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January 26, 2007

Comments

I don't bear any responsibility for the debacle in Iraq. I thought it was a bad idea, and said so. I voted for people who thought it was a bad idea, voted against it, and have said so consistently.

Yes, you do!

Your tax dollars are paying for this disaster, and if you think that the world does not hold you responsible for this disaster you are delusional (They may not be able to do anything about it, but that's another story).

And when some Iraqi decides that it's payback time, he is not going to ask you whether or not you voted for Shrub or supported the war before he puts a bullet in your head (and if you are fortunate that is all he will do), and the rest of the world will sit back and say "though shit, you had it coming".

But, OCSteve, it seems that the reason right wing bloggers feel they need to go to Iraq is because they feel that the current narrative is wrong and they need to discover the 'truth'. However, bloggers from the left, if they went and reported how bad things were, would be dismissed as ignoring the good things, right? Or should left bloggers, because they feel it is incredibly dangerous in Iraq, be forced to go to Iraq, in order to provide some 'balance', so we can have both sides voice opinions from the same set of experiences.

I'm also thinking there is a bit of hypersensitivity in defining what Katherine said about Malkin as a 'swipe'. Sure, it was a bit of snark, but given her demogogery on almost every issue (how about that crescent shaped memorial?), she doesn't deserve the concern.

Thanks for the link to Ardolino's posts. However, the last line of his Examiner piece stood out for me.

In 2004, the number of police in Fallujah was zero.

We invaded in March 2003. How is it possible that there were no police in 2004? It is a revealing detail.

BTW – Can anyone name a lefty blogger who did an embed?

Spencer Ackerman.

Also, although not embedded, Christopher Allbritton was doing reader-supported on-the-ground reporting in Iraq while Roggio was still cheerleading in his bathrobe.

At a different level, I'm also not responsible if, after we leave, people of one Iraqi faction kill people of another. We've neither created the factions nor their rivalry. When we're gone, they can either come together and stop or not.

As a country you are, since you created the circomstances that made this chaos possible.

I'm also thinking there is a bit of hypersensitivity in defining what Katherine said about Malkin as a 'swipe'.

You are right. I retract and apologize. I seem to be cranky today.

Oh, that was a swipe....I told Zeyad that I was sure that if she decided he needed to be interned for national security she would make sure the troops gave him candy and miniature American flags.

I'm glad she went, it's better than not, but I do not rely on her analysis of the situation one tiny tiny tiny bit and I think that you would shows wishful thinking or exceedingly poor judgment. I haven't gone to Iraq, but there are plenty of excellent reporters who have, whose judgment and objectivity I trust far more than Malkin's. The McClatchy Baghdad Bureau to give one of countless examples.

liberal japonicus: However, bloggers from the left, if they went and reported how bad things were, would be dismissed as ignoring the good things, right?

I’d like to think not, but there would be some saying that I’m sure. But again, these folks reported at least as much bad as good. In fact a lot of pessimism comes through in their posts.

Matt: Point taken.

I think that you would shows wishful thinking or exceedingly poor judgment.

I bought a Betamax in the early 80s. What can I say. Seriously though, I don’t rely on her for analysis. I just think that the reports and the experience are interesting. And I can see where she is so far away from you politically that you might have trouble reading her seriously. So forget her. But the others are still worth your time.

Dahr Jamail was unembedded.

Do bloggers count that were/are not there personally but are in direct contact with people that are/were?

Dahr Jamail is quite informative too
http://blog.newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches/
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/
Don't know whether he is better described as blogger or as journalist or both

OCSteve - hopefully my response didn't come across as too snarky. 'Tis early, and I'm caffeine-deprived.

Incidently, you may be interested in this Nir Rosen article on his experiences in Iraq as both an embed and an independent reporter.

matt - not at all. And thanks for the links.

Charles:

Quite frankly, it appears to me that those advocating unilateral withdrawal must also believe that Iraq is a lost cause. It is a defeatist position.

Very smart generals don't think so From TPM - Congressional testimony of Gen Odom. Highly recommended read.

Charles -- please note how you wrongly demonize the opposition here, instead of realizing that there are extremely sound military and political reasons why withdrawal is the right plan.

Money quote from Odom:

Several critics of the administration show an appreciation of the requirement to regain our allies and others' support, but they do not recognize that withdrawal of US forces from Iraq is the sine qua non for achieving their cooperation. It will be forthcoming once that withdrawal begins and looks irreversible. They will then realize that they can no longer sit on the sidelines. The aftermath will be worse for them than for the United States, and they know that without US participation and leadership, they alone cannot restore regional stability. Until we understand this critical point, we cannot design a strategy that can achieve what we can legitimately call a victory.

Any new strategy that does realistically promise to achieve regional stability at a cost we can prudently bear, and does not regain the confidence and support of our allies, is doomed to failure. To date, I have seen no awareness that any political leader in this country has gone beyond tactical proposals to offer a different strategic approach to limiting the damage in a war that is turning out to be the greatest strategic disaster in our history.

The unjust, criminal Iraq Invasion and Occupation's incompetent handling aside, Republicans would still be governing?

After the $13.5 B taxpayer subsidies to the Oil Industry?

After the Katrina fiasco?

After the Medicare Part D payoff of insurance and pharmaceutical campaign contributions?

After the $250 B "pork barrel" and massive deficit spending?

After conspiring with the banking industry to indemnify lenders from their own bilking of consumers by precluding debt relief through bankruptcy?

After ignoring the global climate changes and environmental degredations?

After such "pro-active" foreign policies with Iran and North Korea?

After repeated efforts to scandalize the Constitution with "wedge" issues?

After abandoning the 100+ years of Geneva Conventions?

After American torture of "suspects" under executive tyranny?

Are YOU serious?

If an Ocean City policeman breaks into OCS's house and steals his silver, I'm not responsible. Sure, I pay taxes in the state, and some of my money goes towards local policing, but I'm not responsible for this.

Can anyone name a lefty blogger who did an embed?

As I believe MB has mentioned, Spackerman, who was planning on going again in December (?) but then got 'dis-invited.' I can only speculate that he wasn't clapping loudly enough at the time he asked.

To the questions of The Gay Species:
I fear the answer is "Yes".
Apart from my belief that the GOP is guilty of massive election rigging I think that the US public is apathetic enough to put up with all of this provided the base is fed with enough red meat (=wedge issues).
If you ask some, you will hear: Yes, it's bad but the "Democrat Party" in charge would be far worse and immoral to boot."

If an Ocean City policeman breaks into OCS's house and steals his silver, I'm not responsible. Sure, I pay taxes in the state, and some of my money goes towards local policing, but I'm not responsible for this.

???

I have no silver BTW :) Stainless all around.

And italics too?

Good grief...

Yes Petraeus "wrote the book on counterinsurgency". But:

1. Is there any reason to believe that going "by the book" would lead to success?

2. It's questionable that what's going on in Iraq is actually an "insurgency", in spite of the frequent appearance of the word "insurgent" in the media.

Modern War: Counter-Insurgency as Malpractice - Edward Luttwak critiques the counterinsurgency field manual (PDF).

If an Ocean City policeman breaks into OCS's house and steals his silver, I'm not responsible. Sure, I pay taxes in the state, and some of my money goes towards local policing, but I'm not responsible for this.

