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CATEGORY: War on Terror

I wasn’t going to vote for him for President anyway, But Chuck Hagel has just proved why he is unfit to be the Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces:

There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq. These terms do not reflect the reality of what is going to happen there. The future of Iraq was always going to be determined by the Iraqis — not the Americans.

Iraq is not a prize to be won or lost. It is part of the ongoing global struggle against instability, brutality, intolerance, extremism and terrorism. There will be no military victory or military solution for Iraq. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger made this point last weekend.

First of all, I hardly think we should be taking lessons in what constitutes victory or defeat from Henry “Peace with Honor” Kissinger. Iraq will go down in the books as a loss - changing that brilliant line in Bill Murray’s biting satirical film Stripes - “Hey! We’re the Ewnited States army! We’re 5 and 1!”

The press will be referring to Iraq as a defeat. The left will be referring to Iraq as a defeat. It will go down in history textbooks as a defeat. For every generation of American schoolchildren in the future, Iraq will be taught as a defeat, a loss, a drubbing, a licking, a whipping, a nonsuccess.

And most especially, our enemies will definitely be celebrating Iraq as a defeat not just for America but, being stupid ignorant jihadis who celebrate their own slaughter and call it a triumph, also see our coming exit from Iraq as a defeat of American arms.

The North Vietnamese weren’t that stupid. To this day, they celebrate their victory over the American people and government, recognizing they outlasted our capacity as a nation to maintain our commitment to the South, not that they defeated the American military on the field of battle.

Chuck Hagel is a ninny. No? Well what else do you call someone who celebrates the increased influence of Iran and Syria in the Middle East?

It may take many years before there is a cohesive political center in Iraq. America’s options on this point have always been limited. There will be a new center of gravity in the Middle East that will include Iraq. That process began over the past few days with the Syrians and Iraqis restoring diplomatic relations after 20 years of having no formal communication. The next installment would be this weekend’s unprecedented meeting in Iran of the presidents of Iran, Syria and Iraq, if it takes place.

What does this tell us? It tells us that regional powers will fill regional vacuums, and they will move to work in their own self-interest — without the United States. This is the most encouraging set of actions for the Middle East in years. The Middle East is more combustible today than ever before, and until we are able to lead a renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, mindless destruction and slaughter will continue in Lebanon, Israel and across the Middle East.

Hagel is celebrating the fact that Iran will now be able to meddle in Iraqi affairs without the big, bad old United States to stop it. This “encouraging set of actions” involve two nations who train terrorists, sponsor terrorism. and, by expanding their influence in Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere, will be able to project that terrorism (Who knows? Maybe they’ll make it all the way to Omaha, Chucky) to the far corners of the globe.

The fact that Hagel believes that the fact that Iran and Syria will be free to “fill regional vacuums” (wonder what the Saudis think about THAT) and that this is somehow a positive development makes one question not only Senator Cornpone’s judgement but perhaps his sanity as well. Both nations will now feel empowered and emboldened.

This is especially true of the fanatic Ahmadinejad who sees American defeat in Iraq as the fulfillment of prophecy. Great, Chucky. That’s all we need. A meglomaniacal religious nut, soon to have the ultimate defense against cartoons that mock the prophet, who thinks that history is unfolding according to plan and that very soon, we can expect a visit from his buddy the 12th Imam and then, the fire this time.

Finally, Hagel goes Jim Baker and the Democrats one better regarding bi-partisanship:

It is not too late. The United States can still extricate itself honorably from an impending disaster in Iraq. The Baker-Hamilton commission gives the president a new opportunity to form a bipartisan consensus to get out of Iraq. If the president fails to build a bipartisan foundation for an exit strategy, America will pay a high price for this blunder — one that we will have difficulty recovering from in the years ahead.

To squander this moment would be to squander future possibilities for the Middle East and the world. That is what is at stake over the next few months.

No word yet on the price to be paid by the Lebanese or other American friends in the region for this “bi-partisanship.” Certainly Hizbullah will support our coming rapprochement with Syria and Iran, seeing quite rightly that it will involve a lessening of American interest in what happens in Lebanon. And a weakening of America’s position in the Middle East is certainly being looked upon in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States with not a little trepidation.

But hey! All in the name of “bi-partisanship” right Chucky?

When the last American troops are leaving Iraq, it will be a photo op that will prove itself absolutely irresistible to the press. There will be comparisons with that last helicopter taking off from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon. AL-Jazeera will carry the images live across the Middle East and there will be much dancing and celebrating from the refugee camps on the West Bank to the bazaars of Karachi. Al-Jazeera will carry those images too.

What do you think Senator Hagel’s response to those images might be? What will he say then about “no defeat” in Iraq? Will he wonder what these people are celebrating for? Will he have a clue?

Hagel’s myopia matches that of the new Soviet government in 1917 who were negotiating with the Germans an end to Russian involvement in World War I. The Germans were being extraordinarily harsh in their terms and the new Soviet government was balking.

Finally, the government hit upon a brilliant idea. Why not simply declare that the war was over and the German had won? Enormously satisfied with their own cleverness, Russian troops began to abandon their positions and start the long trek home.

The Germans didn’t quite know what to make of this. They were amazed. They decided to take the most direct approach possible and launched a massive attack against the retreating Russians. Only after slaughtering tens of thousands of more soldiers and gaining a hundred miles of territory did the Soviet government wake up and go back to the bargaining table where the Germans became, if anything, more demanding.

Hagel’s thinking may not be quite as muddled as Lenin’s. But it certainly reveals a man either lying to himself or so overcome with his own cleverness that it has blinded him to the simple realities of what is going to happen when we leave Iraq. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, let’s just consider him self-deluded.

