Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 23, 2008
POLITICS/WAR: Obama's Losing Bet On Defeat

Even after eight years in which every conceivable calumny has been hurled at President Bush, his advisers and his supporters, there are apparently some things you are not supposed to say in American politics, and John McCain has gone and said one of them:

This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.

Mainstream media liberals like Joe Klein and Obama flacks like John Aravosis headed for the fainting couches at the suggestion that Obama was willing to lose the war in Iraq in order to win this election. But the facts are the facts, and they show beyond any doubt that Obama chose to pursue defeat in Iraq instead of a strategy that is leading us to victory:

1. Obama's public statements from 2004 through 2006 recognized that withdrawal from Iraq would lead to defeat and disaster.

2. In early 2007, when President Bush announced the "surge" strategy to try to win the war, leading Democrats - Obama included - publicly concluded that the war was lost and accordingly opposed the surge.

3. Obama went further and rolled out a plan to begin drawing down troops in May 2007, leading to a full withdrawal by March 2008. There was no pretense that this was to be a victorious withdrawal; Obama stated in his press release that "no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else's civil war" and that he was proposing to "reverse[] the President's dangerous and ill-conceived escalation of the Iraq war" and "bring a responsible end to this war and bring our troops home". The press release made no mention of victory or even honor.

4. Obama's opposition to the surge and calls for an immediate commencement of withdrawal proved popular with his supporters in the Democratic primary and helped him win the nomination of his party.

5. John McCain, by contrast, supported the surge on the grounds that it would lead to victory.

6. It is now obvious, and so broadly conceded that Klein paints it as beyond dispute, that the surge has succeeded and will lead to victory in Iraq.

7. Had we followed Obama's strategy instead of McCain's, it is equally clear that we would have lost the war, as the Iraqis could not have done it without us.

While Aravosis calls McCain's statement "a brutal lie," he does not take issue with any of those facts. Meanwhile, Ann Althouse delivers a devastating rebuke to Klein for his insistence that it is out of bounds to present America with the facts of Obama's choice and the necessary consequences of that choice:

McCain said we had to win the war, he pushed for the surge, the surge worked, and now we will have that victory that he would not give up on. Obama said the war was hopeless, we'd have to accept loss, and the surge would only waste more lives.

That is a huge, huge difference. And that is what McCain was referring to. It could have been put even more sharply.

If Klein wants to get all outraged about something, he should get outraged retrospectively about how Obama and many Democrats were ready and even eager to embrace defeat. If Klein wants to worry about who is unsuited for the presidency, he ought to recognize that if Obama had been President two years ago, we would have suffered a humiliating defeat in Iraq that would have repercussions for decades.

As Glenn says, read the whole thing.

While there are a lot of issues at stake in this election, this is McCain's starkest contrast. I explored Monday the hard questions about whether we have already won, as Michael Yon argues, or still have a long way to go, but in either event, it cannot be doubted that by any metric we are are winning and will win as long as we hang on to finish the job.

Charles Bird has a tremendous collection of charts showing graphically the downward progress of all sorts of violence and upward progress of successful confiscation of the enemy's weapons. As Yon explains:

A counterinsurgency is won when the government's legitimacy is no longer threatened by the insurgents, the government is able to protect its own people and the people are participating in the government. In Iraq, all three conditions apply.

As Randall Hoven points out in an essay that is an absolute must-read, progress is being made in Iraq on pretty much every front:

*US troop and Iraqi civilian fatality rates are at their lowest points since the war began in 2003.

*Today Iraq has legitimate elections, a constitution and a functioning parliament. It is considered more politically free than virtually any country in the Middle East, including Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait.

*Gross Domestic Product has almost tripled, from $20.5B (US dollars) in 2002 to $60.9B in 2008.

*Oil production in each of the last three months (May-July 2008) has exceeded the peak pre-war estimated rate of 2.5 million barrels per day. Oil exports now bring in about $7 billion per month, and rising.

*Pre-war, only 4 to 8 hours of electricity were available per day nationwide, on average. In July 2008, electricity was available an average of almost 12 hours per day, an improvement of 50% to 200%.

*There are more than twice as many registered cars, more than 10 times as many telephone subscribers and more than 50 times as many internet subscribers.

