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Seems as if several folks on this site have the idea that "supporting our troops" means keeping them in a constant state of engagement. Some how those of us who would like to see them removed from harms way don't "support the troops".

How can that be?

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Seems as if several folks on this site have the idea that "supporting our troops" means keeping them in a constant state of engagement. Some how those of us who would like to see them removed from harms way don't "support the troops".

How can that be?

Mostly through the oversimplified meaning assigned to terms, apparently intended to squeeeze all of the impact/reality out. When one finds the freaking Secretary of State quibbling about wanting to call 'throwing more bodies into Iraq' (might sound clunky, but at least it's language that's accurate and doesn't hide any meaning) an "augmentation" instead of an "escalation," (and eventually "surge," a desperate attempt to hide the futility of our so-called efforts in Iraq) one knows something is very wrong.

Hiding behind soft language and connotations is a sure sign something is rotten, and this "war" has been stinking up the place for years. Bush and co. screwed up big time, and it's high time we cut our losses and get the hell out before we piss away another half trillion dollars.

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Guest 2smart4u
Seems as if several folks on this site have the idea that "supporting our troops" means keeping them in a constant state of engagement. Some how those of us who would like to see them removed from harms way don't "support the troops".

How can that be?

Anonomous is now posting as Guest ??

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The problem is, we can't just pull out of Iraq. Remember Afghanistan? After the Russian occupation ended, it was left with a weak central government and a LOT of foreign fighters. It then fractured into warring groups, with the Taliban eventually controlling most of the country. Now I know someone like Bryan is bound to critique that summary-I know it is a simplified version--let it go, no one cares. The point is, the same thing is likely to happen in Iraq if we simply pull out.

Now I used to believe that a phased withdrawal was the way to go, with us returning in force if everything started to fall apart. I no longer believe this. Since I am not motivated primarily by ideological loyalty, I am willing to change my opinion to fit the facts rather than vice versa(you listening, 2Dim?). The problem is, this idea revolves around two theoretical positions:

1. Our presence in Iraq angers Muslims to the point of violence. This is true, but our presence also helps keep a lid on sectarian violence. I have come to think we do more good with the second than harm with the first.

2. The Iraqi government can keep the peace. I feel sorry for the Iraqi government. They were given a country that the occupation had thoroughly screwed up (whose brilliant idea was it to fire the military before disarming them?) and are now being told to hurry up and fix what we were utterly incapable of fixing. However, I believe the current government cannot keep the peace.

So where does this leave the troops? Screwed, unless someone grows some testicles. The Democrats are looking like they'll pull out. The Republicans are starting to as well, but they'll make sure to blame the Iraqi government for not stepping up. If they do (and sadly, it seems to be what the American people want), we'll have a worse rogue state than we did before.

The one bright spot seems to be the surge. It seems to be working-which shows that the original estimates rejected by the administration were right-we should have gone in with far more troops. The wisest course of action would be to send even more troops in to lock down the problem areas. Trouble is, we just don't have enough without shortening rotation times even more than we already have.

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I say get out. The Iraqi's despise and fear us and think we're all perverts and brutal thanks to Abu Ghraib, numerous rape incidents and the constant unpleasant troop/civilian street interactions.

Many argue it is our duty to prevent sectarian violence and therefore we cannot leave. Yet, the citizens who we are ostensibly protecting are overwhelmingly in favor of us leaving. We should follow the will of the people.

The "stay" argument was used by some British when the British Raj pulled out of India. They knew there would be massive violence, and there was with anywhere from 500,000 to 1,000,000 killed. But the Brits listened to the natives on that continent and left. The Brits would still be there trying to work out the continents partition if they listened to the "stay" people.

Every citizen of India or Pakistan will tell you despite the violence its best that the Brits left. Staying did not work then and will not work now.

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Anonomous is now posting as Guest ??

Oh, I get it-you meant me! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Listen doofus-aside from being an unbeliever (which is politically neutral-wingnuts like you haven't completely taken over the GOP), would you care to find a post by me indicating support for a 'leftist' position? Take your time-you'll need it.

