Iraq

Surging to a Stalemate

Are we really winning in Iraq?

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When it comes to the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq, the Republican presidential candidates all seem to be auditioning for the lead in a remake of "Pollyanna." In their eyes, it has been the greatest triumph since the liberation of Paris.

John McCain crows that the Democratic presidential aspirants "continue to deny the facts on the ground that we are succeeding." Mitt Romney says "the surge is working." Mike Huckabee agrees. Rudy Giuliani boasts that he supported it from the start. Only the perennial skunk at the garden party, Ron Paul, declines to recite the catechism.

The GOP candidates are hardly alone in calling the surge, announced a year ago, a stunning success. The administration and its allies insist that the decline in violence and U.S. casualties are proof we have turned the corner. But as with alleged breakthroughs in the past, this one turns out to be composed mostly of wishful thinking and selective vision.

Even the claim of improved security is a major overstatement. True, American military casualties have dropped sharply over the past year, and many Iraqi neighborhoods are no longer the charnel houses they used to be. But Americans are still dying at the rate of one every day. And violent civilian Iraqi deaths, according to the independent website IraqBodyCount.org, have averaged about 1,000 a month since September.

That's far lower than in last January, but it's no better than in 2005, and it's well above the levels of 2004—when Iraq was already in the grip of bloody chaos. To pronounce that reduction a success is like driving your car into a lake and then bragging when you pull it halfway out.

The more sober supporters of the war recognize we have far to go. "Very real progress is anything but stable victory, even in the area where the U.S. and Iraqi surge has been most effective," writes Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The surge, he says, "has not brought lasting stability and security" even to Baghdad.

The surge itself may not be as important as another change in strategy—joining forces with Sunni militias previously allied with al Qaida. "Paying them not to blow us up" is how one American sergeant summarized it for the Los Angeles Times.

For the moment, at least, that tactic has served to quell attacks in some areas. But it comes at a high price: strengthening groups that, once we leave, may revolt against the Shiite-dominated central government.

Mark Kimmitt, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle Eastern affairs, recently said that if he had to guess the chance that the surge can bring stability, he'd say "maybe it's three in 10, maybe it's 50-50, if we play our cards right." That glum forecast may be too generous, since playing our cards wrong has been the hallmark of the occupation.

The surge, it's easy to forget, was not intended merely to improve security, but to facilitate political progress. But of the various legislative actions Bush demanded of the Iraqi government a year ago, the only one it has passed is a new law to allow former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party back in government.

Even that change was of dubious import, since some Sunnis—who are supposed to be the chief beneficiaries—say it's worse than the status quo. But The New York Times reports that some Shiites "hailed it because it would ban members of even the lowest party levels from the most important ministries: justice, interior, defense, finance and foreign."

So this supposed step toward reconciliation may obstruct it yet again. What has been clear in recent months is what was always clear: Iraqis are not ready to make the compromises needed to create a stable, unified nation. And as long as we stay in Iraq, they don't have to.

One key gauge of success for the administration's strategy is whether Iraqis will be able to take over running their own country. By that measure, it's a failure. Iraqi defense minister Abdul Qadir says the government won't be able to take full responsibility for internal security until 2012—or to handle outside threats until 2018 or 2020.

What we have achieved in Iraq is not victory but an expensive stalemate that appears to have no end. John McCain, asked how long he is willing to keep American forces in Iraq, replied, "Maybe a hundred years." If that's the goal, we're on the right track.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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  1. Actually, it’s been rather amazing at how reserved the Bush administration and Republican politicians have been on the success of the Surge. If this had been a Democrat administration, they’d be shouting from the rafters, about their “stunning success.”

    Problem with Bush is that he’s too modest, and too quiet on these sorts of matters.

    The Surge has been an overwhelming success. Nobody predicted this sort of outcome 10 months ago. Yet, the Bushies are so afraid of the liberal press that they keep their mouths shut.

    We need a President who’s willing to take the fight to the liberals, and shout them down, tell them how wrong they were, even thumb their noses at them when victory is at hand.

    Bush is a compassionate conservative. His personal religious beliefs control him so much that he can’t even find it in him to be a little honry and in-your-face when the facts on the ground scream that’s its warranted.

    Show us more of that “Bring it on attitide,” George, please. Stop being such a wimp like your Dad. You won this War. The Surge has been a stunning success. You deserve to gloat.

  2. Eric – you’re insane. A second ‘mission accomplished’ stunt would be counter-productive in about a trillion ways.

  3. A hundred years?

    Perhaps Marquez will write a sequel.

  4. A hundred years?

    Perhaps Marquez will write a sequel.

    I think Robert Smith would do better.

  5. Rittberg,

    I used to think you were completely useless, but now I see that you have a great future ahead of you as a gag writer.

