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February 15, 2007

Resolved To Win

In his essay earlier today, Richard derides U.S. faithlessness towards our allies:

In our recent history we have abandoned the Kurds, Shiites and Afghanis, not to mention our shameless withdrawal of support of the Mountainyards and our friends and allies in Saigon. Lord help the Somalis that befriended America in the 90s, for we deserted them, too. The World knows that we will turn tail and walk away from what was a noble cause in Iraq because the American people are weak and are so self-centered that we withdraw when the situation gets complicated.

But many opponents of the war rightly wonder why we should continue to expend American lives and treasure to free a people half a world away? Why Iraq and Afghanistan and not Darfur? And some ask, what duty do we owe any nation, that we should shed the blood of our sons and daughters on foreign soil?

There are several answers to that question. None of them are simple.

First of all, we have already made promises, and from our performance of those promises the world will assess the credibility of American diplomacy, the strength of our commitment to our allies and to those ideals we swore to bring to Iraq (democracy and the rule of law). Second, al Qaeda has openly announced their desire to establish a beach head in an Islamic state. This is no secret. And they, also, are there now, whatever the arguments about what has gone before. They have no plans to leave and they show no uncertainty as to their goals, whatever we may decide to do.

But above all else, what is at stake is the world's perception of the strength and viability of American military force; of both our ability to project power on a global scale and to maintain it long enough to achieve our stated objectives. With our ignominious retreats from Vietnam and Somalia, both were badly damaged. A failure to carry out our objectives in Iraq would complete the trifecta of miserable failure, quagmire-like defeatism, and American anomie from which we seem unable to free ourselves.

It is an inescapable fact of life that even the best of laws possess no vital power if they are unenforceable: we are currently seeing proof of that in a small area of Baghdad where, despite the fact that the new government of Iraq has successfully elected a representative government, unjust enforcement of Iraq's laws has created a profoundly uncertain atmosphere for its citizens.

In an increasingly volatile and borderless world filled with weapons of mass destruction, the democratic nations have irrationally chosen to dismantle rather than strengthen their standing armies. This makes it more vital than ever that the United States be seen as both willing and capable of backing up its policy stances both at home and abroad. The alternative, in an atmosphere where radical Islamist societies are outbreeding the West and migrating their aggressively intolerant ideology to our shores, is abandonment of the rule of law to those who respect neither human rights nor freedom.

The recent Danish cartoon controversy was a vivid reminder that, as Wafa Sultan has so eloquently told us, this is not a confrontation the West can hide from. We are engaged in a violent cataclysm between the modern and the barbaric world: one that must be resolved if we hope to bequeathe our beloved freedoms to future generations.

But if we mean to win in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must be resolved upon victory. There can be no more hesitation, no more "debate", no "non-binding" resolutions to slowly starve our troops of much-needed funds, manpower, and equipment as they stand in the line of fire because our so-called leaders, "chicken doves", need them to bravely soldier on just long enough to get the DNC elected in 2008. There is only one honest course of action left for those who oppose this war: openly vote to cut off all funding NOW. Though I think this course horribly misguided, any other course, as McQ observes, needlessly imperils our men and women in uniform; it is playing a game of "chicken" with the lives of our troops and it is wrong.

How long will it be, I wonder, before the true sentiments of many who say they support the troops begin to surface? Was William Arkin's 'obscene amenities' crack a few weeks ago the first harbinger of an emerging backlash against the military? John Kerry has, over the years, said several times he wishes he could abolish the armed forces. Kerry has accused our troops of terrorizing Iraqi women and children, and he is hardly alone in that sentiment. It pervades academia and the legal community, which openly brags of its pro bono work defending Gitmo detainees (everyone, even the most reprehensible person, after all, deserves a quality defense from America's best and brightest legal minds). Just don't look to see any of these high-priced firms representing accused servicemembers caught in the mare's nest of changing Rules of Engagement. After all, they have their principles:

... this was what the future of teaching about justice would include: teaching war criminals who sit glaring at me with hatred for daring to speak the truth of their atrocities and who, if paid to, would disappear, torture and kill me. I wondered that night how long I really have in this so called “free” country to teach my students and to be with my children and grandchildren.

The American military and mercenary soldiers who “sacrificed” their lives did not do so for the teacher’s freedom to teach the truth about the so-called war on terror, or any of US history for that matter. They sacrificed their lives, limbs and sanity for money, some education and the thrills of the violence for which they are socially bred. Sacrificing for the “bling and booty” in Iraq or Afghanistan, Philippines, Grenada, Central America, Mexico, Somalia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any of the other numerous wars and invasions spanning US history as an entity and beginning with their foundational practice of killing the Indians and stealing their land.

How can America hope to win wars with a Congress that openly seeks to undermine our armed forces? How can we win when our major newspapers are so ignorant they openly chide the President of the United States for not disclosing everything we know to our worst enemies:

Before things get any more out of hand, President Bush needs to make his intentions toward Iran clear. And Congress needs to make it clear that this time it will be neither tricked nor bullied into supporting another disastrous war.

How little this administration has learned from its failures is a constant source of amazement. It seems the bigger the failure, the less it learns.

Consider last weekend’s supersecret briefing in Baghdad by a group of American military officials whose names could not be revealed to the voters who are paying for this war with their taxes and their children’s blood. The briefers tried to prove the White House’s case that Iran is shipping deadly weapons, including armor-piercing explosives, to Shiite militias in Iraq.

