Moved On

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Ryan Grim has a smart story up at the Politico about the undersung political defeat of 2007: the routing of anti-war activists. If you'd said in January 2007 that Congress would fully fund the Iraq War, that there would be no timelines, and that a pro-war group fronted by Ari Fleischer would humiliate MoveOn… well, you'd be smarter than me.

In recognition of hard political reality, the groups instead will lower their sights and push for legislation to prevent President Bush from entering into a long-term agreement with the Iraqi government that could keep significant numbers of troops in Iraq for years to come.

The groups believe this switch in strategy can draw contrasts with Republicans that will help Democrats gain ground in November and bring the votes to pass more dramatic measures. But it is a long way from the early months of 2007, when Democrats were freshly in power and momentum for a dramatic shift in Iraq policy seemed overpowering.

"There was a consensus that last year was not productive," John Isaacs, executive director of Council for a Livable World, said of a meeting attended by a coalition of anti-war groups last week. "Our expectations were dashed."

But wait:

The anti-war movement also thinks it has a winning argument when it comes to the length of time Americans are willing to see U.S. forces in Iraq. Roughly half of Americans recently surveyed by CBS News want most U.S. troops out within a year, and more than half think it was a mistake to invade in the first place. Every Democratic candidate for president has promised to withdraw almost all troops from Iraq within the first year of his or her presidency.

I think the debate will shift, but not exactly like this. There's a 50 percent chance the GOP will nominate a candidate who made his comeback on the impression that the surge was working, and by the time the primaries are over we'll get a sense of whether the surge's gains can be sustained.

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  1. I’m smarter than you.

  2. I figured the Democrats would make a serious effort at passing about 1/4 of the stuff they promised, and maybe be successful at bringing about a serious debate on Iraq. Instead, they just sat there, like a hamburger.

  3. The underlying question with the whole pro-war/anti-war question is this: Do Americans not like the Iraq war because it hasn’t gone well, or Do Americans not like the idea of agressive pre-emptive war? My fear is that it is the former and if that is the case then there is no helping this country.

  4. My fact-free opinion is still that the surge was not as important as the change in military doctrine that coincided. If that’s the case, the gains will be sustained and the situation will appear to beg for the Germanification (or Koreanification or Okinawafication or whatever) of Iraq. I’m not saying that that’s a good idea, but cold war doctrine, of which our bureaucracies are still under the influence, suggests that peacetime bases in Iraq are a certainty. Welcome back to “containment”.

  5. “well, you’d be smarter than me.”

    So are fence posts.

  6. a 50 percent chance the GOP will nominate a candidate who made his comeback on the impression that the surge was working

    Well, there’s a 100% chance that the Republicans will nominate someone that will basically maintain and continue the Iraq strategy as it will exist on Jan 19, 2009.

    And a 100% chance, based on the most recent debates, that the Democrats will nominate someone who says they will remove all military troops from Iraq by the end of 2009. (IMO, they have eliminated all the wriggle room they gave themselves, except for perhaps the Marines who would guard the embassy)

    I’m not saying who’s right, but this is the one area where there is a simultaneous clear intraparty agreement with a equally clear interparty distinction.

  7. James,

    I would argue that if the tenor of the media and the blogosphere is any indication, your fear is correct, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility of learning to hate pre-emptive war. It just means that we aren’t there, yet.

  8. ack, to continue:

    since there is such a clear party divide, and since Congress has for the last fifty years abidcated much of its role to the executive branch, the only practical way to change foreign policy in general, and military policy in particular, is through a change in the President. The 2008 election is the only method for changing Iraq poliicy.

    The wildcard is how much people prioritize this in their decision. Right now, it’s still pretty high, but has dropped from its Nov ’06 and Summer ’07 peak, and continues to trend down as less death appears on the TV

  9. Gus,

    Thanks for saying that. I didn’t know until then that you were an asshole.

  10. Haven’t most (Democratic) anti-war candidates been losing at every single turn? I was listening to an interview (NPR) with… damn… someone important working for the Defense Department– I’ll look it up later– and he said he was “heartened” to know that all the leading Democratic candidates refused to commit to an exact timeline for getting out of Iraq.

    I even think Markos Moulitsas lamented this after the last congressional elections: that “Yay” Democrats won, but “ouch” not a single one we really backed (anti-war) did.

  11. I am also mostly smarter than you, although I wouldn’t have predicted the part about Ari Fleischer specifically 🙂

  12. Lamar,

    The Democrats passed bills mandating troop withdrawals on a timeline through both houses of Congress, which were vetoed. The virtual unanimity within the Democratic caucuses, however, was not enough to overcome the veto, due to Repubican votes to sustain.

