Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

War, Rumors of War Errors

It’s hard to know what to make of Bill Clinton going to the Middle East, taking to the podium in front of a large group of students and a press gaggle in the UAE, and telling the Middle East and the world that the U.S. knocking off Saddam was a big mistake.

Short of George Bush standing up and saying “had it with the war, gonna spend the next three years fishin’ in the Cigarette boat with Poppy,” I can’t imagine any politician doing more to help charge up the insurgency than that. Admittedly, Clinton knows how to win political fights, and maybe he senses blood in the water. But honest to God, this is a war, it’s a war we are in largely as a consequence of prior chickening-outs, and a further chickening out will only encourage future attacks of the state and non-state sponsored kind.

No, I’m not going to rant about Bill Clinton. I’m just putting this out there, and shaking my head. Why say that? Why say it there? What was he thinking?

Assymetrical wars aren’t fought on the battlefield. They are fought in the mind, the minds of the citizens of the conventional power, in the minds of the guerillas. The guerillas/insurgents/terrorists / thuggees need not ever win a battle. They need only to overcome the will of the conventional power to keep spending dribs and drabs of money and blood on the struggle, and they win.

For this reason, establishing a timetable for withdrawal is insane and defeatist. If you were beating the hell out of some guy in a footrace, the last thing you would do is say “at the top of this next hill, I’m going to ease off. I’m tired of this conflict.” The other guy then has an immediate boost in moral and intensity. He knows that he need only hang on until the top of that hill, at which point you will have quit. The same thing is true in war. Qualitative milestones are one thing – “we will stay until the Iraqi security forces are mature enough to defend against enemies foreign and domestic.” But a date, say “next January,” is not a good choice of milestone. If such a deadline is imposed, the insurgency should simply hunker down, keep its powder dry, and act like its finished. If it could hold out up to the announced withdrawal date, and do so quietly, it could muster strength, build a false sense of security in the new police & military (causing them to train less) and then attack when they least expect it and after U.S. forces are gone.

Moreover, an announcement like Clinton’s will be interpreted as an invitation to mount more attacks, to take better advantage of the media and to further try to break the U.S. will to follow through on this invasion. He is perceived as a moderate around the world, and was quite the hawk until this morning. “Hawkish moderate Bill Clinton thinks Iraq intervention is a mistake.” This move is significant to the likes of Zarqawi because it signals to them that the left, and moderate liberals (which our press paints as perhaps 70% of the U.S. population, rightly or wrongly) have deserted the cause. This would be a tremendous boost to the moral of the indigenous and foreign fighter/Islamist insurgent cadres.

Those are the technical military science problems I have with what Clinton said today. I have similar problems with the media coverage today, and most days. The Marines and Army are involved in a couple slam bang fights as we speak, reducing a couple large pockets of Al Qaida fighters that have festered for a long time without intervention. Yet day after day, we hear nothing about where the fighting is going on, what’s really happening, who is being apprehended or killed, why the fight is in a particular place, what the strategic significance is, or how our young men and women are making us proud with their dedication to the mission and the country and their workaday, exceptional-is-the-new-ordinary heroism. Instead the only headline I ever see is “two Americans killed.” Or “five Americans killed.” Or “seven Americans injured in bombing.” Really? The only impression I get from the MSM is that the U.S. troops are basically lined up like metal ducks in a shooting gallery, being picked off one at a time without actually doing anything positive, not carrying out missions, whatever. I guess they are just wandering around in the ‘Raq, wearing do rags, listening to the Stones, smokin’ dope and waiting for their hitch to end.

Now that’s facetious, and I know it’s borderline slander, but that’s all you can surmise from the press coverage – it’s Just Like VietNam USA Today tells us.

