Middle East

White Flag Over Iraq

As intellectuals surrender, the military thinks on.

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For a long time and until 2003, the Iraqi writer Kanan Makiya was a critical filter through which supporters of war in Iraq channeled their most potent arguments in favor of an invasion. Makiya's obsessive plea for the removal of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship on moral grounds, his credibility gained from publishing books on the foulest effects of the tyranny in Iraq, earned him considerable influence in American political and intellectual circles—if also malicious animosity from those opposed to the Bush administration's ambitions in the Middle East.

Now, the situation has been mostly reversed. Makiya is struggling to determine if he was initially right in backing an American war to overthrow the Ba'ath regime, and his torment is being plundered by those making the case that war was a bad idea. In the New York Times magazine this past Sunday, Dexter Filkins wrote a profile of Makiya in a similar vein. One particular exchange caught by Filkins has Makiya capitulating even to his most depraved critics.

"People say to me, 'Kanan, this is ridiculous, democracy in Iraq, a complete pipe dream,'" Makiya said when I visited him one day. "That's realism."

He got up from his chair and walked to a window.

"You know, in a way, the realists are right, they are always right. Even when they are morally wrong."

Makiya was already expressing growing doubts early last year. For example, in April 2006 he told reason that he had been wrong in a number of his assessments of Iraq. However, Makiya still expected that "in the long run history will judge this to have been a morally just war, one that will in time produce a better Iraq than the one ruled over by the Ba'ath Party." He added that in the prewar period, "[t]o just leave the situation to fester, as the Arab world and Europe seemed to want to do, was in my opinion more immoral than regime change, however badly this was handled by the United States government and the new class of Iraqi politicians who today rule over Iraq."

Yet Makiya's conclusion that the realists were always right happened to represent the utter collapse of opinions he had previously defended. The reason is that when it came to pre-2003 Iraq, the realists were not only morally wrong, they were politically wrong as well. It was the realists who in the late 1980s imagined that Saddam could be a force for stability in the Middle East—someone who might even consider entering into some negotiating process with Israel. It was the realists who looked the other way in 1988 when Saddam unleashed the genocidal Anfal campaign against the Kurds, which played so essential a role in convincing him that the West would tolerate his worst abuses. And it was the realists who were caught with their pants down before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, imagining that Saddam was only bluffing in his quarrel with the Kuwaitis.

Similarly, it was the realists during the Clinton years who, as Makiya observed, allowed the situation in Iraq to fester, so that the Iraqi population suffered terrible hardship under United Nations sanctions. Saddam further tightened his hold over his people during that time, while growing fat thanks to the corruptions of the oil-for-food program.

There is much to admire in forensic self-doubt, but in giving his ideological adversaries credit they don't deserve, Makiya is overdoing things. On the realists' watch, Iraq was no less the monumental catastrophe that it is today; it fact it was a catastrophe that largely made possible the catastrophe of today. The difference then was that Iraqis were bludgeoned into silence—stability being shorthand for mass intimidation.

In moments of self-doubt, Makiya should reread the second half of his brilliant Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising, and the Arab World, a withering denunciation of Arab intellectuals who, by action or omission, somehow sustained the Ba'athist regime and gave it legitimacy. As Makiya wrote: "I am aware of no community of Arab intellectuals, however small, that could make a meaningful political distinction between the interests of the suffering people of Iraq, who had just lost a whole generation in eight years of grueling warfare with Iran, and the tyrant, who was sacrificing them on the altar of yet another adventure."

In endorsing that artificial unity between leader and society, many Arab writers and commentators not only reinforced the intellectual scaffolding of the totalitarian Iraqi system, they also echoed an essentially realist approach to foreign policy that judges other societies from the vantage point of power relations—therefore views them mainly through the prism of the interests of their political elites and regimes. Makiya would do well to remember how that implicit alliance—between a class of complicit publicists and of ethically indifferent policy-makers—has been instrumental in extending the lives of numerous dictatorships.

However, Makiya reflects only one side of the story. The intellectuals and commentators on the other side, for whom Iraq was always going to be a letdown, can take pleasure in seeing their predictions proven correct. However, many of them displayed less moral and political clarity than Makiya on what should have been done with Saddam; and remain as lost as he in determining what to do next in Iraq. In the debate over the war, intellectuals have become increasingly irrelevant in shaping policy outcomes. But why blame them? Even in Congress, those opposed to the administration's Iraq policy have offered no viable alternatives, as was plain last month after Gen. David Petraeus' congressional testimony.

Ironically, the real debate over ideas when it comes to Iraq appears to be taking place in the one institution generally (and unfairly) considered a graveyard for lateral thinking: the U.S. military. If there is a community of people that has tried to grasp the reality of Iraq in practical ways, in all its complexities, and that has climbed the steepest of learning curves in the past four years, it is the armed forces. That's not to say that soldiers are or should be a model for how all Americans approach Iraq; but in its quest to understand the conflict environment better, the military has had to immerse itself in the sociology of Iraq like no other. And because of that, its intense discussions of the war, by rarely descending into flagellation or self-flagellation, remain alive with opportunity. The topic remains Iraq, not parochial American disputation over Iraq.

In his book Colossus, historian Niall Ferguson wrote that America's defeat in Vietnam showed that "[o]n balance, Americans preferred the irresponsibilities of weakness" to the "responsibilities of power." America will not achieve victory in the foreseeable future in Iraq, if it ever does. But embracing weakness would be irresponsible not only toward America itself but toward Iraqis as well. Members of the military have been trained to avoid the irresponsibilities of weakness. That is precisely why their conversations today are so much more interesting than those of the disoriented intellectuals on either side of the Iraq divide.

Reason contributing editor Michael Young is opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon.

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  1. Why surrender now? This has been the most peaceful Ramadan on record?

  2. “America will not achieve victory in the foreseeable future in Iraq, if it ever does. But embracing weakness would be irresponsible not only toward America itself but toward Iraqis as well. Members of the military have been trained to avoid the irresponsibilities of weakness. That is precisely why their conversations today are so much more interesting than those of the disoriented intellectuals on either side of the Iraq divide.”

    Excelent point. This is why Ron Paul isn’t the front runner. He lives in fantasy land when it comes to Iraq.

  3. How many more American soldiers have to die before we leave? That’s reality, not fantasy land.

  4. Excelent point. This is why Ron Paul isn’t the front runner. He lives in fantasy land when it comes to Iraq.

    I’m sorry, but I consider four years of “turning the corner” to be a fantasy land.

