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Cameron

What will happen in Iraq were we to set a timetable for departure and then leave?

Julie Fanselow

What would happen if we set a timetable? Iraq would know we are serious about Iraqis taking over leadership.

Cameron, I am not advocating full withdrawal. Because of Bush's failed policies, I believe we will need to leave some strategic forces in Iraq for many years to come. Because of Bush's war of choice, Iraq is indeed a central front of the war on terror.

We have a moral responsibility not to abandon Iraq, but the current troop levels are clearly unsustainable, and our continued huge presence is serving only to continue fueling the insurgents.

My feeling is we need to get the mass of our troops out of harm's way within a year. Meanwhile, we must immediately - as in now - start focusing on intelligence and special ops to isolate terrorists. That's where our money should be going.

Sisyphus

Cameron I'd like your answer to your own question. And where were you and the other Republicans when Rumsfeld overruled his Generals and ordered less than half of the soldiers requested? Its appalling to the American people that citizens of the Gulf states continue to live in post-Katrina squalor while we spend billions in Iraq in an effort to provide them their own security.

Julie in Boise

Even Mitt Romney supports a timetable. Click my name.

OK, he wants to keep it secret - but he wants one just the same.

Sisyphus

Didn't Nixon have a secret plan for ending the war in Vietnam when he was running for his second term? A plan that never materialized if I recall.

Julie in Boise

Yup. Plenty of people are snickering about this as well.

Cameron

Sisyphus, we could have used Speaker Pelosi's opinion on the subject when she was asked the same question on Face the Nation, but she refused to answer it. Now you refuse to answer it as well. Listening to the statements made by terrorist leaders as to their intentions for Iraq is instructive as to what the answer could be.

Julie apparently understands the importance of Iraq to us as well as to the terrorists. We disagree as to the best way to handle the situation.

Cameron

Oh, and when you snicker, be sure to send a few in the direction of "Democratic Senator Mark Pryor (Ark).", who submitted the idea as an amendment to the non-binding resolution for troop redeployment. His rep is quoted in Julie's link:

“When any [congressional] codel has gone to Iraq, we don’t make public their movements ... because we don’t want them to get killed,” Teague said. “Sen. Pryor feels we should take the same approach to our soldiers.”

That's an interesting argument.

Sisyphus

Cameron, I thought Julie answered your question. Did you want me to cut and paste? So the only one who didn't answer it is you. The fact of the matter is the current situation is untenable and the one exerting complete control of the situation is the same ill guided fool who brought us to it.

But beyond that your question is loaded. Few are advocating complete withdrawal. The word commonly bandied about is redeployment, which this administration labels defeatist and I call strategic. Pretending the situation on the ground is better than it is (McCain) and shooting the messenger (blaming the media) for providing the facts is ostrich like behavior that serves no one well.

But here's the larger question. Why does this administration, and apparently you included, ask these questions of the American electorate. We hire professionals in government to provide this advice and elect officials in government to act on it.

It was farcical the way this administration played war in Iraq like it was a political football, using a sophisticated marketing ploys and a media barrage to sell the war in order to provide the political support for a radical change in foreign policy over the objections of those same professionals. Any such detractors in government were coerced, cajoled and covertly threatened into silence and those not so dissuaded were hounded from office or suffered worse. Professional diplomats in the State Department, intelligence analysts in the CIA, and Generals from the Pentagon are on record arguing against not only the war but the plans for waging it, and their sole reason for doing so was not their politics but their duty and love for their country. They were nevertheless called unpatriotic just because of their dissent, an American virtue. Their reward for asserting their expert opinions was systematic vilification from the administration (See Libby Trial).

Since then the administration has sought to replace professionals in many branches of government with unqualified or barely qualified people whose unifying attribute is their loyalty to Bush and his ideology. The current flap in the DOJ is the tip of the iceberg. Michael Brown in FEMA is the poster child. And the long overdue oversight will surely uncover many more.

So I doubt either one of us have the answer on what to do next in Iraq nor do I think that we should be making that assessment. But I know this. The judgment of the current administration is severely compromised. They laud ideology over reality and fact based assessment. Bush even ignores advice from within his party like he did with the Iraq Study Group which criticized the administration for too much focus on a military solution for a multifaceted problem. This administration has lost all credibility with me and overwhelming amount of the populace. I have no confidence that they can lead us out of the situation they put us in. I have little confidence that you can either.

And by the by, who are these terrorist leaders you've been listening to? How were you able to determine their intentions? I'm sure the military commanders would be very interested. My understanding is that there is no head to this snake. But one thing's for sure, they don't like Americans. That's getting to be a larger group all the time.

Cameron

Sysyphus, your long-winded way of saying "I don't like President Bush" is exactly why I brought up Speaker Pelosi. She meets all of your requirements for answering the "loaded" question I, and Face the Nation, posed. She is not President Bush, she's not Republican, and she's an elected official that presumably is listening to the hired experts and will act on their advice.

She pretty much embodies everything you have asked for. Yet, when a respected member of the media (not me, not the administration) asked her that question, she wouldn't answer it.