    Subsequent efforts to push through compromise bills failed when they could not get enough Republicans to support bills that would have ended the war.

    The Democrats acted pretty much as I’ve expected, but I thought Republicans, especially after November 06, would break ranks in large enough numbers to force an end.

    Remember the good old days, when just saying things weren’t going well in Iraq was enough to signify that somebody wanted to cut and run? Now, if you aren’t on record in favor of denying food shipments to troops in the field, that makes you indistinguishable from Dick Cheney.

  13. I even think Markos Moulitsas lamented this after the last congressional elections: that “Yay” Democrats won, but “ouch” not a single one we really backed (anti-war) did.

    Not quite true. Markos was an early backer of Jim Webb (VA) and Jon Tester (MT), who were both anti-war and running against pro-war Republicans. They had contested primaries, too. Lamont-Lieberman was the only real disaster, but Lieberman ran saying he wanted to bring the troops home from Iraq… just not immediately.

  14. People still support actual pre-emption, but they sure have turned against pre-empting threats that don’t exist and occupying other countries.

    Then again, they always were. That’s why they had to sell this war as pre-emption against an existing threat.

  15. saying he wanted to bring the troops home from Iraq… just not immediately. lumps a pretty wide range of opinion together.

  16. [sarcasm] Oh darn, we didn’t surrender. Gee whiz . . .

  17. “Oh darn, we didn’t surrender.”

    If we accomplished our mission, leaving isn’t called surrender. Giving a hooker her asking price is surrender.

  18. I thought I had very low expectations but I underestimated the gratuitous, unnecessary cowardice of the democraps. You don’t have to preemptively fold 150% of the time to Commander 28%.

    I don’t doubt they’d actually fight for something they care about like govt cheese for old folks or subsidies for deviant performance artists. Maybe the thinking is Iraq is very 2004 or something.

    There were all sorts of weird pictures of Bush over in Saudia Arabia begging for more oil from King Bungweed or whatever his name is. The guy is just giving you free material.

  19. @ Guy Montag

    That’s exactly right, my friend.

    I just finished having Thanksgiving with the troops, and the message of these brave men and women who are serving over there is, “Let us win. Let us win.”

  20. joe,

    We’ve been through this before. The Democrats do have the votes to force a withdrawl by cutting off funding – they only need a simple majority to do it and it could even be done by fillibuster if they only had 40 Senate votes. The reason that Republicans are getting their way is because they are willing to use the fillibuster and veto to block any funding bill that doesn’t give them what they want – if Democrats were willing to put up an equilvalent fight, they would prevail, since ultimately, if Congress doesn’t vote affirmatively to fund something, it gets shut down.

  21. I wonder if the anti-war sentiment peaked too early for the Democrats. A year ago it seemed obvious that the Democrat candidate would win in 2008 (making the primaries the real presidential election, kind of like how the AFC championship is the real Super Bowl…) but now that sense seems to be fading and leaving us in real danger of a President Huckabee (or, equally as distressing, McCain). Of course their inability to stand up to a thoroughly unpopular president over an unpopular war isn’t helping their chances (or their credibility).

  22. And a 100% chance, based on the most recent debates, that the Democrats will nominate someone who says they will remove all military troops from Iraq by the end of 2009. (IMO, they have eliminated all the wriggle room they gave themselves, except for perhaps the Marines who would guard the embassy)

    I doubt they’ll need any room to wriggle – they’ll just what elected politicians always do once in office: ignore what they said. I will go way way out on a limb here and guarantee that if the Dems actually do hold on and finally win a presidential election that whoever it is will absolutely, positively, not have all the combat troops out of Iraq within a year. I hope I’m wrong, but I know I’m not. Anyone want to make a friendly wager on it?

  23. The recession that will be in full force by election day will drive Iraq off the electoral radar, if it hasn’t already.

    I think that ‘the public’ has become more inured to the Iraq situation, and thus less receptive to anti-war efforts.

  24. The Democrats acted pretty much as I’ve expected, but I thought Republicans, especially after November 06, would break ranks in large enough numbers to force an end.

    I don’t think we see much of that in either party these days. The two established parties have some pretty rigid heirarchy. It’s better to stay on message and lose, than to look divided and weak. Just my opinion.

  25. Brian Courts –
    I most certainly will not take that bet. I would just add that in justification of it, they will use the words “situation on the ground.”

