Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Hawks v. Doves

If I could have one companion in a time of war, would it be a dove or a hawk? I don't know any hawks willing to deploy with me - there was always room on the C130 next to me, and I would have helped them chute up. They always seemed to have "other priorities." Or they were busy defending Texas from the Viet Cong.

The Iraq war sought to effect staggering social change in Iraq through the application of military violence. If the neoconservatives were simply seeking to head up a liberal Lincoln Brigade to fight tyranny across the globe, they have my moral support and well wishes. But the U.S. military is not a Lincoln Brigade. It exists to defend the country from threats. The problem is that invading and occupying Iraq was never in America's interest. Unfortunately, the cautionary notes sounded by many before the war went unheeded.

Realists asked, "Will invading Iraq hurt us or help us in the war on terrorism?" As Saddam Hussein sits in a jail cell, Osama bin Laden's whereabouts are unknown. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah warn that anti-Americanism has never been so high - in the very region we seek to transform.

Realists asked, "Is Iraq so severe a threat to national security that it warrants the expenditure of U.S. lives, treasure, and allies?" After the deaths of 1,000 coalition soldiers, hundreds of billions spent, no meaningful links to al Qaeda determined, and no stockpiles of WMD uncovered, the answer seems clear.

Realists asked, "What will be the consequences of deposing Saddam?" Iran, its strategic position strengthened by the removal of its worst enemy, now accelerates its nuclear program with relative impunity. North Korea, flying under the radar while the United States was preoccupied with Iraq, now negotiates from a position of strength. As widely disparate forces in Iraq jockey for power and influence, Iraq has become inherently unstable and threatens to become a haven for terrorists.

I think I prefer the dove - and that dove is ready, willing, and able to fight al Quaeda. He just doesn't want to take on the rest of the world if he doesn't have to.

(I cut and pasted most of this from the CATO institute. Check it out at


artbyruth said...

PBS had an hour long documentary called: "Saddam's Ultimate Solution" back in July 11, 2002. Its host said the following:

"Tonight we examine the nature of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Ten years after the Gulf War and Saddam is still there and still continues to stockpile weapons of mass destruction. Now there are suggestions he is working with al Queda, which means the very terrorists who attacked the United States last September may now have access to chemical and biological weapons."

Who said this?

Answer: former Clinton State Department spokesman James P. Rubin.

So, This We'll Defend says that Rubin was wrong in his analysis all along....


Except now James P. Rubin is the senior advisor to the presidential campaign of John Kerry.

So,what does that make John Kerry???

this we'll defend said...

Everybody, including myself, thought that Saddam was stockpiling chemical weapons. Everybody, including myself, thought he was a threat. The line "now there are suggestions" of a link with Al Queda is very different from the "no doubt" and "this isn't guesswork, these are facts" that the administration claimed - and Cheney still claims. And where in that analysis does Mr. Rubin conclude that we should invade as soon as possible?

So Mr. Rubin was NOT wrong in analyzing the threat Saddam posed, and Mr. Bush WAS wrong in invading. As I have said all along, there is a huge number of options in between appeasement and invasion/occupation. Mr. Bush chose the extreme solution of invasion. Those that disagree are NOT disagreeing because they are at the other extreme of appeasement. In Mr. Bush's simple world, where you are for us or against us, where there is only black and white, the choice must have seemed one of appeasement or invasion. In the adult world, where we hope our presidents live, there were many many options that were better for our national security.

So that makes Mr. Kerry a much better-informed, thoughtful, responsible alternative.

Ron Brynaert said...

Hey there...
glad to see you're not a "foaming-at-the-mouth" etc. etc.

very cool blog, by the way...though I don't agree with are certainly thoughtful and not obscenely partisan... continue our conversation from My War...(We've taken up enough space there)...

You'd rather have a dove? What good would be a dove who wants to sing songs, grow beards, and skip regular baths? (oh...but you did make me laugh at this) Of course, this is just a ridiculous rushlimbaughism that has no basis in reality...In all the protests and marches I have gone to...I have yet to meet such an animal. Liberals believe that war should be a final option only after diplomacy and attempts at peace (without capitulation)fail. Bush & Co. wanted to go to war so bad that they forced the weapons inspectors to leave the country when they were making progress.

