Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Time Has Arrived

It is time to stop perpetuating the overriding mistake of the Bush Adminsitration.

There is no way to undo the invasion of the country.

But we can stop discussing the issue in any fanciful terms, dependent on the imaginings of the administration.

This bunch forcefully stopped any planning, forcefully stopped any development of strategy or tactics to achieve what the President said he wanted.

as one supporter of the idea of the US military changing the face of the Middle East, but opponent of much the administration's decisions, has said -- once Saddam's statute toppled, Bush and his people were a giant deer in the headlights of Iraq and history, frozen without a plan and without an ability to even acknowledge basic truths about their mission, or the country they invaded.

These fucks tried to wage a war on the cheap. The one thing that you cannot do, and the one thing that their Secretary of State, in a previous life as a military leader, had forcefully rejected in defining and stating principles to be observed following our failures in Vietnam. They did not impose the rule of law, they did not kill obvious enemies to the effort, they did not effectively do much of anything.

It's too late to imagine a stable nation guided by an elected government. But, surprisingly, it is not too late to do some things.

It is crucial that the United States recognize and distinguish what has happened. the world must learn, and know, that Iraq was a political and diplomatic failure; it was not a military failure. The developed nations of the West have genuine enemies in the Middle East, and those enemies continue to fear the US military. That fear and respect is deserved, and must continue.

The US can prop up a shell of a nation for an indeterminate, lengthy time -- at the expense of countless more bodies, including american soldiers, and at the expense of any credibility. It is time to recognize that our continued presence is not to help the flowering democracy firmly plant its roots and grow, but to meet the few remaining achievable national goals. Which include killing a lot more people. It has the capacity to kill Sunni Ba'athists and Al Q members, and it has the capacity to kill Al Sadr and militiamen. The military should be unleashed to finally do so. it should then be withdrawn forthwith.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Juvenile Buffoon said...

George W.:

You had me....until the last paragraph. What possible, valuable, national goal would be achieved by unleashing the US military for a final spasmodic orgy of mass bloodshed before withdrawal, as you propose? On what moral authority do you base such widespread slaughter?

You propose killing:

Sunni Ba'athists. That's a sizeable minority in Iraq. A hell of a lot of people you propose wasting, and why? They have a right to be there. And provide a check on Shi'a influence from Iran, which is in our national interest.

Al Qaeda members: I'm always in favor of killing these fuckers, and since they weren't there before we let them in with our bungling, it seems only right we should try to take them with us when we leave. But let's not kid ourselves, they'll just spring up again as soon as we're gone. Bush created a haven in Iraq for Al Q where there wasn't one before.

Al Sadr: Sure, since you propose slaughtering the Ba'athists, why not wipe out Al Sadr and his Shi'a extremist followers, for equal measure? It's only fair.

and militiamen: about half the population of Iraq belong to militia, including a lot of Kurds, so I wonder how far you would go with this aspect of your pogrom.

And remember: your proposal by necessity includes the deaths and wounding of scores more US military personnel, and likely thousands more innocent Iraqi civilians.

No, I think that, as Bialystock suggested to Bloom, we should just say "oops" and get out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 10:22:00 am  
Blogger George Washington said...

I didn't advocate a final spasmodic orgy of mass bloodhsed, nor a pogrom. I should have inserted a sentence that I thought was there, but was not. It should have said something like: "we should kill enemies of the US, and then get out."

I advocated finally embracing that, having gone to war, we failed to actually conduct a war -- we were on some fanciful, idiotic trip. I wouldn't kill every Ba'athist. I would kill seventeen, and all the ones who look funny. I fear not the lack of a mediating influence on Iranian influence of Irqi shiites; the ethnic division between arab and persian will rend that temporary alliance shortly after our departure.

Since I didn't intend to propose killing all Ba'athists, or "slaughtering' them, I needn't address the killing of al-Sadr, which should have been accomplished shortly after he emerged. there's no sense being in a stupid war and not actually conducting it, but God bless this bunch, they did it. But i digress.

I would kill lots and lots of militiamen, but not friendly kurd militia types. I would do this because killing the enemy is a good thing, killing friends is a bad thing. In a crunch, I'd probably advocate erring on the side of killing a few friends.

More US military personnel would be killed or wounded; I can't reasonbly predict whether it would be scores. The killing of military personnel acting as pop-up targets and masquerading as policement and trainers has certainly been horrific, and I'm not sure what the relative death rate has been during offensives.

And Al Q -- As for "just springing up," they seem to "just spring up" infintely better when the military is not imposing its might, nor imposing a rule of law. The dead ones will not spring up.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 11:52:00 am  
Anonymous Mister Parker said...

I guess the questions are always (1) what are your goals, (2) what means will allow you to achieve those goals and (3) are the means commensurate with the goals, by which I think my college political science professor, Mel Leffler, meant is the price worth paying?