*Under Saddam, Iraq had no commercial TV or radio stations and no independent newspapers or magazines. Zero. Today it has dozens of TV stations and hundreds of radio stations, newspapers and magazines.

*More children are in school, and more doctors, judges and security personnel have been trained and are being trained.

In addition to the above, the White House has reported that the Iraqi government achieved "satisfactory" progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks as set by Congress and the President.

Hoven stresses the fact that the surge only became possible after the less visible elements of progress fell into place between 2003 and 2006 - it's worth reading his analysis at length, but just to hit a few points:

In May 2003, there were only about 8,000 Iraqi Security Forces. By the end of 2003 they had grown to 100,000. By January of 2007, when the surge was announced, there were 323,000 Iraqi forces. Today there are almost 500,000. And as those numbers grew, those forces were being trained by people like General Petraeus. They worked more and more with coalition troops. They took control over more areas of Iraq. They gained combat experience.

In short, you can't go from 8,000 rag-tag troops accustomed to the Baathist Army's corrupt chain-of-command to 500,000 soldiers willing and capable of working with the modern, professional US military overnight. It took years. In fact, I'd say it took about four years.

And what about the "attitudinal shift among certain elements of the Iraqi population?" You think holding three successful and honest elections (remember the purple fingers), a functioning parliament and an accepted constitution might have had something to do with it? Those things didn't happen overnight, or painlessly, either.

You can say the surge worked, but it only worked because of what came before it.

True as that is, the fact remains that the decision to institute the surge in early 2007 (not just the increase in troops but the more general overhaul of our counterinsurgency strategy and rules of engagement) was a critical moment, a moment when leadership called for recognizing that those conditions were in place and could be built upon. John McCain, having been deeply enmeshed in war-making policy for decades and in the Iraq war since the beginning, was able to see that; Obama wasn't, or was too busy reading Iowa polls to care. Indeed, as Hoven notes, the increase in U.S. troops was only barely enough to cover the decline in other allied forces in theater:

The surge was announced in January 2007. In 2006 the number of US troops in Iraq peaked at 144,000 in September and October. The US troop level peaked about one year later, at 171,000 in October 2007. That is a 19% increase.

However, some of those US troops were making up for a loss of non-US troops. Total coalition troops went from 162,000 in September 2006 to 182,668 in October 2007.

Obviously, if the U.S. had been following Obama's plan for a March 2008 withdrawal, those figures would have been dramatically different.

Peter Wehner summarizes what this all says about Obama and his fellow Democrats:

As ethno-sectarian violence in Iraq rapidly declined, as al Qaeda absorbed tremendous military blows, and as political accommodation and legislative achievements have emerged, Democrats, rather than welcoming the progress, grew agitated. They embraced with religious zeal the belief that the Iraq war was lost; they therefore viewed the success of the surge as a terribly inconvenient development, one they sought to deny to the point that they looked silly and out of touch. Worse, Democrats acted as if they had a vested interest in an American defeat.

Rarely has a political party been so uniformly wrong, in such an obvious way, on such an important matter. And when Americans cast their vote on November 4, they should carefully consider how Barack Obama and the entire Democratic party fought ferociously and relentlessly to undermine a policy that has worked extraordinarily well and may yet prove to be among the most successful military plans in modern times.

Of course, the left wants to argue that it's equally clear that the decision to go to war was a bad one. But even if you leave aside for a minute all the many arguments we have all been making these last six years, it's easy to envision the "but for" world in which we followed Obama's advice and bugged out of Iraq by March and the place went to hell; it's much dicier to try to explain how America and the region would be better off today if instead of an Iraqi democracy we had Saddam still running the place and engaging in the broad menu of tyranny, terror, aggression and other forms of misconduct that characterized his regime for decades. In fact, Obama almost never talks about what Iraq would be like today if we had listened to him in 2002 - if anything, his relative hawkishness on Afghanistan seems to be aimed largely at giving him something to say when he tries to imagine what else could have been done if not for the Iraq War. But even in Afghanistan, there remains the question of whether all the Al Qaeda and other foreign fighters who poured into Iraq the last several years because there were Americans to fight there would instead have joined the Afghan battle.