    There’s a strike on in Hollywood right now, so you may be able to get a temp gig writing for one of the sitcoms. Don’t worry, we won’t miss you around here.

    -jcr

  6. Successful or not,

    It’s not worth it. Never was.

  7. Iraqi defense minister Abdul Qadir says the government won’t be able to take full responsibility for internal security until 2012-or to handle outside threats until 2018 or 2020.

    I believe him. With the exception of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, neither havinga snowball’s chance, we can expect four more years, minimum, of a substantial military prescence on the ground in Iraq.

    Thanks, George W. Bush. I imagine the Iranians are overjoyed the way your democracy building has all worked out. Arrogant fool!

  8. I’d guess 10-20 years more.

  9. . His personal religious beliefs control him so much that he can’t even find it in him to be a little honry and in-your-face

    Hoping and praying that this is a mis-spelling of “ornery.”

  10. That’s what Bush will be remembered for, his modesty, brute competence, and strong character.

    Man, it burns my hands just to type those words. And I only think Bush is a bad president, not Satan-incarnate.

  11. ok simple logic here:

    Progress is viewed as more safety vs less troops over time until there is peace with no troops in iraq.

    Adding troops means that we are not progressing. If we added 1 million or 10 million troops we would probably see very little or no violence (every iraqi gets a soldier!). Does that mean progress? obviously not.

    this is doublespeak in effect people. They say we are winning by getting farther away from our goal. This is illogical.

  12. And I only think Bush is a bad president, not Satan-incarnate.

    On my presidential ranking list he is now below Nixon. If it wasn’t for Buchanan…

  13. J sub D,

    Still time!

    I think things are improving in Iraq, and they likely will continue to do so. I suppose the question is how much we’re willing to pay (in lives, money, “commitment”, etc.) to stay there for years, if not decades.

  14. General Patreus’ tactic (it’s a tactic, not a strategy) of arming the Sunni-led CLC’s in order to create enough of a lull in the sectarian violence to at least begin the process of reconciliation may be the only hope in Iraq. Unfortunately, as reported today in the NY Times, the CLC members (who are Sunni) are being attacked by both Sunni insurgents and Shia militia, with at least 100 deaths in the past month. The CLC members have greater fear of the Shia militia, and the longer it takes to begin reconciliation the less likely Gen. Patreus’ tactic will produce a good outcome. If the Shia led government continues to drag its feet the CLC members are likely to move back into the insurgency, and once again hope for reconciliation will be lost. In my humble view, the Shia led government must be told that, unless the government makes a good-faith effort toward reconciliation (by, among other things, absorbing the CLC members into government positions), the US will not continue its support of the government. To continue supporting this government when it refuses reconciliation would be beyond the pale. It’s time for the US to finally take a stand.

  15. Best Chapman Article Ev-er

  16. Reason’s arguments about the surge remind of the arguments against school choice; anything that is not a complete sollution is obviously a failure and be sure to move the goal posts to make sure nothing is ever a complete success. Before the surge anti-war people said that it would never reduce violence. Now that it has, we are told that it will never achieve a political settlement and of course any political settlements are obviously not enough because some first Sergeant somewhere or some Shia somewhere doesn’t like it. To me the game is really given up when the article uses the analogy of the car in the lake. Yeah, pulling the car half way out is not all the way, but it sure as hell is a lot better than the being all the way in. I also love the whole, we are paying them not to shoot us crap. Basically, the Reason position seems to be if you don’t get a political settlement, that is failure, but when you do, you are just paying them not to shoot at you and that is failure also. Damn right we are paying them not to shoot at us and the Iraqi government will be doing the same thing in the form of oil money. Sounds like a win win to me. What would Reason propose in the alternative, exterminating the Sunnis? I guess if anyone wants anything in return for peace or does anything but hold hands pray for legalized drugs, we are just paying them not to shoot at us.

    The surge as such has not ended and won’t end until this summer. When that happens and the US force levels go back to their pre-surge or below their pre-surge levels, we will see what happens to the violence levels. If they go back up then the surge has been a failure. If they stay low, then REason will tell us how it was still a failure.

    Further, as far as the violence goes, I know reason doesn’t get out much or bother to read much but they might have picked up this quote from the NYT back in November

    “After the raid on the Sinjar cell, the number of suicide bombings in Iraq fell to 16 in October – half the number seen during the summer months and down sharply from a peak of 59 in March. American military officials believe that perhaps 90 percent of such bombings are carried out by foreign fighters. They also believe that about half of the foreign fighters who come to Iraq become suicide bombers”

    Ninety percent of the suicide bombings are done by foreigners. Iraq is under foreign lunatics. But fuck, let them all die, they are animals anyway, lets just go home. No blood for brown people right REason?

  17. This is illogical.

    In this situation, without adequate information, we must rely on human intuition.

