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Posted by on Jan 11, 2007 in Politics, War | 49 comments

What Americans want

After Bush’s “surge” speech last night, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin gave the Democrats’ response, and hearing them back-to-back gave me — for the first time in many weeks– some clarity about Iraq. This new view stemmed from the most basic of suppositions — that escalation is not what the Americans voted for; this is not what we want.

That’s true… but I don’t think Americans want the outcome of withdrawal, either, and that was the basis of my post late last night. As often happens, though, sleep gave my thoughts time to fall more fully into place, and this morning I found myself questioning this assumption of what it is we do want… or at least, what I want.

I want someone to pinch me so I can wake up and discover that the Iraqi misadventure was all a bad dream.

I want to roll back time to January or February 2003, and start again, please — and this time around, I do not want our troops to invade Iraq. Instead, I want George Bush to say to his utopian advisors, “We cannot force democracy on a population we do not understand… and that does not fully grasp the concepts.”

I can’t have those, you say? But that’s what I want!

Unfortunately, the Democrats presented me last night with yet another utopian view of the future:

Now, in the fourth year of this war, it is time for the Iraqis to stand and defend their own nation. The government of Iraq must now prove that it will make the hard political decisions which will bring an end to this bloody civil war, disband the militias and death squads, create an environment of safety and opportunity for every Iraqi and begin to restore the basics of electricity and water and health care that define the quality of life.

The Iraqis must understand that they alone can lead their nation to freedom. They alone must meet the challenges that lie ahead. And they must know that every time they call 911, we are not going to send 20,000 more American soldiers.

The Democrats evidently feel that the Iraqis are dependent upon our presence, and that they won’t act in their own interests unless they’re “shocked” into action.

If those militias and death squads “belonged” to the Iraqi government, I’d be less inclined to object here — but they don’t. This assumption that Iraqis are deliberately and willfully allowing the murder and mayhem to continue on their streets out of sheer laziness is ludicrous… and dangerous.

George Bush sent America into Iraq because by implication, that’s what “we” wanted. After all, his party was elected to power, and there was a foreign policy that came along with it.

I didn’t want that.

Dick Durbin tells us that Americans want out, and he knows this because the Democrats won the majority in Congress in November. The Democrats, of course, have yet another foreign policy approach, and it includes redeployment out of Iraq, in spite of indications that the most likely outcome will be genocide and/or war across the entire region.

I don’t want that, either.

I opposed the election of George Bush because I vehemently disagreed with his administration’s foreign policy; I still do. Furthermore, I objected to this war from the get-go — but we cannot unspill milk, unbreak eggs, or roll back time.

I don’t know if this proposed “surge” will turn the tide in Iraq, but I am terrified of the likely alternative if we pull out. The resultant slaughter of innocents would be far worse than anything we’ve seen there thus far.

Thus — for the first time since this entire nightmare began, Polimom supports Bush’s proposal. I do so reluctantly, and with very deep reservations. It’s not because I think his ideas are good, but because the likely outcome of the proposed alternative is worse.

Given the alternatives, I think we have to continue to try in Iraq, even though none of this is what I, as an American, “want”.

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  • “What Americans want” is irrelvant!
    You should start talking about what Americans might get with the options they have at hand.

  • Lynx

    The democratic “solution” is more of a “we get the hell out and then blame it on the Iraqis when all hell (or rather more hell) breaks loose, so we don’t have to feel guilty about it”.

    I highly doubt the democrats are so disingeneous as to think that this is a solution, or that withdrawl will make things better. It won’t, it’ll make things worse. There is a legitimate argument; staying won’t make it better, leaving will make it worse, it really comes down to a matter of time, eventually we will leave, and when that happens, full scale slaughter starts.

    Bush’s solution is pretending to do more, and then when that doesn’t (and it won’t work), hopefully on the watch of the next president, we leave, and watch as the whole country goes down in (more) flames. The democratic solution is to leave now and loose less lives and money on something that’s going fail anyway. Bush dresses it up in pretty words to pretend he’s going to win, and the dems dress it up in pretty words to pretend that we aren’t abandoning the Iraqis after destroying their country.

  • Lynx said:

    There is a legitimate argument; staying won’t make it better, leaving will make it worse, it really comes down to a matter of time, eventually we will leave, and when that happens, full scale slaughter starts.

    At the risk of drawing more ire… your comment brings up something else: Time — or rather, the buying of it.

