The Suicide Commences

The lefties are commencing their Vietnam-fantasy foreplay:

Barack Obama is introducing binding legislation mandating the phased removal of combat brigades from Iraq to start in a few months, with the goal of getting “all” — we repeat, “all” — removed by March 2008. From a release just sent out by his campaign:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today introduced binding and comprehensive legislation that not only reverses the President’s dangerous and ill-conceived escalation of the Iraq war, but also sets a new course for U.S. policy that can bring a responsible end to the war and bring our troops home.

“Our troops have performed brilliantly in Iraq, but no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else’s civil war,” Obama said. “That’s why I have introduced a plan to not only stop the escalation of this war, but begin a phased redeployment that can pressure the Iraqis to finally reach a political settlement and reduce the violence.”

The Obama plan offers a responsible yet effective alternative to the President’s failed policy of escalation.

I entitled this post “The Suicide Commences” for a reason.  I’m not sure whose suicide it is.

If the nation keeps its head about itself – if it heeds its troops in the field, follows a sensible (read: hands-on, dead-terrorist, whether-Shi’te or Sunni-focused) course, and focuses its efforts on protecting the vast majority of Iraqis who do want a peaceful, stable, vermin-free country, then it’s the beginning-of-the-electoral end for Obama.  If the GOP can refocus the national agenda on what matters – the war on terror – among the many cleanups, and getting-back-on-messages they need to do (and yes, that’s going to be a tall order), and appeal to the common sense and lingering social memory of the American people, then this is a total loser after the Democrat convention.

On the other hand, if the GOP doesn’t present the people a solid alternative to the Democrat agenda – if we continue to appear like Democrat Lite, as we do right now – then it’s the suicide of the nation as a whole that I’m most worried about.  If you accept that we are in a war against a terrorist movement – a real, hot war, as opposed to an ongoing investigation, like some distended RICO manhunt – then, for all the double-talk about “responsible effectiveness”, this would be vastly worse than the disengagement from Vietnam.  The North Vietnamese Army didn’t follow us home in 1975, after all. 

Being ever the optimist, I choose to work for the former, and against “Neville” Obama.

26 thoughts on “The Suicide Commences

  1. I find it ironic to talk about the war in Iraq as the War on Terror when most assessments deem that the war in Iraq is creating MORE terrorist. (couldn’t find relative link, sorry, something I heard mentioned on MPR.)

    Nonetheless, out of curiosity I have a question for conservatives that post here. Assuming the situation continues in Iraq as it has been (ie a lack of significant progress) at what point would be willing to say enough is enough? At what loss of life? At what cost?

  2. I find it ironic to talk about the war in Iraq as the War on Terror when most assessments deem that the war in Iraq is creating MORE terrorist.

    “Most Assessments” – that’s a very broad statement.

    And I think it’s very unlikely the war is “creating” any terrorists. I have a hard time believing Bivehr al-Klivehr, sitting in his grammar school in Karachi, goes from being a normal, middle-of-the-road Moslem to a terrorist based on news from Iraq, y’know? There’s gotta be a predisposition; if Iraq didn’t “create” them, then it’d be Israel or bikinis or booze in taxis.

  3. “A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/world/middleeast/24terror.html?ex=1316750400&en=da252be85d1b39fa&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    But Mitch, when Bivehr al-Klivehr comes home to find that his father was killed b/c of this occupation, who is he going to blame? With 35,000 Iraqis killed last year year, I am guessing that leaves a lot of motherless/fatherless/parentless children who are going to blame the US. Plus, it isn’t like we are spreading goodwill across the Middle East, so I could only imagine that many disgruntled middle easterns will unfortunately blame the US for their misfortunes, much like the current crop has.

  4. Ah, Mitch, you’ve fallen onto Fulcrum’s trap. The goal of the war was never to create fewer terrorists in the short term, anymore than the goal of WW2 was to create fewer Nazi’s or Japanese militarists. It was to defeat the nazi’s and Japanese militarists. Far more Americans were killed by the Germany, Japan and her allies in 1944-1945 than were killed in 1942 — but in 1942 we were losing, not winning, in the pacific and we hadn’t set a foot in Europe other than the Dieppe disaster.

  5. American intelligence agencies say Iraq developing WMD. Slam dunk I believe. BUSH LIED.
    American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.” GOSPEL!!!!! BUSH IGNORING THE EXPERTS!
    when Bivehr al-Klivehr comes home to find that his father was killed b/c of this occupation, who is he going to blame?
    The Iranian backed terrorists that set the car bomb that killed him, I would assume.

