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The best laid plans of mice and men

I consider myself a very amateur military historian and theoretician. I've picked up a few pieces of wisdom and lore here and there, and like to believe I've learned how to apply them on occasion.

One of the lessons I've learned is that "no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy." There is no such thing as a perfect plan; the key to success is to come up with a good plan, one that has has a pretty good chance of succeeding, but leaving enough flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.

The Bush administration's plan for defeating Iraq was a good plan. It was designed to defeat Iraq's military in a minimal time and with minimal Allied and civilian casualties. And even before it was started, it had problems.

That plan called for a pincer movement, with forces moving in from the north and south. But at the last minute Turkey said no, and on the day of the invasion roughly half our forces were on board ships sailing around Africa to get to the fighting.

It didn't matter much. We compensated, we adjusted, we adapted, and Saddam Hussein's government still fell.

Then came the occupation and rebuilding phase.

What many people overlook about this is that we are attempting something unique and unprecedented in world history. We are attempting to build a functional democracy in a nation and culture that has no history in such things. Moreover, we are attempting to do it after defeating that nation in war.

More amazingly, we are doing it not after utterly destroying the nation (as we did with Germany and Japan), but after a careful decapitation of the pre-existing tyranny. We did minimal damage to the infrastructure, the political systems, the social systems, all the mechanisms that were accustomed to propping up the dictatorship for decades. This is not only unprecedented, but until recently was virtually undreamed of.

Tremendous progress has been seen, as well as tremendous setbacks. Overall, I'd say things are going all right -- but not great.

Critics of this observation would say that I am blinding myself to the staunch resistance to our plans. Not at all; it is that staunch resistance that has kept things from going better, and leave the final resolution in doubt.

Many of the critics of the Bush administration's handling of the war decry the lack of a solid plan for victory. They want timetables, they want measurable, quantifiable progress, they want commitments.

That, in my consideration, is precisely the wrong thing.

Plans are transient things. They are fluid. They cannot become fixed in stone, or they will fail.

What are needed are clearly defined goals, accompanied by flexible plans towards achieving them. And the failure of a plan is not the failure towards the goal.

To use a sports metaphor, every team has the same goal: to win the game. The ways of achieving that goal is simple: to score points while preventing the opposing team from scoring. But a team that goes out with a rigid plan is begging to be defeated.

And that is another key point: there is another team out there. More accurately, several other teams, all looking to keep us from reaching our goal.

Should we then go out with our plans carefully spelled out? Should we tell them each step we intend to take towards our victory? Should we help them figure out just how we shall measure progress, and in doing so tell them how they can shape our perceptions of how the struggle goes?

There are many paths to our goal, and each path has its milestones. Our enemies' resources are limited. If we outline the specific path we will take, which milestones we shall use to measure our progress, then they can focus their efforts on denying us those milestones.

Should we say we will leave by the end of, say, 2007? Then they know they only have to hang on until we leave, then they can claim victory. Should we say we will draw down our numbers on a certain schedule? Then they know they can focus on the Iraqi forces who will take up our duties, weakening them and diminishing their ability to stand on their own. Should we say that once a certain number of American soldiers are killed, we will withdraw? Then they simply have to ratchet up their attacks and watch CNN to measure their progress.

The temptation to demand solid plans, concrete commitments, and definite timelines is understandable. War is a hideous thing, and no one in their right mind wants it to continue an instant longer than necessary. But to insist on such things is to invite defeat.


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Comments (70)

AMEN!!!!... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

AMEN!!!!

Well said!This ain... (Below threshold)
Eman:

Well said!

This ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around.

If this Iraq enterprise works out well, no one will remember the comments of hand-wringing twits and CNN reporters.

A last bloody phase is near. The Sadr militia and other vile types infesting Bagdad and Shia sections of Iraq are about to be extinquished. I think the Sunni insurgency is fairly exhausted and is mostly playing defense against the Shia. Al Queda is fading. Once the Shia militias are defeated the Sunni holdouts will be able to give up and join the political game. That Sadr fellow should have been eliminated two years ago.

It is hardly surprising tha... (Below threshold)

It is hardly surprising that the violence has escalated at this point. The jihadist murderers in Iraq were, perhaps, counting on our attention being elsewhere (like Israel).

They are losing, IMHO, and they know it (but won't admit it) and desperate men can do desperate things.

Here's a question to which I really WOULD like an answer: These jihadists in Iraq are killing innocent women and children on a daily basis in the HUNDREDS and NO MORAL OUTRAGE from Europe, the U.N., Hillary Clinton - nodamnbody!

Gayle Miller:<blockqu... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Gayle Miller:

Here's a question to which I really WOULD like an answer: These jihadists in Iraq are killing innocent women and children on a daily basis in the HUNDREDS and NO MORAL OUTRAGE from Europe, the U.N., Hillary Clinton - nodamnbody!

There are many reasons for this, but the two that come immediately to mind are:

1. They view it as our fault, as in if we weren't there, the murderers wouldn't be killing people. It's a slight extension of the "we're creating more terrorists by fighting them" argument. That's why we seem to bear the brunt of the criticism, as we're apparently forcing farmers, dentists, doctors and retailers to suddenly become hardcore fundementalist "freedom fighters".

