Patterico's Pontifications

11/13/2007

Klein: “Are We Winning in Iraq?”

Filed under: Miscellaneous,War — DRJ @ 9:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Instapundit links a Time Magazine Swampland blog entry by Joe Klein entitled “Are We Winning in Iraq?” Klein’s bottom line is that Democrats should not become too invested in symbolism like cutting off troop funding because things are improving in Iraq. (Subtext: The US might just win this war.)

Along the way, Klein deplores right-wing triumphalism and mollifies anti-war Democrats with this passage acknowledging modern leftist truths:

“Let me reassert the obvious here: The war in Iraq has been a disaster, the stupidest foreign policy decision ever made by an American President. It has weakened America’s moral, military and diplomatic status globally. It can not be “won” militarily. The best case scenario is a testy stability, most likely under a Shi’ite strongman, who will be (relatively) independent of Iran and (relatively) independent of us.”

There’s nothing I can add that hasn’t been said a thousand times. So here’s my prediction: If we (and the Iraqi people) win the Iraq war, the next Democratic talking point will be that we didn’t win the war the right way.

That means we should prepare ourselves for renewed complaints about illegal domestic surveillance, allegations of torture by the CIA, military, etc., and condemnation of government action that endangered civil liberties and Constitutional rights.

In other words, the left will continue to litigate the war.

— DRJ

59 Responses to “Klein: “Are We Winning in Iraq?””

  1. Klein questioned the progress at every opportunity and repeated every defeatist talking point about the surge. His entire post is based, like most defeatist arguments, on an unsupported assertion: to Joe Klein, the surge may just be a temporary respite before the inevitable resumption of the “civil war.” It’s opinion masquerading as analysis, that’s why there are so many weasel words and phrases in his post – like:

    “Fair amount of triumphalism from the usual suspects on the right”

    Just what is a “fair amount” of “triumphalism”? Who are these “usual suspects on the right”? The most effective remarks about the success of the surge have come from military officers – are they engaging in “triumphalism”? Is the United States military a “usual suspect” in the vast right-wing conspiracy?

    We may just be in the midst of a vast Iraqi exhale before the next phase of the civil war. That phase could include renewed fighting between the newly armed Sunnis (70,000 strong!) and the sketchy Iraqi Security Forces…”

    We “may” be in the middle of an “exhale” in the civil war. The Concerned Local Citizens “could” turn against the government in Baghdad, and there are indications that some might, but again, reports from the ground make it clear that as long as the Americans stay, they won’t. The Iraqi Security Forces are “sketchy.” This is disingenuous, as anyone in Iraq will tell you that the National Police and many local police units are indeed “sketchy,” but the only Iraqi Army brigades that are not in the lead are those that have just been activated and all the reports from people like Michael Yon and Michael Totten make it clear that the Iraqi Army is performing and improving well.

    It is important to remember that most of Baghdad remains, quietly, in the control of Muqtada al-Sadr.

    This doesn’t jive with reports from the ground of Sadr’s waning influence even in Baghdad. The military says they now don’t have control of only 13% of Baghdad – almost all of that being Sadr City. The Iraqi government is soon going to reopen some roads that have been closed since February for security reasons. I don’t see how, with US soldiers and CLCs and the Iraqi Army on the streets and Sadr’s loyal units staying low in Sadr City that he exerts some secret control over parts of Baghdad that he never had control over even when the Mahdi Army was at its height of strength.

    I’m sure the President and the Republican Party are salivating over the prospect that Democrats will waste more time and capital over it this month…especially at a moment, however fleeting, when the situation on the ground seems to have improved in Iraq.

    “However fleeting…” where is there any proof that it is fleeting?

    Credence is given to cynicism while the hard facts from the ground are dismissed as “fleeting.”

    At first the surge was too late, or too little, or too little or too late. It wasn’t going to work. It was more of the same failed strategy. It was doomed to failure before it even started.

