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So Iraq is over. But Iraq has not yet begun...
July 22, 2007 12:02 PM   Subscribe

...The U.S. has probably not yet fully woken up to the appalling fact that, after a long period in which the first motto of its military was "no more Vietnams," it faces another Vietnam. There are many important differences, but the basic result is similar: The mightiest military in the world fails to achieve its strategic goals and is, in the end, politically defeated by an economically and technologically inferior adversary. Even if there are no scenes of helicopters evacuating Americans from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, there will surely be some totemic photographic image of national humiliation as the U.S. struggles to extract its troops. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have done terrible damage to the U.S. reputation for being humane; this defeat will convince more people around the world that it is not even that powerful. And Bin Laden, still alive, will claim another victory over the death-fearing weaklings of the West.
Iraq hasn't even begun (more within)
posted by y2karl (148 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the link:
Now a pained and painstaking study from the Brookings Institution argues that what its authors call "soft partition" -- the peaceful, voluntary transfer of an estimated 2 million to 5 million Iraqis into distinct Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions, under close U.S. military supervision -- would be the lesser evil. The lesser evil, that is, assuming that all goes according to plan and that Americans are prepared to allow their troops to stay in sufficient numbers to accomplish that thankless job -- two implausible assumptions. A greater evil is more likely.

In [Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq: three crises,] an article for the Web magazine Open Democracy, Middle East specialist Fred Halliday spells out some regional consequences...

For the United States, the world is now, as a result of the Iraq war, a more dangerous place. At the end of 2002, what is sometimes tagged "Al Qaeda Central" in Afghanistan had been virtually destroyed, and there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq. In 2007, there is an Al Qaeda in Iraq, parts of the old Al Qaeda are creeping back into Afghanistan and there are Al Qaeda emulators spawning elsewhere, notably in Europe...
posted by y2karl at 12:02 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


See also
The Bush inner circle, looking back on the Nixon presidency, sees George W Bush's Iraq posture as a calculated political stance that will have three positive consequences. First, it will pass the final resolution of the conflict to the next president; if chaos prevails, it will be blamed on the forty-fourth president, not on Bush. Second, it will solidify Bush's manufactured image as a single-minded, principled commander-in-chief who never relented in his battle against America's terrorist enemies. Third, it will strengthen the claim of Republicans to be the war party; the sector of American politics that will never countenance surrender, that believes that American military might can prevail in any circumstance given adequate political will. The White House's key figures contend that Bush's conduct of the Iraq war will - in the long run - help Republicans.

Bush's Iraqi endgame
posted by y2karl at 12:03 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


See also
...A "staged pullback" of United States troops might appear deeply cynical, though election-year is approaching and there is little room for niceties. It could be done with a reduction in troop numbers by several tens of thousands of troops and a probable decrease in US casualties because of the need for fewer ground patrols and exposed forward operating bases. In political terms, it could be depicted - just in time for the decisive phase of the 2008 election campaign - as evidence of the slow easing of the war. If this is combined with a credible Republican candidate and the likelihood of many voters' doubts over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and all might not be lost for the current White House incumbents.

There is still one piece of the jigsaw missing. As long as there is a substantial US presence in Iraq, even if it is lower-profile, it will remain a hugely valuable jihadist combat-training zone for the wider al-Qaida movement. Even more, since that movement measures its aims (including the violent termination of elite middle-east regimes) in decades, Iraq remains an absolute gift. A new generation of paramilitaries is, after all, currently being trained to a high degree of sophistication against the world's best equipped and most powerful army.

Iraq’s pressure-point
posted by y2karl at 12:03 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


See also
(1) ...When something truly awful happens, and you find yourself in the presence of real danger, it is more important than ever to stop and think clearly about what you are about to do.
(2) Never substitute impugning someone's character for impugning his or her argument...
(3) One of the greatest strengths of our country is the fact that we allow debate and dissent. This means that if we choose to do so, we can debate policies before we adopt them, rather than first adopting them and only then, when it is too late, discovering the problems that a real debate might have made apparent...
(4) When the rest of the world thinks you're crazy, it's worth entertaining the possibility that they might be right...
(5) Beware of movements built on contempt...
(7) Be very wary of extrapolating from the last few wars.
(8) Never underestimate the value of an exit strategy.
(9) In wars, there are very few do-overs, and in occupations there are almost none...
(10) Just because we're going to war doesn't mean we don't need diplomacy.

Obsidian Wings: Ten Lessons From Iraq
Which is from where much of this initially comes
posted by y2karl at 12:04 PM on July 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


there will surely be some totemic photographic image of national humiliation as the U.S. struggles to extract its troops.

American troops will be in Iraq for years to come. They won't be in Baghdad, but will be located a "super bases" in secure parts of the country.

Ironically, even in the age of Liveleak and Youtube, there won't be any iconic photo ops, anyway, because the press is largely absent from Iraq.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:06 PM on July 22, 2007


See also
posted by dhammond at 12:12 PM on July 22, 2007


KokuRyu: That's not true, there will always be "embeds". It wouldn't surprise me if we had to evacuate our monster embassy in Baghdad at some point.
posted by delmoi at 12:13 PM on July 22, 2007


I read "to the U.S. reputation for being humane" as "to the U.S. reputation for being humans", the latter of which I prefer.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:17 PM on July 22, 2007


Delmoi: I was thinking the same thing about the embassy. I'm not sure if the new building(s) will be any safer, but the Green Zone is apparently a dangerous place to be these days...
posted by KokuRyu at 12:21 PM on July 22, 2007


LOL "soft partition"!

So when ethnic cleansing now goes into the ethical mainstream does that mean we can finally forgive the serbs for all the bad stuff they did?

Its like genocide all over again but doing it "softly" and the it doesn't hurt!
posted by uandt at 12:22 PM on July 22, 2007


"soft partitioning" has already voluntarily begun.
posted by adamvasco at 12:26 PM on July 22, 2007


"soft partitioning" has already voluntarily begun.

"voluntarily", LOL.
posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on July 22, 2007


rockhopper: looking at your posting history... you sure do whine about left leaning posts a lot. If you don't like it, flag and move on.
posted by delmoi at 12:37 PM on July 22, 2007


"voluntarily" as in organising ithe move oneself instead of being told at the end of a gun "'fuck off, you don't live here anymore".
posted by adamvasco at 12:38 PM on July 22, 2007


"voluntarily" as in organising ithe move oneself instead of being told at the end of a gun "'fuck off, you don't live here anymore".

Right, because it doesn't count if the gun is held by a local militia?
posted by delmoi at 12:41 PM on July 22, 2007


A question: why wasn't the public movement as strong as the vietnam one ? Lack of Draft ?

And another: but was really the public opposition to this war so silent, or just because we didn't hear the tree falling , it didn't fell ?
posted by elpapacito at 12:45 PM on July 22, 2007


...A "staged pullback" of United States troops might appear deeply cynical, though election-year is approaching and there is little room for niceties. It could be done with a reduction in troop numbers by several tens of thousands of troops and a probable decrease in US casualties because of the need for fewer ground patrols and exposed forward operating bases.

I just can't get my head around this concept. Wouldn't a gradual withdrawal leave the remaining troops even more at risk?

I think at this point the best we can hope to do, from a "support the troops" standpoint, is pull them all. Maybe we could get enough cooperation from the Iraq's neighbors to station our troops outside the Iraqi border and let the civil war(s) continue to their logical ends.

If Bush thinks that history will view him as anything but the ignorant pinhead he is, he's even more delusional than I thought (and that's really, really, send-in-the-meds, fuckin' delusional).
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:50 PM on July 22, 2007


Lemmings.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 12:54 PM on July 22, 2007


Eventually, the American public is bound to get around to the conclusion, as they did for a while after Vietnam, that the U.S. Army is an expensive paper tiger, constantly arming and planning for battles it will never fight, and ill prepared, always, for conflict that is vital. The outcome of Iraq may be that it is for the Army what Pearl Harbor was for the Navy, in that it may be the engagement an American armed force lost so badly, that it called into question the very nature of that force, and the nation's maintenance and commitment to it.

Since WWII, successful American military doctrine has been based on air superiority and nuclear deterrence, followed by occupation. Even in the tactical quagmire the U.S. Army engineered for itself in Vietnam, the force that registered, finally, with Ho was B-52 strikes on Hanoi and Haiphong. Against the insurgencies we face now, our main opponents are ignorance and fanaticism, neither of which are likely to be defeated by a high tech infantry, that won't and can't tolerate less than 1:1000 casualty rates.

Infantry and armor against insurgency is as ineffective as battleships against airplanes. And giving the U.S. Army bad airplanes (helicopters) only obfuscates the tactical problems the Army gets itself into. Fallujah may have meant something different if we'd fought it with B-52s instead of infantry. In the end, it would certainly have looked different.

America doesn't like losers, and the U.S. Army is again turning out to be an embarrassment to the nation. When that happens, the proper attitude for a nation is to quit supporting the troops, and we're getting near to that, now.
posted by paulsc at 12:56 PM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Americans should first be thinking of the amount of slaughtered Iraqis your country's policies have caused/will cause, not the amount of US troops being killed. The decision to stay/withdraw should be decided on that basis, not on the self-centred issue of whether US troops will be in harm's way or convenient to the US election cycle.

