Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Story So Far...

Haven't done anything regarding the five year anniversary of the Iraq invasion. I might have felt more compelled had any of the poorly attended anti-war protests not failed to generate any press. Think of how bad the turnout must truly have been if the MSM doesn't pay much heed.

Of course the few times I've seen anything, there was of course attached to it some smarmy and illegitimate version of events and/or intent, and that always calls for a response. Those who serve deserve no less. To that end, I have had an ear out on those things said or presented that referred to progress as a result of the last five years in Iraq. Here is one example. The first several paragraphs lead up to a few examples of the progress in Ramadi since the invasion began. Sandy Rios gave a list of accomplishments at the end of a segment of her radio show, and when I find it I'll present her list. In light of these and other examples, it's truly a wonder to hear anyone pronounce that we are losing.


Vinny feels the evidence doesn't support that the people in charge know what they're doing. As it happens, on Medved's show today (about a half hour ago from this update) he reported that the Pentagon has released a report discussing 600,000 pieces of evidence and intel regarding just what Sadam had in mind. This includes papers, computer discs and files, Iraqi news service reports, both video and print, as well as other items. Within this massive pile of stuff is evidence of Sadam's intentions regarding his plans for Americans, including conspiring with a number of terrorist organizations, including bin Laden and Al Queda, to snuff Americans found anywhere in the Arab world, including Somalia. This should, but perhaps won't, put to rest any debate over whether or not a secular Hussein would spend time with religious Islamists. If it involved killing Americans (or Jews I'm sure), differences between he and them were easily overlooked. Hussein no threat? Right. With a chucklehead like AlGore in office, those threats would more likely be realized. How fortunate we are that that Gore became the loser he was destined to be.


Vinny said...

Given the following facts, I find it hard to believe that anyone would pronounce that we are winning:

We are still there.

Osama Bin Laden is still at large.

We never found any weapons of mass destruction.

The region is less stable than it was before we went in.

Iran’s influence has grown.

Our military is stretched to the breaking point.

Nobody can tell us what winning means or how it is to be achieved.

Our stature in the world is lower.

Our economy is going down the tubes.

Suni and Shia have not demonstrated the capability to work together to form a stable government.

Oil is over $100 per barrel.

blamin said...

Vinny said:

”We are still there”

Why wouldn’t we be “still there”? There’s a job to be done and most who have an inkling of the threat of Islam-terrorist feel a presence in the Middle East is a good thing. (See Marshall’s post on the Palestinian problem for yet another reason for a presence).

”Osama Bin Laden is still at large.”

Well, he’s not in Iraq, are you suggesting we should invade another country in the Middle East just to get him, even though he’s been basically reduced to an impotent cheerleader? I thought you people were against escalation.

”We never found any weapons of mass destruction.”

This is one of the Left’s favorite parrots. Is enough nerve gas to kill tens of thousands of people, along with threats and the apparent willingness to use it not threat enough? How about the fact that Sadaam allowed various and sundry terrorist organizations to train on Iraqi soil. How about the fact that we broadcast our intention to invade (stupidity if you ask me, but all done to appease the left in the US) and many, many, “items” left the country before we invaded.

”The region is less stable than it was before we went in.”

Is it now? That’s a pretty subjective statement! How do you define region? How do you define stability? There are many regions within Iraq that are much more stable than before we took defensive action. There are people who no longer have to worry about Hussane thugs breaking their doors down in the middle of the night.

There’s many “groups” that are more – hesitant – to “try some shit” than before (at least on a global basis}. Vinny Barbareno – I can’t remember when “the region” has ever been stable! Personally, I don’t believe man will ever truly see stability in that region, but a US presence gives reserve to our enemy while at the same time, at the very least, makes them spread their resources.

”Iran’s influence has grown”

Granted, among some groups it may have grown, mostly among groups that a free people consider their enemy. But that’s the natural way of things. Duh. When you take down one of the most influential anti-freedom groups/countries, the next man on the totem pole takes over the leadership position. Why is that surprising or an issue? Are you one of those that are startled by the blindingly obvious? Or do you just enjoy pointing out the obvious in the hopes that the less informed will be influenced?

”Our military is stretched to the breaking point.”

Another subjective statement. How do you define “breaking point”? You may be surprised at the capabilities and “long arm” of our military. Oh, the Iraqi war is a resource user no doubt, but don’t underestimate our capabilities. We tend to underestimate our capabilities to the public, as any good government should do. Of course our resources aren’t unlimited, but you can be assured those in the know will always retain ample reserves.

”Nobody can tell us what winning means or how it is to be achieved.”

Are you serious? –or- Have you not been paying attention?

”Our stature in the world is lower.”

