Author Topic: Success is not an option  (Read 1173 times)

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sirs

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Success is not an option
« on: November 28, 2007, 11:57:27 AM »
Whoops! "As violence declines in Baghdad, the leading Democratic presidential candidates are undertaking a new and challenging balancing act on Iraq," the New York Times reports. Having bet against American success in the hope of benefiting from failure, they are now hedging, "acknowledging that success, trying to shift the focus to the lack of political progress there, and highlighting more domestic concerns like health care and the economy."

The trouble is, many Democratic voters still want America to lose in Iraq. As the Times notes:

This is a delicate matter. By saying the effects of the troop escalation have not led to a healthier political environment, the candidates are tacitly acknowledging that the additional troops have, in fact, made a difference on the ground--a viewpoint many Democratic voters might not embrace.

"Our troops are the best in the world; if you increase their numbers they are going to make a difference," Mrs. Clinton said in a statement after her aides were asked about her views on the ebbing violence in Baghdad.

"The fundamental point here is that the purpose of the surge was to create space for political reconciliation and that has not happened, and there is no indication that it is going to happen, or that the Iraqis will meet the political benchmarks," she said. "We need to stop refereeing their civil war and start getting out of it."

Mrs. Clinton has never had any objection in principle to the Iraq war, which she voted to authorize five years ago. Yet for reasons of rank political opportunism, she now stands for the proposition that America must not win. Is this the kind of leadership America needs in a commander in chief?

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Dems have found a military spokesman for their Iraq policy, such as it is:

The general who led U.S. forces in Iraq after the invasion . . . spoke out for Democrats on Saturday, backing legislation aimed at withdrawing American troops.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, in the Democratic weekly radio address, acknowledged that Bush's escalation strategy this year had improved security in Iraq. But he said Iraqi political leaders had failed to make "hard choices necessary to bring peace to their country." . . .

"It is well past time to adopt a new approach in Iraq that will improve chances to produce stability in the Middle East," he said. "I urge our political leaders to put aside partisan considerations and unite to lessen the burden our troops and their families have been under for nearly five years."

Apparently it didn't occur to Sanchez that the Democratic weekly radio address isn't the best venue to urge people to "put aside partisan considerations."

Reuters notes that Sanchez "commanded the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq from June 2003 until July 2004 as the anti-U.S. insurgency took hold," that he "blamed the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal for wrecking his career," and that last month (as we also noted) he "blamed the Bush administration for a 'catastrophic failure' in leadership of the war."

Whatever the merits of his arguments, Sanchez is far from a disinterested party. He is seeking to avoid blame for the failures in Iraq under his command. Which, come to think of it, makes him quite the fitting spokesman for the Democrats.


Success Is Not an Option--II
Last week, as we noted, the New York Times ran a major front-page story on the improving security situation in Baghdad. This past weekend, a new bombing prompted the paper to walk the story back somewhat:

As Baghdad's relative lull in violence had extended from weeks into months, Sunnis and Shiites alike made the calculation--one shared by this reporter--that the Ghazil market was safe enough to risk walking around on a sunny Friday.

It was. But one week later, the market in the shadow of the Mosque of the Caliphs was a scene of carnage, a cruel reminder that the decline in violence in this city is relative and may not last.

But a Reuters account gives good reason to think that this sort of violence is unlikely to last:

U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral Gregory Smith said it appeared the Shi'ite militants wanted Friday's bombing, the deadliest attack in Baghdad in two months after a lull in violence, to look like the work of al Qaeda.

Most big bombings that cause mass casualties are blamed on Sunni Islamist al Qaeda. . . .

Smith said those behind the market attack intended to make it look like the work of al Qaeda in order to convince Iraqis in the area they needed the protection of Shi'ite militias.

If Shiite militias are seeking Shiite popular support, wantonly murdering Shiite civilians seems a certain recipe for failure, and thus it was naive of the Times to see this attack as a portent of worse to come.

The Times did follow up the next day with a report quoting Adm. Smith:

"The group's purpose was to make it appear Al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for the attack," Admiral Smith said, using the military's name for Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. "The special groups' aim was to demonstrate to Baghdadis the need for militia groups to continue providing for their security."

"Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia," of course, is the Times's name for what everyone else calls al Qaeda in Iraq--everyone, that is, except Reuters (!), which simply calls it al Qaeda.


What to do...what to do
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Michael Tee

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2007, 02:33:24 PM »
<<Mrs. Clinton has never had any objection in principle to the Iraq war, which she voted to authorize five years ago. Yet for reasons of rank political opportunism, she now stands for the proposition that America must not win. Is this the kind of leadership America needs in a commander in chief?>>

Exactly.  What better reason to vote for Obama?

sirs

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2007, 03:03:04 PM »
<<Mrs. Clinton has never had any objection in principle to the Iraq war, which she voted to authorize five years ago. Yet for reasons of rank political opportunism, she now stands for the proposition that America must not win. Is this the kind of leadership America needs in a commander in chief?>>

Exactly.  What better reason to vote for Obama?

Perhaps because he can't make up his mind either?  Withdraw them now?  Later?  phased?  when again?  Won't defund the war?  LOL
« Last Edit: November 28, 2007, 03:52:58 PM by sirs »
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2007, 07:36:50 AM »
There can be no victory of the US in an Iraqi civil war.
Victory is not an issue here. The Iraqi government will not even try to pull the country together so long as they are being defended by the US.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

The_Professor

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2007, 10:16:58 AM »
Ok, so why isn't YOUR Party successfully bringing them home?

