On the surge

Ross Douthat has a good post about Iraq and the surge.

39 Responses to “On the surge”

  1. David K. says:

    I’m with the first commenter. We can’t get the lives back of those who have died, and continuing to throw away lives is a losing proposition.

  2. Joe Mama says:

    Of course you are.

  3. David K. says:

    Thank you for adding your brilliant insight to this discussion Joe Mama. Without such critical thinking applied to the solution we couldn’t hope to make progress.

  4. Brendan says:

    David, the first commenter is correct in that Douthat’s analogy was flawed, such that it sounded like he was saying we bring people back from the dead, which is obviously absurd. But, that’s not a rebuttal to Douthat’s argument; it’s just a correction of a poor choice of words.

    Likewise, the statement “continuing to throw away lives is a losing proposition” isn’t really an argument either — or at least, it’s an incomplete one that doesn’t address any relevant substantive points. By its terms, it inherently assumes the correctness of the premise you’re (presumably) trying to prove: namely, that we are merely “throw[ing] away lives,” rather than doing something productive that also results in lives lost (as all wars, whether just or unjust, wise or unwise, do).

    So, you haven’t actually responded in any meaningful or substantive way to Douthat. Not that you’re obligated to, of course (I haven’t, either!), but I just wanted to point out that you haven’t, in case you thought you had.

  5. I R A Darth Aggie says:

    We can’t get the lives back of those who have died, and continuing to throw away lives is a losing proposition.

    Is it? would that have been your argument on 8 December 1941?

    I’m not picking, I’m curious: at which point would you say that we as a nation would have to defend ourselves, no matter how many bodies piled up, because the alternative would be too hideous to put up with?

    According to how I understand what you’re saying, we could just surrender to al Queda, and convert to Islam. If we did that, they’d no longer have reason to attack us.

  6. Marty West says:

    I think David makes a valid point. What is more substantive than a human life?

  7. Sandy Underpants says:

    WWII isn’t the War with Iraq. Hussein never attacked or threatened the United States or demanded we convert to Islam. The US invaded Iraq based on a dishonest Bush Admin argument that cited out of date and incorrect information, that had been largely discredited by intelligencia world wide.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080605/pl_nm/iraq_usa_intelligence_dc

    The war was a waste of money and lives and it only served to weaken this nation. Such is the legacy of a life long failure, GWB.

  8. David K. says:

    I R A Darth Aggie, I never said that soldiers dying was a losing proposition, in any war of course lives will be lost.

    However, my critique is with the concept, often used by pro-war advocates, that we MUST continue fighting because if we stop all the lives lost so far will “be for nothing”. The huge problem is that you could get stuck in an endless cycle of violence. In gambling, in war, in life, you have to know when to cut your losses. I think its worse to continue fighting and losing more lives for the sake of making the previous loses “mean something”.

    My critique is not meant to apply to all situations in a blanket way, its meant to be of this particular situation.

    One of the problems with the pro-war crowd is that they have limited themselves to only one option, complete and utter victory, no matter the cost. The trouble is “victory” in this war is a nebulous concept at best, and it might even be unobtainable. A pyrhic victory is a victory, but its a pointless victory, and by refusing to consider whether its in the best interests of the country to withdraw, its like a gambler whose on a losing streak getting more and more desperate. Thats how I see so many of the right wing war advocates. They have invested so much of their world view into this war being the right thing to do they are unwilling to budge, even an inch, on whether it might be in our best interests to withdraw. Some of it is based on genuine belief that winning is in our best interests, sure, but the unwillingness to concede that yes, the war could be not the best use of our resources makes it difficult to have a solid discussion on what the next best steps are.

    Based on what I have seen the past however many eyars this war has gone on, I am lead to believe at this poitn that the case for staying is incredibly weak and the cost is incredibly high. Its just not worth the gamble. And I want to make it clear, that when the war started I actually supported it, because I believed President Bush when he said Iraq was an imminent threat. He was wrong (or lying) and there is plenty of criticism about that decesion, but now, right now, its time to be done.

  9. Brendan says:

    What is more substantive than a human life?

