The Journal says Obama is vindicating Bush on Iraq. It quotes the president at the end:
We sent our troops to Iraq to do away with Saddam Hussein’s regime — and you got the job done. We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government — and you got the job done. And we will leave the Iraqi people with a hard-earned opportunity to live a better life — that is your achievement; that is the prospect that you have made possible.
He opposed the first two, and if it were up to him the third would not have been possible. I haven’t read the text, but I’m going to presume he didn’t note as much in the speech. Perhaps, when the best selling Speeches of President Obama is published, it will have a footnote: “Personally, I’d rather have Hans Blix still playing cat and mouse with Saddam, and the Iraqi people suffering under severe sanctions.” Perhaps.
When the actual history of this war is written – not the myopic journalism that has passed for history thus far, but real history written with the perspective of knowing how things turned out – it will be noted that a leader of great foresight and courage led this country to war, freed a nation from oppression, and created an ally in a hostile region, and that he did so over the opposition of villains and clowns. That his success was so overwhelming that even the election of one of those clowns – running on an anti-war platform – to succeed him could not reverse it, will add more to our former president’s reputation than to his successor’s.
Apollo posted this at 1:53 PM CDT on Saturday, February 28th, 2009 as George Bush Rules!, Iraq
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A quick synopsis of an internet search I just did. Michael Ledeen made a reference to General James Mattis as “this generation’s equivalent of Patton—he writes Greek poetry, even.” I confess, after Gen. Petreus and his subordinates, I haven’t paid much attention to American commanders in the field.
A quick search, however, shows that General Mattis was an important figure in the two battles of Fallujah in 2004. Wikipedia then reports this:
On February 1, 2005, Lieutenant General Mattis, speaking Ad libitum at a forum in San Diego, said “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.” Mattis’s remarks sparked controversy and General Michael W. Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, issued a statement suggesting that Mattis should have chosen his words more carefully, but would not be disciplined.
More carefully? You mean he shouldn’t have used contractions? I’ve been critical of American generalship in the past, but to learn that these words were publicly uttered by a man who made it all the way to the top of a military branch makes me giddy. Our generals and soldiers should revel in the destruction that they bring to our honorless enemy.
Perhaps best on the Wikipedia page, I learn this:
Lieutenant General James N. Mattis will be played by Harrison Ford in the upcoming film No True Glory: The Battle for Fallujah, based on the book by Bing West.
Seriously? Harrison Ford? A movie about American soldiers in Iraq that doesn’t seem to be anti-war on its face? Sweet Pete, man, there must be a Democrat in the White House.
Apollo posted this at 2:06 AM CDT on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 as Amer-I-Can!, Iraq
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Not exactly the methods we’ve been told we need.
But…but…but ticking timebombs…but…but…but Jack Bauer.
Jamie posted this at 10:49 AM CDT on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 as Iraq
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I’ve seen several anti-Palin types deride her because she said she heard about the surge “on the news.” (See, e.g., here.) Well how else is she supposed to hear about it? Generally speaking, governors are not consulted regarding military strategy in distant theaters. I guess some people are so caught up in the politics of the federal government that it sometimes comes as a shock that there are politicians elsewhere. That she heard about it in the same manner as most other people doesn’t mean poop.
Of course, there’s a very obvious reply here. Gaging by how many times it was referenced at the DNC, I think it can legitimately be said that most Democrats haven’t heard of the surge at all. Both Obama and Biden heard about the surge while they were senatoring around, and neither had the wisdom to support it.
So lets have a discussion of the candidates’ knowledge of the surge. On one side, we have the leading proponent of sending more soldiers to Iraq in an effort to bring victory; on the other, we have someone who has been wanting to run away and surrender for years, and who opposed the policy that is now making victory possible.
Democrats will do very, very well not to mention the surge ever again, for any reason. But if they want another round of “party of victory” versus “party of cut and run,” I’m sure McCain and Palin are game.
Apollo posted this at 4:50 PM CDT on Saturday, August 30th, 2008 as Audacity of Hype, Iraq
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In Douglas MacArthur’s famous testimony to Congress about the end of his service in east Asia, he commented that, if one were to compare Japan’s development toward self-government to a child’s development toward adulthood, the Japanese were about 12 years old. The Japanese didn’t much like that, and despite his previously high approval ratings, a pre-speech plan to build a large statue to him, and his foundational work on Japan’s postwar refounding, there’s not very much there to memorialize him.