  5. So been in iraq,

    How much territory does the U.S. military control?

    Pretty much only the little patches of dirt that have boots on them isn’t it? Walk away from it, and it becomes enemy ground again huh?

    Got that highway between the airport and Baghdad reopened since you guys lost control of it a few years ago? Can’t even keep that critical, short, supply line open huh?

    Last time I checked, when an army is losing control of territory and unable to recapture it, when they are having equipment and people chewed up, it was called a ‘being defeated’.

    At this point the only question is how many more U.S. soldiers are going to be killed, how much equipment and tax-payer money is going to be poured into our Easter Front before the U.S. government finally retreats. The longer the U.S. government waits, the greater the chance that it will be abandoning equipment when the collapse finally comes.

    Meantime its draining the U.S. treasury. That’s OK, I’m sure the U.S. economy can survive astronomical taxation or inflation rates. After all, it didn’t hurt Weimar Germany, the Soviet Union, the Roman Empire or the British Empire, right?

    Ron Paul is taking his cues from lessons imparted from thousands of years of history including the several world-class empires which have seen their dreams of domination turn to bitter ash in the middle-east. You are going with what, your gut instincts about teaching Hadji’s the meaning of respect?

    Yep, clearly Ron Paul is the one living in fantasy land.

  6. Heh, fantasy land?

    And all we needed in Vietnam was another 10, or 20 more years of jungle fighting. They were just about to break. Those damn politicians got in the way of our victory. We didn’t fail, no siree….we’re americans, we cant’ ever fail.

  7. Michael Young,

    When talking about the shortcomings of the realists one thing comes to mind – that realists and the “idealists” (moralists?) both seem to have helped to create the current problems that Iraq is facing. So why should I pick either position? Isn’t the lesson that either sort of meddling is simply not particularly useful?

  8. I guess I haven’t read enough of what Mr. Young has read to know what he is talking about w.r.t. the military’s changing thinking on Iraq. As far as I can tell, whatever the military may be talking about in the salons of Baghdad, on the ground it is still all about kicking in doors, dropping bombs and shooting people. It still seems like the military is telling Washington what it wants to hear: everything is just getting better and better, and any decade now the Iraqis will realize our invading them and destroying their nation-state was for the best.

    The future of Iraq will not be determined in Washington, D.C. It will be determined by people in Iraq, and the ones wearing American uniforms and the ones in the puppet government will continue to be increasingly irrelevant, except in regards to killing people – and getting people killed. When it comes to 4GW, the reality is the US military IS weak, it has always been weak because it lacks the vision and leadership to make the true transition from 2GW to 3GW.

  9. IF we wonder how many Americans need to lose thier lives in this war, why not ban cars. Every year for the past 10 years atleast 40,000 americans die from car “accidents”. Thats 400,000 in 10 years. We have lost less than 4,000 in 5 years of Afgahnistan and Iraq combined. If we are worried about people who volunteer to fight, why not worry about those who volunteer to drive? If a libertarian philosophy is to allow drugs to be legal knowing that the people who “choose” to do them have a likelyhood of death, why not allow soldiers in an all volunteer Military the freedom to win and accomplish thier mission. Already we have:
    1. Abolished the Baath party
    2. Given Iraq free elections
    3. Trained and supported Iraq’s Police Force, Army and Navy.
    4. Captured and turned over Saddam Hussein
    5. Captured numerous Al-Quida operatives from Iran and Syria, who have changed thier names to Iraqi sounding names so that they could make it look like it was Iraqis that were commiting terrorism against Iraqi civilians and contractors.

    So why pull out when the situation is getting better? And no the Highway to Baghdad International is not that “risky”.

  10. yeah but, because we left vietnam the vietcong brought the battle to our soil. we don’t want that again!

  11. Pulling out of Iraq is not embracing weakness. It’s deciding not to find victory where it’s not worth it.

    Believe you me, the US could find victory in Iraq, but the political costs would be way higher than they already are.

  12. good thing we allow soldiers to come home whenever they want.

  13. Michael Young reminds me of a small bloodthirsty child, galloping in circles on his stick horse, yelling “Kill dose badguys!

  14. Wait… weren’t the realists of the 80’s the idealists of the 00’s? Wasn’t it the same group of people who wanted to use Iraq to stabilize the middle east in the mid-80’s to Israel’s benefit, who in the 00’s saw eliminating Saddam as a win-win situation?

    I mean, refresh my memory here, but wasn’t in Rumsfeld who considered normalizing relations with Iraq in the 80’s one of his better achievements?

  15. People ask how much more, or how long, but the problem from the beginning is that we didn’t go in with enough. Proper counter insurgency tatics call for about another 400,000 more troops. Of course we don’t have that because we didn’t plan correctly. Although then again we have a aweful lot of troops sitting around in Europe. We’ve been fighting this war half heartedly from the start. If we had prosecuted WWII like this we would have lost for sure. And it’s still possible we will lose this one.

    But I really don’t think it would be wise to loose this war, I think if we do, we will end up refighting it there and in other places. IMO, winning should be our #1 priority, and if that means getting other people for the draft so be it. Also, so people don’t think I’m just talking out my ass, I was in the Army, and my brother is in the AF right now soon to be stationed over there. Would I like this war to over sure. I think it’s a drain on this country, but wishing doesn’t make things true. It’s better to buckle down now, then to regret it later.

  16. “good thing we allow soldiers to come home whenever they want.”

    The military isn’t that good at it in the states either. It is still voluntary to commit a certain time (usually 4 years) of your life with no garauntee that it will be easy, fun, or 100% satisfactory.

    The Political cost are high look at why else has Hillary stopped talking about it? Ron Paul could have been a front runner, but sees this as vietnam II. Unlike Vietnam, what we are fighting is an agressive form of Statism known as Islamofacism. Vietnam was about Soviet Communism, a government that had no faith in anything but the government. Islamofacism has Islam and Sharia law that allows the killing of innocent and total submission to Allah. Unlike an organized nation, this type of Statism has no problem killing anyone who supports freedom. Pro-American Immams in Iraq are being killed by Al-Quida. They are called non-Islamic. Is this not worth defending?

  17. Ben in Iraq –

    We aren’t paying people to drive around in cars and get in accidents. We don’t want to pay people to do drugs and overdose. We don’t want do pay you to shoot foreign people when it’s not doing any good now, and it’s not going to do any good in the long run.