Yet another subjective statement – you’re on a roll! Lower than what measurement? Just because a Leftist media has actively sought out those whom disagree with our president, and shown “juicy sound bites” on the evening news? I would venture to say there are a few US antagonists that have taken a step back and said: “let’s see how they handle this before we try to kick them again”

”Our economy is going down the tubes.”

This is one of my favorite lefty talking points. Don’t you realize that when President Bush took over the reins from Clinton that he inherited a recession? Clinton admitted it when campaigning for Algore. All things considered – oil being the biggest – I don’t think he’s done to bad. He took an eminent recession and turned it into a pretty damn good run. We’re facing the same thing now at the end of President Bush’s run. Hmmmm… should we follow Bush’s example of pro-business/individual or should we say “help me, help me – please Mr (or Mssszz) politician, please take care of it!

As a matter of fact, oil is the only reason we’re looking at a high rate of inflation. To suggest our presence in Iraq is the main reason for rising oil prices is simplistic and unrealistic!

Suni and Shia have not demonstrated the capability to work together to form a stable government.

Sounds like the city I live in! Of course we’ve never had to overcome the threats of a decades worth of dictatorship sponsored gun-toting thugs coming down on our ass for disagreeing.

Oil is over $100 per barrel.

Shit happens! Are you suggesting President Bush should control the price of oil?

Marshall Art said...

Welcome Vinny. Future visits will also be welcome. However, how welcome you feel will be measured by your tolerance for rebuttal.


Nicely done. You've said basically what I would have had I seen Vinny's comments first. The article to which I linked was a first shot at presenting the factual evidence of our success in Iraq. I'm still waiting to see a particular day from this past week archived so that I can find the list of which I spoke.

Vinny's pratically a neighbor. The High School District he uses as his home location on his Blogger profile begins the next town over from me. His use of that district as his location suggests he is recently released from that district and thus probably quite young. I hope he continues to visit, even if only to read, as well as to visit any of the Places of Interest listed and/or the Right Ones so that he can be better educated than his comments suggest he was.

Vinny said...

Actually, I am a parent of two graduates from District 214. I started following the Culture Campaign blog last spring during the school board election campaign. When the Campaign blog disabled its comment function, I started my own blog. It was the reference to Sandy Rios in your blog that caught my eye.

blamin said...

I didn’t mean to come on too strong. Vinny seems a big boy, with well-developed opinions.

Hell, I left a few questionable statements on the table, just for future debate.

It’s sometimes refreshing to look at things with a “stark” perspective rather than over analyzing every issue.

I hope that everyone celebrated this day! Because it’s a day worth celebrating!

Vinny said...


No need to explain. I would not have left my comment had I not been prepared for a vigorous response.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny sounds like one who will add some substance to debates here. That's good. We've got some good people from various perspectives visiting and another is always welcome. Just keep in mind, snarkiness is permitted, so don't get too defensive.

Erudite Redneck said...

Yeah, whatever.

Anonymous said...

If your singular concern lies in the interests of Israel and the Zionist state's need to thrive and prosper, of COURSE you will regard what has been done in Iraq with complete approval, and see it as a complete success.

But, why would anyone who regards Israel's well-being to be totally divorced from America's best interests, or, is at the very least unconvinced that the two nation's fortunes are inextricably linked, see the Iraq catastrophe as anything less, or hold you and your side agenda as directly responsible for the deaths of four thousand American lives for the benefit of an equivalent enemy?

hashfanatic said...

oh, that was me, hash

as if there were ever any question :)

Marshall Art said...


Who mentioned Israel here? And what country does NOT want to thrive and prosper? What makes you think that's a "singular" concern? I'm not sure I understand what you even mean by that.

Of COURSE I regard what has been attempted in Iraq with complete approval, if not every individual strategy along the way. A total asshole was removed from power. The people he oppressed are closer to self-determination than ever before. The people he oppressed are happy that someone stepped up to help them with that. We have one less jerkwad controlling oil and its distribution. It is NOT, however, a complete success, and no one is saying that it is. But the fact that there has been progress is well documented and the people running the show know what the hell they are talking about.

The link between us and Israel is as any other link between us and an ally, with the notable exception of most of the Arab world wanting to see them exterminated. Most people feel that friends should help each other out. Most people feel that to allow a friend to be molested in such savage ways when we have the means to help is to be a false friend yourself.

Apparently you believe that we should simply allow ourselves and our allies to be abused by any group of radical scumbags no matter how severely. People of conscience and honor feel differently. It is a very low thing to see the deaths and injury to military personnel, most of whom volunteered to fight against the worst of the world, as something for which supporters of this righteous fight should be "blamed". Such a person is lacking insight, common sense, and a sense of perspective regarding the real world. But you go ahead and pretend there is no threat. In the meantime, I'll blame the deaths of a few hundred military personnel, as well as the vicims of 9/11 on those like yourself. For if your kind had done something substantial when all this shit began, we wouldn't be where we are now.

hashfanatic said...

