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What Was Not Anticipated in Iraq

Dennis Prager makes an interesting point that I don't think I have heard anyone else make in the Iraq debate. He contends the type of "insurgency" we have seen in Iraq was unanticipated and is the reason we cannot claim victory there. He is not saying the violence was unanticipated. He says many, including him, predicted violence -- against U.S. and Allied forces, as well as violence between different factions in Iraq. What he says was not predicted by anyone is how many of their own innocent people the insurgents would murder.

Here is the latest example of this new form of evil as reported by the Associated Press: "Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations on the Joint Staff, said . . . the vehicle used in the attack [on Iraqi civilians] was waved through a U.S. military checkpoint because two children were visible in the back seat. He said this was the first reported use of children in a car bombing in Baghdad. 'Children in the back seat lowered suspicion, (so) we let it move through, they parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back,' Barbero told reporters in Washington."


These same "insurgents" routinely blow up children who line up to receive candy from U.S. troops. Likewise, college students are targeted for death, as are men lining up to apply for civilian jobs, men and women attending mosques, physicians in hospitals, and so on. The more innocent the Iraqi, the more likely he or she is to be targeted for murder.

I submit that there was no way to anticipate this. And no one did. This includes all those who predicted a civil war in Iraq between Shiites and Sunnis. I include myself among those who predicted savagery in Iraq.
...
It is, therefore, unfair to blame the Bush administration for not anticipating such a determined "insurgency." Without the mass murder of fellow Iraqis, there would hardly be any "insurgency." The combination of suicide terrorists and a theology of death has created an unprecedented form of "resistance" to an occupier: "We will murder as many men, women and children as we can until you leave." Nor is this a matter of Sunnis murdering Shiites and vice versa: college students, women shopping at a Baghdad market and hospital workers all belong to both groups. Truck bombs cannot distinguish among tribes or religious affiliations.
...
If America had to fight an insurgency directed solely against us and coalition forces -- even including suicide bombers -- we would surely have succeeded. No one, right, left or center, could imagine a group of people so evil, so devoid of the most elementary and universal concepts of morality, that they would target their own people, especially the most vulnerable, for murder.

This is the reason, Prager argues, we have not won. Read it all.


Comments (60)

"Without the mass murder of... (Below threshold)

"Without the mass murder of fellow Iraqis, there would hardly be any "insurgency.""

He's got a point.

And he's also got a point about how much of it isn't Shia against Sunni and vice versa.

"No one, right, left or center, could imagine a group of people so evil, so devoid of the most elementary and universal concepts of morality, that they would target their own people, especially the most vulnerable, for murder."

And the answer isn't "lets just go home then."

Let's also remember that th... (Below threshold)
pa:

Let's also remember that these insurgents derive great moral support from their liberal allies here in America and throughout the West. Without the liberal's constant denigration of America itself, along with our leaders and our culture, the insurgents might well have abandoned their fight long ago. (Captured documents and personnel tend to support this thought.) As many have noted before, Bush and his administration have done a shockingly poor job of communicating, while the liberal media and the Democrats have done an outstanding job of coordinating their message with the enemy. The enemy firmly believes that victory will be handed to them by the Democrats, so they continue to fight as they know it won't take much longer for their friends to prevail.
If the liberals would just shut up, this would all end much sooner, with the West as the victor. The Democrat-controlled Congress is now actually prolonging the war by giving the enemy good reason to believe that they can win if they just keep fighting.

Agree 100% pa. What can you... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Agree 100% pa. What can you and I do to win the war though? Any suggestions?

The problem is that people ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The problem is that people look at them and call the 'resistance'.

What is a terrorist? An unemployed tyrant. The terrorists aren't only trying to scare us off, they are trying to intimidate the Iraqis into submission. They are using the method Sadam used to rule, terror. They mean to seize power

I just about upchuck whenever the more batty of the moonbats claim that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

"Agree 100% pa. What can... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

"Agree 100% pa. What can you and I do to win the war though? Any suggestions?"...jp2

The obvious; begin by eliminating the traitors at home. What we need are some Republicans to take up suicide bombings aimed at Democrats and all the terrorist sympathizers on the left. Let's give the Democrats a taste of their own medicine.
"

jp2: No, I don't really hav... (Below threshold)
pa:

jp2: No, I don't really have any suggestions that I think would be seized on by the government or the populace and set things right. I am an older person and I remember what American attitudes and values used to be like. We didn't have to fight ourselves as well as the enemy. Now, I am a pessimist. I think we are doomed. Anti-Americanism seems to prevail in our media, at least one major political party, much of the judiciary, the entertainment industry, and the school system.

I am encouraged to see the groundswell of support for the John Doe's targeted in the imam's lawsuit. And the Gathering of Eagles in D.C. And there are many good conservative publications (print, radio, blogs) and organizations. Lots of signs that show a great many people do still want to defend America, but I don't know if they are of sufficient number and power to effect real change. When half the country favors folk like Kerry, Gore, and Hillary, then we are definitely not winning the information battle, or the education battle, or the pro-America battle.

