On Iraq

This page is designed to discuss Iraq, the “surge”, the diplomatic and political maneuvers, the violence, and the effect on public opinion here in America, and among Iraqis. I’ve written so often about Iraq that there is no need to attempt to link to any particular article on my blog. To recap, however, I believe the war was wrong from the start. The plan was flawed to begin with, and as such would not achieve the desired results. Secondly, Americans were not told the whole truth about the rationale, and as such makes it much harder to trust leaders when they say something about the war. This is exactly what happened with Vietnam as well; Americans were taken to war on specious reasons. Thirdly, the executors of this war, namely George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Paul Bremer, and the rest have shown (and still show) how inept they were and are at winning the war. Why America doesn’t hold them accountable as yet still baffles me. Fourthly, the November election defeat of Republicans gave Bush a slap in the face that actions he should have taken three years ago need to now be taken.

Three years ago, we should have talked with Iran and Syria. Three years ago, we should have had a surge to counter IMMEDIATELY the insurgency that was certainly not in its “last throes” but just beginning to gain strength. Three years ago we should have done what we are now attempting to do, at a point when the public has had enough of the war.

Now, Iraq has a new American military commander, General Petraeus, who had success with “surges” in Najaf earlier. His success was short lived however, due to Rumsfeld. Now General Petraeus must attempt to stifle the violence, create a situation where a political solution can be found. Will his surge do it? Will he do it before the public, which has already turned against the war, finally say enough is enough? Will political leaders and media pundits who have so abjectly failed be held accountable and responsible for their failures? Or will they continue to be given positions of honor and greater pay?

This page is for a discussion of Iraq. Feel free to have your say. Please keep it relatively civil though. 🙂

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  1. Of course the escalation [surge] will not work. Do you really have any doubts?

    It is often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. I don’t think that’s not a very robust definition of insanity, but in this case, it certainly fits, and administration Iraq policy is “psychotic,” by my perception.

    The insurgency has gained strength ever since “mission accomplished.” The escalation targets “Bagdhad neighborhoods,” as though terrorists don’t have cars, and don’t operate in other areas.
    No doubt the terrorists are [will] observing, and will adapt their methods. I suspect our troops will be in far more dangerous scenarios, given the population densities of the new deployments.

    I think the escalation is nothing more than a last gasp measure to do something other than lose face and retreat. Unfortunately, losing face for W is just a “social” thing, while our fine young men and women in uniform have much more serious contingencies to consider. In other words, I believe this is just another “longshot gamble” that shows what little value W has for human life and for our troops’ lives. I don’t really think any in the administration really believes this has a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding.

    On the other hand, what lays ahead for our fine troops? An invasion of Iran? A bombing of Iran – perhaps followed by Iranian terrorists strikes in the US? An Israeli bombing of Iran? A larger “regional” war in the middle east?

    Whatever lays ahead, I think this “fiasco” is an unfortunate demonstration of why it is not good to follow “neoconservative pipe dreams” or “fascist agendas of the fatherland” as though they were actual substitutes for intelligent foreign policy.

    Additionally, as Daniel suggests, our public’s willingness to accept W’s “agenda and approach” is perhaps just as astonishing as W himself. I suspect the public’s acceptance of the Orwellian rhetoric does not bode well for the ability of our country to designate leaders, and navigate through future times that may be far more dangerous than today.

    • It’s interesting with hindsight to read a prediction that is so horribly off and thoroughly mistaken.

      You missed this one pretty big.

  2. Looks like the “surge” will head into next year according to the Generals on the ground. So much for it being just a surge. It really is starting to look more like an escalation. We all knew that this wouldn’t be temporary. Why did anyone think otherwise?

  3. General Petraeus has just given a press conference where he said that there is no military solution to Iraq. Well said, General Petraeus. Why don’t you tell that to your boss?

    “There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq,” Petraeus said.

    “Military action is necessary to help improve security … but it is not sufficient.”

    He said political progress would require talking to and reconciling with “some of those who have felt the new Iraq did not have a place for them.”

    Well, I’m glad at least to see a moving away from the ridiculousness of one Donald Rumsfeld. Unfortunately, as long as Cheney is still around, we’ll still see ridiculousness in Iraq and in American foreign policy. As long as the foolish voices from the Weekly Standard and FoxNews still have the President’s ear, we will still see foolish and destructive foreign policy. It’s time to shove them back into their dark ugly hole from whence they came.

  4. Hold on guys. You have picked up on a quote from General Petraeus that was taken out of context. Take a few minutes and read the entire manuscript of his press conference.

    http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10475&Itemid=128

    For clarity, it was the press that called it a “Surge.” The official term in the Pentagon is “Plus-Up.”

    And, since you haven’t read on Counterinsurgency warfare, let me tell you that the administration has adopted a completely new strategy to win in Iraq. You will see tomorrow that regional diplomacy will be a key part of the plan. Two-hundred diplomats will meet in a regional conference in Baghdad on Saturday.

    President Bush did take heed of the elections last November. He completely changed the military leadership and the plan as well.

    Ask yourself two questions.

    1. What do you think the new plan’s end-state will be? If the plan succeeds, Iraqi police will be established in all the neighborhoods of Baghdad. They will be trained so that they can maintain the peace and American forces can leave.

    2. What would happen to the people of Iraq if we were to leave today? The situation in Iraq would rapidly deteriorate and hundreds of thousands of people would either be killed or driven from their homes. If you are anti-war you should be rooting for the Baghdad Security Plan to succeed. If it doesn’t, we will see a cycle of violence unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime.

    We must focus on what is going on now, not how we got here. If you drive down the road looking in the rear view mirror, you will never get where you are going.

    To put it another way. We all make mistakes, but we move on. If you live in the past you can’t possibly succeed in life.

    General Petraeus is working to make Iraq a better place for the Iraqis. We all need to give him our support.

    “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”
    -John F. Kennedy

  5. Mr. Lowry,

    I did read the whole thing. Forgive me, I guess after so many failures under this administration, I’m rather pessimistic that any plan of theirs will actually work.

    You will see tomorrow that regional diplomacy will be a key part of the plan. Two-hundred diplomats will meet in a regional conference in Baghdad on Saturday.

    I know, I’m impressed. They quietly took the ISG plan and implemented it while publicly distancing themselves from it. Heh, can’t look ‘weak’ to their constituency. I hope this conference will end up being successful. I really do. I’m tired of this war.

    1. What do you think the new plan’s end-state will be? If the plan succeeds, Iraqi police will be established in all the neighborhoods of Baghdad. They will be trained so that they can maintain the peace and American forces can leave.

    I hope so. General Petraeus has said far more realistic things than any previous general leading Iraq. Unfortunately, for this to work right, I don’t see Americans leaving anytime soon, meaning that we will have to have Americans in Iraq for at minimum a decade. I mean take a look at Bosnia, a peaceful heaven compared to Iraq, and we still have soldiers there protecting the peace. I wonder why both our military and political leaders aren’t upfront with the American public about this point?

    There are two plans that I’m for. Either go in all the way, with everything we need, or not at all. There is no in between in this kind of situation, well, in any kind of war. Never do war on the cheap!

    To put it another way. We all make mistakes, but we move on. If you live in the past you can’t possibly succeed in life.

    The only problem is that without holding those accountable who failed so terribly, you send a message that it’s okay to fail badly in regards to warfare. In my opinion, that is a terrible message to send to our future generations. We’ve got to send a message that our political leaders just can’t start wars unless we absolutely have to! Iraq was a war of choice, and a very poor war at that. Why don’t you wish to hold these leaders accountable? You quote Kennedy who said “we shall pay any price” but we really aren’t. If our leaders fail, we’re not making them pay any price. The war is being put on a credit card for our children to pay, not us. There is no tax hike to fund the war. I can’t jump on the bandwagon here, Mr. Lowry. There are far too many problems with the whole situation for me to be on board. I wish General Petraeus luck. My prayers and that of my family go with him so that he and his soldiers can come home in safety.

  6. “I guess after so many failures under this administration, I’m rather pessimistic that any plan of theirs will actually work.”

    Then you automatically dismiss any plan put forth. You do not seek progress Mr. Daniel, you seem to want this country to lose in Iraq.

  7. hospitaller,

    i don’t appreciate having my patriotism questioned. Do it again, and I will delete all your comments from here on out.

  8. Again, gentlemen, lets get back on track. Today, Hillary announced that she is going to vote for the democrat proposal to bring troops home by the end of the year. I propose that she, and her colleagues’, positioning for the 2008 elections will become totally irrelevant in the next several months if General Petraeus’s plan works.

    Lets all hope and pray for his success in Iraq. It will save American and Iraqi lives. And, a peaceful Iraq will naturally lead to our troops coming home.

    A Marine major, on a recent tour in Al Anbar province was confronted by a local and told that he was not welcome in Iraq and that he, and his men, should go home. He replied that he did not want to be in Iraq and that if the Iraqis would quit shooting, the Marines would go home.

    It now appears that the people of Al Anbar Province have seen the wisdom of the Major’s wisdom. They are turning in Al-Qaeda members and building their own local police force to establish order in their communities.

    Give Fard al-Qanun a chance to work. If we haven’t seen a noticeable improvement by later this year, I will be the first to say that it is time for our men and women to come home. But, right now, our resolve needs to be firm in supporting General Petraeus’s effort.

    I don’t know if you have noticed, but there has been a dramatic decrease in American casualties in the last month. There are many indications that the conditions in Iraq are improving.

  9. Daniel,

    You are correct in saying that for this plan to work, American soldiers will have to remain in Iraq for quite some time. But, if there is no shooting, what difference will it make. Deterrence is a wonderful thing. It will be like having troops in Germany, Okinawa and South Korea.

    • Which is also wrong and WAY TOO EXPENSIVE! We are now running an empire not a Union of soverign States.

  10. Mr. Lowry,

    If we haven’t seen a noticeable improvement by later this year, I will be the first to say that it is time for our men and women to come home. But, right now, our resolve needs to be firm in supporting General Petraeus’s effort.

    Do you understand the position of those who have been saying this for a long while now? In 2005, Rep. Murtha saw no improvements in the condition and he said basically that because there is no improvement, that why are we wasting American lives in a losing battle? In 2006, things got progressively worse, especially after the Samarra bombing. It is very hard for those of us who have seen this be a terrible mess for a long while now to have faith that suddenly this new plan will somehow work. The irony is that this is not a new plan, but rather one that should have been used from the beginning.

    The reason why the insurgency gained so much strength stems from the fact that we knocked doors down rather than knocked on doors. That simple difference turned so many Iraqi hearts against us. You can’t just go around humiliating Iraqi men in front of their wives and children. Not a brilliant idea. I know General Petraeus is a far more reasonable guy than all the previous generals in charge of Iraq combined, but I fear he is fighting against the tide.

    As far as troops remaining in Iraq for a long time, while that may be the thing we need to do to ensure this turns out right, I don’t think that that will be politically accepted by the nations of the Middle East. Heck, Bin Laden turned on the United States because we had soldiers in his holy land. They’re kinda sensitive down there to foreign soldiers hanging around. Maybe things have changed, but I don’t see that politically it is possible right now. I think one of the demands by local groups and nations is that the United States military leave Iraq.

  11. Daniel,

    “The irony is that this is not a new plan.”

    I beg to differ. General Petraeus is in the process of implementing a drastically new plan. Yes, you are right in saying we should have implemented this type of plan earlier, but we didn’t.

    This is a new day in Iraq and I believe we are finally on the right track toward peace and stability in that war-torn country. I think that is what we all want.

    Don’t take my word for it, just sit back and watch what is about to unfold. In one short month since Petraeus took over, murders and bombings have drastically decreased, American casualties have decreased dramatically, a regional conference of 200 diplomats has been held in Baghdad, hundreds of insurgents have been detained, dozens of weapons caches have been uncovered removing the explosives for hundreds of IEDs from the hands of those who would use them and the people of Baghdad are inviting American foot soldiers in for tea.

    Another encouraging development is that the multi-national force uncovered two bomb making facilities which had stockpiles of chemicals for mixing explosives. This is encouraging in that it shows that the enemy is running out of military-grade explosive devices. They are being forced to “roll their own” IEDs.

    And, Operation Fard al-Qanun is just starting.

    I realize that we have all been through four years of frustration in Iraq. I realize that many Americans believe that this war was unnecessary, or worse. For better or worse, we are there and we have an obligation to leave the people of Iraq with a government that can keep the peace. It has been a long hard road getting the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police back on their feet. They are nearly ready to take over and they are certainly willing to fight to make Iraq a better place for their families.

    Give peace in Iraq one last chance.

  12. The military is preparing plan B in case plan A fails. This is good and wise. At least the military is smart where the political leaders are not. I remind my readers of Ms. Rice’s comments regarding a plan B:

    “It’s bad policy to speculate on what you’ll do if a plan fails when you’re trying to make a plan work.”

    The military disagrees, thankfully, and wisely.

    American military planners have begun plotting a fallback strategy for Iraq that includes a gradual withdrawal of forces and a renewed emphasis on training Iraqi fighters in case the current troop buildup fails or is derailed by Congress.

    Such a strategy, based in part on the U.S. experience in El Salvador in the 1980s, is still in the early planning stages and would be adjusted to fit the outcome of the current surge in troop levels, according to military officials and Pentagon consultants who spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing future plans.

    But a drawdown of forces would be in line with comments to Congress by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates last month that if the “surge” fails, the backup plan would include moving troops “out of harm’s way.” Such a plan also would be close to recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, of which Gates was a member before his appointment as Defense Department chief.

