Cut, Run, and Prosper

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Great article in the Washington Monthly by anti-war jouno Robert Dreyfuss, on why leaving Iraq isn't going to lead to disaster.

The idea that al-Qaeda might take over Iraq is nonsensical. Numerous estimates show that the group called Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and its foreign fighters comprise only 5 to 10 percent of the Sunni insurgents' forces. Most Sunni insurgents are simply what Wayne White—who led the State Department's intelligence effort on Iraq until 2005—calls POIs, or "pissed-off Iraqis," who are fighting because "they don't like the occupation." But the foreign terrorist threat is frequently advanced by the Bush administration, often with an even more alarming variant—that al-Qaeda will use Iraq as a headquarters for the establishment of a global caliphate. In December 2005, Rear Admiral William D. Sullivan, vice director for strategic plans and policy within the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivered a briefing in which he warned that al-Qaeda hoped to "revive the caliphate," with its capital in Baghdad. President Bush himself has warned darkly that after controlling Iraq, Islamic militants will "establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia."

The reality is far different. Even if AQI came to dominate the Sunni resistance, it would be utterly incapable of seizing Baghdad against the combined muscle of the Kurds and the Shiites, who make up four fifths of the country. (The Shiites, in particular, would see the battle against the Sunni extremist AQI—which regards the Shiites as a heretical, non-Muslim sect—as a life-or-death struggle.)

Dreyfuss analyzes the role of the Kurds and of Iraq's neighbors: "Precisely because the idea of all-out civil war and a regional blowup involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey is so horrifying, all the political forces inside and outside Iraq have many incentives not to go there." And yet this analysis has no purchase outside the mind of quasi-crooked House Democrat John Murtha. It's all very reminiscent of the late sixties and early seventies, when the failure of the Great Society was becoming apparent but the idea that we could right the ship by abandoning some programs was utterly brushed off. "You can't possibly believe that we could lift people out of poverty by cutting welfare? Egads!" (This is a little specious, probably, but other people have had similar gripes.)

(Via Matt Yglesias.)

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  1. Doesn’t Sadr’s midnight express to Iran suggest that maybe the surge might be working?

  2. I figure the Sadr stuff is made-up reason to invade Iran o’ the day. The poop’s getting laid on thick isn’t it?

    Of all the fantasies since 9/11 the idea that some Spain to Indonesia Caliphate is a plausible outcome is one of the more unlikely. It’s just slightly less silly than the idea that a bunch of bearded guys in turbans were going to parachute into the USA Red Dawn style and force us all to convert to Islam.

  3. It is funny how the justification has progressed. This is the last leg that the Iraq/terrorism link has to stand on, although it seems to be standing strong. It was so nauseating listening yesterday to John Boehner give the old “if we pull out now they’ll be over here to get’cha” line. I can’t wait until this last myth is finally defeated.

  4. President Bush himself has warned darkly that after controlling Iraq, Islamic militants will “establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.”

    Bush is a fool with no credibility.

  5. If you define “success” as “postponing what’s going to happen without doing anything to actually avert it,” then yes, Sadr waiting out the surge in Iran is a great success.

  6. I think the growing consensus is that Bush is a moron and that his administration has totally screwed up with this war. There is growing talk out there of impeachment…any thoughts as to whether or not this will happen?

  7. “It was so nauseating listening yesterday to John Boehner give the old ‘if we pull out now they’ll be over here to get’cha’ line. I can’t wait until this last myth is finally defeated.” – steve

    Uh, Steve, where were you on 9/11/01? I think that qualifies as a pretty successful attempt to come “over here to getcha.” Granted, Iraq and 9/11 weren’t connected, but do you really think the jihadists currently rolling into Iraq (because the U.S. made it – rightly or wrongly – the “front line” of their struggle) wouldn’t be even happier to be blowing themselves up in Grand Central Station rather than downtown Baghdad?

    Just because something is frequently said by a crappy political barnacle (Boehner by name, boner by nature) doesn’t necessarily make it completely untrue. (Despite the overwhelming number of examples to the contrary…)

  8. JimmytheGreek,

    The Republican Party in Washington decided five years ago to wed its identity and political future to George Bush’s status as War President. You can see this in how they spent 2004-2006 talking about how wonderful things were going in Iraq, even as the war was obviously going down the drain. You can see it in how they prepared to put hundreds of thousands of troops into a war zone by deliberately and aggressively using that war and military/security issues in general as a wedge issue. The deliberately created partisan division over the war, so that the Republican Party would be the sole owners of it. Put another way, they deliberately worked to make sure there was a partisan divide over Iraq and terrorism.

    There’s no going back now. That is what it has meant to be a Republican. They can’t abandon ship now even if they wanted to.

    And since all of the charges that could plausibly lead to impeachment are related to Iraq and counter-terrorism, there is no way a sufficient number of Republicans could be convinced to vote to remove Bush from office, regardless of the facts.

  9. I don’t get the POI argument. I’d even like for it to be true because I want to leave without causing a bigger mess.

    Why do POIs blow up each other’s mosques? Shouldn’t there be a solidarity of some sort if the primary motivation of the insurgents is to get us to leave?

  10. rob, please remind me, which war did we withdraw from that Mohammed Atta was fighting?

  11. JasonL,

    Most of the Sunni insurgency isn’t blowing up mosques. They’re blowing up Americans.

  12. It’s just slightly less silly than the idea that a bunch of bearded guys in turbans were going to parachute into the USA Red Dawn style and force us all to convert to Islam.

    I had someone tell me the other day that the “Muslims” had a twenty-point plan to take over America. They’ve completed eighteen steps so far.

    As we are experiencing a Level 3 snow emergency, I might have the time to google where this stuff comes from.

  13. “Most of the Sunni insurgency isn’t blowing up mosques. They’re blowing up Americans.”

    Joe, you’re full of crap. The Sunnis did all they could to make this civil war happen. Until they blew up the ??? mosque (can’t remember the name of it)last February, the Shias were mostly unresponsive to the badgering. After that mosque went up (mostly) in smoke though the Sunnis decided to join in the fun too. Most (nearly all) of the violence over here is Iraqi on Iraqi.

  14. -Rob

    On 9/11 I was in Austin attending school. And when class resumed my first lecture back was with this guy , who spent the next two lectures discussing how the airforce was going to use the F-117, and the B-2 to bomb the shit out of Afghanistan in vain, trying to get one guy.

    Anyway I, like most people always supported that venture, however Iraq never had anything to do with 9/11. And the hyperbole of ” we fight them here or there” is precisely the theory, or “talking point”, that perpetuates the myth that Iraq is somehow tied to 9/11.

    Anyway thats all, I hope I didn’t come off as rude.

  15. rob,

    That’s nonsense. If they’d be happier in Grand Central Station than Iraq, they’d be in Grand Central Station. One of the many fallacies built into the “they’ll follow us back to the U.S” argument is that the war in Iraq provides a barrier for potential terrorists. It’s not a barrier; it’s an opportunity. Now they have more choices of where they want to fight us. Are you arguing that giving them more choices is hurting them or helping us — is this paternalism for terrorists, or what exactly is your logic here?

