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November 13, 2006

Blessed Be The Peace Makers

Mirabile dictu! Welcome to the Age of Wonders! Gone are those stale, motheaten modes of conjecture in which actions have consequences, wars are won or lost, and real people live or die depending on the courses we chart. Why unnecessarily constrain your decision space with arbitrary trade offs when simply redefining the problem opens up a world of new possibilities? Nancy Pelosi shows the kind of fresh thinking that got her where she is today:

"This isn't a war to win, this is a situation to be solved. You can define winning anyway you want to, but you must solve the problem".

This is a great moment for the American voter - for years we've waited patiently for the Democratic Party to reveal its plan for Winning the Peace. Now we have heard it and it's a humdinger. What's more, Ms. Pelosi's intellectual leadership has exploded gender stereotypes and struck a blow for feminists everywhere. And they said women couldn't do math!

The essential brilliance of her Transformative Theorem of World Peace is well-nigh indisputable, for it rests on mathematical principles nearly as old as Pythagorus. The simplified equation goes something like this:

"Let 'war' be a 'situation' to be solved. Let the solution set for 'situation' be 'anything we want it to be', no longer confined to a binary decision set composed of 'winning or losing'. "

Voila! Visualized world peace! So often in life, all that is needed is a fresh set of eyes on an intractable "situation" like war to bring much needed perspective. If only such refreshing logic could be applied more often to the Jewish Problem, where stale thinking has all too often impeded progress and thrown up artificial barriers to international consensus:

Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that one of the problems in the negotiation for the release of the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers in Lebanon was the demand for Hizbollah to return them alive.

In a meeting with the chairman of the political party Meretz, Yossi Beilin in New York, Annan said he hoped until the end of the year it would be possible to complete this matter positively.

Would that it were a matter, as Ms. Pelosi would have us believe, of merely defining our problems away. The truth is at once more complicated, and yet simpler than that. More complicated because there are no easy, palatable answers. Simpler because in the end, it really does come down to a binary decision set: in war, you either put your head down and decide to win regardless of the cost or you give up and lose. There is no middle ground. And if you mean to win, more people will die.

They will die in battle. Innocents will be killed in what we euphemistically call collateral damage, but innocents are being killed now by the scores every day by the insurgents. If we truly mean to rid Iraq of terrorists, we need to go after the people who are targeting ordinary Iraqis, and we need to do that aggressively. And since they hide among the civilian populace and refuse to identify themselves by wearing uniforms in compliance with the laws of war, that means some innocent Iraqis will be caught in the crossfire. The question is, do we have the intestinal fortitude to do what is necessary or will our own press crucify us for trying to rid Iraq of criminals who insist on preying on the innocent? The facts are compelling:

Between November 2004 and February 2005, according to the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, the number of coalition soldiers in Iraq rose by 18,000. In that time, the number of Iraqi civilians killed fell by two-thirds, and the number of American troops wounded fell by three-fourths. The soldiers were soon pulled out; by the summer of 2005, American and Iraqi casualties rose again. Later that year, the same thing happened again. Between September and November of 2005, another 23,000 soldiers were deployed in Iraq; once again, both Iraqi and American casualties fell. In the early months of 2006, the number of soldiers fell again, and casualties spiraled up.

The picture is clear: More soldiers mean less violence, hence fewer casualties. The larger the manpower investment in the war, the smaller the war's cost, to Iraqis and Americans alike. Iraq is not an unwinnable war: Rather, as the data just cited show, it is a war we have chosen not to win. And the difference between success and failure is not 300,000 more soldiers, as some would have it. One-tenth that number would make a large difference, and has done so in the past. One-sixth would likely prove decisive.

Counterinsurgency warfare is more about protecting than killing--like a nationwide exercise in community policing. And the lesson of the 1990s in American cities is that the best way to reduce the level of criminal violence is to put more cops on the street. The lesson of the past three years in Iraq is the same: If the goal is to cut our losses, the best move is not to pull back, but to dive in--flood the zone, put as many boots as possible on the most violent ground. Do that, and before long, the ground in question will be a good deal less violent.

There may be a hard truth here. What happened contemporaneously with this? Calls in Congress for our troops to come home after the January elections, demands for a drawdown, the sudden prominence of one Rep. John Murtha, a dramatic increase in negative press coverage of the war:

Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2005, nearly 1,400 stories appeared on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news. More than half focused on the costs and problems of the war, four times as many as those that discussed the successes. About 40% of the stories reported terrorist attacks; scarcely any reported the triumphs of American soldiers and Marines. The few positive stories about progress in Iraq were just a small fraction of all the broadcasts.