After all, he’s running for President…

By: Rick Moran at 12:56 pm
  1. 1
    The Regulator Said:
    1:58 pm 

    Hagel along with many others will be singing a different song when Iran takes over Iraq and its oil fields. Say Iran controls all Iraq’s oil and their own oil, say Iran being made the strong man in teh region (thanks in part to the US deposing of Saddam) overthrows the Saudi government or threatens them with their new bright and shiny nukes that the world (including the US) sat back and let Iran have. Say then Iran controls thier oil, Iraq’s oil,Saudi’s oil ? Say they cut off the oil flow to the US, of course joined by their friend Chavez in Venezuala…the US may be brought down by the ensuing crippling to our econmoy. But alas many think this is mere doomsday babbling…

  2. 2
    Drewsmom Said:
    2:42 pm 

    Rick, as usual I agree with what you’ve said.
    Nagel has never been my choice for a nominee, even before he wrote this pathetic op-ed in the wawa post — he’s just another
    rhino who needs to jump on over with jeffords.

  3. 3
    upyernoz Said:
    3:06 pm 

    the one detail you seem to be missing is that the islamists are already celebrating american impotence in iraq. arguing that we can’t pullout because it would cause our enemies to celebrate is a bad argument. they’re already reveling in the our inability to get out. sure, they will also claim it is a victory when we eventually leave, but staying won’t stop them from doing that either.

    the fact is, eventually u.s. forces will leave iraq. it’s inevitable. a clear majority of both the american and iraq people want us out and those majorities are growing, not shrinking. iraq is already a foreign policy disaster for the u.s. the question is no longer how can we avoid disaster, it’s how can we minimize the damage.

  4. 4
    Mark H. Said:
    7:26 pm 

    “For every generation of American schoolchildren in the future, Iraq will be taught as a defeat, a loss, a drubbing, a licking, a whipping, a nonsuccess.”

    And they’ll be taught that by their Imam school teachers in every town across the defeated America. The students will kneel and pray instead of pledging allegiance to the flag and the ACLU will have won too — not that they’ll be around to celebrate.

  5. 5
    B.Poster Said:
    8:10 pm 

    “For every generation of American school children in the future, Iraq will be taught as a defeat, a loss, a drubbing, a licking, a whipping, a non success.”

    Not necessarily. We have not lost yet, however, I agree with you that things do look grim and changes will need to be made. Even if we are unable to achieve an Iraq that is a democratic country that is allied with the US in GWOT, this would not necessarily be a failure. If we can find proxies within Iraq to support, we can defeat the Islamic extremists enemy.

    As you point out, for better or worse we will be withdrawing from Shia and Sunni areas of Iraq soon. I’m sure we will support proxies wihtin Iraq that we believe most likely to reprsent our interests and the Iranians and the Syrians will support their porxies. If we can prevent Islamic extremists from gaining control of Iraq, then this will be acceptable. The trick will be to make sure that the US and its proxies win this front in the GWOT. Of course some people will spin the withdrawl as a defeat no matter what. What we will need to do is to make sure that the US and its proxies defeat the Iranian and Syrian proxies so badly that that America’s foreign and deomestic enemies will be unable to spin it as a victory for America’s enemies.

    We have not lost yet. The history of this has not yet been written but right now it does look grim. We can still win.

    If we fail in Iraq, the GWOT becomes much harder to win. If we fail to win the GWOT, America will be taken over by Islamic extremists. Islamic extremism is a survival threat to the America and needs to be treated as such.

  6. 6
    Kathy Said:
    9:05 pm 

    “Even if we are unable to achieve an Iraq that is a democratic country that is allied with the US in GWOT, this would not necessarily be a failure.”

    Are an Iraq “that is a democratic country” and an Iraq that is allied with the US in GWOT” the same thing? This is the essential contradiction in the entire invasion and occupation of Iraq. Do we truly want Iraq to be a democracy, if the will of the Iraqi people leads them to reject U.S. direction, leadership, and control?

  7. 7
    B.Poster Said:
    10:02 pm 


    Thank you for the reply to my post. You ask: “Are an ‘Iraq that is a democratic country’ and an ‘Iraq that is allied with the US in the GWOT’ the same thing? I say no. It would be possible to have an Iraq that is democratic that aligns itself closely with the same Islamic extremists who pose an existential threat to us. It would also be possible to have an unelected dictator who aligns themsleves with us because of mutual interests. Obviously the latter scenario is preferable to the former. A democratic, allied, and stable Iraq is the optimal situation but if it cannot be achieved a stable and dictatorial Iraq that allies itself with the US in the GWOT is acceptable.

    You write: “This is the essential contradiction in the entire invasion and occupation of Iraq. Do we truly want Iraq to be a democracy, if the will of the Iraqi people leads them to reject US direction, leadership, and control.” This is an excellent point. I think this contradiction arose because many policy makers were never quite sure what it was they hoped to accomplish. The bottom line is if an Iraqi democracy will align itself with our Islamic terrorist enemies the way the former regime did we should not want an Iraqi democracy. We do not want to lead, control, or direct Iraq. We want or at least the president wants Iraq to be a democratic and allied nation that will assist in GWOT.

    The problem with the occupation is at least two fold. First, we no longer occupy the country. We turned soverignty over to the Iraqis. They have their own government now. The American and allied troops who are there now are there at the pleasure of the Iraqi government. It may be that they simply want us there to help them crush their Sunni enemy, as unfortunately the Shia majority seems more interested in their sect than they seem to be in the country as a whole. The elected Iraqi government appears to be hopelessly corrupt. Second, the 140,000 troops or so we have there now are too many to avoid the responsibilies of an occupation but they are not enough to actually administer the country effectively. To effectively administer the country, we would need enough troops to crush the Shia militias, to crush the Sunni insurgency, to disarm all other militias, and to secure the borders with Iran and Syria. Estimates vary on how many troops this would take. I think the best estimate is about 500,000 troops. We could rais the troops but unfortunatley political realities will not allow this right now.

    The Iraqi government is reluctant to take on the Shia militias. On one hand, I can’t blame them. They know that many Americans are clamoring for a withdrawl. In the event that we withdraw, they will need the militias to fight the Sunnis. On the other hand, having Shia and Sunni militias operating as they are is wholly unacceptable. I think the optimal solution would be for the US and its allies to sign an agreement with Iraq’s government to contrbute about 500,000 troops or more. This would be enough force to secure the country. In return, the Iraqi government would agree to actively work to disband the militias. The duration of this agreement would be for a minimum of at least fifteen years. The willingness or lack thereof of the Iraqi government to agree to this would go a long toward proving if they are serious about fighting Islamic extremist terrroism. If the Iraq government will not work with us to defeat the existential threat of Islamic extremism that we face, then this government needs to be removed.

