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Troop Surge in Iraq will not help

Original post made by BushBash on Apr 1, 2007

Bush thinks more troops will do the job. Recent events suggest otherwise. He thinks a timeline for withdrawal comforts the enemy. We're not exactly accomplising anything now, which probably leaves them pretty comfortable. And do you think we're going to be able to wait out insurgents in their own country? Even without a timeline, they know it's just a matter of months or a couple years. They aren't going anywhere. They're not going to "blink first." The focus on securing Baghdad is just going to spread violence elsewhere....

From the NY Times:

BAGHDAD, March 31 — The Iraqi government on Saturday gave its first official reckoning of the truck bombing Tuesday in the northern city of Tal Afar, putting the death toll at 152 people, a number about double that in early reports.

The bombing, which left 347 other people in a poor Shiite neighborhood wounded, set off a wave of reprisals by Shiite policemen and others that left another 47 people dead and shattered the image of Tal Afar held up by American politicians last year as a model of a turbulent city turned peaceful.

Comments (85)

Posted by wow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 1, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Why should we tell the enemy when we are going ot pull out? Doing that will just enable them to wait it out until that date then they can come in and take over the government, what good will that do us? We would have wasted billions of dollars and 3300+ American lives for the same terrorists to be in power, and we will be leaving a country behind that is in shambles and that will brew more hatred for America, which in turn will create more terrorist which will come over and kill more Americans, maybe people you know. Why would we want that?

We need to see what we have started through. It will not benefit us at all if we pull out, it will actually hurt us more.

To think we can go back in time and not invade Iraq is moronic. We did, no matter how good or bad the decision was. Saying that we should pull out is completely naive and really doesnt help anything.

If you and other people think the killing will stop when we leave I really have lost all hope in this world.


Posted by Smith, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 1, 2007 at 5:49 pm

We INVADED their country. They'll DEFEND it, as well as kill each other in the civil war that was predicted by most objective people before the invasion.

In the end, regardless of what we do now, we'll have to pull out, just as most occupying forces end up having to do in general, and we'll leave a sorry mess behind... They know it, no need to try and hide it from them.


Posted by wow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 1, 2007 at 6:09 pm

I find it amusing that you think you are psychic. Who says we will leave a mess behind? The whole point of us staying there is to be sure that it does not turn into a mess when we leave.
If we pull out we will for sure leave a mess behind but we need to see it through so that does not happen.


Posted by Danny, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2007 at 6:29 pm

See it through to where, wow?


Posted by wow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 1, 2007 at 7:07 pm

See it through to the end...? The end being when we have decreased violence in the country and have set up a stabalized country that can control itself.

Where do you suggest we end it at? I am curious becasue I thought this was the only applicable ending.


Posted by BushBash, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2007 at 8:49 pm

Wow -

Everything you say sounds logical, except that there's no reality check happening there. The problems you describe are inevitable. It really doesn't matter if we tell them when we're leaving or not, because to be honest they already know it's going to be somewhere between several months and a few years. They'll wait us out, and they'll descend into greater chaos regardless of our short term efforts. We can't win. There is no evidence in history or in the current conflict to suggest otherwise. The only hope I'd have to reduce the violence would be if we could convince other nations to help out, but we have NO credibility left in the world. Bush and Co. have made it so that England is the only country that wants to be allied with us (and they're drawing down). And why would the world help us in this cause? What is our cause anyway - WMD? War on terror? Sadaam? Democracy? The rest of the world wishes us ill, and they don't care much about Iraq either. So the Bush plan, which you would seem to endorse, is to spend more hundreds of billions of dollars (enriching Haliburton and letting $9 billion so far just disappear), inflicting more death and dismemberment on our own demoralized and exhausted military, just to reach THE SAME outcome under the next president? I hate to think of what will happen when we leave, but I can't see anything convincing me that we'll make any difference by staying. I take no pleasure in saying any of this. I don't hate my country, I don't wish us ill, I've met injured vets from this war and I'm the son and nephew of men who served in the military. If you see something I've missed, let me know. But at this point, I don't believe any of the hypothetical rosy scenarios. Heard a lot of them before - WMD slam dunk, total cost will be minimal and paid for through Iraqi oil, Mission Accomplished, we'll be greeted as liberators, the insurgency is in its last throes, it's just a spike in violence to disrupt the elections, it's Ramadan...


Posted by wow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 2, 2007 at 11:20 am

I know that my view of the end might be far fetched but I beleive that it is the only one we can shoot for. It is in our best interest, as a nation, to see this thing through. We cannot turn our back on Iraq. If we do then we will be letting the terrorists win. They will have great propoganda to spread to young minds, all of them thinking that America is an cowardly nation with evil people in it who need to die. We cannot let this happen. We will be crushed by terrorist attacks and there will be no end to them. And then maybe 10 or 15 years down the road we will see ourselves back in Iraq or in any Middle East nation thinking, we should have done this when we had the chance in the past.

It looks so good for us to give up now and pack up our troops, but it will hurt us trememdously in the future


Posted by Danny, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2007 at 12:49 pm

Quote from wow: "See it through to the end...? The end being when we have decreased violence in the country and have set up a stabalized country that can control itself."

So we should keep troops in Iraq until the country is stabilized? Meaning no offense wow, but that would mean keeping troops there almost indefinitely. That region of the world has been historically unstable since before the United States was even a country, long before. Having no timetable to exit is akin to essentially invading and occupying a foreign country -- exactly what Nazi Germany did prior to World War II.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2007 at 12:56 pm

Tell us the consequences of the alternative to attempting to stabilize Iraq. All we can affect is today so yesterday is just a lesson.


Posted by Danny, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2007 at 2:19 pm

It seems the consequences vary depending on which political party you're affiliated with -- ah, the wonders of "spin." For example, if you're Republican, the consequences to the alternative to attempting to stabilize Iraq (by the way, we've been "attempting to stabilize Iraq" for going on five years now) is that terrorists will apparently follow our troops home and start attacking us here on U.S. soil (seems illogical considering we weren't in Iraq when we were attacked on 9/11).

Then again, if you're a Democrat, the consequences don't seem to matter much. It's the benefit of not attempting to stabilize Iraq that seems to matter most -- bringing American troops (and National Guard members) home before more can be killed in the Middle East.

This war is being debated along party lines. To the Republicans, if we leave Iraq now we are "cowards" and "asking for terrorists to attack us in the U.S." To the Democrats, if we don't leave Iraq now, we are "fools" and "needlessly sacrificing American lives."

It's a lose-lose situation. No good can come from this war. All it is doing is dividing the American people nearly as badly as it's dividing the Iraqis, except with far less bloodshed.


