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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2005, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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The Iraq war 'tipping point'?

Malcolm Gladwell's 2002 best-selling book, 'The Tipping Point,' argued that under a combination of certain factors, "radical change is more than a possibility." Some columnists and politicians from both parties are now wondering if the comments of leading Republican lawmakers like Sen. Chuck Hagel from Nebraska and others, and the actions of protester Cindy Sheehan, signal that the attitudes toward the war in Iraq are slowly, but surely, moving against the Bush administration.

Speaking Sunday on ABC-TV's 'This Week,' Sen. Hagel, who won two purple hearts in Vietnam and is also considered by some as a contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, restated his position that the US needs to develop a strategy to leave Iraq.

"We should start figuring out how we get out of there," Hagel said on "This Week" on ABC. "But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."

Hagel said "stay the course" is not a policy. "By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq … we're not winning," he said.

Hagel also "scoffed" at the idea, first put forward last week by top Army general Peter Schoomaker that in a "worst-case scenario," the US might have to maintain US troops levels of about 100,000 for at least the next four years.

Reuters reported last week that Hagel told reporters who had accompanied him on a tour of his home state, that he could see longtime supporters of the war beginning to have serious doubts.

"The feeling that I get back here, looking in the eyes of real people, where I knew where they were two years ago or a year ago – they've changed," he said. "These aren't people who ebb and flow on issues. These are rock solid, conservative Republicans who love their country, support the troops and support the president."

Hagel said Bush faced a growing credibility gap. "The expectations that the president and his administration presented to the American people 2 1/2 years ago is not what the reality is today. That's presented the biggest credibility gap problem he's got," he said.

MSNBC reported that other GOP senators appearing on Sunday TV talk shows disagreed with Hagel's assessment that the US is losing the war in Iraq, but "also noted that the public is becoming more and more concerned and needs to be reassured."

Meanwhile, despite unrelenting criticism by supporters of the Bush administration, antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan (who was until recently was camped out near President Bush's summer home in Crawford, Texas), continues to "transfix the nation," writes Peter Beinart, editor of the New Republic and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. Mr. Beinart, who supported the war when it started, writes that the reason Ms. Sheehan is so successful is that she is the perfect symbol for the kind of war that is happening in Iraq.

In this era of the professional military, the war has affected many fewer people. And it is exposing cultural fissures not because Americans were asked to serve and refused, but because this time few Americans were even asked.

So a surrogate war has produced a surrogate antiwar movement. This time, mass protests would only cloud the issue. As the parent of a dead soldier, Sheehan has moral authority precisely because so few Americans (including so few of us who supported the war) risk sharing her plight.

New York Times columnist Frank Rich also writes that attempts by Bush supporters to draw attention to inconsistencies in Mrs. Sheehan's background, but adds that none of them have worked because the real story is in fact not about Cindy Sheehan, but her dead son, Casey.

Cindy Sheehan's bashers, you'll notice, almost never tell her son's story. They are afraid to go there because this young man's life and death encapsulate not just the noble intentions of those who went to fight this war but also the hubris, incompetence and recklessness of those who gave the marching orders.

The Washington Post reports on the split between the Democratic leadership in Congress and the grassroots of the Democratic Party about how to deal with the war in Iraq.

The internal schism has become all the more evident in recent weeks even as Americans have soured on Bush and the war in poll after poll. Senate Democrats, according to aides, convened a private meeting in late June to develop a cohesive stance on the war and debated every option – only to break up with no consensus. The rejuvenation of the antiwar movement in recent days after the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq set up camp near Bush's Texas ranch has exposed the rift even further.

An editorial from the Sunday Times of London, which dismisses the Sheehan protest, nevertheless argues that the actions of a group of "adult" Republicans and "grown up" Democrats are becoming the "real opposition" to the White House's "emotional blackmail, the extreme rhetoric, the lack of any practical alternative to the course in Iraq."

They [the group of GOP and Democratic senators] know mindless protest will not save Iraq or win the broader war. They want to help: putting more troops if necessary into Iraq, monitoring more closely the training of Iraqi security forces, correcting some of the more glaring errors of judgment in Bush's inner circle.

Bush supporters have rallied to defend the president. The Guardian reports on a group of "Bush loyalists" who have set up a similar camp to Sheehan in Crawford, Texas, but with the idea of supporting the president. And CNN reports that President Bush's advisors announced Sunday that the President will " will launch a new round of speeches to rally support for the war in Iraq."

Senior aides say Bush will attempt to portray the Iraq conflict in the context of long wars like World War II, which US forces fought from 1941 to 1945.

They said the president also will invoke the September 11, 2001, attacks, arguing once again that the insurgents battling American troops in Iraq share the same ideology as the Al Qaeda operatives who crashed hijacked jetliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

The Buffalo News reports on the growing divide in America about the war, which many more are speaking out against, but few seem to know how to end. "It's like holding a wolf by the ears," [Iraq veteran Jeremy] Lewis said. "You don't want to hold it, but you don't want to let it go."

