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October 08, 2007

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War is Freedom.

War is Liberty.

War is Heroic.

What more do you want?

I immediately thought of asking Charles what he thought of the WaPo piece when I read it last night.

The specific question would be, Charles, what is it you believe the Americans can and should do to solve this problem, which is the relevant problem, and has been all along?

I think you missed the key quote:

"Reconciliation should be a result and not a goal by itself," he said. "You should create the atmosphere for correct relationships, and not wave slogans that 'I want to reconcile with you.' "

The mission now is to create the atmosphere for correct relationships. That should only take about 20 FUs, give or take.

And fourth, if so, why isn't everyone else as angry as I am?

Outrage fatigue. That and being completely isolated from the actual costs, human and otherwise, of the whole damn thing.

don't feel bad, hil; I'm as angry as you and 3x as pissy.

The answer to the second question: creating a modern version of this, to gratify a new emperor.....

Maybe be could help by having a "come up with a reason for our troops to remain in Iraq" contest?

Four and a half years in and the coalition of the willing have yet to manage the pacification of the capitol city, much less the rest of the country.
How stupid stubborn does one have to be to call that progress.

And fourth, if so, why isn't everyone else as angry as I am?

Because we knew they were lying in the first place, so none of this comes as a surprise.

why isn't everyone else as angry as I am?

what good will it do? we've been angry about this war for four fncking years, nothing has changed.

it feels like it's time to move on. political blogging is clearly not a viable way to affect change in Iraq policy.

Third, if no clear answer to my second set of questions is forthcoming, shouldn't we conclude that our soldiers and marines are over in Iraq risking their lives for nothing, on behalf of an administration that can't even be bothered to provide them with a coherent strategy?

Our soldiers and marines are in Iraq risking their lives as penance for our invasion thereof and subsequent perversion of our values. They will continue to suffer on our behalf until at least late 2009. At that time the party that forced brought said penance will blame the other party for betraying said soldiers.

And we think they live in an honor/shame culture.

I agree with Cleek. Obviously, nothing anyone has done has worked. We should therefore do something no one has done. I say we devote all our energies to the gay agenda of making everyone gay. Not only will the military be unable to find any acceptable recruits, but eventually there won't be any children, and then after a while no people at all. Truly, peace is on the horizon! Everyone jump in the GAY PILE!

why isn't everyone else as angry as I am?

For me, it's sorta like a Russian expression "Nichivo", translated loosely as "it doesn't matter". But to really appreciate the meaning of this expression, you need the following image:

The Tatars have swept through the village, killing and burning. They raped and murdered Ivan's wife and daughter, stole his cattle, burned his house, and rode off. Ivan creeps out of his hiding place in the woods, stands over the burning remains of his house, shrugs his shoulders sadly and turns away, saying "Nichivo".

That's pretty much the way I feel about the Bush Administration.

Nichivo.

I was in the Dollar General this evening, and at the register, available for purchase, were car magnets depicting a pair of dogtags and "Gone But Not Forgotten."

Apparently, there's a market for such.

Maybe that's why the idea that the present war is "for nothing" is so slow to sink in -- because it's such a monstrous thought, and so contrary to the hopes and fears of so many Americans, that if it really *DID* sink in, the rage would be immense.

First: Unfortunately, no.

Second: Running out the clock until Dubya leaves office, so the Republican pundits can say that the Democratic President lost the war.

Third: Yes

Fourth: Lots of us are, obviously, and I'm about at the point where I'm convinced that anyone who isn't is just an a**hole.

First, does the collapse of our major strategic goal in Iraq mean that our soldiers can come home?

No.

Second, if not, what exactly are they supposed to be accomplishing in Iraq?

Postponing even the beginning of any withdrawal to another president's term.


But don't worry, when that new president takes office, the rationalizations will be all fresh and different!

"The logistics are overwhelming -- it'll take three years minimum just to get all the equipment out." (Hey, Arnaud de Borchgrave says it, and Pat Lang agrees: it must be true. Tools.)

"We need a long-term presence to maintain regional stability/ prevent 'interference' from Iraq's neighbors."

Silly, silly hilzoy. You're relying on the stated purpose of the surge, that is you're first mistake.

The purpose of the surge was to keep Bush from having to withdraw troops and the 'stay the course' plan had worn out its welcome. And to that end it has been wildly successful.

Maybe that's why the idea that the present war is "for nothing" is so slow to sink in -- because it's such a monstrous thought, and so contrary to the hopes and fears of so many Americans, that if it really *DID* sink in, the rage would be immense.

Ya think?

That much has been clear since the summer of 2003.

It's the reason why so many people are still unwilling to tell the truth about Viet Nam -- that it was for nothing. Much better to believe it was for something, and we would have succeeded, if not for...

I'm angry. I'm trying to keep the anger focused where it might do some good. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm having trouble shaking off the small part of it that's focused on Hilzoy and Eric Martin and a lot of other good people like them, whose very goodness caused them to retain hopefulness and give the benefit of the doubt far longer than was wise.

Mike Schilling: I knew they were lying from the beginning too. Certain bits of anger came later: the astonishing realization that they had no plan whatsoever for the occupation took a few weeks after the statue came down, for instance. But I don't see why that prevents me from being angry still.

why isn't everyone else as angry as I am?

I think because not everyone else is as well-informed or as intelligent as you are.

More specifically, and more to the point as far as the voting-theory mathematics are concerned, enough people are not angry enough that enough Republican Congress-critters can effectively forestall any truly compelling Congressional action (which is historically shown to be very difficult in matters of war when the Congress and the Presidency are opposed).

Or as a buddy put it when relaying his family's views, "but they attacked us!"

