Bush to Planet: Bleep Off

The Guardian reports:

A defiant George Bush today said he and Tony Blair agreed that “victory” in Iraq was important just one day after the Iraq Study Group delivered a withering critique of current policy.

In a joint press conference in Washington, Mr Bush said the recommendations from the Iraq Study Group (ISG) were “worthy of serious recommendation”, but the president sent out a clear signal to his critics that he was still seeking victory.

Which means he’s not even trying to consider the ISG report. Addressing Walter Shapiro’s question — “Will Bush listen to reason?” — the answer appears to be no.

Shapiro writes,

A day after Robert Gates — who left the panel after he was nominated to replace Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon — admitted we were not winning the war, the Iraq Study Group upped the ante by beginning its report with this soon-to-be-famous appraisal, “The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating.” But the 10-member bipartisan committee also went out of its way to congratulate its own even-handed fair-mindedness, even as former Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan Simpson railed against what he called “the 100-percenters” — ideological warriors whom he described as people who are “not seekers, they’re seethers.” In an earthy counterpart to the high-minded tenor of the proceedings, Simpson also claimed that these zealots of the left and right “have gas, ulcers, heart-burn and B.O.”

Sounds like a trip to the drugstore is in order. Get the dirty hippies some antacid and deodorant!

The significance of the Iraq Study Group has little to do with its actual recommendations, which Baker admitted were not a “magic formula that will solve the problems of Iraq.” Rather its importance rests entirely with the luster of the former officials on the commission, including two secretaries of state (Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger), a secretary of defense (William Perry), an attorney general (Ed Meese) and its only woman, retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Baker jokingly described them as “a group of has-beens” — but the reality is this is about as blue-ribbon an assemblage as you get in contemporary America aside, perhaps, from the front row at a state funeral.

But it may not be enough to convince Bush to accept the abject failure of his Iraqi adventure — a message the president has not heeded when it was delivered by press reports, retired generals, think-tank studies, opinion polls and the results of the 2006 congressional elections.

Indeed, it appears the blue-ribbon assemblage was so intent on being bipartisan and reasonable and odor-free that it delivered a tub of tasteless, odorless mush. Fred Kaplan writes,

The report of the Iraq Study Group—which Baker co-chaired with Lee Hamilton, that other Wise Man-wannabe—was doomed to fall short of expectations. But who knew it would amount to such an amorphous, equivocal grab bag.

Its outline of a new “diplomatic offensive” is so disjointed that even a willing president would be left puzzled by what precisely to do, and George W. Bush seems far from willing.

Its scheme for a new military strategy contains so many loopholes that a president could cite its language to justify doing anything (or nothing).

And when you’re dealing with an obstinate blockhead who sees only what he wants to see and does only what he wants to do, the last thing you want to give him are loopholes. This was not the time to be reasonable. This was the time to be very, very clear.

John Dickerson says the message Bush needs to hear is in the report — point 1 is “cut the crap” — but you know Bush isn’t getting that message if he’s still flapping around about “victory.”

David Corn writes that the report “was akin to a no-confidence vote in Bush from leading members of the Republican elite.”

But neither Baker, his fellow commissioners, nor the report confront the implications of this charge: whether Bush is capable of absorbing the proposals of the Iraq Study Group or any ideas beyond a stay-the-course strategy. … They note that Iraq is a broken society, riven with sectarian conflict, and that the Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds have reached a violent standoff. In such circumstances, where – and how – can US military power be applied to good end? The commissioners fixate on the training of Iraqi forces, a failed enterprise to date. But they do not advocate withdrawing combat forces until early 2008 and then only “subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground”. What’s the mission for the combat troops until then? Who’s the enemy? Who are they fighting? The commission offers no insight on this crucial front.

The commissioners also do not grapple with the tough matter of when it might become no longer morally defensible to ask an American soldier to die for Bush’s project in Iraq (if that point hasn’t already been reached). At the press conference, Hamilton said, “We believe that the situation in Iraq today is very, very serious. We do not know if it can be turned around. But we think we have an obligation to try.”

