in the White House. Congress was empowered with the right to make war for a reason, to prevent a mad president from declaring war and moblizing the army at his sole discretion. To hand over that important balance check shows a distinct lack of foresight and logic, something you do NOT want your country’s leader to have a deficit of.

  86. “It sounds so plausible, except that Iran is doing everything it can to make sure that the current Iraqi state fails, including providing support to Sunnis as well as Shiites that are trying to overthrow that government.”

    OK, I’ll explain it again. As long as the United States is occupying Iraq while making aggressive noises towards them, it is in Iran’s interest to tie us down. As long as they are concerned that an Iraqi state could be as hostile towards them as Saddam’s Iraq, it is in Iran’s interest to make sure that state fails.

    However, if they did not fear that the Ameircan army on their border or the Iraqi army on their border was looking to wage a war against them, their interest changes considerably. The biggest threat to them under such a situation becomes al Qaeda, who are as virulently anti-Shiite as they are anti-American. An agreement that stablizes Iraq (so that it is strong enough to keep a lid on the jihadists) without opening up the threat that our newly-available forces will turn on Iran would be the best of both worlds.

    Eric the .5b, I agree, I think the next president has to be someone who renounces Congress’s abdication of its responsibility. Robert Byrd, maybe – he was making this point way back in 2002.

  87. Thorough, I don’t know how to make this a link, but this article discusses Iran helping in Afganistan. http://www.iranmania.com/news/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=10505&NewsKind=CurrentAffairs&ArchiveNews=Yes

  88. I wouldn’t go quite sofar as Kwix. If she were to repudiate that and say it was not merely a mistake, but a fundamentally bad idea (even if there had been a nice Team Blue president in office), I would accept that.

    Though, upon further consideration, dismissing anyone who voted for that measure wouldn’t be the worst heuristic…

    I agree, I think the next president has to be someone who renounces Congress’s abdication of its responsibility. Robert Byrd, maybe – he was making this point way back in 2002.

    Oh, lovely. “We take you to the Robert Byrd Oval Office in the Robert Byrd Presidential Manor…” 😉

  89. “And except that when we did try to engage the Iranians in talks on Iraq, they insisted on linking any help with Iraqi stabilization to US permission to pursue nuclear weapons.”

    Yet another example of how this pointless war is detracting from our security.

    You could well be right, RC, in that we now find ourselves having to choose whether to let Iraq collapse, destabilizing the Middle East and allowing Al Qaeda to have a base of operation; or whether to back off on our confrontation with Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

    We aren’t really going to know how much we can get out of the Iranians at what cost unless we actually try to engage them.

  90. Thoreau, sorry to rename you, but it wouldn’t be a bad handle anyway.

  91. highnumber:

    true enough – what bothered me about CATO was that they seemed to be straddling the fence and seemed more like “not wanting to be wrong” than in actually articulating a stance.

    but your larger point is very true and pretty much all there is.

    well, that and

    GO BEARS!

  92. Money quote from James Ard’s link:

    “Iran, an ally of the Northern Alliiance which overthrow the hardline Muslim Taliban government at the end of last year, has pledged its support to Karzai, while being accused by the United States of working to destabilise it.”

    Wait, that sounds familiar…

  93. “Do you admit the Democrats have no plan for Iraq?”

    What about implementing the Study Commission recommendations? Don’t the Democrats favor diplomacy and incremental withdrawal? John, just because you don’t like the Democratic alternatives doesn’t mean that they haven’t offered up a plan for Iraq. You’ll probably say that “surrender and defeat is not an option”, but then you’d be playing the loaded-words game. Surrender is an option, but I don’t think that any Democrats favor surrender and defeat. Sure, that might be how you internally paraphrase their arguments, but that isn’t their actual argument.

  94. John Murtha put foward his redeployment/diplomacy plan as far back as 2005.

    And yet, the very next time this subject comes up, I guaran-damn-tee it that a couple of somebodies are going to claim “No way would the Iranians ever work with us” and “The Democrats haven’t put forward an alternative.”

    Which is why I get a bit irritated when I see the same refuted straw men thrown out again and again. It’s just propaganda.

  95. The Democratic National Committee is currently polling Americans through the Internet to determine the electability of Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States in 2008.

