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http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/06/29/iraq.reserves.ap/index.html
June 29, 2004 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Army to recall former military members It is good to be too old! "The Army is preparing to notify about 5,600 retired and discharged soldiers who are not members of the National Guard or Reserve that they will be involuntarily recalled to active duty for possible service in Iraq or Afghanistan, Army officials said Tuesday."
posted by Postroad (136 comments total)

 
and another 5,600 people and their families decide not to vote Bush in November, joining many military families and vets.
posted by amberglow at 11:16 AM on June 29, 2004


Way to go, world community!
posted by techgnollogic at 11:17 AM on June 29, 2004


Hmm, discharged soldiers who serve less than 8 years are placed on the IRR. Don't quote me on that 8 year, I am working from memory here. I know frm my own experience that I did 4 yrs 2 mos of active duty and then had to be on the IRR lists for 3 yrs 10 mos, that is where I got the 8 from.
But retired ? I didn't think they were on it at all. 20 yrs exceeds the 8 by a wide margin.
posted by a3matrix at 11:20 AM on June 29, 2004


Why didn't they do this earlier, if they had no problem doing it for the first Gulf War in 1991?
posted by smackfu at 11:21 AM on June 29, 2004


Don't worry, they won't reinstate the draft.

...until after the election.
posted by spazzm at 11:23 AM on June 29, 2004


Any former enlisted soldier who did not serve at least eight years on active duty is in the Individual Ready Reserve pool, as are all officers who have not resigned their commission.

Maybe they're referring to "retired" officers, or maybe they're using "retired" sloppily.
posted by techgnollogic at 11:26 AM on June 29, 2004


a3matrix, you're right. It's those enlisted soldiers who didn't finish out their eight years and all officers who haven't resigned their commisions.
posted by djeo at 11:26 AM on June 29, 2004


So, officers who were honorably discharged / did their time don't "resign their commission", right?
posted by falconred at 11:29 AM on June 29, 2004


I think so, though it's not like they're dragging people out of the mothballs to police the streets of Baghdad.
posted by techgnollogic at 11:30 AM on June 29, 2004


techgnollogic: yes, you should definitely blame this on the rest of the world.
posted by bshort at 11:31 AM on June 29, 2004


Nah, why blame those who don't know any better?
posted by techgnollogic at 11:38 AM on June 29, 2004


Way to go, world community!

You broke it, you fix it.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:39 AM on June 29, 2004


Nah, why blame those who don't know any better?

I tried to take that stance about the U.S. populace but it just didn't hold. Thanks for the suggestion though.
posted by The God Complex at 11:43 AM on June 29, 2004


Way to go, world community!

Er, yeah, that's right, we are responsible for Pentagon/White House ''planning'' for a post war Iraq, the handover date, the so-called insurgency, the US election cycle dictating the order and pace of events... the list is endless!
posted by dash_slot- at 11:45 AM on June 29, 2004


Why don't we draft these guys/gals? I'm sure they'd be willing to pitch in so as not to inconvenience us USians any further in this nasty business. We might even remind the latter of those two about Diem Bien Phu and how we had to uhhh....clean....up....ummm.....afterwards.

On second thought, remember that it's never too late to make a second impression.
posted by m@ at 11:52 AM on June 29, 2004


yeah, i made a point of hanging on to that little "your 8 years are over...sure you don't want to re-up" postcard I got. Now I will have a few more months of freedom before the draft re-instatement.
posted by das_2099 at 11:53 AM on June 29, 2004


Nothing quite like a 114-degree-in-the-shade tent full of "old man stink"...
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:02 PM on June 29, 2004


If the world community didn't want to be assaulted, well, why were they dressed like that?
posted by soyjoy at 12:08 PM on June 29, 2004


dash_slot: aren't you from england?

The world community is not responsible for Iraq because they chose not to be bothered with participating in Iraq. I hope they're proud of themselves and their principled stances.
posted by techgnollogic at 12:12 PM on June 29, 2004


The world community is not responsible for Iraq because they chose not to be bothered with participating in Iraq. I hope they're proud of themselves and their principled stances.
I'm sure they are, they didn't engage in a war under false pretenses. Yay to the rest of the world. Feel free to enlist though technologic.
posted by substrate at 12:28 PM on June 29, 2004


I think we should call up these asshats for the war in Iraq. If they wanna drive a humvee so badly, let 'em do it on the front lines.
posted by junkbox at 12:28 PM on June 29, 2004


The world community is not responsible for Iraq because they chose not to be bothered with participating in Iraq.

The world community didn't choose not to be bothered, it was ignored by an administration with no respect for the world community.

I hope they're proud of themselves and their principled stances.

Good grief. If you're going to act like a prissy schoolmistress, the least you could do is stop defending the class bully.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:32 PM on June 29, 2004


Like Kerry will do anything differently.

*yawn*
posted by xmutex at 12:40 PM on June 29, 2004


Wait, I've got it!

Prison inmates! We can use prison inmates!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:49 PM on June 29, 2004


Not prison inmates!

Let's use the 101st Fighting Keyboarders instead!

The wind from the bloviating bastards will be mightier than any tornado and stink too!

How about it guys?
Fun in the sand and sun killing those swarthy terraists?
Free room and board, a rifle and all the ammo you can shoot!
What a deal!
Be a REAL patriot and defend "freedom!"

[Glenn Reynolds please report for duty]
[Steven Den Beste please advance to the nearest available slot]
[Little Green Snotballs, you're getting a medical bye. Sorry, just too damn crazy.]
posted by nofundy at 1:06 PM on June 29, 2004


Way to go, world community!
posted by jpoulos at 1:08 PM on June 29, 2004


The world community didn't choose not to be bothered, it was ignored by an administration with no respect for the world community.

So how the fuck did Moldova and Mongolia manage to send troops to Iraq?

Please explain to me how Germany and France and Russia REALLY REALLY empathized with the plight of the Iraqi people, and wanted to help out, but mean old Bush just wouldn't let them join the coalition...
posted by techgnollogic at 1:11 PM on June 29, 2004


Sorry nofundy, but Glenn is too old, Den Beste too corpulant.

Besides, it's simply a bad idea for anyone (from any side of the debate) to start talking about service being mandatory for war supporters. Do we really want to live in a world where the only people who should be listened to are warriors/fighters?

And furthermore, the last thing I would wish on the beloved Iraqi people is for them to come face-to-face with their 101st fighting keyboarding defenders.

As for techno, I do see a thin sliver of a good point in your argument, but I really laugh at anyone who thinks that the Bush team did even the minimum in building a real coalition. It simply wasn't part of the equation, the planners knew that in order to keep up domestic support for the war, they would need to move fast, and building a coalition for a war that most of the world thought was unneccessary, or not in their national interest, takes time, major effort , and big cuts of the profits. The thinking at the time was cakewalk, so why split anything?

And it's an utter fallacy to say that any country cares about the plight of people from another nation, when it comes to taking action. People launch wars for their own people, and what their interests are.
posted by chaz at 1:18 PM on June 29, 2004


technoillogic:
I'm still part of the world community. Also, T. Blair esq. ain't sending reinforcements anytime soon - the political situation here wouldn't stand it.

Basically, you are blaming the call up of reservists on the so-called World Community, who didn't sanction your war, right? Doesn't that kinda blow a hole in the 'Coalition of the Willing'? Why don't they pony up more troops?

