Joe Lieberman Denounces Joe Lieberman

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Glenn Greenwald has a smooth-as-silk takedown of Joe Lieberman's latest mewlings about Iraq in the Wall Street Journal. It's smooth becomes it only requires one piece of evidence: Lieberman's end-of-2005 Iraq op-ed, when he proclaimed U.S. troops victorious and critics outrageous for suggesting otherwise.

[W]hereas Lieberman is claiming now that everything is different today because we had no real strategy before for ensuring security, it was Lieberman himself who promised Americans in 2005 that we did have exactly such a strategy and that it was working so well that "we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007."

Just compare these two statements:

Joe Lieberman, today: "previously there weren't enough soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias."

Joe Lieberman, 2005: "The administration's recent use of the banner 'clear, hold, and build' accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week."

A month or so ago, the political blogs were furiously debating who had bragging rights about the war; whether anti-war thinkers could gloat, or whether they were just lucky predicting the outcome of one foreign adventure. The debate devolved too quickly into whether bloggers had bragging rights, which isn't very interesting. More interesting: The cascading, unending wrongness of the politicians and White House officials who supported and support the long war. Lieberman et al haven't been wrong once, they've misread every single development of the war, and then punted (or just lied) when anti-warriors were suggesting a course change. This is why they're untrustworthy, and why there's so much ire directed at them right now.

NEXT: Chuck Quixote

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  1. Sock puppet Glenn Greenwald on H&R…give me a break

  2. David Weigel,

    Did you see the piece in I think Newsweek about Blair?

  3. This is why they’re untrustworthy, and why there’s so much ire directed at them right now.

    I don’t think it registers with these folks just how untrustworthy these folks look at every turn.

    Their talent…no wait, the word ‘talent’ indicates it’s something they do well…how about the word ‘habit’…their habit of calling nightfall a sunny day – as Cheny’s assertion that Britain pulling out meant we were winning – has only made them look silly and buffoonish.

  4. I expect politicians to lie. It’s the pundits who are more annoying. There is no amount of wrong they can be and still get work. Take Bill Kristol, a crank with sub-Lyndon LaRouche levels of credibility, who is still on TV and in print constantly. If you’re going to put Troskyite cranks on the tube, I’d rather hear about maglev trains and Beethoven.

  5. I’ve seen war supporters spend half of 2003, 2004, 2005, and half of 2006 proclaiming that things were going great in Iraq, and that the only reason anyone thought otherwise was the biased media who refused to report on all the good news. This goes back to “Freedom is messy” and “There isn’t really any looting,” continues through “There is no insurgency,” past “The capture of Saddam wiill end the insurgency,” continues through “We’re about to turn the corner,” on through “The insurgency is on its last legs,” past “Killing Zarqawi will end the insurgency,” back to “We’re turning the corner,” and on through “There is no Civil War.” They used this comforting certainty of progress to denounce anyone who, accurately as everyone now acknowledges, that things were falling apart during that time period.

    And I’ve seen war supporters admit, ok, things actually were falling apart in Iraq during that time period. Now they tell us that the idea of invading Iraq was a really good one, but the prosecution of the war was flawed.

    OK, let’s say that’s true. At what point are we going to see a war supporter admit that failing to acknowledge that it was their partisan and ideological blinders, their dismissal of dissenting voices, their refusal to admit the truth when it conflicted with what they wanted to believe, that lost the war?

  6. Watched The Battle of Algiers last night. Cavanaugh grokked the applicable scene here a year or so back: Should we be in? If yes, then accept the consequences. My question to, Wiegel, and others: Are you opposed to the war, or just its poor fucking results?

    If it is the second, why not go all in? Where are the true believers, ahem, John, pushing for a doubling of the current men on the ground? If Iraq is oh so fucking important, war on terrir and all that rot, why you pussyfootin around?

  7. the political blogs were furiously debating who had bragging rights about the war

    Change “were” to “are”, as evidenced above by joe’s predictable, repetitive braying.
    Broken record, joe. We get it.

  8. ed,

    Congratulations for “we get it.”

    You are the first war supporter I have ever seen admit that. Salut!

    I only hope you keep it in mind the next time some politician is calling everyone who disagrees with his war leadership a traitor.

  9. “I only hope you keep it in mind the next time some politician is calling everyone who disagrees with his war leadership a traitor.”

    Okay Joe than I guess you equally object to the histrionics on the anti-war side? Andrew Sullivan this weekend calls Dick Chaney “unhinged and dangerous”. Yeah, that is a sober look at the facts. That is tame compared to the crazy garbage that comes out of the left. If you want to have a sober discussion, great, lets have one, but that takes two sides doesn’t it?

