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Obama: 'The Surge Was a Mistake'

Katie Couric got the quote of the week from the wall to wall Omaba coverage this week. See if Obama's answer belies my paraphrase in the subject.

Couric: But yet you're saying ... given what you know now, you still wouldn't support [the surge] ... so I'm just trying to understand this.

Obama: Because ... it's pretty straightforward. By us putting $10 billion to $12 billion a month, $200 billion, that's money that could have gone into Afghanistan. Those additional troops could have gone into Afghanistan. That money also could have been used to shore up a declining economic situation in the United States. That money could have been applied to having a serious energy security plan so that we were reducing our demand on oil, which is helping to fund the insurgents in many countries. So those are all factors that would be taken into consideration in my decision -- to deal with a specific tactic or strategy inside of Iraq.

First we should note why Obam felt the cost of the surge outweighed the gains. Money. No mention of the soldiers who died to finish the war in victory. They matter less to him than the fact he could have spent the money elsewhere. But let's forget that for a moment.

With this answer, Obama has officially called the surge a mistake. He says that we should have handed Al Qaeda the whole country of Iraq -and with it a monumental victory- for monetary reasons. I wonder how many voters agree with that "judgement."

But he didn't stop there. He says we should have left Iraq to Al Qaeda and sent more troops into Afghanistan. Why would we bother? If we've just given Al Qaeda the oil rich country of Iraq, why on earth would the terrorists stay in barren Afghanistan? As the Washington Post points out today "there are no known al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan." -- And the Taliban presently there would have run to take over the oil in Iraq like they have taken over the poppies in Afghanistan.

President Obama would have us chasing shadows in Afghanistan while Iraq burned.

McCain egged Obama into this trip because he was sure it would show Obama was not ready for prime time. With this answer Obama was kind enough to oblige.

I don't think many people in America agree with the senator that the surge was a mistake. And I don't believe the American people will vote for someone with this lack of "judgement." - It's now up the McCain campaign and the RNC to hang these words around his neck. I can only hope they are smart enough to do it.


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Comments (52)

Obama is an idio-savant wit... (Below threshold)
nehemiah:

Obama is an idio-savant without the savant.

When did we decide that we could apply affirmative action to the presidency?

Sorry, "idio" is supposed t... (Below threshold)
nehemiah:

Sorry, "idio" is supposed to be "idiot". Don't want to pull an Obama here.

President Obama wo... (Below threshold)
President Obama would have us chasing shadows in Afghanistan while Iraq burned.

In general, Democrats are in favor of any war except the one currently being fought. If we had concentrated everything on Afghanistan and let Iraq alone, there would be no end to the whining and crying we'd be hearing from liberals about how evil Bush is for bogging us down in a barren mountainous wasteland while Saddam has free reign right next door in Iraq. Etc.

Sorry, I will repost the fo... (Below threshold)
nehemiah:

Sorry, I will repost the following here as it is relevant. It is from the "A Man for All Seasons" thread:

61 comments and the real issue has not been addressed by anyone (even Oyster, who makes great comments).

The real issue people, is that Obama does not care about the surge. HE DOES NOT CARE. He only wants to try to use the issue to help him win the election -- so he will say what he thinks will help him to that end. If he can distinguish himself from the Mac by saying he disagrees with the surge because he could have made the price of gas less than Al Gore's dick size in inches, then he will say that to score political points. The REAL ISSUE is that on EVERY issue that Hussein takes a stance on, it is to try to help him win the election -- that is why he is for everything. He'll continue to do this while it works -- so we need to just point out what he's doing and take appropriate action, not waste our time discussing why or how he's doing it.

Democrats always value the ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Democrats always value the dollar over human life and freedom for others. Just this week we find they value the dollar so much the Hussein 'campaign' staff is stealing dollars from the taxpayers by avoiding the taxes on gas at the Denver shindig. The only other reason they could have to gas up at a city facility, other than stealing from the taxpayers, would be they are so above the average American they can't be seen in a dirty old self service gas station. They are the elitest, you know.

McCain's statement is entir... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

McCain's statement is entirely correct. Obama would lose a war to win an election.

"That money could have been... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"That money could have been applied to having a serious methadone program so that we were reducing our demand on heroin produced from poppies, which is helping to fund the insurgents in Afghanistan."

Listkeeper,If the ... (Below threshold)
nehemiah:

Listkeeper,

If the Taliban and Al Qaeda were successful militarily against the U.S., I don't think Obama would consider that as "losing" the war.

What the....how the...Is he... (Below threshold)

What the....how the...Is he seri...I can't belie....He wants to be Pres...

Oh never mind.

I'm dumbfounded.

The flaw in Obama's answer ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The flaw in Obama's answer (ok one of the flaws) is that you can make the same argument about nearly anything. Just think of all the great things we could do with the money going to (fill in the blank). If the goal is to win in Iraq then the surge has moved us closer to that goal.

Obama can say that the goal was not correct, but that was never his call. As President he needs to figure out what the next step is given where we are, not were he thinks we should have been. It's troubling that Obama is unable to recognize success when it's apparent to almost everyone else. If Obama can't learn from both mistakes and successes, then he's unqualified to be President (or even a Senator).

2 points: First, ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

2 points:

First, Obama said the money should have been spent on Afganistan. This is either ignorant or disingenuous as Afganistan was not a big problem when the surge plan was first implemented in early '07. It was only the success of the surge that caused the terrorists to pull out of Iraq and turn their focus to Afganistan.

Second, did anyone notice how Obama never even considered as an excuse that the money should not have been spent at all. He gave a whole list of other things he would have spent the billions on, but his little Marxist mind could not even conceive of the possiblity that the government not spend our money at all. (Now don't get me wrong here, I think the surge was well worth the cost.)