You are if you open all his doors, resign all policemen and open all prisons in his neighbourhood.

Had Iraq clearly been on the path of becoming a free, peace, non-theocratic representative republic, the GOP would have been in the majority today (in my opinion), missteps by Republicans in Congress notwithstanding.

This is true.

The fault for the embarrassing loss last November can be squarely laid at the feet of George W. Bush.

This is partly true, and partly self-exculpatory nonsense.

Certainly, the Bush administration is filled with harebrained ideologues who destroy everything they touch. On the other hand, they could have been brought to heel - five and half years ago - had the Republican-controlled Congress been doing its job.

But, in fact, it didn't. That might have something to do with the fact that these very same Republicans had controlled Congress for the preceding six years without actually accomplishing anything of importance. That surely contributed to the supine posture of Congress during the salad days of the Bush administration.

In the 90s one was free to assume that the Executive branch was competent, and could deal with the nation's problems, so the congressmen were free to throw Molotov cocktails at the President. Which the Republicans did with glee, during that whole impeachment farce. They were egged on - I must say - by people like you, Charles.

So now, when the country is going broke while stuck in an unwinnable war, you would like to wash your hands of all responsibility and place the blame on Bush's head. Sorry, that's not going to fly.

You Republicans make a great deal of noise over being the Party of Responsibility. Your credibility is shot to on that one, in light of recent events.

You all share the blame, and the country knows it.

They were egged on - I must say - by people like you, Charles.

What a load of steaming crap, Robert, which is my opinion of comments from people like you.

The Luttwak article in Harpers (presumably the one linked to above but I don't click on pdf links when on my crotchety home computer) had some jingoistic garbage buried in it. There was this notion that counterinsurgency warfare can achieve victory if it is carried out in a sufficiently brutal fashion, and Luttwak alludes to the Germans in WWII as an example, while saying that such behavior is impossible for us. Well, we're not going to set up extermination camps or go as far as the Germans, but we certainly didn't shy away from targeting civilians in Vietnam and we supported some pretty brutal counterinsurgency wars conducted by our allies in Central America. And we have tortured people, though with considerable dissent (eloquently expressed here, among many other places). So I think he gives us too much credit.

That nonsense aside, it was an interesting read, but I never know how much I can trust someone who drops little flagwaving nuggets of that sort into an article.

The model for American fascism, colonial or not, should it ever rise -- and I devoutly hope it won't -- will not be Hitler, it will be either Mussolini or Franco. Which I suppose is something of a compliment, but I'm mainly saying it to counter the inevitable Godwinization.

Yeah, it's the same one, DJ. I also had issues with the portions you alluded to. Luttwak is one of those amoral CSIS 'realists' who have no problem musing academically about crushing third-world skulls under first-world boot heels (freedom on the march, indeed).

But there are some valid points, especially with regards to how effective the counterinsurgency strategy is likely to be when applied in situations like Iraq.

What a load of steaming crap, Robert, which is my opinion of comments from people like you.

I am threatened with banning from von from inserting ellipses in a comment, but Charles, for this, retains front-page posting privileges. Amazing.

"People like you?" Huh.

Robert Bell:

"Had Iraq clearly been on a path of becoming a free, peaceful, representative republic the GOP would have been in the majority today (in my opinion), missteps by Republicans in Congress notwithstanding."

'This is true.'

Well, it bears pointing out that the big names at Red State and the conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives believe this to be a false statement of the first order. According to them, Iraq had nothing to do with the electoral defeat; a few less manhandled congressional pages, zeroing out Amtrak and NPR, privatizing the Weather Service, and outlawing abortion would have ushered in a thousand-year reign for the Republican Party.

It would seem they believe Iraq to be a free, peaceful, non-theocratic, representative Republic as we speak, if you can see it through the smoke and the blood splashed on your windshield, and if you can't see it, well, you must be an American voter, and we know how unreliable they are, the traitors.

Then again, if I wrote: "If the continent of Africa were clearly on the path of becoming a carbon copy of the Food Channel, with its people wading through rivers of bechamel sauce, climbing mountains of jelly donuts, splashing about in hot tubs of pancetta pork renderings, and troubling themselves with little else than deciding between the seared tuna in a truffle-scented broth and the duck comfit napped in a lingonberry reduction, Emeril Lagasse would be named Supreme Leader for Life and Bobby Flay would give birth to the child of God... missteps by the Iron Chef judges not withstanding .........

..... I might wonder how I could have thought the the Food Channel would have been able to achieve such a mission in the first place when the raw materials were a bunch of pissed off folks fighting over a jar of cassava, or chickpeas, as the case might be.

That said, the situation is effing horrible, and I take no pleasure whatsoever any longer in who was right who was wrong, unless Bush goes on trial. Which ain't gonna happen.



That said, the situation is effing horrible, and I take no pleasure whatsoever any longer in who was right who was wrong, unless Bush goes on trial. Which ain't gonna happen.

Loser-defeatist.

Mattbastard--Agreed. If one takes into account that Luttwak is an amoral propagandist, the rest of the article is informative. (No snark intended. I'm serious.)

CharleyCarp – for my part, I’m still wondering about my (non-existent) silver. Huh?

*genuflects towards this post*

Thullenry has been taken to new heights...

"Thullenry has been taken to new heights..."

... atop mounds of lingonberries.

As other people have noted, you say this without citing any evidence at all, and in the face of polls that show the opposite.

Hil, I discussed the Zogby poll in an update, and I invite you to click on the links to the four who embedded, in particular the recountings of their experiences. Or perhaps step over to the milbloggers and check out what they have to say. But hey, what do 1,200 or so folks who've been there know.

I was passing along in the post what was passed along to those who embedded. I'll grant you that it's not scientific, but then again there are science-of-polling issues with Zogby. So what's better, going through the Zogby filter--bought and paid for by an anonymous anti-war activist--or hearing the goings-on straight from those who are there? For me, I'd rather hear the straight sh*t from the bloggers.

Does the fact that you have consistently been wrong about what's happening there give you pause?

I take exception to your contention that I've been "consistently wrong" and that I haven't given "pause", Hil. I've clearly and consistently stated the mistakes this administration has made, and not just in these friendly liberal confines, but front page in Redstate country. I called for Rumsfeld's resignation way back in 2004 and mentioned on multiple occasions the mistakes made and have suggested ways to turn things around. Or have I been "consistently wrong" in pointing that out?

in which you were apparently certain that you had a better idea of what was going on in Iraq than John Murtha, based, as far as I could tell, on a lot less information.

No, I'm not "apparently certain", or even certain. I suggested that there's more to just talking to injured soldiers, and there's more to Iraq than daily casualty reports in the MSM. I suggest that just sticking to those sources does give you a slice, which I thought was a fairly obvious point.

And does it worry you at all that the cost of going along with the surge only to discover that this President was wrong yet again is measured in people's lives.

Of course it does, but I'm not backing the president, which I thought I made clear. I'm backing the strategy and the chief strategist. The president, in this instance, is backing me and what I've been urging for the last 33 months, that a proper counterinsurgency strategy be employed to this insurgency. The architect of that strategy is in place, finally. The real regret is that it took an historic thrashing at the polls for Bush to finally start listening and start taking exploring actions to fix this situation that he exacerbated.