It's a terrible place to be in, but you guys broke the country so it's your obligation to fix it. And fix it in a way which will cause the least amount of pain to its citizens (nearly 1,000,000 of whom are dead now).
posted by dydecker at 1:00 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Holy Shit? A million dead? Who killed them?
posted by rockhopper at 1:01 PM on July 22, 2007


Where are the bodies?
posted by rockhopper at 1:02 PM on July 22, 2007


your army killed approx. 30 percent. can't be arsed looking up the figures for an Internet troll though.
posted by dydecker at 1:04 PM on July 22, 2007


The US Army killed 300,000? Look who's trolling with numbers coming out of his ass. A million this, 30% that. I love the numbers game.
posted by rockhopper at 1:06 PM on July 22, 2007


America doesn't like losers, and the U.S. Army is again turning out to be an embarrassment to the nation.

Embarrassment? The US Army has only failed at doing a job it was never meant to do. The real embarrassment here is your government and the 51% of Americans who voted Republican in 2004.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:06 PM on July 22, 2007


Where are the bodies?

Why don't you enlist and find out?
posted by c13 at 1:06 PM on July 22, 2007 [20 favorites]


that registered, finally, with Ho was B-52 strikes on Hanoi and Haiphong

?

Anyhoo, the 1972 negotiations were political theatre and the Hanoi regime walked out with what they wanted, the situation set up for their eventual takeover later that decade, Nixon's re-bombing of their country's fixed inftrastructure notwithstanding.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:11 PM on July 22, 2007


First, it will pass the final resolution of the conflict to the next president; if chaos prevails, it will be blamed on the forty-fourth president, not on Bush.

The Bush administration is counting on this? That's pretty insulting to the American people, if the White House thinks they're so stupid and forgetful that they'll think it was the fault of the next guy. Incredible.
posted by WPW at 1:13 PM on July 22, 2007


Fallujah may have meant something different if we'd fought it with B-52s instead of infantry. In the end, it would certainly have looked different.

I'm betting it would've looked a bit like this.
posted by hangashore at 1:14 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Bush administration is counting on this?

Republicans in general count on the 30% of this country, as demonstrated by rockhopper above, that can't find their ass with a map and a flashlight. As long as they can bamboozle these people, they can win their 51% elections, or in good years like 1984 even crushing 60% majoriies.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


rockhopper = barely literate. look at his posting history, hardly any paragraphs, hardly any posts longer then a sentence or two. All whining about liberals. The intellectual capacity of right-wingers has really deteriorated over the past few years. I guess it's pretty difficult for anyone with half a brain when they've got to defend the current crop of nincompoops.
posted by delmoi at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Holy Shit? A million dead? Who killed them?
posted by rockhopper at 4:01 PM on July 22 [+] [!]

Where are the bodies?
posted by rockhopper at 4:02 PM on July 22 [+] [!]

The US Army killed 300,000? Look who's trolling with numbers coming out of his ass. A million this, 30% that. I love the numbers game.
posted by rockhopper at 4:06 PM on July 22 [+] [!]


rockhopper, check this thread for the numbers.

And about those bodies: California - which is smaller than Iraq - has an annual death rate of about 230,000. Thats a million bodies every 4.3 years. It takes a much higher death rate for them to begin piling up in the streets. Do you have any numbers to back up your trolling?
posted by googly at 1:20 PM on July 22, 2007


Democrats in general count on the 30% of this country, as demonstrated by Heywood Mogroot above, that can't find their ass with a map and a flashlight. As long as they can bamboozle these people, they can win their 51% elections, or in bad years like 1984 suffer crushing humiliation.

Each side has the dumbass 30% hardcore believers. Not this side only or that side only.
posted by rockhopper at 1:22 PM on July 22, 2007


Where are the bodies?

Why don't you tell everyone here which media outlet or government body you'd trust and we'll find a number which meets your needs. I'm sure it won't be small enough, but that's just how the sizes run these days.
posted by mdonley at 1:23 PM on July 22, 2007


...sees George W Bush's Iraq posture as a calculated political stance that will have three positive consequences...
Talking points here, In all public comments The Iraq War will be Known only as 'Bush's Iraq War'. Brand development is a big thing with many in this country.
posted by mss at 1:29 PM on July 22, 2007


You are right: literary elephantiasis is proof of how smart you are.

See, if you were smart you would have said turgid writing, but you didn't, because you are in fact quite dumb. But it's not surprising that a person who believes a single unsupported sentence is the height of literary brevity would be a bush supporter.
posted by delmoi at 1:33 PM on July 22, 2007


well rockhopper we certainly have to do all your work for you and you contribute nothing but whining and predictability. I knew you would be in here as soon as I saw the post, took you all of 1/2 hour to start complaining.
The million dead is on the high side but not terribly far off that high side as of a year ago, and the 1/3 dead due to coalition forces is about spot on. Don't know if the Lancet is good enough for you, but there you go. Now, either come up with something a little more substantial to write, you know actually try to make an effort, or flag the post and move on.
posted by edgeways at 1:33 PM on July 22, 2007


Rockhopper; how many Iraqis do you think have been killed since the start of the war that would not have died otherwise?

Or can you just snark?
posted by Justinian at 1:33 PM on July 22, 2007


True rockhopper, but our 30% didn't support stupid things like going in and destabilizing an entire mideast country.

Stupid is what stupid does, after all, and for true stupidity in these times one finds a lot more on the right . . .believing the world is 3000 years old or whatever, disbelieving the theory of common descent of man, thinking spending more than the rest of the world combined on military stuff is a wise or even necessary national investment.

Your problem is that YOU are being made functionally stupid by your ideologies. Sorry I can't help you here, we'll apparently just have to continually suffer you.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:34 PM on July 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


The White House's key figures contend that Bush's conduct of the Iraq war will - in the long run - help Republicans.
True, Bush and the Republicans aren't dominant. They're a minority, but an unusually effective one. One measure of this: At the end of 2007, there will be more American troops in Iraq than when Democrats took over Congress in January.
-- Fred Barnes

the peaceful, voluntary transfer of an estimated 2 million to 5 million Iraqis into distinct Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions, under close U.S. military supervision

Iraq is a sovereign country ("Let Freedom Reign!"), so what say does the Brookings Institution or US military have?

the force that registered, finally, with Ho was B-52 strikes on Hanoi and Haiphong

US starts B-52 strikes: June 1965. Saigon falls: April 1975.

Air power doesn't work against insurgencies. Airpower versus asymmetric enemies: a framework for evaluating effectiveness.
This is a political war, and it calls for the utmost discrimination in killing. The best weapon for killing is a knife, but I'm afraid we can't do it that way. The next best is a rifle. The worst is an airplane, and after that the worst is artillery. You have to know who you are killing.
-- John Paul Vann

our main opponents are ignorance and fanaticism

And I'm sure we'll just as well in our war on those nouns as we have against "terror."
posted by kirkaracha at 1:34 PM on July 22, 2007


Don't know if the Lancet is good enough for you, but there you go.

CNN | October 11, 2006: Study: War blamed for 655,000 Iraqi deaths.
posted by ericb at 1:42 PM on July 22, 2007


"...The real embarrassment here is your government and the 51% of Americans who voted Republican in 2004."

A lot of political embarrassment is avoided if a nation wins on the battleground, whether the policies that initiated that conflict were good, or not. If a nation loses militarily, on the ground, there is nothing but embarrassment for all.

And there's nothing for it, now, in Iraq, but to say we've lost, on the ground, as we lost in Vietnam. In Vietnam we learned that we could take Hué, but we couldn't hold it. And we may have taken Fallujah, but we haven't rebuilt it, and tragedy by tragedy, we are not holding it, either.
posted by paulsc at 1:43 PM on July 22, 2007


the Green Zone is apparently a dangerous place to be these days...

In the past two weeks:
Green Zone Is Hit By Barrage of Shells -- "American Killed; Attacks Becoming Frequent, Accurate."

U.S. Lawmakers Prevented from Leaving Green Zone
A six-member congressional delegation recently returned from a seven-day trip that included stops in Ireland, Germany, Pakistan, Kuwait and Iraq. While in Iraq, security conditions prevented them “from meeting any Iraqis, leaving the Green Zone or staying in Iraq overnight.” Additionally, the “congressional members were required to wear full body armor, including Kevlar helmets, during the entire trip.”
posted by ericb at 1:46 PM on July 22, 2007


Rockhopper is just biding time until his training is over and he heads for Iraq.

Right -- and his Young Republican friends will will not be joining him, as he "walks the talk."
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on July 22, 2007


?

We could hold Hue fine -- hell, after the slaughter of 1968 the people actively wanted us there. The whole problem was ARVN couldn't hold it. Well, they could, but they couldn't hold it AND Kontum AND Banmethout AND Quang Tri AND Loc Ninh at the same time.