Most europeans didn't suppport the war - why should they send troops? Most americans did - why shouldn't they?
posted by dash_slot- at 1:21 PM on June 29, 2004


Please explain to me how Germany and France and Russia REALLY REALLY empathized with the plight of the Iraqi people,

Have you read a newspaper in the last few years? We didn't invade because of the plight of the Iraqi people, we invaded because of the imminient threat of Saddam's Hussein's huge cache of WMDs. As it turns out, the case for this was utterly bogus, and any other country that joined the "coalition" under that understanding was misled by the US administration.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:24 PM on June 29, 2004


We've argued much of this before, but techno, please answer me this: if you sympathise with the plight of the iraqis sufficient to support a war for their liberation, are there any other oppressed peoples that you would support a coalition being assembled to liberate?
posted by dash_slot- at 1:31 PM on June 29, 2004


Argue all you want about whether or not we invaded for WMD or Oil or the Iraqi People or to kick-start legitimate reform in the middle east... France, Germany, and Russia didn't invade for any reason, and tried to stop anyone else from going in at all. Do not tell me that they "got left out" because Bush ignored or disrespected them - or were so offended that they held their toys and stayed home - which is even worse. If the war was unjust, then how did Bush err in not convincing them to participate? If it was just, then how did France, Germany, and Russia not err in not contributing to the cause?

We didn't go in because the Iraqis had it hard. People face hardship and oppression all over the world, and the United States invading their countries is not the universal solution to the worlds problems. Iraqis happened to live in an outlaw country run by a brutal, murderous dictator, a country that happened to arguably be the most dangerous, unstable, unpredictable country in the region, and an obvious obstacle to legitimate liberal reform of the middle east - a region bathed in hatred and misery and plagued by state-run hate- and victimology-preaching media and corrupt leadership, and the only region on earth producing by the thousands murderous terrorists bent on global destruction and oppression.

And bitch and moan all you want about what line of argument Bush used to justify the overthrow of Saddam, but let me know when you can predict what would've happened, and how much better it'd would've been, if Bush had declared post-9/11 that the problem with these Islamists won't go away until the middle east's princes and dictators were all replaced by freely-elected leaders and the freedoms of the peoples of the region were protected and appreciated, and you can promise me that said princes and dictators would've cooperated freely by deconstructing their pampered positions of power instead of - say - unifying the entire region against us.
posted by techgnollogic at 2:23 PM on June 29, 2004


IRR enlistment contracts are for eight years. You can be relieved of "active duty" (sometimes more than once) but for those eight years but you are still beholden to the IRR. Not to mention a lot of these guys perform(ed) in the high-tech capacity. So they will often collect $$ from their current company plus military pay as incentive. This happened plenty in the Gulf War. But if this trend transists toward a civilian draft in the next few years, it will hopefully spur voting people to insist on more diplomacy around the world instead of sending their loved ones off to neverending military engagements.
posted by dhoyt at 2:30 PM on June 29, 2004


techgnollogic: did you have a point, or was that just your stream of thought ? (it didn't seem to be relevant or to make a point ...)
posted by daveg at 2:41 PM on June 29, 2004


Instead of sending in vets, I'd send in Crips and Bloods, arm 'em to the teeth, and tell 'em it's their turf to rumble over if they can hold it against all comers. Then I'd pull out the Army and Marines.
posted by alumshubby at 2:54 PM on June 29, 2004


I'm certain all the 101st fighting keyboarders are running to the local recruitment office to help out with the war effort.
posted by skallas at 3:02 PM on June 29, 2004


Argue all you want about whether or not we invaded for WMD

There is no argument. It was the reason stated by the administration (multiple times) and put forward by Powell (bolstered by utterly bogus "intelligence") at the UN.

And bitch and moan all you want about what line of argument Bush used to justify the overthrow of Saddam, but let me know when you can predict what would've happened, and how much better it'd would've been, if Bush had declared post-9/11 that the problem with these Islamists

Iraq was a relatively secular state in the region. You might be the only person alive who knows even less about this subject than the President.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:06 PM on June 29, 2004


If the war was unjust, then how did Bush err in not convincing them to participate?

You didn't actually ask that, did you? Okay, I guess you did. The answer, Bush and Co. were too stupid to realize that other people in other parts of the world have other concerns. See, wasn't that simple? Makes perfect sense ... except that it leaves Americans holding the bag for electing a fricken idiot to the presidency (via the SCOTUS). Sucks to be us, I guess.

techgno-illogic, the worst form of argument is trading a hypothetical that has come to pass, for one which hasn't. I actually respect your fervent arguments, but I'm agog at the lunacy your present here, given the close ties that the Bush family money tree has to Saudi interests:

And bitch and moan all you want about what line of argument Bush used to justify the overthrow of Saddam, but let me know when you can predict what would've happened, and how much better it'd would've been, if Bush had declared post-9/11 that the problem with these Islamists won't go away until the middle east's princes and dictators were all replaced by freely-elected leaders and the freedoms of the peoples of the region were protected and appreciated, and you can promise me that said princes and dictators would've cooperated freely by deconstructing their pampered positions of power instead of - say - unifying the entire region against us.

Uhhmmm, I kinda predict that Bush would support the Saudi's, and keep their dictatorial asses in power, even while members of the Saud royal family fund Osama. Gee, isn't that what really happened? Why yes, it would be.

Wake up, man, you're living in a fantasy. And before we have to pay to send them into battle, screw that. these fuckers have shells already.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:09 PM on June 29, 2004


Boy oh boy am I glad that I didn't sign on that scary dotted line and serve my country because now they could have come back and served me with more time.

This is ridiculous.

And further evidence of George Bush's utter failure as a leader.

On Preview: What Wulfgar! said.
posted by fenriq at 3:21 PM on June 29, 2004


Please explain to me how Germany and France and Russia REALLY REALLY empathized with the plight of the Iraqi people, and wanted to help out, but mean old Bush just wouldn't let them join the coalition...

I've just worked out that you clearly think that the war in Iraq was the only logical option given the circumstances we found ourselves in in late 2002 (when the drums of war really began to beat.) - and that you think we all agrreed with that, but refused to send troops. That is the only way your statement makes any sense.

Trouble is - many of us thought that there were other options (we don't _have _ to reopen that debate, just acknowlege that there were differences of opinion). So your bewilderment, based as it is on a premise of "europeans agreed with the ends so they must agree our decision on the means: that is war", is not something I can help you with.

Also: what Wulfgar! & Armitage said.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:24 PM on June 29, 2004


What doesn't make sense is calling the war unjust, but then blaming Bush for failing to enlist the help of countries that wanted no part of it. How can you fault Bush for not convincing some country to help him fight an unjust war?

The only way the argument "Bush screwed up the diplomacy and coalition-building" makes any sense whatsoever is if you either believe the war is just, but Bush was too arrogant in enlisting partners (In which case you have to explain how those unenlisted partners get to justify sitting out a just and necessary war because George W. Bush was sort of a prick to them or whatever) or you believe that the war was unjust, but Bush still screwed up his diplomacy by not tricking more countries into helping fight it because now the situation just sucks and still needs partners and we'd have been better off with a multilateral effort yada yada yada - in which case you should be criticizing the anti-war crowd for failing to see the inevitability of the war and encouraging more countries to successfully fight a war that they couldn't prevent, instead of wasting all that time protesting. In either case, it doesn't make any sense since the war started to criticize Bush's coalition building skills but NOT demand that the non-participating world community grow up or get over their bruised egos and start contributing to the future of Iraq.
posted by techgnollogic at 3:57 PM on June 29, 2004


That's too simplistic, techgnollogic. One does not have to agree with Bush's stated goals in order to observe his incompetence in achieving them. The war is unjust, and Bush did a bad job prosecuting it. These are independent observations.

