The Friday Political Thread: Hey, Let's Fight Some More About Iraq Edition

|

Quote of the Week
"If he cannot win all four [March 4] states, it may indicate what some have called 'buyer's remorse.'"—Hillary Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson, getting good and ready to spin the Rhode Island primary.

The Week in Brief
– A national ad campaign was launched, by Defense of Democracies, against Congressional resistance to telecom immunity. Democratic board members of the think tank quit in protest.

– Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama debated in Ohio; polls suggest that Obama won in their (potentially) final encounter.

– John McCain and Barack Obama had their first tete-a-tete over Iraq.

– Ron Paul looked headed for a landslide re-election victory, as did Dennis Kucinich.

More to the Point
What do they do next? Now that we're down to three candidates with a shot at being president, my mind is drifting, naturally, to what happens when they lose. We all have our ways of staying optimistic. Here are some scattered thoughts on what would happen to each of these candidates if they clinch the nomination and then blow the general election. The stakes are higher for either Democrat than they are for McCain.

Barack Obama. The first name you'll hear will be "McGovern," as Obama is linked to that other anti-war senator who blew up the frontrunner's bus, built an anti-war coalition to win the primaries, and trodded, unelectably, into the general election. It would be an unfair comparison, but if Obama loses it will be because he's been painted as an unpatriotic surrendercrat. Obama's allies will argue that the election was lost when the GOP failed to nominate Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani, but Democrats won't forgive a candidate who lost in their most favorable climate since 1992 or 1976. Obama can win re-election as long as he wants or he can retreat to Illinois to run for governor. A lot could change by 2016, but the Democrats will feel they rolled the dice and lost on him once before: Never again.

Hillary Clinton. That's it: Game over. The dynasty's will have been Romanov'd and only the most foolish, sycophantic Clintonites—let's call them the "Lanny Davis Democrats"—will suggest Clinton, who'll be 64 in 2012, can run again for the presidency. The first polls about the next presidential race show Obama the top choice of about 50 percent of Democrats, with whoever Clinton selected as a running mate far behind, maybe tied with John Edwards. Clinton will explain the loss much like Obama did, arguing the thing was over when St. John McCain took the nomination. Slowly, surely, she and her husband try and find another way to build a legacy. She takes the Ted Kennedy path and becomes a liberal icon of the Senate, invulnerable to a serious re-election challenge (the next won't come until 2012), able to spend two more decades in the body cutting deals and introducing legislation without being scrutinized for her ambition.

John McCain. We've seen this movie before, when it starred Bob Dole. The day he stops being the GOP nominee, he becomes Elder Statesman John McCain. The only question becomes whether he'd run again for Senate. He'd be 73 in 2010, which is basically senatorial middle age, and only two years older than Barry Goldwater was when he won his last term. But candidates who lose the presidency are usually weakened at home, and McCain would have to decide whether he wants to face a strong challenge from Janet Napolitano. (Polls last year showed her beating him in a Senate match-up.) The state party will want him to stay (even though he'll surely get an anti-immigration primary challenge), and McCain might relish the chance to stay in Washington for the rest of the new president's term, trying to keep him/her "honest" or foreign policy. Or he might pass the torch to Jeff Flake and spend his remaining years basking in the media glow that left him for those months he was threatening to deny the Democrats the White House. In either case, if Mitt Romney runs in 2012 McCain will take some time to kick his ass up and down the country again, in the role of someone else's surrogate.

Oh, and what happens to the country in any of these scenarios? Either Democrat will bring in at least 20 percent of what was promised during the campaign, certainly health care reform, probably tax reform, probably not serious trade renegotiations, and certainly not a serious foreign policy change. (The anti-war movement shrinks back to its pre-Bush, "U.S. out of the Balkans" size.) Little of it works and the Republicans start to come back in the midterm election. President McCain brings on a battle on the Right that makes the thrashings of the Bush era look like REM sleep. I don't think an Obama loss or a Clinton loss sets back the cause of black and female national candidates very far: That bell isn't getting un-rung. A female candidate in 2012 or 2016 is more likely than a black candidate simply because the bench is deeper.

Below the Fold
Daniel Larison asks why Barack Obama's cross-party support doesn't show up when you pit him against John McCain.

Robert King profiles Sean Shepard, the Libertarian candidate in a surprisingly close Indiana race for the House. RiShawn Biddle has more.

George Will bids farewell to WFB.

Steve Hayes has Cheney-inspired advice on how to beat Obama.

Julian Sanchez does some long-overdue demolition of Newt Gingrich's wiretapping propaganda.

For this week's Politics and Prog I looked around for 1)a martial theme and 2)a band I have not yet used. Thank you, The Pretty Things and some amateur YouTube auteurism!

NEXT: Friday Mini Book Review: Head Case

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. 1. Do Ron Paul supporters suck or what? It would be incredibly easy to make RP a more viable candidate by reducing the viability of his opponents, but RP supporters don’t seem to have figured that out.

    If even just 100 RP supporters went to public appearances by McCain, Hillary, or Obama, asked them questions designed to point out flaws in their policies, and then uploaded their responses to video sites that would have a very healthy impact not just on our political system but on the media as well. The MSM isn’t going to look too good when millions of people have seen regular citizens asking the questions the MSM is afraid to ask.

    2. AFAIK, no one else (besides Obama himself) has commented on the fact that Obama supports Bush’s SPP (spp.gov), aka “NAFTA on steroids”. For more on the SPP and other examples of lying politicians, I can’t recommend this video highly enough, and it’s not even one of mine.

    3. The prog above is so very bad I immediately rushed for one of the strongest prog antidotes yet.

  2. 10,000 Maniacs are you fucking kidding me?

  3. This has got to be one of the most satisfying graph I’ve seen on TradeSports. Reminds me of Worldcom stock price after their bankruptcy.

  4. very well done video

  5. Glad to see the “libertarians” preparing to march lockstep behind McCain.

  6. If anyone is wondering, the way you can tell that Julian Sanchez wrote that Economist piece: the word farrago.

  7. Fred Clark, the Slactivist, is trying to blame you for big govt:

    Let me go further: where the problem of inefficient Big Government exists here in the United States, it is more often the result of abdication to the state than of usurpation by the state. In other words, where it exists here in America, inefficient Big Government tends to be the direct and predictable result of anti-regulation, anti-government laissez-faire and libertarian-ish ideologies.

  8. Everybody in Cleveland needs to go see this decidedly non-prog band tonight at the Grog Shop. The songs are nothing but guitar solos and choruses. Awesome. I’ll be there and drunk.

    Bang Camaro

  9. John McCain is a smart guy with a great deal of experience and expertise on military and foreign policy issues. Despite holding the bum hand of being the pro-Iraq War candidate, his facility with these issues is a big arrow in his quiver. If he engages Barack Obama in the battle of ideas, and makes his case well, he could overcome the built-in disadvantage of being on the wrong end of a 70-30 split on such a major issue.

    But if he keeps falling back on the smug condescension – “I’ve got news for Barack Obama” – and just assumes the “Look at me, I’m the tough-guy Republican, look at those silly Democrats” stance, he’s going to lose huge on the issue. Most people, by a very large margin, agree with the Democrats and Barack Obama on the specific issue of leaving Iraq, and the Democrats generically have a solid lead on national security issues in general.

    Maybe McCain can talk these people out of their position, but he’s not going to do anything but kneecap himself if he keeps condescending to them, and implying that they’re obviously fools for holding it.

  10. Oh, and if John McCain loses this election by running a full-throated pep rally for the Iraq War and neoconservative imperialism in general, Ron Paul gets to pop open a great, big bottle of Told Ya So and spray it all over the Republican Party.

  11. Joe, all John McCain has to do is say “The Rumsfeld strategy failed, the Patreus strategy works, the surge is working my friends.”

    People aren’t going to associate him with Bush then. Thats why Republicans talk about Patareus so damn much.

  12. Sure, Cessar, that’s working so well for the Republicans. Not.

    Especially since Barack Obama is going to duck and equivocate like John Kerry and Tom Daschle. Not.

    Have you LOOKED at any polling on this? It doesn’t work like that anymore.

  13. Joe, Obama would win in a landslide against any Republican BUT John McCain. If this were Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee I’d be writing the epitaph of the GOP this year. But its not. They (inadvertently) nominated the “maverick” Republican that can appeal to independents.

    He can keep this a close race to the end.

  14. Joe, Obama would win in a landslide against any Republican BUT John McCain.

    See, that I agree with. McCain is MUCH more credible on national security issues than the Republican Party as a whole. That’s why I said that he could potentially win the national security argument vs. Obama, despite holding a bum hand.

    But as you say, that’s not BECAUSE he’s a Republican, but IN SPITE OF being a Republican, which means he’d have to jettison the assumption that Republicans are just so much more credible than Democrats on these issues among the public. He’d need to treat Obama seriously, and engage on the level of ideas. The Heathers-ish posing he did about Obama’s comment and Al Qaeda in Iraq ended up with him getting smacked over the head.

  15. And the “Barack HUSSEIN Obama” thing – that didn’t play out very well this week, either. It was probably a net boon for the tall, lanky sleeper cell with the law degree.

  16. Sean Sheppard, in Indiana LP candidate featured in your “below the fold” of this post, advocates a 23% consumption tax. He says that he wants this to replace the income and other taxes, but libertarians should no better than to run on a platform of new taxes. If he were running as a Republican, I might vote for him over his opponents, but as an LP candidate, he is a poor model. Sounds more like a Huckabee Republican.

