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The price of failure

With the Democrats taking both Houses of Congress, the chances that we might have to pull out of Iraq on a set timetable is notably higher. I don't like that idea, but I'm enough of a realist to recognize the possibility -- and to start thinking about just how events might unfold.

So, with that in mind, I'm going to game out a scenario that I think could happen if the US were to announce that after a certain date, we would start reducing our troop levels in Iraq, with a set time for the removal of all US forces in that nation.

This is entirely speculative, with very little solid research and absolutely no access to any kind of inside information or intelligence.

The first thing that would happen would be the internet would be flooded with Islamist videos proclaiming their great victory over the United States. Also, there would be a lot of "spontaneous" demonstrations and a heightened level of attacks on US forces, as various and sundry factions would be trying to establish that they were the group that "drove out" the Americans.

Then, after the initial rush, the terrorists would step up their attacks on Iraqi security forces and government officials. Pretty much anyone who has served in the government since the US invasion can count on being killed or having to flee into exile.

Actually, a few might stick around. Those will be the ones who attach themselves to whichever group they think will come out on top, because they will be the "face" of the new government. Th puppets. Of course, the other terrorist groups will be trying to bump off each others' puppets, so that won't be much good, either.

In northern Iraq, our one shining success will rapidly come undone. The Kurds will see a second President Bush throwing them to the wolves, and we can kiss goodbye any and all goodwill we fought so hard to win. After the first Gulf War, Saddam wanted to brutally slap down the Kurds to make damned certain that there would be no rebellion against him -- and we permitted it. The Kurds will most likely try to strike out on their own, secede from Iraq and establish their long-promised homeland.

Which will get the Turks involved.

The Turks are quite adamant about there NOT being a homeland for the Kurds, and are more than willing to take whatever steps they think necessary to stop it. And how far will "whatever steps" go? Just ask the Armenians.

Meanwhile, in the South, Iran will see our withdrawal as license to move in and try to dominate Iraq. They see what Syria had with Lebanon for decades -- a puppet nation that can be used to stage deniable attacks and launch proxy wars against their enemies -- and wouldn't mind having that for themselves. A good chunk of the terrorists in Iraq already have ties to Iran, so the groundwork is already laid.

Syria would probably like to get in on the action, too. They can't really enjoy being the junior partner to Iran, so grabbing a good chunk of western Iraq (if not formally, then simple dominance like they exert over much of Lebanon) would be seen as a plus. It would help their leader, Bashar Assad ("The Dorktator," as others cleverer than I have dubbed him), assert some strength in the region and improve his image as one to be feared.

So much for our formal adversaries. How about those who tend to be considered allies, if of dubious reliability?

Kuwait, for lack of a better term, is screwed. They've counted on us to keep them safe from the region's instabilities ever since 1991. That faith will take a heavy blow once we announce our withdrawal. Kuwait just might start looking into the appeasal track in order to buy its own safety. And if they need any help in how that can work out, all they need to do is ask advice of their other neigbhor, the region's expert on appeasement of the crazies...

...Saudi Arabia. They've spent literally billions on paying off the whackos and sending them out of the country to cause their mischief elsewhere. But sooner or later, that's going to bite them on the ass. The main motivating factor behind the psychotic terrorists is religion, and Saudi Arabia is home to two of the most sacred sites in Islam. Eventually, the nutjobs currently wrapped up in fighting The Great Satan (that's us folks) will figure it's long overdue for those holy sites to be in the hands of the "righteous" and free from the corrupt House of Saud. At that point, all hell will surely break loose.

Another concern is our withdrawal will put a hefty damper on our perceived ability and will to project power. Right now, the Persian Gulf -- through which roughly a quarter of the world's oil supply flows -- is kept free and navigable and usable by the United States Navy. Iran is geographically positioned to shut that down, at the Straits of Hormuz, and is pretty well equipped to give it a try should they wish. Small submarines, mines, anti-ship missiles, even well-positioned scuttlings of large ships would wreak havoc on the world's oil supply -- and, consequently, the world's economy. Right now, Iran isn't interested in doing so. But flush with victory after chasing the US out of Iraq, would they be more likely to give it a try -- or, at least, threaten it? I think so.

A lot of people have had derisive things to say about the "flypaper" theory -- that by placing a sizable US force in Iraq, we give the terrorists a very tempting target for their fury, and instead of attacking our civilians and infrastructure like they did on 9/11, they rather go after those best equipped to defend themselves and make the attacks very, very costly for the attackers. I happen to believe in it, but either way once we withdraw, what will those terrorists still in Iraq do now that they've been deprived of their favorite targets?

Some, I am sure, will focus more on killing more civilians and rival terrorists. One or two might even give up terrorism altogether and "retire." But some, motivated by revenge for fallen comrades or still angry at the US or simply "hooked' on killing Americans for whatever reason, just might decide to pack up and find someplace where their chosen prey is more commonplace. Americans around the world will become likely targets.

Also, in other places where the US presence is sometimes not seen as welcome, the possibility of terrorist attacks against US targets will be increased. For example, Indonesia.

Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population. President Bush just visited there, and there were many large protests that threatened to turn violent. Imagine how much bolder they protesters would have been had the United States just admitted defeat in Iraq and was sent packing?