  16. Why is it far-fetched to think that muslim extremists will be on US soil murdering people? They have been doing exactly that for about twenty years. The precedent of that reality has apparently made no impression on you guys.

    Do you guys think that they will just pull up stakes and go home (or stay home) if the US pulls out of Iraq? Maybe the new Democrat lead Congress can reason with them?

  17. No Wayne, that’s not what we (or I at least) think. I don’t think it’s far fetched at all, but I think they can come onto U.S. soil regardless of whether we’re in Iraq. The Iraqi war is a false security blanket for people like you. Sorry.

  18. One more point: This is the Democrat’s war as much as it is the Republican’s. Almost to a man (or woman) they voted in favor of it.

    It wasn’t until the craven bastards saw the political possibilities that emerged as the popularity of the war declined that they grew a backbone of their own.

  19. wayne,

    Even George Bush disagrees with you, and recognizes that the attack on the Golden Mosque was carried out by Al Qaeda to foster sectarian divisions.

    And it’s worked, and now, as you say, most of the violence is Iraqi-on-Iraqi. Although with the government being a tool for sectarians Shiite operations, and the USA backing that government, characterizing fighting between Sunnis and Shiites wearing government uniforms as either purely resistance to foreign occupation or purely sectarian fighting is impossible. That’s whay it means to be in the middle of of someone’s civil war.

  20. Do you guys think that they will just pull up stakes and go home (or stay home) if the US pulls out of Iraq?

    Wayne, do you think they will pull up stakes if we stay? Cause I don’t, which makes continuing the war (in my mind)pointless.

  21. Al Qaeda in Iraq is a red herring. The real issue now is whether Iraq becomes an Iranian puppet state. I’m not going to spend my time anymore debating the propriety of invading Iraq in the first place, when the question is what we should do now.

    And how many Dems/Bush-bashers on this board would be comfortable with Iraq as a puppet state? I’m no friend of Dubya, and I’m undecided about it. Heck, the mullahs spending significant blood and treasure in Iraq might be the greatest mistake they ever make, especially given how those resources could be going to refurbish Iran’s declining oil industry. On the other hand, Iran could be a greater nuisance if they effectively control the oil resources of both countries. Either way, I think it’s obvious that the “surge” is a bullshit measure that isn’t going to affect the outcome.

  22. “Why is it far-fetched to think that muslim extremists will be on US soil murdering people?”

    It isn’t. It’s far-fetched to think that Iraqi Sunnis with tribal or Baathist loyalties, or Iraqi Shiites seeking to dominate their country, are going to attack the United States.

    It’s also far-fetched to think that a groups which constitutes 1-3% of 20% of Iraq’s population – the international jihadists that are fighting an American/Shiite government – are going to take over Iraq.

    Also, you seem to be pretty well propagandized, but you might want to Google the roll call on the Authorization of Military Force vote, because a majority of Democrats voted against it.

  23. Chris,

    “…but I think they can come onto U.S. soil regardless of whether we’re in Iraq. ”

    I agree, they can attack the US on US soil. But it is beyond question that the war in Iraq has to lessen that possibility. It’s simple arithmetic. If there are 100,000 muslim terrorists and 90,000 are busy in Iraq, then they are not in the US. I hold no illusions about security.

    I would like to point out that there have been no more successful terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11, at least that I am aware of. That might be a simple coincidence.

  24. There were no terrorist attacks on American soil for an even longer period under Bill Clinton, wayne. Weak argument.

    And since when did the U.S. military start teaching the wisdom of fighting battles on the ground your opponents chose? It’s not as though Al Qaeda is tied down there – they could take the war anywhere they want. If they leave Iraq, they haven’t lost anything of value to them. Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq prior to the war. They are there because they chose to be there – because our occupation has handed them a golden opportunity.

  25. “There were no terrorist attacks on American soil for an even longer period under Bill Clinton, wayne. Weak argument.”

    Ah, that is our problem, the Republicans. If only we had Democrats in charge things would be better, right Joe?

  26. “I’m not going to spend my time anymore debating the propriety of invading Iraq in the first place, when the question is what we should do now.”

    I agree with that statement. I think we should not have invaded Iraq. So, now what?

  27. Wayne,

    I think your arithmatic on this is a bit misleading. Should we really assume that the number of Iraqi fighters and extremists remains constant in the face of foreign occupation? Additionally, as Joe said, it would be silly to assume that sectarians willing to fight in their neighborhood would be equally willing (and able) to relocate to NYC.

  28. In the senate the vote was 77 to 23 in favor of using force in Iraq. 29 Dems in the Senate voted in favor, 21 voted against. In the Congress 81 Dems voted in favor, 126 voted against. The total vote in Congress was 296 in favor, 133 against. (caveat: these numbers are subject to my arithmetic abilities).

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=107&session=2&vote=00237

  29. “I think your arithmatic on this is a bit misleading. Should we really assume that the number of Iraqi fighters and extremists remains constant in the face of foreign occupation?”

    No we should not assume that and I do not. We have killed a fair number of them, and undoubtedly a fair number have joined the Jihadi cause. I don’t know what the net gain or loss is; do you?

    I do not think the average run of the mill Iraqi (Sunni or Shia) will relocate to NYC, and I never did. I think the threat to the west is from a minority muslims who are fanatics, but the majority of muslims are somewhat supportive of the Jihad against the west. The majority of Muslims would be quite happy to see the US destroyed. I think this conclusion is supported by various polls taken in the Muslim world.

  30. ChrisS –
    Did you even read my post? Frankly, if you think it’s more convenient to sneak into the U.S. than it is to sneak into Iraq, I doubt we have much “reality-based” conversation ahead of us. I didn’t argue that Iraq is a barrier, but only someone who willfully ignores both jihadi statements and news reports would argue that Iraq is not a magnet for jihadists. Maybe if you understand the difference between “magnets” and “barriers” it would make the analogy more sensible. (Maybe thoreau could pop in to explain the basic physics and basic differences between barriers and magnets…)

    steveintheknow –
    No offense taken. Hans Mark, who has been Secretary of the Air Force, might be a guy who would understand the limitations of air power in dealing with foe who uses guerrilla warfare.

    Then again, since I don’t know anything about the guy but the bio you linked to, he might be the kind of guy who would mistakenly think the F-117 would be tasked to do the heavy lifting in Afghanistan. (The majority of munitions dropped came from B-52s, which surprised a lot of folks who thought the BUFF had pretty much been mothballed.) Not to mention that the F-117 is essentially a single-seat fighter, the size of an F-15, and not really a bomber… But the F-117 was a bit after his tenure.