"Armies are not apolitical...they must and should be pro-military...which is inherently political...." - this is a statement of, well, staggering ignorance. Apolitical means the Army doesn't intrude into politics and instead answers to their civilian masters. But, yes, it helps to be pro-military when you are military. The Army's job is to be, yes, military. That doesn't make it a political animal and it is not.

Staggering ignorance...but not on my part...(sorry...i don't mean to take a cheap you do seem pretty reasonable)

You make the same mistake that most people seem to make. The mistake that the subject of politics only relates to a partisan equation. I've heard people rail on and on for an hour about how jobs are being outsourced, the education system sucks, racism still exists...but then say that they never talk about politics.

If you are in the lose the right to directly criticize the commander in might even have to stand at attention under a banner that reads "mission accomplished" and enthusiastically applaud for your have to be the same way that a teacher or a policeman or a union man might stand up for what they represent...

I'm not saying that being pro-military means that every soldier has to be Republican (based on the current (ahem) leadership. Politics define and shape every person's life even if they cannot see that. Apolitical is defined as "having no interest in or association with politics." And, obviously, politicians are the ones that decide to deploy or engage in our political system.

The word politics has suffered in modern usage in the same way that "liberal" has...they have negative connotations and are perceived to be dirty words.

"Nothing wrong with peace, love, and understanding, but the Jews of Europe in the 1930s tried every peaceful means they could to deal with the threat they faced. Flowers didn't stop Nazis - the US Army did"

I've never heard this before. I think the Jews in Germany, Poland etc. were arrested, abuse, raped and slaughtered before they had any chance to try flowers or peace. But if you have a source for this...I'd love to check it out.

I think the Russian Army (especially in Stalingrad) had a lot to do with it (stopping the Nazis), as well, though I didn't hear about it on the tv this past June.

Speaking of the Russian Army...I'm sure you are aware that they have a history of getting involved in politics...the russian revolution and the failed coup attempt 12 years ago would never have happened if it wasn't for the power that the soldiers possess over there.

Peace...I'll be they say...I like your style...

Why Are We Back In Iraq?

Alvaro Frota said...
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Redneck Texan said...

That was excellent advise you gave that kid in Iraq.

this we'll defend said...

Rob: thanks for your comments.

While it is out of character for me to defend republicans, I have to say that not all of them disagree with the notion that war should be a last resort. You are right that this is what most liberals believe (some believe that war is never just) and that is, in fact, what I believe. I get the impression you do too. Some right-wingers believe the same way. For instance, I don't think we would have invaded Iraq if Bob Dole were president. He's seen the face of war.

You note that I make the mistake of thinking that the Army is apolitical, noting that soldiers are forbidden to directly criticize the president and that soldiers "have to be the same way that a teacher or a policeman or a union man might stand up for what they represent..."

I don't think I was mistaken. Soldiers lose the right to directly criticize the president precisely because the Army must stay out of politics - the Army's commander-in-chief is whomever the people elect, so soldiers don't criticize any president, Bush or Clinton or Lincoln or whomever holds the office. And they don't stand up like union members or teachers for what they represent because all they represent is the Constitution. Nothing else. Unions lobby for higher wages, teachers for new schools, the Army doesn't lobby at all.

You say that "Apolitical is defined as "having no interest in or association with politics."" That is the Army. The institution serves the people and takes no role in the decision-making process that chooses its leaders.

However, it is in some way a political act to take an oath to the Constitution. It is a statement of support for self-government and against tryanny. I assume this isn't really in dispute among most of my readers, but for those who disagree with the idea of self-government I don't wish to debate with you. You are the enemy of the Constitution and our way of life and I swore an oath against you. Other than that basic statement of support for self-government the military is apolitical.

The Red Army did at least half (if not more) of the fighting against the Nazis. The better half of the Wermacht was on the Russian Front. I didn't mention them because they weren't relevant to the topic at hand.

As for the Jews of Europe, you might check out the following which discuss the internal debates in Jewish communities over whether to fight or seek yet another accomodation, pay yet another bribe, as they sought to survive what most of them thought was yet another pogrom, merely worse than most.

The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy Toward German Jews, 1933-1939 by Karl A. Schleunes (chilling)

website about Jewish resistance:

THY BROTHER'S BLOOD - Orthodox Jewish Response during the Holocaust by David Kranzler (discusses those that did resist and how they were a distinct minority in the Jewish community).

