Patterico's Pontifications

1/6/2007

A Prediction I Wish I Didn’t Have to Make

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 3:18 pm



Do you remember the fall of Saigon? Do you remember our betrayal of people who trusted us to keep them safe?

fall-of-saigon.jpg

Unless attitudes change dramatically, we are doomed to repeat this ignoble act in Iraq. Despite the plan to “surge” troops into Iraq, we are going to end up with a terrible situation like the one depicted in that photograph.

Mark my words. When the time comes, I will remind you of this. And I will not take the slightest scrap of pleasure in saying I told you so.

95 Responses to “A Prediction I Wish I Didn’t Have to Make”

  1. Sorry for a bit of trolling, but that’s a faulty logic. U.S. has long ago abandoned their natural allies in Iraq, i.e., seculars/moderates, intelligentsia, “the best and the brightest”.
    This picture has long ago happened. The “people who trusted us to keep them safe” were betrayed long ago.
    When U.S. gets out, it will leave two beasts behind, and there’s no proof that “our” beast will turn out to be weaker.

    NN (d035f8)

  2. This can be avoided by adopting a colonialization model to stabilize the country.

    a. Throw Maliki out along with his henchmen,

    b. put al Sadar on trial for the killing we tried to arrest him for 3 years ago, (hopefully hanging him after) and
    c. take over the decision-making process and get the strongest Iraqis in the current parliment to administer things, most especially the Ministry of Interior.

    To make this happen, the surge should serve to disarm the militias, oversee the police, and oversee the army of Iraq.

    Clamp down hard to restore order to enable rebuilding and investment to go forward. It will take no more than 2 years to get things moving forward at which time we can start encouraging local political processes to determine and put in place the new Iraqi leadership and we can then withdraw nearly all US Military (there will likely be some advisors there for 5 years or so).

    Dubya (c16726)

  3. The biggest problem is the Iranians who have an interest in keeping things in chaos. Those Iranian infiltrators and provocateurs need to be hunted down and eliminated (liquidated as the Russians would put it).

    Dubya (c16726)

  4. Same thing happened in Rowanda after we bugged out of Somalia. The trick will be leaving Iraq while also presenting a credible threat of returning at a moments notice if the situation warrents.

    Papertiger (e405fb)

  5. Reid and Pelosi sending a letter to Bush warning him not to send more troops has to be the most blatent and assinine grab at executive power ever! What the hell makes them think they’re qualified military strategists?

    Bush is Commander in Chief — the f—in Congress needs to re-read the US Constitution and help him do his job! Are they Americans or Basket Crabs?

    Dubya (c16726)

  6. Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it…

    Clark Baker (337440)

  7. Those who fret over history are doomed to repeat it.

    To quote Colin Powell: “You break it, you own it,” so let’s quit pussyfooting around and take ownership and get it back in order. To the French, UN, and others who will inevitibly criticize — screw them!

    We have to make sure the Iraqis themselves see they have skin in the game of keeping things stable. That is, once Iraqis start making money and becoming rich, they will be less interested in killing each other. At that point we can step out.

    Dubya (c16726)

  8. NN

    Secularists? Oh… we should have made “nice nice” with Saddam (like Russia and France), because …well, regardless of shredders and licensed to rape “officers” at least Saddam brought stability and the trains ran on time (who really misses the Kurds or Marsh Arabs, eh?)

    Darleen (543cb7)

  9. Well Dubya,

    Bush is the Commander in Chief, but unless he and his cronies want to fund putting more troops in Iraq out of their own pockets…they have to sell Congress on the plan.

    It would be easier to accept the newfound concern the right has discovered for the “People of Iraq” if we were already helping the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees who have already fled from the Heaven on Earth Bush created for them…

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  10. newfound concern the right has discovered for the “People of Iraq”

    Typical BS from you Neville — concern for them (and the rest of civilization) is why we went in there beginning in 1990. The WMD story was the wrong justification, but so what? (And please don’t start some book about WWII like you did in a previous thread.)

    Dubya (c16726)

  11. they have to sell Congress on the plan

    Pretty hard to sell something to those who already tell you they won’t buy it. How’s that for bi-partisan openness?

    Dubya (c16726)

  12. “Unless attitudes change dramatically,” you write. But the bottleneck is resources, human and material. I don’t see how changing our attitudes will alter that fact.

    We need to find enough troops to get Iraq under control, for the years it will take to stabilize the country, without wrecking our defenses elsewhere in the world. That would be quite a feat. It might be done with a draft, but that’s not a realistic prospect. Or, perhaps you mean hundreds of thousands of Americans will volunteer for the military and go to Iraq. That also seems unrealistic.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  13. Spending $100 billion a year, or over twice the annual Iraqi GDP, just so we can station a few troops in their country of 25 million people while spending a pittance on the Iraqis themselves doesn’t show a whole lot of concern for the Iraqi people, Dubya.

    And are we to believe the people of Vietnam would rather our troops had still been fighting in their country over the past 34 years?

    I don’t think so…

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  14. Bradley,

    I am sayihg that when we prioritize turning over responsibility, and deprioritize safety — as I believe we are *already* doing in places — the results will lead to disaster.

    That is what I am saying.

    Patterico (906bfc)

  15. It doesn’t have to take that much money or blood: what it takes is unanimity and determination.

    No more of this “I voted for the resolution before I voted against it,” half-assed, non-committal, flip-flopping bullshit!

    Dubya (c16726)

  16. when we prioritize turning over responsibility

    You hit the nail — it’s OUR responsibility to stabilize it. Only after can we turn it over!

    Dubya (c16726)

  17. I think it was the morning after the election that I emailed some friends with the question as to whether anyone had determined the load-bearing rating of the roof of the new embassy in Baghdad. One of my DC friends said that he thought it was rated as a “2-Chopper” roof.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  18. It doesn’t have to take that much money or blood: what it takes is unanimity and determination.

    Here or in Iraq?

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  19. The friends we will “abandon” are not very numerous in Baghdad, and will fit very nicely on one plane. There wouldn’t be a need for the exit by roof strategy.

