Iraq

And the Year's Not Over Yet…

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Grim AP Headline in Cincy Enquirer:

2007 Is Deadliest Year for US in Iraq

The U.S. military on Tuesday announced the deaths of five more soldiers, making 2007 the deadliest year for U.S. troops despite a recent downturn, according to an Associated Press count.

At least 852 American military personnel have died in Iraq so far this year—the highest annual toll since the war began in March 2003, according to AP figures.

The grim milestone passed despite a sharp drop in U.S. and Iraqi deaths here in recent months, after a 30,000-strong U.S. force buildup. There were 39 deaths in October, compared to 65 in September and 84 in August.

More here.

Steve Chapman looked at false optimism on Iraq here.

Brian Doherty chanted that War Is Over, If You Want It.

In 2006, reason looked at Iraq three years after "mission accomplished" here.

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  1. I’ve known people who supported the war, it seemed, specifically because of the sacrifices made by our troops. …but things aren’t always worth what we pay for them–it is possible to overpay.

    Here’s where the rest of America could learn something from the South–it’s possible to honor our troops for the sacrifices they made even if we hate the cause they died for.

    In a war of self-defense, the point is moot–self preservation is always worth it. …but Iraq was not a war of self-defense. What a terrible price to pay!

  2. I never understood the mentality of “support the war for our troops”. If you really cared for the troops, you would want them home safe and sound as quickly as possible. Keeping them at war is the wrong kind of support.

  3. There were 39 deaths in October, compared to 65 in September and 84 in August.

    Hello, this is real progress. If we were going to surrender, we should have done it last year when we weren’t making progress. Surrendering now would erase all the progress we’ve made this year and make meaningless the sacrifices of our brave young men and women.

  4. The grim milestone passed despite a sharp drop in U.S. and Iraqi deaths here in recent months, after a 30,000-strong U.S. force buildup.

    As I recall we are back to the sort of mortality levels found in 2005, which much of the American public found intolerable and was a cause of much worry and regret at the time.

  5. Sorry for Trolling…but

    Counting the coffins really lowers moral…and makes the President, the Vice President, the Country, and god look really really bad.

  6. Compassionate Conservative is a BUNCH of CRAP.

    Anyone with compassion, anyone with any sense of “Believing in god”, anyone who was brought up to respect and be compassionate to others WOULD Be against this WAR

    Bush, Cheney, etc. have NEVER FOUGHT in WAR. They Recklessly put young americans in harms way. They would NEVER send their own loved-ones to WAR…But expect us to send our children.

  7. Casualties are down because we have fewer troops out performing missions, and because al Sadr called a cease fire after the inter-militia fighting in Karbala.

    We were told that a reduction in violence would open the door for a political settlement, and that was the metric for measuring success.

    I see the reduction in violence – whatever the source – but remain skeptical that a lasting political deal can be reached as long as the country is under occupation. It shifts the momentum from the more accommodating to the more radical elements in Iraqi politics.

    Absent a deal, this good news will prove to be as fleeting as that on Flight Suit Day, Purple Finger Day, and Spider Hole Day.

  8. Surrendering now would erase all the progress we’ve made this year and make meaningless the sacrifices of our brave young men and women.

    So would staying the course and losing – the difference being, there would be a lot more brave young men and women sacrificed if we stay the course.

    Isn’t it funny how carrying out troops reductions according to a pre-existing timeline used to be “surrendering,” and now it’s “staying the course?” I guess somebody changed the course after all.

  9. Nick Nick Nick,
    How many times do you have to be told. We are winning the war. The latest tactic/surge/election has turned the corner. Even if more bodies pile up, you just have to wait three months for our latest plan to win to take effect. We have to win because we can’t afford to loose. All we need is the will to win. It’s defeatists like you that keep victory at bay. Why don’t you climb on board, and support our troops.

  10. “As I recall we are back to the sort of mortality levels found in 2005, which much of the American public found intolerable and was a cause of much worry and regret at the time.”

    There does seem to be a lowering of the bar, huh? …a sort of tyranny of lowered expectations.

  11. “Surrendering now would erase all the progress we’ve made this year and make meaningless the sacrifices of our brave young men and women.”

    My point was kinda that the sacrifices of the brave young men and women who volunteered to defend our country will never be meaningless to me.

    …even if it turns out that their lives were squandered by the people we elected to command them.

  12. If you insist on sapping the American people’s support for our troops by posting a picture of caskets, shouldn’t you post a picture of the same number of living, uninjured, happy troops next to it, in the interest of balance?

  13. avocado

    How would leaving be surrenduring? We have acheived all our goals. No WMDs, a democratic government set up (actually two, counting Kurdistan – or at least one, counting Kurdistan, not sure if Iraq counts yet), The Baathist removed from power.

    Really, what more do we need to do. Its time for the Iraqis to police themselves.

    Time to declare victory (which occurred about 3 years ago) and come home.

  14. People with the courage of their convictions don’t hide their beliefs behind euphemisms.

    You aren’t afraid of people not supporting the troops, a.d, but of not supporting the war.

    And you are most afraid of actually discussing it using accurate terms, because you know how despised your political position is.

    People who confuse support for the troops with support for the politicians’ agendas are announcing that their own support for the troops is conditional on politics in Washington.

  15. Casualty counting is no way to score a war. If more of our soldiers die this year, that has no bearing on whether we’re any closer of further from victory. Iwo Jima was expensive in lives, but will anyone here deny that the battle got us closer to victory? All we get from casualty counting is weakened resolve at home which increases the risk of defeat. Ignorant people that think we’re losing the war because we are losing soldiers just don’t understand war.

  16. Not only what I said above, but if some loser group ends up taking over in Iraq, we have already proved we can wipe out a typical middle-eastern government in about 60 days with very little loss of (US) life.

    “Stay democratic or we will come back” isnt the worst parting message we could give.

  17. Surrender, to whom?

    Is a single American troop going to put his hands in the air? Hand over his weapon to somebody? March off into a camp?

    Is the withdrawal from Iraq to be accompanied by an acceptance, by the American military, of some hostile force’s terms?

    Of course not. Ending the Iraq War would no more be a surrender than ending Prohibition. It’s just the abandonment of a failed policy, to reduce the damage it’s doing and allow us to concentrate our resources where they might do so good.

    It’s just another misleading euphemism thrown out by people who can’t argue their case on the merits, and have to hide behind emotional manipulation.

  18. robc,

    WMDs and democratic government is so 2003. We need to adapt to the current dangers, not the ones we saw then. Whether we should have invaded Iraq is a question for historians to decide, a long long time from now.

    The current dangers are the rise of Iran, and the possibility of al-Qaeda taking over the Sunni Triangle, and perhaps more. Those dangers are still present, and if we surrender we’ll be fighting them under even worse conditions in the future.

  19. Casualty counting is no way to score a war.

    I agree – the people pointing to these casualty figures as evidence that we’re turning the corner don’t understand much about war.

    But casualty figures can be useful in measuring the costs against the benefits.

