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This way to the egress

I just got off the phone with the moron who wrote this book, and his spouting of one particular form of idiocy is giving me an excuse to rip it into well-deserved tiny shreds.

I challenged him to demonstrate that we are actually "losing" the war on terror. The reasons he had previously cited were 1) the budget deficit is rising; 2) we have no exit strategy, and 3) Bin Laden is still free and laughing at us. I observed that his definition of "losing" seems to be simply "have not yet won."

But I want to focus on his second point -- the lack of a clearly-defined exit strategy. This particular notion has aggravated me ever since I first heard that term.

Having a clearly-defined exit strategy is a singularly bad idea. By outlining the circumstances or timeframe when we intend to leave the theatre, we give our enemies a set of concrete goals that they can use to define their own victory. All they have to do is outlast us, and they win by default. It's the equivalent of the proposal during Viet Nam of "declaring victory and coming home" -- it doesn't change the fundamental fact that the battle is over, we're gone, and the enemy is still there.

I don't recall any war the U.S. has ever lost where we have an exit strategy. In World War II, for example, our "exit strategy" was "win the war, crush the enemy utterly, occupy them, rebuild them, then stick around until they ask us to leave." It's been 60 years, and we still have forces in Germany and Japan.

On the other hand, we left the Philippines when they asked us to depart. The same with Saudi Arabia -- they asked us to leave, and we did with no fuss.

So, to those who are calling for a clearly-defined "exit strategy" in Iraq: kindly explain how that plan will NOT simply give the enemy a clearly-defined outline of exactly how long they have to survive before we simply abandon Iraq to them.

Ignoring and running from threats was the policy of the Clinton administration, and we paid for that with our dearest blood. It's not the policy of the Bush administration, and for that we should all be grateful.


Update: My posting in the comments below was in response to one by a cowardly little twit calling himself "anonymous," and I quoted it in its entirety. I was not addressing AnonymousDrivel, and I apologize for any confusion. Also, I did not delete the comment -- it must have been struck down by a Higher Power.

Comments (32)

RE: Jay Tea's post (09:30 P... (Below threshold)

RE: Jay Tea's post (09:30 PM)
...and for that we should all be grateful.

And for the sacrifice from the greatest men and women this country can produce.

Great Post Jay... (Below threshold)

Great Post Jay

When I read the three point... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

When I read the three points, I immediatly thought the same thing.

I figure there are some detailed plans in the Pentagon and at state in regards to things that need to be done, but the exist strategy is basically when the job is done, and in this case the job is getting a stable government and a capable security/defense force. I think it would be folly to lock ourselves into some definition of what this is, and to put a time table on it is pure folly.

I've come to the conclusion... (Below threshold)

I've come to the conclusion that our "exit" strategy should be to never leave; if things get worse then we need to dig in and fight the jihadists. If things get better we should hope to stay somewhat permanently in Iraq, using it as a base of operations. Those who seek an exit seem to believe that jihadism is a temporary phenomenon, or that American hegemony is a fundamentally bad thing.

Anon, I was half a second a... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Anon, I was half a second away from deleting your post and banning you when I realized that I could never hope to illustrate the sheer hatred, pathos, and idiocy of the other side as well as you could in four simple words.

"Yeah but fuck you."

Roughly translated: "I reluctantly acknowledge that you are right in this matter and I have been wrong. For committing the unpardonable sin of proving my cluelessness on this matter (and, by implication, on many others), I hate you and all you stand for and wish to hurt you with my words, for I am impotent to do otherwise."

Also, your IP has been noted for possible future use.

Have a lovely evening.


RE: anon2's post (February ... (Below threshold)

RE: anon2's post (February 26, 2005 10:02 PM)
Yeah but fuck you.

Care to expound on your fine guttural response? I understand that it will take a neuron or two... maybe you could pass the plate and ask for donations?

Jay Tea was kind enough to ... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea was kind enough to spot you a couple, anon2. Who said there's no such thing as "compassionate Conservatism"?