    The article makes some interesting points about the El Salvador example and General Abizaid, the previous leader, who espoused the United States have a more supporting role in Iraq.

    Some current and former military officers note that the United States has a much better track record at fighting insurgencies with small numbers of advisors than it does with large campaigns, like Vietnam or Iraq.

    “We haven’t won too many of these things with big efforts,” said a former military officer who has advised the Pentagon. “But we have done all right with the supporting efforts.”

    John D. Waghelstein, an El Salvador veteran who teaches counterinsurgency strategies at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., said the large number of troops in Iraq had weakened U.S. influence with the Iraqis by putting American prestige on the line.

    “When you’re dealing with a host country, less is better,” Waghelstein said. “You lose leverage when you’re committed to the degree we’re committed.”

    Waghelstein, who consulted with Petraeus on military strategy before the general left for Iraq, recalled a dispute he had in the early 1980s with Rafael Flores Lima, then-head of the Salvadoran military, who was balking at U.S. demands that his soldiers end human rights abuses.

    “He said, ‘You know, Wag, this is your war too,’ ” Waghelstein recalled. “I said, ‘Do you know how long it will take me to put 55 people on an airplane?’ And I got this look — and it was the beginning of their realization that we weren’t so committed that we couldn’t get out.”

    The El Salvador example has been used by Abizaid supporters to shore up their case that he may have been correct in his insistence on handing responsibility to Iraqi forces. Some within the military believe that Abizaid has been made a scapegoat for U.S. shortcomings in Iraq.

    “At some point you have to take the hand off the bicycle seat,” and leave responsibility to Iraqis, another Pentagon official said. “I believe an inordinate amount of blame has been directed at Abizaid, besmirching his character.”

    Unfortunately, this plan hasn’t worked. Under Abizaid’s control, violence spiraled toward the extreme. Maybe the El Salvador example is not a good one to use in Iraq.

    Skeptics caution that applying the wrong lessons from El Salvador could be disastrous.

    Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations argued that the El Salvador model would not work in Iraq. El Salvador was a fight against a Marxist insurgency, he pointed out. Because Iraq is a civil war between Shiite and Sunni Arabs, Bush administration plans built around training the Shiite-dominated government forces are bound to fail, he said.

    “They are absolutely committed to the idea that the way we are going to get out of here is hand it off to an indigenous military, and that is just misguided,” said Biddle, a critic of the Iraq Study Group who has advised the White House on Iraq strategy. He advocates either a complete withdrawal or a troop buildup, not a middle ground.

    I agree with Stephen Biddle, personally. Either go in full or not at all. This is the strategy one should ALWAYS use in battle.

  13. This is a promising sign, Americans and Iranians are talking. They may be taunting each other like little children, but hey at least they are at the same table.

    During the talks, U.S. envoy David Satterfield pointed to his briefcase which he said contained documents proving Iran was arming Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq.

    “Your accusations are merely a cover for your failures in Iraq,” Iran’s chief envoy Abbas Araghchi shot back, according to an official familiar to the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

    How silly can you get Mr. Satterfield?

  14. Please quote your source of the Plan B article.

  15. Mr. Lowry,

    I actually did. It is in the first sentence of my comment. Unfortunately, this particular template here on wordpress doesn’t highlight links very well. Here is the story again though:

    Military Prepares Plan B

  16. Thanks. I totally missed it. I will read teh article.

  17. I think you will see General Petraeus’s plan (I actually believe that it is General Pace’s Plan) will work toward what was mentioned in the LA Times article.

    “At the same time, the war has created divisions within the Pentagon. Some support the new commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who advocates using more American forces to protect Baghdad neighborhoods, whereas others back the position of Gen. John P. Abizaid, the retiring commander for the Mideast, who favored handing responsibility more quickly to Iraqis.

    A shift away from the buildup and toward a more advisor-based strategy would bring the administration more in line with the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel created by Congress to make recommendations on the war. The group called for a gradual reduction in U.S. combat forces. Kalev I. Sepp, a key advisor to the panel and an El Salvador veteran, was instrumental in getting the commission to back an expanded advisory effort.”

    The problem with Abazaid’s plan. We tried to hand over responsibility to the Iraqi Army too quickly. The Iraqi Army and Police were not quite ready to take up that kind of responsibility in 2006. There were still many issues with the Iraqi Army and Police last year.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17542301/

    Therein lies the problem today. The IA and INP have made great strides in the last several months, but our assessment was that they are still not quite up to the task of maintaining security in Iraq. The Baghdad Security Plan is intended to provide that last move to stop the sectarian violence and at the same time give the IA and INP valuable on-the-job training.

    The hope is that American forces will be able to turn these neighborhoods over to 100% Iraqi control within the next year, or so. And, then we will start drawning down.

    At the end of last year, the consensus in the military was that if we simply pulled out, Iraq would spiral into a bloody civil war. We are trying to get to the state where we can leave without leaving a catatrophe in the wake of our departure.

    The Plan B in the LA Times article is just an extension of the current planning. Our commanders would be remiss if they didn’t continue to plan. General Pace said in an interview, about a week ago. “Plan B is to make Plan A work.” He was not being trite. He was explaining that the plan, all military plans, are constantly adjusted and updated.

    I agree, that a smaller footprint will be better in the future. But, first we have to get over this hump.

  18. Mr. Lowry,

    I have serious doubts that a few months of training to have loyalty to the national government will counter the hundreds of years of loyalty to the tribe. The trouble I see with the violence today is that Shi’ites have told each other to lay low until the Americans finish their “surge.” Let the Americans take out as many Sunnis as they can, basically. The problem however is that the Sunnis have not decided to lay low, and are killing many Shi’ites who are not striking back. I fear that the Shi’ites are reserving their anger and vengeance for the day when Americans leave and will strike back hard at Sunnis for what they are doing now.

    What’s worse is that Saudis (not necessarily the royal family—though I wouldn’t rule that out) are financing and supporting these Sunnis, their brothers. Boy it’s just a big mess. I can’t get over the feeling that we’ve gone past the point of no return.

  19. Yeah, it is a mess. Yeah, the Shiites are laying low. So what do you propose we do? Do you have a better plan than General Petraeus who has dedicated his entire career to building knowledge and experience to run a counterinsurgency.

    Or is it that you are so much against this war that you will never submit that we are currently trying to help the Iraqi people out of this mess. All I have ever heard from you is negativity and all I have ever done is that you give General Petraeus a chance to prove himself.

    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

    It is obvious that you will never do anything more than complain and I am wasting my time.

    Good bye

  20. Mr. Lowry,

    I’ve offered my ideas, but because they’re not what you recommend, you’ve easily dismissed them. I said that in order to “win” in Iraq, you need at least 400,000 troops, as General Shinseki recommended from the beginning, as the Pentagon’s own secret war games recommended back in 1999!

    Either that, or nothing at all. Anything in between will not lead to an American victory. Hence my pessimism in even General Petraeus, who is a bright man. Unfortunately, he has too few troops and not enough time. That fault lies at the feet of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who should be fired from their jobs for such criminal ineptitude!

    But hey, I’m part of the problem, according to you. I actually recommend what will bring us victory, and not go with the half-hearted plans currently in place by the likes of idiots like Fred Kagan! So please, don’t frequent my blog and insult me when I have recommended plans that will never actually be used. They won’t be used because no politician has the balls to implement them. And no military leader has the balls to confront his civilian superior and recommend it because he will know his fate will be that of General Shinseki.

  21. knighthospitaller: you seem to want this country to lose in Iraq

    What does it mean “to lose in Iraq”?

    What would “winning” look like?

    How will we know when it’s time to bring the troops home? Or are they going to be needed on some kind of a permanent basis (like South Korea) from here on out?

    For me, a “win” means we (the government of the United States) quit sticking our noses where it doesn’t belong and we and we stop trying to control the natural resources of the planet and we quit spending billions of dollars making implements of war and we quit using them on other nations that don’t have the means to hurt us. It means our government stops lying about the intentions of people in other nations, and it means we stop interfering in their political processes.

    Has God seen fit to intervene in Iraq? If you think He has, what did He do? If not, then what gives the United States the right to be playing God?

  22. The Pentagon now says that civil war doesn’t adequately convey Iraq. Good. I’m glad to see that they are starting to finally paint a more accurate picture of Iraq. It is more than just a civil war.

    One wonders though why this kind of honest assessment never reached America’s ear before the November 2006 election…

  23. Checkpoint Baghdad asks some good questions about the surge and its success or not at a marketplace in Dora district of Baghdad. It’s fascinating to see the rhetoric of the military and that of Iraqis. I understand the need to be upbeat, but why can’t the military state things realistically?

  24. E.J. Dionne Jr. writes about the anniversary of the war, and shows just how hyped up the language was back then, and just who pressed for a division of America:

    Politics did not stop at the water’s edge. The edition of The Post in which Bush’s speech was reported also included this headline: “GOP to Hammer Democratic War Critics.” The report began: “Congressional Republicans are implicitly challenging the patriotism of some Democrats who have criticized President Bush’s war plans, a sign that the divisive politics marking the 108th Congress are unlikely to cease during wartime.”

    Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, then chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, predicted that Democrats would “pay a political price” for feeding the perception that they opposed disarming and deposing Saddam Hussein. Those who bemoan our politically polarized foreign policy debate should remember how it started.

  25. I wrote a new post about how violence is increasing at this point in the “surge.”

    It is not looking good right now for the “surge.” Whether it works or not is still up in the air, but, the trend is in a very negative direction.

  26. Daniel,

    In the words of Nancy Pelosi, “calm down and take a deep breath…”. I think the only “negative direction” is the one you choose to see. There are plenty of indications that the surge is working, it is simply too early to tell.

    Here is one of many articles written proving my point.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1601869,00.html?cnn=yes

  27. hospitaller,

    And I’ve got this article to show that things are in fact NOT improving, and are heading downhill rather than uphill.

    The biggest evidence, however, that things are not going well comes from the number of Iraqis dead in March compared to February. The death toll jumped 15% during that time.

  28. Daniel,

    March has had a high death toll, this is true. But I truely think that it is too early to condemn the troop surge. The death to has jumped high this month, but the next few could show a downward trend. It’s just too soon to tell.

  29. Why could the next few months show a downward trend? What evidence do you have of this? Sheer indefatigable optimism? Sorry, but that’s not enough. I need cold hard evidence. At this point, the evidence points to another failure, on an even grander scale than last year’s “surge.”

  30. But when I present you with evidence you just dismiss it as incorrect…

  31. I didn’t say your article was “incorrect.” I just said that I have more evidence that things were regressing and not progressing.

  32. New York Times has an article out today providing as detailed of an assessment of the situation in Iraq as you’ll get right now, showing both positive and negative points about the surge to this point.

    The main point is that the future looks ominous. The political solution that we know needs to happen is not happening. Violence continues. And Americans do not have the patience for the time needed to “fix” the problem. Their impatience is very understandable. To this point, those running the operation have been totally inept and mistake-prone, and seem ideologically driven, rather than practical.

    It is still my belief this “surge” will not work. And we need to hold those in charge, i.e. Bush and Cheney, responsible and accountable. A message does need to be sent that such use of valuable treasure like our military must be used wisely.

  33. Terrible violence in Iraq today, where 137 some odd Iraqis were killed in four bomb attacks.

    I guess the Sunnis were upset that the Shi’ite death squads are back in business.

  34. US military begins construction of a wall between Shi’ites and Sunnis in one district, somehow thinking this will in some way stop or slow down the violence. I wonder what General Petraeus’ Counterinsurgency field manual says about building walls….

    a ha, page 107 of the official Counterinsurgency manual has a graph. One of the “Combat Operations” is to “separate insurgency from populace.” That’s about as close as I see it get to building a wall.

    But…well, not all Sunnis are insurgents, General Petraeus. Why are you putting a wall between Sunnis and Shi’ites?

    Secondly, I’m looking at that graph, and I really wonder how much of it you actually are doing. I think you aren’t doing enough, but it really isn’t your fault. You weren’t given enough troops to do it.

    I’m sorry, General Petraeus, but your mission will not succeed.

  35. Here are some of the Sunni and Shi’ite comments about the wall:

    Shiite and Sunni Arabs living in the shadow of the barrier were united in their contempt for the imposing new structure.

    “Are they trying to divide us into different sectarian cantons?” said a Sunni drugstore owner in Adhamiya, who would identify himself only as Abu Ahmed, 44. “This will deepen the sectarian strife and only serve to abort efforts aimed at reconciliation.”

    Some of Ahmed’s customers come from Shiite or mixed neighborhoods that are now cut off by large barriers along a main highway. Customers and others seeking to cross into the Sunni district must park their cars outside Adhamiya, walk through a narrow passage in the wall and take taxis on the other side.

    Several residents interviewed likened the project to the massive barriers built by Israel around some Palestinian zones.

    “Are we in the West Bank?” asked Abu Qusay, 48, a pharmacist who said that he wouldn’t be able to get to his favorite kebab restaurant in Adhamiya.

    Residents complained that Baghdad already has been dissected by hundreds of barriers that cause daily traffic snarls.

    Some predicted the new wall would become a target of militants on both sides. Last week, construction crews came under small-arms fire, military officials said.

    “I feel this is the beginning of a pattern of what the whole of Iraq is going to look like, divided by sectarian and racial criteria,” Abu Marwan, 50, a Shiite pharmacist, said.

    Marwan lives in a mostly Shiite area adjoining the wall, but works in Adhamiya. Since the wall was begun, he has had to walk to work rather than drive.

    Najim Sadoon, 51, was worried that he would lose customers at his housewares store. “This closure of the street will have severe economic hardships,” he said. “Transportation fees will increase. Customers who used to come here in their cars will now prefer to go to other places.”