Don't worry, Marsh.

Israel is no "ally", and you will have ample opportunity to sit home and watch it all unfold on your television, because you're about to find yourself part of a significant and well-identified pauper class, once we get done taking back the funds you have stolen from our nation!

Keep on blathering, old man. You'll have time for silence later, when you are busy shining my shoes.

Marshall Art said...

You have shoes? Who ties them for you? Please give us your sure to be humorous reasons for believing Israel is not an ally? Wait. Let me go pee first so I don't wet myself laughing.

Vinny said...

Of COURSE I regard what has been attempted in Iraq with complete approval, if not every individual strategy along the way. A total asshole was removed from power. The people he oppressed are closer to self-determination than ever before. The people he oppressed are happy that someone stepped up to help them with that. We have one less jerkwad controlling oil and its distribution. It is NOT, however, a complete success, and no one is saying that it is. But the fact that there has been progress is well documented and the people running the show know what the hell they are talking about.

I don’t think anything has been accomplished that justifies the sacrifice of 4000 American soldiers’ lives and the wounding of 25,000 more. There are total assholes in power all over the world and history has shown that removing tham from power frequently leads to nothing more than other assholes coming to power.

I don’t know how you measure how close the people of Iraq are to self-determination, but I don’t see how moving the Iraqis marginally closer in any way justifies the cost.

I am not sure that there is very much oil in the world that is not controlled by jerkwads. Removing this particular jerkwad has done nothing to increase the security of oil supplies and it clearly has not helped the price.

Over the last five years, the people running the show have consistently shown that they don’t know what they are talking about and that they are perfect willing to make claims that are completely inconsistent with the evidence..

Marshall Art said...


First, read the update to this thread.

Secondly, the last five years went very well compared to every other major conflict with which the USA has been involved. The unfortunate amount of people lost we've seen lost in a single month in wars past. There has never been as efficient an effort as we've seen in Iraq (and Afghanistan), and that's keeping in mind the fact that we've never faced a foe of this type before. Learning was on the fly. We've adapted as our armed forces are famous for doing.

Sure, jerkwads control much of the oil supply in the world. This particular jerkwad had was particularly interested in killing Americans. We know that now more than ever, and we knew it before we went in in the first place. If we proceed here as we had in Japan and Germany after the war with them, we're likely to see similar results. So sorry if it's not fast enough for you, but one does what is right and proper regardless of the cost and time involved. To do otherwise is far more costly as jerkwads WILL gain strength when treated as equals with the nice people of the world.

One easy measure of self-determination is the ability to live one's life without having to watch some scumbag raping one's wife and daughter while prevented from doing anything about it, or one's wife and daughter having to watch one get tortured to death. Or to not wake up wondering what happened to a loved one never to find out for sure. Or the vast number of people hired by the new freely elected government, police force and military. Or having schools to attend and businesses to run. Need more?

The extent of accomplishments is surprising even to me and I'm still waiting to be able to access the info I heard on a recent radio show (not yet archived at last look). I haven't figured out how to effectively articulate how what we are doing is a righteous and noble cause that will benefit our own nation, as well as the nations we're helping. Some people, like most of those who died, as well as most who are fighting, understand it intrinsically. It took only 19 assholes to murder over 3000 American citizens in one fell swoop. Hussein & Co wished to add to that number. Iraq is one front in the war against that mentality that remains poised and ready to do anything that will accomplish that to any degree possible, hopefully to the ultimate degree. How many dead citiznes are necessary for you to believe that the sacrifice of our military was worth it for the posterity of our people, and the people of the free world?

Vinny said...

It is hard to know where to start. I was only able to look at the summary at the beginning of the Pentagon report. It confirms that Saddam was a bad guy but it did not find any evidence of any connection between Iraq and Al Queda. Nor does it change the fact that he had no weapons of mass destruction. He certainly did not like Americans, but his cooperation with terrorists was directed mostly against opponents of his regime within Iraq rather than America or Israel.

I don’t know what you mean by proceeding as we did with Germany and Japan. Once those governments were defeated, hostilities ended. As far as I know, the U.S. military did not suffer any casualties after Germany and Japan were defeated. On the other hand, 97% of the casualties in Iraq have occurred since George Bush declared that major combat operations were over while standing on the deck of that aircraft carrier. Moreover, the occupations of Germany and Japan were anticipated and preparations were made. The U.S. did not go in with some na├»ve hope that the Germans and Japanese would take over so that we could leave within weeks. Nor did they ever have to police civil wars in those countries because both countries had long histories of stable cohesive self-government and national identity while Iraq has never had a period of stable government since it was artificially patched together as a nation after World War I.