  10. Yeah, that is a sober look at the facts.

    The criminal code is way too big to be absolutely sure, but my belief is that “unhinged and dangerous” is a character flaw but not a capital crime. Accusing someone of a character flaw is not the same as accusing someone of a capital crime.

    If you can find an example of war opponents accusing war supporters of committing a capital crime merely by supporting the war – IOW, holding and expressing an opinion – do please post it so I can be filled with the requisite distaste.

  11. Okay Joe than I guess you equally object to the histrionics on the anti-war side? Andrew Sullivan this weekend calls Dick Chaney “unhinged and dangerous”.

    Andrew Sullivan is anti-war?! I’m sorry John, but that moron is a member of your club (the warmongers club).

  12. Andrew Sullivan anti-war? Read his articles in 2003 and then we can have a sober discussion.

  13. Dick Cheney is unhinged and dangerous. I don’t think his brain is working correcting. Someone with his combination of delusion and power is going to get a lot of people killed.

    There have been anti-war histrionics to which I’ve objected, but noticing that Dick Cheney is divorced from reality, and that that’s a bad thing, is not among them.

  14. As a matter of fact, Andrew Sulliven accused several million of his fellow Americans of “mounting a Fifth Column” on behalf of Al Qaeda.

  15. joe, I supported the war despite saying that it would not be surprising in the least that we would end up where we are now.

    Look, wars are either won or lost, which, in turn, depends on how one defines winning or losing. The default position of war is hideous waste, cruelty, and horrible unintended effects, so it really is no great shakes to predict that any particular war will result in hideous waste, cruelty, and horrible unintended effects. What was most detestable about this Administration was that it did not frankly acknowledge this reality.

    What is most regrettable about the vast majority of those who opposed this war was the magical thinking they engaged in while rightly denouncing the magical thinking of the Bush Administration. Just last week, for instance, you put forth the magical notion that it was possible to permenently station an armored division in Kuwait as a means of having a stick that could be wielded quickly enough in order to alter Saddam Hussein’s behavior on an ongoing basis. This ignores, of course, the physical needs of keeping an armored divison in operational status.

    For another example, let’s recall another statement you made, when I raised the undeniable fact that the U.S. is going to be heavily involved in oil extraction in the Persian Gulf, if only in the form spending vast amounts of wealth in the global oil market. This means that, absent the people of the Persian Gulf attaining self government, including control of their natural resources, the population of the U.S. will be inextricably entwined in the despotic rule of a large chunk of the Islamic world’s population, and that entwinement will have consequences.

    Your response to this was to say that you supported Congressional measures to develop alternative energy sources, which ignores, of course, that even if Congress worked with perfect efficiency (which it won’t, of course) , it still is a multi-decade project, which means the consequences of being entwined in the despotic rule of the population of the Persian Gulf must still be confronted.

    The gusto with which people on both sides of this issue have engaged in denial of reality
    has not been helpful, to say the least.

  16. Will,

    You have me confused with someone else. While I believe strongly in a “Marshall Plan” for alternative energy, I have never stated that it would allow us to stop using Middle Eastern oil in the short term.

    And I can’t believe, after having a few days to think about it, you are still claiming that the richest country in the world can’t keep an armored division operational in Kuwait. Haven’t you noticed that we’ve kept a much larger, more expensive force operational for years?

    And finally, it was not the prediction that this war would come with a terrible price that is important; it’s the prediction that we’d pay that terrible price without achieving anything worthwhile.

  17. joe, keeping an armored division operational is not simply a function of wealth. You may wish to peruse the issues the U.S. Army faced in doing so in Germany for several decades, and then reflect upon the physical and cultural differences between Kuwait and Germany.

    As to Marshall Plans for alternative energy development, when I previously discussed with you the need for those who oppose this war to confront the implications of participating in the despotic rule of the Persian Gulf for several more decades, your reply was that you favored Congress passing laws to support alternative energy development. That sounds like active avoidance of reality to me.

  18. Will,

    How about the differences between Iraq and Kuwait? I am offering a smaller, cheaper force conducting a more limited mission in a friendlier area, and you are saying we had to go with a larger, more expensive force conducting a broader, more expensive mission in the middle of a freaking war zone…because of the economic and political cost?

    We’re not debating whether to station a division in Germany vs. Kuwait. We’re debating whether to invade, occupy, administer and secure Iraq vs. maintain an eforcement capacity for an inspections program. It is not remotely credible to believe that the former is cheaper and easier than the latter, especially now that we’ve seen the cost of the former.

    On your second point, the time frame is the difference. I don’t believe we’ll need to be buying Middle Eastern oil “several decades” from now, if we put the effort into alternate energy programs.

