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May 1, 2006 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Today Is Mission Accomplished Day
posted by If I Had An Anus (103 comments total)

 
Umm, shouldn't they, like, wait until after November, when their cries may fall upon more sympathetic ears?
posted by Afroblanco at 6:53 AM on May 1, 2006


ITMFA
posted by ahimsakid at 6:58 AM on May 1, 2006


Of course, Afroblanco. But in a troubled economy, lots of people love to window shop for Fitzmas presents.

BTW - Today is Flag Day.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:59 AM on May 1, 2006


Flags all around then.
posted by LarryC at 7:11 AM on May 1, 2006


Anna Nicole Smith Wins Supreme Court Case : Mi$$ion Accomplished.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:23 AM on May 1, 2006


I'm sure Anna's accomplishment will engender as thousand little deaths as well. Let the games begin.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:25 AM on May 1, 2006


I don't know about any missions being accomplished, and I'm no lover of Bush, but here are some indicators from the Iraq Index, from April 21 2006 (A selection, weighted towards positive news, as the negative news is well covered here and elsewhere)

Military

-US Troop fatalities trending down since Nov. 05, wounded troops trending down even further.
-Iraqi military and police fatalities trending further down since July. 05
-Car bomb attacks averaging 25 per month in 2006, down from highs over 100 in 2005.
-Iraqi civilian deaths trending down, and nowhere near highs from 2004 and 2005. Estimated total deaths of 34,000-39,000.
-"Insurgent attacks tended to be concentrated (85%) in 4 of 18 provinces. These provinces contain less than 42% of the Iraqi population. Half of the Iraqi population (12 provinces) lives in areas that experience 6% of all attacks. 6 provinces listed a statistically insignificant number of attacks based on population size. 80% of all attacks are directed towards Coalition Forces. 80% of all casualties are suffered by the Iraqi population."
-Operational Iraqi police number 134,800, military 115,700, just under stated goals.

Economic Indicators

-Energy exports rising again as attacks on infrastructure are greatly reduced.
-GDP 30% higher than in 2002
-5 times more cars on the road than in 2002
-Criminal justice system has been overhauled and becoming more effective
-Phone subscribers up 700% (from 800k to 6.8m)
-147k Internet subscribers (up from 4,500)
-44 commerical TV stations (up from 0)
-72 commercial radio stations (up from 0)
-Over 100 independant newspapers (up from 0)

Political Indicators

-Iraq is at 5.05 on the Political Freedom Index, between Morrocco and Kuwait, ahead of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Libya.
-300 political parties (up from 1)

Polling Numbers (January 2006)

Do you think Iraq is headed in the right direction? (yes)
Overall - 64%
Shia - 84%
Sunni - 6%

Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US-Britain invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?
Overall - 77%
Shia - 98%
Sunni - 13%

posted by loquax at 7:26 AM on May 1, 2006


so, uh, what is Melissa123's message? we should relish being fucked in the ass by a god of war? we should be like insane Cupid, who arrowed George Bush into singing opera solos and relishing hand stamps? I'm having trouble with this.
posted by carsonb at 7:27 AM on May 1, 2006



posted by wakko at 7:40 AM on May 1, 2006


Poll: Vast majority believes Iraq mission not accomplished
"Three years after President Bush declared major combat over in Iraq, Americans have strong doubts that the United States will fulfill the promise of his "Mission Accomplished" backdrop, a poll released Monday found.

The CNN poll, conducted April 21-23 by Opinion Research Corporation, found that only 9 percent thought the U.S. mission in Iraq had been accomplished, while another 40 percent believed it would be complete someday.

Another 44 percent said the United States would never accomplish its goals in Iraq, where American troops are still battling insurgents three years after the invasion that toppled former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein."

[CNN | May 01, 2006]
posted by ericb at 7:45 AM on May 1, 2006


In my opinion, the Bush Administration's mission was accomplished. We'll be dealing with that accomplishment for a long, long time.
posted by NationalKato at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2006


the Iraq Index

Thanks for that totally unbiased look at Iraq.

Some other nuggets of truthiness from the Brookings Institution:

Unwed Mothers Often Lack Good Marriage Prospects


Cohabitation Is No Substitute for Marriage

Although, to their credit, they do seem to be gay marraige positive on the basis that it strengthens that particular institution.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:48 AM on May 1, 2006


Spin it to the dead, loquax.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:54 AM on May 1, 2006


US Troop fatalities trending down since Nov. 05, wounded troops trending down even further.

Um, the Iraq coalition casualty count says that 78 Soldiers died in April, only eight less than in November. If you look at the statistic of deaths over the last three years, I don't think that you can draw any conclusions about trends as the numbers jump up and down hugely each month.
posted by octothorpe at 7:59 AM on May 1, 2006


It's also Loyalty Day, by presidential proclamation.

US Troop fatalities trending down since Nov. 05, wounded troops trending down even further.

72 American military personnel were killed in Iraq last month, the most since November 2005.

Insurgent attacks tended to be concentrated (85%) in 4 of 18 provinces

Not according to an April 2006 GAO report based on recent State Department and U.S. military assessments:
Eight of Iraq's 18 provinces are dangerously unstable and violent, not just the four usually cited.
...
A Government Accountability Office report, based on recent State Department and U.S. military assessments in Iraq, suggests the country is on a downward slope. Insurgent attacks increased 23 percent between 2004 and 2005, and oil, electricity and water services are all below pre-invasion levels.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:08 AM on May 1, 2006


Some other nuggets of truthiness from the Brookings Institution:

Are you kidding? Brookings is ostensibly non-partisan, and if anything leans Democrat. They were on Nixon's enemies list, were pro-Gore and are mostly funded by Democrats.

octothorpe: From Nov. 04 to April 06 (partial), US troop fatalities as a result of hostile action:

125, 57, 62, 23, 43, 67, 70, 39, 81, 37, 81, 76, 50, 49, 43, 29, 41

Statistically there's a definite downward trend (even if the April number is 72), but you're right, it isn't as strong a trend as the downward trend of wounded soldiers.
posted by loquax at 8:13 AM on May 1, 2006


‘Mission Accomplished’ By The Numbers .
posted by ericb at 8:16 AM on May 1, 2006


(A selection, weighted towards positive news, as the negative news is well covered here and elsewhere)

If you say this in an Alistair Cooke kind of tone, it's even more hilarious. There's reality showing it's liberal bias again, thank goodness it's already been covered here. Even if we see a constant decline in maiming and death, what is the point? What about those WMD's again? What about the 9-11 link? Oh, right. Nonexistent. Bring on the absolving myopic statistics, please!
posted by prostyle at 8:20 AM on May 1, 2006


Statistically there's a definite downward trend

Especially since you started in November of 2004, not the first six months of the war, where the monthy death tolls were mostly smaller than those of the last six months.

