Joe Biden

Biden on Afghanistan: Will Get Worse Before It Gets Really Worse

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Via USA Today comes this summary of Vice President Joe Biden's appearance on yesterday's Face the Nation:

"The bottom line here is, we've inherited a real mess," he said. "We're about to go in and try to essentially reclaim territory that's been effectively lost….There are going to be some additional military forces. There are going to be additional efforts to train their police and to train their Afghan army. And all of that means we're going to be engaging the enemy more now." Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer asked if there will be more U.S. casualties. "I hate so say it, but yes, I think there will be," Biden answered. "There will be an up-tick."

More here.

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  1. Isn’t Afghanistan where the real civil war is? I suspect the Taliban will bide their time. They know we’ll tire of the conflict eventually, then they’ll regain control as if nothing had happened. A military cannot defeat that virulent philosophy. It seems to be inherent in the population. Too bad for the women, though.

  2. And yet, the White House still feels it can spare soldiers for opium eradication.

  3. Other than tracking down, and ending the life (whether thru judicial or other means) of Usama bin Laden, what reason do we have to be involved in Afghanistan?

    The US is doing the heavy lifting right now in the nation building enterprise that the French and the Germans make a lot of big talk about.

    Other than the Canadians who are taking casualties in numbers quite disproportionate to their population and military size, our NATO “allies” seem to be taking the “that’s some other guys job” approach.

  4. “The bottom line here is, we’ve inherited a real mess,”

    I love it when these guys “suddenly” find out about stuff they have been actively participating in for years.

  5. This sucks, but for now, there’s probably no other choice than to stalibize the military situation.

    The real question is what the long-term plan is. We retake the territory, we knock down the Taliban for a little while, we train those solidiers and police and…then what?

  6. Is this the uptick I need to be allowed to sell short?

  7. Joe Biden is right, although I’m confident it is purely by chance. Getting rid of the Taliban is only going to be possible when the population outside of Kabul start to hate those people and do something about it. That means better roads, and some economic activity to give people something to look forward to. Hint: pomegranates ain’t going to cut it. Opium grows there – lets get our USDA approved morphine stock from them instead of from Turkey.

  8. I see Obama & Biden have developed a good cop, bad cop routine. Biden will pick up all the junk, so Obama can stay “presidential.”

  9. H&R comments have convinced me: in order to do my patriotic duty and help the American war effort in Afghanistan, I have to start a heroin habit. It’s my own personal stimulus plan for the poor Afghani farmer.

  10. We’ll encourage them to grow sugar beets. We’ll give them a trillion dollars in aid for ethanol production, with the proviso that they must hire Halliburton to build the facilities, and ADM to manage the program. And buy all their farm equipment from Deere. Everybody wins.

    Well, almost everybody.

  11. “The bottom line here is, we’ve inherited a real mess,”

    I love it when these guys “suddenly” find out about stuff they have been actively participating in for years.

    I agree…considering Biden has been in the Senate since way before we started arming the Afghans

  12. Who said anything about “suddendly” finding anything about?

    Obama and Biden were talking about how screwed up things were in the Afghan War for years.

  13. Surge II: Return of the Bullshit

  14. Last week Obama suddenly discovered we don’t really need to catch Osama bin Laden, after years of rhetoric to the contrary.

    Oh, and we’re going to torture high-value suspects, also contrary to years of rhetoric.

    But hey, we’re going to close Gitmo! And that will help things by, um…

  15. Last week Obama suddenly discovered we don’t really need to catch Osama bin Laden, after years of rhetoric to the contrary.

    Oh, and we’re going to torture high-value suspects, also contrary to years of rhetoric.

    Neither of these statements are true. Who would write such…oh. I get it.

  16. Yo, he’s probably right on this, but fuck Joe Biden anyway. Just on general principle.

  17. So Afghanistan is the Dems new war of choice (where the american people will just have to understand the casualties and bear it), and Iraq was the GOP’s (ref Bushs comments to the same effect about casualties in Iraq).

    “bbbbut Afghanistan actually is important to the war on terror” ok, so that makes the Dems more coherent, less misguided warmongering hawks who still don’t have a strategy to win and can’t even define what a win would look like. If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there…

  18. I love it when these guys “suddenly” find out about stuff they have been actively participating in for years.

    Actually, my favorite instance of this was when it was pointed out that if there was a Bush war crimes trial, Pelosi and Reid could be charged as well because they’d been briefed all along.

  19. “My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so tightened the noose that he’s in a cave somewhere and can’t even communicate with his operatives, then we will meet our goal of protecting America.”

    Obama Will Ban Torture- But Considers a Loophole

    Barack Obama is set to prohibit waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques by mandating the CIA follow the US Army Field Manual when questioning suspects, the AP reports. But as the president-elect debates whether to make the changes through legislation or presidential fiat, the incoming administration is also considering a loophole that would allow controversial methods in pressing situations.

  20. True story: Nancy Pelosi established both the dentention and interrogation policies this country followed during George Bush’s administration.

    No lie. Cheney was all like “No no, that’s too harsh,” but she just rammed it down his throat. Because Don Rumsfeld and George Bush totally take their marching orders on issues related to national security from Congress. Especially the Democratic leadership.

