Thursday, April 19, 2007
The Senate Majority Leader, Democratic Senator Harry Reid, has declared that the war in Iraq "is lost." Excluding domestic partisan political advantage, what purpose is served in making such a statement? Regardless of one's political opinions, how is it to the advantage of the United States for the leader of the opposition to say such a thing in public? How will this influence the avowed enemies of the United States?
These are not rhetorical questions. Have at them in the comments.
The statement attributed to Sen. Reid is just the rational vindication of his world view, buttressed by the "news" as reported in the Popular Media; you know, the Media that reports endlessly on Anna Nicole Smith, Don Imus, etc.
The really smart ones, those guys.
The ones that couldn't quite get their story straight about what Mr. Libby said about Valerie Plame, and when he said it; like Tim Russert who changed his testimony between the Grand Jury and the trial. All those smart guys.
And now we await those who would denounce any criticism of Mr Reid and the Popular Mass Media. Soon, the usual suspects will post their comments.
When he left the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked,"What kind of government have you given us?", to which he replied,"A Republic, if you can keep it."
Well, we've lost it. It's gone, and it's not coming back. Mark down 2007 as the year the Republic died.
We will have a true mob-rule democracy now. It took Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ and their congressional enablers most of the 20th century, but their dream has finally arrived. I hope everyone is satisfied with the outcome.
It will certainly allow Bush to leverage his political position to pressure the Iraqis. (they've done so in the near past, IIRC).
That's because of the moral hazard created by open-ended commitments. je
Why don't they just paint targets on our soldiers' backs? How can they make it any more clear that their own "leaders" have given up on them?
There are no words to express my contempt for these cowards.
Ever since he took over as Minority Leader, I have struggled to understand the rank political posturing of Reid. I could not understand why he was willing to appear so partisan at the expense of common sense, logic, or any larger view. With these words, he has revealed his larger truth: he is, simply, venal and stupid.
Dems bet it all on losing. They believe losing is morally good for America, that America cannot and must not ever fight anywhere for anything, that only defeat will allow them to retreat to an isolationist, pacifist, defeatist America that will surrender to any enemy anywhere.
Dems want to lose so they can surrender to Bin Laden as the first step in remaking America as the province of their betters (the UN, EU, Goreacle, various NGOs, etc.)
Already it's been a couple of years since various Dem thinkers have floated out trial balloons saying we should negotiate a "peace treaty" with bin Laden. This is just more of the same.
Institutionally the Dems are unable to use force, contemplate using force, or willing to kill people and die to defend America.
They are the VT students who waited for the mad man to kill them next.
I think it would be a good thing to ask Sen. Reid what would constitute a "win" for the U.S. in Iraq. If his definition is a state of affairs in Iraq such that it is the Belgium of the Middle East, he is probably correct -- Iraq will not resemble Belgium in the foreseeable future.
As long as there are a few hundred available martyr wannabees and a supply of explosives, there can be a couple of big suicide bombs per week in Baghdad, the blood will continue to flow, and Reid's definition of success cannot be achieved.
If a "win" means removing Saddam's regime and establishing whether or not any remaining caches of WMDs existed, then the W is already in the books, but that doesn't explain Reid's language.
Reid may sincerely believe that it is in the best long term interests of the U.S. to quit Iraq and come up with a different strategy for dealing with Islamist extremists so that they don't attack U.S. interests, especially in the U.S. He should articulate what that strategy is so that we can evaluate the alternatives.
Reid may feel, as many Democrats and some Republicans do, that quitting Vietnam and then cutting off aid to the south during the aftermath of Watergate was the right thing for the U.S to do, and that there were minimal consequences to that action -- the U.S. still won the Cold War even if it did not prevail in one of its hot battles.
The analogy breaks down, though, because there was never a concern that the NVA or VC would follow the U.S. troops going home.