Good bloggin!

ALa said...

RAB- You wrote:
"You'd rather have a dove? What good would be a dove who wants to sing songs, grow beards, and skip regular baths? (oh...but you did make me laugh at this) Of course, this is just a ridiculous rushlimbaughism that has no basis in reality...In all the protests and marches I have gone to...I have yet to meet such an animal."
We actually agree on something...(imagine that)...I would send any of the 'peace' protestors that I have seen to war --they are really one of the nastiest, most violent groups out there. Tie a picture of Bush to a string on a stick and send 'em into Iraq...
Don't dispute my statement unless you watch the following video (Operation Wolverine):

artbyruth said...

TWD wrote: "So Mr. Rubin was NOT wrong in analyzing the threat Saddam posed, and Mr. Bush WAS wrong in invading."


Because you know how Mr. Rubin feels now?

Now he claims that the allegations against Hussein were wrong to be explored or investigated and even called into question Dick Cheney's "fitness for office".

All this after the filmmaker stated: "My investigation reveals much more--namely evidence of terrorist training camps in Iraq and testimony that al Queda fighters have been trained to use poison gas." In the PBS program, Rubin did speak in a manner that suggested he agreed with the filmmakers. ["The Connection" by Stephen Hayes]

Now he says he doesn't agree and distances himself from the film.

In the spring of 1998, the Clinton Justice Department prepared an indictment against Bin Laden which read:

"Al Queda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Queda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Queda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."

So, first Rubin agrees with all this....then after being in John Kerry's camp he begins to disagree with all this.

Seems to me that he is a "flip-flopper" wannabe.

You are right when you say that Rubin was not wrong back in 2002 when analyzing the threat. BUT Mr. Bush was right in also analyzing the threat....and then doing something about it.

artbyruth said...

TWD wrote: "As I have said all along, there is a huge number of options in between appeasement and invasion/occupation."

Like???? sanctions? resolutions? ultimatums??

And that is true...but in the world AFTER September 11, 2001....our President had the responsibility to ACT before we were attacked again with more serious weapons.

You and I have the luxury of second guessing every decision made since then...but the President and his administration had more intelligence briefings than you and I have had and they do not have that luxury to just sit and wait it out.

Imagine (as the 9/11 Commission is asking us to do...) that Hussein did arm al Queda with chemical weapons like ricin or sarin gas. Imagine those weapons being released on the NY subway or at the Mall of America.

Then the media finds out that Bush knew of the possibility of Hussein selling weapons to al Queda BUT DID NOTHING ABOUT would you be responding now to President Bush??

How would the media respond?

I am glad that Bush feels that he should make sure Hussein and his sons are out of power BEFORE we are attacked. Unlike Kerry who swears he will respond with force AFTER we are attacked again.

artbyruth said...

From National Review Online:

"The argument that Iraq distracts from the war on terror is weakened by the fact that some of the biggest successes against al-Qaeda have occurred during the run-up to the war, during the war, and while U.S. troops have remained in Iraq stabilizing the country.

The U.S. and its allies have captured Khalid Sheik Mohammed, (al-Qaeda's #3), Hambali (the Bali bombing mastermind), Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (East Africa embassy bomber) Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan (al-Qaeda's communications man and planner). Al-Qaeda's Saudi commander, Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin, and Abdullah al-Roshood, al-Qaeda's "spiritual leader" got whacked in Saudi Arabia not long ago. In Jordan, Azmi al-Jayousi, the alleged mastermind of the Jordan-based terror cell who was captured in April, confessed to military prosecutors about what would have been al-Qaida's first chemical attack targetting Americans in Amman. The British claim to have just arrested "a senior Al-Qaeda operative."

Just a few things that have been accomplished since the War on Terror began....

this we'll defend said...

As for Mr. Rubin, you should know that comments can be taken out of context or used in unexpected ways, so comments that 'suggest' Rubin agrees with the filmmaker don't make your case. The filmmaker makes some conclusions but as you admit Mr. Rubin disagreed and distances himself from the film - so why claim Mr. Rubin has changed his mind? It appears he has been consistent all along - just as I have been when I say Saddam was a threat, did have WMDs, and the invasion was not the right course of action. That doesn't make me a supporter of Saddam or one who thinks he posed no threat. It makes me a realist who understands the limits of American power and the multiple threats we face around the world (and not just from Islamic fundamentalism either). That was my job for over a decade and I know it pretty well. And the senior military leadership agrees with me and has all along.