I am hoping that someone with real influence will have not only answers, but also the leadership capability to effect change. I think there are many people who do understand what's happening, but unless we can get some good leadership in place, I don't think America's future looks as good as it used to. Let's see who the presidential candidates are, but I'm not seeing a lot there that is likely to inspire a change from pessimism to optimism.

You asked me specifically about suggestions for winning the war. I have two (not confining my answer to Iraq).
(1) As has been widely discussed by others, this is an information war, and we are losing badly in that arena. I think the media is every bit as responsible for that as they were in Viet Nam. And the liberals have a great deal to answer for in their decision to side with the enemy (if in fact they even think there is an enemy, other than Bush). My first suggestion would be to fight more effectively in the war of ideas. And sending Karen Hughes to wander through the MidEast is not the way I would do it (ye gods). America is the king of marketing, and it just boggles the mind that we are doing so poorly in this area. The pessimist in me says it must be because much of our leadership and our citizenry don't understand and/or don't care -- the living embodiment of a bumper sticker: don't know, don't care, why bother?

(2) Energy independence. I assume that our leaders are weak in confronting the MidEast in any effective way because we are dependent on their oil. I have been waiting 30 years for us to do something about that. (I've been waiting that long for Social Security reform, too, so you can see why I have become a pessimist.) Instead of using that time to increase our own productivity, we have failed to drill for oil or to build refineries; we have refused to adopt nuclear power. Is it any surprise that neglect on that scale has left us incapable of independence? I find it disturbing that all the solutions being proposed depend on the use of inadequate or nonexistent technologies. Not a winning plan. Instead of castigating oil companies for making a profit (a much smaller sum than government gets through gas taxes), we should be encouraging them to drill the hell out of everything and every place we've got. Instead, caribou and Cuba are doing better with our prospective oil fields than we are. We need a known energy resource now that supports all our existing equipment and needs, not a highly speculative pipe dream that cannot help us now or even in the near future, and not without complete retooling of entire industries.

Well, jp2, I started out with no suggestions for you, but you made me think and I found two. I don't think our government is going to lift a finger to do anything effective in either area, and the people cannot do these particular things on their own. Neither of my suggestions focuses on combat or the management of Iraq. But I think that if we had better control over the fundamentals (ideas, energy), we would have less trouble in other, more visible areas.

And what do you, jp2, suggest we do?

I don't think its very surp... (Below threshold)
epador:

I don't think its very surprising considering the origin of the insurgency is Baathist and Al Queda.

pa has a good idea or two, but I am even more pessimistic. We outdo the Tralfamadorians in our lemming like zeal to reach our end.

Pa, the Pentagon attempted ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Pa, the Pentagon attempted to control the news around Iraq and our own MSM and some liberal commentators went nuts, calling us propagandists. There is no idea that could come out of GW's administration that would not IMMEDIATELY be attacked as foolish. The lefts hate for Bush and their own self loathing makes them unable to deliberate and debate fairly. I too remember a much more patriotic and communal America. ww

"No one, right, left or cen... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

"No one, right, left or center, could imagine a group of people so evil, so devoid of the most elementary and universal concepts of morality, that they would target their own people, especially the most vulnerable, for murder."

Call me callous, but I'm far happier with these folks in Iraq planning mayhem against Iraqis than idly sitting around planning the next big strike against the US.

Maybe surrender isn't such a great idea...

Actually for anyone with a ... (Below threshold)

Actually for anyone with a decent grasp of MidEast history there was every good reason to expect just this kind of secular violence in Iraq.

After the military defeat of the Turkish Ottoman Empire which was aligned with Germany in WWI, the MidEast lay in a political power vacuum. The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 between Britain and France gave Britain control over what became "Iraq" and Palestine, and France control over Lebanon and Syria in the post WWI former Ottoman Empire ruled Mideast. However, both the secular and antiBritish violence was so serious that Britain had to mustard gas and bomb entire villages from 1922-1958 to try to contain this violence. Britain even hoped that by siding with the Sunni interests was a wise path to peace, but even this effort failed. With the rise of Egyptian strongman, Gamal Nasser, and the Arab Socialist movement known as the Baathists which eventually seized control in Egypt, Syria and Iraq, Britain lost control in Iraq and withdrew forces after a bloody Arab rebellion in 1958. After the politically disasterous 1956 Suez Crisis, Britain watched colonial rule in the MidEast steadily collapse, and Arab Socialists became political allies of the Soviet Union, marking a serious Cold war shift of power for the MidEast.

Like all British colonial rule, the lure of mineral assets, which was oil in Iraq was the key reason for Britain seeking control of the "Iraq" region and the main reason Prime Minister Winston Churchill maintained a British presense in this area. It certainly had to be the deciding factor for the U.S. as well in 2003, as poor nations in Africa with few mineral assets have little interest to American business interests, compared to Iraq with the world's richest reserves of undiscovered oil figured at about 220 billion barrels or a 98 year supply for the U.S. if fully exploited.