    If you would like to show your support for Hillary and encourage her nomination for the Democratic ticket for President of the United States in 2008 please click here

  96. joe,

    A lot of what you say about our missed opportunity to negotiate with Iran makes sense, but one thing doesn’t seem to fit into place. Your scenario for why Iran would previously have wanted a stable Iraq seems to assume that negotiations with the US could have somehow prevented the Iraqi government from being hostile to them (Iran). But I don’t see how that could have ever been guaranteed by us. Unless we stayed in power in Iraq, in which case you would have the situation you say is now motivating Iran to destabilize Iraq and thus drive us out. Well, that and our “noises” towards them, but suches noises are hardly new (recall “Axis of Evil” speech). How would have negotiations with us have necessarily led to a non-threatening Iraq? (Leaving aside the possibility that Iran may have thought Iraq was in too much disarray to be threatening, since that would be even more the case now.)

  97. VM,
    Actually I forgot what was, is, and forever will be most important of all (except during baseball season) –

    GO BEARS!

  98. Joe,

    If Iraq stabilizes that frees up our military. One of the biggest reasons the U.S. couldn’t do anything about the Mullah other than nuke them right now is that its military is tied down in Iraq. If Iraq stabilizes and the U.S. goes home, it can then turn its full attention to Iran. Yeah, Iran really wants peace with the U.S. and will comply with the IAC to avoid sanctions or military actions or maybe not. Maybe the mullahs are terrified of their own people and want nukes to threaten the region and the world with to allow them to crack down on all desent within Iran. Maybe the last thing Iran wants is a U.S. fresh off of stabilizing Iraq and its military at its full disposal confronting it. If that is true, they want choas in Iraq for as long as possible to tie the U.S. down.

    Truth is no one knows what they really want, but that is at least a plausible and backed up by their actions in supporting both Sunnis and Shia. The U.S. needs to consider that possibility. There is no indication by their behavior that the Iranians could or want to do anything to stabilize Iraq. Who knows maybe they will come around to our way of thinking about what their real interests are and live in peace and harmony for life. But maybe not and you need to consider the possibility that that might not be the case. If not Iran what? You don’t have an answer for that. You are such an arrogant jackass you won’t look for one.

  99. Re: Diplomacy. I saw Gen. Wesley Clark on Hannity & Colmes, it was beautiful. Hannity ran through the same crap, “talking to Iran won’t help”, “why would they help us” etc., and Clark responded by saying that, when he was NATO commander in the 1990’s he met for talks with Milosevic. Clark told Milosevic that if he didn’t comply with UN mandates, he would bomb him real good. Hannity clearly had a chub what with all the talk of bombing people. I think most Americans have no idea what they’re talking about when they talk about diplomacy and Iran.

  100. John Murtha put foward his redeployment/diplomacy plan as far back as 2005.

    He wanted to redeploy to Okinawa, where we could come back in a moments notice. The man is so senile he can’t read a map. Enough said.

  101. “Clark responded by saying that, when he was NATO commander in the 1990’s he met for talks with Milosevic. Clark told Milosevic that if he didn’t comply with UN mandates, he would bomb him real good”

    So I suppose you wouldn’t have a problem is Casey told Iran that? So what? Iran isn’t Milosovic and ultimately Milosovic had to be bombed and threatened with invasion before he backed down. How is that a good sign for diplomacy?

  102. fyodor,

    A stable Iraqi government would be one in which the Iraqi Shia have a very large seat at the table, which would on its own go pretty far towards alleviating Iran’s concerns. It was only under the Sunni hicks from Tikrit that Iraq invaded Iran, and we were the Baathists’ biggest supporters in that war. That is the state Iran needs to worry about, and it is very much in our power to stop that.

    John,

    “If Iraq stabilizes that frees up our military. One of the biggest reasons the U.S. couldn’t do anything about the Mullah other than nuke them right now is that its military is tied down in Iraq. If Iraq stabilizes and the U.S. goes home, it can then turn its full attention to Iran…Maybe the last thing Iran wants is a U.S. fresh off of stabilizing Iraq and its military at its full disposal confronting it. If that is true, they want choas in Iraq for as long as possible to tie the U.S. down.” Yes, absolutely. Which is why it is in Iran’s interest to destablize Iraq for as long as we hold out the possibility of using it as a base to invade them. Take away that fear, and what happens to Iran’s interests? The answer is, as it was during the anti-Taliban war, that their next greatest fear is Sunni jihadist terrorists.

    “There is no indication by their behavior that the Iranians could or want to do anything to stabilize Iraq.” Well, except for the fact that they approached us to talk about stabilizing Iraq three and a half years ago. And the fact that they helped us during the Afghan War, and have been working to stabilize Afghanistan. “Who knows maybe they will come around to our way of thinking…” It isn’t “our way of thinking,” you dolt – THEY approached US because THEY decided it was in their interest to do so!

