It’s a sound plan,
but Bush can’t sell it
By Brad Warthen
Editorial Page Editor
WE HAVE in place much of what we need to succeed in Iraq. We have a new, comprehensive plan that corrects many of the mistakes of the past three years. We have new leadership on the ground, in the form of a general who has shown that he knows what it takes to win this war.
We just need a better salesman.
If you saw and heard President Bush’s address to the nation live Wednesday night, and listened with an open mind, you probably still went away saying, “Huh? How is this going to improve the situation?”
I’m glad that wasn’t my first impression. I missed the live broadcast. And before watching a replay of the Bush speech, I called U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.
George W. Bush has two, and only two, virtues as our commander in chief: He understands, on some fundamental, gut level, how important it is that we succeed. And he won’t give up. Those are fine, but they’re not enough.
We need someone in charge who is able to communicate to the nation why we need to be in Iraq, how we need to proceed, and why that course of action can work. He needs to persuade fair-minded people to believe him, and to follow.
Of course, he has to have a good plan to start with. If I had heard him tell about it first, I would doubt that he does.
In fairness, it helps if you start by asking the right question. The president was trying to talk to a nation that polls tell him is asking, “Why on Earth are you sending more troops?” I asked Sen. Graham, “Why on Earth do you think 20,000 will be enough?”
Sen. Graham and his friend and ally Sen. John McCain have maintained that we need more troops in Iraq. The senator from Arizona has insisted that it needed to be a lot more. But Sen. Graham had indicated he was pleased with this smaller “surge.” Why? Because it’s a part, and not the largest part, of a comprehensive new approach that stresses diplomatic, economic and political initiatives.
The military mission is specific: Put in enough troops to provide security in Baghdad and increase our muscle over on the Syrian border, in Anbar province.
Here are some critical points related by Sen. Graham that the president failed to get across:
- Tremendous pressure is being placed on the Shia-dominated Iraqi government to ensure Sunni leaders that their people will get their cut of the country’s oil wealth. Assure them that their tribe will not starve out in the cold, and you remove ordinary Sunni Arab insurgents’ motivation to kill Shiites. That removes the cloak of legitimacy from the Shiite militias, which their communities will no longer see as essential to their protection. Extremists — Shia and Sunni — become isolated. Neighbors start dropping a dime on IED factories. We destroy those, and we largely eliminate the cause of 80 percent of current U.S. casualties.
- None of the above can happen without the capital being secure. How would such a small surge make that happen? It would double the U.S. combat capability in the capital, a force that would be multiplied by embedding the U.S. troops in the Iraqi units that will have the job of actually kicking down doors and cleaning up militant neighborhoods (one idea taken from the Iraq Study Group). As the president did mention, those neighborhoods will no longer be “off limits”; the Maliki government can no longer protect the Sadr militia.
- The brigade sent to Anbar would have interdiction as a large part of its mission. Amazingly, we have never shut down the terrorist superhighway flowing out of Syria; this would address that.
- The pivotal role of the new U.S. commander, Gen. David H. Petraeus. Sen. Graham describes the plan not as what President Bush wants to do, but what Gen. Petraeus wants to do. He doesn’t say Congress needs to listen to the president. He says “Listen to this new general; give him a chance to make the case.”
Who is David Petraeus? He’s a West Point graduate with a Ph.D. from Princeton. He’s the former commander of the 101st Airborne Division. Under his command, the 101st was described by the author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq as the one Army outfit that was doing it right — providing security in its area, and winning hearts and minds. The general himself is the author of the Army’s new manual on counterinsurgency, which applies practical tactics that work.
The president didn’t do an awful job in his speech. He explained how things went wrong, emphasizing the critical bombing of the Golden Mosque. He mentioned increased diplomatic efforts, the fact that we need to hold as well as clear dangerous areas, and that troops will now go wherever they need to go to get the job done. He let us know that even if things go perfectly, there will be more casualties.
But a wartime president who has lost the people’s trust to the degree that he has needed to go a lot farther, and the president did not. He failed to draw a clear, bright line between his past failure and a future in which we have a realistic expectation of success.
Why the president didn’t even mention the name “Petraeus,” explaining what a departure he was from the discredited Rumsfeld approach, is beyond me.
After talking to Sen. Graham, I feel a lot better about our future in Iraq. I’m still not positive that six brigades is enough, but I now have sound reasons to believe we’re finally on a better track.
