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Senator Webb announces imminent victory in Iraq

But that wasn’t quite his intention. He was attempting to declare a failure but accidentally got his facts right. On Sunday’s Meet the Press with Tim Russert, a debate waged between Senators Jim Webb and Lindsay Graham resulted in the following statement by Senator Webb.

And with respect to al-Qaeda, quite frankly, al-Qaeda didn’t come to Iraq to try to destroy a democracy. That’s a very, very flimsy democracy there. We all recognize that. Al-Qaeda came to Iraq because the United States was in Iraq, and the people in al-Anbar are not aligning themselves with the United States. It’s “The enemy of the enemy is my friend.” This hasn’t been the Iraqi military, the national military that’s been taking out al-Qaeda. It’s been a redneck justice. It’s been these sectarian groups out there who don’t like al-Qaeda. And if we leave, they still will not like al-Qaeda.

His statement is right on so many points, it’s more than a little heartening.

First, democracy or no, Al-Qaeda is in Iraq to attack the United States. Where would the Senator rather rather have them attack us? Second, he is correct that this is a case of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” But in terms of Al-Qaeda, that is called aligning themselves with the United States. We share a common enemy and are fighting it together. That is all “ally” means. What is he expecting? Conversions? Third, al-Anbar is a Sunni province. al-Qaeda is a Sunni organization. Sunnis have been their support base. And now a major part of that support base is turning against al-Qaeda. The biggest sign of success is when we no longer need to count on the military solutions but rather, the support base itself turns against the terrorists. Yet he is bemoaning the absence of a military component to this accomplishment. Senator Webb has done us the favor of highlighting some outstanding signs of imminent success although it was rather ambitious of him to spin them the way he did. It is also difficult to reconcile his belief that this revolt by the support base is “redneck justice” with the following statement taken from his own website.

Looking at these [Viet Nam] examples, you come to a conclusion about the use of force in this situation. In my opinion, we need to articulate clearly that we do not have a quarrel with the Muslim world. But the part of the Muslim world that considers itself at war with us must be on notice. Who are these people? They are the ones conducting terrorist activities and those training and providing logistical support to them. All those people, in my opinion, should be fair game. Over time, we should see the people who are conducting this international campaign of terrorism being cut away from their support base. Many good people were cut away from the support base of the South Vietnamese government. I think there’s a direct parallel.

Senator Webb is delivering good news suggesting that resistance to terrorism may soon be strong enough for us to reduce support levels. But he sounds greatly disappointed that this resistance is at the grass roots, and not a military accomplishment. Why do I suspect that if it was a military accomplishment, he would be lamenting the absence of grass roots support?

58 comments to Senator Webb announces imminent victory in Iraq

  • Midwesterner


    Funny thing, I’ve been thinking how easy heteronyms can be overlooked. Now I’ve put one in a title.

    I’ll fix it. Thanks.

  • Midwesterner

    I’m on a roll. I meant ‘homonyms’ and typed ‘heteronyms’ because I’ve read about them lately for entertainment. Oh bother…

  • WalterBoswell

    What’s his face, the Iraqi PM said that the American troops can leave “any time they want.” and one of his top advisers [Hassan al-Suneid] has accused the US of embarrassing the Iraqi government by violating human rights and treating his country like an “experiment in a U.S. lab.”

    He also had a go at the US for encouraging Sunni groups in Anbar and Diyala to join the scrap against alQaida.

    So what’s the delay? mission has worn out it’s welcome. Get the hell out or at least send most of the troops home and set up some bases up north and wait for the southern part of the Mess to collapse in upon itself.

  • Midwesterner

    Ah, yes. Now that we are finally committing enough troops to do the job, enough that the locals are finally able to come out of hiding and help, and to hopefully gain the upper hand over the terrorists in their midst, it’s time to quit and get out.

    Why? Because we are the US and that is the way we do things. But maybe just once we could follow through. This matters for our own safety, here. We cannot build a wall around us like Mao did to China. It is not an option. We are against a world wide enemy. If not Iraq, then where? If the Islamic world cannot get our support against al-Qaeda, then how can we expect their’s?

    And I suspect you are one of those people who speak with great derision about the government of Iraq until it says something you find useful. Then suddenly, they speak for the people of Iraq.

  • WalterBoswell

    Well you suspect wrong. Iraq is a failed state. A tragedy that was waiting to happen. It will never take to democracy no matter how much you think it should. They’ve been slaughtering and scape-goating each other in that part of the world since before Mo’ got his groove on. You’d be better advised spending all those trillions on security in the homeland and forget about making friends with the Islamic world.

  • Midwesterner

    You must be new here or you would know that I am no fan of democracy.

    And the absolute last thing I want is “spending all those trillions on security in the homeland” with all of the predictable consequences that has for personal liberty.

    And who said anything about “friends”? I have no more inclination towards friendship with them than they do with us. It is really very simple. If they project violence, we make their entire support base regret it. I would not have chosen Iraq to make this point, but as things sit now, that is where it’s at. We can’t change the past, only the future. And the future you are working for (Really? Trillions for homeland ‘security’!?) is something terrifying. Imagine TSA at every bus stop and suspension of habeas for the duration of this ‘war’.

    No. Let’s fight this battle on the field where it is now.

  • WalterBoswell

    I ain’t working for a future where a government (most of all my own) spends squat diddely more then is absolutely required. But your government doesn’t have what it takes to “make their entire support base regret it.” It’s never going to out terrorise the terrorists, there’s far to much liberal touchy feely dissent at home. The days and the likes of Le May, are for now, gone. Remaining in Iraq and not actually controlling 100% just creates more and more of these Islamists miscreants. As long as the ME has Muslim theocracies there will never be a shortage of terrorists. By refusing to hold these Muslim theocracies (and I’m not referring to Iran & Syria only) responsible for their citizens actions there will never be a shortage of terrorists.

    You say “Let’s fight this battle on the field where it is now.” Fair enough, but I’d argue that Iraq is not the place Islamists go to fight, it’s the place Islamists are created, and not just the home grown variety, nearly half of the detainees in US military custody are Saudis, 45% of all foreign militants targeting US troops and Iraqis, and security forces are from Saudi Arabia, fighters from Saudi Arabia are believed to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality. 50% of all Saudi terrorists in Iraq go there as suicide bombers. In the last six months these bombings have killed or injured 4,000 Iraqis.