I get tired of the OBL shit... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

I get tired of the OBL shit, which is why most people who harp about Afghanistan want to go there in the first place. To get the "one responsible" for 9/11. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind. We got him. Too bad the left is scurrying to defend him in a criminal court. The main financier was Ali Abdul Aziz Ali. Also captured.

As far as the "mistake" (which most Democrats claim is the Iraq conflict PERIOD, surge or no surge), please read this AP report:

More than 550 metric tons of yellow cake. Bush lied? Well, obviously that is bullshit. Even without the finding and removal of this material, using military force to find out just what in the fuck Saddam was up to was justified. By multiple UN resolutions. The simple fact that he had missiles that flew a little too far was enough, goddammit. Let alone this obscure AP report.

And staying there makes even more sense now. What the fuck is wrong with staying there? Or fuck it, make a big show of "leaving" but leave a 21st century Trojan horse behind. Something 20 stories deep that houses the best of the best and everything necessary to launch and sustain a counter attack for at least two weeks. Or something that will simply obliterate Iran, Syria and all those vicariously at war with the United States of America via this "insurgency" or "civil war" being waged by "freedom fighters" in Iraq.

Barack Hussein Obama is the... (Below threshold)

Barack Hussein Obama is the south facing end of a northbound horse. Period. End of discussion. He is a callow, sophomoric moron with delusions of competence that must be discouraged in perpetuity! In other words, his candidacy needs to be repudiated by the electorate in terms so resounding that his credibility never, ever recovers!

He gave a whole li... (Below threshold)
He gave a whole list of other things he would have spent the billions on, but his little Marxist mind could not even conceive of the possiblity that the government not spend our money at all.

Yeah, but to be fair, neither Bush nor McCain are a whole lot better on this.

Indeed, the very idea that government should actually spend less seems to have disappeared from public debate.

ed davis, the whole yellowc... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

ed davis, the whole yellowcake thing has been explained. Crank up your search engine.

Hi oyster,Forgive ... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Hi oyster,

Forgive my ignorance, but where can I find it explained? I looked again but all I have seen on it is that AP report.

From my perspective it's existence in Iraq was a violation of multiple UN resolutions. Therefore, beyond any and all other findings that justify the military overthrow of Saddam Hussein, this one takes the cake.

Obama reminds me of: (Pick ... (Below threshold)
sshiell:

Obama reminds me of: (Pick your favorite or add another)

"He had delusions of adequacy." Walter Kerr

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about." Winston Churchill

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." John Bright

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." Paul Keating

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination." Andrew Lang

He also said that instead o... (Below threshold)
bruce:

He also said that instead of the surge we should have put pressure on the Iraqi government to find a political solution..does he think that we weren't trying this?..doesn't he realize there could be no political solution without securing the country of terrorists first?..he also gave credit for the improvments in Iraq to the Anbar awakening which is true. But doesn't he realize that there could not have been a successful awakening movement without the surge?

Is he a simpleton?..I'm not sure..but I know one thing for sure..his supporters are.

RE: # 14I agree wi... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

RE: # 14

I agree with your point about Bush (and the same applies to far too many Republicans), but I don't see McCain as having a record of being a big spender and in fact I believe one of the things he's campaigning on is reigning in government spending.

He may not keep the promise, but at least he's making it. And at least I can hope he will-- with Obama there is no hope.

Maliki was asked ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Maliki was asked what has calmed the violence in Iraq and responded as follows (from Der Spiegal):

"There are many factors, but I see them in the following order. First, there is the political rapprochement we have managed to achieve in central Iraq. This has enabled us, above all, to pull the plug on al-Qaida. Second, there is the progress being made by our security forces. Third, there is the deep sense of abhorrence with which the population has reacted to the atrocities of al-Qaida and the militias. Finally, of course, there is the economic recovery."

No mention any surge.


Obama is now saying that a ... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Obama is now saying that a nuclear Iran is a 'grave threat'.

First he says that it isn't a threat and now he says it is. Since Iran was known to be working on nuclear weapons ever since he was elected U.S. Senator, his change of heart must be because of the audience he is speaking to, rather than any new information.

C'mon Barry, is Iran a threat or not?

No mention any surge.</i... (Below threshold)

No mention any surge.

I love when liberals quote Maliki in recent days --as Max Boot put it in today's WAPO--"after years of deriding Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as a hopeless bungler and conniving Shiite sectarian, are now treating as sacrosanct his suggestion that Iraq will be ready to assume responsibility for its own security by 2010."

Convenience + opportunity = Flailing leftist political spin.

And let's not forget that M... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

And let's not forget that Maliki is a politician running for office in IRAQ and will thus play up Iraqi contributions to security improvemnts before giving America and the surge
any credit. There is no denying that it is the surge that led to where we are today. A surge opposed by Obama

Without addressing the obvi... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Without addressing the obvious anti-American bias of Der Speigel, Adrian, I notice that Maliki's alleged point #1 was the political rapprochement in Iraq.

Now pretty must every leftist has been declaring the surge a failure because it did not allow for the political progress necessary for a stable Iraq. Your Obamessiah was saying this very thing just the other day. So, is Obama a liar or is he just ignorant of world affairs in general ansd Iraq in particular?

I know you won't answer but thanks for finally proving once and for all the complete disingenuousness of that common leftist talking point.

@ #20No mention of... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

@ #20

No mention of any American presence (or any other nation for that matter) at all. Now why do you think that is, genius?