I’ve put a recording of that interview on my blog. I urge you to go listen to it — and don’t miss the senator’s column on the facing page.
For that, and observations on last week’s inaugural activities, go to http://blogs.thestate.com/bradwarthensblog/.
are you suggesting this administration has a new approach to making decisions? In the past he replaced the generals who disagreed with him, replacing them with those who toe his line. In the past he shared his foresight in what would happen in Iraq as a consequence of his strategy: oil revenue, greeted as liberators, troop levels etc. All too often he was wrong. He consistently ignores any dissenting view – generals, the Commission, the American voters. He pays lip service to these views, but his efforts have been predetermined for years.
Look at Gates’ stance while part of the Commission and now regarding the surge – a 180 degree change. W’s minions are yes puppets. Critical analysis, so desperately needed for such serious issues, is absent in W’s administration regarding the Iraq crisis. It’s not a messenger problem, it’s a Decider problem.
BTW, why is it called a War? Who are we fighting?
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the whole debate on Iraq is how so many people, currently about 36% of all Americans, continue to believe people that have always, and I mean always been proven wrong on this issue. No WMD. No link to Al Quaeda. No warm welcome for our troops. No oil revenue paying for the war. No strong government following elections. No curtailment of sectarian violence. No improvement in infrastructure. No support from neighboring contries in the region. And on and on and on. So why should we believe anything they tell us?
Yet Brad, Dave, Ed and Lee continue to believe the Grahams, McCains and Liebermans of the world. The same bunch that has always been proven wrong. How gullible can you get. Brad, you’re on notice. If the surge idea fails, and we’ll know this within 6 months, you should appologize for supporting the idea.
The real change in policy is that Iraqi and coalition troops now have the greenlight to kill where in the past we had this stupidity of offlimit neighborhoods, patrol in the daytime only on highways, etc. Now, when a terrorist runs into a mosque for sanctuary, there will be no sanctuary. The sooner we kill them all the sooner we can stabilize the region. So it’s high time to get on with it. Kurds have been brought down to secure Baghdad. They are not cut and runners so watch the body count soar on the terrorist side. Get the popcorn ready, the movie is about to start.
Dave, I’ll get the popcorn when you get some sort of role other than cheerleader for this disaster.
Undoubtedly the body count will soar. AMERICANS will be dying at far faster rates when they’re divided into smaller units spending nights in vulnerable neighborhood police stations and days patrolling in unarmored pickup trucks.
You think that adding the third ethnic group that hates the other two (and vice a versa) is the answer? Do you also use gasoline to control raging brush fires?
As bud notes above, your side has been exactly wrong on every question. Our best course is to impeach Bush/Cheney and then do precisely the opposite of everything that they planned.
No, Bush cannot sell this plan. Leonard Pitts uses precise language in today’s column to explain why:
“I know that we’ve been misled to an awful intersection of history where there are no good options, only options in varying shades of bad.
I know how tempting it is to say we ought to wash our hands of this mess and bring our men and women home.
I know that it still strikes me as wrong, for reasons both moral and pragmatic, to come in, blow up these people’s country, then walk away and leave them in the rubble.
Most of all, though, I know this: I do not trust my leaders. And politics is not the only, or even the primary, reason. No, at the end of the day, this is a question of character.
From the beginning, the architects of this war have shown a frightening nonchalance toward truth, a troubling willingness to treat fact as optional. Where reality has collided with political expedience, political expedience has invariably won. Where it has been inconvenient, it has simply been ignored.”
There is no question that America must take grim action. But how can anyone have faith in an administration that has repeatedly betrayed the public trust and shown utter contempt for its employers, the American people?
I will say that, so far, Lindsey Graham has not given me reason doubt his commitment to service, his intelligence or his understanding that the world is flat (thank you Thomas Friedman). But have I stood for too long in wide-eyed, open-mouthed horror as I watched Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld trip the light fantastic down a blind alley and lie, lie, lie without even caring if the rest of America believed them. I deeply mistrust anyone associated with this administration.
I believe that a troop surge will occur, now or later. I believe that we cannot blithely walk away from the train wreck in Iraq. And I believe that this leadership is the most deficient in America’s history. I am not placing my faith in Graham… I have no faith left to place. But my job as a citizen is to choose the most expert leader available at the moment. For this moment, it must be Lindsey Graham.
