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"It's a lateral transfer" -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
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Sunday, January 30, 2005

My fingers are crossed

That being said, our thoughts turn to today's election in Iraq. May it be safe, and may the winners achieve a mandate. A successful election today means more security for both the US and Iraq. As our friend Bull Moose says, this is not a partisan issue.


Blogger Redneck Texan said...

this is not a partisan issue..
WHAT?Well, it sure to hell was a "partisan issue" during our election.

I thought Bush invading Iraq to overthrow a brutal dictator and replace it with a freely elected democracy was the foundation of you and your fellow partisan's criticism of him.

I thought Bush's decision to invade Iraq, was the central issue in all the partisan attacks against him.

I don't know Gus, but it seems like your trying to take some credit for allowing the people of Iraq to vote, when it only occurred with you kicking and screaming through, and condemning the whole process.

A simple "Bush did the right thing" would seem to be more appropriate.

1/30/2005 06:05:00 AM  

Blogger Johnnymozart said...

I would like to know if those who would have criticized Bush had these elections failed have the courage to give him some credit now that it is clear that they have succeeded.

1/31/2005 07:37:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

When your team is down by 6 and has the ball on its own 20-yard line, with one second left on the clock, and the coach calls a draw instead of a hail-mary, as a fan, you're tempted to go "kicking and screaming" right up to the coach and let him have it. You know it's the wrong play. "Hell, how did the team get into this mess in the first place?" you ask yourself. You're a much better team and some would argue you're on the wrong field. You still hope the draw will work, even though you know it's the wrong call at the wrong time. You still hope it will work 'cause you want your team to win.

If things work out in Iraq (and I hope they do, but we've got a long way to go yet) it will be despite W; not because of him.

1/31/2005 10:23:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Credit he gets for coming up with a well-attended election. No credit for a safe and well-participated one.

Bull MooseIn light of this weekend's success, intellectual honesty compels progressives to acknowledge two difficult propositions. First, despite his myriad mistakes, President Bush deserves credit for pressing forward with the elections. Second, despite his enormous contributions to progressivism for which we are all indebted, Senator Kennedy committed a severe error by suggesting a withdrawal of our troops on the eve of the elections.

Gustav agrees, and duly acknowledges.

1/31/2005 10:32:00 PM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

Do you think the Iraqi people have voted yesterday if Al Gore had won in 2000?

2/01/2005 01:58:00 AM  

Blogger Johnnymozart said...

Nice football analogy, Gus, but its the wrong one. What you are doing is the equivalent of standing on the sidelines with a megaphone screaming at the New England Patriots that they've done everything wrong, need a new coach, need to get their act together....etc...even as they win the championship. Yes, more work needs to be done, but it will succeed in spite of you, not George Bush.

2/01/2005 07:42:00 PM  

Blogger Johnnymozart said...

Here's some commentary from a guy on your side of the arena of ideas. Maybe you should listen to him.

What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?
February 1, 2005

Maybe you're like me and have opposed the Iraq war since before the shooting started -- not to the point of joining any peace protests, but at least letting people know where you stood.
You didn't change your mind when our troops swept quickly into Baghdad or when you saw the rabble that celebrated the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue, figuring that little had been accomplished and that the tough job still lay ahead.
Despite your misgivings, you didn't demand the troops be brought home immediately afterward, believing the United States must at least try to finish what it started to avoid even greater bloodshed. And while you cheered Saddam's capture, you couldn't help but thinking I-told-you-so in the months that followed as the violence continued to spread and the death toll mounted.
By now, you might have even voted against George Bush -- a second time -- to register your disapproval.
But after watching Sunday's election in Iraq and seeing the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people, you have to be asking yourself: What if it turns out Bush was right, and we were wrong?
It's hard to swallow, isn't it?
If you fit the previously stated profile, I know you're fighting the idea, because I am, too. And if you were with the president from the start, I've already got your blood boiling.
For those who've been in the same boat with me, we don't need to concede the point just yet. There's a long way to go. But I think we have to face the possibility.
I won't say that it had never occurred to me previously, but it's never gone through my mind as strongly as when I watched the television coverage from Iraq that showed long lines of people risking their lives by turning out to vote, honest looks of joy on so many of their faces.
Some CNN guest expert was opining Monday that the Iraqi people crossed a psychological barrier by voting and getting a taste of free choice (setting aside the argument that they only did so under orders from their religious leaders).
I think it's possible that some of the American people will have crossed a psychological barrier as well.
On the other side of that barrier is a concept some of us have had a hard time swallowing:
Maybe the United States really can establish a peaceable democratic government in Iraq, and if so, that would be worth something.
Would it be worth all the money we've spent? Certainly.
Would it be worth all the lives that have been lost? That's the more difficult question, and while I reserve judgment on that score until such a day arrives, it seems probable that history would answer yes to that as well.
I don't want to get carried away in the moment.
Going to war still sent so many terrible messages to the world.
Most of the obstacles to success in Iraq are all still there, the ones that have always led me to believe that we would eventually be forced to leave the country with our tail tucked between our legs. (I've maintained from the start that if you were impressed by the demonstrations in the streets of Baghdad when we arrived, wait until you see how they celebrate our departure, no matter the circumstances.)
In and of itself, the voting did nothing to end the violence. The forces trying to regain the power they have lost -- and the outside elements supporting them -- will be no less determined to disrupt our efforts and to drive us out.
Somebody still has to find a way to bring the Sunnis into the political process before the next round of elections at year's end. The Iraqi government still must develop the capacity to protect its people.
And there seems every possibility that this could yet end in civil war the day we leave or with Iraq becoming an Islamic state every bit as hostile to our national interests as was Saddam.

