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Old 09-14-2007, 07:01 AM   #141
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Originally posted by AEON


(with the exception of China - which is showing progress)
. . .and also tangling with China would be highly impractical.
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Old 09-14-2007, 07:05 AM   #142
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Originally posted by Diemen

WMDs/Immediate threat? Hah.
Depose a brutal dictator/freedom for the people? If Saddam had been pro-America, Bush wouldn't have lifted a finger.
Spread democracy? Only if they do what we say.
Truth. I dare anyone to actually suggest that we would have invaded Iraq if Saddam had been exactly the horrible dicatator he was, except that he was friendly to the U.S. instead of hostile.
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:19 AM   #143
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The best question of the night. And I admit - other than resources, and I can't think of a good reason. (with the exception of China - which is showing progress)
Wow, just wow...
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:38 AM   #144
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/0...-_n_64260.html

"Yesterday, NBC's Brian Williams picked up that ball with a vengeance, directly challenging General Petraeus on that point:

Over the last two days of testimony, you mentioned Al Qaeda, by our count, 160 times. Now for a lot of Americans, al Qaeda - that's the guys who flew those planes into the buildings in New York, and Washington, and Pennsylvania. Explain what you mean — because Al Qaeda in Iraq wasn't around that day.

Petraues responded that Al Qaeda in Iraq was "part of the greater al Qaeda movement" and "the
the organization that has carried out the most horrific, most damaging terrorist actions in Iraq." Petraues had previously referred to al Qaeda as "public enemy number one" in Iraq, even though it represents at most 8 - 15% of the total insurgency — and that's the uppermost estimate. Various intelligence reports put that at a much lower number, all the way down to only 2 -5% of the total insurgency.

That's the background. Watch how Williams gets Petraeus to backtrack on that point:
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:08 AM   #145
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well done, Bush.

you've totally just passed the buck onto the next president. here's to 10 years of "Cindy Sheehan lost Iraq!"
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:20 AM   #146
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/0...-_n_64260.html

"Yesterday, NBC's Brian Williams picked up that ball with a vengeance, directly challenging General Petraeus on that point:

Over the last two days of testimony, you mentioned Al Qaeda, by our count, 160 times. Now for a lot of Americans, al Qaeda - that's the guys who flew those planes into the buildings in New York, and Washington, and Pennsylvania. Explain what you mean — because Al Qaeda in Iraq wasn't around that day.

Petraues responded that Al Qaeda in Iraq was "part of the greater al Qaeda movement" and "the
the organization that has carried out the most horrific, most damaging terrorist actions in Iraq." Petraues had previously referred to al Qaeda as "public enemy number one" in Iraq, even though it represents at most 8 - 15% of the total insurgency — and that's the uppermost estimate. Various intelligence reports put that at a much lower number, all the way down to only 2 -5% of the total insurgency.

That's the background. Watch how Williams gets Petraeus to backtrack on that point:
It is very interesting how you responded to that interview and how I respond to it. I thought the general articulated his points well, was logical, and very straightforward. I guess we hear what we want to hear.

He also responded to his "I don't know" answer with the same answer I posted here - his focus is Iraq and not the GWOT.

It almost seems like this is sort of a witch hunt - with many of you hoping to catch the general in some mistake of words to use against him and to support your own antiwar position.
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:29 AM   #147
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there's so much to say, but a former war supporter says it far, far better than i can:

[q]He seemed almost broken to me. His voice raspy, his eyes watery, his affect exhausted, his facial expression almost bewildered. I thought I would feel angry; but I found myself verging toward pity. The case was so weak, the argument so thin, the evidence for optimism so obviously strained that one wondered whom he thought he was persuading. And the way he framed his case was still divorced from the reality we see in front of our nose: that Iraq is not, as he still seems to believe, full of ordinary people longing for democracy and somehow stymied solely by "extremists" or al Qaeda or Iran, but a country full of groups of people who cannot trust one another, who are still living in the wake of unimaginable totalitarian trauma, who have murdered and tortured and butchered each other in pursuit of religious and ethnic pride and honor for centuries. This is what Bush cannot recognize: there is no Iraq. There are no Iraqis. There may have been at one point - but what tiny patina of national unity that once existed to counter primordial sectarian loyalty was blown away by the anarchy of the Rumsfeld-Franks invasion. The president's stunning detachment from this reality tragically endures - whether out of cynicism or delusion or, more worryingly, a simple intellectual inability to understand the country he is determined that the United States occupy for the rest of our lives.

The low-point was his almost desperate recitation of a poignant email that posited that this war is one between "good" and "evil". I don't doubt the sincerity of the sentiment; I don't doubt either that the murderous extremes of sectarian hatred or religious fanaticism are, at some level, evil. I know that the motives of many people who supported this war - and many who still support it - are honorable. And I know that America is ultimately a force for good in this world. But that doesn't mean that America is incapable or error or immorality. And to reduce the immense complexity of Iraq to such a binary moralism is a sign of a president reaching for comfortable, Manichean abstractions as a replacement for strategic judgment and knowledge. The American people deserve better from a war-president: more honesty, more candor, more realism. Even now; even in the face of the horror we have witnessed for four years; even in the face of the failure that is still staring at us, he still cannot see what he has done or what is still unfolding in the Mesopotamian morass. And he has no policy that effectively matches the crisis with adequate resources. Short of a draft, we don't have them.

None of us wants to lose this war in Iraq; no one wants defeat.

It rips many of us apart to think of the pleasure that some vile human beings may draw temporarily from our retreat. But they gain far more pleasure by America's permanent entrapment in a quicksand from which there is no escape and which has already replenished the ranks of the enemy. I supported this war for a long time; but I cannot honestly blind myself to the reality of failure out of pride or sheer wishfulness. We need a president able to acknowledge this reality, to tell us how to salvage what we can from the wreckage of a broken country, how to disengage in a way that maximizes our interests and weakens our enemies. Only on those grounds can we unite again and find a way forward. Not on these grounds; not with this president; not without many, many more troops for many, many more years.

But it seems he will get his way; and his party will live with the consequences. So, alas, will all of us. If the Democrats and adult Republicans cannot stop this slow march to an even lower circle of hell, then we have only one recourse yet: to pray that we're wrong, that a miracle can happen, and that the enormous sacrifices of so many good, brave and brilliant men and women are not ultimately in vain.[/q]
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:35 AM   #148
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Quote:
Petraeus’s Success
Follow the general.

By Charles Krauthammer


© 2007, The Washington Post Writers Group



As always, the inadvertent slip is the most telling. Discussing the performance of British troops, Gen. David Petraeus told Sen. Joe Biden of the Foreign Relations Committee that he’d be consulting with British colleagues in London on his way back “home.” He had meant to say “Iraq,” where he is now on his third tour of duty. Is there any other actor in Washington’s Iraq-war drama — from Harry Reid to the Joint Chiefs — who could have made such a substitution? Anyone who not only knows Iraq the way Petraeus does, but feels it in all its gravity and complexity?

When asked about Shiite militia domination of southern Iraq, Petraeus patiently went through the four provinces, one by one, displaying a degree of knowledge of the local players, terrain, and balance of power that no one in Washington — and few in Iraq — could match.

When Biden thought he had a gotcha — contradictions between Petraeus’s report on Iraqi violence and the less favorable one by the Government Accountability Office — Petraeus calmly pointed out that the GAO had to cut its data-gathering five weeks short to meet reporting requirements to Congress. And since those most recent five weeks had been particularly productive for the coalition, the GAO numbers were not only outdated but misleading.

For all the attempts by Democrats and the antiwar movement to discredit Petraeus, he won the congressional confrontation hands down. He demonstrated enough military progress from his new counterinsurgency strategy to conclude: “I believe we have a realistic chance of achieving our objectives in Iraq.”

The American people are not antiwar. They are anti-losing. Which means they are also anti-drift. Adrift is where we were during most of 2006 — the annus horribilis initiated by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s bringing down the Golden Mosque in Samarra — until the new counterinsurgency strategy of 2007 (the “surge”) reversed the trajectory of the war.

It was being lost both in Iraq and at home. On the home front, Petraeus deftly deflated the rush to withdrawal that appeared poised to acquire irresistible momentum this summer. First, by demonstrating real and irrefutable territorial gains on the ground. And second, by proposing minor immediate withdrawals to be followed by fully liquidating the “surge” by next summer. Those withdrawals should be enough to hold the wobbly Republican senators. And perhaps even more important, the Pentagon brass.

The service chiefs no longer fight wars. That’s now left to theater commanders such as Petraeus. The chiefs’ job is to raise armies — to recruit, train, equip and manage. Petraeus’s job is to use their armies to win wars. The chiefs are quite reasonably concerned about the enormous strain put on their worldwide forces by the tempo of operations in Iraq. Petraeus’s withdrawal recommendations have prevented a revolt of the generals.

Petraeus’s achievement is no sleight of hand. If he had not produced real demonstrable progress on the ground — reported by many independent observers, including liberal Democrats, even before he came back home (i.e., the U.S.) — his appearance before Congress would have swayed no one.

His testimony, steady, and forthright, bought him the time to achieve his “realistic chance” of success. Not the unified democratic Iraq we had hoped for the day Saddam’s statue came down, but a radically decentralized Iraq with enough regional autonomy and self-sufficiency to produce a tolerable stalemated coexistence between contending forces.

That’s for the longer term and still quite problematic. In the shorter term, however, there is a realistic chance of achieving a separate success that, within the context of Iraq, is of a second order but in the global context is of the highest order — the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Having poisoned one country and been expelled from it (Afghanistan), al Qaeda seized upon post-Saddam instability to establish itself in the very heart of the Arab Middle East — Sunni Iraq. Yet now, in front of all the world, Iraq’s Sunnis are, to use the biblical phrase, vomiting out al Qaeda. This is a defeat and humiliation in the extreme — an Arab Muslim population rejecting al Qaeda so violently that it allies itself in battle with the infidel, the foreigner, the occupier.

Just carrying this battle to its successful conclusion — independent of its larger effect of helping stabilize Iraq — is justification enough for the surge. The turning of Sunni Iraq against al Qaeda is a signal event in the war on terror. Petraeus’s plan is to be allowed to see it through.
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:59 AM   #149
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Originally posted by AEON


The best question of the night. And I admit - other than resources, and I can't think of a good reason. (with the exception of China - which is showing progress)
I'm guessing you didn't notice the sarcasm when I asked that.

But I forgot some countries. What about Cuba and Venezuela. And how can I forget Iran??

So here is the list of countries we should bomb:

-Pakistan
-North Korea
-Iran
-Cuba
-Venezuela
-China...but you say they are making progress so bombing them is not necessary. Why do you think they are making progress? Just because they have a booming economy and are our biggest trading partner doesn't mean they are making progress on the democracy front.
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Old 09-14-2007, 10:10 AM   #150
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What about Saudi Arabia? Here is a quote from wikipedia:

"The Basic Law of Government adopted in 1992 declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the sons and grandsons of the first king, Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. It also claims that the Qur'an is the constitution of the country, which is governed on the basis of Islamic law (Sharia)"

And weren't most of the 9/11 hijackers Saudi?

So we have to invade them too! I know it sounds silly right? Saudi Arabia are our friends so how can we invade them? But that is exactly the reason we should, because they are our friends and they need our "help" in installing a democracy.

EDIT: And I also forgot Sudan.

Okay AEON, here is our list of countries to invade:

-Pakistan
-North Korea
-Iran
-Cuba
-Venezuela
-Saudi Arabia
-Sudan
-China?

How great would it be if we lent a helping hand to all of these nations by destroying them and rebuilding them?

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Old 09-14-2007, 10:10 AM   #151
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Krauthammer is doing exactly what he's paid to do. tow the line, and keep us distracted -- the problem in Iraq is Al-Qaeda! -- from what's the central issue here: a civil war that will likely spread throughout the middle east.

you'll notice that we've really, really, really lowered the goalposts, and Krauthammer's attempts at triumphalism -- Petraeus answered questions! -- is pathetically weak. we're trying to salvage what we can, as he even admits, and he's doing as much as he can to shift blame for this debacle on Democrats, even though this has been a Republican war from start to finish.

and Krauthammer doesn't even bother with the central question: has "the surge" achieved it's stated goals, which is to bring about political change through creating more stability.

the answer is NO.

by any standard, the surge, and Petraeus, have failed.
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Old 09-14-2007, 10:58 AM   #152
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Originally posted by Irvine511


by any standard, the surge, and Petraeus, have failed.
C'mon - even Democrats agree the Surge has worked militarily, even in some small degree. They seem to be arguing that this has not translated into political gains.
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:03 AM   #153
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Where is the passion to bring our troops home from Kosovo? Where is the outrage? Where are the parades? We have been there since 1999.
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:14 AM   #154
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Originally posted by AEON


C'mon - even Democrats agree the Surge has worked militarily, even in some small degree. They seem to be arguing that this has not translated into political gains.

NO! this is the big misconception.

Bush stated, in January, that the goal of the surge was to bring about POLITICAL change through increased stability.

there hasn't been any political change, in fact, it's gotten worse over 2007.

there's no discussion or argument about it.
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:15 AM   #155
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Originally posted by AEON
Where is the passion to bring our troops home from Kosovo? Where is the outrage? Where are the parades? We have been there since 1999.


are 120 American kids dying a month in Kosovo?
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:22 AM   #156
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Originally posted by Irvine511




are 120 American kids dying a month in Kosovo?
So, if less American were dying a month you would support the Iraq war?
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:22 AM   #157
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Having spent some time this week with two independent unembedded journalists recently home from Iraq, getting the kind of first person information that makes me want to cover my ears and eyes and curl up in the fetal postion and never hear anything about it again, the notion that the surge is working would be completely laughable were it not so utterly tragic.
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:24 AM   #158
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Originally posted by Irvine511



NO! this is the big misconception.

Bush stated, in January, that the goal of the surge was to bring about POLITICAL change through increased stability.

there hasn't been any political change, in fact, it's gotten worse over 2007.

there's no discussion or argument about it.
I seem to recall that the goal was security first, then political stability would follow. You have to allow some time for the gains in security to translate into political success.
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:25 AM   #159
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Originally posted by joyfulgirl
two independent unembedded journalists .
Would love to see some background here
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:27 AM   #160
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So, if less American were dying a month you would support the Iraq war?


this is getting frustrating.

Americans are dying because there's a civil war over there. when we toppled Saddam -- because he was just such a threat and a menace -- we unleashed hundreds of years of ethnic hatred. it has nothing to do with X amount of soldiers dying, it has everything to do with the fact that we shouldn't be there in the first place, and even if we are there, there's no measurable goal or endpoint or vision of what "victory" looks like. and the Bushies know this too -- notice Bush says the word "victory" about as often these days as he says "Osama Bin Laden."
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