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2005, 01:10 PM
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RE: The Iraq war 'tipping point'?

I absolutely agree. Some of the red states are turning purple as a result of the war, and it is making the guys with presidential ambitions nervous. Personnally, I think the neo-cons attempt at the Nazification of America has blown up in the face of the GOP. It has changed the image of their party as a whole from a bunch of whiny rich boys into one of dangerous New World Order crackpots. The country is also growing tired of Bush's Obi Wan Kanobi act and the endless stupid generalizations and moronic statements that have no more intellectual content than a feather. He is finiding it harder and harder to disguise the fact he is no more than a front man for the oil interests, and all the personna bullshit is just that - bullshit.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2005, 02:15 PM
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RE: The Iraq war 'tipping point'?

Quote:
kvining - 8/22/2005 2:10 PM
The country is also growing tired of Bush's Obi Wan Kanobi act and the endless stupid generalizations and moronic statements that have no more intellectual content than a feather.
I'm afraid you are giving the people too much credit.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2005, 08:21 PM
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RE: The Iraq war 'tipping point'?

Quote:
kvining - 8/22/2005 3:10 PM

I absolutely agree. Some of the red states are turning purple as a result of the war, and it is making the guys with presidential ambitions nervous. Personnally, I think the neo-cons attempt at the Nazification of America has blown up in the face of the GOP. It has changed the image of their party as a whole from a bunch of whiny rich boys into one of dangerous New World Order crackpots. The country is also growing tired of Bush's Obi Wan Kanobi act and the endless stupid generalizations and moronic statements that have no more intellectual content than a feather. He is finiding it harder and harder to disguise the fact he is no more than a front man for the oil interests, and all the personna bullshit is just that - bullshit.
It's a slow process. The constant repetition of the same theme by GWB is getting tiresome for even his staunchest supporters. He must keep up this bullshit for another three years. That's a long time. Iraq will still be in the same situation in three years that it currently is today; a hotbed of insurgency by factions who do not want to accept a democracy which, by definition, is controlled by the leading majority.

By that time, the general dissatisfaction with GWB will translate into a sending away party for the GOP, with the proviso that the Dems put up a decent candidate that can come across better than a block of wood.

It's going to be an interesting election in 2008. I'm already looking forward to it. Nothing would make me more pleased than to watch George and company get the boot, together with the Senate, if possible.

Finally, an election that Karl can't win. I love it.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 09:52 PM
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bump.

My, my how things have changed. Looks like even Bush cannot hide his own lies anymore.


U.S. not winning war in Iraq, Bush says
President seeking expansion of Army, Marine Corps

By Peter Baker


President Bush acknowledged for the first time yesterday that the United States is not winning the war in Iraq and said he plans to expand the overall size of the "stressed" U.S. armed forces to meet the challenges of a long-term global struggle against terrorists.

As he searches for a new strategy for Iraq, Bush has adopted the formula advanced by his top military adviser to describe the situation. "We're not winning, we're not losing," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. The assessment was a striking reversal for a president who, days before the November elections, declared, "Absolutely, we're winning."


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In another turnaround, Bush said he has ordered Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to develop a plan to increase the troop strength of the Army and Marine Corps, heeding warnings from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill that multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan are stretching the armed forces toward the breaking point. "We need to reset our military," said Bush, whose administration had opposed increasing force levels as recently as this summer.

But in a wide-ranging session in the Oval Office, the president said he interpreted the Democratic election victories six weeks ago not as a mandate to bring the U.S. involvement in Iraq to an end but as a call to find new ways to make the mission there succeed. He confirmed that he is considering a short-term surge in troops in Iraq, an option that top generals have resisted out of concern that it would not help.

Growing alarm
A substantial military expansion will take years and would not be meaningful in the near term in Iraq. But it would begin to address the growing alarm among commanders about the state of the armed forces. Although the president offered no specifics, other U.S. officials said the administration is preparing plans to bolster the nation's permanent active-duty military with as many as 70,000 additional troops.

A force structure expansion would accelerate the already-rising costs of war. The administration is drafting a supplemental request for more than $100 billion in additional funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, on top of the $70 billion already approved for this fiscal year, according to U.S. officials. That would be over 50 percent more than originally projected for fiscal 2007, making it by far the most costly year since the 2003 invasion.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Congress has approved more than $500 billion for terrorism-related operations, including those in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. An additional $100 billion would bring overall expenditures to $600 billion, exceeding those for the Vietnam War, which, adjusted for inflation, cost $549 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service.

For all the money, commanders have grown increasingly alarmed about the burden of long deployments and the military's ability to handle a variety of threats around the world simultaneously. Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, warned Congress last week that the active-duty Army "will break" under the strain of today's war-zone rotations. Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell, a retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on CBS News's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that "the active Army is about broken."

Democrats have been calling for additional troops for years. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) proposed an increase of 40,000 troops during his 2004 campaign against Bush, only to be dismissed by the administration. As recently as June, the Bush administration opposed adding more troops because restructuring "is enabling our military to get more warfighting capability from current end strength."

