Patterico's Pontifications

1/7/2007

A Gruesome Taste of Things to Come

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 7:40 am



The L.A. Times reports that “at least 71 corpses were found in the streets of Baghdad” yesterday:

Iraqi soldiers killed 30 suspected insurgents in a furious gun battle Saturday in downtown Baghdad, authorities said, in what appeared to be the opening salvo of a new plan by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to secure the capital.

Maliki announced the new effort to end bloodshed in Baghdad on Saturday, five months after the U.S. military launched a plan to quell sectarian fighting that is widely regarded as a failure. Killings have steadily increased in the capital as insurgents and Shiite Muslim militia death squads continue to operate with impunity.

Maliki’s speech, to commemorate Iraqi Army Day, took place on a day when at least 71 corpses were found in the streets of Baghdad, one of the largest such discoveries in a civil war in which scores of bodies turn up daily.

Most of the victims had been bound, blindfolded, tortured and executed with gunshots to the chest or head. Twenty-seven of the bodies were found near the Sheik Omar cemetery, a Sunni Arab burial ground in downtown Baghdad. Some of the victims had been strangled.

Many of the dead were presumed to be the victims of Shiite death squads, police sources said.

Tell me: if we simply abandon Iraq to the enemy, will these death squads stop?

If you believe that, you are living in a fantasy world.

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.

The gruesome discovery yesterday is just a hint of what’s to come, when we finally do repeat the ignoble end of Vietnam.

126 Responses to “A Gruesome Taste of Things to Come”

  1. Tell me: if we simply abandon Iraq to the enemy, will these death squads stop?

    In central america we just picked one side’s death squads and called them not the enemy. Seems to have worked. If you dont care for human rights.

    actus (10527e)

  2. The question is: “What’s the way forward,” actus, not “How many actions in the past can you make look like mistakes?”

    Dubya (c16726)

  3. If you dont care for human rights.

    Read “Who Really Cares?” to find out who really cares.

    Dubya (c16726)

  4. The people of Iraq want us gone. They hold us responsible for this shit

    The Independent-UK
    Iraq’s massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.
    The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.
    . . .

    Oil industry executives and analysts say the law, which would permit Western companies to pocket up to three-quarters of profits in the early years, is the only way to get Iraq’s oil industry back on its feet after years of sanctions, war and loss of expertise. But it will operate through “production-sharing agreements” (or PSAs) which are highly unusual in the Middle East, where the oil industry in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the world’s two largest producers, is state controlled.

    Opponents say Iraq, where oil accounts for 95 per cent of the economy, is being forced to surrender an unacceptable degree of sovereignty.
    . . .

    Supporters say the provision allowing oil companies to take up to 75 per cent of the profits will last until they have recouped initial drilling costs. After that, they would collect about 20 per cent of all profits, according to industry sources in Iraq. But that is twice the industry average for such deals.

    AF (8f7ccc)

  5. no patterico, if we abandon iraq, the death squads won’t stop, but whose fault is it that sunnis and shiites hate each other so much, how many american lives is it worth to get them to shake hands and make up after about 1.5 millennia of mutual hatred, and who appointed america as the party responsible for doing this?

    i don’t fricking care if they continue to slaughter each other down to the last 100 people there, really i don’t. tennis, anyone? this is just mother nature sorting things out, and when she makes an omelet, she can crack more eggs faster than any of us.

    iraq = rwanda + oil

    [We appointed ourselves, by invading. — P]

    assistant devil's advocate (579651)

  6. Actus: the thing is, I thought what we did in central america was wrong, and I don’t want it to be repeated now.

    Patterico: I don’t think anyone thinks that, if we leave, the slaughter will stop. I think the pro-leaving argument is that, if we stay, the slaughter won’t stop, and we’ll just get caught in the crossfire.

    ADA: when we invaded, we destroyed the political system. Violence which comes about as a result of the anarchy we instigated is partly our responsibility.

    [I understand it’s unlikely to stop either way. *My* point is that if we leave, it’s likely to get much, much worse. — P]

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  7. The impulse to continue to throw treasure and lives to avoid the horrible recognition that 3000 troops have died in vain at the behest of a delusional Chief is strong, but wrong.

    Semanticleo (e8f396)

  8. If we don’t partition Iraq, I’d expect us to make one side out to be the ruthless, intransigent, outside-controlled enemy and go balls-to-the-wall. Initially attacked as “ethnic cleansing” by op-ed writers, such a PR challenge along these lines has been met before.

    I look for Sunni political/religious elements shortly to get unformly-bad press.

    Possible harbinger:

    http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m29573&s1=h1m

    [I hope you’re wrong. If we don’t do anything about the out-of-control Shiite death squads, we’re not even beginning to solve the problem. — P]

    steve (8f3e6c)

  9. The question is: “What’s the way forward,” actus, not “How many actions in the past can you make look like mistakes?”

    I wasn’t on the side of the death squads then, and I’m not now. The way forward is going to involve a lot of violence. With or without us. Thanks to compassionate conservatism. Or whatever.

    actus (10527e)

  10. The impulse to continue to throw treasure and lives to avoid the horrible recognition that 3000 troops have died in vain at the behest of a delusional Chief is strong, but wrong.

    If we leave before the job is done, they will have died in vain.

    Dubya (c16726)

  11. If we leave before the job is done, they will have died in vain.

    Even the ones who had a mission accomplished?

    actus (10527e)

  12. A while back Dana said that wars end when enough men of fighting age die. Let them have their civil war. We secure the oil flow. Nothing more. We are not responsible for the fact that they are barbarians and murderers. That we prevented Saddam Hussein from gassing one more Kurdish baby was justification enough for the war. When, if ever, they decide to live like human beings and not like two-legged animals they will do so of their own accord.

    nk (bfc26a)

  13. Why so negative? Remember that the first action Hussein took in preparation of war was to empty the prisons. From what we have learned of Iraq, it’s clearly a country adept at generating murderous thugs, so it’s pretty safe to assume that many of those released by Hussein were not innocent political-prisoner types… Combine political instability with an influx of violent criminals and, duh, there’s peeps what are gonna get killed. Not our fault.

    happyfeet (f6e62f)

  14. I understand it’s unlikely to stop either way. *My* point is that if we leave, it’s likely to get much, much worse.

    If this is the case, the picture of Saigon’s embassy should not be a cause for ruminations about “national disgrace”, “large consequences”, but for thinking about logistical problems. There’s a sad irony here, since once those people cross the ocean, they stop being “freedom-loving people of Iraq” and become “Muslim immigrants that Virgil Goode doesn’t want here”.

    There’s other question to consider: suppose, leaving now means things will get worse. But will it be worse then in case of leaving two years later? Or six years later?

    NN (9c16c2)

  15. There’s other question to consider: suppose, leaving now means things will get worse. But will it be worse then in case of leaving two years later? Or six years later?