    You mention a few things you count as victories.

    1. Abolish Baath party

    They didn’t just disappear, did they? Now the people who used to be in that party are killing people all over the country, and they are doing it at a much higher rate than before we got there.

    FAIL.

    2. Given Iraq free elections –

    Elections only work if everyone trusts both the process and the person elected, to at least some degree. The Iraqis don’t, hence the massive amount of sectarian violence. This wasn’t there before we got there, we made it worse.

    3. Trained and supported Iraq’s armed forces –

    The police and armed forces are worthless. Last week I talked with a Marine who just got back from training the Iraqi defense forces. He claims they are useless. He said they would fire on each other (allies!) on patrol. He also claimed that they would fall asleep on watch, and IED would be placed right next to thier positions when they woke up. Another SGT. who was training the Iraqis claimed that it’s a good thing that they can’t hit the broad side of a barn, otherwise they’d be dangerous to americans stationed there. Also, they keep stealing our weapons and selling them to insurgents. Way to go, guys.

    4. Captured Saddam Hussein –

    That’s good. Damn expensive way to do it, but I can’t say this is bad.

    5. Captured Al-Queda ops –

    Al-Queda, as associated with Bin Laden was a non presence in Iraq before the war. Now, Al-Queda in Iraq is Al-Queda in name only, and not associated with Bin Laden’s force. We caused Al-Queda to be there.

  18. Mathew Andresen,
    What do you consider “winning the war”?
    According to Ben in Iraq we have abolished the dictatorship, executed the leader and given the Iraqi people the opportunity to freely elect their democratic government. In your opinion, what more is needed to “win”?

  19. Tacos mmm…,

    There is probably no such thing as a pure realist, etc. One might lump them altogether and call them interventionists.

  20. Well, at least military personnel aren’t throwing their money at the Paul campaign. That would be irresponsible of them.

  21. why not allow soldiers in an all volunteer Military the freedom to win and accomplish thier mission.

    What is the mission? If it was getting rid of Hussein, it’s already been done. If it’s constructing a new Iraqi society, it can’t be done militarily. Some of the things that you list, such as the sectarian, disunified government and the militia-riddled army and police are hardly stabilizing forces in Iraq.

  22. Ben in Iraq –

    If you think that communism as practiced in vietnam isn’t as statist as islamism as practiced in Iraq, then you seriously need to brush up on a little history. In either case, you can’t win against someone who is willing to blow themselves up, unless you wipe them out. We CAN win if we carpet bomb their cities, but I’m not willing to have that done in my name. Swallow your pride. It’s ok to lose, it’s not ok to allow more innocent people to die just because we we’re poor sports.

  23. I’m driving for your rights. Support our drivers!

  24. “””Islamofacism has Islam and Sharia law that allows the killing of innocent and total submission to Allah.””

    War allows killing the innocent. I don’t think you view that type of killing as a real problem.

  25. There is probably no such thing as a pure realist, etc. One might lump them altogether and call them interventionists.

    My point is that Mr. Young pulls a bait-and-switch. He criticizes the realists of the 80’s, and essentially says that it’s now time to listen to the idealists, without noting that it’s the same group of people.

  26. I guess I am not Libertarian enough the notion that it is ok to allow Statism to exist, because we don’t like the cold reality that it is hard and costly to get rid of. I am sorry, but knowing what Statism has done to millions of people arround the world is insane to allow it to stay in place. When UNICEF goes to Statist-Muslim countries to provide vaccines for diseases that the West has conqured years ago, but are refused because the religion or government says that they are a plot by the Jews to kill Muslims. Or North Korea where they don’t have enough food, medicine, or trained doctors. It is sad to see Africa in chaos because we allow corrupt Statist-government to keep the needs away from thier people. Liberty should be in the Arab world and Iraq will be the stepping stone for the world to be a better place. Lest we forget that the Kurds were begging for us to come and help them for years. But they don’t count do they?

  27. @ Ben In Iraq

    I’ll flip that argument on you. If it’s not about saving lives, why are we over there in the first place? We could have just written off the ~3000 lives lost in the terrorist attack on 9/11 and moved on with our lives. Instead, we’ve lost more US soldiers, mostly men between the ages of 18-30 than we’ve lost in all the US terrorist attacks in history. I’m not even counting the civilian casualties or displaced refugees – adding them would make 9/11 look like a school shooting by comparison. If the purpose of the War on Terror is to save lives, then every loss of life is a failure.

    Your argument makes no sense because fundamentally, people have to travel in this country to work as well as to feed and clothe themselves and take care of their responsibilities. Driving a car is a calculated, necessary risk. Invading a foreign nation on bad information then remaining there for decades waiting for things to get better seems neither calculated nor necessary.

    Also, your concept of choice is fairly baffling to me. Did those Reserve and National Guard soldiers chose to take an 18 mo. tour of duty in a foreign land? I think you will find the amount of people who would remain there if given the chance to leave without punishment is staggering.

  28. It’s ok to lose, it’s not ok to allow more innocent people to die just because we we’re poor sports.

    We were poor sports when we allowed the Kurds to rebel against the Baath party, only to see Chemical weapons used against them.

    Do we not remember the “No Fly zones” of Iraq?

    And Carpet bombing the inner cities is not the answer either. What kind of assinine statement is that?

    To justify Terrorists killing innocent people because we accidently shoot civilians that get in the way, or insurgents with rocket launchers in the back of a pickup truck is a lot different. We are not the ones who car bomb marketplaces full of Iraqis and not one Coalition soldier in the area. I guess that is ok though.

  29. The National Gaurd and the Army Reserve is not a job for Americans that can’t find work in thier own home towns, it is the military. In the Military you don’t get a choice. You are given a lawful order which you are required to follow. Durring WWII an 18th month deployment would have been awesome. Espcially with the money the Military pays today, along with the facilities on our bases in Iraq.

  30. Well, I think to fully win, would require a functional democracy that would be an ally in the war on terror. Will that happen, I’m not sure yet. But I think there is still the possibility.

  31. IF we wonder how many Americans need to lose thier lives in this war, why not ban cars. Every year for the past 10 years atleast 40,000 americans die from car “accidents”. Thats 400,000 in 10 years. We have lost less than 4,000 in 5 years of Afgahnistan and Iraq combined. If we are worried about people who volunteer to fight, why not worry about those who volunteer to drive?

