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Of course, Rumsfeld might just be a little more credible if he hadn't said things like that about the WMDs

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/t03302003_t0330sdabcsteph.html

Btw the "wait us out" argument is totally ridiculous. It's quite obvious that terrorists don't "wait things out". Actually if they did in fact wait this out, they would win, because - if we believe Mr Rumsfeld - the US troops would leave, thinking the country is stable.

Actually, from a purely logical point of view, Rumsfeld's statement about WMD is coherent: Nothing exists wherever you may wish to find it. From a more practical viewpoint, of course, he was either lying, mistaken, or the WMD was moved or destroyed before it could be found. I personally suspect he was mistaken though I freely admit that I have no intimate knowledge of the matter, so this conjecture is based on my general life experience that intelligent people who are cocksure about something are surprisingly often just plain wrong.

As far as the strategy for Iraq is concerned, I tend to place my faith in the active U.S. military personnel who are working on the effort. I spent four years in the U.S. military as a cold warrior and have three veteran brothers as well, one of whom is a veteran of both Gulf Wars (if one chooses to consider them as two actions). I know many fine people in the U.S. military and I am certain that the best trained, best equipped and best motivated military in the history of the planet can, with the help of the Iraqi people, turn Iraq into a functioning democracy and shining example for freedom-loving people everywhere.

I do not give any credence whatsoever to individuals who (like me) can, despite any honest effort they may make, have no real knowledge or real or significant understanding of the military and political situation in Iraq. Most of the individuals critizing the U.S. effort in Iraq simply (and they can save their protestations for the gullible) want the U.S. to lose -- either because they hate the U.S. or because they hate George Bush. This is usually because they are Leftists, but I don't want to belabor that here.

Despite the best efforts of the Leftist world media and the surprisingly well-organized worldwide Leftist movement, the U.S. won the war in a couple of weeks. The Leftists and their allies, the Islamofascists, have had more success in delaying the establishment of a functioning democracy in Iraq, but they will eventually lose that war as well.


P.S. OK. I did in fact belabor the Leftism point but only because I consider it very relevant.

"I am certain that the best trained, best equipped and best motivated military in the history of the planet can, with the help of the Iraqi people, turn Iraq into a functioning democracy and shining example for freedom-loving people everywhere."

I think I'm a neanderthal when it comes to the military. The military is there to destroy an enemy, I don't think they have the expertise to turn countries into shining examples of whatever. And I don't see that happening in Iraq. What magic will the U.S. do in the next months to make up for all the lost time? The best to hope for is a stalemate. More insurgents/rejectionists/terrorists whacked, more US troops killed. Until the American people won't stand for it anymore.

People who want the US to lose in Iraq are bloody fools because we will all lose big if you do. What you will probably do is to withdraw claiming that Iraqis are ready to step up.

When Iraq sinks into civil war... well, they got their chance, didn't they? Not America's fault that they didn't grab it.

America will have "other priorities" by then.

@Querdenker..
Just like we abandoned you Germans, eh?
According to you Germans, you are THE model democracy and the EU is EUtopia - I am sure the AMerican troops had NOTHING to do with that.
Let us see what Joschka Fischer said:

Germany’s Fischer, in the Humboldt University speech, noted two “historic decisions” that made the new Europe possible: “the usa’s decision to stay in Europe” and “France’s and Germany’s commitment to the principle of integration, beginning with economic links.” But of course the latter could never have occurred without the former. France’s willingness to risk the reintegration of Germany into Europe — and France was, to say the least, highly dubious — depended on the promise of continued American involvement in Europe as a guarantee against any resurgence of German militarism. Nor were postwar Germans unaware that their own future in Europe depended on the calming presence of the American military.

SO Querdenker - American troops have no impact in building a model society? Mr Fischer, everybody's FAVORITE politician, seems to think otherwise.
60 years later and we are still here in Germany.
There are hopefully enough of us Sturr Amis who
know what a priority IRAQ is. I just hope regardless of what happens the Kurds are protected. I hope the Amis build a permanent base there. The Kurds have used terrorism as well, but funny, there is no sympathy in Germany/Europe for the Kurds.. no demands
that they have their own homeland like the Palesitnians, the pet cause of the EU and Germany.
Silly me, I forgot, there are no JEWS involved in the Kurd conflict, that is why no EUropean gives a SHIT about them.

@Querdenker

"I think I'm a neanderthal when it comes to the military."

I'll take your word for it.

As far as the rest is concerned: Time will tell. But I believe that the U.S. military will master the situation. And I have at least some experience in the matter, as opposed to certain others.

On another note...

In case there are any American rightwingers around here claiming that the allegations about "illegal CIA activities" haven't been proven, SPON knows better: (http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,388463,00.html)

Key quote: "Wieviel wussten die deutschen Behörden von den illegalen Praktiken der CIA?"

