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We're So Outta Here! Good Luck, Dudes
March 28, 2005 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Condi's plan for Iraq: cut and run. Conservative columnist Robert Novak -- the same guy who hung Valerie Plame out to dry -- launches the media campaign to prepare the US electorate for withdrawal even if, as he puts it with exquisite understatement, "what is left behind does not constitute perfection." (I'll say.) US commander Gen. George Casey seems to be on the same page.
posted by digaman (64 comments total)

 
(Well, the Yahoo link on "not" seems to be unstable, but consider it a tribute to John Cage.)
posted by digaman at 7:49 AM on March 28, 2005


Wait, I thought we wanted the troops out of Iraq. Now we don't? Or maybe we want them out, but, like, we don't really want them out? Wasn't there something about 'peace' at some point? Or do we want the killing to be done by people wearing wearing those spiffy blue berets instead of the black ones? Or what? Fuck, man, they don't make it easy for a good old-fashioned Bush-hating Francophile Volvo-driving latte-sipper to know what to think these days. Where's COMINTERN when you need 'em?
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:10 AM on March 28, 2005


What we want is to go back in time and not screw everything up.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:12 AM on March 28, 2005


Amazing.
posted by biggity at 8:12 AM on March 28, 2005


What we want is to go back in time and not screw everything up.

Well, yes, that would be nice.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:15 AM on March 28, 2005


Holy dog shit! I'm agreeing with Rice, which, I'm afraid, is one of the signs of the End Times.

Yes, bring 'em home. Now.
posted by John of Michigan at 8:15 AM on March 28, 2005


This willowy, vulnerable-looking woman... What? In the same way that Darth Vader was willowy and vulnerable?
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:22 AM on March 28, 2005


The trouble with this is that it lays the groundwork for another round of "Mission Accomplished!"s. We've already had the purpose of the mission switched on us twice, and this could mean that the endgoal is going to be swapped out, too.

It's gone from "in and out in six months" to "paying for itself" to "democracy will spread" to "hey, some buildings remain standing," with conservatives assigning new 'victory points' whenever they're once again proven wrong about the war. I get the weird idea that Iraqi insurgents could hijack our fighter jets, fly them to Baltimore, and start doing bombing runs and people would still be saying "why are liberals so negative about this? The free Iraqi people have learned valuable skills for defending themselves!"
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 8:26 AM on March 28, 2005


Even if we officially "pull out," won't we still have many permanent bases, and the largest embassy in the world, and Negroponte still in charge of the country? We're still the rulers of Iraq for all real power purposes, and i don't see that changing. This is going to be less than what Novak is selling, mark my words. And i'm sure they're thinking of the midterms.
posted by amberglow at 8:26 AM on March 28, 2005


Old-fashioned Bush-hating Francophile Volvo-driving latte-sippers have known what to think from the get-go: the whole Iraq operation was FUBAR from day one. I'm going to love watching all the pundits on the right bend over backwards to rally for a quick withdrawal after condemning that very idea as ludicrous when pitched by the left.
posted by Neologian at 8:30 AM on March 28, 2005


Dispite being the "prince of darkness" Novak has never been a big supporter of the war, or at least has always been a proponent of "cut and run."

Q: What does the liberal do when a conservative agrees with him?

A: He complains about their hypocracy!

(On the other side)

Q: What does the conservative do when two liberals dissagree with eachother?

A: complain about their hypocracy!
posted by delmoi at 8:33 AM on March 28, 2005


This is exactly what the majority of the American people want. That the anti-war left is so eager for this to happen illustrates why I am always so hesitant to join them, even when the case for war is a sham, as it was with Iraq. I can't abide with a selfish isolationism. That said, the US has done a remarkably crappy job of nation building in Iraq and it may just be a question of when, not if, a vicious civil war erupts. The longer the US stays there and murders civilians, the more it's adding to the pressure cooker that Iraq already is. So, there's a realist case to made for withdrawal: that the situation is such a clusterfuck that continued US involvement makes the situation worse, not better. However, it's still conceivable that we could do things "right", get a big unilateral peacekeeping force over there and whatnot, and avert the conflagration that we've primed and do our best to shoulder our moral responsibilities for having done so.

Sigh. But this isn't that kind of administration and the political calculus says that "bring the troops" home is a big win. The American people want to forget Iraq, not fix and be accountable for their mistakes.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2005


It is hardly cut and run after so many have already died and they stayed longer than planned (publicly). I see massive flag-waving and self-congragulatory back patting all around, claims of victory, etc. We will retain a huge military presence in Iraq regardless of the official spin, and still retain iron fisted control their government.
posted by sophist at 8:48 AM on March 28, 2005


Where's a real-life Nelson Muntz when you really need him?

/haha!
posted by C.Batt at 8:52 AM on March 28, 2005


We need those troops to invade Iran.

Onward, Judeo-Christian soldiers. Democracy marches on.
posted by digaman at 8:54 AM on March 28, 2005


If the US leaves, what do they do with Saddam? Hand him over to the Iraqis? Send him to Gitmo? Quick trial + execution?
posted by R. Mutt at 9:03 AM on March 28, 2005


amberglow-

It appears that we are planning around 14 permanent military bases in the country. There's a reason the US pulled out of Saudi Arabia. It's because we'll keep a permanent military presence in the region in Iraq.