I know it's off-topic, but ... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

I know it's off-topic, but does anyone know when Obama passed the bar? Wiki says he allowed his law license became inactive in 2002, so one would assume he did pass the bar.

Got to admit I'm loving thi... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

Got to admit I'm loving this. Haven't heard a peep lately out of those who just enjoyed deriding the phrases "stay the course" and Stand down when they stand up", referred to with such sneering condescension.
When all's said and done, we'll have a presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future, I'm sure.
To stop and take stock of the progress made to date is to be amazed--and all brought to you through the effort and sacrifice of the world's finest military.

These young men and women serving today are truly OUR Finest Generation.

Just when you think you hav... (Below threshold)

Just when you think you have heard it all.

Obama is an intellectual lightweight, a poor leader who surpasses that characteristic only in the measure of how much he will disappoint his followers.

Can you imagine Mondale or Dukakis saying these things? Even Carter?

The level of ignorance and arrogance is off the charts. I can't see Dodd, Biden or Hillary attempting this level of conceit.

#20First, th... (Below threshold)

#20

First, there is the political rapprochement we have managed to achieve in central Iraq.

What is the Arabic word for rapprochement?

Seriously, what is the translation?

I ask because we have this:

Last Monday, Der Spiegel editor Mathias Müller von Blumencron joined Bernhard Zand, the magazine's Arabic-speaking middle east correspondent, in Baghdad. They'd scored a rare interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which they planned on conducting together.

from,

http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/hanging_by_the_telephone.php

And then we have this from der Spiegel (same source):

"His original words were unprintable. It would have been embarrassing to him. So we edited it," says Müller von Blumencron. "There are very few people you can do a Q&A with without editing for grammar. And you always have to make it shorter."

And all of this so conveniently "edited" and then "edited again" with the timing of the Obamamessiah's trip. Especially that critical timeline that dovetailed so neatly with the cult leader's message.

And they said Reagan was choreographed.


The WaPo editorial that Pau... (Below threshold)
Mike:

The WaPo editorial that Paul linked asks, "Will Iraq be written off because Mr. Obama does not consider it important enough?"

Considering his track record in Chicago, particularly the Englewood and Grove Parc neighborhoods, I would say "yes." Obama has no problem abandoning people when they are no longer a political asset.

In answer to ed davis:... (Below threshold)

In answer to ed davis:

A Brief History of Tuwaitha

I'm not sure which AP article you read, but this article contains a short explanation of the history of the yellowcake:

Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.
has barama ever uttered the... (Below threshold)
kepa poalima:

has barama ever uttered the words "winning the war in iraq", or "winning in iraq"? has he ever talked about winning? i've heard him say "ending the war", "bringing the troops home". i don't recall hearing him talk about winning. has anyone heard him talk about winning in any context other than his own election prospects?

You mentioned Obama would r... (Below threshold)
Melanie:

You mentioned Obama would rather spend money in various other venues, besides Iraq. My mind always wonders, what money? Isn't this borrowed money were talking about here? Our country is going into debt, but hardly ever do I hear reports on that matter. If my husband and I ran our budget the way our country does.... We'd be burnt toast, worthless.

I've got bad news for you. ... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

I've got bad news for you. The McCain campaign debacle is NOT smart enough to hang the Obamessiah with his own stupidity and arrogance. Had it been capable in ANY MEASURE, Obama would already be hung and the election would be practically over. From drilling to the surge to taxes to...you name it, Barry Hussein has supplied McCain with enough raw ammunition to win WWIII! Yet McCains most significant contribution to his own campaign has been to endorse Obama at the NAACP!!!??? That's how dumb the repub candidate is and it ain't gonna get any better.

If that p.o.s. televises on... (Below threshold)

If that p.o.s. televises one more commercial where he claims he "passed a bill" with [whoever] I'm going to scream so loudly that he'll hear me wherever I happen to be - either 51 miles southeast of The District or closer in! Never mind that the terminology is complete whacked - HE passed a bill? All by himself? No other Senators? Was it a bill that had his name anywhere on it? Did it end up being signed into law? The answers to all of that is no, no, no and NO! He's a lying sack of - need I continue?

He claims credit for endless amounts of legislation and good work done by OTHERS than anyone I've ever encountered. WHY DON'T PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS! He is garbage! Incompetent, unfit for the job he seeks. Whether or not we like John McCain, we MUST hold our noses and vote for him because the alternative is absolutely terrifying!

Thans for the link, Joe.</p... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Thans for the link, Joe.

The Bush lied mantra is dead. How many Democrats were saying that Saddam had no nuclear program?

No nuclear program? If people believe that, then wow. What superior openmided compassionate universal love problem solving.

It is hard to believe that people still debate the "legality" of invading Iraq. If this story were household information, I think many people would reconsider screaming "blood for oil' or "Bush lied, people died" in front of tv cameras that will broadcast that bullshit globally.

Again, the fact that he had missiles that flew an inch beyond what was established was enough to justify the invasion.

The yellow cake story proves who the real liars are. Pelosi, Murtha, Gore, the Clintons, Obama, Kerry, etc. etc. No nuclear program, my ass.

The yellow cake story pr... (Below threshold)

The yellow cake story proves who the real liars are. Pelosi, Murtha, Gore, the Clintons, Obama, Kerry, etc. etc. No nuclear program, my ass.
The 550 metric tons of yellowcake that the AP article referenced were from the reactor that Iraq had that was bombed in 1981 by Israel. All of that material was declared, well known to exist, and monitored and inspected by the IAEA. Certainly, no one was lying about its existence before, during, or after the war. There's simply no mystery about it.

Well, hello Joe.Hu... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Well, hello Joe.

