Let Me Get An Encore, Do You Want More?

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The big news in this sleepy (and in D.C., sunless) August week is the return of gentleman Ari Fleischer at the helm of an astroturf (i.e., fake grassroots) group called Freedom's Watch. Its goal: To spend $15 million (they don't have to tell us where they got it, but probably not from Taking Heat's gross receipts) in TV ads in Republican districts, shoring up support for the Iraq War.

But no one's pointing out that, well, the same thing was tried just last year. Progress for America Voter Fund, the pro-GOP 527 that had run successful ads boosting Bush over Kerry by pointing out that Bush liked to hug children, started a front group called "Midwest Heroes" and ran commercials with brave soldiers and grieving families pleading with Congress to keep the war going. Here was one of them:

This was meant to put Democrats on the spot for their shifting anti-war positions. And then in November Rep. Mark Kennedy—the best or second-best candidate the GOP had recruited for a Senate race—lost by 20 points, and the GOP lost one House seat to an anti-war Democrat, Tim Walz. All of which is to say that actual victory in Iraq or a 180 degree turn against the war are really the only things that could save the GOP.

UPDATE: From Jake Tapper's report:

"There's been a three-year silence from conservatives and others who believe in peace through strength," Fleischer told ABC News. "The cavalry is coming, we're going to help to get that message out," he said.

Yes, a difficult couple of years, what with anti-war pundits being promoted to plum jobs across the media and pro-war Americans shunned from polite society and smeared for "hating the troops."

NEXT: Death by Altruism

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  1. What is this, HD Youtube? It looks really good for some reason.

  2. The War Party is in full Mondale mode.

    People just aren’t hearing our message. We just need better spokesmen, because most Americans really do agree with us. Only a truly radical fringe wants to (starve black people/reform welfare)(surrender to bin Laden/withdraw from Iraq).

  3. We have not yet got Bin Ladin, that is why we cannot cut and run, we have got to stay the course in Iraq and get Bin Ladin and all the other Iraqis, who, like Saddam Hussein were responsible for 911. I am sure all the people who lost loved ones in Iraq want to be sure the war continues. Bush is the best president because he is fighting for our freedoms in Iraq and fixing our broken economy and making jobs and protecting our freedoms. The terrorists hate us because of our freedoms. Let freedom ring. We have got to continue the war and start wars with any country that might want to harm us.

  4. When libertarians start talking about free speech as “fake” and “astroturf,” then we’ve really got problems. There is nothing fake about this organization’s speech, there is nothing fake about the voters they intend to reach, and if those voters are actually persuaded to contact members of congress, they will be “grassroots,” not “astroturf.” See http://www.campaignfreedom.org/blog/ID.161/blog_detail.asp. It is not necessary to oppose the war by giving credence to the formulations of those who would love to restrict our political speech.

  5. Fair point, Brad, but I’m not commenting on their right to be heard. There is a difference between a grassroots group like the Ron Paul internet campaign or MoveOn — which both started as disconnected, continent-divided people connecting and coordinating — and these groups, which are based in DC, collect money from the typical political donors, and have powerhouse Republican figures as their spokespeople.

  6. Yeah, I’m not sure how “grassroots” any organization is, once it hits the national level. I doubt there’s much difference between an organization that started out as grassroots but got co-opted by X later on and an organization that was, well, co-opted from the outset. Except that I think the latter doesn’t usually succeed very well, having a kind of weird fa?ade feel.

  7. “180 degree turn in around in the War.”

    Huh?

    There’s been an incredibly low number of casualties in the War in Iraq. Democracy is flourishing. Anbar Province is now almost entirely safe. Sunni leaders Iraq-wide are now siding with American forces against Al Qaeda.

    Nobody has noticed this, but all this has occured since Zarcawi’s death. Before his death, things were a bit dicey. But since we bombed the shit out of him in that Date Palm field, there’s been a “180 degree turn around.”

    Some at Reason need to get with the program and stop bad mouthing American troops and the Surge.

  8. David, what do you suggest?

    Those of us out here in the hinterlinds, don’t have the money or organization to take on the Monster Mainstream Media (CNN, USA Today, NY Times, Time, Newsweek, ect…)

    If a DC-based group has the funds and organization to take them on, more power to them.