    Leaving aside Neville’s defense of Pelosi-Reid (which is probably more playing to their lefty audience than it is a powergrab), the number of Iraqis who have left for Syria, Jordan, and other places is fairly large, and the number the USG has tried to resettle in the US–temporarily or otherwise–seems to be fairly low. It probably could be doing more and better for those people who have left Iraq because they felt it too dangerous, whether they are now in the US or in other countries.

    kishnevi (171310)

  20. Geez, Patrick, why not go over there yourself then? Can’t be bothered? Surprise, surprise.

    If at some point a completely stupid decision that costs 3,000 of our service people’s lives and 650,000 Iraqi lives (yes, that’s the Lancet number, give or take 450,000, and I’m not interested in the uneducated or brainless criticism of the Lancet study from anyone here)–if at some point you’ve utterly scewed the pooch, and through sheer incompetence haven’t gotten it right in three years of trying, the next step is to get the hell out. It’s going to happen. The consequences are absolutely horrendous, but with us there or without us there, the consequences are going to be horrendous. As many a better military analyst than Patrick, you or I have concluded, we’re making things worse. And I haven’t even mentioned the number $500 billion. Breathtaking.

    The only–and I mean only–thing this ‘surge’ is doing is buying Bush time to get this into the 2008 cycle, when it won’t be possible to pull out, and then, voila! He’s out of office. The great escape! Bush has never in his life finished a job. He’s always been bailed out, by Daddy’s friends in most cases. Not a single rational person believes Bush has the guts to face up to his own failure. Not if a few thousand more dead Americans can allow him to slip off into well-paid retirement. But like I said, Patrick, it’s not to late for you to see how your trial lawyer credentials serve you as a greenhorn recruit in Baghdad and try your bestest to help with the rear-guard action so no bad guys chase anybody up that there helicopter platform ladder.

    [What’s more courageous? Serving in the military, or making comments under your true name? Why, the former, by a longshot. Yet you lack the courage to do even the latter. I don’t normally mind when people comment from a pseudonym. But when they question my courage and honesty, and call me out by my real name, while remaining behind a phony name themselves, it makes me wonder what their idea of courage is, when they lack even the courage to say these things using their real name. — P]

    djangone (381f2e)

  21. I should have added, if you want to examine the fall of Vietnam, concentrate on the question of why the South Vietnamese government collapsed so quickly and completely, and pretty much without a fight. And then try to apply those answers to Iraq.

    (And,no, I have no detailed knowledge on Vietnam, so the answer may well be, “because there wasn’t enough of a US military presence there”, for all I know.)

    kishnevi (171310)

  22. Right wing fearmongering and prejudice against Arabs is so vast that you’re right, Patterico, the right wing will not want to let the victims of Bush policy escape into America. After all, they might blow something up.

    This is the mess you have gotten us into. People will pay with their lives for your mistakes.

    Jen (cd0a94)

  23. kishnevei: The South Vietnamese military collapsed because our illustrious Congress cut off support. They were past the point of needing American troops to fight alongside them but they weren’t past needing fuel and ammunition. Things were under control when I came home in ’72 and they were still under control when the last of our troops left in ’73. Congress sold them out, pure and simple. Just like they want to do in Iraq.

    Bill Faith (3cc7e8)

  24. 22 comments and not one has yet placed the media front and center in the push for precipitous withdrawal. What world are you people living in?

    happyfeet (f6e62f)

  25. That’s a bit of a stretch, Bill.

    We gave the government of South Vietnam plenty of funds to buy fuel and ammo with…but they were corrupt and just pocketed the money…

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  26. if any one of our fearless blogger/war correspondents had taken his act to south american nightclubs recently, he might have ended up embedded in the unit of one of the bush twins.

    assistant devil's advocate (c43706)

  27. Darleen,

    Secularists? Oh… we should have made “nice nice” with Saddam (like Russia and France), because …well, regardless of shredders and licensed to rape “officers” at least Saddam brought stability and the trains ran on time (who really misses the Kurds or Marsh Arabs, eh?)

    Nonsense. I didn’t talk about Saddam. I talked about common people who find life under Sharia law unbearable. About people that don’t like mullahs meddling in everyone’s business. About people who don’t like being ruled by the religious fanatics. They have long ago been betrayed, many of them have left.

    NN (f82c0b)

  28. Patterico: “Do you remember the fall of Saigon? Do you remember our betrayal of people who trusted us to keep them safe? Unless attitudes change dramatically, we are doomed to repeat this ignoble act in Iraq.”

    Iraqis: “Most Iraqis Favor Immediate U.S. Pullout, Polls Show
    Leaders’ Views Out of Step With Public

    By Amit R. Paley
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, September 27, 2006; Page A22

    BAGHDAD, Sept. 26 — A strong majority of Iraqis want U.S.-led military forces to immediately withdraw from the country, saying their swift departure would make Iraq more secure and decrease sectarian violence, according to new polls by the State Department and independent researchers.”

    m.croche (998468)

  29. Incidentally, Patterico’s concern for the Iraqi people would be significantly more credible if he actually had a track record of grappling with the unfolding events in Iraq with a seriousness commensurate with the gravity of the debacle in Iraq, commensurate with the scale of the carnage experienced by both Iraqis and by the coalition forces.

    A trot through Patterico’s posts for this year show that – until October when it was clear that Iraq was becoming a significant albatross around the GOP’s neck and something needed to be done – Patterico was largely satisfied to use the Iraq war as a pretext for attacking domestic political enemies, such as the press and Rep. Murtha.

    It seems clear that Patterico will only care about the Iraqi carnage AFTER the US has withdrawn its troops (led on by “cut and run” Democrats), when he can once again have a comfortable political target to blame.

    [It “seems clear” that you’re a prick. You never have a substantive thing to say in a comment on my site; it’s all about gotchas and trying to run me down personally. Your big zinger here is equivalent to me saying: “it seems clear that croche is happy to have the media lie to us, as he has always responded to any media criticism of mine in which I point out media dishonesty by trying to impeach me personally.” As Allah said:

    The only thing that really annoys me about the left blindly defending the AP here is the argument, made most emphatically by Eric Boehlert, that we’re using this incident somehow as a fig leaf for how bad things are in Iraq. If the AP turns out to be lying, the theory goes, we’ll declare all reportage from Iraq suspect by extension and conclude that things aren’t nearly as dire as they seem to be. Which, of course, is patent nonsense. There are Shiite death squads operating in hospitals in Iraq; if you knew nothing else about the country, you could glean from that fact alone how unspeakably horrible conditions are throughout the country.