    America needs to point the finger at the Saudi princess and say “get you house in order or all business stops, and the cruise missiles start flying”. Ditto for Egypt and every other Arab sh*thole of a country. But Bush won’t, and until someone in the oval office does it’s attrition, expense, and dead US soldiers. This is why I suggest that spending the money on better security and better intelligence is the best of the two options.

  • Midwesterner

    but I’d argue that Iraq is not the place Islamists go to fight, it’s the place Islamists are created,

    45% of all foreign militants targeting US troops and Iraqis, and security forces are from Saudi Arabia,

    These two statements are helping me to understand the pointlessness of this conversation.

    The rest of your comment is equally confusing. Are you suggesting that Iraq is a “Muslim theocracy” and we need to tell them “get you house in order or all business stops, and the cruise missiles start flying”? Or are you missing my point that for the first time since Gulf I, significant numbers of Iraqis are taking their safety in hand and we are able to begin shifting to a support role as they strengthen against the terrorists.

    From this article (courtesy Instapundit)

    General Lynch said his troops had promised local people that they would stay in the areas they had taken from the extremists until enough Iraqi forces were available to take over, and said this had helped sustain “a groundswell” of feeling against the extremists. He said locals had pinpointed hide-outs of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, an extremist group that claims to have ties to Osama bin Laden’s network, that had been used to send suicide bombers into Baghdad and they had helped troops locate 170 large arms caches. The general said the locals had started neighborhood patrol units called “Iraqi provincial volunteers” that supplied their own weapons and ammunition.

    General Lynch said he was “amazed” at the cooperation his troops were encountering in previously hostile areas. He cited the village of Al Taqa, near the Euphrates about 20 miles southwest of Baghdad, where four American soldiers were killed in an ambush on May 12 and three others were taken hostage. One of the hostages was later found dead, leaving two soldiers missing. Brig. Gen. Jim Huggins, a deputy to General Lynch, said an Iraqi commander in the area had told him on Saturday that women and children in the village had begun using plastic pipes to tap on streetlamps and other metal objects to warn when extremists were in the area planting roadside bombs and planning other attacks.

    “The tapping,” General Huggins said, was a signal that “these people have had enough.”

    General Lynch also challenged an argument often made by American lawmakers who want to end the military involvement here soon: that Iraqi troops have ducked much of the hard fighting, and often proved unreliable because of the strong sectarian influence exercised by the competition for power between Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish political factions.

  • WalterBoswell

    Nonsense, it should be pretty obvious that what was implied was the events within and not the country itself creates terrorism.

    Are you suggesting that Iraq is a “Muslim theocracy”

    That would be a negative.

    Nevermind, as you were, half assed fighting them over there so you don’t have to half ass fight them over here, good luck with that.

  • and not just the home grown variety, nearly half of the detainees in US military custody are Saudis, 45% of all foreign militants targeting US troops and Iraqis, and security forces are from Saudi Arabia, fighters from Saudi Arabia are believed to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality.

    In other words, muslim fanatics are created in Saudi Arabia – and US troops in Iraq give them a distraction outside the US to fight.

    America needs to point the finger at the Saudi princess and say “get you house in order or all business stops, and the cruise missiles start flying”. Ditto for Egypt and every other Arab sh*thole of a country.

    It’s a nice thought – and perhaps you’re right: we’re fighting this half-assed, and maybe it’s time to take the gloves off. Certainly I agree with this:

    But your government doesn’t have what it takes to “make their entire support base regret it.” It’s never going to out terrorise the terrorists, there’s far to much liberal touchy feely dissent at home.

    Right – and that’s a big problem – and as long as it’s around, fighting a proxy war in Iraq is the best we can do.

    Granted it’s not the ideal strategy – but by your own admission it seems to be working. Saudi Arabia is exporting its excess fanatics to Iraq rather than the US. Just as we wanted.

    The reason we can’t bomb Saudi Arabia back to the stone age (well, aside from the fact that it’s more or less never left the stone age) and be done with it, though, is that we’re trying our best not to create more Islamist fanatics in the rest of the Islamic world – something that destroying Saudia Arabia would definitely do.

    We’re in a difficult position. We’re playing the hand we’re dealt – and it isn’t an easy hand to play – certainly not the hand we wanted. I think some patience with this strategy is in order. It’s not at all clear (yet) that toppling roughly every Arab regime in the region (save possibly Lebanon) is going to leave us in a better position than we’re in now. Maybe someday we will have no other choice left – but for now let’s keep chipping at this block and see what it buys us.

  • “And with respect to al-Qaeda, quite frankly, al-Qaeda didn’t come to Iraq to try to destroy a democracy. ”

    Clearly they did. They did everything they could to create their little Sunni Islamist state, which is not compatible with democracy.

  • Kenneth

    Many years ago while on a summer break during college I was riding in a bus from Mexico City to the Guatamalan border. The entire country was very strange to me, but when we were in one of the more eerie parts of the mountains, as we slowly rounded a corner while climbing a hill there was suddenly a mob of men standing in the roadway pointing machine guns at the bus. We stopped and when the driver opened the door several of them got on the bus and walked its length examining every passenger. They were dressed like the comedic banditos from the film Treasure of the Sierra Madres and although I found this fascinating and watched every move they made, I did notice that no one else in the bus would raise their head to look at them. Also, they completely ignored me even though I saw them poke several passengers with the guns. After a few tense minutes they got off and we went on. I was the only anglo on the bus and my only Spanish words were quiero mota, but I managed to use sign language to ask a man sitting near me “what was that?”, and what I heard him answer was, “gorillas”. I immediately thought, “that’s ridiculous (you ignorant savage). There are no gorillas in this hemisphere.” Then immediately it hit me. “Unless some escaped from a zoo.” I suddenly KNEW that was what had happened and spent the rest of the night looking through the window, expecting a gorilla to come swinging out of the jungle at any time.
    It was much later that I connected the word guerrillas to the situation so there is no point to the story except as an example of what little effect that dangerous reality had on my appalling ignorance. I continued on and survived, “as happy as if I had had good sense”, and vice versa.
    As I finished reading all of this information I had the feeling that aside from occasionally being the instigating catalyst, and extremely opinionated as we watch the reactions unfold, we humans do little more than run alongside these events and either cheer and clap or boo and hiss. And they chart their own courses, oblivious to our noise.

