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July 23, 2008

What Does Obama Offer America, Minus The Hype?

Vizzini cuts the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing

Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word.
I do not think it means what you think it means.

For the past few days, American voters have been bombarded with carefully selected images of a presidential candidate whose strongest qualification for office seems to be the audacious hope that come November, he will occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Demonstrably his resume, when contrasted with previous occupants of the Oval Office, is painfully thin:

Obviously it is racist to wonder whether Barack Obama has enough experience - or even the right experience - to handle the demanding duties of running the world's largest superpower. In deciding that such questions are racist, we are not allowed to look at the facts.

We are not allowed, for instance, to compare Obama's experience to that of other men who have won the nomination of their party in presidential elections:

Since the Civil War, 49 men have won a major-party presidential nomination. Only three of these nominees were less qualified, by traditional measures of leadership and experience, than Obama.

That puts Barack Obama at or around the 6th percentile of presidential candidates chosen by a major party in the last century and a half, experience-wise. But we are not allowed to notice this, because it would be racist to elevate experience over skin color.

Interestingly:

None of those men was able to win the White House.

But we are not allowed to notice this, because it would be racist to elevate statistical evidence of voter preferences over skin color.

Americans have only elected 6 U.S. Presidents who had no previous executive experience. Notably, since the Civil War, we have only elected one: John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

But we are not allowed to notice this. You see, that would be racist.

One might be justified in asking, is executive experience a good predictor of presidential performance? Let's find out:

Based on the historical rankings of all the U.S. Presidents (the Wall Street Journal 2005 study) compared to their levels of experience prior to taking the high office, the evidence indicates that experience in general isn't in itself an indicator of how successful our Presidents have been in office. However, there is evidence that that the type of experience is extremely important. By dividing our Presidents into groups based on the types of experience they had prior to coming to office, here are some statistical observations:

* Presidents who possessed previous experience as a Government Chief Executive at the state or local level have above-average historical ratings.

* Presidents who did not possess previous experience as a Government Chief Executive at the state or local level have below-average historical ratings.



Click for bigger

But since Amerikka has a long history of deeply entrenched racism, the very notion that we can trust history is, in itself, deeply racist. So that's right out.

Though John McCain has no executive experience in civilian government, he was the the Executive Officer and the Squadron Commander of the largest aviation squadron in the United States Navy, having attained the rank of Captain. Having direct responsibility for a government organization which employs over 1000 people and maintains 75 aircraft is comparable to running a small corporation.

Barack Obama has no comparable executive experience in either the civilian or government sector. So we are left with the question of who has more legislative experience: John McCain or Barack Obama?

John McCain has 24 years, both as a member of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. He has been a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee since his election to the Senate in 1987.

Barack Obama was an Illinois State Legislator from 1997-2004 and a United States Senator from 2005 to the present. He served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has 8 11 (thanks, Jeffrey!) years of experience to John McCain's 24. Only 3 years of Mr. Obama's legislative experience were served at the national level. Assuming the two men's records were directly comparable in a qualitative sense (they are not), from a quantitative sense Mr. Obama brings less than one third half the amount of experience to the table.

Perhaps to make up for the glaring deficits in his experience, Senator Obama assures us he has "The Judgment to Lead" and that his candidacy offers "change we can believe in". That many Obama fans have fallen for the latter slogan is evident from listening to the gushingly inane pronouncements of celebs like George Michael:

Michael, 45, touring North America for the first time in 17 years, told fans during a concert at New York City's Madison Square Garden that "I know you guys all need a change."

He admitted he doesn't know what kind of change Obama would bring if elected, saying that after "months of watching CNN" he still does not know what Obama or Clinton stand for. But he went on to say that the Illinois and New York senators would make "the strongest team" for the Democratic ticket.

That many Democrats are willing to embrace change - any kind of change - for change's sake is all too evident from statements like Michael's and Susan Sarandon's:

"So I think he definitely has convinced people that he stands for change and for hope, and I can't wait to see what he stands for."

Blind, unthinking support. Now there's change America can believe in, if they only knew what it was. Oh well. Just close your eyes and Daddy will fix all the evil in the world while you sleep. Never mind about those pesky details:

THE INITIAL MEDIA coverage of Barack Obama's visit to Iraq suggested that the Democratic candidate found agreement with his plan to withdraw all U.S. combat forces on a 16-month timetable. So it seems worthwhile to point out that, by Mr. Obama's own account, neither U.S. commanders nor Iraq's principal political leaders actually support his strategy.

But this is not a matter which need concern you. The metamessage here is that an Obama presidency is inevitable. Like Fate, Obama cannot be denied and those who dare to point out the inconsistencies between what he says and the realities on the ground are just petty naysayers who oppose the hopeful change Obama so desperately wants to bring to a waiting world:

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the architect of the dramatic turnaround in U.S. fortunes, "does not want a timetable," Mr. Obama reported with welcome candor during a news conference yesterday. In an interview with ABC, he explained that "there are deep concerns about . . . a timetable that doesn't take into account what [American commanders] anticipate might be some sort of change in conditions."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has a history of tailoring his public statements for political purposes, made headlines by saying he would support a withdrawal of American forces by 2010. But an Iraqi government statement made clear that Mr. Maliki's timetable would extend at least seven months beyond Mr. Obama's. More significant, it would be "a timetable which Iraqis set" -- not the Washington-imposed schedule that Mr. Obama has in mind. It would also be conditioned on the readiness of Iraqi forces, the same linkage that Gen. Petraeus seeks. As Mr. Obama put it, Mr. Maliki "wants some flexibility in terms of how that's carried out."

But these are mere trivialities. It is so important to stay on message and the message here is the Obama brings hope, he has the judgment to lead, and most importantly that he was right to bravely oppose the Surge, even if ignorant folk think he doesn't quite grasp the mechanics of the recent turnaround in Iraq's fortunes:

It’s conventional wisdom now to say that Anbar improved because the Sunni tribes aligned against al Qaeda. True enough, but an incomplete explanation. With inadequate manpower, the Marines and Army National Guard and active duty soldiers persisted year after year with gritty, relentless patrolling that convinced the tribes the American military was, as one tribal leader said to me, “the strongest tribe”. Hence the tribes could turn against al Qaeda, knowing they had the strongest tribe standing behind them.

But why join “the strongest tribe” if it is migrating back to the States?

Furthermore, Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army ceasefire was a result of the surge, but had nothing to do with the decrease in suicide bombings, which accounted for the biggest reduction in violence at the time.

Barack Obama — a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — should have been paying more attention to what was going on in Iraq as he prepared to run for president than relying on the Washington Post. That he either remains ignorant of what happened in Iraq, or seeks to mislead voters about it, simply to maintain the fiction that he was not wrong about the surge, does not inspire confidence in his competence or trustworthiness.

The fact of the matter is that it is Obama who has a frighteningly poor grasp of the Surge and what it has accomplished. He argues, illogically, that we cannot afford to lose in Iraq. And yet we should never have funded the very Surge that transformed Iraq from a losing proposition to the point where he is able to speak of withdrawing troops. He says he wants to "avoid hypotheticals", yet his entire "plan" is based on the hypothetical and completely unsupported notion that, had we given in to the demands of al Qaeda and the insurgency they would have laid down their arms and abandoned their publicly announced plan to seize an Arab state and turn it into the central front of a global jihad against the West.

Mr. Bin Laden must not have received the official Obama memo. Contrary to whatever al Qaeda may have in mind Iraq is not - we repeat not - the central front in the war on terror.

Such colossal ignorance, such determination to ignore what Osama bin Laden has openly threatened to do time and time again is, truly, (as Rep. Heather Wilson stated) frightening. His determination to ignore the words Bin Laden has taunted us with repeatedly - that retreat, far from placating al Qaeda, only encourages further attacks, is incomprehensible:

...fears [have] enshrined you all. Where was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut took place on 1983 AD (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered pits and pieces at that time; 241 mainly marines solders were killed. And where was this courage of yours when two explosions made you to leave Aden in lees than twenty four hours!

But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu.

It is not John McCain who fundamentally fails to understand the Surge or the nature of the enemy we face, but Barack Obama. The Anbar Awakening was, like many gains purchased at such great cost in Iraq, indeed fragile and easily reversible. It took a massive and credible demonstration of America's ongoing commitment to the future of democracy in Iraq to move those early gains from the "clear" column into the "hold" column; to build trust in the hearts of ordinary Iraqis that we would not pull the rug out from underneath them, to convince them to risk retribution from the insurgency and report the militia members in their neighborhoods.

Clearly, Barack Obama still does not understand simple human nature. He does not understand the nature of instilling trust, whether it be among our foreign allies or in the troops he would one day lead should be become Commander in Chief. Trust means having the courage to stick with unpopular positions. It means keeping your promises, even when the political winds grow chilly and sharp:

Just as success in winning past global conflicts depended on forging a broad coalition that stretched across party and ideological lines, success in using the advance of democracy to win the war on terror will depend on building and maintaining a wide consensus of support.

Yet despite these criticisms, I recognize that I have the luxury of criticizing Mr. Bush's democracy agenda only because there is a democracy agenda in the first place. A policy that for years had been nothing more than the esoteric subject of occasional academic debate is now the focal point of American statecraft.

For decades, a "realism" based on a myopic perception of international stability prevailed in the policy-making debate. For a brief period during the Cold War, the realist policy of accommodating Soviet tyranny was replaced with a policy that confronted that tyranny and made democracy and human rights inside the Soviet Union a litmus test for superpower relations.

The enormous success of such a policy in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end did not stop most policy makers from continuing to advocate an approach to international stability that was based on coddling "friendly" dictators and refusing to support the aspirations of oppressed peoples to be free.

Then came Sept. 11, 2001. It seemed as though that horrific day had made it clear that the price for supporting "friendly" dictators throughout the Middle East was the creation of the world's largest breeding ground of terrorism. A new political course had to be charted.

Today, we are in the midst of a great struggle between the forces of terror and the forces of freedom. The greatest weapon that the free world possesses in this struggle is the awesome power of its ideas.

The Bush Doctrine, based on a recognition of the dangers posed by non-democratic regimes and on committing the United States to support the advance of democracy, offers hope to many dissident voices struggling to bring democracy to their own countries. The democratic earthquake it has helped unleash, even with all the dangers its tremors entail, offers the promise of a more peaceful world.

Yet with each passing day, new voices are added to the chorus of that doctrine's opponents, and the circle of its supporters grows ever smaller.

Critics rail against every step on the new and difficult road on which the United States has embarked. Yet in pointing out the many pitfalls which have not been avoided and those which still can be, those critics would be wise to remember that the alternative road leads to the continued oppression of hundreds of millions of people and the continued festering of the pathologies that led to 9/11.

Now that President Bush is increasingly alone in pushing for freedom, I can only hope that his dissident spirit will continue to persevere. For should that spirit break, evil will indeed triumph, and the consequences for our world would be disastrous.

I have said this before, but there is often a steep price for doing the right thing and in an increasingly borderless world we may well be finding out that freedom is not the automatic birthright we once believed it to be. Technology is rapidly dissolving the buffers which have traditionally allowed us to think of ourselves as an isolationist nation: people, information and money move freely and with astonishing speed around the globe and neither force of arms nor the law appear able to stop them for long.

And so we are left with ideology. This, and a man many think is too stupid to eat a pretzel without choking. And yet, he sees this.

I think history will treat George Bush kindly.

Obama, not so much.

Update: The comments are closed on this post.

Posted by Cassandra at July 23, 2008 06:17 AM

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Comments

Thanks for another excellant post. I will be sending a link to this to my family that think Obama's time has come. I personally think Obama's time has come - the time for him to leave office!!

Posted by: Kat at July 23, 2008 10:30 AM

Cass, I've decided to write a paper focusing on Obama's Iraq strategy, the Surge, and the Anbar Awakening using an ACH methodology (Analysis of Competing Hypotheses). I'll let you know when it's ready. I'm not sure where I'll post it yet. It's not quite right for Intelfusion, although ACH is a well-known intelligence tool for analysis so I may shop it around at other sites. I'll let you know where it winds up.

In the meantime, I think you made a small math error in calculating Obama's experience. 1997-2004 and 2005 to the present would be 11 years, not 8.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 23, 2008 10:40 AM

Another outstanding example of your hobby leaving many professionals in the shade M'lady.

"Clearly, Barack Obama still does not understand simple human nature. He does not understand the nature of instilling trust, whether it be among our foreign allies or in the troops he would one day lead should be become Commander in Chief. Trust means having the courage to stick with unpopular positions. It means keeping your promises, even when the political winds grow chilly and sharp:..."
Yep.

