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November 28, 2005

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» Two items from Unfogged
First, Paul from Poweline repeats the claim that Dick Cheney's torture-stance is heroic: McCain is fond of asserting that you can't get reliable information through torture. In doing so, he relies on his experience in North Vietnam. However, the ineffe... [Read More]

» Two items from Unfogged
First, Paul from Poweline repeats the claim that Dick Cheney's torture-stance is heroic: McCain is fond of asserting that you can't get reliable information through torture. In doing so, he relies on his experience in North Vietnam. However, the ineffe... [Read More]

» An Iraq Strategy: Reinventing the Wheel from QandO
Richard Cohen thinks he detects "Signs of an Iraq Policy" from the Democrats... [Read More]

» Is President Bush Clueless? from Political Animal
IS PRESIDENT BUSH CLUELESS?....Over at Obsidian Wings, Hilzoy notes that conservative bloggers were predictably scathing toward Joe Biden's op-ed in Saturday's Post calling for "specific goals and a timetable for achieving each one" in Iraq. Comments r... [Read More]

» Is President Bush Clueless? from Political Animal
IS PRESIDENT BUSH CLUELESS?....Over at Obsidian Wings, Hilzoy notes that conservative bloggers were predictably scathing toward Joe Biden's op-ed in the Washington Post calling for "specific goals and a timetable for achieving each one" in Iraq. Commen... [Read More]

» Thunderous Silence from The Debate Link
Apologies for light blogging. I returned to work today (only Monday, Thursday, and Friday, but 9-5:30 those days), and I'm a bit tired. Anyway, you can't help but love reading this Obsidian Wings masterpiece on Joe Biden's Iraq editorial and the Bush... [Read More]

» Best Post in The Blogsphere today from BOPnews
Never write a blog off for dead. Just as I was promising not to crawl Obsidian Wings again, Hilzoy rounds up the startling shift in right wing thinking and shows the essential emptiness of the right wing blogging community. The... [Read More]

» Yesterday It's Bad , Today Not - What's Different? from Seeing the Forest
Yesterday Joe Biden announces a plan for Iraq. Right-wingers everywhere are up in arms, loudly proclaiming (as only the can) that Biden surrenders to terrorists, endangers America, sells out the troops, etc. Then today, Bush announces that this is actu... [Read More]

» Abandoning Iraq prematurely was always a bad idea from Winds of Change.NET
Some of you may have noticed that an awful lot of respectable terrorism experts ranging from Rohan Gunaratna to Evan Kohlmann to Reuven Paz to B. Raman, many of whom opposed the war in Iraq... [Read More]

» Two items from Unfogged
First, Paul from Poweline repeats the claim that Dick Cheney's torture-stance is heroic: McCain is fond of asserting that you can't get reliable information through torture. In doing so, he relies on his experience in North Vietnam. However, the ineffe... [Read More]

Comments

I'd like this to be a clear example of hypocrisy (since I have no particular affection for the aforementioned bloggers), but I'm not sure it is. The parts of the Biden editorial which Powerline, Captain Ed, and others appear to be taking issue with is where he does things like mentions years and numbers. The parts which the White House is agreeing with don't appear to be the same parts.

Now I think Biden doesn't go far enough, since I think the military has accomplished what it can, but I'm not sure I see the inconsistency.

In order for this to be an Intellectual Integrity Watch, the subjects in question would have to possess any to observe.

I am willing to accept evidence that they do, but have seen nothing but counterfactual evidence thus far.

No, Catsy, you can go on a platypus watch (for example) and not actually end up seeing any platypus. A watch is as much about waiting for something to appear as about observation after it does. Hope springs eternal. Just think how exciting it will be for the first person to spot the veritable ivory billed woodpecker of rightist intellectual integrity!

Is it surprising that practitioners of the oldest profession exhibit considerable flexibility and agility?

And in their pajamas!!

I am mostly suprised the hilzoy can read those places. She has a stronger stomach than I.

So I have to ask. Is there EVER anything said at those sites she quoted (I have read Hewitt's site, and it's not TOO terrible, but Instapundit? Powerline? euwwwww) that does not smack of hypocrisy? For instance, would you find a comment like washerdryer's on any of those places? A post comparing similar propositions and concluding that the differences might be important to those holding opposing beliefs to those of the poster?

I don't know, but it doesn't feel that way to me. As I said, I don't read there. I would make myself read there if I thought that actual ideas were discussed.

Jake

It's the oldest political tactic in the book. In fact, someone actually bragged about it a couple weeks ago. The unions have successfully waged this type of argument forever. It's simply to recognize when your political opponent is about to kick your butt, then jumping the gun and declare their plan is your plan. And here our President is responding by pulling the opposition party closer to the middle, just as they hoped he would, and the heretofore naysayers fall into left fringe talking points hook, line and sinker. And Jake, what's with that? Goodness sake. Instapundit? - heck, he's mostly a lister and comments as much about cookware, cameras and family cars. I bought my mom a neat cooking pot based on his links. Hilzoy, keep doing your thing, it is an integral pillar of this elusive recipe we call democracy. I've got plenty of stomach to read it, although I've got to stop scratching my head, it's getting bald enough.

The parts which the White House is agreeing with don't appear to be the same parts.

Now I think Biden doesn't go far enough, since I think the military has accomplished what it can, but I'm not sure I see the inconsistency.

Not to jump on you wd, but this would be a good point if the WH press release didn't sound like something from a school yard. The title 'setting the record straight' beggars belief. The elision between Scottie's "There is a strong consensus building in Washington in favor of President Bush's strategy for victory"and Biden's ""There is a broad consensus on what must be done to preserve our interests." is typical, but still pathetic. And the invocation of S. Amendment 2518 certainly ignores the manuvering that went into that.

btw, a new email account that works, as the free thai email service went kaput.

now i now never to trust those bloggers again! golly, what a harsh lesson. :(

"No, Catsy, you can go on a platypus watch (for example) and not actually end up seeing any platypus."

Yes, but the point is that you would look for platypus in their native habitat, not in the blasted heath of a wetland below a New Jersey landfill. The habitat for intellectual integrity was paved over in 2000 and has been leaking fatal toxins since.

Besides, ;) the great thing about OBWI is that platypus show up even when you're not looking for them.

Especially since all that was set in the trap was Blogbudsman bait. Semicolon and right closed parentheses is called for here, too. Winkity Wink.

It's simply to recognize when your political opponent is about to kick your butt, then jumping the gun and declare their plan is your plan. And here our President is responding by pulling the opposition party closer to the middle, just as they hoped he would, and the heretofore naysayers fall into left fringe talking points hook, line and sinker.

Er, yes, Blogbuds. I can't quite make this out: are you saying that Paul at Powerline, Captain Ed, Instapundit, and Hugh Hewitt are all in your view "heretofore naysayers"?