    “Peace and harmony” has nothing to do with it. Like I said, play with these toys that make you so happy, and let the grown ups talk.

    And it’s really sad that you have to throw around comments taken of context to try to discredit Murtha. You can’t even begin to understand what he’s talking about, so you shit on it. What a child.

  103. John Murtha put foward his redeployment/diplomacy plan as far back as 2005.

    Which, incidentally, he promptly voted against when the Republican leadership had the temerity to take him up on it.

    So yeah, the Democrats have a plan, alright, they just don’t want anyone to implement it. At least before January 20th, 2009, that is.

  104. Does anyone have a linkee re: Iranian influencing stabilization in Afghanistan?

  105. Yeah, my grammar are good. Please read the above for intent, and make it sound like Keats in your head.

  106. “Which, incidentally, he promptly voted against when the Republican leadership had the temerity to take him up on it.

    Uh huh. Because the Republicans were so careful to accurately describe what Murtha was suggesting when they wrote up their straw man resolution.

    If I recall, the question before the House was whether the American forces in Iraq should bow towards Mecca, piss on their flages, and molest children.

  107. Iranin’ influencin’ stablizatin’ in’ Afghanisin’?

  108. “Iranin’ influencin’ stablizatin’ in’ Afghanisin’?”

    Sweet…

  109. “So I suppose you wouldn’t have a problem is Casey told Iran that?”

    Show me the crisis in Iran, and I’ll go with bombing the living fck out of them (though it would seem that a targeted assassination/coup would be the thinkin’ fellers choice, if it came to that). Oh yeah, “crisis” is not a synonym for “threat.”

    “Iran isn’t Milosovic and ultimately Milosovic had to be bombed and threatened with invasion before he backed down. How is that a good sign for diplomacy?”

    What harm did it do? Why are you so against it? The whole point is that it can only do good. There is no harm that can come from it and it can get pretty mean. I know too many righties who actually believe that Democrats are hippies, and that diplomacy is for wimps. Perhaps that’s why we are where we are.

    Challenge for John: Show me where diplomacy has been harmful. Be careful though, if the ends pursued by the state were wrong, then the state would have arrived at those ends via military or diplomatic means. As such, it must be the act of diplomacy that causes the harm.

  110. Here’s what I don’t get, before making such a critical decision, does anyone think that Hillary consulted Bill about whether invading Iraq was a good idea?

    I would think that on such a critical thing as war, Hillary would have consulted Bill on this on got his opinion on it.

  111. Lamar,

    British and French diplomacy emboldended Hitler. John’s not wrong about that.

    He’s wrong because he doesn’t understand that that particular episode isn’t a univeral model of how diplomacy operates.

    It’s the mirror image of the people who think Vietnam means we should never go to war.

  112. joe, you pretend that we have never tried to engage Iran in stabilizing Iraq, that we never “gave diplomacy a chance” in that arena.

    We did. All they wanted to talk about was their nukes. While simultaneously pumping weapons to both Shiites and Sunnis attacking the Iraqi government.

    I’m not clear how your thesis about how we should interact with Iran grapples with the facts of how Iran actually has acted and is acting.

    Our experience is that (a) they are not interested in a stable Iraq, since they are supporting those attempting to destabilize it, and (b) they are not interested in talking about a stable Iraq, since when we tried they linked any assistance in Iraq to a free run at getting nukes.

  113. I don’t know why it took this long for it to hit me:

    The headline reads, “The Buck Stops There.” The reference, of course, is to a sign that President Truman put on his desk.

    Do you know why President Truman put that sign on his desk, in the Oval Office, in the White House?

  114. He’s wrong because he doesn’t understand that that particular episode isn’t a univeral model of how diplomacy operates.

    It’s the mirror image of the people who think Vietnam means we should never go to war.

    Dang. That’s twice in one day I agree with joe. I may have to see a doctor.

  115. joe, I might suggest to you that Iran is far less interested in a stable Iraq (that might prove a counterweight to them in the Mideast) than they are in a weak Iraq (which would, at worst, provide a haven for Sunni terrorists like Afghanistan used to; of course, Sunni terrorists never have been, are not now and are highly unlikely to ever be a problem for Iran).

  116. Joe, actually a much more extensive report on Iran’s dealings with Afganistan was on the front page of the WSJ a couple of months ago. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it on Google. Although I’m a hawk, a rational sounding expert on Iran on cspan yesterday convinced me that waiting is better than using force now. Amadinajad’ support is fading, and the people don’t hate us like the arabs do. Though when London, Paris or Tel Aviv is reduced to rubble I might admit I was wrong.

