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November 18, 2005


I want to underscore Gary.

First, when you introduce a bill you are, ipso facto, calling for a debate on that bill before it is voted upon. That's simply an inherent part of the process.

To to say that someone introducing a bill is "not calling for a debate" is only accurate in the sense that "not calling for a debate" means "calling for a debate."

And the proof is before us, here in this thread and elsewhere. The Congressional Republicans, responding as they often do to a political debate, chose to use their control of the process to obfuscate it and attack the messenger.

This type of behavior is not exclusive property of Republicans, of course, but lately it does seem to characterize them.

"...even remotely plausible plan to accomplish our goals of a free and democratic Iraq."

I suspect we have a larger set of goals than those, but limited to those two, we are very far from "already lost the war."

I can't speak to the Bush plan, whatever it might be...but a Murtha plan of rapid response does not seem to include any time frame to achieve a free and democratic Iraq, nor any set limits on the number of self-inflicted Iraqi casualties required to achieve it. Our only role would be to prevent anything else, (theocracy, dictatorship, vassal status to an external power) from possibly arising. We could do that with air power, and very few American casualties.

It would probably be a "free and democratic Iraq" that didn't like us very much, but frankly Hakim and Sadr and Barzhani would mainly be angry at us for not killing off the other two.

Meet some more loser-defeatists:

Gen. Zinni May, 2004

Gen. Oddom Dec. 2003

Gen. Zinni Oct. 2002 (watch 30 second ad for day pass)

Iraq is the most mismanaged military engagement in American history. There may have been a brief six month window when a reasonably defined "victory", i.e. political stability, may have been possible. Bush and the neo-cons blew it big time.

As George Will has said, above all other things the hallmark of a conservative should be competence. Bush is an incompetent loser. Bush has always been an incompetent loser. As Kevin Phillips commented, "Every time George Bush drilled a dry well, his daddy's friends came along and filled it up with money."

Americans will tolerate a lot of things in a President. They will not tolerate a President who is a loser. Bush's presidency is finished. Bush's Iraq war and the neocons' neverending Middle East war against Islam is finished.

The only question that remains is who will be the last man to die for Bush's mistake.

. . . Instant response is what you do in a modern election campaign . . . Discrediting a critic's argument isn't enough, because it takes too much time in an environment when time is everything. Campaign politics are the primary frame of reference for politicians in Washington today. Republicans of late have practiced this trade more aggressively . . . Karl Rove's influence on GOP political operatives may be even more profound, and GOP political operatives have vast influence in Republican politics.

Finally and very frankly, Democratic politicians tend to be wimps. . . . This encourages Republican political operatives to use rough tactics.

I don't think this is a matter of ideology. In fact I don't know what it is. I just know if I were a Republican politician there wouldn't be many Democratic politicians I would be afraid of. . .


Charles wrote: "We also need to make sure that Iraq does not resume Afghanistan’s former role as the host nation for terrorist training camps." Our immediate departure would do just that"


What was your position on this significant risk, PRIOR to the war?

Did you give it any credence? Did you wave it away as moonbat fearmongering? Did you assume Bush had the competence to prevent this from being a problem?

bob writes: "I can't speak to the Bush plan, whatever it might be...but a Murtha plan of rapid response does not seem to include any time frame to achieve a free and democratic Iraq, nor any set limits on the number of self-inflicted Iraqi casualties required to achieve it. "

Clearly, the Murtha plan is only intended to anticipate the unavoidable Bush failure, and get it done ASAP so that it costs as few American lives as possible.

Failure is inevitable with Bush at the helm. The question is, how many Americans are going to get killed in the meantime?

Staying only makes sense if the White House and Pentagon undergo a gut remodeling. Replace them with competent GOP people, but the Bush cronies have to GO. They Cannot Win. They lost the war in 2002.

Charles writes: "We have NOT done all we can. "


Three guesses as to who is responsible for that.

Hilzoy writes: "We have already lowered our recruiting and disciplinary standards, keeping in people we would normally kick out for problems like substance abuse and major disciplinary problems; upped bonuses, and done all sorts of things. "

And those bonuses aren't going work much longer, since we're yanking them away from soldiers who were quickly injured and sent home.