    Do you have the same appetite for the question of whether things would have been better if we had left Saddam in power? Two years from now? Six years?

    happyfeet (f6e62f)

  16. Pat, try reading more than talking. maybe Badger at Arab Links or
    Marc Lynch

    It’s very, very interesting that a big chunk of the Arab media and political discourse is currently venting its anger over the nature of the Saddam execution against Iran. What began as calculated sectarian anger with the Iraqi government, the Sadrists, or Iraqi Shia has quickly – and largely without explanation – morphed into anger with Iran. The big rally in Amman, which seemed to go off without any of the usual obstacles presented by state security forces, focused on denouncing Iran – including reported calls on Hamas and Hezbollah to sever ties with Iran and on the Jordanian government to do the same. Lots of articles in the Arab (especially Saudi) press have shifted the focus towards Iran.

    This perfectly serves the interests of the Saudi/Egyptian/Jordanian axis of pro-American dictators moderates which has been pushing the “Shia threat” at every opportunity this past year. Their main interest in this has been to prepare the ground for a possible confrontation with Iran, and to check growing popular interest in Iran; their secondary (but very important) interest has been to undermine popular support for Hezbollah after last summer’s war. Both comfortably align with American interests as understood by the Bush administration, of course, which is convenient. Much of the pushback against this growing sectarian “fitna” is coming from those casting it as an American agenda to be resisted – in essence recreating the partisan lines which divided the Arab world for the first week and a half (at least) of the Hezbollah-Israel war.

    I think it’s really important to reiterate that the “Sunni-Shia conflict” that gets so much press these days is not really coming from the ground up – it’s much more of a top down thing. In places like Iraq itself, Lebanon, and Bahrain the growing Sunni-Shia tension is rooted in very real local power struggles, but in most of the rest of the Arab world it is a project of those regimes. What’s very worrisome though is that more and more tinder is being laid, and what began as an artificially constructed “threat” could begin to take on a life of its own (as Salah al-Nasrawi warned in al-Hayat yesterday). Fahmy Howeydi’s reflections the other day on how Iraq had forced him to become more aware of his own Sunni identity should be taken seriously – he was one of the very first prominent Arab intellectuals to warn against the Iraqi insurgency’s targeting of Shia and other Iraqi civilians.

    Max Schmelling (8f7ccc)

  17. If we leave before the job is done, they will have died in vain.

    Channeling LBJ?

    The “job” was a prosperous and stable Iraq, a-k-a Plan A.

    Plan B: Establish one side as so authoritarian that fear itself will cower opponents and leave death squads mainly in remission, dormant. A Saddam-like control equilibrium without the executions and marble palaces; all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized. Well, not all.

    I’d rather see the medieval grudge match put down with a variant of Saddamist secularism than hardline theocracy. Ironfisted, but not sadistic. This is a revengeful and violent society, as much as we’d like to believe moderating influences and national pride can be distilled.

    steve (8f3e6c)

  18. Do you have the same appetite for the question of whether things would have been better if we had left Saddam in power? Two years from now? Six years?

    I don’t have “appetite” for these questions. Besides this, your questions are purely hypothetical, while mine is practical.
    But, seriously, most of Saddam’s big war crimes were in response to uprisings etc. The daily violence was low. Kurds were largely secured. So, yes, I think that with Saddam left in power things would be better.
    I don’t think that rape rooms are good, though.

    NN (f82c0b)

  19. Iraq wasnt a failure. We got rid of saddam nad he is gone now.

    Where we failed is on two fronts. We never forsaw a conflict with all of Islam and the rise of Islamofacism.

    And we never saw the rise of the vichy democratic party so ready to sell out america for political power.

    Bill Amos (b7c504)

  20. That’s clear thinking, cowboy.

    The death squads probably won’t stop if we leave. They seem to just get worse when we stay.

    So, we should stay.

    I get it now.

    Gary Carson (c536f6)

  21. Unfortunately my first reaction upon seeing the “71 killed” is “who counted them? Is that truth or a lie?”

    Your bigger point it well taken, but it looks like Jamil Huessein’s interlocutors have some work to do, too.

    Chap (67b7df)

  22. I don’t think that rape rooms are good, though.

    I agree, and I am once again humbled by the incredible power of the Internet to build consensus.

    But I think your question of whether things will be as bad in Iraq if we retreat now as opposed to two years from now is hypothetical, not practical. A very wise man once noted that there are “known unknowns” out there, and I think the way you are framing the question suggests that our policy should be driven by a reductionist pragmatism that completely ignores the question of what America should be seen to stand for. Our commitments in Iraq were embodied in a bipartisan resolution, and walking away from that will have consequences that your analytical framework does not seem to take into consideration.

    happyfeet (f6e62f)

  23. But I think your question of whether things will be as bad in Iraq if we retreat now as opposed to two years from now is hypothetical, not practical. A very wise man once noted that there are “known unknowns” out there, and I think the way you are framing the question suggests that our policy should be driven by a reductionist pragmatism that completely ignores the question of what America should be seen to stand for. Our commitments in Iraq were embodied in a bipartisan resolution, and walking away from that will have consequences that your analytical framework does not seem to take into consideration.

    So, you think that:
    1) Bankruptcy
    2) A conflict with Iran which would lead to war with everybody in Iraq.
    3) Large-scale terrorist attacks in the Green Zone.
    4) Being caught in the regional war.
    5) Being complicit in genocide on Saddam’s, if not Hitler’s, scale and turning into “enemy of all Sunnies”.
    — are all better options than leaving?

    Because these are options to consider if you say “we can’t leave now”.

    NN (d035f8)

  24. Patterico: “A Taste of Things to Come”.

    I know Patterico’s been out of touch with the day-to-day in Iraq for quite some time, prefering to spend his time looking for angles to attack the press or democrats, so here’s a newsflash for him:

    Those things are already here. They have been for quite some time. While US forces have been in Iraq.

    [m.croche: missing the point since he was born. The article says this is one of the largest such discoveries since the war began, and I am saying it’s only a “taste” of things to come. Since I have to explain it, croche, read carrrrrefully: I am saying that things. will. get. much. much. much. worse. Did I say that slowly enough for you? — P]

    I should also point out that Patterico has a poor track record for giving advice on Iraqi matters.

    He was an advocate for invasion. Pretty big mistake right there.

    [I was a reluctant advocate for invasion, and I’ll spot you that one. I agree that the war was a mistake, and I supported it, albeit reluctantly, based on intelligence accepted widely across the globe, and by Democrats like Bill Clinton. But yeah. It was a mistake. — P]

    In December 2003 Patterico assured us that the capture of Saddam “was the beginning of the end”. (By the way, that was the occasion for this contemptible smear: “Deep down, I bet Howard Dean is actually disappointed by the capture of Saddam”.)

