T Nation

Hagel's Stand on Iraq

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/29/AR2007042901562.html?hpid=opinionsbox2

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/29/AR2007042901562.html?hpid=opinionsbox2
[/quote]

To his credit, the guy is bluntly honest: “We have [national] interests in Iraq.”

I don’t think there is any question we need to downsize our forces and let the Iraqis carry more of the load.

It is a question of when. I do not like timetables or even the discussion of timetables because it emboldens the enemy.

[quote]gDol wrote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/29/AR2007042901562.html?hpid=opinionsbox2[/quote]

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/29/AR2007042901562.html?hpid=opinionsbox2[/quote]

Hey, gdol,

Good find. My own personal bias must be interjected. I’ve never been a chuck hagel supporter. It seems he’s always front and center as the “Prominent Republican Senator who disagrees with Bush.”

Therefore, I have to throw out what my opinion is colored by.

I find it interesting that he starts to hint at some progress (Iraqis against al qaeda).

To entertain the notion of progress and vote for A RIDICULOUS PUBLICITY STUNT THAT HAS NO CHANCE OF PASSING AND ONLY EMBOLDENS THE ENEMY speaks to the nature of the man.

Not only that, but, this is very poor politics.

I don’t believe for a second Novak’s implied assertion that this is all on principle. I think hagel thinks of himself in the McCain mold of “independent” thinkers. Aka…He wants headlines. This guy seems to always be threatening to run for President.

He wouldn’t garner top five status in the primaries.

I know that Novak tries hard to buttress his “Conservative credentials” and tries very hard to make him seem like a hawk.

However, I’m not buying it.

Again, in fairness, my understanding of the man may be incomplete.

JeffR

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
It is a question of when. I do not like timetables or even the discussion of timetables because it emboldens the enemy. [/quote]

D?ja vu. Hell, you are using the exact same words.

Seriously, what you’re saying is the following: [i]“We will get out, but we can’t tell you when nor do we when ourselves. For all we know, we could be occupying Iraq indefinitely”[/quote]

I don’t think Bush (or the US for that matter) has enough credibility for the people to trust him.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
I don’t think there is any question we need to downsize our forces and let the Iraqis carry more of the load.

It is a question of when. I do not like timetables or even the discussion of timetables because it emboldens the enemy.

[/quote]

What do you think we should use in place of a timetable? Milestones of a sort might not be a bad idea, but I am not sure how to implement those without engaging some sort of a timetable as well.

Our best bet might be to focus more effort on the outlying provinces, try to get the situation to be more like that slideshow with the local sheikhs taking control (can you remind of the city where that is going well, I have drawn a complete and utter blank on that).

While Baghdad is of obvious importance to stop the chaos and killings, our best bet might be to cast the net wide and draw it in closer, culminating in Baghdad being the last place with a heavy US presence.

[quote]Ren wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
I don’t think there is any question we need to downsize our forces and let the Iraqis carry more of the load.

It is a question of when. I do not like timetables or even the discussion of timetables because it emboldens the enemy.

What do you think we should use in place of a timetable? Milestones of a sort might not be a bad idea, but I am not sure how to implement those without engaging some sort of a timetable as well.

Our best bet might be to focus more effort on the outlying provinces, try to get the situation to be more like that slideshow with the local sheikhs taking control (can you remind of the city where that is going well, I have drawn a complete and utter blank on that).

While Baghdad is of obvious importance to stop the chaos and killings, our best bet might be to cast the net wide and draw it in closer, culminating in Baghdad being the last place with a heavy US presence.

[/quote]

Agreed.

My big problem with a timetable is that it is so artificial.

If leaving is more important than stabilizing Iraq we should leave immediately.

If stabilizing Iraq is important we should pull out when we meet strategic milestones.

A timetable is worse tha either one of these choices.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Agreed.

My big problem with a timetable is that it is so artificial.