    The domestic American political situation will not allow a contribution of this many troops right now. Not having enough troops to secure the country we will be withdrawing from Shia and Sunni areas very soon. The next step will be to decide which proxies we wish to support in the Iraqi sectarian fighting. Iran and Syria will also have proxies they will support. We will need to make sure that our porxiy is successful. We have not lost in Iraq yet. The final history on this has not been written yet, however, as I pointed earlier it looks bleak right now and strategic changes will need to be made.

    Finally, Abraham Linclon once said, to roughly paraphrase, “if I can win the Civil War without freeing a single slave I would do it.” The same applies to the Global War on Islamic Terrorism. If we can win it without “liberating” a single Arab, then this is what we should do. In any event, no matter what strategy policy makers ultimately decide on they should treat the Islamic terrorist threat as the survival threat to America that it is. Right now I sense a fundamental lack of seriousness in all branches of government.

  8. 8
    Kathy Said:
    3:04 pm 

    First, I want to thank you for the civility and thoughtfulness of your answer to my comment. It’s refreshing.

    I agree with your statement that we went into Iraq not really knowing what we wanted to accomplish. It’s downhill from there, and the disagreement is too profound for me to even know where to begin. So I’ll content myself with responding to this one thing you wrote:

    –Finally, Abraham Linclon once said, to roughly paraphrase, “if I can win the Civil War without freeing a single slave I would do it.” The same applies to the Global War on Islamic Terrorism. If we can win it without “liberating” a single Arab, then this is what we should do.–

    The idea that the United States ever was going to “liberate” Arabs by invading and occupying Iraq was and is profoundly wrong-headed. Iraq is a political fiction to begin with, created by the West and dominated either directly or by proxy by the West from the start. THAT is what lies underneath global terrorism. And like it or not, the reality is that the U.S. invasion and occupation made the threat of global terrorism even worse.

    You say if the GWOT can be won without liberating a single Arab, that is what we should do. We don’t have to liberate them. We just have to stop feeding their hatred of us. We’re not going to do that by putting half a million U.S. troops in Iraq (even if we could), or by supporting pro-U.S. proxies in their country. We’ve *already* done that. We supported Saddam Hussein for over 20 years because he was pro-U.S. And the harvest for that support was anti-American hatred.

    Doing the same thing over and over again when it doesn’t work is pointless.

  9. 9
    B.Poster Said:
    4:51 pm 


    Thanks for the reply to my post. I always try to be civil. Sometimes things can get heated:)

    You write: “The idea that the United States ever was going to “liberate” Arabs by invading and occupying Iraq was and is profoundly wrong headed.” The occupation ended in June 2004 or sometime there about when the US turned over soverignty to the Iraqis. Iraq has an elected government. I don’t particularly like there elected governmnet, as it is more interested in representing the Shia than the entire country. Also, it is probably more likely to ally itself with Iran, should we be forced to invade Iran. The invasion was poorly executed. We did not bring in enough troops to secure the country or its borders. Then we made matters worse by allowing Islamic extremist parties to enter the political process. Had this been better exectued it may have worked. For better or worse, we will never know. James Baker has recently said we should not expect “Jeffersonian democracy” or something to this effect. The effort to reform the Islamic extremist culture and its supporters by bringing liberty seems to have been abandoned. Islamic extremist culture represents an existential threat to the US and the West. It will either need to be reformed or contained. It appears we will be opting for a “withdraw and contain” option or something to this effect.

    You write: “Iraq is a political fiction to begin with, created by the West and dominated either directly or by proxy by the West from the start.” My knowledge of how Iraq came to be is a bit limited. As I recall, the British originally drew its boundaries. The irony of that is by 2002 when the call to remove Saddam Hussein reached a fever pitch Iraq had achieved greater world influence than Great Britian. Iraq has been completely independent of the West, at least since Saddam took over in 1979 and probably since the Baathists took over. Iraq was a client state of the former Soviet Union and later of Russia. Compared with Russia and China US assistance to Iraq was very limited. The US did supply some assistance to Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war. This was because we viewed Iran as a greater threat. Iraq was completely independent of the West for decades prior to the removal of the Baathist government. They had a golden opportunity to make for themselves a better country. Instead they chose to throw in their lot with Aemrica’s enemies.

    “THAT is what lies underneath global terrorism.” American actions in the middle east may be a contributing factor. The biggest example of this is how America applies pressure on Israel to transfer land to its enemies. This sends the message to our enemies that we are weak. We should be encouraging Israel to expand its land holdings. This would increase the buffer between them and their enemies. What lies underneath global terrorism is Islamic extremism and its desire to rule the world. Policy makers have never, at least publically, correctly identified the enemy. For example, we assume that Islam is a peaceful religon that has been hijacked by extremists. There is a wealth of evidence to indicate that the enemy may be Islam itself. Also, countries such as the former Iraqi government, the Russians, and the Chinese will often times ally themsleves with Islamic extremists when it suits their goals.

    “And like it or not, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has made the threat of global terrorism even worse.” This may be correct. Some reports would disagree, however, what does seem certain is it has inflamed passions. I think the problem lies in the execution. By sending in to few troops and scaling down the shock and awe phase of the invasion we sent the message to an enemy who poses and existential threat to America that we are weak and indecisive. As stated previously, I think the problem with the execution arose because policy makers were never quite sure what they wanted to accomplish. I think General Franks and former Sec of Defense Don Rumsfeld wanted to remove the government and leave allowing the Iraqis to fight it out perhaps with us providing proxy support to one or more groups. Other policy makers wanted to bring “democracy.” With all of this said, there has not been another major terrorist attack on the scale of 911 since the attacks of htat day. The invasion of Iraq has likely diverted terrorist resources that would have been used elsewhere, however, I would tend to agree with you that the invasion of Iraq has made things worse. Again, the primary flaw has been the execution.

    The way to stop feeding their hatred of us is for them to be made to realize that their goals of world domination and dominion over us cannot be achieved. In the middle east, having removed the former Iraq government we are primarily fighting Iran and Syria now. There seem to be a large number of Iraqis who are also opposed to Iran and Syria. We should work with them because we have mutual interests. Our enemies use proxies against us. It may be time for us to do the same thing. We have not had a reliable ally in the Arab world for more than thirty years, if ever.

    “Doing the same thing over and over again when it doesn’t work is pointless.” I agree. The current strategy for Iraq is to use about 140,000 troops and “stay the course.” The biggest problem with this force structure is it is not enough troops to actually secure the country and it is to few troops to avoid the responsibility of securing the country. With this situation the Army is being worn down. To continue this strategy is slow motion defeat. The strategy will need to be changed. I see two options. 1.) We sign an agreement with the Iraqi government whereby we contribute 500,000 troops or more. We would agree to keep these troops there for a minimu of fifteen years. We can raise them, if we had the will to do it. This gives us enough troops to actually secure the country and to secure its borders. In return for this American commitment, the Iraqi government agrees to assist us in disbanding the militias. If they refuse to help us, then we will know they are an enemy. If they are established as an enemy, then they should be treated the same way the former Iraq government was treated. I think this is the optimal solution, however, the political realities are such that it probably cannot be implemented right now. 2.) Withdraw our troops from Shia and Sunni areas into Kurdish areas and allow the factions to tear one another apart. We will only intervene to prevent the formation of terrorist bases or to prevent Iran from gaining control of the country. We may support some of the militias that are hostile to Iran. The adavantage to this approach is it can be done with fewer troops.

    We are going to go with option 2 or some variation of it. By mid 2007 there will be 10,000 or fewer troops in the Iraq region. They will be primarily special ops who will be based in Kurdish areas. They will be backed up by air support and they will intervene in the Iraqi Civil War to prevent the formation of terrorist bases and to prevent Iran from gaining control of the country. If we can halt the spread of Islamic extremism and its Communist alliance with this method, then I would consider this a success. If the threat is contained, I would consider Iraq a success. It has not been lost yet. I hope and pray the new strategy works out, as it is the one we will be using.

    With our current strategy the biggest winners in the GWOT to date have been Russia and Iran. These are America’s most dangerous enemies. We have not lost Iraq yet. Hopefully the new strategy will work better.

    Btw, if my prediction that the US will be out of Shia and Sunni areas of Iraq by mid 2007 turns out to be wrong, I will come here and admit it:)

  10. 10
    B.Poster Said:
    6:04 pm 

    Other changes in strategy that I think are needed that I did not address earlier are we need to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to achieve energy independence. Part of this plan will be opening up our domestic oil fields that are unavailable right now for drilling. Also, the process for building new refineries will need to be relaxed. In addition to this, we need more nuclear power plants. In other words, some of the ridiculous environmental regulations will need to be removed. Complete energy independence may be unrealistic, however, with more domestic sources available this will give us greater leverage when dealing with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Right now we have virtually none.

    We need to secure our borders and enforce our existing immigration laws. Its unbelievable that over five years after 911 we have seen no real improvement here.

  11. 11
    Oregonian Said:
    6:51 pm 

    Rick - I am puzzled by the thought processes of Chuck Hagel and his advisors. What voting group(s) do you think he considers his core constituency?

  12. 12
    Rick Moran Said:
    7:39 pm 

    The media, the Washington elites, and the chattering classes who he thinks will give him credibility with us dumb hicks so that he can win the presidency.

  13. 13
    Kathy Said:
    11:03 pm 

    “Iraq has an elected government.”

    Sure, but it’s only “elected” in the sense that Iraqis voted for the candidates available to them on the ballot. They did not choose those candidates, or play any part, even indirectly, in choosing those candidates. So you can hardly say that Iraq’s “elected” government is a sign of democracy.

    “I don’t particularly like there elected governmnet, as it is more interested in representing the Shia than the entire country.”

    Of course it is. The people elected to the government owe their win to the Shia. They are taking care of the segment of the population to whom they owe their power, such as it is. Just as Pres. Bush’s administration panders to the religious right and wealthy white men — they are the ones who put him in the White House. The only difference is that in Iraq, the Shia are actually in the majority.

    Also, if the Bush admin had done the barest amount of research, or bothered to learn anything about the political alliances in the region, they would have known that Iran would be the biggest winner in any regime change that put the Shia in power. Historically, the Shia have been aligned with Iran for decades. This is not something that should have come as a surprise or a shock to Bush, Cheney, et al. — but they were too blinded by their arrogant belief that Iraqis would come running, arms outstretched, to smother U.S. troops with hugs.

    “The way to stop feeding their hatred of us is for them to be made to realize that their goals of world domination and dominion over us cannot be achieved.”

    Well, first of all, I don’t accept your premise. I think it’s the U.S. that wants to achieve dominance over the Middle East, and every other part of the world we deem to be geopolitically and economically valuable to us — and not the other way around.

    That said, your statement truly makes no sense. It’s completely counter to logic and historical experience. The only way for one set of people to convince another set of people that their wishes and desires are impossible and will never come to pass, is to conquer them completely. Meaning, you have to crush them, by killing huge numbers of them, by intimidating and terrorizing them, by breaking their spirit. That is how a people is made to believe that their dreams are impossible.

    BUT: That doesn’t mean they stop hating us. It only means they fear us. In fact, in that scenario they hate us even more. And eventually the hatred and resentment wins out. All of human history teaches us that. NO people will submit to living in fear forever. Eventually, every people on earth who feel dominated and subjugated will rise up and fight to get their freedom. It’s just the way human beings are made.

    But all of the above is predicated on the assumption that the people living in the Middle East have wishes and aspirations that are legitimate. If one believes that they have no legitimate wishes or aspirations other than wanting to convert every white Westerner to Islam at the point of a sword (which obviously is NOT a legitimate aspiration), then the idea that overpowering them militarily is the way to end their hatred might make sense.

    “Our enemies use proxies against us. It may be time for us to do the same thing. We have not had a reliable ally in the Arab world for more than thirty years, if ever.”

    B., we have been using proxies to serve our perceived interests in the Middle East for close to 60 years now — beginning with the CIA-sponsored overthrow of Mossadegh and installation of the Shah in 1953 in Iran, and continuing with using the Taliban and Osama bin Laden as proxies to serve our interests by fighting the Russians in Afghanistan, and giving Iraq money and weapons and targeting information to fight their war against Iran, and on and on.

    This is exactly the sort of thing that the Bush administration said America would no longer do — support dictatorial leaders and brutal foreign elements to serve our interests.

    And we will NEVER have a reliable ally in the Middle East or anywhere else, if by reliable you mean trustworthy to do as we tell them indefinitely, with no end. Political alliances shift, for goodness sake, B. Alliances never last forever. Countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria, et al. WILL do what is in their own perceived self-interest, just as we will do what is in ours. And like it or not, *their* self-interest will not always or necessarily be the same as what we think their self-interest should be, or what we perceive our self-interest to be.

    I thought you neocons were the ones who prided yourself on tough-minded realism. I don’t think your ideas are realistic. I think they are right-wing fantasies that fail to acknowledge the way the world actually works.

    I am too tired at this moment to address your further ideas on achieving energy independence by drilling for oil in Alaskan wilderness areas, building new refineries, and loosening environmental protections. After all, I just bought a Toyota Yaris, which has an mpg of 34 city/40 highway. And if I could have afforded it, I would have bought a Prius. I think that probably says all that needs to be said about our differing approaches to energy independence. :)

  14. 14
    Mark H. Said:
    11:35 pm 

    “Sure, but it’s only “elected” in the sense that Iraqis voted for the candidates available to them on the ballot. They did not choose those candidates, or play any part, even indirectly, in choosing those candidates. So you can hardly say that Iraq’s “elected” government is a sign of democracy.”

    Who told you that Kathy? Sounds like a contrived viewpoint to me. It’s been quite some time now, so urls would be difficult to unearth at this point, but I recall distinctly that the brothers that run Iraq the Model, ran/competed to be among the choices the Iraqis could vote on when the final elections were held and lost their bid to others — fair and square.

    So I remain mystified at your contention that the ultimate candidates were effectively shoved down the Iraqi’s throats.

  15. 15
    B.Poster Said:
    1:28 am 


    I never said I was neo con. Now to address a few of your points, from what I know the Mossadegh regime was a proxy of the Communist Soviet Union. If so, this would have been a major threat to us. Allowing the Shah to be overthrown was a huge mistake.

    When the US and its Coalition allies invaded Iraq we did so to remove the Baathist regime and eliminae its WMD capabilies. The Baathists and Saddam Hussein have been removed and they are not coming back. The Baathists have largely withdrawn from the battle field. As such, we won the Iraq war. We are now fighting Iran.

    If I might impose upon your patience, when we fought WWII we obliterated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Prior to WWII Germany and Japan served as a check on the Soviet Union. When we obliterated Germany and Japan we removed this check on the Soviet Union. After we won WWII, we fought the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Had we simply stopped after defeating Germany and Japan and simply gone home the Soviet Union would have probably over run Europe and eventually crossed the ocean and come to the US and probably over run it as well because we would have had to fight them without the alliances that we forged after WWII.

    The same principle applies to the current situation. Having largely defeated the Iraqi Baathists we must now focus on Iran. To say that we should have left Saddam in power is to downplay his active support for Islamic terrorists against America, his frozen WMD programs that were waiting to be activated when the sanctions collapsed, and the sanctions that were close to collapsing. I agree with you that the US and its coalition partners should have been more prepared for the post war situation. In any event, whether we should have removed the Iraqi government or not we did it. We must find a way to move forward.

    I think the optimal solution would be to contribute more troops. This would enable us to get the Iraq security situation under control and they could act as a check against Iran and Syria. With more troops in Iraq this would give the Shia dominated government more lattitude to deal with the militias. Also, with this approach we could find out if theya re really serious about representative democracy. If we can provide security, we probably get an ally in the GWOT and representative Democracy might have a chance to work.

    For better or worse, we will never know if representative democracy could have worked or not. It never got the commitment it needed to give it a reasonable chance of succeeding and it is not going to get the commitment.

    Iran and Syria get most of their support from Russia and China. If we can get them to stop using Iran and Syria as proxies against us the Islamic extremist threat becomes fairly easy to contain. A more robust military force in the middle east region would likely give us more leverage in negotiations.

    As I discuss in the previosu post, more troops for Iraq is simply not feasible right now. As such, we need policies that we can actually implement.

    Iran is a greater threat today than Nazi Germany ever was or ever could have been. What’s more, if it is not dealt with now, it will only grow more dangerous. For better or worse, we are not going to make any effort to overthrow the Iranian government. Since we are not going to over throw it, we are going to try and contain it and contain Iran we MUST. We will be withdrawing from Iraq soon. Sicne we will no longer be there in masse, we will help with Iran and lots of it.

    You are correct that alliances between nations are not permanent. Alliances are ever changing. The only thing that is permanent is a nations’s national interests. I’m sure that the Gulf states in the region will be willing to work with us to contain Iran. After all, they are frantically working to upgrade their military capabilities. Iran is more of a threat to them than to us. Also, the Iraqi Sunni may be helpful here. In addtion to this, we should stop restraining Israel. Israel is the most important buffer between us and the Islamic terrorists.

    Given the geo political realities, it looks to me like we will be employing some sort of redeploy and contain option. I would have preferred something better, but having given up on the goal of reforming the middle east this seems to be the best option we have. Iran must be contained or the regime must be changed. The survival of Western civillizaiton depends on it. We could make the job easier, if we could get Russia and China to stop supporting Iran. I hope and pray the redeploy and contain optionn works, as it is the one we will be employing.

    I think I can see where you are going with energy independence. It seems you wnat to conserve and be more efficient. I agree. Better efficientcy, better conservation, and more production. Perhpaps the new Congress will pass tax credits for more fuel efficient vehicles. This could make them more affordable. I’m 100% for better conservation efforts.

    Mark H.

    As I recall, the Iraqi elections were fair and square. In any event, if someone has a problem, I’m sure they can take it up with the UN general assembly, the World Court, or something like that. A ruling might not have any legal weight but it would send quite a message.

  16. 16
    B.Poster Said:
    2:11 am 


    Sorry for the multiple posts. I did some more reading on the Mossadegh regime. It may not have been as simple as I originally thought. Based on what I know so far it seems the action was justified. The regime clearly seems to have been hostile to Britian and the US. It seems to have set out to steal British developed oil wells and it may have been consorting with Communists. The British and the Americans had some jusitification for their actions but perhaps the dispute could have been resolved some other way. Unfortunately Iranians and Arabs in general are not presented both sides to the story.

    In any event, the US would not sanction such an event today even if it had cause. It amikes little sense to beat up today’s America over this act. If the Iranians were primarily concerned about this, they can simply say so and ask for compensation. This would be more productive than “death to America”, “we shall burn the roots of Anglo Saxon civilization,” and “Israel shall be wiped from the map.”

    The Iranians could take their complaint before the UN general assembly or the world court. The Americans might insist on a fair trial. This could be a problem for Iran’s propaganda machine. Iran does not want to resolve the problems. Their leadership has plainly stated that their goals are world domination. They need open grievences so they can have an excuse to continue with the war.

    Finally, Iran has had completely free of any American or Western influence since 1979. It is time for them to take responsibilty for themselves and stop blaming America or Israel. As long as Iran wants to continue with its naked agression, it is imperative that they be stopped or at least contained.

  17. 17
    B.Poster Said:
    2:32 am 

    According to some commentators the US role in the overthrow of the Mossadegh regime has been exagerated. According to others the US single handedly did this. It seems many of the original records don’t exist. In any event, Mossadegh appears to have broken his agreements with the British. At least this is their side. A fair accounting of this would be nice, however, given the sentiments within much of the world right now I seriously don’t think the US or Britian could get a fair trial.

  18. 18
    Kathy Said:
    5:14 pm 

    Hi, Mark. (Mark is B. Poster, right?)

    First off — my apologies for the neocon jab. Labels are odious. :)

    “… from what I know the Mossadegh regime was a proxy of the Communist Soviet Union. If so, this would have been a major threat to us. Allowing the Shah to be overthrown was a huge mistake.”

    And in your separate post:

    “I did some more reading on the Mossadegh regime. It may not have been as simple as I originally thought. Based on what I know so far it seems the action was justified. The regime clearly seems to have been hostile to Britian and the US. It seems to have set out to steal British developed oil wells and it may have been consorting with Communists. …”

    Mossadegh was not a proxy of the Soviet Union. Of course, that was the assumption the U.S. made back then about any country that resisted Western attempts to use its natural and human resources, but it was not the case here. Mossadegh certainly had socialist leanings, but he was not a Soviet Communist. He was a nationalist. He was elected freely and fairly and had enormous popular support because he supported the Iranian people’s right to control their own resources, and to benefit economically from their own country’s resources.

    Of course Mossadegh’s regime was hostile to Britain and the U.S. Britain and the U.S. (Britain especially in this case) were removing the oil from Iranian land and taking the lion’s share of the profits for themselves. The Iranians who worked for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP) were confined to very menial positions and treated as inferiors. Britain consistently refused to alter these arrangements despite numerous non-violent attempts on Iran’s part to get them to do so. The beef against Mossadegh was that he nationalized the oil industry, which meant that Western interests would no longer be able to reap those enormous profits. Of course, no one at the time said that. The excuse for overthrowing Mossadegh was that he was allied with the Soviet Union, but that was simply not true. It was a convenient excuse for Britain and the U.S. to protect their economic interests.

    You say that allowing the Shah to be overthrown was a huge mistake. The U.S. did not have that much choice in the matter, really. It’s that phenomenon I discussed in my earlier post about it being impossible to rule with fear and terror indefinitely. By 1979, the Iranian people had lived through 25 years of a regime that was among the most brutal of the 20th century. Savak, the Iranian secret police under the Shah whose very name was enough to terrorize, was responsible for over two decades of killings and torture horrific enough to equal anything Saddam Hussein did in Iraq. Savak, by the way, was a CIA creation, and its agents were trained by Israel’s secret police agency, Mossad.

    The mistake was not “letting” the Shah be overthrown. The mistake was installing the Shah in the first place. That’s what led to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, not failure to support the Shah enough. I think that you greatly underestimate the depth of the resentment, anger, and yes, hatred, that Iranians had 25 years to develop against the West, knowing as they did that it was the American CIA that overthrew Mossadegh and put the Shah in power. The 25-year rule of the Shah was a reign of terror. People had their limbs dissolved in acid, and sometimes they were killed that way (their entire bodies dissolved). They had their skin and body parts sliced off by machines designed to cut meat. They were strapped to tables that were then lowered down toward a source of fire, and burned alive, slowly. I’m sorry to be this graphic, but it’s important to understand just what it was the U.S. put in place and supported for a quarter of a century.

    “The Iranians could take their complaint before the UN general assembly or the world court.”

    And you think that would be effective? The US refused to sign on to the world court and withdrew from it precisely so that the US would not have to face the possibility of US nationals being tried for such crimes. John F. Kennedy’s statement, “Those who make peaceful change impossible make will make violent revolution inevitable,” is apt here. Of course, it’s a bit hypocritical, coming from JFK, but he was right nonetheless.

    “…when we fought WWII we obliterated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Prior to WWII Germany and Japan served as a check on the Soviet Union. When we obliterated Germany and Japan we removed this check on the Soviet Union. After we won WWII, we fought the Cold War with the Soviet Union.”

    And the Cold War with the Soviet Union led us to support brutal dictatorships in places like Iran and Iraq, which allowed Islamic terrorism to get stronger and fueled the market for it in the Middle East. The Cold War with the Soviet Union led us to give money and arms to the mujahideen who fought the Soviet Union in Afghanistan — and who later became the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden began his career as a fighter in Afghanistan. Then came 9/11, and we invaded Afghanistan again; then we invaded and occupied Iraq, which led to the empowering of our enemy Iran, not to mention a vastly increased, both in size and power, network of terrorist connections.

    My conclusion? War does not work. War may SEEM to work, as a short-term solution to a specific threat or problem, but in the long term it doesn’t work, because it leads us inevitable to the next war. All war does is create the conditions that result in the next war. All war does is sow the seeds for the next war.

    I guess I’ve said that in enough different ways now.

  19. 19
    B.Poster Said:
    11:05 pm 


    Mossadegh appears to have been in bed with the Communists. The notion that he was not seems to be a historical rewrite. In any event, the Americans had good reason to be concerned. Of course this is not to justify all American actions. Sometimes like the actions of anyone they can be wrong. If the British or the Americans stole Iranian oil, the Iranians should be compensated. Again, take it before the world court or the UN General Assembly. If the Americans or the British did something improper, it would have a profound symbolic efrect. World opinion would force the Americans to do what ever the Iranians wanted.

    If you are supported by the Communists, you are called a nationalists or something to this effect. If you are supported by the Americans, you a stooge or something to this effect.

    According to some reports the American role in overthrowing the Mossadegh regime is greatly exaggerated. At the time, to over state the CIA’s role served the propaganda purposes of the Americans and those opposed to the Shah. The same torture techniques you described as being done by the Shah are being done by the current Iranian government. They are very careful about controlling the flow of information from their country. As we did not control Iran, we would not be able to control what the Shah did or did not do within his country. It was a relationship of convenience. We both needed each other. This is much the way Iran uses Hezbollah and Syria. A nation always has interests but alliances seem to change from time to time. It should not be this way but it is. Perhaps we should not have looked the other way. That said, it is doubful the Americans or the Isarelis could have done much about it. It is always convenient for the Iranians to blame the Americans or the Israelis for their failings.

    Had we not fought the Soviet Union in the Cold War, the Soviet Union would still be in business and it is very likely that the US would have been absorbed into the Soviet empire. War does not work when it is not fought to completion. For example, Germany and Japan were obliterated in WWII. We have not heard from the Nazis or imperial Japan since then. The first Gulf War was not fought to completion. This made it inevitable that we would have to go back sooner or later. Also, the recent Israeli/Hezbollah war was not fought to completeion. This makes it inevitable that it will be fought again. In this case, Israel should have been allowed to complete the job rather than restrain Israel. Finally, the Communists are still in charge of Russia. This made it inevitable that they would be back and they are with a vengence.

    When the Iranians want peace their is a viable and strong peace movement within the US that is ready to address the issues at hand. Right now, there exists no peace movement that has any power within Iran that has any strength. The so called “doves” are either dead or marginalized. For any type of resolution to work, the Iranians will have to make some compromises. From the rhetoric of the leaders of Iran, they don’t seem willing. They are unwilling to bring formal charges before the UN for the issues you mention above becuase this might lead to a resolution. They don’t want a resolution. Their goals are to destroy “Great Satan” and “little Satan.” Any peace agreement with the current Iranian government would only be used to rearm and prepare for the next round.

    I see three options going forward. 1.) Commit more troops to Iraq. Commit enough force to secure the country and give the Democratic proces a chance to work. 2.) Redeploy to Kurdish areas and only intervene in Iraq’s Civil War to halt the advances of Iran and Al Qaeda. 3.)Many people in Iran seem unhappy with the rule of the Mullahs. There are a number of groups we could work with to remove that government. I prefer option 1 or 3 but they cannot be implmented right now. We will ultimately go with option 2 or somehting simillar.

    Islamic extremism is similar in many ways to Nazism. Both need an external enemy that they can demonize. In the case of the Nazis, it was the Jews. In the case of Islamic extremists, it is the Israelis and the Americans. They generally do not allow dissenting views within their countries.

    Finally, a little over fifty years ago Britian dominated Iran’s oil industry. Today Iran is a much more influential player on the world stage than Britian is. Iran has had over twenty five years to reach an acceptable agreement with the US, Britian, and the West. They have chosen not to do so.

  20. 20
    B.Poster Said:
    12:50 am 

    Before the US can accomplish anything in Iraq the US government will need to decide just what it is that it wants to accomplish and just what constitutes “victory,” Just today, George W. Bush talks about democracy and implies that the troops will not be withdrawn until a stable democracy is achieved. While the Iraq Study Group has not issued their report yet, they do not seem to share the same goal. The US will need to decide on a plan that all of the various policy makers can agree on.

    Also, the US will want to work to somehow strengthen the hand of moderates within the Iranian government, if there are any. The current regime is as oppressive as any in the world. With this regime it seems unlikely that we could establish a frame work to address the real and imagined grievances that both parties have. For real negotiations to work, both parties must want it. There are many powerful people in the US and the West who are ready and willing to make major concessions. No major policy makers in Iran seem willing. Bush for all of his flaws, seems to recognize that the Iranians are, at this time, uninterested in peaceful relations, however, he may be forced by the political situation into negotiations with them. The approach of many in the US and the West is to assume that there is nothing worse than war and everyone feels the same way. With this mentality in place the Americans and the West would get taken to the cleaners in any negotiations. The long range survival of the US and Western civilization would be extremely precarious.

  21. 21
    Kathy Said:
    8:11 pm 

    I’ve already answered most of what you say above, so I won’t repeat myself. I do have to laugh at your statement that Islamic extremists are similar to Nazis in that both need an external enemy that they can demonize. The U.S. in the half century after WWII has built its foreign policies and its domestic policies around the need to always have an external enemy to demonize. For over 40 years it was the Communists; then, after the fall of the Soviet Union took that enemy away from us, we seized on Islamic terrorism as the external enemy.

    I think in many ways this need for an external enemy is related to America’s success in WWII. Fighting Nazism made the U.S. a world superpower, so in some sense we keep on trying to find enemies to battle because we connect that apocalyptic struggle with our dominance in the world.

    But here’s the thing — and I really believe this. In the long run, power monopolies never succeed, because they contain the seeds of their own destruction within them. I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

    I take comfort in that.

  22. 22
    B.Poster Said:
    9:53 pm 


    If you must laugh, it must be becuase you have not seen or heard the rhetoric that comes from our enemies. Its understandable, as the msm does not cover it very much. The Communist enemy was and is very real. Marxists and Islamic Extremists have joined forces to maek an even more formidable enemy.