    Yes, it’s only American lives that count here, Ben. Certainly the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian dead and millions of refugees don’t. After all, they volunteered to…

    Oh, right, WE invaded THEIR country. Maybe we should ask them what they think. What? Most of them want us to leave? Fuck that!

  32. Ben in Iraq –

    You’re purposefully nailing up a strawman this time. I never said anything in favor of terrorists killing innocent people. Of course I hate it.

    But whether the terrorists kill them or we kill them, they are just as dead. I wouldn’t be waving an american flag if my daughter was killed by americans, “because at least she was killed by the right people”.

    These people would not have died this way if we weren’t there. That’s why they are angry. That’s why they are trying to kill our soldiers. yes, they are batshit insane. No, it’s not our job to police the world.

    I would love to solve all the worlds problems, but we can’t. We can’t invade north korea, even though we should. We can’t invade zimbabwe, even though there’s a good reason. We can’t invade places just because there’s something we disagree with. It’s not economically, or morally sound. Sometimes, we have to let a people work shit out on their own.

    BTW, are you a soldier in Iraq, or a contractor?

  33. Ben Rushing | October 11, 2007, 5:28pm | #
    I guess I am not Libertarian enough the notion that it is ok to allow Statism to exist, because we don’t like the cold reality that it is hard and costly to get rid of. I am sorry, but knowing what Statism has done to millions of people arround the world is insane to allow it to stay in place.

    Nobody here is saying that they are Okay with statist governments. The arguments are a)is invasion the best way to deal with them and b)when an invasion makes daily life on the ground worse for the civilians of that country what do you do then?

    If you expect the US to be the “policeman of the world” then you are living in a dream world. The only way we could possibly get enough of an armed military force to do such a thing would be to become a fully statist country ourself and draft every able person to “the cause”. Seems a bit antithetical to spread democracy by coercion, no?

    Durring WWII an 18th month deployment would have been awesome. Espcially with the money the Military pays today, along with the facilities on our bases in Iraq.

    So, because the hitches are shorter (without stopgap of course), the pay is better and the beds are softer, that makes war less of a hell?

  34. BTW, Ben…I mentioned carpet bombing the cities because that’s how we won WWII. The will of the people is destroyed. Unless we are willing to either carpet bomb them back to oblivion, or put in 300,000 more troops and wipe their asses for the next 10-20 years, we will not win this war. It’s over.

    When we left vietnam, everyone expected mass slaughter. It did not happen. It turns out, as horrible as communism was, and as evil as some of those vietnamese were, when we let them decide on their own, they stabilized their country and eventually turned capitalist.

    Look Ma, no murder.

  35. When UNICEF goes to Statist-Muslim countries to provide vaccines for diseases that the West has conqured years ago, but are refused because the religion or government says that they are a plot by the Jews to kill Muslims. Or North Korea where they don’t have enough food, medicine, or trained doctors. It is sad to see Africa in chaos because we allow corrupt Statist-government to keep the needs away from thier people. Liberty should be in the Arab world and Iraq will be the stepping stone for the world to be a better place.

    This is the problem with a large standing military. When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And when you have a big army, there’s a military solution every problem, from vaccinating Nigerians to saving the ozone layer.

  36. The soldiers we should listen to are the ones on the ground who are actually involved in operations. Many of them say they have killed or see other soldiers, kill people, who are supposed to be insurgents, but in reality, they often don’t know who they are. If even a few of them say that we are spinning our wheels in Iraq and should leave, then it is likely that there is a huge number behind them who feel the same way. Young fails to distinguish between Administration & think tank spokes people, and soldiers on the ground.

    This is not an admission of weakness. It’s kind of like a weight lifter walking away from Laker tryouts. He may be very strong, but that’s not his game.

  37. Durring WWII an 18th month deployment would have been awesome. Espcially with the money the Military pays today, along with the facilities on our bases in Iraq.

    According to my grandfather, the French poontang made up for a lot. You guys getting much civilian tail over there? Figured out the difference between liberation and occupation yet?

  38. Lest we forget that the Kurds were begging for us to come and help them for years. But they don’t count do they?

    About as much as Armenians do.

  39. Mathew Andresen | October 11, 2007, 5:40pm | #
    Well, I think to fully win, would require a functional democracy that would be an ally in the war on terror. Will that happen, I’m not sure yet. But I think there is still the possibility.

    Democracy cannot be imposed from without by an iron fist. It must come from the people being governed (democracy is from the greek “rule by the people”) and the Iraqi people seem less interested in a democracy than dividing themselves up on sectarian lines. I say we pull out and let them have their religious/sectarian civil war. When the dust settles in thirty years, then we can see where the seeds of democracy “might” take root. Until then it’s like trying to grow wheat in a field constantly tilled.

  40. IF we wonder how many Americans need to lose thier lives in this war, why not ban cars. Every year for the past 10 years atleast 40,000 americans die from car “accidents”. Thats 400,000 in 10 years. We have lost less than 4,000 in 5 years of Afgahnistan and Iraq combined. If we are worried about people who volunteer to fight, why not worry about those who volunteer to drive?

    Riiiiight. But tell all Americans they can’t drive and we pretty much all die of starvation. Tell the troops to come home and . . . ?

    Ron Paul could have been a front runner, but sees this as vietnam II.

    Not to commit the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, but Ron Paul’s (relatively small) ascendancy didn’t start until after his kerfluffle with Guiliani over terrorism. And I love my man Paul, but there is essentially no scenario in which he would ever be a frontrunner.

    Unlike Vietnam, what we are fighting is an agressive form of Statism known as Islamofacism.

    Saying that terrorist ideology is “known as” Islamofascism is like saying Rudy Giuliani is “known as” Il Duce. Just because some people use that reference doesn’t make it a bona fide term. (Though I think it’s appropriate in the case of Il Duce.)

    And I’m sorry, but there is no way you can claim 21st century Islamist terrorism is a comparable threat to 20th century communism with a straight face and be taken seriously.

    We were poor sports when we allowed the Kurds to rebel against the Baath party, only to see Chemical weapons used against them.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the U.S. didn’t have anything to do with that uprising. It was the Shia uprising that was encouraged and then abandoned.

  41. 1. Abolished the Baath party
    2. Given Iraq free elections

    Does anyone see a contradiction?

  42. Durring WWII an 18th month deployment would have been awesome. Espcially with the money the Military pays today, along with the facilities on our bases in Iraq.

    During WWII there was a draft, now we have an all-volunteer force, which is why they get paid so much more. And During WWII there was an alliance of States with the wealth and power to constitute an existential threat to Western democracies. Today, not so much.