I think this talk of "holding" locations is completely incorrect. It is not ours to hold, and in fact our presence, with its mixed bag of senseless violence, intimidation, arrogance directed at civs is arguably reducing the security of the situation.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:54 PM on July 22, 2007


rockhopper

noun: eudyptes chrysocome -- a species of penguin closely related to the Macaroni Penguin.

synonym: 'stone skipper' | def: one who skims the surface, making superficial impact; similar to trolling in which a fishing hook is cast on a watery surface in hopes of 'catching' undue attention.
posted by ericb at 2:02 PM on July 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


"... And I'm sure we'll just as well in our war on those nouns as we have against 'terror.'"
posted by kirkaracha at 4:34 PM on July 22

One of my points, exactly.

As for dropping bombs on insurgents, that was also a point I was making. Despite the enormous bombing of South Vietnam we conducted for years, what got the North Vietnamese back to the table in Paris, was bombing North Vietnam. Duh. As long as Uncle Ho thought our fear of the Chinese umbrella he lived under was paramount, he could act at distance with impunity. When we showed we were willing to lift that self-imposed restraint, and bring the war to North Vietnamese territory, he recalculated. Although we'll never know, it might have been a very different result in Vietnam, if we had done to Hanoi in 1964 what we did to Dresden in 1944.

Bombs aren't persuasive to people who haven't the luxury of being persuaded, but they do seem to make their point if they strike close enough to real leadership. And they can turn enemy strongholds into craters, if we prefer having craters to having places like Fallujah. So, given the political will to use them, and live with the results, bombs and B-52s have been shown to work better as military options than infantry and armor, ever since the end of WWII. That is not to say they work well, or that they are more cost effective than diplomacy, education, trade, or other non-military measures.

But all that's kind of moot, in Iraq now. Iraq, with our "force protection" doctrines, our massive FOBs, our refusal to treat the war domestically as a full-on mobilization, is, in every important respect, a military repeat of our Vietnam experience, minus the jungle, the tunnels and Agent Orange.
posted by paulsc at 2:04 PM on July 22, 2007


The cynicism of top Republican strategists since at least 2000 has been utterly breathtaking. The Oct. 2002 vote on resolution that empowered the Pres to invade Iraq was carefully timed to exert the maximum pressure on Dems in the midst of a mid-term election campaign. Of course only pussies or terrorists would have voted against it. Even Bush's Dad put off the vote for the '91 invasion until after the mid-terms to avoid politicizing the issue.

Same thing detainee bill that was brought forth just before the 2006 mid-term. The Dems wouldn't take the bait this time, but in the process we've weakened habeus corpus and granted virtual immunity to those of our leaders responsible for the spread of torture throughout the military and intelligence services.

Add to that the way the GOP has played the Christian Right, their current handling of the U. S. Attorney firing, and other issues, and its enough to make you sick.

I don't know what's more disheartening, the fact that there are people who are so amoral that they'd put U.S. and other lives on the line to win and election, or the fact that there's some sizable core of Americans willing to repeatedly swallow what they are dishing out.
posted by hwestiii at 2:05 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


rockhopper
posted by rockhopper at 2:06 PM on July 22, 2007


Holy Shit? A million dead? Who killed them?

The current extrapolation of 975,610 Iraqi deaths due to the U.S. invasion is based upon a conservative extrapolation of the figures 0f 655,000 civilian deaths as of July 2006 as given by the John Hopkins Survey--the only scientific study released thus far. The same statistic sampling procedures were used by the same person in other studeis to estimate the deaths in Darfut and Rwanda, which figures are constantly cited by the same people who cannot accept the Iraqi numbers. And, speaking of Rwanda, the figure of Iraqi civilian deaths is equal to if not higher than the deaths given for the Rwandan genocide. Genocide is an esspecially apt word. One opinion piece, one blog entry. The Brookings iNstitutiona dn Open Democracy are not blogs and their writers not office administrators. Timothy Ashton Garst--a contributing editor to Opinion, [and] ...professor of European studies at Oxford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford Universityis more eminently qualified to offer an opinion on the topic than your average intellectual dwarf playing kindergarten level rhetorical word games.
posted by y2karl at 2:07 PM on July 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


I like how for y2karl, it's not "[more inside]" but "[more within]" ... it's so much more ominous. "Step into my lair, little MeFites... heeheehee" ... like the Crypt Keeper.
posted by spiderwire at 2:09 PM on July 22, 2007


No, no, rockhopper, I think you got it wrong. Fixed it for you - here's the correct link.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:09 PM on July 22, 2007


[a few comments removed, anyone who can't talk about this topic without calling other people names can go to metatalk. rockhopper, take a week off, you're not getting the gist of things here.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:11 PM on July 22, 2007


Genocide is an esspecially apt word.

Not that I disagree with the sentiment, but no, it's really not. It's a demonstration of how the word has been cheapened and how we need a new term that describes this supposedly "collateral damage" when it reaches proportions that should never be referred to so neutrally, but "genocide" is not that term.
posted by spiderwire at 2:11 PM on July 22, 2007


Totemic photographic image.

I will hear that poor old woman's wailing in my nightmares for years to come. Think of every family in Iraq who has had a similar experience and then think of all the little jihadis lining up to be martyrs.
posted by photoslob at 2:18 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Democide?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:20 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that should have been clearer, I was responding to Spiderwire's comment about the broadening of the word genocide. Of course, after thinking about it for a moment, democide isn't even an appropriate term, since there is no government organizing this violence. Maybe we should use Jon Stewart's term "catastrofuck".
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:26 PM on July 22, 2007


Despite the enormous bombing of South Vietnam we conducted for years, what got the North Vietnamese back to the table in Paris, was bombing North Vietnam. Duh.

The Le Duc Tho was totally in control of the proceedings of 1972.

We wanted out -- hell we were largely ALREADY out -- and the NV controlled the terms we could get. This is evidenced by the final agreement, which is what the NV wanted, and nothing what Thieu wanted.

To support your argument, you must show what the Christmas 1972 bombing added to the agreement that was temporarily abandoned the previous month. You can't. All we wanted our POWs back and our involvement to end, and that's all we got at the discussions.

As long as Uncle Ho thought our fear of the Chinese umbrella he lived under was paramount, he could act at distance with impunity. When we showed we were willing to lift that self-imposed restraint, and bring the war to North Vietnamese territory, he recalculated.

He was in the goddamn grave in 1972. The tempo of the bombing campaign 1965-1968 was the rather misplaced effort at establishing "dialogue" with the NV via violence. It failed spectacularly, since the NV were perfectly willing to hunker down and do the "rope a dope" tactic.

Although we'll never know, it might have been a very different result in Vietnam, if we had done to Hanoi in 1964 what we did to Dresden in 1944

Dresden didn't change any strategic balances in 1945, and the NV were involved in a generational struggle to extend their system to their southern brothers. There were IIRC 4 million more of them in the DRV than the south, so we'd have to dish out a lot of death to even the odds.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:26 PM on July 22, 2007


Although we'll never know, it might have been a very different result in Vietnam, if we had done to Hanoi in 1964 what we did to Dresden in 1944.

Yes, because it's burning everyone to death is totally consistent with 'liberating' them from communism. After all, a lump of molten fat can't have it's freedom taken away!

Plus we could have nuked the whole area into a glass parking lot, but We didn't! WTF!?
posted by delmoi at 2:27 PM on July 22, 2007


you guys broke the country so it's your obligation to fix it. And fix it in a way which will cause the least amount of pain to its citizens

iraq was a fake nation without real "citizens", originally broken by european colonialism. like many of the most fucked up places around the world.
posted by quonsar at 2:27 PM on July 22, 2007


post, quoted from article: "The U.S. has probably not yet fully woken up to the appalling fact that, after a long period in which the first motto of its military was "no more Vietnams," it faces another Vietnam."

The U.S. hasn't even woken up to the fact of Viet Nam yet, and that war ended more than thirty years ago. In fact, I don't think anyone, USians included, has really figured out what the legacy of that war means. That's why USians are so divided, over the war and over everything else.

We forget that "no more Viet Nams," to our military, has generally meant: "the most brutal, the most violent, and most extreme measures end wars fastest, and are therefore preferable."
posted by koeselitz at 2:33 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


"No more Vietnams" was embodied in the Powell Doctrine, and why our Panzers turned south after destroying the fleeing remnants of Saddam's army in 1991.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:35 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


this defeat will convince more people around the world that it is not even that powerful

It takes power to defeat a country's army and topple its government. I am not sure that there are too many countries lining up right now questioning whether the US is powerful enough to do that.

Occupation and conversion require something other than power. Just trying to keep the terminology straight. The extracted quote above makes it sound like other countries would not be afraid to engage in war with the United States.

I don't disagree with the point of the post. I just think that it diminishes important arguments to make claims that other countries will no longer feel the US is powerful.
posted by flarbuse at 2:39 PM on July 22, 2007


dydecker: "Americans should first be thinking of the amount of slaughtered Iraqis your country's policies have caused/will cause, not the amount of US troops being killed. The decision to stay/withdraw should be decided on that basis, not on the self-centred issue of whether US troops will be in harm's way or convenient to the US election cycle.

"It's a terrible place to be in, but you guys broke the country so it's your obligation to fix it. And fix it in a way which will cause the least amount of pain to its citizens (nearly 1,000,000 of whom are dead now)."