Without an authoritarian secular government in the former British colonial region called "Iraq" such as the former Ottoman Empire, the later British occupation rule, or a tough Baathist government of Saddam Hussein, it could only be expected that centuries old sectarian conflicts between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam would renew open fighting with each other. After the death of Mohammed in 632, his followers which included his father-in-law on the Sunni side, and other direct descendents on the Shia side formed rival followers of Islam. There was every good reason to expect that Sunni and Shia sect tensions that developed shortly after the death of Mohammed would only resurface again in a modern heterogeneous Iraq not under some form of authoritarian secular rule.

The seriously heterogeneous population of Iraq simply made the nation way too complex to change the government without expected decades, if not centuries of sectarian violence to follow. Britain's experience with intense violence from 1922-1958 should have been a good historic guide to expect that American intervention in Iraq would not turn out very good, and would only upset the current balance of MidEast Shia and Sunni power in the region drawing in Iran and Saudi Arabia, making Iraq a regional battleground for the competing sectarian interests.

Religious sect struggles are the most difficult to contain. Only yesterday it was announced that in Ireland, Protestant and Catholic leadership are hammering out a power sharing agreement after centuries of conflict. Shiites and Sunnis unfortunately are nowhere near this close to compromise in their own conflict.

It is therefore "unfair to ... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

It is therefore "unfair to blame the Bush administration..." says Prager. It is always unfair to hold Bush accountable for anything. Oh, I forgot. It's me who's responsible for this mess. Mea culpa, mea culpa.

If you stop to think about it for just one second it's an astounding argument being made. With all the resources of the military and the State Department. With all the history in the Middle East, going back thousands of years, of tribal and religious rivalries and hatred, no one should have anticipated what's going on. With all the history of violence and terrorism towards Israel since the modern state was founded, no one could have anticipated the current mayhem and the methods used by terrorists.

The planners and the leaders and the government get a free pass. But not the people who disagree. It's our fault. Mea culpa, mea culpa. One more time the administration of "personal responsibility" gets a: "George you're doing a damn fine job."

"There is no idea that c... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

"There is no idea that could come out of GW's administration that would not IMMEDIATELY be attacked as foolish"...WildWillie

That's because there is a fool-in-chief at the helm incapable of anything other than foolishness, along with major fools appointed to most offices under his watch.

The pentagon plann... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

The pentagon planners were not suprised by suicide/homocide bombers. Their use had spread to the Middle East from Sri Lanka, where the Tamil Tigers had used them for over 20 years (Rajiv Ghandi, RIP).

It was duly noted at the time as an ominous portent.

Bush's de-Baathification without securing the ammo dumps, plus wrecking the infrastructure of the country, is what lends the motive and opportunity AND EQUIPMENT for their widespread use, now.

The neo-con war managers have had their own Ledeen Doctrine bite them in the ass. Our OUR ass. (The neocons don't fight, they instigate: SEE IRAN)

Hugh, you managed to miss t... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Hugh, you managed to miss the point entirely. You can't look at Palestinian suicide bombers killing Israelis and think we could have forseen the kind of attacks seen in Iraq. You would have had to see Palestinians bombing OTHER PALESTINIANS to get to that way of thinking, and as far as I know that hasn't happened. Even the Fatah/hamas violence was confined mostly to gun battles and not AIMED at civilian Palestinians.

As for the "thousands of years, of tribal and religious rivalries and hatred" that was also explained. Shia on Sunni violence, and vice versa, was more or less expected. However the blatant Shia on Shia or Sunni on Sunni violence was a surprise.

Thanks Paul Hooson for the ... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

Thanks Paul Hooson for the great sketch of 20th century Mid-East history.

This rather silly Wiz-post is reminiscent of the statements made by the astounding doctor of Foreign Affairs & Ferragamo boots horse, Condi Rice when she stated after 9/11, "Who could imagine that someone would use fully-fueled passenger planes as missles?"

The American public might well wonder in regard to the vaunted Dr. Rice, "Who the hell could have ever anticipated that a great & magnificent expert Sovietologist couldn't think outside a set of matrioshka dolls?"

You have to remember that h... (Below threshold)
kat:

You have to remember that hindsight for liberals, is 20-20. They 'knew' that this would happen.
What I know, is that we won the war and are losing the peace aka the war of propaganda. Thank the Dhimmicratics for that.

and there is dalleceneri to... (Below threshold)
kat:

and there is dalleceneri to prove my point. Who did know that planes would be used as weapons? The 'Truthers' know.
Pathetic.

Sorry kat... but you... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

Sorry kat
... but your head is up somewhere where you can't see.

Nothing like a know-nothing wingnut bimbo thinking that they've proved something.

Apparently Ferragamo Rice had a PMS sickday during the G8 Genoa summit.

daleceneri,Perhaps... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

daleceneri,

Perhaps you should remove your head from your posterior first. Then you could see more clearly whom else might be in the same position.

The link you provided show that there was concern over suicide attacks directed at a meeting of world leaders. It had nothing to do with suicide attacks on sky scrapers in NY.

Paul,Excellent and... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Paul,

Excellent and informative post.

Sheik Yur ButtyHow... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

Sheik Yur Butty

How literal you are. As I said, Dr. Ferragamo Boots Rice hadn't much capability to think outside a set of matrioshka dolls.

BTW You yourself are rather constrained by your "limited" perspective. Should one say "head out" Butty?

