Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Zebras



Oh, that's so unfair. But who are these "Democrats?" They call themselves donkeys, but I think they're zebras.

Are they represented by Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT)?

Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis [show]... a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.


Nah, that ain't it. How about Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean?

The idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong.


No, that can't be it, either. Chairman Dean says that remark was taken out of context. (Although it's tough to tell how.)

There's a story floating around (you NYTimesSelect subscribers can access it here) that French now-Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin noted during a conference that if Bush and Blair succeed,

"France would appear ridiculous."

There is a long silence. Another diplomat says, "The Americans and British are our allies."

Villepin ends the meeting...


Yeah, that's about it. Today's Democrats are like the French. They have no allies, only interests, and their greatest fear is appearing ridiculous. (Or being eaten.)

Like the zebras.

Strangely enough, those on the lefter side of the Democratic Party who want an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq ala the glory days of Vietnam War protests at least have a principled position. They want to erase the Etch-A-Sketch. A do-over. But there are only three of them or so in the US government, and besides, there are no do-overs in life.

The rest want their political cake and eat it too: they want Bush and Blair to succeed in Iraq, while being seen in their own countries to have failed.

We shall give the last quote to Tony Blair himself, who like George W. Bush is loudly reviled in his own nation, although he, like Bush, recently won re-election anyway:

President Bush’s inauguration speech last week, marks a consistent evolution of US policy. He spoke of America’s mission to bring freedom in place of tyranny to the world. Leave aside for a moment the odd insistence by some commentators that such a plea is evidence of the “neo-conservative” grip on Washington – I thought progressives were all in favour of freedom rather than tyranny. The underlying features of the speech seem to me to be these. America accepts that terrorism cannot be defeated by military might alone. The more people live under democracy, with human liberty intact, the less inclined they or their states will be to indulge terrorism or to engage in it. This may be open to debate – though personally I agree with it – but it emphatically puts defeating the causes of terrorism alongside defeating the terrorists.


I think neither America's Democrats nor the French basically disagree with Tony Blair. They're just embarrassed they didn't think of it first, or if they did, that they lacked the fortitude to bear the slings and arrows that go with trying to make it a reality.

Their only remaining hope of retaining their self-respect is to claim that their kibitzing, their questioning, their "speaking truth to power," will make the critical difference between success and failure in Iraq. So be it:

Without your help, the Iraqi people could not have made it even this far. They thank you, as does the entire free world, which counts on you guys not to destroy America, but to chasten it, keep it honest. They call referees "zebras" for their neutral black-and-white shirts.

Referees are an essential part of the game, although they are not in it. Ridiculous? Nah, even when they're wrong. They also serve who stand on the sidelines and move the yard markers as one team or the other marches to a touchdown.

Which team scores is of no concern to them. In their eyes, each team deserves to lose, and neither team particularly deserves to win, Bush's or bin Laden's. But we treasure them, and will make sure the zebras (and the French), who cannot or will not defend their own lives, are not eaten.

35 comments:

Devang said...

oh.. The self-fulfilling prophecy!

It was quite a good read, very humourous.

Hunter Baker said...

Tom, I'm convinced the Democrat opposition to the war in Iraq proceeds thusly:

1. They tried supporting it and the Patriot Act, etc.

2. They got hammered in the 2002 elections.

3. They thought, hmmmm, this could be part of an FDR style realignment that everybody's been talking about for years.

4. Political consultants said, "You've gotta distinguish yourselves from your competitor." You can't compete with the GOP on defense, so start playing the Vietnam card and buid fatigue."

5. The Dems started taking the anti-Iraq position. Gingerly, at first. Howard Dean showed them the way.

6. After you say something enough times, "Bush lied," you start to believe it. Remember Pascal: Act as though you have faith and eventually, you will. Some of them are now true believers in the Bush lied thesis even though they didn't believe it to begin with.

S. T. Karnick said...

Tom, this is an admirable and fair-minded analysis. Thanks for posting it.

James Elliott said...

Tom, sometimes I don't know why I bother with you. Occasionally, you show promise as a real thinker, but times like this, you sink to gutter Republicanism.

KeithM, Indy said...

My biggest complaint with the "withdraw now/soon" crowd, is that they don't seem to give any thought to what happens afterwards.

It is as if they think, minus US troops, all would be peace and harmony in Iraq.

Which is simply not the case.