Here, here. It says a lot about this vile nation that the majority of people were for the war not because it would help anybody else but because it was supposed to make us safer; and now that it clearly won't, everyone and their dog wants desperately for us to leave immediately. It says a lot that no American, from the angry, vicious right to the angry, hand-wringing left, is interested in helping Iraqis or in doing the right thing. They either want to stay because they want us to kill more of them before leaving, or they want us to leave so that fewer of us die over there. The whole disgusting mess puts me in mind of a Philip Larkin poem.

Homage To A Government
by Philip Larkin

Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.

It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

posted by koeselitz at 2:39 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


iraq was a fake nation without real "citizens", originally broken by european colonialism. like many of the most fucked up places around the world.

Lame reasoning that in no way exonerates the biggest mistake the US has made in the last 35 years. The very least America can do is restore a dictator who can guarantee peace, and meanwhile get their hands out of the oil profit money tin. I mean jeez, even under Saddam x10 less people were murdered than the situation as it stands now. Of course the American nationalists (even ones who opposed this war) will defend the murderous actions of their govt till the very end, because they've been brainwashed from birth about their divine rights, etc, but if there is any justice in this world, once America is defeated, there will be reparations, war crimes trials and prison for the ignorant scoundrels who cooked this war up.
posted by dydecker at 2:43 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


My apoloogies for getting hot but, really, that whole show me the bodies rhetoric was really irritating. That is the sort of 'logic' usually associated with Holocaust revisionists. The John Hopkins study is the one scientific study done of excess Iraqi deaths so far publically released. I suspect the US military, among other government branches, has many other such studies that will remain classified for at least another 18 months.
posted by y2karl at 2:43 PM on July 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


iraq was a fake nation without real "citizens", originally broken by european colonialism.

Yep. They also didn't have real "infrastructure" like roads, hospitals, powerplants, water systems, houses. Hell, Iraqis weren't even real "people". What is everyone is so upset about?
posted by c13 at 2:44 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


that no American, from the angry, vicious right to the angry, hand-wringing left, is interested in helping Iraqis or in doing the right thing

I really, really disagree with this -- I see no reason to disbelieve the general PNAC strategy was seen (going in) as a win-win deal on deposing Saddam & Sons' corrupt government and instituting a secular, friendly, and grateful Shiite INC-dominated replacement.

I was opposed going in to the US policing the civil war that I feared would arise in the vacuum, because I knew our armed forces are blunt instruments that would in the end cause more damage than good.

The first reports of "Operation Desert Scorpion" from mid-2003 confimed my worst fears that the Army was going to try for swinging-dick intimidation instead of winning the battle at the community affairs officer level.

All we can & should do now is train our replacements. I fail to see what is so controversial about this.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:49 PM on July 22, 2007


Sorry, that should have been clearer, I was responding to Spiderwire's comment about the broadening of the word genocide. Of course, after thinking about it for a moment, democide isn't even an appropriate term, since there is no government organizing this violence. Maybe we should use Jon Stewart's term "catastrofuck".
Inadvertent mass murder?

Collateral annihilation?

Genocide demands the targeting of a group, and generally implies intent as well. At its most restrictive definition it might include "total war" attacks on a populace, such as the Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Dresden bombings.

The civilian casualties of the Iraq War, regardless of their specific number, are a "side effect" on a scale never before seen, to the point where they cannot reasonably be called "collateral damage" any longer -- and yet, it is also arguable that the U.S. and its generals would probably have preferred that most of those people hadn't died. That's distinct from the Nazi example, Rwanda, "countervalue" attacks, and so forth.

Some people use that distinction to absolve the U.S. and its so-called "smart" warfighting, because the requisite intent seems lacking. I don't think that the distinction allows that conclusion. I don't think that thousands of "little Dresdens" carry less culpability than one, especially not when the consequences are so predictable. To me, it merely means that the beast is really headless, yet still capable of horror on the same scale -- and with similar effect -- as intentional mass ethnic cleansing. You decide which is more frightening.
posted by spiderwire at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2007


My, how far we have come, from April's "The United States has NO position on Arab/Iraq border disputes" to the present fubar.
posted by hortense at 2:56 PM on July 22, 2007


dydecker: "It's a terrible place to be in, but you guys broke the country so it's your obligation to fix it. And fix it in a way which will cause the least amount of pain to its citizens (nearly 1,000,000 of whom are dead now)."

That's what actually surprises me most: many Americans (not all!) call to me mind the image of a drunk driver who just hit and killed a person. He now has the choice to either a) turn himself in to the police and confess or b) try to run, hide all evidence and try not to listen to his conscience. And when he realizes this he complains that the options he has are both bad, both carry some kind of punishment, both are not ideal solutions for him. What kind of advice can you give such a person apart from "you shouldn't have driven drunk in the first place"?

It's maybe not the best metaphor, but I can't help but think of this each time I hear the discussion about "we can't stay there!" "we can't leave either!" - sometimes the only thing you can do is to choose between two evils, and to make sure not to get in a situation where you have to make such decisions the next time.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:56 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Isn't America quite simply, fucked. It took 25 years to regain the respect of the world after Vietnamm but 25 years from now the Chinese and the Indian economies will be climbing all over you and the world will care abour having respect for America considerably less?
posted by A189Nut at 3:01 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


a drunk driver who just hit and killed a person

Sadly, in this case, the drunk driver is the only person in town, he is the policeman and the judge. He drives to another town and hits and kills someone. Then he continues drinking, gets on the highway, and finds another town.

After a while it it doesn't even feel that bad anymore! And hey, let's have another drink.
posted by blacklite at 3:03 PM on July 22, 2007


It's a terrible place to be in, but you guys broke the country so it's your obligation to fix it.

If someone kicks in the door to your house, shoots your child, and steals all your money, you don't say to the criminal "okay, it's now your job to repair the door, make funeral arrangements for the child, make a household budget for the coming year, and conduct therapy sessions for the surviving family members."

Or we could tackle it this way. Suppose after the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, we said "Hey, you really scewed up this place. Now it's your responsibility to come back, take it over, and install a new government." I wonder how many people in the US would back that plan.

And what exactly do you mean by "fix" Iraq, anyway? If "fixing" involves installing an independent, democratic government, insuring that control of the oil is in the hands of the Iraqis, and rebuilding the the infrastructure, then obviously the US is the worst possible choice for the job. We've spent the last several years working very hard to prevent all of the above.
posted by Clay201 at 3:05 PM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think everybody in this thread needs to take a dandelion break immediately. No ifs ands or butts. Git out there and go dandelion breaking right now. Do it! Don't make me whip out the fluffy cushions!
posted by ZachsMind at 3:06 PM on July 22, 2007


If we can get Bin Laden BEFORE we pull out of Iraq we will be able save some face. But looking at how Pakistan is now on the brink that is not very likely.

This administrations choice of politics over competency and blind ideology over practical policy has come back to bite it in the ass so many times they eat standing up.

We poured something in excess of 250 million dollars worth of un-administered "aid" into the northern regions of Pakistan. Essentially Musharraf has been blackmailing Bush to gain Pakistani cooperation in the war on terror. But come to find out this money was re-distributed as bribes in the Pashtun to keep them happy. But what they have done is essentially regifted this right to the Taliban and Al Qaeda and financed this uprising in Red Mosque and into Afghanistan. There were a dozen or so former CIA analysts whose warnings went unheeded about this (and about every other policy) because they did not possess the correct ideological flavor.

Then you have this constant harping about Iranian involvement in the Shia insurgency through the Bush state department PR outlet better known as FOX News. Which is somewhat true. But is largely a diversion. Since our own intelligence for the last three years has proven time and time again that the majority of insurgent monies and support have come from... yes you guesses it... our good friends in the Kingdom of Saud. But most of our energies are invested in Iranian involvement.

So what happens? Al Qaeda in Iraq.

90% funded, staffed and supported by Saudi funds. Our military has known this and has been attempting to screen Saudi nationals from Iraq for years and met with NOTHING but resistance from this administration since they want to underplay this so badly. What the fuck?

You notice that Bush no longer says "When the Iraqi's stand up, we will stand down." Right? You notice that. Because he now knows they will never stand up. They never were going to stand up. The hand picked stooges we put in charge of that government (Elected? Sure. Ask how they chose candidates in Iraq. The nominees in key areas were hand picked by us) are too busy pilfering the wealth and getting their relatives OUT of the country.

Bush does not want to WIN this war. It cannot be stated any more plainly than this: Anybody still towing this administrations line DOES NOT WANT TO WIN THIS WAR. Ever policy Bush has chosen. every strategy has been either been based on retarded assumptions, ideology or Base Polls. Every tactic has been wrong or so behind the curve that they have failed. They have failed because Bush cannot admit to making a mistakes. So rather than correct a policy and, you know, WIN he "stays the course." BUSH DOES NOT WANT TO WIN. That much is obvious.

Bush ignored the advise of every strategic planner experienced in the Middle East from the very beginning. He ignored warnings on the logistical problems. He ignored warnings about the number of troops. He ignored warnings about letting the weapons inspectors finishing their jobs. He ignored warnings about the idiotic "de-Baathification" policy. He ignored warnings about the validity of Chalabi and the Iraqi exiles who were a gang of fucking criminals. He ignored anybody that didn't express opinions favorable to the Neocon fantasy.

