Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jul 31, 2007 in At TMV | 39 comments

America: Your Cold Shower Is Ready

iraq_manhandsinair_073107.jpg

A New York Times op-ed piece this week by Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack stating that the U.S. is finally making progress militarily in Iraq has gotten enormous coverage – and deservedly so.

I offer two overarching and interrelated observations pertaining to it:

First, the response to the piece by the Brookings Institution braniacs puts the lie to the notion flogged by conservatives and right-wingers that many liberal and left-wing commentators want the U.S. to be humiliated in Iraq.

While there is always the lunatic fringe, this assessment couldn’t be more wrong.

As someone who initially supported the war, I believe that I speak for many people in saying that I feel great enmity for President Bush and his harem of dangerous hacks – Cheney, Rove, Gonzo and Condi come easily to mind, and Rummy and Wolfie will not be soon forgotten. My heart breaks anew with every American death in Iraq, which easily is the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in U.S. history.

These harsh views do not translate into wishing ill for the troops. Quite the contrary. Which is why I briefly felt a surge (pardon the term) of optimism as I read the O’Hanlon-Pollack piece.

But that feeling quickly passed because, secondly and ultimately most importantly, the piece exhibited a rather shocking myopia.

While there does seem to be some movement on the battlefield, that situation is not playing out in an hermetically sealed environment, and there was but one passing reference in the entire piece to the other major conflict in Iraq – a deeply dysfunctional central government obdurately unwilling to work for sectarian reconciliation.

As even General Petraeus, the architect of the modest battlefield successes, has said, there cannot be a military victory without a political victory. The former remains highly unlikely; there is zero chance of the latter.

Photograph by Agence France Presse

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • MarloweC

    I agree, Shaun, the authors’ oversight regarding the political situation in Iraq is striking.

    Gen. Petraeus has been doing an exceptional job. It is ironic that the American institution that is doing the best job of rebuilding in Iraq is the one that is, by definition, oriented towards destruction: the armed forces.

    The Bush adminstration, by contrast, has handled the Iraq political file with almost supernatural stupidity. Its proconsuls in Iraq have been incompetent in fostering a stable political settlement, and now the administration is basing its entire policy on a general who is improvising political relationships left, right and centre.

    I have to agree with Shaun here…the political battle is critical. I believe the best success Petraeus can hope for is reducing the civil blood bath when the US withdraws – and eliminating Iraq as a future base for AQ (which will be a victory). But this will be a success of Petraeus and the US armed forces, not the Bush administration.

  • stevesturm

    This single NYT piece aside, how can you deny that MANY liberal and left-wing commentators want the U.S. to be humiliated in Iraq? Some do because of their knee-jerk aversion to using military force, others because of their knee-jerk opposition to anything Bush supports. There are a whole lot of people on the left who would have a really bad day were things to come together in Iraq… probably as many who were so terribly disappointed that Roberts survived his tumble last night.

    Having said that, your view on the outcome is spot on. Since a political victory ain’t going to happen, with no disrespect to Petraeus, it’s past time to get our troops out of playing peacemaker and back to their role of going after terrorists.

  • Amanda

    Wow steve…that is just a horrible thing to say about anyone. And clearly wrong if you ever actually speak to (and listen to) a liberal or democrat. Those of us on the left of the political spectrum are certainly not looking to humiliate the country. Nor do we have any desire to lose the war in Iraq. We just have a hard time seeing a clear victory through the haze of bad decisions, lies from the White House, and horrifying levels of violence. Do we oppose the President? Yes. And with good reason. He’s a liar, he’s completely incompetent, and his administration has fostered an era of political corruption that makes Nixon look practically angelic. But to equate opposing the President to wanting our troops and our nation to be humiliated is not only hateful, it’s ignorant and a perfect example of why people on the Left hate those on the Right and vice versa.

  • kritter

    Many on the left want the resources that are being expended in Iraq, used in more effective ways to fight the War on Terror. While we are playing pat-a-cake with Maliki’s government, al queda is expanding its world wide terror network and the Taliban is enjoying a resurgence in Afghanistan, reversing gains made early in the war. Also, it is undeniable that our military has been stretched thin, and asked to do a near impossible job, which they have performed with excellence.

