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5/11/2007
ENDGAME

But if we are not willing to do what is necessary to win, then the only sane, moral course of action is to bring the troops home as fast as humanly possible. Such a humiliation should not result in a single additional death or injury to the men and women who have performed so bravely and selflessly in the face of blunder after blunder by their superiors.

When I wrote those words in August of 2006, I hoped that the Bush Administration would react to the dire situation that had developed the previous six months in the country as a result of the bombing of the sacred Shia shrine in Samarra. (Note: There is considerable disagreement about whether or not the bombing of the shrine was a catalyst for the increased violence or whether it was coincidental to the march of the Iraqis toward civil war.) As it happened, the Administration decided to sit tight until after the Mid Term elections, hoping that a Republican majority could be maintained and they could go on their merry way, blundering toward disaster all the while telling us how swimmingly things were going.

Rudely awakened on election day, the Bushies realized the jig was up and that they would have to finally admit that mistakes were made and that a change of course was necessary. Firing Rumsfeld and initiating a “surge” with about 30,000 additional troops was the correct prescription. But like a doctor who prescribes a drug to kill an infection only after the patient is at deaths door, the medicine was administered too late to have much effect.

Not, I hasten to add, that the “surge” itself is a failure. Three months is hardly enough time to judge the overall effectiveness of a strategy that is still being implemented. The idea that our troops (who still have not been fully deployed) could rein in the death squads, tackle the militias, initiate their neighborhood policing, confiscate weapons, crack down on the criminal gangs, and bring order out of chaos in Baghdad in just 90 days is pure idiocy, something only the New York Times and partisan Democrats (or scaredy cat Republicans) would believe. A more realistic yardstick to judge success or failure would have been the end of the year. And I have little doubt that the professionalism and abilities of our troops would have seen to it that success would have been ours.

And yes, there has been remarkable progress in Anbar province in getting the tribes to fight al-Qaeda and even initiate political changes that have the potential of significantly affecting the Sunni insurgency. That part of the surge too, is being carried out with great dedication and skill.

But all of this is taking place in a vacuum. That’s because here at home, it should be apparent to even the bitter ender Bushies that there is no sustaining political will to fight on, that spilling American blood to give the Iraqis the necessary breathing room to implement the political changes that would make their country whole again has disappeared. And not just in the hinterlands but most especially on Capitol Hill. Republicans are jumping ship or, at the very least, adjusting their life preservers. Being practical politicians with their ears to the ground, GOP lawmakers are not going to put their political survival into the hands of a lame duck President whose stubbornness and inability to grasp either the political realities at home or in Baghdad could lead the Republican party into a massacre on election day in 2008.

The last 48 hours have seen one of the more remarkable political transformations that I can remember. The dam apparently began to break on Tuesday following a meeting between Bush and GOP moderates in the House. The lawmakers were desperately trying to get through to the President that their support for the war would be unsustainable past September given the Democratic party surge in their districts that is being driven by anti-war feeling among their constituents. Couple that with the fact that the Democrats have placed great big bulls eyes on these Republicans and are busy recruiting serious contenders to face them in 2008, and the political survival instincts of these fellows kicked in with a vengeance.

Karl Rove is furious that the tenor and tone of the meeting was leaked to the press:

White House political adviser Karl Rove, furious that Republican moderates had divulged a confrontational meeting they had on Tuesday with Bush on the war, started yesterday with an angry conversation with the meeting’s organizer, Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.), according to several GOP lawmakers. Dan Meyer, the White House’s chief lobbyist, called the other participants to express the administration’s unhappiness.

But Bush struck a more conciliatory tone, pledging to include benchmarks of success for the Iraqi government in a final compromise on war funding legislation.

And it isn’t just the “moderates” who just want Iraq to go away. Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), a meeting participant, said that it “was reflective of where the whole [Republican] conference is.”

The heated meeting between the GOP moderates and Bush continued to reverberate through Capitol Hill yesterday, after several Republican conservatives told reporters that they shared the moderates’ fears that the war is wrecking the party. “There is no liberal-conservative divide on Iraq,” said one House GOP conservative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering the White House further.