Let's not forget the DIRECT... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Let's not forget the DIRECT terrorist aid that is coming into Iraq from Iran and Syria (and probably Saudi Arabia). They certainly don't seem to care about the death of Iraqi innocents either.

brainy:I respectfu... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

brainy:

I respectfully disagree that i missed the point of the post. Following my active duty I was in the army reserve for 4 years as a JAG officer in a Civil Affairs Unit. Our 2 week active duty period each year involved war gaming and eliciting various scenarios in the Middle East. We studied past history and current conflicts and attempted to come up with solutions for after major combat operations.

To say that the Pentagon and the State Department could not foresee the level and type of violence occurring in Iraq is just plain wrong. Further, I was not trying to equate terrorism against israel with the terrorism in Iraq, but simply to say historically, terrorists in the Middle East have gone to any length to kill those they hate. As for the non-sectarian violence, why shouldn't that have been anticipated? There was surely going to be a power struggle between many Iraqis, particularly after the vacuum created by the fall Of Sadaam.

dalleceneri actually wrote:... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

dalleceneri actually wrote:

The obvious; begin by eliminating the traitors at home. What we need are some Republicans to take up suicide bombings aimed at Democrats and all the terrorist sympathizers on the left. Let's give the Democrats a taste of their own medicine.

Are you kidding me? Did you really think that this was a rational, sane, and reasonable thing to actually post?

Nothing more ironic than when some dipshit calls for terrorism against their own people amidst a post that is talking about the ravages of civil war.

Surely, there are people on the left who go overboard and act stupid, and those people should be lambasted for such actions/wrods. But what "dalleceneri" proves is that there are fools on the right who are just as idiotic and out of line as any "moonbat" that walked the earth.

People on the left say some pretty asinine things, some pretty stupid things. But the right, as evidenced here, has similar problems. Complete bullshit. Way to go.

I'm surprised that people here let this kind of shit fly.

ryan,Judging from ... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

ryan,

Judging from all of his other comments, this post was satire. He pretty clearly aligns himself with the left, though you'd have to have seen his other...educational...posts to tell.

Of course this doesn't scuttle your argument about the left and right having the same problem...though it should (and can) be noted that the left tends to be a lot more offensive and verbally aggressive towards it's opponents (who are vast indeed).

Heralder:Oops. Ju... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Heralder:

Oops. Just realized that I missed the satire train. Looks like I jumped the gun. Minus points for me; I'll go sit in the corner now...

hehe.

Of course this doesn't scuttle your argument about the left and right having the same problem...though it should (and can) be noted that the left tends to be a lot more offensive and verbally aggressive towards it's opponents (who are vast indeed).

Hmmm. I do think that there are factions of the left who takes things to a more aggressive level. At the same time, there are certainly factions of the right who sound pretty similar.

I guess that right now, without actually doing some kind of study on both sides, I am not really willing to say that I think one side is "better" or more "tolerant" than the other.

All I know is that it's a problem, and one that I find really disturbing.

And thanks to Paul Hooson w... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

And thanks to Paul Hooson who provides a BEGINNING framework for understanding what's going on in Iraq at present.

Dennis Prager's article may "feel right", but it sure doesn't go very far in actually explaining anything. His basic premise is that things are the way they are in Iraq "because those insurgents are the most evil people ever" (not a real quote). He also asserts the idea that "we had no idea" that things could go this way.

Ironically, people read such a simplistic article and think it makes perfect sense. But all Prager's article does is tell certain folks what they want to hear.

From what I have read, the information was there, but certain people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld believed in our military force SO STRONGLY that they felt we could surmount minor issues like 80 something years of sectarian violence, oppression, brutal leadership, and war. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others, felt that the American military could, with it's vastly superior technology, merely cut right through and solve a problem that has been raging for decades. They also thought that we would be able to control the region effectively after the fall of Hussein. They were wrong, and that's what we're stuck in the middle of.

Some of you folks just want to charcterize this whole thing as some epic battle of good vs. evil. Unfortunately for you, however, this John Wayne version of the world doesn't really compute, and it doesn't really give a good picture of what we're dealing with over there.

ryan,Check out som... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

ryan,

Check out some of the far right sites and far left sites. Then go rent a feel-good movie because you'll be pretty depressed.

Of course, if you don't agree with what I said I'll just have to shoot you in the face, you filthy centrist.

Ryan..nice to see your Emil... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

Ryan..nice to see your Emily Latilla moment.

If you go back to what I commented, my response was really more directed to "Pa" far more than "jp2" who had merely echoed the lunacy of "Pa's" original comment just prior to "jp2's" comment from which I quoted.

dalleceneri- I don't under... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

dalleceneri- I don't understand why you are calling people "bimbo."

Hugh - you still missed the point completely. No one, including Prager, said suicide bombings were unanticipated. If you read the column you know that Prager warned strongly about Iraqi's capacity for violence many times prior to the war and cited an Iraqi he spoke to once who told him Iraqis were the most brutal people on earth, or something similar to that. It is surprising to see Muslims killing so many fellow Muslims and seeing the "insurgents" killing so many of their own people, regardless of Shia or Sunni. I think it is a sign of their desperation, frankly. If not for the support they have gotten from so many here and around the world, I think many of them would have given up the fight long ago believing they would never succeed. They have been given the will to carry on and have seen the fruits of their murderous missions in the propaganda too many America haters have helped them spread.