  26. Matt XIV,

    I think it’s pretty well understood at this point that the people who want to keep a war going have a great structural advantage over the people who want to end it, owing to the fact that nobody is going to leave troops in the field without supplies.

    It is a given that funding is going to pass. You’re living in la la land if you think otherwise.

  27. I wonder if the anti-war sentiment peaked too early for the Democrats.

    That’s not what the polls show. The % of the public that opposes the war and wants the troops home in short order is actually higher today than in November 06.

  28. “All the combat troops out”

    I can remember when not wanting to increase the number of troops from 130,000 to 160,000 meant you supported surrenduring.

    Now, wanting to have any troops doing any mission anywhere in Iraqi territory counts as staying the course.

    Funny how that keeps happening, isn’t it?

  29. All that we’re say’n … is Give war a chance

  30. The % of the public that opposes the war and wants the troops home in short order is actually higher today than in November 06.

    joe, I haven’t looked, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the percentage of people wanting out is indeed higher now, but I wonder if the voter-motivating, election-changing, intensity behind that desire is still there. I’m not necessarily saying it isn’t, but I don’t get the same feeling now as I did before the 2006 elections. Maybe as we get closer to November it will pick up again but it may also be a realization that the Democrats haven’t, for whatever reason, made much of a change so far.

  31. Which is why I said at the time that the Democrat “landslide” was nothing of the sort. They didn’t win all of Congress. They won a slightly bigger piece. The voters didn’t “kick out” the Republicans. They dismissed some of them. The Democrat victory is somewhat hollow without veto-proof majorities, is it not?

  32. It’s interesting, Brian C, how those three issues – opinion on the war, intensity of feeling, and support for the Democrats – influence and are influenced by each other.

  33. The Democrat victory is somewhat hollow without veto-proof majorities, is it not?

    Or the presidency.

  34. joe,

    But both sides have exactly the same structural obstacles at this point – nether side can force through a funding bill on their prefered terms, but both can bluff that they’d rather cut off funding altogether than accept a compromise.

    The difference is that the Republicans are willing to bluff that they’d rather cut off funding altogether than accept a time table by using vetos and fillibusters to block appopriations containing one and that the Democrats fold in the face of said bluff and agree to pass appropriations without a timetable. If it’s a given that the funding is going to pass, it’s because of the Democratic leadership’s decision that it will be a given.

  35. Now, wanting to have any troops doing any mission anywhere in Iraqi territory counts as staying the course.

    Funny how that keeps happening, isn’t it?

    Well, I wouldn’t say that. My comment was specifically addressing the chance that if Clinton or Obama wins, she or he will actually follow through on getting the troops out within a year. I’m sure it won’t happen, and I’m almost as sure that the level of reduction, if any, will be quite small. So yes, I’m glad the debate has shifted to where the idea of getting out is now a reasonable campaign position, but I am not holding my breath in hopes of any dramatic change in policy from the Democrats, even with the presidency, either. In fact, if I had to bet on it, I’d say that in four years there will still be a significant presence of US troops in Iraq and what to do about that will be an issue in the 2012 election (I imagine Jeb will be claiming he has a secret plan for ‘peace with honor’ and to finally get them home). Of course, as I said, I hope I’m wrong and I will be glad to come back and admit what a dismal prognosticator I was, but I doubt I’ll have to.

  36. The problem the Republicans have is that they are structurally pretty much forced to run the Presidential election on the foreign policy issue.

    They aren’t going to be able to run another election on “Eek, gay people!”

    They’ll run on the War on Terror, and they’ll lose on it. The war has disappeared as an issue primarily because the primary season doesn’t offer much play for it when all the Democrat candidates substantially agree.

    John McCain thinks the public loves the war now, but only the blue hair pieces of crap that attend his events love the war now. When that issue is back at the front of the line during the general, it’s not going to be a winning issue for Republicans.

    “Hey, only 30 guys a month are dying instead of 90!” just isn’t going to cut it as a general election slogan, no matter how much video Petraeus has the Iraqi government suppress.

  37. Why are we wasting time talking about the Iraq war? That’s so yesterday. We need to get focussed on the upcoming war against Iran. Anyone think the democrats can prevent that?

  38. I most certainly will not take that bet. I would just add that in justification of it, they will use the words “situation on the ground.”

    Me neither. Add “information, previously unavailable to me” to that.

  39. It used to be that not gassing Kurds by the thousands and torturing Shia dissidents meant you were a good Iraq occupier. Now if you shoot a single civilian the bleeding hearts want to put you on trial for war crimes.

