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U.S. Involvement -- Iraq Vs. Darfur

Last week I asked "Why is it that many war critics seem to believe the U.S. is capable of addressing the conflict and genocide in Darfur, but that they are not capable of achieving victory in Iraq?" Orrin Johnson is asking some questions about the different standards for U.S. engagement in Iraq and Darfur and he is answering some, too.(Link via Michelle Malkin).

Why are the Christians in Darfur more worthy of being saved than the Kurds or Shi'ites were under Saddam's Iraq? Why is the sectarian violence (some could say civil war) in the Sudan worthy of sending American troops to battle al Qaeda, IEDs, and an "endless war" in a country without any real government, when at the same time, it is a moral imperative that we guarantee the same deadly results in Iraq by withdrawing immediately?

Because of the fact that Russia, France, India, and China buy substantial supplies of their oil from the same Sudanese government which is happily allowing the killings to continue (much as those governments prevented action against Saddam for the same reasons), why do they imagine the UN will do anything? And since it's by now obvious that these three permanent vetoes will prevent any kind of action in the Sudan, does this "Crisis of Conscience" require that we go in unilaterally? Or is intervention only morally justified if we can get a corrupt international debating club to sign off on it?

SaveDarfur.org, the organization the banner asks us to donate to, has four goals:

* Strengthen the understaffed and overwhelmed African Union peackeeping force already in Darfur.
* Push for the deployment of a strong UN peacekeeping force.
* Increase humanitarian aid and ensure access for aid delivery.
* Establish a no-fly zone.

How are these things any different than what we have tried and are trying to do in Iraq? How will they NOT result in US soldiers being killed, or in "distracting" us from the "real" war on terror? Wouldn't we be invading a sovereign nation that isn't a threat to us? There's no WMDs there! Wouldn't we just recruit more terrorists who can claim we're oppressing the Muslims because we are intervening on behalf of the Christians? Wouldn't we open ourselves up to accusations that we're only there to take the oil for ourselves? What's SaveDarfur.org's exit strategy? If Bush is an incompetent buffoon who only makes things worse for the locals by his military interventions, why are they demanding he lead the charge? Are these people Chickenhawks for advocating Darfur intervention without volunteering to go there themselves?
...
I would love to intervene in the Sudan. I wish we had the military to do it. Unfortunately, our military is too small to solve every world problem at once. So how about we finish solidifying our victories for freedom and human rights against murderous oppressors where we already are first? Don't think success in Iraq will be able to be ignored by the Sudanese thugs who know they're next on the radar...

Read it all.

Mark Steyn has his own inimitable take, in his observations on the SOTU speech.

The only energy displayed by Nancy Pelosi was the spectacular leap to her feet within a nano-second of the president mentioning Darfur. Up went Madam Speaker and the entire Democratic caucus like enthusiastic loons on a gameshow. Darfur! We're all in favor of Darfur. People are being murdered! Hundreds of thousands! We oughtta do something! Like, er, jump up and down when it's mentioned in a speech. And, er, call for the international community to mobilize. Maybe one of those leathery old '60s rockers could organize an all-star concert or something. If Darfur were indeed a game show, the Sudanese would quickly discover it's one of those ones where you come on down to discover you've missed out on all the big prizes but you're not going away empty-handed: No, sir, here's your very own SAVE DARFUR! T-shirt autographed by Nancy Pelosi and George Clooney.

Darfur is an apt symbol of early 21st century liberalism: What matters is that you urge action rather than take any. On Iraq, meanwhile, the president declared: "Let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory." And the Dems sat on their hands.


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Comments (63)

I'll bite! Because it's do-... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

I'll bite! Because it's do-able! There's an AU force in place, Chad has a grudge against Sudan, and Ethiopia has showed an inclination to get on the aid train. Let the US introduce Willie Pete to the militias, and a 2 month/WEEK? shock and awe to Sudan proper by AIR. I've not brushed up more than that, but the militias are raiders, who when the profit dries up, they will melt away. The Sudanese government isn't strong enough against Chad, let alone a combined army. Since Christianity and animism are strong, the moslems can be pushed OUT. AS we should have done in Iraq: capture territory, let the refuse flee before the moving front lines. Free fire zones; the whole bit. Vet who is let inside; if in doubt, keep them out. That's why the whole Baghdad strategy's a joke. Cops can't operate in enemy territory. If it was for oil, seize the oil fields , but "nation-building" by "Christian" infidels in a 90% muslim and ancient civilization is for suicidal morons. Not that I would have gone into Iraq inthe first place, but if you go militarily, you should utilize military doctrine, not some PC nation-building boondogle.