Powerline? Captain Ed? Hugh Hewitt?
C'mon, hilzoy: it's not that you aren't (as usual) quite right, but isn't citing the aformentioned bloggers as negative examples of "intellectual integity" sort of a fish-in-a-barrel case?
These worthies, and especially the hacktacular Prof. Reynolds, have, in a remarkably short time, helped to create an entirely new medium for discussion of public issues (the "blogosphere"), while simultaneously destroying whatever intellectual credibility they might have ever claimed to possess.
Does anyone really expect anything other than glib talking-point regurgitation, mixed with sneers, from John Hinderaker and his ilk? Or the chorus of approbation from their echo-chamber commentariat that they use to claim to be the Voice Of The Nation?
It's one of the things that keep me coming back to read and comment at blogs like Obsidian Wings. The posters here* may have their peculiarities and ideological crotchets, but happily lack (AFAICT) the virulent strain of egomaniacal self-importance over "political" commentary that makes places like RedState, Powerline or (to be balanced) DailyKos all too often so painful to peruse.

*I will make an exception for Bird Dog: he still sucks and is ruining the site (but getting slowly better!) ;)

the virulent strain of egomaniacal self-importance over "political" commentary that makes places like RedState, Powerline or (to be balanced) DailyKos all too often so painful to peruse.

Don't forget Democratic Underground either. It's genuinely frightening to think that almost everything I'd heard about that place was actually true.

[And it looks like RedState is heading that direction, too, which is equally disturbing.]

Well, yeah, it was shooting fish in a barrel. Actually, I had made one of my periodic excursions to Powerline and read their post on Biden, and then, yesterday, when that story came out about the President embracing Biden's plan, I thought: hmm, I wonder ... and then the post sort of wrote itself.

The Bush administration is a cruel mistress ...

Well I've been cruising the comments sections of conservative sites, looking for signs of whiplash. This has always been my main question: what will Bush's supporters do when he decides to pull out? So far there seem to be two responses: a sad or angry questioning of Bush's judgement, or the amazing assertion that there is no news here because Bush always intended to start withdrawing. Well, I suppose that it is true that Bush intended to withdraw someday, but up until about five minutes ago the Republican party line was that withdrawal was so far in the future that any one discussing it in any form was a defeatist coward.
I don't mind that Bush has decided to start a phased wihdrawal and I don't care who thought of it first. I do feel that all of those folks on the right who attacked Democrats for suggesting what Bush is now prepared to do need to apologize.

Lily:

"I do feel that all those on the right who attacked Democrats for suggesting what Bush is now prepared to do need to apologize."

I can't hold my breath that long. And when the apology comes, acceptance of it by Democrats should come only someday, many generations from now, after those on the right have been a crabbed little minority in our legislative bodies and have not darkened the door of the White House in anyone's living memory.

And then "Sorry" ain't good enough. "Uncle" from a position on the knees sounds good.

When confronted with small, bitter people, get very small and very bitter. Show them how it is done, in case they have thoughts about ever behaving that way again.

We can, of course, all meet in the interregnum for drinks and raucous partying, but don't bring up politics, sex, or religion, because my mother will rise from the table, plate of turkey in hand, and head for the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

Then we will be sorry we discussed anything but the weather.

I know there's a line already, but, Hilzoy, will you marry me???

And it looks like RedState is heading that direction, too

Heading? Was it ever "good"? I find and have found since it's birth that most of the frontpage articles are just a variation of tut-tutting regarding whatever perceived injustice has been inflicted on "conservatism", and a comment section divided into those that write attempt to write, for some unfathomable reason, like William F. Buckley, and those that write like Charlie Daniels.

Meanwhile, on NEBV.....other than an article labelled "Getting nervous" and a new "edgy" design, nothing.

Jes, no I wasn't, but I did. Those guys hate it when Republican Presidents make an attempt to placate Democratic politicians, because it almost always is used against them, the great dividers! And John, I'm known to take the bait. As Slarti often points out, there are masters here.

John T, that's a great bit about your mother.

At our table we talk heatedly about everything, and Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful. Nobody wanted to get up to go to the bathroom for fear of missing something. :)

No fights broke out, however.

Thank goodness.

Jake

"...a sad or angry questioning of Bush's judgement"

NEBV is not intended to criticize or increase the determination of liberals or Democrats. The intended audience is Republican, and the targets of attack, even if indirectly, are waverers in the Party, Congress, and especially the White House.

There are people who believe the war is not optional, and that Bush has never been anything but a hindrance and obstruction.

Seen this? Bush may be planning to withdraw large numbers of US troops, but according to this, that just means the number of US airstrikes will step up.

Which means, yes, fewer US soldiers will die. But far more Iraqi civilians will die. I imagine that Bush sees this as a reasonable trade: his base never believed the Lancet study, and Iraqi civilians killed by airstrikes can always be declared to have been insurgents all along, anyway.

Yes, and anybody seen Godot?

"There are people who believe the war is not optional, and that Bush has never been anything but a hindrance and obstruction."

On every issue.

Yes, I often wonder about folks on my side of the fence who ask Bush supporters how they can possibly support the man, given his incompetence, or his hypocrisy, or his wavering from granitic conservative principles.

This would be like the characters in "Jurassic Park" barely escaping from the velociraptors and then politely asking "When do we get chased by the real velociraptors, because I'm feeling like I would taste really delicious now that I've had some exercise?"

I agree, Bob, for the most part. It was simply being used, as you mention, to keep a certain segment of the faithful distracted, and it was used because it was handy.

But, the thing is, NEBV only lasted...what...a week?...two weeks?...before it became obsolete. The machine needs oil.

Yeah sure, John, that must be it. Funny I never thought of it that way before. Incompentence, hypocrisy, granitic? Do you get extra credit when those words are tossed out? It seems obvious the "let's repeat it often enough and the dumb bastards will start believing" strategy might even be working. You should be so proud.

"But the quagmire in Iraq involves much more than politics. It involves national honor, the undiminished threat of international terrorism -- and the lives of too many people who deserve better.

It's hardly the time for clever politics."

William Raspberry on Democratic "exit plans" or lack thereof. Via DKos, Armando

Democratic Karl Rove

"So what are Dems left to do? Very simple. They have to plan and act in ways designed to allow them to regain power in 2006. So they can try and deal with the Iraq Debacle given us by Bush and the Republicans. This requires offering plans for Iraq when voters can choose between Republicans and Democrats. The 2006 election campaign.

It is the only principled thing to do." ...Armando

Let me make this short and simple. If Riverbend or someone like her is gangraped, tortured, and/or killed by Hakim or Sadr's thugs because Americans didn't have the decency to fix what our OUR President broke we are 300 million+ pieces of dirt.

Blogs: "Do you get extra credit when those words are tossed out?"

No, I don't, and it really peeves me. Especially "granitic", which I thought deserved some mention. I try to use the words everyone else uses. I mean, I have my own words, but if I used only my own words and you used only your own words, communication would suffer.