Here we go again. Which is worse? -The Iraq fiasco and the devastating consequences that the Iraqi people have suffered as a consequence of our actions, or the ill effects of the neo conservative/ neo liberal ideology on the former democratic republic of the United States? Undoubtedly, one is a subset and consequence of the other, yet the bloody mess in Iraq gives us a more visceral sense of disgust. Logically, the only way to keep another Iraq form happening is to fix the domestic political situation at home. When your senators and the editor of the local paper are out of touch with reality, then you and I have a serious problem. All of this leads back to how these people came into power to begin with-how the US became a plutocracy, and how people such as Warthen and Graham ended up running the show. How does an honest person raise four to eight million dollars to fund a senate campaign? How can a sane, fair, unbiased person be selected as an editor of a major newspaper when obviously he is expected to be a sycophant for the moneyed interests that fund the paper? What happens when the same people who fund the political system also fund the media?
Long before we stepped foot into Iraq, America degenerated into something almost unrecognizable. Wealth inequality doubled as free market capitalism was allowed to take its course. Predictably, today the US has almost reached the mathematical limits of wealth inequality for a stable economy. Back in the fifties and sixties, the top 1% owned about 20% of the wealth (as is till true in Western Europe and Japan) whereas now the top 1% owns about 37% of the wealth and the bottom 60% owns only 5% of the wealth.
Wealth inequality is important in the political sense because in a capitalist society it takes surplus wealth to fund things like political campaigns and newspapers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the political system and the media have been controlled by a wealthy, radicalized elite who inevitably make policy to benefit themselves rather than the population at large. Ordinary people have been pretty much removed from the process other than being forced to choose between two corporatized candidates.
You don’t have to look far to see the damage either. I can take just a quarter of a mile drive in either direction from my dwelling to see the heights of opulence on the one hand, and third world style conditions on the other. Ugly strip malls are everywhere, and payday loan places abound. You get constant offers from criminal credit card companies and banks that charge different rates based on, in effect, the economic class of the people that have to use credit cards. They sock working class and poor people with 24% interests, yet let people with money off easy with low interests rates. People who can no longer “qualify” for credit cards have to use the payday loan or cash for title loan sharks.
Where is Lindsey Graham? Where is Warthen? Sure, they’ll pay lip service to the problem, but when push comes to shove, they’ll use euphemisms and address only the most egregious examples. They’ll never question the system itself as being the problem because the people that fund them are the ones usurping the money. It always goes back to the money. Is this the type of “democracy” that they are planning on forcing onto Iraq? If so, God help them.
What about unions and the right to collective bargaining? If we are this great democracy, then why don’t people have the right to form unions here in SC and much of the rest of the US? The right to form unions is a basic right of people everywhere within Western Democracies. What happens when the Iraqi people want to create unions to defend themselves against rapacious corporations and creditors? Will Warthen and Graham be for democracy then? What happens when the Iraqi people try to nationalize their corporations, as any sane, fair society will try to do? Will Warthen and Graham preach democracy then? Hmm? What happens when the Iraqi people resist Globalization and privatization-will Graham and Warthen send kisses and flowers then? I doubt it.
We can no more spread democracy in Iraq than a tiger can change his stripes. We’re not a democracy, so how are we going to make Iraq a democracy? We’re not. Warthen, Graham, and their ilk may however turn Iraq into a vassal state and call it democratic-if we let them.
As much as I hate to admit it I secretly hope the surge plan goes forward in the exact form the president has proposed. If it works, we’ll have success in Iraq and in a short time security and demorcacy will emerge. Yes, I will have been proven wrong, but as an American how can I not feel the pride in our nation’s success in an extrodinarily difficult mission.
On the other hand, if it fails, we’ll have 100%, undeniable proof, beyond any shadow of a doubt that we simply cannot succeed in Iraq in the way the neo-cons suggest. We will have tried the kill, kill, kill approach and with failure comes resolution. No candidate can possibly be elected president with any kind of stay the course agenda. We will be out of Iraq shortly after the 2008 election. So Brad, Dave, Ed and the rest, this is your last chance. Whether you like it or not Brad we do have a timetable. You can’t wiggle out of your support for this plan. You will be held accountable this time. There is nowhere left to hide.