Posted by wow, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 2, 2007 at 6:29 pm

The good that can come from this war is a decrease in terrorism and a message to any terrorist groups planning to attack the U.S. that we kill get you back ten fold. It amazes me that people can not see past this nonsense that is spewed in the media and popular thought. There are many instances where popular thought is wrong, this is one of those cases. It is crucial we see this through or we will be in a world of hurt.


Posted by wow indeed, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Of course, that gets us back full circle to the FACT that we did not invade Iraq because it had attacked us, but for a variety of ever-changing other reasons. Power to the spin machine!


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2007 at 7:05 pm

War is not as easy as when you could toss in the cannon fodder and scorch the earth, so it can take longer, especially when the tenents are your allies rather than enemies. When I went to war the cost of my outfit probably did not exceed a hundred bucks. An infantryman today, counting his share of Stryker that substitutes for the 3/4 ton 4X4 that was my transport, could be upwards of a hundred thou.
fewer guys and more bucks do more, safer.
The terrorists don't have to follow us home, although they have followed the French, Spanish and English home, to harm us. We have legitimate interests in the world that will suffer if Islam and Sharia is ascendant. And I am not a republican.


Posted by Danny, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2007 at 7:28 pm

History will answer this one. There's little us argumentative yet civil Internet chatters can do that would have any effect, no matter our political party. I hope you're right wow, because I know the Iraq War will continue as long as President Bush is in office. And you say part of the purpose of this war is to send a message that any terrorists planning to attack us would be killed back ten fold. If that's the case -- where is Osama bin Laden? Shouldn't he be dead ten times over by now?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Catch Osama and all is well? Give me a hit at that pipe.
We have severely limited his mobility. He was ruling a country, now he chases his camel.


Posted by Danny, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2007 at 9:27 pm

I'll believe it when I see it Walt.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Hey Wally, what are you smokin' that pipe of yours?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2007 at 7:21 am

Would you rather the eforts being expended to hide Osama be applied, instead, to harming US interests? It was not the death of Hitler but the destruction of his army that ended WWII in Europe. The war with Japan was ended even though the emperor was left alive. While I would love to have Osama captured or killed, I am not willing to assign him the value some of you seem to. Scarlet Pimpernell he ain't.


Posted by Danny, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2007 at 11:12 am

I want the United States protected. I want our National Guard troops home. I want a clear explanation of what the desired outcome in Iraq is. I don't think it's fair, Walt, to compare the war in Iraq to Hitler and World War II. Bin Laden is no Hitler, and the situation is drastically different.

It's the President's job to defend America, yet so many people have now been convinced (thanks mostly to political spin) that the only way to protect America is to "take the fight to the terrorists" in Iraq. Our National Guard troops, at least, should be home protecting America -- that's why they're called the "National Guard." And if President Bush and a handful of other Iraq War supporters (yes, it is now just a handful) really want to continue to pour troops into that deadly dessert, we better see a significant change soon.

Believe me Walt, I want to believe you're right. I want to believe sending 21,000+ more troops to Iraq will calm that torn area and quash terrorism once and for all. But my gut says that in 30 years we will still be looking back on the Iraq invasion as one of the biggest blunders in U.S. history. I hope -- for all of our sakes -- that I'm wrong.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2007 at 11:23 am

Just look what France, Spain and England are getting for their accepance of Islamic advances. Look at Canada where Sharia is acceptable. Look at the eagerness with which the rest of the world anticipates an abashed and compliant US. Look at the anticipation liberals have of exposing our productive effort to world taxation.
look at the losers lined up for their share. Welcome to the leveling. I can only hope we have a Madam LeFarge, knitting away for future reference.


Posted by Smith, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 3, 2007 at 2:56 pm


Iraq = Vietnam

Enough said.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Iraq =Nam?
Closer than you think, Smitty. Where do we put the next pile of skulls as another monument to liberal madness?


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Let's get a few fats straight. The 'surge' applies only to Baghdad, the rest of Iraq is a bloody mess and it seems to be getting only worse. In Baghdad, US troops are patrolling only the relative calm areas of Sad'r city, they have stayed away from the dangerous parts, where they would have taken frightful casualties going door to door. In the meantiem, the Shi'ite militias have melted away for now, waiting for the Americans to be done with the 'surge'. This has allowed the Suni militias to increase their attacks and atrocities, which means that the Shi'ite militias will come back with a vengeance, once the 'surge' is over. The so called surge is achieving about as much as a band-aid over a gangrene foot. As long as we stay there, the Iraqis will not face their real challenge, which is finding a way for a tribal society to live together without killing one another. As long as we are there, terorists will continue to pour in and use it as a training ground and a recruitment tool. The only way to support our troops is to bring them all home,right now. Then, impeach Bush and and his VP, arrest and send them over to the world court to face war crimes charges.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 4, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Danny,

"Bin Laden is no Hitler, and the situation is drastically different. "

You are so right. Bin Laden is far worse than Hitler. Hitler was contained to those countries where he could project his armies. Bin Laden has no such burdens. Even if Bin Laden can only influence 1 in 1000 Muslims to become violent Jihadists, that is still about 1 million, worldwide. Hitler never had a worldwide movement of such scope. Bin Laden and his ilk are willing to kill all non-believers.

The West has never been in such danger as it is today. If we want to survive we will need to fight an extraordinary battle. Bush has the theory exactly right: Create a functioning democracy in the heart of the Muslim world. Some of the tactics and even strategies have been wrong, but the concept is sound.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Bush is doing exactly what Bin Laden wanted him to do. By invading a Muslim country, using forged and manipulated intelligence, he validated to a billion muslims world wide the notion that the US is an anti-Islamic crusader. The chance that Iraq will become a democracy is zero. A democracy is created organically from within and from the ground up. You can't impose it by an invasion on a tribal society with no democratic tradition and the process takes many generations. The puppet Iraqi government is despised, ignored and dismissed as illegitimate outside of Baghdad, and is regarded only marginally better even in Baghdad itself.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 4, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Albert,

"A democracy is created organically from within and from the ground up."

Tell that to Japan. America imposed democracy on that feudal empire. And it worked so well that it became a model for the region. Same thing for S. Korea. In fact, democracy is only rarely organically derived from the bottom. The despot must first be overthrown, then the victors impose their own forms of democracy (or something else).