Monthly U.S. fatalities, March-August 2003: 35, 48, 30, 37, 74,
65

Monthly U.S. fatalities, November 2005 - April 2006: 72, 31, 55, 62, 68, 84

In the last six months of U.S. occupation, 5 out of the last 6 months have yeilded higher U.S. death tolls than the death tolls of 4 of the first 6 months of the war.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:28 AM on May 1, 2006


How many Iraqi casualties? You know, innocent deaths? Euphemistally, collateral damage?

Right...they don't count them anymore. We're left with educated guesswork. Here's a clue: Winning teams don't unplug the scoreboard.

And a lesson from Vietnam (which this admin seems hellbent on forgetting, except the parts about hiding the truth to better manage public perception): Body counts don't win guerilla wars. Ho Chi Mihn said "you will kill ten of ours to every one we kill of yours, and in the end it will be you who tires of it." And he was right about that.

But who knows? Maybe it's twenty of theirs, or fifty, or a thousand. Not that it matters towards winning or losing, only towards public perception, which is the only battle the Bush admin thinks is worth winning.
posted by edverb at 8:37 AM on May 1, 2006


Being that the mission is to stabilize the country and win hearts and minds, the higher the body count of innocents, the further we are from "winning" and the closer to losing. Ahh, what am I saying? Fact is, we lost at Abu Ghraib. This is all just ego, political face-saving, and ulterior motives at this point, over a pile of dead and wounded and ruined.
posted by edverb at 8:46 AM on May 1, 2006


Especially since you started in November of 2004, not the first six months of the war

Sure, and since 2002 the trend is infinitely upwards. It only makes sense to look at the worst period to determine the trend since. I'm not trying to say by any stretch that "mission accomplished" is an accurate representation of the situation in Iraq, or even that Bush et al have done a "good" job in Iraq. I've said many times here that efforts in Iraq are nowhere close to being accomplished, and I don't think they will be for many years. I just don't think the situation is the exact opposite, the "total clusterfuck", that many believe that it is. Again:

Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US-Britain invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?
Overall - 77%
Shia - 98%
Sunni - 13%


This to me (as a non-American, at least), matters far more than Bush's approval ratings when it comes to measuring success of any kind in Iraq.
posted by loquax at 8:54 AM on May 1, 2006


loquax writes "This to me (as a non-American, at least), matters far more than Bush's approval ratings when it comes to measuring success of any kind in Iraq."

And it should: the sectarianism that is the fundamental cause of the discrepancy in those Shia/Sunni results is what is driving the civil war in Iraq. Unless this war can be stopped (how?) there will be no coalition success. I fear it's already too late.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:01 AM on May 1, 2006


Sure, and since 2002 the trend is infinitely upwards. It only makes sense to look at the worst period to determine the trend since.

No, that actually doesn't make any fucking sense whatsoever. In other words your argument is that violence has decreased, when compared to the point when violence was at its worst. Well holy shit, that's some amazing stats work there.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:08 AM on May 1, 2006


The words "Bush", "success", and "Iraq" don't even belong in the same sentence. We're talking about perhaps the single biggest foreign policy f*ckup in American history here.

From not committing enough troops, to the failure to build a true coalition, to the deception about WMDs and 9/11 & Al Queda ties, to firing the civil workforce and sending the Iraqi army home with their weapons, to failure to guard known weapons caches, to Abu Ghraib, to fifteen "turned corners", to the failure to get Iraqi security forces off the ground...

Please.

"Success", "Bush", "Iraq" == doublespeak, about as sensible as "9/11=Terror=Iraq." Either we're having honest debate, or we're not. Measuring Bush's "success" in Iraq is like trying to nail raindrops to the wall.
posted by edverb at 9:11 AM on May 1, 2006


I always wonder about polls taken in areas of strife. How are the polls conducted? Do they rely on telephones, in which case the poll would be weighted towards the Haves, who administers the polls?
To me there are too many unknowns to take a public opinion poll from Iraq seriously. I would say that about however the poll numbers turned out.


many unknowns in poll
methodology questioned
I suspend belief
posted by edgeways at 9:30 AM on May 1, 2006


Mission Accomplished: A look back at the media's fawning coverage of Bush's premature declaration of victory in Iraq.
posted by ericb at 9:32 AM on May 1, 2006


They can't even run the friggin power grid for twenty four consecutive hours in some places. They haven't been able to enforce any sort of civil structure some places. Went from brutal secular dictatorship to Sharia law...women can't go out uncovered, never mind hold a job. They "clean out" Fallujah of terrorists insurgents and turn the rubble back over to lawlessness within weeks. The Mahdi army runs the civil authority in Baghdad. An Iranian spy heads up the oil ministry for crying out loud.

Measuring "Bush's success" in Iraq? On what planet?

You wanna talk about success in Iraq? Pull the damn purple fingers out of your backside and include the Iranians in your analysis. They've succeeded quite handily. Hardliners in Iran have more claim to "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq than Bush does. Wish it weren't so, it's harsh but true.

"Bush's success in Iraq." I'd laugh in your face if it weren't a pile of corpses and rubble over lies we were talking about. It's a contemptible notion, an insult, a f*cking meatgrinder with our kids and theirs stuck in the middle of it. Delusional madness -- a f*cking psy-op from the small minds of empty suit pundits armed with more talking points than sense, completely divorced from reality and with no stake in the cost. Quite possibly a stake in the profit, though.

I'm done ranting. Just thought I'd let it be known that the terms of debate are absolutely ludicrous, and should be rejected. Don't debate "Bush's success in Iraq", it's a sad joke.
posted by edverb at 9:33 AM on May 1, 2006


loquax, I don't know if you know it but the 77% approval rating is just the weighted average of the approvals of the Shia (the vast majority of Iraqis, out of power and persecuted under Saddam) and the Sunnis (minority, friends of Saddam's). So, um, the fact this is 90% to 10% is much more telling than the overall approval rating. If only 10% of Sunnis think that the U.S.-led invasion was a net positive, then that's very very bad.
posted by zpousman at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2006


It's also Loyalty Day, by presidential proclamation.

That really deserves a FPP, IMO.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:54 AM on May 1, 2006


Three years ago remember when we won the war? It was AWESOME that we won! The parades. The dancing in the streets. Awesome. I saw it on FOX.

125, 57, 62, 23, 43, 67, 70, 39, 81, 37, 81, 76, 50, 49, 43, 29, 41

OMFG. It's the numbers from LOST!

So. According to the paper this morning planners at the Pentagon openly refer to the escalating violence in Iraq as a Civil War and there is increasing talk of partitioning Iraq. The preparation of this eventuality is now being officially unofficially implemented. Wow.

BUT we won! Take THAT Osama SADDAM!
posted by tkchrist at 10:06 AM on May 1, 2006


For those of you that would rather do something significant in addition to talking about this mess, Military Families Speak Out is staging a memorial rally in D.C. the weekend of May 13th (actually starts on the 11th). The centerpiece of the event will the the display of over 2,000 pairs of boots, and symbolic representation of Iraqi deaths as well.

