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George.
03-02-2006, 09:29 AM
Alan should like this one - George Will, with citations from the American Enterprise Institute and the New Republic. Hardly "liberal media" handwringing...

If you want to read diagonally, I boldfaced a few passages:


Rhetoric of Unreality
Where Is Iraq After Nearly 3 Years of War?

By George F. Will
Thursday, March 2, 2006; Page A21

When late in the spring of 1940 people of southeastern England flocked across the Channel in their pleasure craft and fishing boats to evacuate soldiers trapped on Dunkirk beaches, euphoria swept Britain. So Prime Minister Winston Churchill sternly told the nation: "We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations."

Or by curfews, such as the one that cooled the furies that engulfed Iraq after the bombing last week of a Shiite shrine. Wars are not won simply by facing facts, but facing them is a necessary prerequisite.

Last week, in the latest iteration of a familiar speech (the enemy is "brutal," "we're on the offensive," "freedom is on the march") that should be retired, the president said, "This is a moment of choosing for the Iraqi people." Meaning what? Who is to choose, and by what mechanism? Most Iraqis already "chose" -- meaning prefer -- peace. But in 1917 there were only a few thousand Bolsheviks among 150 million Russians -- and the Bolsheviks succeeded in hijacking the country for seven decades.

After Iraqis voted in December for sectarian politics, an observer said Iraq had conducted not an election but a census. Now America's heroic ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, one of two indispensable men in Iraq, has warned the Iraqi political class that unless the defense and interior ministries are nonsectarian, meaning not run as instruments of the Shiites, the United States will have to reconsider its support for Iraq's military and police. But that threat is not credible: U.S. strategy in Iraq by now involves little more than making the Iraqi military and police competent. As the president said last week: "Our strategy in Iraq is that the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down."

Iraq's prime minister responded to Khalilzad's warning by accusing him of interfering in Iraq's "internal affairs." Think about that, and about the distinction drawn by the U.S. official in Iraq who, evidently looking on what he considers the bright side, told Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins, "This isn't a war. It's violent nation-building."

Almost three years after the invasion, it is still not certain whether, or in what sense, Iraq is a nation. And after two elections and a referendum on its constitution, Iraq barely has a government. A defining attribute of a government is that it has a monopoly on the legitimate exercise of violence. That attribute is incompatible with the existence of private militias of the sort that maraud in Iraq.

Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute, writing in the Wall Street Journal, reports that Shiite militias "have broken up coed picnics, executed barbers [for the sin of shaving beards] and liquor store owners, instituted their own courts, and posted religious guards in front of girls' schools to ensure Iranian-style dress." Iraq's other indispensable man, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, says that unless the government can protect religious sites, "the believers will."

When violence surges, if U.S. forces take the lead in suppressing it they delay the day when Iraqi forces will be competent. If U.S. forces hold back, they are blamed by an Iraqi population that is being infantilized by displacing all responsibilities onto the American occupation.

In the New Republic, Lawrence Kaplan, writing with a Baghdad dateline, says that only U.S. forces, which "have become an essential part of the landscape here -- their own tribe, in effect," can be "an honest broker" between warring factions, "more peacekeeper than belligerent." But he also reports:

"With U.S reconstruction aid running out, Iraq's infrastructure, never fully restored to begin with, decays by the hour. . . . The level of corruption that pervades Iraq's ministerial orbit . . . would have made South Vietnam's kleptocrats blush. . . . [C]orruption has helped drive every public service measure -- electricity, potable water, heating oil -- down below its prewar norm."

Kaplan tells of a student who, seeing insurgents preparing a mortar attack, called a government emergency number. Fortunately for him, no one answered. Later, friends warned him that callers' numbers appear at the government's emergency office and that they are sold to insurgents. The student took Kaplan to see a wall adorned with a picture and death announcement of a man whose call was answered.

