Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

NIE supports GWB

So says this piece from Down Under. A snippet:

The NIE states: "We assess that the Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for jihadists." Well, let’s assume that’s correct. My question is: And? What follows from that assessment? Israel is also a cause celebre for jihadists. Does that mean we should abandon it? If the answer is: "No, that’s a ridiculous proposition", then it is logically equally ridiculous in the case of Iraq.

Of course, there are people who think we should abandon Israel, who would probably also argue that to respond in any way to jihadist provocations or to offend their sensibilities is to pour fuel on the fire, to which there is this response:

Non-action has its own consequences. There is a strong case to be made, and certainly one I support, that non-action is exactly what caused the original growth and strength of jihadism in the lead-up to 9/11. Would the world have been safer if we had continued to avoid retaliatory action? I don’t think so.

Discussions - 31 Comments

To complete your argument, you need to explain how non-action, i.e. nothing, created terrorism, i.e. something.

I think what you are really arguing is that something caused a great deal of anger towards us and that we did not attempt to diminish this anger in a significant way until post 9/11. Your argument further assumes that that whatever caused this anger must continue and that retaliation, ie. war, is the only plausible method to diminish it.

That is quite an assumption.

I think your argument needs to locate the root cause of terrorism against the United States and justify war as the only plausible solution.

The non-action to which the author refers is the failure to respond in any sort of effective way to previous terrorist attacks.

How far back do you want to go to find "root causes"? Support for the establishment of Israel? European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries? The Crusades? Resistance to efforts to spread Islam by the sword?

How far back do you want to go to find "root causes"?

622 C.E.

It sounds like D. Kubiak did a Philosophy 101 course. Too bad he didn’t understand any of it.

Personally, I trace the "root cause" of Islamic terror against the West to the end of WWI. The Ottoman Empire crumbled, the West partitioned its empire (chopping it into nation-states), and even pretending that Islam was sweeping the world had to be abandoned. This is Bernard Lewis’ version of it, and I concur. What we see today is the result of an ego scar left by the failure of the Muslim project that began in the 5th and 6th Centuries. Most other people could swallow the defeat and move on with their lives, but mixing the arrogance of Islam with hypersensitive (and violent) Arab tribalism can have only one outcome...a long, bitter wave of mass murder. Humiliating arrogant populations (like the Germans) is inherently dangerous, but once you’ve done it, you fight to win...that’s your only option. And you really must kick the living Hell out of them for the message to get across.

Don’t think I’m happy about’s just reality.

A = cause celebre for terrorists
B = cause celebre for terrorists
Not B = bad therefore Not A = bad.

This to me seems to be the basic premise of the original post. I’d like to argue, however, that whether something inflames jihadists or not is only one factor to consider when it comes to policy making. Is it possible that support for Isreal is both good policy and a source of jihadist anger and that the war in Iraq is both bad policy and a source of jihadist anger? The issue is not whether it inflames jihadist anger, but whether it is good policy.

Increasing jihadism is only one factor to consider when evaluating a course of action.

What is more relevant here though, and which the original post totally misses, is the fact that the N.I.E. concludes (among other things) that our Iraq policy is increasing islamic terrorism. This totally contradicts what President Bush has been saying for the past 3 years about the war in Iraq. His claims that the Iraq war is making America safer are clearly false and have been for some time and now here is even more proof of that fact.

By acknowledging that our Iraq policy is increasing jihadism what you are saying is that Bush has been wrong for the past 3 years about one of the (after the fact) central reasons for being in Iraq. Embracing it as good through some type of Isreal comparison is not only pathetic, but shows just how far conservative zealots are willing to contort and compromise their principles to support bad foreign policy.

The Islamic Fascists only respond to greater oppositional force.

Their angst is irrelevant.

I don’t care why they hate, I only care that they do hate.

Put it to this way, you bow up to me personally and you will have a fight on your hands.

That is not how we, collectively the United States of America, responded when confronted by the Islamic Fascists. We have ran or otherwise showed weakness.

To these folks it is simple school-yard politics that rule the day.

Think I am being to harsh or to simplistic?

Think again ... look at the evidence, it is clear!

The NIE while stating that our actions in Iraq has increased terrorism, it gos on to state that the terrorists need to perceive that they are failing in Irag.

So, how do you make them feel that they are losing?

What do you do Abie Hoffman?

Do you leave Iraq as is and flittering in the wind?