  40. joe,

    I seem to recall the Dems holding Iraq funding hostage until Bush agreed to sign their pork-laden domestic spending bill last month. So, apparently they’re able to withhold funding, but it has to be for a really important reason (not just, you know, ending the war).

  41. Matt XIV,

    But both sides have exactly the same structural obstacles at this point – nether side can force through a funding bill on their prefered terms, but both can bluff that they’d rather cut off funding altogether than accept a compromise.

    There’s one point missing here – a funding bill sent through without any terms at all is the Republican ideal, while the Democrats want to pass funding with terms.

    It’s a fight between one side wanting X and the other wanting X, Y, and Z. The side that just wants X is going to have the upper hand.

    Which is not to say the Democrats have been paragons of wile and courage.

  42. I said it after the elections in 2006, that the Democrats being in power wouldn’t make a difference in the US presence in Iraq. I will say right now that there will still be US troops in Iraq, although in lower numbers (I would guess 50 to 60 K) in 2010 even if Clinton or Obama win in 2008. Even the Democrats know in their honest moments Iraq is important and we can’t just leave. They say otherwise to please the Weigels of the world but they never seem to act otherwise once they have responsibility. You would think people like Weigel would get tired of pissing in the wind on this issue.

  43. It used to be that not gassing Kurds by the thousands and torturing Shia dissidents meant you were a good Iraq occupier. Really? Did somebody actually say this? Surely, you could tell us who, and where.

    crimethink,

    The difference there is between a bill Bush would rather not sign and one he refuses to sign. They already tried holding up funding until Bush agreed to a timeline, and they couldn’t stop 2-3% of their caucus from caving and joining with the GOP.

    Which brings us back to those primaries. More and better Democrats, baby!

  44. Brian Courts,

    I’m not sure what you count as “a substantial presence” in Iraq in four years.

    What I am confident about is that when the Democratic president withdraws over 100,000 troops within the first year of taking office, the Republicans will declare that that was exactly what they were going to do. They will even stand up and applaud him when he announced his intention to do so in the 2008 SOTU.

    If things continue to get worse there, as they’ve done over the course of this winter, they will even nod their heads sadly as the president says, “We’ve done all we can do.”

  45. The difference there is between a bill Bush would rather not sign and one he refuses to sign.

    That’s a distinction without a difference…given time, the latter can turn into the former. It seems as likely to me that the difference is between a goal the Dems care about (pork spending) vs a goal they don’t (ending the war).

  46. This OG Iraq War opponent would be perfectly fine with a few thousand troops defending our Kurdish allies in that friendly territory, and even using that presence to carry out strikes against al Qaeda bases, if either of those tasks become necessary.

    I’m not sure if that counts as “a substantial presence,” but if the hawks wish to use such a policy to claim vindication that we were “staying in Iraq,” I could live with letting them save a little face.

  47. Well, crimethink, we’ll have our answer in a year, won’t we?

  48. If things continue to get worse there, as they’ve done over the course of this winter

    That’s odd. I could swear I saw headlines about “record low casualties” and “local sheiks throwing out AQ” and “Iraqi security taking over additional provinces.”

    Still, why trust the MSM on Iraq, eh, joe? Everyone knows bad news doesn’t sell.

  49. Actually, RC, even Petraeus acknowledges that in late December and January to date violence has trended back up, and attacks on US forces are trending back up.

  50. Record low casualties? Lower than 2001?

  51. And if the president had said back in ’03 that by 2008, our major accomplishments in Iraq would be record low casualties, de-Baathification, and Iraqis taking over security in a couple of provinces…well, the whole invasion thing would’ve been a tougher sell, no?

  52. RC,

    I saw those headlines too. Last fall.

    Thank you, Fluffy.

    crimethink, however, wings the thread with Record low casualties? Lower than 2001?

    Zing!

  53. Yer all a bunch of terrorist sympathizers. If you’re not with us, you’re ag’inst us. Let’s Roll!

  54. joe,

    If by a “few thousand troops” defending the Kurds, etc. you mean something on the order of 5K, then no, I will not consider that a “substantial presence” and will gladly admit I was wrong. What I meant by that was a large number (in the tens of thousands) of troops still essentially in control of the major cities.

    I’m not sure if that counts as “a substantial presence,” but if the hawks wish to use such a policy to claim vindication that we were “staying in Iraq,” I could live with letting them save a little face.

    Since it seems it was my use of “significant presence” you were referring to let me make it clear that my skepticism of the Dems in no way makes me a hawk looking to save face. I genuinely want the Dems to make a “significant” change in US presence there, I just don’t believe they’ll do it (at least not very quickly – see below).

    And finally,

    What I am confident about is that when the Democratic president withdraws over 100,000 troops within the first year of taking office, the Republicans will declare that that was exactly what they were going to do.

    The Rebublicans will never get the chance at such disingenuous “bipartisanship” because there is no way either Clinton or Obama withdraws over 100,000 troops in her or his first year of office.

  55. If
    1) Clinton, Obama, or Edwards take office 20 Jan 09

    and

    2) There are anywhere between 5K-50K troops in Iraq in summer ’11

    Then

    3) A republican will win the White House in ’12

    Because this will cause the same exact sequence as happened Bush I breaking the No new taxes pledge:

    a) a primary challenge within his own party
    b) an independent/ third party candidate run that obtains a sizeable fraction of the vote (greater than 10%)
    c) a split in the Democrats from (a) and (b) that makes a republican victory possible with just a plurality of the vote.

  56. “””I will go way way out on a limb here and guarantee that if the Dems actually do hold on and finally win a presidential election that whoever it is will absolutely, positively, not have all the combat troops out of Iraq within a year. I hope I’m wrong, but I know I’m not. Anyone want to make a friendly wager on it?”””

    I think the excuse will be that it takes time to drawn down a large force. I really doubt they will do it in a year too.

  57. Brian,

    I think I”m pretty much with you, and no, I wasn’t trying to insinuate that you were a hawk trying to save face. I was actually thinking of Republican politicians. Sorry if it came off that way.

    Anyway, I’m not a military guy, and I have no idea what the practicalities of a large-scale, measured disengagement would be. I pulled the figure 100,000 directly from my bum.

  58. If you’d said in January 2007 that Congress would fully fund the Iraq War, that there would be no timelines, and that a pro-war group fronted by Ari Fleischer would humiliate MoveOn… well, you’d be smarter than me.

    All you need remember is that Democrats are a superstitious and cowardly lot. They behaved accordingly and didn’t do the only thing they ever could do: defund the war. Every other strategy — i.e., the ones they tried — was doomed to fail because it required undoing existing policy, which required a veto-proof majority, which they didn’t have.

  59. a large-scale, measured disengagement

    Not as difficult as Vietnam.

    Slightly more difficult than simply everyone getting in a vehicle and just driving over either the Kuwait or Turkish border, but not much more so.

  60. That’s only if you’re looking at the military logistics.

    There is probably something in between Stay the Course and the bugging-out scenes from M*A*S*H.

  61. US strategy will almost completely be based on what actually happens in Iraq, and probably has very little to do with the president.

    In general, Americans really don’t mind having troops all over the world… they’re already there, whether in Iraq or not. What they care about is Americans dying around the world. So, if casualties in Iraq trend lower (to single digits/month), then there is no president that will pull out all the troops quickly. The political risk calculation will be tilted to far against bringing troops home. Unlike most people that talk about this stuff often, the vast majority of Americans (and I suspect citizens worldwide) don’t have any philosophical ideology. They just react. They love wars that are going well. They hate wars that are going poorly. Ask yourself if there has ever been a successful war that people were against, or an unsuccessful war that people were in favor of.

    The problem that Democrats may have is that they can’t be seen as cheerleading for failure, as some bloggers often seem to do. If good news comes out of Iraq, the response can’t always be ‘well, it will get worse’.

  62. It’s not rocket science what’s required to make anything fade from the consciousness of the hoi polloi. Number one is the passage of time. Number two is reducing video moments on the evening news.
    In fact it’s so simple, even Dubya and the folks who plan to rule Iraq have finally got it. You could even say they are in cahoots.
    Thus will war will live on to fight another day.
    sigh…

    peaceful anarchist, Ruthless

  63. [blockquote]Ask yourself if there has ever been a successful war that people were against, or an unsuccessful war that people were in favor of.[/blockquote]
    The war on Jews in Israel is an unsuccessful one that the anti-Jews there seem to love.

  64. I could be wrong (well, no, actually I’m not so keen on that possibility), but I suspect jon was referring to U.S. history and citizenry, not the whole world.

  65. It’s just the sound of Al Qaeda losing another little battle here on the home front.

    Sorry, Bush-derangement sufferers! Maybe you can successfully sabotage the next phase of the war.

  66. crimethink | January 17, 2008, 5:37pm | #
    Record low casualties? Lower than 2001?