Oh Charles, I remember reading about 12 times from you in 2004 and 2005 that things were turning the corner.

The president, in this instance, is backing me and what I've been urging for the last 33 months, that a proper counterinsurgency strategy be employed to this insurgency.

This is not a proper counter insurgency strategy. It's 10% of a proper counterinsurgency strategy, according to the General who wrote the U.S. Army's Counterinsurgency Manual.

This has been brought up multiple times in this thread, and you would be worthwhile for your to address it.

you would be worthwhile for your to address it.

"it" would be worthwhile. I type too fast.

The president, in this instance, is backing me and what I've been urging for the last 33 months, that a proper counterinsurgency strategy be employed to this insurgency.

Does it give you pause that you would give 33 months to this Republican president, but have never (in my memory of your writing) given a single day of grace to people on the other side of the aisle?

To answer von, I don't have a lot of confidence in al-Maliki. He did help form an Iraqi government, but he's been too soft since Samarra in confronting the violence perpetrated by his fellow Shiites. However, he has recently changed tack and is taking a harder line, enough to bring Sadr back from his boycott and enough for militants to form a "siege mentality". It appears that he's bought into the new U.S. plan, but the pivotal question is whether he can sustain it.

BTW, CB: I find that pledge kinda creepy and even unAmerican.

I take the opposite view, rilke. It is written in the constitution that Americans can appeal to elected representatives, asking them to vote and decide in certain ways. I joined an informal group in order to influence elected members of Congress. It was a quintessentially American thing to do. If what I did is un-American and creepy, then so are the everday activities of the AARP, NEA, ACLU and other groups.

"People like you?" Huh.

Offsetting penalties, Phil, but since you've committed more than your fair share of violations, I suppose that makes you the best judge. I do regret responding in anger. I should have said: "People like me don't react well to posting rules violations made by people like you." That would've made it all better. And while we're talking about violations, why don't you take raj to task, who apparently thinks it's OK to derisively call me Chuckydoodle numerous times after apologizing for derisively calling me Chuckydoodle (BTW raj, apology not accepted). But to be fair and equitable about it, I'll take your comments more seriously when you start to criticizing posting rules violations made by your allies on the Left. Otherwise, you're just living the double standard.

Charles -- please note how you wrongly demonize the opposition here, instead of realizing that there are extremely sound military and political reasons why withdrawal is the right plan.

dm, don't you realize that I may possibly be demonizing myself? I must really be a self-hater. BTW, your link wasn't from TPM but from the wacko Raimondo site.

Odom told Biden what Biden wanted to hear, and Odom has advocated immediate withdrawal for years. He has his reasons, but unfortunately he was completely silent about what the aftermath of immediate withdrawal would look like. Apparently, to him, subjecting the Iraqi people to potentially increasing and escalating chaos and terrorism and sectarian war is not in America's interest. I fundamentally disagree with that assessment.

Charles- Bit of a freudian slip there, " Apparently, to him, subjecting the Iraqi people to potentially increasing and escalating chaos and terrorism and sectarian war is not in America's interest. I fundamentally disagree with that assessment."

But I already knew you were ok with constantly escalating chaos, terrorism, and sectarian war in Iraq, as those have been the results of the people you vote for and the policies you have favored for the last 3+ years.

but he's been too soft since Samarra in confronting the violence perpetrated by his fellow Shiites

And Gerry Adams was too soft on the Provos.

CB: "I joined an informal group in order to influence elected members of Congress."

Sure, and I applaud you for it - but the terms under which you did so are not ones I feel comfortable with. You pledged yourself to a long-term course which you may come to disagree with - and then where will you be? You can take your name off a list, but you can't unpledge.

If the ACLU invited me to sign such a pledge I'd send them back my membership card.

Of course you can "unpledge a pledge," people do all the time. A pledge is hardly a formal contract. This one, particularly, was cooked up out of anger and frustration. Of all the people who've signed up, and who would normally contribute to a candidate, I doubt even half will abide by it in the long run.

And, I want to emphasize, that has nothing to do with it's being a RW pledge. It's human nature to make a gesture in the heat of emotion, and then change one's mind, either when one cools off or when circumstances change.

Charles- I forgot to mention I strongly agree with your belief that al-Maliki's would have to be dedicated to the plan if it were to have a possiblility of success.

The fact of the matter is that Bush has told Maliki: "No extra troops unless you start doing your part." Now we learn that Mailiki told Bush: "But we don't want any more of your troops!" As Joy Tomme puts it:
So, watch out Mr. Prime Minister, if you don’t obey Crazy George, he’s not going to give you something you don’t want.

'Of course you can "unpledge a pledge," people do all the time.'

They are said to "break their pledge". The dictionary says a pledge is "a solemn binding promise". It's an oath without invoking the sacred. It's not signing a letter urging a course of action - it's a question of honor.


Ok, so the ACLU does invite me to sign a pledge - but it just says I pledge to support civil liberties, something I'm certain to continue to do. It makes no claims on my conscience that I can see.

Well, I haven't read the Hewitt Pledge in its entirety, but SFAIK, that doesn't make a claim on anyone's conscience, either, just on their political donations.

...but have never (in my memory of your writing) given a single day of grace to people on the other side of the aisle?

I really don't know what you're talking about, LJ. Care to spell it out?

I remember reading about 12 times from you in 2004 and 2005 that things were turning the corner.

The last time I said that, Katherine, was before Fallujah, March or April of 2004. I suggest that your memory is faulty.

"Securitize"?

Just having a little fun, Jack. You'll note that I've kept the neologisms down to a bare minimum.

Then go grab a rifle and get out to the desert.

I have a lot of hopes in this country. I hope that Petraeus can be successful. I hope that al-Maliki can stand up against fellow Shiites who are engaging in sectarian attacks. Lastly, I hope that I can be in an ObWi thread without the chickenhawk meme being thrown around. May all three come to fruition.

What I don't get, Charles, is that you say you yourself would oppose the surge if you didn't trust Maliki.

I didn't say that, Katherine, but perhaps we're talking past each other. The plan isn't just a surge, and no plan will work unless the Iraqi government is committed to it. And let me ask you: if al-Maliki continues to take the right steps and if the Senate supports Petraeus in his new job, why would you support a group of Senators who would rescind their support of Petraeus by opposing any request he might have for additional resources?

Petraeus might be a good soldier, but he's hardly the military genius many seem to take him for. His counter-insurgency manual doesn't seem to amount to much more than the conventional wisdom (standard canards might be more accurate) of counter-insurgency strategy, a strategy that has failed in other places despite greater resources and better leadership. He only looks like a great innovator because the US army has been notoriously reluctant to adopt such doctrines for many years, not least because the brass has spent 30 years trying to avoid a war like the one it is in now.

"combining political with military" operations is just a sound-bite without a profound understanding of the field of operations (we've yet to see evidence of that from the US side), broad popular, domestic and military support for the endeavour (dubious), and the political-intellectual resources to actually make "political operations" feasible. On this last part I am particularly sceptical.

I don't think the omens are good, even if this newest general is saying the right things.

additional resources?

Read Orwell's essay on English.