  6. “A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.”

    This sounds familiar and the date on that article is September 2006. I seem to recall (Mitch might have the actual link) that there was an intelligence report issued that time in which parts of it were supposedly leaked before the actual report was released. A number of papers including the NYT and Strib ran articles quoting the very section that Fulcrum is quoting.

    Of course when the actual report was released, those that bothered to read it found that it said pretty much the opposite and the basic gist was that (a) we weren’t really “creating” terrorists so much as having them shift their focus on Iraq (the whole “flypaper” strategy) and (b) if we stuck it out rather than cut and run before the job was finished, it would be seen as a major blow to their morale whereas our leaving would embolden them.

  7. Ah! Very interesting Thorley. So as I understand what you are saying, there are actually a finite number of terrorists in the world?

    I actually followed the link to the times that Fulcrum offered and, according to that article, the National Intelligence Estimate that is referenced is a classified report.

    You said,

    “those that bothered to read it found that it said pretty much the opposite…”

    WOW! Who are those people that you’re talking about Thorley? Got any names to back up what you’re saying?

    It would be interesting to talk to them since the Times article supports what Fulcrum posted throughout the entire article. I’ve taken the liberty of pulling out the paragraphs for those too “busy” to go see it for themselves…

    A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

    ________________________

    The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee

    ________________________

    it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

    ________________________

    An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

    ________________________

    The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.

    ________________________

    Previous drafts described actions by the United States government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, and some policy makers argued that the intelligence estimate should be more focused on specific steps to mitigate the terror threat.

    ________________________

    The estimate’s judgments confirm some predictions of a National Intelligence Council report completed in January 2003, two months before the Iraq invasion. That report stated that the approaching war had the potential to increase support for political Islam worldwide and could increase support for some terrorist objectives.

    ________________________

    The estimate concludes that the radical Islamic movement has expanded from a core of Qaeda operatives and affiliated groups to include a new class of “self-generating” cells inspired by Al Qaeda’s leadership but without any direct connection to Osama bin Laden or his top lieutenants.

    ________________________

    Council on Global Terrorism, an independent research group of respected terrorism experts, assigned a grade of “D+” to United States efforts over the past five years to combat Islamic extremism. The council concluded that “there is every sign that radicalization in the Muslim world is spreading rather than shrinking.”

    Hmmm… other than 1 mention that Iraq had become the training ground for a new generation of terrorism, there’s no mention about “we weren’t really “creating” terrorists so much as having them shift their focus on Iraq”

  8. Interesting, ask an honest question and can’t get ONE answer, and no terry there was no trap.

    So I will ask again, I am more curious since I haven’t heard a conservative articulate when enough is enough…at what point would you (as a conservative) be willing to say enough is enough? At what loss of life? At what cost?

  9. When is enough enough? That’s the question?

    OK. A question in return. Enough for what?

    It depends on what you assume or believe the threat is. If someone is chasing your child with a butcher knife, how much violence – given and received – is “enough”? How much of your own self do you risk to protect the child? Is getting stabbed enough? Dying? Killing with your bare hands?

    What kind of threat do you think we face from the terrorists? A glorified criminal conspiracy? Then we’ve already done too much. A mortal threat to western civilization (and, by the bye, the livelihoods and lives much MUCH of the developing world)? Then we’ve got a ways to go.

    So which are you?

  10. ok mitch, now we are on to something! What does a “ways to go” mean? Are you willing to spend $1,000,000,000,000 on the war in iraq, $2 trillion? $3 trillion? (an aside, ever contemplate spending that money on targeted aid? how many potential terrorists we can eliminate?)

    In loss of life, at what point is too much? 250,000 dead? 500,000 dead? 1,000,000 dead?

    Implicit in the support for the war is a cost/benefit analysis as hard as that may be. And I am wondering at what point conservatives that post here think that the costs have been too high and outweigh the benefits.

  11. Fulcrum-
    Maybe it wasn’t consciously a trap, but your question assumed that if the Iraq war somehow raised the overall threat of terrorist attacks as leaked by the NY Times in Sept. last year it is a failure. It’s a “do you still beat your wife?” sort of question in that assumes that the info the Times leaked was accurate, the asessment itself was accurate, and the rise of jihad inclined muslims is proof that the war has failed.

  12. Doug-

    Thorley wrote: “Of course when the actual report was released, those that bothered to read it found that it said pretty much the opposite” and you responded with a string of quotes from the NY Times article. Your inability to even grasp the point of a comment was incredibly PB like. What the heck do you have against using actual source documents? Quoting spin is not an argument or a refutation of an argument.