  21. Did somebody who introduced a completely irrelevant topic to the thread for the purpose of starting a fight, opening up with profanity, and posting anonymously, just call someone a troll?

    That’s some funny shit right there.

  22. Actually, my favorite instance of this was when it was pointed out that if there was a Bush war crimes trial, Pelosi and Reid could be charged as well because they’d been briefed all along.

    And the problem is…?

    We should have known that Obama wouldn’t be getting us out of Iraq anytime soon, the only difference being they’ll adopt a “Bush broke it, we buy it” attitude.

    We also forget the Dems are just as militaristic as the GOP, and it won’t be long before we’re invading Darfur.

    But hey, at least the sun never sets on the American Empire, right?

  23. joe is the most blindly partisan mule since Dondero used to come around here.

    How could Obama have talked about anything for “years”? Do you mean the total of 3 years in the Senate, of which 2 were spent campaigning for the presidency?

  24. Uh, Taktix?

    Obama just ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to draw up a plan to withdraw from Iraq on the 16-month timetable Obama ran on throughout the campaign.

  25. http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9845595-7.html

    Obama: No warrantless wiretaps if you elect me

    “My job this morning is to be so persuasive…that a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Barack,” he told a crowd of about 300 Ivy Leaguers–and, by the looks of it, a handful of locals who managed to gain access to what was supposed to be a students-only event.

    For one thing, under an Obama presidency, Americans will be able to leave behind the era of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and “wiretaps without warrants,” he said
    —————–

    http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/01/obama-sides-wit.html

    Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case

    The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants.

  26. joe, If Obama won’t torture, why won’t he ban it for the CIA as well as the military? I know he has said he doesn’t intend to torture people – if so, why not take it off the table?

  27. Can we, with hope and confidence, look forward to the resumption of peace vigils, etc. as the weather warms in the spring? Or were the years of such vigils just partisan sniping at President Bush? Libertarians and Paulistas joined a lot of the peace vigils, so it may be up to us to go it alone.

  28. And- our new Afghan Agricultural Aid Program should include pickup trucks. Lots and lots of GM and Dodge pickups; just to be fair, we should probably pay a 25% premium over MSRP.

  29. How could Obama have talked about anything for “years”? Do you mean the total of 3 years in the Senate, of which 2 were spent campaigning for the presidency?

    Dude, do you ever read the news?

    Obama cited the situation in Afghanistan when he came out against the Iraq AUMF as a Senate candidate in 2003.

    Uh, let’s see, 2009-2003 = 6.

    I guess that’s some of that blindly partisan math.

  30. What is this, “let’s ask or insult joe about every Obama-related issue” thread?

    WTF, people?

    “OK, so, this line about Afghanistan doesn’t make Obama look bad enough, so, uh…he’s gonna torture people! No? Uh, he’s not going to exit Iraq! No? Uh……joe, yoor a fuckhead!”

    WTF, people? You think there isn’t going to be an iterrogation thread or an Iraq thread at some point?

  31. creech | January 26, 2009, 10:11am | #

    Can we, with hope and confidence, look forward to the resumption of peace vigils, etc. as the weather warms in the spring?

    Probably. I imagine they’ll be about the same size as the ones held during the Kosovo War and Operation Desert Fox.

    There are already quite a diaries committed to grumbling about Obama and Afghanistan on Daily Kos.

  32. We should have known that Obama wouldn’t be getting us out of Iraq anytime soon, the only difference being they’ll adopt a “Bush broke it, we buy it” attitude

    Well, sure. Among other indicators, we’re selling them F-15s which won’t be delivered for 2 years and require extensive training. The Iraqi Air Force doesn’t become self-sufficient until around 2014 or so at the earliest.

    I’m sure we’ll get some window dressing of “combat” troops leaving and being replaced by the exact same troops doing “training” instead.

    Of course, I’m not surprised by any of it. I always said this stuff was reasonable.

  33. Good to see you finally coming to your senses about the Murtha Plan, TallDave.

  34. bah, joe, you must have known this would be coming. You’ve said that you post here because libertarianism represents an intellectually honest criticism to liberalism (though maybe not all Libertarians do). So, you have to expect to be the voice of liberalism for the forum – especially when is a genuine libertarianism criticism of intellectual honesty of the liberal majority government.

  35. Not that anyone cares, but I’m frankly shocked and awed that joe has been around here as long as he has. He’s a masochist of the first order.
    So, love him or hate him, I’d say he deserves mad props.

    I’ll go away now.

  36. It’s not like this stuff was a big secret or anything.

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/01/iraqi_field_artiller.php

    While the current emphasis has been on fielding more infantry to the detriment of supporting elements, the Iraqi Army plans to fill out the artillery component from 2009 through 2011. Until that is complete, US forces will have to remain to provide support and training to Iraqi forces.

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/11/plans_for_iraqi_air.php

    General Nasier Abadi, vice chief of staff of the Iraqi Joint Forces, announced the initial orders on Nov. 2. The aircraft would be delivered to Iraq from 2011 to 2015. Iraq’s current force has fewer than 100 aircraft. None of the aircraft currently in the Iraqi Air Force are strike planes or jets.

    The Iraqi Security Forces are being upgraded in three stages. Each stage consists of five years. The first stage, in progress, began in 2006 and will last until 2011. Stage one is intended to build a basic force.