Unlike Colin Powell’s infamous prewar presentation on Iraq at the United Nations, this briefing had actual weapons to look at. And perhaps in time, the administration will be able to prove conclusively that the weapons came from arms factories in Iran.

But the officials offered no evidence to support their charge that “the highest levels of the Iranian government” had authorized smuggling these weapons into Iraq for use against American forces. Nor could they adequately explain why they had been sitting on this urgent evidence since 2004. The only thing that was not surprising was the refusal of any of the briefers to allow their names to be published.

As TigerHawk notes, only a complete moron shows all his cards to his opponent. That is, unless he intends to lose. On the other hand, this undoubtedly explains the Times' constant practice of publishing our most secret classified documents to all and sundry.

They're just trying to be helpful, you see. The fact that no one elected Bill Keller to represent us does not seem to have occurred to him, or anyone else at the Times. But Herr Keller no doubt graduated from the John Cougar Mellencamp School of International Diplomacy, where ankle-grabbing devotees of the camembert-and-fois gras persuasion can exercise their penchant for flyover historical revisionism while ruminating on the unbearable lightness of being American in a postmodern world where there is really no discernable difference between Islamofascists who cheerfully chop heads off Indonesian schoolgirls for wearing nail varnish and so-called "Christofascists" like Tammi Faye Baker who wears loads of it and [gasp] would like the right to say her own prayers in public places, but doesn't particularly care if you do:

Mellencamp: I think what would have been appropriate is exactly what we’re going to have to do right now.

Rose: What’s that?

Mellencamp: Talk to people.

Rose: Who do we go talk to? Do we call him up and say, “Osama, can we talk about this? We’re not real happy about this. Can we talk about it?”

Mellencamp then said we should talk to “the Muslims” and ask “where are we so far apart here?”

Later in the interview Mellencamp says he doesn’t know how he’d respond to the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II because he doesn’t really know what happened. He says he’s read books, but he doesn’t know if history is always right.

It is a puzzlement, isn't it? The thing is, if we mean to win this war, we need, not just to be resolved upon victory, but to have a clear focus on what victory means and what it will take to get us there. NZ Bear asks that question here.

It's a question McQ asked a while ago. I found the discussion somewhat distressing then, because I've always thought, despite the persistent meme that the President hasn't communicated the goals, that our goals have always been quite clear. I've been listening, and I've heard the same message articulated over, and over, and over again. This isn't rocket science even if the execution hasn't been simple:

Our goal in Iraq is to leave behind a stable, self-governing society, which will no longer be a threat to the Middle East or to the United States. We’re following an orderly plan to reach this goal. Iraq now has a Governing Council, which has appointed interim government ministers. Once a constitution has been written, Iraq will move toward national elections. We want this process to go as quickly as possible — yet it must be done right. The free institutions of Iraq must stand the test of time. And a democratic Iraq will stand as an example to all the Middle East. We believe — and the Iraqi people will show — that liberty is the hope and the right of every land. Our work in Iraq has been long, it’s hard, and it’s not finished. We will stay the course. We will complete our job. And beyond Iraq, the war on terror continues. There will be no quick victory in this war.

That statement was made a long time ago. The goalposts haven't changed.

The end state doesn't have to be perfect - the Iraqis can't be expected to jumpstart two hundred years of American history in the blink of an eye. They're going to have to endure the same growing pains we did, and likely more. But that doesn't mean democracy can't take hold, or that it shouldn't be attempted. And once we establish a secure foundation they can build on, we won't be able to rest. Our long term regional interests demand both a military and a political presence in the region. As Richard indicates, we are in this for the long haul.

Complaining about the current situation is bootless. We are there.

The only question is, where do we go from here? To pretend, as so many people have done, that we can evade the hard choices that remain is irresponsible.

To continue to lie about where we've been and decisions that were made in the past, as so many in the media have done, is beyond reprehensible. We've been told over and over that we were "deceived" about the intelligence leading up to the war. The Senate Select Intelligence Report found that we were in fact led astray - by the intelligence community:

In the cases in the NTE where the IC did express uncertainty about its assessments concerning Iraq's WMD capabilities, those explanations suggested, in some cases, that Iraq's capabilities were even greater than the NIE judged. For example, the key judgments of the NIE said "we judge that we are seeing only a portion of Iraq's WMD efforts, owing to Baghdad's vigorous denial and deception efforts. Revelations after the Gulf War starkly demonstrate the extensive efforts undertaken by Iraq to deny information.

The Committee found that none of the analysts or other people interviewed by the Committee said that they were pressured to change their conclusions related to Iraq's links to terrorism. After 9/11, however, analysts were under tremendous pressure to make correct assessments, to avoid missing a credible threat, and to avoid an intelligence failure on the scale of 9/11. As a result, the Intelligence Community's assessments were bold and assertive in pointing out potential terrorist links. For instance, the June 2002 Central Intelligence Agency assessment Iraq and al-Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship was, according to its Scope Note, "purposefully aggressive" in drawing connections between Iraq and al-Qaida in an effort to inform policymakers of the potential that such a relationship existed.

