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post #31 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
We invaded and occupied Iraq in 1998?
Typical diversionary tactic from you.
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post #32 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by edfreeman
Typical diversionary tactic from you.
As much as Hollywood would like us all to believe, the world is not made up of purely binary, black and white, situations. You are always removing political rhetoric from its context, which is how you get confused.

No one but George Bush and his posse actually believed Saddam was up to anything that directly threatened the United States, and that is even subject to debate these days. We will find out if, why and how the intelligence books were cooked soon enough, so speculating about George's motives at this time and the details of when he started lying and cherry picking intelligence data to make the case to go to war is really moot. The fact of the matter is, Congress would never have authorized the present "mission" in Iraq, which is regime change as there were no WMD. This is a fact because Congress had already passed a Resolution explicitly prohibiting the use of US troops on Iraqi soil for such a purpose, before the WMD hype started.

So, all the earlier hype about WMD and how evil Saddam was can be boiled down to grandstanding and jockeying for position nearer the microphone by people without the authority to do anything more than blab.

The other bit of context you omit regularly is that there was an attack on US soil by terrorists, non of whom were Iraqis, or were supported by Saddam, and instead of focussing on catching these bad guys we gave up, sort of cut and run but not quite, and went after Saddam instead, and in the process have established the most dangerous and chaotic environment in that country for the world, and especially the Iraqi citizens we claim to be bringing freedom to with the redefined mission. In the context of their world, we don't sound too sincere - we sent the military in to wreak havoc with their dictator, which was very successful, and then had no up front plan concerning what to do next, and the Iraqi people are paying the price. Looks to them like they were never the genuine prize here. It was Saddam's head, and they have had to pay. In the other thread where FTL posted a picture of girl killed by US missile attacks some shallow thinking prompted someone to suggest that being killed by a cruise missile or the like was a better fate than possibly (actually very low probability, even in Saddam's Iraq) being gang raped and murdered by Saddam's sons. Another no-context or wrong context logic error. The father holding his dead daughter's mutilated body would very likely disagree and have preferred to let his daughter grow up and take her chances with the postulated fate by one of our contributors on OT here. In context we have no right to be making those kinds of decisions for Iraqi citizens, and it makes us seem like disgustingly arrogant savages to offer them as excuses for what we did. When you fuck up you need to accept that as the fact, then go understand how you fucked up and why, so you can prevent fucking up like that again. Gross, out of context logic like what was proposed is a diversion from finding the truth, which we have had plenty of from Bush and his posse.

The general discontent and lack of faith in the GWB and Posse proposals is due to another context issue you seem to forget - this Administration has been faced with a task and has demonstrated nothing other than they are not up to it. They have told us all manner of bullshit about the make up of the "insurgency" and its stamina over the last four years to suggest it was about to collapse and the military occupation would be a success if we just showed patience for a few more months. Not a single thing they have passed along to the American people in these disclosures has proven to be even remotely accurate. In context this leads one to conclude they are either lying or don't have a clue about what it is that they are doing.

The world is suffering from this breeding ground for more competent terrorists and terror tactics we have made to strengthen Al-Qaeda in Iraq. This is a world-wide problem and we need the active support of the rest of the civilized world to control and hopefully eliminate it. We just don't have the smarts or the depth of resources needed succeed if we continue to go it alone, and believe me, the rest of the world knows it. Until the diplomatic solution is no longer tainted with "losing the military solution" (like these two paths were separate from one another to begin with and could never be used together to achieve a goal) and "losing the military solution" is detached from the macho pride of the likes of puffy faced, fat white men in Washington, DC, like Newt, we will continue to lose stature in the eyes of the rest of the world, and drain our military strength. Somehow that just doesn't strike me as the purpose of the US military or the Constitutional duty of the President.