If I were to base my opinion of the Iraqis off of stories like this, I’d say that they were about 3. And if I were to base my opinion of the whole Iraq endeavor off of a couple of paragraphs from the story, I’d think we were best off bombing the place to oblivion and leaving these people to their just desserts.
“I come before you here seeking your forgiveness,” Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond was quoted as saying. “In the most humble manner I look in your eyes today and I say please forgive me and my soldiers.”
The commander also read a letter of apology by the shooter, and another military official kissed a Quran and presented it to the tribal leaders, according to CNN.
So 19 Arab Muslims hijack planes and kill thousands of Americans, and I’m subjected to endless lectures from Arab groups on the evils of racial profiling; one American shoots holes in a Koran and an American soldier has to kiss a damned Koran? Bull Shiite.
Perhaps, ultimately, this is all worth it. But I often think that Victor Hanson is correct that the Arab world has much more to fear from the American street than we do from the Arab street. More temper tantrums like this, and we might end up spanking the little babies.
Apollo posted this at 1:19 AM CDT on Monday, May 19th, 2008 as Iraq
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In the fight against Radical Islam its tough to ignore this story from that conservative rag The New York Times. Apparently young Iraqi’s are becoming disillusioned with Islam and the culture of hate and violence it spreads.
“I hate Islam and all the clerics because they limit our freedom every day and their instruction became heavy over us,” said Sara, a high school student in Basra. “Most of the girls in my high school hate that Islamic people control the authority because they don’t deserve to be rulers.”
Is this young generation of Iraqi’s our hope for the future? Are the radical clerics and Al Queda murders achieving exactly the opposite of their intentions?
Its almost like someone once told us that this would happen. I guess sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.
Jamie posted this at 4:22 PM CDT on Friday, April 11th, 2008 as Iraq
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Speaking today, Obama engaged in one of the cheapest, dumbest forms of gotcha politics I’ve seen from a candidate this cycle. At the same time, he showed a level fo ignorance that is amazing coming from someone in 2008:
Just yesterday, we heard Senator McCain confuse Sunni and Shiite, Iran and al Qaeda. Maybe that is why he voted to go to war with a country that had no al Qaeda ties.
As for the first sentence, McCain misspoke yesterday and almost immediately corrected himself. Whoopty do. I do not, and no reasonable person can, believe that a small and quickly corrected verbal slip up should be the subject of a legitimate campaign attack. That Obama would lower himself to this seems to me a sign of complete desperation to distract people from Wright. Surely this is a new low for someone who has made elevating the tone such a big part of his campaign.
As for the second sentence, my jaw dropped. The Iraq-Al Qaeda connection wasn’t particularly strong, it wasn’t enough to go to war over per se (and since that wasn’t one of the major reasons we invaded, this is a red herring by Obama), but it cannot truthfully be said that they had no connection. For Obama to peddle misinformation is almost as galling as the lowness of his attack on McCain.
Apollo posted this at 10:10 PM CDT on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008 as Audacity of Hype, Iraq
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Vigilante justice is never preferable but, under some circumstances, it can easily be justified and even applauded:
Meanwhile, in the wake of a suicide bombing on Sunday near Falluja in Anbar Province, local tribesmen burned the house of the young suicide bomber’s family and prevented a female cousin from collecting the bomber’s head for burial.
In the attack on Monday, a suicide bomber in the village of Hajaj near the northern oil refinery town of Baiji entered a communal hall where a feast was under way, observing the end of the seven-day mourning period for the uncle of a high-ranking security official in the Salahuddin provincial government. The bomber detonated his explosive vest, demolishing the hall.
Seventeen people were killed and 11 wounded, according to a senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.
The level of anger on Monday in Albo Issa, the village where the Sunday bombing took place, laid bare the intensity of the blood feuds and vengeance killings that often characterize the violence in the provinces. As women keened in the courtyard and men sat somberly in a separate house, family members talked about those they had lost.
“After this crime, we will never allow any of those people to stay in our area,” said Mohammed Hadi Hassan, 20, whose father was killed. “Not even their women and children. We will not permit anyone with such an ideology to stay in our village.”
Blow yourself up with a bunch of other people and your family’s house gets burned down. Not the most perfect kind of justice, but it’s heartening to see that most Iraqis appear to have had it with al-Queda scum.