I am not surprised by sectarian violence or suicide bombings. After 9/11 no one could be surprised by that, but am surprised by them killings so many of their own innocents.

Frankly I am also surprised to see so many leftists in this country now preaching hate against America. They told us we were crazy if we questioned their patriotism and now they are burning US soldiers in effigy and defecating (yes, shitting) on the American flag. I would add to Prager's column that something unanticipated by many (although some had it right all along) is that so many liberals in the US would put their hatred of George Bush over the well being of the country and would preach hate against the troops that ensure their right to crap on the flag. I find that almost incomprehensible.

I'm glad someone is calling... (Below threshold)
jp2:

I'm glad someone is calling it out. Freaking lunatics on here.

"Further, I was not trying ... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

"Further, I was not trying to equate terrorism against israel with the terrorism in Iraq, but simply to say historically, terrorists in the Middle East have gone to any length to kill those they hate."

Hugh, that's the problem. They're not killing "those they hate" but those supposedly on the same side... like their own kids. THAT is what was not expected. We could forsee certain acts, but some have been beyond the pale, even for these barbarians. "Insurgents" don't usually kill their own children to embarass an enemy, though they may sacrifice them to kill their enemy.

Lorie, it's because some ... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

Lorie, it's because some of the commenters like Kat & Pa, to name two, certainly appear to be just that. "Bimbo" seems far more mild than the typical slurs that many of your right-thinking commenters use.

Or perhaps you thought I was abusing them by reference to one of Bill Clinton's harlots.

Evidently your definition o... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

Evidently your definition of bimbo, and my definition, are radically different. I really was hopeful that we were done with the bimbo talk when Clinton left office. Of course it was largely the people in his administration and campaign calling them that. ("Bimbo eruptions, dragging a dolla' bill through a trailer part, etc.) I forgot to include a lot of feminists that all of a sudden decided to gang up and destroy anyone claiming to be a sexual harassment of rape victim if it meant sullying the image of their favorite president. It is not possible to be a victim of a Democrat sexual predator -- only a bimbo, slut or stalker. Another lesson learned during the Clinton years.

SynovaYou quoted:<... (Below threshold)
Fran:

Synova

You quoted:

"No one, right, left or center, could imagine a group of people so evil, so devoid of the most elementary and universal concepts of morality, that they would target their own people, especially the most vulnerable, for murder."


I thought that was one of the reasons that justified eliminating Saddam, because of the way he treated his own people.

I am outraged that our soldiers were exposed by such limited policy suppositions. Had the 'Powell Doctrine' been followed our risks would have been much less.

Also, remember the fight them there rather than here argument. Well, if we thought we were going to be fighting terrorists, who by definition don't care who or how they kill, it seems a little weak to blame it on the terrorists for doing what they do.

Is old "pucker puss" (lee l... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Is old "pucker puss" (lee lee) posting under a new name? Will not say who, but there is a poster here that uses the same "style" as old p'p'. Anyone seen p'p' lately. Of coarse now he will post under his old now. Tick tick-----

The Saddam comparison is bo... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

The Saddam comparison is bogus. Saddam did not harm his own people in order to manipulate world opinion against his opponent. He harmed his own people to keep them in fear so they would not rise up against him, and murdered them to eliminate dissent, and he denied doing it. He did not want the world to know he was an evil murderer. He wanted the world to see pictures of him with children and flowers.

The "insurgents" are blowing up their own people and broadcasting it to the world in order to move public opinion to demand we leave Iraq so that they will stop doing what they are doing. Saddam hid what he was doing so that we would not have justification to remove him from power.

"It is not possible to b... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

"It is not possible to be a victim of a Democrat sexual predator "...Lorie Byrd

So that you don't appear to be uneducated, you really ought to be more aware of the proper usage of a word when used as a modifier. But then, of course, I had presumed you had had an English composition course or two when you attended college.

Otherwise you look like you haven't risen beyond red-neck English usage.

But Fran, Saddam didn't kil... (Below threshold)

But Fran, Saddam didn't kill his *own* people, at least not large scale. He killed Kurds and Marsh Arabs and Shiites. His *own* people did quite well.

Fighting between factions makes sense to us, no one said it didn't. Suicide bombings make sense to us. Attacks against the US forces in Iraq make sense to us.

Hindsight-wise it makes sense (in that it's not irrational evil) that the terrorists are working against Iraq even more than they work against us and that they don't care who they kill or what mosque they defile.

They wouldn't do it, though, if it didn't work so well and it works so well because so many people lack the moral clarity to blame them for the choices they make and the evil they commit. They can be this evil and get a pass because, "it seems a little weak to blame it on the terrorists for doing what they do."

The *only* people responsible for putting children in a car and blowing them up are the ones who put children in a car and blow them up. And they are fully moral actors, not less than human who are not responsible for what they do because, hey, they're terrorists, what do you expect?