    I fail to see how this group is suspicious just because they are based in DC. Doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot of support here in the Middle of the Country.

  9. When the former white house press secretary is the founder of the group, I think that it is safe to say that it is not a “grassroots organization”.

    Watching Ari in that interview took months or years of my life, and I voted Bush in 2000, just like every other good little infantryman.

    The sheer line of bullshit he was trotting out would have choked a yak, I really enjoyed watching him get skewered on HardBall.

    Dondero, check the polls and I think you will find that this endless war is losing support everywhere, even in the Middle of the Country.

    People here are much more likely to have children fighting in this endless, pointless, and expensive war, and when you have blood on the line you are less likely to blindly follow the party line.

  10. And nobody even invoked the summoning spell!

  11. “All of which is to say that actual victory in Iraq or a 180 degree turn against the war are really the only things that could save the GOP”

    Yeah, because evidently the war has taken such a horrendous turn for the worse in the past nine months, that the Republicans who did not get voted out in November of 2006 are in a ton of trouble a year from now. Got any other bullshit you wanna peddle.
    If you want the Republicans to lose in 2008 because you are against the war, just have the balls to come out and say it. Spare us the snarky hit-pieces on war-supporting Republicans
    and their supposed “astroturf” origins.

  12. “Only a truly radical fringe wants to (starve black people/reform welfare)(surrender to bin Laden/withdraw from Iraq”

    Even considering the source, the above sentence is absolutely idiotic.

  13. Does it really fucking matter if it’s “grassroots” or not? It’s like arguing the difference between idiots and morons.

  14. BTW, I think dumderoo falls in one category and Edward in the other…I am just not sure which.

  15. “Dondero, check the polls and I think you will find that this endless war is losing support everywhere, even in the Middle of the Country.”

    Actually, polls have shown an increase in support for the war. The NY Times was so shocked, they commissioned another poll and got the same results. Multiple Gallup polls have shown an increase in support as well. I hardly doubt that Democrats would be calling for more troops as did Obama recently, nor would we be seeing stories about how Democrats had to “recalibrate” their message on the war if it were becoming even more unpopular. Try again.

    “WASHINGTON – The Iraqi government will become more precarious over the next six to 12 months and its security forces have not improved enough to operate without outside help, intelligence analysts conclude in a new National Intelligence Estimate released Friday.”

    This might actually prove whatever point it is you are trying to make if the US were pulling out now, but we arent so the whole “operate without outside help” part is moot. Furthermore, no matter smart they are, I highly doubt these people can see 12 months into the future. The same jackasses on this site were, and still are, righting snark-filled tirades about how the surge wouldn’t work either, and we all know how right they were on that one.

  16. “BTW, I think dumderoo falls in one category and Edward in the other…I am just not sure which.”

    Actually gauging by the “quality of your “arguments”, I would say you have already taken up all the room in both categories. Next time, you might actually want to, you know, make some sort of cogent argument instead of just calling people names.

  17. While political gains are not coming fast enough, even Democrats are admitting the surge is working. Today on cspan a camara rolled with a platoon 15 miles west of Bagdhad. Reporter Doug Grindal claims IEDs have dropped from up to forty to a couple a week. Mostly because the Sunnis have switched to the government side, and are giving intelligence to our soldiers. While the liberatarians around here will never admit we can win a war, middle America can look at the facts and come to the right conclusions.

  18. “Yes, a difficult couple of years, what with anti-war pundits being promoted to plum jobs across the media…”

    Indeed, because we all know how stridently pro-war the majority of the mainstream media is.

  19. Edward,

    The whole point of the surge as I recall was to give the Iraqi government breathing space to enact the reforms, etc. that it needs to in order to government, military, etc. that will allow them to fight the war themselves. The surge as far as I can tell has not accomplished that primary goal.

  20. If Edward stood on Dondero’s shoulders, they would form a Voltron neo-con. I would watch that cartoon.

  21. Edward,

    BTW, you are more than welcome to prove me in error.

  22. Edward,

    “Quality” of what “arguments”? I’ve made none in this thread, and in other threads I usually have substantive discussions with others. If I don’t, I usually don’t pipe up. Except in this case, which I felt, and still do, it would be fun to call you names 🙂

  23. Also I would note that the reason they call it a “surge” is in part because it is unsustainable. The troop levels we have in Iraq today cannot be maintained past next spring.