Posted by: bthun at July 23, 2008 10:43 AM

Thanks Jeffrey :) I appreciate the heads up.

Slopping editing on my part - I do that all the time. Will fix!

Posted by: There Goes the Neighborhood at July 23, 2008 10:47 AM

Thanks. Editing in place will be the death of me. I should always double check when I add things, but I tend to be in such a hurry to finish.

Posted by: There Goes the Neighborhood at July 23, 2008 10:52 AM

I'd be interested in reading your analysis, Jeffrey.

It may take me a few days to chew through it, but I'm game.

Posted by: There Goes the Neighborhood at July 23, 2008 10:54 AM

This post is like an all you can eat buffet at the steakhouse.

Good stuff.

When it all said and done- and no matter how things shake out in Iraq- George Bush will be remembered because he believed enough in the Iraqis. He believed that they deserved freedom and he believed they were capable of managing a democratic ideal.

The Democrats don't give a damn about the Iraqis. As far as they are concerned, the and the entire Arab world can continue to suffer under tyranny for decades.

The idea of free and empowered nations clashes greatly with their world view. People might actually have the temerity to hold their leaders accountable.

Given the documented record of corruption of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, no one should be surprised.

See this:

http://sigmundcarlandalfred.wordpress.com/2007/04/26/nancy-pelosi-talking-about-ethics-ethics/

Posted by: Sigmund, Carl and Alfred at July 23, 2008 11:02 AM

"So I think he definitely has convinced people that he stands for change and for hope, and I can't wait to see what he stands for."

It's the Stepford Celebrities.

Posted by: ZZMike at July 23, 2008 01:43 PM

I should always double check when I add things, but I tend to be in such a hurry to finish.

Not unlike KtLW with the checkbook...

Posted by: BillT at July 23, 2008 01:45 PM

/smack!

More likely I should just write in Word and then paste everything into Moveable Type like I used to.

I am finding that I really can't see very well with that stupid little box you have to type into. It's easier to write in Word. I can see what I'm doing and make fewer mistakes. But I hate to go back and forth when I need to format or preview.

Posted by: AIEEEEE!!!!!!! at July 23, 2008 02:03 PM

Cut 'n' paste works for me. Server burps and ISP "oopsies" ate one too many posts I'd worked on for at least five minutes...

Posted by: BillT at July 23, 2008 02:53 PM

Metapad and notepad works better for me since they eat up less memory and I can switch to them faster.

I use clipboard, which saves what I have pasted to the 32th rendition, so I don't actually need to "save" things in metapad.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 23, 2008 04:02 PM

Well, after spending most of the day doing research I decided to do a non-political post at IntelFusion and provide what I think are the best objective resources available to help readers understand how the Surge is a small part of many factors contributing to the reduction of violence in Iraq.

My personal view, which I did not post at IntelFusion, is that Obama's description of the Surge working in combination with other factors mirrors a number of well-regarded experts including David Kilcullen and Sean McFarland as well as the authors of "Iraq Tribal Study: Al Anbar Governorate". And that's really the only issue. Is the reduction in violence due ONLY to the Surge? No. Absolutely not, and no one with any credibility claims otherwise.

The next question is, would those other factors (including the CLC program where we're paying Sunni's not to fight) have still resulted in a reduction in violence without 20,000 additional troops? General McCaffery says "the least important aspect of the so-called change in strategy was the Surge."

Now I'm not saying that Obama is absolutely correct in his position. I'm saying that no one prove that he isn't.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 01:45 AM

available to help readers understand how the Surge is a small part of many factors contributing to the reduction of violence in Iraq.

You did all that just to convince yourself that the Surge didn't do much of anything? Amazing.

I've heard of seeking the truth zealously, but this is something else entirely.

Is the reduction in violence due ONLY to the Surge? No. Absolutely not, and no one with any credibility claims otherwise.

If you actually comprehended what causality means in military affairs in Iraq, that statement of yours might have some credibility/truth to it.

I'm saying that no one prove that he isn't.

You can't even prove that you know what the hell the Surge even was. Certainly that will hinder your ability to prove Obama's point.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 02:33 AM

Is the reduction in violence due ONLY to the Surge? No. Absolutely not, and no one with any credibility claims otherwise.

If you define the Surge solely as an influx of troops you'd be correct.

But the Surge was also a fundamental change in *tactics* which the troop increase allowed to be implemented, and in fact was the rationale for the troop increase in the first place.

Which renders your statement *in*correct.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 05:16 AM

Don't speak the word "tactics", to people, Bill.

That's a military secret dontcha know!

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 05:21 AM

General McCaffery says "the least important aspect of the so-called change in strategy was the Surge."

You mean "General(Ret) McCaffery." Since he retired ten years ago, he hasn't exactly been sitting around the ol' briefing tables and he's been viewing it as -- surprise! -- an outsider..

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 05:33 AM

Some speak Truth to Power.

I speak Tactics to People.

I'm not good enough at bullsh*t to do the former...

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 05:37 AM

I'm not good enough at bullsh*t to do the former...

You just don't have a big enough poleaxe.

When you have a poleaxe that can cleave through Late Renaissance Plate, then you can speak Truth to Power ; )

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 06:49 AM

he hasn't exactly been sitting around the ol' briefing tables and he's been viewing it as -- surprise! -- an outsider..

Let's not make a judgment on the incomplete quotes given by Jeffrey here. The full text of his words might convey a different meaning than Jeffrey intended.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 06:51 AM

Let's not make a judgment on the incomplete quotes given by Jeffrey here.

No judgment rendered. I merely pointed out that Barry McCaffery is no longer privy to all the information that was available to him when he was commander of the 24thID in 1991, so his statements should be viewed as those of a private citizen, not an O-10.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 07:49 AM

A private citizen with more knowledge of the military than average, but a private citizen, nonetheless.

'Nother words, he's not a Buck-Private citizen...

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 07:57 AM

Yep.

Barry McCaffrey, who ensmartened us all with this prescient statement about the Surge in January of 2007:

"I personally think the surge of five U.S. Army brigades and a few Marine battalions dribbled out over five months is a fool's errand."

Way to go, Barry.

You certainly nailed it. I mean, the statistics alone are irrefutable evidence that you were right all along...

Not.

Posted by: Y'all are messed up at July 24, 2008 08:25 AM

Jeffrey:

I visited your site and will check out the resources you listed. I've already read 3 of them, but I imagine there's a reason you selected those and left others out.

Just as an aside, I've gone out of my way to ignore several digs in the interest of allowing a little cross-pollination here at VC. This is my normal practice. It causes problems on occasion, as I'm aware many of my readers wonder why I don't respond more assertively than I choose to, and sometimes my reticence leads to people feeling they have to defend me. While I appreciate that (sometime more than they know) I don't tend to take disagreements personally.

I write on my own terms, and according to my own standards. I'm not particularly interested in measuring up to anyone else's - I'm the only person I have to look in the mirror each morning so the principles I try (and try is what most of us manage to do - we are none of us perfect) to live up to ought to be mine and not someone else's :p

That's why I don't mind admitting if I've made a mistake. It's not an ego thing for me or a one-upsmanship thing. Blogging can't be my first priority, though if I had my way I'd spend enough time to do it the way I'd like to (and the way I used to when I did have more time). But someone has to get up and make the doughnuts and I don't get a paycheck for goofing around on the Intertubes.

The thing is, I make no bones about being impartial, but I also attempt to document my arguments with information so the reader can judge for him- or herself whether my position makes any sense. When I go over to your site and read several digs in a row about people who care more about defending their candidate than getting at the truth, that really annoys me.

First of all, McCain isn't "my candidate". Anyone who has read me for any length of time could tell you who my candidate was, and he didn't secure the nomination. I don't even particularly like John McCain, but we order from the menu.

Secondly, my opinion of the Surge has nothing to do with McCain, and to imply that (retroactively) anyone who disagrees with you, does so only to prop up McCain's candidacy is pretty contemptible. Accusing those you supposedly wish to engage in thoughtful discourse of intellectual dishonesty or overt partisanship is really no way to conduct a discussion, especially when you are claiming to be above the fray as you repeatedly jab at your opponents.

Just something to think about.

I don't think anyone is particularly nonpartisan here. You haven't been able to explain, despite being asked repeatedly to do so, specifically why you support Obama except that you feel he'll make "better decisions". But you give no coherent argument in support of this - not his record, nor his experience, just your feeling. To me, that looks like partisanship - someone voting for their side against the other side.

I don't like McCain all that much, but on the issues that matter most to me (i.e., the WOT) we see eye to eye. So I will support him. To me, that is logical. But my opinions on the Surge predated McCain's candidacy and I can point back to literally hundreds of posts to prove it.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 24, 2008 09:00 AM

In case what I was saying wasn't clear (above), I've noticed a pattern with many of the more liberal-leaning commenters who engage here at VC, and that is that they nearly always claim not to be taking sides (which is rather risable) and to be impartial while impartially and in a profoundly nonpartisan manner, taking partisan jabs at me and my readers :p

This strikes me as somewhat disingenuous.

If you disagree, say so.

If you support Obama, say so and say why.

If you are a progressive, come out and tell us why progressive ideas are better than conservative ones. That is why, after all, you are here.

But check the insults, please. Even we have a hard time not getting testy with each other when we disagree amongst ourselves. I try really hard to maintain an atmosphere here at VC where anyone - liberal, progressive, Livid Terrier, or reich-wing conservative - can join the fray. The only real rule is that I don't much care for a lot of swearing and I won't tolerate insults, other than the occasional swipes we all take at each other now and then. I try not to be a Nazi about this stuff.

We are all adults, I hope, we're always getting new readers and commenters, and that's another reason I periodically go over the ground rules :)

Posted by: Cassandra at July 24, 2008 09:08 AM

I try not to be a Nazi about this stuff.

*tsk*

Godwin's Rule. Now, be a good Princess and go apologize to the poor National Socialist Workers Pa

*whap!* Owwww!

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 09:23 AM

Cass:

When you say "check the insults", although I've been the brunt of many insults here (not by you but by others), I've made a distinct effort to ignore rather than respond to them. If you're referring to my blog, then I hope you'll acknowledge that neither you nor anyone else has the privilege of dictating what I write there or how I say it. Feel free to rake me over the coals in my comments section if you think I'm being insulting or unfair.

Regarding the sources I listed, I picked them because they're relatively objective, authoritative, and well-referenced. And none of them come out and support Obama's belief that we would still see progress without an additional 20,000 troops. What they do provide is a resource of facts that will help readers make their own decision on the complexity of issues contributing to the present reduction in violence and whether there are alternate ways to obtain the same result or if the Surge was the underlying beam holding up the entire dynamic.

Further, regarding my support for Obama, I believe I have explained it but I'll do it again if I wasn't clear.

I'm voting for Obama because I agree with his positions on the issues (see his website), I admire his educational and professional achievements, and because I believe that he'll attract the best and brightest talent to Washington to help this country reclaim what George Bush has lost. I'm voting for Obama because I want to see an end to the litany of bad decisions coming out of the White House.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 10:08 AM

And none of them come out and support Obama's belief that we would still see progress without an additional 20,000 troops.

I've been out of the loop for a while.

When did Obama change his mind and decide we've made progress?

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 10:50 AM

I didn't leave a comment on your site because you do indeed have a perfect right to say whatever you wish to, there. It seemed presumptuous for me to tell you what to do on your own site, and so I didn't.

My comment here is more narrowly focused. It is directed at what you do here, and so it is made here.

I think the perception is that you've taken a lot of backhanded swipes at people. After a while, that tends to get under their skin. It's understandable. I'm not trying to attack you - merely to get you to see things through someone else's eyes for a moment.

And none of them come out and support Obama's belief that we would still see progress without an additional 20,000 troops.

I am glad you admit this, because it's incredibly important Jeffrey. Obama is making his judgment a central plank of his campaign (the judgment to lead, and all that). And yet he has advanced that notion over and over again.

I see no empirical basis for the idea, other than his evident wish to believe it is so. And this morning we have the Puffington Host advancing the frankly silly idea that because Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was assassinated several months into the Surge, that somehow "proves" John McCain doesn't understand the relationship between the Surge and the Anbar Awakening.

Sometimes the comedy just writes itself.

What happened after the Sheik was killed?

*crickets chirping*

His brother flew to the United States to plead with Americans not to withdraw their troops prematurely from Iraq, not to pull the rug out from underneath the groundswell of opposition to the insurgency. He understood that his brother's murder was designed to intimidate Iraqis who were thinking of changing sides, and he knew that if the US withdrew their support it would drive a stake through the heart of the Awakening and fuel the distrust, division, and violent discord the insurgents have been trying to sow for so long.