It’s not like I have to resort to a subtle argument like “this objectively helps the other side.” There’s nothing “objective” or otherwise qualified about it. This kind of behavior, the incessant focus on casualties rather than the reasons related to those sacrifices, is as incessant as a bombing campaign and just as damaging an attack on the real battlefield, the battlefield of wills, as anything Zarqawi can muster. When you combine the incessant MSM aerial campaign with Bill Clinton’s white flag waver speech, I think it’s fair to conclude that we are about to run from Iraq like a chickenshit nation with our tails between our legs. Here we are with a functioning Iraqi democracy, a nearly implemented constitution, and a parliament that appears to be in the middle of working through, in honest fashion, the first political scandal of the new government, the anti-Shiite bias of the Ministry of Justice. It looks like civil society may be emerging, with U.S. help, from the ashes of the Hussein tyranny. Never mind the modest but important and probably irrevocable steps toward self rule in Lebanon and Egypt.

Yet all we get about this is “five Marines killed” and our incredibly influential ex-president telling every swinging Richard in the middle east that the Iraq invasion was a terrible mistake.

I am incredibly disheartened by this. The two country comparison seems about right – one half of the U.S. or a little less seems to more or less get it, and really wants to win in Iraq. The other half insists that we’ll be safer if we can cut and run, and that inflicting a defeat on Bushwa is what really matters. The stakes are so much higher than some pissant little political dispute, yet this is playing out like a petulant little filibuster episode, as if all that was involved was a .5% benefit cut proposal, or some equally irrelevant congressional action.

The battlefield is here folks. It’s in our minds. The goal of terrorism is to change our minds, and the goal of AQ and its state sponsors is to get the U.S. to quit it with the cultural imperialism, the spreading of pluralistic democracy, the insistence that there can be peaceful co-existence, the spreading of our free wheeling western culture. If we lose here at home, and all the indicators are that the dam is about to burst, then there’s no way we are ever going to win abroad – and we’d better get ready for a conventional campaign here because an emboldened AQ isn’t going to be satisfied with getting the U.S. out of Iraq. The goal isn’t tactical, it’s the destruction of the U.S. and the western way of life. Again, it’s another battle and another battlefield that half the country doesn’t appear ready to acknowledge.

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38 thoughts on “War, Rumors of War Errors

  1. All I will say is, if this falls apart and lands here there will be hell to pay. Like you said, “The stakes are so much higher than some pissant little political dispute.” Half of this country has taken the time and energy to become educated and informed of why this war was rightly started and necessary. The other half has been standing there with there fingers in their ears and playing the same old tune. I know I won’t forget who the traitors are. The outcome that they are trying to cause won’t be as peaceful as Vietnam.

  2. To me, considering the seriousness of all of this. I cannot understand all of the PC talk going on. I think my “freedoms” gauge is going haywire. To be honest, I feel like slapping the spit out of a number of people. The fact that I used to like Clinton makes me nauseous. What in god’s name made him pull a stunt as stupid as that in the ME of all places!!

  3. I *feel* exactly the same way, ExDem, but the fact we live in a civil society keeps me from acting out. No, talk, talk talk talk talk is what we do, and the reason we have this system is the pre-code systems we had before, in tribal days, meant that we settled disputes by running a sword through the person suffering from disagreement. Slapping somebody who disagrees with you… well, it’s not much different from dashing out Starbucks windows because you don’t like IMF policy. A futile gesture, maybe making somebody slightly related to the real problem feel bad, and maybe making you feel good, but ultimately resulting only in a broken window and the window-breaker’s own disgrace.

  4. Oh, I’m not planning on slapping anybody. I have just gotten to that point of not being “nice” anymore. Of course alot of it has to do with the outright frustration I have that these people animals are getting away with this.

  5. Al, I’m also shaking my head over this – but I’d like to see a transcript of the whole speech before going further. Mostly because I don’t particularly like the man, and I know that affects my judgment; and, also, because I’m wearily aware of the way that the media can warp stuff.

  6. I’ll look for the whole transcript and post it if I can find it. I’m not sure it makes that much of a difference. Part of writing speeches is looking at every little part to see how it would sound if taken out of context – i.e. the NY Times test. I would expect a savvy operator like Clinton to know exactly the significance of each phrase he strung together, and the relevance of the context. (I occasionally draft press releases and the like for clients with troubles, one is supposed to think about these aspects of a speech). Kaus has apparently seen the transcript and views it as a Clintonian difference splitting – Hilary isn’t clever enough a speaker to stand on both sides of the war issue, so Billious runs up a trial balloon to test the position.