I'm finally getting off my butt about this, taking a couple of days off, and making the trip to D.C. This can be stopped... we just need to care enough, and be active enough, to make it happen.
posted by HuronBob at 10:07 AM on May 1, 2006


and symbolic representation of Iraqi deaths as well.

Because, well...we just don't have enough boots.
posted by NationalKato at 10:16 AM on May 1, 2006



posted by tkchrist at 10:24 AM on May 1, 2006


Beware Bush's Phony Crisis on Iran
posted by homunculus at 10:32 AM on May 1, 2006


No, that actually doesn't make any fucking sense whatsoever. In other words your argument is that violence has decreased, when compared to the point when violence was at its worst. Well holy shit, that's some amazing stats work there.

I'm not making an argument, I'm saying that since the worst period of violence, the number of US military deaths as a result of hostility has been trending down. And it has been, for what it's worth. If, instead, since Nov. 04 the number had been increasing every month, a very different conclusion could be drawn, so yes, measuring this number from its worst point two years ago is statistically significant in some ways, especially when combined with the downward trend of death and injuries among coalition troops, Iraqi troops and Iraqi police, and civilian contractors. One can also look at these trends relative to the types of attacks being conducted by insurgents, and their relative success.

The problem with measuring the progress (or lack thereof) in Iraq is the same old problem that the US has in foreign military conflict. The mission is not clearly defined, targets are not set properly or taken seriously, scope creep enters into every facet of the operation and it becomes impossible to judge whether or not your actions are helping or hurting because you have no idea what you're supposed to be doing, how to prioritize it and how to communicate it. If Baghdad had electricity 24/7, would that mean the mission was accomplished? If only 1500 US troops had lost their lives would the endeavor have been worthwhile? Why is Iraq remaining a federation of Shia, Kurd and Sunni that clearly don't get along a yardstick for success in Iraq? Why are the positive facts and figures I cited meaningless, yet reports of sectarian violence clear cut evidence of unmitigated disaster?

Again, I'm not saying that US efforts in Iraq on the whole have been totally successful or even moderately successful. I think that many things could have been handled much better, others have been disasters, and still other efforts successful to varying degrees. But without concrete, open agreement on what the scope of the mission is, and clear objectives, there's no point in even discussing what's happening over there, because there's nothing to judge it against. I can cherry-pick positives all day long and others can cherry-pick negatives, what does that prove? For that, Bush's administration is fully, 100% to blame.

edgeways: The poll cited was conducted by World Public Opinion Poll.org
posted by loquax at 10:47 AM on May 1, 2006


Loquax - I think the point is that nearly every positive could have been achieved WITHOUT the negative. By NOT INVADING at all.

There were many other options we could have pursued that may or may not have included applications of force from which could have been achieved nearly every one of our "stated" aims.

The problem was this: They never openly admitted what their aims really were, so no clear strategy could support those aims.

Bush's TRUE aim was a (barely) disguised bald faced exhibition of naked violent power and a grab at precious oil real estate with the aim of occupying this real estate indefinitely.
posted by tkchrist at 11:02 AM on May 1, 2006


But without concrete, open agreement on what the scope of the mission is, and clear objectives, there's no point in even discussing what's happening over there, because there's nothing to judge it against.

That's not a bug, it's a feature. That's strategy.

All in all, a very reasonable response in the face of my ranting Loquax.
posted by edverb at 11:04 AM on May 1, 2006


Gangs claim their turf in Iraq:
The Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords were born decades ago in Chicago's most violent neighborhoods. Now, their gang graffiti is showing up 6,400 miles away in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods -- Iraq.
...
Of paramount concern is whether gang-affiliated soldiers' training will make them deadly urban warriors when they return to civilian life and if some are using their access to military equipment to supply gangs at home, said Barfield and other experts.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:11 AM on May 1, 2006


That's not a bug, it's a feature. That's strategy.

I agree (mostly), and it's the Bush administration's biggest long -term mistake. Had the whole thing been handled differently upfront, perhaps the war would have never happened, but if it had, I'd bet efforts in Iraq would be going a lot better today.

Loquax - I think the point is that nearly every positive could have been achieved WITHOUT the negative. By NOT INVADING at all.

I don't know how the Baathists and Saddam's clan could have been removed without invading or continuing the extremely oppressive sanctions indefinitely. I consider their ouster (and bloody deaths) a huge notch in the "positive" column, for the world and Iraqis.

Bonus
: Juan Cole wants to translate and send classic books of American political thought to Iraq.
posted by loquax at 11:22 AM on May 1, 2006


Some Thoughts for “Law Day”
posted by homunculus at 11:24 AM on May 1, 2006


Loquax - 125, 57, 62, 23, 43, 67, 70, 39, 81, 37, 81, 76, 50, 49, 43, 29, 41

Statistically there's a definite downward trend (even if the April number is 72), but you're right, it isn't as strong a trend as the downward trend of wounded soldiers.


I don't think it's appropriate to call this a downward trend, let alone definite. Setting aside your arbitrary starting point (one quite useful to your argument), the average number of deaths over the 17 months you show is 57.2. There are three months before the midway point and four months after the midway point below that number (given that April turns out to be 72/78). That's not much of a trend.

The median is 50/57. So if you put them in rank order, the numbers would look like this -

1 - 23, 2 - 29, 3 - 37, 4 - 39, 5 - 43, 6 - 43, 7 - 49, 8 - 50, 9 - 57, 10 - 62, 11 - 67, 12 - 70 , 13 - 72, 14 - 76 (April), 15 - 81, 16 - 81, 17 - 125

-or-

17, 9, 10, 1, 6, 11, 12, 4, 15, 3, 16, 14, 8, 7, 5, 2, 13

Again, that doesn't look like a definite downward trend. In fact, excepting the first arbitrarily chosen month, the worst months have been coming lately.

It's fine to argue that we need clear ideas of success and failure, but your use of statistics is muddying the waters, in my opinion.
posted by Slothrop at 11:41 AM on May 1, 2006


Slothrop, I plugged the numbers into excel, starting at the last month that US deaths were over 100 (if I was really being sneaky, I could have gone back further and included some other months over 100). Since that point, any trendline that I asked excel to generate for me went from the upper left-hand side to the lower right-hand side (obviously to varying degrees, depending). I don't see why people think I'm being disingenuous with this, I'm not trying to be. Why on earth wouldn't you start with the worst period two years ago to in order to examine how things have been going since? If you started at some point prior to that, perhaps the trendline would be flat, or even rising slightly, but it would obscure the fact that there was a peak and we are (for now, at least), in the midst of a valley.