  117. Are you sure it wasn’t the decimation of the French army that emboldened Hitler? The easy kill? Regardless of what amateur Hitler historians might think, the current situation does not involve anything near a Hitler.

    I think the Hitler example is pure crap because it was appeasement that emboldened Hitler, not the act of diplomacy. It was the policy, not the procedure.

  118. joe,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have yet to see you adequately address the charge that Iran placed unacceptable preconditions, regarding their nuclear program, on any talks with the US since their initial offer to negotiate on Iraq. The only place on this thread where I see you ostensibly respond to this charge, you actually address an entirely different issue instead. I would think that you must either dispute the claim that such a precondition was set from the outset by Iran, or else you must make the case that such a precondition was well worth meeting for Iran’s cooperation on Iraq, in order for your charge that the Admin forsaked negotiations out of sheer hostility to the concept. Which is it?

  119. Show me where diplomacy has been harmful. Be careful though, if the ends pursued by the state were wrong, then the state would have arrived at those ends via military or diplomatic means. As such, it must be the act of diplomacy that causes the harm.

    Muinich of course is the gold plated example. It allowed Hitler to annex Czechoslovokia and made him miscalculate into invading Poland because if the allies would let him take the Czechs, which were more important, why would they go to war over Polland?

    Yalta would be another good example of diplomacy doing damage. The Soviets took advantage of an ailing Roosevelt to get the okay to annex Eastern Europe.

    The 1994 agreement with Noth Korea. The agreement let the Koreans off of the hook, got them billions of dollars in aide, Clinton gave more money to North Korea than he did to all of Africa during his Presidency, and they still cheated and built nukes.

    The point is that talking without any real threat of sanctions is pretty pointless and counter productive with some countries. Certainly, some talking is productive, if for no other reason than to establish that they are a threat. At some point it gets to where the diplomacy becomes an excuse for a nation to buy time to build up their forces to attack or to use the participation in the talks as a badge of legitimacy for an otherwise illegitimate government. I am all for diplomacy with Iran if you are talking about things like getting the Saudis to assure the Chinese a steady oil supply in return for supporting sanctions with Iran. But if you don’t have a legitimate stick be that sanctions that will work or the threat of military force, direct talks with a country like North Korea or Iran get you no where after a certain point.

  120. RC,

    In one form or another, Iran is interested in a non-threatening Iraq. It seems there is some room to work out how that would work.

    They most certainly are not interested in any situation that would allow the country to serve as an Afghan-style base for Sunni/Wahabbist terrorists.

    And I don’t agree with your characterization of our dealings with Iran to date.

  121. Lamar,

    Hitler was well emboldened before the first shot was fired in France – look at Austria and especially Czechislovakia.

    And yes, it was the appeasement that was the root of the problem, not the diplomacy, but that’s just an example of diplomacy gone bad.

    John’s Yalta example is wrong – the Soviets didn’t get a single thing out of that deal that they hadn’t already secured with troops on the ground.

  122. “Hitler was well emboldened before the first shot was fired in France – look at Austria and especially Czechislovakia.”

    I was referring to WWI and the state of the French army after WWI, not WWII. Let’s also not forget the important part. With respect to Iran, we aren’t deliberating whether to invade or talk. Invading isn’t on the table. We are talking about the difference between talking and not talking. In the end, I still maintain that you are confusing the achievement of poorly conceived goals with the act of diplomacy. Somehow I suspect that WWII would have still happened, regardless of diplomacy. And what were we going to do at Yalta? Invade Russia? The utility of diplomacy is hit and miss. The utility of not talking to your enemies is purely miss.

  123. I’m not disagreeing with your argument that it was bad diplomacy, rather the diplomacy per se, that was the problem at Munich.

    But the question to asked was “Show me where diplomacy has been harmful.”

  124. “I would think that on such a critical thing as war, Hillary would have consulted Bill on this on got his opinion on it.”

    I think the only reason Hillary supported the war in Iraq was to establish herself as a hawk in order to show that she could qualify as a Commander In Chief. I believe that was the reason she made such a point to get on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Now she is backing off the war in Iraq because she sees how unpopular it is becoming. She is such a weather vane and chamelian. Notice how she told a crowd in Iowa yesterday how she supports ethanol. (Ethanol is made from corn which is a major crop in Iowa.) The only problem here is that in the Senate, she voted seventeen times against legislation that was beneficial to the production of ethanol. What a political opportunist.

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