AnonDrivel -- He may be add... (Below threshold)

AnonDrivel -- He may be addressing an Anonymous poster who has already been deleted. That's why chosing "AnonymousDrivel" is a particularly bad idea -- you'll get lumped in with the truly anonymous cowards.

Or, he misunderstood your point. It happens.

RE: Robert Crawford's (Febr... (Below threshold)

RE: Robert Crawford's (February 26, 2005 10:22 PM)

Thanks for your concern, Robert.

I understand that Jay was responding to the earlier deleted post and not confusing "it" with me. I'm sure Jay knows I wasn't responding to him as well.

But change names? Not a chance... it's my story and I'm sticking to it. :) Hmm. DrivelingCoward? I wonder if anyone uses that one?

I was going to say:1... (Below threshold)

I was going to say:
1) why do we need an exit strategy? I don't think we should leave if the Iraqis will let us stay after they are on their feet and protecting their own freedom.
2) who's to say there isn't an exit strategy at the White House/Pentagon? Just because it hasn't been published in the New York Times and approved by Hillary/Kerry/le gang doesn't mean that there isn't one.

But I was beaten to the punch. Good post with some good comments. This notion of "exit strategy" is garbage and only aids the enemy, not the allies/coalition.

"If things get better we sh... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"If things get better we should hope to stay somewhat permanently in Iraq, using it as a base of operations."

This is actually a good idea, I suspect that state and the pentagon would like to see this, and may be diplomatically working on it.

When you consider where the world hot spots are, a base somewhere in Iraq would be a much better location than Germany.

I just don't know how much the Iraqi's want it-that remains to be seen still.

I'm in agreement with the n... (Below threshold)

I'm in agreement with the non-disclosure of an "exit" strategy. Keep the enemy (terrorists abroad and not to be confused with the Ted Kennedys or Howard Deans of the world) guessing and off balance.

It's very likely that the U.S. will maintain its foreign deployment footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan to serve as the pincer for Iran for a while. Meanwhile, the engagement of other nations with North Korea will allow the U.S. to decrease its exposure there. Don't be surprised to see the diminution of Western European troops and their shifting to the east.

Since the election in Iraq seems to have become a seminal moment in the political atmosphere of the region, the Iraqis (Kurd, Shia, and Sunni) have voiced a desire that the Coalition remain as intermediary for some time. Syrian activity, Iranian nukes and potential complicity of Russia to that endeavor, a feckless U.N., Saudi and Pakistani wahabbism, a roaming binLaden, and a pubescent democracy in Afghanistan collectively beg for our presence. Actual hardware levels my fluctuate but make no mistake, the U.S. will be around those parts for quite some time - unless Jimmy Carter gets reelected. The horror...

The only real exit strategy... (Below threshold)

The only real exit strategy in a war is to win it. But this war is greater than Iraq, and simply "winning" in Iraq is not a reason to exit. The strategy is to influence the middle east, including Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran, and whomever else stands in the way of democratic freedoms. Transforming the middle east is the strategy, and when that is done in a couple of decades we can let task masters plan the exit. That is simply a matter of loading and unloading boats and airplanes with personnel and cargo, and using excellent navigation techniques to sail home. Certainly an important operation, but nothing to worry about yet.

Exit Strategy MA!L... (Below threshold)

Exit Strategy MA!

Leaders should think about the consequences of their actions. Scenarios and war-games help.

But leaders must also think about the consequences of inaction. In great struggles inaction cuts short term damage - ships are safer in port. But inaction encourages the enemy and disheartens your supporters.

Bush, whatever his imperfections, saw clearly that there are terrorist organizations with the desire and potential to destroy any open society. His strategy is unrelenting engagement against them.

Bush senses that the weak spot of global terrorism is that it cannot produce free governments and peoples. Terrorism allows only tyranny, for what else can you call a desire to destroy anything and anyone not pleasing you?

Many do not, or will not, see what Bush is doing. Or they believe other methods are better or that there is no problem at all. Fair enough! This struggle is so complex, intense, and immense that we cannot be certain.