Learning was on the fly was necessary only because the administration ignored experts who told them things they did not want to hear. Colin Powell told Bush that we would be stuck with a broken country. General Shinseki told them that they would need several hundred troops to secure the country, but Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld dismissed his advice. We may not have faced an enemy like Al Queda in Afghanistan before, but we had fought Iraq a decade a year earlier and we knew exactly what to expect. After the first Gulf War, Cheney himself had perfectly predicted the quagmire that we would find ourselves in if we toppled Saddam.

In fact, the military was incredibly slow to adapt. Rumsfeld failed to recognize that the country was descending into chaos and Cheney insisted that the insurgency was in its last throes as things got worse. Bush stubbornly stuck with Rumsfeld despite how badly things were going until he was forced to make a change after the Republicans lost Congress in 2006. Petraeus has managed to tamp down the violence with the troop surge but we are no closer to getting out of there.

The United States foreign policy has never been to do what is right regardless of the cost. We have always acted pragmatically to protect our interests. Our closest ally in the Arab world is Saudi Arabia from which almost all the 911 hijackers hailed. We have toppled governments and installed brutal dictators when we believed it served our interests. Under Reagan, we alternated between provided support to both Iran and Iraq in their war with each other. During the first Gulf War, we encouraged Iraqis to overthrow Saddam and then looked the other way when he retaliated against his own people.

The war in Iraq was never supposed to be a major conflict. The administration thought that it was going to knock of Saddam, turn over Iraq to Chalabi and be out of there in a couple of months. It was their stubborn refusal to listen to anyone who told them anything that they did not want to hear that turned it into the mess it is today.

Marshall Art said...


You have provided a list of talking points that have always neglected what YOU don't want to hear. I don't know what report you were reading, but you seem to contradict most, if not all, that Medved reported. He was somewhat detailed as to what those connections were, but I listen as I drive, so writing stuff down for accuracy later is always a problem. I've yet to read it myself, so I can't say much more than that.

I reject the WMD argument due to the fact that Hussein used them and made noise that he would again. One of the major fears, which turned into major wonderment, was that he would use chemical weapons on our guys. That he didn't was a surprise. That he would have if he had the chance no one can doubt. We also know he strongly coveted WMDs of any type. At the same time, WMDs was only one on a list of reasons why deposing him was a good idea. You, however, are free to wait until someone shoots at you to act. I'll act on the desire to shoot at me, thank you very much.

What I meant by proceding as we did in WWII is that we did in fact occupy these two nations until each was on their way to being a non-threatening and productive society that became allies. We stayed for decades in Germany for sure. Also, there were those in Germany that sought to frustrate our efforts there, though not on the scale we see with people who don't mind dying.

The end of major combat operations was a premature statement, but I believe it meant what was required to achieve the initial goal, which was to remove Sadam. What came after was to secure what was gained by doing so. Though I still call it a war, it is really more of a policing and peace-keeping action compared to the combat operations of the initial invasion. But that's semantics. What matters is this is a front of the war on terror and Bush has always described the task as a long struggle. So I'm sorry that this situation doesn't mirror the post war occupations of Germany or Japan, but that's hardly a reason to say our efforts are ignoble or unnecessary.

The notion that Bush & Co ignored experts is very misleading considering both Cheney and Rummy were veterans of other administrations. They had foreign affairs experience. Plus, I doubt that those you've mentioned are the only experts that advise the president. So, should he have gone the other way, and Hussein was left to continue playing his games and ignoring world opinion (always a no-no for the left), the results of that decision would also be blamed on Bush for not acting sooner, just as he had been for not acting to prevent 9/11, as if he could have. He would have been dissed for ignoring the advice of experts who encouraged him to smack Hussein when he had the chance.

The country is far less broken than it was a year ago and less than Powell had in mind. Who would have thought that Sunni tribal leaders would change course and support us against AlQueda even last year, much less five years ago? Even our own country didn't all agree and become cohesive immediately upon ousting the British. These things take time and in a country like Iraq, with their different culture, I'm not surprised at the time it's taking, even though I find it frustrating as well. As for Shinseki, we still don't have "several thousand troops" in Iraq. I'm not sure we have 200k. So his estimate was a little off. You have to keep in mind that the scumbags are able to access international news outlets and they know the mood of our country. It is a major strategy to do whatever it takes to prolong suffering because they know the left in this country has no stomach for doing what's necessary to do the right thing. They counted on the left protests forcing the hand of the administration. Thus, if the left wasn't doing the sour grapes thing over the 2000 election and supported our efforts, the number of troops at the outset would likely have been sufficient due to their superior training and ability. They would not have wanted to deal with an America united in resolve. They knew they wouldn't have to. Thank you liberal left. If they want to place blame for lives lost, they need to look in the mirror and then bitch slap who they see.

