September 16, 2004

It's Over In Iraq More and more towns are being taken over by insurgents and the Bush administration humorously maintains that the elections in Iraq will proceed in January. I can't see the United States being in Iraq another five years. Sorry for the second post of the day, but I thought this was worth discussing.
  • Wait, this is my first post of the monkey day!
  • I was gonna say, remember monkey time is New Zealand time.
  • In that case, HAPPY MEXICAN INDEPENDANCE DAY!!!!! As for Iraq, we have precious little to celebrate there....
  • Monkeytime is UTC - generally UK time (but not in daylight savings)
  • These young Iraqi men are (according to Donald Rumsfeld) are going to defend the country's security.
    So far, however, the attacks have not stopped young Iraqi men from seeking jobs as police officers. Those who show up at recruiting centers typically say they are motivated not by patriotism but by economics. Many maintain that they have no choice but to assume the risk because there are few other well-paying jobs in postwar Iraq. "There are no other jobs," said a police officer at the scene of Tuesday's bombing who gave his name as Hussein. "Joining the police and the army is the only choice." Ali Yassen, an unemployed 20-year-old who had been waiting near the site of the blast, said it was the promise of a paycheck that had led him to apply to be a policeman, widely viewed as the most risky profession in Iraq today. "I hated this job before I even started it," he said. U.S. and Iraqi officials involved in the recruitment and training of security forces have expressed concern that the violence has led many veteran officers and experienced recruits to seek jobs with private security firms, leaving the force with a pool of less-qualified candidates.
  • Amazing.
    "You know, every step of the way in Iraq there have been pessimists and hand-wringers who said it can't be done," Mr. McClellan said at a news briefing. "And every step of the way, the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people have proven them wrong because they are determined to have a free and peaceful future."
    Yeah, it's been real peaceful in Iraq.
  • I can't understand how the neocons who dreamed this mess up in the first place could have failed to plan for the events that are unfolding in Iraq day by day, given that they were predicted by a massive, worldwide movement against the war. It's like the old, newly hyperlinked Onion article about "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity" being over, only even less funny. And yet, their mantra remains that things are going well.
  • That's the problem with idealogues - they don't think things through logically or realistically, even to their own benefit. If these guys had any real link to reality, then they would never have invaded Iraq on a budget. Surely any realistic neoconservative, even if they insisted on invading Iraq, would have recognized the huge risks involved both for themselves personally and the US, and insisted on overwhelming force and a clear plan. Instead, they went with the three stooges, have-our-cake-and-eat-it-too concept.
  • Got your very own Beirut there, dudes.
  • When Osama is paraded before the media in a month's time, all this will be forgotten until the new year, and that, after all, has been the plan all along, non?
  • So how many of us predicted that we'd be in Iraq for years? And will the media ever give us the credit we deserve by saying we were right all along?
  • Over? You wish. Christopher Albritton had even more cheery things to say. His final word for those who clamor for the good news about Iraq.
  • And will the media ever give us the credit...? Nope. I remind you that no one believed Cassandra. When Troy fell, she was raped by Ajax, then taken as a concubine by Agamemnon. only to be murdered by Clytemnestra and Ægisthus.
  • The mythological implications are staggering. And depressingly apt, I might add.
  • Speaking of mythology -Things are bad in Iraq, and not even a genie is immune - via Juan Cole. It's a serious piece, even with the genie. New Iraq attacks more sophisticated.
  • homunculus, is that the same vaunted intelligence that got us in Iraq in the first place? I will reserve comment on the actual situation in Iraq, however it seems that Bush is dropping the ball on stabilizing the situation over there. It's a lack of support for continuing the democratizing process that seems to be symptomatic of the Bush administration's lack of planning for the post-war situation.
  • Hmmm, yes, yes... it also seems to be symptomatic of the Bush administration's excess of megalomaniacal asshattery.
  • As counterpoint, David Warren (via Instapundit) posits that the strategy (or strategery) was risky, and that it has backfired. However, as Val Kilmer says in The Ghost and the Darkness: "As a matter of fact, it didn't work. But I'm convinced the theory is sound."
    The Americans have made one big mistake since entering Iraq. It was to make local peace deals in Fallujah, and elsewhere, which left the fox in charge of the hens. The idea was not, however, as stupid as it now looks. It was a risk: that if you put a few old Saddamite officers, and tribal leaders with lapsed Saddamite connexions -- the ones not currently wanted for war crimes -- in charge of a town, they will know how to restore order. They will prevent it from becoming a staging area for terrorist hits elsewhere, because if that happened the Marines would be back. And psychologically, one is likely to earn the gratitude of your erstwhile enemy, if you recruit him when he is expecting to be shot. The risk may have been worth taking, in hindsight, for what the U.S. learned from it. We now know the policy backfired badly. The territories put off-limits to U.S. and allied patrol became terror havens immediately, as the local Jihadis came out of hiding to celebrate an "American defeat" -- even as the Marines, who had nearly exterminated them, were in the act of withdrawing, according to agreement.