    So if the surge cannot be maintained and Iraq doesn’t establish all the goals it was supposed to during the period of the “surge,” well, you get my point.

  24. Syloson of Samos’ supposed goal for the war is so convoluted it couldn’t possibly be achieved. Maybe your point could be made better with a readable sentence.

  25. “The whole point of the surge as I recall was to give the Iraqi government breathing space to enact the reforms, etc. that it needs to in order to government, military, etc. that will allow them to fight the war themselves. The surge as far as I can tell has not accomplished that primary goal.”

    The surge strategy was just recently undertaken. I assumed most people on this site were intelligent enough to realize reform would take quite awhile, especially when one considers the Iraqis have no experience with representative government. I obviously assumed wrong. BTW, it is hard for me to prove you wrong given the fact I can’t see the future. And since you can’t either, it is quite asinine for you to act like you have check-mated anyone on this. Perhaps you should add a yet to the end of your quote.

  26. Mr. Ard,

    SOS was referring to the goal of the surge, not the war, for what it’s worth…

  27. “If Edward stood on Dondero’s shoulders, they would form a Voltron neo-con. I would watch that cartoon.”

    Does anyone on this site bother to make a real fucking argument?

  28. Should say “goal for the SURGE”, oops.

  29. “The troop levels we have in Iraq today cannot be maintained past next spring. ”

    Thanks for the info, general. I will pass this knowledge on to the president.

    “So if the surge cannot be maintained and Iraq doesn’t establish all the goals it was supposed to during the period of the “surge,” well, you get my point”

    As I said before, unless you have a crystal ball, you have rebutted no one.

  30. Edward,

    The surge strategy was just recently undertaken.

    Acytually, you are arguing that it is working, right? Yet there has been no progress regarding the primary goal of the surge. And it has been in place for months now.

    As for the state of my intelligence, that really has nothing to do with this. My criticism is quite legitimate on its face.

    James Ard,

    It was clear enough for Edward to figure out.

  31. James Ard,

    Should say “goal for the SURGE”, oops.

    Ha ha ha ha!

    Edward,

    Thanks for the info, general. I will pass this knowledge on to the president.

    As I recall, this is what the U.S. military has stated on a number of occassions. Do prove me wrong if you can.

    As I said before, unless you have a crystal ball, you have rebutted no one.

    Given the generally very poor prediction record of the majority of the pro-war crowd I think my judgments as good as any on the matter of the future of Iraq.

  32. “Acytually, you are arguing that it is working, right? Yet there has been no progress regarding the primary goal of the surge. And it has been in place for months now. ”

    I think most intelligent people realize that it takes more than a few months to build a democratic government from the ground-up. Furthermore, we are only now starting to see military gains from the surge. To imply that we should have a government as functional as those in the west already is asinine. If the situation has not changed in six months, I will do what the majority of people on this site can never seem to do, admit I am wrong.

  33. “As I recall, this is what the U.S. military has stated on a number of occassions. Do prove me wrong if you can.

    If you are going to make the assertion, it is your responsibility to cite the evidence.

    “Given the generally very poor prediction record of the majority of the pro-war crowd I think my judgments as good as any on the matter of the future of Iraq”

    Given that 99% of the individuals on this site insisted, and are still insisting despite overwhelming evidence, that the surge would not produce results, I will stand by what I have said. Again, the notion that you have won an argument when it will be months before the outcome is determined is foolish.

  34. Edward,

    I think most intelligent people realize that it takes more than a few months to build a democratic government from the ground-up.

    The U.S. has been in Iraq over four years now.

    To imply that we should have a government as functional as those in the west already is asinine.

    I haven’t implied anything like that of course. What is asinine is that you claim that I am implying such.

    Look, there were goals put prior to the “surge” which have not been met. Those goals were created by our own government. Those are QUITE OBVIOUSLY the things that I am talking about.

  35. Edward,

    If you are going to make the assertion, it is your responsibility to cite the evidence.

    It is a well known fact. It is one of the reasons why they call it a surge, because it cannot be maintained.

    Given that 99% of the individuals on this site insisted, and are still insisting despite overwhelming evidence, that the surge would not produce results, I will stand by what I have said.

