October 02, 2007

New Democrat Attempts to Lose the War in Iraq

Too craven to directly vote for the surrender in Iraq that they would like to hang around the neck of President Bush as a defeat, desperate House Democrats are seeking other ways to lose the war in Iraq. One technique they are trying is simply stalling the 2008 war budget.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined an almost $190 billion request last week for the military in Iraq and Afghanistan over the coming year. But House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D., Wis.) said this morning that he had "absolutely no intention" of reporting out a bill this year to fund "any such request that simply serves to continue the status quo."

At the same time, the same Democrats behind this plan to cut funding to our soldiers are threatening to cripple us with taxes unless they get a commitment to withdraw.

Why are Democrats so desperate to change in U.S. policy in Iraq?

Probably because the "status quo" isn't a status quo and hasn’t been for some time, and their window to salvage a defeat in Iraq appears to be narrowing (h/t Instapundit)

  • On Monday came news that U.S. military deaths in Iraq fell to 64 in September, the fourth straight drop since peaking at 121 in May and driving the toll to a 14-month low.
  • Civilian deaths also have plunged, dropping by more than half from August to 884. Remember just six months ago all the talk of an Iraqi "civil war"? That seems to be fading.
  • The just-ended holy month of Ramadan in Iraq was accompanied by a 40% drop in violence, even though al-Qaida had vowed to step up attacks.
  • Speaking of al-Qaida, the terrorist group appears to be on the run, and possibly on the verge of collapse — despite making Iraq the center of its war for global hegemony and a new world order based on precepts of fundamentalist Islam.
  • Military officials say U.S. troops have killed Abu Usama al-Tunisi, a Tunisian senior leader of al-Qaida in Iraq who was responsible for bringing foreign fighters into the country. Not surprisingly, the pace of foreign fighters entering Iraq has been more than halved from the average of 60 to 80 a month.
  • Last month, 1,200 Iraqis waited patiently in line in Iraq's searing heat to sign up to fight al-Qaida. They will join an estimated 30,000 volunteers in the past six months — a clear sign the tide has turned in the battle for average Iraqis' hearts and minds.
  • Finally, and lest you think it's all death and destruction, there's this: Five million Iraqi children returned to school last week, largely without incident, following their summer vacations.

These developments are occurring just one week after Iraqi PM Nouri al-Malaki claimed that the threat of civil war in Iraq has been averted and that Iranian interference has "ceased to exist," and on the exact same day that al-Malaki announced that Iraqi defense and police forces were ready to take over all security responsibilities from the British in Basra in two months.

Yesterday, CBS News published an account by National Review's Pete Hegseth that indicates U.S. strategy has crippled al Qaeda.

Over the past few years, Democrats have shamelessly crafted their political road ahead on the future rhetoric of "we told you so," intending to be able to look back and point out to the American people that they predicted the Iraq War would be a failure well in advance, while never admitting they helped craft the failure. The goal of this plan is to re-establish some of national security credibility that the Democratic Party forfeited decades ago.

Towards that end, and to further their political goals, they have worked against the best interests of the American military, the American people, and the citizens of Iraq.

This latest attempt by Obey, Murtha, and other House Democrats shows that they will continue to attempt to craft policy to ensure the failure in Iraq that they think will most benefit their political party.

But iff the trends towards lower civilian and military deaths continues, as the Awakening spreads across provinces both Sunni and Shia, how much longer will Democrat politicians be able to claim that the war is "lost?" How much longer will out nation's media be able to hide signs of progress?

At this moment, the two most prominent stories relating in any way to Iraq are an contrived smear campaign against a radio talk show host by a special-interest group linked to a Democratic Presidential candidate, and the Congressional investigation into the apparent brutality of American security contractors working for Blackwater USA, who have fired their weapons in 195 missions out of more than 16,000 since 2005—roughly 1.2%--and recorded 16 Iraqi casualties since 2005, prior to the Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square that left 11 Iraqis dead and 14 wounded.

And yet while these stories dominating the news media from Iraq are about aspects of the war, they are far from being the whole story about Iraq, or even the most important stories.

The important stories--those being largely ignored by the progressional media--are being told in food shipments to the poor in quieting towns that "al Qaeda lost," in now routine city council meetings in Fallujah, and by businessmen and mayors in Diyala and elsewhere, and written by American and Iraqi alike.

The War in Iraq is going badly for the Democratic Party, but it appears they will not go down without a fight.

Update: A very interesting and mostly concurring British opinion on the matter at Prospect Magazine (h/t PJM):

Iranian-made rockets will continue to kill British and American soldiers. Saudi Wahhabis will continue to blow up marketplaces, employment queues and Shia mosques when they can. Iraqi criminals will continue to bully their neighbourhoods into homogeneities that will give the strongest more leverage, although even this tide is turning in most places where Petraeus's surge has reached. Bodies will continue to pile up in the ditches of Doura and east Baghdad as the country goes through the final spasm of the reckoning that was always going to attend the end of 35 years of brutal Sunni rule.

But in terms of national politics, there is nothing left to fight for. The only Iraqis still fighting for more than local factional advantage and criminal dominance are the irrational actors: the Sunni fundamentalists, who number but a thousand or two men-at-arms, most of them not Iraqi. Like other Wahhabi attacks on Iraq in 1805 and 1925, the current one will end soon enough. As the maturing Iraqi state gets control of its borders, and as Iraq's Sunni neighbours recognise that a Shia Iraq must be dealt with, the flow of foreign fighters and suicide bombers into Iraq from Syria will start to dry up. Even today, for all the bloodshed it causes, the violence hardly affects the bigger picture: suicide bombs go off, dozens of innocents die, the Shias mostly hold back and Iraq's tough life goes on.

In early September, Nouri al-Maliki said, "We may differ with our American friends about tactics… But my message to them is one of appreciation and gratitude. To them I say, you have liberated a people, brought them into the modern world… We used to be decimated and killed like locusts in Saddam's endless wars, and we have now come into the light." Here is an eloquent answer to the question of when American troops will leave Iraq. They will leave Iraq when the Iraqis, through their elected leadership, tell them to. According to a September poll, 47 per cent of Iraqis would prefer the Americans to leave. The surprise is that it's not 100 per cent. Who, after all, would not want his country rid of foreign troops? But if Iraqis had wanted government by opinion poll, they would have written their constitution that way. Instead, they chose, as do most people when given the choice, representative government.

I highly recommend reading the entire article. If the author is correct, it may be past the time that the Democrats can engineer a defeat in Iraq.

Have we really "turned the corner?" Frankly, I've heard the pronouncement one time too many to buy it at face value, but if the author is right, then we will be able to start bringing home American troops not in defeat, but in victory.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 2, 2007 02:49 PM

The first thing Republicans, and no, I AM NOT a conservative, is stop calling the war "the war in Iraq." We are not at war with Iraq and haven't been in a long long time. We are at war with terrorists, a contingent of which were causing havoc in Iraq, albeit less and less. The War on Terrorism is being fought all over the world - in Afghanistan, in Germany, in Britain, in Indonesia, in Spain, and right here at home. In Iraq, the Iraqis are our allies, which is a GOOD THING. We are supporting them now in their own fight against al-Quaeda and the criminal element who is for sale to the highest bidder.

I am so sick of the democrats in Congress, especially that pasty-faced Reid and his whiny voice. They are so ill informed, it is shocking. I was on the phone with a staffer in one of my Senators' office and was asked how I could say there was improvement in Iraq when children couldn't even go to school. Funny, I said, I just did a blog post about 5 million Iraqi children starting school that day. The person cackled, making me think I had Hillary on the line, not a staffer. I think they are giving lessons on how to immitate that cackle.

Look, I'm just an ol' broad who lives in the desert, so what do I know. Right? Wrong. I don't know why the dems think their bread is buttered by terrorists, but they do. Is it dhimmitude or is it that the al-Qaeda way of ironclad control and punishing rules are so attractive to them? We already know that they prefer to keep African-Americans subservient and have zero respect for anyone of color. We know they prefer socialism over our Republic and dictatorship over democracy. Do they really think they would survive such a system and survive to lead at the top?

Posted by: Sara at October 2, 2007 04:52 PM

Great comment Sara!! Though I am a conservative, I agree.

Posted by: right4us at October 2, 2007 05:02 PM

I forgot to mention how sad is the state of the Democrat party. I know I am not alone in feeling like they have too many obviously anti-Americans in the high ranks of their party. It is treasonous to me what they are doing. Just unbelievable. If the founding fathers were here today, many dems would be shot on the spot - in my opinion.

Thanks Confederate Yankee for the post.

Posted by: right4us at October 2, 2007 05:13 PM

Sara, the reason it is called "the war in Iraq" is because Iraq is where this particular part of the larger war on terror is being fought. Therefore, it is a war being fought, currently, in Iraq.

You might have a point if people were calling it the war against Iraq, or war on Iraq, but there is nothing factually, grammatically, or logically incorrect about the phrase "the war in Iraq."

You might as well object to calling the portion of World War II that was focused on the Japanese the "War in the Pacific."

Posted by: C-C-G at October 2, 2007 07:16 PM

Grabbing the steering wheel and dragging this back to the main point...

The current "status quo" in Iraq, as CY points out, is that we are winning... and Obey admits that he won't do anything to continue that?

Can he be that stupid?

Posted by: C-C-G at October 2, 2007 07:48 PM

First - You do have a point Sara (and so do you C-C-G). I would prefer something a bit more nuanced (channeling Bill Clinton - grin). "The Iraq Front of the War on Terror" fits my bill (pun intended).

Second - This subject brings more light on what ills our country today - Moral, Philosophical, and Political Cancer.

I am - Independent, relatively conservative, Christian, white, and male. Wrapped up, all around, inside and out - I am an AMERICAN. I freely admit I am a jingoist - My country, may she always be right, but my country right or wrong.

The light is now shining very brightly on this national cancer. A cancer that cannot be - Must not be - removed by surgery. It can only be cured if the Will of the People of this nation is able to force change. Change for the Good of the nation. That is the only medicine that will work.

Third - I have to give a shout out for C-C-G's site and thank him again for putting up a post for me. If you have time, please go check out his site:

(appologies to CY for overstepping comment privilidges)

Posted by: Mark at October 2, 2007 09:57 PM

Yikes - more apologies - for my atrocious spelling in my apology and for abusing the English language with such privilege!

Posted by: Mark at October 2, 2007 10:01 PM

If you truly believe the anti-war rhetoric the Democrat "politicians" are touting to get themselves elected, then you've been fooled since day one.

I separate "politicians" from the general democratic public. The liberals and most moderates want the war to end.

Come November, Republican or most likely Democrat, we are not truly leaving Iraq in the next decade.

So if your fear is that the U.S. will pull out, I'd not be too worried about it. You'll be writing about our U.S. occupation for years to come.

Posted by: john bryan at October 2, 2007 11:04 PM

John Bryan, at one point in our history the same thing could have been said about Vietnam.

The parallels are eerie.

(p.s. I didn't put Mark up to the plug.)

Posted by: C-C-G at October 2, 2007 11:09 PM

stop calling the war "the war in Iraq."

There is a war of sorts going on "in Iraq". The war "on Iraq" ended in a matter of weeks some years ago.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at October 2, 2007 11:24 PM

It looks like Pelosi shot down the loony war tax idea. It took her about four hours. Why don't the dems talk to each other before publicly announcing policy positions. They look like the keystone cops with all the pointless legislation they've floated this year. These reversals make them look like idiots. They also can't seem to remember that people really don't like taxes.

Posted by: daleyrocks at October 3, 2007 12:17 AM

Never quite understood, why the Dems did'nt take credit for the surge. After all, we would still have the same policy, had not Bush changed the strategy to the "surge" after the Dem's won. They could of taken a lot of credit for forcing Bush to do something.

Posted by: plainslow at October 3, 2007 02:51 AM

Over two million Iraqis are now refugees in neighbouring countries. Over two million are "internally displaced" i.e. refugees in their own country. There is very little possibility of these people ever returning "home".

To put these numbers in perspective, it would be the equivalent of perhaps 50 million Americans becoming refugees.

American troops may at some point be coming home "in victory".

It has been an unmitigated disaster for the Iraqi people.

Posted by: Max at October 3, 2007 05:32 AM

Speaking of Pelosi, she just appeared on a TV show with Whoopi Goldberg who said she'd like to be in a menage a trois with Nancy and her husband. A trip to the sewer is guaranteed any time you're around Whoopi. Nancy just smiled, something she does particularly well. What a good sport, eh?

Posted by: Banjo at October 3, 2007 07:09 AM

Max - It sounds like you believe you have reliable information.
"There is very little possibility of these people ever returning "home"."

How are you arriving at this conclusion?

Posted by: daleyrocks at October 3, 2007 08:48 AM

"Never quite understood, why the Dems did'nt take credit for the surge. After all, we would still have the same policy, had not Bush changed the strategy to the "surge" after the Dem's won. They could of taken a lot of credit for forcing Bush to do something."

Agreed. It is possibly the best thing they have done in a long time. They couldn't claim it, though, probably because they were beholden to the "pull-out now" crowd, and it would mean alienating a very vocal segment of their base.

Posted by: Grey Fox at October 3, 2007 09:07 AM

Max, the Iraqis are better off homeless and alive than in one of Saddam's mass graves.

Posted by: C-C-G at October 3, 2007 09:11 AM

Oh, Max, in discussing your comment with a friend who's an American living in Turkey (and recently married to a Turk), she says, "I'm glad Saddam isn't my neighbor anymore."

Posted by: C-C-G at October 3, 2007 09:21 AM


@ max

Over two million Iraqis are now refugees in neighbouring countries. Over two million are "internally displaced" i.e. refugees in their own country. There is very little possibility of these people ever returning "home".

And they are overwhelmingly Sunni Iraqis, many of whom were either associates of Saddam or AQ.

So I really doubt that there are going to be all that many tears. Particularly since so few *Arab* or *Muslim* countries want any of these people in their borders.

Posted by: memomachine at October 3, 2007 09:36 AM


The refugees are both Sunni and Shiite. They have been driven out of areas where they were in the minority, terrified for their lives.

Let's not forget the Christian minority, who have been in Iraq for almost 2000 years. Now they are persecuted, terrified, and on the run.

The one party that has undoubtedly gained from this debacle is the Iranians.

The US military can undoubtedly unleash awesome destruction. This enables them to achieve tactical victories at will. However, when it comes to achieving strategic objectives, the US military and Government have, in Iraq, made a complete f***-up of the entire enterprise.

Unless of course the objective all along was to achieve control of Iraq's oil, regardless of the cost to the Iraqi people. In that case it can be argued that they have indeed achieved their strategic objective.

Posted by: Max at October 3, 2007 10:07 AM

From Bill Roggio's report on 15 SEP 2007 in Southern Baghdad province:

"While sectarian tensions remain a serious problem in the region, there is evidence the rifts are not irreparable. In Sunni dominated Jurf As Sakr, a respected Shia tribal sheikh was elected mayor. One of the mayor’s first moves was to fly to Jordan to ask Sunni tribal leaders who fled the violence over the past several years to return to rebuild their communities."

There are 'refugees' escaping fighting and 'refugees' that are on the run because they are killers. Apparently Iraqis know the difference, and want good neighbors back and are going to talk to them. The problem of using sectarian based analysis is that in most of Iraq (geographically) it is the tribes that dominate and religion crosses through and inside tribes. Actually, the entire report and set of reports by PMI is very interesting, giving on-the-spot views, talking with locals and piecing together what is happening.

On the front of 'winning' against al Qaeda, my own view has been that Iraq and Afghanistan are strategically defensive conflicts, to stop radical Islam from spreading easily. That means that getting both into a stable, non-terror supporting mode is necessary, but not sufficient for success in the long run. Iraq made stable offers a dual counter-weight to Riyadh and Tehran by demonstrating that the violence brought by both major radical strains of Islam will target moslems just as easily as anyone else. That shores up the defensive side of the equation, but does nothing with going on the actual *offensive*. al Qaeda, as an entity, was an outgrowth of two other organizations that both have the ability to pull in al Qaeda's affiliate network. Demonstrating open Iranian involvement in the killing of moslems, also tarnishes their image, although as millenialist outlook those things are 'flexible': none will so easily kill as those that see the end of everything coming soon.

The greater overall threat is that all other terrorism, to get any attention, has had to get more violent, and while Islamic sorts have the highest body count (total and per incident), it is less than 1/3 of all terror attacks. The others have been raising their per-incident death toll for two decades, and that rate of increase continues on today without abatement. Someday that really should be addressed...

Posted by: ajacksonian at October 3, 2007 10:09 AM

max - Given where the U.S. has focused its resources in Iraq over the past four years isn't it pretty ridiculous to keep floating the war for oil theme? If we had wanted to steal the country's oil, wouldn't we be doing it by now?

With respect to the refugees, how have you determined their intentions for the long term? Have they been interviewed? Is this rank speculation?

Posted by: daleyrocks at October 3, 2007 10:45 AM


Read what I wrote - I said "control of its (Iraq's) oil", I did not say "steal".

Given the construction of the biggest US embassy in the world,

given the clear commitment to keep score of thousands of US troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future,

given the fact that the Oil Ministry was the only one to be defended by US soldiers while Baghdad was ransacked after its "liberation",

given Paul Wolfowitz's statement that Iraq's oil would pay for its liberation,

given all these things, isn't it pretty ridiculous to keep denying the war for oil theme?

With regard to the refugees, you are in denial over the horror of the situation. Millions of people have fled their homes which in most cases have now been taken over by the rival community. The vast majority will not be returning - that's the reality. And out of the horrors of these refugees camps the US will reap a whirlwind of another generation of the displaced and the hopeless.

Posted by: Max at October 3, 2007 11:16 AM

Max - Wolfowitz mentioned oil once I believe. Who else in the administration mentioned oil? How are we controlling their oil or planning to control their oil? Do you have special insight into the plans like you seem to have into the minds of the refugees?

Posted by: daleyrocks at October 3, 2007 11:29 AM

Max: "It has been an unmitigated disaster for the Iraqi people."

Assuming, arguendo, that the war has been a disaster, do you really believe it to be "unmitigated", or did you use that term for hyperbolic effect? I assume you are arguing in good faith, though I disagree with you, but I wonder why you see no mitigating factors. (mitigation doesn't equate to justification)

A few that come quickly to mind:
a. Saddam's gone
b. no more rape rooms
c. liberation of 85%+- of the population from Sunni tyranny

I don't want to revisit all the pros and cons, but I can't believe you don't see any mitigation at all.

P.S. While I was typing, this came up:

"Let's not forget the Christian minority, who have been in Iraq for almost 2000 years. Now they are persecuted, terrified, and on the run."

I read once (no link) that about 70% of the Arab population in America is Christian, mostly Chaldean I believe. There is a reason for that. Your point was just as true before as after the invasion.

Posted by: mrobvious at October 3, 2007 12:52 PM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/03/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Posted by: David M at October 3, 2007 03:26 PM

Looks like Max's lefty blinders are firmly in place... he refuses to admit that being alive, even if not in your native land, is better than being in a mass grave in your home soil.

Of course, with all the news from Iraq showing that things are getting better, lefties like Max are desperately flailing about, looking for something to blame the Coalition Forces for.

Posted by: C-C-G at October 3, 2007 07:07 PM

Never quite understood, why the Dems did'nt take credit for the surge.

The public's memory isn't THAT short.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at October 4, 2007 01:13 PM

[*map/map_index_coml2.txt||10||r||1|| @]

Posted by: dota at October 6, 2007 03:02 PM