Q & O discussion

Someone asked some excellent questions of "liberals" (left-wing spin for commie ratbags who support sadistic dictators in an attempt to bring down global capitalism) here and was thinking of asking Foddy to respond. However, it doesn't matter, Foddy's soulmate has had a crack at it here. Actually, it's a damn good attempt at an answer, and I'm quite impressed. It's still wrong though. Let's go through it. I'll mark the original with "R" for "Republican" and the other quoted stuff is from this presumed Democrat...

R:"And let's dispense with silly arguments about whether we should've gone into Iraq in the first place. Shoulda, woulda, coulda."

"Well, the history of this decision is consistently being rewritten by the right. As the war has gone worse, the decision has magically become more bipartisan. Certainly the Democrats were very very stupid to vote for the authorization"

Sometimes I wonder if the Democrats are actually doing all this as part of a psyop. Was South Vietnam abandoned as part of that same psyop?

"but it was the President who made the case for war based on claims of Al Qaeda - Iraq - WMD"

Which was exactly the right thing to highlight, although the real aims were much more than that.

"and it is he who made the final decision to move from authorization to walking away from the UN to war."

Walking away from the UN? The UN is a collection of dictators, who I hope the US humours purely as part of a psyop.

R:"First, I'm wondering what you think the result of an American withdrawal would be? And we really have to ask that about two spheres, the internal Iraqi results, and the effect on America's security."

"There will be a bloody fight within Iraq for control of that nation. Whether that will be bloodier than the current civil war, I can't say."

That's what the fight already is. The insurgents somehow think they can beat the democratically-elected Iraqi government, and are willing to throw their lives away on this fantasy. Removing US aid from the good guys in this battle is insane.

"But it will be a bloody confrontation without the added carnage of American troops."

So America shouldn't protect its allies? Ok, with friends like you, who needs neutrals?

"On the domestic front, it will be better to have our troops not playing - essentially - pattycake with Iraqi forces who would just as soon betray them."

The Iraqi forces are not like that. Even if some of them are, you should sack them to make sure the Iraqi forces have good guys in them, as far as you can tell. This is called helping allies, a concept that is apparently alien to selfish Democrats.

"Instead we would be back on track hunting down Al Qaeda and their affiliates instead of nation building."

Currently you've actually arranged for Iraqi security forces to kill Al Qaeda, as well as other anti-Americans. In fact, you've even got them spending their own resources on fighting a mutual enemy. You'd think that would be an impossible feat to accomplish, but that's what Bush has managed to set up. But instead of helping our allies fight our mutual enemies, you want to abandon them? Quite apart from the moral depravity of such a treacherous decision, you walk away from the fight that you say you want America to engage in.

"The postwar plans, if you can call them that, thought we would prop up a guy like Chalabi and Iraq would have some kind of democracy (everybody remember Bush's second inaugural speech?)."

They installed a guy called Allawi, and Iraq did indeed have some kind of democracy. A pretty bloody amazing democracy in fact. 300+ parties compared to America's 2.

"That isn't going to happen."

It just did.

"They want Sharia law."

No they don't. They didn't remotely vote for that. What they've actually voted for is something pretty damn close to a typical European country. Not exactly, but pretty damn close. All the important protections of human rights are in there. Saddam is no longer allowed to rape Iraqi women. I'm sure you're happy about that, right? It shows in your writing. Humanist Democrat and all that.

"They don't want a secular, progressive republic."

They voted for a pretty secular, capitalist government. I don't know what you mean by "progressive". That's normally left-wing spin for "we like stealing from the rich to bring them down to our level". Some progress.

"They'll pick what they want."

They did. And it's not too bad.

R:"Do you reject the "you broke it, you bought it" idea?"

"I didn't outright, but it's clear there's nothing we can do to fix what we broke."

It was already broken. It's being fixed now. When women are being raped by their own government in a holocaust, it's as broken as it'll ever be.

"The simple act of us being there is preventing that"

No it isn't.

"either through the Iraqis leaning on us to clean up all their messes"

Iraqis are not some singular entity. Only a racist would think such a thing. There are good Iraqis who are bravely fighting for freedom, facing other Iraqis who are causing a mess.

"or resentment provoked by having their country occupied by the world's sole superpower."

Anyone who resents being liberated is part of the problem that needs to be fixed. We don't need to fix it all at once, but we need to make sure things are moving in that direction.

"The moment to fix it has passed us by."

Nothing has been passed by. It's a work in progress, and the results so far have been phenomenally successful (a higher voter turnout than the US for example), although it would have been nicer if there had been less terrorists turn up in Iraq so that they could turn up in the US instead so that the coalition soldiers could go to the US to do battle instead. Hang on.