And yet it is the assessments of this very intelligence community, (which has repeatedly been WRONG) that Carl Levin, erroneously quoted by the Washington Post alleges is "improper" for anyone in government to question! Intelligence is historically uncertain and famously wrong in hindsight, and yet momentous decisions must still be made in the presence of incomplete and often chancy data. Human judgment must be applied and knowledge sifted. This is not 'manipulation', especially when not one, but three subsequent inquiries conclude no improper pressure took place. We want our leaders to be intelligent consumers of data, not passive sponges; and as the latest brouhaha in the Post clearly shows, the media are the last ones who should be claiming infallibility.

We have come to a final pass where there can be no more vacillation. Either the American people must finally stand behind their armed forces or they must resign themselves to renouncing the right of active self-government. We must take it on ourselves to be informed about what our leaders in Congress are doing, about who stands behind our troops and who does not. And we must demand honest government from our leaders, both those who support and oppose the war. Half-measures do no favors to those in the line of fire. Though I do not wish to see us pull out of Iraq, I would rather see an honest fight - even if we lose that argument - in Congress than the kind of hypocrisy we're seeing now. I believe it is precisely a lack of openness that is causing much of the confusion and lack of support we're seeing in the American people.

The recent uptick in violence in Baghdad is directly related to the dissent and division here at home. Our enemies depend on the fact that we remain unable to pull together as a nation, and some among us seem determined to give them every assurance that we are on their side. Please join The Victory Caucus.

Tell me that I have not wasted the past three years of my life, and that my faith in my country is not misguided.

Posted by Cassandra at February 15, 2007 07:19 AM

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Cass said:
"Tell me that I have not wasted the past three years of my life, and that my faith in my country is not misguided."

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

"Citizenship in a Republic," Theodore Roosevelt

The noblest thing that can be said of any man (or woman!) is that they "died trying"; paid the maximum price for that which they valued.
I know ya ain't dyin' yet, Cass, but you have poured your brains and guts into this for 3+ years now. We who have journeyed with you down this road have felt the same 'sick in the guts' feeling, and we haven't yet reached bottom on this (when will we know?). Your time and effort hasn't been wasted, but only time will tell what the outcome will ever be.
It's been almost four years since the start of OIF, and really, how far are we still from the end of the road? Of course, we have been in S. Korea for almost 57 years, and what a quagmire that has turned out to be!
What can we reasonably expect of our "countrymen" at this point in time, when the paternity of Anna Nicole Smith's illegitimate child's fate hangs in the balance? :)
At a time such as this, where do we turn for our daily kick-in-the-head morale booster?
Well, right here, at Villainous Company. So keep those army boots (or steel toed sandals, or whatever)on and keep kicking us in the head, so we don't slack off. We're all in the arena now, whether we want to be or not; so let's keep making the most of it. Or I'm getting into my car and driving over to that town in Maryland where you hang out and....well, you get the picture! :D
So buck up, smoke 'em if you got 'em, and strap that laptop back on and keep firing up those missives to us ignorant reich-wing tools (fools?) in flyover country (DaveG flies over this part of the country; he's got a right wing AND a left wing on his plane, I think), and don't give no never mind to John Cougar Malcontent, and idjit folks like that.
Well, that's enough of that. I think.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 15, 2007 02:01 PM

Well, I felt 'sick in the gut' when I saw all the typos in this morning's post Don.

I had a bad night last night :) I should have waited before hitting post but I was rushed and had other stuff to do.

Publish in haste, repent at leisure! I probably still don't have them all out but I'm swamped.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2007 02:06 PM

Why cut funding now? Just vote for the bush budget, which cuts off funding in 2009. Any bitches that want timelines have to just look at what the administration is proposing.

"The recent uptick in violence in Baghdad is directly related to the dissent and division here at home."

Bold makes it true!

Posted by: annak at February 15, 2007 03:02 PM

A soldier's duty is to follow lawful orders. American, British, German, Watusi, Roman, whatever. Soldiers thruout time have been obliged to follow idiotic orders from their superiors or masters. I expect that our troops in Iraq will largely do their duty, whatever competent, foolish, or other lawful orders they are issued.

In a democracy, the people are charged with choosing their representatives, who are largely expected to carry out the will of their electors. The message which many of America's political representatives have drawn from the past 4 years of war and revelations re: the war, etc., and from the past election, is that a substantial majority of the American public feels that it was a mistake to have invaded Iraq; and that our military involvement (at least on the prominent scale of the present) is contrary to US interests; and that an increase in troop levels is unlikely to advance US interests (nor, perhaps, the interests of the Iraqi peoples); wherefore, an apparent majority of federal legislators would seem to acknowledge the popular view that the US should follow a different policy than that which is being advanced by the Administration.

The Legislative's ability to influence the behavior of the Executive is limited, both by constitution and by the pragmatics of politics. I find ridiculous the suggestion that the Legislature surrender a portion of its admittedly limited power to influence the Executive, on the mere call-out that the exercise of such power would is somehow "hypocritical".

A call-out that the legislature is not "standing behind" the troops insofar as it conveys the message of a divided America is likewise absurd - especially when the major portion of the body politic of that divided nation does not believe the mission (mis-)assigned to be one which can be successfully completed.

The duty of a soldier is to do his duty. It is to follow lawful orders. No doubt, some of our servicemen signed up, believing the Iraq adventure to be an honorable, prudent and righteous one; no doubt some signed up (or were called up), believing (or coming to believe) that it was a mistake ab initio; an incompetency throughout; and/or having other beliefs and feelings on the subject. No doubt the soldiers who have been called to Iraq were and are aware of the fact that they signed onto a military which exists for and within a democray, and which is likewise governed by that democracy. No doubt such soldiers were and are aware that the very theory and nature and point of democracy is that the will of the body politic is subject to change, and that its will find expression in and thru political representatives and the political process. I do not expect that American servicemen do not understand this, nor do I expect that they will fail to do their duty.