The speed of adapting hasn't pleased the opponents of the war. So sorry it's not going as you'd like. No war has ever played out the way either side thought it would. No one I've ever heard is pleased with every aspect of how the war is being fought. But again, this is new territory. In the first Gulf War, we were fighting an actual army. Don't you remember this? We kicked this army's ass then and now. But since, we've not been dealing with an army and THAT's what's new.

"The United States foreign policy has never been to do what is right regardless of the cost. We have always acted pragmatically to protect our interests."

See Truman in Korea, Roosevelt after Pearl. Of course we have interests to keep in mind in foreign policy. Pragmatism generally deals with the right course for the situation. Here, the right course is to stem the tide of Islamic radicalism, just as we did with communism. It is definitely in our national interest to do so as well as the righteous. We cover both bases with our current policy. Sure we've dealt with some bad guys in the past. The idea was that the other guy was worse. That sort of pragmatism I have no problem with. It often must be done, as crappy as it is. But what was done in the past, particularly during the first Gulf War, Bush is eager to avoid here. That's why he won't leave while he's in charge, because he prefers to finish what he started. With such a noble cause, I agree. Evil must be defeated.

For your last paragraph, I'll repeat what I've reminded others in the past. No war goes as initially planned. Our own independence is a great example. According to David McCullough's book "1776", both sides thought the war would be over quickly. The British certainly did considering they were the major world power at the time. So what Bush & Co thought here is irrelevant against how we and the world will profit by victory.

Vinny said...

I found the report on the US Joint Forces Command website.

It is quite large but there is an Excutive Summary at the beginning which is what I read. I have no doubt that the body of the report shows that Saddam Hussein was a very bad man, but the Summary does not contain any new information about WMD or an Al Queda connection. As I have not read the entire report, I don’t know what Medved was referring to, but I am sure that the Bush administration would be making a big deal about the report if it contained new information that supported the original justifications for the war.

You are right that wars never go as planned, but that is one of the reasons that they should be avoided whenever possible and why the notion of a preemptive war is so inherently perilous. You may believe that the war is a noble thing, but Congress and the American people were asked to support it on the grounds that Saddam’s possession of weapons of mass destruction posed a threat that required immediate attention. That has proved false.

I never thought that going to war in Iraq was a good idea. Having left Saddam in power after the first Gulf War, I thought it extremely unlikely that the Iraqi people would ever trust us enough to believe that we had their best interests at heart. I thought they would be just as likely to choose a theocratic Islamic government as any sort of democracy that would be an ally to the United States. I don’t for a minute believe we are to blame for the 911 attacks, but I think it would be foolish to think that the way we have pursued our interests in Middle East has not contributed to resentment that facilitates terrorist recruitment.

Shinseki’s estimate was not off at all. We did not have enough troops to secure the Iraqi army’s conventional weapons which wound up in the hands of the insurgents. We did not have enough troops to provide security to the people of Iraq. When the looting started in Baghdad, we only had 7000 troops in the city. There was nothing we could do to stop a city of five million people from descending into chaos. We are presently enjoying some success in providing security with 160,000 troops because the Iraqis have developed some capacity to contribute to the effort in the last five years. However, immediately after the fall of Saddam’s government, the job was ours alone and we lacked the troops to do it. That may have been when we lost any chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

Personally, I think that Bush and Cheney knowingly misled the American people into Iraq and I think their mismanagement of the war borders on the criminally negligent. However, for the sake of argument, I will assume that all of the following were good faith mistakes:

The administration was wrong about WMD.
It was wrong about connections to Al Queda.
It was wrong about being greeted as liberators.
It was wrong about the number of troops that would be needed to secure the country after the invasion.
It failed to anticipate the possibility of an insurgency.
It failed to recognize the insurgency.
It was wrong about the insurgency being in its last throes.
It failed to plan for the occupation.
It was wrong about the willingness of the Shia, Suni, and Kurds to cooperate in forming a government.
It was wrong about Chalabi’s ability to form a government.
It was wrong about Iraq’s ability to pay for its own reconstruction.
It was wrong about DeBaathification.
It was wrong about disbanding the Iraqi army.
It was wrong when it announced the end of major combat operations.
It was wrong about the Iraqis ability to take over their own security.
It was wrong about how long we would be there.

In each case, the critics were right.

At various times in the last five years, there have been hopeful signs, but the administration has consistently overestimated the positive developments and underestimated the problems. I don’t see any reason to believe that they are not still doing so.

Every U.S. President has a limited time in office. As a result, he has to consider the possibility that any policy he pursues may not last beyond his presidency. If he cannot demonstrate results that convince the American people that their interests are served by choosing to continue the path he has chosen, then he has no grounds to criticize them for choosing a leader who will follow a different path. That’s how America works.