    To say that the situation in the MidEast is fluid right now is a massive understatement. Things are shifting and changing everywhere, and while I don’t possess a crystal ball, I wouldn’t need one if outcomes were certain, or circumstances weren’t subject to change.

    Will the situation improve? Maybe. It could also worsen. Just at this moment in time, though, indications are that leaving Iraq will result in regional war and wholesale slaughter. I have no faith, but I can hope, that time — however much we can gain — will bring different scenarios.

  • CStanley

    Polimom,
    Good post and excellent point about time. That’s really the essential element in fighting insurgencies anyway. You can’t kill ’em all but if you can kill the ones who are coming at you while also winning over the populace, then time is on your side. If you focus on trying to kill the bad guys then new bad guys keep popping up, because you haven’t won over the locals.

  • BeYourGuest

    Polimom–

    There’s absolutely nothing “utopian” about the Democrats view of the future. I don’t see how you can say such a thing.

  • We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t so I really don’t even care much anymore.

  • “I have no faith, but I can hope, that time — however much we can gain — will bring different scenarios.”

    Hope is an insufficient Ersatz for knowledge. Most policies based on hope consequently fail. So, instead of wishing for a miracle, let’s look at the facts. Why should there be a different scenario when the power constellations in Iraq don’t change? Maliki may promise everything he wants, he couldn’t deliver in the past, he won’t have any lever to deliver in the future. It’s about time the US start talking with the groups that really have the power to change anything. As it looks now, that is the Mahdi Army, and their most prominent leader is Al Sadr. This isn’t good news for Sunnis, but it’s reality.

  • “We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t so I really don’t even care much anymore.”

    Chuck, I understand the reasons for this stance, but do you want to say this to the troops who have to risk their lives everyday in the absence of any new ideas how to ‘win’? ‘Sry, I don’t care anymore, just go on and try not to die’???

  • Gray — I agree that hope is not a strategy. Nonetheless, that’s my hope; luckily, I’m not dictating events or strategies.

    In terms of time, though, I wasn’t specifically thinking of scenarios that are internal to Iraq. Rather, I had in mind Iran, and the Ayatollah’s illness… or Stratfor’s recent analysis that included the suggestion that Ahmadinejad will likely be replaced in the coming months. I was considering Saudi Arabia, and their vested interests… or the fluxuations in Israel / Palestine.

    “Why should there be a different scenario when the power constellations in Iraq don’t change?”

    If nothing changes, there won’t be — but I don’t know that they won’t. I can’t see that far; I can only look at today.

  • Jim S

    There is an equally legitimate argument that Americans leaving Iraq will improve things because we won’t be there to blame things on. It will become blindingly obvious that the violence that continues is Iraqi attacking Iraqi. And Polimom, the militias and death squads in a way do belong to the government since they have so thoroughly infiltrated the security forces and one of the largest of them is that of Moqtada Al Sadr, whose allies make up about 30% of the government.

    If Maliki were today, before our troop increases occur, begin to take actions against the militias who have been untouchable I think there would be some reason to hope. But that’s not happening, is it?

  • K

    As for Muqtada al Sadr – if you look at what’s going on in Iraq, and what PM Maliki has recently said, it looks like Sadr’s time is almost up. PM Maliki recently briefed that they have their own Iraqi Baghdad Security Plan (that Bush’s plan will work in conjunction with) that will crack down on ALL armed parties. Its rather understood that this includes the Shiites. And our own forces have made some high profile moves that are pressuring Sadr.

    Sadr will shortly have to decide if he’s going to be a part of the political process, or face some very serious threats.

  • SteveK

    It’s not about the Iraqi people, it’s about Oil.
    “Just a little bit longer” – George W. Bush

    Wondering why the President wants to keep our troops to stay in place ‘just a little bit longer’? Wonder no more, the reason is nothing but then the greed of his handlers, western oil concerns.

    Future of Iraq: The spoils of war

    “Iraq’s massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.

    The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.”

  • P:olimom:

    Great post. Thank you for the honesty of your convictions and not being afraid to say you sometimes change your mind. Just be prepared to be jumped on by people who are incapable of changing theirs.

    I have been on the planet for too long to put much hope in the Dems, especially with a president who thumbed his nose at Congress when his party was in control.

    But hope, as they say, springs eternal.

