Saturday, November 25, 2006

An Iraq Milestone

As of today, the war in Iraq has lasted longer than America's involvement in World War II.

1,348 days and counting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

About 55 million were killed in WWII, 418,000 of whom were Americans. Let us know when we get that high.

We had to do it though. A murderous anti-semite was invading his neighbors and committing crimes against humanity.

This time, we stopped him before things got out of control.

November 25, 2006 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before things got out of control???

The US-led invasion and ill-planned occupation of Iraq are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the fact that Iraq is now an out of control quagmire on the verge of all-out civil war.

November 26, 2006 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Before things got out of control???

The US-led invasion and ill-planned occupation of Iraq are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the fact that Iraq is now an out of control quagmire on the verge of all-out civil war."

Ridiculous slant. There are at least two other areas on the verge of civil war in the relatively small region of the Middle East. The U.S. didn't invade those places.

What would have happened if the U.S. had never intervened in Iraq?:

Well, let's see. After conquering Kuwait, Saddam would have moved to other militarily weak countries in the area. He'd probably be situated on the border of Israel. He'd be the dominant power in the region, controlling the world's supply of oil, using WMD on an country that got in his way, like he did to Iran and the Kurds.

And, oh yes, we're directly responsible because al-quaeda has threatened a guerilla war on any American presence in the region and so we should know better and not develop any alliances or protect any interests in the region, thus supporting our enemies and shunning our friends.

Meanwhile, if we just pull out, the whole Middle East will burst with sunshine and universal love and brotherhood will bring a break-out of feasting and fun.

It couldn't possibly miss!

November 27, 2006 1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iraq had been removed from Kuwait for a decade before Dumbya plunged us headlong into an unnecessary and unwinnable QUAGMIRE. He never had the nerve to play real war-games in Vietnam but he had no fear when it came to committing others to fight his "crusade." As a result of Bush's arrogant folly, here are some of the "benefits" our soldiers and their families are enduring while you delude yourself about Saddam's nonexistent WMD and what'll be left for the Iraqi people when the last US troops finally pull out.

"This week, U.S. troops will have been fighting in Iraq longer than they did in World War II, with no relief in sight. Soldiers from 1st Brigade preparing at Fort Stewart for their third Iraq tour have been spending as much time in Iraq as at home. The rotations -- a year in Iraq followed by a year at home -- dictate soldiers' most intimate decisions: They mandate when troops can marry and have children. They sever relationships that cannot sustain the stress of absence or danger. And they lead some couples to pray for the war to end.

....Anxiety, depression and psychological trauma from repeated exposure to combat add to the stress, affecting 15 percent to 20 percent of soldiers, said Maj. Christopher H. Warner, a 3rd Infantry Division psychiatrist. Those factors contribute to drinking, drug use and domestic violence among a small percentage of soldiers, officers said.
While some GIs grow more resilient to combat stress, others get worse, Warner said. One soldier attacked by gunfire and bombs repeatedly at Iraqi bridges found himself afraid to drive through underpasses at home. Some soldiers under treatment for combat stress return to war but are screened to see if they pose a risk, Warner said.

Still, the bulk of psychological problems for soldiers relate to home-front issues such as separation and infidelity, he said."

November 27, 2006 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iraq was restrained for a decade by the threat of retaliation from an international coalition. Saddam had finally called their bluff and the U.S. was among the few willing to enforce the law. Failure to do so would have had repercussions not just in the Middle East but worldwide.

Saddam's removal was the correct move and wasn't "DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE" for the quagmire. The problems come from the surrounding nations who were scared to death when the people of Iraq endorsed democracy. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, al-quaeda- they don't want the idea of democracy to catch on. If we throw the people of Iraq under the bus, the results will be horrific for everyone.

The "quagmire" is winnable but requires resolve. Every war seems unwinnable at points.

The civilized world needs to wake up.

November 28, 2006 6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a shame and it is embarrassing to us all when President Bush travels 8,000 miles only to wind up avoiding reality again.