Another consequence that is often overlooked is that Iraq is, among many other things, a laboratory for our military. For better or for worse, we are not very likely to face a massive, conventional force like the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan in direct combat any time soon -- we are just too damned powerful and intimidating to challenge so directly. Instead, we are going to deal with the ticks and ants of terrorists and insurgents and other groups not directly affiliated with traditional nation-states. Oh, they will have backing and support from such bodies, but they will never be directly answerable to them. We need to learn how these things work -- and, more importantly, how to fight them.

The current plan appears to be to protect and nurture a native security force, a combination of military and law enforcement, and then turn it over to a democratically-elected government for direction. (I say "appears to be" because I am not sure of the details, and I prefer it that way -- spelling out exactly what one intends to do, and how, in the face of fierce opposition is essentially giving your opponent a chart showing how to defeat you.) This is certainly not guaranteed to succeed, but it has the potential to do so -- and has the added advantage of being consistent with our own ethics and philosophies.

Over in Israel, the only true democracy in the middle east, how will this be seen? Most likely as a lack of resolve on our part, and a willingness to abandon allies when the going gets too tough. They can cite for examples Viet Nam, the Shah of Iran, the Kurds, and now the Iraqis. They will see that as a weakening of our support and protection, and take that as an indicator that they need to do more to stand on their own. That could mean a more forceful response to aggressive moves by their neighbors, heightened tensions and more bloodshed.

In the Palestinian Territories, the Hamas-led government will see that a western-style democracy can be beaten by terrorism. Expect an increase in "rogue" terrorist attacks, coupled with increased pressure on Israel to "compromise" with the Palestinians and make more and greater concessions.

Lebanon could go either way. If given a freer hand in Iraq, Syria might turn its attention eastward and ease up on its hold over Lebanon. But I think it far more likely that they will want to secure their western flank and consolidate their hold over Lebanon. They just killed (through their proxies) Pierre Gemayel, another popular anti-Syrian government official, "pour encourager les autres." That's the kind of signal Western Union doesn't deliver.

So, if we do pull out of Iraq before that security force is strong enough to maintain the security and protect the government, what lessons have we learned? More importantly, what lessons have our enemies learned?

1) Kill enough people (not even Americans) and the Americans will cut and run. The American people can be convinced to lay the blame for all casualties in a war at the feet of their own leader, and are willing to absolve their enemies of any guilt.

2) The United States has no stomach for a long, drawn-out conflict. If they can't win quickly and win decisively, it's just a matter of "running out the clock" on the patience of the American people. Winning becomes not a matter of defeating the US, but rather simply not losing -- hanging on and staying in the fight long enough.

3) Terrorism works. If you're fighting a Western power, you don't have to kill their troops to win. You don't even have to kill their civilians. All you have to do is kill enough innocent people, and the enemy will simply let you win in hopes of stopping the killing.

Right now, in Iraq, most of the deaths seem to be pretty much random. There is no rhyme or reason behind the attacks, beyond simple targets of opportunity. Who knows the political leanings or family ties of a group of day laborers standing on a street corner, looking for a day's pay? Who cares? They're there, they're together in a group, they're unprotected, so let's blow them up -- the Americans will get the blame for it anyway.

We are dealing with people that, when judged by Western standards and mores, would be classified as utter psychopaths -- killers without conscience who kill and maim pretty much at whim, without conscience, because they believe that in the end, this will bring about their goal.

And god help us -- god help the world -- if we affirm that belief.


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Comments (64)

Nice analysis. Keep in mind... (Below threshold)
GRY:

Nice analysis. Keep in mind that the perception that Americans lack resolve could very well prompt other allies, like the Japanese, to seek their own arsenals of nuclear weapons as an insurance measure of sorts and embolden enemies, like North Korea, to see how far they can go before meeting substantive resistance, thereby leading to greater instability in places far removed from the Middle East. Oh well.... Better to lose control of both Houses of Congress now than the presidency in two years I suppose.

Sounds like you're saying t... (Below threshold)
jpe:

Sounds like you're saying the sky will fall. You were excessively optimistic about the prospective war, and now excessively pessimistic about the prospective redeployment. Very bookend-y of you.

This is entirely speculativ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

This is entirely speculative, with very little research and absolutely no access to intelligence.

Barney: You should use tha... (Below threshold)

Barney: You should use that disclaimer on all your comments.

Don't forget the most impor... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:

Don't forget the most important lesson:

The MSM and liberals are their best friends to achieve their victories. Under the current climate, neither the US or Israel can win a war. The terrorists hide among the civilians and pull out the cameras when they are fired upon. If necessary, they can stage or alter photos with the MSM as willing accomplices.

The liberals than start screaming, "War Crimes", and the US or IDF have to pull out.

IF the US or IDF do not fire, the terrorists simply kill their civilians themselves with the MSM blaming the US or Israel anyway.

Not to worry - America appe... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Not to worry - America appears to have learned an important valuable lesson over Iraq. Namely, never again entrust a Republican president with the task of fighting terrorism.

So long a terrorism is a threat, we cannot trust Republicans with the responsibility of providing an approach that doesn't waste billions of dollars and thousands of lives needlessly. Conservatives, by nature, act like frightened children when it comes fighting an enemy they don't understand.

It's possible that conventional warfare, as employed in the past, is dead, and all future wars will be fought in a manner similar to this. Having lost the war in Iraq it is imperative on America to look for new ideas, new approaches, new solutions.

The conservative mindset is too easily manipulated by terrorists, too easily frightened and angered into acting inappropriately. We now know we cannot trust conservatives to secure our nation and our borders.