Yet every Bush administration official, FOX News moron and GOP Talking Point dipshit acts surprised that this war is going the way it is. They actually want us to believe they are surprised!? When in fact this disastrous war is like a god damned script. A script that was read aloud line for fucking line BEFORE the invasion.

So. Here we are in Scene one of Act V. And now it's time for them to blame the liberals. Yes. Even though they owned congress, the executive branch, the administrative branch and half of the media outlets until 2005... even though THEY set the policy, formulated the plans, hand picked the personnel and surgically extricated every critic from the chain of decision making... yes, even so... the Script CLEARLY states in black and white in Act V it is THE LIBERALS fault.

If anybody actually wanted to win this war they would have abandoned support of this president before November 2004.
posted by tkchrist at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2007 [30 favorites]


Genocide is an esspecially apt word.

No, it's not. I don't disagree that this is a deep tragedy and the US is responsible for killing a million people, but it doesn't meet the UN tests for genocide. Some want to broaden those tests, but it still wouldn't include this war. Really, you'd have to show that the US is specifically trying to eliminate an ethnic group from a region by killing them, or possibly trying to move them and killing them consequently. Those really aren't the US's aims.

This is really just a war and an occupation that's going badly. Millions of people die in large, modern wars.

That said, the GWOT's deep association with what many in the US want as a global war on Islam could push things to the point where the US might arguably engage in genocide. Hopefully, we can keep these homicidal wingnuts in check.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:25 PM on July 22, 2007


We poured something in excess of 250 million dollars worth of un-administered "aid" into the northern regions of Pakistan.

Goddamn right. Next time we bribe a bunch of corrupt dictators, they'd better deliver exactly what we want, when we want it, or heads will roll. I mean, never mind Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, what about Turkey? They actually had the gall to refuse to fully co-operate in our attack on Iraq. I mean, it's like that government there does what the people in the country (about ninety percent of them, anyway) want instead of what the WhiteHouse wants. If that's what billions in loans and military aid get us, I say we're getting ripped off. And yeah, I know Turkey is supposed to be a democracy but, hey, that doesn't matter, right? The point is that when we give a government lots of money, we fucking own it and it best better do as it's told.
posted by Clay201 at 3:28 PM on July 22, 2007


Guys like rockhopper should feel deeply ashamed stumping for policies that are total failures. These polices are claiming the lives of thousands of Americans and possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's. Arguing over the numbers of innocent lives failed policies you support are claiming is vulgar and crass. Even if 20% of the umbers in the Lancet study are valid (and that would be in line with the OFFICIAL State Department numbers) the humans are no less innocent. And no less dead as a result of YOUR support for the failed policy. Thus the continuation of the war is immoral.

If it's supporting the troops they claim to believe then these posts better be coming from a server in Kuwait or from a laptop in a BOQ in Camp Lejeune, NC. There are only two possible ways to Support the Troops fighting a failed war based in losing polices. Change the administration and change the policies. Bring the troops home. Or join them in fighting. Those are the only morally supportable choices.

Stumping for losing strategies, that are costing lives, because you can't admit when you're wrong is not only unprincipled and symptomatic of weak mindedness but disqualifies you from participating in formulating new policies. You cannot be trusted.
posted by tkchrist at 3:37 PM on July 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


A question: why wasn't the public movement as strong as the vietnam one ? Lack of Draft ?

I've surmised that one underlying impetus of the "bring back the draft" argument was that certain people hoped that a draft would lead to a 1960s, Vietnam War -style groundswell of public protest in the US. Not sure how logical that sounds, but rationality hasn't been a hallmark of this conflict.
posted by pax digita at 3:42 PM on July 22, 2007


Not sure how logical that sounds

If the Survival of The Free World was indeed at stake, as Bush claimed post 9/11, then reinstituting a draft would be necessary and right.

Obviously the free world had a ways to go since Jenna found a career in fashion.
posted by tkchrist at 3:46 PM on July 22, 2007


In September 2005 the US military was using an estimated 250,000 [bullets] for every insurgent killed.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:49 PM on July 22, 2007


looking at your posting history... you sure do whine about left leaning posts a lot. If you don't like it, flag and move on.

delmoi, this isn't directed at you, per se, but I've always wondered "at what point did criticizing the Iraq war, and maybe war in general, become a "leftist" enterprise?"

One would think that our current war in Iraq has been such a monumental clusterfuck that people from all political persuasions, especially conservatives -- could come together and say "wow, that was a huge mistake."

But apparently not. In 2007 America, there are some people for whom the war is ipso facto correct, and anyone who says otherwise isn't speaking from an honest assessment of reality, but because they belong to "the other side".
posted by Avenger at 3:50 PM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


One thing that nobody ever seems to mention when discussing the possibility of a "soft partition" is Turkey's stated position that they will not allow a Kurdistan to exist in any form. Turkey has too many Kurdish separatists already, which they spend a considerable amount of time and energy keeping under control (or at least keeping quiet).

If a Kurdistan forms on their border, Turkey will be looking at internal tensions getting turned up several notches. Remember the Turkish incursion into Iraq a few months back? That's going to be a kiss on the cheek compared to what'll happen when our main steadfast ally in the region goes apeshit and tries to wipe out an internal rebellion, one that we blindly aided.
posted by lekvar at 4:05 PM on July 22, 2007


We Didn't Start The Fire
posted by ZachsMind at 4:11 PM on July 22, 2007


One would think that our current war in Iraq has been such a monumental clusterfuck that people from all political persuasions, especially conservatives -- could come together and say "wow, that was a huge mistake."

Actually, I've been saying for some time that most of the people who criticize the war aren't leftists or even to the left of center, necessarily. As I see it, there are (broadly speaking) two camps when it comes to the anti-war folks. On the one hand, you've got those who say that conquering Iraq and installing a government of our choosing is a wonderful thing and the only problem with the current situation is that Bush failed to accomplish the goal. This is the position taken by Hillary Clinton and most of the high ranking democrats you hear on TV. The great mass of people in the same camp - well, I don't know that I'd call them "moderates" - in my mind, moderates don't support fascism (even the kind that's strictly for export). Call 'em Partyists... they support one or both of the major political parties without much regard to moral principle. If a democratic president says "well... we might need to keep thirty thousand troops there...." a lot of these people will say go along with it.

In contrast, the leftists (who wouldn't be too thrilled to find Hillary Clinton sitting at their dinner table let alone pretending to represent them) think that conquering Iraq and imposing a government on them is a horrible, vicious war crime and should not be attempted at all under any circumstances (short of, like, WW III). To us, if Bush were successful in his prosecution of the war, that would be much much worse than what we have now. Instead of an Iraq that might remain under US control for decades, we'd have an Iraq that would definitely remain under US control for decades. People like us figure that conquest and occupation are just wrong, period, no matter who's doing it to whom. There might be some exceptions out there, but if so they're few and far between and, in any case, Iraq is most definitely not one of them.
posted by Clay201 at 4:17 PM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I knew our armed forces are blunt instruments that would in the end cause more damage than good.

Yes, exactly. We were supposedly going to paint Iraq red, white, and blue with democracy, but the guys we sent over didn't have any paintbrushes. With the hammers they did have, all they could produce was red.

As for the difference between public outcry against Vietnam vs. against Iraq - the difference is that in the 60s, the news media actually reported it when there were demonstrations. That does not happen now.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:17 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]




Never substitute impugning someone's character for impugning his or her argument...

This has been the, almost mandatory, tactic of many on the right for a long time. I need only mention repeated use of the word "treason". Much of this debacle can be blamed on such disrespectful and debate-stopping tactics. History will judge.

As for the war in Iraq: I opposed it before it happened, and am very sorry to say that all the intelligent arguments against it were proven correct.

Iraq, I feel, will go down as the stupidest move the US has made since its own Civil War. Those struggling to spin it as a win are neo-conning themselves. The cost in lives, respect and treasure is so high that I'm willing to consider it deliberate.
posted by Twang at 4:20 PM on July 22, 2007


...our main steadfast ally in the region goes apeshit and tries to wipe out an internal rebellion, one that we blindly aided.

I agree that Cheney (who actually runs the government) is high on something if he thinks he can continue to play both sides of the Kurd/Turk dispute for much longer without the whole thing blowing up in his face, but I don't see any evidence that his (our) actions in this matter are "blind." I mean, the far more likely explanation is that the American government simply doesn't give a shit what happens to the Kurds.
posted by Clay201 at 4:21 PM on July 22, 2007


American government simply doesn't give a shit what happens to the Kurds.

And we shouldn't. No more than anybody else anyway.
posted by tkchrist at 4:47 PM on July 22, 2007


delmoi, this isn't directed at you, per se, but I've always wondered "at what point did criticizing the Iraq war, and maybe war in general, become a "leftist" enterprise?"

if people would go to antiwar.com, they'd see that there's a conservative movement against this war, too

(by the way, bush and the republican party of today are not conservatives)
posted by pyramid termite at 4:48 PM on July 22, 2007


I disagree with that to some extent, p.t.