Liberals always need causes... (Below threshold)
Chris G:

Liberals always need causes, and Darfur is the lated "cause celebre". It helps them seem compassionate, without the expense.

Before Darfur, Iraq was the "cause celebre". Remember all of the liberals screaming about the genocide occuring in Iraq, and the hand wringing over the Iraqi babies dying as a result of US (actually UN) sanctions, even in light of the Oil For Food Program, which ended up being the Oil For Food Scandal.

Whew!!

Following the logic of a liberal is like a dog chasing his tail. There is never any resolution.

Liberals are good at complaining and lecturing. When it comes to action, war is not the answer. But that is how many problems aree solved.

You bomb Pearl Harbor, we nuke two of your cities

You use incinerators and gas showers to kill Jews around the clock for 5 years, and conquer peaceful nations? We kill those dumb enough to fight, and execute those who thought they were too smart to get their hands dirty

You invade a country, allow your soldiers to rape the women, loot the cities, gas your people and the people of another nation, allow your sons to run rampant raping women and literally beating the s**t of everyone, starve your own people, and murder your own people by the hundred of thousands.... and we see to it that you swing

In other words, you don't engage evil.. You anihilate it.

You see how the left got their Code Pink issued "Pink Patriot Panties" in a bunch when they found the US put a little something on Al Queda in Somalia a couple of weeks ago

It always seemed to me that... (Below threshold)

It always seemed to me that the Left will only support US military interventions in places where it is demonstrable that we have absolutely NO national interest, and oppose it where we do. I find myself wondering if that's because they are obsessed with the "clean hands" principle, where we should only act where it is demonstrably an act of charity and purity and humanitarian grounds, and never where it might atually benefit ourselves...

J.

"It always seemed to me... (Below threshold)
marc:

"It always seemed to me that the Left will only support US military interventions in places where it is demonstrable that we have absolutely NO national interest, and oppose it where we do."

AMEN, J.

You didn't see all this hand wringing and wailing about Maggie's war in the Balkins. You didn't see the left screaming "illegal war" despite the fact Clinton went in without U.N. approval.

You didn't see they scream Clinton "lied" after he sold the war on hundreds of thousands of dead in mass graves, but only about 10, 00 give or take have ever been found.

They never assigned the "quagmire" label on Kosovo even though we are still there and the U.N. has taken all these years to cobble together something close to a working government.

The real reason the U.S. wo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The real reason the U.S. won't go into Darfur is because the American electorate has lost their appetite for war, at least for now. We'll be lucky if we can stay in Iraq long enough the give the people there a soft landing and some chance of keeping an elected government.

Darfur must look to the U.N. for help, but without the U.S. leading the charge. Darfur is really a test of the U.N. to see if it has any value in the 21st century.

If we were in Darfur, it wo... (Below threshold)
LJD:

If we were in Darfur, it would be dubbed a quagmire, and eyes would be on somewhere else.

We'll have the full display... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

We'll have the full display of sanctimonious outrage from the left all the way up to the point where Bush actually does something about it. Then it's the next Vietnam, a need for hearings about Bush, give peace a chance, a complete disaster, why don't we beg the UN for action, our French allies, thousands of cases of collateral damage, the slaughter of innocents, no exit strategy, we can't win, not enough troops, no blood for oil, too many troops, needless violence, prisoner abuse, Bush deceived us, success is not an option, get out now, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah...

Here are the warning signs to watch for:

1. Nancy Pelosi and the Religion of ME-ME-MEEEEE think it's a good idea.
2. Hollywood thinks it's a good idea.
3. The New York Times thinks it's a good idea.

Caring.Caring is a... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Caring.

Caring is all that matters.

That and appearing to care.

Results matter not. Nobel prizes are not awarded for results, but instead for caring.

Were we to engage in Darfur, Darfur would become a magnet for Al Qaida types and the Iraq cycle would begin anew. Just as in Iraq, conditions on the ground would change as we arrived.

Modern liberals are collect... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Modern liberals are collectively all for doing something as long as they don't have to actually DO something.

They leave the actual doing to conservatives and Republicans. Then they can sit back, congratulate themselves for caring, and bitch, whine and moan about how the job is being done and when it is going to end.

Of course that's a gross generalization, but from a psychological standpoint, what else explains their decades-long evolving stance on Iraq and, and their eagerness to "do something" on Dafur--which will result in more of the same?

Actually the Darfur is easi... (Below threshold)

Actually the Darfur is easier to deal with than Iraq. Iraq is as was noted over at the Captain Quarters is a Hobbesian state with a bunch of small tribes exacting revenge killing after revenge killing. The Janjuweed is controlled by the government - meaning getting a single agreement to stop the fighting is possible. The fractured state of Iraq actually makes it more complex and a lot harder to deal with.

