Is There Anything the Surge Can't Do?

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Witness: John McCain's superior judgment on Iraq!

Colonel McFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history.

The surge began in early 2007. Here's what McFarland was saying about Anbar in September 2006:

With respect to the violence between the Sunnis and the al Qaeda—actually, I would disagree with the assessment that the al Qaeda have the upper hand. That was true earlier this year when some of the sheikhs began to step forward and some of the insurgent groups began to fight against al Qaeda. The insurgent groups, the nationalist groups, were pretty well beaten by al Qaeda.

Indeed, most reports credit the Anbar awakening with beginning in September '06. Foreign policy reporter Spencer Ackerman first noticed the slip-up (if we can generously call it that), but it hasn't gotten much skepticism from the broader media. I'm not sure why. It badly complicates McCain's already-weakened narrative about the war, that all was lost before he "had the courage" to push for a troop surge.

NEXT: Excuse Me While I Get My Gun

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  1. The surge made my grapefruit taste delicious this morning

  2. Obama should stick to his “the war was a bad” script, and let McCain hang himself with his “the surge delivered victory”. I bet there’s going to be a little “October Surprise” from the Iraq insurgency.

  3. I think another interesting tidbit of this story is the fact that CBS apparently edited the version of this interview that actually aired, clipping the part where McCain makes this mistake, and adding back in part of ANOTHER answer he gave, to make it look like he knew what he was talking about.

    We’re only aware of this particular gaffe because the transcript of the full interview was made available, and the discrepancy with what was actually aired became known.

  4. And, of course, we should be able to find a comment from Obama saying he opposed the surge because the situation was already improving? Of course the surge worked – if we put a troop in every house, of course it would work better.
    But, the question is, was it worth the extra blood and treasure if everything still falls apart soon after the U.S. pulls out?

  5. I call shenanigans on this. Up until like a month ago the Reason position on Iraq was that all was lost and the US had gotten its ass kicked and it was just a wait until next spring when a new and sane President admitted the truth and pulled out and let Iraq complete its fall into chaos, civil war and Iranian domination. How many “Iraq is irretrievably lost” stories and hit and run posts has Reason run in the last year? Like a hundred?

    Now that violence has fallen off to almost nothing and Al Quada is on its way out, we hear how everything was starting to turn around before the surge. Really? If it was why was Reason still preaching gloom and doom back then? Apparently, in September of 2006 things weren’t really that bad and were really starting to turn around. Come on Matt, how can you say that with a straight face? Maybe things were turning around in September 2006. I will defer to COL McFarland on that. He knows a lot more than I do. But you and no one at Reason, sand Michael Young, saw it that way then or any other time up until very recently.

  6. Not only had the surge not begun in the Summer of 2006, but the American military had written off Anbar as lost to the “Islamic State of Iraq” – a coalition of foreign jihadists and local Sunni sheiks. Our military’s stance changed from being the occupying/civil authority in the towns, to one of staying on bases and sallying forth to patrol and launch strikes in hostile territory controlled by the enemy.

    It was under this situation – the absence of an American occupation – that the locals turned against al Qaeda.

    This story is all kinds of bad for McCain. It undermines his claims to know more about Iraq than Obama. It makes him look like a confused old man. It refutes the notion that the Surge is responsible for the improved political situation. It undermines the argument that al Qaeda would be able to establish a safe haven in the Sunni areas, or “take over Iraq,” in the absense of an American occupation. And, most importantly, it gives Obama the opening he needs to take issue with the yarn McCain has been spinning about the success of the Surge, which will expand to other aspects of the story, such as the ethnic cleansing being completed under our noses last year.

  7. I was telling you that the locals would turn against al Qaeda as soon as we stopped the occupation four years ago, John, and I certainly remember seeing that position argued by Reason writers at the same time.

  8. “I was telling you that the locals would turn against al Qaeda as soon as we stopped the occupation four years ago, John, and I certainly remember seeing that position argued by Reason writers at the same time.”