    Then the surge was working too slowly, it would be better to just give up than make the effort necessary for the surge to work.

    Then, after Phantom Thunder started, it was that the surge hadn’t created the national reconciliation that it was supposed to. Petraeus was supposed to fix all the political ills of Iraq within six weeks of the beginning of the surge offensives, that’s what we were being told in the first week of September.

    Then Petraeus testified before Congress and Democrats started coming back from Iraq saying that things had remarkably improved. We were told that the military was lying in any number of ways to us, that the Bush Administration would finesse the numbers to make it appear that the surge was really working when it wasn’t.

    When it became obvious that that particular line of propaganda had failed, the defeatists were a little flummoxed. It took them until last week to find a new narrative after Petraeus’s testimony in September stole the Iraq issue from the Dems. We find ourselves with the newest line – that the surge is starting to wind down, that it has done all it can do, and that things will now almost certainly begin to regress as American troop numbers come down. The CLCs we have raised will turn on the Iraqi government, Sadr will renounce his cease-fire, and we will be back to the carnage of 2006.

    Yes, it could happen that way. It’s definitely a possibility. But the defeatist conventional wisdom on the war has changed at least five times in the last 11 months since Bush announced it in February – first it was more of the same failed strategy, then it was doomed to failure regardless of whether it was a new strategy or not, then it was working too slowly, then it wasn’t creating political reconciliation, then the military was lying about its figures and violence wasn’t really down, and now we’re at the surge worked but it’s going to end soon and things are going to turn for the worse again now that the troop levels are going down.

    In nine months, defeatists have gone from saying the President’s change of strategy wouldn’t work to acknowledging that it has worked but Iraq is still lost. Because things “may” get worse again.

    And now Pelosi and Reid are refusing to send Bush more war supplementals unless conditions for retreat and defeat are included. The exact same kind of staring contest they fought and lost in May, when the President’s position was much less politically strong. Over the summer the victory position in Iraq has strengthened while the Pelosi-Reid axis has lost steam, and Dingy Harry and Nancy think that Bush is going to blink now when he didn’t before?

    It’s a possibility that Pelosi might not even get a simple majority to support her latest surrender bill. Third-ranking Democratic member of the House James Clyburn’s comments several months ago that success in Iraq would be a “real big problem for us” has been proven spot-on.

    chaos (697030)

  2. DRJ – Minor correction … WHEN we (and the Iraqi people) win the Iraq war, the next Democratic talking point will be that we didn’t win the war the right way.

    Well said, indeed. Surely, they must tire of running around with the goalposts after a while.

    JD (33beff)

  3. The way things are going, the 2008 election will come down to who has the best organization, the best get-out-the-vote campaigns – and right now, even with the issues starting to favor the Republicans (or, at least, favor the Dems a little less), the Democrats still have the far superior organization.

    Unless the GOP can get its act together and regain the organizational strength it had in the 2002 and 2004 campaigns, success in Iraq, anger over immigration and out-of-control spending, it won’t matter, they will still get beat by superior Democratic organization.

    chaos (697030)

  4. If we (and the Iraqi people) win the Iraq war, the next Democratic talking point will be that we didn’t win the war the right way.

    And if someone radicalized by the invasion and occupation plants dirty bombs in New York in 2015, will those complaints then have merit? Which Democratic talking point identifies torture of terror suspects and illegal domestic surveillance as Iraq war adjuncts? Little I’m seeing indicates the Abu Ghraib concussion is still reverberating.

    Iraq will be remembered for setting a new threshold for waging war, not as a settled victory for American military might. The clinching argument preceding the decision to go to war should not be: “Some long-term good might occur out of this.”

    steve (9b3289)

  5. Iraq will be remembered for setting a new threshold for waging war, not as a settled victory for American military might.

    Well, either that or as a victory for liberty and the notion of government by, of and for the people. Which, anyone with a couple of functioning brain cells will note was made possible by and would have been impossible without American military might. Which sounds a bit like a win.