It's the elephant in the foreign policy room that no one is discussing.
posted by thirdparty at 9:03 AM on March 28, 2005


Saddam's thinking talk show. [Family Guy MPEG link.]
posted by digaman at 9:08 AM on March 28, 2005


As long as the machinery is in place to keep the oil flowing to us, we've won. The only way these people are a threat to the US anymore is if they stand in the way of my Constitutionally-protected right to pay under two bucks for gas. No need for tens of thousands of troops policing the entire country if we only need a few to guard pipelines in lightly populated areas.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:08 AM on March 28, 2005


It appears that we are planning around 14 permanent military bases in the country. There's a reason the US pulled out of Saudi Arabia. It's because we'll keep a permanent military presence in the region in Iraq.

It's the elephant in the foreign policy room that no one is discussing.


That's what i had heard--thanks.

Mayor, it hasn't helped at all re: gas prices, nor has the Iraqi Oil paid for a single penny of this billion-a-week adventure in eliminating WMDs, democracy building, liberation of oppressed people, getting those responsible for 9/11, ...
posted by amberglow at 9:40 AM on March 28, 2005


Amberglow, I think Mayor was being a tad sarcastic. At least I hope so. But your'e definitely right about gas prices not being helped, and I don't see them coming down any time soon.
posted by the_savage_mind at 10:03 AM on March 28, 2005


I know, the_savage, but it raised a good point. Wolfowitz was one of the many who said that oil revenues would pay for Iraq. They haven't nor will they ever. And hasn't it struck anyone as odd that we now control all of Iraq's oil and have for 2 years, yet gas prices go up? Who's profiting here?
posted by amberglow at 10:16 AM on March 28, 2005


Not to toot my own horn but I SOOOOOOOO called this eight months ago. I called the US election and I called oil prices and I called... any way, I am so cool.

Before it becomes obvious that there is no "democracy" blooming in Iraq, Bush has to cut and run as soon as he possibly can. That way he could say "Hey. While WE were there everything was going swimmingly."

But this is GOOD news. I want my brothers HOME. NOW! Enough of this Neo-con nation building bullshit.

Sadly American attention spans being what they are when Iraq balkanizes in five years nobody will even draw the connection.

The 14 "permanent" bases thing is a bit misleading. Some will simply become an airstrip and communications gear sitting gathering dust. But I'm actually GLAD we have those bases there - it will be an annual financial reminder to Congress of what these misadventures wrought.

And having a military presence next to Saudi Arabia will be strategically crucial when Oil hits over $80 per barrel in four or five years.
posted by tkchrist at 10:24 AM on March 28, 2005


Hey, it may have cost hundreds of billons, set diplomacy back fifty years, killed hundreds of thousands and maimed countless more and left the country far worse off than before in every measurable way, but it's worth it as long as we got Osama, right?

Oh, wait...
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:25 AM on March 28, 2005


Some have worried that the Shiite dominance of the National Assembly could lead to the establishment of Islamic rule, although Shiite leaders have repeatedly denied that and promised to form an inclusive government that includes Kurds and Sunni Arabs...

Well, some of you think Iraq is the new Saudi Arabia. I however stick to my guns - this will turn out the same as when the US installed the Shah in Iran. With a few diffrences:
1) Iran - and other CIA overthrows (and gawd, writing that last phrase makes me sooo proud to be 'Merikun) - cost less in initial *US* deaths.
(Of course, many civilians in Iran, Central and South America lost their lives, but that was another story that most 'Merikuns dunno/don't care about.)

2) What took 20-plus years to occur in reaction in Iran - the eventual assumption of power by an conservative (anti-American) religious faction - will take just two-plus years in Iraq.

So basically, Iraq has been like a combination of Vietnam 60s-70s and Iran 50s-70s rolled into one.
How the people running things could continue to be so ignorant of history and culture (and so arrogant that their half-assed, misguided plans would work) is beyond my comprehension.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:26 AM on March 28, 2005


We're never pulling the preverbial tube out of Iraq. We'll be there for a very, very long time. A decade? Much longer than that. The government sees having thousands of troops over there as a way to defend our country over here, I don't see that changing regardless of which party is in charge of the White House. We may withdraw 50,000 troops or more in the coming year or two though, but expect about that same amount to stay on permanently as a way to flex our muscles to the other nations over there that we don't like.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:38 AM on March 28, 2005


... when Oil hits over $80 per barrel in four or five years.

You're too optimistic. Considering the march from 25-55, if you draw a straight line on the graph, we'll see $80.00 in about 18 months.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:41 AM on March 28, 2005


Y'know, I'm torn on this one. I'll cop to being a liberal who protested against the war, but I'm not sure that a quick 3-and-out play is what's called for here.
My main objections to the war weren't based on using force to spread ideology, but rather that I didn't think that the administration was up to the task of doing it correctly. I tend to think of them as bunglers at everything save campaigning. That and that Iraq compromised our ability to achieve other foriegn policy objectives (like, without Iraq, we probably could have stepped in in Darfur).
But what's going to replace us in Iraq? It looks doubtful that the UN would commit any troops, and troops are still needed (they'd help in Afghanistan too). Even if they did, the Ivory Coast and Liberia are pretty stark visions of what can happen when under-trained and under-motivated international forces get caught up in civil disputes.
And I'm not sure that the infrastructure is suitably rebuilt, to the point where it would continue to function even if a resurgent insurgency made a concerted effort to destabilize the government. In fact, I'm not even sure that the current government of Iraq is strong enough to hold over procedural issues.
But hey, I'd love to be proved wrong...
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 AM on March 28, 2005


You're too optimistic. Considering the march from 25-55, if you draw a straight line on the graph, we'll see $80.00 in about 18 months.