  • Nike in NY

    Did anyone notice Sen. Webb’s 2 pages of “talking points” in his hands?

    Polls! Polls! Polls!

    What a Loser.

  • Tom W.

    It’s pretty simpleminded to say that because we aren’t flattening entire cities we’re “fighting half-assed.”

    In Algeria, the French flattened entire villages with air and artillery strikes, put 2 million people in concentration camps, summarily shot people by the thousands, and tortured people to death. Between 350,000 and 1.5 million Algerians died out of a population of 9 million.

    The French lost 18,000 men in eight years, a KIA rate almost four times ours. They also lost the war.

    We, on the other hand, have turned the Sunnis against al Qaeda, an unprecedented victory. We’ve also turned the Shi’ites against al Sadr and Iran.

    Yet prattling Internet commentators still insist we’re fighting half-assed.

    Bombing everything in sight is how idiots fight counterinsurgencies.

    Our commanders in Iraq are smart enough to ignore idiots who demand that we fight in idiotic ways.

    Luckily these idiots have no positions of responsibility, or we’d be in real trouble.

  • davod

    Regarding the Iraqi forces. I did read the other day the that someone said (I believ it was General Pace) that a number of Iraqi battalions were non effective. They were non effective because of combat casualties.

    Combat casualties tells me these soldiers were fighting with the enemy. If this is the reason the Iraqis have a reuced effectiveness this is not all bad.

  • Um, approximately how imminent is this “imminent success”? I’ve been hearing about this for four years now, but the situation continues to deteriorate. Now, I want to win this thing as much as anyone does…but hoping isn’t doing and spin isn’t fact. What you write above seems like little more than grasping at straws to me. I hope I’m wrong, and that I have to eat these words in a year. Hell, I’d be happy to eat them in five years. But I have to say that the ceaseless spin by Bush dead-enders has moved past funny to pathetic, and is in danger of moving soon to whatever lies on the other side of that. This is serious business, and it ought to be discussed seriously.

  • Sen. Webb is, indeed, reading the polls and comparing his slim victory margin and realizing that he had problems in some parts of the Commonwealth that one may describe as ‘redneck’. He has an even worse problem in the NoVA area as there are so many jobs depending on the Federal Government there and having a large civilian contingent in DoD jobs that actually taking up a defeatist attitude will cause him long-term problems with his prior voting base.

    ‘Redneck Justice’ is far better than NO justice or the rule of local despots that only put forward one thing: submit or die. ‘Rednecks’ also respect the real law when it is seen as non-partisan and equally applied. ‘Redneck Justice’ also has its limits and will not go beyond the limits of the perpetrator, and give those in the family a fair chance to show that they understand that fact. This is not Hatfield-McCoys blood feuds, but ending those that are killing. ‘Rednecks’ also put forward that their actions are judged by the community as that is what they support.

    When looking at how few votes he got in an off-year election, Sen. Webb needs to realize that, in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia, there is nothing bad about ‘redneck justice’. And he is also coming to realize that going against the DoD which is in NoVA, plus many smaller affiliated Agencies aligned with the DoD, that defeatism loses him votes in that populated region.

    I fully expect him to go back to his old ways of disparaging everything and seeing no value in it, but these are fascinating points that could show something else if he continues to follow up on them. Because in NoVA National politics is *local* politics for good and ill, and those volunteering to take low-paying jobs for the Federal Government don’t particularly want to see the US fail. That goes double for the DoD contingent.

    In Iraq the changes there are astounding… just compare it to the lovely places the ‘international community’ took an interest: Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia. When all of those get up to the standards of Iraq, then the naysayers might have something, but, until then the failure of ‘do nothing’ or ‘letting the international community help’ is plain and evident. And where is the squeaking about Russia and its activities in Chechnya? A bit of this ‘redneck justice’ might chase out the islamists… Far better ‘redneck justice’ than this sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing and other things we have seen in the world, and with a bit of support it accepts the real thing if it supports the community.

  • I’m on a roll. I meant ‘homonyms’ and typed ‘heteronyms’ because I’ve read about them lately for entertainment. Oh bother…

    The really hip nyms these days swing both ways.

  • Paul Marks

    There were plenty of al Qaeda people in Iraq before 2003. For all their ranting against Saddam (not a true Muslim etc) they were quite prepared to accept his support.

    On Algeria: Whatever the French may have done wrong, the vast majority of Arab civilians killed in Algeria were killed by the F.L.N. – which continued in an orgy of abuse, mutilation and murder after it came to power in 1962.

    De Gaulle decided that France should withdraw from Algeria (the idea that France “lost the war” is bullshit) partly because France was under pressure from its allies (noteably the United States), partly because the French military was not allowed to go after the enemy bases in Tunisia – shades of the U.S. Army not be allowed to go in (large scale) into North Vietnam or the U.S. military not be allowed to go into Syria or Iran (where the enemy in Iraq get so much support from).

    However, mostly, De Gaulle wanted the French out of Algeria because he feared that if Algeria was kept in connection with France there would be increasing immigration from Algeria to France – Arab immigration (he was horrified by the Muslim Arab birth rate).

    After he defeated the military revolt against his plan to hand Algeria the F.L.N. De Gaulle even ordered that Arabs who had faught against the F.L.N. (many thousands of them) should be disarmed (after being lied to – they were told they were going to get more modern weapons) and handed over to the F.L.N.

    The F.L.N. abused, mutilated and murdered them and their families (but then they did that to a lot of other people).

    The “joke” was that France imported lots of Muslim Arab immigrants in the 1970’s anyway (hence the present situation).

    So the very thing that De Gaulle had dishonoured France to avoid happened anyway.


    Senator Webb has been writing and speaking about Vietnam (where he suffered greatly) for several decades. It is unfortunate that he wants to repeat the same policy of handing over the country to the enemy that was followed in Vietnam.

    As Jim Webb knows perfectly well there was no “defeat” in Vietnam.

    What happened was that first the vast majority of American forces pulled out, and then (some time later) Congress cut off support for the A.R.V.N.

    In the early 1970’s the Republic of Vietnam forces proved they could defeat the communists even without American groundtroops – but that was not enough for Congress, they cut off support anyway (and they could because they were no longer large numbers of Americans in harms way).