This is easily explained, t... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

This is easily explained, they are for intervention in Darfur because we aren't intervening. Let Bush put one soldier in Darfur and watch as they attack him for being all unilateral.

Being for intervention is easy, it's like condemning the massacres in Rwanda. It has no cost and it makes you feel better about yourself.

TO HELL WITH THE WHALES,SPO... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

TO HELL WITH THE WHALES,SPOTTED OWLS,FLOWER LOVING FLY,RED LEGGED FROG,DELTA SMELT,REDWOODS, SAVE DARFUR

There hasn't been a call fo... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

There hasn't been a call for a U.S. invasion of Darfur. So, I'm not sure what you're talking about.

Darfur is NOT Iraq, nor would the approach to Darfur be the same as Iraq. You are comparing apples and oranges here.

Here's what we want: to figure out the best way to save as many of those being slaughtered there from death and injury. That might be possible by helping the African Union forces there. Or some other way. But I've never heard a call for an American invasion and occupation of Darfur. I'm sure there's some people who want that, but that's not representative of most people who want to help Darfur.

Modern liberals ar... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
Modern liberals are collectively all for doing something as long as they don't have to actually DO something.

Like putting stickers on our SUVs saying "Support the troops".

Iraq is only in Chaos becau... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Iraq is only in Chaos because the democrat party has to have it in chaos for political purposes. The started the progaganda war to brainwash the members of the dhimmi party before the first American soldier entered Iraq, remember the lefties screams, we'll lose 30,000 soldiers and never set foot in Iraq. They were wrong and have provided 100% suppoet to the enemy since to try and right their mistake, in the mind of their idiot followers.

If the United States Congress would unite for 30 days and let the world know they were serious then 90% of the worlds problems, including Iraq, would disappear. The enemy knows that they can't beat the United States Military but can win politically through the weasels in the dhimmi party who not only can, but will sacrafice millions of American lives in hope of winning a few seats in Congress and/or the white house.

That is the problem in a nutshell, the spoiled brats in the dhimmi party can't accept a loss in politics but will cause any number of losses in the military to satisfy their ego's. Proof was in D.C. this weekend when several thousand of the enemies strongest supporters gathered.

I say let the dhimmi's have it and refuse to serve in the military under any conditions. This country will fall in 60 days.

"Don't think success in... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"Don't think success in Iraq will be able to be ignored by the Sudanese thugs who know they're next on the radar... "

Were it not for the actions of the MSM, democrat politicians (and some Repubs.), and the lefty/neo-com anti war loudmouths (as demonistrated in the comments sections on this site daily) the THREAT alone would be enough in most cases. Lybia was a good example of this a few years ago, although today perhaps not so much.

But the bad guys know the MSM will report all their successes while ingoring their defeats and ignoring any successes of the American military. With the democrat politicians and neo-coms cheering and rooting for them, the enemy will win the public relations side of any war which is more important in most cases than the military side.

Wonder how long it would be... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Wonder how long it would before "pubic hair" chimed in with his "I know more then thee" BS.

Iraq is only in Ch... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
Iraq is only in Chaos because the democrat party has to have it in chaos for political purposes.

Sorry, but who's had control of the White House and both houses of Congress until this month? The Republicans have made every single policy decision on Iraq...and they bear the credit or responsibility for their decisions.

By the way, are things still going pretty well as Cheney says? Why not take credit?

Sez Publicus: "Like putting... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Sez Publicus: "Like putting stickers on our SUVs saying "Support the troops".

HUH?

Whatever. What a lame comeback.

this is just one more of th... (Below threshold)
jay k.:

this is just one more of the far rights straw men arguments. who is calling for the invasion and occupation of darfur? and the only argument i've heard posed is not that darfur is more worthy of support than iraq...but why is iraq more worthy of support than darfur.
you have to ask yourself...if the extreme right must use strawmen, and hyperbole, and false choiuces, and outright lies to support its stands on policy...how valid are those policies?

Jay K. --We probab... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Jay K. --

We probably largely agree on policy, but I think we can both understand (and still disagree with) the right's position.

They believe that American interests are at stake in Iraq, and not Darfur. They believe that Iraq is at the center of the WOT.

And yes, they DO fail to understand that the left is not calling for an invasion of Darfur. But I don't think that it is a "straw man"--they simply don't understand the liberal position, but they are not (generally) intentionally misrepresenting it.

Hey, you Republican's on this blog...did I get your position right? If not, please correct me!

