Foreign Policy

Surge: Losing GOP Support?

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From U.S. News and World Report:

American patience for the war is running out…was the…message that moderate Republicans delivered last week to the president in a candid, closed-door meeting at the White House. "People are always saying President Bush is in a bubble," noted Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia. "Well, this was our chance, and we took it." They presented Bush with poll figures showing plummeting party support in their districts and told him that his credibility on the war front is all but gone.

In short, the president can't count on GOP support for the "surge" much longer. There is a sense "certainly by the Democrats and growing among the Republicans that there has to be some progress, significant progress to sustain [the surge] beyond September," said Sen. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican.

And the Los Angeles Times reports on trouble for one of Bush's benchmarks for ending the Iraqi civil war, a new oil bill:

It has not even reached parliament, but the oil law that U.S. officials call vital to ending Iraq's civil war is in serious trouble among Iraqi lawmakers, many of whom see it as a sloppy document rushed forward to satisfy Washington's clock.

Opposition ranges from vehement to measured, but two things are clear: The May deadline that the White House had been banking on is in doubt. And even if the law is passed, it fails to resolve key issues, including how to divide Iraq's oil revenue among its Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni regions, and how much foreign investment to allow…..

The problems of the oil bill bode poorly for the other so-called benchmarks that the Bush administration has been pressuring Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's government to meet…..Republican leaders in Washington have warned administration officials that if the Iraqi government fails to meet those benchmarks by the end of the summer, remaining congressional support for Bush's Iraq policies could crumble.

While on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol saves the day for the administration by pointing out that any Republican who dares think of turning back on the war is "being extremely stupid. I mean, the idea that they will get credit for deserting the war at this point—they voted for the war. … It's a ridiculous political calculation as well as a dishonorable one by those Republicans who are thinking of jumping ship."

NEXT: The Dersh and the Don

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  1. Is “jumping ship” going to be the new “cut and run”?

  2. Didn’t Evil Knevil jump a ship once?

  3. Can we have a little man battle to the death with chain saws between Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry? The joy with which these two tiny pampered shits take in throwing away the lives of others would fully justify it, and I just find midget fighting funny.

  4. Evil jump a ship? Don’t know.
    But he knew when to get out before it was to late.

  5. It isn’t the surge that’s losing support, but the war. These Republicans aren’t saying, “If the surge doesn’t work by September, it will be time to try a different set of tactics to further your strategy of shooting bad guys until Iraq becomes a democracy.” They’re saying, “If the surge isn’t working by September, we’ll need to pull the plug on the war.”

  6. Bill Kristol saves the day for the administration by pointing out that any Republican who dares think of turning back on the war is “being extremely stupid. I mean, the idea that they will get credit for deserting the war at this point — they voted for the war.

    By 1972, even Hubert Humphrey was running as an antiwar candidate, so I don’t think past support of this war is going to hurt Republicans who voted for this generation’s Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

  7. I have a cunning plan. Let’s grant Kurdistan statehood, then build a few bases there. The Kurds get protection from the rest of Iraq and from Turkey, we boost our domestic production of oil, and the rest of the world gets the U.S. out of the internecine fun in Iraq. Win! Win! Win!

    Naturally, Big Flag will support this move. As will Big Mouse, which has been chomping at the bit to build a new park in the Middle East, ever since it learned of Mickey’s popularity there.

  8. Say, Seamus, how did Humphrey do in 1968?

    Isn’t that year generally held up as the election that broke the New Deal coalition, and started in motion that relignment that brought down the two-generation dominance of the Democratic Party, and made the Republicans the ruling party for a generation or two?

  9. Pro Libertate:

    True, but what will Big Turkey think?

  10. If you think Taiwain’s legal status is muddled, imagine the doubletalk we’re going to need to explain Kurdistan in a manner that keeps everyone happy.

    I say we carry out Pro Libertate’s plan, and appoint John Kerry Director of Explaining Kurdistan’s Legal Status in a Clear and Unambiguous Manner.

  11. Let me try and understand this. It’s dishonorable and “downright stupid” to take a look at hard evidence that neither the surge nor the war in general is going that well, and react to that by saying “huh, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.”

    Makes sense to me.

  12. “If the surge isn’t working by September, we’ll need to pull the plug on the war.”

    If only there was any reason to believe that the our enemies were winning to pull the plug on their war.

    Both sides pull plug = peace.

    One side pulls plug = what, exactly? Not peace, is my guess.

  13. “being extremely stupid. I mean, the idea that they will get credit for deserting the war at this point — they voted for the war. …

    Can this Kristol guy formulate one single thought that isn’t laced with loaded terms? “Deserting”?? It’s interesting: whenever the President makes a choice, Kristol defends Him as being pure of heart; but anyone who goes against Him is making a cynical political calculation. Does Kristol want to get in the Prez’s pants, or what (not that there’s anything wrong with that)? And why is he even still on television, since he has been wrong about everything since 9/11?

  14. Good idea, joe, let’s bring in Big Ketchup.

    I don’t see this as a Taiwan situation, though, since we’re talking statehood. What are they going to do, not listen to the United States at the U.N. 1/51st of the time? Nah, the State of Kurdivania (or Kurd Island and Providence Plantations? Kurdia? Kurdada? Kurdinois? North Dakota?) is the correct solution. We could bring in Sicily, too, to keep things even on the flag.

