Iraq

Things Got Better in Iraq in 2008

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Good news from Iraq. Remember the war we're fighting over there? The one that was barely mentioned during the last part of the campaign? Well, here's one reason why: Fatalities are way, way down.

The number of civilians killed by violence in Iraq has fallen by two-thirds in 2008, researchers say.

Official Iraqi figures say 5,714 people were killed in 2008 compared to 16,252 the previous year.

The non-governmental organisation Iraq Body Count also said the number of deaths was down by two-thirds, but put the figure between 8,315 and 9,028.

US military casualties fell from 900 in 2007 to just over 300 according to the independent website icasualties.org.

Via The Weekly Standard

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  1. That’s good, but if anybody claims this justifies the initial invasion, I’ll punch them in the face.

  2. Now that we will have a Democrat in the White House in 2009 it is OK to report this.

  3. Seriously, though, what’s with the “Is your man gay” ads?

  4. Casualty rates started falling in the fall of 2007, so this actually understates the decline. Civilian fatalaties are down over 90% from the peak in 2006.
    US troop casualties are at the lowest level since … before the war.

    http://icasualties.org/oif/

  5. Well, here’s one reason why: Fatalities are way, way down.

    That’s certainly a charitable way to put it. More broadly, I think, when it became apparent that we actually were closing the deal in Iraq, it stopped being useful to the Grand Project of electing Obama.

  6. This was a media conspiracy all along, they kept silent to help Obama. George Soros ordered them to.

  7. Casualty rates started falling in the fall of 2007…

    when the last mixed neighborhoods in Baghdad were cleansed.

  8. Conspiracy implies it was organized. I do not think it was organized but I agree that most reporters in the alphabet media kept a lid on this in order to help Obama.

  9. “when the last mixed neighborhoods in Baghdad were cleansed.”

    One of the biggest mistakes European nations made when they left areas that they once colonized was that they did not draw these new nations along ethnic and/or tribal lines. This has lead to many atrocities in both the Middle East and Africa.

  10. Nobody kept a lid on it. It’s been known to anyone who has been paying attention the past year.

  11. Violence can be up, it can be down, it’s still a complete shithole.

  12. The war got little airtime because the American people didn’t give a shit about it while gas was four bucks a gallon and they were worried about getting foreclosed. A few hundred dead Americans and a few thousand dead Iraqis just doesn’t rise to the level where anyone cares any more.

  13. Mission Accomplished!

  14. LUG – great handle.

  15. “LUG – great handle.”

    Thanks! 🙂

  16. 5,714 too many.

  17. Wow!

    I guess it really was worth it all along.

    Now that Iran is galvanizing it’s influence over it’s once great enemy everything is going to be fine.

    In other news, New Orleans is much drier than it was in 2005.

  18. I guess that hopefully means we won’t leave a complete clusterfuck behind us when we exit stage right.

  19. We’ve wrecked a country, precipitated a civil war, tied up our military, caused the death of untold numbers of people including thousands of our own military, ruined the honor and name of America by restoring torture at Abu Ghraib (and created it in other places), strengthened Shi’ite fundamentalists, created a huge, live-fire training center for terrorists with real American troops to train against, and failed to secure any claimed WMDs.

    But hey, casualties are down, lately! The whiny Reds and pinkos who are up in arms that Obama might be remotely as socialist as Bush can be smug and triumphant from the sidelines on that one little detail.

    Heckova job, Mangu.

  20. “I guess that hopefully means we won’t leave a complete clusterfuck behind us when we exit stage right.”

    I think we will exit stage right just as rapidly as we left Germany after WW2.

  21. 1/2 a bee:

    don’t forget about everybody hier who conveniently forgets about all that and spouts, “old boss = new boss” bullshit!!

  22. Mission Accomplished!

    Yup. Success means it will be an excuse to do it again.