    I seriously doubt that anything Petraeus does will lead to peace and reconcilliation, as long as Maliki’s government remains in power. Those in Baghdad now get one hour of electricity a day, and a newly released report details the enormous corruption in the ministry and in the army. They have made almost no progress towards any of the benchmarks, and despite that are taking the month of August off. If we continue to support a government that cannot govern, the chaos will continue, and reconcilliation between the sects will never take place. We are now at the point where Maliki has the temerity to ask for Petraeus’ replacement, when it is he, Maliki, who should step down, along with his ministers.

    We have already seen the success of Hamas in Palestine, stepping in for the hapless and inefficient Fatah government. Only a national government that can function in providing services and that truly represents all Iraqis has a chance to succeed. I don’t see the sense in keeping this holding pattern going unless Bush presses for Maliki to resign.

  • Rudi

    SS – The humiliation should be directed to Bush and Rummy. They created this environment due to their arrogance and incompetence.Wanna blame the Left for the success of Operations Together Forward and Sinbad.

  • stevesturm

    Amanda: my comments were based on conversations with those on the left. You may not be one of them, but can you deny that there aren’t many (not all, not most, but many) who do wish for us to be humiliated?

    Kim: redeploying assets and energy elsewhere in the WOT is just a talking point for those who want out of Iraq. Is the left interested in shifting the 100,000+ US troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan? I doubt it. Do they want our intelligence agencies spending more time monitoring phone calls and emails of suspected terrorists? No. Do they want Bush to order tactical strikes into Pakistan, Iran and elsewhere to go after terrorist safe havens? No. Do they want our Special Forces to capture suspected terrorists and detain them as long as necessary to keep them from trying to kill us? No. The left just wants out of Iraq and they’ll use any argument they can come up, even if they have no intention of ever following through.

    Rudi: you get no argument from me that Bush and crew screwed this up big time.

  • mikkel

    On one hand it is a shame that Petraeus was not in charge in the beginning or otherwise we might have avoided this mess all together. On the other hand, he was in charge of police and army training pretty early on (mid-2004 I think) and there has been minimal progress there. To be fair, most of the problem is caused by sectarianism (as opposed to bad training) and he had very little influence in policies that exacerbated that.

    Regardless, there is quite a ways to go before reconciliation happens. Oh, and might soon get a WHOLE lot worse.

  • Rudi

    SS – To your “Liberals hate America” strawman, these two links find that O’Hanlon’s op-ed piece is in contradiction of his Iraq report published July 23 at Brookings.
    http://cernigsnewshog.blogspot.com/2007/07/when-shills-contradict-themselves.html
    http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2007/jul/30/ohanlons_optimism_about_iraq_contradicted_by_brookings_own_assessment

    JULY 23, 2007- With what promised to be a pivotal summer now more than half over, the situation in Iraq remains tenuous at best. Even with all surge forces in place and operational, the modest progress made in the security sphere thus far has not had the hoped-for subsequent influence on the political and economic sectors. Adding to the pressure is the steadily increasing demands stateside for a change in strategy. Indeed, the “political clocks” in Washington and Baghdad are perhaps farther apart today than they have ever been.

    From a security standpoint, having the full allotment of surge troops in theater has allowed for intensified coalition operations in and around Baghdad aimed at rooting out militants from their sanctuaries. Initial reports indicate that these have led to a decrease in the levels of violence in these areas. However, violence nationwide has failed to improve measurably over the past 2-plus months, with a resilient enemy increasingly turning its focus to softer targets outside the scope of the surge. And while the number of internally displaced persons has declined, it has done so not as a result of security improvements but because there are fewer places for Iraqis to run with a number of provinces unable to accept any more refugees. In assessing the overall sentiment of the Iraqi people recently, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker summed it up in one word: fear.

    In the NYT it’s going “swimmingly, in a detailed report at Brookings it’s “remains tenuous at best”. How is this so?