Huh. So who was protecting the 550 tons (not several tons as the press tried to report, but several HUNDRED tons)? The UN security council? Regardless of the timeline and age of the material, it wasn't tranfered into universally defined safe hands into a safe location until this year. If it's continued "storage" in Iraq isn't a big deal, why move it at all? Can the "Bush lied" crowd claim without doubt that Saddam could not possibly under any circumstances have used that material for nefarious purposes? No. Furthermore, the major thing restraining him was the very recent memory of a mighty military force manifesting it's willingness to go to war and WIN.

I did not glean that there was no nuclear program from the AP story as you did. If he were forthright and adhering to the terms of military forces not killing him in 1990, he'd have allowed it to be removed by the UN. Letters and rhetoric simply don't work. That is my point. How anyone can glean facts from air bubbles and rewrite history but fail to see my point of view simply demonstrates my inability to get a point across. Whether he did have one, whether people believe it, whether he did not have one does not matter. Why? For one thing, again, he had missiles that flew too far. How much stuff for Syria left during the "diplomatic" process would probably scare the "Bush lied" crowd to death.

The point is that Bush did not lie. Period. Finding missiles that flew to far was more than enough.

How the invasion of Iraq in 2003 became a "debate" about WMD and finding WMD is deplorable. People should work their way through that list of resolutions and then continue with 1441 before they scram "Bush lied". They should also take a look at the common demonitators and ponder the phrase axis of evil.

Let's imagine 9/11 never ha... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Let's imagine 9/11 never happened. With all of the global intelligence regarding terrorism starting sy 15 years ago immediatly after WTC I, would invading Iraq (assuming Saddam was still playing his "bluff" to it's fullest thanks to the impotence of the UN) be a mistake today?

Again, as it was in 2003, it would be a non-decision. It would be a must.

Huh. So who was pr... (Below threshold)
Huh. So who was protecting the 550 tons (not several tons as the press tried to report, but several HUNDRED tons)?
The yellowcake was under IAEA seal since shortly after the Gulf War. It was inspected twice a year. The IAEA never reported any problems with the seals or other security measures and the yellowcake was still accounted for and seals in place weeks before the Iraq War, when UN inspectors were allowed back in. After the war started, the invading forces did not properly secure the facility and locals looted the place, dumping the radioactive yellowcake out and stealing the barrels. Clearly, the invasion was not good for the security of this facility or the radioactive material housed there. The AP article I linked above clearly states 550 metric tons. Which press outlets reported several tons? Please be specific.
Regardless of the timeline and age of the material, it wasn't tranfered into universally defined safe hands into a safe location until this year. If it's continued "storage" in Iraq isn't a big deal, why move it at all?
Also, in the AP article, it states that the yellowcake was sold by the Iraqi government to a Canadian firm. When someone buys something, they usually take posession of it. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was barred from selling this and most other items by the UN sanctions.
Can the "Bush lied" crowd claim without doubt that Saddam could not possibly under any circumstances have used that material for nefarious purposes? No.
Can you guarantee that your closest friend could not possibly, under any circumstances, beat you to death with a baseball bat? If not, I guess you have no choice but to kill him now to prevent such a possibility.

Seriously, though, I think that your current argument (that Saddam could possibly have used this material in the future) is rather different than the argument (that this material showed that he did have a current nuclear program). We are making progress.

Furthermore, the major thing restraining him was the very recent memory of a mighty military force manifesting it's willingness to go to war and WIN.
Hey, something we can agree on. Our victory in 1991 worked well enough to keep Saddam in check for 12 years. We didn't need to fight a second war for this effect to work. Saddam's memory of our past victory was cheap. The Iraq War has been costly in coalition forces killed, Iraqi's killed, property destroyed, and money spent.


I did not glean that there was no nuclear program from the AP story as you did.

Perhaps not, but you should have at least gleaned that all this yellowcake was pre-Gulf War vintage.

Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.

That makes your claim that, "The yellow cake story proves who the real liars are." seem rather ridiculous, does it not? How does it even suggest, much less prove any such thing?

To get to the Saddam had no recent nuclear progam at the time of the Iraq War, I refer you to David Kay and Charles Duelfer. Their conclusions were that any kind of nuclear programs had been shuttered for years.

If he were forthright and adhering to the terms of military forces not killing him in 1990, he'd have allowed it to be removed by the UN.
What a strange claim. As my last quote from the AP article showed, he did exactly what the UN requested with this yellowcake. What terms was he not adhering to by having the UN secure and monitor this?
The point is that Bush did not lie. Period.
If that is the point you wish to make, then please make it without referring to this yellowcake, which you clearly know little about. There is nothing there for your case. You (and Bush) are on much stronger footing with the missiles that flew too far, where Saddam was actually in violation of U. N. agreements.
How the invasion of Iraq in 2003 became a "debate" about WMD and finding WMD is deplorable.
Please remind me which commenter brought up yellowcake and Saddam's nuclear program. I'm pretty sure it was you. If you think that the WMD debate is deplorable then why bring it up and perpetuate the debate even further (especially by making claims that are clearly false when it comes to the yellowcake)? Does it only become deplorable when you're losing, cause it sure looks that way.

By the way, neither one of your links worked for me. The first went to the ODS home page and gave an error and the second was just a 404 page.

In closing, I'd like to say that I'm not a supporter of the "Bush Lied" meme when it comes to the Iraq War. I think that the Bush administration was dead wrong about a lot of things, showed poor judgement, were quick to accept things that comported with their world view, and discounted those things that did not, but I think that these were honest mistakes. I think that they believed what they said and believed in what they did.

Hi Joe.Wow. Nice p... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Hi Joe.