2. That's what they do. No one is surprised, no one expects the terrorists to not kill innocent people, so critics of the war don't show outrage over it, because they're not outraged or surprised that it's happening. This almost in essence makes it seem like they approve. I don't think it's the case, but it would certainly help their image if they just tried a little.

Overall, I'd say things ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Overall, I'd say things are going all right -- but not great....Hundreds of thousands of Shiite demonstrators were in Baghdad today shouting "Death to Israel, Death to America" in a Iraq defense ministry approved demonstration. So how goes the battle "to win the hearts and minds." And these are the Shiites, our nominal allies, never mind the 5 million Sunnis who are de facto sworn enemies in Iraq. Judging by the enormous 'demos 'anti-american' feeling is increasing which is helping to spawn militia rule, and a looming sectarian civil war, which provides the chaos and lawlessness that are the conditions in which terrorist groups like Al-queda thrive.

Good post JT. Thanks.... (Below threshold)
tblubird:

Good post JT. Thanks.

Steve,
Your strawman demonstration is not the point of JT's post. Remember that it is a democracy now, as fledgling as may be, and there are quite a few folks there who doubt our word that we will leave. That's understandable - and would be in any country occupied by the invader.
You are positing something with no patience. Sadr is a shite and hates America. The Sunnis, while hating America because they made up the Bathists, are now asking for America to help cleanse Bahgdad of Sadr's Mehdi militia. And Iran sees such an opportunity to keep it stirred up.

It's a war zone and it's not pretty. But our guys fighting there haven't given up. Why should we?

A secterian civil war is ex... (Below threshold)
Lefty:

A secterian civil war is exactly what we've got NOW, the Republican adminstration is just too dishonest to admit it. Rumsfeld should resign immediately for lying to the American public.

Jay, The bigger crit... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Jay,
The bigger criticism against the administration is that the plans they had in the first place specifically disregarded this set of events and instead counted on a rosier scenario, not so much that the Administration is not revealing they're plans now (since we essentially know them - "Stay the Course"). The plans they had for reconstruction and occupation were (wildly) off the mark and had to be changed, which is the thrust of your argument, but that's the exact problem: THEY'RE NOT CHANGING THE PLANS! At what point do you demand that our policy makers do something different to get better results? Personally, I've reached that point.

So, you can keep preaching on all you want about being a mindless drone who asks for no accountability from our elected leaders, after all that is your right. But some of us actually want some evidence that the plan currently being implemented is actually working, you know by having some of those milestones you casually dismiss. You can say, and you may be right, that having milestones makes them targets for the insurgency, the terrorists, the Shi'ite militias, or whoever our enemy is now. But clearly true success is if those milestones improve in spite of opposition. And the problem is that the opposition to achieving those goals is increasing, both abroad and domestically.

Now, you can blame the media or the liberals or whoever else you want for that, but that does us no good and in no way strengthens your argument that all we need is more time and flexibility to prevail. Something needs to change, but one of the many problems is that Bush has painted us into a corner where it's either withdraw (and lose face, plus whatever nightmares the Right can conjure up) or invade a new country (ahem-Iran) at the cost of thousands of lives and billions more dollars (which the will be proclaimed as glorious victory).

But what do I know, I'm just some loony moonbat.

Lefty:A s... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Lefty:

A secterian civil war is exactly what we've got NOW, the Republican adminstration is just too dishonest to admit it. Rumsfeld should resign immediately for lying to the American public.

You, above all others are quailified to say there is a civil war, I suppose. Well, you're entitled to your opinion, just don't mistake it as fact and damn others who don't share your thoughts as "liars".

Herlader, Aren't you aware ... (Below threshold)
Lefty:

Herlader, Aren't you aware that two Pentagon generals testified yesterday that we are in a Civil War in Iraq? I heard an ABC News report this morning that said the same thing. Wake up and smell the Republican failure. Admit your mistakes, it's good for the soul.

It's time to do something about it, not just follow the same, failed policies. Don't you agree that Rumsfeld should resign for the good of the nation? I just received an email from my Uncle this morning, a Marine Lt. Colonel. He said there are strong feelings in the Marines that they want Rumsfeld out.

One of the best explanation... (Below threshold)
Jessica:

One of the best explanations of this issue I've seen yet. Some of the criticism out there is well intended and warranted, but much of it is opportunistic, dishonest or uninformed. Alot of the predictions of doom are self-fulfilling and frankly, that seems to be the point.

It's hard to win a war when... (Below threshold)
Xennady:

It's hard to win a war when you aren't really willing to kill your enemies.For example, Sadr is still alive.People on our side in Iraq-and everywhere else-are at risk of death at any time and place but our enemies can only be killed if they happen to be caught when pulling a trigger.Well,this isn't a recipe for victory. Osama bin Laden said that all the firepower of the West was worthless because we lacked the will to use it.Iraq is an excellent example.War is hell and you cannot refine it.Stop trying.