And it is pathetic to listen to a man talk unrealistically about Vietnam, who permitted the “Swift-Boating” of not one but two American heroes of that war, in consecutive presidential campaigns.

But most importantly — important beyond measure — his avoidance of reality is going to wind up killing more Americans.

And that is indefensible and fatal.

Asked if there were lessons about Iraq to be found in our experience in Vietnam, Mr. Bush said that there were, and he immediately proved he had no clue what they were.

“One lesson is,” he said, “that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while.”

“We’ll succeed,” the president concluded, “unless we quit.”

If that’s the lesson about Iraq that Mr. Bush sees in Vietnam, then he needs a tutor.

Or we need somebody else making the decisions about Iraq.

Mr. Bush, there are a dozen central, essential lessons to be derived from our nightmare in Vietnam, but “we’ll succeed unless we quit,” is not one of them.

The primary one — which should be as obvious to you as the latest opinion poll showing that only 31 percent of this country agrees with your tragic Iraq policy — is that if you try to pursue a war for which the nation has lost its stomach, you and it are finished. Ask Lyndon Johnson.

The second most important lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: If you don’t have a stable local government to work with, you can keep sending in Americans until hell freezes over and it will not matter. Ask Vietnamese Presidents Diem or Thieu.

The third vital lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: Don’t pretend it’s something it’s not. For decades we were warned that if we didn’t stop “communist aggression” in Vietnam, communist agitators would infiltrate and devour the small nations of the world, and make their insidious way, stealthily, to our doorstep.

The war machine of 1968 had this “domino theory.”

Your war machine of 2006 has this nonsense about Iraq as “the central front in the war on terror.”

The fourth pivotal lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: If the same idiots who told Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to stay there for the sake of “peace With honor” are now telling you to stay in Iraq, they’re probably just as wrong now, as they were then ... Dr. Kissinger.

And the fifth crucial lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush — which somebody should’ve told you about long before you plunged this country into Iraq — is that if you lie your country into a war, your war, your presidency will be consigned to the scrap heap of history.

Consider your fellow Texan, sir.

After Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson held the country together after a national tragedy, not unlike you did. He had lofty goals and tried to reshape society for the better. And he is remembered for Vietnam, and for the lies he and his government told to get us there and keep us there, and for the Americans who needlessly died there.

As you will be remembered for Iraq, and for the lies you and your government told to get us there and keep us there, and for the Americans who have needlessly died there and who will needlessly die there tomorrow.

This president has his fictitious Iraqi WMD, and his lies — disguised as subtle hints — linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11, and his reason-of-the-week for keeping us there when all the evidence for at least three years has told us we need to get as many of our kids out as quickly as possible.

That president had his fictitious attacks on Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, and the next thing any of us knew, the Senate had voted 88-2 to approve the blank check with which Lyndon Johnson paid for our trip into hell.

And yet President Bush just saw the grim reminders of that trip into hell: the 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese killed; the 10,000 civilians who’ve been blown up by landmines since we pulled out; the genocide in the neighboring country of Cambodia, which we triggered.

Yet these parallels — and these lessons — eluded President Bush entirely.

And, in particular, the one over-arching lesson about Iraq that should’ve been written everywhere he looked in Vietnam went unseen.

“We’ll succeed unless we quit”?

Mr. Bush, we did quit in Vietnam!

A decade later than we should have, 58,000 dead later than we should have, but we finally came to our senses.

The stable, burgeoning, vivid country you just saw there, is there because we finally had the good sense to declare victory and get out!

The domino theory was nonsense, sir.

Our departure from Vietnam emboldened no one.

Communism did not spread like a contagion around the world.

And most importantly — as President Reagan’s assistant secretary of state, Lawrence Korb, said on this newscast Friday — we were only in a position to win the Cold War because we quit in Vietnam.

We went home. And instead it was the Russians who learned nothing from Vietnam, and who repeated every one of our mistakes when they went into Afghanistan. And alienated their own people, and killed their own children, and bankrupted their own economy and allowed us to win the Cold War.

We awakened so late, but we did awaken.