    Majid Fadhil, 43, a Shiite police commissioner in a neighborhood north of the wall, said flatly, “This fence is not going to work.”

    It’s nice to see that Sunnis and Shi’ites agree on something!

  36. Looks like the military has given up on training Iraqis to “stand up”:

    Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

    Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.

    No change has been announced, and a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Gary Keck, said training Iraqis remains important. “We are just adding another leg to our mission,” Keck said, referring to the greater U.S. role in establishing security that new troops arriving in Iraq will undertake.

    But evidence has been building for months that training Iraqi troops is no longer the focus of U.S. policy. Pentagon officials said they know of no new training resources that have been included in U.S. plans to dispatch 28,000 additional troops to Iraq. The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the policy shift publicly. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made no public mention of training Iraqi troops on Thursday during a visit to Iraq.

    In a reflection of the need for more U.S. troops, the Pentagon decided earlier this month to increase the length of U.S. Army tours in Iraq from 12 to 15 months. The extension came amid speculation that the U.S. commander there, Army Gen. David Petraeus, will ask that the troop increase be maintained well into 2008.

    The question has to be asked…if we haven’t been able to “defeat” our enemy in the last four years in Iraq, what makes anyone think we will be able to in the next four years? How about the next ten years? Twenty? I’m sure by twenty years we’d have killed enough Iraqis to satisfy our thirst for blood.

    Philip Carter writes in Slate:

    In arguing for the current surge of combat forces to Iraq, senior administration officials say they’re unwilling to consider a “Plan B” for Iraq—options in case the surge fails. Sen. John McCain echoes this sentiment, as does Gen. David Petraeus in Baghdad, counseling patience while the current plan is put into action.

    But defining the current surge as a “Plan A” is a dangerously dishonest move that ignores the history of the Iraq war to date. In fact, since 2003, we have run through at least six plans, none of which has succeeded. The Petraeus plan is something more akin to Plan F—truly, the last Hail Mary play in the fourth quarter. And if it fails, then we better start considering Plan G, also known as “Get out of Iraq.”

    Amen.

  37. I think the idea of a wall is horrible. The first thing I thought of was Berlin or the Jewish ghettos. I know, not the same thing, but it evokes bad images nonetheless.

    What’s your take on Tenet’s recent comment regarding the “slam dunk”? I like Rice’s response (from CNN):

    “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday said the administration did not use former CIA Director George Tenet’s “slam dunk” comment as the reason to invade Iraq.”

    I believe her. They had their minds made up well before that.

  38. I don’t believe a word that comes out of Condoleezza Rice’s mouth, personally. George Tenet is also not quite telling us the truth. I do think Bob Woodward’s account still to be most accurate.

  39. Now, you’d think that you would want to be quite clear in your message to convince Americans that you are winning, but take a look at Tony Snow’s lame lame attempt to answer the question: Are we winning in Iraq?

    Q: Tony, are we winning the war?

    SNOW: Are we winning the war? … You know, April, we’re fighting the war, and it’s an important thing to understand that the only way to lose the war is to walk away from it.

    As the Carpetbagger Report states:

    Got that? Forget last year’s assurances that we’re winning, the important thing to remember is that the only way to lose is to withdraw.

    Following this logic, as long as we’re fighting, we’re winning. No matter how bad things get, no matter how many soldiers we lose, no matter how much it costs, no matter how far Iraq deteriorates, no matter how much terrorism is created, we’re fighting … so we’re winning.

    I sometimes wonder if even the Bush gang believes such transparent nonsense.

  40. Hi there from Europe!! I´m portuguese, and my country also send troops to Iraq, even though we have already retreat, decision totally agreeable from my point of view. The all Iraq issue starts with the false premises that lead to the invesion in first hand.I know your view on democracy is different from ours here in Europe, but I will have to tell you that no elected leader could continue on charge here, after breaking all the international laws, and invading a foreign sovereign nation upon false intel.
    The question as much LDS people as stated about Pres Clintons Lewinski issue, is the morality that a US President must have. Well, invading a country in a war that has costed the live of tens of thousands innocents is by far worst than adultery, as it is stated in the Book of Mormon, and so, I can´t understand how can lots of people of our faith can stand by his side!
    Last but not least, how can you base your analysis of the situation only according to your own government official reports? It´s clear they were never accurate, and much less neutral. Read UN reports, International Amnesty reports, and other NGO´s repports, and you will see what´s really going on! And please don´t come with some anti-american cheap arguments, because the world still admires the american ideals, we simply can´t go along with Bush´s or Cheney´s lies, because that´s simply and plainly what they did!

  41. … we simply can´t go along with Bush´s or Cheney´s lies, because that´s simply and plainly what they did!

    Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

    I think that America’s problem is that most of our citizens, having been raised on movies about World War II where we came in and saved the day for the free world will never believe that our political leadership can ever go wrong. If the President says it, it must be true, because he wears the mantle of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln (and everybody knows that Walt Disney would never have given us “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” if he really wasn’t the saint that Disney said he was), we stood up to the Nazis and therefore from here to eternity, we will always automatically be the good guys.

    Well, guess what: the Nazis back in World War II really and truly believed that they were the good guys, making the world safe for a thousand-year period of peace and freedom. Nobody ever believes that they, themselves, are the bad guys; the bad guys are always “over there” somewhere. We look back and wonder: what in the heck were the Germans thinking?

    Well, in the not too distant future, everyone’s going to be looking back and wondering: what in the heck where the Americans thinking?

  42. Daniel Martins,

    Don’t worry, I do not trust my government, and when I quote them, I usually do so with a large grain of salt.

  43. Carpetbagger has a good analysis of the “indicators” which show that things are going in a very bad direction in Iraq. For example, inside the green zone people have to wear flak jackets inside buildings because it is unsafe! Hello!

    I’m still curious how the Israelis can recognize so easily when things went wrong with their war, and they adjusted with ease, why we can’t do the same. What the hell is wrong with conservatives?

  44. The majority of Iraqi legislators want us out of Iraq.

    But that’s not something newsworthy here in America. Nah.

  45. The Surge is causing a surge in prisoners in Iraq who tend to get tortured and abused, and get recruited by Al-Qaida. Huh, this does not look good for the long term.

  46. The US military is now offering $200,000 for information leading to the three kidnapped soldiers.

    What a sad state of affairs in Iraq.

  47. A very violent day in Iraq. Juan Cole has the gory details.

    200 gunmen storm Baqouba. Mortars kill two in the green zone. 30 some odd men found shot to death in the streets of Baghdad. 45 killed here, 40 killed there. Chemical bombs. Yeah, the surge sure is doing well…

  48. Weep for the future. The Washington Post has an article on the psychological impact of this war on Iraq’s children.

    How very very sad.

  49. Yeah, the surge sure is doing well…

    Now, now: you know the President said that things would get worse before they would get better. We just need to be patient and understanding and tolerant of all of the decisions coming out of Dick Cheney’s non-Executive Executive branch office headquarters, until at least, oh, say, mid-to-late January of 2009. At that point, if the surge isn’t working, maybe they’ll be willing to try something different.

  50. Punting the problem on to the next administration. That is very much in line with this administration’s lack of accountability. They’ll make the next administration be accountable for removing the troops from Iraq.

  51. Things are going so badly in Iraq that the administration is forced to lower its expectations. Huh, can those of us who knew this from the start now say “I told you so.”

  52. Only if it makes you feel better…

  53. or if it is true.

  54. I don’t believe there is a such a thing as a good democrat.

    After speaking to a Vietnam war veteran, he says what worries him the most about the Iraq War is that “people believe the only superpower left in the world, the United States, cannot win a war.” He was so concerned that people believe that America can not win a war. And frankly, it concerns me, too.

    Daniel, I’d hate to think that you believe the children of Iraq were better of in the hands of Suddam Hussein. There is such a liberal spin to every article written today that it’s hard to believe half of what is written.

    Remember, 47.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

  55. Charlotte,

    I’m not concerned that we can’t win wars. I’m concerned that we attack other nations and kill their people for no good reason. You should be too. It reflects poorly on Americans that the government that we elected is massacring wholesale men, women, children, elderly and handicaps indiscriminantly. There are good democrats (not many in office though) and surprisingly, there are some good republicans too (again, not many in office).

    I’m with Daniel here for it is flagrantly obvious that Iraqis were better off under Saddam. At least they had most essential securities. Saddam was a bad guy, but they could get a college education, get good healthcare, and unemployment was not very high. They could get electricity including air conditioning and they didn’t have to worry about being killed on their front porch. Now, none of that is true.

  56. Charlotte,

    I don’t believe there is a such a thing as a good democrat.

    Why not?

    he says what worries him the most about the Iraq War is that “people believe the only superpower left in the world, the United States, cannot win a war.”

    Then he’s worried about the wrong things, after all, we lost Vietnam. But see, the problem is that in both Vietnam and Iraq our military won every battle, but lost the overall war. Why? Because they did not apply proper counterinsurgency principles and lost the minds and hearts of the locals. When you do not have the locals behind you, you have failed. We have failed in Iraq.

    He was so concerned that people believe that America can not win a war. And frankly, it concerns me, too.

    It should most definitely concern you, because that’s reality. Just because we’re the most powerful military on the planet does not mean we will actually win wars. It is a foolish position to think that what brings you victory is the strongest army. It does not. What brings you victory is successful conversion of your enemy to your position, the art of persuasion, wherein you get your enemy to do your bidding. This is not something that can be accomplished through brute force, something lost upon so many of today’s conservatives. Such a shame.

    Daniel, I’d hate to think that you believe the children of Iraq were better of in the hands of Suddam Hussein.

    Charlotte, based on what we’ve given them these past four years, unfortunately it is true that their lives were better off under Saddam. And the worst part is that it will probably take another strong man like Hussein to restore order to such a fragmented country. Will you accept another strong man leading Iraq, because that will end up being your only option.

    There is such a liberal spin to every article written today that it’s hard to believe half of what is written.

    This is not true, Charlotte. Unfortunately the media is actually spinning the conservative viewpoint quite strongly. Take for instance when Republicans were filibustering Democratic proposals to withdraw troops from Iraq. The media portrayed it as a Democratic filibuster! How can Democrats filibuster when they have a majority!!!!!

    You need to stop listening to the Sean Hannity’s of the world.

    Remember, 47.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

    I thought it was 74.3% 😉

  57. Curtis,

    “It reflects poorly on Americans that the government that we elected is massacring wholesale men, women, children, elderly and handicaps indiscriminantly.”

    Where the hell do you get ‘massacring… indiscriminantly’?!

    Perhaps you should move back to China if you are not satisfied living in this “barbaric” country…

  58. Massacring indiscriminantly comes from what we are doing in Iraq. Have you ever heard of the air war we undertake in Iraq? We drop so many bombs on residential neighborhoods, bombs that have a 400 meter kill radius. We’ve killed over 200,000 Iraqis since the beginning of the war according to scientific studies performed by Johns Hopkins (with a total excess of 655,000 dead since the beginning of the war) and about 78,000 of those deaths are due to the air war. When you’re dropping a bomb from the sky on a neighborhood which houses all sorts of people… that’s called an indiscriminant massacre.

    Of course that’s nothing new for the US. We oversaw the deaths of 500,000 little kids in Iraq during the 90’s and didn’t care about it very much.

    I’m not from China. I’m from the USA. Why should I have to leave when the criminals get to stay? Perhaps you’re the one who should be jailed if you support this indiscriminate massacre.

  59. “theradicalmormon”

    Have I heard of the air war? I know more about the weapon systems and capability of our aircraft then you could ever hope to buddy.

    I can assure you there is nothing “indiscriminate” about the killing in Iraq. The overwhelming majority of the civilian deaths you listed are caused by the very insurgents we are fighting! We have so many restrictions in place when it comes to engaging a target that most of the bad guys get away before we drop the bombs! Then American’s have the audacity to complain that the bad guys got away.

    With a 250 laser guided munitions I can nail a nickel from 10,000 feet, and the bomb can be calibrated to limit the blast radius to as little as 50 feet. THIS IS NOT “indiscriminate”. Further more, we don’t generally engage targets in the city unless there is visual confirmation of the target. (That means putting our boys at risk, just to make sure the bad guys ARE the bad guys.)

    Shall I go on, or have I finally gotten through that radical exterior?

    If you are going to go out of the way to smear your own country, at least try to understand the details of what you are accusing it of.

  60. Knight,

    Even the pentagon admits that laser guided munitions have a 10-15% miss rate.

    Did you know about the following type of bomb?:

    The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb, ranging from 250-2,000 pounds, was used extensively during the most recent military operation against Fallujah. The 2,000 pound variety, for example, has the capacity to blast a crater in a concrete street 70 feet in diameter and 30 feet deep. This size of bomb has a blast radius of 110 feet within which a human being will die, while fragmentation from the bomb casing can achieve velocities up to 9,000 feet per second and reach areas over 3,000 feet away from the detonation site.”

    http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/29545/?page=4

    And then there are cluster bombs, which are about as indiscriminate as you can get.

    “Since the major combat phase of the war ended in April 2003, the U.S. military has dropped at least 59,787 pounds of air-delivered cluster bombs in Iraq—the very type of weapon that Marc Garlasco, the senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls, “the single greatest risk civilians face with regard to a current weapon that is in use.”

    These handy little weapons cover just about everything within the area of a football field.

    http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2007/05/24/our_shadowy_iraq_air_war.php

    Here back in August I posted on a child that was playing outside of her home when she was blown up by a US aerial assault:

    http://theradicalmormon.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/yay-our-mighty-military-takes-out-another-iraqi-kid/

    You can selectively report to me what you know about how we only shoot the bad guys, but even those you call bad guys are often men protecting their homes from an occupying force.

    I knew of these weapons when I spoke initially of indiscriminate killing. Homeword was already done bud. Your assurances are certainly not very comforting.

  61. radicalmormon,

    I approved your comment, as it had three links in it. You should know, hospitaller fancies himself as an air force pilot. At least I saw that on one of his blog posts.

  62. Oh, sorry,

    I guess I was sort of oblivious to the ‘link in comments’ thing. I guess I need to tone that down in the future.

  63. I’m surprised that you have not mentioned the report the General Petraeus gave to congress. In case you missed it, the “surge” strategy is working…

    Actually, I’m not all that surprised that you didn’t mention it. It is GOOD news.

  64. “And then there are cluster bombs, which are about as indiscriminate as you can get.”

    Mr. “Radical”,

    Have you ever heard of the BLU-82B? It is more affectionately known as the daisy-cutter. It is a 15,000lb conventional bomb with a blast radius of about 500 yards…

    Now, if we kill “indiscriminately”, why then don’t we use this bomb in the rural theater?

    Perhaps it is because each weapon has a different “mission”. You have anti-tank, bunker-busters, you have the Durandal Anti-runway bomb, you have the JDAM, you have HARM anti-radar missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles for deep penetration….

    I could go on and on, but the point is, take a look at the situation each bomb is used in. It is easy to paint the picture that we are barbaric, evil people who drop bombs indiscriminately, when you don’t know the FACTS.

    Why do you think we spend millions of dollars to make our bombs “smart” when a cheap cluster bomb, (which is a “dumb” bomb) is WAY more effective….

    ANSWER: We do not kill indiscriminately.

    You are misguided sir.

  65. hospitaller,

    Um, you must have left your glasses at work or something.

    General Petraeus and General Westmoreland

    Is it worth the cost?

    You will be bamboozled this week, America.

    All three are related to General Petraeus’ propaganda work. As far as quoting him directly. No need. His words are no longer credible. He is a bad actor, and history will not treat him kindly.

  66. Knight,

    As for cluster bombs go, these have been internationally decried and there is a movement afoot to have these sorts of munitions banned because of the civilian toll they take whereever and under whatever sorts of circumstances that can be imagined. For example, in Iraq:

    “Evidence of these risks can be found in U.S. military documents. Case in point: a June 2005 internal memorandum from the U.S. Army’s 42d Infantry Division which describes how a 15-year old Iraqi boy, working as a shepherd, “was leading the sheep through north Tikrit, near an ammo storage site, when he picked up a UXO [unexploded ordnance] from a cluster bomb. The UXO detonated and he was killed.” Asked to pay $3,000 in compensation for the boy’s life, the Army granted that his death was “a horrible loss for the claimant,” his mother, but concluded that there was “insufficient evidence to indicate that US. Forces caused the death.”

    Cluster bombs were also dropped on the city of Fallujah in 2004. Whenever you drop cluster bombs on a populated neighborhood, you have to consider that there is indiscriminate killing happening.

    Cannon rounds have been noted to perhaps contribute the largest number of civilian casualties. According to the Johns Hopkins study, there have been and estimated 78,000 deaths attributable to the air war in Iraq. One of the main authors of the study is Dr. Les Roberts:

    “In 2004, Roberts himself witnessed the destruction caused by cannon fire in Baghdad’s vast Shiite slum, Sadr City. He recalls again and again passing through 100-200 meter-wide areas of neighborhoods that had been raked by cannon rounds. “It wasn’t one house that was beat up,” he recalled. “It would be five, six, seven buildings in a row.” Unlike bomb- and artillery-ravaged Ramadi and Fallujah, Roberts noted:

    “There weren’t whole buildings knocked down. There were just big swaths of many, many houses where every window was broken, where there were thousands of pockmarks from cannon fire; not little dents, but huge chunks the size of your fist out of the walls, and lamp-posts bent over because they lost their integrity from being hit so many times.”

    This portrait of devastation is echoed in the words of journalist Ali al-Fadhily, who told me that he had witnessed helicopter gunships in action, noting: “The destruction they caused was always immense and casualties so many. They simply destroy the target with every living soul inside. The smell of death comes with those machines.”

    I am not misguided sir. I just have excellent sources. Indiscriminate killing has been our way of life in Iraq since 2003 without question.

  67. “Cluster bombs were also dropped on the city of Fallujah in 2004.”

    Please show me some evidence of this claim.

    As for the rest of your argument, you once more have left out the CONTEXT of when and where the weapons are used.

    Do you understand what a pilot in the US military must do before he can drop ordinance?

    We don’t just look down out of the cockpit and say, “that looks about right, lets just drop it right hear…” There buildings ravaged by cannon fire were probably fired on for a very good reason. There were probably ground forces in the area who were taking fire and called in the air strike, but I am just speculating, because you did not give me the context in which the attack occurred.

    As for your case against the cluster bomb… You have no case. There are unfortunate cases where even if used outside of urban environments these weapons can kill those not smart enough to stay away from them.

    I would be far more concerned by the thousands of children killed by the heroic freedom fighters in the cities whose weapons of choice are improvised explosive devices…

    It is clear to me though, that you have already made up your mind that America has lost, and you are no longer willing to listen to reason…

  68. “As far as quoting him directly. No need. His words are no longer credible. He is a bad actor, and history will not treat him kindly…”

    Daniel, you have sunk to a new low. You sound no better then moveon.org.

    How dare you call into question the honor and honesty of General Petraeus! He has never given anyone any reason not to believe him.
    If you devoted the rest of your life to try to gain a fraction of the honor he has, you wouldn’t even come close. Yet you have the nerve to call into question his honesty simply because he brings news that does not support your defeatist attitude!

    What little respect I had left for you, is now lost…

  69. Knight,

    For the cluster bomb info go to google and enter, “Our shadowy Iraq air war”, an article by Nick Turse on Tom Paine’s website. It’s listed there.

    Thousands of children killed by sectarian strife is a horrible thing. But, I’m talking about 78,000 people killed by our air war in Iraq as of the fall of 2006. Were they all insurgents Knight?

    As for making up my mind as to the US losing the war… I care not if we lose or win. All I care about is we are engaged in an illegal and immoral war, destroying a nation and killing people… and we need to stop.

  70. hospitaller,

    How dare you call into question the honor and honesty of General Petraeus! He has never given anyone any reason not to believe him.

    Um, actually he has. But then again I forget. I’m blaspheming against your god. How dare I. How dare I think he is but a man, and a man who has consistently embellished the situation in Iraq. Sorry, hospitaller, but I really don’t give a damn if you have respect for me or not. The man is a liar, and I will call him such until he stops lying. History will see him as another General Westmoreland, who could not get his story straight on Vietnam either.

    Yet you have the nerve to call into question his honesty simply because he brings news that does not support your defeatist attitude!

    You don’t seem to understand this, hospitaller, but it is people like General Petraeus who are defeatist! Instead of being realistic with their assessments, they embellish to keep a failing policy going! THAT’S defeatism!

  71. Knight,
    You said:

    “There are unfortunate cases where even if used outside of urban environments these weapons can kill those not smart enough to stay away from them.”

    Here is a short story about someone who is not smart enough to stay away from this murderous invention:

    “Among the case histories in the report is that of a family in Kosovo who went to swim in a lake a few kilometres from their village. One of the children, a six-year-old called Adnan, found a metal can on the bank and showed it to his family. It exploded. His father and older brother were killed and Adnan was gravely wounded. His sister later returned to the lake to collect the family’s belongings, stepped on another Nato cluster bomb and was killed.”

    Of course, this is not indiscriminate killing. This is just someone who was not smart enough to know better. I guess collateral damage is a better term eh? It sure makes it sound a lot nicer in the newspapers.

  72. “Of course, this is not indiscriminate killing. This is just someone who was not smart enough to know better. I guess collateral damage is a better term eh? It sure makes it sound a lot nicer in the newspapers.”

    You’re absolutely right. We should fire Nerf darts so nobody gets hurt. Grow up. Life is not perfect.

    Simply hoping for peace is not enough in this world. You have to be willing to fight for it. It is a grim task that not many can stomach.

    Think of the one family who died by a NATO cluster bomb, then compare it to the hundreds of thousands more who would have died from the ethnic cleansing campaign had NATO not intervened… That is the reality. Take it, or leave it.

  73. Knight,
    Fight for peace? I don’t know if you are a member of the LDS Church or not. If not, forgive me for giving you some of the words of prophets. Here is what Brigham Young has spoken on the topic.

    “How easy it is for the Almighty to direct the steps of our enemies, until they fall off the precipice and are dashed in pieces, without the efforts of his servants.”

    “It is written that the Lord will destroy the wicked, and He has done so by bringing about circumstances to cause them to destroy themselves.”

    “There is a spirit that prompts the nations to prepare for war, desolation, and bloodshed–to waste each other away. Do they realize it? No.”

    “Much of the skill, ingenuity, and ability of the Christian nations are now devoted to manufacturing instruments of death. May we be saved from the effects of them! As I often tell you, if we are faithful, the Lord will fight our battles much better than we can ourselves.”

    Joseph F. Smith said, “There is only one thing that can bring peace into the world. It is the adoption of the gospel of Jesus Christ, rightly understood, obeyed and practiced by rulers and people alike.”

    Pres. J. Reuben Clark said, “The love of liberty is a fairly universal passion of humanity when free to express itself. But liberty was never implanted in the hearts of a people from the point of a bayonet, nor will it ever be from the nose of an air bomb. Can we keep a straight face and say that bombers and occupying armies are to bring subjection without fear,–that they will give freedom from fear through fear? Moral force is far more potent than physical force in international relations. I believe that America should again turn to the promotion of peaceful adjustment of international disputes.”

  74. “It is written that the Lord will destroy the wicked, and He has done so by bringing about circumstances to cause them to destroy themselves.”

    Where those in the WTC towers wicked? How about the Jews, before they were led to the slaughter in NAZI death camps? Where they wicked as well?

    “There is only one thing that can bring peace into the world. It is the adoption of the gospel of Jesus Christ, rightly understood, obeyed and practiced by rulers and people alike.”

    This is wonderful in theory… One problem, how do you convert radical Muslims who believe that salvation is attained by killing Christians and Jews?

    “…But liberty was never implanted in the hearts of a people from the point of a bayonet, nor will it ever be from the nose of an air bomb.”

    Are you familiar with American history? How did America gain Independence from England? Are you familiar with WWII? How was Europe liberated?
    Did we sit on our thumbs and hope that the bad things would go away???? Or did we fight for our freedoms?

    Freedom is NOT free.

  75. hospitaller,

    How did America gain Independence from England?

    They gained independence from England when England decided it was not worth the cost for them to continue occupying the Americans. Huh, funny that. Stop occupying a country and it becomes free…

    • Wrong….The colonies were just that,,,,,,, colonies of England. Then they decided to secceed (a.k.a. dclare independence) from England. Which by the way, you say is wrong for a State to do….but thats exactly what they did. Yet when the South wanted to do the same suddenly it’s illegal.

      • dude,

        the actions of the Americans were illegal. That’s the whole reason why it turned into a war. It was ILLEGAL! The Revolutionary War was ILLEGAL! do you get it now? It received legitimacy when the American forces succeeded in hurting Britain enough that Britain decided to let the colonies go, thus giving legitimacy to the action. Do you understand why the Massachusetts minutemen kept their weapons hidden, and why they met in secret? Because their actions were ILLEGAL!

        So yeah, when the South seceded, their actions were ILLEGAL! If they won the war, their actions would then be justified and no longer illegal. That’s the masterful thing of winning a war. It turns your illegal action into something justified. If you lose, your actions have no legal justification.

  76. Don’t know why my reply didn’t go thru earlier, but here it goes again:

    Knight,

    “This is wonderful in theory… One problem, how do you convert radical Muslims who believe that salvation is attained by killing Christians and Jews?”

    Great question. It was the same question the Nephites had for Ammon when he went to preach the Gospel to the Lamanites. We find in Alma 26:

    23 Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn?
    24 For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language.
    25 And moreover they did say: Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us.
    26 But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.

    Then there is this from D&C 45:

    68 And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
    69 And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.

    Bruce R. McKonkie has said in his book, “The Milleniel Messiah,” that in the last days our missionaries will go into nations that are at war to get those who will not “take his sword against his neighbor.”

    There is a great example of this sort of missionary work in the Book of Mormon (a book for our day) in Helaman 5 where a couple of missionaries go into the heart of enemy territory in the middle of a dangerous war and convert the Lamanites and stop the whole war!

    You said:

    “Did we sit on our thumbs and hope that the bad things would go away???? Or did we fight for our freedoms?”

    It is our job to live the Gospel and preach it, to renounce war and proclaim peace, to trust in the promises of the Lord when he says that the righteous will be spared as He states in 1st Nephi 22:

    16 For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.
    17 Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.

    For we see that the true threat to America comes from God and not man who shall be like grass. 3rd Nephi 20:

    20 And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles.

  77. Dan,
    Any particular reason my comments aren’t going thru? If they are still in your cue you can keep the second comment and trash the first as they say essentially the same thing. Thanks

  78. radicalmormon,

    Sorry, your comments for some reason went into Akismet. Please just let me know anytime in the future your comments disappear like that.

    Thanks,

    Dan

  79. radicalmormon,

    “…For he (The Government) is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. (Romans 13:1-6)”

  80. Knight,

    D&C 123:

    13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the bhidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—

    Ether 8:

    22 And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
    23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
    24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
    25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.
    26 Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.