Your arguments that we must invade or risk destruction are explored in the very first post on this blog ( I wrote it in Nov 2002 when "the President and his administration had more intelligence briefings than you and I have" yet I still got it right and he didn't. Again, it was not a case of hit first or be destroyed. If it were then there would be little controversy. It was not a case of him doing "something" about a threat. Most of the right-wing defense of Bush's decision seeks to prove the existence of the threat. I don't - Saddam was a threat. My problem is the "something" that Mr. Bush decided on was a solution that caused more harm than the threat itself.

The world AFTER 9/11 was radically different for you and you viewed our national security in a different light. You didn't take our national survival for granted anymore. You saw threats that you didn't see before. I understand. You should realize that it wasn't as much of an epiphany for national security professionals who were already well aware that we live in a dangerous world, that there are those who wish to harm us, and that evil exists. They didn't overreact. The president did. You can call it "foresight" if you wish. I call it a terrible miscalculation, one that took our focus from the war on terror and placed it on a threat that was not immediate and that was growing weaker by the day.

Our senior military leadership didn't see Iraq as presenting a threat justifying invasion. It was not a question of sitting around and waiting to be hit (what sane person would do that?) but a question of dealing with finite military and diplomatic resources and a wide array of threats. Mr. Bush though the invasion would be easy. Right-wing pundits now claim nobody could have predicted where we would be now. Except - the military did, and they were right. Mr. Bush didn't understand the limits of US power. Instead of leadership and foresight I see only hubris in his decisions.

You say "Imagine that Hussein did arm al Queda with chemical weapons like ricin or sarin gas. Imagine those weapons being released on the NY subway or at the Mall of America." As I discussed in an earlier post, ricin or sarin presents less of a threat than conventional high explosive. The Tokyo subway attacks in 1995 would have been much worse had the terrorists used dynamite or napalm instead of sarin. The terrorists that attacked us on 9/11 killed approx. 3,000 people using box-cutters. The tokyo terrorists using Sarin killed 12. Conventional car bombs in Iraq have often killed more than 12. Imagine if Americans really understood the threat of WMDs as Bush laid out the case for war in Iraq, instead of believing that our existence was threatened by Saddam. Oh but I forgot, it wasn't about WMDs but about liberation.

And, perhaps most telling of the difference between you and I, my opinion is that we shouldn't go to war on "imagine." Something more is required before we risk our national blood and treasure, and our very survival, in a war. That doesn't at all mean we are weak or that we should ever suffer an attack to take place before we respond. It means that we marshal our resources and use them in the most effective manner rather than chasing imaginary threats. War is a last resort when all other means have failed. It is always risky and can lead to unforeseeable results. Sadly, the results so far are just what was predicted. One of the tenets of just war doctrine is that the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. In this case the cost to the United States vastly exceeds the benefits - our national security is not improved but harmed.

You continue "Then the media finds out that Bush knew of the possibility of Hussein selling weapons to al Queda BUT DID NOTHING ABOUT would you be responding now to President Bush?? How would the media respond?" I would respond like this: the "possibility" is different from the reality. Again and for the thousandth time, Saddam was a secular tyrant who persecuted Islamic fundamentalists as a threat to his regime. Islamic fundamentalists were a threat to his regime because they viewed him as an apostate - they hated him worse than us or even Israel. No evidence exists linking him to 9/11 because he wasn't involved. He is an evil bastard, but that is a separate issue from 9/11. Attempts to use 9/11 to justify a war against a regime that had nothing to do with it only point out the weakness of the case for war. Still, assuming your hypothetical were real, we would probably all respond the same way we did to the deployment in Afghanistan. You don't hear a lot of hub-bub about that because it was understood that the Taliban were cooperating with Al Queda and providing sanctuary. Were the case the same in Iraq then invasion would be justifiable there as well. It was not, despite Mr. Cheney's continuing claims of an Iraqi-Al Queda connection based on one man's stay in Baghdad and lots of insinuations, guesses based on guesses, informers known to be false (Chalibi? Remember him?) and plain error. I question Mr. Cheney's fitness for office just as Mr. Rubin does.