Either way, it wasn't my main point. Those numbers in isolation don't determine success or failure. It was one point out of about 25 that I initially posted.
posted by loquax at 11:53 AM on May 1, 2006


Happy Codpiece Day Everyone!
posted by madamjujujive at 12:13 PM on May 1, 2006


I think what loquax is trying to say is that we're finally turning the corner in Iraq.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:22 PM on May 1, 2006


What Iraqis Think: Mission Botched
"On the third anniversary of President Bush’s declaration of the end of major combat operations underneath a 'mission accomplished' banner, a new poll of Iraqis conducted in late March 2006 for the International Republican Institute offers grim reminders of the troubles regular Iraqis continue to face.

Less secure. The vast majority of Iraqis – 76 percent – rate their security situation as 'poor.' More than half of all Iraqis (55 percent) say the security situation has gotten worse in the last three months, a 26-point increase since last fall.

More divided. Six in 10 (62 percent) of Iraqis say that the country is more divided than in the past.

Facing economic freefall. Fully three quarters of Iraqis (76 percent) say that wages have gotten worse in the last three months, a stunning 58-point increase since last fall.

More corrupt. Nearly seven in 10 Iraqis (68 percent) say that corruption has gotten worse in the last three months, a 19-point increase since last fall."
posted by ericb at 12:38 PM on May 1, 2006


If or when Iran builds the bomb, then having a U.S. military presence in Iraq is a good thing. Maybe that was the plan all along.
posted by disgruntled at 12:42 PM on May 1, 2006


Good thing we're grabbing tactical positions a whole decade ahead of time, then.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:43 PM on May 1, 2006


If or when Iran builds the bomb, then having a U.S. military presence in Iraq is a good thing. Maybe that was the plan all along.

Wow, this thread is so deep I think I'm about to drown... oh wait no, I'm just flopping around in the kiddie pool with a broken neck, next to a floating turd. At least I can see where you all are coming from now - this is so much fun from this perspective! Wheee!
posted by prostyle at 12:48 PM on May 1, 2006


Either way, it wasn't my main point. Those numbers in isolation don't determine success or failure. It was one point out of about 25 that I initially posted.

However, it was the first point. Anyone actually following the military fatality numbers would have very good reason to doubt the rest.
posted by telstar at 12:49 PM on May 1, 2006


Iraq Coalition Casualty Count has a chart of US deaths by month. American fatalities dropped each month from November 2005 through March 2006, as the US increasingly relied on air power instead of ground troops, as Seymour Hersh anticipated in December 2005.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:49 PM on May 1, 2006


I can cherry-pick positives all day long and others can cherry-pick negatives, what does that prove?

Christ. So now listing the entire timeline of the war is "cherry-picking?" I could have sworn "cherry-picking" required, you know, leaving things out.

I don't see why people think I'm being disingenuous with this, I'm not trying to be. Why on earth wouldn't you start with the worst period two years ago to in order to examine how things have been going since?

Yes, loquax. Disingenuous is exactly what you're trying to be. By backing an argument with evidence in which you selectively eliminate the parts that prove you wrong, you are, in fact, being quite disingenuous.

You started this by responding to octothorpe's comment who noted "If you look at the statistic of deaths over the last three years." Your response was numbers starting in November 2004. Given this, and given that everyone else here is, as per the FPP, arguing the quality of conditions in Iraq since Bush declared the war over, three years ago today, to say that conditions should be measured from eighteen months later is not only wrong, but meaningless.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:50 PM on May 1, 2006


If or when Iran builds the bomb, then having a U.S. military presence in Iraq is a good thing. Maybe that was the plan all along.

Since when is the U.S. in the business of invading and occupying countries next to possible future threats?
posted by NationalKato at 1:03 PM on May 1, 2006


Well, XQUZYPHYR, I agree with everyone here that Bush's "mission accomplished" appearance was nonsense. So what's the point of measuring everything since then? It's a far more arbitrary reference point than the apparent swell of insurgent violence that occurred a little more than a year later. It's very valuable in terms of condemning Bush, but not so much in terms of examining the current situation. But fine. Since the day of the codpiece, the trend of US deaths has clearly been upwards, for whatever that's worth.

Christ. So now listing the entire timeline of the war is "cherry-picking?" I could have sworn "cherry-picking" required, you know, leaving things out.

Yes. My first post deliberately (as noted) left out negatives, and most posts on metafilter in this thread and elsewhere leave out positives. There's room enough in the spectrum to both condemn the administration and the efforts in Iraq while still acknowledging that some things have turned out well. As I also noted, the Bush administration has made this exceedingly difficult.

However, it was the first point. Anyone actually following the military fatality numbers would have very good reason to doubt the rest.

Umm, why? The numbers were 100% accurate and referenced. The numbers have been trending down since Nov. 05 (and Nov. 04, which I actually meant to write in my first post). I disagree with Slothrup's and XQUZPHYUR's characterizations of my motives or the validity of my conclusions. Perhaps we're talking past each other about different things, but whatever I said was correct. Whether or not it's significant, I suppose, is up to you.

Thanks for that chart, kirkaracha, the only thing I would note is that it includes accidental and "non-hostile" deaths, which lower the numbers to roughly what I posted earlier.
posted by loquax at 1:05 PM on May 1, 2006


I consider their ouster (and bloody deaths) a huge notch in the "positive" column, for the world and Iraqis.

Why? You only say this because you don't live there.

More Iraqi's are dying violent deaths at a higher rate now. Terrorism appears to be trending UP worldwide. The Iraq economy is is shambles.

Iraq was clearly BETTER off under the cruel dictator. The devil you know and all.

We have merely decentralized despotism by placing a widely disregarded and powerless "democratic" head at the top of a mass of violent tribal theocracies and crime syndicates. Yay us!

I bet you $10 that with in eight years - that is if, IF, a central authority holds at all, a "Saddam" lite regime will be in power in Iraq on it's way to establishing an abysmal human rights record held in contempt throughout the civilized world.
posted by tkchrist at 1:29 PM on May 1, 2006


President Bush explicitly defined what "the mission" is just before the invasion:
Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament. And in order to disarm, it would mean regime change. I'm confident we'll be able to achieve that objective, in a way that minimizes the loss of life. No doubt there's risks in any military operation; I know that. But it's very clear what we intend to do. And our mission won't change. Our mission is precisely what I just stated.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:35 PM on May 1, 2006


Why? You only say this because you don't live there.

I say this because Iraqis themselves seem to say this (except, of course, for some that directly benefited from him). As do his neighbours, and just about everyone.

More Iraqi's are dying violent deaths at a higher rate now.

Certainly true. Like I said earlier, Iraq is hardly a success and there are many serious issues to be resolved (or not). Chief among them is the security situation. And also keeping in mind that by and large, it is not Americans killing civilians, it is Baathists, religious extremists and other insurgents. Nobody in Iraq wants those guys running things, nobody in Iraq supports their attacks on Iraqi forces, police or civilians, and nobody supports their attacks on infrastructure.

Terrorism appears to be trending UP worldwide.