I don't make fun of you because you're on the right-I make fun of you because you're a sheep mindlessly following wherever the neocons lead you.

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I say get out. The Iraqi's despise and fear us and think we're all perverts and brutal thanks to Abu Ghraib, numerous rape incidents and the constant unpleasant troop/civilian street interactions.

Many argue it is our duty to prevent sectarian violence and therefore we cannot leave. Yet, the citizens who we are ostensibly protecting are overwhelmingly in favor of us leaving. We should follow the will of the people.

The "stay" argument was used by some British when the British Raj pulled out of India. They knew there would be massive violence, and there was with anywhere from 500,000 to 1,000,000 killed. But the Brits listened to the natives on that continent and left. The Brits would still be there trying to work out the continents partition if they listened to the "stay" people.

Every citizen of India or Pakistan will tell you despite the violence its best that the Brits left. Staying did not work then and will not work now.

This isn't really the same. In Iraq there are a lot of foreign influences. Also, this is a country which sits on top of huge oil deposits, so it isn't like we're just going to let it fall into chaos. Also, while I don't think invading Iraq helped us in the war on terror, leaving it now would certainly harm our efforts. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for jihadists. If we let that continue, it will harm us in the long run.

Now make no mistake-invading Iraq was a terrible idea, and we may very well end up with a worse situation than we started with because of it. But leaving now is not really an option.

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Oh, I get it-you meant me! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Listen doofus-aside from being an unbeliever (which is politically neutral-wingnuts like you haven't completely taken over the GOP), would you care to find a post by me indicating support for a 'leftist' position? Take your time-you'll need it.

I don't make fun of you because you're on the right-I make fun of you because you're a sheep mindlessly following wherever the neocons lead you.

What a shock-no response from the wingnuts.

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The problem is, we can't just pull out of Iraq. Remember Afghanistan? After the Russian occupation ended, it was left with a weak central government and a LOT of foreign fighters. It then fractured into warring groups, with the Taliban eventually controlling most of the country. Now I know someone like Bryan is bound to critique that summary-I know it is a simplified version--let it go, no one cares. The point is, the same thing is likely to happen in Iraq if we simply pull out.

[...]

The one bright spot seems to be the surge. It seems to be working-which shows that the original estimates rejected by the administration were right-we should have gone in with far more troops. The wisest course of action would be to send even more troops in to lock down the problem areas. Trouble is, we just don't have enough without shortening rotation times even more than we already have.

Good post; I won't even quibble with that ridiculous account of Russia's war on Afghanistan. ;)

An integrated Iraqi military may be capable of making up for the overall shortcomings of the central government.

The problem occurs if the Iraqi army is regarded as simply an arm of a Shia-dominated government.

Distrust of the current Iraqi government is justified, to the extent that it hasn't succeeded in establishing a cooperative framework for a unified Iraq. One thing that is changing, because of the brutality of insurgents compared to coalition forces, is the attitude of the common Iraqis toward the idea of a unified secular government: They're in favor of it in spite of their experiences with the dictatorial version of that type of government under Saddam Hussein.

Withdrawing from Iraq prior to the establishment of a friendly and stable government would very probably prove disastrous (genocide, then terrorist safe haven and an expansion of Iranian influence ... perhaps leading to all-out war with Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Saudi Arabia involved).

And the Iraq invasion was still a good idea. Hussein would have acted to keep a balance of power with Iran--that means he would have sought a nuclear program to match that of his neighbors. And if anyone doubts that Iran is trying to obtain nuclear weapons capability now, just imagine how they'd be working on it if they had the impression that Hussein was at work on the same thing (think Russia after WW2).

Leaving Hussein's regime intact would have led to the same threat of regional instability, since that instability has been there all along (try to remember the Iran-Iraq war), and the West could not afford to not know what Hussein was up to. That's why incomplete cooperation with weapons inspectors could not be tolerated. If you're wrong about Hussein having WMD you can be wrong about Hussein not having WMD--and one of the Gulf War lessons had been our underestimation of Iraq's WMD capability. The U.S. could not afford to be wrong on that side of the equation.