    [The smear, my fine feathered friend, is your remarkably dishonest selective quotation of my post. Let’s show readers what you left out, shall we? I’ll provide the link that you apparently chose not to provide, hoping people would trust you (??) and not check the source.


    If you want to know what effect the capture of Saddam will have, you need only look back to the day Saddam’s statue fell in Baghdad, and multiply that by a factor of several thousand.

    When Saddam’s statue fell, I said:

    1) Let’s not forget that there is still a lot to do in Baghdad, so that when terror, further resistance, helping establish a government, starvation, and other problems arise (or continue), we are not shocked. We can’t solve this country’s problems — created by Saddam over the course of 20+ years — in a day, a week, or a month.



    2) Let’s not let such thoughts interfere with the pure joy of watching Iraqis hugging American soldiers and kissing pictures of President Bush — overjoyed with their first taste of freedom in decades.

    This is pretty close to how I feel now. The capture of Saddam is a huge development — but it’s not the end of the war.

    I also said that “we will likely see more bloodshed” and that “this doesn’t mean everything will be perfect from here on out.”

    In sum, you dishonest putz, I explicitly said that there would be further resistance and terror, as well as other problems.

    I remember April 2004 when Patterico was blaming the media for not providing enough “good news” out of Iraq and for painting a false picture of the state of the war. (“By the way, it is interesting to note that Croche’s certainty that the situation in Iraq is hopelessly screwed up likely comes from . . . the media”, “Whereas the first [bad news] story was Column One on the front page, the second story — the good news — ran in the Calendar section, where they run the comic strips and advice columns. And we wonder why polls show that Americans don’t think things are going well in Iraq.”)

    [More selective quotation. You forgot to mention that my comment IMMEDIATELY ABOVE THAT says: “The point is not that everything is hunky-dory. Obviously, it is not. But many good things are indeed underreported.” For an example, readers should look at the very post you mentioned. You are scared to provide a link to it, because you don’t want people to see it. I want them to. Here it is. — P]

    To get some measure of Patterico’s poor understanding of the situation on the ground in Iraq, see his gee-whiz December 11, 2006 post “How to Win in Anbar: An Idea with Proven Results”, whose naivete was ably exposed by commenter TCO.

    [Well, if commenter TCO didn’t like the idea, then it must have been bad. I was under the impression that the late U.S. Army Captain Travis Patriquin might have known something about what might work, since he saw this plan work firsthand. But he must have been wrong. “TCO” and “m.croche” say so!!

    If the utter contempt I have for you isn’t coming through, I’m not writing this well enough. — P]

    So why should we trust Patterico’s judgement? Let him go back to doing what he does best: sniffing out I.P. locations of internet users or “yanking Tbogg’s chain”.

    [Let croche go back to what he does best: talking about music. It’s the only area where you don’t sound like a liar and an idiot. — P]

    m.croche (998468)

  25. NN, as violent as the aftermath of deposing Hussein has been, that little country has had a stellar track record of disappointing the hysterical worst-case scenario spinners. That “bankruptcy” is chief among your concerns further evinces a really mean streak of the reductionist pragmatism I talked about above and suggests that your reasoning is an exercise in invoking dire “options to consider” that can rhetorically balance the disastrous consequences that are certain to transpire if we were to retreat.

    Again, more directly, do you think that America is better served if we are seen to mercurially abandon our stated commitments? Will this make it easier or harder to establish alliances in the future? Would Britain, Australia, El Salvador, Romania, Japan, South Korea, and all of our other parthers be justified in feeling betrayed by our inconstancy?

    happyfeet (f6e62f)

  26. So, you think that:
    1) Bankruptcy
    2) A conflict with Iran which would lead to war with everybody in Iraq.
    3) Large-scale terrorist attacks in the Green Zone.
    4) Being caught in the regional war.
    5) Being complicit in genocide on Saddam’s, if not Hitler’s, scale and turning into “enemy of all Sunnies”.
    – are all better options than leaving?

    Because these are options to consider if you say “we can’t leave now”.

    Wait who is doing the killing in Iraq NN ? Isnt it the militias and Insurgency ? How can we be blamed for their murders ?

    Again this is the left being ignorant asses and trying to label the US as the guilty party for the deaths in Iraq.

    Myself I blame the anti war. They keep giving moral support to the enemies of america and the Iraqi people.

    Hey hey anti war how many did you kill today ?

    There is blood on Cindy Sheehan’s hands.

    Bill Amos (b7c504)

  27. More fuzzy thinking from Patterico.

    Patterico: “if we simply abandon Iraq to the enemy, will these death squads stop?”

    Who is “the enemy” anymore?

    NY Times: “Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki announced Saturday the beginning of a new Baghdad security operation and promised to purge the government security forces of militia fighters and others with sectarian aims. But Mr. Maliki has promised such a crackdown before, and his government has been increasingly seen by Sunnis in Iraq and abroad as dominated by Shiite interests”

    The death squads are part of the Iraqi government. Is the Iraqi government now the enemy?

    Or is “the enemy” the portion of the Iraqi population that thinks attacks on US soldiers are fair game? That’s a sizable enemy.

    Is Moqtada al-Sadr, in whose name the enemy Saddam was executed, the enemy?

    m.croche (998468)

  28. NN, as violent as the aftermath of deposing Hussein has been, that little country has had a stellar track record of disappointing the hysterical worst-case scenario spinners.

    Do you really believe this? “a stellar track record of disappointing the hysterical worst-case scenario spinners“? Has Bill Kristol with his statement “There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America … that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular” been vindicated over “hysterical spinners”?

    That “bankruptcy” is chief among your concerns further evinces a really mean streak of the reductionist pragmatism I talked about above and suggests that your reasoning is an exercise in invoking dire “options to consider” that can rhetorically balance the disastrous consequences that are certain to transpire if we were to retreat.

    “Bankruptcy” is not chief of concerns, the order doesn’t matter.
    The way things are going, in two years Al-Maliki’s government could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. U.S., with Bush saying “he’s the right guy for Iraq” will also be seen as responsible. That’s a serious thing to consider.

    Again, more directly, do you think that America is better served if we are seen to mercurially abandon our stated commitments? Will this make it easier or harder to establish alliances in the future? Would Britain, Australia, El Salvador, Romania, Japan, South Korea, and all of our other parthers be justified in feeling betrayed by our inconstancy?

    I certainly think that if hell breaks loose in Korea, South Korea would certainly prefer US to help them, not abandon them because of the commitment to Iraq’s Islamists.

    NN (f82c0b)

  29. Wait who is doing the killing in Iraq NN ? Isnt it the militias and Insurgency ? How can we be blamed for their murders ?

    Given the fact that Bush recently met one of the leaders of militias, Al-Hakim, in the White House, and given the fact that he proclaims full support to Al-Maliki, who has tight political contacts with militias, it’s hard for U.S. to escape part of the blame.