  15. RC,

    “If only there was any reason to believe that the our enemies were winning to pull the plug on their war.”

    There is very good reason to believe that the Iraqi Sunni populace would “pull the plug” on their support for Al Qaeda once we leave. And that’s pretty much the end of those particular enemies.

    As far as our other enemies, the Iranians, this war has already handed Iraq over to them – most of it, anyway – and there doesn’t seem to be any going back on that. Thanks for that, though. Very helpful.

  16. Kurdissippi.

  17. How long should we stay in Iraq? How much time does one give this thing? Five more years? Ten more years? Twenty? Thirty?

    Keep in mind that the “insurgency” isn’t going away any time soon and apparently NO ONE has any plan that can end it. Indeed, parts of the Iraqi government apparently are part of it.

  18. Pro Libertate,

    LOL, I didn’t get that definition of “statehood” in your comment.

  19. Aargh, Bush no care what stupid people say! People puny, al they do is talk, talk about Iraq. Bush no talk, Bush is strongest one there is, Bush SMASH!

  20. My apologies, joe, you’re right–I was not clear in my original posting. Yes, I’m advocating a new addition to the United States:

    Kurdachusetts?
    Kurdwai’i?
    The District of Kurdumbia (wait, no, that could be a problem)?

  21. Grotius,

    We should stay in the Totally Not Independent or Sovereign State – Well, Not “State,” Exactly, But You Know What We Mean – of Kurdish Iraq for as long at the Totally Not Independent or Sovereign Northern Iraqis of Kurdish Descent want us to.

  22. Ah, I have it: Saladinia.

  23. “Does Kristol want to get in the Prez’s pants, or what (not that there’s anything wrong with that)? And why is he even still on television, since he has been wrong about everything since 9/11?”
    1. Kristol obviously loves being chummy to those in power so he can feel some vicarious power himself (I think ol’ Billy wrote part of Bush’s 2004 inauguration speach right [and I think then Fox had him analyze it w/out disclosing that fact, ah, fair and balanced…]).
    2. Kristol is one of a handful of neo-con who I actually think have Israel’s best interests at least as prominent, if not more so, than the U.S. in their minds. As I said today over at the post on Dershowtiz this is completely understandable, though it is beyond me why anyone else would take him seriously on Middle East foriegn policy. The other group that thinks like this, Christian Zionism, has even less credibility in my opinion (hey, this 2000 year old semi-inchorent scribblings say it so it MUST be a sound basis for our foriegn policy).
    3. Kristol, like his pop, has always been good at organizing, knowing and igratiating himself with sugar daddies, and finding a forum. These guys were commies after all back in the days that using fronts to foster propaganda was like a mad hobby for such folks. So wrong on everything or not he will have his forum. An informed citizenry will have to put up with his ‘punditry’ but let’s hope they don’t take it seriously.

  24. Or let me put my question a bit differently. Is it really our role to take care of a civil war in Iraq?

  25. PL-

    The problem is that Kurdifornia will attract all sorts of illegal immigrants, but Tom Tancredo won’t know what to do because they’ll all look exactly like the legal residents in his eyes.

  26. Ken,

    Bill Kristol was never a communist. He was a second-generation neoconservative, a righty from the get go.

    He wasn’t a convert, like Ted Danson. He was born into it, like Beck.

  27. Brian Doherty,

    Oh, and let’s stop calling this a “surge.”

  28. Hmmmm, tricksey problem, thoreau. Perhaps the Kurds could build some sort of wall?

    Kurdlahoma? No, Kurdlahoma!

    Grotius,

    Has the surgical strike joke been attempted, yet?

  29. “The problem is that Kurdifornia will attract all sorts of illegal immigrants, but Tom Tancredo won’t know what to do because they’ll all look exactly like the legal residents in his eyes.”

    If you get to the Home Depot parking lot by 7:30 AM, you can get a truckload of peshmerga to man slit trenches and ambush military convoys for $40 a head.

  30. Pro Libertate,

    Wasn’t that what the “shock and awe” operation at the start of the war was about?

  31. Grotius,

    And it worked. No way Iraq will ever try to invade the U.S. now. They know that we’d kick their ass!

  32. Kurdifornia knows how to party. Kurdifornia knows how to party. In the city, city of Erbil.

  33. There is very good reason to believe that the Iraqi Sunni populace would “pull the plug” on their support for Al Qaeda once we leave.

    Two thoughts: First, many Sunni communities are rejecting AQ now, so our departure doesn’t seem to be necessary for this to happen.

    Second, I think its plausible that our pulling out will blow the lid off the civil war, which by definition is a fight between internal factions and not a fight with the US. In that case, why wouldn’t the Sunnis welcome AQ back as an ally against the Shiite death squads.

  34. Grotius – that was a typeo. They really meant, “awe, shucks”.

    And they’re all in Kurdolina. Or Kurdorado? Where John Denver’s lyrics spurns on violence, much as do the tunes of Mark Knopfler inspire the Fire Dragons on Fuolornis.

    (Kurdolornis?)