  • Jim S and K —

    I think there is something happening in the background re: al Sadr and the infernal Mahdi “army”:
    Sistani ‘wants militias disarmed’

  • SavageView

    Apparently, you know nothing about the principle of sunk costs and optimality. Go read Bellman’s work and then return here. I’m also quite sure you’re one of those “moderates” who is not directly affected by the clusterf*ck created by Bush in Iraq. Thanks to “moderates” like you, in three years, we’ll have spent another $200 billion, lost another 2500 soldiers, have broken the US Army, and still be redeploying. What of your hope then?

  • egrubs

    I can understand that hope will drive us to grasp to any proposed solution.

    I cannot see how this isn’t similar to the battered wife returning to the abusive husband out of hope that things will change, because the alternative seems so horrible.

    There is life after Iraq. It won’t be pretty. It’s pretty bad now. We make the situation worse every time we say, “If we don’t win in Iraq, it will be a great victory for our enemies and a terrible defeat for us.” Anyone who buys into that line finds it impossible to allow for the troops to ever leave.

    Meanwhile, in the background, the oil deals are signed . . .

  • Gary,

    It’s a heartless stance, I know. It’s one I’m reluctant to take. But for the past 3-4 years I’ve been trying to rationally debate the whole Middle East thing. What…we’ve spent about $400 billion in this debacle via the Chinese who are supplying our “enemies” (Read Iran) with weaponry/support which invariably ends up in the hands of those fighting US troops in Iraq. We could’ve spent that $400 billion in a Manhattan Project type of program to make us energy independent therefore rendering the entire Middle East strategically unimportant from our point of view. But we didn’t and now as I see it, we’re f*cked. I’m tired of having to debate the same stuff over and over and over again and I’m tempted to just throw in the towel at this point as I feel I’m just wasting my breath.

  • SteveK

    “Meanwhile, in the background, the oil deals are signed . . .”

    And soverign Embassies are invaded

    US forces storm Iranian Consulate
    Thursday, 11 January 2007

    “US forces have stormed an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized six members of staff.

    The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to Kurdish media and senior local officials.

    The US military would only confirm the detention of six people around Irbil.”

  • Eural

    egrubs – amen!

    What is the deal with all these people deathly afraid of withdrawing from Iraq? Yes, its a tragic end to a failed and contemptible execution of foreing policy but it also does several things that aren’t so bad:

    1) It will leave the US as the sole world super-power. Still. A lost battle does not lose a war (especially this one which is so emphemeral and fluid in its focus). The Romans endured stunning catastrophes constantly in their conflicts and yet always managed to come out on top (well, for several centuries at least!)

    2) It will give us the opportunity to redeploy, rebuild and re-energize our military in order to deal with the next real threat which does actually exist.

    3) We can refocus our priorites nationally in order to actually deal with the terrorist threat not some made-up scheme by a bunch of half-wits obsessed with Iraq. Our current “world” policy is mired in Iraq and its like a weight around our necks. Not so for China or Russia or other would-be Great Powers. We need to get back into the real game not locked up in a sideshow quickly turning into a “bleeding ulcer” politically and militarily (a la Napoleon and Spain).

    4) And yes Iraq will possibly face a bloody future (what is it now?) and the ME will change some of its political alignments probably in favor of Iran. Ok – we deal with it like you always deal with these things (its called history). The new situation will present great problems, yes, but also great opportunities as well. We just need a leadership capable of grasping them.

    The bottom line is that Iraq has been a mistake but we can learn from it and be better off – but it has now been amply demonstrated that that is not something that Bush or his administration is willing or capable of doing. Time for him to shuffle off into history and for the rest of us to get on with the real job at hand.

  • Thank you for your comment, egrubs. You’re right, of course, in that I’m grasping… but without hope, I’m left only with despair.

    “If we don’t win in Iraq, it will be a great victory for our enemies and a terrible defeat for us.� Anyone who buys into that line finds it impossible to allow for the troops to ever leave.

    I can only assume that there are indeed people who bought that, but oddly enough, that line didn’t factor into my thinking at all. I’m far more concerned about the Iraqis at this point.

  • Jason Shapiro

    I am so tired of all the magical thinking about what everybody “hopes.” Who gives a rat’s ass about all your meaningless “hopes.” I hope the IRS decides to refund all the taxes I’ve paid in the last 30 years – but that’s not going to happen. Just like hoping Bush will become astute, wise, articulate, or honest will not make any of those things happen. Iraq is a lost cause and pouring more blood on the sacrificial alter built by that pathetic little failure in the White House will not change anything. Other than the disastrous involvement in Vietnam there has been no greater folly in all of American history than this misadventure. To even consider prolonging it is beyond “Twilight Zone absurdity,” it is absolutely criminal.

