« The bridges of Grafton County | Main | How To Stamp Out Porn? »

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups

While hopping around the left wing of the Blogosphere this morning, I stumbled across a link to this page. It's an online petition for those who are against the war, promising to only support candidates who oppose the war.

Let's look at their three points:

I pledge to only support candidates who: 1. Acknowledge that the U.S. was misled into the war in Iraq 2. Advocate for a responsible exit plan with a timeline 3. Support our troops at home and abroad

1. Before we do anything else, we all gotta agree that Bush lied (paraphrased from the weaselly use of the passive voice). Never mind the years of officials from all over the spectrum saying that Iraq had not complied with resolutions, the numerous foreign leaders who also said the same, the critical distinction between being wrong and being deliberately deceptive, and the actual discovery of chemical weapons in Iraq: the first thing we need to do is blame Bush. Once we all do that, we can all join hands, sing Kumbaya, and the world will be a peaceful, loving, happy, and just ginchy place.

2. Then, once we've all agreed that Bush is a big old doodyhead, we can tell the terrorists that if they just hang on long enough, we'll take our ball and go home -- and even tell them just how long they'll have to hold out. And once that is done, they can go back to torturing and killing Iraqis and rebuild what they had in Afghanistan -- a nation that they can use as a base to foment terrorism around the world. Only this time, it'll be much better located, with easier access, AND big oil reserves.

3. Finally, we'll have to overcome those poor, misguided idiots in our armed forces who foolishly support this war. They've just been brainwashed into believing what they're doing, We need to pull them out of Iraq, where they're defending the Iraqi people from terrorists and learning just what and doesn't work against them (the argument of "Iraq as a training ground for terrorists" works both ways, and our military is far better at learning and retaining those lessons) and bring them home, where they can be retrained into being global police and social workers -- which is just so less icky than their historic role as defending America and our interests by "killing people and breaking things."

I said it before, and I'll say it again: the best exit strategy is no exit strategy. And the only way to truly win a war is the model we established in World War II: unconditional surrender by the enemy, the utter destruction of the culture and government that led to the war, and THEN the rebuilding of the enemy into a form more compatible with the community of nations. It worked wonders in Japan and Germany, is coming along nicely in Afghanistan, and is showing good signs of working in Iraq.

But that doesn't really matter much, as long as we can all get together and agree that President Bush is a big old doodyhead.



TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups:

» NIF linked with DDG-67

Comments (46)

Support our troops... (Below threshold)
Support our troops at home and abroad
The troops are their mission, you idiots!! You can't support firefighters unless you support them putting out fires. You can't support police and not support their efforts to arrest people. How the fuck do you 'support the troops' if you don't support what they're doing?

This is such a chickenshit position to take. It sounds oh-so-compassionate, but a major point seems to fly over their heads - those who are fighting this war want to fight it. They volunteered for it. I'm sure there are those over in Iraq who don't agree with this war, but apparently they don't disagree with it enough to stand up for themselves and thus easily dismissed.

And the only way to trul... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And the only way to truly win a war is the model we established in World War II: unconditional surrender by the enemy, the utter destruction of the culture and government that led to the war

By enemy do you mean islamic terrorists in general, Arab foreigners fighting in Iraq, former Baathist military types, or any other groups I'm forgetting who are fighting our forces and new Iraqi forces? Iraqi fighters from Saddam's army I can see, but do you really think unconditional surrender will ever come from foreign terrorists, from Zarqawi? Won't the "utter destruction of the culture and government" mean destroying all of militant Islamic fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, and so on in addition to those in Iraq? How do you propose we achieve this, and how long will it take?

Dos that stupid people in l... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Dos that stupid people in large numbers mean CINDY SHEEHAN and her group of nuts? dose it include the jerks at PETA? or what how about the liberals lead by TED KENNEDY?

those who are fighting t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

those who are fighting this war want to fight it. They volunteered for it.

While I don't doubt that this is the opinion of probably most of those fighting in Iraq, it is disengenuous to say that all of them volunteered for this war. Many of them volunteered for guard and reserve duty, a weekend a month and two weeks a year (or whatever it is), and weren't really expecting a year or two at war in Iraq. Just sayin...

"...but do you reall... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


"...but do you really think unconditional surrender will ever come from foreign terrorists, from Zarqawi?"

Most folks would consider death an unconditional surrender, so I would answer yes.

"How do you propose we achieve this..."

See above.

"...and how long will it take?"

It takes as long as it takes, that is the point of the post as I read it.

can tell the terrorists ... (Below threshold)
Snarf:

can tell the terrorists that if they just hang on long enough, we'll take our ball and go home -- and even tell them just how long they'll have to hold out.