  • mikkel

    “Is the left interested in shifting the 100,000+ US troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan?”
    No, it’s actually 10-20k into Afghanistan, 20k-40k into
    regional bases.

    “Do they want our intelligence agencies spending more time monitoring phone calls and emails of suspected terrorists?”
    Yes, by making sure the surveillance is legal (there have been more than enough amendments to FISA for the electronic age) and directed. In fact, these restrictions will produce better intelligence by maintaining a clear protocol for sharing the information and because mathematically extremely wide surveillance tends to introduce so much noise that it makes it harder to figure out the real threats.

    “Do they want Bush to order tactical strikes into Pakistan, Iran and elsewhere to go after terrorist safe havens?”
    No. Of course no one really wants this as it would be politically inviable for Musharraf and we still need him. If things change on that front then yes of course.

    “Do they want our Special Forces to capture suspected terrorists and detain them as long as necessary to keep them from trying to kill us?”
    Yes and no. No to “suspected” because most of them are not captured by our special forces but are handed over to us by local governments or populaces. They should have a trial that passes legal muster and which the military’s own lawyers approve of. Yes if there is proof and there is some sort of oversight.

  • truflo

    Steve,

    Left or right, republican or democrat, conservative or progressive, from whatever point of view you look at it, the truth is, as Shaun points out, the surge is not going to work, nor was it designed to. It was put in place so Bush can end his presidency without having to declare defeat.

    That is not to say General Petraeus is being dishonest when he expresses hope that things might yet be turned around, but everything this administration touches is eventually compromised and corrupted- the DOJ, FEMA, The State Department, CIA, the Army itself, and so too will he.

    Don’t believe me? Exhibit one, the Brookings Institute’s Iraq Index Project, spearheaded by Mr O’Hanlon, which paints an entirely different and more depressing picture, but seven days in Iraq and all this study disappears, is deemed not so credible after all

    What we need is an honest assessment by someone or group the country can trust. Petraeus was supposed to be that man, but as we have seen with his availability to those on the right only, the corrosion has already begun.

  • kritter

    SS- No this is not just a liberal talking point. The left doesn’t deny the danger of terrorism, but what is undeniable is that with all of our resources bogged down in Iraq, we aren’t capable of responding to threats in any other area of the world. Our commitment has weakened us not strengthened us. And what is truly idiotic is that we are depending on a government that has proven itself to be undependable- Maliki’s government for success. The left wants smarter use of resources, so that we can use the military to make us safer.

  • C Stanley

    Petraeus was supposed to be that man, but as we have seen with his availability to those on the right only, the corrosion has already begun.

    Availablity to those on the right only? Care to explain what you are talking about?

  • kritter

    I agree with Truflo- most Americans no longer trust that any information disseminated by this administration or its agents is accurate. Every agency has been politicized by Bush, until their sole purpose becomes making the administration look good. Look at the recent admissions by the last surgeon general, whose reports were rewritten so that they mentioned Bush and his accomplishments numerous times. Same thing happened to Christy Whitman at EPA. Their credibility is thoroughly shot with all but the 26% that still support the president.

  • C Stanley

    Actually, Kim, some on the left do deny and/or downplay the dangers of terrorism and even those who take it seriously don’t offer a rational alternative in how to deal with it. Mikkel points out, for example, that the mainstream Dem proposal would be to draw down to 40K-60K troops in Iraq (which would make it far less likely that those troops would be able to accomplish anything at all; we saw already how ineffective it was for our troops to be isolated rather than among the population as we’re doing now), and sending 10K-20K to Afghanistan is going to accomplish what, exactly?

  • mikkel

    “Mikkel points out, for example, that the mainstream Dem proposal would be to draw down to 40K-60K troops in Iraq”

    Actually I believe it is keeping 10-20k in “Iraq” i.e. Kurdistan (yeah that’s going to work out) which is both a lot smarter and dumber. It’s smarter because technically they’d only be Al Qaeda hunters, but on the other hand we’d either get kicked out or find ourselves caught between the Turks and Kurds. The other ones would be in Kuwait mostly and would theoretically be ready for deployment if needed to contain hotspots.