Iraq is a complex situation, but democracy (free parties, free elections) are not out of the question. I do agree with you that the U.S. will need to get out, at a certain point, but that is not a description of defeat - it could well be the ultimate sign of victory.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2007 at 8:04 pm

Jack, Japan was a cohesive nation and society with a tradition of social and religious cohesivness centuries old by the time they were occupied by the US. Iraq is an artificial creation by a colonial power. The main components of the Iraqi society were forced on each other by British colonialism and have huge religious, ethnic and tribal hatred and differences. The notion that the US can come in and turn this impossibly splintered and fractured society into any kind of a democratic society is not only impossible and doomed, but by the time we pull out, many more US toops will lose their lives for a mission they never had a chance of accomplishing.


Posted by BushBash, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2007 at 3:57 pm

If this were strictly a matter of theory, I might agree with some of the hawks on here. I don't want the US to fail, I don't want to see the chaos and carnage that will follow our withdrawal, and I do think an Arab democracy in the Middle East would be helpful. Sadly, those who support the surge, or staying the course, always talk in theory and in hypotheticals. I would like to see the historical evidence or the current evidence that suggests we can get what we want in Iraq. I just don't see it. And I most certainly don't see it under our current administration, which has zero credibility at home or abroad after their total mishandling of this war.

I saw John Bolton on the Daily Show recently - he got a great unintended laugh out of the audience when he started talking about accountability.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Yes, indeed, a real Bush genius, allowing the democrats to fire the one man who was trying to support US interests in the UN, that scaberous swap of venelity. This latest, where they were abeting the Norks passing counterfeit hundreds is reason enough to fumigate.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 6, 2007 at 9:49 am

Walter - you're really giving your thesaurus a workout there. Don't forget the spell-check!

But seriously, putting Bolton aside and back to the main topic, there's a challenging question out there for you Bushies. Do you see any evidence that we can ever accomplish what you hope for in Iraq? Please, don't just recycle comments about what could or should happen - look at what *has* happened in Iraq (or in some relevant historical example) and please tell us where's the evidence that this could work out? I have to agree with the original premise here - if it can't end well, it should end soon.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2007 at 1:29 pm

You Bushies?
When you talk there is no spell check and that is how I talk.
It took that pile of dumb, Terry McAwful and Kerry the marrier, to get me to vote for Bush. I am critical of many Bush policies, including his open border and his sucking up to Warmies and his refusal to defend his actions, but when his policy is correct I will not let irrelevancies be used to attack the policy. Blind hatred is a poor guide for deciding anything. Given a choice I would chose the company of Kerry's wife or the Gore daughter who wrote for Futurama to that of Bush. Now if I can convince Rice and Coulter to run for P & VP next election I will die happy.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 6, 2007 at 2:58 pm

Walter - I was just havin' a little fun with you regarding the spelling - relax. Smile! The other comment was not directed exclusively at you, and if you're inclined at all, I'd still be curious to see your answer, or anyone else's - where's the *evidence* to suggest that we can accomplish what Bush says we can in Iraq? And given the collossal ineptitude of Bush and his admin., why would anyone believe that this admin. could pull it off, even it were possible?

p.s. - Coulter? Ann Coulter? Putting aside my philosophical differences, she's the most divisive and dim-witted pundit out there. She's the Jeanne Garofalo of the right wing, except not funny. There are Republicans I can respect even when I find their views disagreeable, but the way she spews hyperbolic venom and reduces everything to empty dichotomies should be reprehensible to just about any civic and open-minded person.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2007 at 3:58 pm

More a Carville, I would say.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 7, 2007 at 3:31 pm

Hey wally,
you love to go for the big fish don't ya!
got the jargon down...figured it all out...
must be nice swimmin' AROUND in that head of yours....
so full of information that you could almost explode....
did you see the cruise ship sinkin' with all those lovely
passengers off of Santoria....filled with Americans.....
too bad their party was ruined....talk about perfect
metaphors....the ship of state is sinking old sport, but what've you to
care....your time is almost up.....your getting ready to die (read your last post)....
it shouldn't be much longer.....why should someone like yourself be
concerned about trifle matters like global warming or a little neo-colonialism....
bring it on...right.....when you got nothin you got nothin to lose....


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 7, 2007 at 4:22 pm

SkepticAl,

"Please, don't just recycle comments about what could or should happen - look at what *has* happened in Iraq (or in some relevant historical example) and please tell us where's the evidence that this could work out?"

The Philippine-American War


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 7, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Phil Lanthrop,

Your's is truly one of the most hate-filled missives I have seen on this blog. Disgusting.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2007 at 7:43 pm

The cruise ship sank because the officers ran it on to a reef just outside their own port, kinda like Lurline running into the Faralons.
The officers have been arrested and will likely serve 5 years for their failure.
If you were implying that I would defend the crew you are extrapolatio ad absurdem. The world will be poorer when I go. A shame you cannot say that about you.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 7, 2007 at 9:24 pm

SkepticAl:
"Please, don't just recycle comments about what could or should happen - look at what *has* happened in Iraq (or in some relevant historical example) and please tell us where's the evidence that this could work out?"

Jack: The Philippine-American War

------------------------------

Jack, I trust you're not a trial lawyer, because you forgot the evidence and argument. But just at a glance, the comparison would seem a bit off...

1. The U.S. considered the Phillipines a colony at the outset of the war, having purchased it from Spain.
2. The battlelines were clear, as opposed to the sectarian/insurgent/terrorist mess in Iraq.
3. The goal - subduing a colony - was attainable and desirable enough to Americans.
4. The outcome was ensured by our constant military presence there until World War 2.

Are you thinking we'll stay in Iraq for decades to make this happen, Jack? In Iraq, there are in a sense multiple wars going on, and our stated goal is to stabilize and then leave the country. Do you think that we can stabilize it without help or without a huge increase in troop levels? Do you think that when we leave it will remain stable? Will it be democratic?

I look forward to Jack's answers, but meanwhile, hope any other war supporters out there will take up the challenge - is there ANY evidence, historical or current, to suggest we can accomplish our goals in Iraq? (Not predictions or hypotheses, please).


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 8, 2007 at 4:16 am

SkepticAl,

Do your homework.

The P-A War was a hodgepod of various tactics by the Filipinos, including both conventional and guerilla and propaganda. The Americans used both conventional and anti-insurgent (inclduing scorched earth)methods. Various Filipino factions were involved, including significant Muslim groups. The battle lines were NOT clear, in general. It was a real mess, and it was not supported by many influencial Americans (for example, Mark Twain). There were many calls to cut and run. There were hearings about war atrocities. The war carried on, in various forms, for about 15 years. American casualties included over 4000 dead. Nevertheless, the U.S. administrations decided to see it through to the end, and final hostilities ended in 1913 (final battles with the Moros). The later fighting was done largely by Philippine Scouts, the American trained Filipinos.