    It would have been hard to find a worse place to do it, other than maybe Ramadi or Tal Afar.

  7. From what I’ve been able to find, Clinton said this:

    “The American government made several errors once they decided to invade. One of them was underestimating how easy it would be to overthrow Saddam, and how hard it would be to unite the country,” he said. “When they kicked out Saddam, they decided to dismantle the whole authority structure. Most of the people who were part of that structure were good, decent people who were making the best out of a very bad situation,” he added.”

    “I think that was the central mistake, and we’re still living with that,” he said.

    “If you want to live in a world where the positive forces of interdependence outweigh the negative ones, there are two really important things. One is, you have to be committed to sharing the future, sharing responsibilities and sharing the benefits. The reason why there’s no peace in the Middle East is that they haven’t made up their mind how to share. We cannot hope to solve the problems of an interdependent world unless we are prepared to share. When people decide, for whatever reason, that sharing is important they find a way to work together,” he said.

    “The second factor for a bright future is related to the dangers of religious extremism. You can all live together no matter what you believe in and how big your convictions are, as long as you don’t believe that you are, right now, in possession of the absolute truth,” he said.

    All up-and-up statements about our predicament. I haven’t been able to find the “the war was a big mistake” quote blaring in places like Drudge and the NY Post.

  8. I might add that you will never hear such sane words of wisdom come from the lips of Bush or Cheney. At another venue in Abu Dhabi Clinton said:

    “You have got plenty of economic power. The real issue is what you intend to do with it… Are you smart enough to see down the road 50 years?” he asked.

    He then went on to suggest that some of the funds generated from oil in the Gulf region should be invested in renewable energy sources: “If I were a benevolent dictator of all of the Middle East, I would turn it into not the oil centre of the world, but the energy centre of the world.”

    “I would take some of the cash reserves and invest money in all the poor countries around here and I would educate them and I would manufacture massive amounts of alternative energy technology,” Clinton said. “I would equip the houses in every sunny, hot country in the world with solar cells that would provide energy for light and cooking,” he said. Referring to religious extremism and terrorism, he said he believed the “great question of the age” was whether “truth”, in religious terms, can be “possessed in this lifetime by any human being.” The “implicit reality” of the recent suicide bombings at three Amman hotels in Jordan, he said, was that the terrorists believed that they were in possession of “the absolute truth.”

    The former president also argued that the growing interdependence of the world means that countries need to work together more. “This area of foreign policy is probably where I differ most from the current [US] administration,” he said.

  9. Z, thanks for posting that fragment of the transcript. I’m still looking for the whole thing. As for the one quote about the people Coalition Forces should have “recycled”:

    Most of the people who were part of that structure were good, decent people who were making the best out of a very bad situation,” he added.”

    This refers to people who, were they working in the machinery of another totalitarian state in a different time, would be unironically called “the good Nazis.” People in some quarters question this kind of recycling project.

    The issues Clinton raises are generally valid questions for discussion. On a couple points I think he’s wrong. The actual overthrow of Saddam – a three week campaign if you will remember – was a relatively easy part in spite of some bitter, heroic small unit actions that the media has rather shamefully underreported. Still, in the grand scheme of things, the ouster was easy by all historical standards. I don’t think the Administration mis-underestimated that part of the operation, so I think Clinton is factually wrong here. Dislodging the Ba’athist infrastructure, which is different from overthrowing Saddam has been tougher than estimated, and the misapprehension of the nature and reach of tribal / clan ties was at first nearly disastrous, though it is understood and being employed to our advantage now.

    I believe that the validity of these issues, however, does not overshadow the larger fact that a former president oughtn’t go into the lion’s den and criticize his nation’s grand strategy, as the criticism of that sort, but especially in that time and place, will undercut the execution of national war strategy. Like him or not, Bill Clinton has a special standing at home and in the world, and I think a special duty of reticence attaches to his position. And like him or not, Bush is still the POTUS and we still have a war we need to execute successfully, I would have though Clinton understood that. There’s a time and place for frank criticism between CINCs, and over a coffee in the oval office or some other relatively quiet setting is the place. Let Sandy Berger make the argument, or Rahm Emanuel, and let the argument walk or fall on its own merits.