With his own party in full blown revolt and Bush giving in on including benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet in order to continue funding the war – benchmarks there isn’t a chance in hell Prime Minister Maliki could achieve even if he showed the slightest interest in doing so – all that remained for total collapse of the Bush policy was a sign that it’s only going to get worse.

And the Democrats helpfully supplied that sign yesterday with their draconian “cut and run” bill – an up or down vote on funding the entire war, not just the surge. An astonishing 177 Democrats voted for it (and two Republicans). To say that this bill was the most irresponsible piece of legislation yet proposed by the Democrats doesn’t really matter. At this point, doing the responsible thing is not in the forefront of what passes for thinking by either party. Republicans want out. Democrats want to start sharpening their knives for the inevitable hearings on the Hill that will fix blame for this debacle squarely where it belongs – on the President and his subordinates.

I might add that even though the bill was irresponsible, it was about time that the Democrats put their money where their mouths have been for 4 years. It took some political courage to bring that measure up for a vote and Pelosi should be commended for doing so.

So, the Democrats want us out. The Republicans desperately want to disentangle themselves from the Iraq Tar Baby. The Iraqi Parliament voted to end the occupation (albeit with a sensible timeline that would keep enough troops to train the Iraqi army). And the American people most definitely want our mission in Iraq to end.

And if, as seems likely now, the Iraqi government fails to meet the benchmarks set for July or September (whichever date is decided upon doesn’t matter) and Congress cuts off money for at least the surge and possibly more, what’s a Commander in Chief to do?

Clearly, this is not going to be Saigon circa 1975 with desperate Iraqis clinging to the last helicopter leaving the American embassy (even though many liberals would dearly love to see that scenario play out). And it is just as clear that not all of our troops will be coming home. We will stay and train the Iraqi army while keeping up the pressure on al-Qaeda in Iraq who will find themselves more and more facing off against the Iraqis anyway. And I suspect we will have some kind of “tripwire” force in place to prevent mischief by Iraq’s neighbors in case they get a hankerin’ for military adventures against the very weak government there.

But it is just as clear that our days of nation building and democracy promoting are over – at least as far as our military can be of service in those areas. What is very unclear at the moment is how best to disengage. For that, the President will be forced into negotiations with the Democrats (something I was skewered for suggesting by my righty friends just a couple of weeks ago.) There’s no getting there from here while avoiding the worst of the consequences flowing from our withdrawal unless the two sides can sit down and try and do what’s in the best interests of the United States. I have no clue what the answer might be as to how best to leave Iraq. But the Commander in Chief in consultation with his generals along with the political leadership of opposition (who, after all, control the Congress) must come to some kind of an agreement on this vital question if we are to salvage anything at all from this misguided adventure.

Even if the bulk of our combat troops are out of Iraq by next summer, that may not be enough to save the Republicans from an historic defeat the following November. Most political experts smell political realignment in the air. Certainly the war has something to do with that possibility. But such an electoral outcome would occur more as a result of Republican disarray and a lack of new ideas to deal with the challenges of today than what has happened in Iraq. The war has been a catalyst that has altered the political landscape. But the incoherence of the GOP who will enter the political season with no recognizable agenda, no initiatives worth talking about, and for all intents and purposes leaderless is what should chill the bones of conservatives and give them cause for nightmares of a filibuster-proof Senate and veto-proof majority in the House.

For now however, our concentration should be on getting the troops redeployed with a minimum of casualties. They have earned far more than our respect and thanks in these difficult years. They have earned our fierce admiration. They have done all that has been asked of them with a dedication and professionalism that has been awe inspiring. And the sacrifices they and their families have been forced to make have been born with a singular fidelity to the highest traditions of military service.

And in order to validate their service and sacrifice, we must examine every action taken by our military and political leaders that has led us to this point and make sure that history holds those accountable who failed both them and the United States in this conflict. There will be other battles in this war. Learning the lessons from this fiasco will make sure that we will win through to ultimate victory in this war against Islamic extremism.