If the U.S. contnues to build the Iraqi military, and is willing to stick it out, the conditions for a removal of most American forces could well be in place within a decade - similar to the P-A War. Considering the consquences of a collapse in Iraq, another decade of U.S. effort is worth the price.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 8, 2007 at 7:14 am

Cut and run...hate Bush. Interesting correlation between those two concepts in this thread. Walter is the exception...clearly not a Bush lover, yet not a cut and run advocate either. Thank you Jack for the accurate facts, something this thread is sorely missing.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 8, 2007 at 1:32 pm

all this talk about cut and run...it's missing the point. unless you talk about closing down all the bases.... have you looked at a map lately of the countries surrounding iran.... they all have u.s. military bases....like iraq....perhaps then reality will sink in....were not going anywhere to soon... no matter how much posturing on the dems part....it'a all persiflage....other than that, why is it that the old men are always so willing to sacrifice the young men for their ignoble causes?


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 8, 2007 at 5:26 pm

Kate, welcome to the conversation. If you have anything substantial to offer along with your chip shots, we're waiting. The "cut and run" line is pretty tired, considering how many Republicans and how many vets and soldiers and their families are turning against Bush and his policies.

Jack -
Thanks for adding some details. When I said there were clear lines, I oversimplified perhaps. I didn't mean that that the P-A war was a conventional war without guerilla/terrorist tactics, but rather that it was clearer in terms of "us vs. them," - instead of Shia vs. Sunni vs. Kurd vs. USA vs. al Qaeda... I'm suggesting that your comparison is flawed to the extent that Iraq is a *much* more complicated conflict among Iraqis, and regionally.

When I said "desirable enough to Americans," I didn't mean every one. I wasn't suggesting that there was universal support for the war, but (just guessing, due to lack of polling data) I'd imagine that there was not the kind of broadbased and growing dissatisfaction we're seeing now. So exit sooner or exit a bit later, but I don't think the US will tolerate too many more years of stop-loss orders, repeat tours for Ntl. Guard units, lower military morale, lower standards for recruits, etc., and I don't think a draft would win approval either.

You talked about the potential for success if the US continues to build the Iraqi military. The process sure proceeds slowly considering how hard it is to overcome sectarian distrust, and the problems with militant infiltration. But, follow up question then - are you in favor of following that course of action for as long as it takes, as many lives as it takes, as many billions (trillions?) of dollars as it takes?


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2007 at 6:29 pm

Today's carnage in which 10 US troops were killed is another indication that the surge is nothing but a sham. Each time US troops try to go door to door in the dangerous parts of sadr city, they suffer heavy casualties. Until now, they avoided those areas, claiming success in areas that didn't offer any resistance. General Petraues has unfortunately signed on to the con-job aka'surge. The surge is supposed to save the Bush presidency, at the cost of untold US troops. The bottom line is:we lost that totally illegal and unecessary war.We can't even win in one part of Baghdad, into which we are pouring tremendous resources in troops and money. We have already given up on the rest of Iraq which is now one big killing field. Get the troops out right now, before any more are butchered for the sake of the neocon insanity.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Phil, I served in my time in the line. The country would be ill served were I to take the place of a capable warrior today. Those who think that warriors are interchangable with just any old body don't know what war is like. My 5 years under arms belies the chickenhawk argument. I attribute at least part of the problem in Iraq on rules of engagement written by lawyers instead of by warriors.Feather Merchants will be the death of us yet.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 8, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Walter, I commend your efforts and service to our country....
However, as Albert succinctly mentioned above, the situation in
Iraq is totally untenable. It is completely unacceptable to put our
forces in harms way- being used as an occupying security force, going
to door to door, exposing themselves to danger every step of the way...
Also, you have to understand that the weapons have advanced sense you
put on the uniform, and as you must know, the capability for carnage has
dramatically risen as well...I seriously doubt that you were ever confronted
with this type of situation....and if you were that you could condone sending
our countrymen into such a situation....


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 8, 2007 at 8:20 pm

SkepticAl,

Yours is a considered response.

Let me start with your final question. I am in favor of that course of action (stay in Iraq), until I become convinced that it is useless. Specifically, if the training of Iraqui forces is a bust, then it is time to leave. As wars go, this one is not a big one in terms of U.S. casulties or U.S. treasure. The consequences of failure will be very large, so I think patience is necessary.

My reading of the P-A War suggests that it was initially popular (support the flag, support the troops, bring order and progress to the Philippines, etc.). As casualties mounted and it became a quagmire, support fell off a lot. Sound familiar? I don't think the P-K war was vital to American interests, although I suppose that Roosevelt could argue otherwise, if he were still alive. I do think that success in Iraq (I mean a functioning democracy) is hugely in American interests. In the Philippines, we had a popular nationalist leader, whom we transported back to the Islands, and who supported us initially - something we would dearly like to have in Iraq, today. In Iraq, we had a Stalinist thug who would do anything in his power to hurt the U.S., unless, of course, we wanted to join the illegal trade in oil and tools, like the French and Germans did. I firmly believe that Saddam had every intention of getting to where he was prior to 1991 - including a major nuclear program. I celebrate the fact that he is dead, not only because he was evil, but because he was dangerous.

I don't know which way the Iraq war will end. I am just willing to give it some more time.


Posted by BushBash, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2007 at 10:40 pm

interesting history lessons but nothing convincing. That was a century ago. Times have changd too much, and so has tolerance for imperial occupation, which may or may not be what we're doing but that's sure how it's gonna play. Let's not forget that perception may be more important than reality. Our presence over there is Osama's recruiting bonanza and our recruiting nightmare. At least you take a reasoned approach Jack, just have to disagree.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 9, 2007 at 1:24 am

Jack - We can agree about much of this - Hussein was bad, an Iraqi democracy would be good, and we don't know how it will turn out. I don't see any point in debating too much whether or not we should have gone to war in Iraq to begin with. But regarding the future, while we can agree on a best-case scenario, I can't imagine myself in Bush's place saying that the best-case outcome is likely enough to occur that I could then ask more Americans to pay with their limbs and lives, and ask for another $100 billion and another and another to finance this huge gamble.

But look everyone... What else could we do with one of those hundreds of billions of dollars? One hundred billion dollars could be distributed as follows (though obviously it never would be):

- Allow all 50 states to increase their budgets by about 7.5%

- Better yet, how about these options:
$3.6 million to EACH wounded soldier or family of a dead soldier (3282 fatalities; 24,314 wounded)
$332 million to EACH of 301 ports of entry into the US
$750,000 to EVERY American public school. (133,362 schools, K-12 system)
$17.4 million to EVERY American hospital (5756 registered with Amer. Hosp. Assoc.)