I prefer: "Wie lange haben die Idioten bei SPON die Islamonazis in Iraq moralisch unterstützt?"

@amiexpat
I prefer to avoid comparisons to American assistance for democracy in France and Germany, because both countries appear to be somewhat long-term resistant to the concept. Nevertheless, your points are relevant, well thought out and on target. The U.S. military can do the job because the U.S. miltary IS the American people.

I was writing up a larger post about the nonsense of comparing postwar Germany with postwar Iraq but it disappeared. Typepad truly sucks.

Maybe later

@QUerdenker....
go for it. I look forward to it.
BTW turning a dictatorship into democracy is hard work, isn't it? I mean, just look at the 'blooming landscape' in the former DDR. Maybe Gerd can get a job in Iraq - he has done such a good job in the 'neuen Bundesländer'. While the Germans were obsessed with the American election in November 2004, there was an election in September 2004 in Sachsen. Over 30 percent of the voters voted for the parties of Ulbrecht, Honecker and Hitler.
German response? a collective yawn.
whatever happened to Wehret den Anfangen (sorry I don't know how to write it).
Turning Iraq into a democracy - it's a big gamble, that is clear.
But I would say the Germans took a big gamble in 1990.. and it isn't working out so well..
Querdenker, why don't the Germans work on there project to convert a former dictatorship into a democracy (the DDR) and put their efforts into making it succeed instead of being obsessed with wanting AMerica to fail in Iraq?
The Amis will work on their project and stay out of your project. Why don't the Germans do the same? We will see who has more success...
The Amis have their work cut out for them...
and so do the Germans. In the end I put my money on the Iraqis and the AMis.
Germany is going DOWN.

"... nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."

Obviously, she forgot to mention box cutters. But this misjugement somewhat dwarfs Bush achievements in Iraq. Bush will try to keep the US troops in Iraq for the rest of his presidency so that he can put the blame for the Iraq disaster on his successor, who will be left with no alternative but to pull out the troops first thing.

Is Rumsfeld an unwitting poet? About eighteen months back, a humor writer named Hart Seely took some of Rumsfeld's speeches and broke them down into blank verse for a book entitled "Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld" ( http://tinyurl.com/chssx ). Some of them were reprinted here at Slate: http://www.slate.com/id/2081042/

Imagine my surprise when your post quoted the conclusion to one of Rumsfeld's briefings and I discovered just how easy it is to create blank verse out of some of his statements. Compare Rumsfeld's concluding remarks, as you quoted them, with the lines below:


We don't go into a country to stay in a country.
We go into a country to try to be helpful
And then leave as soon as is possible,
But not in a manner that's precipitous;
Bnd not in a manner that would inject
An instability into the situation;
And not in a manner
That would suggest to the terrorists
That all they have to do is wait us out,
And they'll be able to have their way.
Because if they have their way
And impose their medieval vision
On that country in that part of the world,
It would be an enormous price to pay.
And I don't think that's going to happen.

Now, if I can do this, the underlying structure of the words must be helping me, because my skills at poetry are slightly less than zero. I suspect that by some quirk of the mind, Rumsfeld really does think and speak, sometimes, in blank verse. Of course, what one thinks of the poet and his non-literary works may be another matter entirely, one which is likely to remain controversial for decades to come.

@Querdenker

Same thing the US military did post 1945 in your little nation.

@beimami: "I prefer to avoid comparisons to American assistance for democracy in France and Germany, because both countries appear to be somewhat long-term resistant to the concept. Nevertheless, your points are relevant, well thought out and on target. The U.S. military can do the job because the U.S. miltary IS the American people."

Indeed... I personally prefer to compare Iraq with post-WWII Japan.

Japan was a nation where the Emperor was a god, and the Samurai warlord caste were demigods. The people there had been completely brainwashed into submission for hundreds of years, if not thousands. They were NEVER going to be able to adapt to democracy.

So they said.

They look pretty happy to me, today.

@LC Mamapajamas

An interesting point of view that quite honestly hadn't occurred to me.

beimami,

If I understand your take correctly, you consider your four years' service to trump Querdenker's military experience - or lack of it - in commenting on the US military's role in post-war Iraq.

Would I be mistaken, then, in assuming that John Murtha's six years of active duty and several decades as a Marine Corps Reserve officer trump your experience ? Or in assuming that the critical opinions of several general officers, also presumably working above your former pay grade, trump yours ?

With no disrespect to anyone's service, I don't think service in and of itself bestows magic insight on those who served.

Cheers,

@Rofe

Does that mean we can trash this whole chickenhawk argument as well?
You know, Bush and Cheney were never on active duty, so they are not qualified to judge on matters of war?
Also a prevalent view among the left.
I for one will gladly take your offer to rid that one from the table (I am simply following YOUR logic to its logical conclusion).
and to be honest I am pretty sure beimami
would take you up on your offer as well.

Cheers
steve

@Rofe

I am the last who will claim that military service makes me in any way more qualified than Querdenker or anyone else to discuss the political and military intricacies of the situation in Iraq. I think I expressed this adequately in my earlier comments.

My claim was much more modest than you give me credit for. I was referring only to my experience working in and with the U.S. military as regards the confidence I have in the institution and its people. Querdenker apparently has little regard for the U.S. military, but I believe he would feel much differently if he had served with the fine people I served with. I believe you will see what I mean if you reread the comment and its context, though I can see where one might misconstrue the statement if just glancing through it.

In fact, the main point of my original comment on this thread, or whatever you want to call it, is that most everyone commenting on the situation in Iraq -- including ex-military -- is not actually in a position to render competent judgement on the matter. I think this is also what amiexpat was getting at.

I freely admit that I am somewhat biased in the matter, but (without respect to any particular individual) when I hear someone who can't possibly have any REAL clue about Iraq claiming that the U.S. is losing there, then I can only conclude that they WANT the U.S. to lose in Iraq.

amiexpat,

If you're asking am I willing to judge someone's views on matters of war based on those views and not the person's service record, then sure. Seems pretty elementary to me.

Which isn't to ignore the fact that someone who's served has a certain credibility in understanding the military. Or that 'understanding' the military might suffer from lack of perspective when it comes to strategic questions. Bottom line is that the chickenhawk charge - and its reverse - seem to me to be diversions away from the real issues.

I would point out as well that the question raised above had to do with the military's role when it wasn't a matter of war.

Cheers,

For those of you who would like to understand the military’s role below is a definition of the current operations on going in both Iraq and Afghanistan It is what the German Army deployed to Afghanistan is actually doing.

Of course, I would not except any euro to understand this must less support these actions. To them it is all war.

It goes beyond the approved euro concept of peacekeeping which deems illegal to destory opposting forces which interfer with the conduct of peace keeping operations. As the Germans have proven with their own actions they just return to their billeting areas until the shooting stops.

Stability Operations apply military power to influence the political and civil environment, to facilitate diplomacy, and to interrupt specified illegal activities. Its purpose is to deter or thwart aggression; reassure allies, friendly governments, and agencies; encourage a weak or faltering government; stabilize a restless area; maintain or restore order; and, enforce agreements and policies. During hostilities, stability helps keep armed conflict from spreading and assist and encourages committed partners. Stability also enables forces to secure support in unstable areas and to prevent civil populations from interfering in ongoing military operations. Similarly, stability missions may require offensive and defensive actions to destroy rogue forces bent on defeating or stability attempts.

Stability missions may complement and reinforce the offense, defense, and support, or they may themselves constitute the main effort. They may take place before, during, and after offensive, defensive, and support operations. The basic stability missions are peace operations; combating terrorism; counter drug operations; noncombatant evacuation; arms control; nation assistance; support to insurgencies; support to counterinsurgencies; show of force; and civil disturbance

@joe - "To them it is all war."

If only combat operations were war and stability operations were peace, then the latter would not require soldiers to risk their lives. With the Afghan deployment being neither a hot war nor a cold war, maybe it can be described as a lukewarm war, but in any case this is a warzone and the troops have a mandate. Renaming war and peace to each other does only increase the confusion. You mention yourself the German soldiers who get out of the way of the shooting because they see themselves as a peace mission.


@ Querdenker

You stated, "People who want the US to lose in Iraq are bloody fools because we will all lose big if you do." Do you believe this view is shared by a majority or even a large part of the German public? Do you believe this view is shared by the current German government?

Ambrose,
Merkel of course not, but I am not so sure that the majority of the CDU really understands the Iraqi War. Pflüger tried hard to spread the position of the US but the German media propaganda was too high. So I think even many CDU members suffer from disinformation.

Gabi,

Thank you for responding. Let me make sure I understand you correctly. Are you saying:

1. Chancellor Merkel agrees with Querdenker's statement that "People who want the US to lose in Iraq are bloody fools because we will all lose big if you do."

2. The majority of CDU politicians do not agree with Querdenker's statement

3. The large majority of the German public do not agree with Querdenker's statement

It would also be interesting to hear Querdenker's response as well.

@Ambrose - When it had to decide whether Schröder was right to dissolve his government through the dialectical backdoor of the Vertrauensfrage, the German supreme court said that he was because such a decision is of a prognostical nature. But the political climate in Germany is as such that this prognosis has to remain a wildcard, because otherwise our reservoirs of serenity would not be sufficient to get through this war. The public political horizon does not go beyond Europe, and any unsolicited suggestions how close the Northatlantic peninsulas of the African-Eurasian landmass really are to the Islamic center of gravity would be too scary.

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