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Merry Christmas!

Aw...the troops love Don Rumsfeld after all. Or maybe the plan is to handle this Roman Empire-style, have the SecDef head out to the provinces and promise the troops that he'll get them higher benefits and better pay if only they'll march on the capital with him and depose the emperor.

December 24, 2004 | Permalink

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"When it looks bleak, when one worries about how it's going to come out, when one reads and hears the naysayers and the doubters who say it can't be done, and that we're in a quagmire here," one should recall that there have been such doubters ``throughout every conflict in the history of the world," he told about 200 soldiers of the 1st Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division at their commander's headquarters.

Glad reality is at least forcing him to use the Q word.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 24, 2004 12:52:36 PM

Reality has nothing to do with it. Reality would be recognizing that this "war" is nothing at all like WWII or even Korea. This "war" is one that we started, one that we pursued with virtually no one else in the world backing us, one with no justification, and one with no possibility of a good outcome. When Rummy mentions those little facts he will finally be accepting reality.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Dec 24, 2004 1:07:08 PM

Vaughn, I don't disagree with you. I'm only pointing out that there was a time "quagmire" never would've been uttered -- you know, around the time when we were painting all those schools and there was all that "progress" to be reported on.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 24, 2004 1:57:57 PM

Yet there has been a great deal of progess made in Iraq. Just becuase it's not as exciting as suicide bombings and mortar attacks, thus not making the headline, doesn't mean reconstruction progress isn't being made.

http://www.usaid.gov/press/releases/2004/pr041216.html
http://www.portaliraq.com/shownews.php?id=686
http://www.portaliraq.com/shownews.php?id=670
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec2004/n12152004_2004121507.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4670147,00.html

It seems you'd be happier hearing that our troops are failing, and the reconstruction isn't progressing but that's really not that case. While this war may be nothing like WW2, the reconstuction effort has many similarities. The difference is, this time we're doing the best we can to avoid civilian casualties; in WW2 civilian casualties weren't a real concern. Still go ahead, continue to delude yourself that you're supporting the troops as you paint a picture of no progress being made in Iraq.

-Joe

ps. I haven't heard much in terms of violance from Basrah lately, iirc that used to be quite a hot spot. Guess that a reduction in violence isn't really progress, just like you don't consider rebuilding Iraqi infrastruction to be progress.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 24, 2004 2:24:48 PM

No, the difference between reconstruction in WWII and the present war is that the population in Germany and Japan weren't shooting at our troops after the declared surrender of their respective militaries.

And for every one of your links on how well reconstruction is going, I can provide another on how money isn't being spent, primarily because of security issues. Here's one, you can google for more:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26310-2004Jul3.html

Joe, I suggest you quit deluding yourself into thinking that you're supporting the troops by sending them out to get killed in fruitless neo-colonial gambit.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 24, 2004 2:38:25 PM

I wonder if Rummy is going to view the progress in Fallujah this trip, or is it still too hot for his ass? I'm sure he can find some pithy remark to praise the reconstruction going on via F16.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Dec 24, 2004 2:40:50 PM

Rabbit,

You're wrong in claiming that the Germans were not shooting at us after the surrender. Many instances of snipers shooting at our troops or saboteurs attacking railways. The difference is in how these attacks were handled. In one instance a single US soldier was killed when US troops were moving into a German town, the US response was to withdraw from the town and shell it overnight as a reprisal for the snipnig. After the shelling there was no further resistance from the city. If you actually read about the US occupation of Germany you'll see that snipings, bombings, and instances of sabotage continued into 1948.

As for your remarks about "neo-colonialism," I have to say that you're showing your own delusions. I've yet to see anyone but the liberal fringe claim the US is planning on creating an Iraqi colony. The plan in place right now, in case you've missed it, is to setup a democratic Iraqi government. The benefit of a democratic Iraqi government is two fold:
1.) Political freedom, not wealth, generally leads to a reduction in terrorist violence. A democratic Iraq sets the stage for democracies in the middile-east, and if successful will result in a reduction in terrorist violence from the region.
http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6130-0.html?forumID=50&threadID=44803&messageID=529221

2.) Put pressure on Iran. For the last few years there have been an increasing number of dissidents in Iran and having the country flanked by democracies would increase the pressure on the Iranian government. I think the hopes are the eventually the government will collapse due to internal pressures and democracy will be given a chance to take root.