    *rolls eyes*

    That’s totally non-responsive to my point, and Douthat’s, and you know it. Of course a human life is “substantive,” but we’re talking about substantive arguments, not substantive concepts or terms or life-forms. And David’s argument is not “substantive” because, well, we all agree that human life is precious and should not be, as David said, “thrown away” for no good reason. I repeat: WE ALL AGREE about that. So, in this context, it’s not a substantive argument because it doesn’t argue anything; it just repeats an obvious point that everyone agrees with (we shouldn’t throw away lives) without making any sort of argument whatsoever that our current actions in this particular war, as compared to the alternatives at this particular time, are an example of “throwing away lives,” as opposed to making tragic but necessary sacrifices. The latter point is the point that some of us disagree about (I’m personally unsure), and any argument that fails to address it, in any way, shape or form, is not a substantive argument for or against our continued presence in Iraq.

  10. Brendan says:

    P.S. This is why people make the World War II comparison: not because “Iraq and WWII are the same thing” (they’re obviously not), but because the argument that “human life is precious, our soldiers die in war, death is bad, so we should end the war” is a completely vacuous argument insofar as it fails, on its face, to make any distinction between wars that are just or unjust, wise or unwise, necessary or unnecessary, etc. In other words, arguments like this, on their face, DO NOT ALLOW for even necessary wars like World War II. You guys are the ones making unjustifiable absolutist statements about the nature of war, so you have no business getting indignant when people throw it back in your face and say, “What about World War II??” You made that bed for yourself by failing to make an argument that allows for such distinctions.

  11. anon says:

    As usual, David K. finds the most illogical argument and seizes upon it.

    In a game of poker, the object of the game is to win the most money before leaving the game, or to be the only player with all the money at the end. That’s what makes the analogy about “winning back” possible: if I lose $1000, I can spend more money to get that $1000 back. Leading to a discussion of sunk costs, etc.

    In a war in Iraq, the object of the war is to stabilize the country (or some other ideologically prideful notion). One doesn’t expend more “lives” in the hope of “winning back” lives.

    By David K.’s inordinately inane logic, at the first moment a human being’s life is killed in war, ranging from the Revolution to Desert Storm, “We can’t get the [life] back of [him] who [has] died, and continuing to throw away lives is a losing proposition.”

    Why, pray tell, would it otherwise be considered a “losing proposition”? If one begins with the predicate pejorative “throw away,” then it is obvious that any casualty of war is deemed a “waste,” which, in turn, means that any war resulting in death is a “waste,” which means that any possibility of alternative definitions of success, ranging from liberating a terrorized people to restoring civility to a culture inundated with marauders, could never possibly be considered the “proposition” to which a nation may “win.” Nay, all such victories are defeats when the possibility of a single further casualty is on the line.

    No, David K. is awaiting the messenger for Leonato, expecting to find “none of name” to meet death on the battlefield. Only then, when we have eliminated the casualty count from war, may we decide that war is, possibly, a “winning proposition.”

    In this way, the game of poker is wholly disanalogous to a war. It is possible to see that a war has ups and downs in terms of casualties, but the end goal is not to “win back” those casualties. Instead, the appropriate calculus is whether the risk, or the death, of more troops is worth the final goal.

    Perhaps David K. believes that Iraq is not worth saving. Perhaps David K. believes that our presence in Iraq is doing more harm than good. But his usual seizure upon a meaningless metaphor to shore up his ends-oriented point is, as usual, fatally flawed.

  12. Joe Mama says:

    Thank you for adding your brilliant insight to this discussion Joe Mama. Without such critical thinking applied to the solution we couldn’t hope to make progress.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    (I see others beat me to it.)

  13. David K. says:

    anon, congratulations for being an idiot. I did not say that once a life is lost its a lost cause. I said throwing away more lives IN a lost cause is stupid. Anyone with half a clue who plays poker knows that sometimes you walk away even when you are behidn so you don’t get FURTHER behind.

  14. anon says:

    Stunningly, David K. resorts to the poker metaphor and, again, fails to define a “lost cause,” choosing, instead, to engage in typical inanity rather than comprehend that, yes, he is, as usual, so blindingly wrong that even his remote and infantile mind is incapable of grasping the most mean logical thread.