    I remember the days when libertarians talked about taxation being theft, but I guess I am just an old guy looking to the past.

  17. The Heathers-ish posing he did about Obama’s comment and Al Qaeda in Iraq ended up with him getting smacked over the head.

    I chalk that stupid statement up to McCain transitioning out of pandering to pro-war meatheads in the primaries and going into the general election.

  18. The Heathers-ish posing he did about Obama’s comment and Al Qaeda in Iraq ended up with him getting smacked over the head.

    Obama’s smackdown line was a wonderful thing to hear. Having said that, Americans really like to win. If McCain can sell them the idea that they’ll ‘win’ with him (in under a hundred years, however), they’ll take that over leaving.

  19. Glad to see the “libertarians” preparing to march lockstep behind McCain.

    True. If you mean by “marching lockstep” playing drinking games while watching the Presidential debates.

  20. Lockstep behind McCain? Theres a 99% chance I’ll end up voting LP.

  21. Maybe, Cesar. Nonetheless, it demonstrates that the tactic is just as likely to blow up on the people using it.

    Why to “Fair Taxers” always say a 23% consumption tax? It’s a 30% consumption tax. If something costs $10, you pay $13 for it.

    Baked Penguin,

    Americans like to win in Afghanistan, too. That, I predict, is how Obama will get around the “Americans like to win” argument.

  22. And there’s a 100% chance I won’t vote.

  23. whiskey | March 1, 2008, 5:07am | #

    Glad to see the “libertarians” preparing to march lockstep behind McCain.

    I don’t think y’all get it. Dude’s name is whiskey, and he posted that at 5:07 AM in the morning.

    Somebody wants to see how seriously we take this drinking game.

  24. I don’t trust the “fair tax” or “consumption tax” idea at all. It’s always sold as a replacement to the income tax, but my guess is that it would only initially replace the income tax. Later, the income tax would gradually be added back in, once the slugs in elected office realized they still had the income tax amendment.

  25. joe – Yeah, but McCain will add Afghanistan in as part of the package he’s trying to sell, and that he’s going to continue the surge strategy of adding more troops. I mean, it’s not like fighting two wars simultaneously goes against his core belief of waging war often and everywhere.

    Whether that will work with the voting public is another matter, but he has a better chance with it than the other Republicans who couldn’t find the balls to criticize Bush.

  26. That last line should read “…other Republicans who couldn’t find the balls to criticize the Bush administration about the handling of the War.”

  27. While I would LOVE to abolish all taxes, it ain’t realistic, and the voters know it. You can’t finance government with voluntary donations. If a libertarian candidate wishes to get elected, he needs to keep clear of the zero taxes position.

    That being said, a 23% consumption tax is disgusting. While I do think that a consumption tax is better than an income tax, all else being equal, 23% is an exhorbitant rate. Just because our income tax rate is insane is no reason to extend it to a sales tax.

    The Bible only instituted a 10% tithe for the support of the proto-government of Israel. While this wasn’t a monetary tax, and probably voluntary, it does make as good of an arbitrary line as any other. Any level of taxation above 10% is too much. If God only asks for 10%, why should government presume to get more?

    An overall 10% tax rate is a reasonable level that many people can accept. It’s far far lower than the current rate, but without encroaching into radical minarchism.

  28. Don’t forget that the income tax was originally promoted as a way to get around the unfairness of a consumption tax as tarriffs were widely recognized to be.

    Trying to come up with a fair way to tax people is as futile as coming up with a loving way to rape someone.

  29. Ignoring the morality of any tax and various tax rates, consumption taxes seem worse for freedom than income tax. If you place a tax on every transaction, isn’t that going to cut into the incentive for doing business? It would encourage massive vertical Chaebol-like companies that own everything from extracting raw materials to producing final products. It would be better to be paid in stuff (houses, flat panel TVs, food,…) then cash. Why would I pay a dry cleaner in a taxed transaction instead of having my Chaebol cleaners pick it up from my company supplied housing?

    The science fiction horror stories write themselves.

  30. BakedPenguin (Who’s handle is much more appealing as a state of mind than as a dish),

    The problem with that theory is that we’re pretty much at maximum deployment, and have been for some time. Every single combat brigade, the last time I checked, was either in theater, on the way to a combat theater, or recovering and refitting from being in theater. And then some, since they’ve had to stretch deployments.

    A surge in Afghanistan can only come from shrinking the Iraq force. I think the public gets that. As Admiral Wossisname said, “We do what we can in Afghanistan; we do what we must in Iraq.” It’s a zero-sum game, and keeping the Iraq misadventure going means denying troops to the, er, “Greater Afghanistan Region.”

  31. Joe, McCain would fix that by having a draft probably.

  32. Oh, please, Lord. I don’t ask for much. I even started going to mass lately, and putting money in the little envelopes.

    Please let John McCain talk about the draft during the election. Please?

  33. Joe, of course he won’t talk about it during election season (though I think his bit about “serving a cause greater then our self-interest” is a dog whistle), but he’d do it in office.

  34. Cesar,

    You’re probably right about that. But then, how does he get around the problem of troop levels between Iraq and Afghanistan?

  35. He gets around it by giving a lot of platitudes about “increasing recruitment” and having a “stronger military”. It may sound stupid to you and I, but to someone who doesn’t follow things like troop levels it would probably stop the issue from killing him.

  36. Just to remind everyone, Anti-Prog Action, Citizens United Against Prog, and A Prog-Free Community will be having a meeting tomorrow at the cafe at noon. Parking is near the bank.

    Also, you aren’t limited to Obama, Hillary, or McCain. All three are extremely vulnerable on several issues, most notably immigration. “Prosecutorial”-style questions could greatly reduce their viability and make an opening for someone like Ron Paul.

    Yet, months before the election, his supporters have thrown in the towel.

  37. Lone Wacko, if the Republican Primaries taught us anything, it taught us that most normal people out there don’t get too fired about about OMG AMNESTY!!!!!

  38. Trying to come up with a fair way to tax people is as futile as coming up with a loving way to rape someone.

    I know you were trying to be clever but not really, as taxing to a low extent helps everyone by funding the operation of a small, effecient government. I mean, it’s not like our founding fathers thought there would be absolutely no taxation. It’s beneficial, which rape is not.

  39. Cesar | March 1, 2008, 3:48pm | #

    He gets around it by giving a lot of platitudes about “increasing recruitment” and having a “stronger military”.

    Fifteen, even ten, even four years ago, all a Republican had to do is sound military-themed platitudes to win such a debate.

    I don’t think it works that way anymore.

  40. You know, Obama could win this thing before the convention if he uses his huge money advantage to go negative and start portraying McCain as an old, washed-up, semi-insane trigger happy kook.

  41. While I would LOVE to abolish all taxes, it ain’t realistic, and the voters know it. You can’t finance government with voluntary donations.

    I’m going to have to call bullshit on this. If the government is offering services that individuals want (police, sewers, roads, fire dept., etc), and charging individuals prices that are less than the value of those services to those people, individuals will voluntarily choose to purchase those services.

    OTOH, if the government is doing what it currently is doing — doing stuff like warmongering in Iraq that most people don’t want, charging excessive prices for these undesired services, and trying to overcharge the most productive members of society so they can give away “free” stuff to the majority of voters — then, yeah, voluntary taxation won’t work, because it’s a fucking raw deal.

    With government financed by voluntary subscriptions, you’d see it run like a business with an eye toward satisfying the customers.

  42. Cesar,

    I don’t think that’d work for Obama. It kinda goes against his whole shtick. He’s done well so far precisely because of his campaign style. I don’t think going negative (other than in a very mild way) helps him at all.

  43. Joe, McCain would fix that by having a draft probably.

    Every politician I’ve noticed talking about reinstating the draft is a far-left Democrat, ironically almost invariably representing a district that was a hotbed of opposition to the draft in the 60’s and early 70’s.

    The military establishment, which was initially heavily opposed to ending the draft, has seen the light and realized that voluntary enlistments results in far fewer personnel problems and better esprit de corps.

    McCain would have to be a complete idiot to suggest that terrible idea. Even Bush, who isn’t the sharpest sword in the armory, understands that suggesting reinstating the draft is political suicide for a Republican.

  44. 1. If someone with a “prosecutorial” mindset and an in-depth knowledge of my issue (hey, like me) ever gets to ask a candidate a series of questions about my issue and it’s caught on video, the candidate isn’t going to be too very happy afterwards. So, for instance, I’d ask McCain questions like this, and don’t worry, I’d have plenty of follow-ups.

    And, someone already asked him about that, but she wasn’t that good and she didn’t get the damning information out there. Despite that, it’s gotten 10,000+ views:

    youtube.com/watch?v=tIK9ZawRMlg

    Now, imagine a line of questioning that leaves the candidate flustered and unable to come up with a proper response.

    2. On a lighter note, here’s more information on the meeting.

    3. On the same note, I think this is the best post I’ve ever made.

  45. prolefeed-what do you do about people who cannot afford services like police, defense, or roads?

  46. Joe, of course he won’t talk about it during election season (though I think his bit about “serving a cause greater then our self-interest” is a dog whistle), but he’d do it in office.