As for how the media would respond had Mr. Bush not invaded, I don't think a president should take that into account when deciding on whether to put our troops into harm's way. I think this president did. And I don't think that was brave at all.

this we'll defend said...

Artbyruth: That the war on terror has had some successes doesn't answer the question of how succesful it would be without an invasion. Tora Bora ring a bell?

Check out a (non-partisan) take on this question at:

Strategic Consequences of the Iraq War: U.S. Security Interests in Central Asia Reassessed at


Bounding the Global War on Terrorism found at

Both are by the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute. I would consider them a bit more reliable than the National Review.

artbyruth said...

Ok, I have a blog set up now.

Check it out!

I, of course, no nothing about setting up my title page. can anyone tell me how to have links to other blogs on my page??


91ghost said...

I think, that in the big picture, Iraq would have sooner or later become an "imminent" threat, one way or the other. I think Hussein was just too much of an unstable and volatile leader of a regime that feeded off conflict. With that said, I sure wish things would have been done with a bit more military professional planning involved (as it was not allowed to be), and a hell of a lot less politics--to include having done this at a different date, after Afghanistan was thoroughly quashed. I think in the big picture, all of these nations are going to have to be dealt with, and savagely. And yeah, while I won't be giving Kerry a vote, I sure as hell second the idea that every last neo-con, "patio-patriot" needs to be sitting on a C-130 ready to drop--that or their sons or daughters. War is not a football game, and it should not be treated like one.

justrose said...

TWD: you have a link on my site.
-Apolitical Rose

artbyruth said...
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Peter V said...
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this we'll defend said...
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this we'll defend said...
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this we'll defend said...

I meant to delete my unintended multiple posts, but I accidentally deleted PeterV's post. PeterV, I apologize. I included all of your post in my reply, but if you want to post it again please do so. I didn't mean to do that. I am still new to this blogging crap.

this we'll defend said...

peterv said:
"The problem is that invading and occupying Iraq was never in America's interest". - Establishing a liberal democracy in the Middle is not in America's interest.

My reply:
A liberal democracy in the Middle East would be great, no doubt. I don't see one arriving in Iraq anytime soon, and I question whether the effort needed to install one is in our interest. The notion that we are spreading democracy (at the point of a gun) is romantic, much like the spreading of "civilization" to the world that the European imperialists claimed was the reason for subjugating so many people. The fact is that it took over 500 years for western civilization to move from the Magna Carta to the Constitutional democracy we enjoy today. If Iraq were truly to hold a democratic election today they might choose a theocracy. They would probably be hostile to the US. And for all its many faults, our enemy Iran is a democracy, albeit one that limits the voice of the people. Your pie in the sky "establish democracy" rationale is hitting cold, hard reality just as predicted by the military professionals who cautioned against it.

PeterV said: "Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah warn that anti-Americanism has never been so high - in the very region we seek to transform." - do you believe in your heart of hearts that if America invaded or did not invade Iraq those disenfranchised destitute, people living in oppression with no economic or political freedom would hate us any less?

My reply: A quick research effort should show you the change in opinion in the Arab world since the invasion. It doesn't matter what I want to believe, but only what the actual facts are, which is why ideology often runs afoul of reality. Neocons want the world to fit into their preconcieved notions, and when the world doesn't fit they pretend not to notice. If you think in your heart of hearts that we are aren't hated MORE then you are ignoring reality.

Peterv said: "Realists asked, "Is Iraq so severe a threat to national security that it warrants the expenditure of U.S. lives, treasure, and allies?" After the deaths of 1,000 coalition soldiers, hundreds of billions spent, no meaningful links to al Qaeda determined, and no stockpiles of WMD uncovered, the answer seems clear." - Is a Middle East this is highly unstable and a breeding ground for Islamic fascist a threat to national security?

My reply: Well, yes, it is a breeding ground - NOW. That's the point. No Iraqi terrorists ever hit a US target before the war. 9/11 was conducted by Saudis and Egyptians. Realists warned that an invasion and occupation would lead Iraq to become a breeding ground for terrorism. It has, and thus the threat to our national security is greater than before.

PeterV said: Realists asked, "What will be the consequences of deposing Saddam?" - One less torturing, murderous tyrant not oppressing 25 million people.