You may be right. But China will probably have to back off their consumption - the growth curve will be too severe for them to absorb. I think we may see some stabilization at about $55-65 for a while. But maybe not.

Another prediction: For all intents and purposes we have hit Peak by 2008-2010. No economy will be able to ride this out passively.

After Oil prices sustain $75+... there is going to be war. A fairly big one. And it will be between technological states. Not these wars where Western powers curb-stomp some stone age backwater. A real war.

Though America will dominate and "win" this war, the western consumption "lifestyle" as we know it will be over by 2030.

It will not be pleasant.

Howz dat for "optimistic."
posted by tkchrist at 10:57 AM on March 28, 2005


And I'm not sure that the infrastructure is suitably rebuilt, to the point where it would continue to function even if a resurgent insurgency made a concerted effort to destabilize the government. In fact, I'm not even sure that the current government of Iraq is strong enough to hold over procedural issues.

You are right. And who cares.

If I may be so bold: "FUCK the Iraqi's!" They want a contiguous modern State? Then they can make it happen.

Yeah we made the mess. I don't care. It will never heal as long as we are there. Never.

I didn't feel sorry for them tolerating Saddam; gassing the Kurds; invading Kuwait; warring with Iran; and I don't give a shit about them now. Well. Not anymore that anybody else.

And MOST of America felt like me until the Neo-cons somehow bamboozled us into thinking Iraq was a strategic threat... and when that became too absurd to swallow, Bush converted Iraq into some doe-eyed victim child we need to rear.

Well. Fuck that.

I don't want US there and we should leave. Let Iraq do what Iraq wants, how they want.
posted by tkchrist at 11:12 AM on March 28, 2005


> Not these wars where Western powers curb-stomp some stone age backwater. A real war.

Riiiiiigghhttt, like Vietnam, where we had our asses kicked by a bunch of guys in black pyjamas with bamboo spears covered in shit. Or like Iraq, where a bunch of ex-farmers with old mortars hidden in Coke cans are blowing the arms and legs off American teenagers daily.

Remind me where this "curb-stomping" is taking place again.
posted by digaman at 11:15 AM on March 28, 2005


...500 more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq to bring the toll to 1,500. That is too heavy a price to continue paying for not letting Iraqis try to make the best of their country now that we have eliminated Saddam Hussein.

That is one of the more absurd euphemisms I've ever read.

Also, if I may ask about a minor point here: how does the neo-con label have an anti-semitic subtext (which is what Novak claims Wolfowitz believes)?
posted by advil at 11:30 AM on March 28, 2005


TKChrist- Ah. A good ol' round of "blame the victim."
If you don't care about the Iraqis, why should anyone care what you think about Iraqi policy?
posted by klangklangston at 11:59 AM on March 28, 2005


Hey, it may have cost hundreds of billons, set diplomacy back fifty years, killed hundreds of thousands and maimed countless more and left the country far worse off than before in every measurable way, but it's worth it as long as we got Osama, right?

That's about as succinct a summation as I've read yet, George

how does the neo-con label have an anti-semitic subtext (which is what Novak claims Wolfowitz believes)?

Because it's said with vitriol whenever Perle or Wolfowitz are mentioned, and rather than answer the complaints levied at their non-stop mistakes and failures, those guys would rather cry 'anti-semite'. It helps their delusion that Kissinger, who some would shoe-horn under the aegis of that title, is also Jewish. But if he applies, then should the Dulles brothers? And they were about as WASPy and anti-democratic as foreign policy makers can get. Allen, as head of the CIA, and John Foster, as Secretary of State, were the fathers of the 'strategy' of removing 'unfriendly' leaders by covert means, and instrumental in removing burgeoning democracies in Iran and Guatemala, among other places. We've seen just how well that worked out. Oh and they were also instrumental in the Bay of Pigs, another shining success-story in America's foreign policy history.

But by and large, the neo-con movement has been associated with some of the followers of crackpot philosopher Leo Strauss (a Jew from Europe) who, like Perle, Wolfowitz and Chalabi, was at the University of Chicago (why do my alma maters have a tendency to produce these wonders? my highschool had Pat Buchanan and Bill Bennett. sigh). Strauss advocated a class of intelligentsia to manipulate democracy and the masses, using religion and nationalism to keep them in line with policies actually antithetical to their well-being but designed to keep the ruling class, well, ruling.

Straus believed in the 'Straussian text' (very big of him), which when read by those of the intellectually-challenged underclass, would have an easily grasped 'exoteric' meaning. When read by the ubermenschen of the overclass, it would have a secret 'esoteric' meaning that was the real deal. Moreover, although he was a philosopher, he felt that modern political philosophy was dangerous for the masses, because it taught the underclass to criticize the ruler-ruled system that he felt was the bedrock of social cohesion. So things like religion were useful in maintaining that unquestioning support of the political status quo.

And in an inspired bit of hypocrisy, he warned the ruling class not to actually buy into the voodoo of the religion themselves. Any of this resonate with our government today?

Basically it's the same sort of strategy used by Administration a good chunk of the Republican party today. Pointing out all our failures and lies? YOU HATE AMERICA! DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!
posted by the_savage_mind at 12:34 PM on March 28, 2005


I must have dozed off. What's been going on since the greatest election in history?
posted by wrapper at 1:06 PM on March 28, 2005


And in other news...

Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen. I applaud you for your generosity of spirit.
posted by loquax at 1:10 PM on March 28, 2005


Toppling Saddam Hussein opened a Pandora's box of unanticipated complications. Whether it was attacks on oil pipelines or insurgents infiltrating into the new Iraqi security forces, events time and again caught U.S. officials flat-footed. Even success proves transitory, with yesterday's apparent accomplishment becoming unglued today.

