The Iraq Surge: Progress Made

So I was out in the car at lunch and dial flipped to General David Petraeus giving his testimony before Congress this morning. The basic gist of what I heard was that the surge is working, we're bringing security to Iraq, and the Iraqis are on the road to being able to defend and secure themselves with minimal help from us. We've managed to stabilize Anbar Province, which 6 months ago was basically a nightmare from hell. More and more Iraqis are fed up with Al Qaeda and have been joining the fight to get rid of them. Petraeus has filed recommendations with his superiors to begin drawing down the surge troops as early as December, expecting to return to pre-surge levels by next July. All in all, very good news coming out of Iraq these days.

But you'd never know it by listening to the democrats. All they want to do is talk about how we've failed. The war is lost. We need to pull out now. Just today during the news break at 11am they had another democrat from California jumping on the "surrender now" bandwagon. I forget his name, but he's on my ever growing list of traitors to this country. Right up there with the lunatic fringe at moveon.org and the "General Betray Us" ad they threw together.

I'd like someone to explain to me why the senate confirmed this guy if they all think he's a lying bastard? Wouldn't you vote to block confirmation if you had such a low opinion of him? Why have him be the one to deliver the report if you've already decided you won't listen to what the man has to say? It couldn't possibly be because he's reporting the truth, which you don't want to hear, right? Or maybe it's because what he has to say won't get you re-elected next year. Yeah. I think that's it. You guys got away with this in Vietnam. We're not going to let you get away with it in Iraq. The longer I listen to this kind of crap go on, in a time of war, when our troops need us the most, the more I'm convinced beyond a shadow of all doubt that to be a democrat is to be evil.
.........................
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

       
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Posted on Sep 10, 2007 12:53 pm by Samson in: , | 47 comment(s) [Closed]
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You guys got away with this in Vietnam.


Do you really think that the Vietnam War was winnable? You make it sound like it's the Dem's fault that we lost. And besides, public opinion back then is incredibly different from today. Here's a simple reason why: people who were your and my ages were actually on the list of people to go to war, unlike today where it's easy for arm-chair generals or just general people all over the country to happily encourage or ignore the war.

       
Since I promised to say something to this tonight...

1. Petraeus says some pretty good stuff. Of course, my immediate response to the thing is "Gee, you mean, putting in more troops like everyone's been saying for years works? Who knew?" But at least we are.

2. Having just watched his testimony...damn he speaks fast. And clearly. It's pretty impressive on a technical note. But I guess it comes with the territory.

3. To the whole Moveon.org/fringe left crowd, and I'm saying this basically as a Democrat on all other issues but this one, please shut the hell up. You're really not helping, and every time you open your mouths you sound like fools. Seriously.

4. I was fairly heartened to read a CNN article (http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/10/petraeus.moveon/index.html) wherein there's at least some level of bipartisan effort to say, in effect, what I just said.

5. That having been said, as somebody who more or less votes Democrat, I'm still deeply concerned about the party stance on the whole thing. I sense a time coming where I'll be glad I registered independent.

6. The historian in me just loves the Vietnam bit, but alas, I need sleep. I shall perhaps say more later.

...oh, what the hell.

Things that made it hard if not impossible to win Vietnam:

- Support for a series of very bad South Vietnamese governments, from Diem on, which made South Vietnam very weak.
- Excessive meddling by high US officials in things they shouldn't have.
- Severe failure by basically everyone on our side of the ocean to understand that North Vietnam wasn't playing the same game.
- Internal disintegration in the military brought on by domestic changes (anti-war, civil rights, drug culture).
- Public opinion itself, which for lots of reasons turned dramatically against the war.

All of that aside, my understanding of the course of the war is that after, say, Tet '68, we were basically winning, as the Viet Cong had bled themselves out in futile attempts to fight US/SVN forces conventionally, where they were bound to lose. However, given the enormous public opinion against the war, by that time doing the things necessary to attempt to win were pretty bad news politically. Cost LBJ his job, and Nixon had some rough spots too. The whole Vietnamization process brought on by that was pretty bad news, but it worked (sort of), as long as we kept the air and logistics support going. That was good through 1972 or so. Then we cut them off, and went straight to some serious bad news in 1975, which we might remember worked oh so very well for an awful lot of people in the South.

So it's a sort of fair thing to say they lost us that one, although probably not even the main reason.

I think David's comment, while also fair, wants to bring out that whole rant in me about how the youth of today seriously needs to stop wanting to be like the 60s, but I think I'd better go to bed and preempt that before it starts.