My reply: That's very true. It, of course, not the only consequence. The "Saddam is a bad man" argument is a good argument that invading and occupying Iraq was in the best interests of the Iraqi people. It was. My argument is that it was not in the best interests of the American people. The negative consequences for us are too great.

PeterV said: "Iran, its strategic position strengthened by the removal of its worst enemy, now accelerates its nuclear program with relative impunity." - Their nuclear programmed progresses regardless of Saddam.

My reply: Not exactly true, as a simple google search of articles on the Iranian nuclear threat will tell you. Both Iran and North Korea seem emboldened. You are engaging in wishful thinking if you think our invasion of Iraq didn't help Iran, or leave us less prepared to present a threat to our other, more dangerous enemies.

PeterV said: "North Korea, flying under the radar while the United States was preoccupied with Iraq, now negotiates from a position of strength." Always had nuclear weapons, haven't started two major wars.

My reply: North Korea has always had nuclear weapons? That would be news to ... well, pretty much everybody except you. North Korea has not always had nuclear weapons, and we don't want them increasing their nuclear arsenal we want to get rid of it. I am amazed that you can so off-handedly dismiss the threat North Korea presents while at the same time insisting we had to invade Iraq or be destroyed. And no, North Korea hasn't started two major wars, just one. Seems to me it was a pretty damn big one, too, and they are still there threatening another. But you dismiss them.

Peterv said: "As widely disparate forces in Iraq jockey for power and influence, Iraq has become inherently unstable and threatens to become a haven for terrorists." Worse than before? I think not.

My reply: That you don't think it was "worse than before" shows an astounding lack of knowledge. Again, no Iraqi terrorists attacked the US before we invaded. Iraq was under the control of a despot, but it was certainly stable - stable enough to last for more than a decade of our attempts to overthrow Saddam internally. And attacks on US troops have been increasing since "Mission Accomplished" was declared during the famous "war-hero" carrier visit. Yes, it is worse than before. much, much, much worse than before.

Neo-cons want to believe so hard that they believe regardless of the facts. Hope is not a method, and wishful thinking never stopped a bullet. The president allowed a few wishful thinkers with stars in their eyes to take charge of our foreign policy in the midst of a war with terrorists, and for that he should be sent home to Texas while the realists take charge again and sort out this mess he created.

artbyruth said...

So, you honestly believe that had we sent 350,000 troops to only Afghanistan we would have removed ALL of al Queda and the Taliban from the face of the earth?

Or do you think that they and Bin Laden would have left to other countries for safe haven and did their dirty deeds from another base country? Like Syria or Iraq or Iran? or Saudi Arabia?

The War on Terror wasn't only in Afghanistan.

Did you not notice all the al Queda operatives that have been captured since 9/11 by the US, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia?

Far more than 8 years of Clinton's attempts.

this we'll defend said...

Artbyruth - you were posting on my blog while I was posting on yours - very cool!

I don't think we would have gotten all of them had we deployed 350,000 troops to Afghanistan. I think we would have gotten a lot more, yes. I also agree with you that the war on terror wasn't only in Afghanistan. But that is where most of our enemies could be found back in Oct. 2001.

Yes, we have captured more terrorists since 9/11 than during Clinton's 8 years. We captured more in the six months after 9/11 than in the six months under George W. before, but I don't see what that proves. Al Queda moved to the top of the hit list on 9/11, and yes it should have been there before in both administrations. It wasn't. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have stayed at the top for Mr. Bush. He put Iraq on top and moved Al Queda down, and that is where we disagree. Vehemently disagree.

Again, I think you would like to read the following, it is an eye-opener and it is not a partisan report but an Army War College study:

Bounding the Global War on Terrorism found at

Seriously, check it out. It is a quick read.

Loved your Bataan death march post - we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for WWII veterans. They truly saved the world.

Kat said...

Problem with your concept here. The AQ is in Pakistan. They had that route planned for sometime, never doubt it. Pakistan will not let us just cross their borders willy nilly. If we had put 350k troops on the ground facing the PK border, we would have had a whole hell of a harder time trying to get PK to participate in the capture and not think that we were going to attack them. They would have had to put on a war posture just to save face.

Reminder here, PK has Nukes. You wanted to put 350k men on the border of a Nuke laden country where the President has to fight everyday to stay in power?