The left wing demorats coul... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

The left wing demorats could care less about winning the war. Just like Vietnam they want an 'American' failure. They were responsible for thousands of American deaths and millions of Southeast Asian deaths but they don't care, America lost, and that was their plan.
They have the same plan for Iraq, they (demorats) have already caused hundreds of American deaths and thousands of Iraqi deaths and again they don't care as long as America loses.
Yes, you can call them unpatroitic and anti-american, They can deny and deny but the facts are in their words and actions. They only care about the power they have in D.C. which will also come to and end when "America" fails, and that's not long in the future if the demorats continue on their path of destruction.

sean/nyc proclaims: "... on... (Below threshold)
Red Fog:

sean/nyc proclaims: "... one of the many problems is that Bush has painted us into a corner where it's either withdraw ... or invade a new country (ahem-Iran)"

Hokum pulled from your butt, sir. Having a focused strategy that includes tough diplomacy to prevent more despots from obtaining the bomb and feed Islamic terrorism is not equal to invading new countries or withdraw. Your argument is black and white with the pretense that we're all screwed by the Bush admin. It's the libs who have painted themselves into a corner by demanding a withdrawal. See MoveOn.org strategy to remove Lieberman through an anti-war country club challenger destine to split the party and lose congressional seats. See Rummy effectively counter all of Hillary's sound bites on the Hill yesterday. See NYTs treasonous reveal of our espionage ... it's pathetic.

Scarapiron:Are you d... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Scarapiron:
Are you drunk? I hope so. That could be the only excuse you have for your ignorant rant. Can you name just whothese liberals are who have: ".......the power...." Last time I checked it was the wingnuts who were in charge of everything.

Lieberman no longer represe... (Below threshold)
Lefty:

Lieberman no longer represents the ideals of liberal voters. His removal from office is being democratically, and will represent a choice by the people made at the ballot box.

That's how a real democracy works, but conservatives no longer hold to those ideals. They use corruption and greed to obtain their goals, and lie to the American people in the process.

ScrapironI don't k... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Scrapiron

I don't knbow why I'm bothering, because you're obviously an ignoramus, but please specify how the Democrats are responsible for hundreds of deaths in Iraq.

And again, if you go into a venture with only half a plan, you don't get credit for that half. If I invite you to as ball game, and when we get there I reveal that I don't have any tickets, I don't get to claim credit because at least I got us to the ball park.

If you guys don't want to believe there's a full scale civil war in Iraq, fine. But when you have senior members of our military, as well as senior members of the Iraqi governemnt, saying there is a civil war, it's just plain dishonest to claim that it's all a fiction made up by "the Democrats."

JT:Good post. If yo... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

JT:
Good post. If you are a student of history, all it takes is a brief glance at our own history to see example after example of how not to win a war. The first one, the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, WWs I and II, and Viet Nam - all of which presented the administration of the day with faults, failures, plans and more plans.

How many times during WWII did the Allied leadership have to meet to redo the plans and direction of the war. And if you want to take a look at the progress there - that was a real live case of what losing looks like. From the start of major hostilies in September 1939 (lots of other stuff going on prior I will admit) to the Summer of 1942, virtually all of Europe and all of the western Pacific had been lost to the Axis Powers. Germany was knocking on the door of Stalingrad and the oilfields of the Caucasus while Japan was threatening India, Austrailia and the Chinese heartland. And they were on a roll!

Kinda looked like a loser didn't it?

Then there was the shining example of Viet Nam - or how to fight a war not to win but by trying your damndest not to lose.

So if you want to call Iraq a loser - go ahead. For me, I'll wait til one of two things happen. 1) We follow the lead of such leading luminaries as Cindy Sheehan and John Murtha - who would just as soon have us all kneel, bend over and offer our throats to our new Muslim masters (Can you spell Dhimmitude?). Or 2) We get collectively serious about winning this frigging war and JUST DO IT! and Devil take the hindmost.

We follow #1 - we got us a loser here - get in line for your personal set of knee pads. We follow #2 - and we got a chance to win. Where are we now? Somewhere in between.

Lefty claims: "It's time to... (Below threshold)
Red Fog:

Lefty claims: "It's time to do something about it, not just follow the same, failed policies ... I just received an email from my Uncle this morning, a Marine Lt. Colonel. He said there are strong feelings in the Marines that they want Rumsfeld out.

What "failed policies" are you referring to or are you just waving your white flag in protest? Assuming he's an active soldier, please ask the Lt. Colonel why the USMC wants Rummy out and let Wizbangers know. Nice source, no explanation = bluff.

Scrapiron has lead for brai... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Scrapiron has lead for brains... you're wasting your time Chris. He is convinced we should still be fighting in Viet Nam and Korea.

Like most conservatives, he's only happy when the sons and daughters of America citizens are dying needlessly. He's happy when that happens, because it helps keep greedy republicans in power.

Look at the defeat of the minimum wage increase today engineered by republicans! They won't help struggling Americans unless it lines the pockets of millionaires as well. Scrapiron won't respond until he's finished celebrating today's mininum wage defeat, don't hold your breath!

