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September 14, 2007


This tactic loosely follows the advice, "When you're getting run out of town on a rail, get in front and make it look like a parade."

(I'm not sure if this is a Mark Twain quote.)

There's a report in the LA Times about a recently conducted poll which found over 1 million dead in Iraq--


I haven't seen any more details, but if this is true, the Lancet report last year was, if anything, a little conservative.

"In the life of all free nations, there come moments that decide the direction of a country and reveal the character of its people. We are now at such a moment."

Here, for once, I agree completely. We have had clear evidence that our policy in Iraq is unworkable for some time.

Yes evidence of someone who never really supported the troops and doesn't care if they win or lose. Someone who wants to belittle their sacrifice and turn tail and run. A pessimist.

Someone who has constantly undermined the troops and actively worked to ensure the failure of their mission.

The evidence is damning.

Wow. major posting rules violation, and I will be polite and assume you care.

grun - I feel the good within you, let go of your hate.

Oh, I thought grun was referring to the President!

Oh, I thought grun was referring to the President!

That was my first thought too; that interpretation would actually comport with the facts.

But then, DNFTT.

I always get confused at this part

"Someone who has constantly undermined the troops and actively worked to ensure the failure of their mission."

The Prez has complete control over the mission. He has gotten every dime he asked for, every general he wanted confirmed, every ambassador, every policy, and yet the mission HAS failed, and somehow that is the fault of the people who opposed the President with words only, no power to change one.single.thing?

It must be some kind of mind control think.


The Prez has complete control over the mission. He has gotten every dime he asked for, every general he wanted confirmed, every ambassador, every policy, and yet the mission HAS failed, and somehow that is the fault of the people who opposed the President with words only, no power to change one.single.thing?

You have no idea how many compromises have been made because of people like Hilzoy. Even the number of troops and the ROE was affected in order to try and get everyone on board. Bush was wrong to compromise on those types of issues.

People who have fought so hard against this President have only emboldened the enemy. There is room for dissent in this country, but the enemy is constantly playing on it.

They have constantly hoped for a political defeat of Bush that could allow them to claim a military victory in Iraq.

Hilzoy has consistently worked to help them achieve that goal.

Don't believe me, believe OBL's scolding of the Democrats for not doing his bidding in the recent tape!

OMG! I have to believe OBL now?

No, I don't think so. Neither OBL nor GWB.

If compromises were made, they were made with Republicans, not Democrats. Democrats had no voice in the prosecution of this war. As for numbers of troops, Bush decided he didn't need to follow his own generals. He replaced them with generals who would say what he wanted to hear. Generals who would echo Rumsfeld "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had" or whatever bs he actually said. Blaming that on Democrats requires a massive infusion of denial.

Hilzoy is one of the true bright lights out here in the world, Grun. You've been drinking too much koolaid. Read her more, and whoever else you've been reading less.


people like hilzoy. yeah, that's the problem.

you know, grun, you really are on drugs.

remember, your boy bush doesn't listen to the polls. he's the decider. he does what's right, not what's popular.

and he has totally ignored people like hilzoy for the last seven years.

indeed, as more and more of the country has become "people like hilzoy", e.g. the majority of the country who now think we should begin a phased withdrawal, your boy bush has sworn to ignore them, too.

this war, this failure, this loss, is all your baby. you and bush had every liberty, every permission, every resource at your disposal. no one stood in your way.

bush is and was a loser, and every venture he has ever touched turns to...the opposite of gold. and so he always runs away so that someone else can pick up the pieces--get him out of bankruptcy, get him out vietnam, get him out of losing an election, get him out of iraq.

he's paralyzed with fear and running out the clock. because he knows he can't blame it on anyone else: he owns this loss, for all time.

but of course, a few dupes like you will try to blame it on ordinary citizens expressing their opinions and being ignored by the people in power.

keep dreaming.

Who knew that Rumsfeld's vision of a lean, mean fighting force that wouldn't require many troops was Hilzoy's idea all along?

Great post, Hil.

That quote from Bush is actually the only part I saw (after the fact, online) and I had to stop it right there before I hurt my pretty new monitor.

My thought at the time and upon further reflection is pretty much: What the f--k to you mean "we", white man?

Whatever has been happening in Iraq, and what comes next has no reflection on this country or the character of its people. The rest of us left you and your 28%ers and your abomination of a war in the dust quite a while ago.