Wow. Nice piece. And thank you for sharing your opinions. I appreciate your time and effort. Your point of view is interesting and I enjoy having my perceptions challenged.

My turn. Wish me luck:

Yup. Saddam was clearly in check. His brutal tyranny ended with the first stern warning from the UN.

That evidence is so strong that I suggest we simply trust the UN with the Republic of the United Sates of America's future! O-ba-ma!

Obama had me at "Change", but the fellow "Citizens of the world" rhetoric really did it. Like him, I am not a Citizen of the United States of America anymore. I am a "citizen of the world".

Yay! Rhetoric is so powerful. It is truly amazing how it changes behavior and entire belief systems. It is like magic.

By the way, that was awesome how you compared my closest friend to Saddam Hussein! Brilliant! Kinda like global warming being caused by man and solutions such as the forward thinking contingincy planned brilliance of the lefty engineered debacle known as the CFL bulb. Makes as much sense as a kindergaten class' "tree trailer exaust pipe fully enclosed carbon credit fossil fuel powered transportation". Obvious intelligence and a creative mind are one thing, clear thinking versus fantasy is another.

Well, that reminds me. My friend and I are going for a ride in my rolling carbon credit. Per the kids' design, I hooked the exaust directly into a trailer that has 8,000 banzai trees. The math is precise. Just trust me. Then buy one. Unless, of course, you are a heretic and you don't love the world the way I do.

We're gonna head for the park to smoke some PCP so I can prove you right. He could possible beat me to death with a baseball bat. And then some. Look for it on the evening news.


Oh, this <a href="http://yi... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Oh, this link indicated "several tons" rather than several hundred tons. Chalk it up to a typo? Or deliberately misleading? I dunno.

Thanks for your response.</... (Below threshold)

Thanks for your response.

As far as the several tons versus 550 tons, I should not have used that particular quote. The history piece referenced a piece from globalsecurity.org (not a press organization, by the way) that spoke of the "several tons of low-grade uranium." This piece was not connected to current reporting of the movement of the yellowcake, which is why I didn't know what you were referring to. However, the global security piece is correct. There is a large difference between even low-grade uranium and yellowcake. They apparently didn't even think the yellowcake was dangerous enough to report on, seeing how much processing it would require to extract and concentrate uranium from from it. This article contains a much better account of what the IAEA knew about with regards to yellowcake and other uranium and Iraq's previous weapons program.

The "best friend" versus "Saddam Hussein" was not intended to cast aspersions on your best friend. Instead, it was intended to highlight the ridiculously low standard of "without doubt that XXX could not possibly under any circumstances do YYY". If that is the standard then no one is ever safe from any accusation of potential wrongdoing.

The proper standard, in my opinion, is risk versus reward. Obviously there was some possibility that Saddam would reconstitute WMD programs and even potentially nuclear programs. The exact percentage is a matter of debate and one we'll never have a definitive answer to. What we do know as a matter of historical fact is that the international course of action that was designed to Saddam in check with regards to developing WMDs was actually working well up until the very point of the Iraq War. As I said above, I believe that the Bush administration and the intelligence organizations vastly overestimated Iraq's current WMD capabilities because the were simply wrong and tended to ignored the evidence that did not fit in with their point of view. This was especially evident when Iraq allowed inspectors to return before the war, and they were not finding anything resembling the claims from the Bush Administration, even in facilities that intelligence services considered to be the most likely sites.

(I had to break this up to ... (Below threshold)

(I had to break this up to get around WizBang's incredibly restrictive limits on link count)

It was also very evident shortly after the war, when the Bush administration quickly touted the discovery of "mobile biological weapons labs," even though little expert analysis had been done to confirm the nature of these vehicles. When you start believing that you have all the answers, you rarely examine the actual evidence, and that is the greatest fault of the Bush administration from top to bottom.

You and I enjoy having our perceptions challenged. That is a trait that virtually no one in the Bush administration shares.

Have fun with the PCP :-) I agree that is about the best scenario you could construct for being killed by your best friend.

Your last post(s) seem to be pretty much done discussing the origins and status of the yellowcake and what it did or did not prove. While we can move on to the presidential election candidates and/or global warming (an interesting topic, indeed), I prefer to close one issue before getting into the next. In that vein, any more questions or challenges on yellowcake. If not, let's bring on global warming. I much prefer science to political speculation.

Okay. One more time. Let's ... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Okay. One more time. Let's imagine 9/11 never happened. With all of the global intelligence regarding terrorism starting sAy 15 years ago immediatly after WTC I, would invading Iraq (assuming Saddam was still playing his "bluff" to it's fullest thanks to the impotence of the UN) be a mistake today?


or could you keep islam in tact/

I'll take your last post as... (Below threshold)

I'll take your last post as a, "Yes, were done discussing the yellowcake."

In answer to your most recent question, I think that I already addressed this, at least in passing. The part that really made the actual (rather than any hypothetical) invasion of Iraq so problemmatic for me was that weapon inspectors were let in before the war, Saddam stopped playing his "bluff," and the evidence was at least pointing to the liklihood that Saddam had little to nothing that was threating far beyond his borders, either used by him or provided to terrorists. Given the state of the knowledge we had, at the time of the invasion, I don't think that the invasion was justified, and neither did the inspectores that had just been there. I do agree that there are some scenarios where it would have been justified, but the one we experienced in our world wasn't one of those scenarios, in my opinion.

Hi Joe.Done with t... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Hi Joe.

Done with the yellowcake? Perhaps done with trying to catalyze your thought from the Obamaesque/Clintonian inability to successfully deal with a schoolyard bully to that which is actually capable of removing a tyrant from power.