"But when you have senior m... (Below threshold)
ChecktheFacts:

"But when you have senior members of our military, as well as senior members of the Iraqi governemnt, saying there is a civil war, it's just plain dishonest to claim that it's all a fiction made up by "the Democrats."

Nice spin. But not really correct.

Read the transcript. Neither General said there's a Civil War underway in Iraq. Both said that the fighting had worsened, and that it could descend into a Civil War.

Gen. Abazaid: “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it, in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war.”

Gen. Pace: "“I believe that we do have the possibility of that devolving to a civil war, but that does not have to be a fact.”

Lefty:Her... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Lefty:

Herlader, Aren't you aware that two Pentagon generals testified yesterday that we are in a Civil War in Iraq? I heard an ABC News report this morning that said the same thing. Wake up and smell the Republican failure. Admit your mistakes, it's good for the soul.

Two Pentagon generals? What about the rest?
As far as ABC, well, they form opinions just like everyone else. Hey, when we have a consensus on the issue, I think you'll see more people think the way you and some others do; but until then, as I said before, don't make the mistake of thinking your opinion is universal fact.

It's time to do something about it, not just follow the same, failed policies. Don't you agree that Rumsfeld should resign for the good of the nation? I just received an email from my Uncle this morning, a Marine Lt. Colonel. He said there are strong feelings in the Marines that they want Rumsfeld out.

You say it's time to do something about it as if we're just sitting over there looking at the scenery. Iraq is an ever-changing situation, as I'm sure you agree, and as I'm sure our military decision makers agree.

Why should rumsfeld resign, because he's republican? Or because a few retired generals out of thousands decided they don't like his leadership?

As far as your uncle is concerned, good information. I'm sure I could contact someone in the military that would tell me opposite...unless of course, your uncle has spoken to every marine in the military.

Again, all I ask for is a consensus. When a few people say something that you agree with it doesn't magically become reality.

Lee:Like ... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Lee:

Like most conservatives, he's only happy when the sons and daughters of America citizens are dying needlessly. He's happy when that happens, because it helps keep greedy republicans in power.

That's quite an accusation Lee. So you think most conservatives are happy to see soldiers, friends, family members get blown in half by IEDs?
You know, this ignorant post just killed your credibility in the argument.

Chris: "please specify how... (Below threshold)
P/ Bunyan:

Chris: "please specify how the Democrats are responsible for hundreds of deaths in Iraq"

The words and actions of most democrats, and especially those of John Murtha, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, and Howard Dean have encouraged, aided, and abetted the enemy in this war. Had America presented a solid front and shown the terrorists that their only options were surrender or death, then things would have been a lot different in Iraq and throughout the global war on islamofascism.

But with most of the democrats in this country rooting for the enemy and hoping for America's defeat it's no wonder the islamofascists have had the will to fight on. And that is why you, Chris, and your kind are mostly responsible for the problems we're having today. Not just in Iraq, but also Iran, North Korean, Afganistan, and Lebanon.

By the way, good post SShie... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

By the way, good post SShiell.

Heralder,When have... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Heralder,

When have secular-socialist/communist talking points that Lee regurgitates here ever had any credibility?

P BunyanWhen your ... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

P Bunyan

When your toilet leaks I suppose that's a liberal/left/commie plot/responibility also. Sheeeesh you wingnuts are truly nutss. About 30 years ago you'd all be lucked up in a state mental hoispital.

My first thought when the p... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

My first thought when the planes struck on 9/11 was "OK, that's it. Time to take off the gloves and start fighting at their (the terror masters) level." To sort half-quote Patton "It's time to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." Or, in this case, his religion.

For a brief time we did just that. We kicked Al Qaeda and Taliban ass in Afghanistan and made no apologies for putting the terrorists into places like Gitmo. It was simple: Put down your gun or we will kill you. Clean, assertive and deadly.

Now we're back to fighting a politically correct war. We hand wring over small events (in grand scheme of a protracted war like the GWT) like Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Gitmo and prisoner "rights". We fret over winning "hearts and minds" and pissing off the "Arab stree" (as if they weren't pissed off before Iraq, etc.) We put them prison, debate whether or not they should be there at all, should they have a military trial or a civil trial and on and on. We let imams use mosques as recruiting bases for jihadists because-as near as I can tell—we want to protect the very religion that seeks to destroy the Jews, the West and all non-believers. We let thugs like Moqtada al-Sadr live and create problems.

In short, we've too f-ing nice in the Iraq War.

When General Abazaid basically says things are FUBAR, then we've got major issues (not that we didn't before). And it concerns the hell out of me because we've got to win this one.

The way I see it—and I'll expand on Jay's sports analogy—we're 3rd and 8 on our 39-yard line, leading by 2 points and not much time on the clock. The momentum's with the other team. If we don't make a couple of first downs, we'll have to punt and the other side's gonna get great field position. Worst of all, our defense (aka: national will) is tired and worn out.

So we have one of two choices: 1.) Step up and make some serious big-time plays and get the momentum back, or 2.) lose the game and go home broken.

