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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Not a Perfect Place

"Now, Iraq is not a perfect place.  It has many challenges ahead.  But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.  We’re building a new partnership between our nations.  And we are ending a war not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home.  This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making." President Barack Obama, December 14, 2011, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
"Not a perfect place" but, nonetheless, an extraordinary achievement?

From ABC News, June 12, 2014:

Less than three years after pulling American forces out of Iraq, President Barack Obama is weighing a range of short-term military options, including airstrikes, to quell an al-Qaida inspired insurgency that has captured two Iraqi cities and threatened to press toward Baghdad. [...]
Obama, in his first comments on the deteriorating situation, said it was clear Iraq needed additional assistance from the U.S. and international community given the lightning gains by the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.
 And here's a current picture of refugees fleeing from the captured cities in the "not a perfect place."


If you want particularly scary and pessimistic commentary about "not a perfect place," see today's column entitled The Day of Reckoning by Richard Fernandez.  Note that he predicted this current situation in Iraq over 4 years ago in The Ten Ships along with a lot of other prescient commentary over the years about the War on Terror.

Read the whole thing - if you want nightmares.

190 comments:

Harry Eagar said...

Might should have left well enough alone, George.

Bret said...

Harry,

I actually kind of agree with that. George should've foreseen that some future administration would undermine his efforts at great costs to a great number of people and, as a result, should've left Saddam to his activities such as destabilizing the region, ignoring UN edicts, and torturing people.

Bret said...

Harry,

However, that doesn't mean that it was wise or a good thing for Obama to enable such vast misery and destabilization, even if it is good for his personal goals.

Harry Eagar said...

Delusional. Bush lost the war. There was no way Obama could have retrieved it.

That's what happens when ignorant ideologues start wars. There weren't any al Queda in Iraq before 2003 and now there are. Way to go, George!

Annoying Old Guy said...

No, Obama did everything he could to lose the war, and looks like he will succeed at that. Eagar's sum total of counter evidence is using the word "delusional". Now, I was under the impression that Eagar thought governments could easily "modify behavior" on a large scale. Does that only work on white or first world populations, and not on the implied sub-humans elsewhere?

Harry Eagar said...

When did I say 'easily'?

This is the third time in less than 25 years that a notionally 'national' Iraqi army has refused to fight. What does that tell you?

I understand that rightwingers cannot admit that the US got its butt whipped in Iraq, but it did. Obama walks in on the debris and fails to work a miracle.

Did the rightwing learn nothing in Vietnam? Silly question. Of course it didn't.

Bret said...

Harry Eagar wrote: "I understand that rightwingers cannot admit that the US got its butt whipped in Iraq."

Apparently Obama is a rightwinger? One more time, here's what Obama said: "we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people."

Nothing about "debris," nothing about "butt whipped." Obama was clearly and absolutely wrong or lying. Which do you choose.

Harry Eagar asks: "Did the rightwing learn nothing in Vietnam?"

That's basically what I said in an earlier comment. The rightwing ought to have learned that the leftwing will make sure we lose everything, everytime. That instead of ensuring a "stable and self-reliant Iraq," which might indeed take decades, the leftwing will relentlessly push vast populations into misery, despair, and ruin. That's the story and lesson, in my opinion, of Vietnam as well.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,


So let us move to a more practical realm. What were the options?

Would you prefer a continued US presence, with no foreseeable end, paid for by your taxes?

Harry is right here talking about delusion. The delusion is that a foreign country at the other side of the world could continually keep absolute control over Iraq without paying very dearly for that. Americans did not want to keep paying, so Obama did what the majority of the taxpayers asked for.

erp said...

Clovis, your last comment makes Harry's ravings sound reasonable and that says a lot.

Reread Bret & aog's comments above. They say it all.

BTW: I apologize for all the mistypings. Both my hands are pretty impaired even without the disconnect between brain and fingers and I'm trying to decide whether I want to have more surgeries or tough it out and wait until Obama makes the death-pill OTC on demand or makes it obligatory for us ancients.

I really want to see how this health care for all pans out.

Clovis e Adri said...

Oh, BTW, I've read the Ten Ships thing, and it is just false to say he foresaw what's happening in Iraq now. Nowhere in the piece he names Iraqi cities falling again, period.

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Howard said...

see Joe Biden prediction about Iraq

Harry once again shows what it means to act like a total buffoon.

erp said...

Bret, what Obama meant by Iraq not being a perfect place was that it wasn't completely in control of his buds, now it will be and become perfect.

Mashallah!

Oddly enough that word is very familiar to me because it means the same thing in Albanian.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I've read all their comments, and at no point they touch mine.

They also could do well in answering Harry's point: what can possibly explain that, supposedly, 30.000 Iraq Army men surrendered their rich military toys, paid for by your taxes, to 800 insurgent fighters?

There is only one: you've been duped from the very begin.


On your hands, Erp, i did not know you had any problems with them. If you ever decide to operate, though, please do not ever go to that Adventist hospital again.

erp said...

Clovis, why would you know anything about my hands and in English we usually don't, unless we wish to be completely vile, use sarcasm questionable witticisms when referring others health problems.

As for being duped in Iraq, I'll leave that to military experts, but many of us have been duped by the media and the rest of the progs into believing their lies.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
[...] unless we wish to be completely vile, use sarcasm questionable witticisms when referring others health problems.
---

Is that directed to me?

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erp said...

Is that directed to me?

Yes.

Clovis e Adri said...

I really don't know what you mean, Erp.

Harry Eagar said...

What Obama said was bushwah, because a president of the United States isn't going to stand up in public and say American got its butt whipped.

Some people have short memories. When I was in officer training he standard for military success was to impose your will on the enemy. We never did that in Iraq.

During Bush's term our forces could not enter Sadr City, could not maneuver in Anbar until we bribed the sheikhs to be quiet for as long as it took us to bug out, could not drive from the airport to our bunker in the Green Zone.

We were whipped every which way.

Anyone care to dispute those facts? Because unless you can, nothing else you say is relevant to anything.

Hey Skipper said...

Anyone care to dispute those facts?

I'll start by emphasizing the difference between capability and desire.

We could enter Sadr city, or maneuver in Anbar. We chose not to.

Big difference.

Harry Eagar said...

No, we couldn't. I suppose if we had wanted to level the places, we could have done that. But if we were to maintain the fiction of being there as friends and liberators, no, we couldn't, and that's why we didn't.

There was no place in Iraq where a coalition soldier could go in safety, except Kurdistan, where we were not wanted, but where if we did go, the commies would have protected us. Everywhere else, it was death to go in less than large combat-ready formations. And toward the end of Incurious George's defeat, the Sunnis had mines that would penetrate an Abrams tank, so even strong combat formations could count on taking big losses.

That's why we ran with our tails between our legs.

It was like S. Vietnam in'72. The Americans were helpless, totally defeated.

That's the consequence of colonial warfare in the modern age.

erp said...

Does it give you a thrill to day that?

Hey Skipper said...

That's why we ran with our tails between our legs.

The two previous paras were good examples of ranting the odious, but this line in particular is really out of whack.

Peter said...

Not to worry, help is on the way..

Clovis e Adri said...

To the extent I could read about the topic, this looks more and more to be one of those classic cases of the US undoing its own efforts, by trying to play every around. Think Bin Laden being trained by the CIA, to get what I mean.

The Sunnis who are giving the latest headache looks connected (or maybe exactly the same) to the groups the US and the Saudi were supporting in Syria against Assad. They only needed to cross that Northern Iraq border to wreak havoc.

That may also explain why, even though Maliki repeatedly requested, the US shied away from sending Drones against those groups in the last few years.

So the plot thickens...

Annoying Old Guy said...

It was like S. Vietnam in'72. The Americans were helpless, totally defeated.

You should get in contact with actual history. The Americans had almost entirely withdrawn by 1972 and the NVA invasion could have been stopped had the Democratic Party controlled Congress provided air and material support to the ARVN. So the pattern is clear, as even Clovis notices - the USA is winning until the MAL can sabotage the result. No small part of that was lying (as you do) about the Tet Offensive and the intervening 4 years.

erp said...

Yes and don't forget the rules of engagement in place, you remember, take that hill, lose xxx no. of people, stand down, give it back and repeat.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
So the pattern is clear, as even Clovis notices - the USA is winning until the MAL can sabotage the result.
---
I would not approve of that interpretation of my last few posts.

From my far away point of view, it does look like the efforts for the US to sabotage himself are pretty much a shared trait in your political system.

The usual Republican Hawks that would be in power, had Romney or McCain won, would do pretty much similar mistakes, like empowering radicals in Syria thinking it was some sort of cheap solution.

And I agree with Harry, the initial sin is back there with G.W. Bush on this one. It was not smart to invade Iraq, what followed couldn't be much better.

Harry Eagar said...

I swear, rightwingers are like the Black Knight in Spamalot.

Clovis, if I can find time this weekend, I will be posting the really fundamental problem with US policy at RtO. I call it the Return of the Rubber-type Army after a devastating critique by A.J. Liebling of the China Lobby during the Korean War.It boils down to, we keep going in expecting to be met (as in Murmansk in 1919) by 100,000 locals ravening to die for [the czar/the landlord/Madame Thieu's racehorses/a brutal corrupt grifter].

And over and over, we are surprised to find that such people do not exist.

In Iraq, there is the additional problem that Iraq is not a real country. Even a Mandela or a Lincoln could probably not have done anything there, but Chalabi was not Mandela.

erp said...

Are you ever going to let us in on what you think a rightwinger is Harry? Because in my lexicon it's a synonym for fascist.

Mandela or Lincoln?

You have reached critical mass Harry. Please see your mental health specialist ASAP.

Iraq is far closer to a real country than Palestine.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I would not approve of that interpretation of my last few posts."

LOL. I started chuckling when I read aog's comment, then yours showed up right on queue for perfect comedic timing.

Even I couldn't possibly have gotten aog's interpretation from your series of comments. But kudos to him for trying. :-)

Harry Eagar said...

Pat Boone

Peter said...

Actually, Harry, the U.S. won the war in Iraq, rather spectacularly and in short order. Of course, according to your one-sentence theory of geo-politics, the U.S. could never win a war anywhere despite the most powerful military in history. Hey, come to think of it, nor could anyone else. All they would do is "empower" decent, freedom-loving agrarian reformers and get them in such a lather they embrace mass murder and medieval theocracy. Nobody can beat that combo. Of course, if we listened to the left and didn't try to "impose" democracy and just let it flower naturally in a homegrown version, all would be well. You know, like during the Arab Spring.

The U.S. can be a glorious liberator, but an impatient and conflicted nation-builder. I don't agree with AOG that blaming the MAL is the answer. No country can be expected to support a remote war year after year in the face of casualties, protean resistance and undefinable progress. Certainly not a liberal democracy. In retrospect, the project to "democractize" Iraq was naive, although it had plenty of appeal among Iraqis. Just not the ones who believe slaughtering their neighbours is a righteous act of high principle, who have proven to be a sizeable number.