Having said all that I can’t support the surge idea with a clear conscience. It’s simply too stupid of an idea to subject our troops and the people of Iraq to. I support the Kennedy resolution to cut off funding for this plan. Let’s see how this all plays out over the next 6 months.
I had a long list of issues that I wanted to cover in this blog. But, The entries below covered all of them so well I will only add two.
From the very beginning we have made mistake after mistake including unilaterally attacking a sovereign nation that was no threat to us. My first comment is that the reason we have done that is because as westerners we simply do not comprehend the eastern mind. We make decisions based on things that worked well when we were involved in wars with western countries. Those kinds of decisions will not work in the mid east.
I read all the editorials in the Sunday paper and listened to the interview with Lindsey Graham as best I could. My computer didn’t do really well with that, but I got part of it. In all of that I found nothing to encouraged me that the so called “New way forward” was anything more than warmed over grits.
Second, I am sure most of you remember that old domino theory that got us into that quagmire in Vietnam. Isn’t it interesting that after we “cut and ran” from Vietnam they went on to become the most advanced and stable economy in that part of the world. No dominos and no problems to the USA.
No, I don’t buy the idea that 21,500 more Americans put into harm’s way is going to stabilize that government. No, I don’t believe that Iraq is a threat to the US except for the oil. And no, I don’t trust anything Bush and company might propose. When Bush screams that his critics should put forth a solution rather than just criticize him I feel like crying. They have led us into such a mess that there are no good solutions. There are only bad or worse solutions. In this case “Cut and Run” is just as promising as the “Surge.”
David, after Vietnam was abandoned about 2 million people were slaughtered by the communists. Are you aware of that fact?
Dave offers yet another non sequitur. Vietnam is friendly to the U.S. and a vibrant, progressive nation, just as David said. But Dave ignores that and goes off on an irrelevant tangent. Besides Dave, since when did the slaughter of innocent people bother you. You equated the deaths of all the Iraqis during our war as the death of enemy combatants.
Liberals don’t care about communists killing innocent people. They sat around making excuses for Stalin, Hitler, Uncle Ho, Pol Pot, Aristide, Castro….
Lee, is Dave a liberal because he doesn’t care about innocent Iraqis being killed or do you restrict your humanitarian concern to innocent people killed by Communists only?
The latter must be the case because Reagan, Rumsfeld and Cheney supported Saddam during Reagan’s two terms. In fact, they supplied the raw materials for the chemical weapons that were used to slaughter the Kurds.
And, of course, Reagan, Ollie North and various people whom Dear Leader tapped for his administration helped facilitate the slaughters of innocent people in Central America during the Iran-Contra criminal enterprise.
Liberals certainly don’t need any lectures from you about human rights.
So 2 million people who would have preferred to live free in Vietnam and Cambodia are irrelevant, Bud? That is the same line the cut and run crowd would use on millions of dead Iraqis if we abandoned them. The good thing is Bush will not give in to the surrender monkeys on the left and in fact, finally, has approved the much tougher approach on terrorists that we should have used from the beginning. So Hurl, Bud, David, and the rest, get used to sitting around with your thumbs in a dark place crying your eyes out while we WIN this thing.
The time has come for the Bush-Cheney Administration to level with the American people about how much their ill-conceived and ill-executed “War on Terror” has cost the national treasury, how those costs have been paid for, and how future costs will be paid for. In addition, I hereby challenge Brad to answer one simple question: Would you support the imposition of a surcharge on corporate and personal income taxes to pay for the “War on Terror” that you so steadfastly embrace?
It’s a tragedy that so many people died in the aftermath of our misadventure in Vietnam. But millions also died while we were there, many as the direct result of our actions. The slaughter Dave speaks of is an indirect cost the world paid for our misguied imperialistic adventure in Vietnam. Had we avoided involvment in the first place the sorting out process would likely have been far less deadly.
But once all the bloodshed finally ended Vietnam joined the nations of the world as a vibrant and friendly country. That was not the outcome predicted by the conservatives at the time. No, conservatives trotted out this falling dominoes theory. They launched this campaign of fear that the whole world would go communist if we failed in Vietnam. Of course that’s not what happened. We didn’t have to fight endless battles with the communists. In fact it was the communist nations that ultimately collapsed on their own accord, exactly the opposite of what was predicted by the conservatives of the day.