R:"Do you think the Iraqis will find a way to cobble their state together? Do you think it will descend into a civil bloodbath? If so, then why don't we have any responsibility to try and prevent it?"

"As I stated above: this is going to happen. Either it happens when a Democratic president withdraws or it happens 10 years from now."

The cobbling or the bloodbath? 10 years is a hell of a lot of time for the Iraqis to establish a massive military.

"The only difference is the amount of U.S. troops who die in the process and the gaping holes in U.S. security that linger on."

The gaping holes are enemy states still existing. They are currently being closed off. What's the reason you don't want that relatively small number of US troops to die? Most of them are happy to be helping Iraq, so it's clearly not for their sake. If you have some other urgent problem you want to work on, we can discuss that. In fact, I even agree with you. It stops being strategic to do nation-building in Iraq after November 2007 when the Iraqis are due to take over their own security.

"I'm saying we pay up front instead of the 30 year mortgage."

Pay what?

R:"Compare and contrast with Kosovo and Darfur."

"In neither situation are Americans actively occupying and being killed."

So? That's the whole point. Democrats think they should go in and occupy and get killed. Anyhow, they are occupying Kosovo.

"In Darfur, it's clear work has to be done internationally"

What exactly do you mean "internationally"? You mean getting China to agree to bomb their partners in crime? Do you think that is likely? Are your morals set by whatever China agrees to?

"but there's no clear mission militarily."

There is. Topple the Sudanese dictator and install someone like Allawi. Don't do the next step of installing democracy so quickly though.

"Even so, the general idea of helping the dispossessed militarily is not invalid"

Wow! We may be able to cut a deal after all. Now why don't the Iraqis and Iranians qualify as dispossessed?

"but if we're going to do it it ought to be clear what the endgame is supposed to be"

The endgame is a rational, humanist, non-subjugating government, preferably, but not necessarily, implemented via democracy.

"(and sold honestly instead of with talk of mushroom clouds and terrorist cells a plenty, cue Iran spin)."

No, we can't do that. If we do it honestly, there's more chance of getting a hostile alliance formed against us. YOU, as an INDIVIDUAL, have to sell it honestly, and let our governments concentrate on "we're only targetting security threats, none of you nasty dictators need to get scared and form a hostile alliance".

R:"What if Iraq turns into a Taliban-like cesspool, and becomes a base for terrorist operation against the US in the same way Afghanistan was?"

"It currently is a haven"

It's hardly a haven. It's more of a magnet. Having Al Qaeda drawn to US soldiers, instead of civilians, in a foreign, rather than domestic, battleground, is actually a good thing, at least from the US point of view.

"and that's with thousands of American troops on the ground there."

Yeah, killing terrorists.

"We can hunt terrorists, and that should be our armed forces primary mission until the Al Qaeda threat is eliminated."

The best way to hunt them is for the US forces to yell out "yoohoo" and the terrorists come running to suicide against them. You'd think the terrorists wouldn't be so stupid to do that, but somehow, someone has managed to convince them that if they keep suiciding against hard targets, they'll win. Maybe the Democrats with their psyop are doing a good thing? The only reason I'm wary is because of the abandonment of South Vietnam.

"But it isn't the time to build brand new nations now, not at this cost."

If it were white Jews being gassed, what cost would be worth their liberation? A peacetime military budget? Regardless, unless you're willing to nuke all Arabs and all Muslims off the face of the earth, you don't have any choice but to do nation-building in Iraq. There isn't actually an alternative if you want to start rolling back the mentality that causes suicide attacks in order to get 72 virgins. Nation-building in Iraq is one step in that process. Do you actually have a process at all?! Or do you think leaving the virgin-seekers loose won't have any ill-effect, such as, maybe, let's see, 9/11?

R:"Do you think that the Iraqis can build a stable, functioning democratic state?"

"Maybe, I don't know. But the path to get there is clearly not with American handholding."

That is not clear at all. All indications are that the American handholding has produced the fundamental building blocks we wanted - a high voter turnout, large number of volunteers to professional security forces, etc etc.

"It just gives them a crutch and gives us a tangled up military with a consistent casualty count."

If you're not willing to see American soldiers ever die to help others, you basically need to either hire foreign troops and disband your current military, or simply admit that you don't want to help anyone other than yourself, no matter how much danger (rape, torture etc) they are in.

R:"Are they just not suited for Democracy as a people? If so, what are their deficiencies?"

"They've shown little to no interest in a Western style democracy."

And that 70% turnout at the elections was what? Someone told them they could get free donuts?

"They're hamstrung by tribalism and religion (so is a lot of American politics, especially on the right, frankly)."

So you don't want the Iraqis to have something that looks like the American system. Check.

"It's all about the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, and Sharia Law. Us wishing Ben Franklin upon them does not make it so."