In either case, it doesn't make any sense since the war started to criticize Bush's coalition building skills but NOT demand that the non-participating world community grow up or get over their bruised egos and start contributing to the future of Iraq.

I don't know what you mean by "grow up" here. Declining to invade a foreign country that has caused you no harm and poses no threat to you or anyone else sounds like good adult sense to me. And how, pray tell, is anyone supposed to contribute to the future of Iraq when the U.S. runs the place and has awarded all the contracts to U.S. corporations?
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:23 PM on June 29, 2004


in which case you should be criticizing the anti-war crowd for failing to see the inevitability of the war and encouraging more countries to successfully fight a war that they couldn't prevent, instead of wasting all that time protesting.

If you can't stop your friend doing something really stupid, you think the only logical thing left is help him do it? Brilliant. Geopolitics as practiced by five-year-olds.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:28 PM on June 29, 2004


I hope they're proud of themselves and their principled stances.

I am immensely proud that Canada told George Bush to shove it up his ass when he came asking for help in his unlawful, ill-advised war, technollogic. Would that the international community had declared war on America in turn -- I'd have flown back to North America and taken up arms, whistling a jaunty wartime yankee-killing tune, by gum.

[The above was hyperbolic comedy. I would not actually enjoy making war on Americans, although there are a fair few I'd take great pleasure in slapping upside the head. I offer this free footnote as a service to the terminally stupid. Void where prohibited by blind patriotism.]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:36 PM on June 29, 2004


... I hear the US has WMDs...
posted by Space Coyote at 4:40 PM on June 29, 2004


Send in the inspectors!
posted by homunculus at 5:04 PM on June 29, 2004


I'm certain all the 101st fighting keyboarders are running to the local recruitment office to help out with the war effort.

And there's no doubt in my mind that the 82nd PsuedoActivist Blogger Regiment spends every waking hour performing acts of civil disobedience in their respective cities, tirelessly petitioning unto their congressman about perceived injustices in the War, publishing enlightening editorials which illustrate peaceful-yet-realistic alternative solutions to the MidEast situation, running for office, donating money and resources to war victims abroad, fomenting clear & visionary ideas about how better we should be dealing with terrorism across the globe...and so on...and I say this with confidence that the 82nd is certainly not wasting all their precious time simply posting opinions on message boards...right?
posted by dhoyt at 5:10 PM on June 29, 2004


They were so successful preventing the war to begin with. We'd better watch out!
posted by techgnollogic at 5:28 PM on June 29, 2004


Mars & Armitage - thanks for pointing out the irrationalities better than I could.

dhoyt: fomenting clear & visionary ideas about how better we should be dealing with terrorism across the globe - what has Iraq got to do with it? Flypaper? There is and was no credible evidence of a connection between Saddam and Al-Quaida prior to the US invasion. What are you referring to?

They were so successful preventing the war to begin with. We'd better watch out!
posted by techgnollogic at 5:28 PM PST on June 29

- that is dumbass trollery of the first water. Now you're sarcastic about protesters failure to prevent the Bushie's steamroller of war? Get help. Get it soon.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:32 PM on June 29, 2004


I missed where you called ever instance of "101st Airborn Keyboarders" dumbass trollery... please provide a link.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:37 PM on June 29, 2004


Why would you criticize Bush for doing something wrong poorly, Mars? I can understand criticizing him for doing a good deed but doing it poorly... or criticize him for doing a bad deed at all. But you're saying it makes sense to evaluate and critique his execution of a course of action he shouldn't have pursued to begin with. Why are you even down that road?
posted by techgnollogic at 5:46 PM on June 29, 2004


Why would you criticize Bush for doing something wrong poorly, Mars?

Because people are dead?

Just a thought.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:55 PM on June 29, 2004


To clarify: If Bush had pursued this war, and the subsequent occupation, in a competent fashion, not firing generals who were so bold as to suggest that more than 150,000 troops might be needed, then fewer people might be getting killed.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:56 PM on June 29, 2004


Iraq under Saddam Hussein represented a triple threat: First, Saddam Hussein supported Terrorism. He paid money to terrorist organizations and to the families of suicide bombers who killed Israelis. He stockpiled thousands of explosive vests in military warehouses, where US forces discovered them. He established and supplied terrorist training camps in Iraq, such as Salman Pak. He hosted and sheltered terrorist leaders such as Abu Abbas , Abu Nidal , and Carlos “The Jackal”. Saddam’s Baath Party officials had direct meetings with leaders from Al-Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and other international terrorist groups. Second, Iraq tried to invade Iran, and followed up with an invasion of Kuwait. He mobilized his army twice during Clinton’s terms as US President, forcing Clinton to deploy troops each time. Third, He used WMD against Iran , and against the Kurds , as well as using prisoners to develop bioweapons , including two previously unknown weaponized strains (Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)) discovered by David Kay’s inspectors. Saddam broke the terms of his cease-fire by hiding his WMD from inspectors for 12 years, committed an act of war by attempting to kill former President George HW Bush , and used the UN’s own Oil-for-Food program to buy prohibited weapons . Saddam Hussein represented a grave threat to the region, a man with a track record of aggressive violence, a pathological hatred of many enemies, and an utter ruthlessness to use any means at hand to advance his aim.
via the fourth rail
posted by David Dark at 6:00 PM on June 29, 2004


Oh, so we were right to go to Iraq, but should followed the Powell doctrine, not the Rumsfeld doctrine? Is that your position, Space Coyote? Was that your position 15 months ago?
posted by techgnollogic at 6:00 PM on June 29, 2004


Because no one wants the deaths, destruction, and costs that are still being incurred by him doing something wrong poorly.

He actually could have pulled this off, if they had planned properly for the aftermath of invading, or had a clue about the resistance they'd be facing.
posted by amberglow at 6:02 PM on June 29, 2004


It was wrong to go to Iraq, but if you're gonna go anyway, don't fuck it up worse than it was before we went.

It's not that complicated, really.
posted by amberglow at 6:07 PM on June 29, 2004


DD: Second, Iraq tried to invade Iran, and followed up with an invasion of Kuwait. He mobilized his army twice during Clinton’s terms as US President, forcing Clinton to deploy troops each time. Third, He used WMD against Iran , and against the Kurds

You don't think that it's relevant to mention that in those days he was your badass dictator, then? That the US supplied both him and the Islamic Republic of Iran, in that regional conflict?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:08 PM on June 29, 2004


So not convincing France, German, and Russia to join the coalition was a mistake. So France, Germany, and Russia should've joined the coalition. Is that your position, amberglow?
posted by techgnollogic at 6:09 PM on June 29, 2004


It's not that complicated, really.

The concept of a "successful" war plan is extremely complicated which is why we're all still discussing it at length—on this website and in our personal lives—and why it has historically divided public opinion such as it has.
posted by dhoyt at 6:13 PM on June 29, 2004


dhoyt, do you mean to infer that there are people out there in the world, not on the Bush payroll, who are calling the war effort in Iraq a success?
posted by fenriq at 6:20 PM on June 29, 2004


If you can't stop your friend doing something really stupid, you think the only logical thing left is help him do it? Brilliant. Geopolitics as practiced by five-year-olds.