...or do ALL four of those things, and make the dollar amounts a mere... $900,000 per casualty, AND $83 million per port of entry, AND $185,000 per school, AND $4.3 million per hospital.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2007 at 5:31 am

Just to set the record straight....were not there to spread democracy....
if you're still buying that old tired line then you must be really out of the loop....
comparing hussein to stalin is third grade stuff....you fail to mention who
propped him up in the first place....who trained him....supported him....
selective memory/history....gets boring jack old sport....the world has changed
since your last edition of tv guide....wake up and smell the reality.....
maybe dick and you see things alike....but your tired rhetoric needs to sit down and take a breather..


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2007 at 5:37 am

SkepticAl

Reducing it to money, in the way you do, seems misplaced to me. Each one of the items on your wish list would have to fight for money, with its own consituency, as already happens. Yes, there might be more money to throw around, but probably not - the arguments would need to be made in a political context of higher taxes (and spending) vs. limited government.

Here is a list of possible outcomes, if Iraq fails:

1. Liquidation of the Kurds (a real killing field, similar to Cambodia).

2. A civil war involving multiple nations as outside supporters. Current casualties rates would seem trivial compared to such rates in a true civil war.

3. Iran in control of the south of Iraq - threatening Saudi Arabia. This might draw the U.S. into a war against Iran, at some point, in order to protect the Saudis.

4. Regional instability, as Shia and Sunni fight each other in other countries with significant Shia populations. Lebanon will go up in flames again, as the Shia fight to take over that small country. Israel will feel significant pressure from Lebanon and Syria; Egypt might be forced to choose sides, and forget about Camp David.

5. As the U.S. is perceived as weak, the Taliban will return in Afghanistan - along with Al Queda. Pakistan may openly protect/support the Taliban, and wave the nuclear sword along the way.

6. Massive disruption of oil supplies from the Mid East. This would further weaken the U.S., possibly emboldening the Chinese to attack Taiwan. North Korea could cross into the south. The U.S. might respond with nukes in either case.

7. An immense boost for Al Queda worldwide. You ain't seen nothing yet.

I could think of several other scenarios, but these are all realistic, and they are enough. In other words, the cost of failure in Iraq, would be enormously greater than our current costs in Iraq (blood and treasure).

Bringing it around full circle, Al, there won't be any money for anything on your wish list, except as a side effect of the general mobilization for war that we will be in.

Let me finish by saying that I don't believe I have made a single alarmist statement. If you disagree, please be specific.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2007 at 6:24 am

While all the scenarios mentioned are plausible, it should be mentioned that they are all the more likely due to the failure of the present administration and its misguided policy, and Jack seems to think that all of a sudden they are going to change...that the leopard with no longer have spots....that somehow an admistration that has managaed to bungle everything it has done will all of a sudden get it right- an adminsitration that knows nothing but brute force and has time and again shown the world its inability to negotiate for positive change....it's like expecting to get orange juice from crushed apples....totally absurd....furthermore, to expect anything else from a regime that is clearly intent on dividing and conquering as it's modus operandi is beyond me....instability is the name of the game, in case you've forgotten....chaos breeds chaos.....to expect anything else is simply foolish....


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2007 at 7:43 am

The failure of the administration to directly respond to domestic criticism and tha avidity with which the left has advocated the cause of our enemy have heartened that enemy. Pelosi's Curtsy to Sharia and Isreal bashing gave renewed hope to the enemy.
I am aware of the changing nature of war both from having been a student of war and, more directly through two tours of my Marine grandson in Iraq. A foxhole mate of mine survived picket ship duty in the worst of the Kamkkazi attacks, where the US Navy suffered their worst losses of that war. That late in the war we could have quit out of fatigue. We did not.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:09 am

Once again, the "enemy" that you mention was created by the present administations actions, and twas established several years ago by a top official in Britain that the number one effect of an invasion of iraq would be recruitment for terrorist forces in their efforts against the u.s. of a...this begs to reaason that the best way to turn around such a horrendous affair and recruitment for our "enemies" would be a less invasive policy....the fact is wally, in case you didn't discover from vietnam....algeria....and the rest....is that it is not possible to occupy another nation...it doesn't work....we are viewing the effects of this everyday.....and will continue to do so as long as we continue to use aggression as our tool of choice.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:35 am

By December of 2001, Al-Qeada was defeated, fractured and on the run, although we allowed Bin-Laden, probably intentionally, to slip through. Then, inexplicably and for no reason at all, we invaded a country that was unaffiliated with, and hostile to Islamic terrorism, and managed to revive it. Suddenly, the Muslim world, and especially Muslim young men, started paying close attention to Bin-Laden's messages about the American crusaders who want to invade their countries, take away their oil and humiliate them. It was the Bush regime that revived jihadist terrorism, and every additional day in Iraq, where we have already lost anyway, helps revive and embolden jihadist terrorism.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:52 am

The surge has aleady become a total failure, as it had been destined to become from the get go. Just read the latest news. The firt genuine engagement in sadr city produced 10 dead US soldiers and a few hours later, tens of thousands marched through the streets of two Shiite holy cities Monday to mark the fourth anniversary of Baghdad's fall.
The rally was called for by powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who commands an enormous following among Iraq's majority Shiites and has close allies in the Shiite-dominated government.
A day earlier, the renegade cleric issued a statement ordering his militiamen to redouble their battle to oust American forces and argued that Iraq's army and police should join him in defeating "your archenemy."
Iraqi soldiers in uniform joined the crowd, which was led by at least a dozen turbaned clerics — including one Sunni. Many marchers danced as they moved through the streets.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2007 at 9:11 am

And those Iraqi soldiers were trained by the u.s.a.....

good idea, right, Jack....

for anyone who wishes to truly get a better understanding behind the logic of
folks like jack and walter...please check out an article today by Saul Landau titled the
Whinning Imprerialists....it can be found at counterpunch.org ....its todays
lead story.....and i also reccommed this site to all that are interested in global affais....
at any rate.....Mr. Landau, spells it out more clearly than i can......imperialism and democracy are not mutually exclusive events....you can't have both....as chalmers johnson recently made clear in his book titled Nemisis (2007)....finally, if former war hawks like the
ex-marine Sen. Murtha can see the light....its possible that others can too....i trust him more than most....both of these men are highly respected individuals who have served our country well....that's it....check it out.....get your head out of the sand.....put your tv guide down....step outside.....its not as simple as it was fifty years ago old sport!