    The second stage is designed to build the Air Force’s capabilities. This stage will last from 2011 to 2015. The arms purchases for the beginning of stage two have been and are being announced.

  37. ‘Real’ mess.

    Bah – I wish this douche would cut the parochial chitchat.

    ‘Say, that’s some ‘real’ tasty apple pie ma!’

    Shut up and eat.

    It will be interesting to see how Obama’s administration approach Pakistan. Nothing to see as of yet though….

  38. Hope & Change,

    Yeah, when Obama voted for the FISA bill that gave telecoms immunity that put me in the voting for the LP candidate. Happily I don’t believe the House ever passed an updated version of FISA that provided such immunity.

  39. I’ll second Johnny Clarkes comments, BTW.

  40. Bomb, bomb, bomb . . . bomb, bomb afgans . . .

  41. Obama just ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to draw up a plan to withdraw from Iraq on the 16-month timetable Obama ran on throughout the campaign.

    Yeah, and hostilities ended in 2003 too, huh? Team Blue won’t lie to me!

    OK, joe, if this is true, and we are out in 16-months, I will come on here and praise your wisdom on a daily basis for a week…

  42. It will be interesting to see how Obama’s administration approach Pakistan.

    So far they’ve been bombing them.

  43. domo,

    He has taken torture off the table.

    He’s made the 19 procedures in the Army Field Manual the only legal ones, and ordered a study to other interrogation methods to determine if they meet the standards he’s laid out – that is, are they effective and are they not torture?

    I expect we’ll be seeing a lot of policy changes following this route – an immediate change to a rational, off-the-shelf policy intended to replace what Bush has been doing with something that isn’t a disaster, coupled with a period of studying the issue to formulate an affirmative policy going forward.

    That’s what’s being done with Gitmo, that’s what’s being done with interrogation policy, and that’s what’s being done with Afghanistan.

    The real debate is over those affirmative policies, which will be articulate over the course of the next year. People giving serious consideration to these issues are going to be talking about that.

  44. He has taken torture off the table.

    No one is this stupid. What a fucktard.

  45. Deep, man. Meaningful contribution.

  46. Taktix,

    There is a pretty good chance that we’ll be invading Iraq again in the next ten to twenty years. If countries like Haiti are any indication.

  47. Taktix,

    In other words, the dominant paradigm has shifted from Latin America is our responsibility to the world is our responsibility. Given weight behind such a trend we should expect more and more military activity by the U.S. as the future unfolds.

  48. Obama is speaking.

    I am suffused with dread.

  49. If this were 2006, we might have seen the last-helicopter-out-of-Saigon exit in defeat and disgrace that the Dems were advocating.

    Now we’ll probably leave Iraq the same time we leave South Korea. Or Germany. Or Japan.

    Oh, the bitter taste of victory. We didn’t even have the sweet ambrosia of a My Lai, as the Haditha case fell apart in tatters.

  50. Seward,

    We have regularly intervened in Haiti over the years because it was a failed state – that is, one that is unable to maintain a functioning government, and is always in danger of falling into chaos.

    That has not, historically speaking, been the problem in Iraq. If anything, it’s suffered from the oppostion problem: local Iraqi governments have been known for ruling that country with an iron grip. The only exception to this I can think of – the only time that a significant part of Iraq was lawless, out of the control of the central government, and subject to domination by some outlaw or foreign group – was during our occupation there.

    That is a very atypical model for our interventions.

  51. joe,

    A wide variety of news outlets have reported that he is considering a classified annex to the Army field manual that includes techniques not in the unclassified version. So, unless you have better information, it doesn’t seem to be “off the table” – maybe “under the table.” While I am willing to accept until proven wrong that Obama wants to be better on the “torture” issue than Bush – it certainly doesn’t seem like he is willing to be bound without exploreing the issue further. That’s a real-politik decision – not a principled stand against torture – however principled his rhetoric may sound.

  52. Reasonable,

    Or Haiti. Or Panama. Or the Dominican Republic. Or Cuba. Most people don’t recognize that Germany and Japan are no the norms of U.S. nation building; they are the outliers.

  53. If this were 2006, we might have seen the last-helicopter-out-of-Saigon exit in defeat and disgrace that the Dems were advocating.

    Democrats advocate exactly the same plan, and Republicans take credit for forcing them to change their minds.

    Hilarious.

    “Hey, maybe if we start describing the Murtha Plan as ‘What George Bush Was Doing All Along,’ we can pretend we’re relevant!

  54. If countries like Haiti are any indication.

    Speaking of which, the marines havent been in Port-au-Prince in a while….

  55. ‘So far they’ve been bombing them.’

    Dude. You know nothing.

    Obama doesn’t bomb anyone. He drops truth orbular firework displays.

    Regardless, I think we have to mantain a generous spirit here. No getting at Obama until he does something really, really bad. We don’t want to bolt the gate too early….

  56. You see, Obama is full of Hope and Change. That means everything will be good now.

    I can’t be bothered to actually read what he says. Can you fellate and read at the same time? Didn’t think so.

  57. Deep, man. Meaningful contribution.

    It actually is, if you’re willing to take a national politician at his word.

