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Surging Ahead

We are about to begin The Week, what we have been waiting for since President Bush’s speech last winter, announcing that he would be sending in additional U.S. troops, his so-called surge, into Iraq. The U.S. Senate made noises about waiting until September to see how things are going. General David Petraeus would come to Washington and give an official report and then the American people and Colngress could decide.

Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker go to Congress tomorrow, though it was decided that they would not be issuing a report after all. Just testimony. President Bush will address the nation on Thursday (KVEC will carry it live) and we already know the game plan: the surge is working. We need to give it more time. This from a president, who upon arriving in Sydney last week announced that we were “kicking ass” in Iraq.

Oh really? According to a Washington Post/ABC poll, 58% of Americans expect General Petraeus to over-exaggerate the effect of the surge, not unlike what he did back in 2004 when he was overly optimistic aobut our progress in Iraq just prior to the critical November elections. Meanwhile, Petraeus is also apparently in a heated conflicted with his boss Admiral William Fallon, who wants tropps withdrawal to begin ASAP.

Predictably, the Democrats are arguin the surge has failed. Republicans are arguing that it’s showing signs of success. Everything i’ve read this last week indicates that there has only been minimal progress in Baghdad, an area that Bush himself said would be the lynchpin of his surge strategy. Instead, we have apparently shifted our focus to the outlying areas with some limited success. But nothing can be accomplished without getting the main cities under control and nothing will be achieved without a ppolitical victory which seems further and further from our grasp.

The GAO report indicates that we’ve failed to meet 13 out of the 18 benchmarks we laid out last winter.

So have at it, folks. Is the surge working, or not?

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  1. Dave Congalton
    September 10, 2007 at 3:44 am

    Let me tack this on as a P.S. This is from Matthew Dowd, who worked on the Bush re-election campaign in 2004 and suggests this is how Americans currently perceive the war in Iraq:

    “While I did serve as Chief Strategist for President Bush in the 2004 campaign, I now consider myself an independent and feel it is a good time to offer what I hope you will find is a measured, reflective and objective analysis of where Democrats and Independents and a large portion of Republican voters stand on the Iraq war today.

    1. In the public’s mind, the Iraq War was a mistake, and continuing the status quo is simply continuing on with a mistake. As a result, most Americans now view the situation in Iraq as a “rearview” mirror issue — meaning that the public believes it is time to focus on the process of ending our involvement and getting out quickly. They see American troops as targets in a place we aren’t wanted, and they desire a plan which achieves responsible withdrawal in the quickest and safest way.

    2. The public does not see withdrawal from Iraq as a signal America doesn’t support the troops. In fact, the public sees removing the troops from harm’s way and having them in a place where the mission is supported, welcomed and understood as the most proper way to support our troops.

    3. The public is waiting for leaders from both political parties to stand up to the president and say enough is enough. They would like this situation resolved — and soon — and there is no other solution acceptable to them other than bringing the troops home.

    4. The war in Iraq is now seen exclusively as a foreign policy concern, and the American public no longer supports the initiative as part of national security. This is in stark contrast to the war’s beginning — at inception, the public perceived it as directly related to fighting terrorism, and thus it was seen as a domestic policy issue connected to homeland security. Today, this is no longer the case — the dynamic has changed and most of the public sees no “positive” relationship between the fight against terrorism and the war in Iraq.

  2. Downtown Bob
    September 10, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Dave, you know how this will work; Rich will come back and say that we need to listen to General Patreaus, that there is some progress, but, we need to just give it a little more time.
    How many more six month “reprieves” does this administration think it can get away with? How many times have you seen those who cheerlead for the Bush plan claim that “in six months time we will see substantial progress being made, and we just need to give it a little more time”? It would be interesting to add up all of the injuries and deaths that have happened since the first time someone suggested that we “just need to give it six more months”.
    Iraq; stick a fork in it and call it done. As long as our military is there, indefinitely, as a backstop for the floundering Iraqi government, real progress will not happen, period.

  3. Rudy McCain
    September 10, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Bill Mahrer (sp?) had a pretty good line on HBO last night. If we’re “kicking ass” in Iraq, why did Bush have to sneak in, unannounced, at midnight?

    Another Bill, Bill Clinton, nailed it, I think, when he argued that nothing will be accomplished in Iraq without political stability; that’s more important than the military option.

    All I kow is what I read and see on TV, but things don’t look any better in the capital. So how is giving six more months going to change anything. Strikes me as a stalling tactic.

  4. Rich from Paso
    September 10, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    No Bob, we don’t need 6 more months, but we do need to fix what we have broken. If you don’t care about that, then that is your failing not mine. I’ve said that an orderly withdraw from Iraq will take three years if we started today. You do the math.

    Rudy: Big words for a bunch of people too scared to even contemplate going to Iraq.

    Bush might be a chickenhawk, but the rest of you are just chicken.

  5. Guy Murray
    September 11, 2007 at 2:23 am

    Dave,

    The question is not whether the surge is working–though I have no doubt that the U.S Military is second to none in the world and can accomplish any legitimate military goal. The question is whether, even assuming the surge is working, American sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, should continue to bleed and die on foreign soil which presents no clear and present danger to our homeland. The answer to that question is a resounding NO! That price is too high to pay for America to referee an Iraqi civil war.

    We need to declare victory, mission accomplished, and bring home all the troops. We have plenty of priorities here at home that need attention, which is being diverted by George Bush’s quagmire in Iraq.

  6. Rich from Paso
    September 11, 2007 at 4:19 am

    BTW: I hope you all recall that I said some time ago that it was only a matter of time before you liberals start to spit on the soldiers that go to Iraq and do their duty. I pointed out that liberals, the uber-patriotic amoung us, have always been the ones to slander, disparage and are disrespectful to our men and women in uniform. Vietnam was notorious for this and Abu Ghraib and Hadditha (where liberals generalize the actions at those locations as being symptomatic of the military in general) are the most recent examples.

    Well, it has began exactly as I said it would. MoveOn.org, the scumbag organization willing to politicize everything, is now slandering GEN Petreaus in their most recent ad and Harry Reid has called the commander of our sons and daughters in Iraq a liar, (as if Reid would know the truth if it bit him on the ass). I’m here to tell you that it won’t be long before these anti-war whack jobs start their terrorizing campaign against our troops everywhere they see them, exactly as the liberals did during Vietnam.

    And you all wonder why the Democrat party is considered weak on terrorism and national security.

    Guy: I wish that you and the rest of the anti-Iraq war crowd cared as mush about deaths due to drunk driving, or deaths due to wrongly prescribed medication, or deaths from illegal alien criminals, or child sexual abuse as you do about the 3,700 soldiers, sailors and airmen that volunteered to serve their country and were killed in that service in Iraq.