Today, with all three components of the "axis of evil" -- Iraq, Iran and North Korea -- more dangerous than they were when that phrase was coined in 2002, the country would welcome, and Iraq's political class needs to hear, as a glimpse into the abyss, presidential words as realistic as those Britain heard on June 4, 1940.

Keith Wilson
03-02-2006, 10:46 AM
George Will is an honest man. Perhaps that's why he's out of fashion.

troutman
03-02-2006, 10:56 AM
Every now and then Will steps up. I had to caution my wife that his schtic is being smart so your tempted to say gee he's smart, I'm smart, I kind of like this guy. basically just another shill. This colum is an exception. Take notice that when the administration's really screwing up Will writes a piece on baseball. Anytime he writes a piece and doesn't bring in Ted or Hillary I E-Mail him a well done.

I nailed bill buckley's brand of consevatism 35 years ago. Boils down to "I got my big boat, you don't screw you." Basically the last Czar's philosophy.

[ 03-02-2006, 10:59 AM: Message edited by: troutman ]

John of Phoenix
03-02-2006, 11:59 AM
... presidential words as realistic as those Britain heard on June 4, 1940."Stay the course."

PatCox
03-02-2006, 12:19 PM
What course? Where are we headed, how are we getting there?

George.
03-02-2006, 01:14 PM
U.S. strategy in Iraq by now involves little more than making the Iraqi military and police competent. This sentence is revealing. Competent at what? The main complaint of the Sunnis is not that the military and police are incompetent - it is that they can be used to impose Shiite domination.

The violence has political causes. No amount of training of policemen can change that. When the time comes, the army and the police will simply be one more faction in the civil war.

If only they had kept the old Iraqi army...

uncas
03-02-2006, 01:18 PM
Seems that it is time for a poll...
All in favor...all opposed...all against the conflict...all opposed...
A poll should settle this..
Then everyone can argue about the poll...ummmm.

George...
If only they had kept the old Iraqi army

I think they did...

[ 03-02-2006, 01:20 PM: Message edited by: uncas ]

George.
03-02-2006, 02:04 PM
No, uncas, they didn't. They dissolved it right at the start of the occupation.

Now, if they had sent in enough occupation troops to replace it, that could have worked. But they didn't. Logic dictates that they should have kept it, replaced all officers of questionable loyalty, and re-fashioned it into a New Iraqi Army, just as able to impose order as the old one, but answering to the new government instead of to the Baath party.

Instead, they dissolved it, instantly creating a huge mass of unemployed men (unemployable in the wrecked economy) with experience in weapons and tactics. And replacing it with a vacuum.

Anyone could have guessed the result.

uncas
03-02-2006, 02:06 PM
George...any numbers to back that up...I mean everyone arounfd here loves numbers...and polls...and whatnot.
I was given the understanding that rehiring ex Saddam troops was the norm...where are you getting your information from?

George.
03-02-2006, 02:19 PM
Uncas, I am not going to dig up sources. Did you really not follow the news at the time? Are you unaware of the disbanding of the Iraqi Army, and of the criticism of this move at the time? Are you unaware that they numbered close to half a million, between Army and security services?

Are you unaware that even today, adding Americans, Iraqi Army, and police, the numbers are not back up to that? And that the organizational structure has been shot to pieces? And that for almost two years after the occupation there was virtually no Iraqi Army to speak of?

ljb5
03-02-2006, 02:33 PM
Uncas, George is right. All the major media reported on the disbanding of the Iraqi army.

Take responsibility for your own knowledge. Do a little research on your own. Don't depend on me or George to tell you about it and spoon-feed you the links.

Memphis Mike
03-02-2006, 02:40 PM
LOL! Ya can't eat Gar.

troutman
03-02-2006, 02:40 PM
Didn't want to be the first to pile on this. I'm discussing the Iraq mess with someone who didn't know they disbanded the Army. When you guys talk about turning spars and spiling planks I keep quiet and learn. Wow. No point in remarking that we left the Japanese army in place in Indo-china after their surrender to keep peace till the French could get back. I have no link for that; read John Toland's Rising Sun.