Marshall Art said...

In a hurry. Forgive me if I'm vague at points.

From the point after the website:

I don't know what Medved was reading specifically, or if he had read it and jotted down highpoints. At this point, I wouldn't wager either way. As to Bush, a major flaw of his presidency has been his unwillingness to trumpet his successes, particularly about the WOT. No reason to belive he would change that now, unfortunately. Someone in the admin should have been on him about it or taken it upon themselves. He basically just let the media and opponents (often the same thing) focus on the negatives with no response from him.

Of course war should be avoided. This one had been avoided for twelve years. During this time, Clinton, his admin, and fellow Dems were crying out to depose Hussein. Basically, everyone who whined about what Bush did, insisted it was necessary before he went and did it. Tapes have been played and opinions reprinted urging action against Hussein by folks like JF Kerry, Howard Dean, Al Gore and the Clintons, to name a few. Apparently, they were satisfied with tough talk.

It is misleading to say that the war was waged on the talk of WMDs alone. WMDs were only one of a list of reasons to depose Hussein. And it's also misleading to say that it was proven he never had any, only that none were found. He was told we were coming with plenty of time to hide or ship them elsewhere and we may yet find where they are. But no matter, it was only one reason. He had them in the past and used them, don't forget.

"...but I think it would be foolish to think that the way we have pursued our interests in Middle East has not contributed to resentment that facilitates terrorist recruitment."

bin Laden and others use our actions only for effect. But it doesn't matter what we've done or what we do. Their goal is to institute their Sharia law and new caliphate and no matter what we do, such as aid them in the Balkans, or give financial and other aid after tsunamis, or broker peace between Israel and the Pallies, they intend bring all under the thumb of their false prophet and made up god.

"Shinseki’s estimate was not off at all."

Like I said, still not "several" hundred thousand there and progress is being made. A united front by the American public would have made a difference since, as also stated, they count on the lefty opposition and know a slow bleed will weaken the resolve of the left and cause them to rise up in pathetic protest. People fight better when they have support. Even harder with support from the enemy's people. Reports of chaos were greatly overstated. Iraqi support for our actions were greatly understated. Michelle Malkin did a series of reports from Iraq speaking to Iraqis who showed their gratitude. Laura Ingraham did as well. Others have similar reports including many, many military personnel. Yes, there were opponents. The scumbags in league with the despotic regime for sure.

I agree breaking up the Iraqi army in the beginning was a bad idea. One of Paul Bremer's biggest mistakes. However, imagining that there could be serious Baathists within it ready to cause trouble wasn't totally goofy. But how he handled it was. It is not accurate to say that the Iraqis want us gone, except that it isn't unnatural to want us gone because we're unneeded. As we still are, they still want us to remain. Again, I'm going by reports from those I've mentioned. In any case, that feeling would never be universal no matter the circumstances.

"Personally, I think that Bush and Cheney knowingly misled the American people into Iraq..."

Often stated, never supported with anything close to fact. I'm guessing you didn't vote for the guy either time. It's a harsh charge and without evidence of any kind, shameful to make of anyone.

"...and I think their mismanagement of the war borders on the criminally negligent."

D-Day went horribly. Many thought that was woefully mismanaged. It is easy to say from way over here, even by ex-military, many of whom are political creatures more than military. Glad they're not in the game now. In any case, there's plenty of people walking the streets there who couldn't in the first year or two. Faluja is one place where your statement sounds ridiculous. Now for your list:

-Not accurate
-Not accurate
-False for most, true for some
-Debatable, but I don't oppose overkill in war
-Probably, to the extent it existed
-Easy to do when they dress like civilians-still a problem, but people are now helping to point them out.
-A not uncommon assessment that occurs in wartime, like predicting how long it will take to win. A bit more accurate now, however.
-One might not like the plan, but that doesn't mean they didn't plan.
-I don't think they thought it would be all hugs and kisses. Our own founders didn't get along perfectly, either. Routine, I'd say.
-Agreed, but there IS a government with thousands of employees at this time.
-This may still happen.
-Don't think they have much pull right now.
-Agreed, but with reservations as stated above.
-False. That referred to the invasion and overthrow of Sadam.
-False. That was not expected at the beginning at all. It is happening now---see more recent post.
-Bush never gave any deadlines. Doesn't matter what the opinions of his subordinates were. They are, however, free to have them.

-Even in the beginning, there were many things the critics were wrong about. The speed at which Hussein was ousted and the ability of the might Iraqi army are two of the most obvious. In fact, conservative commentators had a great time as one lefty warning after another failed to materialize. I don't think the critics were even half right.