  18. John,
    The only thing that can prevent an Iraqi civil war is Iron fisted oppression. Claiming the surge and the occupation a success because is acknowledging that the US has succeeded as a fascist conquerer.

    Your support of the war reminds me of the arguments for public education. Despite the failures of the current system, we can’t do anything different. Indeed we must redouble our commitment to the current system or it will collapse. Then we’d be forced to confront the fact that our policies were misguided from the beginning.

  19. You have to understand that the war supporters are using a little game theory in the runo-up to the election.

    Four scenarios:

    The war goes well, and they were lauding the surge = War Supporters win

    The war goes well, and they were critical of the surge = War Supporters lose

    The war goes poorly, and they were lauding the surge = War supporters lose

    The war goes poorly, and they were critical of the surge = War supporters lose

    If the war goes poorly, they’re screwed no matter what they do, so they’d pay no price for lauding the surge.

    If things turn around, they pay a price if they didn’t applaud, but they gain a victory if they lauded the surge all along.

    Ergo, no matter how remote they judge success to be, it will always be in their interest to say the surge is working.

  20. A hundred years?

    Perhaps Marquez will write a sequel.

    I once tried to read that book. I couldn’t make it through its pretentiousness.

    Ninety percent of the suicide bombings are done by foreigners. Iraq is under foreign lunatics.

    The foreigners come to Iraq because _____________ (fill in the blank).

  21. Problem with Bush is that he’s too modest, and too quiet on these sorts of matters.

    Yes, of course. That’s exactly what I would have said.

  22. John complains about people moving the goalposts, and in the very next sentence, uses the phrase “political solution” to refer to arming an anti-government faction in Iraq.

    We all remembe what “political solution” means in last year’s SOTU, John. You’re not fooling anybody.

    Before the surge anti-war people said that it would never reduce violence. Bullshit! Before and during the surge, anti-war people said that the troops may well succeed in their missions, but that it would not bring about the strategic goal that the surge’s architects defined as its objective; bringing about a political settlement.

    It’s blindingly obvious who is moving the goalposts here, and it is not those of us who haven’t spent the last six months pretending not to remember the purpose of the surge.

  23. Oh, and blah blah blah, you’re all racists. You haven’t called us Baathist and anti-Semites in a while, John, why don’t you break out those old chestnuts?

  24. …be sure to move the goal posts to make sure nothing is ever a complete success.

    John, even the most ardent of supporters isn’t calling the surge a complete success.

    As far as moving goalposts is concerned, I’d say nothing can outdo the job the Bush admin has done. Unless we’ve actually found WMD’s and the public hasn’t been informed.

  25. I will say that I’m surprised that there is a level of success. A year ago, I was pretty sure we just needed to get out of the way of a civil war and let stability emerge. I’m not so sure now. Whatever the origin, a persistent relative calm is a pretty powerful thing that can become self sustaining.

    I’d think the more strident withdrawal folks would at least have to pause to contemplate these events.

  26. Joe,

    You consistenly show yourself to be incapable of admitting you are wrong about anything. The surge greatly lowered violence. We have got the Suni tribes in Anbar to work with us not against us. Large sections of Iraq are now under Iraqi control. The number of US forces there is going to drop over the next year. The Iraqi government is making halting political progress.

    Those are facts Joe. It is not perfect. It certainly isn’t over yet. Things are better in Iraq now than they were before the surge and there are good reasons to believe things continue to improve. Time will tell. Moreover, there is not any good options beyond sticking it out and finishing the matter. No amount of insults ranting and raving and temp tantrums on your part is going to change those facts. Face it Joe. The war is going to wind down over the next few years and Iraq is not going to be home to an Islamist state or anti-US government and it will be peaceful and the only Democracy in the Middle East. It sucks I know. It really sucks that it didn’t turn into Rowanda like you thought it would. But it didn’t and some day Bush may get some credit for it. I would adivise you to take a deep breath and maybe get some kind of therapy to deal with emotional shock you will experience as a result of US success there. It is going to be a hard four or five years for you Joe. You have my support.

  27. JasonL,

    I suppose this is rather obvious to point out, but it in part depends on whether this “relative calm” is sustainable without U.S. forces, and if not how long said forces should remain in Iraq to make that possible.

    You are right, though; what changes have come to pass should give one pause.

  28. Whatever the origin, a persistent relative calm is a pretty powerful thing that can become self sustaining.

    No it isn’t. Yugoslavia had fifty years of relative calm. And this is the Mid East we’re talking about, NOTHING will EVER bring lasting peace to that land.

  29. The war is going to wind down over the next few years and Iraq is not going to be home to an Islamist state or anti-US government and it will be peaceful and the only Democracy in the Middle East.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    That’s the way baby. Stay the course. Don’t let the messy reality get in the way of that pristine vision.