    The actual (abreviated) assesment can be read here:
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/reports/2006/nie_global-terror-trends_apr2006.htm

    It took me less than 30 seconds to find it on the web.

  13. And reading the link proves that my first post was correct:

    We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al- Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.

    Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.

  14. We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al- Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.

    Ever think that the blabbermouth MSM might have something to do with that, by broadcasting our methods, giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

  15. Paul said,

    “Ever think that the blabbermouth MSM might have something to do with that, by broadcasting our methods, giving aid and comfort to the enemy?”

    Uh huh… because as we all know, the jihadists, rather than simply observing counterterrorism efforts, they subscribe to the New York Times and watch CNN.

    I’ll let you in on a little secret Paul… The enemy already knows about our counterterrorism efforts because most of it is freely available in other obtainable and observable sources and when it hasn’t been available, the administration authorized it’s release for it’s political impact… but, shhhhhhh… don’t tell anyone ok?

  16. and this is too damn funny…

    Terry said,

    “Quoting spin is not an argument or a refutation of an argument.”

    and he follows with:

    The actual (abreviated) assesment…

    offered by who? Globalsecurity.org of course.

    and you were bitching that I referenced Rawstory because you think it is all spin?

    and by the way Terry, the actual (abreviated) is an oxymoron you twit.

    Hey, and guess who else offered the same abreviated assessment? The Rand Corporatiion. Hmmmmm… Who was that guy that used to be the Secretary of Defense and also used to be on the board of directors at Rand?

    Do you remember Terry? The name escapes me…

  17. Doug-
    “The actual (abreviated) assesment . . .”
    Means that the abbreviation was made by the same people who wrote the source document. It’s an original source, unlike the NY story passed through writers and editors — if you don’t like Rand, you can read the same thing (in PDF) directly from the dni.gov website here: http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/Declassified_NIE_Key_Judgments.pdf.
    I used the Rand link because it was the first place google listed as haviong the doc in html rather than acrobat format. You do realize the Director of National Intelligence who produced the doc is John Negroponte, don’t you? I mean, if an identical copy of the estimate is suspect because it resides on a website associated with Rumsfeld’s past, how much worse is it when the original was produced by Bush’s ex embasador to Iraq?
    That you consider a news story’s take on a document more factual than the document itself is interesting. I guess that’s part of what feeds your paranoia.

  18. Terry, let’s try this one last time m’kay?

    An abreviated assessment is not the entire NIE document. With me so far?

    Somebody chose to have certain portions of the document declassified. Somebody then chose to release only the declassified portions as a four page series of bullet points. That somebody lives in the Whitehouse.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/26/washington/27prexycnd.html?ex=1170651600&en=52cff4f5881fcc4d&ei=5070

    Remeber Terry, the declassified portions were released only after the Whitehouse approved their content and then their release.

    You do realize the Director of National Intelligence who produced the doc is John Negroponte, don’t you?”

    Yes Terry. I do. Do you realize that the President of the United States released only the portions of John Negroponte’s document that he wanted you to see?

    At best, that’s called editing Terry. At worst, it’s called censorship.

    We then take the edited version – oh hell – let’s call it what it is… the spun version and disseminate it on pro-war, pro-administration websites like globalsecurity.org and the Rand Corporation.

    The part of your argument that is so absurd is that a few posts back YOU asked me, “What the heck do you have against using actual source documents?” and then proceed to reference a version that has been edited by the Whitehouse. What the heck do you have against using actual source documents Terry?

    One last point and do try your best to comprehend the concept of chronology.

    The NY Times article that you are pissing and moaning about cites conclusions from people who read the entire NIE Document. Not just the “abreviated” aka “edited” version that the Whitehouse approved. Here it is again Terry.

    “More than a dozen United States government officials and outside experts were interviewed for this article, and all spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified intelligence document. The officials included employees of several government agencies, and both supporters and critics of the Bush administration. All of those interviewed had either seen the final version of the document or participated in the creation of earlier drafts.”

    Releasing the four pages of bulletpoints was done after the Times published their article. It was a reaction to an article that confirmed the fears that many of us on the left had about the war – that Bush’s actions were making the situation in Iraq worse, not better.

    That you consider the Whitehouse spin more factual than the assessment of the people that procuced the actual NIE report is interesting. I guess that’s part of what feeds your ignorance.

  19. Doug-
    Just to take single point-
    From the NY times article:
    “More than a dozen United States government officials and outside experts were interviewed for this article, and all spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified intelligence document. The officials included employees of several government agencies, and both supporters and critics of the Bush administration. All of those interviewed had either seen the final version of the document or participated in the creation of earlier drafts.”