Finally, in Vietnam, we learned the lesson. We stopped endlessly squandering lives and treasure and the focus of a nation on an impossible and irrelevant dream, but you are still doing exactly that, tonight, in Iraq.

And these lessons from Vietnam, Mr. Bush, these priceless, transparent lessons, writ large as if across the very sky, are still a mystery to you.

“We’ll succeed unless we quit.”

No, sir.

We will succeed against terrorism, for our country’s needs, toward binding up the nation’s wounds when you quit, quit the monumental lie that is our presence in Iraq.

And in the interim, Mr. Bush, an American kid will be killed there, probably tonight or tomorrow.

And here, sir, endeth the lesson.

November 28, 2006 8:21 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Before things got out of control- yeah, sure, things are peachy in Iraq today. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Let you know when the killing gets that high? You need help

November 28, 2006 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You need help"

We all would in the unlikely event the pacifists get their way and we desert the Middle East to dictators and terrorists.

Here's a WWII analogy. The pro-Nazis in the U.S. in 1939 wanted us to stay out.

November 28, 2006 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Majority of Americans Believe
Iraq Is in 'Civil War', Poll Finds
November 30, 2006

A majority of Americans think Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, a new Harris Interactive poll finds, and few are confident that Robert Gates's nomination as Secretary of Defense will improve the situation there.

Sixty-eight percent of U.S. adults said they believe there is a civil war in Iraq, the online poll from Nov. 13 to Nov. 20 found, compared with 14% who disagree and 18% who aren't sure.

Mr. Bush nominated former director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mr. Gates as a successor to Donald Rumsfeld on Nov. 9.

Of 2,429 U.S. adults polled, only 13% think Mr. Gates will make the situation in Iraq better. Forty-two percent think he will make no difference and another 40% say they aren't sure of the impact.

About half of those polled would like the government to set a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq, while 18% favor withdrawing all U.S. troops now and 19% favor sending more troops to stabilize the situation..."

November 30, 2006 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dazed and confused

With his "three-way" with King Abdullah and Nouri al-Maliki canceled, thanks to the timely leak of a nasty memo about the Iraqi prime minister, Bush looks like the blunderer in chief.

By Joan Walsh

Nov. 29, 2006 |...The last two supposed virtues of the Bush administration have crumbled since the election three weeks ago: its strict internal discipline and message control -- leaks are for Democrats! -- and the president's loyalty to his supporters. Now the White House is leaking like a sinking ship. And Bush's loyalty? It's vanished along with his majority in Congress.

First to take the hit was Donald Rumsfeld -- a man who richly deserved his shove under the bus, but still, someone Bush had promised to keep until the end of his term. This week, it's al-Maliki. The president himself began to set up al-Maliki on Tuesday, when he told reporters he'd be asking the besieged Iraqi prime minister for his plans to stop the violence that the U.S. invasion of his country ignited.

"My questions to him will be: 'What do we need to do to succeed? What is your strategy in dealing with the sectarian violence?'" It felt like a burglar asking how you're going to replace the goods he just stole, or an arsonist asking how you'll rebuild the house he just burned to the ground. Not surprisingly, on the heels of the disparaging Hadley memo, al-Maliki passed up his chance to answer those questions. But the mess also insults King Abdullah, one of the administration's last allies in the region.

The most disturbing aspect of the diplomatic carnage is that this was supposed to be the week the president got religion and began reaching out to world leaders to find a solution to the mess he's made in Iraq. His Jordan summit was part of an effort to preempt the work of the Iraq Study Group, to show that Jim Baker isn't the only one who can globe-trot and glad-hand with world leaders. "They want to create some activity on the eve of the Baker commission report so that they can point to the fact that they haven't just been sitting in the Situation Room waiting for Iraq to improve on its own," an administration "advisor" told Time this week.

And it's not just political posturing that's provoking the belated Bush effort. While some Democrats are already protesting the Baker group's probable failure to call for a timeline for troop withdrawal, Vice President Dick Cheney is said to be dead set against its almost certain recommendation that the administration reach out to Iran and Syria. And so the administration is suddenly looking globally for its own answers. The problem? "There's complete bewilderment as to what to do," the advisor told Time.

