Well it was long…
I am sad to say that the following is my impatient and lazy point by point thrashing (in lieu of an actual article) of Fred Kagan from the American Empire Institute and the stupid lies that he puked up on a recent page of the Weekly Standard.
A friend of mine says that someone he cares very much about found Kagan’s
essay incredible and irrefutable. I find that laughable, but not very funny.
Sorry for all the cursing and insults below. It was late when I did this…
(and for the bad formatting – if anyone knows how to fix it let me know.)—-Scott
Why Iraq Matters
Talking back to antiwar-party talking points.
By Frederick W. Kagan
Losing wars is always bad.
–Starting wars is always bad.
One of the major reasons for Americaâ€™s current global predominance economically
and politically is that America doesnâ€™t lose wars very often.
–America starts wars all the time.
It seems likely, however, that the American people are about to be told that
they have to decide to lose the Iraq war, that accepting defeat is better than
trying to win, and that the consequences of defeat will be less than the costs
of continuing to fight.
–Greater than a super majority have already decided this despite what the
Weekly Standard says.
For some, the demand to â€œend this warâ€ is a reprise of the great
triumph of their generation: forcing the U.S. to lose the Vietnam War and feel
good about it.
–Oh, please. The US had no right to invade Vietnam in the first place and
McNamara himself admits that he knew they couldn’t win back in ’64. Johnson
tried to end it in ’68, but Nixon secretly sent the out-of-official-power Kissinger to scuttle the deal. The Vietnamese defeated the US in Vietnam, they preferred
even Communism to imperial domination by a foreign power. They drove off the Chinese just a couple years later. It is the talking point of soft-handed draft
dodging weaklings like Kagan that somehow the freedom of the people of this
country to demand an end to the useless sacrifice of their own children caused
the end of the war, when we all know that Nixon didn’t give a shit what the
people wanted. He simply couldn’t kill enough Vietnamese without using nukes
to win the war. He sure did try though. He and Johnson killed 3 million. And
But even some supporters are being seduced by their own weariness of the struggle,
and are being tempted to believe the unfounded defeatism â€” combined with
the unfounded optimism about the consequences of defeat â€” that hyper-sophisticates
have offered during every major conflict.
–What. Ever. Notice this little sofa samurai can’t even cite a single source
for these accusations? The defeatism is a “founded” as it could possibly
be and the “unfounded optimism” for the consequences of defeat are
nowhere to be found. Perhaps he’s thinking of all the unfounded optimism surrounding
the invasion, the disbanding of the Ba’athist army, the hand over of “sovereignty”
to Iyad Allawi, the first and second battles of Fallujah, the first and second
battles of Najaf, the purple-finger elections, the writing of the constitution
for the “Islamic Republic of Iraq,” the “strategy for victory”
of December ’05, the swearing in of Ibrahim Jafaari, the swearing in of his
Da’wa Party partner Nuri al-Maliki, the training of the Badr Brigade (sorry,
that’s the “Iraqi Army”), the slaughter in Tal Afar, the arming of
the Sunni insurgency, the “surge” and the rest of it…
Americans have a right to be weary of this conflict and to desire to bring
it to an end.
–Since when? I thought anyone who thought that was a terrorist loving troop
–It’s not like the billionaires who fund the Weekly Standard have ever
cared if it makes any money, why the change in attitude? Are you sure you aren’t
going to help make us lose like in Vietnam? Oh, that’s right: That’s pure bullshit.
We already covered that…
But before we choose the easier and more comfortable wrong over the harder
and more distasteful right,
–The harder and more distasteful is the wrong. You can’t look away from
these lying neocons for a second – they’ll snag you quick with their preposterous
we should examine more closely the two core assumptions that underlie the
current antiwar arguments: that we must lose this war because we cannot win
it at any acceptable cost, and that it will be better to lose than to continue
trying to win.
The hyper-sophisticates of the American foreign-policy and intellectual establishment
direct their invective at the whole notion of winning or losing. Whatâ€™s
the definition of winning?
–“Winning” means establishing a quisling dictatorship over people
we don’t own and who never attacked this country. This country has no right.
— And yes, those “hyper-sophisticates”! Darn them. They’re so
snooty! Unlike us average Joes at the American Enterprise Institute and the
Wall Street Journal editorial page!
If we choose to withdraw from an ill-conceived and badly executed war, thatâ€™s
not really losing, is it?
We can and should find ways to use diplomacy rather than military power to
handle the consequences of any so-called defeat.
–No, killing is much better. Not that Fred or any other Kagan would ever
risk their own lives.
Less-sophisticated antiwar leaders on both sides will ask simply why the U.S.
should continue to spend its blood and treasure to fight in â€œa far-off
land of which we know little,â€ as Neville Chamberlain famously said in
defense of his abandonment of Czechoslovakia to the Nazis.
–Ha! You gotta love these neocons. Ceasing to violently occupy Iraq – propping
up the Iranian SCIRI-Badr factions – is the same as abandoning those poor Czechoslovakians
to Hitler! Hitler lover!
We have, after all, more pressing problems at home to which the Iraq war is
–The destruction of thousands of American lives, Trillions of dollars,
the separations of powers, the Bill of Rights, the U.S. economy, U.S. business
relationships overseas, our culture…
As is often the case, there is a level between over-thinking and under-thinking
a problem that is actually thinking.
–Stop “overthinking” the war jerk! God, I hate those smart people
always trying to overthink everything!
Yes, in the world as it is, whatever line we sell ourselves, there really
is victory and there really is defeat, the two are different, and their effects
on the future diverge profoundly.
–Right. “Victory” means the U.S. empire goes bankrupt trying
to kill every Iraqi who dares to resist the invasion of his country, our empire
falls and the Kagan family have to get real jobs. “Defeat” means the
U.S. withdraws from Iraq and the Kagans get to stay paid pushing for the next
–You might start reevaluating your position there Freddy.
And yes, the reason we must continue to spend money and the lives of the very
best Americans in that far-off land is that the interests of every American
are actually at stake.
–The “very best” Americans are government employees. The rest
of us are mearly average at best. The most violent of us are without question
the “very best” among us. They’re “defending freedom” by
going around acting like Redcoats after all. Still waiting to hear all about
those “interests” that need protecting. Please, do tell… Or just
We will consider below just how much of a diversion of resources away from
more desirable domestic priorities the Iraq war actually is,
–Will we? Let’s start with the 5 trillion dollars taken from productive
people and wasted on all this mass death and destruction, shall we…? I guess
that’s later in the article…
but the more important point is simply this: Unless the advocates of defeat
can show, as they have not yet done, that the consequences of losing are very
likely to be small not simply the day after the last American leaves Iraq, but
over the next five, ten, and 50 years, then what they are really selling is
short-term relief in exchange for long-term pain.
–“Come on! Prove that everything will be fine in Iraq for the next
50 years if we leave! If you can’t, then you admit we have to stay!”
–Pardon me, but “Oh, fuck you.” You got nothing fat-boy. The
consequences of invading this helpless country are all the fault of the people
who won’t let you occupy it forever? Bull. They are your fault, AEI boys, and
the whole world knows it.
–Sorry, but it would seem to me that even the most dead, dumb and blind
war supporter could see though that thin gruel… No?
As drug addicts can attest, this kind of instant-gratification temptation
is very seductive â€” itâ€™s what keeps drug dealers in business despite
the terrible damage their products do to their customers. â€œJust end the
pain now and deal with the future when it gets hereâ€ is as bad a strategy
for a great nation as it is for a teenager.
–Wrong. It is the neocons like Kagan who are addicted to war and occupation
and who refuse to suffer through the withdrawals of not being able to enjoy
mass killing vicariously as they like to do so much. It is the peace movement
who are trying to kick the self-perpetuating policy of empire and intervention.
–Anyone who can’t see this is fucking stupid.
The antiwar party has continually adapted its arguments, but not its conclusions,
to the changing circumstances on the ground. At the end of 2006, the argument
was that Iraq was in full-scale sectarian civil war, that no conceivable additional
American forces could reduce the violence, that the whole notion of having American
troops try to do so was foolish, and that we should instead slash our forces
dramatically and turn to diplomacy with Iraqâ€™s neighbors.
–Liar. Goddamned liar. And again please note that he does not cite anyone!
That’s because Fred Kagan is a big doughy, soft handed cowardly … Liar. While
there was clearly an America-approved sectarian civil war in 2006, there were
zero people anywhere on the earth who said that “no conceivable additional
American forces could reduce the violence” – None. What they said
– including me and quite correctly – was that any reduction in violence would
be only temporary because the Sunnis are not going to sit by and let the Shia
take all of Baghdad forever, that they would never join the “Iraqi Army”
of the Da’wa Party’s Maliki government, that the Kurd/Commie PKK was still going
to have a beef with Turkey and that “surging” troop numbers would
not “give the politicians the room to negotiate these differences”
as was promised by “surge” author Kagan himself by “benchmark”
time last October. Remember that?
–The view that we should have cut our losses and begun withdrawal then
was as right as it is now – completely. What have you accomplished in a year?
Not a damned thing, but the U.S.-sponsored re-arming of the Sunni insurgencey
and the regrouping of the Mahdi Army which opposes and has always opposed the
–January 07: “We can’t leave now, everything is violent and will get
–January 08 “We can’t leave now, everything is wonderful, but will
–You may call this anything but the War Party adapting its arguments. (Also
to be ignored, WMD, ties to bin Laden, creating a democracy and spreading it
all around, spreading peace and stability between Iraq and its neighbors…)
When the surge began, the antiwar party crowed loud and long that success
was impossible, rising violence inevitable, and the whole business doomed to
–It is. 2007 was the worst year for U.S. forces in Iraq. The Sunni “awakening”
had nothing to do with the surge and everything to do with the local Sunnis
getting fed up with al Qaeda on their own and the U.S. military’s acceptance
of their LONG STANDING OFFER to fight al Qaeda off if we would give them guns
and authority in their neighborhoods. Again, all we’ve done is buy some time
before the rearmed Sunni militias try to take back Baghdad from the Shia who
we let “cleanse” the place over the last two years – the first half
of ’07 especially – as Fred Kagan’s “surge” went into full effect.
When Coalition operations brought the violence under control,
–Tired. So tired. That was the temporary buying off of the Sunni described
above and the voluntary cease fire of Sadr. The troop levels did help motivate
him, but then again the “cleansing” of Baghdad was mostly complete
by August anyway.
the antiwar party
–Heh. I like that. Doesn’t hurt so much when you turn it around, Fred.
admitted that security had improved but insisted that the political progress
the surge was supposed to enable had not occurred and would not occur.
–Right. At least he didn’t mischaracterize the opposition on this point.
Additional arguments popped up to explain that the fall in violence had nothing
to do with the surge anyway â€” it resulted from the Anbar Awakening, which
had preceded the surge;
or, alternatively, from the fact that American troops were simply buying and
arming former Sunni insurgents;
–Oh, I see. At the Weekly Standard it’s either one or the other. Fine.
and from Moqtada al Sadrâ€™s ceasefire that he could lift at any moment,
plunging Iraq right back into complete chaos.
–Right, which he proved last week. In spades.
The antiwar party rather gleefully seized upon recent Iraqi Security Forces
operations against Sadrâ€™s militia and other illegal gangs as proof of this
–Which is exactly what it is, of course. The U.S./Badr Corps (aka “Iraqi
Army”) forces failed completely in their goals of weakening the Mahdis.
the general glee with which the antiwar party has greeted any setback in Iraq
is extremely distasteful and unseemly,
–Yes, we are just reeking with “glee” at all the carnage aren’t
we? Sort of like the glee of the War Party when this bloody abortion of a military
operation was launched early last week, only not so much.
whatever domestic political benefits they believe they will receive from those
–Ha. So the Antiwar Party are the Democrats and the Democrats are antiwar,
huh? And those who criticize Kagan’s failure are only motivated by the political
“benefits”? Well, if he says so, I guess it must be true.
Even if one believes that defeat is inevitable and withdrawal necessary, no
American should take pleasure in the prospect of that defeat.
–Again, “defeat” means that the American War Party is denied
permanent bases in and a vichy government over someone else’s country. Something
that no American has the right to do. And the antiwar movement would be pleased
to see U.S. forces withdraw before they are defeated, not after. No one
on the antiwar side wants to see more Americans killed you big fat straw man-slaying
But the key talking points now seem to be two: that the war costs too much,
and that it is already inevitably lost whatever temporary progress the surge
may have achieved. What follows is an exploration of these and a few other key
antiwar talking points.
The War Costs Too Much
An increasingly popular talking point of the antiwar party is that the war simply
costs too much and that we must end it and refocus on domestic priorities. This
talking point has a number of variants:
The â€œ$3 trillion war.â€ Simplistic economic analysis declares that
the war has cost the taxpayers $3 trillion since its inception, implying that
this is a $3 trillion dead loss to the economy â€” a price too high to pay.
–Damn right. And yes, very simplistic. http://www.amazon.com/Three-Trillion-Dollar-War-Conflict/dp/0393067017/
Modern economics has long understood that the notion of a one-for-one guns-versus-butter
trade-off is simply wrong. A high proportion of money spent on defense goes
back into the U.S. economy in the form of salaries paid to the more than 5 million
Americans employed directly or indirectly by the Defense Department, and payments
to the defense industry and the long and complex supply chains from which they
draw their raw materials.
–And that’s perfectly okay? Wrong. That is all wealth taken from productive
use and wasted. Bombs are not wealth – they store some temporarily and then
destroy themselves and more. Christ. Can you imagine? 5 million people on the
DoD payroll. Oh, but that’s an economic boon to us if you listen to these guys.
Why don’t we all just get government jobs? Then we’ll all be rich!
(Anybody else wondering when he’s going to get to specifics about which
Iranian militias we should be backing against the Iraqis at this point?)
Military spending has traditionally been a form of economic stimulus, and
wars more commonly end recessions or depressions than start them.
–This is so wrong a small child could see through it. Or Frederick Bastiat
158 years ago.
–Don’t look to the “ex”-communists at AEI for economic advice,
–Dear reader, are YOU better off than you were five years ago? (Weapon
and Oil stocks aside, I mean.)
Thatâ€™s not a good reason to start a war, but neither is it a good reason
to lose one.
–Nor is it true at all. Wars destroy wealth. Period. And yes, the increasing
burden on the American people is one hell of a great reason to call it off.
(Remember when they said it would be a revenue-neutral war? “The oil will
pay for it,” they said.
–Did you believe that then?
The impact of the current war on the U.S. economy, finally, is far smaller
than the impact of previous major conflicts. Military spending in World War
II ranged from 17.8 percent of GDP to 37.5 percent; in Korea from 5.0 percent
(in 1950 â€” 7.4 percent in 1951) to 14.2 percent; in Vietnam from 7.4 percent
to 9.4 percent. Current expenditures on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars bring
total defense expenditures to something well below 5 percent of GDP. Even granting
the simplistic and misleading $3 trillion figure, $3 trillion is about 5 percent
of the nearly $60 trillion American GDP over the five years of the war.
–Simplistic and misleading: It’s more like 5 trillion. And when you count
spending on war in the GDP, that doesn’t count. And it’s still robbing Americans
blind over a war little fat neck Freddy here has no right to have fought for
him. But let me promise you something right here: The military industrial complex,
oil companies and billionaire foundations that fund AEI make damn sure that
fat little Freddy and his lying, bloodthirsty wife http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB120718691572085211.html
never feel the pinch one bit.
The war has caused the upcoming recession. Using mercantilist arguments common
in the 18th century but subsequently shown to be wrong, war opponents have successfully
spread the notion that military spending is causing the economy to slow and
contract â€” they have been successful enough that a large majority of Americans
believe this falsehood to be true.
–Mercantilist arguments? Again fat neck Freddy cites none and no one but
his own imagination. It has nothing to do with mercantilism to point out that
all of Fred’s corporate welfare queen donors (investors) are destroying vast
amounts of Americans’ (and Iraqis’) wealth in this war while skimming a tidy
profit off the top. In fact, one would be completely accurate to define the
members of the AEI donor page as the world’s leading neo-mercantilists, as they
make so much of their money off of state power rather than competing in a free
–Fat Neck Fred Kagan: “Frederick Bastiat was a mercantilist.”
–What a maroon.
In line with the points made above, the burden of the war on the American economy
has simply not been heavy enough to have caused a recession on its own.
–Does anyone on earth believe that Fred here can find another earthling
of any description to cite who says that the war has caused the recession on
its own. I don’t. I bet you can’t even find a pinko Clinton worshipper at the
DailyKos who’s ever uttered such nonsense.
–Fat Freddy Kagan versus Made Up Straw Man Arguments: 100 to Nuthin! Go
The collapse of the housing bubble, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, rising
oil prices (which losing the war will not lower),
–Which starting it tripled.
and a variety of other factors have been far more important in slowing the
economy than any brake the war might have put on it.
–Inflating the economy with trillions of new dollars and then destroying
them never hurt anyone! Seriously though, yes it did. Artificially cheap money
– such as that created to buy wars with – encourage bad investments across many
sectors with terrible consequences for all but the billionaires and their chubby
little think tankers.
Defense spending as a percentage of total federal spending is now around 20
percent. In World War II, it ranged from 73 percent to 89.5 percent;
–Nothing wrong with that! Why, to spend less on a an aggressive war than
it took to defeat Japan and Germany is to be spoiled rotten! And I just won’t
in Korea it ranged from 32.2 percent (1950 â€” 51.8 percent in 1951) to
69.5 percent; and in Vietnam from 42.8 percent to 46 percent. In more context:
at the height of spending on this war, defense spending was only 12.3 percent
of all public spending (including federal, state, and local expenditures); in
World War II the high was 82.1 percent; in Korea, 52.5 percent; and in Vietnam
–Here Kagan pretends that the Korean and Vietnam wars took place in a vacuum,
without a world-wide Cold War and arms race in the background. He didn’t forget.
He’s just lying to you about the context as he goes on and on about how important
it is to understand the context.
While it is true that security spending (including Homeland Security and many
costs not related to the Iraq war) is the largest single line-item in the 2008
Federal budget at $656 billion, mandatory programs like Social Security, Medicare,
Medicaid, and S-CHIP, and other non-security discretionary programs received
$610 billion, $391 billion, $211 billion, and $481 billion respectively.
–That’s right. George Bush is a national socialist – or is that international
socialist? Either way, it’s Kagan’s commie Republicans who have made this so.
–Remember he’s trying to justify half-trillion + annual military budgets
for the indefinte future here. Hey we spend all this other money, so why not,
The $100 billion or so of direct war costs that could theoretically be recouped
by withdrawing all of our forces from Iraq and Afghanistan is less than 6 percent
of the $1.7 trillion spent on mandatory and discretionary domestic programs.
–Withdrawing the troops will only save 100 billion or so? According to
what source? We’re spending more than half a trillion now and if we stop that
will only save 100 billion. I never was all that good at math, but that doesn’t
sound right to me…
–Seriously though, this goofball is simply lying…
–to set up for the rest of the paragraph of deception…
The financial cost of the war, high though it is, is simply not a large enough
part of the federal budget, to say nothing of the GDP, to have played a significant
part in the American economy, particularly considering the fact that a high
percentage of defense dollars go back into that economy.
–Simple assertion based on made up figures like the 100 billion dollars
above and a mercantilist/socialist belief that government creates wealth by
waging wars – no real evidence at all.
The argument that the Iraq war has caused the recession is just wrong.
–Again Fred kicks the straw man’s ass. Take that straw man!
–He must overgeneralize and paraphrase arguments by others he never names
… because he’s wrong.
High gas prices are the result of the war â€” and ending the war would lower
–Yes, gas prices have risen largely as a result of the war, and again,
can Fred cite anyone saying they’ll go right back down again? OF COURSE NOT.
Just made up paraphrases of made up people making made up arguments that no
one has ever made.
“Bor-ing.” -Homer Simpson
This actually convinced anyone in the world? God help you whoever you are.
There is a huge failure of logic here. Oil prices do not rise because American
forces are in the Middle East â€” they rise because of instability and fighting
in the Middle East.
–I just want to let that stand by itself there for a minute.
–Oh hell, I guess I can’t trust you to remember, THERE WAS NO WAR in any
oil producing state in the Middle East before March ’03 since Operation Desert
Stormâ„¢ and the U.S.- paid-for-on-both-sides Iran-Iraq war. Iraq has been
consumed with war since then, and our government keeps ratcheting up the threats
against Iran driving prices even higher. Also, the inflation caused by creating
money to fund the war has destroyed the dollar. As Ron Paul points out, the
price of oil as measured in gold hasn’t changed nearly as much as when priced
in phony paper government dollars.
One of the most dramatic increases in oil prices in history occurred during
the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, when no American forces were present.
–Please. I just covered that in the paragraph above. That was Ronald Reagan’s
war. This government backed the Hussein regime and pushed him to invade Iran.
They then sold weapons to the Iranians too (with which to kill Iraqis). And
the only reason the U.S. wanted to use Iraq against Iran in the first place
was because the people there had overthrown the U.S.-backed fascist secret police
monster the Shah Resa Pahlavi who used to skin “his” people alive
at the behest of the American empire for 26 years. American mercantilists had
decided – using arguments debunked in the 18th century – that if they didn’t
use the force of the empire to “secure” their oil resources, it wouldn’t
get to market. Well, more like they knew that was a bunch of bullshit they wanted
Americans to believe when they knew it was really about which individual and
corporate interests were allowed to do the pumping, the skimming and the fixing
of the production quotas.
The antiwar party argues that American failure in Iraq is inevitable and the
violence will inevitably increase whatever we do. That is not true, but if it
were, then it makes this talking point silly.
–The antiwar movement is pushing the line that “whatever we do”
the violence will increace? How about withdrawing? Or killing all of them? That
would bring the violence down. Don’t pretend you haven’t concidered it, Fred.
If violence in Iraq is destined to increase, then the oil premium is destined
to remain at least this high if not higher. In the real world, American forces
are playing a key role in keeping the violence in Iraq down and preventing it
from engulfing the region â€” if they are withdrawn prematurely, violence
will spike and so will the price of oil.
–Withdraw prematurely? Anyone else get the idea here that Fred here is
projecting his personal frustrations onto others?
–Anyway. American forces have done exactly two things that that have kept
violence somewhat down for a few months (of course within the context of killing
hundreds of thousands, creating over 5 million refugees and completely destroying
a society): They caused Sadr’s Mahdi Army and the Sunni insurgency to cease
fire temporarily in order to rearm for the next battle of Baghdad after they
let the Shia kick all the Sunni out in the first place. You call that preventing
–That battle will happen with or without the American occupation, it will
play out and prices will rise again. Without the American presence distorting
the market of power in the region – again, In Favor Of Iran By Way Of ISCI – the
people of Iraq will settle their problems one way or another. The US occupation
is only prolonging their pain – and the high oil price.
The war is consuming money that would otherwise be spent on more important
If only our schools were fully funded and the Air Force had to have bake-sales
to buy bombers…. Well, the Air Force is just about at the bake-sale level
thanks to consistent under-spending on defense since 1991.
–I do not promote the pro-big government argument that many liberals and
leftists actually do make (despite the fact that it’s an argument Fred Kagan
is choosing to confront), and will not defend it, but our airforce at bake sale
–Are even regulars of the Weekly Standard stupid enough to believe that?
The US Airforce we’re talking about here? The guys who just threw out all their
F-15s to replace them F-22s and F-35s? The guys who can fly stealth from Missouri
to kill anyone in the world on a moment’s notice? The guys who in their F-15s
could have taken on any combination of air forces in the world in a weekend?
The airforce with a budget larger than the rest of the world’s combined – not
including navy planes?
–Is this for real?
But if we stopped the war tomorrow, would our schools get all the money those
who make this argument think they need? Of course not. The war is being funded
on an emergency basis (for good or ill) and its cost has not been offset by
tax increases (as the antiwar party periodically points out).
–No, the price for the war (and the rest of the global empire) is being
paid through the counterfeiting of money and the destruction of the dollar.
Last year the interest on the national debt was over 400 Billion dollars. Ah,
but 400 billion ain’t too much in today’s dollars!
In the real world, there is no way that even a Democratic Congress would spend
$100 billion a year in non-offset emergency authorizations for education or
health care, even if some war critics think that they would like it to do so.
As for increasing domestic spending, those who believe that we should raise
taxes and spend more money on domestic programs can still advocate that policy,
whatever its wisdom. This isnâ€™t an argument about the cost of the war â€”
itâ€™s an argument about whether we want to have higher taxes to pay for
increased domestic spending. Alternatively, it can be an argument about the
cost-benefit of government borrowing versus tax increases, or of government
borrowing versus economic stimulus in the form of government spending. It is
not about the one-for-one tradeoff of dollars spent on the war versus dollars
spent on schools and health care.
–Whatever. If people’s wealth wasn’t being destroyed for this war, they
could more easily afford decent healthcare and education for their kids. Always
with a neocon the question is how best can government spend your money? Killing
Arabs or teaching your kid that it’s good to kill Arabs? Decisions, decisions…
America just canâ€™t afford this war any more, whatever the outcome.
This talking point is nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to make recent
successes and the probability of future successes irrelevant.
–He can’t name a success. Can’t even tell you what future “success”
might look like. Pathetic.
If the U.S. and its Iraqi allies
–The Sunni Insurgency or the Badr Brigade?
can build on recent progress and move toward a situation in which Iraqi is
stable, peaceful, and a U.S. ally â€” thereby avoiding the collapse of Iraq,
the explosion of violence,
–Finally he admits the goal: A permanent U.S. military occupation with
the phony jargon, “U.S. ally.” And then he lies pretending that U.S.
occupation can ever create peace there – that American domination is the only
way to guarantee peace. What a dick.
and the likely increased intervention of Iraqâ€™s neighbors that serious
historical studies as well as facts on the ground show are very likely â€”
–Who started this war? AEI. Who told Bush to back the Iranians in Iraq
(ISCI)? AEI. Who has told Bush to marginalize all nationalists and pushed them
into the arms of neighboring powers? AEI.
–Now the consequences belong to those who have opposed them all along.
then the U.S. can afford the price as put in its proper context above. If success
is not possible, then we must discuss the best course of action to extricate
ourselves. In no circumstance is it appropriate to argue that the probability
of success or failure in Iraq has become irrelevant.
–Let’s argue about what right America has to go around acting like the
British, slaughtering people and destroying their country, to build 14 permanent
bases like we were the Commies in Eastern Europe or something. No right. “Victory”
means imperial domination of a country that has never attacked the United States.
–And the probability is STILL less than Zero.–You (reader, not Fred of
the low hanging chin) being called out: Which is it going to be? – back the
Baathists, the ISCI or the Sadrists and if you can’t answer straight than you
have no business supporting state-sanctioned mass murder for something you can’t
understand or speak of honestly.
This is not an argument over how best to secure Americaâ€™s interests â€”
it is an argument that ends discussion by appealing to emotion and short-term
–I know. I saw it too.
Can America afford the consequences of an immediate withdrawal?
–A hell of a lot easier than staying forever.
What would they be? What would they cost? If those costs include the possibility
of re-engaging against al-Qaeda or regional instability in the future â€”
as Sen. Obama has bizarrely hinted â€” what will that undertaking cost? The
antiwar party has the obligation to explain to the American people the probable
and possible costs of its own proposals, something it has so far utterly failed
–The unmitigated gall.. Plenty of wide open questions and frightening innuendo
in there, let’s see…
–First of all, anything bad that happens upon withdrawal is all Fred and
his brother Robert Kagan’s fault. All of it.
–Second, it is likely that the Kagans’ and the Iranian Ayatollahs’ favorites:
the Hakim clan, the Iraqi Supreme Islamic Council, Badr Brigades Da’wa Party
and their sock puppets will have to flee back to Iran. It is much more likely
that without U.S./Iranian influence working for the Badr government, that the
Sadrists and Sunni Arabs will be able to work out a nationalist agreement and
reconciliation. The Kurds probably don’t want a war with the Turks, Iranians
and Syrians for now and so will probably remain at least nominally part of Iraq.
The Saudis and Egyptians have pretty much stayed out and probably won’t need
to with the long proposed Sadr-Sunni alliance against Iran and the U.S.
–In other words, it will probably be much better faster. It’s possible
that there will be another full scale battle for Baghdad, but again, that’s
all the Kagans’ fault. Especially Fred’s. It was mostly under the surge of the
past year that the “cleansing” of the Sunnis was complete. http://www.antiwar.com/engelhardt/?articleid=12571
–Barack Obama is as dumb as a Kagan. Al Qaeda in Iraq is nothing. They
were never more than a very small percentage of the insurgency and were only
tolerated by the local Sunnis to help fight the U.S. Iraq is not Afghanistan.
There will be a state there – if the U.S. leaves. No state will tolerate al
Qaeda. Not since Sudan back before the embassy bombings of 1998.
The War Is Inevitably Lost, Recent Progress Notwithstanding
–The War has been inevitably lost since they decided to stay back in the
spring of ’03. We’ve been over his bullshit about “recent progress.”
There has been none. Unless you’re a former member of al Qaeda in Iraq on the
U.S. payroll or a member of the Mahdi Army. In those cases, the Kagan policy
is serving you perfectly.
–Funny how Kagan doesn’t mention anywhere that this is his own “surge”
policy (written up to serve Bush after the midterm defeat in ’06) that he is
This argument, one of the most common among the antiwar party, recognizes that
the situation in Iraq has improved significantly over the past 15 months, but
asserts that further efforts in Iraq will lead only to inevitable failure.
–Didn’t we already do this 2,000 words ago…? No improvement, inevitable
The credibility of many making this argument suffers from the conviction with
which they declared early (and, in some cases, even late) in 2007 that no progress
of any kind was possible.
–Kagan Bats a Million!; Straw Man Takes Defeat in Silence!
–Yay, Kagan! What a tough guy you are! No progress “of any kind possible”!
A brilliant and overly broad made up paraphrase of something no one ever said!
–You could be Bill Clinton’s lawyer!
And arguments from historical inevitability are problematic either to prove
or to disprove (except for Marxists and other historical determinists).
–Blah, blah “historical inevitability.” “Blah, blah Marx”
How’s this?: The people of Iraq don’t want to be occupied by the kid down the
street whose parents you conned. Therefore it is inevitable that they will never
stop fighting until the Americans are gone. Period. Inevitable.
–And you AEI types shouldn’t bring up Marx too loud. If Raimondo overhears
he may brake out the long term memory and remind you where you’re from.
To the extent that this argument is anything other than an assertion of superior
abilities to predict the future, it generally rests on one of a handful of bases:
Iraq is a made-up state: Iraqis hate each other, and only armed might can keep
–Wrong!! That is what he is trying to tell you: That they need the US occupation
to keep the peace. Fuck. What a liar. The man just tries to turn everything
around. But you remember before right? A few minutes ago, where he was saying
we have to stay or it will get worse? Don’t you?
The high degree of Sunni-Shia intermarriage in the mixed areas of Iraq, the
large numbers of such mixed areas, and the increasing anger with which many
Iraqis in those areas now denounce the idea of sectarian conflict all run against
–Right. All those are the same who insist the occupation end immediately
since it does nothing but promote sectarianism in their country.
Those who closely followed the evolution of the sectarian civil war in 2006
noticed the surprise and resentment with which many Baghdadis greeted the idea
that they had to interact with one another on the basis of sect. The fact that
many reacted by acquiring dual identity cards â€” one with a Sunni name and
one with a Shiâ€™a name â€” suggests that they did not see sect as a core
identity that must be defended at all costs.
–It was always about political power, not religion. Stupid.
The alacrity with which Iraqâ€™s Shiâ€™a shifted their condemnation
from the â€œSunniâ€ to â€œal-Qaedaâ€ in 2007 as the Sunni Awakening
marked the Sunnis’ revolt against the terrorists is another indicator. In truth,
it appears now that most Shiâ€™a who do not live in the vicinity of Sunnis
really donâ€™t care very much about them.
–Yeah, because the kicked half of them out of the country! They are not
in the “vicinity.” 5 million refugees. Mostly Sunnis driven into Jordan
or Syria if they’re lucky and into Anbar and Abu Ghraib if not. There are very
few even partly-Sunni neighborhoods left in Baghdad.
And many Sunni, even those who still call the Maliki government â€œPersians,â€
are increasingly more concerned about local political developments and what
they can get out of that government than about the sectarian split.
–The Maliki government ARE Persians and fat fuck here is dodging the question
– will the Sunni insurgency (aka “Concerned Local Citizens” now that
they’re the good guys) ever join the Badr Corps Army. The answer is no.
The Sunni-Shia fault-line is important and likely will be for a long time.
In particular, it will continue to provide the potential to rally the Iraqi
masses in internal strife that suits external actors.
–America doesn’t count as an external actor. Remember that. We own Iraq.
It’s ours. When they resist us it’s all Iran’s fault even though they’ve been
our best allies there all along. Just forget that part please. Hey, they didn’t
seem to think it important enough to dwell on in the Weekly Standard right?
But its existence in Iraq does not condemn Iraq to endless sectarian violence
any more than the once-volatile Protestant-Catholic divide in Germany continues
to generate violence today.
–Oh, please … Does anyone even know what this idiot is talking about
anymore? It’s supposed to be the antiwar people he’s arguing with here?
Iraqis are not ready for democracy; it was an error for Bush ever to imagine
that the U.S. could impose Western values on an Arab (or Muslim) state.
–Democracy: Majority rule. Iraq democracy: Majority voted for the Iran
parties who have no interest whatsoever in protecting individual or minority
–And what idiot believes that any of theses murderous neocons meant to
spread democracy in Iraq – besides maybe Wolfowitz? The Grand Ayatollah Ali
al-Sistani forced Bush to hold elections and then handed the power to the Iran
factions that Bush has supported ever since. Spread democracy. I think you mean
cholera. Or revenge.
As for the notion that democracy is incompatible with Islam, tell it to the
hundreds of millions of Muslims in Turkey, India, Indonesia, and Europe who
have embraced it.
–No one ever said that. You straw-man squabbling pussy.
As for the notion that democracy is inappropriate for Arabs, the enthusiasm
with which the liberal elite that insists on the universality of its own moral
relativism engages in such overtly racist argumentation is astounding.
–No one – at least in the antiwar movement – ever said that either.
More concretely, the millions of Iraqis who risked their lives to vote in
previous elections and the polls showing that upwards of 90 percent of Iraqâ€™s
Sunni Arabs intend to vote in upcoming provincial elections suggest that Iraqis
–They will never join the Maliki government. You failed, Tubby. They are
only voting because the boycott of 05 backfired on them. It is in no sense an
endorsement of your little experiment by them or an indication that they will
submit to the authority of Nuri al-Maliki.
Many of the other counts of the inevitability argument spring from some version
of this hyper-sophisticated racist viewpoint â€” Iraqis are too corrupt for
–Now he’s courageously fighting liberal racist straw men! Git ’em Freddy!
Git em! Show them pinkos who’s equal!
–Reality check: It’s the War Party that is made up of howling racists,
Muslim and Arab-hating bigots. Wow, fat jowl Fred almost made me forget!
they wonâ€™t fight because theyâ€™re weak, lazy, or just would rather
have us do it;
–Or maybe they’re not so willing to fight for their vichy puppet government
created by America and Iran. They sure seem strong and motivated enough to fight
our guys when they want to.
they wonâ€™t take responsibility for their state or security; and so on.
To each argument there is an on-the-ground rebuttal (like the tens of thousands
of Iraqis who have died fighting al-Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias, for instance),
–Yes, many Shia death squad members have been willing to kill Sunnis and
the Sunnis have been willing to kill the Iranian-backed militias.
–What Fred doesn’t want you to understand is that those Iran-backed militias
are called the Badr Brigade and are the Iraqi Army under Maliki. He wants you
to believe that Sadr is the pro-Iranian Shia leader when the Dawa-ISCI forces
are much closer. But then Fred Kagan is a liar. So that would explain it.
but this talking point isnâ€™t really about on-the-ground realities; itâ€™s
about preconceptions that can be very hard to sway.
Recent Progress Really Has Little To Do with the Surge Anyway
This has become one of the favorite talking points of the antiwar party, and
it has three major components:
The Anbar Awakening began before the surge, had nothing to do with the surge,
and will continue (or not) with or without U.S. forces present.
–Damn right. They’d been trying to do this since early ’05 at least. Kahlilzad
was working a deal with them at the time, but was thwarted. Kagan’s Weekly Standard
buddy Michael Rubin, who helped lie this country into the war in the first place
from the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon in 2002 and 2003, denounced
Petraeus for pursuing the “work with the Sunnis” strategy back then,
while now they call the same policy a great success and Petraeus a hero.
This argument is a bit like saying that the French people, finally tiring of
the Nazisâ€™ occupation, rose up of their own accord in 1944, engaging in
increasing partisan and insurgent activities culminating with the reappearance
of the Free French military units that liberated Paris â€” and that none
of this had anything to do with the Normandy invasion, since the Free French
movement and partisan activity within France predated that invasion.
–Blah, blah, World War II. Whatever. This is nothing like that. For that
lame analogy to work, the French resistance would have had to have hired the
Nazis to fight off the American invasion in the first place and then
tired of the few ragtag Nazi string alongs, turned on them and the started cashing
Roosevelt’s checks to by more guns to fight off the Nazis they’d tired of.
–But then that analogy wouldn’t work, would it?
One interesting thing about this argument is that it requires a real detachment
from the scene to believe in â€” Anbaris donâ€™t say this, American troops
and leaders who were in Anbar in 2006 donâ€™t say it, Americans who oversaw
the full blossoming of the Awakening in 2007 donâ€™t say it. Itâ€™s a
good argument to make from 6,000 miles away, but it isnâ€™t true.
–Here’s me noting local Sunnis fighting al Qaeda in March 2006, back during
the false start of this same policy: http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2006/03/16/america-switches-sides-in-iraq-war/
–Here’s the Jamestown Foundation site from March 06: http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?issue_id=3668
–Here’s the London Times from Nov ’06 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article642374.ece
–Fat head Fred is wrong (lying) again.
Resistance to al-Qaeda in Iraqâ€™s presence had been growing steadily throughout
2005 and 2006, and local leaders had begun both developing resistance movements
and reaching out to Coalition forces for help before the surge.
–Oh. I see. You knew I was right, I just hadn’t gotten to that part yet.
But al-Qaeda in Iraq had responded with fearsome brutality that greatly slowed
and restricted the speed and scope of the movement.
–They only further alienated the Iraqi people – Blowback! – and marginalized
themselves with their crazy religious rules and attempts to create the “Islamic
State in Iraq” and conscript people’s kids.
–Then Petraeus showed up and gave the locals American’s tax money to fight
off the guys they were sick of anyway.
American forces in Ramadi in 2006 fought hard to establish the preconditions
in the city for a clearing operation that would make possible the dramatic turn
of the tribes in 2007, but they were not able to conduct that operation until
reinforcements arrived with the surge. The exponential expansion of the Awakening
movement â€” and particularly its spread to areas outside of Anbar that had
shown no inclination to resist al-Qaeda before the surge â€” is testimony
to the synergy between these two phenomena.
–It is simply an outright lie to tell people that the local Iraqi Sunni
Insurgency, which is composed primarily of ex-Ba’athist army officers, religious
and tribal leaders were somehow helpless against al Qaeda in Iraq without the
U.S. to help. They only let al Qaeda in Iraq be a tiny little percentage of
the insurgency to help them fight us. They were able to turn them off like a
light when they decided to. Just like we terrible antiwar people were saying
–And the temproary buying off of the insurgency accomplishes nothing but
their buying of time to rearm in order to better defy the will of the Maliki
government. Nevermind evidence, hell, I’d like to even hear an assertion to
the contrary – or doesn’t that even matter?
The violence in Iraq has fallen not because of the surgeâ€™s success, but
because of its failure: sectarian violence is down only because the sectarian
cleansing has largely been completed.
–Only according to Patrick Cockburn, Nir Rosen, the generals on MSNBC with
their little color coded maps and and every other journalist in the country
who knows anything about it.
–Because it’s a fact.
This argument doesnâ€™t even work from 6,000 miles away.
–You can trust Frog Chin Fred! He’s been flown into the Green Zone! He
knows all about it. Not like you.
There has been sectarian cleansing in and around Baghdad, but it has not resulted
in homogeneous cities, let alone provinces, and it has not generated stable
dividing lines between communities.
–Does the construction of giant concrete walls count as stability? The
entire country is much less mixed than before the war – and the real battle
was for Baghdad.
–Here’s a clip of fat ass armchair general war criminal frog chin having
little bitch Fred Kagan getting slapped down for his lies last August. http://thinkprogress.org/2007/08/26/katulis-kagan/
–(How could any self respecting grown adult man let their mind be pushed
around by this worm? Shameful.)
Traditionally, Shia have dominated Sadr City, of course, as well as its various
neighboring areas of Shaab, Ur, and much of 9 Nissan. Shia have also predominate
in Khadimiya, west of the Tigris River, around an important Shia shrine there.
Sunni have historically been the majority in the Mansour and Rashid Districts
west of the river and in parts of Adhamiya to the east. The central areas of
Karkh, Rusafa, and Karada have generally been mixed. This sectarian division
of the city remains stable today â€” the Sunni are still in Adhamiya; Shia
still in Khadimiya; the center of the city is still mixed; and there remain
Shiâ€™a enclaves in Rashid and Sunni enclaves in 9 Nissan. In other words,
the river does not form a sectarian boundary, individual districts remain mixed,
and there are plenty of sectarian edges to create the basis for sectarian fighting
if anyone wanted to engage in it. The same is true in areas south and northeast
of Baghdad, such as the former â€œtriangle of deathâ€ (that is now a
triangle of relative peace where Sunni and Shia both live) and up the Diyala
River into Baquba, still a mixed city despite ferocious fighting in 2007. The
completion of sectarian cleansing did not occur.
–Numbers? Sources? No. Just bullshit. Complete with putting overly broad
assertions in the mouth of his mysterious unnamed intellectual adversaries.
Violence fell only because Moqtada al Sadr ordered a unilateral cease-fire.
But heâ€™s as strong as ever and can and will end the relative calm at any
moment that suits him.
–I already acknowleged that dumping piles of troops into Baghdad may have
influenced that decision, but the ethnic cleansing from Baghdad was nearly finished
–He proved last week that his Mahdi Army can crush the Iraqi Army (Badr
Brigade) at will.
–Note Kagan has yet to mention Badr, ISCI, Hakim, Da’wa in any context
in this article thus far.
Sadrâ€™s cease-fire has always been less of a free choice than many imagine.
When the surge began, the Sadrist movement had seats in the Council of Representatives
and a number of key ministries in the government. The government, despite his
objections, developed the Baghdad Security Plan in conjunction with the U.S.
forces stationed there. From that point on, Sadr faced a dilemma â€” if he
called on his people to fight the U.S. and Iraqi forces executing the governmentâ€™s
plan, he was casting himself explicitly outside the Iraqi political system and
relying on his military abilities to prevail. Since his last effort to rely
on force (the uprising of 2004) had been a disaster for him and his fighters,
Sadr was not attracted to this option. But the alternative of continuing to
play a role in Iraqi politics required that he at least nominally accept the
governmentâ€™s decision and at least nominally order his followers to comply.
Since the Maliki government has held firm to its original intent and decision,
Sadr has never been able to escape from this dilemma.
–Except for his complete thrashing of government forces last week. But
that’s all though.
But his reaction in January 2007 created yet another dilemma for him. Coalition
and Iraqi forces began to attack elements of the Jaysh al Mahdi and affiliated
Special Groups that were continuing to fight â€” Sadr declared that any such
JAM groups were â€œrogue elementsâ€ violating his orders. As U.S. forces
moved into Baghdadâ€™s neighborhoods, they gained visibility not only on
these â€œrogue JAMâ€ members, but also on the â€œregular JAMâ€
leaders who were adhering to Sadrâ€™s order.
–Bull. Sadr never lost control of the Mahdi Army. That was just another
failure of Fred Kagan and the Holy Prophet General Petraeus – may peace be upon
him – in this case an attempt to split the Mahdi Army with wishful thinking
and fancy jargon. Didn’t work. http://www.antiwar.com/porter/?articleid=12649
In addition to having to abandon any pretext of participating in Iraqi politics
if he ended the ceasefire, therefore, Sadr also had to face the likelihood that
well-informed U.S. and ISF troops would take out his key leadership cadres the
moment he ordered them to fight. And that is what happened when Maliki launched
his offensive in Basra and JAM and Special Groups began to fight in Baghdad
â€” which is one of the main reasons Sadr ordered his people again to stand
–Oh, Sadr lost that one did he? Based on claims made with no attribution
whatsoever that he lost his top guys. What lies. I can’t believe I’m still humoring
this bullshit. Blood and lies go so well together. The truth is that last week
the Iraqi govt got its head kicked in. http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=108498
The Green Zone was under bombardment. The Iraqi “Army” (Badr Corps)
got their asses beat from Baghdad to Basra, tens of thousands came out in the
streets in support and well over a thousand Badr men – including field commanders
– switched sides over to the Sadrists. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3635838.ece
The degree of Sadrâ€™s influence and power â€” even of his control over
his own movement â€” is increasingly open to question,
–No. That was proven false last week.
but his ability to make Shiâ€™a Iraq explode at will appears to be substantially
–“Make Iraq explode” means fight the occupation. When his guys
were putting drills in the heads of Sunnis they were our friends, the El Salvador
One need only think back to the bad days of 2004, when U.S. forces had to clear
Sadrist fighters methodically from around the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf and it
took an entire American Cavalry Division to subdue Sadr City with great loss
to see that the most recent combat was not even a pale echo of that cataclysm.
–The U.S. Marine Corps is tougher than the Badr Corps it turns out. And
the fact that Sadr negotiated an agreement with Hakim – under the Iranians’
supervision doesn’t even necessarily indicate, much less prove, that his force
is diminished. All I’ve heard is that his forces are now many time more numerous
and disciplined than back then.
Now that the Surge Is Ending, Weâ€™ll Be Right Back Where We Started
–Again a pathetic straw man argument. We’ll be where we are not where we
were. No one on the planet earth has ever said otherwise.
For those who believe the myths that the violence has dropped only because
Sadr ordered a cease-fire and because the Americans have been â€œbuyingâ€
the Sunni insurgents with arms and money, this talking point makes sense.
–Can this fat necked fuck cite one other thing related to the surge or
otherwise that has brought the violence down? There’s the end of the “cleansing,”
the bribing of the “terrorist, Saddamist, dead-ender, Concerned Local Citizens”
and the Mahdi cease fire. That’s it. The relative effect or lack thereof of
the “surge” on all these issues has been covered. To recap: The surge
covered the end (worst) of the cleansing, helped convince Sadr to stand down
temporarily when he was done with the cleansing anyway and had nothing whatever
to do with the “Awakening.”
The repeated assertion that American troops are â€œarmingâ€ Sunni militias
is flatly untrue, as the military command and independent observers have stated
–You and they are liars. These admit the truth: http://rawstory.com/news/2007/US_confirms_it_arming_Sunni_insurgents_0610.html
One of the defining characteristics of an insurgent is that he is armed â€”
at all events, one usually doesnâ€™t have to worry too much about unarmed
–This is SO convincing! I mean that’s true, right?! Wow. I’m impressed
by the attention to detail here.
To the extent that U.S. forces are bringing former insurgents into the â€œSons
of Iraqâ€ movement, the one thing we donâ€™t need to do is arm them â€”
and we donâ€™t.
As for paying them, we do, and we should continue to do so. But the tribes
in Anbar and elsewhere did not turn to us because we offered them money. They
turned to us because they knew that if they continued to fight us weâ€™d
–With the help of Badr and Sadr death squads – or is that our guys help
We started to pay them only after they turned, and this continues to be the
sequence of events as the movement spreads â€” first they abandon the insurgency,
then they are vetted and some are paid, but none are armed.
–Whatever. Keep repeating your lie, liar. It won’t make it true.
The worst flaw in this argument, however, is that it naively assumes that the
situation in Iraq today is the same as it was in January 2007 apart from the
temporary increase in U.S. forces and the (supposedly) temporary drop in violence.
–YEAH, EXCEPT NO ONE EVER SAID THAT YOU FAT FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!
In fact, the situation has changed profoundly both in the provinces and in
Baghdad itself, where the central government has made remarkable progress even
on the â€œbenchmarksâ€ that Congress set for it last year. It is conceivable
that the Sunni Arab community could again become so disenchanted with or frightened
of the Shia-dominated government that it took up arms against it (although it
is much harder to see how or why that community would start to attack Americans
again, unless we do something egregiously stupid),
–You mean they don’t want to submit to the authority of Da’wa-ISCI? Oh,
wait, we’re still not discussing them. I guess they must not be a large part
of this story…
but the resulting insurgency will not be the same one that we have already
defeated. New power blocs, new political organizations, new social movements
have changed the dynamic within the Sunni community, and a similar phenomenon
is also occurring in the Shia community.
–Now that is real smart right there. Did you get that everyone? Things
are complicated. Paradigms and stuff. A linear perception of time. Completely
bowls me over.
We canâ€™t say with certainty that current positive trendlines will hold,
but we can say with a lot of confidence that, if they donâ€™t, weâ€™ll
see something new and not just a return to the problems we had before the surge.
–Wow. He said the same thing (nothing) again. Awesome!
In other words, we have defeated the Sunni Arab insurgency we faced, and we
are on the road to defeating al-Qaeda, which suggests that broader success is
possible with those foes out of the way.
–Right. They’re fixing to greet us as liberators as soon as darn al Qaeda
in Iraq and the Iranians (not ISCI) quit messing everything up!
We Should Never Have Fought this War in the First Place
There are no do-overs in the real world. Deciding that we made a mistake in
2003 or that we donâ€™t like what has happened in the intervening five years
does not make it possible to hit some global rewind button and start again from
–Again, for you thick-headed antiwar types: There are no magic time machines.
I wish you would quit insisting that there were! Oh, wait… That’s just more
bullshit from Fat Neck Fred.
Historians and partisans will debate the merits of the decision to invade,
the nature of the invasion, post-war planning, weapons of mass destruction,
the legality of the operation, and many other things for decades.
–Frederick Kagan is a war criminal.
But George W. Bush is not running for president in 2008, nor is Dick Cheney
or Donald Rumsfeld.
–“Gee, Oscar Goldman, I read this really insightful article in the
Weekly Standard and I can’t imagine that anyone reading it would fail to be
convinced to prolong the war.”
Senators McCain and Clinton both voted to authorize the use of force in 2003;
Senator Obama had an opinion then but not a vote.
–Two war criminals vs. a would-be war criminal.
Today it just simply doesnâ€™t matter who was right.
–Also, who is still right. It has never been Fatty here who was right about
What matters is what we should do now, in the current situation, to advance
our interests and ensure our security.
–Stop killing people.
The American people will make the 2008 election another referendum on George
Bushâ€™s 2003 decision-making at their great peril. For those who want to
judge the candidatesâ€™ judgment, their predictions about the likely results
of the surge â€” when all three candidates had the same information available
and the same rights to speak and vote â€” are more informative than their
attitudes toward the invasion.
–They all flunk. Especially John “Make it 10,000 years” McCain.
And for those who want to apply a â€œcommander-in-chief test,â€ the
coming days will see all three presidential candidates take a report in their
official senatorial capacities from the overall commander of the war and the
ambassador. Letâ€™s see whoâ€™s willing to listen to and accept reporting
and recommendations from a military commander that conflicts with their own
positions and who isnâ€™t.
–Right, because Generals – particularly those who have already said they’d
like to be president someday – never have political agendas and always tell
the unvarnished truth. May Allah bless the Profit Petraeus. May peace be upon
him. Whatever he says becomes true because he says it. Praise him!
Iraq Is a Distraction from the Real War on Terror
Is it? Letâ€™s see what al-Qaeda leaders have had to say. (For more detail,
see â€œIraq: The Way Ahead,â€ Phase IV Report of the Iraq Planning Group
At the end of March 2007, al-Qaeda senior leader Abu Yahya al Libi declared:
My brothers, the jihad fighters in Iraq, today you are the avant-garde, the
vanguard of the caravan; you are on the front-lines, and there will be implications
to your victory. Therefore, strengthen the attack and fortify your determination.
. . . and know that your [Islamic] nation in its entirety stands behind you.
. . . Do not let it down. Your glorious war is not the jihad of the Iraqi people
alone, nor of one group or sect. It is the jihad of all the Islamic nation.
. . . Oh jihad-fighting brothers, today you are at the crossroads, since your
occupying enemy is showing signs of breakdown and defeat in the military arena.
. . . [and the enemy] knows well that it has lost the battle.
–Nevermind that there were ZERO al Qaeda in Iraq before the invasion and
they were only tolerated by the locals to help fight our guys and never amounted
to a small fraction of the insurgency anyway.
–I’d like to be the CEO of World Industries. Doesn’t mean it’s going to
By the end of last year, al-Qaedaâ€™s tone was not remotely as optimistic.
In a December 2007 address, Osama bin Laden declared that
when America was stopped by its armyâ€™s inability, it increased its political
and media activity to trick the Muslims. It sought to seduce the tribes by buying
their favors by creating damaging councils under the name of the â€˜Awakenings,â€™
as they claimed them to be. . . . What is unfortunate is that groups and tribes
that belong to people of knowledge and the call and Jihad are participating
in this great betrayal, and have confused right with wrong, and people have
seen these groups cooperate directly with the Americans, like the leader of
the so-called â€˜Islamic Party,â€™ as he publicly called for longterm
security agreements with America.â€
–The locals only tolerated them to help fight us. Anything beyond that
was Osama’s pipe dream.
Bin Laden added that Zarqawi
and his brothers have already helped to thwart these people and stop their
advance and expose them. But instead of supporting them, you [the Sunni insurgents
who joined Awakenings] turned against them and stopped the Mujahideen from attacking
these people, dividing the fighting into two parts. Fighting against the Americans
alone is honorable resistance, but fighting these apostate groups and the members
of the [Iraqi] police and army, who are the supporters of America and the tools
of its occupation of Iraq and the killing of its free people, has become for
you a dishonorable resistance of which you wash your hands. These divisions
were not laid down by Allah, and the Prophet . . . used to fight his own tribesmen
who were from Quraish, for religion trumps blood, and not race nor nation. .
. . I remind my precious Muslim Ummah that there are many lessons in what has
pas[sed], so stop playing around and become alert for the matter is dangerous.
Where are you heading?! What are you waiting for?!â€ (Translation from the
SITE Intel Group).
A posting on an al-Qaeda forum in February 2008 presented a similar message
even more strongly:
Brothers, the truth is that I admire the intelligence of the present Crusader,
General Petraeus, for through his intelligence and cleverness he was able to
achieve in one month what his colleagues couldnâ€™t achieve in five years.
. . . After the sly Petraeus became in charge, he started to play his game with
us unfairly. We established the Islamic State of Iraq, so he established the
Awakening Council to fight it by the method of guerilla warfare, and they started
setting up booby traps for the Mujahideen and detonated the explosive packages
on them. Al-Furqan Media Foundation was formed, so he established a media council
to defame the S[t]ate and to erase it media productions.â€
This posting went on to address proper al-Qaeda responses to the new American
tactics and strategy, beginning with â€œPossess weapons of mass destruction
as a mean[s] to the balance of terrorizingâ€ and â€œCarry out a counter
attack in the depth of the enemyâ€™s land with great accuracyâ€ as well
as â€œbuild strong and very modern trenches.â€ (Translation from the
SITE Intel Group).
Is there really any question about whether or not al-Qaeda in Iraq is part
of the global al-Qaeda movement?
–No. Is there any question that al Qaeda was no movement at all but a few
hundred left over fighters from the old Arab-Afghan army and the war in Bosnia?
That it has been the invasion of Iraq that has turned al Qaeda into a movement
– al Qaedaism? No. There is no question. Does this mean that there is any chance
they’ll take over Iraq and make it a base? No. Stop being stupid.
Considering, then, that there are very few and very small al-Qaeda bases in
Afghanistan, that al-Qaeda in South Asia is mostly in Pakistan, and that none
of those insisting that the U.S. abandon Iraq to fight the â€œrealâ€
enemy in Afghanistan have proposed any meaningful plans for dealing with Chitral
and Waziristan where that â€œrealâ€ enemy actually is â€”
–I do. How about legalizing private Americans to compete with the CIA and
military and go into Waziristan to collect the reward – something they are now
banned from doing? How about giving up the occupation of Afghanistan and waiting
till the locals get sick of the Saudis and Egyptians hanging around their villiages
and kick their asses out?
–Or maybe find another country to bomb? I hear the Eithiopians could use
some help killing the rest of the Somalis in that war that the U.S. started
back in 2006.
considering, finally, that the one place American soldiers are actually fighting
al-Qaeda every day and decisively winning is Iraq, how, exactly, is Iraq a distraction
from the war on terror? This is the war, and weâ€™re winning it. Letâ€™s
not decide that weâ€™d rather lose.
–This is clearly the dumbest thing this fat little bitch Kagan has come
up with in this whole stupid article. There were no al Qaeda in Iraq before
2003. Zarqawi didn’t declare his group loyal to bin Laden until December ’04.
They were never more than a small fraction of the now bought off – and US armed
Sunni insurgency – and their incentive for tolerating the jihadists presence
has now been greatly diminished. And he ignores the completely obvious – and
proven – fact that the jihadists who have gone to Iraq to kill Americans have
been radicalized by the war and the invasion itself; that his flypaper is made
of sugar, not poison and that this whole murderous strategy is predicated on
a bunch of shit to accomplish the most immoral of goals.
Frederick W. Kagan is a military historian and a resident scholar at
the American Enterprise Institute.
Scott Horton is a loudmouth pirate radio show host from Austin, TX.