Evaluating the President’s Iraq Escalation Proposal

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We still need to hear what the President’s speech specifically includes regarding a new strategy for Iraq, but the key question will be whether there are any clear, undisputed benchmarks by which the public can measure the relative success or failure of the President’s plan.
My hunch is that Bush will continue to avoid putting forward benchmarks by which he can be measured and that his strategy is “doubling up” — putting more lives and dollars on the line in what has been a losing strategy, hoping for an eventual win.
Unlike blackjack where one can win enough money to cover losses if that win eventually comes, the lives lost and dollars spent will never come back — and that holds true for both sides of this terrible conflict.
American prestige and the perception of military power can’t be won back this way either.
The President has not explained why he did “not hear” the call from his field commanders for more troops in the field far beyond the point where we find ourselves now in Iraq. Why was Shinseki ignored and pushed out? Why did the President and his team create an elaborate charade with Rumsfeld’s complicity and that of the top generals in the uniformed services that more troops were NOT needed in Iraq? Someone should pay for this. Firing Rumsfeld is not enough.
Now, the President wants more troops in Iraq. Guess one of those field commanders finally got a secret note to Bush through the screeners at the White House and Pentagon.
But thinking about this without bias for a moment — though I think that this war and all that we have poured into it have been a monumental mistake — the President is now escalating the conflict in a way that is nearly identical to the kind of escalations we saw in Vietnam. More troops, more advisors, more trainers — no strategy.
If the President wanted to be taken seriously by skeptics, he would propose a bifurcated set of strategies for resolving matters inside Iraq as well as regionally in the Middle East. And he is not doing this.
And candidly, beyond the absence of strategy there is another problem that the figure of 20,000 additional troops is minor. It represents an ebbing up of U.S. forces. This is again, military deployment on the cheap. If Bush was serious, we would be sending several hundred thousand troops to quell the violence and to help reorder Iraqi society — but that is not going to happen.
There is no “Nixon goes to China” bravery or resolve in the President’s plan as I see it thus far. And without strategy, no troops should be there now — let alone an increase of any kind in troop levels.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

48 comments on “Evaluating the President’s Iraq Escalation Proposal

  1. Den Valdron says:

    Perhaps we could leave the current bunch alone? Does it strike anyone as ironic that one of the only things that is keeping Ahminejad going is his ‘two step’ with the ‘Great Satan’?
    Take a look at the guy. Take a look at his hairstyle, his wardrobe, his language. The man’s got nostalgia written all over him. He’s the Iranian version of the ’70’s Show’, except he’s late 70’s/early 80’s. He’s the Iranian Reagan, hearkening back to a golden age of revolution that never really existed, back when good revolutionaries were good, bad americans were bad, and everything was clear.
    Ahminajad’s entire identity, his wardrobe, his politics, his appeal, amount to a kind of conservative yearning for a simpler halcyon time. It’s the 21st century, but Ahminajad represents 1981 to his people, an idealized form of 1981 where Saddam goes down to destruction and Hezbollah comes up, where the Mujahedeen of Afghanistan are kicking out the infidels.
    And while Ahminajad lives in 1981, the Mullahs and conservatives who support him don’t have to deal with the 21st century, they don’t have to confront the perils of modernization, public expectations, trade, art, political complexities.
    Normally, Aminajad’s act would play for a season and then people would start going ‘Okay, nostalgia’s fine, but I gotta get to work in the morning, so after the Flock of Seagulls tribute I’m going home.’
    But no, America has to play the exact same game. You guys are propping him up, giving him credibility, playing his game of 1981 revises and improved.

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  2. MP says:

    Den writes: “It’s just these sorts of loony intimidation tactics that have gotten us saddled with Ahiminajad and reinforced the power of the Mullahs in the first place.”
    Yes, if only we had left Mossadegh well enough alone.
    In the US, there is this constant debate between–and I’m going to simplify here–the isolationists and the internationalists. Between folks who feel we should basically mind our own business inside our own borders and others who say we have a necessary and constructive role to play outside our borders.
    But if one looks at all the US interventions since WWII, how many of them have turned out well–either morally or in terms of getting the US the results it has wanted? And how many of them have turned out disastrously on every scale–morality, blood, and treasure? With the exception of our NATO presence in Europe during the Cold War, maybe Korea, and Kosovo, one would have to put our foreign excursions into the negative column. And, in a lot of cases, whatever good came of the intervention would have come even without the intervention.
    What’s more striking to me is that in a number of cases, we had an easy option for getting it right. For example, Ho Chi Minh approached US at first.

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  3. Den Valdron says:

    Ahhh, doubling down. Thanks ET.

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  4. Den Valdron says:

    Marky, ‘on the tilt’? I’m not familiar with the phrase.

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  5. Marky says:

    Den,
    I think the leaders in both Israel and the US know the counterproductive nature of their current strategy, but they’ve made a huge gamble in Iraq and lost. Now they’re on tilt.

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  6. Den Valdron says:

    It’s just these sorts of loony intimidation tactics that have gotten us saddled with Ahiminajad and reinforced the power of the Mullahs in the first place.
    The result of brinksmanship and intimidation is invariably that the population rallies around its own to face an external threat, and the more threatening that externality, the more extreme the response.
    Moderates or concilliators lose their constituencies in situations like this. It is hard to argue for a moderate course, to argue for communication or dialogue when the enemy outside is threatening to drop nukes. The only rational response is to bolt the doors, sharpen the knives, crank up the testosterone.
    In this sense, if Israel or the US is playing a brinksmanship/bluffing game to try and ratchet up tension and fear to the point where the Iranians get rid of Ahminajad and the Mullahs, or even curtail them… well, excuse my language, but they’re just fucking idiots. The result that they will achieve is the exact opposite of the one that they might be pursuing – a fortified, entrenched, paranoid and aggressive Iran arming itself to the teeth and contemplating pre-emptive strikes against its neighbors, at the verge of lashing out in extreme fashion against real or accidental provocations.
    This would be a major misread of human nature, and particularly human nature which is on sad display in both the United States and Israel. There, real and imaginary threats and injuries have produced fear ridden, extremist, ultra-conservative governments more inclined to bomb than to talk. I don’t see how they could imagine that Iran could get that treatment and not turn out the same way. Particularly since the people proposing that treatment are the beneficiaries of domestic fear and paranoia.
    To move on to other parts of the discussion: Yes, the United States could launch such an attack without Israel or Saudi Arabia. They are unnecessary to it, and therefore would likely stay out.
    The question is, is the United States going to launch such an attack? There are strong countervailing trends. Specifically, the United States and its leadership may not be suicidally stupid. They are militarily overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan and on the verge of disaster in both, the Persian gulf carrier groups may be vulnerable to Sunburn missiles – such that the US in the event of hostilities might suffer irreplaceable loss of naval power both physical and psychological, essentially, there’s real potential for a catastrophic military disaster that might forever end America’s military and political hegemony. The United States economy is deficit ridden, crippled and energy dependent and even in the event of a successful mission without other consequences, this could sink it. Meanwhile, the risks of escalation to nuclear weapons, confrontation and potential escalation with other nuclear powers, worldwide economic shocks, worldwide energy crisis, worldwide economic collapse, the end of American diplomatic power and the potential re-ordering of political, military and economic alliances in order to oppose and contain the united states, all creates a series of risks that give pause.
    This is not to say that America wouldn’t do it. There are raving lunatics in the United States screaming for an attack. Bush is a megalomaniac lunatic with an eye on a world changing legacy. The Administration is a gang of incompetent warmongers. So its possible.
    But so far, they’re not doing it.
    Now, the thing is that Israel also has its raving lunatics, its own incompetent warmongers, etc. So they desperately want the United States to do it and are pushing for all they’re worth.
    Will they be enough to tip the scales? Possibly. Would America do it without their pressure? Possibly. Will America not do it, despite their pressure? Possibly.
    But they desperately desperately desperately want America to take out Iran.
    So its possible that this article may be a plant to incite or provoke or encourage America to take that bloody step.
    Alternately, it may be a trial balloon for the Israely warmongering lunatics to try and persuade Israel to go and take the step, if the United States fails to do so.
    But there are sane people in Israel too, so you never know. It’s not like the warmongers are completely without external restraints.
    In any event, we’re likely to hear lots more of this hysterical nonsense, because the people who masturbate to visions of mass murder will not stop beating the drums until they either get what they want or are decisively discredited.
    As far as discrediting goes… they’ve taken a beating over bungles in Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan, so they’re upping their hysteria… in part because they’re starting to fear for their shelf life. If they don’t get their war soon, they may not get it at all, and then its just a life of writing cranky letters to the newspapers about pigeons and whatnot.

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  7. paul says:

    Five years after the first prisoners arrived at Guantanamo Bay, the detention camp is set for a new phase in the coming months with the start of military tribunals held under a law passed by the US Congress last September.
    However, only some 75 of the 395 prisoners there at the moment are likely to face these tribunals, at least in the initial stages. For the rest, there is the prospect of indefinite detention without trial.
    The camp – often simply called “Gitmo” and symbolised by the orange jumpsuits worn by prisoners in the earlier stages – remains intensely controversial.
    It is seen by the Bush administration as a vital tool in the “war on terror”. It is one that enables suspects who are not US citizens to be interrogated and held, indefinitely if necessary, in a US-controlled territory but not subject to normal US court rules.
    Critics say it is a legal black hole in which suspects have been abused and face either military tribunals or open-ended imprisonment.
    The Military Commissions Act
    It has been, and probably will be again, the subject of great legal arguments between the American presidency and judiciary. The US Supreme Court has made two key rulings that have brought the camp more under the supervision of the US congress and courts.
    The result of these arguments and interventions is the Military Commissions Act 2006.
    The Supreme Court has brought the camp more under court supervision
    This satisfies the administration by approving tribunals where evidence can be brought, and detention without trial where it cannot. Military officers will conduct these tribunals.
    The law forbids “cruel” or inhumane treatment, but allows for coercive interrogation, which is regarded as important in gaining intelligence. It also narrows the application of the Geneva Conventions.
    It does not satisfy opponents who argue that
    prisoners cannot invoke the ancient right of habeas corpus to challenge their detention in court
    they do not have the full protection of the Geneva Conventions
    the rules for the tribunals are unfair
    harsh treatment is allowed
    for many, there will be no tribunal but only detention
    Even close allies of the United States including Britain have called for the camp to be closed. President Bush himself said he would like to see the end of it.
    But it remains in being and there is no end in sight.
    Tribunals to start
    The next move is for the tribunals or commissions to begin, probably in March or April.
    Among those to be put in front of tribunals is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, described by Mr Bush as “the man believed to be the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks”.
    A civil liberties group is filing a suit on behalf of former detainees
    The president also praised the Commissions Act for allowing the CIA to carry out so-called special interrogations, which are believed to include the practice of waterboarding, in which water is poured onto a prisoners face, inducing a feeling of drowning and panic.
    “This programme has been one of the most successful intelligence efforts in American history … with this bill, America reaffirms our determination to win the War on Terror,” Mr Bush said.
    Amnesty International said on this fifth anniversary: “Guantanamo Bay is a symbol of injustice and abuse. It must be closed down.”
    And Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said: “Detaining hundreds of men without charge at Guantanamo has been a legal and political debacle of historic proportions. It’s time to close Guantanamo. The Bush administration should either charge or release the detainees trapped in a nightmarish limbo.”
    Numbers
    Many detainees face the prospect of indefinite detention without trial
    In all some 775 prisoners have been at the camp since 11 January 2002. Just under half, 379, have been released.
    Fourteen detainees are high-profile prisoners, who had been held at secret CIA prisons elsewhere and who were sent to Guantanamo Bay last September.
    It is thought that the tribunals will start with some of them, led perhaps by Khaled Sheikh Mohammed.
    But what of those, probably the majority, who will not face a tribunal?
    They are subject to an annual Administrative Review Board (ARB) “to determine whether you still pose a threat to the United States or its allies”, as a document given to the prisoners states.
    The transcripts of the ARB hearings are published by the US Defense Department.
    The case of Sami al-Hajj
    There are allegations against the suspects but the evidence is in outline only and some of it is given to the board in secret. The source cannot be confronted.
    A look at the case of Sami al-Hajj (case 345), illustrates the “limbo” in which these cases can lie.
    Sami al-Hajj was a cameraman for the Arabic station Al-Jazeera when he was arrested by the Pakistan police while trying to enter Afghanistan in December 2001.
    He has said he was beaten up while being accused of being an al-Qaeda operative. He was later transferred to Guantanamo Bay. His 2006 ARB lasted for 40 minutes.
    A summarised version of the case against him was read out before the board went into secret session to hear other claims against him.
    The case was that he had been a courier for an Islamic charity called al-Haramayn which the US government has designated as one that “has provided support for terrorist organisations.” He is also accused of working with or for individuals who were al-Qaeda figures.
    Sami al-Hajj told the board that he had “never been a member of a terrorist group” and that a mistake had been made. He condemned the “tragic attack on the World Trade Center in New York.”
    His lawyer Clive Stafford Smith says that he did take money to Azerbaijan for al-Haramayn but that it was for charitable purposes. His wife is Azeri.
    “I do not think Sami will face a tribunal,” said Stafford Smith. “They have really shown little interest in him and this is an obvious and shocking attempt to tread on the media. I think they will release him.”
    As for the wider issue of Guantanamo Bay, he says that a challenge to the Military Commissions Act is already before the US courts.
    “I expect that it will reach the Supreme Court in about a year,” he said

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  8. MP says:

    Den, as usual, ALL excellent points.
    But given what you say, it’s hard to understand the article about Israeli war plans–unless it’s just false, as the Israelis have said. Or perhaps they have better intel on what it would really take to knock out, or set back, Iran’s nuclear program.
    Maybe it’s theater: The Iranians don’t believe that the US, with its weakened position in the ME, has the will to pull this off. But the Israelis might just be crazy enough to do it, believing themselves to be in a life and death struggle with Iran, even if they are insufficiently equipped to do it correctly.
    Perhaps the point is to scare the mullahs and the Iranian people suffiicently that they turn further against Ahmadinejad and the other hardliners…and get rid of them…without a shot having to be fired.

