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Feingold On The Escalation

I think Feingold has it exactly right, bring them home and do it now. We don't honor our brave soliders, we don't honor the dead and the wounded by adding to their numbers. We honor their sacrifice by making sure not one more dies for George Walker Bush's hubris.

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We honor their sacrifice by making sure not one more dies

That's what we did in 'Nam--we lost! Their sacrifice was in vain.

That's right their sacrifice was in vain. Are you suggesting that more dying in vain would have been a better solution. That war like this is unwinnable.

Here's a view that I've not seen articulated by any media, left or right wing.

I do think that a redeployment as Feingold suggested is a better alternative.

But this is still a lesser of 2 evils.

While the spotlight has been on Syria and Iran, Iraq's 2 neighbours, no one has pondered the predicament of Turkey.

Turkey is still experiencing cross-border attacks by Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq where eeveral thousand members of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, are believed to be hiding in the mountains of mainly Kurdish northern Iraq, from where they slip across the border to attack Turkish police, troops and other targets.

Turkey blames the PKK for more than 30,000 deaths since the start of its campaign for a Kurdish homeland in 1984.

"Diplomats say Turkey is frustrated that the United States accepts Israel's right to launch attacks against its enemies over the border in Lebanon while remaining opposed to Ankara taking unilateral action against the PKK in Iraq.

The United States, like Turkey and the European Union, views the PKK as a terrorist organization but says broader security problems in Iraq prevent the kind of full-scale military crackdown on the group that Ankara demands.

Armed clashes have intensified since April, when the Turkish military -- the second biggest in NATO after that of the United States -- sent an extra 40,000 troops to the southeast to reinforce some 220,000 soldiers already stationed there."

U.S. wants to deal "aggressively" with Kurdish PKK 26 July 06 WASHINGTON (Reuters) -


What are the implications for a US withdrawal?

Turkey will no longer be obliged to provide any restrained response to any cross-border attacks by the Kurds from Northern Iraq.

What is the most important implication for US redeployment to US-friendly areas in Middle East such as Northern Iraq.

Implication is another quagmire as Kurdish freedom fighters/separatists/terrorists would use US presence as a shield to conduct more attacks on Turkey.

US would then be an unenviable position of trying to support Kurdish rights to a separate homeland in Iraq but not Turkey.


I can't believe that no one in the Pentagon is looking at this.

Regardless of what US is going to do, the whole of Middle East will be embroiled by sectarian violence along ethnic lines for decades to come.

The only possible thing to do is for the UN to redraw the map of the middle East along ethnic lines and to allow population resettlement along such lines.

For years, Saddam has helped unite the Middle East by being the common enemy to the Arab nations while dampening religious fanaticism with his secular form of tyranny.

His removal by the US made US the common enemy in the region, along with its satellite proxy Israel.

Once US is removed, the Arabs will either take on Israel on earnest

Or far more likely, attack each other based on ethnic, sectarian and perhaps even national lines.

None of my friends in the research institutes see any solution to this state of affairs.

Yes, you lost in Viet Nam - thank god. The U.S. will continue losing this war until one day it pulls out and it can be unequivocally said that the U.S. lost - thank god.

The moral of the story is stop being so bloody bellicose and getting yourselves into this situation in the first place.

finally someone that does not mince words !


Living in China I've lost a solid internet connection and I can't download the videos (or do much surfing altogether) you post. Are there transcripts available?

Exactamundo. There is simply no solution to the blundering excesses of oil imperialism. We have no natural business or right to be anywhere near this part of the world. Jabba-like, we are slaking our thirst for the fuel of excess. Until we shrink our greasy eco-footprint, no peace will come.

This is an unequivocal disaster for American Exceptionalism and Democracy. We've proven that we're just another in a long line of irredentist successor states to the Roman Empire. Worse, we've proven to the eyes of the Muslim world that we're a renewed incarnation of Crusaders, and golly gee we even have what resembles a Crusader state in Israel, and have made consistent efforts to buffer that with more Crusader states.