NYC subways are plastered w... (Below threshold)
Dries:

NYC subways are plastered with posters about plight of Darfur. They list of miseries suffered by Sudanese: being bombed by airplanes, shot, maimed, raped etc. YET nowhere it tells who is responsible for those acts. Bombs are simply "dropped" & men are "shot" & women "raped". By who?

Admitting that perps are Muslims is too difficult for liberals

jay k. is right. I've not h... (Below threshold)
Brian:

jay k. is right. I've not heard anyone suggest that we can "win" in Darfur. All I've heard is questions in response to Bush's latest rationale about Iraq, which is that we went in for humanitarian purposes. And the question then is, if that's true, then why did we not go into Darfur, which arguably has a far greater need for humanitarian assistance? That's not to say that we can necessarily "fix" Darfur, but just that the argument about being in Iraq because that's a concern of ours doesn't hold water.

And Jay T.'s comment about the left only wanting interventions in places where we have NO national interest is silly. One could say the right only wants military interventions in places where we DO have a national interest, thus wanting to avoid acting out of charity and purity and humanitarian grounds, and only where it might selfishly benefit ourselves.

But, if you need to invent the position that the left says we can be successful in Darfur just so you can dispute fantasy instead of reality, go for it.

It's interesting to me how ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

It's interesting to me how both left and right impute nefarious motives to each other. Now, I think that there are such people...on either side...with less than honorable motives.

But those folks are, I feel quite sure, in a minority. I think we can each fight for what we believe is best and right without assuming those who disagree with us are fascists or terrorist sympathizers...

response to publicus...<br ... (Below threshold)
jay k.:

response to publicus...
you are generous...and i would be as well...if this wasn't part of a pattern. look at the libby trial...the pattern is being laid out by fitzgerald...don't attack the message...don't argue the issue straight up...attack the messenger...no matter the consequences.
and dries seems to have issues with muslims...but i have to assume i'm mis-reading his post because i'm sure he (or she) would not make such a racist statement.

Publicus,The follo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Publicus,

The following is form Lorie's piece:

SaveDarfur.org, the organization the banner asks us to donate to, has four goals:

* Strengthen the understaffed and overwhelmed African Union peackeeping force already in Darfur.
* Push for the deployment of a strong UN peacekeeping force.
* Increase humanitarian aid and ensure access for aid delivery.
* Establish a no-fly zone.

The second and fourth items likely mean deployment of U.S. forces to the region. We don't have to invade to put the lives of our troops in danger. As I said above, The real reason the U.S. won't go into Darfur is because the American electorate has lost their appetite for war, at least for now. The left has been successful in quenching our thrust for blood, but the result is defenseless people may pay the price with their own blood. Their only hope is that the UN lives up to it's charter.

no mac lorry...the reason w... (Below threshold)
jay k.:

no mac lorry...the reason we won't is because there is little or no oil there. maybe under the next administration oil will not be the index around which everything else revolves.

We should definitely NOT tr... (Below threshold)
John Ryan:

We should definitely NOT try to do better than we have in the past

Mac Lorry --Includ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mac Lorry --

Including U.S. soldiers in an international peacekeeping force is different from a U.S.-led invasion and occupation.

I don't know whether the electorate has lost their appetite for war in general or just the Iraq war. For example, I don't see the same large-scale call for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Are there any poll statistics on what the American public wants in Darfur? I'm curious.

jay k. --Well, in ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

jay k. --

Well, in certain cases there IS information suggesting less than honest motives. (On the left, we cite the Downing Street Memo.)

But I think the pattern of behavior you cite could just as easily be explained by an alternate world view (one we both think is flawed) without requiring nefarious motives.

As for individual statements----such as possible bigotry--I'd hold individuals responsible for such statements, not whole movements.

I looked up info on polls a... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I looked up info on polls about Darfur. I found this, but it's from a Zogby poll in 2005...(kinda old)

Some 84% of respondents said the U.S. should not tolerate an extremist government committing such attacks, and should use its military assets, short of inserting U.S. combat troops on the ground to protect civilians, to help bring them to a halt.
"Why is it that many war... (Below threshold)
AkaDad:

"Why is it that many war critics seem to believe the U.S. is capable of addressing the conflict and genocide in Darfur, but that they are not capable of achieving victory in Iraq?"

Maybe I can help. Invasion and occupation type wars always fail. They aren't winnable. Victory would have been achieved by not invading and occupying. Stopping genocide is not the same as forcing Democracy on people, like we are doing in Iraq. It's apples and oranges.

Publicus,... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Publicus,

Including U.S. soldiers in an international peacekeeping force is different from a U.S.-led invasion and occupation.