To which anyone with even a passing knowledge of history would reply: of course. This is what war has always been -- grueling, filthy, confusing, replete with accidents and miscues that victimize the innocent, giving rise to unforeseen consequences and loose ends. What qualifies as truly perplexing is not that the conflict in Iraq has reaffirmed this reality but that so many Americans, seduced by claims that this nation could bend war to our purposes, indulged in the fantasy that it would be otherwise.

Well, now we know better. But let this be said: If our experience in Iraq demolishes once and for all the martial illusions to which the current generation of Americans has proven susceptible, then the United States may yet derive some benefit from this costly misadventure.


Nothing 'New' in This War

Two years after the United States launched a war in Iraq with a crushing display of power, a guerrilla conflict is grinding away at the resources of the U.S. military and casting uncertainty over the fitness of the all-volunteer force, according to senior military leaders, lawmakers and defense experts.

The unexpectedly heavy demands of sustained ground combat are depleting military manpower and gear faster than they can be fully replenished. Shortfalls in recruiting and backlogs in needed equipment are taking a toll, and growing numbers of units have been broken apart or taxed by repeated deployments, particularly in the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve...

The Iraq war has also led to a drop in the overall readiness of U.S. ground forces to handle threats at home and abroad, forcing the Pentagon to accept new risks -- even as military planners prepare for a global anti-terrorism campaign that administration officials say could last for a generation.

Stretched by Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States lacks a sufficiently robust ability to put large numbers of "boots on the ground" in case of a major emergency elsewhere, such as the Korean Peninsula, in the view of some Republican and Democratic lawmakers and some military leaders.


Two Years Later, Iraq War Drains Military

Two years after the war began, a growing number of US troops are refusing to return to Iraq
posted by y2karl at 1:21 PM on March 28, 2005


If you don't care about the Iraqis, why should anyone care what you think about Iraqi policy?

I care about US policy as far as it concerns Iraq? You savvy the difference?

Blame the victim? I'm not BLAMING Iraq. I said right there. "We caused the mess."

The point is we can't cure it. We ARE the mess. And I'm not falling for this "poor poor Iraqi" bullshit that Bush is singing because it's an excuse to stay and make the mess worse.

We shouldn't be there. Our "moral" obligation to fixing what we did is like extreme surgery to remove a bullet - and we remove the heart with it. We must leave. Now. That is our obligation. If they want 'reparations' let them sue the goddamned Bush administration.

And should anybody care about what I think? I dunno. Should I care what YOU think? Either of us? You replied didn't you? So I will reply back.

I know this. I have been 100% right about everything that has transpired thus far in Iraq. Not because I am especially insightful or psychic - rather I listened to allot of really smart people who talked facts, not rosy ideology and emotional hogwash. Oh. And I read history.
posted by tkchrist at 1:27 PM on March 28, 2005



posted by three blind mice at 1:49 PM on March 28, 2005


for those in need of a caption for the photo posted above, it is the scene at the US embassy in saigon, south vietnam on (now known as ho chi minh city, vietnam) on april 28th, 1975 .
posted by three blind mice at 1:56 PM on March 28, 2005


it is the scene at the US embassy in saigon, south vietnam on (now known as ho chi minh city, vietnam) on april 28th, 1975 .

Or, in other words, what the American embassy in Baghdad would have looked like had Kerry won the election. In reality, it's a completely irrelevant and unrelated to the discussion at hand. Let's see some photos of Pear Harbour next! Or the Spanish civil war! Or the Upper Canada revolt of 1848!
posted by loquax at 2:01 PM on March 28, 2005


Damn, loquax, do you really believe that nonsense, or is my humor detector off (apologies if it is)?
posted by Tullius at 2:07 PM on March 28, 2005


In reality, it's a completely irrelevant and unrelated to the discussion at hand.

loquax - let me spell it out for you then.

condi's plan for Iraq: cut and run.

america's history in vietnam: cut and run (see famous photo above of america cutting and running.)

if you think the history of vietnam has no relevance in present day america, i submit that you know very little about america.
posted by three blind mice at 2:33 PM on March 28, 2005


Riiiiiigghhttt, like Vietnam, where we had our asses kicked by a bunch of guys in black pyjamas with bamboo spears covered in shit. Or like Iraq, where a bunch of ex-farmers with old mortars hidden in Coke cans are blowing the arms and legs off American teenagers daily.

Remind me where this "curb-stomping" is taking place again.


You are joking? Ok. I will give you that the VC and NVA kicked "our ass" in the sense that there would be no true political "winning" in that - a civil war. The political sense of "winning". However, we killed MILLIONS of them, dude. Between 1.5 MILLION and 2 MILLION. Hundreds of thousands died after the war from it effects.

The US sustained 58,300 or so over 11 years of combat.
And we would have killed millions more if we hadn't done the right thing and got the fuck out of there.

We reduced their infrastructure to tatters and it took nearly twenty years for them to recover - that with massive amounts of aid from the former Soviets.

As for Iraq. You are an idiot. Sorry. But you clearly are.
Name one "victor" in history a better casualty to kill rate in history? There isn't one. This Iraq war in the "military" sense is totally one sided. This is a fact.

We have a little over 1,500 dead (out of a nation of 250 million) in two years. The Iraqi's have something between 60,000 and 100,000 dead (out of nation of 23 million) and they have a country, that was once a progressive model, that can't even be classified as third world anymore. This doesn't include the thousands that will die of malnutrition and disease over the next ten years. So DOUBLE that.