  15. Alasdair says:

    Hey – it’s David – he’s doing *his* very best to be logical …

    And, as is customary, he is basing his ‘arguments’ on *his* “facts” … as, for example, “And I want to make it clear, that when the war started I actually supported it, because I believed President Bush when he said Iraq was an imminent threat. “

    For the rest of us, who habitually use and understand the english language, we know that President Bush was careful to say that we cannot wait until Iraq becomes an imminent threat … from the 2003 SOTU – “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”

    The Davids of this world hear what they want to hear and read what they want to read, not necessarily what is actually said or written … the truly sad thing is that they are *proud* of doing so …

  16. Brendan says:

    I did not say that once a life is lost, it’s a lost cause. I said throwing away more lives IN a lost cause is stupid.

    Right. But you did not defend the proposition that the Iraq War is a lost cause. You simply asserted it, without supporting it. You think it’s self-evident, I guess. The thing is, though, you’re wrong; it’s not self-evident. It’s the very subject of the debate we’re having, or should be having. It’s the very question that must be answered before any meaningful conclusions can be drawn about the way forward in Iraq. It is the crux of the issue, David. And your original comment does absolutely nothing — literally nothing, zero, zilch, nada — to advance the discussion of that question, because you have answered it before it was even asked, without explaining your answer.

    That is why, as I said, you have not engaged Douthat’s point in any meaningful way, nor have you made a substantive argument about the war. Your “argument” does not argue anything; it presupposes an answer to the very question at issue (whether the war is a lost cause), and then makes the obvious point — which EVERYONE AGREES WITH — that, if something is a lost cause, we shouldn’t waste lives on it. Well, of course we shouldn’t. Nobody disagrees with that. What some people disagree with is your premise, namely that the war is a lost cause.

    Do you understand what I’m saying, David? Do you see the distinction I’m making? You can’t have it both ways: either your comment is meaningful and substantive (in which case you did say, implicitly, that “once a life is lost, it’s a lost cause”), or else your comment is defensible but vacuous (because you merely stated that “throwing away more lives in a lost cause is stupid,” which is obviously true, but tells us nothing about this particular situation, since your comment doesn’t say anything about whether the Iraq War, in particular, is a lost cause).

  17. Brendan says:

    P.S. By the way, as I said before, you’re under no obligation to make a substantive argument about the war on this thread. I certainly haven’t. But you should be under no illusion that you have done so. That’s all I’m saying. Perhaps you’ve made substantive arguments against the war on other threads, and here you’re just sort of revising and extending your previous remarks. Again, fine. But your statement that “I’m with the first commenter [on Douthat’s post]” suggested, to me at least, that you disagree with Douthat. And the problem there is, neither you nor the first commenter on Douthat’s post made any substantive points that address his arguments about the war.

  18. Sandy Underpants says:

    I can empathize with David K. on the fact that it’s very difficult debating people who believe IRON MAN was based on a true story.

    Folks, 75-80% of Americans believe the war with Iraq was a mistake. DK probably gets sick of repeating something that is implicit like the fact that the war with Iraq is a mistake before jumping to say why waste another human life on it.

    The people debating whether the war is a lost cause or not, will never be persuaded to the opposite side. A trillion dollars spent, 4,100+ americans dead, 25 US soldiers dead THIS MONTH (5 years after the war ‘ended’), 100,000+ Iraqi’s dead, Iraq rife with terrorist attacks they never had pre-war, no end in violence in the country for the forseeable future– all in an effort to disarm Sadam of the WMD he didn’t have when the war began.

    That’s the definition of a lost cause.

  19. Marty West says:

    /thread

  20. anon says:

    Finally, Sandy takes an attempt at defining “lost cause.” Now, of course, citing a dollar amount and a casualty figure are wholly irrelevant unless spoken of with regard to the “cause” and are not indicative of a “lost cause” in itself: every war, from the Revolution to Desert Storm, comes at a dollar amount and a casualty figure.