Would so many people make excuses for them if we *didn't* have trouble believing this level of depravity is possible?

A reader who claimed to be ... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

A reader who claimed to be an English teacher once wrote to tell me that it was improper to use "Democrat" as an adjective because it was a noun.

I wrote back and said I guess I should be taking my daughter to balletic class then, rather than ballet class. I came up with a couple dozen similar cases that did not jibe with her rule, just in case she wanted to claim that was an isolated case. I guess my fifth grader's history book is really a historic book and her math book is a mathematical book.

I think it is far more redneck to accuse those claiming to be victims of sexual harassment of being trailer park trash than it is to use the word "Democrat" as an adjective. Silly me.

Lorie:Again ,with ... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Lorie:

Again ,with due respect I do think I got the point. I just disagree about what it is. It seems you, and perhaps Prager and others, think that people like me who disagree with this war are responsible for what is ha happening in Iraq rather then the failure of our government to anticipate the worst.

What empirical evidence do you have for such a position. You generalize about the majority of the dissenters by using the aberrant behavior of the fringe as the norm. That's as bad as those on the left referring to Bush as Nazi or that the actions of the extreme on the right represent the views of conservatives.

You just give a free pass to Bush and his administration when it is their responsibility to the soldiers who are dying and the citizens at home to get it right. They've had 4 years to get it right and to continue to excuse them is just plain wrong.

"It seems you, and perhaps ... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

"It seems you, and perhaps Prager and others, think that people like me who disagree with this war are responsible for what is ha happening in Iraq rather then the failure of our government to anticipate the worst"

Well, Hugh, it's mighty nice of you to continue to excuse people who have clearly and publicly taken a position contrary to their nations best interest while excoriating an administration for not being supernaturally clairvoyant.

I'm all for reasoned dissent, but the continual bullshit from the left is far beyond that, and has been for years.

No one, right, left or c... (Below threshold)
Brian:

No one, right, left or center, could imagine a group of people so evil, so devoid of the most elementary and universal concepts of morality, that they would target their own people, especially the most vulnerable, for murder.

This whole thread is premised on a lie. Some people did predict a civil war in Iraq, or at least raised the threat of it. Which, despite the descriptive language, is exactly what Prager is describing. But those people were just ignored in favor of those who said things would go smoothly.

Quiz: who said this BEFORE the war?

If we go to war, I certainly hope the Administration's assumptions are realized, and the conflict is swift, successful and clean. I certainly hope our armed forces will be welcomed like heroes and liberators in the streets of Baghdad. I certainly hope Iraq emerges from the war stable, united and democratic. I certainly hope terrorists around the world conclude it is a mistake to defy America and cease, thereafter, to be terrorists.


It is possible that Iraq will try to force our troops to fight house to house in the middle of cities - on its turf, not ours - where precision-guided missiles are of little use. . . .


There are other risks. Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.


Iran and Turkey each have interests in Iraq they will be tempted to protect with or without our approval. . . .


Some people simply brush aside these concerns, saying there were also a lot of dire predictions before the first Gulf War, and that those didn't come true.


We have learned through experience to have confidence in our armed forces - and that confidence is very well deserved.


But if you talk to military leaders, they will tell you there is a big difference between pushing back the Iraqi armed forces in Kuwait and trying to defeat them on their home ground.

There are limits to what even our military can do.

Lorie, the balletic example... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

Lorie, the balletic example is just a little to cute and disingenuous, as you well ought to know, since the patterns in English usage & pronuncition have so many exceptions to what seem like an apparent rules until an exception is found.

Had an Eng. prof once put a word "ghoti" on the board and challenge the class for the proper pronunciation. Of course, no one suggested "fish."

The "f" sound came from the "gh" in "tough;" the "ih" sound from "o" in "women;" and the "sh" sound from "ti" in "condition."

Your use of "balletic" is weaseling and makes you sound like a Republican spokesperson or appear just a bit undereducated. You appear to be defending the indefensible.

But then again, you do that just about every day in your blogging.

SynovaMy point, an... (Below threshold)
Fran:

Synova

My point, and I think similarly one from Paul, is that it is very self serving to blame the other side for doing what they're doing in a war.

I don't agree with their tactics but it would seem that Rumsfeld was very prepared to define asymetrical war, he just wasn't prepared to fight it. The administrations seeming unwillingness to even acknowledge the possibility of an insurgency,(possibly because it didn't fit their plan for victory), seems to be the weak link from our side. Remember how many times we were told that the enemy thinks, that our plan has to change and adapt to conditions on the ground?

Historically, we blew it. The only thing that seems to have been created was a situation that screamed out for Sunni v Shite violence. If we set that stage, then we succeeded.

I should have explained mys... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I should have explained myself better, Hugh. The reason the activities of those on the fringe left are so upsetting to me is not that I am shocked there are wackos willing to do or say anything. What is shocking is the lack of outcry on the left. No huge outrage in the media or any rush from those on the left to distance themselves from the activity, but more often what I have seen is those on the left trying to explain why those on the fringe feel the way they do. It is the equivalent of those on the right defending people blowing up abortion clinics. Same thing for the "insurgents" who too many on the left choose to call freedom fighters. I knew there were evil, wicked people in the world, just not so many that would excuse or fail to denounce them. I guess that is, indeed, where the Bush administration and people like me, made a gross miscalculation.