    I think there's validity to this idea.
  • Mind you f8xmulder, a lot of the intelligence on Iraq was spot on including (but not limited to) - 1) low probability (and falling, courtesy Mr Blix) that Iraq had much of any WMDs 2) it would require ~400 000 troops to occupy Iraq (courtesy Mr Shinseki, well Mr now, was General before he came up with that unfortunate number) 3) Chalabi is probably not trustworthy 4) Chalabi shouldn't be trusted 5) cost will be $100 billion and up 6) no, oil revenues won't pay for it
  • Sorry, going to get a bit shrill here but JUST ONE???? Where to begin. 1) not enough troops. At all. 2) no (or a very narrow) window of legitimacy. Terminated right around when local elections, last year, were cancelled 3) installing US administrators on the basis of their Republican credentials, not experience 4) Chalabi 5) sacked Iraqi military 6) Pentagon and State Department didn't communicate, thus State's planning for post invasion Iraq was ignored
  • The truly scary part is that the West Bank is starting to look like prime vacation territory compared to Iraq.
  • Fucking Congo is looking like ClubMed compared to Iraq right now.
  • A possibly interesting little wrinkle - I can't find anybody reporting it yet, but apparently the left wing in Italy is quietly going batshit over the Two Simonas, the Italian aid workers who were kidnapped. Seemingly, they find the circumstances of their kidnap somewhat suspicious... Supposedly they were taken by between twenty and thirty armed men, none of whom were concealing their identity, who raided the anti-war charity's offices and called the two ladies and their Iraqi colleagues out by name. Oh, and who drove jeeps belonging to the Iraqi military. The group they claim to belong to has never been heard of before. It's hearsay, I know - but people are apparently wondering if it might be a group linked to Allawi, rather than insurgents, who were responsible. I don't suppose anybody else has heard anything similar? Or maybe I should just go stock up on tinfoil...
  • "As a matter of fact, it didn't work. But I'm convinced the theory is sound."
    Sound? How was the idea sound? What was the United States trying to accomplish? Prevent terrorists getting nukes? Uh, that would be US ally Pakistan, then. Limit terrorist funding? That would be US ally Saudi Arabia. Invading Iraq would be like the UK dealing with the problem of IRA terrorism by invading Canada, while hoping no-one noticed most IRA funds came from ally USA.
  • Sidney Blumenthal's piece. At this point, reading condemnations of the war is like viewing pornography. If millions of anti-war marchers (i.e., 'focus groups') could not prevent the war, what will all this nagging accomplish now? No one in this dysfunctional country cares any more.
  • reading condemnations of the war is like viewing pornography You must be viewing some pretty bad pornography. The only hope I have of a shift in public opinion on the war is the fact that Farenheit 911 comes out on DVD this fall, just in time to influence a few undecideds before election day. Barring that, Bush wins, and the war goes on.
  • Far graver than Vietnam
    "I see no exit," said Record. "We've been down that road before. It's called Vietnamisation. The idea that we're going to have an Iraqi force trained to defeat an enemy we can't defeat stretches the imagination. They will be tainted by their very association with the foreign occupier. In fact, we had more time and money in state building in Vietnam than in Iraq." General Odom said: "This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn't as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with the war that was not constructive for US aims. But now we're in a region far more volatile, and we're in much worse shape with our allies." Terrill believes that any sustained US military offensive against the no-go areas "could become so controversial that members of the Iraqi government would feel compelled to resign". Thus, an attempted military solution would destroy the slightest remaining political legitimacy. "If we leave and there's no civil war, that's a victory."
  • Even Fox News is carrying the bad news.
    Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and other committee members have long argued
  • Cue Roger Simon (who I almost never read).
    I'm sure many of us could have written that, but never mind. If you're looking for a little optimism, turn as usual to Iraq the Model where Omar is doing one of his rundowns of Arab public opinion posted on the BBC board (a particularly literate group, obviously). Who to believe - Omar or Andrew's establishment 'opiners'? All? None? Beats me. But I do know this. We have to stick this out and we have to win it somehow, even if it takes a decade or more. The alternative is truly horrific - and it doesn't take a National Intelligence Estimate to figure that out.
    Roger, doesn't seem to understand that U.S. troops are loosing parts of Iraq. Now if I was a neocon I would point out to Roger that it is because the President is too big of a pussy to go in and get the job done. These Blogostan guys didn't were wrong about WMDs and they're still wrong.