The simple fact that the material was "there" and needed to be moved to someplace "safe" (Canada?) says it all. That would not have been done by the UN (scary letters), the IAEA (wow, do they have guns and stuff?) or any power in the world other than what history again demonstrated as the only means of dealing with a dictator (not a scruelyard bully); The United States Military.

Reminds me not to depend on liberals when kindergaten kids get physical. Rather than letting one protect themself from the other, (which implicitly states one is aggressive & the other is trying to be "diplomatic") they'd rather elevate both their egos and their polling numbers by taking it to litigation and bragging about how and why they punished both parties involved for decades. Brilliant stuff.

The simple fact that the... (Below threshold)

The simple fact that the material was "there" and needed to be moved to someplace "safe" (Canada?) says it all.
Canada is the location of the purchaser of the yellowcake. That's why it was moved there. I think I already mentioned that. Also, in case you hadn't heard, Saddam and his sons are dead, so if we were afraid of what they might do with it, that fear has been over for awhile. If the situation is so dangerous and unstable there now that this yellowcake has to be moved, I would think that situation is a direct result of the invasion, not a result of the rule of Saddam Hussein that ended 5 years ago.

The previous scenarios where the yellowcake would have been dangerous would be if Saddam Hussein had had a sophisticated set of functional equipment that could produce usable enriched uranium from it or if looters came and took the yellowcake and gave themselves enough exposure to increase their cancer risk.

The first scenario, we now know, was far from being the case. The yellowcake had sat unused for 12 years up to the point where the Iraq War started. Even if the Iraq government had broken the seals and taken the yellowcake from the facility, there was little that they could have done with it for years until they rebuilt centrifuges and spent massive time and resources reprocessing the stuff.

You seem to have a lot of snide remarks for the IAEA and the UN, but we know for a fact that the system that they had in place and enforced kept the yellowcake safe for 12 years.

The second scenario actually did happen as a direct result of the Gulf War. Unlike the IAEA, the invading US forces couldn't even keep the yellowcake secured for 3 weeks.

So, if results matter instead of rhetoric, it seems clear that one set of protocols kept the yellowcake from being dangerous and one did not.

than what history again demonstrated as the only means of dealing with a dictator (not a scruelyard bully); The United States Military.
Really? The only means? Please explain the United States military role in removal of the following dicators:

Idi Amin
Shah of Iran
Caligula
Mengistu Haile Mariam
Augusto Pinochet

I'm not sure what the point of your schoolyard analogies are. I think that when two kindergarteners are fighting (for whatever reason), it's a good idea to stop the fight. Are you saying that the conservative instinct is to let them duke it out until one is clearly beaten? Or is it that it should only be broken up if the instigator of the fight is winning?

Hi Joe. Well done.... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Hi Joe.

Well done. Impressive.

You certainly got me on the "only" part of the US Military. Sorry, it is simple pride in my Country demonstrated in a five minute comment re: our military's performance in the past century or so. Shame on me! Should have said something like "primary means" in the world today. Thanks for nitppicking. It veils the truth that the US Military is most responsible for the amount of freedom enjoyed in the world today. Period.

By the way, that kind of "wrapping your mind around" a problem is what I am refering to in the bully bit.

The bully thing refers to the fact (like you point out above) that sometimes, human beings have to fight other human beings in order to be safe. And that there is a differnce between right and wrong. In the ACLU litigated America of today, if a kid defends himself against an attacker in school, his punishment is the same as the attacker. That is a strange mindset, it doesn't recognize a difference between right and wrong. And it indicates the belief that defending yourself is wrong. Just as wrong as attacking someone. Applying that kind of liberal thinking to something as simple as a schoolyard fight indicates a terrible weakness. A weakness that our enemies count on and take advantage of.

There is evil in the world. The Commander in Chief tries to recognize it and eradicte it before it hits America the best he can. Evil still seeks to establish the caliphate in Baghdad. Not only is the surge the right thing to do, invading Iraq was the right thing to do.

Barack is wrong. You cannot reason with terrorists. You can't love and tolerate them into some sort of friendship as "fellow citizens of the world". You have to kill them. And right now, Iraq is a damn good place to do it. Got any better places to fight the war on terror? I mean, actually fight and kill them. Not try to talk them out of their hatred for the rest of the world. This what I mean about using action versus rhetoric.

I think our styles of argum... (Below threshold)

I think our styles of argumentation are very different. I try to be exact, reference facts, and address your direct questions.

You seem to be given to extreme overstatements (which I like to point out), demonizations of groups with policies you don't like (the UN, IAEA, liberals, ACLU), and black and white thinking that dominates your world view.

Again, in your last post, you have totally dropped any factual discussion of the yellowcake. Of course, your previous re-raising of the issue was just to bring back points which I had already answered, so I'm not sure which is better. The way this usually works is that you make a point, I counter it, and then you counter that counter. This is more of you make a point, I counter it, then you devolve into irrelevancies to that point.

But, in my normal fashion, I'll try to address your points above:

In the ACLU litigated America of today, if a kid defends himself against an attacker in school, his punishment is the same as the attacker.
I think the problem here is not one of the ACLU (have they actually filed cases on school fighting? Any references?) and more of an overly litigious society in general, if anything. It also has to do with the general problem of determining who started a fight, if no school official witnessed the beginning of the agression. Teachers are not police detectives, nor should they be. I do think that having the policy be to report violence and let an adult hand out punishment to the agressor is much better than having teachers pull apart 15 fights a day and then try to determine who hit first. Good luck getting any actual teaching in.