Let's say that we do as Reid wants, and that in two years there is a terrorist attack in the U.S. with mass casualties that is traceable to group in Iraq. (Even Reid is not stating that the U.S. should stand down its forces completely in the entire region of the Middle East and cease providing financial and military support to Israel, essentially the terms of surrender that would satisfy Bin Laden, so there will still be ample "reason" for an Islamist attack here). What would the response of a Democratic president and Congress be at that point? Would there be targeted retaliation, or would there simply be fingers pointed at the previous administration?
Reid may not believe that future attacks on the U.S. are any more likely if the U.S. leaves Iraq quickly, and may further believe that in fact such attacks are more likely if the U.S. stays in Iraq. If that’s his mindset, Reid’s public words would be consistent with his oath of office and, in his view, to the advantage of the U.S., to the extent it gets the U.S. out of Iraq faster.
It's hard to tell whether Reid factors into the making of his comments how the words influence those who wish the U.S. harm. I am not sure how much influence Reid's remarks have in the U.S. (the Senate Majority Leader has not been a very powerful position for most of the last two decades, and some of that is the fault of the men holding that job), though it could conceivably provide some psychological comfort to the terrorists. I don't think that terrorists in Baghdad are toasting Sen. Reid tonight (setting aside that they probably don't consume alcohol anyway), but his words are demoralizing for those who whould like to see the U.S. succeed in Iraq.
I don't understand Sen. Reid's comments. Doesn't he see all that good news coming out of Iraq? We're making progress! As the Iraqis stand up, we stand down! We're turning the corner! The surge is working! Ignore those bodies piling up all over Baghdad's intersections! Why, Sen. McCain can walk down that city's streets without a worry in the world.
And Reid has the nerve to contradict all this? Execute the traitor!
Reid has tried to take back his statement on the floor of the Senate, but he can't.
He's admitted defeat by Iran and Al Qaeda in Iraq. And there is no secret that Dems want to evacuate in Afghanistan too. Replace the Defense Dept. with a "Dept. of Peace" ... there is an actual proposal. Kucinich wants to impeach Bush for "all options on the table" with Iran's nukes and Cheney for the Iraq War.
Meanwhile Holbrooke wants to throw the Serbs under the bus in Kosovo by giving the Albanians indepenced there and defacto sharia for the Orthodox Christians still living in Kosovo. His plan? "Make nice" with the Muslims world-wide so they won't attack us.
That's it. That's all Dems have. "Make nice," prepare for "soft Islamization" as the French Archbishop of Paris says, act submissive and defeated and pay tribute to whoever: bin Laden, Iran, etc.
As a practical matter we can't hold Afghanistan if we run away in Iraq.
By saying we've been defeated Reid encourages attacks here at home (imagine what concessions Dems would offer for another 9/11!!)
Escort81 you are living in a fantasy world. One where Dems would be willing to fund the military, use it on occasion against Muslim enemies, and offer deterrence through both strength and will, demonstrated as needed.
Reid is under no illusions that defeat in Iraq means defeat in Afghanistan and more terror here as Al Qaeda and nuclear Iran follow us home. HE WANTS IT. So he can offer his alternative to Reps: groveling surrender, a "shoot me last" approach since his party has in all measures rejected use of force.
Consider this: Iran has been caught red handed in AFGHANISTAN supplying the Taliban with weapons (their Qods force guys captured). Dems offer: talk.
Harry Reid speaks the truth. 170,000 US troops can't stop 25 million people from killing each other in Iraq any more than 130,000 can.
Bush has no clue what to do in Iraq. His goal is to keep US troops there until the clock runs out on his administration so Republicans will blame Dems for losing his war.
America doesn't buy the "defeatocrat" slur from yellow elephants now and they sure aren't going to buy it in the future. But when it's all ya got, it''s all ya got.
Anon 7:52 -
I didn't mean to get you riled up; I think you misread the tone of my post and may not have read it entirely. I was trying to respond, or speculate, really, on what is going on in Reid's mind so as to answer the questions TH posed in his initial blog post:
"...how is it to the advantage of the United States for the leader of the opposition to say such a thing in public? How will this influence the avowed enemies of the United States?"
In other words, I was trying to figure out why he would have said what he said, and whether he believed it to be in the interests of the U.S. to "say such a thing in public," given his overall take on the matter.
I am pretty sure I'm still living in the real world, not a "fantasy world." I agree with you if you are implying that it would be nice to see more Scoop Jackson Democrats beyond Joe Lieberman. I do not think Reid or any Democrats want "more terror here as Al Qaeda and nuclear Iran follow us home. HE WANTS IT." How does it help either party or any party in power for there to be more attacks here? If I follow your logic, you believe that the ultimate goal of the Islamists is to establish Sharia law in historically Muslim areas and also ultimately in the West (and that may well be the case; many are on record saying that), and you are further saying that Democrats want that to happen, and it's there that you lose me. How would the constituents of the Democratic Party benefit under Sharia? What rights would women or gays have?
Anon, you shouldn't worry about Sharia law being imposed here. It's unconstitutional! You’ll have ACLU lawyers fighting on your side. After they are assassinated by Islamist militants, the U.S. always has an ace in the hole against Islamic domination. Mecca and Medina do not have an anti-ballistic missile defense system, and U.S. sub launched missiles are quite accurate. It would be hard to have an operating Muslim faith without the possibility of the Hajj -- the notion that every good Muslim makes a pilgrimage to Mecca during his lifetime -- and the Hajj would be tough to do if Mecca ceased to exist.
Worst case, we say, get out of here and leave us alone, or we take out your holiest sites. At some point, if we are in an existential struggle, our most powerful weapons are put on the table. Most Democrats are not pure pacifists – remember (as they would prefer you didn’t) that a great many voted yes in 2002 to authorize the President to use force in Iraq.
It will be a very long time before the Islamic world will be militarily and technologically superior to the West such that Muslims can spread their faith by the sword as they did over 1000 years ago. Even if there are those in the West who will not stand up and fight for their freedoms, there are many more who would in the face of an external totalitarian religious onslaught.
Sharia law is already being imposed piecemeal. Separate foot washing stations for Muslims only, Muslim only bathrooms, "hate crime" being defined as leaving a ham slice on a table next to Muslims, refusal to scan pork products at Target, or take people with alcohol, guide dogs, or who are gay in taxi cabs. Not to mention the demands for legalization of polygamy, and sharia law for family court, etc.
All promoted by Dems, the ACLU, Media etc. Part of the Multi-culturalism project. Every culture is great, except of course Western culture.
Heck Dems celebrate the first Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison, proud Hezbollah backer. They believe all problems with Iran and Syria can be solved by "talking" i.e. simply giving them what they want.
Reid's interest in saying that the US is defeated is to play to Daily Kos and the lunatics who control Dem policy. Themselves funded by terror sheiks.
And yes I do believe Reid WANTS terror attacks here. Dems have offered a consistent alternative to Reps: surrender. Reid would argue:
"1. We can't fight them.
2. We must surrender to them somehow.
3. The cost of surrender won't be too bad."
Constituents of Sharia? Multiculturalists. Liberals. Gays. Feminists. Who believe Sharia won't happen to THEM, merely the middle and working class enemy. Dems are united in opposition to Republicans and their mostly white middle and working class (Reagan Democrats) backers.
Unconstitutional? Kennedy, Ginsburg, etc. believe the Constitution can be over-ridden by International Law (a position ridiculed by Scalia but supported by the Left and many Constitutional Law Professors sadly).
As a former Democrat I suggest you spend time at Daily Kos, MyDD, DU, and the other places that drive Dem politics. Clearly Reid is pandering to them and their anti-Military, anti-US, anti-middle class attitudes.
It's why he said what he said. A complete and total rejection of military force in all instances in favor of Kos-pacifism.
If we withdraw from Iraq no one will believe our deterrence threats. Bin Laden, Khomeni, and Ahmadinejad have argued that the US lacks any will. Reid agrees (as do the Kos folks) and the results IMHO will be disaster.
I do not think the American people have the appetite for defeat and surrender that Kos/Reid think they do.
TigerHawk, we seldom agree, but I love your posts. Keep up the good work.
Re. your question, I think you're making a flawed assumption that Reid has an ulterior motive to somehow be "helpful" to the conflict in Iraq. While I can't say I agree with his decision, I see his motive as being merely a long overdue reality check to the administration, lawmakers, and the American public. We have indeed lost the war in Iraq. At least insofar as the limited, reptilian understanding of political rhetoric is concerned.
To explain: win/lose, and war/peace are (falsely)dichotomous in political rhetoric and each are charged with a very narrow definition. I think if you wanted to engage in a wider argument of how nonsensical this is, then you and I would have a lot to agree on. But nevertheless, we have long passed the point where we can reasonably satisfy the limited definition of 'victory' in Iraq, short of plastering every square meter of the entire country with a military presence.
I'm not being a mindless partisan here - I accept the argument that such rhetoric may be harmful to a struggling Iraqi government as well as increase the morale of the 47+ disparate insurgency militias. I'd even consider that the troops' morale may suffer though I would ask you to consider that an end date may, in fact, be a morale boost. In any case, I would ask the question of what alternative you would see in this situation? Declaring victory would be absurd while continued occupation and escalation seems to be exacerbating the problem for everyone involved. Does this mean I think we should pack up and abandon the country to chaos? Definitely not. But I think Reid's comments may be the first step in a much needed sobering that we need to start considering drastic alternatives to war.
The Hindsight Factor
Thanks for the nice note, and the good comment. I agree with virtually all of it as far as it goes.
What would I say if I were a principled Democrat? I certainly would be very careful to calibrate my statements to avoid giving any comfort to the enemy. If I were a Democrat, that would probably mean that I would sound more bellicose than I actually felt. Yes, that would be disingenuous, but politicians are disingenuous all the time, and can hardly object when it is in the national interest.
Now, what ought the loyal opposition say? The right thing, dating back to 2004, would have been to focus on framing victory conditions that were less ambitious than the Bush administration's. I think that could have been done (although it is much too long a discussion for a blog comment) within the contest of a broader Democratic strategy for the war with militant Islam. The problem was that the party became so enamored that it could win on the "Bush incompetence" -- a good stragegy to win elections, to be sure -- that it never developed its own credible strategy. Now it is deeply invested not just in ending the war in Iraq, but ending it as a "defeat."
Put differently, if an Iraqi Ghandi emerged tomorrow and settled the sectarian strife, united Iraqis of good will against al Qaeda, and politely asked the United States to leave on account of its work being finished, the activists on the left (even if not the rank-and-file) would be inconsolable. Is there anybody who does not believe that?
Before watching the Shamu show yesterday, the young trainer stopped and asked all military and military families to stand and be recognized. Seaworld is part of the Anheiser Busch family of companies.
There were many, and the applause was strong.
Earlier in the week, I caught "rays" with my daughter, while many probably stayed glued to the TV or 'net wondering how many more innocent kids would be mowed down by some kook at VT. Imagine if our military was not engaged in the ME? How easy would it be for a few cells to divide and conquer? If they were not focused on finding Allah by trying to kill our GIs, they could EASILY focus on schools or public places, or otherwise?
And yes, they could easily do both. We are at war with a small but meaningful slice of people who have taken their interpretation of their religion well beyond where civilized people can coexist with it. We kill them, or wait to be a victim.
Reid is an asshole, and we should keep the media focused on every word he and his kind (add in Nancy Pelosi, Obama, etc.) Every time he opens his mouth it's good for the GOP.
Most of us, even if we're not wild about the idea of our military in action (ref: TH's posts about how war has never been popular in the USA) realize this is not a short-term conflict or an enemy that is appeasible short of the annihilation of the non-believers.
I think what we are seeing is a clash between two culture memes, the Short Term Gain, and the Long Term Gain. There are elements in each party, but the Dems have staked out the Short, set up camp, and made it their home. If anybody was listening to Bush when he originally staked out our position in the War on Terror, it was quite solidly Long Term. The Dems have no problem with the use of military force, provided it is against a foe degraded on the nightly news and the whole event can be over and the victorious troops home by election time. i.e. a Short-Term war
The Cold War was a long-term conflict with some significant parallels. Hardened Marxists believed in the inevitability of Socialism, the dialectic of etc… Sound familiar? Should be, AQ has been pretty consistent promoting the same family values, with the same brutal enforcement of areas in their control.
Admittedly the Short position is quite inviting if you do not think of the consequences in blood and destruction. Such people have no problem paying the Danegeld, paying the pirates of Tripoli, signing treaties with German dictators, accepting Oil-for-Food bribes, etc…
Notably, people are objecting to Sen. Reid's comments because of how they think others -- such as our own servicemen or terrorists -- will react to them.
Lost in this conversation is that Sen. Reid is, sadly, correct. I don't say this will any great joy -- its sickening to see us lose -- but we aren't meeting up to our own goals.
Rights now, Army divisions are building up walls to divide sunni and shiite neighborhoods, in hopes of slowing the bleeding between the two.
Progress is not being made. We are in fact losing, and no rational observer sees that changing.
...how is it to the advantage of the United States for the leader of the opposition to say such a thing in public? How will this influence the avowed enemies of the United States?
As far as the enemies are concerned, it doesn't matter. Al Qaida wants us all dead; if anything they will kill liberals first. AQ has nothing but contempt for modern Western liberals and has no patience with them. They will not believe a single word Reid or other Democrats are saying. For them, Western liberals are just as complicit in what they call "Western agression against Islam' plus they consider them bigger liars.
For example, AQ systematically attacks UN representatives in all zones of conflict, regardless how hard UN tries not to offend them. They bombed UN mission in Baghdad even before they started picking fights with US military. In all AQ propaganda UN is named as bad an agressor as US. I'm sure they feel the same way about US Democrats and modern liberals in general.
So we really are in this fight together: UN & US, Democrats & Republicans, liberals & conservatives. Except many liberals and Democrats insist it's all Bush fault.
Well, if you believe that it is to the advantage of the US to 'defeat' Bush, than it is to the advantage of the US to declare Iraq war being 'lost'. Because it's Bush's war, see?
Also, Reid is raising the prospect of victory by "political, economical and diplomatic" means, whatever that means.
Progress is not being made. We are in fact losing, and no rational observer sees that changing.
this statement is simply wrong. but one must accept this statement as fact if one choses to choke down the rest of nonsense that accompanies it.
One of the well worn clichees of our time is "glass half full". The defeatists among us simply view the Iraq war as "glass half empty". Since their world view is informed by pessimism no good news will impact them.
Harry Reid is an opportunist lout. Those who share his view are quite frequently unrecoverable pessimists.
Pessimists are like emotional black holes where good news and good thoughts go to be crushed by the enormous weight of negativity.
So some that comment here and express agreement with the loutish, cowardly MR Reid might do so out of political affiliation, many are just the human version of Marvin the Paranoid Android.
"Progress is not being made. We are in fact losing, and no rational observer sees that changing."
And how many months have you spent in Iraq?
Everybody here, everybody in the Senate, in the House, and in the media are arm-chair quarterbacks, and the game isn't even over yet.
When either the Iraqi government (because it's their country) or the senior military leadership (because they understand the situation better than the rest of us) decide we should leave, then we should leave. No sooner, and no later.
Give Harry a break! Back off, Jack!!
Harry is just trying to score a few points with his masters, the socialist-traitorcrats who run his political party.
His masters are labor bosses, left wing wackos and neoccommunists. What does Harry care what the normal citizens of the country think.
Interestingly, Harry's words might offend another of his key constituencies, the mob.
If the US has lost, who does Reid think won?
It wasn't Saddam. He dead.
Iran and Al Qaeda would share the spoils of victory.
For Iran, control of Iraq would be a major strategic victory in its drive to become the regional super power.
For Al Qaeda, the defeat of the US in Iraq would fulfill Al Qaeda's war aims set out in his fatwa that declared war on America. Millions of young Muslims would flock to his flag, ready to further the cause of Jihad.
I guess Harry Reid must be OK with that