  • At this point, reading condemnations of the war is like viewing pornography. If millions of anti-war marchers (i.e., 'focus groups') could not prevent the war, what will all this nagging accomplish now? No one in this dysfunctional country cares any more Few in this dysfunctional world do. Many if not most Americans consider invading another country unprovoked to be a legitimate act of defense. Come November we'll know for sure whether it's many or most. In the meantime, there's nothing the rest of the world can do, since the Americans are strong enough to do whatever they like. They can casually substitute "liberation" for "invasion" if they so choose. Godawful porn.
  • I wouldn't agree that it's over in Iraq, but I doubt that anyone with the slightest amount of sense believes that the U.S. can 'win' what's left. It's nice to see that one of the few remaining right wing apologists for the illegal invasion has been reduced to quoting the talentless waste of air that is Val Kilmer (in yet another horribly bad film) in order to try and make a point. What's wrong, f8xmulder, was the Krusty the Clown database down whan you needed some pertinent commentary?
  • Many if not most Americans consider invading another country unprovoked to be a legitimate act of defense. It just boggles my mind.
  • Gary Breucher the War Nerd discusses the futility of the gorilla war.
  • coppermac: I've already stated my perceptions of the war here, and don't feel I need to reiterate them in this thread. As for the movie, you're wrong: it's one of the few movies I can actually stand Kilmer, and has a darn good story.
  • guerilla. Although gorilla is more on topic.
  • 'Guerrilla' even, though I see the one-arr spelling more often now-a-days.
  • We know your perceptions of the war, f8xmulder, and that's why we challenge them. You're hopelessly deluded, and it seems willful on your part. Your taste in movies is as nuanced as your political judgement, and that's just sad.
  • Why 'hopelessly deluded'? F8x has already accepted that he was (mostly) wrong about the WMDs. This shows that he is not impervious to reason. His not sharing your political views is hardly proof that his views aren't nuanced. I suspect, in fact, that he supports the war for highly complex reasons (which are debatable).
  • His opinions are different from ours. Get him.
  • Exactly, mct. Can we forego the namecalling and ad hominems, pretty please?
  • As for my taste in movies, isn't that just it--MY taste?
  • Mark Steyn is saying that the good news in Iraq is being ignored. He also confuses Iraq with Britain.
    Do you remember that moment of Fallujah-like depravity in Ulster a few years ago? Two soldiers were yanked from a cab in the wrong part of town and torn apart by a Republican mob. A terrible, shaming episode in the wretched annals of Northern Irish nationalists. But in the rest of the United Kingdom - in Bristol, in Coventry, Newcastle, Aberdeen - life went on, very pleasantly. That's the way it is in Iraq. In two-thirds of the country, municipal government has been rebuilt, business is good, restaurants are open, life is as jolly as it has been in living memory. This summer the Shia province of Dhi Qar, south-east of Baghdad, held the first free elections in its history, electing secular independents and non-religious parties to its town councils. The Kurdish North, which would be agitating for secession if real civil war were looming, is for the moment content to be Scotland. The Sunni Triangle, meanwhile, looks like being the fledgling Iraqi federation's Northern Ireland for a while to come.
    War journalism written by Monty Python.
  • A strident minority: anti-Bush US troops in Iraq
    "Nobody I know wants Bush," says an enlisted soldier in Najaf, adding, "This whole war was based on lies." Like several others interviewed, his animosity centered on a belief that the war lacked a clear purpose even as it took a tremendous toll on US troops, many of whom are in Iraq involuntarily under "stop loss" orders that keep them in the service for months beyond their scheduled exit in order to keep units together during deployments. "There's no clear definition of why we came here," says Army Spc. Nathan Swink, of Quincy, Ill. "First they said they have WMD and nuclear weapons, then it was to get Saddam Hussein out of office, and then to rebuild Iraq. I want to fight for my nation and for my family, to protect the United States against enemies foreign and domestic, not to protect Iraqi civilians or deal with Sadr's militia," he said. Specialist Swink, who comes from a family of both Democrats and Republicans, plans to vote for Kerry. "Kerry protested the war in Vietnam. He is the one to end this stuff, to lead to our exit of Iraq," he said. 'We shouldn't be here' Other US troops expressed feelings of guilt over killing Iraqis in a war they believe is unjust. "We shouldn't be here," said one Marine infantryman bluntly. "There was no reason for invading this country in the first place. We just came here and [angered people] and killed a lot of innocent people," said the marine, who has seen regular combat in Ramadi. "I don't enjoy killing women and children, it's not my thing."