Or, in the alternative, we can tell the Iraqis that it doesn't matter how long it takes them to get their sh!@ together, Uncle Sam will always be there subsidize them and do their fighting for them.

Many of them volunteered... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Many of them volunteered for guard and reserve duty, a weekend a month and two weeks a year (or whatever it is), and weren't really expecting a year or two at war in Iraq.

That's like saying, "I was just having sex, I was expecting someone to get pregnant." If you are in the military, active duty or not, then you better well expect to be sent into combat at any moment.

Many of them volun... (Below threshold)
Many of them volunteered for guard and reserve duty, a weekend a month and two weeks a year (or whatever it is), and weren't really expecting a year or two at war in Iraq. Just sayin..

As a former reservist, I get to call bullshit with authority on you, mantis. Reserve duty isn't just weekend drills. It's full military responsibility that allows you to hold a civilian job at the same time. As a former Marine, my reserve units were called up before active duty Army units, and I was told that when I enlisted.

So yes, they VOLUNTEERED for this war. And you have every right as a military person to not fight in a war you feel is unjust. You'll likely be imprisoned for a short time, but if you feel something is wrong, you're less of a man / woman to go through with it anyway for your own convenience.

It takes as long as it t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

It takes as long as it takes, that is the point of the post as I read it.

I read it to mean we will not give the terrorists a date to hold out for. Fine. Does that mean we cannot estimate how long this project will take? 10 years? 20? Or is the answer "just shut up and wait while lives are lost and tax dollars are spent"?

Sharp,

I understand that by signing up for reserve or guard duty, they sign up to be pulled up for active duty abroad at any time (and that are a full military responsibilities, didn't mean to denigrate). I was just suggesting that some may not agree with this war at all, but still do their duty because that is what they signed up to do (which I commend them for).

"Does that mean we c... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


"Does that mean we cannot estimate how long this project will take? "

I wouldn't want to try to estimate it, no. I don't see why you couldn't if you really want to.

It will take as long as it ... (Below threshold)
Snarf:

It will take as long as it takes, or more likely, until the Sean Hannitys of the world find that it is no longer a useful rhetorical device to accuse all Bush critics of getting troops killed by traitorously undermining our courageous War President(TM).

Personally, I will support ... (Below threshold)
jmaster:

Personally, I will support NO candidate who even implies that the US was misled into the war in Iraq.

Such a candidate is obviously either incapable of reasoned thought, or is a lying political opportunist.

I wouldn't want to try t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I wouldn't want to try to estimate it, no. I don't see why you couldn't if you really want to.

To tell the truth I have no idea how long this would take. If we are pegging "unconditional surrender" as the goal, and if we keep large forces in Iraq and maintain military bases there I imagine it will go on indefinitely. This is especially the case if the achievement of surrender actally means we have killed or captured all the various opposition forces. How do we know when we're done? How can surrender work if your enemy is hidden? How do we stop the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq?

How long are we willing and able to fight this war? The answer "as long as it takes" is no answer at all. There are factors involved beyond just the will of the war's supporters.

Aren't any of the conservatives here concerned about how much this war is costing? Will it be worth it?

We still have troops in Ger... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:

We still have troops in Germany and Japan 60 years after the end of WWII. We still have troops
in SKorea 50 Years after the end of the Korean War. In fact wherever America has faught a major war, we have left a sizeable amount of troops
behind. After the Gulf War I we had 15K troops
in Saudi Arabia for over a decade to contain Saddam Hussein. I don't realy know what the rational basis for the libs/dems/MSM wanting a
date certain for the total widthdrawl of American
forces.

Speaking as a retired Sailo... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Speaking as a retired Sailor and father of a Marine, please understand me when I say it doesn't matter whether a servicemember agrees or disagrees with the war in Iraq. Our oath revolves around "I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same" and the enlisted oath includes "I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me."

The only way to righteously and conscientiously refuse to obey is if the order they're refusing is illegal. If they refuse and the order is later determined to be legal, then they can expect to spend some amount of time in unpleasant circumstances, as Mr Sharp said.

What it boils down to is the individual servicemember's opinion on "whether or not we should go to war" or whatever just doesn't matter. We all know this. We all accept this, or we take steps to separate ourselves from the military.

I'll close out by reinforcing Jay's response to the last point: there are a whole lot of people who say the words "I support our troops" who are either flat-out lying, or don't understand the concept of support. See, I did that without calling them "idiots."

Oops.

No appeasment and the uncon... (Below threshold)

No appeasment and the unconditional surrender of every Islamic country in the world is my goal. Too bad we will not do this until they nuke some of our cities.