Protest your friend's stupidity until he's done his stupid thing, and then protest your friend's stupidity and offer a frenzied - if a bit late - critique.

This is your mature foreign policy strategy?

fenriq: I haven't gotten a dime.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:21 PM on June 29, 2004


Yeah, but techno - you're not in the real world.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:25 PM on June 29, 2004


Not sticking with containment and diplomacy for Iraq when we had a fight going on in Afghanistan was the first mistake. Lying to us over and over was the second. The third mistake was in not getting a truly international coalition like his daddy did. The fourth mistake was thinking that we'd be welcomed with flowers and kisses. The fifth mistake was not using enough troops. The sixth mistake was not planning for what to do after the country was under our control. The seventh mistake was actually invading Iraq. The eighth mistake was inviting people to kill our troops with his "bring it on". The ninth mistake was trusting Chalabi. The tenth mistake was giving all the contracts for rebuilding to US corps, and not the Iraqis themselves. The eleventh mistake was dictating to the Iraqis how to run things and do things. The twelfth mistake was in having a CIA guy as the new puppet after Chalabi was shown to be a liar and thief. The thirteenth mistake was this sham of a handover. There are many more, but my fingers are tired. You can probably rearrange that order, too.

techgnollogic, you don't get something very important about us as a people--we don't like losers and failures. You can be bold and audacious, but you have to carry through--Bush didn't.

Even those of us that hated the invasion and thought it was a mistake wanted things to go well for us and the Iraqis once it happened and was inevitable, not this shit we're entangled in now with no end in sight, with more deaths daily, with corruption and costs continuing, etc.
posted by amberglow at 6:32 PM on June 29, 2004


FYI, FWIW: I believe that most military personnel who retire after serving at least 20 years of active-duty are subject to recall up to ten years after the date of their retirement. This is not a secret, it is known and discussed (and joked about, occasionally) by many military personnel.


And IRT to the current call-up, please note that the current Chief of Staff of the United States Army retired several years ago, and then chose to come back on active-duty to serve again.
posted by davidmsc at 6:33 PM on June 29, 2004


techgnollogic, you don't get something very important about us as a people--we don't like losers and failures.

*smacks forehead*

Shit. This explains everything!


All kidding aside, I've got some freinds who were in the military out of highschool and got out. Now, I'm worried they'll get pulled back in. Shit.
posted by jonmc at 6:35 PM on June 29, 2004


The third mistake was in not getting a truly international coalition like his daddy did.

So France, Germany, and Russia should've joined us. Agreed.

Even those of us that hated the invasion and thought it was a mistake wanted things to go well for us and the Iraqis once it happened and was inevitable, not this shit we're entangled in now with no end in sight, with more deaths daily, with corruption and costs continuing, etc.

I guess your disappointment is the price you pay for foolishly believing this would be a cakewalk.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:37 PM on June 29, 2004


foolishly believing that our president wouldn't throw our soldiers' lives, and our standing in the world, away is the disappointment, not the lies that it would be a cakewalk. You don't read well, do you?

and solistrato said it pretty well in the other thread, as i was typing that, above.
posted by amberglow at 6:40 PM on June 29, 2004


And anyone with a brain in their head would have learned something from the fact that our allies didn't want any part of this invasion, unlike in 91. Sadly, Bush didn't.
posted by amberglow at 6:42 PM on June 29, 2004



Oh, so we were right to go to Iraq, but should followed the Powell doctrine, not the Rumsfeld doctrine? Is that your position, Space Coyote? Was that your position 15 months ago?


Evidently I have to clarify even further. Very well.

Invading Iraq was wrong. They lied, falsified evidence, and relied on currupt sources.

The Bush administration's tactics in carrying out the invasion and occupation display a great degree of incompetence. Morality aside, they could have done a much better job of it, but didn't, due to their own arrogance and unwillingness to listen to skeptical experts.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:44 PM on June 29, 2004


Learned what? That they're not really our allies? Oh I think Bush learned that perfectly well.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:45 PM on June 29, 2004


s/skeptical/sceptical/
posted by Space Coyote at 6:46 PM on June 29, 2004


So France, Germany, and Russia should've joined us. Agreed.

No, techgnollogic, maybe we should've gone after the right fucking people.

I hate terrorists as much as anyone possibly could, but if you think what's going on in Iraq has anything to do with that, then you've been had, my man.

What we should've done was use the goodwill and righteous anger that we recieved after 9/11 and used it to force the terrorists out of their holes and brought them to justice and gotten our payback. Instead, W. went on a personal crusade and wasted a shitload of time and a ton of American GI's lives. Yeah, Saddam's gone and that's nice, but this Al-Sadr prick might be even worse.

The 9/11 terrorists were mostly Saudi, as are the bastards beheading people in videos. When are we invading Riyadh?
posted by jonmc at 6:46 PM on June 29, 2004


We should've invaded Riyadh with Saddam right next door?
posted by techgnollogic at 6:50 PM on June 29, 2004



Learned what? That they're not really our allies? Oh I think Bush learned that perfectly well.


If by "our" you mean the Bush administration, then no, most countries aren't allies of them. But if the US was actually attacked, then they would indeed help the US out. Don't confuse not helping the US commit a crime with not being an ally when it counts.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:51 PM on June 29, 2004


Don't be obtuse, techgnollogic.
posted by jonmc at 6:52 PM on June 29, 2004


We should've invaded Riyadh with Saddam right next door?

They should have tracked down terrorist funding and leadership, in Saudi Arabia, and put a stop to it, with or without the help of the currupt Saudi royal family. Saddam had nothing to do with Sept. 11th, so Iraq's geographical location has little importance.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:52 PM on June 29, 2004


But if the US was actually attacked

that's cute

They should have tracked down terrorist funding and leadership, in Saudi Arabia, and put a stop to it,

Oh, they just should've done that, huh? I guess they should've made Saddam Hussein be nice to the Iraqis, too... and they should've just gone out and caught Zarqawi by now. They should've made Al Sadr be our friend. They should've built a bigger coalition. It would've been nice if they'd just gone out and gotten all the terrorists after 9/11 and just, you know, punished them, or something.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:59 PM on June 29, 2004


It would've been nice if they'd just gone out and gotten all the terrorists after 9/11 and just, you know, punished them, or something.

Yes, it would've. Now thanks to W.'s crusade, we may have missed our chance.
posted by jonmc at 7:01 PM on June 29, 2004


I'm not being obtuse, jonmc. How do you confront the Saudis in any meaningful way with Saddam Hussein next door, and every major intelligence operation in the world saying he's hiding weapons of mass destruction? If it's so easy and obvious, tell us how to do it.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:01 PM on June 29, 2004


With the no-fly zones--they kept Saddam contained for years, and worked really well.
posted by amberglow at 7:03 PM on June 29, 2004


If I knew how exactly to confront the Saudis safely, I'd be in the penatgons war room, not sitting at my keyboard with a can of Pabst talking to you. But that's beside the point. The reason we haven't gone after the Saudis (easily the most culpable nation in international terrorism) has nothing to do with Iraq. It has to do with the Bush family, and the American oil industry's deep ties to the country.

And the "every major intelligence operation" boils down to a zealot that even the CIA had written off.
posted by jonmc at 7:05 PM on June 29, 2004



I'm not being obtuse, jonmc. How do you confront the Saudis in any meaningful way with Saddam Hussein next door, and every major intelligence operation in the world saying he's hiding weapons of mass destruction? If it's so easy and obvious, tell us how to do it.