    I have no idea whether 99% of the people on this blog made such a claim. I know what I have written: namely that it would make no ultimate substantive difference in the overall situation.

    Again, the notion that you have won an argument when it will be months before the outcome is determined is foolish.

    I never made any claim such as that either. Who the are arguing with? Me?

  36. Edward,

    Most Americans want us out of Iraq. An even higher percentage of Iraqi’s want us out of Iraq. The Iraqi government wants us out of Iraq. Considering our goal of bring democracy to Iraq, why not respect the wishes of the Iraqi people and let them deal their problems, themselves?

  37. “Yet there has been no progress regarding the primary goal of the surge”

    The primary goal of the surge was to improve the security situation to give the government some room to breath, and that is it. This is occuring. The rest of the responsibility lies with the Iraqi government. This is not postwar Japan and Gen. Petraus is not Douglas MacArthur

  38. Edward,

    The primary goal of the surge was to improve the security situation to give the government some room to breath, and that is it.

    Now this has turned into a debate over definitions. If the Iraqi government doesn’t get its act together then the surge has failed. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether the security situation briefly improved in some areas of the country or not.

  39. Les, I don’t know when the last Iraqi poll was taken, but I would bet the Sunnis that just changed sides might also change their vote on our staying.

  40. “I never made any claim such as that either. Who the are arguing with? Me?”

    So now you are denying that you said the surge will not work within the next year? I must have been reading the arguments of the other Syloson of Samos.

    “It is a well known fact. ”

    If it is so well known, you will have no problem citing a source instead of asking me to do it.

    “The U.S. has been in Iraq over four years now”

    Given that we were talking about the surge, I thought it was obvious what I meant. I was obviously wrong.

  41. Les,

    “Stability” and an end to inter-ethnic bloodshed seems to be goal these days. That can be done without having a democracy.

  42. “it doesn’t matter whether the security situation briefly improved in some areas of the country…”

    I love the use of the past tense here. The views on this site have so ossified, people absolutely refuse to accept that the situation on the ground is improving. When even Obama and Hillary are taking the opposite view, perhaps you should examine whether you are wrong.
    We are not going to see improvements in the government within a few weeks of a marked improvement in the military situation, as a result of the recent surge. For christ sake, the government has been adjourned for a month. This is going to be my last post on this matter as I am having to write the same thing over and over.

  43. Oh noes, Edward has marked me as unserious in between erecting strawmen and calling H&R commenters stupid. I’m turning red, for reals.

  44. James, Syloson,

    Good points, both.

  45. If it’s any consolation, rho, I thoroughly enjoyed your comment 😀

  46. “Oh noes, Edward has marked me as unserious in between erecting strawmen”

    If by erecting strawmen you mean “replying directly to what someone else has wrote”, I am guilty as charged.
    When we have a person that made a comment about a neoconservative voltron calling someone stupid, we have a little bit of a pot and kettle situation here.

  47. Edward,

    So now you are denying that you said the surge will not work within the next year? I must have been reading the arguments of the other Syloson of Samos.

    No, I never claimed to have “won the argument.”

    Why is this so personal? Why are seemingly half of your comments directed to something about me?

    Given that we were talking about the surge, I thought it was obvious what I meant. I was obviously wrong.

    The surge is part of an overall process that includes the years it preceding it. I judge the nature of the project in part in light of that previous time period.

    If it is so well known, you will have no problem citing a source instead of asking me to do it.

    Because it is so well known. But here you go:

    WASHINGTON — The U.S armed forces will begin pulling out the additional troops they sent to Iraq as part of the so-called surge next spring and will have completed their withdrawal by next August, the No. 2 American commander in Iraq said Friday.

    Military officials have acknowledged that maintaining the surge after spring would be impossible under current Pentagon regulations requiring that troops be given one year at home between combat deployments.

  48. When even Obama and Hillary are taking the opposite view, perhaps you should examine whether you are wrong.

    No, no, see most of us here don’t trust the government to be accurate or competent or even honest, no matter who wants to run it or what they want to do, so appealing to opinions of politicians certainly isn’t the way to go. I don’t know what the government has done to deserve such trust from you.

  49. Edward,

    As a parting shot I encourge you to read the entire article which I pulled the quotes from.