  10. Zorro, did you read the article?

    “Saddam is gone. It’s a good thing, but I don’t agree with what was done, “[ie THE WAR] Clinton told students at the American University of Dubai.

    “It was a big mistake. The American government made several errors … one of which is how easy it would be to get rid of Saddam and how hard it would be to unite the country.”

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1132053866236&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Now, you can agree or disagree that what Clinton said was odious/shameful/bordering on treason , but don’t try to say he didn’t say it.l

  11. I think what we’re seeing is the beginning of a 3-way battle of the giants. Think about what kind of person it takes to want to be president. I wouldn’t want that job, and couldn’t do it if I did.

    Bill and Hillary have some pretty strong (and I think good) ideas of the course America should steer for in the coming decades.

    GW Bush and Dick Cheney also have similar strong (and I think wrong) ideas.

    In his innaugural in 1997 Clinton said:

    “As times change, so government must change. We need a new government for a new century—humble enough not to try to solve all our problems for us, but strong enough to give us the tools to solve our problems for ourselves; a government that is smaller, lives within its means, and does more with less. Yet where it can stand up for our values and interests in the world, and where it can give Americans the power to make a real difference in their everyday lives, government should do more, not less. The preeminent mission of our new government is to give all Americans an opportunity—not a guarantee, but a real opportunity—to build better lives.

    Beyond that, my fellow citizens, the future is up to us. Our founders taught us that the preservation of our liberty and our union depends upon responsible citizenship. And we need a new sense of responsibility for a new century.”
    [snip]
    Our land of new promise will be a nation that meets its obligations—a nation that balances its budget, but never loses the balance of its values. A nation where our grandparents have secure retirement and health care, and their grandchildren know we have made the reforms necessary to sustain those benefits for their time. A nation that fortifies the world’s most productive economy even as it protects the great natural bounty of our water, air, and majestic land.

    I think that he feels that if he doesn’t step in and help put the reins on the Bush administration that his ideas of what America could be in 50 years will be dashed. Bush is powerless against Clinton, but Cheney is another matter.

    The 3rd party in this fight is Pappy. Bush 41 aligns with Clinton in a lot of ways, and it seems that the fued between the Kennebunkport Bushes and the Crawford Bushes is heating up.

  12. Roscoe, that quote came from the Jerusalem Post…

    …this quote comes from the Khaleej Times (the No.1 English language daily newspaper published from Dubai, United Arab Emirates):

    “He appeared relaxed and unfazed, as he talked about the situation in Iraq, and why he thought the Americans had “made a mistake to invade”.

    a little different. I’ll wait for a real transcript.

  13. All things considered, whatever Clinton said, he had to expect that certain media elements – especially in some areas of the Mideast – would spin and try to play them as hard as possible towards the anti-Iraq war position.

    There is real change towards Democracy in the mideast, and not just in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whatever one says about Iraq, it certainly made the questions of terrorism, democracy and government more real and more focused. I just worry that with the area now moving more to democracy and away from terrorism, that leftists in the US will end up on the wrong side of history, as some of the more extreme left in the West did when the USSR was collapsing.

  14. All things considered, whatever Clinton said, he had to expect that certain media elements – especially in some areas of the Mideast – would spin and try to play them as hard as possible towards the anti-Iraq war position.

    That’s my point exactly, J.D.

  15. From Esquire:

    “NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is “The Most Influential Man in the World,” according to Esquire magazine.

    The magazine has designated him as “the most powerful agent of change in the world” despite his lack of electoral standing and the fact he was laid low by a heart attack ahead of last year’s presidential election.”

    “Esquire editor David Granger argued that Clinton was poised to become “something like a president of the world or at least a president of the world’s non-governmental organizations.”

    …like I said, Bush is powerless against Clinton, which is why Cheney’s “in your face” was so surprising and stupid last night. We all know the Rove techniques now…they don’t work on us any more. Cheney is less believable now than ever.