    I hate the fact that if things turn out better than expected for the Iraqis, which is a good thing, it will be used by the usual suspects as proof that this type of thing is worth it.

  23. I hear the number of great plains buffalo killed were in a definite decline…

    in the years after they were massacred.

  24. Heckova job, Mangu.

    I doubt that reporting on the good news from Iraq necessarily means that she presently supports the continued occupation.

    And, do we really have to handwring about Iraq every time a piece of news comes from that place? What’s done is done; can we please move on?

  25. don’t forget about everybody hier who conveniently forgets about all that and spouts, “old boss = new boss” bullshit!!

    And don’t even get me started on the people who take every criticism of (or worry about) the Obamassiah as Red apologism. Put a Blue wrapper on a president-elect, and suddenly he gets a bailout-sized benefit of the doubt no matter who he selects for his administration or what those people say.

  26. Official Iraqi figures say 5,714 people were killed in 2008 compared to 16,252 the previous year.

    1) If terrorist bombings killed 5,714 Americans in a year, we would do something truly insane. So don’t you fucking dare lecture the Iraqis about how great things are, Katherine. Our country went apeshit after 9/11 killed 3,000 and did horrible things, horrible things that continue to this day.

    So the Iraqis are suffering approximately 2 9/11 attacks per year (according to the official estimate, probably more in reality) and you sit there and tell them that their country is improving? You sit there and tell them that there’s good news?

    The Iraqis live in a chaos that would cause Americans to surrender their last freedoms, and you have the audacity to talk about good news?

    OK, everybody, get the shot glasses out, because you’re about to need to take a drink:

    Why the fuck does Reason allow pro-war writers on its staff? What the fuck is wrong with this magazine?

    2) Like joe said, a lot of the violence is down because the neighborhoods have been ethnically cleansed. I’m not about to drink champagne over that.

  27. You’ve got to give credit to the Weekly Standard on this. After all those columns assuring us that Saddam had the weapons they claimed he had, that we’d be greeted as liberators, that looting was a good sign, and on and on, they’ve finally been vindicated. Kind of. But not really.

  28. Why the fuck does Reason allow pro-war writers on its staff?

    I could theoretically understand pro-war writers, Thoreau. People getting paid to make blog posts when H&R could just occasionally link to vapid chest-beating from Instapundit or some other talking-points outlet with a “libertarian” pretense is what escapes me.

  29. Hazel Meade | December 29, 2008, 3:01pm | #

    Nobody kept a lid on it.

    Yeah, seriously. There were questions asked about the declining deaths in Iraq during the presidential debates. There were stories all over the media about how “the surge worked,” and both civilian and military casualties were down to their lowest levels of the war.

  30. icasualties.org

    How eerie.

  31. Yeah, seriously. There were questions asked about the declining deaths in Iraq during the presidential debates. There were stories all over the media about how “the surge worked,” and both civilian and military casualties were down to their lowest levels of the war.

    You forget, joe, that the emm-ess-emm is a international leftist conspiracy, and thus nothing remotely, faintly positive about the administration ever gets mentioned. Only on rare, historic occasions (once or twice per news cycle) does the wall crack and some tearful admission of the administration’s holy infallibility slip through, requiring Reds and pinkos to seize upon it for validation.

  32. The idea that people in the media hushed this up to help promote Obama is just silly. For one thing, there have been plenty of stories in the news about the successes of the surge and recent improvements in the situation over there. Also, lots of people getting killed is more exciting than fewer people getting killed and will sell more advertising. A headline saying “No one killed today” is not going to sell a lot of papers, even if it is good news that people should be glad to hear. Media bias is a lot more complicated than people generally want to make it out to be.

  33. So don’t you fucking dare lecture the Iraqis about how great things are, Katherine.

    I didn’t hear a lecture nor anything close directed at the Iraqi people in general, nor anyone of them specifically.

  34. The Iraqis live in a chaos that would cause Americans to surrender their last freedoms, and you have the audacity to talk about good news?