  20. Not to mention that we have to avoid the appearance of weakness, so as not to embolden other aspiring superpowers like China, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela who may wish to attack us.

  21. Okay, I admit it, I got hooked. avacado is a troll, right? He cant seriously be arguing that the reasons for the war arent the reasons for the war?

    I always worry about agreeing with joe, but I cant figure out how leaving is surrendering either.

  22. “Iwo Jima was expensive in lives, but will anyone here deny that the battle got us closer to victory?”

    World War II was self defense against hyper-nationalist countries hell bent on taking over the world…

    In this case one can argue that WE are Japan. WE are the ones creating a buffer zone from invaders. “Fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them here”

  23. I see the reduction in violence – whatever the source – but remain skeptical that a lasting political deal can be reached as long as the country is under occupation.

    Curious that a country with an elected government and Constitution is described as “under occupation”, but whatever.

    I’m even more skeptical that any kind legitimate political settlement can be reached if we withdraw to levels that do not have any effect on the political/military situation.

    Sure, eventually the resulting balls-out civil war would result in some kind of “settlement” (civil wars always do), but would anyone really say that the settlement of the Lebanese civil war was the kind of settlement we (or the Lebanese) wanted? I see the likely result of a precipitous drawdown in Iraq as very similar – a big spike in violence that results in an Iranian puppet government.

  24. All of the “current dangers” avocado calls out are consequences of our reaction to the last set of dangers – that is, the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    I don’t think we have to wait for historians, a long long time from now, to declare that bringing about the rise of Iran and the growth of al Qaeda (and maybe the destruction of the Kurds’ democracy) were worth the elimination of the non-existant threats we started this war to address.

  25. I don’t think we have to wait for historians

    I dont either. In fact, I can go back to what I said before the war, which was if I was making a list of countries for the US to invade, Iraq probably wasnt in the top 20. In fact, both Cuba and Venezuela were above Iraq on my list. Cuba was #1. Which shows how much I really felt we needed to invade anyone (other than Afghanistan, which had already happened so they werent on the list anymore).

  26. I guess “occupation” is another term whose meaning is being changed in Newspeak.

    Sure, there are 150,000 foreign troops and tens of thousands of mercenaries making people pass through checkpoints and occasionally wiping out a house full of people. And sure, the government has repeatedly insisted that the mercenaries be withdrawn. And sure, every single elected office is held by a politician who ran on a platform of getting the Americans out of the Iraq. But that doesn’t mean they’re occupied.

    Because, you see, the government that the foreigners set up, and which doesn’t have soverign control over who can enter and leave the country and who can use force against whom, was elected. So that means those foreign troops are just sort of like tourists.

  27. Alice bowie said : “…But expect us to send our children.”

    No, it’s the Dem’s headed by Rangle who would send yours/anybody/everybody’s kid into the armed services with a draft.

  28. Whether there were dangers before or not (and keep in mind that I’m not explicitly questioning your patriotism for doubting that) does not change the fact that there are dangers now. If you break your window on the coldest day of the year because you swat at a fly that’s not there, sure, the broken window was caused by an unnecessary act. But that doesn’t mean you can just ignore your broken window and freeze to death.

  29. I’m even more skeptical that any kind legitimate political settlement can be reached if we withdraw to levels that do not have any effect on the political/military situation.

    This presumes that the effect of the American occupation on Iraqi politics is to promote political unity among the factions.

    Which seems a bit of a stretch, given the past five years. The political center among the Shia has shifted from Sistani to al Sadr. The political center among Sunnis has shifted from Iraqi nationalists in a party founded by a Shitte to violently anti-Shiite, anti-government tribes. Meanwhile, we are imposing the requirement that western oil companies be granted concessions as part of the oil revenue deal, making it that much harder to pass. And we still haven’t made a statement that we intend to leave, ever, while we continue to build permanent bases.

    None of this is good for the prospects of a political deal, but you have identified part of the “can’t stay/can’t leave” dynamic that makes this a textbook example of a quagmire.

  30. Meanwhile, we are imposing the requirement that western oil companies be granted concessions as part of the oil revenue deal, making it that much harder to pass.

    How are we imposing this requirement? Do we have troops stationed in the Iraqi parliament to keep them from voting on any oil revenue deal we don’t like?

  31. There are dangers, avocado, absolutely. Thanks, btw. But just so we’re clear, I’m not explicitly doubting your patriotism for supporting the policies that created them. Just your judgement.

    The question is, how best should we deal with those dangers?

    In 2003, we had to keep occupying Iraq or there would be chaos. In 2004, we had to keep occupying Iraq or there would be an insurgency. In 2005, we had to keep occupying Iraq or al Qaeda would come in in force and have an area to operate from. In 2006, we had to keep occupying Iraq or sectarian violence would break out. Now, we have to keep occupying Iraq or there won’t be a political solution reached. And throughout, we couldn’t end the occupation of Iraq because then the Iraqi security forces wouldn’t have the chance to become strong enough.

    What all this adds up to is that even recognizing the threat doesn’t allow you to make the leap to “we have to stay the course.” Staying the course has failed to achieve every purpose offered for that policy.

  32. crimethink cannot possibly be that naive.

    We have 150,000 troops in Iraq for the purpose of imposing a favorable political order, and you’re asking me how we can compel the Iraqi government to do what we want?

    What are you, kidding me?

  33. joe responded seriously, so I will handle the stupid analogy instead.

    The better analogy is that while throwing rocks at non-existent squirrel, you hit a hornets nest. The best solution is to get away from the tree, not to continue chucking rocks at the nest.

  34. joe,

    Is there any evidence that this desire has been explicitly communicated to the Iraqi govt? Otherwise, it amounts to speculation and mind-reading on your part.

  35. But you have to keep honor with the hornets, robc. You broke their nest, now you bought it.

  36. Is there any evidence that this desire has been explicitly communicated to the Iraqi govt?

    Um, the fact that concessions to foreign oil companies appears in the bill isn’t enough for you?

    How about the fact that the President of the United States singled out the passage of that bill in the State of the Union Address as a condition for us ever leaving?

  37. I understand the dominant group in the elected Iraqi government we’re championing recently changed its name from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) to something more palatable–The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Council_for_the_Islamic_Revolution_in_Iraq

    I guess once you’re the dominant power in an elected government, there’s no reason to be “revolutionary” anymore. My understanding is that they’re the party backed primarily by Iran. …and that they’re the guys we’re gonna hand Iraq off to once we declare victory.

    If victory looks like handing the lion’s share of Iraq over to the political wing of an Islamist militia backed primarily by Iran, then I’d like to see the other options first. …and please pass the Rolaids.

    No, our troops didn’t die for that–they died defending our country. …but there’s more than one way to diminish their sacrifices–one of them would have us pretend they accomplished something they didn’t do–like establish a liberal democracy in Iraq. …as if our troops sacrificing life and limb when called to do so somehow wasn’t courageous enough to earn our respect.

  38. Hey, they’re BOTH crimethink!

    Dammit, got me!