Bush's "moment of truth" is nothing but a bullshit soundbite in his vast narrative of lies—pretending to bring troops home, when all you are really doing (and not even committing any numbers, btw) is going back to the same unacceptable number of troops we had before this stupid surge. 2008 will end with the same amount of troops that 2006 did.

Last night's speech was the same as any of the other ones— continuing to fool 28% of the people each time, cow Congress into supporting you, and punt the ball down the field and expect the next President to deal with this mess.

is grun a brilliant spoof?

OCSteve: Petraeus' testimony provided cover for Bush to claim that "we're winning" (when every independent source shows otherwise). If Petraeus doesn't pipe up TODAY and say that that's not what he was saying, then this "honorable man" is as much of a liar as Colin Powell.

Do you still defend him?

"You have no idea how many compromises have been made because of people like Hilzoy."

Wow, and here I thought she was just a humble academic with a clever little sideline in blogging! OMG! Teh Awesome Power!!!

"You have no idea how many compromises have been made because of people like Hilzoy."

Wow, and here I thought she was just a humble academic with a clever little sideline in blogging! OMG! Teh Awesome Power!!!

Hi, bril.

Not unless bril has gotten over the addiction to long unsourced quotes.

KC: Check his/her contribution to the 'Bright Shining Lie' post. It's bril.

Jeff: If Petraeus doesn't pipe up TODAY and say that that's not what he was saying, then this "honorable man" is as much of a liar as Colin Powell.
Do you still defend him?

What – being one of the few token non-liberals hanging around I get called on demand to respond to threads I haven’t even been near? ;) OK then...

I’m not sure what you’re looking for. My defense of Petraeus was related to the sliming he was getting prior to testifying at all. But yes I still consider him an honorable man.

I didn’t watch or read every word of his testimony, but as I understand it:
-He has repeatedly said that the military can only do so much, it requires a political solution.
-He conceded that no real political progress has been made.
-He didn’t fudge on troop strength (“I have what we have—what the military could have.”)
-He didn’t commit to timeframes beyond the surge drawdown. (Won’t predict the pace of withdrawal beyond next summer.)

And that was in the House where they were much more interested in hearing the sound of their own voices than anything Petraeus had to say. In the Senate:
-Again refused to try to predict what things would look like next summer.
-Said he would be “hard pressed” to recommend continuing the strategy if things were the same next March.
-Said he didn’t know if what we are doing in Iraq makes America safer.

So it seems to me that he painted a pretty realistic picture. While claiming some progress I don’t think he painted too rosy of a picture. He refuses to make predictions beyond the end of the current surge, he admits that political progress is the key and that little/none has been made, he admits that we have all the troop strength that we are going to get, and finally said he would be hard pressed to recommend continuing on this path if things are about the same come March.

Again, I did not watch/read every word of his testimony, but I don’t see anything dishonorable in his testimony. It seems to me that he tried to put the best face on it while acknowledging the problems and not trying to sell anyone that more progress has been made than actually has. I certainly don’t think that he lied to Congress or betrayed anyone. So yes, I consider him to be an honorable man. He seems to be doing the best with what he has, and as long as he believes improvement is possible then he is not doing anything dishonorable in trying to do the job he was assigned as best he can.

But you seem to be saying that Bush overplayed his (Petraeus) testimony so Petraeus now has some kind of duty to call a press conference and say “That’s not what I said!” I don’t see much of that in Bush’s speech though.

In their testimony, these men made clear that our challenge in Iraq is formidable. Yet they concluded that conditions in Iraq are improving, that we are seizing the initiative from the enemy, and that the troop surge is working.

All true except for the very last part depending on what you think qualifies as “working”. If it’s improving the security situation OK, if it’s political reconciliation then not so much.

Throughout Iraq, too many citizens are being killed by terrorists and death squads. And for most Iraqis, the quality of life is far from where it should be. Yet General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker report that the success in Anbar is beginning to be replicated in other parts of the country.

I think that’s probably true. Too many citizens killed and quality of life certainly. On the rest “beginning” is a pretty squishy word.

According to General Petraeus and a panel chaired by retired General Jim Jones, the Iraqi army is becoming more capable, although there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve the national police.

That meshes with what I’ve read here and elsewhere.