Whatever your view of the war's inception, we are now winning it decisively and doing so in spite of Obama and in defiance of his proposed March 2008 withdrawal date - and when Obama tries to gloss over his inexperience and his naivete by appeals to his "judgment to lead," he needs to be reminded at every turn that not only did he not have the judgment to lead us to victory in Iraq, he didn't even want to try, not when he could make more immediate political hay out of proclaiming defeat and seeking to consummate it.

If that can not be said in America about the man who wants us to vote him the Commander-in-Chief, then really, what is even left that we can talk about?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:00 PM | Politics 2008 • | War 2007-12 | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Though you desperately try to paint Obama's lack of faith in the surge as a left wing defeatist position, please recall it was also the position taken by the Iraq Study Group chaired by non other than that liberal pinko James Baker, and which included other softies like Edwin Meese and Lawrence Eagleburger.

Why did all these wisemen think packing up was our only option? Because after 4.5 years, the situation had gone from bad to worse to absolute hell on earth with no signs of a turnaround. And short of impeaching the president, we were stuck with the same incompetent administration for another two years. And very few sane people could imagine that band of blowhards turning anything around.

Yet things have turned around in Iraq. All Americans should be thankful for the progress. But questioning the liklihood of this outcome in December of 2006 hardly qualifies one as a defeatist.

Posted by: Patrick at July 23, 2008 9:27 PM

You will recall how little I thought of the ISG at the time. Baker's no lefty...but he's an Arabist and realpolitik-er, from the camp that never got the point about the broader project in the region.

Posted by: The Crank at July 23, 2008 9:33 PM

In theory, given that McCain bet his political future on what looked like a losing proposition, and has apparently been proven right, he ought to reap the rewards of that, especially since Obama consciously went the other way. The problem McCain has is that there isn't really a lot of evidence that the American people think winning in Iraq is really all that important, and if McCain can't sell that, he's out of luck.

Posted by: Jerry at July 23, 2008 9:49 PM

You democrats need to say "We were wrong to push for withdrawing from Iraq. We were wrong to not support the surge. We were wrong to not support General Petraeus. We were wrong not to have confidence in our military and our President."

If you repeat this enough times, maybe you can cleanse your souls.

Good bless the troops and President Bush for ignoring the defeatest like Senator Obama.

Posted by: Lee at July 23, 2008 9:50 PM

I think Jerry's post hit the nail on the head politically speaking. No one who thought the war was worthwhile will care if we won it, especially given its expense. But of course, we've all been over this before.

What I find a little troubling is this "broader project in the region" to which the Crank keeps referring. I followed the link in one of his previous post to a strategic overview of the war, and I'm assuming that the broader project is this one: "The large solution is to reform the Arab/Muslim world."

Crank, in your Sbrenica post, you sensibly noted that nation-building and peacekeeping should not be ends in themselves, but as supplements to war aims. Yet ironically, this "broader project" - and the way the Republicans have insisted that "victory" in Iraq must include a stable Iraqi democracy - seems to contradict that very notion.

Posted by: MVH at July 23, 2008 11:54 PM

I have no idea what's in Obama's head . . . and neither do Crank or Cranky John McCain.

But by this logic, every American that wants to withdraw the troops from Iraq (and there are LOTS of us) would rather lose the war in order to gain some ephemeral advantage in . . . uhhh, debates with his war-mongering friends? Futures investing on oil? Bragging rights when he sits his lil' grand kids on his knee in 2031 and tells 'em he "always had it right from the git' go on that there Eye-rack adventure that Bush II got us inta'"?

Come on, Crank. For the 956th time, I implore you: just come out and say, "I don't like Obama 'cause he's a stinkin' Democrat and I always support the Republican."

I promise you'll feel better. Hell, you'll probably sleep better and night and have more energy to research baseball posts.

Posted by: Mike at July 24, 2008 7:32 AM

You democrats need to say "We were wrong to push for withdrawing from Iraq. We were wrong to not support the surge. We were wrong to not support General Petraeus. We were wrong not to have confidence in our military and our President."

If you repeat this enough times, maybe you can cleanse your souls.

Huh???

Lee, saying "We're winning the war in Iraq" over & over doesn't make it true.

I know that after 8 years of lying & propaganda the American people have often been hoodwinked by repeated bullsh*t, but that doesn't make it TRUE.

To put it another way: just because you fool them, doesn't mean you're not lying.

Or to put it yet another way: just because you say "we've always been at war with Eurasia" didn't mean "we've always been at war with Eurasia."