There was terrorism before, there will be terrorism after. As far as I know, there have been no terrorist attacks on US soil since 2003. Most Middle Eastern-related terrorism that I'm aware of has been targeted at the same people it always has been - secular governments (at the hands of religious extremists), Israel, Western tourists. Madrid and London are the two exceptions perhaps, but Spain has always been on the list of targets for the new Caliphate and the London bombings could only be tangentially related to Iraq. To not do something because others might react violently is not necessarily a wise strategy. Sometimes it's just giving in to blackmail.

The Iraq economy is is shambles.

How so? The numbers I referenced earlier seem to dispute this, at least generally speaking.

Iraq was clearly BETTER off under the cruel dictator. The devil you know and all.

Again, Iraqis themselves seem to disagree with you, on the whole. I would also disagree with that. I think you only say this because you've never lived under a cruel dictator.

I bet you $10 that with in eight years - that is if, IF, a central authority holds at all, a "Saddam" lite regime will be in power in Iraq on it's way to establishing an abysmal human rights record held in contempt throughout the civilized world.


I certainly hope not, but I'll take that bet. If Iraq is to seriously turn the corner, I'll wager it's in 2008, when a new administration can start fresh.

President Bush explicitly defined what "the mission" is just before the invasion:

I don't deny for a second that Bush manipulated opinion in order to curry support for the war. Obviously, that was not the only mission. As such, the operation has been a total failure with respect to the original stated goals, and a mess with respect to the new goals, whatever they may be communicated as this week.
posted by loquax at 1:54 PM on May 1, 2006


Sectarian violence has forced about 100,000 families across Iraq to flee their homes.
posted by ericb at 2:00 PM on May 1, 2006


"The State Department’s annual terrorism report finds that Iraq has become a safe haven for terrorists and has attracted a 'foreign fighter pipeline' linked to terrorist plots, cells and attacks throughout the world. Meanwhile, a National Counterterrorism Threat Center report finds that terrorist incidents and deaths more than doubled in 2005."

[Think Progress | April 28, 2006]
posted by ericb at 2:03 PM on May 1, 2006


I think you only say this because you've never lived under a cruel dictator.

You obviously never met my father, the Colonel.

Again, Iraqis themselves seem to disagree with you, on the whole.

When asked directly are they glad Saddam is gone? Of course they say, yes. they didn't have to do the work.

But when asked if things "were better for you 5-10 years ago" they, overwhelmingly, say "yes things were better" five to 10 years ago. And by all material metrics - they were.

Largely Saddam's despotism brought home the bacon. It wasn't until years under the full weight of sanctions that things got so bad for the average Iraqi. Yet they remained steadfastly nationalistic. If Iraqi's were so, so, unhappy why did they not revolt en masse? It wasn't because his control was so total. Revolutions don't happen when things are easy. They don't happen when conditions for revolt are ideal. I will tell you why. For the bulk of his regime they kind of LIKED the guy and he brought home the bacon.

If we were invaded tomorrow and Bush deposed you realize that over half of the country would respond to the question "are you glad Bush is out of power", "YES!"

That is no rationale to slaughter 30-60,000 innocent people in the process.
posted by tkchrist at 2:14 PM on May 1, 2006


U.S. Reports a Surge in Global Terrorism
"The State Department's annual report on global terrorism, released Friday, concludes that the number of reported terrorist incidents and deaths has increased exponentially in the three years since the United States invaded Iraq, largely because of Iraq itself.

The report also said that although the United States had made some gains in fighting terrorism, Al Qaeda and its affiliate groups remained a grave threat to U.S. national security at home and abroad — both in Iraq and elsewhere.

Of potentially greater concern, the government said, is mounting evidence that small, autonomous cells and individuals are becoming more active. Such 'micro-actors' are engaging in more suicide bombings, and using increasingly sophisticated technologies to communicate, organize and plot their attacks, including the Internet, satellite communications and international commerce, according to the 292-page report."

[L.A. Times | April 29, 2006]
posted by ericb at 2:21 PM on May 1, 2006


loquax, even if I did see the light at the end of the tunnel in some of your statistics (I'm skeptical of any polling of Iraqis, since most of the country is franky inaccessible to non-biased reporters due to the likelihood of an insurgent attack), let's take a step back--a trillion dollars of national treasure gone (with much more to follow IMO), 2,400 American dead (mostly kids), tens of thousands crippled for life, tens of thousands of Iraqi dead and crippled, a squandered economic surplus, squandered post-9/11 goodwill from the rest of the civilized world, just to name a few costs. You seem to be saying that in some ways Iraq is marginally better--a few more kids are going to school, a few more light bulbs are burning, a few more people are going to work (I could site reputable sources that would deny all three of these propositions, but I won't to ask the following question).

How was this invasion and occupation in any way a cost-effective decision or one that advanced American self-interest?

(Somewhat tangentially, Fred Hiatt this morning reminds us that since the invasion and occupation of Iraq 1) North Korea has expanded its nuke program 2) Iran has expanded its nuke development program 3) Genocide is on-going in Darfur with no end in sight and 4) Burma has further entrenched it's despotic rulers.)
posted by bardic at 2:22 PM on May 1, 2006


Associated Press: Report on Iraq reconstruction is mixed.
posted by ericb at 2:23 PM on May 1, 2006


tkchrist knows what many Americans can't seem to realize--dictatorships are inherently stable things. Horrible, abusive things, but stable and conducive to regional stability. There's a reason Rummy went to shake hands with Saddam in the 80's--he was a bastard, but he was our bastard, and he was keeping the Iranians in check (who had a flawed but functioning representative republic until 1953 when, guess what?, American and England had it overthrown and replaced with a dictatorship under the Shaw).
posted by bardic at 2:27 PM on May 1, 2006


loquax remember one thing - I'd LIKE to believe what you say is true. that there are many positive things about this invasion. I really would. I want to believe.

That facts obstruct this desire. While I may be, by nature, prone to be cynical I am also at heart a romantic that needs to see a hero win the day with his valiant bold triumph over evil.
The facts also obstruct this desire.

If we never invaded we would simply face an ugly, but inert, dictator in the waning years of his tenure. Using 9/11 as moral leverage we could have exposed the French and Russians duplicitous dealing with the regime and had them to help us stop Saddam from using the oil resource as leverage.

It is likely that Kurdish north would have officially severed ties under our protection and we would then have the needed strategic bases in the region with little bloodshed. We, unofficially, already had these bases since Gulf War I.

Certainly there would have to be force used. Doubtful it was needed on the scale of an invasion nor unilaterally. At least not before we could see his own armies in mutiny. All which could be made to happen. Simply by taking time. There was no rush as there as there was no threat.