    Joe, we never found out if that was true because in case you missed it the occupation hasn’t ended. Further, the Anbar awakening was them coming to us for help in beating them. If we had left, we wouldn’t have been there to help them. Further, even though the people had started to turn against Al Quada in September, without the surge of forces, we wouldn’t have been able to help them like we did. The surge was the right thing to do and it worked. Yes, it worked in no small part because things were starting to turn in September of 2006, but so what? The US push across France was successful in no small measure because the Germans were beginning to run out of people due to the pressure on the Eastern Front. That doesn’t mean the operation was “less of a success”. It just means that the operation took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself.

    It is funny to hear you argue about this Joe. If Democrats were smart they would be singing the praises of the surge and claiming victory in Iraq. If Iraq is all over but the shouting, what justification does McCain have to be President? Victory in Iraq takes the issue of war off the table and makes this a domestic and cultural election all of which cuts for Obama. It also lets the Democrats waive the flag and praise the military, which never hurts with voters. I just don’t get the Democrats on this. You just say “you were right about the surge, I am glad we won over there, now lets talk about gas prices and health care.”

  9. The strategic situation in Iraq is no better than it was in 2006.

    We still continue to experience ongoing costs. The fledgling Iraqi state still cannot stand on its own, according to your OWN candidate. We have not been able to redeploy, rest, and refit our troops so that they can be available in the event of other strategic threats. Our credibility internationally is still shot. We’ve still inflicted unacceptable costs on our allies under false pretenses. None of that has changed at all.

    Casualties are lower. That’s important, but since you can’t bring the dead back to life, it doesn’t change the fact that our total losses to date are higher than our gains justify.

    In order for Iraq to be a success, you would have to:

    1. Magically cut our dollar costs from the war to the point where our achievement there justified those costs.

    2. Magically bring the dead back to life and unwound the wounded to the point where our achievement there justified our losses.

    3. Magically make the Iraq state one that can survive our departure without reverting either to a dictatorship or to chaos.

    You can’t do those things, so you can never make the Iraq war a “win”.

    What you’ve managed to do, so far, is avoid the embarrassment of having choppers taking people off the roof of our Iraqi embassy. But the fact that you haven’t been embarrassed – yet – doesn’t make the Iraq war a “win”.

    “Yeah, but we held on and devoted even more resources than we had already wasted, and we managed a stalemate! Yay us! You antiwar people should admit that you were always wrong now!” Put the crack pipe down.

  10. The decrease in violence had little to do with the military surge. The decrease is more easily correlated to the fact that we put many of the Sunni and Shia “insurgent” leaders on the US payroll. We paid them to stop killing us and each other. Why this is ignored by the media is beyond me.

  11. …in case you missed it the occupation hasn’t ended

    The occupation of Anbar was ended for a while, before the sheiks invited us back in. You used to talk about this yourself.

    Further, the Anbar awakening was them coming to us for help in beating them. Which is exactly what I wrote; they turned against al Qaeda on their own, and asked us to help them fight al Qaeda.

    If we had left, we wouldn’t have been there to help them. True, which is why the slow withdrawal/end the occupation/leave forces in the area to fight al Qaeda as necessary withdrawal strategy advocated by people like Barack Obama throughout 2005-present makes more sense than the quick-and-total withdrawal strategy of people like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. Cleaning up the jihadist problem we caused was one area of agreement betweent the left and right.

    Further, even though the people had started to turn against Al Quada in September, without the surge of forces, we wouldn’t have been able to help them like we did. Unless we had removed troops from other areas in Iraq as part of the withdrawal, while leaving a force in the area for counter-terror operations – aka, the Murtha Plan.

    Yes, it worked in no small part because things were starting to turn in September of 2006, but so what? So, the assertion that al Qaeda would have taken over Iraq without our continued occupation of the country has been disproven. As that was, and continues to be, the major argument for continuing that occupation, I consider this important.

    It just means that the operation took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself. It was indeed an excellent job of taking advantage of an opportunity that presented itself. However, “the operation,” meaning the Baghdad Security Plan, had nothing to do with Anbar, was not helped by events in Anbar, and in fact, troops were diverted from the BSP to Anbar to take advantage of this opportunity.

    It is funny to hear you argue about this Joe. Why? I’ve been saying the same thing since before the 2004 election.

    If Democrats were smart… Concern troll is concerned.