  39. avocado diaboli was fake but accurate

  40. But you have to keep honor with the hornets

    Okay, I was right the first time, he is a troll. Im outa this thread.

  41. RC Dean,

    Curious that a country with an elected government and Constitution is described as “under occupation”, but whatever.

    By that standard, the Germans weren’t occupying France in World War II.

    newspeak indeed.

  42. I know in my heart I didn’t argue with a troll, but the facts say otherwise.

  43. The name should have given it away, joe…didn’t you study Latin in Catholic school? Anyway, I think it’s always nice to add some spice to the discussion so we don’t become an echo chamber like Pandagon, et al.

    Gosh, I sound like Dan T.

  44. And our score stands tarran 1, RC Dean 0.

  45. I never understood the mentality of “support the war for our troops”. If you really cared for the troops, you would want them home safe and sound as quickly as possible. Keeping them at war is the wrong kind of support.

    That would then be a waste of lives for all the past casualties, if you support the troops, you would support the war. Also, if you support the troops, you should support the use of nuclear weapons on Iran as that would save American lives required for the inevitable invasion.

  46. robc said : “if I was making a list of countries for the US to invade, Iraq probably wasnt in the top 20. In fact, both Cuba and Venezuela were above Iraq on my list. Cuba was #1.”

    But none of these countries have invaded another sovereign country as Iraq did.

    I am one of the few who sees this current military action as a continuation of the Gulf War. If you think that invading a sovereign country doesn’t deserve more of a penalty than the U.N. giving you an oil-for -food program to enrich you self with, then what were the alternatives to where we are at now?

    A metric I use to see how the U.S. is doing is to read about the Iraqi’s and how they are interacting with us. The cooperation we are now seeing is the true ‘turning of the corner’ inthis conflict. We should want the Iraqi’s and anyone else in the Middle East to see the U.S. not as how our media and college professors see us ( fascist,imperialistic occupiers), but as facilitators of representative governments, and to see the Al-Qaida’s and their ilk as the facist imperialistic occupiers.

  47. Casualties are down because we have fewer troops out performing missions, and because al Sadr called a cease fire after the inter-militia fighting in Karbala.

    Huh? What have you been smoking, Joe? There are more troops stationed all over Baghdad in “Joint Security Stations”. They live, not patrol, live amongst the Iraqis they are protecting. AQI has been broken. Al Sadr’s militia (JAM) is keeping low so they can survive.

    The fight isn’t over, but there is noticeable, substantial progress.

  48. Shorter Avocado: If we’ve achieved all of our objectives, it just means we aren’t looking hard enough for new objectives. Hooray for permanent war!!!

  49. Damn, I didn’t see crimethink’s concession.

  50. doubled,

    We should want the Iraqi’s and anyone else in the Middle East to see the U.S. not as how our media and college professors see us ( fascist,imperialistic occupiers), but as facilitators of representative governments, and to see the Al-Qaida’s and their ilk as the facist imperialistic occupiers.

    I seriously doubt that they view us through either lense.

  51. R.C. Dean,

    I see the likely result of a precipitous drawdown in Iraq as very similar – a big spike in violence that results in an Iranian puppet government.

    Iran has already significantly benefited from this ill-advised war, they probably cannot benefit much more.

  52. crimethink,

    I didn’t study Latin in Catholic School. I studied French.

    Are there any more liberal stereotypes I can confirm for you? 😉

  53. An Iranian puppet government is a foregone conclusion in Iraq. It’s one of those things Bush didn’t think about in his rush to get those WMDs.

  54. Joe, when you drink your fancy tea, do you hold the teacup with your pinky out?

  55. Wayne,

    Don’t bother. Joe lives in Joe world. You can’t have a serious conversation with him about Iraq because he has a completely whacked view of the facts. You wind up arguing with him over bizarre assertions of facts like the surge has resulted in less exposure to danger by US troops. There are anti-war people on here you can have a serious discussion with. Joe is no longer one of them. I am sure if he ever was, but he has gotten a lot worse in the last few months.

    On a serious note, I am not really sure what the “year to date” death toll really means. The worst year for casualties for the US in the Civil War was 1864 and the summer of 1864 in particular. The worst year in World War II was 1944 and the first six months of 1945 were setting that year up to be even worse. Of course in hindsight, the results of both the Civil War and World War II were determined in the years in which the casualty rates where the highest. Certainly, a high casualty rate doesn’t mean you have won or even that you are winning, but it doesn’t mean you are loosing either. Taken in isolation, it doesn’t really say anything.

    As everyone knows statistics can be very deceiving. When Petreus testified to Congress the ignorant jackasses made a big deal about the readiness and personnel rates of Iraqi units not being 100%. That sounds really bad if you don’t know any better. In reality, those rates were down at 70% in some cases because the units had actually been out fighting and performing. Previous Iraqi units had been at 100%. Of course they stayed that way because they refused to leave their bases or do any fighting and that is why they were at 100%. The decline in personnel and readiness was actually good news, if you knew the whole story. This is a similar statistic. Not that it is necessarily good news, but taken alone it really doesn’t mean anything.

  56. “An Iranian puppet government is a foregone conclusion in Iraq. It’s one of those things Bush didn’t think about in his rush to get those WMDs.”

    I think that is bunk Lamar. The Iraqis are very nationalistic. They are Arabs and have no use for the predominately Persian Iranians. No Iraqi, Shia or Suni or Kurd wants to be a stooge to Iran. I don’t buy that for a minute.

  57. Seitz said: “Hooray for permanent war!!!”

    The history of this planet is that there is permanent war, interupted by sporadic periods/areas of peace.

  58. “What WMDs?

    I don’t know, but we don’t want our first notice of WMDs to be a mushroom cloud and then there’s 9/11 and dirty bombers and aluminum nuclear tubes and uranium from Nigeria and omigosh…..invade somebody….anybody!!!

    John, you may be right, but it is because they are Arabs, it has nothing to do with being Iraqi.

  59. John,

    Well, the issue is whether Shi’ite Iraqis have more affinity for their ethnicity (being Arab) or their religious ties. It is not surprising that the Sunnis and the Kurds wouldn’t be enthusiastic re: and alliance with Iran, so I’m not quite sure why you mention them. Indeed, I am pretty sure that Lamar wasn’t even thinking of the Sunnis or the Kurds.

  60. John | January 31, 2005, 3:46pm | #

    SPD, pretty much. The Iraqis who are shooting as us are the ones who lived well under Saddam and are sad to see him go. Just because he was a murdurous lunatic doesn’t mean a lot of people didn’t benifit from him being in power. Those people are left now out of power, dispised by the majority Shias and Kurds and see no choice but to start shooting. This is not a nationalistic insurgency. They have no idealogy to speak of. They are just foreign jhihadists and left over gangsters from the Saddam era.

    Please, John, tell us more about my delusions regarding goings-on in Iraq.