If leaving is more important than stabilizing Iraq we should leave immediately.

If stabilizing Iraq is important we should pull out when we meet strategic milestones.

A timetable is worse tha either one of these choices.[/quote]

I understand where you are coming from saying it is artificial, but I also think it provides a much clearer course of action than simple goals or milestones.

I simply don’t see us garnering local support without some sort of focused plan that has achievable goals and milestones with a timetable for each attached.

The question is, what if the milestones / goals are not reached by the appropriate date? This is our biggest problem as depending on where you are in the country you either have a lot of people wanting to get you out BUT are helping us in order to accomplish that, versus people that want us out and are using violence and terror to achieve that.

So like I said, I believe strategic milestones are the key to solidifying Iraq, the problem is when we just set milestones without a timetable to reach them.

When a company like say Toyota says that their plan is to increase production by say 10% over the next year, you bet your ass there are dozens of smaller goals leading up to that final goal, each of which having a detailed plan with dates of completion.

That is just the way I look at it, open-ended goals have a way of dragging on, a timetable gives you more of a sense of urgency and focus. Feel free to disagree, looking forward to what you have to say.

p.s. For the record, setting a singular date to pull troops out without setting dates and plans to help Iraqis take up the slack as we bring back troops is THE worst thing we can do.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
I do not like timetables or even the discussion of timetables because it emboldens the enemy.

[/quote]
What does this mean? How does it embolden the “enemy”? Who is the “enemy”?

Are you just repeating what you hear in the media? That is what is sounds like to me.

[quote]Ren wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
Agreed.

My big problem with a timetable is that it is so artificial.

If leaving is more important than stabilizing Iraq we should leave immediately.

If stabilizing Iraq is important we should pull out when we meet strategic milestones.

A timetable is worse tha either one of these choices.

I understand where you are coming from saying it is artificial, but I also think it provides a much clearer course of action than simple goals or milestones.

I simply don’t see us garnering local support without some sort of focused plan that has achievable goals and milestones with a timetable for each attached.

The question is, what if the milestones / goals are not reached by the appropriate date? This is our biggest problem as depending on where you are in the country you either have a lot of people wanting to get you out BUT are helping us in order to accomplish that, versus people that want us out and are using violence and terror to achieve that.

So like I said, I believe strategic milestones are the key to solidifying Iraq, the problem is when we just set milestones without a timetable to reach them.

When a company like say Toyota says that their plan is to increase production by say 10% over the next year, you bet your ass there are dozens of smaller goals leading up to that final goal, each of which having a detailed plan with dates of completion.

That is just the way I look at it, open-ended goals have a way of dragging on, a timetable gives you more of a sense of urgency and focus. Feel free to disagree, looking forward to what you have to say.

p.s. For the record, setting a singular date to pull troops out without setting dates and plans to help Iraqis take up the slack as we bring back troops is THE worst thing we can do.[/quote]

I think setting a schedule to meet milestones is required. Train 10,000 troops by August 1st, etc. Without setting target dates to meet goals nothing happens.

I think we need to demonstrate progress or revise plans.

What I don’t want is what Congress is currently pushing which is a set pull out date.

It helps the enemy to know that if he can hang on until that date he has a chance to win.

Even discussion of pulling out and anything short of victory emboldens our enemy and steps up the level of attacks.

When a prominent politician takes a defeatist attitude and it is covered in the media it encourages the enemy to set off more car bombs to try to drive public opinion and sway more politicians into the defeatist attitude.

The enemy has been playing this game perfectly and our politicians are too self absorbed to do anything more than what may immediately benefit themselves.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
I do not like timetables or even the discussion of timetables because it emboldens the enemy.

What does this mean? How does it embolden the “enemy”? Who is the “enemy”?