  50. “WASHINGTON — The U.S armed forces will begin pulling out the additional troops they sent to Iraq as part of the so-called surge next spring and will have completed their withdrawal by next August, the No. 2 American commander in Iraq said Friday.

    Military officials have acknowledged that maintaining the surge after spring would be impossible under current Pentagon regulations requiring that troops be given one year at home between combat deployments.”

    Thank you. You have me beat on that point.

    “No, no, see most of us here don’t trust the government to be accurate or competent or even honest, no matter who wants to run it or what they want to do, so appealing to opinions of politicians certainly isn’t the way to go. I don’t know what the government has done to deserve such trust from you”

    It is not a question of trusting them. I cited them because the evidence of progress is such that they have finally dropped the charade that it is not, thus conceding they may not get the political traction out of the issue they once thought they would.

    “The surge is part of an overall process that includes the years it preceding it. I judge the nature of the project in part in light of that previous time period.”

    Your arguments certainly seemed definitive in stating that the surge was not working and would not work in the future. If I misunderstood your arguments, I apologize.

  51. “I must have been reading the arguments of the other Syloson of Samos.”

    Hai Eddi!

    You must of, cuz the newest version of Jean Bart is only a few days old…

    oh, and you need to return the warranty card for the Swedish Penis Pump you purchased from my shop, or else when you blow it out again, I can’t replace it free of charge.

  52. “Edward,

    As a parting shot I encourge you to read the entire article which I pulled the quotes from.”

    The military situation is improving on the ground and as such I feel we should give the Iraqi government a little more time to its act together. If such improvements do not materialize, then I will change my mind on the issue.

  53. I think most intelligent people realize that it takes more than a few months to build a democratic government from the ground-up.

    A few months? Are people really so easy to manipulate with “surge” rhetoric? Edward, we’ve been at this for about 4 and 1/2 years. We’ve been told countless times throughout this period that our strategy is evolving and the tide of the war is turning — by Petraeus, no less (and well before the “surge”). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A49283-2004Sep25.html. Yes, people are rightfully skeptical about a “change” in tactics that represents a marginal tweak in our strategy (at best).

    Why should we wait for this new “change” in strategy to produce results? And how long should we wait? If this fails — even by your metrics — will we be greeted by yet another “new strategy” that warrants an additional several years of patience? All of your “crystal ball” comments would be relevant if this were our first week or even year of war. You don’t need to a crystal ball to evaluate the progress of this war over the last half-decade.

  54. Oops, I’ve inverted my tags.

  55. When we have a person that made a comment about a neoconservative voltron calling someone stupid, we have a little bit of a pot and kettle situation here.

    Edward,

    It’s called humor at the expense of others…

    You might want to try it…or not…

  56. “Hai Eddi!

    You must of, cuz the newest version of Jean Bart is only a few days old…

    oh, and you need to return the warranty card for the Swedish Penis Pump you purchased from my shop, or else when you blow it out again, I can’t replace it free of charge.”

    I must confess I have no idea what you are talking about. I have only been posting on this site for a week or so, so if this an inside joke, I plead ignorance. Sorry.

  57. Chris S.,

    Actually, H&R has gone to italics for all comments apparently.

  58. Damn, now I need to borrow joe’s copy of Urkobold’s HTML Tags for Dummies 🙁

  59. Oh, ahhhahahaha….redemption!!! Whew!!

  60. Except for comments which are tagged with italics?

  61. VM,

    Go eat a pig nuckle or something.

  62. “Why should we wait for this new “change” in strategy to produce results? And how long should we wait”

    As this strategy seems to be producing the intended results, I believe it should be given time to work. Leaving Iraq before there is some semblance of stability is not a viable option, in my opinion.

  63. hokae.

    *brays happily. Ambles off

  64. “Why should we wait for this new “change” in strategy to produce results? And how long should we wait”

    It is not so much a change in strategy as it is the belated recognition that we needed these additional troops there all along. As for being manipulated by the surge rhetoric, there seems to be quite a bit of evidence that the surge is, in fact, working. Will this produce the results we want? Neither I, nor anyone else can say at this point. I prefer to wait awhile longer; you obviously take a different view and that is your right.

  65. And, Edward, if you really have been posting on this site for only a week, please forgive my comment about you and dumderro…as there has been an Edward on this site for much longer who seems to make a concerted effort to fall into one of those categories.