We could afford to be wrong on the other side, in the company of the world's other intelligence communities.

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I believe the war in Iraq was necessary to a point. There were two threats in the middle east that needed to if not now eventually neutralized. They are Iran and Iraq. Most people will tell you that neither was a threat to the US, this is true to an extent. They are not a threat to our actual country at the moment, but they are a threat to every oil-producing country in the region and to US interests in the area. Of course the administration isn't to be left blameless (though I believe blame lies also with Bush Sr. for not going straight through and taking out Saddam like I would have wanted) Though Russian, British, and American intelligence showed that Saddams regime was a threat, but Bush made an error. He misdefined the word Weapons Of Mass Destruction. He narrowed it strictly to nuclear weapons, but there is evidence of about 9 chemical weapons plants and around 12 biological weapons site. Of course Iran has nuclear weapons as well as biological and chemical weapons. But I believe that no matter which country we went after first, diplomatic negotiations would prove to be futile, and if war were to break out there would be guerrila tactics disrupting the peace after major hostilities ended, and the other country ( the one dealt with later) will step up production because they know that time is short. The problem is after 9-11 this country began to realize that there are threats out there and people who wish us harm, and I know bringing up 9-11 is a tasteless thing when talking about politics and for that I apologize, but now that we can begin to see what nations are posing threats, (such as Iran bankrolling islamic extremists and breaking international decrees) we can learn how to deal with these threats. I of course believe war is a last resort, blood should not be shed if it is preventable, but if there is no compromise then war is an answer. War is a continuation of politics by other means as Clausewitz says. A threat to this nations security is not to be allowed and should be stopped at all costs. I thank the men and women serving for our country and I hope they come home safely. And to address the original topic of this thread it is not unpatriotic to not support the war, that is a matter of opinion and it can be argued either way. Should you show support I believe you should because then the morale of the men and women fighting would vastly increase. But as long as you support the troops and do not allow people to treat them as they did in Vietnam then you are patriotic.

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Guest Radagast
Good post; I won't even quibble with that ridiculous account of Russia's war on Afghanistan.  ;)

An integrated Iraqi military may be capable of making up for the overall shortcomings of the central government.

The problem occurs if the Iraqi army is regarded as simply an arm of a Shia-dominated government.

Distrust of the current Iraqi government is justified, to the extent that it hasn't succeeded in establishing a cooperative framework for a unified Iraq.  One thing that is changing, because of the brutality of insurgents compared to coalition forces, is the attitude of the common Iraqis toward the idea of a unified secular government:  They're in favor of it in spite of their experiences with the dictatorial version of that type of government under Saddam Hussein.

Withdrawing from Iraq prior to the establishment of a friendly and stable government would very probably prove disastrous (genocide, then terrorist safe haven and an expansion of Iranian influence ... perhaps leading to all-out war with Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Saudi Arabia involved).

And the Iraq invasion was still a good idea.  Hussein would have acted to keep a balance of power with Iran--that means he would have sought a nuclear program to match that of his neighbors.  And if anyone doubts that Iran is trying to obtain nuclear weapons capability now, just imagine how they'd be working on it if they had the impression that Hussein was at work on the same thing (think Russia after WW2).

Leaving Hussein's regime intact would have led to the same threat of regional instability, since that instability has been there all along (try to remember the Iran-Iraq war), and the West could not afford to not know what Hussein was up to.  That's why incomplete cooperation with weapons inspectors could not be tolerated.  If you're wrong about Hussein having WMD you can be wrong about Hussein not having WMD--and one of the Gulf War lessons had been our underestimation of Iraq's WMD capability.  The U.S. could not afford to be wrong on that side of the equation.

We could afford to be wrong on the other side, in the company of the world's other intelligence communities.

Let's start at the end of your post and work back. I see your logic, I just don't agree.