    NN (d035f8)

  30. Will this [abandoning our stated commitments] make it easier or harder to establish alliances in the future?

    At this point, I don’t think it makes much difference either way. We lose or lose face.

    I happen to be less pessimistic. A slow stabilization is still feasible. LTG Patreus may be the right man in the right job and could forge a shallower glide path.

    But two points: A weak coalition government without a fearsome military and police structure will never offer lasting security. And “what-will-they-think-about-us” pride is a crappy substitute for fighting (and dying) for our direct national interests.

    steve (8f3e6c)

  31. Vietnam looks pretty good these days…in fact, Bush visited Hanoi recently for an economic conference.

    Is the right really saying they don’t want Iraq to turn out like Vietnam?

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  32. Hey look, Hussein’s noose is for sale. I wonder what kind of excuse we’ll get for this blunder. Have Bush & Rice woke up from their naps yet? Al Malaki is probably busy making vacation plans for when he retires with a bunch of plundered loot. Just when Iraq needs him most, instead of stepping up, he says the job is too hard and publicly announces he wants to quit. Kuwaiti in talks to buy Saddam’s ‘noose’

    Bush defiantly says he hasn’t seen the hanging video. That kind of reminds me how he claimed he didn’t watch any of the live TV coverage of the initial invasion. Oh, and he once tried to claim he didn’t read the newspapers. One of these days Bush will admit to downloading the Hussein video off the “youtubes”.

    Wesson (c20d28)

  33. And “what-will-they-think-about-us” pride is a crappy substitute for fighting (and dying) for our direct national interests.

    It is indeed in our national interest to be seen as fulfilling our committments and keeping our word. Otherwise who could take seriously either our threats (when necessary) or deal-making (when expedient)?

    Dubya (c16726)

  34. …when we finally do repeat the ignoble end of Vietnam.

    These results are exactly what the MSM and the Democrat party have been working so hard to repeat.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  35. This war was was a set up from the start from an ignorant power hungry little man who saw war, and the deaths of thousands, as a means of achieving greatness and proving he was better than his father. He was assisted in his quest by a bunch folks who just hate Democrats or anyone they consider “liberal” ie anyone that disagrees with them and a bunch of crazies who thought Bush was a Christian about to lead a kind of Christian spiritual revival.

    Bush has betrayed the Conservative movement. Conservatives had a chance to show what they could do but he betrayed them. He is no more a Conservative than Michael Moore. He is a blatant liar and a bigger threat to world peace and democracy here in America than Sadam Hussein ever was. He is destroying the Constitution, bankrupting the nation and responsible for the deaths of thousands in a war whose only outcome will benefit Iran. He is supported in this by the right wing neo-fascists who think anytime the bombs are falling democracy and the American way of life is advancing! And also a whole bunch of greedy ruthless bastards like Ann Coulter who see preaching radical hate as a way to achieve fame and fortune. And if you dont see this by now its because you damn well dont want to!

    The truth is obvious. Bush is a liar,, he set us up for this war and lied and freightened us into it.. It has nothing to do with WMDs and never did. If you buy into his lies than go fight this damn war youself. Right wingers love to quote JFK about bearing any burden, paying any price in the defense of liberty. But in fact only 1% of the Congress has kin in Iraq..and as far as paying any price..these liars and hypocrites oppose any war tax and not only helped themselves to a big tax break but gave themselves a big raise!

    These same foks who were so concerned about Clintons sexcapades are nothing by two faced hypocrites

    Charlie (55cd2b)

  36. NN Good point about virgil goode.. Like I say this is total hypocricy…

    Charlie (55cd2b)

  37. Hey look, Hussein’s noose is for sale. I wonder what kind of excuse we’ll get for this blunder.

    Maliki is a moron who is controlled by that other moron in Tehran. Neither of them seem to be able to control al-Sadar and his private army of thugs.

    The US handed Saddam over to them for hanging, so both the resulting jeering by the hangmen and the sale of the noose are on al-Sadar’s plate.

    More likely it’s somebody trying to make a buck. You’d need samples of Saddam’s blood and DNA (which I’m sure the CIA has) to compare with traces on the knot where it chaffed his cheek to authenticate it.

    Dubya (c16726)

  38. I’d say Bush and the U.S. military have been working hard to repeat the end of the Vietnam War, Pefect.

    The press is just reporting on it.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  39. Oh, jeez — hater Charlie’s back! I thought you banned him Patterico.

    Dubya (c16726)

  40. Damn right I am a hater Dubya.. I love this country and the things that our forefathers gave to us..and I hate those that threaten to destroy them just for their own glory.. I hate liars and criminals who have no regard for laws.. people that use deceit and deception and division to advance their own political agenda. My father fought in WW2 and received a Purple Heart and I was in the USAF in the Philippine Islands during the Vietnam era not playing games in some cushy National Guard Unit. Bush is the worst President ever and if that makes me a hater and gets me banned than so be it..

    [I never banned you, charlie. — P]

    Charlie (55cd2b)

  41. These results are exactly what the MSM and the Democrat party have been working so hard to repeat.

    Here’s a quote from NYT article:

    a jobs program costing as much as $1 billion intended to employ Iraqis in projects including painting schools and cleaning streets

    That’s the real problem in Iraq, not enough painted schools!
    This is a cheap shot, indeed, but that’s funny, even while being so sad.

    NN (9c16c2)

  42. NN: Putting Iraqi kids to work painting or cleaning streets and paying them for it keeps them from being tempted by the al-Queda types to plant and detonate roadside bombs for money.

    Dubya (c16726)

  43. Patrick–

    The bottom line is that VietNam was on the periphery and Iraq is not. If we withdraw from Iraq, the long-term effects are all very grim. Megadeaths grim.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  44. Putting Iraqi kids to work painting or cleaning streets and paying them for it keeps them from being tempted by the al-Queda types to plant and detonate roadside bombs for money.

    Sure, and it also solves long-standing economic problems. A new Marshall Plan: painting schools. A truly great strategic vision.
    I tend to suspect that this is NYT’s selective quoting, but this sounds just incredibly stupid: painting schools. Why are they not all painted already, g-d damn!
    Why not establish thousand traveling circuses to keep Iraqis occupied? Why not set up gay web-cams to keep them occupied? How about poetry competitions? Or knitting contests? Would that be a new way forward?
    Besides this, cleaning streets is a perfect cover for Al-Qaeda types detonating roadside bombs.

    NN (9c16c2)

  45. You almost had me thinking you were reasonable, NN.

    Dubya (c16726)

  46. You almost had me thinking you were reasonable, NN.

    This is off-topic, indeed. But: I don’t believe that this is the reconstruction plan, but if it were, it would be very stupid. You see, having job is not just about having something to do. It’s also about self-respect, about prospects for future. Cleaning streets and painting schools is both humiliating for potential Al-Qaeda (or Al-Sadr) types and it also has strong feeling of something “temporary” about it.
    Whatever rationalizations you have for such “plan” (they are all understandable), it really sounds like a bad joke.