  66. If you want the Republicans to lose in 2008 because you are against the war, just have the balls to come out and say it.

    I want the Republicans to lose in 2008 because I am against the war.

  67. what Jimmydageek said.

    d’accord, M. Bart. D’accord. je le b?fre et je me le r?jouis

    🙂

  68. D’accord. je le b?fre et je me le r?jouis

    “Agreed. I stuff it and I myself rejoice it.” ??

    Oh, my!

  69. kiss kiss pig’s knuckle hello toilet hug kitten

  70. It is not a question of trusting them. I cited them because the evidence of progress is such that they have finally dropped the charade that it is not, thus conceding they may not get the political traction out of the issue they once thought they would.

    But if you cite evidence from the military that they’re “making progress,” then it’s a given that you trust the military to objectively measure the progress. I don’t think it’s possible to do so, because of ever-changing conditions and the nature of insurgent warfare.

    It is not so much a change in strategy as it is the belated recognition that we needed these additional troops there all along.

    I believe we’ve actually had this “surge” number of troops in Iraq at several stages since the war began.

  71. Oh, look, how cute. The warbloggers still don’t know the difference between tactical successes in specific locations and an advancement of a strategy for an entire nation.

    Sure, we’ve heard the same line of bull after the tactical successes of taking Baghdad, capturing Hussein, killing Zarqawi, killing Saddam’s sons, and recapturing Falluja, but this time is different.

    Cripes, geniuses, it’s 2007. You still haven’t realized that killing bad guys doesn’t bring us closer to a stable, democratic, American-allied Iraq?

  72. MONDALE!!!!!!

    MONDALE!!!!!!!!

    WOMBY MONDALE!

  73. You can make the enemy put his head down for a little while if you fire off enough rounds. That doesn’t mean you’re winning.

    If his keeping his head down allows your guys to around side of him, that might help you win. But noting that you succeeded in getting to keep his head down is not an observation that your efforts are working, or that you are any closer to winning.

    The President – you might remember him, he’s the one who ordered the surge and defined its purpose – was quite clear about its purpose: to produce a stable-enough security situation that the conditions necessary for success in Iraq (a political deal, made possible because of the new breathing room) would come to pass.

    And now ever little Eddi, who started off the thread trupetting its success, has been reduced to pointing at the Iraqi politicians and calling the failure of the effort their “responsibility.”

    Great, Eddi, this wars failure is everyone’s responsibility except that of the people who created and managed it. Feel better? Good. Because that’s what really matters – that you don’t have to feel bad about all the pointless death.

  74. man, two for two! Joe is kickin ass and takin’ names!

  75. Ron Paul is an idiot.

    Fortunately, I voted for him when it didn’t matter.

    BTW I love the Jeffersonian approach to state supported terrorism. Attack the bastards where they live until they decide it is a bad idea.

    … To the shores of Tripoli

    Semper Fi.

    Simon – Graduate of the US Navy School of Diplomacy

    BTW if the war is a failure how come the Dems are shifting position again? A study of the politics of 1864 in America is instructive in that regard.

  76. BTW if you don’t want to study the whole history just look up Copperheads.

  77. Looks like the latest Repubican talking point is “the Democrats have admitted that the Surge is a success.”

    Let’s go to the tape:

    Christopher Dodd: “Despite the exemplary performance of our troops, we are coming off the bloodiest summer of this misguided war and it should be clear that there can be no military solution in Iraq.

    “It is useless to argue the merits of a specific tactic when the strategy itself is failed.

    “In fact, debating over military tactics when there is no military solution only undermines efforts by those of us who believe that we must change course in Iraq now and begin to immediately redeploy US combat forces so that Iraqi leaders will have the impetus to find a political accord.”

    Barack Obama: The disastrous consequences described by President Bush are already in motion and are a direct result of a war that should never have been authorized. There is no military solution to Iraq’s problems. The only way to reverse these consequences is to change course through a surge in our diplomatic and humanitarian efforts in Iraq and the region, and a phased withdrawal of our forces that puts real pressure on the Iraqi government to act.