  43. I have done the Military side and now on the contractor side. Truth be told the rest of the world could be with us on this but they lack the resources to have a strong military. It is no accident that in 231 years we have become the richest country in the world with the most advanced and well trained military in the world. We allowed more economic freedom and personal freedom than any other nation.

    We might have areas that we lack in, but to say that this is an economically draining on us is nonsense.

    Why not go after Socialism first? We spend more on that than we do on defense spending? The issue of fighting a war is not political, but an ideological battle between
    Isolationists and Interventionists.

    Had we interviened before Japan had attacked us, would WWII have gone better? I would think yes. We saw a Statist government on the rise, one that has said that it wanted to rule the world by force, and we waited until we were attacked by annother Statist Nation before we did anything.

    You can be Libertarian and for the war, but you have to look at how it is over here. It has gotten better. Americans were not the best fighting force before WWI we didn’t become the best military force in the world until we learned new lessons about warfare. In WWII we still made a lot of errors. We didn’t learned many lessons in Korea and Vietnam, the worst of which was not to let the public know too much.

    Today South Korea stands rich and free, while her sister to the North stands poor and oppressed. In this war the errors have been realatively low. The death rate of our troops is negligable. But with freedom we bring moral atheism, reason, and prosperity.

    When Iraq stands on her own and the only reason that we are over here is for strategic positioning of troops and equipment (like we are in Europe), Iraq’s wealth will flourish. Teaching Iraqi’s to have faith in the newly found freedom and how to work hard for thier wealth will be a challenge, but it is worth doing. And those who have died defending Iraq from Tyranny on both sides will be remembered and will not have died in vain.

  44. We were poor sports when we allowed the Kurds to rebel against the Baath party, only to see Chemical weapons used against them.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the U.S. didn’t have anything to do with that uprising. It was the Shia uprising that was encouraged and then abandoned.

    Actually Smappy, if I remember correctly the CIA had “men on the ground” agitating for the Kurdish uprising in 1991.

  45. Just a fact check on Iraqi Kurdistan. Since the end of the 1991 Iraq war, the US military guaranteed a de facto independence for the Kurdish region.

    The only time since 1991 the Hussein’s military forces went into Kurdistan was when Barzani, leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party, asked Hussein to send troops in to suppress the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

    Getting rid of bad guys is no guarantee the new rulers will act like good guys.

  46. We didn’t learned many lessons in Korea and Vietnam, the worst of which was not to let the public know too much.

    I’m sorry, but in my book you lose your liberty street cred when you start talking about how the public (you know, the people to whom the government, military, etc. are supposed to be accountable) should be allowed to “know too much.”

  47. So we are going to deny the use of chemical weapons by Saddam?

  48. Actually Smappy, if I remember correctly the CIA had “men on the ground” agitating for the Kurdish uprising in 1991.

    But the gassing was in 1988. Or was there a later gassing I’m unaware of?

  49. “Those damn politicians got in the way of our victory.”

    Every time I hear this about Vietnam it reminds me of the fact that the German soluures heard the same thing at the end of the first world war. Of course that didn’t create any problems.

  50. We didn’t learned many lessons in Korea and Vietnam, the worst of which was not to let the public know too much.

    So you support democracy for the Iraqis, but not for us?

  51. Know too much as in information detremental to the operation. You don’t let the press sell all bad news without an once of good to the public. It is what happened in both cases. When the overall scope of the operation goes well, the last thing that you need is a group of people who selectively report only the bad. Just like how it is hard to find any news about Kurdistan today. Reason has given articles showing how well things have been in Northern Iraq. A place where there are glass buildings and few US troops.

  52. So we are going to deny the use of chemical weapons by Saddam?

    Killing 5,000 civilians with chemical weapons is abominable, a war crime. Now, killing 8,000 with shock and awe bombing? That’s fine. It’s using _chemicals_ that’s bad, not killing civilians.

  53. So we are going to deny the use of chemical weapons by Saddam?

    Hell no! We’ve got the receipts for the damned things.

  54. Had we interviened before Japan had attacked us, would WWII have gone better? I would think yes. We saw a Statist government on the rise, one that has said that it wanted to rule the world by force, and we waited until we were attacked by annother Statist Nation before we did anything.

    If you are referring to pre-intervention in the European theatre you may have a point, but not a very strong one as it would have been viewed as potential aggression by the Soviets who, as I am sure you will remember, signed a non-aggression pact with the Reich prior to the Polish invasion. As for Japan, it was our economic embargo on them that forced their hand into attacking us not their alliance with Germany.

  55. Kwix the problems in Iraq will continue to stew over to the rest of the Middle East and beyond. With the potential of course of turning into another Iran proxy.

    Also, while I don’t think Islamic fascism currently is as big of a threat as communism was, it definitely has the potential to grow that way. And that’s definitely the direction that people like Bin Laden would like to take it. The question is whether we stop it now when it’s manageable or try later when we might not be successful.

  56. Ben | October 11, 2007, 6:12pm | #
    Know too much as in information detremental to the operation. You don’t let the press sell all bad news without an once of good to the public. It is what happened in both cases. When the overall scope of the operation goes well, the last thing that you need is a group of people who selectively report only the bad.

    Did I just read that right? Are you saying that the press only prints the bad stuff (like when US soldiers are killed by IEDs) but doesn’t report when there are successful actions taken? Huh, that’s funny considering all the news reports I have seen that follow the lines of “X number of insurgents killed in battle of xyz”. Oh, and lets not count when the press prints a comment by Rummy or Petraeus in there. That doesn’t count as “good news” does it? When they tell us yet again that we are “turning the corner” and that they insurgency is “near a breaking point”.

    As for the “don’t let the press” do anything, what would you suggest? Perhaps the government could screen the articles for “balance”? Hell, they could just draft the press corps to write them for the newspapers. Better yet, why have civilian newspapers at all when we could just have state run paper. I can’t see any harm in that can you?

    Just like how it is hard to find any news about Kurdistan today. Reason has given articles showing how well things have been in Northern Iraq. A place where there are glass buildings and few US troops.

    Let’s review, Kurdistan is a)relatively stable b)not involved in much sectarian violence c)not actively engaged with the US military. Why in the hell would a paper print anything on them at all??
    Headline: Another quite day in Kurdistan

    This just in… farmer plants wheat in Northern Iraq and plans to screw his wife this evening.