I guess we can celebrate people, Bush has marched down the path of Marcus Licinius Crassus. Pity we won't be rid of him the same way.

However, the most unfortunate thing is that Bush has locked the Western world into finger cuffs with radical Islamists by doing this. For if we indeed prevail and kill every member of the Sunni ba'athist militias; every Sunni Salafist Islamist Jihadi receiving support from the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and prominent Saudis; every member of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army; every member of the Iranian-backed Badr militia; every criminal opportunist inbetween; and every member of al-Qaeda in Iraq ... we lose politically by the extreme measures it would take to hunt them all down, or we would lose politically with our European and Asian allies and friends by picking sides with the Shi'a (and Iran and Hezbollah indirectly) to eliminate the Sunni threats, not to mention offend Saudi Arabia, our chief oil partner, ... greatly ... immensely ... unforgivably.

Yet at the same time, if we pull out immediately like the crumbling Soviet Union did out of Afghanistan against the exact same type of insurgency (mostly nationalist, partly transnational jihadist) under the supposed pragmatist Gorbachev, we'll succeed in bloating Salafist Jihad to degrees it has never seen before. That isn't an outrageous Bush talking point, it's already happened whether we win by killing these maniacs or pull out. The war in Iraq was a self-fulling prophecy in the War on Terror, we wanted to fight Jihadis who committed 9/11: well now we're fighting them in Iraq. Trouble is most of them had no beef with us until we 1) Invaded Iraq, 2) re-invaded Fallujah not once, but twice, broadcasting atrocities on Muslims around the globe, 3) Permitted torture, rendition and Abu Ghraib.

So whether you like it or not, we're now the bad guys, if we start acting like the good guys again it will prove that we're the weak paper tiger Bin Laden has told everybody in the Muslim world we are, and he'd be right. If we continue acting like the bad guys, but incompetently, we'll look like a wounded lion being cut down by a thousand foxes.

There will be no foxes on our side until Bush and Cheney are gone, and McCain isn't elected. But I'm afraid that the populists in the Democratic party like Feingold and Murtha won't be either foxes nor lions but giant vaginas. Imagine how we'll look to our enemies who consider us a monolith. One minute we're slaughtering them and the next we're acting cool and extending the olive branch and leaving. Would you be so terrified of further confronting this monolith? From sea to shining sea and throughout the House of War.

That's what we did in 'Nam--we lost! Their sacrifice was in vain.

Once again we hear the Rambo world view of why we lost in Viet Nam. Short of genocide (or more genocide) we never had any chance of winning in VN and in Iraq we face similar circumstances except with a greater cultural divide (and the divide in Viet Nam was enormous).

I bet Bush knows about Sunnis and Shiites now but I doubt if he understood their subtle differences four years ago. Now the neo-cons will try to blame their utter failure on the critics of the Iraq debacle, people who knew that the war was doomed to failure from the beginning.

From the beginning the neo-cons screamed that Iraq was nothing like Viet Nam. Remember? Unfortunately, it is a lot worse but if we had learned anything from Viet Nam it should have been that we cannot dictate the American societal model from the barrel of a gun. At this point in history I think our society offers few redeeming qualities. We need to put our efforts towards fixing that and limit our fight against terrorists to the realm of the clandestine. Send our troops home and use more good police and intelligence work to root out terrorism. Call it a “Walk home and carry a big stick behind your back” policy.


Ummm there is very good evidence to show that Bush was not aware of the difference between the two major Moslem groups and probably did not understand the subtleties if the Kurd situation.

Stupid Americans.

Does anyone want to guess when a real withdrawal begins? When the US has lost 6 thousand troops? 10 thousand? When a new administration gets elected?

It is going to happen sooner or later. Why not sooner?

In 2003 I was very much against the U.S. invasion in Iraq, not because I was a "Saddam lover" or a "weasel", as not so few U.S. Americans used to call us "Old Europeans" back then: I am simply a daily reader of a reputated European newspaper and a bit familiar with the country's history during the British presence in the 20th century. But that was already enough to make me an opponent of this war which I believed was build upon false claims, carried out without a mandate of the U.N. and based on the terribly naive assumption the invading troops would be greeted as liberators (boy, was that naive!).

