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Pathetic:
Eugene includes this language in his post below, but I want to stop and comment on the sentence about terrorism in Mitt Romney's address announcing that he is suspending his campaign:
If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, . . . I'd forestall the launch of a national campaign. Frankly, I would be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win. Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.
  If you watch the video, this was no off-the-cuff remark. It was a big applause line, delivered carefully and deliberately. After he delivers the line, Romney grins broadly and soaks in the moment of his having delivered a good zinger.

  But come on, folks. "Surrender to terror"? You can certainly argue that one candidate or one party is better at responding to the threat of terrorism. But suggesting that the other side would "surrender" to terror is absurd. This speech should have been a display of statesmanship, not an audition to be the next Ann Coulter.
Anderson (mail):
But suggesting that the other side would "surrender" to terror is absurd.

Well, we hashed this out at the original thread, and apparently the fact that Hillary would supposedly get 51% or more of our troops out within 16 mos. after taking office, 7 years after the invasion, is reasonably interpreted as a "surrender to terror."

Go figure.
2.7.2008 6:22pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
It's not that I disagree with the sentiment. I agree entirely. It's just that I don't find that this iteration stands out too much. We've been hearing a steady drumbeat of the same thing all the way back to "objectively pro-Saddam" from that end of the political spectrum. What basis is there to expect rhetoric of reason or good faith at this point?
2.7.2008 6:26pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Er .. the sentiment I was referring to is Prof. Kerr's, not Romney's, obviously.
2.7.2008 6:27pm
Steve:
I guess the idea is, Ex-Fed, that it's disappointing to hear a Presidential candidate sound like he's channeling the VC comments section.
2.7.2008 6:34pm
Vanceone (mail) (www):
Except... Doesn't Obama say that he wants troops gone in like 30 days from his taking office? And doesn't the left want to withdraw from Afghanistan too?

I guess I would like to know how, exactly, Hillary or Obama WOULD fight terror militarily. Isn't their entire platform a return to "we can prosecute it to death?"

So from that point of view (we need to fight militarily), it IS a potential surrender to terror.
2.7.2008 6:34pm
The General:
Neither Democrat wants to win the war. They want to quit. Obama said that a massacre of those left behind would be a price worth paying just so that we can get out of Iraq. When asked about winning the war, Hillary said she wanted to pull the troops out instead. They can't even acknowledge that America is winning without suspending disbelief.
2.7.2008 6:39pm
Procrastinator:
I like how he says "frankly" twice in the quote. Reminds one of the rock-solid relentless truth-telling and non-pandering style upon which his campaign was based.
2.7.2008 6:41pm
Tern (mail):
Romney really should have made a display of statesmanship, like bowing out when he determined that staying in, when he could not have won, would hurt the election chances of the most likely candidate.

Guess he can't win them all.
2.7.2008 6:41pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Steve: Nice prediction of the next two comments.
2.7.2008 6:45pm
alkali (mail):
As a liberal Democrat, who by definition up to his eyeteeth in fornication, pornography, drinking and drugs, I must say that Romney's withdrawal throws a terrible wrench into our plans to restore the Caliphate.
2.7.2008 6:45pm
OrinKerr:
The General,

Of course the Democrats want to win the war. They just think it cannot be won without losing thousands more American lives, and they think it is not worth the cost. Saying that the Democrats want to lose the war is like saying that you want thousands of Americans to die -- it confuses resigning oneself to the prospect of something bad happening, on the ground that it is the least bad alternative, with actually wanting that thing to happen.
2.7.2008 6:46pm
Procrastinator:
Doesn't Obama say that he wants troops gone in like 30 days from his taking office? And doesn't the left want to withdraw from Afghanistan too?

Obama said that a massacre of those left behind would be a price worth paying just so that we can get out of Iraq. When asked about winning the war, Hillary said she wanted to pull the troops out instead.

I suppose citations for these positions are too much to ask when they're just made up. You'll have to try harder.
2.7.2008 6:48pm
John425:
The Brits are surrendering their freedoms inch by inch to pressure &threats of Islamic terrorism. Bit by bit surrender is still surrender.
2.7.2008 6:50pm
sashal (mail):
Orin, McCain is saying the same thing.
Check his speeches about dem candidates.
Pathetic, all of them , all of the GOP who are still on the delusion side....
2.7.2008 6:51pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Without meaning to sound too partisan or snippy, I sometimes wonder if this urge to argue that the Dems "want the terrorists to win," which has been disgracefully common in this war, comes from the gnawing sense that if we agree that both parties want the best for the U.S., then the main debate would be which party could handle security and war interests more competently. No doubt because of Bush's various mistakes in Iraq, polls continue to show that (whatever you think the reality is), Repub numbers are slipping on that issue. So politically, it may be necessary to try to convince some (or for some to try to convince themselves) that the Dems don't really care about what's best for the U.S.
2.7.2008 6:57pm
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
I would have said "nauseating", but since, as noted, "The Democrat Party's the party that wants to help the terrorists!" 's been a drum-beat of Bush-Cheney, and their media lackeys, for much of the last few years, I'm used to it.

Pretty tough saber-rattling with someone else's sons, BTW, from someone who took, IIRC, a series of draft deferments as a "minister of religion" while serving as an LDS missionary (bringing the Word to the heathen in that illiterate, oppressed Third World country, France), until his number came up in 1970, by which time his draft number was high enough so that some poorer, dumber, and probably less white, kid went in his place.
McCain, who really took one for his country, hasn't resorted to this rhetoric as much as Romney, who didn't.
2.7.2008 6:57pm
Alec:
Some of the above comments are just insane. The war in Iraq was unrelated to the "war" on the abstract idea of terrorism until Bush invaded and provided a recruiting field for radical Islamic terrorists.
How do you define a "win" in Iraq? Iraq becoming a modern, secular democratic republic with functioning infrastructure? A beacon of hope, peace and prosperity in the desert of the Middle East? How close are we to that goal? How do we justify pouring in the limited resources we have as a nation, in money and lives? Do we stay for a hundred years if necessary? Maybe admit Iraq as the 51st state?
The responsibility for this war falls squarely on the modern conservative movement. But as the Republican primaries clearly indicated, that movement is dead for the moment. As for the "war" on terrorism, all you can hope for is survival. You do not "win" wars on abstract ideas, on concepts and criminality.
2.7.2008 6:58pm
hattio1:
I like the fact that even Professor Kerr, who is trying to be objective about this, swallows the Republican notion that the "War on Terror" is equivalent to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Or, at least that's the implication of his response to The General.

FWIW, I'm a liberal (so presumably part of the left according to Vanceone) and I DON'T support pulling out of Afghanistan. I DO support putting more troops there, and coming up with some sort of rational policy. Of course, Afghanistan would be stabilized and wholly under Afghani control if we had given the troops, time and effort solely to that war rather than putting most of our eggs in the Iraqi basket.
2.7.2008 6:58pm
Procrastinator:
Question for Orin:

What do you think of John McCain going to CPAC with George Allen, of all people?
2.7.2008 6:59pm
hattio1:
I see that Alec seized on the same idea I did, and bet my post by less than a minute.
2.7.2008 7:01pm
Guest101:

Of course the Democrats want to win the war. They just think it cannot be won without losing thousands more American lives, and they think it is not worth the cost. Saying that the Democrats want to lose the war is like saying that you want thousands of Americans to die -- it confuses resigning oneself to the prospect of something bad happening, on the ground that it is the least bad alternative, with actually wanting that thing to happen.

Speaking only for myself, I can't make enough sense of the idea of "winning" or "losing" a "war" with no clear objective or purpose, in which the closest thing we have to an identifiable enemy is a vague coalition of people who don't like us for various reasons, to even begin to analyze how I feel about either proposition. I would also question the premise that withdrawal from Iraq has anything to do with the forces of "terror," at least if we use that term to mean people who have attacked American soil in the past as opposed to those who simply want us out of their country.
2.7.2008 7:03pm
AF:
Thanks for this post, Orin. It reinforces your deserved reputation as an independent conservative who does not toe the party line.

But make no mistake: This is the party line. In fact, John McCain, frequently refers to withdrawal from Iraq, which Obama and Hillary do in fact support, as "surrender." See, for example, this petition on his website, which states:

The decision of the Senate made on March 27 to call for a date certain withdrawal from Iraq is nothing more than a guaranteed date of surrender.

Obama and Clinton voted in favor of that decision. Thus, McCain is also accusing Obama and Clinton of favoring "surrender." The rest of the petition makes clear to whom that "surrender" is alleged to be, containing statements such as:

We the undersigned remain steadfast in our support for the war against terrorism and mindful of the consequences of failure in Iraq, even if Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid refuse to acknowledge those consequences.

and

People say they want to defeat the terrorists, but if we withdraw from Iraq prematurely, it will be the terrorists' greatest triumph.

Thus, if "suggesting that the other side would 'surrender' to terror is absurd," that criticism applies equally to John McCain as Mitt Romney. Stay tuned for the rest of the campaign -- and the rest of this comment thread -- to see whether the Republican party is willing to choose "statesmanship" over "Ann Coulter" by refraining from accusing the Democrats of "surrender."
2.7.2008 7:05pm
Crunchy Frog:

How do you define a "win" in Iraq? Iraq becoming a modern, secular democratic republic with functioning infrastructure?

Works for me.

Look, to think that we're not going to have a permanent presense in Iraq (a la Korea &Germany) is simply ridiculous. We are going to need a sizeable number of troops in the Middle East (say, 50,000 or so) to keep Iran, Syria, etc from getting frisky. Where else do you suppose we keep them? We saw how well Saudi Arabia worked out...
2.7.2008 7:06pm
NatSecLawGuy:
Professor Kerr, I gladly join that opinion.
2.7.2008 7:14pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
Orin well-states the thoughts I have often had on this issue. And he says he much more concisely than I could have.

On a related point: When conservatives (probably more accurate to say, "when pro-war advocates") said to Democrats in the last election, "Do you think we would be better off if Saddam were still in office?", I wish someone would have responded:

"If you gave me hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, plus 100,000+ American troops, and asked me to make America as safe as possible, would I:
1. Do as Bush did (ie, invade Iraq, remove its evil horrible leader), and have the situation we currently have, or...
2. Put hundreds and hundreds millions more into finding/killing OBL and his ilk, plus, say...
-thousands and thousands more police on our streets.
-hundred and hundreds more CIA, FBI, NSA (etc) agents, to fight against terrorists.
-hundreds or thousands more inspectors at our ports.
-thousands more fire-fighters.
And as long as we have all this money to play with...
-thousands more teachers
-more parks
-more public transportation
-more health care for the poor
-more officers to secure and enforce our borders
-more inspectors and security at our airports and nuclear facilities.

This seems to be a fair argument. One can sincerely argue that situation # 1 is superior. It's better to fight them 'over there' rather than over here. It's not my position, but I can respect someone who argues this point. But I cannot understand why a certain (impotent, dysfunctional) major political party cannot argue that we could have spent all the Iraq-war money in better ways, and by doing so, our lives would be far better in many many way, AND, we'd also be far safer in real terms than we currently are.
2.7.2008 7:19pm
Lonely Capitalist (mail):
Thanks for this post, Orin. It reinforces your deserved reputation as an independent conservative who does not toe the party line.

Actually it convinces me that OK is a Dem. plant. Obviously the Dems. are not serious about fighting the Islamists. Obama wants to sit and chat with them like Chamberlain.
2.7.2008 7:22pm
eyesay:
josh bornstein wrote "But I cannot understand why a certain (impotent, dysfunctional) major political party cannot argue that we could have spent all the Iraq-war money in better ways, and by doing so, our lives would be far better in many many way, AND, we'd also be far safer in real terms than we currently are."

I agree; alternatively, and in concert with a true conservative and true libertarian view, all the Iraq-war money could have simply not been spent, thereby reducing the deficit by a substantial amount, and thereby saving leaving over 3,000 productive American citizens still alive and fully participating in the American endeavor.
2.7.2008 7:30pm
autolykos:
I'm sure Obama just thinks that the terrorists have holes in their hearts.
2.7.2008 7:32pm
Mike99 (mail):
I'll have to agree with Gov. Romney on this one. I watched Sen Clinton on Fox News Sunday a week ago. Chris Wallace asked her directly if she wanted America to win in Iraq. Her immediate and vehement response was that she wanted the troops out immediately. She didn't utter a syllable that could be construed to be supportive of America, of the troops or of victory.

I suspect I'm a bit old fashioned on this, but I can't see how that stance even remotely relates to that of Sen McCain or Gov. Romney. Need I mention that Sen. Obama is no better than Sen. Clinton?
2.7.2008 7:36pm
Barry P. (mail):
Bush is the one uninterested in fighting terror. He took tens of thousands of troops out of a country where actual terrorists were, for the purpose of avenging a perceived insult against his daddy, all the while maintaining a close personal friendship with the financiers of 9/11, the Saudi royal family.
2.7.2008 7:37pm
Trashhauler:
Neither Senator Obama nor Senator Clinton is likely to "surrender to terrorism," if they are elected. In fact, they are far more likely to anger know-nothing peace advocates by continuing basically the same Middle East policy we have today. As President, neither is going to simply abandon Iraq. We'll also still need to protect the region's oil and the means of transporting it. Either might attempt to greatly increase our activities in Afghanistan, quite possibly to our regret, just as either will recognize that if we want to stay in Afghanistan, we'll have to keep Pakistan afloat. Either will continue to support Israel, regardless of the usual Israeli intransigence on insisting they know best about their own self-defense issues.

Either will probably make a big deal about "dialogue" with Iran about their nuke program and get nowhere, because we cannot give them what they want and have nothing that they really need. The author of last summer's NIE is already publicly regretting the over-emphasis on Iran's cessation of only one part of their nuclear program. So, we'll still be faced with the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Anyone who thinks the answer to jihadist terrorism is more police hasn't traveled much in the Middle East. Regardless of who is President, the same military that has suffered calumny and derision for years will still be doing the heavy lifting, simply because they are the only ones who are capable of it.
2.7.2008 7:37pm
hattio1:
Lonely Capitalist, please tell me you were being sarcastic???