So while it might be convenient for you to claim that the US action in Iraq is aimed as colonialism, there really is no basis for your claims. We have heard repeatedly that the US doesn't want to have troops in Iraq any longer than necessary. We haven't seen any drastic drop in oil prices, so all the claims of this being a "war for oil" have been shown to be false. While the US motives in Iraq are not altogether altruistic, the US does stand to benefit from a democratic Iraq, the motives are not imperialistic. Maybe they're hegemonic, but that's not a new or bad thing.

As a side note, I never said that I was supporting the troops by sending them into combat. I only said that claiming the situation in Iraq is overly bleak, and that the troops are making no progress is not bashing the administration it's bashing the troops. If you want to take issue with the administration's drive to war, why they've gone to war, or any other issue that's fine. Painting an overly negative picture of the situation in Iraq, while it reflects negativly on the administration, is more an attack on the US troops than the administration. As it's the troops on the ground who are responsible for the day to day success, or as many would have you believe failure, of the Iraqi reconstruction.

As for reconstruction spending:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=aGYdpnw5ZO9M&refer=top_world_news
" While $2 billion has been spent already, projects worth twice that amount will have been started by the end of this year, said Bostick, who heads the Gulf Region Division of the Army Corps of Engineers. More than 1,000 construction projects have begun across Iraq, he said."

-Joe

Posted by: Joe | Dec 24, 2004 3:27:53 PM

I haven't heard much in terms of violance from Basrah lately, iirc that used to be quite a hot spot.

It's because violence is not news anymore, US media don't report it.

This is yesterday, by the AFP (Agence France Presse): One person killed in explosion in Iraqi city of Basra

Posted by: abb1 | Dec 24, 2004 3:52:08 PM

I existed. really!

Posted by: Werewolf | Dec 24, 2004 3:58:21 PM

Joe: American soldiers are dying at a much higher rate than they ever did during the occupation of Germany. Anyway, have you ever seriously considered the possibility that we may be right -- that events in Iraq are not headed in a positive direction. Imagine you were us, and you thought things we're going as bad as we think -- what would you do?

Posted by: Walt Pohl | Dec 24, 2004 3:59:51 PM

Joe, the 'it was like this in Germany and Japan' lie has already been debunked.

YO! Waiter! Smarter Trolls, please!

Posted by: Barry | Dec 24, 2004 4:25:04 PM

Okay, Joe, I'm game -- name your sources re: German resistance. I can't wait to see who you find (and don't say it's those two liars, Condi and Rumsfailed).

There was in fact no resistance in Germany of any real significance. Here are just a few arguments to that effect:

http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1753/MR1753.ch2.pdf
http://slate.msn.com/id/2087768/
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/occupation/2003/1109parallel.htm

And if you don't like any of those, try out the official US Army history itself
http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/wwii/Occ-GY/ch10.htm

Here's a quote: "On one score everyone agreed : the German civilians were not causing trouble. In the first three weeks of the occupation not a single serious act against the Allied troops was reported. One officer said he had been doused with hot water from a farmhouse at night. Some sniping was going on, but the military government officers were convinced it was the work of German troops since it occurred only in the areas closest to the front"

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 24, 2004 4:35:17 PM

Better yet, Joe, why not volunteer yourself and head out next week? They're looking for soldiers willing to fight. You sound like just the sort of person they need.

Posted by: Slothrop | Dec 24, 2004 6:33:16 PM

for JOE: true--always some resistance when a war is lost. But what we have in Iraq is a country beginning to fill up with religious crazies from Iran andSyria etc and they are fighting not to return Iraq to Bathist party...Germany (your example) devided into two camps (West/East) then united. Iraq in three camps and they will fight it out finally. As for our intentions, why then are we building some 9 or so permanent bases? Oh, you did not hear of that? And how long has Iraq been ac country? since 1920, when the West established it in order to control the oil.

Posted by: fred | Dec 24, 2004 7:22:08 PM

Watched the last part of "The Fog Of War" last night. It was like looking at Rumsfeld. Robert MacNamera's visits to the troops in Vietnam and his predictions that "progress is occurring" are so much like what Rumsfeld is doing. Rumsfeld even has some of the same body language and he looks a little like MacNamera. It is spooky.