The next paragraph is backwards. As I mentioned, Bush has been notorious for NOT hyping accomplishments enough. This has been a problem for the moral of the public. He allowed the media and Dem politicians to go unchecked, such as that idiot Harry Reid saying we've lost. At the same time, he has been accutely aware of the challenges facing our military and this he HAS said over and over again. He has NEVER whitewashed the rate of progress of this front in the WOT or the WOT in general. In fact, Bush has shown to have a better read on the situation than any of his Dem opponents. It's why he decided to fight in the first place. And it's why a Dem win come November will be tragic for the nation.

Bush CAN demonstrate results if only he'd do so. It's obvious the MSM won't. There's no way the self-serving Dem leadership will. Keep reading the reports. Listen to those who are there doing the heavy lifting. More than anything, listen to those who understand who it is we are fighting. This is NOT an impotent enemy. This is NOT an enemy with whom anyone can negotiate and certainly not Obama or Hillary.

How we fight can surely be debated. That we fight, no way.

Vinny said...

I am glad to know that snarkiness is allowed on this blog because I think comparing the tension between the Founding Fathers to the tension between the Kurds, Shia, and Suni suggests a loss of touch with reality that is normally difficult to achieve without the assistance of powerful hallucinogenic substances.

The Founding Fathers demonstrated their ability to cooperate by forming their own democratic government, raising their own army, and overthrowing the rulers that oppressed them. Despite the fact that Britain had a king, it also had a long history of representative democracy. Moreover, all of the colonies had representative legislatures. The Founding Fathers and the American people had clearly demonstrated their ability to identify themselves with elected governments. The Founding Fathers also demonstrated their ability to pursue their common goals without regard to their religious differences. The tensions between the Founding Fathers arose from differences in ideas.

On the other hand, in the years since Iraq was created after World War I, order had always been maintained through force by an autocratic Suni minority. Prior to its formation, Iraq had been part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. The people of Iraq had always identified themselves by tribe and religion. They had no history of identifying themselves by nationality. The tensions were not disagreements about ideas, but violent conflicts between tribes, religions, and ethnic groups rising at times to the level of genocide. There was no history of self-government, and in fact, government by the people is contrary to the Islamic understanding that the Koran determines legitimate government authority.

The pipe dream that the Iraqi people would forego their tribal loyalties to unite behind a western style democracy was pure wishful thinking.

Marshall Art said...


I've not had access to halucinogens for around 25 years. What are you ingesting that accounts for the leap you've made? I wasn't comparing the intensity of the disputes between the founders and the disputes between members of the new Iraqi government. I only said that the founders weren't geting along in the beginning, either. The point being that if our founders couldn't get along, keeping in mind their background you so nicely presented above, it seems unreasonable to expect immediate hugs and kisses between the different factions in Iraq given their history. But there they are, workin' it nonetheless. That truly counts as a positive in my book. Seems to me that they've gotten a bit beyond square one, even if its a tenuous bit of progress. Once again, so sorry if the speed of it doesn't suit you. And as long as the process proceeds, I think it's premature to say it's a pipe dream that will never come true. Such an attitude suggests that there's no hope and that there are none that wish something better than what they've lived for so long. Doesn't seem likely that that would be the case, even allowing for the possibility of total failure.

Vinny said...

I am not sure what conflicts you think the Founding Fathers had that are in any way analogous to the conflicts within Iraq. If the Jefferson and Adams had overcome a legacy of tribal warfare, ethnic cleansing, and religious persecution between Massachussets and Virginia, I might think that their success bodes well for Iraq's chances. Unfortunately, they didn't.

Marshall Art said...

Once again, it's not what kind of differences, or even the intensity of those differences, only that they had differences. Thus, if such luminaries as our own founding fathers had to struggle through differences to come to what became our Constitution and our form of government, it should not surprise anyone, even you, that the Iraqis, with all the problems of which you are aware, might not get it together overnight. Yet, at the same time, for all the problems they encounter, they are still at it, still working to find a compromise that suits everyone involved. Talking is what the left constantly implores us to do above all else, and here these people for whom you obviously don't believe are capable, are still talking. You don't see that as a good thing? A good sign? Evidence of progress in the land?

Marshall Art said...

Once again, it's not what kind of differences, or even the intensity of those differences, only that they had differences. Thus, if such luminaries as our own founding fathers had to struggle through differences to come to what became our Constitution and our form of government, it should not surprise anyone, even you, that the Iraqis, with all the problems of which you are aware, might not get it together overnight. Yet, at the same time, for all the problems they encounter, they are still at it, still working to find a compromise that suits everyone involved. Talking is what the left constantly implores us to do above all else, and here these people for whom you obviously don't believe are capable, are still talking. You don't see that as a good thing? A good sign? Evidence of progress in the land?

Vinny said...

