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Old 07-30-2007, 09:07 AM   #1
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Default Winning the war....

From the blog of Tom Bevan:


July 30, 2007
Winning the War
Posted by TOM BEVAN

The most conspicuous part of today's op-ed on Iraq by Michael E. O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack is that it comes off as such a revelation. Here we have two of the harshest critics of the Bush administration's execution of the war reporting back with a tone of wonderment at the progress we're making on the ground in Iraq:

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Viewed from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration's critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.
Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily "victory" but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

Kudos to the New York Times for printing the piece, because it's ipso facto proof that the American public is getting a distorted and overly negative view of what's going on there - thanks in large part to the MSM's coverage, including the Times' itself. If two of America's most well respected experts who follow this stuff closer than anyone are surprised by the positive progress in Iraq, just imagine how surprised the average Joe would be.

The other interesting thing, of course, is the potential political ramifications of such a high-profile declaration of progress. Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, for example, Chris Wallace asked Newt Gingrich why Democrats want to begin pulling troops out of Iraq before General Petraeus has a chance to issue his progress report in September. Gingrich responded:

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The left wing of the Democratic Party is deeply opposed to American victory and deeply committed to American defeat. [snip]
We are faced with evil opponents. Those opponents need to be defeated. And if General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker come back in September and say, "We actually can win this thing," I want to understand the rationale that says, "No, we don't want to let America win. Let's legislate defeat for the United States."

And, to highlight the contrast, Senator Russ Feingold appeared on FNS immediately following Gingrich and said he's convinced the surge is already a failure and that there's nothing that would make him change his mind about wanting to get out of Iraq as soon as possible. Here's the exchange with Chris Wallace:

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WALLACE: And, Senator, we want to give you a chance to respond to Speaker Gingrich. You don't want to wait till General Petraeus issues his progress report in September to start pulling U.S. forces out.
But the fact is that so far this summer, the number of American troops killed this month of July is down. Shiite death squad activity is down sharply. And in Anbar province, some of the Sunni sheiks have broken with Al Qaida.

Are you, in fact, ignoring some signs of success, some signs that the surge is working?

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: And I'm happy to acknowledge any signs of success, but the truth is since this surge began, we've had some of the highest numbers of American deaths and some of the greatest tragedies in Iraq of the entire period.

I do not buy the notion that the surge is working. I do not buy the notion that somehow Petraeus is going to be able to tell us that things are moving in the right direction. And in fact, he'll come back in September and he's going to say, "Let's wait till the end of the year."

So this is an endless game that continues this tragedy, and I think it's just the opposite of what Speaker Gingrich said. The truth is this is draining America's strength. It is costing us $12 billion a month.

We're losing over 100 people almost every single month, and it is hurting us in the fight against those that attacked us on 9/11. So this disaster has to end.

And a number of Republicans, of course, now have voted saying, "We can't just wait till September. We've got to get this done."

WALLACE: So I want to make sure I've got this clear, Senator. If General Petraeus comes in September, issues his progress report and indicates, obviously, not that we have a Jeffersonian democracy, but that things are better on the ground in Iraq, are you willing to change your position, or is your mind already made up?

FEINGOLD: Well, I'll listen to whatever he says. But he's not going to be the only person I consult with. We've heard from the White House and generals before about how there's no civil war, about the insurgency is in its last throes, and time and again it proved not to be true.

So I'll give all the respect to General Petraeus' remarks that are due, but every indication I get -- and I'm on the Intelligence Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee, so I get a lot of information on this -- suggests that it is virtually impossible that he's going to be able to give the kind of rosy scenario that you've concocted here.

Despite the fact the war remains unpopular, there is political risk for Democrats in ignoring signs of progress in Iraq - something that today's op-ed by O'Hanlon and Pollack makes clear.

(end blog)
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: Winning the war....

I'm going to say right now that winning the battle for our country and our troops is more important than turning the situation into political hay. It is certainly possible (and in all probability true) for this to be a clusterfrock of the highest order, AND for the only way out of it to be to see it through to the end rather than leave.

If this all works out, then Petraeus is the man of the year, and of all years.


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Old 07-30-2007, 10:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Winning the war....

Unfortunately it is already political hay. I hope things are getting better. And, the sooner that happens, the sooner those guys can come home, and proud.
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Winning the war....

when is war not political hay?

i don't understand why so many use the term "win" in iraq. this isn't exactly a football game.

even if the military finds a way to quell the civil war raging in that country... do we really "win".

i read this the other day... i guess it kinda touches upon the point i'm trying to make.

"One private, infamous as a joker and troublemaker, found the top part of a human skull, which was almost perfectly preserved. It even had chunks of hair, which were stiff and matted down with dirt. He squealed as he placed it on his head like a crown. It was a perfect fit. As he marched around with the skull on his head, people dropped shovels and sandbags, folding in half with laughter. No one thought to tell him to stop. No one was disgusted. Me included."

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20070723&s=diarist072307

our troops are paying a large price... watch the vid on this link below and then tell me you honestly believe the media has a bias in reporting what's taking place there.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/video/page/0,,2125978,00.html
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: Winning the war....

Things are bad, for sure, but the media is biased. And too involved, in my opinion. Imagine what they would have video of if that were not so tightly controled during WW2?

I use the phrase "win" to mean the best possible outcome compared to the objectives going in. Creating a stable country in the region, a democracy at that. It may be too much to ask of at this point but, hey, it's better then keeping that part of the world as is. It is a religious, fundamentalist hornet's nest.
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Winning the war....

This is a no win situation. The factions there have been fighting amongst themselves for a 1000 years and will continue to do so for the next 1000. There will be no "seeing it to the end"

It pisses me off that there is more of an outrage in this country over some dumbass jock fighting pitbulls than the fact that about a dozen or so young men are being slaughtered everyday to protect the interests of big oil who in turn screws the consumer every chance they get.
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Winning the war....

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan View Post
This is a no win situation. The factions there have been fighting amongst themselves for a 1000 years and will continue to do so for the next 1000. There will be no "seeing it to the end"

It pisses me off that there is more of an outrage in this country over some dumbass jock fighting pitbulls than the fact that about a dozen or so young men are being slaughtered everyday to protect the interests of big oil who in turn screws the consumer every chance they get.
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: Winning the war....

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan View Post
This is a no win situation. The factions there have been fighting amongst themselves for a 1000 years and will continue to do so for the next 1000. There will be no "seeing it to the end"

It pisses me off that there is more of an outrage in this country over some dumbass jock fighting pitbulls than the fact that about a dozen or so young men are being slaughtered everyday to protect the interests of big oil who in turn screws the consumer every chance they get.
OHHHH...we are there because of oil....thats working out well ...isnt it

last time I checked we werent pumping oil from Iraq into big trucks with U.S emblazed on the sides...or did I miss something in the paper
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Winning the war....


"oil causes war"
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
OHHHH...we are there because of oil....thats working out well ...isnt it

last time I checked we werent pumping oil from Iraq into big trucks with U.S emblazed on the sides...or did I miss something in the paper
So you think this isn't about oil? Do you think Bush is just really concerned with the quality of life in the mid east and wanted to help everybody out. You know give the people the benefit of all our wisdom,maybe open up a few McDonalds.
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