Now, in 2007, watching all these Democrate senators and congress(wo)men calling for a complete withdrawal really makes me angry: These are mostly the same people who made the entire war possible in the first place by their willing approval of the Bush administration's plans in 2002/2003!

The really essential point that is obviously never made during these whole debates: Invading another country creates certain obligations and responsibilities to the invading state, not only moral but also legal ones, see the Geneva conventions for instance. Meanwhile, it has become more than obvious that Iraq will turn into complete chaos and anarchy if the U.S. really draws back its troops. Doing that would be selfish and irresponsible towards the Iraqis who you're now responsible for as the nation who has invaded their country. You simply can't invade a country like a bull in a china shop, destroy pretty much all of their infrastructure - and leave soon afterwards when you realize your mission has been poorly planned and the price you pay is higher than you thought. Other countries are no toys in a giant kindergarden.

P.S.: Yes, I know that Feingold is the wrong person to blame as he was one of the 23 senators who voted against H.J. Res. 114.

Along with Feingold, take a look at this speech by Dennis Kucinich.

He even sings a bit of "16 Tons", and well.

On the claim regarding Vietnam and Iraq similarities:

"I think there is no validity" --Chomsky

It was feared that Vietnam would be a "contagious example", i.e, an example of successful independent development that would influence other countries, for instance; Thailand and Indonesia. To prevent a new order in Asia, the region was "inoculated", the "virus was destroyed". In this respect the basic military objectives were fulfilled by about 1965.

Listen Here

I see Iraq more in terms of what Britain faced with the Northern Irish ... though obviously Iraq is in a much more dire situation, and with vastly different cultural, geopolitical factors.

I think this will be my third or more time saying this, but i will be equally disgusted if America pulls out... it would make a HUGELY SHAMEFUL EVENT IN HISTORY ALL THE MORE MEANINGLESS AND MURDEROUS. I don't think redemption comes from more whimsical selfishness. But that's just me. The United States of America needs to make an honest attempt at Iraqi restoration.

Somebody has to say this:

Dionysus, you started off quite ok, were well until the middle and then your whole argumentation fell apart.

I can easily tell from the few words you write that you have expanded your world view by some bricks to create your argumentation, but you fall back on false principles when you realize that you don't know exactly what they mean.

What I really want the responsible people in this insurgency to realize is, that they need to break up with the exact thinking patterns that you start at again in the end.

Yes of course the "terrorists" will have their own patterns and maybe think that the US would be weak to "pull out", but would you also sign the rest of their world view because they simply think like this?

Changing all this will take a long time as you have to change peoples minds and the traditions they base their worldview on. And you can never do this by acting WITHIN EXACTLY THESE LINES.

You cannot say that "we" are suddenly the "bad guys" and honestly base your following argumentation on this false thinking pattern.

If you want to continue this war at any cost, then you most likely need a lot of sensitivity to the local reality, as well as the national and international relations. If you go in there blind except for your main focus, you will only stir up the situation. But if you know what you want and know what relates to this, you MAYBE have a slight chance.

Anyways, thats nothing that I see much sense in. War is never right. All the money they spent on this war could have done so much better at other places. I guess the US could have "protected" themselves quite well with a fraction of the billions for the war in Iraq. Preemptive measures don't get any worse than this.

Ahahaha, they're going to deploy KURDISH troops into Baghdad. What a wonderfully stupid idea.

The people in charge of this war are insane.


"That's what we did in 'Nam--we lost! Their sacrifice was in vain."

Anyone who goes into battle should know that they could die without having accomplished anything. The fact that your country won the war later on is not much of a consolation, because you died and it wasn't necessary for the victory. I think the soldiers who went over there and died are heroes, even though the war was a really bad idea and even though we've lost. They were willing to go because the democratically elected leaders sent them. If we somehow miraculously won in the future, I don't think it will increase or diminish the sacrifice of the people who have already died. Up until now we've been losing.

