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Author Topic: The President's Speech on Iraq
martel
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Any feedback? (I know, we all knew what he was going to say).

As for me, I still can't get over the fact that he said "if mistakes were made, they are my responsibility."
Note: that is maybe the best way to look responsible without admitting any mistakes (he even had me fooled for a few seconds.)

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scouser1
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Can somebody give me a link on this speech please?
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Redskullvw
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It was level, pointed out that he had made mistakes, offered a harsh assesment of the current conditions, offered his plan to address these condtions, and placed the outcome into clear and understandable goals.

It was a good speech. Not as high up there as "Tear down this wall." or "WIN", or even "I did not have sexual relations..." in terms of being immediately recognized as importatn by the public. But I think it was D.O.A. because people are buying the Vietnam comparison and 2008 politics are already gumming up the Senate with policy wannbes.

Its a good plan. Is different from the past. Has a chance at winning. And recognizes the issue of radical islam for what it is.

The democrats, and even some republican presidential canidates all seem to be cheering for failure.

Oh well.

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DaveS
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The policy contained in the speech has many parts; it is "comprehensive" and has "benchmarks". It has "multiple points for success" and is already "having an effect". In fact, it's been in operation for quite a while now.

I'm listening right now to Condi meander on about all of this, plus the diplomacy in the "new Middle East", where Iran and Syria are offering a destabilizing role. She calls it "extortion". I recall that a few weeks ago she said in response to the ISG report that we don't need to talk to those countries, because they would be helping us already if they wanted to. She's basically advocating regional conflict between the "good" governments who want peace and stability and those bad actors. Seriously, I haven't a clue what the hell she's talking about.

The nut of the plan is to convince all Iraqis that their government cares about all ethnicities and citizens equally. My assessment is that their grand strategy is more like checkers than chess, and their new strategy is just a tactical adjustment to past policies, which even Bush admits have failed. The success of the "new way" depends on the Iraqis understanding that "this time" they have to take their responsibility seriously. Geez.

There are many here on Ornery who get angry at this sort of reaction, because it appears to cheapen the commitment of the troops who have to carry out whatever military plan is put into their hands. I'm angry that our troops are made to commit their lives to such shallow and short-sighted leadership.

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EDanaII
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LOL!

I'm sorry, Dave, but that's just too funny.

A plan that attacks terrorists by attempting to create a democracy in a far off land is, by definition, anything BUT shallow and short-sighted. After all, you have to connect several dots before you understand the nature of the strategy. And a considerable amount of time must pass before it's fully realized.

Now, if you want to argue that it's the _wrong_ strategy, then fine. But shallow and short-sighted? Hardly.

OTOH, something that IS shallow and short-sighted would be arguing that we should quit now, 'cause we can't see the finish line, even though the it could be just around the next bend.

Ed.

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IrishTD
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scouser1 --

Transcript from cnn

I find it interesting how on the top of cnn's page right now there is nothing about Bush's speech (A headline from DoD Sec Gates is the closest to anything on it).

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a message across the world that America is a weak and an unreliable ally. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies -- that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends. And setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder -- and invite new attacks on America. To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your Commander-in-Chief.
Here's the reality of Bush's plan: he's going to be a "bitter ender". This is the exact same defense of "stay the course" thats been used all along, and its still wrong. An endless comittment creates no incentive for the iraqi government to step up and do its job, which is the ONLY way this little adventure can be salvaged. Bush apparently isn't interested in reconsidering the wisdom of his failed policies; instead we get one more attempt to smear his opponents as cowards. Apparently, 83% of the public are "cut and run, abandon our friends cowards". Nice, George.

This is going to end one of two ways. Since Bush is unwilling or unable to approach this situation any differently, he is either going to slug through to the bitter end of his presidency, after which point ANY new president will certainly jettison his policies, or, congress will take action to bring the much needed change sooner.

The only pertinent question at this point is: how many more GIs will die before the inevitable change of course occurs?

Adam

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EDanaII
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quote:
The only pertinent question at this point is: how many more GIs will die before the inevitable change of course occurs?
I prefer another question: how many more American citizens will die as long as the middle-east remains a breeding ground for terrorism?

Ed.

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Adam Masterman
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Ed, the number of people who still believe that your question bears any relationship to mine has shrunk to near zero. Hypothetically, how long/how many dead before you, personally, would concede that more fighting isn't helping. Fly's given a number, whats yours? (Better question, what is Bush's? I fear he doesn't have one, that reality itself can't persuade him he is wrong...)

