Veto it

Veto it, Mr. President. Veto it, and then, if you are so inclined, say "Mission Accomplished," for you will have done your duty as commander in chief.

Bushtoday Once you’re done, take a long, hard look in the mirror, to see the guy who lost the support of the American people — support that is essential to eventual success in this war.

Over the past four years, you have only gotten one thing right: You have understood that our troops will have to be in Iraq for the rest of your presidency, and most likely through the administration of the next president — and quite likely longer than that. But through your lack of political and diplomatic leadership, you have gotten more of them killed than had to be.

Sure, much of the world would have been against you anyway — it was in the interests of the French, Germans and Russians to oppose you on this and other things. Ironically, though, the Germans have since then elected a more friendly administration, and the French appear poised to do so. But your policies have alienated even our friends in Britain, and undermined our best friend of all, Tony Blair. If only he could have led this coalition.

Worse, you have lost the faith of Americans — through your long refusal to throw out the bankrupt Rumsfeld approach, for the atmosphere you and A.G. Gonzales created that encouraged the abuses of Abu Ghraib, you have allowed the insurgency to flourish, and made enemies where we might have had friends, or at least neutrals.

You only got one thing right. You knew that we could not desert Iraq once we had toppled Saddam.

But anybody can get one thing right. Even Mike Gravel. He really nailed it when he challenged the other candidates on the stage last week in Orangeburg, asking them if they thought you were kidding about staying in Iraq? If they didn’t believe that, they were fooling themselves and their supporters. If they did believe that, then their cheering Congress on as it sends you this unconscionably cynical spending bill is beyond appalling.

You’ll do your duty, the only way you can do it at this point. And those who sent you that bill, knowing you would veto it, will share a full measure of culpability for this detestable slap at the troops who depend on our material support — though we give them so little of any other kind. Yes, they are the ones who keep sending encouragement to the terrorists, offering timetables to let them know how long they have to hold out, how many more suicide bombers they have to recruit, how many more IEDs to plant, before we get out of their way so they can REALLY rip into each other.

But don’t forget to blame everyone who deserves it. Don’t you dare let yourself off the hook.

37 thoughts on “Veto it

  1. Doug Ross

    Maybe GWB needs to look in the mirror and say, “You’re doing a heck of a job, Bushie!”… then award himself the Medal of Freedom.
    This is Bush’s War. The only major task he ever could claim responsibility for in his entire life and he, as they say in Texas, screwed the pooch.
    Let’s never forget that he started this “war” based on faulty/rigged intelligence… the objective has changed to meet the ever-deteriorating circumstances.
    Planning? FAILED.
    Execution? FAILED.
    Leadership? FAILED.
    Legacy? FAILURE.

  2. Brad Warthen

    A few minutes after posting this (I started writing it before Bush vetoed the bill, then found as soon as I posted it he had just done so), I got a release from the folks at Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, about whom I have previously written, headlined, "The Will of a Nation vs. the Stubbornness of One Man."

    Well, since I agree with the president on this (if on nothing else), make that two men.

    But then, before I could post this comment, I got a statement from Lindsey Graham’s office, in which he said only this:

    “President Bush is right to veto this legislation. It would have ensured our nation’s defeat in a war we cannot afford to lose.”

    So make it three. Anybody else out there?

  3. Ready to Hurl

    “Can’t afford to lose?”
    That train has left the station but it appears that at three supposedly intelligent observers are still clinging to illusions.

  4. Randy E

    Brad, at what point will pulling out of Iraq be in keeping with patriotism? When Iraq is a self-sustaining democracy? When Iraq is secure even if not democratic? When the civil war is completely over? When the civil war is in recession? When Al-quida is completely removed?
    Do we maintain troops through the next generation to achieve this? How long is too long or is it until the mission is accomplished?
    Can you and that other person who supports the “War” define the benchmark for pulling out?