    We’re not using this story as a fig leaf for the war. On the contrary, it’s Boehlert — the same guy who wrote a book claiming that the media is, giggle, right-wing — who’s using the war as a fig leaf for the AP’s anti-American bias. According to him and his pals, to challenge the veracity of this story is to be guilty, essentially, of historical revisionism, of denying the brutality Iraqis are facing. Oh sure, they say en passant, if the AP got it wrong they should be called on the carpet for it — while in the same breath they dismiss the charges as a “smear campaign” or “baseless” or whatever conclusory pronouncement you prefer. They don’t care if the AP blew it or not. They say they do because they know they have to. It’s purely pro forma.

    That describes you to a “T,” croche. You don’t show any evidence that you care in the slightest about whether we’re getting the truth from Iraq. In fact, I could more plausibly deny that *you* care less about the deaths of *anyone* in Iraq than me or most of my commenters, since you’ve never shown any real humanity on these issues. You are purely, 100%, a guy out to score political points, using whatever ammunition you can. If you have any concern for whether our troops are dying, other than as a cheap political point you can make against supporters of the war, it would surprise me. — P]

    m.croche (998468)

  30. Given that:

    (1) Bush’s dream of having Iraq full of people sitting around a campfire drinking cokes, singing PP&M songs and serving as an inspiration to the rest of the world (which in turn was somehow supposed to cut down on the terrorist threat we face) is deader than my dreams of playing in the NBA, and

    (2) No matter when we leave or the circumstances in which we leave, our enemies are going to trumpet that as a defeat for the United States,

    our troops are now in Iraq solely because Bush can’t admit his dream has gone up in smoke, and to trying to keep the crazies in Iraq from trying to kill one another. And those are not good reasons to keep our military in Iraq. It’s OK to ask our soldiers to risk their lives to help protect America… but that’s not what they’re doing.

    The Iraqis want to kill one another? Fine, let’s get out of their way, and the faster we do that, the better. And if they want to use helicopters on the roof, it’s ok by me.

    steve sturm (d3e296)

  31. Ok, so what do you think would be the result if the “leadership” of the Congress (from both sides of the aisle) stood before cameras with the message that “…the United States will pay any price and bear any burden…” to ensure Iraq gets back to the business of living peacefully and prosperously: if they then went in and passed whatever requisite resolutions and bills were required to realize that vision?

    The world would be stunned! The usual suspects would cynically throw rocks and the Islamists would scream “jihad!” and there would be a few months of increased bloodiness. Then when everybody sees that said what we meant and we meant what we said, they’d probably STFU and look for opportunities to make money in the newly peaceful Iraq.

    The costs of rebuilding could easily be borne by enabling Iraqi oil production to reach its potential and there’d be plenty of money to keep the Sunis, Shia, and Kurds happily working towards that goal.

    As things are now, the world sees us fighting ourselves and laughs at the fact that we can’t even get our own shit together.

    Dubya (c16726)

  32. Then, of course, the rest of the world curses us for not doing in Somalia what we’re now doing in Iraq. F***in’ hypocrites!

    Dubya (c16726)

  33. Ok, so what do you think would be the result if the “leadership” of the Congress (from both sides of the aisle) stood before cameras with the message

    It all depends on the timing. And the lighting. And the background music. If all those things are done properly, if the picture is impressive enough, Iraqi government would probably turn away from Islamic fundamentalism, Al-Maliki would OK actions against Al-Sadr, Iran would stop existing etc., etc.

    “…the United States will pay any price and bear any burden…

    Like raise the taxes?

    NN (d035f8)

  34. Does the Gulf of Tonkin ring any bells?

    When the spine of legitimacy is bent at birth, the prognosis is clear.

    Semanticleo (e8f396)

  35. […] I have said that the war in Iraq was a mistake. But even if you agree with me, that doesn’t dictate how we deal with the aftermath. As I said yesterday, if we simply beat a hasty retreat, we will be setting up Iraq for a terrible disaster. In some ways, we are already doing this. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » A Gruesome Taste of Things to Come (421107)

  36. Right wing fearmongering and prejudice against Arabs

    Gads, what utter and mendacious bovine excrement.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  37. Semanticleo

    Refresh my memory… did world leaders also agree that the Gulf of Tolkin incident happened?

    Darleen (543cb7)

  38. I am new here and missed your salient moment.

    Tell me. Do you think the ‘Surge’ will accomplish
    anything other than what we’ve seen? ALL the generals said last fall that an increase in troop levels will not do the job.

    Are you for staying the course(what else do we call it?)?

    If you are about solutions, how about calling for the President to begin applying pressure to the elected government of Iraq by first removing some of the creature comforts and perks enjoyed by the elite members?

    How about; “Dismantle the militias or lose your gratis Starbucks coffee”?

    Semanticleo (e8f396)

  39. “did world leaders also agree that the Gulf of Tolkin incident happened?”

    Please clarify. Will the answer debunk ‘a lie begets a lie’?

    Semanticleo (e8f396)

  40. It was the Democrat majority in Congress who passed and the Democrat president Bubba Clinton who signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 making it official United States policy to bring about regime change in Iraq. Where are those flip-flopping, spineless Democrats (and spineless, finger-in-the-air Republicans) now?

    Mistakes were made — carping about the mistakes and pointing hateful fingers at Bush does nothing to correct the mistakes.

    IT’S NOT ABOUT BUSH’S CREDIBILITY ANYMORE. IT’S ABOUT AMERICAN CREDIBILITY!

    NN: the American people financed 3 world wars and several “police actions” through bonds. If the leadership stood united and said “this is what we must do” true Americans would do whatever it takes to get the job done.

    If the government ramped up production of materiel and arms and offered better pay and bonuses for warriors, creating jobs for the 4.5% of those not now working, the increased revenues would not likely require increases in tax RATES.