    For the US to connect a struggle with its dominance in the world, would require it to dominate the world. After WWII, the US did dominate the world, however, now it does not. While it is very influential, arguabley the most influential nation state on earth now, it does not dominate the world. The US, Russia, and China are the big three right now. These three are roughly equal in world influence. They each have different strengths and weaknesses but over all they are about equal.

    “In the long run monopolies never succeed because they sow the seeds of their own destruction within them.” I agree. This is why ultimately organizations like OPEC and the UN will be obliterated. They are unjust entities who attempt to lord it over everyone else. I wish the US would withraw its support from the corrupt UN but it is comforting to know that the UN and its fat cats will be brought to justice some day. Also, the leftist main stream media is still the dominant source for news, however, they have lost ground in recent years. Their monoply of slanted reporting will not be able to contiune for ever. At this time, the US really has no monoply on anything to bring to an end.

    “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I like this statement from Martin Luther King, as well. I think he nailed it. This is why ultimately Islamic extremism and Communism will be crushed. Perhaps not by the US because the post Christian US and the post Christian western world have, to a large degree, lost the abiltiy to distinguish good from evil. In the end, a Judeo-Chrisian world view will prevail. Ultimaelty freedom, capitalism, and the free enterprise system will win out.

    Martin Luther King was a staunch supporter of Israel. He would be appalled at the way Israel has been treated within the UN and elsewhere. I suspect he would be the first to condemn Arab naked aggression against the state of Israel. I also think that he would be horrified at America’s wholesale departing from a Christian world view.

    Ultimately for justice to prevail Islamic extremism and Communism will be defeated. Hopefully the US will be the one to rid the world of these evil scourges. If the US does not do it, womeone will. If it comes to it, God will personally intervene in the affairs of mankind to put an end to the evils of Communism and Islamic extremism. I look forward to the day that the world is rid of those ideologies of hate.

  23. 23
    Mark H. Said:
    10:26 pm 

    I think, Kathy, if you read and take time to absorb what B.Poster is conveying in response to your well-expressed thoughts, that you’ll eventually come to understand why we’re good and they’re bad; why war is not wanted but is often necessary; why no one wants war, but that war wants you.

    You certainly have the basic underpinnings of understanding down pat already. Oh, and I think you thought I was he in an earlier post, but I am me not he :-)

  24. 24
    B.Poster Said:
    11:01 pm 


    I must agree with Mark that your thoughts are well expressed. We just have strong disagreeements but you seem to be a thoughtful person. It is a pleasure discussing world events with you.

    At the risk of veering off topic, in an earlier post (#13) you say that President Bush panders to the religous right. I would consider myself a member of the “religous right” or at least syympathetic to them. Btw, I agree with your earlier sentiment that labels are odious. From my perspective, he does not pander to this group at all. He may throw them a bone now and then and he may say some things that tickle their ears but these people have gotten nothing of substance from him. I would suggest reading some of the articles at for more detailed analysis of how the Bush administration routinely sticks it to this group. It seems to me that they have played both ends against the middle and have made very few people happy.

    You suggest the president panders to wealthy white men. I find no evidence in the President’s actions of this. During the 2004 Presidential campaign the President posed with a Mexican flag and he blasted the Minutemen as “vigilantes.” For the record, I think this president should be impeached. His unwillingness to do anything about border security is treasonous.

    As a tax accountant, I can say definitively that the tax cuts that were enacted by the President have been a huge boon to the middle class. The middle class has benefited as much, if not more than the rich have. The President’s actions have not pandered to rich white men or even to the rich.

  25. 25
    Kathy Said:
    12:28 pm 

    Mark H said:

    “I think, Kathy, if you read and take time to absorb what B.Poster is conveying in response to your well-expressed thoughts, that you’ll eventually come to understand why we’re good and they’re bad; why war is not wanted but is often necessary; why no one wants war, but that war wants you.”

    Well, if you will permit me to turn the tables: I think that if you and B. Poster read and take the time to absorb what I am conveying in response to the thoughts that have been equally well-expressed by both of you, you’ll eventually come to understand that “good” and “bad” are verbs, not nouns. (Yes, I know they are actually both adjectives, but I’m speaking figuratively.)

    “No one wants war but war is sometimes necessary” (although I note here that “often” has replaced “sometimes,” which is the word I have always seen before) is an aphorism that is often used by people who don’t have to experience war directly. It’s so easy to say that war is “unwanted” but “necessary” when the bombs are not falling on you, and the death squads and suicide bombings are not terrorizing your family and friends. I wonder if you would feel the same way about war if you were living in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or even Europe, where the memory of the last century’s wars are still all too recent.

    I can agree that war is sometimes inevitable, but it’s never necessary; and it’s always the worst solution possible. War happens when all the better solutions have either failed, or failed to be tried — because warmongers and war profiteers are real.

    “Martin Luther King was a staunch supporter of Israel. He would be appalled at the way Israel has been treated within the UN and elsewhere. I suspect he would be the first to condemn Arab naked aggression against the state of Israel. I also think that he would be horrified at America’s wholesale departing from a Christian world view.”

    I do have a response to that; but given that I hate putting thoughts and ideas about contemporary issues in the mouths of dead heroes who died before those issues developed, I won’t go there.

    By the way, I am familiar with and have indeed read some of the articles there. I’m very surprised that you recommend it, though, since you are such a critic of slanted news reporting. :)

    “For the record, I think this president should be impeached.”

    LOL, we’ve found something we can agree on! I’ve intentionally omitted your next sentence, though, because if I included it, we would be disagreeing again! :))

    “I must agree with Mark that your thoughts are well expressed. We just have strong disagreeements but you seem to be a thoughtful person. It is a pleasure discussing world events with you.”

    The feeling is mutual. There; we found something else we can agree on. :)

  26. 26
    Mark H. Said:
    1:14 am 

    Kathy thinks that I’ll: “eventually come to understand that “good” and “bad” are verbs, not nouns.”

    No I won’t. :-)

    Mark said, in an attempt to close the productive thread with some levity!

  27. 27
    Kathy Said:
    2:33 pm 

    Well, then, we’ll have fun debating.:)

    It’s win-win. :)

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