  5. Carol Hathaway

    Mr. Warthen attaches a greater importance to the fact that he and Mr. Graham support the President’s veto of the troop funding bill than I do. Firstly, the fact that three people share the same viewpoint is typically unimportant, when their views are opposed to those of a great majority of the public.
    Now, this isn’t always the case. A single man, or a few men, may oppose the great majority because of great courage, great wisdom, or great integrity.
    Think of John Kerry, and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, who bravely stood against the crimes and folly of the United States government.
    Think of Albert Einstein, who alone had the ability to create a framework explaining why light always travels at the same velocity to an observer.
    Think of George Tenet, who ,when the Bush Administration tried to bribe him into acquiescing in a phony case for war, indignantly spurned – sorry, sorry, got a little carried away there.
    But in many, many, many cases, especially in cases where the public has changed course upon sober consideration of events, the public is right and the scattered voices opposing the majority viewpoint are wrong. Obviously, President Bush’s failings are well known. The fact that Mr. Warthen and Mr. Graham agree with his viewpoint doesn’t suggest to me that a pair of prophets on a par with Isaiah and Jeremiah have added their voices to that of Mr. Bush.
    Mr. Warthen does not strike me as – let me put this as delicately as possible – as an exceptionally intelligent man. He does not appear to me to have an broad and deep understanding of public affairs, and he does not appear to me to put a lot of thought into his analysis and writing.
    Most of his material looks like he came in in the morning, spent about 30 minutes throwing down whatever first entered his head, and then spent the rest of the day playing Minesweeper. Perhaps he spends more than 30 minutes per day at his work; I don’t know. But if he does, I don’t understand why his work isn’t better than it is.
    But it’s clear to me that his opinion doesn’t have a weight sufficient to counterbalance the opinion of the great majority of Americans. Look at his remarks above. He doesn’t give any support for his views; his entire piece is essentially a bunch of clichés strung together, the piece he links to is nothing but a bunch of clichés strung together, and the previous piece of his that he quotes in that piece is nothing but a bunch of clichés strung together. There is no sign that Mr. Warthen has tried to understand the situation facing America, let alone succeded in understanding it.
    The addition of Mr. Graham’s support does not add significant weight. Mr. Graham’s powers of analysis and his understanding of reality seem to be as limited as those of Mr. Warthen. Mr. Graham, like Mr. Warthen, speaks in clichés and does not appear capable of forming thought outside the framework provided by those clichés.
    But there is a second reason, a more fundamental reason, why the opinion of Mr. Warthen and Mr. Graham does not provide significant authority supporting the President’s point of view.
    It is this: Mr. Warthen and Mr. Graham do not believe what they’re saying. Mr. Graham obviously does not believe what he’s saying, and is only saying what he does because he’s a Republican officeholder supporting a Republican president. By no means is this the first time Mr. Graham made statements he doesn’t believe, motivated solely by partisan considerations.
    Mr. Graham went to Baghdad, surrounded by soldiers, armored personnel carriers, and helicopters, to visit a market that had previously been visited by soldiers in order to make it safe, and near which snipers were mounted on rooftops. He then claimed that his visit proved that safety and security in Baghdad was improving.
    This was a lie, and he knew at the time that it was a lie. Mr. Graham made his claim because he believed it, but because he believed (falsely, as it turned out) that it could be turned to Republican advantage.
    Similarly, it seems clear to me that Mr. Warthen wrote his piece not because he believed anything in it, but because he is a Republican seeking to support the Republican party to which he belongs, and attack the Democratic party, which he opposes, and the majority of the American people that they represent.
    I want Bud to understand that when I asked him to show me why Mr. Warthen acts out of partisan considerations, I was not really doubting him, but just asking for support for his opinions. Mr. Hurl predicted that Mr. Warthen would demonstrate that he exhibited the partisanship he so decries, and I have to congratulate Mr. Hurl that his prediction didn’t take long to be borne out.
    For example, Mr. Warthen gives an example of the behavior I asked Bud to find for me, that of pretending that support for the President is the same thing as support for the troops. If Mr. Warthen really believed that President Bush’s veto of the bill funding our troops were the wrong thing to do, he would explain why this was so. Instead, he calls the Troop Funding Bill a “detestable slap at the troops. . .” Of course, the Troop Funding Bill isn’t a slap at the troops. It provides all the resources that the President asked for.
    What the Troop Funding Bill does is, it seeks to enforce the will of the American people by using the Congress’s constitutional power exert oversight on the President. The Troop Funding Bill isn’t a slap at the troops, and Mr. Warthen knows it isn’t a slap at the troops. It is an attempt to exert control over the missions to which the troops can be committed, to prevent them from being committed to a mission of infinite duration, whether or not the mission appears to carry any possibility of success.
    Mr. Warthen knows that there is no argument to be made that the mission in Iraq should be of infinite duration, but he wants that argument to be accpeted because, as a partisan Republican, he wishes to forestall opposition to the desires of a Republican president. So Mr. Warthen substitutes the troops, who have broad public support and sympathy, for the mission to which the troops have been committed, which does not have public support.
    Mr. Warthen also makes a number of additional claims that he knows are false, again because, as a Republican, he wishes to forestall opposition to the actions of a Republican president. Therefore, he makes the false claim that by placing any limitations at all on the duration of the Iraq war, the American people, through their representatives in Congress, are “encouraging the terrorists”. Mr. Warthen knows that the Congress is not encouraging the terrorists. The terrorists don’t seem to need any encouragement.
    If the war can be won, it can be won in
    5-1/2 years, which is about the total duration the Troop Funding Bill allows it.
    Mr. Warthen knows this. But as a Republican partisan, Mr. Warthen wishes to marginalize criticism of a Republican president. That’s the reason for his piece, and that’s the only reason for his piece.
    So the addition of the voices of Mr. Warthen and Mr. Graham to that of President Bush isn’t particularly compelling. If Mr. Warthen and Mr. Graham have proven anything during their lives, it is that Mr. Warthen is not Isaiah and Mr. Graham is not Jeremiah.