I'm in a hurry, so I don't ... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

I'm in a hurry, so I don't have time to look this up, but something to consider is what happens to that Immam in Baghdad - the one with Mahdi Militia. He'll emerge as a strongman.

Another issue is what happens with all that intra-sect hostility between the Shiites and the Sikhs, among others. It's Getback Time.

What message are we sending to our own troops? By the time they get home, enlistments and re-enlistments are going into the toilet. Before you know it, we'll need Senator Rangle's Draft, because nobody's going to enlist except under threat of prison, and who can blame them? Loyalty and morale in the services is going to circle the drain as well. 150,000 highly trained military personnel -- and their families -- are going to be asking some tough questions about why they risked their lives. If the libs think they'll have an easy time taking the White House in 2008, they're in for a rude surprise.

What support can we expect from our allies and others inclined to give this Democracy thing a try? "Thanks, but we won't risk our lives based on America's word. It's not worth spit." It's safer to live under the boot of whatever dictator is in power than to risk mass retribution the next time we cut and run.

What can we expect from our enemies? Worse, as you mentioned. Consider what happened in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia the last time we weaseled out. Hundreds of thousands died, and the same thing is going to happen in Iraq, except that nobody will be willing to help stop the violence. Rwanda. Darfur. Watsistan. Ethnic cleansing on an industrial scale.

This isn't a liberal/conservative thing. I'm not even as angry about it as I expected. Truth to tell, I'm actually ashamed of us as a nation.

Let the Great Skedaddle begin...

Lee, you're so full of crap... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Lee, you're so full of crap you don't even deserve a reply. I won't waste my time on your drivel.

If you don't know the diffe... (Below threshold)
Lint:

If you don't know the difference between a Sikh and a Sunni, you have absolutely no business commenting on anything about Iraq. Moron.

Lee, let me get this straig... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

Lee, let me get this straight. The conservatives, i.e. Republicans, can never be trusted in fighting a war against terror.

If that be true, then based upon our experience in Viet Nam, the Democrats can never be trusted in fighting a war - period - terrorists or not.

So, who do you propose to lead any fight against anybody, anywhere, anytime?

And don't forget, SShiell, ... (Below threshold)

And don't forget, SShiell, a Democrat was president for all of Al Qaeda's attacks against the US prior to 9/11.

J.

SShiell:Gosh I did... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

SShiell:

Gosh I didn't know till right now that Richard Nixon was a democrat!!
Thanks for the enlightenment.

Now, if you're going to dump Vietnam on a democratic congress, remember the repubs have been in control of congress since 1994. Soooo......that would make the curremt state of disaster whos responsibiluty? Hmmmm

Poor Lee. What a sad world ... (Below threshold)

Poor Lee. What a sad world he lives in, where we were in Eden and everything was sunshine and roses and peace and love and contentment and tolerance, right up until January 20, 2001, when everything went straight to hell...

On the other hand, what a remarkably simple mindset. Republican = evil. If a Republican does it, supports it, or even thinks approvingly of it, it's bad and nasty and vile and wrong and hateful. It so relieves one of the uncomfortable burden of thinking...

J.

>>Poor Lee. What a sad worl... (Below threshold)
Lint:

>>Poor Lee. What a sad world he lives in, where we were in Eden and everything was sunshine and roses and peace and love and contentment and tolerance, right up until January 20, 2001, when everything went straight to hell...

BEats the shit out of whatever maggot infested cesspool you live in, bro. Only things going on in your life is a a ridiculously unhealthy obsession with Massachusetts and sad proclivity to pontificate to your harem of delusional groupies here.

Sad sack of shit.

Good analysis of the situat... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Good analysis of the situation, takes into account past behavior and activity and notes correlation with current behavior.

Even the best analysis can be wrong, but this seems to be pretty close to the mark. Time will tell.

Jay Tea, Lee, almost alone out of the other leftists who comment here (mantis as well, if he counts as a leftist), has demonstrated some critical thinking ability in the past, as I'm sure you've noticed. He does, however, seem to filter everything through a lens of "Democrat=good, Republican=bad" mentality which unfortunatly holds him back severely.

"This is entirely speculati... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"This is entirely speculative, with very little solid research and absolutely no access to any kind of inside information or intelligence."

How is this different than any of your posts?

This is coming from the guy who still believes Iraq had WMDs.

This is coming from a guy who said this about the insurgents:
"I don't believe they have the manpower, the resources, the munitions to keep up these attacks for very long."

And this gem:
"The invasion and conquering of Iraq, and the beginnings of a democracy to take its place, are already showing signs of progress outside Iraq's borders."

All. Wrong. If there was justice, you and the other neo-con writers would be ashamed to still be publising, even on a second tier blog.

The remarkable thing, John,... (Below threshold)

The remarkable thing, John, is that I don't see this as a Democrat/Republican thing. But that's the prism they are locked in to using.

Oh, and jp2: WMDs HAVE been found in Iraq. Poison gas shells that Saddam swore up and down to have destroyed. Libya HAS given up its WMD program. Lebanon, until Syria cracked down through Hezbollah and started a proxy war with Israel and started resumed killing anti-Syrian, pro-independence Lebanese leaders, WAS making strides towards freedom.

On the third point: I said I don't BELIEVE. Purely a statement of opinion. I carefully marked that off as NOT a statement of fact, or even a logical conclusion.

If you don't like what you read, jp2, you're more than welcome to go somewhere else. I understand that Oliver Willis is always looking for more people to blow sunshine up his ass.