It was the conservatives who were wrong then, have been wrong about everything concerning Iraq now and will likely be wrong about everything related to national security in the future. Since we’ve upset the equilibrium in the region there may be a sorting out process after we leave. But that will have little effect on our security. Why 36% of the American public still trusts the administration’s judgement is the only remaining mystery.
John nails the one of the fundamental deceptions and duplicities of the Bush Administration: “liberating” Iraq will be cheap and we can cut taxes (mainly for the top 5% of the wealthiest) while waging war.
Which Bush Administration neo-con claimed that Iraq’s oil revenues would pay for the war? Instead Bush is charging billions to our national credit card (read our children and grandchildren). If we had to pay war costs out of current revenues then you’d see an immediate taxpayers’ revolt.
It’s just another Bush lie. The bizarre aspect is that some of the True Believers choose to believe their own fantasies and ignore reality. They have to live in a fantasy world. Otherwise, they’d have to face up to the titanic disaster that they’ve led this nation into.
Some, like Brad, cling to a shred of hope that increasing our troop strength by 15% will magically hit the “tipping point.” Brad chooses to remain conveniently ignorant that his military savior has co-written a manual which recommends 650,000 troops to occupy a population the size of Iraq’s.
Others, like Lee and Dave, desperately buy into any load of BS. “We only have to kill 15,000 insurgents and problem solved.” They plug their ears and hum loudly when anyone points out that the Mahdi militia alone numbers 10,000 fighters (supported by 2.5 million Baghdadis).
Those of us in the reality-based community have ceased believing Dear Leader’s fairy tales long ago as experience has proved them demonstrably false.
Only the purple kool-aid drinkers wipe their mouths, grin vacantly and say “More, please sir.”
War costs are hitting historic proportions
The price tag for the Iraq conflict and overall effort against terrorism is expected to surpass Vietnam’s next year.
By Joel Havemann, LA Times Staff Writer
January 14, 2007
WASHINGTON — By the time the Vietnam war ended in 1975, it had become America’s longest war, shadowed the legacies of four presidents, killed 58,000 Americans along with many thousands more Vietnamese, and cost the U.S. more than $660 billion in today’s dollars.
By the time the bill for World War II passed the $600-billion mark, in mid-1943, the United States had driven German forces out of North Africa, devastated the Japanese fleet in the Battle of Midway, and launched the vast offensives that would liberate Europe and the South Pacific.
The Iraq war is far smaller and narrower than those conflicts, and it has not extended beyond the tenure of a single president. But its price tag is beginning to reach historic proportions, and the budgetary “burn rate” for Iraq may be greater than in some periods in past wars.
If U.S. involvement continues on the current scale, the funding for the Iraq war — combined with the conflict in Afghanistan and other foreign fronts in the war on terrorism — is projected to surpass this country’s Vietnam spending next year.
And the accumulating cost is adding to resistance to President Bush’s war policy in Congress as well as in public opinion, even though concern about the cost in human lives, the war’s impact on America’s place in the world and other such factors loom larger.
Last week, when Bush unveiled his new war plan — which included sending an additional 21,500 U.S. troops to Iraq and launching another effort to provide jobs and public services in Baghdad — the cost issue was raised by Republicans as well as Democrats.
It’s hard to believe, but there are a few sane and intelligent and perceptive analysts working for the current Administration; unfortunately, most of their analyses and advice falls on deaf ears in the Oval Office. I highly recommend reading this profile of one such individual, David Kilcullen, a deputy co-ordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department. Highly refreshing to find someone who by no means minimizes the terrorist threat, but who, unlike our President, does not espouse the ESPN approach to that threat and world affairs in general. Those of you on all sides of the argument who are interested in actual information will want to check this out.
Sorry to post 2 in a row, but I just needed to add this:
Bush, Graham, and others keep repeating words to the effect that “at least THIS is a plan, those who oppose this surge offer no plan in its place.” This, like most other verbiage we hear from the crowd that got us into this ill-conceived mess in the first place, is absolute baloney.
The plan is outlined here and it gains supporters every day. More than likely it is what will actually happen once this pointless surge fails to achieve the unachievable.