Orin Kerr a Democratic plant? Please, no offense to the VC, but if the Democrats were going to plant anyone anywhere, I hope it would be somewhere more influential than the VC, and I would hope they wouldn't wait around to put the person through law school. Geez, and they talk about Bush Derangement Syndrome......
2.7.2008 7:39pm
Dangermouse:
Saying that the Democrats want to lose the war is like saying that you want thousands of Americans to die -- it confuses resigning oneself to the prospect of something bad happening, on the ground that it is the least bad alternative, with actually wanting that thing to happen.

I don't know if the politicans of the Democratic party want Americans to die, but the hard left ABSOLUTELY does:

Ward Churchill explicitly defended the murder of everyday, normal Americans who happened to work in the Twin Towers:


As for those in the World Trade Center... Well, really, let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break... If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.


Ward Churchill continues to be feted and celebrated by the hard left.

Michael Moore expressed dismay that Americans living in the "blue state" of New York were killed, instead of "red state" Americans:


If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, D.C., and the planes' destination of California -- these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!


The implication is, he'd be fine if the terrorists did kill people who voted for Bush. Michael Moore had a box seat at the 2004 Democratic convention sitting next to Jimmy Carter.

Then there's self-annointed Democratic king-maker kos:


"I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them."


Certain segments of the hard left do want Americans to die.
2.7.2008 7:39pm
MatthewM (mail):
Sorry, Orin, but this is what we believe. The Democratic party -- and millions of Americans -- do, indeed, want to surrender. They think it will be no big deal; in fact, they believe everyone will fall in love with us once the white flag is hoisted.

Do you see now why those of us on the right are so exasperated with these people?
2.7.2008 7:45pm
Alec:
Crunchy wrote:


"Look, to think that we're not going to have a permanent presense in Iraq (a la Korea &Germany) is simply ridiculous. We are going to need a sizeable number of troops in the Middle East (say, 50,000 or so) to keep Iran, Syria, etc from getting frisky. Where else do you suppose we keep them? We saw how well Saudi Arabia worked out..."


Have you completely forgotten how the Islamic movement began? To what Bin Laden objected to? Or do you believe that we should continue to thumb our nose at the world, damn the consequences?

I supported an international invasion of Afghanistan when I was in high school, a full year and a half before 9/11. I was not alone; plenty of people felt that it was a perfect candidate for international intervention, in light of opium production, support for terrorism and human rights abuses. THAT should be the focus of our efforts. We are exacerbating tensions with the Muslim world by remaining in Iraq. That was why I voted for Senator Obama in the California primary and the reason I will vote for the Democratic nominee. I will certainly not be casting a vote for a trigger-happy "conservative" hawk of questionable temperment and eight years of flip flopping in the senate.

There was a time, before the Bush administration, when we adhered to the principle of national self-determination and international coordination when national self-determination was unacceptable for one reason or another. We operated with that mindset for a reason (for multiple reasons, really). But to supporters of this war, there is apparently no cost too great, no price too high. Which for them is of course fine, because they are overwhelmingly not part of my generation, a generation that must literally pay for this war with their blood and out of their pockets. You want a surge? If Obama is nominated, get ready.
2.7.2008 7:48pm
Le Messurier (mail):
The comments in this thread suggest very strongly that the left is trying to overcome it's reputation as being weak on national security before the election. The reputation is well deserved.

Some call leaving Iraq before the situation is stabilized "surrender"; some call it "having the effect of a surrender"; and others call it "cut-and-run"... not a whit of difference in the end result. What Obama and Clinton want to do is so dangerous to the future of the US that it boggles my mind that the words are even being said. And it boggles my mind that the consequences of withdrawal are so poorly understood or denied by the left when they are so obvious.

I read here and elsewhere that we should/have concentrate/ed our efforts in Afghanistan. I fail to see how that would make the US more secure. No matter what happens in that country, the rest of the Mideast is a potential time bomb. The threat from that part of the world to our security is real. If we leave the bomb will go off.
2.7.2008 7:49pm
Procrastinator:
MatthewM, building things out of straw is quite exasperating work, isn't it?

Interesting that no war supporter has taken up Alec's question about what exactly victory in Iraq would look like. Guess some are too busy putting words in other people's mouths.
2.7.2008 7:53pm
hattio1:
Shorter MatthewM,
Sorry Orin, but no matter what the Dems say, we know what they want. And what we know they want is unacceptable.


Do you see now why those of us on the right are so exasperated with these people?


Yeah, because you absolutely refuse to believe anything that doesn't conform to your pre-conceived notions.
2.7.2008 7:54pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Kerr writes:


Of course the Democrats want to win the war. They just think it cannot be won without losing thousands more American lives, and they think it is not worth the cost. Saying that the Democrats want to lose the war is like saying that you want thousands of Americans to die -- it confuses resigning oneself to the prospect of something bad happening, on the ground that it is the least bad alternative, with actually wanting that thing to happen.


Nicely said. Arguing that Obama and Clinton are pro-terror is like saying Bush is pro-Iran and Pro-Al Qaida. After all, the war has greatly strengthened Iran, and it has given Al Qaida a presence and power in Iraq that it never had before.

And alkali, shhhhhhh! You're not supposed to tell anyone about The Secret Plan. And who forgot to invite me to the parties "feting" Ward Churchill? I must have forgotten to renew my membership in The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
2.7.2008 8:01pm
Anderson (mail):
Alec's question about what exactly victory in Iraq would look like

Arkansas.
2.7.2008 8:04pm
Dangermouse:
PD,

I limited my comment about people who want other Americans to die strictly to certian members of the Hard Left. Apparently, you think it applies to you. Can you tell me why you'd think that?

I don't think Hillary Clinton wants Americans to die. But Ward Churchill, kos, and Michael Moore, do.
2.7.2008 8:05pm
Alec:
Dangermouse:

You really want me to start making representations of "the hard" right by quoting Coulter and company and implying that it is not difficult to understand why millions of Americans think conservatives belong in the nuthouse by saying "I don't know about the politicians in the Republican Party, but..."? Because I would be happy to.
2.7.2008 8:10pm
Public_Defender (mail):

I limited my comment about people who want other Americans to die strictly to certian members of the Hard Left.


I see that a lack of a sense of humor is not a trait unique to liberal feminists. Now, I got to get those dues paid before I miss more of the parties.
2.7.2008 8:13pm
Northeastern2L:
I'm shocked, shocked that a Republican would say such things about a Democrat. What's next? Republicans comparing gays to pedophiles? Or feminists to Nazis? Or atheists to all of the above?

Shocked, I tell you.
2.7.2008 8:14pm
Procrastinator:
How come George W Bush isn't included in your list of those who want Americans to die, Dangermouse? After all, he wanted to invade and occupy Iraq, he must have known that Americans would be killed there, ergo he wanted Americans to die. Your logic, no? Plus you can actually read the names of those who have been killed as a result of GWB's handiwork, as opposed to a film director, a college professor, and a guy who runs a website who haven't killed anyone.

What a silly person you are.
2.7.2008 8:18pm
Barry P. (mail):
Since Kos actually served in the military, he's probably more concerned about the lives of servicemen than Shrub, Dick, Mitt or Dangermouse, or any one of a bazillion Republican chickenhawks.
2.7.2008 8:26pm
Paul Rozelle (mail):
I'm a Democrat and a liberal who visits the VC for what is almost always informed, intelligent, and timely commentary and analysis on current events in the law and legal academia. I rarely make a foray into the comments sections, but I couldn't resist on this one. Wow.

I assume (it's an elitist assumption, I admit) that the VC's readers tend to be better educated and more informed than, say, those whose worldview is formed by talk-radio shock jocks. I'd have thought that with that better education and breadth of world experience would have come a little more enlightenment and reason (particularly from the libertarians and objectivists in the crowd, who seem to value such things more highly than the run-of-the-mill conservatives). Mitt's comment was in poor form at best, and really reflects poorly on him as a person, the party, the presidency, and conservatism. It also shows little respect for fellow Americans, as do many of the comments here. Sure, all us libs want to "lose the war" -- whatever that means. We all want to kill as many Americans as possible. We just can't wait for the day when Osama comes out of his cave to claim victory. For every dollar we send to Obama, we send two to the Taliban.

Sheesh. I expect this kind of moronic thinking from the talk radio crowd and Ann Coulter and her devotees. But to see it coming from those running for the presidency is just sad. And to see it prevalent among the readers of what is one of the better (and certainly more intellectually rigorous) "conservative" blogs out there is a little scary. Flame away.
2.7.2008 8:27pm
Dangermouse:
Public_Defender: sorry, just wanted to be clear.

Procrastinator, to my knowledge, George Bush never said anything celebrating the deaths of the troops, unlike what Churchill or kos said. You know that also, so take your own advice and quit being silly.

I don't think it's controversial at all to say that Churchill, kos and Moore want Americans to die. In the case of Churchill and kos, they flat-out said it. And in the case of Moore, it's a hair's breath away. And they're celebrated for saying those things by thousands of hard-core leftists in this country.

Alec: It doesn't matter, because I'm sure it'll be said eventually.
2.7.2008 8:28pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
re Dangermouse:
Yeah; his comments are idiotic (bordering on trolls), but you have to admit...he has a wicked-cool username.
2.7.2008 8:29pm
Trashhauler:
Alec wrote:

"I supported an international invasion of Afghanistan when I was in high school, a full year and a half before 9/11. I was not alone; plenty of people felt that it was a perfect candidate for international intervention, in light of opium production, support for terrorism and human rights abuses. THAT should be the focus of our efforts."

Oh, great, you picked the one country that nobody has been able to conquer since Alexander the Great. No one conquers the Hindu Kush and we won't either. International effort? The US military is doing most of the hard fighting there, with few other countries even equipped to try. We've got exactly one land line of communication route - through Pakistan. With few roads and even fewer airfields, we cannot support many more soldiers in the field than we already have there. At most, we can defend the cities and the lowlands, with short forays into the mountains and bombing the Taliban when they concentrate.

Of the two campaigns, the Afghanistan campaign has far more potential to be a long-standing quagmire. That might dawn on you after your generation spends ten or twelve years there.
2.7.2008 8:37pm
Tern (mail):
I think it would be better if people on both sides phrased the issue this way:

"The mistaken policies of [fill-in-the-blank-opponent] would cause Americans to die/lose/whatever."

Which I suspect is what they generally mean, except for the evil ones who really want Americans to die/lose/whatever. You can know those people because they are the ones who don't hold my position on [any given subject].
2.7.2008 8:37pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Notice how the conversation has drifted from what Obama and Clinton believe to what Kos, Moore, and Churchill believe. I don't see any of them on the ballot. And shifting the conversation to them pretty much validates Professor Kerr's point.
2.7.2008 8:40pm
Anderson (mail):
No one conquers the Hindu Kush and we won't either.

Excellent points, but I think the project was to drive out the Taliban and then support a stable Afghani government that could then deal with insurgents itself. That itself is a tall order, but not so glaringly implausible as conquering that country, or converting Iraq into a Western-style democracy.

Since your remarks on Afghanistan seem cogent, I wonder what's your take on our prospects in Iraq?
2.7.2008 8:41pm
Alec:
Of course you think in terms of conquest. It is much better to invade a country for no reason, with no objectives apart from bringing down an already weak government and no plan for achieving whatever objectives you had in mind. And in the meantime creating a recruiting ground for your real enemies, spreading your military, becoming indebted to the China and empowering Iran and ignoring a nuclear hot spot like Pakistan...have I pretty much covered it? I guess the conservative movement was fighting the war on terrorism, they were just rooting for the other side.
2.7.2008 8:42pm
Jay:
Orin, you say:

"Of course the Democrats want to win the war. They just think it cannot be won without losing thousands more American lives, and they think it is not worth the cost. Saying that the Democrats want to lose the war is like saying that you want thousands of Americans to die -- it confuses resigning oneself to the prospect of something bad happening, on the ground that it is the least bad alternative, with actually wanting that thing to happen."

Romney's statement--"I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."--does not suggest that Democrats want to lose the war. It simply suggests that, resigned to losing in Iraq, they want to pull out. Are you saying that he was implying something different? The implication is not clear to me, and I do not see how it could be clear enough to demand this level of condemnation. Or are you suggesting that their plans to pull out of Iraq cannot reasonably be construed as "-a- surrender to terror"?
2.7.2008 8:44pm
byomtov (mail):
Or are you suggesting that their plans to pull out of Iraq cannot reasonably be construed as "-a- surrender to terror"?

Plans to pull out of Iraq cannot reasonably be construed as a surrender to terror. The invasion of Iraq cannot reasonably be construed as a rational response to the terrorist threat.
2.7.2008 8:49pm
Anderson (mail):
resigned to losing in Iraq

We cannot "lose" in Iraq. We won the war. We are now occupying Iraq. One does not win or lose an occupation, except in the sense of "winning the war but losing the occupation," which happens whenever one drags out the occupation too long.

Iraq was an unstable concoction of the Western powers, given extended life by a bloody tyrant. Now that Saddam is gone, there are two choices: a Shiite theocracy with close ties to Iran, or another Sunni dictator.

The former is, I think, less unacceptable, but it's a helluva thing for us to be sacrificing American lives to achieve.
2.7.2008 8:54pm
Joshua:
Alec: Have you completely forgotten how the Islamic movement began?

No, I haven't forgotten. I also haven't forgotten that it began long, long before bin Laden. Does the name Sayyid Qutb ring a bell?

To what Bin Laden objected to?

Don't confuse objections with pretexts. If we had no troops in Saudi Arabia, bin Laden would still have had plenty of possible pretexts to justify his little jihad. For what he really objects to, well, that brings us back to Sayyid Qutb. Same s**t, different decade.
2.7.2008 9:03pm
SteveDK:
I'm sorry, but I agree with Romney. He opposes a "surrender to terror" and that is the express plan of both Clinton and Obama. Terrorists, including the ones who support direct attacks on the USA, are fighting us right now in Iraq. The Republicans believe in staying and fighting until they are defeated there (and believe we are making great progress). The Democratic candidates both proudly say they will get us out of Iraq soon after they're elected. That is surrender, and it is surrender to terror. It's precisely what the terrorists hope will happen, and they will (correctly) trumpet it as a great victory.