Re:Exit Strategies. Have ideas. Don't reveal. In what contest, game, or war has revealing your detailed plans ever helped you? In what way will showing a willingness to run help our friends?

You're confusing an exit "s... (Below threshold)

You're confusing an exit "strategy" with a "timeline". I agree that a timeline is a bad idea. But it wouldn't be a bad idea for Bush to convey to the American people what his goals are. And not nebulous things like "win the war" or "crush the enemy".

"Capture Hussein" is a good one. As is "establish a democratic government". But what's left? The danger of having no stated goals is that the US presence can drag on indefinitely, depending on whether whoever's in charge sees opportunities that benefit the US.

You may say that we should stay there if it continues to benefit the US. But we're supposedly there for the benefit of Iraq, not the US. So it's reasonable to ask what specific benefits for Iraq we're buying with our $billions and the lives of our troops. And when we've achieved all of those benefits, it's time to exit.

I agree it's stupid to say we're "losing" the war on terror. But I certainly think we're not winning it in the most efficient way.

He has already done what yo... (Below threshold)

He has already done what you suggest, Brian, which you would have heard if you were listening. He says the strategy is to stabalize Iraq and leave when that is done. That is a mistake, of course, since it assumes that Iraq is the only goal.

RE: Brian's post (February ... (Below threshold)

RE: Brian's post (February 27, 2005 12:07 AM)
...But we're supposedly there for the benefit of Iraq, not the US. So it's reasonable to ask what specific benefits for Iraq we're buying with our $billions and the lives of our troops. And when we've achieved all of those benefits, it's time to exit.

The benefit to Iraq was secondary to the safety of the U.S. and no one is foolish enough to think that was not the case. That was and is what we were and are really buying. What is the appropriate price for that secured freedom? I can't put a price on that though the bill is awfully high. That we terminate the oppression of millions is a noble pursuit despite its secondary nature. However, the decision was not one of either/or. A laundry list of pros and cons were parsed to determine the commitment to action, and to simplify to one issue alone would be a bit misguided if not disingenuous. Our continued presence in the region has now transmogrified to one of altering the political dynamic of an entire region. It was a window of opportunity that could not be predicted but one which, once opened, would be foolish not to enter. The end remains, however, to protect democracy abroad and more importantly at home.

I agree it's stupid to say we're "losing" the war on terror. But I certainly think we're not winning it in the most efficient way.

Define efficient. In view of the risk of delaying action on Saddam's Iraq, what other viable option was available? Are we contributing vast sums of tangible and intangible treasure to that cause? Yes. In time we hope to realize a peace dividend of the sort that Reagan's assault on Communism provided and on which Clinton (and our nation) coasted for over a decade.

The payoff may come in spurts, but we most certainly are counting on a payoff of some sort. Consider Libya. That was a nuclear threat in wait that will not be realized on Bush's watch. Instant payoff. Isolation of Arafat and a rebuttal of the Intifada. Almost instant payoff though surely not settled. Recent self-determination of Lebanese against Syrian intervention. More payoff. Stabilization of Afghanistan and the current minimization of radical Islamic tyranny therein. Instant payoff. Easing of tension between Pakistan and India. Even more payoff though somewhat ancillary.

Thar is gold in them thar dunes and it is not of the black-n-oily type.

I think the problem is too ... (Below threshold)

I think the problem is too many people have gotten used to the "direct connect" mentality -- I don't just want it soon, I want it now. By the time they ask questions like "Why don't we have armored hum-vees" [please don't get me started on this, BTW], the ONLY answer that won't get you lynched is "They're already here." Even if it's "They'll be here tomorrow", that's not good enough. So when we say "We're training Iraqi police and national guard as fast as we can, and when the place safe under Iraqi control, we'll start leaving", nobody will believe you -- surely there's something we can do to train them faster so we can start leaving right now.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the left are a bunch of petulant children.