Every potential action must be weighed against the effects and risks associated with that action. Both short term, and long term.

How does withdrawing now, or soon, effect the short and long term interests of our nation, the Iraqis, and the Middle East?

A straightfoward question which the proponents of withdrawing before victory can be declared, can't seem to answer beyond, "well, at least our soldiers wont be in harms way."

victory = a democratic government able to keep Iraq stable, with Iraqi troops providing security, and protecting the rights of all Iraqi citizens.

Ambitious, certainly.

Risky, you betchya.

Impossible, not at all.

James Elliott said...

The problem with pieces like Tom's and your comment above, Keith, is that they lump all criticism into the "withdrawal" category as if it was a zero-sum equation, "Either you're with us or against us." That just ain't so. They also pretend that the withdrawal crowd is somehow lacking in a moral and logical foundation for what they advocate. In fact, the logical foundation for departure can easily trump that of staying.

I personally happen to agree with staying for what I recognize as a profoundly moral reason. But I'm not about to let the Right (or the Left) get away with shoddy reasoning, which is what leads to so many of the -for lack of a better term- debates here.

What's sad is that, in a large way, the vociferously loud withdrawal crowd is embracing isolationism and paints the whole Left with the same brush in the eyes of the Right. The beauty of the Left is its diversity of opinion (something that some on the Left are trying to quash in a very wrongheaded fashion).

James Elliott said...

Further, the CNN piece Tom links to is a gross distortion. The resolution being voted on was proposed by Republicans and was a gross misrepresentation of Murtha's views in an attempt to make critics "put up or shut up." Murtha never advocated immediate withdrawal, but a restructuring of military deployment to improve troop security within Iraq with an eye towards a pullout to begin in six months.

So, using a defeated Republican resolution to try and tar the Democrats? That's low, even for rank partisanship.

Keith:

This statement, "It is as if they think, minus US troops, all would be peace and harmony in Iraq" either indicates that you are a liar or do not actually read and/or understand liberal opinions before passing judgment on them. Which is it?

Tlaloc said...

"They have no allies, only interests,"

precisely how a politician should behave. Notice the rash of Republicans resigning or being indicted precisely because they put their "allies" above the interests they were supposed to represent?

Tlaloc said...

"y biggest complaint with the "withdraw now/soon" crowd, is that they don't seem to give any thought to what happens afterwards.

It is as if they think, minus US troops, all would be peace and harmony in Iraq."

Tell you what Keith why don't you give us a link to even one person who has said that? Okay, just one. Go for it dude. I mean I'd hate for you to look like you were just making up strawmen.



"How does withdrawing now, or soon, effect the short and long term interests of our nation, the Iraqis, and the Middle East?

A straightfoward question which the proponents of withdrawing before victory can be declared, can't seem to answer beyond, "well, at least our soldiers wont be in harms way.""

Actually it can, in fact it has, which I guess means you hsve some sort of text version of a hearing impairment. But here we go again: withdrawing now will hasten the onset of an Iraqi civil war which can be delayed but not prevented. Delaying it will only cause more death in the long run. Withdrawl will remove our troops and their penchant for stirring up more hatred against us from the region. It will undercut the biggest argument Al Qaeda has against us. It will (if maintained) eventually see the death of radical islam's hatred for us. It is in fact the best option for winning the "war on terrorism" in any meaningful sense (i.e. not being attacked by terrorists anymore).

So now that I've explained that to you again do you understand?



"victory = a democratic government able to keep Iraq stable, with Iraqi troops providing security, and protecting the rights of all Iraqi citizens."

Never happen and hardly a victory since it wouldn't affect terrorism one iota. You seem to have forgotten wehat exactly we were supposedly fighting, Keith.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Actually, Keith and James, I wrote that the "withdrawal" crowd had a principled position. It is those who hamstring and undermine without a substantive alternative for whom I reserve my disdain.

Still, let them keep throwing their flags and blowing their whistles. It's the American Way. We shall continue to protect them from the hyenas regardless.

KeithM, Indy said...

YAWNNNN

Did y'all pass reading comprehension??

I think I was pretty clear in who I was pointing out in my comments. I didn't give them a label of left, democrat, right, republican.

I would suggest that if you don't want yourself, or "your crowd" painted into a particular corner, that you start talking to the representatives of your crowd, and make sure they are speaking on your behalf.

