"These groups have tried to impose Shariah law, brutalized average Iraqis to keep them in line, killed important local leaders and seized young women to marry off to their loyalists. The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the Kurdish areas). Today the Sunni sheiks there are close to crippling Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Just a few months ago, American marines were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its streets without body armor."
I'm reading such things more and more. Any recent (within the last month or two) and reputable polls concerning Iraqi wishes concerning US/Coalition troop presence?
Jeffy, you need to learn the difference between an "article" (your word) and an "Opinion piece" or Op-Ed. It makes no sense trying to have an intelligent discussion with someone who doesn't know the difference.
The New York Times publishes opinion pieces from lots of different people. Like a couple of weeks ago, they printed an opinion piece from Joe Lieberman where he claimed that our mission in Iraq was a stunning success. Crazy, I know, but the New York Times prints all kinds of stuff. They always have.
It's not surprising to see Pollack pushing for continuing the occupation, since he wrote a book called "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq" in 2002. He's hardly an unbiased source.
Michael E. Oï¿½??Hanlon "is regarded as one of the most militaristic major national security experts" in the Democratic Party according to Wikipedia. Maybe you enjoyed his article "Clinton's Strong Defense Legacy" (Foreign Affairs, November/December 2003). He also wrote a book in 2003 called "Expanding Global Military Capacity for Humanitarian Intervention".
To sum up, Jeffy, these two guys are major hawks and cheerleaders for the war in Iraq, so it's not surprising to see that you're excited because they happen to reflect your own point of view.
While it's clear that Iraqis are increasingly fed up with having foreign Jihadists blowing up cars and disrupting their lives, it's also obvious that they want troops of occupation on their soil.
The sporadic (yet highly publicized) successes of average Iraqis hitting back at Al-Qaeda make the case for withdrawal, not continued presence. If you get out of there, you blow a hole in the "we're only there to liberate an Islamic land from occupiers" theory which enable Al-Qaeda to gather momentum in Iraq. Once you withdraw, more and more people will realize the necessity of immediate action to cleanse their land from Islamist whackos.
And why the hell are you trying to portray the NYT as an anti-war paper? Have you missed the crucial role it played in selling the war back in 2003. It validated the WMD scam without asking any questions and drummed up the patriotism of supporters for the war.
Prominent Mideast analyst says he's U.S. official in case of ex-AIPAC men WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (JTA) - Mideast analyst Kenneth Pollack is one of two U.S. government officials referenced in the indictment against two former staffers of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, JTA has learned.
AIPAC and Espionage ...Pollack handed over classified information about "strategy options" against an unidentified "Middle Eastern country."
Pollack, a key Democratic Party foreign policy adviser, authored an influential book, The Threatening Storm, which convinced many liberals to jump on board the pro-war bandwagon. "If we observe how we were lied into war with Iraq, and by whom," I wrote in May, "the whole affair looks more like an Israeli covert operation by the day."
The AIPAC spy scandal is confirming this in spades - and much else, too. It is also showing that the Israelis were not about to stop with Iraq, but were - and are - lobbying furiously for more military action in the Middle East, this time aiming for regime change in Tehran.
The indictments issued against Franklin, Rosen, and Weissman describe a systematic attempt by Israel's fifth column in Washington to garner top-secret U.S. intelligence about Iran, its weapons program, and U.S. deliberations about what action to take...
Neither Pollack nor the other unnamed government official - identified by sources as David Satterfield, a former deputy assistant secretary of state - has been charged with a crime. That has raised questions about the government's case against Rosen, former AIPAC Iran analyst Keith Weissman and Larry Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst accused of passing classified information to the AIPAC staffers.
Hopefully this article is more than just partisan spin. It would be great for Iraq and the region to have peace and stability in the region. Enough dying has taken place, it would be good to have a favorable conclusion to the whole ordeal.
Personally, I hope more similar news starts coming in from various sources with a lot more frequency, that it's not just a flash in the pan. I'd be a shame to see the whole thing end in chaos, after all the resources and lives that have been invested and lost in the past 4 years.
Here's to a cautious optimism that Petraeus will be the one who manages to pull the rabbit out of the hat and makes the whole thing finally work.
Yes, Brad would prefer that there were no Democrats allowed to diverge from the anti-war opinion. The party of inclusiveness doesn't embrace disparate viewpoints (e.g., on abortion).
It's very sad -- all the old-line "Scoop Jackson" hawkish Dems from the Cold War have been drummed out of the party by aging hippies and their young followers.
I'm not sure exactly when the phenomenon took hold; as recently as the late 90s, liberals were quick to argue that the military cost of an invasion/occupation was worth it to avoid a genocide, whereas now the position is seemingly that genocide is an acceptable cost to endure for getting out of Iraq ( http://www.startribune.com/587/story/1313874.html ).