Are you just repeating what you hear in the media? That is what is sounds like to me.
[/quote]

George W. Bush, 4/9/99, Houston Chronicle:

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

George W. Bush, 6/5/99, Scripps Howard/Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
My big problem with a timetable is that it is so artificial. [/quote]

Errr…I heard Sucralose caused cancer, artificial flowers didn’t good but never did I hear of a timetable being artificial.

My take is that Bush used it to confuse people.

Here’s what my dictionary says:

Artificial adj.

1: contrived by art rather than nature; “artificial flowers”; “artificial flavoring”; “an artificial diamond”; “artificial fibers”; “artificial sweeteners” [syn: {unreal}] [ant: {natural}]
2: artificially formal; “that artificial humility that her husband hated”; “contrived coyness”; “a stilted letter of acknowledgment”; “when people try to correct their speech they develop a stilted pronunciation” [syn: {contrived}, {hokey},
{stilted}]
3: not arising from natural growth or characterized by vital processes

Again with the win/loose nonsense? Iraq is not an iPod you win at a game. It’s a real place with real people.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:

What I don’t want is what Congress is currently pushing which is a set pull out date.[/quote]

I’ve said this since the start. If the Democrats and other nay-sayers could lay out the metrics of failure, they would carry much more weight when they say we need to leave.

The fall of Baghdad is hard to reject as failure. The assassination of a president is hard to reject as failure. Waiting for bad things to happen and then saying bad things happened is not a strategy and is not any better than what we’ve got now. Bush said there would be a government, there was a government. He said the Iraqis would deal with Saddam, the Iraqis dealt with Saddam. He said there would be free elections, there were free elections. Democrats couldn’t even call the “welcomed as liberators” bullshit until after the fact.

I don’t get the people disagreeing with clearly delineated goals and decision-making. It’s like they want to feel better about themselves in spite of any actuality or reality that occurs or exists.

iPods for everyone so that they can all feel good when the insurgents and terrorists start blowing them up.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
I’ve said this since the start. If the Democrats and other nay-sayers could lay out the metrics of failure, they would carry much more weight when they say we need to leave.

[/quote]
How about the fact that we went to war based on lies and overthrew a government that kept people from killing each other based on their religion and allowed a terrorist foothold into a country that it did not previously have. Is that a FAILURE?

Or the fact that there never was an exit strategy because we never planned to exit? Or the fact that we weren’t intelligent enough to know the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims before we entered Baghdad? Or the fact that we have lost all credibility with any part of the world that matters? Or the fact that more than half a million people have lost their lives in the name of “liberation”?

Dems are just as much to blame for the failures (for agreeing to go to war) and for not holding the Bush administration to account.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

How about the fact that we went to war based on lies and overthrew a government that kept people from killing each other based on their religion and allowed a terrorist foothold into a country that it did not previously have. Is that a FAILURE?[/quote]

1.) Give me mens rea for the lie. Did Bush say, “I know they don’t have weapons but we’ll prove they did anyway.” Or did Iraq have enormous chunks of the intelligence community fooled because they violated sanctions and repeatedly pulled shenanigans with the UN?

2.) Are you honestly going to tell me people weren’t being gassed to death and otherwise violently oppressed prior to our invasion?

3.) Once again, post hoc ergo propter hoc. Pointing to bad things that happened or perceived contemporary ills is not a strategy. If anything, it’s a cry for attention.

1.) Half a million is a gross overestimate. Tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands is supportable and credible. Half a million is a third-party estimate that few support. But I guess if you’re arguing against empiricism, you’ve got to use shock value for all it’s worth.

2.) See? The quanta are so easy to snatch out of the ether. But the naysayers are too stupid to do it with any effect. Half a million dead Iraqis for any reason and we pull out 50% of our forces (I bet the insurgents would start slaughtering civilians left and right). Popular opinion for the war drops below X% and we pull out Y number of troops…

I agree, and this is what I’m talking about. Dems are just as responsible so why is “their plan” any better? There’s no evidence that it will do anything except save American lives in the short term. Maybe.

had to share this:

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/05/01/bush-timetable-2

my favourite quote:

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

Well said Dubya.