Jim
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post #33 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by edfreeman
Typical diversionary tactic from you.
Diversionary tactic? You are the one who said "who was lying to us in 1998". Well, no one was, because the actions taken were within the bounds of international law, and were restricted to a specific situation and targets. The Republican Militia In Iraq, on the other hand, unleased a massive attack on a defenseless civilian population, followed by an occupation punctuated by murder, rape, torture, forced mass unemployment, unrestricted looting, and the setting up of a puppet government that outlawed political parties and then carried on phony elections that excluded a third of the people in the country. Your "1998" example is, like you, full of shit.

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 #34 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 09:24 AM
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A much greater level of credibility and responsibility are required of those who act, rather than discuss. That's just common sense, right?

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #35 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 01:32 PM
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Our Delusional Hedgehog

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, January 24, 2007; Page A23

In the beginning, George W. Bush sent American forces into Iraq with no apparent thought about the sectarian tensions that could explode once Saddam Hussein was ousted. Now, nearing the end of his presidency, Bush is sending more American forces into Iraq with no apparent regard for the verdict of the American people, rendered in November's election, that they've had it with his war. And, by the evidence of all available polling, with Bush himself.

The decline in Bush's support to Watergate-era Nixonian depths since he announced that his new Iraq policy was his old Iraq policy, only more so, stems, I suspect, from three conclusions that the public has reached about the president and his war. The first, simply, is that the war is no longer winnable and, worse, barely comprehensible since it has evolved into a Sunni-Shiite conflict. The second is that Bush, in all matters pertaining to his war, is a one-trick president who keeps doing the same thing over and over, never mind that it hasn't worked. In Isaiah Berlin's typology of leaders, Bush isn't merely a hedgehog who knows one thing rather than many things. He's a delusional hedgehog who knows one thing that isn't so.

The third, and politically most dangerous, conclusion is that Bush appears genuinely indifferent to the electoral judgment of the American people, who seem to believe that they are, in some vague sense, sovereign, at least on Election Day. The Post-ABC News poll released Monday, in which Bush's approval rating had sunk to a record-low 33 percent, also showed a corollary decline in the public's assessment of Bush's personal attributes. The two questions about Bush's personal qualities on which he polled the lowest, and that most closely mirrored his overall approval rating, concerned his willingness "to listen to different points of view" (36 percent) and his understanding of "the problems of people like you" (32 percent). Turns out that if you blow off the clear mandate of a national election, people actually notice.

In the war itself, meanwhile, our current policy has achieved new depths of senselessness. The administration is lining up support from our longtime Sunni allies in the region -- Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt in particular -- as a buffer against the spreading influence of Shiite Iran within Iraq and across the Middle East. Inside Iraq, meanwhile, we have cast our lot with the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a sectarian Shiite with long-standing ties to Iran, and hedged our bet by cultivating the support of another Shiite leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who is even closer to Iran.

Hakim heads the Iranian-backed Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). His deputy, Adel Abdul Mahdi, was in the running to become prime minister until the head of SCIRI's rival Shiite party, Moqtada al-Sadr, threw his support to Maliki. According to a New York Times report on Sunday, some administration officials are discussing quietly shifting our backing to Hakim's party. Others oppose this, pointing out that the raid in which U.S. forces seized Iranian operatives in Baghdad last month took place within Hakim's own compound.

More broadly, our plan for stability in Iraq is to bolster whichever Shiite administration governs the country, no matter its closeness to Iran, in the groundless hope that it will establish nonsectarian order. Our plan for stability in the region is to enlist Sunni states to contain Iran. These plans cancel each other out.

This isn't an example of Kissingerian subtlety -- waging the Cold War, for instance, by tilting toward China over the Soviet Union. This is an example of world-class incoherence, entirely of our own making. We charged into Iraq with some dim sense that Hussein's successor government would be headed by representatives of the long-persecuted Shiite majority, but we assumed that comity would prevail between the Shiites and the displaced Sunnis. Then we rendered that dicey proposition all but impossible by sacking the Iraqi army and most of the civil service -- in effect, plunging the Sunni population into mass unemployment with no prospect of reemployment. We fed the Sunni resistance, which fed the Shiite retaliation.