  61. Wow, John, funny how nationalist the Iraqis becaome since you wrote that, huh?

  62. I can understand why Joe can’t admit to any progress, his partisanship is unlimited. For the rest of you who supposedly aren’t dedicating their lives to Democratic politics, why is it so hard to admit that former Sunni insurgents cooperating with our troops and killing al Qaida terrorists is a good thing?

  63. Casualty counting is no way to score a war.

    Exactly correct. If casualty counting were the proper measurement then the Confederacy would be intact in the USA.

    Seems the same peopel who counter your notion think Al Gore won a Presidential election, the willing football team is the one with the most yards, etc.

  64. I see the reduction in violence – whatever the source – but remain skeptical that a lasting political deal can be reached as long as the country is under occupation. – joe

    I can understand why Joe can’t admit to any progress, his partisanship is unlimited. – James Ard.

    Making up silly straw men instead of facing opposing arguments honestly has served you so well for the past five years when thinking about Iraq, why would you stop now?

    BTW, encouraging Sunni tribes to turn against al Qaeda by reducing our military footprint and ceasing to try to operate as the government is something I’ve been calling for since 2004, and am not surprised to see it working.

  65. Reducing our footprint my ass, Joe. How about some links.

  66. Joe has been a rank partisan for bigger troop surges and a military clamping down as a de facto government since 2004, in the bizarro world, of course.

  67. What are you, kidding me, James?

    There have been roughly a billion news articles over the past six months about the 2006 change of posture of American troops in Anbar Province. The jihadists and local tribes took over the towns and became the de facto government, and our military wrote the area off as lost. They ceased even trying to provide security (the checkpoints, the partrols through neighborhoods, the occupation duty) and were forced into a position of attacking enemy formations and objectives – of attempting to retake areas that they no longer controlled.

    No, I’m not going to find links for you. You should know this already.

  68. I gotta agree with the hawks that trends in American body counts, absent other data, do not tell us much about the direction of the war.

  69. Ah, I see the obligatory Niger reference up there. Any reference to the Joseph Wilson IV Niger report should be linked to this and not the contradicting load of fiction that appeared in The New York Times about the same issue, but the same former Ambassador, who reported back to the CIA that Niger was indeed aware of Iraqi attempts to purchase yellowcake that originated in Niger. See page 4 para. B – Former Ambassador.

    Also, please, when saying or inferring that the President stated in a pre-war speech that the Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Iraq, state which speech that was? The one most commonly referred to State of the Union Address does not contain the word Niger at all.

  70. By that standard, the Germans weren’t occupying France in World War II.

    I don’t recall any popular votes or referenda affirming the Vichy regime, and its legality as a successor government is bitterly contested by French historians to this day.

    Oh, and I think I can call a Godwin on this. Thread over, no?

    BTW, encouraging Sunni tribes to turn against al Qaeda by reducing our military footprint and ceasing to try to operate as the government is something I’ve been calling for since

    joe, do you really believe that the Sunnis were encouraged to turn against AQ by us “reducing our military footprint?” A troop build-up and adoption of more aggressive tactics is a “reduction”? Who’s engaging in newspeak here?

    And why on earth would the Sunnis wait to turn on AQ until their biggest helper in turning on AQ said “You’re on your own”? That’s when you accomodate, not when you confront.

  71. Corrections:
    about the same issue, but by the same former Ambassador,

    pre-war speech that the Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Iraq Niger,

  72. RC Dean,

    Let’s get the timeline straight here – the reduction of our footprint in Anbar PRECEDED the Surge.

    In 2005, al Qaeda and the Sunni tribes teamed up and ran us out of the region’s towns. The U.S. military’s mission and posture changed from occupation to an attempt to retake those areas.

    In 2006, the local shieks turned against al Qaeda, and we took them up on their offer to work with ous against al Qaeda.

    In 2006 and 2007, the “troop build-up and adoption of more aggressive tactics” by the military (I wouldn’t say more aggressive, though) took place.

    Patraeus diverted about 10,000 troops from the Baghdad Security Plan to Anbar in response to the change in political conditions that had taken place prior to the Surge.

    And why on earth would the Sunnis wait to turn on AQ until their biggest helper in turning on AQ said “You’re on your own”? Because it was only after we were run out of the towns and the jihadists set up their “Islamic Nation of Iraq” government that the locals decided that they were better off fighting with them than cooperating with them.

  73. That last point is the crucial one for you to internalize: our occupation irritates Iraqis, RC. It’s annoying. We keep shooting Iraqis, and putting our dirty infidel hands in their grannies’ chadors at checkpoints. They don’t like that sort of thing, go figure.

    As long as the American occupation is the central political fact in Iraqis’ lives, they are going to orient their politics around resisting it. That means Shiites working with Iran, and Sunnis working with foreign jihadists.

    When our granny-groping, house-bombing occupation ends, it causes a political realignment. The most radical anti-Americans lose status to more realistic, pragmatic pot-hole fillers. The end of the occupation, the renunciation of our permanent bases, the reduction of the American presence – these are all tools to influence Iraqi politics in the direction we want. Just like the Brits’ demilitarization in Northern Ireland.

  74. Joe,

    You can’t even stay consistent on this thread. First it is “I don’t think we have to wait for historians, a long long time from now, to declare that bringing about the rise of Iran and the growth of al Qaeda (and maybe the destruction of the Kurds’ democracy) were worth the elimination of the non-existant threats we started this war to address.”

    Rise of Al Quada? Really. Because later it is, “Because it was only after we were run out of the towns and the jihadists set up their “Islamic Nation of Iraq” government that the locals decided that they were better off fighting with them than cooperating with them.”

    You have slowly gone insane on this issue. You kind of hit on the truth in the second quote. Yeah, Al Quada has been completely discredited even with the Sunis of Iraq (who are very secular drink whiskey and have no desire for an Islamic Republic) and have had their foreign fighters killed by the 1000s over the last four years in Iraq. Look no futher than Bin Ladin’s latest pathetic tape to see evidence of how badly they are beaten in Iraq. But the Iraq war lead to the rise of Al Quada? Iraq has been the anvil on which Al Quada has been hammered. The war has been a disaster for Al Quada. Really the only straw you and others like you have to grasp on this issue is the old, we are causing ethnic cleansing and a civil war canard, which if true means we should probably stay and prevent that and the old “Iraq is going to be dominated by an Iranian theocracy” which again if true probably means we should stay and prevent that as well. If we leave and none of that happens, then that means the US won the war, which is a possibility so horrible I don’t know that you can psychologically contemplate it.

  75. “As long as the American occupation is the central political fact in Iraqis’ lives, they are going to orient their politics around resisting it.”

    Joe if the Iraqi’s, a country of 27 million people oriented their lives around “resisting the occupation”, there would be a full scale revolution and the US would be taking 100s of casualties a day. I don’t see how the one successful daily IED attack against a force of 150,000 + in a country the size of Texas can be read to mean that the Iraqis are orienting their lives areoun resisting the occupation.