What is shocking is the ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

What is shocking is the lack of outcry on the left. No huge outrage in the media or any rush from those on the left to distance themselves from the activity

Lorie, it's because WE DON'T CARE! I don't give a rat's ass if some nutjob wants to set a flag on fire and take a dump on it. It doesn't change my beliefs, it doesn't change my politics, and it doesn't do harm to me or my country. The media doesn't report on it because THEY DON'T CARE EITHER! Fine, they'll get the occasional human interest nutjob of the week spot, just like abortion protestors and conservatives who picket at soldiers' funerals.

The only ones who do seem to care are you and other right-wing blogs. Well, fine, if you care so much, feel free to report on the fringe wackos. But when you use them as your archetypical Democrats, you're just being disingenuous. And when you insist that I have to actively distance myself from every pink-clad fruitcake who does something shocking or juvenile just to get on TV, you reveal yourself as someone who is interested only in petty rhetoric, and is not serious about issues that matter. Should I take you to task for failing to denounce every right-wing wacko I can search the Weekly World News for? Are you "evil" and "wicked" because you don't? There are millions of Republicans out there who have not actively denounced the people who sat in front of the trains. Does that make them "evil" and "wicked"? And are you including them in your "evil" and "wicked" calculations?

The voting majority who threw the Republicans out are not out there shitting on flags. The 70+% of Americans who think the war was a mistake are not parading around in pink. The 70+% of Americans who want the troops home are not calling Iraqis freedom fighters. They are ordinary, normal, rational, reasonable, and patriotic Americans who happen to vigorously disagree with you and Bush about what is in the best interests of this country. The sooner you focus on them instead of the freaks, the sooner we can all have conversations about things that actually matter.

brainy:You continu... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

brainy:

You continue to use a generalization, i.e "the left." Are you referring to all the left, the fringe left or what?

Brian,Many on your s... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

Brian,
Many on your side and in the media do care when some right wing nutcase does something outrageous though, and use it as an example that we are all wacko fundie Christers determined to impose our Christianity on everyone and we know that because Rosie told us that radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam in America today. If those on the right were doing similar stuff in demonstrations and Republican politicians were not denouncing it, there would be hell to pay. Anything anyone even remotely associated with the right does gets pinned on all Republicans, yet Sean Penn and other left wing nutjobs can talk about blood in Bush's underpants and other outrageous stuff and no one in the media associates it with Democrats that Penn supports.

Loire:I have to ag... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Loire:

I have to agree with Brian, that I frankly don't care what the wackos on either side say about anything. I draw the line at violence by either extreme. As Brian says the "majority" (I would say vast majority) don't shit on flags etc.

I don't dismiss your anger about that. But how is it any different than a bomb thrower from the right wishing death on people? Both sides are jackasses but I would defend their right to say it. It seems to me that's what makes us great and different from most of the rest of the world.

"Lorie, the balletic exampl... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

"Lorie, the balletic example is just a little to cute and disingenuous, as you well ought to know, since the patterns in English usage & pronuncition [sic] have so many exceptions to what seem like an apparent rules until an exception is found." - dalleceneri

You thought my ballet example was cute, but didn't mention my examples of math book and history book. I think that is disingenuous. How about math teacher? How about dance instructor?

I can't say Democrat congressman because it goes against your preferred pattern of English and brands me a redneck (or red-neck as you wrote).

Does that mean I cannot refer to a New York congressman? Does it have to be a New Yorker congressman? What about a North Carolina poet? Do I have to say North Carolinian poet? You say I picked an outrageous exception, but I could cite many more examples.

What it comes down to is that "Democratic" has been used to describe things related to Democrats because that is what became accepted more so than because of any English rule that had to be followed. I think it is much more accurate to refer to something related to Democrats as "Democrat" than democratic, because when I think of something being democratic, I think of it relating to democracy, which is an entirely different thing. So I have just gotten into the habit of saying "Democrat" when referring to Democrat politicians so now that is what "sounds right" to me and since, in my mind anyway, it is much more accurate, that is what I often find myself using. I am not saying it is more correct than "Democratic," but just don't think it is incorrect to use it the way I did. I honestly don't even think about it and I am sure I am not consistent in my usage. I am sure that in some cases I use "Democratic" when referring to Democrats.

This is blogging, not English class, and a blog is a form of online journal. You will find many offenses more noteworthy than my use of "Democrat." I often end my sentences in prepositions, even though I know I shouldn't and I also say "ain't" sometimes. I guess that really does brand me as a "red-neck."

Lorie, irregardless ... (Below threshold)
dalleceneri:

Lorie, irregardless of your "balletic" example above , I am still anticipating your explanation as to why one should not regard your English usage as ignorantic.

And, irregardless of your uningenuous response to Brian, you make inflammic remarks to tar the Left w/ the flammable actions of the few.