  57. So many pro-war folk coo romantically about the prospects of ‘freedom’ in Iraq, yet then show how devoted they really are to liberty by coming out for press censorship at home. And then the Patriot act. And torture. And jailing antiwar protesters. And so on.

  58. Mathew Andresen | October 11, 2007, 6:40pm | #
    Kwix the problems in Iraq will continue to stew over to the rest of the Middle East and beyond. With the potential of course of turning into another Iran proxy.

    Also, while I don’t think Islamic fascism currently is as big of a threat as communism was, it definitely has the potential to grow that way. And that’s definitely the direction that people like Bin Laden would like to take it. The question is whether we stop it now when it’s manageable or try later when we might not be successful.

    So, our response to a relatively stable, albeit dictatorial but not “Islamist”, country was to militarily invade it and attempt to set up a democracy from without. When that failed and became a seething mass of sectarian violence with our soldiers caught in the crossfire our only option is to stay? I suppose we could increase our troop presence and attempt to convince a people who do not want us there that we are only “doing what is best for them”.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it. The whole “Iran Proxy” smacks of the domino theory. The idea that our invasion of Iraq has somehow made the Middle East less friendly to terrorist organizations, or that it will in the future is farcical.

    As for Bin Laden and AlQuaida: Islamic fundamentalism isn’t an organized hierarchal structure where you can chop the head off and it dies. It’s not like WWII when the Emperor of Japan surrendered or the Soviets invaded Berlin. There is no “home base” there is no “Commander in Chief”. It is an Ideology, one that feeds on having an easy to identify enemy to turn into the “Great Satan”. We play into the fundamentalists hands by meddling in the affairs of the Middle East, by dictating how they should run their lives, by propping up puppet governments and bouncing them off of one another. In short, our presence there is creating terrorists, not eliminating them.

  59. Kwix – ooh. is she pretty. Does she also coo romantically?

  60. Qua VM? BTW we misses you at the Chirping Cricket.

  61. I have done the Military side and now on the contractor side.

    So someone with a financial stake in continuing the war is advocating why it’s paramount that the war go on??

    Really, I am done reading anything you have to say.

  62. So if I were still in the military would it not be financially motivated since i get more money being deployed and in a war zone?

    I guess that the only people that you will listen to are the Jesse Macbeth’s of the world that lie about thier service in order to STOP the war.

    You might also have a problem with Kansas State University Football team’s sponsorship of the Black Lion award.
    http://inside.kstatesports.com/football/blacklions/

    But whatever, I am evil in the military or outside of it. The re-enlistment rate over here is very very high, while Army recruiting numbers have been hurt. It is gotten so bad that there are E-4’s (Specialists) Who pretty much stay there until they have enough spots open for them to move up.

    But people in the US Army are evil if they think that they are winning this war, which I have talked to them and they are very assuring that we are doing a lot better than the news reports.

  63. Young’s incapacity to acknowledge that there exists a third school of thought in international politics other than realism and neoconservatism – namely, foreign policy liberalism – leads him to make stupid mistakes, like linking to a Washington Post story about the liberals not having enough votes to implement their vision as evidence of realists not having any vision.

  64. Ben,

    Just so you know, people’s opinion about the wisdom of the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq has nothing to do with their opinion of people who serve in the military.

    There are plenty of people who thought it was a great idea to invade Iraq, and who hold the people in the military in contempt. And there are plenty of people – a number of them serving in Congress as Democrats after having recently retired from the military – who consider this the most idiotic blunder our country has ever made.

  65. Isn’t calling for people to take a less realist postion towards the war, and holding up the military as the people doing the best thinking about the war, a massive contradiction?

  66. So if I were still in the military would it not be financially motivated since i get more money being deployed and in a war zone?

    Are you really trying to pretend that combat pay is anywhere near on par with what the contractors are getting? Seriously??

    Soldiers who are deployed have to be there, so regardless of the hazard pay I still don’t view them as having a conflict of interest or being financially motivated. People who choose to work in a war zone in the private sector though are in fact financially motivated.

    I guess that the only people that you will listen to are the Jesse Macbeth’s of the world that lie about thier service in order to STOP the war.

    I will listen to people who don’t have such a glaring conflict of interest.

    But whatever, I am evil in the military or outside of it. The re-enlistment rate over here is very very high, while Army recruiting numbers have been hurt. It is gotten so bad that there are E-4’s (Specialists) Who pretty much stay there until they have enough spots open for them to move up.

    But people in the US Army are evil if they think that they are winning this war, which I have talked to them and they are very assuring that we are doing a lot better than the news reports.

    I dunno where this evil nonsense comes from, but save it for someone who actually thinks or has stated any of the positions you seem to be attacking.

    I don’t think soldiers are evil. I think they are honorable and have been put in impossible situations (soldiers are for combat, not for policing neighborhoods and keeping the peace among warring factions).

    And I think contractors are war profiteers.

  67. “how many times must a cannon ball”……

    20 years from now Iraq will be history, our brave, clairvoyant leaders will be pursuing another war, in another place, for freedom and democracy (it’s for the children). God damn it, I’m sick and tired of this nonsense !!!!

  68. Mike, you’re starting to sound like a broken record. A whining, broken record.

  69. So if I were still in the military would it not be financially motivated since i get more money being deployed and in a war zone?

    Oh, yeah. I’m sure the extra $225 a month makes it all worthwhile.

  70. But embracing weakness would be irresponsible not only toward America itself but toward Iraqis as well. Members of the military have been trained to avoid the irresponsibilities of weakness. That is precisely why their conversations today are so much more interesting than those of the disoriented intellectuals on either side of the Iraq divide.

    That’s quite an inapt comparison, Mr Young. The questions the military is dealing with are quite different from the questions the civilian leadership is dealing with. The military needs to figure out the best method of carrying out the orders passed down by civilian leadership. It does not concern itself with the question of whether those orders are the right ones or the wrong ones, nor should it. It is not surprising that Michael Young and his ilk want the political debate to focus on shutting up and following the leader as well, given that every justification for going in and staying there has turned out to be so much poppycock.

    As for “the irresponsibilities of weakness” line (whatever that means), the biggest weakness of our military right now is that its bulk is tied down in countries that have zilch to do with our national security. Pulling out would hardly be an embrace of weakness; on the contrary, it would be the first step on the road back to strength.

    Pop quiz, Mr Young: what do we do if China invades the West Coast tomorrow? We’ve got very few reservists and massively depleted Nat’l Guards stateside, and that’s about it. So much for “the responsibility of power”.