    Hans Mark might even be a guy who doesn’t really even know how to dress himself… the photo of him shows him in the kind of suit that Matthew Lesko would wear! (http://www.asseenontv.com/prod-pages/matthew_lesko_dvd.html?gid=) But silly attacks on the guy’s sens of fashion aside…

    Seriously, I completely agree with your point that “Iraq never had anything to do with 9/11.” But I don’t think it’s completely hyperbole to note that the current conflict in Iraq attracts jihadists, which makes that many fewer cells planning attacks on the U.S. It just stands to reason.

    joe – And what wayne really meant to say was, “joe, you ignorant slut!” Seriously, do you even watch the news? Most reports on suicide bombings note a lot more Iraqi civilian casualties than U.S. troops. But hey, as long as you’re strapping on your partisan blinders, aren’t you overdue for a really far out there argument? Like the parallel universe argument that Al Gore would have conducted the Global War On Terror more effectively and more sensitively?

  31. If this is true than the U.S. has won. If Al quada won’t come to dominate Iraq after the U.S. leaves and there won’t be a bloody split in the country and the current elected government will do swimingly without U.S. forces in the country, that seems like a victory to me. Which is it? Is Iraq a horrible mess of a country in a civil war because Bush screwed up the war or is it doing really pretty well and won’t miss and will in fact do better once the U.S. leaves? It can’t be both. I frankly hope this guy is right because if he is, that means the U.S. has won the war and can go home. Of course doing that sort of takes the fun out bashing Bush.

  32. wayne,

    “If only we had Democrats in charge things would be better, right Joe?” You misunderstand me. I’m not making an assertion, I’m refuting one. You pointed to a length of time without a terrorist attack while we had troops in Iraq; I pointed to an even longer length of time without a terrorist attack, when we didn’t have troops in Iraq.

    Our presence in Iraq is like the docking of the Cole on the Arabian penninsula. If there is an important mission that requires their presence there, so be it, but the fact that they are being attacked by terrorists is not itself an important mission. Surely we’ve got more important things for our military to do than serve as targets.

    rob,

    As usual, I haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re babbling about, other than I must be wrong because I’m a Democrat. (Nice Gore reference, you partisan hack).

    Here’s my statement: “Most of the Sunni insurgency isn’t blowing up mosques. They’re blowing up Americans.” Now, wipe the drool off your chin, impersonate the civilized, intelligent people you’ve encountered in your life, and try to explain what it is that’s got your knickers so twisted.

  33. John,

    At what point did the domination of Iraq by Iranian allies come to seem like a victory to you?

  34. But Joe,

    Iran isn’t a threat. Isn’t the whole Iran thing just a made up story by the Neocons trying to get us into a war? Again, which is it? If Iran isn’t a threat to anyone and can be handled through diplomacy, then who the hell cares if their allies are running Baghdad? If it matters that their allies are running Baghdad, then how can you claim they are not a threat and diplomacy is the answer?

  35. Iraq has come a long way in terms of its ability to control its own country. Two years ago, it was a solo US show. Today, there are large areas of Iraq that are under the sole control of Iraqi forces.

    In Baghdad, security is a joint effort. The surge is not a US-only operation. I think the surge might work. Oh, I am not under the illusion that all will be sweetness and light in Iraq, but the surge might allow the Iraqi government to take Baghdad back from the militias and Al Qaida. There is a critical point where the local Iraqi population gains confidence in the Iraqi government (Iraqi army and police) and becomes convinced that it is safe to oppose the militias. I have talked to Iraqis about this. The surge might work.

  36. I gaurentee you a wingnut like Dryfus doesn’t consider Iran to be a threat beyond Bush making them one. You can’t have it both ways.

  37. Joe,

    Are you argueing for war against Iran? Warmonger!! 🙂

  38. rob,

    Perhaps you didn’t understand my paternalism comment. A “barrier” would typically involve reducing their options. What we have here is little more than an attractive choice — not even a magnet, which at least implies some degree of compulsion. As I understand your argument, we’re harming terrorists by giving them more choices — attractive choices, at that! Why do we benefit by allowing extremists to choose between fighting us in Iraq and fighting use here — when, as you admit, one can’t exactly sneak into the U.S. as easily as he could plant a bomb on a local road in Baghdad? If we’re at all interested in American lives, providing extremists with an attractive venue for kiling Americans isn’t that great of an idea (Quick: have more Americans died in Iraq or 9/11?). Moreover, what makes you think that terrorists who are capable and willing to enter the U.S. — including extremists already in the U.S. or recruited here — would instead choose to hang out the streets of Iraq? Again, we’re not dealing with a compulsion or a barrier, so I don’t see how this whole situation helps us.

  39. John,

    “Iran isn’t a threat.” Sure it is.

    “Isn’t the whole Iran thing just a made up story by the Neocons trying to get us into a war?” No, only some of it.

    This all-or-nothing thinking has bit you in the ass before – maybe you should learn some lessons.

    And where did you get the idea that diplomacy is only used in the absence of a threat? Certainly not from Ronald Reagan.

  40. Again though Joe. If Tehran can be dealt with diplomatically, what does it matter who is running Bahgdad? Explain how Iranian allies in Bahgdad changes the equation one bit. I think Iranians running Baghdad is a bad thing because I think the Iranians are nuts. You on the other hand think they can be reasoned with. If that is true, then what does it matter who is running Bahgdad? That only matters if you think the Iranians mean to do the U.S. harm.

  41. “Quick: have more Americans died in Iraq or 9/11?).”

    As of right now, I think 9/11 has taken more American lives, but it is close. But, so what? In terms of money lost and lives lost, maybe the US is better off just suffering a 9/11 style attack occasionally? I mean it’s not like we are really going to miss a couple of skyscrapers and a few thousand New Yorkers, most of whom are Democrats besides. Maybe we should just try to see the problem through Osama’e eyes and change our ways?

  42. MOre importantly Joe, if the Iranian allies runnign Baghdad is such a bad thing, doesn’t that undercut what Dryfus is saying? Again, if what he is saying is true, the U.S. won the war and can go home. If Iranian allies running Iraq is so horrible, then Dryfus is full of shit and consiquences of a withdrawl are huge.

  43. John,

    Once again, “can be dealt with diplomatically” does mean “not a threat.” The USSR was a threat, and yet we negotiated with them diplomatically, right up until their collapse.

    “I think Iranians running Baghdad is a bad thing because I think the Iranians are nuts. You on the other hand think they can be reasoned with.” Actually, I think both. Try to get that through your skull.

    We need to negotiate with the Iranians BECAUSE their domination of Iraq poses a potential threat, and because it gives us the best chance of heading off that threat.

  44. “We need to negotiate with the Iranians BECAUSE their domination of Iraq poses a potential threat, and because it gives us the best chance of heading off that threat.”

    Fair enough. Doesn’t that then mean that we have to stay in Iraq and keep the IRanians from dominating Iraq until we have a deal with the Iranians? If we cut and run like people like Weigel and Murtha want us to do, how do we negotiate with Iran? We would have just given them everything they wanted for free.