And yet Obama didn't, and doesn't support the Surge, even knowing how vital it was in restoring confidence that the violence *could* be quelled.

Bad decisions? This guy can't make a good decision even with the benefit of hindsight.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 24, 2008 10:56 AM

Well, in fairness to Jeff (who has always shown readiness to respect the rules at the Hall, it should be said), Obama is actually making not one but two counterfactual claims. We've noted the one: that it's possible that Iraq might have improved without the Surge brigades.

He's also making another, which is tied into the first one: that without the manpower and money poured into Iraq over the last two years, we'd have been able to realize improvements elsewhere that are of equal or greater value. Thus, the acceptance of risk in not supporting the Surge (even retroactively, with hindsight) is meant to be balanced with the acceptance of potential benefit elsewhere.

Obama has never been quite concrete enough with this counterfactual to argue against it. Would he have poured the resources wholly into Afghanistan instead? (If so, I doubt it would have helped -- the real problem in Afghanistan is Pakistan, and the resources needed to address that problem are far greater than everything expended on the Iraq adventure put together. I don't think a second Surge there will help: a wholly different strategy is needed for Afghanistan than in Iraq.) Or would he have used some of the money domestically, as he has suggested? If so, precisely what benefits does he think he would have accomplished, so we can weigh them against the actual benefits of the Surge?

Posted by: Grim at July 24, 2008 12:32 PM

Cass quoting me:
"And none of them come out and support Obama's belief that we would still see progress without an additional 20,000 troops."

And then Cass wrote:

"I am glad you admit this, because it's incredibly important Jeffrey. Obama is making his judgment a central plank of his campaign (the judgment to lead, and all that). And yet he has advanced that notion over and over again. I see no empirical basis for the idea, other than his evident wish to believe it is so."

I knew after I wrote this that I would have to come back and explain it but I was in a hurry to catch the ferry at the time. So I'll expand on my point now.

Obama's statement was his belief about a hypothetical event - i.e., if we could go back in time and not inject 20,000 trooops would we still see the same result? Obama says he thinks we would.

Given that as the proposition, none of the sources I found address that specific theory. That's what I mean't by none of the sources support his theory/proposition. What those sources DO do is provide enough background information for me and other people, like yourself, to see that many other forces were at work at the same time (which Obama also said) and do a deep dive into what those forces were/are. Armed with that information, we can do some informed theorizing about how likely or unlikely Obama's proposition is. After having done that, I find Obama's proposition to be unproven but likely to occur.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 01:07 PM

Thanks for the reference on my online ettiquette at Grim's Hall, Grim. :-)

And you make a valid point about there being two propositions. The second one that you've identified seems to me to be relatively easy for Obama to answer with the benefit of hindsight. Considering the size and depth of Obama's Middle East advisors, I'm pretty sure that he has ample resources to identify the problems in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the no man's land that they have in common.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 01:14 PM

...if we could go back in time and not inject 20,000 trooops would we still see the same result? Obama says he thinks we would.

Again, the Surge was not merely the influx of troops. It also encompassed the change in tactics that the additional troops made possible, including refitting and retraining the Iraqi army. Obama bases his view that "the change in the political dynamic" led directly to the increase in security and it occurred solely because the Sunnis and Shi'a woke up one morning and decided to go shopping for furniture together.

The "change in political dynamic" was caused by the increase in security provided by the troops.

Obama is claiming the result caused the effect.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 01:38 PM

Well, I'll have to wait until I've read all your sources (and no doubt a few of my own :p) before commenting on that, Jeffrey.

Having a passel of ME advisors hasn't kept him from saying some pretty amazing things so far. FWIW, pretty much anyone in the military that you ask about Afghanistan (and I can't tell you how many conversations I've had on this subject over the past 4 years both with people who support the war and those who don't) agree that Afghanistan is a far, far tougher nut to crack than Iraq.

And yet Obama seems to think that if we'd pulled out of Iraq (which he and others were screaming to the heavens was being "lost" at the time, and which he paradoxically claims we can't "afford to lose") and somehow poured troops into a country where our chances of success were EVEN LOWER than they were in Iraq, using a strategy HE CLAIMS WASN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR REDUCING THE VIOLENCE IN IRAQ AND DIDN'T MAKE US ANY SAFER...

Yeah. It doesn't make much sense, does it? But that's his big plan. Go figure.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 24, 2008 01:39 PM

it occurred solely because the Sunnis and Shi'a woke up one morning and decided to go shopping for furniture together.

*snort*

Yep.

And when the insurgents stepped up their attacks on those who threw in with the Awakening and they turned to us expecting protection in return for cooperation, it didn't make any real difference that suddenly we had enough troops to provide it.

Uh huh.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 24, 2008 01:41 PM

Just out of curiosity, Jeffrey, what's your take on Obama's claim -- in public -- to membership on the Senate Banking Committee?

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/07/021072.php

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 02:15 PM

BillT - I'd call it another one of his gaffes. He's made many. But I think that what he was trying to say was that the Senate Banking Committee passed the provisions that HE authored on S.R. 1430. He mean't to say his provisions. He said his committee. Oh, well.

http://obama.senate.gov/press/080717-senate_banking/

Speaking of gaffes, what would you call McCain rewriting history by claiming that the Anbar Awakening didn't start until the Surge occured?

http://www.democracyarsenal.org/2008/07/digging-a-deepe.html

And finally, speaking of the Surge, I think that Barack's quote is very clear that he was speaking of the additional troops, not the change in strategy overall. Nowhere has he ever disavowed the effectiveness of our counterinsurgency mission in Iraq.

Cass, regarding Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama's view, like mine, is that we never should have moved the bulk of our forces out of Afghanistan in the first place.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 02:48 PM

But according to the commanders on the ground (you know, the ones he promised to listen to?) before the Surge we didn't have the manpower to consolidate and hold onto the gains we made.

How does he reconcile that with "not losing" Iraq, which he admits we can't afford to lose, and the fact that things didn't get better until AFTER we put more troops in?

He likes the result, but not the means that achieved it, and now that we've achieved it he claims (on what evidence I have no idea) that it would have happened anyway? The additional troops were PART OF THE CHANGE IN STRATEGY, Jeff.

You can't divorce one from the other. Petraeus warned that his counterinsurgency tactics would fail if they were understaffed. But that's what Obama supported - understaffing them.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 24, 2008 02:56 PM

Nowhere has he ever disavowed the effectiveness of our counterinsurgency mission in Iraq.

Go back and read every comment I made that countered that very statement.

I can only assume you're being deliberately obtuse.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 03:28 PM

...regarding Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama's view, like mine, is that we never should have moved the bulk of our forces out of Afghanistan in the first place.

The bulk of our forces were never *in* Afghanistan to begin with -- they were here in the US and in Germany, as is common knowledge.

Now I'm convinced you're being obtuse.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 03:31 PM

Bill, I don't see a quote from Obama that says he thinks our current COIN strategy is wrong-headed. I see your interpretation of what he said as including that, but that's your interpretation. Mine differs.

For example, you wrote:

"Again, the Surge was not merely the influx of troops. It also encompassed the change in tactics that the additional troops made possible, including refitting and retraining the Iraqi army. Obama bases his view that "the change in the political dynamic" led directly to the increase in security and it occurred solely because the Sunnis and Shi'a woke up one morning and decided to go shopping for furniture together.
The "change in political dynamic" was caused by the increase in security provided by the troops."

The ISF had been undergoing training long before the Surge. Weapons for the ISF weren't tied into the Surge. You fail to mention the fact that 70,000 + Sunni Muslim insurgents are now on our payroll, which also had nothing to do with the Surge. And increased security could have been achieved by redeploying troops instead of bringing in more. So what we're left with is Obama's essential point - the Surge in troops wasn't necessary.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 03:38 PM

Cass, there was nothing preventing Petraeus from redeploying troops into whatever area needed them, which is what would have happened had Congress not funded the Surge. He would have made do with what he had (or is it just the Marines who have to do that?), just like McFarland did in Ramadi. He worked with the troops he had, and it was successful.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 03:46 PM

as I'm aware many of my readers wonder why I don't respond more assertively than I choose to

Actually, we're scared if that happens, so we go hide in a corner and wait until the Storm passes.

I don't even particularly like John McCain, but we order from the menu.

Can't we make up lawsuit that'll force them to give us our own menu?

Accusing those you supposedly wish to engage in thoughtful discourse

If Jeff hadn't rather made the atrous mistake of talking about Grim or my comment length in a non-productive and essentially narcissistic fashion, he might have been able to remain cloaked for just a bit longer. But given things as they were, it was pretty obvious from comment... 3 at least, that "thoughtful discourse" was not the agenda for the current propaganda project.

To me, that looks like partisanship - someone voting for their side against the other side.

Actually, that's more like what the Left criticized about American patriotism. "My country, right or wrong". In this case, it is "My Obama Messiah, right or wrong".

Of course, given Leftist tendencies to excel at double think, Cass, they can believe those two things, that patriotism is blind and that Obama Messiah won't make stupid decisions like Republicans, all at the same time. Depending on their IQ level that is. The higher the IQ, the more contradictory beliefs they can hold at any one time.

Even we have a hard time not getting testy with each other when we disagree amongst ourselves.

Well, Jeffrey did do me and Grim the service of inspiring a clarification of our agreements, rather than our disagreements, when he poped in. There's something to be said for that as well. Of course, such a resolution required a long post from me that Jeffrey took a disliking to, but hey, can't please everybody.

What they do provide is a resource of facts that will help readers make their own decision on the complexity of issues contributing to the present reduction in violence and whether there are alternate ways to obtain the same result or if the Surge was the underlying beam holding up the entire dynamic.

The same thing I said to BillT about diplomats sipping their gourmet coffee while people died as the diplomats discussed "Theory" and "Plans", applies to this little section, as well.


I'm voting for Obama because I want to see an end to the litany of bad decisions coming out of the White House.

Translation, Jeffrey is voting for the indispensable man with the same "Infallibility" principle that once applied to the Pope. But let's cut to the chase. Jeff prefers to redo decisions that benefited Iraqi men, women, and children according to some internal script that promises "better" results for "other people" that are "more important elsewhere". This is Jeff's idea of making "good decisions", I suppose. Changing the decisions that led to good things, after the fact, by second guessing them and dismantling them and deconstructing them. That's good decision making ability? Must be.

Ah, but what's that you whispered, that good decision making is about making the right decisions with the information we have now and making that decision work in the future, like Petraeus did? Oh no, that's not good decision making ability. Good decision making is allowing people like Petraeus to get the job done, and then deciding that Petraeus did not get the job done. What got the job done was... Obama. Yes.

When did Obama change his mind and decide we've made progress?

Second sus dimension, third quarter, fourth dimensional matrix locality. Search for "macht schnell".

After a while, that tends to get under their skin.

Naw, people like me just like to argue and if somebody wants to start a fight but look like they are backing off by "ignoring", meaning showing fear or hesitation or indecision, then I re-double my efforts.

merely to get you to see things through someone else's eyes for a moment.

Us mortals can't do that. Only God on Earth, the Messiah of Obama, can even hope to claim such power. Shame on you Cass for preaching heresy!

Thus, the acceptance of risk in not supporting the Surge (even retroactively, with hindsight) is meant to be balanced with the acceptance of potential benefit elsewhere.

That's like saying you will give up your guaranteed 50-70 years on Earth for the "possibility" of achieving ever lasting youth. You sure this is a gamble people should take, Grim?

the real problem in Afghanistan is Pakistan, and the resources needed to address that problem are far greater than everything expended on the Iraq adventure put together.

Obama thinks an "invasion", without occupation and fighting terrorists, in Pakistan will do the job. Pakistan has 150 million people more or less. The Gulf War Hit and Run attack on Saddam didn't solve jack in the long term, so why would it do the same to Pakistan, who has 100 million more people than Iraq?

And I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to Obama on that "no occupation" thing. But for all I know, Obama, if he sees a benefit to it, will send US troops to fight in a quagmire and then sit back and watch the body bags fly back, while at the same time micromanaging the war like Johnson did. Ain't another Vietnam a wonderful prospect for "progress" in this life?

Obama's statement was his belief about a hypothetical event - i.e., if we could go back in time and not inject 20,000 trooops would we still see the same result? Obama says he thinks we would.

Hypotheticals after the fact, diplomatic planning, sipping gourmet coffee while loathsome and unclean masses die out in the streets, all such things are anathema to true progress for the human species.

Armed with that information, we can do some informed theorizing

When your theories are informed by self-denial, bad things can happen.

After having done that, I find Obama's proposition to be unproven but likely to occur.