In fact, what it means is "We were at war with East Asia until about a day ago."

God bless . . . President Bush for ignoring the defeatists like Senator Obama.

God damn is more like it. And as to defeatists, it looks to me that Bush, and not Obama, has been the Commander-in-Chief during this war in which we've been getting defeated for 5 years now.

Reality's a tricky thing, Lee, but I promise you it's a better place to live than fantasy.

Posted by: Mike at July 24, 2008 7:42 AM

They should make McCain explain what a "win in Iraq" would look like.
That question has stumped war-supporters for 5 years now.

Obama should reply to McCain's Rovian line with this:
This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than have more American soldiers killed and maimed. It seems to me that McCain would rather have more American soldiers killed and maimed in order to win a political campaign.

Also, regarding the surge: Be careful Crank. I read your (wrong) stuff about how we were winning the war in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 as well.
Setting aside how the surge has not provided the political ramifications promised, let's see if violence remains low when we reduce the number of boots on the ground and stop paying the war factions not to fight each other.

"Mainstream media liberals like Joe Klein..."
Are you trying to make coffee come out of my nose with that line?

Posted by: Berto at July 24, 2008 8:59 AM

Mike,

I am not sure what reality you are in; but it is not the same one that the real world is in. We are winning in Iraq, and troops are performing brilliantly, and President Bush was right to ignore people like you.

We are being lied to by the mainstream media and liberals like you; not by the troops. If you went to the blogs like www.blackfive.net or Michael Yon's site you would learn what the media and Democrats don't want you to know.

Just because this does not fit your world view is no reason to ignore what is really happening. I guess you (like most liberals) can't admit when you are wrong. Maybe because you are wrong so often that if you admitted it everytime you would have nothing else to say!

Posted by: Lee at July 24, 2008 9:29 AM

Mike:

Are you even dimly aware of what's going on in Iraq, or is your head shoved so far up your ass that you don't notice the news and reports which uniformly report that the situation in the country has changed 180 degrees? Sure, that doesn't mean the war has been won for sure, and reverses can happen, but to ignore this reality is to truly live in a fantasy world. But then again, you are a leftist.

Posted by: crankycon at July 24, 2008 9:30 AM

It seems to me none of you have any problem with the case Crank has nailed together here. You're just nibbling around the margins or rewriting history. What's shameful is that you people live under such delusions that illustrating this for you is even necessary.

McCain nailed Obama right between the eyes, has him dead to rights selling out our country to win the nomination of your shameless party. General Betray-us indeed. If you people knew what shame was you wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.

Sometimes it takes a real effort to laugh at you people, but I soldier on.

Posted by: spongeworthy at July 24, 2008 10:12 AM

Jerry - Yeah, obviously the concern here is that victory will put McCain where it put GHW Bush in 1992.

MVH - Obviously, the wider project to remake the region's governments does not imply, any more than it did in the Cold War, that we will invade them all. We saw in early 2005 how progress to free elections in Iraq helped drive positive developments towards democratization in Lebanon, Palestine, etc. Those mostly have not held, but democracy is a process, not an event, as Glenn Reynolds likes to say. The major goal is to root out bad regimes and terrorist groups, but we can advance that cause by using a variety of means. My objection to "nation building" for its own sake is when we have troops on the ground who are not empowered to take sides. In any event, our mission throughout the region, even where we have no troops stationed, requires that we take sides.

Mike - I don't know what Obama wanted to happen, and I had meant to make that point...but we know to a certainty what he chose. He chose to pursue a strategy that could not lead to victory.

And no, it's not just being a Democrat. I would not make this argument about Joe Lieberman, for example. If anything, it's the Democrats who have dug themselves into the WWGWBND worldview where they can't support anything if Bush is for it.

Berto - What would victory look like? I've been saying this for years - an Iraqi government that has popular legitimacy, doesn't sponsor terrorism or proliferate WMD, and has the willingness and ability to defend its territory against foreign jihadists and hostile neighbors. The details are up to the Iraqis.

Posted by: The Crank at July 24, 2008 10:32 AM

Thanks Crank. So if we get all that but Iraq nationalizes it's oil and doesn't allow the US to keep military bases in Iraq, will you still claim victory?
If yes, get ready to have your beloved GOP disown you in a NY second.