  35. Kurdtucky, Alaskurd, Kurdifornia, the list could go on, North Kurdolina, Kurdsas, South Dakurda…..wait, I think we have a winner.

  36. R.C. Dean,

    First, many Sunni communities are rejecting AQ now…

    Sure, and they are continuing to carry on attacks against U.S. forces because they want us out.

    Second, I think its plausible that our pulling out will blow the lid off the civil war…

  37. By this time next year, it’ll be “a well known fact” that it’s the Iraqis’ fault for not making Bush’s imperial adventure (the ham handed spreading of democracy…at gunpoint) work.

    Damn those untermenschen anyhow.

  38. R.C. Dean,

    Second, I think its plausible that our pulling out will blow the lid off the civil war…

    The lid is already off.

    In that case, why wouldn’t the Sunnis welcome AQ back as an ally against the Shiite death squads.

    For the same reasons that they aren’t desirous of an allegiance right now; they aren’t happy with AQ’s claims of leadership, etc.

  39. I rather like Kurdlahoma! With the exclamation mark.

    Unless Kurdansas is available. Or maybe Kurdessee–that’s got a ring to it.

    You know, I wonder what would happen if the Kurds really applied for statehood? Obviously, cries of Imperial America would be heard from some quarters, but if they were a full-fledged state, such cries would be a little silly. I don’t doubt that it would be batshit insane to actually become part of the Middle East, but that’s another issue.

  40. Florikurd? Kurdida?

  41. Before we embrace the idea of Kurdifornia, let’s consider the domestic political implications. With a population approximately equal to Wisconsin’s, they’d get about 10 electoral votes. The voters of Kurdifornia would probably prefer candidates who are friendly to the oil industry, strong on traditional values, and in favor of gun ownership. They’d probably also tend to be rather prejudiced against Middle Easterners (their own group excepted, of course).

    So we’re definitely talking red state.

  42. Pro Libertate,

    Well, many American states exist as a result of imperialism, so statehood by itself doesn’t preclude imperialism. Though in this case such a claim would be likely be more difficult to make.

    Factoid: In the 1840s or 1850s the Yucatan – or some elements of the society there – petitioned to become a U.S. state.

  43. Well, many American states exist as a result of imperialism, so statehood by itself doesn’t preclude imperialism. Though in this case such a claim would be likely be more difficult to make.

    You’re taking PL’s idea entirely too seriously.

  44. “First, many Sunni communities are rejecting AQ now, so our departure doesn’t seem to be necessary for this to happen.”

    Many more are not. It we want to see this happen to the extent necessary to actually deny these fish the water they swim in, out withdrawal is a necessary condition. The CIA has been telling us for years now that the American presence was the primary driver of the Sunni insurgency.

    “Second, I think its plausible that our pulling out will blow the lid off the civil war, which by definition is a fight between internal factions and not a fight with the US. In that case, why wouldn’t the Sunnis welcome AQ back as an ally against the Shiite death squads.”

    Agreed, when the Sunni part of the country is in an active civil war vs. the Shiites, it becomes very much in their interest to have the support of the foreign jihadists.

    But I find it unlikely that our withdrawal would “blow the lid off the civil war.” For one thing, that lid is pretty well blown.

    For another, our exit eliminates the primary driver for the Shiites to wage the civil war. It would allow those Sunnis whose opposition to the government is primarily a function of their opposition to the occupation to work towards a peace deal with the Shiite authorities. Keep in mind, Sunni politics there exists along a spectrum from Jihadist to Iraq nationalist, with those on the nationalist end – a majority – holding their nose and working with foreign jihadists only as a marriage of convenience. These people don’t want to seceed from Iraq and form a Sunni state, but to have a united Iraq. And they like furrners about as much as Tom Tancredo.

    It would also shift the balance of power within the Shiite community from the Sadrists to the Sistanis, by demonstrating that the political process, and not open rebellion, can produce the important results of getting the Americans to leave, as well as reducing the Salafist terrorism that’s been targetting their (Shiite) communities.

    These outcomes are possible if we announce our withdrawal, renounce our bases and oil claims, and start pulling out (as opposed to impossible if we continue our occupation and ugly urban counter-insurgency war), but they are by no means a sure thing. They’d need to be accompanied by a political/peace process among Iraqi factions, and among the regional troublemakers – er, neighbors – who have the capacity to either stir up or tamp down trouble in Iraq.

  45. thoreau,

    No thoreau, I’m engaging in a conversation with someone and making the comments I wish to make. Don’t try tell me what I can and cannot write.

  46. thoreau,

    Yes, you hit the nail on the head with that point. Kurdo Rico’s admission will depend much more on which way it is likely to vote than on any other criterion. I see it more like Texas, so I think we’re in agreement. I guess that means the Democrats will oppose admission.

    Grotius,

    Really? I knew about Sicily, but I somehow missed that one.

    My point about imperialism is that if the Kurds petitioned to join the U.S. and we accepted, it wouldn’t be a very strong claim against their admission. After all, they’d be American citizens participating in national elections, etc.

    How cool would it be for a Kurd to move from whipping boy to citizen of the Most Powerful Nation on Earth?? I envision lots of t-shirts with American flags being sold there.