[ 03-02-2006, 02:42 PM: Message edited by: troutman ]

Meerkat
03-02-2006, 02:57 PM
2000: Saddam and cronies sitting on ornate overstuffed chairs with gold leaf tables in front of them.

Last week on TV "new" Iraqi government sitting on ornate overstuffed chairs with gold leaft tables in front of them.

Fits right in with America's idea of democracy: government of the people, by the elite, for the profits. (The American elite's idea anyway. Virtually policy for the past 100 years.)

Meanwhile, the average Iraqi is worse off today than he was 6 years ago.

The more things change, the more they're the same.

Gary E
03-02-2006, 03:14 PM
Change? The same???

Check the value of Haliburton stock..
http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=hal&sid=0&o_symb=hal&freq=2&time=12

Meerkat
03-02-2006, 03:17 PM
Money more important than people?

Nope, nothing has changed.... :(

George.
03-02-2006, 03:29 PM
Check the value of Haliburton stock..
http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/charts/big.chart?symb=hal&compidx=aaaaa%3A0&ma=0&maval=9&uf=0&lf=1&lf2=0&lf3=0&typ e=2&size=2&state=8&sid=2303&style=320&time=12&freq=2&nosettings=1&rand=681&mocktick=1&rand=4900

Even better than XOM...

Neocons RULE! :mad:

Memphis Mike
03-02-2006, 03:39 PM
:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

J_Boat
03-02-2006, 04:39 PM
If the allied powers had lost WWII, would that have meant the fighting was the wrong decision?
The current situation in Iraq or any eventual situation in Iraq does not or would not in and of itself validate or invalidate the decision to go in. It was either a moral and sound decision based on the information available at the time or it was not.

Meerkat
03-02-2006, 04:40 PM
Not.

ljb5
03-02-2006, 04:44 PM
J_Boat, there are really two separate questions.

The first: "Was the war justified at the time of invasion based on the available information?"

The second: "Was the war properly conducted?"

On the first question, we might (and will) argue forever. On the second question, the answer is more clear.

troutman
03-02-2006, 04:45 PM
J-boat; most of us are not saying that because things have gone badly that we shouldn't have gone. We've been polarized from the start on causes or justifications. I do encourage anyone to reassess and change their minds. Actually admitting an error in public would be unamerican and give comfort to the enemy.

[ 03-02-2006, 04:46 PM: Message edited by: troutman ]

Gonzalo
03-02-2006, 04:59 PM
J_Boat, this thread started out as a counterpoint to Alan Hyde's thread yesterday in which he published a very optimistic assessment of how the war is going now.

George Will is a thoughtful, if dour, conservative Republican with no partisan axe to grind. His point, as in this statement, "Wars are not won simply by facing facts, but facing them is a necessary prerequisite," is not about the rightness of the decision to go to war, but about a realistic assessment of what we are up against.

Over the last year or so, Will has written a number of columns critical of the Bush administration's lack of realism in its goals and actions in Iraq. His tone started mild, and has been getting more and more harsh in his criticism of the neocons.

A good dose of reality, without a partisan motive, is necessary for policy to be conducted succesfully. Regardless of what one believes about the justification for the war, an unrealistic view of what is happening on the ground, and what is possible to achieve, is a guarantee of failure.

[ 03-02-2006, 05:00 PM: Message edited by: Gonzalo ]

troutman
03-03-2006, 09:56 AM
Gonzalo, not to nit pick but I think characterizing Will as having no partisan axe to grind is going a little far. I agree he has written critical pieces on Bush but largely he's a shill like Krauthammer or any of the otheres. We have their equivalent on our side but I wouldn't say that Bob Herbert or Molly Ivins have no partisan axe to grind. He's got that smart guy schtic down pat though.