I forget. Was there a single school in the US bombed? Did any US citizen starve? Or go without electricity? Or get tetanus or yellow fever? Fuck no!

Let me put it this way: I had a latte this morning on my way to work. I intent to go the Gym and home to cable TV. Not once has an Iraqi or Vietnamese bomb impeded my lifestyle. Not once. But the every single average Iraqi FEELS our presence daily in every possible way. Know what? So do a HUGE number of Vietnamese. To this day.

What the fuck you talking about "OUR asses kicked."

Sorry to lay into you but you got to wake up. Do you even understand what an Empire IS? How it works. A shit load of Iraqi's are dying and it doesn't effect the majority of Americans, or ME, or you, in the slightest.

Our asses are NOT getting kicked in the slightest. Get real.

Now "winning" in the sense of some satisfying and clear moral
victory in Iraq? Well. That is impossible at this point. But we are HARDLY getting our asses kicked. And it is irrelevant to why we should leave there. Which we should.
posted by tkchrist at 2:56 PM on March 28, 2005


tkchrist, if you believe that war is about body counts only, and not about achieving strategic objectives, then you're correct.
posted by digaman at 3:58 PM on March 28, 2005


tkchrist, the soviet union rolled over Germany in WW2 by basically using humans as everything from minefield clearing devices to shields to projectiles, and still won. You plainly don't know anything.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:29 PM on March 28, 2005


tkchrist, if you believe that war is about body counts only, and not about achieving strategic objectives, then you're correct.

Preventing the Us from obtaining its objectives is a far cry from "kicking our ass." tkchrist is absolutely correct in this instance.

Space Coyote, have you begun taking PCP? Because you've been both nonsensical and on the attack for a few months now. I agree with you that US imperialism is very bad, but it's pretty deluded to decide that the US is actually worse off (even relatively) than its current opponent. However, it's batshit insane to cite some vague thoughts about the eastern front and claim that it proves someone ignorant.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:16 PM on March 28, 2005


condi's plan for Iraq: cut and run.

america's history in vietnam: cut and run (see famous photo above of america cutting and running.)


How facile! First, as amberglow points out, there is the matter of the 14 permanent military bases. Second, how on earth can you equate the abandonment of the war in Vietnam to a controlled, phased troop reduction in Iraq today? In case you haven't noticed, there is a new regime. Iraqi forces are growing and assuming responsibility for security. The border is more secure than it has been since 2003. Read the link I posted above for more reasons that i) American troops will eventually become less and less necessary on a day-to-day basis and ii) Iraq in 2005 is almost the exact opposite of Vietnam in 1965. For crying out loud, right off the bat American causalities in Iraq are so far under 3% of the numbers in Vietnam! How does your comparison stand up to those facts?

The persistent "resistance" or whatever you want to call it is *nothing like* the gosh-darn Vietcong. Seriously, can you not see that? North Vietnam was an organized state, with a standing army and military and financial support from China and the Soviet Union. Where is the comparison with the former Baathists and Al Qaeda types? Do I need to post some pictures for you?

I understand that you're morally opposed to the war, and disgusted by Bush, and whatever else, but facts are facts. This is no more 1965 than it is 1941 or 1812. If you think the current situation in Iraq is anything like the situation in Vietnam in 1975, I submit that you know little of either.
posted by loquax at 5:59 PM on March 28, 2005


Thank you Curley. Exactly.

In Iraq we never stated our TRUE strategic objectives. It's hard to know what the hell they were/are. Although I have my suspicions. I'll get to them.

So stated aim #1. Regime change. Clearly we "disarmed a rogue regime" if you buy Iraq as a "strategic" threat (which is laughable) it would certainly be no more. Objective achieved.

As far as the "spreading democracy" chestnut; that objective was obviously a non-starter. At least how it was sold to the US populace after the WMD failed to surface. But the Bush administration met it's own Metric for Democracy - which was putting in place a CIA stooge long enough to get the other parties somewhat reliant on US largess. So one "could" say that objective was met as well. For now.

Now for the REAL reasons we are in Iraq. Oil. Duh?

And not to lower the price of oil for the US consumer. Nobody gives a shit about the consumer. Well. Not directly.

Oil companies WANT to gouge the US consumer. They are the only consumption group willing to absolutely WASTE the resource, burn it higgledy piggledy, and pay top dollar no matter what. It's not who controls the oil - but who makes the PROFIT and who has access to the markets. Oil profits are higher than EVER. So that objective was met. Go Dick Cheney.

Also we invaded to secure a geo-strategic foot-hold near the most precious resource on earth. To get closer to it than our competition: The EU. China. India. Wonder WHY they haven't sold off those Treasury notes while the dollar slid and slid? Look at where our carrier groups are in the Gulf and that should give you a clue (one reason anyway). Also we are worried that as we near peak Oil extremist regimes will use astronomical oil prices as a cash cow to spread anti-western Pro-Radical Islamic jihad or make nukes. We want to get to them in thier nest so to speak. Objective somewhat met - for now.

So there was some method to the madness. Though there were other ways to do this. What can you say? The neo cons have a flair for the dramatic.

But the problem was on the other side of the equation. This war is REALLY expensive now. Waaay more than they thought. Creating MORE debt for the US. And nobody trusts us anymore. That is a HUGE problem.