    NN (d035f8)

  47. It’s also about self-respect, about prospects for future. Cleaning streets and painting schools is both humiliating for potential Al-Qaeda (or Al-Sadr) types and it also has strong feeling of something “temporary” about it.

    Same could be said about flipping burgers at McDonalds, but does that mean the kids doing so or the franchisees paying them are stupid?

    Dubya (c16726)

  48. Same could be said about flipping burgers at McDonalds, but does that mean the kids doing so or the franchisees paying them are stupid?

    No, but the national program for setting up McDonalds’ everywhere would not be a realistic way to solve country’s social problems.
    This “painting schools” thing says: lack of creative ideas; saving face; buying time. In the long-term it is just laughable.
    Anyway, forget it, it’s just a minor distraction.

    NN (d035f8)

  49. Exactly — just another example of the Times putting a foggy, dark lens on a miniscule portion of the issue.

    The rest of the story is likely about putting Iraqis to work building schools, power lines and power plants, ramping up oil production and exploration, building and protecting oil and gas pipelines, building sewers and water systems, etc. It won’t just be a bunch of kids who’ll now have jobs.

    As I said in an earlier post, get them working and making money and they won’t have time or interest in blowing each other up.

    Dubya (c16726)

  50. It is indeed in our national interest to be seen as fulfilling our committments and keeping our word

    Its in our national interest that everyone know we will keep making mistakes.

    actus (10527e)

  51. Its in our national interest that everyone know we will keep making mistakes.

    Its in our national interest that everyone know we will keep fixing our mistakes.

    Dubya (c16726)

  52. Its almost like the real dubya was here.

    actus (10527e)

  53. Its in our national interest that everyone know we will keep making mistakes.

    Its in no one’s interest that everyone know we will cut and run from our mistakes.

    Dubya (c16726)

  54. Dubya’s one of my initials. My namesake was killed in a farming accident in 1959.

    Dubya (c16726)

  55. He just keeps going. Like that press conference after election day.

    actus (10527e)

  56. #36 – The press is just reporting on it.

    Ha Ha Ha Ha. The Press is “Reporting” – that is a good one — or a sign of delusional fantasies.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  57. He just keeps going.

    Ya gotta admire his perseverence. 8)

    Dubya (c16726)

  58. Show me someone who has never made a mistake, and I’ll show you someone who has never accomplished anything! Mistakes will always be made since Man is an imperfect being. But, we must learn by our mistakes (those are called learning oppportunities) and attempt to do better the next time. Otherwise, we are doomed to cower in a cold cave cursing the darkness.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  59. …costing as much as $1 billion…

    … $500M of which will go to “oversight” and auditors according to Nancy P.

    Dubya (c16726)

  60. In central america we just picked one side’s death squads and called them not the enemy. Seems to have worked. If you dont care for human rights.

    Kosovo was pretty much the same thing.

    munsey (085be7)

  61. Perfect,

    I’m usually pretty hip to right-wing conspiracy theories, but yours has me baffled.

    A brief recap of America’s 30 year involvement in Vietnam:

    America pays the Viet Minh to fight Imperial Japan.

    Viet Minh Win.

    America pays France to fight the Viet Minh.

    Viet Minh Win.

    America blocks elections in Vietnam, splits country in two, props up corrupt government in South Vietnam, pays corrupt government and supplies American troops to help it fight the Viet Minh.

    Viet Minh Win.

    The American press had nothing to do with our decisions in Vietnam, and they don’t have anything to do with our decisions in Iraq.

    So, can you explain to me what your theory is?

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  62. American civilians need to grow a spine.

    Chamberlain after Hilter conquered Europe (5b3dc4)

  63. I hate liars and criminals who have no regard for laws.. people that use deceit and deception and division to advance their own political agenda.

    …guess that pretty much covers Congress…

    Dubya (c16726)

  64. Can I have your autograph, Charlie?

    SmokeVanThorn (82d7ad)

  65. I had hoped that the 6-year-long Democrat tantrum, set off by the Bush-Gore election, would have ended after the ’06 results.

    It appears not. Same old “the enemy of my enemy (George Bush) is my friend” BS. Pathetic, really. These folks would cheer if the sun went nova, so long as they could blame it on Bush.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  66. Hehe, Kevin,

    Even the neocons know Bush is an impotent lame duck.

    You guys are gonna have to come up with another way to avoid reality…

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  67. The American press had nothing to do with our decisions in Vietnam

    Wasn’t it Democrat Johnson who said “If we’ve lost Cronkite, we’ve lost the war.” or something to that effect.

    Wasn’t it Cronkite who started calling the VietNam war a quagmire after 1968 Tet Offensive during which we wiped out 95% of the Viet Cong?

    Wasn’t it after we wiped out the Viet Cong that the NVA started getting into the fight in a big way backed by the Chinese and Russians?

    Dubya (c16726)

  68. Even the neocons know Bush is an impotent lame duck.

    “Even lame ducks can still fly.”

    Dubya (c16726)

  69. That’s true, Dubya, but they only invoke pity, not hate.

    Imagine being known forever as the guy who Romoed Iraq…kinda sad.

    *sniff*

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  70. Neville “The Dictator Appeaser” Chamberlain,

    It is not a theory it is a fact. American forces won every battle they fought in Vietnam – yet week after week, month after month and year after year the MSM labels our efforts as “defeat” encouraging the enemy and discouraging Americans.

    The American press had nothing to do with our decisions in Vietnam…

    I hate to throw cold water on your dream state, but both Johnson and Nixon adopted war tactics to please the New York Times – war losing tactics.

    Also in the 1950s the MSM’s berating of Democratic politicians over “who lost China” in reference of China going communist in the lat 40s, was one reason Kennedy and Johnson sent soldier’s to Vietnam. They were not going to be accused of “losing” Vietnam on their watch.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  71. It was Johnson who propped up that corrupt bastard Diem after JFK was killed. JFK wanted to throw Diem out because of his corruption and spineless shelling of villages where VC had been spotted instead of sending in the spineless ARVN to flush them out.

    It was Johnson who escallated the war, micromanaging tactics to the point of personally planning and approving bombing missions.

    Finally it was spineless Johnson who cut and run from his mess. “I will not seek and will not accept my party’s nomination to be your president.”

    Dubya (c16726)

  72. New Orleans has a higher violent death rate than that of Iraq. When are we going to pull out of that quagmire?

    allen (54fbb2)

  73. When are we going to pull out of that quagmire?

    When the levees broke.

    actus (10527e)

  74. I thought it was Nixon who cut and ran from Vietnam…

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  75. Nixon pulled the troops out, but Johnson was the one who cut and ran from the war.