Posted by: dgf at February 15, 2007 03:08 PM

I find ridiculous the suggestion that the Legislature surrender a portion of its admittedly limited power to influence the Executive, on the mere call-out that the exercise of such power would is somehow "hypocritical".


I am not asking the legislature to "surrender" anything. If anything, I am asking them to USE their power or stop prevaricating.

They possess the power to stop this war dead in its tracks by cutting funding. It's called the power of the purse.

News article after news article has ADMITTED that the Democrats are afraid to openly cut the funding for the war because the don't want to be "perceived" as "not supporting" the troops.

But the truth is that they want to bring them home. Fine. Cut the funding.

This is no different that when they were bitching about the NSA program being "illegal". But then they wouldn't cut the funding for that, either.

Bullshit. If they TRULY believed it was illegal they had a CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY to CUT THE FUNDING.

The truth of the matter is simple: they lack the courage of their so-called "convictions". Put up, or shut up. If you believe something, act on it. If you don't, STFU.

I am not saying they can't act. I am saying they HAVE TO ACT if they believe what they are saying. And I don't want them to do what they want to do. I think they could probably do it, dgf. I really do. And it scares the crap out of me.

I do not understand, I really don't, why they fail to act.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2007 03:18 PM

And dgf, you really need to read more carefully. There is nothing about "surrendering" in my post and you persist in misreading what I write. It could not be more clear.

I came right out and said it, and there is no mistaking what I meant:

There is only one honest course of action left for those who oppose this war: openly vote to cut off all funding NOW. ...we must demand honest government from our leaders, both those who support and oppose the war. Half-measures do no favors to those in the line of fire. Though I do not wish to see us pull out of Iraq, I would rather see an honest fight - even if we lose that argument - in Congress than the kind of hypocrisy we're seeing now.

How you can possibly get "surrender" from this is beyond me.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2007 03:22 PM

Can people that oppose the war try to convince teh president to take a different course? Can people realize that this is better than this cut the funding now crap? Thats what it is, crap. Its like saying that those that want to invade iran should invade now or STFU. Which is a ridiculous way to run a free society.

Posted by: annak at February 15, 2007 03:23 PM


Maybe we can, like totally have a committee meeting and publish the minutes in the NY Times so Iran can read them!

In fact, let's just do away with government entirely. It's so ... hierarchical and sucky. Why should some people get to make decisions and others have to live with them? Why not just keep revisiting everything ad nauseam?

That would be so... like... totally *better* Anna. I can think of countless wars that have been won that way. Out of the vast fount of your military experience, maybe you can help us out with that one.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2007 03:31 PM

Do away with the government? what? Committee? What are you talking about? I'm talking about how there are lots of positions and opinions between dubyas ideas and 'cut the funding now.' And there are some things that can be done, by private citizens and well as members of congress, to help make those positions a reality. this STFU crap? its just bullshit. The sort of bullshit peddled by morons that believe in this:

"The recent uptick in violence in Baghdad is directly related to the dissent and division here at home."

Then again, 'directly related' is so weasely. Say what you mean, or STFU.

Posted by: annak at February 15, 2007 03:37 PM

There is only one honest course of action left for those who oppose this war: openly vote to cut off all funding NOW.

You write that as an axiom. It is, however, hardly a self-evident proposition. It requires considerable more exposition, setting out what courses-of-action are being railled-against (and argued-for), and what the likely (or arguably likely) consequences are with respect to the alternatives.

Could the Democrats pass and enact the legislation you call for? Maybe it's obvious that they could. I'm no expert on, say, Senate procedures and Presidential Vetos and signing statements and the like, or of all the other political ins and outs. I am unconvinced that the path the Democratic leadership has apparently chosen is not a sensible one, and wholly unpersuaded at present that it is "the only honest one" in play.

Posted by: dgf at February 15, 2007 03:55 PM

I'm all for STFU, ya know? :)

The "uptick in violence in Bagdad" is probably caused by a lot of things, like fighting (really?) between the political militias and the Iraqi Army/Police and their allies, the US Army/Marines, which is what the proverbial "surge" was meant to address, in part. So maybe, it's working? In part? Bueller?

Where in the world is al-Sadr???

The political militias (connected to SCIRI, DAWA, etc.) and the allies of Al Qaeda in Iraq, aren't "giving up" and are causing this "uptick in violence" (like you could tell the difference based om the past year? I know, falling helicopters is the key metric!) in part because they can also read the NY TIMES (online too, I'll bet) and are betting THEIR future that sooner or later (probably sooner), the august US Senate will pull the plug on all this, and the US Army will pack it in and go back to their bases in Iraq, or just come home.

And what are the nuanced positions between "Dubya's" surge tactics to achieve the oft-stated end-war aims (stable Iraqi gov. and civic life), and "cut the funding", end the war?
If the "surge" fails, then doesn't "Dubya" lose completely, get discredited on everything, and is guillotined on the mall by Chairman Murtha on live TV on July 4th (8 pm Eastern, 7 Central)?
Inquiring minds want to know.

How long shall we drag this out and politically micromanage the situation if the Army/Marines aren't allowed to "win" by following some sort of tactics and strategy to achieve a stable Iraq?