    So, is it not good news? Or are we never supposed to state anything that remotely sounds like good news, because this particular issue makes you go off of the deep end?

    So the Iraqis are suffering approximately 2 9/11 attacks per year

    Don’t you hate it when people invoke 9/11 to pimp their particular political point of view? Having an average of five people killed per day (which is a very bad thing) and having 3,000 people killed in a matter of hours are not the same thing. Additionally, the civilian deaths in 9/11 can laid at the feet of one group; not so with the Iraqi civilian deaths.

  35. Jesus, people. Did you all get pins stuck in your heads recently?

    I’m as anti-Iraq war as anyone, but a drop in the number of fatalities does, indeed, seem like good news. Nothing but a drop to zero is acceptable, in my opinion. Nevertheless, why the hell can’t we consider a drop in fatalities as good news?

  36. OH. I see TAO missed the pin insertion.
    Capital, TAO.

  37. Thoreau,

    If there were 18,000 people killed last year, and 6,000 this year, then it WAS an improvement. Count, man, count!

  38. You forget, joe, that the emm-ess-emm is a international leftist conspiracy, and thus nothing remotely, faintly positive about the administration ever gets mentioned. Only on rare, historic occasions (once or twice per news cycle) does the wall crack and some tearful admission of the administration’s holy infallibility slip through, requiring Reds and pinkos to seize upon it for validation.

    You’re arguing against people that aren’t here.

  39. I don’t know, TAO. There are plenty of ways to report the story that causualties are down in Iraq without linking to the Weekly Standard bragging about how right they were.

  40. Citizen Nothing:

    Because the post is not “Thank God, casualties in Iraq have gone down.” The post is, “Hey, did you notice that we’re winning in Iraq and yet Team Blue and the emm-ess-emm are hiding that fact?”

    Mangu-Ward’s always been blatantly a big-business-cheering conservative instead of a libertarian, but some things are just over the line.

  41. Nigel,

    Not here?

    Mainstream Media | December 29, 2008, 2:44pm | #

    Now that we will have a Democrat in the White House in 2009 it is OK to report this.

    R C Dean | December 29, 2008, 2:50pm | #

    Well, here’s one reason why: Fatalities are way, way down.

    That’s certainly a charitable way to put it. More broadly, I think, when it became apparent that we actually were closing the deal in Iraq, it stopped being useful to the Grand Project of electing Obama.

    MSM conspiracy theorists. Here!

  42. You’re arguing against people that aren’t here.

    Sure, I am. They don’t really exist, and they don’t comment on this blog frequently. Newp.

    (Admittedly, Mangu-Ward never follows up her posts in the comments, so one less such person is “here”, I suppose.)

  43. joe: Oh, damn. I’ve gotten too good at skipping those.

  44. I missed that in the reading of the post, 1/2b. I guess we can all find what we want to find, or miss what we want to miss.

  45. There are plenty of ways to report the story that causualties are down in Iraq without linking to the Weekly Standard bragging about how right they were.

    Well, OK, but the WS post is just a snapshot from a BBC link. I promise there is absolutely no commentary at the link to WS.

    The post is, “Hey, did you notice that we’re winning in Iraq and yet Team Blue and the emm-ess-emm are hiding that fact?”

    It is? I must have missed all of that in this post.

  46. GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HEAD, TAO!

  47. Can’t do it, man…it’s a Columbus thang.

  48. joe:

    Well, RC Dean’s comment could be read as the campaign not talking about it, but that’s a silly claim anyway – people weren’t voting on the war, according to polls up to and including the exit polls.

  49. joe: Oh, damn. I’ve gotten too good at skipping those.

    Soooooooooooooo jealous.