That's certainly true, but it's also just as true that U.S. soldiers are in harms way in either situation. Putting soldiers in harms way without risking your own life is what the "chickenhawk" charge is all about. A liberal wanting to deploy U.S. troops as part of a UN peacekeeping force is just as much a chickenhawk as a conservative wanting to keep troops in Iraq. On 11/7/06 we learned that the American electorate doesn't want to be chickenhawks anymore.

The Zogby poll of 2005 you cited states "...should use its military assets, short of inserting U.S. combat troops on the ground to protect civilians..." Even in 2005, the American electorate had lost it's appetite for putting U.S. soldiers in harms way.

Defanging the United States has been the goal of liberals for decades and now that they have achieved some success it seems strange that some liberals are now encouraging the United States to once again bare its teeth to scare off the perpetrators of genocide. Sorry, but we're either a fierce people that inspires respect and fear in evil men or we're not. Until China takes over as the leader of the (free) world, the U.S. must play the role of policeman. We can either play that role as Chuck Norris or as Don Knotts. Which do you prefer?

That's certainly t... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
That's certainly true, but it's also just as true that U.S. soldiers are in harms way in either situation.

Absolutely. I would be very interested in the details and thinking that went into any effort to save people in Darfur.

I'll sidestep the "chickenhawk" thing for now; I didn't make that argument. I will say that the validity of someone's argument can't rest on whether or not he or she is personally in harm's way; but putting oneself into harm's way certainly demonstrates conviction...

I think pretty much EVERYONE isn't wild about putting soldiers in harms way. Clearly the left doesn't like doing it; and Rumsfeld and the right limited the number of troops used in Iraq, presumably (and laudably) not wanting to endanger any more troops than necessary.

I also might suggest that their are strategies between the extremes of Chuck Norris and Don Knotts.

If you ask me, they our all... (Below threshold)
Carl Gordon:

If you ask me, they our all ecually worthless. We shouldnt give are money or soldjiers to anybody - there ares. Whane our we going to stop sacrafising are boys and money to such heethens? ANd islams are with satin! Lets pull them all home so we can be the most strongest. Except in Iraq - were wining their!

[T]he reason we wo... (Below threshold)
[T]he reason we won't is because there is little or no oil there. - Jay K.

This is just factually wrong, and is at the heart of the "Save Darfur" crowd's cluelessness about the situation. There are VAST amounts of oil in southern Sudan, and much less so in the North. China, Russia, France, and India are all major customers. With three UNSC permanent vetos who don't want their apple cart upset, why do you think the US (i.e. Bush) is the only one who will use the "G" word? Why do you think the UN will never do anything about it? A majority of UN members have a financial (or religious) stake in the ongoing violence. It's the same reason the UN opposed the invasion of Iraq even after authorizing it - too many pockets were being lined. It had nothing to do with altruism, one way or the other.

Thank you very much for the link, Lorie. It's an honor.

I will say that th... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I will say that the validity of someone's argument can't rest on whether or not he or she is personally in harm's way...

I agree, but as a liberal you're not allowed to make that argument, at least not while being considered a liberal by those who paste the chickenhawk label on others.

Rumsfeld and the right limited the number of troops used in Iraq, presumably (and laudably) not wanting to endanger any more troops than necessary.

But you realize that other liberals list the decision to use a limited number of troops in Iraq as one of the administration's mistakes.

I also might suggest that their are strategies between the extremes of Chuck Norris and Don Knotts.

In theory that's true, but much less so in practice. When a President's every step in prosecuting a conflict is scrutinized by the opposition and made into a political attack, few future President are going to have the courage to put U.S. troops in harms way for purely humanitarian reasons. Liberals have made the U.S. into the Barney Fife of world policing.

Well, if the administration... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Well, if the administration used too few troops in Iraq, that would be a strategic mistake...but trying to keep troops out of harm's way (if that was a motive) is certainly not a moral error.

I think the left IS correct in saying it's easier for someone to send other people's kids to their deaths than their own. But that's not sufficient to negate the right's argument on Iraq. (I think the right's argument on Iraq is wrong----but for other reasons.)

Regarding the choice between Chuck Norris and Don Knotts, I would note that Bush had a free hand until this month...and his strategy cannot be treated as a reaction to political attacks on the left. If he's being Chuck Norris, he chose to be Chuck Norris.

The war in Iraq is an illeg... (Below threshold)
Law student:

The war in Iraq is an illegal war whose justification has been proved false if not willfully fabricated, and which does not have the support of the international community. In Darfur there is a humanitarian crisis, and intervention would be legal, justified, and would have the support of the international community. I advise you not to go to law school--you'd fail if you can't even distinguish these situations.