Posted by: Berto at July 24, 2008 11:25 AM

Berto, neither of those developments would be good news, but it would still be a win. We've had allies do anti-social and counterproductive things before.

One of Rumsfeld's major accomplishments was to diversify our base structure, so we're less dependent on being in any one place and less at the mercy of particular allies and their stomach for particular military campaigns. Long-term bases in Iraq would be very helpful but not essential.

Posted by: The Crank at July 24, 2008 11:44 AM

"Obviously, the wider project to remake the region's governments does not imply . . . any more than it did in the Cold War, that we will invade them all."

Re-reading my post, which was shorter than I would have liked, I can see why you say that, but that's not where I was going. I don't think the Republicans actually intend to invade the rest of the Middle East. My concern is that when we -do- decide to use military force against terrorism, which is often appropriate, that we take on the unnecessary goal of using military force against the entire nation in which they reside. And if it's part of the Republicans "broader project" have to reform the Middle East politically, it's going to be awful tempting for them to take on the additional war aim of regime change. Which is why I never wanted the Republicans to equate "victory" in Iraq with establishing what you described to Berto, namely, an "Iraqi government that has popular legitimacy, doesn't sponsor terrorism or proliferate WMD, and has the willingness and ability to defend its territory against foreign jihadists and hostile neighbors."

I'd like to see our military objectives limited to rooting out terrorists wherever they are and engaging the regimes themselves only when they try to stop us. Only as a last resort should we dismantle entire regimes.

The point I make about the Sbrenica post was based on this sentence - "It remains a signal lesson in the danger of returning to the era when 'nation building' and 'peacekeeping' were considered not as supplements to war aims but as ends in themselves." It is clear that Republicans do see nation-building as a war aim and as end to itself in Iraq, which has always been my main criticism of the way the war has been conducted. If that sentence you wrote said only "peacekeeping" then I woudn't have had a problem with it. Based on your clarification in your last post, though, the misunderstanding has been resolved.

Posted by: MVH at July 24, 2008 11:53 AM

MVH,

Your statement:

"I'd like to see our military objectives limited to rooting out terrorists wherever they are and engaging the regimes themselves only when they try to stop us. Only as a last resort should we dismantle entire regimes."

I see that is just what President Bush has done. In the case of both Afgahnistan and Iraq, the regimes were active in supporting terroist activities. Iraq was sponsoring terrorism in the Middle East and was helping Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda had contacts with Saddam plus had a training base in Northern Iraq.

In Pakistan and the Philippines, we have tried to work with the existing governments to root out the terrorists. This has met with mixed success. In Pakistan, the government has not allowed us as much access or assisted us as much as needed to in getting Al Qaeda.

So why has the liberals and Democrats dumped on Bush when he has done the appropriate thing in each case?

Posted by: Lee at July 24, 2008 2:00 PM

Crank et al-you guys have to stop attempting to use things such as facts, logic, reasoning, law, history, etc when arguing with liberals. Don't you realize it doesn't matter- they have made up their minds (in actuality they haven't made up their minds, they were told what to think) and nothing you say will ever change that. But remember always they are the self proclaimed tolerant,open minded and "progressive" people and we are just a bunch of ignorant, intolerant, religious bigots.

These are the same people who talk endlessly about the "lessons of Vietnam" but never mention the millions killed, jailed and enslaved in Southeast Asia after we left because of their policies.

These are the same people that will bloviate endlessly about tax cuts for the rich, but ignore all the millions of poor people removed from the tax rolls, the greatly increased revenue and the fact that the percentage of taxes paid by the rich has more than doubled due to the tax cuts over the last 27 plus years.

These are the same people that ignore that the Cold War was won by doing the exact opposite of what they advocated.

The same people that complain about unemployment when the number of Americans employed breaks records every month for over 4 years and the average monthly unemployment rate is the lowest of any presidency.

The same people that complain about dependence on foreign oil and high oil prices but do everthing in their power to stop new oil refineries, new domestic oil production, nuclear power plants, wind farms (because the kill birds and they ruin views) and believe it or not even solar energy projects.