I believe it was Alasdair Gray, in Lanark, who had a character that talked of `resources' to mean humans. This character was a cannibal. It is a bad sign when a policy requires monstrosities like that to sound respectable.

no need to get alarmed, I mean linguistically and cultural-trained personnel, and the educational and operational structures to train, deploy and gain best advantage from them. Resources seems like an appropriate term.

Thanks for the link to the Mystery Pollster, Charles. His comments make clear that his objections to the survey are political rather than scientific: he says, fairly, that Zogby didn't share his methodology, and acknowledges, also fairly, that there are great difficulties of polling active-duty troops on the ground in Iraq.

In effect, this Zogby poll is like the first Lancet report - which was greeted with the same storm of disbelief from those who didn't like the conclusions. Mystery Pollster is arguing that since the locations weren't chosen at random (in a war zone, with active duty troops, I can see how that would be difficult) and there's no report of who chose to answer the pollsters, the answers aren't to be trusted.

But this poll is the first attempt to get real data about how troops on the ground feel about the Iraq war. Anecdote is not the same as data, no matter much anecdote you have, and before this poll all we had was anecdote: some positive, some negative.

So what's better, going through the Zogby filter--bought and paid for by an anonymous anti-war activist--or hearing the goings-on straight from those who are there? For me, I'd rather hear the straight sh*t from the bloggers.

You're preferring anecdote above data - anecdotes which give you the information you prefer. Anecdotes give a different kind of information from data. For example: you can read Samuel Pepys' diary about what it was like to be a Londoner during the years of the Great Plague of London. That's anecdote. Or you can read the City of London records and get data about how many people died. Both are valid information, but Pepys' diary won't tell you how many people died, and you will have to use your imagination on City of London data to give yourself an idea of what it was like to live in the City when so many people were dying.

Similiarly: a poll - never mind who paid for it - tells us that 85% of soldiers on the ground think that the war in Iraq is about retribution for Saddam Hussein's part in the September 11 attacks. This is an interesting addition to the data from a Harris poll carried out in the US in 2005 that discovered that "47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001".

There was this notion that counterinsurgency warfare can achieve victory if it is carried out in a sufficiently brutal fashion, and Luttwak alludes to the Germans in WWII as an example, while saying that such behavior is impossible for us.

What Luttwak obviously does not realize is that even the German methods didn't succeed.
Hitler said it would take at least a century to stamp out the partisans after the final military victory.
Perversely he saw that as an advantage because it would keep the people and the armed forces on the alert and in shape (otherwise they'd become soft).

CharleyCarp – for my part, I’m still wondering about my (non-existent) silver. Huh?

Well, charleyC also kicked out the inspecters that could have proven you have no silver; not in the house, nor burried in the garden, nor put in deposit with your neighbours.

Raj: I agree with Charles B that the namecalling is unwarrented and a violation of the posting rules.

I really don't know what you're talking about, LJ. Care to spell it out?

It's that despite your claming the mantle of 'Dissatisfieds', you are willing to bend over backwards to give the current administration the benefit of the doubt, which in turn requires you to label anyone who was more suspicious (i.e. realistic) as a loser-defeatist. Looking at your Dissatisfieds post, you are not holding Bush responsible, but Rumsfeld. When precisely did this shift to being dissatisfied with Bush begin? And when has it been expressed straightforwardly? I'm not one to demand that you acknowledge you were wrong, but when you brazenly try to suggest that you were right all along, it becomes a bit hard to swallow.

I'd also add that 33 months is a rather remarkable length of time. The Dissatisfieds post was from Aug 2006, which is 3 months ago, not 33. Part of my reaction is based on the notion that you were right 2 and half years ago. If this is just a math mistake, my apologies, but if you wrote 33 instead of 3, I'm wondering how you can suggest that you 'called for' the resignation of Rummy in 2004.

Charles Bird: The last time I said that [things were turning the corner], Katherine, was before Fallujah, March or April of 2004. I suggest that your memory is faulty.

Just for fun and misplaced drunken anger, let's trawl through a simple Google search of Charles' contributions to Obsidian Wings on the war in Iraq, shall we? The following shall be regrettably sparse since Charles has an unfortunate habit of, shall we say, "dumping and running" but hey, we go to war with the posts we're given and not the posts we'd like. The following consists of damn near everything Charles said about Iraq in the first ten pages of a simple Google search [site:obsidianwings.blogs.com "charles bird" iraq]; I'm sure there are more of his opinions out there (e.g. on Redstate) but a man can swallow only so much sh** before his stomach rebels. It's a measure of the task that I've quite literally sobered up while doing it.

[Links removed due to spamaliciousness]

December 31 2004, And Now For Something Completely Different

There's no doubt that our planning and execution of the post-war was wanting. But there are never any armed conflicts that are fought to perfection, so its reasonable that margins of error should be factored in to any post-war assessment. Mistakes are always made in war. My weaselly answer is that it's too soon to judge... The important thing, also, is to see this ten years down the road. Provided we succeed in bringing Iraq to a non-theocratic democracy, it will be worth it. Right now, there's too much fixation on daily reports and not enough strategic thinking or vision.

[Fair enough, I suppose... but realize that this "weaselly answer" was several months after Fallujah.]

February 27 2005, While Many Are Catching The Wave...

Had the January 30th election failed, the course of history would have been different now. Thomas Friedman calls the election one of the three major tipping points toward freedom in the Middle East. The recent snubbing of Chalabi by the Iraqi government is another favorable sign.

[I suggest reading Charles' contributions to this thread, they're... illuminating.]

April 4 2005, A Nomination For Most Disingenuous

Personally, I think a large number would support our applying our policy consistently and overtly supporting those Muslims who are in the freedom/democracy camp. Boldness works. And if some of the proposals fail, what have we really lost? It's not like we're Miss Popularity [in the Middle East] anyway.

[No real relevance, it's just funny.]

Later in that same thread:

You may hate the word, but the democra-nami is real and it's happening, and it didn't come from our taking soft stands.

[Um.... really? Is that a corner I see before me, its democra-nami towards my hand?]

May 15th 2005, The No Party

I know that Bolton is an imperfect person for the job and he's a well documented hardass. But the fact is that he is there to do the bidding of the president, and his performance will be measured on how well he does that bidding.

[An odd contribution given Charles' self-professed disdain for the President's policies, but such is the nature of the beast.]

August 15th 2005, Bill Kristol is Right

I'm not the biggest fan of Bill Kristol but you have to give him his due. As it is right now, Bush can't be fired for the poor job of rebuilding Iraq, but one of the chief architects can... Donald Rumsfeld appears to be caving in to defeatism, a trait that Secretaries of Defense should not have... So far, the post-war plan has been conducted too poorly for his continued employment, and now Rumsfeld is making it worse by lowering his standards for success and redefining the "war" into a "struggle". This is unacceptable, all the more so because Bush's and Rumsfeld's agendas are apparently at odds. Rumsfeld doesn't get to set his own agenda and his own measures for success, and Bush shouldn't let him do so.

[No, I can't explain the contradiction either. Hell, I doubt Charles can.]

August 23th 2005, Road to Kandahar, from comments

Not just a non-theocratic state, but a "free, peaceful, non-theocratic representative republic" is my threshhold for victory. My short answer is that it's too early to tell because there's too much back-and-forth going on.

