If we were really the ethical, moral country that people claim that we were, we would have invested far more funding and resources into rebuilding the country after we destroyed it. The "success stories" that conservatives like to trot out aside, the country is sliding downhill; not only is the physical infrastructure decaying, but there is a brain drain occurring on a scale that will be difficult, if not impossible to recover from over the coming decades.
So all that being said, the pathetic mantra from the right that the military's job is to "win wars" should be completely removed from political discourse. The idea that blowing shit up is effective military policy is pathetic, not reflective of the real missions in a post-superpower nuclear era, and generally indicative of an outdated, outmoded perspective on the world.
But you're right... to withdraw completely tomorrow is not constructive, nor is staying there for the next twenty years. This is a wicked problem, and there's no clear answer here. And on top of it all, we don't have leadership at the top that seems willing to actually address the problems on the ground.
That's okay, Annie. Nobody cares what you think.
So you're against immediate or premature withdrawal? So please tell us, at what point can we withdraw?
You'll be thrilled to know that we're going to be in Iraq for many, many more years. Congratulations.
We'd still be fighting in Vietnam according to your warmongering. Why don't you ask the Vietnamese how they'd feel about that?
Don't the majority of Iraqis want us out? Hasn't their parliament voted for us to leave only to be thwarted by a procedural trick? Doesn't it matter what they want?
By the way, we "lost" this war before the first bomb fell.
Wake up Annie. Here is a report ftom our own goverment on our idiot policies.
"Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned
By Jeremy Grant in Washington
Published: August 14 2007 00:06 | Last updated: August 14 2007 00:06
The US government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.
David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.
These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.
Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.
“Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.”
Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress."
I have nothing nice to say.
Thanks for being honest about it, either way, Annie. I get tired of the same old black-and-white political arguments, which are really convenient in terms of rhetoric but simply don't cut it (as we've seen) in terms of real policy in the real world.
Yeah, thanks Annie for posting your opinion without suggestions, a plan or any facts to back it up.
Hell, you could be the Secretary of Defense at this point.
If George Orwell was alive today, what would he say about this American liberal Doublespeak? :
"I have no idea whether Baird is sincere or not, but I was against the invasion and I still think immediate or premature withdrawal is the most idiotic idea on the table. I’m completely sincere, and I don’t have any conservative constituents to woo. So it’s possible."
I'd be surprised if Annie responded to anybody. She's shown us this know-it-all attitude before, and it was disgusting. You disgust me, Annie. Disgust.
What a worthless post. So Annie thinks that "immediate or premature withdrawal is the most idiotic idea", but Annie doesn't share her reasoning. Nor does she define what "premature" is.
If wars aren't undertaken with the intention of winning, what is the intention?
I realize that it's sort of a stylistic hallmark of the Stranger, but one really wearies of constantly being told to "shut up" because we are "stupid" and "idiotic," particularly when the writer doing this isn't really offering any new ideas or special insight. It was obnoxious before the war started and it's obnoxious now.
I get it that you are a very smart person. We all get it. Congratulations. That's no reason to be a jerk about it.
What everyone keeps forgetting is there is a Real War that we're fighting.
Unfortunately, it's against the Wahhabi fanatics from Saudi Arabia and their buddies from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It never had anything to do with Iraq. Iraq is just a convenient way for them to commute a short distance to kill Americans, using the very dollars we send them by buying oil from them.
We're losing that war. But the Iraq sideshow - yeah, we're losing that too, and will keep doing so until we get OUT of Iraq.
Sad to say many of us with military experience were predicting this - and getting shouted at by "pro-troops" Republicants - before we even invaded Iraq.
The War has been over for years. We won. You're talking about The Occupation, and there's no winning or losing an occupation. All talk of progress is meaningless because there are no military goals to progress toward, so there's no way to determine whether withdrawal is premature or not. The only thing at stake now is the amount of our money the offshore corporations can extract from the process. They've had enough. Time to go home.
Didn't we already win the war? We captured the heads of the previous administration, defeated the standing military, and established a government operating under our auspices. If that's not winning a war, what the hell would qualify as winning? Anything we're doing in Iraq now is part of an extended, brutal, bloody police action, not a 'war'.
(That's leaving aside that Congress has never officially declared war. The Congress hasn't officially declared war since 1942. Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf -- not *legally* wars. You could make a pretty decent argument that that speaks volumes about the moral cowardice and/or hypocrisy of the post-war American state, but that's neither here nor there.)
And from a humanitarian standpoint, I think Annie's right. Pulling out of Iraq now helps us -- it stops the loss of *American* lives -- but it absolutely fucking screws the Iraqis over. Maybe that's the best we can hope for, now that we've kicked the anthill, but the inevitable vicious chaos that's going to explode in Iraq when we leave (as opposed to the fairly-vicious pseudo-chaos that's exploding there now) is going to leave millions of people dead and one of the oldest civilizations in the world an absolute wasteland.
All of which is a result of our starting this war in the first place. You could say that we never should have invaded in the first place (and it makes me sick that this was both such a transparently aggressive war and such a botched one), and that's a legitimate complaint, but to talk about pulling out like it's going to *save* lives is pretty callous.
And slamming someone for noting that fact -- albeit with fairly stiff language -- for not having a solution to an insoluble problem is good theater, but bad politics. (Leaving aside that there *is* a plan for an extended stay! The Iraqi Study Group did *not* call for an immediate departure from Iraq! Neither did it call for a troop escalation without any region building consensus -- it's *possible* to want to stay in Iraq until some sort of sustainable society is reestablished and *not* be a jingoistic nutjob.) How did this get to be a two-option debate?
Comment on Josh's post instead of starting your own pointless crap post. We have already lost in Iraq because the "decider" knows no more than you do and neither of you seems to know anything about history. Look up the American Revolution and see why the insurgents (us) won.
Annie Wagner is French for fucking idiot.
Hopefully the left will be the party that decides what to do with this mess and if we're going to any better than the right we need to not act like the right: ie anybody who disagrees is an idiot an unpatriotic.
@14 Right fucking on. Best post I've read on this subject EVER. And the Rome comparison is spot-on.
In 1996 a couple of my social studies teachers put on a seminar at my high-school on revolutions and the fall of big empires. Historians have outlined 5 things that have to happen in any empire/country before a revolution is sure to take place. At that time the US already had 4 out of 5. I can't remember what the 5 points were but I'm pretty sure we have all 5 now.
There is no such thing as "premature withdrawal" at this point (much as I love the allusion to coitus interruptus). Consider, for example, the comparison that many people are making to the American occupation of Vietnam: when the United States pulled out there was a terrible war, an invasion, and a series of bloody battles. But all that eventually ended, and now we're buying clothes from Vietnam. If we're going to talk about the so-called bloodbath that marked the end of the American occupation of Vietnam, it should be compared to the human cost of the 25 year French/American occupation that preceded it. The bloodbath was happening in any case. The difference is that the one that took place after we withdrew actually settled something.
Extremism is a reaction to oppression. Today's Vietnam is much less extremist than the Vietnam of the late '70s, '80s or early '90s. To the extent that our goal in Vietnam was a relatively moderate government that allowed us to trade in Southeast Asia, that goal was achieved by leaving them alone and letting the situation reach its own equilibrium.
History clearly suggests that the occupation of Iraq is never going to lead to a lessening of regional tensions there, and none of the opponents of withdrawal have suggested a strategy for altering the occupation that would result in such a lessening of tensions. Given that, the only question is when will the "bloodbath" begin? Given that it is, basically, inevitable then the sooner we withdrawal, the sooner it can happen, end, and we can hope to see some stability in that region.
Yes, but you see--people don't want it anymore. And Annie--can I call you Annie?--brace yourself for the worst of it all: this country still moves by the will of its people. And we are very, very fucked-up people now.
I didn't want this war, either. I really, really don't want to stay, and there is nobody who I trust and respect to can lead me to do the thing that's right and that will work.
Annie, why don't you join the Army? They could really use your help with the war. Or the not-war. Your help with not winning and not losing this war/not-war.
Whatever it is that the Army has its hands so full with, they need more people like you who support doing it. Go help them.
PEOPLE, instead of all the negative crap, go to CROSSROADS MALL ON FRIDAY SEPT 7.
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As Jews we can be for the war and for being against the war. I personally was against the war but I'm for the occupation. Judaism allows for this kind of dissonance because it's a sophisticated religion.
Ignorant Christian goi and their shiksa should stick to their video games. Israel needs this war for her security, and it's going to take a long time. The Christian goi should stand out of the way and allow their superiors decide what is best for America and Israel.
Ignorant Christian goi and their shiksa should stick to their video games. Israel needs this war for her security, and it's going to take a long time.
This war isn't improving Israel's security any more than it's improving the US's -- as evidenced by the growing anti-Semitism that compels people to post snarky fake-Jew messages on comment threads.
Is annie a jew? Is that why she likes the occupation of Iraq?
Annie, if immediate withdrawal is "the most idiotic idea on the table", please let us know
a) what you hope will be accomplished by leaving our troops parked in harm's way
b) what goals must be met before it's no longer idiotic to leave
c) how long you think it's worth hemmoraging American blood and money to achieve these goals
@24&25: Please don't feed the troll.
The point being she's NOT Secretary of Defense and she's allowed to feel CONFLICTED about the whole thing. Jesus. Everyone freaked out when Bush turned certainty into a moral virtue... Don't chide Annie for allowing that there are perhaps shades of grey in this whole business.
Calling those who want to get out of Iraq "idiotic" is "allowing shades of gray?" What shade of gray is that?
I believe when you call people who disagree with you idiots, you are speaking from a place of smug certainty.
By the way, soldiers call each other names like idiot and meat head and faggot all the time. It's the military way. So somebody who liked belittling the opposition would be comfortable in the Army. ...Annie? I'm just saying.
@29: Pardon, I didn't call anyone an idiot. I said an idea, a plan ("immediate or premature withdrawal") was idiotic. I also said a certain "notion" was "stupid." I'm not hurling invective at anyone, just in your general direction.
I see. Their plan is idiotic, but they are not idiots.
So if they are not idiots, what is wrong with them? Nothing? It's hard to see how you can call something they believe in idiotic without casting serious aspersions on them.
Anyway. That's fine. You've discovered that the plan to get out of Iraq sooner rather than later is a shade of, uh, gray, known as 'idiotic gray.' Cool. Have you thought about joining the Army? Staying in Iraq for the long haul means they could really use the help.
So... not to be all, "Me me me," about this, but do you actually have any responses to any of the topical points raised in the comments, or just the ones that accuse you of invective?
Topical points regarding this post would pertain to a) the relative possibility or impossibility of winning and/or losing the war, or b) the relative possibility or impossibility of holding in good faith that a continuing occupation might be better for the Iraqi population and for the United States as a world power while remaining a partisan Democrat. I do not have time to argue about whether, in fact, it IS better to continue to occupy Iraq--though the discussion is extremely interesting, complicated, and difficult--because this is press day and I'm responsible for getting my section and movie times out to the printer. Sorry to disappoint.
Annie, you powderpuff. Seriously though, are you Jewish?
She's not Jewish. She's high. On paint fumes.
I'm glad SOMEBODY at this paper is making some degree of sense.
Fine: it's impossible to win this war because the "war" has no achievable goals.
Insofar as the traditional definition of "losing" a war has involved a counterattack, often followed by an occupation, it is also astronomically unlikely that we will lose the war in the traditional sense.
For purposes of any discussion on the topic, losing the war can (and indeed must) be redefined as, "failure and or refusal to withdrawal in the absence of a successful plan for achieving the goals and objectives of the occupation."
I guess I shouldn't be surprised to hear a Leftist refer to the Cambodian Holocaust as a "so-called bloodbath"...
Or another insist that "the idea that blowing shit up is effective military policy is pathetic"
Curious how you gents intend to handle Iran. 12 more years of feckless UN resolutions? Another Oil for Food scam? Bribe them with reactors if they "promise" to stop WMD development?
We're using the military to blow stuff up now ONLY because the peace-at-any-price weasels and "soft power" diplomats failed. For 12 years.
it's impossible to win this war because the "war" has no achievable goals.
No, there are achievable goals, you simply fail to see them. We are still in Iraq because one of our goals is to sheppard in an Arab Democracy. A free prosperous Iraq will have a cascade effect into the surrounding regions of the ME, much like West Berlin did for the Warsaw Pact. Its the only long term solution to defeating radical Islam. Give the suicide bomber something to live for. Reform his civilization or he will tear down yours. We are racing against time - WMD proliferation in the hands of radical theocrats.
You'd think a party that claims to stand for things like woman's suffrage, separation of church and state, homosexual rights, civil liberties, etc would be willing to actually defend those principles. Or would you prefer Sharia Law?
Iraq will be the model arabs look too. Yes, its a huge risk that may fail, but again, its the only long term solution for fighting radcial Islam thats been put on the table. If anyone from the Left has a better idea, lets hear it.
Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”. “Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said
Actually it does sound familiar. He makes a valid argument, but I read something just like it back in the 1970's during the Cold War.
I see. Their plan is idiotic, but they are not idiots.
So if they are not idiots, what is wrong with them?
I may be using this phrase incorrectly, but I believe you're begging the question. Annie did not write that there was anything wrong with anyone, only that a particular plan was an extremely poor one.
It's hard to see how you can call something they believe in idiotic without casting serious aspersions on them.
It's not hard for me. I do it all the time with people who buy lottery tickets or believe in gods -- they're just indoctrinated with idiotic nonsense, and I don't fault them for it. What are you, an idiot?
Oh, I'm sorry, did you think you were addressing a political party? Wrong room, sir. No one has mentioned or implied any party affiliation in this discussion.
Fen, I'm guessing you are the type who responds to any criticism of current U.S. government policy by beginning with, "Oh yeah? Well Clinton did blah blah blah. You liberals always blah blah blah."
This isn't a patisan issue. Lay off the cable T.V. news.
Yeah, show me where I said that, fucknut.
I'm not sure you're aware of this, but Vietnam and Cambodia are actually two different countries. I talked about the U.S. invasion of Vietnam. In the context of Vietnam, our withdrawal enabled the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia that removed the Khmer Rouge -- the party responsible for the Cambodian genocide -- from power. Insofar as it was our carpet bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail that was partly responsible for ascendancy of Pol Pot and the KR in the first place, I'd very much like you to explain how the U.S. withdrawal caused the Cambodian genocide.
We are still in Iraq because one of our goals is to sheppard in an Arab Democracy.
I'm aware of that goal being advanced by the supporters of the war, but it's a completely unrealistic goal for the same reason that it was unrealistic in SE Asia: regions that have been the subject of extensive colonial occupation cannot be reformed by a "benevolent" nation-building occupation like the one we're trying in Iraq. It pushes too many buttons with the locals to see people who don't speak their language or respect their religion driving around in armored vehicles telling people what to do. So again: not an achievable goal.
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