Defanging the United Sta... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Defanging the United States has been the goal of liberals for decades and now that they have achieved some success it seems strange that some liberals are now encouraging the United States to once again bare its teeth to scare off the perpetrators of genocide.

Sorry, but it's the current administration and its inept handling of Iraq that "defanged" the US, by making everyone believe our fangs are actually made of foam. People used to be more afraid of us when all we did was bare our teeth.

When a President's every... (Below threshold)
Brian:

When a President's every step in prosecuting a conflict is scrutinized by the opposition and made into a political attack, few future President are going to have the courage to put U.S. troops in harms way for purely humanitarian reasons. Liberals have made the U.S. into the Barney Fife of world policing.

The flaw in your logic is that no one attacked Bush for going into Afghanistan, no one is calling for withdrawing from Afghanistan, and many are even calling for additional forces in Afghanistan to prevent the successes we've had from unraveling further.

When the public supports one war but opposes another, you need to come up with a better explanation than simply that the "President's every step" is being made into an attack. It's quite possible the American people are actually able to evaluate issues on their own merit, and are correct in narrowing their opposition specifically to the Iraq policies. Bush has shown that he is no better at choosing conflicts than Tim Allen is at choosing movie scripts.

This is beside the point, b... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

This is beside the point, but I do love Mark Steyn. Great writer. Even Hitchens had nice things to say about his book.

And, as we all know, Hitchens is a reformed socialist. So, there is hope for the liberal pukes at some point in their lives, if they ever jerk themselves out of their Kos-Delusion.

Publicus,... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Publicus,

Regarding the choice between Chuck Norris and Don Knotts, I would note that Bush had a free hand until this month...and his strategy cannot be treated as a reaction to political attacks on the left. If he's being Chuck Norris, he chose to be Chuck Norris.

You're forgetting the 2004 campaign. Bush knew all along he would have to run against the anti-war crowd and that may be one reason he tried to do Iraq on the cheap and with minimal troops. It's not like his major opponents were hitting him over the head about not spending enough money or lives in Iraq.

But isn't this "a battle fo... (Below threshold)
Brian:

But isn't this "a battle for civilization itself"? Are you saying that, for political expediency, Bush chose to fight it on the cheap?

Law student, <blockqu... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Law student,

The war in Iraq is an illegal war whose justification has been proved false if not willfully fabricated, and which does not have the support of the international community.

This shows why you're still just a student. Bush had the same intelligence about Iraq's WMD as Bill Clinton and both concluded Saddam had WMD. Congress had access to the same exact intelligence as Bush and they saw no reason to doubt what he was saying. Many now claim they didn't look for themselves, but most of those who did look came to the conclusion that Saddam had WMD. The charge that it was an illegal war was made because the UN did not authorize the war, but we now know Saddam had corrupted officials of France and Russia as well as the UN. Saddam signed a cease fire agreement at the end of Gulf War 1 that he violated on numerous occasions. That alone gave the U.S. the right to resume hostilities under international law.

All this really has nothing to do with the U.S. go into Darfur. It's real simple, the American electorate has no appetite for putting more troops in harms way. Sure, if there's an attack on the U.S. again, that might change some minds depending on how many citizens are killed.

But isn't this "a ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
But isn't this "a battle for civilization itself"?

Only western civilization. As long as you're willing to convert to Islam and you are male, you'll be fine.

Are you saying that, for political expediency, Bush chose to fight it on the cheap?

For political survival, Bush may have wanted to minimize the cost of the war both in terms of dollars and lives. Was that a mistake? Well, no one can know without knowing what would have happened if Bush had taken a different course.

The flaw in your l... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
The flaw in your logic is that no one attacked Bush for going into Afghanistan, no one is calling for withdrawing from Afghanistan, and many are even calling for additional forces in Afghanistan to prevent the successes we've had from unraveling further.

The flaw in your logic is that, without the lightning rod of Iraq, the left would be attacking the President over Afghanistan.

It's quite possible the American people are actually able to evaluate issues on their own merit. . .

Yes, but I was talking about those attacking Bush and his supporter with the charge of chickenhawk. That charge doesn't discriminate between Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's real simple, the American electorate has been worn down by the anti-war message and they are just tired of war. They voted to bring the troops home and keep them home, not to go sending them off to another quagmire.

The flaw in your l... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
The flaw in your logic is that, without the lightning rod of Iraq, the left would be attacking the President over Afghanistan.

That's an assumption based on your mindset, not evidence. And, no, showing that SOME liberals opposed our actions in Afghanistan is hardly sufficient evidence.

