December 18, 2006

What's victory in Iraq?

Bush says he won't change course until we "win" in Iraq. He says he won't settle for anything less than "victory", and recently said that he would ignore any plan which he felt would result in our leaving Iraq before "the job is done."

So I ask, just what IS our job in Iraq?

What would constitute "victory", and how exactly will we know when we've "won", this unwinnable mess?

I've posed this question to some of our conservative readers and they act like they suddenly are hard of hearing, ignoring it completely.

Anyone have any answers?

Or, as I suspect, is "victory" or "winning" a fantasy enjoyed by only Bush and his dog,(who's probably just going along for some kibbels) and no one, not even Bush, knows what our supposed "job" is there. I only know that the rationale for the trillions of dollars squandered and hundreds of thousands of dead bodies has changed about two dozen times so far and will likely change dozens of times again as Bush tries to adjust them lower in an attempt to define whatever horrible and undesirable result in Iraq as "success".

After all, with these guys, what you get is words, not thought or competence. It's more an ad agency/PR effort than leadership. They play us all for idiots and think that as long as they say something, we'll swallow it and that makes it so. As long as a lot of people were scared little bunnies, it worked. The gulf between reality and what comes out of Bush and his cronie's mouths has always been miles apart, but now they're not even in the same time zone, and the number of people quaking in their boots is dwindling down to the few dead-enders who still cling to the illusion of Bush as a competent or even qualified leader.

At this point, Bush doesn't need grown ups from his Dad's administration to bail him out, he needs an intervention to snap him into reality.

So... just how will we know when we've achived "victory" and can go home? Or is even the concept of "winning" delusional due to the fact that the entire idea of invading Iraq was fatally flawed and reckless to begin with?


At 12/18/2006 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I am sure you are comfortable with persuing teh losing option, I don't think many people are. The simple fact is that losing is for losers!

At 12/18/2006 1:40 PM, Anonymous yinn said...

No, I don't think an intervention would work, either. How about involuntary commitment? I guess we gotta see if Gates has anything up his sleeve.

At 12/18/2006 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhnn, does _that_ dildo (caller number 1) have any idea what he actually posted?

"The losing option"?

The point of the blog janitor's essay is that we - none of us, including the twit currently-occupying the White House - has any idea of what "winning" is.

At 12/18/2006 6:13 PM, Blogger Benton Harbor said...

Dope, I'm guessing that Bush thought, based on erroneous information from Iraqi dissidents, that everyone would pretty much like to see Saddam gone and a government made up of people across the political spectrum voted into office in some sort of democracy similar to ours. But I doubt if he or his advisors even contimplated how factious the tribes were or how difficult this might be.

Having said that, history teaches us that the tribes have been at each others' throats for hundreds of years (example: the Iran-Iraq war... Shiite [Iran] against Sunni [Iraq]). History should have also told Bush's people that it's also an Islam vs. the West "battle" that's been going on since the 40's.

In light of what has happened since Saddam was taken out of control, I think having the secular fighting quelled would constitute "victory."

How would that be accomplished? Having the Iraqi military and police actually become trained, viable, and stable. From there, we could pull out most, if not all of our troops and it would be up to the Iraqi government to deal with actually governing themselves.

I wouldn't be so harsh on Bush when every President from Truman up to GW have had to wrestle in some way, with Iran and Iraq. If there is ultimate blame to be assigned, it probably should to Alan Dulles, first head of the CIA.

Now, having said all of that, I'm sure there are plenty of holes in what I've said. Have at it.

At 12/18/2006 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The recipe for victory in Iraq is simple. Establish that we are in charge there by killing a great many more people. This may take more troops. It might just take a shift in emphasis from politics to fighting. Try hard to ensure that the dead are enemies bearing arms, but remember that trying too hard to avoid collateral damage will only guarantee futility and frustration. Stop worrying about hearts and minds. As the old saying goes: "when you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow." Get a good grip and hang on.

Make it clear by word and deed that we anticipate remaining in Iraq until the jihad burns out and the oil runs dry and that, in the mean time, there are strict limits on Iraqi sovereignty.

We don't really need much from our leaders right now. They would be capable of dealing with our present situation if only they could recognize a war when they see one, distinguish enemies from friends and understand that you win a war by killing enemies.

This isn't a lot to ask, but it is vastly more than our political class seems capable of delivering.

At 12/19/2006 4:06 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Just a quick answer..

First of all, how in the world could Bush, Cheney, et. al. go so far and be so zealous in their insistance on invading Iraq when they could have EASILY found any number of experts to tell them it was absolute folly and doomed to disaster?

And how could any even marginally competent leader have signed on to a plan where there was NO PLAN whatsoever for what would happen after Sadaam was ousted?

The stupidity and willful ignorance is literally and figuratively criminal.

In business it's called due dilligence. If you're a leader, you're expected to do your homework. These people clearly did not.

If an average schmuck like myself could see that it was a horrible mistake before it even happened, why couldn't THEY? (or for that matter, why couldn't most of the congress?)

The only reason I can conceive of is that the country was literally struck dumb (as in moronic) by 9-11 and would have backed literally anything without question.

There are volumes and volumes of credible books out there documenting the jaw-dropping idiocy in Iraq.

They literally thought they could create a REPUBLICAN wonderland and sent 20 something congressional staffers and frat boys with Republican credentials over to be in charge of setting up the Iraqi stock exchange, interior department and other vital posts. The things they did would make your head turn inside out. It's simply stunning how irresponsible they were, running things more like right wing crusaders and ideologues than anything resembling competent and capable leaders with a practical and knowledgable plan for getting Iraq back together.

From disbanding the army to thinking they could dismiss and ignore regional sheiks who had ruled the area for centuries because they were too "old style" to millions in cash delivered to contractors on pallets, and on and on. It's just stunning.

As to not being too hard on Bush, give me a break!!! The son of a bitch has gotten every break possible and THEN SOME!

The guy is far beyond just having made a few mistakes. The guy is a walking disaster! He's wrong on so many levels that it's impossible to hold them all in mind at once.

You actually suppose to say that Bush's "problem" with Iraq is similar to all previous presidents?? EGADS man! haha. That's preposterous!

No other president was so reckless, so arrogant, and so damn shallow as to think for a moment that we could just march in over there and take the damn country over! It was insane then, was insane when Bush did it, and is insane today and will be for decades to come.

How anyone, even you, could still be giving the guy a break is beyond me. I mean, just IMAGINE what would be happening if Clinton had made such a perfect disaster and continued to stubbornly compound the damage for years? What if CLINTON had done what Bush had done? Would you be advising people to give him a break?

The ONLY way I could ever give Bush a break, and it's getting close to the point now, is to almost pity the idiot for being so massively incurious and arrogant and uninformed.

The guy is way, Way, WAY out of his league, as could be seen since the moment he announced for president, and he clearly has not clue one as to what to do now other than to stand around, posture, act tough, and wait for Daddy's friends to bail him out, following the pattern of his ENTIRE LIFE.

It's pathetic.

And that's not even touching on the fact that there is no way to possibly achieve what you propose would constitude "victory".

Because what you propose would require abandoning the entire country to factions aligned with Iran and Syria, and obviously, we won't do that, mainly because Saudi Arabia is on the other side, and I suspect they call the shots with Cheney and Bush.

It's a no win situation, and any basic understanding of the currents and factions involved proves it.

At 12/19/2006 4:11 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 21:31

It's your brand of blustering know-nothing reliance on violence that has led us to this point.

Thanks for suggesting that we continue the same failed course, only intensify it and produce even more impressive body counts.

Jesus. What a cave man mentality.

At 12/19/2006 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The unpleasant reality in Iraq is that the price of victory will be both horrifying bloodshed and a commitment to be the dominant power in Iraq for decades to come. To win you must fight, and then you must hold on to your gains. The entire political establishment is desperate to avoid facing this reality.

President Bush is as guilty of confusion here as either the ISG or the softest-headed congressional Democrat. He is, in fact, the principal author of the "cut and run" strategy. From the beginning of the war in Iraq he has said that we will stay there only as long as it takes to "do the job." His undefended (and indefensible) assumption is that if we just set up a decent government in Iraq we can turn tail. The new government will then take over the task of suppressing the bad guys in Iraq which will help us move toward victory in the broader "war on terror."

The truth is that any government we set up in Iraq will be useful to us only so long as we are there to keep it under close supervision. The instant we leave, any government we leave behind will divide up among the various factions and join in a general bloodletting. With the sole exception of the Kurds, each faction has foreign sponsors and those sponsors are our enemies. When the killing finally stops, Iraq, or at least large parts of what used to be Iraq, will be securely under the influence of one or more of our enemies and the effort to win our Arab and Persian War will be crippled.

Iraq will remain in our sphere of influence as long as our troops are the dominant force within its borders and no longer. It is predominantly Arab and overwhelmingly Muslim. It isn't friendly ground. Our conquest of Iraq was a major strategic victory in the Arab and Persian War. Unless we've gone stark raving mad we won't abandon that victory.

At 12/19/2006 6:40 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Boy, anon, you were making sense there until the last two sentences when you suddenly did a 180. Was it a typo when you say that the "conquest of Iraq (is) a major stategic victory in the Arab and Persian War."???

And since when have we been a war against all Arabs and "Persia" (Iran)??

This collossal blunder, for the reasons you've laid out, is anything BUT a victory, strategic or otherwise. As you laid out in the first part of your comment, it's doomed to abject failure and served to ignite and inflame what was already a tense and dangerous situation in the mid-east.

In other words, Bush and his pals have taken a very bad situation and made it even worse, now and far into the future.

At 12/19/2006 7:16 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Just exactly what is a "win" in bush's encyclopedia??

I suspect even he,the author of the entire disater in Iraq, is not really so sure.....

At 12/19/2006 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you don't recognize the enemy, there's not much that can be done for you.

At 12/19/2006 10:17 AM, Anonymous Vince said...

I don't understand why the Dope feels he needs to answer everytime I or someone else makes a point. This is very presumptious of this Dope.

People who are use to winning know what it feels and looks like. Pulling out of Iraq and placing daisys in the barrel of our guns is losing. Winning is winning. When you see it you know it. Maybe you have no histroy of winning, but as someone that does, I can tell you that winning is much better than whinning.

Hope this helps make the important issues easier for you to comprehend!

At 12/19/2006 12:10 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 8:29.

That's a good question, and one which is equally unknown.

Who, exactly, is our "enemy"???

You might believe in any one of the boogy men trotted out by the right in their fear campaign, but are they correct?

Because Shawn Hannity tells you so, does that make it reality?

Or is it a fact that we really don't know who our enemy is, because it's a million different individuals with no real organizing principle or organization?

After all, we've all been convinced we're fighting a war against terrorism, which is nothing but a tactic used by populations which don't have billions to spend on military hardware and are forced by desperation into resorting to such measures as a last means of defense.

So... we're at war with a tactic, and the enemy defies catagorization.

What's your simple minded and likely uninformed idea of exactly who this enemy is? Islamofascists? (that's a good one), Jihadists? (nobody who says that's the enemy can even describe what that is or what it means.)

Is it all Muslims? All Arabs? All funny looking people? Anyone in a turban? What?

What's your particular idea?

At 12/19/2006 12:18 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Actually Vince, you've spent a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.

Your comment is idiotic and pointless.

Winnning is good. Boy. Thanks for that newsflash.

You have no clue what "wining" in Iraq might be, but you're willing to spend trillions and send thousands more bright young people to their deaths.

How very big of you.

By the way, point me to the place you heard anyone suggesting putting daisys in gun barrels is the way to go. Can't begin to make a point without resorting to exagerated BS, can you?

And thanks to you and your pals, yes, I am familiar with winning. I just wish you'd make it a little tougher to do.

As to my being "presumptuous", why would you feel that way? You comment. Others comment. Are all commenters "presumptuous"?

I'm just putting in my thoughts and views. If you don't like them, ignore them.

If you think they're wrong, lay out a decent, fact based argument why.

If you've got absolutely nothing to bring to the table but critisisms of me, then don't bother.

Try actually saying something worthwhile that actually deals with the topic we're trying to discuss.

Give that a try sometime.

At 12/19/2006 1:43 PM, Blogger illinidem said...

Unless it’s pornography, “know it when you see it” is a ridiculous definition of winning. Winning, by any reasonable standard, has actual metrics and goals. Do you win a baseball game when someone gets a feeling? You win when you score more runs. What everyone wants to know, is what is the measure that will tell us we have “won”? Is it an acceptable number of attacks on U.S. troops and Iraqi institutions? Is it a definite number of casualties? What is the measure?

At 12/19/2006 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So who's the enemy there? Take your pick: Saddamite remnants, Iranian theocrats, Syrian Ba'athists, ad hoc insurgents, a Jordanian terrorist commander; states, nonstate actors, Islamic fundamentalists secular dictatorships, wily opportunists. You name it.

How do you deal with an enemy that encompasses everything from the United Nations' favorite dictatorships to freelance nutters? You need methods as diverse as they are. You need to be smart and at times improvisational. You don't do what you want to do: box in the United States and retreat within our borders until they come here.

At 12/20/2006 2:55 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 14:07.

Who now wants to "box in the U.S. and retreat within our borders until they come here."??

Who? I don't recall hearing that here or anywhere else, so by saying "you want", who are you addressing?

Or are you just pulling crap out of your hat?

Otherwise, you're assessment seems rational and reality based to me.


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