    Dubya (c16726)

  76. We won the Iraq War in 3 weeks due to a great war plan. The mission and its backup plans were able to adapt to: moving boatloads of crap from Turkey down to Saudi, an epic sandstorm, setbacks along the way, soldiers with little sleep, dirty laundry caked with that weird sandstorm dirt crap. All that with minimal US lives lost. Does anyone remember the week long “bogged down” CNN euphoria? There were many battles in Iraq requiring much coordination, planning and strategy.

    Equating that to Vietnam is absurd. Even though we left Vietnam, they had sane people there who eventually built a sane government. Germany and Japan had sane people left who created a sane government, while we occupied them. The Iraq people are total dingbats. Compounding the insanity is the 100,000 prisoners Hussein released as the war started. They are more interested in chanting voodoo death wails and hitting themselves in the head with chains until they bleed than creating functioning communities.

    Iraq’s corruption is Iraq’s own problem.

    Wesson (c20d28)

  77. Interesting about Diem. I was just reading a review on a new history of VN that claims to show Diem’s corruption was apparently (or largely) a construct of… US media (with maybe some French support).

    The thing to remember is the MSM’s overriding knowledge that communism was good. Err, socialism IS good. I think that’s the line now.

    Dan S (8771d0)

  78. Blame the victim, Wesson?

    It’s like 2002 here today.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  79. Sure. I blame the lovely people of Vietnam, Japan, and Germany for creating great governments, great world citizens. They’re not exactly victims, but fine you can have that.

    Wesson (c20d28)

  80. Nixon pulled the troops out, but Johnson was the one who cut and ran from the war.

    By escalating?

    actus (10527e)

  81. Everyone has a relevant and important opinion of what is right or wrong in Iraq, but the best line I have ever heard, was by an american: Even if I did not support the war, I would say I did, as long as one of our “kids” (extremely brave men and women} were still there. {quotes excluded due to my memory constrictions} My son begged to be in any military application, thereby excluding idiots from the military. John would do well to research just what it takes to become a Marine. My son only “believes” we are in a war, they did not accept that excuse. The traitor is one that never accepts the truth for what it is, not those that see clearly the harsh observance. I have determined that I am clearly a moonbat, Please forgive the unavoidable conclusion.

    Rik (219705)

  82. Who do you suppose is braver, Rik…

    An American soldier in Iraq, or an Iraqi parent trying to keep their kids alive?

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  83. Just a note: Most of us that fought in, around, during Vietnam, are not well. Obviously, the war took a toll, as all wars do. I find no comfort that politics rule in war, nor do I find it helpful to anyone that semantics are so fondly displayed. “we died for reason, so you could live for a reason”. Take a shot at reason first, then fight. This war is not, nor will it ever be, vietnam.

    Rik (219705)

  84. Having nothing better to do at the moment, let’s toy with that concept, Nev. Neither is brave, both are controlled. Let’s look at what matters? I shall avoid the obvious, and enjoy the debate, since you are awake enough to respond in semi “real time”.

    Rik (219705)

  85. another note: all parents love their kids, save those that do not. It is difficult to determine whom is loved more, by loving parents.

    Rik (219705)

  86. I don’t know if I’d say both are controlled, Rik.

    Unless you mean by fate.

    They have the option of not being there…

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  87. My last comment, then I will truely give up for this lifetime. George Bush correctly said “we can only lose this if we give up”. I find it interesting that so many want to lose, so badly, just to discredit Bush, the hatred must consume them. With so many subjects on the table, how can one concentrate on only hate, it is telling which side chooses that source, course, or meal. I am an old man, dead to resource, nothing but a “prick” in the source of the animal I rode. I hope you fare better than I did, for I did nothing right, only learned how wrong I was, then found I could not use my experience to change what mattered. Such is life.

    Rik (219705)

  88. I lied, one more comment. How do we stop the proliferation of economics into an aside we call social justice? How in the world can we take care of entire nations, when we can not afford our own? I hate to bring social security to the table, but I must, in all essense.

    Rik (219705)

  89. I lied once again, I am on a roll. Cindy caught my eye, and I became blind once again. Why we worship, or even notice, is beyond my understanding. I do understand politics, thought, hope, desires, …wait, never mind. It has been quite fun to debate online with nev, but people will read this and think I am a moron, and they will be correct. Forgive me. Or not…

    Rik (219705)

  90. Have we devolved to the point where if we go to war we have to be able to drop each bomb with such precision that only the building bombed is taken out and windows across the street can’t be dirtied, much less broken?

    Do we have to read Miranda rights to suicide bombers before we shoot them?

    Should we replace all guns with semi-automatic or full automatic tasers?

    SlimGuy (658d0b)

  91. Let me see if I have got this right! A jobs program is good but painting and cleaning are to demeaning to be considered part of the program.

    davod (5fdaa2)

  92. Getting back to the death toll. If these figures are coming from the Ministry of Information then I would suggest there is every reason to be skeptical. The MOI is rumored to be full of Shia militia. The MOI information has been faulty in the past.

    davod (5fdaa2)

  93. Rik, you must be really intoxicated as your writing resembles a drunkard’s walk.

    Dubya (c16726)

  94. The tone of comments here is not reassuring for the ability of the US population to deal with this war we are in. It began in 1979 with the embassy hostage crisis. Jimmy Carter showed how low we had gotten after Vietnam. The military had been gutted just as the CIA was gutted by the Church Commission in 1976. The CIA station in Tehran in 1979 had NO FARSI SPEAKERS ! NONE !

    Reagan made a series of mistakes in Lebanon, culminating in the ignominious withdrawal. Afghanistan was a high point but was not followed up. We wound up dealing with Iraq (and the lefties who say we were supporting Saddam are liars or ignorant of history) because we gave Saddam mixed signals about Kuwait. The Arabs live in a primitive “Shame-Honor” culture and must be dealt with on that basis.

    We invaded because the alternative, withdrawal leaving Saddam the winner, was an even worse option. Had we not been attacked by Osama, I think we would have withdrawn soon as sanctions were collapsing and our military was running daily risks in the “no-fly zone” enforcement.

    The US Army has not been interested in COIN warfare since Vietnam. Colonel Nagl’s book, along with a bunch of books like “Breaking the Phalanx” describe our generals’ resistence to transformation.

    It took Rumsfeld, who has no political ambition and who had been around for decades, to finally get the transformation going. He will be remembered as our greatest Sec Def for that effort. I wish he had also enlarged the military but nobody is perfect.

    Now, what do we do with Iraq ? There were hopes that the years of Saddam’s terror had convinced the population to try another way. They seemed the Arab country with the best chance to transition to a modern society. That may have been a mistake but we have also been faced with tremendous pressure from Syria and Iran who want to defeat us. We have allowed them sanctuaries, just as we did in Vietnam. I cannot understand why we have not sent Special Forces teams into those countries in hot pursuit and ambushes. Maybe we have.

    The comments above about oil companies in Iraq sounds like typical leftist conspiracy theories. Iraq’s infrastructure is broken and the insurgency has worked hard to prevent any attempt to repair it. No outside company will go there without large profit prospects. The nationalized Saudi fields are run by outsiders and the Iranian oil industry is collapsing. Not good examples if you know what you are talking about.

    Bush has done a great job in persevering in spite of opposition from the entire media and the Democrats. Both seem to prefer defeat to a victory that could be claimed by the hated Bush. It is not a good omen for the future. Maybe our era of success is really over. If so, like Rome, we will have brought it upon ourselves.

    Mike K (416363)

  95. Mr Chamberlain wrote:

    The American press had nothing to do with our decisions in Vietnam, and they don’t have anything to do with our decisions in Iraq.

    So, can you explain to me what your theory is?

    One of my old college professors in the mid-1970s put it best:

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

    Dana (3e4784)

  96. There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

    I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

    If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”

    http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2006/11/odyssey-of-armaments.html

    The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

    How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the new Sec. Def.Mr. Gates, understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

    Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

    From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

    This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

    This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

    We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

    Ken Larson (a66125)

  97. I would love to have some Bush supporter tell me honestly that if any Democrat of his or her naming had done exactly the same thing Bush has done, they would be singing that Democrats praise! If Clinton had led us into a war for non-existant WMDs on evidence so weak with the resulting war and deficit, we all know damn right well the Republicans would be furious ..and rightly so. The problem is that they lied and bullied their way into this war so they have to keep on lying and spinning otherwise the American people would hold them responsible for what is undoubtedly the greatest debacle in American history.
    Any attempt so suggest that the opposition is disloyal, un-American, hates the troops, or wants us to lose, is just a pathetic attempt to divert attention from the disaster that is clearly the results of their own stupidity, arrogance and outright hate.

    Charlie (55cd2b)

  98. What he said.

    alia (a33b9f)

  99. Many conservatives, including me, think the emphasis on WMD for justification was wrong but the war itself was right. Gerald Ford’s interview with Bob Woodward said exactly that.

    Calm down Charlie… put hate aside and ask yourself (and answer honestly) if Bush had a personal agenda for ousting Saddam. Neither you or I can prove that one way or the other, so the benefit of doubt must conclude his motivation was to further an American or humanitarian agenda, not a personal one.

    WMD justification was likely the only thing he and Powell felt had any chance of getting the dithering UN to back the obvious solution to the problem of Saddam’s continued defiance of UN demands and inhuman oppression of his own people. The evidence that he had used WMD on his own people along with his continued inference that he still had them and the likelihood that Ansar al-Islam and other terrorist groups would get them from him to use against the US made taking him out the only logical solution.

    Clinton led us into Bosnia for similar reasons (oppression and genecide) and in response to similar frustration with the UN’s pansy-assed, corrupt douchebag, Kofi Annan. The same Kofi Annan who had done nothing but order inaction and pull the Belgians out of Rwanda when he could have prevented 900,000 deaths.

    Dubya (c16726)

  100. alia,

    The disdain that poster shows for the lives and wellbeing of ordinary Iraqi citizens explains exactly why Iraq is the mess it is today.

    Let’s hope that in time, they will forgive us for what we’ve done to them.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  101. alia:

    Interesting link and theory TBL has.

    I was thinking more in terms of Iran, though. We went into Iraq because we were already in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and most of the other *stans surrounding Iran. Bush wanted the mullahs to understand we had them surrounded.

    I think Bush still has one of those tee shirts from 1979 showing Mickey flipping Iran the one-finger salute! I do too.

    Dubya (c16726)

  102. Quit your snivelling Neville.

    Dubya (c16726)

  103. Bush wanted the mullahs to understand we had them surrounded.

    You know, in Russia there’s a story for little kids that goes something like this:
    — I have caught a bear!
    — Great, bring him here.
    — He wouldn’t let me go!

    Given the fact that Northern Alliance in Afghanistan was largely supported by Iran, this is about the we Bush surrounded mullahs.

    NN (f82c0b)

  104. …Northern Alliance in Afghanistan was largely supported by Iran…

    …while we were busy with Saddam from 1990 to 2001 when we decided to re-support them against Talliban and end their dependence on Iran…

    Dubya (c16726)

  105. Dubya,

    Racism aside, it’s obvious your peception of America’s power is several orders of magnitude greater than our actual power.

    We’ve sunk trillions of dollars into weapons systems that only work if our enemies cooperate with us…while our competitors have spend their money building their economies.

    We peaked too soon, and the practice of trying to pick fights with people who have targets our impotent weapons can actually damage has come to an end…

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  106. SNeville:

    …who have targets our impotent weapons can actually damage…

    I think you misspelled important, there, no?

    Dubya (c16726)

  107. They’re only important to the people who got paid to make them, Dubya.

    America’s military has spent the last few decades training to play baseball…unfortunately for us, the rest of the world plays soccer.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  108. Dubya Yes I believe Bush did have a personal agenda for going into Iraq ..he has always wanted to best his father but the real force behind this war was Cheney. Cheney and the neo cons called for war against Iraq as early as 1998 and said that the biggest problem was the American people who had to be persuaded and what they needed was some event like Pearl Harbor..They got it on 9/11 and they used our fears and patriotism to sell us this war. Bush is just and empty suit who never bothered to check the evidence and how flimsy it really was and cherry picked that which agreed with his wishes for war and disregarded that which didnt. He told us one thing but hid the questionable basis for what he claimed and attacked those that raised them.

    The fact is that Bush had people on the ground including the UN inspectors, the IAEC, David Kay ( who actually wanted war) and they all reported finding no evidence of WMDS.

    Bush lied when said “we gave Sadam a choice between defiance and compliance and he chose compliance. He would not let us in” Fact is if you check the inspectors were in Iraq the day before the war and it was BUSH not Hussein who pulled them out..even when Blix said they went to every place the US insisted there were WMDs and found none. The Downing street memos said the facts were being fixed around the policy” in other words made to fix the pre determined plan. What more evidence do you need?

    How stupid does he think we are.. a fourth rate military whose military had already been degraded and whose country was under UN sanctions was going to defy the greatest military power on earth when it had nothing to hide! Make sense to you?

    I will say one thing Dubya You are right. I cant get into Bush mind to find out what his real reasons were but I can certainly draw conclusions from the facts. He wanted this war.. Cheney certainly wanted this war regardless of what Sadam did or did not do. Remember the humiliation of Bush Sr being defeated in the election and Sadam still in power? Dont think family revenge had nothing to do with this.. IMO he didnt simply say ” Oh nows my chance for greatness to prove myself a man and so let me start a war” No it was more subtle than that. I just think that because he has lived in the shadow of his father for so long he was more ameniable to arguments for war than if he would have been other wise. Ever disregard facts to do something you just wanted to do?

    Bottom line is that whatever the reason, we insulted our allies and plunged full speed ahead into the mess we are in now and as President he is responsible..not Clinton, not the media, not the intelligence agencies, not France or Germany not Patterico..but George W Bush!

    Charlie (55cd2b)

  109. …Cheney and the neo cons called for war against Iraq as early as 1998…

    It was the Democrat-controlled Congress who passed, and the Democrat president Bubba who signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. Obviously that makes Saddam’s ouster a “bi-partisan” agenda, not a neo-con conspiracy.

    Dubya (c16726)

  110. We should get out of Iraq because we are throwing away lives and money there for no good reason. Things might well get worse if we leave (although I don’t think this is certain) but how exactly is that our problem?

    The case for withdrawal is strengthened by the fact that the administration is obviously floundering around with no realistic objectives.

    A national reputation for keeping commitments is of some value but not very much because most people believe with good reason that nations have no honor and will readily betray each other whenever it is in their interest to do so. Stable alliances are based on mutual benefits and our so called allies in Iraq are just a burden.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  111. James B. Shearer,

    I think the sentiment in your comment was espoused by Joseph Kennedy regarding America’s role in Europe during WWII, and was espoused by many and adopted by our government during the Vietnam War. Which war do you think turned out better?

    DRJ (51a774)

  112. From this article in today’s WSJ:

    “WASHINGTON — As President Bush prepares to unveil his latest Iraq strategy, Arab allies are worried about what might happen if the plan fails: that worsening strife could engulf the entire region, sparking a wider war in the middle of the world’s largest oil patch.

    The potential of a much larger regional conflict that pits Sunnis against Shiites is increasingly on the minds of both Arab leaders and U.S. military planners, according to regional diplomats and U.S. officials. Some are calling such a possible outcome the “nightmare scenario.” A wider conflict appears more plausible now because, even as Iraq is separating along sectarian lines, regional dynamics are shoving neighboring nations into two rival camps.

    On one side is a Shiite-led arc running from Iran into central Iraq, through Syria and into Lebanon. On the other side lie American allies Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, along with Persian Gulf states such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These Sunni regimes are horrified at the emerging, increasingly radicalized Shiite bloc, largely financed and inspired by Iran, Arab diplomats say.

    In the middle is Iraq, which looks less and less like a buffer between these two axes of Middle East power, and more of a no-man’s land that is bringing them into conflict. Arab officials fear that if the U.S. withdraws from there, or diminishes its troop numbers in ways that Iraq’s own weak military can’t fill, the two sides could come into direct and bloody conflict.”

    The rest of the article has more details, but obviously it’s in nobody’s interest to simply step out and let them fight it out.

    Dubya (c16726)

  113. 110 “The rest of the article has more details, but obviously it’s in nobody’s interest to simply step out and let them fight it out.”

    It is in the interest of the young Americans dying in Iraq for nothing.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  114. Errr, Dubya: there was no “Democrat-controlled” Congress in 1998.

    Xrlq (8a858f)

  115. Dubya: there was no dddddDem dDem

    Xrlq (66ce13)

  116. Err, yeah, that. There were definitely no dddddDem dDem back then, not a one. *&^%ing Crackberry.

    Xrlq (51d90f)

  117. Xrlq:

    there was no “Democrat-controlled” Congress in 1998

    Doh!

    Of course you’re right, there was a Republican majority after 1994 — got a little heavy on the trigger there. So sorry. 8-\

    Dubya (c16726)

  118. Anybody got the numbers on Democrat/Republican votes in favor of the Iraq Liberation Act? I presume many Dems voted for it, but I’m not sure how to go about looking that up on LOC systems.

    Dubya (c16726)

  119. Getting dangerously close to Emily Litella territory here, Dubya.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  120. Oh: Never mind!

    Dubya (c16726)

  121. Well at least I admit corrections instead of changing the subject to WWII. 8)

    Dubya (c16726)

  122. Well…I’d change the subject to the Punic Wars, but people tend to just start giggling when I do that.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  123. I won’t, Neville. The Phoenicians were devil-worshipping human-sacrificers. Alexander destroyed Sidon and Tyre and Scipio Carthage. Good riddance to them. The Spanish, likewise, exterminated the canibal Caribs and decimated the human-sacrificing and canibalistic Aztecs. Good riddance all around. How do you think civilization comes about, anyway? It’s when there are no more barbarians left.

    nk (d5dd10)

  124. P.S. And I will never remember to spell “cannibal” properly.

    nk (d5dd10)

  125. Just a couple of points from scrolling thru:
    1- #71, Dubya: Diem was killed in the JFK/Lodge organized/acquiesced-to coup of earlier ’63 (there is a very bitter letter sent by Madame Diem to Jackie Kennedy following Dallas that does not look favorably upon JFK). LBJ had to deal with a succession of military junta leaders (Big Minh, Little Minh, etc).
    2- #94, Mike K: Great Post!
    3-NC: You really need to grow up and find a productive hobby to occupy your time; preferrably one without the need for computer access.
    4-More on SoVietNam: A recent book (I think it was touted in the WSJ) on VietNam looks at the 50’s, and came to a conclusion that the Diem regime was being successful against the VC, and that the counter-insurgency program that was in effect then was working. Also, (as regimes of that nature were at that time) Diem was a pretty good leader of his country. Public perception changed when the Buddhist priests started setting themselves on fire (it only took one or two). Then the media tone changed, Amb. Lodge (Henry Cabot, Nixon’s VP mate in ’60) did the stupid, and either actively engaged, or acquiesced in the overthrow of the Diem government. Now, the country was being led by a bunch of Generals that the average peasant had never heard of. At least Diem had wide-spread name-recognition in his own country.
    Is there a lesson there to be applied to Iraq? Maybe, maybe not. Different cultures, different times.
    The only thing that bothers me is not the fighting. Man being man, we will always fight. But the ignorance displayed in the political arguements is inexcusable. We cannot change our nature, but we sure as hell can educate ourselves!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  126. Diem was a pretty good leader of his country.

    Pffffffffft!

    John Paul Vann thought otherwise. He was very critical of Diem’s not using the ARVN agressively on the ground, instead relying heavily on artillery on hamlets where small numbers of VC were operating. This shelling killed many of the villagers who would have welcomed and supported ARVN in clearing VC, thus alienating them.

    Vann was also frustrated and critical that the ARVN commanders steadfastly maintained that “…we do not take orders from Americans…” despite the fact that the American advisors were better tacticians and wanted to pursue “hearts and minds” strategies that would enlist the common folk in the struggle against the VC.

    Diem was a corrupt lazy bastard who alienated and killed his own constituents. He was far from a good leader of his country.

    Dubya (c16726)


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