They've got to soft-pedal their agenda, but outside of Souter I think the people they're putting on the courts defines who they are and where they want this country to go, and it's pretty darn conservative -- protection of wealth, discrediting government attempts at social engineering, promoting and catering to family-values BS.

The Republican Party platform is still a wonderful collection of conservative bollocks.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:04 PM on July 22, 2007


If Bush thinks that history will view him as anything but the ignorant pinhead he is, he's even more delusional than I thought (and that's really, really, send-in-the-meds, fuckin' delusional).

Oh dear. I wouldn't be so sure. About the state and quality of GWB's self-examination I am unable and unwilling to theorize, but I think the past has given us ample proof that even the worst of American presidents (and I think it's become relatively clear that along all sorts of axes, George W Bush is the worst in modern times, if not ever) enjoy post-power and particularly posthumous hagiography. Given the toothless lickspittle fawning of most of the American media towards those in power, I don't think things will be any different this time.

I'd forgotten how much fury Ronald Reagan inspired in me when I was a young man until the old bastard died recently. If there's anything like the America we know today left in 20 years, the adulation will be much the same when Bush finally dies, no doubt still dimly confident that he was one of the great ones.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:11 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wonder as well, and this isn't meant aggressively just a curiosity, at what point does what the most vocal proponents who self identify as conservative become the de facto definition of conservatives?
If you call as rose a daisy long enough sooner or later "daisy" comes to mean what "rose" use to mean, and daisies are called something else, so to speak. Republicans are certainly not what Republicans where when Lincoln was a Republican, yet they are still Republicans.
Anyway, ignore me at will, just a little break from thesis writing.
posted by edgeways at 5:13 PM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Intresting to see what the other countries on the ground in Iraq think.

For Australian units patrolling in Iraq's south, a meeting with each village leader is essential.
Their efforts to reach out are usually met with traditional Iraqi hospitality, the slaughter of a goat and a long feast for the soldiers.
The only drawback, said the Australian commander in Iraq, Brigadier Gerard Fogarty, were the resulting bouts of diarrhoea many soldiers suffered.


I'll take diarrhoea over insurgency anyday.
posted by ItsaMario at 5:15 PM on July 22, 2007


Haha, someone mentioned Bin Laden.




Who???
posted by fire&wings at 5:21 PM on July 22, 2007


If there's anything like the America we know today left in 20 years, the adulation will be much the same when Bush finally dies, no doubt still dimly confident that he was one of the great ones.

Well, sure. I mean, for all his faults, Bush never got a blowjob in the Oval Office. Isn't that what makes a President great?
posted by grouse at 5:23 PM on July 22, 2007


Bin Laden... Who???

Bin Forgotten.
posted by grouse at 5:24 PM on July 22, 2007


I bet if you went into a pottery barn and started smashing stuff they would call the police and have you escorted out. Then they might ask you to pay for what you broke.

I doubt they would ask you to work security in the store.
posted by srboisvert at 5:26 PM on July 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


it's pretty darn conservative -- protection of wealth, discrediting government attempts at social engineering, promoting and catering to family-values BS.

i don't know that the democratic party in recent memory has done much or proposed much to unprotect wealth

and catering to family values bs IS a government attempt at social engineering ... or would be, if they weren't just giving it lip service half the time ... but that's one contradiction in their platform right there

but whatever happened to the conservative idea that the government should be smaller, less intrusive, with a balanced set of finances?

bush and his buddies are so far from that it's not even funny

whatever happened to the conservative idea that america should be cautious about getting involved in foreign problems? ... (yes, i'm well aware pearl harbor happened to it, and for that time, the isolationists had to put that idea down as it was no longer right for the times ... but is it right for ours?)

whatever happened to the conservative idea that our different branches of government should actually check and balance each other? ... it seems that no matter who the president is, they're trying to get more power

i think we do our politics a grave disservice when we call these people ideologues or conservatives ... the only ideology they really have is gimme gimme gimme ... note how we don't live in a more "moral" country, or a "safer" one ... but they sure as hell have more power and more money, don't they?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:31 PM on July 22, 2007


posted by ItsaMario I'll take diarrhea over insurgency anyday.

Cut and run.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:37 PM on July 22, 2007


Guys like rockhopper should feel deeply ashamed stumping for policies that are total failures.

I think you elevate him to a status he doesn't deserve. If his "both sides suck" equivocations are to be believed, it's reasonable to conclude that he was deliberately trolling.

As for everything else you put forward, you are 100% spot on.
posted by psmealey at 5:50 PM on July 22, 2007


I've surmised that one underlying impetus of the "bring back the draft" argument was that certain people hoped that a draft would lead to a 1960s, Vietnam War -style groundswell of public protest in the US.

Small doubt about it. When push came to shove, however, it was voted down by almost everyone, including its author.

Strange place, Washington.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:55 PM on July 22, 2007


Intresting to see what the other countries on the ground in Iraq think.

It's also intresting to see what the other countries on the ground in Iraq do compared to what we do.
posted by homunculus at 6:18 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


delmoi, this isn't directed at you, per se, but I've always wondered "at what point did criticizing the Iraq war, and maybe war in general, become a "leftist" enterprise?"

You can blame Karl Rove for that.
posted by delmoi at 6:20 PM on July 22, 2007


yeah, it's funny how they were all against it when it was clinton getting involved in serbia ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:23 PM on July 22, 2007


We have private Blackwater reporting for duty, no draft needed or wanted,since Rumsfield privatized the Pentagon.
posted by hortense at 6:26 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


David Ignatius at the Washington Post has this suggestion: military triage.
Maybe we should think like firefighters. They try to save every life they can, but they don’t take crazy risks. […] A “firehouse strategy” would make triage decisions. It would deploy U.S. forces so that they aren’t caught in the middle of collapsing walls and blazing timbers. It would emphasize the training of Iraqi forces to fight the blaze. It would build firebreaks so the disaster doesn’t spread to other rooms in the Iraqi house. Most of all, a firehouse strategy would try to keep this sectarian blaze from jumping national boundaries. U.S. and Iraqi troops can create buffers by moving significant forces toward Iraq’s borders
So long as we are not the main targets or causes of violence in the region, we should remain there. So long as we can do more good than harm, we stay to clean up after our incompetent leaders. Scholars of the region agree that the current violence is sectarian, or sometimes simply feudal, in nature, and is not any sort of freedom-fighting or guerrilla-resistance aimed at a foreign occupier. The explosive violence is mostly attributable to warlords and their militias, many of whom use ethnic and religious distinctions to create loyalties, but who nonetheless are fighting for material gains for their in-group, and simply manipulating the larger Sunni/Shiite solidarities and antipathies to find sources of funding and weaponry abroad. They pursue their goals using the techniques of ethnic cleansing: terrorizing and killing the out-groups in order to create homogeneous blocs over which they can exercise their power. These guys will duke it out in Iraq regardless of our presence: their own safety depends on the destruction of their enemies, so for them it’s a fight to the death.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:26 PM on July 22, 2007


Why do Americans insist on calling their military the mightiest, when it clearly isn't?

Maybe the largest, but mighty denotes achievement.

Throughout history, military power has shown itself incapable of defeating insurgencies, without drastic and catastrophic tactics.
posted by mattoxic at 6:35 PM on July 22, 2007


I'd forgotten how much fury Ronald Reagan inspired in me when I was a young man...

As much as the Gipper's Adminstration alarmed, dismayed and disgusted me by turns, comparison with the last six years have left me feeling almost nostalgic for those times.

As for the war in Iraq: I opposed it before it happened, and am very sorry to say that all the intelligent arguments against it were proven correct.

I wish I'd been less fatalistic about it at the time myself -- even my less-than-geopolicitally-nor-historically savvy erstwhile better half was saying, "He's going after the man who tried to kill his Daddy." As for those contrary arguments, I recall they were few, muted or painted unfairly as radicalism, and largely shouted down as unpatriotic amid the post-9/11 craziness. When the shooting abated and the looting began unchecked, that was my initial realization that this was going to be a goatf*ck for the ages -- and look at how very much worse things have gotten since then.

In late winter/early spring '03 I remember shrugging and murmuring "nichts zu machen" to myself (and amid a failing career and marriage, had my own distractions to deal with), so I guess I'm part of the problem and will have my own 'splaining to do in a few more years when my son's of military age and considering his options. (He's bright but hardly shows evidence of being college material at this point. Add to that his own emo baggage at being of a broken home and his fascination with shoot-'em-ups and related hardware, and the recruiters will find him easy prey.)

If the Survival of The Free World was indeed at stake, as Bush claimed post 9/11, then reinstituting a draft would be necessary and right.

Whether it would've sparked protests or not, a draft would've signally fixated the American people on the notion that we are a nation at war -- as opposed to at least one American army officer's apt perception that no, the American nation isn't at war, the American military is at war, and the nation's at the mall. I guess that's a case of trying to have one's cake and eat it too, and it's another explanation of why the 'Murcan people have only gradually gotten to the "WTF?" stage.

(Hoping Smedleyman stops by this thread to grace us with his toughts...)
posted by pax digita at 6:56 PM on July 22, 2007


So long as we are not the main targets or causes of violence in the region, we should remain there.