The report is imbued with this one-last-chance tone. But who decides when that chance is gone – if it remains? Over the past three years, pundits, politicians and experts have at various times declared that the Bush administration possessed one final opportunity and that the next few months would be crucial. Yet Iraq has not turned around; it only becomes a more hellish place and presents a more vexing dilemma. Baker’s Iraq Study Group, which will now disband, is not willing to say Iraq is lost. But it tells us – between the lines – that the man in charge has created a problem for which there may be no answer. It is hard to imagine Bush adopting the group’s main proposals, since he has previously dismissed them (including withdrawing troops to pressure the Iraqi government and talking to the Iranians and Syrians about Iraq). So it is hard to fathom this report making a last-chance difference, whether or not the recommendations have any merit. It’s far easier to imagine the need for another Iraq Study Group six months down the line.

The only Iraq Study Group that will matter is the one that takes the keys to the war machine out of Bush’s hands and says, enough. It’s over.

Be sure not to miss Jonathan Steele’s analysis of the ISG report. I don’t agree with Steele entirely, but he’s worth listening to.

The first purpose of the commission, Steele says, was to “provide an alibi for the president ahead of last month’s congressional elections.” That didn’t work.

The second purpose was “to co-opt the Democrats behind Bush’s war.” That probably was a purpose, although one might argue most of ’em were already pretty well co-opted. Steele explains,

Now the plan is to get the Democrats locked into agreeing with the main thrust of Bush’s Iraq policy over the next two years, with the aim of preventing it from provoking a major divide during the 2008 campaign for the White House.

The problem with this is that if, in 2008, U.S. troops are still dying in Iraq, then it’s going to provoke a “major divide” somehow or another. The only way to get it not to provoke something is if it goes away, which is not likely if we stick to Bush’s Iraq policy. But here’s the most interesting part:

The third purpose in appointing Baker’s panel is the most extraordinary.

The country’s political elite wants to ignore the American people’s doubts, and build a new consensus behind a strategy of staying in Iraq on an open-ended basis with no exit in sight. “Success depends on unity of the American people at a time of political polarisation … Foreign policy is doomed to failure – as is any action in Iraq – if not supported by broad, sustained consensus,” say Baker and his Democratic co-chair, Lee Hamilton, in their introduction. In other words, if things go wrong, it will be the American people’s fault for not trusting in the wisdom of their leaders.

The Baker panel recognises, as does Bush, that the central plank in US policy in Iraq over the next two years has to be a dramatic reduction in US casualties. At the present rate, it will only be a few days until more Americans will have died in Iraq than in the attacks of 9/11. Adding the US death toll in Afghanistan that point has already been reached.

Bush’s war on terror has killed more Americans than Osama Bin Laden’s terror.

What Baker proposes is essentially a continuation of what Bush is already doing – trying to reduce US deaths by moving troops out of the front line while avoiding any commitment to a full US withdrawal.

This bears watching.

Spencer Ackerman
comes closest to the truth, IMO —

Given the specific lineup of the 10 wise men and women serving on the Iraq Study Group, the most conspicuous absence is that of supermodel Heidi Klum. Sure, she has no relevant experience in foreign policy, nor any real knowledge of Iraq — but neither do commissioners Sandra Day O’Connor, Vernon Jordan, Alan Simpson, or Edwin Meese. What Klum does have to offer is a lesson completely lost on the commission, one taught each week on her hit reality show Project Runway: you’re either in, or you’re out. When it comes to Iraq, it’s good advice.

From the commission’s perspective, however, such advice would represent a dangerous breakdown of Washington’s most enlightened foreign-policy tradition — that is to say, bipartisanship.

Yes, we must be tasteful and soothing. And odor-free.

The Iraq Study Group, led by George H.W. Bush’s secretary of state, James Baker, and 9-11 Commission co-chairman Lee Hamilton, made a point from the outset of its work to rule out the outer boundaries of the Iraq debate. Its report refuses to bless the idea of sending new combat forces to Baghdad, the favored solution of hawks like Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman; and it also blanches at what Baker called “precipitous withdrawal,” the position held by many in the Democratic Party, the country as a whole, Iraq, and the world. A safe consensus is what the commission is out for, as reflected by the name for their strategy: “responsible transition.” That’s something that anyone could embrace. (Except, well, George W. Bush.)

I can just see them wind up the day’s august discussions, then retiring to the den for brandy.