    To quote Dr. House, “everybody lies.” That goes triple for politicians…

  58. joe,

    Iraq has repeatedly fallen into chaos since the 1950s. Which explains the successive coups and attempted coups. Indeed, one could argue that because of this aspect of Iraqi civil society for any leader to rule the place required an iron grip. Haiti similarly experienced periods of centralization and chaos from its inception (indeed, it broke up into two seperate points at one time as well invading and conquering the whole of Hispanola). Iraq is much more like Haiti in its history than it is like Japan or Germany.

  59. That is a very atypical model for our interventions.

    So “typical” interventions are fine so long as they go according to our plans?

    Deep insight indeed…

  60. Also, withdrawing from Iraq in 2009 is exactly the same as withdrawing in 2006. Don’t try to be relevant!

    Where’s Lefiti to back me up?

  61. domo,

    He’s laid out a standard – no torture. For now, this standard will be adhered to by following the 19 procedures outlined in the AFM.

    But obviously, those 19 procedures are not the exhaustive list of all interrogation procedures that aren’t torture. He’s settled on a good-enough policy for standardizing interrogation procedures that will do for right now, while studying the issue in a comprehensive manner to come up with a definitive policy down the road.

    “Not in the existing AFM” is not the same thing as “torture.” I’ve seen nothing to suggest that he intends to authorize torture.

  62. Well, at least Germany and Japan following unification after the Franco-Prussian War and the start of the Meiji respectively.

  63. Hey, GOP idiots, maybe when you don’t have a governor on trial for corruption you can criticize joe.

    We’re not trolls, we’re truthtellers. Can’t handle the truth? Too bad. No truth-handlers, you.

  64. joe,

    In 2005 or so I recall an interview of an Iraqi who described how generations passed down the knowledge of what to do during a coup or an attempted coup.

  65. Taktix,

    First, It actually is, if you’re willing to take a national politician at his word. No, “No one is this stupid. What a fucktard.” is not, under any circumstances, a reasonable and meaningful contribution. It’s a bitchy troll with nothing to say, angry about the political direction the country is taking and lashing out.

    Second, I don’t think it’s true that Iraq has repeatedly fallen into chaos, and that this chaos explains the coups. Take 1979 – the country wasn’t in chaos. It was being ruled withi an iron hand by one Baathist dictator, who overthrew him because he wanted to be top dog. Iraq is a lot more like Russia than like Haiti or Afghanistan.

  66. Oops, that was Seward.

    So “typical” interventions are fine so long as they go according to our plans?

    This get old really fast, you know. I didn’t write anything about “fine.” I made a factual statement to clear up a factual misunderstanding.

    I make actual arguments, you know. You don’t have to make new ones up if you want to argue with me.

  67. In 2005 or so I recall an interview of an Iraqi who described how generations passed down the knowledge of what to do during a coup or an attempted coup.

    So?

    I think you’re misunderstanding the concept of a failed state. There are many examples of countries that have had change at the top of government, but that government remained firmly in control of the country. They’re two different questions.

  68. joe,

    I haven’t either. But considering a classified expansion of the AFM is not exactly what I would call an encouraging sign. I am not comfortable with any technique being defined as “not torture” on a classified basis that is torture on the unclassified level. Basically, he is creating a system by which he can modify whatever he wants by altering the secret version of the AFM. Oh, and now the press can’t shine the light of day onto it, because it’s a classified document. Not off the table, but deferred for later judgement in private. Similar to, but much less clumsy than, Bush’s own policy on Guantanamo detainee treatment. The only thing that worries me more than stupid government is clever government. 😉

  69. ‘We’re not trolls, we’re truthtellers. Can’t handle the truth? Too bad. No truth-handlers, you.’

    Holy shit, I want to be a truth teller so bad.
    This sentance is going to be how I start every single meeting at work from here on out.

    And I’m twenty eight, so that’s a lot of fucking truth getting dished out.

  70. I trust everyone can scroll over the names atop the comments and figure out which are mine, and which are the retarded troll.

  71. domoarrigato,

    I agree that this is a matter worth keeping an eye on. Like I said, the direction of future policy, in Afghanistan, Gitmo, and i/r/t interrogation, is the important debate, not just the steps taken this week. My point is just that writing “Oh, and we’re going to torture high-value suspects,” is clearly wrong.

    For reaons related to self-image and politics, there are people who need to believe that Obama is not actually going to reverse Bush-era policies, so they write slightly desparate-sounding comments insisting that they have been proven right.

  72. joe,

    Since its inception as an independent stated in the 1930s under King Feisel it has been fighting one or another internal war against some element wishing to break away from the boundaries cobbled together by force by the British. Indeed, the British themselves had to use all manner of force to make sure the Kurds, etc. would stay in line. Saddam similarly had to fight against internal enemies who wished to break away for most of his time in power. The central authorities in Baghdad have never remained firmly in control of what was happening outside the environs of that city. Iraq is typical of the states that the U.S. has repeatedly intervened in.

  73. Also, when Obama says there’s a loophole for torture, what he means is that there isn’t a loophole for torture. This is totally different from Bush.

    This is obvious to all my smart friends at DKos, I don’t know why you stupid libertarians are so confused by this.

    And please ignore that guy pretending to be me.

  74. joe,

    Second, I don’t think it’s true that Iraq has repeatedly fallen into chaos, and that this chaos explains the coups.