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2007 at 9:14 am

Correction: they ARE mutually exclusive events.....(democracy and empire)...

but you knew that anyway. ofcourse....
sorry follks.....my editor is out for easter break....


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 9, 2007 at 9:28 am

Jack - I believe what you describe is possible, and share your concerns about those things happening. I don't believe our current strategy can prevent most of it, and may in fact increase the probability of some of it. Staying the course isn't working and isn't the only option to prevent the disasters you describe. I have zero faith in our current leadership - no belief in their assessments or "intelligence," nor any confidence in their executive functions. I also don't believe what Walter says about what "heartening" the enemy. Actions speak louder than words, and our actions don't do much to dishearten our enemies: they adjust and they wait, and they will do that longer than we will stay, period.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2007 at 10:09 am

We are training Iraqi so called soldiers, some of whom are already shooting at us and many others will soon start to, and the US tax payers are paying for it. We are actually financing some of the people killing our troops. This is what this catasrophic adventure has come to. Get the troops out now, not next year or next month.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Just a reality check here, since there seems to be some Alice in
Wonderland stuff emanating from some of you:

1. Bin Laden and his ilk have been attacking the U.S. for at least 8 years prior to 9/11/2001. He is an Islamic fundmentalist that needs no excuse to kill infidels. He will, conveniently, use any excuse he can. For instance, he bitched about the U.S. having a base in Saudi Arabia (with the consent of the Saudi government). That base was the one used to 'contain' Saddam with the no-fly zone. I have heard the argument that Saddam was contained via the no-fly zone, so why did we mess it up by overthrowing him? The same people who say this are the ones who now say that we are providing an excuse to Bin Laden to recruit, attack, etc. Consistency is a virtue ignored by some you....

2. I have heard statements to the effect that no country can be invaded, defeated, etc., then have democracy installed. Really? Germany and Japan come to mind... not to mention Yugoslavia.... There seems to be some sort of anit-Arab hatred among some of you, because you just don't think those people get it (in terms of democracy). Actually, they do get it better than us, in some ways. They are under the gun, yet they turn out to vote. Hmmm... MUCH better than us!

3. Previous interactions with Saddam, to support him against Khomeni, is a choice between the lesser fo two evils. If you are too faint-hearted to face the real world, best to visit your therapist, but just don't don't make feeble remarks in public. We supported Stalin in WWII (same argument). Get over it.

4. "Blood for oil". I still hear it sometimes in reference to Iraq. Ridiculous. We could just steal Kuwaiti and Saudi oil if we were of a mind to do so. We aren't. In fact, we could have just turned a blind eye and made a deal with Saddam (he was game). We didn't. France and Germany did.

5. The dire consequences of failure in Iraq are overwhelming, yet very few of you want to actually deal with it. It just seems to be more of the same old tired bash-Bush stuff. How about just taking a reality pill and compare/contrast the differences between success and failure in Iraq? At least make a semi-sober try at it.

6. The consequences of success in Iraq are overhwelminly positive. This concept may offend you, but that is your problem. The multi-generational war that will occur, if we fail, should at least give you pause to reflect. There are some (like Al) who agree that success would be good, but it is not achievable. I respect that viewpoint. But there are others who just want to see Bush get humiliated, no matter the cost. Again, that is your problem.

6. Wars cost lives and money. This seems to be a shock to some of you. This current war in Iraq is relatively low cost. The burden should be spread more evenly through a draft, but you guys oppose that sacrifice, so where does that leave you?

I would like to see some critical thinking going on here. Most of what I hear fails to take an honest look at cost and consequence.


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2007 at 7:01 pm

There isn't even one Shi'ite, with the possible exception of the Maliki puppet government, who want the US to stay, they want us out, immediately. This is the majority of the population. The only Sunnies who want us to stay are those who want to have a shot at killing more US troops. We barely control one zone in Baghdad, the countryside is out of control and has no US presence. If 12 billion dollars a week, actually borrowed from China, Japan and India isn't much, one wonders what an expensive war would be like. We have been defeated, just like in Vietnam. The prospects of any kind of success are zero and non-existent. The talk of success and victory are as irrational as passengers on the Titanic asking about the shuffleboard schedule seconds before the ship goes down.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:00 pm

"The prospects of any kind of success are zero and non-existent."

Albert, since you seem to now how it is going to turn out (major U.S. defeat), why don't you begin to elaborate the consequences of this defeat. Be specific. You seem to be full of general themes, but tell us something of the real future.

Why don't you start with the Kurds, then civil war, etc,. etc. There is much to talk about. Instead of a juvenile rant (e.g it's all due to Bush), just lay out the reality of defeat. You seem to keep dodging that one.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:18 pm

Jack old sport, it isn't about bashin' bush,
as you mistakenly suggest, it's about reality, and the
reality is, in case you haven't heard, is that the majority of
americans are opposed to this war, and the present administration
has extremely low approval ratings, along with blair and olmert, old sport,
you act like we are alone in our beliefs, while you continue to call for aggression
and to stay the course of destruction, calling for a draft as well, and you have the audacity to
suggest that it's not costing us much, your delusional if you think that the hundred of billions of dollars being wasted are not needed for more worthy causes, the military is stretched thin, many commanders are opposed to invading iran, and the soldiers are being asked to serve longer terms and atleast one third are suffering from ptsd (soul disorder) and the folks are walter reed are not receiving adequate care, over 650,000 iraqis killed so far, the us casualty rate on the rise, not to mention the maimed and injured, and all the families and lives impacted, and all you can do is keep banging your war drum....did you ever see the monty python episode where the knight has all of his limbs cut off by his adversary, and is still insisting on battling his opponent despite the fact....you kind of resemble the character old sport while you keep calling for continued bloodshed...for what....you don't even understand that it's not about democracy, terrorism, or osama, or saddam, it's about the dollar, and the threat of losing the power of the mighty dollar may cause the united states to engage in some atrocious affairs to avoid the inevitable collapse of the sacred currency....for on this so much depends.....


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:28 pm

"... it's about the dollar.."

Yep, I've heard that one before, too. Nonsense. The church of Chomsky drivel.

I'm still waiting for a serious discussion of the consequences of defeat.

Too many juvenile platitudes on this blog. Are there any serious thinkers out there?


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Believe what you need to old sport....
consequences of defeat.....defeat of what.....
of the defeat of the occupying force.....the
inevitable failure of cowboy diplomacy...a mission
that was bound to fail....the defeat of that?
and you failed to address the fact that the majority
of the people in this country are opposed to this atrocity
whose outcome you are so enthralled by...defeat....did you know there are
no winners and losers....just war profiteers....


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:44 pm

"no winners and losers....just war profiteers...."