  6. Doug Ross

    George Will (partisan Republican) has a different perspective on Iraq than Brad:
    Stephanopoulos: If this now declared deadline of Gen. Petraeus of September, if the political goals haven’t been met by then, do you see large scale Republican defections at that point?
    Will: Absolutely. They do not want to have, as they had in 2006, another election on Iraq. George, it took 30, 40 years for the Republican Party to get out from under Herbert Hoover. People would say, “Are you going to vote for Nixon in ’60?” “No, I don’t like Hoover.” The Depression haunted the Republican Party. This could be a foreign policy equivalent of the Depression, forfeiting the Republican advantage they’ve had since the ’68 convention of the Democratic Party and the nomination of [George] McGovern. The advantage Republicans have had on national security matters may be forfeited.

  7. Brad Warthen

    George Will has always been opposed to our involvement in Iraq. Why? Because he is a conservative. I am not.
    He’s a very smart man. But his suggestion that Republican officeholders have his sense of history is amusingly and uncharacteristically generous of him.

  8. Ready to Hurl

    It’s a sense of survival, Brad. Any pol who isn’t ready to retire (or be retired) has it.
    Getting out of the way of a landslide is only common sense for average folks. Getting out of the way of an electoral landslide doesn’t take any particular grasp of history for a pol.

  9. bud

    Obviously I disagree strongly with Brad on this one. Carol has eloquently presented many good reasons why a good patriotic American should side with the Democrats on this issue. Apparently RTH does not feel the need to add much discussion or evidence to support the obvious strategy for Iraq. Neither do I at this point. Everything has already been said.
    But I would only ask Brad for one thing more: Please find some examples of a major military power succeeding in a nation-building project after it has failed for over four years to do so. That would at least provide some tiny support for the stay-the-course position that might make this discussion a little less one sided.