    You just say “you were right about the surge, I am glad we won over there, now lets talk about gas prices and health care.” Except he wasn’t right about the Surge. Hell, he can’t even tell when it happened, or how it worked. He told us it would reduce the ethnic violence in Baghdad, allowing enough political reconciliation that the Iraqi government and the US military would then be able to secure places like Anbar, where Iraqi insurgents and foreign jihadists were going to create a safe haven for al Qaeda unless we and the Iraqi government beat them. In reality, exactly the opposite happened. The ethnic violence in Baghdad went on unabated to completion, throughout the height of the Surge, while the locals in Anbar invited us to help them with their efforts to get rid of al Qaeda, yet remain hostile to and outside of the Iraqi government.

    Pointing out that the dark imaginings of the hawks turned out to be false is surely a good move for Obama, but doing so certainly doesn’t require him to rewrite history like that.

  12. Billy Mays here, today let’s talk about SURGE. Got a mess in the Middle East? Just put a little SURGE on there and wow, no more mess! It works like magic. Islamofascists, tribal-infighting, religious vendettas, all don’t stand a chance to the power of SURGE. Don’t delay, call in the next ten minutes and we’ll even throw in the SURGE Xtender. Think one SURGE isn’t enough? Well with our SURGE Xtender you can SURGE for 3 years, 5 years, even 10 years! Get a SURGE today to clean up your nasty mess!

  13. Fluffy | July 23, 2008, 10:20am | #

    The strategic situation in Iraq is no better than it was in 2006.

    I gotta disagree. In 2006, foreign jihadists (“The Islamic State of Iraq,” “al Qaeda in Iraq,” “Monotheism and Jihad”) were all over the place, even in control of parts of the country. Today, they are not.

    As far as the goals of the war – the magical pony Iraqi state – the strategic situation is no better, but in the particular area of the al Qaeda threat, the situation is much better.

  14. OK, Mr. McCain, let me know how that “right on the war, but wrong on the surge” strategy goes for you.

  15. The decrease is more easily correlated to the fact that we put many of the Sunni and Shia “insurgent” leaders on the US payroll. We paid them to stop killing us and each other. Why this is ignored by the media is beyond me.

    Because noting this, or exploring the subtext of stories like the one last week where Al-Maliki has his people walking the streets of the major cities handing out envelopes full of $100 bills, might remind people a little too much of the corruption that helped undermine the Republic of South Viet Nam.

    We’re bribing Iraqis to be quiet, and we’re bribing Iraqis to support Al-Maliki in the next round of elections. Because as usual we’ve constructed a situation where if an opposition party wins, our entire portfolio there falls apart. And to avoid having the situation fall apart in the near term, we don’t mind creating a culture of corruption that will undermine their state in the long term. Because we actually kinda sorta want their state to be corrupted and undermined.

    But hey, I’d rather hand out money than have them shoot at our men. So that’s a tactical improvement, at least.

  16. “As far as the goals of the war – the magical pony Iraqi state – the strategic situation is no better, but in the particular area of the al Qaeda threat, the situation is much better.”

    Well Joe. I will give you credit. You will actually bow to reality when it hits you in the face. I just forget that you have that prime directive that says the “US can never get credit for anything unless a Democrat does it”. Ultimately we are arguing over semantics. I have always said that I just want to win in Iraq and don’t give a crap if Democrats pull a flip similiar to what they did at the end of the cold war and claim “we were with you all along” when it happens. I still feel that way. If it makes you feel better to think that this is all the result of the Iraqis and the Iraqis alone, fine. I will stop argueing with you. Further, if Obama wins in November, you can claim the whole thing was his idea.

  17. The surge and the oil drilling issue are helping McCain make a comeback in the state polls.

  18. The decrease is more easily correlated to the fact that we put many of the Sunni and Shia “insurgent” leaders on the US payroll. We paid them to stop killing us and each other. Why this is ignored by the media is beyond me.

    Because, my friends, if you don’t acknowledge that the sacrifice of our brave troops changed the situation in Iraq precisely as I always said, my friends, you might as well put on a Barbarella wig and spit on an old man in a VA ward.

  19. Concern troll is concerned.

    There’s an obvious reason to avoid focusing the dicussion on the surge and the post-surge period. Because doing so allows war supporters to start the process of rehabilitating their destroyed reputations.

    This GOP talking point isn’t just about helping McCain. It’s about papering over the past to help restore their shitty brand.

