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July 30, 2007

Comments

Jubal

RP:

I think it's pretty clear what the Administration objective is: a democratic Iraqi government that functions reasonably well and can ultimately provide for its own internal and external security. The strategic goal is that a stable, democratic Iraq will lead to a more democratic, stable Middle East.

And that will likely necessitate an American troop presence of some kind for many years -- and that was discussed and foreseen even before the invasion. We still have troops in Japan more than 60 years after they surrendered and in Korea 54 years after the armistice.

War critics get upset because wars don't follow a set sequence like instructions for assembling a bike.

redperegrine

Well, Jubal, I'm not sure how "functions reasonably well" is going to occur when we can't get our new democratic confreres to give up sectarian violence against one another.

With the exception of democracy the goals you described pretty much existed before the invasion - certainly more so than will exist in the foreseeable future. Which leaves us with democracy. The President latched onto this objective fairly early on when the WMDs failed to show up, even though conservatives have traditionally eschewed human rights and nation-building as reasons for foreign intervention.

Well, that's all in the past now, although the voters will remember, and the party is likely to get thrashed in '08 (only Hilary can save us).

For the future, I take the point that it's problematic to just leave the mess behind us and hit the road - things will really get interesting in Iraq then. Yet I remain unpersuaded that we have the kind of interest in Iraq that would justify a long, increasingly costly occupation.

Jubal

I'm not sure how "functions reasonably well" is going to occur when we can't get our new democratic confreres to give up sectarian violence against one another.

Do you want the sectarian violence to vanish instantly? Or would you be OK with a gradual decline as internal security improves?

With the exception of democracy the goals you described pretty much existed before the invasion

You also had a brutal dictatorship that was trying -- but failing, as it turned out -- to acquires weapons with which to harm this country. But Saddam's secret police did ensure internal "security" alright.

Which leaves us with democracy. The President latched onto this objective fairly early on when the WMDs failed to show up, even though conservatives have traditionally eschewed human rights and nation-building as reasons for foreign intervention.

That's not true. It's astounding how quickly people forget events of just a few years ago. WMDs were never the sole reason, and democratizing Iraq -- and in the long-term the Middle East -- was always part of the rational for going to war in order to better secure America from future 9/11s by changing the nature of the Middle East.

Bladerunner

Jubal---What's next--North Korea? They DO have weapons of mass destruction, they don't have democracy and providing hegemony on the Korean Peninsula could be an attractive goal. Candidate Bush said he would not engage in nation building and there were good reasons for taking that position. President Bush has done the opposite and bogged us down and managed to ensure that just about everyone but the Kurds and those drawing a government paycheck hate our guts. And the Kurds would hate us if it wasn't for the threat from Turkey. Are you suggesting that whenever we like we can invade countries in order to establish a democracy there--and invade them again or destabalize them if we don't like the results of that democracy?

Be careful what you wish for. You and the Bush Administration want a democratic Iraq? It's more likely to result in an anti-American, pro-Tehran government dominated by Shiites. Think of the last elections in Palestine and the ascendency of Hamaas. Now when the Iraq Government joins Iran in cutting the flow of oil to the West to squeeze us on Israel will you then call for the U.S. to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iraq?

I like your McClellan point. I have pndered whether staying the course would turn things around. No more then the French, or the Americans for that matter, could have turned things around in Indochina. The difference though is that Lincoln was fighting a war in OUR country. Trying to keep various factions apart in Iraq while newly minted terrorists use our troops for target practice doesn't work in a country that really doesn't want us there. Japan and South Korea wanted and still want our troops. Had our troops had to fight in Tokyo and Seoul against the people we allegedly were there trying to protect like they have had to in Bagdhad we would have left those countries long ago.

And yes, I withdraw the accusation you're trying to shift the focus away from the variety of disasters befalling the GOP of late. It happens with a good portion of the Right but I think your really believe in this charge up the Balaclava Heights--its just the majority of the country doesn't.

redperegrine

"It's astounding how quickly people forget events of just a few years ago."

No it's not astounding. People are forever bending and reshaping their recollections as their partisan positions or interests seem to require.

redperegrine

Balaclava!!??

BR, you'd better watch out. Obscure references to the Crimean War may earn you membership in the much-despised Intellectual Set!

Bladerunner

Right, the ones that figured out that by election day Gettysburg and Vicksburg had made Lincoln a lock, McClellan a dead duck and the end of the Civil War just a matter of a little controlled fires between Atlanta and Savannah and a chase through the Virginia countryside.

Jubal

Uh, BR -- Gettysburg and Vicksburg were in July 1863.

The Lincoln-McClellan election was in November 1864.

Bladerunner

I was so close RP.....I could have been a contender for the dreaded Intellectual set. Instead, I'm no better then a nattering nabob of negativism.

But Jubal, as I beat my historical retreat...don't you think though that the Vicksburg-Gettysburg defeats doomed the South, turned the tide and made Lincoln's re-election a foregone conclusion? Even mcClellan didn't support the anti-war platform of the Dems. I don't think RP and I would have been voting Democrat that year.

redperegrine

Well BR, don't give up. Maybe I can get you an auxiliary membership, or something.

The fall of Atlanta in the summer of '64 made it a shoo-in for Lincoln (after all there were no Southern states voting for the Democrat ticket). After that it was a to be pincer deal between Sherman coming up from the south to meet Grant who was beseiging Petersburg and then moving south after Richmond fell.

RHackett

The Iraqis are not indifferent. Their security forces are getting better and more effective all the time. Even war critics like O'Hanlon and Pollack admit as much.

Great news. Then you should have no problem with our troops being given a leave commensurate with the vacation the Iraqi parliament is taking. Our troops could be redeployed to the coastal areas of the Red Sea and work on their tans. Recharge their batteries so to speak and come back rested and ready to resume the fight when the parliament reconvenes.

tylerh

Jubal wrote:

Funny how often one more charge does break the enemy's will. If you and BR had been in command of the Normans at Hastings, William would never have acquired the sobriquet "Conquerer."

Jubal,
If Norman position during the afternoon of the Battle of Hastings is the correct model for current US situation in Iraq than the US is probably going to lose.

Let me expand.

Before that "final charge" the Normans were not having a good day at Hastings. They needed to win, soon, because they were far from supplies, not on good terms with the locals, and a better Saxon army was on the way. Anything less then victory before sundown probably meant failure. Yet the Normans and their associated pseudo-mercenaries had failed to break the Saxon line despite repeated attempts.

Lacking alternatives, William the Bastard gathered what cavalry he could and made one more charge. Harold was rallying his troops, as he had done so many times before, when the pivotal event occurred: some unknown archer placed an arrow in Harold's eye socket, depriving the Saxons of their rallying point. Harold's demise meant not only the loss of the battle, but also of the Kingdom.


So, Jubal, whose eye socket do you think American forces need to pierce to turnaround this Strategically Unfavorable and, thus far, Tactically Losing situation in Iraq?

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