    John Edwards: Our military’s hard-won progress in Al-Anbar province should not distract us from the fact that pouring more military resources into Iraq is no substitute for the comprehensive national political solution that will ultimately resolve the situation in Iraq. President Bush’s failed strategy has led to increased terrorism in Iraq, as we saw with the bombing of the Iraqi Parliament months ago in the Green Zone and the recent horrendous bombings in northwest Iraq that killed over 250 people. And despite the surge, the Al-Maliki government is disintegrating before our eyes. Even worse, President Bush’s mistakes in Iraq have only helped make terrorism worse in the world. As the National Intelligence Estimate recently found, Al Qaeda is as strong now as it was before 9/11.

    Hillary Clinton: During my last visit to Iraq in January, I expressed my reservations about the ability of the Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Maliki, to make the tough political decisions necessary for Iraq to resolve its sectarian divisions. Since my visit, Iraqi leaders have not met their own political benchmarks to share power, modify the de-Ba’athification laws, pass an oil law, schedule provincial elections, and amend their constitution. During his trip to Iraq last week, Senator Carl Levin, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on which I serve, confirmed that the Iraqi Government’s failures have reinforced the widely held view that the Maliki government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement, because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders. I share Senator Levin’s hope that the Iraqi parliament will replace Prime Minister Maliki with a less divisive and more unifying figure when it returns in a few weeks.

    As I have said many times before, there is not a military solution in Iraq but progress will only come from political reconciliation and compromise from the Iraqis themselves. Given that reality, the President’s escalation strategy is not succeeding.

    Our military has performed magnificently in Iraq but ultimately the future of Iraq will be decided by the Iraqis themselves. Rather than continue an escalation policy that is not fostering political progress in Iraq, we need to send a message to Iraq’s leaders that the lack of political progress is unacceptable. Our best hope of fostering political progress in Iraq is to begin the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.

    What, exactly, is the shift here? Democrats said the surge wasn’t going to succeed at its stated goals, no matter how effective the military’s operations were, because tactical successes in military operations wouldn’t help advance their goals. Now they’re saying that the tactical successes in military operations have failed to advance the Surge’s stated goals.

  78. An awful lot of people in the 30s thought war was a really bad idea.

    They got 1939-45 for their troubles.

    For all the Libs ranting about history they seem to forget its lessons.

  79. Ah, crap, where’s that book?

  80. You’ll have to forgive me, but watching somebody who predicted glorious success after Saddam’s capture, the 05 elections, the death of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Falluja and the death of Zarqawi accuse someone else of forgetting the lessons of history is too funny for words.

  81. joe,

    Sometimes military action encourages political compromise.

    That seems to be happening in Iraq.

    Read the Marine “Small Wars Handbook”. It is on the net.

    Then chek out some of the Mil-bloggers on the subject. Michael Totten, Black Five, Yon, and others.

    The key to understanding the Dems is to understand the Southern Democrats. In most places they would be considered Republicans.

    If you want to understand go to KOS and look at who the KOSsacks whant to drive out of the D party – the list is heavy with Southern Dems.

  82. hier is the book.

    (what changed from 1935 to 1939 or 1941. what changed? hmmmm. but love the comparison to today’s fiasco with WW2. original.)

    [pan over to large red plastic phone on desk]
    brrrrng brrrng.

    gotta take that. kthxbye

  83. joe,

    I still predict success. It is just taking longer.

    i.e. the history is not over.

  84. Also note that insurgencies take time to defeat.

    Our wars with the Indians are instructive.

    Or you can look up Black Jack Pershing against the Islamic insurgents in the Philippines.

    The war we are in is not a new one for America. It has been going on with various flare ups since Jefferson’s time.

  85. M Simon,

    Do you really want to use as a reference point the Phillipine-American war? One of the darkest events in American history. A war in fought in part on notions like a Christian/white burden to civilize them thar natives?

  86. [overheard speaking on phone]

    yes, Grover. I can count to three.

    [cuts to Mr. Steven Crane and his activities]

  87. M. Simon,

    A war in which American soldiers engaged in torture and other war crimes?

  88. Now that’s a clever argument: “Iraq is just like Vietnam, except this time we’ll stay even longer until everything’s fixed!”

    What’s next, comparing the surge to Operation Barbarossa?