  47. Pro Liberate,

    Yeah a number of Latin American polities petitioned for admittance at one time or another. I can’t say how serious the efforts were, though the Southern states prior to the Civil War took such things seriously as a means to get more slave states introduced into the Union.

    My point about imperialism is that if the Kurds petitioned to join the U.S. and we accepted, it wouldn’t be a very strong claim against their admission. After all, they’d be American citizens participating in national elections, etc.

    Oh yeah, in that case it would be a much harder argument to make.

  48. Would Kurdsconsin get dairy subsidies?

    I think baklava with a scoop of vanilla ice cream would make the perfect desert.

  49. “Second, I think its plausible that our pulling out will blow the lid off the civil war, which by definition is a fight between internal factions and not a fight with the US. In that case, why wouldn’t the Sunnis welcome AQ back as an ally against the Shiite death squads.”

    I will agree, RC, that the plan I outlined above would have been much more likely to work two or three years ago, when I first started suggesting it, back before the civil war blew up. But I’m still hopeful.

    If the sectarian violence we’re seeing in Iraq is primarily the result of “those people have been killing each other for centuries,” then ending our occupation is unlikely to have much of an effect. If, however, you agree with President Bush that is is primarily the result of the Shiites finally responding to Al Qaeda’s years-long campaign of anti-Shiite atrocities, then removing the political conditions that allow Al Qaeda to operate with some segments of the Sunni community is the key to ending the civil war, achieving a political deal between the sects, and putting an end to the Salafists in Iraq.

  50. Bill Kristol was never a communist. He was a second-generation neoconservative, a righty from the get go.

    He’s not much of a real righty, though. In his own words:

    … If you read the last few issues of the Weekly Standard, it has as much or more in common with the liberal hawks than with traditional conservatives. If we have to make common cause with the more hawkish liberals and fight the conservatives, that is fine with me, too.”

    http://acuf.org/issues/issue21/040929news.asp

  51. Well, thoreau, naturally I’d like to avoid exporting our less-than-ideal policies to New Kurdshire, but I suppose that’s to be expected. They would do well in getting MBE grants and opportunities, too, seeing how virtually all of the population would qualify for minority status.

  52. He’s a right, Rick, just not your kind of righty. You don’t make “common cause” with people who are on your team. If you don’t believe, me, google “neo-Reaganite,” and see whose statements come up.

    You’re in a civil war involving two factions of conservatives, Rick. If it’s any consolation, we liberals are rooting for your side.

    I remember when I thought that conservative realism was the most disgraceful, bloodthirsty foreign policy ideology in American political discourse. Man, was that stupid!

  53. Thanks to poor stewardship, our Republic is on the ropes. The navel gazers, however, still have our thrashing debt laden asses down as the Most Powerful Nation on Earth?.

    Last century’s hubris is starting to smell funny.

  54. Say, Seamus, how did Humphrey do in 1968?

    Isn’t that year generally held up as the election that broke the New Deal coalition, and started in motion that relignment that brought down the two-generation dominance of the Democratic Party, and made the Republicans the ruling party for a generation or two?

    Pardon me, but what the hell was your point? Mine was that previous support for the war didn’t stop any Democrats from switching to an antiwar stand (so that by 1972 even such cheerleaders for the war as HHH had done so), and that it didn’t seem to hurt them much in the polls. (Hubert had other problems–as did George McGovern; the reason for Nixon’s landslide wasn’t that McGovern had previously voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.) I suggested the obvious parallel with Republican former supporters of the Iraq war. (For that matter, parallels with *Democratic* former supporters of the Iraq war spring to mind.)

    Oh, and what does HHH’s fate in the 1968 election–when by October he had only allowed the tiniest bit of daylight to emerge between his position and LBJ’s on the war–have to do with anything, except that “staying the course” may be a prescription for political failure (which is consistent with my point)?

  55. “One side pulls plug = what, exactly? Not peace, is my guess.”

    No, there wouldn’t be peace, but at least we would no longer be involved, which we shouldn’t have been involved in the first place. This mess was caused by our involvement.

  56. “He wasn’t a convert, like Ted Danson.”

    Is Ted Danson a neoconservative convert?

  57. Seamus,

    “Mine was that previous support for the war didn’t stop any Democrats from switching to an antiwar stand (so that by 1972 even such cheerleaders for the war as HHH had done so), and that it didn’t seem to hurt them much in the polls.”

    My point was that the politics of “to switch of not to switch” severely damaged the ability of Democrats to win elections.

    Anyway, another reason your reasoning breaks down is that supporting the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was never, for Democrats of that era, a party-defining act, or the foundation around which their political identities were built. That was never a partisan divide, and Democrats like Humphrey never attempted to make it partisan divide. When the time came that Humphrey came out against the war, he had not spent the last six years defining opposition to the war with the opposition party, so switching his position was not seen by the party faithful as a betrayal, the way Republicans today see Republican opposition to the war as a stab in the back and capitulation to the Democrats.

    BTW, you are unnecessarily hostile.

  58. Rattlesnake Jake,

    My comparison was to Scientology – Ted Danson converted, while musician Beck was raised in the church by his parents.

  59. “Kurdlahoma? No, Kurdlahoma!”

    Watch it!