Now, we are stuck backing an Iran-friendly Shiite sectarian regime in Iraq, even as we plan to spend hundreds of millions in aid to the Lebanese army to fend off the Shiite sectarian forces of Hezbollah, and even as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice scuttles from one Sunni state to the next in an attempt to build a firewall around Iran. This is foreign policy as nonsense, as the American people have apparently figured out.

meyersonh@washpost.com

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 #36 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 01:41 PM
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Blah blah blah, this argument is so fucking old, the Democrats were always right and the Republicans were always wrong and not only is hindsight 20/20, its that the Dems have always hadperfect fucking vision all the time and never voted for anything wrong. So fucking what??!!! This argument is dead as dead can be, we all know where everyone stands, polls dont mean shit, and we are where we are and we need to fix whats going on now. Everyone happy??

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post #37 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 02:06 PM
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Here is the problem: The American People are supposed to be soverign in this country. They speak through their elected representatives. On Nov 2, they did just that, and now the Congress is about to go on record stating the same. How can you, as an American, justify an Administration that refuses to recognize that a 2/3 majority of people in this countrty want us out of Iraq? This is moving beyond issues of war, and into issues about just what it is this country is about. Are we to have a Nazi Party calling the shots?

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 #38 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
Here is the problem: The American People are supposed to be soverign in this country. They speak through their elected representatives. On Nov 2, they did just that, and now the Congress is about to go on record stating the same. How can you, as an American, justify an Administration that refuses to recognize that a 2/3 majority of people in this countrty want us out of Iraq? This is moving beyond issues of war, and into issues about just what it is this country is about. Are we to have a Nazi Party calling the shots?
Unless I misread the Constitution, there are two separate elected branches of government, co-equal and neither subservient to the other.

Thought you might benefit by being reminded, given your failure to recognize it, above.

Bot
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post #39 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 03:56 PM
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post #40 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-25-2007, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Turnaround in Baghdad

BY NIBRAS KAZIMI
January 25, 2007

There has been a flurry of press reports recently about insurgents battling American and Iraqi security forces on Haifa Street in Baghdad, and around the rural town of Buhruz in Diyala Province. These same insurgents also claimed to have shot down a Black Hawk helicopter near Buhruz. At the same time, the Americans and Iraqis are declaring a major victory as evidenced by the increased number of dead or captured militants, and the uncovering of massive weapons caches. So, what is going on?

What needs to be understood is the central role that Al Qaeda — or more accurately its successor organization, a group called the Islamic State of Iraq — is playing on these fronts and the diminishing role of all the other insurgent groups.

The wider Sunni insurgency — the groups beyond Al Qaeda — is being slowly, and surely, defeated. The average insurgent today feels demoralized, disillusioned, and hunted. Those who have not been captured yet are opting for a quieter life outside of Iraq. Al Qaeda continues to grow for the time being as it cannibalizes the other insurgent groups and absorbs their most radical and hardcore fringes into its fold. The Baathists, who had been critical in spurring the initial insurgency, are becoming less and less relevant, and are drifting without a clear purpose following the hanging of their idol, Saddam Hussein. Rounding out this changing landscape is that Al Qaeda itself is getting a serious beating as the Americans improve in intelligence gathering and partner with more reliable Iraqi forces.

In other words, battling the insurgency now essentially means battling Al Qaeda. This is a major accomplishment.

Last October, my sources began telling me about rumblings among the insurgent strategists suggesting that their murderous endeavor was about to run out of steam. This sense of fatigue began registering among mid-level insurgent commanders in late December, and it has devolved to the rank and file since then. The insurgents have begun to feel that the tide has turned against them.