Because of this success, General Petraeus believes we have now reached the point where we can maintain our security gains with fewer American forces.

You can argue this is inevitable and it’s taking credit for something that’s going to happen anyway. But for it to be somehow bad you’d have to show me that Petraeus does not actually believe that.

General Petraeus also recommends that in December, we begin transitioning to the next phase of our strategy in Iraq.

I believe this is factual.

I have benefited from their advice, and I have accepted General Petraeus’s recommendations. I have directed General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to update their joint campaign plan for Iraq, so we can adjust our military and civilian resources accordingly.

“benefited from their advice” is doubtful, but those are Bush’s words. The rest appears to be true.

And I ask you to join me in supporting the recommendations General Petraeus has made and the troop levels he has asked for.

That’s a plea, nothing to disprove.

That is every single mention of Petraeus in the transcript of Bush’s speech. None of those statements seem like something Petraeus needs to disavow or refute. The rest, especially “return on success” is all Bush.

Standard disclaimer: I did not support the surge, I’m for full withdrawal now, blah, blah. Oh, and I thought Bush’s speech sucked last night. Good thing CSI was a rerun or I really would have been steamed.

for those who can get it, i would recommend taking a look at bob keeler's op-ed piece in newsday today. not being all that computer literate, i would guess it can be found at www.newsday.com. mr. keeler notes the proposition that general petraeus is an honorable soldier simply doing his job as he was directed from his superior, the commander in chief. from this vantage point, it is hard to criticize petraeus from a personal standpoint. his choice would appear to be to do his job or resign. he obviously feels he would be of greater value to the country by doing his job. on the other hand, there are no such nice words for our president, nor will i try to think of any...

People who have fought so hard against this President have only emboldened the enemy.

OK I've just gotta ask: embolden them to do what? Do you think Al-Q has been holding back? I can see the conversation now -

"OK Ali, we have the bombs ready to be put in place"
"You know, Ackbar, I've been thinking is this whole war on the infidels really worth it, nothing seems to be happening"
"But did you see that Nancy Pelosi said at a fundraiser in Topeka yesterday?"
"No the dog ate my copy of the Kansas City Star"
"Oh then look at mine, see she just said that Bush is an incompetitent fool"
"Praise be to alla, send out the bombs!"

Not to belabor a point - there is doing your job, and then there is participating in the politics and policy surrounding your job. If you're gonna do the second, you'd best get prepared to have your integrity impugned.


Bye bye, Grun/12LL/billb.

Stepping into the pork stew of life, gives us more grist for our philosophic mill. The Nazi numbskulls (Boener, Leiberman, Cheney, et al..), play their parts well. My only salient reaction was, “What the hell did minimally educated peckerheads see in these people that clearly isn’t there?” We live with the pain of our choices. We stigmatize those around us, in refutation of the fact that these are choices we have made. Drug enhanced paranoia as well as religion, is a part of the diagnostic paradigm. I am always fascinated how isolated some people become after their teenage years. What happens is a process of faulty thinking being confirmed because critical thinking doesn’t get presented to a information starved public. Rather we hold these ideas out to the little rodent of our psyches which runs the mobius wheel of our egos. One of the most common statements mentioned by neighbors after they pull the bullet riddled body of the sniper from the top of the water tower, “He was a good neighbor, though I never talked to him, he seemed to keep to himself. He kept his lawn mowed. He put a flag out on 4th of July. I guess he loved his mother.” But there’s plenty of culpability to go around. Remember, the only sin committed by the protagonist in Camus’ “The Stranger,” was indifference.

apropos of nothing...

i just saw a blurb posted on the times that alberto gonzalez has made his farewell to the justice department. in the course of his remarks, he has been quoted as saying, "Every time I see a glimmer of the evil men can do, I see the defenders of liberty, truth and justice who stand ready to fight it".

may i suggest that he sees those men because he is looking over his shoulder....

hilzoy, I am of two minds about the departure (forced) of bril, grun, whomever.

On the one hand, they have nothing constructive to add to the conversation, and what they do present is done in the most obnoxious manner possible.

However, I think it is important to realize that they represent approximately 25% of our country's population and what they represent influences the country far outside of what their representation deserves.

