June 20, 2008

The Real "Dead-Enders"

It has been fascinating—and often more than a little infuriating—to watch the anti-Administration wing of the anti-war movement over the past year.

I'd like to first make that distinction clear: there are those who are against the concept of warfare to resolve conflicts, and those that are against this war in specific because they have an acute loathing for their domestic political opposition, led by the current President. Make no mistake: so many of those who presently claim to be anti-war now would change their position on military intervention in an heartbeat if it meant intervening in Darfur or (_fill_in_the_blank_), if it satisfied their political desires and could be painted as a "humanitarian" mission.

Those politically-motivated progressives that see anti-war sentiment as little more than a way to grab power via the ballot box have been most aggravating and occasionally amusing. They saw that an unpopular and protracted war was a way to market themselves to pick up seats in Congress in 2004 and 2006, and hoped perhaps they could ride anti-war sentiment to the White House in 2008.

They rallied behind an eloquent dove of a candidate who has repeatedly promised America to withdrawal U.S. forces on a rigid 16-month timetable, regardless of condition on the ground or the effect it would have on the Iraqi people or on the stability of the region.

That timetable was predicated upon conditions on the ground in Iraq in 2006, when violence was spiraling out of control, and it seemed all but assured that Iraq would become a failed state. Obviously, a lot has changed in the time since Barack Obama predicated his campaign on achieving defeat, and in the past year in particular.

Violence dropped as U.S. and Iraqi forces moved off-base and into the communities, and as the communities themselves began rejecting insurgents, terrorists, gangs, and rogue militias. The Iraqi Parliament, once almost as ineffective as our current Congress, has passed important reconciliation legislation, including an amnesty law that has already led to hundreds of captured insurgents, including Associated Press personnel, to be set free.

Though leading Democrats like Harry Reid still insist that the war is lost, and the Speaker of the House insists that any progress must be due to Iran's moderating influence (and not the success of American and Iraqi forces in killing those carrying out those "moderating Iranian influences") it has become obvious to most of the world that the Iraqi experiment just might work and is well worth pursuing.

Austin Bay noted this morning that freshman Senator Hopeandchange may be trying to distance himself from his adopted policy of purposeful defeat (h/t: Instapundit):

Obama still touts his pull-out — sort of, occasionally, okay, less occasionally. Obama, like his cohort of supporters, is politically committed to defeat. Obama will now rely on rhetoric to assauge the DailyKos-crowd and obscure his shift on Iraq. He will change his position– and Samantha Power prepared the way several months ago in her ill-fated BBC interview this past spring. Obama thinks he can get away with it: he just backed out of public financing.

The NY Times on the deal before the vote. And Fox.

The real rubes in this election won’t be the rural Midwesterners Obama slandered, the ones who cling to their guns and religon. It will be the gray-haired profs with ponytails, clinging to their cannabis and liturgy of defeat.

When Obama quietly slinks aways from his signature issue and the anti-Bush wing of the anti-war movement loses their defeat-at-any-cost pledgemaster, what will become of the anti-war progressive fringe?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 20, 2008 09:21 AM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 06/20/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Posted by: David M at June 20, 2008 10:17 AM

That is the problem with putting all your hopes in "The One." The "progressives" are going to end up hating him as much as the conservatives will, I suspect.

Posted by: Grey Fox at June 20, 2008 11:49 AM

You're crazy. The Anti-Bush wing of the anti-war movement is by far the dominant faction, and when Obama says "perhaps we could stay (in Iraq) a Bit longer", they'll consider it a Beatitude from the Messiah. That it is 180 degrees opposite of the policy they previously espoused and perfectly in line with Bush's policy will not bother them at all so long as it increases Obama's chance at the presidency.

Posted by: Mark in Portland at June 20, 2008 12:08 PM

I'm sort of with Mark, here. The vast majority of the war, they care about power.

I further contend that a large portion of those who were against the war were against the way we were fighting it in 2005-2006 and up to the surge. I served during the Southeast Asian War Games and have an aversion to having our troops sent a bajillion miles from home and letting the Gomers shoot at them while having safe havens across a border. I do not understand why there is one brick standing on another in Syria and Iran.

Posted by: Peter at June 20, 2008 12:39 PM

I disagree, Mark. If Iraq plays out well, it demolishes the anti-war message they've been pushing for years, and it means history will look kindly on George Bush. That is simply not acceptable. Iraq must crash into a flaming heap, Iran must be ascendant, and America must leave with its tail between its legs and its head hung low.

Nothing less will do. Note that they already hate Pelosi. They will hate Obama when they realize they've been duped again.

Posted by: Pablo at June 20, 2008 01:16 PM


It must be a great burden to be able to divine what others are thinking. It's almost like being Superman. How do you bear the responsibility?

The problem is, Iran is on the ascendant. As proof, check out how their whacko president was greeted in Baghdad:

"The Shiite-led Iraqi government rolled out the red carpet, literally, for Ahmadinejad as he became the first Iranian president to visit Iraq, a country that was a bitter enemy when Saddam Hussein's Sunni government was in power."

And this thanks to the inept Bush administration. And funny, as someone who is against this war, this does not make me happy at all. Huh. So you were wrong about that. Funny.

That our president has been such a complete and utter disaster makes few people I know happy. You must be hanging out a very strange, very unAmerican crowd.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at June 20, 2008 10:27 PM


I suspect that you missed the mass anti Iran demonstrations that accompanied Amadinnerjackets visit. You have also not noted the 2million signature petition assembled by angry Iraqis demanding Iran stop funding terrorism. I guess you also failed to note the Iraqi armies recent shredding of the Iranian militias in Sadr city, Basra, and Amara.

That selective quoting will mess you up you every time.

Posted by: grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at June 20, 2008 11:07 PM


That the official government of Iraq, the people you and I spend our tax money to protect, welcomed the president of Iran with military bands and flowers from school children, when our president has to fly in under cover of secrecy, tells me more than petitions and demonstrations.

I don't know about you, but that fish stinks. It stinks real bad.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at June 20, 2008 11:14 PM

Oh, and grrrrrrrr, if you want to quote petitions and such, you might consider that 71% of Iraqis "say they would like the Iraqi government to ask for US-led forces to be withdrawn from Iraq within a year or less."

I know, it's just a poll, but it's a place to begin the debate.

And please, don't assume you know what my position is, just because I'm against this war. I'll be the first to admit it's a lot more complicated than pro and con.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at June 20, 2008 11:25 PM

[[And please, don't assume you know what my position is, just because I'm against this war. I'll be the first to admit it's a lot more complicated than pro and con.]]

errrrrrr, OK. (Dont get your panties in a bunch).

Posted by: grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at June 21, 2008 12:05 AM
It must be a great burden to be able to divine what others are thinking. It's almost like being Superman. How do you bear the responsibility?

David, it's a highly complicated process, but I'll try to explain it to you in terms you might be able to understand. If you want to know what people are thinking, listen to what they are saying and watch what they are doing.

For instance, if you want to know what Maliki thinks of Iranian influence, you could check what he's had to say and do about the Mahdi Army, Iran's proxy in Iraq.

Posted by: Pablo at June 21, 2008 08:01 AM

I'm also thankful to know that what you need to become an ascendant nation is a walk down the red carpet for your President. I'm sure that if we asked Maliki to roll some red out for Bush, we could get that done and be right back at the top of the world!

David, you brightened my day immeasurably!

Posted by: Pablo at June 21, 2008 08:04 AM

Gee, David, ya think that maybe, just maybe, the fact that Iran is right next door to Iraq, has a larger army than Iraq, has been sending people into Iraq to blow up Iraqi and American forces, and has no fondness for Iraq based in part on Saddam's war against Iran might--might--have some bearing on how Mr. Maliki treats Mr. Ahmadinnerjacket?

Not to mention that a visiting head of state, regardless of how well or poorly the government feels about the other state, is generally treated very well indeed.

Tell me, David, when President Clinton welcomed Yasser Arafat to the US in 2000, did that mean that the Palestinians were "ascendant"? How about when he welcomed Ehud Barak in the same year, was that evidence that the Israelis were "ascendant"? My, my, the "ascendancy" seems to change hands quickly.

I could go on mocking your position, David, but it's just too easy. I prefer a bit more of a challenge.

Posted by: C-C-G at June 21, 2008 08:37 AM

Ah. I remember David's position on some other stuff. He's off-the-charts crazy.

Yeah, watching and listening to what others say and do is a pretty good indicator of what they're saying and doing.

Posted by: brando at June 21, 2008 10:00 AM

Pablo Sayes:

'...and it means history will look kindly on George Bush.'

Pablo get that damn Breelcream outta your hair!

Your butch will look better, I bet!

Do you still smoke Lucky Strikes???

Posted by: BrotherBoneHead at June 21, 2008 10:02 AM

Is that a bone in your head or is your melon really a bong?

Who is the president with the worst approval ratings? Harry Truman. And that's only because they weren't polling for them when Lincoln was in office. You'll remember that a big freaking chunk of the country took up arms and went to war against him.

Posted by: Pablo at June 21, 2008 10:56 AM

First of all: Jesus, people.

Second of all, I've never been comfortable with this Bush-Truman analogy. I get that you're trying to say that polls lack a certain historical vision, and I agree. But Comparing Truman, who valiantly stood his ground when he was being pressured by Republicans and MacArthur to expand the Korean war into China, to Bush, who seems all too eager start wars of questionable necessity, seems a little off base. Truman certainly wouldn't stand for it if he was alive. As a man of history, comparing Truman to Bush makes my skin crawl.

But in all honesty, I hope you all are right. If Iraq ends up a free and fair democracy and — even further — becomes the key to a democratic, terrorism-free Middle East, I think history will treat Bush as kindly as it does Truman. And the world will be a better place. But I'm skeptical. Or, more precisely, skeptically hopeful.

Posted by: Juan Manuel de Rosas at June 21, 2008 02:14 PM

"That our president has been such a complete and utter disaster makes few people I know happy."

David, I'd venture a guess that you know very few people who voted for him as well.

Posted by: daleyrocks at June 21, 2008 02:36 PM

Pablo Sayes:

'You’ll remember that a big freaking chunk of...'

I apologize to all the greasers I may have offended here.

The term is friggin'; youngin'!

You obviously are young.

Posted by: BrotherBoneHead at June 21, 2008 05:04 PM

daleyrocks is right;

'"That our president has been such a complete and utter disaster makes few people I know happy.”

David, I’d venture a guess that you know very few people who voted for him as well.'

I live in Newport Beach, CA a haven for the right.

They are upset about the present but still say he was the best to vote for at that time.

As far as I see it the problem with this is the right would rather have a cardiac rather than admit that they were 'wrong'.

Really, when was the last time you've heard a righty admit they were wrong?

Don't lose sleep!

Posted by: BrotherBoneHead at June 21, 2008 05:26 PM

Well, I was wrong about the Surge - I thought McCain was an idiot and we were simply exposing more troops to harm, that the answer was a war of attrition. Well, we all know how that turned out...

Given the chance, would I vote for Bush again? In a heartbeat. Heck, if he was running now I'd still vote for him in preference to either of the two now running.

Posted by: Grey Fox at June 21, 2008 08:24 PM

when was the last time you've heard a righty admit they were wrong?

I voted for Carter. I'll admit to that.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at June 21, 2008 08:34 PM

Bush risked his political career to go to war in Iraq, because he thought it was a danger. He could have ignored it - he could have left it to the next president, or the next generation. Whether you agree with him about the threat Iraq posed or not, you have to give im some credit for that.
Or, we could have simply gone in and out, or bombed it from the air, or done any number of things that were simply symbolic, or removed Saddam without providing for the future. Instead, we got are hands dirty and tried to rebuild Iraq in such a way that it not only kept it from becoming a worse mess, but also went some way towards ending the "root causes" of terrorism. It was unpleasant, but the responsible thing to do.

Posted by: Grey Fox at June 21, 2008 08:46 PM

Do your homework: Bush went to war because his PR flacks told him that all great presidents are considered great because they were wartime presidents. He ginned it up with faked evidence and skewed intelligence, and cries now that it blew up in his face. The only redeeming thing is that he will get EXACTLY what he deserves in the history books!

Posted by: Diogenes at June 21, 2008 09:22 PM

Diogenes, change your name, you're not looking for an honest man.

Read the Rockefeller report, and you'll see one phrase repeated over and over, "substantiated by intelligence information."

Of course, you won't read the actual report, you'll depend on the MoveOnMedia to tell you parts of it and leave other parts of it out... like the part I just mentioned. To read the actual report might mean that you'd be proved wrong, and you can't abide even the possibility of that, can you?

Posted by: C-C-G at June 21, 2008 09:37 PM

Diogenes - Have you ever heard the term "hindsight hero?" That's what you and a lot of the left act like with the benefit of better information these days. Unfortunately there is no evidence of lies or faked information on the part of the administration before the war and repeating it does not make your case stronger. I'd be interested in seeing your case for PR flacks being in charge of White House decision making though. I thought it was Cheney.

Posted by: daleyrocks at June 21, 2008 09:38 PM

Oh C-C-G. Why did you have to go and do that?

Oh wait, because it is evidence that maybe he just wasn't lying, and was doing what he thought to be right.

Posted by: Matt at June 21, 2008 10:08 PM

"The only redeeming thing is that he will get EXACTLY what he deserves in the history books!"

To plagarize Churchill: History will be kind to him, because I intend to write it.


He already had one war, quite popular and successful at the time, IIRC. Why start another?

Posted by: Grey Fox at June 21, 2008 11:21 PM


But I'm skeptical. Or, more precisely, skeptically hopeful.

Things are looking up in Iraq and they have been for some time. While it's been a long time coming, Iraqis are finally getting it done for themselves. Bravo to them, and I hope nothing more than that they keep it up.

Posted by: Pablo at June 21, 2008 11:56 PM

The surge has been a military success thus far. Iraq in 2008 is more stable than 2006. Even as someone who opposed the war from the start, I celebrate the improvements brought by the surge. After all, the more stable Iraq is, the less Iraqi and American casualties there are. We could get into a pissing contest about whose pre-war predictions came out to be true, but frankly that's irrelevant now.

However, I remain skeptical because the obstacles facing a stable Iraq are daunting. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of mid-east history knows that getting Sunnis and Shi'as to get along is — to put it mildly — pretty hard. With an all-volunteer army, it's going to be impossible to keep troop levels this high, so what happens when we start drawing down our troops? There are also other disturbing unanswered questions (Can Maliki create jobs? Can we rebuild Iraqi infrastructure? How are oil profits going to be divided? etc.). Again, I hope my skepticism turns out to be unjustified in the same way that my skepticism about the surge was proven wrong.

@ daleyrocks

I think history will say that the Bush administration and intelligence officials gave absurd amounts of credence to questionable intelligence because they were trying to make a case for a war of choice. For this reason, I don't think Bush will be vindicated by historians. But you are right insofar as that reality is more nuanced than presented by the "Bush faked intelligence" argument. But I guess we'll see in a few decades...

Posted by: Juan Manuel de Rosas at June 22, 2008 03:03 AM


I heard somewhere that after Bush flew over some of the flood zones he went promptly to his ranch ta' clear some brush.

Could this be true?

If he would just stay there and clear da' brush, the world would be a better place!

Posted by: BrotherBoneHead at June 22, 2008 09:40 AM


Come on now, and I know it will be hard for some of you, are you better off than 4/8 ago?

No phony answers, PLEASE!

Posted by: BrotherBoneHead at June 22, 2008 01:33 PM

Yes, BoneHead, I am.

For one thing, we have a government in place that is taking Islamic terrorism seriously.

But there's also been a turnaround in my personal life. Several, actually. And since it is, as I said, personal, I ain't gonna share details. Call me a liar if you wish.

Posted by: C-C-G at June 22, 2008 03:24 PM

BoneHead - Let me take a couple of wild guesses. You believe in anthropogenic global warming. You also want lower energy prices, but don't want any new offshore drilling, drilling in the ANWR, any development of oil shale, or any new domestic refineries built. You also want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

How am I doing?

Posted by: daleyrocks at June 22, 2008 03:36 PM

' Let me take a couple of wild guesses. '

Like I said before I believe in UFO'S, Ghosts and Dinosaurs!

Global warming is for punks.

Ever heard of 'Lizard Man'?

I lived there!

Posted by: BrotherBoneHead at June 22, 2008 04:52 PM


'...or any new domestic refineries built.'

I spent most of my productive life actually participating in the building of Nuclear Plants and upgrades of Refineries.

No, I feel they are greatly needed.

Blame as you wish.

Posted by: BrotherBoneHead at June 22, 2008 05:04 PM

You asked when was the last time a righty admitted that he was wrong. I am about as righty as you can get.
When JFK was elected I thought he was competent and would stand up for the country. I was wrong.
When LBJ became President I thought, he's from Texas. He can't be that bad. I was wrong.
When Richard Nixon became President I thought an old cold warrior wouldn't impose price controls. I was wrong.
When Gerald Ford became President I thought he was a conservative. I was wrong.
When Jimmy Carter was elected I thought "he's a Southerner and a Christian. He can't be as bad as he seems". Boy, was I ever wrong.
When GHW Bush was elected I thought he would continue Reagan's policies and keep his pledge on taxes. I was wrong.
When Bill Clinton was elected I thought he was a moderate. I also thought that Lyndon Johnson was as dishonest a man as had ever been President and that Richard Nixon was the man who would most discredit the Presidency in my lifetime. I don't think I need to tell you how wrong I was.
When GW Bush was elected I thought he was more like Reagan than like his father. I also thought he might try to control spending, the border or both. I was again wrong.
I still believe that somewhere out there is an honest Democrat. But I'm probably wrong.

Posted by: Ken Hahn at June 22, 2008 11:29 PM

Whether Iraq is a success or not, historically speaking, will not be evident for decades. When England occupied that area in the first half of the last century, after a few decades, there were many coups and turmoil. That country has all the makings of unrest: multiple ethnic groups that don't trust/hate each other, high unemployment rates, broken infrastructure and a HUGE natural resource worth trillions of dollars to control. It will be a tinderbox easily for the next 100 years regardless of the surge or our presence...

As far as GWB and history goes, I think Iraq isn't his legacy as that will be shared by several presidents into the future. GWB's legacy will be 9/11, OSB, torture, Gitmo, end runs around the constitution, Katrina/NO, NCLB, and illegal wiretapping.

Posted by: matta at June 23, 2008 01:43 PM

GWB will be remembered in history as the President whose achievements was smeared by his political opponents
Matta , the September 11 , 2001 tragedy did not start with Mr G.W. Bush , it started when his predecessor foolishly followed the advice of Janet Reno to build an intelligence wall that prevented the FBI to share information with the CIA or the military . The planning of the destruction of the World Trade Center started way before Bush decided to campaign for president for the 2000 presidential election . President Bush got September 11 because the previous president and his administration cared more about power than the safety of the country .
2)Torture ? what torture , Abu Ghraib ?? You got to be kidding . That disgusting episode was nothing but a sadistic form of juvenile college pranks done by undisciplined soldiers that was commanded by incompetent military officers led by BG Janis Karpinski . If you want to know what torture really means , just try to research what Abu Ghraib was really like under Saddam Hussein . You are just following the narrative presented to you by the media and by your own political biases .
3) Katrina . why blame GWB when the majority of the blame should be shouldered by the local authorities led by Mayor Nagin and the State authorities led by Governor Blanco . A very honest essay about the events of Katrina . Does the picture of Louisiana school buses underwater was a severe indictment of the incompetence and negligence of Mayor Nagin and governor Blanco or are you just going to play the blame the president for everything .
4)Gitmo . If those prisoners were innocent , I wonder why their home countries prefer them there rather than back home . I also wonder why that all of those incarcerated there came from the battlefields of Afghanistan . Hint to you , the Geneva Conventions permits the execution of illegal combatants in the battlefield with extreme prejudice . Believe me , if the military is left with two choices on what to do with illegal combatants caught in the battlefield is to send them to Gitmo and get caught entangled with activist lawyers or execute the SOB , they will be more than willing to shoot that terrorist than to waste their time with the SOB's lawyers in front of the judge .

5) NCLB would not be necessary if the school kids were being taught not indoctrinated . Many conservatives and libertarians hated it , but many accepted the bitter pill in order to address the decline of the quality of American education . The best solution would have been , remove the federal government from running education . All they have to do is set the standards , let the individual states find a way to plan it and get the private sector to run it and oh yeah ,separate the teachers unions , lobbyists and education experts from real teachers and our kids .

6) Illegal wiretapping or it's only illegal if they are used against those who want to wish the US and it's citizens harm . Listen to me carefully , the phone calls they are eavesdropping originates from countries outside the US and received in this country or to another country . What makes it harder is this , a lot of phone numbers are disposable and FISA cannot react fast enough to recognized that our enemies know how to play the game as well . Unlike wiretapping involving criminals , you only can get one chance against terrorists .

Posted by: Wil at June 23, 2008 09:14 PM

Incidentally, I believe that the wiretapping efforts were OK'ed by a Clinton-appointed judge, and the appeal against them turned down with prejudice by the Supreme Court. So, it is not "illegal" at all.

Posted by: Grey Fox at June 23, 2008 11:32 PM