That's not an enlistment bonus, it's a falsely-advertised survival bonus for soldiers who make it long enough without being injured.


Several have said that I took Murtha's May 2005 quote out-of-context. I didn't have the full Hill article at the time I wrote this (the full link is here), but it does show his mindset.

That mindset, as at 2004, appears to me to be that of a pragmatic realist: "Commit more troops or we will lose this war". For that you label him a "defeatist".

And yet, in 2005, you also argue that:

Murtha is right about manpower, though. At existing troop levels, we have unnecessarily lengthened the rebuilding period, and in so doing, put too much stress and strain on our soldiers. What we really need is not troop withdrawals, but troop additions.

It seems to me that Murtha asked the same question as you about 18 months ago (when the problem was already known), saw no significant attempt by the Administration to address the manpower problem, and concluded that (absent the "triumph of the will" necessary to commit adequate resources to win) the war effort is not going to produce the desired results.

I'm kinda bewildered that you hurl the "defeatist" epithet at someone who shares (at least in part) your requirements for winning, asks for a commitment to those requirements, and finds those in charge unwilling to provide it. I think your invective is better directed at those actually in charge that are failing to deliver, rather than those on the sidelines who understand what is required but get no support.

"Failure is inevitable with Bush at the helm.'

But if so, then surely if we withdraw within six months, then Bush will also screw that up, yes?

I note that the update only appears here. Perhaps Jean Schmidt is only condemnable (which seem to mean that one can condemn it without having Chas question your patriotism, which is mighty big of him, I guess) at ObWi and at other venues, this would be too much of a crawldown. Failure of the will, even.

Gary, I would have said a few years ago that there are some things even Bush couldn't screw up very well. I've lost that confidence. I'm still willing to say that a fumbling incompetent corrupt effort at withdrawal to a stable position like the one Murtha calls for is likely to be less damaging than more of the same - even though I now feel pretty sure that it'd include its own disasters and sins.

And now I see>this, by Hoagland today:

U.S. military commanders are composing their own scenarios that point to a drawdown of 30,000 to 40,000 American troops -- from a current force of about 140,000 -- that will begin before the midterm elections. In private White House meetings Bush has hinted at numbers of that magnitude and roughly corresponding cuts in foreign coalition troops, authoritative sources tell me.

Is the President a defeatist, too?

Has anyone else noted that Charles and others cannot "define" victory, even in a silly way, without using passive terminology. That seems to me the most telling admittance that they have no idea what victory entails themselves. Victory is not something that you can accomplish, its something that happens TO YOU, like alien abductions.

That seems to me the most telling admittance that they have no idea what victory entails themselves.

It seems more to me a telling admittance that their exhortations for victory in Iraq have very little to do with....actually achieving victory in Iraq.

It's a cudgel to wack at their "domestic enemies" in the runup to the 2006 elections.

"But if so, then surely if we withdraw within six months, then Bush will also screw that up, yes?"

Entirely possible. And it will almost certainly entail vast money transfers to cronies.

Actually, I think the reason Bush is building the world's biggest embassy in Iraq is so that he can fit more people and helicopters on top when we flee.

(Note: actually, in the famous picture from Vietnam, the helicopter is picking people up off of a hotel, not the embassy itself.)


I was away from the Internet for 36 hours or so, and you know how lack of Internet access rots the brain, but didn't this post use to say something completely different?

"So apparently you do believe that Bush is unpatriotic because he has done wrong things in Iraq, BSR. I don't. Both Bush and Murtha are patriots, in my opinion."

More dishonest nonsense and twisting of other's words. Can I award you one of your stupid, childish Karnak awards for theorizing on what I believe?

I don't believe Bush is unpatriotic for making mistakes in Iraq, I believe he is simply incompetent. I don't question the man's patriotism or that he has the best in mind for the country, I just feel he is very incompetent and mistaken in how we get there.

Betrayal implies by it's very definition that harm is done on purpose. Nobody is accusing Bush of doing anything on purpose, quite the opposite. That doesn;t stop you from bringup up Bush as a eflection instead of addressing the issue.