Do you increase troop strength in Iraq?

Do you stay as is?

Then again, why should I be surprised that you only used the portion of the NIE that you feel comfortable with?

No, Abbie, the NIE does not state that President Bush’s policies have been wrong over the past 3 years and does not even imply such a thing.

Moreover, only a fool, which I am stating you are, would state that military actions would uniformly and definitively stop or lesson terrorist actions in the short term.

The President has consistently stated that this is a long war, a war which more than likely outlast his presidency.

How does that comport with your suggested implication?

It doesn’t!

"Think I am being to harsh or to simplistic?"

No, you’re clearly just stretching the limits of your intelligence.

Ewwwww...more troll juice...all over the place. Man, NLT needs better custodial services.

Donald Rumsfeld on Nov 15, 2002:
"The idea that it’s going to be a long, long, long battle of some kind I think is belied by the fact of what happened in 1990," he said on an Infinity Radio call-in program. "Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that."

Dick Cheney on "Meet the Press" March 16, 2003:
" think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months."

George W. Bush on May 1, 2003:
under a banner reading "Misson Accomplished" he said the following:
"Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

Should I go on? This leaves out many more Rumsfeld quotes about how easy it was going to be, not to mention the Wolfowitz quotes about how "hard it would be to imagine" post-Saddam Iraq requiring more money and troops to maintain. So no, Dale, the President has not consistently said it would be a long conflict and neither have any of the non-veteran people who work for him.

You asked me, what do we do now? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that the solution has to include more than the military. We can not bomb the insurgency (the civil war?) into submission, more Marines on patrol won’t do it, its even questionable whether the Iraqi military can do it. The missing peice I believe is political and I think Bush & Co. is incapable of using diplomacy effectively.

For me the bottom line on Iraq is that Bush has consistently messed things up, from going there in the first place up to what happened there yesterday. How long do we support failure? Should party politics so blind people that they stand up and cheer failure ad infinitum? This war has gone on nearly as long as World War II, and honestly what do we, the American People, or they, the people of Iraq, have to show for it? Is there honestly anyone who reads this post that would willingly trade places with anyone in Iraq for even 1 month?

The comparison to WWII is not apt.

What is effective diplomacy regarding the Islamic Fascists?

There is no such thing, period.

There have been plenty of positive, good changes in Iraq, not that you would know from the general media, though.

Just the very fact that we had true democratic elections, twice, is a major statement considering that the people lived under a totalitarian regime.

The argument is the same from you folks.

Nothing is good, all is bad.


That is party politics, straight from the Democrat playbook!

Iraqis did jump for joy after being liberated. They also, generally, welcomed us with open arms.

Major Operations did cease and we outstandingly won that portion. What we are dealing with today is keeping the peace.

The administration has been extremely clear and consistent on the War on Terror, of which Iraq is a part of.

"Much has happened since the attacks of 9/11. But as Secretary Rumsfeld has put it, we are still closer to the beginning of this war than we are to its end. The United States has entered a struggle of years -- a new kind of war against a new kind of enemy. The terrorists who struck America are ruthless, they are resourceful, and they hide in many countries. They came into our country to murder thousands of innocent men, women, and children. There is no doubt they wish to strike again, and that they are working to acquire the deadliest of all weapons."
- Vice President Cheney speaking at VFW 103rd National Convention, August 2002.

"There is a terrorist underworld out there, spread among more than 60 countries. The job we have will require every tool at our means of diplomacy, of finance, of intelligence, of law enforcement, and of military power. But we will, over time, find and defeat the enemies of the United States." - Vice President Cheney speaking at VFW 103rd National Convention, August 2002.

"As we face this prospect, old doctrines of security do not apply. In the days of the Cold War, we were able to manage the threat with strategies of deterrence and containment. But it’s a lot tougher to deter enemies who have no country to defend. And containment is not possible when dictators obtain weapons of mass destruction, and are prepared to share them with terrorists who intend to inflict catastrophic casualties on the United States." - Vice President Cheney speaking at VFW 103rd National Convention, August 2002.

Clear reference to Iraq in that last quote.

The small picture is Iraq, which is clear you, Abbie, are only focused on.

The big picture is the world. We have been fighting the Islamic Fascists all over the world, which, again, you wouldn’t know a thing about that from the general media. We have also given support, via military and in other ways, to countries who have been fighting terrorists in their own lands.

This effort has utilized all facets of our government. We haven’t just been fighting them with our military. The same goes for our efforts in Iraq.

All you hear about is the combat portions. You rarely hear much of anything else and that is not because we are not doing anything else.

Lastly, not one of our military efforts of our past ever went as planned. Not one!

We couldn’t even topple Noriega without messing things up militarily to one degree or another. Our military also had many lessons learned during our invasion of Grenada. And, yet, we won. Our history is full of examples of our planned military operations falling apart.

Failing in Iraq is not an option and the NIE, while not being explicit, stated as much.

We liberated Iraq very, very quickly with Rumsfeld being proved basicly correct.

Iraq has been liberated. To state or imply otherwise is not factual. Major combat operations have long ceased with the occasional focusing of military power in one region or another. That is factual, that is the truth.

Dale, if you believe what you wrote in comment 15 this conversation is pointless. If you believe the Cheney quotes in 14, then you believe things that not even the Administration itself believes now. As for all of the good things you refer to in 13 (of which I counted only 2 things, two votes), yes they are both praiseworthy events. That sure was a well spent $300 billion dollars and I’m sure that all the families of the 28,000 U.S. casualties think so too.

Iraq was liberated very, very quickly from Saddam’s regime.

Again, to state otherwise is to deny reality, to deny fact and truth.

What we are fighting today is to keep the liberation, to keep the peace.

You, sir, are the one basing your beliefs not reality, but on pure political rhetoric.

We are not only fighting the remnants of Saddam’s regime, but Iran and other supporters of Islamic Fascism.

Go ahead, keep your head in the sand. Go ahead, decry President Bush all you want.

I find it very interesting that now you are critical of the time period you yourself used in selecting quotes to support your postition.

Yes, it will be nice to disengage on this debate for you, sir, are not willing to debate in earnest, just in cheap political rhetoric!

Also, what part of Cheney’s speach has been eschewed by the administration only 4 years later?

You are very stubborn regarding the sucesses of Iraq. No surprise, though, since you use partisan rhetoric.

As Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten recently stated in response letter to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, dated September 5, 2006, the United States is doing everything, save one, that the Democratic Leader demanded we do and has been been for quite some time. The one thing that we are not doing is replacing Rumsfeld and I agree that doing such a thing is wrong and smacks of partisan politics more than anything else.

What better way to admit that the President screwed up than to have him shitcan the SecDef? Can’t have the President’s head on the chopping block, might as well have the Secretary of Defense’s, huh?

"The enemy is resorting to desperate acts of violence because they know the establishment of democracy in Iraq will be a double defeat for them. First, it will deny the terrorists their immediate aim of turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban -- a safe haven where they can plot and plan more attacks against free nations. Second, in the long term, a democratic Iraq will be a major blow to the terrorists’ hateful ideology because it will send a powerful message across the region that the future of the Middle East belongs to freedom."
President Bush’s Radio Address, Apr. 29, 2006

"We’re pursuing the terrorists on many battlefronts. Today, the central front in the war on terror is Iraq. This month I’ve given a series of speeches on recent events in Iraq and how we’re adapting our approach to deal with the events on the ground. At George Washington University I reported on the progress we have made in training the Iraqi security forces, the growing number of Iraqi units that are taking the lead in the fight, the territory we’re handing over to them, and the performance they turned in after the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra."
- President Bush Discusses Democracy in Iraq with Freedom House, March 29, 2006

"Last week in Cleveland, I told the American people about the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, which was once a key base of operations for al Qaeda and is now a free city that gives us reason to hope for a free Iraq. I explained how the story of Tal Afar gives me confidence in our strategy, because in that city we see the outlines of the Iraq we’ve been fighting for, a free and secure people who are getting back on their feet, who are participating in government and civic life, and are becoming allies in the fight against the terrorists."
- President Bush Discusses Democracy in Iraq with Freedom House, March 29, 2006

"Today, some Americans ask whether removing Saddam caused the divisions and instability we’re now seeing. In fact, much of the animosity and violence we now see is the legacy of Saddam Hussein. He is a tyrant who exacerbated sectarian divisions to keep himself in power."
- President Bush Discusses Democracy in Iraq with Freedom House, March 29, 2006

Yeah, the administration has backed off of Iraq, huh? In 2004, the President stated many positive things since the cessation of major military operations in Iraq. Today, in 2006, the talk is about Unity Government, democracy and about Iraq protecting herself for a change due to our efforts in standing up Iraq’s police and military.

Read the rest for yourself, for your own sake.

Alas, I doubt you will because cheap political talking points is all you offer, nothing else.

Good things that have happened since we invaded Iraq ...

Please, avert eyes if you want to continue with the Bush is mucking up Iraq meme ...

- Removal of Saddam’s tyranny
- Negotiation of an interim constitution
- Restoration of full sovereignty
- Holding of free national elections
- Formation of an elected government
- Drafting of a permanent constitution
- Ratification of that constitution
- Introduction of a sound currency
- Gradual restoration of neglected infrastructure
- Ongoing training and equipping of Iraqi security forces

Source - National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, November 30, 2005

A heck of lot more than 2, cheeseball!

Lastly ...

"There’s always a temptation, in the middle of a long struggle, to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world, and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder. This would be a pleasant world, but it’s not the world we live in. The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday’s brutality. This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence. In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve, and we will win that victory."
- -- President George W. Bush, October 6, 2005

Ooops ...

Post above was from Dale Michaud ... not ’d’.

One last thing, Abbie, you didn’t continue with the President’s remarks regarding Major Operations ...

"Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."
- President Bush from the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003

Oh ... there’s more ...

"We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We’re bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We’re pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We’ve begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We’re helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people."

And yet still more ...

"The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq."

Even more

"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on."

And, I’ll give you one last exceprt ...

"From Pakistan to the Philippines to the Horn of Africa, we are hunting down al Qaeda killers. Nineteen months ago, I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the patient justice of the United States. And as of tonight, nearly one-half of al Qaeda’s senior operatives have been captured or killed."

All quotes above by President Bush speaking from the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003

Blow it out your ear, bud!

No, Clay, you have shown the actual limits of yours with that reply!

Response to Joe:

It is not a question of how far back in time you would like to go. The people involved in ancient battles are all dead and do not make great terrorists.

If the terrorists are influenced by the past, then is it not true that that influence is occurring now and not in the past?

So, by root cause I mean why do they wish to attack us?


I am reading your stuff, here, and I am a little worried about you. You are starting to sound a little unhinged. Maybe take a break from the blogging for a while???? Get some sleep? I am serious, and not trying to be insulting.



Far from it, my friend, far from it.

You know what is insulting?

It is the lack of honesty that Abbie and others have in this debate.

For them, President Bush totally messed up Iraq. No good has been done or the good is very, very little.

The truth is much different.

Iraq is far from perfect, but it isn’t all bad. The President hasn’t totally screwed up Iraq or even mostly screwed it up.

And you call me unhinged and insulting, please.

Good. I hope that is so.

Dale, there is really nothing else to say. Iraq, in my opinion, is basically a total disaster. I honestly can not come up with one good thing that has come out of it that even comes close to offsetting the bad. In life decisions come with trade offs, and I firmly believe that the trade offs for what we have in Iraq now, compared to what used to exist in Iraq, are in no way worth it. If you disagree, that is your choice, but I think you are totally wrong.

What used to exist in Iraq ...

Curious choice of words.

Exist when?

I am going to assume before our toppling of Saddam since you are questioning not just our actions after and during the invasion, but the invasion itself.

Yes, what more can be said?

Well, a little morecan be stated ...

It is clear that you prefer the citizens or Iraq to live under Saddam, a totalitarian despot who actively used torture of men, women, and children to keep order instead of a democratically elected fledgeling government Iraq is now being governed under.

Or, what you object to is the us of United States troops in the overthrow of Saddam.

Who knows why you take the position you do, but no excuse can justify such a position.

The debate here is not Pro-torture or pro-democracy (after all, where would Bush stand if these were the only two choices available).

The debate, as far as I am concerned, is between pro-good foreign policy or pro-bad foriegn policy, or between pro-foreign policy that furthers our national objectives and pro-foreign policy that moves us further away from our national objectives. I think that Iraq; the invasion, how the invasion was conducted, the mistakes made during the invasion and since the invasion, all constitute bad foreign policy that moves the United States further from (what should be) our national objectives. I could go on, but frankly don’t see the point since I’m not sure you understand my position anyway.

Then, please, enlighten me, oh wise, learned one.

Yes, do share your wisdom of the how toppling Saddam’s regime was not in the best national interest of the United States.

We will then be able to read more distortions and half-truths while you lay out your support for your position.

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