Perhaps we need to keep them in front of us to realize what is out there and to really understand what the other 75% faces.

john miller: You and I agree more often than not – but I think that your 25% is way too high here. S/he is no more representative of 25% of the right than Sean Penn or Cindy Sheehan or commenters on HuffPo wishing Tony Snow a painful death by cancer represent 25% of the left. All the same thing to me. If I took it seriously I’d be first in line to defend Hilzoy. But I don’t pay it any more attention than over the top HuffPo/Kos/DU commentors. Static.

What made my ears perk up was Petraeus' remark that the goals of the occupation as presently formulated, included an Iraqi military with functional medical and logistical infrastructure. Any guesses how long it takes the headless to learn to walk?

John: I go backwards and forwards on my reaction to being accused of wanting OBL to win, hating the troops, etc. If I took it fully seriously, I would seriously consider challenging people who say that to a duel. I mean: taken seriously, it's a very, very serious charge that I would regard as -- I don't know -- a deep, deep slander. Sort of like being accused of being a child molester.

Now: I don't take it seriously. But my reaction wavers between 'ha ha ha' and 'who on earth are you, to be throwing charges around like that with so little thought?' Sometimes it's one, sometimes the other. Today, I am sort of sleep-deprived, and I just wasn't in the mood.

George F. Will hates America.

While I believe you raise an interesting point, John, I think hilzoy is in the right here. Those posts showed no evidence of an attempt to engage in debate, it was simple flame throwing. Whatever they represent, I fail to see how leaving them around to toss rhetorical darts that attempt to make up in venom what they lack in factual basis adds any value to the discussion.

And, for the record, it would be difficult for me to imagine someone who supports the troops more than hilzoy, just in case the troll is still hanging about.

G'Kar is emboldening the enemy.

Having said that, in case G'Kar is ever homesick for news of Colorado, my local tv news is, as it is each end-of-summer, just now agog with non-stop coverage of the bears who have wandered into town (Boulder), and onto elementary school grounds; much advice on what to do if you run into a bear is naturally included.

I've grown to prefer this annual seasonal news to the yearly bubonic plague reports.

Incidentally, G'Kar, I dunno if you ever get a chance to relax and watch a DVD, but if you do, I wonder if you've had a chance to see any of Heroes yet? I think you might like it, but would be curious, when or if you should get a chance. Ditto the recent JMS double-mini-movie DVD, which I think I may have asked you about before, but manage to forget just now.

Alternately, seen any other decent movies/tv in recent times? Or is it all Centurai and internet, in between vouching for traitors to America? :-)

Gary: It's all due to my awesome will-sapping, troop-undermining, bin Laden-enabling skillz.

(Thanks, GKar.)

much advice on what to do if you run into a bear is naturally included

I've heard they're tasty, but I think they've heard the same thing about me. I think I don't want to find out either way, at least not from a chance meeting.

I won't miss grun, either.


I'm afraid I have seen nothing new in quite some time. Mrs. G'Kar has the new B5, but I don't expect to see it until I get back to B5 myself for some R&R.


No thanks are necessary.

john miller: You and I agree more often than not – but I think that your 25% is way too high here. S/he is no more representative of 25% of the right than Sean Penn or Cindy Sheehan or commenters on HuffPo wishing Tony Snow a painful death by cancer represent 25% of the left.

I disagree with this completely. The things the late unlamented grun said are no different from what, say, Sean Hannity says every night on FOX News, and certainly they command a pretty hefty market share. Or from what Ann Coulter says when she's invited to give keynote speeches at RNC events, which I understand are pretty well attended.

It's fun to play at "both sides do it," but that's the stance of cynicism for cynicism's sake, not a serious examination of things.

The speech from the "36 nations with troops on the grownd" to the "al-Ambar province is more secure", was an insult to the intelligence of people.

This man is as dishonest as ever. In fact he is getting worst. Now I know why he was trying to hide behind Gen. Petraeus. The man simply comes across a delusional serial liar.

What 36 nations Mr. Bush??? How can you talk about a "secure" al-Ambar just hours after the Sunni Leader in al Ambar is blown to bits just outside his house???
And I can go on, and on with misrepresentations, exagerations, self serving remarks, and out right lies.

One thing is certain, The speech was written for an audience with the IQ of a tomato. This speech in fact could have been written at any time in the last 4 years, for the words are exactly the same. We are making progress, things are better, we are winning, the Iraqi Democracy, the Iraqi Army will stand up, and on and on.