  30. One key gauge of success for the administration’s strategy is whether Iraqis will be able to take over running their own country. By that measure, it’s a failure. Iraqi defense minister Abdul Qadir says the government won’t be able to take full responsibility for internal security until 2012-or to handle outside threats until 2018 or 2020.

    This is precisely the point. The contemporary history of this country clearly indicates it shouldn’t be unified. We should grant these people the liberty to disembark from one another and live independently. We failed to meet half the benchmarks required to make the surge a success and they were all political.

    People like Eric talk like that because they don’t serve. Of course the military won’t give up, each enlisted troop is taught to adapt and overcome. Translation: Nomatter how stupid our civilian masters may be, we will do everything humanly possible to accomplish the task demanded of us. So you have the troops doing their best to turn chicken shit into chicken shit salad. What you don’t know is that the troops want the civilians do micromanage their jobs as little as possible.

    Eric is delusional because from the run up to the war to this day Generals have been fired for privately stating this isn’t working.The military had a plan developed in the mid 90’s which required 500,000 troops. The Rumsfeld stupidity cut us down below 200,000. Right now we have over 125,000 civilian contractors on the ground. We’re barely capable of managing that country with any kind of presence, nomatter how many Iraqi Brigades we stand up.

    While you can read endless documentation on how unscrubbed money went to massive amounts of contractor corruption, there are huge costs hidden in this war. Yes inflation is destroying the capital goods economy which will hurt us for decades. The cost to our military is massive. One year in the field is equivalent to 10 years of training.

    We’re destroying reserve and guard unit equipment, active duty equipment is on the fringe. We’ve exhausted each MOS that actually carries a gun. We’ve exhausted guard and reserve AF wings using c-130’s to transport troops instead of convoys. We are cutting slots in different MOS to force them into infantry or out of the Army. It’s a war of attrition that we are fighting with one arm behind our back.

    It’s stupidity, pride, arrogance and party loyality that keep this situation afloat..

  31. The war is going to wind down over the next few years and Iraq is not going to be home to an Islamist state or anti-US government and it will be peaceful and the only Democracy in the Middle East.

    Whoa, six months of reduced violence and we’re back to the “beacon of hope in Middle East” prediction. We’ve had lulls like this before, John, so forgive me for being skeptical that we’ve finally found the light at the end of the tunnel.

  32. Regarding your game theory hypothesis, Joe – that’s an awfully binary model that you’ve set up. As much as I would like to think that it’s more complicated than that, you may be right about the “success/failure” decisions of Teams Red & Blue.

    However, don’t you think there’s something to be gained (especially in the general election) for the candidate who is willing to acknowledge the realities of the situation and form his opinion accordingly? I’m not convinced that there’s a candidate out there who has done this, but it seems like you could capture a lot of centrist voters with an honest approach like this.

  33. This bickering is meaningless. After all, look at all we’ve won in Iraq.

  34. I wouldn’t want to answer my arguments, either, John.

    And my opinion, my ability to argue the facts in a logical manner, is far more respected on this board than yours, so don’t lecture me on what I “consistently show.”

    I would adivise you to take a deep breath and maybe get some kind of therapy to deal with emotional shock you will experience as a result of US success there.

    Funny, you told me the same thing in 2004 2005, 2006, and 2007. BTW, you’ve still got a lot of crow to each about Purple Finger Day. Would you like me to pull up a few links to jog your memory?

  35. matt,

    Given what we’ve spent in Iraq and what we’ve done to the people there, I think that it really would take all out, 2005-style, lions-laying-down-with-lambs, Arab-Spring democracy – success in the sense the term was used at the start of this war and after the 2005 elections – to move public opinion at this point.

  36. Joe,

    John is repeating talking points. Not the first time, not the last.

  37. If we are “losing” in Iraq, then who is “winning”.

    certainly not Saddam and his Regime, they will never run the place again, thank goodness.

    we are actually at war, or a quasi war, in Iraq with Iran/Syria and terrorist outfits including Al-Qaeda. They want to test our will and get us to cut and run, using emotion over logic, as americans are prone to do.

  38. we are actually at war, or a quasi war, in Iraq with Iran/Syria and terrorist outfits including Al-Qaeda. They want to test our will and get us to cut and run, using emotion over logic, as americans are prone to do.

    Oh I love this. It’s like, don’t read any history books. Hey don’t serve in the military. The word Insurgent, read how it’s been used throughout history. We are fighting Iraqis. One Iraqi shoots at you, one Iraqi shoots at him, another iraqi shoots at him… etc etc. These people are putting 5 ton road barriers in second story rooms and they get up tiny stairs to do it. What’s the difference between cover and concealment? haha ignorant…

    Quit repeating the same redudant crap over and over and actually look at what’s happening.

  39. Yeah yeah yeah.

    You know I get called a bad, unfair guy so much?

    Because you can’t rebut what I have to say.