  19. I imagine Andrew Sullivan is all for mounting fifth columns when the atomisphere’s right.

  20. Given the blogosphere and the history available online, the other lesson of this article is that politicians need to learn how to say, “That’s what I thought back then, but I’ve changed my mind.”

  21. Joe, the Army Training Center in Germany encompasses more square miles than the entire area of Kuwait. Now, it probably would not be required to have as much room to keep an armored division permenently combat operational in Kuwait, bordering an Iraq still ruled by the Baathists, but it would require a substantial percentage of Kuwait’s surface area. This is not a cost issue.

  22. Will,

    So they do their training elsewhere. So?

    Kuwait itself has a military, one much bigger than an American division, and they fit into the country just fine.

  23. Stay tuned for more of “The joe & Will Allen Show” right after these messages from our sponsor.

    Joe Lieberman Denounces Joe Lieberman

    Hey! He’s jumping on my bandwagon. I’ve been denouncing him for years.

  24. Joe, if you want an armored divsion to stay combat operational in an area, it needs to be able to fully train in that area. That’s why the U.S. Army had a training area in Germany during the cold war, and didn’t simply train in Texas. Training an armored divison takes space. Lots and lots of space. Kuwait likes to use a lot of it’s limited space for an activity known as oil extraction, which is somewhat incompatible with the training exercises of an armored division, and no, the entire Kuwaiti military does not have the combat capability of an American armored division.

  25. I disagree with this assessment entirely. As usual, Greenwald is hyperventilating and turning the op-ed into a mise-en-abyme of everything that’s wrong with the country, when it’s the opinion of one politician. He recently pulled this trick with the Victory Caucus logo, which he said resembled the logo from V for Vendetta, thus proving that anyone who supports the war is a fascist. He says that because Jonah Goldberg distrusts Dana Priest’s motives in writing her articles on Building 18 at Walter Reed (in which she herself admits that the conditions are not representative, but “symbolic”) he’s a hack, and that the conditions there prove that BushCo doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the soldiers.

    Obviously, nobody’s as honest as Glenn and his sockpuppets. I find it astonishing that he’s constantly insisting everybody come clean, after he himself has never copped to his pseudonyms. And his taking Goldberg to task for citing an anonymous email? Priceless.

  26. “Joe, if you want an armored divsion to stay combat operational in an area, it needs to be able to fully train in that area. That’s why the U.S. Army had a training area in Germany during the cold war, and didn’t simply train in Texas.”

    Oddly enough, for all that oh-so-crucial training in Germany, our tanks have been fighting in the desert, not Germany.

    I guess we can make do.

  27. Yes, Jon H., we have had armored divisions fighting in Iraq. What joe has proposed is that it was possible to have an armored division NOT fighting in Kuwait, but in a constant state of combat resdiness, for many, many, years on end, as a credible immediate tool to alter the behavior of the Baathist regime in Iraq. Kuwait is country of less than 7000 square miles, which has substantial percentage of it’s surface area devoted to oil extraction. The area needed to keep an American armored division in a constant state of combate readiness, for years on end, is not available in Kuwait. It is pure magical thinking to pretend otherwise, engaged in by people who denounce the magical thinking which has taken place within the Bush Administration.

  28. “What joe has proposed is that it was possible to have an armored division NOT fighting in Kuwait, but in a constant state of combat resdiness, for many, many, years on end, as a credible immediate tool to alter the behavior of the Baathist regime in Iraq.”

    No, we train them in the US, and fly them (sans tanks) to Kuwait for a few months of standby duty with a bunch of tanks kept in Kuwait.

  29. Golly, why d’ya ‘spose we didn’t do so in Germany for four decades? it sure woud have been politically easier than taking up 7000-plus square miles of German territory for the purpose of military training.

  30. “it sure woud have been politically easier than taking up 7000-plus square miles of German territory for the purpose of military training.”

    Because it was easy to get.

    Look, what you fail to acknowledge is that despite your ridiculous assertion that we need to train where we fight, we’ve managed two armor-heavy wars in Iraq without having had any prior ability to train in Iraq.

    Wherever we trained for desert armor warfare seems to have done the trick. I’m guessing that was in the US, where we have large amounts of desert.

    So, clearly, we don’t need to train where we intend to fight. Just someplace close enough, and stateside is more than adequate.

    Germany is not representative of what we need for training.

  31. Apparently, John, you are illiterate. I explicitly said if you are fighting, then the training becomes superfluous. Perhaps it has escaped your penetrating intellect, but Patton’s Third Army didn’t do a lot of training between June 1944 and May 1945. If, however, your intention is to stay in place, not fighting, yet poised to strike on short notice, for years and years on end, which is what was required to continually alter Baathist behavior, then you need space, more than what existed physically or politically in Kuwait.