By: Rick Moran at 7:30 am
36 Responses to “ENDGAME”
  1. 1
    Andy Said:
    8:39 am 

    I’m sure the wingers will skewer you again for this post Rick – good on you for putting the interests of the US ahead of partisan political interests. I read that Rove quote and it really pissed me off – I hoped he would have more important matters to be furious about than the leak of dissent from Republican ranks.

    As for where we go now, I think we need to look at a containment strategy to limit spillover from bloodshed that is sure to follow the reduction in forces. Here is a good outline for some active measures we can take:

    http://www.cfr.org/publication/12602/brookings.html

  2. 2
    gregdn Said:
    8:39 am 

    Great ananlysis of the situation. I’d have to ask “what have learned from this?” Your comment about the Bush Docrine (“our days of nation building and democracy promoting are over..”) is (hopefully) correct. This was undoubtably the dumbest foreign policy put forth by any President in our history. If Iraq spells the end of it, it will have been worth it.

  3. 3
    Kurt Said:
    9:14 am 

    I agree, Rick, no more nation building and democracy promotion in Arab nations. B-52s and ICBMs from now on….

  4. 4
    Hallfasthero Said:
    10:22 am 

    Had GWB worked with the Democrats as though they were fellow Americans instead of the enemy to be put down or muzzled, circumstances would not have been nearly as adversarial. He should have read the book “How to Make Friends and Influence People” for starters.

    Partisanship is hurting things now as you said and you are exactly right. As I posted earlier, this war is not going to end nicely and everyone is going to look dirty in the end.

    OT: Did your brother give up his blog at Vivid Air?

  5. 5
    David M Said:
    10:24 am 

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run – Web Reconnaissance for 05/11/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

  6. 6
    Fritz Said:
    10:39 am 

    You are proof how weak democracy is to our enemies. Good luck Rick, bin Laden is laughing at you. If Johnson had the conditions in Vietnam in 1968 that we have today in Iraq, he would have been re-elected. We are Americans, if 4,000 dead and 25,000 casualties over 4 years is considered failure, single battles during WW2 were worse, we might as well praise ala now. You are a weak kneed Illinois Republican, I hate Illinois Republicans. The French, of all people, elected new leadership that can have an enormous impact on Syria & Iran, something the previous leadership refused to do. Gee, as I recall, 1992 was a shoe in for the wimp Bush, he followed the Illinois Republican trope and got his clock cleaned. If George, Laura, Barney, and me are all that are left, so be it. It is challenging but not hopeless, you cowards are sending the worst signals to the moderates in the region at the expense of the United States interests.

  7. 7
    Fritz Said:
    10:59 am 

    Kirk,
    Boy, that will scare them! One nuke in NYC and 30,000,000 Americans lose their jobs overnight. Our economy and the world’s will collapse and a new dark age will begin, exactly what bin laden wants. So we run away from Iraq, telling moderates that to ferret out terrorists, like the guy in NJ did, don’t bother, we will inspect cargo containers! I am afraid that my generation is the worst America has ever produced, Reagan must be turning in his grave in disgust.

  8. 8
    carole Said:
    11:47 am 

    I do hope I will be around to see the
    results of the behavior of the Americans
    once again, cutting and runing when a
    result of their own ignorance comes to
    their country.
    We will again see the Americans whining and
    saying” why do they hate us”
    Are you so ignorant of your own history
    you can not see why you are looked upon
    with hate?
    Count the times you ran, count them and
    then count the dead from Hiroshima on.
    Count them.
    You will, AGAIN, be counting the dead,
    and it will certainly not be yours.
    Superpower?
    Please
    Superpowers need courage and integrity and
    you have none.
    A better name could be ” powerful quitters”
    I forgot Afghanistan, they will be alone
    again as none of your allies, and believe me
    they will not be you allies in anything
    again, will not be able to stop the terrorists
    you have made bigger and stronger whenever
    you say we must run.
    What was the reason you have to run this time?
    I cannot believe I actually never thought the
    Americans would do it AGAIN. Was the
    troop treatment not a lesson to you?
    Oh, I see, this time the troops will not
    be blamed for the LOSS of Vientnam.
    You will blame the president and in thirty
    years your cowardice will be seen, count on
    that.