J.

Lee, this quote from your p... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Lee, this quote from your post:
"The conservative mindset is too easily manipulated by terrorists, too easily frightened and angered into acting inappropriately. We now know we cannot trust conservatives to secure our nation and our borders."

Perhaps I am misinterpreting you but this suggests to me you feel the President's plan is not aggressive enough. The gist of the plan as I understood it was to establish a free government in Iraq and the training to provide for their own security.

You have been asked by many folks over time on this board what your plan would be and for some reason you are reluctant to commit yourself. So, last me ask how Bush has been manipulated by terrorists AND what in your mind is the alternative approach. Also your plan on border security. I believe, in fact, many conservatives (as you have mentioned the term above) disagree with the President on this issue. You seem very reluctant to commit yourself to alternative solutions when you disagree with those that you feel are failing. I would just like to read ONCE from you something like:

If I were dealing with the threat of terrorism and wanted work over the long term to aggressively pre-empt a future event such as 9/11, I would......

"BEats the shit out of what... (Below threshold)
Mike in Oregon:

"BEats the shit out of whatever maggot infested cesspool you live in, bro."

Nice, thoughtful analysis, Lint. You represent the lefties very well.

With the Democrats takin... (Below threshold)
Brian:

With the Democrats taking both Houses of Congress, the chances that we might have to pull out of Iraq on a set timetable is notably higher.

The survey by much-respected World Public Opinion (WPO), taken in September, found that 74% of Shiites and 91% of Sunnis in Iraq want us to leave within a year. The number of Shiites making this call in Baghdad, where the U.S. may send more troops to bring order, is even higher (80%). In contrast, earlier this year, 57% of this same group backed an "open-ended" U.S. stay.

By a wide margin, both groups believe U.S. forces are provoking more violence than they're preventing -- and that day-to-day security would improve if we left.

Support for attacks on U.S. forces now commands majority support among both Shiites and Sunnis.

But yeah, go ahead and lay this all on the Democrats.

Mr. Tea said: "Poor Lee.... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Mr. Tea said: "Poor Lee. What a sad world he lives in, where we were in Eden and everything was sunshine and roses and peace and love and contentment and tolerance, right up until January 20, 2001, when everything went straight to hell..."

No, Jay, in your mind things became hellish, but it really was only a terrorist act - one that needed to be dealt with rationally and thoughtfully - but conservatives - the very same conservatives who were convinced that Communism would wash across our shores if we didn't stop them in View Nam, were indeed scared and in Hell -- and acted like frightened children.

Those days are gone. America won't listen to the conservatives screaming from their private little hell. We know that terrorist tactics only work on frightened, scared -- terrorized -- individuals. You can choose to not be terrorized, Jay - its time to come out of your private hell and join the Americans who will win the war on terror. Stop being a terrorism victim!

And this was the LAST time we'll let frightened, terrorized children lead us into another war like Iraq.

This is coming from the ... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

This is coming from the guy who still believes Iraq had WMDs.

Obviously the Kurds died of a bad case of indigestion. Oh, you mean "believed Iraq had WMD's in 2003?" Well, seems Saddam was too busy blustering and threatening to bother finally complying, after 12 years, with the cease-fire agreements he had made. Open and unfettered access and confirmation was all that was required, and he never gave that.

Oh, and this:
"The invasion and conquering of Iraq, and the beginnings of a democracy to take its place, are already showing signs of progress outside Iraq's borders."

All. Wrong.

Shows a willfull blindness to events in Libya alone, let alone any place else.


Iran will see our withdr... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Iran will see our withdrawal as license to move in and try to dominate Iraq.
...
A good chunk of the terrorists in Iraq already have ties to Iran, so the groundwork is already laid.

Jay, I think there's a typo in this section. You said "the terrorists", but I think you meant to say "the government that the US helped put into place".

Iran won't need to "move in". They will be invited in. There's nothing we can do to stop that now.

Thanks Mike. I'm trying to... (Below threshold)
Lint:

Thanks Mike. I'm trying to work up to the standards of such luminaries here like JHow and Scrapiron.

I am hoping that if I hang around here long enough, I can figure out how to raise the level of invective and lower the level of discourse as well the others here.

Happy Thanksgiving, you pasty bastard.

bobdog: Your post should be... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

bobdog: Your post should be all the information anyone needs to make a decision on Iraq. The dim's were directly responsible for millions of people being slaghtered in Southeast Asia by cut and run and they never even blinked. Now the leaders of the slaughter are the leaders of the dim's.

The death of hundreds prior to 9-11, the 3,000 slaughtered on 9-11 and the fact they will be responsible for millions being slaughtered in Iraq and add millions of Afghan's since we will not be able to help the people control that country either won't bother the dim's. Like Hitler and the Nazi's, once you start on the road to slaughter and get the blood of millions on your hands there is no turning back. Just substitute Hanoi John/Kennedy/Peeeloshi/Algore and the rest of the dim leaders as a committee for Hitler and the democratic party members as the Nazi's and we have it to do all over again.


Lee, get over yourself. I v... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Lee, get over yourself. I vote Republican on national security issues from a moderate standpoint, they're not perfect, but they do better than the opposition.

The cry that "fear" somehow mitivates actually taking the battle to the terrorists and their allies is one of the more ridiculous you and yours have made.