Bud, you may need to do some historical research on the Vietnam conflict. It was a war started by Democrats and escalated by Democrats. JFK committed us fully into the conflict and then LBJ threw everything but the kitchen sink into it later in a failed politically correct war strategy. Can you imagine fighting the N. Vietnamese but setting limits on attacking that nation and its people. Hanoi should have been flattened and vaporized but we wanted to fight nice, so as not to defend the Chinese and Russians. But again, if you think conservatives led this effort, you are way off base.
In answer to John re a tax increase: Hell, yes. Amen, brother. I’m sick of this insanity of waging a war while cutting taxes.
That’s the very least all of us should be doing, is paying for it.
You are free to impose a tax increase on yourself, just as you are free to draft yourself. Might I suggest that you simply remit an additional 38% of your federal tax liability to the federal government? That way, you will at least be paying as much into the federal treasury as you are taking out.
Or you can continue to sit around, contributing nothing toward the war you advocate, other than to call on sacrifices from others.
Please tell me that you took the time to read the following excellent article posted on the McClatchy Washington Bureau website. Also tell me why the State has chosen not to print his article in its entirety. Is it because it documents how loose the Bush-Cheney Regime has been with the truth?
Posted on Sun, Jan. 14, 2007
Administration leaving out important details on Iraq
By MARK SEIBEL
WASHINGTON – President Bush and his aides, explaining their reasons for sending more American troops to Iraq, are offering an incomplete, oversimplified and possibly untrue version of events there that raises new questions about the accuracy of the administration’s statements about Iraq.
You and your readers can access the entire article by clicking on:
Now that you have publicly declared the need to increase federal taxes to finance the Bush-Cheney Regime’s “War on Terror” are you prepared to publicly demand that Senators Graham and DeMint and Congressman Joe Wilson introduce the appropriate legislation to do so?
Raising taxes is both unnecessary and wrong. If you look at the facts and see that tax revenues are up and the deficit is down primarily due to a tax cut, then only a fool would raise taxes. That action will throw this nation’s economy into a downturn and do exactly opposite of what the proposers want. The simple answer is for liberals who want higher taxes to simply pay them voluntarily. But we know the problem with that is liberals want to tax OTHERS, while working vigorously to avoid paying their own taxes. We as a society are paying a heavy tax because all oil based products are up at least 25% due to the terrorist actions. Also, the hidden costs to society for all of the new security and time lost because of the terrorist acts amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars. So, we are paying new hidden taxes right now.
Video (graphic) from Iraq showing results of the Surge
Another try at the link. Fascinating war video
US Army destroying insurgents!
World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the first Gulf War were all waged on a pay-as-you-go basis. If the Bush-Cheney Administration has its way, future generations of unborn Americans will be paying for this generation’s war. Prior Presidents, both Democrat and Republican, were wise and courageous enough to know that such an approach was not in the nation’s best interest. George w. Bush just doesn’t seem to measure up.
The surge has yet to happen, Dave. The surge will put 75% of the additional troops in the hostile slums of Baghdad– not pulling (apparently) casualty-free ambushes, as the video shows.
According to NBC News the Americans will be stationed in vulnerable Iraqi Police stations. Instead of patrolling out of large, secure bases Americans troops will be imperiled 24/7. The math dictates that the American troops will be divided into small squads attached to Shia dominated Iraqi police/army units. These units are riddled with insurgent sympathizers or outright members of the Shia militias. Operational secrecy will be difficult, if not impossible.
This plan is irresponsible to the point of criminality. American troops in these units will be the sacrificed on the altar of Bush stubbornness and stupidity.
It is especially instructive to note that this plan is the brainchild of a neo-con academic, Frederick Kagan, whose area of expertise is studying Napoleon.
Most Americans would laugh incredulously if they knew that American troops are still be victims of neo-con stupidity after they’ve been proven wrong about every single major aspect of the war.
11/15/06- Gen. Abizaid in reply to Sen. McCain during hearing…
ABIZAID: Senator McCain, I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the core commander, General Dempsey, we all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American Troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is because we want the Iraqis to do more. It is easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.
RTH, we both agree this plan is monumentally bad. But is there any realistic way to prevent it? It seems the only things congress can do is cut off funding for the whole misguided endevour or pass some sort of non-binding resolution. Either way the Dems will be branded with the “abandoning the troops” mantra. Tragic as this all is the dems may have not choice but to sit back and watch the train wreck unfold. Then and only then will the outcry from the American public become so intense the only course of action left will be the one we know to be correct today: Withdrawal.