    Similarly, citing “rife with terrorist attacks they never had pre-war” is a curious predicament. For instance, foraying into reductio at Hitlerum, Germany experienced many attacks they never had pre-war. I suppose one could say that these terrorist attacks are comparably more harmful than the harm exposed pre-war, but then again, it is difficult to say that state-sponsored genocide is far better than occasional bands of rogue marauders parading the streets and being rounded up by allied and Iraqi security forces.

    Also, to cite “no end in violence in the country for the forseeable future” is a bit perplexing, too. After all, many wars have risidual violence for a period of time that is not sufficiently definite. And military presence in a country is sometimes a reason to REMAIN, ebcause it can help reduce, if not eliminate, violence. For instance, again, speaking comparatively, is it a “lost cause” if there’s simply violence? After all, there may be more violence should Americans leave.

    Finally, the teleological argument of “all in an effort to disarm Sadam of the WMD he didn’t have when the war began.” It’s true. The premises of the war were incorrect. Now, what does one do with that? I suppose one could insist that, upon discovery that an end (not the end) of the war was false, then immediate withdrawal, without regard to the condition of the country without allied support upon withdrawal, is the best option.

    You, Sandy, seem entirely introspective when it comes to defining “lost cause.” “Lost cause,” in your view, has nothing to do with the world. It has nothing to do with Iraq, with the Middle East, with foreign nations, with international stability. It solely has to do with the cold, American calculus of, “What’s in it for the U.S.?” That kind of Pauline non-interventionism is certainly spirited, but, in light of the fact that we chose to create a mess in Iraq, it is at least plausible that one could consider the best way that we should remedy that situation. It may or may not involve a prolonged military presence. But it certainly involves a calculus about what American actions are best for Iraq, and not simply what American actions are best for America.

  21. Marty West says:

    How is citing a dollar amount not relevant anon? Please explain.

  22. anon says:

    Marty,

    Let’s say I told you a war has cost $4 trillion and we still have not met our “objective.”

    Is that war a “lost cause”?

    …you’ll note that it’s an unanswerable question unless we determine what the objectives are and how important they are.

    In WWII, for instance, there were very, very real economic issues as the cost of the war skyrocketed. At about (very rough approximation) the $4 trillion mark (in today’s dollars), we were still losing, and the end did not appear to be in sight. Fortunately, another year another trillion helped us win. But it took a calculus about our commitment to overthrowing Hitler’s regime rather than finding a way to pledge for peace and bring our troops home without throwing away more money.

    In the same way, sans reference to the objectives of the war, dollar figures qua dollar figures are, in themselves, not relevant.

  23. dcl says:

    The substantive difference between the Dean Kerry Surge and the Bush Surge is goals. Dean / Kerry and specific goals and objectives that the surge was intended to provide cover for. The Bush surge has no such objectives beyond “increased security.” The problem with this objective in regards to the surge is that as soon as you lower troop levels security decreases. So the reality is the surge is an escalation (because you can’t take the troops out once they are in) and not a “surge”. But in so far as the issue is frames it is working because it can’t not work. More forces (unless utterly incompetent) will increase security and stability. But lets make something clear THAT’S NOT THE ISSUE!

    The issue is, what do you do while you have said increased security and stability. So far the Bush administration answer to that is nothing. Which puts us in the same boat we were in when we started if and when the surge leaves. Which leads to David’s point of throwing alive lives after dead ones and the gambling metaphor. If you aren’t going to do anything about the underlying problems why are you even there in the first place? We need focused quantifiable objectives that we can move towards or we should get out, there is no point sitting about in a circle jerk.

    Lets be clear on some things.

    Invading Iraq was not a particularly good idea. It was a war of choice, it was unnecessary, and involved taking our eye off the ball in Afghanistan. This is not meant to imply that Sadam was a good man, he was not. Nor that regime change in Iraq was not a reasonable goal. Simply that the time an manner of action were wrong, and the existing situation (status quo) in Iraq was stable and non-threatening to US interests. I’m sorry if you can’t get that point through your head, but it is the reality. And it was the reality of facts as the intelligence community knew them at the time we decided to invade. As such the decision was an inexcusable error on behalf of the Bush administration. Again, I’m sorry but that is the reality of the situation if you can’t at least get your head around that, you have no place in this debate because you are completely divorced from reality.