And #1 is our only chance and hope.

Hugh,When my toile... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Hugh,

When my toilet leaks I fix it.

When a lefty's toilet leaks they:

1. blame George Bush

2. call the goverment demand that the government send someone to fix it

3. hire a lawyer to sue the toilet manufacturer, the plumber who installed it, and the person who sold them the house

4. call for a congressional investigation into why toilets leak

5. try to pass legislation to outlaw toilets because some of them might leak

They want timetabl... (Below threshold)
stan25:
They want timetables, they want measurable, quantifiable progress, they want commitments.

That, in my consideration, is precisely the wrong thing.

Plans are transient things. They are fluid. They cannot become fixed in stone, or they will fail.

What are needed are clearly defined goals, accompanied by flexible plans towards achieving them. And the failure of a plan is not the failure towards the goal.

That is why Operation Market-Garden (Allies WW2) and the Battle of the Bulge (Germany) failed so badly. There was a ridged timetable that had to be adhered to. One little misstep and the whole thing goes to hell in a hand basket. That is why the American military is the best, they adapt and improvise, something that other armies have not done before or since.

Heralder,Saying Le... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Heralder,

Saying Lee has credibility is like saying deafening silence, it's an oxymoron, they are mutually exclusive.

The moron takes a post about the current situation in Iraq and talks about a vote in congress about the minimum wage, talk about off topic.

P. Bunyan: best damn discri... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

P. Bunyan: best damn discription of a liberal yet.
Wondered how long it would be before old "pucker puss" (lee lee) would chime in with his same old same old.

I never wanted us to start ... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

I never wanted us to start this war. Not because it was'nt right, but because just what is happening on this page was going to happen.
The Administration started fighting with one eye on the response of the electrorite to the media. Should never fight that way.
Now that we are there and "broke it" as Colin would say, we do have to fix it.
I see that the administration has made many mistakes, but they have changed some things in an attempt to straighten this out. I just hope it's good enough, and soon enough.

Among the many que... (Below threshold)
Frank:

Among the many questionable justifications in Jay's sunny outlook, this one has to be the most off the mark. Ask the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who went 2-3 years without running water or electricity,not to mention the destruction to the oil infrastructure which damaged the ability to get the oil to market, which was supposed to finance the reconstruction process. Does no one else have a problem with the fact that we as taxpayers are now paying to babysit Iraqis blowing each other up?

We should leave. Our objectives, and those of the Iraqi people and the rest of the Arab. world have never been and never will be aligned, despite our altruistic intentions and best efforts. Bush did not fail, the Iraqis failed us.

In my post, I meant paste ... (Below threshold)
Frank:

In my post, I meant paste Jay's line about "we did it with minimal damage to infrastructure". Sorry

Ask the hundreds o... (Below threshold)
stan25:
Ask the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who went 2-3 years without running water or electricity, not to mention the destruction to the oil infrastructure which damaged the ability to get the oil to market, which was supposed to finance the reconstruction process.

This may be true, but the same people were also living with the fear that Saddam's goons would knock on their doors and drag them away on any excuse. The so-called infrastructure was toast under Saddam and his cronies, even before the war started. Most of the people were lucky to get any electricity or any of the basics at anytime. Saddam could cut the power and the water at anytime and without warning. As for the oil, the sanctions put the kibosh on that. What oil was sold, the money went to Saddam and his cronies for palaces and other things, (does oil for food ring a bell?) not the people who needed it the most.

Now these same people at least have some electricity and clean water, although not as reliable as the standards of the United States, they have more now than when Saddam was in power.

Frank:Your ascertion... (Below threshold)
Red Fog:

Frank:
Your ascertion of minimal damage as most off the mark is silly. We used smart bombs to minimize damage to infrastructure not Vietnam-era carpet bombing. Iraqi engineer from Baghdad I know well tells me the infrastructure in Baghdad was badly neglected and broke down often while Saddam built palaces. Power and clean water were a constant problem. When our engineers arrived, they were appauld by the condition of critical systems. Okay, I'm done. You can put your underpants back on now and stop squeelin', boy. I won't tell.

DavidB and P.Bunyan,<... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

DavidB and P.Bunyan,

When Lee isn't talking about the Bush administration, sometimes it's possible to have an honest debate with him. As we've seen here however, even when we're not actually talking about it, he still does.

If what Galbraith says is t... (Below threshold)
Barneyg2000:

If what Galbraith says is true, it would go a long way in explaining how Iraq went down the toilet so fast.

Former Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith is claiming President George W. Bush was unaware that there were two major sects of Islam just two months before the President ordered troops to invade Iraq.

Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, ….WAITE FOR THE MONEY QUOTE………….. “I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!”

StanI think you mi... (Below threshold)
Frank:

Stan

I think you missed my point about the oil. The oil revenues, according to Paul Wolfowitz, were supposed to finance the reconstruction. Damage to the infrastructure made production levels necessary to make this happen impossible. And I'm not arguing for Saddam, I just think the Iraqis have very different goals than we do and we should stop footing the bill and let them sort it out themselves.