I trust that Dave knows that the federal government’s deficit is humongus and grows by leaps and bounds each day. Financial instiutiuon in China, Japan and Europe have been financing that deficit. What happens when they decide it is no longer in their best interest to do so? Will the good old USA be begging debt foregiveness?
If that weren’t bad enough, personal debt in the USA is at an all time high. What happens when that house of cards come crashing down upon us?
Our society, collectively and individually, does not know how to live within its means. Waging wars of choice for no good reason is certainly somehting we can and should discontinue immediately. They cost big bucks and acheive nothing but death and destruction and sow the seeds for future wars. Reality is not a vido game!
Let’s see we’ve had:
1. Shock and Awe
2. Stay the Course
3. A New Way Forward
4. Go Long
5. The Surge
6. Troop Augmentation
7. Tactical Redeployment
Is there really any difference?
bud, the symbolic vote is about the best that can be done currently.
At the end of Incurious George’s second term, if the Dems handle it correctly, we should begin to stuff the facist, homicidal maniacs back into their caves for another generation. Like we did after Goldwater.
Unfortunately, it won’t be as easy because the oligarchs have bought their own media, educational institutions, political organizations, think tanks and propaganda organs. They have infected an entire generation’s thought processes. At best, we can politically quarantine them to the former-confederate states and a few sparsely settled reactionary midwestern states.
John, 9-11 was not a video game either. Then again, the media most liberals watch refuse to show the videos of the towers being hit, people jumping from the 81st floor, etc. so we can keep the sheeple numb and insulated to the real reality called terrorism. Watch the show “24” to see what awaits us soon. As far as the left is concerned, the Muslims want suitcase nukes ONLY to generate power. And also, Vietnam created huge deficit spending with LBJ’s Guns and Butter programs. Are you old enough to remember any of it?
Reality paging Dave!
Vietnam created huge deficit spending with LBJ’s Guns and Butter programs.
What’s the difference between LBJ’s deficit spending and and Dear Leader’s?
Dear Leader limits the butter to the top 5% of the wealthiest.
U.S. Comptroller sees long-term need for tax hikes
Thu Jan 11, 2007
WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Tax increases are essential to avoiding long-term fiscal ruin and overcoming a “demographic tsunami” that would eventually swamp the U.S. budget with senior citizen health care and retirement costs, Comptroller General David Walker told Congress on Thursday.
At a Senate Budget Committee hearing on America’s long-term budget outlook, Walker urged Congress to waste no time in cutting spending on massive government programs, many of which will grow significantly as large numbers of “baby boomers” retire.
But Walker also warned the new Democrat-controlled committee that cutting spending will not be enough.
Tax revenues at the current 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product “won’t get the job done,” said Walker, who heads the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
Republicans have been steadfast against any federal tax increases and are hoping to make permanent a series of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts that expire after 2010, despite the hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenues.
Asked what level U.S. taxes revenues should be at, Walker said, “I can’t tell you an exact number … but more than 18.2 percent (of GDP), but below 25 percent.”
Since nearly the beginning of Bush’s presidency, the U.S. has suffered chronic budget deficits caused by a combination of a then-slowing economy, huge new domestic security costs, the war in Iraq, tax cuts and rapidly growing government health care costs for senior citizens.
[At least, two of these factors were the result of Dear Leader’s conscious choice.]
Those deficits peaked at a record $412.7 billion in fiscal 2004 before falling to $247.7 billion by fiscal 2006.
They would be significantly higher, however, when taking into account government programs paid with annual Social Security surpluses, which will last for only 10 more years. Without this diversion of retirement money, the fiscal 2006 budget deficit would have been about $434 billion, Walker noted.
“The picture I will lay out for you today is not a pretty one and it’s getting worse with the passage of time,” Walker said.
For example, in 2000, the government’s major future liabilities, including publicly-held debt, Social Security and Medicare and other pension-related costs, totaled about $20 trillion, Walker said. By 2006, he said that figure had grown to about $50 trillion.
“Watch the show “24” to see what awaits us soon.”
Yeah… this guy’s a real academic.
I was born in 1943. All three of my mothr’s brothers, my uncles, served in WWII. One of was killed in the Battle of the Bulge and is buried in Belgum. WWII was a necessary and just war.