  10. Ready to Hurl

    Brad, at what point will pulling out of Iraq be in keeping with patriotism?

    Randy, if the decision were left up to Brad and the neo-cons, the answer is essentially “never.”
    We’ve had this discussion numerous times on this blog. Someone always mentions Japan, Germany, and Korea. The U.S. still has bases and personnel stationed in these countries over 50 years after active hostilities have ceased.
    Don’t think that the Iraqis haven’t taken note. They understand that building seven mega-bases in Iraq spells the same fate for their country.
    Blind believers in Imperial America just don’t see why an Iraqi patriot (who isn’t a fundie terrorist) would take up arms against such a “liberator.”
    I guess that Iraqi nationalists just didn’t get the memo from the Project of the New AMERICAN Century.
    Or, maybe they did.

  11. Moderate Guy

    There is noting patriotic about a political agenda which dovetails with the military strategy of Al Qaeda, and that is what the Democrats are doing.
    They ran in the last election without any platform except hating Bush. They have no plans for containing Al Qaeda, Iran, and North Korea. They place their desire to be back in total control of the government over the national interests.
    Just last week, the US Treasury department announced that the meager tax rate reductions of 2001 had resulted in a huge actual tax increase, more than enough to balance the budget and pay down all of last year’s debt. Yet the Democrats are proposing such a huge increase in spending that we will still be running deficits of over $140 billion this year.

  12. Wally Altman

    Brad, I agree that rebuilding Iraq now that we’ve broken it is of critical importance. The problem is that President Bush has already ensured the failure of that mission by screwing it up so badly that it will be politically impossible for the next president to do anything but withdraw. Why shouldn’t we get out now, under these circumstances?

  13. bud

    Wally, I could recite Brad’s predictable response to your question in my sleep. What I really want from Brad and the others supporting continued military involvement in Iraq is one, just one example of a powerful nation staying longer than 4 years in a place where a large percentage of the population want them out and the results ended positively for the occupier. Germany tried and failed in 2 world wars. Ditto Japan in WW II. The French tried in Vietnam. Ditto the Americans. The British tried in Iraq circa 1920. The Isrealis had a go of it in Lebanon. Same story for the Russians in Afghanastan, the Vietnamese in Cambodia, and the British in the American Colonies circa 1776. And on and on it goes.
    At some point when the people of a nation strongly oppose a foreign power then continued occupation can only end with withdrawal. The Germany/Japan/Korea comparisons are flawed in that most people in those nations accept our presence. If they wanted us out we’d have to leave. If we set some sort of time to withdraw then we can at least attempt to honestly frame the debate as liberators rather than occupiers. Without such a timetable it’s impossible to satisfy the growing majority of Iraqis that recognize us only as imperialist occupiers. No amount of words from the President can change that perception without a firm date for withdrawal.

  14. Moderate Guy

    What is your plan for stopping Al Qaeda from attacking America as they did routinely while Clinton was president?
    What is your plan to keep Al Qaeda from fomenting civil war in Iraq by murdering both Shiite and Sunni civilians?
    What is your plan to keep Iran from annexing Iraq, then Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, Oman and Saudi Arabia?
    What is your plan to prevent Iran from attacking Israel with a nuclear missile?
    What is your plan to prevent Radical Islam from toppling the Pakistani government and obtaining control of their military weapons?

  15. Brad Warthen

    bud, what do you mean by “ended positively?” I’d say generations of peace and stability qualifies. Nothing lasts forever. Anyway, by your four-year standard, here are a few:
    Britain in India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. For that matter, the 13 colonies, for generations.
    Britain in Scotland.
    The unification of the Italian states.
    The U.S. in West Germany. That went really well. So did the occupation of Japan — you know, that country where the civilians were throwing themselves off cliffs, entire families, rather than submit to U.S. rule.
    Rome in pretty much all of Western Europe, for about 500 years. They called it the Pax.
    If generations of peace and stability don’t satisfy you, I can’t help you. Pick a country, any country, under any circumstances, and it’s unlikely that the same form of government will hold sway in 500 years.
    It would be very surprising if this country lasts that long. I’m increasingly pessimistic, given the way the country is so divided. We can’t seem to address any significant national enterprise — the War on Terror, the crying need to address global warming, our health care crisis — without splitting ourselves right down the middle into tribes that despise each other.
    That does not bode well.