  71. “But embracing weakness would be irresponsible not only toward America itself but toward Iraqis as well.”

    Tilting at windmills doesn’t exactly project strength.

  72. So tell me, what is the motivation of the soldiers who re-enlist if it is not financial? If we really have lost control of this place, that is getting quieter and quieter, why would we have so many re-enlistments? Financial motivation? Yes. The fact that the pay scale of private contractors is actually going to force the government to increase Soldier’s pay to a higher level to keep them in the military. Before leaving the military, I was offered a promotion and a $50,000 bonus (that was taxable by the way). I was making $43,000 per year. I now make more than that, but I don’t get money unless I am over here. The bottom line is that Iraq has been cooling down for a while now. Iraqi translators that are working for the US Army have a very Pro-American view and have a lot of optimism for thier country’s future. Contractors supervise, train, and employ foriegn nationals from Pakistan, India, Bengladesh, and other places to do the small on base jobs that the Army usually does. This helps the Army focus more on its mission outside of the base. Things change rapidly over here. The Army is doing a great job over here. If you are going to debate about Iraq you could debate if the invation was necessary in the first place, or if we should hold Iran accountable for thier supplying of insurgents and rockets used against bases over here. But please don’t believe this false idea that the Army has lost over here, use some common sense or come see Iraq for yourself.

  73. Hey Ben –

    Give the taxpayers their trillion dollars back and then we can talk about whether “only” losing 4000 men was “a small price to pay”.

    Undo every war crime – and every violation of the US Constitution and international treaties we’ve committed in the broader “war on terror” – and then we can talk about whether the war is serving liberty and fighting statism. [The Bush Administration is fighting statism – what a fucking laugh.]

    And did the civilian dead in Iraq volunteer to die too?

    The rest of your statements are ahistorical nonsense. You might not have noticed this, but the side in the Cold War that did most of the invading of other countries to spread its form of government LOST the Cold War. When France tried to export its revolution to monarchist Europe, not only did they not free Europe but they lost their republic as well. And NO, WWII would not have gone better if we had invaded Japan just for looking cross-eyed at us. The isolationist majority of the population would have crucified FDR if he had even tried to launch a pre-emptive war. And what would your brilliant strategic plan had been? An invasion of the Home Islands in 1940? With the Japanese army not scattered across half the Pacific but concentrated in China and at home? With the Japanese navy intact, before Midway, Coral Sea, Guadacanal? Five years before the completion of the Manhattan project? With the 1940 US Armed Forces? Yeah, that would have worked great.

    And if we’re supposed to be afraid of big, bad Islamofascism, well – radical Islam would not be anything near even the limited political threat it currently is if it weren’t for US and European intervention in the Middle East. It was secular nationalist Arabs who dominated the Muslim world outside of the Gulf states in the post-colonial era, and increasing westernization would have been the inevitable path of development in most of the Muslim world if the US hadn’t made it its business to stomp around the Middle East and hadn’t encouraged its proxy Israeli state to do the same. The Arab street has turned to radical Islam because its secular leaders were continually humiliated by or coopted by the West, and the Islamists were the only other game in town. If the state of Israel had not been created and if the US had not sought to dominate the Middle East as part of its great power conflict with the Soviet Union, the Islamofascists would be a bunch of pathetic freaks and has-beens isolated even if their own lands. If the US could simply find the wisdom to wash its hands of the Middle East and walk away, so-called Islamofascism would disappear in a generation, because it’s on the wrong side of the range of broad historical developments we usually call “modernity” and without the US keeping its thumb on the scale it’s doomed to go the way of the Spanish Inquisition.

  74. Oh right, Iraq has totally changed now.

    That’s why when Iraq said Blackwater had to leave, the State Department said that without them none of its personnel could leave the Green Zone for any purpose. Because it’s so safe and because the insurgents are gone now.

  75. So tell me, what is the motivation of the soldiers who re-enlist if it is not financial? If we really have lost control of this place, that is getting quieter and quieter, why would we have so many re-enlistments?

    The people I’ve known in the military would be loath to leave their buddies behind in time of danger, or feel that they ducked out in the middle of a fight. That sense of honor and comraderie would be enough to produce decent reenlistment rates, regardless of how the troops feel about the promise or lack thereof of our adventure in Iraq.

    come see Iraq for yourself.

    Sure! Do I get the John McCain treatment (flak jacket, hundred troop escort, helicopter complement, etc) or am I supposed to just go the Nick Berg route?

  76. The Nick Berg route is a long time ago. The situation is now under more control. Of course you could go somewhere where there are no known US troops and have the Daniel Perl treatment. Or you could pose as a homosexual in Laramie, Wyoming and get the Matthew Shepard treatment. You don’t need me to tell you don’t need me to tell you that you are not safe anywhere… Just the statistical illusion that you are. Bad things don’t pick a location to happen in. Look at the murders in Philadelphia.

  77. ‘i find myself in the difficult position of being for the war, but against the troops’

  78. “Just the statistical illusion that you are. Bad things don’t pick a location to happen in. Look at the murders in Philadelphia.”

    So you’re saying that an unarmed American standing alone in Philadelphia is just as unsafe as an unarmed American standing alone somewhere in an Iraqi city?

    Now I definitely want the taxpayers’ money back. Why are we paying Blackwater all thet money, if Iraq is no more dangerous than Philadelphia?

  79. Young’s article throws out the usual canard that opponents of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies have no viable plan. Nice rhetorical trick. Bush is right by default.

    But what wouldn’t be “viable” about abandoning our imperial ambitions and washing our hands of the Middle East ? In the long run, that is the truly viable plan. Those who believe that the US is going to remain the “lone superpower” are delusional. The 21st century is going to be (and arguably already is) multipolar. We should actually be thankful for that — even if we could be the Lone Superpower, we’d be insane to want to be.

    And as Fluffy alluded to, when it comes to the jihadist problem, it’s not about who we are but what we do. They didn’t attack us because they “hate our freedom.” They didn’t pick us at random, either.

  80. It’s also worth noting that Arab democracy and US imperial ambitions in the Middle East are incompatible and always will be.