I am interested in your definition of defense, though. If child A hits child B hits and child B hits right back, I'm assuming that is defense. If child A hits child B and then child B hits child A twice, is that defense? If child A hits child B today and child B hits child A three weeks from now, is that defense? How about child A hits child B every day for 2 weeks and then child B stabs child A? Just trying to get an idea of what actions to promote to make us a strong nation again.


The Commander in Chief tries to recognize it and eradicte it before it hits America the best he can.
I believe the practice of American pre-emptive war started with the Bush administration. To go back to your schoolyard analogy, you advocate child A hitting child B because of a strong belief that child B is evil and might attack child A later.

invading Iraq was the right thing to do.
So far, in this discussion, you seem to be struggling to make any kind of case for this. Just repeating the assertion here doesn't help.

Barack is wrong. You cannot reason with terrorists. You can't love and tolerate them into some sort of friendship as "fellow citizens of the world".
Are these actual planks of Obama's campaign? Or are they just more of your exaggurated overstatement and demonization? Just checking.

You have to kill them. And right now, Iraq is a damn good place to do it.
I think this is kind of like the highway driving problem. People driving faster than you are reckless idiots. People driving slower are spineless impediments. But I am interested in just how fast you want to go. Should we carpet bomb Iran? Syria? Saudia Arabia? Indonesia? You questioned above about "or could you keep islam in tact". In your mind, is Islam the enemy?

I tend to think of war as a last resort of diplomacy. You seem to think that war is the first resort.

I mean, actually fight and kill them. Not try to talk them out of their hatred for the rest of the world.
Thankfully Bush finally put a general in charge of Iraq that did not hold to this as the only way to conduct the operations there. As General Petraeus testified:

"Another important factor has been the attitudinal shift among certain elements of the Iraqi population. Since the first Sunni Awakening in late 2006, Sunni communities in Iraq increasingly have rejected Al Qaeda-Iraq's indiscriminate violence and extremist ideology. These communities also recognize that they could not share in Iraq's bounty if they didn't participate in the political arena. Over time, Awakenings have prompted tens of thousands of Iraqis, some former insurgents, to contribute to local security as so-called Sons of Iraq. With their assistance and with relentless pursuit of Al Qaeda- Iraq, the threat posed by AQI, while still lethal and substantial, has been reduced significantly. The recent flare-up in Basra, southern Iraq, and Baghdad underscored the importance of the cease-fire declared by Muqtada al- Sadr last fall, another factor in the overall reduction in violence.

This is the kind of point that many people have tried to get across for a long time. There are some terrorists that can be negotiated with. Others cannot. However, it's imporant to be able to tell the difference and take advantage of negotiation when possible. Petraeus has proven that you can change individuals and communities from enemies to allies. In other cases, you can neutralize the threat without fighting. That's where we were with Iraq before the war. It's taken us hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties, tens of thouands of coalition casualties, and hundreds of billions of dollars to get back to the status quo of stability before the war. Money and effort well spent? I think not.

Hello. Joe. Thanks for your... (Below threshold)
ed davis:

Hello. Joe. Thanks for your time. This little dialogue is thought provoking.

War is the definitely the last resort. But pulling the trigger on it too late can be fatal. You can't continue prolonging war until you are surrounded or defeated. That is one of the terrorists' strengths. They make treaties only to strategically break them. They have done that since the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah.

Obama was wrong about the surge. He lies and says he was always sure it would work. If so, that means he would rather be defeated? His team has detailed contingencies for every domino that would fall after America loses against terrorists in battle? And that infinite wisdom finds that the best decision was to cut and run? What would have happened to that yellow cake had we run and Obama, Murtha, Pelosi and all those other "leaders" would've had their way?

It is great to have discourse and progressive thought. But sometimes, it simply requires a good old-fashioned beat down. You seem to think the world would be a better place with Saddam in power. Hindsight is 20/20. I say it is better without him.

I believe that the religious fanaticism rooted in places like Baghdad is the most important thing the free world must defend against today. If you believe otherwise, so be it. You won't change my mind. You do know that a primary reason they exist is to wipe out an entire country and people (Israel). "Never again" my ass. Or are all of those people just kidding when they say that? Hmmm, if we had a book that gave the world the truth about a leader's plans, would we preempt them coming to fruition via assassination? How about speech after speech after speech indicating plans to wipe out an entire race of people? Do we wait until they prove that they mean it? After all, that could make it too late.

You can negotiate with terrorists? Wow. Where in the heck did you get that? If so, how do you know which ones won't blow your ass up in the conference room? Do you really think that killing terrorists is similar to the "highway driving problem" (as said by George Carlin maniacs and idiots). Wow. And you go on to say how overwhelming a job it is to fight them. So why fight at all, basically. No shit it is hard. George said it would be a long road and we are in the fight of America's life. Do we stop arresting rapists and murderers here because we simply can't get them all? Yeah, let's let evil people do whatever they want. We can't win. Let's quit defending good and let evil run rampant.

Money and effort well spent? For the most part, yes. Was anyone sticking up for the innocent kid getting thrashed by the bully? Nope. Now the US Military is. And the scumbags are heading there like bugs to a zap light. Since you are so good at sseing so many sides of an issue and resting your mind on the kindest of them all, perhaps you can estimate how many of those dead terrorists would've converted to nice happy people. And you can calculate how many of those that didn't embrace peace would have struck on US soil. How much money it is worth to premptively kill those that could strike on US soil at a rate unapproaced in the past?

Oh- I didn't even notice that you had the Shah on your list of ousted dictators. Jimmy Carter shuffled that deck and look what he wound up dealing. Saddam Hussein was the lesser of two evils after Jimmy got rid of the Shah. We are really fighting the inevitable war that Jimmy sparked way back when he should have been harvesting peanuts. Not that it would matter. The shit was bound to hit the fan anyway.