Tom posted this at 4:06 PM CDT on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 as Iraq
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From VDH, I learn that Ricardo Sanchez is now calling for American retreat from Iraq. Asking Ricardo Sanchez what we should do in Iraq was on my to-do list right behind asking Maginot how to defend against the Germans. Reading the transcript reminds me of all my rants about how mediocre has been American generalship:
[While allowing terrorists to take control of large portions of Iraq] I saw firsthand the consequences of the administration’s failure to devise a strategy for victory in Iraq that employed, in a coordinated manner, the political, economic, diplomatic and military power of the United States.
Harry Truman had it right that the buck doesn’t stop until it gets to the president. If a Lieutenant General gets to pass the buck for the failure of American forces under his command, then no one short of the Oval Office is responsible for anything. Unbelievable.
Our Army and Marine Corps are struggling with changing deployment schedules that are disrupting combat readiness training and straining the patience and daily lives of military families. It will take the Army at least a decade to repair the damage done to its full-spectrum readiness, which is at its lowest level since the Vietnam War. In the meantime, the ability of our military to fully execute our national security strategy will be called into doubt, producing what is, in my judgment, unacceptable strategic risk.
I have seen this trope peddled by Democrats, and I called it “gobstoppingly jawdropping“, but to see a retired general say, in effect, “We must run away from this fight so that we’ll be prepared for an unforeseeable potential fight in the future” is…gobstoppingly jawdroppinger. I just don’t understand that sort of mindset. Perhaps if these people were saying “We’re going to have a war with China in five years,” then this would be warranted. But they’re not. What is the likelihood that there will be a more important use of military power in the next ten years?
Whatever the priority of the people who use this line of reasoning is, it is not American victory. It makes me presume that, wherever the next fight will be and whatever might be at stake, they’ll just use the same rationale for running away again. The purpose of the military is not “full-spectrum readiness”, whatever the hell that means, it’s killing America’s enemies. Judging by the fact that only one American general, Petraeus, was advocating a more aggressive use of American force in Iraq, I have a feeling that Sanchez’s ignorance regarding the military’s raison d’etre is widespread among those with stars on their collars.
Read that piece from Sanchez. At the very least, you will no longer be nagged by the question, “How did Iraq get this bad?”
Apollo posted this at 5:39 PM CDT on Sunday, November 25th, 2007 as Iraq, Running with the antelope
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This is gobstoppingly jawdropping. If there was any doubt that the Democrats are tying their political aspirations to American defeat, it should be gone by now. After a couple of really crappy years, we’ve finally pulled things together. The chances of us leaving a peaceful Iraq is getting stronger by the day. So of course the Democrats want to put stupid timetables on spending. Why?
Democrats say defense dollars should be used to bring troops home and repair the readiness of the armed forces…
Yes, that’s why we pay taxes. To fund retreats, and keep our military ready. So that the next time we deploy somewhere, they’ll be even more ready to retreat. Because that’s what the military is for. It’s not for killing terrorist and fighting until we win. It’s for retreating.
That the Democrat party has become the party of American defeat should be the crowning achievement on the Baby Boomers’ long list of shame.
Apollo posted this at 11:26 PM CDT on Thursday, November 15th, 2007 as Iraq, The Democratic Congress
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Reading this George Will column about the Curveball intelligence fiasco gave me horrid feelings of being back in 2002. What goes too much unsaid is that the treaty that ended the first gulf war was the most disastrous foreign agreement in at least the last hundred years of American history. Characters like Curveball were only believable because the treaty set up a cockamamie system of inspections and “presidential sites”. In a situation in which there can be no truly reliable intelligence, everything becomes equally reliable in the minds of readers. I had hoped that one of the outcomes of toppling Saddam is that it would establish in the minds of rogue states that the burden of proof was upon them to show that they were not in possession of WMD. Instead, I now fear, as Will seems to, that instead the burden of proof is again on us, and the standard of evidence is now too high for us to ever meet it again.
Apollo posted this at 5:07 AM CDT on Sunday, November 11th, 2007 as Global War on Terror, Iraq, Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!, Mullah Mullah--whoa baby let my people go
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This has transcended the merely unbelievable. TNR’s rule must be that publications are free to make poorly fact-checked allegations, and then it’s up to others to affirmatively prove that the alleged events didn’t happen.