  16. Esquire? That lame fashion magazine that isn’t even fashionable, and you want to pimp their naive political opinions? Pretty sad, Z, even for you.

    Bush is powerless against Clinton
    That gave me a real good chuckle, though.

  17. Pimping that ridiculous poll is even sadder, especially when my one “no” vote dropped it 2 whole percentage points. You’re a sad little freak Zorro, and you get sadder and lamer by the minute.

  18. Your one vote, bowen? Do you think you’re the only one on the internets? like I said above b-bitch, the Rovian in-your-face don’t work no more. You guys are done…no one believes the crap any more, and the louder you get the worse it becomes for you.

    “Calling the administration’s Iraq policy “a flawed policy wrapped in illusion,” Congressman John Murtha of Pennsyslvania today called for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. This is significant. Murtha is no dove. He voted for the Iraq War in 2002 and the Gulf War in 199i. He served in the Marines in the ’50s, and reinlisted in 1966 at age 34 to go to Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. He wast the first Vietnam vet to enter Congress. And he’s been a staunch supporter of the US military. Which is why he wants the troops to come home now.”

    http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/11/17/14400/895

  19. Okay Zorro. Great poll. Where’s it linked from? Eschaton? Kos? Please. We may be dumb, but we aren’t nearly as clueless as you seem to think.

    And good for Murtha. He’s wrong.

    As I’ve said before, and I’ll try to say here without too much malice once more. Either we succeed at reforming the middle east, helping the reformers and the peaceful co-existers crush the medievalist monsters, or our cities will be flattened. Again, I will point out that a retreat will only embolden the Islamofascists, help them crush the pro-pluralism, pro-democracy forces in their midst, and will encourage Osama and his ilk to use attacks on the West as a means of bolstering their credibility. In the short term, the Republicans would take a loss for a retreat. In the long term – with a Manhattan, a Boston, maybe an interesting double of LA and San Francisco wiped out – it would be a GOP bonanza. THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO WILL PAY FOR A US RETREAT IN IRAQ ARE BLUE STATERS LIVING IN HIGH POPULATION AND HIGH MEDIA DENSITY CITIES.

    I can’t stand neo-liberalism, I cannot stand the raging, virulent and seemingly infectious strain of nastiness that the MoveOn subsidiary Democratic Party appears to be suffering from. I cannot stand the statism and Nosy Parkerism that Blue States seem to always try to inflict on their people and everybody else. But I do not wish the destruction that the Islamists would visit on us, onto my political adversaries in the Blue States, if we show any signs of weakness or abandon the cause of political reform in the Middle East. Yet that is just what will happen if people like you carry the day in this argument, Zorro. Nietsche posited a deep nihilistic and destructive streak in man’s heart. I believe that this is the only thing that motivates the left; I can see no rational reason behind it, no long term thinking, no ability to address the serious arguments of the hawks on their own terms. Nothing. Just a death wish that is apparently so deep, that it can’t even find a voice, other than a croaking “retreat, retreat, retreat.” I’m not angry at you Zorro, just really really sad, and completely baffled, because I am pretty sure that you defeatists will carry the day, and pretty sure that the next time it will be a hell of a lot worse than 9/11, and that’s a pretty chilling certainty. I don’t give a flying fuck at a rolling donut if George Bush ends his term giving a “V” salute and hopping on a helicopter. I do care about what happens to the country and this would turn a tough, but seemingly improving situation, into an unmitigated national disaster, with inevitable catastrophic follow on attacks waiting in the wings.

  20. “Either we succeed at reforming the middle east, helping the reformers and the peaceful co-existers crush the medievalist monsters, or our cities will be flattened. Again, I will point out that a retreat will only embolden the Islamofascists, help them crush the pro-pluralism, pro-democracy forces in their midst, and will encourage Osama and his ilk to use attacks on the West as a means of bolstering their credibility.”

    I disagree. the re-shaping of the middleeast will only come from within, it cannot be injected militarily. We have already lost our credibility, as the horrors of “conventional chemical weapon” use comes to light along with systematic torture.

    The tribal peoples of the middleeast are war hardened, who as George B. Shaller wrote in 1974 (in “Stones of Silence”) “raid other clans stealing livestock and women for sport”. The educated city dwellers are their heirs, and though gentrified, are just as tough.