Instead of reconciliation, they now stress alternative and perhaps more attainable goals: streamlining the government bureaucracy, placing experienced technocrats in positions of authority and improving the dismal record of providing basic services.

These are actually great goals. If we actually want to achieve something constructive in Iraq, we should just get behind this agenda.

Yes, it's all about power. It's politics and war.

It's not about reforming the middle east, it's not about ending terrorism forever, it's not about introducing Jeffersonian democracy to Iraq. Those were *our* goals.

Iraqi's goals appear to be sorting out the power relationships between the Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds, peacefully or otherwise. It's their country. The best thing we can do is help the process be peaceful.

Not sure if that is, remotely, possible anymore, but it's the only goal that makes sense, or that has a snowball's chance in hell of being accomplished.

Reconciliation should be a result and not a goal by itself," he said. "You should create the atmosphere for correct relationships, and not wave slogans that 'I want to reconcile with you.

Whoever said this, thank you.

All of this may sound like I, in some bizarre way, support our invasion of Iraq. I did not and do not.

What I'm trying to say here is, if we have any intentions of staying, our best chance of success will be in supporting goals that Iraqis actually want. It's their country.

If you're angry, that's great. Do something with it. Anger is an energy.

Thanks -

You damn sure aren't the only one angry, Hil. What is in store for Iraq? Nir Rosen nails it: "Think Mogadishu."

A #2 ranking is being kind; regardless, it's pretty much guaranteed that, barring some miraculous event, Iraq will be number one with a bullet on next year's Failed State Index.

The surge is and always was a pathetic public relations ploy, meant for domestic consumption. That it was never going to work was a given. Yet once again the US press corps bought--and shilled--the bullsh*t, despite Baker/Hamilton, despite the facts on the ground, despite fncking reality.

Right now, instead of worrying about whether "we" are "winning" (or even can "win"), the primary concern of the international community (including and especially the US) should be dealing with the missing benchmark. The one that the Bush admin doesn't want to admit exists because, as Rosen puts it, "for the U.S. to acknowledge the size and seriousness of the humanitarian disaster in Iraq would be to admit that the recent troop “surge” is not working": the largest population displacement in the Middle East since 1948. A situation, it should be noted, that poses a grave threat to the security and stability of the entire region.

One thing is certain: I don't want to ever read another g*ddamn post filled with a series of pretty little colour-coded graphs attempting to show how the surge just might be possibly working (as long as one forgets where the goal posts originally resided when the Kagan plan was initially adopted).

Again, read Rosen's most recent dispatch in its entirety. And weep.

why isn't everyone else as angry as I am?
I suspect the anger is there, but people also appreciate that logic and facts will have no impact on this Administration's actions. Bush'll keep doing the same sh*t to the very end, all in the name of passing this leaky bag on to the next (Democratic) President and Congress.

I'm saving my rage for the voting booth in 2008, at which time I'll vote straight Democratic and pray the Republicans don't take power again in my lifetime.

Mike Schilling: I knew they were lying from the beginning too. Certain bits of anger came later: the astonishing realization that they had no plan whatsoever for the occupation took a few weeks after the statue came down, for instance. But I don't see why that prevents me from being angry still.

I should have been clearer; I meant lying from the beginning of the surge. The 2006 election results forced some change to be made, and since withdrawing troops would be admitting a mistake (and would foul up their perfect record of doing the worst thing possible), the choice was made to add more. That's when I got mad.

That their stupid, hollow rationalization for that choice would shortly explode, and that by the time it did they'd have a half-dozen dumber ones ready was inevitable enough that I got mad at it back then too. The actual occurrance is an anti-climax.

To answer #4 (as others have): I believe that if I were as angry as you are - as angry as I often feel I ought to be - my 63-year-old (and well-used) body quite literally could not stand it. I would be in hospital, or worse.

Distancing, if not outright denial, is the best medicine.

Alas.

I'm saving my rage for the voting booth in 2008, at which time I'll vote straight Democratic

Is there any real indication that any political part currently within spitting distance of the Oval office is actually going to change anthing? I have lost much faith in the spineless wretches that call themselves Democrats.

I have nothing more to add, other than a link to last week's Non Sequitur cartoon. Sometime cartoons just hit the nail on the head.

Anger fatigue too.
And fully speaking my mind would be violating the posting rules (and the 8th amendement) enough for a dozen banninations.

This war does not personally touch most Americans. If you don't have a friend or relative in the war zone, it's all just headlines and babble. Since there was no increase in taxes to pay for the war, the average person isn't financially inconvenienced by by the military budget bills. And most important, people's memories are so conveniently short that manufactured news and misrepresentations can be passed off as official statments without anyone noticing that B contradicts A.
The real danger comes when people start believing that their government is incapable of changing through lawful democratic process. "We elected the Democrats to change things, and they can't -- or won't-- do anything except talk." (An idea amplified by the Administration noise machine.)
Will this lead to the rise of a demagogue who promises to "get things done, because Congress can't"? Or mass demonstrations, with draconian repression to restore order? Or will the troops in the field finally decide, after their next combat extension, that they have been fooled long enough?

"And fourth, if so, why isn't everyone else as angry as I am?"

Well, to be honest I...ooOOOooh, Halo 3 pretty!

Here's a lovely development, unsurprising as it is:

Turkey took a step toward a military operation in Iraq on Tuesday, as its top political and military leaders issued a statement allowing troops to cross the Iraq border to eliminate separatist Kurdish rebel camps in the northern region.

1. No.

2. Running out the clock.

3. Yes.

4. Yes.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions. Tune in tomorrow when we answer the question "Is the sun a star?"

To clarify the answer to #4 above:

What's the point? Nobody who can do anything about it will do anything about it.

Welcome to hell, kid.

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