The two were not linked. Bringing Iraq into a discussion of terrorist attacks on the US is meaningless. And the possiblity of Hussein having weapons of mass destruction is why there were inspectors in there (remember Saddam bulldozing missiles? The inspectors were doing their job).
posted by Space Coyote at 7:05 PM on June 29, 2004


I know an allegedly cracker-jack pilot in tip-top physical shape who didn't serve out his term in the reserves. In fact, I'm not sure he ever flew a mission, and I hear he might be outta a job soon.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:12 PM on June 29, 2004


and they should've just gone out and caught killed Zarqawi by now killed the bastard when they had the chance.
posted by homunculus at 7:14 PM on June 29, 2004


from homunculus's link:

“People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists,” according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.

See, amberglow, if your crew hadn't been whining about "multilateralism"... tsk tsk... That's what you get for not predicting the future. Jeez, you're so incompetent.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:21 PM on June 29, 2004


We didn't invade because of the plight of the Iraqi people, we invaded because of the imminient threat of Saddam's Hussein's huge cache of WMDs.

Resolution 1441 is why we went to war with Iraq. WMDs were an assumed cherry-on-top that just didn't work out. but the action was still justified. Haven't we been through this before?
posted by Witty at 7:21 PM on June 29, 2004


They've conceded the argument that the war was just, or just stopped bothering with it. Now we're arguing whether or not it was executed well back when they were still against the war, when their sage advice buried in prescient conditionals was either drowned out by their chants of "No Blood For Oil" and "Regime Change Starts At Home" or maybe just nowhere to be found.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:27 PM on June 29, 2004


They've conceded the argument that the war was just, or just stopped bothering with it.

Who's "they" Kemosabe?
posted by jonmc at 7:28 PM on June 29, 2004


The anti-war crowd criticizing Bush for not getting the axis of weasels to send troops to Iraq, tonto.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:30 PM on June 29, 2004


Is techgnollogic reading a different page than the rest of us?

To re-iterate:

Iraq war = wrong.
Bush's execution of the Iraq war = incompetent.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:31 PM on June 29, 2004


you're really grasping now, techgnollogic. sad. sadder still that people are still dying over this administration's mistakes and failures.
posted by amberglow at 7:33 PM on June 29, 2004


Yes, like how he should've gotten countries who knew the war was 'wrong' to fight it anyway. Incompetent fool!
posted by techgnollogic at 7:33 PM on June 29, 2004


What's really sad, amberglow, is you think you know how many people would've died and how sad it would've been if the administration had done everything precisely to your liking.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:36 PM on June 29, 2004


Perhaps an analogy would be appropriate:

There is a competent and an incompetent way to rob a bank. You can either plan ahead, consider the worst-case scenario, and get in and out without too much trouble. Or you can dream about your successes, not consider difficult possibilities, and have the result be a violent, bloody mess.

Robbing a bank is still wrong, but pointing out that the robbers royally screwed up isn't an endorsement of the rightness or wrongness of the act itself.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:38 PM on June 29, 2004


America's military commander in Iraq ordered British troops to prepare a full-scale ground offensive against Iranian forces that had crossed the border and grabbed disputed territory, a senior officer has disclosed.

An attack would almost certainly have provoked open conflict with Iran. But the British chose instead to resolve the matter through diplomatic channels.


Thank god these idiots had *some* adult supervision.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:50 PM on June 29, 2004


Robbing a bank is still wrong, but pointing out that the robbers royally screwed up isn't an endorsement of the rightness or wrongness of the act itself.

brilliant, Space Coyote

And IRT to the current call-up, please note that the current Chief of Staff of the United States Army retired several years ago, and then chose to come back on active-duty to serve again.

sorry, davidmsc, that's got nothing to do with the topic at hand, which is involuntary conscription of ex-soldiers.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:23 PM on June 29, 2004


So France, Germany, and Russia should've joined us. Agreed.

Your debating style is both simplistic and dishonest. You repeatedly attempt to mischaracterize statements made by others to support your simplistic, uninformed comments. So far there must be ten comments in this thread and your entire point seems to be "Russia, France, and Germany should have gone with us, whether it was a bad idea or not."

No, they shouldn't. They should have told you exactly what they did (as Canada did) and then your government should have said "Hey, what the fuck, if nobody but the Brits and countries without armies is supporting us (the latter purely out of trade needs/thinly-veiled threats by the U.S.) maybe we're going about this all wrong." Also, the refusal of other countries to help with reconstruction was the only way to teach the U.S. that ignoring the U.N. may in fact be a terrible idea. The only leverage the U.N. has/had is to go after the U.S. through such means and hope they smarten up for next time.
posted by The God Complex at 9:43 PM on June 29, 2004


"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
- Donald Rumsfeld, in an ABC interview, March 30, 2003
posted by jaronson at 9:46 PM on June 29, 2004


We should've invaded Riyadh with Saddam right next door?

15 out of 19 9/11 terrorists can't be wrong, as the saying goes.
posted by clevershark at 10:03 PM on June 29, 2004


Why would you criticize Bush for doing something wrong poorly, Mars?

Because I am a creature with a mind capable of abstract thought.

I'm not being obtuse

Think carefully about that; the alternate explanation is rather less flattering.

It would've been nice if they'd just gone out and gotten all the terrorists after 9/11 and just, you know, punished them, or something.

It certainly would have. Eleven thousand soldiers in Afghanistan; one hundred and thirty thousand in Iraq. What does that tell you about Mr. Commander-in-Chief's priorities?
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:05 PM on June 29, 2004


your entire point seems to be "Russia, France, and Germany should have gone with us, whether it was a bad idea or not

I never said any such thing. I said you can't have it both ways. You can't criticize Bush for going because the war was unjust, and then criticize him for not getting Russia, France, and Germany to go.

Space Coyote tried to make that bank robbery analogy work, but in that case, it still makes no sense to criticize the bank robber for immorally robbing the bank, and then turn around and make suggestions about how it could've been done "better." What kind of moral sense is "Don't rob banks, but if ya do, here are some pointers." And at any rate - why should anyone who's in favor of the act listen to the critiques of people who believe it's immoral and are convinced it's bound for disaster? Would you ask a pro-life protester what the best way to end a pregnancy is? Why would you trust an anti-war protester's war strategy?
posted by techgnollogic at 10:09 PM on June 29, 2004


abstract thought

You don't say. Unfortunately, that's all it is - an abstract thought experiment. It has nothing whatsoever to do with a legitimate, intellectually honest critique of the war or Bush's foreign policy. It's a find-anything-to-criticize-and-pounce partisan joke.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:13 PM on June 29, 2004


So it's now immoral for anyone who doesn't support a war to point out the fact that it's gone badly?

Oh wouldn't the bush people love for that little meme to spread. Unfortunately it doesn't quite hold up to the laugh test.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:20 PM on June 29, 2004


And at any rate - why should anyone who's in favor of the act listen to the critiques of people who believe it's immoral and are convinced it's bound for disaster? Would you ask a pro-life protester what the best way to end a pregnancy is? Why would you trust an anti-war protester's war strategy?

Because intelligent people have a tendency to listen to those that oppose their viewpoint, if for no reason than to understand more than their own simplistic point of view. Life is not "you're either with us or against us". It's much more dynamic than what has been presented in this thread, by both sides, and furthermore, more than what has been presented by both sides in the past year and a half.