When the Center for Media and Public Affairs made a nonpartisan evaluation of network news broadcasts, it found that during the active war against Saddam Hussein, 51% of the reports about the conflict were negative. Six months after the land battle ended, 77% were negative; in the 2004 general election, 89% were negative; by the spring of 2006, 94% were negative. This decline in media support was much faster than during Korea or Vietnam.

For three years now, we have been told that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Ironically we have also been told, by men like Keith Olbermann who ceaselessly shout their dissent from the rooftops and onto the public airwaves, that their dissent is being repressed by a fascist and totalitarian government that is more dangerous to our freedoms than the terrorists who killed 3000 people on September 11th. One of the greater mysteries of American life is why, as they passionately exhort us to come and see the violence inherent in the system, they haven't been carted away to an airless cell in Gitmo to have the frilly panties of fascism pulled over their heads to the lurid strains of a Christina Aguilera CD?

Dissent is the right of every American citizen, but there are limits to the right of dissent. It is not unreasonable, nor is it questioning one's patriotism, to require that dissent be honest; factually accurate. When Democratic members of Congress like John Conyers continue to spread allegations about Presidential manipulation of prewar intelligence after more than three taxpayer funded investigations into that question have concluded there is no factual basis for concern, that dissent clearly fails the honesty test.

Nor is it unreasonable to ask that dissent be constructive in nature; that it not undermine our confidence in essential government institutions, that it move the country forward rather than backward. When Nancy Pelosi repeatedly accuses her opponents of election tampering and voter intimidation, stating she fears vote counts can't possibly be accurate yet her concerns mysteriously evaporate once the "right" election results are reached on November 7th, that dissent clearly fails the constructive purpose test.

And it is clearly not unreasonable to ask that dissent be constrained to legal means; that it not sabotage the ability of our government to conduct its legitimate functions. When the New York Times deliberately releases classified information to tip an election to the Democrats, that clearly fails the legal purpose test.

To pretend that there is no relationship between liberal dissent over the war and this administration's conduct of that war is revisionist history of the worst sort; they are inextricably intertwined. Negative press coverage of the war has affected the rules of engagement as well as our treatment of detainees, as have various inflammatory statements by members of Congress, some of whom (John Murtha comes to mind) dispensed with the presumption of innocence and accused our troops of murder before they were even indicted. In some quarters, dissent need not even be responsible.

Now we are between Iraq and a hard place. Some are touting a miraculous third way out that is no third way, the Baker Commission:

Those familiar with the panel's work predict that the ultimate recommendations will not appear novel and that there are few, if any, good options left facing the country. Many of the ideas reportedly being considered -- more aggressive regional diplomacy with Syria and Iran, greater emphasis on training Iraqi troops, or focusing on a new political deal between warring Shiites and Sunni -- have either been tried or have limited chances of success, in the view of many experts on Iraq. Baker is also exploring whether a broader U.S. initiative in tackling the Arab-Israeli conflict is needed to help stabilize the region.

Given the grave predicament the group faces, its focus is now as much on finding a political solution for the United States as on a plan that would bring peace to Iraq. With Republicans and Democrats so bitterly divided over the war, Baker and Hamilton believe that it is key that their group produce a consensus plan, according to those who have spoken with them

And so we are back to the Pelosi Plan: it's not a war, it's a situation. There are no winners or losers, there are only problems to be solved and since you can define winning any way you want to, that makes 'winning' a snap, doesn't it? We'll just define our problems away. Hopefully the Iraqis, like those troublesome Jews, will not insist on anything so unreasonable as living, or that troublesome concept of freedom. Jules Crittenden frames the problem neatly. Perhaps America, like Israel, really is the greatest obstacle to world peace.

You see, we were the last ones who insisted on fighting for our beliefs. And when we at last step down, when we are no longer willing to fight for those dusty words in our Declaration, we will, at long last, have peace in our time:

America is unique in history, a world power that spent precious blood and treasure not to subjugate but to liberate. The United States is the standard bearer of liberty, democracy and free enterprise - the greatest nation the world has ever seen.

How many times can a great nation retreat from inferior forces and remain great? If its people won’t fight for what they believe in, then of what worth are that nation’s values?

Saigon. Who rules that place now, with what values? Teheran. Beirut. Mogadishu. What lesson did the world learn from those places? Whose values dominate there today? Baghdad. Islamofascists everywhere are waiting for us to lose there. Not even to lose, but to quit.

When the United States surrenders its place in the world, who, with what values, will step forward? Brutal, dictatorial China is actively engaged, obstructing efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program and buying favor in the Third World - a model of cut-rate economic success admired for thumbing its nose at us.

Islamic extremists are ascendant among the world’s 1 billion Muslims thanks to their successes, which are nothing more than our failures. American voters, whether they realize it or not, have chosen the path of Europe, of Canada - wealthy, smug democracies that profess concern for the oppressed but will do little for them, little even in their own defense.