    Whether the surge worked or not, the bottom line is that if you send US troops abroad, and your gains from doing so are minimal or do not justify the lives lost or the funds expended, you’re a failure and a fool. And you’re still a failure and a fool even if two-third’s of the way through your foolish failure you switch tactics and manage to avoid an even greater catastrophe.

    The GOP wants the discussion to be about the surge so they can pretend that history began the day the surge began and the fuckuppery that happened before that doesn’t count, and doesn’t reflect on the judgment and capacities of the people who fucked up.

    And that little bit of deliberate forgetfulness can’t be allowed to succeed. The men who orchestrated this war and who propagandized for it are failures and they should not be given any respite from their disgrace.

  20. Hit me in the face? That’s an odd way to describe events I predicted coming to fruition.

    If it makes you feel better to think that this is all the result of the Iraqis and the Iraqis alone, fine.

    That’s not what I’m arguing. Using our forces to back up a local anti-jihadist effort made a big difference in Anbar.

    Just as it did in Afghanistan. And in the Phillipines. That’s a strategy that can work, and good for Patraeus and his aides for recognizing the opportunity and pushing hard enough to convince the Pentagon and White House to authorize a change in strategy to take advantage of it.

  21. McCain’s error goes beyond the timeline and gets at the whole “tactical” component of surge and how limited it is. The key sheik cooperating in Anbar, the one he says was protected, was in reality assassinated last September (2007, DURING the surge). So, Senator, who was the surge protecting again?

  22. John,

    If we were able to withdraw from Iraq tomorrow on terms acceptable to McCain and the GOP, and the Iraqi state managed to stand for a reasonable period of time on its own, would you look back the entire history of the war and its overall costs and say, “That was a very good idea and starting that war really helped the US”?

  23. “”That was a very good idea and starting that war really helped the US”?”

    Another commentator on here said the entire war was a “strategic master stroke”. I wish I were joking.

  24. If we were able to withdraw from Iraq tomorrow on terms acceptable to McCain and the GOP, and the Iraqi state managed to stand for a reasonable period of time on its own, would you look back the entire history of the war and its overall costs and say, “That was a very good idea and starting that war really helped the US”?

    That’s a good point.

    Lets say that from here on out, the best case scenario (or something close to it) ends up playing out in Iraq. What will we think of this whole war years later?

    I think, if that happens, the retrospective discussion of this war will be something like the retrospective discussion of the use of the A-bomb. Almost everyone will agree that the long term result is a good thing. But there will be no consensus on whether it was “worth it” or whether or not the ends justified the means, or whether any of the alternatives would have been less bad.

    So basically, I’m hoping that history elevates the Iraq war to the level of moral ambiguity.

  25. Does anyone seriously believe that Iraq would be in nearly as good a shape today if Barack had been in charge and we had pulled out completely 4 months ago? Anyone?

    Is it possible that the Anbar awakening may have started before the surge, but wouldn’t have succeeded without the surge? Do you really think the aggressive suppression of militants by US forces that enabled local security to get over the hump in Anwar counted for nothing?

  26. would you look back the entire history of the war and its overall costs and say, “That was a very good idea and starting that war really helped the US”?

    This was a preventive war, so its hard to estimate its benefits – the bad things that didn’t happen because we went in. So I think this question will always be a kind of Rorshach blot for people to project their preconceived notions onto.

  27. America was never in any danger from Iraq, this war was a war for Israel. We have over 4000 young people knocked off in the prime of their lives for the sake of Israel.

  28. “Does anyone seriously believe that Iraq would be in nearly as good a shape today if Barack had been in charge and we had pulled out completely 4 months ago? Anyone?”

    If Obama had been in charge, we wouldn’t have been involved in that war in the first place.

  29. Good analysis by Fluffy at 10:41.

  30. “As far as the goals of the war – the magical pony Iraqi state – the strategic situation is no better, but in the particular area of the al Qaeda threat, the situation is much better.”

    But al Qaeda would have not been in Iraq in the first place if it weren’t for the war that we started there.

  31. It badly complicates McCain’s already-weakened narrative about the war, that all was lost before he “had the courage” to push for a troop surge.