  16. Moderate Guy

    America, like Rome, is rotting from within, because its citizens are more interested in short term material comforts than in keeping out the barbarians.

  17. Moderate Guy

    Mr. Warthen, there are plenty of serious issues, but there is no “global warming” and there is no “health care crisis”, except for deadbeats who might face the crisis of paying their own bills.

  18. Brad Warthen

    Actually, bud, the more I think of it, the less likely your premise that nations that establish themselves in a place by force are doomed to fail. History tends to run the other way.
    Our great challenge in Iraq is that we’re trying to do it in a way that has little or no precedent in history. The Romans would have done this the way we did Western Europe in 1944-45 — blanket the country with conscript troops, overwhelm it with firepower (such as carpet-bombing cities) and superior industrial capacity.
    We’ve become a lot more self-conscious since then, and tend to act more like a liberal democracy. I know that antiwar think we’ve used tremendous force in Iraq, but that is ridiculous, compared to our capability. It’s been minimalist, and we’ve tried to let the Iraqis pick their own way forward. How many imperial powers — since some critics of the war think we’re empire-building in a classical sense — would have let their viceroy (Maliki) dictate where and when their troops can go?
    If we fail, it will be because we did it this way. And aside from failing to dedicate enough troops — a tremendous strategic error, and it does remain to be seen whether we can recover from that — it’s hard to fault that. This is the way liberal democracies do it, if they’re going to do it.
    But at this point, this approach is novel in history.
    Unless somebody can think of a precedent that’s eluding me…

  19. Carol Hathaway

    Take up the White Man’s burden—
    Send forth the best ye breed—
    Go, bind your sons to exile
    To serve your captives’ need;
    To wait, in heavy harness,
    On fluttered folk and wild—
    Your new-caught sullen peoples,
    Half devil and half child.
    Take up the White Man’s burden—
    In patience to abide,
    To veil the threat of terror
    And check the show of pride;
    By open speech and simple,
    An hundred times made plain,
    To seek another’s profit
    And work another’s gain.
    Take up the White Man’s burden—
    The savage wars of peace—
    Fill full the mouth of Famine,
    And bid the sickness cease;
    And when your goal is nearest
    (The end for others sought)
    Watch sloth and heathen folly
    Bring all your hope to nought.
    Take up the White Man’s burden—
    No iron rule of kings,
    But toil of serf and sweeper—
    The tale of common things.
    The ports ye shall not enter,
    The roads ye shall not tread,
    Go, make them with your living
    And mark them with your dead.
    Take up the White Man’s burden,
    And reap his old reward—
    The blame of those ye better
    The hate of those ye guard—
    The cry of hosts ye humour
    (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—
    “Why brought ye us from bondage,
    Our loved Egyptian night?”
    Take up the White Man’s burden—
    Ye dare not stoop to less—
    Nor call too loud on Freedom
    To cloak your weariness.
    By all ye will or whisper,
    By all ye leave or do,
    The silent sullen peoples
    Shall weigh your God and you.
    Take up the White Man’s burden!
    Have done with childish days—
    The lightly-proffered laurel,
    The easy ungrudged praise:
    Comes now, to search your manhood
    Through all the thankless years,
    Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
    The judgment of your peers.
    –Rudyard Kipling