The best argument for my side is the twisty arguments against Romney's statement as seen in comments section: that no victory is possible (which is equivalent to saying you support surrender because you think it's better than other options) or that Iraq was a bad idea or that you can't really fight terror or that Democrats have other ways of fighting terror. Even if these arguments were correct, they're irrelevant. The Democratic party today, before and after the surge, has been in full-throated support for surrender.
2.7.2008 9:04pm
Anderson (mail):
Does the name Sayyid Qutb ring a bell?

That's a little like saying that Nazism began with Houston Stewart Chamberlain.

I do agree however that Osama would've found some excuse or other. However, whether that excuse resonated with anyone else is the more important question.
2.7.2008 9:05pm
Inspector Callahan (mail):
until Bush invaded and provided a recruiting field for radical Islamic terrorists.

If this war provides a recruiting field for radical Islamic terrorists, why would terrorists have to resort to sending women with Down's Syndrome to become suicide bombers? Maybe there is no line around the block to to get your 72 virgins after all.

Recruiting field. Right. That belief is the biggest bunch of BS the left has come up with regarding this war, bar none.

TV (Harry)
2.7.2008 9:16pm
Trashhauler:
Anderson wrote:

"Excellent points, but I think the project was to drive out the Taliban and then support a stable Afghani government that could then deal with insurgents itself."
____________________

The problem with that is the Taliban are enmeshed firmly with the Pushtan tribes, often by marriage at this point. No Kabul government has ever been able to exercise much control over the tribes, for the same reasons we cannot control the ground in the Kush. Changing the tribal way of life in the Hindu Kush would be the work of generations.

We can support the Kabul government and help them establish some sort of modernized demi-country, but the changes will trickle into the mountains only very slowly. If we want to accelerate the process or, at least, hinder the Taliban, we can try closing the border with Pakistan, but that is most easily done from the Pakistan side. Anyone for a campaign in Waziristan? With enough men and effort, we might be able to eventually control that little bit of the Kush. We might even find Bin Laden before he dies of old age.

Seriously, the best way to deal with the Taliban is to cut off their outlets to the outside world and let them gradually wither away. We don't need massive numbers of more troops for that, though the fighting will be a running sore for years.
2.7.2008 9:17pm
Anderson (mail):
That sounds right to me, Trash -- Afghanistan's always been intractable, but a lively government can at least keep the Taliban huddling in cave complexes rather than hosting al-Qaeda.

Anyone for a campaign in Waziristan?

Count me (and my two boys) out. I'm all for landing some spook troops if we get a line on Osama or Omar, but there's a good reason that not even the Pakistani army wants to mess around there.
2.7.2008 9:22pm
Barry P. (mail):
SteveDK, the people who are actually fighting against the US in Iraq are, by a ratio of 25:1, Iraqis who want the foreign occupying invaders out of their country. Al Qaeda in Iraq is more interested in undermining the possibility of a Shiite government, since they hate Shiites more than us. The only way that can be combatted is by a thousand-year-long puppet government backed by American muscle fighting an unending resistance. Basically, nobody in Iraq is all that interested in attacking US soil.

When we left Vietnam the locals sorted out their differences, and after a couple of decades the country re-emerged as a stable part of the world community. That was a process that had to happen, and it has to happen in Iraq, and the sooner we get out of the way, the sooner it will happen.

And the military and intelligence communities can then be put to work concentrating on actual threats to the homeland, not make-believe ones.
2.7.2008 9:30pm
Procrastinator:
If this war provides a recruiting field for radical Islamic terrorists, why would terrorists have to resort to sending women with Down's Syndrome to become suicide bombers?

Maybe because terrorists know that the military in Iraq is constantly on the lookout for angry young men and not women with Down syndrome? How dumb do you think they are?

Recruiting field. Right. That belief is the biggest bunch of BS the left has come up with regarding this war, bar none.

So there actually WERE lots of terrorist attacks and religious violence in Saddam's Iraq before we invaded? Who knew?
2.7.2008 9:30pm
Barry P. (mail):
TV Harry: Speaking as someone who spent three years in the classroom with young Arabs, it is utterly undeniable that invading Iraq brought a lot of Arabs off the fence and onto the other side. Bush's actions have made this country more enemies, and increaed the probability that Americans will die in terror attacks in the future.
2.7.2008 9:36pm
PC:
When we left Vietnam the locals sorted out their differences, and after a couple of decades the country re-emerged as a stable part of the world community.


Ah, the din of moonbats. The US could have won the Vietnam war if it wasn't for the cut 'n runners. Had we devoted more blood and treasure, Vietnam would be a stable country today...wait, wut?
2.7.2008 9:39pm
Randy R. (mail):
Crunchy frog:"Look, to think that we're not going to have a permanent presense in Iraq (a la Korea &Germany) is simply ridiculous. "

But the war was sold to us as a summer romp. remember? We were going to be out by August at the latest.

Considering the fact that about 3/4 of Americans don't think the war is worth is and want out, I guess you would have to say that 3/4 of Americans hate America and want us to lose in Iraq.

If our goal is to estalbish a stable secular democratic country, then McCain is right -- we will be there for the next hundred years. Perhaps if the Republicans had not outright lied to us about this for the past five years, we would have a little more faith in their prosecution of this war.

the prospects don't look good. Afghanistan is getting worse -- the Taliban are talking over in most of the rural areas, the farmers are growing opium, and the place isn't any closer to a stable secular democratic country than when we are there.

If we left either of these countries, we will leave them a mess. If we stay, we contribute to the continuing disability of the region. It's cost us over $800 billions dollars, and several thousand American lives, and perhaps a few hundred thousand Iraqi lives. It has given American haters in the region a point to rally around. Good job republicans!
2.7.2008 9:40pm
OrinKerr:
Actually it convinces me that OK is a Dem. plant.

And I would have gotten away with it, too -- if not for you meddling VC commenters.

Oh, and Jay, I wasn't responding to Romney, I was responding to The General.
2.7.2008 9:41pm
ERH:
Sigh, how short our memories are. This is just a recycling of the old Dems want to surrender to the Soviets line. They've just changed the bad guy. Face it, for more the half a century republicans have tried to paint Democrats as weak and for some strange reason people have bought it.
2.7.2008 9:45pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Since Kos actually served in the military, he's probably more concerned about the lives of servicemen than Shrub, Dick, Mitt or Dangermouse, or any one of a bazillion Republican chickenhawks."

Chickenhawks? Interesting. Are you implying that military service gives someone more credibility in discussing the war? Evidences more concern for the lives of servicemen? If so, there appears to be only one credible prsidential candidate.

Since Kos served in the military, does he care more about the lives of the military than Hillary or Obama? More or less than McCain? Does anyone who served in the military care more about the lives of servcemen than Hillary or Obama?
2.7.2008 9:48pm
Trashhauler:
Anderson wrote:

"I wonder what's your take on our prospects in Iraq?"
_________________________

Iraq is much more easily solved than Afghanistan, though not without substantial cost. We have multiple air and land LOCs and, more importantly, a seaport. Kuwait provides a safe rear area. Aside from the northern part, the terrain favors our superior mobility in every way. We cannot be physically ejected, nor can any jihadist enclave be made safe from us. That means if they concentrate, we can find and kill them, every time, as can the Iraqi forces and they increasingly do. With the awakening, the jihadists have fewer and fewer safe havens of their own, except Iran and Syria, the borders of which can eventually be secured once the Iraqi forces are up to snuff and the militias are suppressed enough to release the troops.

That leaves us with a nagging low intensity conflict which is cruel but endurable, militarily, at least. We have yet to have one unit of any size rendered combat ineffective by enemy action and we won't have.

All that makes the resolution of the Iraq situation a matter of political will and political accommodation, because with our support the Iraqi government cannot be overthrown. It would be a vast departure from American ideology to entirely abandon a legitimately elected government that we had helped to establish. Therefore, as long as the Iraqi government makes enough political process to avoid a classic civil war (as opposed to a limited insurgency), we will continue to support them. We might restrict our combat activities (though that would be counterproductive), but we will continue to support the Iraqi government with training, logistics, recconnaisance, and air power. Those activities, together with force protection, will still require an ample effort - probably 75,000 troops or more. And we'd still take losses.

A new Democratic US President might make good their promise to "bring our troops home," but if he or she does, it will be a rather token effort. And bringing most of our combat troops out of Iraq won't mean they'll all come home, anyway. We'll still need to protect Kuwait and the rest of the Gulf.

My guess is, if we withdraw, it will be only partially, down to a nice round number - say below 100,000. We'll continue our anti-Al Qaeda efforts on a smaller scale and, if needed, help the Iraqi government defeat any militias that challenge them. We will be there for years, probably longer than if we had kept a full combat presence, but it is hardly the hopeless case that the Hindu Kush presents.
2.7.2008 9:56pm
Houston Lawyer:
A pull out of Iraq prior to stabilizing the country would be viewed as a massive victory by the terrorists. Whether or not the people on this thread believe that Iraq is a central front in the war against Islamists, the Islamists believe it to be so.

I do not believe that the Democrats want to win the war. They don't even want to acknowledge that we are at war.
2.7.2008 9:59pm
Procrastinator:
I do not believe that the Democrats want to win the war. They don't even want to acknowledge that we are at war.

But we already won the war! Don't you remember? Saddam was deposed, hanged, a new government (with elections, a constitution, parliament, and everything!) installed. Wasn't that the point?

Surely because they hung a banner saying "Mission Accomplished" then the mission was indeed accomplished. Are you calling Bush a liar?
2.7.2008 10:04pm
Truth Seeker:
Actually it convinces me that OK is a Dem. plant.

I don't remember reading anything from OK that wasn't either anti-Bush or anti-Republican. I generally pass over the OK stuff for the other conspirators.
2.7.2008 10:06pm
Anderson (mail):
Therefore, as long as the Iraqi government makes enough political process [progress? -A.] to avoid a classic civil war (as opposed to a limited insurgency), we will continue to support them.

And there's the rub -- the continued Sunni insurgency and Shiite retaliations (&vice-versa?) seem to me to make it very unlikely that there's going to be political progress.

Iran and the Saudis both have much more reason than we do to care what happens in Iraq, and I don't think either can afford to let their co-sectarians go down.

I note btw that the 75,000 troops you suggest as a minimum are consistent with Hillary's campaign promise to bring "most" of the troops home by 2010. As you say, a token effort. There is nothing in Hillary's background to suggest that she wants to pull out of Iraq altogether.

OTOH, the problem is to explain to the American people why we're in Iraq and what we can reasonably hope to accomplish. (And to quit conducting this occupation on the backs of the Reserve.) All the goo-gah terror-terror-terror stuff just isn't working ... to say nothing of if there's another domestic attack.
2.7.2008 10:08pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Speaking as someone who spent three years in the classroom with young Arabs, it is utterly undeniable that invading Iraq brought a lot of Arabs off the fence and onto the other side. Bush's actions have made this country more enemies, and increaed the probability that Americans will die in terror attacks in the future."

There are lots of phenomena we can point to regarding the attitudes of people as a result of the war. I agree that it has sent some Arabs in the direction of Osama.

However, it has also dispelled the attitude that was widespread in the Arab world that the weak and corrupt Americans could not fight. The Islamists had told them the American character had been so weakened by their rejection of Islam and their decadent lifestyles that they were a pushover. The Americans could only send missiles because they were afraid of the warriors of Allah. They no longer believe that. Does that increase or decrease the probability of Americans dying in future terror attacks?

I note they have now resorted to using retarded people to carry bombs, so I wonder just how committed those school kids really are.
2.7.2008 10:09pm
OrinKerr:
I don't remember reading anything from OK that wasn't either anti-Bush or anti-Republican. I generally pass over the OK stuff for the other conspirators.

Sweet comment.
2.7.2008 10:14pm
Procrastinator:
The Americans could only send missiles because they were afraid of the warriors of Allah. They no longer believe that.

Great, we convinced some backwards people that Americans can be stupidly macho. And it only cost us a trillion dollars!
2.7.2008 10:16pm
Don de Drain:
Why doesn't Willard Romney (or anyone one else who says something similar to the quote criticized above) publicly shout from the roof tops that Ronald Reagan surrendered to terrorists when he brought home the troops after the bombing in Beirut? I guess I shouldn't hold my breath for that to happen.

The thing that bothers me the most about comments like Willard's comment above is that they make it more difficult to engage in a reasoned discussion about what to do in Iraq. We should not be pulling out just because Willard makes stupid comments like the one quoted above. Nor should we stay in Iraq merely because some on the left don't care if mercenaries die. Iraq is a horrible mess, the result of an an invasion/occupation that, except for the initial military attack, was poorly planned and poorly excecuted. The fact is that no one knows with any degree of certainty what course of action is the least bad for the US. (Most people would agree that there are no good options.)

People can disagree about what our objectives should be (even as they agree that the primary objective is to advance the interests of the United States) and people can disagree about the tactics needed to achieve our objectives. Intelligent discussion by those who disagree can help us arrive at the least bad solution. Willard does a disservice to the process of arriving at the least bad solution by making comments like the one quoted above.
2.7.2008 10:20pm
Le Messurier (mail):
Trashhauler:

A new Democratic US President might make good their promise to "bring our troops home," but if he or she does, it will be a rather token effort.

I agree with you postulate up until this point. What makes you think that either O or C can resist the Reids or Pelosi's in their party once elected? The far left of the Dems will insist that the promise be kept, and kept to our country's everlasting sorrow
2.7.2008 10:21pm
Anderson (mail):
Sweet comment.

Yes, the one-two of the "assertion"/"self-undercutting of validity of assertion" was rare in its candor.

Great, we convinced some backwards people that Americans can be stupidly macho. And it only cost us a trillion dollars!

Why, exactly, would anyone imagine that our enemies would be impressed by our invasion of Iraq? Did they respect Russia because of the Afghanistan quagmire?

Afghanistan, it apparently needs to be repeated, was Osama's template for what he wanted to draw America into. Afghanistan was what convinced Osama he was hot shit. In his mind, pure jihadists defeated an empire ... and in his mind, America will fail in Iraq like Russia did in Afghanistan.