Worse than children, becaus... (Below threshold)

Worse than children, because children are powerless to effect decision making and policy. Liberal may act like children on matters of foreign affairs, but they are far more dangerous. For 50 years, they have found themselves on the wrong side of every conflict the world has known, on the wrong side of freedom, and opposed to the best interest of their own countrymen. Children can be ignored, but liberals manage to catch the ear of enough people to make a dangerous nuisance of their foolishness.

- Todays word is "Carp"....... (Below threshold)

- Todays word is "Carp".... can you say Carp kids and use it in a sentence.....

- Not only are the leftists childlike, they imagine their hair brained, phych 101 approach to things actually is subtle and has a chance of working. Just as they imagine themselve "elite" in the sense of intelligence...

- The idea seems to be. Well we can't do anything about Iraq at the present, damn it. Things are going well basically, so theres nothing to pick apart. the next best thing is to carp on some rediculous idea about "announcing to the enemy you intentions" so that possibly they will stampede the conservative leadership into making dumb ass mistakes....

- Think about it. Only your enemies would encourage you to give away your strategic plans. The idea is rediculous. But not if you look at who its coming from. I'm really looking forward to that rally in San Diego. They're about to find out just what a loud mouthed minority of America hating assholes they really are.....

I once dated a girl who had... (Below threshold)

I once dated a girl who had an uncle in the CIA. He was ecentric, well eductated, and completely NUTS.

Every time some high-profile death (sportsman, actor, politician) occurred he would claim it was a "conspiracy", especially if the death was from seemingly natural or accidental causes. Sharon Tate for example was killed by members of Mosad. Stuff like that. It was very entertaining, but also disturbing that a man in such a position would be so completely detached from reality.

He was also a holocaust denier, had an alarming affection for white supremacy groups, and was a big fan of Patrick Buchanan. He didn't deposit any of his money into a bank account because (you guessed it) banks are "under surveilance by Jews".

This weirdo really put a big dent in my confidence in the CIA. Some of the people there are certifiable loons. No wonder there is such resistance for change in that organization. I'm convinced that many of the CIA big shots hate the Bush administration for busting up their little "boys club".

Thomas PM Barnett who autho... (Below threshold)

Thomas PM Barnett who authored "The Pentagon's New Map" has a lot to say about the whole idea of an exit strategy a.k.a. "The Powell Doctrine".

This is an excerpt taken from an article on his website. Do read the whole article so you can get a full feel for the context in which he makes these statements and to understand terms he tosses around like "Core" and "Gap". There are a lot of other thoughtful articles at his site as well that make up for in content what they lack in stridency.

Anyway - here is the URL of interest


'Powell Doctrine, R.I.P.

What does this new approach mean for this nation and the world over the long run? Let me be very clear about this: The boys are never coming home. America is not leaving the Middle East until the Middle East joins the world. It’s that simple. No exit means no exit strategy.

One of the worst strategic concepts the Pentagon ever came up with was General Colin Powell’s notion that America should never intervene militarily overseas unless and until an exit strategy is clearly defined. The legacy of that dictum has poisoned the U. S. military’s strategic planning ever since, generating the force we have today—perfect for drive-by regime changes and understaffed for everything else.

Fortunately, the Powell doctrine has died with Operation Iraqi Freedom, and with it dies America’s decades-long tendency to blow off all the suffering and instability that plagues the Gap, or what we used to call the Third World. What is so amazingly courageous about what the Bush administration has done in trying to generate a “big bang” throughout the Middle East is that it has committed our nation to shrinking a major portion of the Gap in one fell swoop. By doing so, I believe this administration has forced America to finally come through on promises repeatedly offered during the cold war but never delivered upon. The irony, of course, is that the administration is guilty of such grotesque dissembling over its rationale for the war that it is unable to fully take credit for this historic achievement. And its dissembling has also aroused the passions of the empire crowd. '

Maybe we should publish an... (Below threshold)

Maybe we should publish an inventory of bullets,
fuel and food on hand as well eh? &%$#@ idiots.