  20. bud

    Brad, thank you for proving my point. Everyone of the examples you provided is different from the premise I gave. Let’s take just one, the American colonies. For over 100 years the American colonies considered themselves a part of the British empire and operated accordingly. Once the people decided they wanted to go their own way it was only a matter of time before the British were viewed as an occupation force. In the end the British position in the America became untenable. The people of Canada and Australia never reached that point.
    Iraq is very similar to the American colonies circa 1776. The Iraqi people, like the American colonists, considered their more powerful “occupier” beneficial to their well being early in the invasion. When their thinking changed our situation, like the British in 1776, became untenable. The only rational option for the British was to withdraw, regardless of how long they stayed the end result was inevetible. Ditto, U.S. in Iraq in 2007. There cannot be a better example of how hopeless a war of imperialistic occupation is than the British in 1776. Except, perhaps, for the American occupation of Iraq in the 21st century.

  21. Moderate Guy

    You folks spend a lot of time thanking each other “for making my point”, when you cannot even articulate your points.
    Iraq is nothing like America in 1776. The colonists saw Englishmen everywhere losing their rights, and they demanded a restoration. When England refused, they revolted, won, and established a model of limited self-governance.
    England today is a better country for having learned from and adopted the reforms of America in the early 19th century.

  22. bud

    Iraq is nothing like America in 1776. The colonists saw Englishmen everywhere losing their rights, and they demanded a restoration. When England refused, they revolted, won, and established a model of limited self-governance.
    -Moderate Guy
    And exactly how do the two situations differ? Sounds about the same to me. Both are nothing but heavy-handed imperialistic adventures by overbearing military super powers intent on stealing the natural resource wealth of the occupied terroritory.

  23. Moderate Guy

    The biggest difference is that most Iraqis have no concept of individual liberty as George Washington and his men did.
    Most of the Democrats who want America to hide under the bed and ignore the terrorists in Iraq have a pretty poor concept of liberty themselves.
    Al Qaeda and Iran are operating in Iraq to start a civil war between the Shiites and Sunnis, so they can capitalize on the chaos. Our strategy now is for the Shiites to stop retaliating against attacks coming out of Sunni areas, and let the coalition forces clean out those terrorists. So far, it is working. That scares the Democrats, who want a defeat and withdrawal before the 2008 election.

  24. bud

    If Fox News existed in 1912 and reported the Titanic incident the same way it reports Iraq-
    Dateline April 15, 1912
    Good News from the North Atlantic! Thanks to the effective use of the latest technology in lifeboats, and Marconi wireless radio nearly 800 lives were spared a horrible death from the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. Survivors on board the Carpathia today are praising the White Star Lines and its efforts for their survival. This miracle occurred following the unexpected sinking of the Titanic after it struck an iceberg. White Star Line president, Bruce Ismay, calls this a stunning endorsement of modern technology.
    Captain Smith is praised for his valiant efforts to minimize the damage following this unfortunate incident. Smith will be awarded the presidential medal of freedom postumously in a Rose Garden ceremony. President Taft will present Smith’s widow with the medal. Taft’s press secretary stated the nation owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Smith for ensuring a sizeable number of women and children were saved.
    Partisan critics of Smith suggest he was careless in ignoring warnings about icebergs in the are. These criticisms were rejected by Ismay as “preposterous”. No one could have predicted the dangers of icebergs in the North Atlantic in April. “After all”, according to Ismay, “April is the month when flowers normally bloom. This incident simply could not have been avoided no matter who the captain was”.
    We here at Fox find these left-wing criticisms of White Star Lines an unconscionable attempt to politicize this unfortunate incident. Fox news supports the dedicated men and women of White Star who daily risk their lives to transport people across the Atlantic to seek a better way of life. We call on everyone to continue their support of these brave individuals by sending their dollars to White Star in order to build a new Titanic.
    As always here at Fox, we are fair and balanced. From New York this is Sean O’Reilly.