    Well, you are in error. A cursory review of Iraq’s history since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire illustrates this back and forth between efforts to centralize authority and chaos. You aren’t bombing people and the like because they are falling in line.

  75. Actually, I’ll use a less loaded word; instead of chaos, I’ll use decentralization.

  76. Seward,

    But look successful Clinton was in Somalia. Today, they are a model state with a burgeoning piracy industry.

    Argh! Talk Like A Somali Day is coming!

  77. Apparently, my positions and arguments are so weak that instead of presenting counter-arguments, the troll is reduced to spoofing both my name and email address in an effort to make me look bad.

    Wow, she must really see a lot of holes in my argument.

  78. FWIW, I think spoofing the guy as he’s trying to respond to 3 different lines of attack is poor form. Hate him, love him, hes spends a lot of his day providing fodder for discussion on the site. And with that, I shall refocus my attention on the gov’t debt thread…

  79. Indeed, no Iraqi government has ever been able to quell the efforts of the Kurds to create an independent state, not even Saddam’s government, nor the British, nor the Hashemite monarchy, etc.

    It is sort of weird actually; not realizing that these forces which wanted to exit the nation of Iraq existed is part of what got the Bush administration in the deep trouble that it got into.

  80. In 2005 or so I recall an interview of an Iraqi who described how generations passed down the knowledge of what to do during a coup or an attempted coup.

    Well, he was obviously lying. He was probably paid off by Halliburton.

    Didn’t you see Fahrenheit 9/11? Iraq was a kite-flying paradise before Bush screwed it up.

    Another desperate attempt by the right wing to smear people by repeating what they said.

  81. Seward,

    Well, I’m not in error. Pointing out that there have been groups that want to break up Iraq is not the same thing as showing that they are successful, that the government has been unable to bring them into line, that they’ve even posed a serious threat to the government, or that the breakaway regions were even out of the control of the central authorities.

    You might as well claim that Spain has been a failed state for the past 50 years, always at the edge of chaos, because of the Basques.

  82. Seward,

    Yeah, but the Kurds are pro-American and love Bush, so you can see they must be idiots. They’d probably watch Faux News too, if they could afford TVs.

  83. Indeed, no Iraqi government has ever been able to quell the efforts of the Kurds to create an independent state

    You’re now setting the bar at “there are still people who have feelings.”

    The Kurds were pretty damened quelled, before we set up the no fly/no drive zone.

  84. domoarrigato | January 26, 2009, 11:14am | #

    FWIW, I think spoofing the guy as he’s trying to respond to 3 different lines of attack is poor form.

    And clearly the indication of someone confident in her position, in her factual understanding of the issue, and of her ability to argue it in a plausible manner.

  85. there are people who need to believe that Obama is not actually going to reverse Bush-era policies,

    I don’t necessarily think he’ll reverse the Bush era policies. I do think he’ll change them, but whether that change is an improvement remains to be seen.

    Take Gitmo. I don’t believe that all of those guys are going to get released. Some of them will continue to be held. Where? If we pass the buck to the Egyptians or Russians, we’ll know he wasn’t serious about change. Similarly, if they end up in some new classified installation out the country, how will we know and is that an improvement? Closing Gitmo just ends the PR disaster. What comes after that is the real question, and I haven’t seen the answers yet.

  86. Seward,

    Look at the history of the Russian empire. Think about all of the peoples in the Caucasus, about the Poles, about Latvia and Estonia. There were sporadic uprisings against central authority all the time in the Russian empire, but it was far from a failed state. It was a very powerful state with firm control over the territory and people within its borders.

  87. Obama Will Ban Torture- But Considers a Loophole — Barack Obama is set to prohibit waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques by mandating the CIA follow the US Army Field Manual when questioning suspects, the AP reports. But as the president-elect debates whether to make the changes through legislation or presidential fiat, the incoming administration is also considering a loophole that would allow controversial methods in pressing situations.

    If Obama says maybe we’re going to keep torturing, that means torture is off the table.

    See what a meaningful contribution I just made? How could anyone think I was a fucktard? They’re just angry.

    See, this is exactly the kind of crap I have to deal with from angry right-wingers who can’t accept the new era of Hope and Change. They think when Obama says something, it could be bad, when obviously everything Obama does is good.

  88. joe,

    I’m really not going to get into a back and forth with you on the matter. Iraq’s history is similar to that of Haiti and most of the other countries that the U.S. has invaded. As for shifting stuff, I never claimed that Iraq was a “failed state” or anything like that. That’s the terminology you started using; I never signed on to it.

  89. T,

    I don’t believe that all of those guys are going to get released.

    I don’t believe that all of those guys should be released. Do you?

    I want them held lawfully. I want them to receive due process. I want them to be able to challenge their detention, and those whom the government can’t prove their cases against should be released – but among the kidnapped goatherders and whatnot, there are some genuine al Qaeda terrorists in that camp, who should be tried, convicted, and sentenced.

    You disagree?

  90. Also, if you trolls were confident in your arguments, you wouldn’t have to point out my obvious stupidity. You would just agree with me, like I agree with Obama.

    Anyways, thanks for your support domo and Lefiti. It’s good to know some people can make meaningful contributions, like me.

  91. Seward,

    I’m really not going to get into a back and forth with you on the matter.

