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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Now the joy is dead and done, I'm gone"

More death for Oregon boys in Iraq. Had enough yet? I have. Afghanistan made sense. This is baloney.

Comments (39)

I've had enough talking points and bumper sticker logic to last me a while on this. I was four-square for the invasion and thought for a long time that good would come from it. From $.99/gallon gas to new regimes region-wide. Everything I thought would come to pass is further away from us today than it was in 2003. I was flat wrong.

The Republicans current strategy of staying to show the world we keep our word is baloney. The world has moved on. It's time to end it and come home. No more good can come of this.

"You break it, you fix it." -Pottery Barn Rule, according to Gen. Colin Powell.

Yeah, yeah, we all know it's actually "You break it, you own it..." and it wasn't actually the Pottery Barn. But Secretary of State Powell said it, and it stuck.

The Powell Doctrine (in short, "don't fight unless it's important, then fight to win") wasn't respected going in, but everything gets worse (including the number of future American casualities) if we don't respect the above quote.

The current war in Iraq was necessary because we didn't finish the job in Gulf War I (Desert Storm/Shield). If you don't finish the job in Gulf War II, then Gulf War III becomes a foregone conclusion.

Here's the Mister T doctrine: "War means people are going to die; many more people are going to suffer, including civilians." If the United States can't live with that fact, then it can no longer wage war.

Gotta find a way to divvy up the country: Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd. Democracy only works when people choose to live together. These people don't want to live together. Never have - never will. At least not in my lifetime.

It's easy to say "War means people are going to die; many more people are going to suffer, including civilians." if the death and suffering doesn't impact you or someone close to you. I have two 13 year old boys though who could get caught up in this (just as I almost got caught up in Vietnam). Thousands more are going to die, and someday (just like in Vietnam) we'll pull out and there still won't be a Democracy or even a stable government in Iraq. We tried to make Korea a safer place over 50 years ago and look how that worked out.

Maybe if the Bush twins were serving in Iraq their daddy wouldn't be so trigger happy.

Mister T: Even as a hippy liberal who protested the war as much as I could before it began, I still agreed with you. Once we got in there and fucked everything up, it would be totally unfair to leave early and leave Iraq in worse shape than it was when we got there (Sadaam was bad, for sure, but isn't the current state of Iraq even worse?)

But recently (the last month or so) I've been wondering... am I wrong? Are things actually made worse because we're there? Is it even possible for Iraq to return to normalcy while the US is in there? I am beginning to wonder if Iraq would actually be a safer place for the Iraqis if we just left now.

Maybe. But I really don't know...

Al Qaeda is hoping to break the will of the American People because they know they cannot break the will of the American Soldier.

President Nixon did NOTHING when the first two American Diplomats (Cleo Noel and George Curtis Moore) were murdered by PLO operatives in the Sudan (on Arafat's personal order). Conversely, Carter was humiliated by Iran, then President Reagan pulled the Marines out of Beirut, and (most recently) Clinton declared peace and abandoned Somalia.

The three part message received by Islamicists around the world is simple:

1. The Armed Forces of America don't understand suicide bombings (or assymetrical warfare in general).

2. Low casualties don't resonate in America, but American Presidents will not tolerate casualties in large numbers, especially if momentum appears to be moving against them.

3. It doesn't matter if it doesn't appear on T.V. (or, most recently, video to Internet).

I love how we're bitching to the U.N. that North Korea is going to shoot a missile into the ocean. "Hey, everybody, listen to us! You need to do something to stop this unjustified aggression!" After we invaded a country on a pretense and resulted in thousands of gruesome deaths. And sent in our torture goon squads.

At a certain point you feel bad about being part of a pathetic joke. I know I do.

C,mon Jack.

You are buying into the defeatist propaganda if you think we have legitimized the use of torture across the board.

Certainly there were individual examples of physical abuse, three of which resulted in the death of a detainee. But that hardly constitutes "torture goon squads". Parading a naked man around on a leash and photographing hims is not the equivalent of beheading. Not by a long shot.