TWD...for a guy that is criticizing the government for going to war in Iraq and think people that push the war thing are a bunch of blood thirsty hawks, you sure seem eager to have put us in a nuclear brinkmanship position. Maybe you're a JFK (the real one) Democrat?

Second...there is AQ in Iran ostensibly as "guests". You think they are going to help us out? Somehow I have this little inkling that Iraq was just the second half of a move that was meant to put us squarely on either side of Iran. box them in. containment. Prepare the ground.

And, since you read CBs post, you know that they believe the AQ is coming in from Iran.

Iran is trying to build their nukes as fast as they can because they feel threatened. They would have built them anyway, don't fool yourself. This speed up is because they are scared shitless. Right or wrong.

Frankly, I am surprised that you all are so intent on each little country and battle and can't get an idea of what the big picture might look like. Maybe it's too scary?

this we'll defend said...


We had most of the AQ leadership surrounded at Tora Bora but had to depend on our Northern Alliance "allies" to get them because we didn't have enough troops on the ground ourselves. As a result most of them escaped to Pakistan.

I don't care what Pakistan's reaction would have been - I support Mr. Bush's contention that anyone who harbored AQ and didn't help is also the enemy. We were attacked by AQ and we should hunt them down and kill them wherever they may be found. And we would have had a lot more international support for chasing down AQ then we have had for Iraq. Chasing AQ into Pakistan would only have enraged already-hostile populations, but the majority of the Islamic world that condemned the 9/11 attacks would not have held our going into Pakistan against us anymore than our going into Afghanistan - even Khadaffi said we were justified in doing so. I'm not worried about angering already-hostile populations, I just don't think we should make NEW enemies - as we assuredly did by invading Iraq.

I am in fact quite bloodthirsty about finding and destroying those that attacked us on 9/11. I think AQ should be our first priority, and I am enraged that they have been relegated to a back-burner and all our resources put into Iraq, a country that presented little to no immediate threat, had no history of terrorist attacks against the US, and was contained and growing weaker by the day.

"Boxing in" Iran by tieing down our Army and eliminating Iran's worst enemy is not a sound military strategy. We already have facilities in the middle east that we could use in a war with Iraq (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (they hate Iran), Diego Garcia, Turkey, and Afghanistan. Iran doesn't feel boxed in by our presence in Iraq. They feel much more secure than they did before.

And yes, you are right that our invasion of Iraq has led nations seeking nuclear weapons to speed up development - but not as a means of offense, since the mere fact of their nuclear programs has been shown to be a provocation for war on our part. They are building them as defensive weapons to use against us in case we invade. Not a way to make the world safer for the United States of America.

The postulation that we invaded Iraq and tied down our military as a way to prepare the ground for an invasion of Iraq is wishful thinking but has no basis in reality.

this we'll defend said...

excuse me - to prepare the ground for an invasion of IRAN, not Iraq. Perhaps that is why those two countries fought each other - they wanted the other to change their name to reduce the confusion. "we'll be Iran, why don't you become Crapistan?" "No, we'll stay Iraq, you be Crapistan!" "That's it, we're declaring war."

Kat said...

I like that last one...crapistan. LOL

Ok..I was a very annoyed when our little friends allowed those others to go into Pakistan. Frankly, though, I still don't agree iwth 350k on the ground facing or acting like they were going in. That would have just touched off a fire that would be bigger than the shit were in now.

And since Pakistan is posturing as our friend, why would we go into "attack" posture? Right now, we're sniffing these guys out without having to have "invaded" a friendly country. And regardless of your conention that the "muslim world" would have understood, I highly disagree. I think we would have seen a radicalization of a huge amount of the population. Mujihideen would have been all over this like white on rice. Sort of "muj vs. USSR" in Afghanistan. Then Teddy could have really been yelling "quagmire" and "viet nam".

I have also been wondering if Iraq wasn't just an accessible place to call the muj to us. Present them with a big ass target. You know? And Iraq having a stupid dictator and the possibility of hitting one of the bonus plans of "democracy in the ME" just seemed like a good idea?

If we add in all the other stuff about being in a proxy war with him anyway, ignoring sanctions, etc Probably looked like a good strategy.

When I said "preparing for Iran" and posturing towards them, I am thinking long term strategy. Not the next few months. Iran is harboring AQ. Maybe we think that they won't cooperate with us and hand over the scumbag nicely?