Of course, if the war had been legitimate and if it were right now very winnable, I agree that it would be something like a betrayal of people who had sacrificed for a policy to now give it up. But it wasn't a good war and it isn't now winnable. Bush is "doubling down" with a terrible hand and someone else's chips.


I had a very anti-american anti-military attitude with regard to the Vietnam War before, but over the years i've come to acquire (hopefully) a wiser global perspective. Prior to 2003, I had thought no way would the US administration repeat the travesty of attacking a Asian country for the wrong reasons. Surely they would've learned from part mistakes. Unfortunately, this hateful war in Iraq began. How have the brave who died in the past been honored at all?

I would say "Shame on Bush," but apparently he's not human enough to feel it.

"What I really want the responsible people in this insurgency to realize is, that they need to break up with the exact thinking patterns that you start at again in the end."

What you want is unattainable in your lifetime, or for any generation of Americans or Westerners alive today. I'm sorry that you believe that the Salafists who are our consistent and primary enemies engaging us can co-exist, but I'm even more sorry that my government is mostly responsible for enthusiastically bolstering their casus belli. And we'll all be sorry if we give them a victory and a base of operations from which to further the transnational jihad like the Soviets did.

"Changing all this will take a long time as you have to change peoples minds and the traditions they base their worldview on. And you can never do this by acting WITHIN EXACTLY THESE LINES."

I'm sure if you've read more into the history of the Islamic Sahwa that's been spreading Islamism and Salafism in the Middle East for the past 35+ years you would come to a conclusion much polarized to the course of action you just posited. They've embraced Liberalism, Nationalism, Communism, Socialism, Arab Socialism, Neo-liberalism; they've played into the hands of the West and the Soviets; they've undergone tyranny and monarchy, despotry and repression. They won't give our cultural values a fifteenth chance, especially in the age of neo-liberal economics, when our "friends" in other governments are their oppressors and tyrants. If you want to kill them with kindness and leave them be on the other hand, that doesn't sound very adventurous and doesn't further liberal democracy in the least but I'm on board completely with that idea too. However, if the Middle East remains in yet another generation of tyrannies and backwater religious sand piles, or worsens (Mushroom cloud above Israel? Caliph back in Baghdad?), the predicament had better tantalize your trigger finger, or we're leaving all of the pacifists behind. It is a rather self-congratulatory Euro-centric Hegelian end of history misconception (promoted by the awesome success of the European Union and fall of the Soviet Union) that political realism is dead and we've shifted into a completely unadulterated post-modernist paradigm. I wish it were all as easy as that, and I still hope it will be. But Samuel P. Huntington's Clash of Civilizations is yet another self-fulfilling prophecy, that we could have averted.

"You cannot say that "we" are suddenly the "bad guys" and honestly base your following argumentation on this false thinking pattern."

I'm not being prescriptivist, I'm being a stoic descriptivist.

"If you want to continue this war at any cost"

I'm sorry, you're working from an optimistic viewpoint, it's "If you want to abandon this war at any cost" that is the radical proposition. Defeating an insurgency, successfuly could take up to 25 to 30 years, it can be done, it has been done, and if we rid ourselves of Cold War dinosaurs, Neo-Conservative cynics and Neo-Liberal imperialists, we can perhaps show a little American decency and leave Iraq with the best possible curtain call - a few boos and a couple rocks thrown at us, as opposed to RPG's launched by tomorrow's Minister of Information of one portion of Warlord Torn Iraq.

"War is never right."