Red Fog,

Boy, you sure showed me. I'll stop squealing when you learn how to spell.

P Bunyan,Clever bu... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

P Bunyan,

Clever but off the mark. You wingnut crazies would blame Clinton (as you do for everything on earth), spend about $50 million impeaching him (tho you forgot he was retired and couldn't.) Then you'd pay Haliburton $2 billion to fix it. Loonies, loose from the loony bin.

Frank,Wow. You got ... (Below threshold)
Red Fog:

Frank,
Wow. You got me on the spelling/proofing and thanks for not backing up what you ascerted. Your reasoning is far worse than my spelling/proofing. Should I leave you tied to the tree?

Barney2000,
Your Bush quote sounds like the news reports that Condi didn't know Al Qaeda only that she was found talking about the organization years earlier. Lib misinformation ain't what it used to be. Be worried. Be very worried.

Red Fog,You asked ... (Below threshold)
Frank:

Red Fog,

You asked for it. Here's some backup and mind you this is a miniscule sample of the amount of material that's been written about this. Although I'm sure you'll dismiss all of it as commie MSM distortion..

It's going to hurt sitting down for a while Fog. And for God's sake..It's ASSERTED

http://www.waterandhealth.org/newsletter/new/fall_2003/iraq.html

http://www.ips-dc.org/iraq/quagmire/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/30/AR2005043001121.html

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12344.htm

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/04/17/BUGAI66IF61.DTL

In yesterday’s hearings Gen... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

In yesterday’s hearings Gen. Abizaid, said the number of Sunni insurgents was between 10,000 and 20,000 fighters.

In 2003 he said the insurgency was no more the 5,000.

In less than three years we have created 15,000 terrorists. I think that says it all!

BarneyG2000:Insurg... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

BarneyG2000:

Insurgents aren't "created", genius. By definiton, an "insurgent" comes from another country therefore they can't be created because they already existed. And given the proximity to Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan it should come as no surprise that the "insurgency" population has increased.

Nice attempt at spin, but ultimately your argument blows.

BarneyG2000,All 10... (Below threshold)
Red Fog:

BarneyG2000,

All 10,000 terrorists "created" by the full support of the U.S. Democratic Party. Thanks for encouraging them, Barney. Cowards only hear the enemy approaching. Now run away, there's a war to be won.

By whose defintion of "insu... (Below threshold)
Lefty:

By whose defintion of "insurgent"? Certainly not a dictionary definition. Maybe you should stop blowing, Peter F., and pick up a dictionary instead. You look really stupid right now.

I am more firmly convinced ... (Below threshold)
waddayaknow:

I am more firmly convinced than ever that the CA ("Current Administration") felt that they had the perfect plan to put $3-4 Trillion back into the economy following the post-911 market crash. The CA is certainly the highly connected group that could pull open the door for WarInc so a decade of unused weapons and ammo could get outprocessed and require replacement. If anyone is puzzled by the Nixon/Regan era chicken hawks that have their fingers in the current pie they should take a sec, count to 20, and think about it. These guys are the prime suspects to start a shootout and then really screw the pooch when the time comes to take responsibility for the original pooch screwing. What does our CA care if the issue becomes uncontrollable and escalates throughout the region? Nothing, in my estimation, they just want to see the profit margins go up for their bloody hearted cronies.

Lefty:Per m-w.com:... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Lefty:

Per m-w.com:

1 : a person who revolts against civil authority or an established government; especially : a rebel not recognized as a belligerent

Belligerent:

1 : waging war; specifically : belonging to or recognized as a state at war and protected by and subject to the laws of war

Now who did you say looks stupid? Asshat....

Interesting waddayaknow.</p... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Interesting waddayaknow.

Speculation doesn't really cut the mustard though, does it? People need to start basing arguments on actual hard facts instead of overblown numbers and handed down opinions.

That would be the point, He... (Below threshold)
waddayaknow:

That would be the point, Heralder. It appears that we have more than twenty-five hundred of our fellow citizens who have given their lives in a conflict that was initiated without "...actual hard facts..." using "...overblown numbers and handed down opinions..." Why did that happen? Why did the current equivalent of the Reganomics "trickle down effect" get the green light over internally creating works for revitalizing the economy? Are we in a revenge mode following 9-11 or a nation of sheep? Are we such violence minded folks that we can simply be lead by the hand into an undeclared war without muss, fuss, or bother?

Peter F. - It's you that lo... (Below threshold)
Lefty:

Peter F. - It's you that looks stupid. The definition you posted proves it. It says nothing about the insurgent being from another country.

You said this -- "by definition, an "insurgent" comes from another country" but the definition you posted doesn't back that up at all, no sir, not even a single tiny bit. Can you not read? Are you just another cut and paste conservative moron?

How can you post a reply that proves you're wrong, then waltz around as if you're right? It's a uniquely conservative trait, this "look at me I'm stupid" approach you guys take to commenting.

waddayaknow:It sta... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

waddayaknow:

It starts out good, then...