  9. 9
    Bill Said:
    12:57 pm 

    And you wonder why you are losing readers?

  10. 10
    rocketsbrain Said:
    1:42 pm 

    I think I sent you Scott Malensek’s Plan for Iraq. It’s worth a read as a Plan B:

    A New Direction

    RBT

  11. 11
    B.Poster Said:
    1:44 pm 

    It is good that American troops will soon be out of Iraq. While Islamic terrorists do pose a threat to the US, they are not the most dangerous security threats to the US. The most dangerous security threats to the US are from Russia and China. Unfortunately the wars in Irq and Afghanistan seem to have caused us to lose sight of the most dangerous threats to the US. With American troops and military assets not tied up in Iraq we should focus more on the more dangerous threats of Russia and China.

  12. 12
    rocketsbrain Said:
    1:45 pm 

    Sorry. Apparently didn’t like the embedded link to my server. Cut/paste this link:

    http://www.rocketsbrain.com/files/Newdirection.pdf

    RBT

  13. 13
    Chris Said:
    1:48 pm 

    The Bush Doctrine has nothing to do with nation building. The Bush Doctrine was to preemptively remove potential national security threats, which we did by removing Saddam from power. The Bush administration was against nation building in Afghanistan at first. Our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq morphed into nation building exercises by expediency.

    I agree with Kurt. Next time, and there will be a next time, we won’t bother with winning our enemies’ hearts and minds, we’ll be spreading them all over the landscape.

  14. 14
    Chris Said:
    2:01 pm 

    Something else just occurred to me. During WWII, the strategic bombing campaign cost us 100,000 American casualties. Originally the bombers flew without fighter cover. This failed. Their original targets were associated the German aircraft industry. That strategy failed. Two years into the campaign, we realized that we had to provide fighter cover for the bombers. We did that. Then we realized that the pinch point in the German economy was not ball bearings, but oil. A concentrated effort against oil targets (which the Army Air Force initially opposed) did much more damage to the German war effort than all the efforts of the British and American bomber forces up to that point.

    My point is that four years into this campaign, after changing our strategy from removing the previous regime to building a new one from scratch, fighting first a domestic insurgency, now a foreign-fueled sectarian conflict, suddenly everyone wants to pull up stakes. I am ashamed that the will of this nation is lacking. I am ashamed that our leaders cannot put aside their political differences for the sake of the country. I am ashamed that our leaders cannot explain our strategy or our goals.

  15. 15
    Rick Moran Said:
    2:04 pm 

    “And you wonder why you are losing readers?

    Not true. I know exactly why people like you are not coming back.

    The unflattering reason – you don’t want to know.

  16. 16
    john g Said:
    2:41 pm 

    Hey there Rick__I applaud your forthrightness—-I believe that we can still pull things together in Iraq—but only if Bush et al will play the same kind of hardball with Malilki as he has with the Democrats over the years—-However I have concluded that with the Dems in power and GWB unwilling to go to mats in campaigning for his policies—there has to be a dicscussion of some type 0f “plan B”—-what do you think of today’s Kondracke’s column?

  17. 17
    Hankmeister Said:
    2:55 pm 

    I’m just glad this generation wasn’t around during World War II because we would have gotten our clocks cleaned by the Nazis. After the debacle in assaulting the Italian peninsula and never gotten to the bloodbath of Normandy. And if we had landed in Normandy, once another 8,000 Allied soldiers died in the abortive Market Garden laugher, FDR would have been impeached and Eisenhower would have been shoot as an incompetent boob. God help us because obviously our spoilt brat generation certainly isn’t going to help itself since we’re busily trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  18. 18
    endorendil Said:
    3:14 pm 

    “We will stay and train the Iraqi army while keeping up the pressure on al-Qaeda in Iraq who will find themselves more and more facing off against the Iraqis anyway.”