    Tax rate increases feed BIG GOVERNMENT, bonds pay for wars. The majority of gov’t spending is on so-called “entitlements:” military spending is part of the so-called “discretionary spending” which is why Bubba and company were able to generate surplusses by cutting military spending.

    Dubya (c16726)

  41. IT’S ABOUT AMERICAN CREDIBILITY!

    It’s always been about American credibility,

    Semanticleo (e8f396)

  42. Semanticleo

    I’m assuming you’re attempting to equate Gulf of Tolkin with WMD.

    And the “lie” of WMD as “the reason” for ousting Saddam has been definitively dealt with before.

    Though, I realize for those fighting BushHitlerZionistNeoCon, it is as “real” as the Truthers believing that 9/11 was a US/Israel government conspiracy using robot controlled planes.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  43. Iraq Liberation Act of 1998

    There was nothing about military invasion there.

    Mistakes were made

    That’s an understatement.

    pointing hateful fingers at Bush does nothing to correct the mistakes

    Until Bush awakes from his delusions about “the country that will be an ally in the war on terror”, terror in this context most possibly meaning Iran, and Iraqi politicians making it very clear that they will never be an ally in the war against Iran, it’s worth pointing fingers at Bush. Until he understands that giving full support to Al-Maliki means being complicit in ethnic cleansing, it’s worth pointing fingers at him.

    American people financed 3 world wars and several “police actions” through bonds

    War bonds. I see.

    NN (9c16c2)

  44. That’s what I thought you were implying. Thanks for saving me the time and effort of talking with you further.

    Semanticleo (e8f396)

  45. Iraq Liberation Act of 1998

    There was nothing about military invasion there.

    Why yes, because we all know from history that liberations never take place with violence or military action.

    The proven strategy of mere passage of strongly worded wishes does it every time.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  46. Thanks for saving me the time and effort of talking with you further.

    Ah, I guess challenging your beloved truthiness was a little harsh on my part.

    So.sorry.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  47. Why yes, because we all know from history that liberations never take place with violence or military action.

    The proven strategy of mere passage of strongly worded wishes does it every time.

    Please remind me about the role of military action in the liberation of Europe from Communism. Was it military support for mujahadeens in Afghanistan, or what?
    In fact I don’t remember many examples of successful military-liberation-regime-change if it was not about defeating the enemy (Japan, Germany, Afghanistan). I’m afraid there’s not a single example of this in history.

    NN (9c16c2)

  48. I agree that continued support for Maliki is probably a mistake. How do you remove him now that his Iraqi supporters (and Iranian enablers) put in place?

    Dubya (c16726)

  49. Please remind me about the role of military action in the liberation of Europe from Communism.

    It was Reagan’s spending the Russians/Soviets into bankruptcy through military buildups.

    Dubya (c16726)

  50. In The New Republic‘s November 2006 “brainstorming” article on Iraq, George Packer–who wrote so perceptively about McMaster’s 3ACR in al-Anbar in the New Yorker–contributed Save Whomever We Can.

    Patterico echoes Packer’s awful prediction. Excerpt:

    …Recently, I asked my friend what he would do if U.S. forces began to withdraw from Baghdad. Osman, an utterly secular Sunni who despises the religious extremists of both sects, replied, “I would have to be protected by Al Qaeda.” Between the Sunni jihadists who would immediately take over his area and the Shia death squads hunting down people with his quintessentially Sunni name, Osman would be forced to choose the former. He has begun to establish connections with the extremists in his neighborhood to win their trust. “I would have to obey their rules,” he said…”We’ll be happy to do it because they will give us their protection–at first.” Over the long run, the jihadists would establish a reign of terror, as they have done in the towns of Anbar province that have come under their control.

    When the war in Iraq was an insurgency, there was a chance of ending it with a better counterinsurgency and, ultimately, politics. Once it took the form of a civil war, America’s role became increasingly marginal and precarious. I saw this vividly during my last trip to Iraq, at the beginning of the year, and it accelerated shortly after my return, when Al Qaeda bombed the Shia shrine in Samarra… So U.S. policy has to change.

    …Withdrawal means that the United States will have to watch Iraqis die in ever greater numbers without doing much of anything to prevent it, because the welfare of Iraqis will no longer be among our central concerns. Those Iraqis who have had anything to do with the occupation and its promises of democracy will be among the first to be killed: the translators, the government officials, the embassy employees, the journalists, the organizers of women’s and human rights groups. As it is, they are being killed one by one. (I personally know at least half a dozen of them who have been murdered.) Without the protection of the Green Zone, U.S. bases, or the inhibiting effect on the Sunni and Shia militias of 150,000 U.S. troops, they will be killed in much greater numbers. To me, the relevant historical analogy is not the helicopters taking off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, leaving thousands of Vietnamese to the reeducation camps. It is the systematic slaughter by the Khmer Rouge of every Cambodian who appeared to have had anything to do with the West.

    If the United States leaves Iraq, our last shred of honor and decency will require us to save as many of these Iraqis as possible… The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad does not issue visas… For a military translator to have a chance at coming to the United States, he must be able to prove that he worked for at least a year with U.S. forces and have the recommendation of a general officer–nearly impossible in most cases. Our current approach essentially traps Iraqis inside their country, where they will have to choose, like Osman, between jihadists and death squads.

    We should start issuing visas in Baghdad… we should vastly increase our quota for Iraqi refugees. (Last year, it was fewer than 200.) We should prepare contingency plans for massive airlifts and ground escorts. We should be ready for desperate and angry crowds at the gates of the Green Zone and U.S. bases. We should not allow wishful thinking to put off these decisions until it’s too late. We should not compound our betrayals of Iraqis who put their hopes in our hands.

    AMac (6f672d)

  51. How do you remove him now that his Iraqi supporters (and Iranian enablers) put in place?

    Correction: …his Shia deathsquads and Iranian puppet-masters have put him in place

    Dubya (c16726)

  52. I agree that continued support for Maliki is probably a mistake. How do you remove him now that his Iraqi supporters (and Iranian enablers) put in place?