  60. Brand new state!
    Brand new state, gonna treat you great!
    Gonna give you earl, copper and minuruls,
    Pasture fer the cattle,
    Spinach and termayters!
    Flowers on the mountains where the June bugs zoom,
    Plen’y of air and plen’y of room,
    Plen’y of room to swing a rope!
    Plen’y of heart and plen’y of hope.
    Kurdlahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain
    And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet
    When the wind comes right behind the rain.

  61. “So we’re definitely talking red state.”

    Homa is Choctaw for red, so maybe Kurdhoma would be a good name.

  62. Am I too late to throw mine in?

    East Virginia.

  63. removing the political conditions that allow Al Qaeda to operate with some segments of the Sunni community is the key to ending the civil war, achieving a political deal between the sects, and putting an end to the Salafists in Iraq.

    I guess it could work that way. I just think its more likely that the removal of the US presence is likely to free up the two sides to really go at each other, given that they have a good start on it now. Our departure will weaken the government and ease the pressure on radical elements, opening the door for more violence. A more anarchic Iraq is a better place for AQ to operate.

    If we’re not there, who exactly is going to broker the peace? The Pakistanis?

  64. Am I too late to throw mine in?

    East Virginia.

    I think that name has been taken by the DC-statehood advocates.

  65. No, there wouldn’t be peace, but at least we would no longer be involved, which we shouldn’t have been involved in the first place.

    Just so our hands are clean. That’s the main thing.

    This mess was caused by our involvement.

    I submit that this mess is caused mainly by (1) the pervasive dysfunctions of Middle Eastern society and (2) Saddam’s destruction of social and moral norms in Iraq.

    When the Husseins lost control, there was gonna be some big ugly in Iraq. Having the US remove him obviously didn’t change that fact, but neither did it create it.

  66. ProGlib,

    Who has a better chance of actually achieving statehood?

  67. I submit that this mess is caused mainly by (1) the pervasive dysfunctions of Middle Eastern society and (2) Saddam’s destruction of social and moral norms in Iraq.

    When the Husseins lost control, there was gonna be some big ugly in Iraq. Having the US remove him obviously didn’t change that fact, but neither did it create it.

    Just so our hands are clean. that’s the main thing.

  68. Who has a better chance of actually achieving statehood?

    Come with me, highnumber, to the place where I do my legal analyses. Hmmm. Consider. The District of Columbia is Constitutionally “not a state”. Kurdecticut has no such limitation on its prospective statehood. Therefore, New Kurdico is the place to be if you want representation in the federal government.

  69. Here’s the real question: Would the people of Kurdegon even want this?

    I’m pretty sure that a lot of people over here would like the idea of permanent bases over there, as well as 10+ electoral votes from people who are pro-oil, pro-gun, and pro-traditional family. But would the people of Kurdaska want it?

  70. RC,

    “I guess it could work that way. I just think its more likely that the removal of the US presence is likely to free up the two sides to really go at each other, given that they have a good start on it now.”

    Maybe. It certainly would have been better to do this three years ago, before the Sunni insurgency gained strength, the foreign jihadists established a strong presence, and the civil war broke out.

    “Our departure will weaken the government and ease the pressure on radical elements, opening the door for more violence.” Hold on, there. Our departure would reduce the military force available to fight on behalf of the Iraqi government, weakening it in one sense. It would also dramatically change the political dynamics in Iraq, allow the government to cease being a “stooge of the Americans,” thereby enchancing its political standing among the Iraqi populace, particularly the Sunni nationalists and the most anti-American Shiites. Given the fact that the United States military can’t pacify Iraq, but it was pacified under other governments which had much less available firepower, it seems pretty clear to me that it is political legitimacy among the public, not the inability to use force, that is hobbling the Iraqi government.

    “A more anarchic Iraq is a better place for AQ to operate.” Agreed. If the civil war became larger, and the Shiites were unable to win it decisively, Al Qaeda might be able to operate at an even higher level. This is why the Baker Commission, the Murtha Plan, and my own ideas all involve keeping a decent force available for counter-terror operations, just in case. But I’ll point out that 1) our presence has done nothing to stop the civil war – it developed and has grown and grown right under our noses – so the “stay the course” strategy could just as well cause that greater chaos to come about, and 2) the Sunnis would probably not be able to fight the Shiites to the standstill, but would probably lose an all-out civil war quickly. In this sense, our presence is merely extending the chaos.

    “If we’re not there, who exactly is going to broker the peace? The Pakistanis?” Well, we would be there, at least for a while. A responsible withdrawal would take some time. Our efforts to further a peace/political process would have to be done in conjunction with that withdrawal.

  71. Would the people of Kurdegon even want this?

    In the early seventies, one of the Kurduckian leaders offered Nixon Kurdiana as a state. There is a Reason article from the last year or so that mentioned it. If Nixon had taken him (he is the father of one of the current Kurdabama pols, I forget which) up on it lots of things would have been different. Maybe not better, but different.

  72. thoreau,

    That’s an excellent question. I invite all our Kurdish readers to answer it.

    Until then, of course, let me arrogate myself into the role of prospective Kurdish citizen. Why yes, I’d like to be a citizen of the greatest economic and military power in the history of the entire planet. In other words, “Turkey who?”