  50. The casualty count is nowhere near as important as the political progress that is being made. But I don’t recall any reason posts about that. Only posts that remind the peace-at-all-costs crowd that people are dying, at a lesser rate, but still dying. Was nobody dying when Saddam was in charge? Was the population freer under Saddam? that is the kind of question I’d like to see addressed here, but I’m not holding my breath.

  51. I guess we can all find what we want to find, or miss what we want to miss.

    Good news from Iraq. Remember the war we’re fighting over there? The one that was barely mentioned during the last part of the campaign? Well, here’s one reason why: Fatalities are way, way down.

    Mmm, I guess it is an eternal mystery how anyone could take such a dry notation of fact, totally free of blatant falsehoods or implications of motive, and read any viewpoint behind it.

  52. The casualty count is nowhere near as important as the political progress that is being made.

    Which is why we’ll see Reds and pinkos harping on the lowered casualty count for the rest of the news cycle.

  53. If we’re winning in Iraq what exactly is the prize?

    Certainly not the old fantasy of a secure and stable Iraq, allied in the war on terror, etc. of the official strategery and if not that, then what.

    In other words, tell me in what way(s) has the invasion of Iraq contributed to the security of the USA and I will compare that to the cost and draw my own conclusions.

    I’ll admit that it is nice that Iraqis have to worry less about getting blown up, shot, etc.

  54. You are obviously a much better semiotician than I, 1/b.

  55. I’m afraid that I just suck at doublethink, Nothing.

  56. Well, at least you admit your own shortcomings, 1/2b. That’s doubleplusgood.

  57. MSM conspiracy theorists. Here!

    I believe that:

    (1)the coastal media suffers from groupthink,

    (2)this groupthink means that they filter out information that doesn’t fit their (loosely) shared templates and agendas, and

    (3)the coastal media’s overriding shared template and agenda this past year was getting Obama into the White House,

    So that, while there’s no denying that there was some reporting on Iraq, it was less than it would have been if events in Iraq had fit the groupthink/template/agenda, and even less because in many ways it introduced an element of cognitive dissonance into the groupthink/template/agenda.

    If you think that all adds up to some kind of conspiracy theory, then I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.

  58. Tell us what we reasonably stand to win, Mr. Dean, and then I’ll worry about what people print in the newspapers.

    The first – our strategic goals in Iraq and whether we can achieve them – is very important, the second – generally misinformed and incomplete – less so.

    I’ll admit that this is academic as the Iraqis are basically kicking us out NLT 31DEC11.

  59. I love how no one imagines that Arabs have strategic minds. Could it be that they have an IQ over 70 and gather they should wait until Bush is out of office?

  60. Fatalities are way, way down

    That’s one way of looking at it. And it’s a good thing, in that there is light at the end of that particular tunnel. We can finally think about leaving, or at least retreating to a safe base, a la Germany / Japan / Italy / South Korea / the Balkans…

    What have we learned? Nothing, probably. Obama seems intent upon increasing our presence in Afghanistan. It was one of his campaign “promises.” Leave Iraq, fortify Afghanistan. This is a good thing? No. The “Stans” are poison. Let them kill each other, and hope one of their nukes doesn’t get out. That’s the best we can hope for, or at least until I’m safely in my grave. After that it’s your problem. Good luck with that.

  61. WTF is “the coastal media?”

    A mind that imagines such a thing exists and can be described is one inherently given to conspiracies.

  62. Mick,

    Good point. It is interesting how different parties in Iraq changed their behavior once it became clear that the US was moving towards withdrawal.

    We should have been using the promise and reality of our departure as a tool for the past four years – but that would have required a leadership that actually intended to leave.

    .,

    Obama seems intent upon increasing our presence in Afghanistan. Obama seems intent on a short-term surge into Afghanistan, but that’s not the important question. The question, like the question facing us in Iraq in 2006, is not about short-term tactical actions, but long-term strategy. The overriding question, of course, being whether we intend to stay there, or leave.

  63. Leave? Even W said we’d leave, eventually.

  64. WTF is “the coastal media?”

    joe is so cute when he plays dumb.