    I have no idea.
    The first step to deal with the problem is to acknowledge the problem. Bush seems to be reluctant to make this first step. This is not BDS, but a fact. The fact that Maliki is no good was stressed by such “moonbats” as Juan Cole the moment he became PM, but was dismissed as “a hatred for Iraqi freedom”. The way some right-wing bloggers cheered Maliki for his “independence” and his willingless to show that he’s not “America’s man” (and thus can piss in the face of U.S.) was just crazy.

    It was Reagan’s spending the Russians/Soviets into bankruptcy through military buildups.

    It had also something to do with the oil prices. Anyway, it was economy that brought down Soviet empire. Not military action.

    NN (9c16c2)

  53. “What’s more courageous? Serving in the military, or making comments under your true name? Why, the former, by a longshot.”

    Good, you posed a setup question with some utterly bizarre logic. Entertaining.

    “Yet you lack the courage to do even the latter. “

    Your comeback? Logical nonsequitur. Buzz! The latter’s already not so bad, as you pointed out in your setup. It’s like comparing a marble of unknown size to the planet jupiter. To even compare the subject of dying for one’s country with anonymous blog commenting…well, I’ll leave you to stare at your navel in your tub with your rubber ducky, contemplating your own somewhat garbled feelings about patriotism.

    [I didn’t *compare* the two. I *contrasted* the two. Let me say it verrrrrry slowwwwwwwly: you claim I’m a coward for not fighting overseas, yet commenting using your own true name, which takes much less bravery, is something you are unwilling to do. Making you an unlikely person to hurl accusations of cowardice. If you can’t follow simple logic, that’s your problem, not mine. — P]

    “I don’t normally mind when people comment from a pseudonym. But when they question my courage and honesty, and call me out by my real name, while remaining behind a phony name themselves, it makes me wonder what their idea of courage is, when they lack even the courage to say these things using their real name.”

    Repetition in semantics–you must’ve been tired, dear boy. Does this work in front of the judge? And as for questioning your honesty, I don’t question it. I flat out call you dishonest. Get it straight.

    Me, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father.

    You can strain for some moral equivalency between us, but it’s just not there. You blog anonymously. End of story. I comment anonymously. End of story. But I have to rescind some of my condescension; you apparently aren’t a fan of the Iraq war. I really don’t have the slightest interest to find your position on every issue: my beef is with your being a loud part of the howling band of right-wing shills who play up every bit of horseshit that comes along. Oh, and I read Greenwald about once every two weeks, so I’m familiar with some of your ‘work.’

    [I’m sorry . . . I blog anonymously??? Then how do you know my real name?? Answer: because I use it regularly. In other words, I am not anonymous.

    You are. — P

    And no, I do not strain for moral equivalency between you and me. Yuck. My point is that you are too much of a coward to attach your name to your stick-throwing. I would be, too, if I lied as shamelessly as you have repeatedly in my comments. — P]

    djangone (381f2e)

  54. Anyway, it was economy that brought down Soviet empire. Not military action.

    Obviously you don’t classify the following as military action:

    Surrounding the USSR with hundreds of thousands of US troops, sailors, and airmen and hundreds of thousands of ships, tanks, submarines, planes, theater ballistic missiles, etc.

    Spending scores of billions of dollars on ABM systems and technologies to render the USSR’s nuclear arsenal impotent.

    Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on arms and equipment to enable proxies to kill scores of thousands of Soviet soldiers (and Soviet proxies) and destroy hundreds of billions of rubles worth of their materiel.

    Deploying air and sea launched cruise missiles in addition to ICBMs to target every major Soviet military and industrial installation and major cities many times over.

    Quietly sinking several of their attack submarines.

    Several other actions that will likely never see the light of publicity.

    Dubya (c16726)

  55. “We gave the government of South Vietnam plenty of funds to buy fuel and ammo with…but they were corrupt and just pocketed the money…”

    This is utter bullshit. The Democrat-controlled congress deliberately and with malice aforethought, in defiance of treaty obligations, took advantage of Nixon’s political weakness during the Watergate scandal to cut off military support to South Vietnam. We had effectively won the war. South Vietnam was no longer in danger and neither were American troops. But during the fall of Saigon, SV supplies were so short that SV troops were only issued a few bullets (I believe the number was 3), this account from a friend of mine whose uncle was defending Saigon in that action.

    The Democrats did this to take a resounding and astonishing foreign-policy triumph away from Nixon. They were completely indeferent to the hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese who were destined to end up dead or in slave-labor camps, and the millions of others were were destined to end their days under the terrifying hand of a communist totalitarian government. Our elected representatives condemned millions of people to horror for their own political gain; possibly the darkest moment of the Democrat party until Iraq.

    Doc Rampage (d6ffc2)

  56. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on arms and equipment to enable proxies to kill scores of thousands of Soviet soldiers (and Soviet proxies) and destroy hundreds of billions of rubles worth of their materiel.

    So, you do, indeed, think that support for Afghan’s mujahadeens and Saddam Hussein brought down Communism in Europe. That was true to some degree, but that also had some nasty consequences, do you agree?
    All the other things you mentioned have nothing to do with military invasion not being able to bring liberty, unless it’s a part of military defeat — the thing that I was talking about.

    NN (d035f8)

  57. Our elected representatives condemned millions of people to horror for their own political gain; possibly the darkest moment of the Democrat party until Iraq.

    In what way Democrats are responsible for Iraq’s disaster, besides giving Bush authority to invade? In their “undermining the troops”? In their undermining beautiful Iraqi theocracy? In their claims that “current strategy is not working”? In their refusal to hear “good news”?
    Just wait, maybe in a year or two you’ll have grounds to blame everything on Democrats. But it’s too early, pal! They haven’t done anything!

    NN (d035f8)

  58. with malice aforethought

    Aw. thats so cute.

    actus (10527e)

  59. It was Reagan’s spending the Russians/Soviets into bankruptcy through military buildups.

    How much did russian military spending change over that time?

    actus (10527e)

  60. “How much did russian military spending change over that time?”

    I have no idea. If you do, won’t you please tell me?

    nk (bfc26a)

  61. Comment by NN — 1/7/2007 @ 9:34 am
    “. . . In fact I don’t remember many examples of successful military-liberation-regime-change if it was not about defeating the enemy (Japan, Germany, Afghanistan). I’m afraid there’s not a single example of this in history. . . .”