There are a few left in the old model though -- Joe Lieberman, for example. They are not so willfully obtuse as to latch on to the idea that America's defeat in Iraq would be a problem only for Bush and those pesky neocons.
Brad and others won't believe -- can't believe -- that anything good is happening. So the ad hominem criticisms of the messenger (see Brad in the thread he started on General Petraeus).
Reports from the ground be damned -- at least to those who view any success in Iraq as damaging to their political chances, which to them seem to be more important than the best interests of the country or avoiding possible genocide.
THe fact this op-ed was carried in the NYT and was penned by liberals from Brookings is important. It forces the conversation to re-open. Even such media outlets as CNN now have to discuss the possibility that the war in Iraq might yet be won.
Maybe they'll even cover some of the good news that has been coming from Iraq recently, or take an honest look at what will be necessary to achieve a lasting stability.
This is a logical fallacy known a arumentum ad hominem....
I thought it was a good peace. It is a good sign that we are making some progress there. The more progress we make the sooner we can leave.
I'd say you need to point out that what they said is false rather than attacke the authors for who they are. If what they say is false then shame on them. If what they say is true, that is a great sign.
I hate this war as much as anybody, but I do not want to fail at it. To many people have died already and if we dropped the ball in the middle of play, many more would die.
We are there, we have to fininsh it off correctely and then never, ever do it again. The only thing I'd like to see is that asshole Rumsfield on the ground with the soldiers he poorly led through the first part of this war. I might thank an insurgent for popping a cap off in his ass.
Jeff, for once, is right, in that both men were pro-war but have been very critical of Bush's ineptness (to put it lightly).
But I suspect they're missing the point on the "surge." Two problems with it:
It's not sustainable. U.S. forces' operational tempo is way too high, and Petraeus has told the troops they won't be extended in Iraq past their (already extended) 15 months, which expires in April I believe.
The force levels in Iraq are not sustainable, without a much bigger Army and Marine Corps, something Bush should have done on September 12, 2001, not five years later. This is only going to last a few more months, and if the record of virtually every single insurgency in history holds true, it will take many more years to defeat the Iraqi state's internal enemies.
Even the most ardent military or government advocate of the surge will tell you that it's not going to defeat the insurgency, it's being done to reduce violence and give the Iraqis time to find a political compromise (oil-sharing, federalism, etc.) that will reconcile Sunni rejectionists with the state.
There is very little evidence they are going to do this, or even want to. The Iraqi legislature just went on a one month vacation. If the surge is "do or die" for Iraq, no one seems to have told the Iraqis.
LOL. The Democrats are all Hippies and peaceniks, yeah right. That's just dumb.
There would be no genocide in Iraq if Bush hadn't stubbornly invaded Iraq against the warnings that it would be a disaster. I'm sure Bush planned ahead and had strategies to cover all the possible scenarios, right? Including a scenario of an unstabilized Iraq, mired in a Civil War... you realize that destabilization is fully Bush's responsibility, right? And if a half-million dead Iraqi civilians (one estimate) as a result of Bush's invasion is not "genocide" then what is? I think Bush's White House puts the number of dead civilians at well over 100,000. That's not enough dead Iraqi civilians for you, to call it genocide? The cost of genocide was NEVER worth it, which is why half the country and most of the world tried to prevent the invasion in the first place. "We" who were against the war from the beginning have been right about Iraq all along, and "you" who have been for the war have been wrong, from the beginning and you're still wrong now. The war hasn't just been badly bungled, it was also a plainly stupid idea that never made any sense.
Lieberman is an Independant. The Democrats rejected him in Connecticut. Secondly, Bush governed for the last 6 years as if he's only interested in the people who agree with him about everything, and anybody who doesn't see things his way can eat shit. That approach was fine with you, when Bush was riding high in the polls. But now that it's clear that the invasion/occupation is a huge strategic and political disaster, you generously want to include Bush's detractors- the people who tried to prevent the invasion in the first place- into bearing the same responsibility for the war that Bush and his boot-licking supporters bear. That's truly pathetic, and it isn't going to fly.
Petraeus is a Yes Man, and it's certainly fair to point that out. Bush only surrounds himself with people who agree with him. That's one of the big reasons his presidency has been a failure. Bush listens to other views, sure... and then he ignores them. Petraeus will be dumped on his ass, as soon as he stops parroting the Bush message, just like previous generals. You want a promotion, you say the things that make the president happy. Otherwise, you're out of a job. We see the pattern time and time again.
As far as addressing the editorial and the credentials of the authors, the article I linked does that quite well. Also, I understand Pollack may have backtracked already (?) saying that he meant by the editorial that we are seeing progress against "Al Qaeda Iraq" (a tiny fraction of the insurgency) and that the civil war and conditions on the ground are still as bad as they ever were.