No, no I said something serious.

Looks like it won't come from you.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:48 pm

believe me, jack, i am quite serious, and i am done wasting my time chatting with the likes of you....good night, sweet dreams


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2007 at 8:59 pm

The cost of war is high - the cost of surrender is beyond price. A world where the European norms of decency are supplanted by Sharia? You think I exagerate? Look at Canada, look at France with 30,000 cars burned and hundreds of no-go areas where the Code Napoleon has already surrendered to Sharia, look at England where they dare not teach the Holocaust.
The world is on fire and you complain that the siren disturbes your sleep.
As I have often said, sometimes ALL the choices are bad, you only get to pick the less bad. Pick very carefully, there may not be any off ramps ahead.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 9, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Jack wrote: "1. Bin Laden and his ilk have been attacking the U.S. for at least 8 years prior to 9/11/2001. He is an Islamic fundmentalist that needs no excuse to kill infidels. He will, conveniently, use any excuse he can. For instance, he bitched about the U.S. having a base in Saudi Arabia (with the consent of the Saudi government). That base was the one used to 'contain' Saddam with the no-fly zone. I have heard the argument that Saddam was contained via the no-fly zone, so why did we mess it up by overthrowing him? The same people who say this are the ones who now say that we are providing an excuse to Bin Laden to recruit, attack, etc. Consistency is a virtue ignored by some you...."

--- Seems consistent to me, Jack. Our bases in one Arab country give bin Laden an excuse; adding bases in another Arab country gives him a greater excuse. Not that I think we should operate according to what he thinks. No reason to lose sleep about offending him. However, taken on balance with everything else that wrong over there, it's worth noting any broad-based perceptions of our actions and intentions.

Jack wrote: "2. I have heard statements to the effect that no country can be invaded, defeated, etc., then have democracy installed. Really? Germany and Japan come to mind... not to mention Yugoslavia...."

---- Major differences though. Germany and Japan were unified nations with homogenous populations, and at least in the case of Germany, there was some prior experience with democracy. Furthermore, after surrender, they were stabilized. If Iraq appeared to be headed towards stabilization, we might then talk about democracy. Perhaps it could be stabilized, but once again, no evidence so far suggests it's coming soon, or through our intervention or assistance. As for Yugoslavia, it had to be carved into three countries as I recall. Would that work here? Huge question. I think Joe Biden has been pushing that idea.

Jack wrote: "5. The dire consequences of failure in Iraq are overwhelming, yet very few of you want to actually deal with it. It just seems to be more of the same old tired bash-Bush stuff. How about just taking a reality pill and compare/contrast the differences between success and failure in Iraq? At least make a semi-sober try at it."

---- (putting down my third scotch of the evening) - The *potential* consequences of failure, you mean. We don't know anything for sure, though all you listed above seems possible. Asking us to compare success and failure seems kind of silly, though. "Gee, I prefer success." Just looks to me like we're paying an intolerable price for the pride of our nation without any evidence that we can succeed in the current approach, even with the limited surge in Baghdad. As for criticism of Bush, I make no apologies for that. If criticism seems like bashing, too bad. In my book, "bashing" would be to criticize absolutely anything he says or does just because it's him, or insulting him personally. Quite tempting - but I've tried (perhaps not with perfect results) to address his policy failures without blanket condemnation or personal slander. I can probably count on one hand the number of things he's said or done with which I would agree, and on this particular front, his administration has been abysmal.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 9, 2007 at 9:18 pm

So Walter, are you suggesting that we stay in Iraq no matter how long it takes (10, 25, 50 years), and that a democracy in Iraq would stem the tide of all the ills you describe (which I admit I find troubling)?


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2007 at 9:26 pm

Surrender what wally? the natural resources of iraq to the iraqi people????
Are we there uphold european norms of decency.....by destroying the country????
You got a very peculiar way of upholding decency old sport....killing hundreds of thousands
of civilians....tough love, i suppose.....all bark, no bite!


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 10, 2007 at 3:32 am

SepticAl,

If you want to criticize the conduct of the Iraq war, that is fine with me, I don't criticize you for that. It's just that a serious discussion of the war must include an analysis of a possible U.S. defeat. Without that, any notions of the relative costs of the war cannot be put in context.

If we do as you say (get out now), what will you be saying five years down the road, when the Kurds cease to exist as a people? Will you still be blaming Bush? Or will you step up to the plate and say "I wanted out, period, and I didn't even want to discuss the Kurds - it was only a possibility, not a certainty".

I am asking you and others to discuss the consequences of a U.S. collapse in Iraq. So far, nothing....


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 10, 2007 at 7:09 am

The consequences of a US dfeat in Iraq, something that has already happened, will be that no US president will ever dare repeat such a catastrophic adventure. That would be a great thing for our nation and for the world. We now live in a world in which solving problems by military means is counter-productive and far too expensive. A few generations ago we were warned by the Jack's and Wallis's of this world that a defeat in Vietnam would create a disastrous domino collapse and of course, nothing of the sort ever happened. We are not an empire. The reason we have a military is to defend us from invaders, not for emperial wars. We have no right to determine the kind of government other countries should have and we have no right to invade other countries. We have a bunch of cowboys in the white house and they should be impeached, arrested and sent over to the world court.


Posted by The Cohen Brother, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2007 at 7:41 am

The extent of our defeat in Iraq became evident yesterday, when hundreds of thousands of Shi'ites, including US trained uniformed soldiers of the Iraqi military, were calling for the immediate withdrawal of the American troops and chanting 'Death to America'.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 10, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Nice work gentlemen. Enjoyed reading your writings...


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 10, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Jack - I appreciate where you're coming from. It's just that I don't see much chance of the success you hope for, so it seems to me we should back off, "redeploy" - whatever you want to call it, and then take it from there. You raise the specter of a Kurdish genocide, say, in five years. Well, it's not like we withdraw this year and then sit around doing nothing and have the rest of the world doing nothing for five years. Withdrawal or redeployment doesn't preclude later action.

I haven't been trying to avoid your suggested discussion of consequences, it just seems to me that we're making almost no progress towards almost unattainable goals. It's like we're trying to drive a firetruck up a tinderbrush mountain, putting out fires along the way... we're a long way from the top and we don't know how far we have to go, but we do know that we're running out of fuel and water, the engine is overheated, tires are slowly leaking, gears are grinding, firefighters are falling along the way, and we're debating what will happen if we don't make it. Well, we're not making it - the writing is on the wall,so we might as well stop, save our resources and energy, gather more, make repairs, shift strategies, call for help...