They are closer to Franklin now than they were under Saddam. They now have some essential tools like freedom of speech. You haven't seen what the effects of freedom of speech are on the Iraqi people yet. Let's see what it looks like after a century of that. How the election results change over time. The last x thousand years of dictatorship didn't produce anything worthwhile.

R:"The other half of the question is what effect will it have on American security? Will it embolden terrorists? Will our withdrawal make it more or less likely that terrorists will begin marshaling forces for another 9/11 style attack? Why?"

"Withdrawal from Iraq will help American security, again, our forces will not be babysitting a nation but be engaged in fighting terrorists instead of nation-building."

They are fighting terrorists already. Yes, they're doing some nation-building as well. Quite frankly, if you want to stop the nation-building component of it, that wouldn't be as bad as abandoning our allies completely. They can reconstruct themselves from here. Or why don't you just scale the reconstruction down to 10% of the current level rather than be a complete skinflint?

"The reason we haven't had another 9/11 is because the terrorists haven't sought to pull of an attack like it. Do you really think it's that much harder to commandeer a plane or ram a truck into a nuke plant or pull of some other spectacular attack now than it was six years ago?"

I think 9/11 was a lucky shot, and that's the main barrier to doing harm.

"They waited 8 years between attacks on the World Trade Center, I don't think our occupation of Iraq has really rocked their world so badly they're not prepared to do it again."

Al Qaeda can no longer operate freely. They're a shadow of their former self.

"The way we and the rest of the world has been getting these guys is through precise investigative work or luck like with the Fort Dix and Miami crews. I guess the short version is: they're already preparing for the next attack, I'd just rather us not be stuck in Iraq at that time so we can prevent it or avenge it."

You're not stuck in Iraq. You can leave anytime. You're advocating leaving right now, before it is time to avenge anyone. If you can leave now, why not leave when you have someone to avenge? As for the prevention, exactly how will transferring troops from fighting terrorists in Iraq to bases in the US prevent any terrorist attacks?

R:"On the Global War on Terror more generally, will a withdrawal from Iraq help or hinder that effort?"

"Help. See above."

See above.

R:"Or do we need to make an effort at all, other than some Special Ops stuff here and there, and intelligence, prevention, and law enforcement operations otherwise? What would be the US's military role after a withdrawal from Iraq? Does the US military actually have much a role beyond repelling an invasion?"

"A lot of this stuff involves more Special Operations and detective work than the random smashing of things, but for objectives like finding Bin Laden in the hills of Pakistan or wherever will require heavy military lifting. And that's fine because that's about protecting America and finding the terrorists at war with America."

So you want to invade nuclear-armed Pakistan right now? Rather than working with the Pakistani government which is moderately friendly at the moment. If you wanted to attack Pakistan immediately to stop them getting any more nukes, damage limitation, I'd understand. But when they're already doing the police work required to arrest terrorists, and we have other targets available, it makes more sense to go after the ones who aren't cooperating.

R:"Are we doomed to fail at achieving anything worthwhile in Iraq?"

"On balance, yes."

In reality, no. We've already achieved the vast bulk of what we wanted, and now we're merely securing that victory using locals.

R:"Why? Is it something organic to Iraq, or simply a problem with the current president?"

"It was never a good idea to invade and occupy Iraq in the first place."

There was no realistic alternative other than genocide.

"It was compounded by this president's frankly idiotic leadership:"

You just don't recognize sheer brilliance when it's staring you straight in the face.

"the lack of planning"

The plan was to react to whatever we unearthed in Iraq. Did the Iraqi people really support Saddam 100% as the referendum showed?

"the political calculations involved in selling the war"

They were necessary.

"and spinning the reality of the war (especially leading up to the '04 and '06 elections)"

It hasn't so much been spun as you fail to recognize reality.

"and just overall frankly criminal behavior."

There's nothing criminal about ending the 1991 Gulf War.

"War in Iraq? Bad. War in Iraq led by Bush? Disaster."

It isn't a disaster. We've got everything we need. If you want to see a disaster, take a look at the rest of the Middle East. Now THAT is a tough nut to crack. And unless you're planning genocide there, I'd like to see what practical alternative you have.

R:"Would another administration be able to achieve some reasonable level of peace and stability?"

"Nope. Either we get out and salvage what we can or we stick with the failed Bush strategy. The choices are now Bad and Worse. Bad means less American deaths and our forces no longer tied up in nation building."

The forces aren't tied up unless you have an immediate plan to use them elsewhere. I have a plan that begins in December 2007. What plan do you have?

R:"What if you're wrong?"

"Putting aside the fact that I was right 5 years ago (along with a lot of the nation) that it was wrong to invade Iraq"

No you weren't.

"the idea that we should keep doing something stupid"

It's not stupid.

"in favor of an idea that's more sane yet untested is kind of silly."