There most be a limit to partisanship Republicans. The question here is what is yours???? How can you still believe that a man that has been wrong so many times demonstrably, can now be right if he is just re-cycling words???

What is it with you? NOW WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS you say!!! Well excuse me, but what about the so called "progress" this same liar kept on talking about trough 4 1/2 years???? Where did all that talk of "progress" go????? to still another moment of progress, that's where!!!! Hey, the guy is going to "progress us" all the way to the end of his presidency!!!

Excuse me but I for one am not stupid. And beeing a partisan dear Republicans does not mean you are supposed to live your brain at the door. This "progress" thing going on for five years now, is nothing but a cheap con-job pushed by a clown with a big sign that reads LIAR --- And you still believe it Republicans!!!

Pathetic, and tragic.

gil: two points. First, one of our rules here is that we try not to make generalizations about 'Republicans' and 'Democrats', but to focus on specific individuals, or on groups for whom the generalization is clearly true. Thus, "And you still believe it, people who believe Bush!" works; "Republicans" does not, since a lot of Republicans actually don't believe him at all.

Second, Spencer Ackerman, whom I'd call 'Spackerman' if I was in the in crowd ;), has actually figured out which countries are supposed to be the 36. I'm going to excerpt this, since I think it's so funny:

"According to a National Security Council official, our tally of 34 was slightly off. We had been including the U.S. as a contributor to MNF-I, and we had forgotten the island nation of Tonga. Additionally, the White House relied on two other nations contributing forces to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq -- Canada and New Zealand -- in addition to the Figians. So there you have it: 26 in MNF-I; seven in the Nato non-combat force; and three guarding UNAMI. Thirty-six!

Only... not. First, Canada withdrew its single soldier to UNAMI in June. (New Zealand does contribute its own soldier -- that's soldier, singular -- to UNAMI, along with, one hopes, bootleg DVDs of Flight of the Conchords.) Second, the aforementioned CRS report (pdf) notes that Tonga has withdrawn its force from Iraq; and, accordingly, MNF-I no longer includes Tonga on its list of coalition members. Additionally, globalsecurity.org isn't sure whether Hungary has anyone in Iraq as part of the Nato force. (No one's answering the phones at the Hungarian embassy in Washington, either.) And, lest we forget, Iceland is sending its press aide -- apparently not really a soldier -- home from Baghdad on October 1."

I love counting single soldiers from NZ and Iceland. I just love it.

I especially love the inclusion of all those states that have a smaller dry territory than the area of many a major city (e.g. all of Micronesia equals just Berlin) or that could sent their complete army (not to say population) and would still be fewer than the city police force of the same.

long with, one hopes, bootleg DVDs of Flight of the Conchords...

Woo! FOTC rock!

Clark endorses HRC.

Oops, thought I deleted that handle from the auto-complete cache.

Well, knowing the Clark endorses HRC would certainly make me cranky.


Fair point you make about my Republican generalization. We all know there's plenty of Republicans represented by Leaders such as Senators Chuck Hagel (R Neb), Jhon Warner (R Virginia), Norm Colleman (R-Min), Susan Collins (R-Maine) to name just a few. We also should understand that so far none of these Republican leaders have been brave enough to follow their convictions with their vote.

That's why I generalize when talking about Republicans. In the end, it is clear to me that the Republican Party has made the desicion to support Bush's policies, and take that to the voters in 2008. Big mistake in my opinion, but in this case the Republicans are only beeing themselves.

The Republican party's streght has allways been discipline from the top down. This un-braking discipline has served them well many times in the past in defeating the undisciplined, free wheeling, and some will say spine-less Democrats. This very real strenght however has been turned on it's head by Bush's leadership, and now the Republicans march helplessly to the abyss in lock step following an idiot leader they elected, and can't say no to, because they are about discipline first and foremost.

MY on Clark.

I looked up the Dutch contribution to Iraq. Our MinDef has a list of soldiers eployed outside of the Netherlands and there are actually 7 in Iraq.

Though, in all fairness, we are 20 times as small as the US so to compare I always multiply. Which makes it an overwhelming 140.

I looked a bit further and saw that in their stats we had a total of 7568 soldiers in Iraq, but we rotate the troops after 4 or 6 months and cumulate the numbers.

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