    Also, we prefer Kurdizona.

  73. PL, my fear is that refugees from Kurdifornia will move to Kurdizona and try to recreate the nanny state that they fled.

    I wonder what they’ll say about cheap Arab labor crossing the border.

  74. I see. You fear some sort of inkurdsion.

    I, for one, would like to welcome the people of Kurdmont to the United States. I rather like the idea of us biting the bullet and having a state in the Middle East. What the heck? Beats the situation in Iraq, and the Kurds seem to be decent people all around. I think my GE stock would do well in building out their infrastructure, too.

  75. they voted for the war

    Ron Paul didn’t. He was against the war from the beginning, a few years before the Democrats got around to flip-flopping on the issue.

    While I don’t agree with him completely on his quasi-isolationist stance, his consistancy on this issue is a breath of clean oxygen. The number of consistant, honest and forthright congressmen can be counted on one hand (with enough fingers left over for a rude commentary on politics). Both Bush and Clinton have demonstrated that character DOES count, so let’s get someone in office who has enough personal integrity to sell character offsets to the rest of congress!

  76. I used to say that if I ever ran for Prez I would bring manifest destiny back, that I had a dream of America from sea to shining sea, from Baffin Bay to Tiera del Fuego.

    I guess I may need to modify to include Kirkuk.

  77. I suspect that those who think things won’t get any worse in Iraq after the only power capable of enforcing any kind of order leaves are in for a real surprise if we leave within the next year or so.

    Only time will tell, of course. Both sides are speculating about what would follow our withdrawal. It may well be that peace and harmony will break out all over after the US leaves. I just don’t see much reason to expect things to work out that way, given the dynamics in the region and in Iraq in particular.

  78. This is why the Baker Commission, the Murtha Plan, and my own ideas all involve keeping a decent force available for counter-terror operations, just in case.

    Available where? Deployable how? What constitutes “terror operations” that we should be “countering” as opposed to the civil war that we should be leaving strictly alone? And when we do “deploy” our “counter-terror operations”, won’t that convert the government of Iraq back into being American stooges and undo all the good work that was accomplished when we left?

  79. This thread highlights the problems of showing the Kurds the whey.

    [ducks]

  80. New Kurdswhey? Isn’t that taken?

  81. “If we’re not there, who exactly is going to broker the peace? The Pakistanis?”

    How is it our business? Let them work it out themselves. You might say “We created the mess, so we need to finish it.” How long would that take? How much more money would we waste? How many more of our military personel will be killed and physically and mentally crippled for life?

  82. “I submit that this mess is caused mainly by (1) the pervasive dysfunctions of Middle Eastern society and (2) Saddam’s destruction of social and moral norms in Iraq.”

    True, Saddam was a bastard, but so was the Shah of Iran who we brought to power and propped up. At least Saddam represented a balance point with Iran. Now a vacuum has been created in which the Shiites in Iraq and Iran will control the Middle East. One war leads to another. Now the US will have to take on Iran since they have grown to be a bigger menace in the area since Saddam is gone.

  83. “When the Husseins lost control, there was gonna be some big ugly in Iraq. Having the US remove him obviously didn’t change that fact, but neither did it create it.”

    So it was up to us to spend over $400 billion and lose over 3000 young men to knock out Saddam before his time.

  84. RC,

    The point I’ve been trying to get across is that “should we stay or should we go” isn’t the only variable here. There is also the matter of HOW we go. You assume that a hasty, wash-our-hands-of-the-whole-mess bug-out is the only alternative to staying the course, but that is not so. I’m quite confident that, if we stay in Iraq for another five years until a majority of Republicans turn against the war, that is exactly how our exit would be accomplished, but that is not what I am arguing for. As a matter of fact, I have been arguing for a withdrawal on our terms for the past few years largely because it has a greater chance of producing an acceptable outcome than if we “hang in there” like Nixon from 1968 onward. You, and your Iraq Hawk ilk, are just as determined not to let the country fall to our enemies and descend into chaos as the people who ended up flying helicopters off the embassy roof in Saigon.

    “Available where? Deployable how?” Those are details that can be answered once the important decision has been taken. Preliminarily, I’d say Kurdistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and on ships in the Gulf and Med.

    “What constitutes “terror operations” that we should be “countering” as opposed to the civil war that we should be leaving strictly alone?” Efforts to organize Al Qaedist operations and bases. You remember, the actual war on terror? Look at the Phillipines, Somalia, the missile strike in Yemen, Clinton’s old missile strikes on bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan – the use of the military to disrupt the operations of international terrorist groups.

    ‘And when we do “deploy” our “counter-terror operations”, won’t that convert the government of Iraq back into being American stooges and undo all the good work that was accomplished when we left?’

    There might be some such response at the margins – I’m sure the hardcore jihadists would attempt to rally support from this – but the effect would be dramatically different than having 150,000 American soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder with the government’s forces, and putting their filthy infidel hands up under the chadors of Iraqi grannies.

  85. Our departure will weaken the government and ease the pressure on radical elements, opening the door for more violence.

    Are you really that clueless. The government is the a full-fledged party to the violence.