  45. joe:

    I didn’t have the impression that the majority of sunni violence was directed against americans. The story I keep hearing is that since the golden mosque (name?) was blown up, ‘sectarian violence’ has been the dominant theme all around.

    I’m mostly getting my info from NPR, but my impression is that the great majority of the violence is Iraqi on Iraqi. If that is not true, I’d support a pullout right now unreservedly.

  46. Jason,

    It is the Blue Mosque in Summara. It was a world treasure and the people who blew it up barbarians of the first order.

  47. “Iranians running Iraq” would be bad. On the other hand, Iranians having some degree of influence over Iraq, or the achievement of certain Iranian goals in Iraq, could be consistent with our own interests. For example, the achievement of sufficient unity among Iraqis to marginalize the foreign jihadists that are our common enemies.

  48. John,

    John Murtha (and the ISG, and John Kerry, and Barack Obama) hasn’t called for us to leave Iraq without negotiations, but for pairing the two.

    A withdrawal that began tomorrow would take six months to a year, and could be stopped or reversed any time.

    Anyways, it’s good to see you stepping back from the “stay the course or declare defeat” false dichotomy.

  49. Wayne,

    That’s obviously not what I was saying. My whole argument has been that Iraq isn’t preventing another terrorist attack, and providing terrorists with a great place to kill Americans is a total waste of lives and money. Please don’t make these b.s. attacks if you’re serious about debating this.

  50. Jason L,

    “Sunni violence” needs to be divided into “Al Qaeda violence” and “Iraqi Sunni violence.”

    Also, as I wrote before, attacks by Sunni insurgents against Shiites in government uniforms operating alongside American forces are not easily characterized as “anti-government,” “anti-American” or “anti-Iraqi.”

  51. Joe,

    Murtha is one of the most loathsome thugs ever to hold office. His current plan is to strangle the war effort by cutting off troops so that the effort will fail an Congress not get the blame. I wish he were as pure as you make him.

    The problem is, what is Iran’s motivation? Every day the Congress calls for the end of the war, the Iranians know that they can get everything they want for free, all they have to do is just hang in there. I don’t think that is true because I don’t agree with Dryfus that we are in danger of a Iranian dominated Iraq. But if you do believe that then the problem becomes how do you convince the Iranians that they need to negotiate and pull out at the same time. I don’t see how you do that. The only way Iran has any incentive to negotiate is if they think the U.S. is not going anywhere and negotiation is the only alternative to 100s of thousands of U.S. troops sitting on their doorstep.

  52. Chris,

    You posed the “quick: how many more Americans were killed in 9/11…” question. What was your point?

    “providing terrorists with a great place to kill Americans is a total waste of lives and money.”

    I doubt that the goal of the US military is to provide a great place to kill Americans. At least one of the stated goals is to fight the terrorists on their soil (more or less) instead of our own.

  53. “…attacks by Sunni insurgents against Shiites in government uniforms operating alongside American forces…”

    Joe, I hope you are not implying that American forces are in any way supporting, or condoning Shia violence against Sunnis. If so, this is the worst sort of loathsome slander I can imagine.

  54. joe:

    “”Sunni violence” needs to be divided into “Al Qaeda violence” and “Iraqi Sunni violence.””

    I agree with this, and I think it supports the notion that POI is an oversimplification. What that means for us is that it isn’t obvious if we are helping or hurting.

  55. There were no terrorist attacks on American soil for an even longer period under Bill Clinton, wayne. Weak argument.

    Really?

    Seems to me there’s a pretty big difference; namely, the major terrorist acts that were committed on American soil ten years ago (OKC, Olympic Park, the murder of Dr. David Gunn) actually were ideological comrades of the American right – antiabortion, anti-gun control, anti-federal government, anti-gay and anti-liberal.

    Today, the people responsible for the major terrorist act committed on American soil are motivated by anti-semitism, anti-pluralism, anti-secularism, anti-democracy, anti-feminism, puritanism, and theocracy. They simply do not represent a variant of the American left, not even as a radical manifestation.

    Seems to me you were quite sure that plenty of terrorist attacks happened on US soil. What’s changed?

  56. Robert Pape’s study on suicide bombing suggests that as soon as foreign occupiers depart from Iraq, the number of suicide bombings will lessen.

    The notion that pulling our troops out might actually make things better is something Bush and company will never admit. Psychologically, it is hard on the troops as well. It is difficult to accept the fact that you have had your limbs blown off in a bad cause. This in no way takes away from the wonderful spirit of courage and self-sacrifice which we honor in our troops, but better to face the facts and move on.

    The horrible civil and sectarian strife in Iraq is very scary for the entire Muslim world, as they are afraid it will spread. I suspect that with the U.S. out of the picture, they will do no worse than we have done to bring it under control. They might suprise us and do better.

  57. “I don’t think that is true because I don’t agree with Dryfus that we are in danger of a Iranian dominated Iraq.”

    I don’t know who Dreyfus is, but I can vouch for the danger to Iraq by Iran. Arguably the most influential man in Iraq today is Muqtadr Al Sadr, and he is Iran’s boy. Now, I am certain he has his own agenda as well, but he is Iran’s boy.

  58. John,

    “Murtha is one of the most loathsome thugs ever to hold office.”

    You used to write exactly the same thing about politicians who were against the invasion. You used to write exactly the same thing about politicians who said in 2004, 2005, and 2006 that the war was going badly. You used to write exactly the same thing about politicians who said that “Purple Finger Day” was only going to alienate the Sunnis and deepen the sectarian divisions.

    Have you ever considered the possibility that your feelings are clouding your perceptions about this war?

  59. John,

    “Every day the Congress calls for the end of the war, the Iranians know that they can get everything they want for free, all they have to do is just hang in there.”

    The problem with this theory is that the Iranians know the war is going to end, and we’re going to leave, sooner or later. Let’s face it, it’s being called a “surge” because it’s going to last for a little while then end. “Staying” means staying for a few more years; note even a Congress made up of 535 John McCains is going to keep our forces there ten years from now if the country is still in chaos.

    And let’s not pretend that we don’t hold any other cards over the Iranians’ heads.

  60. Before you answer, joe, I admit that what I did was a cheap attempt at a “gotcha”. Just before you point out that what you meant was foreign terrorist attacks, and on that point you are of course correct.

  61. “…politicians who said that “Purple Finger Day” was only going to alienate the Sunnis and deepen the sectarian divisions.”

    A free election to choose Iraq’s leaders according to democratic principals alienates somebody? Well, to quote one of my favorite replies, “Boo fuckity hoo”.

  62. wayne,

    I do not think that American forces are deliberately assisting Shiite militias in their campaign of ethnic cleansing.

    What I’m saying is that the Shiites are taking advantage of our support and the additional warfighting capacity they have gained from us to carry out that cleansing themselves.

    We’ve armed them. We’ve allowed them to take over the Iraqi security forces. On occasion, our forces have been manipulated into doing other people’s dirty work for them. We’ve also put Shiite forces in a position to selectively prosecute the counter-insurgency campaigns, for example, by skipping a particular house they know about when conducting house-to-house operations.