We could each have our own private account of private words and not co-mingle them. Maybe I would lend you some words interest free if you ran out someday, but that would be socialism, so I'll need to ponder my "granitic" principles to see if that's permitted.

Then where would be? Well, as Charles might say, we would be where we are, owning what we own, as Bob McManus just pointed out.

Oh, go ahead, use any words you like.

Bob: If Riverbend or someone like her is gangraped, tortured, and/or killed by Hakim or Sadr's thugs because Americans didn't have the decency to fix what our OUR President broke we are 300 million+ pieces of dirt.

Here is the main question: How do we, as Americans, fix something OUR President broke, when the people in charge, and the only ones with any power to do anything, refuse to even see that it is broken in the first place?

My son called my wife and me yesterday from Iraq, and wehn we brought up the soon to be elections, he just dismissed them as not really meaning anything.

He has intimated in the past that many of those in power in Iraq, and not just in the government, prefer some degree of chaos.

He is not referring to the common Iraqi, who he states is sick of the whole situation.

But I digress. I want a stable Iraq. I want a peaceful world. I want a lot of things, but Santa isn't going to put them all in my stocking.

Let me make this short and simple.

Bob,
Please don't take this as being snarky in any way, but it seems that this is precisely the bottom of the pit if we choose to adopt the same tactics as the other side (apologies to those of you who feel you are on the other side and that this is a baseless slur) I don't think anyone in the administration would lose a moments sleep over Riverbend or Zayed or any of the others and I wouldn't be surprised if they brought a bloody hajib to wave at the State of the Union if it was thought it would solidify support.

Also, is there a way to fix the problem? The only way is to get a majority in one of the houses and begin investigations. How far dems go in gaining control of the House, I am not prepared to say, but I would say there's plenty of room for sharper elbows.

I must confess, granitic was good. Outside the realm of geology I'm not sure it carries much weight (as merely a word). Of course that would be to me and afterall it is your word.

And John, isn't American democracy some in large part chaos. We must keep the elderly somewhat confused and afraid to keep those that benefit from their 'plight' in power. We must keep minorities down so that those that enjoy the center stage of public attention in the spotlight. Union bosses must have workers who need their protection. Environmentalists must have dire consequences to anguish over. Politicians must have issues to fund and create laws to amend. The news media must have a bad angle to report and feed their own cynicism. We don't recognize truth any more because the ends so often justifies the means. But hell, that's what I love about this country, it just doesn't matter. What your wonderful son is telling me is that it's working there too.

blogbudsman wrote:

"And John, isn't American democracy some in large part chaos."

and:

"We must keep minorities down so that those that enjoy the center stage of public attention in the spotlight."

Interesting construction.

By the way, another home run, hilzoy.

Blogs:

Re: the politicians and the union bosses and the environmentalists and the minorities and the chaos, I say, the chaos .. (in response to John Miller).

As Margaret Dumont said of Dr. Quackenbush:
"I didn't know there was anything wrong with me until I met him."

Or, slightly off but still relevant .. this from George Bernard Shaw: "Every profession is a conspiracy against the laity."

"The news media must have a bad angle to report and feed their own cynicism"

This may be true. For example, instead of reporting over 2000 Americans dead in Iraq, I think they should talk about all of the Americans who haven't been killed. And, former inhabitants of New Orleans didn't actually run for their lives or stay and drown but instead many found new lives elsewhere and those who stayed merely drank their recommended 8 glasses of water daily.

When the Good Witch of the North descended in her bubble on Munchkintown and reported the crushing of the bad witch under Dorothy's house, the Munchkins didn't just launch into Hey, Ho, The Witch Is Dead!. No, they looked at each other and asked "So, what's the bad news?"

Cynics, every last one of them.


In most of the weekend talkshows were rightwing pundits were paneled they could all see a shorter than wanted occupation on the horizon and were purporting that this was the plan all along.

This will be the spin and gutless liberals will just shut up about it because a 'declare victory and get out' is the best they could hope for. I hate politicians...

"How do we, as Americans, fix something OUR President broke"

By whatever means necessary. If doing the right thing is impossible, try anyway, and fail with honour. Remove the President and his supporters from power. For the benefit of the FBI, I would not be the first to pick up a gun, but I will not be the last. I may well be the last to resist withdrawal from Iraq.

I am on record as wanting to reverse the tax cuts, reinstate the draft, and send millions of Americans to Iraq. I realize thousands would die simply in transit, but with quantity both Americans and Iraqis would be safer. And those who died would not have died in vain. There are a lot of reasons to be in Iraq, but abandoning it to the militias is an unbearable outcome.

The midterms need to be campaigned on keeping our promises and fulfilling our committments to the Iraqis; and on corruption, incompetence, impeachment, and war crimes trials. If pardons are used, that is adequate evidence that we are a rogue nation incapable of policing itself, and Democrats must commit to handing administration officials over to Iraq or the Hague. I have told Josh Marshall what he can do with his Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

For forty years I have listened to Democrats crying "No More Wars" and watched the Republican mass murder and torture machines get worse and worse. It is unbearable to watch Negroponte move his tactics from Central America to Iraq. There will be wars. The next one will likely be nuclear if Democrats aren't waging it.

Bob M - what about the women (and girls, and boys, and god forbid, men) who have suffered and died because we are there? When does that stop, if we don't leave?

What leads you to believe Riverbend, or any other Iraqi is safer because we are there?

I think a great many people will die because we leave.

Almost as many as if we stay.

Jake

I guess I'm a little off-topic. If the topic is right-wing hypocrisy and cynicism, all that needs be said is I have not broken bread with a Republican for over twenty years. When my 80ish grandparents traveled 1000 miles to visit me, politics was not discussed, but I ate in another room.

That is a terrible thing, but I think torture is worse, and after forty years, I think I understand how it becomes possible. Over at Bainbridge, they are dissing McCain, and the main objection is his vote against the tax cuts.

"Let me make this short and simple. If Riverbend or someone like her is gangraped, tortured, and/or killed by Hakim or Sadr's thugs because Americans didn't have the decency to fix what our OUR President broke we are 300 million+ pieces of dirt."

Posted by: bob mcmanus


Bob, you were and are a supporter of this invasion, and this war. After Bush's performance, you have no right to call us anything other than 'Sir' or 'Ma'am'. You wanted it, you got it, now you want to blame it on us.

"I think a great many people will die because we leave.

Almost as many as if we stay."

If we are responsible, then...we are responsible. We are not responsible for Darfur. We cannot wash our hands of Iraq.

Allawi wants us to stay to protect himself. Hakim wants our air power to ethnic cleanse the West. I think the most likely outcome in our absence is that Sadr allies with the Baathists and Iraq becomes Hell on Earth.

"Bob, you were and are a supporter of this invasion, and this war. After Bush's performance, you have no right to call us anything other than 'Sir' or 'Ma'am'. You wanted it, you got it, now you want to blame it on us."