Further it will drive The EU, China and India to behave more irrationally (or rationally depending on your viewpoint) and possibly sell T notes ANYWAY. It may drive more countries away from the petro dollar as they KNOW our military is now stretched too thin to do anything but intimidate. Oops.

tkchrist, if you believe that war is about body counts only, and not about achieving strategic objectives, then you're correct.
We are NOT getting our ass kicked in Iraq. Iraq is an entirely different war with much larger strategic stakes than Vietnam. But. Make no mistake. Body counts DO fucking matter. You kill enough of the other guy you reduce his labor pool, his economic base and his will. Violence IS a solution if you wish to employ it to that level.

The Vietnamese were infinitely better at warfare than the Arabs... AND they had a coldwar rival to supply them. Regardless, it is the American Voter who got us out of Vietnam - not the NVA, as good as they were. But we killed Millions of them and it nearly destroyed them.

We killed millions of Vietnamese over NOTHING (well some possible oil and a cold war alliance of convenience... essentially nothing) and had it taken any longer - to "win" we would have been the worlds WORST mass murderers. And "win" we would have. We would have won a wasted dependent wreck of a nation. So we boogied.

Yes body counts matter. We could EASILY kill 90% of the Iraqi populace and STILL get access to all the oil we wanted. It is not 'radioactivating" oil that prevents this... it is a somewhat evolved moral civilization and world opinion. Not because we can't.

The Iraqi insurgency is NOT what is turning the American Public opinion against the war. They are simply not good enough. They know this. What the insurgency is doing is positioning itself politically for AFTER we leave.

It is the big lies and the costs that people are waking up to that is turning the tide on this war: Where are the WMD? There is no AQ-Saddam connection? We got Saddam so why are we there?
posted by tkchrist at 6:55 PM on March 28, 2005


And if we're there for the oil, why isn't gas cheaper? Who's profiting? How much have we already spent and who got it? If the country went to war for Halliburton and the Carlyle Group...
posted by amberglow at 7:03 PM on March 28, 2005



Or, in other words, what the American embassy in Baghdad would have looked like had Kerry won the election.


What would it have looked like if Gore won the election?
posted by mek at 7:19 PM on March 28, 2005


And if we're there for the oil, why isn't gas cheaper? Who's profiting?

Why would gas be cheaper? See, there is no reason to think we would go war to make gas cheaper. You really think supply and demand is that direct? Demand is higher than EVER - wars burn oil, too. And supply is peaking.

Oil/Gas prices will NEVER go down (by much). The curve is up, up, up frome here.

Geo-strategic/military proximity to large Oil Reserves is not to influence price for the domestic market- not in the short term. It's about securing predictable supply and hedging out strategic rivals. Who ever can grow their energy supply for the longest "wins".

And who profits? Well. That's easy. Oil companies and oil producers. They cite the war as a reason to cut back production or just plain raise prices and they get juicy contracts to build refineries and pipelines that keep blowing up. Which is what has happened. And Bush KNEW some of that would happen.

Lowering gas prices was NOT the objective.
posted by tkchrist at 7:22 PM on March 28, 2005


I agree with tkchrist about the oil prices. The objective was to keep the oil in the hands of those who make lots of money selling it to us, and therefore continuing their record profits. So, our supply will continue, but there is no incentive for the suppliers to reduce prices. They are capitalists, they will charge what the market will bear.

And we are currently the world's richest country. So I'd say the sky's the limit on oil prices.

Get this in your head folks: the price of gasoline is never, ever, ever coming back down, as long as demand keeps up.

The only way to reduce the price is to stop burning so much of it. Are you willing to move to a place within walking distance of work, and get rid of your car?

Mmm hmm.
posted by zoogleplex at 7:33 PM on March 28, 2005


In case you haven't noticed, there is a new regime.

Appointed perhaps but elected, no, not yet, not as we write.

Iraqi forces are growing and assuming responsibility for security.

"Data on the status of Iraqi security forces is unreliable and provides limited information on their capabilities," Joseph Christoff, of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), told a House of Representatives Government Reform subcommittee. Christoff also said Pentagon intelligence data showed an escalating insurgency, as "each monthly peak in the number of violent incidents is followed by a higher average number of attacks in subsequent months."

Pentagon Data on Iraq Security Forces Unreliable -GAO

The border is more secure than it has been since 2003.

Um...

...George Casey, the commanding US general of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, told the news network that current insurgent assaults were running at between 50 and 60 attacks a day. "They (insurgents) are able to maintain the level of violence between 50 and 60 attacks a day," General Casey said.

More foreign fighters entering Iraq: US general

While Westerners are transfixed by the occasional kidnapping of one of their own here, Iraqis are far more vulnerable. As many as 5,000 Iraqis have been kidnapped in the last year and a half, according to Western and Iraqi security officials... Scattered anecdotal evidence suggests that the epidemic of kidnapping, especially of children, is a force like no other in driving from Iraq the educated professionals who are critically needed for the rebuilding of the country. As stoic as Iraqis often are about the perils they face in their daily lives, kidnapping contributes to the national sense of instability and fuels mutual distrust - particularly because many kidnappings rely on people close to the target who pass information on net worth, daily habits and other matters of interest to hostage takers.

Rings That Kidnap Iraqis Thrive on Big Threats and Bigger Profits

A story in the Times last week gives a different picture. The reporter, Catherine Philp, described how a group of picnicking students had been attacked by members of an Islamic militia. Two of them were killed and others beaten with sticks and rifles butts. According to Ms Philp, the town of Basra is today controlled by fanatical religious militias which disapprove of things like picnics. So what has happened to the British army which, we thought, was in charge? When one of the students appealed for help at the British military base he was told to 'go to the Iraqi authorities'. From this account, it appears that our army is confined to barracks waiting to be told what to do by a government that doesn't exist. That probably suits Mr Blair, as the last thing he wants is more British casualties hitting the headlines. But one wonders what the army thinks about it.