August 31 2005, Seeing Oil Spots

The point is that there is a long record of our fighting and winning insurgent movements, and there is plenty of literature out there showing what works and what doesn't. Krepinevich's strategy is a sound one and it's one I've proposed in some fashion or another for the last year and a half. The frustrating part is that our attempts at actually doing something along those lines have been half-assed and poorly executed... But that said, Baghdad is the center of gravity in Iraq and if there's ever a place to root out the terrorist and parmilitary elements, Baghdad is it. It'll take a while for it to succeed, which probably explains why the author figures a decade's time.

[That strikes me as optimistic but legit. YMMV.]

October 15 2005, Give Me A Break

Just saying that if nothing comes of any of this, Kristol will look prophetic and liberals will once again look like the No Party, trying to take down those in power, not by winning office, but by obstructing and by throwing up barriers and making dubious criminal allegations.

Later:

You're not seeing the bigger picture, Hil. If nothing happens to Delay, Frist, Rove and Libby, the Left will get pegged with overreaching, just like the Clinton-haters did in the 1990s,

*snicker*

October 16 2005, Killing Innocent Iraqis

The debate [on the invasion of Iraq] is over already. It was over years ago. The fact of the matter is that we're in Iraq, and there is a strategy for ushering the country from a tyranny to a peaceful democratic republic, hopefully free and hopefully non-theocratic.

[There is a strategy, huh? Would this be the same strategy being executed by the man whose head you're calling for, or the president you've claimed is failing to do his job?]

Same thread:

I will say one thing. Because of the WMD snafu in Iraq, the next time a situation arises where we are faced with a threat, we will no longer have the benefit of the doubt with most of the world community and a significant chunk of Americans regarding our intelligence and our communication of same. Our credibility took a serious hit, and the buck lands squarely at Bush's feet, and this will likely spill over into future administrations.

[Unambiguous approval here. Kudos.]

October 27 2005 Yes, Virginia, it's turning around

The War in Iraq has been longer, harder, and tougher than it should have been. There are legitimate grounds to say that it never should have been fought in the first place. But don't close your eyes to the fact that -- slowly, painfully -- we are winning in Iraq. The Iraqis are winning. Don't give up the cause. [Emph original.]

Whoops, sorry: that wasn't Charles at all, that was von. Hey von, how's that going for you?

October 29 2005, The President's Foreign Policy Speech, comments:

Iran hasn't been restrained in funding Hezbollah over the years, but they are restrained more today because they are flanked with burgeoning democracies.

[Also unrelated, also funny.]

November 11 2005, Iraq and Vietnam

The terrorists and paramilitarists have already lost this important front. Bombing police stations and employment queues did not dissuade enough Iraqis from signing up, and it is estimated that there will be 270,000 trained Iraqi forces by next August. Because of this, defeat of the terrorists and paramilitarists will be inevitable, if we have the gumption.

[I should note that the OP here is filled with such fantasy as to be almost unrecognizable.]

November 18 2005, Murtha's Loser-Defeatist Policy

I feel vaguely queasy at quoting anything from this thread, but if one must:

Murtha's "truth" is not that we're losing, dm, but that we've already lost. Sorry, I don't accept that because it's very much open to debate.

November 20 2005, Failures of Will

To come to your conclusion, you must ignore the progress made in Iraq. It's going to take longer and cost more than it should have, and mid-course corrections are too slow in coming, but because mistakes have been made does not that the situation is irreparable. This is a process, and even if we did everything perfectly, achieving victory would take years. As it is, it'll take a few years more, if we have the gumption to do it.

In fairness, from the same thread:

Bush is ultimately accountable. I've never said or implied otherwise. I also wasn't aware that I was obligated to explicitly assign blame to Bush every single time I refer to the mistakes made by this administration.... I have serious doubts as to whether we'll achieve success in Iraq. I really don't know how it's going to turn out. I am much less doubtful that prematurely withdrawing troops will be a major setback to our country and our security.

It's not particularly true -- that bit about Bush being "ultimately accountable" is theoretical at best, viz the subsequent quotes -- but hey, it's something.

November 21 2005, American Forces Should Withdraw in Six Months

...ok, quiet, you. That's the title. I'm not making this up, you know (tm Dave Barry).

Why? Because their mission in Fallujah has been mostly accomplished.... The only problem that I can see is that this type of information is reported in a blog and not by the Bush administration and not by the mainstream media... A valid reason for troop reductions is that there are enough Iraqi forces sufficiently trained to do the job in the stead of coalition forces. There will be troop reductions in 2006, and why not. By August of next year, there will be 270,000 trained Iraqis to do it. For those looking mainstream media fatcats looking for tipping points, perhaps they can cast their eyes at the critical mass of trained native troops available to do the job.

[Anyone want to analyze that little prediction?]

Febrary 23 2006, Three Iraq Slices...

Finally, this article has been around for a few days, but it shows how the U.S. military has been successfully adapting its operations in Iraq. For those who take the loser-defeatist position that U.S. troops have done all they can, well, they're dead wrong. No matter how cutting and running is reframed, the policy still remains defeatist.

[How corner-turny this is depends on one's read of the linked articles.]

March 22 2006, Pivotal Tests

Just as the three previous elections were pivotal moments in Iraqi (and American) history, so is the formation of its new government... I wish I could think of the right analogy, but each successful event in post-Saddam Iraq is merely one step forward to a free, peaceful, non-theocratic representative republic. If such event fails, or fails to happen, then we move six steps backward. This is looking like one of those moments where one more step must be had.

[Not entirely sure how to parse this one, tbh.]

April 22 2006, Saturday's All Right For Fighting, from comments:

The Iraqi democratic process worked, Sancho.

May 23 2006, Cultural Humiliation...

Finally, now that Iraq has an elected and functioning government, it can no longer be said that the United States and the other coalition forces are "occupiers". As of last Friday or so, our forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the legitimate and internationally-recognized Iraqi government, no different from our troop deployments in Germany, Japan and South Korea. In that vein, the term "insurgent" should also be inoperative...

[Not exactly a corner-turning moment, but close.]

You asked if thought the situation in Iraq is getting better. It depends. Right now, the violence is worse since the new government was established. There's a bunch of militant Islamist Sunnis in Hadith, Ramadi and Baghdad and other places who need to quit or die, and there remains thousands of Iraqi troops who need more training to help do the job. It's going to take time.

[I can feel a corner approaching!]

July 6 2006, Kim Shoots Wad, comments:

Just to clarify, Casey, the pooch was screwed in mid-2003 when we needed 100,000 or more troops to secure [Iraq]. Had we done that, it's likely that there'd fewer in-country today. I think our troop levels are OK right now.

August 21 2006, If Not Now, When?

Exactly, Hal. You blame the architect of the current mission, and Rumsfeld is the one should be held responsible...

[Well, we're finally done with carrying water for Iraq... but not for Bush, it seems.]

In light of these remarks, Charles, might I suggest you suck it?

PS: So what's better, going through the Zogby filter--bought and paid for by an anonymous anti-war activist--or hearing the goings-on straight from those who are there? For me, I'd rather hear the straight sh*t from the bloggers.