And now, I go off to STFU land.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 15, 2007 04:26 PM

Me too.

We are, apparently, not supposed to notice any of the many, many communiques we've captured between the enemy that flat out SAY their main strategy is to leverage the internal dissention in our government, or to ENCOURAGE the antiwar movement to make them give up, to convince the American public we are losing the war even though the troops over there mostly still think we can win. But hell, what do they know - they are just actually there. The press, who are too scared to cover the war firsthand, obviously know better.

And people like Anna and dgf.

Nope. Nothing to see here. Pay no attention when they flat out tell us that's what they're trying to accomplish. It's all a trick.

Pay no attention when the Iraqis themselves tell us they are discouraged because they don't think they can trust the American public and so they are hedging their bets by joining militias because they are sure we'll leave them high and dry.


Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2007 04:38 PM

nuance? There's not a lot of nuance here. Dubya is increasing our commitment to 140 some thousand. cut the funding, which bush has proposed for 2009, means 0. There's a whole lot of un-nuanced numbers between 140 thousand and 0. STFU is all about trying to get people to not notice that.

Posted by: annak at February 15, 2007 04:40 PM

Anna, nice try.

My husband works in the Pentagon crunching the numbers you are talking about and doing war planning and you are so full of crap your eyes should be bigger and browner than mine, and trust me chica, my eyes are very big and very brown. You don't know what you are talking about.

Give me a break. And the President doesn't "cut" funding. Congress votes on funding. Go out and buy a civics book. It will be good for you. The President proposes, Congress disposes.

"The President proposes and the Congress disposes" is a well known phrase in Washington. It also is an easy way to remember the fundamental reality that the President's budget is only the START of the budget process. Congress ultimately sets the true funding levels.

Reading. It's fun-damental. Educational too!

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2007 04:54 PM

The president proposed a budget till 2012. Starting in 2009, its got 0 funding for iraq. Say what you will about who sets the budget, but thats his proposal. I think it has something to do with him trying to say that he's balanced the budget by 2012. I don't think he actually wants to leave in 2009. I think in actuality he wants to be able to lie about what he wants the budget to be.

But congress does not ultimately set funding. Well, sort of of. The president can veto a spending bill. But congress could, technically, override that veto. But if it cant, then that veto is ultimate. Separation of powers tends to work that way.

Posted by: annak at February 15, 2007 05:06 PM

Or could it be... gee, I dunno... that someone else will be President in 2009? Kind of a logical assumption that maybe we either won't be in Iraq or he's not making any assumptions.

What happens in 2008?

Oh! An election!

Sheesh. Give it a rest Anna. Why don't we just live in the present for now, OK?

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2007 05:15 PM

AnnaK, which Bush budget? "Just vote for the bush budget, which cuts off funding in 2009." The 07 budget which just is about to get passed by Congress? The 08 budget that was just submitted? Or some imaginary 09 budget that is still to be written?

It's OK to be against OIF, to be anti-war, but it definitely NOT OK to risk lives for political gain! If you are against the war and not calling for removal of the troops, that hypocrisy. If you are against the war in Congress and not calling for cutting funds, your best effort for influencing the administration, then you are a hypocrite. If you are in Congress and playing the margins with the budget, then you are worse than a hypocrite, you are a win at all costs politician.

AnnaK, since you are a budget expert take a look at this chart and let me know what you think.

Posted by: CoRev at February 15, 2007 05:28 PM

Okay, back from STFU land. It's cold out there!

Gee, we went through this in 1995, when the Republican Congress and the Democratic Executive/Pres. Clinton "shut down" the Fed. Gov. because of a budget impasse. Oops, continuing resolutions kept some things going.
Yes Virginia, ultimately, the Congress MUST approve ALL budgets and amounts of monies spent, or the wheels stop turning and all our Federal public servants go home. If they wanted to (and were foolish enough to) they (the Congress) could also micromanage any discretionary funds spent by the Executive.
This, in part, was what got Nixon in trouble in the '70's, as he did not spend his budget as exactly told.
And Iran-contra; the Reagan Executive Branch was forbidden by the "Boland amendment" (those were giddy times!) of doing anything materially to militarily help the Contras on the Federal nickel (they could only talk about it while they were in the head, or on coffee breaks). Really. Es pravda!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 15, 2007 05:31 PM

Hey Anna..
When are you and people like you going to understand that we really, truly, swear to God or that oak tree, honestly are at war?
And when are you going to understand that the Democrats just want back in the White House and they really don't give a crap what happens between now and then because they think they can blame it on Bush aka Satan?
I'll tell you when..
When you are trying to decide what color burka to wear.
Stupid cow..
You don't get a choice...

Posted by: Carrie at February 15, 2007 05:35 PM

It could be that someone else will be president in 09. In which case, it will be someone else that increases that budget and destroys bush's balancing. Nice one. Live in the present? We're talking about the future here, about what happens from our decisions. Stop being a child.

Corey, the budget he sent in, and in which he claimed during the state of the union to balance the budget by 2012. You know how tehre are spending lines for years beyond the current one right? you know how we plan ahead? how we set tax rates and other rates to change over time.

Can I be agaisnt the war and believe that teh surge is one last shot? In that case, i'd support a temporary increase and tehn an increase. I don't know who these people are, but there are people who are calling the surge 'one last shot.'

Posted by: annak at February 15, 2007 05:41 PM

(First a quick "my bad" (likely obvious, but maybe not) - Last sentence my last post - "it" should read "'the cut-all-funding-now proposal'")

And people like Anna and dgf.

Yeah. People like the majority of Americans. Moms and dads; peaceniks and career soldiers; braniacs to dolts; Democrats and Republicans and Independents; the bums and the beatified and the in-between. You apparently do not truly grasp the simple fact that a majority of Americans have come to view the Iraq invasion as mis-begotten and that a surge is not a real solution to our failed policy and bollixed-up invasion and occupation. You disagree. OK. That's really OK. It's OK not to be in the majority. Doesn't mean you're right or wrong. It does mean you may tend to see your point of view not prevail.

Posted by: dgf at February 15, 2007 05:45 PM

dgf, again, what is with the lack of reading comprehension?

I have admitted that time and time again. READ THE POST. I say it once in a post and then pull the same exerpt out in a comment and still it is lost on you.

It really makes me wonder. And Anna makes fun of me for bolding things, but still you have made the same point three times, as though I were arguing a POINT I MADE IN MY ORIGINAL POST.

Maybe the third time will be the charm:

I would rather see an honest fight - even if we lose that argument

Does it look as though I don't understand I "could be in the minority"?

Christ dgf. You worry me. You really do. After I already came right out and said "I think they could probably do it, dgf. I really do. And it scares the crap out of me.

But still I am willing to have the discussion OUT IN THE OPEN, the way the Founders intended. Win or lose, even though I honest to God think my side will lose.

I really think you just don't read anything that disagrees with you - you just talk.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 15, 2007 06:02 PM

I suspect that the Iraqis who are trying to change their country into something different than what Saddam Hussein wanted would have some issues with your comment, DGF.
I make no claims to being in the mainstream but I do get the sense that you aren't either. I think it's disingenuous for you to try to claim that.

Joe Lieberman's re-election in an admittedly left leaning state says otherwise.

Let me ask you this...what happens to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who voted, who lined up to join the military and the police force?
What is your position going to do to them?
What do we owe them?

What do we owe our troops who don't want to leave...? Who say that we can win this if we have the spine, the wherewithall, and the determination.
They sweat, they bleed, and they watch their brothers and sisters die and yet they say to stay and finish the job.
what do you say to them?

Posted by: Carrie at February 15, 2007 06:10 PM

I like having open debates too. Like yesterday, when Murtha's folks said he was planning to "undermine" the President's national security policy.

That's the kind of thing I like to know about a man. I'd like all that sort of thing to be out in the open.

Posted by: Grim at February 15, 2007 06:12 PM

dgf-- You apparently do not truly grasp the simple fact that a majority of Americans have come to view the Iraq invasion as mis-begotten and that a surge is not a real solution to our failed policy and bollixed-up invasion and occupation.

If that's true, I question why the, "majority," of Americans view it YOUR way, dgf. I hope you aren't trying to imply that, because more people agree with you, that makes you correct?

IF IT'S TRUE that most Americans believe as you do, perhaps it's because they have been inundated by negative reporting for the last 4 years. We keep seeing people declaring that we are, "losing," or even that we have already, "lost," but I've yet to see anyone define by what standards we are losing, and by what standards they would consider us to be, "winning." There is a lot of empty rhetoric floating around out there.

For months the Dhimmicrats were screaming, "Stay the course isn't working!" without making any suggestions on how to do it better. Now, they're screaming, "the surge won't work," and STILL NOT MAKING SUGGESTIONS on how to do it better.

As far as the surge goes, I don't believe that anyone outside of the military advisors and those who are privy to their advice, has the knowledge to make a judgment on whether that is the solution. IOW, if you don't know what the hell you're talking about, you really ought to STFU!

Posted by: JannyMae at February 15, 2007 06:26 PM

Cass you are spot on.

Posted by: Jane at February 15, 2007 06:48 PM

- Oh Cassandra --

Pardon me for my frankness/bluntness, but you really might consider stepping back a bit and taking a breath. You're way too angry for anybody's good, much less your own.

I mention it mainly because I think that that anger has caused you to mis-read my posts. Or perhaps I'm simply not as precise in writing as I might be.

Whatever, you write (as part of your exposition of my alleged reading comprehension difficulties) that in earlier posts you'd clearly said you believed that you would be in the minority in an "honest" fight. Yup. You wrote that. Whether it's true as to your conscious belief, I'll concede that; whether it's true as far as what would happen, personally I really don't know. And, recall, that this "honest fight" scenario is (per Cass) by definition limited to a vote on a "cut-all-funding-now" proposal. All else (says Cass; indeed, this is the crux of her original post), is "dishonest". dgf, it will be recalled, said he was unpersuaded of that naked assessment.

What I wrote in my last post was that you don't "truly grasp the simple fact that a majority of Americans have come to view the Iraq invasion . . . and a surge is not a real solution . . ." I meant what I wrote; perhaps I should have bolded the "truly"? In your riposte you write, Does it look as though I don't understand I "could be in the minority"? and I say (again), yes Cass "you don't truly grasp . . .", because it's not a question of you maybe being in the minority, you are in the minority ~ among your fellow Americans; the only question is, will your minority position and the political power at the hands of like-minded politicians provide a winning (non-losing?) hand or not, politically.