As I've said elsewhere:
A frightened response to 9/11 and the realization of the radical Islamist threat would have been a disproportionate one. Instead we have taken measured steps, with more successes than failures despite what a 90% Democratic-partisan (by their own polls) media has been showing us. We have removed two explicitly hostile regimes, and a third has surrendered its weapon programs. A frightened response would not have sent aid to Iran following their most devasting earthquake in years. A frightened response would not have us spending blood and treasure to protect and help up the Afghani or the Iraqi people who bore little or no responsibility for the actions of those regimes, when we could have bombed one flat and lifeless and simply taken the southern oil producing regions of the other and held them far more easily than our current task.

A frightened response, on the other hand, does look like what the Democrats have been saying for years. We don't want to "inflame the Muslim street," we musn't upset the U.N. even if many of them even on the Security Council don't give two shits about the U.S. and would in fact love to see the U.S. fall regardless of the damage that would causw worldwide, we can't be too aggressive in preventing rogue nations from developing nuclear weapons, except where ridiculous demands can be made about why we didn't go guns ablazing after the one with hundreds of thousand of artillery pieces holding a friendly nations capitol and people hostage even aside from potential nuclear bombs. Frightened responses look like the disjointed calls for multilateralism when an effort is already multilateral, and for unilateralism in cases where we are far from the only interest. Frightened responses look like claims that hunting down, killing, capturing, interrogating, and disrupting terrorist cells make more terrorists, when the long dead carcass of the Barbary pirates bears mute testament to the opposite, along with our current enemies own communications that we have intercepted. Frightened responses look like the shrieking for the capture of a figurehead and wannabe martyr rather than the systematic dismantling of friendly regimes and the destruction of Al Qaeda's worldwide capabilities, funding, and access. And finally, a frightened response, not to the terrorists this time but to their own fear of losing power, is to claim that should they have lost the elections, that foul play must have been involved and to encourage disrespect for the election process and civil unrest over American elections.

Sorry for the huge post, Jay Tea.

A headline is on FOX news r... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

A headline is on FOX news right now. "Where was the monthly death count on Iraq under Saddam"?

Can anyone explain that?

The number of American Soldiers killed in Iraq in three years of was is equal to the number of Americans killed in the U.S. by drunk drivers every 20 days.

The dim's were directly ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The dim's were directly responsible for millions of people being slaghtered in Southeast Asia by cut and run and they never even blinked.

Once again, we're told that Nixon was a Democrat.

Lee, I thought we tried tha... (Below threshold)

Lee, I thought we tried that approach to terrorism after the first WTC bombing. Or the Khobar Towers bombing. Or the African Embassies bombings. Or the USS Cole bombing. We treated them as crimes, sent in cops and lawyers, and got MORE attacks.

What's YOUR grandiose plan, Lee? What is your miracle cure that'll make us all safe in our beds, where the eeeevil Rethuglicans can't steal our covers and have Halliburton sell them back to us for obscene markups? Have Dick Cheney take Bin Laden on a hunting trip? Put them on a boat with John Kerry and send them to Cambodia? Let Al Gore lecture them about how the 9/11 attacks messed up global warming?

We put out our opinions and ideas and thoughts day in and day out, Lee, and you seem to treat them as YOUR private urinal. Why can't you ever put together your OWN ideas and thoughts as alternatives?

A change may be coming to this site soon, Lee, and it should be VERY enlightening. I, personally, can't WAIT to see how you handle the next big change to Wizbang. It should give everyone some very interesting insights into your character -- among others.

J.

Brian, Hugh: "H... (Below threshold)

Brian, Hugh:

"Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"

I was barely a year old when he left office, and I know that chant. And what it meant.

J.

"The number of American ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"The number of American Soldiers killed in Iraq in three years of was is equal to the number of Americans killed in the U.S. by drunk drivers every 20 days."

What about the innocent Iraqi lives lost, and the families torn apart - or don't the Iraqi people matter to you, Scrapiron?

Clearly, the excuse of invading for the purpose of "liberating Iraq" was not just another lie - conservatives don't give a rat's ass about the Iraqi people.

Lee: Now that you've manage... (Below threshold)
Ran:

Lee: Now that you've managed to slam Bush ONE MORE TIME!..please enlighten us on what WILL happen when the dims plan for us to cut and run is in place. You throw out the thousands of deaths as tho you care, spare me the BS..all you care about is your own sorry ass.

Hmm, lets talk Vietnam for ... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Hmm, lets talk Vietnam for a minute if you want. Kennedy (D) got us in (Dem congress too) and Johnson (D) escalated troop levels (Dem congress again). Nixon inherited the war in 1969 (still a Dem congress).

Nixon proceeds to Vietnamize the conflict (not seen that expression in a while) and succeeds beyond all expectations (Tet in 68 destroyed the Viet Cong for all practicable purposes, they were never more than a nuisance after that.
In 1972 the North Vietnamese invaded South Vietnam with 150,000 men in 10 armored/mechanized divisions, and were routed (less than 50,000 escaped back over the border to North Vietnam). This was accomplished by ARVN with air support from the US, and support from US cadre still in country, but the South Vietnamese side was 90 percent indigenous.
The US continued to pull out forces, and in 1974 the US congress (hugely Dem after the 74 elections) voted the annual aid package to South Vietnam. In a betrayal that still resounds to this day, they voted aid amounting to 1 magazine and 2 hand grenades per soldier in ARVN. Meanwhile, the Soviets reequipped and rearmed the North Vietnamese, and in 1975 another 10 division, 150,000 man invasion took place. Ford refused to commit US air power to help the South Vietnamese, and Saigon fell after a bloody defense by ARVN.