    You don’t really think he’d push for a draft, do you? I mean even McCain isn’t that crazy. The D’s will still control Congress and there isn’t the slightest chance he’d win on that issue which would likely undo his presidency before it’s started. Even if he could push it through (which he can’t) it would be so monumentally unpopular that it would ensure no second term at the very least. Not that I’d want to be accused of defending McCain, but the fact is he would never try something as politically suicidal as a draft.

  47. McCain would have to be a complete idiot to suggest that terrible idea.

    Heh, exactly. I see ProL beat me to the point.

  48. And then there is the problem of free riders…If I know you are paying police to track down robbers and theives perhaps I don’t need to pay that. In fact, every individual may think this and viola, no police outside security guards.

    There is a host of other government functions (like regulation of food and drugs, pollution, defense, etc.) that this would apply to.

    So we could have the minor coercion of making people pay a share of the bill (I say minor because we also give them a voice in how it will be spent), or we could have ineffective police, hazardous food, medecine and drinking water, and be taken over by Cuba or something…

  49. prolefeed-what do you do about people who cannot afford services like police, defense, or roads?

    Right now, a big chunk of most people’s pay is being taken out in involuntary taxes, for things that most people don’t want to pay for, such as the Iraq war, subsidies for multimillionaire corn growers, etc. This money would be available for police, defense, and roads.

    If you couldn’t afford to pay a road tax (which could be collected the way it is right now, via a tax on gasoline, since if you’re buying gasoline you’re almost certainly using roads), you probably couldn’t afford a car, and would take a bus (the fare for which would reflect the road tax paid by the operator of the bus).

    The miniscule percentage of the population that is so mentally or physically handicapped that they are incapable of gainful employment would rely on private charity, which would be much more plentiful once the government quit usurping the job of private charities and soaking up that revenue.

    And then there is the problem of free riders…If I know you are paying police to track down robbers and theives perhaps I don’t need to pay that.

    Umm, no, it’s not a problem if you receiving the services is contingent upon you paying for your share — and if the list of “free riders” was made available on a website available to the public. If you didn’t want to pay for police protection, you would need to avail yourself of your Second Amendment rights, because criminals would know that they could rob or assault you and the government wouldn’t step in and intervene.

    Are you arguing that we need government-monopoly food stores to prevent mass starvation? We don’t have a “free rider” problem with people not paying their share of food levies at the grocery store, because hunger tends to make people make paying for groceries a priority. Those few people who can’t or won’t work to earn money for food rely on private charity.

    You seem to think that all the people working to provide necessary services that people demand, who currently work for the government, would be out of work if taxation was voluntary. Not so. If people need it, they will pay for it, and those services will be provided. A free market doesn’t leave basic needs unmet.

  50. So we could have the minor coercion of making people pay a share of the bill (I say minor because we also give them a voice in how it will be spent), or we could have ineffective police, hazardous food, medecine and drinking water, and be taken over by Cuba or something…

    You have a point re: police, but you’re stealing bases re: food, medicine, and water. There’s no free rider problem for those things; people can pay a premium for thoroughly inspected meat, or choose not to and risk having tainted meat. On the other hand…

    Umm, no, it’s not a problem if you receiving the services is contingent upon you paying for your share — and if the list of “free riders” was made available on a website available to the public. If you didn’t want to pay for police protection, you would need to avail yourself of your Second Amendment rights, because criminals would know that they could rob or assault you and the government wouldn’t step in and intervene.

    I’m a pretty die-hard libertarian (I think), but this is an absolutely awful, inhuman idea, that a society should stand idly by while its members have all sorts of harm done to them. You realize you’re not talking about robbery and assault only; you’re also saying we should allow people to be raped, murdered, tortured, cannibalized, etc, just because they didn’t pay a fee.

    That’s in addition to the logistic problems. You can’t really have a published list of “free riders” unless there’s a monopoly; otherwise, how does Justice Corporation A know who has and hasn’t subscribed to Justice Corporations B, C, and D, so that they could publish such a list?

    Also, what about assaults, etc. that happen in public places? Do you have to show your Justice Corporation Membership Card before anyone can call someone to help you? I think you’re advocating a very, very messy and probably far more expensive and wasteful system than we have now, even before we consider the moral difficulties. Sorry, my anti-govt sentiments don’t go quite that far.

  51. If Obama was against Romney or Huckabee, he would have won by 10 to 15 points nationally, because both candidates are seriously flawed.

    Against McCain, he’ll only win by 5 to 10 points. McCain is flawed too, but his whole “maverick” schtick is holding to a certain extent.

    Obama is already up by five points or so over McCain in national polls. And the more people see him, the more they like him.

    The whole “The Surge is working” argument is self-defeating. Even if you assume it’s working (in reality, it’s working tactically but not strategically; short term but not long term-there’s no national political stability, only (slightly) less violence, which without the political progress, can not be substained long term), then doesn’t that mean we won and we can go home? No? Then it didn’t work, did it?

  52. The whole “The Surge is working” argument is self-defeating.

    Logically, you are correct. However, the War on Drugs has been “working” for decades now, and it remains as popular as ever.

  53. joe – Cesar explicitly made a point I had as one of my assumptions, but didn’t articulate. It isn’t about McCain delivering on anything (except more war), it’s about what he’s going to promise to get elected.

    You’re right about the “strong military” not being nearly as powerful a draw in and of itself, but I seriously doubt that’s what McCain will do. I think he’ll make specific promises about winning Iraq and making progress in Afghanistan, through adding the phantom recruits Cesar mentioned.

    When Obama (correctly) points out the difficulties inherent with that strategy, I see McCain using a line that’s a variant of the colonel in Full Metal Jacket – “why don’t you climb aboard for the big win?”

  54. A surge in Afghanistan can only come from shrinking the Iraq force.

    Is the US unable to redeploy troops from other, more stable areas like Korea?

  55. Now is not the time to cut and run from Korea, Japan, and Germany, my friends. Doing so would throw away the sacrifices made by our brave troops in World War II and the Korean Conflict, and send a signal of weakness to both our enemies and our friends, my friends.

  56. our enemies and our friends

    Our frenemies 🙂

  57. Sure, Cessar, that’s working so well for the Republicans. Not.

    Polls now indicate Americans believe we will succeed in Iraq by 54-39, and are evenly split on whether we should bring troops home.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/02/28/pew-majority-now-believe-us-effort-in-iraq-will-succeed-53-39/

    Those are both huge swings. The Obama plan is a nonstarter.

    Just wait until the general election really gets underway, and the media starts interviewing colonels on the ground in Iraq who say leaving too soon is a terrible idea that could undo everything they’ve accomplished, while Obama makes nonsensical pronouncements about leaving Iraq to Al Qaeda, then going back if Al Qaeda’s there.

    The Chewbacca strategy doesn’t work in real life.

  58. You’re probably right about that. But then, how does he get around the problem of troop levels between Iraq and Afghanistan?

    No one’s really said what the ideal NATO troop level is. Is it 50,000? 25,000? 100,000?

    Remember, our Northern Alliance buddies that toppled the Taliban in a matter of weeks with mostly air support. But pacifying Afghanistan may be the work of decades no matter what we do; that’s been the history there due to local topography and stubbornness.

  59. I’m a pretty die-hard libertarian (I think), but this is an absolutely awful, inhuman idea, that a society should stand idly by while its members have all sorts of harm done to them.

    You mean like standing idly by while thugs rob others of up to half their income, throw them in jail for ingesting certain plants, imprison them for owning certain types of stamped steel boxes, force them to pay for killing strangers in distant lands …

    I agree, we shouldn’t stand idly by and let awful stuff like this happen. We should not stand for such harm being inflicted on members of society.

    I think it is a stretch to label oneself a “die-hard libertarian”, then in the same sentence argue that some people have the right to force others to give them stuff, and throw those others in jail if they try to resist this coercion.

    Or how about this iteration of your statement:

    I think it’s an awful, inhuman idea, that a society should stand idly by while its members go hungry, instead of having government-run food stores to provide for that need.

    There won’t be much of a free rider problem if people know that they won’t receive services without paying.

  60. “If you couldn’t afford to pay a road tax (which could be collected the way it is right now, via a tax on gasoline, since if you’re buying gasoline you’re almost certainly using roads), you probably couldn’t afford a car, and would take a bus (the fare for which would reflect the road tax paid by the operator of the bus).”
    I thought you libertarian types were supposed to beleive in economics as a field? Obviously there will be a great many people “on the margin” (you know, the people that make the minimum wage wrong in libertarian’s eyes?) who cannot afford BOTH the price of a car AND the road fees that would be inevitably be charged in your libertopia. What of them?

    “The miniscule percentage of the population that is so mentally or physically handicapped that they are incapable of gainful employment would rely on private charity, which would be much more plentiful once the government quit usurping the job of private charities and soaking up that revenue.”
    Of COURSE! That’s obvious, right? And if you’re wrong? Becaue in laissez-faire days private charities met ALL the needs of those folks, right ;). And there is NO element of coercion in private charity (I have x, you need x, so you have to do or say or believe y to get it)?

    Perhaps you are new to the free-rider problem? If X and Y are paying for environmental patrols, or police patrols, then why should z pay for them, since the polluter x and y catch, or the robber x and y catch, will not threaten z. So z can not pay and benefit. And MOST people can rationally see themselves in the position of z…So most people will not pay, counting on the few poor dumbass’s who do, and thus, substandard protection for all (and limited value for the few paying)…

    Chris-So “inspected by a third party…” would be purchased at a premium…So what would the poor do? Guess? Settle? Are they in that different of a place than the populace that you rightly guess would be at the mercy of rapists and robbers if htey did not have a paid premuim for protection?