But on Sunday, we caught a glimpse of the flip side. We could finally see signs that a majority of the Iraqi people perceive something to be gained from this brave new world we are forcing on them.
Instead of making the elections a further expression of "Yankee Go Home," their participation gave us hope that all those soldiers haven't died in vain.
Obviously, I'm still curious to see if Bush is willing to allow the Iraqis to install a government that is free to kick us out or to oppose our other foreign policy efforts in the region.
So is the rest of the world.
For now, though, I think we have to cut the president some slack about a timetable for his exit strategy.
If it turns out Bush was right all along, this is going to require some serious penance.
Maybe I'd have to vote Republican in 2008.

2/01/2005 07:46:00 PM  

Blogger Johnnymozart said...

Sorry, I couldn't get the link to work right. I don't know why.

2/01/2005 07:48:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Winning the championship? Prone to hyperbole today, are we Johnny? I think you would agree that one vote does not make a successful nation-build.

I am a Pats fan (in the post-season) -- they are from Massachussets after all. Brady went to UM too, although I hear he's a Republican (*shiver*)

2/01/2005 08:15:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

I wonder why this guy was against the war. Because we might lose?-- Then I can see his logic. But, if you're like me then you opposed the war because putting the life of our troops in danger over lies (or at least extremely bad intelligence that no one in the administration bothered to question) about WMD is unacceptable,and because you believe that we ought to go to war only when there's a clear and immediate danger to our nation.

Which Saddam Hussein (bad as he is) wasn't.

We could probably have free elections in Zimbabwe with ease-- overthrowing Mugabe would be a snap.

But we're not, even though Mugabe is a very bad man.

Is Bush just waiting for the right time? Or does he also believe that when bad men lead countries but do not pose a direct threat to us, diplomacy ought to be the first method used to remove that man?

The Republicans lied to the public, put our troops in danger when it wasn't necessary (sending as of today, 1436 of them to their deaths), changed their reasons for the war half a dozen times, prepared abysmally for post-Saddam occupation, and killed THOUSANDS of civillians? That's not to mention wrecking of American prestige.

Is a well-attended vote that could have occurred through a peaceful coup worth it? Is the fact that it came sooner worth all of the above mentioned tragedy?

My answer is no, and that's why I oppose the war, but am happy to see progress -- however large or small.

2/01/2005 09:50:00 PM  

Blogger wafflestomper said...

yikes gustav! didn't expect to see this kind of analysis out of you. has boxer got you all fired up?

The Republicans lied to the public, put our troops in danger when it wasn't necessary (sending as of today, 1436 of them to their deaths), changed their reasons for the war half a dozen times, prepared abysmally for post-Saddam occupation, and killed THOUSANDS of civillians? That's not to mention wrecking of American prestige._

its been done many times over, but if you like, i'll google up equivalent democratic "lies" by the democrats. the list will include the all-time greats: clinton, gore, kerry, kennedy... you pick the republican lie, i'll find you a quote. they were all 'lying' to us because that was our intelligence, faulty though it was. the difference was that the republicans the audacity to act on our intelligence. do you think the intelligence was partisan? if your answer is 'republican spin', show me the example so i can show you 'democrat spin' albeit a few years earlier.

regarding the reasons for war, i think you should review the resolution to go to war. it includes this bit:

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;_

nice, huh? democracy was a reason to go to war after all.

prepared abysmally for occupation... would proper preparation cost a little more? you don't like what's been spent so far. you kinda have to give a little on at least one of your gripes. you can only stretch a 'do more with less' policy so far.

killed thousands of civilians... unfortunately true, and every one deemed a tragedy. the previous regime killed thousands of civilians too. tragic. what is the lesser of two evils in this case? you have to look at the future here.

wrecking america's prestige... we've covered it.

you say you want to go to war only when there is a clear and immediate danger. the time lapse between establishing clear and immediate danger and seeing that danger materialize is ever shrinking. early in the 20th century, we could see a country mobilizing to attack another country. by the end of the century, we couldn't tell if a second-rate nation had the ability to inflict huge, immediate harm on us or not. like bush said, we can not wait for the threat to become imminent. it'll be too late for thousands of civilians. american ones.

2/02/2005 12:40:00 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think that the intelligence provided to the president wasn't partisan, then you need to read Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack." He is a respeced journalist - repspected by both democrats and republicans by the way - who had unusual access to the people involved with the planning of the war. After reading that book, I was less angry at President Bush, but far more angry and Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and former CIA Director Tenet. Given unbiased intelligence reporting, it would have been far harder for the President to make the decisions he did and would have led to more honest reasons given to the American public and to better planning for the post invasion situation. If Woodward is correct, and nobody that I am aware of has contradicted him, then Rumsfeld is very guilty of poor war planning as well as post war planning. Read the book - it is very interesting. - Chuck

2/02/2005 02:44:00 AM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

What we have here is.....failure to communicate.
In my opinion, Gus is no more likely to ever alter his worldview enough to admit to himself that Bush did the right thing by overthrowing a dictator and replacing him with a freely elected government, than we are likely to see a Palestinian admit that Israel has the right to exist.

The Sunni's are more likely to embrace a Shiite controlled government before Gus and his fellow partisans will ever acknowledge that the best man for the job has won our last two elections.

I am not sure whether in all cases its just simple blind hatred, or embarrassment to admit the faults in our own agendas, but instead of even considering the merits of the overall situation, humans tend to ignore what they don't want to hear, and look for another way to justify continuing their agenda.

This unwillingness to accept the flaws in your arguments is the source of many a civil wars I bet.
I didn't catch the answer to my question above Gus, do you think the people in Iraq would still be living under a brutal dictator if Al Gore had won in 2000?

2/02/2005 03:43:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Gus, do you think the people in Iraq would still be living under a brutal dictator if Al Gore had won in 2000?

Probably, yes.

And in an answer to stomper (Republicans get so worked up when we libs talk about GOP lies):

they were all 'lying' to us because that was our intelligence, faulty though it was. the difference was that the republicans the audacity to act on our intelligence.

Actually, they lied to us because they said they had rock-solid intelligence. Remember Colin Powell being paraded in front of the UN to show us all of the "intelligence" the US had? Republicans love to tell us how "everybody" believed the intelligence. I beg to differ. There were a lot of folks -- millions in fact -- questioning it. Even after Powell's masquerade, many (including me-- and most Democrats) were still questioning the basis for war. The administration kept insisting that they had "something" but that it was too sensitive to share with either the public or the inspectors. Now it turns out they knew as little as we did, and if the administration had only scrutinized the intelligence as much as the public had, we wouldn't have gotten into this mess in the first place.

Stomper, if we had spent enough on preparation at the beginning, we wouldn't be spending so much to make up for it now. It's always cheaper to prepare well than to clean up the mess later, so yes, more spending on better preparations would have been a good idea.

And while it was US policy to remove the regime, there was nothing saying it had to be done immediately or militarily. Also, this was not the justification that the administration used. It was all WMD, all the time coming out of the administration in the lead-up to the war.

2/03/2005 05:48:00 PM  

Blogger wafflestomper said...

most dems questioned the intelligence? even if the laymen correctly outguess the experts in this one, it is the most moot of points because as laymen, your suspicions are without foundation or basis. if i give testimony as an expert witness in a court, my opinion is to be taken as the facts of the case, the opinion of the layman be damned. experts contest experts. our experts were wrong. our experts were lead by tenet. who appointed tenet again - some shill for the republican party?

most dems voted for h.j. 114, the resolution to go to war in the senate, gustav, a list that includes kerry, edwards, daschle, biden, lieberman, feinstein... most dems on the senate intelligence committee believed saddam had wmd - these guys don't rely on powell for information.

here's some quotes by some liars. there's a perjurer in there too.

Stomper, if we had spent enough on preparation at the beginning, we wouldn't be spending so much to make up for it now. It's always cheaper to prepare well than to clean up the mess later, so yes, more spending on better preparations would have been a good idea._

i read nothing but arrogance here. you would be doing a great service to the country if you would just lend them your crystal ball over a couple of weekends. do your risk management texts instruct you to eliminate all risk - because that is what you are suggesting here. yes, the money spent to prevent a certain mess is generally cheaper than cleaning up the mess. that's hindsight. but the money spent on planning and preparing for every contigency that could cause a mess is not cheaper than an individual mess. a contractor that plans for every contingency doesn't get the bid. planning comes to an end. our troops were prepared for wmd counter attacks - money wasted, we could have saved millions there. like most of the nay-sayers, you speak of planning in the most abstract. how about something concrete for a change? maybe we should plan to double our troops. what does your crystal ball say? will we have had less fatalities with more troops? iraqi civilian deaths more or less? more or less insurgents? maybe we should halve our troops? i know! our troops should plan to drive around land mines. wait! we should plan better to get the guys before they bury them. wow, i didn't realize this planning thing was so easy.

And while it was US policy to remove the regime, there was nothing saying it had to be done immediately or militarily. _

a resolution authorizing the use of force by the president... but not now... and by non-military means? yeah, i don't get that.

if this is a little heavier on sarcasm, its to make up for the lack in the previous post. respond in kind.

2/03/2005 07:43:00 PM  

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