I think it's funny how Bush... (Below threshold)
RightWingLiberal:

I think it's funny how Bush fanbois say you can not support the troops unless you also support the current Administration in power and it's policies. Yet they were singing a different tune when Clinton took our soliders into military actions.

Hippocrits?

Such a candidate is obvi... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Such a candidate is obviously either incapable of reasoned thought

Along with half of your fellow Americans

a majority of Americans, 51%, say the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction - 7/26/2005

"2. Advocate for a respo... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

"2. Advocate for a responsible exit plan with a timeline"

Can you imagine if there had been calls for this in WW II? Imagine if, let's say, the Allies called for an exit strategy no later than December 1, 1944. At that time the Germans were retreating back to the Fatherland, and morale was beginning to crumble if if they hadn't realized defeat would soon be at hand. What if we just up and stopped, pulled back to Britain and France and put down our guns? In short, Germany would have revitalized its war machine, millions of more Jews would have died (if not completely been annihilated from Eastern Europe altogether) and fascism would have won out through much (if not most) of Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

Instead, just 15 days later after that mock "exit strategy" date, came the Battle of the Bulge, and just 2 1/2 months after that came the firebombing of Dresden—effectively and summarily crushing the will of not only the people but of the Nazis, too. Less than 2 months after Dresden, Berlin fell.

The lesson? Do not set arbitrary dates and pronounce exit strategies. Jay's right: When exit strategies or withdrawals are set, as in the case of Vietnam, they open the doors to murder and mayhem on an unimaginable scale.

In affect, an exit strategy is like pleading "no contest" to your enemy. You are saying, in essence, you win, we give up, we're going home. Is that victory? Absolutely not. It is retreat. And that is grossly and highly unacceptable, particularly in the case of Iraq. To give up and go home on some arbitrary date will unleash hell upon the Iraqi people; embolden the likes of Zarqawi to mold Iraq into another theocratic state a la Afghanistan; embolden Iran to crush the rising democratic influence inside its borders; signal to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon to abandon their democratic reforms because America isn't serious; and, worst of all, let every terrorist group around the globe again know that America is indeed the "paper tiger" bin Laden called us in the late 90s just before murdering 3,000 Americans.

So stop concerning yourself with and wringing your hands over how long this will take because it's going to take a long while. A good damn long while probably. And Bush has made no bones about that whatsoever.

And the only way to truly win a war is the model we established in World War II: unconditional surrender by the enemy, the utter destruction of the culture and government...

An interesting point, but I'm not sure we'll ever get that signing-on-the-deck-of-Missouri kind of moment. I agree that the enemy needs to be fully and completely aware that we intend to win; a message that has not been fully received yet. I agree we need to wipe out the ill-named insurgents in towns like Tal Afar, Fallujah, Ramadi and the like, they need to be crushed. We are not doing that and that is a mistake. But my disagreement with that strategy is when it comes to fighting in large cities, like Baghdad, and what kind of strategy to employ. I think the large sweeps are working in Baghdad (for the most part), but the same strategy is not working in the towns I mention above, where I think the utter destruction of the town (and the supply line of weapons and weapons intel is flooding in from Syria) would really demoralize the enemy and the people who are supporting them.

In order to win a war, you have to be more of a bastard than the other guy. And right now, we're not being that bastard.

"There is nothing good about war. But there is good in why we fight them." --anonymous

So stop concerning yours... (Below threshold)
mantis:

So stop concerning yourself with and wringing your hands over how long this will take because it's going to take a long while.

Oh, ok, we'll just go back to sleep now.

mantis:And if you ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

mantis:

And if you can cherrypick from that article...

"Still, on the question that tests fundamental attitudes toward the war — was it a mistake to send U.S. troops? — the public's view has rebounded. By 53%-46%, those surveyed say it wasn't a mistake, the strongest support for the war since just after the Iraqi elections in January."

And there's that pesky third paragraph:

But an ambivalent public also says sending troops to Iraq wasn't a mistake, a sign that most people aren't yet ready to give up on the war.

Also, 49% believe they were not misled.

And what's that phrase? "Survey has an error of + or -4%?"

Moving on...

Let's stay till the US body... (Below threshold)
Gary:

Let's stay till the US body count is around 57K - then we'll have another reason to think we know how to WIN a war.

Oh, ok, we'll just go ba... (Below threshold)
Peterf:

Oh, ok, we'll just go back to sleep now.

No, "wake up and smell the cat food" as They Might Be Giants so eloquently put it.

Put pressure on the President to win the damn war out right. And let our troops do their damn jobs.

"I think it's funny ... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


"I think it's funny how Bush fanbois say you can not support the troops unless you also support the current Administration in power and it's policies. Yet they were singing a different tune when Clinton took our soliders into military actions."