Powell wasn't all that wron... (Below threshold)

Powell wasn't all that wrong. It is good to have goals and to define what constitutes success. That is the exit strategy -- to exit when your goals are complete. What the left is entirely missing is the importance of achieving success in Iraq, and the fact that Iraq is not the real mission. It is much bigger than Iraq, but sure, we'll leave someday, when the larger goals are accomlished.

I think there is a fundamen... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I think there is a fundamental disconnect when it comes to liberals and their view of the war on terror.

The appear to think the war on terror is a "war on Osama Bin Laden."

They also don't understand or grasp how a stable and democratic middle east is the best way to combat terrorism. Bush and others understand this, that is why Bush keeps talking about democracy getting other countries to commit to democracy.

It is no coincidence that the governments that are least likely to kill their own citizens are democracies. Democracies rarely if ever go to war against each other.

Basically, the best way for the US to secure itself against future attacks is to change the face of the countries the terrorists grow out of and hide in.

I don't think liberals get this big picture, either because they are too blinded by their anti war ideals, they are too blinded by hatred of Bush, or they are just short sighted, and are unable to see the big picture.

MisterPundit,Quote... (Below threshold)


Quote: "I once dated a girl who had an uncle in the CIA. He was ecentric, well eductated, and completely NUTS."

...and then reading the rest of your post about his behavior I have but one question...

Why, after all the nutty things the man said, you actually believed he worked for the CIA. Did it not occur to you he was lying? Many paranoid delusionals also suffer from illusions of grandeur.

If we had as many CIA agents and Special Forces people as there that have CLAIMED to be then I doubt 9/11 would have happened since we would have 4 or 5 million CIA spooks running around and bound to hear something.

I'll go out on a limb and say anyone who was a jew-hating, white supremicist who thought conspiracies were everywhere is most likely lying about being in the CIA.

Also, I did not delete ... (Below threshold)

Also, I did not delete the comment -- it must have been struck down by a Higher Power.

God deletes post around here!!!!???? WOW! Yall are big!

I guess I have a totally di... (Below threshold)

I guess I have a totally different point of view on the war. The whole idea of an "exit strategy" is, in my totally personal opinion, dumb, because we're not looking to get out.

This isn't a war for territory or power or natural resources, or even really for ideology. This is a war against a scourge. I don't think of the war on terror as being like World War II. I think of it being like the effort to eradicate smallpox.

Smallpox was a scourge. It struck down innocent people, and threatened everybody, everywhere. It was our moral obligation, as human beings, to try to eradicate it from the face of the earth. We worked and worked, and ultimately we were successful.

Terrorism is a scourge. It's our moral obligation to try to eradicate it. If someday we're successful, great. If we're not, does that mean we'll give up? Does that mean we'll stop trying? Does that mean we'll all change our opinions and say, "Oh, maybe terrorism really isn't so bad after all?" I don't think so.

I don't think the idea of an "exit strategy" applies to the war against terrorism any more than it applied to the fight against smallpox. If we're ever lucky enough to live in a world where terrorism is unknown, that'll be great. But until that day comes, we're gonna keep working to wipe it out. Talking about the war against terror like it's the war in Vietnam is gonna lead to some invalid assumptions, which will lead to some bogus conclusions.

Like I said, I guess I just see the whole question differently.

Hey, isn't the rate of grow... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

Hey, isn't the rate of growth for the deficit actually shrinking or some such? I thought I heard something about that recently....

What Jeff said. When small... (Below threshold)

What Jeff said. When smallpox was eradicated, we stopped eradicating it. That was the exit. When the middle east is transformed, we'll stop transforming it. Call that the exit strategy if you must.

Yeah, MisterPundit, the sam... (Below threshold)

Yeah, MisterPundit, the same thing ran across my mind. Hey Faith, maybe MP was more concerned about getting laid than allowing himself to be distracted by Napoleaon. :p

Well Julie, I've done a lot... (Below threshold)

Well Julie, I've done a lot worse in the hopes of getting laid... ;-)






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