No, you haven't presented a more sane idea. In fact, you don't even understand what this war is about. There are enemies of America throughout the world, and they ALL need to be wrapped up. Iraq is one of many battlegrounds where anti-American people are being shot, with a lot of help from non-anti-American locals.

"We're hitting ourselves in the face"

No, you're killing the enemy, at incredibly low cost.

"and while we don't know what will happen if we stop, at least if we DO stop we'll at least stop hitting ourselves in the face."

You'll instead let the terrorists hit civilians. Great step forward.

R:"I mean, you're advocating a policy change that will have wide-ranging effects. It's not enough to say that everything will be OK. You have to show your math. You have to explain why you're not just whistling past the graveyard."

"See above. We've tried it the conservative way for a long time now."

4 years is not a long time.

"It isn't working."

It is.

"Greeted as liberators."

Half the country did. Finding out what was wrong with the other half is a question you should have devoted your life to answering. Did you?

"Stand up, stand down."

Well, the "stand down" hasn't happened. YET. But we can do MOST of that in December 2007. Will you be happy then?

"Surge, etc."

The surge has put more troops in Iraq ready for the liberation of Iran.

R:"And, keep in mind that you are essentially betting the future of left-liberalism's credibility on national security on the outcome of that policy."

"Considering the alternative and what it has produced, I say "all in"."

The Democrats don't even realise what they did to the South Vietnamese today.

R:"There's a reason why the Democrats were kept away from the national security switches and levers for 12 years after Jimmy Carter, and were only allowed to return when we were having a holiday from history in the 1990s."

"It's not my fault America was stupid enough to vote for Ronald Reagan."

The problem is them being stupid enough to vote for the party that hasn't apologized for frogmarching millions of South Vietnamese allies into commie gulags.

"And in a lot of ways Reagan, and to a greater extent, Bush I, were sane about these things. Neither was dumb enough to launch a preemptive war of occupation in the middle east."

There was never a time it could be done.

"When President Bush I invaded Iraq he had a goal and an exit strategy backed up by overwhelming force."

This war is far more complicated. It requires either a culture change or a genocide. It's not just a matter of using overwhelming force. We actually needed the exact opposite. Make it clear to the Iraqi people that we weren't there to conquer them. This was pretty successful. The Iraqi people pretty much know that the US isn't in charge. Sadr's goons and insurgents running free helped them understand that. And then they could cheer their indigenous forces when they finally turned up.

"Neither one of those Republican presidents had the stupidity to invade and occupy a country based on "trust me"."

You just don't understand what is required to wrap up the anti-Americanism. It's basically a mental disease that needs to be eradicated. You need to cure it, or commit genocide.

"And yes, President Clinton presided over more or less peace and prosperity. Imagine that."

Well, he couldn't do much at the time. 9/11 actually brought the plans forward. I wasn't even ready to start kicking arse in the Middle East at that point. I was still concentrating on getting Europe secure in NATO.

R:"So, other than sunny optimism, what assurances can you give that the consequences of quick pullout from Iraq will be relatively painless?"

"Nobody said it would be painless or bloodless, nor am I optimistic about the near future at all thanks to the repercussions of our current situation. But again, it's going to be hell anyway, the question is how much American lives, money and security are we willing to throw into the mix."

Perhaps you can arrange to ask those Americans actually risking their lives if they are happy to be there, so that you can take that out of the equation. If you're unwilling to pay for it, maybe you can arrange some sort of tax scheme where Republicans pay for the extra costs of the war, while Democrats pay for the extra cost of social benefits?

"If there was any hope of a decent outcome, there would be support for it."

There is hope. There's not just hope, there's no alternative. Either this succeeds, or you commit genocide. There's no other way to wrap up the anti-Americanism. Well, I guess suicide would work too.

"But we've screwed the pooch. We are in the abyss and I don't see the sense in digging any deeper in hopes of finding a pony because its not there."

There's no abyss. All the important things that were required have already happened. One of those important things was locals signing up in droves to join the new security forces. That was the end of the line of the anti-Americans having control of a state. After that it was a straightforward technical problem for the US military to transfer control over to them. It doesn't happen as fast as you would like, but that's a separate issue. Hell, it didn't happen as fast as I would have liked either. Unfortunately the insurgents get to vote on that. You actually need to INVESTIGATE this phenomenon. What is causing some people to oppose liberation, while others risk their lives signing up to the new security forces? Why are Iraqis on opposite ends of this war? There is an answer to this question, which I've outlined already. You didn't even understand the need to answer the question. The most important question in the history of humanity in fact. What causes people of the same race, religion, sex and nationality to shoot at each other? And which ones are our allies, and why? The answers were there in the Iraqi blogs, if you had bothered to look. The information from there is now available here.

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