You know I just don't remember the Rethugs protesting in the streets and screaming for our immediate withdrawal from Kosovo during the Clinton years. But I did spend the last part of his term in a dungeon self-flaggelating myself as penance for voting for that piece of shit, so I could have missed it.

I saw a poster on campus to... (Below threshold)

I saw a poster on campus today that really pissed me off. It was a giant full-color montage of left-wing rhetoric and general misinformation. On one side, it said that Sadaam had killed "millions" - why did it take the US so long to intervene? On the other side it stated that the US had no right to go to war with Iraq and that Iraq wasn't worth the cost.

WTF?

I should take a picture of it. Seriously, it's messed up. I particularly loved the Abu Ghraib pictures splattered in all their glory throughout the poster with the implication that all soldiers do this sort of thing to prisoners. But support the troops, yeah!

BTW, I just love how some people scream about the cost of the war ($$$!) but demand that our tax dollars go to support some babymachine on welfare because it's "for the children" or something like that. Yeah, American children are fine and dandy, but don't you dare try to liberate a brutally oppressed people because that's just too expensive.

Is it just me, or has anyon... (Below threshold)

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the ones that continually complain about being mislead into the war the ones most likely to ignore the facts in every matter and are therefore guilty of the dishonesty they would have us believe Bush is? Cherry picking polls, outright lies, nothing gets in the way of pushing their corrupt agenda. I guess the first casualty of peace is truth.

Gary: "Let's stay till the... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Gary: "Let's stay till the US body count is around 57K - then we'll have another reason to think we know how to WIN a war."

Maybe you could explain what you meant because I am very confused. Are you being sarcastic? Do you think we should stay or shouldn't stay? I'm pretty sure you aren't serious about 57K US deaths because even if the rate of casualties remain constant in Iraq (rather than decreasing at all over time) it would take more than 57 years for that to happen. So does 57K have a significance I'm missing? Is it the death toll from some other conflict?


And Jay Tea, many of us who support Bush think he's a big doodyhead, at least part of the time. It's just, you know, not a deal breaker or anything. ;-)

bullwinkle... they do say t... (Below threshold)
Synova:

bullwinkle... they do say that you can't cheat an honest man. maybe that's what that means.

Peter F.,How did I... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Peter F.,

How did I cherry pick? This is the comment I was responding to:

Personally, I will support NO candidate who even implies that the US was misled into the war in Iraq.

Such a candidate is obviously either incapable of reasoned thought, or is a lying political opportunist.

jmaster didn't comment on it being a good idea or not, but on whether we were misled. I was responding to that.

Now that the Sunnis are on ... (Below threshold)

Now that the Sunnis are on board with the constitution, the gloom and doom talk looks sillier and sillier.

mantis:Let me elab... (Below threshold)
Peter F.f:

mantis:

Let me elaborate: Yes, a cherry-picked a poll number that supports your implied argument/claim of "no one supports Bush on the war" but never really addresses jamaster's issue: he believes that Americans or political candiadtes who believe we were "misled" into war are "incapable of thought". (A point I disagree with, by the way. I think there are many other factors involved.) By the same measure, though, one could also say that 49% of the people believe we were not "misled" into war. Also, perfectly valid. Is citing this poll a good way to support an argument? Not really.

All I'm saying is that you've cherry-picked a poll number to support your argument; and that for anyone to use either poll number is propping up their argument on stilts made of toothpicks. Polls are not an indication of morality (what's right and wrong), they're just (often questionable) measurements of general opinion and trends that offer little in the way of true and meaningful insight into real issues. Just my opinion, though.

Onward...

Ol' BC: Um, more l... (Below threshold)
Peter F.f:

Ol' BC:

Um, more like a slightly reduced silliness. Sunni cooperation and capitulation is tenuous. There's a long way to go, especially before this upcoming election.

An election, I should add, that ALL supporters and opponents of the Iraq War should pray is as nonviolent as January's elections.

Yes, a cherry-picked a p... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Yes, a cherry-picked a poll number that supports your implied argument/claim of "no one supports Bush on the war"

That's not my argument, explicit or implied (in fact the "no one" part you just pull out of thin air). I was just suggesting that jmaster was, in essence, saying that half of his fellow citizens were incapable of reasoned thought. This follows quite logically from what he wrote, and is separate from my other questions about the duration of the war, which I'm much more interested in than polls.

mantis:Thin air? O... (Below threshold)
Peter F.f:

mantis:

Thin air? OK, fair enough, you didn't actually say it. Thinly veiled and in a round about way? Yeah, I'd say so. Could I prove it? Maybe. Why else would you keep that poll at the ready? To prove that 49% of Americans disagree with you? Hardly. No, it shows that 51% believe the war is wrong. Therefore, it supports an anti-war stance; a stance that no regular visitor to Wizbang! is unfamiliar with you taking. Anyway, that's where I see the ever-so thinly veiled implication. Just my calm opinion on the matter.