  25. Mark Whittington

    I should go to bed, but I need to address this first. It doesn’t bode well because corporate media are addressing issues in the wrong order. The issue is global free market capitalism. Everything bad stems from Globalization. If you fix capitalism, then you’ll fix healthcare and global warming. Capitalism and democracy are antithetical concepts.
    I’ve been to fifteen different countries and I lived in another country for two years, and everywhere I have been, I have witnessed the resentment of local populations towards America because our economic policies and their ill effects on other people’s cultures. Actually they are not “our” economic policies-they’re the policies of a corporate elite that run this country and just about everything else.
    You can no more win a “War on Terror” than you can win a “War on Hate” or a “War on Envy”. You can however take significant measures to thwart foreigners who want to attack this country. The so-called “War on Terror” has been most insidious because Bush and the neo-cons have played on people’s fears to engage us in a disastrous war and to surreptitiously ram through economic policies that are terrible for most Americans. Even worse, “The War on Terror” has been used to diminish the civil liberties of our own people. Worst of all, “The War on Terror” has been used to justify state (U.S.) sanctioned torture. Many people thought that it could never happen here, but it certainly did happen here.

  26. Brad Warthen

    bud, not to agree with Lee — who has just been banned under his new name, by the way — but the main problem is that Iraq is not the English colonies in 1776. Antiwar people make that point all the time, and they’re right. Iraqis are tribal and sectarian, and have little notion of shared liberal values like those of the English colonists — who revolted precisely because they thought they weren’t getting the due consideration Englishmen were owed by their king.
    Independence was a radical concept that only took hold widely after about a year of fighting. When the first shots were fired in 1775, most Americans hoped for a reconciliation. There was no great cultural isolation from British troops, although there was toward the Hessians, and rebel propagandists wisely played that to the hilt.
    Essentially, we were a people splitting apart from each other over ideas — ideas that would later animate the French revolution, before it went so terribly wrong, and eventually led to Bonaparte. You could say, I suppose, that the French experience was the first proof that our revolutionary ideals are not that easily exportable, hence our enterprise in Iraq is doomed. I would disagree, but I could see you making that argument, and it would have force.
    But Iraq in 2007 is nothing like America in 1776, or 1780, or any time during that period.

  27. bud

    Brad, all situations are unique. Iraq doesn’t compare exactly with any previous war. I’m glad you recognize that. It certainly has nothing in common with World War II, the war most often refered to by the war supporters. But it is remarkably similar to Vietnam. It is especially similar in the fear baiting tactics used by the supporters of the war. I remember so vividly the drumbeat of fear all the Vietnam war supporters constantly threw out. NONE OF IT CAME TO PASS. I believe the same thing will happen in Iraq. Once we leave there will be a period of intense violence, largely confined to Iraq itself, then someone will sieze control and the whole thing will settle down. It is simply preposterous to believe the whole region will boil over into some kind of armagedon. That’s no more plausible than the fear generated by the Y2K scare.

  28. Brad Warthen

    Of course it could boil over into something much worse. That’s why the president’s father believed it was better to leave Saddam in power. I believe that was wrong — choosing the safe course over the chancier one of opposing the tyrant.
    But there’s no doubt that creating a military vacuum by removing U.S. forces creates a tendency for other forces to move in to take advantage of the disarray. Iran could operate with impunity in the South, and would be in an excellent position to move on the Sunni triangle and finish the job from the early 80s — finish off the Ba’athists for good. How would that affect Syria, which is now buddy-buddies with the mullahs, but is also ethnically and otherwise have much in common with Saddam’s folk? With the U.S. gone, Turkey would have to decide whether it wants to DO something about the Kurdish north — something it’s not likely to do while we’re there.
    Keeping our troops there, vulnerable to terror attacks, with the low-intensity (compared to conventional warfare) sectarian killings continuing — but no one in a position to win decisively while we’re there — is a horrible situation to be in. But pulling our troops out is the one factor that could give lots of dramatic things the opportunity to happen.
    Here’s the great conundrum that we face: The one and only thing that could cause the various parties to decide, “As much as we hate it, we’d best work out some sort of political solution” is if they’re convinced we’re simply not going to go away before that happens. As long as our departure seems imminent, they might as well keep up the pressure, and be ready to follow through to finish off their opposition the instant we’re gone.
    Yet the majority in Congress, and in polls nowadays, are determined to give the impression we’re about to go — the most dangerous message we could send.
    As long as our people are THERE, we have to give the impression that they’re STAYING for them to have any chance of success. But folks who like to say “It’s already lost” refuse to do that, which is a perfect way of achieving a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    It’s absolutely maddening, and the stakes are horrific.