    Does the American Revolutionary War ring any bells? How about the French Revolution? How did Lenin and the communist gain power in Russia? Could it be that your historical time fram is just too short to be meaningful?

    jihad_for_what (8adea8)

  62. This Stanford debate estimated the increase in Soviet defense spending during the Reagan years at 5% of GDP. Other factors contributing to the Soviet decline were the large expenditure of Soviet funds needed to fight in Afghanistan and the falling oil prices in the 1980’s that had a significant adverse affect on Soviet revenues – as well as on the revenues of many independent oil operators in Texas as evidenced by the explosion of bankruptcies in the oil patch during that period.

    At least one well-regarded book has convincingly argued that the Soviet decline came about by Reagan’s manipulation of the world’s oil markets, manipulation that primarily harmed the independent oil operators who had been most responsible for funding Reagan’s Presidential aspirations. Ironic, isn’t it?

    DRJ (51a774)

  63. Does the American Revolutionary War ring any bells? How about the French Revolution? How did Lenin and the communist gain power in Russia? Could it be that your historical time fram is just too short to be meaningful?

    ?????
    What kind of military intervention played role in these events? You mean French role in American Revolution? Or German in Russian? Maybe I didn’t make myself clear, but I was speaking about military intervention from outside here. I’m sure that you can find some minor examples of this strategy working, but that would be very minor examples.

    NN (d035f8)

  64. How is it that our esteemed host said all along that going into Iraq was a mistake, but supported the war once it began has made the whole thing His Fault in the minds of some of the liberal commenters here (such as Mr Croce)?

    I’ll state for the record: I fully supported the invasion, and thought it was the right thing to do. I thought that the Iraqi people would be happy enough to get rid of the totalitarian oppression that they’d manage to come together in some form of government we’d find acceptable.

    I thought that the occupation would be relatively short, and that the Iraqis would understand, even those who didn’t want us there, that it was in their interest to be peaceful so that we could leave.

    I was wrong.

    I looked at the occupations of Japan and Germany, and saw how people who had lived under tyranny had had enough of tyranny, and when offered a legitimate chance for freedom and democracy would naturally want it. It only made sense.

    What I missed were two very important points:

    1- The Arabs simply aren’t Westerners, and their concepts of what is good and desirable simply don’t match our Western concepts of such; and

    2- The occupations of Japan and Germany were made much simpler by the fact that we had completely destroyed their countries and killed or maimed the vast majority of their fighting aged men.

    We went in determined to defeat not Iraq, but defeat Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party. The people of Iraq were innocent victims, and we didn’t want to hurt any more of them than was absolutely necessary. We didn’t even defeat the Iraqi Army, because it mostly ran away rather than stood to fight.

    We wound up conquering a country that we never actually defeated militarily. Their infrastructure suffered some damage, but wasn’t destroyed as we destroyed it in Germany. Their army was gone, but the fighting aged men were left alive.

    This was my mistake, and this was our mistake: we thought we could fight and win a nice, civilized war, and not really hurt anybody except the truly bad guys. I guess that comes from a modern Western mindset, of not wanting to kill any more than is absolutely necessary — but it goes against every bit of history we have concerning warfare.

    Wars are won when one side kills enough of the enmy to force him to surrender or die. In our own War of Northern Aggression, Robert E Lee surrendered like a gentleman — but only after hundreds of thousands of his countrymen were dead or maimed, and the Confederacy was on its last legs economically. Germany and Japan surrendered — after being nearly obliterated. In World War I, both sides lost the best of a generation in the trenches, and the germans sought an honorable peace only because they knew that if the war continued another year their country would be torn apart.

    One of my college professors (and I was at the University of kentucky in the mid-1970s, as we were running away from Vietnam) put it this way:

    They were more willing to die for their country than we were willing to kill them.

    I wish that I had remembered that sooner, because the point is simple and profound: we will not and cannot win a war when we are unwilling to do what is necessary to win a war, which is to kill the enemy’s fighting aged men and devastate his country.

    Dana (556f76)

  65. I have no idea.

    Then you don’t know whether russia was trying to keep up with us.

    actus (10527e)

  66. We wound up conquering a country that we never actually defeated militarily. Their infrastructure suffered some damage, but wasn’t destroyed as we destroyed it in Germany. Their army was gone, but the fighting aged men were left alive.

    But what would be the rationale? We went into the country, destroyed the infrastructure and killed all the young men there, because: 1) we hate brown men; 2) we are the Evil Empire; 3) of bad intelligence; 4) we want the end of the world to come soon; 5) we want Shia caliphate established in the Middle East; 6) Saddam wanted to kill George Bush Sr. 7) WE WANT BLOOD FOR OIL 8) Hitler was a pussy, Saddam was a pussy, Pol Pot was a pussy, we are the real deal.
    None of this makes any sense.
    You’re right, military defeat would probably be the only reasonable way to handle the situation in Iraq, but going there on your conditions would be just impossible with more than 15% support. That said, as far as I know, neither Japan nor German faced such major political revolutions after being defeated. To have all the social structure turned upside down in a year — that would throw any country into the chaos.

    NN (f82c0b)

  67. Can we win wars today? Part 3…

    If my good friend Patterico is right, that we’re going to leave Iraq in a fashion very similar to how we “redeployed” from Saigon and South Vietnam, we might as well do it sooner rather than later. That won’t really save any Iraqi…

    Common Sense Political Thought (819604)

  68. NN, we went in because we thought that Saddam Hussein and Iraq really did have WMD, because it was a ruthless dictatorship that needed to be overthrown, and we hoped that we’d be able to strike a real blow in the war against Islamic fascists by creating a stable democracy among the Arabs, something none of them enjoy at the moment.

    The “reasons” you gave are simple liberal pap, a kind of “nyah-nyah-nyah, we told you so” argument.

    Dana (556f76)

  69. There is one more point of difference, Dana. The Germans and Japanese had put aside their fratricide about four hundred years ago.

    nk (956ea1)

  70. The Germans and Japanese had put aside their fratricide about four hundred years ago.

    So there were no German Jews? Gee that’s news.