    So, your heroic guys & gals may have actually seen a copy of the completed report or written a few paragraphs in a rejected draft. My guys, who released the summary, were the people who commissioned it and edited it.

    If you endorse the article it means you believe the NY Times assurances that they are being honest. No names of these leakers are given. No details are given about who they talked to. No one who is actually in the government is taking responsibility for this piece of crap because it’s a _felony_ to release this information. Felony means “breach of trust”, if you didn’t know it.
    The leakers are employees hired by the government. In a democracy government employees are not supposed to use privileged information to effect public policy. The Times sources did.
    The Times is responsible only to Sulzberger and the other shareholders. No one elected these editors and reporters, no one chose them to act as a fourth branch of government, no one authorized them to violate the laws of the US & release intelligence based on what they thought was best for their own agenda.
    Yet you swallow their garbage. The people I trust to guide this nation have at least been chosen for the job democratically and have taken oaths to preserve and protect the US and the constitution — that includes liberals I disagree with as well as conservatives I do agree with. Your guys look no further than the next cocktail party or the next job interview.
    I really have to ask you — do you think a group of unelected media mavens should have a critical influence on the public policy of the United States? Should they be allowed to decide what should be classified and what should not be classified? Why? What keeps them honest? What check is there on their ambition?
    Politicians are accountable to the electorate. Who are these guys accountable to?

  20. I’ll take a swag at Doug’s answer:

    “If they’re our unelected mavens, yes. If they’re conservative bloggers, talk radio, the NYSun, the WashTimes or John Stossel, of course not!

  21. Terry,

    All of your pontificating aside, The Whitehouse hasn’t denied the information in the Times. They’ve never said the information wasn’t accurate and the’ve never said the information wasn’t true.

    In fact, the “abreviated” version you offer presents many of the same opinions as the sources for the Times article albeit in much more controlled and neutral language. In other words, it is sanitized for your comfort Terry.

    Since the orgiginal is still classified, we have ZERO opportunity to compare the assessment made by the intelligence community with the version the Whitehouse approved.

    Of course the point is now moot since the new NIE is out and we’ll be doing this all again next week. The new report is 90 pages. The abreviated version released by the white house will be 3 1/2 pages. By the way, Iraq is still a disaster and the Presidents policies are a complete failure. Told you so.

    To answer your questions…

    “do you think a group of unelected media mavens should have a critical influence on the public policy of the United States?”

    No I don’t. Apparently you do just as long as it serves your agenda, considering it was a group of unelected media mavens who were complicit in getting us into this disaster in Iraq in the first place by not asking questions and holding the administration accountable for their claims.

    The media’s job is to reporting news. As consumers of news, we’re responsible for using the information we’re given and demand that the people that we elect into office act on our behalf.

    “Should they be allowed to decide what should be classified and what should not be classified? Why?

    They don’t and there’s nothing in the Times article about the NIE which we are discussing that is classified. Take the wiretapping row from last year as another example. The media cleared everything with the Whitehouse and sat on the story for a year before releasing information that had already been released in various sources over the course of a couple of years. How did you guys respond? By flying into high gear and screamed that the Times leaked information. They didn’t and stomping your feet and claiming they did won’t make it so.

    We live in an open society and as such, we have freedom of the press guaranteed in our constitution. If you don’t like it, move.

    And by the way Terry, embarrasement or bad PR is no reason to classify information. Oh, and, attempting to discredit or otherwise attack a critic is no reason to declassify information.

    What keeps them honest? What check is there on their ambition?

    You guys are always screaming about free markets. Answer your own question Putz.

  22. The media’s job is to reporting news.

    One they – especially the NYTimes – has a long history of doing badly and with immense bias.

    As consumers of news, we’re responsible for using the information we’re given and demand that the people that we elect into office act on our behalf.

    Actually, we’re responsible for keeping equal watch on the people who “give” us the “information”.

  23. Mitch said,

    “One they – especially the NYTimes – has a long history of doing badly and with immense bias.

    No Mitch. It has a long history of bias pimps like you screaming everytime they print anything that is contrary to your position. You’re certainly fine with them when they have people like Judy Miller towing the administration line.

    “we’re responsible for keeping equal watch on the people who “give” us the “information”

    That reminds me Mitch, you STILL never answed the question I asked about FOX News and their extensive use of opinion programming? Again, what is the purpose of opinion programming on a station that claims to be a NEWS organization?

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