The goal of creating a stable, Western-style democracy in Iraq that would shine as a beacon in the Middle East and lead to the eventual transformation of the region is a good one, I think. But according to the War College and a lot of other people who seem to know about these things, this goal cannot be achieved in Iraq anytime in the next few decades and in any event not by use of American arms. You might be able to establish three stable non-Western democracies in the area currently known as Iraq -- dividing along ethnic lines -- or you might be able to achieve a single stable authoritarian government but not a stable Western-style democracy. Of course, there are downsides to these other options: (1) an independent Kurdistan would probably destablize our ally, Turkey; and (2) the other factions would ally with Iran and/or Syria, which would strengthen them at the expense of our interests.

The alternative is a civil war which is even worse. But the choice between these alternatives may be out of our control at this point.

In any event, the presence of American troops would exacerbate the situation. Not to mention getting more U.S. troops killed.

There may be limited goals we could still achieve in Iraq although achieving them would require our leaders to admit the failure and futility of our current strategy and shift gears quickly and radically. I don't foresee this happening anymore than I foresee a shift in the administration's approach to federal judges, the deficit, global warming, the rebuilding of New Orleans, etc.

A friend suggested a strategy of "Vietnamization," by which I believe he meant we helicopter people off the roof of the embassy, leave our allies to suffer the inevitable reprisals and then thirty years later send our President back for a wonderful photo op in front of a bust of Ho Chi Minh. I don't know if this qualifies as a strategy but it does have a certain air of inevitability to it ...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 2:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Juvenile Buffoon said...

"we should kill enemies of the US, and then get out"

It occurs to me that I didn't just have a problem with the scale of your proposal, but its very premise.

We have no moral authority to just go around and kill enemies of the US unless they present a clear and present danger to the nation.

Iraq posed no immediate danger to the US when we invaded. The Bush administration either deliberately or by incompetence misrepresented intelligence to make the case that it did pose such danger.

Now that it has been confirmed that we invaded a sovereign nation under false pretenses, we cannot justify spilling the blood of one more Iraqi citizen. Even if they are in a militia: simply because an Iraqi took up arms against an invading force, one that invaded under false pretenses, doesn't justify killing him at this point.

And if he took up arms to engage in sectarian civil warfare, that's for the Iraqis to sort out, not my servicemen and women.

So, no, "more killing" is not the solution here. With the exception that to the extent we can reliably distinguish them from regular Iraqis, I'm all for taking as many Al Qaeda fuckers down as possible on our way out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 2:14:00 pm  
Blogger George Washington said...

We have no moral authority to just go around and kill enemies of the US unless they present a clear and present danger to the nation.

Now that it has been confirmed that we invaded a sovereign nation under false pretenses, we cannot justify spilling the blood of one more Iraqi citizen.

Because I disagree with these two premises, I respectfully disagree with your position.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 3:38:00 pm  
Blogger George Washington said...

There may be limited goals we could still achieve in Iraq although achieving them would require our leaders to admit the failure and futility of our current strategy and shift gears quickly and radically. I don't foresee this happening anymore than I foresee a shift in the administration's approach to federal judges, the deficit, global warming, the rebuilding of New Orleans, etc.


I don't foresee any change either, although that change is exactly what I call for. A realistic appraisal and admission of the political and diplomatic failure , as opposed to military failure, of every course of action taken by the U.S. in Iraq since 2003.

And, as I say, I would make the changed goal the killing and crippling of enemies of the US, followed by withdrawal. And, borrowing a euphemism in vogue, I would envision, accept, and ultimately inadvertently inflict the "collateral damage" that course entails. Because, having gone to war as the nation did -- against my very specific and heartfelt advice, mind you -- we are obligated to extract the maxmium benefit of that foolhardy enterprise.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 3:43:00 pm  
Blogger George Washington said...

and the maximum benefit as well . . .

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 3:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Jestaplero said...

"The goal of creating a stable, Western-style democracy in Iraq that would shine as a beacon in the Middle East and lead to the eventual transformation of the region is a good one, I think. But according to the War College and a lot of other people who seem to know about these things..."

This piece, from a former National Review trustee, spoke to me in a big way regarding the fallacy of that goal:

http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_11_20/cover.html

"you might be able to achieve a single stable authoritarian government"

You mean like the one we threw out?

Me, I was all for leaving Saddam there. "But he was an evildoer!" just doesn't cut it for me. If it was our job to depose every evil dictator we'd never stop invading other countries.

It's a nasty world, and I fully accept that for strategic considerations, there are some strongmen we will need to take down and some we will simply have to abide because their removal will cause us more peril.

From a US security standpoint, Saddam was about the last dictator you'd want taken out, before 9/11 or after (9/11, despite the popular saying, actually changed nothing).

He kept the Iranians in check, and he kept the crazy Shi'a, Sunnis, and Kurds from killing each other. He kept the Turks from worrying about the Kurds.

But most importantly, he distrusted bin Laden and he kept Al Qaeda out of the region.

I know he was a bad guy. If the Iraqis had wanted to rise up against him, I'd say god bless 'em.

But the US had nothing to gain from his removal. I have heard at least one former US army general call the invasion of Iraq is the single biggest strategic blunder in US history, and I suspect that will become the conventional viewpoint in the years to come.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 4:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Jestaplero said...

George Dubya:

"Because I disagree with these two premises, I respectfully disagree with your position."

So, you think we should start killing North Koreans and Iranians? They are our enemies.

Presumably, you would not call for an offensive against Al-Sadr, Saddam-less Ba'athists, and assorted Iraqi militiamen if our forces weren't already there, right? So I don't see how the fact that our forces are there by way of folly changes anything.

Second question:

How exactly does it enhance our national interests for our military to kill as many members of the groups you describe (all except Al Qaeda, which of course is a clear and present threat to my safety) on their way out of Iraq?

In other words: what's in it for me, that is worth spilling the blood of more American troops?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 4:25:00 pm  
Blogger George Washington said...

So, you think we should start killing North Koreans and Iranians? They are our enemies.

So are the Mexicans. Especially the Mexicans. Except for Henry; he's a good Mexican.

Actually, I didn't state that we have moral authority to kill all of our enemies absent an immediate threat to the country.

We don't get to treat all of this as an abstraction, and declare that we entered the war illegally and immorally, and therefore any Iraqi citizen may shoot and kill any American soldier [we cannot justify spilling the blood of one more Iraqi citizen.]. We have the moral authority to defend those troops. We also have the moral authority, imo, to defend the horrible government elected last year. The only extant government of Iraq sanctions our presence.

And as long as we're lawyering the thing, I reject your statement that it has been confirmed that we invaded a sovereign nation under false pretenses . . . . Not that that would make a huge difference in my analysis of whether we could defend ourselves, or kill death squad members, but I digress. To lawyer the thing, I'd love to engage in the lengthy argument of establishing that, post 1991, Hussein had the burden of establishing compliance. He failed to meet that burden. rather than relying on any 1991 resolution, we obtained further sanction by a new vote. Hussein continued to fail to meet his burden. Accordingly, we invaded.

A stupid war, that I opposed then, and now, for many of the reasons that have been borne out, principally our loss of moral authority in the world the moment we invaded without a more direct and immediate threat. But, with that done, I don't believe that we lack moral authority, or will be committing a "greater sin," by defending, and pursuing, and killing, enemies of the US. Not all members of the groups I named, but we will patently need to kill members of each of the groups [indeed, all of one of thr groups].

Next up -- our national interest.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 5:00:00 pm  
Anonymous Juvenile Buffoon said...

"I reject your statement that it has been confirmed that we invaded...under false pretenses...Hussein had the burden of establishing compliance. He failed to meet that burden...we obtained further sanction by a new vote. Hussein continued to fail to meet his burden. Accordingly, we invaded."

Woah, whoa, whoa, hold on a minute! By "we obtained further sanction by a new vote" do you refer to U.N. Resolution 1441? Because 1441 did not authorize the U.S. to unilaterally decide whether Saddam had complied, and then to invade if we determined he was in breach.

In fact, even the US claimed only that Saddam was in breach, and that 1441 thereby required immediate convention of the U.N. security council to decide what to do about it.

As we know, the security council met and expressly did NOT authorize invasion. We invaded anyway, which prompted the UN Secy General to declare that the invasion was 'not in conformity with UN charter' and was therefore 'illegal from charter point of view.'

I'm not saying that the U.N. is the final word on whether the war was illegal, but I most certainly reject the point you appear to make, that we invaded "according" to U.N. vote!

Anyway, when I said we invaded under false pretenses, I wasn't talking about the UN: I meant that the administration sold a phony bill of goods to Congress, the press, and the American public. That is fact, not opinion. Whether this was by dishonesty or incompetence I don't know for sure (if the Congressional Dems ever launch a full investigation, we may find out).

You also said:

"We don't get to ...declare that we entered the war illegally and immorally, and therefore any Iraqi citizen may shoot and kill any American soldier..."

and

"I don't believe that we lack moral authority, or will be committing a "greater sin," by defending..."

This is the first time, in this lengthy debate, you said anything about the right of American troops to defend themselves.

In your original post you proposed that we "...meet the few remaining achievable national goals. Which include killing a lot more people."

Given a chance to clarify in your first follow-up comment, you still didn't mention anything about troop self defense, simply saying "I would do this because killing the enemy is a good thing."

Of course I agree our troops have a right to defend themselves while they are still there. But that's not what you started out arguing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 6:38:00 pm  

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