    As Clinton said a couple of days ago:
    “If you want to live in a world where the positive forces of interdependence outweigh the negative ones, there are two really important things. One is, you have to be committed to sharing the future, sharing responsibilities and sharing the benefits. The reason why there’s no peace in the Middle East is that they haven’t made up their mind how to share. We cannot hope to solve the problems of an interdependent world unless we are prepared to share. When people decide, for whatever reason, that sharing is important they find a way to work together.”

    We should have left the bureaucracies and authority structure in place after we removed Saddam, and gently pulled our soldiers out. From that point on, our mission should have been a humanitarian one. Sure, there would have been some insurgents fighting for the old way of life…but that could not be blamed on the US.

    We need men and women of vision to lead the US and the world by example…not a petulant frat-boy. Radical Islamism will last only as long as the non-radicals will tolerate it. As long as the non-radicals are pissed at the west, they will quietly cheer on the radicals.

    This is a struggle of hearts and minds, not a war of guns and bombs.

  21. By the way – Murtha’s “switch” isn’t exactly a switch.

    Murtha: Iraq ‘Unwinnable’
    By Erin P. Billings and Emily Pierce
    Roll Call Staff
    May 6, 2004

    Signaling a new, more aggressive line against the Bush administration’s policy on Iraq, Rep. John Murtha (Pa.), the House Democrats’ most visible defense hawk, will join Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today to make public his previously private statements that the conflict is “unwinnable.”

    As for White Phosphorus being a chemical weapon… Zorro, you are so incredibly, completely wrong about that, that I am shocked. Even by your relatively loose factual accuracy standards, that is insanely wrong. WP rounds produce an acrid smoke, comparable in smell and respiratory effect to “strike anywhere” matches, at least where the smoke is really dense. When WP grenades or shells first pop, it’s hot, and if it is a shell there is a significant amount of splatter along with some concussion, the side effect of the necessary bursting charge to distribute the smoke-creating burning stuff. And WP grenades are useful for starting fires – they burn hot enough to set a steel security container or a piece of aluminum-shelled cryptological equipment on fire. But they aren’t a chemical weapon any more than a piece of wood – which also burns pretty hot and produces smoke – is a chemical weapon.

    We should have left the bureaucracies and authority structure in place after we removed Saddam

    You mean the “good Nazis” of the Baathist party. Call them what they are, please.

    Radical Islamism will last only as long as the non-radicals will tolerate it. As long as the non-radicals are pissed at the west, they will quietly cheer on the radicals.

    Yeah, that’s a nice idea. Unfortunately, it’s one of those “stick a daisy in the gunbarrel” phenomena. You are asking basically peaceful people, who disavow (and believe their religion) disavows religious-motivated slaughter, to essentially conduct a religious motivated slaughter of a people who are basically really up for the fight, better armed, and supported by state sponsors who are only too happy to have a place to vent their peoples’ built up anger at their own oppression, a place to ship malcontents to get killed or die tryin’, or an armed struggle to tie down their regional rivals.

    You defeat tyranny not with nice words alone but with nice words coupled with some ass kicking, coupled with a full court cultural press, the warrior in partnership with the philosopher and the poet and the politician. Cold War strategy, when fully implemented, took this tack. Go back and read NSC 68. It posited that full spectrum resistance was the right way to beat Soviet communist global designs. This included fighting brushfire wars, a couple low to high intensity conflicts (Korea, VietNam), sponsoring insurgencies, pressuring their economy by outspending on defense (Kennedy & Reagan defense buildups); and intellectually and publicly supporting dissidents and freedom wherever we could. We failed in some instances – supporting “our bastard” over “their bastard” was often a counterproductive strategy, and we missed a lot of chances to thwart state sponsored terrorism / revolutionary efforts, but we won in the end. It wasn’t done by being above the fray but by sticking our noses into the middle of it often at great cost in money and American blood. Vaclav Havel and Lech Walensa have noted as much.