It goes on and on and on. They have nothing but a flaccid, emotionally driven, irrelevant philosophy. They know nothing and trying to have a logical discourse with them is waste of time. They live in a fantasy world and nothing you say will change that. Their latest fiction over the last few years was an American defeat in Iraq (so they can relive their greatest victory-Vietnam) and the facts be damned, it will always be a defeat, faiure, quagmire, and if it isn't a defeat, than the reason America won is because of everyone else except George Bush.

Posted by: dch at July 24, 2008 2:45 PM

"In the case of both Afgahnistan and Iraq, the regimes were active in supporting terroist activities. Iraq was sponsoring terrorism in the Middle East and was helping Al Qaeda."

The case against Iraq helping Al Qaeda was weak, certainly not strong enough to justify an all-out invasion. Keep in mind that our real strong case for the war against terror was 9/11. Iraq was simply the wrong war.

I have no problem with Bush getting involved in Afghanistan. Zero. Nor would I have a problem with Pakistan - if they are harboring Al-Qaeda terrorists there, go in there and get them. I'll cheer on the effort. Same with the Philippines, if the government is being stubborn.

"So why has the liberals and Democrats dumped on Bush when he has done the appropriate thing in each case?"

I'm not a liberal on foreign policy, and I'm barely a Democrat, so I'll let them speak for themselves.

Posted by: MVH at July 24, 2008 2:55 PM

I should add something else. Given that we've gone ahead and toppled the Iraqi government, I don't think it's wrong for us to stay a while to help them back on their feet. It is the right thing to do, but only for so long, and I believe we've done so for long enough.

I'm just uncomfortable with equating "a stable Iraqi government" with "victory" because to a large degree, it is out of our hands. The various factions in Iraq have to be willing to get along, and unless we want to take sides in a civil war (which I don't want), it is not something we can force them to do and expect it to last. It's hardly a "defeat" for the US if the Iraqis can't get their act together, and there would be no shame in pulling out if ultimately, that is the case. Hopefully, it won't come to that.

Posted by: MVH at July 24, 2008 4:06 PM

dch,

It is just a wonder that since you are all are so intellectually, morally, spiritually and philosophically superior and pure that you have not turned into orbs or pure energy capable of moving throughout the universe simply by thought and will.

Seriously, I don't know if I have read a more self-righteous piece of claptrap in a long time.

Posted by: jim at July 24, 2008 4:39 PM

Jim,

To paragraph Dizzy Dean, "it ain't self-righteous if it's true".

Posted by: perose14 at July 24, 2008 5:03 PM

I guess it's the arrogance that holds the transformation back, huh?

Posted by: jim at July 24, 2008 5:17 PM

Win? Lose? it is not a game. We are talking about real people's lives, including not only the lives of the military personnel but also the lives of ordianry Iraqis.

Are the latter better off without Saddam Hussein? Probably. But that exact same case could be made about many countries all across the globe and you wing nuts don't advocate invading there.

The fact -- and Obama had it right from "day one" and Bush and McCain had it wrong -- Iraq had nothing to do wit WMD or the "war" on terrorism. Nothing. As in not one iota of evidence. We have wasted american lives, years of time and billions of dollars on a fool's errand.

It's long past time to end the side show and get back to the real work.

Posted by: Magrooder at July 24, 2008 9:18 PM

Lee -

We are winning in Iraq, and troops are performing brilliantly, and President Bush was right to ignore people like you

There you go again. As I said, you think that if you say it over-and-over enough it becomes true. Based on whatever the goal-of-the-month is, we are NOT winning in Iraq. I don't see how you can possibly believe that, but if it makes you feel better, go on.

I guess you (like most liberals) can't admit when you are wrong.

Uhhh, no. I can, and do, admit when I'm wrong. But I don't "admit" I'm wrong when I'm right. Why would I do that? To make you feel better about your own unsubstantiated opinions?

And why, may I ask, do you assume I'm a "liberal"? Questioning my nation's foreign policy, or more accurately the foreign policy of the executive, makes me a "liberal"?

Crankycon -

Are you even dimly aware of what's going on in Iraq, or is your head shoved so far up your ass that you don't notice the news and reports which uniformly report that the situation in the country has changed 180 degrees?

Interesting question. I often keep my head in my ass, but I have a wonderful 72 inch flat-screen plasma TV in my colon that shows FOX News 24 hours a day, so I'm not sure how to answer your compound question.

that doesn't mean the war has been won for sure, and reverses can happen, but to ignore this reality is to truly live in a fantasy world.