You see? All it took was some fresh thinking.

Last week shortly after the election, emails flew back and forth between my family, some of whom are liberal Democrats and some of whom (my father, for instance) occupy a spot on the political map somewhere vaguely to the right of Genghis Khan. I rarely weigh into these epic battles, preferring to watch with Olympian detachment from on high. But at one point my aunt, a Democrat, said something which just stunned me:

"I don't think the Democrats really want to cut and run"

She's a good woman. But has she read the paper this weekend?

John Hinderaker ruffled quite a few feathers this weekend with this "extremist" statement:

...isn't a reasonable starting point for that engagement the fact that the terrorists are delighted that the Dems have won, and are convinced that the Dems' policies, as the terrorists understand them, will benefit the jihadis? Don't the Democrats have some obligation to face up to the fact that the prospect of our disengagement from Iraq--and if that isn't their "new direction," then what in God's name is?--is viewed with glee by the enemy?

I join with Ed in hoping that we can prevent the Democrats from delivering Iraq to the jihadis, but my estimate of their good faith is lower than his. The Democrats have staked everything, politically speaking, on the proposition that the Iraq war is a failure and a disaster. They have every interest in ensuring that our effort there does, in fact, fail. I think, in short, that the terrorists are reading the Democrats' intentions correctly.

I should add that by "the Democrats," I don't mean every rank and file member of that party, many of whom no doubt want America to succeed. I'm referring to almost all of the party's national leadership and the large majority of its elected officials.

Steven Taylor thinks such ideas are "absurd":

This idea that the Democrats are simply going to capitulate to the enemy, and therefore they are themselves to be viewed as friends of the enemy is absurd.

There is also the fact, that despite a great deal of heated rhetoric in the last year, the truth of the matter is that the Congress’ ability to force the Commander-in-Chief to make radical changes to military policy is quite limited. We have seen this time and time again in the Twentieth Century, and we will see it again now. The Democrats are well aware that they cannot simply pull the plug of Iraqi funding while US soldiers are in harm’s way.

Will there be attempts to alter the course of US policy in Iraq? Yes–but dramatic shifts in the short term are unlikely. More to the point, if they do occur it will because the administration decides that the mid-term elections were a message from the electorate.

What is a phased withdrawal of US troops within the next 4-6 months if not a 'dramatic shift in short-term policy'? Does Dr. Taylor have any idea what it takes to redeploy massive numbers of troops within that time frame? Does he have any idea what the likely effect will be on the violence over there?

What is a decision to bring Iran and Syria, two nations which have been sending murderous terrorists into Iraq to disrupt the democratic government into the "peace process" as partners but a dramatic shift in short-term policy? Since when do you win a war by handing a knife to your enemies?

It's going to be a glorious new world when we've joined hands with our friends in Syria and Iran to bring peace at last to troubled Iraq. No doubt they don't really mean that nonsense about wiping Jews off the map. And there is really no need for the Baker commission to study Kurdistan, the only successful self-governing democratic region in Iraq. Why would we want to study what has gone right in Iraq? After all, the Kurds are getting along fine without our help. We need to turn our attention to the dysfunctional children of Iraq; the ones who are fighting and killing each other. The ones who refuse to obey the rule of law. No sense in listening to the many leaders of Iraq's democratically elected government, the ones who have pleaded repeatedly with us to stay, to give their fledgling government time to get on its feet. To have faith in the ideals we sold to them when we toppled Saddam Hussein. No, our patience has run out.

It is time for a better way.

Blessed be the peace makers, for they shall inherit the earth.

Posted by Cassandra at November 13, 2006 05:17 AM

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I'm still trying to parse Pelosi's message.

It either means:

A) She's incapable of recognizing that the kind of problem Iraq is, is a war; and that you can only "solve" wars by winning or by losing them;

B) She's capable of recognizing that, and is simply stating that she has no preference as to whether we win or lose.

I'm leaning towards B.

Posted by: Grim at November 13, 2006 09:18 AM

I keep thinking of T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Men -

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

But I also think of Auden's September 1, 1939 -

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Posted by: Geoff at November 13, 2006 09:29 AM

CAss you are such a good writer.

Posted by: Jane at November 13, 2006 09:59 AM

Grim, I think it's actually three separate possibilities you've described there--Number one is actually two different ideas. Pelosi could clearly recognize it's a war, yet not believe that it's an either-or proposition.

Unfortunately, I tend to think that is the case.

Posted by: FbL at November 13, 2006 10:03 AM

Following her own advise to the nation, Pelosi is now conducting her own personal "Cut and Run" operation and endorsing Murtha for "The Mouth that Roared" leadership position.

She does personally practice what she preaches.

See Nancy run. Run Nancy run.