  81. I have not read all the comments, but I think that here is what is happening:

    All the Iraqi man or women can see are: (1) foreign soldiers on their soil, and (2) children and ordinary people dying (regardless of who does the killing, or why). Intentions of the Americans, no matter how noble, is to a great extent irrelevant, for at the end of the day it just looks like an occupation, like the many ones they saw in the past (whether it was colonial England, dictatorial Saddam, or American liberation/occupation). To the simple minded Iraqi, they are all the same. Even if they are indifferent, there will always exist a local terrorist leader who will foment one very simple idea: “foreign soldiers on Iraqi soil”.

    If that scenario was true, does any one really expect an end to the? I think not. As Ron Paul and others said, the only solution is an immediate withdrawal to save, at least, American soldiers’ lives. If they leave, yes there may be a civil war. But it is not going to last, certainly not as long as the Lebanese civil war took.

    Does that mean leaving Iraq for Iran to take? I think not, again. Firstly, Iran is already having its sway on Iraq. Secondly, if the US really wishes to keep Iran at bay, then just redeploy to neighboring friendly Arab countries (e.g., KSA, Kuwait, Qatar).

    Where do I go wrong?

  82. It’s also worth noting that Arab democracy and US imperial ambitions in the Middle East are incompatible and always will be.

    Quite true. Perhaps even more importantly, keeping as much oil as possible out of Chinese or Indian hands is also incompatible with Arab democracy.

  83. Tilting at windmills doesn’t exactly project strength.

    Nor does losing in Afghanistan.

  84. Let’s not forget, American imperialism is incompatbile with American democracy, as well.

    No wartime president, no matter how incompetant, out of touch, or corrupt, has ever lost a re-election campaign. And now we have people like Michael Young saying we should be permanently at war out of one side of their mouth, and saying we can’t criticize the Commander in Chief during wartime out of the other side of his mouth.

    Imperialism creates empirers.

  85. Ben in Iraq:
    Those are some novel and intriguing arguements – that has given me some things to think about that I would not have otherwise. I don’t think I agree, but at least its some fresh thinking.

  86. The Iraq Freedom Congress (http://tinyurl.com/26yzpd )
    is a libertarian, secularist, non-violent, democratic, and
    progressive group that opposes Ba’athism, Islamism, and
    nationalism — as well as the US invasion/occupation.

    The Iraq Freedom Congress has organized a self-defense
    Safety Force that patrols neighborhoods in Iraq (population:
    5,000) and has reduced sectarian violence there to zero.
    However, far from supporting this effort, US forces have
    assassinated the head of these Safety Forces
    (http://tinyurl.com/25yknr ).

    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo/

  87. “But embracing weakness would be irresponsible not only toward America itself but toward Iraqis as well”

    Why is is that our policy is always geared towards this “appearance” of weakness or strength? It’s not as if these crazy, irrational, hate-filled maniacs that want to attack us seem capable of being reasoned with. It’s almost as if the options being presented to us are to either out-crazy them, or get to a point where they (and again they are irrational from the start) will at some point come their senses and realize that the U.S. planting an army in the Middle East is somehow “strength” that they cannot defeat. Our military will not beat the hate-filled Islam out of these people.

  88. The Iraq Freedom Congress- I am not sure if I can believe this story. I have a hard time accepting news that doesn’t show pictures, proof, or any other evidence other than a novel story. If this did happen, this guy was probobly outed by muslims in Iraq’s Military. According to the “story”, that can’t be found anywhere else, the Iraqi military worked with these “Special” vehicles to assasinate this guy. Could he have not been more likely kidnapped and murdered by Al-Quida, who would have bigger problems with him? After all he does help keep neigborhoods safe. There have been small towns participating in helping the US troops run out terrorists who have staged themselves in the small town since they have been run out of Baghdad. You might hate the source, but you can read this story.

    http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=49431

  89. I remain surprised that someone like Michael Young, who believes that the US military should be involved in rebuilding Iraq, writes for a libertarian publication.

  90. I don’t know if Young is correct about the US Army thinking imaginatively about Iraq and COIN warfare.

    But I think this comment thread demonstrates that reason commentors do not.

    All these comments could have been written in 2003. With a few names changed, many could have been written in 1973.

  91. “Those who believe that the US is going to remain the “lone superpower” are delusional. The 21st century is going to be (and arguably already is) multipolar.”

    Oh please, talk about delusional. The world is multipolar in the sense that there the U.S. is not able to have its way as it wants, but then again it never really could. The world is not multipolar in terms of the U.S. no longer being the “lone superpower.” The EU is not a full-spectrum superpower, and on that note China is vastly further behind. Should China, down the distant road, become a full-spectrum superpower, it will not be any time remotely soon; likely not in our lifetime.

    “Pop quiz, Mr Young: what do we do if China invades the West Coast tomorrow? We’ve got very few reservists and massively depleted Nat’l Guards stateside, and that’s about it. So much for “the responsibility of power”.

    The U.S. has over 2 million men at arms in the active duty, guard and reserve. It has roughly 200,000 more of those deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq than it did in mid-2001. Where do you think the rest went? Did they phone home with ET? Vanish into a black hole?

    (Not even going to address the ridiculousness of even putting forth the scenario of a Chinese ivnasion of the United States.)

    I’m blown away by most of the replies in this thread. They are neither “realistic” nor particularly “reasoned.”

  92. We are now supposed believe so the bushes and cheneys converted to moralist after they saw how bad they were to support sadam all those years?

    Ok even if it is true, which is absurd, then the non-interventionist like ron paul still don’t fit into this idiotic false paradigm of idealist and realist. The non-intervetnionist were correct when they were against giving taxpayer dollars to Sadam Hussein and sending the CIA over there to help him kill his political rivals and the non-interventionist were right again when they said everything that Bush used to justify htis war was a lie! They were right Bush lied to get us into the war. In fact the non-interventionist have been right about each of the entanglments we’ve had while the interventionist have been wrong(at least with regards to their publicly stated goals, god knows their bank accoutns have done well).

    Micaheal Young, your guilty of creating new false pardigms and them torturing them until they agree it is a good idea to keep sending american money and blood to Iraq to be buried in a hole.

    Why not stick with the big false pardigm of CFR team A v CFR team B? It seems to work well enough for the Military Industrial Complex.

  93. Sure, the military conversations are more interesting, and probably go something like this:
    “Colonel, sir?”
    “Yes, lieutenant?”
    “If the surge worked, why isn’t there political bliss in Iraq?”
    “Well, son, you may remember the surge was a military action meant to influence Iraqi political processes. We’ve done our job, but there’s no Iraqi government to hand the baton to.”
    “So, we’re just killing time, sir?”
    “You didn’t hear it from me.”

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