    I agree that this is how it will start, out of inertia and unwillingness to admit massive failure. But in the end, odds are that the Iraqi army will be a Shi’a army, and do we really want to train the Iranian Quds forces? The ugly truth is that Iraq is now Shi’a territory. The Kurds are limited geographically, and will be happy with autonomy and the prospect of independence. The Sunnis have been on the losing end, and most of their best and brightest have left the country already. Unless the US starts supporting the Sunni insurgents, politically if not militarily, there is no escaping the fact that Iran just lost its archenemy and gained a bosom buddy.

    “And I suspect we will have some kind of “tripwire” force in place to prevent mischief by Iraq’s neighbors in case they get a hankerin’ for military adventures against the very weak government there”

    Unlikely. Aside from the fact that these bases would be under continuous attack, who would really be detered? Turkey will go after the terrorists that run the Kurd regions eventually, and I doubt that the US will stop them. Sunni neighbours are probably going to be our allies – once we reassess the situation. And then there’s Iran, which doesn’t need to invade (except by pilgrimages) in order to rule Iraq.

  19. 19
    Hallfasthero Said:
    3:30 pm 

    My point is that four years into this campaign, after changing our strategy from…

    What a laugh. If you have been reading anything – and you haven’t – you would know that the problems we have been having revolve around the fact that the strategy has NEVER changed. Remember “stay the course” or do you just simply choose to believe what you want to believe and damn the facts. You are right though, if this generation had been around during WWII, we just might have lost – because our generation chose to elect this president who would have guaranteed that our army would have gone without a plan, unallied, ill-equipped, undermanned and our treasury would have been bankrupted because the miltary industrial complex would have been legally allowed to milk us dry financially.

  20. 20
    squidgie Said:
    3:51 pm 

    No recriminations for Rick. Frankly his analysis is valid. However the great acheivements of history are never won easily and as a pretty good guy once said, we have assumed responsibilities that it would be disastrous to abandon and dishonorable to forget. It is up to the Iraqis now, as it always, truly, has been. They may yet come acropper but they haven’t to date. History is with those above who decry the weak-kneed. Carole, it seems is in foreign lands and echoes what the Iraqi Shia complain, rightly, from Desert Storm and other events that truly were debacles and fiascoes, terms that, as several folks point out, are not warranted by historical criteria applied to our current situation. I suppose I am a “bitter ender” though I didn’t think I would ever be more bitter than the warden at the Rightwing Nuthouse. But we are yet far from the end. Yes, political support is eroding but that says exactly nothing to the merits or lack of same of the Iraqi project. It may yet fail but neither the Iraqis or others in the ME will be able to say that we did not, in this instance, put our rhetoric into action. We had and have here a one-time deal whereat our interests and our ideology are parallel. Now, I would say that our ideology of liberty and consentual govt is ALWAYS in line with our interests, properly conceived, but again this is the formulation of a PRETTY ok cat and since he is the only figure in politics that seems to believe our founding principles are worth fighting for, I won’t argue the point.

  21. 21
    Santay Said:
    3:56 pm 

    Hang in there Rick, your opinion, like mine has evolved over time. I was always a little dubious about the reasons for going into Iraq in the first place, never did swallow Powell’s presentation at the U.N. But now I think it’s time to pull the plug. There’s not much you can do for people who seem intent on killing each other.

  22. 22
    squidgie Said:
    3:56 pm 

    And carole, hold on dear. We haven’t bugged out quite yet.

  23. 23
    Fight4TheRight Said:
    5:00 pm 

    Well, I’m not exactly sure how this read differs that much from what we saw a couple of weeks ago here but I wanted to point something out.

    I firmly believe that the situation in Iraq, at this moment, is VASTLY improved over that 3 months ago. It’s not just the surge…it’s momentum. It’s the formation of the Anbar Salvation , it’s the now newly formed Diyala Salvation.