Like I said, bad things will happen when things are unproven but likely to occur, but the Surge was proven to occur and did happen, but wasn't likely. Ah, the logic of people that refuse to obey logical rules. Wunderbar.

Considering the size and depth of Obama's Middle East advisors

I seem to recall the foreign adviser for Carter on the Iran and Shah business is currently one of Obama's ME advisers. Size, certainly. Depth? Only if depth translates to depth of incompetence.

and the no man's land that they have in common.

The "no man's land"? Are you kidding me. That land is lived in by tribes loyal to the Taliban or Osama Bin Laden. This isn't the are West of the Berlin Wall nor is it the space between the two trench lines in WWI. It would be a wonderful thing if nobody lived there.... but they do.

Sunnis and Shi'a woke up one morning and decided to go shopping for furniture together.

Chai tea, I believe. Shopping for chai tea.

Speaking of gaffes, what would you call McCain rewriting history by claiming that the Anbar Awakening didn't start until the Surge occured?

When you figure out why McCain produced McCain-Feingold, why McCain is against waterboarding, and why McCain never connected an increase in troops to a change to COIN strategy on Fox News the few times I saw him on pre 2007 (even though he seemed to have written an essay about it), you will have answered your own question.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 03:59 PM

And increased security could have been achieved by redeploying troops instead of bringing in more.

We did redeploy them. We sent them from the US to Iraq. Perhaps you meant to say that we should have re-shuffled them around from one place in Iraq to another -- wouldn't have worked because we didn't have enough troops there to do that and prevent Al-Qaeda in Iraq from slithering into the vacuum we left by pulling the troops.

Weapons for the ISF weren't tied into the Surge.

I wasn't talking about weapons, I was talking about training. The additional US troops gave the ISF a chance to become combat-effective. You can't practice squad tactics if you're being hit with RPGs every time you go to your training area and you can't increase your troop strength if terrorists keep blowing up your prospective recruits while they're waiting in line at the recruiting station.

You fail to mention the fact that 70,000 + Sunni Muslim insurgents are now on our payroll, which also had nothing to do with the Surge.

False. They signed up *because* they saw it was working.

So what we're left with is Obama's essential point - the Surge in troops wasn't necessary.

No, what we're left with is you re-phrasing arguments that have been countered and then saying, "See? Obama was right!"

By the way, Obama didn't misspeak. He lied for a perceived political gain, just as he now sponsors the opening ceremonies of the Olympics -- four months after he castigated Bush for *not* boycotting the Olympics.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 04:01 PM

Cass, there was nothing preventing Petraeus from redeploying troops into whatever area needed them, which is what would have happened had Congress not funded the Surge. He would have made do with what he had (or is it just the Marines who have to do that?), just like McFarland did in Ramadi. He worked with the troops he had, and it was successful.

Hey, Bill, remember John of A's story about the Marine fighting a tiger? Well, Jeff here is saying that, sure the Marine fought off the tiger, but certainly he could have done it with one arm and leg tied behind his back. Certainly. Right, Bill?

Bill, I don't see a quote from Obama that says he thinks our current COIN strategy is wrong-headed. I see your interpretation of what he said as including that, but that's your interpretation. Mine differs.

Allow me to clear up something for you, Jeff. The reason why you second guess people and try to change the past, is because you don't have the power to even recognize what is going on in the present. That is what all these "interpretations" of yours are for.

Instead of working to further actual results and actual human progress, you 'intrepret' people, their words, their actions, and the actual real results of their actions to fit your own preconceived little notions of what "could have happened".

That may look like human progress and good decision making to you, but it will never fool people like me.

And finally, speaking of the Surge, I think that Barack's quote is very clear that he was speaking of the additional troops, not the change in strategy overall. Nowhere has he ever disavowed the effectiveness of our counterinsurgency mission in Iraq.

What jeff means, Bill, is exactly what I said he meant. Petraeus succeeded and he allowed to succed by Obama. BUT, and there's always a but, precisely because Petraeus succeded, that means he could have brought about the same results under Obama's conditions of less troops.

You see, Bill, this is how good decisions are made. Compare it to the imperfect and nasty decisions made by Bush concerning the Surge and you will see true Enlightenment.

He would have made do with what he had (or is it just the Marines who have to do that?), just like McFarland did in Ramadi. He worked with the troops he had, and it was successful.

Look at his own words, Bill, if you don't believe me.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 04:04 PM

I wasn't talking about weapons, I was talking about training.

This is why I told you not to talk about Tactics to people. They, now all of a sudden, start thinking people's lethality rests in what "weapons" they have.

They will try to BS you to the ground with their preconceived notins of what "tactics" mean in warfare.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 04:07 PM

He would have made do with what he had (or is it just the Marines who have to do that?), just like McFarland did in Ramadi.

McFarland had reserves, and Ramadi is a city smaller than Trenton, New Jersey. Iraq is a country larger than California.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 04:07 PM

They will try to BS you to the ground with their preconceived notins of what "tactics" mean in warfare.

Or that you can separate a successful strategy into its critical components, deny that one component existed and that the other was unnecessary.

And concluding that, hypothetically, the strategy was unsuccessful.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 04:19 PM

And concluding that, hypothetically, the strategy was unsuccessful.

But he said COIn was successful ; )

It's like a pendulum. It swings one way or the other, not because of choice, but because of physics. And physics ain't tactics, nor is it logistics or strategy.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 04:21 PM

Psst -- Ymar, the Marine decked a *lion*...

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 04:23 PM

Jeff:

You fail to mention the fact that 70,000 + Sunni Muslim insurgents are now on our payroll, which also had nothing to do with the Surge.

A great part of the concerned local citizens/Sons of Iraq movement came from the Dulaimi ("Lions") tribe, a Sunni tribe that is one of Iraq's largest. It is present in Anbar, but has families belonging to it throughout the Sunni triangle, and then in a half-moon ring around the southern edge of Baghdad to Salman Pak.

The Surge forces were key to expanding the Anbar Awakening, which had begun in a small area, throughout the Dulaimi and their allies. For one thing, much of rural Iraq was simply without a Coalition or Government of Iraq presence at the start of the Surge. The extra forces allowed us to push out into region after region, village after village, where we had not been in years. It gave us the manpower to set up patrol bases and combat outposts and stay in these areas -- little places like Khidr and Hawr Rajab.

That gave us the time to make contacts with the local tribal leaders, and build the trust necessary to starting SoI movements in their towns. In places like Hawr Rajab where we had begun SoI movements without patrol bases, they came under heavy attack from AQI forces; the Hawr Rajab and Adwaniyah SoIs were brutalized for months until the 2/3 BCT (a Surge brigade) was able to set up Patrol Base Stone in Hawr Rajab. It was when we cleared the Arab Jabour region (in Operation Marne Thunderbolt) that the attacks finally stopped.

The Surge forces were also necessary to provide that stopgap until the ISF could be grown enough to take over in those areas. There have been numerous brigades of ISF coming online since the Surge began, which allows us to begin to stand down now. The regions once secured by these extra Coalition forces are now increasingly secured by ISF; 2/3 BCT has come home, and is not going to be replaced (their region is going to fall under 3/101's jurisdiction, in addition to the 2/10 BCT's area, which 3/101 assumed on their arrival last fall).

The Surge of troops was indispensable to this process. As Bill (rightly) says, however, the Surge wasn't just the troops -- it was the COIN strategy for which the troops were required. The reason we needed the troops was to implement the strategy.

Posted by: Grim at July 24, 2008 04:26 PM

But he said COIn was successful

And the additional troops that made it successful were unnecessary.

*doink*

I think I just took a pendulum to the patella.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 04:28 PM

Grim -- don't expect a reply anytime soon. It'll take Jeffrey a while to google 2/3 BCT and 3/101 to find out what they mean.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 04:32 PM

Well, if it would be helpful:

www.taskforcemarne.com

That was the MND-C website when 3ID ran the place. It's got unit histories for both, and if you want to dig around in the archives, plenty of news releases from when all this stuff was going on. So, you can check out what I said to your heart's content. :)

Posted by: Grim at July 24, 2008 04:48 PM

Yeah, 3ID keeps lots of useful stuff on sites they run. Most of what I learned on my right seat ride in Boz I downloaded from 3ID guys on the Tuzla Eagle before they transferred it to the 29th.

Posted by: BillT at July 24, 2008 05:04 PM

On a philosophical issue, it is both immoral and unethical to try to change the past solely because manipulating the lives of strangers is more convenient than risking the same with your own loved ones.

Few people will say after a successful surgery that saved their loved one's life that "it would have worked anyways if I hadn't spent so much money here and there that didn't have anything to do with the surgery's success".

That is not even what they will be thinking of.

Yet... many people are quite happy to think and try to do something about changing the past with other people's families and fortunes.

Independent of military tactics, strategy, and logistics, this is unethical.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 06:40 PM

The Surge forces were key to expanding the Anbar Awakening, which had begun in a small area, throughout the Dulaimi and their allies.

I remember reports that Sunni tribes had started battling Al Qaeda forces in the Sunni Triangle, but all the ones I remember said that they requested NO aid from the Coalition and perhaps was at the same time fighting us as well.

I saw that was a critical tipping point, but it hadn't tipped enough, because even if Sunnis were fighting Al Qaeda, that doesn't mean they would ally and work with us. And without that, our objectives could not be achieved any time soon.

When people mentioned COIN along with the Surge, I saw a possibility for us to present a show of strength, strong enough to convince the Sunnis that they would benefit from our help.

After that, warfare and the bonds that are created during war when two different factions fight together against a mutual enemy, eventually solves the other "political problems", sooner or later.


Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 24, 2008 06:53 PM

Bill wrote: "No, what we're left with is you re-phrasing arguments that have been countered and then saying, "See? Obama was right!"

"By the way, Obama didn't misspeak. He lied for a perceived political gain, just as he now sponsors the opening ceremonies of the Olympics -- four months after he castigated Bush for *not* boycotting the Olympics."

So, Bill, am I to understand from your reply that your "counter" ends the debate? I don't think so.

Regarding your second claim that Obama didn't misspeak but deliberately lied. Not only are you pulling that out of thin air with absolutely nothing to back it up, but you must think that Obama has the IQ of a moron. Why would he lie about something that's clearly not true and that everyone who follows politics either knows already or can quickly uncover?

Bill wrote:
"McFarland had reserves, and Ramadi is a city smaller than Trenton, New Jersey. Iraq is a country larger than California."

Oh, so only McFarland had reserves? No one else? Anywhere?

The size of Iraq is irrelevant in terms of how the Surge was implemented - neighborhood by neighborhood, or are you claiming that Petraeus ordered one BIG surge nation-wide - kinda like a blockbuster movie release opening on 4000 screens?

Grim wrote: "The Surge of troops was indispensable to this process. As Bill (rightly) says, however, the Surge wasn't just the troops -- it was the COIN strategy for which the troops were required. The reason we needed the troops was to implement the strategy."

And McFarland proved that a Surge of troops wasn't indispensable to the process. Further, strategies change in war. I see no reason to believe that a superior strategy wouldn't be implemented with the men at hand if the requested additional troops were denied.

Regarding ISF brigades "coming online", while the total numbers are up, the percentage of ISF able to function without U.S. forces by their side is still rated at 10%. I'm not quite sure why that is, but I don't think it's because of a lack of U.S. forces.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 08:13 PM

The Surge troops certainly were indispensable where we were. Don't take my word for it, though. Here is an interview with the former commanding general for MND-C, Rick Lynch, who had charge of the command while I was there:

http://patdollard.com/2008/02/general-lynch-us-surge-tipped-scales-in-iraq/

Major General Lynch is now Lieutenant General Lynch, who was promoted to take Odierno's spot as commander of III Corps. Odierno, of course, is taking Petraeus' spot as commander of MNF-I; and Petraeus is taking ADM Fallon's spot as CDRUSCENTCOM.

My point being, this guy was one of the key players in actually making it happen on the ground. If he says the Surge was what tipped the scales for him, that probably means something.

Posted by: Grim at July 24, 2008 08:49 PM

I'm sure the General's opinion is valid, Grim. The question at hand, though, is a theoretical one; i.e., what would have happened if 20,000 or 30,000 men weren't forthcoming? Would the Surge strategy still have been implemented or not?

I really don't think that any General would say no to a strategy that has been demonstrated to be successful pre-Surge. He might want more men to do it, but if there weren't any more to send, I can't believe that any General would arbitrarily choose to remain with a flawed strategy when a potentially better one has been shown to work elsewhere.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 09:04 PM

The question at hand, though, is a theoretical one; i.e., what would have happened if 20,000 or 30,000 men weren't forthcoming? Would the Surge strategy still have been implemented or not?