  81. knight,

    I like Joseph Smith’s Inspired version of Romans 13 much better:

    1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power in the church but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.

    2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves punishment.

    3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same;

    4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil be afraid; for he beareth not the rod in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

    5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.

    6 For, for this cause pay ye your consecrations also unto them; for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

    If Joseph truly was inspired, then Paul didn’t have anything to say about government at all; instead, he was talking about obeying the authorities in the church.

  82. “If Joseph truly was inspired, then Paul didn’t have anything to say about government at all; instead, he was talking about obeying the authorities in the church.”

    Then the church has the power to wield the sword??? Interesting…

  83. “They gained independence from England when England decided it was not worth the cost for them to continue occupying the Americans. Huh, funny that. Stop occupying a country and it becomes free…”

    Funny, I seem to remember that a foreign power helped the United States free themselves… In fact it is arguable that we could not have attained our freedom without the aid of the French.

    Aid a country through hard times, and they become your allies… Interesting…

  84. The murder of Iraqis at the hands of Blackwater needs to be mentioned on this page.

  85. The US military, going counter to their own counterinsurgency field manual killed 15 women and children in Baghdad today.

    They really never will learn, will they.

  86. Turks are ready to sacrifice it all in order to enter Iraq and stop the Kurds…

    This is not good. And the Bush administration is doing absolutely nothing about it.

  87. Blackwater raised their guns on US soldiers.

    Not good.

  88. “Turks are ready to sacrifice it all in order to enter Iraq and stop the Kurds…

    This is not good. And the Bush administration is doing absolutely nothing about it.”

    You’re right, we should leave… 😉

  89. I’m glad you finally agree. 🙂

  90. More evidence and more witnesses that all corroborate that Blackwater murdered innocent Iraqis.

  91. An amazing post from a soldier in Iraq on the relationships with Sunnis who used to kill Americans, who have now turned on Al-Qaeda. The fascinating part is that they are not doing it necessarily to help us out. They’ve got their own reasons to “assist” us. His last section should send a warning out to all Americans about the future of Iraq:

    For now, our relationship with 1920 is one of mutual distrust and hatred, a sign of the times. A conversation between a member of my platoon and a 1920 source is ripe with foreboding on the future of this partnership, and of the war to come.
    “Do you want to kill me?” asked the soldier.
    “Yes,” replied the source, coldly and without emotion. “But not today.”

  92. Then the church has the power to wield the sword???

    Nope, reference to the sword was changed (back) by Joseph to “the rod”.

  93. General John Abizaid on Iraq:

    “Of course it’s about oil, we can’t really deny that,” Abizaid said of the Iraq campaign early on in the talk. .

    Well you can’t get any clearer than that.

  94. A most excellent article on military spending.

  95. The Army is silencing Scott Beauchamp. No surprise there.

    The New Republic is deeply frustrated by the Army’s behavior. TNR has endeavored with good faith to discover whether Beauchamp’s article contained inaccuracies and has repeatedly requested that the Army provide us with documentary evidence that it was fabricated or embellished. Instead of doing this, the Army leaked selective parts of the record—including a conversation that Beauchamp had with his lawyer—continuing a months-long pattern by which the Army has leaked information and misinformation to conservative bloggers while failing to help us with simple requests for documents.

    Or in other words, reprehensible behavior by the Army. But what’s new.

  96. “A most excellent article on military spending.”

    In 2005 the military budget was 3.5% of the US GDP, now compare that to the 34.5% of GDP that it was in 1945….

    You have to take into account inflation and income dummy. You can’t look at something as complicated as economics from just one perspective. Though it does so please the Democrats to skew the facts in their favor… You should know. 🙂

  97. “The Army is silencing Scott Beauchamp. No surprise there.”

    Now if only we could get them to silence Daniel, but that would be too much to hope for…

  98. I’m guessing you’re relishing the Bush administration follow Musharraf’s lead, eh hospitaller. You’d love to see liberal bloggers get beaten up and arrested by the military.

  99. No no, I just love having fun with you Daniel. I wouldn’t wish you to be harmed in anyway.

    My point is, despite how tyrannical the mighty Bush regime has become, you are still exercising all the rights you did before he took office in the first place…

    Why don’t you ever mention your leftwing buddy, Hugo Chavez and his consolidation of power in Venezuela, a place where freedoms are actually being violated??? Why don’t you bring that information to bare when he crushes protests in the streets? This would serve as a good example to you as to what a dictatorship in the rise actually looks like.

    Instead you just spout out your “Bush is evil” nonsense. He may be dumb, but he is by no means evil….

  100. Um, because Chavez is not my buddy. And I’m glad to see we’ve made progress. You’re coming around, hospitaller. I’m glad you see Bush as dumb. There’s progress it seems. 🙂

  101. I never said he was the smartest president. If anything you are the one making that claim. You argue that Bush hoodwinked the world into allowing the US to prosecute an illegal war… It would require an individual of superior intellect to pull that off.

  102. No it wouldn’t. You don’t have to be a smart person to hoodwink people, you just have to know how to fool them. Let me share an example:

    The place was Tampa, Florida. The date, Feb. 4, 2005. A woman has asked about the hefty transition costs of moving Social Security into the private realm. Bush replied:

    “Because the – all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There’s a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be – or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It’s kind of muddled. Look, there’s a series of things that cause the – like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate – the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those – if that growth is affected, it will help on the red. Okay, better? I’ll keep working on it.”

    That’s one DUMB man!

  103. “You don’t have to be a smart person to hoodwink people, you just have to know how to fool them.”

    Can an idiot fool someone? Maybe. Can an idiot fool the world? I think not… Unless of course, the people are lacking in intelect beyond that of the idiot who is doing the fooling… 😉

  104. Um, well, I wasn’t the one who believed him on the war, hospitaller. I shouldn’t have to say that you were. 😉

  105. More of the immeasurable costs this war has done to our country.

    Truly those who actually support the troops are the ones who call for their return home.

  106. “Truly those who actually support the troops are the ones who call for their return home.”

    Thats the right attitude, who cares about what happens when we leave? Out of sight out of mind…

  107. Frankly my concern is with the Americans, and not the Iraqis. I think the Iraqis can take care of themselves right now.

  108. At least you’re honest…

  109. Perhaps a good measure of what would happen if we left Iraq is the finding that in Basra, after the Brits have left, violent attacks are down 90%.

  110. Knight,
    Chavez is the most democratically supported president in the world. Only the US press is calling him a dictator. The rest of the world is too smart to get fooled by that line.

  111. “Chavez is the most democratically supported president in the world. Only the US press is calling him a dictator. The rest of the world is too smart to get fooled by that line.”

    I thought you were smarter then that Rad… Who has state run media? and who has free press? Where in the hell do you get your information???

    Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the reason you don’t hear the Venezuelans objections, is because they are not relayed by the state that is trying to silence them…?

    You are the spitting image of contradiction, you preach the need for freedoms and the right to express opinions, and then you go and support the man who represents the complete opposite… A man who is consolidating power, and controlling the media…

    For just once, try looking at things with logic. Don’t be a yes man. Don’t Like Chavez simply because Chavez hates Bush. Agreeing with someone based on mutual hatred is not very productive, in fact you are aligning yourself with everything you hate.

  112. Chavez is a butthead who is feeding off of Bush-hatred.

  113. Wow, such arguements you present! I wither in the light of such great evidence. I must submit. Chavez is a butthead.

    If you guys want to tangle over Venezuelan politics, bring it on. I’ve been studying Chavez and the bolivarian revolution for over 8 years now. Our press twists and turns things on its heads, and you have apparently fallen hook line and sinker for it (though I can’t assume what you know of the situation there… as knight thinks he knows what I know).

    I have my reservations about Chavez and the top heavy form of government he is developing. However, democracy thrives down there like it never has here and he is as far from a dictator as one can get. Freedom of the press thrives down there as well and the state run media makes up only a small percentage of the media.

    Venezuelan objections are heard loud and clear. For the most part, it is the privileged sectors of Venezuelans who protest Chavez. To say that the state is stifling dissent down there shows me that you clearly know nothing of what is really happening down there Knight. I could tell you all a long story about Venezuelan politics if you like. The US is complicit in coups and all of the machinations it has always perpetrated while making sure Latin America is obedient. Chavez has won elections by over 60% of the vote several times and currently enjoys approval ratings anywhere from double to triple what Bush has in the US.

    We could learn a lot from the democratic expirement in Venezuela. I don’t agree with everything Chavez is doing down there. His constitutional reforms are probably not all good ideas. I would vote it down and wait for something better to come along if I were a Venezuelan voter. However, for the most part he has done a whole lot of good for his people. He has erased illiteracy and brought up the standard of living for the poor. He has shunted the income from the country’s oil to the people of Venezuela. He has run numerous programs which have benefitted the masses in Venezuela, including improving health care by leaps and bounds.

    Like I say, I don’t agree with everything the man stands for. However, to call him a butthead, or to parrot the most extreme views of our media, will necessitate a little bit of educating here.

  114. One thing about Chavez that makes me more uncomfortable than the others is the goal to control the curriculum of the schools for indoctrination into socialism and threatening to take over the church schools if they will not follow his “recommendations.”

    http://www.economist.com/world/la/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_QRVSPJ

    If one (like Chavez) wants to use socialism to accomplish societal change, that’s fine (I doubt it will work). However, he is using increasingly heavy-handed tactics to accomplish those changes.

    This is the problem with Latin American politics in general. It swings from authoritarian left to authoritarian right with a few years of democracy in between. That’s the history. Finding the causes is topic for another discussion.

  115. where is all the surge will fail talk today? i noticed no admitted their mistakes from this great discussion in Jan and Feb. Not sure but this did not look like FoxNews to me, but maybe Bush has installed a puppet report in the NYT too…could be Rove…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/20/world/middleeast/20surge.html?ei=5065&en=7e7d43064c067b63&ex=1196226000&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print

    have a great holiday and keep “supporting the troops”

  116. dale,

    Actually the New York Times has had a Bush plant for a while. His name is Michael Gordon. He pops up occasionally, at the right times (like General Petraeus’ testimony in September for example), to press the propaganda further.

    Now, as to the security situation now, true, violence is down. That is attributable to several factors, one of which being the increase in soldiers. Another factor is that ethnic segregation has already nearly completed. Few Sunnis live in majority Shi’ite neighborhoods and vice versa. Kinda hard to go killing Shi’ites in Shi’ite neighborhoods when those Shi’ite neighborhoods are protected by powerful militias and gangs, and vice versa.

    Now, the whole point of the surge was the political reconciliation. I’m sorry, Dale, but there is no political reconciliation on the horizon in Iraq. As such, the surge is a failure.

  117. Well, it seems General Petraeus’ adviser sees us in Iraq for 30 MORE YEARS

    huh, and you’d think we’ve been successful and all…

    Meanwhile, the British have seen a dramatic drop in violence in areas they left in Southern Iraq.

    Huh…

  118. Perhaps a measure of the success of the surge would be to send the 4 million Iraqi refugees back to their homes and then see what would happen to the success of the surge then. Very quickly 4 million Iraqis would remember why they left in the first place.

  119. Daniel,

    Really enjoy your blog, keep up the good work!
    As far as 30 more years in Iraq is concerned it shouldn’t surprise anybody. The US has a history of being in “places” a long time. Germany, Korea, Egypt, Bosnia, Kosovo…….

  120. “The US has a history of being in “places” a long time. Germany, Korea, Egypt, Bosnia, Kosovo…….”

    How many wars have these countries been involved in since we’ve been there? 😉

  121. Um, since when have we been in Egypt?

    Oh and both Korea and Germany are participating in either/or Iraq and Afghanistan. So um, yeah, they are involved in wars since we’ve been there. So there!

  122. .
    We are fighting 2 wars in Iraq.
    The physical war and the public relations war.

    THE PHYSICAL WAR:Our soldier have been place in a position where the enemy is invisible.
    They can plan move and execute their plans at will.

    A soldier on the street does not know if the Iraqi walking toward his is friend or foe, but the Iraqi knows that the soldier is not Iraqi and is an occupier of his country .
    This situation was predictable!!

    THE PUBLIC RELATIONS WAR:

    We go into a country. destroy services ,water , sewage and electricity disrupt their everyday lives and then tell the citizens of that country that we are liberating them.

    I don’t believe that we a can win either war.

    To win the public relations war
    we have solve the problem of convincing an Iraqi mother that has lost a child that her child’s death was not caused by the invasion of her country by the United States.

    This is an unsolvable problem in my opinion and going into Iraq was
    BIG blunder.

  123. Here are the criticisms of the current actions.
    1. that they are more of the same
    2. that they will not work
    3. that it is not going very well

    To address these anyone should be able to answer:
    1. It was announced that we were going to have a surge. A change in strategy.
    2. There is evidence that the situation is improving. The Americans and British have been able to remove some troops from areas and allow the police to successfully take over. THAT IS OUR GOAL people. The signal of success is when our ground commander knows the area is secure.
    3. Well quite frankly did anyone anticipate that the terrorist groups in Iraq would attack the Shi’ite MAJORITY with such savagery and gain the temporary support of their more moderate Sunni brothers?

    Quite frankly the purposes that the past has been put to in this debate have been more like mindless partisanship than an actual point. Our bi-partisan congress endorsed the restart of hostilities in a declaration of war.

    Saddam slaughtered Kurds with chemical weapons. He invaded Kuwait because he wanted to sell their oil to us. He was working on some horrific weapons that we had no idea about until we beat him in the first gulf war. That is why we had the weapons inspectors which were supposed to keep him honest. Their last report said something like “we cannot do our jobs here.”