  29. Mark Whittington

    They are the children of the working class whose parents do not even have the right to form a union. They are not your little playthings to use at your disposal.

  30. bud

    Brad, here’s why we can’t find common ground on this issue. You offered what I consider this wild, unsubstantiated speculation about what MIGHT happen if we withdraw our troops. But, even if much of what you say comes to pass that won’t be counter to our best interests. So what if Iran establishes a presense in Iraq and finishes off the Baathists for good. How does that adversely affect us? A larger, more powerful Iran is no particular threat to us. They will still gladly sell us oil. If that’s what the people of that region want then let them have it. (On the other hand, Iran could end up with their own quagmire). Either way the lives of American soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars in treasure will be spared.
    So here’s my bottom line. If we withdraw, the most likely outcome is one of extreme chaos, mostly internal, for 2-3 years, followed by the rise of some new strongman. Next possibility, Iran invades southern Iraq, Turkey invades northern Iraq and Iraq ceases to exist. Basically Yugoslavia ceased to exist and nothing particulary bad occurred to the U.S. Of course the Iraqi people will suffer. But the suffering is already on-going on a huge scale. I doubt it will get much worse. In a short period of time their suffering will lesson and everything will sort itself out. As long as American soldiers stay in Iraq progress of any sort is impossible. Amrerica is really the only real obsticle to progress in Iraq. It’s a fools errand to think otherwise.

  31. bud

    This is what happens in war. It’s inevitable. It’s not that the war is conducted poorly, it’s simply a function of fighting the war. The pro-war folks don’t understand that principle. War = atrocities:
    WASHINGTON (AFP) – A survey of US combat troops deployed in Iraq has found that one in 10 said they mistreated civilians and more than a third condoned torture to save the life of a comrade, a report said Friday.

  32. Rickyrab

    I see the Democrats are having fun passing liberal bills, and Dubya is having fun vetoing them. That being said, I think the war ought to be wrapped up sometime soon, but it ought to be done in our favor. Let’s face it: war is hell. Nonetheless, as Vietnam shows, too quick a pullout can lead to a victory for the enemy; however, escalation – remember Nixon and Cambodia? – should be avoided. What we need is some way to get the folks in Iraq to calm down and stop bombing each other, and a way to keep Al Qaeda from riling those folks to bomb each other to begin with. Any suggestions?

  33. bud

    This event is stunning but has had very little exposure from the MSM. If the Sunnis do pull out next week then any pretense of a unified nation is gone.
    From Nic Robertson
    Adjust font size:
    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Iraq’s top Sunni official has set a deadline of next week for pulling his entire bloc out of the government — a potentially devastating blow to reconciliation efforts within Iraq. He also said he turned down an offer by President Bush to visit Washington until he can count more fully on U.S. help.

  34. Poetry

    Take the Pledge
    All Presidential Candidates should make pledges like those below. If they refuse, then you should refuse to vote for them.
    1. No More Oil Wars.
    2. Work for independence from foreign oil on day one.
    3. No more wars for corporate profit.
    4. No more secret deals for $4 per gallon gas.
    5. No more Chicken Hawks promoting wars of choice when they themselves avoided combat.
    6. Make government green–if you can’t make what you have the most control over green, I don’t care about your plans to make the country green.
    7. No more torture.
    8. No more lying about torture.
    9. No more re-defining torture.
    10. No more drunken hunting.
    11. No more secret deals with big corporations to divide up the spoils before the war even starts.


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