    Japanese and Koreans are both formerly the same people… the ones who made it to the islands just started considering themselves the superior branch and then started killing Koreans and Chinese in earnest in the 1930s.

    Dubya (c16726)

  71. creating a stable democracy

    Killing all the young men in the country for no reason whatsoever, as you propose, is not a good start for building a stable democracy.

    NN (f82c0b)

  72. NN wrote:

    Killing all the young men in the country for no reason whatsoever, as you propose, is not a good start for building a stable democracy.

    Well, NN, that was how it was accomplished in Germany and Japan.

    You might not like it, NN, but that is how wars are won — and it’s the only way wars are won.

    Dana (556f76)

  73. Dubya #69,

    Until Schicklgruber came into power, Germany was the least anti-Semitic country in mainland Europe. No pogroms like Russia and the Ukraine, no “Judenburgs” like Austria. The German Jews were totally caught by surprise — they had thought themselves safe Germans.

    As for the Japanese and Koreans being the same, I don’t think so. The Koreans are Turks whereas the Japanese are Chinese. In any case, Japan was founded around 600 A.D. and Ieyasu Tokugawa finally managed to stop the Japanese from killing each other about one thousand years later. Which was my point and it relates very well to the Arabs. It may take another thousand years to teach these “sons of the desert” not to kill their neighbors.

    I suppose my larger point was that two civilized countries suffered a period of temporary insanity whereas, now, we just have a barbarian country being brought kicking and screaming into civilization.

    nk (956ea1)

  74. Jeez, nk,

    That seems like a rather racist point.

    What’s your explanation for the Haditha massacre?

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  75. Patterico,

    According this this Washington Post article, it seems you and Barry McCaffrey are in the same place on Iraq:

    The war is unmistakably going in the wrong direction,” retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey said in an interview yesterday. “The only good news in all this is that Petraeus is so incredibly intelligent and creative. . . . I’m sure he’ll say to himself, ‘I’m not going to be the last soldier off the roof of the embassy in the Green Zone.’

    DRJ (51a774)

  76. “Jeez, nk,

    That seems like a rather racist point.”

    Yup. That’s exactly what distinguishes you from the 99.99999% of the sane, Neville.

    nk (956ea1)

  77. Hehe, nk,

    You guys have lost a war, political power, and now…your dignity.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  78. “In what way Democrats are responsible for Iraq’s disaster, besides giving Bush authority to invade?”

    I didn’t say that the Democrats are responsible for Iraq’s disaster. We can’t say for certain how it would have gone if the Democrats had supported the US instead of the enemy, if the New York Times (an organ of the Democrat party) had not been acting as the enemy’s intelligence branch, and if the Democrats faux concern for terrorist rights had not taken many useful strategies off the table. But every time someone said that America can’t win and that we should leave, it gave heart to the enemy and helped them to continue fighting in the face of continuous defeat. Every time an attack caused Democrats to rend their clothing and wail in agony and hopelessness, it encouraged the terrorists to attack again. Every time the Democrats wailed about American cruelty, it made young men more willing to join the terrorists (after all, if even the Americans think they are cruel, they must be really horrendous, right?). Every time Democrats spoke with contempt about the elections or the elected Iraqi government, it made it harder for them to claim legitimacy. Every time a Democrat insulted our allies and called them toadies of George Bush, it made them a little less willing to sacrifice for the cause of a free Iraq.

    You might claim that the enemy would have kept fighting anyway, regardless of the Democrats giving them hope, but you don’t really know do you? The terrorists aren’t stupid; they know that they can’t defeat the US militarily, all they can do is use divisions within the US to make the US defeat itself, just as North Vietnam did. And the Democrats are perfectly happy to go along with it because they hate Republicans more than they hate genocidal totalitarian dictators.

    The Democrats and their media allies have done everything they could to sabotage this war. It’s not necessary for me to argue that they caused the disaster. It is enough that they tried to cause a disaster. They are absolutely despicable.

    Doc Rampage (57b67a)

  79. And the Democrats are perfectly happy to go along with it because they hate Republicans more than they hate genocidal totalitarian dictators.

    I think it’s more like they hate themselves for being such losers and transfer that hate to non-Democrats.

    Dubya (c16726)

  80. if the New York Times (an organ of the Democrat party) had not been acting as the enemy’s intelligence branch, and if the Democrats faux concern for terrorist rights had not taken many useful strategies off the table. But every time someone said that America can’t win and that we should leave, it gave heart to the enemy and helped them to continue fighting in the face of continuous defeat. Every time an attack caused Democrats to rend their clothing and wail in agony and hopelessness, it encouraged the terrorists to attack again. Every time the Democrats wailed about American cruelty, it made young men more willing to join the terrorists (after all, if even the Americans think they are cruel, they must be really horrendous, right?).

    These are all just childish fantasies. And it seems that you still don’t understand that the failure in Iraq has nothing to do with “encouraged terrorists”, but everything to do with the countless well-documented stupid decisions and with the breaking up of the Iraqi society.

    Every time Democrats spoke with contempt about the elections or the elected Iraqi government, it made it harder for them to claim legitimacy.

    So I guess the fact that Iraq is now governed by anti-Semitic Islamic fundamentalists is a thing to shut up about. You know, not to undermine “this young democracy”. And the fact that Iraqi constitution establishes theocracy is just a minor insignificant detail, as well.

    The terrorists aren’t stupid; they know that they can’t defeat the US militarily, all they can do is use divisions within the US to make the US defeat itself, just as North Vietnam did. And the Democrats are perfectly happy to go along with it because they hate Republicans more than they hate genocidal totalitarian dictators.

    In case you missed last three years. Sunnies were elites in Iraq for a long time before even Saddam. American invasion put Shia Islamic fundamentalists into power. Sunnies fight because they have nothing to lose. Terrorists that “hate America” (or freedom, liberty or whatever) are just a tiny factor. The problem is not the possibility of “military defeat”, but the absence of possibility of victory that could bring peace — this can’t be done when there’s no real political factions that want peace.

    NN (d035f8)

  81. NN wrote:

    In case you missed last three years. Sunnies were elites in Iraq for a long time before even Saddam. American invasion put Shia Islamic fundamentalists into power. Sunnies fight because they have nothing to lose.