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  9. Den Valdron says:

    Irrelevant, MP. The United States could do the operation alone. It’s got literally thousands of aircraft and carrier fleets sitting in or around the Persian Gulf and major installations in Kuwait, Quatar, Bahrain and Diego Garcia.
    So basically, if the United States commits to doing the job, then Israel doesn’t have to get involved at all. And in fact, Israel’s participation would be disastrous politically, for Israel and for the United States.
    I can’t imagine any reason whatsoever why a government as shaky as Saudi Arabia would want to get involved. Currently, they’re wrestling with dynastic succession, their political rule is uncertain, there are all sorts of problems. They’re only holding on against Islamic fundamentalists. They need a foreign adventure like they need a hole in their heads.
    In particular, would they want to get involved with Israel and America in an attack on fellow muslims. That will go over well in the Islamic world.
    10% of the Saudi population is Shiite, and they’re concentrated as a majority on the Persian Gulf coast… where all the oil is. Do the Saudi’s really want to risk a Shiite uprising/separatist movement?
    Finally, the Saudi’s population and infrastructure is far inferior to the Iranians. Iran has already indicated that it will strike back at Persian Gulf states if attacked. So the reality is that Saudi Arabia might by a front line seat in a middle eastern war? Nope, they won’t do it.
    As for sending an air armada across the Syrian border to put a scare into the Iranians… The most likely response would be to go into red alert, scramble everything, and deploy it pre-emptively. So Israel sends a bluff of 50 aircraft through Syria to scare the Iranians into standing down, it works, the Iranians get scared and launch every sunburst missile they have into American air carriers, which promptly sink with all hands on board…. wanna guess how it goes from there.
    Nope. No scares, no bluffs, no Israeli’s, no Saudi’s. If America does it, America does it alone, nobody else necessary or desirable.
    But if America does it, we’re still looking at murdering tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands or millions of innocent people. We’re still looking at touching off a middle eastern war and world economic meltdown.
    And for what? A bunch of maybes and hypotheticals. Against the possibility that Iran might somehow be working on a bomb that, assuming they are working on it, wouldn’t be on line for another five to ten, and they wouldn’t have enough bombs or perfect enough missile technology to be dangerous for another five to ten after that.
    Sorry MP, this stuff amounts to crazy ass, captain insano, lunatic warmongering. It’s stupid, unnecessary and immoral. Generally, in disastrous wars, you only need one of those. A trifecta is not good.

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  10. MP says:

    Den opines: “Short of nuclear weapons, the scale and scope of such a raid or sequence of raids is outside the abilities of Israel. Possibly the United States could do it. Israel? No.”
    What about Israel and the US together? Join operation? Throw the Saudis in for good measure. Israel could fly over Syria to scare the shit out of them…just for the hell of it.

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  11. MP says:

    Den opines: “Short of nuclear weapons, the scale and scope of such a raid or sequence of raids is outside the abilities of Israel. Possibly the United States could do it. Israel? No.”
    What about Israel and the US together? Join operation? Throw the Saudis in for good measure. Israel could fly over Syria to scare the shit out of them…just for good measure.

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  12. David Noziglia says:

    Steve:
    You wrote:
    “Guess one of those field commanders finally got a secret note to Bush through the screeners at the White House and Pentagon.”
    Only one thing wrong with this. As the changes in staff make clear, the current commanders on the ground have stated publicly and repeatedly that they do NOT support throwing more troops into the Iraqi fiasco. Thus, Bush’s lies about “listening to the generals” are exposed once again as the ocmplete bullshit they are.
    Yet again I repeat: Numbers don’t matter. 20,000, 200,000, 2,000,000, whatever. What matters is what they are and what they do. Since that won’t change, they will be additional targets and nothing else.
    The idea that they will separate the civilians from the insurgents is as delusional as anything Bush has said since the beginning of his career — a high standard, indeed. The insurgents ARE vivilians!! This will be as hopeless as trying to determine who are Viet Cong and who are simple peasants. They are the same people!!
    Thus, good lives will be lost for the sole purpose of saving Bush’s ego and supposed reputation. The criminal abuse of power will continue; the squandering of American wealth, power, and reputation will continue; the treasonous support for war profiteering will continue. The media will continue to suck up to power.
    And people will die.
    If that isn’t a reason to impeach SOMEBODY, we are truly lost.

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  13. pauline says:

    Officials believe White House chose new Intelligence chief in effort to darken Iran Intelligence Estimate, broaden domestic surveillance
    01/08/2007 @ 1:27 pm
    Filed by Larisa Alexandrovna
    Nominee’s company audited SWIFT banking spy program
    The nomination of retired Vice Admiral John Michael “Mike” McConnell to be Director of National Intelligence is part of an effort by the Vice President to tighten the Administration�s grip on domestic intelligence and grease the wheels for a more aggressive stance towards Iran, current and former intelligence officials believe.
    If confirmed, McConnell will replace current National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, who was tapped Friday to become Deputy Secretary of State under Secretary Condoleezza Rice. According to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, Negroponte’s exit followed a lengthy internal administration battle between the Office of the Vice President and the two-year-old Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
    According to officials close to both men, two issues surround Negroponte’s departure and McConnell’s nomination: a forthcoming National Intelligence Estimate on Iran — which the White House could use to buttress a case for military force — and pressure from the Vice President to augment domestic surveillance.
    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2007/Intelligence_officials_believe_White_House_chose_0108.html

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  14. Den Valdron says:

    Just for the record, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.
    The Iranian nuclear program is not concentrated in one site like Iraq’s Osirak. Rather, it is distributed among anywhere from 12 to 30 sites, many of which are located in areas of civilian population, or are militarily hardened.
    Further, they are located well within the countries borders, so its likely that there could be no surprise. The Iranians would likely have an hour or couple of hours warning after their radars were tripped to button down everything, evacuate personnel, and harden their sites. Generally, bombing has not been effective against hardened or camouflaged sites.
    Given the warning, we can assume that such raiders will face concentrated opposition going in and going out. The Iranians can put up a respectable air force, and are believed to have substantial surface to air missile capacities.
    In order to deal with Iran’s defenses, any kind of raiding force would be forced to increase its numbers, in order to make up for potential casualties. And it would have to broaden its list of targets to take out communications and defense installations.
    Some estimates suggest that a successful raid against Iran’s nuclear facilities would require hitting over 400 targets multiple times.
    This means that it is going to be very difficult to cripple or destroy Iran’s nuclear program, or even significantly slow it. Such a strike would call for a fairly massive raid.
    Short of nuclear weapons, the scale and scope of such a raid or sequence of raids is outside the abilities of Israel. Possibly the United States could do it. Israel? No.
    The toll of human life from such a surprise attack against a non-threatening country which does not pose any sort of imminent hazard might be in the tens to hundreds of thousands. In the event of use of nuclear weapons of any sort, we could be looking at millions dead. With nuclear weapons (and even without them, given that we’re talking nuclear sites here) we are looking at catastrophic long term contamination.
    Further, Iran has previously stated that it will treat any attack by Israel upon itself or Syria, or any attack by the United States upon Syria, as an attack by the United States on Iran. Iran has also warned Persian Gulf states like Quatar, Dubai and Kuwait who host major American facilities and whose facilities would be deployed, that they will be subject to attack if a war breaks out. Thus the prospect is of a war shutting down the Persian Gulf entirely, and involving literally every middle eastern country except Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Yemen.
    In short, its a nightmare every which way…

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  15. MP says:

    Pauline quotes…”The Lobby works to increase the neoconservatives’ influence. To appreciate the Lobby’s influence, try to find columnists in the major print media and TV commentators who are not apologists for Israel, who do not favor attacking Iran, and who support withdrawing from Iraq.”
    Actually, in WaPo, there are quite a few columnists who have written that they don’t support attacking Iran. Quite a few have discussed all the options in Iraq. And, actually, Robert Novak frequently is critical of Israel as are many readers.

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  16. Marky says:

    What kind of warning was there before the strike on the Osirak reactor? My recollection is that the strike came somewhat out of the blue—after all, Iraq had had a nuclear program for several years already by that time.
    What is the purpose of all this talk about a nuclear strike on Iran. Is it simply a scare tactic, since there is no realistic option for an effective attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities?
    One thing is for sure: all this talk about what response is needed to stop Iran’s nuclear program reinforces the idea that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. As Den indicates, we have zero evidence this is the case.
    Very complicated chess game here.

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  17. Carroll says:

    Iran?
    What is the purpose of the London Times article about Isr readying to attack Iran? I can’t figure it out unless it is aimed at making Iran get more hyper in their rhetoric.
    There are some who do not think Isr is crazy enough to attack Iran, I am not one of them, I do think they and the US are that insane.
    I have been keeping notes on the propaganda drumbeat towards Iran..from the AIPAC conference sound and light show on Iran nukes last year to Bibi’s tour of the US last month hailing Iran as the new jewish holocaust and Hitler. For 4 years we have been treated to all war, all holocaust, all nazis, all the time on TV channels from movies to the history channel. I guesss they think we are baby ducks who can be imprinted.
    Last night I saw an interesting blip being run by MSNBC on the news. It was a snapshoot of a mushroom cloud over Israel and a spread on the Israeli industry. Saying that almost everything in Israel was financed by US investors and that Israel had a large share of US state pensions funds like NY and Calif teachers and employees invested there…..AND ….. what would happen to all that american money if Israel disappeared? The message obviously was that Americans would lose all their money invested in Israel and a lot of american’s pensions if we don’t get rid of the Iranian threat to Israel.
    They ran this “infomerical”, about three times in the space of an hour.
    Make no mistake they are getting us ready for something….they used the threat of Iran nukes to the US and now are using the threat of all our US money sunk in Israel.
    The book I want to read is one on the propaganda of the US and Isr, who was behind it and how the media promoted it….assuming there any paper left to write it on after WWIII.

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  18. Pissed Off American says:

    “However, a strike on Iran would constitute a war crime, and would open the door to a regional war, disruption of world oil supplies, possible collapse of the world economy, collapse of American power, close alliance of Iran with Russia and/or China, and potentially thousands upon thousands upon thousands dead.”
    Posted by Den Valdron
    Stop it Den, you’re giving Cheney a hard-on.

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  19. MP says:

    Darryl writes: “This was a good thing for BushCo because this would mean much of the Middle East would eventually be plunged into total chaos. This would mean a massive increase in defence budgets for the US, Israel, the Saudis, etc.”
    The problem with most conspiracy theories IMO is that they overly apply logic and the notion that the folks at the top really control everything. In fact, the folks at the top often think illogically and are, like everyone else, swayed by emotions. Then, also, they really can’t control (or foresee) everything. Many factors enter in, especially when things start moving and move increasingly out of their control.
    Look at how irrationally Saddam acted (from the perspective of his own survival) in the run up to the war.
    So here…
    “In order to believe that BushCo did not intend to create widsespread chaos in the Middle East, you have to believe that the greatest military and intelligence powers since the days of the Roman Empire did not foresee an insurgency that Saddam had promised before the war began.”
    …I’d say you’re falling prey to both these tempting fallacies. In war, especially, so many weird, illogical, can’t-believe-it-happened things happen.

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  20. Den Valdron says:

    A couple of observations on Pauline’s article that should be made.
    Somalia: The US was not wreaking revenge on the warlords who formerly tossed it out. Rather, the US was allying with *those* warlords against the Somali Islamic Courts Union. The Union decisively defeated those Warlords. The United States trumped them by having Ethiopia occupy the country. The Somali’s have had several generations of hatred and warfare with the Ethiopians. This is not going to end well.
    Iran: There is no evidence whatsoever that the Iranians are actually pursuing a nuclear weapon. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The best assessments suggest that even if they were pursuing a nuclear weapon, it would be five to ten years before they could come up with one, and another five to ten before they’d pose a significant threat. Ahminajad is not going to last 10 years. The Mullahs won’t last 20. There is no pressing or immediate threat or potential threat.
    However, a strike on Iran would constitute a war crime, and would open the door to a regional war, disruption of world oil supplies, possible collapse of the world economy, collapse of American power, close alliance of Iran with Russia and/or China, and potentially thousands upon thousands upon thousands dead.

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  21. Marky says:

    The mention of a possible nuclear strike by Israel against Iran has two obvious purposes to me. First of all, it’s a trial balloon. If repeated mention of such a strike doesn’t create massive outrage, or if it gains support from “respectable” types, then its actualization becomes more likely.
    The second purpose is to make the public relieved
    when the attack against Iran is NOT a nuclear one.

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  22. Darryl Mason says:

    I don’t mind a good conspiracy theory now and then, if only because it helps to sharpen the mind and encourage analytical thinking.
    One ‘wild and outrageous’ conspiracy theory that caught some brief air in late 2002 was that Bush intended to invade Iraq and depose Saddam so that the Shiites of Iran could take control of Iraq and act as a counter to the Sunni control of much of the Middle East and, in turn, contain Israel.
    This was a good thing for BushCo because this would mean much of the Middle East would eventually be plunged into total chaos. This would mean a massive increase in defence budgets for the US, Israel, the Saudis, etc.
    A successful war then would not be the end goal.
    Chaos in the Middle East for decades to come was the aim.
    Or so the conspiracy theory went.
    Ho, ho, ho. What a nutter!
    Or not.
    Late at night, sometimes this theory is the only one that makes sense enough to explain the incredible failure of the Iraq War.
    In order to believe that BushCo did not intend to create widsespread chaos in the Middle East, you have to believe that the greatest military and intelligence powers since the days of the Roman Empire did not foresee an insurgency that Saddam had promised before the war began.
    The Iraq War viewed through the prism of the above conspiracy theory makes a lot of sense. As does “surging” more troops into a war no-one, including most US soldiers, believes can now be won.
    Excellent site, by the way. Your analysis is clear and concise, unlike this comment (!)

    Reply

  23. karenk says:

    At least now Speaker Pelosi is making it clear he won’t just get carte blanche-he’ll have to work a little harder to possibly get what he wants-and then no guarantees. He’s not used to this.
    And if Pelosi can drag Bush out in the media on this issue, I believe public support will be on her side and this CAN stop Mr Bush(It stopped him with the Dubai ports deal).

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  24. pauline says:

    Paul Craig Roberts spells it out this morning —
    January 8, 2007
    Is Bush’s War Winding Down or Heating Up?
    The Coming Attack on Iran
    by Paul Craig Roberts
    Most Americans believe that Bush’s Iraqi misadventure is over. The occupation has lost the support of the electorate, the Congress, the generals and the troops. The Democrats are sitting back waiting for Bush to come to terms with reality. They don’t want to be accused of losing the war by forcing Bush out of Iraq. There are no more troops to commit, and when the “surge” fails, Bush will have no recourse but to withdraw. A little longer, everyone figures, and the senseless killing will be over.
    Recent news reports indicate that this conclusion could be an even bigger miscalculation than the original invasion.
    On January 7 the London Times reported that it has learned from “several Israeli military sources” that “Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.”
    The Israeli Foreign Ministry denied the report.
    The Times reports that “Israeli and American officials have met several times to consider military action. Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack.”
    In other news reports Israeli General Oded Tira is quoted as follows: “President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran. As an American strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure.”
    General Tira gives the Israel Lobby the following tasks: (1) “turn to Hillary Clinton and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party so that they support immediate action by Bush against Iran,” (2) exert influence on European countries so that “Bush will not be isolated in the international arena again,” and (3) “clandestinely cooperate with Saudi Arabia so that it also persuades the US to strike Iran.”
    Israel’s part, General Tira says, is to “prepare an independent military strike by coordinating flights in Iraqi airspace with the US. We should also coordinate with Azerbaijan the use of air bases in its territory and also enlist the support of the Azeri minority in Iran.”
    British commentators report that “the British media appears to be softening us up for an attack on Iran.” Robert Fox writing in The First Post says, “Suddenly the smell of Britons being prepared for an attack on Iran is all pervasive.”
    On January 7 the Jerusalem Post reported that Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told the Israeli newspaper that “Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable” and that “the use of force against Teheran remained an option.” The Post notes that “Hoyer is considered close to the Jewish community and many Israeli supporters have hailed his elevation in the House.” Hoyer was the Israel Lobby’s first victory over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who preferred Rep. John Murtha for the post. Murtha was the first important Democrat to call for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
    On November 20 the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, reported that President Bush said he would understand if Israel chose to attack Iran.
    Bush showed that he was in Israel’s pocket when he blocked the world’s attempt to stop Israel’s bombing of Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure.
    Many commentators believe that the failure of the neoconservatives’ “cakewalk war” has destroyed their influence. This is a mistaken conclusion. The neoconservatives are long time allies of Israel’s right-wing Likud Party and are part of the Israel Lobby in the US. The Israel Lobby represents the views of only a minority of American Jews but nevertheless essentially owns both political parties and most of the US media. As the neoconservatives are an important part of this powerful lobby, they remain extremely influential.
    The Lobby works to increase the neoconservatives’ influence. To appreciate the Lobby’s influence, try to find columnists in the major print media and TV commentators who are not apologists for Israel, who do not favor attacking Iran, and who support withdrawing from Iraq. Recently, Bill “One-Note” Kristol, a rabid propagandist for war against Muslims, was given a column in Time magazine. Why would Time think its readers want to read a war propagandist? Could the reason be that the Israel Lobby arranged for Time to receive lucrative advertising contracts in exchange for a column for Kristol?
    Neoconservatives have called for World War IV against Islam. In Commentary magazine Norman Podhoretz called for the cultural genocide of Islamic peoples. The war is already opened on four fronts: Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iran.
    The Bush administration has used its Ethiopian proxies to overthrow the Somali Muslims who overthrew the warlords who drove the US from Somalia. The US Navy and US intelligence are actively engaged with the Ethiopian troops in efforts to hunt down and capture or kill the Somali Muslims. US Embassy spokesman Robert Kerr in Nairobi said that the US has the right to pursue Somalia�s Islamists as part of the war on terror.
    For at least a year the Bush administration has been fomenting and financing terrorist groups within Iran. Seymour Hersh and former CIA officials have exposed the Bush administration�s support of ethnic minority groups within Iran that are on the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. Last April US Representative Dennis Kucinich wrote a detailed letter to President Bush about US interference in Iran’s internal affairs. He received no reply.
    The Israeli/neoconservative plan, of which Bush may be a part or simply be a manipulated element, is to provoke a crisis with Iran in which the US Congress will have to support Israel. Both the Israeli government and the American neoconservatives are fanatical. It is a mistake to believe that either will be guided by reason or any appreciation of the potentially catastrophic consequences of an attack on Iran.
    US aircraft carriers sitting off Iran’s coast are sitting ducks for Iran’s Russian missiles. The neoconservatives would welcome another “new Pearl Harbor.”
    The US media is totally unreliable. It cannot go against Israel, and it will wrap itself in the flag just as it did for the invasion of Iraq. The American public has been deceived (again) and believes that Iran is on the verge of possessing nuclear armaments to be used to wipe Israel off the map. The fact that Americans are such saps for propaganda makes effective opposition to the neoconservatives’ plan for WWIV practically impossible.
    Large percentages of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attack. Recent polls show that 32% still believe that Iraq gave substantial support to al-Qaeda, and 18% believe that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 attack. WXIA-TV in Atlanta posted viewers comments about Hussein’s execution on its web site. Atlantan Janet Wesselhoft was confident that Saddam Hussein is “the one who started terrorism in this country, he needs to be put to rest.”
    Even the London Times is in the grip of Israeli propaganda. In its report of Israel’s plan to attack Iran with nuclear weapons, the Times says that Iranian president “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared that ‘Israel must be wiped off the map.'” It has been shown by a number of credible experts that this quote is a made-up concoction taken completely out of context. Ahmadinejad said no such thing.
    In a world ruled by propaganda, lies become truths. The power of the Israel Lobby is so great that it has turned former President Jimmy Carter, probably the most decent man ever to occupy the Oval Office and certainly the president who did the most in behalf of peace in the Middle East, into an anti-semite, an enemy of Israel. The American media, from its “conservative” end to its “liberal” end did its best to turn Carter into a pariah for telling a few truths about Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians in his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
    If truth be known, there is nothing to stop the Israeli/neoconservative cabal from widening the war in the Middle East.
    As I previously reported, the neoconservatives believe that the use of nuclear weapons against Iran would force Muslims to realize that they have no recourse but to submit to the Israeli/US will. The use of nuclear weapons is being rationalized as necessary to destroy Iran’s underground facilities, but the real purpose is to terrorize Islam and to bring it to heel.
    Until the US finds the courage to acquire a Middle East policy of its own, Americans will continue to reap the evil sowed by the Israel Lobby.

    Reply

  25. pauline says:

    Why “surge” in Iraq?
    It’s not to find wmd in Iraq (lies).
    It’s not about fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq and their connection to 9/11 (another lie).
    It’s not about getting rid of now dead bogeyman Sadam (Bush Sr, Cheney, Rumsfeld already did wmd business with him 20-25 years ago).
    It’s not about democracy for Iraq (in the centuries old Iraqi culture, who really thinks that could happen in our lifetime anyway?).
    It is, in part, a “surge” and war to feed the military industrial complex, to feed the Lobby’s ultimate dreams of having the U.S.A. spend American lives and biliions upon billions fighting for Israel in the ME, it is a “surge” and war to feed the bankers’ interest charges to the U.S. for creating more fiat currency for the “war” and of course, the bottom line,
    It is exactly a war fought for money, headed by the Bush oilmen.
    “Future of Iraq: The spoils of war”
    “How the West will make a killing on Iraqi oil riches” January 7, 2007
    “Iraq’s massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days.”
    news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2132569.ece

    Reply

  26. pauline says:

    “All wars are fought for money.”
    Socrates

    Reply

  27. Den Valdron says:

    Since there’s no actual border between Israel and Iran, Israel must cross the airspace of at least one, and possibly two or even three countries to reach Iran.
    Turkey is unlikely to accede to any such request since they’re cooperating with Iran in dealing with the Kurdish problem. Turkey is one of the few Muslim states that has good relations with Israel. I suppose that Israel could dispense with those relations and violate Turkey’s airspace. But this might involve meeting Turkish military resistance, and there might be other repercussions, for both the US and Israel. Turkey is a NATO member, what happens when that comes into play against Israel. Having a pro-western, pro-Israeli government dissolve in an uprising and get replaced with something violently anti-western and islamist might not be good.
    The other alternative is an attack through Iraqi airspace. In which case, the Americans will be, directly or indirectly, participating in an unprovoked nuclear attack against a nation posing no immediate threat. In which case, game over.
    There are also the moral and humanitarian issues, including potentially tens of thousands of casualties, long term contamination, unprovoked attacks, the likelihood of war, etc.
    I frankly doubt this rumour. It just seems too insane.

    Reply

  28. STS says:

    It isn’t that Bush has no strategy — it’s that he has a purely self-interested *political* strategy and neither a military or diplomatic one.
    What is your take on the choice of top brass?
    Fallon at CENTCOM: Naval aviator commanding Sixth fleet during Bosnia air war is now running two ground wars (… plus an air war in Iran?!)
    Petraeus replacing Casey: smart guy, seems to get it about counterinsurgency more than the others. What gives? Isn’t someone this smart usually shown the door by Bush? Does he expect to follow Casey into the Chief-of-Staff job?
    Odierno: as operational commander under Petraeus.
    How is *that* going to work? Didn’t Odierno just round people up randomly and ship them to Abu Ghraib? I’m surprised Bush didn’t put Odierno in Petraus/Casey’s job? More typical for him to hire the dumbest guy available. Plus his 4th ID caught Saddam! (That must have gotten GWB’s attention.)
    If Bush somehow managed to get it right putting Petraeus over Odierno, then maybe somebody in the administration has noticed we have a counter-insurgency problem. But then to stick Petraeus with keeping Odierno suggests more of a committee approach. Keep all the players happy at the expense of any kind of logic.
    But regardless, I agree with the tactical advice above to keep reiterating that “it’s not the execution, stupid”, it’s the whole concept of the Iraq War that’s been broken from the beginning.

    Reply

  29. israel says:

    Israel ‘preparing N-tipped bunker busters’ to attack Iran
    Correspondents in London
    January 08, 2007
    ISRAEL has drawn up plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities in a tactical nuclear strike using low-yield atomic “bunker busting” bombs.
    The Sunday Times has quoted several Israeli military sources as saying that two of the Jewish state’s air force squadrons are training to use the weapons for a single strike on Iran.
    It said the plans involved sending conventional laser-guided missiles to open up “tunnels” in the targets, before “mini-nukes” with a force the equivalent of one-15th of the Hiroshima bomb are then fired in.
    However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack were ruled out and the US declined to intervene, senior sources said.
    The attack would be the first strike with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The plan is similar to one said in a report in The New Yorker magazine last April to have been considered by the US.
    The White House dismissed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh’s article as “ill-informed” at the time.
    Iran responded last night by warning it would make any foe “regret” an attack.
    “Any action against the Islamic republic will not go without a response, and the aggressor would regret the action very quickly,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.
    A senior Israeli official last night dismissed the report.
    “This is absurd information coming from a newspaper that has already in the past distinguished itself with sensationalist headlines that in the end amounted to nothing,” the official said.
    The Sunday Times reported that Israel would focus on three prime targets – the enrichment plant at Natanz, a uranium conversion facility near Isfahan and a heavy water reactor at Arak, all south of the capital Tehran.
    “As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” an unnamed Israeli source was quoted as telling the newspaper.
    The nuclear option is being considered because Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes might not be effective in destroying the well-defended facilities, the newspaper said. The atomic weapons would explode deep underground to minimise the risk of radioactive fallout, it reported.
    The UN Security Council voted unanimously last month to impose sanctions on Iran to prevent it enriching uranium.
    Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful electricity generation, but Western powers fear it is a front for developing nuclear weapons.
    Israel has refused to rule out pre-emptive military action against Iran. In 1981, it attacked Iraq’s nuclear reactor in Osirak.
    In October 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was condemned for calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and following up with comments downplaying the Holocaust.
    The Sunday Times said the Israeli plan was designed to prevent a “second Holocaust”.
    US and Israeli officials had met several times to consider military action against Iran, it reported.
    The newspaper said military analysts assessed that disclosing the plans could put pressure on Iran to halt enrichment. It could also be designed to persuade the US to act, or to “soften up” world opinion ahead of an Israeli nuclear strike.
    Israeli pilots are said to have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 3220km round-trip to the Iranian targets.
    Three possible routes have been mapped out, including one over Turkey, the report said.
    AFP, The Sunday Times

    Reply

  30. ckrantz says:

    With all the talk about surging troops in Baghdad people seem to be missing the importance of the naval surge in the Gulf and Arabian.
    There are now enough forces in place or arriving for a combined naval/air strike or a sea blockade. The latest was the Bataan strike force which brings 2000 marines. Everything seem to be in place for a larger version of the israel-lebanon war in 06

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  31. Dennis says:

    “Someone should pay for this. Firing Rumsfeld is not enough.”
    “Someone” named Bush and Cheney and a host of others should be charged with war crimes for lying to Americans about the “immediate dangers” posed to this country by Saddam and using the American military like it’s their own private little army!
    But we can’t do that because we have a Congress that’s just as complicit!
    Nor do we have a mainstream media that’s willing to come clean and say that either.
    If the past six years have produced anything valuable to the American public, it’s just how corrupt their government is.
    We need to stop teaching our school children that our government is so sanitized and teach them how things “really” work – via crooked lobbyist and bought-off Congressional leaders. At least that way, when they are finally out of school, they’ll stand some chance of not being such gullible puppets as are their parents.
    You don’t have to be a blind conservative not to see it, just an ignorant one to deny it.

    Reply

  32. Pissed Off American says:

    Posted by TLittle
    TLittle, please define the exact enemy we are fighting in Iraq.

    Reply

  33. Marky says:

    As if Bush cares about American deaths, or Iraqi deaths, except as roadblocks to achieving his goal, which is control of Iraqi oil fields.
    The surge may simply be a diversion to give the time for signing the contracts which give away Iraq’s oil assets to Bush’s buddies.
    Next stop Iran, of course.

    Reply

  34. Arun says:

    http://www.bartelby.net/73/1914.html
    To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war : attributed to Winston Churchill.
    Is there any way to get a ceasefire in Iraq while all parties are at the negotiating table? What can realistically be put on the table to bring all to the table – a complete American withdrawal including no permanent bases?

    Reply

  35. steve duncan says:

    Bush should be hanged.

    Reply

  36. Den Valdron says:

    There is no military plan. The surge is meaningless.
    In a perfect world, you might try and make a difference by putting 100,000 or 500,000 or 1,000,000 troops in. But frankly, those troops don’t exist, and the US doesn’t have the money.
    Four years ago, maybe 250,000 to 400,000 troops would have done the job. Maybe. But after four years of the country going to hell, after four years of the resistance building up its networks, recruiting, learning strategies and tactics… 250,000 to 400,000 troops who are alien, who don’t know the language or the culture, they’d be hopeless. You’d need to double it, minimum.
    So what’s 20,000? Dear reader, that number arises because its the number they got. Maybe, just maybe, they can scrape together an extra 20,000 (or perhaps merely 9,000) by shifting troops, delaying departures, moving them in early. But most of it is just accounting tricks with human bodies, it won’t, it can’t sustain in the long run. So its a short term blip.
    And what will it do? Nothing. We’ve seen it before in Operation Together Forward. Remember that? The abandonment of Anbar province in order to concentrate troops in Baghdad to settle down that city. Didn’t work. The surge has been tried and the surge has failed.
    So why are we doing it? Because they’ve got nothing else. They have no ideas. No plans. No real goals apart from handing the mess over to someone else so they can take the blame.
    In the end, its just throwing away lives for public relations back at home.

    Reply

  37. Donna_Z says:

    Wes Clark lays out the argument in today’s “Independent.”
    http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article2132496.ece
    He also includes an additional problem with the surge (escalation):
    “And the real danger of the troop surge is that it undercuts the urgency for the political effort. A new US ambassador might help, but, more fundamentally, the US and its allies need to proceed from a different approach within the region. The neocons’ vision has failed.”
    So, will anyone listen to Clark now?

    Reply

  38. bAkho says:

    Bush only loses if we leave. He will leave it to someone else to lose or maybe hope a pony miraculously appears in his pile of manure Iraq non-policy.
    More troops will not stem the violence. There are 3 groups that can if they work together. The Kurdish Peshmerga, Sadr’s Mahdi Army and the Sunni insurgents. Only one of those is on our side. The Sunnis are in active opposition and Sadr wants the US gone yesterday.
    A political settlement is necessary that allows these groups to stop th violence and agree on a political framework that works.
    Bush does not understand diplomacy. We are so screwed.

    Reply

  39. Marky says:

    The long term plan is going just great—control of Iraq’s oil reserves is due to go to Western oil companies quite soon. What’s the problem?

    Reply

  40. Dan Kervick says:

    Bush is the kind of person who thinks if he just keeps showing “resolve”, eventually all of his enemies will cave in – including his domestic political enemies.
    It is already clear that Bush has no intention of revising his overall goals in Iraq. He may be willing to fiddle with tactics, and even revise strategy. But he is still operating within the terms of the same basic war aims he has had all along, and is still desperately trying to *win the war* on those terms, rather than change course entirely and adjust to the evolving situation on the ground. Bush is an immensely stubborn and selfish man. We will never get a new direction in Iraq until Congress works in a united fashion to pull the plug on White House policies.
    We are going to be hearing a lot in the next several weeks and months about the need to preserve American credibility, American honor, American pride, American prestige and American stature. But ultimately, just as in Vietnam, we have come to the point where our soldiers are being held hostage to political efforts to protect the credibility, honor, pride, presige and stature of the *architects of the war* – not America.
    Of course, self-absorbed authoritarian leaders like Bush then to think “L’etat, c’est moi”, and have trouble distinguishing their own reputation from the reputation of America. But for the rest of us, we can be confident that the moment we decisivley spit out this cretin and his foolish and repulsive policies, America’s reputation will sharply improve.

    Reply

  41. TonyForesta says:

    Iran won Iraq.
    The fascist warmogners and profiteers crimes in Iraq prevent any possibility of winning anything in Iraq, or achieving anything like victory.
    The people on earth gaining any benefit from the costly, bloody, ghoulish, noendinsight, horrorshow in Iraq, are the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush govenment.
    American’ and particularly Iraqi’s have paid, and will continue paying a terrible price for the crimes and profiteering of the fascists in the Bush government. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2132574.ece
    It is delusional to imagine that Iraqi’s, or Maliki, or the socalled Iraqi government have any real say in their future under the death grip of the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government, – who still control the oil distribution and revenues, and the socalled resconstruction contracting.
    The grim reality American must have the courage and strength to admit it that the entire fetid ghoulish catastrophe in Iraq is a crime scene that CANNOT be won.
    We must recognize the factbasedrealities in Iraq, (entrenched militia’s who despise Americans, woeful lack of crediblity for America globally, a stressed and stretched US military being wasted in a conflict that cannot be won militarily, Iran gaining influence power, and enormous wealth as a direct result of the Bush governments crimes in Iraq, a ferocious sectarian civil war raging and ongoing, the likely division of Iraq into two or possible three relatively autonomous regions with Iranian backed Shi’s controlling the South oil fields, distribution points, and revenues, and Kurds conrolling the North, an radical increase in terrorist threats, organizations, and actual terrorists globally as a direct result of the Bush governments crimes, a grotesque perversion and dismembering of the rule of law, the Constitution, and the core principles that formally defined America, – and finally enormous unsustainable costs in blood, treasure, loss of credibility and loss of humanity discarded on the next US leadership, and America’s children) – once we recognize and admit these factbased realities, we must begin in earnest the long and challenging work of manage these catastrophic crisis and realities, salvaging and protecting as best as possible those interests that are critical to America security and prosperity, ie oil and terrorits threats, and focus a determined effort to right the terrible wrongs of the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government.

    Reply

  42. MNPundit says:

    …and just how many of the 20,000 are combat troops? 6000? 7000?
    You’re going to be throwing a few more combat soldiers into the line more poorly equipped and rested than before which means they will be less effective.

    Reply

  43. Carroll says:

    Well I am not being pissy when I say someone is going to have to clue me in on what the surge is suppose to accomplish…in the long run.
    The plan as I understand it now is to “secure’ the civilian population from both the sunni and shiite insurgents. This is suppose to stablize the civilian population so that the Iraq army and goverment can operate. I fail to see how 20,00 troops is going to secure anything.
    And even if we put in 200,000 troops and suceeded in this…for how long would it last?…after we kill the sunnis for shiites and kill shiites for the sunnis..how is that going to make them want to cooperate?…won’t they be right back at each other after we leave….do we ever leave?
    If I were being totally objective I would say we were going to have to choose a side…the strongest side…just to end the bloodbath…and then work with them using a strong set of carrots and sticks to make them resemble something civilized for the entire Iraq population.

    Reply

  44. Erstwhile says:

    “Looking at this form [sic] an economic point of view…”
    Bwa ha ha!!
    Looking at this from an economic POV, disgusting and repellent as that would be, is just exactly what this commenter fails to do.
    Two words: Sunk cost.
    Better comments, please!

    Reply

  45. Zathras says:

    So will Bush’s be a “kick the can plan,” intended to push the hard decisions about how to end the commitment in Iraq down the road as far as possible?
    That’s the way it looks to me. We should recognize that luck may intervene on our side; at some point the Iraqi groups engaged in sectarian violence and attacks against American troops and the government will reach a point of exhaustion. This will produce, if not a cessation at least a pause in the level of violence in the country, which might give the Iraqi government a breathing space and provide an opportunity to negotiate ways to extend the diminished level of violence.
    Do we know, though, when this will happen? We do not. It’s a poor excuse for strategy that relies so heavily on luck.
    A historical digression: Steve himself points out why his assertion that Bush’s escalation is “nearly identical to the kind of escalations we saw in Vietnam” is incorrect. The Johnson administration threw entire divisions, and eventually over half a million men, into Vietnam; what we know of Bush’s “new direction” is that it would bump up troop numbers in Iraq by, at most, 20,000 or so, by extending the tours of some troops now in country and shortening the time between deployments for other troops. Johnson’s commanders did have a strategy — a profoundly mistaken one, admittedly — that required the large numbers of additional troops to implement. By contrast, Bush’s kick the can plan is a gesture, of marginal value in pursuing Gen. Casey’s strategy and manifestly insufficient to prosecute another.
    Other “escalations” during the Vietnam period, specifically after Johnson left office, involved engaging enemy forces outside the borders of South Vietnam while American troops were being withdrawn from that country. They are not analogous to anything being done in Iraq now.

    Reply

  46. Marcia says:

    Had this President wanted to be taken seriously he should have applied for another job, one within his competence.
    Once all those long term contracts for oil are signed Cheney can resign, Condi can take his place. If Bush get pushed out the door she can dole out the pardons when the time comes.
    Those who come after for fools gold will be the janitors to clean up the mess.
    The lives lost, the money pumped out of the pockets of the working poor just prove to these thugs there’s a sucker born every minute.
    This disaster was evident from day one and will haunt us for years to come, perhaps more than Vietnam because it brings with it the slow collapse of the western industrialized world.
    What we have ahead may resemble the Soviet Union more than anything else. The dollar is going, there are dislocations on the horizon over which our pompous puppets will have little control.

    Reply

  47. TLittle says:

    Sending more troops can be a winning strategy in Iraq, I agree with the assessment several hundred thousand would be necessary to completely quell the violence, but the President could never get those numbers into the country and you know it.
    Looking at this form an economic point of view America has an investment in Iraq. The billions of dollars spent and the thousand of lives loss is too great to simply pull out or start a phased withdrawal. The regional complications are too great.
    Steve, in an earlier post you commented on how the President is “cherry-picking the Iraq Study Group report.” Consider that Iraq President Jalal Talabani has said, “I think the Baker-Hamilton report is unfair and unjust… It contains very dangerous articles that undermine the sovereignty of Iraq and its constitution.”
    If the Iraq government is not on board with the proposed study group report, how can we expect the President seriously to consider its recommendations: cherry picking is his only option. Keep in mind that the study group report should not be the end-all-be-all to the Iraq solution.
    A surge in troops is necessary to get the job done. I agree that the absence of a clear strategy in Iraq has plagued us for far too long.

    Reply

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