But let's get back to the point of thread: Is the duration of the war more of a concern to you than winning it? And let's be specific: Is it the length of the Iraq War or the War on Terror that concerns you most and why?

Our main problem today is t... (Below threshold)
ron:

Our main problem today is that we have gotten so accurate with our weapons that we had very little collateral damage and commensurate civilian casualties. A good thing and a bad thing. We would have had to deliberately bomb civilian targets and we were trying to save the civilians. A thing I said to my wife was that (among other things) this was going to be a mess. My idea was to go in there get Saddam and get out. But Nooo we can't do that. Why not? Well "it would leave a power vacuum you say". "Yup". Keep them fighting one another and they won't be a fightin us. Radical you say. E=MC2 was radical too and that was my other idear. Glass parking lots. More Rad-ical. The only other humane option was to try and get these people a democratic government. Higher cost to us is life and moola. I dunno. I am torn between feeling sorry for them after we irradiated them or trying to help them get a new life. Did I tell you I got asked twice if I wanted to run for office? I would have made a perfect politician the way I am waffling about here.

Oh, poor mantis, I... (Below threshold)
jmaster:

Oh, poor mantis,

I at least give you credit for putting forth some effort. Kudos.

But the poll you pointed to says that 51% of those surveyed believed that they were MISLEAD ON THE ISSUE OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. That’s quite different from the referenced petition’s statement that “WE WERE MISLEAD INTO WAR”.

The WMD issue was just one of many justifying causes laid out by the admin. It is also the single issue on that list that is the easiest to dispute. But many of the other reasons still remain beyond dispute.

And by the way, all those reasons and justifications were made public, and presented to, voted upon, and agreed to, by 95%+ of the congress. We’re talking both parties here.

Maybe Jay was referring to the large number of stupid people in congress. Lord knows there are plenty of them. But I suspect he was referring to the large number of stupid people who fall for the old “WMD as the only justification of the war” routine.

Peter F.,Ok, I'll ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Peter F.,

Ok, I'll take this step by step since you seem determined to falsely put words in my mouth.

Thinly veiled and in a round about way? Yeah, I'd say so. Could I prove it? Maybe. Why else would you keep that poll at the ready?

I didn't keep the poll at the ready, I remembered several polls this summer asking the "misled" question, so I googled "poll, iraq, war, misled" and that USA Today article was near the top of many articles, and the numbers were withing 3-4 percentage points of similar polls that asked the same question. Took me all of two minutes. In any case how does me claiming that half of the country believes we were misled translate to I think no one supports this war? You know perfectly well from this blog that I know many people support the war, or how would you have become familiar with what you call my "anti-war" stance? Moving on...

To prove that 49% of Americans disagree with you?

Once again I have to explain this. jmaster said that any politician who says we were misled is "incapable of rational thought". I pointed out that half the country believes that, therefore he's saying that half the country is incapable of rational thought. That's all I said. That's all I meant. Of course I know that half the country disagrees, that much is obvious. I suppose that by jmaster's calculus, that half is capable of rational thought. Bully for them.

Therefore, it supports an anti-war stance; a stance that no regular visitor to Wizbang! is unfamiliar with you taking. Anyway, that's where I see the ever-so thinly veiled implication. Just my calm opinion on the matter.

First, your opinion may be calm but it is wrong and presumptuous. Second, let me clear up my anti-war stance. I am not a pacifist. I believe some wars are just, and some wars are necessary, and hopefully the wars we fight are both. I supported the war in Afghanistan and still support our efforts there; in fact I wish they were greater. I have never made the argument that the Iraq war was immoral or illegal. I thought it was a bad idea, and I think the administration trumped up and exaggerated the justifications for that bad idea. That doesn't mean I support Saddam Hussein or terrorists or whatever. I felt that deposing Saddam was not worth the lives, the money, and the risk of increasing terrorism. I think we are currently asking too much of the men and women in our armed services and I worry about the future, both here and in the middle east. I'm not sure we're helping make that future peaceful. Anyway, I'm perfectly aware that there are many who disagree with me (and I respect the intelligent ones' arguments), on both sides, and I would never make the argument that they don't exist. You, yes, pulled that out of thin air.

Is the duration of the war more of a concern to you than winning it? And let's be specific: Is it the length of the Iraq War or the War on Terror that concerns you most and why?