  • “luckily, I’m not dictating events or strategies.”

    Yeah, let’s praise the Lord that we’re not repsonsible for making those tough decisions. But it would be a silver lining at the horizon if someone with a grasp of reality would accept the responsibility. We can find shelter in simply hoping the best, a real decider should base his choice on hard facts and reasonable risks, not on faith and sheer luck.
    🙁

  • Kim Ritter

    Polimom said “I can only assume that there are indeed people who bought that, but oddly enough, that line didn’t factor into my thinking at all. I’m far more concerned about the Iraqis at this point.”

    Good for you. We should be. But in G-d’s name why have we allowed only 400+ Iraqi refugees into our country? Is the administration unconcerned about their fate?

    At least Gerald Ford fought for extra time and resources to help the South Vietnamese come here when Saigon fell. He wanted to get more out, but by that time the Democratic congress had had enough. Once they arrived here, he greeted many himself. While I never agreed with the Nixon pardon, that act was a tremendous remembrance of what American power is supposed to be about-not deserting our friends in their time of need.

    I would like to see more discussion on providing a safe exit for Iraqis who are vulnerable because they collaborated with us. We do need to keep a residual force there, which would be available to mobilize against a regional threat. But the surge is political cover for Bush. That is why he had such a flat delivery last night. He knows too well that it has little chance of success.

  • egrubs

    but oddly enough, that line didn’t factor into my thinking at all. I’m far more concerned about the Iraqis at this point.

    I am horrified and saddened to the core of my being by the present and ensuing genocide that we are unleashing and will continue to let slip in Iraq.

    I hope that a humanitarian, international solution can save lives. I hope that we plan to do more than simply put off the abyss for another day.

    I do not hope for a silution, for victory, or for soundbites. I hope for less of a disaster.

  • Both sides want to blame Iraqis for not solving this themselves (listen to Bush, listen to Durbin. Both are setting forth the same case; that the feckless Iraqi government has to take charge and responsibility).

    Neither side wants the blame for the failure and defeat that is, sorry everyone, inevitable. But Bush deserves the blame. The Democrats do not (please don’t drag out that ‘they voted for it’ canard. We all saw the convincing and totally fabricated case that legislators and the public were tricked with. Those who doubted it or knew better were smeared and dismissed.) All the blood, American and Iraqi is on the hands of Bush and everyone who voted for him–twice.

    If you still believe in “victory” over there, then dammit, get your butts over there, get your hands dirty and bloody and win this thing! But we who have always opposed this want our troops home and out of harm’s way. Right now.

    Yes, it will be a blood bath, now, 6 months from now, 12 years from now. Yes, just like Vietnam. We couldn’t win there and we can’t win here. We have to leave and staying another single day will not change one thing, except that we will lose more American lives.

    This assumption that Iraqis are deliberately and willfully allowing the murder and mayhem to continue on their streets out of sheer laziness is ludicrous… and dangerous.

    The security forces, both Iraqi army and police, are corrupt, riddled with militia fighters and indeed acting as death squads. It’s far worse than “laziness.” Their leaders refuse to do anything about it. From WaPo. Read the whole article.

    Posters celebrating Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army militia, dot the building’s walls. The police chief sometimes remarks that Shiite militias should wipe out all Sunnis. Visitors to this violent neighborhood in the Iraqi capital whisper that nearly all the police officers have split loyalties.

    And then one rainy night this month, the Sholeh police set up an ambush and killed Army Cpl. Kenny F. Stanton Jr., a 20-year-old budding journalist, his unit said. At the time, Stanton and other members of the unit had been trailing a group of Sholeh police escorting known Mahdi Army members.
    Seventy percent of the Iraqi police force has been infiltrated by militias, primarily the Mahdi Army, according to Shaw and other military police trainers. Police officers are too terrified to patrol enormous swaths of the capital. And while there are some good cops, many have been assassinated or are considering quitting the force.”None of the Iraqi police are working to make their country better,” said Brig. Gen. Salah al-Ani, chief of police for the western half of Baghdad. “They’re working for the militias or to put money in their pocket.”