    Too late. You’re just deciding now that you wish you hadn’t.

    Iraq’s history is similar to that of Haiti and most of the other countries that the U.S. has invaded. Not in the relevant criteria – the question of whether the Iraqi government has been a failed state or a near failed state, in terms of being unable to maintain control over its territory and the people who live there.

    As for shifting stuff, I never claimed that Iraq was a “failed state” or anything like that. That’s the terminology you started using; I never signed on to it. And it’s the terminology you decided to argue about, whether you’ve decided it was a bad idea now or not.

    Iraq – at least, Iraq when it was an independent nation in charge of its politics – has always had a strong central government able to maintain control over its territory. It has never been a failed state, or come close to it, except when occupied by foreign powers.

  92. If Obama says maybe we’re going to keep torturing… It will be news, because he’s said no such thing to date.

  93. joe,

    There were sporadic uprisings against central authority all the time in the Russian empire…

    Which either toppled or nearly toppled the regime on a number of occasions. 1917 was the first regime collapse after all.

    …failed state.

    Again, your term.

    It was a very powerful state with firm control over the territory and people within its borders.

    You pretty clearly don’t know much about Russian history if you think that is the case. The Russian state was always compromising and backing down on commands with local authorities on the measures it tried to undertake. That was even true under Stalinist rule. Indeed, the Tsarist regime’s weakness is illustrated by the fact that it had a hard time enforcing even those measures which it required for its existence: the tax on vodka and the levies of young men for the army. Outside of those areas localities were far more in control of what was happening on the ground and if the Tsarist state tried to interfere with those other areas as often as not it got an uprising.

  94. Obama just ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to draw up a plan to withdraw from Iraq on the 16-month timetable Obama ran on throughout the campaign.

    joe continues to confuse “drawing up a plan” with “actually doing it.”

    Closing Gitmo just ends the PR disaster.

    Exactly. It doesn’t matter where they are held, as long as they are held without due process, nothing has really changed.

    And, do we really solve the due process problem with rendition to countries without American standards of due process? Haven’t we just spent years complaining about that very practice?

    So, why did Obama shut down the military tribunals that the Supreme Court approved of in Boumediene?

  95. joe,

    Too late. You’re just deciding now that you wish you hadn’t.

    Conversation with you is a voluntary matter.

    And it’s the terminology you decided to argue about, whether you’ve decided it was a bad idea now or not.

    Yeah, that was a mistake. Pretty clearly I was never discussing something like what was happening in the 1990s in Somalia or Afghanistan. Most of Haiti’s history doesn’t look like that.

    I can now voluntarily exit the conversation. Good day.

  96. I want them held lawfully. I want them to receive due process. I want them to be able to challenge their detention, and those whom the government can’t prove their cases against should be released – but among the kidnapped goatherders and whatnot, there are some genuine al Qaeda terrorists in that camp, who should be tried, convicted, and sentenced.

    This leads back to a fundamental issue, joe. What are they? Are they combatants or criminals? Because the answer matters on how we treat them. Half of what you’re asking for is appropriate only if they’re criminals. If they’re combatants, a different and well-established set of rules applies. Part of the problem is that the Bush administration was making shit up as they went along, and never could decide how to treat these guys. It doesn’t sound as if the new administration has reached any definitional clarity, either. Unless we want a third category with a new set of rules, which hasn’t been working out so well.

  97. Seward,

    Which either toppled or nearly toppled the regime on a number of occasions. You’re still not getting my point, or the concept of a failed state: changes in the regime are not indications of a failed state, when the state apparatus maintains control over the country.

    Look at what’s going on in Thailand: the government was overthrown in a coup, and now there are big demonstrations agains the regime. Still, the Thai government apparatus is fully functional, and the country is under its firm control.

    Again, your term. Since it’s my term, and my statement, that you took exception to, you’re just going to have to deal with that.

    If you didn’t actually mean to argue with my statement that Iraq has never been a failed state, if you misunderstood the meaning of that term, and thought I was saying Iraq had never experiences political instability or centrifugal forces, then there’s really no need for you to keep arguing this.

    I made a simple point – Iraq had not been a failed state, with the government losing control of the country, when it was an independent state. Just the opposite, it has been a very strong state, which often used an iron hand to impose its control.

  98. Obama just ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to draw up a plan to withdraw from Iraq on the 16-month timetable Obama ran on throughout the campaign.
    Ain’t
    Gonna
    Happen.

    Reduce forces by ? 50% percent, yeah. Withdraw? Only a fool would believe US troops are going to be out of Iraq in 16 months.

    Team blue members, save the address of this comment to throw in my face on May 20, 2010.

  99. joe continues to confuse “drawing up a plan” with “actually doing it.”

    Really? Can you back that statement up?

    What’s funny is that RC has spent the last four+ years insisting that if we drew up a withdrawal plan with timeline, its mere announcement would be a surrender to terrorists. Now that one is being drawn up, and withdrawing from Iraq is our stated policy, doing so means nothing.

    So, why did Obama shut down the military tribunals that the Supreme Court approved of in Boumediene? To come up with an alternate method, or set of methods, for reviewing their cases, which are more in keeping with our constitution, basic rules of decency and fairness, and the achievement of reliable determinations about the detainees’ guilt or innocence.