    I’m not saying we’re deliberately helping them, but that they’re taking advantage of us.

  63. wayne,

    You do realize that you’re saying that “boo-fuckity-hoo” to the families of every American and every Iraqi killed by Sunni insurgents since that day, right?

    Boo hoo, the Sunnis don’t like unrestrained majoritarianism. Boo hoo, they decided to start looking to Al Qaeda to protect them. Boo hoo, al Qaeda has killed thousands upon thousands of people and successfully initiated a civil war.

    Oh, boo hoo. The rest of that phrase is, “…cry me a river.” And don’t worry, wayne. There are already rivers of tears that have been cried because of that.

  64. Should we be trying to stabilize Iraq at all?

    Maybe we should be doing our best to increase the arab factionalism and in-fighting. Then just get the hell out and let them kill each other all they want.

    If it keeps Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia fighting each other over stupid religious sects great. Keeps ’em busy and satisfied and out of our hair.

    When the dust settles and there’s a “winner”. We’ll deal with them.

  65. It was a free election. It was by all accounts a fair election. The winners won. Politicians “warned” that Sunnis would be unhappy at the “purple fingers”, i.e. they would not be happy when they lost a fair election. What else should we have done? What are you suggesting we should have done?

    The Shia strangle hold on security is lessening. Even Maliki (a Shia) has relented in his actions. The US was (and is) in a tough position with Maliki because he is the democratically elected leader of the country. There was consternation on the part of the US military leaders in Iraq when Maliki blocked military actions against shia death squads. I am certain you would have been screeching had the US ignored Maliki and went ahead with their sweep of Sadr City and cleaned up the Shia death squads. That is one of the big differences in this “surge”, the ability of religious factions to game the system has been lessened. That is one reason I think the surge might work.

  66. “What we have here is little more than an attractive choice — not even a magnet, which at least implies some degree of compulsion.” – ChrisS

    No compulsion? I’d agree with you if mosques weren’t calling for jihadists to go to Iraq:

    While the secrecy surrounding foreign fighters in Iraq and the lack of impartial sources on their activities make the collection of quality information very difficult, “Islamic Forums” have become a key outlet for information. These forums specialize in providing information on slain fighters, and in recent times have divulged the names and details of 429 such fighters in Iraq [1]. The analysis in this article is largely based on these figures.

    Two recent articles have extensively studied the phenomenon of “Arab Volunteers” in Iraq. The first is by Israeli researcher Reuven Paz, who has analyzed 154 names and found that 94 (61%) were Saudis and came from the following regions: 61 from Najd, 12 from Qassim Burida, 7 from Mecca and Hijaz, 5 from the South and 2 from the North [2]. Paz also found that these Saudis perpetrated 23 suicide attacks, and that roughly 45% of the suicide bombers were from Najd.

    The remaining fighters found in Paz’s study were: 16 Syrians (10.4%); 13 Iraqis (8.4%); 11 Kuwaitis (7.1%); 4 Jordanians, and 2 from Algeria, Morocco and Yemen each; and one each from Palestine, United Arab Emirates and Sudan.
    Paz also noted that their ages ranged from 25-30 years. Some of them were married, some were holders of higher education degrees, most of them went to Iraq through a friend or relative, and the majority came from neighboring countries.

    The second article is a study by Anthony Cordesman and Nawaf Obaid, who question the credibility of the lists published by al-Qaeda supporters, and contend that they were published for mobilization and recruitment purposes [3]. They also argue that many of persons mentioned in the list have been found to be living in Saudi Arabia and were never involved in jihadi activities in the first place. But the Saudi magazine “Al-Osbu’iah” and al-Arabiya.net had previously published a report based on the same list and no response was forthcoming from the people whose names were mentioned [4].

    Using methodology and information generated by the aforementioned articles, this article furthers studies the social structure of Salafi-jihadists in Iraq by analyzing the following factors: country of origin (geography), age, marital status and participation in other.

    While these numbers are not comprehensive, they do give an idea as to the complexion of the mujahideen in Iraq, and indicate that the largest percentage belongs to countries surrounding Iraq, presumably because accessing Iraq is easiest for these fighters. Moreover, jihadi leaders in neighboring countries (particularly in Saudi Arabia) regularly call on mujahideen to join the jihad in American-occupied Iraq. In addition, the on-going conflict between the Saudi regime and the Saudi al-Qaeda network is forcing many young Saudi Salafi-jihadists to migrate to Iraq. Many of these jihadis are prominent fighters and ideological trainers; a good example being the Salafi-jihadist ideologue Abdullah Rashid al-Rashoud, whom Zarqawi eulogized after he was slain by American forces near al-Qaim.

    (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?search=1&articleid=2369842)

    “Why do we benefit by allowing extremists to choose between fighting us in Iraq and fighting us here”
    You REALLY don’t see an advantage to fighting somewhere other than the U.S.?

    “when, as you admit, one can’t exactly sneak into the U.S. as easily as he could plant a bomb on a local road in Baghdad?”
    Let me get this straight – you think that if a guerrilla force wins in one location, it won’t move on to attack other targets?

    ” If we’re at all interested in American lives, providing extremists with an attractive venue for kiling Americans isn’t that great of an idea

    “(Quick: have more Americans died in Iraq or 9/11?).” I’m pretty sure that 9/11 still has Iraq beat, especially when you factor in terrorist attacks against U.S. targets from the Marine Barracks bombing in Lebanon to present day. Why do you ask? I mean, this has to be leading somewhere? right?

    “Moreover, what makes you think that terrorists who are capable and willing to enter the U.S. — including extremists already in the U.S. or recruited here — would instead choose to hang out the streets of Iraq?”
    Maybe because that’s where the jihad is, thanks to the U.S. invasion of Iraq? (See also, jihad against USSR invasion of Afghanistan.)

    “Again, we’re not dealing with a compulsion or a barrier, so I don’t see how this whole situation helps us.” – ChrisS

    Maybe because jihadists are going to Iraq instead of focusing their efforts on attacks here? Maybe because jihadist organizations are encouraging jihadists to go to Iraq and take on U.S. forces there, rather than attack civilian targets here?

  67. “Also, you seem to be pretty well propagandized, but you might want to Google the roll call on the Authorization of Military Force vote, because a majority of Democrats voted against it.” – joe

    Yeah, because you’re no victim of left-leaning group-think, right joe? (Pot, kettle?)

    I’ve got bad news, for you on this one, tho, joe? Apparently even simple numbers are subject to your partisan blinders. I took your advice and looked it up and it doesn’t really support your assertion. In fact, more Dems in the Senate voted in favor of the Resolution (28) than against (23).

    Even in the House where more Dems voted against than for the resolution, there’s still a remarkably high number of Dems voting in favor (81) vs. those against (126). Even if you combine the House & Senate (apples & oranges tho it may be) you still come up with only a difference of 45 more Dems voting Nay than voted Yea. (149 Nays versus 104 Yeas). Hardly an overwhelming majority.