Iran (among others) is going to do everything it can to bring the 12th Imam into the world. One way or another. And I realize that is sure as hell ain't Jimmy Carter's fault any more than our being in Iraq fighting the same evil forces that attacked us on 9/11 is George Bush's fault.

You can't continue prolo... (Below threshold)

You can't continue prolonging war until you are surrounded or defeated.
So, in your mind, we were very close to being surrounded or defeated by Iraq? That is the funniest thing you have said so far. You might want to reconsider this line of argument a bit before just dropping it and moving on to your next argument, as you always seem to do. I have no idea how you could ever consider the Iraq War a war of last resort. "Last resort" to you is just a term that means when we have some level of fear, uncertainly, or doubt.

Who were the terrorists involved in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah? It seems like you're just taking "terrorist" and applying the label to any Arab or Muslim, whether or not the definition fits.

What would have happened to that yellow cake had we run and Obama, Murtha, Pelosi and all those other "leaders" would've had their way?
Obama's plan to leave is 16 months long. That is plenty of time to relocate the yellowcake out of Iraq, quite possibly to the very same Canadian firm that just bought it. If, for some reason it was not long enough to find a buyer, then it could presumably be placed back under IAEA control, as it had been for 12 years before the Iraq War.

Of course, you have never addressed or even acknowledged what actually did happen to the yellowcake because of the Iraq War (not that I think you'll start now; ignoring it is still your best bet), and that it was left so unguarded that it was able to be easily removed by local looters. So, I'm wondering what imaginary scenario that you have would have been worse. In any event, actual occurrances count more than fantasy in most books.

Another point you have never addressed is that the yellowcake only became a problem once the Iraq War took place and the region became unstable.

It is great to have discourse and progressive thought. But sometimes, it simply requires a good old-fashioned beat down.
Spoken like a true person who has no idea what "war as a last resort" means.

You seem to think the world would be a better place with Saddam in power.
Your confalting two dissimilar statements. I contend that the world would have been a better place without the Iraq War, that had a human and monetary cost I laid out above, to remove Saddam from power. It's a cost-benefit analysis, not an absolute value judgement about the value of Saddam.

You do know that a primary reason they exist is to wipe out an entire country and people (Israel).
I assume you meant "they" as terrorists in this sentence and not Iraq. Yes, obviously, that is true. However, Israel has proven time and time again that they are very capable of taking care of themselves. And, as we know now, Saddam had very little that was going to threaten Israel before the Iraq War.

Hmmm, if we had a book that gave the world the truth about a leader's plans, would we preempt them coming to fruition via assassination? How about speech after speech after speech indicating plans to wipe out an entire race of people?
i have little problem with assassination. Assassination of Saddam and his sons would have likely saved a lot of lives, time, and money.
If you really took this doctrine seriously, then I assume you would believe an invasion of Darfur, not Iraq, would have been preferable (at least by late 2003). Active and continuing genocide by people who not only have rhetoric, but the means to immediately carry it out and are doing so would seem to be a more immediate concern than people that have had the same rhetoric for over 40 years, but have accomplished comparatively little.

You can negotiate with terrorists? Wow. Where in the heck did you get that?
The quote was from General David Petraeus. Did you read it? Do you not consider Sunni insurgents to be terrorists? Al Sadr is not a terrorist in your book? I would definitely put members of Al Qaeda as ones you cannot negotiate with. Petraeus and I believe the others in Iraq can be negotiated with.

Do you really think that killing terrorists is similar to the "highway driving problem"
Since you're apparently the fastest car on the road, I guess you're supporting that carpet bombing for Indonesia. We know there are terrorists there, so 50 million innocent casualties or so shouldn't matter, right. No brakes, no limits. Killing terrorists is all that matters, and no extreme is too far for you.

George said it would be a long road and we are in the fight of America's life.
I've always wondered what victory in the war on terror will look like. How is it defined? How do we know when we're done and the war is over? I would suggest that, almost by definition, it can never be over, but I am interested to know what your definition of victory in the war on terror is.

And you go on to say how overwhelming a job it is to fight them. So why fight at all, basically.
No, what's hard is fighting them effectively. Bush and the military in general showed that they had no idea how to do it until Petraeus was given the command. He understands how to fight an insurgency and it isn't by just killing everyone you suspect of being a terrorist. You have to win get support of the populace, negotiate and win over groups that you can, and kill those you can't, but we've been through that already. He said it, I said it, you don't believe it and we can't convince you. I don't think he'll recommend the carpet bombing that you appear to support in all Islamic nations.

Money and effort well spent? For the most part, yes. Was anyone sticking up for the innocent kid getting thrashed by the bully?
There was a very good article today by Bjorn Lumborg in WSJ. He compares the value of spending money combatting international terrorism, global warming, hunger, and disease. I'll leave it to you to see how much good this money could have done combatting the last two. Oh yes, and we wouldn't have had to have any coalition soldiers or Iraqi citizens die in getting those benefits.

Since you are so good at sseing so many sides of an issue and resting your mind on the kindest of them all, perhaps you can estimate how many of those dead terrorists would've converted to nice happy people.
Approximately 0.
How many innocent Iraqi citizens have been converted to nice dead people as a result of the Iraq war? And how many Iraqis that were not previously a problem did we convert to insurgents with the invasion?

And you can calculate how many of those that didn't embrace peace would have struck on US soil. Given the situation of Iraq before the war, I would say about the same number of Iraqis that struck here before that. You can also reference the number of Iranians that have struck here since the start of the Iraq war, since we didn't invade that country.




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