I oppossed the Viet Nam War from the get go because I knew it was totally unecessary and unwinnable — as the French well knew from prior experience.
I opposed the Iraq War from the get go because I knew it was totally unecessary and unwinable — as the British well knew from prior experience.
If you favor waging war then you damn well better have a plan to pay for it. Don’t put the burden on future generations because you are afraid to ask the current generation to pay the price.
It’s totally insane and irresponsible to wage war and at the same time reduce taxes. No President has ever done that before the Bush-Cheney Regime came along.
Hurl, the difference is that under Bush our tax revenue and collection has been going up WHILE he has cut taxes. What part of that formula is confusing to you?
John, you forgot to mention the War on Poverty. $7 trillion dollars have been spent on that war and it’s not being won.
You state that the US has spent $7 trillion on the War on Poverty. What is your source for that figure? Over what period of time has this occurred? What is the definition of the War on Poverty? How many people were killed and maimed under the War on Poverty? How many sweetheart contracts were awarded to Haliburton under the War on Poverty? How many foreign countries were invaded and ransacked under the War on Poverty? How much of our Marine Corps, Army and National Guard forces were decimated under the War on Poverty? How many other countries of the world thought we had no business waging the War on Poverty?
PS — If you know anything about history, you know that the War on Poverty was dismantled by Richard Nixon and his successors. It hasn’t existed for decades.
John, I would add that millions of Americans, including many children, were afforded a better way of life thanks to the anti-poverty programs the right likes to ridicule. Few people in this country actually starve to death. So on the one hand we have welfare for children, which, despite it’s many flaws, has largely succeeded. And on the other hand we have welfare for corporations which has only made a handful of very rich people a little bit richer.
Getting back to the subject at hand. It appears that congress is about to craft a resolution opposing the president’s “Surge” idea. Good for them. As it stands now I’m going to support John Edwards for president. This comment he made recently is so incredibly astute, and about time:
“If you’re in Congress and you know this war is going in the wrong direction, it is no longer enough to study your options and keep your own counsel. Silence is betrayal. Speak out, and stop this escalation now. You have the power to prohibit the president from spending any money to escalate the war — use it.”
Dave, you remind me of the new widget factory owner bragging to his golfing buddies about increase gross income.
“How’d you do that?” asks one of his buddies.
“Simple. I started selling widgets below cost. I’ll make a killing on the volume.”
If you don’t understand the analogy ask someone to help you out.
Make that “…increasing gross income.”
Methinks we may have beaten this horse to death. It’s time to move on. It’s been fun.
Even Oliver North is against Iraq ’surge’
Do you think President Bush could be doing the “surge” just to hold off a civil war till he leaves office?
DP-Virginia is home to three gallant, patriotic men with much in common. They are all three ex-Marines. They are all three highly decorated Vietnam veterans. They all sought at one time or another to be our junior senator. One lost his bid, another won his, and the third both won and lost. Our state can be proud of all three, and grateful for their service to our country.
I refer, of course, to Chuck Robb, Jim Webb and Oliver North. Strange bedfellows, nicht wahr? One may challenge any suggestion that the similarities I cited can withstand the drastically divergent political paths they have trodden since Vietnam. Before Wednesday night, I would agree, they had nothing in common. Now, it appears, George Bush has given them common cause.
North writes, “Not one of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen or Marines I interviewed told me that they wanted more U.S. boots on the ground. In fact, nearly all expressed just the opposite: ‘We don’t need more American troops, we need more Iraqi troops,’ was a common refrain. They are right.”
I watched the latest debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. Although the “town-hall”-style TV debate attracted more than 60 million viewers, the majority were not satisfied with countless indirect answers to many of the questions that were asked that night. Instead of providing firm resolution for the well-being of all Americans, they hope to bring on a larger number of citizens to take sides by means of personal criticism. McCain continued to proclaim his “stay the course” stance on Iraq and his oil drilling policies. On the other hand, Obama carried on criticizing Republican policies that he claimed have led to America’s current recession. This unremitting action of theirs only leaves us wondering exactly how either of them would work to prevent further economic catastrophes. America needs a logical economic proposal. Obama encourages the scheme to wipe out the payday loan industry, which is not a logical solution to the real economic problems we face. This is only to add more flavors for the banking and credit union appetizer.
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