The "lesson" of Iraq is certainly not that of Vietnam. The lesson may be that that entire part of the world is politically hopeless and addicted to bloody internecine squabbling. As Kissinger said about the Iran-Iraq war, "too bad they both can't lose". Let's let China and Russia figure it out, draw "don't cross" lines around respectable allies like Israel and India and wean ourselves off Mid-Eastern oil asap.

erp said...

Peter, if I didn't know better I'd think you'd become an isolationist! Not that there's anything wrong with that. ;-}

Peter said...

Not an isolationist, but I've definitely wound my way to realism. After 9/11, U.S. foreign policy took a decided swing to an ethically-based moralism, which led to unilaterialism, challenging international UN/Euro-law and linking the destroying of a dangerous tyrant with democratic nation-building in less than fertile ground. Despite Harry's fatalistic anti-Americanism, a lot of good came out of it for anyone who remembers just how the world looked at that time and how quite a few dangerous Middle East countries were talking and behaving. But history is not a straightline affair and policies run their course. Obama is completely at sea, but Bush did make mistakes and seemed loathe to adjust for them when they became apparent. Thus are quagmires born. My biggest concern about American power is not that it's too much but that it has come to be excercised too readily without enough people costing it out financially and politically. The threat of a punch is often more powerful than a punch.

erp said...

Peter, I seem to remember Bush going the extra mile to get everybody online with the Iraq war including congress, the UN, Europe, etc., so I don't understand your reference to unilateralism and ethnically-based moralism? Do you mean Bush was forcing his born-again Christian values on Moslems? If anything, he was trying to coax Iraqi's into seeing the value in our FF's values, decidedly not fundamental Christian.

Both Iraq and Vietnam [I find amusingly ironic that Vietnam learned from us that capitalism works] "failed" for the same reason – the lunatic left that has this country and most of the world in its vise-like grip.

Harry's version of it is childishly simplistic. You should hang around the faculty in our most prestigious ivy towers to learn about an irrational fanaticism that allows no discussion, disagreement or digression from the prime objective, a world controlled by their elite forces imposing their "order" on us.

Obama is just their doggie in the window to keep us distracted by his adorable antics in the meanwhile.

I see no opposition. Republicans and RINO's are too terrified of being called names and being stricken from the cocktail party and talk show guest lists to do anything but make a few pathetic moues.

Peter said...

If anything, he was trying to coax Iraqis into seeing the value in our FF's values,

That is what I meant and that is your problem. If a country as friendly and similar as Canada wouldn't particularly welcome such overtures, what makes you assume Mr. and Mrs. Iraqi would?
Have you not figured out yet what democracy has come to mean to many Iraqis? It means the freedom to vote, criticize the government and massacre minorities.

erp said...

Noted: Canada has the franchise on preaching morality.

I don't get the reference to massacre minorities. Please elaborate.

Susan's Husband said...

Peter;

Canada wouldn't welcome such overtures because it is already a wealthy and well ordered nation. Iraq was neither and so is likely to have a different view of such things.

The real problem here though is that if you're not going to do nation building, the only other feasible alternative is gunboats of one form or another, but the MAL will simply not permit that

Peter said...

I know what you mean, AOG, but again I think it is simplistic to just blame it all on the MAL. Harry is not entirely wrong when he talks about war in the modern age. Both Iraq wars, Grenada, Panama, etc. and even poor old Vietnam were sold to the public as liberations and/or protections, not conquests, and many Americans took justifiable pride in that. The Bushes certainly didn't just say "We're going in to secure the oil." When liberations start morphing into paternalistic long-term occupations demanding increasingly "firm hands" to maintain, things get murky on the home front, no? Mainly because there is declining payback in gratitude (if not outright resistance), something most Americans, to their credit, just don't like and don't have endless patience for.

The other factor at play here is that, because of the liberation rationale, often initially embraced enthusiastically by the liberated, a lot of Americans just don't seem to understand the ambiguity most people feel about being liberated by foreign troops, especially ones that stay around for a long time. One of the most glorious episodes of Canadian military history is when our army liberated Holland towards the end of WW11. Cheers, tears, hugs and kisses on the streets. For decades no Canadian could pay for his own drinks in Holland and it's still a subject of annual emotional joint celebrations. But the hard truth is that it only took a few months for the Dutch to start grumbling about pregnant girls, over-fed troops and an interfering administration. We left after just a few months to cheers from the Dutch that we had sacrificed so much for them and also that we were going. If we had stayed a lot longer, maybe we'd be buying their drinks and they's be whining about cultural imperialism. Not even that famous Canadian niceness last forever. :-) This isn't a left/right thing, it's a natural human thing. Why do you think Israel never seeks the protection of foreign troops, even in the face of existential threats?

Still, point taken, but I do not know what the answer is. The most commonly cited examples of successful nation-building are Germany and Japan. Among other differences, the thing that distinguishes them is that nobody thought we were going in to liberate their populations and nobody cared what they thought for quite a few years.

Peter said...

BTW, speaking about the nature of modern warfare, I remember it was only a couple of weeks after the conquest of Baghdad that the NYT ran its first poll on Iraqi attitudes to the American "occupation". I remember thinking "Mmmm...", much as I did when Bush responded to 9/11 by exhorting Amerians to keep shopping or else the terrorists would have won. What happened to rationing and knitting socks for the boys?

erp said...

Bush exhorted Americans to keep shopping??? Perhaps you mean he exhorted us to continue living our lives and not be afraid.

We rationed and knit socks because it was necessary at the time. It is no longer necessary. That's what happened to to it.

Peter said...

Here. I'm not buying all of this, I'm questioning AOG's argument that the problems can all be put down to the left's undermining the war. I'm suggesting it may not be realistic to combine a multi-year no-cost, no-sacrifice (by civilians) war on the other side of the world with sustained public support for the notion that essential national security is in play.

erp said...

Buy it or not, it's exactly what I said, Bush didn't want us to be afraid. Your spin and the Times and the Post is quite different from my take of his actually words.

erp said...

Sorry for the typo again.

... actual words.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Peter;

I certainly do not want to blame the MAL for everything and anything that went wrong with the last half century of American wars in foreign nations. What I think is

1) The errors were recoverable except for deliberate efforts by the MAL to prevent precisely that.

2) That both Vietname and Iraq were on the South Korean path until they were literally abandoned by the USA.

It is certainly true that balancing troops in a foreign nation is a difficult thing, but I think history shows it can be managed. Again, with your Dutch example, you have selected a nation that was wealth and well ordered. They had little to gain from even Canadian occupation except territorial protection, which could be achieved with very few boots on the ground. Other nations that don't have such a state tend (IMHO, as exemplified by the historical record) to have quite a different view. South Korea is an excellent example, as the resentment didn't arise in any serious way until SK was near first world levels in wealth and civil order. That is not to mention the example of North Korea demonstrating the alternative to American occupation. South Vietnam is another example, which lasted until they were externally invaded and we, the USA, failed to support them. We are now doing the same thing to the Iraqis, although they are having a far poorer showing than the South Vietnamese.

I would agree that the GOP really oversold the nation building in the recent Middle East wars, but (as noted) I think that was a recoverable error. Certainly we've managed to have troops in other foreign countries for half a century and more, why not Iraq as well? The primary reason we didn't, in my view is that Obama wanted to declare victory and surrender. What happened to the Iraqis and (in the longer term) us as well was and is of no concern to him or indeed to the MAL. Scoring domestic political points trumps everything else, even our own future. I would also argue that Old Media, acting as agitprop operation for America's enemies, does more than a little to undermine determination on the home front.

On the other hand, it may well be as you say, that even in such situations the American Street will no longer endure such efforts, but if they're not willing to embrace the alternative, then what? The true delusion here is the MAList one that if we just say nice things and give up in any conflict, our enemies will leave us alone.

Peter said...

AOG:

I agree with you about #1. The U.S. was near a final victory in Vietnam when domestic support collapsed. If Harry doesn't agree, he should check out the memoirs of the North Vietnamese leadership. Not sure about #2, though. They are very different countries and peoples and I'd be wary of parallels. Vietnam was peaceably colonized for a long time by the French, but nobody ever got a firm grip on Iraq or Afghanistan.

As to the larger questions, I'm not brimming with answers. A better-defined demarcation of what/where really is a security interest would help. So might an understanding that not every military intervention carries with it the responsibility to fix all the fallout, but that may be dated thinking. Also, it helps to have a nation before one undertakes nation-building. I just don't see a promising foreign policy path or a promising future for much of the Middle East and Central Asia.

Harry Eagar said...

Wow. Vietnam was peaceably colonized for a long time by the French? And by the Japanese. And then by the French again.

At the time the US decided it had to step into the peaceful situation (because the French were losing 100% of each year's production of officers), Vietnam's puppet government was -- you may not recall -- Catholic. To the extent it was able to govern at all, it was not governing for the benefit of the masses.

Does that sound similar to Iraq lately? Does to me.

You know what else happened in Korea, Japan and Taiwan? Land reform. Those are the only places where the US has interfered where it has supported land reform.

It was brutal: Here are these rice bonds, hand over the land. If you do not, we will chop off your head.

Did the US impose land reform in Iraq? It did not. It didn't even bother to set up civil affairs government.

As I repeated many, many times back then, the Syro-German political scientist Bassam Tibi claimed that Arabs are not interested in democracy.

I don't suppose anybody would argue that point now.



Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

--------
The primary reason we didn't, in my view is that Obama wanted to declare victory and surpreender
--------
Actually, the primary reason is that Iraqis did not want to.


-------
The true delusion here is the MAList one that if we just say nice things and give up in any conflict, our enemies will leave us alone.
--------
It is though ironic that, had you done just that, instead of arming Sunnis at Syria, things would be going way better now.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Delusional. Bush lost the war. There was no way Obama could have retrieved it.

That's what happens when ignorant ideologues start wars. There weren't any al Queda in Iraq before 2003 and now there are. Way to go, George!


Harry, apply the word "delusional" to others far too often, while being very parsimonious in your own regard.

Operation Iraqi Freedom was a complete success: it used military means to achieve the goal — deposing Saddam — that was beyond the reach of politics. It did so with great economy of force, and with far less loss of life on either side than most expected.

Where you get delusional — well, one place anyway — is pronunciamentos like "There weren't any al Queda in Iraq before 2003, and now there are. Way to go George!" Like all delusions, that leaves you vulnerable to reality. There were no al Queda in Syria before 2003, and now there are. If only George hadn't invaded Syria and … ummm. Oh. Wait. What?

Then you follow with this foolishness: I understand that rightwingers cannot admit that the US got its butt whipped in Iraq …

If by "rightwingers" you mean the reality based community, then in this case I'll grant your point.

Otherwise, you are delusional. The US strategy that I have previously explained to you, and against which your replies evade the point where they aren't completely self-contradictory, consisted of a short term goal, depose Saddam, and a long term goal: leave Iraq as a functioning civil society.

As for the first, we were completely successful. If that is what you mean by the US getting its butt whipped, then the next time you use the word delusional, I suggest you look in a mirror first.

Clearly, though, we must agree that Iraq is not functioning civil society. Yet even here you go off the rails. The loss is not the US military's, but rather the Iraqis. They could have chosen to form a civil society out of the ruins of socialism — after all, most of Eastern Europe has managed it quite handily — but they chose internecine slaughter instead.

When I was in officer training the standard for military success was to impose your will on the enemy.

Then you didn't learn much, did you?

During Bush's term our forces could not enter Sadr City, could not maneuver in Anbar until we bribed the sheikhs to be quiet for as long as it took us to bug out, could not drive from the airport to our bunker in the Green Zone.

We were whipped every which way.

No, we couldn't. I suppose if we had wanted to level the places, we could have done that. But if we were to maintain the fiction of being there as friends and liberators, no, we couldn't, and that's why we didn't.


Here, in a half dozen sentences, not only did you demonstrate what you didn't learn, you are blind to the demonstration.

No matter the fevered imaginings of the fundamentalist left, we were certainly not there as conquerers, nor to steal Iraqi oil. That means that we were there, in fact, to help the Iraqis build a prosperous and stable Iraq.

Since that was the political goal, military force had to be consistent with that goal. Therefore, not entering Sadr City, etc, was a constraint that the political goal placed upon the use of military force.

Calling it instead "getting whipped" demonstrates complete incomprehension about the use of military force within the spectrum of conflict. Not particularly surprising from a fundamentalist leftist such as yourself. Unquestioning belief is rarely conducive to analytical thought.

Harry Eagar said...

So Obama pulled the rug out. History says different:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/43495_A_Few_Facts_About_the_Bush_White_House_and_Iraq_Troop_Withdrawal

As for Skipper's tortured reading, it turns out that the Saddam army was not the only military force in Iraq. It wasn't delusional for me to imagine that the US took tens of thousands of casualties AFTER the mission was accomplished.

So many that it was no longer able to keep the field at acceptable costs, just as in South Vietnam.

For Iraq, Tom Ricks' "Fiasco" tells the story, using military documents.

Peter said...

...Arabs are not interested in democracy. I don't suppose anybody would argue that point now.

I would. It's a throughly racist statement, on a par with "Negros aren't interested in voting". There are many, many Arabs who are very interested in establishing democracy. Unfortunately, they can't seem to find a way to establish national cohesions that aren't blown away like dead leaves by ethnic, tribal, family or religious rivalries, both from within and beyond their borders.

Peter said...

Actually, the primary reason is that Iraqis did not want to.

Clovis, where do you get your authority for knowing what Iraqis did and did not want? I suggest the problem is that nobody can figure out what they wanted, because there is no "they". Are you suggesting all those cars in Bret's pic are actually heading out to welcome the ISIS?

erp said...

Peter, above you said that Iraqi's resented our trying to sell them our brand democracy and now you switch sides and say many Arabs are interested in establishing democracy. If so, where are they?
BTW – can we agree to stop using the word racist whenever an argument isn't going out way? Please. Arabs aren't a race, they are Caucasian. There are only three races, Caucasian, Negroid & Mongoloid.

Harry, bringing up the mission accomplished banner which you know very well applied to the ship's mission and not the Iraq war demonstrates just what a grubby little camp follower you really are.
Disgraceful.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] So let us move to a more practical realm. What were the options?

Would you prefer a continued US presence, with no foreseeable end, paid for by your taxes?

Harry is right here talking about delusion. The delusion is that a foreign country at the other side of the world could continually keep absolute control over Iraq without paying very dearly for that. Americans did not want to keep paying, so Obama did what the majority of the taxpayers asked for.


Good question, although the answer isn't nearly as delusional as Harry's ahistorical rantings insist.

First, it was never the US goal to have absolute control over Iraq.

Second, there are a great many countries around the world where the US has long had significant forces, and for which the majority of taxpayers ask for.

So, depending on the circumstances, and the size of the remaining contingent, keeping forces in Iraq would be no different than in Japan, Germany, England, Turkey, Italy, etc.

Whether that option is preferable boils down to circumstances.

The immediate reason we have no forces in Iraq is that the Iraqis would not accept the US requirements for a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The US has a SOFA with every country within which we station forces. I have absolutely no idea whether the administration was determined to present the Iraqis with a SOFA they could not accept, or the Iraqis were unwilling to accept a SOFA very much like others we have in place.

If it was the former, then the Obama administration is even more incompetent then they it is rapidly gaining credit for being.

But if it was the latter, and that seems to be the case, then the Iraq acted as a sovereign nation and decided its best interests did not include the continued presence of US forces. That completely vitiates all the left's hyperbolic vaporings, as well as Harry's rantings here. The US military's actions were always subservient to a larger political goal.

Absent the kind of massive destruction attending WWII or the Korean War, the Iraqis' success was always going to be dependent upon the Iraqis themselves. They whipped their own butts.

So I disagree with AOG, in the sense that while the MAL came up to its usual standards of journalistic excellence, ultimately Islam is an irredeemable collection of death cults.

It was not smart to invade Iraq, what followed couldn't be much better.

That is concluding, that it would be better that Saddam remains in power, with a fully reconstituted military.

You need an argument to back it up.

[erp:] I apologize for all the mistypings. Both my hands are pretty impaired …

I haven't tried it yet, but I have heard that Siri has gotten pretty good at speech to text, particularly after it gets experience with your voice.

Peter said...

I have no idea where they are or how many, but I'm not "switching sides", erp. You and Harry are the only ones who think you are in a boxing ring. Democracy is a big tent and it doesn't take a majority to undermine it--just a large enough number to make people associate its proponents with corruption and a lack of security. Democrats tend not to be fanatics who blow people up and they tend to shut up around people who do.

Hey Skipper said...

[Peter:] The lesson may be that that entire part of the world is politically hopeless and addicted to bloody internecine squabbling. As Kissinger said about the Iran-Iraq war, "too bad they both can't lose". Let's let China and Russia figure it out, draw "don't cross" lines around respectable allies like Israel and India and wean ourselves off Mid-Eastern oil asap.

We can wean ourselves off ME oil. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the world can't.

I predict decades of humanitarian disaster throughout almost all the Islamic world. Its sects will continue their mutual slaughter, and any success at establishing Sharia law will further relegate Islamic countries to increasing intellectual, material, and moral decay.

Looks like they are all going to lose.

The most commonly cited examples of successful nation-building are Germany and Japan. Among other differences, the thing that distinguishes them is that nobody thought we were going in to liberate their populations and nobody cared what they thought for quite a few years.

True. The other thing that distinguishes them is their utter material destruction.

Since that option is forever off the table, then we have to temper our goals in accordance with the lack of destruction we are willing to inflict.

No matter what the left did, Sunni and Shia would rather kill each other, and we weren't willing to kill enough of them to convince them otherwise.

[Harry:] ...Arabs are not interested in democracy. I don't suppose anybody would argue that point now.

You have shown a very real a persistent inability to understand the concept of racism. Here, in case you are wondering, is a perfect example.

erp said...

Thanks Skipper. I've never dictated, but it is an option that I'll check out when my typing gets as illegible as my handwriting.

I give up on this subject because I can't see a way to reverse the tsunami.

Harry Eagar said...

'First, it was never the US goal to have absolute control over Iraq.'

No, not for a long period, but the laws of war require an occupying power -- which we did intend to be -- to set up security and governance systems. Dubya didn't even try.

Professor Tibi is an Arab. It would be easy to rebut him by presenting an Arab democracy, but there has never been such a thing.

Harry Eagar said...

erp, need I point out that the person who said the mission was accomplished as soon as Saddam was overthrown was Skipper?

Clovis e Adri said...

Peter,

You are right that is a question in a gray area, but had we to elect a consensus, I believe my affirmation would not be wrong.


Skipper,

---
That is concluding, that it would be better that Saddam remains in power, with a fully reconstituted military. You need an argument to back it up.
---
I disagree with your conclusion. Saddam would remain in power still some time, very probably, but with no sound military. Iraq, OTOH, would also more probably be a little bit less messy right now.


You always go back Skipper, as witnessed above, to blame Iraq's mess on the Shia-Sunni rivalry. That's disingenuous of you. Their insane rivalry, and the instability a post-Saddam Iraq could suffer, was a very well know fact since the very begin. It was the main reason Saddam survived Iraq War I. So when you blame any and every problem they have on their own stupidity, you are telling only a half-truth. As to the other (not smart) half-truth that completes this picture, I've already stated it before. After witnessing the final results achieved after more than $1-trillion invested in that hellhole, I don't think I need to argue any further. Even if Saddam in power would not be any better a result, you would at least be $1-trillion richer.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:]erp, need I point out that the person who said the mission was accomplished as soon as Saddam was overthrown was Skipper?

Harry, you do need to provide a direct quote.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, you keep saying the job was done, and you have denied that any further obligations fell on us.

I am not greatly concerned that international law was violated -- although that is interesting -- but that the conduct of the US government was incompetent is disturbing.

erp said...

Harry, you know we are both referring to the banner on the ship, not quoting anybody's statement.

Dissembling isn't a very convincing argument.

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erp said...

The duplicate genie at work again.

Harry Eagar said...

I was referring to Skipper.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Actually, the primary reason is that Iraqis did not want to.
.

I disagree. As someone noted, you might take a poll now and see which the Iraqis prefer.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I don't know about a poll now, but a poll back then clearly tells it all (look at page 10).

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] [Hey Skipper], you keep saying the job was done, and you have denied that any further obligations fell on us.

Given your history of misquotations and
delusional implications
(the second is a three-fer, at last count, and includes a bonus bogus racist accusation), stop telling me what I keep saying or denying, and provide the exact quote.

Because every time you have needed to, you couldn't.

The crickets are getting tired.

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis:

Interesting poll. It could mean a great many things, depending on which part you look at. In the US, the partisan divide is so pronounced that it is unlikely that either side reflects Iraqi reality.

Also, I wonder what a similar poll, taken in, say 1949 of Japanese and Germans would have yielded.

Or, for that matter, after the wars following the collapse of the Yugoslavia.

It seems undeniable that Iraqis (the only group whose opinion seems both knowledgable and valuable) think things are worse after the invasion than before.

Excluding, of course, the Kurds.

The striking dichotomy between Kurdish responses on one hand, and Sunni/Shia on the other suggests to me that the conditions after deposing Saddam allowed for striking improvements.

The Kurds chose to take advantage of them. The Sunni and Shia chose to kill each other, instead.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

Yes, the partisan divide is clear at many points, yet there is no doubt that a majority of Dems and Reps were for the withdrawal. Both US and Iraqi populations were sick and tired of that war. It is sad the Iraqis look to never tire of their own sectarian war though.

And sorry to repeat myself, but that Sunni and Shia would keep chosing to kill each other was utterly obvious for pretty much anyone among the many countries that objected to the Iraq war in 2003. If only, instead of ridiculing the French and the Germans (not to mention everybody else), you had listened...

Harry Eagar said...

If it was so damn obvious they would go at each othe (and it was, completely), whay did Bush do nothing to forestall it?

Oh yeah, he couldn't. Not enough infantry. As I said at the time.

It should be a no-no to start wars you cannot win.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

Actually, I've learned a new thing with Peter's link to a National Review piece up above.

At some point, there was a debate within the US administration concerning wether to divide Iraq in three separate countries, according to the majority in each region, or to keep it "whole". Maybe, at that point, they could have done a wise decision that would save some part of this wild effort. Of course, they took the other option: to keep in the same place two Islamic factions who are in a blood war since twelve centuries ago. That surely looked very reasonable, as we are witnessing now.

Harry Eagar said...

Clovis, at the least, if the US believes in the national principle, we should have supported a free, independent Great Kurdistan.

That would have required breaking up Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, all good things in themselves.

As I wrote before the invasion, if the US is interested in movement toward peace in southwest Asia, strategy requires breaking up colonial 'states.' The 10 present states (counting the emirates as 1) should be at least 19.

Of course, Incurious George had no strategy and his Texas yahoos knew exactly nothing about the region, so the bad outcome was to be expected.

(Skipper is listening for crickets. I note no one on this thread cares to deal with the Bush bug-ot schedule, for the obvious reason that acknowledging it makes nonsense out of the original post and subsequent comments blaming Obama.

(It gives me no pleasure to have correctly laid out the course of events. I wonder if anyone will make efforts to save the antiquities this time. Baghdad's next rulers won't just want to steal and sell them; they will destroy the idols.)

erp said...

Another canard about treasures and antiquities. If they were all stolen and sold, we won't have to worry about the next rulers destroying them. Will we?

... and second guessers are always right.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] And sorry to repeat myself, but that Sunni and Shia would keep chosing to kill each other was utterly obvious for pretty much anyone among the many countries that objected to the Iraq war in 2003. If only, instead of ridiculing the French and the Germans (not to mention everybody else), you had listened...

And done what, instead?

The problem the world faced in 2003 was more than just Saddam. The borders in the entire region are the consequence of cartographers' whimsical doodlings, scarcely reflecting the ethnic realities on the ground.

To significant extent, European boundaries before WWI and WWII similarly did not reflect ethnic realities.

Now, between changed boundaries, massively displaced populations, and millions dead, they do. That is the primary reason why Europe doesn't look like it will ever again suffer another spasmodic catastrophe. Secondarily, ethnicity doesn't seem to matter nearly so much now as then.

The ME faces the same problem, except this time aggravated by religion. Left long enough, it will reach the same combustion point as Europe did, because wholesale changing of national borders always comes as a consequence of major wars. Among the reasons why the period since the end of WWII, and particularly since the fall of the USSR, has been the most peaceful in history is that essentially all countries view the preservation of existing boundaries as sacrosanct. China and Russia are exceptions busily proving the rule.

The gamble the US made, and has apparently lost, is that Iraq could become a multi-ethnic civil society without going through the wars required for ethnic groups to claim and cleanse their own territories.

If Iraq could get there without all the slaughter Europe went through — a subject on which the French and Germans are also expert — then the gamble would have been worth it, don't you think?

Bush didn't lose this, nor did Obama. The Iraqis did.

It should be plenty obvious now, and will definitely become so even to the "reality" based community, is that the US handed the Iraqis a gift on a silver platter.

Contrary to most conservatives, I don't hold Obama responsible at all. Bush negotiated a treaty with Iraq that explicitly (and admirably) did not create a long term commitment. Obama won the election, in large part because Americans wanted out. Regardless of whether that is, in objective terms, the "right" answer, the electorate spoke.

Syria shows where Iraq is headed. Lebanon has been there before, and likely will again. In fact, it is difficult to find a country between India and Morocco that won't experience its own horrible upheavals.

(BTW, Ace of Spades, which is about as antagonistic towards the left in general, and the Obama administration in particular, says pretty much what I said above, except better.)

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Oh yeah, he couldn't. Not enough infantry. As I said at the time.

And it isn't getting any truer with repetition.

As I wrote before the invasion, if the US is interested in movement toward peace in southwest Asia, strategy requires breaking up colonial 'states.' The 10 present states (counting the emirates as 1) should be at least 19.

Again with the blithe pronunciamentos.

Repeating what I said above, and should be obvious enough to not need saying in the first place, granting that 10 should be 19 is fine.

Getting there, however, requires one of two things: either massive wars and population displacement on a scale not seen since WWII, or civil societies where ethnicity and the law are entirely separate entities.

Your prescription is the exact antithesis to a peaceful solution, as evidenced by "a miracle occurs" in response to: How?

Indeed, everything hiding behind "breaking up" in That would have required breaking up Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, all good things in themselves. makes that by leaps and bounds the stupidest single statement I have ever read in the realm of international relations.

Skipper is listening for crickets. I note no one on this thread cares to deal with the Bush bug-ot schedule ...

See June 15, 2014 at 3:04 PM.

I note that when pressed for attribution, in addition to fatiguing crickets, you are whiplashing goal posts.

Harry Eagar said...

Nothing you said at 3:04 addresses the Bush bug-out.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility to adjust borders. It used to be done all the time, and even sometimes was assisted with exchanges of populations.

If it is, indeed, impossible in the Middle East, then that is an argument against ever getting into a war there.

I suspect it is impossible, but just deposing a dime-a-dozen despot accomplished nothing useful.

So, Skipper, if we did have enough forces to police Iraq during the transition, why did we not do it?

It is beyond absurd to suppose that, having destroyed all government structures and dismissed the local security force, even democratically-inspired Iraqis could have established a working polity. Recall that the latency period between the dissolution of the Iraqi army and the bunkerization of the US Army was just a few weeks. In places, a few days.

We created a shooting gallery and all you can manage is to blame the Iraqis for getting shot.

erp said...

Harry, your almost preternatural ability to diagnose all the ills of the world not perpetrated by the left and supply pie-in-the-sky solutions like massive population displacements stops when analyzing the left's long long list of failures and not one single success, especially when talking about large scale murders of innocents.

Odd that.

Harry Eagar said...

Oh, I'd say Incurious George managed some massive population movements without any leftist help.

I know you will refuse to follow this link, because you refuse to acknowledge facts, but this look back at what the Bush lunatics (in this case, Wolfowitz) told us was likely to happen.

I was right, they were wrong. Deal with it.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/watch-paul-wolfowitz-said-not-worry-about-sectarian-violence-iraq-bush

erp said...

Mother Jones? Are they still around?

Bret said...

Mother Jones is still around and stronger than ever. Indeed, I find that their articles are sometimes readable nowadays, a tremendous improvement over the past.

erp said...

To what do you attribute the change? They were one of the nuttiest.

Bret said...

erp,

I have no idea.

Harry Eagar said...

You don't have to read the magazine; the editors have conveniently embedded a tape of Wolfowitz testifying to Congress.

I realize you will say that the leftists have faked or edited this tape, because you have such a deep commitment to fantasy. but it is what it is.

erp said...

Lefty media faking and editing stuff.

Heaven forfend the fantastical thought.

Couldn't happen, yet it has happened over and over again.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] ... but this look back at what the Bush lunatics (in this case, Wolfowitz) told us [what] was likely to happen.

Once again, you mischaracterize what Wolfowitz actually said.

From the transcript:

There are other differences that suggest that peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests.

And like you, the author over egged what Wolfowitz actually said.

That said, even the qualifier "might" is too much; "if we are lucky" would have been far better.

But that is beside the most important point: nothing was not an option, and neither you, nor Mother Jones, et al have ever articulated a serious alternative to getting rid of Saddam.

As for the sectarian strife, as Syria, Pakistan, Libya ad nearly damn infinitum demonstrates, it was going to happen anyway.

Wolfowitz should have been much more clear on the likely outcome.

Although, to be fair, both Obama and Biden were orders of magnitude more wrong than Wolfowitz.



Hey Skipper said...

Apologies. Somehow I gooned up the time stamp.

From June 15, 2014 at 2:36 PM:

The immediate reason we have no forces in Iraq is that the Iraqis would not accept the US requirements for a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The US has a SOFA with every country within which we station forces. I have absolutely no idea whether the administration was determined to present the Iraqis with a SOFA they could not accept, or the Iraqis were unwilling to accept a SOFA very much like others we have in place.

If it was the former, then the Obama administration is even more incompetent then they it is rapidly gaining credit for being.

But if it was the latter, and that seems to be the case, then the [sic] Iraq acted as a sovereign nation and decided its best interests did not include the continued presence of US forces. That completely vitiates all the left's hyperbolic vaporings, as well as Harry's rantings here. The US military's actions were always subservient to a larger political goal.


I was typing from memory; had I taken a little more time, the second para would never have seen the light of day, the third would have started as "Iraq acted …"

And unlike you, when I get it wrong, I fix it (June 16, 8:09pm) :

Contrary to most conservatives, I don't hold Obama responsible at all. Bush negotiated a treaty with Iraq that explicitly (and admirably) did not create a long term commitment. Obama won the election, in large part because Americans wanted out. Regardless of whether that is, in objective terms, the "right" answer, the electorate spoke.



(BTW, Ace of Spades, which is about as antagonistic towards the left in general, and the Obama administration in particular, says pretty much what I said above, except better.)




Hey Skipper said...

We created a shooting gallery and all you can manage is to blame the Iraqis for getting shot.

There you go again with that thing progressives would be bereft without: passive voice.

Getting shot ... by whom?

Harry Eagar said...

Even in you tortured quest to rescue the rightwing from its disaster, you cannot seriously think that a SOFA agreement in 2011 has anything to do with policing Iraq in the months after the Saddam army surrendered.

And in regards to Wolfowitz, the Shia and Sunni in Iraq-Iran had fought the bloodiest war since at least the Middle Ages WHILE WOLFOWITZ WAS IN THE US GOVERNMENT.

If you want to recast what he should have said, it would have to go like this:

'Anybody with knowledge of Iraq knows that as soon as the lid is off, both sides will be out to avenge their 8th-c. grievances.'

That in 2014 you are still ignorant of this fact goes a long way to explain why our defeat was so comprehensive.

Hey Skipper said...

And in regards to Wolfowitz, the Shia and Sunni in Iraq-Iran had fought the bloodiest war since at least the Middle Ages WHILE WOLFOWITZ WAS IN THE US GOVERNMENT.

That is relevant if the Iran-Iraq war was sectarian.

It wasn't, so it isn't.

... you cannot seriously think that a SOFA agreement in 2011 has anything to do with policing Iraq in the months after the Saddam army surrendered.

How about providing a quote that says I do?

'Anybody with knowledge of Iraq knows that as soon as the lid is off, both sides will be out to avenge their 8th-c. grievances.'

Bollocks.

What is the history of sectarian conflict since the 8th Century?

What was the sectarian conflict like before Saddam?

How much did Saddam's suppression of the Shia contribute to severity of sectarian conflict?

What would the sectarian conflict in Iraq look like today if Assad's Alawites not suppressed Syrian Sunni?

The fact that you can't be bothered to even consider such questions, or that you confuse an inter-country war with sectarian conflict goes a long way to explaining your incurable myopia on this subject.

Harry Eagar said...

OK. Riddle me this. If Wolfowitz was only HOPING there would not be a sectarian blowup, what was the administration's plan if there was one, which there was?

There was no plan because idiots like wolfowitz really believed they didn't need one.

Another of the doctrines I was taught in officer training was that you needed to prepare not for what you expected the foe would do, but for whatever he could do.

Hey Skipper said...

If Wolfowitz was only HOPING there would not be a sectarian blowup, what was the administration's plan if there was one, which there was?

That is the model of a tendentious If.

I notice, without surprise, that you failed to address any of the salient points I posed.

When Wolfowitz was talking to Congress, he based his hopeful assessment on history. Interestingly, both you, and Mother Jones, along with the rest of the analytically challenged left, obsess about the conclusion without burdening even a neuron wondering how valid his basis was for it.

Then you compound your predictable sin by assuming, in the face of all evidence, that this outcome was inevitable.

It wasn't. Consider that when both Biden and Obama spoke, with the benefit of hindsight, in terms far more glowing than did Wolfowitz, they weren't wrong.

PM Maliki could have, but did not, implement policies that would have greatly ameliorated sectarian conflict.

Now, you can argue that he couldn't, that no such policies were possible, that the resurgence of sectarian conflict in Iraq was preordained.

But for sound philosophical reasons, that is a road you don't want to follow.

Hey Skipper said...

If Wolfowitz was only HOPING there would not be a sectarian blowup, what was the administration's plan if there was one, which there was?

That is the model of a tendentious If.

I notice, without surprise, that you failed to address any of the salient points I posed.

When Wolfowitz was talking to Congress, he based his hopeful assessment on history. Interestingly, both you, and Mother Jones, along with the rest of the analytically challenged left, obsess about the conclusion without burdening even a neuron wondering how valid his basis was for it.

Then you compound your predictable sin by assuming, in the face of all evidence, that this outcome was inevitable.

It wasn't. Consider that when both Biden and Obama spoke, with the benefit of hindsight, in terms far more glowing than did Wolfowitz, they weren't wrong.

PM Maliki could have, but did not, implement policies that would have greatly ameliorated sectarian conflict.

Now, you can argue that he couldn't, that no such policies were possible, that the resurgence of sectarian conflict in Iraq was preordained.

But for sound philosophical reasons, that is a road you don't want to follow.

Harry Eagar said...

I'll be happy to argue that Maliki couldn't. You may recall -- or not, I don't know --that before the war I demanded a free and independent Great Kurdistan.

There was going to be -- an has been -- sectarian/ethnic conflict there, though because the Kurds were well organized they have not suffered as much as the poorly organized Arabs.

Just declaring that Shia-Sunni conflict never existed does not make it so. And I do not agree that the Iran-Iraq war was not sectarian. All the other states in the region treated it as one.

Harry Eagar said...

This is interesting on several levels, not least because it trashes the ideas that 1) nobody (but Harry) was saying we would need large forces in Iraq after the fighting with the Saddam army ended; and 2) that no one could foresee violence among Shia and Sunni.

Cheney explicitly said neither would happen, so the idea that it might was out there:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ej-dionne-dick-cheney-reveals-his-chutzpah-in-iraq-op-ed/2014/06/18/756bce06-f713-11e3-a606-946fd632f9f1_story.html?hpid=z2

Hey Skipper said...

And I do not agree that the Iran-Iraq war was not sectarian. All the other states in the region treated it as one.

Bollocks. Nonsense. Delusional. Wrong:

Most analysts stress two factors: "general hostility" between the two sides and Ba'th party fears that the Khomeini government might stir up a Shi'i rebellion in southern Iraq. I shall argue, however, that while these factors had some role in worsening relations, they hardly entered into the decision to attack Iran; rather, the war resulted primarily from territorial disputes, especially the centuries-old conflict over the boundary at the Shatt al-'Arab River.

Yet another pronunciamento bites the dust.

And no doubt to be immediately memholed.

Hey Skipper said...

Just declaring that Shia-Sunni conflict never existed does not make it so.

I've demanded before, to no avail, that you stop declaring what I declared, and instead quote me directly.

Once again, you have, in very Juddian fashion, falsely attributed something to me I never said, nor even implied.

Stop it.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I'll be happy to argue that Maliki couldn't.

You'd better start, then, because even your collectivist MSM pals don't agree:

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is said to be in a panic. It is hard to be surprised by that, because more than anyone he is to blame for the catastrophe. --editorial, New York Times, June 13

Harry Eagar said...

Nice quotation, I couldn't agree more.

Perhaps you are imagining that Maliki (or any other Shia politician) could have done differently, pursued am inclusive policy, perhaps.

But no:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-20/maliki-s-past-comes-back-to-haunt-iraq-as-shiite-parties-revolt.html

The problem arises from several points, such as that Iraq is not a real country. No one acts as an Iraqi, but as sectaries and tribalists. (The exception is the Kurds, who do act as citizens of a country, but it isn't Iraq.)

Second, no Arabs care about democracy. What they conceive is that, now I'm in power, I get to do the oppressing. Had Maliki tried to be inclusive, or even just an honest technocrat, he wouldn't have had any Shia followers.

He would possibly have attracted a few sophisticated and brave Sunni, but since they are such a small fraction of the population, his base would have been tiny.

He purged the officer corps to insulate himself against a coup, which has the results we see: an army like the ARVN that will not fight.

He threw himself into the job of being a corrupt, bigoted despot with enthusiasm, but it is impossible to imagine a fundamentally different approach.

He reminds me of all those Asian despots of the past who grabbed for the throne and (more than 9 times out of 10) ended immolated.



Hey Skipper said...

Second, no Blacks care about democracy. What they conceive is that, now I'm in power, I get to do the oppressing.

Right?

erp said...

Not all blacks, just the elite ones on the left. Conservative blacks are vilified.

Hey Skipper said...

No, erp, he means blacks. All blacks.

Or he doesn't mean Arabs.

Once he gets on that racist hobby horse, he can't get off whenever he feels like it.

erp said...

... Arabs aren't black, they're Caucasian.

You're up early.

Hey Skipper said...

I know.

His racist h8red of Arabs, to the extent that it is valid, applies just as well to Blacks.

The qualifier is important.

You're up early.

I'm in Taiwan.

Harry Eagar said...

Show me the ones who do care about it.

The statement was originally a political judgment by the Syro-German political scientist, Bassam Tibi, who has studied and written books on exactly this topic for about 30 years.

I would say the evidence that his judgment was correct has been overwhelmingly confirmed by events in the 20-odd years since I first became aware of it.

If you have evidence he is wrong, let's see it.

Hey Skipper said...

Show me the ones who do care about it.

Show me the Japanese or Germans who cared about it.

Either your assertion means that Arabs (and Blacks) are congenitally incapable of establishing a civil society, which makes you a racist h8r, or it is contingent on circumstances.

Good luck with the former, and the latter defeats your own argument.

Here is how the Obama administration snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Harry Eagar said...

Adenauer? Einstein?

I note that in Germany and Japan, under US occupation there was something like a working democracy going by 1947-8. Now you are going to explain to me that Iraq had something similar by 2007-8.

Whoops! No, it had civil war.

Harry Eagar said...

Skipper, I read that contumacious piece in Commentary. I suggest you go back and read the papers about what was actually going on in Iraq in 2008.

Only a delusional fool would claim things were moving forward. That would include Biden, to the degree that what he said was more than eyewash.

It was a bugout, like in '53 and '72.

erp said...

Harry,

I can almost feel that tingling sensation you had down your leg (quoting Chris Matthew) when you typed this:

It was a bugout ...

Gee that must have felt good.

You want us to read the papers to find out what was actually going on.

Jeepers what a novel idea. The papers printing what was actually going on.

Hasn't happened for the past 50 years.

Harry Eagar said...

And now the Iraqi national army is bugging out against an opponent one-twentieth its size:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/23/world/middleeast/iraq.html?hp&_r=0

Harry Eagar said...

So, erp, if the news organizations have been unreliable for so long, why haven't the 100% Americans started one for themselves that they could rely on?

erp said...

Harry, I'll answer that one as soon as you explain that New Yorker cartoon to Clovis -- to remind you it's the one about the sanitation union strike in New York.

Hint: you know the one that was contemporaneous with union strikes that put the conservative papers out of business.

You might want to check out the history of this country that hasn't been written by the lunatic left.

BTW - is calling someone "100% American" pejorative in your world?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I don't think Harry will know or remember about that one, as I told you before. I keep waiting for your explanation.

BTW, how union strikes could conservative papers out of business, but not liberal ones? For that matter, how could they put any paper out of business anyway?

erp said...

Oh Harry will remember, even if he wasn't born yet. It was a triumph of the union movement and don't forget, blacks or coloreds as Negroes were called in those days, weren't welcome in union ranks either public or private.

Harry Eagar said...

'is calling someone "100% American" pejorative in your world?'

Of course. The Mccarthyites and the like so labeled themselves.

I don't know what cartoon erp keeps referring to, but I have a big book of New Yorker cartoons, arranged by date, so if she can give me a date, it might be in there.

The New York newspaper strike came at a time when many of the papers were losing money big time. Some, like the Mirror (a rightwing hate sheet) were attempting to return to profitability by subsidizing readers. The Mirror had a claimed circulation (probably phony) of over a million.

So the Mirror folded. The World and the Journal were competing for the same advertisers and readers as the Mirror.

The Herald Tribune, a conservative but not loony right paper, had been badly managed for decades and failed to follow its readers to the suburbs.

The liberal papers, the Times and the Post, were not making much money -- the Times was losing money as a paper but the corporation was barely in the black because it owned newsprint mills.

The Daily News was probably healthiest of the rightwing papers because it managed to appeal to both the loony right (erp and her friends) and the moderate right straphangers.

You will notice that the papers in the metropolis were almost all rightwing to far rightwing.

That turned out to be fatal. The World, Journal and Trib combined and staggered into oblivion. The Post fell into the hands of rightwing nuts, thus making sure the Mirror readers did not suffer.

The purge -- I do not understand why erp does not view it as creative destruction and therefore desirable -- left the Times in position to attract the middle, the left and the prosperous readers of the Trib, who tended not to want to soil themselves socially by taking the News or morally by reading the Post.

As I sometimes say, the history of the United States is really interesting. Far more so than the loopy fantasies of the resentful right.

erp said...

Perhaps Clovis will repost the link to the cartoon or you can search the comments for it yourself. Your account of the news biz neglected the major role played by the machinations of the unions. Why so modest? It was their finest hour.

erp said...

Harry, Check out the Venona Papers. I'm surprised you haven't heard about them.

Harry Eagar said...

Sorry, not World-Journal-Tribune but World-Journal-Telegram. I was writing from memory.

The WJT was the paper for Catholic bigots. Vatican II finished it off.

I know about the Venona cables, erp. No idea what you think they have to say about newspaper strikes. Since I mentioned that the strikes created the opening for the creative destruction so beloved by free marketeers, I don't understand your point.

erp said...

McCarthy.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

The cartoon Erp refers to is this one.

It coincidentally made Fermi to think of his paradox about life in the galaxy. The cartoon itself refers to some NY trash bins disappearance mistery in 1950. I was most amused that Erp looks to remember the episode, though she can only mumble unintelligible things about it.

Harry Eagar said...

I don't get the cartoon. Is it funny?

If it was 1950 then it wasn't contemporaneous with the big newspaper strike that finished off the Mirror, which was later.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

It is in the average level of funny from New Yorker cartoons, I guess.

I understood it as a creative solution to the disappearance of trash bins.

Erp, as far as I understand her (and that's pretty hard), look to believe it was a reference to people stealing trash bins during strikes to create general trouble and achieve their salary negotiation terms, or something alike. Maybe it was also a reference to people hired to substitute the ones doings the strikes, since the substitutes would be informally called "aliens". Unfortunately Erp won't explain anything clearly.

I really enjoy learning about these historical trivia, it makes for rich material to present the topic in lectures. I take much inspiration from James Burke, whose writings I first met in an older incarnation of the Scientific American. Since you look to enjoy history and their smart connections, Harry, I strongly recommend his books for you, if you don't already know them.

Harry Eagar said...

I have read a little of Burke, nothing recently.

Going back to the original topic of the thread, what did Dick Cheney have to say about troop withdrawal agreements without a status of forces agreement? Let's roll the tape:

http://happynicetimepeople.com/jon-stewart-americas-tragedy-herpe-dick-cheney-video/

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] It was a bugout ...

So that must mean the US casualties were pretty bad, then.

Apparently the administration is saying that Iraq's stability is important to US national interests.

Also, in old news, the administration said Iraq was stable.

They were right at the time, and did nothing at all to keep it that way.

Well done.



Harry Eagar said...

Lord, you don't think they were sufficient?

As I explained earlier, the Army could no longer keep the field when faced with new min es being used by the local patriots. Just like in Vietnam.

Some things really are pretty simple, if you step back and think about it a little.

Annoying Old Guy said...

the Army could no longer keep the field when faced with new min es being used by the local patriots. Just like in Vietnam

Untrue, as the Viet Cong were utterly defeated in the Tet Offensive and were never again a significant force.

Howard said...

The North Vietnamese leadership knew that to be true as well.

Harry Eagar said...

Replaced by the regular NVA, which defeated the US as it had the French.

I learned this week (from Rick Pearlstein's 'Nixonland') something I had not known before. According to Len Garment, in 1965, Nixon told him there was no hope of success in South Vietnam and a way would have to be found to get out without admitting we were going.

Thus, Vietnamization, othewise the bugout.

Tet was a strategic defeat for the government of S. Vietnam, because it (and Westmoreland) had assured the waverers that they were safe, they could come out for the government. Those foolish enough to accept that paid a high price, especially in Hue.

Tet ruined the VC but it destroyed the government of South Vietnam.

Since the North outnumbered the southern population by over 3:1, it was a fruitful exchange for the commies.

Clovis e Adri said...

I am often amused by Americans discussing who won or lost in such "wars" as Vietnam and Iraq. There is only one or two nations that could actually provide a real war for your guys, and no one really wants to pay the price for that kind of war.

All the other petty exercises in powerplay that constitute Vietnam and Iraq "wars" should be given different labels, IMO.

What you are really discussing is not if the US won those wars - in any military sense, the question is ludicrous. The point is, could the US in any of those wars impose the order they wanted over those regions? And was that order stable?

The first answer is yes, the second is no. The suggestions here that Leftists are to blame for not being able to sustain the unsustainable are naive.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry]Lord, you don't think they were sufficient?

You asserted the US military got its butt whipped in Iraq.

That is delusional, as the casualty rates show. US military deaths, per year, in Iraq:

2007: 904
2008: 314
2009: 149
2010: 60


As I explained earlier, the Army could no longer keep the field when faced with new mines being used by the local patriots. Just like in Vietnam.

Your explanations get no truer with repetition. See casualties, above.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry]: Since the North outnumbered the southern population by over 3:1, it was a fruitful exchange for the commies.

From a strictly military perspective, the Tet Offensive was an unmitigated failure for the communists. Hanoi’s plan to pin down the Americans at Khe Sanh and create “another Dien Bien Phu” was thwarted by superior US firepower. The radio station in Saigon was captured as planned and held for six hours, but the insurgents were unable to broadcast their tapes. The South Vietnamese people did not rise up in rebellion against their own government, nor did the government or ARVN crumble and collapse. Almost one-quarter of the 80,000 NVA and Viet Cong deployed in January and February 1968 were killed. Hanoi’s nationwide battle plan had greatly underestimated the enemy, while asking too much of its own forces across too much of the country. - See more at: http://alphahistory.com/vietnam/tet-offensive/#sthash.3e9ZngKp.dpuf

The ultimate takeover by the commies was a fruitful exchange for the Vietnamese.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] The point is, could the US in any of those wars impose the order they wanted over those regions? And was that order stable?

So long at the Soviet and Chinese governments were willing and able to funnel war materiél to the North Vietnamese government, and with South Vietnam's long, porous, border, plus leftists everywhere applauding the invasion, no.

Contrast with Korea. Regardless of the USSR's and the PRC's desire to destroy a non-communist country, the geography frustrated them. The Korean peninsula is narrow enough to be extensively fortified.

Which, to a great extent, proves your point. At the time of the Vietnam war, there was widespread acceptance that communism was, aside from its grotesque immorality, viable. So (IMHO) the Kennedy and Johnson administrations allowed their fear of an ongoing series of communist "revolutions" to overcome military strategic judgment.

In retrospect, the Vietnam war was completely unnecessary. Much to the ongoing disappointment of fundamentalist leftists, communism was a dead man walking.

Iraq is different. There is absolutely no non-delusional equivalence between Iraq of 2010 and Vietnam of 1968.

I have no idea whether it was the Obama administration or the Iraqis who were determined not to negotiate a SOFA.

Regardless, I don't see any reason why, had a SOFA been reached, that the Iraq of 2014 would have been significantly different than the Iraq of 2010.

Which would be a hell of an improvement over what we have now, or with Saddam still in power.

Those who wish Saddam was still in power, such as Harry and the rest of the left, will disagree with the latter, of course.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Replaced by the regular NVA, which defeated the US as it had the French.

So, the US (1) didn't have an army in the field due to new mines and (2) the US army in the field was defeated by the NVA.

We can proceed with a discussion when Mr. Eagar tells us which of those two statements of his were a lie.

Hey Skipper said...

AOG:

And that is leaving aside the fact that from a military point of view, the NVA was decimated.

Peter said...

the Army could no longer keep the field when faced with new mines being used by the local patriots.

Patriots? Local patriots? Hey, whatever happened to freedom-loving agrarian reformers?

Harry Eagar said...

You think the people setting those mines do not think of themselves as patriots? So long as you keep thinking that, they will beat you on the end.

Skipper, you have s a short memory. I advocated getting rid of Saddam by letting the Kurds do it. They would have been happy to do it, iven some resources.

Guy needs to read the psts more carefully.

The inability of most Americans to think strategically is tragic. Repeating the happy talk of Westmoreland does not help.

The Tet offensive was a tactical defeat but a strategic victory for the Vietnamese nationalists. It also demonstrated to our junior officers that the NVA was their equal: in infantry battle, it was pure attrition: one of theirs for one of ours.

Therefore, we lose since there were more of them willing to fight.

I got to meet some of the survivors of Ia Drang in the summer of 1967; they did not take such a triumphalist view as you guys do. they

Annoying Old Guy said...

Guy needs to read the posts more carefully

Like with McCardle in the example above? You could just tell us whether the US Army was driven from the field by those mines, or remained in the field to be defeated by the NVA.

Harry Eagar said...

The mines were/are in Iraq. Yes, our army was driven from the field there.

Clovis e Adri said...

Since we are in the topic...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/opinion/the-iraqi-friends-we-abandoned.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

I wonder if it will take another generation to forget it all, so you guys can repeat the blunder all over again.

Peter said...

You think the people setting those mines do not think of themselves as patriots? So long as you keep thinking that, they will beat you on the end.

Harry, you must love those old British war flics that suggest the democracy-loving Brits beat the rigid, fascist Germans by doing clever things with old bicycle parts and pieces of twine. All I can say is don't ever dream of invading Canada. You'd be amazed at what we local patriots can do with the junk in our garages.

I don't know why you keep trying to insist Iraq or even Vietnam for that matter were military defeats when clearly, whatever the lessons are, they are political.

Harry Eagar said...

I agree they were political -- the US sided with the antidemocrats and, just like in the movies, ended up on the losing side.

But while they were hopeless from the beginning 9because we coose the wrong political position), the proof came in disastrous military defeats.

This is important because people who cannot recognize military defeat are setting themselves up for a repeat. Since we've already had more than one repeat, it is important to start learning ftom experience.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Skipper, you have s a short memory. I advocated getting rid of Saddam by letting the Kurds do it. They would have been happy to do it, given some resources.

Oh, I remember that perfectly. It was separated by not much more than a paragraph return from criticizing the US for not putting enough soldiers in Iraq. Presuming that is correct, then your pronunciamento about the Kurds — and that is exactly what it was, since your idea of advocacy is to provide a conclusion without suffering the burden of making an argument — makes that problem even worse.

Never mind ignoring a nearly endless list of other problems with your advocacy.

It also demonstrated to our junior officers that the NVA was their equal: in infantry battle, it was pure attrition: one of theirs for one of ours.

Bullsh*t. The ratio was 10:1. After the Tet offensive the NVA was practically destroyed. How you keep calling that a military victory for North Vietnam is an abiding mystery.

The mines were/are in Iraq. Yes, our army was driven from the field there.

I don't believe you. Give us some evidence to go on.

I agree they were political -- the US sided with the anti-democrats and, just like in the movies, ended up on the losing side.

Putting you, and this comes as no surprise, on the side of the communists. Democrats to the core.

[Clovis:] I wonder if it will take another generation to forget it all, so you guys can repeat the blunder all over again.

What was the blunder? Who made it?

Remember, Harry's appeal to nullity notwithstanding, nothing was not an option.

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
What was the blunder? Who made it?
---
The blunder was to invade those two countries.

You look to partially agree with me, up above, the Vietnam war was not the best of choices. I have the same opinion on Iraq 2003.

And as much as we'll never agree on this point, I do believe that nothing was an option. The best one by far.

Given your military personal history, maybe you can not share this worldview with me, but I will spell it nonetheless: the greatest US asset for its projection in the World is not its military power, but its economic and cultural one. That "soft power" thing.

It contributed far more to the defeat of communism than the Vietnam war (that probably helped the communist cause, instead of hindering it).

The sanctions on Iraq back then were innefective not because sanctions must be always innefective (which is the standard Hawkish opinion). They were ineffective because they failed on recognizing the above point - had they built the sanctions in ways that would maximize Iraq exposure to the better of US ideals, instead of completely insulating them from the outside world, then Saddam would be the same dead man walking as Communism was in 1968.

Before answering me, please take a minute to think about Iran. That was a far harder nut to crack than Saddam's Iraq, and yet sanctions have been doing better there than any Hawk would have thought possible. I have a few guesses to explaint that, but I will let you tell me why.

Harry Eagar said...

'Putting you, and this comes as no surprise, on the side of the communists. Democrats to the core.'

No, putting me on the side of the democrats.

One problem (of many but in some ways the defining rightwing problem of our era) has been its Manichean view of politics: communism infinitely bad, so everything else is good.

But the reality was, in Vietnam, in Iraq and in many another place, there were antidemorcrats on one side, and antidemocrats on another side, and the US was almost always on the side of an (not THE) anticdemocrat. What if, for a change, the US had supported a democratic regime? If one could be found. I do not believe any such an animal could exist in the Arab world, but it might have in Indochina.

However, if it had, it would not have been Catholic and corrupt and beholden to landlords.

Rightwing anticommunism was the making of late 20th c. Bolshevism. In August 1939 the international program of Bolshevism was a complete failure. By 1945 it was in business again. Thanks to rightwingers.

Then, when the Germans and Japanese were knocked out the US stepped in to support the same repugnant forces in country after country.

Skipper, you have just said Bush invaded to get rid of Saddam, but that was not true. He had no difficulty supporting equally murderous despots.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

You wrote The mines were/are in Iraq. You also wrote As I explained earlier, the Army could no longer keep the field when faced with new min es being used by the local patriots. Just like in Vietnam. [emphasis added] [source]

Also, as usual, your supposed policy is to pursue an option that wasn't on the table. You might consider the outcome in S. Korea which, as far as I can tell, you object to since it has all of the features you object to in Vietnam.

Clovis;

The blunder was to invade those two countries.

Um, the USA did not invade South Vietnam. So it's difficult to see that as the blunder in both cases.

erp said...

Harry, in 1950 we were one of the signatories to SEATO. That's why we were in South Vietnam, which you may know is now a prosperous non-communist country, so contrary to Clovis' belief and even though our efforts were sabotaged by the lefties in congress, the war did not aid and abet communism in the area.

The Iraqi debacle falls on the head of Obama et al. which I think was their idea from the minute he took the oath of office.

Harry Eagar said...

I do not know that South Vietnam is a prosperous, noncommunist country. I don't even know it is a country.

No idea what SEATO has to do with anything. There was the little matter of the plebiscite that the US killed. That alone would have told intelligent politicians -- particularly those who claim to believe in democracy -- that something was fundamentally wrong with their approach.

In any event, in South Vietnam, we did not support democracy. We opposed it.

Guy, 'Just like in Vietnam' refers to the inability of the US Army to maintain itself in the field -- another way of saying, it was beaten.

But you are welcome to supply a list of all the places in Iraq that Americans could move in without mounting a large battle force.

erp said...

Sorry, Harry my comment implied, but did not state clearly, that Vietnam is now one decidedly not communist country, prosperous far above its neighbors and former state.

Only free countries can be democratic and no socialist/fascist country qualifies and certainly none qualify as prosperous -- and please, leave Scandinavia out of it.

Harry Eagar said...

Vietnam is not communist? First I've heard of that.

The communist party just folded up and slunk away without its getting into the papers?

Amazing.

So the domino theory was just bunk?

Astonishing.

You'd think the rightwingers would issue an apology but except for McNamara none of them have.

erp said...

Pat Boone is getting a statement ready.

Harry Eagar said...

Since Skipper is so concerned that progressives, should they ever get control of the American government, might support antidemocratic regimes, I thought it would be fun to list some of the antidemocratic regimes that the rightwingwers of the national security state have actually supported through their control of the government:

Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Morocco, Liberia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Rhodesia, South Africa, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, South Vietnam, South Korea, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Congo.

Then there are the democratic regimes (or in some cases, movements with strong support) that they either failed to support or worked to destroy:

Guatemala, Iran, India, East Timor Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Greece, South Africa.

Then there are the noncommunist but antidemocratic regimes they declined to support: Iran (except under Reagan). Hmmm. That's a short list.

And, most important to my way of thinking, the democratic regimes or movements that America has supported. Setting aside our friendship with places like Canada or Norway where the democratic regimes are secure enough not to need US support, there is: Israel. Hmmm, another short list.

I have left out of consideration countries where it is difficult to characterize the regime or find a US policy toward it: Laos, Cambodia, maybe Thailand, smaller states in Africa, Tibet, Lebanon.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I do not know that South Vietnam is a prosperous, noncommunist country. I don't even know it is a country.

So now you, without a hint of irony, get all fussy about tense?

Which leaves no surprise that you are immune to the irony erp was perhaps embedding in her comment. Regardless of its proclamations to the contrary, Vietnam is no more communist than is China.

Shame they both had to go through collectivism first.

Guy, 'Just like in Vietnam' refers to the inability of the US Army to maintain itself in the field -- another way of saying, it was beaten.

No, it isn't. "Inability to maintain itself in the field" is as empty a statement as "… one of theirs for one of ours" is wrong: very.

One problem (of many but in some ways the defining rightwing problem of our era) has been its Manichean view of politics: communism infinitely bad, so everything else is good.

Bollocks. Pure bollocks. Let me fix it for you: "… communism is so bad that anything else is less awful." Not Manichean. Also not surprising, since your affection for strawmen is nearly as great as that for whopping error.

Skipper, you have just said Bush invaded to get rid of Saddam, but that was not true. He had no difficulty supporting equally murderous despots.

Non sequitur much? Your incomprehension of history and strategy is truly epic. And, in this case, as with so many others, content free.

As demonstrated by:

But you are welcome to supply a list of all the places in Iraq that Americans could move in without mounting a large battle force.

The US could move any place in Iraq that it wanted. The question is: why? Doing so would have been detrimental to the long term policy goals in Iraq. Not doing something because it would be counterproductive is not military defeat, no more than destroying the NVA was.

However, to a fundamentalist Marxist such as yourself, evidence is beside the point.

Since Skipper is so concerned that progressives, should they ever get control of the American government, might support antidemocratic regimes, I thought it would be fun to list some of the antidemocratic regimes that the rightwingwers of the national security state have actually supported through their control of the government:

Whereupon you provide a laundry list of uncaused effects. Which is necessary because of your endless apologia for the unequalled pox that was communism — support for which should render nearly all academics outside of reality refereed fields jobless.

And, most important to my way of thinking, the democratic regimes or movements that America has supported. Setting aside our friendship with places like Canada or Norway where the democratic regimes are secure enough not to need US support, there is: Israel. Hmmm, another short list.

Made shorter by your ignorance. Add Jordan, Lebanon, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Colombia, and India, (which needs striking from your hackneyed nonsense above.)

Annoying Old Guy said...

Skipper;

Not to mention how many of the items on Eagar's list were the result of Democratic Party members, such as taking down the government in South Vietnam by JFK and his crew.

I'm still waiting for the explanation of how the US army was both driven from the field and defeated in the field by the NVA in Vietnam. I think Eagar's memory stops at 1968 and skips right to 1973.

But apropos your point, I think it clear that had the USA supported the government of South Vietnam in 1972 with air and logistical support, it would be much like South Korea by now, via roughly the same path. That Eagar prefers the triumph of an oppressive Communist regime and the resulting misery of the intervening decades demonstrates, I think, his despite for the USA and indifference to the suffering of others.

Hey Skipper said...

But apropos your point, I think it clear that had the USA supported the government of South Vietnam in 1972 with air and logistical support, it would be much like South Korea by now, via roughly the same path.

I'm not so sure.

I don't think there is any meaningful moral distinction between the Korean and Vietnam wars. In both cases, a communist regime, with extensive material support from an outside communist regime, attempted to remove by force a member of the United Nations.

In that regard, Harry's posturings are empty -- he hangs his hat on irrelevant, and mythical, distinctions without ever addressing the root problem.

But even though both wars are conceptually similar, they are different for one very significant reason: geography.

The Korean peninsula made it possible to effectively bottle up the Norks.

Conversely, South Vietnam's long land borders and extensive jungle cover made keeping totalitarian forces out essentially impossible.

Consequently, the US, though never militarily defeated, was facing strategic problem without a solution at anything like an acceptable cost.

Harry wishes to confuse a strategic problem with a military loss. I don't know why, but it is clear that he would rather US policies suffer defeat than spare whole generations grotesque suffering at the hands of his fellow marxists.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Skipper;

We'll just have to disagree. My reading of the strategic situation is that the invasion represented such a high cost to the North Vietnamese state that, had it failed, it would have been a very long time before any similar effort could have been mounted, long enough fo the economic differentials to take hold and make South Vietnam reasonably secure. This would have been similar to how the VietCong were de facto wiped out by the Tet Offensive.

Of course, the strategic problem could have been solved with naval mines or well applied air strikes but the USA was not, by that time, allowed to do such things because of MAList domestic opposition.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
[...] the invasion represented such a high cost to the North Vietnamese state that, had it failed, it would have been a very long time before any similar effort could have been mounted [...]
---

And where in your proposition should we take account that the North, like the South, could also count with help of an external great power? The USA was not the only one able to continually send military help. And as Harry pointed out, one side had a significant greater number of people to operate those weapons.

I also find it intriguing that, for someone who usually defend self-reliance as a way of life, you look very cozy with the idea of indefinitely supporting a shaky country. You could as well be coherent and support welfare for your fellow citizens too.

Annoying Old Guy said...

where in your proposition should we take account that the North, like the South, could also count with help of an external great power?

Several places. The resources of the North's allies were not infinite, and proportionately more costly than the USA aid to the South.

a significant greater number of people to operate those weapons

But not infinite.

It seems very unlikely that the North's allies would have supplied additional troops and a defeat in the invasion would have decimated the ability of the North to field another army. The casualty counts would have far more lopsided than the population differences.

I pointed it out, but you apparently missed it - your logic applies just as well to the Viet Cong, yet they never recovered from the Tet Offensive, for basically the same reasons.

you look very cozy with the idea of indefinitely supporting a shaky country

Not at all. You are, once again, simply not reading what I am writing. My whole point is that, like South Korea, South Vietnam would have in time become self sufficient and net benefit to the USA.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Not at all. You are, once again, simply not reading what I am writing. My whole point is that, like South Korea, South Vietnam would have in time become self sufficient and net benefit to the USA.
---
And your whole point does rest over a few assumptions that are not granted.

For example, it is reasonable to assume the NVA would have learned some lessons from the Tet Offensive, in order to avoid the same mistakes.

As pointed out in Howard's video (June 25) the NVA did test the South by first invading locations near the border before trying any larger operation. It means they were aware of not trying their luck in a big offensive before testing their ground.

So your idea they would clash big time and the North would go down for time enough for the South to develop, is not granted. The North could, and very probably would, ensure the US would need to keep investing energy and money there for many, many years.




Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

it is reasonable to assume the NVA would have learned some lessons from the Tet Offensive, in order to avoid the same mistakes

No, because the 1972 invasion actually happened and we can see what was done by the NVA. American intervention, if it had happened, would have happened after the NVA was committed.

Further, the 1972 action was of such a different nature than the Tet Offensive that there weren't any useful lessons to be learned.

I see you've changed the length of American support from "indefinitely" to "many, many years" which essentially concedes my point. Now we're just haggling over the price.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
American intervention, if it had happened, would have happened after the NVA was committed.
---
Ok, so you are not talking about replacing weapons only, but boots on the ground all over again. How realistic that would be, even with Republicans not losing the presidency?

---
Now we're just haggling over the price.
---
I am sorry if I did not make it clear from the begin, but my point was never about impossibilities, only cost/benefits.


I have a further point though: both in Vietnam as in Iraq, your ranting about the MAList self-defeating position is only another way of disrespecting the will of the people.

It was clear the US taxpayer no longer wanted to sustain both efforts anymore. Yet, you look to know better and lament the impossibility of imposing your high opinion over everybody else. How different is that from your usual accusation of the MAL doing the same?

Clovis e Adri said...

My mistake, I've meant "Republicans not losing the House".

BTW, it is interesting you blame Dems even though the Reps had the executive pen in hand. Interestingly, you use no such logic when the situation is inverted.

Annoying Old Guy said...

so you are not talking about replacing weapons only, but boots on the ground all over again

No. As I wrote earlier, primarily airstrikes and logistical support were what should have been provided and weren't.

[...] your ranting [...]

By which I presume you mean "disagreeing with me". When you're reduced to sputtering ad hominems, my work is done.

erp said...

Clovis, I don't understand this kind of thinking.

My whole point is that, like South Korea, South Vietnam would have in time become self sufficient and net benefit to the USA.

Why do you think South Korea and/or Vietnam would any way be net benefits to the USA no matter what their governments?

Clovis e Adri said...

To say you are ranting is somehow offensive? I'll take notice.

There is at least one person with military experience, in particular with airstrike experience, that looks to disagree with you on that point.

I do not think I am qualified enough to judge all the possible military maneuvers happening in a continued Vietnam war. But I do believe not even the American Right wanted to foot that bill anyway. I may be wrong, sure, I am no American neither lived those times, contrary to you.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

That's a very good question. But that affimation was not done by me, it was AOG's. Maybe he can answer it.

Clovis e Adri said...

Ranting, by Oxford:

NOUN

(usually rantings)
A long, angry, and impassioned speech


I detect some angry feelings towards the MAL from you, AOG. Even this acronym "MAL" indicates so.

So why is my use of the word "ranting" wrong?

erp said...

The left was interested in communist expansion, so naturally they sabotaged the war effort which led to an unfortunate short-term result in Vietnam, but luckily for them, they saw the error of their ways and have turned quite anti-socialist entrepreneurish notwithstanding their name.

Don't know what you mean by the American right? Congress which does the funding was controlled by the usual lefties (many of whom are still there, if you can believe that) and cut off funds.

Too bad the house now controlled by RINO's doesn't cut off funds for Obama's attack on the Constitution.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

There is at least one person with military experience, in particular with airstrike experience, that looks to disagree with you on that point.

Yes. Therefore ... what?

As for ranting, I would judge my comments here neither particularly long nor angry.

As for the alternate history South Vietnam, my comment was predicated on the presumption that the governance would evolve in roughly the same way as in South Korea. I suspect that once erp realized it was my comment, she realized this, but best to be clear.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
I suspect that once erp realized it was my comment, she realized this, but best to be clear.
---
In translation: "I hope the herd mentality of my ideological group saves me from further questions".

And judging from what I've seen up to here, you are right to hope for that.

erp said...

Your indoctrination leaves no room for even recognizing another point of view. My comment was about this statement ...net benefit to the USA and why it would matter to us whatever their government could or would be?

We went to Vietnam to fulfill our commitment to SEATO and went to Iraq after exhaustively getting everyone on board to stop further attacks on our soil. WMD which were a major obsession in the media up till then suddenly became an object of Bush's delusion. Then came all the other lies and spins, e.g., looting of Iraqi museums.

We didn't use or need Iraqi oil and we certainly had nothing to gain in either Korea, Vietnam or Iraq.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

When you're reduced to sputtering ad hominems, my work is done.

erp said...

Sorry, I forgot.

Re: WMD -- hilariously now that Obama is waging war in Iraq, they've resurfaced as a threat!!!!

The left's contempt for the masses is boundless.

Annoying Old Guy said...

erp;

Yet, is that contempt unjustified? This kind of thing seems to work for them.

erp said...

The left's contempt for the masses isn't unjustified because the masses fall for their schtick time and again.

Harry Eagar said...

'Made shorter by your ignorance. Add Jordan, Lebanon, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Colombia, and India, (which needs striking from your hackneyed nonsense above.)'

Jordan is democratic? Really?

If you are going to claim 'uncaused effects,' then it is silly to claim the US 'supported' democracy in those countries, since it did not, but they turned, more or less, democratic anyway.

But until they did, the US supported the antidemocratic regimes there (except in India, which was always demi]ocratic but was opposed by the US until recently)

Harry Eagar said...

So, air power and logistics, which had failed spectacularly to help the SVN government govern in 1963-70, along with a huge land army, would magically have worked all by themselves in 1972?



Annoying Old Guy said...

No. Again, you seem to have no idea that history happened between 1968 and 1972 and that the situation in 1972 was utterly different from that in 1968, as I noted quite explicitly above. I would also note that given the utter defeat of the Viet Cong in 1968 your "failed spectacularly" is ahistorical. Your jibes about not knowing history are once again projection on your part.

Hey Skipper said...

[AOG:] We'll just have to disagree. My reading of the strategic situation is that the invasion represented such a high cost to the North Vietnamese state that, had it failed, it would have been a very long time before any similar effort could have been mounted, long enough fo the economic differentials to take hold and make South Vietnam reasonably secure.

The issue here is logistics. Outside powers (North Vietnamese, China, Russia) were able to sustain the Vietcong on about twelve and a half tons of supplies per day.

As our war on drugs has shown, it simply isn't possible, given the length and nature of the border, to keep such a small amount out.

That is why, so long as communist powers and their collectivist lackeys in the West were happy to wipe a member of the UN from the map, there was no real way, given how democracies work, to sustain the fight long enough.

[Clovis:] I also find it intriguing that, for someone who usually defend self-reliance as a way of life, you look very cozy with the idea of indefinitely supporting a shaky country.

[Harry:] So, air power and logistics, which had failed spectacularly to help the SVN government govern in 1963-70, along with a huge land army, would magically have worked all by themselves in 1972?

Why did air power, logistics, and a huge land army fail to help the South Vietnamese govern between 1963 and 1970?

If you are going to claim 'uncaused effects,' then it is silly to claim the US 'supported' democracy in those countries, since it did not, but they turned, more or less, democratic anyway.

That has to be the most spectacular non sequitur I have read in quite some time.

Refer to my question just above, and maybe, just maybe you will figure out why.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Skipper;

Where you go wrong is in looking at the Viet Cong supply situation. They were de facto wiped out in the Tet Offensive and were not subsequently significant. The 1972 invasion was just that, a full scale invasion. That's, unlike guerrilla operations, is expensive.

Hey Skipper said...

AOG:

You are right and wrong at the same time.

Had we remained in South Vietnam, the North could have reconstituted the Vietcong, and its continual death through a thousand cuts, and there wouldn't have been anything we could go about it.

Yet had we remained there, or at least honored our agreement to not let a member of the UN get wiped off the map, our airpower alone would have broken the back of the 1972 invasion.

(Which, BTW, shows where Harry's rants about airpower -- he hasn't learned from the history of the Italian campaign during WWII -- go right off the rails.)

Since the US is a democracy, we have a weakness with respect to collectivist totalitarianisms.

Yes, I know, I repeat myself.

Aside from moral, or even strategical considerations, US voters would not have stood for the continued slow leak of a Vietcong insurgency.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Skipper;

I disagree with you twice.

First is NV would have reconstituted the Viet Cong. I think the 1972 invasion is clear evidence that the NV leadership had given up on that approach. They were not magic, they had limits just as much as we did. The Viet Cong were gone and weren't coming back.

Second, I think the USA would have had the domestic will to stick it out absent the agitprop of Old Media. I consider it much more a failure directly caused by the MAL than anything intrinsic to democracies.

erp said...

Totally right aog. Same problem with all that's gone wrong since the 60's. Movies, TV shows, talk shows, reality shows, comic books, magazines, college courses, public school propaganda 24/7 starting in nursery school, rock stars, etc. Everything pointing to the leftwing agenda's to perfect us and demonizing any and all opposition.

They got it now.

Let's see if Harry goes to Texas to embrace some of those kids Obama has imported to stir the waters of compassion.

Clovis doesn't have the tools to understand the underlying reasons for our objecting to socialism. Since lefties hold riches to be highest goal, he thinks we object to paying the taxes to maintain the welfare state. Stealing our money is the least of it. It's stealing our humanity and putting us all on the same level as women in a harem. Remember the fable of the city dog and the country dog. The country dog lived free and may have had many travails, but the city dog paid for his luxuries with a collar around his neck.

The nitwits who opt for the collar have been seduced, no less than Romans of old, by games, bread and chocolate upgraded to "free" credit cards, cell phones and passes when they assault and threaten their fellow citizens.

It won't end well.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Clovis doesn't have the tools to understand the underlying reasons for our objecting to socialism. Since lefties hold riches to be highest goal, he thinks we object to paying the taxes to maintain the welfare state.
---

I am not sure why you accuse the less well-off person in the room of being focused only in riches, Erp. Since you have a physicist soon, I expected more from you: do you think he went to Physics for the money? If not, why would you think I did?

By the way, I do think you object paying taxes to maintain the welfare state, but that has nothing to do with my "highets goals" in life.

erp said...

Clovis, that's it from me. I have made my positions painfully clear, you choose to disbelieve them as is your privilege.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

What part of your positions are that clear? The ones about Romans, or the ones about dogs? I like the part about a harem though...

Harry Eagar said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/world/middleeast/us-sees-risks-in-assisting-a-compromised-iraqi-force.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=LedeSum&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Throw a few bombs down and everything will be fine. John McCain said so.