Why did the current equivalent of the Reganomics "trickle down effect" get the green light over internally creating works for revitalizing the economy? Are we in a revenge mode following 9-11 or a nation of sheep? Are we such violence minded folks that we can simply be lead by the hand into an undeclared war without muss, fuss, or bother?

So just minding our own business would have solved the problem is that it?

Revenge would have been swift and terrible. I single bloody strike. This is not revenge, it's reform. You chalk this war up to money, recouping financial losses from 9-11? In the richest country in the world we can't find any other way to make money then to spend billions on two invasions? That makes sense.

Our society might be capitalistic, but that doesn't mean everything we do is for money.

“The United States needs to... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

“The United States needs to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within the next six months, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Thursday, rather than ratcheting up its military commitment now.”

“Asked what the United States could do, Hagel said: “Ask the president. Ask Secretary (of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld. They’re the ones who got us into this.””

Let the SwiftMurtha of Hagel begin.

Its kinda interesting to se... (Below threshold)
epador:

Its kinda interesting to see who doesn't have anything better to do than Troll on Friday nights. Me, I am finally starting back to work on Monday and scraping the bottom of the money jar to take my wife out on the town.

Its been fun.

BTW, good post JT, and it brings out the worst in the fog brained too.

Hugh: Loonies, lo... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Hugh:
Loonies, loose from the loony bin.

Ah, alliteration: the last refuge of the illiterate.

Will you be writing your next useless screed in iambic pentameter?

When your toilet leaks I suppose that's a liberal/left/commie plot/responibility also. Sheeeesh you wingnuts are truly nutss. About 30 years ago you'd all be lucked up in a state mental hoispital.

And...ah, hell with it...it's too easy.

With you on board, mak44 won't be missed at all...welcome to your new post as Wizbang!'s punching bag. Lee can show you the ropes...the one he hangs himself with everytime he posts off-topic.

Lefty:You said ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Lefty:

You said this -- "by definition, an "insurgent" comes from another country" but the definition you posted doesn't back that up at all, no sir, not even a single tiny bit. Can you not read? Are you just another cut and paste conservative moron?

Yeah, sorry, Peter, Lefty is correct..."insurge" comes from the latin meaning "to rise up", you are misreading the prefix "in-".

However, they are not exactly "created" either. They, by definition, spring forth/rise up from a present condition, more as a reaction than as a purpose.

Lefty:You said ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Lefty:

You said this -- "by definition, an "insurgent" comes from another country" but the definition you posted doesn't back that up at all, no sir, not even a single tiny bit. Can you not read? Are you just another cut and paste conservative moron?

Yeah, sorry, Peter, Lefty is correct..."insurge" comes from the latin meaning "to rise up", you are misreading the prefix "in-".

However, they are not exactly "created" either. They, by definition, spring forth/rise up from a present condition, more as a reaction than as a purpose.

However, your term "moron" isn't exactly helpful, nor accurate, from an etymological standpoint.

In other words, while you are correct, you don't bolster your standings by painting such broad strokes. (That goes for some of your right-aisle people as well.)

Lefty:You said ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Lefty:

You said this -- "by definition, an "insurgent" comes from another country" but the definition you posted doesn't back that up at all, no sir, not even a single tiny bit. Can you not read? Are you just another cut and paste conservative moron?

Yeah, sorry, Peter, Lefty is correct..."insurge" comes from the latin meaning "to rise up", you are misreading the prefix "in-".

However, they are not exactly "created" either. They, by definition, spring forth/rise up from a present condition, more as a reaction than as a purpose.

However, your term "moron" isn't exactly helpful, nor accurate, from an etymological standpoint.

In other words, while you are correct, you don't bolster your standings by painting such broad strokes. (That goes for some of your right-aisle people as well.)

So, the new left led by Mov... (Below threshold)
Red Fog:

So, the new left led by MoveOn.org wants us to pull out at any cost and allow civil war until the most ruthless terrorist organization wins control of Iraq, home to one of the largest oil reserves on the planet, so that they can fund their global terror efforts from here to Timbuktu. Is that the Democrat's plan? To put a halt to the Bush crony profiteering before they all get too rich? I dare any anti-war advocate here to offer up an original foward-thinking solution to the present situation that includes a way to stop the expansion of radical islamic terrorism.

Gosh. Do I hear crickets chirping?

I forgot to add another exa... (Below threshold)
stan25:

I forgot to add another example of ridgeness of adhering to a plan. The Japanese had a detailed timetable at the battle of Midway and things were going to schedule until Operation K went by the wayside. Then it was an unmitigated disaster. What really knocked the pins out from under the Japanese, is when the scout plane from the Tone was launched a 1/2 behind the others. On the other hand, the Americans were under no illusion of that they could even beat he Japanese. As I said in my above post, if it was not for the flexibility of the American command, we still could have lost in spite of ourselves.

chirp chirpI part... (Below threshold)

chirp chirp

I particularly like (NOT!) the occasional person who explains all the reasons why it's quite all right to abandon the Iraqi people to horrific violence, like the moron up there who explained that the Iraqis have failed *us*.