       
As someone who's father served in Vietnam, you'll both excuse me if I take his word for it over your after-the-fact commentary on it. Historical or otherwise. Dwip at least acknowledges we had that war won militarily. From the stories my father tells of his service there, we were crushing them to death by the time he got there in 1972. After Tet there was nothing left.

Public opinion was driven entirely by left wing media which was solidly in control of pretty much every news source that existed at the time. It was they who sabotaged our effort, much like they're doing today with Iraq. They drove the meddling in Congress and the administration. They deliberately played scenes of carnage over and over again. Never reporting on any of the military success we were having. They pounded and pounded and pounded on it until Nixon had no choice but to pull out. Much like they're doing in Iraq now. Trying to pound and pound and pound on Bush to make him pull out so they can hang defeat around his neck. Bush is a better man than Nixon for having told them to essentially go to hell.

       
Good for Petraeus. If the surge really has worked just as it was meant to - the increase in troops has quelled violence in the worst regions, to the point that they can maintain a similar level of stability once we start drawing down - truly, that's excellent news. I'm particularly happy that he said they've been capturing leaders of militant groups with ties to Iran.

On the other hand, I can't but think about what he said in light of this analysis: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/09/thirteen-ways-n.html#more. I'm not really convinced that the current progress being made with the surge is going to stick around once we leave, or that staying longer would improve the odds of this happening (which I realize has actually been ruled out)

       
Andrew seems to be failing to take into account that the Iraqis cannot have political reconciliation until they have a stable and secure country. Petraeus knows this. Bush knows this. Malaki even knows this, bumbling idiot as he may be.

Everyone also seems to be ignoring the fact that the Iraqi government wants us to stay and is negotiating long term arrangements for continued US military presence in the country. I'm sure once we've accomplished what Petraeus has in mind that we'll be in a better position to offer the kind of support Malaki is looking for with long term plans.

I can't figure out why so many people are so eager to discount what the man has to say when he's the best qualified person right now to be giving a report on the situation. Harry Reid says the war is lost. He's not there. Tom Lantos ( that congressman from California I mentioned before ) called Petraeus a liar before he'd even testified. He's not there either. Dozens of democrats are committed to defeat and surrender and are calling for us to turn tail and run like hell. Someone, anyone, please tell me why this is?

Is gaining political power so important to you that you're willing to sacrifice our soldiers for nothing? How can you say you support the troops when you don't believe in the mission they believe in? How can you say you support the troops when you viciously attack their commander in chief, and call their superior officers liars, torturers, murderers, and baby killers? How can you claim to be patriotic Americans when all you're interested in is seeing us fail and be humiliated before the world? I'd really like to know.

       
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296430,00.html

A prime example of exactly what I'm talking about:

"I honor the memory of those who died on September 11 and extend sympathies to their family members and to those who lost their lives trying to save lives. I support the troops," Kucinich said in the statement he issued before casting his vote.

Kucinish is a traitor. He should be executed for providing aid and comfort to our enemies. All the while professing his support for the troops. His actions are directly harmful to them.

       
In some ways, you aren't that much better than the people you hate so much if you seriously believe that killing people like that who don't share your views is the proper solution. *shrug* Now maybe you're just using "executed" as a figure of speech, but ...

       
I wonder if Andrew Sullivan and I were listening to the same testimony. It would appear that I got the one where Petraeus said things conducive to reality, and Sullivan got the one where he did not.

Point by point:

1. "The surge is working; we should maintain it until we've done the job."

Not exactly what Petraeus said, which was to reach pre-surge troop levels by...June, I think, not April, because at that point he believes the surge will have _done the job._

As opposed to, you know, not.

2. "Even if we can't maintain the surge, we're making progress, so we should stay."

Well, yes, until we get to the point where we don't need to, at which point there are large troop withdrawals, which by the way should be in June '08, which is Petraeus' point.

That aside, I find Sullivan's whole thing under that second point faintly ludicrous, insofar as it's not really making an actual point, and one emotional YouTube does not the whole military encompass, nor do the (rather large) number of milbloggers I am in the habit of reading, who have largely been quite in favor of the whole thing, albeit with the odd exception.

3. "Our army can handle it."

And he's got something of a point here, talking about the large loss rates. OTOH, I forget the re-enlistment statistics, but they're pretty high. That aside, I'm guessing offhand that you can look at how badly we broke the whole military after Vietnam, and this is barely a pothole by comparison.

4. "But -- but -- look what's happening in Anbar province! It's real progress!"

Which according to Petraeus, it is. And if I read Sullivan right, he's trying to say that doesn't translate over to the rest of Iraq, which...Petraeus would agree with, and indeed is very cautionary about trying to do just that.