  76. BTW, I’m perfectly open to the ideas that the surge created the “window” for a political settlement by reducing violence, thus making it easier for Iraqi politicians to talk across sectarian lines and worry about issues beyond immediate emergencies. I wrote way back when that a bump in troop levels may make sense as part of a withdrawal strategy – covering fire, as it were. The U.S. military has largely been able to accomplish tactical successes when they’ve concentrated on them.

    But something everyone across the spectrum agrees on is that any gains accomplished by military means will quickly be lost absent a political solution.

  77. Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the Iraqis develop a functioning democracy, human rights are respected and the U.S. troops ALL come home in 2008.

    Does that justify a pre-emptive war under false pretenses? I vote HELL NO!

  78. John,

    Talking about two different things that happened at two different times is not inconsistent. Al Qaeda went from being completely absent in Iraq to having thousands of fighters there, controlling swathes of the country, and making themselves the central political fact in Iraq, in 2006-2006. AFTER THAT, the change in political conditions in Anbar brought them a reversal.

    Understanding that events happen sequentially isn’t that difficult, John. It’s the sort of mistake you make when you’re trying way too hard.

  79. John,

    Joe if the Iraqi’s, a country of 27 million people oriented their lives around “resisting the occupation”

    The term I used was “orienting their politics,” not “orienting their lives.”

    Do you think your constant habit of misstating my arguments stems from intellectual cowardice or just stupidity?

  80. “Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the Iraqis develop a functioning democracy, human rights are respected and the U.S. troops ALL come home in 2008.

    Does that justify a pre-emptive war under false pretenses? I vote HELL NO!”

    Of course if you know the pretenses are false, you are right. The problem is that you don’t know that. Does the CIA screwing the pooch on Iraq, mean that no other countries ever are going to be a threat and the US should wait for a devistating attack before doing anything? Further, it wasn’t the invasion that went bad it was the occupation. The lesson is kick the crap out of them and go home and not worry about rebuilding the country. That is when things get hard.

    Of course Iraq as a Democracy in the middle of the middle east, does have its advantages. My fear is that we have created another Israel. For a certain sector of the world no good can ever come from the US doing anything. The Iraqi government must fail or be worse than Saddam in those people’s view.

  81. John writes,

    If we leave and none of that happens (a sectarian civil war and Iranian domination of Iraq), then that means the US won the war

    The conditions under which John is now willing to declare victory in Operation Iraqi Freedom have now been dumbed down so far that they were being met under the rule of Saddam Hussein.

    If we leave Iraq and it is under a stable government that isn’t dominated by Iran, we will have spent 4000 troops lives, maybe a million Iraqi lives, and $1 trillion dollars to keep Operation Iraqi Freedom from making the situation worse, while neglecting for five years the real fight, against bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban. That is now the scenario that John is calling victory.

    I don’t think we need to wait for those historians, if this is the best case scenario.

  82. “Al Qaeda went from being completely absent in Iraq to having thousands of fighters there, controlling swathes of the country, and making themselves the central political fact in Iraq, in 2006-2006. AFTER THAT, the change in political conditions in Anbar brought them a reversal”

    And they have been completely routed and humiliated. Only you would not see that as an unqualified good. Thousands of radical muslims who would have otherwise been employed causing trouble elsewhere have been killed in Iraq. That doesn’t in itself mean the war was worth it, but it is a huge plus in its favor.

    Further, how exactly have they oriented their politics around “ending the occupation”? The US has said on numorous occasions we will leave if asked. If it was all about getting the US out, why didn’t they call our bluff and ask us to leave? It would have put the US in a hell of an akward position. They didn’t do that because the majority of them know that we need to stay until they are on their feet. If anything the Iraqis have oriented their politics around the beleif that we would abadon them, with each side trying their best to position themselves for that eventuality.

  83. What difference does it make, whether the surge worked or not, if “worked” means the country is now peacably under the political control of Islamist militias, some beholden to Iran, a state sponsor of terror, and some beholden to even worse?

  84. If we leave Iraq and it is under a stable government that isn’t dominated by Iran, we will have spent 4000 troops lives, maybe a million Iraqi lives, and $1 trillion dollars to keep Operation Iraqi Freedom from making the situation worse, while neglecting for five years the real fight, against bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban. That is now the scenario that John is calling victory.”

    Yes, a stable government that doesn’t threaten its neighbors, isn’t run by a mad man killing its citizens by the 1000s and pledging to destroy the west. If that isn’t victory what the hell is Joe? Seriously? Saddam had invaded two countries in 10 years and been responsible for the deaths of millions. In his place you will get a government that is no threat to its neighbors and won’t be attempting genocide on any of its citizens. Honestly, what else was supposed to be the result of this war? Taking Iraq as a 51st State?

  85. “…Just like the Brits’ demilitarization in Northern Ireland.”

    Joe, you are a loon. The Brits demilitarized in southern Iraq also, but it resulted in a return to violence in Basra, a place that had been more or less peaceful. Despite your if-i-just-spread-my-cheeks-wide-enough-they-will-bugger-me-then-leave-me-alone ideas, that has not worked in Iraq. In the middle east, those who turn the other cheek just get slapped again, and harder.

  86. Yes, now I’m sad that al Qaeda is losing in Anbar.

    You can tell how confident John is in his position, by how unafraid he is to honestly confront the arguments made by his political opponents.

    BTW, if “they” is al Qaeda, then no, “they” have not been routed in Iraq. “They” are still active in Pakistan and Afghanistan, after having been very nearly put out of commission in 2001-2002. The little franchise set up by others in Iraq is not the group that attacked us, or that has demonstrated an ability to operate outside of their own back yard.

    Thousands of radical muslims who would have otherwise been employed causing trouble elsewhere have been killed in Iraq. And thousands more have not been, and are now battle-hardened fighters. And, as the CIA and DoD keep telling us, the war has spawned more terrorists than it has killed.

    Further, how exactly have they oriented their politics around “ending the occupation”? By aligning themselves with insurgent groups, from the Mahdi Army to “al Qaeda in Iraq.”

    The US has said on numorous occasions we will leave if asked. And now they government has asked us to remove our mercenaries. How’s that going? It’s touching how credulous you remain about statements coming from the administration.

    If it was all about getting the US out, why didn’t they call our bluff and ask us to leave? They have. Except for the Kurds, every single party that won a seat in Iraqi parliament ran on a platform calling for the end of the American occupation.

  87. “If we leave Iraq and it is under a stable government that isn’t dominated by Iran…”

    So you’d rather the country was dominated by al-Sadr? I don’t get it.

  88. Guy: Was any uranium purchased from Niger? No? Just want to be clear.

  89. Ron Paul is more likely to be the next President of the Untied States than Ahmed Chalabi is to emerge as the new and true leader the United Iraqi Alliance.

    …is that what you guys are hoping for. Honestly, I don’t get it.

    The surge works and then what happens?

  90. J sub D,

    Well, just for the sake of making this clear, the current Iraqi government has an abysmal human rights record.

    _______________________________________

    Ken Schultz,

    It has become pretty clear that the situation is sufficiently more complex than most hawks or doves can imagine.