    People say the war was about oil- yes it is about one oil producer looking at his neighbors thinking “what if I had their oil?” Saddam would be happy to sell the US or anyone his oil- we just would not let him because he would use the money to try to nuke Israel.

    So since Saddam was in violation of a peace treaty, he did commit crimes against humanity, and he gave the weapons inspectors the run around for many years the US obviously has justifications to remove Saddam.

    And as for an escalation, it does look like that would work. The evidence seems to support that idea.
    And if we stick with a surge which is a temporary increase and it works where do the critics have ground?

    They might just steady fall back into saying “Bush is stupid! and “he sounds Stupid too!”

    Such comments are not helpful and I am happy to not see them on this Blog. I admit that I did not read them all, but I did read my history book.

  124. And to address the people who think Bush is an idiot who cannot speak well-

    There are some places whose schools have Advanced Placement or advanced classes or advanced curricula for students who benefit from the challenge.

    Those students include many who are bright good students who can write well, and who can best most of us in almost any academic endeavor. In other words, the smart English major types.

    If you enter the classroom during a discussion, if you can go for a few minutes without hearing something awkwardly phrased or filled with “like um”s you have found yourself an outstanding class.

    Point being is that we are used to the weatherman, we are used to the actors, and we are used to other professional speakers.

    Consider that very smart people can give friendly speeches and put the audience to sleep. Consider that orators can give strong speeches and yet say nothing.

    Many smart people converse about smart topics in the most broken English that native speakers can use- and it applies to other language nerds as well.

    Bush is really not that bad a speaker, he just isn’t the professional speaker that we would all like.

  125. Daniel,

    We (the US) have had a “peacekeeping” force there since the Carter administration. Not a large force and technically a UN force but the US is a large part of it. I know plenty of service members that have done a “tour” in Egypt. It looks like we will be there for quite a while longer.

  126. Daniel,

    The Iraq War should be like any war and it should follow the general theme of the Book of Mormon, which is consistent with the 98th section of the D&C, which outlines the rules for engagement. In line with both of these sacred documents, and in line with previous success stories in U.S. history, we should have the following plan of attach.

    As a nation, we should do everything we can to publish peace. Once the peace process looks fruitless, or does not lead to peace, we move to the conflict stage looking to the Lord for guidance. When the Lord delivers the enemy into our hands, we must act decisively and in a manner that ends the resolution quickly. A few examples would be Nephi when he retrieved the plates of brass, or Captain Moroni, or Ammon. They all tried to publish peace, but when that failed and they were unable to solve the problem peacefully they petitioned the Lord. The lord delivered the enemy into their hands and they acted decisively – cut of heads, arms or slaughtered thousands.

    A modern day example would be WWII. We did everything possible to solve the conflict peacefully with the enemies of good. When that failed, we took decisive action and solved the problem with a high powered weapon. Another good example is when the US acted decisively against Iraq the first time. In either instance, we were not afraid to solve the problem through force.

    The wars that have been problematic include both wars with China (Vietnam and Korea) and the second conflict with Iraq we have not been decisive. We started off ok in both instances, but then got mired in the conflict. In WWII we were willing to use whatever force necessary to solve the problem. We were willing to bomb churches, schools, hospitals or residential areas; and we were willing to use an atomic bomb. We have lost this courage and this is why we have lost the war.

    Again, we must do everything possible to resolve our conflicts peacefully. If this fails, we look to the Lord and when he delivers the enemy into our hands we must act decisively.

    Ken Stuart
    Farmington, Utah

  127. Ken,

    Thanks for your comment. To respond, let me begin by quoting you:

    The Iraq War should be like any war and it should follow the general theme of the Book of Mormon,

    If we were to follow the general theme of the Book of Mormon, then we would not have invaded Iraq. Captain Moroni, for all his bravery and warriorness, never took the fight into Lamanite territory. The invaders were the Lamanites, not the Nephites. Now, if you wish America to be considered the Lamanites, then by all means, invade other countries.

    If we were to follow the general theme of the Book of Mormon, we should consider very carefully 3 Nephi 3:20-21, which reads:

    20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.
    21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.

    Note that the Nephites desired to go into the land of their enemy to conquer them, but the prophet of the Lord said, no, if we do that, we would be defeated. Why do I not hear anyone except for those who are against this war, likening this scripture to our day? Al-Qaeda is likened to the Gadianton Robbers by war supporters. But the Gadianton Robbers were not defeated by going into the mountains to rat them out. They were defeated by baiting the Robbers to come into Nephite territory. Why do you not suggest this today, Ken?

    As a nation, we should do everything we can to publish peace.

    I agree. What happens when we secretly overthrow democratically elected regimes, or regimes we do not like? Is that publishing peace?

    Once the peace process looks fruitless, or does not lead to peace, we move to the conflict stage looking to the Lord for guidance.

    We are not a theocracy. We are a secular republic. Furthermore, we never do this anyways.

    When the Lord delivers the enemy into our hands, we must act decisively and in a manner that ends the resolution quickly.

    But he hasn’t delivered any enemy in our hands. Where is Osama Bin Laden? Is he in our hands? He is our enemy, right? See, Saddam Hussein never attacked us on 9/11, so why did we go after him? He wasn’t our enemy. Nor did the Lord deliver him unto us.

    A modern day example would be WWII. We did everything possible to solve the conflict peacefully with the enemies of good.

    We did? How, exactly?

    Another good example is when the US acted decisively against Iraq the first time.

    Our involvement in Iraq predates the First Gulf War. Did you know that the CIA put the Ba’ath Party in power back in the 1960s? Furthermore, Iraq did not attack us in 1990.

    The wars that have been problematic include both wars with China (Vietnam and Korea) and the second conflict with Iraq we have not been decisive.

    Korea was a blunder because we did not understand China. Vietnam was a blunder because we did not understand China. The fault was ours.

    In WWII we were willing to use whatever force necessary to solve the problem. We were willing to bomb churches, schools, hospitals or residential areas; and we were willing to use an atomic bomb.

    Ah, but now you are getting into moral and ethical trouble, because Captain Moroni never destroyed Lamanite homes, villages and cities. How exactly do you justify the total destruction of World War II when you use examples from scriptures that do not share the same totality of destruction? Or maybe we weren’t quite saintly in WWII?

    We have lost this courage and this is why we have lost the war.

    Total destruction is not courage. It is, in fact, cowardly. Rather than face the enemy up front, we destroy their people. That’s cowardly, not bravery. Not courage. Dropping a nuclear bomb on a civilian population? Courageous? Hardly. That’s called cowardly.

    Again, we must do everything possible to resolve our conflicts peacefully.

    Tell me, what was the need to start the war on March 20, 2003. What was the urgency?

    If this fails, we look to the Lord and when he delivers the enemy into our hands we must act decisively.

    What if the Lord doesn’t deliver our enemies into our hands? Do we still act?

  128. Thanks for your response; I can see I need to do a better job communicating. The bottom line is that ANY conflict should follow the 98th section of the D&C (personal, regional, international). This is where the Lord outlines the rules of engagement.

    Publish peace, renounce war. Do everything possible to solve the problem in a peaceful manner. After all peaceful means have been exhausted, then:

    “Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people”

    In other words, it is necessary at times to go to war. Not every conflict can be solved peacefully. And it is necessary to seek them out and kill them, just as Moroni did in the 43rd and 44th Chapters of Alma. They hunted them, trapped them and killed them. “Now the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of the number (Alma: 44:21). Moroni kept pressing them until they committed to an oath of Peace. During this conflict, is one of the great quotes on this subject:

    “And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.” Alma 43:47.

    The reality is there is Evil in this world. Real evil that will require us to defend ourselves. Real evil that seeks to destroy us and our way of life. Iraq is only part of the problem. The real problem in the region is Iran and its role with Russia. This is a legitimate threat to the security of all freedom loving nations. There is strong speculation this is Magog spoken of in the 38th Chapter of Ezekiel (Russia/Iran alliance); and Gog is the current regimes in these nations. We will look back on the Iraq war and see this is one of the main reasons for sending troops to that region. We will see the wisdom in having a presence in this region of the world. As the Lord has said, we must “defend our families even unto bloodshed”.

  129. Ken,

    Publish peace, renounce war. Do everything possible to solve the problem in a peaceful manner. After all peaceful means have been exhausted, then:

    “Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people”

    That’s a worthy principle to believe in. Only one problem, our nation has yet to have followed this course. Not once have we followed this course. And most certainly not vis a vis Iraq!

    When did Iraq attack us? When did Iraq threaten our nation with bloodshed? Did they threaten us with bloodshed or attack us BEFORE we overthrew their government in the 1960s? Did they threaten us or attack us BEFORE we attacked them in 1990? No! They attacked the Kuwaitis. Kuwait is NOT America. They did not attack us, nor threaten us, and as such, our actions are not justified by D&C 98.

    In other words, it is necessary at times to go to war. Not every conflict can be solved peacefully

    No doubt. And we should always be prepared.

    The reality is there is Evil in this world. Real evil that will require us to defend ourselves. Real evil that seeks to destroy us and our way of life.

    No doubt. And we should always be prepared.

    Iraq is only part of the problem. The real problem in the region is Iran and its role with Russia.

    Now you are getting into serious problems. See, Iran never attacked you, nor has actually threatened you. In fact, Iran mourned with you on 9/11. Why would our mortal eternal enemy mourn with us? Could it possibly be that they are NOT our mortal eternal enemy? Can you possibly see this, Ken? Iran is not our enemy.

    And furthermore, let’s apply D&C 98 vis a vis Iran. Do you realize that we were the ones to first threaten and attack Iran? Back in the 1950s we overthrew their democratically elected government and installed a repressive shah. Did you know about that? How was that justified under D&C 98? Would not Iran actually be justified under D&C 98 to strike back at us? Following the guidelines in D&C 98, they truly are justified under God to strike back at us, and we would have no recourse, because we threatened them. We shed their blood. With no real justification, under D&C 98.

    How about Russia. When did Russia threaten us first? Was it not after we threatened them because they went communist? Did Russia threaten us in any way after 1918? Not until we threatened them. Under the guidelines of D&C 98, Russia is justified to protect themselves against the aggression of the United States towards them. Can you not see this?

    Ken, you talk about D&C 98 but then do not apply those tenets to the United States. The United States MUST NOT be aggressive if the United States were to follow the guidelines of D&C 98. But the United States is VERY aggressive in this world. We are the world’s bully. We get involved in the lives of far too many nations without any real justification, all because of fear. Not because of an actual threat. Because of fear.

    There is strong speculation this is Magog spoken of in the 38th Chapter of Ezekiel (Russia/Iran alliance); and Gog is the current regimes in these nations

    And it is but speculation. Don’t base your foreign policy on this.

    We will look back on the Iraq war and see this is one of the main reasons for sending troops to that region. We will see the wisdom in having a presence in this region of the world

    Ken, we are taught by Jesus that we shall know them by their fruits. The fruits of the war in Iraq are death and destruction. These are not the fruits of the Lord. They are the fruits of Satan, frankly. It is a shame you do not see this.

  130. In other words, it is necessary at times to go to war.

    In other words, we haven’t really renounced war.

  131. In my opinion. all of the examples of Nephite decisions to go to war prior to the coming of Christ are no longer applicable. When Christ delivered the Gospel to the Nephites, everything changed; they had a higher law, and were expected to behave differently than they had in the past.

    With the restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith, IMO all the rules about war are changed again. Short of a direct command from the Lord via the living prophet, I figure we have no business committing ourselves to “the work of death”, particularly when the government committing us to war is as corrupt as the one we have now.

  132. Daniel,

    Yes, some of the people in the Middle Eastern countries mourned at 911. Others cheered and encouraged more activity. In fact, newspaper polls in some of these nations show strong support (more than 50%) of the attachs on 911.

    Like Hitler & Mussolini; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an Anti-Christ and is bent on the destruction of the United States. He has made a direct threats on multiple occasions against the state of Israel and the United States. He was called for our destruction. I agree with your statement, by their fruits shall ye know them. Ahmadinejad makes Sadam Hussein look like a saint. He is must more intelligent; much more diabolical; and much more dangerous. His threats and actions are pure evil. As a nation, we are obligated by the Lord to defend ourselves against this kind of evil. This is exactly what the Lord was speaking of in the aforementioned scriptures in Alma and the D&C. ignoring this would be a serious sin of omission.

    Mark N.

    The revelation in the 98th section of the D&C given to Joseph Smith was well after the higher law had been instituted. Many of the current general authorities have (including Prophets and Apostles), or were involved directly in conflicts. In fact, one of the current apostles was directly involved in developing nuclear weaponry technology.

  133. Ken,

    You are letting your pre-conceived notions cloud your judgment, making irrational statements.

    Yes, some of the people in the Middle Eastern countries mourned at 911.

    Some? Most actually, including practically all of Iran. Take a look at who responded favorably. That sure is a lot of people.

    Others cheered and encouraged more activity.

    I know of two groups. Palestinians—who have many reasons to hate the United States—and Saddam Hussein. Can you name any others? I note your use of generalizations and lack of specific examples. Please, tell me, who else cheered on 9/11 besides the perpetrators, Palestinians and Saddam Hussein.

    In fact, newspaper polls in some of these nations show strong support (more than 50%) of the attachs on 911.

    Indeed. They’re angry at our continual meddling into their internal affairs and are happy to see us get some payback. I wouldn’t look at that as an example of what you are describing, though.