Is the situation that, if ANYONE opposes Bush's positions, then THEY bear responsibility for any of Bush's shortcomings? Because, if that's the case...well, I simply can't agree.

For political surv... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
For political survival, Bush may have wanted to minimize the cost of the war both in terms of dollars and lives. Was that a mistake?

This isn't what we were hearing from the right at the time...We were hearing that Bush was resolute and doing what he thought best. He certainly wasn't scared, fighting for his political survival...

All this really ha... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
All this really has nothing to do with the U.S. go into Darfur. It's real simple, the American electorate has no appetite for putting more troops in harms way.

I don't know how many times this point need to be repeated: nobody is calling for a U.S. led ground invasion. And there does seem to be support from the public for intervention in other areas, but not Iraq. The argument that Americans want out of Iraq, therefore they are unwilling to fight anywhere----well, it's a logically invalid argument (one doesn't necessitate the other), nor does it match polls or political reality (i.e. there are NOT widespread calls for quick withdrawal from Afghanistan.)

"The flaw in your logic is ... (Below threshold)
KC:

"The flaw in your logic is that, without the lightning rod of Iraq, the left would be attacking the President over Afghanistan."

Lorry, you're just a genius aren't you? There is absolutely no logic in your quote above.

Is strawmen all you have? DID anyone on "the left" attack Bush for going into Afghanistan? I'm sure you can find a comment on some "lefty" blog saying that we shouldn't have gone in .

But then, why am I sitting here watching you knock down strawmen and arguing with you about it?

Even a layman like myself could have told you though, that without finishing the job properly in Afghanistan invading Iraq - something that Bush is known to have wanted to do PRIOR to 9/11 - was just a stupid, ill-timed move.

It was just poor planning. And don't try to throw it in anyone else's face. This administration had everything it needed in a compliant Congress and a Coalition of the Willing to go in and execute this war much more effectively. Nevermind that a previous poster IS right. This type of war does not work, and most likely can't work.

I guess the best part about being a neocon warmonger is that you have the luxury of never having to admit when you're wrong - which is always. The neocons have never been right about anything.

I don't know how m... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I don't know how many times this point need to be repeated: nobody is calling for a U.S. led ground invasion.

Well that's true, but I have also made the point that whether in an invasion or in a peacekeeping force, troops are still in harms way, and the American electorate has no appetite for putting more troops in harms way.

The argument that Americans want out of Iraq, therefore they are unwilling to fight anywhere----well, it's a logically invalid argument (one doesn't necessitate the other), nor does it match polls or political reality (i.e. there are NOT widespread calls for quick withdrawal from Afghanistan.)

But I'm not making that argument. I'm saying the American electorate has no appetite for putting more troops in harms way, not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan, and not in Darfur. The only polls I have seen back that up, and the only reason we don't hear the call to pull out of Afghanistan is because Iraq is the lightning rod for all such criticism. Look, the American electorate doesn't want to be chickenhawks, and that label knows no distinction between once cause and the next, it only knows about putting someone else in harms way. The anti-war, anti-Bush crowed has succeeded in changing the minds of the American electorate, and I fear the only thing that will snap them out of the spell is another large attack on the U.S. We are sill in Iraq only because Bush is determined to salvage what 3100 American soldiers have already given their lives for.

Is strawmen all yo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Is strawmen all you have? DID anyone on "the left" attack Bush for going into Afghanistan? I'm sure you can find a comment on some "lefty" blog saying that we shouldn't have gone in

There was no significant attack on Bush when he went into Afghanistan because we were just getting started in this long war on terror. The American electorate has had enough of war. They don't see any connection between the war and there being no attacks on the U.S. They simply don't want to put more troops in harms way. They have heard all the stories about the hardships of the troops and their families and on 11/7/06 they voted to bring them home, not send them to Darfur.

I'm saying the Ame... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
I'm saying the American electorate has no appetite for putting more troops in harms way, not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan, and not in Darfur.

I think we're CLOSE to agreement here. I think that Americans are reluctant to put troops in harm's way unless they believe there is a compelling reason to do so. The want to know, "Is there a less costly way----in terms of human life----to achieve something worthwhile?" They have concluded that we've paid too high a price in Iraq.

They don't know much about Darfur; nobody's even asked for more troops in Afghanistan. If Bush calls for more troops in Afghanistan, however, at this point it would be difficult to know if the people don't trust Bush or oppose putting more troops into harm's way.

The anti-war, anti... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
The anti-war, anti-Bush crowed has succeeded in changing the minds of the American electorate, and I fear the only thing that will snap them out of the spell is another large attack on the U.S. We are sill in Iraq only because Bush is determined to salvage what 3100 American soldiers have already given their lives for.