Posted by: James Guglielmino | Dec 24, 2004 7:33:19 PM

Slothrop,

To start, I'd suggest that if you're going to contribute to a dialoge you do so in an intelligent manner. Taking pot shots like, "Why don't you join up," really doesn't encourage a meaningful dialoge. As to your suggestion that I enlist, well I'm not going to. However I'm currently applying to the Air Force Officer Training School, I have a college degree(aerospace engineering) so I feel my skills could best be used serving as an engineer for my country. Most of my work has been focused autonomous aircraft with the hopes of reducing risk to pilots while allowing for more accurate close-air support of our troops on the ground. So to answer you, yes I am joining up. However, for officers the process takes a bit longer than a week.

Rabbit,

You're correct that the resistance in Germany was not as severe as the resistance in Iraq. The situations are similar, but not exactly the same. If you're looking for a decent read on the German resistance try, "Werwolf!: The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944-1946." I've read some of the exerpts from it and it talks about a resistance movement that was semi-successful in the beginning but quickly faded due to lack of coordination. There were something like 40 casualties in the first 3 months of the occupation, in Iraq there were 50 or so(I don't recall exactly). Still, modern communication systems make it much easier to coordinate groups of people so I'm not surprised the Iraqi resistance has been more successful.

Still, I think the most important thing to realize is that these "insurgents"(I use the term loosely) are not fighting for freedom, or a better political system. They're fighting so they can install a despot that will oppress the Iraqi people and grant power to the few fighting. The terrorists have realized that free people do not become terrorists and that a free Iraq will mean these terrorist leaders will be lose power.

Fred,

You'll have to post a source for your "9 military bases being built." I did some checking through google news and never saw anything mentioned. The only thing I saw close was this:
"Now U.S. engineers are focusing on constructing 14 "enduring bases," long-term encampments for the thousands of American troops expected to serve in Iraq for at least two years. The bases also would be key outposts for Bush administration policy advisers."
http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2004/040323-enduring-bases.htm
Two years doesn't exactly sound like long-term plans for the region. I haven't seen anything concrete saying we were going to turn Iraq into a colony. In fact, most reports have said that we're going to be out of Iraq as soon as possible. We want to set up a democratic government that can withstand both the internal and external political pressures the Iraqis will face, once this is accomplished then we will be leaving.

-Joe

Posted by: Joe | Dec 24, 2004 8:31:50 PM

Joe writes: “So while it might be convenient for you to claim that the US action in Iraq is aimed as colonialism, there really is no basis for your claims. We have heard repeatedly that the US doesn't want to have troops in Iraq any longer than necessary.”

Joe, there is a basis for such claims. I’m sorry you choose to ignore it.

“From the ashes of abandoned Iraqi army bases, U.S. military engineers are overseeing the building of an enhanced system of American bases designed to last for years.”

http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2004/040323-enduring-bases.htm

Posted by: Joel | Dec 24, 2004 8:34:47 PM

Sorry, you posted the same link as I was preparing mine.

I think it is very naive, though, to believe that the US is creating military bases to be abandoned in two years. We are not planning to colonize Iraq 17th century style, to be sure. But you may be equally certain that the Bush administration did not invade Iraq in order to be thrown out by an "unfriendly" "democracy." For the purposes of this invasion, a "democratic" government in Iraq will be defined as one that will tolerate long-term US troop deployment.

Posted by: Joel | Dec 24, 2004 8:42:36 PM

So we can add Iraq to the growing list of American colonies that includes Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iceland, and Spain!

Posted by: Brian | Dec 24, 2004 8:44:59 PM

Joel,

You really don't have anything to back up your claim that we're preparing for a long term troop deployment in Iraq. The military, the administration, and pretty much everyone who is involved with planning has said otherwise. In fact, in the article you and I cited it states:
""Is this a swap for the Saudi bases?" asked Army Brig. Gen. Robert Pollman, chief engineer for base construction in Iraq. "I don't know. ... When we talk about enduring bases here, we're talking about the present operation, not in terms of America's global strategic base. But this makes sense. It makes a lot of logical sense."

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy chief of operations for the coalition in Iraq, said the military engineers are trying to prepare for any eventuality.

"This is a blueprint for how we could operate in the Middle East,' Kimmitt said. '[But] the engineering vision is well ahead of the policy vision. What the engineers are saying now is: Let's not be behind the policy decision. Let's make this place ready so we can address policy options."