    What everyone has been crying out for months and months and years has been for Iraq to become more stable – a stability that will give the process a chance. This has been the quietest week in MONTHS in Iraq…Why??? Because Al Qaeda is running in circles with not enough eyes in their head. They have a bullseye painted on them – and Sunni insurgents, Sunni tribes loyal to the Iraqi Govt, and U.S./Coalition troops all taking aim.

    Am I saying there won’t be some major bombing from now on? Of course not. But I think a person, whether a commenter here, or the blogger, or a Congressman or Senator who tries to say that things are NOT improving is in complete denial or simply doesn’t care.

    Imagine, just imagine….the U.S. Troops being three months away from shoring up Iraq and they get pulled. It’s a shameful thought.

  24. 24
    carole Said:
    7:08 pm 

    Sgudgie
    You make more sense than most, and I
    know you have not bugged out. Last time I
    heard that was when my ex-husband was in the
    military.
    If people find it so easy to leave, and
    face the facts as they see them, why can’t
    they accept the fact you will lose so very
    much respect around the world, you will be
    a superpower with no friends. Oh, yes,
    countries that must rely on you for trade,
    etc who keep being “friends” but the real
    people will see you very much as they saw
    you after Vietnam and that is not good for
    anyone.

    Your having the greatest military
    in the world, so what? Your troops are far
    better people than your politicians.
    You asked countries for help and many
    did, as best they could and following their
    own ideology. Millions have been spent by
    these allies, for what? To run? How do you
    think they will feel? I know how I willfeel
    and I am pro-american, as I am one….a dual
    with Canada. I tried for months to regain
    my trust in America after Vietnam and I
    truly felt you would never do that again.
    Wrong?
    Rick, this is not a thinking game by bloggers, there is some real life attached
    to this problem and to sit and sit and decide
    you know what to do is simply vanity on your
    part.
    I do not know all the answers but the one
    I believe in is trust, and the Iraqi people
    will never ever trust any American again.
    They should not, you are running on them for
    the second time.
    Yes, you have not gone yet, but as the greater part of Americans are libs and they
    are not really thinkers or actors, they
    are lazy people who will never act in the
    best interests of America. Never.
    It is a huge risk to take, and the writers
    are not seeing what the result of their
    “thinking” can bring to the entire world.

    A real lack of something, and too much
    aragance from Americans who do not do
    the work. They just feel they can solve this
    problem by writing a column, I have noticed
    this has not happened yet. Surprised?

  25. 25
    Joe Helgerson Said:
    8:45 pm 

    fight4theright thinks the insurgency is in its “last throes”...brother. Thanks Rick for being brutally honest. People are mad because you don’t tote the party line.Iraq isn’t a right-left issue anymore, its way beyond that.Don’t let the personal attacks get you down.For some Bush deadenders its always “just 3 more months and magically it will turn around.”I’m tired of that line. Only the fringe elements think we can turn this around, not gonna happen.

  26. 26
    r4d20 Said:
    9:37 pm 

    RICK: “Clearly, this is not going to be Saigon circa 1975 with desperate Iraqis clinging to the last helicopter leaving the American embassy (even though many liberals would dearly love to see that scenario play out).”

    Ok, yeah. I scope out DailyKos and, yes, there are “liberals” who are so consumed with contempt for this Administration that they would take pleasure in anything that makes the Admin look bad – regardless of the humanitarian consequences (they would just blame Bush for them anyways because “it never would have happened if Bush hadn’t invaded”).