    Second, the invasion of Iraq was poorly planned and woefully mismanaged and brought far too few troops on the mission and moved too quickly without making sure the position of the army was secure and that all military installations were taken and secured or destroyed.

    Third we are in Iraq. If you can’t get your head around that, you are completely divorced from reality and have no place in this debate.

    Fourth, we are in the middle of a mess that bares such similarities to a civil war as to be indistinguishable from one. The political situation in Iraq is a nightmare, and that nightmare is a direct result of US action. As such we have a certain moral obligation to the people of Iraq in regards to their peace, security, and political freedom and self determination.

    The surge provides us with an opportunity to give “cover” to the political process in order to bring about some measure of peace and stability such that we can get out of Iraq (we can all agree that at some point we want to be out of Iraq right?). In such a debate we need to at least recognize that the borders of Iraq were artificially drawn by Great Britain and as such have no resemblance to the geo political history of the region encompassing ethnic groups that have been at war with each other in excess of three thousands years the conflict predates Darius the first, who you should all remember from the recent work of the historians Herodotus and Thucydides. (in honor of Gorge Carlin) I shit you not this fight is fucking old.

    So the question is, what are we doing? If we are going to stand around with our thumbs up our butts jerking off there is no reason to be in Iraq and we should get out now because David’s point holds in that scenario. Or we need to do something, provide the stability needed to start pulling together a stable and reliable political frame work. The point is no longer we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq we shouldn’t have. That question is academic now. The question is: okay, we are in Iraq, what the hell are we going to do now because it’s a mess and the country is disintegrating around us. The surge is buying us time, but we’ve got to do something with it or it is just another waisted opportunity. In which case we are throwing away American blood and treasure on a complete disaster and we need to not do that because I think anyone can recognize, that’s stupid.

  24. Sandy Underpants says:

    The “experts” who argue that the surge is working are the same experts who said the war would cost $60 billion, last less than 3 months, and see the Iraqi people welcome us as liberators. If that is the model by which a success would have been, then we are so far from it, it’s not even funny, not even to a frenchman.

    Anon, look at the facts. It’s been over 5 years. Gen. Patreus said it would take 20 more years before we know if the war was a success or not.

    We accomplished every goal that we set– Disarm Sadam, regime change, liberate Iraq, and install a democratically elected government. Leaving today is not surrender or retreat. The war’s been over. Iraq is free, wrought a constitution, and created a democracy for itself, it is now their time to defend it. We’ve been training their army for four years, they aren’t ill-prepared.

    It’s past time to go. We won, let’s keep it a victory.

  25. coqndor says:

    The real question is whether the surge in my pants will last through 2012 if Obama is elected.

  26. Brendan says:

    DK probably gets sick of repeating something that is implicit like the fact that the war with Iraq is a mistake before jumping to say why waste another human life on it.

    That’s fine; like I said, he’s under no obligation to make the argument here. (Though, I should note, the argument isn’t really about whether “the war with Iraq is a mistake,” which is really a past-tense question — or at least a combination of past and present and future. The argument is about whether our present actions in Iraq are a good idea, given the alternatives. Whether we should have gone into Iraq in the first place is a separate question, but what Douthat’s post is about is what we should do now, not what we should have done then. Douthat agrees with you and David that the war was a bad idea.)

    However, while David is (again) under no obligation to make any particular argument, whether repetitive or otherwise, he just needs to recognize that, when he says “I’m with the first commenter [on Douthat’s post]” — which, to me, implies “I disagree with Douthat” — he is doing so without actually articulating an argument for why he disagrees with Douthat, since Douthat is making an argument that cannot be engaged in any meaningful way without addressing the question of whether our present actions in Iraq are “a mistake.”