Yes, because the embeds aren't at all saturated by a pro-American military environment, while the Zogby filters are self-evidently skewed by being "bought and paid for by an anonymous anti-war activist". [After all, is it not the case that the report is unbalanced because the "man on the street" interviews can be easily and horribly skewed...?] Seriously, do you actually pay attention to what you type, or is it directly forwarded by your hindbrain?

PPS: And now, due either to the alcohol or because I've just read almost a year of Charles' comments, I need to go vomit. Happy Saturday, y'all.

PPPS: While I'm praying to the porcelain god, I invite y'all to take a stroll through the wayback machine and marvel at how everything -- and I do mean basically everything -- Charles predicted about Iraq was wrong. With one major exception: he jumped on the Fire Rumsfeld bandwagon about a year before his conservative brethren and about two years after his liberal kin. Toodles!

Possibly apropos is this NYTimes article

A PAINFUL measure of just how much Iraq has changed in the four years...

But to be fair and equitable about it, I'll take your comments more seriously when you start to criticizing posting rules violations made by your allies on the Left. Otherwise, you're just living the double standard.

1. My criticisms in comments towards Jesurgislac alone over the years make a liar out of you here. I can find plenty of others if you so desire.

2. Neither I, nor raj, nor Jesurgislac, nor all but five people here, have front-page posting privileges. If you do not understand why that requires you to uphold a higher standard, I don't think I can explain it to you.

3. Once again with "my allies on the Left." As if voting for Democrats at a period in history when the entire Republican party and its ideology is almost insufferably corrupt makes me a Leftist. No lie, no smear, no distortion so unreasonable that you won't let it leave your lips. But I bet you go to church this morning and show everyone how much you love Jesus, huh?

Anarch's post above should -- shoud, in a just world -- put to rest any lingering shred of Charles's credibility on any of these matters, but I'm sure, like a bad penny, he'll turn up again claiming that, whatever the zeitgeist is, he supported it all along.

Anarch, I love you, in a way that does not impose on any actual or hypothetical existing relationships nor actually mean anything.

And this:

Lastly, I hope that I can be in an ObWi thread without the chickenhawk meme being thrown around. May all three come to fruition.

Oh, brother . . . you have urged more and better and faster and more in this war from day one, with nary a tear shed over the deaths (and in fact constant speculation that things weren't really all that bad ), and when I once asked you what you were sacrificing in this war that you wanted so badly, you replied -- with, I assume, an absolutely straight face -- that you were sacrificing extra income, because the time you were spending cheerleading water-carrying fellating blogging could have been spent working.

You, Hugh Hewitt, Mark Steyn, the whole lot of you, all cowards masquerading as heroes. So don't come playing the wounded party now, pearls clutched and handkerchief fluttering because somebody implied that, if this surge is so necessary to fighting this existential threat -- so necessary that you wanted it nearly three years ago, but Bush Rumsfeld Bush wouldn't just listen to you -- then perhaps you should do some surging yourself.

Phil, I agree that Chas is way off in claiming that you have never called anyone out on 'your side' (and I recall when Chas suggested that you were lying about your past political history, so I can imagine how angry you are), but please pull back a bit.

Phil said: My criticisms in comments towards Jesurgislac alone over the years make a liar out of you here.

And I can verify that, if Charles doubts it.

Bruce Baugh: Anarch, I love you, in a way that does not impose on any actual or hypothetical existing relationships nor actually mean anything.

Seconded.

Charles: I can see why you don’t bother to post here much.

Charles: I can see why you don’t bother to post here much.

Yeah, there's nothing like quoting from the actual record of what he actually said that shows a consistent pattern of wrongheadedness to harsh his mellow now.

Oh, wait: you're saying it's bad and mean to quote CB?

Anarch didn't make up those quotes, you know.

Or are you saying that CB's own words, over the course of 3 years, are not an indication of what CB actually thought at the time? Then what would be?

Charles -- please note how you wrongly demonize the opposition here, instead of realizing that there are extremely sound military and political reasons why withdrawal is the right plan.

dm, don't you realize that I may possibly be demonizing myself? I must really be a self-hater. BTW, your link wasn't from TPM but from the wacko Raimondo site.

Odom told Biden what Biden wanted to hear, and Odom has advocated immediate withdrawal for years. He has his reasons, but unfortunately he was completely silent about what the aftermath of immediate withdrawal would look like. Apparently, to him, subjecting the Iraqi people to potentially increasing and escalating chaos and terrorism and sectarian war is not in America's interest. I fundamentally disagree with that assessment.

Charles -- can you please write substantive responses to efforts to engage the substance of what you say?

No -- I do not see any self-hating when you constantly demonize the withdrawal position as simply loser-defeatist; the position is based on sound logic which you constantly ignore in favor of ad hominem. As for the wacky Raimondo site, what I linked was the full written submission by Odom as part of his Congressional testimony which happens to be found there, and I was sourced to it by TPM's discussion of it (which is why I attribute it to them). The link has nothing to do with any opinion expresssed by Raimondo (which I don't read). Naturally, the link rather than substance becomes your focus of rebuttal.

I love this device: Odom told Biden what Biden wanted to hear, as opposed to actually writing one word about the substance of what Odom's says about the military wisdom of withdrawal.

If anything, this rhetorical game applies more to the adoption by Petraeus of Bush's plan. Petraeus is saying what Bush wants to hear -- it is obviously not his plan, although he has been tasked to implement it. As any good soldier does, once he has his marching orders, he marches forward in confidence. Good for him, but that is not an indiciation as to the alleged wisdom of something that is not Petraeus' plan. The plan itself is so obviously flawed in ways discussed above, which you ignore. Cheerleading again, best describes your posture.

Why is Petraeus such a model of virtue, and Odom just some hack? Because its convenient for you to think that way? Was Petraeus saying what right wingers wanted to hear when he testified how criticism of the current plan gives encouragement to the enemy?

You say, [Odom] was completely silent about what the aftermath of immediate withdrawal would look like. Uh, you did not read the link, obviously. And he is not calling for "immediate withdrawal" which is the cheap trick of the right in smearing withdrawal advocates everywhere.

Finally, you say, without apparent irony, subjecting the Iraqi people to potentially increasing and escalating chaos and terrorism and sectarian war is not in America's interest. Uh, that was the argument made in 2002-2003 as to why we should not invade since that was the predictable outcome of invasion and occupation. You would think by now that you would realize that this bad result is a byproduct of invasion which, having destabilized everything, we are now powerless to prevent.

There is certainly nothing wrong with pointing out earlier quotes. I’m saying that the tone throughout this thread is just this side of nasty. It seems more personal than normal if that makes any sense at all.

Don't think anybody has linked to this Sadly, No post on Malkin: ouch.

OCSteve, that's meta and where there's meta, there TiO.

It seems more personal than normal if that makes any sense at all.

It does, and I do know what you mean, but CB posts stuff that is, how shall I say this politely, erroneous.

When he's presenting facts, he's presenting incomplete or erroneous facts.

When he's presenting quotes, or referring to quotes, they're incomplete quotes, or out of context, in ways that distort the cite's meaning.

When he mentions his own past opinions and prognostications, he even gets that wrong.