Adam

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G2
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I don't think in any other war a hard date was set for the end of hostilities while that war was still being fought. I can't imagine Roosevelt having the idea that we would fight the Nazi's for 4 years and that's it. We win in 4 or let them have the world - it's ridiculous.

If a date was set, all that would happen is that Islamic Fascists would cease hostilities until that date. Then they would pop up and declare victory over the USA, initiating hostilities again in Iraq or wherever they feel like. Setting a withdrawal date is nothing more than setting a surrender date.

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EDanaII
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@ Adam Masterman:

That's like asking me how many miles should I jog in a marathon of unspecified length whose end is not clearly in sight and which, if I lose, someone I love will die. And the answer would be: as many as is necessary.

You value the lives of our soldiers (not a bad thing) while devaluing the lives of those who may die should we fail.

Ed.

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Redskullvw
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ED

Honestly I think not many. At least as far as civilians go. And at least as far as in terms of calendar years. Those in the Middle East choosing to live in the region will obviously be targets. And I suspect that there will also be a few media attention grabbing attacks like those in Bali or London again. Larger scale attacks like the African embassies or Madrid will also occur outside the United States.

The long term issue is whether radical islam as a political and military movement gains the status of normalized acceptance in the countries of the Middle East. The possibility for such a normalized acceptance goes up exponentially if the creation of a democratic Iraq fails. If Iraq does fall apart, the issue will temporally not directly cause harm to the United States except in terms of oil costs and possibly in terms of use of the Suez. But it will place millions of people in the Middle East in harms way if the radical sects of islam engage in genocide based upon differences in faith and ethnic origin. It also has the potential to allow Iran to engage in military domination of the region at the expense of the Gulf States and Iraq. A failure in Iraq will result in literally millions of dead people in the Middle East.

The temporary abatement of direct harm to the United States itself would come to a relatively quick end. The military capacities of the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia are essentially non-existent and their territories are extremely vulnerable to both naval and ground based attacks. The United States would have to chose between helping its oil rich allies or simply letting Iran's conventional forces overwhelm the much smaller forces that our allies have. In light of a failure in Iraq, the American public is likely to declare that a third military action or war in the Middle East is not an option. We favor quick, clean wars that have easy to reach limited goals. Defending our allies in the Middle East is not such a goal.

Whatever the eventual outcome. The Middle East will either be a complete no-mans region of warlords and cleric, or it will become a region dominated by a single ethnic or political group. At that point we will face the type of terrorism that flourishes in lawless regions, or the state sponsored terrorism that thrives in conjunction with a sympathetic government. Thats when we will begin to expect massive American civilian casualties on or own territory. Whether from terrorist attacks like 9-11, or actual state sponsored formal warfare with ICBM missiles, America will bear the costs that will accrue as a result of failure in Iraq.

Short term we risk little in the way of civilian deaths of Americans. Long term we place not only other people at risk of death but also create the probability that we will also endure civilian deaths in the realms far beyond thousands.

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Godot
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I saw nothing really new in what Bush said, but I have two questions for him. Mr. Bush:
(1) Of the little that is new in your approach to Iraq, why are you proposing this now instead of four years ago?
(2) Hello?! What about Afganistan?

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Redskullvw
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Maybe because 4 years ago no one thought such a plan was needed, not because people were being idiots, but because it has only now become apparent that the radical islamic groups in Iraq have intentionally targetted the civilian population in an attempt to collapse the Iraqi political and economic stabilities so that the USA cuts bait and leaves.

And afghanistan is Nato and the United Nation's game. They call the shots and from the perspective of peace and civilian development, Afghanistan hasn't seen such rapid progress in at least 25 years. I think the Canadians currently call the shots in Afghanistan right now.

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Colin JM0397
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Not very good reviews from Cato: http://www.cato.org/homepage_item.php?id=452
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EDanaII
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@ Redskullvw:
quote:
Short term we risk little in the way of civilian deaths of Americans. Long term we place not only other people at risk of death but also create the probability that we will also endure civilian deaths in the realms far beyond thousands.
Nor was I speaking short term, Red. To do so would be short-sighted. [Smile]

Otherwise, I agree with you. YOU are thinking long term, as I believe Bush is.

Ed.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:


That's like asking me how many miles should I jog in a marathon of unspecified length whose end is not clearly in sight and which, if I lose, someone I love will die. And the answer would be: as many as is necessary.

You value the lives of our soldiers (not a bad thing) while devaluing the lives of those who may die should we fail.

[Roll Eyes]

Yes, my argument is based on the fact that I don't value the lives of Americans and don't care if they die.