    So Vietnam (and Laos and Cambodia) were betrayed and millions of people were killed by the communists. Thus almost 60,000 Americans died for nothing.

    Senator Webb seems determined that history repeat itself in Iraq.

    He is determined to grab political defeat from the jaws of military victory – so that Americans, British, other Westerners (and the vast number of Iraqi forces) who have died in Iraq will have died for nothing – the terrorists (both anong the Sunni and pro Iran part of the Shia) take over.

    His great suffering in Vietnam has led him to forget that one can not go back in time and stop a war starting (like him I also opposed going into Iraq in 2003), once a war has started there is simply the choice of whether to win or to lose.

    There is no third alternative.

    No “we will stay out of harms way in Iraq, but continue to try and secure the borders and go after the terrorists”.

    Either you win a war or you lose it. Pull out American forces from general combat now and the terrorists win (period).

    And I have no doubt at all that people would soon be rewriting history (as just as they did with Algeria and Vietnam) saying that the American military “lost the Iraq war”.

    That is what will (after a while) be presented in the media and the “education system”.

    To be fair it is not just Senator Webb and the Democrats.

    Take the example of Mitt Romney: This man often says that America “won the war” when Saddam was overthrown – so, whatever happens, they can be no “defeat”, this sounds to me like laying out the ground work for surrender.

    Military defeat no – but political defeat yes. Just like Algeria and Vietnam.

    And soon the powers-that-be would be presenting a political defeat in Iraq as “we lost the war”.

    Almost needless to say, lose in Iraq and forget about Afghanistan – indeed forget about winning against those (both Sunni and Shia) who interpret Islam as meaning that nonMuslims and moderate Muslims must be exterminated or enslaved – anywhere.

    It will not just be in the “third world”. In Europe and North America (and so on) it will have been “proved” that God is on the side of those who interpret Islam in this way.

  • George Dixon

    Iraq is not Viet-Nam…however, the Bush admin has allowed Syria to play the part of Cambodia and Iran to play the part of North Viet-Nam…

    I would never guessed that the USA would fight yet another ‘limited war’. A managed conflict is a shameful waste of our human capital and resources.

    Iran and Syria need to be dealt with in a “Global Lesson” manner. Time to get real, go Roman and reinstate the lessons of Carthage on them.

  • George Dixon

    Iraq is not Viet-Nam…however, the Bush admin has allowed Syria to play the part of Cambodia and Iran to play the part of North Viet-Nam…

    I would never guessed that the USA would fight yet another ‘limited war’. A managed conflict is a shameful waste of our human capital and resources.

    Iran and Syria need to be dealt with in a “Global Lesson” manner. Time to get real, go Roman and reinstate the lessons of Carthage on them.

  • Senator Webb is full of crap 84.73082364 percent of the time, which is up five points since last week.

  • Cover Me, Porkins

    “Redneck justice”?

    I didn’t know rednecks packed stock autos with explosives and drove them into NASCAR bleachers.

    Nor did I realize that Senator Webb could verify that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was lying when the late terrorist called democratic elections “the big American lie” and threatened to murder voters.

  • howard lohmuller

    Senator Webb did, unintentionally I think, give correct facts about Iraq. When he got back to Washington D.C. he was immediately chastised by Democrat leadership and forced to enroll in a 2 week course ” Obfuscating On Television” taught by Harry Reid.

  • Ollie

    As Paul Marks suggests the end result is far more disasterous than the quick pull out will seem at first.
    The Muslim world will then have a well equipped theocratic Iraq to support Iran and Syria. The end result will be invasion of all surrounding areas, one at a time or several at once.

    A possible scenario:

    Lebanon will be re-integrated into Syria (all Christians will be killed or must leave),

    Iraq with Iranian support will attack Saudi Arabia, and re-integrate Kuwait into Iraq (which is what Saddam wanted with the first Gulf War),

    along with Iran they will take the Gulf States,

    Iran and the Taliban will attack Afghanistan, and Pakistan,

    Iran and Hamas and Hizbollah will then be free, with Syrian support, to attack Israel, on a smaller scale constantly, or if they feel that a surprise nuclear attack combined with ground attacks can win, then on a large scale.

    Iran will together with Turkey attack Kurdistan in Iraq,

    Then the Central Asian countries will either be attacked by Iran or join with Iran to take over more territory,

    Now who will the Gulf States or Israel ask for help, the US, Europe? They know better at this point and most likely will just roll over and submit without a fight, or fight to the death. Europe will not help since they will have terrorist crises of their own to deal with – and no large army to send outside of their countries. The US will have no will to support anyone except maybe Israel with materiel- since we just made the commitment to pull out of Iraq and the Middle East, and possibly also draw down our military to smaller numbers, smaller dollars for equipment, smaller forces overall (i.e. Clinton).

    So, at this point the Iranian-Iraq-Syrian coalition will own the oil resources of the Middle East (it was the money to be made from this that they were after all along).

    With this massive control of the world economy (What we have not gotten rid of our dependancy on oil?) when they start to export their terrorism to the world it will be on a far larger scale. They can then use oil to get whatever they want in concessions from the West, China, and the US. Plus, this sort of money will allow the nuclear, chemical, biological weapons programs to move forward in full swing. They need nuclear weapons to say to the US, Israel, Russia, Europe, and China: “No more interfering in our affairs or we will nuke you.” So, now the stakes have become massively enlarged.

    Their terrorist campaigns in Europe, Russia, China, and the US, and everywhere that is not Muslim, will be truly on the scale of Iraq today. Look for daily bombings in big cities in many countries, destruction of schools in every community while children especially girls are there, look for assasinations, torture, and civilian casualties, and possibly nuclear weapons (no not “dirty bombs” but full blown a-bombs in maybe New York, DC, LA, London, Moscow, Rome, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, and anywhere else they think they can win if they just blast us (plus anything they can come up with for chemical and biological weapons.)

    Remember, the radicals who take over Muslim countries and make them into theocracies do have the mandate from heaven to destroy all infidels (non-Muslims – it says so in the Koran), takeover the Earth (it is given to them by God in the Koran), and subjugate all other peoples not of their radical sect, as either subjects and second rate peoples to pay their taxes, or as slaves (explicitly listed in the Koran). Remember, also their punishments for divorced women, lesbians, homosexuals, leftists, atheists, and similar, are death (according to the Koran.) All Law, Religious thought, and Political thought comes from one source – the Koran. So anything is justified if a verse can be found supporting it in the Koran.