  61. prolefeed,

    Holy cow, go easy on that strawman! Where did I say that the status quo was a good thing? Yes, our taxes are too high, govt is involved in a lot of things it shouldn’t be, and the war on drugs is stupid and liberty-eroding. But that doesn’t mean the answer is an unworkable, inhuman system such as you describe; an effective police force, local streets, and a fire dept can be supported by much lower taxes than currently obtain. I notice that you didn’t actually address any of my arguments as to why your system would be unworkable, either.

    Food stores are not a good comparison. It’s easy to make sure that people must either themselves pay for or convince someone else to pay for whatever food they get. That’s not the case for the crime prevention provided by police forces (public or private), or the fire protection afforded by fire depts. It’s not in your interest to allow your neighbor’s house to turn into an inferno, as it could easily spread to your house or leave a burned-out husk next door to you, which will do wonders for your property values.

    Also, I should have commented on this before, but while the Second Amendment protects a sacred right, it’s not a magic spell one can invoke to ward off bad guys. Under the system you describe, the people who would rob, assault, rape, torture, murder, and cannibalize you also have Second Amendment rights to whatever weapons they find useful, and so long as they stuck to attacking unprotected targets, wouldn’t have to worry about being disarmed by the local Justice Corporation(s).

    I mean, sure, everybody could fortify their houses and bury anti-tank mines in their front lawns, but would the resulting society be better than what we have now? All to avoid a few percent income or sales tax?

  62. MNG,

    The poor already pay the inspection premium, as does everyone else, when they buy meat. Allowing “lottery meat” onto market would simply give them the option of trading security for savings.

    Humans don’t need to eat meat, anyway, and I’m not aware of meat being a human right (though I’m sure your revisionist pals on the SCOTUS could ferret it out of an emanation of a penumbra of the 9th if they so chose). If you don’t want to pay for inspected meat, there are a gazillion other options for getting protein that can be made far safer with much less inspection (nuts, beans, etc). Americans of all incomes eat way too much meat as it is, though that’s a separate issue.

  63. Angelina Jolie just came out and said that “the Surge was working.” That’s right. She was in Baghdad visiting Gen. Patreaus and dining with the Troops.

    In a stunning turn-around, the Hollywood Leftist – perhaps now she should be called a “Hollywood libertarian” – told the gathered media in the Green Zone that the Iraq War has turned into a huge Humanitarian Mission.

    Of course, we’re seeing no reporting of this from the so-called libertarian media, like Reason.com, Liberty Papers, Knappster, TPW, and certainly not LRC or AntiWar.org.

    If a former War supporter turns against the War, it’s front page headling story in the leftist libertarian media. If it’s the other way around, it gets completely ignored.

    Eric Dondero, Publisher
    MainstreamLibertarian.com

  64. Surprise, surprise, Dondero thinks that all it takes to make one a libertarian is to support Bush/McCain’s boondoggle in Iraq.

    Nationalized health care? All right.
    A nationwide ban on all projectile weapons? You got it.
    Just as long as you’re down with 100,000+ troops bogged down in the Mideast for 100 years.

  65. Nationalized health care? All right.
    A nationwide ban on all projectile weapons? You got it.
    Just as long as you’re down with 100,000+ troops bogged down in the Mideast for 100 years.

    Yeah, thats pretty fucking pathetic.

  66. I don’t think y’all get it. Dude’s name is whiskey, and he posted that at 5:07 AM in the morning.

    Oh. Didn’t see that. Maybe then it was McCain himself posting the comment.

  67. Damn, I guess that explains why Reason ended its extensive and in-depth coverage of Angelina Jolie’s political statements…

  68. God, I love Dondero.

  69. God, I love Dondero.

    Then why don’t you marry him?

  70. Hugo’s massing troops on Columbia’s border!

    10 battalions!

    Everybody panic!

  71. New numbers released today: civilian casualties in Iraq were 36% higher in February than in January.

    If casualty rates had stayed the same as they were in November, McCain might have had a chance running on Victory, but they were never going to stay law absent a political deal – which people remember was supposed to be the surge’s objective – and that isn’t happening.

    McCain could have been smart, and treated the good news of declining deaths with some caution, but he didn’t. He jumped on it with all the glee of a Purple Finger Republican in January 05, and thus set himself up for all the electoral success of a Purple Finger Republican in November 06.

  72. Oh, I should say, there is progress on one political front in Iraq. Ahmedinejad is making a visit to Baghdad.

    Gentlemen, to Victory and Arab Spring!

  73. Thanks for the link, TallDave.

    What’s interesting is that an even larger % of respondents say they want the United States to be out of Iraq within a year.

    Which tells us that their definition of “successful in Iraq” is compatible with the withdrawal that hawks like McCain define as “defeat, surrender, cut and run, failure.”

  74. “Eric Dondero, Publisher
    MainstreamLibertarian.com”

    LOL

    I know you never had a real job, even before, but this its seriously sad that you now append H&R posts with your ‘title’. Sorta like,

    GILMORE
    Grand Vizier, Imaginary World

    Good luck with the job hunt. Tip = fake your rez.

  75. On the Sunday morning talk shows the pundits suggested Clinton is moving to goal posts so as long as she wins either Texas or Ohio she will stay in the race until Pennsylvania (Seven weeks from now!)

    Anybody think this is likely?

  76. leaving Iraq to Al Qaeda,

    pppt.

    right. AQI you mean. As in, a bunch of guys who will get murdered by locals the second we leave. Like these guys are going to organize international terrorist acts… from the Iraq ‘safe haven’. please. What the fuck have you been smoking? These ‘proxies’ are useful for IEDs and murdering shia. Not exactly an imminent threat to international security. Show me how our Iraq occupation is providing us ‘security’, while leaving Waziristan uncontrolled by the pakistanis is some kind of no big deal, and maybe we wont laugh quite as hard.

  77. Cesar,

    She’ll stay in till PA even if she loses both. She’s a dumb whore. You want to bet $25? come on. Please?

  78. Gilmore I don’t think she’ll stay in if she loses BOTH. Thats a fools bet. If she even thinks about it, I’m pretty sure she’ll get a “friendly” visit from Howard Dean telling her to get the fuck out.

  79. why is it i keep trying to get anyone to put their money where their mouth is? Waste. Of. Fucking. Time.

    This shit is over for her by Tues. She will just take a little time getting used it.

  80. Gilmore-

    You can always head over to InTrade.

  81. You have no idea dude. Im up about a grand now, even without it. I’ve been on such a roll i’m betting on weather patterns in the north atlantic these days.

  82. as long as she wins either Texas or Ohio she will stay in the race until Pennsylvania (Seven weeks from now!)

    I hope she stays in all the way to the convention. I enjoy watching her lose, and it delays my having to face up to the McCain-Obama race that’s looming.

  83. Also, how come everyone’s so adamant about Hillary having to get out of the race when you have Huckabee and Paul, both of whom are much further behind than she, staying in on the GOP side?

  84. Because Clinton is staying in because she still thinks she has a chance to win. I don’t think Paul ever expected to win, and that certainly hasn’t been his goal for a while.

    Huckabee is only still in the race because he’s the antichrist and it’s a federal law that the antichrist cannot give up on winning the presidency; at least not until his eyes start glowing red and he bites the head off a mastiff. Which isn’t gonna happen anytime soon, since it’d make him gain back some of that weight he lost. You all know how fatty mastiff heads are these days?

  85. Chris, MNG — The free rider problem is solvable. Look all around you and see examples of market solutions to free riding. Have you ever listened to a radio, or watched a TV program? Why on earth would anyone pay for someone to go to the great expense of broadcasting when they could choose to not pay and still watch or listen? And yet, private corporations pursuing profit have found a way to make it work despite some free riders who zip through the commercials and don’t buy any of the products. Grocery stores / fast food places face a similar problem — they offer loss leaders on sale to draw people into the store, and some free riders buy just those loss leaders, and yet the grocery stores earn a profit and stay in business. As for fire protection — why would anyone buy fire insurance on their home, when they have a fire dept. to reduce the risk? And yet, virtually everyone I know who owns a home buys fire insurance, because the marginal extra risk is too great to try and free ride — the value of the insurance greatly exceeds the cost.

    Same deal with privatizing police protection — you could free ride and get a small degree of protection, but the risk of nastiness happening to you if you refuse to pay your protection premiums far outweighs the cost of paying for the full amount of protection.

    The reality is that since most people purchasing these forms of protection value these services far more than the money spent purchasing them, there is a great deal of leeway to have a small percentage of free riders folded into the cost and still have people purchase the coverage — and with intelligently designed incentives, few people will find it in their interest to free ride.

  86. On the Sunday morning talk shows the pundits suggested Clinton is moving to goal posts so as long as she wins either Texas or Ohio she will stay in the race until Pennsylvania (Seven weeks from now!)

    Anybody think this is likely?

    I do. She believes she can finesse the nomination. Afetr all, her spouse used to be president, she deserves it just as much. I expect a huge display of pathetic from New York’s junior senator.

  87. From this point on, I will only refer to the junior senator from New York as “the junior senator from New York”. It is the pinnacle of her political career.