1) It doesn't matter what I wanted, the war was inevitable. The current anti-war loyalty oaths, recantations, and confessions demanded by the left blogosphere are a simple abdication of responsibility. Opposing the war didn't make you blameless, only irrelevant and impotent. We needed more troops. "No troops" had no probability of saving lives.

2)This was not the war I wanted, executed the way I wanted. Bush has never recieved a kind word from me, nor anything but the most virulent vicious wingnut level of criticism.

3) Yeah, I blame the left. Less than the right, but the right isn't worth dicussing, only...never mind. War is like politics, dirty and messy and corrupt. Saying you are above such things and will not participate only provides an opportunity for those who will actually enjoy taking your place, delivering an outcome you are not going to like. If there is ever an end to war, it is Democrats who will shoot it to death.

4) I call everyone "Sir" and "Ma'am", even small children. The look on the face of a ten-yr-old when a grey-hair calls him "Sir" is quite pleasing.

Bob, I sympathize with your feelings about our staying.

Up until about 3 months ago, I woudl have argued for your side with a great deal of vociferousness. This even though I was against the invasion for a multitude of reasons.

I can't identify the exact tipping point where I changed my mind. It may have been after a talk with my son, it may have been after reading some comments from someone. I just don't know.

I don't believe in an overnight withdrawal which would be practically impossible anyway. I can readily accept Murtha's plan. I believe that we have been enabling the Iraqis without creating an incentive to really get their act together. And this creates a lot of the chaos.

Over the last several months, the percentage of Iraqis who see us as occupiers has increased, as has the percentage that feels it is legitimate to fight us.

As long as the Iraqis allwo those in the Iraqi army to serve 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off, their army can never be ready. BTW, that is information that my son passed on to me, and I can neither confirm nor deny its validity. At the same time, if we try to call too many of the shots, then they are not really a sovereign nation.

I hate having to chose between the lesser of two evils, and I hate worse being put into that position by the President of my country. Yet I think a gradual withdrawal with specific benchmarks laid out is reasonable.

What really ticks me off is that, despite multiple calls from democrats, Republicans and Iraqis, Bush has yet to specifically say that we have no desire for a permanent presence in Iraq.

I really think that would help, if we haven't yet gotten to the point of no return.

Hersh & Jeanne d'Arc on the Future of Iraq

I tire.

Bad News

I grieve. The blogosphere has lost a wise and good man. His personal blogs, and his archives at BOPNews, are worth a visit.

Opposing the war didn't make you blameless, only irrelevant and impotent.

Bob: I often learn from your comments, but I'm confused about this. On one hand, you say that even if "no war" was the right policy, advocating it was a waste of time because it was entirely unrealistic. On the other hand, you call for (among other things) Democrats to campaign on turning American officials over to international war-crimes tribunals. Do you judge that to be a realistic strategy for winning? or is there another resolution to the apparent inconsistency?

Heading? Was it ever "good"?

There's a world of difference between "not good" and "DU territory".

For those who like to go out and argue in the comments sections of blogs, one rightwing argument has been that the Democrats are trying to cash in on the victory withdrawal.

However the message from the White House and elsewhere has been mixed. Military leaders and others have been hinting about cuts for months, the president at times has contradicted them. So the proper line is unknown.

Since much of the balance of the political opinion game depends on a propensity of a big chunk of people to simplify into pithy though not necessarily accurate formulations, I would say the right may lose some long points on this one. The same sort that could believe Saddam hit the towers will note that "withdrawal is for wusses" followed by the president getting all wussy and surrendering to his enemies. The fact that he might have had statesmanlike reasons will not be part of this perception.

I'm afraid it will pull a few percent off the "base" who will either go elsewhere in disgust or link with the new winners.

I just checked: none of the four bloggers I cited has yet commented on Bush's embrace of Biden's plan. In case anyone is keeping score.

"Do you judge that to be a realistic strategy for winning?"

Actually, I do, but I am famously a "heightening the contradictions" kinda guy.
You might note the caveats, which involved failed investigations, thwarted prosecutions and pardons, but it doesn't matter. And it might take a couple of elections to redefine the party that shrugged its shoulders at the pardon of Weinberger and the return of Elliott Abrams and John Poindexter. Democrats are not noted for playing tough or mean, at least by their f***ing base. And part of the point is to provoke a right-wing overreaction.

In any case, we have gone too far this time. If President Hillary says she will obey int'l law and humans rights rules while letting those who inspired Abu Gharaib and the Rape of Fallujah go build their libraries the world will not believe her. A very powerful gesture will be required to restore not just our credibility, but any actual value to other countries participating in the various conventions. We have not simply lost moral standing, we have destroyed the post-WWII consensus.

In case anyone is keeping score.

This isn't a question of keeping score, this is a question of disconfirmation, because it is the nature of science that one true counterexample means that the theory no longer has explanatory value. It looks like a pretty solid hypothesis.

I'll be more than willing to let Bush get all the credit for Biden's plan (which looks to me like an elaboration of Murtha's). Let him take the credit, let him receive all the accolades of a great warrior and peacemaker. Just get our people the hell out, stop their needless deaths, slow the downward spiral of our national honor and dignity. Giving an incompetent leader undeserved credit is a small price to pay. Let him turn his attention to executing incompetent and destructive domestic policies. At least half of us have it coming. Nobody in Iraq voted for this halfwit.

A very powerful gesture will be required to restore not just our credibility, but any actual value to other countries participating in the various conventions.

i can't imagine any professional politician doing that.

A very powerful gesture will be required to restore not just our credibility, but any actual value to other countries participating in the various conventions.

You mean like a presidential candidate for one party going across the aisle and asking a previously leading presidential contender to be his vice president on a unity ticket? Nah, no one would ever think of such a thing.

(this is not a snark on anyone here, but just to a reminder of gestures past.)

Seen this? Bush may be planning to withdraw large numbers of US troops, but according to this, that just means the number of US airstrikes will step up.

Which means, yes, fewer US soldiers will die. But far more Iraqi civilians will die. I imagine that Bush sees this as a reasonable trade: his base never believed the Lancet study, and Iraqi civilians killed by airstrikes can always be declared to have been insurgents all along, anyway.

I hate to keep beating the only drum I own, but this is really Vietnam all over again. This is the "Nixon Doctrine" (1969) writ large - reduce the number of AMERICAN casualties by putting "natives" on the front line, while at the same time greatly increasing the US firepower expended. Replace (American) bodies in the field with technology ... whole books have been written about this (I'm thinking of Gibson, The Perfect War, in particular).

It didn't win the war in Vietnam. It did reduce American casualties and thus allow Nixon to masquerade as a peacemaker (and win the 1972 election).

As always, parallels to the present are to be constructed at your own risk. The provider of this historical service proffers no contemporary expertise.

I imagine that Bush sees this as a reasonable trade: his base never believed the Lancet study

I believe the Lancet study as much as I believe the claims that sanctions against Iraq killed 500,000.