We as a country forced our legions to betray their indigenous allies, and I fear we are getting ready to do it again. I just hope the Kurds come out better off than the Montagnards and ARVN (who were all rounded up and executed by the North Vietnamese, along with the few surviving Viet Cong who failed to realize their place in the "new society".

Did Lee say something. I a... (Below threshold)
UncleZeb:

Did Lee say something. I am holding to my pledge to never read anything he writes.

I think your analysis is as good as any I have seen offered anywhere else. Good points.

Now we're getting somewhere... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Now we're getting somewhere. Tell us Lee, how does the side (your side)that DOES give a rats ass about Iraqis minimize the direct terrorist threat to the United States?

I see the Iraqi government ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

I see the Iraqi government has called the U.N. on the lying numbers the U.N. is putting out on combat/terrorists deaths. Doesn't surprise me that the U.N, would use the dim's method of counting deaths in New Orleans. No one ever dies a natural death, count them all as storm related or in the case of Iraq blame all deaths on the U.S.. Iraq should have had a monster population if no one ever died before the war. Actually the Iraqi government says the U.N. is multiplying the actual violent deaths by at least 4.

Anyone surprised that the worthless U.N, would do this? Get the U.S. out of the U.N. and the U.N. out of the U.S. Knowingly associating with criminals makes you as criminally responsible for the crime as the criminals.

Just chalk this up to anoth... (Below threshold)

Just chalk this up to another "cut and run" from Lee. He made accusations about sock-puppetry, then refused to follow up. Now he is called on HIS idea for Iraq, and he cuts and runs from that argument.

I even got rid of a guy who was impersonating him, but not even a word of acknowledgement.

J.

Not possible Scrapiron..if ... (Below threshold)
Ran:

Not possible Scrapiron..if we booted the UN, Hanoi John would have to move to France. You know..the country with the REAL fighting force.

Jay:A most intelli... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Jay:

A most intelligent response. Ah, but then what should one expect.

Hugh, let me tell you how I... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Hugh, let me tell you how I look at things here. You know, Jay and Kevin take responsibility for this blog. They maintain it and sweat over it. People like you and me are here as guests. They get more leeway than you or I do because it is their turf. They can boot me off of their turf if I do something they don't like. Just like you could ask someone to leave your property if you find something they do offensive. Others in the neighborhood may not find it offensive but if it bothers you, hey, it's your place and your call. Jay is not wrong about Lee never offering his alternatives. Lee would be vulnerable to debate if he were to do that and so he chooses not to. I don't see any problem with Jay culling those who are simply here to compose less than clever invective and offer no alternatives for debate. If I really thought people wanted to hear my views consistently I would put myself on the line and create my own blog (hint). But in the meantime folks like you and I are guests here and I feel Jay has been more than tolerant of your vacuous comments. I'll add a vacuous comment myself: in your liberal mind it is so typical that when someone creates something, folks like you feel that you can have whatever way you want with their creation. And then if they don't they are being unfair. I remember, myself, having these same feelings when as a child I played with my brothers in the sandbox. But the feeling just didn't follow me into adulthood.

Thanks, Dave, but I feel th... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Dave, but I feel the need to clear up one point.

I prefer to "call out" over "cull out." Yeah, I've got the big Troll Hammer of banning, but I hate using it. It makes me feel like I've lost the ability to win the argument on my own without "cheating."

That doesn't mean I won't use it when someone else "cheats." Sock-puppetry, impersonating others, and in a recent case, exploiting my dear friends' losses for mindless, partisan hackery after being warned. For all his ankle-biting, Lee is in no danger of being banned for anything he's done to date.

J.

On the people of Iraq -- yo... (Below threshold)
Lee:

On the people of Iraq -- you guys remember them - we're liberating them, remember???

October deadliest month ever in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least 101 Iraqis died in the country's unending sectarian slaughter Wednesday, and the U.N. reported that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly toll of the war and one that is sure to be eclipsed when November's dead are counted.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq also said citizens were fleeing the country at a pace of 100,000 each month, and that at least 1.6 million Iraqis have left since the war began in March 2003.

Life for Iraqis, especially in Baghdad and cities and towns in the center of the country, has become increasingly untenable. Many schools failed to open at all in September, and professionals -- especially professors, physicians, politicians and journalists -- are falling to sectarian killers at a stunning pace.

Lynchings have been reported as Sunnis and Shiites conduct a merciless campaign of revenge killings. Some Shiite residents in the north Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriyah claim that militiamen and death squads are holding Sunni captives in warehouses, then slaughtering them at the funerals of Shiites killed in the tit-for-tat murders.

Oh yeah, way to go Republican morons. Drag us into a war that results in the wholesale slaughter of thousands upon thousands of innocent people - and then forget they exist - and instead whine that the number of US soldiers killed is less than drunk driving deaths, etc. - ignoring the very people you say we set out to "liberate".

Just three weeks ago Bush was smiling as if nothing had changed. There was an election underway, and it was his job to lie to the American people about the seriousness of the situation in Iraq. He did exactly that.

Pathetic. I'm ashamed of your behavior, you conservatives who to this day continue to defend this lost cause, and pretend it served some useful purpose. It is absolutely appalling.