The Iraq Study Group congratulates itself for being fair and responsible, all the while smelling of vanilla, with just a hint of lilacs and citrus. And, I predict, all of their work will be for naught. Because nothing will change until someone with some power raises a stink.

33 thoughts on “Bush to Planet: Bleep Off

  1. As others have noted, 43’s presidency is and always has been an Oedipus-scented rebellion against 41. Given that, the only way to get 43 to leave Iraq was if 41’s friend James Baker recommended that he stay, and the only way to get 43 to start diplomatic efforts was if Baker Hamilton had recommended against them. Unfortunately, you can’t really do that kind of reverse psychology out in public.

  2. Because nothing will change until someone with some power raises a stink.

    And who would that be? W has managed to fail his way all the way to the top. There isn’t anyone greater except God. I can only see two or three scenarios:

    1) Congress cuts off funds.

    2) We impeach (a long shot).

    3) We suffer a huge, catastrophic loss – either domestically, such as losing a city, or abroad. Something that unmistakeably, unambiguously says “we lost”.

    Bush has spent a cushy lifetime perfecting the art of denying reality. It’s going to take a lot for him to hit bottom and finally face what has happened. It may never happen.

  3. With so much commentary on the Iraq situation, I thought you’d be interested to know where the public stands. Generally speaking, the public consistently favors diplomacy over force in foreign affairs. According to our Foreign Policy Index, 61% of Americans favor more emphasis on diplomatic and economic methods when it comes to fighting terrorism. Contact me for more or go to http://www.publicagenda.org/issues/major_proposals_detail.cfm?issue_type=americas_global_role&list=2 for more information.

  4. I like the description “obstinate blockhead.” But, still, it doesn’t even cover this soulless man who became President because of way too many “obstinate blockheads”.

  5. Study commissions as war by other means: Iraq Study Group comes up with a new definition of lying — a lie is just a falsehood presented in a way that “minimizes its discrepancy” with the truth. Ostensibly offered as a criticism of the Bush administration, it’s actually a pretty useful concept in analyzing the report itself. ISG Report “minimizes its discrepancy” with reality. The public has had it with the war, but the Washington elites are still trying to salvage something from the mess. That’s the discrepancy the report is really trying to minimize with its political euphemisms.

  6. Madison Guy, you said it so well.
    What are the Washington political elites saying about the Iraq Study Group report? Any statements yet from senators or representatives?

  7. I don’t know what the Washington political elites are saying about the ISG, but then I have very little faith in them. The one exception is Russ Feingold, who Glenn Greenwald reported on today (“What Rational Person Would Listen to People Like James Baker”).


    “The fact is this commission was composed apparently entirely of people who did not have the judgment to oppose this Iraq war in the first place, and did not have the judgment to realize it was not a wise move in the fight against terrorism. So that’s who is doing this report.

    “Then I looked at the list of who testified before them. There is virtually no one who opposed the war in the first place. Virtually no one who has been really calling for a different strategy that goes for a global approach to the war on terrorism. . . .

    “This report does not do the job and it’s because it was not composed of a real representative group of Americans who believe what the American people showed in the election, which is that it’s time for us to have a timetable to bring the troops out of Iraq.”

    Thank God for Russ Feingold.

  8. Barbara Bush said that nobody ever said no to George when he was a child because if someone did, life in the Bush household would become a living hell. (By the way, there was a certain pride in her voice when she said it.)

    So now the fate of America lies in the hands of one man, a small, insecure, frightened man who talks to his god, has a cruelty streak a mile wide and a mile deep and is given to tantrums. Wonderful.

  9. This is Bush’s last chance. If he continues to hold on to beliefs that the ISG has clearly refuted, even his own party’s last holdouts will have to admit he’s in denial.

  10. Bush’s motives?
    He doesn’t want his legacy to be a failed war.
    He and Blair are counting on “democracy” worldwide to be what they are remembered for.
    After he leaves office, he can say #44 screwed up. They cut and ran.
    Satisfying other interests, he doesn’t want anyone else to control the Iraqi oil. Keeping U.S. footprint in Iraq helps.
    He wants Haliburton, et al, to have another bite of the apple.
    Hey, and a great legacy is: The biggest embassy in the world will be in Baghdad.
    Bush’s goals are grandiose. Look at the $500 billion library he wants to build.

  11. I would like to get out of Iraq as quick as the next person, but I have begun to make peace with the fact that there is no way—none, zero–that this will happen. Not just cuz Bush wouldn’t allow it, but I don’t honestly believe that the 2/3 of the populace that hate this war want to up and scram either. So I’m more of a mind to let Bush save face, declare victory, and be allowed to grab the lifeline he’s been given, with aggressive pushing by Congress to make withdrawal happen faster than it otherwise would.
    Problem is, I don’t think he wants to grab it. I think he still thinks he can walk back to shore himself…on water.

  12. I guess I’m in the minority because I’d still like to see us win this thing and not be known as the country that lost another war. I have fantasies of the president going on national tv and saying “If you want to see us win this war, then sign up.” then I think the government should raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for it and if there isn’t enough money to pay for it that way, then I think we should have war bonds like in WWII. If the president isn’t willing to do any of that, then we should get out. All or nothing. None of these half-ass measures that get us nowhere.

  13. Whoa, they put Larry Eagleburger and Ed Meese on the committee?
    I guess the two curmudgeons from the Muppet Show were unavailable!
    One would at least thoughtTyra Banks and Henry the K would have been involved.Oh, yeah, they should have included Simon the rude obnoxious brit from American Idol.

  14. …”moving troops out of the front line…”

    When are these stupid motherfuckers gonna learn that in a war like they’ve got going on in Iraq (as in Vietnam, long ago):


    The “front lines” are wherever the Americans happen to be at the moment…Whether that be schlepping single-file down some alley in Baghdad or sacked out on your cot in the Green Zone…

    The “insurgents” are looking to hit Americans, any time and any place…And just as hard as they can…

    Has anyone noticed that we take an awful lot of casualties from IED’s (roadside bombs)???

    Do any of these D.C. Dickheads have any idea WHY those troopers are out there driving trucks and riding shotgun on them?

    f you’ve got troops in the goddam place, you’ve got to feed them (even if Halliburton is doing the cooking)…The troops have to be provided with water, medicines, ammunition, etc…All the zillion things it takes to keep an army in the field…Only way to do that is by truck…(There ain’t enough helicopters to do it)…And every convoy is a (slowly) moving target…

    We’ve got a war brought on by Chickenhawks being critiqued and “strategery-ized” by an earlier generation of Chickenhawks…

    Let the D.C. Glitteratti carry on with their bipartisan bullshit…Move the seat of governemnt to Kansas (or somewhere) and leave those dumb bastards inside the beltway…It’d be weeks before they’d notice the rest of us have left…

  15. I haven’t heard anything about the permanent American military bases in Iraq. What’s to become of them? Seems to me that the bases represent a contradiction of sincerity and intent toward the stated goals of all who have joined in on the consensus.

    Two recommendations that I would make would be..1) State unequivocally that the United States has no intentions to create a permanent military presence in Iraq. 2) Replace Bush’s press secretary with someone who hasn’t polluted their credibility by trying to defend Bush’s lies and slogans. That position is the public face of the Bush administration, and to me it’s a major source of alienation to have someone as spokesman who continues to frustrate and insult any attempts to seek an honest and straightforward answer. People generally resent condescension and blatant bullshitting.

  16. Marvel, you are so right. I’m just a dumb old boy and I realize what’s happening….
    But the big guys in Washington need a “study group”.
    This is what happens when politics becomes a popularity contest, idiots elected by the uninformed and willfully ignorant.

  17. Swami – to comment on # 16 (which is right-on)I was listening to Tony Snow last night on CNN and he said something about the US being “the greatest empi (then caught himself before he finished the word ’empire’) country in the world”. It was incredible, but like Janet Jackson flashing a tit on the Superbowl; if you weren’t watching close, it was gone. But I swear by any Creator you want me to invoke – it happened.

    We aren’t going to see anything but cherry-picking of the commission recommendations. And we will never know if victory was possible under a formula which involved the regional powers and addressed wider issues (such as the Palistinian question) Bush would have to abandon the plan of an EMPIRE where the US has heavy regional influence (control) in the middle east, via the ‘big stick’ of mega bases. Because the Islamic masses will NOT – allow the US to occupy and dominate there.

    Irrelevent. That’s not the committee recomendations, which were IMHO sweeping. The debate about the quality of the conclusions is irrelevent if King George won’t sign on. And he won’t.

  18. It would be hard to read W’s signals about the ISG report as anything other than a rude finger gesture. Perhaps, given his oedipal issues, being able to publicly blow off the attempt by Daddy’s friends at staging an intervention is a big thrill. Today he was back out on the street with his drug-buddy Tony, huffing “victory” again, and reminding everyone that he’s got reports lined up for weeks, so big deal. He’ll do what he wants, when he wants.

    He is, after all, the Decider.

    The clean, nice-smelling Wise Men in charge of the intervention forgot that they needed to have a way to force him into treatment, if he wouldn’t go willingly. He isn’t.

  19. I’m still mad at the media and the way they’ve played 6 six years. Today ot took a British reporter to ask the question- Why does it take this to face reality? Yesterday I listened to npr and for the first time in 3 years and 9 months they discussed how the military’s equipment is being destroyed and how the entire army marines and guard will need new vehicles of every kind. I was commenting on this over 2 years ago and have several times since- that the us doesn’t realize that there are tank brigades with no tanks here in the US as all equipment is over there and being destroyed and scrapped. The media has sat on their incompetent butts and not mentioned anything for years and only now after the midterms can they pipe up?? It is worse than whoreish- the media give hos a bad name. We need a new vocabulary for the syncophantic clubs

  20. It’s a shame that Pelosi went ahead and announced that the Dem’s wouldn’t cut off funding for the Iraqi war. Big mistake..she should have left it that all options are on the table. Now Bush knows he’s got Congress held hostage to provide the money for his misguided adventure in the middle east.

    Run,run,run..as fast as you can..you can’t catch me, said the gingerbread man.

  21. Ok, so let me see if I have all this straight.Bush bleeped up an un-nessary war and now he is looking for someone,anyone else to (a.) blame or (b.) fix his big ass mess….My first question is did we pay for the the ISG report or was it free?.If it cost taxpayers one God Damn dime I want a bleeping refund NOW.The only thing useful I have heard SO FAR from this report is that little georgie should be talking to Iran and Syria, which seems like a no brainer to me but I understand when dealing with an idiot sometimes you gotta draw them a picture.As I heard James Baker say last night even during the cold war we managed to talk to people who wanted to kill us…he seemed to be asking “So what is up georgies ass that he thinks we can’t talk to our enemy now”or maybe “pull your head out of your ass george and pick up the phone,,,can ya hear me now?”…Later I saw stephen hadley on tv and he was asked would king george listen and talk to Iran and Syria and the bottom line was no.

    Flash back to interviews I saw on tv with members of the panel and baker himself laying out the reasons why he believed Iran and Syria would listen and it was almost safe to pay attention to a republican again(gasp!)….reason and republican on the same tv screen???I had to pinch myself to be sure I was awake.He pointed out as far as Iran goes the nuke issue should be left to the U.N to deal with and that they have a stake in a peaceful Iraq(who besides bush is a stable mid east not good for?) and he also pointed out that after 911 both Iran and Syria were ready to set aside differences and step up so baker himself said he knew they could and would again.I myself wonder if things haven’t gone too far since then but Baker must know something I do not.IF Iran and Syria can be dealt with thru diplomatic channels and IF that would ease the situation in Iraq , then why are we here but for the fact bush and his nutty little brain must be intending to make war with at least one of them?As baker pointed out neither country wants the influx of refugees that a even worse situation in Iraq is sure to bring, and as we all know people here are getting a bit pissy about the situation…So why didn’t bush go for the fix with Iran and Syria before?Because you can’t shake their hands one day and bomb them the next?

    The excuse for why we cannot talk to Syria, because”they know what they need to do” meaning control their borders, is a major bleeping joke coming from a country who cannot control their own borders to the tune of some 11 million people and none of it is an excuse for one troop death.Then we have king george who today will admit things are not good, but that is only because things are not happening as fast as he wanted them to(can we the people see about having this man committed he his plum ass crazy?)

    And then we have Hannity(omg how do I get trapped in a car with him???)He wants us all to know we are all a bunch of obstructionists and we are under-minding the presidents authority,even that damn report which is all wrong and thinking like that will be the death of us all(even, he pointed out Mexican Americans,,,WTF????)The terrorists want to kill us all, he said,and
    under-minding the president’s policy was going to make their goals easier….he was in such a tizzy I assume he was broadcasting from under his desk wearing a flak jacket,in such a panic I wondered if I should pack up and flee the country for my life(snark) , how does he make it thru a show using only one depend?

    Marijam, no one likes their country to be a loser, but we should of thought of that BEFORE we let bush start a war of choice based on WMD and the bogeymen in the closet lies.The time to stop it was before we let our troops go…their mission is suppose to be to protect the constitution and we the people allowed them to be used as bush’s pawns in a war of conquest, because lets face it the only danger to our constitution is from those in the white house, not some two bit thug in Iraq.Part of winning in life is being man enough to stand up and tell the world you were wrong and that you understand the suffering your stupidity has caused with some sorrow and shame, then try to make amends, thats what our leader should be doing if our country has any hope of winning anything in this mess….BTW what is winning?Don’t get me wrong I am all for winning,although it is sad and hard to see the needless deaths of others that we caused in terms of winning and losing but what would winning be???And can there be victory in an unjust war?I wish someone, perhaps the president(?) should have defined our goals…but then the goal of puppet democracy might have been a rough sell?WE gave our troops, Iraqis gave their peace, their land ,lives and OIL and bush and his big business pals make all the profit, how do we win from that?If anyone can tell me what winning or victory would look like I would sure be for it.

  22. Swami – I disagree with you about cutting off funds to Iraq as a solution. The neocons would make every GI fatality the fault of the Dem Congress. Hold something ELSE hostage – shut down the domestic federal government entirely – unless the Prez agrees to a hard timetable for withdrawl. Don’t let it be said that a GI died because liberals cut off funds. Just my 2 cents.

  23. Geography – On any browser type in “Iraq map” and click on Mapquest or whoever. The map shows who shares borders with Iraq. Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran.

    Suppose all these countries agreed that chaos in Iraq is not in their mutual interests. It’s not; the conflict between Sunis and Shiites will not respect national boundaries. Suppose all 2 neighbors agreed that Iraq should control their wealth and internal politics. The group will gang up on anyone who tries to invade or control Iraq. There is potentially a more significant advantage. maybe.

    Keep in mind that religious identity in that part of the world is – everything. The best way to put out out a religious war; which is the basis of the civil war there, is with religous moderation. No government can provide that, but the Moslem leaders throught the region MIGHT be persuaded to call for reductions of violence, leading to a cease fire. There is one carrot we can dangle; we promise we will leave Iraq – every last GI. Moslem leaders will NOT sanction any policy that continues the occupation by infidels.

    Granted this is a long shot, but it could result in the extraction of troops from that quagmire and STILL result in a stable, possibly democratic Iraq.

  24. Doug, Even if Congress was to cut off the funding, Bush still has the power to appropriate whatever money he needs so as to not leave the army in the lurch. The military won’t suffer or be put in any jeopardy, except they might have to be a bit more frugal with their indescriminate bombing campaigns or their carte blanche policy for contractors. I hear that there are 100,000 contractors slopping at the trough in Iraq, which I’m sure is eating up a big portion of that 8 billion a month debt we are accumulatling.
    The strategy of cutting off funding would be to make the administration account for how the money is being spent..as it stands now, Congress is clueless to how their multi-billion dollar supplements are being dispersed. Playing games with the money was part of Bush’s strategy from day one..and it has to be stopped cold to bring him to bay.

  25. Doug, I’m impressed with your comment. It’s very rare to have Geography inserted into discussion of the war in Iraq, religion,yes but almost never geography(or nationalism). So if you read this, take a moment to chaeck out the map, see which countries share a border with Iraq. They are Saudi Arabia- big oil producer, home to Islam’s holiest cities, with a corrupt government on the verge of revolution.
    Jordan- home to a large refugee population, the royal family would be history but for the support of the U.S.
    Syria-Baathist Govt, declared part of the Axis of evil, essential to peace in the region, home to a large refugee population from Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq.
    Iran- roughly five times the size of Iraq, refered to as evil by the Bush admin, largest Shia population, huge oil reserves, huge coastline on the Persian gulf, owns many missiles, large standing army, actually has an air force.
    Kuwail- the ONLY supply route for U.S. military operations via the Persian Gulf
    Turkey-Borders Iraqi Kurdestan. Turkey has a big problem with a Kurdish insurgency that is trying to form a Kurdish nation out of areas in Turkey, Iran, Iraq,and parts of the Caucasus.Turkey sits astride Europe and Asia in many ways, religious, cultural, and politically.
    The area is a tinderbox, and we are ruled by a boy with a box of matches…….

  26. Well, I ALMOST beat Justme for the length of my comment…
    Only kidding Justme, I enjoy your lengthy exercises.

  27. Hold something ELSE hostage – shut down the domestic federal government entirely – unless the Prez agrees to a hard timetable for withdrawl…

    hey now, let’s just settle down a bit there…

    One thing to keep in mind when the discussion turns to immediately pulling the troops out is that, while that is a popular sentiment in progressive circles and all the rage in lefty blogtopia (y!sctp), it isn’t a winner in public opinion polls. Stuart Anderson’s observations aside about the country as a whole supporting “precipitous withdrawal”, no poll that I’ ve been able to find in the last hour of whipping various search engines to a frenzy has shown anything approaching a majority of Americans supporting immediately removing the troops (doesn’t mean none’s out there, but I haven’t found it yet). A date-certain timetable for withdrawal, on the other hand, has strong majority support in virtually every poll I’ve found…

  28. The fact is that the ISG report has so many conditional hurtles to overcome that it’s nothing more than a subterfuge. The whole process has become is the peddling of false hope through theoretical possibilities in a perfect environment, and providing Bush cover for his failure. I’m reminded of the song the Gambler by Kenny Rodgers..”You gotta know when to fold em,you gotta know when to walk away”.. and that time is now! Iraq will be as much a failure in two year as it is today, the only difference will be the costs will be greater. Don’t be fooled by Bush’s little visit to the wood shed with the ISG report. Somebody has to take the bull by the horns and actively stop Bush’s repeated failures, His track record forecasts his potential for success..which is nil. He’s a loser and a Jonah, and he needs to be thrown overboard if America’s ship of state is going to find a safe harbor.

  29. “I’m reminded of the song “the Gambler””
    I’m reminded of the songs “Fool on the Hill” , “Whip it”, “The itsy bitsy spider”, and “Doo Wa Diddy Diddy dumb ditti Do”.

  30. erinyes – your summary description of the countries is correct. IF they formed a regional council with the Iraq government they counterbalennce each other – Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait are willing to do business with the US but I don’t think they want us to dominate the region with military might. Syria and Syria are openly hostile and may share delusions of a greater Persia, but the other countries are not in the slightest bit interested in giving up their political autonomy to feed religious zealots in Tehran. Bottom line – competing interests force a comprimise that is acceptable to me a peaceful, stable Iraq without a permanent US military presence.

  31. swami – I don’t think a single Dem will put GIs at risk. They are not that irresponsible or stupid. If they cut off funds, the neocons will lie through ther frigging teeth that GIs are getting their nuts cut off by OBL because of the vote in Congress. You are living in the real world; you have to think about the illusions – good and bad – that result from Congress acting against the war.

    grumpy – I suggested shutting down the government if Bush won’t sign on to a hard timetable for withdrawl – that’s IF he won’t abandon his grand military adventure which includes the vision of large permanent bases in Iraq which are a centerpice of the American empire.

    Much as I detest the man personally, I would allow Bush a great deal of lattiude to bring peace and stability to the region through through diplomatic initiatives which bring ALL the regional powers together & guarantee our total departure. He can have all the credit and glory. (There’s not enough crack cocaine in Florida to make me believe he can bring himself to try.)

    He’s gonna cherry-pick and try to create the illusion of a new plan, while perpetuating the occupation.And the occupation will be a perpetual lightning rod for strikes against the US worldwide, and validate the global conclusion that the invasion was a grab for oil.

    Personally, I think Bush is praying for a domestic terror attack on a grand scale, because it’s the only thing that will save him. If OBL won’t provide it, is he low enough to stage it?

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