    No it doesn’t. The entire (very unpopular at the time) surge strategy was built around supporting and expanding nascent anti-extremist groups like the Anbar Awakening. Had we followed Obama’s plan, they would have been annihilated and AQ would have established a Sunni rump state from which they loudly proclaimed they had beaten the United States.

    But al Qaeda would have not been in Iraq in the first place if it weren’t for the war that we started there.

    Not only were Answar al-Islam and Zarqawi already there, along with the 1993 WTC bombing mastermind, Hussein had offered bin Laden asylum. They took advantage of the power vacuum when the regime fell, but the Wahhabi extremists had been in Sunni areas a long time, and were going to have to be dealt with sooner or later if Iraq was ever going to become a decent country.

  32. If Obama had been in charge, we wouldn’t have been involved in that war in the first place.

    And the sanctions would have collapsed long ago, and Saddam would be making nuclear weapons right along with Iran.

  33. America was never in any danger from Iraq, this war was a war for Israel. We have over 4000 young people knocked off in the prime of their lives for the sake of Israel.

    We were never in much danger from Germany or Japan either, but we went right ahead and started an unnecessary war with them by sending massive shipments of arms to their enemies. 500,000 Americans dead in the prime of their lives to save a few Jews in Europe and help the Soviet Union conquer E Europe. What were we thinking?

  34. “the Wahhabi extremists had been in Sunni areas a long time, and were going to have to be dealt with sooner or later if Iraq was ever going to become a decent country.”

    And how was that our business? Were they a threat to us or would they have ever been a threat to us? The only reason they are our enemies is because we’ve made them our enemies with our meddling foreign policy.

    “And the sanctions would have collapsed long ago, and Saddam would be making nuclear weapons right along with Iran.”

    Again, how is that our problem? Iran and Iraq would not attack Israel because they know Israel could retaliate in kind. It’s not our business to protect Israel anyway. We have over 4000 young people dead, tens of thousands injured permanently (physically and mentally), hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed, millions of Iraqis displaced from their homes, a weakened dollar that has driven up oil prices, which has driven up gasoline and diesel prices, which has driven up food prices and threatens to drive the world into a major recession. All for remaking the Middle East for the sake of Israel. Was it all worth it?

  35. And how was that our business? Were they a threat to us or would they have ever been a threat to us?

    Uh, 9/11 ring a bell? The Cole? The 1993 WTC bombing? The Nigerian embassy bombing?

  36. Iran and Iraq would not attack Israel because they know Israel could retaliate in kind.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that Saddam made good decisions, but the fact he ended up at the end of a noose tends to argue he didn’t.

    And yes, they could easily attack Israel. All they’d have to do is supply the nuke to a terrorist group and then deny they had anything to do with it. Then as the mushroom cloud disspates over Tel Aviv, they tell Europe “Hey, we have a couple dozen missiles targeting all your major cities, and if Israel attacks us because it mistakenly thinks we nuked them, Paris, Berlin and London become smoking holes, not to mention the fact we obliterate what’s left of Israel.” I’m guessing Israel ceases to exist a few hours later.

  37. “We were never in much danger from Germany or Japan either, but we went right ahead and started an unnecessary war with them by sending massive shipments of arms to their enemies. 500,000 Americans dead in the prime of their lives to save a few Jews in Europe and help the Soviet Union conquer E Europe. What were we thinking?”

    We shouldn’t have been involved in that war either.

    Regarding the fate of the Jews, there is a good argument that the war which Great Britain declared against Germany allowed for the Holocaust. The following is from the most recent “The American Conservative”:

    “Probably the most important reason that free discussion of World War II-the diplomatic blunders, the Allied atrocities, all the what ifs-has been frowned upon or suppressed is that some people perceive an implicit disregard for the unspeakable fate of Europe’s Jews. Yet it was the war itself that put Europe’s Jewish populations in danger in the first place, an obvious point that has been missed by all but a few writers.”
    “In February 1942, for example, Goebbels wrote in his diaries, “World Jewry will suffer a great catastrophe. ? The F?hrer realizes the full implications of the great opportunity offered by this war.” A month later, after describing the deportations from Poland’s ghettos, Goebbels observed, “Fortunately, a whole series of possibilities presents itself for us in wartime that would be denied us in peacetime. We shall have to profit by this.”
    “Because Britain issued the war guarantee to Poland and declared war on Germany,” writes Buchanan, “by June 1941 Hitler held hostage most of the Jews of Western Europe and the Balkans.” If he’s right, then with more sensible British diplomacy, the Jewish populations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, and Yugoslavia would have survived, just as the Jewish populations of Sweden, Switzerland, and the Iberian Peninsula did.”
    David Gordon, a (Jewish) scholar Buchanan thanks in his acknowledgments, has likewise wondered in light of all this: “Was it not a clear moral imperative to avoid the outbreak of war and, if possible, to secure the evacuation of the Jews from parts of Europe likely to fall under German control? Further, once war broke out, was it not imperative to end the war as soon as possible?” This, surely, is a morally serious position.”

  38. “Uh, 9/11 ring a bell? The Cole? The 1993 WTC bombing? The Nigerian embassy bombing?”

    All of that was due to our meddling foreign policy in the Middle East. None of those events would have happened otherwise. They would have had no reason to attack us unless you buy the Bushism that they’re jealous of our freedoms.

  39. “And yes, they could easily attack Israel. All they’d have to do is supply the nuke to a terrorist group and then deny they had anything to do with it.”

    From what I’ve read, nuclear arms have footprints. They could have easily have been tracked to their source. Anyway, why would Iran and Iraq pass off nukes to terrorists that could eventually be used against themselves?

    “Then as the mushroom cloud disspates over Tel Aviv, they tell Europe “Hey, we have a couple dozen missiles targeting all your major cities, and if Israel attacks us because it mistakenly thinks we nuked them, Paris, Berlin and London become smoking holes, not to mention the fact we obliterate what’s left of Israel.” I’m guessing Israel ceases to exist a few hours later.”

    Israel, the US, and NATO have enough nuclear arms to destroy Iraq and Iran several times over. Saddam would have been foolish to use nukes and so would the Mullahs. The main reason the Mullahs would want nukes if for defense. When a country has nukes, the US is more willing to negotiate as opposed to bombing. Look at North Korea. Did we go to war against North Korea after they got nukes?

  40. We were never in danger from Japan?

    Um…the Pacific Fleet would like a word with you, TallDave. And by “a word,” I mean “a pillow case filled with wrenches.”

  41. Wow, Jews and Buchanan.

    Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to lay to rest our friend, Thread, and to remember not how he died, but how he lived.

  42. Uh, 9/11 ring a bell? The Cole? The 1993 WTC bombing? The Nigerian embassy bombing?

    Iraq was not involved in any of those events.

  43. Does anyone seriously believe that Iraq would be in nearly as good a shape today if Barack had been in charge and we had pulled out completely 4 months ago? Anyone?

    Who cares?

    A better question is, Would the United States be in a better or worse strategic position if we had cut our losses on this Iraq nonsense in 2005?

  44. “Is it possible that the Anbar awakening may have started before the surge, but wouldn’t have succeeded without the surge? Do you really think the aggressive suppression of militants by US forces that enabled local security to get over the hump in Anwar counted for nothing?”

    The surge did not occur in Anbar province, it was confined to Baghdad.

  45. “A better question is, Would the United States be in a better or worse strategic position if we had cut our losses on this Iraq nonsense in 2005?”

    That is hard to answer. It is clear what Fulffy’s answer would be given how the question is asked.

    If the US had left Iraq in 2005 there never would have been an Iraqi election, so Iraq would today be a Shiite state with Iran pulling the strings. Iran’s weapons deliveries would be diverted to their surrogates who are currently attacking Israel, so Israel would surely have been injured.

    AQ would have declared victory over the infidels and would undoubtedly be stronger today as a result. AQ would still be operating in Iraq, albeit in the Sunni areas. Iraq would be a staging/training area for AQ and for Iran.

    That does not strike me a “strategic success”.