Posted by: jim b at November 13, 2006 10:18 AM

Jane, you are too kind. As usual, I ran out of time on this one.

I am just flabbergasted by where we are right now. Like Dr. Taylor, I don't see the Democrats as "in charge". But I think he may have unintentionally (or maybe it was intentional) hit the nail on the head with this:

but dramatic shifts in the short term are unlikely. More to the point, if they do occur it will because the administration decides that the mid-term elections were a message from the electorate.

I think that's exactly what the Dems are trying to do - shift public opinion to put pressure on the White House. What they say and do has a direct effect on the violence over there, and we are VERY much mistaken when we allow political correctness to restrain us from pointing that out. Lives are at stake. Study after study has shown CLEAR links between statements by Congress and media coverage and the level of violence, yet we allow silly statements like "you're questioning my patriotism" to quash legitimate debate about the efficacy of the means of (NOT the right to conduct) antiwar dissent.

Sorry, not when it's people I've lived and worked with for years paying the price. I guess I'm not quite so willing to pipe down. I don't think it's unreasonable or absurd to ask these types of questions at all.

I'm not saying 'put up or shut up'. I'm saying stop and think about the consequences.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 13, 2006 10:22 AM

I commented on this at Tigerhawk this morning under a different name (really?), and I'll say more here in the context of your essay.

We will not fight this as a "real war" until the neo-Marxists among us (many of these are in the Democratic Party, and the intellectual drivers behind parts of the party's policies) decide that they must fight Salafist Islam.
Presently, these 'neo-Marxists' still want to pull down free-market economics (what Marx called 'capitalism'), and substitute a one party, state-managed economic and political system; from each according to their ability, to each according to their need. The phrase quoted by Donald Sensing was 'immantize the eschaton'.

The Soviets and their fellow travellers couldn't do it, so they (the modern neo-Marxist intellectuals in academia, Europe, the NY Times, etc.) are hitching their wagon to militant Islam, thinking that they can pick up the pieces before the head-chopping begins. Heh.

Some of the latter-day neo-Marxists like Norm Geras and Christopher Hitchens seem to know better, but the rest of the lemming-like 'intellectuals' in academia and elsewhere are ready to march over the cliff, eyes wide open.
Much like the early days of WWII, after the 'Pact of Steel' between Nazi Germany and the USSR, the leftists and Marxists in this country were somewhat sympathetic to the Germans and very anti-British (opposed Lend-Lease, etc.), as the policy of the USSR was still, Great Britain was the prime enemy, and bring down the British Empire was goal #1. After June 22, 1941 (Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia), they did a complete backflip and were all about fighting the "Nazi Menace". Go figure.

I don't know what the analogous event (if any!) will be in our future (if ever!) to wake these people up (snoring loudly, eyes wide open), but until that day comes when resistance from within to recognizing the fight were are in comes to and end, we will continue to fight the "long war", with little hope of a decisive outcome in the years ahead.

These are truly times to try men's souls.

And to clarify, the Democrats are not the enemy, and are not treasonous, in a narrow sense of the word (as in betraying America to a specific enemy). But some of the intellectual leaders within the party want to pull down our present system and make it more 'just'. The problem from 'outside', Salafist Islam, may be the revolutionary vehicle to bring about the "just changes" required in American society. Good luck to all that.

So a demoralizing 'defeat' or 'withdrawal' or 'solution to the problem' would suit their purposes just fine.
1) Denounce Rumsfeld (Done! mission accomplished!)
2) Denounce Bush and the Republicans in general (in progress, the R-party will distance themselves from their president, and he likewise in the next two years)
3) Demoralize the volunteer military (those un-educated morons! (sarcasm alert)), and bring back the draft; a conscript Army, hooray! (Commander Rangel will be pleased with that one).
4) Elect Hillary, and they are more than halfway home.

Sorry I've run on so long on your bandwidth, but I had to get a lot off my chest.

Vaya don Dios, Cassandra.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 13, 2006 10:58 AM

OOOhh. Fuzzy war and fuzzy math. The solution to everything. We just need to feel good about ourselves after the self esteem bashing we got from France and Syria!

I am glad Nancy has the whip. That means she can engage in self flagellation whenever she starts feeling bad.

Posted by: Cricket at November 13, 2006 11:58 AM

The message was delivered to the democrats but they misinterpreted it. The message was a slap at the Republicans for straying from the party line. It could not be construed, by any stretch of the imagination, as support for a "non-plan" by the left-wing, (read: marxist/socialist) of the democratic party.

It appears their non-plan is to hold Iraqi feet to the fire of terrorism. If they flinch it is their fault and not the failure of the democratic
non-plan of cut-and-run!

I believe Brouhaha has it correct. The indigenous and putative (as in Putin) American intelligentsia are providing the ideology for the desperately short-sighted democratic leadership.

The power is coming down and it is not from the U.S. The Russians and Europeans are conspiring to take the U.S. down internationally and are using the Middle East factions as a surrogate military.

It is going to be a cold winter and a hot summer!

Posted by: vet66 at November 13, 2006 02:33 PM

Actually, Don, the Pact of Steel was between Hitler and Mussolini. Hitler's deal with Stalin was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

You are correct, however, that all the Western Leftists, particularly the Communist Parties, became pro-Nazi overnight. This contradicts their long protestations that they were not simply puppets of Moscow.

The french communist party, being particularly powerful, as well as the Marxist "trade unions", caused political turmoil and unrest along with labor unrest, strikes, and so forth to disrupt the french economy and war industries. This did not change until Hitler attacked Russia in 1941.

See, whoever said Lefties were not prepared to sell out their homeland at the bidding of a foreign, ideological master? Diehard Lefties are "true believers" in what is, essentially, a religion of communism/socialism. They are eerily similar in nature and outlook to the jihadis. After hearing all the strident Lefties over the last few years, does anyone really believe that they would not joyfully behead GWB in the public square if given the opportunity?

Anyway, my people experienced the eagerness of the flaccid Western nations to "cut and run" at Munich in 1938. I have never doubted the willingness of the Dimocrats to immediately bail on Iraq once elected into power. Remember, Comrades, everything and everyone is expendable so long as The Cause moves forward!

Posted by: a former european at November 13, 2006 04:04 PM

Gotta confess I don't understand the brouhaha about the

Pelosi remarks. Nor do I see your Peloskian syllogism as

being on the mark.

The Speaker-Elect was responding to the question of

"whether it was more important to win, or to leave Iraq."

and seems to me her answer reflected that this

characterization is somewhat of a false dichotomy. I.e.,

"winning" is somewhat of a vague term, and (perhaps) the

term carries with it connotative content which may tend to

inhibit rather than foster debate, decisions and action-

taking with respect to the "problem of Iraq."

What is "winning in Iraq" ? Well, in a sense we won

long ago, in toppling Saddam. For a long time thereafter,

"winning" was characterized by the Administration as

establishing an Iraq which was relatively stable and was

constructed in the model of a Western democracy. What

is it to win in Iraq? Well, for long time now that it has

been recognized by the military and others that

fundamentally the solution in Iraq is not a "military one",

but rather a "political one" -- i.e., it will not be solved by

simply using military force in its most natural extension

(i.e, by killing and destruction). Of late (and in the broad

wake of increasing violence and chaos in Iraq) , there are

reports that some in the White House have been seriously

re-considering the necessary inclusion in the "definition of

winning", the Western democracy component. Indeed,

Joint Chief Pace recently raised the importance of

understanding what is meant by "winning", and in his

exposition of what it would be to win in Iraq, no reference

was made to a resultant democratic Iraq. The General's

response, in this regard, may not be wholly coincidental,

just as it is likely that Bush's jettisoning of Rumsfeld at this

juncture is likely not coincidental either.

A rose by any other name, and all -- it matters not, so

long as you know what it is that you're talking about.

What is the mission? Well, of course, "to win" (so far as

that is any longer possible, given the many gross mis-

steps by the Administration), what are the goals for this

winning and the mechanisms and tactics employed?

Simple concepts, these, and consistent with Pelosi's

remarks. Folks - there's a problem over there in Iraq, and

we necessarily play some sort of a role in the end-game.

What's the solution?, call it "winning" or "peat-moss",

makes no never-mind. "Stay the course" and "cut and run"

and similar high-connotative/low-denotative soundbites

are unhelpful (and, I think, the right's proclivity to frame

the question in such a way has been recently and

forcefully rejected by the body politic in this country).

Whether we "won" when we toppled Saddam, or we

effectively "lost" as of February's Samarra mosque

atrocities, or something else, the question now is - what is

the solution, for purposes of action by

the government of the United States of America.

Personally, I think that a significant increase in troop levels is an option which should be considered, even at this late date. It may well be past time when such an approach is tenable (either as a matter of domestic politics or in actually facilitating a sought-after solution in country), but what this country needs is a vigorous debate on what options are out there, and how it is we solve this problem. Hopefully, the recent elections will result in an open, searching and informed debate on the subject of Iraq, both generally and in the halls of power as well. Such debate has been sorely lacking in the (now-rejected) Republican rubber-stamp Congress, and hopefully improvements in this vein can be expected shortly.

Posted by: dgf at November 13, 2006 04:48 PM

[Well, now, the "Preview" sure looked different than the actuality. :) ]

Posted by: dgf at November 13, 2006 04:52 PM

Interesting that the ridding of "The Culture of Corruption" begins with Murtha and Hastings.Does anyone remember ABSCAM? Or Hastings impeachment(by a Dem. Congress)?

I'm prepared to be PO'd for the next few years.

You go Nancy.

Posted by: WildBlueYonder at November 13, 2006 08:12 PM

AFE, you're right! I did mean the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Victory and perceptions of victory are a double edged sword. If al-Qaeda and the Iranians perceive that THEY are victorious in advancing their goals in Iraq, what will the consequences be?
And how will the rest of the Arab/Muslim world react if they perceive it the same way?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 13, 2006 09:11 PM

It's not a false dichtomy when the Democrats are talking about leaving Iraq regardless of whether we have achieved anything worth the sacrifices we have made there.

You cannot talk about whether it is time to leave without talking about when it is appropriate (ie. in our national interest) to leave. And if you reject (as she says she does) the cut and run argument then you necessarily accept the premise that there is some event-driven criterion for deciding when that time is, NOT a time-table driven one.

But that is exactly what you will NOT hear Ms. Pelosi say.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 13, 2006 09:27 PM

[Cass] "It's not a false dichtomy when the Democrats are talking about leaving Iraq regardless of whether we have achieved anything worth the sacrifices we have made there."

Your logic and/or your meaning escapes me. Not for the first time, and no doubt not for the last.

Re: your second para., the first sentence appears to be no more than a tautology. As to the second sentence, I confess that I do not take your meaning as to all parts/referrents (e.g., "the cut and run argument"). That said (and in any event, I should think), your assertion that "you necessarily accept the premise that there is some event-driven criterion for deciding when that time is [emph. added] " is simply an untrue proclamation, rather than any logical or practical "necessity".

Posted by: dgf at November 13, 2006 11:59 PM

Suppose you explain to me, dgf, because I would really love to hear this one, how it would not be cutting and running if the only criteria for leaving Iraq is a time-table (IOW, we have abandoned any standards- or event-driven basis for deciding when it is time to leave).

We are essentially admitting we have given up. That is what is known as cutting your losses and running away from a fight rather than finishing it.

You may or may not be justified in doing that, but there is no way to put lipstick on that pig.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 14, 2006 04:29 AM

After you get done with that, explain to me how, if you have said you oppose cutting and running, you then could turn around and say you wanted to withdraw the troops without any reason other than saying, "x number of months have passed and we're really, really like... bored with this war dude...can we like totally change the channel?".

Historically speaking, wars have been fought to a standstill and ended with the defeat of one side. It is relatively new for a numerically and technologically superior power to concede essentially out of ennui.

But here we are.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 14, 2006 04:41 AM

[Cass] Well, well, well. We're getting pretty far off-topic re: my remarks on your unfair ridiculing of the referenced Pelosi comments, and I confess I'm succumbing to a bit of, um, ennui, maybe, with your urgent invitations that I opine on this, that, or the other.

That said, perhaps a comment or two further would not be wholly untoward. First, while you fail to address any of my points (aparently preferring to re-frame the "dialogue"), your last two posts seem (to me at least) to exemplify the (earlier remarked-upon) unhelpfulness of recurring to high-connotative/low-denotative slogans such as "cut and run".

Second, (and confessing that not infrequently I find it difficult to discern exactly what it is that you are saying, Cass), to the extent that the second post states or implies that those who entertain or support a time-tabled approach to the Iraq problem are necessarily (or even likely) suffering from "ennui", you're seriously off-base. Indeed, you're seriously un-serious.

Posted by: dgf at November 14, 2006 01:21 PM


Last time I checked, I don't think I was "urgently inviting" you to opine about anything. I am sitting here, at my desk, minding my own business.

I write things, about which no one else but you (that I'm aware) seems to have expressed any confusion. If they are confused, there is the comments section for them to ask questions, yet only you seem to be expressing mystification as to what I might be saying. Why is that, do you suppose?

Since, to my knowledge, only one of my readers is having this trouble, I could take several courses:

1. Ignore the confusion.

2. Address it. This, in your book, is "urgently inviting you to opine".

Now you have confused me. Feel free to let it go. I assure you I can handle the suspense :)

As for failing to address points, I note with some amusement that you completely failed to address any of mine. I did address your points - my comment was a direct response to yours. But whatever. Since you didn't address Don's question either, it appears you find all these questions inconvenient and that your only reason for saying you didn't understand was to be annoying/insulting rather than to entertain a serious response. Which is, I suppose, a response, of its own kind.

Posted by: Smith Barney, The Purple Election Dinosaur at November 14, 2006 01:35 PM

[Cass] Re: Don's queries, you may or may not have noticed that they were not responsive to my post re: the Pelosi comments. You recall those comments? That's how you commenced your initial post. Your "take" on those comments (miralibe dictu!, etc.) is what I commented on. I found in neither your numerous posts back to me (nor in Don's post) any mention of Pelosi, or any discussion of the definition of "winning" vs. "solution" (etc.) which so exercised you in your original post. As such,perhaps (upon fuller reflection) you can understand why I found your comments non-responsive to my post. :)

"Last time I checked, I don't think I was "urgently inviting" you to opine about anything * * * [I could simply] [a]ddress it ["it" being dgf's supposed confusion concerning what the HVES said about the Pelosi comments (?)]. This, in your book, is "urgently inviting you to opine".

Well, I did take a tad of literary license with the "urgently" part, perhaps, but not so much. When writing that I had in mind your language following below(which, you will recall, were in comments I perceive as being non-responsive to my initial post):

"Suppose you explain to me, dgf, because I would really love to hear this one *** [and in very next post in the thread, breathlessly issued 10 minutes later] After you get done with that, explain to me how * * * [emph added]"

Finally, on one thing we do apparently agree: this has been an amusing morning, at least for a Tuesday. I mean, not only this thread, but the bonus thread re: the naughty Mr. Cohen, the Prez' bold-faced lies, and the latter's ever-stalwart defender. What a hoot. :)

Posted by: dgf at November 14, 2006 02:58 PM

I find all of this (or some of this) to by stylistically confusing [or at least less than clear] as a simple sentence will often express a concern (or question *** or even a sentiment *** to the reader) that a million parenthetical phrases (not to be confused with dangling participles, which are really funny sounding but quite serious to the author) only serve to muddle and confuse (which you recall is something I [and many people like me] fight against in a constant effort at self-improvement).

Posted by: KJ at November 14, 2006 03:12 PM

You have a point.

There is some small amusement value in trying to figure out why you spend so much time reading and commenting on material you admit being unable to figure out the meaning of and then not responding when people take the time to address your comments?

But it's not sufficient to make me want to continue doing it. Sorry.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 14, 2006 03:12 PM

I snark you
You snark me
Such a dysfunctional family
Have a few bon mots
It's the least that I can do:
Here - let me buy you a clue.

Posted by: Smith Barney, The Purple Election Dinosaur at November 14, 2006 03:24 PM

Self Improvement is something of a hobby of ours.

Posted by: The Peanut Gallery at November 14, 2006 04:25 PM


I (am [soooo]) confused! {H}eh!

*SWAK* (!)

Posted by: POOP Party Sgt at Arms at November 14, 2006 05:16 PM

LOL@Poop Party Sgt. at arms...

One wonders why a dedicated democrat would choose to exemplify the back end of the jackass vice the thinking end...
Poopheads forever...:)

Posted by: Carrie at November 14, 2006 05:21 PM

The Sgt at arms has left the building!

Posted by: The Peanut Gallery at November 14, 2006 05:24 PM

We outta here..
Baby got back!!!

Posted by: Sherman Tank Crack Smoka... at November 14, 2006 05:34 PM

Word to yo mutha

Posted by: Supa-sprung Couch Bouncer at November 14, 2006 06:28 PM

Ice, Ice, Baby...

Posted by: shut yo mouf at November 14, 2006 07:38 PM

I still think mine rox.

Posted by: Supa-sprung Couch Bouncer at November 14, 2006 08:05 PM

I'm afraid to even ask what a 'couch bouncer' is...

Posted by: Supa-sprung Couch Bouncer at November 14, 2006 08:05 PM

You are the quality control specialist for the springs in the IKEA couches...
Other than that...I don't want to know.....
We cater to a certain crowd...

Posted by: Sven at November 14, 2006 08:17 PM

ROFLMAO!!!! Oh my, I missed the fun today! :D

Posted by: FbL at November 14, 2006 08:24 PM

And dgf just makes my eyes glaze over! He's like the darkside of Lex--lots of big words and subordinate clauses, but nary a hint of Lex's superb wit, wisdom or self-deprecating humor.

Posted by: FbL at November 14, 2006 08:31 PM

Y'all do realize that no one else knows what the heck we're talking about, right? he-he!

Vote POOP!

Posted by: Cow Tippin' B*st*rd at November 14, 2006 10:10 PM

Speak POOP to Power!!!

Posted by: Nancee POOPlosi at November 15, 2006 08:43 AM

You might want to check out this veterans group and their position on this war.


Posted by: Miguel at November 15, 2006 01:13 PM

Red scare! Red Scare! Don is seriously in need fo some therapy for the Cold War Fever. Actually, if one reads Don's above post about neo-Marxists, and he seems rather smart, you will notice a very strong similarity between his description of politicians and culutural leaders, and the people who have come out of the neoconservative movement. Doug Feith, William Kristol, Richard Perle, and Wolfowitz are almost exactly what he describes. They all favor a one party system. They all favor and believe that U.S. involvement in every nation who poses a threat is necessary to the point of colonialism (which they refer to as democratization). Read Project for a New American Century. And remember, neoconservatism came out of the Red Diaper baby brigade in the 1930s and 40s. As well, these guys want to spend every US dollar on defense and military, for the benefit of private industry. It is the perfect cross between the technical definition of fascism and single thought, single party rule.