Your reasoning appears to be incircuitous. Do you still want to defend your example of "balletic?" or do you want to admit that your English usage is good ole redneck tarheel rhetory?

and use it as an example... (Below threshold)
Brian:

and use it as an example that we are all wacko fundie Christers determined to impose our Christianity on everyone and we know that because Rosie told us that radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam in America today.

Once again, why the hell are you anchoring your political positions on what Rosie says? No one else is paying any attention! It would be like me actually caring about what Rush spouts off every day.

And no, it's only when Bush hires those wacko fundie Christers, or surrounds himself with them, that we accuse you of being determined to impose your Christianity on everyone. When Bush stops pandering to the religious right, we'll stop pointing out that you're supporting him on it. But private citizen nutjobs on the right can do it all they want, and I wouldn't care one whit.

Sean Penn and other left... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Sean Penn and other left wing nutjobs can talk about blood in Bush's underpants and other outrageous stuff and no one in the media associates it with Democrats that Penn supports.

The only reason I know about that comment is because I heard it on Dennis Miller's radio show. I thought it was stupid. But it reaffirms my point that it's the right, not the left, that tries to push these idiotic comments from the fringe into the mainstream.

Brian........spot on.... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Brian........spot on.

Hugh, you guys are all gett... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Hugh, you guys are all getting indistinguishable. The lefties on this site have their new talking point about the "fringe" without realizing the this "fringe" you try and distance yourself from is actually the leadership and financial support for the Democratic party. For example, Soros, Streisand, Robbins, Sarandon, Moore, Carter, Dean, Penn...I could go on for quite some time.

dalleceneri:Rya... (Below threshold)
ryan the dipshit:

dalleceneri:

Ryan..nice to see your Emily Latilla moment.

Hehe. Oh ya...nevermind.

Apologies. I pretty much realized it right after I hit "post" and read the rest of what you wrote. Damn satire! Damn context!

Feel free to lambast me anytime for something that I didn't do.

Heralder:Of cou... (Below threshold)
ryan the filthy centrist:

Heralder:

Of course, if you don't agree with what I said I'll just have to shoot you in the face, you filthy centrist.

Shit! I agree, I agree.

Damn, talk about rough debate tactics...

Lorie,The reaso... (Below threshold)
ryan the filthy centrist:

Lorie,

The reason the activities of those on the fringe left are so upsetting to me is not that I am shocked there are wackos willing to do or say anything. What is shocking is the lack of outcry on the left.

This is the EXACT same argument that many on the right throw around about Muslims, who are supposed to distance themselves from every psychopath who does something insane and then claims to have done it in the name of Islam. So every farmer in Indonesia who professes to be Muslim is supposed to call a press conference to announce his/her innocence every time some shithead in Palestine does a suicide bombing.

At it's base, this is the old "guilt by association" tactic, and the associations here are often incredibly tenuous.

You're using the same kind of thinking when dealing with the "left", which isn't some clear-cut or easily defined group of people, you know. There are different ideas and agendas to match the differing actions that span those who might be considered left of center.

What you're asserting is that every person left of GW Bush is expected to distance themselves from the actions and words of every word or action of ANY self-proclaimed leftist.

I disagree. People on the left do not have to distance themselves from every flag-burning socialist club wannabe--no more than everyone on the right should be required to hold a press conference every time some extreme-right wing nutjob says or does something out of line.

People should be judged by their actions and words and thoughts, NOT by the actions of OTHERS. The same goes for those on the left and the right, and even filthy, fence-sitting, wishy-washy centrists like myself.

What we all need to do is keep our heads on straight, and base our understandings, not on massive generalizations, but on understanding specific groups, individuals, and contexts.

If you, Lorie Byrd, hear about some "leftist" group doing something that you disagree with, BY ALL MEANS WRITE ABOUT IT. But investigate the event/topic in context, and write about it without assigning guilt to every so-called leftist or Democrat. Be critical, get angry, and lambast the hell out of the specific group/people that you disagree with or are upset with. But don't make the mistake of blaming every person who voted for John Kerry for what some anarchist in Berkeley is doing.

There is no monolithic left which acts and thinks the same, contrary to what many here on Wizbang seem to think. Conversely, there is no "right" which acts and thinks all in one sheep-like manner. There are millions of real people who make up these categories, and whose actions are varied, changing, and not well-encompassed by stereotypical thinking.

I know that the right has it's fools, as does the left. But I also know that both "sides" have plenty of good, rational, and humane people who CAN, I think, figure out ways of communicating despite differences.

One huge thing we all have to get past is this overblown left/right paradigm that so many people have bought into.

Basic point: stereotypical thinking is getting us all nowhere, FAST.

Prager's notion that "targe... (Below threshold)
Jestak:

Prager's notion that "targeting your own people" represents a "new form" of evil is silly. "Targeting your own people" has been around as long as civil wars have been around. I was just reading Martin Meredith's "The Fate of Africa" earlier today, and found, within a span of 10-15 pages, descriptions of two separate episodes of "targeting your own people" taking place in civil conflicts in Africa, one in Algeria and the other in Kenya.

Prager's argument, that Bush has failed because he confronted a "new form of evil" which could not have been foreseen, is simply spin from a partisan hack.




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