GWB is alternately accused of being in bed with the Saudis and being a complete ignorant noob about Islam. Didn't know there were different factions in Iraq? If he did ever actually say "I thought they were Muslim!" at a briefing it's got to be yet another example of a liberal's humor detector being broken. (As if *that* ever happens.)

If people could bring themselves to support efforts in Iraq in whatever way they felt able to contribute rather than undermine hopes for a good result we'd get there faster. A whole bunch of people are refusing to contribute to a good result because they don't believe a good result is possible. Thing is... they've *always* thought that, most of them.

So what if they got on board, were supportive and pushed for ways to help even, or particularly, non-military ways? What if all that brain power and innovative power was brought to bear on the problem? What if the US showed a united front in favor of Iraq?

And what if it didn't work?

Well, dang. Is it so terrible to *TRY* and fail that you'all have to work for the failure?

You know... I do that with dieting. Liberals are acting like neurotic middle aged women who'd like to lose weight but would rather stay fat and keep on believing that if they put their mind to it they'd be thin. Better fat on purpose than try only to fail.

The *worst* thing is that we fail *anyway*. Same result. The best thing is that we acheive a good result sooner.

In the end I think Iraq will work out a stable democracy. Even without help from the nay sayers. It's their choice I guess, if they'd rather just stay fat and never have to say they failed.

James and Lefty:I'... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

James and Lefty:

I've never encountered two people who would argue with the consumate American dictionary, but apparently I have.

James, I have no idea where you've come across the word "insurge" at m-w.com because it does not appear under that search.

As for the "insurgent" definition not including the words "from another country", fine, technically, you got me. Those words are not there. Hence, why I pointed out the word "belligerent" which is a key word in the definition of "insurgent". Both of you of somehow ignore the very important definition of "a rebel not recognized as a belligerent"; a belligerent being someone recognized within or being a part of the present/occupying government or state.

Finally, the colloquial usage of the word "insurgent" in today's present climate and media, is meant to define an outside influence or force. So you can try and wiggle your way around the actual definition, but the colloquial one will come back and bit you in the proverbial ass.

James, thank you for attempting to make a reasoned, rational and calm retort. However, you'll need to show me the actual Latin definition of "insurgent". (I''ve tried several sources and cannot find anything to back up your definition. So if you can provide one, that'd be great.)

As for Lefty, you're still wrong. You know zip about language and the colloquial (popular conversation) usage of words. Cut and paste that, nitwit.

That's funny, Peter. I labo... (Below threshold)

That's funny, Peter. I labored under the exact opposite delusion -- that "insurgent" had a native, rebellious connotation. Then I went and looked it up, too, and saw it had no connotation of domestic versus foreign. It's "in" as in "inflammable" with "surgere," "to rise up." And "belligerent" doesn't, either -- it's derived from the latin bellus, meaning "war." "Bellicose" is related.

I was pretty pissed when I found that out. I had three-quarters of a posting written lambasting the media for calling the terrorists in Iraq "insurgents" when a good chunk of them are NOT Iraqi, and then the damned dictionary went and ruined it for me because they were technically correct. That one went straight into the trash.

J.

chirp, chirp .... chirp ...... (Below threshold)
Red Fog:

chirp, chirp .... chirp ....

James, I have no idea wh... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

James, I have no idea where you've come across the word "insurge" at m-w.com because it does not appear under that search.

Try "dictionary.com" for the etymology:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/insurgent

[Latin present participle of insurgere, to rise up  : in-, intensive pref.; see in-2 + surgere, to rise; see surge.]

There is no word in english called "insurge", however "surge" does exist.

By the way:Howe... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

By the way:

However, your term "moron" isn't exactly helpful, nor accurate, from an etymological standpoint.
In other words, while you are correct, you don't bolster your standings by painting such broad strokes. (That goes for some of your right-aisle people as well.)

Was meant for Lefty, not you Peter.

then the damned diction... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

then the damned dictionary went and ruined it for me because they were technically correct.

I think we can still argue, Jay, that "insurgent", like "militant", "freedom fighter" are all euphemisms being used to avoid the word "terrorist".

Stan25:The japanese ... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

Stan25:
The japanese military was guilty of excrutiatingly detailed battle plans throughout the war. Time and again they would plan exceedingly complex thrust, couter-thrust, feint and decoy, all according to unbelievably comlex timetables. And each time, some simple problem or delay would ruin the effect of their plan and disaster would result.

25 years of active duty military service taught me one very important thing: The "KISS" Principle - Keep It Simple Stupid.

How does that play in this instance, as in Iraq? You want to put a detailed withdrawal timetable in place - be my guest. And lay in a huge quantity of white-out for all of the changes you are then going to have to make once you put the plan into effect. And watch while one thing after another throws the plan into disarray and you gotta go back to the drawing board. Anybody who has had any experience with the drafting and implementation of war-plans knows this.

J and James:I've b... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

J and James:

I've been served a healthy dose of humble pie, and I will gladly swallow my pride and say I was wrong. I think I was probably operating off the popular connotation or the colloquial use of the word. In the end, I was wrong. Thanks for the head's up, gents.




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