The point being we could have done much of the work needed without Shock and Awe, without lies, and without killing a nation and our own integrity.
posted by tkchrist at 2:49 PM on May 1, 2006


the London bombings could only be tangentially related to Iraq

Iraq war 'motivated London bombers':
The war in Iraq contributed to the radicalisation of the July 7 London bombers and is likely to continue to provoke extremism among British Muslims, according to reports based on secret assessments by security and intelligence chiefs.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:04 PM on May 1, 2006


Richard Perle's Relax, celebrate victory op-ed on May 1, 2003:
In full retreat, the war's opponents have now taken up new defensive positions: "Yes, it was a military victory, but you haven't found Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction." Or, "Yes, we destroyed Saddam's regime, but now other dictators will try even harder to develop weapons of mass destruction to make sure they will not fall to some future American preemptive strike."
Take that, war's opponents!
posted by kirkaracha at 3:32 PM on May 1, 2006


Quickly: Please don't misinterpret my posting of admittedly selective stats and poll results as me attempting to "prove" that everything is going swimmingly. I'm really really not trying to do that, and I have no disagreement with the posted links to negative news. Like I said, I only wish to point out my opinion that Iraq has not been a total disaster, there are some positive things happening, and there remains the potential for a generally positive outcome in the future. I'm not at all trying to say that "there's light at the end of the tunnel". I may be naive, but I'm not naive enough to think that if Iraq is to become the model Islamic/Middle Eastern state of prosperity, liberalism and peace, that it won't take decade(s) to get there.

How was this invasion and occupation in any way a cost-effective decision or one that advanced American self-interest?

This is more a question that should be asked regarding the initial invasion, which I really want to avoid because it's irrelevant given the situation today. Saying that what has happened to this point has not been cost-effective or in the American national interest is neither here nor there. Rather, it is when it comes to Bush's political fortunes, but not with respect to what should be done going forward. Thus far, I would agree that Iraq has not been cost-effective (given my interpretation of what it was intended to accomplish and what it actually has accomplished) and that it has not been in the national interest (given what I understand that to be). I would argue, however, that this is because of certain actions of the Bush administration, and the extreme opposition they face (in some quarters) domestically and abroad, and not because of an inherent flaw in the desire to overthrow Saddam and free the Iraqi people. Like I said, I would bet that a concrete step in the right direction will be 2008, no matter who wins. Hopefully, given a new, better plan and better execution, Iraq may yet end up being a geopolitical, economic and human rights coup, as judged decades from now. Like I've said here before, under Saddam, the Iraqi people had no chance (sorry tkchrist, but they didn't revolt because they couldn't, not because they didn't want to). Now at least, there is a great potential that could not have existed without external interference. Whether or not that potential is realized is up to the States, the rest of the World and Iraqis themselves.

tkchrist: Obviously, I disagree with your assessment of what could have been. I suppose we'll never know, but I would think that Saddam would have been there as long as he lived, with his even crazier kids to follow. Maybe there would have been a mutiny, maybe not. The US certainly tried to put pressure on him for a decade, and it did nothing. He was still able to flout the UN, and trade just enough oil to make life miserable for his people, but keep him and his secret police in total control. If you think the US can put pressure on France and Russia (let alone China) to do much of anything, you're kidding yourself.
posted by loquax at 3:55 PM on May 1, 2006


MSNBC: Valerie Plame Was Working on Iran WMD's When Outed
posted by homunculus at 4:19 PM on May 1, 2006


Move to Iraq, loquax.
posted by rougy at 7:14 PM on May 1, 2006


"...there are some positive things happening, and there remains the potential for a generally positive outcome in the future."

Sure...and you could win the PowerBall twice in a row.
posted by rougy at 7:15 PM on May 1, 2006


No, why don't YOU move to Dover rougy.
posted by loquax at 7:20 PM on May 1, 2006


From homunculus' link: And the sources allege that when Mrs. Wilson's cover was blown, the administration's ability to track Iran's nuclear ambitions was damaged as well.

Zombie Christ on a pogo stick!

The Bush Admin sabotaged the CIA Iranian spy network? FFS!

I wish I understood what game they're playing. I see absolutely no logic in their actions. I can not imagine what outcome they anticipate with their looney ideas. Hell, I can't see any outcomes that don't make me quake in fear!

I wish you Americans would get off your asses and do something about your madmen.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:45 PM on May 1, 2006


loquax:

"It was around the 10th or 11th of April, 2003. There had been no electricity in our area since the last days of March. The water was also cut off and most Iraqis still didn’t have generators. We spent the days- and nights- listening to American and British war planes, listening for the tanks as they invaded the city, and praying. We also tried desperately to follow the news."

Baghdad Burning

I strongly urge you to expand upon your nauseatingly tiny selection of current event periodicals.

And keep buying those PowerBall tickets, ace.
posted by rougy at 9:27 PM on May 1, 2006


rougy, try reading what I wrote again and maybe understanding it, "ace". Don't just skip the hard to read parts, try getting through it all. It's wicked awesome that you show up after 80-odd comments with a few pithy retorts and a chip on your shoulder, but it's not really worth my time to respond to what amounts to nothing but noise. At least others that disagree with what I've said actually do so substantively and respectfully. Enjoy your evening!
posted by loquax at 9:38 PM on May 1, 2006


"Wicked awesome."

My, and this from a Brookings Institute devote?

I haven't disrespected you.

I've afforded you each and every farthing of respect that is your due.

Don't sugar-coat Iraq.

It makes me pithy.
posted by rougy at 9:44 PM on May 1, 2006


It makes me pithy.

Beautiful! Stick to poetry, you do it so much better than petty internet jousting.
posted by loquax at 9:46 PM on May 1, 2006


Those numbers in isolation don't determine success or failure. It was one point out of about 25 that I initially posted.

Yes – 25 points of pure B.S.

Loquax, there is a very, very, very simple measurement to our success in Iraq.

Why do so many Iraqi’s want to leave, and why don’t you want to move there?

I’m speaking in a friendly voice here: you’ve really got to wake up and realize that the Bush administration does not give a fat flying “F” about the Iraqi’s. They don’t really care about the troops, and they don’t really care about our country.

They’re using our country, its wealth, influence, and military might, to achieve privately agreed-upon objectives that will ultimately benefit a handful of very powerful people.

“As such, the operation has been a total failure with respect to the original stated goals…”

No. You are wrong again. It has not been a failure.

It has been an act of treason.
posted by rougy at 10:07 PM on May 1, 2006


to fifteen "turned corners"

I immediately imagined a Daily Show video here: 'we've turned a corner' claim by someone in the administration with the date in the cornder, then another, later, then another, then another. As each is played, a crawling line onscreen takes a 90 degree turn, until we're back where we started.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:30 AM on May 2, 2006


since, unlike his more cowardly war-loving buddies, loquax had at least the guts to show up in this thread, I say we all raise some money to send him to Iraq, so that he can personally explain to people there how better off they are under the occupation.*

it certainly beats a trip to Iceland.

I have PayPal by the way.


*and if you go to Falluja, just don't follow anybody who says they want to show you a view from the bridge.
posted by matteo at 4:42 AM on May 2, 2006


Like I said, I only wish to point out my opinion that Iraq has not been a total disaster, there are some positive things happening, and there remains the potential for a generally positive outcome in the future.