  86. “When the Husseins lost control, there was gonna be some big ugly in Iraq. Having the US remove him obviously didn’t change that fact, but neither did it create it.”

    that’s one way to put it.

    another would be “we caused this shit to happen by invading when and how we did, and under false pretenses.”

  87. Hold on there. Would every single possible end of Saddam’s reign have involved disbanding the Iraqi state’s security forces – all of them, including the army and border patrol – so that thousands of foreign jihadists would flood into the country and deliberately provoke a civil war by targetting Shiite civilians in a years-long campaign aimed at provoking counter-atrocities?

    Let’s not forget that for two years after our invasion, there was no civil war. Even as Al Qaeda tried to provoke one, statesmen like Sistani managed to hold the country together by their fingertips, restraining their people from taking the revenge that Al Qaeda so desperately wanted them to take.

  88. My point was that the politics of “to switch of not to switch” severely damaged the ability of Democrats to win elections.

    Could I ask what “the politics of ‘to switch of not to switch'” is supposed to mean, or would that be unnecessarily hostile? (Even if it was supposed to read “to switch *or* not to switch,” it doesn’t make a lot of sense.)

  89. I think the U.S. better act quickly to extend statehood to the Kurds, else Canada gets involved. Nova Kurdia? No way, Dudley.

  90. Would every single possible end of Saddam’s reign have involved disbanding the Iraqi state’s security forces – all of them, including the army and border patrol – so that thousands of foreign jihadists would flood into the country and deliberately provoke a civil war by targetting Shiite civilians in a years-long campaign aimed at provoking counter-atrocities?

    Probably not. But any real end to totalitarian control of the Iraqi state was going to set off conflict betweein the Shiites and the Sunnis, with neighbors weighing in as they saw fit. So, yeah, the end of totalitarian Iraq was going to be ugly, in the absence of a truly unprecedented outbreak of restraint and statesmanship by people (Middle Eastern and UN potentates alike) not prone to such behavior.

    Let’s not forget that for two years after our invasion, there was no civil war.

    You don’t suppose our presence had anything to do with that?

    Even as Al Qaeda tried to provoke one, statesmen like Sistani managed to hold the country together by their fingertips, restraining their people from taking the revenge that Al Qaeda so desperately wanted them to take.

    And that situation could not go on indefinitely. It was inherently unstable. Sooner or later it was going to resolve toward either a stable, civil Iraq or more violence. God knows that we and our Iraqi buddies blew some chances to tip it our way, but we did.

    So now what are you going to do to put the genie back in the bottle? I notice you didn’t really answer my questions about the degree to which we would be continuing to fight in Iraq and on whose side. Don’t you think that matters more than a little?

  91. Cheney talked about what a crazy idea it would be to get bogged down in all of the inevitable internecine conflict back after Gulf War I (when asked why we didn’t topple Hussein). That’s a damned good point–he should’ve heeded his own advice.

    Settling things down in Iraq is neither impossible nor undesirable. But it will be quite costly and time consuming. And I think there’s little question that the United States has lost much interest in continuing the occupation, rightly or wrongly. So, what next?

    Kurdaware?

  92. PL-

    To take your mostly tongue-in-cheek suggestion even further, how about granting US statehood to each Iraqi province? There are 18 of them, meaning 36 Senators to defend the interests of religious conservatives, oil companies, and gun owners.

    Instead of fighting each other for control of their country, they could unite to control ours.

    Um, on second thought…

  93. …one of the Kurduckian leaders…

    You haven’t lived until you’ve had Kurducken.

  94. “Ron Paul didn’t. He was against the war from the beginning, a few years before the Democrats got around to flip-flopping on the issue.”
    Yeah, but like Janet Jackson might ask, what has he done for us lately? I don’t remember seeing his name on recent bills to stymie Bush’s Iraq goals. Now that something can actually be done the only two GOPers with any convictions and sense are Gilchrest and Jones (but I would have guessed that was the correct porportion of the GOP with sense of convictions prior to those votes)…

  95. No, thoreau, I don’t like that idea. The Kurds seem kind of like the Iranians pre-revolution–sorta pro-Western or, at least, willing to learn. One new state would be manageable, and we’d get creative points from the rest of the world.

    And Kurdigan would just piss off the rest of the Middle East. I like that idea.

  96. And Kurdigan would just piss off the rest of the Middle East.

    Yeah, I’d get pissed off if I was wearing a cardigan sweater in the hot desert climate.

  97. “the only two GOPers with any convictions and sense are Gilchrest and Jones”

    Ken, you obviously didn’t see the Republican debate. Every chance Ron Paul got, he criticized the Iraq war.

  98. Libertarians can be a diverse lot, but I’ve been subsribing to Reason and hitting this blog for a while and it seems like most favor less restrictions on campaign finance and adverstising, having faith in consumers to do the right thing in the face of all that and that most also have a great deal more respect and deference to the wealthy and business interests in the nation, yet easily the most ideologically consistent libertarian in the GOP primary we have had in years, Ron Paul, is about to get buried due to a lack of advertising and elite support (and the converse for his major opponents). Is that irony, or what? That doesn’t shake anybody’s laissez faire tree here? Isn’t that a proof of the obvious direct nefarious effects of money and advertising? Of a need for skepticism concerning consumers and markets (in this case political consumers and markets, but surely the effects of media and adverising can skew commercial markets just as easily [think Justin Timberlake outselling Prince]).