  100. I can now voluntarily exit the conversation. Good day.

    Sure, that’s what all you angry right-wingers do when I lay my smackdown on you: you run like Ted Kennedy from a Breathalyzer.

    So what if I make up my facts and pretend Obama didn’t say things he clearly did? That’s what makes me a winner, chumps.

  101. Team blue members, save the address of this comment to throw in my face on May 20, 2010.

    Goddamn right I will. Even if it doesn’t happen, I can just pretend it did. Then you can “voluntarily exit” and I win again.

    Threadwinner. That’s what I have embroidered on my jacket, bitches. With fucking rhinestones.

  102. T,

    What are they? Are they combatants or criminals?

    Well, first of all, some of them don’t seem to be either. They’re just people who got swept up in a manhunt.

    Some of them are just combatants – members of the Taliban military.

    Others are criminal combatants – Taliban and al Qaeda members who committed war crimes.

    And others are just criminals – al Qaeda members who were involved in terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism.

    It doesn’t sound as if the new administration has reached any definitional clarity, either. No, they haven’t. As I understand it, their putting the tribunals on hold for the purpose of coming up with a clear and legal standard.

  103. J sub D,

    Only a fool would believe US troops are going to be out of Iraq in 16 months.

    There is obviously going to be a training mission for the Iraqi military and police, embassy guards, etc.

    The American combat and occupation presence is going to be gone in 16 months or something close to it – that’s what I mean by “being out.”

  104. Hey, troll,

    So what if I make up my facts and pretend Obama didn’t say things he clearly did?

    Got a quote? Becasue so far, all you’ve offered in a characterization of an executive order by an AP reporter, without any language from the order to back it up.

  105. Have you noticed that the people who respond to the concept of investigating and prosecuting torture crimes by people in the Bushy adminstration throw out “Reid and Pelosi” and, among the slightly smarter ones, “Rockefellar,” but don’t even think to mention Frist, Delay, Boehner, Lott, or the rest of the Congressional leadership that was actually in power when these crimes were committed?

    It doesn’t matter in a legal sense, because being briefed by people, without having any say into what they were doing, isn’t a criminal act.

  106. There is obviously going to be a training mission for the Iraqi military and police, embassy guards, etc.

    Embassy guards don’t count. Training troops that aren’t engaging in combat, I may give a pass to. Helicopters/warthogs supprting Iraqi troops, I won’t. Marines protecting supply convoys, I won’t. Providing port or airoprt security, I won’t. Providing any sort of security that a sovereign* nation is responsible for I won’t.

    Be sure to save this comment for May 20, next year. I will.

    * I really think the first e in sovereign is unnecessary.

  107. Anyway, my point still stands about the paradigm we live in with regard to the projection of U.S. power.

    As for those in Gitmo, well, any new set of procedures are going to take some time to create, and that means they’ll be either waiting there or somewhere else. Not quite sure how in the short or medium term that makes much of a difference.

  108. J sub D,

    I think it all depends on which “logic” wins out: the logic of domestic partisan politics or the logic of the facts on the ground in Iraq. I guess it could also be a combination thereof, and some mix might be the best guess.

  109. The American combat and occupation presence is going to be gone in 16 months >i>or something close to it – that’s what I mean by “being out.” [italics added by the irrepressible J sub D]

    Define “something close to it” please.

    1,000 troops? 10,000? 50,000? Just a few “special forces?

    May 30, 2010? July, 2010? 2012?

  110. Damn, screwed up the italics. Perfection eludes my grasp once again.

  111. J sub D,

    I think those are reasonable standards.

    I’ll even add in, combat formations on bases in Iraqi territory.

    I’d also add that 16 months is what Obama is shooting for. We might end up with 17 months or 20 months.

  112. J sub D,

    Better yet, define “close to it.”

  113. J sub,

    “Something close to” 16 months, is what I meant.

    The residual, non-combat forces, once the withdrawal is complete?

  114. Whoops,

    The residual, non-combat forces, once the withdrawal is complete? Certainly less than 10,000. Probably no more than half that.

    Funny how long the debate has come in the past two years. Remember when putting a corps in the Kurdish part of Iraq for counter-terror missions and force protection was “cutting and running?”

  115. J sub D,

    As the article also reminds, it depends in significant part on what the Iraqis want.

  116. What’s funny is that RC has spent the last four+ years insisting that if we drew up a withdrawal plan with timeline, its mere announcement would be a surrender to terrorists. Now that one is being drawn up, and withdrawing from Iraq is our stated policy, doing so means nothing.

    What’s really funny is that joe sees no difference whatsoever from a unilateral withdrawal under fire, and a treaty with the government of Iraq to leave at their request after the terrorists have been defeated.

    See, after you have won, things are different than before you win.

    Keep in mind: the only reason that Iraq has any chance of making it now is because the advice of joe, Obama, Biden, and the rest was disregarded, and Bush went ahead with the surge, rather than doing what joe, etc. urged (unilateral withdrawal under fire). In the biggest single strategic decision that needed to be made in the last few years, the members of the current administration were dead wrong. Gives you a nice warm feeling as they take over, doesn’t it?

  117. “Something close to” 16 months, is what I meant.

    Like pulling teeth, I tell ya. Is 24 months close to 16 months? Is 36? At what point would joe say the 20 month promise is a FAIL?