  88. Ahh, the wonderful cynics at Reason H&R. Not a single one of you all addressed the issue itself. Just attacked me personally on various fronts.

    What’s the matter, cat got y’all’s tongue? Shocked that Angelina Jolie herself would embarrass the living shit out of you America-haters, and say that “yes, the Surge is working.”

    Major egg on y’all’s face, and it’s not the Kroger brand of white egg either, more like that stinkin’ 3-week old rotting variety.

  89. Check out the video of Ms. Jolie dining with the Troops at http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com

    You won’t see it here of course. Cause, ya know, Reason’s gotta pretend that the War in Iraq doesn’t exist when it’s going so well. They only remember it when the American dead are “piling up” so they can criticize it as a “huge failure.”

  90. If the surge is working that means we can leave Iraq right?

  91. Well, if Angelina Jolie…

    I can’t even type the rest. Is it physically painful to be that stupid, Eric, or is it sort of a numb feeling.

    Oh, right, you’re going to pretend you didn’t see this, or my comment about civilian casualities rising 36% from January to February, because I don’t enter a last name.

    wanker

  92. If the surge is a resounding success, I guess that means we’ve won the war. Which means the troops can come home now (or go to Afgahnistan) right Dondero? Right? I mean the surge worked! Lets move on.

  93. Speaking of Angelina Jolie, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at this.

  94. prolfeed-people buy fire insurance, despite the existence of fire departments, for the same reason people buy medical insurance despite the existence of rescue squads. The FD can’t get there right away and the insurance pays for whatever damage is done during that gap.

    If the police did not exist then the only thing that would take its place in a market would be something like private investigator service and security guards. A person would be a fool to pay for anything else. And then you get the first problem I mentioned: what about those who could not afford these services? They would just be fed to criminals…

  95. Donderdo-that “working” is costing US taxpayers about 270 million dollars a day. So while it may be “working” in the sense of lower violence, it ain’t “working” for me, you or the rest of the taxpayers…

    And while I’m not a libertarian, I’d love to know how having the government blow 270 million taxpayer dollars a day is reason for a libertarians to celebrate…

  96. Eric Dondero | March 2, 2008, 7:17pm | #
    …Just attacked me personally on various fronts.

    Right! Because *you’re an asshole*

  97. The money issue is a big thing. You want to keep paying that amount of money for 50, 100, 1,000 10,000, or whatever amount of years John McCain decides to stay in? Good luck coming close to a low-tax, balanced budget with that bill. It can’t happen. You’re going to have to raise taxes (which would kill the economy) or borrow (which will make our children raise taxes, killing their economy).

    The bill comes due eventually.

    Regardless, if the sruge “worked” why are we still there? Seems to me the war should be won if the surge “worked” and we can pull out.

  98. In further news, the guy who played Commander Kyle on Star Trek II (and in eleven episodes of Star Trek) says George Bush was right in going into Iraq. The mainstream media, predictably, ignores this.

    Mainstream media, how many Hollywood stars can you ignore?

    (This is the original Star Trek, not Enterprise, for those of you who might be tempted to think that I’m making a big deal out of nothing.)

    Ron Bailey-Style disclaimer: I have watched many episodes of Star Trek and its sequels, and have seen every Star Trek film.

  99. Further disclaimer: on the cartoon, the voice of then Lieutenant Kyle was played by James Doohan. As Mr. Doohan is now deceased, we cannot know for sure what he’d think of the surge, but many top mediums and mystics have assured me that he was a particularly big fan of George W. Bush. Make of this what you will.

  100. You want to keep paying that amount of money for 50, 100, 1,000 10,000, or whatever amount of years John McCain decides to stay in?

    We’ve been in Germany, Japan, and Korea for how many decades now? Hasn’t broken the bank yet.

  101. We’ve been in Germany, Japan, and Korea for how many decades now? Hasn’t broken the bank yet.

    IIRC we have about 30,000 troops each in Germany and Korea. We have 200,000 some in Iraq–who are still being shot at, btw.

    Big fucking difference.

  102. You never had to worry about a civil war in Japan or Germany, either.

    You know why? Because unlike Iraq they’re actual historical nations and not some artificial entity created by a bunch of British Imperialists around a table in London thats going to fall apart at the seams as soon as they no longer have a strongman to hold it together.

  103. If the surge is working that means we can leave Iraq right?

    Well, we do keep handing over more and more provinces.

    If the surge is a resounding success, I guess that means we’ve won the war.

    And now we’re helping keep the peace, and helping Iraqis build some semblance of a liberal democracy.

    New numbers released today: civilian casualties in Iraq were 36% higher in February than in January.

    Still very low. These are lower numbers than we’ve had in peacetime some years.

    What’s interesting is that an even larger % of respondents say they want the United States to be out of Iraq within a year.

    I’d like us to be out of Iraq in a year too. It would be great if conditions allowed that.

  104. You never had to worry about a civil war in Japan or Germany, either.

    I guess you missed that whole 50 years with the Berlin Wall.

  105. I’d like us to be out of Iraq in a year too. It would be great if conditions allowed that.

    Come on Dave! The Surge Is Working ™! Iraq is a paradise now. We should be out tomorrow!

    Oh yeah–Patreus Patreus PATREEEUUUS!

  106. I suppose you can argue Germany’s was a relatively quiet separation.

    But then we still have troops in S Korea too, after a civil war that was quite violent.

  107. I guess you missed that whole 50 years with the Berlin Wall.

    Only an Iraq War supporter would miss the difference between a centuries-old ethno-religious conflict and an artificial divide imposed by a outside power.

    The Germans would have LOVED to been unified anytime after 1945.

    The Sunni, Shia, and Kurds don’t want to be together. You may as well try to put Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union back together again.

  108. Iraq is a paradise now.

    Compared to under Saddam, yes. They still need our help though.

    Oh yeah–Patreus Patreus PATREEEUUUS!

    Yes, let’s mock Petraeus now. Perhaps Obama can run on the MoveOn platform and start running “General Betrayus” ads.

  109. Compared to under Saddam, yes.

    Even setting the bar that low, I don’t think everyone in Iraq would agree with it. Especially not the ones ethnically clensed from their homes. Or the refugees pouring into Jordan and Syria. Or the Kurds–who had a safe zone patrolled by American aircraft for a decade effectively giving them their own state–who are now being invaded by Turkey.

    Yes, let’s mock Petraeus now.

    You’re the ones who turned him into a punch line. A noun, a verb, and “General Patreus”.

  110. Only an Iraq War supporter would miss the difference between a centuries-old ethno-religious conflict and an artificial divide imposed by a outside power.

    Only an Iraq War opponent would miss the similarity between what we did in W Germany, Japan, and S Korea and what we are doing today in Iraq.

    The Sunni, Shia, and Kurds don’t want to be together

    Neither do Texans and New Yorkers. Yet somehow we manage.

    They don’t have to join hands and sing kum-bay-yah. The Kurds are semi-autonomous. The Shia and Sunni have intermixed for centuries and are generally not looking to form separate countries.

  111. Even setting the bar that low, I don’t think everyone in Iraq would agree with it.

    Regardless, it’s a fact. An average of 7,000 people a month died under the Hussein regime. GDP has doubled.

    Especially not the ones ethnically clensed from their homes.

    The ones ethnically cleansed from their homes by Saddam would.

    . Or the Kurds–who had a safe zone patrolled by American aircraft for a decade effectively giving them their own state–who are now being invaded by Turkey.

    Yes, the Kurds were much happier under Saddam, and are very unhappy with the invasion, which is why they keep giving it 90% approval. Clearly you have your finger on the very pulse of Kurdish opinion.

  112. TallDave, if you really think the difference between Sunni and Shia is like the difference between a Texan and New Yorker you need to read a book.

    Whens the last time yankee transplants in Dallas were ethnically cleansed from their homes?

  113. TallDave, if you really think the difference between Sunni and Shia is like the difference between a Texan and New Yorker you need to read a book.

    I didn’t say they were the same, just that people who disagree manage to get along, even after bitter conflicts.

    Whens the last time yankee transplants in Dallas were ethnically cleansed from their homes?

    Ask the people of Atlanta.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta,_Georgia

  114. People in the Middle East (and the Balkans, FWIW) have a much longer memory than Americans, or anyone else in the world.

  115. I also guess I missed that part of the Civil War where the British, French, and Germans intervene militarily to mediate.

  116. Why do we still need to have troops in stable countries like Germany, and Japan? How does this presence justify a presence in Iraq?

  117. People in the Middle East (and the Balkans, FWIW) have a much longer memory than Americans, or anyone else in the world.

    Oh, I see, the old “Arabs can’t handle democracy” argument. Well, I for one think people of any ethnicity can learn to settle their differences peacefully.

    Whens the last time yankee transplants in Dallas were ethnically cleansed from their homes?

    You might try Los Angeles, too.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/46855/

    “Acting on orders from the Mexican Mafia, Latino gang members in Southern California are terrorizing and killing blacks”

  118. No, Dave. Its the “artificially created multi-ethnic states” don’t work argument.

    Ask the Yugoslavs.

    Ask the Soviets.

    Hell, ask the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

  119. Yes, the United States and other new world countries are multi-ethnic. But this wasn’t imposed from the outside, and we haven’t been living here for thousands of years (exception: Native Americans). That makes a big difference.

  120. TallDave | March 2, 2008, 9:09pm | #
    “Iraq is a paradise now.”

    Compared to under Saddam, yes.