Seems they have something a little more than nukes hanging out.

I have also been wondering if Kerry is attempting a Ronald Reagan move. In particular, Rubin has recently said that part of the Kerry plan to pull Iran into the "fold" as it were, is to give them the nuclear material they need instead of France and Russia. This is either to drag them away from that alliance or possibly a side deal to obtain something from some of their "guests" maybe?

Iran has something we want if both parties are thinking about them long term, but with different approaches.

Just going through some theories. Testiing them so to speak. Feel free to go where you want with it.

this we'll defend said...

Kat, your fears of what would have happened had we gone into Pakistan in pursuit of AQ are exactly what came to pass when we invaded Iraq. As far as in Pakistan, the govt there isn't against us but is on shaky ground, that is true. But a show of force that eliminated AQ, followed by our withdrawal, would probably bring greater support for the US in the Islamic world. It would defeat charges of imperialism or that the US is out to destroy Islam. The reason I know this is when we kicked Saddam out of Kuwait and then left, without continuing on to Baghdad, just as we promised, the US enjoyed much more support in the Muslim world after than we did before. It got the Arab-Israeli peace process started, and oil was cheap cheap cheap.

But assuming that going into Pakistan would have resulted in the same reactions that our going into Iraq has (enraging the Islamic world against us and encouraging terrorist recruitment and support) I still say we should have gone in. Why? Because that is where AQ was, there and in Afghanistan. They weren't in Iraq. We are paying a huge price with no return on investment. Respecting Pakistani borders and not putting enough force into Afghanistan let AQ get away, and then we invaded Iraq and pissed off the entire world. If we were going to piss of the world anyway I say we should have at least done so chasing after an immediate threat like AQ instead of a lesser one like Saddam.

And my opinion is that we would have been more popular, not less, had we done so. Those who hated us already would have been enraged. Those that were nuetral would have understood - as they did when we overthrew the Taliban. Why worry about enraging already hostile populations? We should only avoid increasing the numbers of those already hostile to us. Killing AQ reduces those numbers. Invading Iraq increased them. We are worse off than before.

this we'll defend said...

as far as "boxing in" iran, you are engaging in wishful thinking. You really really want us to be doing well in this war against terror, and you are trying to interpret facts in a way that makes sense. The sad truth is that the facts don't make sense. We didn't invade Iraq to establish a base of operations from which to threaten Iran, and if we did we were world-class stupid. We didn't. You don't establish a base of operations that requires a 1/3rd of your force to defend, that is vulnerable to attack, and that ties up your lines of communication and supply just to maintain. Had the Bush adminstration realized earlier that Iran presented much more of a threat than a weakening Saddam then perhaps Mr. Bush wouldn't have been so eager to invade. We present much less of a threat to Iran now, and they know it.

redleg said...


deploying 350k to Afghnistan was not, is not, and will never be a possibility. Remember the Russians/Soviets had 110k in the country for 10 years. You don't have the infrastructure or the resources OR the enemy to justify 350k. It is a different war over in Afghanistan. Truly. Less force but more prudent on where it is applied. What is doing the most good in restoring or bringing civilization to that country in local SF teams and the firebases maintained by the military. 350k would not cover as much of the border of Pakistan as you might think. Keeping a substantial force at that altitude (avg of 7.5k feet AGL) is a significant emotional event. At Tora Bora we trusted local warlords who did not deliver. More force would not have helped.

And we have captured more terrorists since 9/11 in concert with out allies than we ever did before then. So at least we are doing something against the enemy rather than wringing our hands and trying to find a smarter, more sensitive, more proactive way of killing the enemy. The only way to do it is to committ you young men to the mud and let him wrestle the enemy to death.

More force in Afghanistan is not the answer. And committing American troops, more troops to the border, will not fix the basic problem that Pakistan's population and Waziristan won't stand for US intervention in the area. Pakistan is doing a credible job of keeping the terrorists in their holes..not all of them and they are still active but enough. They only hit us when they feel they are strong enough to strike and then run. We will hunt them down eventually.

As for Iraq- how much was enough. If eveyone believed before the war that he had WMD and was a ruthless dictator who had used chemical weapons before...why is it a bad thing that he is out of power. It is a sanctuary denied to AQ and other terrorists. Proof enough. The rest is hind sight and hand wringing