Seems pretty easy to me. There are 3 positions you can take regarding when troops should come home.

1) You are either in favor of staying until the conditions exist where we can declare victory.

Or you are in favor of withdrawing troops, 2) NOW, or 3) On some arbitrary, predetermined schedule.

KeithM, Indy said...

So, it would seem your plan is to surrender. Wholesale, screw the Iraqis who want a peacefull stable society, surrender.

You have several assumptions in your line of reasoning.

A) An Iraqi civil war is a potential, not a certainty.

B) That our presence in Iraq is stirring up hatred for us.

C) That al Queda wont find some other reason to use against us.

D) That radical islams hate of us is soley from us being in the Middle East.

Let me counter.

A) There is every indication that our troops are quelling sectarian violence, and not much indication that a full on civil war will occur. More Iraqis are participating in the political process then taking up arms, against either us or other Iraqis.

B) There is also every indication that a liberated Iraq, well on it's way to a democratic form of government, is serving as an inspiration to a great number of people in the Middle East. Especially those living under autocratic forms of government.

C) al Queda will always use whatever we are doing as an argument against us. If we leave, then we'll be seen as weak, a paper tiger who abandons their allies (just like Vietnam) If we leave, they will also claim it as a victory, and that will carry more sway with radical muslims then us leaving.

D) You really think that they hate us because we're in the Middle East. Look around at all the other places radical Islam is sprouting up. The problem isn't us, it's them. They want to create the caliphate, regardless of the citizens will.

James Elliott said...

1) Tom, if I misinterpreted and therefore misrepresented your views, I apologize. I guess I'm waiting for an actual example of people who "hamstring" for the purpose of scoring points that doesn't rely on gross misrepresentation of expressed views. I have yet to see anyone of any actual cultural or political significance say that the U.S. or the Bush Administration "deserves" to fail.

2) Keith:

A) There is every indication that our troops are quelling sectarian violence, and not much indication that a full on civil war will occur.

Whuzzah? You are literally making this stuff up as you go.

More Iraqis are participating in the political process then taking up arms, against either us or other Iraqis.

This doesn't even remotely equate to a logical inference. In fact, it flies in the face of what Sunni leadership is on record as saying. It is entirely possible to do both, nor is it necessary for even a majority of Iraqis to take up arms for an increase in sectarian violence to ensue.

B) There is also every indication that a liberated Iraq, well on it's way to a democratic form of government, is serving as an inspiration to a great number of people in the Middle East. Especially those living under autocratic forms of government.

Again, making it up as you go along. There are no such indications, as was addressed earlier this week.

C) al Queda [sic] will always use whatever we are doing as an argument against us. If we leave, then we'll be seen as weak, a paper tiger who abandons their allies (just like Vietnam) If we leave, they will also claim it as a victory, and that will carry more sway with radical muslims then us leaving.

How many incorrect ways can you spell "al Qaeda?" Again, you're engaging in an emotional argument with no factual basis. To try and bring this back on-topic a little, this comment is a gross misrepresentation of what just about anyone on the Left has said. No one claims that al Qaeda will stop attacking us if we leave Iraq. However, roughly 90% of our opponents in Iraq are insurgents, not jihadists. Think IRA instead of al Qaeda. By a strategic withdrawal, we open one of two possibilities: Al Qaeda continues to focus on us, and we have more resources available to smoke them out; or they focus on securing a Caliphate, carrying their tactics over to the general Arab world and thus delegitimizing themselves in the eyes of the people and becoming marginalized and opposed. It's a win-win situation and one that doesn't require our presence in the Iraq. Imagine that.

D) You really think that they hate us because we're in the Middle East. Look around at all the other places radical Islam is sprouting up. The problem isn't us, it's them. They want to create the caliphate, regardless of the citizens will.

Again, you're not paying attention! Stop going all Tancredo and equating Muslims with al Qaeda. What, do you get all your information from Little Green Footballs or something?

tbmbuzz said...

Notice the rash of Republicans resigning or being indicted precisely because they put their "allies" above the interests they were supposed to represent?

Nope, haven't noticed.

Tlaloc said...

"Nope, haven't noticed."

By all means let me direct you to the latest story out just today:

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/007267.php

this time it's a cato institute member who has gotten caught up in the unraveling Abramoff case.

Tlaloc said...

"So, it would seem your plan is to surrender."

A surrender that leads to victory I can live with.


"Wholesale, screw the Iraqis who want a peacefull stable society, surrender."

It was Bush who screwed the Iraqis. And Clinton and elder Bush and Reagan before him.



"A) An Iraqi civil war is a potential, not a certainty"

It is a certainty because it is already under way. Try listening to the poeple who know. Here's an example:
http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2005/1209nj1.htm



"B) That our presence in Iraq is stirring up hatred for us."

The israelis did a comprehensive study of captured insurgents and found that most of them were native iraqis who had been radicalized by our actions. The london bombings were explicitly done because of the Iraq war. I think I'm pretty comfortable with the amount of proof underlying this "assumption."



"C) That al Queda wont find some other reason to use against us. "

I'm sure they'd try but the question is how well their new reason sells to the average muslim. The fact that we've been occupying their lands for thelast fifty years plays real well for Al Qaeda.



"D) That radical islams hate of us is soley from us being in the Middle East."

No not solely, but it's one of the two big reasons. Here's what we should do: get out of the middle east and cut off aide to israel. We aren't doing these things because Al Qaeda wants them but because we should have done them in the first place. They are the right things to do and as a bonus it will allow us to win our war on "terror" in as much as such a ridiculous concept can be won.

KeithM, Indy said...

"A surrender that leads to victory I can live with."

heh!!!

You have a future as a Presidential candidate for the Democrats.

KeithM, Indy said...

Wow, no need to think about what this means...

All our efforts are DOOMED to failure.

http://news.pajamasmedia.com/2005/12/18/6710814_Sunnis_say_they_.shtml

Dec. 18, 2005 (UPI delivered by Newstex) -- Sunni Muslim leaders in Iraq's violent Anbar province say they are ready to cooperate with the United States.
They are seeking to extend a temporary truce honored by most insurgent groups for last week's elections but say they want the United States to reduce military raids and increase development projects for their vast desert province, The Washington Times reports.
Adnan al-Dulaimi, leader of a prominent Sunni bloc, said insurgent groups had prevented violence from interfering with Thursday's elections, the newspaper said.
The truce resulted from weeks of negotiations between U.S. officials and insurgents.
Sunni religious leader Sheik Abed al-Latif Hemaiym told The Times in an interview in Amman that Sunnis were prepared to work with the United States.
"We now believe we must get on good terms with the Americans," Hemaiym said. "As Arab Sunnis, we believe that within this hot area of Iraq, facing challenges from neighboring nations who want to swallow us, especially the Iranians, we feel we have no alternative."

Tlaloc said...

"They are seeking to extend a temporary truce honored by most insurgent groups for last week's elections"

Apparently they failed since the violence started again like clockwork forcing the president to go on live TV and beg people to believe him that we are winning.

However this does bring us back to my earlier question: Since the US has been negotiating with the 'terrorists' does that indicate we are winning or losing on the ground?

Losing, obviously. We sought them out not vice versa and the ONLY reason to do that is because things are not going well.

KeithM, Indy said...

http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/iraq/articles/20051218.aspx

This relentless progress of democracy is causing quite a commotion throughout the Arab world. While it is fashionable to denounce the American presence in Iraq, and what the Americans were doing, the Arab language buzz on the net is going in unexpected directions. Because of al Jazeera and the Internet, young Arabs everywhere are not only able to observe what it happening in Iraq, but to discuss it with young Iraqis. These discussions are not noted much in the West, because they generally take place in Arabic, and often via email and listservs. The non-Iraqi Arabs are impressed at the proliferation of media in Iraq, and the eagerness of Iraqis to vote, and make democracy work. The economic growth in Iraq is admired, and is already attracting entrepreneurs from other Arab countries. The more cynical non-Iraqis believe that it will all come to nothing, and that another Saddam will eventually emerge and shut down all this democratic nonsense, as is the case in most of the Arab world. But the pessimists appear to be in the minority. Arabs are tired of dictators, economic stagnation, the corruption and living in a police state. Moreover, there’s a nimble quality in Arab thinking that allows them to simultaneously blame the Americans for going into Iraq, and praising the result.

KeithM, Indy said...

right, 70% of eligable voters turn out for the election (I Pray to God that we had such good turnout for our elections)...

and there isn't a 100% end to violence...

So of course everything is a failure.

What black and white thinking...

********

No, we are making progress. Politically, militarily, and economically.

The enemy is not making progress, politically, militarily or economically.

Hence, we are on the road to victory.

Don't be suprised when you get left behind.

KeithM, Indy said...

Yeah, I guess reporters actually out in and around Iraq don't know better then you...

http://inbrief.threatswatch.org/2005/12/alqaedas/

LtCol Starling, the Operations Officer of Regimental Combat Team - 2, the unit in charge of western Anbar province, met with a very senior tribal leader the day after election and reported Sunnis voted overwhelmingly for Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite candidate. Another U.S. source well in tune with the populace in Anbar province reported the same information. If this information is accurate, not only are Sunnis voting (their turnout is predicted at about 80%), but they are voting for a Shiite candidate. And there are calls across the board, from Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders to create a government “to promote national unity.”

The Islamic Army of Iraqi laments Shiite control of the government “will be the mother of evils and disaster upon the Sunni people.” Zarqawi has been quite clear about his hatred and disgust for the “apostate” Shiites, and has repeatedly slaughtered Shiites in an attempt to instigate a civil war in Iraq. This is a vein that runs deep among the Salafists; the Shiites are hated more than Westerners for their different interpretation of Islam.

The depth of al-Qaeda’s nightmare in Iraq only deepens. Not only are their attacks less frequent and even less effective in influencing events on the ground, but their natural base of support, the Sunni population, has chosen democracy, and if reports are true, is voting for a secular Shiite to govern Iraq. This would be yet another ideological defeat for al-Qaeda and the rejection of their extremism in the heart of the Muslim world.

KeithM, Indy said...

Yep, you guys are just so right about everything...

http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=10621913&src=rss/worldNews

Gulf Arab leaders to get tough on Iran and Syria

U.S.-allied Gulf Arab leaders, alarmed at neighboring Iran's nuclear ambitions, will examine proposals for a nuclear-free zone in the world's top oil-producing region when they meet for a summit on Sunday.

Syria's standoff with the United Nations over the killing of former Lebanese premier Rafik al-Hariri will also top the agenda of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which groups Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.

All kings and emirs of the GCC have arrived in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi amid tight security for the two-day annual meeting which will start at 6 p.m. (1400 GMT).

They hope to defuse mounting tension in a region already affected by instability in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein and militant attacks by supporters of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

"We trust Iran but we don't want to see an Iranian nuclear plant which is closer in distance to our Gulf shores than to Tehran causing us danger and damage," GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman al-Attiya said ahead of the opening on Sunday.

"This issue is very worrying, not just for the GCC but for whole world," he told reporters.

Tlaloc said...

"right, 70% of eligable voters turn out for the election (I Pray to God that we had such good turnout for our elections)...
and there isn't a 100% end to violence...
So of course everything is a failure.
What black and white thinking..."

Gosh that'd be soooo convincing except that you and the rest of the right has been claiming that as the Sunnis get involved in the vote the insurgency would end. It was claimed before the january vote and yet the insurgency kept on trucking. It was claimed before the constitution vote and yet the insurgency continued apace. It was claimed before this vote and yet the violence has now resumed.

Maybe if you don't want your ridiculous arguments thrown in your face you should stop making them in the first place. I told you that the Sunnis voting only meant they were fighting on a new front not giving up the old one but you chose to disbelieve me. Well maybe you'll believe the IEDs in Iraq.



"No, we are making progress. Politically, militarily, and economically.
The enemy is not making progress, politically, militarily or economically.
Hence, we are on the road to victory."

So why are we negotiating with terrorists? I've asked you twice and you keep dodging the question. Feel free to come up with an answer any time now.

Tlaloc said...

"LtCol Starling, the Operations Officer of Regimental Combat Team - 2, the unit in charge of western Anbar province, met with a very senior tribal leader the day after election and reported Sunnis voted overwhelmingly for Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite candidate. Another U.S. source well in tune with the populace in Anbar province reported the same information. If this information is accurate, not only are Sunnis voting (their turnout is predicted at about 80%), but they are voting for a Shiite candidate. And there are calls across the board, from Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders to create a government “to promote national unity.”"

Uh well gee you kind of left out a couple facts. The most important of which is that Allawi is an ex-Baathist. You know- Saddam's party. Since the Baath were sunni dominated and oriented it's hardly surprising that Allawi is more tolerable to them. Of course the second fact is that Allawi has done miserably in the rest of the populace and by some accounts has FLED THE COUNTRY.

Actually so far the big winner has been the UIA and Sadr. Hrrrrm. Those are both theocratic groups. How wierd that that is exactly what I predicted (we'll have to see how the IIP does among the sunni) and what you denied would happen, and yet it happened. Almost as if my view of reality in Iraq were closer to the facts than yours. How odd.

KeithM, Indy said...

time will tell...

and in the end, our musings wont amount to a hill of beans...

I will stand with my hope and optimism.

You will stand with your fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Tlaloc said...

"time will tell...
and in the end, our musings wont amount to a hill of beans..."

While Time will certainly tell there is one thing our musings are good for: they will show which of us was properly grounded in reality. I suggest that the other person then listen seriously to the grounded person's opinion in the future on similar matters. Deal?

KeithM, Indy said...

sure...

And here is the benchmark.

2 years from now.

connie deady said...

The more people live under democracy, with human liberty intact, the less inclined they or their states will be to indulge terrorism or to engage in it. This may be open to debate – though personally I agree with it – but it emphatically puts defeating the causes of terrorism alongside defeating the terrorists.

I'm not sure that's a goal we'll achieve in Iraq. I can see democracy without human liberty. What will we do when Iraq ends up with democratically elected Islamic facists in power?

Tom Van Dyke said...

Ensure that they don't develop weapons of mass destruction, like Iran is about to do...

connie deady said...

I agree Tom, but how are we going to do that? Saddam we had very boxed in with all the UN sanctions.

If Iraq is democratically elected Islamic country, what will our excuse be?

I don't think we get a do-over on this.

Tlaloc said...

"Ensure that they don't develop weapons of mass destruction, like Iran is about to do..."

How are we going to do that when they are going to be Iran's bestest friend? We've already claimed that their elections are valid and meaningful it won't exactly fly if we then turn around and say "oh gosh, sorry, we didn't really mean to let you actually elect a government we didn't like. Can we have a do-over?"

And by the way this scenario is no longer hypothetical: the United Iraqi Alliance is so far way ahead in the tallied votes and looks like it may even have a majority by itself once the count is done. Yes we really have just helped hardline theocratic Shiites to take over Iraq. Congratulations.

Tom Van Dyke said...

As the sanctions grew less deadly, they became more ineffective. Perhaps you heard of the Oil-For-Food scandal (I think it made page A83 in the paper.)

The romantic myth of the sanctions will never fade, I think. The media does not want to look at their lethalness and corruption, as it reflects poorly on Clinton, for who 80-90% of them voted, and the Bushies can hardly admit that the US/UK killed tens of thousands of innocents with them.

An Islamic-minded government in Iraq is troublesome; however, consent of the governed is what we really mean by "democracy," and this will likely be a necessary step. The people will be accountable for the actions of their government, and we will be in a position to keep them on a short leash.

Tlaloc said...

"As the sanctions grew less deadly, they became more ineffective."

And that's exactly why Saddam had those tons of WMD. Oh wait... he didn't have them. So in a funny kind of way the sanctions worked perfectly.



"The romantic myth of the sanctions will never fade, I think. The media does not want to look at their lethalness and corruption, as it reflects poorly on Clinton, for who 80-90% of them voted, and the Bushies can hardly admit that the US/UK killed tens of thousands of innocents with them."

Here I actually agree with you. The sanctions were terribly damaging to the people of Iraq and I very strongly disagree with them (but they did also work for their intended purpose).



"An Islamic-minded government in Iraq is troublesome; however, consent of the governed is what we really mean by "democracy," and this will likely be a necessary step. The people will be accountable for the actions of their government, and we will be in a position to keep them on a short leash."

How are we in that position? We can't even control the 20% of the population that is Sunni. If the Shia turned against us because we meddled with their "democratic" theocracy we'd lose Iraq in a matter of hours. We cannot maintain control of the country if the Shia turn against us. Especially since they'd have big bad Iran right next dorr to ask for help.

Our military is exhausted already. What you are suggesting would be tantamount to suicide. Iraq is a wagon rolling down hill. And Bush has made sure we were in the wagon when it started going.

Tlaloc said...

Oh and have you noticed the Sunni are already claiming fraud and demanding a new vote? What does that do to theories that this vote will turn them into peaceful devoted defenders of democracy?