You attack your opponent's patriotism by using such loaded works as "betrayal". You paint your fellow citizen as the enemy, as someone you must attack "mercilessly". You do these things over and over on purpose, and then you claim that you aren't.

WTF? Renamed, rejobbed posts? The url has murtha_is_a_los.html which suggests that Chas has redone this post, but it remains on tacitus and on redstate. Perhaps I caught you in mid change, but the fact that the other two venues doesn't have your update suggests that you are playing at an attempt to rewrite your history. Unbelievably pathetic.

I am totally tripping here kids- Chaz messed up his new post. It's the link on the old one, that doesn't exist?

So I am right: this used to be the "Murtha is a loser" post, and Charles rewrote it, re-titled it (all but the URL), and didn't include any note to say something on the lines of "I no longer agree with what I sad here so I've removed it"?

maybe you are right, I don't know how complicated the blog software is. But even if it is, it is typical CB bs, where he tries to set up people up into skipping over what he says. "oh, I said in Fallujah, not out of Iraq. A Karnak for those who blah blah blah." I repeat, unbelievably pathetic. Your trackback is absolutely right, if Chas would go over to Open Sore Media, he'd raise IQ level here and there.

lj, I e-mailed the kitty at more length than I feel able to do so here. Suggest you do the same.

Err... WTF is going on here?

Possibly Charles made an error? Editing an old post instead of adding a new one?

I can see why the new post might make you want to rethink the old one Charles. But you might want to just add an update to this one explaining your change of heart, as well as moving your new post up top.

Frank: Possibly Charles made an error? Editing an old post instead of adding a new one?

Previous comments were pre-caffeine: I'm now post-caffeine, and I think this is actually more likely than my previous imaginings. The old post still exists at Tacticus/Redstate, and I'm sure Charles will fix the error as soon as it's brought to his attention.

Charles, I apologize for my earlier comment implying you'd done it on purpose, and for my intemperate e-mail to the kitty.

Jes- I don't blame you for your assumption of bad faith on Charles part. I kind of envy you for it actually. After all this time I still have to look carefully at his argument before I conclude he is full of it. Your method is faster and usually just as accurate if not moreso.

Chas- If the above offends, I just have to say your new post would look a lot better if you titled it: "Charles Bird enjoys a heaping helping of crow and endorses the Murtha plan." If you don't feel thats a classier title I'm sorry, if you do my congratulations.

It's the new talking points. Charles just got his copy. The Pentagon is preparing draw-down plans; SCIRI is promising Iraqis a timetable for withdrawal. After the elections, they ask us nicely to leave, we say OK, we begin a significant draw-down right before elections, Bush is hailed as a peacemaker and can start preparing the next war.

"It's the new talking points. Charles just got his copy"

And moreover, the President says Murtha is not unpatriotic for his statements. For example, here

I, too, am completely baffled. First I was thinking: how did Charles post on this, and I completely miss it? How did it get 216 comments, or whatever, without my so much as noticing? Now that I have figured it out, I'm just baffled in a different way.

"Now that I have it figured out, I'm just baffled in a different way."

When it is convenient, could those who have it figured out explain it to those who don't.

Or did you mean you have figured out that something has gone wrong but have not figured out what it is?

John: the latter. I have gotten as far as: oh, the post has been changed. I did not just completely miss a whole post, plus over 200 comments, in the last few days. I have not gone completely mad.

As to the reasons, I don't know anything more than you.

And.... we're back. Good times, people. Good times.

I'm not sure what happened, but I think I mistakenly forgot to hit the "New Post" button and typed over this post with the American Forces Should Withdraw in Six Months post.

Sounds probable. Again, I apologize for thinking you'd done it on purpose.

The next guy that makes up wacky acronyms is gonna get a visit from Mr. Smashy.

Charles- So you decided to go with ignoring your 180 change in position. Ok its all good.

CB: Love the updated title.

So (he said, about to 'go there'),
does this mean you retract the statement "Murtha has drunk the Daily Kos Kool Aid. He is a loser-defeatist"?

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