But Bush yesterday had changed his mind. "I'm inclined to believe that we do need to increase our troops -- the Army, the Marines," he said. "And I talked about this to Secretary Gates, and he is going to spend some time talking to the folks in the building, come back with a recommendation to me about how to proceed forward on this idea."

‘Stressed’ military
In describing his decision, Bush tied it to the broader struggle against Islamic extremists around the world rather than to Iraq specifically. "It is an accurate reflection that this ideological war we're in is going to last for a while and that we're going to need a military that's capable of being able to sustain our efforts and to help us achieve peace," he said.

Bush chose a different term than Powell. "I haven't heard the word 'broken,' " he said, "but I've heard the word, 'stressed.' . . . We need to reset our military. There's no question the military has been used a lot. And the fundamental question is, 'Will Republicans and Democrats be able to work with the administration to assure our military and the American people that we will position our military so that it is ready and able to stay engaged in a long war?' "

Democrats pounced on Bush's comments. "I am glad he has realized the need for increasing the size of the armed forces . . . but this is where the Democrats have been for two years," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Kerry issued a statement calling Bush's move a "pragmatic step needed to deal with the warnings of a broken military," but he noted that he opposes increasing troops in Iraq. Even before news of Bush's interview, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters that the military is "bleeding" and "we have to apply the tourniquet and strengthen the forces."

The Army has already temporarily increased its force level from 482,000 active-duty soldiers in 2001 to 507,000 today and soon to 512,000. But the Army wants to make that 30,000-soldier increase permanent and then add between 20,000 and 40,000 more on top of that, according to military and civilian officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Every additional 10,000 soldiers would cost about $1.2 billion a year, according to the Army. Because recruitment and training take time, officials cautioned that any boost would not be felt in a significant way until at least 2008.

Bush, who has always said that the United States is headed for victory in Iraq, conceded yesterday what Gates, Powell and most Americans in polls have already concluded. "An interesting construct that General Pace uses is: We're not winning, we're not losing," Bush said, referring to Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the Joint Chiefs chairman, who was spotted near the Oval Office before the interview. "There's been some very positive developments. . . . [But] obviously the real problem we face is the sectarian violence that needs to be dealt with."

Asked yesterday about his "absolutely, we're winning" comment at an Oct. 24 news conference, the president recast it as a prediction rather than an assessment. "Yes, that was an indication of my belief we're going to win," he said.

Strategy for Iraq
Bush said he has not yet made a decision about a new strategy for Iraq and would wait for Gates to return from a trip there to assess the situation. "I need to talk to him when he gets back," Bush said. "I've got more consultations to do with the national security team, which will be consulting with other folks. And I'm going to take my time to make sure that the policy, when it comes out, the American people will see that we . . . have got a new way forward."

Among the options under review by the White House is sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops to Iraq for six to eight months. The idea has the support of important figures such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and has been pushed by some inside the White House, but the Joint Chiefs have balked because they think advocates have not adequately defined the mission, according to U.S. officials.

The chiefs have warned that a short-term surge could lead to more attacks against U.S. troops, according to the officials, who described the review on the condition of anonymity because it is not complete. Bush would not discuss such ideas in detail but said "all options are viable."

While top commanders question the value of a surge, they have begun taking moves that could prepare for one, should Bush order it. Defense officials said yesterday that the U.S. Central Command has made two separate requests to Gates for additional forces in the Middle East, including an Army brigade of about 3,000 troops to be used as a reserve force in Kuwait and a second Navy carrier strike group to move to the Persian Gulf.

Gates has yet to approve the moves, which could increase U.S. forces in the region by as many as 10,000 troops, officials said. The previous theater reserve force, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was recently moved to Iraq's Anbar province to help quell insurgent violence. Gen. George W. Casey, the U.S. commander in Iraq, has called for the additional brigade -- likely the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division -- to be positioned to move into Iraq hotspots if needed.

The additional carrier strike group would give Gen. John P. Abizaid, head of the Central Command, more flexibility in a volatile region, said one official. While such a move would certainly send a pointed message to Iran, the official said it would also allow additional strike capabilities in Iraq.

Staff writers Robin Wright, Lori Montgomery, Josh White, Ann Scott Tyson, Michael Abramowitz and Walter Pincus contributed to this report.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 09:56 PM
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Did the recent election just re arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic?
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
bump
How timely...............guess the predictions are finally coming to fruition.........

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 10:01 PM
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Your post is especially prophetic.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Teutone
Did the recent election just re arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic?
Under the American system, even in defeat Bush is still holding most of the cards. We have two years of madness ahead of us. The President is deliberately mistating the entire election - twisting it into some kind of rationale to continue this pointless stupid war in his usual fashion of indecision and lack of mission. The only way this can change is if Congress attempts to turn back a century of giving the President more power to make and sustain war than has been wise for a democracy to do. We are about to see an historic showdown between the branches of government.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 10:27 PM
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Not just a showdown but a system change is urgently needed. It is broken. Anything else will just be a bandaid.
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