I can't recall how we went from striking back for 9/11 to Iraq. Let's see now all the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian nationals, Bin Laden (another Saudi Arabian) is staying in Pakistan as a guest of the Pakistan government which helped establish the Taliban in Afghanistan, and we are all out to put down the threat of nuclear weapons in the Iraq and Iran while we have a nut case w/ his finger on the button of nuclear missles that can be fired directly at the U.S. from North Korea which is in power now thanks to Communist China which now is Walmarts biggest supplier which helps average out our inflation rate in the U.S., but we won't trade w/ Cuba because it's run by a ruthless communist dictator. Isn't this what was once called a snipe hunt?

"And sent in our torture goon squads"

Yeah that's a bit over the top.

There are no "torture goon squads" that Jack or anyone else "knows" about,

and "sent in" seems to be a convenient way of claiming orders from the top (Bush admin.)adopted torture as a policy.

There's plenty of room to disagree with our war efforts but I view the "had enough yet? I have"
as a willingness to surrender.

Things are still tough there but "having enough" with it serves as a too narrow and poor reason for leaving.

There are upsides solidifying.

Iraqi forces and police are strengthening their role in securing their own country and there are signs they may have a viable government to sustain their own leadership and destiny.

Our military is proud of their mission and successes even in the face of frequent tragedy.

I wish them and Iraq all the best.

That doesn't involve punting.

I keep trying to resist posting on this thread. I guess I'm not going to hold out any longer.

Mr. T, I fully agree with your entire first post on this thread, except for one thing: That the war was necessary. To me, it did not seem necessary at the time. To me, it didn't even look like a good voluntary war at the time. Time and hindsight hasn't made it look any better. (I can't begin to express how sad I am to have not been proven wrong by now.)

I think when it comes to this war, the country's morale problem is not the casualty count. We've suffered far higher casualty counts before. The problem is that more and more people have come to suspect that this was not a necessary war, and that their trust in our leadership was misplaced.

Nothing al qeida could possibly do would undermine the will of the American people so much as the failure to find any Iraqi WMD did.

"Parading a naked man around on a leash and photographing hims is not the equivalent of beheading."

This is true. But it ain't exactly the Marshall Plan, either.

Anyone see Frontline last night? Whoa.

It's hard to think we're not in deep trouble when our nation increasingly resembles failed nations from the past.

"Anyone see Frontline last night? Whoa."

Frontline the liberal medias "Fear Factor"! Lucky for The Ministry of Truth only the proles watch PBS.

My first reaction when I saw the soldiers had been brutally tortured and killed was to think,

"What are we doing over there?"

I don't think we're fighting terrorism, at least not in any meaningful sense. And we could certainly fight terrorism without trying to re-build Iraq.

I don't think we're avenging 9/11, because Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

I don't think we're making America safer, because well, Hurricane Katrina killed that notion for me.

I think we're trying to prove our strength and power to the world, and we 're trying create a Democratic middle east! Which, is a good goal.

However, it ain't worth dying for. Or at least I'm not willing to die for it. And since I'm not willing to die for that cause, I'm not going to ask others to die. So my vote, bring 'em home.

Katrina was a natural disaster. There's no reason to think nature would have been kinder to President Kerry or that FEMA would have moved more quickly with a different political appointee in the director's chair.

Michael Brown was a fall guy, perhaps less qualified or less effective than his predecessor, but a fall guy nonetheless.

It's worth noting that FEMA was rolled up into DHS, a move which Director Brown objected to:
(per wikipedia):

In September 2003, Michael D. Brown, FEMA's director and DHS Undersecretary, warned that the shift would make a mockery of FEMA's new motto, "A Nation Prepared," and would "fundamentally sever FEMA from its core functions," "shatter agency morale" and "break longstanding, effective and tested relationships with states and first responder stakeholders." The inevitable result of the reorganization of 2003, warned Brown, would be "an ineffective and uncoordinated response" to a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.

Irrespective of why we justified Gulf War II, it now serves as "terrorist fly paper". Want to wage guerrilla warfare against Americans, then COME TO IRAQ! We should be able to agree that it's better to let the radicals battle U.S. Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen in Iraq than Mommies in the Mall of America.

"Irrespective of why we justified Gulf War II, it now serves as "terrorist fly paper". Want to wage guerrilla warfare against Americans, then COME TO IRAQ!"

Without a doubt the STUPIDEST justification for the war in Iraq, and thats saying something. As if we have a choice to engage Terrorists away from the U.S and thus keeping U.S. civilians safer. So if our country is attacked again and our terrorist enemies tell us they are bringing the war back here does that mean we take a turn and battle it out here on U.S. soil? It's only fair. If so I'd like to suggest now that we hold it in Texas, our commander in chief knows the terrain and there is lots of wide open space so nothing important gets broken. Perhaps Dubya can host the "global war on terra" at his ranch? His wife can cater the event, just don't serve pork.

You know, I just get really tired of the whole "Bush Lied, People Died" mantra.

I just heard Senator Santorum on the radio a little bit ago, where he released this little nugget of information:

US Forces have confiscated five hundred projectiles in Iraq, some 75% of which contain sarin or contain mustard gas. Moreover, it appears that information exists which indicates that there are more projectiles still in-country.

What's that about no weapons of mass destruction again, boys and girls? Don't be shy; speak up.

The other 25% were filled with Doritos.

"Don't be shy; speak up."

OK: Here's what Charles Duelfer and the Iraq Survey Group, commissioned by Bush, concluded in 2004: "While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered." Iraq Survey Group Final Report, available at http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/isg-final-report_vol3_cw_key-findings.htm

Those shells had been abandoned since before 1991, according to Bush's own investigation. The trace amounts of sarin and mustard gas they contained were more than 13 years old.
And how was Saddam going to launch them? With his super powers? I know, he was himself a "weapon of mass destruction," but I'm not sure his super strength was sufficient to fire these shells with trace chemicals out the window of his palace, much less at the US.

The existence of these shells has been publicly available since Duelfer's 2004 report. Their existence did not constitute an imminent threat, and do not justify the expensive, bloody invasion and occupation launched in 2003.

Who are you going to believe: Politician Santorum, misrepresenting data for the gullible in the middle of a tough re-election bid four months before election day, or the official US Weapons Inspector's comprehensive report written after a year and a half of combing Iraq for WMD's?

Don't be shy, speak up.

Heh. Thanks Sam, ya beat me to it. Here's the spectacular "declassified report" that Santorum read from. The document contains six "key points".

One of these key points is an actual fact, that about 500 munitions have been recovered which contain degraded chemical weapons. The other five points are speculative, and refer to the possible existance of "pre-Gulf War chemical munitions" and what might happen to them, should they actually exist. Nothing indicates the existance of weapons manufactured after 1991.

There's nothing here that we didn't already know from Duelfer's report, except that the number of munitions recovered is around 500.

This is pure election politics. The report was requested a couple days ago by the Senate intelligence committee, who then stood next to Santorum today as he let Santorum read the results. Santorum must be getting really desperate to think this is worth a press conference, and the Republican leadership must be equally desperate to hang on to his seat to have a committee chairman hand the guy a basically empty manufactured press opportunity.

Sorry, Max. Try picking a horse more reliable than Rick Santorum for your next ride. :-)

Getting back to the interesting discussion, with Mr. T... T, will you do two things for me?

First, offer up some evidence that the flypaper theory really holds water. If we are smart enough to think that we can kill more islamic terrorists by putting troops in Iraq, don't ya think they might be smart enough to realize they can kill more Americans in America?

Second, explain to me the difference between "terrorist fly paper" and "terrorist training ground". Right now, we're killing insurgents... but in the process we're teaching the surviving insurgents how to be smarter and better insurgents. We already know that they're communicating their "lessons learned" into Afghanistan. Is there any reason to think they won't apply those lessons elsewhere someday? Or here? If that's the case, what good is the flypaper really?

The "fly paper" analogy doesn't require a majority vote to demonstrate it's validity. I appreciate that everybody has an opinion. You are welcome to disagree: I believe you are mistaken.

Like our President, I don't believe that we need the permission of the U.N. to protect America's national interest. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait without provocation and would have continued on into Saudi Arabia were it not for the tripwire presence of American Armed Forces (Desert Shield). The liberals in the audience may have forgotten that Sen John Kerry voted against giving Bush 41 the authority to liberate Kuwait (Desert Storm). And no, that wasn't before he voted for it.

Our failure to remove Hussein from power in Gulf War I was in compliance with the United Nations mandate (evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait, do not chase them to Baghdad), and buttressed by our fear that a destabilized Iraq would tilt the regional balance of power in favor of Iran.

The most radical elements of the current insurgency came to Iraq from abroad because it was viewed as a target rich environment. Most of them despised Saddam Hussein because he had not enforced Islamic Sharia, and was not a devout Muslim himself.

Many of the Iraqi insurgents/suicide bombers (and a large number of wannabees) are working under the direction of these fly-paper terrorists. Most of those who are willing to die for the cause are not smart enough to build a bomb or manage the logistics/planning of the operation: they require leadership.

Everybody who wants to sign up for the 80 vestal virgins ride should get a one-way ticket, courtesy of the U.S. Taxpayers. If they hate us enough to die in Iraq, they would probably be willing to die in the U.S. if given half a chance.

And that, my friends, is called terrorist fly-paper.

Makes for an interesting military recruiting pitch: "The Bush Doctrine -- We don't want terrorists blowing civilians up on U.S. soil, so join the Army and we'll send you over to Iraq and they can get their rocks off beheading you."

The flies are winning, big time.

People will die: preferably many more on their side than ours. Atrocities will be committed on both sides. It's the nature of warfare.

We didn't send our soldiers there because we knew that an insurgency was the inevitable outcome (though Shinsheki feared as much). Rather, we sent our soldiers there to remove Saddam Hussein from power and to neutralize their offensive capabilities (including WMD's).

At a mininum, we can't leave until Hussein is rotting in the ground. Sitting in jail won't do. If they would simply pull a Jack Ruby on his way to court tomorrow morning, I think we would see the Iraqi fedayeen faction of the insurgency begin to move on with their lives. As long as Saddam is still alive, they can hope for his ascension to the throne.

Mister T: The insurgency has nothing to do with Saddam. It has to do with anger and resentment over an occupying force in their country. If China invaded and occupied Oregon, wouldn't you take up arms against their soldiers?

Over 80% of Iraqis want us gone. 47% think killing US soldiers is justified. The Prime Minister wants a time table for withdrawal. "We can't leave until Hussein is rotting in the ground." Respectfully, you are delusional if you think the violence against US troops will end when that happens.

People die on both sides; no big deal. When do you deploy?

"...sign up for the 80 vestal virgins ride."
Vestal virgins were the daughters of important Roman citizens who were offered to maintain sacred fires in temples. They were sworn to remain chaste until the age of 35 when they retired and could then marry if they wished. If they broke there vow of virginity they were paraded through the town on a cart then taken to a burial chamber and placed down inside a tomb w/ a little food and water and then left to starve. History is full of interesting facts and many lessons for us in the present. The study of the Roman Empire and it's fall is very apropos at this moment in our history. If you don't know much about the past you really can't be much of an authority on the present. Terrorist fly paper. Right.

Alan: the fact that nothing has blown up in the U.S. is anecdotal evidence the fly paper theory is working.

I have no hard evidence, but I would bet that Cheney/Bush/Rummy do. If you read the declassified translations of many of the documents captured with Al Qaeda's senior management, they are clearly worried about wasting their offensive capability on pissing off Iraqis without producing sufficient numbers of pissed off Americans.

Remember that the late Al Zarqawi was likely outed by Jordanians AFTER he blew up a local wedding reception in Jordan. Everybody has their tipping point: Zarqawi had been operating on that razor edge for too long, and it cost him his life.

The Syrians were recently evicted from Lebanon. The region is changing, albeit slowly. It would not have happened without our willingness to send young Americans to their death. I'm not going to suggest that what we have accomplished thus far is worth 2,500 dead American servicemen and women. I do believe that an unfettered Saddam Hussein, in control of 50% of the worlds proven oil reserves, would have occassioned dead Americans in much larger numbers.

It's worth noting that Hama Rules remain in force in this region, and your only real friends are family and tribe. Sharia is simply a social construct that directs this instrinsic distrust towards non-muslims.

Bush's mistake was in setting the measure of success way too high: a functioning Iraqi democracy is definitely a long shot and has no historical or socialogical basis. A stable authoritarian regime with a consultative parliament might be possible, if it grants significant autonomy to the Kurds and is not reliant on Iranian influence.

The region defies comprehension. It may be worse off when we leave than it was in 1990. But Bush 43 should (at least) be given credit for trying to finish the job that Bush 41 started.

If nothing else, we demonstrated that America is willing to project power and take casualities if only to enforce a 48 hour get out of Baghdad warning. The next guy (in North Korea or Iran) might learn something from this experience.

Libya certainly seems much more willing to get along than they used to be, and my guess is that Hugo Chavez would tone down his rhetoric if he saw a carrier battle group sailing off Maracaibo.


If China invaded Oregon, I would definitely be migrating to Canada or Mexico. If 2,500 ICBM's and the U.S. Armed Services were unable to stop them, I would offer little to no deterrent value.


Don't be such a prick. The "80 vestal virgins" is a popular term for what a suicide bomber hopes to inherit in the afterlife as reward for their personal sacrifice. I'm sure there is a more accurate translation (or you could write it in Arabic, quizas?), but I'm not pretending to be an expert on Islamic history. I do know something about foreign affairs and military history, so lighten up.

"If China invaded Oregon, I would definitely be migrating to Canada or Mexico." Spoken like a true American Hero. No wonder we are feared through out the world. China is already here son they don't have to invade us because they are on the way to owning us or are you so busy watching The Global War on Terror you don't see them coming? Trust me you don't have to explain that you are no expert on Islamic History it's kind of obvious.

"...the fact that nothing has blown up in the U.S. is anecdotal evidence the fly paper theory is working."

And it's also anecdotal evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is effective, and that the NSA wiretaps are worthwhile, and that ballistic missile defense is a valid deterrent, and that all the terrorists decided to wait until after the World Cup before they get themselves killed, and that everyone on the planet loves us.

That's the trouble with anecdotal evidence. It means whatever makes for a good anecdote today.

"I have no hard evidence, but I would bet that Cheney/Bush/Rummy do."

Errr... their record on evidence-based decisionmaking is not exactly stellar.

"... an unfettered Saddam Hussein, in control of 50% of the worlds proven oil reserves, would have occassioned dead Americans in much larger numbers."

That would have been true... but it is a completely unrealistic scenario after 1991. Iraq's armed forces never had the ability to seriously threaten their neighbors after the first gulf war. They were too closely watched to have massed any forces without drawing an overwhelmingly large response. Sure, Hussein probably maintained the ambition, but he did not have the capability.

"... my guess is that Hugo Chavez would tone down his rhetoric if he saw a carrier battle group sailing off Maracaibo."

You seem to have an optimistic view of the usefulness of empty miliary threats. Threatening Chavez would solidify his power, just as calling Iran part of the "Axis of Evil" solidified the power of the hardliners there.

Senator Santorum also believes that we lesbians/gays/homosexuals are like a cancer eating away at the fabric of american goodness. I wouldn't believe a word that came out of his mouth.

I have had enough with the religion of peace. Wheres these so called Human rights groups which screamed about Gitmo but have been SILENT about our troops getting their throats cut, arms cut off, eyes poked out. Im tired of the groups who will always find a reason to attack our foreign policy but will have an excuse for the people of the religion of pieces.

If anything this should mean stepping it up.


Do you believe that Saddam Hussein or the Taliban view our military threat as "empty"?

I submit that a U.S. Naval carrier group (or a diplomatic "shot across the bow" from a U.S. President) will be taken most seriously by America's adversaries thanks to President Bush.

Contrast President Bush with President "cruise-missile" Clinton, and any objective observer would have to realize that you ignore those "empty military threats" at your own peril.

"Do you believe that Saddam Hussein or the Taliban view our military threat as 'empty'?"

What's that got to do with Chavez? It's well-known that we have a two-theater military, designed, funded, and staffed to fight two wars at once and win them one at a time.

The occupation in Iraq is tying up about one half of our capability. We only have one saber left to rattle. So who's it going to be? Are we going to keep forces ready to defend South Korea? Are we going to threaten Iran?

No one, least of all Hugo Chavez, believes that we're going to withdraw from any of our other commitments or strategic threats in order to invade Venezuela. A carrier battle group off their shore, therefore, is an empty threat. It would look impressive right enough, but it would mean nothing. A letter reminding Chavez that we have cruise missiles would be just as effective and a hell of a lot cheaper.

Now, after we've stabilized and/or withdrawn from Iraq, or knocked over North Korea with China's blessing, then maybe we'll have a credible threat to offer elsewhere. So if you want to free up a saber to rattle at Chavez, you'd better think hard about how to get us out of Iraq.

Alan: I believe we agree on the limited nature of U.S. military assets (not to mention public support for a third front). I certainly don't believe that an invasion of Iran, North Korea, or Venezuela is likely (not without reactivation of the Selective Service Act).

My point is that you don't have to actually invade (or even reposition military assets) in order to enhance diplomatic leverage.

Following the unceremonious withdrawal of U.S. forces following highly publicized failures in Lebanon and Somalia, America's willingness to wage war and take casualties was called into question. You may recall that we faced low tech insurgencies in both examples.

That political will is no longer in doubt, with the exception of the "cut and run" minority that was rejected by the U.S. Senate today.

"That political will is no longer in doubt..."

It's not? I don't think cutting and running at this point is a good idea at all, but that doesn't make our will seem solid to me. This vote just demonstrates that in this one situation of our own making, we're going to hang in a bit longer. Hopefully long enough.

Outside of Iraq, it doesn't mean a thing. (Well, it might also mean that the Democratic party is so devoid of useful ideas that they're reduced to quarrelling over this, but that's a different issue.)

I bet (but can't prove) that the peerlessly great man (Kim Jong iL) and President Chavez have paid more attention to the U.S. Senate on this issue than anybody on the planet (Al Qaeda's leadership being the one possible exception).

Those who fear U.S. projection of power are paying very close attention to America's political support for continued expenditures of life and treasure in Iraq. I'll bet that Kim Jong iL knows more about today's U.S. Senate debate than the average Oregonian.

Will any of the pro-war folks enlist?

If not I think that says everything about the strength of their convictions.

The occupation of Iraq will be deemed a horrible failure, though it has been a huge success for those running it, financially speaking. The oil industry, the weapons industry, the Saudis, and the Chinese are all quite happy with the prolonged occupation. Now, for the rest of us, how to explain to our children why they are responsible for paying tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars each to the Chinese and the Saudis who are bankrolling this country's financial hemorrhaging. That will a challenge.

As for Chavez, he's hated by the oil men because he wants to lower oil prices. Expect another US backed coup attempt in the next 6 months. He wants to break the Saudi/US/UK control of the oil markets and the Bush administration can't have that. They're not about to give up their record profits when all it costs is the lives and money of other people.

The really interesting aspect of this is that unlike Vietnam, where it was easy for people to deny their support after that occupation was understood for what it was, in the days of the internet a lot more people are now on record with their ignorant and asinine notions of the reason for this invasion. I wonder what will come of that; if people will be able to admit, like some here, that they supported the war initially because they were mislead. It's a difficult thing on our culture to admit that one has been wrong, but it is something that a great many people will need to do in order to heal the damage that has been done.

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