  91. J sub D,

    The fact that millions of Iraqis are now refugees ought to be scandal enough.

  92. I almost want Hillary to become president just so I can watch joe do a complete 180 when she decides to keep going in Iraq.

  93. “It has become pretty clear that the situation is sufficiently more complex than most hawks or doves can imagine.”

    It’s as if they’re just keeping score in terms of whether their favorite politician was right or wrong about the surge. The whole discussion seems unhinged from what’s actually happening.

    It’s like they’re using Iraq as some kind of way to score fantasy points for their favorite politician in the upcoming election–and that’s it.

  94. Well, just for the sake of making this clear, the current Iraqi government has an abysmal human rights record.

    The fact that millions of Iraqis are now refugees ought to be scandal enough.

    But, for the sake of argument, that’s going to be fixed next year. Should we have invaded a country that posed NO threat to us? That’s the question. Was the war of aggression principled, as it were?

  95. If nothing else, leaving Saddam in power undermined our stature in our enemies’ eyes. Letting a tinpot dictator stick a finger in your eye time and time again only encourages Russia and China to build up their arms, and take bolder claims on international resources.

  96. John,

    If that isn’t victory what the hell is Joe? Once upon a time, victory was a democratic government that supported human rights, was an American ally, and served as such a model that it promoted democratic reforms throughout the Middle East. As I recall, you were a particularly gullible propaganda victim as you declared this victory at hand. Now, a typical “stable” Middle Eastern government fits the bill.

    Saddam had invaded two countries in 10 years and been responsible for the deaths of millions. Yes, that’s why we spent a decade containing him and stirring up trouble in his back yard. And it worked – when this was launched, Iraq was incapable of invading anyone, or even operating as a sovereign country, and could not have carried out a genocide if it wanted to.

    As opposed to the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad set off by this invasion and its aftermath. We didn’t trade Reagan-era Saddam for this situation; we traded Saddam-in-a-Box for Miitia’s Run Wild, vastly increasing the amount of violence in the country in the process.

    You must put a low value on the lives of our troops if you think that was worth their sacrifice.

  97. wayne,

    Let’s leave your remarkably accurate description of the evening I spent with your mother aside, and just look at the difference between Northern Ireland and Basra.

    In Northern Ireland, the Brits pulled out in conjunction with an ongoing diplomatic and political process, and used the announcement and reality of their withdrawal to further it.

    Is Basra, they just left. There has been no political and diplomatic offensive to bring about the political solution.

    Someone more interested in knowing the truth than bragging about how much more manly he is wouldn’t need to be reminded of that.

  98. “Letting a tinpot dictator stick a finger in your eye time and time again only encourages Russia and China to build up their arms, and take bolder claims on international resources.”

    How does getting bogged down in a quagmire make us look?

  99. If nothing else, leaving Saddam in power undermined our stature in our enemies’ eyes.

    And the disasterous situation we’ve created in Iraq hasn’t harmed our stature?

    Letting bin Laden get away and the Taliban/al Qaeda come back from the brink of collapse doesn’t undermine our stature? Talk about sticking a finger in our eye!

    A contained Saddam being humiliated by weapons inspectors and allied bombing runs is much less harmful to our stature than what’s going on in Iraq right now.

  100. Joe, so the next time some country invades another sovereign country, the response should be to set up an U. N. ‘program’ to help contain the culprits and call it a day?

  101. I’m looking forward to a Democratic presidency, too, Episiarch.

    So I can watch you and John declare “that’s exactly what Bush was going to do!” when the next president ends the war.

  102. Doubled,

    You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    I think we were right to kick Saddam out of Kuwait, with the help of our traditional allies, and impose a strict containment regime, including rigourous disarmament imposed through coercive inspections.

    I’m the one arguing that changing from that policy was a mistake.

  103. So I can watch you and John declare “that’s exactly what Bush was going to do!” when the next president ends the war.

    Umm, joe, have you gotten more confused than usual?

    Here’s a public bet: I suggest people put money down on whether you will ever see me (or have ever seen me) support Bush…

    versus:

    Whether joe’s tune will change completely to support whatever a Dem president does?

    Any takers?

  104. I think our boys are putting on a pretty impressive show of our military’s ability to destroy stuff. Change a government? maybe not, win major battles? probably so.

  105. If anything the Iraqis have oriented their politics around the beleif that we would abadon them, with each side trying their best to position themselves for that eventuality.

    I think a lot of the sectarian fighting is based on precisely this presumption.

    I think we were right to kick Saddam out of Kuwait, with the help of our traditional allies, and impose a strict containment regime, including rigourous disarmament imposed through coercive inspections.

    Of course, this course of action was a little hard on the people Saddam killed while it was in effect. You know, the pogrom against the Marsh Arabs, the abandoned Shiite uprising, all that.

    joe, do you really think the incredibly corrupt and ineffective sanctions regime was a good thing for Iraq and the world? Really?

  106. At least 852 American military personnel have died in Iraq so far this year – the highest annual toll since the war began in

    Yeah but our government still doesn’t have a choice cuz they haven’t found the Iraqi WMD yet and cuz the proof that Iraq was involved in 9/11 remains elusive. The reasons to spend lives and money to attack Iran are equally persuasive.

  107. For the record, I’ve seen joe go against democrats in the past–to some extent I think whatever rep he has as being so unfaltering pro-Democrat is partly because he’s often the only voice on that side of the argument around here.

    And all you Republican groupies are lucky to have a sharp mind on the other side of the aisle to spar with.

    Oh, and just in case any of you are worried that I’ve lost my mind defending joe, anybody–Democrat or Republican–who only sees what happens in Iraq in terms of whether it’s good or bad for their party’s chances in the next election needs to be deprogrammed. …from other threads I know joe doesn’t see it that way–some of the rest of you I’m not so sure about.

  108. Basically if one is going to start talking about the atrocities committed by Saddam’s regime then one better start talking about the problems in central Africa and other less than ideal places to live.

    As far as the fact that Saddam had invade two nations during his reign, that threat had been neutralized in the 1991 Gulf War.

  109. Ken,

    The Iraq War is a good illustration of going from the frying pan and into the fire. Iraq’s oddball situation in the region wasn’t ideal, nor was the human rights situation there. The U.S. invasion complicated matters regionally and opened several domestic can of worms in the process.

  110. Episiarch,

    Reed guder.

    I didn’t say you were going to support Bush.

    I said you were going to look at the complete abandonment of Bush’s Iraq policy by the next president and bellow out the boring “they’re exactly the same!” line you’ve been mooing for the past three years.

  111. RC,

    Of course, this course of action was a little hard on the people Saddam killed while it was in effect. You know, the pogrom against the Marsh Arabs, the abandoned Shiite uprising, all that. And even given how horrible that situation was, it was vastly better than what’s been going on there since we invaded.

    joe, do you really think the incredibly corrupt and ineffective sanctions regime was a good thing for Iraq and the world? No, just less bad than the debacle that succeeded it.

    Really? Yes, really.

    Better still would have been reforming the containment policy (what Powell was calling “smart sanctions”), and compelling the return of the inspectors.