  46. “Probably the most important reason that free discussion of World War II-the diplomatic blunders, the Allied atrocities, all the what ifs-has been frowned upon or suppressed is that some people perceive an implicit disregard for the unspeakable fate of Europe’s Jews. Yet it was the war itself that put Europe’s Jewish populations in danger in the first place, an obvious point that has been missed by all but a few writers.”
    “In February 1942, for example, Goebbels wrote in his diaries, “World Jewry will suffer a great catastrophe. ? The F?hrer realizes the full implications of the great opportunity offered by this war.” A month later, after describing the deportations from Poland’s ghettos, Goebbels observed, “Fortunately, a whole series of possibilities presents itself for us in wartime that would be denied us in peacetime. We shall have to profit by this.”
    “Because Britain issued the war guarantee to Poland and declared war on Germany,” writes Buchanan, “by June 1941 Hitler held hostage most of the Jews of Western Europe and the Balkans.” If he’s right, then with more sensible British diplomacy, the Jewish populations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, and Yugoslavia would have survived, just as the Jewish populations of Sweden, Switzerland, and the Iberian Peninsula did.”
    David Gordon, a (Jewish) scholar Buchanan thanks in his acknowledgments, has likewise wondered in light of all this: “Was it not a clear moral imperative to avoid the outbreak of war and, if possible, to secure the evacuation of the Jews from parts of Europe likely to fall under German control? Further, once war broke out, was it not imperative to end the war as soon as possible?” This, surely, is a morally serious position.”

    Wow, that is almost as ballsy as simply claiming the holocaust never occurred in the first place, as Iran’s president is fond of declaring.

  47. The first person I heard arguing for something like a surge in Iraq was Howard Dean way back in August of 2003, whose point I recall was that if we were to succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan, we would need a much greater troop presence in both countries. Justin Raimondo and other anti-war folk attacked him for this, because until Gulf War II began he was against it:

    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2003/08/26/256/90801

    So, McCain was wrong about why we were supposed to go to war, Obama was wrong about the surge, and Dean was right about both.

    Eeeeeyaghhhh!

  48. Long live Dean!

    Actually, Gen Shallikashvilli (I have no idea how his name is spelled) said we need 300,000 troops to be successful in Iraq before Dean.

  49. wayne,

    If the US had left Iraq in 2005 there never would have been an Iraqi election That’s not true! Back in 04, the United States didn’t want to have elections, just some sort of “regional caucuses” of the people we invited. Sistani mobilized his supporters to take to the streets, and we gave in and supported elections.

    AQ would have declared victory over the infidels and would undoubtedly be stronger today as a result. AQ would still be operating in Iraq, albeit in the Sunni areas. That’s the line the war’s supporters have been pushing, but it was only the American occupation that led the locals in the Sunni areas to make common cause with the foreign jihadists in the first place. When the “Islamic State of Iraq” actually DID declare victory over us began running things in certain Sunni areas, their local partners quickly tired of them and rose up to kick them out. While we would not have been around to assist them in this effort, the Iraqi Shiites would have been. Remember, this was before the AQI atrocities against Shiites ripped open the sectarian divides. In fact, during 2004-2005, Sunni and Shiite insurgents worked together against us, such as when the Sunnis stages attacks intended to keep us from moving troops and material from north to south during the battle of Karbala, or when the Shiites did the same thing during the Falluja operations.

  50. Did Obama vote against going to war in Iraq, or was he not a Senator then, i.e. he did not vote at all?

  51. If the US had left Iraq in 2005 there never would have been an Iraqi election That’s not true! Back in 04, the United States didn’t want to have elections, just some sort of “regional caucuses” of the people we invited. Sistani mobilized his supporters to take to the streets, and we gave in and supported elections.

    Joe,

    Do you really believe there would have been honest and fair elections in Iraq in the aftermath of our withdrawal?

  52. “””If Democrats were smart they would be singing the praises of the surge and claiming victory in Iraq. “””

    You don’t need to praise the surge, just claim victory. That’s what Obama will probably do, claim victory and bring the troops home.

    How many of the surge troops went to Anbar
    anyway?

    “””Actually, Gen Shallikashvilli (I have no idea how his name is spelled) said we need 300,000 troops to be successful in Iraq before Dean.”””

    Yeah and he was shot down by people who said the war would last weeks, not months or years.

  53. I bet there’s going to be a little “October Surprise” from the Iraq insurgency.

    Warren, you sound almost hopeful for a renewed insurgency. This war opponent finds that disgusting.

  54. How many of the surge troops went to Anbar
    anyway?

    None. There was a “surge” in Baghdad only.

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