    As for Afghanistan, 10-20k probably won’t do much at this point. I think the Afghanistan problem is that it’s ungovernable. Of course, their new goal isn’t to govern Afghanistan but to wipe out the Taliban. NATO has desperately pleaded for about 10k troops for that area and seems to think we can drive them out once and for all. It’s hard to say, because there is increasing fatigue — except unlike Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Taliban probably can’t be taken out by the warlords very easily (since you know, they’re still marginally operated by Pakistani intelligence) so we probably still have some more time to work on it.

  • jjc

    cstanley:
    Actually, Kim, some on the left do deny and/or downplay the dangers of terrorism and even those who take it seriously don’t offer a rational alternative in how to deal with it

    Some on the left are bats**t crazy. Likewise some on the right. Both types get lots more air in otherwise intelligent discussion than they deserve.

    I sincerely doubt that there are many that truly “downplay the dangers of terrorism.” On the other hand, I freely admit that I doubt that the whole notion of a “war on terror” is useful in making progress towards decreasing our vulnerability to terrorist attacks.

    While I am a lefty, I don’t think it’s my leftiness that has me saying so. But you might well think that my statement here is an example of someone on the left downplaying the dangers of terrorism.

  • Rudi

    CS All administrations spin the news, but this one takes it to a new level. What about the leaked memo on “terror dry runs”? Seems none were even dry runs, cheese and leaking cold packs. Are we suppose to wet our pants when old women bring cheese on a plane and the “terror alert” is raised. This administration uses the “terror alert” for spin and political purposes. Please tell us of any “terror threat” in the US that amounted to even molotov cocktails on wheels like in the UK. The paranoid even found a threat in young men shopping for cell phones. The Wingnuts conflated this “no story” to IED’s in Iraq.

  • kritter

    CS- Its a complicated issue without an easy answer, but attacking the left for pointing out what a waste of resources the effort in Iraq has been certainly is unhelpful. I haven’t seen sources on the left that don’ t believe terrorism is a real threat, at least not recently- maybe you have some recent ones?

    I have seen plans that would leave enough forces to protect the Kurds and withdraw to US bases, so that we are out of the Iraqi civil war, while redeploying some to help out NATO in Afghanistan. It may be that Afghanistan is ungovernable, but that may also be true of Iraq.

  • Alan G

    While I don’t think that liberals want the US to lose, I do have to add the following caveat:

    It’s hard to see your opponents proven right. If the Iraq War had turned out well I guess I could have accepted it, but it would have been awfully difficult. Therefore, while I might cringe at each failure, a little voice inside me says “At least you were proven right.” But perhaps that’s just me.

    And completely OT, boy has this site declined in the weeks I’ve been gone! I don’t like the new format, I find many of the lines obscured, and WordPress lost my password!

  • jjc

    Alan G.

    It’s hard to see your opponents proven right. If the Iraq War had turned out well I guess I could have accepted it, but it would have been awfully difficult. Therefore, while I might cringe at each failure, a little voice inside me says “At least you were proven right.” But perhaps that’s just me.

    It isn’t just you.

    But the real point here is that my motives for making whatever argument I make shouldn’t matter. “You just want America to be humiliated” fails the most basic test of constructive debate. Likewise “You’re just an authoritarian bigot.”

    Adults should be able to have a good argument without resort to cheap tactics like this.

  • C Stanley

    The problem with assessing the risk of terrorist threat is there is no statistical way to do so. It’s undeniable that the individual risk for each of us to die at the hands of a terrorist is infinitessimal, but it’s still a very real and logical threat that this risk will increase if our government doesn’t address potential or looming threats. And to conservatives, it’s not arguable that the main role of the federal government is national security, so when people compare the risk of dying at the hands of terrorists to dying of cancer or some such thing, our response is “what does that have to do with the role of our government to protect our citizens?”

    Kim: I don’t recall seeing much lately from the far leftists who claim that there is NO terrorist threat; I wasn’t trying to claim that there are a lot of people like that or that they have a lot of support, but nonetheless they do exist. And it still remains that the more moderate center-leftists who oppose Bush’s policies without offering serious alternatives will risk being seen as unserious about the threat as well.