    I think a fair, non-partisan viewpoint would say that while Republicans where overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution, Dems were pretty evenly split on the Resolution. But not in “joelandia,” where people still believe that Republicans and Democrats aren’t actually the same power-grubbing, authoritarian species.

    Here’s a math question for you, joe? Of those who voted “Nay” on the Resolution, how many are currently a candidate for the Dem presidential nomination?

    “As usual, I haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re babbling about, other than I must be wrong because I’m a Democrat. (Nice Gore reference, you partisan hack).” – joe

    Wakey-wakey joe, it’s not a partisan hack reference if I refer to your previous love-fest posts about Democrats like Al Gore. Of course, it’s probably too much to ask you to stop running your mouth long enough to engage your brain, but I’ll give it a shot anyway? Pull off the blinders, man, you can do it!

    “Here’s my statement: ‘Most of the Sunni insurgency isn’t blowing up mosques. They’re blowing up Americans.'” – joe

    Yeah, that’s your statement. Unfortunately for you, you’re the only one who actually believes it. It’s not like I’m the only one who has pointed out that your on the other side of the Looking Glass on this one, Alice.

    “Now, wipe the drool off your chin, impersonate the civilized, intelligent people you’ve encountered in your life, and try to explain what it is that’s got your knickers so twisted.” – joe

    Hmmm? I guess we can all see that you’re not one of “the civilized, intelligent people [I]’ve encountered in [my] life.”

    “Have you ever considered the possibility that your feelings are clouding your perceptions about this war?” – joe

    Oh, the IRONY!

  68. “It was a free election. It was by all accounts a fair election. The winners won. Politicians “warned” that Sunnis would be unhappy at the “purple fingers”, i.e. they would not be happy when they lost a fair election.”

    And they were right, and the result of the elections was, ultimately, the very civil war that you say is so disasterous for us and for Iraq.

    “What else should we have done? What are you suggesting we should have done?” Not invaded in the first place. Not toppled the previous order without a plausible, legitimate replacement.

    rob,

    There is not a set number of jihadists in the world. Why should we believe that the jihadists that went to Iraq would have otherwise attacked the US, rather than attending college or taking over the family falafel stand?

  69. joe,
    There’s not a set number of jihadists in the world? Just because we don’t have a gov’t-approved Census of the number doesn’t mean that there isn’t a set number. Also, just because their loyalties to jihad ebb and flow doesn’t mean that there’s not a set number. It just means it’s harder to pin down.

    Oh, and your closet racism is showing again, with your stereotypical falafel stand comment… Next you’ll have us rolling in the aisles with your imitation of a Pakistani 7-11 clerk or your Al Jolson in blackface routine. You are a Man of Myriad and Conflicting Impulses, joe. It’s fun to watch them ebb and flow.

  70. rob,

    Did you know that there are two chambers in the United States Congress? There’s one of us with blinders here, and it’s the one who made an accurate statement about the voting pattern of Democrats in Congress.

    “Even if you combine the House & Senate (apples & oranges tho it may be) you still come up with only a difference of 45 more Dems voting Nay than voted Yea. (149 Nays versus 104 Yeas). Hardly an overwhelming majority.” 59-41 by my math, rob. We’re in Reagan-Mondale territory here.

    You still haven’t laid a glove on me. Once again, “Also, you seem to be pretty well propagandized, but you might want to Google the roll call on the Authorization of Military Force vote, because a majority of Democrats voted against it.” Any time you want to refute that statement, go ahead. If you’re more comfortable playing the straw, then please leave me out of it.

  71. Buy bye, rob. Take your silly-assed rants about my racism and blow them out your discreditted ass.

    For the uninitiated, calling me a racist is what rob does when I’ve beaten him.

  72. For the uninformed, calling joe a closet racist and closet homophobe is what I call joe when he makes comments about jihadists going into the family falafel stand business.

    Running like hell from arguments he’s lost is what joe does when even he has to admit that “59-41” is not exactly an overwhelming majority.

    Hey, joe, about those Dem presidential candidates – which ones didn’t vote for authorization of force? You can’t even name them, can you?

  73. A 59-41 election is what is generally called a rout, troll.

    To answer your question: Barack Obama, Christopher Shays, Tom Vilsack, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Bill Richardson are all Democratic presidential candidates who voted against (if they were in Congress) and spoke out against the AUMF back in 02.

    I eagerly await your explanation of how the above paragraph demonstrates my racism.

  74. Not a single refuted statement.

    Oh, but I’m racey-racey racist, so I guess no one’s supposed to notice that you couldn’t answer the question.

  75. Falafel? Who mentioned falafel?

    I’d love to rub a falafel all over your …

  76. For the record… Your list is pitiful and here’s why:

    Obama – wasn’t in office, so didn’t vote. though at least he can claim he spoke out against it in 2002. (Ok, actually he was against doing it badly, but hey, what’s a little political weaseling?)

    Shays ACTUALLY voted FOR the Resolution – according to Wikipedia.

    Vilsack – was Governor of Iowa and didn’t vote on the Resolution. According to Wiki “Vilsack’s stance on the war in Iraq is politically moderate, both critical of President Bush but hesitant to calls for an immediate and complete pullout from Iraq”

    Kucinich – Actually voted AGAINST the Resolution.

    Gravel – hasn’t been in office since 1981, so didn’t vote.

    Bill Richardson – Gov. of New Mexico, so didn’t vote.

    So that’s actually ONE guy on the list you mentioned.

    And you even included a guy who actually voted FOR the Resolution. Man, those partisan blinders are POWERFUL! I mean, of the candidates you list, you’ve actually only got ONE candidate who actually voted against the Resolution…

    Pathetic.

    That’s without even meintioning Dem candidates like Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Christopher Dodd (and Shays, who you thought voted against but who actually voted for) who all voted FOR the Resolution.

  77. joe – It’s your falafel comment not your finally Googling the Dem candidates that makes you a closet racist…

    BTW, joe, you’re absolutely right about the way Congress is divided into TWO chambers.

    There’s the SENATE (in which more Dems voted FOR the Resolution) and the HOUSE (in which more Dems voted against). How does this advance your claim? It doesn’t. It just shows you that almost as many Dems were “For” as were “Against.” Hardly what you would call a “mandate,” right?

    Some day joe, you will wake up and realize that ALL politicians are the same. Of course, that’s the day you’ll have to quit fetishizing Democrats and realize that they’re as prone to screwing up as any other politician (see also, Republicans).

    What party will you turn to then? Who will you repose your faith and confidence in when you finally realize that Dems are just as loathsome a species as Republicans?
    I mean, at least you’re only a loathsome authoritarian who believes he knows what is best for other people. At least you’re not that most vile of sub-species: Authoritarianus Loathsomius Politicanus?