He is a... not entirely reliable correspondent, and there's no way of telling if he is that way consciously, or is simply incapable of grasping the distinction between what he says is true and what is actually true.

The vehemence - the "tone" - is based on thinking it's the former, and the hope that, if presented with enough facts often enough, he'll eventually acknowledge them. If his critics, most of them, thought it was the latter, I doubt anyone would respond to him at all, since that's not a mindset amenable to communication.

I, for one, appreciate CB's posts.

Well, leaving the personalities out of it for once, I'm still waiting for Charles to address the question I posed way back at the top :

"If we've made no discernible progress by this November, I may just put myself in the defeatist camp and call for a phased drawdown."

Why should a "phased drawdown" - presumably the desired endgame of the whole Iraqi mission - be classed as a "defeatist" option? Unless you posit that the main end of our invasion/occupation was a permanent commitment of forces to the country (IMO, it is/was, but the Bush Administration has lied about this to the American public, as it has with most of its Iraq policy) - a "drawdown" of troops, if nothing else, out of harm's way, should be the desired goal.

Don't think anybody has linked to this Sadly, No post on Malkin: ouch.

A sample...

TIP: When you’re building up to your big ‘gotcha’ moment — i.e., the revelation that, like you’d said, either three or two or at least one of the four mosques that Jamil Hussein and the liberal MSM claimed were “burned” were, in fact, undamaged (or in your recent, less precise phrasing, “not destroyed”) — it’s better if you don’t go visit one and then attempt a revelatory camera pan on a firebombed mosque with a giant hole blown in it.

It's Jamil Hussein, of course, who is still the liar and Michelle Malkin will still get to go on TV

And while I'm in my policing mode "Chuckydoodle" is disrespectful, and unnecessary besides. The main instance of the chickenhawk argument came from Don Q, who has been banned for it before and has now been banned some more.

I am not particularly happy about "What a load of steaming crap, Robert", either: I think that people who post here should abide by the rules we set up for our commenters.

CaseyL- I enjoy Charles' posts. I don't argue with them because I think he'll respond to reason though. I argue to help the readers of the thread.

Anarch- Its too bad that Tacitus' archives got deleted. You could have debunked years more of self-serving disingenous corner turning arguements.

OCS: Yeah, getting exhaustively called on three years' worth of BS would tend to discourage a better man from continuing to subject himself to embarassment by posting more of the same.

It's not a function of knee-jerk leftist nastiness, much as Charles and the professional martyrs at Bizarro Worlders like to claim. It's that he consistently produces poorly thought out, intellectually dishonest garbage.

Hello, old friends.

OCSteve, your comment prodded me into reading through this thread (I was skimming it before).

Most of what I have in mind has already been posted by others. I just want to wish Charles well. I often find his writing irritating, provoking, even infuriating, but it does seem to initiate ObWi threads that are, for the most part, worth reading.

Anarch, one thing ... I first heard that line spoken by Anna Russell in the analysis of the Ring [from memory now...]

Hargan gives Siegfried a magic potion that makes him forget all about Brunhilde and fall in love with Gutrune Gibich. Who, by the way, is the only woman Siegfried has ever met who hasn't been his aunt. [long pause] I'm not making this up, you know.

And, here is a web link to prove it! [exits left]

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2569815,00.html

Well none of that sounds very positive. Brief summary: Maliki and Sadrist commanders in league with Iran, intending to sit out the surge across the border, come back tougher (and more loyal to Iran) than ever before.

Lastly, I hope that I can be in an ObWi thread without the chickenhawk meme being thrown around. May all three come to fruition.

Considering that you and your Red State buddies are a damn near perfect specimens of "chikenhawkry", it's doubt that it will ever come to fruition.

If the supporters of this war actually went and fought it, I would not have to read stories like this one: Two Year Old Boy Loses Father In War; Mother Scheduled To Return To Active Duty.


Sheesh, DonQ, you are really ruining Cervantes for me...

Byrningman: Resources seems like an appropriate term.

Sorry; responding to the post above you. As far as I can tell, Charles' `additional resources' are young men and women.

One thing I didn't read here sticks in my mind regarding the "new strategy."

After the execution of Saddam Hussein I heard a brief interview, I think it was with the Iraqi Interior Minister, who was present. He was defending himself, talking about how it was just moments (the shouting) and how he had no control over who was present.

So, here is a senior Iraqi government official admitting that his government cannot exclude Sadrists from a critical event inside the Green Zone, an event that was planned and executed (if we can believe so) by the Iraqi government, at the insistence of Prime Minister al-Malaki.

These are the people we rely upon to help the new strategy succeed? There is no chance.

As spartikus and bsr and others above point out, you are still carrying water for the administration. Your message is no different from the other water carriers out there.

It's just gotten harder to carry the water, and you have to concede more to administration critics. But this is just more of the same. I wonder where you and the other water-carriers will be 6 months from now. Talk about dead enders.

The Zogby poll may very well report innaccurately high levels of opposition to the surge, disapproval of Bush's leadership and disaffection from the war itself, but the no one has made that case about the Military Times poll. I can't quote the Military Times poll exactly because, when I tried to print the article so I could reference it, my printer went nuts. Anyway the results showed that the opinions expressed by the polled soldiers (mostly officers) were nearly as negative across the board as the general public. Nearly half of the soldiers did't believe that the war was justified at all.
What this means is that opposition to the war itself ( saying that we shouldn't have invaded in the first place)is somewhere between the Military Times poll results of 47% and the Zogby results which was up in the 70's, I think.
Charles, that is a lot of opposition. Soldiers are trained to support the mission and to have an optimistic outlook about their assignnments. I don't mean in a mindless jingoistic way. It's more an esprit de corps thing. A "can do" attitude is promoted. To have nearly half, or more likely, a little over half of the soldiers in Iraq answering "No" to a polling question that asks if we should have invaded in the first place is very striking.
In other words I don't think that people who want to keep fighting can site support from the soldiers for the war as an argument for their side.

It's interesting that Charles was apparently in willing to come into the Agora to defend any of his wacky theses.

Typical.

"in willing" = unwilling

Jes, you are not accurately characterizing the Mystery Pollster's concerns, which are not just political but go to methodology and process.

You're preferring anecdote above data - anecdotes which give you the information you prefer.

No, I'm preferring anecdote to questionably obtained data, particularly since there is no assurance that the sample was representative.

In light of these remarks, Charles, might I suggest you suck it?

No, Anarch, and all the more "no" because of your incivility. You should've been less drunk and less angry in your research. In none of those snippets did I say that Iraq has turned the corner, which is what Katherine had mistakenly accused me of saying a dozen times over. Beyond that, I have no idea what you were trying to prove, other than that your opinion differs from mine. You can be assured that I was already well aware of that.

...you are willing to bend over backwards to give the current administration the benefit of the doubt, which in turn requires you to label anyone who was more suspicious...

Not true, LJ. If I'm giving anyone the benefit of the doubt it's Petraeus, not the administration.

...but if you wrote 33 instead of 3, I'm wondering how you can suggest that you 'called for' the resignation of Rummy in 2004.

It was 33 months ago when I began calling for a proper COIN strategy, which did happen but only in fits and spurts at best. My Road to Haditha piece touches on the issue some. It was around November 2004 or not long after when I started writing that Rumsfeld should have left the same time as Powell.