That's one way to look at it. Here's another:

1. Not all anti-war people are typically anti-Bush; we see increasing numbers of Republicans opposing the Iraq war.
2. I would suggest that it wasn't the persuasiveness of the leftists, but the increasing toll of death and injury that turned people against the war. 2/3 oppose the war; I don't think they are all Democrats, or extremists of any kind.
3. Americans are confused by the multiple "causes" that our soldiers have died for. They were told too many things that don't hold up: WMDs in Iraq; last throes of the insurgency,etc. These claims were not leftist propaganda. I think you are overestimating the effectiveness of the left.

Americans, most of us anyway, consider the Iraq a mistake and don't want our soldiers to continue there in harm's way.

There was no signi... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
There was no significant attack on Bush when he went into Afghanistan because we were just getting started in this long war on terror.

I would suggest that the people supported action in Afghanistan because Afghanistan was directly connected to the WTC attacks. We didn't know anything about a "long war"; we hadn't heard the term at that time.

1. Not all anti-wa... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
1. Not all anti-war people are typically anti-Bush; we see increasing numbers of Republicans opposing the Iraq war.

Those Republicans are just getting on the bandwagon that was already rolling strong before they got on.

2. I would suggest that it wasn't the persuasiveness of the leftists, but the increasing toll of death and injury that turned people against the war. 2/3 oppose the war; I don't think they are all Democrats, or extremists of any kind.

It's the left that used the death toll to strengthen support against the war among the electorate. You are right that they are not all Democrats or extremists, so their support can change for or against war depending on what's happening.

3. Americans are confused by the multiple "causes" that our soldiers have died for. They were told too many things that don't hold up: WMDs in Iraq; last throes of the insurgency,etc. These claims were not leftist propaganda. I think you are overestimating the effectiveness of the left.

The left took every opportunity to magnify every error the troops made whether it was mistreating prisoners or killing innocents in the heat of battle. I'm not condoning those things, but no one who has ever been in war is surprised when they happen. The left amplified those events and downplayed the positive things. Apart from some Quantum science fiction device, we cannot show the American people what would have happened if Saddam had been left in power, so there's no counterweight to balance the current state of Iraq.

I would suggest that the people supported action in Afghanistan because Afghanistan was directly connected to the WTC attacks. We didn't know anything about a "long war"; we hadn't heard the term at that time.

But we would have heard about a long war by now and I think the American electorate would feel the same about Afghanistan as they do now about Iraq if Iraq had not been invaded. People just get tired of the anti-war protesting, and after a while they'll vote to get out if they don't see a direct cause between war and their own welfare. In future conflicts we need to go back to WW2 methods of bombing after the initial wave of smart weapons takes out the enemy air defenses. The ground has to be plowed deep so that peace can grow strong roots.

Mac Lorry --I agre... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Mac Lorry --

I agree with much of what you say here----the Dems are emphasizing (taking advantage of) the information that supports their case, and the Republicans are emphasizing the info that supports theirs.

I guess we still disagree on who has the better case...

Of course, what would have happened on a different road is unknowable. I can say this: if I am wrong and the Iraq war (which is horrible) is better than the alternative, I hope my approach (get our troops out) is never adopted. But, I am not yet convinced...

Thanks for chatting and have a good night!

People just get tired of... (Below threshold)
Brian:

People just get tired of the anti-war protesting, and after a while they'll vote to get out if they don't see a direct cause between war and their own welfare.

How about... people just get tired of the war, and after a while they'll vote to get out if they don't see a direct cause between war and their own welfare.

Publicus,Thanks fo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Publicus,

Thanks for the civil debate. We are really talking about the mood of the American electorate and that can be changed by events or a persuasive argument made by a respected person or group. Mood also changes over time for no particular reason. We are into the unknowable here.

Brian, It's not re... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Brian,

It's not really just "the war", it's the way the war is portrayed to the public. If the MSM presented the war as a glorious fight for the freedom of American, the public would be fully behind Bush or asking for an 100,000 surge to get the job done.

Sudan is not rich in oil.</... (Below threshold)

Sudan is not rich in oil.

you all clearly have no mea... (Below threshold)
rachel s:

you all clearly have no means to talk, who cares about the past things this is the now and how would you feel if your country leaders were killing your children and raping your wifes, and daughters it wouldn't pass. we live in a country filled with materialistic views and think only of ourselves. if it's the cost that is stopping us from going in that's bull shit because i know i would rather lose all my money and know i helped save at least some ones life.




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