    Maybe you still have a shot at evolving…

    Wow. One of these days joe will get tired of being my personal speed bag…

  78. D’oh!

    Not Shays (Republican Congressman from CT, not running for president), I meant Dodd (Democratic Senator from CT, running for president). And you are correct on that point, I got his voting record wrong.

    And just to remind you, troll boy, the question you asked was, “Hey, joe, about those Dem presidential candidates – which ones didn’t vote for authorization of force? You can’t even name them, can you?” That’s whay you asked, that’s what I answered. If you meant, “…who voted against the resolution,” you should have written that.

    Your half-formed ideas are difficult enough to ascertain when you write what you mean.

    “How does this advance your claim?” What are you, stupid? How does tallying all of the votes of Democrats in Congress, a tally which shows that Democrats voted against the war by 56%-41%, advance my case that a majority of Democrats voted against the war.

    Ummmmmm…you know what? I’m going to let you work that one out for yourself. Think hard. You can do it.

    “Hardly what you would call a “mandate,” right?” No, 59-41 shows a pretty strong mandate. Maybe you were thinking of 51-49, which doesn’t show a mandate?

    I don’t imagine I’ll get tired of proving you’re an idiot any time soon.

  79. “””If this is true than the U.S. has won. If Al quada won’t come to dominate Iraq after the U.S. leaves and there won’t be a bloody split in the country and the current elected government will do swimingly without U.S. forces in the country, that seems like a victory to me. Which is it? Is Iraq a horrible mess of a country in a civil war because Bush screwed up the war or is it doing really pretty well and won’t miss and will in fact do better once the U.S. leaves? It can’t be both. I frankly hope this guy is right because if he is, that means the U.S. has won the war and can go home. Of course doing that sort of takes the fun out bashing Bush.””””

    Good post John. The fact that Bush says we must stay pretty much sums up the lack of victory.

    If victory is accomplished, it’s time to come home and have a victory parade.

  80. “And how many [posters} on this board would be comfortable with Iraq as a puppet state*?”

    I, for one, would be quite happy to execute a “diplomatic revolution” with Iran. Full diplomatic relations, MFN, arms and aid in return for no nuclear weapons but a free hand with the Sunnis.

    Sunnis, by the way, have been the ones attacking us. If the war is indeed ideological, and I think it is, then the enemy of our enemy is our friend.

    Crazy? Maybe. But certainly not as crazy as invading Iraq without a realistic plan for the inevitable occupation (security and state-building).

    We need to get over the embassy and Lebanon and understand that Iran is not our enemy.

    *Incidentally, a Shia dominated Iraq would not be a puppet of Iran. They might be allies (which helps my plan above) but Shiite Arabs have no desire to be dominated by Persians.

  81. So, you actually meant Christopher Dodd? The Senator from CT?

    The one who ALSO voted FOR the Resolution?

    So after I asked you twice, and you spent some time on Google, you still could only scrape together One Dem presidential hopeful who voted Against the Resolution? Even after switching to Dodd? Speaks volumes about the Dems position on the Iraq War, I’d say.

    So, there’s actually ONLY ONE Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination who voted Against the Resolution. And he’s outnumbered by Dem candidates who voted FOR by 4 to 1? (No pun intended.)

    Again, that speaks volumes on the Democratic Party’s position on the Iraq War. And what those volumes have to say is pretty damning for your line of argument.

    Nobody who watches politics thinks that 59-41% is a route WITHIN a political party. If you were talking about two COMPETING political parties you’d have a point (like, say, the Dems recent rise to majority status in Congress). But we’re talking about a nearly even division WITHIN the Democratic Party – not exactly solidarity, is it? (Unfortunately for the nation, the Republicans seem to still vote as a solid bloc.)

    By the way, your math sucks. It’s nowhere near 59-41.

    Here’s why: Pro-Iraq War Resolution Democrats carried the Senate 28-23. Even with the Dems in the House voting 126-81 against, that’s an entire Chamber of Congress’s worth of Democrat’s voting FOR the Resolution. So that would make it a 50-50 split, if we were counting Chambers of Congress.

    But wait, it gets worse.

    Admittedly my addition & subtraction was a bit crap, too – but I actually gave you 5 more Dem votes Against than there actually were. It was actually only 40 more Dems total (amongst both Chambers of Congress) who voted Against the Resolution than voted For.

    That means that with a total of 258 Democratic Congress-members voting, 149 voted Against and 109 voted For. (Recap: 40 more voted Against than voted For.)

    149 actually equals roughly 57.75% of the total 258 Dems in Congress at the time. So rounding up gives you roughly 8% more Dems voting Against than For.

    Like I said, not an overwhelming majority…

    In fact, that’s a lot more like Bush v. Kerry than Reagan v. Mondale territory, joe. I mean, even Bush got roughly 12% more Electoral College votes (286-251 or 13.94% more EC votes) than Kerry before he started blathering about having a “mandate.”

    Your argument that the Dems overwhelmingly voted Against, or even that – since we know you don’t think 12% is enough to claim a mandate when it’s Bush making the claim – that you can’t even argue that the Dems voted a “mandate’s worth” Against the Iraq Resolution.

    Isn’t it at all disappointing to you that the political party whose dirty diapers you spend significant chunks of your life defending on Hit & Run won’t even follow the political position you want to claim for them because they’re too busy chasing political power?

    Nah, I don’t imagine you’ll be admitting that anymore than you’ll admit that you’ve been a partisan tool anytime soon… Or that you just can’t help yourself, every once in a while you “bad joe” pops out of the closet you keep him in to toss out some ridiculous “falafel” stereotype?

    Maybe it’s time you did some serious self-examination regarding your delusions about the Dems and your attitudes towards other people… Or to put it in the kind of sensitive terms you’re more used to, maybe it’s time you took a deep swim in “Lake You.”

    (Sheesh… I think my stomach actually rolled from the sickly sweetness of that bit about “Lake You.”)

  82. Every mention of 12% in the above post should have read 14%.

    Go figure, I wasn’t a math major…

  83. “Precisely because the idea of all-out civil war and a regional blowup involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey is so horrifying, all the political forces inside and outside Iraq have many incentives not to go there.”

    Unfortunately most civil wars, including the US Civil War, have started despite the fact that majorities on all sides have been well aware of what a catastrophe a civil war would be.

  84. Wow, that’s a graceless way to respond to somebody when they admit an error, rob. You must have a lot of friends.

    I’ll let it slide, because it’s clearly a rare and oddly-significant pleasure for you.

    FYI, I listed them off the top of my head.

    “you still could only scrape together One Dem presidential hopeful who voted Against the Resolution?” You didn’t ask me who voted against the resolution.

    “149 actually equals roughly 57.75% of the total 258 Dems in Congress at the time. So rounding up gives you roughly 8% more Dems voting Against than For.”

    “Go figure, I wasn’t a math major…”

    You don’t say. No, genius, it doesn’t give you an 8 point split. It gives you a 16 point split, 58-42. Smarter trolls, please.

    And just so you know, the way you keep switiching among different data sets to prove your point – total votes, chambers, popular vote, electoral college – would get you fired from any research job in America.