Or...

I reject the premise that our presence in Iraq is saving lives. As does everyone except for the bitter enders who can't or won't admit that it was a mistake to go in in the first place.

You see, Ed, it isn't YOU who's running the marathon, nor is it Bush. Its American soldiers, most of them kids barely out of high school, and the race is killing them. Its one thing to say that one will make sacrifices themselves for loved ones, and quite another when they ask someone else to sacrifice for them. Especially when its becoming increasingly suspect to claim that that sacrifice is even accomplishing anything.

The truly cowardly approach to policy is to send troops at even the tiniest threat, spending their lives wantonly to buttress our own safety, however slightly. If we hold the position that civilian lives are worth ANY expense of troops then we will end up in permanent war, with no security nor quality of life. I'm afraid the question can't be easily dodged: how many troops before its just not worth it?

Adam

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Redskullvw
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Ok Adam, how about 100,000 American troop casualties as a cut-off.

In terms of trade off, you are calling for an end now, which will result in thousands of Iraqi deaths on a simular scale to that which happened in South Vietnam when we left, followed closely by the issue of where does the power void stop sucking in neighbors? Laos and Cambodia got sucked in by our leaving South Vietnam. Of course we didn't loose any American lives in that, but it did allow for a genocidal collapse of Cambodia which killed at least 1,000,000. So would Kuwait or Saudi Arabia get sucked into the Iraqi collapse? How about Jordan? Syria? Would Iran act as China did and let its sometime war with North Vietnam go silent, or would Iran rush in to pick Iraq's bones? Will Turkey play Thailand as the place where we set up our troops after withdrawal and draw a line in the sand? Or maybe Israel will host our forward army?

The fact is that people who follow Adam's logic are exhibiting the truely cowardly approach. We won't take a bullet in any sense of the term for ideas like freedom, democracy, or even the simple right to life without oppression because unless it is our freedom, our democracy, or our simple right to life without oppression we shouldn't be bothered with the attempt. This isn't a permanent war or a hopelessly obtuse valuation of civilian worth at stake here. This is whether you think people, everywhere should be able to live freely. Not just when it is an easy thing to do, but instead a thing which should and can be done simply because the idea of freedom is something priceless to all who want it.

The cowardly alternative is a withdrawal behind Byzantium's walls while those outside slowly get eliminated by an enemy we should rightfully face even if it is for principle alone.

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Kent
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Red, thank you for your perspective, I agree with you wholeheartedly.
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Redskull -

The government of the United States is a government by and for the people of the United States. If staying in Iraq is not in the interests of the people of the United States of America, then we should not be there. Period.

If they want protection, let them petition for statehood.

However, I do think that a win in Iraq is in the best interests of the United States. With that in mind, I did like the President's speech. It sounds like he's actually willing to make a change here - and that change sounds helpful to our efforts.

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Kent
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From the Times Of London

"The new Iraq strategy involves serious risks but is better than the alternative"

[ January 11, 2007, 02:01 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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Redskullvw
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FDR

I don't remember the peoples of Europe or Asia ever petitioning for statehood. And despite the horrific costs we suffered, I think history has proven that not only was it in the interests of the United States to intervene but also that we were wrong not to involve ourselves sooner to stop absolute rule and innocent death.

There were many at the time who said it wasn't our war or or responsibility to defend anyone who wasn't part of the United States. And they made very compelling arguments that sounded great, right up until December 7, 1941.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Redskullvw -

We had a vested interest in keeping Europe free from Nazi Germany/Italy, and keeping the Pacific within our sphere of control.

I don't claim that we should only help citizens. I claim that we should only take action when it is in the interests of the United States.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
The fact is that people who follow Adam's logic are exhibiting the truely cowardly approach. We won't take a bullet in any sense of the term for ideas like freedom, democracy, or even the simple right to life without oppression because unless it is our freedom, our democracy, or our simple right to life without oppression we shouldn't be bothered with the attempt. This isn't a permanent war or a hopelessly obtuse valuation of civilian worth at stake here. This is whether you think people, everywhere should be able to live freely. Not just when it is an easy thing to do, but instead a thing which should and can be done simply because the idea of freedom is something priceless to all who want it.
I fail to see what is personally courageous about letting someone else fight a battle for you. If you are currently fighting in Iraq, Red, then I withdraw my criticism towards you specifically. Otherwise, I doubt your armchair is any more imperiled than mine.