You already did point out your opinion, and you were rightfully derided for it. What you didn't have to do was attempt to have a "discussion" on the subject when you have such ridiculous biases. Hell, you're Canadian - not exactly the most high profile country with vested interests in these operations. I don't know what your problem is, but the leaders of America betrayed and manipulated us in every way possible to get here. Maybe you're detached enough to not feel that sting, and also far enough away to hold on to those Marketing Ideals that were billed to you, and yes, honestly - be naive enough to believe anything good can come of this situation. The rest of us have a hard time turning a blind eye to those facts, especially in the face of someone incessantly whining that we can't see through the smokescreen of negativity that surrounds this clusterfuck. Give me a fucking break. If half the shit that we hear about on MeFi that is relatively breaking news was reported with the same frequency in the mainstream you'd see even more indignant people, so spare me your desire to break this perceived collusion of cynicism - because it's a farce.

I may be naive, but I'm not naive enough to think that if Iraq is to become the model Islamic/Middle Eastern state of prosperity, liberalism and peace, that it won't take decade(s) to get there.

Did you just zing yourself? Wicked Awesome!

rougy, try reading what I wrote again and maybe understanding it, "ace". Don't just skip the hard to read parts, try getting through it all.

As always, for saying so much you say so little of substance. The hard parts? Oh what, you mean stomaching your garbage? You're always static in these threads, and that's not a product of some "echo chamber". It would be lovely if you could write off your detractors so conveniently, but that's not the case.
posted by prostyle at 6:08 AM on May 2, 2006


Hi prostyle - this is the third time you've written something directed at me in this thread. I'd be glad to respond, but I thought we had a deal. You made it clear you wanted nothing to do with me. Has this changed?

rougy - Why are those measured statistics BS? They are true, and they should be viewed alongside all other news. Simply dismissing facts won't help the situation or prevent further violence. If anything, some of the things I highlighted should be built upon to a far greater degree than they have been. That is, if one cares about the fate of Iraq. If this is just about Bush, I'm not interested. He's not my president. Impeach him, I don't care.

Why do so many Iraqi’s want to leave,

Can you quantify this?

and why don’t you want to move there?

I'm loathe to respond to this but I will. I don't want to move there because I am in a far better position in Canada in terms of security, economics and social life. I have no friends or family in Iraq. I wouldn't have a job. I may get kidnapped or killed. I don't know, does this answer surprise you? When di I say that Iraq was heaven on Earth? I expressly stated over and over that I agreed that the situation was bad, and that there are seriously deficiencies in US efforts to provide security and restore infrastructure. Telling me I should move there if I like it so much is a little silly.

you've really got to wake up and realize that the Bush administration does not give a fat flying “F” about the Iraqi’s. They don't really care about the troops, and they don't really care about our country.

Like I said, I don't care about the Bush administration. He's your president, not mine. I only care about them in so far as their actions in Iraq and elsewhere affect me and I judge them on the basis of the outcome of their actions. Perhaps because I am not American I have a perspective that allows me to see positives (or the potential for positives) in Iraq whereas you cannot.

It has been an act of treason.

See, again, like I said over and over in this thread and on Metafilter, I am not American. I don't care if Bush commits treason. Impeach him, it's your business. If you judged me by my writing in this thread on the basis of your hatred of George Bush, then you misread me. That's why I asked you to read it again.

As each is played, a crawling line onscreen takes a 90 degree turn, until we're back where we started.

I agree with this 100%. Communication on the part of the administration and neocons and all those folks has been abysmal. This administration has lost all credibility wrt Iraq, which is why I think that real change will come about in 2008 at the earliest. Which is again not to say that nothing positive has happened so far.

so that he can personally explain to people there how better off they are under the occupation.*


Well, obviously some are better off (the Kurds, most of the Shias, the majority of the country that is not in a province experiencing violence) and some are worse off (many Sunnis, Baghdad), at least for the time being. Even comparing "life in Iraq" pre and post-2003 is a little silly. It's apples and oranges. The only thing that matters now, given that the invasion has occurred and we are where we are, is that the best must be made of a bad situation. Speaking in slogans and wanting to pull out the troops is childish and asinine. The troops (US, British, South Korean, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian...) will be there for the foreseeable future. To remove them ensures disaster in Iraq any time soon. The question has to be not whether or not Bush deserves to be impeached (you folks can debate that all you want back home), but what can be done to capitalize on the opportunity that Iraq has to become safe and prosperous, in whatever configuration. Ignoring that opportunity and declaring Iraq a total unmitigated disaster, I don't have to tell you, guarantees the fulfillment of that prophecy.

But whatever, keep putting words in my mouth, it makes it so much easier to take your shots when you ascribe to me opinions that I don't posses.
posted by loquax at 6:38 AM on May 2, 2006


I'd be glad to respond, but I thought we had a deal. You made it clear you wanted nothing to do with me. Has this changed?

Not really, I just didn't feel like letting you skate around with 12 comments masked as "your opinion" while you blow so much hot air. There's really nothing to discuss between us. I'd recommend you stick to your Canadian topics, I really enjoyed your last post on the tribal conflicts. Here though, you're really angering me. I apologize for letting it get the best of me, but honestly... you have nothing of value to add. This isn't about strategic relationships, this isn't about a million little details we can never hope to relate to. This is about Mission Accomplished - flat out stageshow, propaganda for our citizens. You obviously can't see past that, even 12 comments in... I don't know what to tell you except to drop it.
posted by prostyle at 6:51 AM on May 2, 2006


Well excuse me for not simply accepting your opinion as fact then. I have no idea why you feel the need to respond to my posts, seeing as you think they add nothing of value, but by all means, keep doing so. Maybe one day you'll convince me of my stupidity.
posted by loquax at 7:09 AM on May 2, 2006


It's not exactly my opinion, it's the reality of the situation. It's not my opinion that we were manipulated and lied to get where we are today, and it's not my opinion that "Mission Accomplished" was absolute stagecraft. History is not as lenient or forgetful as yourself my friend.

Maybe one day you'll convince me of my stupidity.

I won't need to, the passing of time will accomplish this for me. I suppose I am impatient and let my emotions get the best of me. By all means, carry on with your insane ramblings. All those thousands of lines of text will truly be priceless comedy that you can reflect on in five years. Might make a great scrapbook, découpaged with images of the Fallujah massacre and countless other broken bodies.
posted by prostyle at 7:25 AM on May 2, 2006


Scott McClellan on "Mission Accomplished":
Q: Havoc. He used the word havoc today, could he, would he, possibly stand under a sign that says Mission Accomplished today, as he did three years ago?