Neither is divorce, or domestic abuse, or rape, or murder. But it happens, and sometimes we inherit what our cultural values have promoted in the form of poor leadership and electoral processes. So what Bush has done is quintessentially American. whether we take the path of previous Republics in Rome, Florence, France, or find our own way is up to my generation. War is not right, but it happens, and we have to pick up the pieces of the mess we made. If we just go home and make like nothing happened to avert further risks we'll bring the greatest shame upon our nation and people to date, greater than conducting this illegal war itself and the abuses therein, not to mention granting monumental strategic victories to a mobilized and growing threat to global peace. This is not Vietnam, where the loss of Saigon means a singular defeat in the Cold War. The VC weren't in Eastern Europe and infiltrating the West, America and coordinating, bolstering and financing wars elsewhere. We're not dealing with the VC, we're dealing with a cultural awakening that feeds on strong personalities, victories, and perceptions of weakness in our cultural values. Whenever a Salafist Imam says that "The West has failed", he means Liberalism has failed, Capitalism has failed, Progressivism has failed, Dewey Pragmatism has failed, America has failed, in more ways than one. That's not just a line from Syriana, they base most of their evangelism in the Mid-East AND the West on that one line. That we as a people have failed, and when we pull out of Iraq, their prophecy will have come true. And that is only the end of the beginning.

"All the money they spent on this war could have done so much better at other places."

Stop living in the past. Bush fucked up, he fucked up bad, and complacancy and submission and burying one's head in the sand will only quicken our enemies resolve. They're on the march, all over the globe, that it's our fault doesn't mean we can say we're sorry and go home.

In Baghdad, a Test Of the Petraeus Principles

By Jim Hoagland Sunday, January 14, 2007; Page B07

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, the soldier-intellectual chosen by President Bush to provide new leadership in the war in Iraq, got one thing he needed from the president Wednesday night. But what was missing will ultimately be more important than what was provided.

Petraeus, who holds a doctorate from Princeton, is often described as the smartest and most ambitious member of the class of generals and admirals available to Bush. He has been given a rare opportunity to put the theories he has developed as a man of ideas into battlefield practice as a man of action.

Shortly before Bush appointed him to command the multinational forces in Iraq, Petraeus finished assembling a new counterinsurgency training manual for U.S. forces. The manual's opening sections emphasize the importance of political will in avoiding defeat in unconventional warfare:

"Constant reaffirmations of commitment, backed by deeds, can overcome" the perceptions of insurgents and local populations that "a few casualties or a few years will cause the United States to abandon a counterinsurgency effort," the manual states in a passage that could have been the basis for most of Bush's explanation to the nation of a new Iraq strategy. Bush provided the rhetoric of commitment to the struggle that Petraeus says is essential.

But the all-important Iraqi political context for the measured escalation in U.S. forces that Bush outlined remains murky and undeveloped. It falls to Petraeus more than any other individual to fill in the blanks left by Bush.

It is not clear whether Bush is counting on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ineffective and corrupt government to pull itself together suddenly and counter the bloody anarchy gripping Baghdad, as most of the president's words were designed to suggest, or if the president in fact expects American forces to take greater control over Iraqi units and their combat operations, as his actions indicate.

The surge of five brigades into Baghdad is supposed to enable U.S. troops to embed themselves in Iraqi units and to be posted overnight or longer in the capital's most violent neighborhoods. This necessarily undercuts Iraqi commanders and turns the emphasis away from the training of new Iraqi units. Bush mentioned training Iraqis as a primary U.S. mission late and glancingly in his speech.

The appointment of Petraeus is another indication of Bush's willingness to go on the offensive and his dissatisfaction with the cautious, bureaucratic approach taken to the Iraqi campaign by Gen. John Abizaid, who is departing as head of Central Command. Abizaid's repeated protestations to Bush and his national security team that military means could provide only 20 percent of what was needed to make Iraq secure wore thin in White House meetings, officials who were there have told me.

Petraeus, in contrast, highlights the responsibilities of the military in his counterinsurgency blueprint. The manual cogently argues that Western militaries "falsely believe that armies trained to win large conventional wars are automatically prepared to win small, unconventional ones. . . . The military forces that successfully defeat insurgencies are usually those able to overcome their institutional inclination to wage conventional war against insurgents."

Petraeus's determination to take charge of any situation in which he finds himself is a widely noticed characteristic. When he commanded the 101st Airborne Division in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in 2003, he turned even a routine briefing for visiting officials and journalists into an all-encompassing, riveting overview of how military commanders had to work continually at winning hearts and minds.

