Tag: Iraq

Jumping Jacks ain’t rocket science

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Pretty depressing video. One of two options. Either 1.) Iraqis are really this dumb. or 2.) The cream of the crop ain’t training with the US Army. Either alternative is evidence for a speedy withdrawal. Bless our guys for trying.

Withdrawal Timetables and following the Iraqi example.

Interesting article on the Iraq situation and the prospects of “timetables.” Mr. Kissinger is, of course, an adviser to John McCain, so his view is the same as mine: that arbitrary timetables based on wishes of the U.S. population back home instead of conditions on the ground plays right into the hands of opposition forces in Iraq.

However, Mr. Kissinger makes another point which I sort of instinctively knew deep down, but simply couldn’t put my finger on until he expressed it. Beyond that I think it even illustrates Iraq as an example we should learn from:

In this manner, prospects for reconciliation among the three parts of the country, Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni, have appeared not through legislation, as congressional resolutions applying the American experience imagined, but by necessity and a measure of military and political equilibrium. Since the need for American forces in dealing with a massive insurrection has diminished, they can increasingly concentrate on helping the Iraqi government resist pressures from neighbors and the occasional flare-up of terrorist attacks from al-Qaeda or Iranian-backed militias. In that environment, the various national and provincial elections foreseen for the next months in Iraq’s constitution can help shape new Iraqi institutions.

This goes way deeper than foreign policy as far as the “Liberal” versus “Conservative” view of things. Most of the process of the left covering their tails about the success of the surge has revolved around the argument that there has not been the “political reconciliation” that was predicted. And in their view, they’re right. The Iraqi government has indeed not completely come together–Shiite, Sunni, and Kurd–and forged the agreements and institutions necessary to secure their country long-term.

But the people of Iraq, the tribes, the communities, and the neighborhoods…have come to some agreements. The long and short of it is: “Progressives” can’t picture anything good happening without a Government agency being responsible for it. This is why “Liberals” can say–with a straight face–that “Conservatives” want the Government telling us what we can and can’t do, while almost in the same breath will describe how the Government should tell us what we can and can’t do. Because if someone is a proponent of an idea, then OBVIOUSLY that means they want the Government to enforce it. How else can you change things if it’s not by Federal edict?

However, I’ve met few conservatives who are pushing for a Christian Caliphate (to use the term loosely); they simply believe the Government should not force us to abandon our own principles on the altar of abiding by “Progressive” ones.

And back to Iraq some are (as this article in the Boston Globe makes clear) obviously unable to believe that anything can happen unless the Federal Government makes it so. Suppression of violence, infrastructure, stability, economics, all of that stuff is irrelevant because Maliki’s had less to do with it than he would like to admit.

Truthfully, we can draw a lesson from this domestically. We as individuals, communities, and States should start thinking about solving our own problems instead of waiting for Washington, DC to do it for us (or, to be fair, an external military presence); this is the solution to: Health Care, energy, transportation, immigration…you name it.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize how attitudes about Foreign Policy and Domestic Policy are intertwined into one major philosophical divide: who is responsible for solving the world’s problems? Individuals or Governments?

Petraeus and Crocker testimony

Here’s a pretty good article from the Canadian “Globe and Mail” on the implications of the testimony yesterday.

What amazed me about the whole thing was the fact that it was…what…8 hours in before Petraeus or Crocker even got a chance to say a word. The net of it is, though, as this article points out, that it’s overall a good day for the White House, and for Republicans in General. The Democrats have three choices:

The first is to accept the Petraeus/Crocker scenario, extend funding for the war, and vow to stay the course. This would enrage the anti-war faction within the party and remove Iraq as a presidential election issue. Politically, this is simply intolerable.

The second is to dismiss yesterday’s report and push for a more rapid troop withdrawal through Congressional funding cuts. This would consolidate anti-war support, but if the broader public finds the general and the ambassador convincing, then the party risks looking pacifist, defeatist and untrustworthy.

The third choice is to push for accelerated troop withdrawals without abandoning core commitments to combat terrorist elements in Iraq, which offers the best chance of gaining popular support. But like all middle-of-the-road positions, it can be the hardest to navigate.

Two other reasons why I think yesterday was a good day for Republicans:

1) The ad put out by Moveon.org was absolutely the worst move in the history of bad moves. Petraeus simply has more credibility than Moveon.org. I’m all for activism, and Moveon has a right to speak it’s mind, but all it did was force almost every Democrat who was set to demagogue a four-star general to distance itself from the “anti-war” movement.

2) The press today is too focused on 9/11 memorials to be bashing Petraeus and talking about how much of a lost cause Iraq is. If anyone thinks THAT timing is an accident, raise your hand.

Anyway, I haven’t read the entire transcript, yet, just the “Summary for Policy Makers” provided by various MSM outlets. Undoubtedly more comments will follow once I’ve had the chance to read it.

In the meantime: Never Forget.

Update: Here’s an exceedingly upbeat article from the Boston Globe, cleverly titled “Team Bush’s false optimism.” Read for yourself, but it’s pretty easy to see the logical flaws and convenient dismissing of key facts. It’s worth saying I think that instinctive pessimism is as pervasive and as dangerous as false optimism.

Globe and Mail

Beginning of the end?

Two prominent Republican senators, John Warner and Dick Lugar, have crafted a bill that would require the White House to draw up plans for a U.S. redeployment OUT of front line combat and INTO border security and counterterrorism roles. The bill would require the White House to present these plans to Congress in mid-October.

Is this the beginning of the end for our combat involvement in Iraq? Obviously, the bill doesn’t contain any real teeth to it (no cut-off of funding, no firm withdrawal date, etc.). But, it does show a willingness to break with the White House that heretofore had been absent amongst prominent Republicans. Warner and Lugar are smart guys who see that the political progress we had hoped would accompany our troop surge in Iraq just isn’t happening. I think Warner and Lugar are hoping to serve as a “third wheel” that plays a significant role in the coming months as a mediator between the Democratic congress and the White House in regards to a substantive shift in our Iraq policy. One other consideration is that Warner is up for re-election in ’08 and doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of the political fallout over Iraq that will probably continue from ’06.

Report: Al-Qaida bakes little boys

Report: Al-Qaida bakes little boys

Iraqi official provides account of atrocity to embedded writer
Posted: July 13, 20071:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
A reporter embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq reports a government official has recounted a new atrocity by al-Qaida: several instances in which terrorists baked a young boy, then invited his family to lunch with the victim as the main course.
The report is from Michael Yon, a Special Forces soldier who returned to Iraq to report on the successes there, inspired, he told radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt, by a “news cycle that seems to pander toward the terrorists.”
Yon was in Baqubah listening to the statements of an Iraqi official who asked that his name not be reported. Yon said the Iraqi told him al-Qaida arrived in Baqubah and united a number of criminal gangs, leaving death and destruction behind. …