    Like Hitler & Mussolini; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an Anti-Christ

    Why do you say this? As a Muslim, Ahmadinejad does actually believe in Jesus, just not in the divinity of Jesus. But that doesn’t make him an anti-Christ. What made Hitler an anti-Christ? He didn’t go around preaching the Gospel according to Hitler as a counter to Christianity, did he? Mussolini? Please, you’re getting irrational. Don’t play so loose with the labels, Ken. It will get you in trouble. Be as exact as you can.

    is bent on the destruction of the United States.

    really? Where did he say this? Furthermore, what is the difference between his supposed desire to “destroy the United States” and your desire to destroy Iran? Frankly, I see no difference. Are you therefore an anti-Christ?

    He has made a direct threats on multiple occasions against the state of Israel and the United States.

    He has indeed threatened the government of Israel. But where did he threaten the United States?

    Ahmadinejad makes Sadam Hussein look like a saint.

    No he doesn’t. This is where you are getting very silly with your argument, Ken. Ahmadinejad may be fiery, but he is not a two-bit violent dictator like Saddam was. There actually is a fairly well evolved and stable environment in Iran. It is a fairly good, stable state. Saddam’s Iraq was in bad shape.

    His threats and actions are pure evil.

    Again with irrational analysis. Please elaborate. What exactly is “pure evil” about his “threats” and “actions?” What “actions” has he taken that we haven’t in some form or fashion? Are you saying that we haven’t been training militias in Iraq? Are you saying we haven’t been creating bombs to blow up “bad guys?” Note one major difference between Ahmadinejad and us. He has yet to overthrow a single country. Not one country in the world has he overthrown, through either overt or covert means. How many countries has the United States overthrown in its history? Let’s just name Iraq and be done with it, because just with Iraq, we’ve already done more than Ahmadinejad will ever do.

    As a nation, we are obligated by the Lord to defend ourselves against this kind of evil.

    Where does it say this? Please back up your assertion with actual scripture.

    This is exactly what the Lord was speaking of in the aforementioned scriptures in Alma and the D&C. ignoring this would be a serious sin of omission.

    Ken, I am sorry to say, but you have done a very poor job at actually showing how your rationale is justified by Alma and the D&C. In fact, in reality, most of our enemies are actually the ones justified to attack US if we apply both Alma and the D&C to the various wars we have participated in. The only enemy that cannot do this, that cannot appeal to the D&C as justification for attacking us is Al-Qaeda, those guys hanging out in Pakistan while we waste time and precious resources in Iraq! They are our real enemy. Yet we let them walk. Such a shame. Future generations are going to look back at this generation and shake their heads at us. We are a shame to our posterity!

  134. Daniel,

    I have not resorted to personal attacks and would request the same respect in return. Please don’t misjudge my intentions either. I truly look forward to the millennium, where the Prince of Peace will rein and war will not be an issue.

    One of my observations of people on the left side of the political equation is that they are somewhat removed from reality. I don’t offer this as a criticism, but as an observation.
    I view myself not as an aggressor, but as a realist. By definition, liberal thinkers tend so see things in an idealist way. They don’t seem to understand evil really exists in the world. There are really people out there that want to cause us harm. I have sited a few examples. Most notably, Hitler (and yes his cohort in Italy) truly wanted to take over the world. This is not an illusion, but a reality. We had to confront him militarily. The French tried to reason with him and he just forced his way in and took over.

    The link you provided sited a few (very few) groups that, on a cursory glace, would have a bias viewpoint. I noticed a lot of these organizations were based in the United States. Could it be they are presenting this to avoid scrutiny? Or, perhaps, they are not with the majority of Muslims in the Middle East. Which brings your next request, “where are the other cheerleaders”? In March 2007 (not in the too far history), a poll in Pakistan gave Osama Bin Laden a nearly 50 percent approval rating. If this isn’t cheerleading, I don’t know what is. If this is a statistically valid sample set, it would indicate 85 million people support what Bin Laden did on 911. This is from one country and represents a fairly large pep club. A few groups with bias viewpoints is a far cry from 85 million people in ONE Muslim country.

    As for Ahmadinejad, he was one of the terrorists that held Americans hostage for nearly a year under the Carter regime. If you recall, the day Reagan was sworn in, the hostages were released. They knew Reagan would take action and they cowered. Yes, he is a terrorist and refers to us as the “Little Satan”. I would consider this act and these words a threat. He truly wants to cause us harm and we need to be prepared to defend ourselves against him.

    Sadam had weapons of mass description and used them against his own people. What’s more, he had attacked almost every one of this neighbors – Kuwait, Israel, Turkey & Iran; and, by is own admission he intended to move into Saudi Arabia. To not come to these people’s rescues is tantamount to watching a rape take place and do nothing. Because we have been given much, much is expected. The numerous resolutions meant nothing to Sadam and he would have continued to pursue more intense weapons of mass destruction; and, if he is willing to use them on his own people, he would have clearly used them on Israel or the US.

  135. Without getting into the specifics here (of which there are many points to be debunked above), there is one obvious elephant in the room here when trying to use the Book of Mormon as the model for warfare: the United States is NOT a Mormon nation. Our nation is not led by a prophet, it is not led by someone who uses a prophet as an advisor, it is not led by a member of the church, it is not majority church members, and it is not a theocracy in any sense of the word positive or negative. Book of Mormon societies met at least some of the above criteria. Ours does not and trying to use the Book of Mormon as such as a model in the way that is done above is an incorrect application of the scriptures.

    The correct application must involve basic principles that people of good conscience of all faiths or no faith at all can commonly agree are right principles. Those may find their genesis in our minds from the scriptures (and indeed in my mind all true moral principles are encompassed by the Gospel and many found in the Book of Mormon and scriptures), but if they don’t apply to our fellow citizens who are in the vast majority compared to our minority, then you ought to think twice about it.

  136. Ken,

    One of my observations of people on the left side of the political equation is that they are somewhat removed from reality. I don’t offer this as a criticism, but as an observation.

    Actually you do offer it as criticism rather than observation, because it isn’t true. People on the left side of the political equation are NOT removed from reality. You only perceive them as such because they do not agree with your line of thought. Just because they do not agree with how you view the world does not mean they are removed from reality. And frankly, for one who espouses Gog and Magog as his foreign policy will have a hard time convincing me that he is grounded in “reality.”

    I view myself not as an aggressor, but as a realist.

    But that is a contradiction to your earlier statements wherein you call particular individuals “pure evil,” which is highly idealistic and non-realistic. No human being on this planet is “pure evil.” That is a label based on your preconceived notion of what this or that individual believes in or has done. To be a realist, you’d have to recognize that someone like Ahmadinejad is leading his country fairly rationally. In fact, he’s playing a much more advanced game of chess to our game of checkers. We’re outplayed in the Middle East by the Iranians, Ken, or by our own stupidity.

    By definition, liberal thinkers tend so see things in an idealist way.

    By who’s definition? Yours? Of course.

    They don’t seem to understand evil really exists in the world.

    Really? You mean to tell me they don’t think Bush is evil? 😉

    There are really people out there that want to cause us harm.

    Indeed there are. But this, of course, doesn’t justify any action. By the standards of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we must not be the initiators of violence. So until someone else does us harm, we cannot do them harm. That’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I learned from the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, Jesus taught me that if someone slaps my cheek, that I should turn him my other cheek. He taught me that I should love my enemies, that I should do them good, not evil, not harm. If you wish to base your foreign policy, Ken, on the standards of the Gospel, then you must pull back your use of violence towards others, otherwise you’ll only look like a fool and a hypocrite (which is the way most of the world views the Christian world).

    Most notably, Hitler (and yes his cohort in Italy) truly wanted to take over the world. This is not an illusion, but a reality.

    Indeed. But Hitler was one of a kind, an exception. None were like him before and it will be highly unlikely that any will appear like him in the future. Do not judge your foreign policy and your “enemies” on the standards of the exception to the rule. You will have a poor foreign policy if you do.

    We had to confront him militarily.

    I despise war supporters’ lack of understanding of World War II. We did not “confront” Hitler militarily. We did not initiate contact with him, nor with Japan, nor with Mussolini. Please, be respectful to history. We were attacked by the Japanese. The Germans declared war on us first. The Italians declared war on us first. The rest was a matter of defense. It wasn’t a matter of confrontation. Please stop misunderstanding history.

    The link you provided sited a few (very few) groups that, on a cursory glace, would have a bias viewpoint. I noticed a lot of these organizations were based in the United States. Could it be they are presenting this to avoid scrutiny?

    Dude, they could, you know, actually be concerned. Can you not see beyond your preconceptions of “others” that are outside your ideology?

    Or, perhaps, they are not with the majority of Muslims in the Middle East. Which brings your next request, “where are the other cheerleaders”? In March 2007 (not in the too far history), a poll in Pakistan gave Osama Bin Laden a nearly 50 percent approval rating.

    Ken, on 9/11 and right after, even the people of Pakistan gave us support. You’re quoting from a report from 2007. I’m talking about 2001. Lots of things happened between those two years, you know. Lots of bad things done by the Americans. Can you share something from 2001?

    As for Ahmadinejad, he was one of the terrorists that held Americans hostage for nearly a year under the Carter regime.

    Actually, no he wasn’t. You’re drinking the kool-aid of the right-wing nuthouses, Ken. They do not know what they are talking about. Don’t listen to them for facts. You can accuse him of being there, but you don’t have any actual evidence, and until you do, you cannot state definitively that he was. I would be cautious about doing so.

    If you recall, the day Reagan was sworn in, the hostages were released. They knew Reagan would take action and they cowered.

    If you think they released the hostages because they were afraid of Reagan, then you really don’t understand the Iranians at all, Ken. You do know that Reagan cut a deal with the Iranians to release the hostages, but to wait until after the election to ensure he got elected instead of Carter. You also know that Reagan sold weapons and intel to the Iranians during his reign of terror over America. You do realize this, right?

    Furthermore, it was the Iranian backed Hezbollah that kicked Reagan’s arse out of Lebanon. Did you see how Reagan fled with his tail between his legs after one measly bomb?

    Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve been denigrating your demi-god. I keep forgetting you guys worship Saint Ronald.

    He truly wants to cause us harm and we need to be prepared to defend ourselves against him.

    You have no evidence of this, Ken. Your analysis needs a lot of work.

    Sadam had weapons of mass description and used them against his own people.

    In 1988, I would remind you. What did Saint Ronald do about it?

    What’s more, he had attacked almost every one of this neighbors – Kuwait, Israel, Turkey & Iran; and, by is own admission he intended to move into Saudi Arabia

    Interestingly, we backed his aggression into Iran.

    To not come to these people’s rescues is tantamount to watching a rape take place and do nothing.

    Then we sure have sat by and watched a lot of raping going on in this world, Ken. Furthermore, we have backed a hell of a lot of rapers (Pinochet, military dictators in Central America and Central Africa). Heck we PUT INTO POWER in Iraq the Ba’ath Party! We put the rapists of Iraq into power! We’re the pimps of Iraq dude!

    Because we have been given much, much is expected.

    Indeed. And in this respect, we have failed horribly bad.

    Ken, with this comment, I may have offended you from frequenting my blog again. But I’ve debated about this topic now for the last six years. It is so saddening that so many people, and so many Mormons still believe this crap. The utter nonsense! The utter, inconceivable nonsense! What does it take to make you realize the stupidity of the position you take vis a vis the Middle East? Iran and Russia as Gog and Magog? Ahmadinejad as “pure evil?” And the United States as consistently making the “right” and “good” choices? Wake up dude. You’re on the wrong side. You’re on the warmongering side. You’re on the violent worldly side, Ken. You’re a part of the problem. You’re not a part of the solution. The more you advocate killings and death around the world, the further you are from the Gospel. This, what we see in the Middle East, is NOT THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST! This is the gospel of the world. It is wrong. It is, dare I say, evil.

  137. There should not be a discussion about religion when it comes to politics. There are people that would like nothing more than to legitimize this war (on either side) by claiming religious motives.

    It is about oil, imperialism, occupation, and the desire for self governance.

    The US foriegn policy should not be based on religion. We have the freedom to worship however we see fit but the US is not a theocracy, nor does it have a state religion.

    If not using religion to base foriegn policy on, then what? Morality.

    But Hitler was one of a kind, an exception. None were like him before and it will be highly unlikely that any will appear like him in the future.

    You make very good points but I hope that you really don’t believe this one Dan. Hitler is just one of many throughout history that would commence the work of death on innocent people.

  138. Jared,

    You make very good points but I hope that you really don’t believe this one Dan. Hitler is just one of many throughout history that would commence the work of death on innocent people.

    Hitler was one of a kind. There will likely not be any like him in the future. See, Hitler came to power in a country that had the capabilities to emerge as the most powerful nation on the planet. Just look at how quickly Germany regained its strength after a devastating loss in World War I and the Great Depression. In 1939, there was no more powerful nation on the planet than Germany. They were on top of the world. So to try to compare any two-bit dictator today to Nazi Germany is just simply disingenuous and wrong. There is no comparison. There are obviously plenty of other people out there who do mass murders and the work of death, but they are not even close to the same league as Hitler was.

  139. Dan,

    I was wondering how you think this “thing” will actually end. It would be an interesting post on some scenarios and why they would/wouldn’t work.

    I’ve thought about it and have some ideas but thought you might have some insight.

  140. Jared,

    That’s a great question to ask. Let me ponder on it and post later on that.

  141. Dan,

    I thought that you might find this article in the Seattle Times interesting.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/books/2008035063_bugliosi070.html

  142. A year from the first comments here and there are quite a few commenters tasting shoe polish. The anti-war movement can unfortunately be categorized in the same way Republican resistance to environmental regulations can be: throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Bush is stupid, yes. The current state of Iraq is partly his doing, but mostly the doing of a proper military leader who would rather leave the tanks behind, favoring a good walk through a neighborhood.