Now if both figures are to be believed, then there has been no net change in loss of life between pre-invasion sanctions, and after Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Is there a response to washerdryer's comment above beside lj's, which I don't follow?

I think rilkefan must be referring to some imposter I was unaware of, who spells his name without an "e" between the "r" and the "y," but otherwise I second the question.

Just to be clear, I agree with LJ's point that the Bush press release misleads about the content of Biden's editorial, but I don't see how that supports the claim that the same bloggers who attacked Biden should have attacked Bush.

I read the Captain Ed piece (which at least makes substantive claims, Hewitt's just mocks the general idea of Biden writing an Op-ed without addressing it, and Paul seems to be disputing the idea that we should have a policy at all) to disagree with Biden precisely to the extent that Biden desires something more solid than "We'll stand up as they stand down" and "We're going to leave when we win, where winning is measured by [hand-waving]." The press-release agress with Biden to the extent he can be distorted into saying those things.

Shiite Death Squads

via Kevin Drum.

I agree with LJ's point that the Bush press release misleads about the content of Biden's editorial, but I don't see how that supports the claim that the same bloggers who attacked Biden should have attacked Bush.

Thanks, wd and apologies if my comment came off as too strident but I re-read the CQ comment and I am still not impressed. Perhaps the CQ post represents a higher standard than the other three (though that bar is several inches under the ground, so clearing it is not really a question. I mean, titling a post 'Clueless Joe' kinda makes it clear. I guess one could argue that 'Slow Joe' implies that he is only now beginning to get with the WH program, and I would not be surprised if Hewitt would try to claim that)

However, the CQ post claims the op-ed "gets the entire war on terror fundamentally wrong" (which, tellingly, is the portion that GR quotes) which suggests that the WH should have a bit harder time claiming that Biden "Adopts Key Portions of Administration's Plan for Victory in Iraq" I mean, if it is fundamentally wrong, it must be difficult to adopt it. I don't think that is the end of the twistin' and turnin'. Note how 'military deployment is conflated with 'what Americans want'

Biden postulates that the primary issue of a military deployment is when it will end:

The question most Americans want answered about Iraq is this: When will our troops come home?

Reading the rest of the piece really suggests that Ed (or should I say 'Captain Ed', which kind of gets to the heart of it) is the type who believes that playing Stratego and watching World at War qualifies him to discuss military matters. I mean this piece of idiocy
"deny transit for terrorists across Southwest Asia -- as anyone who can read a map could see in about ten seconds."

Yes, if we control Asia, we get 7 extra armies and if we take Australia, we might be able to get a Risk card! I mean, what distinguishes the WoT is that it now requires only a small handful of committed individuals, so 'denying transit' in some sort of Great Game sense is rank stupidity

And this:
"We have already shown success with Syria along these lines, with their full-blown retreat from Lebanon this year."

Next, he will be proposing that we organize a dirty bomb in Marseilles to stiffen the backs of the frogs.

Also, I made the mistake of scrolling down through the comments. The first comment is by someone with the email of 'trickydick' (gee, who could that be a homage to?) and the second comment has this

"And, in American politics, what's probably going to happen, ahead, as populations shift ... and run from places like Michigan ... You'll have an influx of Arabs to live among the Blacks. Imitating Africa, only if Blacks can't learn a thing from their own histories."

Sheesh.

Again, sorry to continue to be strident on this, but I really don't see any there there.

DaveC: I believe the Lancet study as much as I believe the claims that sanctions against Iraq killed 500,000.

So, you believe them both, because they're both based on solid data, or you don't believe them both, because...?

DaveC, if you believe that "there has been no net change in loss of life between pre-invasion sanctions, and after Operation Iraqi Freedom", then either you haven't read the Lancet study or you don't believe it. It was a longitudinal study, designed to measure the change in mortality.

Bob, your multi-point post has been adequately refuted by others, so I won't waste time (mine and others') on further refutation. Suffice to say that it was a load of excuses and blame-shifting.

So, you believe them both, because they're both based on solid data, or you don't believe them both, because...?

I disbelieve them both. I am more inclined to believe Iraqi Body Count, although their numbers include combatants and people killed by terrorists.

I don't know of a good alternative source for mortality data during the sanctions, but wonder if the 500,000 number includes the 100,000+ Shiites killed by Hussein's regime.

The WH "blueprint" was made known weeks ago, picked up by a blogger:

Once you understand the war plan, the minute the number of Iraqi Police started to pass the number of US troops, it was obvious we were going to be able to draw our own troops down. With the 210,000 Iraqis, plus the 170,000 US troops, there are 380,000 troops working towards security in Iraq, the most we've ever had. So I was looking for troop reductions, and I found it. By August, with 270,000 Iraqi troops and 92,000 US troops, 3/4 of the troops in Iraq will be Iraqis, and the US may not be needed at all. Hence the provision in the 2006 mandate to end the presence of coalition forces early if need be.
Which makes this Biden sentence disengenuous: "The president must set a schedule for getting Iraqi forces trained to the point that they can act on their own or take the lead with U.S. help." The administration has already set up that schedule, with the primary goal of 270,000 Iraqi troops trained to level two status by next August. Intellectual integrity indeed. The Washington Post should also get dinged for its intellectual integrity. The title misrepresents Biden's four-step plan because the only timetable that Biden put forward was that his plan be implemented in the next six months.

The administration has already set up that schedule, with the primary goal of 270,000 Iraqi troops trained to level two status by next August.

And a pony!

Are those Level 2 Death Squads? And are they equipped with vorpal swords + 1?

"I disbelieve them both. I am more inclined to believe Iraqi Body Count, although their numbers include combatants and people killed by terrorists."

Posted by: DaveC


DaveC, it's been repeatedly mentioned that the Iraqi Body Count is counting a much more limited set of deaths.

"Bob, your multi-point post has been adequately refuted by others"

If you say so. Having lived thru Vietnam, Central America, and now Iraq; Somalia, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, etc; the indirect financing and support of God knows how many other conflicts, you might think that since the anti-war position hasn't actually, you know, stopped any wars might be relevant.

(For those who say they supported the war in Afghanistan, until and unless there are thousands of casualties I would say you weren't really tested.)

It apppears the Communist wing of the Democratic Party has been replaced by peaceniks: Useless and pointless and proud of it.

Bob- The fact that there is a long list of wars the "peaceniks" didn't prevent doesn't prove that the list wouldn't have been longer without them.

DaveC: I disbelieve them both.

Do you have any reason for disbelieving either of them, other than that they report information you plainly don't like at all?

Hence the provision in the 2006 mandate to end the presence of coalition forces early if need be

Don't worry Chas, I'm sure they will wait not have the bulk of the forces out before the end of May, thus allowing you to maintain that 6 months doesn't equal immediate. Intellectual integrity indeed...

Cue Sunset

Eric Martin at LAT discusses a Fred Kaplan column.