    Oh, good grief! If the Sunnis are worried and are fighting because they have nothing to lose, then they would have joined the government process early on, when they had the best chance to secure a good deal and some autonomy for themselves.

    You are looking for an explanation that is reasonable and rational to the Western mind — and that’s just so much used toilet paper to the Sunni fighters. Other than the leaders, there is nothing the Sunnis can gain by risking their lives in a civil war that they couldn’t be granted simply by joining the government.

    They are fighting for emotional reasons, for a desire to crush their enemies, fighting for domination, fighting for rage and ethnic hatred, fighting because they want to fight.

    Dana (3e4784)

  82. Oh, good grief! If the Sunnis are worried and are fighting because they have nothing to lose, then they would have joined the government process early on, when they had the best chance to secure a good deal and some autonomy for themselves.

    Imagine the right of return suddenly implemented in Israel, with Jews becoming minority in the big Palestine state. This is kind of what happened to Sunnies in Iraq.
    Are Sunnies irrational not to come to terms with the Shia state that continuously screws them up, and which gradually intensifies ethnic cleansing? Ethnic cleansing was Al-Maliki’s policy all the time, and he never strayed from it.
    And you are wrong to think that Sunnies would want autonomy. Moderate Sunnies are against partitioning, since it would would leave them with no oil profits. This is why they were against federalist tendencies of the Constitution — which they almost unanimously voted against.

    NN (d035f8)

  83. If I felt that the surge in troops was being done to necessarily facilitate a logical change in strategy (i.e., killing al-Sadr and his entire militia and then getting serious about taking militray action against the instigators in Iran), then I’d be supporting it. But on the face of it, it seems to be just an ill-advised PR move that will do nothing except provide more potential targets for the insurgents. Sad. Glenn Reynolds nailed it some months back when he said something to the effect of Bush pursuing the war just enough to anger the “anti-war left”, but not pursuing it hard enough to satisfy the “pro-war right”.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  84. Glenn Reynolds nailed it some months back when he said something to the effect of Bush pursuing the war just enough to anger the “anti-war left”, but not pursuing it hard enough to satisfy the “pro-war right”.

    That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard yet.

    Dubya (c16726)

  85. So, Justin,

    Your plan is to kill the one person who has a chance to unite Iraq?

    In order to unite Iraq?

    al Sadr our best hope…we should back him, not use him to justify our bloated military budget.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  86. …al Sadr our best hope…

    Sorry, Justin: your Glenn Reynolds statement was just out-stupided.

    Dubya (c16726)

  87. Sorry, Justin: your Glenn Reynolds statement was just out-stupided.

    The irony is: 1) that’s what’s going on anyway, 2) there’s some truth to this, since he’s a nationalistic Shia thug, as opposed to pro-Iranian Shia thug Al-Hakim that Bush met in the White House.

    NN (d035f8)

  88. The ideal would be no Shia thugs or Iranian puppets in the top positions… a Kurd would be ideal, as they’re pro-secular gov’t, pro-American and pro-business.

    The Turks would be unhappy, but there’s leverage there with their desire to become part of the EU.

    Dubya (c16726)

  89. I think we all understand, from a layman’s position, how it is in the belly of the Sun. Gravity squeezes really hard on some hydrogen atoms and they, much against their nature, are forced to unify with each other and become a helium atom.

    This is how Saddam Hussein held the Sunni, and the Shiites, and the Kurds together to keep Iraq one nation. Without palpable force ever present Iraq could not then, and can not now, remain a unified nation.

    RJN (e12f22)

  90. Our actions are what started the civil war in Iraq, RJN.

    At least calling it an act of god is a step up from the usual racist excuses, though.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  91. Mr. Prime Minister:

    I have no idea how you thought I was saying that God initiated our actions in Iraq. From a worldly perspective, we did, at the behest of the neo-cons who were acting as Israel’s agents. All the rest of the reasons given are boogledo.

    What I was saying is that these three factions, groups, or whatever; that is the Sunni, and the Shia, and the Kurds do not want to be together. It took raw and ever present force from Saddam Hussein to hold them together. Our efforts at “democracy” are doomed. They were doomed the first day of the war, throughout the middle years of the war, now, and in the future.

    RJN (e12f22)

  92. So the world would be better off with Saddam still oppressing Iraqis, supporting terrorists, sticking a finger in the eye of the rest of the world, bribing UN, French, Russian and other officials, seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, wanting to kill Americans etc.etc.etc….

    Talk about boogledo (whatever that is).

    Dubya (c16726)

  93. Patterico: “It “seems clear” that you’re a prick. You never have a substantive thing to say in a comment on my site;”

    I see that instead of dealing with evidence which contradicts his claims, Patterico has opted for the tactics of the schoolyard. The poll reported in the Washington Post belies the high-flying rhetoric of his post.

    By the way, this was rather funny: “If you have any concern for whether our troops are dying, other than as a cheap political point you can make against supporters of the war, it would surprise me.”

    Nota bene: Patterico’s the one advocating U.S. troops staying in harm’s way, not I.

    p.s. Patterico might want to fix his archives. Under Netscape and Internet Explorer, you can no longer scroll backwards through a month’s worth of posts. This would naturally aid readers in assessing whether Patterico’s blog has a track record of grappling with the unfolding events in Iraq with a seriousness commensurate with the gravity of the debacle in Iraq, commensurate with the scale of the carnage experienced by both Iraqis and by the coalition forces.

    m.croche (85f703)

  94. This is an interesting view on al-Hakim’s visit with Bush.

    Dubya (c16726)

  95. Shorter m. croche: “You didn’t show agony, and express how much you truly… oh so truly cared about the Iraqi people, like I reaffirm daily to establish my bona fides. Every day, the plight of the Iraqi people moves me to tears! DOES IT MOVE YOU TO TEARS, FASCIST?! I THINK NOT! Why do you hate the Iraqi people, Patterico? WHY?!

    “Because, seriously, the Iraqi people only ever suffered because of the US. It is like our administration is a bunch of sadists who made every choice they could to hurt the poor innocent Iraqis; choices you OPENLY SUPPORT, PATTERICO!”

    OHNOES (3b3653)


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