  40. If we are “losing” in Iraq, then who is “winning”.

    Iran, and the parties linked to Iran.

  41. This is sorta odd…

    “American military casualties have dropped sharply over the past year, and many Iraqi neighborhoods are no longer the charnel houses they used to be.”

    “[Violent Iraqi civilian deaths are] far lower than in last January,”

    Yet…

    “the claim of improved security is a major overstatement.”

    Methinks that the claim that the claim of improved security is a major overstatement is a bit of an overstatement.

    And…

    “What we have achieved in Iraq is not victory but an expensive stalemate that appears to have no end.

    Yet…

    “the government [will] be able to take full responsibility for internal security [in] 2012”

    Methinks that the claim that Iraq is an expensive stalemate that appears to have no end is a major overstatement.

  42. it’s also important to keep in mind that Congress debated and gave no less than 23 different reasons to resume war with Saddam, everybody focuses on the WMD narrative, and ignores the others which include direct international terrorist connections, support, financing….including to the 1993 WTC bombers, one of which has been proved to be on Saddam’s payroll, and still has a $2 Million dollar bounty on his head, Yassin. He fled the 93 WTC attack, to Saddams’ terror sanctuary.

    and of course, he offered Bin Laden asslym in 1999.

    the actual history and facts on this, is what Bush has going for him legacy wise down the road. the Politics of emotion and a bias media is what hurts him in the present.

    Nothing new though, see Truman or even George Washington who they tried to fire at one point. and of course Lincoln.

  43. ah yes, all the Iranian made WMD’s and terrorist groups from around the region are all actually “Iraqi’s”….in la la land.

  44. including to the 1993 WTC bombers

    Good night, Gracie.

    And thanks.

  45. all the Iranian made WMD’s

    Which WMDs would those be, again?

  46. You can’t compare George Washington at all. George Washington lost his friendship to LaFayette over the arguement of spreading democracy by the sword to Europe. Turns out, historically, LaFayette was proven wrong after 2 years of revolution. Enter the Napoleaonic Wars. You think this is new? Read the history leading up to the Spanish American War. America doesn’t need to have an interventionist policy.

  47. Joe,

    Ramsey Youssef came to the US on an Iraqi Passport, and Abdul Rahman Yasin

    This Indiana-born, Iraqi-reared terrorist remains wanted by the FBI for his role in the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center attack. President Bill Clinton’s Justice Department indicted Yasin for mixing the chemicals in the bomb that exploded in the parking garage beneath the Twin Towers, killing six and injuring 1,042 people in New York.

    Soon after the smoke cleared, Yasin returned to Iraq. Coalition forces have discovered documents that show he enjoyed housing and a monthly government salary.

    Former ABC News correspondent Sheila MacVicar looked for Yasin, and here is what she reported on July 27, 1994: “Last week, [television program] Day One confirmed [Yasin] is in Baghdad?Just a few days ago, he was seen at [his father’s] house by ABC News. Neighbors told us Yasin comes and goes freely.” 15

    This is part of why Saddam was labeled a “State Sponsor of Terror” throughout the 90’s by the State Dept.

    basic facts…..oh, and Khalid Sheik Muhammed is Ramsey Youssef’s uncle.

  48. Whoops, I somehow managed to read that as a reference to the Oklahoma City bombing, MLK.

    I’ll have you know, sir, that my problem is with basic READING, and not facts, thank you very much.

    Tell you what, let’s throw that in with “all those Iranian-made WMDs” and call it even.

  49. I always thought Dondero was a jackass, now I see that he is just sarcastic.

  50. Ya they can’t address the very real criticisms listed in my original post… they can repeat what they’re told though. It’s cause they’re talking from theory not experience.

  51. oops, meant Iranian made IED’s
    they also come through Syria as well

  52. Excellent Joe!

    Now that they’ve found the factory where every single last IED used in Iraq has been manufactured we can expect there will be no more bombings, right?

    Hooray for improved security!

  53. There is a simple way to handel Iraq. We need a strongman, preferably a secularist, one who will stand up to Iran so it really had to be a Sunni and one that will be able to enforce peace. Where can we find someone like that…oh….I know….wait he’s dead.

  54. Move those goalposts, Anonymous! Push ’em back, shove ’em back, waaaaaaayyyyy back, uh!

    Push ’em back, shove ’em back, waaaaaaaaaa back, uh!

  55. If we are “losing” in Iraq, then who is “winning”.

    Iran.
    Next question?

  56. If we are “losing” in Iraq, then who is “winning”.

    What a stupid question. Only someone who doesn’t understand that there are multiple groups fighting each other would even ask.

  57. Exactly what goal post was moved Joe?

  58. Do you have a point to make, or should I just let my mockery be the last word to you?

  59. VM,

    What, precisely, are you accusing Tampa of this time? At least our dead don’t rise from the grave and vote.

