Who are these guys?
Democratic Ex-Dove Proposes War on Iran - Rep. Alcee Hastings has sponsored a bill to authorize President Trump to attack Iran. Hastings reintroduced H J Res 10, the “Authorization of Use of Force ...
3 hours ago
Now if Tony Blair can understand that, than why can’t George Bush and Dick Cheney understand that?You can listen to his speech:
In fact, Dick Cheney said this is all part of the plan (and) it was a good thing that Tony Blair was withdrawing, even as the administration is preparing to put 20,000 more of our young men and women in.
Now, keep in mind, this is the same guy that said we’d be greeted as liberators, the same guy that said that we’re in the last throes. I’m sure he forecast sun today.
When Dick Cheney says it’s a good thing, you know that you’ve probably got some big problems.
The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.But, less than a year later, on 13-March 2002, Bush had all but forgotten about him:
I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority. . . I am truly not that concerned about him.Now, Bush's Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker says in a speech to the Rotary Club of Fort Worth:
He's not the only source of the problem, obviously. . . . If you killed him tomorrow, you'd still have a problem with al-Qaeda . . . . I don't know whether we'll find him.I don't know that it's all that important, frankly.So, the only 'justice' that mass-murderer Osama bin Laden faces is the dismal prospect most of us contend with: dying a natural death in his ripe old age.
So we get him, and then what? There's a temporary feeling of goodness, but in the long run, we may make him bigger than he is today. He's hiding, and he knows we're looking for him. We know he's not particularly effective. I'm not sure there's that great of a return . . . .
The problems remain formidable. What all of this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be but the next chapter in Basra's history can be written by the Iraqis.If true, this would mark a significant change from comments made just last month, when he called plans for withdrawing troops by October "irresponsible." Speaking in the House of Commons on Jan. 24, Blair said such a plan
would send the most disastrous signal to the people that we are fighting in Iraq. It's a policy that, whatever its superficial attractions may be, is actually deeply irresponsible.What's changed? A recent poll published in The Guardian suggests the Labour Party is losing its support. When voters were asked who they would vote for, 42 per cent said Conservative, as opposed to 29 per cent for Labour under the leadership of Blair's likely successor, Gordon Brown.
The president is grateful for the support of the British Forces in the past and into the future.Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, whose party opposed the war in Iraq, has it right:
While the United Kingdom is maintaining a robust force in southern Iraq, we're pleased that conditions in Basra have improved sufficiently that they are able to transition more control to the Iraqis.
The unpalatable truth, Mr Speaker, is this, that we will leave behind a country on the brink on civil war, where reconstruction has stalled, where corruption is endemic and a region that is a lot less stable than it was in 2003.The real story here is that this is a slower withdrawal than many in the British army had hoped for. Head of the British Army, Chief of the General Staff Sir Richard Dannatt was speaking for the army last October when he said:
This is a long way short of the beacon of democracy for the Middle East which was promised some four years ago.
I think history will show that the planning for what happened after the initial successful war-fighting phase was poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning.The ranks of the coalition of the unwilling are increasing. Denmark will also be withdrawing its troops from Iraq by August, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced. The troops, numbering about 460, will be replaced by a unit of nine soldiers manning four observational helicopters.
History will show that a vacuum was created and into the vacuum malign elements moved. The hope that we might have been able to get out of Iraq in 12, 18, 24 months after the initial start in 2003 has proved fallacious. Now hostile elements have got a hold it has made our life much more difficult in Baghdad and in Basra.
. . . . The original intention was that we put in place a liberal democracy that was an exemplar for the region, was pro-West and might have a beneficial effect on the balance within the Middle East.
That was the hope. Whether that was a sensible or naïve hope, history will judge. I don't think we are going to do that. I think we should aim for a lower ambition. . . . get ourselves out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems. We are in a Muslim country and Muslims' views of foreigners in their country are quite clear. . . As a foreigner, you can be welcomed by being invited into a country, but we weren't invited, certainly by those in Iraq at the time. Let's face it, the military campaign we fought in 2003 effectively kicked the door in.
. . . That is a fact. I don't say that the difficulties we are experiencing around the world are caused by our presence in Iraq, but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them. . . .
In the Army we place a lot of store by the values we espouse. What I would hate is for the Army to be maintaining a set of values that were not reflected in our society at large — courage, loyalty, integrity, respect for others; these are critical things.
The Footnote brings what is so often relegated to afterthought and marginalia to its rightful place in the center of the literary life of the mind.Messenger and Wizard were commenting the other day about the original terms of the Iraq War Authorization vote. I don't think it is a trivial point.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
"Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002".
[[Page 116 STAT. 1501]]
SEC. 2. SUPPORT FOR UNITED STATES DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS.
The Congress of the United States supports the efforts by the President to--
- strictly enforce through the United Nations Security Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq and encourages him in those efforts; and
- obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.The record shows:
(a) Authorization.--The President is authorized to use the ArmedForces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--
- defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
- enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
(b) Presidential Determination.--[etc., etc.]Conclusion: the current use of the United States Military by the Bush-Cheney administration exceeds that authorized by Congress.
(c) War Powers Resolution Requirements.--[etc., etc.]
. . .a necessary if not sufficient condition of victory is to provide what insurgents cannot: basic public services, physical reconstruction, the hope of economic development and social amelioration . . . a politics in which popular support is important or even decisive, and that such support can be won by providing better govenment.Luttwak cites places such as North Korea, Lybia, Cuba and Syria where "government needs no popular support as long as it can secure obedience". He also cites Afghanistan and Iraq
where many people prefer indigenous and religious oppression to the freedoms offered by foreign invaders.Such an altruistic offer is foreign to their experience:
The vast majority of Afghans and Iraqis naturally believe their religious leaders. The alternative would be to believe what is for them entirely unbelievable: that foreignors are unselfishly expending blood and treasure in order to help them. They themselves would never invade a country except to plunder it, the way Iraq invaded Kuwait, thus having made Saddam Hussein genuinely popular for a time when troops brought back their loot.The second under-examined and facile assumption is that it is a simple matter of intelligence to distinguish 'insurgents' from the general population. A first-class, global power like ourselves tends to overrely on technology, entailing:
the use of ultra-sophistocated and very expensive F-15s and F-18s with the most advanced sensors to detect and track the man, the boy, and the donkey who may or may not be transporting an "improvised explosive device" to its intended emplacement . . . . the targets are always unstable, elusive, and low-contrast - even if identifiable as they are.In the case of Iraq, insurgents are part-timers: part of the time they serve in our puppet government's army or police to earn some cash 'to put food on their family'; part of the time they sell their government-issued uniform and ordinance for the same reason; part of the time they place IED's, assumeably to earn security for their family. Whatever the market indicates, right?
Perfectly ordinary regular armed forces, with no counterinsurgency doctrine or training whatever, have in the past regularly defeated insurgents, by using a number of well-proven methods. It is enough to consider these methods to see why the armed forces of the United States or of any other democratic country cannot possibly use them.That’s how the Turks held on to the Ottoman empire and the Romans their empire. An occasional “massacre” kept people in line for decades; killing everyone who resisted; selling those captured on the battlefield into slavery. The ancients relied on deterrence, periodically reinforced by exemplary punishment. Terrible collective reprisals allowed the Germans armed forces to cow entire populations of occupied countries with economy of force during World War II.
The simple starting point is that insurgents are not the only ones who can intimidate or terrorize civilians . . . local notables can be compelled to surrender insurgents to the authorities under the threat of escalating punishments, all the way to mass executions.
its enthusiasts, “fellow travelers,” and opportunistic followers, but Vietnamese who were none of the above, and not outright enemies, were compelled to collaborate actively or passively by the threat of violence so liberally used. That is exactly what the insurgents in Iraq are now doing, and this is no coincidence. All insurgencies follow the same pattern. Locals who are not sympathetic to begin with, who cannot be recruited to the cause, are compelled to collaborate by fear of violence, readily reinforced by the demonstrative killing of those who insist on refusing to help the resistance. Neutrality is not an option.After their Indochinese debacle at Dien Bien Phu, the French tried to match the NLF with terror, torture, and massacre in Algeria; the experience was so corrupting of their army and government that the 4th Republic fell amidst the stench of fascism. Luttwak writes,
By contrast, the capacity of the American armed forces to inflict collective punishments does not extend much beyond curfews and other such restrictions, inconvenient to be sure and perhaps sufficient to impose real hardship, but obviously insufficient to out-terrorize insurgents. Needless to say, this is not a political limitation that Americans would ever want their armed forces to overcome, but it does leave the insurgents in control of the population, the real “terrain” of any insurgency.Luttwak concludes that the
ambivalence of a United States . . . that is willing to fight wars, that is willing to start wars because of future threats, that is willing to conquer territory or even entire countries, and yet is unwilling to govern what it conquers, even for a few years. Consequently, for all of the real talent manifested in the writing of FM 3-24 DRAFT, its prescriptions are in the end of little or no use and amount to a kind of malpractice. All its best methods, all its clever tactics, all the treasure and the blood that the United States has been willing to expend, cannot overcome the crippling ambivalence of occupiers who refuse to govern, and their principled and inevitable refusal to out-terrorize the insurgents, the necessary and sufficient condition of a tranquil occupation.
By this, I don’t mean a phased withdrawal, let alone the leap in the dark of total abandonment. Rather, it would start with a tactical change: American soldiers would no longer patrol towns and villages, conduct cordon-and-search operations, or man outposts and checkpoints. An end to these tasks would allow the greatest part of the troops in Iraq to head home, starting with overburdened reservists and National Guard units.Luttwak says that human
The remaining American forces, including ground units, would hole up within safe and mostly remote bases in Iraq — to support the elected government, deter foreign invasion, dissuade visible foreign intrusions, and strike at any large concentration of jihadis should it emerge. This would mean, contrary to most plans being considered now, that United States military personnel could not remain embedded in large numbers within the Iraqi Army and police forces. At most, the Americans would operate training programs within safe bases.
intelligence is to counterinsurgency what firepower is to conventional warfare, and we just do not have it or the capacity to gather information on our own. Thus the sacrifices of our troops on the ground are mostly futile . . . .Whenever we take offensive actions against one sectarian element or another, it is not understood by Iraqis as a peace-keeping measure; it is seen as taking sides. As I said before, there is no 'center' in Iraq to 'hold': Maliki is Bush's 'man in Baghdad', but he's not the man for Iraq. Luttwak says,
The total number of American troops in Iraq — even including any surge — is so small, and their linguistic skills so limited, that they have little effect on day-to-day security. Nor have they really protected Iraqis from one another. At most, the presence of American soldiers in any one place merely diverts attacks elsewhere (unless they themselves are attacked, which is a sad way indeed of reducing Iraqi casualties).
. . . . the prime minister would have to be a veritable Stalin or at least a Saddam Hussein, able to terrorize Iraqi soldiers and policemen into obedience. Mr. Maliki, of course, has no such authority over Iraqi soldiers or police officers; indeed he has little authority over his own 39-person cabinet, whose members mostly represent sectarian parties with militias of their own.Iraq is fractured. Religious sects - Shi'ite and Sunni - are themselves fractured among different militias; the larger militias have their own schisms. With disengagement, Luttwak sees
. . . both Arab Sunnis and Shiites would have to take responsibility for their own security (as the Kurds have doing been all along). Where these three groups are not naturally separated by geography, they would be forced to find ways to stabilize relations with each other. That would most likely involve violence as well as talks, and some forcing of civilians from their homes. But all this is happening already, and there is no saying which ethno-religious group would be most favored by a reduction of the United States footprint.I have to say at this point that there are only one or two obstacles blocking the light from end of this tunnel: Bush and his ringmaster, Cheney. Their shadow over our country is already receding, but their control over our ineffectual occupation of Iraq has to be actively repudiated, rescinded, revoked, repealed, removed.
One reason for optimism on that score is that the violence itself has been separating previously mixed populations, reducing motives and opportunities for further attacks. That is how civil wars can burn themselves out.
In any case, it is time for the Iraqis to make their own history.
Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.Obama cites his grandfather's service in World War II and continues:
The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil.
I don’t oppose all wars.
I don’t oppose all wars.
After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again.
I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.
He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.
I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.
I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.
So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.
You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty . . . .
You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies . . . .
You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil . . . .
Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.
The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not – we will not – travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.