Questions like that, Jeffrey, make it hard for me to be civil. Try going back in time to take a good, hard look at the casualty rate back then.

People would have died trying. A goddamned lot of people.

That is the "strategy" your candidate favors. And why hell will freeze over before I would support him. Those were real people to me. And to most of us here. Our friends, husbands, brothers. People we knew and worked with.

They are nothing to Barack Obama.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 24, 2008 09:17 PM

It would have been very difficult to man fifty new patrol bases, while maintaining their supply lines and running route clearance operations, through several provinces and a dozen cities, without the extra troops.

Cassandra is right that we'd have lost a lot of people trying to do that. Even with the extra forces (which included, in our division's AO, an extra combat aviation brigade, 3 CAB, to provide air support and aerial recon), we lost some good men.

Posted by: Grim at July 24, 2008 09:30 PM

I didn't mean to be so harsh. But this is a sore subject with me and not one I can discuss.

I am sorry.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 24, 2008 09:33 PM

Cass, we all know people that have suffered or died in this war, regardless of where we stand on this particular issue. That includes Obama, too, whether you choose to believe it or not.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 09:46 PM

I just saw your follow-up post. No apology necessary. I'm trying to debate this calmly and rationally, but if you'd rather I stop, I'll stop. It's not my intention to distress you.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 09:48 PM

Cassandra~

I think you are completely justified in your reaction to Jeffrey. I don't really know anyone who is deployed, beyond having Major Pain of One Marine's View as an old pen pal back when he was the only Marine contact at AnySoldier.com when he was in Afghanistan. But I understand that these are people who have family and friends who love and miss them, and some of them never get to come home to them. I've had the privilege to meet a mother who will never see her son again. She has given so much, yet she thanks me for the little things I do. Nothing I (or anyone else) could ever do can make up for the loss of her son.

If Obama had his way, far too many other mothers would be going through the same thing. It disgusts me, the callous disregard for the truth, and for troops welfare, that Obama and his followers have.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at July 24, 2008 09:54 PM

I simply do not understand why we are now second-guessing a successful effort. Oh wait, the Dem's discovered that their trousers are down around ankles... That's right.

IIRC the Dems all but demanded additional boots on the ground well prior to the surge. Then when the wheels went into motion to increase forces, the Dems ran to the other end of the ship of state and began yammering about withholding funding for the effort.

Fast forward to today and I'll swear I could hear Tommy Smothers stammering, oh, OH YEAH! when the success of the surge is discussed.

Mother Dora with her crystal ball, Dionne Warrick with her psychic friends and Hari Seldon would be required to determine the alternate present without the surge. Not to mention the additional cost in lives. But that will not stop the history revisionists... No siree.

Forgetting the all important COIN component for just a moment, consider two words that apply in, I would dare say, almost any fight, battle or war... Overwhelming Force.
Ok, three, three words Overwhelming Force and Resolve... Hmmm Logistics... Four, four words...

Posted by: bt_gonna-carry-that-weight-a-long-time_hun at July 24, 2008 10:14 PM

He does have nice cheek bones.

Posted by: Dreadnaught at July 24, 2008 11:22 PM

Cass, we all know people that have suffered or died in this war, regardless of where we stand on this particular issue. That includes Obama, too, whether you choose to believe it or not.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 24, 2008 09:46 PM

Let me ask you, Jeff, honestly: Do you personally really know a single soul that has suffered and died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? I admit that I don't, not personally, anyway. Maybe that's because, unlike prior conflicts, there haven't been that many American casualties such as might be revealed by a casual walk through the neighborhood. Seriously, I haven't seen a picture of Obama standing next to a flag-draped casket of a friend or colleague, or constituent for that matter, at least not yet. There is pain and loss out there, Jeff, but it's probably not yours to bear.

Your blind spot in all of this, Jeff, is that you don't know how personal each soldier's death is to Cass and her friends. You have not a f*cking clue how close a community there exists between veterans and their families. It's all up close and personal, Jeff, and it's impossible to tally the immediate and long term cost to that community by simply counting the numbers put up on CNN. Put all of the far-flung servicemen and women and their families together, Jeff, and you've got a popultion that rivals New York City.

Are you reading me yet?

Ya know, Jeff, one day, if you and I choose to be honest with ourselves, we may well regret that we didn't do more for these brothers and sisters of ours when more needed doing. I suppose that blaming someone else for not doing what we knew needed to be done might carry us through long enough to feign forgetfulness , but that face in the mirror, it just never lets us go.

So, Jeff, do you want to do more than chatter? I promise that you won't have to fly to Germany to tell America how much you love it. You can do it within a few miles of your home. Are you up for it? I can point you in the right direction, or find for you those who can. It won't be easy, but, then, these guys didn't choose easy for the rest of us, either.

You can reach reach me by clicking my name. But, if you please, never, ever, walk into a ongoing conversation thinking that you know jack shit, Jeff, because you don't. Not even a clue.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 25, 2008 12:39 AM

Spd_rdr, I saw the rooms in my college dorm empty every week as my friends were drafted to serve in Vietnam. 3 years later I was doing Search & Rescue and Law Enforcement patrols in the Gulf of Mexico with the Coast Guard. My brother in law, a cop in Ohio, was in Mosul with Army SF when Saddam's sons were killed. When he came back, his wife, my sister (I'm sorry to say) left him because he was so emotionally impacted by what he'd been through.

So F you and your online bullsh*t, spd_rdr. And you know how to reach me too, Sh*thead.

Posted by: jeffrey at July 25, 2008 01:31 AM

Touche, brother. There's nothing that I can tell you that you don't already know.

I hope it goes well for your brother in law and sister.

And I'll leave it right there.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 25, 2008 02:08 AM

So, Bill, am I to understand from your reply that your "counter" ends the debate? I don't think so.

If you give up, Jeff, it'll end. Just like in Iraq. It is not very hard to understand, is it.

Why would he lie about something that's clearly not true

Something that's clearly not true, like the "truth" that Obama would never sell out his pastor and family member, the Reverend watchacallit?

Further, strategies change in war.

If you actually knew what strategies "were", your statement might be half way credible.

Regarding ISF brigades "coming online", while the total numbers are up, the percentage of ISF able to function without U.S. forces by their side is still rated at 10%.

The number of Democrats and Americans unable to function without the intervention of a totalitarian government is also close to that 10%. US forces don't need to feel ashamed of giving help to liberty loving people and the Iraqis don't need to feel shame about accepting that help.

Cogs in the totalitarian system of government, however, do.

My point being, this guy was one of the key players in actually making it happen on the ground.

"Key players on the ground" matters less than a bamboo stick to the ever glorious Obama's "good decision" making abilities. This also includes his supporters, by default.

that probably means something.

Depends on what the meaning of is is.

The question at hand, though, is a theoretical one; i.e.,

Hope something clicked in people's minds when they read that after reading Grim.

I really hope it clicked by now.

A goddamned lot of people.

No skin off Jeff's back, Cass. Those would be other people paying the price of blood, death, and horror. That's fine, all in all, for civilized people to have the barbarians wage war and suffer death.

The difference is simple. Jeff is willing to authorize sacrifices because they can be seen as "optional", optional in Iraq and maybe optional even in Afghanistan although I doubt his believes the latter.

We believe the best way to avoid sacrifices is not in taking an option, but just in getting things done so the war ends, not just for now, but more or less for generations on end.

He believes sacrifices are avoided in the future via other means. Different means, different goals, similar intentions. This is why good intentions pave the road to Hel. Cause it also paves the road to Heaven. And if it paves the road to both, then it is totally irrelevant, isn't it.

I saw the rooms in my college dorm empty every week as my friends were drafted to serve in Vietnam.

There goes that Vietnam thing again. I must have summoned the specter when I mentioned it or what. Whether Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan, Vietnam is truly the role model for many Americans on how wars should be fought and ended.

And that's rather sad, all in all.

Jeff won't say a thing to me when I lamb-bast his beliefs and views and belittle them to no end on Earth, but Jeff will say a thing or two about Vietnam and the draft. There's a reason for that, you know. And I'm rather close to finding it out, even if he doesn't want to respond to me.

When he came back, his wife, my sister (I'm sorry to say) left him because he was so emotionally impacted by what he'd been through.

Misery, in a sense, means spreading it around, for weak people anyways. If it means re-deploying soldiers to Afghanistan where they will be traumatized less, in Jeff's view, than Iraq, then this is golden. If it means the people fighting in Iraq gets sold down the river because of a lack of infantry power and logistical support... well, so be it. It's not like Jeff would feel bad about it, certainly not as bad as he felt for his sister and his brother in law.

I really, personally, couldn't give a damn what people's personal reasons are for what they do or do not do. (with exception of people I actually respect or care about) That's their business. My business is with solely calculating the ethical right and wrong, in addition to the moral standards or violations, of the consequences of people's actions. Not their intentions, not their little psychosomatic personal problems, not their wannabe 'ideology' or 'utopian goals', but the results, the consequences, the jacking up christ aspect/impact on real lives, real men, real women, and real children.

Real life, whether people know it or not, ain't in the past. It's in the present and future.


Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 25, 2008 08:20 AM

Jeffrey, what set me off last night was the suggestion that it would have been OK to just continue on the way we were.

What bothers me is the dishonesty. I have been all over this for years. Military people don't mind being asked to put their lives on the line. Military families understand that this is part of the deal.

What is intolerable is being asked to die, to sacrifice our husbands and sons for no reason.

It really bothers me that the Democrats were screaming bloody murder before the Surge about how we were losing, Iraq was hopeless, we needed to change course, and we didn't have enough boots on the ground.

Well damn it all, we DID change course. We changed the strategy.

We DID put more boots on the ground.

And now pretty much everyone admits things have turned around. Well, except that as soon as the violence started dying down, the Dems started saying "That is meaningless b/c the benchmarks haven't been satisfied."

And once the benchmarks were satisfied, they started saying, "Well, maybe the violence is down and the benchmarks are satisfied, but you can't prove that this wouldn't have happened anyway without the Surge"

I'm sorry, but what a dishonest load of bullshit.

This is directly counter to everything they were saying before the Surge and you know it. Before the Surge they were demanding more boots on the ground to fix the "failed strategy". Now all of the sudden the "failed strategy" would have worked if we'd just fed it more time and more dead bodies? Lovely sentiment, that. Or are we supposed to disregard Gen. Petraeus' advice that the COIN strategy would not work without sufficient troops? So much for the "listing to the Generals" mantra. More political jabbering.

Before the Surge the Dems demanded a new strategy and more troops.

Well they got both. And they worked, though if they'd had their way, they've have strangled it in its infancy.

And now rather than admit that they were wrong and someone else was right they are backpedalling like mad. It's enough to make you wonder whose side they are on?

This isn't a game. Why should we trust them to send more people into Afghanistan? They weren't in favor of sending more troops into Baghdad, and Baghdad was the easier battle.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 25, 2008 08:43 AM

"This isn't a game. Why should we trust them...
We should not.

Posted by: bthun at July 25, 2008 09:00 AM

Well damn it all, we DID change course. We changed the strategy.

Uh, Cass, when they said "change course", they didn't mean "change course to avoid the iceberg", they meant "change course so your ship falls off the end of the world so I can gloat at the loss to my competition from a safe spot on my own safe ship". (That safe ship of his is also going to tip over the end of the world waterfall, but not any time soon.


And once the benchmarks were satisfied, they started saying, "Well, maybe the violence is down and the benchmarks are satisfied, but you can't prove that this wouldn't have happened anyway without the Surge"

leftist doublethink, Cass. Can't live with it, can't kill the people who have it.

I'm sorry, but what a dishonest load of bullshit.

Bull is like Vitamin A, Cass ; )

Now all of the sudden the "failed strategy" would have worked if we'd just fed it more time and more dead bodies?

Their strategy for winning, meaning losing, in Iraq would have succeded, certainly. You just have to realize, Cass, that their intention for Iraq isn't our intention and EVERYTHIKNG starts to make sense now. Including their seemingly inconsistent positions.

When Iraq was chewing up American bodies, sending more bodies to be chewed up as logical for the Democrats, since it would provide more cannon fodder and political capital for them to exploit.

When Iraq is NOT chewing up American bodies, withdrawing them and "re-deploying" them somewhere where they can be chewed up, is now more politically beneficial to the Democrats and the Left.

It all makes sense once you get the philosophical axioms right.

It's enough to make you wonder whose side they are on?

Personally, it doesn't make me wonder. I have faith and trust in them. Yes, sirree.

This isn't a game.

"Hey I died, where's the reload button on this thing?"

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 25, 2008 09:01 AM

"Hey I died, where's the reload button on this thing?"

I want to go back like 30 minutes before I made some choices for my army of kataphracts and Roman legions, because I have a theory, that if I changed a couple of deployment plans and tactical plans, I can win this battle and also have enough forces to defend this bridge to one of my cities.

So where's that save game file I need to reload?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 25, 2008 09:05 AM

Cass, before I answer your questions, I'd like for you to honestly tell me when you're done with this debate. I can keep posting rebuttals as long as you want to keep posing questions, but I'm thinking that eventually this will prove to have more negative than positive value, if it isn't there already. So I'm taking a moment to ask you if you want to continue. If you do, I'll reply to the questions raised in your last post. If you don't, I'll be a polite guest and let you have the last word on the subject. Let me know your preference.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 25, 2008 11:02 AM

Jeffrey, thank you for your courtesy.

I think you deserve the chance to respond to what I have said, but I don't think that I should continue any more because I don't think I have anything to add to the conversation except emotion right now, and that is so seldom productive.

Maybe it is just too close. To be honest, I don't think either of us will change our minds :p

Posted by: Cassandra at July 25, 2008 11:17 AM

A person that didn't like the draft in Vietnam but wants to vote in another Democrat President like Johnson because he also doesn't like things in Iraq or Bush, is unlikely to change that view simply because "bad things will happen".

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 25, 2008 12:41 PM

OK, then. Since you gave me the option, I think I'll just address this one thing that you said because it's clear that you misunderstood me, and probably Obama but I clearly can't speak for him. Here's your quote:

"Jeffrey, what set me off last night was the suggestion that it would have been OK to just continue on the way we were."

And then you based the rest of your post on what I consider to be that false premise. Here's what I mean.

Back in 2006 it was clear that things were going very wrong in Iraq for us. It was clear to both Republicans and Democrats, to the Generals and the White House. That was the year that the Baker/Hamilton Commission issued its findings, and it's also the year that General Kean and Fred Kagan of AEI presented Bush with their joint plan to implement a Surge along with the earlier Clear, Hold, and Build strategy. The common knowledge back then was that more troops were needed to provide security so that the Clear, Hold, and Build strategy would have a chance to succeed. The rest is history.

My point is that contrary to your remark no one wanted us to just go on the way we were, except maybe Rumsfeld, which is why he was ultimately fired and replaced with Gates. We all wanted to finally see a change in strategy, which Keane admits was far too long in coming. We just disagreed about whether such a change needed more troops when an earlier surge that year yielded no positive results.

A lot of mistakes were made strategy-wise. I don't think it's so far-fetched to imagine that other possibilities existed for us besides sending more U.S. forces into Iraq in 2007. And that's where I'll leave it from my end.

Thanks for your courtesy, Cass.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 25, 2008 12:56 PM

Right on Jeffrey. Funny how no one in group-think land wishes to acknowledge your points, or the history which they've rewritten.

Posted by: Miguel at July 25, 2008 01:01 PM

I don't think it's so far-fetched to imagine that other possibilities existed for us besides sending more U.S. forces into Iraq in 2007.

The only possibility Jeff will ever admit is the possibility that other people are wrong and that his view is right.

In all of that junk post, the blame was purposefully quoted and shifted on other people. No personal accountability. No individual responsibility. No introspection. No good decision making ability shown.

It's all about other people.

That may be fine with regular apolitical analysis of data, but this is Jeff's political and militarily biased review of history, not an analysis on incomplete information. He's supposed to tout the strength of his views, in order to make it look GOlden and Inspired. That's not accomplished by nuking other people's cities.

The common knowledge back then was that more troops were needed to provide security so that the Clear, Hold, and Build strategy would have a chance to succeed.

This has nothing to do with the blood Jeff wants to see spilled simply to test a theory of his. Which kind of applies to most of his last comment.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 25, 2008 01:05 PM

Why would he lie about something that's clearly not true and that everyone who follows politics either knows already or can quickly uncover?

Because he knows he'll get a pass from the press. Has anyone in the MSM called him on it? Where's the press coverage of the Obama set-in-concrete pronouncements that keep disappearing from his website every time the wind shifts?

So, Bill, am I to understand from your reply that your "counter" ends the debate? I don't think so.

No, it doesn't end the debate. But constantly putting forth the same unmodified argument isn't debate, it's polemic.

Oh, so only McFarland had reserves? No one else? Anywhere?

If there were reserves on hand, we wouldn't have needed the additional troops in the first place.

The size of Iraq is irrelevant in terms of how the Surge was implemented - neighborhood by neighborhood, or are you claiming that Petraeus ordered one BIG surge nation-wide

You're running low on logic if that's your best counter. The Surge had to have been implemented the same way you fight a forest fire -- you beat it down one area at a time, because you'll spread yourself too thin trying to put it out everywhere at once -- the fire will sweep right through. And you apply maximum force in several areas, then work your way to join those areas together.

The question at hand, though, is a theoretical one; i.e., what would have happened if 20,000 or 30,000 men weren't forthcoming? Would the Surge strategy still have been implemented or not?

That's the question all of us have been answering and you insist on ignoring the answers. The strategy depended on the additional troops. It *could* not have been implemented and been a success without them.

I can keep posting rebuttals as long as you want to keep posing questions...

You haven't been rebutting, you've been repeating.

Posted by: BillT at July 25, 2008 01:05 PM

If Miguel is on your side, I suspect bad things have already happened.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 25, 2008 01:05 PM

Funny how no one in group-think land wishes to acknowledge your points, or the history which they've rewritten.

Funny how you comment on the entries without reading them.

Posted by: BillT at July 25, 2008 01:13 PM

Oh, he reads them. He just doesn't have enough firepower to attempt to hit back with a response.

Pay per view, Ymar vs Miguel, BIll?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 25, 2008 01:28 PM

How much could you charge for a 6-second match?

Posted by: BillT at July 25, 2008 02:02 PM

I don't know about anyone else, but... but... group-think! Ooweeee!

I suppose that I'll have to seek some therapeutic psychoanalysis over at Grim's to get over that one.


Posted by: bt_gonna-carry-that-weight-a-long-time_hun at July 25, 2008 02:19 PM

Yes, you are such a sage and scholar of history, Alpahbet Man. Sorry, chump, I've tried that with your kind here before and for stating certain postulates relative to connecting the Iraq War with U.S. financial woes, I was barred from access. For some

As for this talking point about the surge, Anbar Awakening, blah, blah....I don't need to make any points to add to the absurdity; Jeffrey asks the right questions, makes the valid points and most here jump into the group-think van and try to tear him a new, while ignoring history. Nah...I have nothing to add. With this blog, it isn't worth the energy. I'll simply support Jeffrey. Keep going Jeff!

Posted by: Miguel at July 25, 2008 08:26 PM

As for BillT, you must be clairvoyant....you can look into my mind and tell what I've read, what I'm thinking, if I'm crying (oh, I'm sobbing). You must be a profiler or something.

Posted by: Miguel at July 25, 2008 08:35 PM

At least Sleeps At The Y is true blue. He loathes McCain as much as Obama. He doesn't mince and obfuscate for the sake of 'Ol John. Face it folks, despite their age and race, the two don't fall to far from each other. As for the war mongers and Invasion supporters, I would suggest to re-read the history of this conflict (and the preceding decades)before you discuss the future.

Posted by: Miguel at July 25, 2008 08:45 PM

Sorry, chump, I've tried that with your kind here before

I only remember your attacks on people other than me. It was not as if I was silent during those times.

Jeffrey asks the right questions

Well, yeah. When I've won a battle and want to reload and try that battle again with new tactics and formations, Jeffrey is the kind of guy I'd like to provide me the right questions first and foremost.

makes the valid points and most here jump into the group-think van and try to tear him a new, while ignoring history.

He obviously needed reinforcements from you, Miguel. So why did you sell him out and leave him to die an ignoble and forgotten death?

As for Bill, he got called in as air support. That little microchip the military planted in his head to control his sociopathic killing rages doesn't give him much free will about such things, dontcha know.

It would be inappropriate to blame the victims for something they didn't do, yanno.

I'll simply support Jeffrey. Keep going Jeff!

if you want good cheerleader uniforms and props, Bill may have a PX store in mind for ya.

All of Bush's cheerleaders grew up, graduated college, and got married. So if it doesn't work out with Jeff, Mig, you could always apply to his administration for a slot.

You must be a profiler or something.

Divine Assassin, but you were close, at least. No cigar though.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 25, 2008 10:02 PM

Ymar,

Michea... er Miguel might have been calling me the chump.

His diatribe has caused me more anguish than I can bear. Mr. Rdr, do we have a case here? =8^}

Either way, I think I'll go have a beer to reflect on why I respect Jeffery even though I disagree with him on most issues, but not someone who verbalizes assumptions and denigrates others with name calling while claiming to aspire to serious conversation.

If I cared and time did not matter, I might engage him in a conversation. But I don't, so I won't.

Plus I could not stand to be called another name. It would be absolutely devastating.

Posted by: bthun at July 25, 2008 10:28 PM

Looks like y'all went clubbin' together. Have a nice dance. Probably in the midst of a human sacrifice which y'all fragged somewhere. You did say you were mixing with assassins.

Those guys I like. Because the real assassins...I mean the real "bad" (means good for the low I.Q.s) dudes, they don't visit blogs and ramble in incoherent oxycontin run-ons which are intended in some vague way to hypothesize that you are messing with a King Cobra who would just as soon inject you with venom as have a dialectic conversation. No, they walk silently through life harboring the memories of previous ops in which they did what they were asked to do for the greater good....despite the deceptions and bureaucratic b.s. they dealt with to achieve the inhumane. For a better place. Those are guys that get it. They wouldn't have a qualm with Jeffrey. They would with others, though. No. The real heroes don't bellow from a mountain top.

Posted by: Miguel at July 26, 2008 12:51 AM

As for BillT, you must be clairvoyant....you can look into my mind and tell what I've read, what I'm thinking, if I'm crying

Hi, Mikey -- Nope, I don't have to read your mind to tell what you've read, what you haven't read, and how your synapses snap. Besides, that aluminum foil hat blocks me.

Face it folks, despite their age and race, the two don't fall to[o] far from each other.

Odd -- I always figured Ymar was a human, too.

As for the war mongers and Invasion supporters, I would suggest to re-read the history of this conflict (and the preceding decades)before you discuss the future.

I don't have to read it -- I lived it.

Because the real assassins...I mean the real "bad" (means good for the low I.Q.s) dudes, they don't visit blogs and ramble in incoherent oxycontin run-ons...No, they walk silently through life harboring the memories of previous ops in which they did what they were asked to do for the greater good...

And they'd avoid the likes of you like a plague. Go back to your comic book collection...

Posted by: BillT at July 26, 2008 02:39 AM

I saw the rooms in my college dorm empty every week as my friends were drafted to serve in Vietnam.

I knew something jarred.

Someone going to college had an automatic 2-S deferment. The only way he could be drafted would be if he lost the 2-S by flunking out of school, and even then, it usually took the local draft board about six months to process the paperwork. And I find it highly suspect that even *one* dorm rooms in one school would empty on a weekly basis.

*waving the bullshit flag*

Posted by: BillT at July 26, 2008 02:53 AM

Addendum:

That last should've been "...that even *one* dorm room in one school would empty on a weekly basis due to the draft, because student deferments were valid for the complete semester."

Posted by: BillT at July 26, 2008 04:49 AM

Probably in the midst of a human sacrifice which y'all fragged somewhere.

You can't sacrifice something that has already been fragged and thus given unto Odin.

You did say you were mixing with assassins.

I was just helping you out, given your lack of knowledge concerning Bill.

And they'd avoid the likes of you like a plague. Go back to your comic book collection...

That wasn't even a comic book. That was just... interdimensional.

*waving the bullshit flag*

maybe those college punks caught wind of Teddy "Splash" Kennedy's displeasure? That would certainly send them to Vietnam in a hurry.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 26, 2008 10:45 AM

So if you lived it, and as a soldier who was there without question because that is your job, do you believe that you were used for political and economic ends by an ideological movement and an administration, and are you not upset that you weren't put towards the goal of rooting out the individuals responsible for the attacks which this excursion is based upon? Would you rather have our government support a pursuit for Osama bin Laden? Why would you equate lack of support for a war that the majority feel is unjustified with honoring troops? The support for troops in the U.S. is stratospheric. The support for Bush and a government which sold a bill of goods is not. I would hope you don't synthesize the two.

I am fascinated how you know exactly who I am! Thanks for taking the time to run me through the CIA database. You even know I like Batman.

Posted by: Miguel at July 26, 2008 12:09 PM

do you believe that you were used for political and economic ends by an ideological movement and an administration

Oh come on, you know better than to ask a programmed killer with a microchip in his brain controlling his actions and desires, that.