Here is a very lengthy post that summarizes all of the facts I’m aware of. There’s not one single smoking gun, but added up the preponderance of the evidence definitely goes against TNR.
Apollo posted this at 1:56 AM CDT on Saturday, October 27th, 2007 as Iraq, Journalism
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Michael Yon on Scot Beauchamp:
Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it….The young soldier learned his lessons. He paid enough to earn his second chance that he must know he will never get a third.
I trust Michael Yon. The work he’s done over the last couple years has been absolutely remarkable in many ways. So if he says this, I’ll believe him. Though a part of me thinks as this commenter does: “He still needs to publically clear his buddies names. Then I would heartily agree that the second chance (with no third) is just fine.”
Yon again, on TNR:
As for The New Republic, some on the staff may feel like they’ve been hounded and treed, but it’s hard to feel the same sympathy for a group of cowards who won’t fess up and can’t face the scorn of American combat soldiers who were injured by their collective lapse of judgment. It’s up to their readers to decide the ultimate fate.
If there hasn’t been an editorial change at TNR in the next few weeks, it will be an injustice. Their behavior is inexcusable on a lot of levels. As of now, whatever statements their editors may be making in other forums, there is nothing on their website about this.
Apollo posted this at 2:34 PM CDT on Thursday, October 25th, 2007 as Iraq, Journalism
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Conor has raised an exceptionally good question. I think a response deserves its own post:
…I find your position at best incomplete because it leaves us no metric for deciding whether to continue fighting in Iraq or to withdraw….
Surely we can imagine a scenario in which the best interests of the United States are to end this war, whether because we can never win, or because the price of winning is to great, whether measured in lives, treasure or opportunity cost.
So Apollo, my question for you is this: under what circumstances would you make that judgment? It seems to me that thinking about and articulating some metric by which to make that decision is important because it is the only safeguard we have against continuing a losing war for longer than is prudent.
I will begin by saying that I think any search for a metric here is going to wind up disappointing the searcher. I’m predisposed against political sciency measurements, so I think my advice will be as cryptic as that of the the gambler. Still, I’ll mention some scenarios.
1. Losing soldiers faster than we can replace them. I am firmly dedicated to the volunteer army, and at present this war is not worth the disruption to national life that a draft would bring.
2. Losing more prestige by staying than by leaving. So long as our soldiers are winning their skirmishes with the enemy, I don’t think this is the case. If it came to pass that we were actually losing battles on the ground, it would be time to come home. But as of right now it is the prestige of the American people, not the American military, that is on the line. If we retreat without having been defeated, the unmistakable message is that attacks by our military are irrelevent because the American people will eventually get bored and go home.
3. Bankruptcy. I can see a war costing so much that it disrupts our economy. We are not there, as testified by the gratuitous spending on other fronts.
4. Absolutely no political will to continue going. This is a very dangerous test, though, since we do not want to award a heckler’s veto on foreign policy. One of the things that I find most galling about our present situation is that there was never a time when those who were originally against the war said, “Well we lost that debate, now let’s help the country win it.” I hope that with the passing of the baby-boomers this sort of anti-patriotism leaves us. At present, however, there is still a solid rump of supporters-probably enough to control the government-willing to see this through.
What I absolutely cannot find convincing is the defeatist line put forward by Sullivan, Rauch, and a whole host of others. We have not won, nor have we lost; we are engaged in an ongoing conflict. To simply declare that we’ve lost because we’re engaged in combat long after the [unrealistic] expectations of some weak pro-war types is not a sign that we have lost anything, it is merely proof that we have not won.
But, Conor, your last line is shows the fallacy in looking for a metric. What is a “losing” war and what is a “winning” war? Often, as with Grant in 1864, Washington in 1779, or Churchill in 1940, the winning strategy does not at first glance appear to be a winning strategy. I submit that, on this point, the gambler had it exactly right vis a vis America: every war’s a winner, and every war’s a loser. The difference is often simply having the fortitude to hang in there. Being engaged in a prolonged counterinsurgency is not a sign of losing. Losing is what happens when the other guy wins.
Apollo posted this at 3:19 PM CDT on Saturday, October 20th, 2007 as Iraq
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Read this – describes my exact thoughts and feelings on the Iraq War.
Jamie posted this at 11:21 AM CDT on Friday, October 19th, 2007 as George Bush Sucks!, Iraq
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