LeeG
03-03-2006, 10:11 AM
smart guy shtic is challenging. Then there's GW speak.

J_Boat
03-03-2006, 03:06 PM
Originally posted by ljb5:
J_Boat, there are really two separate questions.

The first: "Was the war justified at the time of invasion based on the available information?"

The second: "Was the war properly conducted?"

On the first question, we might (and will) argue forever. On the second question, the answer is more clear.More clear, huh? .... ponder.... ponder... You must have better ESP than I. I'm still not sure which way this thing is going. If the Iraqi security forces continue to come online and continue to shoulder more and more of the burden, then there is still the possibility for the emergence of a stable and functional Iraq. I obviously can't be sure that will happen, but, neither can I be so sure the it can not.

A perspective from someone who is/was on the ground in Iraq....

In the New York Post....



RALPH PETERS - In Iraq

March 1, 2006 -- THE reporting out of Baghdad continues to be hysterical and dishonest. There is no civil war in the streets. None. Period.

Terrorism, yes. Civil war, no. Clear enough?

Yesterday, I crisscrossed Baghdad, visiting communities on both banks of the Tigris and logging at least 25 miles on the streets. With the weekend curfew lifted, I saw traffic jams, booming business and everyday life in abundance.

Yes, there were bombings yesterday. The terrorists won't give up on their dream of sectional strife, and know they can count on allies in the media as long as they keep the images of carnage coming. They'll keep on bombing. But Baghdad isn't London during the Blitz, and certainly not New York on 9/11.

It's more like a city suffering a minor, but deadly epidemic. As in an epidemic, no one knows who will be stricken. Rich or poor, soldier or civilian, Iraqi or foreigner. But life goes on. No one's fleeing the Black Death or the plague of terror.

And the people here have been impressed that their government reacted effectively to last week's strife, that their soldiers and police brought order to the streets. The transition is working.

Most Iraqis want better government, better lives and democracy. It is contagious, after all. Come on over. Talk to them. Watch them risk their lives every day to work with us or with their government to build their own future.

Oh, the attacks will continue. They're even predictable, if not always preventable. Driving through Baghdad's Kerada Peninsula District, my humvee passed long gas lines as people waited to fill their tanks in the wake of the curfew. I commented to the officer giving me a lift that the dense lines of cars and packed gas stations offered great targets to the terrorists. An hour later, one was hit with a car bomb.

The bombing made headlines (and a news photographer just happened to be on the scene). Here in Baghdad, it just made the average Iraqis hate the terrorists even more.

You are being lied to. By elements in the media determined that Iraq must fail. Just give 'em the Bronx cheer.
Web reference (http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/64407.htm).

Keith Wilson
03-03-2006, 03:16 PM
The terrorists won't give up on their dream of sectional strife, and know they can count on allies in the media as long as they keep the images of carnage coming.Yep, George Will, ally of terrorists. :rolleyes:

ljb5
03-03-2006, 03:41 PM
Originally posted by J_Boat:
If the Iraqi security forces continue to come online and continue to shoulder more and more of the burden, then there is still the possibility for the emergence of a stable and functional Iraq. I obviously can't be sure that will happen, but, neither can I be so sure the it can not.I don't know what you mean by "continue to come online and continue to shoulder more of the burden." Maybe you haven't heard, but the Iraqis are not "coming online" -- they are going off line. (http://www.postchronicle.com/news/breakingnews/article_2128165.shtml)

Of course, there is still a chance for success in the future -- but future success does not eliminate past failures.

The first three years of this war were improperly managed. At some point in the future, they might turn it around - but that doesn't erase the errors.

You'll notice that I phrased my question in the past tense: "Was the war properly conducted?" -from March 2003 to March 2006.

Remember: In 2003, we were told the war would take less than six months and there would be no insurgency. It's much too late to still believe in fantasies.

[ 03-03-2006, 04:15 PM: Message edited by: ljb5 ]

LeeG
03-03-2006, 04:04 PM
it's not a civil war,,just chaos and killing,,not a civil war.