Somehow, then, I feel, you don't truly grasp where America has come. It must be tough for you. I know that for a long time under this Administration, I have often felt frustrated, outraged, etc., and perhaps did not truly grasp where "America was" at times, w/ respect to Iraq. Now, I'm cautiously optomistic and you are majorly pessimistic. That's life. We disagree.

Posted by: dgf at February 15, 2007 06:59 PM

AnnaK, there are budgets, there are State of the Union speeches which cite plans, and there are plans for balancing the budget, but they are not interchangeable. Words have meaning. Use them correctly.

Any comments on the chart? If it is any where true 08 is going to be a very interesting year. If the surge is any where near successful, and its already showing some success, 08 is going to be even more interesting.

Hypocrites out truthiness in.

Posted by: CoRev at February 15, 2007 07:02 PM

"Somehow, then, I feel, you don't truly grasp where America has come. It must be tough for you."

I'll agree with you, dgf, this far: Cass has never undersood what faithless and worthless people most Americans are. She believes them to be good, or mostly good; in truth, they are mostly uninterested, and wish only to feed and glory in it. She puts too much faith in a people and a process that have betrayed their allies time and again. She forgets there are so many like you.

That doesn't make it right for America to make promises and then break them; to expose people to both hope and danger, and then walk away to let the one die and the other consume them. It cannot make it right for Congress to pursue a policy that will "slow bleed" our own soldiers while they are in combat their commander in chief has directed them to fight.

You're an advocate of a position as immoral as it is possible to be. It is a direct and pure betrayal of the men and women who have offered their lives in your defense. A gentleman has no words to convey the disgust with which I view you and your ilk. Your position is not merely dishonorable; it is so far removed from honor that, by your own admission, you cannot understand the complaint against it.

That chorus of Americans who wish no more than to slumber undisturbed may, at last, be led to your position, if only by their desire to avoid having to hear hard news. That doesn't make you right -- it makes you worse, for having helped to lead them where no man ought to go.

Posted by: Grim at February 15, 2007 07:23 PM

Grimm -

While no doubt satisfying to you, your outburst has (perhaps unsurprisingly) failed to convince me of my fundamental moral decay. Or that of my compatriots.

Posted by: dgf at February 15, 2007 07:31 PM

Yet..decay you do.
No backbone, no willigness to suffer to support a war effort not brought about by us but by outside forces. the outside forces count on that, you see.
What exactly have you suffered personally in this war?
Your compatriots could be comprised of a mouse in your pocket..
one does only know so much.

We win or we lose. It's that simple.

Posted by: Carrie at February 15, 2007 07:37 PM

"Tell me that I have not wasted the past three years of my life, and that my faith in my country is not misguided."

You have not wasted your time, but poured out your heart, Cass. I detect disturbance in the force and that the Blog Princess is getting herself wrapped around the axle of history. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Congress is craven and a source of constant disappointment. Expect little from this consortium of self serving asses and you will not be disappointed. The American people are, as usual, ill informed and indifferent to what does not affect them directly right now, or what is not a demagogue's hot button issue. If Congress had a collective spine and were not a bunch of self serving wankers, the people could be led to do as they should - take out Iran. And if pigs could fly...

I definitely agree the Parliament of Whores should vote immediately to cut funding, if they believe the war is wrong. Most of these equivocating bastards realize this would be disastrous to American prestige throughout the world and have horrible consequences. Their only fear is that the axe will fall on their watch. They fear moral indictment by the American people and genuine repercussions for what in effect is political malpractice and criminal negligence. I would see the lot guillotined in the Mall, as Don wryly suggests Murhta would GWB.

We can choose to fight now, a limited war, or later a full fledged war of annihilation. Grim has written well and in depth on the subject. Sooner or later most likely a terorist group, but perhaps a state, will use nuclear weapons against Israel, the US, or both. This will initiate world nuclear war.

" I do not understand, I really don't, why they fail to act."

I do. These paste eaters want to have their cake and eat it, too. All actions are geared to gaining the Whitehouse in 2008, both Houses (whorehouses) and desperately praying something like the San Francisco earthquake does not descend upon what passes for progressive foreign policy as a house of cards.

Actually STFU is about national credibility. Does the word of America to an ally mean anything when it hits the fan? Probing minds want to know.

Posted by: Mark at February 15, 2007 07:38 PM

Carrie -
I think it's disingenuous for you to try to claim that [you are mainstream?]. I don't know that I did claim to be mainstream, or that I even know what you mean by that, in the present context.

what happens to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who voted, who lined up to join the military and the police force?Good questions. Hopefully people in the White House, State Department, Pentagon, and Senate are thinking about and working hard on details of Plan Bs. I really do hope that they are . . .

What do we owe our troops who don't want to leave...? We owe them their pay, and benefits and respect and thanks. They owe us their service, and adherence to their duty.

Posted by: dgf at February 15, 2007 07:40 PM

There is no one so blind as one who refuses to see.

Posted by: Pile On® at February 15, 2007 07:42 PM

You did try to claim majority status, DGF. Just go back and read your comments.

As to what happens to those who are willing to believe/support a new Iraq, you're pretty careless with what happens to them. You don't think your actions have consequences? Any at all?

As to the last, we owe them something else..we owe them the gratitude for serving their country, we owe them the right to expect that what we have sent them to do , we want them to do.
What we don't owe them is what you're suggesting...
the "oh wait..we changed our minds" argument that you and your.....people..are trying to assert now.

We're there..we've crossed the Rubicon..we've broken eggs...we can't leave until it's done.
It's that simple unless you've got a solution that fixes everything.
I have yet to see it.