I have never been the least bit surprised that the Iraqis have had so much trouble getting it together because I had some familiarity with Middle East history before the United States invaded Iraq. I was aware that there was no historical precedent for such disparate groups spontaneously forming a cohesive government.

Talking is nice, but it is hard for me to get too excited about it if it is only taking place because we have 160,000 troops on the ground. As far as signs go, you suggested three days ago that it was a good sign that the Iraqis had not called for British support to put down insurgents in Basra. Yesterday, the paper reported American air strikes in Basra. The reason that we are in this mess in the first place is that the Bush administration cherry picked the evidence that favored the conclusion that it wanted to reach and ignored the weight of the evidence that demonstrated the blunder it was making.

Anonymous said...

Would anyone consider the possibility that instead of blaming Bush for being such a terrible President, we might consider that underneath all that happens is a God that is in control? I read some statistics about how many Muslims have come to Christ. Do you think this would have happened with Saddam in power and we had never gone over there? My personal feelings are that there are no political solutions, but instead of ranting and raving about Bush, a lot of praying needs to be going on. Mom2

Marshall Art said...

"I was aware that there was no historical precedent for such disparate groups spontaneously forming a cohesive government."

I would ask how often it has sincerely been tried. I would ask does that mean that it shouldn't be tried at all. I would ask that seeing as how they continue to talk and perservere despite historical precedent and the incessant obstructions, doesn't there seem to be a real desire to achieve a cohesive democratic government.

This notion of cherry picking and ignoring "the weight of the evidence that demonstrated the blunder it was making" is an invention of those who oppose the action. Evidence of Hussein's designs might not have been crystal clear to all, particularly those who cherry pick miscalculations in an attempt to discredit Bush policies, but we know now that the evidence was less then than now. I refer you again to the many Democrats who, before Bush was elected, saw an immediate need to depose Hussein. I don't think he became less of a threat once Bush was elected, except in the sense that cowards tend to stand down in the face of those determined to stop them. Thus, it's almost a certainty that the spines of the Islamic radicals will stiffen with a Democrat in the White House. Of course, at that point, they will blame Bush, because they would have just loved us had Bush not acted, just like they did before he was president, right? Why is it that some feel things must be just so in order to do the right thing? How can you assure the nation that the bad guys will hold off attacking until all things are perfect for you?

Vinny said...

The race may not always be to the swift nor the victory to the strong, but that's how you bet.
Damon Runyon

The United States is not without experience at toppling governments it views as unfriendly. In 1953, the CIA toppled the government of Iran and installed the Shah. It came back to bite us in the butt three decades later and we are still paying for it. The fact that we never tried to change a regime in quite this fashion does not impress me as a reason to try.

Marshall Art said...

As I recall, Jimma Carter's handling of relations with the Shah led to our ass being bitten severely. Today's Dems seem to be cut from the same foreign policy cloth of ignoring reality as regards the character of foreign leaders, particularly, who's a potential friend and who's a scumbag.

Vinny said...

Your recollection is incorrect. It was largely under Republican administrations that America made the Shah of Iran the lynch pin of its foreign policy in the Persian Gulf. Starting with Eisenhower, every American administration accepted the fact that he had to spend his oil revenues aquiring military force to maintain his power, which, not surprisingly, led to popular unrest. It also fueled animosity towards the United States which had brought the Shah to power in 1953, sold him arms, and trained his secret police. Blaming the bad outcome on Carter ignores reality.

Marshall Art said...

I shall review the situation. However, it was on Carter's watch that the embassy was overrun, and largely due to his belief that the Ayatollah was just your basic peaceful preacher. The Shah was certainly no peach, but it's plain in hindsight that everyone was better off with him in power than the Ayatollah. And as we continue to hear, unrest still exists with Mahmoud and the current Islamic a-hole calling the shots. Carter indeed bungled, but again, I'll review.

Vinny said...

Carter indeed bungled, but again, I'll review.

I have no doubt that you will no trouble supporting your conclusion that Carter was a putz. While I think that he gets blamed for many things that were beyond his control, I freely admit that it is hard for me to point to much in the way of accomplishments. I suspect that he fully deserves the blame for his handling the hostage crisis, but the fall of the Shah is another matter.

With its typical keen insight, the CIA believed that the Shah had the military strength to withstand popular unrest. What he lacked was the will to use that force. He was probably never the resolute iron-fisted ruler that he was made out to be. He was a reluctant participant in the 1953 coup that brought him to power and in 1978 he was suffering from terminal cancer. Once it became clear that he lacked the will to use the harsh measures necessary to put down Khomeni and his followers, it was too late for the United States to shape the course of events.

Les said...

Speaking of Iran, the wheels are in motion:

Have you looked into the oil trade currency as I recommended some time ago yet, Art? The barbarians are at the gate...