  22. You misplace the context: here’s the Cliff-Notes version:

    9/11/2001- a group of mostly Saudis, sponsored by a Saudi millionaire (billionaire?) hijacks a number of jumbo-jets and utilizig them as ICBMs, destroys the Word Trade Center and severely damages the Pentagon, as well as cause a large of US casualties.

    Shortly after, we correctly engage the Taliban in Afghanistan, who are known to be supporting and harboring the terrorist mastermind, Osama bin Laden. With all of our concerted effort, military superiority, technological superiority we cannot capture or kill a 6-foot tall (easily recognized) Arab tied to a dialasys machine.

    At this point (actually, immediately after 9/11) we should have cut diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, and made them a “target” unless they came clean and helped capture Osama…but you know that would never happen.

    Then we took a fatal hard right turn. We forget about Osama, and invaded Iraq- A NATION THAT HAD NO TIES TO ANY OF THE EVENTS OF 9/11. (If you disagree with that- stop reading, you’ve been brainwashed.)

    The truth of the world is that there will always be Osama’s and Timothy Mcveigh’s and Earl Krugel’s in the world. Some, like Osama had state sponsorship, or at least leave…and we did the right thing in Afghanistan. We did the wrong thing in Iraq.

    As for you last paragraph, we don’t live in that world anymore. We live in a world of instant information transmission. We live in a world where people who see things can instantly get the pictures from their cell phones on every newscast around the globe in 24 hours.

    Oh and as for the WP- check out the Italian report…you seem to know something about WP. Whatever substance was dropped on Falujeh it was not “comparable in smell and respiratory effect to “strike anywhere” matches”.

  23. Even Richard Perle thinks it was a mistake:

    “I think we made serious mistakes after the initial military action,” Perle said. “It was a benign occupation but it was an occupation nonetheless, and people don’t like to be occupied.”

    and he goes on:

    “Almost everything you’ve heard about [Chalabi] is false,” Perle said. “The CIA, which doesn’t like him, has been out of control on this issue.”

    Perle described Chalabi as a brilliant patriot who sacrificed a life of comfort in the United Kingdom for an active role in the rebuilding of Iraq.

    “We should have handed him the keys the day Baghdad fell,” Perle said.

    http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2005/11/17/news/13842.shtml

    well that about says it all…and he IS the expert.

  24. “b-bitch”?

    BWHAHAHAHAHA!

    I knew there wasn’t an original thought rattling around in that empty head of yours, Danger Girl Zorro. Thanks for doing us all the favor of emphasizing it.

    Gawd, how much is Rove paying you to pretend to be a progressive, anyway?

  25. Oh, gosh…now with the name calling…I thought you might get a kick outta that. Glad you were amused. So I was sitting here thinking about what you said…that I don’t have a thought rattling around…yadayada, and I thought I check out what you’re thinking about:

    “Monday, February 21, 2005
    Good Lord Do I Have a Lot To Say.
    But I’m still composing my thoughts, setting up this blog, etc. Hold on to your shorts, sparky. It’s about to get ugly around here.”

    Thursday, March 03, 2005
    The Libertardian Fucking (non) Party.
    …If I wanted to live in Fucking Cow Fucking Hamp Fucking Shire, I’d already be there!”

    …and nothing since. Well, Bowie- I’m hanging on to mah shorts, sonnie…but I don’t see nothin’ comin’, y’all. What a vapid peice of brochure-ware you are.

    [back to our regularly scheduled barely contained adult arguments]

  26. With all of our concerted effort, military superiority, technological superiority we cannot capture or kill a 6-foot tall (easily recognized) Arab tied to a dialasys machine.

    Yeah, we couldn’t find a 6’2″ white guy named D.B. Cooper, either. Doesn’t prove much, Zorro.


    At this point (actually, immediately after 9/11) we should have cut diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, and made them a “target” unless they came clean and helped capture Osama…but you know that would never happen.

    Zorro, please – you wouldn’t have been in the “No Blood for Oil” marches if we’d gone after Saudi? You really expect us to believe you’d be pro-BushWarDeathKillSaudis? Dude. Come on. I have a very hard time believing that.

    Then we took a fatal hard right turn. We forget about Osama, and invaded Iraq- A NATION THAT HAD NO TIES TO ANY OF THE EVENTS OF 9/11. (If you disagree with that- stop reading, you’ve been brainwashed.)

    No, I completely agree. As the 9/11 Commission noted, no direct link to 9/11 attacks. That doesn’t, however, negate the facts that:
    * Baghdad functioned as an Old Folks Home for retired terrorists – see e.g. Saint Richard of Clarke’s “Osama would boogie to Baghdad” comment.
    * Iraq and AQ were looking for points on which to collaborate.
    * Iraq sent a senior member of its intelligence services to serve as a full time ambassador / operational liaison with AQ.
    * AQ and Iraq were allies, at least with respect to the U.S., because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    It doesn’t negate the fact either, that if one was to try to spread an infection of democracy in the Muslim world, the choke point, the land bridge in the middle and the most secular state, and the only one with a functioning economy outside of oilexports, would be a good place to start. It doesn’t negate the fact that Saddam had WMD programs, that he bore the burden of proving their dismantlement, and he juked and jerked around every single inspection team ever sent to perform verification missions. I’ll defer to Sgt. Maples here on that, or on the Duelfer report’s 500 tons of yellowcake figure.

  27. I have no problem with going after bad guys…as I’ve said in the past, I was one of the few liberals in Peru who cheered the way Fujimori dealt with MRTA and Sendero.

    I would have been behind a strong action against the saudis, as I was behind the strong action against the taliban.

    You think the Iraq war was the right move and I think it was the wrong move.

    Now we wait…probably about 5 years for the dust to settle enough to see which one of us is more on the money.

  28. Y’know, part of the fun of doing this is imagining what the typist on the other end is like in person.

    I imagine Al to be like an attorney friend of mine, who is in his mid-50’s and plays pick-up with the college kids and kicks ass occasionally.

    I imagine Mike to be like an artist acquaintance of mine, Brian Morgan.

    Bowen, I image you to be a spent 50-something, balding, cramped and angry little man, who’s wife left him cause he couldn’t get it up any more. A man who wanted to do something with his life, but being a mail carrier has such good benefits. Sorta like a really dark version of George Costanza.

    (In case you’re wondering, Zorro has been told he looks like Matthew McConnaghey, but more intense.)

  29. Al, Mr. Bowen, Zorro is hopeless. It is all “Bush Bad!” with him all the time, to the point that I reflexively defend the president because the attacks are so ridiculous. He can’t/won’t see a larger picture, such as post 9-11, Saddam was a security risk we could ill-afford, and that out of all the tyrants in the middle east he was the easiest one to remove, that would reap the most benefit for the Americans, and that removal alone based on past history was absolutely justifiable.

    No, Zorro’s argument is isolationist, pure and simple. America First is alive and well with him, except for him it is America Last – America should stay out of the world to protect the world from America.

    Pretty useless to argue with someone who posted that Bush doomed New Orleans by approving wetlands developments in 2003, which a year and a half later produced a ruined city (BWAAA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!) ignoring all of those pesky facts of geography which a second grader could see if an atlas is opened.

    You’re trying to teach a pig to sing here. I admire your persistence, but…

  30. Mikey, you should keep your rants to subjects you are well versed in, such as The Country Music Awards or WWF wrestling.

  31. Jeezus Bowen, he’s got us totally mixed up. Your wife left me because I couldn’t get it up any more, you don’t play pickup ball but you do drive around kicking college student ass, everybody knows Hendrix is the cramped little evil man who is balding (admittedly, only his head is hair free, the rest of him is rather great ape-like, including his impressive ass hair, which he braids) and everybody knows Zorro is the spitting image of Charlton Heston, running around with a vintage wheel-lock musket over his head saying “get your hands off me, you damn dirty gun grabbers.” We all know he’s a freeper who only comes here to yank our chains…

    In other words, everybody take a deep fuckin breath.

  32. Zorro, if you think that was a rant, you are truly delusional. Keep to your armor of ignornce, though. It is darn-near impenetrable.

  33. That’s a lie and you know it, Al. I am not “cramped.” Well, not with the new designer drugs and all.

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