    Still, shaedenfreude is universal. Every single minor success in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the GWOT in general, has been followed, among rightwing columnists and bloggers, by childish, and often plain stupid, exultation directed against liberals. From the death of Uday & Qusay to the capture of Saddam to the killing of Zarqawi, the FIRST reaction of the right has NOT been to ask “how does this actually effect the situation in Iraq?” but rather to claim “This proves how wrong those lefty naysayers are … I’ll bet that sticks in their craw!”. Even the meaningless 72-hour lull in the violence at the beginning of the “surge” was greeted with ridiculous levels of triumphalism despite the fact that such short lulls are commonplace in the ebb and flow of war and could also easily (and, it turns out, RIGHTLY) ascribed to a calculated pause by our enemies rather than a sign of their imminent collapse. Frankly, judging by the amount of “ink spilled” one could make a case that currently the right, for all their talk, is as much or more concerned as the left with waging the “culture war” against their enemies at home than the “war on terror” against our enemies abroad.

    RICK: “. Learning the lessons from this fiasco will make sure that we will win through to ultimate victory in this war against Islamic extremism.”

    Absolutely right, but (call me a cynic) it’s not going to happen because any honest analysis of Iraq will undermine too many of the pleasant fictions of both sides.

    1. As I’m sure you know, much of the anti-war Left has absorbed the “it was doomed from the start” narrative and are largely incapable of acknowledging any minor successes that might indicate any chance of larger success ever existed.

    2. Much of the pro-war right, OTOH, are very emotionaly invested in the false and egocentric notion that “We can’t lose over there. We can only lose over here!” and that therefore the blame for failure rests not with the leadership who made the mistakes but rather with those who “emboldened the enemy” and “undermined” domestic support for the war by bringing public attention to those mistakes – as if simply believing we were winning will make it so. Any honest acknowledgment of the mistakes and failures will, of course, contradict this narrative because it will show that we DID “lose it over there” on account of MASSIVE political errors brought about by near-criminal incompetence on the part of the Administration who kept willfully ignoring the advice of people in a position to know what they were talking about. This is simply NOT going to be palatable to many pro-war rightwingers with their immature notions of “patriotism”. Look at your own recent experience on this blog with those who wrote you off for even acknowledging the empirical obstacles to our “victory”.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I am not optimistic. Right now I think its most likely that everyone will “learn” the lessons that they already “know”.

  27. 27
    r4d20 Said:
    10:05 pm 

    Carole: “I do not know all the answers but the one I believe in is trust, and the Iraqi people will never ever trust any American again.”

    The blunders of this administration have already largely erroded Iraqi confidence in the US. The process started almost immediately with the Admins near-complete neglect of basic security. It continued with the Admins utter failure to make good on the promises of local military commanders regarding reconstruction projects necessary for establishing our credibility with Iraqis (Their position was simple: Reconstruction projects can wait. The most important thing is keeping costs down (or at least hiding them from the public)). It continued further with the many public pronouncements about the “last throes” of the insurgency – statements which were the told the Iraqis that the Administration was more concerned with exploiting the domestic politics surrounding the occupation than running the occupation competently. Then there was Abu Ghraib (a direct consequence of the Admins “TV tough-guy” policy that it’s “better to anally violate 10 innocent suspects than let 1 guilty one avoid the fate”), the problem with the lack of oversight regarding “Private Contractors” (and the casual murder of Iraqi civilians for sport: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/Aegis-PSD.mov)

    YEah, they probably won’t trust us again for a very long while. Staying there longer aint gonna change that though

  28. 28
    cheapseat Said:
    12:36 am 

    It was a disgrace to abandon the South Vietnamese and it is a disgrace to abandon the Iraqis… a disgraceful pattern… leading to another generation of brave American men and women who served their country, did their duty, sacrificed… only to suffer defeat at the hands of those of us at home. Disgusting.

  29. 29
    Davebo Said:
    11:40 am 

    Hang in there Rick. In the end you only answer to yourself.

  30. 30
    Richard Bottoms Said:
    12:00 pm 

    I am ashamed that our leaders cannot explain our strategy or our goals.

    That’s why 50 million of us voted for the other guy in 2004.

    There were never enough troops nor the wil to do what it took to put enough troops there.

    Thus the complete futility of this war since the president never made the correct choices, especially back when he had all the clout in the world to so.

    What was his political capital spent on after the 2004 election? Not increasing the size of the Army, not a tax increase on oil, not a call to arms to defend this country.