I don't understand why you feel that the killing over 100,000 Iraqis and over 3700 US soldiers over 4.5 years in order to replace a dictator with a completely disfunctional government was a good idea. Most DoD models have us occupying Iraq for another 10 years. By the time the Iraq civil war ends and all the killing is done, Saddam would have been dead or out of power anyway. The only difference a US occupation of Iraq makes is that the vengence and killing will just take longer and it will take the lives of American soldiers.

I do understand your point about a possible arms race between Iran and Iraq under Saddam, it makes perfect sense. However, why would that be the end of the world? India and Pakistan have been in a similar arms race for decades and both have WMDs. So now, since we've taken Saddam out of the mix, only Iran will have nukes. I contend that makes us less safe. The reality of India and Pakistan is that you can't nuke your neighbor without nuking yourself.

It's clear to me that the US Military is not going to establish a stable Iraqi government. Our occupation really dosen't even help them establish one. As we 'surge' in Baghdad, the rest of Iraq spins out of control. Basra, where most of Iraq's oil is located, is under the control of ...well, no one. The Kurds can't seem to stop the border raids of their militants into Turkey. The US has picked so many different sides in this fight trying to make a failed policy work that we no longer have any credibility. Iraq has become the chess board where Iran and Saudi Arabia and the other powers in the Middle East will play out their game creating more instability and death on and on and on. Orwell was just a little off on the year.

Bryan, why should our soldiers be in the middle of that mess getting killed?

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This isn't really the same. In Iraq there are a lot of foreign influences. Also, this is a country which sits on top of huge oil deposits, so it isn't like we're just going to let it fall into chaos. Also, while I don't think invading Iraq helped us in the war on terror, leaving it now would certainly harm our efforts. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for jihadists. If we let that continue, it will harm us in the long run.

Now make no mistake-invading Iraq was a terrible idea, and we may very well end up with a worse situation than we started with because of it. But leaving now is not really an option.

There was foreign influence In India. Primarily communist.

But India did not have oil, reducing our interest and our foreign influence.

Colin Powell said it was cultural hubris and oil which caused the invasion of Iraq. In conversations he waffles when asked about getting out. But he never says we should stay. He implies in a round about way, for the sake of national unity, we need to follow the Presidents lead. When we get a new president then the direction will change.

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Good post; I won't even quibble with that ridiculous account of Russia's war on Afghanistan.  ;)

Since there wasn't one given? :D

An integrated Iraqi military may be capable of making up for the overall shortcomings of the central government.

The problem occurs if the Iraqi army is regarded as simply an arm of a Shia-dominated government.

Distrust of the current Iraqi government is justified, to the extent that it hasn't succeeded in establishing a cooperative framework for a unified Iraq.  One thing that is changing, because of the brutality of insurgents compared to coalition forces, is the attitude of the common Iraqis toward the idea of a unified secular government:  They're in favor of it in spite of their experiences with the dictatorial version of that type of government under Saddam Hussein.

Agreed-once Iraqis see their government (and us) as the lesser evil we can start getting somewhere. We desperately need their cooperation. Now if we can get them to stop killing each other we'd be set.

Withdrawing from Iraq prior to the establishment of a friendly and stable government would very probably prove disastrous (genocide, then terrorist safe haven and an expansion of Iranian influence ... perhaps leading to all-out war with Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Saudi Arabia involved).

The first two being very likely-especially the second, which I was trying to show with the Afghanistan comparison.

And the Iraq invasion was still a good idea.  Hussein would have acted to keep a balance of power with Iran--that means he would have sought a nuclear program to match that of his neighbors.  And if anyone doubts that Iran is trying to obtain nuclear weapons capability now, just imagine how they'd be working on it if they had the impression that Hussein was at work on the same thing (think Russia after WW2).

Leaving Hussein's regime intact would have led to the same threat of regional instability, since that instability has been there all along (try to remember the Iran-Iraq war), and the West could not afford to not know what Hussein was up to.  That's why incomplete cooperation with weapons inspectors could not be tolerated.  If you're wrong about Hussein having WMD you can be wrong about Hussein not having WMD--and one of the Gulf War lessons had been our underestimation of Iraq's WMD capability.  The U.S. could not afford to be wrong on that side of the equation.

