Thursday, February 23, 2006

The mosque bombing and its aftermath: civil war about civil war; pundits and predictions

See an excellent roundup of differing views on the current post-mosque bombing crisis in Iraq, here.

And the latest from Iraq the Model, who's on the scene in Baghdad.

Belmont Club writes:

The good news is that there are enough cools heads on both sides to try to keep the lid on. That fact alone attests to the accomplishment of those who have tried to build a unitary Iraq. The bad news is that the pressures -- stoked by parties unknown, though Iraq the Model suggests they are "foreign terror groups" -- may be too much to handle.

Bottom line--no one really has a clue, or too much more than a clue.

The doom-and-gloomers who cried "civil war" at the very outset of any discord in Iraq are now practically salivating with glee (I'm sorry, but that's how I see it) at being able to say--like the hypochondriac who wrote "I told you so!" on his tombstone--"See, civil war! Here it is, at last!"

As for me, I cannot see the future. But my experience of the past tells me that neither extreme pessimism nor extreme optimism is warranted right now. I know that the goal of those who have done this is to spark a civil war, and I know that the goal of those who hate President Bush and the entire Iraqi war is to have it sparked, and to be able to say "We told you so."

Is my motivation for wanting things to turn out well to be able to say, myself, "I told you so?" I certainly don't think it is. I want things to turn out well for the sake of--well, for the sake of things turning out well for the Iraqi people, the US, and the world.

But I never was naive enough to believe this would be at all easy, or that it was necessarily going to turn out well, or that it was a "slam dunk." And the kneejerk characterization of the neocon endeavor as being composed of people who think that way--that bringing democracy plus human rights to the Arab world, or any part of the world that doesn't already have that tradition--will be easy is, I think, mischaracterizing the movement.

I've already written a long post on the whole meme that neocons thought the Iraq war would be a "cakewalk," which I think is a misrepresentation of the basic neocon position. The
post is here
for anyone who wants to review it; I see no need for me to rewrite it.

I would summarize my position as follows: all alternatives in these situations (prewar Iraq, for example) are fraught with danger and possible chaos. But we must nevertheless choose the course that looks best given all the knowledge we have at the time, knowing that it might lead to failure. That's the risk one must take.

In fact, it's impossible not to take a risk. Because don't think you can avoid making a decision by simply choosing to do nothing. That has consequences, too, although they are easier to deny. And, since we don't have a variety of worlds in which we can try out all the different actions as a sort of scientific experiment, we have to make all decisions with very imperfect knowledge, making it up as we go along, never quite knowing whether we were correct or not--even ex post facto.

That's history (and life) as it's lived, I'm afraid. Which is not to say that we shouldn't try to evaluate decisions, of course. We must, in order to try to learn to make better ones. I think we can now safely say, for example, that securing the Iraqi borders very early on would have been a very good thing to do--if indeed a way could have been found to do so. But I certainly don't think we can rightly say that the war itself was an error, looking at the situation as a whole so far--although, of course, some say it, will say it, and have been saying it from the moment the very first difficulties began.

I wrote a previous post on this subject of evaluating decisions that affect history. It was based on the writing of one of my favorite authors, Milan Kundera. I'll repeat some of his words here:

Several days later, [Tomas] was struck by another thought, which I record here as an addendum to the preceding chapter: Somewhere out in space there was a planet where all people would be born again. They would be fully aware of the life they had spent on earth and of all the experience they had amassed here.

And perhaps there was still another planet, where we would all be born a third time with the experience of our first two lives,

And perhaps there were yet more and more planets, where mankind would be born one degree (one life) more mature.

That was Tomas's version of eternal return.

Of course we are here on earth (planet number one, the planet of inexperience) can only fabricate vague fantasies of what will happen to man on those other planets. Will he be wiser? Is maturity within man's power? Can he attain it through repetition?

Only from the perspective of such a utopia is it possible to use the concepts of pessimism and optimism with full justification: an optimist is someone who thinks that on planet number five the history of mankind will be less bloody. A pessimist is one who thinks otherwise.


And this is what Kundera (a Czech) wrote about the history of his people:

There is only one history of the Czechs. One day it will come to an end, as surely as Tomas's life, never to be repeated.

In 1618, the Czech estates took courage and vented their ire on the emperor reigning in Vienna by pitching two of his high officials out of a window in the Prague Castle. Their defiance led to the Thirty Years War, which in turn led to the almost complete destruction of the Czech nation. Should the Czechs have shown more caution than courage? The answer may seem simple; it is not.

Three hundred and twenty years later, after the Munich Conference of 1938, the entire world decided to sacrifice the Czech's country to Hitler. Should the Czechs have tried to stand up to a power eight times their size? In contrast to 1618, they opted for caution. Their capitulation led to the Second World War, which in turn led to the forfeit of their nation's freedom for many decades or even centuries. What should they have done?

If Czech history could be repeated, we should of course find it desirable to check the other possibility each time and compare the results. Without such an experiment, all considerations of this kind remain a game of hypotheses...

The history of the Czechs will not be repeated, nor will the history of all of Europe. The history of the Czechs and of Europe are a pair of sketches from the pen of mankind's fateful inexperience.


"Mankind's fateful inexperience" is always operating on this, the planet of inexperience.

And so the inexperienced pundits pronounce, predict, and pontificate--while the caravan moves on.

60 Comments:

At 2:58 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

- note the numbing silence from muslims the world over in not condemning muslim killing muslim and attacking mosques. I think it is the final turning point in a rapid regression backward to the stoneage where the jihadis have always wanted it to be. From a tactical perspective, the only change is in targets. they have gone from markets, convoys, hospitals and recruiting centers to mosques. This comes on the heels of the cartoon violence, which still simmers, and only hardens the civilized world's view on muslim extremism, and the immediate focus of Iran developing nuclear weapons. That remains the principal threat in the ME regardless of ignorant muslims attacking each other's mosques in Iraq. Has it really been that long since thousands of palestinians were killed during the PLO expulsion from Jordan? What difference does it really make over what particular players are involved in this most current drama of killing? How quickly the camera can pan to Darfur or Nigeria for instance giving further cause for hard hearts and heavy hands to arise in the West in simple response to the matter of civilization surviving.

 
At 3:41 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember the line from Laurel and Hardy movies, where Hardy reprimands Laurel:
"This is another fine mess you got us into, Stanley."

For this mess, there were plenty of warnings. Some are desrcibed by Paul R. Pillar, "Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq," Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006.

This "mess" (or "difficulties," your euphemism) is self-inflicted.
Nobody has a clue? Funny in Laurel and Hardy, not so funny in Iraq.

 
At 4:10 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Vietnam era Marine Corps vet I had some abiding interest in military history as well as simple military logistics and strategy. Whether that helped me or not I do not know but I was saying well before the invasion that we would have exactly the kinds of problems that we ended up having.

What angered me then and now is not that mistakes were made but that the POTUS has never come out front and told us that to really win this thing we will have to mobilize and get a LOT more people into uniform.

Now, maybe I am wrong and all of this will cool off, but it doesn't look like it yet.

For all that I don't expect this (obvious) attempt to stoke Sunni-Shia fighting is going to lead to "civil war". It will just lead to an uptick in violence, which also will of course kill some of Americans as well.

I would like to see however this death by a thousand cuts stop. We just have to empower a bunch of Iraqis with guns, do their thing, and back the heck off and save our people. True, it's messed up. But we don't have unlimited manpower resources.

I am afraid we have successfully prepped Iraq to be sucked into the Iranian orbit. Nice move. Anon 1017.

 
At 4:10 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Vietnam era Marine Corps vet I had some abiding interest in military history as well as simple military logistics and strategy. Whether that helped me or not I do not know but I was saying well before the invasion that we would have exactly the kinds of problems that we ended up having.

What angered me then and now is not that mistakes were made but that the POTUS has never come out front and told us that to really win this thing we will have to mobilize and get a LOT more people into uniform.

Now, maybe I am wrong and all of this will cool off, but it doesn't look like it yet.

For all that I don't expect this (obvious) attempt to stoke Sunni-Shia fighting is going to lead to "civil war". It will just lead to an uptick in violence, which also will of course kill some of Americans as well.

I would like to see however this death by a thousand cuts stop. We just have to empower a bunch of Iraqis with guns, do their thing, and back the heck off and save our people. True, it's messed up. But we don't have unlimited manpower resources.

I am afraid we have successfully prepped Iraq to be sucked into the Iranian orbit. Nice move. Anon 1017.

 
At 4:13 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

I’ve got an article for Anonymous 3:41 to read:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/011/901oltmc.asp

It reveals Pillar for what he is – a rogue bureaucrat with an anti-warrior agenda. His “Foreign Affairs” article was a long dose of the brown stuff & thoroughly debunked.

 
At 4:51 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger Oz said...

As a general note, it must be hard to see the very heart of your ideology evaporating as empirical evidence reveals its utterly false assumptions.

"Neoconservatism" -- an anti-intellectual fad -- is on its last legs. It's a failure. Your beliefes are a failure. Your assumptions about the nature of democracy. False. Your assumptions about the universal applicability of liberalism. False. Your assumptions about the nature of power. False.

And this has left the realm of the theoretical. The policies your ideology supported have been clear, utter failures.

Might be time change your blog's name. You've been "mugged by reality" yet again.

 
At 5:00 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

salivating with glee

You haven't been paying attention to those of us who have been opposed to the war from the beginning. Shame on you for being so cynical.

 
At 5:09 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See "After Neoconservatism," by Francis Fukuyama in the most recent NYT Magazine.
But the worst of it is that neoconservatism, in great part the brainchild of American Jews in the 1980s (Kristol, Podhoretz...) can be seen as a betrayal of the mandates of Jewish law and ethics. Earl Shorris devoted a whole book to this, "Jews Without Mercy. A Lament."

 
At 5:22 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous hgwells said...

The Iraq War was risky from day one and I've always thought that was the strongest argument against it. However, not doing anything had its risks too. The choice is not between war and peace, but between war now and war later--possibly much worse war.

The Middle East has been the most dangerous and volatile region for decades. IMO it's the area most likely to erupt into a large-scale WMD war and disrupt the world.

Given the stakes I supported the war then and I still do. I would prefer the US tried to do something now, rather than wait passively until the Middle East is armed with even worse weapons and led by even more fanatical leaders.

 
At 5:22 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at "After Neoconservatism" by Francis Fukuyama in the latest NYT Magazine.

For a different look at neoconservatism, read Earl Shorris's book, "Jews Without Mercy. A Lament," about how the Jewish founders of the neocon movement (Podhoretz, Kristol...) may have betrayed the law, ethics and tradition of their religion.

 
At 5:27 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The bad news is that the pressures -- stoked by parties unknown, though Iraq the Model suggests they are "foreign terror groups" -- may be too much to handle.

Parties unknown? Just who doesn't know that there are a select few organizations and nations bent on fomenting war between the Sunnis and the Shia in Iraq?

The Bush administration, at the least, knows exactly who is doing what in Iraq. They just aren't willing to execute the guilty parties, rather they leave it to someone else, the Iraqis, to clean up. I suppose this seems more sensitive and respectful of sovereign nations, but to me, it's just weakness. And our enemies agree. Al-Sadr was the test of America, in how much Iran can meddle in Iraqi affairs and how far we would let them go because we were afraid to look oppressive to the local yokels. This is another test. Having failed the first test in the Shia controlled areas, having made the mistake of keeping the British and other "non-combat hardened" troops in the South, and having succeded in using Fallujah to earn the US street creds in the Sunni areas, the Iranians are obviously hoping to have US-Sunni vs Iran-Shia.

At the least, it is a good psychological operation against world citizens, to counter-act the "good news" of elections and AMerican victories, even if it fails at fomenting civil war.

I wonder how long the British and the American governments will allow Al_Sadr to continue his rampant terrorism of the Shia. Sooner or later AL-Sadr will gain enough power to kill AMericans, and by that time, it'd be too late to execute him.

The US may feel that they should leave Al-Sadr alone and the other thugs in Basra to the "British", but I don't believe the Iranians are that gentlemanly about their support of the dude.

The doom-and-gloomers who cried "civil war" at the very outset of any discord in Iraq are now practically salivating with glee (I'm sorry, but that's how I see it) at being able to say--like the hypochondriac who wrote "I told you so!" on his tombstone--"See, civil war! Here it is, at last!"

Like I said, at least it will boost propaganda efforts against Iraq even if the Iranians fail to incite Civil War with the aid of Al-Qaeda. Which is good news for the Iranians as they stall for time, until they get a nuke, and then they can take care of Iraq the old fashioned way.

But I never was naive enough to believe this would be at all easy, or that it was necessarily going to turn out well, or that it was a "slam dunk."

Well, the thing is, it would be a slam dunk if the Bush Administration was willing to kill enough people in a gratuitous manner and was adept at generating good propaganda coverage of the events. Guerrila warfare can be characterized as eating a bowl of soup with a fork. You can eat it, but it might take awhile. And the only way to shorten it, is to think outside the box... or the bowl.

As anyone might read from the history books, Theodore Roosevelt wasn't afraid to incite coups and revolutions to get what he wanted. Neither was he afraid to tell the world to pock off, that South America was our territory, and that anyone encroaching on our sovereignty was going to die. Even the most optimistic analysis of the War on Terror, presents the conclusion that America is taking things too slowly, too cautiously, too afraid of taking risks.

Compared to Europe, we're cowboys and crazy dudes, but compared to what is necessary to Win, we're not even at the half mark point to victory.

Iran has detected a flaw in our strategy, the flaw is that if they can punch out Iraq before we nuclearize iraq's arsenal and stabilize their population and security, then Iran only has to take us on. And in the UN, US vs Iran is pretty even all things considered.

We wouldn't need Iraq if we were willing to take enough casualties and kill enough people, but that is precisely why we need more allies. Because we don't want to do the dirty jobs ourselves, so we tend to "outsource" them so to speak, to others more qualified (less qualified).

A lot of people see that fear in the United States, and see it as a weakness. While that is half-true, that doesn't tell the whole story. Because the Americans are hesitant to fight directly for a reason, that is because our enemies don't tend to come out at the end, in the same state they went in. And the Cold War also set a mentality into America not to fight directly. So.

In fact, it's impossible not to take a risk.

Exactly, I'm writing this as I read your post. So it is timely that you brought up risk taking. You can't win a war unless you are willing to take risks. Bush doesn't seem to like taking risks unless he is forced into it. Maybe cause he is conservative...

"'He either fears his fate too much,
Or his desert is small,
Who fears to put it to the touch,
And win or lose it all.'

And, since we don't have a variety of worlds in which we can try out all the different actions as a sort of scientific experiment
When we master Quantum Mechanics, that might not be so farfetched.

These "incidents" really aren't random. They are systematic. The terroists are connected through the internet, email, and cellphones. They have central planning with the tactical advantages of a cell system. I wouldn't be surprised that they attacked the Mosque because they believed that with the anger and uprisings going on, that this was the best time to do it.

Fighting a guerrila war is not about manpower. Not unless you're losing 100 man per 5 enemy that you kill. And we aren't in that situation. Normal wars can be won if you put enough grunts on the ground and set them loose on the enemy with combined arms, but this ain't a normal war. There are no front lines unless you include an entire region and an entire nation that is.

A lot of the people asking for more troops aren't focusing on ultimate victory, what they are focusing on is the last war. Vietnam, WWII, Korea. Things in which man power actually contributed to victory. Here, it is not so much manpower as national will and good policy. Once the US occupies a nation, a lot can be done with little. On the other side, even if you have 150,000 troops, nothing gets done if the lawyers are in everyone's business, telling people that they are not the cops and should not butt in on security issues that are the government's perogative. Which is sort of like what is happening at GitMo. You can have all the guards you want, but the main threat isn't a breakout that could be prevented by more guards, the main threat is something else entirely.

Here's a tip. Giving up on Iraq isn't going to produce one iota of national will.

A draft isn't going to produce it either, btw.

As a general note, it must be hard to see the very heart of your ideology evaporating as empirical evidence reveals its utterly false assumptions.

With enough nuclear weapons, nuclear subs for delivery, enough well armed soldiers and trained warriors, we can actually shape the empirical evidence to suit our needs. If everyone that thinks the sky is blue, is dead, leaving the guys that believe that the sky is red, then we have changed reality. To take a rip from 1984, the torture scene at the end.

The only problem is, you can't run a civilization on that philosophy. But you can win a guerrila war on it. In fact, most wars solve problems through that exact mechanism. It is a lot more complex than killing people until they stop fighting, since true understanding requires a foundation of specific knowledge.

Personally, I don't think oz knows we're not in Kansas anymore.

See all these people coming out of the woodworks, that I just noticed?

That is the power of Al-Qaeda and Iranian propaganda, and they only had to blow up a mosque to do it.

Now imagine the power over men's minds if the United States took off the gloves.

It is in fact, greater by 5 or 10 orders of magnitude.

But, like all high energy reactions in nature and chemistry, it needs either a catalyst or some kind of high activation energy.

We're waiting for a catalyst for the energy activation. Not exactly smart, but I don't dictate Bush's global strategy.

Iranian and Al-Sadr strategy is pretty obvious. Assassinate all the competitors, terrorize the populace, then have Al-Sadr elected Dictator, with Iran backing him. Same strategy the Sunni-Baathists had.

They really need to come up with something better, if they expect the US to go nuclear.

 
At 5:54 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[i]
Here's a tip. Giving up on Iraq isn't going to produce one iota of national will.
[/i]

Which is exactly why this is the fault of POTUS. He's the only person who can galvanize the US to accept that this is a serious war that requires national sacrifice. We have not been getting that.

The reason why we needed more troops on the ground was not to defeat the Iraqi army (obviously). It was to #1 establish order in the country (something we never really have done), and #2 to seal the borders. Anyone could see that once we created a vacuum of power, we would have to control everything. Anyone could see that, once victorious, any Muslim in the region who wanted to blow up an American for kicks could slip across the border, and ship arms and explosives across the border. Anyone could see that, as the first two things bogged down our postwar reconstruction, people would get pissed, start hating us, and start killing us for sport.

Of course there's other reasons why we needed more people. Because we had to have means to force three different groups to live together without fighting over the oil reserves.

The analogies with Marshall Plan and McCarthur's Japan are phony. Germany was no problem within a few months of capitulation. Japan was never a problem AT ALL. Marshall Plan was about reconstucting all of Europe, not just Germany, to keep it from going Commie. It didn't cost anything but money, and the Germans were one of the few who actually paid us back (England and France never did.) I'm really tired of these comparisons of postwar Germany and Japan. It's just very ignorant. Anon 1017.

 
At 5:55 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

First, that this will become civil war is a bit of a knee jerk.

Second, civil war, and splitting into three nations, may be a good thing, which rectifies unworkable boundaries drawn by the British. How will we know those boundaries are unworkable? If Iraq splits up into three nations - we will know. And, if the boundaries are unworkable, isn't it better to know sooner rather than later? Isn't it better to set upon the path of creating what is workable sooner, rather than later?

If a unified Iraq is unworkable, anti-invasionists will then argue that Iraq would've been better off under Saddam, in a state of unworkable stasis, or oppressive dictatorship - take your pick.

If a unified Iraq doesn't work, utopians will argue that a unified Iraq would've worked, if only Bush/Rumsfeld had been smarter about their policies.
A - bullshit. The people of Iraq have a much larger say about the success of a unified Iraq.
B - considering the jungle Bush and Rumsfeld have had to hack through, this argument takes a lot of gall.

I've noticed complaints that Bush/Rumsfeld have never been "straight" with America about what it will take to succeed in Iraq. Can such complainers not remember the political reality in America only 5 years ago? And only 3 years ago? And today, as much of America and Western Civilization capitulates to thugs who riot and threaten over the publication of cartoons? What Bush accomplished, politically, in gaining support for invading OIF was and is a historically spectacular political achievement. To now grouse that Bush should've been "straighter" - given the political environment Bush was and is operating in, is ridiculous pap.

Given their history, I think it is spectacularly amazing Iraqis have held together as well as they have so far. It is reason for hope and optimism that a unified Iraq may yet succeed. However, even if the Kurds secede, or Iraq splits three ways, the domestic and regional result will likely still be far superior to what existed before, and to the terrorism and trouble which was on the way - if what existed before had been allowed to go on.

 
At 6:00 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To now grouse that Bush should've been "straighter" - given the political environment Bush was and is operating in, is ridiculous pap.

This sounds an awful lot like saying that Bush was allowed to lie because he couldn't get what he wanted otherwise.

That's no excuse for a lack of leadership now.

Split Iraq three ways. Hmm. OK, then we can forecast a war between the Sunnis and the Kurds for the Mosul oilfields. We can forecast a war between Turkey and Kurdistan. We can forecast a Shiite theocracy getting into bed with Iran. Just groovy. "Bring it on!"

 
At 6:19 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous the unknown Blogger said...

Neo, I used to think you were a nice lady just trying to understand the world today and who happened to come down on a different side of the Iraq War than I.

But lately, starting with that chuckling little entry about the poor couple with the snowy driveway complaining "where is FEMA?" (as if the question raised in the wake of Katrina was somehow illegitimate. Do a Google search for pictures of some of the bloated bodies lying for days in New Orleans sewage. If somebody made a crack like that about terrorist victims somewhere you and your peanut gallery would have jumped down their throats) and now this:

...and I know that the goal of those who hate President Bush and the entire Iraqi war is to have it sparked, and to be able to say "We told you so."

Is my motivation for wanting things to turn out well to be able to say, myself, "I told you so?" I certainly don't think it is. I want things to turn out well for the sake of--well, for the sake of things turning out well for the Iraqi people, the US, and the world.


you've definitely fallen into the crevasse.

Like it or not, reasonable people have plenty of good reasons to be against this war, skeptical of its premise, and uncertain of its outcome. And it's our prerogative (as citizens of one of those FREE DEMOCRACIES you like to talk so much about) to dislike a President we didn't vote for and whose policies we disagree with.

None of those things makes us "with the terrorists" or "for the terrorists," "for" a civil war in Iraq, or "wanting things to turn out badly for the people of Iraq, the US and the World." Is that really so hard for you to understand?

 
At 6:24 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger Ivan Lenin said...

Oz,
You can say "neoconservatism is a failure" a million times, but it won't change the fact that thanks to neocon policies of Reagan, Communists lost power in my country. It's more than all self-proclaimed "intellectuals" combined have done.

Speaking of that word, your "anti-intellectual fad" phrase reveals just how full of yourself you are, thinking that your opinion on what's smart and what's stupid is better and more important than your opponents. I guess that explains why you, instead of offering an argument, resort to repetition of the word "failure". It's called "projection", baby. Or do you have any personal accomplishments to speak of? Oh, I didn't think so.

 
At 6:26 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The whole thing with establishing order wouldn't be solved if more troops were sent. Simply because people just won't do it, won't authorize it, and won't stop sabotaging it.

A full scale Imperial system could have handled it quite smoothly, but the US hasn't been in the Empire business since so long ago.

The natural hesitation of the military not to do civilian jobs of police, arrests, and what not has been drilled into them by their training in the states. Sending more people in a place will not counter-act or modify that training.

So I still don't see that more people on the ground is an answer to the guerrila war, given the problems with the policy. It's not that I don't like a bigger hammer,but there is nobody to crush in Iraq that needs 5 armored divisions and 2 infantry mechanized, extra or current. What few organizations and people we do need to eliminate, we can do so with small hit squads, without the requirement for anything larger.

We may end up with additional problems with more troops. I understand that the brass in Iraq thinks that this would be too much of a footprint, that this would make Iraqis not feel motivated to fight for themselves, or something like that. It's not that I believe them or disbelieve them, it's just that the risk doesn't seem to have a lot of rewards to go with the risks.

As for the political conglomeration of 3 guys fighting it out, we can control that easily through threats, rewards, and shows of force. The Kurds do not want to fight us, and are our friends in spirit and heart. The Shia are neutral, at the least. The Sunni are caught between two sides, peace and war.

The only reason why Japan wasn't a problem was because MacArthur understood the psychology of the japanese and did the right things at the right time. More troops is not going to make Bush understand which actions are the right ones and which are the wrong ones, and without direction from the top, an army is nothing but a disaster waiting to happen in this war.

 
At 6:49 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:17 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Like it or not, reasonable people have plenty of good reasons to be against this war,

Reasonable people tend to have solutions to problems. Annoying people tend to have complaints about problems, but no solutions.

And most reasonable people are not against the war, but against how the war is waged.

I think Unknown would benefit from a remedial class in logic, at whatever locations provide it.

Because making fun of snowed in people is not the same as making fun of victims of terroism. People should not make that comparison, especially not in their heads.

People can dislike the President all they want, just because others voted him in rather than you.

Most reasonable people dislike a President not for who he is, but for the policies and things he does. People disliking people just because, is like Islamic Jihad rioting just because they can riot.

While it may be a perogative of people who are anti-military and anti-American to leech off the sacrifices and blood debt paid by American patriots, that doesn't mean I'm going to do it, now is it.

A lot of things are permissible and free to do in this country. KKK rallies for example. It doesn't mean I'm going to sign up for one, though.

So you can dislike the President all you want, but that's no reason for anyone else to agree that that is the right thing to do.

We'd like to wage war successfully, without you guys being in the way. If you can't get out of the way, if you can't wait for Bush to die or get out of office, and you don't want to follow, then you're a problem. Not the solution.

Anyone that knows about Roosevelt would understand the situation of Roosevelt's critics. There is far more liberty to criticize Bush in today's world, than there ever was in 1942.

There are many things Roosevelt did wrong, but that doesn't mean it is a open field on his mistakes. It isn't.

Actions have consequences in this world. Unfortunately for many people.

The thing that is hard to understand is not why people like Unknown don't have intentions to hurt America, the thing that is hard to understand is why people think that their intentions are absolute. Most people don't tend to believe that a mother intentionally wanted to kill her child when she got into the car accident, however, that didn't seem to really matter in the end.

 
At 7:49 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My nightmare: An Iran Reich holding the mid east oil + China + Russia vs US + our few friends. Cold war mode: they shut off the energy. We shrivel. Of course, having cut us down to size, they'll be at each other's throats, but which will be the small silver lining of a huge dark cloud.

 
At 7:52 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason why Japan wasn't a problem was because MacArthur understood the psychology of the japanese and did the right things at the right time.

He also didn't ditch the Emperor.

I think this is too harsh on Unknown, but I also think Unknown was too harsh on Neo.

I am not really into the blame game however I do think it is OK to demand better from Bush and the people around him. The American people re-elected him, OK, we're stuck. But that doesn't mean we cannot demand more.

OTOH, the blame game vis a vis Neoconservatism is something else. Neoconservatism is in fact certifiably crazy, being a species of Lamarckianism such as was popular in Stalinist Russia, the kind of thinking that says that putting wheat in ice water will make it winter wheat, or that the children of amputees will have shorter than normal limbs, or that -- in this case -- overthrowing a fascist dictatorship in the Middle East will cause a democracy to emerge overnight, because that is the default configuration of mankind.
Neoconservatism is essentially a Marxian model of the world that says, put enough pressure RIGHT HERE, and you can change turn the seas to orangeade, a la Fourier.

The Anglo-American tradition going back to the Scottish Enlightenment (and Montesquieu) however holds that you have to let things develop on their own, and interfering just creates an artificial set up.

No, this isn't the same as the wars against Germany and Japan. In those cases, they were aggressors, and we had to fight and defeat them. But they also had traditions of democracy and social cohesion of their own. Iraq and most of the Middle East has never had either (although I think Iran does.)

The whole WMD is also something we should save for the Big Recount in the sky, but the fact of the matter is that WE -- THE USA -- entered into a war of aggression against a sovereign state because (we claimed) we had a right to "defend ourselves" from imminent attack even though that pretext has been thoroughly demolished. There's nothing we can do about that NOW, but it's something to keep in mind (a) in 2008, (b) whenever PUTZ, er, POTUS sets forth another strategic pie in the sky, and (c) whenever some Neocon egghead comes up with another Shock 'n' Awe spectacular.

Now, we're in Iraq. The easiest way out is to let the Iraqis settle it themselves, pick one side, give them the guns, and hide. We will still be there for a long time, of course, but at least we might be able to keep our body counts down ......

 
At 7:58 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Sam said...

Unknown -
There are definitely plenty of good reason for reasonable people to oppose the war. That's why we've been arguing about it for three years.

Unfortunately, the anti-war people too often come off as anything but reasonable. As do the anti-Bush people - who, I understand, are not always the same people. I'm sorry, but I don't take street theater, die-ins, and ugly women shrieking at me from ditches seriously. You can call it shooting the messenger or whatever. The fact is, I do not want these people to have any more influence than they already do. Not in this country.

Let's face it - we'd take each other's positions more seriously if we could find a way to divorce ourselves from the Ann Coulters and Michael Moores of this world. This is not the 50s or the 60s. We need serious people, not exhibitionistic geeks.

 
At 8:01 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's reasonable to expect that a lot of nations have to go through phases before they chill out in our secular, pluralist, consumer society. Europe is there, after a very bad 20th Century. We're there, after a very bad 19th. A lot of the rest of the world isn't, and that includes mostly quiet nations now like China and India and all of Africa.

The ME is important because of the oil (that's why we're doing nothing about Darfur). But the ME is going to have to pluralist, and then nationalist, and possibly fascist or communist, before it quiets down. The global economy will not interfere with any of that until it starts to effect price of of gas, if/when it does that, you can expect a pretexted invasion involving the US and NATO in the blink of an eye.

Iran will go nuclear too. The US cannot afford to totally alienate Iran and allow China, Russia, or India to step into the void. 1017.

 
At 8:04 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous drlloyd said...

Purely as an exercise. If 9/11 was the trigger event to "make you a neo-con". What kind of event would make you give up this credo?

Is there an outcome in Iraq that would suffice for this event?

 
At 8:05 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, there are plenty of people who have a kneejerk opposition to the war and even a perverse desire to see it fail, but there are many thoughtful, intelligent people who do not in principal oppose military action to establish democracy but who feel that the war in Iraq has not been planned or executed effectively. Francis Fukuyama, as he demonstrated in his excellent essay on Sunday, is an example of someone who is decidedly not "salivating with glee" over the chaos in Iraq but who nevertheless has a reasoned critique of the war. Why not respond to the criticism of people like this instead of only taking up the silliest arguments of the left?

 
At 8:42 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger Oz said...

Ivan writes, Speaking of that word, your "anti-intellectual fad" phrase reveals just how full of yourself you are, thinking that your opinion on what's smart and what's stupid is better and more important than your opponents. I guess that explains why you, instead of offering an argument, resort to repetition of the word "failure". It's called "projection", baby. Or do you have any personal accomplishments to speak of?

Heh. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Accomplishment #1: not being a feckless yes-man to shortsighted groupthink by supporting an elective military adventure.

Accomplishment #2: not jumping on the bandwagon of a poorly thought out foreign policy doctrine whose results have been and will continue be the aggravation of existing problems.

For you to assert that the IR strategies which led to the fall of the Soviet Union are the same as those which motivated the war in Iraq is sheer lunacy. The dynamics of the two theatres aren't remotely comparable and the natures of the conflicts are completely different. If you want to defend neoconservatism and its application to the Middle East on any constituve grounds, please feel free to do so. But don't compare it to anti-Communism. They're utterly, utterly different. And you know that.

Of course I think my opinions are superior. That's the essence of opinion. YOUR IDEOLOGY is A FAILURE. Do you have any points to prove otherwise?

Finally, I'm perpetually amused by the "you only have complaints -- offer some suggestions" argument; it's as if military conflict is something that should be avoided only of something else is proposed.

Freedom's on the march. Clearly.

 
At 8:49 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry for the "anonymous", but i just stumbled across this place and am probably not in for the long haul...


The doom-and-gloomers who cried "civil war" at the very outset of any discord in Iraq are now practically salivating with glee (I'm sorry, but that's how I see it) at being able to say--like the hypochondriac who wrote "I told you so!" on his tombstone--"See, civil war! Here it is, at last!"


this strikes me as disingenuous. the reason for pointing out "i told you so" is not for satisfaction (though, being human, it's hard to shirk).

"i told you so" is important so that the next time (there's always a next time):

1) people take the time to educate themselves on the issues

americans, in general, are self-interested and myopic (i should know, being one). being informed is too much work.


2) we allow for a healthy debate before taking action

when one has made up their mind before wieghing all the evidence, debate can be a real drag


their were plenty of intelligent, well-spoken dissenters in both the government and civilian-land. the difference between them - the ones in government lost their jobs...

without admitting any fault, people will continue to hear "i told you so" - until we're sure they understand what is at stake.

fyi - i am neither democrat nor republican, as i like/dislike parts of both - besides 94% of politicians are self-serving asses.


sorry - kinda rambling...

 
At 9:09 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

There may be reasonable people who have opposed the Iraq venture all along.
Unfortunately, they look and sound exactly like the ones who would countenance any defeat anybody could imagine if it would hurt Bush.

They look and sound exactly like those whose leftiness has them believing that the US ought to lose at everything.

If they could figure out a way to differentiate themselves, we might have a better discussion.

 
At 9:30 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous Debbie said...

Very nice post and very intellectual and informed comments. Glad I found your site. I too am a woman who was changed after 9/11, although I was a conservative before 9/11. I am now an 'involved' woman.

 
At 10:18 PM, February 23, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

It's late and I just got home from a long day, so I'm not going to respond in-depth. Just a thought or two--

Of course I don't think everyone who opposed the war is "salivating" now. But some are, and when I composed that sentence, which reads:

The doom-and-gloomers who cried "civil war" at the very outset of any discord in Iraq are now practically salivating with glee...

it clearly was not meant to encompass all those who oppose the war. I thought it should be clear that I was referring to a certain subset of war-opposers, a group that I think I described rather well.

And, unknown blogger--I think perhaps you've lost your sense of humor.

What would it take for me to stop believing that, as Churchill said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others"? Perhaps nothing, short of seeing another form of governement that is superior, in action. I have yet to see that. What would it take to get me to believe that someone like Saddam shouldn't have been overthrown? Perhaps nothing, short of a demonstration that leaving him in would have been better (and I can't quite imagine how that would be demonstrated).

If the neocon agenda were to guide foreign policy for the next couple of decades (highly unlikely, by the way), and if in that time the world erupts in an enormous conflagration of some sort, it will be clear that the neocon agenda did not prevent very very bad things from happening. I always knew that was a distinct possibility. But if I managed to survive such a conflagration, I still would never know what the alternatives might have brought--the same, worse, or better?

All I can do--all anyone can ever do--is evaluate the situation on the basis of my reading, my thoughts, and my observations. I do quite a bit of all three, and I have seen no other policy that seems as though it would have been a better way to have handled the world we have faced during the last four and a half years. I'm not talking about the details--clearly, there's room for improvement there--but about the big picture.

As for Fukuyama--I never was a fan, and I'm not a fan now. Writing a post about his article in the Times is on my fairly lengthy list of things to do. I hope I get around to it.

 
At 11:07 PM, February 23, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Anonymous 7:52 – The problem was the US couldn’t “ditch” the Emperor in the first Gulf War, all concerned knew that doing that would result in what is going on at present in Iraq: a very touchy postwar rebuilding attempt. Just after the first Gulf War the US & the Coalition was hoping that Saddam could be dealt with; 13 years of Saddam mooning the world & continuing to be a dangerous pest ensued. I was for the deposing of Saddam & I’m thankful that has been done.

Now that Saddam is jailed it would be nice if Iraq can be brought into the modern world, given a stable government & taste of democracy - a good thing to attempt but not really necessary to achieve what I believe should be the US foreign policy goal: a friendly regime that doesn’t screw around with the US – nothing more, nothing less. It will be truly unfortunate if the situation in Iraq escalates into civil/religious war but the important thing is that Saddam is gone for good.

The administration has made a couple of tactical errors. The main mistake was in letting expectations become too high on the postwar rebuilding, tying success to a stable postwar democracy in Iraq. The necessary action was to depose Saddam – anything else is pure gravy.

Another mistake was made by allowing the one of the barometers of success to hinge on whether the US & its allies could stop the roadside bombs, snipers & suicide bombers. Anyone that has followed the Israeli/Palestinian conflict should be able to realize what a pipe-dream such an expectation really is. Despite all their expertise & experience the Israelis have never been able to stop it. If the assholes are determined they are going to have at least some success.

Whatever type of government Iraq finally achieves is in the end up to the Iraqi people. I hope for the sake of their freedom & future economic prosperity they decide to go a more democratic way but if they don’t that is their loss. What I want my government to do if chaos takes completely over is kick ass if Syria & Iran try to enter the conflict but otherwise wait until the smoke clears & dust settles & let the Iraqi leaders then in charge know that the US will continue to topple anyone who tries becoming a new Saddam-like malignancy - as many times as it takes.

 
At 12:10 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous Josh said...

I tried to like Kundera but I just found him pretentious. Maybe I just have bad taste because his writing was lyrical, but if I had to read about that girl coming to him like Moses as "a baby in a bull-rush basket" just once more by the end of the Unbearable Lightness of Being I would have been able to burn that book with pyrokinesis. That is all.

 
At 12:14 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous strcpy said...

It's amusing when all these anonymous's show up.

You'll not that it is the same thing everytime. Any peice of news that is bad and they turn up in droves repeating the same thing everytime "We told you so" (with heavy tones of glee) followed by "I'm not gleeful - how dare you!" and lastly declarations of "The (neo)cons have lost!!!".

We never see them again, when thier doom and gloom doesn't pan out then they just slink away and wait until something happens that they can declare "Victory is mine!!!!" for all of about a week or so.

Anyone want to bet, once this blows over and all this doom and gloom doesn't happen, how many of them will just disappear? How many will actually admit to being wrong - I bet one of the reasons for anonymous is so that one can not point out their abysmal track record in predictions - they always claim to have made the correct predictions even when they didn't. Heck, it's rare any of the named lefties in comments admit it even when you can go back and give thier exact quotes.

In a week or two we will see who is correct. Given what the Iraqi blogs have been saying they will go back to the road of forging a stable govt, creating an effective police/military force, and killing as many bad guys (see, I threw you guys a bone - I'm a simple neo-con who see the world in terms of "good guys" and "bad guys" so you can safely dismiss me) as they can. Any person who stayed politically heavy during Reagans terms is totally familiar with this - doom and gloom right up until (and some past) the fall of the Soviet Union (it was just a ruse and/or the fall would trigger an all out nuclear war) - and then an attempt to take credit for it (yet to happen, but we are starting to see leaks of it from time to time).

 
At 12:34 AM, February 24, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

strcpy: I've often wondered why so many of the liberal and/or leftist and/or anti-neocon commenters don't take the trouble to get a name. After all, it's not like it's difficult; one doesn't even have to register with Blogger.

But for me, there's usually no mystery as to why they show up in bunches. It usually has to do with certain links. Today, I suspect, most of the anonymii came from a link at the daou report, which is part of salon.com.

 
At 2:32 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous strcpy said...

"I've often wondered why so many of the liberal and/or leftist and/or anti-neocon commenters don't take the trouble to get a name. After all, it's not like it's difficult; one doesn't even have to register with Blogger."

Well, I can't say for sure that's why, but experiance has shown that. Take, for instance, the comments on "Rightwingnews". I've been on and off active there for a few years (same name - strcpy). There are several that change thier name ever so often after they have given some big prophecy that is pretty far left. It's sorta amusing, they claim to not do that, to be different people, but they must use the auto-login and sometimes forget and use thier old signature or refer to thierselfs under the other name (not to mention the same writing style, quoting style, same talking points, same everything. After you read pages and pages of someone you get to reconise thier writing) - though doing that usually prompts another name change. When it was allowed to post anonymously they did that instead for thier predictions. That's been pretty common even back in the days Usenet (it's the only way to "beat" long term archiving of predictions), though this is for the longer term anonymii. There have even been some fairly amusing exchanges where other people make fun of that behavior.

There are, of course, other reasons why they may. I think some of it is just a "jab" - many of our anonymous posters today are that. A single post and no more (though I would still pick a name - I always use strcpy if I can).

Basically I don't think there is any real difference between this and real life. Usually anonymous stuff is saying something you don't want traced back to you, a single jab, or not wanting a paper trail (especially when what you are talking about requires trust - I'm sure many politicians wish they could have a magic wand and disassociate thier name with a host of foolish things they have said).

"But for me, there's usually no mystery as to why they show up in bunches. It usually has to do with certain links. Today, I suspect, most of the anonymii came from a link at the daou report, which is part of salon.com."

True, it's usually from a link from someplace else for really large spikes - but that link is generally because of the "bad" stuff. Plus, even when you don't get that link they still are much higher - almost all the "conservative" (even if only loosly conservative) blog comments are full of this same type of stuff right now. I would highly suspect that there is a similar type thing happens on lefty blogs that aren't ban/delete heavy.

 
At 6:07 AM, February 24, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

I used Tigger, then OldTigger, now just me -- Tom Grey.
Anons are intellectual cowards, barely worth reading.

You're doing great, Neo (as always); not cynical like the Lib Avenger says (just look at the salivating anons here!). In Slovakia, I should note that the Czechs did quite a bit of immoral post-war ethnic cleansing of Germans from the Sudentenland -- and did NOT allow the Slovaks to cleanse Slovakia of the Hungarians (at about 10% the largest minority, with a center right ethnic coalition that has been part of the gov't coalition since 1998).

The real issue is this: when are the Muslims going to accept universal human rights of Free Speech (consistently applied; some restrictions on non-offense may be included) and, most importantly, Free Religion?

These are minimums for modern civilizations to achieve relative peace. Lebanon seems close; and Iraqi Kurdistan (see Michael Totten!).

No amount of outside troops can force this tolerance, although quick punishment for every act of intolerance is, barely, imaginable -- Leftists with such fantasies perhaps see US campuses as such a "model."


drllyod has an excellent question: what could make you (or me) give up being a neo-con (?meaning supporting use of military force to create democracy? my meaning, TG)?

I've thought long and hard about this, and can't think of any. If Iran gets a nuke, and uses it on Tel Aviv (or Miami, or Moscow), it will only make me think we didn't use ENOUGH force, soon enough.

Take another issue, the number of troops. I wanted fewer, because I think the Iraqis have to take on responsibility for themselves, and can't do so with too many US troops.
If Iraq goes into civil war mode, and more than 100 000 Iraqis are killed by other Iraqis in the next 3 years, I'll agree I was wrong to want fewer troops rather than more. If it's less than 20 000 Iraqis killed, and they continue having elections, I'll say my neo-con actions were successful, and worth it, and fewer troops was correct.

Let's remember history: I was frustrated like Anon Viet Vet at "not winning" in Vietnam. If I knew, in 72, that either N. Vietnam would stop aggressing (US wins), or else we would leave and let them win, I'd choose the US to win.
If I then learned that the only way for the US to win was to actually let, and make, the S. Vietnamese "win", and that it would take 18 more years (til 1990), I would still choose that path. -- But I didn't know/ wasn't sure.

drllyod -- how many SE Asians have to be murdered by victorious commies after 1974 (vote of Dems to stop funding) before you think that decision was a mistake? 100 000? 200k? 600k? 2 000 000 (Vietnamese & Cambodian civilians)?

For me, history tells me the US should have continued using force to stop evil commies -- but less force per year, over more years, and pushing the S. Vietnamese to do more.

How many folk must be murdered in Rwanda in '94 before the US should use force to stop it? (I think 100 000 is a reasonable, arbitrary number as a trigger for US military action)

How many folk must be murdered (& raped) in Darfur before the US, with or without the UN, should take action to stop it? (It's probably been over 100k already, but it's not certain.)

Back in Iraq, how many UN SC resolutions should a country violate before they are enforced? I think 3 is enough -- after the second, any more UN SC resolutions should specify the legitimacy of the use of force, by any coalition of the willing, to enforce the resolutions.

"Laws" without enforcement are not true laws. Modern civilization, like that started by Hammurabi, requires rule of law.

 
At 6:52 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous hgwells said...

Here's a test for the non-salivating anti-war folks.

On the occasions when the statue of Hussein fell, when the Iraqis braved death and voted for the first time, the second time and the third time, was there ever a moment of joy that something good had happened in Iraq?

For many anti-war people that I've been with those were times practically of mourning. As an ex-leftist myself I was surprised and disappointed at this reaction.

 
At 9:36 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Grey, above, talks about the rule of LAW. Well, in light of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, maybe all war supporters should ask themselves what the war has done to the USA. Namely:

"The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly denying him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian governments, whether Nazi or Communist."

Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943

 
At 10:26 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous armchair pessimist said...

Do you think there were any lawyers on the Titanic? Did they stand on the slanting decks and carry on endlessly about gross neglegance? Tortuous indifference to passenger's safety? Product liability? All true, to be sure, but completely and dangerously beside the point at that particular moment.
Time will tell the wisdom or unwisdom of this war; right now the urgent business before us all is how to win it.
PS: Sometimes I sign myself anonymous because it takes the fewest keystrokes. Never underestimate the influence of laziness.

 
At 10:33 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Anon 9:36 says: Tom Grey, above, talks about the rule of LAW. Well, in light of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, maybe all war supporters should ask themselves what the war has done to the USA.

Actually, because the people guilty of crimes concerning Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib have been punished or are in the process of being punished by the American judicial system, I think the war has shown that the US is a country of justice meted out. I also note that no beheadings occurred, which is the justice of choice of the enemy.

Tom has some good points but puts too much faith in the UN for my taste. The US should be in the UN because it is a gathering of nations & the US needs to attend to US interests & goals that such a gathering may consider, so the US can’t afford to totally ignore this discredited & corrupt body. But I would never want my leaders to let the UN run US foreign policy. If the US can get the member nations to go along with what must be done, fine, but a hard & fast 3 resolution rule, given the make-up of the organization, could be used against the US.

America has never been perfect but is way better than those that America is fighting. These bloodthirsty assholes that are trying to murder Americans are constantly defended while Americans are always trashed by the anti-warriors. After awhile one can’t help coming to certain conclusions about anti-warriors in general, namely that they have a deep-seated hatred of America which is subconsciously fueled by a psychologically projected self-hatred. The pathology emerges like snakes slithering from a hole when they think the war is going bad.

I took a look at Iraq the Model & the comments from the anti-warriors are even more vicious(& revealing) than here. Talk about gleeful salivating & rancor!

 
At 10:35 AM, February 24, 2006, Blogger cakreiz said...

Neo, of course we can't predict the future. But we can make reasoned assessments of reality as we know it- we do it daily. In 1991, HW Bush, Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell reached the conclusion that a post-Saddam Iraq could quickly devolve into civil war. This was simply assessing Reality Over Belief.

I have much joy that Saddam was captured in a hole. I fervently desire an Iraq that is, in the President's words, "a stable democracy that's our ally". According to Packer's "The Assasin's Gate", neocons had faith that that a Saddam-free Iraq would become a peaceful, prosperous entity. There was never much post-War analysis done because of their faith in democracy. Sadly, the neocon position was overly optimistic and faith-based. Is Iraq lost? No, there is much to play out. Do we have a handle on it? Hardly. We are at the whim of the vagueries of a religiously-charged culture. Anon 1017 has it about right- "I am afraid we have successfully prepped Iraq to be sucked into the Iranian orbit. Nice move."

 
At 10:37 AM, February 24, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

Its interesting to note that liberals, who've invented the ideological term "neocon" in the first place, now consider it a failed ideology.

That strawman was easy for assembled "anons" to knock down wasnt it?

Now you can go back and invent another term for those how consider themselves either conservative, or liberals who arent as whacked out as you are.

 
At 10:45 AM, February 24, 2006, Blogger cakreiz said...

HGWells- you're right, there are/were consequences in doing nothing. Like you, I had hope for this endeavor. Here's where liberals are wrong. Radical Islam isn't disappearing upon our departure from Iraq. Reality doesn't disappear by sticking our heads in the sand. Iran's soon to be the next big deal.

 
At 10:51 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

Actually, what's amusing about all the "Anonymous's" (Anonymi?) showing up is the way the mask is coming off, and they're no longer hiding the fact that for them "Neo-con" equals "Jew."

Read "Jews Without Mercy?" Thanks, but no thanks! If I wanted to read up on Anti-semetism, I'd get a copy of "Mein Kampf".

The real reason they're all so angry is, of course, the fact that it's Marxism that's died, not conservatism, "Neo-cons", the United States, etc. Their dream of Utopia is gone. Blame the Neo-con/Jews? Sure, why not? Blaming vulnerable minorities is always the easy way out of a dilemma.

 
At 10:53 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Cakreiz writes: In 1991, HW Bush, Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell reached the conclusion that a post-Saddam Iraq could quickly devolve into civil war. This was simply assessing Reality Over Belief. "I am afraid we have successfully prepped Iraq to be sucked into the Iranian orbit. Nice move."

Like I put forth in another comment, the US cannot stop taking down enemies because their countries might go into civil war. That’s all up to the folks in that country. The US has an obligation afterwards to do its best to leave a stable government but if they are determined to have civil war there is not much the US can do about that. As far as “Iranian orbit” goes: I think we know how to deal with the Iranians if they try running a few Iranian battalions across the border. Likewise the Syrians. As for future heads of Iraq, whatever stripe they may be, they need to know that they are doomed if they try to screw the US like Saddam did.

 
At 10:54 AM, February 24, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

"We are at the whim of the vagueries of a religiously-charged culture"

Um, hello, we already were pre-Iraq, and as far as I can tell, the neo-cons are the only ones trying to remedy the situation, drawing on our own experience, by giving those cultures something other than religion to charge them.

If that's not your thing, whatever, but where does anyone get off sniping at those who are risking their lives to make things better? I just don't get it.

 
At 10:54 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous Sam said...

After the London bombings, do you really think Churchill would have had a problem with Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib? Remember, this is one of the guys who authorized the bombing of Dresden. Somehow, I kinda doubt it.

 
At 11:00 AM, February 24, 2006, Blogger cakreiz said...

I subscribe to the basic tenent of medicine: "first, do no harm". Taking a baseball bat to a hornet's nest may be an option. But think it through before swinging. That's what my guys from Bush41 did.

 
At 11:05 AM, February 24, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

starting with that chuckling little entry about the poor couple with the snowy driveway complaining "where is FEMA?" (as if the question raised in the wake of Katrina was somehow illegitimate. Do a Google search for pictures of some of the bloated bodies lying for days in New Orleans sewage.

I saw one of those photos on the cover of the neo-Democrat rag, the New Republic. If that had been a picture of my father or brother, I would have sued the New Republic for every cent they had, every last scrap of their food and for the bedbugs that swarm through their IKEA futons. I hope someone is doing that right now. Those photographs were repulsive, showing a complete lack of respect of the dead.

The fact that you make a crack like this is proves that you are not a nice person trying to see the other side of things.

I don't entirely agree with the neocon ideals - I believe that we should wage war against the terrorists and the states that sponsor them (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, the Sudan, Syria) - the goal of this war should be victory - to kill enough of them until they surrender. Then we can talk about a Marshall Plan. I guess I'm just an old-fashioned FDR democrat.

Bush's neocon policies are kind of a halfway measure, but at least he's taking a step in the right direction. Bush has failed in some ways, but the appeasement-happy Deaniac Dems and the anti-war activists failed in every way, because they offered no reasonable alternative.

 
At 11:39 AM, February 24, 2006, Blogger cakreiz said...

By the way, neo, I liked this little wikipedia blip:

"It is a common misconception that the phrase primum non nocere, "First, do no harm" is included in the Hippocratic Oath. It is not, but seems to have been derived indirectly from his Epidemics, in which he wrote, "Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future; practice these acts. As to diseases, make a habit of two things—to help, or at least to do no harm."

It's particularly pertinent to the discussion of predicting the future.

 
At 11:53 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TalkinKamel

From "Jews Without Mercy," p.viii:

"I am obliged to write it (this book)because I have, except for a few comic moments, always been pleased to be a Jew. The gift deserves to be defended."
Anti-Semitism?

Even Kamels should know something before Talking.

 
At 12:08 PM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Cakreiz says: I subscribe to the basic tenent of medicine: "first, do no harm". Taking a baseball bat to a hornet's nest may be an option. But think it through before swinging. That's what my guys from Bush41 did.

We did nothing about the hornet nest in the first Gulf War. The US let it keep stinging for 13 years in hopes that the Chief Hornet would relent & try to live peacefully. I think 13 years is long enough to “think it through.” My basic tenet is: First, “make sure no harm comes to the US & its allies,” with a corollary of “put American interests first even if the volatile elements of a particular country may opt for civil war.”

 
At 12:25 PM, February 24, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

Taking a baseball bat to a hornet's nest may be an option. But think it through before swinging. That's what my guys from Bush41 did.

The best way to get rid of a hornet's nest is to wait until the hornets are dormant or sleeping. Use poison to kill the hornets, and, when you're sure there's no activity in the nest, remove it.

Using a baseball bat is a poor option, but allowing the hornets to take over your house or garden is even worse.

 
At 1:23 PM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous nittypig said...

"The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly denying him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian governments, whether Nazi or Communist."

To think that at the very moment Churchill said this his government was holding thousands upon thousands of German and Italian detainees in prison camps, none of whom had any prospect of receiving a judgement before his peers. What a hypocrite!

"The Anglo-American tradition going back to the Scottish Enlightenment (and Montesquieu) however holds that you have to let things develop on their own, and interfering just creates an artificial set up."

Quite aside from the fact that I think this mistates the enlightenment postion, I wonder how the hell things in Iraq were supposed to "develop on their own" when the entire country was crushed under the boot of a heinous dictatorship. Removing that boot was undoubtedly necessary for any sort of natural developments to occur.

The question "what would it take to make you change your mind about neoconservatism" is a very good one, even if it may not have been intended that way. Ultimately the idea underpinning the neo-con agenda is that all people, when given the choice and understanding that choice, will choose to live under something resembling liberal democracy. This hypothesis is very hard to prove or disprove. Is it then an article of faith?

Much I heartily disagree with those who believe that the actions of a dozen crazies in blowing up a mosque prove that Iraqis want to be ruled by a dictator, I think it's a question that deserves attention. It's undeniable that at all sorts of points in history large majorities of various populations have opted for the strong man over democracy. I do think that if the US and her allies do in fact make a whole hearted attempt to provide the conditions for Iraqi freedom, over an extended peiod of time, and after all of that the Iraqis elect the next Khomeini, I would have to conclude that the idea is likely worng. But the victory of a minority of fascist thugs or religious fanatics (of whatever party) would prove no such thing.

 
At 2:11 PM, February 24, 2006, Blogger terrye said...

Sure there are people salivating, hoping against hope Iraq explodes. These are the same people who refuse to reform the UN. The Same people who would complain about America consorting with dictators and yet it seems would be more than happy to allow Saddam to kill hundreds of thousands of people if it could stabilize the oil market.

Ignoring Saddam was not an option. People can refuse to acknowledge that reality if the choose, but we were either going to let him do what he wanted, when where and how he wanted or we were going to have to deal with him. That is a fact.

What is happening in Iraq is not a civil war yet, but the truth is if the neo cons are failures..what about those liberals who for years complained about the US not liberating the poor and oppressed and who treated the UN and its edicts like the word of God? Are they now saying that might makes right and only fools really think brown swarthy Muslims can rule themselves?

That sounds like an admission of failure on the part of liberal democracy to me.

 
At 3:40 PM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with Iraq is that Muslims can only be ruled over by Sharia-style law, the kind that only mythical beings and witch-burning lynch mobs can enforce. Any law based on more advanced principles than "might makes right" can't be reliably enforced, because it requires identifying and punishing those who break those laws... a task made impossible by the religiously enforced elimination of identity that Islam itself demands of its adherents.

 
At 8:13 PM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous strcpy said...

"I subscribe to the basic tenent of medicine: "first, do no harm". Taking a baseball bat to a hornet's nest may be an option. But think it through before swinging. That's what my guys from Bush41 did."

Yes, they thought it through. The political alliance they had was for removing Iraq from Kuwait and even the British were not into toppling Saddam. They also felt that we had weakened him enough that the ensuing civil war would take him out (which, obviously, didn't happen) or if it didn't then we had set him back at least ten years. During that time they hoped that sanctions and weapons inspectors would stop him (they didn't), and,lastly, we still had the option of removing him and time to get allies for that. You seem to be under the impression that nothing other than "Civil war - run run run!" was what they said when it wasn't even close. This is well documented.

You seem to also forget that Powell, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Pearle, Wolfowitz, and quite a few of the OIF planners were also the main strategic planners for Desert Storm (note strategic, not tactical). They were quite aware of why Bush Sr. did what he did considering they were the ones who helped make the decision.

You can't praise the people who made the first decision and denegrate the people who made the second as they are the same people.

This is why many people do not give ideas such as that much respect. Your ideas are based on trusting you, that you have fully researched the situation and have given a well thought out idea. When, in fact, you have obviously missed quite a few simple, easily verfiable, and important details. Since your basic thesis is that this type of logic (logic based on incomplete data) is invalid and makes the person making it bad/wrong you shoot yourself - you are doing it just as bad, if not worse, than those you are denigrating. You loose most, if not all, of your credibility doing that to anyone who is not already a believer.

 
At 6:36 PM, February 27, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Anon 9:36 talks about Abu Ghraib & Gitmo; and Law.

No mention of the enforcement of law; nor of the reality that only humans are enforcing human law on earth. And humans make mistakes.

Abu included criminal abuse, mostly not torture (threats of dogs, not actual dogs killing people. At least one dog bite - each bite was torture.) Gen Karpinski was fired in Jan., 2004; she's also been demoted.

You are a hypocrite, like most anti-war folk who say they oppose torture. Is torturing 100 people better or worse than torturing 200? or 500? or 1000?

Everybody who's honestly against torture will say all torture is bad, but less is always better than more.
So how many Iraqis did Saddam kill/ torture in custody in his last 3 years? 500? 1000? 5000?
I really don't know. I believe it's in the 1000 - 10 000 range (smaller range than the Lancet's silly body count).
What do you believe about how many Saddam killed in custody?

Were more Iraqis killed in custody under Saddam, or under the US?

Neo addressed your hypocrisy in earlier posts -- you cowardly Anon who wants to "keep his hands clean".

You prolly voted for Clinton in 1996, after he lied about "no genocide" in Rwanda -- but he kept his hands clean. If so, you supported the torturous deaths of some 600 000.


Grackle, the UN exists, but I don't like it, support it, nor have much faith in it. I think the US should establish a Human Rights Enforcement Group to take military action, in extreme cases, against non-democracies who are excessively violating human rights.

 
At 10:17 PM, February 27, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

It's not that Anon is against torture and is a hypocrite. It is just that anything done in the pursuit of putting Democrats into power and Republicans out of power, is a Good Thing. It's a religious thing.

The ends justify the means, and if the means means letting Saddam torture then so be it.

If it isn't their families being tortured or if they can't derive any benefit from it, it doesn't seem real to them.

Hypocrisy implies an inconsistency between their actions and beliefs, but to me there is no inconsistency between the Absolute Power they want and the means they are willing to get it.

 
At 6:58 PM, February 28, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

I never did understand the allegations from [some] "anti-warriors" (as you call them) about warriors not caring about any of the people that get harmed as collateral for the war, yet seem completely indifferent to the harm that either was done by the one no longer in power, or would have been done in the future, had he been left in power. The whole "they weren't a threat to us" has to be one of the most callous, selfish arguments I've ever heard from intellectuals (don't start a debate on my choice of words, okay?).

/rant

 

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