  118. I’d also add that 16 months is what Obama is shooting for. We might end up with 17 months or 20 months.

    Right! If the first Two-Year Plan doesn’t work, we’ll just come up with another Two-Year Plan…

  119. If 16 months isn’t practical, in terms of the logistics, and it actually takes 18 months to get 16 combat brigades and their stuff out of Iraq, that’s not a big deal.

    A big deal would be changing the mission, changing the strategy or the policy, to include security, garrison, or combat missions.

    The point is to end our military involvement in Iraq, to announce that as our policy and stick to it. Sooner is better than later, but the whether it gets done over the course of a period closer to one year than two years is not the point.

  120. See, after you have won, things are different than before you win.

    Funny how RC decided we won, and could therefore cut and run with impunity without getting any egg on his, over exactly the same period that it became unviable in American politics to advocate any other position.

    Sure, RC, you can declare victory as we go home, if it will make you feel better. Nobody’s going to stop you.

  121. If the withdrawal drags on, I’ll probably start grumbling about the need to wind things up at 19 or 20 months, and consider the promise broken if American troops are still out on patrol at 24.

    Howzat?

  122. If the withdrawal drags on, I’ll probably start grumbling about the need to wind things up at 19 or 20 months, and consider the promise broken if American troops are still out on patrol at 24.

    Howzat?

    Cool if you include escorting convoys, providing air/artillery support and the like.
    Teaching Iraqis how to operate and maintain a Vulcan gun* is cool.

    * Richard Gatling would be so proud that his innovation still has military relevance after 148 years.

  123. Escorting convoys, absolutely. As we’ve seen, that’s combat. Artillery support – meaning, troops on the ground, in country – absolutely.

    Air support? That’s tougher. Air support for what? Against whom? Does it matter?

    What are you envisioning here?

  124. Funny how RC decided we won, and could therefore cut and run with impunity without getting any egg on his, over exactly the same period that it became unviable in American politics to advocate any other position.

    joe continues to be intentionally obtuse about the fact that the surge that he, Obama, and Biden opposed was successful, and fundamentally changed the realities on the ground.

    joe apparently doesn’t realize that what he and Obama were proposing a year ago would have been a unilateral withdrawal under fire.

    joe apparently is ignorant of the changes that have occurred since then, including the Iraqis taking over primary responsibility for security in their country, and negotiating at arms length a SOFA that calls for withdrawal of US forces.

    joe apparently can’t tell the difference between a unilateral withdrawal under fire and a withdrawal under the terms of an agreement negotiated with an Iraqi government that has taken control over security in Iraq.

    Basically, though, joe just can’t admit that he and Obama were dead wrong about how to fight the war, dead wrong about whether it could be won, and are utterly incapable of giving Bush credit for being right on this one.

  125. “The bottom line here is, we’ve inherited a real mess,” he said.”

    The bottom line is that all he’s doing is trying to lower expectations now that his bunch is actually in charge of the thing.

  126. Oddly enough, RC and his hero, Flight Suit Ken, were arguing strenuously against the “negotiated” SOFA, with its requirement that we leave on a timeline regardless of conditions on the ground, throughout the period it was being discussed.

    And yet all of sudden, when it become untenable both in international and national politics to hold that position, they simultaneously decided that Teh Victory meant that the condition they had described as a surrender to terrorist just days before was actually an indication of how awesome their success had been.

    But they didn’t change their minds because of politics. No, between a Tuesday and a Friday, they both decided that the very thing they had been denouncing – not two years before, not before the surge, THAT VERY WEEK – had been their plan all along.

    Do you really think you’re fooling anyone, RC? Do you really think that your capitulation ceases to be “unilateral” because the people who made you capitulate wanted you to capitulate?

  127. BTW, RC, how can a question about a tactical initiative – a question over how to fight a war – be In the biggest single strategic decision that needed to be made in the last few years, as opposed to the question of whether to fight that war in the first place?

    I know what the most important decision that needed to be made in the past few years was, and it was President Obama who, unlike yourself, got it right.

  128. Damn, the leftist sycophants are going to be busy. They only just got done scraping the “Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism” bumper stickers off their cars, only to find out they are now also going to have to remove the “Peace is Patriotic” bumper stickers as well.

  129. After reading the replies in this thread, it is obvious that joe’s Obama ass-kissing is going to be far worse than anyone thought.

    Joe, you are the worst fucking partisan hack this site has ever seen. You are a total fucking joke.

  130. “Basically, though, joe just can’t admit that he and Obama were dead wrong about how to fight the war, dead wrong about whether it could be won, and are utterly incapable of giving Bush credit for being right on this one.”

    Hahahahahahaha, if you thought that was bad, read his pathetically hilarious defense in his last two posts. My favorite is:
    “I know what the most important decision that needed to be made in the past few years was, and it was President Obama who, unlike yourself, got it right.”

    In other words, since Obama was so unbelievably wrong, for so long, about what needed to be done in Iraq after the war had already started, let’s ignore that and go back a few years to when he may have been right.

    Joe, your partisan hackery knows no fucking bounds. The members of Obama’s cult of personality just can’t seem to grasp that the guy is not infallible.

  131. I don’t see it the latter as that uncommon on your side of the isle.

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