  • truflo

    CS,

    The only in-depth interview he has given so far was to Hugh Hewitt, described by fellow conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan, as someone having no interest in the truth, only propaganda.

    Glen Greenwald of Salon has written seeking an interview. No reply to date, and unlikely to be one any time soon.

    Fox is his go-to network, Hannity and Colmes his go-to talking heads.

    Rather than pandering to the 28%, he needs to be open and truthful with the 68%.

    Its a pity, because he seems a decent guy, the best commander available, and honest. God only knows what kind of interference he is having to deal with.

  • kritter

    CS- I’m sure they do, just like there are those on the right that think nuking Iraq is the solution. I usually discount the fringes on both sides, because they aren’t living in the real world.

    But I disagree with your premise that there have been no serious alternatives offered- if you watched the youtube debate, Sen Biden has the most informed, realistic alternative, that continues to be ignored by many on both sides. BTW, staying there full force is impossible to maintain- so the present course is no more realistic than a full pullout.

  • truflo

    Kritter as usual gets it right. There are of course alternatives, the big one being to set a date certain for withdrawal and work towards it. This will concentrate all minds greatly. Along with this, the grown up diplomacy America was once famous for needs to be put in place. Serious people engaging with those in the region whose future is just as threatened as our own.

    The problem is there are no serious people left in this administration. O’Hanlon and Pollock’s piece is noting more than the usual Friedman argument- six more months and then lets see. That, by the way, represents, if troop deaths are to continue as they have been, another 456 dead American soldiers.

    Volunteer army or not, no one should be asked to throw away their lives for a mission fewer and fewer Americans believe in or even understand anymore.

    In the meantime, in case you didn’t notice, the political solution just went on holiday.

  • Rudi

    Alan G – More o/t, the switch over to WordPress is full of bugs. I’ve seen problems over at BalloonJuice with the WordPress. Seems there are some bugs with the way WP handles the database. I wonder if it’s in WP or at the administrator level. I’ve recently started to play with web s/w and cannot even get MySQL up and running on an old PC.

  • C Stanley

    The only in-depth interview he has given so far was to Hugh Hewitt, described by fellow conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan, as someone having no interest in the truth, only propaganda.

    Glen Greenwald of Salon has written seeking an interview. No reply to date, and unlikely to be one any time soon.

    Um, except that when I just clicked over to Salon and read Glen Greenwald’s post about this, he clearly did receive a reply- in fact there was an exchange of several e-mails. The response basically said that Petraeus has given over 100 interviews, so the one with Hewitt was hardly exclusive. Greenwald was told that his name would be added to the list of interested interviewers (surprise, he wasn’t able to demand an immediate interview in the interest of “fairness”!) Then when Greenwald was asked repeatedly what he felt was slanted about the Hewitt interview, he seemed to forget to address that question.

    Well, thanks for filling me in, anyway, Truflo. It’s always informative to see how the game of shooting the messenger is being adapted to changing situations. Now I understand the latest version: Petraeus’ testimony is henceforth completely tainted because 1 out of 100 interviews he gave was to a right winger and he refuses to take time out of commanding the troops in Iraq to grant equal time to a left winger.

  • kritter

    Another measure of success, the day-to-day welfare of the average Iraqi is still elusive. While sources report that the mass exodus of Iraqis from their neighborhoods has slowed (a positive sign), there is still little progress in employment, electricity, or access to clean water. 92% of Iraqi children have been traumatized to the point that they are learning at a slower pace, and there is malnutrition reported for 28% ( SOURCE – today’s WaPo). Conditions have worsened since 2003, as funding for humanitarian aid for Iraqi citizens has declined.

    Add to that a government that is blind to any but its own self-serving and corrupt aims, what do we honestly see for a stable future for this country? Are we focusing on the right goals? Any real progress will have to include a reasonable standard of living for the average Iraqi.

  • This just in:

    Op-ed co-author O’Hanlon, testifying today before a House subcommittee, appears to have backed down considerably from his rose-colored view in The Times, according to a brief post from Matt Yglesias.

    Hmmmm.

  • domajot

    This thread makes me heartsick to the point of desperation.

    Shaun’s post, which most commenters seem to have forgotten, pointed out the glaring absence of political progress in Iraq and how that issue was ignored in the Hanlon op-ed.

    Yet, the question of what kind of Iraqi government we are enabling ,should be what we discuss, even if the surge is 100% successful. Sectarian reconcilitation is, of course, central, and the failures of the Iraqi government in this regard demote the effectivenss of US military actions in reducing violence in Baghdad to being merely a humanitarian undertaking. Humanitarian concerns can not and should not be dismissed, but when one objective is substitured for another, we should at least take note.,
    Aside from sectarian reconcilitation, the Maliki governement is failing on other fronts. Billions (with a B) of dollars are simply disappearing due to corruption, while the percentage of malnourished children rises and hospitals run out of supplies.
    When we weigh the pros and cons of our presence, we should be also looking at the kind of governance we are enabling in the process. How the Iraqi government is using the window of opportunity the surge is supposed to provide is absolutely viital in ou deliberations as to what to do next.

    On the question of withdrawal, while one side aims at shooting down plans for withdrawal, it has nothing to offer as an alternative except indefinite commitment to staying in Iraq. It doesn’t even address the most sober withdrawal plans., Clinton, for example, has a very realistic plan in place, which is so realistic that it may well draw ire from those impatient to get out quickly.

    If we can’t get serious on this topic and forget the partisan obfuscations, then we are in deep, deep trouble. Judging by this tread, that is the case.

  • domajot

    Sad note: The comments on the Yglesias post liinked to by Shaun (2 positions up from this) equal TMV commenters in shrillness.
    Staying on topic appears to be impossible.

  • Rudi

    domjat – When we handed over sovereignty to this government were stuck with it – what did Rummy say about “going to war…”. The current Congress can’t even demand benchmarks of the Maliki government to future support and aid. Wait for O’Hanlon to wait a Friedman unit and watch the goal post move. O’Hanlons WaPo op-ed in January paints a different scenario to what came out the other day. Many of these pundits worry about their image over what is actually happenibg on the ground. Look at the crazies ranting about Delta snipers killing Tillman for Bush.

  • Yesterday Glenn Greenwald practically destroyed the credibility of Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack. He pointed out the numerous times over the last 4 years that both of them slavishly supported the war and President Bush’s strategy there.

    Their analysis is as worthless as the crap coming out of the AEI, and should be recognized as such. O’Hanlon and Pollack have been wrong about the war and continue to be wrong, so stop listening to them.

  • Rudi

    CS conflate fear terrorism and the Left with this:

    Actually, Kim, some on the left do deny and/or downplay the dangers of terrorism and even those who take it seriously don’t offer a rational alternative in how to deal with it.

    Ron Paul has an interesting essay on fear and it’s political use and the loss of individual rights.
    http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2007/tst073007.htm

    The Fear Factor

    July 30, 2007

    While fear itself is not always the product of irrationality, once experienced it tends to lead away from reason, especially if the experience is extreme in duration or intensity. When people are fearful they tend to be willing to irrationally surrender their rights.

    Thus, fear is a threat to rational liberty. The psychology of fear is an essential component of those who would have us believe we must increasingly rely on the elite who manage the apparatus of the central government.

    The statement “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It is clear, people seek out safety and security when they are in a state of fear, and it is the result of this psychological state that often leads to the surrender of liberty.

    As Washington moves towards it summer legislative recess, indications of fear are apparent. Things seem similar to the days before the war in Iraq. Prior to the beginning of the war, several government officials began using phrases like “we don’t want the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud,” and they spoke of drone airplanes being sent to our country to do us great harm.

    It is incumbent on a great nation to remain confident, if it wishes to remain free. We need not be ignorant to real threats to our safety, against which we must remain vigilant. We need only to banish to the ash heap of history the notion that we ought to be ruled by our fears and those who use them to enhance their own power.

    CS – Don’t fear Ron Paul is a true Liberatian/Conservative. At his Presidential site Paul2008 his third video is his speech at the National Right to Life Convention. Wanna bet his speech stood on his principles as a physician and his opposition to abortion(Romney/Juliani??)

  • “My heart breaks anew with every American death in Iraq, which easily is the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in U.S. history. ”

    I disagree, although it somewhat resembles what clearly IS the biggest blunder: US intervention in the Great European War in 1917. Bush’s revival of Woodrow Wilson’s utopian “nation-building” nonsense, after having explicitly rejected it during the 2000 campaign, is simply an echo of that unfortunate episode.

  • kritter

    BTW, I saw the authors on Hardball yesterday. They qualified their column by stating that they realized that political progress was still absent, and said that they didn’t pick the title- the NYT’s did. They said that they revisited Iraq for 8 days and saw signs of progress on the local level and reported it. Doesn’t mean they think we’re winning.

  • kritter

    I also think, after thinking about it, that many people may downplay the threat of terrorism because they feel that it has dominated our consciousness 24/7 in a destructive manner, and has been used by those in power through the media to manipulate their emotions and their votes.

    I, myself, believe the threat is real, but don’t think that it requires the kind of resources we are expending to fight it. The invasion of Iraq was an enormous blunder that most everyone agrees threatens to destabilize the whole region. It is a war without end that is draining our prosperity and wasting the lives of our best and brightest. Iraq may be ungovernable and uninhabitable for the next 20 years, and in the meantime we are draining resources from our defense and from our children’s futures.

  • C Stanley

    Kim,
    I understand your point about the manipulation (and partly agree) but the problem I see is that people’s frustration with the manipulation seems to cause them to assume that when they’re told one thing, the opposite is really true. The moral of the story of the boy who cried wolf is twofold; one of course is the obvious concept that creating false alarms will lead to a loss of credibility. The other point though, is that just because someone hypes a threat doesn’t mean that the threat isn’t sometimes real.

    I read this and found that it sums up my thoughts pretty well and perhaps will explain what I mean when I say that no one on the Dem side is offering a realistic plan. What I’m getting at is that I supported the Iraq invasion because I felt that it was a needed departure from past foreign policy (which has been flawed under both GOP and Dem administrations). The failure of the invasion to secure a stable Iraq still hasn’t altered my opinion that we need to rethink our policies and if anyone has a serious proposal to do so then I’m all ears. Obama saying that it’s all about ‘talking’ doesn’t really explain how he would persuade the bad characters to change their ways, and Hillary basically taking the Bush lite approach doesn’t do it for me either.

  • kritter

    CS- The article makes some good points, but fails to highlight how much more of a threat terrorism has become since our invasion of Iraq. US retreat emboldens our enemies, but so does invasion of a sovereign Arab nation, because it fulfills OSB’s prophecy that the US wants to occupy Arab lands for oil, which in turn inspires the jihadists.

    I don’t think that the fact that a change in our ME policies was necessary, automatically meant that we should preemptively attack any country that we thought could eventually pose a threat to us or might harbor terrorists. That rationale has led to a new low in worldwide opinion of imperial Americans and also was the greatest recruiting tool that al queda ever could have hoped for. It also led to the total destruction of Iraq as a unified nation, with hardships for Iraqis becoming even worse under American occupation than it was under Saddam.

    There was no al queda in Iraq before we took out Saddam- now there’s a flourishing organization. So you can’t say that because our previous policies were disjointed and unsuccessful that we should continue a policy that has been just disasterous.

    The author conveniently leaves out the repercussions -actual and potential that we are facing with our current policy.

  • C Stanley

    Kim,
    Regardless of whether or not the invasion was the right course of action (or the best change in our previous policy), we’re still stuck with the results of it either way. Do you really think that if a Dem comes in with a more conciliatory tone that the Arab street is going to see the Iraq War as Bush’s war, and then they’ll forgive America and start to see our concessions in a positive light rather than as a show of weakness?

Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com