Please don't attempt to dump the mess of this war created by this administration at the democrat's feet, who are deluded and confused. The idea and issue is "how do we remedy this situation?" Get off your ideological horse and seek solutions. Seems this black and white idea of "winning and losing" is not going to help anything. I suppose "winning" means killing a few hundred thousand more Iraqis and thousands more GIs by bombing and such. Won't work guys. Time to think differently, as the Apple ads said.

Posted by: Miguel at November 15, 2006 01:42 PM


At the risk of getting into a tedious debate, let me clarify.

I don't attribute the present 'problems in Iraq' to the Democratic party, per se, nor do I ascribe to them, as a whole, a wish for "one-party" rule, although you can sometimes find those kinds of opinions in any political operative, R- or D-.
What I meant was that the intellectual leaders (un-named, frankly) whom the Democrat party frequently get their "ideas" from, would profit from the "defeat" of the US in Iraq.

Victory and defeat are real quantities, in that advancing your foreign objectives are objectively real. Consider the results if the Iranians achieve their goals in the Middle East (victory for them):
1) the state of Israel obliteratd, perhaps millions dead
2) millions more living under the tyranny of the ayatollahs
3) control of the majority of the exportable oil reserves in the world, and the concomittant economic and politcal results from that.
That is the picture of "victory" for them and "defeat" for us. But I guess that's all subjective in the minds of many.

Returning to the point about those Americans who wish for 'defeat' of the US in the ME: these people have a different set of priorities, of which I am sure you are at least subliminally aware, and probably in agreement with, in part, judging from your previous posts at VC.
I don't consider these people "RED" in the sense that they are avowed communists, but they do wish to change ( and many are in the vanguard) of changing the American political scene to something other than the Constitutional framework which has been handed down to us, to something more driven by collectivist values, with the neo-Marxist intellectuals in the vanguard and leadership, of course. This is personally anathema to my values, so subjectively, I rejcet it and oppose it. If this bothers you, too bad. My life is not a sacrifice to others whims.

I have read parts of the 'Project for the New American Century' and cannot quite recall the passages demanding "one party" rule, but it has been a while since I read some parts, and maybe I missed that part (but I doubt it).

As to the "neo-cons" you mentioned, one of the so-called defining characteristics of the "neo-con" movement as it appeared in the '60's was the intellectual rejection of Soviet Communism. Whether they still embrace forms of collectivism is an open question. Frankly, I don't care.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 15, 2006 04:32 PM

Thanks, Don.

I think you should care about the ideals of this group (PNAC), even though they rejected the notion of Soviet Communism. Your description about the desires of Iran, Syria or Palestinians in the ME I complete agree with in terms of their objectives. Keeping a presence and attempting to create diplomacy and democracy are necessary. With that said, it is quite obvious the rationale and methods used to invade and occupy Iraq were not the answer or action we needed. PNAC, along with many Pentagon officials have advocated for the creation of a buffer state for years. That be Iraq. Saddam served that purpose for the West until he decided not to play nice. Then we allowed him to sit in limbo for over ten years as we bombed the country. Militarily, it would have made sense back in 1991 to take him out of Iraq. Kissinger, GHWB and others thought better of it. Mistake? Perhaps.

I believe we blew this opportunity in Iraq. Afghanistan should have been secured, and a better rationale for Iraq should have been established. Our greed and hubris interceded and now we have this problem. You may be right...some people may want defeat of the US in Iraq. However, withdrawal, redeployment, recreation of a cogent plan...this is not defeat. This is attempting to create control.

I wish you could hold the same revealing candle up to the neoconservative movement that you hold up to liberals who you feel wish to destroy America. The PNAC doesn't "demand" one party rule as much as it wishes to establish a misguided sense of nationalism which weakens the freedoms that we have in our country. As most of these people are technocrats with little military experience, they view the World through an ethnocentric eye and wish to cloak "colonialism" as "democratization". I would support what you say by stating many liberals, or dems, are equally misguided in their approach to foreign policy.

As a reader of Council on Foreign Affairs, I tend to agree with their stance. I know many see these folks as "New World Order" and "Trilateralists" even conspiratorial references to Bilderburg. This may be true, but I don't buy it. I like to listen to all info and sift through it. All I know, is the way this conflict was planned, managed and carried out has been catastrophic and damaging to our nation. And put military personnel into harm's way which could have been avoided.

Posted by: Miguel Sanchez at November 16, 2006 02:27 PM

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