    At that point, sometime in the next president’s first term this will have to be stopped. How much will it take?

    Warre. No less than the following:

    War economy – 30% of GNP to military
    War recruitment – draft
    War resource re-direction – rationing
    War damage repair – at least 1 or 2 cities in the continental US destroyed by abombs
    War cutback on civil liberties – with what that entails
    War treatment of foreigners – especially those who are Moslem or are associated with the Moslems – concentration camps

    I see no rational thinking on the part of Congress. Also, no long range thinking in Congress. Therefore, I fear this will lead to this situation in some form or another, sooner rather than later.

  • RAB

    Even when we unequivocally win a war, we are not allowed to enjoy it by the Media.
    Suicide bombers and Islamic Terrorists are sexy and cool, Our squadies on the other hand are cold cruel killers who should be court martialed at every opportunity.
    God knows why, because we all know where his politics are at, I watched Jon Snow and his son doing the Falklands last night. That was about as clear cut a victory as you can find an example of, yet the Snows tone was it was really unfair us sending all those big fierce Paras and Marines 5000 miles to duff uf those poor shivering Argie conscripts!
    It beggars belief, it really does!

  • Bart

    They’ve been slaughtering and scape-goating each other in that part of the world since before Mo’ got his groove on.

    Ah, yes, those wogs are sub-human, untermenshen who just don’t think like the rest of us or want the things we want. I get so tired of these crypto-racist rationales.

  • BQE

    Zawahiri urged all would-be jihadis to flock to Iraq to fight the coalition attempt to introduce modernity into the arab world. At least al Qaeda’s sole surviving top man understands where the fight is.

    For those who erroneously believe that AQ is irrelevant in Iraq, watch and learn. Not the MSM, dolts! Get the raw data and process it yourselves.

    The new congress is an ass. Take it to the bank.

  • RAB, just in case: I answered your last e-mail…

  • TampaB

    Wow, Ollie. I wasn’t aware that Michael Crichton posted on this site. That was just about as realistic. And all the talk about the war in Iraq bringing in suicide fighters from Saudi Arabia is important not because it’s some fly paper that will attract a finite number of them so we can wipe them out, but becuase Iraq makes a wonderful recruiting tool for even more jihadis to join up in the cause.

  • Gekkobear

    Well you suspect wrong. Iraq is a failed state. A tragedy that was waiting to happen. It will never take to democracy no matter how much you think it should.
    – WalterBoswell

    Ok, so we should definitely not allow any immigrants from Iraq, as they are simply incapable of living in a Democracy, and allowing them to immigrate here would be problematic… I suspect other countries have the same problem. Can we just embargo the entire ME population from the Democratic nations? Is that appropriate to do?

    Please clarify which country’s populations should not (or cannot) live in a democracy so we can avoid trying that failed experiment by letting them immigrate; and also clarify how you know they can’t live in a democracy (is it social, economic, racial, educational). Really, what’s the reasoning here?

    But first, give your support to ending all immigration to a Democratic style nation from any populace that will never take to democracy.

    Because that is appropriate, right? And I thought the pro-war neocons were bigoted racists…

  • Paul Marks

    RAB – sometimes (not often) the B.B.C. shock even me. So now it is the lovely Argentine military dictatorship – “no just the ordinary conscripts” (Mr Snow or some twerp) – when it was the ordinary types that actually did the naughty things under the Junta.

    On the predictions on what happens if the West loses in Iraq.

    Lots of bad things will happen – whether Ollie will be correct in every particular I do not know (I hope not), but lots of bad things will happen.

    Once a war has started it has to be won – “declare victory and get out” (which seems to be the where Mitt Romney is going – as well as the Democrats) does not work.

  • WalterBoswell

    Gekkobear : Please, enough of the shrieking already. What’s race got to do with it? and for that matter what have immigrating Iraqis got to do with it either? We should encourage immigration, and it’s already happening, a lot of the skilled talent has already left and is now probably enhancing those countries were it settles. Bravo, people are wealth generators. I’ve no issue regarding immigration from any country.

    I mean honestly, I comment that one particular type of political system will not work in this place called Iraq and you’re screaming racist. There is a huge difference between an individual Iraqi and the different elements that go to make up Iraq as a hole.

    But here’s the reason why I believe that democracy won’t take in Iraq.

    There is no such country as Iraq. It was created in a map room of the British Foreign Service many moons ago. They dragged a pointer over a map and divided up the land they happened to currently hold under the Mandate and made it into a mythical place called Iraq.

    For the past few decades this collection of differing tribes, religions, and interests have been held together under a brutal regime. Now it’s gone and everything is coming apart at the seams. The US cannot be expected to police this place indefinitely, and the differing tribes, religions, and interests cannot and will not suddenly join hands and sing folks songs because they have now been told about the wonders of democracy.

    Something worth considering might be to slice the place into a Kurdistan, a Shia province, a Sunni central corridor, an internationalized free trade zone around Basra, and return the western part of the country to Jordan.

    So why don’t you take your one size fits all mentality to one of those indymedia sites, that’s what they were built for.

  • Martin

    ‘Once a war has started it has to be won’

    I read this kind of rubbish regularly. Nobody ever defines what ‘won’ or ‘victory’ would be in Iraq. Please do so. I will laugh if I see the words ‘democracy’ or ‘Al Qaida’ in the response and will dismiss it as pure buncombe.

  • RAB

    It’s simple.
    It’s called going to the shops without getting blown up .
    That’s what happens round here, and I hope round your way.
    Called the rule of law or sumthin like that.
    They keep changin it mind!

  • Nick M

    While I don’t necessarily agree with you 100% at least you had the guts to bring up what we all fear.

    But here’s my scenario…

    We cut and run from Iraq. Iran basically takes over most of the place, Kuwait and the gulf-states are nixed and Armanidinerjacket controls the straits of Hormuz. Musharref gets lynched and now they got nukes. The House of Saud – well, they were overdue for a fall anyway.

    But they’ve made a fatal error. They are now state and we’re quite good at fighting states. Do you think anybody is going to object to NATO giving the buggers the caning of all time? D’ya think Russia, China or India are cute on the idea of a nuclear-armed Taleban controlled Pakistan, or a Greater Persia, or Arabia with no brakes? D’ya think any US President would tolerate the destruction of two US cities without paving Mecca and Tehran? D’ya not think Israel will find time to unleash a couple of Jericho missiles? D’ya think any Western nation will tolerate “Iraq-levels of violence” without hordes of angry young men retaliating by torching mosques?

    And that is why this will probably run and run. The minute the Jihadis move into zero-sum territory is the minute they get annihilated. The Jihad is not the main tactic. The main tactic is to enforce dhimmitude on Europe, gradually. The Jihad is a diversion because it is portrayed as defensive against the US. And you know the European Left will support anything which is against the USA.

  • Gekkobear

    Ok, so we split it into 3 parts. Iran co-opts one from religious/cultural similarities, A separate Kurdish controlled state causes problems in neighboring countries (due to current Kurdish populations on the borders) and war erupts between it and it’s neighbors to avoid ti getting a toehold (Syria and Iran have already threatened this action if the Kurds are allowed a nation); and the third province might hold, if it can hold out long enough to form a military… which seems doubtful.

    None of those three states are likely to stay secure once divided, without significant military presence enforcing the change…

    So splitting it up won’t work (without leaving a significant military presence there), you’ve already clarified Democracy won’t work (without leaving a significant military there). Is there another option that doesn’t leave the people as bad or worse than they were under Saddam?

  • Brian H

    Tom W. (http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2007/07/senator_webb_an_1.html#157247)

    You raise a fascinating fallacy: the French lost in Algeria. Nope.
    The French lost in FRANCE. They had developed very advanced COIN, hearts-and-minds-and-bullets stuff, and had WON on the ground. Then the subversion on the home front took hold, and the Gaullists and Limp Left forced a complete withdrawal.


  • Paul Marks

    Martin if you are going to define anything you do not like as “buncombe” why are you here?

    Why not go into your bathroom, look in the mirror and share with yourself your words of wisdom?

    For your information (not that you will be interested) Al Qaida was already in Iraq before 2003. For all their ranting against Saddam (“not a true Muslim”, and so on) they were quite happy to accept his support.

    As for “democracy”:

    The Constitution of Iraq was drawn up by Iraqis.

    The Constitution of Iraq was approved by a popular vote (with a high turn out, in spite of the danger of being killed).

    There have been several elections (each with a high turn out – in spite of the danger of being killed).


    Sorry – just because you do not like it does not mean it is not true.

    Actually I am no uncritical supporter of democracy myself. But, oddly enough, I prefer it to a mass murdering dictator who sought to take over other countries.

    “Just like the United States”.

    Martin – if the elected government of Iraq asked the Americans and other Western folk to leave they would.

    I know you do not like hearing this – but it happens to be true.

    “Split up the country” (Senator Brownback and some here).

    It is not our country to split up (and people talked about the poets and artists of the area, as opposed to the commercially minded Syrians, when both Iraq and Syria were part of the Ottoman Empire).

    There is also the problem of Baghdad. A city for centuries the capital of the Sunni, but now with a Shia majority.

    Neither will give it up – period.

    “But what is victory?”.

    Victory is the defeat of those who interpret Islam as the extermination or enslavement of all non Muslims and decent Muslims all over the world (“decent” being defined as those who hold that morality has an existance not confined to religious doctrine – i.e. that God gave us moral reasoning and or a moral sense, not just a book of arbitrary rules).

    In short it is the defeat of pro A.Q. (oh no I have used one of your forbidden terms) Sunni and pro Iranian regime faction of the Shia.

    Remember the pro A.Q. Sunni and the pro Iranian regime faction of the Shia may hate each very much but they both share one thing in common.

    They do not just desire to defeat the West in Iraq – they seek the extermination or enslavement of the West EVERYWHERE (staying in Britain or the United States will not save you).

    “buncombe, I will not listen”

    Whether you listen or not it remains true.

    For the record I still think going into Iraq in 2003 was a mistake (although there are arguments on both sides of that question). However, once the war has started to lose it would indicate to the Muslim world that God was on the side of those who interpret Islam as I have outlined above.

    It would not just mean defeat in such places as Afghanistan – it would mean the discrediting of pro Western democracy (oh no I have used one of your forbidden terms yet again) Muslims everywhere. God would have been “proved” (by our defeat) to support the radicals interpretation of Islam.

    It would mean that we either had to remove or to exterminate the Muslims in Europe and the United States. As all hope of intergrating them into Western society would be lost – the radicals would be able to say that they had met us on the battlefield and had (by the grace of God) won. Of course it would not really be a miltary victory – but that is how it would be presented.

    Is such horror, the forced removal or cold blooded murder of many millions of Muslims, what you want?

  • Paul Marks

    Almost needless to say I believe that the terrorists in Iraq can be defeated, although (as the Irish side of my family might have said) “I would not start from here”.

    I do not believe that a victorious enemy (which is what surrender in Iraq means) is inevitable.

    We do not have to accept a sitution in which the worst interpretation of Islam is “proved” to be correct by victory in Iraq. In such a situation we would be going back to the old position in Europe where a Muslim population was seen as a fifth column who could not be tolerated (leading to forced conversions, removal, or killing – as in Portugal, Spain, the southern Italian lands and so on).

    Such horror in the modern Western world (of which we have already had a taste in the Balkans) can be avoided.

    The radical interpretation of Islam (both among the Sunni and the Shia) can be defeated in Iraq – so that it can be discredited, by defeat, in Europe, North America and Australia.

    Accept defeat now – and as I have already said, the intergration of the Muslims already living in these areas will become impossible. But we do not have to accept defeat.

    Islam can be a religion in the Western world – not an armed doctrine drunk on victory over the West.

  • Martin

    The ‘democratic’ government in Iraq is already in the hands of the pro-Iran faction, and the way the US military seems to be battling Al Qaida is by arming Sunni terrorists that only a few months ago were on the side of Al Qaida (and could easily switch sides again), I question how close to ‘victory’ we are.

    Some war whoopers actually admit that democracy is not suitable for Iraq at present and say America should abolish democracy and put in place a strongman, a bit like Mr Hussein, that would impose order on the country. Of course, when even the pretense that we are still in Iraq to spread democracy is dropped, any support for the war in America will become even more marginal.

    But the democracy boosters have to face that despite all their blather, democracy in Iraq has not solved any problems. They surely must be aware that Tehran has massive influence over the elected government, and they surely know that the main reason they never want American troops to leave is because for one it takes off any pressure on them to have to make a deal with the Sunnis, and two because it suits Iran. Dick Cheney and the neocons can make all the noise they want against Tehran, but with the Army and Marines stuck in Iraq for years, Iran is pretty safe against regime change. Even if Iran was bombed by the US airforce, having all those US troops in Iraq gives Iran ample opportunities to easily retaliate. So the elected government will never make the progress the Bush administration wants it to, at least until America starts to think about leaving. But without this progress, even the president admits that the ‘surge’ will not work. And hence any appetite for more war in Iraq will evaporate in the US.

    With 70% of Americans opposed to the war, the cost already at half a trillion dollars, and with the generals admitting that the US army is nigh on broken, I am also unsure how the no surrender gang actually propose it politically possible to keep a war going that General Petraeus et al admit will need ten years for ‘victory’. Conscription? Tax hikes? More deficit spending? Imposing a dictatorship in America so that public opinion can be ignored?

  • Paul Marks

    Martin you have not understood what I wrote.

    If you wish to understand (which I doubt), go back and read it again and then do some thinking of your own.

    As an alternative. Think about the Muslims in (for example) the United States – do you really want to have to kill them or drive them out?

    What about the women? And the children?

    If God is “proved” to be on the side of worst interpretation of Islam, by the defeat of the West in Iraq, that is what you are very likely to have to help do.

    Or at least stand by whilst others do it.

    Surely this is not acceptable.

  • Martin

    What evidence do you have that Americans are going to want to expel every muslim from America? It may happen in the Balkans, but that is because Muslims and Christians have been hating each other in that shithole for 800 years. The only people I can imagine that want to wipe out the muslims in America are the lowbrow, evangelist trailer park trash in the deep south that still support Bush. Everybody else blames Bush for the Iraq debacle, not American muslims.

  • Nick M

    Paul is correct and very insightful. Anything perceived as an unqualified defeat for “The Great Satan” will feed Jihadi dreams to fever-pitch. Think about it. Their imams can say we beat the USA, what can’t we do?

    They’ll think the caliphate is about to return and they’ll go bonkers. I can actually see “voluntary” departure from the West and or (genuinely) protective custody being needed because if Islamic hot-heads run riot then the likes of the BNP will do likewise. We only need 1% of our Islamic populations to take up cudgels and we have a global civil war. Do you honestly think that if the mass rapes of Western, un-Islamically dressed girls starts that the BNP (and they have their ilk across the globe) will refrain from torching mosques?

    I’m a highly liberal kinda guy (ya know, some of my best friends are gay and all that) but… After 9/11, Madrid, Bali, Beslan, London I do have feelings of violence directed against the beards in PJs I see on the street. Now, if I’m thinking this, If this is going through the head of Nick M, God knows what the racist knuckle-draggers are thinking.

    If the West is humiliated in Iraq then the Islamists will engage hyperdrive and the “blow-back” from that will be an Islamic Krystalnacht in Europe and probably also in the USA, Canada and Australia.

    This might seem like a thinly veiled threat. It isn’t. I would stand outside my local Pakistani-owned corner shop and do my best to defend the staff from violence*.

    But / when there is another attack on the scale of 9/11. For example a “take-down” of the three towers at Canary Wharf then my neighbourhood will turn into a war-zone.

    And that is why I’d rather professional soldiers were doing this in a faraway land of which I know little.

    *In exchange for a six-pack of Stella and some fags.

  • Martin

    When nightmare scenarios are used to justify endless war, it’s time to wake up.

    If Europe was absolutely terrified of an Al Qaida offensive in response to America leaving Iraq, frankly they would all be whooping for the war and sending thousands of troops. They clearly are not doing that. Gordon Brown is looking for the first excuse to pull the remaining British soldiers out for example.

    As that article above says though, Al Qaeda believe America are in Iraq to permanently conquer Iraq (and the wider Muslim world) and destroy Islam. They would find American withdrawal a victory if it was done now or in 50 years time. Considering Al Qaeda are safely housed in Pakistan too, I can’t see how permanent occupation of Iraq is a viable way to deal with them.

    I would also add that many of the frauds in Washington and in the press that predict catastrophe in Iraq if we leave are the same charlatans that predicted Iraq would be a ‘cakewalk’ and that Iraqis would throw flowers at US soldiers in 2003. They know that they are a discredited bunch in the eyes of anybody with an IQ above their body temperature, and will say anything to scare the boobs sufficiently so that they can keep their jobs and influence.

  • Wars are won by not being squeamish, so if the USA loses in Iraq, it will be because they were not hard enough, not because they committed too many atrocities.

    As that article above says though, Al Qaeda believe America are in Iraq to permanently conquer Iraq (and the wider Muslim world) and destroy Islam.

    Actually the West is indeed going to destroy Islam, they are just not going to do it with bombs.

  • Martin

    War is fought on the TV screen and Internet pages now as much as it is fought on the battlefield. Being brutal may win battlefield victories but will ensure you lose the propaganda war, at least in places where free speech and free press are not illegal. The only way to alter that would be to impose censorship, but that would make a mockery of all that blah about fighting for ‘democracy’ and ‘liberty’. But then again, the PATRIOT Act already makes a mockery of such high falutin idealism. All democracy boosters do exactly the same though. Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Truman were all democracy boosters like Bush, and all were absolutely contemptuous of the constitution and the rule of law.

  • Paul Marks

    Yet again Martin you refuse to check to check facts. If you are going to be a Ron Paul (i.e. someone who says things because the fit with a priori conceptions – regardless of reality) there is little point in trying to reason with you.

    It is the “resistance” who are responsible for the vast majority of the murders of civilians in Iraq – not the wicked killing machines of Bush-Hitler.

    As for news – the media in the Islamic world will say that we eat babies whatever we do in Iraq, or whether are there or not.

    Defeat in Iraq war would be a massive boast for A.Q. (and for Shia radical groups as well).

    It would make the intergration of Muslims already living in the West much more difficult (if not impossible) as it would have been “proved” that the radicals (both among the Sunni and the Shia) interpretation of Islam (i.e. that all non Muslims and moderate Muslims must be either exterminated or enslaved) was correct – i.e. that God was on their side.

    So, as you support surrender in Iraq, what is your policy for the many millions of Muslims who already live in the West?

    Intergration will no longer be practical – due to, as pointed out above, it having been “proved” that God is on side of the worst interpretation of Islam.

    So what would you suggest – removal? extermination? What?

    Assuming that the Muslims in the West are not going to be converted (and given the state of Christianity in Europe that is not going to happen) and given that the Muslims born in the West tend to be much more radical than their parents (no surprise there – the parents still have clan and tribal loyalities and remember local cultural practices, the young just see themselves as followers of Islam) the radical interpretation of Islam must be defeated.

    Like you I would not have gone into Iraq in 2003, but we did – so now we have to win. And I think we can – indeed I will even make a prediction (always a dodgy thing to do) – our casulaties in August (in spite of going on the offensive) will be smaller than in July, and our casualties in September will be smaller than in August.

    A last point – for Perry, not for Martin.

    One can not beat something with nothing. And atheism is essentially nothing (it is the belief that there is no God – i.e. that there is nothing there).

    Of course many Muslims drink, use drugs and chase after women (just as many Christians do) – but that is called “decadence”, it is not an alternative culture. It is just a falling away from the, perhaps, too strict standards of a high culture (be it Christian or Islamic). Although humanism can be athiest and it is clearly NOT just believing in nothing – humanists essentially believe in philosophy (although it is hard to concieve of a mass population of humanists).

    Turning back to other matters:

    People can be decadent – but they can suddenly turn.

    Decadence is not some sort of alternative system of values.

    Young men looking for something to believe in something (and many young men do that) are not going to be satisfied with just drinking till they vomit in a corner somewhere.

    That is why there must be something for them to believe in – other than the radical interpretation of Islam.

    Perhaps humanism will serve that function (the classical conception of Athenia – that Fredrich Nietzsche once almost supported, but then fell away from), but I doubt it.

  • Martin

    Al Qaeda believe America is in Iraq to permanently occupy it. They think America will never leave, because they think America are in Iraq to destroy Islam and steal Iraq’s resources. They will therefore see it as a victory if America left tomorrow, or in 200 years time. You could eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq, but the real Al Qaeda are safe and secure in Pakistan, and will claim victory from there when America leaves even if every Al Qaeda member in Iraq is dead.

    The no surrender crowd also never explain how it is politically possible for America to ‘win’ in Iraq. Petraeus says it will take a decade to pacify Iraq, and that would require keeping 150,000 troops there for that long. The American public are sick of the war though, and most don’t believe a word what Bush says about the conflict. The military cannot keep up such a war for that long either without massively increasing the numbers of men in uniform and massive increases in defence spending, which would have to be met with more borrowing or more taxes (forget spending cuts elsewhere- they don’t happen- under democrats or republicans). Considering army recruitment numbers are down, and recruitment standards have been reduced, you would need conscription.

    I aren’t even going to respond to your scaremongering about how Muslims are going to wiped out in Europe. Just reeks of the blah in the 70s about how the fall of South Vietnam would spell the doom of capitalism and civilisation.

  • Midwesterner


    “I’m on a roll. I meant ‘homonyms’ and typed ‘heteronyms’ because I’ve read about them lately for entertainment. Oh bother…”

    The really hip nyms these days swing both ways.

    Is that your attempt at a binymial theorem? You would like to expand some’s powers?

    (We’re not called ‘pun-ditz’ for nothing!)

  • Besides, they are actually homophones…

  • Midwesterner


    According to the dictionary I use the most, The Free Dictionary, homonyms have “often the same spelling” (not always) and homophones but differ in spelling “sometimes”.

    And Merriam-Webster gives “homophone” as definition “1 a” for “homonym”.

    But certainly there are many other accepted dictionaries that hold your definition making same-spelling of homonyms mandatory, not optional.

  • Glad that we got that out of the way:-)

    BTW, you were against the invasion at the time, right?

  • Midwesterner

    Yes, but I was unfortunately rather ambivalent about it. I suffer from BDS rather badly and have since before the ballots were cast the first time around. Knowing this, I perhaps cut him more slack than I should in an effort to avoid reacting to the person and not the deed. When I really finally blew a gasket was after a week or so into the invasion, when I found out that we were not taking and holding any territory, we were not protecting infrastructure, we were not protecting civilians, we were not controlling anything we claimed to have captured, etc etc. Also, we were not taking and selectively releasing, reassigning, and paying Iraqi military, etc.

    That was when my “why on earth are we doing this?” turned into “this is utterly asinine and may end very badly”. But my opinion at this point is very close to that of Paul’s. I would not have chosen this forum (Iraq) for our debate with terrorists, but intentionally or not, that’s where it is.

    And now … Iraq is the front line between us and the extremists in Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. And the plan from the left seems to be “Bush doesn’t know how to manage a front line, so let’s bring the front line into the homeland.” Sheer genius.

  • I understand BDS, believe me. I don’t share it to such a great extent, but I understand. I hate the smirk. Bubba has it too, BTW.

    I would not have chosen this forum (Iraq)

    Which one then?

  • Midwesterner

    That is a very good question and I’ve been wondering which one then, indeed. Obviously (I hope) Afghanistan should have received our full attention for a much longer period of time and our (US) domestic politics should never have been allowed to sabotage both the mission and to endanger our troops far more than the mission required by trying to enforce in the far mountain regions what we can’t even enforce in suburbia. (the War on Drugs™)

    It’s been pointed out that if one decides it is necessary to confront Islamic terrorism somewhere, Iraq had legal grounds to be invaded. P.A. in another thread covered it in some detail. Tactically, I would have thought Syria, no oil is a plus in this case and probably much clearer ties to terrorism, but there are probably a lot of good reasons not to start there. And I think they have pretty consistently been violating Lebanon’s sovereignty throughout. Iran has to some degree also, but again, the oil complicates things.

    In any case, as things sit the war is in Iraq and that is probably as good a place as any, now.

  • I don’t think the problem was “where”, but “how”. I think Iraq made the most sense, the real problem is how the war has been handled. To me, the most obvious aspects of this are political (installing democracy etc.), as my military understanding is very limited. But even I have had a feeling from the start that militarily it has not been handled very well either, as you have alluded in your previous comment.