"And so it appears (assuming the forecasts about the speech are true) that the White House is as cynical about this war as its cynical critics have charged it with being. For several months now, many of these critics have predicted that, once the Iraqis passed their constitution and elected a new government, President Bush would declare his mission complete and begin to pull out—this, despite his public pledge to "stay the course" until the insurgents were defeated.

This theory explains Bush's insistence that the Iraqis draft and ratify the constitution on schedule—even though the rush resulted in a seriously flawed document that's more likely to fracture the country than to unite it. For if the pullout can get under way in the opening weeks of 2006, then the war might be nullified as an issue by the time of our own elections." ...Kaplan

"Above all, I think it is important to note that, despite so many assurances and speeches to the contrary from the Bush ("stay the course") team, and despite their willingness to hurl base insults at political opponents for mentioning things like timetables, any withdrawal from Iraq initiated over the next couple of months would not be based on positive developments with respect to the situation on the ground."

Martin is wrong. Conditions on the ground never were relevant to the decision to withdraw. They probably planned to withdraw in time for the midterms before the war ever started.

Bush is the MBA President. I might that it goes:"I want a Constitution in the summer, elections around Christmas, and withdrawal in the spring of 2006. Now I will be at your side all the way, but I need to know if you can deliver that, or if I need to find somebody else that can. Okay, Great. Then that is what is gonna happen, and I hope you understand that I am the guy who changes other things, not somebody who changes his mind. That is the schedule, and that is what will go down."

Now we know. The war was not at all about WMD, or terrorists, or any threats to the US, or about freedom for Iraqis. It was about showing up his daddy, getting the aircraft carrier moment, winning American elections, and raping Iraq and the American taxpayer for as much graft and corruption as they could carry off. At the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives lost or ruined.

And yet I still think freedom, market capitalism, and an end to religious extremism in the ME would not only be pretty and nice, but is absolutely essential for world stability. It appears nobody in this country wants to try. What I now expect to get is a radioactive desert.

Don't worry Chas, I'm sure they will wait not have the bulk of the forces out before the end of May, thus allowing you to maintain that 6 months doesn't equal immediate.

Wanna bet, LJ?

Wanna bet, LJ?

So you are going to admit pace Gary, that 6 months doesn't mean immediate, or are you going to just go on changing the titles of your posts to cover your tracks? Betting games are only interesting when the opposite party has an understanding of consistent understanding of what the propositions they make actually represent. I also seem to recall that you had some problems using the phrase "intellectual integrity" previous, and it does not look like you have climbed much further on the learning curve. Though that was painfully obvious when you posted your Murtha is a Loser-Defeatist and meditate on the fact that accusing a decorated Marine of "betraying' his country and now have the gall to cite an article that suggests that troop pullouts are set for 2006. My embarassment for you is palpable...

Required Reading

Democracy Arsenal;Suzanne Nossel; an interesting comment by the should be legendary Dan Kervick; and I provided a couple paragraphs from Juan Cole, who isn't opening.

I hope this is just a fake, and a precipitous and irresponsible withdrawal is not in the cards, but Bush seemed far too eager to achieve his Constitution milestone, so I bet it is real.

Charles,
Which makes this Biden sentence disengenuous: "The president must set a schedule for getting Iraqi forces trained to the point that they can act on their own or take the lead with U.S. help." The administration has already set up that schedule, with the primary goal of 270,000 Iraqi troops trained to level two status by next August. Intellectual integrity indeed.

Indeed. 90 battalions. Wow.

Of course, you'd also have to take into account that, 6 weeks ago, Gen. George Casey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there was exactly 1 (ie *ONE*) battalion "rated by U.S. officers as capable of fighting without U.S. help" ('Iraqi Military Not Ready For Solo', AP 09-29-05). Weirdly, there had been 3 earlier. So, evidence of progress on this front is lacking.

So, maybe Biden, being in the Senate and all, caught wind of this revelation. And he thought it might be a good thing for *the president* (you did read that part of his sentence, right?) to step up to the plate and put down some hard numbers for the American people. Because it does make a great deal of difference when the president puts his weight behind something in public.

As opposed to now, when the Pentagon is planning force drawdowns for the '06 midterms (oops, I mean 'when all those 90 battalions are ready'), but the administration is still blustering about a "generational commitment".

Wu

PS It's a mystery to me why anyone thinks that 300k heavily armed Shia are going to turn Iraq into a democracy. They're already drilling holes in peoples' heads, this is not going to start getting better 1)when they're trained or 2)when we leave.

"It apppears the Communist wing of the Democratic Party has been replaced by peaceniks: Useless and pointless and proud of it."

Posted by: bob mcmanus


As opposed to the GOP - lying, traitorous, murderous, and even prouder of it?

"As opposed to the GOP - lying, traitorous, murderous, and even prouder of it?"

I will go to my grave having never voted for a Republican. Given a choice among Stalin, Hitler, and Bush, I would have to flip a coin. That's a joke. I would love to see the GOP in my lifetime cease to exist, perhaps split into a Conservative and a Libertarian Party. It is not inconceivable that something there might appeal.

I don't want Democrats to gain a few seats or gain control. I want them to utterly dominate. Ruy Teixeira's latest poll shows that the American people still trust Republicans more on defense and security. That has been killing us for thirty years. I want to win.

"I want to win."

YUP!

"YUP!"

By which I mean, Barry, this quote from a Republican Congressional aide to Mark Shields, via DKOS:

"If the House Republicans want to make Jake Murtha the face of the Democratic Party, then Republicans will really be trounced next year"

We can fight later. In power, not out of power. The venue is better.

Look at it this way. President Bob McManus restores some semblance of sanity to domestic policy, by which I mean not destroying Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Yellowstone Park ... pick your issue.

So far so good.

Then he sends 50 million Americans to the Mideast to do whatever it is he thinks he wants to do.

Then, you and I, Barry, head for Texas as ferocious peaceniks, throw our sleeping bags on Bob's lawn and settle in for the long haul.

But we'll cross that bridge after we actually find the bridge.

;)

"Jake" Murtha? Who's he?

"I don't want Democrats to gain a few seats or gain control. I want them to utterly dominate. Ruy Teixeira's latest poll shows that the American people still trust Republicans more on defense and security. That has been killing us for thirty years. I want to win."

Posted by: bob mcmanus

Then stop supporting Republican wars of choice. As for having to flip a coin to choose between Bush, Hitler and Stalin - uh huh.

"Then he sends 50 million Americans to the Mideast to do whatever it is he thinks he wants to do."

50 million Americans will do in Iraq the only things Americans remain capable of doing: consume junk, argue politics & religion, sell worthless paper assets to each other. Under Hague convention, the Americans won't own or run anything, so the Iraqis will be running the Walmarts and Buffalo Wing walk-thrus, with product supplied by China in exchange for oil. It won't be long before the Iraqis are rich enough to retire in Portugal and Belize.