Ok, first, I am clearly talking about the Iraq war, not the war on terror. I believe that the war on terror is an ideological war that we will not win with tanks and planes. I believe it is part of a centuries old struggle between religious extremists of all stripes and decent, peaceful civilization. That war will go on for the foreseeable future, and may not ever be won.

What concerns me is how long this war will take to win, and what we consider "winning". I have in this thread taken issue with Jay's "unconditional surrender" goal. The forces in Iraq are unlike any army we have ever fought and this war is unlike any other war. I also think comparing Iraq to WWII is silly, since in that war we were fighting a massive military force hellbent on taking over an entire continent (and parts of others) and well on its way to succeeding. We could accept nothing other than surrender and when the German and Japanese armies did lay down their guns, the war was over. Iraq did not invade and was not planning to invade any other countries; our moral imperative here was to depose an awful dictator, not to save the world. Ok, we did that, but now we must fight his former army and foreigners who came to Iraq simply to fight us plus we must deal with extreme sectarian fighting, all with almost no local forces equipped and trained enough to help in a substantial way.

Since Jay's goal seems to me to be woefully unrealistic, maybe we can scale back the goal of winning to establishing enough trained and equipped Iraqi forces so that they can quell the sectarian struggles and police their own state. In that case, how long are we willing to stay there until this happens? If you think the American people are willing to let this war continue indefinitely, I urge you to brush up on your history. So how long? How long will it take to get Iraq self-sufficient? And when and if we do train enough forces, will they just be Shiites who will then commit genocide on their Sunni countrymen? How do we prevent that? Do we care to? Will we stay to protect the Sunnis from the Shiites in power?

Btw I find the recent news regarding some Sunni leaders accepting the (now very malleable) constitution very encouraging. I hope this trend continues. However the compromise sadly weakens the effectiveness of Iraq's soon-to-be constitution. But that is a whole other conversation.

Anyway, stop putting words in my mouth in order to paint me as ignorant and disengenuous, constructing idiotic straw man arguments. If you have an argument with me, please confine it to things I actually write, not the hidden meaning you imagine I imply.

But the poll you pointed... (Below threshold)
mantis:

But the poll you pointed to says that 51% of those surveyed believed that they were MISLEAD ON THE ISSUE OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. That’s quite different from the referenced petition’s statement that “WE WERE MISLEAD INTO WAR”.

Yawn. The other justifications for the war in no way prompted the speed with which the administration was bent on invading. The only reason the administration could give for pulling the weapons inspectors and immediately invading was the threat of attack with WMD. Without that, we could have pursued options other than invasion and occupation ASAP. One of these options, which as I understand it the Bush admin. decided against during the run-up to the war, was to bomb the hell out of Zarqawi's camps when we had good intelligence of where he was. I would have supported that no problem.

Maybe Jay was referring to the large number of stupid people in congress. Lord knows there are plenty of them.

No argument here.

The best exit strategy ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

The best exit strategy is no exit strategy...It's showing signs of working in Iraq.. What signs are these? Iraq has descended into anarchy

Signs that the SWP h... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


Signs that the SWP haven't given up on Al-Quaada yet, looks to me like.


"You know I just don't reme... (Below threshold)
DUDACKATTACK!!!:

"You know I just don't remember the Rethugs protesting in the streets and screaming for our immediate withdrawal from Kosovo during the Clinton years"..

Really?

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."

-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy,"
"and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
Texas Governor George Bush in regards to Kosovo, April 9, 1999.

"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo." Tony Snow 1999.

"No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it."

-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/5/99

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"

-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

Quack. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9672058/)

Questioning and deba... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


Questioning and debating policy is not the same as dressing like clowns and parading in the streets in front of TV cameras, effectively making commercials for the enemy. I have no issue with reasoned dissent, public displays of hysteria, threats and panic don't fit the discription.

And now that you bring it up, what is our exit strategy and timetable in Kosovo? What exactly have we accomplished there in the last...how many years has it been?


mantis:Jiminey Chr... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

mantis:

Jiminey Christmas! It was a mild and (again) calm observation. And sweet mother of pearl, I was not intending to make a strawman argument out of it! I'm sorry you don't agree with my observation nor do I expect you, too. But it is my observation of your ability—let me see if I can say this more succinctly—recalling the poll so easily and readily. (Hell, I can do that, too. I fully admit to being able to cite articles and data to help support my positions!) you can explain your position to your heart's content but it does not change my original observation. Tough cookies

And I'm sorry if you feel that I was somehow painting you in this thread as being "ignorant and disengenuous". If I wanted to do that I would have said so outright. But let's move on before I'm accused of creating a strawman argument again...