Yeah, I was one of those out protesting the war on Feb. 15, 2003, even though I knew for sure it was going to happen. Does that make my opinion about how the war should go invalid? I hope not. There was a progression of thought from "ideally this shouldn't happen, but if it's going to, and I know it is, well, I trust X scenario versus Y scenario versus Z scenario" if only to minimalize the tragic results of said war. Just because you're aware that bad things are going to happen in this world doesn't mean that A) you can't speak out against them or B) that you can try to minimize the foregone conclusions in one way or another to attempt at damage control.

Truth be told, that pretty much justifies the way I feel about legal abortion.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:21 PM on June 29, 2004


We're using two different definitions of 'listen.' I'm well aware of every conceivable facet of opposition to my viewpoint. I've heard them all. By 'listen', I mean 'heed the advice of.'

And I never said a protester's viewpoint is invalid. It's just intellectually dishonest to pretend to offer an "objective critique of the progress of the war" if you were never in favor of it, thought it immoral from the start, and would be hard pressed to admit any positive outcome, or any correct decision by the Bush administration in it's prosecution. If your position is that Bush is virtually 100% incompetent, don't try to act like the perspective you offer is balanced and reasonable, or that your criticisms of the war aren't ever just opportunistic sniping.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:48 PM on June 29, 2004


George W. Bush's cult of personality must be reaching the heights of Kim Jong Ill's if people like tech-no-logic here can't bend their brains around people's desire to want the best solution rather than George's solution in Iraq.

Bad shit has happened. Iraq today is far from the ideal situation. I would have thought more supporters of the war would have realized by now that things may have gone better if a monkey weren't in charge, and acted to put someone better in charge if they were really honest about wanting this to have a good outcome. Techgnologic - do you honestly believe George W. Bush is the American citizen most deserving of and competent in the role he has? Do you really believe no-one could have run this war better? Similarly, do you really believe launching war on Iraq at that time was the optimal solution to ridding the world of terrorists?
posted by Jimbob at 10:53 PM on June 29, 2004


Techgnollogic, answer the following, yes or no:

Is it immoral for someone who doesn't support a war to point out the fact that it's gone badly?
posted by Space Coyote at 10:56 PM on June 29, 2004


why should anyone who's in favor of the act listen to the critiques of people who believe it's immoral and are convinced it's bound for disaster?

er, I think that would be because those people are convinced that the adventure is bound for disaster.

The French tried to warn the US not to go to Vietnam. For the same reason (and they knew, because they had just gotten out of that area themselves). The US didn't listen then either. And we all know what a barrel of laughs Vietnam turned into.
posted by clevershark at 11:02 PM on June 29, 2004


Space Coyote: No.

It is immoral to lie about how badly a war has gone because you don't like the guy running it, and never thought it was a good idea to begin with, though.

Jim Bob: Since when do we replace presidents mid-term in order to get the best war-leader? Since when do we know beforehand how a WAR is going to turn out, and who would be best to run it? Since when does the title of POTUS mean you're the most deserving and competent American citizen for the role? And as to your last question, no, I think it should've happened sooner - but no sense crying over it now, is there?
posted by techgnollogic at 11:11 PM on June 29, 2004



It is immoral to lie about how badly a war has gone because you don't like the guy running it, and never thought it was a good idea to begin with, though.


Here's where you point out the lie, with proof. We're waiting.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:20 PM on June 29, 2004


And for the record, I am opposed to Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939, but I have to admit, they did do a pretty good job of it.

(not comparing anyone to Nazis, put away your godwin accusations, just picking an example out of the air.)
posted by Space Coyote at 11:22 PM on June 29, 2004


Since when do we replace presidents mid-term in order to get the best war-leader?

So how many Republicans are currently lobbying for a candidate other than George W. Bush, for finishing off this war or preparing for the inevitable next one?

Since when do we know beforehand how a WAR is going to turn out, and who would be best to run it?

Plenty of people out there were offering advice and warnings. Not just the people opposing the war, mind you, but supporters who felt the US was relying too much on the idea that 100% of Iraqis would be gloriously happy and democratic once Saddam was gone. People who knew that there should have been better contingency plans ready for when Baghdad was taken.

I think it should've happened sooner - but no sense crying over it now, is there?

What, before Afghanistan maybe, a war that actually did have some positive outcomes in the "war on terrorism"? Maybe even before 9/11? Do you think attacking Iraq then would have changed all those Saudi hijacker's minds?
posted by Jimbob at 11:28 PM on June 29, 2004


Not sticking with containment and diplomacy for Iraq when we had a fight going on in Afghanistan was the first mistake.

You know, I sure hope none of the people now extolling the virtues of "containment" ever bitched about how "US-led sanctions were killing Iraqi children."
posted by Krrrlson at 12:04 AM on June 30, 2004


You know, I sure hope none of the people now extolling the virtues of "containment" ever bitched about how "US-led sanctions were killing Iraqi children."

I see techgnollogic's model of reality has at least one adherent.

Again, for the slow:

It is OK to criticize tactics, even if one doesn't support the overall action.

Now let's see if this will need to be repeated yet again.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:15 AM on June 30, 2004


Perhaps a dictionary would help? I believe it would be somewhere between "obstacle" and "oracle".
posted by cookie-k at 12:24 AM on June 30, 2004


Man oh man.

The reasons these debates spiral out of control is that people aren't talking about the same thing.

It's identical to the abortion debate. Pro-choice advocates frequently think abortion is abhorrent and tragic. They simply think the issue is whether it should be a personal choice, or a government mandate.

No one thinks Saddam was a good guy. No one. But some folks think it's irresponsible, destructive, and deceitful to arm and train puppet dictators around the world, only to topples them by force a couple of decades later. Americans have such short memories. Make that no memories.
posted by scarabic at 2:04 AM on June 30, 2004


The 9/11 terrorists were mostly Saudi, as are the bastards beheading people in videos. When are we invading Riyadh?

I've lost the link, but Paul McGeough of the SMH's opinion was that Saudis were chosen so Riyadh would be attacked.
posted by emf at 3:31 AM on June 30, 2004


I can't believe I'm bothering, but then again I can't believe this thread has gone on this long.

techgnollogic, who exactly is criticizing Bush for not convincing France, Germany, and Russia to join the coalition? I'm not seeing anyone.

I am seeing people who are criticizing Bush for assuming those countries and others would automatically fall in line with him and invade Iraq without sufficient reason. Note that word: sufficient. There were many, many reasons to invade Iraq, starting with deposing a brutal murderous dictator. But there weren't enough to justify a war. Those nations were not convinced there was an urgent need to take out Saddam, and the American experience in Iraq has proved those nations completely correct. Your allies were trying to tell Bush that this was the wrong path.

Analogy time (it's a nice diversion). Like a drunk trying to get home, Bush wanted to just take his car and drive there. His friends tried to convince him to take a taxi instead. But Bush wouldn't wait, he had to get home now, and now he's pissed off that his supposed friends not only refused to get in his car with him, they actually tried to stop him from getting home at all! He can't see that his friends weren't trying to stop him, they were trying to get him to take a different route. Now we're dealing with the car wreck.

You seem upset that we're no longer saying "we told you so", and instead are critical of the situation today. Would you rather us go back to telling you you were wrong to invade in the first place? Or should we continue telling you you're handling the post-war situation badly?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:15 AM on June 30, 2004


I'm not seeing anyone

How about: The third mistake was in not getting a truly international coalition like his daddy did.