That's why some of the brighter war-proponents argue that leaving Iraq would bolster Osama in his fantasies. To which, I think, the proper answer is: who cares what that s.o.b. thinks?

As for the Arab world at large, we have a lot more to gain with them by pushing Israel and the Palestinians into some sort of accommodation, and by ceasing our support for Arab dictatorships, than by continuing to occupy Baghdad &tape "KICK THE CRUSADER" signs on our butts.

--And with that, having solved the geopolitical challenge of the decade, I retire to home and family for the evening. A surrender to wingnuttery -- I confess it!
2.7.2008 10:27pm
John Kerry (mail):
Nice way to demonstrate your independence, Orin.
2.7.2008 10:30pm
Le Messurier (mail):

Why doesn't Willard Romney (or anyone one else who says something similar to the quote criticized above) publicly shout from the roof tops that Ronald Reagan surrendered to terrorists when he brought home the troops after the bombing in Beirut? I guess I shouldn't hold my breath for that to happen.

Well, as a long time Regan supporter I will say, but nly from the ground, that he did in fact "surrender to terrorists" not withstanding a totally different political environment and different understanding of what the terrorist threat was at that time. So breath easy. Just keep in mind Reagan wasn't God and infallible, he was just great.
2.7.2008 10:30pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Great, we convinced some backwards people that Americans can be stupidly macho. And it only cost us a trillion dollars!"

We did indeed convince some backward people, but we also convinced many well educated and influential people. Also, many of those impressionable school kids now see that the Islamists were feeding them bogus information about how the Americans had been fatally weakened by their lifestyle of secularism and giving women equal rights. (I hope you are not saying all Arabs are backward.)

One of the nagging questions in the minds of many Arab Muslims is why they are not the leaders of the world. They figure that they are the only group that follows the true god and follows his true scripture. So, they ask, why are people like Koreans and Americans and even Africans rushing past them?

The Islamists told them these other peoples were far weaker in character than the Muslims, and could not stand against them. Ambiguous and half hearted American responses to attacks simply reinforced this idea. They see the Europeans as weak, but now have a far different view of Americans.

So, now the young Arab Muslim is faced with people who do not follow Islam, yet are prospering, and are very good at fighting. This is a contradiction to all he has been taught. Perhaps the credibility of the Islamists is a bit tarnished in his eyes?
2.7.2008 10:31pm
Anderson (mail):
Okay, can't help myself, just one more:

Le Mess, you think Reid and Pelosi are "the far left"? That's why they've impeached Mukasey, spat on telecom immunity, refused any more funding for the Iraq war, etc., etc.?

They are the majority leaders of their respective houses, and one does not become majority leader by pandering to a the "far left" minority.

Pelosi and Reid will follow the polls. That is what annoys the "far left" about them.

--Okay, really gone now.
2.7.2008 10:32pm
Trashhauler:
"Great, we convinced some backwards people that Americans can be stupidly macho."

I don't suppose it helps anything to point out that we were probably destined to remove the Baathist Iraqi regime at some point, notwithstanding the war on terror. And containment from the deserts of Saudi Arabia was not ever going to do it. Our presence in Saudi Arabia was wearing plenty thin and the sanctions were leaking like a sieve. Left to his own devices, Saddam would have eventually made himself a serious threat again. The situation was inherently unstable, even if civilians back home didn't realize it.
2.7.2008 10:37pm
Le Messurier (mail):
Anderson

They are the majority leaders of their respective houses, and one does not become majority leader by pandering to a the "far left" minority.

I'll agree that Pelosi is not of the far left, she is just rather incompetent in her position. Reid, however, is another matter. He is a despicable small man without character and not deserving of his position. He is far left. Perhaps not the furthest left, but far left nonetheless.

My statement stands that O and C will not be able to overcome or resist the vast far left of the party. You have more faith than I do that they are a minority, that's for sure, and I wouldn't advise anyone to risk their vote on the presumption that they are, in fact, a minority.
2.7.2008 10:42pm
Don de Drain:
"Well, as a long time Regan supporter I will say, but nly from the ground, that he did in fact "surrender to terrorists" not withstanding a totally different political environment and different understanding of what the terrorist threat was at that time. So breath easy. Just keep in mind Reagan wasn't God and infallible, he was just great."

Without agreeing or disagreeing with your statement about Reagan's "greatness", your point that someone who many people consider "great" can make what many people consider to be a "mistake" is well taken. Do you think it is more constructive to describe a mistake as a "mistake" or instead to use a phrase that attacks the integrity of the person being criticized? Do you agree that Willard, assuming he really disagrees with the suggested solutions for Iraq of Obama and H Clinton, did the latter and not former?
2.7.2008 10:47pm
Elliot123 (mail):
After the last election, a great deal was written about how the far left and its internet operations had captured the flow of funds to the Democrats. This was seen by many as a reason for their apparent disproportionate influence in the party.

Well, where are Obama and Clinton getting their money? Does Kos have a large influence? Does he hold the purse strings? Were the predictions right that the far left internet folks had a strangle hold on the Dems? I don't know, and haven't seen anything on it. Anyone know?
2.7.2008 10:52pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
Elliot123:

"The Islamists told them these other peoples were far weaker in character than the Muslims, and could not stand against them. Ambiguous and half hearted American responses to attacks simply reinforced this idea. They see the Europeans as weak, but now have a far different view of Americans."



I agree. Ronald Reagan withdrawing our troops after the Beirut bombing turns out to be a horrible decision, and has emboldened the terrorists. The above posters have helped me clarify my understanding of the situation, and is making me re-think my confidence in Republicans to protect me. Way before Clinton or Bush # 1, Reagan made it clear--after Beirut--to radical Muslims that we could be cowed. I had always thought of Reagan as a pretty decent president, who had some flaws, but was basically good. Now I realize that he was the first (recent) appeaser, and his legacy here is largely responsible for all subsequent terrorist attacks on us. That was the point of prior posters, wasn't it? (That a withdrawal shows USA weakness, which then emboldens terrorists.)
2.7.2008 10:52pm
Le Messurier (mail):
Don de Drain:

Do you think it is more constructive to describe a mistake as a "mistake" or instead to use a phrase that attacks the integrity of the person being criticized? Do you agree that Willard, assuming he really disagrees with the suggested solutions for Iraq of Obama and H Clinton, did the latter and not former?

No, I've stopped beating my wife.
2.7.2008 10:52pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
"pathetic' is surrendering to terrorism.
2.7.2008 10:54pm
Don de Drain:
Le Messurier--

I beat my wife often. Often she beats me. At Monopoly.
2.7.2008 10:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Now I realize that he was the first (recent) appeaser, and his legacy here is largely responsible for all subsequent terrorist attacks on us."

As Bush-II showed, any president since Reagan could have changed course. That includes Bush-I, Clinton, and Bush-II. I'm not sure if Bush-I had an opportunity like Reagan, Clinton, and Bush-II did.
2.7.2008 10:59pm
OrinKerr:
Glenn Bowen writes:
"pathetic' is surrendering to terrorism.
Glenn, I think surrendering to terrorism deserves much more condemnation than that. Surrendering to terrorism would be shocking, shameful, and un-American, not merely "pathetic." Fortunately no one is taking that position, so we don't have to worry about it so much.
2.7.2008 11:02pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

They just think it cannot be won without losing thousands more American lives, and they think it is not worth the cost


In other words, they do not want to win. So, then, logically speaking, they want to lose. If you do not want to win, you want to lose.

In war, there is win or lose. No third choice.
2.7.2008 11:03pm
Trashhauler:
"I had always thought of Reagan as a pretty decent president, who had some flaws, but was basically good. Now I realize that he was the first (recent) appeaser, and his legacy here is largely responsible for all subsequent terrorist attacks on us."

To be fair to President Reagan, he had a far bigger fish to fry than Beirut. Getting embroiled in a side show would not have helped with the larger effort, which was to win the Cold War. Which he did, by dint of massively outspending the Soviets until their system collapsed under the strain of keeping up. No one can solve all the world's problems. Reagan did his share, as must all Presidents.
2.7.2008 11:04pm
Kovarsky (mail):
hardly as disturbing as the testimony on the hill:

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said Justice Department lawyers concluded that the CIA's use of waterboarding in 2002 and 2003 was legal, and therefore the department cannot investigate whether a crime had occurred.

"That would mean that the same department that authorized the program would now consider prosecuting somebody who followed that advice," he said.
2.7.2008 11:05pm
Don de Drain:
Kovarsky--

No one can investigate the legality of their own advice. An independent third party is needed. I'm sure Mukasy would agree to use Scooter Libby. He has lots of experience with the justice system.
2.7.2008 11:16pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I agree few would take the position we should surrender to terrorism. The argument apears to be about the methods used to fight it. One side sees it as a police problem where cooperating nations and agencies use methods similar to those used against international drug dalers. The other sees it as all out war, with few if any rules, similar to what happened in WWII. One side is very concerned about the rights of the enemy. The other doesn't care. One side sees the struggle as taking place in an environment of law. The other sees it taking place in an untamed and dangerous world without law.

Picking out extreme statement of various politicians for criticism is fun, and it's easy. We get to be sarcastic, chalk up rhetorical points against the other guy, and show how important it is to be clever. When we finish, we can then try to decide what to do about the guy who wants to nuke New York.
2.7.2008 11:17pm
AnneS (www):
So, Bob, if I don't go on that three week trip to Italy I've been dying to go on this spring because I don't think it's worth missing my mortgage payments or racking up a bunch of credit card debt, I don't actually want it? Am I just delusional about my own wishes?

Think before you write.
2.7.2008 11:18pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
Bob from Ohio

In other words, they do not want to win. So, then, logically speaking, they want to lose. If you do not want to win, you want to lose.

In war, there is win or lose. No third choice.

Respectfully, Bob, you just don't get it. Everyone wants to "win" in this effort. But what is the effort? To occupy Iraq? Clearly, no; that is not our ultimate goal (most, but not all, would agree, I think). To have a stable democracy? To have a stable government, even if it's a theocracy, or monarchy, or whatever? I know what Bush stated was his goal in this regard. But can we all agree that the main goal is to prevent more terrorists attacks on us? If the terrorists leave us alone, then we all "win," right? What many people here are saying (if I may be bold enough to speak for others) is that we are 100% behind the goal of stopping terrorists. But we reject the premise of Bush: That fighting in Iraq is not only the best way of "winning," it is (along with other actions we are taking) the ONLY way to win. Maybe, just maybe, the best way to fight this fight is to be spending tons more money on more police, border guards, intelligence-gathering, etc., etc., etc. You may not agree with this argument. You may think this view is foolish, short-sighted, or otherwise out in left field. But when anyone used loaded words that suggest that one side wants (directly or indirectly) to surrender, then it seems that we are veering into Ann Coulter territory, and the other side stops even listening to what we are saying. If you think my view is wrong, please do tell me, but explain why you think it's off-base, and that is MUCH more likely to persuade me. I personally would feel a lot more secure with those thousands and thousands and thousands of extra police, Intelligence operatives, border guards, port inspectors, plus more military looking for OBL and other evil-doers in AQ, but of course I recognize that others feel more secure without this. I will not suggest that they are endangering me, or that those with sharing the Bush doctrine are aiding and comforting terrorists. Can't we respectfully disagree, and maybe work on something productive? (Now, if we can just figure out a good way to tell other nations, "Waterboarding is not torture, and it's okay to waterboard any Americans you think may have useful military-related information." [sigh] I do *not* look forward to the first time we see a video of an American woman or man being tortured forcefully questioned.)
2.7.2008 11:27pm
Ricardo (mail):
Sure, Michael Moore is an asshole. So are Bill O'Reilly and many of the commenters here on this very blog who make rather loud noises about being unconcerned with the prospect of the (liberal) residents of certain parts of this country being attacked by terrorists. I don't see how this is any worse than the Moore quote cited above and, in any case, none of the Democratic or Republican candidates have made such idiotic statements.

For instance, take this O'Reilly quote, "And if al-Qaida comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead." By the way, Coit Tower was built in honor of the members of the San Francisco fire department who died fighting the fire and rescuing earthquake victims in 1906.

Discussions of war tend to cause people on both sides to lose all sense of civility and perspective.
2.7.2008 11:31pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Don,

The justice department would not be investigating the justice department, it would be investigating justice department officials in their individual capacities.
2.7.2008 11:38pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Waterboarding is not torture, and it's okay to waterboard any Americans you think may have useful military-related information." [sigh] I do *not* look forward to the first time we see a video of an American woman or man being tortured forcefully questioned.)"

It would be interesting to pose that question to US forces. Would they think it reasonable to accept the risk of retaliatory waterboarded by another nation because the US was using waterboarding to protect the lives of Americans? I'd be interested in the answers since these folks already accept the far greater risk of death and disability.
2.7.2008 11:53pm
Randy R. (mail):
Josh: " Now I realize that he was the first (recent) appeaser, and his legacy here is largely responsible for all subsequent terrorist attacks on us."

You bet. And let's not forgot who *armed* Saddam throughout the 80s. Yup -- it was Ronald Reagan. They knew he had gassed the Kurds, they knew he was a thug, but the republican administrations supported him because they saw him as a bulwark against fanatic Islamism coming from Iran and other places.

Which, of course, he was. Which makes it all the more bizarre to say that he was a threat to the US. The bin Laden hated Saddam precisely because he wasn't pushing islamic jihad and all that. So we eliminated the one person who had no interest in al Qaeda.

Really great thinking, there, guys. Do the republicans just make up this stuff as they go along? Apparently, they do, since they haven't the foggiest notion of what the situation is.
2.7.2008 11:54pm
LM (mail):

The Democratic party today, before and after the surge, has been in full-throated support for surrender.

... and it's largely in response to such commentary that America is preparing to give the Republicans a well-earned vacation from power.
2.8.2008 12:01am
Randy R. (mail):
While we are on the subject of idiocy, let us now forget that much of Bush's support for this war comes from the religious right wing in the country.
for them, the issue isn't really terrorists, or Islam, or gasoline, though they are the immediate causes of this war. Rather, they want a big war in the middle east because it fulfils biblical prophecy. Many of them were waiting for the rapture when the war broke out. These people don't care who we kill or bomb over there -- they just want war.

In fact, they want a nuclear holocaust, because that too is biblical. Then once the war is in full swing, Jesus will come down and damn the heathens and rule for 1000 years of peace.

Incidently, their description of the anti-christ is a man who will bring peace to the middle east. Once that happens, then he will create a one world gov't, and then rule in the name of Satan. That's all part of this whole idiocy.

But think about that for a moment: The person who brings peace will be the anti-christ, and therefore must be opposed at all costs.

There is no hope for the middle east as long as those people control our primaries.
2.8.2008 12:02am
Elliot123 (mail):
"And let's not forgot who *armed* Saddam throughout the 80s."

Never forget the French and the Russians. Both are great nations with interesting history and culture.
2.8.2008 12:04am
Randy R. (mail):
One thing about the gassing of the Kurds. After we won the war in the first Iraqi war under Bush I, Bush admonished the Kurds to rise up against Saddam.

They did. We offered zero help. They got gassed.

Lesson? You trust the Americans, and you die. So this is how we go about winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis. Way to go, Republicans!
2.8.2008 12:05am
LM (mail):
Truth Seeker said,

I don't remember reading anything from OK that wasn't either anti-Bush or anti-Republican. I generally pass over the OK stuff for the other conspirators.

... because obsorbing the wisdom of those with whom we already agree is the path of the truth seeker?
2.8.2008 12:06am
Elliot123 (mail):
"While we are on the subject of idiocy, let us now forget that much of Bush's support for this war comes from the religious right wing in the country."

Good point about idiocy. Let's not forget about Ramsey Clark or Michael Moore, either. Idiots work hard, and should be recognized regardless of their political leanings.
2.8.2008 12:07am
Trashhauler:
"It would be interesting to pose that question to US forces. Would they think it reasonable to accept the risk of retaliatory waterboarded by another nation because the US was using waterboarding to protect the lives of Americans? I'd be interested in the answers since these folks already accept the far greater risk of death and disability."

The fact is that US troops have learned to not expect "civilized" treatment from our enemies. That has been the case at least since the Korean War and most of WWII. Waterboarding would be easy treatment, compared to how our people have usually been treated as prisoners by anyone in the last sixty years or so. So discussions about what is correct under the Geneva Conventions really apply only to our own conduct and our troops follow the conventions about as well as any army ever has. Perhaps someday we'll go to war with Canada or somebody and we'll get a chance to judge treatment in accordance with the Conventions.

Our military training does illuminate something else about interrogations. Any US soldier or airman who has undergone SERE training has already experienced treatment more harsh than we mete out to our prisoners. So much so that the thought of breaking under mere verbal assault is laughable. Anyone methodically trained to resist interrogation is not going to be impressed by standard FBI verbal techniques. If they aren't going to kill you or even injure you, let them talk, it's no skin off your nose. If you get bored, go ahead and spin them a yarn. Perhaps something about you being a helpless shepherd whose only fault was to have a jealous neighbor. Or maybe you are an innocent religious pilgrim, just out to see the sights. With sufficient dedication to the Cause, all their talk and verbal tricks aren't going to impress you much. Who cares if they waste time trying to check out your story - there is seldom any unbroken chain of evidence on a battlefield, anyway. If you consider yourself a soldier, threats of extra prosecution are just so much hot air. You expect to be held until the war is over in any case.

Without some sort of implied threat, like being sent to Guantanamo, it's a wonder our interrogators get anything out of our prisoners at all. Of course, by now Guantanamo has lost its mystique - our enemies now know that the conditions there are almost certainly better than in an Afghan or Iraqi prison, so the fear of being sent there is much lessened. On the other hand, as long as it hasn't been declared illegal, waterboarding is still a threat, even if we haven't used it for years and might never again.
2.8.2008 12:33am
Zombie Richard Feynman (mail) (www):
This thread is awesome!

Shorter Truth Seeker:

In politics, there is Dem plant or conservative. No third choice.
2.8.2008 12:47am
a knight (mail) (www):
You liberals need to exercise those limp wrists, and let these conservatives clowns know you've got them in your line of sight by walking in a few rounds as retaliation:

What the hell would Romney know about war anyway? A guy in his 50's named "Mitt" still dressing like a preppy, who took a missionary position Vietnam Era Draft deferment so he could go bicycling in France.

The Republicans haven't done anything substantive to win the GWOT, and have never properly accepted their personal responsibility for its enabling. Just who was ultimately tasked with America's defense on September 11, 2001? Who made the decision to turn America's military might away from the good fight against the Nation's Real enemy at Tora Bora in December, 2001, allowing a major component of al Qaeda leadership to walk away into the Afghan/Pak frontier, where they were left alone to lick their wounds and metastasise, instead of taking them to ground then and there as they deserved? Whose absolute assurances as to the propriety for War Upon Iraq, in less than one year became a revisionary semantical absurdity twisting in the wind?
2003.03.17 "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments Leaves No Doubt, that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

2004.01.20 "We Are Seeking All The Facts. Already the Kay Report identified Dozens of Weapons of Mass Destruction-Related Program Activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations."

Contemporary conservatives have become egregious moral relativists. During the Clinton Administration they referred to "Weapons of Mass Destruction-Related Program Activities" as "baby formula factories".

Let's not forget the Senate Republican equivocators either. Presently in the Senate, Kyl and Hatch have been arguing stridently for a permanent extension of FISA wiretapping authority, which will exist outside of Constitutional Judiciary control, to be hidden behind veils of secrecy. Yet when the Senate was working on enacting terror prevention legislation in 1995 and 1996, both Kyl and Hatch were vocal opponents of allowing multi-point wiretaps to be used in terror investigations. They also opposed taggants in explosives and explosives precursors. They were successful however, in severely limiting avenues of habeas corpus appeals for humans incarcerated in America. Arguably, this was a positive enactment, but it would take a giant leap out over the chasm of fatuity to claim it had any effect whatsoever in preventing future acts of terrorism.

Hatch proved that he deserves his place as poster-boy for term-limits in 1998, when after al Qaeda had bombed two American embassies in Africa, he was still admitting that The US had trained those Arab Freedom fighters for war in Afghanistan, and was still vehemently defending its propriety:
Indeed, to this day, those involved in the decision to give the Afghan rebels access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry continue to defend that move in the context of the Cold War. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee making those decisions, told my colleague Robert Windrem that he would make the same call again today even knowing what bin Laden would do subsequently. "It was worth it," he said.

"Those were very important, pivotal matters that played an important role in the downfall of the Soviet Union," he said.

Michael Moran, "Bin Laden comes home to roost: His CIA ties are only the beginning of a woeful story", MSNBC News, August 24, 1998


And who can forget the GOP intelligence failure, former Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who as vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, mused less than 3 months before the WTC attacks that bin Laden was on the run:
Back from a six-country tour of the Persian Gulf, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) believes U.S. counterterrorism officials are winning the war against Saudi extremist Osama bin Laden.

[...]

But Shelby, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a recent interview that bin Laden is the one who's on edge.

"He's on the run, and I think he will continue to be on the run, because we are not going to let up," Shelby said.

"I don't think you could say he's got us hunkered down. I believe he's more hunkered down," Shelby said. "He's moved and tried to be one step ahead of our intelligence on where he might be. He knows he's hunted, and he's not exactly strolling down the streets of London or Paris or Berlin, shopping."

Vernon Loeb, "Back Channels : The Intelligence Community", Washington Post, June 26, 2001

Contemporary conservatives don't really believe that accepting personal responsibility is a core tenant of their philosophy. It's just a deceptive tactic they use, enabling them to flog single mothers. The sum total of the whole lot of 'em doesn't come close to equaling Barry Goldwater.
2.8.2008 12:57am
Thales (mail) (www):
"Recruiting field. Right. That belief is the biggest bunch of BS the left has come up with regarding this war, bar none. "

That must be why the bipartisan Iraq Study Group led by James Baker and many generals and millions of people in the Arab world and anyone with common sense has endorsed that same belief, the power of "the left's" BS. Man are they good at poker.
2.8.2008 1:28am
John Herbison (mail):

Just keep in mind Reagan wasn't God and infallible, he was just great.


Well, while he was governor he did pardon Merle Haggard. That at least speaks well of him.
2.8.2008 1:34am
michael (mail) (www):
OK, thanks for reminding me that Willard only seems a nice truth teller to those he is flattering. Republican voters had previously largely come to that conclusion as well.
2.8.2008 3:35am
Public_Defender (mail):
Obama and Clinton don't advocate surrender in the war on terror. They just advocate changing the battlefield from one where we are strengthening our enemy to others on which we can win. Neither are offering to let the terrorists win the whole struggle. Neither are offering to turn the White House over to Osama.

Look, during every war, we lose some battles. It's just stupid to keep throwing promising young men to their death to try to win an unwinnable battle. When you start losing a battle, you have to ask, is this battle worth the price, or does it make more sense to regroup and fight where you have the advantage?

Bush (with Clinton's vote) got us into a very difficult situation. He's made Iraq less safe than it was. He's made Al Qaida stronger. He's made Iran stronger. And he continues to lose. Getting out will be hard, but I'd rather have a president committed to winning the war on terror instead of irrationally throwing good young men into a battle we can't win.

Iraq is one battle in the war on terror. It's not the whole war.
2.8.2008 7:02am
Trashhauler:
Technically, the fighting in Iraq isn't a battle, it is a campaign. And we haven't been defeated in any fight above the platoon level, let alone any battle, in the entire campaign.

There is no such thing as an "unwinnable" battle, campaign, or war. It is true, however, that most wars are wone and lost by bending the enemy's will. The side that is objectively "winning" by all measureable metrics can still lose by giving up.
2.8.2008 8:59am
Tracy Johnson (www):
I heard Michael Savage on the radio going home that night playing that excerpt. His comment was along the lines of "Finally, a candidate who isn't afraid to say what he thinks, too bad he dropped out of the race."

(His comment not mine, but I thought it worthy of note.)
2.8.2008 9:09am
hawkins:
to their credit, the CPAC crowd didnt seem very impressed with his line. Romney looked very pleased with himself, but there werent too many cheers.
2.8.2008 9:17am
Bob from Ohio (mail):

Think before you write.


Doctor, heal thyself.

A trip to Italy is exactly like a war. Good comparison!
2.8.2008 9:47am
p. rich (mail) (www):
But suggesting that the other side would "surrender" to terror is absurd.

Is it? Ask yourself what war, exactly, it is that the Left does whole-heartedly support (Hint: None. There is no legitimate War On Terror.). Socialist Dems see every dollar spent on military or intelligence activities as one less dollar available for social programs and consequent vote buying. Look at Slick Willie's damaging behavior, then imagine Hillary's or Obama's to be worse.

Insidious, incremental surrender is no less a surrender. See Europe and the UN for ongoing examples.
2.8.2008 9:59am
AnneS:
OK, Bob. I also want all the neglected and abused children in foster care to have good permanent homes. However, I am not able at this time to adopt a child without making more financial and emotional sacrifices than my husband and I are prepared to make. I must not really want it.

I want all the dictatorships and authoritarian regimes in the world replaced by Western-style democracies. I also don't think that's possible or, even if it were theoretically possible, that the amount of resources and lives it would take for the u.S. to secure that goal would be worth it. I must not REALLY want it.

Seriously, Bob, don't be dense. There is a difference between wanting something and thinking that the benefit of attaining it is worth the cost of obtaining. There is also a difference between wanting something and thinking it's possible to obtain it. Most people realize this around the age of five.
2.8.2008 10:02am
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Josh: Democrats and liberals/progressives call Republicans/Conservatives racist, fascist, sexist, homophobe, greedy, and other loaded words every darn day. They have for years. Yet they get the vapors when someone says that they don't want to win or want to surrender/retreat. Its just not true, you say. Well, neither are the other things your side says every day.

I do not see you protesting when people call Cheney, Addington, Yoo and Beeby, for instance, evil. They are not just mistaken. That is just not possible. They are nazis or evil or worse.

Want to be civil, you first.

As for your waterboarding comment, our enemies torture if we do or if we don't. There are lots of good reasons why we should not but our effect on our enemies just is not a good one.
2.8.2008 10:04am
rarango (mail):
While I tend to be a conservative rethuglican, I simply do not believe any sentient democrat wants the US to lose the war on terror. It's important to keep that goal (winning the war on terrorism) in mind, because that goal, in turn, directs our strategy and tactics. IMO we are engaged in a great debate about tactics and failing to agree on the goal.--as I understand it, one group defines the US role in Iraq as a tactic to win the war on terror; Other Americans, who are equally committed to winning the war on terror believe our presence in Iraq is not contributing to the goal, and would prefer other tactics. I can understand the case for some withdrawal from Iraq; but what I don't see is a clear explication of the the subsequent tactics that would be employed.

Me? I don't think the effort in Iraq is essential at this point to winning the war on terror. I personally adovcate small unit, mossad-like special operations that target individual terrorists using such nasty things as assinations, torture, and other very unsavory tactics. And efforts such as stopping the flow of money into terrorist organizations, and leaning very hard on Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, who, in my judgment are the two primary sources of terrorist activity. In short: covert, unsavory, tactics, and extortive foreign policy. Of course, no politician can say that.
2.8.2008 10:05am
Skyler (mail) (www):
The ignorance of some people is amazing. How can anyone with a rational mind refuse to see that there is a connection between the war on terror and the war in Iraq?

It's reasonable to disagree about whether Iraq should have been invaded, but that is a matter of method. We went there and that can't be changed. In the second world war we invaded Africa before going into France. This was also a method. If that were to have happened today, would Orin be screaming that we need to leave Africa at once?

The democrat party wants to quit a major part of the current war. This would embolden the enemy that wishes to destroy our culture. Orin may not agree that this would be the result, but it is not rational to call the connection absurd.
2.8.2008 10:05am
mga (mail):
It may not be fair to Hillary to suggest that she wants to surrender. But it is eminently fair to Obama. He has stated that genocide in Iraq is preferable to keeping U.S. troops there. If that isn't surrender, I don't know what is.
2.8.2008 10:28am
hawkins:

It may not be fair to Hillary to suggest that she wants to surrender. But it is eminently fair to Obama. He has stated that genocide in Iraq is preferable to keeping U.S. troops there. If that isn't surrender, I don't know what is.


One last time - even if it is accurate to say Obama wants to surrender in Iraq, this is very different than saying he wants to surrender in the war on terror.

While Iraq may be part of the war on terror, they are not the same thing. Leaving Iraq (even if termed "surrendering") is not the same as surrendering in the war on terror.

How does anyone disagree with this?
2.8.2008 10:51am
Justin (mail):
"that wishes to destroy our culture"

People say the darndest things.
2.8.2008 10:55am
hawkins:

Democrats and liberals/progressives call Republicans/Conservatives racist, fascist, sexist, homophobe, greedy, and other loaded words every darn day. They have for years. Yet they get the vapors when someone says that they don't want to win or want to surrender/retreat. Its just not true, you say. Well, neither are the other things your side says every day.

I do not see you protesting when people call Cheney, Addington, Yoo and Beeby, for instance, evil. They are not just mistaken. That is just not possible. They are nazis or evil or worse.

Want to be civil, you first.


You really have to admire the good old "but Mommy, he did it first" defense.

Since when are the supporters of a political party held responsible for outlandish acts of the extreme? Democrats should not blame all GOP for Anne Coulter or Michael Savage's actions. GOP should not hold Dems responsible for the actions of the extreme left.
2.8.2008 11:00am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Technically, the fighting in Iraq isn't a battle, it is a campaign. And we haven't been defeated in any fight above the platoon level, let alone any battle, in the entire campaign.

There is no such thing as an "unwinnable" battle, campaign, or war. It is true, however, that most wars are wone and lost by bending the enemy's will. The side that is objectively "winning" by all measureable metrics can still lose by giving up.


Well put.
2.8.2008 11:37am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

It may not be fair to Hillary to suggest that she wants to surrender. But it is eminently fair to Obama. He has stated that genocide in Iraq is preferable to keeping U.S. troops there. If that isn't surrender, I don't know what is.


Well in fairness to Obama, he did say during his Senate campaign that the Iraq campaign of the War was just a plot cooked up by Karl Rove to distract us from poverty and the uninsured. This should have put everyone on notice that he wasn't serious about little issues like national security when it might get in the way of the all important business of wealth redistribution.
2.8.2008 11:38am
ejo:
have any of the Democratic contenders told us what their global strategy would be (other than obama, he'll go talk to people). you seem confident they won't surrender by hoisting a white flag-that's likely true. However, I am more concerned as to what they won't do and how much they will give away on issues relating to terror-I see absolutely nothing with Obama or Hillary to think they have a clue. With Obama, it does not appear he has given it a thought. With Hillary, will we get Sandy Berger in charge of national security again. As to the war on terror "radicalizing" muslims, it seems that quite a few were there prior to us doing anything-the attacks didn't start on 9/11 and they'll still be killing if you get your dream president.
2.8.2008 12:08pm
AF:
I may be misremembering, but I could have sworn that we invaded Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein and prevent him from sharing his weapons of mass destruction with terrorists. That mission was, as they say, accomplished. Now we are an occupying force with a vague and ever-shifting mission. I don't see how ending our occupation of Iraq, having defeated the original enemy, is "surrender."
2.8.2008 12:15pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Anne: Your style of argument works in real life? Not working on me. Maybe you should call me a few more names, that might work.

Hawkins:

Since when are the supporters of a political party held responsible for outlandish acts of the extreme? Democrats should not blame all GOP for Anne Coulter or Michael Savage's actions. GOP should not hold Dems responsible for the actions of the extreme left.


Who is talking about the extreme left? 90% of the liberal commentators here routinely call conservatives or GOPers the things I described. Not to mention plenty of mainstream pundits and political figures. Ever hear Sen. Reid talk? Or read Krugman or Herbert?

It doesn't bother me too much, I am used to it. Why does the term "surrender" bother you?
2.8.2008 12:15pm
Trashhauler:
While Iraq may be part of the war on terror, they are not the same thing. Leaving Iraq (even if termed "surrendering") is not the same as surrendering in the war on terror.

How does anyone disagree with this?


No one can argue with the literal accuracy of the statement. Simply giving up in one campaign is not the same thing as giving up on the entire war effort.

The question remains, how will giving up in Iraq help the entire GWOT effort? It won't help us win in Afghanistan, since we cannot use most troops there. It won't win us more influence over any countries bordering Iraq. It won't encourage any would-be allies to enter into combat beside us. It will not give us any leverage over the radical jihadists, in fact, it will be removing our forces from the the greatest concentration of Al Qaeda anywhere in the world. And while it might give us momentarily better press, it won't affect how the world treats us.

Since we will still be engaged and deployed in the Middle East, it won't even change Muslim public opinion, except to confirm that we can be convinced to give up.

So, an equally valid question is: What is it about Senator Obama's war plans that will be improved by giving up in Iraq?
2.8.2008 12:20pm
AnneS:
Bob - I didn't call you any names. If you feel insulted by my perfectly accurate statement that most people learn around age five that they can't always get what they want because sometimes it's impossible or too costly to get it, that's not really my fault. I've been working under the assumption that you're only pretending not to get the point of my metaphors (or anyone else's statements, for that matter) in order to get out of responding substantively. However, since you seem pretty committed to representing yourself as not getting it, I'll assume that you really don't and stop arguing with you.
2.8.2008 12:26pm
Skyler (mail) (www):

I may be misremembering, but I could have sworn that we invaded Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein and prevent him from sharing his weapons of mass destruction with terrorists. That mission was, as they say, accomplished. Now we are an occupying force with a vague and ever-shifting mission. I don't see how ending our occupation of Iraq, having defeated the original enemy, is "surrender."


That was our original purpose, but it appears we were deceived. For all that matters, it is irrelevent. We did it and that can't be changed unless someone invents a time machine.

The mission in Iraq is not vague or ever-shifting. We are there to defeat Al Qaeda, who is certainly there even if they may not have been prior to our invasion, and to put the Iraqis in the position of having a pro-American government that supports freedom and individual rights. We can't state that publicly because of politics, but that's what we're doing.
2.8.2008 12:28pm
hawkins:

Who is talking about the extreme left? 90% of the liberal commentators here routinely call conservatives or GOPers the things I described. Not to mention plenty of mainstream pundits and political figures. Ever hear Sen. Reid talk? Or read Krugman or Herbert?

It doesn't bother me too much, I am used to it. Why does the term "surrender" bother you?


Nor do I care what anonymous commenters on a blog say. However, any politician (Romney or Reid) who makes such false statements deserves to be criticized.


an equally valid question is: What is it about Senator Obama's war plans that will be improved by giving up in Iraq?


I am not necessarily an Obama supporter and I dont know how I feel about withdrawing from Iraq. My comments were all directed at Romney's pathetic comments and the absurdity of those here who support them.
2.8.2008 12:34pm
Procrastinator:
Shorter Trashhauler: When you start hitting your head against a wall to demonstrate your manliness, you should keep doing it over and over until the wall gives up, because otherwise the people watching will think you're a wimp.
2.8.2008 12:35pm
ejo:
AQ is there in Iraq or do you not believe them when they tell you who they are? if we leave, will it be a victory for them or not? if yes, you better have a very good reason for why it will not matter.
2.8.2008 12:54pm
hawkins:

AQ is there in Iraq or do you not believe them when they tell you who they are? if we leave, will it be a victory for them or not? if yes, you better have a very good reason for why it will not matter.


I dont believe them. Maybe some AQ has traveled there since the occupation. But "AQ in Iraq" was the equivalent of suburban Connecticut group of kids who wanted to call themselves Crips. And "AQ" lent them the name. It was in no way the same AQ that was responsible for 9/11.
2.8.2008 1:15pm
Jimmy S.:
When we left Vietnam the locals sorted out their differences, and after a couple of decades the country re-emerged as a stable part of the world community.

Can anyone refer me to a good, relatively unbiased account of what happened in Vietnam following the fall of Saigon? I'm particularly interested in numbers of persons executed, sent to reeducation camps, refugees, et cetera.

Thanks.
2.8.2008 1:25pm
Crimso:

When we left Vietnam the locals sorted out their differences

Did you ever meet anyone who literally risked their life to escape from that sorting out of differences? I've known more than a few. I suspect they would be highly offended at your characterization of their ordeals (both in Viet Nam and in their escape from it).
2.8.2008 1:26pm
Trashhauler:
Procrastinator wrote:

"Shorter Trashhauler: When you start hitting your head against a wall to demonstrate your manliness, you should keep doing it over and over until the wall gives up, because otherwise the people watching will think you're a wimp."

If that's how I came across, Procrastinator, I apologize. I frequently phrase things very stupidly. Let me try again.

No one is suggesting that we should continue something that will harm us or our war effort. However, my question remains valid: How will pulling out of Iraq in any way improve our war position in the Middle East and the GWOT as a whole?

Not even the Democratic candidates intend to simply abandon Iraq, so far as I know. That means "bringing the troops home" is already an empty phrase, as most of them will still be needed to support the Iraqis and our efforts in the Gulf. As near as I can figure, the main suggestion about what we might do differently under a new administration is that we will cease most of our combat and security operations, which are working and watch the Iraqis try to get along without us active participation on the ground. Which might or might not work, in which case, what? Odds are, we'll have to go back in, again. Is that how you read it?

I know it is easier to snark, but perhaps you might care to give a more substantive comment.
2.8.2008 1:29pm
Crimso:

Maybe because terrorists know that the military in Iraq is constantly on the lookout for angry young men and not women with Down syndrome? How dumb do you think they are?

They're either really, really dumb for not thinking of it a long time ago (since they've been on the lookout for that sort of person since day one), or they really are getting desperate.
2.8.2008 1:31pm
Jimmy S.:
Pretty tough saber-rattling with someone else's sons, BTW, from someone who took, IIRC, a series of draft deferments as a "minister of religion" while serving as an LDS missionary (bringing the Word to the heathen in that illiterate, oppressed Third World country, France)


Not a Romney supporter, but as a Mormon I'd like to point out the following:

1. Missionary service is a rite of passage for Mormon males. For half a century, Mormon boys have grown up singing "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission" in Sunday School. It may have been poor judgment for Romney to choose missionary service over military service in a time of national crisis, but it's not quite fair to insinuate that his decision was based solely on cowardace.

2. Romney would have had no control over where he was sent to do his missionary service. He could just as easily have wound up in Chile.
2.8.2008 1:37pm
Trashhauler:
hawkins wrote:

"It was in no way the same AQ that was responsible for 9/11."

Very true, as anyone in the Administration and the military will agree. That does not means they are the equivalent of a street gang. Al Qaeda in Iraq is a sizable offshoot of the greater jihadist movement. At their peak, they numbered several thousands, mostly recruited from inside Iraq, but led by a cadre of several hundred foreign insurgents.

Their overall strategy was to incite ethnic violence between Sunni and Shiite factions, sparking a civil war. They've failed in that, largely because of the awakening, but also because we are agressively hunting them down. The danger in our ceasing our security efforts before the Iraqis are ready to take over is that AQI might be able to reconstitute, gain some safe haven, and attempt to disrupt Iraq again.
2.8.2008 1:45pm
Northeastern2L:
I'd really love to hear how Al-Qaeda could ever hope to "destroy our culture," since that little nugget keeps getting thrown out any time someone disagrees with the Republican/conservative notion that we have to stay in Iraq until every single terrorist has been killed (after which we will presumably invade every other Muslim country in the world and eliminate all of the terrorists there [and by we I mean those who are unlucky enough to have already signed up for military duty, not those people who have better things to do, like the Romney boys]).
2.8.2008 1:46pm
ejo:
It was in no way the same AQ that was responsible for 9/11-that is true, given that we have been killing and capturing AQ's leaders for years since then. are you claiming no affiliation, despite the "real" AQ leaders corresponding with them and supporting them-if the Delaware suburban kids calling themselves the Crips were getting orders from the "real" Crips, receiving funds from the "real" Crips and being told by the "real" Crips that they were Crips, I'd have to say they were Crips, no matter what you say.
2.8.2008 1:50pm
Skyler (mail) (www):

I'd really love to hear how Al-Qaeda could ever hope to "destroy our culture," since that little nugget keeps getting thrown out

It keeps getting thrown out because that's what they state their objective is. How incredibly obtuse must one be to not take them at their word?
2.8.2008 1:56pm
Anderson (mail):
I personally adovcate small unit, mossad-like special operations that target individual terrorists using such nasty things as assassinations, torture, and other very unsavory tactics. And efforts such as stopping the flow of money into terrorist organizations, and leaning very hard on Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, who, in my judgment are the two primary sources of terrorist activity. In short: covert, unsavory, tactics, and extortive foreign policy. Of course, no politician can say that.

Rarango and I are agreed on this, except for the use of torture (about which I have said plenty at this blog). In effectively stateless areas, such as the Hindu Kush, commando raids are perfectly acceptable. Countries that support or tolerate terrorists, like the Taliban did, can be attacked or otherwise made to regret their ways.

we will cease most of our combat and security operations, which are working

Trashhauler, they are "working" only in the most basic sense. Yeah, more troops on the ground = decreased public violence. But to what end?

Our troops, well-meaning but culturally and professionally unequipped to be the Iraqi Police, are surely causing problems on their own, while acting as a crutch for the Iraqi gov't, which itself appears to be a mix of antagonistic factions and old-fashioned thieves.

A date certain for significant withdrawal tells the alleged Iraqis Who Love Democracy to either get it together, or else.
2.8.2008 1:57pm
ejo:
I am sure, as a law student, that you know everything. as you look out into the World, do you see any potential problems out there that are being caused by Islamic terror? how many nations are being disrupted or attacked from the inside by the radical adherents of the faith? do you have a clue as to just the economic impact that 9/11 had on this World? I'm sure you do-you are a law student, after all. now, is it a global problem or just 19 guys with box cutters and we need fear nothing anymore?
2.8.2008 1:57pm
ejo:
http://www.slate.com/id/2172152/

might teach you a little bit about AQ in Mesopotamia
2.8.2008 1:58pm
rarango (mail):
At least with McCain as the republican nominee this very foolish chickenhawk "argument" will go away. I certainly hope if either HRC or BO becomes president s/he won't have to commit US forces to war because they will qualify as chickenhawks. (in accordance with that absolutely absurd line of "reasoning.")
2.8.2008 1:59pm
Crimso:

Do you think it is more constructive to describe a mistake as a "mistake" or instead to use a phrase that attacks the integrity of the person being criticized?

Infinitely more constructive. Just wish people would apply this to WMD's.
2.8.2008 2:22pm
Crimso:

Now I realize that he was the first (recent) appeaser

Actually, no. Carter was President before Reagan. We're still paying for his mistakes.
2.8.2008 2:23pm
Crimso:

And let's not forgot who *armed* Saddam throughout the 80s. Yup -- it was Ronald Reagan.

This is incorrect.
2.8.2008 2:28pm
ejo:
Certainly, the world would be a different place if Khomeini wouldn't have been allowed to shack up in Paris and then return to Iran with his evil-who was doing the thinking for the West back then.
2.8.2008 2:28pm
Crimso:

Lesson? You trust the Americans, and you die.

And given their way, the Dems will force them to learn this lesson again.
2.8.2008 2:30pm
Northeastern2L:

It keeps getting thrown out because that's what they state their objective is. How incredibly obtuse must one be to not take them at their word?

Yes, so now answer the question. How are they going to do it? They have as much chance of destroying our culutre as Ron Paul has of becoming President.
2.8.2008 2:45pm
ejo:
yep, I can't see how a group of jihadist psychopaths getting control of the World's oil or, even better, nukes could create issues. certainly, given the plots to blow up pipelines, they seem to think it could have an impact. again, it is good to see that law school truly does teach you everything. how many of the World's nations are unstable because of the influence of Islamic terror? how many global conflicts exist? do you think they are just going to go away when the Dems are elected?
2.8.2008 3:07pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Obama and Clinton don't advocate surrender in the war on terror. They just advocate changing the battlefield from one where we are strengthening our enemy to others on which we can win."

Changing to what specific battlefield on which we can win? What do you mean by "win."
2.8.2008 3:28pm
ejo:
that is a good comment-they haven't let us know the field of battle they will be fighting on or the strategies they will use. they positively will not, however, surrender and it is offensive and over the top to even suggest they will.
2.8.2008 4:06pm
Randy R. (mail):
Skyler: "We are there to defeat Al Qaeda, who is certainly there even if they may not have been prior to our invasion, and to put the Iraqis in the position of having a pro-American government that supports freedom and individual rights."

And what if the Iraqis democratically and fairly elect an anti-American gov't that is based upon Sunni or Shi'ite laws and customs? Do we just over throw it, violently if necessary, until we get the result we want?

History repeates itself. If you look at the American Revolution from the point of the Brits, there are numerous similarities. We commited several acts of terror upon the British soldiers and the Loyalists. We destroyed property (Boston Tea Party). The British eventually sent over troops with the vague goal of 'Re-establishing the authority of the Crown." The more they put down resistence, the more the resistence grew. Colonists in the south took sides and created a civil war. Eventually both sides dug in deeper and deeper, unwilling to concede. The goal of re-establishing the authority of the crown became more ridiculous with each passing year. We know how it ended.

Crimso: It is well known that the US supported Saddam through out the 80s in his war with Iran. We gave him military supplies and other support. If you have revisionist history, please supply evidence.
2.8.2008 4:08pm
Trashhauler:
Anderson wrote:

"Trashhauler, they are "working" only in the most basic sense. Yeah, more troops on the ground = decreased public violence. But to what end?

Our troops, well-meaning but culturally and professionally unequipped to be the Iraqi Police, are surely causing problems on their own, while acting as a crutch for the Iraqi gov't, which itself appears to be a mix of antagonistic factions and old-fashioned thieves.

A date certain for significant withdrawal tells the alleged Iraqis Who Love Democracy to either get it together, or else."


Not just decreased violence, but also inserting the Iraqi police and army in places where they hitherto could not go. Giving the Iraqis a breathing space, one city or neighborhood at a time, if need be, so that they realize there are other options than fighting each other and us. We can now clear and hold, rather than simply sweep through. As we make more contact with Iraqis in partnership with the police and army, our intel becomes better and people cooperate with us more. Those oft-quoted polls about how many Iraqis think it's fine to Americans are terribly out-dated. Our tactics are working and improving all the time.

As to what sort of influence our soldiers are making, I recommend two bloggers as sources:

Michael Yon and Michael J. Totten. Yon makes a habit of usually being where the action is hottest while Totten travels all over, not just in Iraq. If Yon weren't merely a blogger, he'd have won a Pulitzer long ago, at least for his photography.

About the supposed salutatory benefits of giving a date certain, I'm afraid I must fall back on my standard question. If we mean to send them a message to get their act together or else, what do we mean by "or else?" Are we just going to leave and watch them die? I doubt it. The most we'll do is partially pull out and then if things should hit the fan, we'll be ill-positioned to help. But help we will, even if it means fighting for ground previously held and freely given away. I don't know giving away ground will help our cause, but we'll do it that way if that's what the next President orders.
2.8.2008 4:11pm
ejo:
actually, when the numbers are given, the support given to SH by the US pales in comparison to that of other countries-besides, if he was killing Iranians, I can't say money given to him at the time was ill spent, any more than that given to Joe Stalin. As to Iraq not being pro-american, god bless em, as long as they aren't sowing the mischief that SH did.

finally, why is it that violence is going down? we're culturally ignorant stumblebums (all of us, of course, but you) yet things have changed on the ground over there-is that just random chance?
2.8.2008 4:41pm
a knight (mail) (www):
Bob from Ohio,

You continue to embrace a flatworlder perception of reality, and you fail to grasp it is your own assertion: that vociferous dissent against an American government's imprimatur upon acts of human torture has an innate lefty beingness, which offers one of the strongest indictments on those you believe are with you on the right-side of the Political Bipolarity, but are in the reality of a multi-dimensional polity, only within the torture equivocators' camp.

You do not even understand the visceral revulsion that persons of honour feel about human torture being done in their name, under their flag, by their nation. In Yoo's defense, he has been consistent, and he vocally dissented against the use of unlawful combatant status on Iraq soldiers. This does not change the fact his view was very wrong. Still, in my mind it is a mitigating factor for Yoo, which precludes a determination of evil.

I am not unreasonable. Show me the mitigating circumstances for Richard Bruce Cheney, H. Christopher Bartolomucci, Bradford A. Berenson, Jay S. Bybee, William P. Barr, Timothy E. Flanigan, Alberto R. Gonzales, William J. Haynes II, Pierre-Richard Prosper, Helgi C. Walker, and any others I could not easily recall or do not yet know about, so that I can make my own personal assessments as to the rectitude of their intent.

You also fail to understand why we do not torture:

We do not torture, because We are Americans. We are supposed to be better than the rest, and judge ourselves by a much higher standard than our enemies as the referent. If this means we must fight with one hand tied behind our backs; this we will do, and still be victorious, because, We Are Americans.

If this makes me a lefty, so be it. I sure the hell wouldn't want to be like you.

Conservatives who are capable of understanding should contemplate this: The moment that the detainees were stripped of their Geneva Conventions protection, they were being held by the US government as criminal actors. This now delves deeply into Natural Liberties, and because of this, the ultimate arbitrators' of legitimacy are no longer any members of the governmental branches. The power is possessed by the people. Natural Rights are not bounded by citizenry, they are universal. US Constitution, Amendment 13, clause 1 states:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
This transparently restrains the government's ability to strip life liberty or property away from the detainees without first securing a conviction against them in a tribunal that adhered to due process of law. Anyplace that a Presidential Finding can be enforced is certainly a member in the set of any place subject to the US Government's control. Now that I have clearly made my determination, just what part of the phrases; "No Person", and "In all Criminal Prosecutions", do you not understand?
Arriving at this destination has not been quick, easy, nor pleasurable. I had never considered this to be even a remote possibility up until just a few years ago. What it boils down to is that the oath I swore a long time ago about upholding and defending, was against ALL enemies foreign or domestic, and I do not break my oaths.

You need to grasp the potential severity. I am not alone in thinking these dreadful thoughts, other riders have passed in the stormy nights with lit lanterns on their saddles. It is of no concern how many in number total the Friends of Liberty, the choice is to resist or to betray my soul. There will be no bargaining, no negotiation, regarding the Rights of Humans; they are absolute. Even if you believe I am wrong and reprobate, I am American born, and will never concede.

It isn't hatred, but instead anger, desolation and fear.

"An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

Thomas Paine, "Dissertations on First Principles of Government", 1795
2.8.2008 6:05pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Randy R., your moral equivocating between Al Qaeda and the American Revolution is abhorrent.

Al Qaeda control towns by bringing about a dozen people into a town and draggin a few children and wives into the streets. They then take knives and while stretching the victims' heads back the slowly start slicing their heads off. The victim is screaming and gurgling. They saw through the spine and then toss the head onto the body of the twiitching and dying victim. They do this in full view of the inhabitants of the city with the intent to frighten them. Thus a small number controlled cities of 120,000 people.

Yeah, that's a lot like throwing tea into a harbor.

You should be disgusted with yourself for such a comparison.
2.8.2008 9:00pm
Skyler (mail) (www):

Yes, so now answer the question. How are they going to do it?


They expect to do so by killing people.

Hasn't anyone here been paying attention at all to world events? It's not a secret.

They are murderous, vicious animals who think nothing of melting skyscrapers.

They're so bad that even incorrigible tribes in Al Anbar, Iraq that weren't even controlled by Saddam Hussein have now joined us in fighting them.
2.8.2008 9:11pm
Greg D (mail):
Hmm, let's see. The terrorists want us to leave.

Without the terrorists attacking us, there would be no significant push on the US side for us to leave.

Therefore, leaving is rewarding the terrorists for attacking us.

Or, to put it another way, it is a surrender to the terrorists.

So, yes, Romney is right, and you are wrong.
2.8.2008 9:48pm
Crimso:

It is well known that the US supported Saddam through out the 80s in his war with Iran. We gave him military supplies and other support. If you have revisionist history, please supply evidence.

No, it is not "well known." If YOU have revisionist history, please supply evidence (and NOT opinions, but actual evidence, like weapons systems, etc.). You made the assertion, you back it up (if you can). Remember, I want EVIDENCE, not pictures of Rummy with Saddam. And don't try to weasel out by pointing to your statement about "other support." That's not what you originally said.
2.9.2008 6:13am
a knight (mail) (www):
The brutal irony within your statement may well exist beyond your capacity to comprehend it.

From the NSA Archives:
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82, Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984, Edited by Joyce Battle, February 25, 2003
Iraqgate, 1980-1994
2.9.2008 8:15am
Jim Miller (mail) (www):
Orin - Your argument would have more force if you produced some statements from Obama or Clinton, in which they said they wanted to win the war on terror. Preferably recent statements, from their campaigns.

As for myself, I think that Clinton does want to win the war on terror and, probably, the campaign in Iraq, but is forced to conceal that from voters in the Democratic primaries.

As for Obama, I find it hard to figure out just what he believes about the war on terror -- other than that he wants to be president, even if that results in a little genocide here and there. I am absolutely certain that he wants to, in effect, surrender in Iraq, since he has said so many times. I doubt that he has really thought about the results of his policy.

One can argue -- and I get the impression this is your position -- that withdrawing from Iraq would help us in the rest of the war on terror. That idea strikes me as so absurd as to not require discussion, but if you have a good argument along those lines, I would be willing to look at it.

Finally, a more general comment: Politics ain't beanball, and campaigners often say things that go beyond fair comment. If this bothers you (and it does bother me from time to time), I would suggest that you look on both sides of the partisan divide and criticize both Democratic and Republican partisans.

I would bet that I could find, in minutes, half a dozen recent statements from Democratic candidates that also crossed the line. Am I right in thinking that you have not criticized any of the Democratic candidates recently? (That's a real question, since I read this site sporadically.)
2.9.2008 9:13am
Crimso:

The brutal irony within your statement may well exist beyond your capacity to comprehend it.

The linked document is apparently beyond your capacity to comprehend. In no place in that document does it state that the US armed Saddam. Supported, yes. Just as we supported the USSR (them we did arm). Got a problem with THAT as well? Do you as well want to claim (as I've seen others do) that the US gave Saddam biological weapons?

I well remember the day that Iraq fired that Harpoon into the Stark...
2.9.2008 9:40am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Crimso, be careful with sarcasm. The incident with the Stark occurred before many of the people here were in high school, they may not catch the sarcasm.

The US did not supply Iraq with weapons. If they did, Iran would have lost that war. As it was, Iraq did not need our weapons because they had plenty from the Soviets and the Italians, and others. I know because my battalion was constantly finding massive amounts of those weapons. Not once did we find an American made weapon, except a handful of rifles that were lost in the current war.

The Stark was hit by a French-made exocet missile, fired from a French-made Mirage jet aircraft.
2.9.2008 10:01am
LM (mail):
These attempts to call into question our principled objection to terrorism in all forms by accusing Ronald Reagan of arming Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War are just scurrilous. In fact, the only terrorists we can say for sure Reagan armed during that war were the Iranians (thus the "Iran" in "Iran-Contra"). And to be fair, it's not because we liked them; we were just trying to bribe them to get their Hezbollah proxies to release some hostages. That doesn't send the wrong message, does it?

Anyway, not that arming Iran would necessarily have been inconsistent with also arming Iraq, but Iran was the only one of our mortal enemies we're certain Reagan armed in that war. (Give him credit. At least he used the money illegally obtained from arming our terrorist enemies the Iranians to illegally help our terrorist friends the Contras.) But the bottom line is that poor Saddam probably did have to settle for empty gestures and lip service to reassure him we really hated the Iranians just as much as we hated him.
2.9.2008 4:13pm
LM (mail):
Back on topic, I agree with Romney. I think the liberals who want out of Iraq should take Ronald Reagan's example and be honest enough to call themselves limp-wristed surrender-monkeys. Wasn't that Reagan's point in Lebanon, i.e., that just because you've stumbled into the middle of a civil war, the sensible response to which is to leave, you shouldn't miss the chance to identify your withdrawal with the small band of terrorists who actually are out to kill you in particular? That way you can call what you're doing "surrendering to terror." And since that's what Reagan and his followers have always called his withdrawal from Lebanon, shouldn't liberals really admit it's the best description of their policy in Iraq?
2.9.2008 5:17pm
LM (mail):
Finally, a few thoughts on "aiding a surrender to terror" from Chris Kelly on Huffington Post:

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can surrender all they want. That's not the way Mitt Romney rolls. He repudiates surrender. By giving up. [...]

Mitt's main point, yesterday, was that our national security is much too important to jeopardize by providing citizens with more than two candidates in a free and open election. [...] How seriously does Mitt Romney take this threat? Saving America is so important to him, he's willing to suspend his campaign. Not drop out entirely, release his delegates, or endorse John McCain. But at least, you know, stop traveling.

Perfect Mitt Romney. He'll wrap his own failure in the flag of some hysterical higher purpose -- the end of life as we know it -- and his solution will be to meet it half way, and keep all his options open.

Will we miss him? Yes and no.
2.9.2008 5:56pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
LM, your first two points were too obscured by smart alecky sarcasm. No one said that Reagan's errors must be repeated. And no one said that Reagan was perfect even though a majority of Americans thought and think he did more good than bad, by far.

Your last point is downright silly. The election is free and open and the choice between any surrendering democrat or even the threat of Obama and his surrendering supporters who are very clear about their desires for surrender in the face of victory, and a division among the opponents to those surrenderers is well worth the personal sacrifice of bowing out.

Besides, there really isn't much difference between Romney and McCain, so it really isn't changing the choices much at all.
2.9.2008 6:11pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I wonder if surrender is too strong a term. With Willard gone, maybe we can ask Hussein just how he intends to fight? Does he? Against whom? Where? How? Does anyone know?
2.9.2008 7:04pm
LM (mail):
Skyler,

I'm sorry the sarcasm didn't work for you. It's what I'm reduced to by reading a couple of hundred comments that prefer belittling opposing views to engaging in a serious effort to find solutions.

I'm glad you acknowledge Ronald Reagan made mistakes, but you didn't say whether you believe his withdrawal from Lebanon was a surrender to terror. When Hezbolah bombed the Marine barracks Reagan re-considered his position and decided the US would be better off out of Lebanon. Have Islamic extremists exploited that decision, calling it a surrender? Yes. Was the decision a mistake? I think so. Was it a surrender? Of course not. He wasn't forced into it by an enemy of superior strength. He made a decision based on a cost-benefit analysis that may or may not have been wise, but it wasn't an act of surrender. A surrender is an action taken with the intention to submit. It's not simply a withdrawal that makes your enemy happy. The same reasoning applies to Barack and Hillary's policy today.

Our Iraq operation should be subject to a clear-eyed public debate and cost-benefit analysis, like every activity paid for with tax dollars. And I'm more sure of the damage to our national interest from poisoning the well of that debate with demagoguery of either party's position than I am from either staying the course or withdrawing from Iraq. So back to the original question, the "surrender." My position is consistent. I don't think what Reagan did was a surrender, and I don't think it would be one now to withdraw our troops from Iraq. So why is it that from among all those who insist the Democrats want to surrender, I never hear anyone use that word to describe Ronald Reagan's decision?
2.10.2008 4:51am
LM (mail):
... and by the way, I posted Chris Kelly's comments only because I found them amusing.
2.10.2008 4:57am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Of course it was a surrender. And a dreadful mistake. And a much smaller issue. The war in Iraq is a much larger scale and the same mistake would be disastrous for the entire part of the world that doesn't like their children's heads sliced off in the streets by muslims.
2.10.2008 9:04am
a knight (mail) (www):
Crimso, The density of impenetrable ossiferous armouring which provides you a high-confidence assurance of successfully repelling conventional as well as subversive factual assaults upon the pristine environment existent between your ears is remarkable.

Your incredulous dismissal of my provided links in the last post, referring to them as "a document" offers a very strong indication that you did not even follow them before your returned with this amusing dissent. The "document" is of course, two separate pages, the first of which:
Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82
Edited by Joyce Battle February 25, 2003
,
has within the page head, adjacent to thumbnail picture of Rummy and Saddam at the prom, a link in large bold type which says: Jump to documents; and that jump leads directly to sixty-one individual PDF files of scanned declassified documents.

The other link: Iraqgate, 1980-1994, is to a page which briefly outlines one National Security Archives' Microfiche Set:

Focus of the Collection

Iraqgate: Saddam Hussein, U.S. Policy and the Prelude to the Persian Gulf War, 1980-1994 reproduces on microfiche approximately 1,900 documents representing nearly 10,000 pages of rarely-seen documentation from the highest levels of government.

The collection brings together a wealth of materials which trace U.S. policy toward Iraq prior to the Persian Gulf War, as well as U.S. government reactions to revelations about the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) scandal and the secret arming of Saddam Hussein's regime. The set also focuses on the economic issues at play in the U.S. relationship with Iraq. Documents are derived from virtually every federal agency involved in U.S.-Iraq policy and the BNL affair.


This fits your definition of "document" in the singular?

The PDF files can be easily downloaded using WGET, or a download program with which can perform wildcard batch downloads, as they are sequential files.

They are all located in a server folder with the URI:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/
and the files follow a naming pattern of iraqXX.pdf, with XX being a variable sequential number between 01 and 61, inclusive.

Many of the documents reference Alexander Haig, and discuss how to go about opening up relationships, especially trade with Iraq. At the time these discussion were occurring Iraq was still on the State Departments official lists of terrorist supporting states. The following is just an abridged list:

Document 13: Department of State Cable from Alexander M. Haig, Jr. to the United States Interests Section in Iraq. "De-designation of Iraq as Supporter of International Terrorism," February 27, 1982.

Document 15: United States Interests Section in Iraq Cable from William L. Eagleton, Jr. to the Department of Commerce. "Helicopters and Airplanes for Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform," September 20, 1982.

Iraq's director of agricultural aviation invites U.S. crop-spraying aircraft manufacturers to provide information about helicopters and pilot training, noting problems with its existing equipment because pilots have been inhaling insecticide fumes.

Iran was reporting chemical weapons use against its forces by this time. According to a 1991 article in the Los Angeles Times, American-built helicopters were used by Iraq for some of its chemical weapons attacks; according to the Central Intelligence Agency, Iraq experimented with using commercial crop sprayers for biological warfare.

Document 17: Department of State, Office of the Secretary Delegation Cable from George P. Shultz to the Department of State. "Secretary's May 10 Meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz," May 11, 1983.

Secretary of State Shultz...observes that Aziz knows that "we had been helpful to Iraq in various ways."

Document 19: Central Intelligence Agency, Directorate of Intelligence Appraisal. "The Iraqi Nuclear Program: Progress Despite Setbacks," June 1983.

In its assessment of Iraq's nuclear program, the Central Intelligence Agency indicates that Iraq probably plans to eventually obtain nuclear weapons. The CIA says it has not identified such a program, but remarks that Iraq "has made a few moves that could take it in that direction," while noting the difficulty of clandestine research and development and procurement of the necessary technology and fissile materials.

Document 20: United States Interests Section in Iraq Cable from Barbara K. Bodine to the Department of State. "Militarization of Hughes Helicopters," June 8, 1983.

...South Korea reported that Iraq asked his government to militarize Hughes helicopters that were sold and delivered earlier in 1983. The request was turned down.

Document 24: Department of State, Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs Information Memorandum from Jonathan T. Howe to George P. Shultz. "Iraq Use of Chemical Weapons," November 1, 1983.

Officials from the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs tell Secretary Shultz that the department has additional information confirming Iraq's "almost daily" use of chemical weapons. They note, "We also know that Iraq has acquired a CW production capability, presumably from Western firms, including possibly a U.S. foreign subsidiary." policy on chemical warfare.

Document 33: Department of State, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Action Memorandum from Richard W. Murphy to Lawrence S. Eagleburger. "EXIM [Export-Import] Bank Financing for Iraq" [Includes Letter From Lawrence S. Eagleburger to William Draper, Dated December 24, 1983], December 22, 1983.

Pursuant to the Reagan administration's policy of increasing support for Iraq, the State Department advises Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Lawrence Eagleburger to urge the U.S. Export-Import Bank to provide Iraq with financial credits.

Document 39: Department of State, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Action Memorandum from David T. Schneider to George P. Shultz. "Easing Restrictions on Exports to Iraq," January 30, 1984.

The State Department presents the case for relaxing controls on exports to Iraq of militarily useful items. The department is concerned specifically with an application to export dual-use heavy trucks, the sale of which to either Iran or Iraq has been banned under the Export Administration Act. Secretary of State Shultz approves the proposed sale.

Document 42: Department of State Cable from George P. Shultz to the United States Interests Section in Iraq. "U.S. Chemical Shipment to Iraq," March 4, 1984.

Indicates that a shipment of 22,000 pounds of phosphorous fluoride to Iraq was held back at JFK airport because of "concern over Iraq's possible intention to use the chemical in the manufacture of chemical weapons."

Document 44: Department of State Memorandum. "Notifying Congress of [Excised] Truck Sale," March 5, 1984.

The State Department informs a House Committee on Foreign Affairs staff member that the department has not objected to the sale of 2,000 heavy trucks to Iraq, noting that they were built in part in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan. The official policy of the U.S. is that it does not export military related items to Iraq or Iran. When asked if the trucks were intended for military purposes, the official responds, "we presumed that this was Iraq's intention, and had not asked."

Document 52: Department of State Cable from George P. Shultz to the United States Embassy in Lebanon [et al.]. "Department Press Briefing, March 30, 1984," March 31, 1984.

The State Department announces it has imposed foreign policy controls on Iran and Iraq for exports of chemical weapons precursors. It responds to questions from the press about U.S. policy regarding the Iran-Iraq war, and a department spokesperson says Iraq's chemical weapons use will not change U.S. interest in pursuing closer U.S.-Iraq relations.

Document 55: United States Interests Section. Iraq Cable from William L. Eagleton, Jr. to the Department of State. "Bell Discusses Possible Helicopter Sale to Iraq," April 12, 1984.

The U.S. interests section in Baghdad asks to be kept apprised of developments in ongoing talks between Iraq and Bell Helicopter Textron about its sale of helicopters to Iraq's Ministry of Defense that "can not be in any way configured for military use."

Document 57: Department of State, Special Adviser to the Secretary on Nonproliferation Policy and Nuclear Energy Affairs Memorandum from Dick Gronet to Richard T. Kennedy. "U.S. Dual-Use Exports to Iraq: Specific Actions" [Includes Document Entitled "Dual Use Exports to Iraq" Dated April 27, 1984], May 9, 1984.

An internal State Department paper indicates that the government is reviewing policy for "the sale of certain categories of dual-use items to Iraqi nuclear entities," and the review's "preliminary results favor expanding such trade to include Iraqi nuclear entities."

Document 58: Defense Intelligence Agency Intelligence Report. "Defense Estimative Brief: Prospects for Iraq," September 25, 1984.

...predicts that it will continue to develop its conventional and "formidable" chemical capabilities, and will "probably pursue nuclear weapons."

Document 59: Department of State, Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs Briefing Paper. "Iraqi Illegal Use of Chemical Weapons," November 16, 1984.

Indicates that the U.S. concluded some time ago that Iraq had used "domestically produced lethal CW" in the Iran-Iraq war, developed in part through "the unwitting and, in some cases, we believe witting assistance" of numerous Western firms.

Document 60: Department of State Cable from George P. Shultz to the United States Embassy in Iraq. "Memcon [Memorandum of Conversation]: Secretary's Meeting with Iraqi DepPrimMin [Deputy Prime Minister] Tariq Aziz, November 26, 1984, 10:00 a.m.," November 29, 1984.

Following the restoration of formal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iraq, George Shultz meets with Tariq Aziz and emphasizes "the U.S. desire to base these relations on the presumption of equality, mutual respect, and reciprocity." After Aziz says that Iraq's advantage in weaponry was enabling it to defend itself against Iran, Secretary Shultz comments "that superior intelligence also must be an important factor in Iraq's defense. Aziz acknowledged that this may be true." (The U.S. had been secretly providing Iraq with extensive intelligence support for several years.)


Admittedly, this does not reach to the high-standard of evidence you loudly demanded with upper caps, which is where the brutal irony of your arrogant naivete lay. Your high standard of evidence is part of a weak defense for an administration which led this country into an immoral war upon Iraq with less substantive "evidence" that is provided by the NSA Archives about past US military support for Iraq. The Bush Administration has been a miserable failure at the production of evidence backing up their assertions for seven years now.

You are utilising a lame and detestable strategy, which was once a signature gambit of the left's, but is now more commonly used by contemporary conservatives; moral relativism with a haughty ends testing method which exploits an unequal standard of evidentiary admissibility.
2.10.2008 12:26pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Knight,

Oh my goodness. All that text to essentially say that we talked with the Iraqis and sold them trucks that might be used by the military of Iraq. Oh my. Trucks. I'll bet that Saddam used trucks to move his military around. How could we be so thoughtless as to allow the army that is at war with Iran to have such advanced technology as that?

Good grief. Take a breath.
2.10.2008 1:29pm
Randy R. (mail):
Supplying chemicals and intelligence to Saddam is way more than just trucks.
2.10.2008 3:23pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Oooh, chemicals. Bad. I only noticed where shipments of chemicals were stopped.
2.10.2008 5:41pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
See, I can do sarcasm too. And it still doesn't work.
2.10.2008 6:20pm
Elliot123 (mail):
It is well known that the US government knew US companies were supplying canoe paddles to Iraq. It's also well known that those paddles were used to mix vats of nerve gas.
2.10.2008 11:20pm
Aultimer:

Without the terrorists attacking us, there would be no significant push on the US side for us to leave.

Therefore, leaving is rewarding the terrorists for attacking us.

Or, to put it another way, it is a surrender to the terrorists.

The expense of the ongoing military situation can reasonably be described as providing a significant push, so your stated reasoning is incorrect.
2.11.2008 5:31pm