To argue to stay in Iraq out of a desire to "free" Iraqis falls flat with the merest of critical thought. Right now most Iraqis want us gone (as do most americans, for that matter). Are we going to "make them free, whether they like it or not?" And if making people free is our object, why not choose one of the many countries where we really WOULD have been greeted as liberators? Tibetans have been asking for international aid in securing their liberty for 50 years. Is Red a coward for not advocating a massive invasion of the Tibetan plateau. I don't think so, but by his own rationale, he is.

The rationale for this war grows ever slipperier. Talk about the realities of an unpopular occupation, and suddenly you don't value freedom. Suggest that all sorts of people worldwide would love our help in becoming free, and its all about U.S. interests. Meanwhile, apparently we can afford to lose another 994,000 troops. Are there even that many Americans left who think we are on the right course?

'08 can't come soon enough.

Adam

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DaveS
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quote:
Whatever the eventual outcome. The Middle East will either be a complete no-mans region of warlords and cleric, or it will become a region dominated by a single ethnic or political group. At that point we will face the type of terrorism that flourishes in lawless regions, or the state sponsored terrorism that thrives in conjunction with a sympathetic government.
I don't see at all how the second sentence follows from the first. If we were so dimwitted as to have committed this war, how can we know what will happen at any future time?
quote:
Maybe because 4 years ago no one thought such a plan was needed, not because people were being idiots, but because it has only now become apparent that the radical islamic groups in Iraq have intentionally targetted the civilian population in an attempt to collapse the Iraqi political and economic stabilities so that the USA cuts bait and leaves.
You've GOT to be kidding!?!
quote:
The fact is that people who follow Adam's logic are exhibiting the truely cowardly approach. We won't take a bullet in any sense of the term for ideas like freedom, democracy, or even the simple right to life without oppression because unless it is our freedom, our democracy, or our simple right to life without oppression we shouldn't be bothered with the attempt.
Let's see if I understand this. We start a war with an impossible mission and then we are cowardly if we decide it was a mistake. That difference in perspective is so deep that there is no strategic common ground between us. We can debate how to wage the war, but we fundamentally don't agree on what it's about.
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Redskullvw
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Adam

So I am discounted simply because I am not holding a gun?

Your argument does not withstand my commentary even though I am not a pair of boots on the ground. Personally, my family has done far more military service than most. And the fact remains that were it not for significant contributions by my family in the past, the existence of the United States would likely never have become reality. Was Tom Paine's commentaries invalid simply because he did not hold a musket? Maybe my ancestor should have stuck to hatmaking instead of calling his fellow citizens to uphold a principle that would be hard to attain.

Fact is Adam I do think we should help Tibet and the hundreds of other nations where people are simply treated as chattel. Sudan, Congo, Liberia, Haiti etc. I don't change my song because the chorus is hard. It may be geopolitically impossible to act on each instance, but when we have the ability to do so, we not only should act but must act if we even half believe that freedom is a worthy aspiration that is deserved as a simple human right.

Your song depends not on principle, but popularity.

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EDanaII
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@ Adam Masterman:
quote:
Yes, my argument is based on the fact that I don't value the lives of Americans and don't care if they die.
I didn't say that, Adam. To value and devalue does not, necessarily, mean you don't care. It simply means that you place greater emphasis on actual deaths and less emphasis on hypothetical deaths. Nothing wrong with that, IMHO.

But, given that these hypothetical deaths could number in the thousands, tens of thousands, or even, however remotely, millions, then the lives of the 3,000 spent so far -- as much as I hate to say it -- seems worth it.

quote:
I reject the premise that our presence in Iraq is saving lives. As does everyone except for the bitter enders who can't or won't admit that it was a mistake to go in in the first place.
Reject it all you want, but it was no more a mistake to go into Iraq than it is for me to bet 10$ on two pair. It's only a "mistake" if I lose. You, however, want to fold before the hand is even called. That's just plain foolish, especially if the only hand your opponent is holding is an "ace high."

quote:
You see, Ed, it isn't YOU who's running the marathon, nor is it Bush. Its American soldiers, most of them kids barely out of high school, and the race is killing them. Its one thing to say that one will make sacrifices themselves for loved ones, and quite another when they ask someone else to sacrifice for them.
I wouldn't count me out of this fight so quickly if I were you, Adam. If the War on Terror ever escalates to the scale of WWII, and it's quite possible that it could, you're gonna see a lot of people volunteering, including me.

quote:
Especially when its becoming increasingly suspect to claim that that sacrifice is even accomplishing anything.
Even accomplishing anything? See. You just admitted it. You'd rather fold before the hand is even called. You'd rather squander the lives already spent rather than wait and see if the gamble was ever worth it.