    Its the rather small and incestuous group of people who work for media companies headquartered mostly on the coasts and/or targetting urban dwellers living mostly on the coasts.

    I think the terms “main-stream media” and “elite media” are a little too value-laden and even congratulatory, myself, so I go for a somewhat more neutral descriptor.

  65. We never really leave, do we.

  66. (1)the coastal media suffers from groupthink,

    (2)this groupthink means that they filter out information that doesn’t fit their (loosely) shared templates and agendas, and

    (3)the coastal media’s overriding shared template and agenda this past year was getting Obama into the White House

    Groupthink is real (witness all the usual suspects seizing on Iraqis dying at less than peak rate as some sort of vindication for the war), but “loosely” shared agendas don’t translate into goals that override all else.

    In reality, when people, especially of competing companies, have genuinely “(loosely) shared templates and agendas”, you get no coordinated behavior like this. You get libertarians. Or bona fide socialists. Or the Judean Peoples’ Front and the Peoples’ Judean Front.

    The sort of behavior people like you suggest is fundamentally conspiratorial, regardless of how you dress it up with weasel phrases like the “coastal media” or “some reporting”.

  67. The question, like the question facing us in Iraq in 2006, is not about short-term tactical actions, but long-term strategy.

    Tactics determine what success you will have, and thus what strategic options you will have, just as strategic goals tend to guide the tactics you are willing to employ.

    The surge, for example, was a “tactic” that is perfectly consistent with either leaving next year, or staying for 50 years. Without the surge, in fact, it is unlikely that we would have any real strategic options at all.

    The overriding question, of course, being whether we intend to stay there, or leave.

    See, I would have said the overriding question is whether we intend to defeat our enemies, or leave them in possession of the field. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, I suppose.

  68. Its the rather small and incestuous group of people who work for media companies headquartered mostly on the coasts and/or targetting urban dwellers living mostly on the coasts.

    What everyone else calls “all news media other than Fox News and Red blogs”.

  69. The sort of behavior people like you suggest is fundamentally conspiratorial,

    I disagree. A conspiracy requires consciously coordinated action toward an agreed goal. Groupthink often looks like a conspiracy from the outside, but its not.

    In reality, when people, especially of competing companies, have genuinely “(loosely) shared templates and agendas”, you get no coordinated behavior like this.

    I disagree – I don’t think anyone can argue that the media personalities and companies who still hold the commanding heights displayed a remarkably uniform and supportive approach to the Obama ascendancy, but I think that approach is adequately explained by groupthink and a broadly shared desire to have him win the election. No conscious coordination or overt agreement on goals required.

  70. The dreaded emm-ess-emm can all but fellate General Petraeus, and it can repeat the administration’s every statement about the results of the surge, but people of a certain political leaning will act as if every story on the subject was filed in a locked room in a basement with a sign reading “BEWARE OF LEOPARD.”

  71. I disagree – I don’t think anyone can argue that the media personalities and companies who still hold the commanding heights displayed a remarkably uniform and supportive approach to the Obama ascendancy

    Goalposts are heavy; please remember to lift with your legs, not your back.

  72. Even W said we’d leave, eventually.

    W tried to construct permanent bases. W and his administration were talking about relocating our force-projection military – tens of thousands strong – from Saudi Arabia to Iraq before this war even began, as a reason to fight it.

  73. See, I would have said the overriding question is whether we intend to defeat our enemies, or leave them in possession of the field. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, I suppose.

    And here I was thinking, with the whole back-handed sure, there was some reporting tack, that Red rhetoric had evolved just a tad since 2002.

  74. Its the rather small and incestuous group of people who work for media companies headquartered mostly on the coasts and/or targetting urban dwellers living mostly on the coasts.

    So, then, not the Georgia-headquartered CNN. Oh, wait, you had to put in the word “mainly”…which makes your entire statement meaningless.