  112. Episiarch,

    For the record, my position hasn’t changed one whit in the last four years.

    I called for a staged withdrawal to occur alongside a political and diplomatic offensive in 2003.

    I called for a staged withdrawal to occur alongside a political and diplomatic offensive in 2004.

    I called for a staged withdrawal to occur alongside a political and diplomatic offensive in 2005.

    I called for a staged withdrawal to occur alongside a political and diplomatic offensive in 2006.

    I’ve been calling for a staged withdrawal to occur alongside a political and diplomatic offensive in 2007.

    I’m going to call for a staged withdrawal to occur alongside a political and diplomatic offensive in 2008.

    And I’m going to call for a staged withdrawal to occur alongside a political and diplomatic offensive in 2009.

    If Hillary Clinton abandons this position and continues Operation Iraqi Freedom after coming to office, I’ll complain about her. I’ve certainly got plenty of experience complaining about a President Clinton.

  113. Lamar,
    Guy: Was any uranium purchased from Niger? No? Just want to be clear.

    No, it was not. Wasn’t the President clear enough for you or all of the false claims about what was actually said confusing you?

  114. Syloson of Samos sys: “As far as the fact that Saddam had invade two nations during his reign, that threat had been neutralized in the 1991 Gulf War.”

    Neutralized perhaps, but not removed by any means, AND at the expense of the U.N. setting up a slush fund for Sadaam and Kofi’s cohorts while the Amnesty Internationals of the world chastized the U.S. for 5000 children perishing a day or month or whatever the Lancet like study numbers that they were peddling at the time said died. Great fodder for the leftists who never miss a chance to crap on America while ignoring the real nefarious leaders in the world.

    As I said earlier in this thread, the Iraqi’s are starting to see through these lies (spin if you perfer) and realize we are there not as an imperialistic ‘occupier’, but as an ally to help them through a terribly un-democratic era of there history.

  115. joe says regarding letting the U.N. sanctions continue: “… and compelling the return of the inspectors.”

    The inspectors that worked for the U.N., who kept insisting that they just needed more time(for what purpose is not quite clear, as there was never any WMD according to all those on the left). Call me a cynic, but I guess the only reason they needed more time was to bastardize the oil-for-food for more millions before the world caught on to their shenannigans.

  116. The inspectors were right.

    You were wrong.

    Why should we care what you think of them?

  117. joe, noted, and I will mark down that post:

    joe | November 6, 2007, 2:39pm | #

    For future reference 🙂

  118. doubled,

    Neutralized perhaps, but not removed by any means, AND at the expense of the U.N. setting up a slush fund for Sadaam and Kofi’s cohorts while the Amnesty Internationals of the world chastized the U.S. for 5000 children perishing a day or month or whatever the Lancet like study numbers that they were peddling at the time said died. Great fodder for the leftists who never miss a chance to crap on America while ignoring the real nefarious leaders in the world.

    Let’s say I agree with this assessment for argument’s sake. I don’t see how any of this justifies this war.

  119. Joe said : “The inspectors were right.”

    They were right about what exactly? I am missing your point, other than you getting to state that I am wrong about something. Wouldn’t be the first time for sure.

  120. You do that, Episiarch.

    It’s too bad it’s going to take another two years before you start acknowledging that I actually believe in things, and maybe start making the effort to discuss them, but better late than never.

  121. Syloson of Samos says: “I don’t see how any of this justifies this war.”

    Not expecting any of you to believe this war was justified, just to explain why I do believe so.

    I will agree that war is always hard to justify, for good reason, death always ensues. It’s just that if you don’t wage war, death can still ensue. But, if it helps your conscience to always be against war deaths and to ‘live with’ deaths that will occur by not going to war, so be it.

  122. doubled,

    They were right about the absence of a WMD program. They were right about being perfectly capable of doing their job.

  123. Joe says :”They were right about the absence of a WMD program. ”
    Ah, but that’s the rub, if they KNEW that there was no WMD, why didn’t they say so, cease asking for more ‘time’ to inspect, leave the country and end the SANCTIONS?

    I think they were making to much moola at the Iraqi’s expense to do that (although I personaaly believe that there were WMD and at some point were taken out of Iraq, no evidence, just my opinion).

  124. To add a little snark for the press: I remember in the run-up to the continuation of the Gulf War that according to experts quoted in the media ,our forces would be subjected to WMD’s of the type Iraq used on Iran prior. How could the great American media get so fooled?

  125. I rise at this time to move that the record of this esteemed blog reflect the fact that I, a conservative Republican from Colorado, opposed the Iraq war since before it started. And that my opposition was earlier and more uncompromising than that of my good friend, the liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, joe.

  126. It just goes to show you that people on both sides can be wrong.

  127. FWIW, I find the John/joe Iraq flamefests actually useful, because they consolidate most of the talking points for each side’s perspective in one place. The “truth” may perhaps become an emergent property of these exchanges.

  128. James Ard,

    A reading of another of your comments on this thread shows that you aren’t kidding. You really are that sadly deluded!

  129. Rick,

    I will grant you “earlier” – there was a month-long period when I was undecided about the war.

    But not “more uncompromising.”

    We certainly brought different POVs to the issue, but I don’t see where you can claim to have opposed it more.

  130. James Ard:

    …will anyone here deny that the battle got us closer to victory?

    Pursuing “victory” is just a pretext to keep doing the wrong thing when our government shouldn’t have even started the Iraq war.

  131. joe:

    We certainly brought different POVs to the issue, but I don’t see where you can claim to have opposed it more.

    Ok, joe. I yield to your point.

    I’ll make a different one: Ron Paul’s opposition to the war is more uncompromising than any of the 4 or 5 front running Dems.

  132. Rick, Ken Shultz,

    You are two people whose opinions about this debacle have been thoroughly vindicated, yet who approached the question from a vastly different angle than most war opponents.

    What do you think we should do now? Please, try to answer with some specificity.

  133. I’ll answer this one for you, Joe. Stop worrying about al Qaida, the Iraqis aren’t interested in their fanaticism. We should convince the Kurds that the PPK isn’t going to help them maintain their autonomy. And we should take out any radical shiites that would spoil reconciliation with sectarian violence. Simple as that.

  134. I think invading was wrong and stupid.

    joe thinks invading was wrong and stupid.

    I think Iraqis were better off under Saddam than they are now.

    joe thinks the Iraqis were better off under Saddam than the are now.

    I think we should say goodbye, it’s all yours. to the present Iraqi government.

    joe thinks we should take a little longer to minimize the upheaval that is surely to follow our departure.

    There are plenty of reasons/opportunities to get on joes liberal, love your government, ass. This ain’t one of them.

    To those who believe that invading Iraq was morally right or intelligent realpolitik, I don’t know what to say other than go here. Was it worth it?

  135. Of course, this course of action was a little hard on the people Saddam killed while it was in effect. You know, the pogrom against the Marsh Arabs, the abandoned Shiite uprising, all that.