Pelosi talks the talk, but is she walking the walk?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2007, 10:26:28 AM by The_Professor »
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Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2007, 10:23:28 AM »
First off, I am not responsible for the actions of the Democratic Party. I am most sorry if I have misled anyone to think that I am. The Republicans, in my opinion, and wrong about 95% of the time, the Democrats are wrong about 35%.

The Democrats should withhold funds from the war budget $20 billion a month is too much to spend in an attempt to achieve an American victory in an Iraqi civil war. The goal is not to annex Iraq as a 51st state, nor presumably is it to make Iraq an American satrapy.

"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

sirs

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2007, 12:04:44 PM »
There can be no victory of the US in an Iraqi civil war.

And no one is advocating for a civil war    ::)


Victory is not an issue here.

It Absofrellinloutely is



"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2007, 03:01:06 PM »
This is already a civil war, between the Sunnis and the Shiites in central Iraq, between groups of Shiites in the south, and in the north there could easily be a Kurdish war for independence. There is no way that the US could possibly be 'victorious'. These peopel loathe one another, and with every battle and every death, they loathe one another more. They want us to leave, and even at the rate of 20 billion dollars a month, we are not close to any sort of unity government in Iraq.

Perhaps Baghdad can be pacified for a while, as Saigon was pacified in Vietnam. But that means nothing in the bigger picture.

]Victory is never going to happen. There are too many sides to this mess for their to be a victor.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

sirs

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2007, 03:04:27 PM »
Victory is never going to happen.

LOL...and they try to call me Mr Negative.  Hey, by all means, you folks make that your campaign platform for the upcoming elections
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2007, 03:13:43 PM »
I makes not one whit of difference what the slogans are, there cannot be a victory for the US in Iraq. I suppose this could be said to have occurred when all the Iraqis make nice to one another, and agree on a pro-American government that will leave Israel alone and not support the Palestinians in any way.

One really stupid incompetent president can screw things up for generations.

"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

Richpo64

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2007, 03:20:03 PM »
>>One really stupid incompetent president can screw things up for generations.<<

That's true. Look at what Jimmy Carter did to the Middle East.

sirs

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2007, 03:25:11 PM »
One really stupid incompetent president can screw things up for generations.

I wouldn't be so hard on Carter & Clinton.  I'm sure they meant well.  I hear Clinton could even "feel your pain"
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Amianthus

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2007, 03:44:14 PM »
I hear Clinton could even "feel your pain"

You sure that was "pain" he was "feeling"?
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

sirs

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2007, 03:48:53 PM »
D'OH......not going there...NOT going there

 :o
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

gipper

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Re: Success is not an option
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2007, 04:23:11 PM »
The Iraq War was the biggest foreign policy blunder in American history. (To be sure, swept up in the hysteria, informed by misleading data and trusting untrustworthy leaders, while urging more time "for inspections to work," I nonetheless went along with the general sweep towards war, voicing both its advantages (myopically seen) and its disadvantages.) In my view, there is no question that any of a number of other courses that were not followed would have been preferable to what actually happened -- and the costs thus far suffered. One major change would have been to execute the war competently, thus foreshortening it and preventing al Qaeda from getting a foothold in Iraq.

But faced with a mangled situation, in some respects the surge appears to be a very good temporary response: violence is down, people feel more secure and al Qaeda seems to be on the run. Nonetheless, the long-range, internal and structural problem stoked by the war -- internecine Sunni-Shiite civil war and political impasse over the domestic hegemony of the country -- seethes unchecked under the surface with no indicators that a stable political solution is anywhere within contemplation let alone reach.

Given this situation -- and addressing the need for prophylactics against outright civil war in the wake of an American withdrawal -- it is rational and potentially very wise to focus on withdrawal as the next step in resolving the Iraq impasse, for all the reasons the Democratic candidates have been arguing. The alternative is a commitment to a military solution -- which virtually all of the brightest minds agree is not possible as a standalone proposition -- and the continuation of the bleeding of our blood and treasure in the impossible task of managing from the outside Iraq's internal politics. This is not to say a hands-off policy is in order. No, a new and enlightened policy is required. Yes, we should fight al Qaeda wherever they are consistent with international law, but, no, we should not immerse ourselves in the mire of internecine conflict.

There are alternatives at this point: an enlightened and comprehensive diplomatic offensive involving all parties concerned, the catalyst of removing an occupying force. This latter suggestion MUST be studied for it rationally could swing the dynamics in Iraq dramatically. And there are other solutions that creative minds can concoct.

The damage from the Iraq War to date may never be overcome. The sleeping giant Iran has awakened and intends to be the power in the region absent the balance of Iraqi vigilance. This could induce a more radical character to the whole region, in a sense institutionalizing our own worst nemesis. The idea now -- similar to what the Iraq Study Commission proposed -- is to manage a very bad situation in the very best way possible from herein on out. The Democrat's ideas just may be superior in this regard, and the Administration's may just be a perpetuation of the Ugly American syndrome, which exaggerated causes most of our foreign policy woes. A temporary success by the best fighting forces on earth does not change that dynamic, nor does guaratee an outcome whose structure is presently beyond our control.