  32. “If, however, your intention is to stay in place, not fighting, yet poised to strike on short notice, for years and years on end, which is what was required to continually alter Baathist behavior, then you need space, more than what existed physically or politically in Kuwait.”

    And I say this is nonsense, not because we can train while fighting, but the lack of a training ground in Iraq didn’t *prevent* us from launching two wars there in the first place.

    Having tanks based in Kuwait (which I believe we *had* a significant number of, despite your protests) essentially gives us a foreward inventory of tanks that don’t need to be shipped. Trained crews can be moved a hell of a lot faster than 60-ton tanks can.

    (Though it’s not like our tank crews are getting any anti-armor training in Iraq now.)

  33. What in the hell is going on at Reason?

    I mean, did anyone even read Greenwald’s ludicrous piece yesterday (on which more here)?

    Or this, from his December archives:

    There are some people who treat our conflicts with the Bush administration and their followers as just a matter of basic, friendly political and policy differences-along the lines of “what should the rate of capital gains tax be?” or “what type of laws can best encourage employers to provide more benefits to their employees”-and therefore, we treat people who support the administration with respect and civility and simply have nice, clean discussions to sort out our differences among well-intentioned people.

    That isn’t how I see that, and nobody should come to this blog expecting that. I don’t think I’ve done anything to lead anyone to expect otherwise. I see the Bush movement and its various component parts as a plague and a threat, as anything but well-intentioned. My goal, politically speaking, is to do what I can to undermine it and the institutions that have both supported and enabled it.

    Greenwald follows this up with a partial list of offenders, the most dangerous being the ones who, unlike Coulter and Limbaugh, are not so obvious about their EVIL designs.

    Thankfully, though, Uncle Glenns is there to identify the enemies of the people, who are able to hide their secret shame from most, but not from the penetrating gaze of the man who can spot a “Bush Kultist” at 1000 yards (or smell one up to 2 miles away, if the wind is right and he doesn’t happen to be in Brazil at the time — most Bush Kultists having hunkered down in the US).

    There are so many classical liberals to which much of the libertarian worldview appeals. But they are being pushed away by a new brand of libertarian-one whose advocates are so fed up with the excesses of the social conservative right and an idealistic foreign policy that it is actively embracing baldfaced demagogues like Greenwald, who has admitted to his desire to poison the free market of ideas with whatever subterfuge it takes to bring down the plague of Bushco.

    I never knew Machiavelli (at least, the persona he adopsts in the Prince) was a libertarian.

  34. John, read, v-e-r-y, v-e-r-y, s-l-o-w-l-y. Yes we fought two wars in the area. We deployed the armored divisions, and went to war. That is entirely different than deploying the personnel every time the Baathists become uncooperative with inspections. Do you think there is a subway from Fort Hood to Kuwait City, that allows tens of thousands of people to be sent back and forth on short notice, finely calibrating their movements in response to how closely the Baathists in Bagdhad decide to adhere to cease fire agreements in any given month or two? Sheesh.

    Thank your for nicely illustrating the insipid magical thinking that has possessed so many on this issue.

  35. For the record, David, add this into your mix.

    Smooth-as-silk = dishonest and dependent upon people like you who suffer from an obvious selection bias.

    Somebody should offer the guys at QandO your job.

  36. Jon, what will is trying to say is that for Iraq, folks train before they deploy there they go through weeks or months of training. In Iraq, they know where they are going, what their particular mission will be, and what problems are likely to arise before they get there. In addition, there is an overlap where they troop they are replacing can train them on any other areas before he/she leaves. (I know, I was one of them who called Basra home for awhile, as well as Ramstein Germany).
    To maintain a combat ready unit sitting on the border requires constant training, day in and day out. Your mission is unknown, you don’t know exactly where you’re going, what mission you will have, who will be there to support you, and who are you there to support? What capabilities do the enemy have, etc. Because of this, you have to train for everything and it’s an everyday thing,(I also know this, being assigned to 5th Combat Communications, a mobility unit in a constant state of readiness.) You can’t simply go through a couple months of training stateside, head over to the AOR and sit on your hands until something happens.
    Kuwait is very small (also been there, Ali Al Salem at the start of the war) and Will has a valid point.
    Aside from that, a 12-hour air strike could take out those tanks, so you need air power. Bring in the Air Force, now you need an even larger area, with an airfield. With the planes, you need crew chiefs, medical personnel, services personnel for chow/gym, communications personnel and equipment, cops, by the time it’s said and done.
    Point is, if you stick a single tank out there, you’re going to need thousands of support personnel to keep it safe.

    I jumped in the middle of this argument so I’m not sure what all this is about, but the argument of throwing some ground personnel in Kuwait is ridiculous.

    And no, I didn’t proofread. Get over it.

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