    Joe’s response:
    And even given how horrible that situation was, it was vastly better than what’s been going on there since we invaded.

    Thirty years of dictatorial rule by a murderous despot. The prospect of even worse abuse at the hands of his psychotic sons; forever. No hope. None. Knuckle under, Abdul, that is your place!

    You could easily use Joe’s argument to support EVERY cruelty in history.

    “And even given how horrible the slave’s situation was, it was vastly better than what’s been going on there since the war to liberate them started and we were invaded.”
    Joey ‘comes marching home’ Boyle, 1863

    “And even given how horrible the North Korean’s situation was, it was vastly better than what’s been going on there since the war to liberate them started and we were invaded.”
    Joey ‘Dim Sum Il’ Boyle, 2015

  136. Thank you, joe.

    I would start withdrawing immediately using rear guard action to protect the troops from all the folks who are so angry at us in Iraq. I’d seek not to provoke any hostilities on our way out.

    Accepting a good fraction of the millions of displaced Iraqis into the US seems in order since our government created the terrible mess.

    I’d make the threat (empty) that any blood bath (I mean worse than the blood bath that is already occurring) that starts after we split will cause us to return. And I’d also consider the threat (maybe not empty) that a blood bath might lead to selective a assassinations of the perpetrators.

    I’d encourage the government in Iraq to adapt freedom of enterprise in order to promote peace and prosperity. If Shia folks and Sunni folks can’t get along the we they did before our military invaded, I’d ask them to consider portioning the country. In any event, I’d also ask them as we were splitting to consider letting the Kurds have their own nation.

    And what do you prescribe, joe?

  137. “Thirty years of dictatorial rule by a murderous despot. The prospect of even worse abuse at the hands of his psychotic sons; forever. No hope. None. Knuckle under, Abdul, that is your place!”

    Abdul should be thanking us for replacing predictable violence with perpetual random violence, and also it was kind of us to ruin the electricity and water infrastructures. Abdul and his kids certainly don’t need those hang ups.

  138. Lamar, you are ignorant, as most Americans are on this point. The water and electricity sectors in Iraq were in utter shambles due to neglect, or did not exist. The US is building the water and utility sectors there as we speak. Notice I did not say “rebuilding”; in most places in Iraq there was no municipal water, sewer, or electrictiy.

    You are certainly welcome to your fondness for dictators. It puts you at odds with the Iraqis I have met, and would probably get you a nice peon position in the service of Saddam when he was in power. You certainly do not speak for the Iraqis I have met.

  139. Boy I just love the sleight of hand that is going on here. Nowhere is it mentioned by you assholes that the reason for this is the wave of deaths prior to the complete implementation of the surge strategy. I guess if you mentioned this it would require you to also mention that over the past few months civilian and military deaths are at their lowest levels since 2005 and of course that wouldn’t play into your whole “false optimism” theme.
    The more I read Reason’s coverage on Iraq, the more I realize how pathetic Reason really is. Even a paper as blatantly partisan as the Washington Post had to concede that all the naysayers were spectacularly wrong about what was occuring in Iraq. This latest post so transparently manipulates or just omits so many of the facts it demonstrates you have no intention of making a clear-headed analysis based upon the reality of the situation. Maybe if you were attempting to post fact, instead of bullshit, you would have provided the following links:

    1. http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8SMC1HG0&show_article=1&lst=1
    This is an AP report as well. Hmm, I wonder why you didn’t mention it.

    2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/13/AR2007101301071.html

    3. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22701665-2703,00.html

    4. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118885627242916196.html

    5. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/21/iraq/main2591791.shtml

    6. http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20071031/a_casualties31.art.htm

    Contained within this article is the following quote: “The number of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq is headed for the lowest level in more than a year and a half and the fifth consecutive monthly decline”

    This quote was also contained within the above article: “All measurable violence in the Baghdad area, including attacks on civilians and sectarian murders, have declined steadily since June, he said. The overall number of monthly attacks in the Baghdad area was 2,455 in January. In October, there were 598 attacks”

    You assholes did not even allude to any of the above articles and the evidence the surge is a success. That you made no mention that casualty statistics are at their lowest since 2005 demonstrates, beyond the shadow of a doubt, how dishonest Reason is on this subject. You guys are so full of shit now, it is a total waste of time to even bother reading anything you write on the subject of Iraq.

  140. Of course all the good news was glossed over, or omitted. None of that fits with the decisions already reached by the Reason staff, and it does not play well with the H&R commenters who equate American soldiers with Nazis.

  141. Two points wayne:

    1. Under the containment regime of the 1990s, Saddam was rendered unable to implement any acts of war or suppression comparable to the Anfal Campaign or the invasion of Iran. Now, as we all know, most of Baghdad has been ethnically cleansed, post-invasion. So no, you really don’t get to claim the high ground on the humanitarian situation. We had a policy that was keeping Saddam curbed, and when we invaded, things got worse.

    2. There was a better chance of democratic reform pre-invasion than there is now. Our disasterous occupation and the bungled elections have put a stain on the good name of democracy, in Iraq and across the Arab world. Once upon a time, you people used to talk about Iraq serving as a model for democracy for people throughout the region to learn from. Congratulations, mission accomplished.

  142. Nowhere is it mentioned by you assholes that the reason for this is the wave of deaths prior to the complete implementation of the surge strategy.

    wayne:

    Of course all the good news was glossed over

    As Congressman Tancredo pointed out when he came out against the surge; it will not have been worth the cost, and there will be no possible good news coming out of it unless the Iraqi government seems closer to being able to effect and hold any gains on their own. In fact, the opposite has happened-another disaster. It’s way past time to leave.

  143. “…Our disasterous occupation and the bungled elections…”

    How were the elections bungled?

  144. As Congressman Tancredo pointed out when he came out against the surge; it will not have been worth the cost, and there will be no possible good news coming out of it unless the Iraqi government seems closer to being able to effect and hold any gains on their own. In fact, the opposite has happened-another disaster. It’s way past time to leave.

    RB,
    According to credible reports, Al Qaida in Iraq has been destroyed. Attacks against US troops are way down. Attacks against Iraqi civilians are way down. Al Anbar province is peaceful (by Iraqi standards).

    How can all of this be interpreted as anything but good news? How can one conclude that a large reduction in insurgent activity will not help the Iraqi government come closer to effective rule? How can one characterize these results as “another disaster”?

    It might well be “way past time to leave”, but the results of the surge certainly don’t bolster your argument.

  145. Under the containment regime of the 1990s, Saddam was rendered unable to implement any acts of war or suppression comparable to the Anfal Campaign or the invasion of Iran. Now, as we all know, most of Baghdad has been ethnically cleansed, post-invasion. So no, you really don’t get to claim the high ground on the humanitarian situation. We had a policy that was keeping Saddam curbed, and when we invaded, things got worse.

    Murder, rape and brutality, perpetrated by a tyrant with heirs, are OK as long as the scale of the atrocity is acceptable to you. I will hand it to you, you really know how to stake out the moral high ground.

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