Osborne Russel
03-03-2006, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by J_Boat:
It was either a moral and sound decision based on the information available at the time or it was not.True. But you will recall that the nations of the world said, not. Colin Powell said, not. Bush said, I have new secret evidence that will convince you. They looked at it. They said, our answer is the same: not. George Bush said, you'll see after the invasion. Not.

John of Phoenix
03-03-2006, 05:25 PM
Speaking of *that* ...


The president received highly classified intelligence reports containing information at odds with his justifications for going to war.

Two highly classified intelligence reports delivered directly to President Bush before the Iraq war cast doubt on key public assertions made by the president, Vice President Cheney, and other administration officials as justifications for invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein, according to records and knowledgeable sources. http://hotstory.nationaljournal.com/articles/0302nj1.htm

George.
03-04-2006, 07:30 AM
RALPH PETERS - In Iraq

March 1, 2006 -- THE reporting out of Baghdad continues to be hysterical and dishonest. Well, at least he starts his spin piece with an honest disclaimer... ;)

LeeG
03-04-2006, 08:24 AM
Sounds like the process for the US to "stand down" is something other than the Iraqi military "standing up". Maybe something other than numbers of troops. Let's check back in another three years.

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/784/sc3.htm

The problem of Iraq is the lack of a strong and fully sovereign government. The country now is a confederacy of incoherent and unaccountable provinces with a failing central government. City councils from Basra to Mosul are made of gangs and militias operating with no oversight or any mechanism to ensure performance or transparency. What remains of Iraq is a de facto independent Kurdistan where the laws of the central government do not apply. On the front of reconstruction and services, billions of dollars were spent without any visible change in the daily life of Iraqis. It remains to be seen how long Iraqis will endure living in sub-human conditions while their country is one of the richest in the world -- all under the insidious excuse of the lack of security, as if one failure is a valid justification of another.

If there is going to be any war in the short term, it would be an all out revolt to take the country back from the corrupt and incompetent politicians who recklessly took the people's loyalty for granted.

* The writer is an Iraqi analyst

LeeG
03-04-2006, 08:29 AM
totally unrelated to Will,,but it would be interesting to see how effective the loans from iran turn out to be.

http://www.azzaman.com/english/index.asp?fname=news%5C2006-03-02%5C206.htm

Osborne Russel
03-04-2006, 11:14 AM
Originally posted by LeeG:
What remains of Iraq is a de facto independent Kurdistan where the laws of the central government do not apply. We may now look back wistfully to the days when Bush I encouraged the Kurds to revolt, as a result of which the strong leader of the "nation" of Iraq slaughtered them wholesale, for which said strong leader (the Iraqi one) is now on trial for his life.

Next, when the US got ready to invade to give people freedom, we said to the Kurds, can you help us out, the Kurds said, how about allowing us to have the independence we've been asking your for for decades? We said, sorry, that's too much freedom for us to bring you.

So we invaded, the place is a mess, the Kurds' case for independence is stronger than ever, but they still can't have it, because of the obscene hypocrisy and stubbornness of the United States of America.

People in all parts of Iraq and the rest of the world, excepting the US, can see that US policy is self-serving, in particular with regard to our purported desire to bring democracy to everyone. It only applies to those who help with our addiction to oil. Any democracy that interferes with that is too much democracy.

ljb5
03-04-2006, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
We may now look back wistfully to the days when Bush I encouraged the Kurds to revolt, as a result of which the strong leader of the "nation" of Iraq slaughtered them wholesale, for which said strong leader (the Iraqi one) is now on trial for his life.Let's not forget: according to an article posted by Alan Hyde, one of the justifications of the invasion was the fact that the Kurds were willing to fight for their independence.

Technically, that makes them a terrorist organization -- and although Saddam was violently opposed to them, they were terrorists in Iraq.