Posted by: Carrie at February 15, 2007 07:47 PM

These are trivial matter dgf, let us now discus matters of long term effect on the western world.

What is your opinion of the Anna Nicole Smith situation?

Posted by: Pile On® at February 15, 2007 07:54 PM

Dave, Anna, put down your shovels and stop digging. The holes are quite deep enough.

Posted by: Mark at February 15, 2007 07:57 PM

Pile On, I am the father of her baby.

Posted by: John Kerry at February 15, 2007 08:11 PM

No, Luke, I am the father.

Posted by: Darth Vader eating his cream cheese donut and drinking a cup o' Mr. Coffee at February 15, 2007 10:25 PM

Fat chance, helmet head. We all know who the real stud muffin is here.

Posted by: Sooty's Evil Twin at February 15, 2007 10:28 PM

I'm resolved to be the baby's father, but only in a non-binding fashion that makes it look as though I fully support the child but doesn't require that I take any action that might commit me in any way.

Posted by: Joe Biden at February 15, 2007 10:33 PM

Whatever you want to call it. His proposal had 07, 08 and 09 spending. And yes. he can veto what congress passes if he doesn't like it. Clinton did.

Its that simple unless you can fix everything. Hrm. Maybe so. I have an even simpler plan: win.

Posted by: annak at February 16, 2007 12:28 AM

AnnaK, the point is that you were talking out your left ear, or any other body orifice you choose. There is no 09 budget, which you cited at least twice in your comments. There is a plan/proposal for balancing the budget, but no defunding of the war/military.

Win what? The election? The war? This discussion?

Posted by: CoRev at February 16, 2007 06:34 AM

Pardon my cynicism.

Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, tasked by Democrats to direct the next step, says his approach ''stops the surge, for all intents and purposes,'' and would ''force a redeployment -- not by taking money away, by redirecting money.''

Former Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas, said Democrats have made a ''very clear point'' this week by putting the House on record against Bush's troop buildup and now must be careful not to overplay their hand by seeking to cut off funding or limit deployments right away.

''They don't want to be a scapegoat for the Bush administration's failures,'' Frost said. ''This is Bush's war, and there should be no confusion about who's war it is, and Democrats should not set themselves up to have that done to them.''

Patriots all?

Politics is now written in blood.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 16, 2007 07:28 AM

There is bush's proposal. Which has no funding after 09, even though it reaches furhter than that. But maybe you are right. Maybe he knows iraq will need money after 09, and this is just a coverup so he can claim he's balancing the budget by 2012. We shouldn't be voting for his proposals.

Why cut off funding now? The best way to win is to convince your opponents. I can't think of a more convincing thing than what has been happening. Lots of americans have come around, more will too. This surge will speed that along.

Posted by: annak at February 16, 2007 08:13 AM

I, Bob Waywardwoodie, fathered Anna Nicole's child in a secret interview I had with her.
One thing led to another. I showed her my liver spots and she came on to me.

Posted by: Bob Woodward at February 16, 2007 09:06 AM

One thing led to another. I showed her my liver spots and she came on to me.

Oh Bobby!!!!....and I just kept coming, and coming, and coming....!!!!

Posted by: Anna Nicole at February 16, 2007 09:19 AM

Politics is now written in blood.

How dare you try to dredge up my very own words and quote them against me, sir. Are you questioning my patriotism?

Posted by: Jack Murtha at February 16, 2007 09:32 AM

Politics is now written in blood.

But at least it is consensual.

Posted by: Tiffany the Vampire at February 16, 2007 09:51 AM

10% off pickaxes, this week only!!!

They're lots of fun!!!

Posted by: Penelope the Sex Toy Diva at February 16, 2007 10:12 AM

Wow. DGF, Anna-whatever, please join anyone whom I disagree with. You manage to alienate folks so very well, it'd be better than a dozen expert proponents on my side.

Posted by: Sailorette at February 16, 2007 11:35 AM


You seem to be hung up on the idea that there's only been a budget thru 09. We are currently in Budget Year 2007. If you look at the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, you will see the following:

"To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;"

Two years from 2007 is, for those (like annak) educated in government schools, 2009. Note that only the armed forces budget is constrained in that way. Now, I realize that for annak, the Constitution means whatever she wants it to mean, but those of us who consider it important try to observe it.

Oh, and dgf, if "The duty of a soldier is to do his duty.", then you might want to be worried. Because the oath that soldier swears is to defend the Constitution against "all enemies foreign and domestic." To identify a domestic enemy, look in the mirror.

Posted by: SDN at February 16, 2007 11:54 AM

"10% off pickaxes, this week only!!!
They're lots of fun!!!

Can they be used for that most delicate of operations -- rectal-cranialectomy? Can I get one with a ten foot handle? (so I don't have to get any closer than necessary) Might be the perfect leverage for those who are *in it* up to their shoulders.

Posted by: Sly2017 at February 16, 2007 12:28 PM

Can't they appropriate for 2 years, from 09 to 11? Does the military not plan ahead more than 2 years in its expenditure?

Posted by: annak at February 16, 2007 02:56 PM

The Congress could appropriate for two years, but, again, two years from the current budget year, 07, is 09, not 11. Also, the military may in fact have such plans; the formal, legal, documents, per the Constitution, are limited to 2.

Posted by: SDN at February 16, 2007 06:50 PM

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