    Nope, his priority was Social Security and tax cuts.

    We’re seeing the end result now.

  31. 31
    Bill Arnold Said:
    9:21 pm 

    So we run away from Iraq, telling moderates that to ferret out terrorists, like the guy in NJ did, don’t bother, we will inspect cargo containers!
    An informer and police work ferreted out the plot in NJ, not troops in Iraq. And we’re utterly nuts not to be inspecting cargo entering our country. (Or being 10 times as serious as we are about nuclear proliferation, and securing of weapons grade uranium/plutonium.)

  32. 32
    Richard Bottoms Said:
    11:45 am 

    An informer and police work ferreted out the plot in NJ, not troops in Iraq.

    I thought we were fighting them over there to keep them from coming here.

  33. 33
    Richard Bottoms Said:
    7:48 pm 

    BAGHDAD — The commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq said Friday that he did not have enough troops to deal with the escalating violence in Iraq’s Diyala province, an unusually frank assertion for a top officer and a sign that American military officials might be starting to offer more candid and blunt assessments of the war.

    To Tell the Truth

    George Bush is finished.

    The GOP is headed towards minority status for perhaps a generation.

    All it took were the misjudgements of a delusional, stubborn ideolouge abetted by a cadre of yes men & women.

  34. 34
    B.Poster Said:
    12:38 pm 

    I’m glad the Commander has asked for more troops. I’m not sure who the cadre of yes men and women were and are but in any event I’m glad the general is asking for more troops. I agree that GW Bush as well as the Republicans are finished, however, winning the war is more important. If having the Republicnas be finished is what it will take, then so be it. The military commanders need to be able to speak their mind on what they need. I’m glad he is speaking up. I hope more of them will speak up.

  35. 35
    Richard Bottoms Said:
    6:17 pm 

    I agree that GW Bush as well as the Republicans are finished, however, winning the war is more important.

    Slight problem. With the exception of the last couple of thousand troops dribbling in for the “surge!!”, every soldier the Army has is either in Iraq, on the way to Iraq, or about to rotate home.

    There are no troops to send.

    GW should have enlarged the Army starting in 2003. Four more years later I’m sure it’s still all Bill Clinton’s fault the cupboard is bare.

  36. 36
    B.Poster Said:
    8:49 pm 

    Ricahrd

    It is not Clinton’s fault that GW Bush did not increase the size of the Armed Forces in 2003. There is no way this could be his fault. He was not in office at this time. I never remember blaming Bill Clinton for any of this. If I did, it never was my intention. We hve about 2,000,000 troops in the Army and the Reserves. About 160,000 are in Iraq and Afghanistan. We could get more troops, if we wanted them but we don’t want to do it. Even if you are right and we could not get the troops even if we wanted to right now, the Democrats and Republicans should be working on enlarging the Armed Forces now. I don’t see a serious effort by either party to propose a draft or to significantly increase the size of the military.

    It seems to me that the best course of action would be to withdraw from Iraq and regroup for the next round that our enemies will force upon us whether we like it or not. I just hope and pray we have time to build up the necessary forces before our enemies bring the fight to us.

    I think we should have immediately mobilized for war after the attacks of 911 then we could have all the troops we needed by now but this was not done. For this I blame GW Bush primarily, however, both Republicans and Democrats bear much blame. To me this is a non partisian issue. I simply want results. Our country faces an existential threat and I don’t see either party making a serious effort to deal with this. The Democrats should immediately cut funding for Iraq.

    This would force the President to bring all of our troops home. If things go as I think they will, this will give us some breathing room. We can build up our forces. We will make our stand on our home land. For this to work, better border security is a must. Also the Democrats should immediately begin impeachment hearings against the President, however, they should not allow the country to become distrated, as we face an existential threat that is every bit as dangerous as the enemies we faced during WWII.

    Since this Commander has finally pointed out that we need more troops, this may give the Demorats and Republicans in Congress incentive to get the ball rolling and get these brave men and women all the resources they need.

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