Life's no picnic in Basra

While American officials point to the bargaining among Shiite Muslim and Kurdish politicians over an interim Iraqi government as evidence that democracy is taking hold in Iraq, some Iraqi analysts and politicians are increasingly worried about the group that's missing from the equation: Sunni Muslims. Almost two months after national elections, Iraq's Sunni minority remains fragmented and largely alienated from the horse-trading. If that continues, the group that's long dominated Iraq could find itself shut out of December's prime ministerial election as it was on Jan. 30, when Sunnis won only a few seats in Iraq's new parliament.

Sunnis' exclusion from political process stokes fears of civil war

For the first time, Sunni Muslim sheiks are publicly exhorting followers to strike with force against ethnic Kurds and Shi'ites, an escalation in rhetoric that could exacerbate the communal violence that already is shaking Iraq's ethnic communities. 'The Americans aren't the problem; we're living under an occupation of Kurds and Shi'ites," Sattar Abdulhalik Adburahman, a Sunni leader from the northern city of Kirkuk, told a gathering of tribal leaders last week, to deafening applause. 'It's time to fight back." Such calls for violence are being voiced against the backdrop of an alarming rise in tit-for-tat ethnic and sectarian killings. According to several Iraqi leaders, Shi'ite death squads routinely kill Sunnis suspected of ties to the Ba'ath Party or insurgency. Bands of Sunnis target Shi'ites in retaliation, Sunni political leaders like Adnan Pachachi said, suggesting that significant organizations, rather than small splintered cells of vigilantes, are driving the killing. Increasingly, terms like 'insurgency" and 'anti-Iraqi forces" favored by American officials here fail to fully describe much of the violence. Iraqi politicians say the worst violence is being carried out by Sunni fighters against Shi'ites and Kurds -- both civilians and those who work for security forces backed by the Iraqi government.

Fractured Iraq sees a Sunni call to arms
posted by y2karl at 8:24 PM on March 28, 2005


The proliferation of anti-American fighters poses a new problem for the United States, CIA director Porter Goss told a Senate hearing last month on threats to the United States: a new generation of militants who will know firsthand how to fight and kill American soldiers. "These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced in and focused on acts of urban terrorism. They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups, and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries," Goss said. It is only a matter of time, Goss added, before militant groups like al Qaeda attempt to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S. targets. With 150,000 U.S. troops bogged down in a costly campaign against increasingly bold and sophisticated Iraqi guerrillas, Washington had to "move some assets away from the search for bin Laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan," said Anthony Cordesman, an expert on terrorism at the Center for Strategic and International Studies...

Curbing terrorism stumbles over Bush's war on terror - Iraq desert becomes chief training ground for killing Americans
posted by y2karl at 8:35 PM on March 28, 2005


Billmon: Let's Make a Deal
posted by amberglow at 8:43 PM on March 28, 2005


tkchrist,

You have a very lucid view of things it seems.

But I have to wonder; After all this wrangling in the middle east, after all the hostility we have created, after all those broken years- wasted burning oil, fighting wars and going into debt-

Where will we be?

Surely you can see the precariousness of our situation as you sip on your soy latte out of a styrofoam cup and putter to the gym in your automobile.

Is our lifestyle a natural right that we should expect to last forever?

Should we maintain this system of consumption?

I'm just saying that we might just wake up one day and find our asses collectively kicked. We may even do it ourselves-seeing that no one else is capable of doing the job properly.

How do you feel about this whole situation, are you positive when you think about it?
posted by kuatto at 9:57 PM on March 28, 2005


First rule: If you're digging yourself into a hole, stop digging.
The US lost what little chance of a positive outcome there was in Iraq when Bremer replaced Garner. It's nothing but war from here on out, with or without the US presence.

I am constantly amazed by just how badly this Administration can fuch things up. Worst case scenario? No such thing with the Strauss neocons around 'cause they can always find a way to make it much worse.
posted by nofundy at 6:46 AM on March 29, 2005


But I have to wonder; After all this wrangling in the middle east, after all the hostility we have created, after all those broken years- wasted burning oil, fighting wars and going into debt-

Where will we be?


Screwed. Yes. That's right. Not much better off than if we hadn't invented all this meddling middle east military machination. But that is more or less a function of consumption and capitalism than hostile imperialism. Rome did this shit for over a thousand years.

Is our lifestyle a natural right that we should expect to last forever?

No. It will not last out the century. But do I want to be the one who gives it up? Volunteers, anyone? People talk a good game about "down with the capitalist swine" but iPods and SUVs are still selling like hotcakes. And Yes. We would have to give up a great deal to even things out and soften the crash. Nobody is going to do that. If fact the OPPOSITE is happening. Everybody wants IN on what we have.

At some point we will have a massive adjustment. I think you are seeing the first of the desperate measures to sustain what is not sustainable.

Should we maintain this system of consumption?
Should? It will NOT be maintained. But my life is pretty fucking easy, man. I'd like that to continue. Our society is based on cheap constantly growing Oil energy. Even If we ALL suddenly switched gears tomorrow and lived the spartan proletariat non-consumptive lifestyle the system will still crash.

Do you want to increase your labor hours another 20-30% just to FEED yourself? Because that is what will happen. There will be no "getting ahead", there will be sustaining existence at much greater effort than 99% of people in the West are used to. Most, even the so called "enlightened" won't be able to cut it and wars will result.

I'm just saying that we might just wake up one day and find our asses collectively kicked. We may even do it ourselves-seeing that no one else is capable of doing the job properly.

Yes. But remember how fa ahead we are of the rest of the word and how dependant most of the world is on us. After Peak the third world will see a population contraction of maybe two thirds, man. And that is if we voluntarily prepare for what is ahead.

Yet we, the US, will still be on top of the ash pile. It is relative.

It is no accident the world population quadrupled in the last century and a half. Corporate capitalism. It made life MUCH easier than before. But the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, right. The piper will be paid.

How do you feel about this whole situation, are you positive when you think about it?

No. And. Yes. I count my lucky stars I was born a while male in North America during the latter half of the Twentieth Century. You cannot get any luckier than that.
posted by tkchrist at 10:38 AM on March 29, 2005


Yet we, the US, will still be on top of the ash pile. It is relative.
We must not allow a mine shaft gap!
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:01 AM on March 29, 2005


it's too bad that an ash pile is so soft and porous.

To be a fly on the wall in 2075...
posted by amberglow at 11:25 AM on March 29, 2005


Dozens of ballistic missiles are missing in Iraq. Vials of dangerous microbes are unaccounted for. Sensitive sites, once under U.N. seal, stand gutted today, their arms-making gear hauled off by looters, or by arms-makers. All the world now knows that Iraq had no threatening 'WMD' programs. But two years after U.S. teams began their futile hunt for weapons of mass destruction, Iraq has something else: a landscape of ruined military plants and of unanswered questions and loose ends, some potentially lethal, an Associated Press review of official reporting shows. The chief U.N. arms inspector told AP that outsiders are seeing only a 'sliver' of the mess inside Iraq. Demetrius Perricos reports that satellite images indicate at least 90 sites in the old Iraqi military-industrial complex have been pillaged. The U.S. teams paint a similar picture. 'There is nothing but a concrete slab at locations where once stood plants or laboratories,' the Iraq Survey Group said in its final report.

Missiles, microbes, sacked weapon sites: Loose ends proliferate in Iraq
posted by y2karl at 3:53 PM on March 29, 2005


...the soviet union rolled over Germany in WW2 by basically using humans as everything from minefield clearing devices to shields to projectiles, and still won. You plainly don't know anything.

I just saw this. It made me laugh and laugh. Because even though it is a moronic comparison of disparate events, it actually HELPS to prove my point about "killing more of the other guy". I'll explain. It's hard to know exact populations of Russia and Germany pre-WWII. Some estimates of census:

Russian Population in 1937 was about 172 million.

German population was about 65 million (1937 borders).

The Germans killed close to 9 million Russians (some say 11 million) and lost, over time, another 16 million civilians. But we will never know how many of those were killed by Stalin. but let's keep that anyway because it won't matter.

The Germans lost 3.5+ million (and 4.6 million wounded - 3/4 of both at the Russian front) and 2 million civilians - so about 5.5 million.

So dude. Do the math. And think about the strategy.

The Russians could afford to lose 15-18% of their population to DEFEND. The Germans could not afford to lose 9% of theirs to OCCUPY and invade.

The Russians could seek supplies OUTSIDE of invaded territories from it's allies. The Germans had had to make EVERYTHING. It was all German labor hours manufacturing every bullet. Not so much with the Russians.

And "rolled?" Germany invaded Russia in 1941. BUT there were two fronts remember. Much of the German army was also moved West after D-Day making the German "Strongpoint" defense untenable.

The point is: The Russians had over 2X the fucking population of the Germans.

SO LSS - Let me make a logical leap for you: We killed more Germans than they could produce.

BTW. What the hell were all those Russian doing on the way to Berlin? Killing goddamned Krauts that's what. LOL. You dipshit.

Sorry. Had to take that laughable little derail. I'm all done now.
posted by tkchrist at 6:59 PM on March 29, 2005


I think the anti-war position has been solid, that we should remove the troops because the american presence is the cause of a lot of the bloodshed and strife. I'm glad to see it happen, but i'm wary that the US will make a show of de-escalation and will keep established bases there for purposes of geopolitical control. So don't be fooled that what the bush administration wants is the same thing as 'bringing the troops home.' We want all of the troops home.

Michael Hoffman of Iraqi Vets for peace, is of the opinion that we won't keep all 14/16 whatever bases there, but scale back to "only" three or four. At this moment, the anti-war movement needs to highlight the existence of these bases, and call for their removal.

The Iraq vets for peace are also calling for 'aid for iraqis on iraqi terms.' We blew up their country, so we get to pay for rebuilding it how they want it, and not how Bechtel et al want.

http://www.ivaw.net


And if you look at the United Iraqi Alliance platform, the one that was largely voted in, what iraqis actually voted for, you'll see a repudiation of the neoliberal/neoconservative invasion into iraq's economic system.

Iraqis voted for debt relief, they voted that oil money be used for development, they voted for gov't employment programs. If those things do not happen, the election was a sham (which wouldn't be too much of a surprise, unfortunately).
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1379995,00.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1411348,00.html

removing most troops is only a sign that someone in the 43rd administration is sane. but what we want is for someone in the administration to be just, to pay reparations for the damage done, to let the Iraqi people rule themselves. They have spoken, we should listen.

And in a dreamworld, the war criminals would have to stand trial for their crimes, as well.
posted by eustatic at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2005


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