We could afford to be wrong on the other side, in the company of the world's other intelligence communities.

I support bombing the crap out of Iran (not with nukes) in order to keep them from getting The Bomb. I actually think Bush has been far too lenient with them.

I'm still not convinced that the invasion of Iraq was the only possible scenario though. Or the best, for that matter.

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Oh, I get it-you meant me! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Listen doofus-aside from being an unbeliever (which is politically neutral-wingnuts like you haven't completely taken over the GOP), would you care to find a post by me indicating support for a 'leftist' position? Take your time-you'll need it.

I don't make fun of you because you're on the right-I make fun of you because you're a sheep mindlessly following wherever the neocons lead you.

What was obvious about the disastrous plunge into an Iraqi war is that Bush & Co. were doing it for political reasons. It was a war of choice, not of necessity.

The other obvious flaw in the planning, which should have stopped us from ever going in, was that while we could succeed in overthrowing Hussein in a matter of days or weeks, we could never succeed in bringing peace and stability into that country. You would think we would have learned our lesson from the tragic experience in Viet Nam, but tragically for us and the world, the same group that never learned the lesson of Viet Nam now insisted on making the same mistake in Iraq. Here we are, years later trying to figure a way out of a military adventure that was doomed to failure before it ever started.

The amazing thing about it is that Bush attacked Gore throughout the 2000 election campaign for the far smaller military adventures of the Clinton administration, arguing that Clinton never had an exit strategy. Of course, that is exactly why we are mired in the quagmire of Iraq: Bush had no exit strategy, we have no good way out. And yet for some reason, which I will never understand, the American people went along with it. The only thing I can surmise is that our people were still suffering from a collective PTSD after 9/11. Nothing else makes any sense. This war was insane from its inception, and the results only further verify the fact.

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Let's start at the end of your post and work back. I see your logic, I just don't agree.

I don't understand why you feel that the killing over 100,000 Iraqis and over 3700 US soldiers over 4.5 years in order to replace a dictator with a completely disfunctional government was a good idea.

Because increasing the pressure on a ME powder keg would be worse. I explained that already. You'd have worse potential for regional violence and no assurance that Iraq wasn't offering terrorists high-tech WMD.

Most DoD models have us occupying Iraq for another 10 years.

The way we "occupy" S. Korea, yes.

By the time the Iraq civil war ends and all the killing is done, Saddam would have been dead or out of power anyway.

Replaced by whom, if not one of Hussein's sons? Peace for the world after that, right?

The only difference a US occupation of Iraq makes is that the vengence and killing will just take longer and it will take the lives of American soldiers.

No, the difference is we're already there with an opportunity to ensure that a regime essentially friendly to the United States rules Iraq and establishes a model for a ME constitutional republic (other than Israel). That wouldn't be likely under one of Saddam Hussein's kids.

I do understand your point about a possible arms race between Iran and Iraq under Saddam, it makes perfect sense. However, why would that be the end of the world?

Because of Hussein's regional ambitions and because of the radical nature of the Iranian regime, of course. Hussein tried to play the game like Otto Von Bismarck. Iran plays it more like Stalin. Neither one was up to any good, and a change of heart by Hussein doesn't seem likely given his continued intractable behavior during the modestly effective sanctions regime.

India and Pakistan have been in a similar arms race for decades and both have WMDs.

Neither has a particularly strategic location, and neither is within shooting distance of Israel. They are surrounded by oceans on one side and neighboring balancing powers on the other (China, Russia).

So now, since we've taken Saddam out of the mix, only Iran will have nukes.

Only if we let them. The Kerry-style European diplomacy hasn't seemed particularly effective in keeping them from their goal, though, now that you mention it.

I contend that makes us less safe. The reality of India and Pakistan is that you can't nuke your neighbor without nuking yourself.