    We had no idea!!

  121. TallDave | March 2, 2008, 9:09pm | #
    “Iraq is a paradise now.”

    Compared to under Saddam, yes.

    We had no idea!!

    We had some idea.

  122. Spare me the “Saddam was a horrible dictator” stuff. There are a lot of horrible dictators in the world

    The war wasn’t waged for humanitarian purposes and you know it. Thats a fucking lie. It was sold to us because we were told Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Quit moving the goal posts.

  123. No, Dave. Its the “artificially created multi-ethnic states” don’t work argument.

    Yes, because Britain is going to collapse any day now due to ongoing Welsh-Scottish strife. Did you know Germany is a patchwork of different tribes/ethnicities, as is France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Russia, and pretty much every country in the world?

    Multi-ethnic states work just fine – when they are liberal democracies.

  124. They become liberal democracies by evolving along their own historical path not by being told to become democracies by outside powers.

    I didn’t Putin was a liberal democrat, btw.

  125. BUT GERMAN AND JAPAN!

    Germany was very much influenced by the liberal traditions of the French Revolution, the 1848 Revolutions, and had semi-Parliamentary government even under the Kaiser.

    Japan had a functioning Parliamentary system until the warlord took over in the late ’20s.

    Both countries had far more experience with democratic governance than Iraq ever had.

  126. Spare me the “Saddam was a horrible dictator” stuff. There are a lot of horrible dictators in the world

    There are lots of rapists, murderers, and robbers in the world too. The fact we don’t catch them all is not a reason to avoid doing anything about them.

    The war wasn’t waged for humanitarian purposes and you know it. Thats a fucking lie.

    Yes, it was. Read the AUMF. Humanitarian concerns are mentioned often. Saddam’s failure to account for his WMD was just one of many reasons.

  127. TallDave, the war was sold to the public because of WMDs. Bush would have never, ever, not in a thousand years, gotten authorization from Congress for a humanitarian war and you damn well know it.

  128. They become liberal democracies by evolving along their own historical path not by being told to become democracies by outside powers.

    Germany. Japan.

    We wrote their constitutions.

    I didn’t Putin was a liberal democrat, btw.

    He’s not Thomas Jefferson, but he’s not Stalin either. That’s why Russia survives, more or less, while the Soviet Union did not.

  129. TallDave, the war was sold to the public because of WMDs.

    No, it wasn’t. Britain has WMDS, France has WMDs, Israel has WMDs. I could go on.

  130. http://www.usatoday.com/news/graphics/iraqpoll_pdf/iraq_poll.pdf

    These people just dont appreciate anything

  131. Japan had a functioning Parliamentary system until the warlord took over in the late ’20s.

    So did Iraq, before strongmen seized power.

  132. TallDave, the fact that 1)Germany and Japan were literally terror-bombed into submission 2)had traditions of Parliamentary governance–particularly with respect to Germany–and 3) with respect to Japan had the Emperor telling the Japanese to stop fighting helped a lot.

    There was zero resistance in Japan after they were occupied and virtually zero resistance in Germany.

    Truman could visit Berlin and Tokyo in the 1948 without having to fly secretly into their airports in the dark of night with the lights off, for example.

  133. Right, because a year-old poll that oversamples Sunni Arabs is so relevant.

    In other news, most Southern whites in 1866 do not think they are better off as a result of the Civil War.

  134. There was zero resistance in Japan after they were occupied and virtually zero resistance in Germany.

    And all we had to do was indiscriminately kill millions of people! Gee, why didn’t Bush think of that?

    Truman could visit Berlin and Tokyo in the 1948 without having to fly secretly into their airports in the dark of night with the lights off, for example.

    And Bush didn’t have to intern 100,000 Muslims.

  135. The only country thats gained from this little adventure has been Iran.

    See how Iran’s President is buddying up to the new government there? Yeah, that really works in our favor.

    I guess now we have to “bomb bomb bomb Iran” right?

  136. TallDave, if you and the rest of the neo con krewe really believed it was World War III or IV or The Long War or whatever the hell you call it now then yes, you would kill millions of people indiscriminately. Thats what happens in “world wars”.

  137. I’d like us to be out of Iraq in a year, too. It would be great if conditions allowed that.?

    Don’t worry, they will.

    McCain’s going to get his ass kicked.

  138. There was zero resistance in Japan after they were occupied and virtually zero resistance in Germany.

    There was also another good reason for this: both the Germans and Japanese knew the alternative to American occupation was Soviet occupation.

  139. You know, I feel like I’m in 2003 or something now. Thanks for the (horrid) memories.

  140. you would kill millions of people indiscriminately.

    No, I would like to free millions of people, with as little innocent blood spilt as possible.

    McCain’s going to get his ass kicked.

    I doubt it will matter. Barack Obama is not going to create genocide in Iraq, whatever he tells primary voters now (just like NAFTA). We’ve made too much progress for that. Also, the opinions of colonels on the ground can’t be ignored.

  141. It’s striking, Cesar.

    He hasn’t learned a god damn thing in the past five years.

  142. I’ve learned some fools care nothing for freedom.

  143. I’ve learned some fools care nothing for freedom.

    There you go! NOW its 2003 again! Call me a “surrender monkey” for good measure and make some tacky joke about the French while you’re at it.

    One thing I’ve noticed about war supporters is no matter how much “good news” they trumpet, no matter how many “turning points” we reach, its never QUITE good enough to say “its over, lets withdraw”. I wonder why?

  144. Hell, even Angelina Jolie has learned more than you nitwits.

    Pamela Hess learned something too:

    http://www.opinionbug.com/?p=1879

    “?and he’s talking to me very low, under the chatter, and what he said was ‘Every morning I wake up, and I feel like I’m pushing a little girl out of the way of a bus. And I pick her up, and I bring her to the other side of the road, and I’ve saved that little girl,’ he said, ‘every day I feel like that.’ And in fact that is what s happening there. I can’t tell you-“

  145. There you go! NOW its 2003 again! Call me a “surrender monkey” for good measure

    Well, you are advocating surrender.

    One thing I’ve noticed about war supporters is no matter how much “good news” they trumpet, no matter how many “turning points” we reach, its never QUITE good enough to say “its over, lets withdraw”. I wonder why?

    Because its a difficult job, and the commanders on the ground say it’s not done yet. I suppose you can make silly chants with their names too.

  146. Surrender to whom, exactly?

  147. World War I didn’t last more than five years. That was a bit “harder” than Iraq.

    We finished World War II in the space of four.

  148. Surrender to whom, exactly?

    To the people our troops are fighting, obviously. You know, those fun guys who go around chopping off heads and shooting kids in the face (as Pamela Hess noted). To some of the very worst humanity has to offer.

  149. I want groups and/or nation states, Dave, not generalities.

  150. Also, please explain how each of these particular groups threatens the vital interests and security of the United States.

    If you say Al Qaeda, their real center is in Afgahnistan and rural Pakistan and Iraq is a diversion. All AQI is good at is blowing up Shia. As soon as the United States leaves the locals would take care of them out of necessity.

  151. World War I didn’t last more than five years. That was a bit “harder” than Iraq. We finished World War II in the space of four.

    And we finished off Saddam’s regime in three weeks.

    The occupations of Japan and Germany took about seven years, before we handed over control. Our troops still haven’t left.

  152. So is this a war, or an occupation? Get your story straight.

    If its a war it seems to have gone on a little long.

    If its an occupation its a piss-poor one since occupations of Japan and Germany didn’t involve having troops killed every day.

  153. Our troops are going to put their hands over their heads, stack their weapons, and march off in columns to be taken prisoner by al Qaeda in Iraq? They’re going to line up, open the gates, and allow armed insurgents to occupy their positions? The troopers of, say, the 3ID are going to accept terms dictated to them by the enemy?

    What an idiotic statement.

    We didn’t surrender to Al Capone when we ended Prohibition. We stopped prosecuting a failed policy.

  154. I want groups and/or nation states, Dave, not generalities.

    Al Qaeda, the Mahdi Army, Iran.

    If you say Al Qaeda, their real center is in Afgahnistan and rural Pakistan

    And how is that an argument we should give them Sunni Iraq?

    Iraq is a diversion.

    It’s certainly kept them diverted, yes. No attacks here in 7 years.

    Not only that, they’ve manage to greatly discredit their movement in Iraq. After seeing what AQ is like, most Sunnnis decided to go with us instead. Support for suicide bombings has plummeted all over the MIdeast.

  155. Plus, if its an occupation, you can’t surrender. By definition if its an occupation (like Germany and Japan) we’ve already defeated the enemy! Theres no one to surrender to. It would be called “withdrawing”.

  156. It’s certainly kept them diverted, yes. No attacks here in 7 years.

    And I haven’t been attacked by a polar bear since I started carrying my magic rock.

    Of course you forgot about all the attacks in Europe, Morocco, and Bali, but nevermind.

    Al Qaeda

    They’re in Afgahnistan and Pakistan. You know, where bin Laden and his top lieutenants are.

    The Mahdi Army? Give me a break.

    Iran? Well, they sure have benefited since we overthrew their mortal enemy and a friendly regime was elected. Can’t deny that. Thought I don’t think thats what you had in mind when you made that statement.

  157. The occupations of Japan and Germany took about seven years, before we handed over control. Our troops still haven’t left.