I find that odd.

The new, respected, approved by Congress commander in Iraq, General Patraeus, went before Congress in January. Senator Graham talked of a meeting with a citizens group from Baghdad. This group told the Senator's delegation that, "If you leave, there will be a bloodbath in Baghdad." Senator Graham asked the General if he agreed. General Patraeus said, "I do, sir."

I concur with the experts.

As for my inside information regarding terrorist intentions in Iraq, it really isn't anything that hard to find. They aren't trying to hide it.

Here's an excerpt from a letter written by al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi. I apologize for its length, but you did ask. :-)


"If our intended goal in this age is the establishment of a caliphate in the manner of the Prophet and if we expect to establish its state predominantly-according to how it appears to us-in the heart of the Islamic world, then your efforts and sacrifices-God permitting-are a large step directly towards that goal.

So we must think for a long time about our next steps and how we want to attain it, and it is my humble opinion that the Jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals:

The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq.

The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate- over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq, i.e., in Sunni areas, is in order to fill the void stemming from the departure of the Americans, immediately upon their exit and before un-Islamic forces attempt to fill this void, whether those whom the Americans will leave behind them, or those among the un-Islamic forces who will try to jump at taking power.

There is no doubt that this amirate will enter into a fierce struggle with the foreign infidel forces, and those supporting them among the local forces, to put it in a state of constant preoccupation with defending itself, to make it impossible for it to establish a stable state which could proclaim a caliphate, and to keep the Jihadist groups in a constant state of war, until these forces find a chance to annihilate them.

The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.

The fourth stage: It may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.

My raising this idea-I don't claim that it's infallible-is only to stress something extremely important. And it is that the mujahedeen must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal. We will return to having the secularists and traitors holding sway over us. Instead, their ongoing mission is to establish an Islamic state, and defend it, and for every generation to hand over the banner to the one after it until the Hour of Resurrection."


Sisyphus

Sorry Cameron I thought we were going to have a meaningful discussion. But boiling it down to Bush good, Pelosi bad is a little neanderthal for me and illustrates the shortsighted thinking that got us here. The question is loaded because no one is advocating withdrawal. If you want to discuss what she didn't say you're going to have to dig it up because I couldn't find it.

Patraeus is the next in a line of failed Generals that Republicans struggled to locate to fulfill their doomed policies. He was very cadenced in his response to questions of whether the surge would be sucessful.

Most of the above is a Fox/Limbaugh regrugitation for which I'm truly sorry since it demonstrates a pretty simplistic overview to the problems in Iraq. Softballs from Senator Graham notwithstanding, you still parrot the false statement that Dems are seeking withdrawal. The quoted excerpts from al Qeada operatives demonstrates a very mypoic view of the situation in Iraq. While al Qeada has been able to walk into Iraq since we ousted Saddam few beleive that al Qaeda is running the show or is even the major cause of violence. Most experts acknowledge that a Sunni Shia power conflict is the main source of violence. Al Qeada remains based in Afghanistan and western Pakistan where we left them to invade Iraq where they followed us.

What's worse is that you are advocating the US adopt a plan of action based upon doing the oppposite of the stated goals of a marginalized radical. Would you advocate leaving Iraq if they said that having the US remain and squander their resources in Iraq was their top priority? Or would that be allowing a foriegn power dictate policy. The goal in Iraq was never to eliminate al Qaeda but has evolved into achieving the hearts and minds of the Iraqis and our presence is undermining that goal and helping the enemy. You do know that al Qaeda is largely composed of people foriegn to Iraq and are reviled by a vast majority of the Iraqi populace. A knee jerk reaction to a letter is hardly a basis for a military plan of action or the foreign policy of the most powerful nation on earth.

You guys keep playing right into their hands. Republican policy there has done more to fill the ranks of al Qaeda and weaken the US than any musings of Osama could muster.

Cameron

Sorry Sisyphus, but you are the one playing partisan games. "Failed generals", "doomed policies", "Fox/Limbaugh regurgitation". Please.

You play the same games with this question that Speaker Pelosi did when Bob Schieffer asked it of her. (Click my name for the link to the interview) It's a simple question: What will happen to Iraq and Iraqis were the US to leave? Presuming she's listening to all those hired experts you mentioned, and as an elected official would want to base her policy decisions on that expert information, I would like a much clearer picture as to what she thinks the results of her policies will be.

Your attempts to answer for her fail to clear it up any further. "Redeployment" is code for withdrawal. "Bring Home The Troops" is the purpose of all those peace protests and vote buying benchmarked war funding bills, isn't it?

The excerpt I posted is one example of many where various leaders have outlined their intentions. Had you spent more time paying attention to the people our troops are fighting rather than thinking up clever new insults for those nasty wingnut neandethals, you might know that. You might be aware that the Samarra mosque bombing was orchestrated to incite the increased sectarian violence that currently exists in Iraq. You might have been aware that violence is exactly what the extremist groups want; it is what they prey upon. You might have seen that out of that chaos and violence they plan on forming a new government, controlled by them. But first they've got to get rid of the only group currently strong enough to prevent it.

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