    Did you forget we had 3,000 killed on one day in 2001?

  67. We’ve had troops in Germany and Japan since the 1940s. Do you hear any clamor to “bring them home?”

    No one will care a fig if our soldiers stay in Iraq after the shooting stops.

  68. Short answer: The communist (International Answer) and anarchist, i.e. “anti-war groups” , Hussein, Syria, Iran, and the Democrats LOST!

    Iraqis, America, the military and the World WON.

  69. James,

    Nice how you framed your 2 questions …

    I would suggest a third option …

    Americans don’t like to lose wars and they thought we were losing.

  70. You don’t have to preemptively fold 150% of the time to Commander 28%.

    You do if you are Congress 11%. That means you are outnumbered almost 3 to 1. A 3 to 1 advantage is considered sufficient to mount an attack.

    It is more than sufficient for defense.

  71. “Did you forget we had 3,000 killed on one day in 2001?”

    Saddam Husein and Iraq weren’t responsible for any of those deaths.

  72. “Hey, only 30 guys a month are dying instead of 90!” just isn’t going to cut it as a general election slogan, no matter how much video Petraeus has the Iraqi government suppress.

    You are leavin out the “whew that doesn’t hurt near as much as it used to” factor.

  73. Saddam Husein and Iraq weren’t responsible for any of those deaths.Saddam Husein and Iraq weren’t responsible for any of those deaths.

    True. But is pretty well accepted that we attracted those guys to Iraq and killed them there.

    So you may be right (Saddam was implicated in WTC ’93), but it doesn’t matter.

  74. The recession that will be in full force by election day will drive Iraq off the electoral radar, if it hasn’t already.

    Yep. The economy is in terrible shape. Housing is a bust and export orders are coming in at record rates due to the devalued dollar. Also due to the devalued dollar imports are down.

    The economy is expected to grow only 1.7% next year. So yeah. A recession by next Nov. Is a virtual certainty.

    \sarc

    You know I like a good smoke as much as the next guy but occasionally I let reality intrude. It keeps me from bumping into walls.

  75. It doesn’t matter that much who’s elected. America is not going to abandon Iraq, no matter what Hillbama Obinton promises the Dem’s antiwar base in the heat of a fiercely contested primary.

    Come the general, they’ll be tossed aside in favor of a more moderate line, ostensibly “driven by the new facts on the ground.” After all, what are they going to do? Vote for Nader?

  76. I don’t know if I’m smart, but I’m not a defeatist and a traitor. Yes I said it, Lincoln said himself the people who spoke against the military in a time of war were traitors. It’s not patriotism, it political sabotage.

    And, as said above, the message is already switching over to “it’s the economy stupid”.

  77. Cactus Jack | January 18, 2008, 10:18am | #

    crimethink will correct me if I’m wrong, but his comment implied we had fewer casualies in 2001.

  78. This is terrible! The United States might actually win this war, stabilize a democratic Iraq and improve the lives and security of millions of people in the middle east. Then what would we do? This must be resisted at all costs. The future of the Democratic party is at stake.

  79. “””This is terrible! The United States might actually win this war, stabilize a democratic Iraq and improve the lives and security of millions of people in the middle east. Then what would we do?”””

    Keep paying the bill.

    Name the stable democratic countries in the Mid-East.

  80. Yes, that’s exactly what worries me: that this will work.

    Like when I said the 2005 elections were going cause sectarian violence, what I really meant was that they were going to make the project work.

    And when I said there actually was an insurgency back in late 2003, what I really means “Good lord, everything looks peachy-keepk, this will be bad for the Democrats.”

    And When I said in 2007 that attacks on civilians were going up, what I really means was that victory was obviously at hand, and Iraq was going to become what I hate most, a stable democracy.

    And when I said before the war even began that it was going to sap resources from the fight against al Qaeda and Taliban…

    And when I said in 2003 that the lack of legitimate allies within Iraq was going to make any government we imposed illegitimate in the eyes of the Iraqis…

    And when I said in 2005 that backing the Shiite government was going to drive Sunnis into the arms of foreign jihadists…

    And when I said in 2006 that things really were going badly in Iraq, and that it wasn’t just the media refusing to report on all the good news…

    What I really meant was that I was terrified that this might work.

    No, no, but seriously; THIS TIME you’re totally right. Not like how you said exactly the same thing for the past five years and were proven wrong every single time. No, this time, you’ve got it right: I can see that we’re about to win the war, and find that terribly upsetting.

    Lick the Cheetos off your fingers, mama’s boy.

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