    Polimom, I have little doubt that Bush will get his “surge” and drag the death and destruction out for another 2 years. Then, when we do leave, and the inevitable violence escalates, he can say we should have stayed still longer, and that it would have been worse if we “cut and run”. But all that additional blood, my friends, will then be on your hands too.
    Many of you are able bodied enough to go fight, or play support roles, and others of you have kids. I do. How many of you would encourage them to go fight to keep Sunnis and Shiites from killing each other? How many of you “supporting the president” would do so with your lives or your childrens’?

  • Kim Ritter

    egrubs- exactly- we should be working towards minimizing the damage we instigated, not inflicting more.

  • Oh wow I said Gary instead of Gray. Sorry bout that man.

  • truflo

    Even with Bush’s surge, Us troops will continue having to rely on an Iraqi army that is riddled with militias and has never shown the slightest interest in our generals’ plans. ‘Clear and hold’ means different things to Sunni and Shia Muslims. For the Sunni’s it means clear and be occupied, and for the Shia it means take and clear of Sunnis. I don’t know about anyone else commenting here, but I get the distinct impression that there is a whole other war going on and America is irrelevant to its outcome.

  • No problem, Mr. Perz!
    😀

  • CStanley

    truflo,
    Ed Morrissey has a good post which says that the Iraqi’s have agreed to a new commander for the Bagdad operation (someone that the US has more faith in) AND that the operation will be led on the Iraqi side primarily by Kurds. If true, that should make a difference.

  • CStanley

    I should also add, the Captain also comments on Petraeus experience and the fact that he advocates following the British model of dealing with insurgencies (holding territory by winning over the locals).

  • You do know there is actually a movie director by the name of F. Gary Gray, right?

  • Winning over the locals. Indeed. The White House website gushes that Iraqi income has risen to ~$1500 a year. We have spent $70,000 per Iraqi family on this war. Put away the boy toys and the “military options only” thinking, and there are far more effective ways to “win” this “war”. What we’ve spent so far, per family, is a lifetime income for most Iraqis. Hey, I’m a Democrat, so pardon me for “throwing money at the problem” but I believe we could have bought peace for far less, without losing 3,000 soldiers in the process.

  • corvus

    poor poliman

    Your post reeks of desperation.
    So now you support Bush because you think you have NO choice.
    I have deep concerns for your psyche, when this plan fails which it will without any REAL diplomacy in the region. What will poliman do then?

    I’m surprised you posted the following:

    If those militias and death squads “belonged� to the Iraqi government, I’d be less inclined to object here — but they don’t. This assumption that Iraqis are deliberately and willfully allowing the murder and mayhem to continue on their streets out of sheer laziness is ludicrous… and dangerous

    When the audio from Saddams hanging clearly showed that Al-Sadr’s supporters are at the highest levels of thr Iraqi government security forces.

    Please provide some facts to support your assertion that Iraqi government is not working with shiite militants and therefore supporting death squads.

  • “the operation will be led on the Iraqi side primarily by Kurds. If true, that should make a difference.”

    Yes. For the kurds. After managing successfully to stay out of the struggle, and making their region in comparison an oasis of security and stability, this may be their first mayor mistake. Let’s hope there won’t be a backlash from the other parties because of this.

    As for the Sunni and Shiite, I don’t think they’ll like Kurd patrols in their quarters any more than they would welcome troops from the opposite sect. So where’s the big difference?

  • “You do know there is actually a movie director by the name of F. Gary Gray, right?”

    Actually no. Never heard of him. Had to google to find his films, and now I’m surprised to read he made ‘The Italian Job’. Thx for mistaking me for him! I’m feeling flattered. 😀

  • truflo

    CStanley,
    Thanks for the direction to the captain’s comment. Interesting, but what I am getting at is the sense that the Iraqi’s themselves understand that the war has moved on and is now a battle to the end between Shia and Sunnis. The presence of US troops is of use to Sunnis because it acts as a giant recruitment poster. The Shia too are happy for the troops to stay as they can be manipulated into attacking Sunni insurgents. The end game will be brutal and drawn-out and no matter how we might wish it, America will have no say on what the final outcome looks like.

  • I have no faith, but I can hope, that time — however much we can gain — will bring different scenarios.

    MLK said something beautiful about time and our misconception of it in his Letter from Birmingham Jail.

    Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely rational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively.

  • htom

    JFK said it well, at his inauguration


    We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
    Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
    This much we pledge—and more.
    To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
    To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
    To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

  • egrubs

    Yay. I’m convinced. More war. More blood. Let’s nuke Iran and secure high-profit oil deals.