Even the people building the bases have acknowledged that there is no policy in place to keep Iraq as a US colony. Do we plan on keeping them as a government friendly to the US? Yeah we do, but yuo don't need boots on the ground for that. The bases are being built in case we do need to maintain troops there for 2+ years to maintain security. Hopefully that won't be the case, but there's no sense waiting until the last second before addressing the need to maintain Iraqi security for several more years.

I've always been under the impression that we would have troops in Iraq for the next 2-5 years to maintain security so these bases make sense in my mind.

I think too many people are overly cynical of the government today. It's gotten to the point that people are willing to beleive something without proof just becuase the government denies it. Kind of makes me understand how the Salem witch trials too place. If people want to something to be true then they'll convince themselves of its truth.

-Joe

Posted by: Joe | Dec 24, 2004 9:04:01 PM

“The military, the administration, and pretty much everyone who is involved with planning has said otherwise.”

Yes. This is the same administration that said that we were invading Iraq because Iraq had WMDs and/or because Saddam was coordinating terrorist operations with al Qaeda and/or because it wanted to put an end to the slaughter of innocent Iraqi civilians. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Sorry to hear you are still being played for the fool.

“If people want to something to be true then they'll convince themselves of its truth.”

You said it, pal.

Posted by: Joel | Dec 24, 2004 9:49:53 PM

I've read some of the exerpts from it and it talks about a resistance movement that was semi-successful in the beginning but quickly faded due to lack of coordination.

Okay, I always enjoy a good read, so thanks for the recommendation. But honestly, the situations are not very analogous, are they? I mean, if there had been over a thousand US troops killed in the first year and a half of the occupation of Germany, we would all have learned that in high school, right? Germany was probably something like three times bigger than modern Iraq (just a guesstimate on my part), so statistically you're talking about a smaller phenomenon. And remember that a lot of the wounded in Iraq would've been KIA had they received those same wounds back in 1945.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 24, 2004 9:52:29 PM

Joe, I don't consider "why don't you join up?" a potshot. That would be your own projection.

Posted by: Slothrop | Dec 24, 2004 9:54:57 PM

Joel,

Just a quick rebuttle. The idea that the administration "lied" to anyone with the WMD situation in Iraq is foolish at best. It's a horse that has been beaten to death time and time again. We thought Iraq had WMD, as did most of the world, we ended up being wrong about that. I don't consider US intelligence being wrong to be fooling or lying to people; just as I wouldn't consider a student who answer a test question incorrectly to be lying or trying to fool anyone.

I am curious, if we didn't go to war to enforce UN resolutions or ensure the disarmerment of Iraqi WMD then why did we go to war? We know it wasn't to "finish daddy's job," as Bush Sr. has said that he never intended to topple Saddam. We know it wasn't for oil as we've seen record high oil prices. So what was the reason?

Rabbit,

I know the situations between Iraq and Germany aren't analgous but they are similar. In my opinion had the Germans been able to use modern cell phones, the internet, or other methods of communication we would have likely seen a long and drawn out resistance like we're seeing in Iraq. It's an interesting scenarior, I'm curious if anyone has run it through a war gaming simulation.

Slothrop,

No, the "why don't you join up," argument is usually given in an attempt to poison the well in an argument. It's an attempt to say, "well your position isn't valid unless you're willing to put your life on the line." The whole idea is bogus and it's an attempt to discredit a person's argument without addressing any issues they've put forth. So yes, in my opinion it's a potshot.

-Joe

Posted by: Joe | Dec 24, 2004 10:07:40 PM

"I am curious, if we didn't go to war to enforce UN resolutions or ensure the disarmerment of Iraqi WMD then why did we go to war? We know it wasn't to "finish daddy's job," as Bush Sr. has said that he never intended to topple Saddam. We know it wasn't for oil as we've seen record high oil prices. So what was the reason?"

Great question, Joe. Now you're thinking!

All the rationales offered by the Administration have proven wrong, they were justifiably questioned at the time, and they have never been retracted by this Administration. The Bush Administration has never admitted that they made a mistake. Why doesn't that bother you?

I wouldn't look to this Administration for an honest answer if I were you. If you are sincerly "curious" and not simply trolling, you would be asking yourself why you still trust the clowns who misled you. If you are sincerely "curious" and not simply trolling, you would be seriously considering the possibilty that you were lied to. The burden of proof lies with those who led the invasion and continue to argue for occupation, not those who question them.

Posted by: Joel | Dec 24, 2004 10:21:32 PM

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