So by your logic, even if I were to accept this 180 degree turn of which you speak (and I don't), then that means we're "winning" the war? After 5 years of quagmire, of changing policy & goals, of nothing close to permanent "regime change" or whatever today's goal-of-the-month is, a brief window of "change" in the positive direction means we're "winning" the war?

To use a sports analogy, if the KC Royals go on a 7 game win streak, that means they're a "winning" team? Off towards a "winning" season. A "winning" franchise of the decade?

But then again, you are a leftist.

So I've gone -- in the time that elapsed for you to post one comment -- from a liberal (because I question America's foreign policy) to a "leftist"??? I question the prosecution of the War in Iraq, therefore I want to redistribute wealth? I take my orders not only from Dark Lord Kos, but from the Comintern?

Curious Logic you people have.

Crank -

Obama . . . chose to pursue a strategy that could not lead to victory.

Correct. But neither could his strategy lead to 4,000 dead Americans, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis, costs ranging well into the billions-and-billions, a five year stalemate, etc., etc.

And last I checked, while Bush's strategy has produced that parade of horribles, it hasn't produced victory.

it's the Democrats who have dug themselves into the WWGWBND worldview where they can't support anything if Bush is for it.

I think that's a selective view of the world. For two reasons. One, the Democrats are a political party. Of course they don't support Bush. Think you & yours will support anything Obama wants if he wins? I don't recall ANY support for Clinton during the 90s. Say what you will about the man (and I was no fan), but the economy was sound, we had relatively high levels of stability, and he was harangued & harassed for 8 years. hell, the GOP tried to IMPEACH him!

As to the support of non-Bushies beyond political affiliation (liberals, libertarians, fiscal conservative GOPers, whatever), that's more about Bush's policies, and not about the knee-jerk reaction you accuse.

I DO have a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to executive overreach, support of terror, continued prosecution of a war that a majority of Americans don't want. I haven't cried or carped, however, about his plan to drill off-shore. I'm not crazy about the idea, but it has its merits. Let's see what happens.

Bush Derangement Syndrome (or this WWGWBND, whatever it stands for) is a bit of a myth, perpetuated by the paranoia of the Bush-supporting far right. You guy has some very divisive, polarizing policies. Because people disagree with him consistently still has more to do with those policies than about some conspiracy to take him down.

Posted by: Mike at July 25, 2008 7:40 AM

support of terror

I meant "support of torture."

Posted by: Mike at July 25, 2008 7:44 AM

dch, anyone who doubts your screed doesn't have to look too far for proof, do they? It's like they're trying to make it easy for us.

They're not called the "community-based reality" for nothing.

Posted by: spongeworthy at July 25, 2008 10:07 AM

sponge,

Hmm, not sure I understand what you're talking about, but then again I don't think most people do. However, using the word screed to describe dch's self-love fest is spot on. Screed: A long, monotonous rant in writing.

Posted by: jim at July 25, 2008 12:10 PM

And, just as I predicted in the previous thread on "declaring victory" McCain today told Wolf Blitzer that "16 months is a pretty good timetable". He's already backtracking in light of Maliki's comments, Bush's new emphasis on "time horizons", and pollsters like Rasmussen finding overwhelming support for withdrawl within a year or two. He will say what he believes to be politically expedient and is even willing to throw the prior John McCain under the bus to join the crowd. A chameleon not a leader.

Posted by: robert at July 26, 2008 1:02 AM

Quite a ranting post you begin with.
Points I'd like to make:
1.
the "surge" was intended to hold things stable so the Iraq government could reconcile and get some agreements passed on oil revenue sharing and getting past the civil war (which Bush&co. still never admit to causing!) and so by this stated intention, the surge has failed!!
2.
The timetable Obama gave has been validated by conditions on the ground and Maliki himself. THis shows Obama has the vision and leadership that AMerica needs now.
After all, how often has Bush been right about anything?
3.
What vicotory are you referring to? Killing everyone in Iraq?
Running out 4 million Iraqi refugees?
Al Qaeda does not live in Iraq!!
They are only there as long as we are there!!
The War on Terror is stupid!
You can't declare a war on a tactic and ever expect victory. It's disingenuous fearmongering crap!

Posted by: Fire at August 7, 2008 12:26 PM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg