Patterico's Pontifications

5/25/2007

On Announcing a Timetable for Withdrawal from a Fight Over Announcing a Timetable for Withdrawal from a Fight

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 5:50 am

Ace explains how the public declaration of a timetable for withdrawal from a fight with your opponent can give that opponent the upper hand.

He’s talking about the battle between Bush and the Democrats over funding for the Iraq war. Ace quotes this story, which says:

[House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi had announced earlier that the House would not leave for the Memorial Day recess without a new funding bill, a signal to some of a looming defeat.

“When they put out that deadline, people realized that we were going to lose,” said an aide to an anti-war lawmaker. “Everything after that seemed like posturing.”

That move gave Bush the upper hand in negotiations, the aide said, since it allowed him to wait out the Democrats . . .

Ace adds:

Their announcement of a timetable for withdrawal from a fight with a patient opponent in the White House having resulted in catastrophic failure, Democrats went on to immediately call anew for a timetable of withdrawal from a fight with a patient opponent in Iraq.

Sometimes irony is just so ironic.

27 Responses to “On Announcing a Timetable for Withdrawal from a Fight Over Announcing a Timetable for Withdrawal from a Fight”

  1. Would this be one of those Teachable Moment things they like to talk about so much?

    PCachu (e072b7)

  2. Democracy’s a bitch.

    AF (39a84c)

  3. Quite right!

    Of course, to my view, we’ve already lost in Iraq, and the withdrawal is mere recognition of this. The only remaining question is whether it’s worth it to help semi-literate Sunni sheiks fight Iran-loving theocrats fight secular Baathist irredentists over the corpse, and I think the answer is no.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (0fd288)

  4. bush is keeping the troops in iraq so they’ll be handy when we invade iran.

    assistant devil's advocate (8cdacc)

  5. Andrew: “Of course, to my view, we’ve already lost in Iraq…”

    By what criterion?

    And please apply that same criterion to other wars in the past, to demonstrate that it is actually meaningful.

    Bostonian (8b73a9)

  6. Why so obtuse? Everyone knows we’ve lost when the MSM tells us we’ve lost.

    I’ll second Boston’s request: by what criterion?

    Since we still have troops in Germany and Korea, I suppose we’ve lost there also? Kosovo?

    No, we’ve lost because “it’s just too hard to do.”

    Poppycock!

    You can be sure that if we leave precipitously that we’ll be back, probably sooner rather than later. And if you think it’s tough now, just wait.

    Harry Arthur (5af33b)

  7. By staying in Iraq, we have cut and run from the rest of the world.

    The win goes to China.

    It’s probably for the best.

    alphie (015011)

  8. How do you figure there alphie?

    galletador (33c821)

  9. It is an amazingly silly analysis.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  10. mullah cimoc say ameriki needing for remember vietnam war ending.

    when last helicopter fly away usa embassey how long before gun of war go the silent?

    Answer: 3 day and then peace more than 30 years among vietnam people. back then time usa govt and control media say the same lying excuse for continue the kill.

    special important: not the single viet cong coming for attack amerika during all this thirty year.

    now patriotc ameriki man him needing for destroy israeli spy operations in usa start with eliminate neocon spy ops in usa.

    then ameriki becoming the free again.

    mullah cimoc (6dd7aa)

  11. That’s an interesting comment.

    DRJ (2d5e62)

  12. Does mullah cimoc remember that while the fighting in Vietnam stopped, the killing didn’t?

    on comments 5 and 6–“losing” implies that we had goals that were realistic and could have been achieved. That was never the case in Iraq. Bush can win the budget battles by being obstinate. But the same tactic doesn’t work in Iraq. No matter how long we stay there, we’ll never be closer to getting what Bush wanted.

    And you are also forgetting that alQaeda wants us to stay in Iraq as long as possible, so that we can waste manpower, money, and materiale without limit, and provide them propaganda without limit.
    Until you understand that every American soldier in Iraq is a recruiting poster for alQaeda (or more accurately, for the jihadis), you will never understand why invading Iraq was obviously wrong from the very beginning.

    kishnevi (98dd82)

  13. patterico, FYI, your spam filter apparently just ate my comment, which was not hyperlinked or anything else. It was of course wise and witty like all my comments, but I’m in no damn mood to try again.

    kishnevi (da26af)

  14. How can the House Democrats be so totally clueless? This is just too ironic to be true irony. What else is going on here? Probably, they want America to lose and be “taught a lesson” — never overthrow fascist dictators (any more) or oppose nihilistic terrorists. So their policy is surrender at any cost. Or they are suffering from an advanced stage of Bush Derangement Syndrome and so can’t think clearly. Or is it the “ware is always evil” no matter how evil your enemy?

    But there must be something else going on–tell me that half the American political system is not insane, please. Because they might just get elected and control the Executive Branch someday.

    Daniel Maddison (273e95)

  15. If you haven’t noticed, Daniel, things aren’t going that well in Iraq.

    There are much better places America could be spending $100 billion a year.

    alphie (015011)

  16. Well, Daniel, take your pick – There’s Alphie’s response and there’s mine: Most politicians are power-mad and that’s a form of insanity.

    DRJ (2d5e62)

  17. We have attained two goals in Iraq: we neutralized Saddam’s fearsome WMD, including the imminent nuclear attack. This turned out to be quite easy, trivial, in fact. And we neutralized Saddam himself. On those counts, we have been victorious for years.

    There were other goals, which we have not only failed at, but more important, there is no reason to think that we are making any progress.

    We would have liked to isolate Iran. But the largest parties in the Iraqi government are pro-Iranian.

    We would have liked a secular state. Basra is ruled by a theocracy; the small Christian minority has fled; the (largely secular) educated middle-class has fled or is internally displaced.

    We had hallucinations of an Iraqi state that would make peace with Israel. This central part of Ahmad Chalabi’s con job looks now as realistic as Nigerian spam.

    We have spent billions in an attempt to repair Iraq’s physical infrastructure with few results, and we are no longer even budgeting more.

    One in eight Iraqi children die by their fifth birthday.

    Al Qaeda is flush with cash and recruits.

    The idea that there is even a meaningful central government in Iraq is a fiction propogated by the Administration. We can influence who is best-equipped to win the low-level civil war, but since none of the key players (outside Kurdistan) are very appealing in terms of pre-war objectives, this isn’t much of a victory, is it?

    As far as I can tell, we are no longer in Iraq to fix anything, but because the insurgents and the Administration are colluding (not literally), for their separate purposes, in agreeing that withdrawal of our troops would be a terrible psychological blow. I suppose it would by a blow to Bush Junior, having to admit he had screwed up again. That prospect troubles me not at all. We can keep our forces in Iraq; we’re a superpower. But the sense in which this is “victory” escapes me.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (863a91)

  18. “There are much better places America could be spending $100 billion a year.”

    Sure, our southern border for one. Which does not preclude the $100 billion for our eastern border. We need to defend our country and the best defense is taking the fight to the enemy.

    nk (835ea1)

  19. “when last helicopter fly away usa embassey how long before gun of war go the silent?

    Answer: 3 day and then peace more than 30 years among vietnam people. back then time usa govt and control media say the same lying excuse for continue the kill.

    special important: not the single viet cong coming for attack amerika during all this thirty year.”

    Could it be that they were occupied with killing other Vietnamese ? I have interviewed lots of Vietnamese kids who were smuggled by their parents to fishing boats so they could escape the “peasant paradise” of the VC . Some of the Vietnamese kids were applying to US medical schools. What would have happened to them if they had stayed in the “workers’ paradise” ?

    Oh well, let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about the fate of Iraqi kids.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  20. What would have happened to them if they had stayed in the “workers’ paradise”?

    Half of them at least would have become VC. We got the corrupt, feckless SVN government and they got a lot of patriots (many of whom later regretted it, but life doesn’t leave backwards).

    Andrew J. Lazarus (863a91)

  21. nk,

    Even Rummy didn’t know whether our occupation of Iraq was creating more terrorists than it killed or not.

    So I’d hardly call Iraq a “defense of America.”

    At best, it’s a rather expensive social experiment.

    alphie (015011)

  22. Mike K: you have confused me, sir.

    I had always assumed that the mullah cimoc comments were from the Dr. Bronner’s soap guy or, failing that, the Firesign Theater.

    Now I’ll have to stop scrolling on by them and whip out my decoder ring.

    Uncle Pinky (6546ec)

  23. Okay, think I got most of it.

    If I am interpreting this “3 day” business correctly then mullah cimoc’s question might be better phrased as “How long did it take for America’s allies to capitulate after being ignobly sold out?”

    “now patriotc ameriki man him needing for destroy israeli spy operations in usa start with eliminate neocon spy ops in usa.

    then ameriki becoming the free again.”

    I must confess that this reasoning is too subtle for me at this time of night. Any explication or clarification would be welcome.

    Uncle Pinky (6546ec)

  24. Uncle, you lost me. Those who think half those kids would have become VC could benefit by actually talking to South Vietnamese who came here. Of course, you couldn’t interview the one million who died trying to escape. You’d have trouble talking to the educated Cambodians since everyone with an education or who wore eyeglasses, thereby suggesting they were literate, died in the killing fields. And I don’t even recall a Lancet article summarizing the number who died. That was before the Lancet discovered left wing politics.

    Mike K (86bddb)

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    Uncle Pinky (6546ec)

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