    Pablo (99243e)

  6. If we have lost so much status and influence worldwide, why did Canada, France, and Germany elect prime ministers who are more right than left, and who made friendship with America part of their winning platform? Even Gordon Brown is asserting his bona fide love of America these days!

    Of course, our dark lord Karl could have stolen those elections, too….

    Patricia (f56a97)

  7. BTW, steve, how was our threshold for waging war in Europe twice, Korea or Vietnam functionally different from what it was in Iraq?

    Pablo (99243e)

  8. The clinching argument preceding the decision to go to war should not be: “Some long-term good might occur out of this.”

    Since it wasn’t, I don’t see your point.

    Little I’m seeing indicates the Abu Ghraib concussion is still reverberating.

    How true. It isn’t reverberating at all because no one who wasn’t already a crank really believed that the US military was on the same moral plane as the NKVD and the Gestapo… except for Amnesty International and the Democratic Party, of course.

    Which Democratic talking point identifies torture of terror suspects and illegal domestic surveillance as Iraq war adjuncts?

    That’s a nice red herring.

    There never was any illegal domestic surveillance.

    And if someone radicalized by the invasion and occupation plants dirty bombs in New York in 2015, will those complaints then have merit?

    Why would they? There were already plenty of people willing to try to set off a dirty bomb in New York City before we invaded Iraq. Defeating the muhajideen in their heartland, in a war that was supposed to play to their tactical and strategic strengths will do far more to prevent dirty bombs from being set off anywhere than crying about an invasion that happened four years ago. You don’t have a time machine, you can’t change the fact that Iraq was invaded, get over it already. So many of these BS anti-war arguments start off with “it wasn’t worth it” – it isn’t relevant if going into Iraq was worth it. We’re in Iraq. Unless you feel like leaving behind billions of dollars of equipment and running our soldiers pell-mell south to Kuwait, then don’t waste our time.

    So many people act as if cut and run will somehow erase the last four and a half years, or just don’t care about the consequences of cut and run. Messages like that don’t resonate, which is why the poor old Dems have failed so mightily at trying to “end” the war. Everyone knew and knows that if America leaves too soon Iraq will plunge into the fire again and it won’t benefit anyone – not the Iranians, not the Turks, not the Saudis or Jordanians or Kurds or Americans or Israelis or anyone. Right now it may be in some countries’ short-term interest for Iraq to be chaotic and violence-ridden, but in the long-term a stable Iraq is more beneficial to everyone, even Iran. All that potential wealth in the oil and in the people themselves, it makes no sense to waste it forever by helping foment a particularly nihilistic kind of war.

    chaos (697030)

  9. If we have lost so much status and influence worldwide, why did Canada, France, and Germany elect prime ministers who are more right than left..

    Gordon Brown is in office primarily because Tony Blair lost the confidence of the British people over Iraq.

    Sarkozy had called the U.S. invasion “an historic mistake.”

    And Stephen Harper’s “winning platform” included a pledge to never send Canadian troops to Iraq.

    steve (9b3289)

  10. And yet France, even while Brown starts winding down the British troop commitment to Iraq, has taken an aggressive diplomatic stance fully supportive of America succeeding in Iraq.

    Harper has enough trouble keeping Canadian troops in Afghanistan, and he’s not doing too badly. Canada is doing what Canada can.

    Brown recently rather boldly declared that the United States is still Britain’s “most important ally.”

    The recent shift to the center-right in the major European and Commonwealth nations has made it clear that America’s traditional allies – except Turkey, and the Turkey relationship hasn’t completely soured just yet – aren’t abandoning the US yet.

    The US is the only Western country with the birth rate to remain a dynamic society in the 21st century. In a world where Russia, despite its demographic problem, is resurgent, where China and India present growing economic competitive challenges every day, and where the international order that is dominated by Europeans seems to be under withering attack everywhere, the best hope for Europe to remain secure militarily and economically is to remain linked with America. America has shown that she can, if she wants, engage in foreign ventures without major European involvement or even passive support, even European resistance, and still want to be close allies. Europe can still get all the benefits of an alliance with the world’s strongest economy and pick and choose which of the foreign policy risks it wants to join us in.

    Would a Europe and Commonwealth be treated so gently and gain so much in return if it were the junior partner of a dominant China? Or bowing to Vladimir Putin? I don’t think so. American-European cooperation comes from both sides’ genuine desire to benefit everyone involved. China is genuinely desirous for whatever strengthens China, period. Russia is the same.

    chaos (697030)

  11. Nice dodge, steve.

    Pablo (99243e)

  12. I’m still curious which Democratic candidate or talking point asserted the Iraq invasion propelled “illegal domestic surveillance, allegations of torture by the CIA …and government action that endangered civil liberties and Constitutional rights.”

    steve (9b3289)

  13. That wasn’t what DRJ said.

    You’re misrepresenting the meaning of the remarks. DRJ said that Democrats will, allegedly, try to dredge up every anti-Bush talking point of the last three years in an attempt to make the public think that victory in Iraq, if it is achieved, will be tarnished and not really worth it for that.

    If you accept the Democratic position on interrogations and domestic surveillance, you’re more likely to oppose the the Iraq War. It’s reasonable to expect that someone who thinks the Bush Administration illegally spies on Americans and George Bush signs off on a list of ten people to be tortured every morning before he has breakfast or something think we should get the hell out of Iraq too. So convince people that Bush is tortures and spies on us and you’re halfway, or maybe even more than halfway, to convincing them that it’s time to run from Iraq.

    chaos (697030)

  14. I don’t accept the notion Iraq and domestic surveillance abuse are policy accessories of the same anti-terror brainstorm. Democrats making such an argument deserve ridicule.

    steve (9b3289)

  15. Steve,

    My thanks to chaos for explaining my point. The litany of complaints I listed is part of a package of grievances that Democrats nurse – primarily against Bush but also against Republicans for supporting him. The point is not that each complaint is a consequence of the Iraq War but that each one results from Bush. Thus, Bush’s failure to embrace the *correct* position on the Iraq War, surveillance, torture, etc., is evidence that American success was (as chaos said) tarnished.

    In support of that, Steve, you may want to glance at this website run by two self-described Democratic activists who have already combined most of my predicted talking points: [Edit: I deleted the subparagraphs to avoid a lengthy comment, but follow the link for the full text.]

    “I ask Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney for the following reasons:

    1) The Offense of Lying and Inducing America to Support a War

    2) The Offense of Reckless Indifference to the Lives and Welfare of American Troops

    3) The Offense of Torture in Violation of U.S. Laws and Treaties

    4) The Offense of Wiretapping Surveillance in Defiance of the Law”

    And so it goes.

    DRJ (9578af)

  16. And the left will eventually offer nominee Clinton a perfect Sista Souljah triangulation moment, as she co-opts Bush’s ugly victory. She would have done it better, of course, suggesting Bush was incompetent, but lucky.

    I’m struck by the similarities here between Iraq and Korea. Two near-disasters with Presidents (Truman and Bush) who meddled in military decisions and shouldn’t have. Both end in partial victories salvaged from full victories, with many thousands of troops stationed there for a long time. Does anyone still consider the Korean action a mistake? Iraq will probably turn out better.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  17. Worst Foreign Policy Disaster? I suppose Klein missed the entire Kennedy Adminstration. Vietnam was by far the worst disaster.

    Dennis D (c57dd4)

  18. DRJ,

    If the left does continue to litigate the war as you said I think they cede the white house next fall. Dems who cross party lines will hedge their bets by voting for the GOP nominee while maintaining party loyalty for house and senate candidates.
    In short a divided government, which many voters seem more comfortable with.

    voiceofreason (63bd57)

  19. The only people who believe Iraq is lost are those who were born losers.

    syn (7faf4d)

  20. Now that Hollywood writers are on strike I have to wonder from whom the Democrats are getting their scripted talking points?

    syn (7faf4d)

  21. Someone point Klein to the following post.

    Details details details…

    Oh, and for Stevie…

    Gordon Brown is in office primarily because Tony Blair lost the confidence of the British people over Iraq.

    And yet he’s pro-U.S.

    Sarkozy had called the U.S. invasion “an historic mistake.”

    And yet he’s pro-U.S.

    And Stephen Harper’s “winning platform” included a pledge to never send Canadian troops to Iraq.

    And yet he’s pro-U.S.

    Funny how they think it isn’t right, but are still in our court. Some loss of favor.

    Scott Jacobs (e3904e)

  22. Steve:

    Which dhimmierat said…..

    Answer: All of them.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  23. Oh, steve, you can now add Denmark to my list of right leaning, pro-American governments elected post-Iraq. Our influence and status is waning how?

    Another pro-American wins

    Patricia (f56a97)

  24. No! No! All lies! We’re hated, despised and shunned! I know this because I heard it at my cocktail party on the Upper West Side!

    /lib

    Techie (c003f1)

  25. “If we (and the Iraqi people) win the Iraq war, the next Democratic talking point will be that we didn’t win the war the right way.”

    No offense, DRJ, but isn’t that hypothetical a lot like the waterboarding question Patterico propounded?

    Semanticleo (edcd09)

  26. That is not really a hypothetical, Miss Cleo. It is a more of a prediction, based on observed behavior. And it is likely right.

    JD (33beff)

  27. No offense, DRJ, but isn’t that hypothetical a lot like the waterboarding question Patterico propounded?

    You mean the one you won’t answer, Semanticleo? No, not really.

    Pablo (99243e)

  28. …the next Democratic talking point will be that we didn’t win the war the right way.

    Or that the war caused higher than normal rates of suicide and homelessness.

    Do the math
    Do the Math 2

    Patricia (aaa977)

  29. It can not be “won” militarily

    This seems almost Freudian — exposing an assumption that for the U.S. there’s no other way possible to win (subtext: everyone knows there’s no potential for diplomatic success by this administration; ergo, the administration has already lost).

    For people like me, if it seems like the focus has been on the military of late, it’s because refusal to appreciate their accomplishments has seemed so very important to the advocates of failure. Contrary to the ideology of some, the military has indeed carved civil space out of martial chaos in Iraq.

    That our thoughts properly turn now to diplomatic concerns may well seem delusional to those who imagine the prospect as unlikely as they STILL imagine military progress to be.

    rasqual (4601e5)

  30. The war will quickly go from unwinnable (Like the Cold War in 1972), to “Of course Iraq was going to stabilize, once Saddam was gone. Our occupation just delayed the inevitable.” I’ve watched these folks rationalize the Cold War. They’re capable of anything.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  31. Oh, steve, you can now add Denmark to my list of right leaning, pro-American governments elected post-Iraq. Our influence and status is waning how?

    And this ratifies what?

    The Rasmussen government announced withdrawal of Danish troops just before calling for elections.

    Denmark closed its doors to Iraqi refugees as does the United States while both of these nations were participating in the war in Iraq – while Sweden which is not in the war is taking most of the Iraqi refuges coming to Europe.

    steve (d8c189)

  32. …the next Democratic talking point will be that we didn’t win the war the right way.

    In fact the next talking point will be “I told you so”. Hoyner, Dem House majority leader, said a couple of weeks ago (paraphrase here): We wanted more troops in Iraq all along.

    Of course they did. But he just didn’t say that when Bush finally got around to send more troops. “We wanted to turn tail.”

    The MSM will wait a reasonable amount of time, then will quote all those courageous Congress people criticizing Bush for trying to win the war cheap. The MSM and the Dems will claim victory. After all, they have voted for the war. Their “polls’ will show that the American people would not like Republican “mud slinging” and play “politics of personal destruction” by bringing up the Dems’ votes to defund the war.

    ic (9fb8f6)

  33. Actually, the Democrats I’ve been talking with have already got a new set of talking points. They are:

    1. Violence is down in Baghdad mainly because ethnic cleansing has been completed, not because of anything the U.S. did.

    2. Violence is down in Anbar because the locals turned against al-Qaida, and they would have done that even if the U.S. pulled out. So the U.S. gets no credit for that.

    3. Violence is down because al-Sadr’s men are under a ceasefire, and this could change at any time.

    4. All the U.S. is doing is re-arming the various combatants – this time the Sunnis, and when the U.S. eventually pulls out the Sunnis will re-engage the civil war, this time with better weapons and higher body counts.

    In short, there’s nothing to see here, the only peace in Iraq is the peace of the grave, anything the U.S. does is actually making it worse, so even if violence is down it would be down even more if the U.S. left.

    And of course, anything bad that happens in Iraq in the next 10 years will be spun as a direct consequence of the war.

    Left unmentioned is any discussion of what Iraq would have looked like with Saddam still in power (and without the sanctions and no-fly zones), and what the U.S.’s image would be like had Saddam won that little staring contest and forced the American military to turn tail and leave the region without firing a shot.

    That’s the way it will go. The left still denies fundamental facts of the Vietnam war. They will misrepresent Iraq until a generation passes by. There is no great time coming when the left will slap themselves on their collective foreheads and say, “Wow, I guess we were wrong!”

    Dan (417311)

  34. Actually, they are starting to go through the rest of the litany of Vietnam War. You know, the ‘Vietnam Vet Pyscho’ stuff; high suicide rates, mental problems, etc. CBS is apparently doing a lot of statistical massaging at the moment along these lines.

    Not there aren’t such issues in ANY war, but the actual suicide numbers are LESS than in the ’81-’82 timeframe when we were at peace!

    Combine that with the new laughable concern on the costs (as if they’re ever concerned for the taxpayer!) and the new tag is:

    “Maybe we’re winning, but it’s price was too high!”

    Mike O (ac97ce)

  35. Steve wrote:

    The clinching argument preceding the decision to go to war should not be: “Some long-term good might occur out of this.”

    How about: “A free and open society in the heart of the Arab world will strike a significant strategic blow against the forces of terror”?

    This objective was clearly stated by Pres. Bush in several speeches preceding the invasion.

    SWLiP (77d5a3)

  36. What kills me about complaints from the left about “war on the cheap” — the single biggest reason for Rumsfeld, et als “light footprint” (aside from the fact technology was *just* starting to make it conceivable) was to AVOID criticism of us as jackbooted conquerors from the very same leftists!

    It was also the same reason the unjustly maligned “Shock and Awe” aerial campaign was throttled back to the point of being merely technologically impressive fireworks — the lefties would say we were being too destructive.

    Also the same reason our soldiers weren’t ordered to shoot all looters on sight — the leftists would have cried foul there as well.

    newscaper (c091ca)

  37. Left unmentioned is any discussion of what Iraq would have looked like with Saddam still in power (and without the sanctions and no-fly zones)

    Precisely why would sanctions and no-fly zones have been lifted?

    Saddam would – if he hadn’t been deposed – be firing a rifle in the air from some balcony having lost both internal and regional power. His bluff was obvious to all but the incoherent.

    It got quiet when Sadrists stood down their Mahdi army while the US disarmed the Sunnis in the capital. Baghdad has gone from 65% Shiite to 80%. A Sunni-dominated Iraq had balanced the Shiite Iran for many decades. We traded an impotent Saddam for a fledgling regional pariah.

    steve (677161)

  38. I think this has it about right.

    I want a war sim… where I spend two hours pushing across a map to destroy a “nuclear missile silo,” only to find out after the fact that it was just a missile-themed orphanage. I want little celebrities to show up on the scene and do interviews over video of charred teddy bears, decrying my unilateral attack. I want congressional hearings demanding answers to these atrocities.

    On the very next level I want to lose half of my units because another “orphanage” turned out to be an enemy ambush site. I want another round of hearings asking why I didn’t level that orphanage as soon as I saw it, including tearful testimony from a slain soldier’s daughter who is now, ironically, an orphan.

    In my Public Support Meter display, let me find out that the news media has run, in the same magazine, one story blasting us for going to war for minerals and another story blasting us for not acting on the continuing mineral shortage back home.

    There should also be simultaneous stories about the outrageous expense of the war effort, and another about how the troops are under-funded and under-equipped. Set it so that I somehow lose public-support points with each story.

    TallDave (5a4047)

  39. Precisely why would sanctions and no-fly zones have been lifted?

    Because the support for both was collapsing by 2003, as Saddam was bribing his way out while others argued they made life miserable for Iraqis but did little to punish the regime.

    TallDave (5a4047)

  40. The leftwing elitists and their three vehicles, academia, the media and the Democratic party have declared the war lost. They have a vested interest in making that declaration true regardless of the facts. Any bad news from Iraq will be printed on the front page and will lead the nightly news. Any good news will either be spun as a disaster ( like the terrible effect lower casualties were having on grave diggers) or ignored. Tenured professors will write long winded and incoherent papers blaming everything from hurricanes to sun cycles on George Bush. Those papers will be cited by Democratic politicians and their propagandists like Klein, Since they’re written in academia-speak, no one will have the slightest idea how to refute them or even what the hell they mean.

    And poor steve will believe them.

    Ken Hahn (7742d5)

  41. My proposal:
    The next time we are attacked/stormed/tsunami’d
    whatever,we grant The enitre liberal left authority to mitgate the crisis. Let’s see how they do.
    I mean really, we haven’t given them a chance since the Iran Hostage crisis and that Brilliant Desert One operation.

    paul from fl (47918a)

  42. Tall Dave…

    #19 is, frankly, the best…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  43. steve,
    You keep saying the IRaq war has destroyed US status in the world. It hasn’t.

    It’s teh politics; get over it.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  44. Leftist Talking Point #1: No WMDs in Iraq.

    STRIKE 1!!

    Leftist Talking Point #2: No Saddam/al Qaeda ties.

    STRIKE 2!!

    Leftist Talking Point #3: The surge will never work.

    STRIKE 3!!

    The amount of Kool-Aid it would take to swallow any of the aforementioned talking points would probably be cancer-causing. To swallow all three at once…well…

    Gotta love Comment #4 by “steve”! Hilly the Hun is not even in office yet, and leftists are already cooking up alibis for her blunders. That’s planning ahead – and a good idea, too, considering the record of the first Clinton administration.

    Mwalimu Daudi (f57033)

  45. You keep saying the IRaq war has destroyed US status in the world. It hasn’t.

    And you keep suggesting Europe is electing rightists because the Iraq war is nouveau-chic.

    The world doesn’t revolve around U.S. policy muddles. Our influence in the wider region has been sapped by years of mismanagement and neglect. The Turks are taking matters into their own hands, Musharraf stiffs Condi’s calls for restraint (twice) and an Annapolis peace conference between Israelis and Palestinians appears to be a non-starter.

    steve (216d44)

  46. My $.02…

    “Maybe we’re winning, but it’s price was too high!”

    I would dearly love for our “Progressive” friends to please calculate the cost (in 2007 Dollars, please) of Operation Overlord.

    I think they would be shocked (and awed) at what one major operation of WW-2 cost; and, they wouldn’t have to include everything we bought and used that day, just what never came back, and a pro-rata portion of the rest.

    A lot of people forget that at the end of WW-2, the National Debt stood in excess of the Gross Domestic Product; whereas, today it is fraction of it.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  47. And, another thing…

    Whatever happened to the concept of “…bearing any burden and pay any price…” in the defense of freedom?

    Does Freedom, and Liberty, have a definable price?

    To those whose mantra is “Better Red than Dead”, any price is too high.

    Others believe that it is far better to die on one’s feet fighting for Liberty, than to survive on one’s knees as a slave.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  48. Yes, steve, that whole existence of Israel problem would just go away if it weren’t for Bush and his folly wars.

    JD (33beff)

  49. Yes, steve, that whole existence of Israel problem would just go away if it weren’t for Bush and his folly wars.

    Was there not a time – surely it was not that long ago! – when all of the evils of the world since time began could be laid at Ronald Reagan’s feet? Now he barely rates a mention even in passing. How the mighty have fallen!

    One day Bush, too, will be forgotten as the Left crown a new Archenemy.

    Mwalimu Daudi (f57033)

  50. Another Drew – Kennedy would be embarassed at where his party has sunk to. Pay any price, bear any burden … such a foreign concept to them today.

    Mwalimu – So right. So right indeed. After Bush, they will likely lay it at the feet of Republican dominance of the presidency, or single party rule from 2001-2006.

    JD (33beff)

  51. And you keep suggesting Europe is electing rightists because the Iraq war is nouveau-chic.

    I never suggested or meant or said that. I am suggesting that there are many reasons why it is smart for Europe to ally with us; Iraq was not a significant setback. In fact, their leaders predictably used it for their own temporary advantage: again, it’s politics.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  52. Worst Foreign Policy Disaster?

    Its so ironic. One almost wonders why we didn’t leave Saddam alone, for all the harping from the ungrateful Left.

    Perhaps we should have followed the “soft power” path the Left advocated: lift sanctions, ignore repeated WMD violations, merry-go-round of needle-n-haystack inspections, no outing of Iraqi nuclear scientists researching in Libya, 12 more years of “final final final” warnings from the UN.
    Let Saddam build his WMDs, hand them off to terrorist orgs for anonymous proxy attacks against the West… Metropolitan “blue” cities are the most ripe targets.

    Then the Left would be busy trying to salvage their neighborhoods from radiation and sarin, instead of kneejerking into BDS everytime good news comes out of the war.

    Fen (ea1554)

  53. Let Saddam build his WMDs, hand them off to terrorist orgs for anonymous proxy attacks against the West…

    Is that grape Kool-Aid?

    We magnified a swaggering, nearly dysfunctional Baghdad foil. Iran and Pakistan actually had al Qaeda operatives inside their borders. Bushco convinced 72 percent of Americans that it was either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat likely’ Saddam was personally involved in the 9-11 attacks [02/03 CNN-Time poll]. Osama had denounced Saddam and Baathists as “infidels.” As though on cue, cable channels dusted off the logos, martial music, and so on that we saw after Gulf War One. Witnessing none of that proselytism, Europeans had a different outlook.

    steve (edfbb5)

  54. steve – How much money were some of those European countries making with Saddam?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  55. daleyrocks – That does not matter to steve. He is a believer. He feels this way, man.

    JD (33beff)

  56. The Europeans didn’t have a veto. It’s moot.

    I take the point that Saddam Hussein broke the US dollar monopoly by denominating Iraqi oil pricing/sales in Euros, was lobbying other OPEC members to do likewise, and the Germans and French were happy with that.

    He was an iniquitous tyrant, but his days were numbered. Defying outside interference was a death rattle.

    steve (f374d8)

  57. Steve – Defying the terms of the First Gulf War Cease Fire was a death rattle.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  58. And those terms included disclosing information about any stored chemical and biological weapons to the IAEA, not to the U.S.

    His descent was impending and irreversible.

    “We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted.” – Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State, 26 March 1997

    steve (f374d8)


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