    So, in that sense, David’s comment is fundamentally non-responsive to the post he was purportedly responding to. That’s all I was saying. And I guess I was motivated by the notion that, in my mind, if you want to say “I disagree with X argument,” it doesn’t make a lot of sense to leave the entire grounds for your disagreement unstated, or as you put it, “implicit.” I mean, why comment at all, then? It’s like saying, “I disagree, but I’m not going to tell you why, and instead I’m going to say something completely obvious and pedestrian.” Why bother?

    It bears repeating: the generic statement that “human life” shouldn’t be “wasted” is completely uncontroversial. The only debatable point is whether a given cause for which people lose their lives is, in point of fact, a “waste.” If you’re not going to engage that question, why say anything at all? It’s a meaningless statement.

  27. JMOL says:

    ” The problem with this objective in regards to the surge is that as soon as you lower troop levels security decreases.”

    You assume, without justification, that nothing happens during the period of increased security that will enable said security to continue after troop levels are reduced.

    Suppose you have a leak in your roof. You put a drinking glass under it. Won’t take long for that glass to get full. So, you “increase security” — you replace the glass with a 6-quart stock pot. Sure, if you switch back to a drinking glass later, it will quickly fill up again . . . unless you use the extra time your stock pot buys you to *fix the leak.*

    And that’s where the rest of your post misses the mark. By assuming, again without justification, that while the surge is on the ground everybody else is engaged in a circle-jerk. In reality, of course, local authorities are gaining traction, institutions are being established and installed, insurgents are being rooted out, and security – real, long-term, organic security – is finally being obtained.

    If you can’t at least get your head around that, you have no place in this debate, because you are completely divorced from reality.

    (I acknowledge that some language in the second half of your comment does seem to recgonize this, but the skepticism and derision dripping from those words, coupled with the denial of the very same notions in the first half of your comment, suggest to me that I would be foolish for taking your representation of understanding at face value.)

  28. Joe Mama says:

    Whoa, wait, hold the phone . . . IRON MAN wasn’t based on a true story?

  29. Ozzie Osborne says:

    I am Iron Man.

  30. Sandy Underpants says:

    I Re-re-read Douthat’s article, and I honestly can’t see him make any argument in favor of the Surge other than that we probably saved thousands of Iraqi’s lives by not leaving, but there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate that belief. (And no mention that we killed a few hundred thousand by going there in the first place) It’s just an assumption. That’s all Douthat has– a baseless opinion.

    We’ve been staying in Iraq for the last 5 years, it’s really not going so well based on the fact that our troops are still dying every day and we’re still spending $1.5 BILLION a week. Why don’t we try leaving. It may not work, but it just might work and it’s a new direction. Not to mention that it is innevitable that we leave, for political purposes or bankruptcy. People that want to stay there are just foot-draggers. More like body-draggers.

  31. David K. says:

    Gee Brendan, I didn’t realize I had to give an entire background for my thoughts on the war every time I posted about it. I’ll remember that the next time I’m making a comment. Here I thought this was a blog comment section, not a PhD thesis defense on my feelings about the Iraq war.

    I also didn’t realize I was under any obligation to go into depth on my reactions to the entire article. Of course you keep saying I’m under no obligation, while at the same time pointing out that I haven’t done so. If I’m under no obligation to do so AND i’m not trying to debate someone who is asserting their agreement with the ENTIRE article, why is my position on one part of it suddenly deficient?

    If you want to criticize me for disagreeing with the article by explaining that you think the war ISN’T a lost cause then fine, i’ll explain why I think it is. But given the analogy made,that the player was losing in poker, it seemed to be implied that that player was in a bad situation. As the commentor pointed out, and I replied here, any poker player worth their salt knows when to walk away from the table if they are down, and when to keep playing. And as I said above, most pro-war people have completely blocked the concept of walking away from the table.

    Absolutely I believe it is a losing proposition at this point, but even if I’m wrong, it is STILL stupid to ignore that as a possiblity and just as happens in vegas, the people who refuse to be aware of all options and who refuse to know when to fold ’em so to speak are the ones who lose BIG.

  32. David K. says:

    The Davids of this world hear what they want to hear and read what they want to read, not necessarily what is actually said or written … the truly sad thing is that they are *proud* of doing so …

    Alasdair, you are the poster child for blind partisanship and reading and seeing only what you want to see. Where exactly am i not reading what is written here? Oh wait, you can’t answer that because you have NO EXAMPLES TO GIVE.