    This just in – large corporations are headquartered in major metropolitan areas.

  75. (3)the coastal media’s overriding shared template and agenda this past year was getting Obama into the White House So I’m right about CNN not being part of this “coastal media” agglomeration, since they were the ones who broke the Reverend Wright mashup.

    The surge, for example, was a “tactic” that is perfectly consistent with either leaving next year, or staying for 50 years. Which was my point – that tactical decisions about short-term actions are not determinative.

    See, I would have said the overriding question is whether we intend to defeat our enemies, or leave them in possession of the field. See, whether or not your enemies are defeated is not a decision you get to make, nor a strategy. It’s a hope, it can even be a goal. It’s not a strategy.

  76. I don’t think anyone can argue that the media personalities and companies who still hold the commanding heights displayed a remarkably uniform and supportive approach to the Obama ascendancy.

    …as demonstrated by all of the airtime given to people trying to spin his non-involvement with Blagojevich into a scandal, I suppose.

  77. …as demonstrated by all of the airtime given to people trying to spin his non-involvement with Blagojevich into a scandal, I suppose.

    That’s just, er, cover for their, um, loose groupthink.

  78. the Obama ascendancy

    I just keep going back to this phrase for some reason. It’s like a half-assed attempt to do “selected, not elected”-style dismissal of the Blue president-elect, while being unable to hide the fact that Team Red made itself unpopular with the electorate. Or that this happened while Reds kept telling themseves that they were the “real America”, the serious thinkers, and the permanent majority.

  79. If you’re gong to make up words, you shouldn’t get pissy when other people don’t know what you mean.

  80. Its the rather small and incestuous group of people who work for media companies headquartered mostly on the coasts and/or targetting urban dwellers living mostly on the coasts.

    All of the news networks and cable news shows target the entire population of the country. They’re “catch-all” media. So, not NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, or any of their affiliates.

    On the other hand, your description fits the Miami Herald quite well.

  81. Cool! Can we leave yet?

  82. “…people of a certain political leaning will act as if every story on the subject was filed in a locked room in a basement with a sign reading “BEWARE OF LEOPARD.””

    and the lights had gone. and the stairs.

  83. I’m shocked Dondero isn’t here

  84. So, I guess this means we’ve found the elusive WMDs?

    And that Iraq has become such a thriving democracy that it serves as an inspiration to other Arab countries to become constitutional republics whose leaders are elected by free elections in which all parties are allowed to participate?

    Oh, and I suppose we’ve achieved *An End to Evil,* too, like David Frum promised.

    And where is Michael LeDeen’s League of Democracies – that hybrid of Woodrow Wilson and DC Comics?

  85. So, then, not the Georgia-headquartered CNN.

    They’re in the pile, too, joe. Note the reference to “targetting.”

    All of the news networks and cable news shows target the entire population of the country.

    Not really. Sure, they broadcast everywhere, but they target the coasts.

  86. thoreau – Wow. That was some serious bile you were spewing there… You hardly even sound like the same guy these days. Here’s something to think about once you’ve stopped hyperventilating at Ms. Mangu-Ward…

    When you say “If terrorist bombings killed 5,714 Americans in a year, we would do something truly insane” I can only nod my head and agree. But the Iraqis don’t have that option, so what are they going to do? Nothing. Frankly, I much prefer that the U.S. have that option, because if Iraq had the strength of a U.S.-level military behind them, the entire world would be a shit-hole. (Ask the Kurds how letting Iraq have the majority of the might in the region worked out, much less a U.S.-level military force…)

    The U.S. has frankly shown surprising restraint, considering the historical precedent set by governments who believe their nation is under attack from outside aggressors.