[quote]Ren wrote:
had to share this:

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/05/01/bush-timetable-2

my favourite quote:

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

Well said Dubya.[/quote]

You are comparing a meaningless struggle in Kosovo to a very meaningful struggle in Iraq.

There is no strategic interest in Kosovo.

There is considerable strategic interest regarding the war on terror as well as world wide energy and interest in Iraq.

He is right in both cases.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

How about the fact that we went to war based on lies and overthrew a government that kept people from killing each other based on their religion and allowed a terrorist foothold into a country that it did not previously have. Is that a FAILURE?

1.) Give me mens rea for the lie. Did Bush say, “I know they don’t have weapons but we’ll prove they did anyway.” Or did Iraq have enormous chunks of the intelligence community fooled because they violated sanctions and repeatedly pulled shenanigans with the UN?
[/quote]

Misleading the public is the same thing. If I did it I would lose my job–and if not that certainly would lose my credibility.

Yes. That is exactly what I am saying. We were flying operation Northern/Southern watch…to which I had privy information. He certainly did questionable things (shooting at our planes, etc) but gassing people on a daily basis wasn’t one of them. I cannot go any further with an explanation…take it for what its worth as I cannot give you any proof. But blaming him for what his army did is like blaming bush for what our a Army does when they do something wrong.

It doesn’t lessen our burden of having to recover from them either.

[/quote]
1.) Half a million is a gross overestimate. Tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands is supportable and credible. Half a million is a third-party estimate that few support. But I guess if you’re arguing against empiricism, you’ve got to use shock value for all it’s worth.
[/quote]

The actual figure as of october is 655000.

www.iraqibodycount.org estimates it at about 10x less or about 65000. Did we lose that many of our own in Vietnam?

You think that is a more acceptable figure?

I am thinking more about saving our reputation which is completely ruined. Soldiers are for fighting and dying…thats what they do. I think what they are dying for is worthless.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

Misleading the public is the same thing. If I did it I would lose my job–and if not that certainly would lose my credibility.[/quote]

Unless they could show you deliberately misrepresented things, they’d have no grounds to fire you. Every doctor walking free that has prescribed a lethal drug or lethal drug combo unwittingly is a testament to this.

Do you think Bush has maintained credibility?

No one said daily basis.

If Bush ordered/allowed/knew of the use poison gas to kill off 80,000 American civilians. I don’t believe his fate would be much brighter.

Evacuation is not recovery.

According to whom?

[quote]www.iraqibodycount.org estimates it at about 10x less or about 65000. Did we lose that many of our own in Vietnam?

You think that is a more acceptable figure?[/quote]

Would it stop at 65,000 if we left? Or would the people keeping track lose interest/ability after we left? Once again, pointing at what has happened rather than talking about what will happen.

I don’t think removing ourselves from Iraq immediately would do anything to help this.

And leaving would make it more meaningful?

[quote]lucasa wrote:

The actual figure as of october is 655000.

According to whom?

www.iraqibodycount.org estimates it at about 10x less or about 65000. Did we lose that many of our own in Vietnam?

You think that is a more acceptable figure?

Would it stop at 65,000 if we left? Or would the people keeping track lose interest/ability after we left? Once again, pointing at what has happened rather than talking about what will happen.
[/quote]

Sorry, forgot to post my source.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/10/AR2006101001442.html

Again this was in october and I don’t know how the data was collected. I am not sure exactly why the other one was 10x less.

What I am saying here is not that there is an easy solution. I do believe what we are doing is actually hurting our security and not in fact helping it.

You want to increase security…how about actually paying attention to OUR borders or placing our military on Alert within our own country. Iraq is a long way from here.

My point with Operation Northern/Southern watch was that we were under no direct threat while patrolling their country with our Air Force. Can you reply to that?