I have in this thread taken issue with Jay's "unconditional surrender" goal. The forces in Iraq are unlike any army we have ever fought and this war is unlike any other war. I also think comparing Iraq to WWII is silly, since in that war we were fighting a massive military force hellbent on taking over an entire continent (and parts of others) and well on its way to succeeding. We could accept nothing other than surrender and when the German and Japanese armies did lay down their guns, the war was over.

This will shock you, but I agree with much of this. I, too, take issue with the whole idea of an "unconditional surrender". Like I said above, "I'm not sure we'll ever get that signing-on-the-deck-of-Missouri kind of moment". I think anyone who thinks this is fooling themselves as to who are our enemy is. Our enemy does not wear a uniform, has not signed on with the Geneva Conventions, believes in the Rules of Engagement (i.e., not using a mosque as military outpost or base) and other such official formalities of war. They wear civilian clothing and do not subscribe to the GC or believe in the rules of engagement. Vietnam was a big lesson for the Islamofascist movement; the guerilla military tactics of the VietCong showed them that they could beat the enemy even though they were heavily outgunned and (in many battles) heavily outmanned. The Islamofascists use many of the same guerilla tactics, but with an added twist: killing the innocent as a form of propaganda against the West. (I won't go into how here because that's a convo for another time.) So yeah, I agree in that regard, it is silly to compare it to WW II. We're simply not going to see that "laying down their guns" moment. This is a much different war.

What is not different from WW II, however, and what remains true, is that in order to win you have to be more of a bastard than the other guy. And, again, as I said above, we have yet to prove ourselves as being real mean and determined bastards. In the Novmeber 2004 Battle for Fallujah, we proved we could crush the enemy (albeit 6 months later than it should've been done); and, for the most part, Fallujah has been pacified. But that is a lone example. We've failed in taking out Moqtada al Sadr, pussyfooting around the whole issue of going into a mosque and taking him out. Tal Afar has been a good operation, but should have gone the way of Fallujah. And there are others. So, in this aspect, I agree with Jay; we haven't sent our enemy a clear signal that we are absolutely determined to win.

"...maybe we can scale back the goal of winning to establishing enough trained and equipped Iraqi forces so that they can quell the sectarian struggles and police their own state. In that case, how long are we willing to stay there until this happens? If you think the American people are willing to let this war continue indefinitely, I urge you to brush up on your history. So how long? How long will it take to get Iraq self-sufficient? And when and if we do train enough forces, will they just be Shiites who will then commit genocide on their Sunni countrymen? How do we prevent that? Do we care to? Will we stay to protect the Sunnis from the Shiites in power?"

Again, a shocker. I think you have a lot of legitimate concerns, some I agree with more than others. Indeed, how long will it take Iraq to self-sufficient? I certainly think we have seen signs of it here and here.

The Iraqi Army and Police are starting to take over. Are there problems? Oh sure, unquestionably. There have been terrorist infiltration issues with the IA an IP; loyalty issues; payroll issues; and unarmed recruits have been and continue to be ambushed and cut to pieces in cowardly attacks. And no doubt the IA and IP are largely S'hia and Kurd (in the north), but that's largely because the Sunni (at first) refused to be involved in the New Iraq. But the Sunni are slowly joining the ranks of the IA and IP in Western Iraq and the Sunni Traiangle (they sure as hell aren't S'hia IA and IP in Western Iraq!).

But IA and IP have also fought and died bravely along side US and Coalition forces throughout Iraq; secured areas of Baghdad and beyond. There is very little trouble in southern Iraq these days, thanks to the IA and IP. But the best answer you or anyone is going to get as to how long it will take to make sure they're ready to fully take over duties from the US will remain, at best, undetermined.

In fact, waiting until we are absolutely certain that the IA and IP are fully ready to take over and, more important, that the S'hia will not use their position to commit genocide on the Sunni is the absolute right thing to do and proves our commitment and concern in not letting that happen.

But let me answer your question about a possible Sunni genocide by the S'hia. To put it bluntly, and whether the Sunnis like it to admit or not, we are protecting their asses from the S'hia, who are rightfully pissed off at the Sunni. We should also thank our lucky stars that the Kurds have shown remarkable restraint toward the Sunni. They, too, have every reason to want to cut the Sunni to pieces for their past transgressions. Should we protect the Sunni from them? Yes, we should. It is in our best interests to show the world that even three groups as divergent as the Sunni, Kurds and S'hia can co-exist in one country. So far, we have. For how long? Well, right now, I think that's up to the Sunni leadership to decide.