Umm, coincidentally the number of Registered Republicans is somewhere near 50 million. Just saying.

You can come on down and camp on my lawn any ole time, Thullen. Though after a year of drought, we Texans are showing dust storms on our weather radar(God's truth!) and our Governor is running the state out of a Baptist church, so Iraq might look good by comparison.

Picking up something from upthread:

"I hope this is just a fake, and a precipitous and irresponsible withdrawal is not in the cards, but Bush seemed far too eager to achieve his Constitution milestone, so I bet it is real."

Posted by: bob mcmanus

I assume that Bush really wants to have something that he can call a withdrawal by the mid-term elections. Fudging the numbers, of course, is something that he is perfectly happy with. So he could have something which is billed as a drawdown, but isn't (e.g., units which are 'stationed' in Kuwait, but spend their time in the Sunni Triangle).

Unfortunately for us all, irresponsibility is also a Bush core trait.

Gen. George Casey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there was exactly 1

Misleading, Carlton. Fred Barnes addressed it here (as well as Bush's poor communication of same). The important measure for the security forces is level 2, not level 1, as Murdoc ably noted (more here).

So you are going to admit pace Gary, that 6 months doesn't mean immediate, or are you going to just go on changing the titles of your posts to cover your tracks?

I covered no tracks, LJ, so I don't know what you're talking about. Apparently, you didn't understand my "six months" post, and your stating that I wrote that Murtha betrayed his country is a smear. Yep, you're the one to talk about learning curves all right. You don't have a clue.

Charles,
If Bush cannot explain something as simple as this, then he is truly incompetent.
But I strongly suspect that he could communicate the nuts and bolts of the situation- ergo, I conclude that he does not want to.

If he explains that we're prioritizing getting troops up to the level to fight with embedded US troops, he's committing to a long stay in Iraq (with reduced troop levels). Given that many Americans want a plan to bring *all* of the troops home, this might not play well domestically.
Contrawise, if he explicitly puts an emphasis on getting Iraqi units to level 1- a long-term commitment- he loses the political flexibility to bring home a bunch of troops mid-06, just in time to declare "mission accomplished" again for another election.

Basically, *any* real plan by the administration would limit that flexibility- thus, the 'plan' that had to be 'declassified' is just a bunch of positive bullet-points about how wonderful we're doing. No quantifiable goals, no numbers, nothing.

Which is why Biden was demaning that *the president* step up and deliver a plan. Even if it's not politically convenient for him to do so, it's very necessary for the country.

I know that this isn't a complicated concept, but you insist on not grasping it, and defending the point using low-level Pentagon press releases and inferences based on them. The president, or one of the other top people in the adminstration, has to articulate something more in-depth than the recent press-release "plan".

Actually, Im surprised that you aren't screaming for this as well, since it would support the victory that you claim to be in the process of willing into being. Or, Id be surprised, *if* I thought you cared much about Iraq, as opposed to caring about the political fortunes of the GOP.

Charles, 12-01
your stating that I wrote that Murtha betrayed his country is a smear...

Charles, 11-18
Murtha is betraying the American soldiers who have been there.

He betrays his country's army, but not his country. Right.
His proposal is a path toward loss and defeat, but does this make Murtha a loser-defeatist by dint of his policy? There's really no need to go there... Yet the post still claims that He is a loser-defeatist.

Have I got that all right now? You're not questioning Murtha's patriotism despite his betrayl of our troops, and his status as a loser-defeatist is still up in the air.

Charles, if anyone is smearing your reputation, it's *you*.

But Carlton, there was almost a whole two weeks between the first comment and the last! Birdian thought evolves!

Carleton, it is my reluctant conclusion that Charles will never understand that intellectual integrity requires taking responsibility for what one writes and, as your juxtaposed excerpts deomnstrate, Chas continues to be unable to do that. This is a painful conclusion to come to, because as a teacher, one should always try to assume that people are capable of learning, but the fact that no one has really jumped all over Chas about this latest foray with the gusto and brio of the old days suggests that others are realizing it too.

Contrawise, if he explicitly puts an emphasis on getting Iraqi units to level 1- a long-term commitment- he loses the political flexibility to bring home a bunch of troops mid-06, just in time to declare "mission accomplished" again for another election.

Not true, Carlton. If you had read Murdoc, which it appears you have not, you would have found this:

To help gauge the particular impact that growth of Iraq's security forces might have on the pace of a U.S. drawdown, military planners in Baghdad have devised a simple formula -- what one general called a "rough rule of thumb."

The formula estimates that for every three Iraqi battalions and one Iraqi brigade headquarters achieving a readiness rating of level two, a U.S. battalion can be dropped. A level two rating, on a scale of one to four, indicates that a unit is able to take the lead in operations but still requires some U.S. military support.

Emphasis Murdoc's.

The Democrats, including Biden, have no coherent response. Bush communicates a plan, but Biden says there's no plan, as if White House didn't put out a 35-page pdf. Feingold demands a plan, and then when he gets one, he changes the subject. It's never good enough for the liberal rejectionists.

Have I got that all right now? You're not questioning Murtha's patriotism despite his betrayl of our troops, and his status as a loser-defeatist is still up in the air.

Reading comprehension, Carlton. A person can still have the wrong ideas and still be a patriot. A person can still be betray those troops who believe Iraq is a noble cause and still be a patriot. I know that this isn't a complicated concept, but you insist on not grasping it...well, never mind.

I know that this isn't a complicated concept, but you insist on not grasping it...

Maybe because it doesn't make sense?

It doesn't to me.

If you someone has betrayed the troops, in the field, of a war....

...um, that's treason. As has been suggested, take ownership of your words.

Charles,
It's not that it's a complicated concept- it's that it's an obvious boatload of bullshit. I don't think there's a person reading this thread who doesn't see through your sad attempt to backpedal.

If you had a single shred of intellectual integrity, you would've admitted some time ago that you'd gone overboard in saying Murtha had betrayed our troops (and yes, by extension, our country). It would be an easy position to step back from; every blogger makes posts that they later regret, particularly about such a charged subject.

But instead your chosen to engage in some ludicrous hyper-parsing and (apparently) redefining of words, so that betraying the troops doesn't mean betraying the country, and betraying the troops is not unpatiotic.

What's truly pathetic about this is that you lack the courage to defend your initial labeling of Murtha as a traitor and simultaneously lack the self-confidence to admit you were wrong.
And, apparently, you lack the intelligence to notice that *everyone* can see through your smokescreen.

Charles,
If you'd read what I said when you quoted it, you would've realized that I said "level 1" not "level 2". Whereas the Murdoc quote is about troops being trained to level 2.