    I thought Bush already declared victory, or at least that the mission was accomplished, and you all have been kicking his ass ever since for it. What good is a military victory in Iraq if the whoile Middle East spins out of control in a sectarian bloodbath? I’m guessing that doesn’t even matter, just as it didn’t matter when we “declared victory” and left South Vietnam to be overran by the NVA. The millions that died certainly never had an opportunity to cheer us on our victory. Job well done, huh?

  7. Guy Murray
    September 11, 2007 at 4:42 am

    Rich,

    Let’s stay focused here. Drunk driving deaths and the like you have referenced have absolutely nothing to do with the topic of Dave’s post, which is whether “the surge” is working.

    My point is that isn’t really the right question. The question really should be, is the cost of maintaining the surge worth the price we are paying? My answer is no.

    Today, General Petraeus testified before Congress and said in part:

    But “the fundamental source of the conflict in Iraq is competition among ethnic and sectarian communities for power and resources.”

    It is an abuse (bordering on criminal) of the American Military to referee an Iraqi (or any other) civil war where the fundamental source of conflict is a competition among ethnic and sectarian communities for power and resources.

    If the Iraqis want to fight and kill themselves, that is up to them. It has no bearing on our security at home. We need to support our troops by removing them from this nightmare quagmire created by the incompetence and arrogance of George Bush.

  8. Rich from Paso
    September 11, 2007 at 6:49 am

    No, I am focused. Why is the needless deaths (as you refer to them) of our servicemen and women in Iraq more important than the needless deaths of any other American? Actually, more people have died this year from drunk driving than in the entirity of the Iraq War by a factor of five. You are the ones placing subjective value on the lives of Americans. I am not picking and choosing my outrages like you are. So don’t tell me to focus .

    As for the Petreaus report, “competition among ethnic and sectarian communities for power and resources” does not equal a civil war. That is your interpretation of what he said not what he actually said and is taking spin to a whole new level. If you think that we can go in, devestate a country and then just leave the masses to fight or fend for themselves, that’s your character flaw, not mine, Petreaus’ or President Bush’s.

  9. Downtown Bob
    September 11, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Rich: Apples and oranges; deaths of Americans who choose to drive, even though they know the potential danger is a choice that is made every single time you get behind the wheel, and it is a choice each and everyone of us makes of our own free will. Does that justify the carnage on our highways and byways? Absolutely not, but to compare highway fatalities to war casualties doesn’t really advance your argument for our continued involvement in Iraq. You are correct in stating that a full withdrawal will take some time, and I am sure you are right when you say it will take three years; however, the crux of the discussion here is whether or not the “surge” is what is behind the “reported” decreases in casualties. Many types of violent deaths are not being counted as part of the “military” engagement. The fact that the Iraqi government is not functioning very well has led to a religious segregation in many areas with Sunni and Shia enclaves as main neighborhoods with those respective religious leader taking on the role traditionally filled by government. With the segregation in place, random attacks have decreased somewhat, which is not related to the surge. Earlier in the thread someone mentioned that President Bush had to “sneak into Iraq”; the location of his visit has the Anbar Provenience which is a sparsely populated remote area. Apparently our military base there that the President visited has some thirteen miles of border, and most of the troops there stay pretty much in the general area of the base. The reduction in violence in Anbar is more a function of us leaving the area alone and the locals taking care of al-Qaeda in their own fashion. And the reduction in violence there too started before the surge started.
    Rich, I really feel that you are way to involved to be able to look at the situation in an impartial manner and you have to believe that the military is the best option. The military cannot take the place of an efficient government, and what Iraq needs is a political solution. Maliki may or may not be the answer, but this has to be worked out by the Iraqis. To inform them that we are going to start to leave will force them to get their act together, as they have done for some seven thousand years or so.

  10. Anonymous
    September 11, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Guy said:
    “The question is whether, even assuming the surge is working, American sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, should continue to bleed and die on foreign soil.”

    Why don’t we let those men & women and their family’s answer that question Guy?

    Their answer is “Yes we will sacrifice for our freedom and yours”

    1960’s are long past. This military is 100% volunteer. They vote every time they reenlist and we have records numbers doing that.

    The question is not of their commitment, which is crystal clear. The real question is what is your commitment?

    Remember this. This nation doesn’t need your agreement to do what is right. So please stop all the histrionics about our brave military. They have spoken loudly. You have merely complained.

    I’ll take commitment over sour grapes any day.

  11. Guy Murray
    September 11, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Rich,

    I can understand why you would not want to defend the indefensible–George Bush’s incompetent Iraq policy–hence the need for you to try to change the subject of the post. Again, we are talking about the surge–not about drunk drivers. I’m quite certain no one commenting will defend drunk driving deaths.

    Now, back to the topic at hand–The Surge. You said in part:

    As for the Petreaus report, “competition among ethnic and sectarian communities for power and resources” does not equal a civil war. That is your interpretation of what he said not what he actually said and is taking spin to a whole new level.

    You can read that quote in the Washington Post article in today’s paper here. It is in the second to last paragraph on the first page of the article. As you can see, it is a direct quote from the General. IF you have some objective criteria that it is not a quote, please post it with a legitimate source.

    You also said, in part:

    If you think that we can go in, devestate a country and then just leave the masses to fight or fend for themselves, that’s your character flaw, not mine, Petreaus’ or President Bush’s.

    I never thought we should have “gone in” to Iraq in the first place. The fact that George Bush’s Iraq policy was fatally flawed and incompetently executed from its inception, does not justify the continuing sacrifice of brave young American lives. I have no problem letting the Iraqi’s fend for themselves at this point. They have had ample opportunity to get their government in order.

    While you and I have this exchange in the relative comfort of our homes thousands of miles away from the battle, Americans continue to bleed and die in Iraq, while the Iraqi government is on vacation.

    Enough! Not one more penny for this endeavor.

  12. Rich from Paso
    September 11, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    You refuse to answer my statement. He did not say civil war because it is not a civil war. The liberal intelligencia in this country wants it to be seen as a civil war because that calls to mind the scariest, worst case scenario for our troops, that being “caught in the middle of a civil war”.

    I have told you once and I will tell you again: those are my friends over in Iraq, not yours. How many people do you know actually fighting in Iraq? For every one you name, I can name ten. Don’t condesend to me like I’ve not felt the loss of this war because I have. I have lost several very close friends and co-workers over there. Not one of their families has ever said anything negative about the war or how their loved one died.

    Nice talking point: “Americans continue to bleed and die in Iraq, while the Iraqi government is on vacation.” Strange coinsidence here, but there is another blogger that used almost exactly the same choice of words here. Why not try to come up with your own material instead of stealing someone else’s?

    Finally, I love how you side step how I want you to examine why 3,700 deaths in Iraq (IN IRAQ, therefore totally on topic) is somehow more important than the multitude of other ways American lives are thrown away. I guess you really don’t care if 16,000 Americans died in drunk driving accidents last year or that 14,000 Americans were murdered last year or that 1,320,000 babies were aborted last year or that 90,000 children every year are sexually abused. Those 3,700 lost servicemen are of paramount concern for you. I suppose it should be comforting somehow that you prize the loss of the 3,700 that have died in Iraq over all the other carnages that occur in America and across the world. It should, but it’s not.

  13. Dave Congalton
    September 11, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Here’s part of this morning’s editorial from the Orange County Register, hardly a liberla bastion:

    “Perhaps it was unrealistic to expect much more, but given the buildup it was a little disappointing. However, it is true that Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker had little to talk about. Perhaps it is to their credit that they did not try to inflate the modest progress they see in Iraq into more than it is….

    “More notable were the key questions not answered. Has the ongoing commitment in Iraq helped or hurt the global struggle against jihadist terrorists? How seriously has the U.S. military been degraded? What will be the long-term impact on ready reserves and the National Guard? Could the U.S. respond to an unexpected event elsewhere? Is there a chance the Iraqi government will get it together without a credible threat of U.S. withdrawal? What threat would an Iraq embroiled in civil war present to the United States itself? Is there a definition of success in Iraq that is more than star-spangled rhetoric?

    “The recommendation Gen. Petraeus made, that the number of U.S. military personnel in Iraq be reduced back to 130,000 by next summer, would have had to be done whether or note there was evidence of success. We’ll see whether these desultory presentations firm up support for staying the course or push some wavering Republicans into the early-withdrawal camp.”

  14. Anonymous
    September 12, 2007 at 2:07 am

    Dave, how do you personally deal with the fact that we are in Iraq and we are staying in Iraq?

    We appreciate all the copy-n-paste info but for every word you copy-n-paste against Ithe Iraq war…if allowed I could copy-n-paste 2 for one to stay in Iraq. So copy-n-paste isn’t the answer…

    But really? How do you deal with it? You have a House & Senate that won’t act to end the war…You say there is some very high percentage of the American that don’t want to stay in Iraq and yet we stay? You copy-n-paste article after article and yet…we are staying in Iraq.

    How do rationalize that? Is Bush really that powerful that he can dominate and manipulate both the democtatically controlled house & senate?

    If all of what I say is true then why are we still in Iraq?

  15. Dave Congalton
    September 12, 2007 at 3:39 am

    Anonymous,

    I’m not going to fall into your flawed rhetorical strategy for attacking me for using so-called “cut and paste” postings. I tend to use outside sources to show that certain points are not just my opinion. For example, Matthew Dowd, who was bush’s chief political strategist for the 2004 campaign provides some spot-on analysis for what’s happening in Iraq. So instead of needling me for posting it, why don’t you respond to what Dowd suggests?

    As to why we’re in Iraq right now, it’s pretty simple: the Democrats only hold a one-vote margin in the Senate. They need another nine votes to be able to override Bush’s veto. They are powerless to act.

    Bush will bluff his way through this one and buy some time, but I don’t see the strategy working long term. Smoke and mirrors only gets you so far.

  16. Rich from Paso
    September 12, 2007 at 4:08 am

    Dave, if the Democrat Party is sooooo right and President Bush is sooooo wrong and your side has intuitive logic on your side, why then are the Democrats are unable to pursuade even the most liberal of Republican senators, like Snow, Hagl and Specter, to vote against the war? To use the same cop-out that Kerry used when he was responding to the charges of ineptitude from the new patron of the Democrat Party, a faux Osama bin Laden(?!?), that Democrats only have a one vote majority, is to cop-out as well. Reagan passed all of his tax cuts without a Republican majority. If you have the rightness of your logic and position on your side, as well as the strength of your convicts, you should be able to convince NINE Republicans to vote against the war. Indirectly, you all are shitting on the propaganda and spin that the 2006 was a mandate from the people to end the war in Iraq (which you never had). This is like Bush saying he had a mandate to reform Social Security (which he didn’t).

    The bottom line is that the American people are either more abivalent than the Democrats have anticipated and are more in favor of the war than the Republicans have anticipated. Despite the MSM propaganda campaign and the besmirching of our soldiers by the Democrats, more people have a favorable opinion of the progress in Iraq than the Democrat controlled congress by 13%.

  17. Anonymous
    September 12, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Dave said:
    “They (Congress)are powerless to act.”

    Now at least we agree on something! Nice to see you admit the reality of Washington.

    I agree that you are right that your democratically controlled congress is “powerless to act.”

    But, given that fact why do they throw around all that negative rhetoric which only drives the wedge between parties deeper and deeper? Driving away those 9 votes.

    Call it flawed logic, but truly I don’t understand the point.

    Like why did Move.on place that ad? What did they think it would gain them?

    Why did the codepinkos shout down in the hearings?

    I await some type of explaination from anyone here.

    A serious response would so greatly be appreciated.

  18. Dave Congalton
    September 12, 2007 at 5:01 am

    Rich — Calling Jim Moran, Jim Moron is really beneath your usual analysis. No need for that.

    New Tone — This thread is about the surge; not about allegations surrounding the Clintons. Sorry, but I chose not to post them here.

    Back to Rich — other than McCain, where are the adamant pro-hawk Senators on Iraq? They seem pretty muted lately, afraid to speak up and defend their President. The guy I admire is Richard Lugar. He has more knowledge of foreign affairs that Bush can ever hope to have and we know where Lugar stands.

  19. Rich from Paso
    September 12, 2007 at 5:28 am

    Dave, you’re right, that was uncalled for and I retract the comment. I just don’t like that guy for comments he made several months ago at a townhall meeting where he insulted a pro-war individual. Not a reason for me to do the same to him.

    What bothers me about this whole Petraeus report is the way every presidential candidate from both parties in Congress is seizing this moment to grandstand and self-agrandize for their base. You have Joe Biden essentially calling the good General a fool even though Joe spent a week in Anbar and Petraeus spent the last 18 months in Iraq. Hillary and Obama are doing the same thing. Duncan Hunter took the opportunity of Tom Lantos slighting the general before he uttered one word to slam Lantos for impunging the integrity of the general and the ambassador.

    My only wish was that both the Dems and Reps had called a truce to the infighting long enough to hear what they had to say. Then, once they had left town, the Hatfields and the McCoys could have gone back to murdering each other. Instead we are treated to yet another partisan attack after partisan attack from both sides, which in the end, just made the general and the ambassador look that much more credible, and by extension, the Bush Administration.

    As for where are the pro-war republicans… they are in the same place as the rest of the anti-war Democrats: Hanging out in the cloak room to see who gets the upper hand.

  20. Downtown Bob
    September 12, 2007 at 5:30 am

    I can’t speak for the people of CodePink and their actions; as for the MoveOn Ad, link here, read the ad, click on the links if you want to see the documentation. The ad makes assertions, backs them up with links providing evidence of proof. Now, I don’t happen to agree with the “witty” name shifting (Patreaus = Betray us)- to me that is juvenile. The ad speaks for itself. To me this ad is a report card, nothing more.

  21. Marilyn
    September 12, 2007 at 5:30 am

    Part of the reality of the Iraq tragedy is that both Republicans and Democrats had a hand in the fiasco that was the Iraq war and is the current Iraq occupation.

    There is a little bit of truth to what everyone is saying here. There is much apathy to the Iraq occupation among all sectors of American society. What there is also, though, is either utter hatred or contempt for Bush or blind support of him by his sidekicks. What both seem to forget is that the issue goes beyond one person. We have already all agreed that Bush is an embarrassment as the head of the strongest nation of the world. What I find disturbing is that most people are not willing to address the question as to why he is still president, or deal with the reality that we all had a hand in him getting to power and staying there and, therefore, continuing to enable him and the remnants of his original administration to continue on this path.

    The Democrats will still vote for another surge or wave or whatever we choose to call it. They will still blame the Iraqis for the problems that are currently plaguing that country as a result of that intervention; sure we got rid of a tyrant, but look what we gave them in his place, hell on Earth!

    Let’s face it, both the Right and the Left continue to approach the issue of imperialism and foreign intervention from an ethnocentric perspective based on what we think Iraqis and other nations ought to do with their own lives and governments, and we do it without the knowledge, foresight, or planning that are required with such a self-inflicted responsibility.

    The real tragedy of Iraq began when we deliberately invaded a country without planning for the building of a civil society that is destroyed in a war. It began when our soldiers stood by watching as the oldest civilization in the world was being looted by its own citizens and by the international and criminal art and archaeological thieves. It began as the ancient books were burned and artifacts were carted away, and while our soldiers stood in serious attention guarding the Ministry of Oil and the Ministry of Interior, while the Ministries of Public Works and Education were vandalized and burned. It also began when we disbanded half a million military in the effort to “de-Ba’thify” the Iraqi regime (who thinks up this crap anyway)? And finally it continues with the fact that despite our awesome weapons and our 22 year-old Middle East experts fresh out of some ivy school (who don’t speak Arabic anyway), no one has had the common sense to work at the grassroots level (except the occasional Lieutenant or Colonel on the ground) or try to figure out a way for the people of Iraq to have electricity more than one hour a day.

    It is too late now for recriminations and there is plenty to go around.

    What needs to happen is that all the players in the Middle East, especially the Iraqis, (not just Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the Bush family and their country club of marauding criminals) need to be involved directly in helping the Iraqis achieve what they choose to achieve through consensus. Iran and Turkey are both important players in the region and both have potentially disastrous impacts if not handled right. The first with its tide of Shi’ism, a traditionally oppressed segment of Middle Eastern society that finally found the beginnings of its voice with Khomeiny and, the latter, with its Kurdish “problem.” There are talks about partitioning in the halls of Washington. But if we do that and the Kurds get their truly (versus quasi) independent state, where does that leave Turkey vis-a-vis the Kurds in their country who want to separate also? Forget about democratic votes. Such votes do not work in volatile societies and they are not suitable in places where there are a lot of ethnic, religious, and tribal tensions, or in places where people are still suspicious of each other.

    That is why historically, government by consensus (the way the soldiers are advocating on the ground in some situations) is the best way to go because they take the needs of everyone into account versus the democratic approach where 60% of the people will be dictating to the other 40% how they should live. Voter democracies are not all they are cracked up to be in an imperfect world.

    Maybe we should have those Lieutenants go to Washington and teach those politicians and rich newly graduated “expert” brats a thing or two on how to conduct negotiations.

    Isn’t it a shame that the people who are dying, killing, and occasionally torturing for America are the same people who are being asked to be diplomats for the peanuts they make every month while the rest are getting rich off this war? Why should we pay those guys that think up all those twisted torture positions a thousand dollars a day? If you think about it, morality aside, it is they and their ilk who are poisoning this well we call Iraq.

    Maybe it is about time we brought the world community into helping a country that did us no harm, and a people who were abused terribly and who really held no ill will or malice towards us. We owe it to the Iraqis and the people of the world who invested countless hours of protests and continue to this day to advocate for level-headedness, compassion, decency, justice, and the rule of international law. We owe it to both Americans and Iraqis who paid dearly with their lives that Iraq go back to the thriving nation it was before and better, but on Iraqi terms, not Israeli or American terms.

  22. Guy Murray
    September 12, 2007 at 5:31 am

    Well, after listening to General Petraeus testify over the last two days, some of his comments clearly confirm “the surge” is not worth the cost in American blood and treasure:

    But “the fundamental source of the conflict in Iraq is competition among ethnic and sectarian communities for power and resources.”

    And, from The New York Times, where he said he didn’t know whether our efforts in Iraq actually made Americans safer:

    Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, who is one of the party’s leading voices on foreign policy, asked whether the current strategy in Iraq was “making America safer.” General Petraeus retreated to an explanation that he was doing his best “to achieve our objectives in Iraq.”

    But when pressed again, he said: “Sir, I don’t know, actually.”

    If the fundamental source of the Iraq conflict is competition among ethnic and sectarian communities, and if the General doesn’t really know if it makes American safer, there can be no legitimate argument for keeping American troops there one day longer.

    Rich:

    It doesn’t matter how many people I know fighting in Iraq. What matters are the core issues justifying the use of American military power there. The General’s testimony itself is revealing in the lack of any legitimate justification for any continued presence there.

  23. NewsstandGreg
    September 12, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Dave and readers,

    Quite the debate that manages to stay focused. Dowd is way ahead of the Republican candidates for president.

    None of them remind me of Reagan at all.

    The Democratic contenders are further along with the reported public perceptions.

    He’s more correct than ever on the last point–America is waiting for leaders. By their actions ye shall know them.

    By the way Rich, I am a Vietnam vet with a four year hitch under my belt and NO ONE AT ANY TIME ever spat in my face or dissed me in any personal interaction.

    (It did pain me for awhile that some “popular” tv shows created a negative image for Vietnam vets. Not so many shows do this now.)

  24. Rich from Paso
    September 12, 2007 at 8:46 am

    [One more time, with feeling]

    You know htat old urban legend that Michele and other liberals have where they say that conservative talk show hosts sit around and wait for a conference call from Karl Rove to get their marching orders? Well, there are conference calls going on and people do get their marching orders. Only it is Democrats and their Anti-war masters that are holding the conference calls.

    From the Politico.com (not Fox news) Here is the article from Politico and here is the transcript from the meeting.

    The article talks about how Congressional Democrats, along with a huge assortment of anti-war groups, discussed the current situation prior to the Petraeus testimony to Congress.

    The article states: The transcript quotes Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), who is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, as saying: “The people that need to hear are the moderate Democrats who are holding up the whole thing. They’re the ones who have to know that their people care, that they [want to] bring our troops home. They swear they don’t. They swear that they’ll lose their elections if they do the right thing.” When one peace organizer talks about “peeling away Republican support for the war,” Woolsey interjects: “Maybe you folks should go after the Democrats.” So it is Democrats that is holding up the “get out of Iraq now” legislation, not solely the Republicans.

    Jim Moran was also on the call and the article quotes him as saying: “The speaker doesn’t have the votes,” he said. “If you see what has happened in the Democratic Caucus, I don’t think you’d be quite as critical of the speaker. She really is trying. … We cobbled together a majority by winning in a lot of seats that tend to be conservative: in the South, in the rural Midwest, and so on. These members are very much afraid that if they get too far out front, they’re going to lose their seat, and they’re being advised to not take risks so we can sustain this majority.”

    There you have it, folks: The Democrat Majority is a sham. What you have are Democrats that campaigned as more conservative than the republican they beat. They know that if they expouse the kook anti-war line, they will lose their seat. I personal don’t think true liberals have the discipline to not spew their venom and hatred. That is why I have said that the Democrats will lose the House and will not gain the White House.

    Finally, You Democrats claimed to have had a mandate to pull our troops out of Iraq. This is proof positive that no such mandate ever existed. if it did, then these Freshmen Democrats would have gone along with these Anit-war kooks because that is what their constituency wanted, not ducking for cover from having to answer whether they supported the war or not. To say no alienates the voters of their district. To say yes alienates the leadership that is not in danger of losing their seats and the big anti-war liberal money donors that bought their seat for them. I’m telling you all that this Democrat majority is a house of cards ready to collapse any second now.

    Guy: I watched the general’s testimony today. What Petraeus really said was that he didn’t know if it made America safer because he was focused on bringing improvements to Iraq. Stop trying to twist the general’s words, it is unseamly.

  25. Anonymous
    September 13, 2007 at 2:00 am

    Greg, with all due respect. You served in the Navy miles off shore on the safety of a ship that never engaged the enemy.
    Not there is anything wrong with that but it far differant a picture than the grunts walking in the swamps and jungles being attacked by 3 year olds with bombs on their chests.
    Thank you for your service, really, but off shore for 4 years is not the Viet nam that most are talking about.

  26. Downtown Bob
    September 13, 2007 at 7:33 am

    Rich: Wow. General Patraeus when questioned by a Republican Senator about whether or not our involvement in Iraq was making America safer said: (after being asked the same question twice ) “Sir, I don’t know, actually.” That is a twisting of the General’s words? How is that twisting them? It is an exact quote, period.
    As for the Democrats in Congress voting to end the war or being elected to end the war: Politics makes strange bedfellows, as the saying goes. Freshmen Representatives arriving in Congress may have the best of intentions to represent those who elected them by wanting to vote on certain issues a certain way, but when they go through their orientation as freshmen Congress people, they do get a reality check. I wish that American national politics could operate in a very straight forward manner, write up a bill, find co-sponsers, get it out of committee and have a vote on the bill- it is my understanding that that hardly ever happens that easily. There is way too much political maneuvering, too many riders added on to bills that have a chance of passing, and anything that looks like it could possibly vetoed has to watered down since there is not enough of a majority in both Houses to override a Presidential veto. As for the report about Democrats having conference calls and meetings with various groups, so what? Are you telling me this is something new in Washington? The fact that Democrats do listen to anti-war groups does not diminish the past effects of Republicans listening to various groups of supporters, like pro-life groups, anti-immigration groups and various religious groups when they would push for things like trying to outlaw abortion or build the fence along the border or restrict what gays can do legally. I don’t see a problem with Congressional leaders listening to American citizens, no matter what “group” they happen to belong to.

    Anonymouse: Nice dig at Greg; just another example of someone who served having their service questioned as “not being good enough”, especially if they have a viewpoint that you don’t agree with. Really a classy move.

  27. Rich from Paso
    September 13, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Damn it, Bob, How dense can you be? When Petraeus was adked that question about whether the surge was makeing America safer, what he did say was “Sir, I don’t know, actually. I haven’t sat down and sorted it out in my own mind. What I have focused on and what I’m riveted on is how to accomplish the mission of the Multi-National Force-Iraq,” Petraeus replied.

    That is the complete quote and it shows how he is not worried about things outside his current mission. He leaves that to guys like Sen. Warner to worry about. But to just leave the quote at “I don’t know” paints an incomplete picture of what the general was trying to say.

    Where is your proof that Republicans have conference calls to get marching orders, Bob? Until you show some proof, you have no point to make here.

    You want to have the “well they do it too” argument to absolve the mendacity of the Democrats for cowtowing to their kook fringe groups while saying they represent America. The way Democrats want to blame Republicans for their ineptitude at getting the US out of Iraq when they can’t even get their own caucus to tow the party line. They raked Nancy Pelosi over the coals in that conference call. The groups questioned whether she was the right person for the job and if she was competent to lead the House. The two congressmen on the call were left to making excuses for Pelosi. Besides that, hold a conference call with the leaders of six of the most extreme, fringe, left-wing groups is not “listening to American citizens”. It is just listening to the leaders of six of the most extreme, fringe, left-wing groups, that’s it. The Democrats in that conference call are actually trying to get their own caucus members to vote against the wishes of the citizens they were elected to represent and the freshmen congressmen refuse to do so… which pisses the extreme left-wing groups off to no end. You have a very warped view of what the “democracy” part of the Democratic Party really means. Maybe you think it means that every special interest group gets an equal voice. Is that it?

  28. interested
    September 14, 2007 at 1:59 am

    Well given recent events this may be a good time to dust off the old question
    What do you that want out of Iraq have in mind as a plan?
    Is it just get the troops out? If so what would Iraq look like when we leave? and…What would you suggest we do with Iran if in fact we leave and they move in to take over or dominate Iraq while it’s in the mess we created?
    You see really, nobody likes war, so at least we agree on that.
    Rich says that to safely move 130,000 troops and equipment plus over 100,000 contractors would take almost 3 years.
    So I am for staying and winning now that we are this far. But I really want to hear some plans from those that hate the war and want out now as to what would you do about Iraq and what would you do with radical islam that doesn’t care where we are, they just want us dead.
    What say you?

  29. Marilyn
    September 14, 2007 at 4:26 am

    A political solution that involves all the tribes, sects, and ethnic groups in Iraq is the best way to go with power sharing through government by consensus. The Iraqis have to determine, as a diverse group, what they need and they have to be given assurances by the world community and the United States that their wishes are what is important.

    The United States should excuse itself from taking the lead in the decision making where “rebuilding Iraq” is concerned. It should help finance it with the help of Saudi Arabia and the governments that had a hand in destroying it.

    Iraq is not the only place in the world where Islamic extremists exist. They are all over the world. So the rationale that we have to stay in Iraq does not apply to global terrorism.

    The United States is not an impartial party to the occupation (and never was). It would be ridiculous to expect most Iraqis to support what we are doing.

    Good police work with international intervention is what is needed to rebuild Iraqi infrastructure. Time for the peace makers to move in.

    It is ridiculous to have the same people who are killing and torturing Iraqis take the role of trying to be their buddies as well. It is hypocritical.

    Finally, we should stop treating Arabs and Muslims as if they are ignorant and do not know how to run their own affairs. We cannot control their destiny on the one hand and expect them to become like us and place full responsibility on their shoulders at a time when they do not even have basic services on a regular basis.

    American democracy is not suitable for all nations. The nations themselves decide what kind of government they want. To dictate political philosophy to them is hypocritical on our part and only proves that we are there for our sole benefit not theirs.

    There are many in this country who only want a government that does our bidding. That is not democracy but meddling in another nation’s affairs for our own ends and the Iraqis see it for what it is and, that is why they do not trust our military or economic presence.

    Time to bring an international peacekeeping force and an in international team of negotiators and peacemakers who can at least speak the language and understand the culture and, most importantly, have some respect for the people they supposedly are trying to help. Stop being condescending towards the Iraqis and the Muslims.

  30. Dave Congalton
    September 14, 2007 at 4:42 am

    A little fact checking on Bush’s speech courtesy of the Washington Post:

    “In his speech last night, President Bush made a case for progress in Iraq by citing facts and statistics that at times contradicted recent government reports or his own words.

    For instance, Bush asserted that “Iraq’s national leaders are getting some things done,” such as “sharing oil revenues with the provinces” and allowing “former Baathists to rejoin Iraq’s military or receive government pensions.”

    Yet his statement ignored the fact that U.S. officials have been frustrated that none of those actions have been enshrined into law — and that reports from Baghdad this week indicated that a potential deal on sharing oil revenue is collapsing.

    In a radio address to the nation less than a month ago, the president himself complained that the Iraqi government was failing to address these issues. “Unfortunately, political progress at the national level has not matched the pace of progress at the local level,” Bush said on Aug. 18. “The Iraqi government in Baghdad has many important measures left to address, such as reforming the de-Baathification laws, organizing provincial elections and passing a law to formalize the sharing of oil revenues.”

    Bush also asserted that Baqubah, the capital of Diyala province, was once an al-Qaeda stronghold but that “today, Baqubah is cleared.” But in a meeting with reporters on Aug. 27, the head of the State Department team in Diyala said the security situation was not stable, hampering access to food and energy, though he acknowledged that commerce was returning to Baqubah.

    “Everything is based around security; if we have security, then we can bring in agencies like USAID,” John Melvin Jones said, referring to the U.S. Agency for International Development. “It’s going to take a while before the security situation gets stable enough so that you can have a lot of these other agencies involved.”

    Bush also thanked “the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq.” But the State Department’s most recent weekly report on Iraq said there are 25 countries supplying 11,685 troops — about 7 percent of the size of the U.S. forces.

    At one point, the president cited a recent report by a commission headed by retired Marine Gen. James Jones, saying that “the Iraqi army is becoming more capable, although there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve the national police.”

    But the report said Iraq’s army will be unable to take over internal security from U.S. forces in the next 12 to 18 months and “cannot yet meaningfully contribute to denying terrorists safe haven.” It also described the 25,000-member national police force as riddled with sectarianism and corruption, and it recommended that it be disbanded.

    The commission also recommended that U.S. troops in Iraq be “retasked” in early 2008 to protect critical infrastructure and guard against border threats from Iran and Syria, while gradually turning responsibility for security over to Iraqi forces despite their deficiencies — advice the president did not follow in last night’s speech.

    The president also painted a relatively favorable picture of Baghdad, saying that a year ago much of it “was under siege” but that today “ordinary life is beginning to return.” He did not mention that much of the once-heterogeneous city has been divided into Shiite and Sunni enclaves.”

  31. Janice in Atascadero
    September 14, 2007 at 5:12 am

    Listening to Marilyn, I noticed a dramatic increase in the level of stress in her voice when she passionately spoke against Israel and their illegal bombing of the nuclear facilities. Marilyn, why do you hate Israel so much? What have they done to you? How can you support your terrorist Hezbolla people when opposing the surge by our good and just nation?

  32. Marilyn
    September 14, 2007 at 5:21 am

    Dave,

    Unfortunately it is difficult to assess the degree of “progress” after the “surge.” A country the size of Iraq that has multi-faceted variables that add to the complexity: turmoil, from ethnic, to religious, to party, to tribal realities, to the fact that it is still difficult to make a livelihood in Iraq, a nation where people’s educational and health care needs were subsidized by their government and their oil revenue. The Iraqis used to be some of the most educated people in the Middle East.

    In addition, you have covert operations happening there and in Iran on our part and on the part of Israel. All the security and contractor companies are adding to the mess in ways that we are not privy to due to the fact that our government and the mainstream media are not paying them much attention.

    There is an emphasis on the role of the American military because that is the tool with which we are enabled to stay there. We can control our interests in Iraq with less than 100,000 military and with the help of the private security firms. What we cannot do is provide a modicum of decent life to the people we constantly claim we are trying to protect.

    What is needed is a force of at least 750,000 non-American impartial people who can act as buffers as political and social solutions are being worked out. The military and the social solutions have to go hand in hand. The American military has failed miserably in the stabilization role due to the mismanagement that went into “planning” and embarking on this war. There was not planning whatsoever to stabilize Iraq because those who sent our men and women to war did not see an issue with a chaotic Iraq. They thought that one group would capitulate and another would take over.

    It seems we are still dealing with decision makers who do not understand the complexity and the dynamics of social, political and military evolution in a time of war. There are many previously non-existing variables that will come to play and those are variable we usually cannot anticipate, such as the emergence of a new resistance movement, a new political party, a new leader, health issues, poverty, unanticipated foreign players and private firms who all can have a hand in influencing the degree of chaos and violence.

    There are those who believe Iraq is in a civil war. It is not. It is in a state of almost complete anarchy in the absence of, as you indicated, written and ratified laws. Instead of easing the new Iraq into a controlled evolution of a revised political paradigm, the Provisional Occupation Authority completely dismantled a decades old system just because it was associated with the Ba’th regime. It is like killing the person because you do not agree with their politics. We then asked the Iraqis to come up with an American type democracy (which is an unjust form of governance in a tribal and strongly religious society) that was really too fast and not suitable to their need. The NeoCons were so quick to want to prove that American type democracy was the answer to all the ills in the world. What they failed to realize is that it is specifically American type democracy that enabled globalization and capitalist hegemony over the poor people of the world, with the military acting as the enforcement tool for such globalization. It still hinges on the bottom line and the economic and strategic welfare of our corporations and their affiliates across the globe.

    Where our economic interests go, our military goes.

    I think all the people who continue to justify our military presence in Iraq and who fail to see it for what it is, an imperial intervention, are trying to find some moral crutch which they fall back on when the reality hits them in the face.

    Could you imagine how our military would feel if most of them woke up tomorrow and realized, as a group, that they have been had.

    I hate to imagine the consequences.

  33. Marilyn
    September 14, 2007 at 5:53 am

    Janice,

    This topic is not about Hezbollah but about the role of the United States and its main ally in the region, Israel, in what is happening in Iraq. Israel did bomb the Osirak reactor On June 7th 1981, and they are pushing for a war with Iran now. They claimed preemptive self defense although there was no evidence that Iraq had nuclear weapons capabilities then, and even if they did, Israel has had WMD since the 1960s. In fact they pulled the wool over President Kennedy’s eyes when he took a tour of the facility. The Israelis, of course, to this day deny that they have nuclear weapons. It is the sick joke among the psychopaths (yeah, we all know they have them but that’s o.k. they are allowed to kill). After the Osirak attack, the world community, including the United States, condemned the attack because it violated the sovereignty of a nation that (once more, here we go again) did not do Israel any harm at the time.

    Their role in what is happening in Iraq is being downplayed, but they have their own people on the ground too.

    I feel very strongly about the killing of civilians no matter who they are and my emotional state had nothing to do with Israel per se but with the topic of justifying the oppressive occupation of any people, including the Iraqis, Palestinians, the Tibetans, and previously the Lebanese.

    But thank you for being so concerned for the welfare of all people.

  34. Rich from Paso
    September 14, 2007 at 6:03 am

    Again, we are splitting hairs here. The oil revenue sharing is happening and former baathists are being allowed to return to the government, as the article Dave posted points out. But since it is not enshrined in law does not mean it is not happening, it just doesn’t have the backing of law. That is splitting hairs. It doesn’t matter, though. Once the Iraqi lawmakers start debating this after Ramadan and they pass laws enshrining those items, you Democrats will just move the goal posts again to something else. First, there was no security, then it was a civil war, then it was no political progress. Just shows that there will be no satisfying Democrats until they can secure the win for Osama bin Laden, the titular head of the DNC.

    Saying that the contributions of the 25 troops and 11,000 that represents only 7% of the total US force denegrates the sacrifice that those countries are making. Plus, I am surprised by the comment. That is 7% of the total force over there not represented by US servicemen and women. I would think that you liberals would be happy for any support we received.

    The religiously extreme Saudi Arabia, with its hallmark as the birthplace of Wahabbism and Osama bin Laden is the last country I think should be leading the rebuilding effort. What about a more modern, progressive nation like the UAE or Qatar or Morocco to lead the lead on rebuilding. None of those countries had a hand in exporting terrorists (for the most part) to Iraq and have no vested interest in Iraq’s success or failure. Secondly, Marilyn, less than two dozen Americans have been charged with torture and less than a dozen have been convicted. I know you will say that some poll or article from the Socialist Lettuce Pickers Union Weekly will cite some sort of convoluted rationale to get to a gross viuolation by the US, but there is no proof to back up your slander of the US. Third, you say the Muslims are not stupid and can handle their own affairs. Tell that to Joe Biden that wants to chop up their country into thirds. tell that to the Democrats that want to oust Maliki because they think he is incompetent. All of those charges are meddling in the affairs of Iraq. You say that Americans are treating Arabs as stupid, then you turn around and say that Democracy doesn’t work for all nations. Why do you say that? Because Arabs are too stupid to understand that it is Democracy and Freedom that have made America so great? Or is it because you think Arabs enjoy being in totalitarian governments? This is called an inherent contridiction; you can’t complain about Americans thinking Arabs are stupid and then say they aren’t smart enough to deal with Democracy. Finally, just to clear up some terminology being flung around here: the UN no longer goes into countries where peace does not first exist. The last and only time the UN fought a war was in Korea, 55 years ago. Now the UN only goes in after the US has secured the peace. That is why they left in 2004 when the terrorists blew up the hotel the UN used as their HQ in Baghdad.

    Bob: I think that you lack the experience or the first-hand knowledge to be an effective contributor to the solution in Iraq. Also, your lack of military experience makes you unprepared to talk intelligently about things affecting the US military. Sucks being told to shut up for whatever reason, doesn’t it? Just so you know; I don’t have to believe anything. I am dealing with the realities on the ground in that country. I would also be dangerously naive if I thought that peace and prosperity would spontaneously spring into existence if the US military were to leave the country. We are all products of our experiences… or lack thereof.

  35. Rich from Paso
    September 14, 2007 at 6:06 am

    No, Marilyn, you have it backwards. You are looking for a moral crutch to continue the Jihad against America and George Bush went and gave it to you.

  36. Guy Murray
    September 14, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Rich,

    The oil revenue sharing is happening and former baathists are being allowed to return to the government, as the article Dave posted points out. But since it is not enshrined in law does not mean it is not happening, it just doesn’t have the backing of law.

    Except American soldiers are dying so that a democracy will flourish in Iraq, not so that things will happen or not happen by chance. That there is no sustainable democracy four years later is a stinging indictment against Iraqis.

    Once the Iraqi lawmakers start debating this after Ramadan and they pass laws enshrining those items,

    Once they start after Ramadan? This is a further damning indictment of the Irqai incompetence. These are debates that and laws that should have occurred years ago. The last two months, what passes for the Iraqi government was on vacation. Now they are celebrating Ramadan. All the while America’s military blood is sacrificed and its treasure wasted on this ill fated quagmire. The time has long past for the Iraqi government to bear the brunt of the sacrifice for their own survival.

    Bob: I think that you lack the experience or the first-hand knowledge to be an effective contributor to the solution in Iraq. Also, your lack of military experience makes you unprepared to talk intelligently about things affecting the US military.

    This reflects an arrogance on a par with that of George Bush. One does not need a military background or actual military experience to debate what is happening in Iraq.

    Senator Clinton was right. Listening to General Petraeus and last night George Bush talk about their vision of Iraq, including the idea that the United States needs an enduring relationship with Iraq, requires “a willing suspension of disbelief.”

  37. Rudy McCain
    September 14, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times:

    For more than four years since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, President Bush has most often defined the U.S. objective there with a single stirring word: “Victory.”

    “Victory in Iraq is vital for the United States of America,” he told cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in May. “Victory in this struggle will require more patience, more courage and more sacrifice,” he warned National Guardsmen in West Virginia in July.

    But this week, the word “victory” quietly disappeared from the president’s vocabulary. It was replaced, instead, by a more ambiguous goal: “Success.”
    *

  38. word master
    September 14, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    suc·cess /səkˈsɛs/
    –noun 1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors

    vic·to·ry /ˈvɪktəri, ˈvɪktri/
    –noun, plural -ries.
    1. a success or superior position achieved against any opponent, opposition, difficulty, etc.: a moral victory.

    Funny, I don’t see a big enough differance to make a blog post out of it…

  39. ther voice of common sense
    September 14, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    The harsh reality is this: There is no “political solution” to a warped theological belief that says it’s OK to kill those of your own religion that don’t agree with your interpretation of scripture or any and all non believers that refuse to convert.

    If after 2500+ years of killing, war, and abuse of women and children does anyone really believe that some group from the United Nations is going to swoop down and change all of that.

    If you want an example, here’s one. Do you think the United Nations could convince Christians that killing unborn babies is really in their best interest?

    We really need to approach this islamo-fascist problem with much higher intelligence.

    I like what Tancredo said: “One more terrorist attack of any kind on the US or our allies will result in the complete nuclear destruction of Mecca and all that surrounds it.”

    That message will get through to those that need to hear it. Anything else is mental masturbation. It may feel good but in the end it’s pointless.

    Think about it

  40. Rich from Paso
    September 14, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    We are now at what is called an “Impasse”. There is obviously nothing that I could say as a veteran to convince you all who are against the war to see things my way and there has been nothing that you all have said that could move me off of may position. Same holds true with Congress and the president. Bush actually has gone so far as to say that yes, in fact, it is his war and not only that, but he has taken steps to ensure that the next president, whoever they are, will be fighting in Iraq. And that impasse will remain solong as the Democrats lack the political will to cut off funding. All of the symbolic resolutions in the world won’t amount to one bill to cut off funds. That is where we stand today.

  41. Guy Murray
    September 15, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Dave,

    I think your comment moderation tool has greatly enhanced the dialogue on this blog–though I am certain that it is time consuming to have to read through all the chaff in order to salvage the wheat.

    You may want to have your station consider setting your blog up on a WordPress blog.

    You could import all the content from your current blog over there. And, they have a feature that allows you select certain IP addresses from offending posters and dump their comments into a moderation cue. Those who comment responsibly wouldn’t have to be included. That would allow you to spend less time reading all the comments, when all probalby don’t need to be screened.

    It’s been too long since I’ve used a Bloggger format; but, I don’t recall them having this feature.

    Good Luck

  42. thank god for talk radio
    September 16, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Nice post guy…but very typical of the radical left that wants more and more controls so they can control what is said.
    Sad for sure.
    Send all the kudos you want for this blog being sanitized now, but what you will never get to the is the rampant conservative talk radio hysteria that will expose every secret you libs plan to try and shove down our throats.
    Partial birth abortion is history…Roe is next!
    You amnesty bill was spanked like a rented donkey and now real Americans want the fence and laws enforced.
    You control the house and senate but you can’t control the airways or BLOGS committed to open dialogue.

  43. Dave Congalton
    September 16, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Hey Thank God,

    This blog IS committed to open dialogue. I just screen out the personal attacks and cheap shots. I don’t know why you and others get so hung up on that.

    Guy, thanks for your comments. I agree. It’s nice to have a real dialogue on the issues of the day.

    Dave

  44. Guy Murray
    September 17, 2007 at 5:33 am

    Rich,

    To the extent the democrats can, but fail to cut off funding for the war, I agree they lack the political will. I’m not sure your analysis, however, is completely accurate. Unless the democrats can muster enough votes to defeat a republican filibuster there is no guarantee the democratic majority can even bring a funding bill to a vote on the floor.

    If they are able, however, to bring funding bills to a vote, I agree with Senator Obama:

    Every single funding bill that goes to President Bush should have a timetable for withdrawal. If he vetoes it, they should send another bill with a timetable for withdrawal,” Edwards said. “Until this president is forced to start taking troops out of Iraq, no timetable, no funding.

    Thank God:

    Your sense of “open dialogue” is skewed. No one has the right to say absolutely anything they want at any time. Not even the First Amendment allows absolute freedom of speech. Rights cannot be exercised in a democracy without responsibility.

    This is true for speech, the exercise of religion, the right to bear arms, the right to marry, and the right to vote. All these core fundamental rights are subject to some restrictions and regulation, i.e., responsible exercise.

    Try, for example, handing out political literature favoring your chosen political candidate or pet political cause in the middle of highway 101, and raising as a defense, after you are arrested, that you were merely exercising your right to free speech.

    Being committed to open dialogue does not mean you must give in to anarchy and a free for all. In fact, it means exactly the opposite.

  45. sensored
    September 17, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    I would love to have a diolouge with you Guy, but my comments are not being posted.

    case and point

  46. Dave Congalton
    September 17, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Sensored —

    Your comments are not being censored by me. If your post doesn’t appear on the blog, it means you’re engaging in personal, mean-spirited attacks. Those days are over.

    dc

  47. NewsstandGreg
    September 20, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Anonymous,

    Never thought I’d see the day when you would discount the active duty service of a Vietnam veteran.

    Your words: “You served in the Navy miles off shore on the safety of a ship that never engaged the enemy.”

    Perhaps you are haunted, as I am, by the men who did not come back; by the experience of a man overboard in high winds and heavy seas; pilots and navigators who ejected and never came back; and the airman who got sucked into the air intake of a jet aircraft.

    Tell the families of those men that they “never engaged the enemy.”

    WE ALL ENGAGED THE ENEMY. By being there. By launching bomb-laden aircraft. By living next to enough explosive ordnance to blow a hole in the ocean. By sustaining emotional trauma damaging enough to last a lifetime.

    I honor your service. However, it’s not any “better” than mine or more “worthy” of meaning.

    We were all in harm’s way.

    –Newsstand Greg

  48. Anonymous
    September 21, 2007 at 4:39 am

    we agree on one thing…we are in harms way…the harm created by terrorists.
    And it must be stopped!
    Thanks for your servive greg

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