quote:
The truly cowardly approach to policy is to send troops at even the tiniest threat, spending their lives wantonly to buttress our own safety, however slightly. If we hold the position that civilian lives are worth ANY expense of troops then we will end up in permanent war, with no security nor quality of life. I'm afraid the question can't be easily dodged: how many troops before its just not worth it?
Yep, yer right, Adam. I'm truly cowardly. I freely admit it. I fear the potential loss of life that will result if we don't settle this issue with the Muslim world now. As a firm believer in "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," I fear what's to come if we don't act now. You can call us "Bitter-enders" all you want, but from our point of view, you are being short-sighted, unwilling to pay an ounce and denying the "cure" that is to come.


@ DaveS:
quote:
Let's see if I understand this. We start a war with an impossible mission and then we are cowardly if we decide it was a mistake.
No, we're cowardly if we go to the dentist, let him drill our teeth and then fear to finish the job. We're cowardly if we go to the doctor, get diagnosed with cancer and fear the treatment more. We're cowardly if we don't finish something that we knew was going to be tough to begin with.

No... wait. That's not cowardly. That's just _foolish._


@ FiredrakeRAGE:
quote:
We had a vested interest in keeping Europe free from Nazi Germany/Italy, and keeping the Pacific within our sphere of control.
We have a vested interest in keeping the Middle East free of Terrorism/Al Qeada/Iran, and keeping the Mediterranean within our sphere of control, so, I'm not sure what your point is.

Ed.

"... It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

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KnightEnder
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He said: "The majority of Shiites and Sunnis want to leave beside each other in peace."

Is that true?

I hope this "new plan" works.

He was kind of vague on 'how' we were going to stop Iran and Syria from arming and supplying the insugents. Is he saying we are going into those countries, or just blockade them? Surely we have been doing something like that already?

KE

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Redskullvw
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FDR

We did have a vested interest in keeping Europe free from Nazi Germany/Fascist Italy, and keeping the Pacific within our sphere of control. My point was that even though the world was already shooting guns and dropping bombs at each other by September 1939 in Europe, and Early 1936 in the Pacific, most American political leaders and the American media leaned solidly towards no intervention at all. It was not our concern. Let Europe solve its own sectarian and ethnic problems. Who cares what is happening in China and Mongolia, the deaths of all those orientals isn't really that important to America.

Yet it was important. And those who argued it wasn't important were proven extremely wrong once December 7, 1941 happened. We didn't know just how extremely wrong they were until May 1945 in Europe and August 1945 in the Pacific.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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EDanaII said:
quote:
We have a vested interest in keeping the Middle East free of Terrorism/Al Qeada/Iran, and keeping the Mediterranean within our sphere of control, so, I'm not sure what your point is.
My point was simply that if we have a vested interest, I'm all for winning. However, we're not fighting to free the Iraqis - that's a good side effect. We're fighting to preserve the American way of life over here in these United States.

Redskullvw -

I agree. Hindsight is great. I remain convinced that had we not gone into Iraq, it would have remained a small problem. Now that we are in Iraq, I believe that victory is essential, and will save lives in the grand scheme of things.

I am doubtful that this new plan will work. We've seen too many strategic initiatives screwed up by the Bush Administration. However, at this point we're playing for enough of the marbles that I'm willing to back any plan but 'stay the course'.

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moodi
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quote:

He was kind of vague on 'how' we were going to stop Iran and Syria from arming and supplying the insugents. Is he saying we are going into those countries, or just blockade them? Surely we have been doing something like that already?

Good point on your part, KnightEnder. This new policy Bush is advocating towards Syria and Iran sounds good.... but it's NOT new. How many times have we heard the Bushies threatening those two countries? Has anything changed since then? Are we serious about spreading the war further? Will the American public support two more wars? Can we afford destroying the secular regime in Syria? Who will fill the void there?

Does anyone think the Arab Shiits will take attacking Iran so lightly? What if the situation in Lebanon catches fire? Does anyone think the Lebanese government can hold against 35% of its population (with an armed gorilla force that didn't do too bad against a superpower)?

The only solution for Iraq is to install a secular military government that is firm/ruthless by all means. As harsh as that sounds (to an audience who wants a democratic and stable Iraq), it is the reality of the people of Iraq.

Treat the cause not the symptoms.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by moodi:
The only solution for Iraq is to install a secular military government that is firm/ruthless by all means.

I don't know what to say to that, it's so far off the reservation I can't even begin to think it's nothing more than a joke.
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moodi
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G2,

It's not a joke. The joke is what the media is trying to sell us as a "solution".

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Adam Masterman
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quote:


Your argument does not withstand my commentary even though I am not a pair of boots on the ground. Personally, my family has done far more military service than most. And the fact remains that were it not for significant contributions by my family in the past, the existence of the United States would likely never have become reality. Was Tom Paine's commentaries invalid simply because he did not hold a musket? Maybe my ancestor should have stuck to hatmaking instead of calling his fellow citizens to uphold a principle that would be hard to attain.



Not at all. I'm not serving either, and that does not credit nor discredit your argument. My point was about the charge of cowardice that flies at anyone who advocates a pullout. Bush even managed to sneak that implication into this speech, as tired as that meme has become. No, my only point was that there is nothing particularly brave about being a hawk, unless one is actually fighting. That is not to say that your argument is right or wrong (its wrong), just that it isn't courageous.

quote:
Fact is Adam I do think we should help Tibet and the hundreds of other nations where people are simply treated as chattel. Sudan, Congo, Liberia, Haiti etc. I don't change my song because the chorus is hard. It may be geopolitically impossible to act on each instance, but when we have the ability to do so, we not only should act but must act if we even half believe that freedom is a worthy aspiration that is deserved as a simple human right.
Red no one will ever accuse you of not being motivated by principle, and I apologize if I implied otherwise. I just find your principles tragically flawed, and frankly, scary. Do all peoples deserve freedom and self-determination? Yes. Thats probably my most fundamental political belief. Can we use our guns to give it to them? Only in very rare cases. When people don't have any desire to live under our definition of freedom, then imposing it by force isn't liberation, it subjugation. Pax Americana is not the path to a just peace. And do I think Iraq is or ever was about freeing the Iraqis? Please. I've said this a number of times: Iraq is free right now to choose their future. They can either step up and secure their democracy, or allow it to fall to sectarian strife. Its THEIR choice, not ours. And the longer we prop them up, the less likely they will be to secure it on their own. I like that image of the last helicopter leaving Saigon, because it demonstrates MY point perfectly: after a decade of relying on us, South Vietnam was totally incapable of defending itself. What you are advocating will create the same tragic dependance in Iraq, and the results will be the same.

And remember that I sung my song when NO ONE wanted to hear it. I was called a traitor and worse for predicting exactly what has come to pass. So I can hardly be accused of following the crowd when I got here years before it did.

Adam

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Kent
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The CAUSE is Saudi Arabia's version of Islam being promoted to the rest of the world funded by US dollars via petroleum. That is the cause. There is no long term solution to peace in the world without uniformly condemning that variant strain of Islam as evil and a blight on the world. Until we attack Wahhabiism as we did nazism, communism, facism, etc.; we cannot win. How do we destroy this virulent philosophy? Another philosophy must prevail and if it isn't democracy, which philosophy do you propose? By ensuring democracy wins in Iraq and Afghanistan we show that democracy is the more powerful idea. This is about ideas more than anything else and whichever philosophy shows momentum on its side is the philosophy that ultimately prevails. Anything less ensures that the Imams and Mullahs use this to prove they are gaining momentum.

Right now 40-60% (depending on the poll) of UK Muslims would like to be ruled by Sharia. If this is the case, can democracy survive in any western country long-term if the Mullahs gain momentum? Muslims are demographically the most significant force that Europe's future will face. If enough Muslims are eventually "radicalized" the future voters may vote to re-establish a king. We must stop the flow of cash to Saudi Arabia and we must prevail wherever we choose to fight.

Forget whether or not we should have gotten into Iraq. We must win there or I'm afraid we will have to nuke Mecca.

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Redskullvw
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Adam

All people do deserve freedom. And aside from efforts by the United States, Great Britain, France, Portugal, and Spain, there have not been instances where people somehow became free without direct intervention in the last 50 years. I suppose you could claim Israel became free on its own, or the dissolutions of UN mandates. But other than that, democracy or even free elections and self determination have not happened without some form of direct intervention. Be it cases like Angola, Vietnam, or Haiti where Western democratic nations intervened and attempted to install democratic governments that failed. Or cases where united pressure by Western democracies has caused hostile nations to simply collapse as in the USSR, Cambodia, or Sri Lanka. Democratic institutions haven't simply resulted from the people demanding them. It has required force consistently and always, and more often than not it has failed sometimes after years of effort. But that has not meant that Western democracies in general, and the United States in particular, do not actively seek to install freedom wherever they can.

And there is a simple reason why. Free, democratic, stable states tend not to use force and hostility against their own people. They also tend not to attack their neighbors without provocation. And that is the one thing that has been a part of every American presidential policy. We will promote democracy, not because it is a great thing for the United States, but rather it is a great thing for any who have such freedom. It isn't a Pax Americana serving as a peace made by might, but a loose policy that is followed by all presidents to instal democracy instead of dictators. And there have been numerous example of when we did not fully follow the policy. We could have prevented Vietnam altogether if we had simply forced France to accept the declaration of a free vietnam after World War II. We screwed ourselves as well in Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. The banana republics in Central and South America are also examples of where paying lip-service to democracy and freedom cost the United States far more later on as the decades passed.

The one thing that has to be noted is that it is a rare chance to ever instal a democratic and free system of government. When they work, you never have to revisit the nation again. But when it is abandoned half cooked, or is subverted by temporary political or military considerations, the nation always re-emerges as a problem that has to be solved. And often it emerges as a far worse problem simply because we abandoned the effort on our first attempt.

You know South Vietnam perfectly demonstrates my point. After just 3 years of independent operation as a fully independent government and military, our Congress decided it wasn't worth the political costs at home to continue funding the South Vietnamese. They cut aid, grants, loan guarantees, and essentially revoked South Vietnam's ability to trade on the free market. The government went bankrupt and their army literally ran out of ammunition. The South fell, causing a human tragedy in terms of Vietnamese refugees, political based killings, and the additional consequences of landing Laos and Cambodia in direct combat with Vietnam as well as a genocidal revolution in Cambodia. We may have lost some 54,000+ military personnel during our involvement in the war, but the region of SE Asia suffered literally millions of deaths as a direct result of our giving up.

Decades later, Cambodia is just now becoming a free democracy. Laos is less concerned with defending its border with Vietnam. And Vietnam itself is just now returning to the world stage after the collapse of its Soviet sponsor and is desperate to forestall any renewal of the Chinese designs on her northern border. The costs have been absolutely staggering. It has cost the united nations billions directly, and billions more to the United States indirectly. Simply because we gave up so that the American voters wouldn't have to worry their pretty little heads whether or not their hippie children might have to serve in Vietnam. Besides, those oriental gooks didn't seem ready for freedom or democracy. at least that was the argument back then as racist as it was.

South Vietnam collapsed because Congress cut the purse strings and emptied the purse. Imagine if we had done the same in South Korea. It took decades before they could defend themselves or even pay their own way. Yet we do not worry whether South Korea was worth the cost? Why was South Korea worth the cost and South Vietnam was not? And why is Iraq worthy of the same treatment by the United States Congress that was given to South Vietnam?

I too sung my song long before anyone wanted to hear it. Even before 9/11 when I predicted that the Middle East, radical islam, terrorism, and Iraqi and Iranian military aims were all direct threats to the United States and Western Civilization that we needed to face before they moved beyond diplomatic solutions and instead required military actions. No one wanted to entertain my point of view. Even though I turned out to be right. It has become a problem and it has required military actions.

Maybe I scare you because my predictions have proven true, and my interpretation of what will happen if we abandon Iraq is a future that likely will result in a far worse war on the scale ED is postulating. If the principle that people deserve freedom as a basic right is viewed as tragically flawed by those who share your point of view, then I will consider it to be a redeemed flaw on my part and a damnation of your principles for your viewpoint holds that freedom is conditional and not suitable for all.

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Redskullvw
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Kent

That was my point exactly before 9/11. The Saudis do fund the Wahabbist philosophy. And demographically the muslim world will soon be the majority. At least in terms of religious adherents. Islam be it sunni or shia is fine. I personally lived with both a sunni and a shia adherent for a couple of years. I even hung out with a Persian, and came to respect them and think the world was more than big enough for all of us. But the wahabbist viewpoint is black and white. And whether Catholic, persian, Sunni or Shia, the ability to exist is not possible under the style of religion exported by the Saudi Royals. i argued we need to stop it now peacefully, before oil money begins to slack off and places the unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia into the 60% range causing disgruntled people whose faith easily points to the non-believer as the root cause of their problem.

It really is not a stretch to see a future where radical islamic fundamentalism seeks to tip economic and political scales to their advantage by any means they acquire. And i do not think that it is too much of a stretch to think that a nuclear assault on Europe or even the United States would fall outside their considerations or goals. And at that point it would be an us or them scenario. Whomever strikes last will have already lost. And I fear that we would be faced with either being victims of nuclear blackmail or playing the nuclear weapons card ourselves.

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TCB
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I'd like to address the question of whether the troop surge will be effective in pacifying Baghdad.

We tried a troop surge before, during Operation Together Forward last June through October. During that operation troop levels were increased to 15,000 US soldiers in Baghdad, with 10,000 Iraqi soldiers (they promised 30,000, but didn't deliver), and 30,000 Iraqi police officers. The surge was completely ineffective -- the Iraq Study Group reported that violence increased over 43% in Baghdad during that time.

Bush's new plan would put about 30,000 US soldiers in Baghdad, and Iraq has promised 20,000 soldiers, plus their existing police force. (New York Times) Bush also believes that the government will this time allow US forces to enter Shiite parts of the city (such as Sadr City) that were off limits to US forces during Together Forward.

Our troops' mission is to bring peace to two factions who
1) are struggling for power,
2) have hated each other for centuries,
3) are capable fighters, especially when using guerilla tactics, and
4) in many cases hate us as well.

Bush's plan relies on Iraq this time delivering the brigades they've promised and the government fighting against Shiite leaders such as al-Sadr, commander of the Mahdi Army, who have strong influence in the police, and to whom the government is beholden.

Is a troop surge likely to succeed against all those elements? The surge is essentially Together Forward with more troops and greater expectations of the Iraqi government. I believe it's unlikely to succeed, but the gamble is worth it from a risk-to-reward perspective. As people have discussed above, the consequences of losing Iraq are dire enough for one last shot, even if hundreds more of our kids have to die for it.

Damn this president and his arrogance for misleading us into war and waging it so ineptly.

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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by EDanaII:
quote:
The only pertinent question at this point is: how many more GIs will die before the inevitable change of course occurs?
I prefer another question: how many more American citizens will die as long as the middle-east remains a breeding ground for terrorism?

Ed.

There's a serious breakdown of logic there dude. Before you ask that, you have to ask "How does America's ongoing involvement in Iraq reduce the threat of terrorism?"

Your question is based on the (arguably rather silly premise) that America's ongoing involvement in Iraq somehow makes the middle east less of a breeding ground for terrorism. Which basically means that you need to make a good argument for the "flypaper theory" that neocons were throwing around in '03 and '04.

Y'know, as opposed to the "Tarbaby Theory" that seems to be the case today.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
You know South Vietnam perfectly demonstrates my point. After just 3 years of independent operation as a fully independent government and military, our Congress decided it wasn't worth the political costs at home to continue funding the South Vietnamese. They cut aid, grants, loan guarantees, and essentially revoked South Vietnam's ability to trade on the free market. The government went bankrupt and their army literally ran out of ammunition. The South fell, causing a human tragedy in terms of Vietnamese refugees, political based killings, and the additional consequences of landing Laos and Cambodia in direct combat with Vietnam as well as a genocidal revolution in Cambodia. We may have lost some 54,000+ military personnel during our involvement in the war, but the region of SE Asia suffered literally millions of deaths as a direct result of our giving up.

If you think that South Vietnam stands as a beacon of freedom and self-determination, maybe I should question your comittment to those ideals. South Vietnam under Diem was an evil dictatorship, where 85% of the poulation was prevented from participating in their faith, and dissent was cruelly suppressed. Subsequent, U.S. sponsored military coups did little to make that State more democratic or less tyranical. They were no more free than their northern bretheren, they simply weren't communist.

It was racism that prevented Vietnam from being a free nation all along. Ho Chi Minh made numerous overtures to the U.S. in a bid to win his country free from imperialist France. Had we supported him instead of our white bretheren, communism would never have gone to that country, who were naturally suspicious of anything Chinese. Instead, we forced them into the soviet camp, and then proped up a corrupt and dictatorial state in the south for over a decade. And you think the solution was to continue to do so indefinately, in the name of liberty? Ask Thich Quang Duc about liberty.

The longer we stayed in South Vietnam, the worse the situation got. It wasn't us leaving that created the conditions for the killing fields, it was us spending a decade creating, improbably, an effective argument FOR communist rule. Without the cruelty of the South Vietnamese state, southeast asianers could have seen for themselves how bankrupt the communist system was. Instead, we made it seem the lessor of two evils. Way to spread freedom and liberty.

If you honestly think that our presence in Iraq rtight now is increasing freedom and liberty, there or anywhere, then there is little to discuss. Your historical revisionism with regards to Vietnam leads me to believe that we will probably not agree about the salient facts of the case, so its likely useless to continue. If this and this are your idea of freedom and liberty, we have little common ground.

Adam

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