McClellan: Well, I think that there are some Democrats that refuse to recognize the important milestone achieved by the formation of a national unity government. And there’s an effort simply to distract attention away from the real progress that is being made by misrepresenting and distorting the past. And that really does nothing to help advance our goal of achieving victory in Iraq.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:36 AM on May 2, 2006


We are winning.
The corner has been turned.
It's all been done with superior photo-op stagecraft.
I saw on FOX News that the mission was accomplished.
I saw on CNN the statue of Saddam being torn down.
I saw all the good news from Iraq, with scrolling underneath.
Take that you America haters!
How dare you question Dear Leader!
[cough]
posted by nofundy at 8:07 AM on May 2, 2006


You guys are too harsh with loquax here. He has made a very admirable effort in this thread to present his views in a calm and respectful and balanced manner. I'm impressed. (and I'm leftier than the leftiest).
posted by edlundart at 11:48 AM on May 2, 2006


I wish you Americans would get off your asses and do something about your madmen.

Sorry fff, but facts that reflect poorly on the President are false by definition.
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on May 2, 2006


loquax,

See, again, like I said over and over in this thread and on Metafilter, I am not American. I don't care if Bush commits treason.

And that is precisely why your entire so-called argument rings hollow.
posted by rougy at 8:52 PM on May 2, 2006


Loquax,

You claim to support the Iraqi's. You claim those are your purest intentions. Yet in doing so you support the policy of, and repeat the exact talking points of, an administration that - demonstrably - does not care about them.
posted by rougy at 10:33 PM on May 2, 2006


I don't know how to get this through to you. I don't care what George Bush's talking points are. I happen not to know what they are at the moment. I care more about the Canadian budget announcement. I judge what is happening in Iraq in terms of its positive and negative consequences for Iraqis, geopolitics in general, and me personally. Your silly country and silly politics mean nothing to me, and I would gladly have Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama, Theresa Heinz or David Duke be your president as long as they act in a way that I approve of in terms of your foreign policy. How they lie to you or ban abortions or gay marriage matters to me not a whit. Do you care that my government implemented a stupid sales tax cut?

I'm not supporting George Bush's policies. As I've said, I'm not even clear as to what they are. I support actions that I think are beneficial and denounce actions that I think are not, whomsoever proposes them. I find Vladdy Putin or Hu Jintao to be far more reprehensible leaders than George Bush, but I'm capable of separating my overall feelings about them and their politics when examining a particular course of action or policy. In so far as Bush's actions are positive (with the many caveats I've already placed on that upthread), I support them, no matter what he or his administration actually thinks or how much they care about Iraqis. Do you condemn Nixon's creation of the EPA? Do you laud Kennedy's half-baked invasion of Cuba? Bad people (and leaders) can do good things. Seeing things in black and white, as you appear to, does nothing for understanding and actually solving problems, irrespective of how we got there.

We can disagree on the current and future status of Iraq, that's fair. But framing the whole issue in terms of a President that will be in power for two more years (tops) is a waste of time. The next president will likely be a democrat. Move on. If you must call me an idiot, call me an idiot because I've misunderstood the facts, or because my conclusions are illogical. We can debate that. Let's talk about the reality of the problem and how to resolve it. Not the goddamn internal politics of the USA. I realize it's sometimes hard to separate the two, but it doesn't mean that it can't and shouldn't be done. Generals are doing it, so are historians and authors and even birds and bees do it. Why can't we?
posted by loquax at 11:01 PM on May 2, 2006


In summation: Let's have no hindsight, it's counter-productive. Let's not try and think of things in context, but rather outside the realm of this president - I mean, why should it be his responsibility? Quit being so cynical, it's only momentum for the "self fulfilling prophecy" - cause Jane Fonda lost Vietnam for us, right? You always like to make some huge screed to throw in as a last word, extending some ridiculous notion of an olive branch for discussion as if you're some purely pedantic intellectual. Simply because you can't understand how childish the notion is of separating this issue from the administration you also assume that's the only reason we look negatively upon it. That's absolutely ridiculous and many people have pointed out countless facts that have everything to do with the reality on the ground, and nothing to do with political bias. You're the one who has regurgitated more spin and talking points here, it's certainly not the other way around. So please, spare us another four paragraph post on how we are so hostile and cannot engender discussion because we will not agree to have it on your terms - because they are outrageous.
posted by prostyle at 6:12 AM on May 3, 2006


Not at all what I wrote or meant.
posted by loquax at 7:08 AM on May 3, 2006


We've turned a lot of corners and had lots of turning points.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:54 PM on May 3, 2006


Good lord, the poor man must be getting plain dizzy with all that turning!
posted by five fresh fish at 2:59 PM on May 3, 2006


Loquax,

You're disingenuous, and insincere. You cannot be unaware of the fact that the propositions that you support - America's extended stay in Iraq - is precisely what Bush is proposing.

The Bush people, too, are throwing around all of these pathetically superficial statistics regarding how things are getting better in Iraq.

They are not getting better, yet you keep insisting that they are, or that they "might", which is why I used the PowerBall allegory, because the odds are about the same.

Our occupation and back-seat governing of Iraq IS THE PROBLEM. You cannot solve a problem by adding more ingredients that, in fact, constitute the problem itself.

I figure you're some kind of oil company shill, or maybe you have a lot of stock in defense-related corporations, because nobody else could possibly look at Iraq and argue in favor of your propositions.
posted by rougy at 5:37 PM on May 3, 2006


I'm actually Dick Cheney.
posted by loquax at 5:45 PM on May 3, 2006


So...your secret bunker is in Toronto? And your cover is a concerned Canadian citizen?

Lying, in my opinion Mr. Vice President, has always been your forte.

Your "grandpa" routine just kills me.

And about 100,000 others.
posted by rougy at 8:31 PM on May 3, 2006


Laura Bush is rewriting history now too: ... in an interview with CNN's John King, First Lady Laura Bush answered a question about her husband's infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech of May 1, 2003, by saying that (paraphrasing) "the fact is that the mission had been accomplished for those aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. Their job was complete, and they were coming home."

Holy shit, so that "Mission Accomplished" banner was exclusively intended for just those on that aircraft carrier?

The flight suit, the G.I. Joe entrance, the television cameras, none of this was intended to speak to the rest of us in any way?...

posted by amberglow at 9:20 PM on May 3, 2006


But framing the whole issue in terms of a President that will be in power for two more years (tops) is a waste of time. The next president will likely be a democrat. Move on.

That's really not at all a given, nor even particularly likely, with redistricting, Diebold, etc, and all the other possible "October surprises" and other tricks in the offing. (and that's not even mentioning the likely poor choice of candidate on our side)
posted by amberglow at 9:22 PM on May 3, 2006


Dear Dick,

In your darkest hours, which will come to pass, look for no succor, for none will be forthcoming.

Imagine instead the little Iraqi boy who had a new bike, dead by the writ of your hand.

Imagine instead the teenaged girl who looked forward to being courted by her school's paramour.

Imagine, if you can (I know you can't) the tens of thousands of people you have harmed, killed, and traumatized.

Count to one hundred thousand now.

Imagine that.
posted by rougy at 10:32 PM on May 3, 2006


The problem with the government has infinitely more to do with the crooks that you keep electing, than the party they happen to belong to.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:57 PM on May 3, 2006


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