    When you say “Our country went apeshit after 9/11 killed 3,000 and did horrible things, horrible things that continue to this day” my response is simple: Yes. Our country went apeshit. And rightly so. Horrible things have been done and will continue to be done. And rightly so. It’s sad that this is so, but so is the fact that everyone eventually dies. There’s been no getting around it since 9/11 anymore than you can find a work-around for basic human behavior that when people see themselves as competing in a zero-sum situation. Because there is no “win-win” possible, people behave according to self-interest. While it’s never a good thing when people suffer, in a zero-sum situation it’s sadly better to allow other people to suffer than for you and yours to suffer. (This is why one doesn’t give everything one owns to the first homeless person encountered, creating a situation where one’s family starves. It’s also why, if one’s family was starving, one would likely rob others to feed them.)

    “So the Iraqis are suffering approximately 2 9/11 attacks per year (according to the official estimate, probably more in reality) and you sit there and tell them that their country is improving? You sit there and tell them that there’s good news?”

    Well, it’s better news than before, so… OK, it’s duly noted that things aren’t as bad as before. But as you point out, “I’m not about to drink champagne over that.”

    The reality is that any nation caught in the cross-hairs after 9/11 was going to get hammered. It’s a remarkably rational set of actions based on self-interest by the U.S. and acting in rational self-interest is not something the U.S. does very often (and usually only after something it perceives as really bad happens).

    But what exactly did anyone expect? That the U.S. gov’t would simply say “Afghanistan is enough at this point, we’ll let what both sides of the aisle agrees is the #2 threat slide for now?”

    “The Iraqis live in a chaos that would cause Americans to surrender their last freedoms, and you have the audacity to talk about good news?”

    That has yet to be tested, but historically speaking, the pendulum tends to swing out during times of crisis to curtail freedom and then swings back when the crisis passes. To claim that there’s anything that “would cause Americans to surrender their last freedoms” is the kind of unwarranted and unsupportable hyperbole that I expect to seem from some quarters but not from a rational guy like you. Compared to previous periods of U.S. history, the PATRIOT Act is small beer, and yet those previous periods saw subsequent periods of greater freedom when the crisis passed.

    Once again, I think it bears pointing out that nobody wants to go to war, ever, outside of a small minority of sadists and sociopaths. It’s not a decision that should ever be made lightly and it should always include the sad knowledge that human behavior in war means that there are inevitably unjust and outright evil behaviors, including murders, torture, rape and all manner of other hideous atrocities. Even those who have lived their lives in service to their nation and who have otherwise served honorably in the profession of arms are susceptible to the temptation toward these behaviors in war-time.

    But despite the best intentions and the attempt to create a body like the U.N. to arbitrate competing national interests among the countries of the world, the final arbiter – and only real currency – in foreign relations is military force. Which is why the only way a nation can guarantee it won’t be invaded by a more conventionally powerful nation is to have nuclear weapons and the willingness to detonate those weapons nukes on its own soil to prevent invasion.

    The world is hard and scary place, and even the best of us find ourselves having to do things we don’t approve of. I’d say that among nations, the U.S. does represent “the best of us,” but that doesn’t mean the best is good enough to completely abrogate normal human tendencies of self-interest, self-preservation, and a willingness to throw another nation’s population under the bus when threatened. The U.S. didn’t go nuclear on 9/12, though, and that’s a lot more than could probably have been said of most.

  87. I have to admire Team Red for one thing – while at the same time they were running the government of the US, ramming through their programs over the lame protests of the Blues (when they didn’t have Congress as well), and generally getting their way unimpeded, they convinced their supporters that they were the underdogs strugglin’ against the Man in the form of “political correctness”, “the elites”, “the coastal media”, or whatever it will be next week.

  88. Eric – Yeah, maybe style points are in order for dressing up the agenda as Marlon Brando in “The Wild One,” but the agenda still looked a lot more like a bunch of businessmen who use their influence to obtain lenient treatment from law enforcement, beat up Brando, and cause a wreck that the real Brando gets blamed for.

    In other words, “A+” for style, “F-” for results.

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