  99. Don’t ask me why, but I suspect that the inhabitants of America’s newest state are master punsters. There’s something punny about their very name.

  100. Yeah Jake, but as far as I remember, when it came time to VOTE, to condemn the surge, to deny funds unless there was a deadline, and to only fund through July, the Honorable Rep. Paul seemed awol. I don’t doubt his courage, he’s bucked his party before. But his excuses were beyond goofy and were morally loathesome. People are dying here daily and the US treasury is being drained by this fools mission.

  101. “Could I ask what “the politics of ‘to switch of not to switch'” is supposed to mean, or would that be unnecessarily hostile?”

    You’re kidding, right? You wrote two entire posts about the political effect of Democrats switching their support for the war, and the political bind it put them in, and now you don’t realize what the subject of my comments in response to you were?

    OK, the phrase ‘the politics of “to swtich of not to switch”‘ refers to the point you brought up about Hubert Humphrey and the Democrats switching, or not, their position on the Vietnam War.

  102. “That doesn’t shake anybody’s laissez faire tree here? Isn’t that a proof of the obvious direct nefarious effects of money and advertising?”

    As much as libertarians may agree with Ron Paul’s views, it would be naive to think that lack of corporate sponsorship is the only thing that’s keeping him out of the White House. Do you honestly think his ideas would resonate with the majority of the American voting populace if only he had more exposure? People of all ideological ilks seem to subscribe to the same arrogant idea: “EVERYONE would think like me if only I had enough media exposure.”

  103. RC,

    “But any real end to totalitarian control of the Iraqi state was going to set off conflict betweein the Shiites and the Sunnis, with neighbors weighing in as they saw fit.”

    Conflict between competing interests, yes. Breaking out into civil war? No, not necessarily. There are many ways such conflicts could play out; a civil war characterized by the mass murder of civilians only happened when a third party spent years working to provoke them.

    “You don’t suppose our presence had anything to do with that?” No, our presence had nothing to do with avoiding the civil war. Our presence provoked the civil war, by making it impossible for the central government to gain the support of Sunni nationalists. In case you didn’t notice, nothing we have been doing has worked to alleviate the civil war.

    “And that situation could not go on indefinitely. It was inherently unstable. Sooner or later it was going to resolve toward either a stable, civil Iraq or more violence. God knows that we and our Iraqi buddies blew some chances to tip it our way, but we did.” Yes, we did. We could have removed what the CIA, and all 16 American intelligence agencies, have been telling us since 2003 was the major driver of the Sunni insurgency – our presence. But one half – the shrinking half – of our political culture refused to do so, and is refusing still.

    “So now what are you going to do to put the genie back in the bottle?” I’ve answered that already.

    “I notice you didn’t really answer my questions about the degree to which we would be continuing to fight in Iraq and on whose side.” Yes, I have.

    If you want to go back through my comments and find the answer, feel free, but I’m going to repeat myself.

  104. joe, we’re waiting. Waiting for you to repeat yourself, as promised.

    I, of course, drone on and on about topics and won’t let go.

    Nekurdska.

  105. Pensylkurdia. Or Kurdsylvania.

  106. Kurdwa.

  107. Maybe I’m a homer, but I like Illikurd.

    The state troll would be Kurdobold.

  108. Darth Vader. Only you could be Kurdobold.

  109. thoreau, you’re the Physicist. Is this thread what they call degenerate matter?

  110. I SEE THAT JOE FAILED IN HIS PROMISE TO REPEAT HIMSELF. I CONSIGN HIM TO THE HELL OF REVOLUTION NUMBER 9.

  111. What hell?! Best Beatles song.

    #9….#9…..#9…..#9…#9….#9….#9…#9…..#9…#9….#9…

  112. AS I SAID, THE HELL OF REVOLUTION NUMBER 9. BUT URKOBOLD LEFT OUT PART OF THE CURSE–YOU ARE COMMITTED TO THE FLAMES WHILE IN THE ETERNAL PRESENCE OF YOKO.

  113. pssst, Urkobold refers to himself in the third person.

    jussoyakno.

  114. jus soy, ak no?

    Just so you know.

  115. joe:

    You’re in a civil war involving two factions of conservatives, Rick. If it’s any consolation, we liberals are rooting for your side.

    I look at it as rather more of a civil war between two types of Republicans, our side being Republicans whose ideology reflects the limited government conservative wisdom that traces back to the founders of our republic. For the other side, the neocons; limited government is, at best, not important.

    And yes joe, I certainly take heart that you’re on our side. Also, if the Dems take the White House, I’ll be rooting for Kucinich for Secretary of Defense or State. (Of course I said rooting, not holding my breath)

  116. BTW, there’re more than a few Dems who are rooting for the neocons to prevail and for the war to continue so that they can run against it again.

  117. “#9….#9…..#9…..#9…#9….#9….#9…#9…..#9…#9….#9.”

    Aaaarrggghhhh! Make the hurting stop!

  118. Let me tell you how it will be…there’s 1 for you and 19 for me cuz I’m the tax man Yeaeaeah Im the tax man…

  119. …I was inspired to do a tax protest.

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