Like you've never heard the "unilateralist cowboy" critique? Anti-war people have been criticizing Bush for not building a bigger coalition since 2002.

His critics are not the drunk's friend, trying to keep him from driving. They're the nagging backseat driver, squawking and complaining about every lane change - and they're not even chipping in for gas.

None of the disasters guaranteed by protesters in the run-up to the invasion came true. There was no humanitarian crisis. Over a million Iraqi refugees and exiles have returned to the "unsafe, unstable disaster" of Iraq since the invasion. Over 7 million visitors have taken pilgrimages to sites of religious importance to them. There was no "Shock and Awe" indiscriminate bombing campaign. There were no hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, and there were no tens of thousands - or even just thousands - of dead US soldiers. There was no street-by-street fighting through Baghdad with dozens of coalition fatalities per hour... or per day.. or even per week. These things were promised to us by the anti-war crowd, and they didn't happen. So now, since the same crowd is still opposed to the war and hates Bush, the bar has moved so high that the fewer than 1000 coalition casualties we've seen in over 15 months in iraq is a "unqualified disaster" that will be remembered and cited by the worlds pacifists for years to come, I'm sure, despite the fact that such a swift war (and obstacle-strewn occupation) has been bloodless by any reasonable historical standard. For instance, in 1995 the Russian army, fighting in Grozny, lost 800 men in 60 hours. Remember that? No? How odd...

The anti-war crowd promised disaster, and then when hopes were dashed their guarantees evaporated, and they retreated behind their goalposts, and have been moving them ever since. They wait for an opportunity to criticize anything short of flawless perfection. The war has gone 100 times better than it's detractors swore it would, and they're still dissatisfied. Maybe they're really disappointed because it didn't go worse. Like we really need their advice now.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:45 AM on June 30, 2004


None of the disasters guaranteed by protesters in the run-up to the invasion came true.
They weren't guaranteed, but you're lying and omitting anyway.

There was fighting in the streets guerrilla style, and there still is, in many towns and cities. There are explosions in Baghdad and other places daily--usually more than one. There are now whole towns controlled by militant fundamentalist clerics. There is a puppet government installed. There is a majority of Iraqis that want us out now. There is a security situation so unsafe that kidnapping and rapes of Iraqis are up, and reporters and aid workers have to hide in fortified green zones, or in the aid workers case, actually pull out. There is no reliable electricity. There is vast, vast unemployment.
posted by amberglow at 7:07 AM on June 30, 2004


His critics are not the drunk's friend, trying to keep him from driving. They're the nagging backseat driver, squawking and complaining about every lane change - and they're not even chipping in for gas.

Why doesn't it surprise me that you'd try to distract attention from the drunk in the front seat by blaming the hostages in the back seat?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:13 AM on June 30, 2004


Why is this thread all arguments with techgnollogic rather than about the topic that was posted?

Why are essentially rational people spending so much time, in this thread and too many others, arguing with someone who can't argue worth a shit?

If y'all would argue on topic, that would be something. Instead y'all are just beating the stinking carcass of a dead horse that's been laying in the heat for months.
posted by Goofyy at 7:22 AM on June 30, 2004


Ultimately, it has been the war in Iraq that has been mainly responsible for the failure of US attempts to capture bin Laden. Despite the horrific killings in New York and Washington on September 11, there is now (especially in view of the information in Woodward's recent Plan of Attack) more than enough evidence to prove that the Bush administration began planning the invasion of Iraq even before the war in Afghanistan ended in December 2001. Afghanistan badly needed peacekeeping troops, adequate security for both leaders and local populations, and funding for rebuilding the country. All were neglected by the US. Similarly neglected was the hunt for bin Laden. That many of his top leaders were arrested created the false impression that he and the cells of jihadists linked to him have fatally lost power. As events in Madrid and in Iraq have shown, this was an illusion.

The good will for the US and its allies arising from the defeat of the Taliban in 2001 should have been followed up by extensive local recon- struction projects, providing not only schools but, among much else, security forces, a basic welfare system, and jobs. If this had been done, local sources of reliable intelligence would also have been found. Instead, small US army garrisons were scattered along the border hundreds of miles apart. They were never provided with the funds, equipment, personnel, and other support they would have needed to gather information, follow up leads, concentrate on suspicious groups and activities, and take the other measures that are necessary if bin Laden is to be caught.

The hearings on September 11 have so far barely touched on the fact that the moment the Afghan war was over the US started moving much of its counterterrorism resources and activities from Afghanistan to Iraq—including soldiers, civilian experts, intelligence units, satellite surveillance, drones, and other high-tech devices. The hunt for Saddam Hussein took on more importance than the hunt for bin Laden, even though there is still no conclusive evidence that Hussein supported al-Qaeda or needed its backing.

Now the US military and the CIA, in a great hurry to catch bin Laden, are trying to make up for lost time in Afghanistan, sending in some two thousand Marines and moving large numbers of troops from Kabul and Kan- dahar to the border. But additional US troops will not make up for months that were lost both in gathering intelligence and gaining local tribal support as Washington pursued the war in Iraq.

Hiding out in the rugged and mountainous terrain between Afghanistan and Pakistan where some Pashtun tribesmen have proved to be excellent hosts, generously financed by cash from al-Qaeda, bin Laden seems far from being caught. The lack of attention from the US during 2002 and 2003 has probably allowed him to establish even closer links to the local population and to find more hiding places if he is threatened.

Some 70 percent of the original al-Qaeda leadership is now captured or dead, and bin Laden, unable to use the electronic communications that would reveal his location, is in no position to run day-to-day operations or direct the many organizations linked to al-Qaeda throughout the world—in sixty-eight countries, according to Tenet's testimony to the September 11 commission. However, bin Laden remains the spiritual guru and strategic guide for many thousands of Muslim militants around the world; every time he demonstrates that he is alive and can still make a forceful presentation on tape, he can be assured of more recruits to his cause of global jihad.

In hindsight, September 11 was the result both of a chronic failure of intelligence gathering and coordination among agencies working in Washington and of a failure to conceive of a strategy for the region including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and neighboring countries. But since September 11 there has been a far bigger blunder by the Bush administration: its failure to sustain momentum in the efforts to make Afghanistan more secure and more stable and to catch bin Laden. No hindsight is required in order to make this judgment. What needed to be done after the defeat of the Taliban should have been obvious. What successive US administrations could have done to prevent September 11 will always be debatable; perhaps the failure of intelligence to anticipate it is ultimately understandable, in view of the ponderous workings of bureaucracies. What is unforgivable is the failure of the current US administration to maintain the resources and manpower needed to rebuild Afghanistan and to arrest bin Laden after September 11, and its decision to go to war in Iraq instead.


From The Rise of bin Laden by Ahmed Rashid
A review of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll
posted by y2karl at 8:00 AM on June 30, 2004


It's just fun seeing how long techgnollogic will go on defending one dumb sentance when he was called on it.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:27 AM on June 30, 2004


s/sentance/sentence/
posted by Space Coyote at 9:13 AM on June 30, 2004


the topic at hand, which is involuntary conscription of ex-soldiers.