Reading comprehension, Charles. I've heard it's very important. ;)

My point was: if Bush says that we're aiming for training all Iraqi troops to level 2, then he will also be saying that some of our troops will be in Iraq for a year or longer (since those Iraqi troops will need our support) but perhaps less directly involved in the fighting.
Whereas, if Bush says that we're aiming for getting enough Iraqi troops to level 1 (ie a level where *all* the troops can come home), significant numbers of troops will be there for a year or more, because that's going to take more time.
Either way, our strategy commits us to be there for a year or more, either in whole units (with level 1 Iraqi troops fighting indepedently elsewhere) or piecemeal (supporting level 2 units). But this has not been articulated to the American people by the president. Someone willing to do the legwork can demonstrate that our current strategy implies this, but most people are not doing that sort of legwork.
They are relying on the administration to communicate what our goals are and how we will reach them. Something more specific that "victory" and "when we get there".

The vast majority of the American people do not read Pentagon press releases. They rely on the major figures of the adminstration to explain what we are doing and what the plan is. And, I suspect that the vast majority do not know how long we plan on being in Iraq or what specific criteria we will be using to decide when to bring troops home.
Bush did publish a 35-page plan, but you'll not find any of these vital details in it. Which is important- if, 6 months from now, it becomes politically expedient for Bush to declare victory and withdraw, IMO he may very well do that (in fact, I think you've already had this epiphany well in advance!). Whereas a plan with clear, quantifiable goals would not give him that sort of wiggle room.
That is why I said that you are apparently far less concerned about Iraq than about the GOP- someone who was truly concerned about Iraq would strongly support an explicit plan from the highest levels of the administration: it would commit the US to those quantifiable goals, it would make the path to victory and the costs clear to the average American, and it would silence the critics (like me) who say that the adminstration has not yet released such a plan for political reasons.
But you don't; instead, you are hostile to the folks who call for a clear, quantifiable statement of our objectives. The only reasonable conclusion I can draw from this (and from your history of "withdrawl is betrayl" posts followed by "we should withdraw" posts) is that you are purely interested in domestic politics.

in my earlier post (1-1-05, 3:30pm) I said "to fight with embedded US troops- this should've been "to fight with US troops in support", which is not the same thing.

Carleton, that was a very perceptive post, about the lack of clear goals.

I don't think there's a person reading this thread who doesn't see through your sad attempt to backpedal.

What backpedal? You pigheadedly refuse to see the distinction.

But you don't; instead, you are hostile to the folks who call for a clear, quantifiable statement of our objectives. The only reasonable conclusion I can draw from this (and from your history of "withdrawl is betrayl" posts followed by "we should withdraw" posts) is that you are purely interested in domestic politics.

If you want to continue to be confused about the differences between strategy and tactics while at the same time accusing me of putting politics over country, well, whatever. Another distinction pigheadedly not made.

"If you want to continue to be confused about the differences between strategy and tactics while at the same time accusing me of putting politics over country, well, whatever."

Interesting, it's rather easy to read Mr. Henke's post as confusing "strategy" and " goals," and a bit more difficult not to. And interestingly, I see that Ezra Klein came to the same, rather obvious, conclusion. Henke responds:

I'm not sure why Ezra claims that clear areas/hold areas/train Iraqi security forces" are "goals", rather than a strategy—or why the two are somehow mutually exclusive....
That would be because Henke stated goals, not a strategy, and because "strategy" and "goals" are precisely as mutually exclusive -- or not -- as "strategy" and "tactics" are.

I read a lot from our government about our military/political goals. I read a lot of accounts in the news and blogs of tactical situations. I read very little to nothing at all that comes from the Administration or DoD about our strategy in Iraq. But YMMV. (Certainly I'll agree that the Democratic Party doesn't have a unified stance on the war, but that's neither here nor there; Congressional Reps rather rarely have unified stances, particularly on putting forth a military strategy; the Republicans in Congress aren't astonishingly coherent, either; it's the Executive that has to be coherent, not Congress. But such an observation is quite redundant.

Charles,
Like I said, it's sad to see you attempt to argue that betraying the troops is compatible with being a patriot. Or, not even argue, just assert it over and over. There is no debate to be had here- if you will not own up to your own words, so be it.

Bringing up a completely new point (strategy v tactics) while accusing me of 'not getting it' is pretty lame, too. Since you hadn't mentioned it at all before, what was it I was supposed to get? Especially since you got it wrong...

Im not confuising strategy and tactics- you're confusing strategy and goals. The link you cited defines strategy as "a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal" and "strategy is the overall plan."

So, if someone asks for a *long-term plan of action*, that's asking for a strategy. To reduce it to an example that even your limit capacities should be able to grasp:
In the game of chess,
The goal is checkmate
A strategic plan might be to disrupt the opponent's queenside pawn structure and then trade off pieces for a favorable endgame. "Double the opponent's pawns on the C-file" is a subgoal, and could be part of this strategy, but isn't a strategy in and of itself.
The tactics are obviously the development of the pieces, the various combinations, pins, etc.

The author of the link you provided has the same problem. A single idea such as "train Iraqi troops" isn't a strategy- a comprehensive strategy describes how the various subgoals fit together to achieve success.
That is a simple way to tell the two apart- if it's a laundry list, then they're goals. If it's a coherent story about how one subgoal then leads to the next and finally leads to victory (and how to cope with various alternatives that might crop up), it's a strategy. So his statement I'm not sure why Ezra claims that clear areas/hold areas/train Iraqi security forces" are "goals", rather than a strategy... demonstrates his confusion between the two. Ezra isn't asking for more details about the training methods (ie tactics)- he's asking for a coherent story about how all these goals fit together and build on one another towards a clear final goal. That is, a strategy.

____

Of course, this is just another side track; you still cannot articulate why Bush should fail to produce more details about our mission in Iraq and what milestones will allow us to bring specific groups of soldiers home.
You cannot do this because you know that you will defend whatever position Bush takes, whether it's bringing troops home in six months, bringing them home in 2 years, or leaving them for the medium-term. Because you don't care that much about Iraq in and of itself, but you care a great deal about defending Bush.

Unfortunately for you, Bush hasn't given anyone an indication what he's planning to do, so your forced into the rather amusing position of defending every possible scenario. Of defending the idea that Bush *shouldn't* tell the people what our specific goals are or what the achievement of those goals would mean.
Once Bush makes his final goal clear (whether it is "call it a win and get the hell out" or "stay and support the Iraqis for as long as they want us"), Im sure that you'll be first in line to tell everyone how Bush's newly-articulated strategy is the optimum path for reaching our worldwide strategic goals, and that all who oppose it are (patriotic) betrayers of our troops.

If you want to continue to be confused about the differences between strategy and tactics while at the same time accusing me of putting politics over country, well, whatever.

You know, I wish they would teach colonels in the Marines like Murtha the difference between strategy and tactics. Maybe you could apply to teach at Quantico. You could even make webpages with links to help them out.

Ah, Gary, you have beaten me to the punch. But I, in turn, have beaten lj, so it's not all bad. :)

Like Gale Sayers, I am Third... (nice to have Gary back, btw)

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