That much is obvious. The only thing worse than Bush's failure to practice diplomacy is what apparently happens when he tries. Maybe it's a use-it-or-lose-it thing. After six years of unilateralism, this administration can't defeat its enemies, but doesn't remember how to treat its friends. For Americans, it's going to be a long two years under an increasingly lame duck administration. But it's going to be much, much worse for Iraqis.

November 30, 2006 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A majority of Americans think Iraq is in the midst of a civil war"

Well, if so, they're wrong. This is a deception being fostered by the evil states in the region that would like meddle without U.S. interference.

November 30, 2006 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There He Goes Again

By Eugene Robinson
Friday, December 1, 2006; A29

Coherent speech is not one of George W. Bush's gifts, so it's brave of him to hang so tough in a fight over semantics. Ultimately, the latest line the president has drawn in the sands of Mesopotamia -- that there's not a civil war, no matter what anybody says -- is indefensible, like all his previous lines. But who cares?

I'm being flip; of course we should care about the terrible carnage in Iraq. But arguing whether it does or does not meet some textbook definition of civil war is a distraction and a waste of time. Whatever you call the chaos that American bumbling has allowed, it is what it is. "Stuff happens," as Donald Rumsfeld once said.

Call it civil war, call it "stuff," call it whatever you want. Historians will make the final judgment, long after American troops have come home. Assuming they ever do come home.

"We're going to stay in Iraq to get the job done," the Decider said yesterday at his news conference in Amman, Jordan, with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. To paraphrase a president who knew how to speak very well, there he goes again.

More than three weeks after an election in which the Republican Party lost control of both houses of Congress because of the debacle in Iraq, there has been no real indication that the president heard what voters said. Yes, he did get rid of Rumsfeld, but the basic policy in Iraq has been the Decider's. Rumsfeld just screwed up the execution, and his public statements about the war were becoming so impolitic and flat-out weird that Bush had been planning his defenestration for some time.

Having been whopped upside the head with a two-by-four, metaphorically speaking, other Republicans are now paying attention. "We certainly got the message," incoming Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said the other day in a meeting with Post editors and reporters. U.S. policy on Iraq, he said, is "heading in some different direction. That's perfectly apparent."

One would think so. But a lot of things that are apparent to most other people seem to escape the president's notice.

Just look at what has happened this week. First, someone inside the administration leaked a memo by Stephen J. Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, that would dissuade even the most reckless gambler from betting the rent money on the Maliki government. The "reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action," the memo said.

Then, as Air Force One was nearing Amman, Bush learned that a reception he was supposed to attend with Maliki and Jordan's King Abdullah had been canceled. No snub intended or taken, the president's spokesman said. But since when does any foreign leader cancel any kind of meeting with the president of the United States? At the last minute, no less? Perhaps Maliki was a bit annoyed at that leaked memo questioning his intentions and/or his competence.

Or maybe he was thinking of his standing back home. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who heads the country's biggest sectarian militia and controls a crucial bloc of seats in the Iraqi parliament, was already following through on his threat to boycott participation in the government if Maliki went to Amman to see Bush.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- leader of another charter member of Bush's "axis of evil" -- was releasing a letter to the American people that definitively proved only one thing: Ahmadinejad is feeling his oats. He is convinced that the United States is bogged down in Iraq and that his campaign to elevate Iran to great-power status is going better than he could have hoped in his wildest dreams.

Back in Washington, the ballyhooed Iraq Study Group -- the wise elders who were supposed to provide much-needed adult supervision -- seemed ready to call for a gradual pullout from Iraq, but not ready to say when. But whatever advice James Baker and his fellow eminences eventually offer, it will be irrelevant if the president isn't willing to listen.

And, evidently, he's not.

"I know there's a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there's going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq," the president said in Amman. Then he repeated his bottom line: that U.S. forces will stay until "the job" is done. Never mind the question of whether there's any worthwhile "job" that can still be accomplished there.

So don't get your hopes up, people. Sounds to me as if the Decider has already decided.

December 01, 2006 9:24 AM  

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