    Actually, I was involved in moving that goal post–I’m an NFC guy, even though I can’t abide the Giants any more than Hitler can.

  60. Please point it out Joe. If I wasn’t interested in hearing it, I wouldn’t of asked.

  61. It should be perfectly clear what Tampa did. I suggest you read up on the time space continuum’s violation of the isolated-system implications of the second law of thermodynamics operating in closed semi parametric stochastic, non-randomly- generated complexity.

    IT SHOULD BE CLEAR.

  62. It’s true, George Steinbrenner ordered me to move Tampa a few feet over in the space-time continuum to embarrass Scott Norwood.

    joe,

    By the way, if you ever fail to close your italics’ tags again (you thought we didn’t notice, didn’t you?), Edward will take swift and vicious action against you.

  63. o.k. Joe.

    I suppose the problem lies in your admitted problem with READING. You missed the sarcasm.

    The point, Joe, is that you appear to have attempted to refute MLK’s contention regarding Iranian made IED’s by pointing to a news story illustrating the discovery of a single IED factory in Iraq.

    Does it occur to you that IED’s may be coming from more than once source? No? That’s kinda silly Joe.

    I know you can do better than that.

  64. Now that I’ve given you the courtesy of answering your question, how about you answer mine?

    Exactly what goal posts have been moved Joe?

  65. Hey, look at that, a point! I knew you could do it.

    So, uh, where did I say that EFPs are only coming from one source? Please, point it out.

    BTW, THAT’S the goalpost you moved.

    You’re welcome.

  66. “So, uh, where did I say that EFPs are only coming from one source? Please, point it out.”

    LOL.

    Suppose I should have known better than to expect some sort of intellectual honesty and reasonable posts from you.

    You really are an angry, angry man, aren’t ya?

    Anyhow….

    If you aren’t suggesting that, then why exactly were you linking to that story about a single IED factory in the contexts of MLK’s claims regarding Iranian IED’s?

    Can you answer that question without being snide?

  67. I don’t get it. Is it inside the O in LOL?

    No, I’m not even remotely angry. You’re a bit annoying, but I’m in a pretty good mood. Uh, what were we talking about before you changed the subject my feelings.

    Oh, right, the part where you accused me of writing something, were proven wrong, and found that amusing. Yes, ho ho, very good!

    Also, no, I can’t answer the question without being snide. Would you like me to answer it while being snide, or is it starting to occur to you that it would be a better idea to drop this?

  68. Proven wrong? where? how? Please tell me Joe. Clearly I’m stupid and need you to point it out for me. So how about answering the question:

    What exactly was your point in linking to a story illustrating the discovery of a single IED factory in the context of MLK’s claims regarding Iranian IED’s?

    As you say you can’t answer the question without being snide, I’ll take a snide answer.

    B.T.W. Joey, what I find amusing is you.

  69. And now, ladies and gentlemen, Anonymous goes in for the kill in his own mind by resorting to calling his counterpart by the diminutive form of his name.

    This is known as the “HE CAME TO THE DOOR WEARING A DRESS” technique. The response of the other Repo men is crucial in understanding this technique.

    Clearly, we’re dealing with someone whose level of sophistication

  70. Really, VM? I was deducting points from joe this round for a rabbit punch and a low snark. Frankly, I prefer heavyweight competition, with lots of blows to the head and knockouts.

    Still, plenty of rounds left in this one, so don’t change that dial!

  71. Clearly, we’re dealing with someone whose level of sophistication ____________.

    Mad Libs.

    Carry on.

  72. “Problem with Bush is that he’s too modest, and too quiet on these sorts of matters.”

    Yeah, like that shit on the aircraft carrier with “mission accomplished”!

    Eric Dondero: Making an ass out of himself on thousands of web forums at once!

  73. “Ninety percent of the suicide bombings are done by foreigners. Iraq is under foreign lunatics.”

    John, I can’t believe that some group of foreign lunatics would impose themselves on Iraq and interfere in its internal affairs. I hope you’ll join me in calling for the withdrawal of all armed foreigners from Iraqi soil!

  74. As you say you can’t answer the question without being snide, I’ll take a snide answer.

    OK.

    He wrote ah yes, all the Iranian made WMD’s and terrorist groups from around the region are all actually “Iraqi’s”….in la la land.

    I demonstrated that, yes, the Iraqis were making EFPs.

    There was exactly one piece of evidence for the “Iranians are sending EFPs into Iraq” story, the alleged fact that they couldn’t be made in Iraq. Then they found them being made in Iraq. We are left with a completely unsupported claim that Iranians are sending EFPs into Iraq.

  75. Joe! I’m disappointed! That wasn’t snide at all! 😉

    In fact, it was completely reasonable in tone and content.

    But….