    Hostilities against our troops ended within days. I don’t think anybody who actually served in Iraq is as confused as you are, TallDave, about whether we’ve been in a war over there in 2004-2008.

    You keep making these comparisons to Germany and Japan in 50s-present. Our troops haven’t been engaged in combat there for two entire generations.

  158. Our troops are going to put their hands over their heads, stack their weapons, and march off in columns to be taken prisoner by al Qaeda in Iraq?

    No, that will be the fate of all the Iraqi who have been working with us to build some semblance of a liberal democratic society. Our guys get to come back here; Iraqis are not so lucky.

    They’re going to line up, open the gates, and allow armed insurgents to occupy their positions?

    How exactly are they going to defend positions in Iraq from here at hime?

    The troopers of, say, the 3ID are going to accept terms dictated to them by the enemy?

    Yes. You can’t dictate any terms when you aren’t around.

    What an idiotic statement.

    Yes, you certainly have made an idiotic statement there. Glad you recognize that.

  159. After seeing what AQ is like, most Sunnnis decided to go with us instead.

    And yet, if we leave, al Qaeda will take over Sunni Iraq.

    Or, if you’re John McCain, they will take over the whole country.

  160. Glib AND vacuous.

    It’s ok, TallDave, nobody noticed you can’t defend the use of the term “surrender.”

  161. TallDave still believes there will be a Jeffersonian democracy blossoming inside Iraq any moment! Isn’t that cute?

    Dave, even most war supporters have given up on that. Even our own John and RC Dean on this board have just said a STABLE Iraq is the goal.

  162. No, that will be the fate of all the Iraqi who have been working with us to build some semblance of a liberal democratic society.

    And yet we’ve won. So much for Arab Spring, huh?

  163. Plus, if its an occupation, you can’t surrender.

    Sure you can; you just give up and leave. You’ve surrendered the country.

    They’re in Afgahnistan and Pakistan. You know, where bin Laden and his top lieutenants are

    They’re also in Iraq. We’re fighting them wherever we can. Again, surrendering the Sunni triangle to them makes absolutely no sense.

  164. TallDave still believes there will be a Jeffersonian democracy blossoming inside Iraq any moment!

    Momentarily. He can shift back to “it will be a bloodbath, and al Qaeda will control the country” in a split second, if he thinks it will help his argument.

  165. Dave, we can move all those troops into Afgahnistan and capture bin Laden and his top leadership, or we can leave them in Iraq where bin Laden and his top leadership are NOT located.

    But you can’t have both. We only have so many troops.

    Choose.

  166. You’ve surrendered the country.

    Sort of like when the Revenue Agents surrendered Chicago at the repeal of Prohibition.

    They packed up and went home, too.

    Surrendered? That word has an actual meaning when you’re talking about military operations. It doesn’t mean “stop your offensive.” It doesn’t mean “relocate your forces.”

  167. You keep making these comparisons to Germany and Japan in 50s-present. Our troops haven’t been engaged in combat there for two entire generations.

    They haven’t been engaged in combat in Iraq for two generations either.

    After seeing what AQ is like, most Sunnnis decided to go with us instead.

    And yet, if we leave, al Qaeda will take over Sunni Iraq.

    It’s possible. Our commanders on the ground have been pretty emphatic that the Sahwa movements need U.S. support, at least for now.

    In fact, I’d encourage you to ask them yourself, and read the transcripts. They hold semi-daily conference calls where you can ask them questions. It’s called the Blogger’s Roundtable.

    http://www.defenselink.mil/Blogger/index.aspx

  168. Again, surrendering the Sunni triangle to them makes absolutely no sense.

    The only time jihadists have ever been able to establish political control in the Sunni Arab area of Iraq, in the history of the region, has been when it was under American occupation. They weren’t there before we let them in, and they will very shortly cease to have a presence after we leave.

  169. Yeah, I guess the Russians “surrendered” in the Napoleonic Wars too. I mean, they withdrew their troops back to Moscow instead of attacking the French! Damn surrender monkeys! They should have stayed and fought! NOT ONE STEP BACK!

  170. And I haven’t been attacked by a polar bear since I started carrying my magic rock.

    Where can I get a magic rock like this Cesar? I’ve been worrying about polar bears lately.

  171. No, that will be the fate of all the Iraqi who have been working with us to build some semblance of a liberal democratic society.

    And yet we’ve won. So much for Arab Spring, huh

    We’ve mostly won, but we haven’t yet established an Iraqi state that can handle everything on their own. Leaving now would be like marching out of Germany and allowing the Nazi Party to retake control.

  172. They haven’t been engaged in combat in Iraq for two generations either.

    No, genius, the combat operations ENDED in Germany in Japan. . Literally, in days after the government was toppled. As opposed to Iraq. We were there for two generations AFTER COMBAT OPERATIONS ENDED Capice?

    You are trying to compare 150,000 troops fighting a war and taking casualties every day to the peaceful garrison of troops in a friendly country. That makes no sense.

  173. TallDave still believes there will be a Jeffersonian democracy blossoming inside Iraq any moment! Isn’t that cute?

    They’ve held three free and fair elections, and there is all kinds of independent press now. Again, you are fools who care nothing for freedom.

    The U.S. isn’t a perfect Jeffersonian democracy. To expect that of Iraq is ridiculous. I’ll settle for basic rights.

  174. Dave, since neocons like to think of this as a “war” with an Iraqi “front”, you do realize that sometimes in wars you withdraw from one front because you’re in a bad position so you can become stronger on another front that is of greater importance. Right?

    “Not one step back” is a pretty stupid military strategy.

  175. See, Cesar? This is his answer when I bring up liberal democracy and Arab Spring:

    We’ve mostly won, but we haven’t yet established an Iraqi state that can handle everything on their own. Leaving now would be like marching out of Germany and allowing the Nazi Party to retake control.

    He doesn’t even believe we’re doing that anymore. It’s about stopping the bad guys – al Qaeda, Iran, and the Mahdi Army – from taking over.

    BTW, did you see Ahmedinejad visited his good friends in the Shia-controlled Iraqi government today?

    We’re uniters, not dividers. Ten years ago, Iraqi Sunnis and international jihadists hated each other. Ten years ago, the Iraqi government and the Iranian government hated each other.

    It’s a beautiful thing.

  176. No, genius, the combat operations ENDED in Germany in Japan. . Literally, in days after the government was toppled.

    Not true, there was mop-up for years after in Germany, and a military authority ran the country.

    You are trying to compare 150,000 troops fighting a war and taking casualties every day to the peaceful garrison of troops in a friendly country. That makes no sense.

    In fact, we are taking fewer casualties than what is called “peacetime” after WW II.

  177. Not true, there was mop-up for years after in Germany

    Bullshit.

  178. Yeah, I brought up A-hmad buddying-up to the Shia-controlled Iraqi government upthread but haven’t heard a response from Dave yet.

    Dave, one thing I care for is the interests of the United States and the American people, and toppling Iran’s mortal enemy didn’t help their interests.

  179. It’s ok, TallDave, nobody noticed you can’t defend the use of the term “surrender.”

    LMAO Tell it to the dictionary.

    surrender:relinquish to the power of another; yield to the control of another

    Every time I think you can’t embarass yourself further…

  180. In fact, we are taking fewer casualties than what is called “peacetime” after WW II.

    I think it’s wonderful that it’s safer to serve on aircraft carriers and do exercises now than it was in 1949, too. Uh, what exactly does this have to with whether it’s a good idea to keep a war going in Iraq?

  181. In fact, we are taking fewer casualties than what is called “peacetime” after WW II.

    Biggest load of bull I’ve ever read. If you make statements like that you better bring some citations, because it goes against every single book I’ve read about post-war Europe.

  182. Not true, there was mop-up for years after in Germany

    Bullshit.

    ROTLFMAO Your grasp of history is as keen as your grasp of the English language.

    Do you know how many casualties we took in Europe after V-E Day?

  183. BTW, it seems a war may break out in northern South America–our very backyard. Guess what? We really can’t do anything about it because we’re stuck in Iraq.

    Do you know how many casualties we took in Europe after V-E Day?

    How many casualties from hostile fire, Dave? And please cite.

  184. relinquish to the power of another; yield to the control of another

    Can’t have the Iraqis running their country, now. They might not know how as well as you, TallDave.

    Nice use of the fifth definition, chump.

    In military terminology – we’re talking about a warzone here, remember? – surrender means relinquishing to the power of the ENEMY. Turning over your positions to a friendly or neutral power is not “surrender.”

  185. Using Dave’s definition, the Russians “Surrendered” to the French in 1812.

  186. I think it’s wonderful that it’s safer to serve on aircraft carriers and do exercises now than it was in 1949, too. Uh, what exactly does this have to with whether it’s a good idea to keep a war going in Iraq?

    Uh, if we can turn Iraq into a relatively liberal democracy at the cost of casualties acceptable in peacetime, then, uh, that might, uh, be, uh, worthwhile.

  187. Yes, Dave, I do know how many casualties we took in Europe after VE day. And what’s more, I know how many were from hostilities.

    I guess you do, too. Why don’t you tell us?

  188. http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/resist/2007/09bbciraqipoll.pdf

    it is recent, it shows the trends, the splits by group, and steady decline of support for American efforts

    But of course, the opinion of Iraqis is not relevant when talking about our efforts to give them freedom

  189. BTW, give me casualties as a % of the force stationed in Germany, not raw numbers. Using pure numbers would make no sense since the force in Germany was much bigger than the force now in Iraq.