    Bush made the case that Saddam DID have weapons of mass destruction, thats an imminent threat in the minds of just about everyone. But whats even more amusing is that you ignore the body of my argument and go for the disclaimer where I said I actually AGREED with Bush on something. You are so damn stupid you can’t even comprehend that unlke you i’m not so biased towards one side that i would never accept an argument made by those I normally disagree with.

    Of course you have pretty much proven that you are an outright liar, so I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that you would continue to lie.

  33. Alasdair says:

    David – READ what I typed …

    You said that Bush said that Saddam was an “imminent threat” … I quoted the example which proves that Bush said the opposite – that even though Saddam wasn’t an “imminent threat”, we/the US couldn’t afford to wait until Saddam became an “imminent threat” before dealing with him …

    No mind-reading required, just a simple comprehension of the meaning of the written word …

    Thank you for proving my point, David !

  34. dcl says:

    When you are in the middle of a war things that are not an imminent threat can wait. We were in the middle of the war, Iraq could wait. Instead we took our eye off the ball… A. no matter how you skin this cat, Bush fucked up.

  35. Condor says:

    “When you are in the middle of a war things that are not an imminent threat can wait.”

    What, such as saying that Bush fucked up every goddamn time you post here?

    Everyone on this blog should just shut the fuck up about the war for like five minutes and use that time to think of one goddamn NEW thing to say. It’s the same old bullshit over and over from both sides.

    The sterility of this whole damn debate has ruffled this bird’s feathers for just about the last goddamn time.

  36. Youngblai says:

    Three things:

    1.) Stop using the casualties as a basis for your argument. Casualties are to be expected in war and, quite frankly, I know of at least three of them who would soundly tell you to go f___k yourself for using their deaths as justification to go against the national interest. If you can’t handle 4,000 dead playing the game of kings, tell your Representative to never vote for war again. Considering there are very few wars that last 5 years yet cost so little, we’ve been somewhat lucky.

    2.) This national interest is the question here. WMD, terrorists, etc.–does not F____G matter, folks. What matters (and what people should be talking about whether than trying to recyle how our entire government (Dem and GOP) got us into this mess) is where we go from here.

    On the staying side of the ledger, there is the fact that we will have bailed on _yet another_ fight once the war got tough. In our enemy’s (not Bush’s, not Reid’s, not Pelosi’s, our _opponents’) words, this will make us appear a “weak horse.” Like it or lump it, once more it will seem as if we, that nation of fat slobs who like to drop precision guided munitions but shrink’s away from real butcher’s work, was ran off by a bunch of Third World knuckleheads.

    The subsequent orgy of destrution and civil war that will follow that will probably make Darfur look like a vacation spot, and if we _ever_ have to go back to the Middle East you can pretty much expect the natives to flip us the bird when we start looking for guides, translators, etc.. That’s the reality, folks, and mindlessly chanting “Bush lied!” isn’t going to change a damn thing.

    So, Sandy, stop hiding behind your sanctimonious piety for far better men and women than yourself and just say up front that you don’t give a flying f__k about those Iraqis who are going to get to watch their daughters raped in front of them, their sons brutally killed, and entire villages wiped out–you just want to stop paying your tax dollars for the cause and divert them to something else near and dear to your heart. Mohammed will get over that small case of death, right? Our military will just get over having, yet again, the civilians start a fight that they weren’t ready to finish, after all. I mean, you know, it only took almost 20 years to recover from Vietnam and it’s not like anyone’s going to be asking _your_ happy a** to put on a uniform and fix the damage, right?

    Then again, there’s the other side of the coin. I mean, you know, that Army I mentioned is getting rather tired. Oh, I’m sure that those of you who are in favor of staying the course are quite concerned some SSgt. who is on his fourth tour is probably a little annoyed about the disintegration of his 12 year marriage and the fact he’s missed his three kids’ first steps, first words, first day of school, etc., etc.. But, hey, gotta keep the terrorists from following us home, right?

    On the other hand, I’m sure Kim Jong Il and Im-a-nut-job won’t be starting any trouble soon, right? I mean, the Air Force isn’t doing anything, so of course the threat of a few glide bombs is going to keep them in line. What’s that you say? The last 7 years of GWOT have put about 20 years worth of flight hours on the USAF’s airframes? Why, that’s not important, is it? We can just pay to…oh, that’s right, we’re sorta _borrowing money to pay for this war already_.

    So, you see, both sides have merit to their course of action. Unfortunately, we can’t seem to have an intelligent discussion because both of your are, to quote the Raging Cajun, “stuck on stupid.” How about we discuss what’s actually on the table and leave the rest to the historians, shall we?

  37. David K. says:

    Alasdair, the case Bush made was that the threat of Saddam as such that we couldn’t wait to stop it, that he had or was making chemical and biological weapons. By all definitions that represents an imminent threat.

    You are continuing however to ignore the entire rest of my argument and instead nit picking about the one part where I said I had AGREED with Bush. Whatever wording he actually used is irrelevant because at the time I thought he was right. What is important is not that I type the right word, but that I started this war from a position of support and his actions have moved me away from that position. I’m trying to demonstrate to you that there ARE people who have seen this from both sides, and in fact the polls show that there were lots of them like me who trusted the president, and years later see how very misplaced that trust was, and no longer support the war. The fact that we are a sizeable majority leads me to have faith that we are likely on the right side and you are wrong, perhaps not, but there is more evidence to support our side than you are willing to even begin to accept and that is truly the problem here, as I tried to point out, perhaps not as clear as I could have above.

    Specifically, the article makes the claim that the way out of a losing situation like this one is to invest more into it. Yes, that MIGHT be a way out, but it ignores the other important consideration, when you should walk away and accept your losses, because the cost of “winning” will either be too high or impossible. As I said above thats true in poker, its true in life. I’m open to arguments that what we are doing is important enough to risk more lives, but those who are unwilling to acknowledge that we might be in a losing situation are dangerous and part of the problem.

  38. Sandy Underpants says:

    “just say up front that you don’t give a flying f__k about those Iraqis who are going to get to watch their daughters raped in front of them, their sons brutally killed, and entire villages wiped out–you just want to stop paying your tax dollars for the cause and divert them to something else near and dear to your heart.”

    Wow Youngblai, you finally get it. This is what made me sick as Republican bubble heads said, “but the Iraqi people need us to invade”. Americans don’t give a flip about foreigners. Americans want the Mexicans rounded up at their workplaces and sent back home to live in the strife of their corrupt government. Americans don’t give a damn about the genocide in Darfur, which is a real human rights crisis, not Iraq. I don’t know that I want the money spent on something near and dear to my heart, but then again I would like to see American tax dollars spent on AMERICANS, is this a novel idea to folks like yourself? The difference between us may be someone who loves their country and someone who loves their political party.

    As for Iraqis getting raped and killed, that’s going on today and US soldiers are doing it, and don’t pretend they don’t. They have the guns and they have the power, and it’s not American nature, it’s human nature, unfortunately. We all saw the Abu Graib pictures, and that was a facility with oversight.

    Every goal we set in Iraq was already accomplished, it’s up to the Iraqi army and security forces which ought to be at least a million strong (which WE trained) to protect their citizens. They can do it, and I don’t know why Republicans can only see failure thus far. It’s been over 5 years, it’s time for “the Iraqi people” to stand up on their own two feet, and quit listening to bleeding hearts like Youngblai, who want a permanent welfare state to drain this great country of another trillion dollars over the next 6 years (and longer).

  39. Alasdair says:

    So, David – which way do you want it ?

    “Whatever wording he actually used is irrelevant because at the time I thought he was right.” – the words he used don’t matter ?

    “Bush lied!” – the words he used do/did matter ?

    Cuz it has to be either one or the other …

    To paraphrase someone near and dear to you :-

    “I’m open to arguments that what we are doing is not important enough to risk more lives, but those who are unwilling to acknowledge that we might be in a losingwinning situation are dangerous and part of the problem.”