...can you please write substantive responses to efforts to engage the substance of what you say?

Taking Odom to task for not addressing the aftermath of immediate withdrawal is not a substantive response, dm? C'mon.

I think that people who post here should abide by the rules we set up for our commenters.

We don't disagree, Hil. As you may have gathered, I'm not particularly happy with what Robert wrote, so I penned a strong opinion, but it was an opinion of the comment, not the commenter, which is not a violation of the posting rules, last I checked. Yet you are willing to let pass (so far) a commenter who said that I wrote "intellectually dishonest garbage". It seems that at the very least you would demand that the commenter either back up his "intellectually dishonest" assertion or, if not, to apologize and retract, if intellectual integrity is indeed the coin of the realm in this place. But that's just me.

My criticisms in comments towards Jesurgislac alone over the years make a liar out of you here.

OK, Phil, I stand corrected on what I said. My mistake and my apologies. I won't answer the rest of your comments (including you calling me a liar) because you're basically just angrily and irrationally lashing out.

...and I recall when Chas suggested that you were lying about your past political history, so I can imagine how angry you are...

Not true, LJ. I didn't accuse Phil of lying. I had referred to Phil as a liberal and he took umbrage. I have not called him a liberal since, although admittedly I came close when I mentioned his "liberal allies", although he does have allies on this thread who happen to be liberal. But, to be on the safe side, I'll take that back.

I do not see any self-hating when you constantly demonize the withdrawal position as simply loser-defeatist

I dropped the "loser" part months ago, dm, because Gary convinced me that it was redundant and unhelpful. I stand by the term "defeatist", by its very definition. If a person concludes that Iraq is "irretrievably lost", then a different mindset and different prescriptions will follow. Since the mission is perceived as irreparably failed, logic must dictate that the next best course is to get troops out, hopefully with an eye toward minimizing the ensuing damage as much as possible and minimizing putting more troops at risk. Sorry, but I'm not there, but I'm closer to that position today than I was a year ago.

Jes, you are not accurately characterizing the Mystery Pollster's concerns

And then you go on to characterize them exactly as Jes did.

No, I'm preferring anecdote to questionably obtained data, particularly since there is no assurance that the sample was representative.

That they may be questionably obtained anecdotes probably hasn't occurred to you. Why oh why won't Michelle Malkin release her methodology!

Charles: No, I'm preferring anecdote to questionably obtained data, particularly since there is no assurance that the sample was representative.

So, as I said: you're preferring anecdote to data. Your claim that the data was "questionably obtained" is itself questionable: and your preference for pro-war anecdote makes your protest that you don't know if the data sample was representative almost funny, but certainly not worth paying attention to.

Jes, you are not accurately characterizing the Mystery Pollster's concerns, which are not just political but go to methodology and process.

Mystery Pollster raises appropriate questions about methodology and process, and then assumes negative answers to those questions for political reasons.

John Bolton: "The United States has no strategic interest in the fact that there's one Iraq, or three Iraqs," he was quoted as saying. "We have a strategic interest in the fact of ensuring that what emerges is not a state in complete collapse, which could become a refuge for terrorists or a terrorist state."

Taking Odom to task for not addressing the aftermath of immediate withdrawal is not a substantive response, dm? C'mon.

Repeating the false slur that Odom advocates "immediate withdrawal" as part of your defense that you are discussing substance? C'mon.

And Odom does address the effects of withdrawal. As many others have also said, major players are sitting on the sidelines doing little precisely because we are insistent on staying and not providing them any realistic means to participate. Odom expects a policy of phased withdrawal to require them to have a role in keeping things stable since so many others have a stake in not letting Iraq spiral out of control.

Our ongoing presence is a destabilizing force and will not make things better -- it is not lessening the problem of what will happen when we finally withdraw. Also, it only puts off the day of reckoning -- frankly, your view of how to prevent the consequences of withdrawal is to never withdraw. The view that this problem (what happens after withdrawal) will go away if we just stay longer has no basis in reality.

Gregory Djerejian:

Indeed, we appear to be edging towards creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy here, one perilously close to flirting with open conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Tick tick tick:

Vice President Cheney said the deployment this month of a second aircraft-carrier task force to the Persian Gulf delivered a "strong signal" of the United States' commitment to confront Iran's growing influence in the region.

CB, I think you make some reasonable points in your 11:50, but please see here for why people resist "defeatist".

And the clock continues:

Deeply distrustful of Iran, President Bush said Monday "we will respond firmly" if Tehran escalates its military actions in Iraq and threatens American forces or Iraqi citizens.

Charles Bird: No, Anarch, and all the more "no" because of your incivility.

By all means lecture me on civility. I haven't had a good laugh in ages.

In none of those snippets did I say that Iraq has turned the corner, which is what Katherine had mistakenly accused me of saying a dozen times over.

You didn't use those exact words, no. You did, however, repeatedly express that sentiment. Not all the citations bear witness to that fact, of course, because -- as I explicitly stated -- I simply pulled up everything you had said about the future of Iraq (and a few other choice remarks too tempting to resist) from the first 10 pages of that Google search. If you have a more complete or even representative sampling of your remarks at the ready, by all means post them. I can't imagine they'll be much different.

Beyond that, I have no idea what you were trying to prove, other than that your opinion differs from mine.

Opinions on the shape of the earth differ, I've no doubt. If you need an idea of what I was trying to prove, however, let's start with the fact that you've been wrong about damn near everything when it comes to Iraq. One would think that this would cause you some modicum of reflection, some reassessment of those "opinions", some realization that this isn't post-modern bullshit where all opinions are equally valid simply by virtue of them being opinions.

One would apparently be wrong, but one is unwilling to give up hope just yet.

Anarch: 'One would think that this would cause you some modicum of reflection, some reassessment of those "opinions"'

Why the scare-quotes? And hasn't CB's position shown reassessment? And note that CB defends himself against "wrong about damn near everything" above here. I don't agree with him on much, but it's not "shape of the earth"-worthy.

Charles, I don't want to rehash the shape of your comments past, as that is not going to be helpful. (and as a sidenote, TiO seems to be down. I'm not sure why, and I'm not sure if there is anything to do about it)

I'd just like you to point out in this post where you think there is any acknowledgement, not that you were wrong, but that some of your critics here were correct in their points over the past 33 months. It's not that your position hasn't, as rilkefan notes, shown reassessment, it is that it doesn't seem to acknowledge that concerns that you dismissed or ignored were actually appropriate. I would also point out that the fact that people here engage your arguments rather than studiously ignore them (*cough* Redstate *cough*) suggests that your viewpoints have a lot more in common with people here than you care to admit.

Oh, I should note that you say 'we don't disagree hilzoy', in the comments, but that only comes after hilzoy has to pen a rather long and, by hilzoyian standards, sharp response. Looking at the post itself, I do not see a reference to any notion that concerns raised by anyone affected your viewpoint.

What a load of steaming crap, Robert

What a load of steaming crap yourself, Charles.

This kind of self-serving nonsense is the reason no one takes you seriously. Choke on it.

Brookings Institute's 140 page report, Things Fall Apart: Containing the Spillover
From an Iraqi Civil War

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