Then we should get out immediately, because we are the main cause of violence in the region. You do remember that, in just the last few years, we invaded two different countries over there, right? I mean, even Isreal has managed to hold it down to one in that time period.
posted by Clay201 at 7:03 PM on July 22, 2007


Real change needs to come to the United States pretty damn quick. The regime you are developing is not so different from the ones you claim to be fighting. No one is going to save you for you.

These changes need to be made soon. This changes need to be made by you. There are global issues that need serious attention. These issues are going to become life-changing while you are still alive. They need attention now.

Not to hysterical or anything, but y'know, it's the essential truth of the situation.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:42 PM on July 22, 2007


five fresh fish: Quiet, American Idol is on...
posted by nightchrome at 8:16 PM on July 22, 2007


The moral obligation we face now is to pull out and give transport and asylum to any Iraqi who wants to move here. We burned down their house; the least we can do is let them sleep on our couch.
posted by EarBucket at 9:06 PM on July 22, 2007


So unrelated, but I have to say it:

rockhopper
posted by rockhopper at 2:06 PM on July 22 [+] [!]


You linked to the Specialized Rockhopper, a bike which I just purchased last week.

in a very tiny way, you've sucked some of the joy out of all the effort I put into salvaging and fixing up this bike.

Maybe you can take a little comfort in knowing that a dirty liberal like myself will be riding the same bike and negating your every vote.

Cheers!
posted by EricGjerde at 9:44 PM on July 22, 2007




So, people can criticize from a distance but when someone else defends it, they have to be boots on the ground in order for their argument to have any validity?

Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.
posted by Dagobert at 10:44 PM on July 22, 2007


I recently read somewhere -- it may have been the Los Angeles Times -- that KBR alone is billing half a billion dollars a month to the Pentagon.

cost-plus contracts, kids. I love y2karl posts but that's all you need to know about why the war in Iraq goes on and on and on, really, and it will go on, no matter who won Congress last year (as we have seen) or the presidency next year (as we'll see, I'm afraid).

it stops if and when China decides that they're not bankrolling it anymore and they pull the plug to American deficit spending in Iraq. neither Congress nor the White House (yes, even President Hillary's) can stop that.

and by the way:
A Pentagon audit of $16.2 billion of this work found that $3.2 billion in KBR billing was either questionable or unsupported by documentation. Under a new arrangement announced last month, the Army has awarded three cost-plus contracts to separate companies to do the work, with a total value of $15 billion a year.
3.2 billion, after all, is not that much money in a war that now costs about 12 billion dollars a month.
posted by matteo at 11:34 PM on July 22, 2007


(and please if you're American and uninsured or simply in heavy college loan debt just don't think about how much free health care and education your government could have bought you with half a trillion dollars)
posted by matteo at 11:38 PM on July 22, 2007


No End In Sight
posted by homunculus at 12:10 AM on July 23, 2007


Why do Americans insist on calling their military the mightiest, when it clearly isn't?

Define "mighty." The U.S. has more aircraft carrier deck space than the rest of the world combined. And that's just one metric.

Clearly, dealing with I.E.Ds and suicide bombers is quite another thing. But really, is there anyone "mighty" at this task?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:51 AM on July 23, 2007


Uh yeah. Americans regularly claim all kinds of preposterous "#1" standings. Military might? Quite possible. The salient question is whether winning on that metric is worth losing on all the others.
posted by dreamsign at 1:12 AM on July 23, 2007


Eh, quick question. On the Johns Hopkins study, what was the feeling as to the reliability of the numbers? They say they they interviewed 40 households in 47 clusters, for a total of 12,801 people. That's a relatively small sample size on which to extrapolate a mortality figure to a population of 26.1 million. It's not statistically significant. A lot will depend on where the clusters are, the sampling, and I imagine the sampling will be very heavily security dependent (which may underestimate the numbers, or overestimate, I don't know.) Likewise for Darfur, as far as I know all the figures are fairly rudimentary, based on estimated death rates amongst IDPs (from the WHO's "Crude Mortality Rate" figure), amongst others.

Not that being the cause of death of 200,000 people is any better than being the cause of death of 650,000, but statistics in conflict environments are so hazy one might as well pull a number from an orifice of one's own choosing.
posted by YouRebelScum at 1:47 AM on July 23, 2007


YouRebelScum do you even know what statistical significance means?
posted by srboisvert at 2:24 AM on July 23, 2007


As srboisvert obliquely hints at, drawing probable inferences from relatively small samples of a much larger population is what the discipline of statistics is about. There are well established mathematical underpinnings at work.

You can calculate the probability that a sample is representative fairly easily. Well, I can't, 'cause it's been over a decade since I did any work in statistics but lots of people can.
posted by Justinian at 2:43 AM on July 23, 2007


Srboisvert: point taken, not really. Still, my question kind of stands/hobbles - are the figure likely to be true? If someone told me it is, and the figures are representative of the population of Iraq, can you rely on them given the foibles security concerns put on doing research?
posted by YouRebelScum at 3:28 AM on July 23, 2007


YouRebelScum do you even know what statistical significance means?

Heh. Until he chimed in again, I didn't realize this was his user name, and I thought this must be the most oblique Star Wars reference yet.
posted by dreamsign at 4:22 AM on July 23, 2007


Distinction between criticism and fabrication regarding deaths in Iraq

I read with interest the October 18th editorial by Steven Moore reviewing our study reporting that an estimated 650,000 deaths were associated with the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. I had spoken with Mr. Moore the week before when he said that he was writing something for the Wall Street Journal to put this survey in perspective. I am not surprised that we differed on the current relevance of 10 year-old census data in a country that had experienced a major war and mass exodus.

I am not surprised at his rejection of my suggestion that the references in a web report explaining the methodology for lay people and reporters was not the same as the references in our painstakingly written peer reviewed article. What is striking is Mr. Moore's statement that we did not collect any demographic data, and his implication that this makes the report suspect.

This is curious because, not only did I tell him that we asked about the age and gender of the living residents in the houses we visited, but Mr. Moore and I discussed, verbally and by e-mail, his need to contact the first author of the paper, Gilbert Burnham, in order to acquire this information as I did not have the raw data. I would assume that this was simply a case of multiple misunderstandings except our first report in the Lancet in 2004 referenced in our article as describing the methods states, ".interviewees were asked for the age and sex or every current household member."

Thus, it appears Mr. Moore had not read the description of the methods in our reports. It is not important whether this fabrication that "no demographic data was collected" is the result of subconscious need to reject the results or whether it was intentional deception. What is important, is that Mr. Moore and many others are profoundly uncomfortable that our government might have inadvertently triggered 650,000 deaths.

Most days in the US, more than 5000 people die. We do not see the bodies. We cannot, from our household perspective, sense the fraction from violence. We rely on a functional governmental surveillance network to do that for us. No such functional network exists in Iraq. Our report suggests that on top of the 300 deaths that must occur in Iraq each day from natural causes; there have been approximately 500 "extra" deaths mostly from violence.

Of any high profile scientific report in recent history, ours might be the easiest to verify. If we are correct, in the morgues and graveyards of Iraq, most deaths during the occupation would have been due to violence. If Mr. Bush's "30,000 more or less" figure from last December is correct, less than 1 in 10 deaths has been from violence. Let us address the discomfort of Mr. Moore and millions of other Americans, not by uninformed speculation about epidemiological techniques, but by having the press travel the country and tell us how people are dying in Iraq.
October 31, 2006 - Media Lens:Lancent Report Author Responds To Questions
Conducting such a rigorous study within the constraints of the security situation in Iraq is dangerous and difficult, and deserves commendation. We have not heard any legitimate reason to dismiss its findings. It is noteworthy that the same methodology has been used in recent mortality surveys in Darfur and Democratic Republic of Congo, but there has been no criticism of these surveys.

The study by Burnham and his colleagues provides the best estimate of mortality to date in Iraq that we have, or indeed are ever likely to have.

We urge open and constructive debate, rather than ill-informed criticism of the methods or results of sound science. All of us should consider the implications of the dire and deteriorating health situation in Iraq.