These things have suicide switches for a reason, you know.

Why would you equate lack of support for a war that the majority feel is unjustified with honoring troops?

For much the same reason that Bill wouldn't agree to execute Socrates just because a majority of an Athenian assembly voted "yea".

There's not much honor you can give someone when you think they are foolish for believing in a war that you disbelieve in. There is honor amongst enemies as a possibility, but even enemies recognize and respect each other's beliefs concerning why the war must be fought.

It is unlikely we would say to our enemies that they were foolish to believe that they could win, even though we would tell them that they were being used as tools and cannon fodder.

You don't even believe that there is anything to win in Iraq. There's no way such beliefs could lead to honoring either side in a conflict.

The support for troops in the U.S. is stratospheric.

Berkley? Code Pink? ROTC? There's propaganda, reality, and the reality of propaganda, but there's no point to a Veil of Illusion here.

The support for Bush and a government which sold a bill of goods is not.

You guys ain't no von Stauffenberg. Nowhere close. Don't even try to steal his legacy to cover up for your own actions.

Bill, I got a question for ya. While Mig here doesn't seem to like responding to Bt or me, he likes you, though. Got a guess for why?

In case people hadn't noticed, I'm not 100% serious at times when I'm writing and speaking to certain people. If people want to see me in a real debate, they should go look up Grim's words to me and mine to him in a previous thread about Obama.

Grim and Cassandra has a much higher tolerance level than I do, so they are rather better suited to explaining certain things about the Surge and what not.


Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 26, 2008 12:54 PM

Thanks for taking the time to run me through the CIA database.

Sorry, but I thought you knew. That database is now the property of the New York Times, so Bill and I are denied access to it. Doesn't mean we can't use the backdoors, of course, but journalists are even more secretive than the CIA in terms of anonymous sources and their enforcement policies concerning burning a source are rather strict.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 26, 2008 01:15 PM

These things have suicide switches for a reason, you know.

That's why I dug it out back in '72. Do you have any idea how much that thing *itched*?

Bill, I got a question for ya. While Mig here doesn't seem to like responding to Bt or me, he likes you, though.

Maybe he googled me and found more than he'd expected...

Posted by: BillT at July 26, 2008 01:31 PM

BillT ("waving the bullshit flag"): Since you're obviously too young to know what the hell you're talking about regarding the Vietnam draft, let me school you.

Deferments lasted for one semester unless you were a senior. Most of us weren't Dick Cheney, getting an almost unheard of 5 deferments to avoid the draft. I was lucky that in that I didn't turn 18 until late in 1972 and my number never got called, but a lot of my older friends weren't that lucky.

So, no Bill. It's not bullshit. I post under my real name. Details of my professional and personal life aren't hidden from anyone. I don't hide behind an alias and a free email account pretending to know something that I don't or be something that I'm not. I served my country just like you are. The fact that we disagree doesn't make me a lessor person, but you calling bullshit on the lives of my friends that went and served in a war that you have no F'n concept of tells me a lot more about you - and it disgusts me.


Posted by: jeffrey at July 26, 2008 01:37 PM

My buddy the cop always tells me that a domestic dispute is the very worst thing to stick your nose into... But in the spirit of peace, love and harmony, or maybe just stupidity, I would like to suggest that Bill may be a bit older than we are Jeffery.

And feel free to correct me if I am wrong Bill, but if I recall correctly, Bill recently said that he graduated from college in 68. Further, and again IIRC, Bill flew in Vietnam. So he certainly has the bonifides to speak about the time period.

As far as college deferments,

"Before Congress made improvements to the draft in 1971, a man could qualify for a student deferment if he could show he was a full-time student making satisfactory progress toward a degree."
and located in the section entitled DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SELECTIVE SERVICE TODAY AND DURING VIETNAM here is this information
"Before Congress reformed the draft in 1971, a man could qualify for a student deferment if he could show he was a full-time student making satisfactory progress in virtually any field of study. He could continue to go to school and be deferred from service until he was too old to be drafted. Under the new draft law, a college student could have his induction postponed only until the end of the current semester. A senior could be postponed until the end of the full academic year."
Which squares with my recollections. But then I enlisted in '72. However, I can recall that my youngest, older brother had to appear before the Selective Service board as a result of not taking classes for a period of time in order to recover from injuries while he was still at University. His deferment was in question as I recall, but he had destroyed his knees playing college round-ball so it was determined that he was unfit for duty. Being on crutches for the better part of a year might have had something to do with that judgment. This was 1966 or 1967. With bro being so gimped up, Uncle Sam would not have him.

Apparently Bill has the physical, mental and financial wherewithal to be in Iraq today serving our nation and the Iraqi's. That prompts me to offer some appreciation and thanks to Bill. And to overlook the fact that he was apparently a wolf at the age of 10. Using plastic lei's as props to hit on older women with the old Hey Miss ya wanna... lines.

Actually that's pretty good for a 10 year old.

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at July 26, 2008 02:32 PM

Oh, and let's not forget your "weekly basis" zinger. I was 17 when I went to college, and so were plenty of other kids. As they turned 18 and registered, some stayed through the semester, some left early to spend more time with their families. And while it seemed to my very young mind that there were more and more vacant rooms "weekly", perhaps you're right, Bill. I should have described the timeline with a bit more accuracy. Pardon me while I go contact my alma mater and tell them that I need a list of everyone that attended in 1971 and 1972 as well as when they left so that I can more precisely define my dorm experience to an online f*#ktard who thinks he knows me.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 26, 2008 02:34 PM

Jeffrey,
In all sincerity, I think you better read Bthun's comment just above yours...
You have stepped in it with regard to Bill.
And then, if I were you (again sincerely meant here) apologize.
Best,
Semper Fi Wife

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 26, 2008 02:43 PM

So what's the point of your jumping in, bthun? To tell me that Bill is older than I thought? Then he should have known better.

To verify the one semester rule in the Selective Service law? Thanks, but I already pointed that out in my reply to Bill.

To tell me that I should appreciate it when Bill tells me that my own experience around my friends who were drafted is bullshit? I hope not, bthun. I hope not.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 26, 2008 02:49 PM

I also want to echo Bthun's thanks to Bill.
You're doing a good thing over there.
Thank you!!

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 26, 2008 02:50 PM

No, Jeffrey...he was kindly trying to tell you just how far offbase you were in your assumptions about Bill T.
Bill IS a Vietnam vet. Bill IS training Iraqis right now...
I don't know if he's older than you or not. Doesn't matter that much to me nor do I think that was Bthun's ultimate point in his comment.


Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 26, 2008 02:54 PM

Bthun,
Have a great weekend..:) I think I'll go clean out the sock drawer...

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 26, 2008 02:58 PM

Semper Fi Wife, regardless of Bill's real life experience, it doesn't give him carte blanche to call my experience bullsh*t.

In fact, regardless of who you are, it's an all-around bad policy to jump into a personal attack, which is what spd_rdr did to me, and then BillT followed.

I notice that no one here called either of them on it, but let me defend myself and all of a sudden, I'm the bad guy.

Does that seem fair to you? While I've posted here I've never called anyone a single name, nor have I slurred their character, or engaged in even one ad hominem. Not once. Nor do I do that at Grim's Hall.

Now I'm happy to say that I guessed wrong about Bill's age. I'm even happy to acknowledge Bill's time in Vietnam. But Bill, you jumped first, and you called bullsh*t on something that you shouldn't have and for no good reason other than you disagree with me. So even if no one else here wants to call for it, I think that your apology to me is also in order.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 26, 2008 03:05 PM

Jeffery,

I am not saying you are a bad guy... If I'm not mistaken, I recently said that my opinion of you was quite the opposite.

All I meant to do was to show that both Bill's recollection of the draft and your's were correct. It is what it is, and it was as Bill described prior to 71 and as you recall after 71.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Yep, my buddy the cop is a wise fellow. =8^}

Posted by: bthun at July 26, 2008 03:12 PM

Back at ya Semper Fi Wife!

I think I'm going back to the basement and finish reassembling my HunSpec Beer-n-Pizza-stash-1989-001 fridge/freezer.

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at July 26, 2008 03:15 PM

BillT ("waving the bullshit flag"): Since you're obviously too young to know what the hell you're talking about regarding the Vietnam draft, let me school you.

Semper Fi Wife is right, Jeffrey -- you stepped in it.

I was in college, renewing my student deferment twice a year, from 1964 through 1968. By the time you'd gotten out of college, I'd already finished a combat tour in Vietnam and wes training troops at Fort Dix. Guess what? I trained the very last batch of draftees to come into the system for Vietnam in August of 1971.

What I called bullshit on -- and still do -- was your statement that you "...saw the rooms in my college dorm empty every week as my friends were drafted to serve in Vietnam." So, yes, I called you on it because I knew you were throwing the sympathy card at spd rdr and he bought it. I don't buy it one bit.

By the way, I post under my real name and the gmail addy is for real, not just for free. You've made some pretty egregious -- and basic -- errors for someone who got awfully upset at "an online f*#ktard who thinks he knows me."

Posted by: BillT at July 26, 2008 03:16 PM

While I've posted here I've never called anyone a single name, nor have I slurred their character, or engaged in even one ad hominem. Not once.

Bullshit once again.

Posted by: BillT at July 26, 2008 03:20 PM

I'm not Miss Sally and this, even though it resembles it on some occasions, isn't Romper Room.
It's not my job to police the comments section.
I'm not sure if I'm assuming too much but I consider Bill a friend. When you wrote what you did about him and your assumption that he lacked experience, I chose to call you on it.

As I recall with Spd's comment, I agreed with much of what he wrote to you. When you came back with the sad story of your sister and brother in law, he did respond appropriately, right? There wasn't any need for anybody else (not even Miss Sally) to intercede.

We are a close knit community around these parts.
That does not mean you can't be here too or even...possibly, be part of that community. It just means that you're kind of an unknown quantity and your personal experiences are unknown too.
I was 4 years old in 1968 when my father and my uncle served in Vietnam. I know little of what the deferment process looked like so I can't comment on that. I try not to comment on things that I don't know anything about.
I do know just how wrong you were about Bill's life. I did comment on THAT.

FWIW, I have wanted to say for a couple of days that I am sorry for what your brother in law has gone through.
I don't know if he is using any resources to deal with his problems. If he hasn't, I'd be happy to help you locate some to help him.
You can email me if you'd like to pursue that

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 26, 2008 03:23 PM

Have a good one, Bthun...is the fridge/freezer for your mancave?

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 26, 2008 03:35 PM

Mancave? Nope, I just have a garage for greasy escapes into the mystical world of the mechanical or for woodworking exploits where I display my mastery of digit/limb retention (so far so good) to Walkin' Boss. A basement for collecting hunting/fishing/camping and assorted junk along with a large cupboard for canned vegetables, bulk foods and lots of boxes containing what, I haven't a clue. Then there's a little barn out back for anything that overflows the first two.

But having a refrigerator/freezer and a commercial freezer in the subterranean areas of the hovel for such essentials as beer, pizza, frozen garden produce, venison and such is not open to negotiation. So when the side by side went casters up after being defrosted, it was with the utmost urgency that I dug out the old volt/ohm meter and tools and determined what was needed to get the beer coole... ahhh, refrigerator/freezer back on line.

Oh the stress! Oh the humanity!

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at July 26, 2008 04:07 PM

Speaking of stress, got any home remedies for a busted toe, SeFiWi?

Darn sun-rotted sandbags...

Posted by: BillT at July 26, 2008 04:19 PM

Semper Fi Wife, I admire loyalty and appreciate that you were being loyal to your friend, Bill. I also appreciate your expression of sympathy towards my brother-in-law. He has been getting help, and is making progress.

Bthun, thanks for clarifying. You caught me at a weak moment and if some of my anger at BillT dusted you, my apologies.

BillT, I'll be happy to continue this offline but I can't find your gmail address that you claim to be posting under or any name other than BillT. It's not at the website that you link to so where is it exactly?

Posted by: Jeffre at July 26, 2008 04:27 PM

Bthun,
We all gotta have priorties, right?

Bill,
Maybe Bthun has a bag of frozen peas on hand..:)
Otherwise, quit doing that!!!!

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 26, 2008 04:32 PM

Jeffery,

I think I may be too old, tired, or something, to get very worked up over an on-line conversation, as in I try not to sweat the small stuff. So I have no problem with your reply to me.

There are far too many things in this life that merit serious consideration, reflection and discussion... I cite Milady's recent post entitled Lost. That subject always leaves me speechless. My words can not do justice to the people who are the subjects of that posting. So rather than risk any harm, I find that I say nothing.

"Bthun,
We all gotta have priorties, right?"
Yesum!

Posted by: bthun at July 26, 2008 05:00 PM

I don't hide behind an alias and a free email account...

I'll be happy to continue this offline but I can't find your gmail address that you claim to be posting under...

Do you even *remember* what you write? And I have nothing to say to you that can't be said in public.

SeFiWi -- Found the duct tape.

Posted by: BillT at July 26, 2008 05:00 PM

And I have to be awake and functioning in five hours. Checking out of the net.

Posted by: BillT at July 26, 2008 05:02 PM

Bill, I do - do you? You wrote: "By the way, I post under my real name and the gmail addy is for real, not just for free."

So where's the free gmail addy, Bill? It doesn't count if you don't make it available.

For the record, the only thing that brought me back to this thread was your accusation that I lied to "play a sympathy card". I can let an argument over a topic go, which is what I did with Cass, but don't expect me to keep quiet when I'm essentially being called a liar. And that'll be my final word on it here.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 26, 2008 05:44 PM

Bill may not be aware that the URL he's posting in the URL line is overriding the gmail address on the "email address" line.

FWIW, I would vouch for both of you as basically all right. I post under a false name precisely so I can walk away from points of honor like this -- they mean nothing, online, but having your real name attached to an insult means its still hard to leave. But there is no mechanism to resolve a question of honor online. It simply goes on forever.

Posted by: Grim at July 26, 2008 08:26 PM

Thanks, Grim. Good points, as usual.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 26, 2008 09:23 PM

Before Congress made improvements to the draft in 1971

That wouldn't have happened to be a Democrat congress, would it?

I should have described the timeline with a bit more accuracy. Pardon me while I go contact my alma mater and tell them that I need a list of everyone that attended in 1971 and 1972 as well as when they left so that I can more precisely define my dorm experience to an online f*#ktard who thinks he knows me.

Jeffrey is rather emotionally unstable. When it comes to rewinding the clock and testing out whether more or less Iraqi children's bones would be ground up in a Surge without troops or not, Jeff's a okay with that. He either doesn't respond to such sentiments or he is calm about the consequences of his theories.

Oh, but when it gets personal, meaning, when it gets to the people he knew, as opposed to the lives he is willing to sacrifice in Iraq and not even give a damn about one way or another, then he gets emotional.

That is a little bit more unethical. Which doesn't even mention how Vietnam is really the subject that informs Jeff's interests in Iraq rather than what's actually went on in Iraq as part of the historical record.

Vietnam can't be re-fought, Jeff. No matter how much you may have wanted to go back in time to prevent it or what not. Iraq does not deserve to be sent into the abyss simply because of your own personal experiences in life, Jeff. They deserve more than that.

So what's the point of your jumping in, bthun?
To tell me that Bill is older than I thought?

Usually in an argument, it's beneficial to get the actual facts straight just in case you want to make a fool of yourself by declaring obviously untrue stuff.

Now, that may not matter to you concerning the Surge or debates about "theories", but it should matter to you on this subject, at least.

You're doing a good thing over there.

Train up those pilots so they kill lots of mass murderers and canon fodder. It's the only way for them to earn the right to use a nuclear device in the decades to come ; )

Semper Fi Wife, regardless of Bill's real life experience, it doesn't give him carte blanche to call my experience bullsh*t.

Just cause you got discredited because he made you get emotional, does not mean that this was something wrong with Bill. It may or may not be a low blow, like spd's chickenhawk attack, but nobody makes you respond in a particular way, Jeff.

If you want to defend yourself, then you need to straighten out the record and point out the logical flaws and incorrect facts that Bill is using. Or you can do it the way you argued the Surge and accuse everyone, but yourself, of making mistakes.

The latter is not going to cut it forever, if it ever did.

In fact, regardless of who you are, it's an all-around bad policy to jump into a personal attack, which is what spd_rdr did to me, and then BillT followed.

It may be convenient for you to label more than 50% of spd's post as a "personal attack", but in reality it was only the last 2 or 3 paragraphs, which constituted maybe 40% of the entire comment, which involved a challenge to your person and character, Jeff.

I know it is convenient to ignore the actual factual opposition to your "stances", but you can't go out misleading people like this forever. Nobody's going to buy it for "every' subject you talk about it. Try and use it a little bit less, okay.

I notice that no one here called either of them on it, but let me defend myself and all of a sudden, I'm the bad guy.

So, you want our help like a baby to defend yourself? That's very manly of you. So long as we don't contribute to spd's arguments or back him morale wise, we have no obligation to help you as neutral parties.

Unless you happen to be blind and are reading this off a text to speech thing, you should already know that "Bill" did not "directly" follow Spd's chickenhawk accussation against you. There was no "and then Bill" about it. It was more like "and then a lot of comments about Mig came about, and then Bill said sometihng about Jeff".

You've made some pretty egregious -- and basic -- errors for someone who got awfully upset at "an online f*#ktard who thinks he knows me."-Bill to Jeff

Talk about testing whether more or less Iraqi men, women, and children will be handed to the hands of bloodthirsty and murderous terrorists by refusing to increase troop withdrawals as per Petraeus' strategic demands, and I'm sure he will calm down, Bill.

He, like Obama, just knows the right thing to do, Bill. And it doesn't even matter that things already happened to prove them wrong in this timeline, they still know.


I'm not Miss Sally and this, even though it resembles it on some occasions, isn't Romper Room.

Don't tell me Semper Fi Wife was Cass...

Speaking of stress, got any home remedies for a busted toe, SeFiWi?

Get a biotic prosthetic.

New meaning of "steel toed" boots.

So where's the free gmail addy, Bill?

Look, Jeff, to cover for Bill's sleep period, this is what he means. When you said

I don't hide behind an alias and a free email account...

You had to have seen one of Bill's email accounts, whether google or not, given your claims or implications about Bill there. Now that you want to contact him via email, now you're asking what his email is? You should have known it when you said he had one. The fact that you don't even know it or where to get it, means that you were just talking out your arse when accusing people like Bill. That casts doubt on everything else you have claimed. Which is not the first time, btw.

For the record, the only thing that brought me back to this thread was your accusation that I lied to "play a sympathy card".

Bill didn't accuse you of lying, he accused you of misreporting and misrepresenting things to convince people that they are wrong and you are right. He accused you of spreading bullscheisse, which is not the same as lies. Given your ability to double think and conduct self-delusion, I would even argue to Bill that it doesn't matter whether you believe it to be true or not, since you can flip it on and off like a switch.

You got to stop making things up, Jeff. It might work on other people, but some people are too discerning. Just cause you have a personal bias in an argument and you want to convince people that your facts exist but other people's facts either don't exist or are interpreted incorrectly, doesn't mean you just win by default. You cannot make stuff up about Bill accusing you of lying when he never used the word "lie" or its various forms. You can claim that that was what he was thinking, but you cannot claim that that was what he actually said and wrote.

So, yes, I called you on it because I knew you were throwing the sympathy card at spd rdr and he bought it. I don't buy it one bit.

Maybe you need a dictionary or something, cause sympathy card does not mean "you lied".

It doesn't count if you don't make it available.

Bill doesn't want to talk or write to you person to person, since you have nothing he would like to hear. Since his time is limited, he would prefer to use the internet to relax, rather than listen to stuff he could go meet an Arab to hear.

And that'll be my final word on it here.

It had better be, for your sake. Since there's no way you could find an adequate counter-argument for what I just wrote.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 26, 2008 09:38 PM

"There's not much honor you can give someone when you think they are foolish for believing in a war that you disbelieve in."

I understand and respect the mind of a soldier. I even understand the varying degrees with which soldiers will accept and agree with orders. I know the spectrum will swing wide, even with soldiers, in there view of what is moral (morally acceptable) and what is not. So when a soldier is in the war and serves his country to the level he signed up for it, I applaud and honor him regardless of how I feel about the geopolitical and economic reasons for this war. Therefore I would never suggest nor imply any soldier is a fool. HOwever, when someone joins in the political fray and disregards the aspects of this struggle which are commonly known and reaches beyond there own simple ideological beliefs to render every other opinion in opposition to there's as childish, stupid and uninformed, rife with personal attacks (which I thought were anathema here), then I doubt their clarity of mind and human honesty. Soldier or not.

'Y' Guy keeps letting everyone know what a good debater he is, and how smart he is. With that style, you could become a regular on Fox and Friends. I'd vouch for ya.

Is it a wonder that Grim is widely respected? He doesn't engage in the nonsense that others use as rubber bullets. He states facts which appear hard to dispute; he states disagreement in a cordial and direct manner; when points become ideological, he knows what he believes and disagrees.

Too bad not all are as civil.

Posted by: Miguel at July 27, 2008 12:13 AM

'Y' Guy keeps letting everyone know what a good debater he is, and how smart he is.

I just get free body shots when people don't want to respond to me yet want to continue their own little diatribes. That's too good a chance to pass up.

then I doubt their clarity of mind and human honesty. Soldier or not.

You don't have to doubt Jeff's clarity of mind and human honesty. You just have to believe, and just ignore that little nagging conscience thing.

He states facts which appear hard to dispute

Mig and Jeff got no problems disputing them. Which I guess is what that "appear" is all about.

He doesn't engage in the nonsense that others use as rubber bullets.

I don't know what you use, Mig, but it's certainly not bullets. More like gravy and oatmeal.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 27, 2008 02:10 AM

"Don't tell me Semper Fi Wife was Cass"

Nope, I'm not Cass...:)

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 27, 2008 08:24 AM

Just as good-lookin', though.

Posted by: BillT at July 27, 2008 09:49 AM

I think I may be too old, tired, or something, to get very worked up over an on-line conversation, as in I try not to sweat the small stuff. So I have no problem with your reply to me.

Guy that graduated college in the 70s doesn't have the excuse of "youthful arrogance" anymore.

Unless we're talking about special cases like BillT or fighter pilots.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 27, 2008 12:01 PM

Nope, I'm not Cass...:)

You sounded amazingly like her though with the phrases and words you chose to use ; )

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 27, 2008 12:02 PM

Being called youthfully arrogant might fall somewhere around the same place as being carded for the purchase of alcohol... At my age, I'll just smile and maybe offer thanks.

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at July 27, 2008 12:26 PM

I meant the way Jeff acted, not you, Bt.

As a reference to your comment towards Jeff about appropriate responses for people.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 27, 2008 12:43 PM

Bill, you're very sweet.

Ymar, I promise that I'm not Cass. You can ask John Donovan. He's met both of us at the same time.
Perhaps it's because we talk to each other on a very regular basis?

Now back to cleaning out my closet for the yard sale..how did I accumulate so much stuff?????

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 27, 2008 03:20 PM

I just checked my closet. It's nearly as empty as my heart, somedays. And on other dyas it packed to the rafters.

I'm giving Jeffrey a pass (not that he'll accept it) not because I don't think he's wrong about so many things, but because he's a Coastie. I was Blue Water Navy - frigates - but I never saw such brave and dedicated souls as those who put to sea on ships half our size when the rest of us were either running for port or deep water.

Salute.

That being said, there is nothing further to be said. And there you are.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 27, 2008 04:55 PM

You know, I have been gone all weekend and without having read all of the comments here, I can only say I think I'm glad I was not here.

First of all, Miguel, you are full of crap.

You have been commenting here for a very long time and YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN DENIED ACCESS.

Pay attention. You are not that important, Miguel, and neither is anything you have ever had to say.

There is, and has only ever been, one thing that will cause someone to be banned here, and that is being personally insulting repeatedly after being warned.

And it is my call, because it is my site. The criteria, like the rules, are decided by me because I'm the one who pays the bills around here. But in over four years, I have banned fewer than five people. I think that says something, because we've had some damned obnoxious people around here. I've left comments up here that were insulting to me.

So don't waste my time with self-inflated BS about how you were "denied access". Grow the hell up Miguel. You ran afoul of my comment spam filter just like everybody else (including ME). It ain't personal and I don't even know when it happens. I have ZERO control over it and if you don't like it, try complaining to the jerks who spam comments and trackbacks. If it weren't for them I wouldn't have to have three layers of anti-spam protection on my comments just to be able to run this site.

Good Lord: got paranoia?

As for the rest of you, I am closing the comments. I am not going to read them, I don't care who is wrong or right. Well, actually I do care.

But it is beside the point.

I love you all (and I do) but sometimes a conversation stops being about what it is about and just rolls too far downhill.

I apologize to all of you for not being around this weekend. If I had, I'd have stepped in sooner. But I needed to spend some time with my family. I will try to get something up here and be more regular about posting. There has just been a lot going on in my life lately and I haven't been able to devote as much time to this as I ought to.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 27, 2008 06:23 PM