MAD is out the window with terrorist organizations. Iran and Hussein's Iraq both maintain/ed cooperative relationships with terrorist groups. Loan a terrorist group a WMD, let them do the dirty work, and whom to you counterattack? If you'd hesitate to move on Hussein based on a preponderance of evidence that he had WMD, do you think you'd move on Iraq if Hussein had plausible deniability of his involvement in a terrorist attack?

It's clear to me that the US Military is not going to establish a stable Iraqi government.

Why?

Our occupation really dosen't even help them establish one.

So you don't think that providing enough security to make the Iraqi people desire a unified government creates the type of conditions one needs to help establish a unified Iraqi government? Can you explain that logic?

As we 'surge' in Baghdad, the rest of Iraq spins out of control. Basra, where most of Iraq's oil is located, is under the control of ...well, no one.

... because the Brits cut their forces there. Basra is chaotic because of the corruption of the local leadership and the British downsizing.

Basra is an illustration of what happens when you pull out of Iraq prior to the central government having a sufficient security force available.

A secure Baghdad, btw, paves the way for a secure Iraq. If the seat of government is safe, central control has a chance, and Baghdad itself serves as a model for the cooperation of the existing sects.

The Kurds can't seem to stop the border raids of their militants into Turkey.

Maybe they'll do a better job if we pull out (and you can explain how that works?)?

The militants are probably not based primarily in northern Iraq. That rebel group is based in Syria, IIRC. The Kurds have a problem like that of Pakistan with its North Waziristan region. The tension with Turkey, as a matter of fact, serves to motivate the Kurds to seek a united Iraq rather than a fully independent Kurdistan.

The US has picked so many different sides in this fight trying to make a failed policy work that we no longer have any credibility.

We'll have big-time credibility if we make it work. Other nations will see our determination and our ability to achieve difficult goals even through adversity. Though from you they'll see a tendency to throw in the towel based on casualty figures little higher than the U.S. military incurs during peacetime operations.

Iraq has become the chess board where Iran and Saudi Arabia and the other powers in the Middle East will play out their game creating more instability and death on and on and on.

Saudi Arabia has no interest in regional instability. They have a strong interest in avoiding a neighbor to their immediate north in the political orbit of Iran. Iran is the one stirring the pot because it serves their ends. You're willing to hand them what they want, AFAICT. But maybe you can suggest a foreign policy to forestall that outcome?

Bryan, why should our soldiers be in the middle of that mess getting killed?

To keep Iraq from becoming the type of terrorist haven that Afghanistan once was, to keep Iran from advancing its dream of the elimination of Israel and the establishment of a world caliphate, and to safeguard the engine of the the world's economy until the world has a chance to find a better one. Put Iran's hands on the ignition key to the world's economy and you're begging for trouble. You think oil money goes toward terrorism now? Just wait until your hoped-for foreign policy starts bearing its fruit.

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Mostly through the oversimplified meaning assigned to terms, apparently intended to squeeeze all of the impact/reality out. When one finds the freaking Secretary of State quibbling about wanting to call 'throwing more bodies into Iraq' (might sound clunky, but at least it's language that's accurate and doesn't hide any meaning) an "augmentation" instead of an "escalation," (and eventually "surge," a desperate attempt to hide the futility of our so-called efforts in Iraq) one knows something is very wrong.

Hiding behind soft language and connotations is a sure sign something is rotten, and this "war" has been stinking up the place for years. Bush and co. screwed up big time, and it's high time we cut our losses and get the hell out before we piss away another half trillion dollars.

Come home wiith Victory or come home on your shield.

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Because increasing the pressure on a ME powder keg would be worse.  I explained that already.  You'd have worse potential for regional violence and no assurance that Iraq wasn't offering terrorists high-tech WMD.

The way we "occupy" S. Korea, yes.

Replaced by whom, if not one of Hussein's sons?  Peace for the world after that, right?

No, the difference is we're already there with an opportunity to ensure that a regime essentially friendly to the United States rules Iraq and establishes a model for a ME constitutional republic (other than Israel).  That wouldn't be likely under one of Saddam Hussein's kids.

Because of Hussein's regional ambitions and because of the radical nature of the Iranian regime, of course.  Hussein tried to play the game like Otto Von Bismarck.  Iran plays it more like Stalin.  Neither one was up to any good, and a change of heart by Hussein doesn't seem likely given his continued intractable behavior during the modestly effective sanctions regime.

Neither has a particularly strategic location, and neither is within shooting distance of Israel.  They are surrounded by oceans on one side and neighboring balancing powers on the other (China, Russia).

Only if we let them.  The Kerry-style European diplomacy hasn't seemed particularly effective in keeping them from their goal, though, now that you mention it.

MAD is out the window with terrorist organizations.  Iran and Hussein's Iraq both maintain/ed cooperative relationships with terrorist groups.  Loan a terrorist group a WMD, let them do the dirty work, and whom to you counterattack?  If you'd hesitate to move on Hussein based on a preponderance of evidence that he had WMD, do you think you'd move on Iraq if Hussein had plausible deniability of his involvement in a terrorist attack?

Why?

So you don't think that providing enough security to make the Iraqi people desire a unified government creates the type of conditions one needs to help establish a unified Iraqi government?  Can you explain that logic?

As we 'surge' in Baghdad, the rest of Iraq spins out of control. Basra, where most of Iraq's oil is located, is under the control of ...well, no one.

... because the Brits cut their forces there.  Basra is chaotic because of the corruption of the local leadership and the British downsizing.

Basra is an illustration of what happens when you pull out of Iraq prior to the central government having a sufficient security force available.

A secure Baghdad, btw, paves the way for a secure Iraq.  If the seat of government is safe, central control has a chance, and Baghdad itself serves as a model for the cooperation of the existing sects.

The Kurds can't seem to stop the border raids of their militants into Turkey.

Maybe they'll do a better job if we pull out (and you can explain how that works?)?

The militants are probably not based primarily in northern Iraq.  That rebel group is based in Syria, IIRC.  The Kurds have a problem like that of Pakistan with its North Waziristan region.  The tension with Turkey, as a matter of fact, serves to motivate the Kurds to seek a united Iraq rather than a fully independent Kurdistan.

The US has picked so many different sides in this fight trying to make a failed policy work that we no longer have any credibility.

We'll have big-time credibility if we make it work.  Other nations will see our determination and our ability to achieve difficult goals even through adversity.  Though from you they'll see a tendency to throw in the towel based on casualty figures little higher than the U.S. military incurs during peacetime operations.

Iraq has become the chess board where Iran and Saudi Arabia and the other powers in the Middle East will play out their game creating more instability and death on and on and on.

Saudi Arabia has no interest in regional instability.  They have a strong interest in avoiding a neighbor to their immediate north in the political orbit of Iran.  Iran is the one stirring the pot because it serves their ends.  You're willing to hand them what they want, AFAICT.  But maybe you can suggest a foreign policy to forestall that outcome? 

Bryan, why should our soldiers be in the middle of that mess getting killed?

To keep Iraq from becoming the type of terrorist haven that Afghanistan once was, to  keep Iran from advancing its dream of the elimination of Israel and the establishment of a world caliphate, and to safeguard the engine of the the world's economy until the world has a chance to find a better one.  Put Iran's hands on the ignition key to the world's economy and you're begging for trouble.  You think oil money goes toward terrorism now?  Just wait until your hoped-for foreign policy starts bearing its fruit.

Sounds like you should be over there running the show. Why are you wasting your superior intellect on this little message board?

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Come home wiith Victory or come home on your shield.

Just what exactly does victory look like? So far we have not done anything to prevent or end the civil war in Iraq. We are not fighting an army that wears Al-Quaeda emblems on their uniforms. It is hard for most Americans to find any differences between Sunni and Shia, between Al-Quaeda and non-Al-Quaeda. Even if we kill all of the Sunni or the Shia or Al-Quaeda the Middle East has millions more of each to replace them. Korea is different from Iraq because we are on a defensive footing and there has been very little conflict there in many years. Our occupation of Iraq would just be an open wound and we will keep wasting lives there for years.

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What was obvious about the disastrous plunge into an Iraqi war is that Bush & Co. were doing it for political reasons. It was a war of choice, not of necessity.

The other obvious flaw in the planning, which should have stopped us from ever going in, was that while we could succeed in overthrowing Hussein in a matter of days or weeks, we could never succeed in bringing peace and stability into that country. You would think we would have learned our lesson from the tragic experience in Viet Nam, but tragically for us and the world, the same group that never learned the lesson of Viet Nam now insisted on making the same mistake in Iraq. Here we are, years later trying to figure a way out of a military adventure that was doomed to failure before it ever started.

The amazing thing about it is that Bush attacked Gore throughout the 2000 election campaign for the far smaller military adventures of the Clinton administration, arguing that Clinton never had an exit strategy. Of course, that is exactly why we are mired in the quagmire of Iraq: Bush had no exit strategy, we have no good way out. And yet for some reason, which I will never understand, the American people went along with it. The only thing I can surmise is that our people were still suffering from a collective PTSD after 9/11. Nothing else makes any sense. This war was insane from its inception, and the results only further verify the fact.

As I have said, the war was not a good idea. As much as I don't like Clinton, he forced Milosevich out without loss of American life. I'm simply stating that now that we are over there, we can't just pull out. Stores used to have signs saying "You broke it, you bought it." We are somewhat responsible for the mess in Iraq, so we have a responsibility to help fix it. I'm not sure the doofus in charge now can do that (I rather suspect not) but withdrawing is not the answer. If that country falls to chaos (which, btw, Iran would probably not let happen) it will be worse for us in the long run than staying.

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Come home wiith Victory or come home on your shield.

Crap like this pisses me off-how about you sign up, then? How dare you blame the troops! The troops aren't the problem-the crappy leadership (not military leadership-the politicians) is. If we'd put more guys on the ground we could win this war, but they're too afraid of losing votes. Please note that both parties have done the same damn thing-this is not an anti-Republican rant.

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Guest Patriot
Just what exactly does victory look like?  So far we have not done anything to prevent or end the civil war in Iraq.  We are not fighting an army that wears Al-Quaeda emblems on their uniforms.  It is hard for most Americans to find any differences between Sunni and Shia, between Al-Quaeda and non-Al-Quaeda.  Even if we kill all of the Sunni or the Shia or Al-Quaeda the Middle East has millions more of each to replace them.  Korea is different from Iraq because we are on a defensive footing and there has been very little conflict there in many years.  Our occupation of Iraq would just be an open wound and we will keep wasting lives there for years.

Billy speaks with authority on this subject, she spent many years in the Girl Scouts.

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Mostly through the oversimplified meaning assigned to terms, apparently intended to squeeeze all of the impact/reality out. When one finds the freaking Secretary of State quibbling about wanting to call 'throwing more bodies into Iraq' (might sound clunky, but at least it's language that's accurate and doesn't hide any meaning) an "augmentation" instead of an "escalation," (and eventually "surge," a desperate attempt to hide the futility of our so-called efforts in Iraq) one knows something is very wrong.

Hiding behind soft language and connotations is a sure sign something is rotten, and this "war" has been stinking up the place for years. Bush and co. screwed up big time, and it's high time we cut our losses and get the hell out before we piss away another half trillion dollars.

I remember Hilliary, Kerry and the rest of the defeatocrats stating there was evidence of WMD's and we need to disarm Saddam. Now all the cut & run Kool-aiders are suffering from selective memory.

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I remember Hilliary, Kerry and the rest of the defeatocrats stating there was evidence of WMD's and we need to disarm Saddam.  Now all the cut & run Kool-aiders are suffering from selective memory.

We all thought that was the case.........until the truth was revealed by Joe Wilson.

We were all lied to. You seem to be happy about it.

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