Posted by Jack, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 10, 2007 at 10:33 pm

SkepticAl,

I respect your views, and I like your analogy explaining them (fire truck up the canyon). I'm just not there yet.

I remember a major victory over the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese being described as a major defeat by Walter Cronkite (Tet offensive). I have been very dubious of media drumbeat descriptions of U.S. war situations ever since (both pro and con). I don't have better sources of public information than anyone else, but I tend to listen more carefully to the soldiers and officers more than the pundits.

I question your view that the U.S. (or the world) will reenter Iraq to save the Kurds. We have let them suffer before, and we will probably just let them die, because it would cost thousands of American casualties to save them. Even with about 3500 currently dead in Iraq we are getting very queasy.... Nothing is being done about genocide in Darfur. There is no world force to do anything effective against such genocides. Only the U.S. can project such power.

If your view of the current situation is correct, the Kurds are dust. An enormous level of other bad things are going to happen, too (already mentioned above). U.S. casualties will be enormous, compared to current levels - and they won't just be overseas.


Posted by Judith, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2007 at 7:29 am

"Victory" a word constantly on President Bush's hopeful lips, cannot be achieved in an amorphous insurgency or in a vast land with indefensible borders that is splintered among ancient sects and tribes. There is no distinct enemy, only a welter of saboteurs hiding among the population, whose loyalties cannot be assessed by a foreign force embarrassingly lacking elementary knowledge of local culture and languages. Our troops are being asked to convert, pacify and reconstruct even while waging war and hence are constantly being put in exposed positions where they can be killed or maimed with simple roadside devices.

What victory is possible in such a scorpion-filled labyrinth? Bush will just stubbornly let the carnage of brave soldiers and hapless civilians go on until he's helicoptered off the South Lawn of the White House on Inauguration Day 2009. Blood is Bush's legacy.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 11, 2007 at 7:43 am

Nice work Judith...you say it well....
Jack old sport, the united nations has been subverted, nuetered, and essentially is incapable of working to peacably resolve the issues you have addressed largely because of the unwillingness of our own government...sounds like maybe you were hanging out with rip van winkle for the past 40 years, cause anybody who follows global affairs would have know that the u.n. has been rendered useless largely due to our governments refusal to comply with, support, and promote an international bodies effort to bring peace....sounds like this will come as a suprise to you...but the u.s. of a has been lagging in its efforts to comply with international laws and courts, in case you didn't know....the bully answers to nobody old sport...nevertheless, welcome back old sport, try to catch up if you can....a great deal has transpired since we saw you last....


Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 11, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Sorry, guys, the Iraqis themselves, in Baghdad and surrounding environs, are proving you wrong. The "surge" is already turning the tide, and it isn't even going to be at full speed until June. Fewer deaths reported..notice? Iraqis themselves lining up to join the police and the military, knowing there is hope that they can get their country in line now and stamp out the "insurgents" from Iran and Syria trying desperately to de-rail the government. A military "surge" has also brought about an economic "surge", since economic investment happens when confidence increases.

From the beginning we have known this was going to take 5 years. It will be done before Bush leaves, which is 5 years from the start in Iraq.

The only surprise for me is how unwilling the rest of the non-English speaking world is to stand up and keep Iran and Syria out. But, maybe that is no surprise, given Europe has big financial ties to both ( as they did to Saddam). Why should "old" Europe change its stripes now?


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 11, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Draw the line...or whoever you are...i am glad to hear that things are going so well, and that the business will be booming once again in the fertile crescent...if we could just keep those pesky insurgents at bay things could be going a lot smoother, i'm sure...never mind all the refugees, they'll find somewhere to live, god willing. I am glad to hear that consumer confidence is returning again, and that soon people, even women and children, can stop hiding in shelter all day and night and venture out to buy a few goods....perhaps this would be a good time for steve jobs to find a new market...If we could just get those non english speakers to fall in line, this could be over in a matter of days...sure glad we never had any times with old sadam, and that we never trained him or sold him nerve gas to quell those pesky iranians with...those europeans will trade goods with anyone i suppose....thanks for the update....sounds like you must be in Bagdhad, by the accuracy of your report....probably strolling down the street to find something nice to eat with your lady freind....i know.....you can't fool me old sport....you love mesopotamia because your a true romantic....take of your vest....get out of your hummer.....everything is okay....cause you informed us...thanks


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 11, 2007 at 4:07 pm

By the way, we lost four more u.s. soldiers yesterday....
but don't let that get you down...i'm sure victory is right around the bend....
however, better be careful old sport and stay inside the green zone...
you can get something to eat there...


Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 11, 2007 at 5:50 pm

draw the line-you must live in some parallel universe where black is white, good is bad and disaster is success. Actually, the surge has been a miserable failure, as predicted. For a couple of months, our troops pretended to patrol through safe parts of sadr city. 2 days ago they went door to door in a less safe zone of sadr city, and the results were 10 dead soldiers. Today we lost 4 more. And these were far from the more dangerous parts of sadr city. The country-side has been completely abandoned, is out of control and a killing field. The Mailki government is rapidly losing the support of the few Shi'ite who had supported it. The rest of the population considers it an illegitimate group of collaborators. On Sunday, hundreds of thousand of Shi'ite, including many US trained uniformed soldiers, chanted for the US to get out of Iraq immediately, with many soldiers trained at the American tax payer'ss expense shouting :'death to America'. During Sen. McCain's contrived photo-op in a Baghdad market, most merchants were ridiculing the Americans in Arabic, while selling junk to the visitors who were protected by a hundred US soldiers and 2 attack helicopters. The surge has always been a ploy to save the Bush presidency with the blood of our troops. It gets an F only because there isn't a lower rating.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 11, 2007 at 10:04 pm

Jack -

Sure the casualties are low relative to something like Vietnam, and that the violence in Iraq would probably be worse without US military presence. I'm afraid that we're not actually doing anything to prevent - only delay - what's coming, at too high a cost. I might strike a different note if I saw for myself any reason to predict a better outcome, or if I had any reason to believe our leaders. Since they've been wrong about everything so far, I've stopped putting any credence to their predictions and formulas, except to note the latest iteration of their illusions.

If there were a way to join the military only as a peacekeeper for interventions (Darfur, Rwanda, Kurdish Iraq, Kosovo), I'd have been more likely to consider military service.


Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 14, 2007 at 1:08 pm

To Skeptical Al

You mean, you prefer to die with your hands tied to "keep the peace" in permanently war-torn, uneducated, no hope for success areas that have no strategic value to the US, than to die in a place that has educated, motivated people who are dying themselves for democracy...AND it has a strategic interest for the US?

Go ahead, be my guest.


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