    JFK just told me it was all worth it.

    I find it hard to appreciate his nuanced understanding of modern-day Iraq and the middle east, of modern day America and our challenges, when his brain is in 5 pieces.

    This. Is. Not. The. Cold. War.

  • egrubs

    (Oh and yeah. Thanks for Vietnam, Mr. President. How did that turn out? Perhaps one of those historical lessons is that this speech may have engendered and/or reflected policies that are directly to our disadvantage?)

  • Kim Ritter

    That’s the big danger- falling prey to inspirational words that end up having little or nothing to do with how things eventually turn out. Probably no one would go to war without speeches like that, but I think we would have been better off ignoring JFK and GWB-the costs have greatly outweighed the benefits in Viet Nam and Iraq! Lets consider the probable consequences of our good intentions rather than some bloviator spouting inspirational rot.

  • Rambie

    Lynx: “Bush’s solution is pretending to do more, and then when that doesn’t (and it won’t work), hopefully on the watch of the next president” (my emphasis no Lynx’s)

    Lynx, I think you’re onto something. President Bush wants the withdrawal to fall to the next administration so he can save-face and doesn’t have to admit he was wrong. Failing that he’ll take leaving it up to the Dem-controlled Congress to force him, so he can save-face by blaming them for the “failure” of the Iraq war.

    From over here in my little ‘ol Red State, I sure looks like the GOP is just waiting for the Dems to force the withdraw from Iraq so they can use it for political gain.

  • htom

    The historical lesson to be learned from Vietnam. Hmmm. Military defeated the opponent, other than some who descended to terrorism, and we — and the South Vietnamese and their allies — then lost the peace by withdrawing all aid from the government we’d formed. Millions then died. And the Democrats want to do it again. Worse, some of the Republicans do, too.

  • Rambie

    htom: …then lost the peace by withdrawing all aid from the government we’d formed.

    Which “peace” are you referring too, either then or now? There wasn’t any real peace in Vietnam and there sure isn’t any in Iraq now.

    “Between the signing of the 1973 Paris Peace Accord and late 1974 both antagonists [North & South Vietnam] had been satisfied with minor land-grabbing operations. The North Vietnamese, however, were growing impatient with the Thieu regime, which remained intransigent as to the called-for national reunification. Hanoi also remained wary that the U.S. would, once again, support its former ally if larger operations were undertaken…

    By late 1974, the Politburo in Hanoi gave its permission for a limited VPA offensive out of Cambodia into Phuoc Long Province…”
    WIKI LINK

    Continued offensives by the North finally led to the Fall of Saigon on April 30th.

  • CaseyL

    I am opposed to losing any more US soldiers for the sake of someone’s “hoping” for a better outcome.

    The idea that it’s OK to send another few thousand soldiers into the meat grinder so you can “keep hoping” is so repugnant I don’t have words for it.

    Go tell the gold-star families how much you need to keep hoping. Maybe they’ll have the right words for you.

  • Kim Ritter

    Casey L- They tell the gold-star families that they’re doing it so that their son or daughter’s death was not in vain- wouldn’t they have wanted the mission to be completed??? Another abhorrent tactic. What no one has addressed- I guess because they can’t face it is- what do we do in 3 months or so when this has resulted in many more US casualties, and Baghdad is no more secure than it is today? Declare victory and go home???

  • Like it or not, America’s obligations to the Iraqi people haven’t gone away just because we’re sick of George Bush.

    America must do her utmost to leave the Iraqis in a viable situation. It’s bad enough that 50-100,000 Iraqis are dead – how many more will be murdered if we leave?

    Only when and if it becomes obvious that there is no chance of success can we abandon them. That point hasn’t been reached. On the contrary, the truth is that we haven’t really given it our best effort yet. At no time have we committed anywhere near the number of the troops to Iraq as were in theater during the first Gulf War. If we had we wouldn’t be in this situation now.

  • Kim Ritter

    I agree that many Iraqis are vulnerable because they have helped us, or risked their lives to support the government. It may be impossible to forestall a civil war that they are so determined to fight. Why are so few independent experts giving this plan any credence? Most retired military or former administration officials see this as a political ploy- not a military one. Its hard to take it seriously when there are no spelled out consequences for Maliki if he fails to live up to his promises. Its hard to take it seriously when Abizaid, Casey and the JCS have come out against it. Its chief proponent has failed miserably in strategizing this war, but we have his word that it might work. That’s not a lot to go on.

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