5. "But look at all our military progress! Doesn't that count for anything?"

Pretty much what Samson said in reply. Petraeus knows what Sullivan is trying to say here, and said it himself multiple times. And I must say, Sullivan's repeated saying of things, seemingly forgetting that Petraeus already said them, and is saying them anyway is a little...yeah. Interesting, maybe.

6. "Well, if the Maliki government doesn't want to promote reconciliation, why not replace him?"

Actually, I agree with Sullivan here. If you want a really great object lesson in how the US being overly manipulative with government changes can be, look right directly what a shambles pretty much all the South Vietnamese governments were. Among many others, of course. Our record in these things is not fantastic.

7. "But we can't leave. There will be a bloodbath when we leave."

A thing which I believe to be very true and very relevant, and which Sullivan apparently does not. Among other slight issues like making ourselves look like idiots, gratuitously destabilizing the region even more, possibly empowering Iran, and the like.


All of that aside...

And news about Kucinich being a loser dumbass is news how, again? We've known this for years.

And THAT aside...

I sure have put a lot of things aside over the course of this comment, haven't I?

But on another note, with a nod to the whole "listening to Petraeus" thing, he finds himself in the unenviable position of attempting to actually do his job while giving testimony on how best to do things, and nobody will listen to him anyway, because both sides have pretty much reached the point at which they stopped listening to anybody at all quite a ways back.

Though, admittedly, some people have done that to a fairly astounding degree.

       
because both sides have pretty much reached the point at which they stopped listening to anybody at all quite a ways back.


One of the saddest truths of American politics and, even, discourse among normal citizens. Sigh.

       
David Haley said:

In some ways, you aren't that much better than the people you hate so much if you seriously believe that killing people like that who don't share your views is the proper solution.


Recognizing treason when I see it doesn't mean I hate the people. It means I've recognized traitors in our midst. There was a time when people were proud of this country. There was a time when patriots would have called these people out and exposed them for what they were instead of playing dangerous political games with them. There was a time when we executed those who aided our enemies. Traitors usually hung for their crimes.

Nowadays the media glorifies them as heroes and saints and demonizes the true patriots while claiming to support them. The media enables people like Kucinich to spread his evil, vicious lies and present them as facts. People like Kucinich who sit down for dinner with our enemies overseas and spew forth bitter hatred toward the country they claim to love. People like Kucinich who condemn our soldiers as butchers and barbarians while claiming in the same breath to support them. People like Harry Reid who publicly state to anyone who will listen that we've lost the war when Petraeus says otherwise and has solid evidence to back it up. People like Tom Lantos who say Petraeus is a liar and a fraud before he's even given his testimony, calling for our surrender to the enemy in the form of an immediate withdrawl. Again claiming the whole time to support our troops.

At least during Vietnam they didn't bother to lie about supporting our troops. They spit on them as they came home. Openly attacked them as murderers and cutthroats. Shunned them from many aspects of life. Made it impossible for many of them to re-assimilate back into civilian life. Turned countless numbers of them into emotional and physical wrecks due to the stress. Accused thousands of them of unspeakably horrible crimes in open testimony before Congress.

Many of these same traitorous bastards have since been elected to Congress and have not left yet. They learned to lie to cover up their true intentions. In my mind they quite clearly know what they're doing and are doing so willingly. With every breath they give our enemies hope. With every breath they attempt to tear down this great nation. With every breath they condemn our very way of life. I don't know how anyone can possibly defend these people as patriots when they are openly working to further the enemy's cause.

It scares me to death that there are people in this country who believe everything the democrats and their media supporters tell them. That 48% of the population is either so blind to reality, or hates Bush so much that they're willing to throw it all away just so their party gets back in power. I fear for the future of this nation. It will not long stand as long as we allow this evil within us to fester.

       
It's important to realize, and I probably should have mentioned this up front, that the post I linked to above is a) not by Andrew Sullivan, but by a guest blogger he had, "hilzoy", whose normal blog is over at http://www.obsidianwings.blogs.com and b) written a week ago, not as a response to Petraeus' testimony today but in anticipation of what she thought he might say and as a caution against particular lines of reasoning she was expecting to hear. Since then, both Sullivan and Hilzoy have written updated responses to what Petraeus said today. I chose the old one because I thought it raised a number of useful points and linked to a bunch of things worth reading.

       
That would tend to explain the sarcastic tone I took away from skimming over the article. I came away with the impression that Sullivan was attacking the testimony in a mildly creative sort of way. Probably not a great move since I doubt I'll be the only person who thought the same thing. I didn't even notice who wrote the entry so I figured it was his own.

Either way, I fail to see why Petraeus' is assumed to be lying or telling us all what Bush wants us to hear because he doesn't strike me as a man who would sell out his integrity or his country like that.

       
Would you sacrifice a freedom to do away with an opposing viewpoint, Roger? Because whether or not you think they are reporting the truth, and whether or not you think they are destroying this country, I'd rather let them try then to give up yet another freedom to our already cinch-knot government. I imagine you'll stick to your "traitor" guns on this one, and I have nothing to say opposed to that in particular. I'm just curious how much you'd give up to quell the hippie movement. Which is worse, listening to leftist wackos (even being liberal on many issues I can recognize stupidity when I see it), or letting the government slide further into dictatorship?

Honestly, in my opinion, media shouldn't even have access to anything military operation related. Is that exactly what I'm saying I'm against? Maybe. Would it make things a ton easier for everyone involved? Assuredly.

Hurray for tangents!

       
This has nothing to do with doing away with opposing viewpoints, Levi. There's a very big difference between expressing your displeasure at something and providing aid to the enemy. What the liberal left wing lunatics are doing has crossed that line and they continue to do so openly. When you undermine the efforts of your troops in a war, you're committing treason. When you go around publicly stating that your country is evil during a time of war, that's sedition. There was a time when such acts were considered criminal, and it wasn't that long ago.

If destroying this country from within and from without is what you want, then by all means support this kind of dangerous action. You'll get your wish soon enough when the muslims invade to force you to convert to islam. If you think us pulling out of Iraq will prevent this from happening you're deluding yourself. The Koran bluntly states that all infidels should be killed. We're all infidels to them. They have no other goal for us but death, or forced conversion.

Yet instead of realizing this and backing the effort to put them down, our "leaders" in Congress want to surrender. If they're not traitors, then they're all the most incredibly stupid people who ever lived. Either way it's dangerous, and even fatal to our existence as a country.

       
When you go around publicly stating that your country is evil during a time of war, that's sedition. There was a time when such acts were considered criminal,


I call bull. You are effectively saying that you think it is criminal to believe that your country is doing a very, very wrong thing in going to war or in managing a war. That is essentially saying it is criminal to disagree with the war effort. So, this has everything to do with doing away opposing viewpoints; granted, opposing viewpoints of a specific kind, but you are not willing to tolerate disagreement when it comes to matters of war.

Yet instead of realizing this and backing the effort to put them down, our "leaders" in Congress want to surrender.


It is those who wish to move this country towards a dictatorship who have truly surrendered. They speak of terrorists 'hating our freedom', and yet they are the ones removing our freedoms to fight those terrorists. Funny, innit?

       
Either I'm not explaining myself properly or you're deliberately trying to pervert my meaning - I don't have time right now to tell which but when I do I'll try and pin this down a little more clearly for you. But I'm not sure it'll help since you seem to be one of those wackos I'm talking about.

And if you can point out any specific examples of what rights you've lost and how you've been suppressed by our government, I'm all ears. To my knowledge only one case out of thousands that have been filed has even made it to court, and it was dismissed for lack of merit. I'll have to pull the specifics for you, but I'd say your assessment of this country turning into a dictatorship is pretty much dead wrong. After all, if it were true, could we even be having this discussion?

       
While I don't like to see people trying to ruin the country, I do support all the basic freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, one of which is freedom of speech, another of which is freedom of the press. I'm not too up on my sedition, but there's no point in being able to disagree with what your leaders are doing if you can't say just that.

I can't explain myself any more betterly right now, though I'd like to. Thanks, sleeping for never hours.

       
But I'm not sure it'll help since you seem to be one of those wackos I'm talking about.


It rather seems to me that you are the one refusing dialog, because you have decided ahead of time that I am a wacko without bothering to engage in discussion. In other words, you have adopted the attitude: "I am right, you are wrong, nothing will change that, sorry goodbye".

And if you can point out any specific examples of what rights you've lost and how you've been suppressed by our government, I'm all ears.


Oh gee, how about illegal wiretapping, anybody?

And how about this little bit of thinking a war to be very wrong making you into a traitor...

but I'd say your assessment of this country turning into a dictatorship is pretty much dead wrong
There is political dictatorship, which we are indeed obviously not in, and there is cultural dictatorship. You are acting like the kind of person who contributes to cultural dictatorship, in which those who dissent are either traitors worthy of execution, or wackos not worthy of anything but being ignored.

       
n. se·di·tion
1. incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government.
2. any action, esp. in speech or writing, promoting such discontent or rebellion.
3. Archaic. rebellious disorder.

Refer to #2 here. The democrats are well beyond promoting discontent against our own government. So it most certainly qualifies as sedition, and could easily be argued as treasonous. Also refer to World War II for the last time sedition laws were used to quell this type of discontent. All perfectly legal.

Oh gee, how about illegal wiretapping, anybody?


Your statement assumes facts not in evidence. Namely, that the wiretapping was illegal. I submit it is not, and I'll point you to the Echelon program as proof. Not to mention that other programs similar in scope to the current Terror Surveillance Program have existed since Johnson's administration and have been actively used by every president since then. All of which have been through repeated legal challenges and found to be perfectly constitutional. As I said, there's only been one actual case filed that made it to court and it was tossed out as meritless. And you still haven't provided me with proof that any of your rights have been violated.

You are acting like the kind of person who contributes to cultural dictatorship, in which those who dissent are either traitors worthy of execution, or wackos not worthy of anything but being ignored.


Funny, because this is exactly the impression I'm left with whenever I happen upon a liberal blog such as the Daily Kos. I'm constantly left with the impression from most hardcore lefties and a sizable number of democrats that they're all for freedom of speech and the press - as long as the opinions being expressed are in support of their own views.

Fairness Doctrine anyone?

       
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296591,00.html

BTW, this is exactly what I'm getting at. Unanimously confirm the guy. Send him to assess the situation. Bring him back to testify. Then basically say "screw you, that plan sucks". Why the hell bother seeking his advice if you're just going to dismiss it and go with the surrender plan you've had all along?

       
Funny, because this is exactly the impression I'm left with whenever I happen upon a liberal blog such as the Daily Kos. I'm constantly left with the impression from most hardcore lefties and a sizable number of democrats that they're all for freedom of speech and the press - as long as the opinions being expressed are in support of their own views.


Well, for starters, I am not Daily Kos, and you shouldn't assume that I feel the exact same way as every other person who generally disagrees with Bush. In other words, do not attack me based on what people on "my side" say. I don't necessarily agree with them on all points, and in fact I very often feel that they do much more disservice than good precisely because people like you assume that they're representative of the entire Democrat party.

Besides, just because they're guilty of only wanting freedom of expression for those who share their views doesn't absolve anybody else from it. In particular, to return to our point at hand, their being of bad faith when it comes to defending free speech does not allow you to dismiss as traitors those who disagree with you.

Like you say: fairness doctrine. But the question is: maybe people at MoveOn don't obey the fairness doctrine (they don't); does that mean you are right to not obey it either?

       
I think you've misunderstood what the "Fairness Doctrine" is. You should probably look that up before trying to challenge me on the point. A small hint. It had to do with the broadcast industry.

And once more, because you don't seem to be getting the distinction. I'm not calling Reid, Lantos, and Kucinich traitors because I disagree with them. I'm calling them that because their actions are seditious in nature. Pelosi has also said some seditious things about the war and has also gone to Syria to conduct foreign policy in the US's name. An act by the way which is illegal under US law due to our current status with Syria.

       
On a slight tangent:

Harry Reid:
"Ted Olson will not be confirmed" by the Senate. "He's a partisan, and the last thing we need as an attorney general is a partisan."

Harry. Really. That's probably the first sensible thing you've said. Kindly resign now. You're a partisan, and the last thing we need as Senate majority leader is a partisan.

       
Wow, Samson, and here I thought, when you first posted this particular blog post, that this was one I wasn't going to bother commenting on at all, but I have to say that this is the 24th posted comment here and that in itself is pretty impressive to me. Congratulations on such a successful posting, even if the string of comments is a political debate that's gotten you accredited for death threats and discussed sedition and how evil all democrats are and.. well, other scary overly political stuff for my taste.. :lol:

       
Just so we can nudge this over the top into Most Comments On A Post On This Blog Ever...

1. As I was just now saying on ICQ, in a year and a half, it won't matter who the AG is anyway, but. I say this, of course, without really having any idea who Olson IS, but considering who his boss is, it's probably immaterial.

2. Ignoring the fact that Samson likes to throw around words like "traitor" and "sedition" a lot more than he perhaps should will get you much further, perhaps.

That having been said...

3. While I'd be interested in seeing how exactly the whole Syria thing is illegal, exactly, it's not exactly secret that US government officials have performed diplomacy in hostile/enemy countries in pretty much every war we've ever had, not to mention places like Cuba and North Korea when the situation warrants.

4. There's a lot of room for reasonable disagreements over the course of this thing. Which is not to say that the Dems, in general, aren't being blithering idiots about it, because they ARE, but we ARE a free and democratic society, so. Now, when Pelosi starts sending checks to Osama Bin Laden, then we'll talk.

       
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