Lee, face it, you lost this... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Lee, face it, you lost this round. You don't have a plan, instead you wave the bloody shirt of the Iraqis, pretending it won't be them who pay the penalty for the policies of those you supported.

Lee, do you really, truly b... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Lee, do you really, truly believe that the United States is responsible for the intersectarian animosity in the Muslim world? I think implicit in your statement is that only people like you care enough about the Iraqi (and by extension the Muslim) people (because the violence is sectatrian-based) that you recognize the only true path to peace for these people is under the rule of a ruthless dictator such as Hussein. I see the USA, whether for the right or wrong reasons, having deposed a dictator who was supported by only a minority of the population and a country that seems dysfunctional enough to not take advantage of it.

So let me get this straight... (Below threshold)

So let me get this straight. Those meddling conservatives don't give a rat's ass about the Iraqis. And this is proven by ....? Oh yeah, Lee said so.

But now liberals like Lee care about the Iraqis because ....?

Well, prior to March 2003 no one seemed to care one whit. I guess it was okay for Saddam to slaughter people by the thousands for pure greed and power, as long as no one interfered. Or should we only care about them if they are killed by other thugs in the process of trying to free them?

I'm sure you care about the Iraqi people, Lee. I don't doubt that at all. But don't you even try to assert that you have some far more holier reason or that others don't care. If we didn't care then Saddam could be going on with business as usual so we go on with business as usual ignoring their suffering.

Lee, for all his hysteria, ... (Below threshold)

Lee, for all his hysteria, overlooks one rather important point:

Yes, Iraqi civilians are being killed. But they are NOT being killed by our troops. Our troops are there trying to kill those killing the civilians.

By Lee's logic, the cops are to blame for places with high crime rates, and should just get the hell out of the way.

Why don't we give that a try in DC? Lord knows the most restrictive gun-control laws in the nation haven't helped.

J.

Yes, Iraqi civilians are... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Yes, Iraqi civilians are being killed. But they are NOT being killed by our troops. Our troops are there trying to kill those killing the civilians.

Once again...

By a wide margin, both groups believe U.S. forces are provoking more violence than they're preventing -- and that day-to-day security would improve if we left.

Support for attacks on U.S. forces now commands majority support among both Shiites and Sunnis.

Read the posts here. Seems... (Below threshold)
Jerry:

Read the posts here. Seems to cover the full range of perspectives.

Re: civilian casualties - this isn't a trump card. Give cops guns, and innocents inadvertently die, despite the cops' best efforts. So, do we take away their guns? Or realize that those regrettable casualties are the cost of defending society? It's a cold, bloody calculation that society has explicitly responded that those civilian casualties are acceptable (but regrettable) "collateral" damage.

Re: collateral damage in Iraq - same calculation. Thousands of civilian dead, mostly killed by their fellow Iraqi's. So, ask them, "Hey, you poor pathetic schmuck digit-stained aspiring democrats without any history of democratic principles: do you want us to dump you when your (and Lebanon's, Afghanistan's, Ukraine's, Georgia's, Kuwait's, Yemen's, yadda, yadda's) hope for the future is dependent on America's squeamish response to your suffering since we showed up, and ignore what you suffered before?

The Shiites aren't stupid a... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The Shiites aren't stupid and they have had about all they care to take from the Sunni minority, but their hands are tied while the U.S. has a credible force in Iraq. Nevertheless, the American electorate has already cut and run, so the troops will soon be coming home. Once the U.S. leaves the Shiites will solve the problem by exterminating the Sunni minority. While it's a logical solution by Muslim standards, it's not one the U.S. can stomach, but neither is it something the U.S. can prevent post 11/7/06. The only good to come out this is that the slaughter of the Sunni minority will drive a deep wedge between Shiite and Sunni Muslims worldwide.

Jay said: "Yes, Iraqi ci... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Jay said: "Yes, Iraqi civilians are being killed. But they are NOT being killed by our troops. Our troops are there trying to kill those killing the civilians."

"By Lee's logic, the cops are to blame for places with high crime rates, and should just get the hell out of the way."

Not all, Jay. We started this war, not the Iraqis -- we did, and the toll this war has taken on them should be factored into this. Sadly, Scrapiron choose to ignore the plight of the Iraqi people, and minimized the "cost" of the war in this way...

A headline is on FOX news right now. "Where was the monthly death count on Iraq under Saddam"?

Can anyone explain that?

The number of American Soldiers killed in Iraq in three years of was is equal to the number of Americans killed in the U.S. by drunk drivers every 20 days.

Citing the US body count, and ignoring the hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq who's lives were wasted needlessly, is nothing short of stupid. That is why i quoted the article citing the death toll in Iraq.

By your and Scrappy's logic, Jay, crime statistics should only report injuries and assaults on police officers, and we should ignore the cost to innocent victims.

Conservatives seem to have lost sight of the Iraqi people a long time ago. It brings credence to the notion that this war is being fought for reasons other then the liberation of Iraq -- when Republicans choose to ignore the cost to the people of Iraq, wouldn't you say?

Lee, do you really, trul... (Below threshold)
Nikolay:

Lee, do you really, truly believe that the United States is responsible for the intersectarian animosity in the Muslim world?
Since it was United States that put slimebags (like Chalabi) and Muslim extremists and murderers (like Al-Maliki and Bayan Jabr) in charge of Iraq -- just like they helped Saddam to come into power and supported him when he was commiting most of the war crimes he's now charged with -- yes, they are very much responsible for the civil war that goes on in Iraq.