    “There was exactly one piece of evidence for the “Iranians are sending EFPs into Iraq” story, the alleged fact that they couldn’t be made in Iraq.”

    Let’s assume this statement is true. That there is exactly one piece of evidence etc…

    A claim is made, sometime in 2006 that Iran is shipping EFP’s into Iraq. This has to be true because the Iraqi’s don’t have the capability to produce EFP’s. The link you provide debunks this proof as a factory was discovered in late 2007 that is producing EFP’s. Is it possible the Iraqi’s developed this capability in the intervening year?

    (No need to answer. The answer is yes. But I would think moot as “This has to be true because the Iraqi’s don’t have the capability to produce EFP’s” is fairly weak anyhow).

    In any event, I’m not sure that “There was exactly one piece of evidence for the “Iranians are sending EFPs into Iraq” story, the alleged fact that they couldn’t be made in Iraq” is itself necessarily correct.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/12/africa/web.0212weapons.php

    “In a news briefing held under strict security, those officials spread out on two small tables an E.F.P. and an array of mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades with visible serial numbers that the officials said link the weapons directly to Iranian arms factories

    Maybe compelling, maybe not. Whatever the case, it doesn’t seem to me to be completely unreasonable to think that the Iranians would have an interest in supplying conventional arms of some sort to those within Iraq. Would you honestly be surprised to discover that this is the case?

  76. Oh, er, um…

    Ahem.

    “You would have figured that out if…”

    Nah, I’m just in too good a mood.

    Is it possible the Iraqi’s developed this capability in the intervening year? That’s highly implausible, since 1) the claims that the EFPs must be from Iran were being made, by administration officials, literally a week before the factory was raided, and 2) the Iraqis themselves had, at one time, chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons programs. The idea that EFPs were somehow beyond their capabilities strains credibility.

    BTW, a couple of interesting facts about those EFP parts: the same plates with the serial numbers were found in the factory that was raided, and 2) the footage of that press conference plainly shows Latin-alphabet figures on some of the sections.

    It would not shock me to discover that the Iranians (or some Iranians) were providing convention weapons for Iraqi groups, but it would shock the hell out of me to find out they were providing them to Sunni groups, who seem to be conducting the EFP attacks.

  77. Why do you idiots at Reason bother to even post anything about Iraq anymore? You are quite possibly the only entity that has been more wrong about Iraq than George Bush. I believe it was this same author, Steve Chapman, who was telling us mere months ago that the successes achieved by the surge as detailed by the admnistration were in fact lies, or as he called it “propaganda”. Now that it has become obvious the surge has been working, Mr. Chapman seems to be moving the goalposts. Hey pal, why don’t you go back to posting misleading links to AP stories about 2007 being the deadliest year in Iraq in the midst of the biggest SUSTAINED drops in violence in four years.
    I am more likely to believe that Ron Paul didn’t know who wrote those newsletters (hahahaha) than I am your bullshit “reporting” on Iraq. You have been wrong so many times, you are no longer worth listening to.

  78. When I first came to Iraq back in January of 07 the base that I am on now was attacked frequently. Today I can say that I have not had to run to the bunker in months.

    Iraqi Police and Troops are out on the streets and the locals are pointing out the terrorists. There are even positive stories on Al-Jazeera English too!

    On Arab TV over here they are advertizing this website. http://www.noterror.info

    The Iraqis are becoming less afraid of the terrorists and more responsible for thier safety.

    If this isn’t a sign of success then I don’t know what you people want.

  79. “The idea that EFPs were somehow beyond their capabilities strains credibility.”

    I’m agreeing with you on that point Joe.

    “But I would think moot as “This has to be true because the Iraqi’s don’t have the capability to produce EFP’s” is fairly weak anyhow.”

    “the same plates with the serial numbers were found in the factory that was raided”

    So you are saying that the parts from the factory that was raided were imported from Iran for assembly in Iraq? haha. No, I’m sure that’s not what you are saying, but is it completely unreasonable to draw that conclusion? (I suppose it would be, if one is trying to argue from conclusion).

    “the footage of that press conference plainly shows Latin-alphabet figures on some of the sections.”

    Material bought in a western country and brought to a factory in Iran for re-machining? Perhaps that’s how the serial numbers are traced?

    “it would shock the hell out of me to find out they were providing them to Sunni groups”

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be too shocked at all. The world is full of examples of one group supplying another group with whom they are less than ideally aligned to fight yet a third group whom they perceive as the greater threat.

  80. Anonymous,

    With all of the effort that has gone into trying to show that Iran is sending weapons into Iraq, the adminstration and military have yet to manage to find any direct evidence of it.

    On the other hand, they did find evidence that shows that the weapons which were supposedly being sent by Iran could have been produced in Iraq.

    Sometimes it’s the dog that doesn’t bark that matters.