The Signatories

Professor James A Angus, dean, faculty of medicine, dentistry and health sciences, University of Melbourne

Professor Bruce Armstrong AM, director of research, Sydney Cancer Centre; professor of public health and medical foundation fellow, University of Sydney

Dr Jim Black, head of epidemiology, Victorian Infectious Diseases Service

Professor Peter Brooks, executive dean, faculty of health sciences, University of Queensland

Professor Jonathan Carapetis, director, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin

Dr Ben Coghlan, medical epidemiologist, Centre for International Health, Burnet Institute

Professor Mike Daube, professor of health policy, Curtin University

Associate Professor Peter Deutschmann, executive director, Australian International Health Institute, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Trevor Duke, Centre for International Child Health, department of pediatrics, University of Melbourne

Professor Adele Green AC, deputy director, Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Associate Professor Heath Kelly, head, epidemiology unit, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory

Professor Stephen Leeder AO, co-director, Menzies Centre for Health Policy; professor of public health and community medicine, University of Sydney; chairman, Policy and Advocacy Group, Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine

Professor Alan Lopez, head, School of Population Health; professor of medical statistics and population health, University of Queensland

Professor John Mathews AM, professorial fellow, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne

Professor A. J. McMichael, director, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANU

Dr Cathy Mead PSM, president, Public Health Association of Australia, Canberra

Professor Rob Moodie, chief executive, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation

Professor Kim Mulholland, infectious disease epidemiology unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Professor Terry Nolan, head, School of Population Health, Melbourne University

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne; president, Medical Association for Prevention of War

Associate Professor Peter Sainsbury, school of public health, University of Sydney

Dr Tony Stewart, medical epidemiologist, Centre for International Health, Burnet Institute

Professor Richard Taylor, professor of international health; head, division of international and indigenous health, School of Population Health, University of Queensland; director, Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health and Nutrition

Associate Professor Mike Toole, head, Centre for International Health, Burnet Institute

Associate Professor Paul J. Torzillo AM, University of Sydney; senior respiratory physician, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney; clinical director, respiratory and critical care services, Central Sydney Area Health Service

Dr Sue Wareham OAM, immediate past president, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Canberra

Professor Anthony Zwi, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, associate dean (international), faculty of medicine, NSW University
The Iraq deaths study was valid and correct

See also Iraq death rate estimates defended by researchers
posted by y2karl at 5:28 AM on July 23, 2007


I'd forgotten how much fury Ronald Reagan inspired in me when I was a young man until the old bastard died recently. If there's anything like the America we know today left in 20 years, the adulation will be much the same when Bush finally dies, no doubt still dimly confident that he was one of the great ones.

Reagan, too, was horrible. He did much to aid the rich at the expense of the poor. But he also had the great luck to have the Soviet Union collapse on his watch. That, more than anything, has led to his curiously positive reviews.

GW, on the other hand, has no successes (other than his Supreme Court appointments) to point to for his posterity. Any way you cut it, this administration will have to be known as an enemy of domestic freedoms. I point you to the Patriot Act, the Military Commisions Act, the innumerable claims of executive privilege,unauthorized domestic surveillance in direct contravention of law, etc., etc.

American memories are short, no doubt. But this administration's machinations have been so egregious, I don't see them being easily forgotten.

I could be wrong, though. (It's happened before.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:36 AM on July 23, 2007


An Iraqi On Iraq
posted by homunculus at 9:45 AM on July 23, 2007


So, people can criticize from a distance but when someone else defends it, they have to be boots on the ground in order for their argument to have any validity?

Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.


I'd suggest that when someone is a proponent of a war but at the same time is unwilling to put themselves at harm's way, that says a lot more than an anti-war individual wanting nothing to do with the military or its actions in Iraq. The burden of proof needed to show that this war truly is worth its cost falls on its supporters, and that they consider only the sacrifices of others (while sacrificing little themselves) to be a price worth paying, well - I'd say the difference is that a lot of these pro-war people (especially those of military age) aren't putting their money where their mouths are.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 12:26 PM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, but haven't you heard the news? Support for the "war" is now on the increase.

Personally, I think the claim made in the link is just more BS meant to further muddy the issue, but that's the claim anyway.

Goddamn it, I'm sick to death of what these assholes are doing to this country and to the world and I'm sick of seeing them get away with it. And the way propaganda is now used with unapologetic fervor on all sides is sickening. Don't any of these so-called leaders of ours have a sense of decency or humility?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:39 PM on July 23, 2007


Don't any of these so-called leaders of ours have a sense of decency or humility?

You still haven't learned the answer to that question?
posted by grouse at 2:44 PM on July 23, 2007


So, people can criticize from a distance but when someone else defends it, they have to be boots on the ground in order for their argument to have any validity?

It doesn't affect the validity of their arguments, but it does make them hypocrites.
posted by delmoi at 2:46 PM on July 23, 2007




Oh, but haven't you heard the news? Support for the "war" is now on the increase.

"Poll: American Support for War Inches Up"

Yeah, but -- nearly 70% of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling the war in Iraq. 64% feel the surge in troops has been a failure.*

In related news -- Bush's approval rating has hit an all-time low.

According to a new American Research Group poll released today, just 25% of Americans approve of the way President Bush is handling his job as president and 71% disapprove. These are record lows for the survey. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 23% approve and 73% disapprove.*
posted by ericb at 3:11 PM on July 23, 2007


pax digita - I can’t think of anything to say on topic that hasn’t been well said already. Forgive me if I ramble on, I figure it’s late enough in the thread.
Some interesting points raised. The “at what point does that which you keep calling ‘conservative’ become ‘conservative’” idea is interesting.
I mean, are ‘liberals’ the seed eating tree-hugging cowardly obstructionist sabotagers they’re made out to be?
I can’t think of one liberal policy that has done any harm to the war effort (in the terms characterized - perhaps ‘stereotyped’ is a better word - by the pro-war folks).
I can’t think of a liberal policy that has supported the war from it’s root causes - a conservative one either.
As far as I can tell, neither reason nor traditional wisdom would continue to support this war as a legitimate operation.
Oh, I can think of a hell of a lot of democrats and republicans though who have either pushed for this or allowed it to occur - at best by error of omission (to be fair, the one vote against the war was a Dem).

I’d agree tho, the country isn’t at war. I’d like to see something that demands citizen involvement on some level when we go to war. Something that demands some sort of sacrifice, in time, direct funding, something - only so it isn’t so convenient to ignore. As it is there is a great deal of preying on our ignorance and forcing of our complacency. Lots of media control and such. Damned fiendish is what it is.
What makes it all the worse is you have altruistic arguments (such as why we should stay there) conflicting with altruistic arguments (such as why we should leave) and in the meantime whatever the hell the real motives are and how to fix all this escapes us.

What is truly appaling - and this is unquestionably so - is there are people deliberately obfuscating the matter for personal gain.
I mean, my God, to not only profit from the death of another but to wish for more death, and to decieve, to knowingly lie to someone who would willingly die to protect you, really I have a hard time fathoming those depths.
And indeed, they need not even profit directly. Plenty of media heads out there part of the whole program running all this.
It’s as odd to me as the doctor (in Moore’s “Sicko,” I guess, heard a promo for it recently) who knowingly withheld treatment for a patient so the company could save half a million dollars.
That, only on a grand scale. Boggles my mind.
I myself could never do such a thing or allow such a thing to occur.
This is not to say I’m morally superior, although my ethical standard wouldn’t allow for it, it’s merely not in my makeup to act in such a way.
I wouldn’t be “smedleyman” anymore if I didn’t live up to my expectations of what is right, and practice it.
But it crosses over - if, putting myself in the doctor’s situation, I don’t treat the sick - then what the hell am I?
I mean in her case, she’s a facade, wearing the mask of a doctor. Putting forth the illusion to better kill and syphon money from people.

Whatever the uniform or costume or professional clothing someone wears - is that who anyone wants to be?

Best way to fight them is to pull your own mask off first. Ground yourself and know who you are. From there you can see what others are about.

Somewhere in our thinking ‘politics’ gets divorced from reality and we think it must be so because we don’t see the direct result. So much of it is dealing in concept.

Politics is in many ways the art of making people identify with ideas and concepts that appear to not affect them.

So you get the chickenhawks who can preach war without a thought of actually going and the other hangers on of the general set of beliefs because they identify with them rather than are convinced rationally or through some ethical principle.

Me, when I supported the war (under the impression of well placed people who swore to me Saddam DID have WMDs ...lots of them resigned), I had already begun getting my affairs in order and getting ready to go.
After the hemming and hawing began (it was never “revealed” per se, insofar as the public consciousness goes) about the WMDs not being there I fully expected serious ass-kickings to commence.
And of course, here we are years later with nary a coif mussed.

Problem is a lot of people aren’t sure exactly what it is they believe. And it isn’t like there is anyone really helping them. In fact, it’s very much the opposite.
Pax, I’d get in your kid’s face and grill him about just exactly what it is he thinks about the world. One doesn’t have to lay one’s own trip on a kid. But it’s good to engage them so they vocalize what it is THEY think and so they get a sense of themselves. Even if it’s only in relation to you.
From there, whatever he does, even if he loses his way, he won’t lose himself.
That, I think, is the real problem in the U.S. right now and something we’re all in danger of.
Because if we’re not a country at war, what the hell are we?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:12 PM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Smedleyman, please never ever ever leave.
posted by spiderwire at 7:26 PM on July 23, 2007


Define "mighty." The U.S. has more aircraft carrier deck space than the rest of the world combined. And that's just one metric.

Right, but it has the weakest, most beaten-down population. Comes with the empire's territory.
posted by telstar at 8:50 PM on July 23, 2007


We're not
a country
at war.

Just wanted to see those words like that. Thanks, Smedleyman.
posted by jaronson at 9:48 PM on July 23, 2007




The U.S. has more aircraft carrier deck space than the rest of the world combined.

I'd rather have universal health care.

posted by kirkaracha at 7:20 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The U.S. has more aircraft carrier deck space than the rest of the world combined.

I'd rather have universal health care.


Mobile roller skating rinks?
posted by spiderwire at 7:28 AM on July 24, 2007










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