Lee is just full to the bri... (Below threshold)

Lee is just full to the brim with questions. He's like Frank Gorshin's jumpsuit from "Batman."

Pity he can't seem to muster a single answer.

J.

Hey Lee, that 655,000 civ... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Hey Lee, that 655,000 civilian casualty count was reported by three Bathist Proffesors and swallowed and spread by the Democrat Media. More lies from the party of perpetual criminal frauds. Your dumbass included.

DavidD:Thanks for ... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

DavidD:

Thanks for whatever that was that was directed at me for what reason I know not.

However, my "vacuous" comment was a response to a "vacuous" comment from Jay. So, if I'm in his sandbox, he can kick sand in my eyes and I am not allowed to defend myself?

You sound just like a Republican (now you can make the claim you're not). Or are you a playground monitor?

The last time I checked the "internets" were not "owned" by anyone. Yes, one may own a domain and make invite anyone they choose to come in. Absent not being allowed, I'll say whatever I damn well please that is not obscene. Thank you.

Hey Lee, that 655,000 ci... (Below threshold)
Nikolay:

Hey Lee, that 655,000 civilian casualty count was reported by three Bathist Proffesors and swallowed and spread by the Democrat Media. More lies from the party of perpetual criminal frauds.
Iraqi health minister gives a number of 150.000. That's not really that big a difference from 655.000. Given the fact that a minster has good reasons to lower the numbers, a better estimate would be something like 250.000. And that "150.000" number probably doesn't count death among insurgents. (nobody claimed that 655.000 was a number of "innocent deaths").
The Lancet study is not accurate, but it uses a standard method for counting casualties, the same one they use for Sudan. The alternative numbers that Bush refered to, the "official" death toll, is completely unreliable, because in such situation large amount of deaths goes unaccounted for.

Hugh, I wasn't going for "v... (Below threshold)

Hugh, I wasn't going for "vacuous" with the LBJ reference. My intention was conciseness and irrefutability. (Is that a word?)

I don't like categorizing wars as "Democratic" or "Republican" wars. Viet Nam was started (just a little) under Eisenhower, escalated by JFK, brought to its heights under LBJ, then peaked and ended under Nixon -- two Democrats bookended by Republicans, and Lyndon Johnson will always be known as the Viet Nam War president, for good or ill.

By quoting the chant, I reduced that entire paragraph into one catchy phrase. The economy of language appealed to me. If it went past some people, then perhaps I should not have used it -- but it fit so well.

I consider the current War On Terror to have started in 1979, with the Iranian Hostage Crisis. By that measure, it started with a Democrat, then two Republicans, a Democrat, and another Republican -- but as I said, that's utterly pointless to me.

J.

Jay:Thanks for the... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Jay:

Thanks for the clarification and my apology for my misinterpretation of your comment.


Hey Jay, consider reading t... (Below threshold)
John Birtch:

Hey Jay, consider reading the book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" By John Perkins. You'll love it, the author is from Tilton New Hampshire. You can find it on Amazon, $20. bucks, and well worth it. Ships to your house in like 3 days from Amazon directly. This is one of those rare books that will reshape your whole perspective.

J., I'm afraid you're delud... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

J., I'm afraid you're deluding yourself. You cannot debate someone who's nominal response is basically nothing more than 'your team is a bunch of poo-poo heads' (I'm referring to Lee).


With the Democrats... (Below threshold)
With the Democrats taking both Houses of Congress, the chances that we might have to pull out of Iraq on a set timetable is notably higher. I don't like that idea, but I'm enough of a realist to recognize the possibility -- and to start thinking about just how events might unfold.

Events will unfold as they would have if we had never intervened in the first place. Iraq's civil war was destined to occur whenever the Hussein regime was swept from power which would have occurred eventually. No dictatorship lives forever.

Our continued presence in Iraq is just delaying the inevitable clash between Sunni and Shia that must take place in Iraq to decide who will come out on top. These things have to run their course and it is foolish to believe that we can prevent that. The French couldn't have prevented our own Civil War from occurring. Why do we think we can do that in Iraq?


Been away. Yes, Lint, I did... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Been away. Yes, Lint, I did misspeak when I accidentally substituted Sikh when I meant Shiite. Yes, I do know the difference, but as I said, I was in a hurry and simply missed it. You knew what I meant and I know what I meant.

Thanks so much for your polite correction. Don't know how I could survive without your help.

Your personal urinal cake,

Bobdog

Larkin: This is not meant ... (Below threshold)

Larkin: This is not meant to be snide against you particularly, but what if we said this? The Jews are destined to be exterminated and all we're doing is postponing the inevitable. What with probably half the world's population wishing they'd never existed and a significant number of them throughout history pushing to realize that goal. These things have to run their course you know.

There is a marked difference between how the US Civil War took place and what an Iraqi civil war will look like. They've already shown that killing civilians is not only acceptable, but encouraged. Terror is their main M.O.

Jay, you mention that Iraq ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Jay, you mention that Iraq is a lab for our military. Unfortunately, our presence in the Middle East has also been a lab for the bad guys. A chance to monitor up close our methods and our madness. Same thing in the Balkans. The cat and mouse games of air power versus ground defenses that marked the time period of the No-Fly zone is a sad example, one that has undoubtedly benefited Iranian [and Chinese] air defenses.

A troubling and interesting... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

A troubling and interesting post here, Jay. Definitely you bring up issues few want to discuss let alone think about.




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