  190. Uh, um, as much as it makes me admire you for saying that thousands of combat deaths and tens of thousands of maimings are “acceptable,” I’ll point out that the cost of casualties acceptable in peacetime has changed quite a bit.

    You, obviously, are quite happy with throwing away military lives at the rate that was deemed “acceptable” in the immediate aftermath of the most destructive war in world history, but, um, um, um, most people aren’t.

  191. Can’t have the Iraqis running their country, now. They might not know how as well as you, TallDave.

    They ARE running the country you idiot. Their elected gov’t can tell us to leave at any time, just like Germany and Japan.

    Nice use of the fifth definition, chump.

    Nice inability to read a dictionary champ.

    In military terminology – we’re talking about a warzone here, remember? – surrender means relinquishing to the power of the ENEMY. Turning over your positions to a friendly or neutral power is not “surrender.”

    Are you really this dumb? When we stop contesting control of areas Al Qaeda is trying to take over, what do you think happens to them? WE RELINQUISH THEM. WE TURN OVER CONTROL. We surrender them.

  192. Are you really this dumb? When we stop contesting control of areas Al Qaeda is trying to take over, what do you think happens to them? WE RELINQUISH THEM. WE TURN OVER CONTROL. We surrender them.

    And the Russians in 1812 “Surrendered” territory to the French only to be the ultimate victors in 1815. Its called “strategy”. Look it up.

  193. it is recent, it shows the trends, the splits by group, and steady decline of support for American efforts.

    It’s not recent, it’s from six months ago. Things have changed quite a bit since then.

  194. Its called “strategy”. Look it up.

    Yes, good luck with your brilliant strategy of surrendering parts of Iraq to Al Qaeda.

    In fact, I think you should get on that Blogger Roundtable and explain it to our military. Surely they can benefit from your wisdom.

    http://www.defenselink.mil/Blogger/index.aspx

    Please Cesar. They need your brilliance!

  195. When we stop contesting control of areas Al Qaeda is trying to take over, what do you think happens to them?

    They will get slaughtered by the locals, just like before we invaded.

    Funny, it was just a little while ago you were talking about how much control the Iraqis had over their country. As if it’s some sort of accomplishment for a central government to exert control over the land around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

    I can think of exactly one period when there a risk of armed gangs taking over sections of territory there: 2003-present.

    And yet, the entirety of TallDave’s argument depends on the assumption that, uniquely in the history of human settlement, the government will be helpless to control it, and only the Americans can save them.

    How are those European combat death numbers coming?

    And, and TallDave, just repeating “You’re dumb, you’re dumb” when someone is picking you apart like this doesn’t actually make it look like any less of a beatdown.

  196. Anyway, it’s been fun. I’m going to bed.

  197. TallDave-

    We use the troops in Iraq to go after the real threat in Afgahnistan and Pakistan. You know, the people who really attacked us. I didn’t come up with that idea and its not a new one.

    No no, “not one step back” is a brilliant strategy Dave! Its worked so well for other nations!

  198. You, obviously, are quite happy with throwing away military lives at the rate that was deemed “acceptable” in the immediate aftermath of the most destructive war in world history, but, um, um, um, most people aren’t.

    In fact, we have had higher casualty rates as late as the 1980s. During peacetime.

  199. Hey, your wasting your brilliance here. You need to get those ideas to the military.

    http://www.defenselink.mil/Blogger/index.aspx

    I’m sure they will be impressed.

  200. They will get slaughtered by the locals, just like before we invaded.

    No, they will slaughter the locals, at least according to our people on the ground. (Saddam also slaughtered the locals, lest we forget.)

    Funny, it was just a little while ago you were talking about how much control the Iraqis had over their country.

    They take over more control every day. We are still in some of the tougher spots.

    I can think of exactly one period when there a risk of armed gangs taking over sections of territory there: 2003-present.

    You seem to have forgotten about the armed gang that ruled until 2003.

    And yet, the entirety of TallDave’s argument depends on the assumption that, uniquely in the history of human settlement, the government will be helpless to control it, and only the Americans can save them.

    Unique? Ha! I guess you’ve never heard of Pakistan.

    The Iraqi Army likely come out on top eventually, but it would be much bloodier and a lot of good people would die needlessly.

  201. What exactly do you think you’re accomplishing by posting the web address where you get your wanking material? Are we supposed to forget how poorly you fare in the battle of ideas because you read milblogs?

    In fact, we have had higher casualty rates as late as the 1980s. During peacetime Thrillsville. Again, so?

    But I’ll grant you this: giving up on that whole “stable, unified Iraq” thing and arming those anti-government insurgents and tribes that turned against the foreign jihadists – that is, putting the pipe dreams away and recognizing that the most important thing to do was to clean up the mess we made – was a smart move. Going after the terrorist plague that we unleashed on the Iraqi people is probably the only legitimate military objective we have over there.

    But, then, whether to keep troops in the area to hit al Qaeda as necessary isn’t really a controversial question. As opposed to occupying the country and turn it into a client state against the popular will of the Iraqis AND the Americans.

  202. at least according to our people on the ground. Well, if you limit yourself only to official sources, and are careful not to be skeptical about what comes out of them, I guess you could convince yourself that the majority of troops on the ground feel that way.

    But if you know anything about either history or Iraqi politics, it’s a bit of a stretch to think that is a likely scenario.

    You seem to have forgotten about the armed gang that ruled until 2003. That’s cute, but a dodge. Waving around SADDAM HUSSEIN WAS A BAD MAN like a big foam finger isn’t, as a matter of fact, and answer to the point that what you are predicting – that is, the White House line – is laughably unlikely. A central government controlled by Shia parties, and local powers who don’t like foreign intruders pushing them around, is going to allow al Qaeda to set up shop? No, TallDave, they’re not. They certainly weren’t allowed to do so under Saddam Hussein, or any of his predecessors, going back to the Babylonians.

    Pakistan, TallDave, is in Central Asia. It is not, as a matter of fact, in Iraq. We’re talking about Iraq. As for Pakistan (and Afghanistan), I think we have to keep a presence there, because there actually are places where al Qaeda could take over. Mixing up Pakistan and Iraq, thinking they operate the same way and the strategic situation in one can just be assumed for the other, suggests to me that you need to learn a great deal more about this subject.

    The Iraqi Army likely come out on top eventually, but it would be much bloodier and a lot of good people would die needlessly.

    1) a lot of good people are dying needlessly now

    2) the end of the American occupation would encourage the political progress that can create unity within Iraq (by marginalizing the extremists in each sect-faction), and thereby increase the capacity of the Iraqi military

    3) Nobody is talking about ending the fight against al Qaeda. Even the earliest and most vigorous advocates of withdrawal support keeping forces in the region to strike al Qaeda in conjunction with local forces.

  203. Now I’m really going to bed.

  204. TallDave reminds me of that South Park episode where they find the iceman from 1998.

    Also, I hate when joe is right.

  205. TallDave, we’re all still waiting on those numbers.

    I also find your Janus-like talk of “One on hand, we’re so goddamnded successful that the Iraqi government is just about good to go!” and then “but, on the other hand, we have to keep 20 Brigades of troops there just in case”.

    Give it a rest, man, you’re ignorant about a lot of stuff “on the ground”.

  206. I like how many conservative war supporterson this thread independently (meaning without reading upthread that others had done it) that “even Angelina Jolie say the surge is working.” Of course as Cesar pointed out it’ hilarious up front (who cares what she thinks?), but the interesting thing is how this must tbe coordinated conservative meme of the weekend. COnservative outlets like Fox, LImbaugh, NRO, let this out all together, harp on it, and the drones who get their new from such places now dutifully walk in like zombies and read their lines…This is how the con movement works these days…

  207. You noticed that too, MNG?

    and the drones who get their new from such places now dutifully walk in like zombies and read their lines…This is how the con movement works these days…

    John, our John, who we know and love, was on a thread talking about Barack Obama’s “relentlessly negative message” and celebrating the sunny optimism of John McCain – what? No, you read that correctly – literally within 2 hours of the WSJ editorial page running a piece making that same Bizarro-World argument.

    It’s like movement conservatives can no longer tell where they end and the movement begins.

  208. I’m going to have to call bullshit on this. If the government is offering services that individuals want (police, sewers, roads, fire dept., etc), and charging individuals prices that are less than the value of those services to those people, individuals will voluntarily choose to purchase those services.

    I would suggest that a government without taxation is not a government at all. Voluntary economic transactions can finance businesses and charities, but they will not be able to finance coercive institutions. Sure, you can get a few nutbag socialists to to contribute some bucks here and there, but not nearly enough to make a true government viable.

    Private market police forces and fire departments? Sure. Voluntaryism based national defense? Possible. A coercive monopoly in the legal initiation of force? No way in hell! It would be like the book Snowcrash. It might be called the “Federal Government”, but it’s just another defense firm competing for customers.

  209. “””Humans don’t need to eat meat, anyway, and I’m not aware of meat being a human right”””

    There is no right to eat veggies either. As a matter of fact show me where eating is a right.

    OTOH, I’m pretty sure that within the concepts of freedom and liberty, not everything has to originate from a written right.

  210. “”””even Angelina Jolie say the surge is working.””””

    The Rush O’Hanity motto, never believe anything a liberal says, unless they agree with you, then pretend they are valid.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.