  89. Also note that insurgencies take time to defeat.

    That’s good to know. Sure would have been good to know that in 2003. Oh wait, we did, but folks like yourself pretended otherwise. I did to, truth be told. Three years later, after announcement after triumphant announcement, we’re still mired in an insurgency (wait, I thought they were terrorists?) and are overextending our armed forces to the point where there’s talk of a draft again. And, on top of that, we’re saber-rattling at Iran.

    Lookit, this idea of a military solution to terrorism has shown itself to be ineffectual, expensive, and fraught with unintended consequences. You can make all the absurd comparisons to WWII that you like–we’re still looking at a revitalized Al Queda in Pakistan, a DeVry Institute for Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan returning to barbarism and an emboldened Iran. It’s a goddamned mess.

  90. Anyway, hopefully in the case of the Phillipines we did learn a few lessons – one being that a people who do not wish to be ruled by us should not have to suffer through an invasion by us.

  91. Also note that insurgencies take time to defeat.

    Just a few more Friedman Units!

  92. “An awful lot of people in the 30s thought war was a really bad idea.”

    “They got 1939-45 for their troubles.”

    They got 1939-45 because Chamberlain chose to draw the line at Danzig and declared war on Germany. They should have let Hitler and Stalin fight it out and maybe we would be less bothered with either of them. Instead, we created a vacuum in which the Communists took over China and Stalin took over Eastern Europe.

  93. The notion of the noble savage is romantic clap trap. I think a lot of natives need to be civilized.

    Warfare for that purpose is traditional. See the American Indian Wars.

    Natives often have a tradition of warfare for territorial expansion. The white men were just better at it. Look up “Bad Eagle” of the Comanche for an Indian’s view. BTW he wrote an opera around the European Jewish Genocide. He is proud to be an Indian and loves America. He figures the Indians lost the Indian Wars fair and square.

    BTW good to hear that the jihadis don’t torture and rape. The difference is that in America such behavior gets punished. The barbarians encourage it.

    You ought to read Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”. And don’t tell me what you heard. Read it first.

    There will always be a premiere power in the world. Better America, than China, Russia, or Islam.

    Peace through superior fire power. It is the way the world actually works as opposed to Lib fantasies.

    ===

    Jake,

    The time to nip WW2 in the bud was 1936. The Rhineland incident. The Austrian Corporal himself thought he would have been out of power had even a company of soldiers opposed his move.

    So they saved thousands in 1936 only to lose 10s of millions by ’45.

  94. Libs are ignorant of the art of war.

    That is no way to get peace.

  95. Mr. Simon, you keep talking about history but I don’t know of many (or any) historians who are making the comparisons that you are. There are many military men who disagree mightily with your analysis. For example, General William Odom

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_E._Odom#Military_career

    and others with his extensive background in military history have dismissed comparisons to WW2 and just about every other argument you’ve laid out here.

  96. M. Simon,

    The notion of the noble savage is romantic clap trap. I think a lot of natives need to be civilized.

    Warfare for that purpose is traditional. See the American Indian Wars.

    Those who know anything about the Indian Wars know that they were often as much for extermination as anything. Anyway, even tribes which conformed to the encroaching settler culture were dispossed of their land.

    You ought to read Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”. And don’t tell me what you heard. Read it first.

    I’ve read the vast majority of Kipling’s works (I love Kim for example). Kipling’s views on the matter of imperialism were fairly nuanced and he certainly did not see it as an unmixed blessing for either colonizer or colonized.

  97. M. Simon,

    BTW, no one here wrote anything about “noble savages.”

  98. M Simon,

    The Summer of 2004 was worse than the Summer of 2003. The Summer of 2005 was worse than that of 2004. The Summer of 2006 was worse than that of 2005. And the Summer of 2007 has been worse than that of 2006. Keep in mind that even the Summer of 2004 was recognized as a pretty bad time. The problem isn’t that our progres towards success has been slow, but that the situation has been actively worsening for years now.

    Libs are ignorant of the art of war.

    I don’t know if “libs” is supposed to refer to liberals or libertarians, but both have vastly superior records of understanding the military situation in Iraq compared to neo-conservatives and other Iraq hawks.

  99. M Simon,

    I already read Mein Kampf. I don’t need to see the extermination of the Indians held out as an example of the eternal struggle for territorial between different cultures which leads to progress; that Austrian rabble-rouser laid out the theory much more eloquently. Thanks anyway.

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