In many ways, the timing of this turnaround was inadvertent, coming at the height of political and bureaucratic mismanagement in Washington and Baghdad. A number of factors contributed to this turnaround, but most important was sustained, stay-the-course counterinsurgency pressure. At the end of the day, more insurgents were ending up dead or behind bars, which generated among them a sense of despair and a feeling that the insurgency was a dead end.

The Washington-initiated "surge" will speed-up the ongoing process of defeating the insurgency. But one should not consider the surge responsible for the turnaround. The lesson to be learned is to keep killing the killers until they realize their fate.

General David Petraeus, whom President Bush has tasked to quell the insurgency, spent the last year and a half updating the U.S. Army and Marine Corps's field manual for counterinsurgency. There's plenty of fancy theory there, as well as case studies from Iraq. I don't know how much of the new manual is informed by General Petraeus' two notable failures in Iraq: building a brittle edifice of government in Mosul that collapsed at the first challenging puff, and the inadequate training and equipping of the Iraqi army due to corruption and mismanagement.

General Petraeus walked away from those failures unscathed and hence unaccountable. He re-enters the picture with major expectations. Most commentators, especially those who begrudge attributing any success to Mr. Bush, will lionize the general as he takes credit for this turnaround and speeds it up. Let's hope that he has enough sense to allow what works to keep working and to improve on it, rather than trying to put his own stamp on things and test out the theories he's developed.

The best way to use the extra troops would be to protect the Sunni neighborhoods of Baghdad from Shiite death squads. This will give an added incentive for Sunnis to turn against the militants operating in their midst. For most Sunnis, the insurgency has come to be about communal survival, rather than communal revival. They no longer harbor fantasies of recapturing power. They are on the run and are losing the turf war with the Shiites for Baghdad.

Sunni sectarian attacks, usually conducted by jihadists, finally provoked the Shiites to turn to their most brazen militias — the ones who would not heed Ayatollah Sistani's call for pacifism — to conduct painful reprisals against Sunnis, usually while wearing official military fatigues and carrying government issued weapons. The Sunnis came to realize that they were no longer facing ragtag fighters, but rather they were confronting a state with resources and with a monopoly on lethal force. The Sunnis realized that by harboring insurgents they were inviting retaliation that they could do little to defend against.

Sadly, it took many thousands of young Sunnis getting abducted by death squads for the Sunnis to understand that in a full-fledged civil war, they would likely lose badly and be evicted from Baghdad. I believe that the Sunnis and insurgents are now war weary, and that this is a turnaround point in the campaign to stabilize Iraq.

Still, major bombings will continue for many years, for Al Qaeda will remain oblivious to all evidence of the insurgency's eventual defeat. The Baathists, and jihadist groups like Ansar al-Sunna, the Islamic Army of Iraq, and the 1920 Revolution Brigades, may be collapsing due to aimlessness and despair, but Al Qaeda still enjoys the clarity of zealotry and fantasy. Right now, they are arm-twisting other jihadist groups to submit to them and are also taking credit for the large-scale fighting that continues in Iraq.

Al Qaeda will continue the fight long after the Iraqi battlefield becomes inhospitable to their cause, and they will only realize the futility of their endeavor after they are defeated on the wider Middle East battlefield and elsewhere in the world.

As the wider insurgency recedes, the Iraqi state will gain some breathing space to implement the rule of law and dissolve the death squads. A society that sets about rebuilding itself can endure the type of attacks mounted by Al Qaeda, although they are painful.

Counterinsurgency strategists will argue about the precise moment when this turnabout occurred and will try to replicate the victory elsewhere. Pundits will argue about who or what policy was responsible for it, a matter eventually to be settled by historians. Victory has a way of making everyone associated with it golden, and many will claim right of place. Defeat has a way of turning everyone associated with it to ash, and many will disclaim responsibility for it.

Let me state the lesson of this turnabout clearly lest it be obscured amidst the euphoria: Never mind who takes credit, kill or capture more of the killers to ensure victory.

Mr. Kazimi can be reached at nibraska@yahoo.com
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