When it comes to leadership, the Sunni are remarkable pieces of work. One minute it's "let us into the process!" but then "hold on while our brethren continue to plant IEDs and car bombs and be a hotbed for Syrian and Hezbollah insurgents". The Sunni leaders need to be held accountable and responsible and show some leadership in quelling this Sunni Triangle based insurgency, much in the same way al Sistani took control of al Sadr. We should all hope that happens because I think we'll see a significant decrease in the insurgency. In the meantime, we are going to have to continue fighting in the ST. (This, and Assad needs to slam his border shut, period.)

I think you can see (or I at least hope you can see) that I too have the same concerns regarding the duration of the Iraq War that you do. But I simply refuse to set or believe in an artificial timetable for withdrawl when the only clear signal that can be gleened from a withdrawl date is one of victory for the enemy. It didn't work in Vietnam, and it won't work in Iraq.

Peter,So maybe I w... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Peter,

So maybe I was a bit defensive. I am often painted here as a knee-jerk Michael Moore-type or whatever (no doubt I am partly at fault in this because I can be pretty snarky at times), and it gets frustrating as I am actually interested in the facts and open discussion of ideas. Also just as an FYI, I think this petition is stupid and wouldn't consider signing it.

Anyway, I'm glad we see eye-to-eye on some of the realities in Iraq, and the possibilities for "winning". It may in turn shock you that I agree we shouldn't be setting artificial timetables, and I certainly don't expect the pentagon to set a pullout date or anything like that. I agree that such a thing would be unwise. However, in light of Rumsfeld's ever-shifting estimates of this war's potential duration, I just wish we could get a straight answer from someone in charge about how long they think it will take to accomplish our goals. Just a ballpark figure, mind you, no dates. I just think there are many like me in this country who would like a realistic assessment of what we're in for. I know you can't really answer this question, and I'm skeptical that anyone can realistically do so. But I'm concerned for the mental health of our servicemen and women (I have a personal connection with a recent post-Iraq suicide), and if I start hearing next year of some servicemen being called for their fourth combat tours...well, it's troublesome is all.

mantis:But I'm co... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

mantis:
But I'm concerned for the mental health of our servicemen and women (I have a personal connection with a recent post-Iraq suicide), and if I start hearing next year of some servicemen being called for their fourth combat tours...well, it's troublesome is all

First, sorry for the loss of your friend; that really is terrible. It's a tragic waste when someone feels they can't talk to someone about their problems or views the only way out of their problems is to commit suicide. *sigh*

Anyway, again we agree. It would be more than unsettling to get into a never-ending cycle of combat tours. (My good friend's brother is shipping out to Afghanistan after Christmas for his first tour, 18 months. From what he said, that's a fairly typical tour, but I'm not certain of that.)

I really don't know the solution to the troop rotation problem might be. I've often wondered aloud to my wife about redeploying troops from Europe and elsewhere to Iraq, but I'm not sure how that would screw things up with our allies or if it's already being done.

I remembered this story coming out of the Pentagon last summer. (I love the headline, by the way. It sounds so...so...I don't know, Dr. Strangelove-esque! LOL). Sounds like there's some hope and progress in this arena.

Although I voted for Bush and would do so again, the Administration is absolutely rotten at communicating with the public when it comes to issues like this one. Particularly about the general war at large. For instance, his speech last week was one he should be pounding home with more regularity. Not to be a namedropper or to "say look at me!" but I was having this same conversation with a close family friend and former boss of mine who is a close friend of Dick Cheney's and helped orchestrate his advertising campaigns during his senate runs back in the late 70s and 80s. We had a laugh when I said: "If Reagan was the Great Communicator, Bush is the Great Non-Communicator." We also agreed that the Administration could and would quell a lot of the vitriol if they kept people informed more often. Maybe not FDR-like Fireside Chats, but every month or every other money get on TV, let everyone know the state of things, etc.

And you have every right to be defensive, it's tough going to an opposing site and being attacked. I should know better and my apologies if I came across that way.

I'll confine myself to just... (Below threshold)
cat:

I'll confine myself to just one niggle, Jay, because I haven't got the energy to argue the whole war thing today.

You say they found "chemical weapons" in Iraq. Well, yes they did...and no, they didn't. What they found was precisely what Scott Ritter, back in 2002, said they would find - a few left-over bits of harmless goo.

The chemicals were so far past their shelf life that they were militarily useless. So that word "weapon" has to be qualified by some other word, like "useless."

And this was known before the war. Anyone who can prove they really did not know this might escape the accusation of being liars. But that doesn't free them from being called idiots and incompetents. If Bush, Blair, their governments and followers really didn't know that Iraq couldn't possibly have any functioning WMD, they shouldn't be put in prison. But they should never be trusted with anything more demanding than dishwashing or pizza delivery.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

tips@wizbangblog.com

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy