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« Pithy | Main | Opening line »

Nov 29, 2006


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The CA

We weren't allowed to have an iron fist. If we had that power, the liberal media and the ACLU would be screaming. There is no such thing as a politically correct war.

Ed Cone

There is, however, such a thing as a properly-planned occupation. Sadly, Bush and his team failed to deliver.


Why would our conduct in Iraq be of any concern to the ACLU?

Ed Cone

Because they hate America, duh.

No way the problem could be the president and his team who chose to fight the war and planned it and the occupation.

Sam's right that the corporate press was part of the problem in Iraq. The relentless cheerleading for the war by the NYT and the Washington Post, among others, obscured serious questions about it that needed to be heard...

Britt Whitmire

Point of order: You can accidentally break something in Pottery Barn and not have to pay for it. They do allow for that.

..just sayin'

The CA

Because having an iron fist requires making some tough choices- choices that would not be permissible in this country. If people are going to complain about waterboarding, what do you think they would do if we carpet bombed Iraq like Dresden? An iron fist requires fear and intimidation- something used by all occupying forces to maintain order. Our society is too politically correct for such things, which will ultimately be our downfall in matters of military action.

The CA

The ACLU does hate America.

Ed Cone

Friedman's call for adequate troop strength does not equate to carpet bombing or similar tactics. In fact, it would make that kind of stuff less necessary. We're not trying to destroy national warmaking infrastructure, we're trying to (gasp) build a nation, win hearts and minds, and keep people safe. Killing bad guys isn't our problem, protecting good ones is.


What does the democratic "team" want to do in Iraq?

Ed Cone

There is no analogous Democratic policy-making team, i.e., White House/Pentagon/State Dept.

The new majority in Congress will have some leverage on funding when it takes power.

Meanwhile, everyone's waiting to hear what Dad's Men tell W.

Friedman at least has laid out a choice: 10 months or 10 years.

And Sam's still trying to pin the blame for the debacle on anyone but the people who planned and executed it.


It is a shame if the Democratic party does not have a well laid out plan for what they would do if in control. By not having a plan...they reduce themselves to being rock throwers with no alternatives.

Please recall that I am not happy with either party.

The CA

I agree with you Ed, I was only taking issue with the part where he claims that we chose not to use an iron fist. The carpet bombing was an extreme example, but obviously he is referring to strong arm tactics to instill order through fear and intimidation (like Saddam).

The CA

Where did I blame "anyone but the people who planned and executed it?" I was referring to a specific tactic that was mentioned in the article you cited. I haven't excused anything by anyone, so if you are going to make that claim, please show me where I made it. Saying the ACLU and the media wouldn't allow an iron fist isn't unique to Mr. Bush & Co. It is a statment on America. We have this notion that we can have a "clean" war where very few people die or get hurt, and if that isn't the case, then we leave.

Ed Cone

I think Friedman's "iron fist" is different from Saddam's, more along the lines of overwhelming police/military presence, not more extreme measures.

As he wrote in the wake of Abu Ghraib (5/6/04), "I want my country to behave better — not only because it is America, but also because the war on terrorism is a war of ideas, and to have any chance of winning we must maintain the credibility of our ideas."

We could be a lot rougher with the forces we have in place, but that's not really the problem.

The CA

No, I agree it's more about numbers at this point, but I think that intimidation was a huge factor in Saddam's ability to retain power. That often entailed less than desirable tactics- but the man was a dictator.

Ed Cone

Absolutely, he held the country together by terror.

Americans far beyond the ACLU, thankfully, would not countenance such behavior on our part.

The CA

Yes and No, Ed. What we did to Dresden and Hiroshima and Nagasaki was no less barbaric than what Saddam has done. The question is whether America is still willing to engage in such acts if necessary to win. That's the only point I was making. We have the power to bend Iraq to our will if we so choose, but that would require resorting to tactics that just aren't politically correct these days. War is a different animal with different rules.

Ed Cone

War is hell. You fight to win. But Iraq isn't a mess because we pussyfooted.

John D. Young

Sam, it seems like George Bush had a blank check from virtually everyone for his invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq. Even his domestic Patriot Act legislation was passed with no significant organized opposition. So exactly "Who" tied his hands or "Who" kept him from using an iron fist. I do agree with you that now he does have some significant, organized opposition for his handling of the war but that has developed fairly recently. Initially over 90% of the US supported his war goals, with virtually no demand for any restraint, due to our anger over 9/11.

Meblogin, how can anyone create a "well laid out plan" in the midst of the civil war and "failed state" situation in Iraq. If anyone tries to create such a plan it will be little more than a failed guideline. All the choices going forward are terrible choices with terrible consequences. We Christian/Quaker pacifists keep pointing out the ongoing failure of war to solve real underlying problems. Our opposition is not rooted in the politics of either the left nor the right and we know that we are ignored. Our voice is one rooted in commitment to the teachings of Christ and is not wedded to outcomes or success. Eventually people must stop killing each other and gather at a table for discussion and dialogue. This was also an option before our invasion but it was rejected as "impractical." According to Kissinger -- we needed to make a strong statement in response to 9/11. In light of the current situation how impractical was regional and international diplomacy on the front end of our invasion. The Pope along with most every major Christian group objected to the Iraq war because it failed to meet any of the requirements for a "just war."

Eventually we will have to admit our mistake in the preemptive invasion; we will have to withdraw our troops and allow Iraq or what is left of Iraq to struggle through this terrible civil war; we will have to help organize regional dialogue, international and UN diplomacy; and finally we will have to help financially rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure with a program of massive reparations. (Whatever our expense will be with reparations it will pale in comparison to our current expense in lives and treasure.)

The suffering and loss from this "unjust war" has no satisfying resolution. Quoting Dylan - "Now is the time for our tears!"

The CA

John, I'm thinking even beyond Iraq into what it takes for us to win anywhere. We mass murdered a bunch of civilians in World War 2 to achieve victory. Does America still have the mental might to do such things again in the name of survival? If we had to truly use the Iron Fist, would we?

The CA

Reparations? Forget about it. These people fighting may hate us, but without us they wouldn't be where they are today in Saddam's Iraq. We liberate them from Saddam and they want to act like fools. They deserve nothing from us.

sean coon

"Does America still have the mental might to do such things again in the name of survival?"

please, for the love of sanity, stop comparing aspects of WWII with this occupation of iraq. WE created this mess in iraq; the only way a nuking would be analogous is if someone nuked us to end our occupation. and none of us want that, right?

it's time to pack up and leave. i know that doesn't fit into the neo-con agenda, but it's time. there are no reconstructions plan in place, no missions with any direction other than dead-end training of iraqi soldiers; all we're doing now is killing and getting killed.


I don't have answers...just trying to learn.

If we leave Iraq to solve it's civil war...I hope we are smart enough to guard the Iran border.

Why Iraq and why not Iran?


The CA

Sean, don't call me a neocon. I'm a lot of things, but that isn't one of them.

sean coon

i didn't call you a neo-con, sam.


"Meanwhile, everyone's waiting to hear what Dad's Men tell W."

We already know what the Kissinger/Baker/Sowcroft foreign policy "realists" are going to tell the president about Iraq: Essentially the same thing they told his father about Iraq.

The advice was a failure then.....why would we expect anything different now?


I think Josh Manchester has some ideas that are probably a lot better than the "Realists": Go native.

(hat tip: Sister Toldjah)

Kirk D.

"We have this notion that we can have a "clean" war where very few people die or get hurt, and if that isn't the case, then we leave."

I wonder who gave us that idea? If there is anyone who doesn't want to admit to the horrors of war, its the Bush administration. Don't blame the American people for being talked down to by their government. Bush thinks we are children who can't deal with the realities of Iraq, but the truth is if this nation saw the killed and mamed as they returned, this thing would be over faster than a New York mintue.


Why don't we leave and come back in a few years when the dust has settled?

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