    Such progress and such victories should be heralded and accepted with open arms rather than naively criticized simply because of prior travesties. We must look for things of good report that are praiseworthy.

    Unfortunately, most Democrats are now in the wrong- a year of tyrades and temper tantrums netted only self-mutilation. Even the newly appointed leader is on record being so very wrong and has an almost identical plan for Iraq as his competitor. What a turn of events.

    Should Petraeus run for president, would we vote for him?

  143. nasamomdele,

    Who exactly is tasting shoe polish? The Surge did not succeed in its stated goals, which can be summed up in two words: political reconciliation. Where is the evidence of political reconciliation? Please, show me. So far, I see walls, walls, and more walls.

    As for Obama’s plan for Iraq, you state that it is the same as that of his competitor? In what sense? Please show your evidence or go away.

    And no, I would not vote for Petraeus for president solely because he is a general. That’s what is implied by your statement. I could care less if he is a general. If he is running for president, he better have some other plans besides military conquests.

  144. Some very interesting statistics on Iraq

    I guess “Political Reconciliation” requires some defining on your part. For me, obvious numerical evidence for: sunni no longer killing shiite, Iraq asking for a timetable for American withdrawal, Bush(?!) calling for an accelerated draw-down in troops, and finally- the Iraq military and police shouldering much of the burden of anti-insurgency operations.

    You might say “Walls!”, but I have to ask where those are and why you must find any other explanation for success.

    Yeah, I think the surge is productive- nay, successful. And thank heavens for that.

    Obama- draw down troops gradually while leaving smaller contingents of troops in Iraq indefinitely for operations. It’s McCain’s line as well, though I think McCain is thinking more along the lines of an established military base, where Obama has simply left out the details, as usual. Unfortunately/interestingly, it’s actually the same thing Bush is about. There is no fundamental difference.

    And I mentioned Petraeus because he seems like a reasonable hero of an anti-violence cause. The surge has been more of a PR and diplomacy mission than overt military action. The guy doesn’t seem to really want to kill people. Just a thought.

    But I will go away. I realize that attacking the prevailing rhetoric here in a convincing way can really ruffle feathers. I don’t think I was rude or hateful enough to be censored, but I’ll take it elsewhere.

  145. And now I’m being moderated. Interesting.

  146. I only moderate if you get mean and start using cuss words. Your link was bad, which is why it went to Akismet. I fixed your link and your comment is now back.

    now, you ask what “political reconciliation” means. Let me show you what Bush said was the stated goal of the Surge:

    A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.

    To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation’s political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq’s constitution.

    That is what he said in January 2007 as the stated reasons for the Surge. On none of those points have we seen any progress.

    On walls, you state:

    You might say “Walls!”, but I have to ask where those are and why you must find any other explanation for success.

    Do you clearly not know what’s going on in Baghdad?

    US Erects Baghdad Walls to Keep Sects Apart.

    Behind the Baghdad Wall

    Baghdad Wall Pics

    Please do a simple google search and see for yourself.

    You say:

    Yeah, I think the surge is productive- nay, successful. And thank heavens for that.

    But the Surge would be nothing without a few things that are unrelated.

    1. The Sunni Awakening happened pre-Surge and had nothing to do with our increase in troops.

    2. Sadr’s August 2007 self-imposed cease-fire. Nothing at all to do with the Surge of troops.

    3. We have relied far more on dropping bombs on targets than on sending our own soldiers in. This has two effects. a) fewer of our soldiers die and b) more civilians die. This works well for us because it works for the true purpose of the Surge—to get the war in Iraq off America’s TV sets.

    The Surge failed in its stated goals.

  147. As for Petraeus,

    The guy doesn’t seem to really want to kill people. Just a thought.

    Really? Then why does he order all the sorties to drop bombs on targets? How many innocent Iraqis have been killed by our bombs, nasamomdele? I know, I know, why should I care about the life of an Iraqi. It is not an American life.

    I realize that attacking the prevailing rhetoric here in a convincing way can really ruffle feathers.

    Hardly. You have not been convincing in any way shape or form. You have never answered the charge about the original stated purpose of the Surge. There is no political reconciliation in Iraq. There is no success to the Surge.

    I don’t think I was rude or hateful enough to be censored, but I’ll take it elsewhere.

    You were not censored. But if you go away, I won’t cry over it.

  148. If you look at the statistics I provided, you will see that there has been reasonably little overall segregation of sects. Militants, yes, and rightfully so.

    The statistics also point to less civilian deaths, less overall violence, and yes, less sectarian violence. Those are facts.

    Petraeus drops bombs on homes, yes. It saves American lives, it saves Iraqi lives. Civilians tip off Americans who investigate, and when they run into too much trouble, they call in a strike. The house gets leveled and the former owner, if not the guy doing the shooting at Americans, gets paid the cost of the house. That is a fact. Neighbors are evacuated, if possible, if they have not already fled when shots rang out. Facts.

    The very first sentence of your comment refers to improvements in communities. I think all those statistics point to improvement in communities.

    Furthermore, most of the benchmarks have been met. You mentioned just a few of them in your quote of GWB, which was convenient for you, although only a half-truth. As if GWB disclosed the entire surge strategy in detail.

    And you’re going to have to search pretty hard to find a credible source that does not see success in the surge. Or just stick to your blog and those that mostly agree with you. The most liberal cling to the same thing you do- “well there is no ‘political reconciliation’.” However, by your definition, and by the benchmarks set, there has been success. It is not an A grade yet, but things are moving that way, at least from OUR side of the conflict. The Iraqis have to figure out a lot for themselves.

  149. nasamomdele,

    If you look at the statistics I provided, you will see that there has been reasonably little overall segregation of sects.

    You really are a dumb man nasamomdele. You really are. You really cannot comprehend what is going on in Iraq. Little segregation of the sects? Are you really that dumb? Do you realize that over 5 million Iraqis have been displaced?

    The statistics also point to less civilian deaths, less overall violence, and yes, less sectarian violence. Those are facts

    That’s because there are no longer mixed neighborhoods and massive walls keep sects apart.

    Petraeus drops bombs on homes, yes. It saves American lives, it saves Iraqi lives.

    It does not save Iraqi lives. You really are dumb.

    Furthermore, most of the benchmarks have been met.

    Really? Which ones? Name them. Give evidence.

    You mentioned just a few of them in your quote of GWB, which was convenient for you, although only a half-truth.

    Um, I linked to an earlier post which linked to his actual speech. He really didn’t outline many more points. That was the heart of the Surge. Read for yourself.

    As if GWB disclosed the entire surge strategy in detail.

    He did.

    And you’re going to have to search pretty hard to find a credible source that does not see success in the surge.

    Actually it is not that hard.

    However, by your definition, and by the benchmarks set, there has been success.

    Of course you do not show any evidence and again repeat the lie hoping it will stick as truth. But on my blog, you have to offer your evidence. Show it or leave.

    It is not an A grade yet, but things are moving that way, at least from OUR side of the conflict.

    That’s the real point of the Surge. Get it off Americans’ TV sets. Let us forget it because it is such a drag on the Republican brand.

    The Iraqis have to figure out a lot for themselves.

    Indeed. They would do a whole hell of a lot better without Americans there.

  150. You really are a dumb man nasamomdele. You really are. You really cannot comprehend what is going on in Iraq. Little segregation of the sects? Are you really that dumb? Do you realize that over 5 million Iraqis have been displaced?

    You have taken up insulting on your own blog, that’s for sure. Here’s a quick lesson with regards to this paragraph:

    Segregation does not equal displacement. No, not in any way. Look at the statistics. In 2008, there are Sunni neighborhoods, Shi’ite neighborhoods, and mixed neighborhoods. The same that existed pre-2001.

    What you fail to grasp is the American moral obligation to create a stable platform for Iraqis to govern themselves.

    To oppose that singular position is to take a position of strictly anti-Bush. You could say “But we keep killing people!” and it would have no merit. You have stated that your position does not take into account the lives of anybody, soldiers, Iraqis, you name it. Your battlefield is political ideology, not morals, not lives, not justice. You can’t touch the moral fabric of anything from your position. You have no concept of right and wrong from where you stand.

    And you solidify yourself in that position by this statement:

    They would do a whole hell of a lot better without Americans there.

    When we have the pictures of children’s heads to show what happens when Americans haven’t established a neighborhood. Or do you want the mass graves in new ghost towns? How about the child baked in an oven and served to his parents by AQ? This is indeed a struggle against terror.

    Bombing houses filled with Insurgents who are not all Iraqis, indeed saves innocent Iraqis, especially Iraqi military.

    And your analysis of GWB’s speech left out certain 18 benchmarks for the success of the surge. You’ve named what hasn’t been accomplished, but where are the benchmarks that have been?

    Here’s some help:The Iraqi government achieved “satisfactory” progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks, almost twice the number it had reached just a year ago, according to a White House report.

    In a May 2008 report to Congress obtained by the Associated Press, the Bush administration wrote that Baghdad politicians reached several new agreements seen as critical to easing sectarian tensions.

    Iraqi politicians passed legislation that granted amnesty to some prisoners and allowed former members of Saddam Hussein’s political party to recover lost jobs or pensions. They also determined that provincial elections would be held by Oct. 1.

    Only two of the benchmarks — enacting and implementing laws to disarm militias and distribute oil revenues — remained “unsatisfactory.”

    As usual, get your facts straight, quit spinning.

    If I am dumb, you have got to simply be outside your mind.

  151. nasamomdele,

    You have taken up insulting on your own blog, that’s for sure.

    You caught me at a time when I don’t think very highly of you. Forgive me. I’d prefer not to debate you anymore right now.

  152. “You caught me at a time when I don’t think very highly of you. Forgive me. I’d prefer not to debate you anymore right now.”

    Translation: “I have no argument…”

  153. hospitaller,

    if that’s what you need to say to make you sleep better at night. I know nasamomdele from elsewhere, and I’m not too happy with him.

  154. Daniel, you can’t treat your viewers like that and expect productive discourse. That being said, I agree that Iraq is far from won.

    1. The Sunni Awakening us just the U.S. repeating the same mistake we made in the 80s — giving money and guns to Sunnis to counter other bad guys. This, of course, won’t make the Shi’ites nervous at all. Talk about a powder keg.

    2. Muqtada al-Sadr is not going to be in Iran forever, and he’s probably not going to be any nicer when he returns to Iraq (after the draw-down).

    3. There is a whole generation of children who are growing up in violence with PTSD and a warped sense of right and wrong. This, of course, won’t come back to bite us.

    At least we’re getting a great price on oil out of the whole fiasco!

  155. Dave,

    I haven’t expected better from nasamomdele. I’ve had enough of his crap and I’m telling him.

    Your points are spot on.

  156. Dan, when have I been insulting to you? I can only be accused of arguing with you successfully. I am not DKL. I may think some of your comments are foolish or rants, but I have hardly said anything about you.

    What better are you hoping for? Me to agree with you?

    Dave,
    Actually Dan was more correct about the Sunni Awakening than you are. In fact, the Anbar Sunnis had guns and took matters into their own hands. When they asked for help, the U.S. simply supported them militarily- it’s not a success story of the surge at all. It is a success story of Iraq vs. AQ. And it was a turning point for the way things were done in Iraq and the role of the U.S.

    Your other points are good except for the price of oil bit. I don’t see that.

    Our kids may have some serious issues, and hopefully this can change with some focus on the moral responsibility of our troops- some of the stories of good mixed in with the politically charged focus on bad. War is definitely hell for everyone, but we can at least tell the whole story.

    As for al-Sadr, the Iraqis have shown at least some minor ability broker with militants and interested nations. They are taking a good position for themselves: Pro-Middle East, not Pro-America. We can’t assume that we will be an ally in the future, that’s for sure.

  157. nasamomdele,

    Dave is talking about the kids in Iraq raised on hellish war. Their PTSD’s will come back to haunt us.

  158. Us and AQ alike. They will probably sympathize with wherever the money will come from.

  159. Nasamomdele, I don’t think the dominoes are going to fall the way we want them to since we don’t have nearly as much control as we like to think we do. Even with 300K troops, we wouldn’t be able to control things. If the govt of Iraq (predominantly Shi’ite) doesn’t imporve life for the Sunnis, they WILL rise up with U.S. arms and money to create another civil war (and another generation of IRAQI basketcases).

    By the way, the bit about oil was sarcastic.

  160. looks like the surge worked.

  161. um, no, it didn’t.

  162. um, yeah, it did. How do you figure it didn’t work bucko?

  163. um, no it didn’t. How do YOU figure it did, bucko?

  164. Dan… have you even been to Iraq? I’ve spent four years of my life there. I just left in the mid-point this year and I can say from first hand experience that the strategy worked. I would be more afraid to walk through downtown Detroit than in Baghdad. Sure there are still sporadic attacks and recently some large suicide bombings but the momentum of all the major insurgent groups has been lost. Businesses are bustling and people are rebuilding. The GOI has even made significant progress but they still have lots more work to do. Don’t worry Dan it’s ok to admit you are wrong as you are so quick to try and point out about others.

  165. Jeff,

    But I’m not wrong. And I don’t have to be in Iraq to be right.

  166. Dan,

    You are in fact wrong. What is it exactly that you think that the coalition has failed with the new strategy?

    And you do need to go to Iraq for you to argue your point because you seriously lack any perspective of the situation.

  167. Really? What perspective am I lacking?

    As for your question, it depends on which goal posts you wish to refer to in terms of identifying how exactly the American led coalition failed in Iraq. Which goal posts shall we start with? I guess the very first ones, eh?


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