    And you understate the divergence of interests between Iran and Sunni insurgent groups. Those groups are actively at war with Iranian-backed groups. They aren’t “imperfectly aligned,” they are in a shooting war with each other.

    Why are you straining this hard?

  81. If I were to sit around and do my best to come up with explainations to support theories that are unsupported by the evidence, I could do so.

    But why would I? We can imagine all sorts of things?

    Material bought in a western country and brought to a factory in Iran for re-machining? Perhaps that’s how the serial numbers are traced?

    Do you have even a modicum of evidence that this is the case? No. Then what is your point?

  82. Now I’ll give up.

    You win Joe. You are right.

    Hail Joe!

    (My gawd brother, are you even capable of thinking outside your box?)

  83. Oh and….

    “Do you have even a modicum of evidence that this is the case? No. Then what is your point?”

    Yes joe, I do. You apparrantly missed it.

    But….

    Last word Joe, it’s all yours….

  84. “If this isn’t a sign of success then I don’t know what you people want.”

    That is good news, Ben.

    Can’t speak for everyone here, but I think what most of us want is for guys like you to come home safely, and soon.

    The sooner, the better.

    Good luck.

  85. So YOU don’t even believe it, you were just arguing to show that it COULD be true, if we imagine hard enough.

    That’s just terrific. Why don’t you try sticking to reality next time?

  86. If the surge is working, great. If Iraq becomes stable great. Congrats for all involved.

    The invasion was still a huge, huge mistake. We should never have gone in there. How arrogant the USA, my country, has become.

    The ill effects will last decades.

    It was not in our best interest to go in there, so there is no such thing as victory.

    We should apologize to the entire world, prosecute the criminals who took us in, and promise we will never, ever, do anything so stupid, arrogant, cruel, again.

    Look what we have done to our soldiers! Look what we have done to stability in the region! Look how we have made Iran stronger! Look at our economy! Look at how we have made more people hate us and have accelorated recruitment for radicals! Look at how angry we have made God for our morale sin of “killing” in the name of “security.”

    Shame on us.

    Bismark got it right when he said “Preemptive war is like committing suicide because of fear of death.”

    No, more, Empire. This has got to stop.

  87. Joe:

    You are truly one of the most hostile and insulting people it has been my displeasure to come across on the web. That said, I’m not giving up because “I don’t believe it” and need “to stick to reality,” but rather your hostility, insults and anger make it impossible to continue any sort of discussion with you. What you may see as clever isn’t. In the future Joe, I would suggest you refrain from speculating and making statements about the beliefs of others lacking specific statements about same.

    “You consistenly show yourself to be incapable of admitting you are wrong about anything. ” John hit the nail on the head there. Beyond that my friend, it appears you go to length to ridicule those whom do not agree with you completely (e.g. MLK, “I’m agreeing with you on that point Joe”).

    It’s clear to me now that it’s a waste of time interacting with you on any level. I would not call you stupid or ignorant, it is evident that you exhibit hostility and stuborness in your interactions on this board (I reviewed). “And my opinion, my ability to argue the facts in a logical manner, is far more respected on this board than yours.” Ah, I see. Case closed eh?

    Good luck to you Brother.

    (now let’s hear some snark about the last word. yes, yes, how clever you are. pffft).

  88. LMAO, but Anonymous and John must be smoking from the same pipe. The Iraqi genocide is now a huge success because the slaughter has fallen slightly – but remains among the most violent nations on earth? Hundreds-of-thousands of people are dead – and they’re indignant that OTHER people are “incapable of admitting” that they’re wrong?
    Wow. With delusions that pathetic, I shudder for the future of America.

  89. 1. Given the dreadful decision to go and “Liberate” Iraq, cutting deals with the local warlords always made sense and it only took these schnooks 4 years to figure it out.

    2. Another success of the surge is because much of the ethnic cleansing has already burned itself out. There are 2 million internally displaces and 2 million refugees in Syria & Jordan. By the way, that means 6 million “refugees” in 2038 which will be a festering instability.

    3. America did not LOSE in Vietnam because we fundamentally had nothing at stake. Same with Iraq. It was a mess before we got in, it is a mess, and it will be a mess when we leave. The South Vietnamese were clobbered by the Communists after we wised up and left. Similarly, when we leave, some Iraqi thugs will beat up on other Iraqi thugs.

    4. By the way, Afghanistan is not going too well if anyone has bothered to examine the situation. Its neighbor, nuclear-armed Pakistan, is none too stable either. It was complete nonsense to “liberate” Iraq and take out Iran’s # 1 enemy while the Afghan/Taliban/Pakistan instability was simmering.

  90. Ah, Ed, another voice of Reason, I see. Full of temperate words….

    Genocide?
    Slaughter?
    Hundreds of thousands?
    Pathetic?

    Very constructive Ed, thank you. I suppose you and Joe also smoke from the same pipe?

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