  85. BTW, rob, who totally despises partisanship and racism…

    Do you realize that you have never, not even once, posted a comment accusing any Republicans of partisanship? Think about that – not a single comment that, say, John has posted over the past two years has motivated a great anti-partisan like you to denounce him as a Republican hack, but when I make the accurate, verifiable statement that a majority of Democrats in Congress votes agains the AUMF, your delicate, nonpartisan sensibilities are offended.

    And while you can’t possible stomach the racist implications of the words “jihadist” and “falafel” appearing the same sentence, you have not once – not a single time – voiced even the slightest dissent in any of the threads in which people accuse Arabs and Muslims of being evil, barbarians, or pedophiles. Not one.

    Someday, rob, you’re going to chastise one of the numerous openly-Republican commenters of excessive partisanship, and then the non-partisan pose you strike will gain a slight patina of plausibility.

    Oh, wait. I take that back. No, you won’t.

    Hack.

  86. Suuuure, nothing will happen in Iraq after we pull out, just like nothing happened in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos after we pulled out there.

  87. A withdrawal that began tomorrow would take six months to a year, and could be stopped or reversed any time.

    joe, I don’t think you have any appreciation for military discipline. I’m pretty sure that if ordered to report to airfields in exactly 24 hours, our troops would move heaven and earth to comply with those orders.

    If there weren’t enough room on the planes, they’d no doubt comply with an order to report immediately to a port in the Persian Gulf.

  88. Fact is, nobody has any idea what might happen if we vacate Iraq. I’m not a war hawk but since a lot of people seem fond of the Viet Nam analogy, let’s use that shining example.

    Viet Nam completely devolved into abject horror. And all the smug trendy lefties walked away (except Baez) and simply shrugged.

    That may or may not happen in Iraq but to forecast as accurate a strategy where the US cuts & runs, and then everybody prospers is nothing more than wishful thinking.

  89. “Wow, that’s a graceless way to respond to somebody when they admit an error, rob. You must have a lot of friends.” – joe

    Give me break, dude. You insult (with a good helping of profanity) literally anyone who disagrees with you. The way you insult people doesn’t really encourage them to charitably let you gracefully back out of being aggresively full of crap.

    “I’ll let it slide, because it’s clearly a rare and oddly-significant pleasure for you.” – joe

    Are you really as masochistic as you sound? You get soundly thumped on these boards with regularity by everyone from other regular posters (including me) as well as Reason staffers.

    “FYI, I listed them off the top of my head.” – joe
    Of course you did – with the same facility with which you rattle off DNC talking points. I’m tempted to believe you on this, but it took you too long to respond and you failed to respond to it until AFTER I’d cornered you on it for the second time.

    “You didn’t ask me who voted against the resolution.” – joe

    You’re right. I didn’t. Shame on me for using something as sneaky as ACTUAL FACTS about Democratic presidential hopefuls against you after getting you to (FINALLY) admit to those facts.

    “No, genius, it doesn’t give you an 8 point split. It gives you a 16 point split, 58-42.” – joe

    Gee, a whole 16%? That’s a HUGE majority, isn’t it? You’d think that within the same political party they would perhaps have voted along a party line or something? You know, based on some sort of PRINCIPLE? Any non-partisan would look at those numbers and think they were far less impressive than you do. But then a non-partisan isn’t desperately trying to cobble together the notion that the Dems were overwhelmingly right on Iraq regardless of how they actually voted.

    “Smarter trolls, please.” – joe

    I love it when you call ME a troll. I’m not the guy who comes to a libertarian web-site armed with the latest DNC Talking Points and itching for a fight, then insulting and cursing at people who (predictably) disagree with you.

    “And just so you know, the way you keep switiching among different data sets to prove your point – total votes, chambers, popular vote, electoral college – would get you fired from any research job in America.” – joe

    Uh, no, it just shows that there are a lot of different ways to examine the data and most of them show you to be as full of crap as the average Lou Dobbs/Bill O’Reilly broadcast. You are essentially correct on the narrow point, but it certainly doesn’t make you right about the Democrats actually OPPOSING the Resolution.

    “BTW, rob, who totally despises partisanship and racism… Do you realize that you have never, not even once, posted a comment accusing any Republicans of partisanship?” – joe

    Actually, joe, I’m pretty sure that I’ve only ever accused YOU of partisanship. What does my only accusing you of being a partisan hack have to do with the other thing I find distasteful about you? (Namely your closet racism and homophobia.)

    “And while you can’t possible stomach the racist implications of the words “jihadist” and ‘falafel’ appearing the same sentence, you have not once – not a single time – voiced even the slightest dissent in any of the threads in which people accuse Arabs and Muslims of being evil, barbarians, or pedophiles. Not one.” – joe

    That’s because the people who do so are clearly racist idiots, but not necessarily hypocrites, joe. You on the other hand, as a closet racist and homophobe who loudly champions those you think need you to “rescue” by telling them how to live, are CLEARLY a hypocrite.

    “Someday, rob, you’re going to chastise one of the numerous openly-Republican commenters of excessive partisanship, and then the non-partisan pose you strike will gain a slight patina of plausibility. Oh, wait. I take that back. No, you won’t.” – joe

    Actually, it’s a back-handed compliment, really. I figure that most of the Republican Talking Point crap is self-refuting – and blindingly obviously so. I guess that’s my bias showing? But how many Democrats have I hammered on this thread, compared to Repubs, joe? (Go ahead back and count – maybe your math will be better than when you tried to list Democratic presidential hopefuls who voted against the Resolution, but trust me, everyone here can check your math.) You trying to claim that I’m the real partisan here isn’t going to hold any water with anyone who has read most of my posts.

    “when I make the accurate, verifiable statement that a majority of Democrats in Congress votes agains the AUMF, your delicate, nonpartisan sensibilities are offended.” – joe

    Actually, technically your point is correct, when viewed very narrowly. The reality just doesn’t look anywhere near so good for the Dems as you would like it too.

    Funniest thing joe has said on this thread? It’s this: “A 59-41 election is what is generally called a rout, troll.”

    Democrats routing Democrats? Last time I checked, you weren’t supposed to be proud of your party routing itself. That’s probably only a point of partisan pride in “joelandia,” where being a partisan hack means your partisan blinders protect you from ever having to face reality.

  90. Joe:
    “And they were right, and the result of the elections was, ultimately, the very civil war that you say is so disasterous for us and for Iraq.”

    I wasn’t sure I understood you, Joe. I thought you could not possibly be making the point that you support distatorship. You could not possibly be making the point that Iraqis were better off with no voice in their government. You could not possibly be that paternaliistic, smug and superior, at least not publicly so. But, I forgot, you’re a Democrat, so you know better than any possible set of voters.

  91. Neener neener nee-ner.

    pwned, troll.

  92. wayne,

    I know a hell of a lot better than you.

  93. Joe,

    Democrats are against free elections; who knew?

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