Nonsense. RTFContract. All members of the US military both officers and enlisted sign a contract upon entering the service. This contract clearly states that that the total initial commitment period is 8 years. Some of this commitment is to be spent on active duty and some as either active (aka "drilling") or inactive (aka "non-drilling")reserves. People who retire from the military after 20 or more years are placed in the reserves and paid a portion of their military salary for life so that the DOD may recall them like any other reservist as necessary for the "Needs of the" (insert branch here).
posted by cmdnc0 at 9:28 AM on June 30, 2004


the bar has moved so high that the fewer than 1000 coalition casualties we've seen in over 15 months in iraq is a "unqualified disaster" that will be remembered and cited by the worlds pacifists for years to come

"Casualities" includes dead and wounded. According to UPI, "The Pentagon defines a casualty as 'any person who is lost to the organization by having been declared dead, duty status-whereabouts unknown, missing, ill, or injured.'" There have been approximately 6000 US military casualties since the invasion. The figures the Pentagon reports for soliders killed in Iraq do not count people who may have been wounded in Iraq, were evacuated, and died elsewhere. As of March 31, 2004, there had been 18,000 medical evacuations from Iraq. Unless you believe the wounded never die, more soldiers have died than the Pentagon has reported.

Also, some of the wounded would have died in earler conflicts aren't killed thanks to body armor and quick access to medical care. They can still be horribly wounded:
The discouraging news is that a higher percentage of those surviving wounds will live out their days with severe disfigurements or disabilities. The nature of warfare in Iraq -- especially vehicle bombings and guerrilla attacks -- have produced large numbers of horrific burns and amputations that cannot be repaired. Unseen damage such as post-traumatic stress disorder or toxic poisoning also can leave lifetime scars. The Pentagon's numbers that show high percentages of survivors do not capture the scope of the losses. The word wounded too often passes for undamaged.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:29 AM on June 30, 2004


There were no hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, and there were no tens of thousands - or even just thousands - of dead US soldiers.

First of all, who the hell predicted hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties? I think the then thousand or so is clearly bad enough, thanks. What about the low target success rate of early bombing campaigns? What about the thousands upon thousands of limbless and crippled children and adults? What about the hundreds of dead soldiers since major fighting "ended"? Do you even read news, like, ever? Hundreds of people have died in the past week alone, many of them the policement we're training. How many people do you suppose will be dead by the time the Americans are done in there at the end of next year (which is the suggestion by many of when they need their 150,000 troops until)?

That you few the cost of the war as somehow acceptable, despite the fact that it was unnecessary, is a rather strong indictment either of your character or of your ability to understand exactly what's happening over there.

Like you've never heard the "unilateralist cowboy" critique? Anti-war people have been criticizing Bush for not building a bigger coalition since 2002.

Yes, because doing so would have required making a factually-based argument for the war in Iraq, something this administration wasn't capable of even pretending to do with any degree of success (if you don't believe me, look at all the stuff people were talking about before the war).

Again, I must reiterate my disappointment in your simplistic and dishonest debating style. I sincerely doubt any real percentage of protestors before the war thought hundreds of thousands of civilians would be dead. They just thought America would have a much tougher time than they thought they would (check!) and that the cost of life would be way to high just to increase the profit margins of select American companies (check!) and fight some brain-dead ideological war (check!).
posted by The God Complex at 9:43 AM on June 30, 2004


Iraq is worse off than before the war began, GAO reports
posted by amberglow at 9:58 AM on June 30, 2004


His critics are not the drunk's friend, trying to keep him from driving. They're the nagging backseat driver, squawking and complaining about every lane change - and they're not even chipping in for gas.

Hold on... are you saying France, Germany, Russia, etc. got into the car with Bush? Because I don't remember any of those nations sending troops. As for chipping in for gas, many of them have indeed agreed to help finance the reconstruction. If you're going to continue an analogy, at least try to further your own point.

Again, it's the fact that he went ahead without a coalition that's the problem. That doesn't mean he should have done more to convince them... it means he shouldn't have gone ahead at all. It's compounding the problem. In other words, not only did he screw up by invading Iraq, he screwed up worse by invading Iraq even after everyone told him not to do it.

It's been how many months now, and the electricity in Iraq is less reliable now than it was before the invasion... Not only has Abu Ghraib convinced most Iraqis that there's little difference between US occupation and Saddam's rule, they probably think you're even less competent. That's just amazing. Could Bush have screwed this situation up any more than he has? I mean, is it even technically possible anymore for this to get worse?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:15 AM on June 30, 2004


Wait wait wait. Amberglow... you're telling me that Iraq today, one year after a war, currently struggling amid several terrorist-led anti-democratic anti-liberation anti-Iraqi insurgencies, abandoned by the UN, Spain, and most of the world, is currently worse off than when it was not in a war? Can that be right?!? A war makes things sorta hectic for a while?!? Holy cow, are you serious?!? Wow, where would we be without your insightful observations.

Did you expect a fucking cakewalk? A square dance? No obstacles? No difficulties? Instant paradise?

How about 5 years from now, or 10? How about what counts?

Again, it's the fact that he went ahead without a coalition that's the problem. That doesn't mean he should have done more to convince them... it means he shouldn't have gone ahead at all.

Finally the truth comes out. Protesting unilateral action was never intended to build a bigger coalition. It was intended to prevent any military action at all.
posted by techgnollogic at 11:38 AM on June 30, 2004


is it even technically possible anymore for this to get worse?
Watch and see, unfortunately. Just for starters: If martial law is declared, won't our soldiers have to be the ones to enforce it?

and techgno--direct your comments to the General Accounting Office of the US Government--It's their report. I could pull up thousands of comments by people high up in the administration who told the public that Iraq would be a cakewalk, but you've shown you don't read well. I know it's sad for you that a majority of Americans think that invading and occupying Iraq was the wrong thing to do, but they might just be right, and you wrong.
posted by amberglow at 11:44 AM on June 30, 2004


What's wrong with the report? Iraqis may very well be worse off right now than they were before a war started in their country. Wars tend to do that. Will they be better off in 5 years than they were before the war? Will they be worse off in 5 years than they would be if Hussein was still in power?

Show me some high-up cakewalk promises, amberglow, and I'll sign off on a declaration of idiocy for each of them.
posted by techgnollogic at 11:50 AM on June 30, 2004


Via Salon:
Vice President Dick Cheney, on NBC's "Meet the Press" March 16:

"The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but that they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."

"My guess is even significant elements of the Republican Guard are likely as well to want to avoid conflict with the U.S. forces and are likely to step aside."

Richard Perle, recently resigned chairman of the Defense Policy Board, in a PBS interview July 11, 2002:

"Saddam is much weaker than we think he is. He's weaker militarily. We know he's got about a third of what he had in 1991."

"But it's a house of cards. He rules by fear because he knows there is no underlying support. Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder."

Ken Adelman, former U.N. ambassador, in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post, Feb. 13, 2002:

"I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:12 PM on June 30, 2004


Finally the truth comes out. Protesting unilateral action was never intended to build a bigger coalition. It was intended to prevent any military action at all.

Change "military" to "ill-conceived, bull-headed, guns-ablazin', to-hell-with-diplomacy, unprepared-for-the-aftermath", and I think you've got it just about right.

I'm very pro-military. I also know it's best used as a last resort instead of a first option. And it's just as important to properly plan the end of military action as it is to plan the start of it. Unfortunately, Bush managed to avoid planning either end, so you're getting screwed from all sides. Enjoy where your leader led you, buddy.

...and with that, I'm done feeding the troll.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:53 PM on June 30, 2004


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