But his refusal to cede any authority over Mosul to the region's Kurdish majority or to prepare the way for a new political order there alienated one of Iraq's three major population groups. That experience will reinforce the suspicions among some Iraqis that the surge of new troops under his command is intended to reassert U.S. combat control, at least temporarily.

That may not be a bad thing if there is a strong follow-up to provide a new political context for Iraq and the region. But a conceptual flaw that runs through both Bush's speech and the counterinsurgency manual assembled by Petraeus will make that transition difficult if it is not corrected.

These two documents fail to give sufficient weight to the fact that all insurgency is local, to paraphrase Tip O'Neill's famous dictum about American politics. The Petraeus document does note the need to address "local grievances" and the new precision tools of insurgency, such as suicide attacks. But the strategy Petraeus then lays out echoes many of the counterinsurgency practices formulated in the unsuccessful campaigns of Algeria, Vietnam and elsewhere. In all likelihood, David Petraeus's work to design a successful counterinsurgency has only just begun, and against big odds.

What amazes me the most about this is how people who know the least about the issue - the citizen public - will ramble on for hours with polemic about how we should not do this, and how we shouldn't have done that. If you guys knew anything you'd be one of the military planners. So stop pretending you understand the battle.

This 'bring them home now' rhetoric is just the same chant we've heard from the defeatist left since the whole thing began. Because the left has nothing but its own contrary nature. I guarantee you if Bush and co said tomorrow "We want to pull all troops", the new left chant would be "Help the innocent Iraqis!"

I hate Bush. This war was stupid. But all these people you're holding up as examples of honor and right - with very few exceptions - rubber-stamped this war. They're politicians, and they say what you want them to say.

One intelligent statement did come out of the last round of PR spin from the Bush cabinet, and that was someone - Cheney I think - summarizing the Democratic reaction to Iraq. They have no plan. All they have is populism, so they push the popular angle of "bring 'em home, screw the cost!".

Makes you wonder who will be held accountable when Iraq collapses, Iran follows, the whole area descends into a gigantic war, and we're seeing daily pictures of atrocities like in the Sudan and Somalia. Will you be crying for the UN - and most importantly the US - to help then? Of course. Will you care how many soldiers die? Of course not. Because with the left, it's always about the prissy, pure ideal. Never about the real world. Never about having a plan. Always about telling everyone how smart you are, and if you handled it how much better it would be, and writing long diatribes about history of this and repercussions of that.

The Ivory Tower is a safe place to dwell. The real world is not.

Anon, Bush and Cheny's ivory tower is safe, so the let the rest of the world can go to hell?

You ra ra cheerleading exposes you to be the same superficiality, worldly ignorance, intellectual arrogance and hubrios that inflict Bush, Cheny and his so-called strategists and advisors.

Anon along with his idols Cheney and Bush conveniently ignores that the Baker Commission and the Democrats propose far better alternatives i.e. redepolyment to friendlier neighbouring areas and a policy of engagement with Iran and Syria.

Cheney and Bush propose more of the same i.e. using force to force Arabs to mould themselves to US plans.

The fact remains that the leaders in US and their strategists are inept and imcompetent with their track record for the last 6 years i.e. 9-11, botched wars in both Alfghnistan and Iraq, North Korea developing WMD and inspring Osama's Al Queda to become a global terrorist movement.

And that most of them gained their positions not by ability but via personal connectstioon.

Anonymous, your rant against Bush and Cheny critics are as hollow and superficial as they come.

"If you guys knew anything you'd be one of the military planners."

If we base the standard for wisdom in a hotly contested debate on the very people who made it so hotly contested, we would be in supplication to rhetoric, duty bound to the ebb and flow of someone's career, and an unquestioning soulless cog in a machine.

"I guarantee you if Bush and co said tomorrow "We want to pull all troops", the new left chant would be "Help the innocent Iraqis!""

Do you actually find yourself clever for realizing that being contrary is the building block of political life? Cute. Remember when the Republicans were anti-war in the 90's? Why even bother continuing this ...


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