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U.S. ambassador: Al-Qaida close to defeat in Iraq

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It is most regrettable that the Ambassador's name is "Crock"er, and that he really has no idea who "Al Qaeda" is. Hey Ryan, peruse this: http://whatreallyhappened.com/fakealqaeda.html

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I wonder does Ambassador "Crock"er have hand in preventing the extradition of these members of "Al Qaeda"? I thought they were "close to defeat?" http://prisonplanet.com/articles/may2008/052308_cia_protects.htm

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Yay, great news, the surge worked, victory is at hand. Now can we get the troops out of there. Now.

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Yes - another corner turned.

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"he really has no idea who Al Qaeda is"

But GrouchyGaijin with the PhD knows exactly who al-Qaida is!

All it takes is one successful al-Qaida attack out of who knows how many attempted, resulting in any number of deaths or injuries, for the coalition to be labeled a "failure."

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" The U.S. ambassador to Iraq said Saturday that al-Qaida’s network in the country has never been closer to defeat "

Unadulterated BS. Al-Quaida represents pure, literal Sunni islam, and will re-appear everywhere where where fundamentalist imams preach in mosques.

The US ambassador only once again demonstrates that the US administration (this one as well as the democratic one to come in next year) is clueless about the problem the Western world is facing.

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"The U.S. military says attacks have dropped dramatically—down to an average of 41 a day across the country, the lowest rate since 2004—amid the crackdowns and truces."

Well, let me add my hearty (har har) congrats. Almost 2 attacks per hour! sure seems like a stroll in the park and 3 attacks in one day a proverbial paradise.

And Sarge, you worry about one lousy attack for critics to render this war a failure? This war is a fairy tale, except real people die despite all the "success". You want people to take this war serious, then demand those in charge to take it serious. But since it was built on lies ... umm ... good luck.

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Al Qaeda close to defeat in Iraq.

Time for their chickenhawk supporters on the Left to get over, pick up a gun, strap on a suicide belt and fight the good fight.

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My first question to you Sarge is, do you agree that the level of attacks have dropped and that peace as well as democracy will soon take root?

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This is simply fab news. I knew George Bush could do it.

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For many on the left, the war was "lost" before it even started. This is not a case of moving goal posts; there are no goal posts. They simply will not believe that any progress can be made, no matter what evidence to the contrary.

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I wonder if he made this pronouncement with a "Mission Accomplished" banner behind him.

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Triumvere digging a hole where you are not suppose to and then tossing a few shovel fulls of dirt is no evidence of progress. There may be progress in how this war may be exploited for political purposes. But for the purposes once stated to justify the war? Well, maybe you got lost in all the successes.

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They missed the April 1 annoucement date for this one.

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Thank you for illustrating my point, buddha4brains.

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Triumvere, well we are still waiting for "evidence to the contrary". When the Bush Administration stops putting lipstick on their pig of a war and recognize what they have done, then perhaps progress can be begin.

Also, you seem to be under the delusion that Bush & Co. should be trusted. If winning a war, any war, was a priority of this administration then they would have made sure they had the credibility first. They didn't and they ignored everyone outside its tight circle. It is too late to cry about how no one believes Bush & Co anymore.

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Triumvere: "For many on the left, the war was "lost" before it even started."

Don't know about that, but what IS known is that there was no AQ in Iraq, and no ties between AQ and Iraq, before the war, so tell me how opening the country to them is your 'success'.

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smithinjapan - "Don't know about that, but what IS known is that there was no AQ in Iraq, and no ties between AQ and Iraq, before the war..."

It's so easy debunking that one.

I chose a 2007 article from some rag called the Toronto Star:

"...Some analysts are linking the increase in Iraq suicide attacks to U.S. President George W. Bush's announcement in late January of an imminent troop surge aimed at quashing the relentless sectarian violence. Jones thinks it would have happened anyway.

He says Al Qaeda's evaluation of the tactic, summed up in 2001 by its then-chief in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, still holds true today."

http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/article/205922

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Sarge, I admire your patriotism, but, regrettably it is not an analytic patriotism. You can't just point and shoot your M-15 "'cos I got orders." IF you're a Sarge, you have a duty to THINK too. "Sarge's" are the backbone of the Army. "Al Qaeda" is not who you think it is, and regrettably, your belief system will be turned on its rear-end when you find out. Wake up! America's enemies are internal, and made to look external. Ryan Crocker & David Petraeus are pawns in the game. And if you're enlisted, I regret to tell you....so are Y O U! So, remember when you're on base, in the commisary, at the mess hall or even in the latrine, "loose lips sink ships." Yours! TRUST NO-ONE, EVER! (Me included!)

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buddha4brains,

"If winning a war, any war, was a priority of this administration then they would have made sure they had the credibility first."

Amen. One of the greatest lessons of Vietnam, apparently unlearned by a vast number.

Don't mistake me here, I'm not some right wing partisan. Bush has botched the war badly since the fall of Saddam. Loss of credibility is just one of many grevious failings. I make no excuess for him.

However, it does not follow that just because Bush is tainted that the war is hopelessly lost or that no good can come of it.

You ask me not to believe the government, but who, I wonder, would you have me believe? The traditional media? The UN? Left wing magazines? Conservative bloggers? Independent journalists? Anti-war activists? Surely not the US Amry?

The best answer, it would seem, is that one cannot believe any of them, and must do ones best to piece together what is going on from a wide variety of condraticory sources. I place the highest value on independent voices coming out of Iraq directly; I certainly cannot trust the regular media, which, as I said earlier, did their best to paint the war as an all out failure from the get go.

In doing such, it is impossible for me (or any other human) to be wholey uneffected by personal bias; all I can do is try to reserve healthy skepticism for news which confirms what I already believe. I am not alwasy sucessful in this, unfortunately. But I would encourage you to make the same attempt; unthinking partisan politics is a scourge which does untold damage. Do not let your hatred of Bush cloud your judgement.

I took issue with your previous post because it seems to fit exactly into the culture of defeat which seems to have enthralled the left; It says: 1) the progress is miniscule 2) it doesn't matter if there is any progress anyway, because the war should never have been fought to begin with 3) but there isn't really any progress at all, only political spin, 4) indeed, there can never be any progress at all because of particular messures you have chosen to gauge success.

Well, let me tell you what I would consider success: When the war is finished, Iraq becomes a free, functioning (albiet imperfect) Middle Eastern democracy which exerts a stabilzing force on the region.

I still beleve that this can be achieved; you may not, and it would be perfectly resonable for you to debate the issue. However, I suspect you are not "waiting for evidence" of success, but rather waiting for defeat and will never be able to interpret events in Iraq as anything but. To you the war is illegitmate and can never have a successful out come.

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U.S. ambassador: Al-Qaida close to defeat in Iraq

It would be so much easier to get excited about this if I didn't think Ambassador Crocker was likely talking about things on an evolutionary scale. You heard it here first folks. Al-Qaida will be completely defeated before we evolve cell phone holders on the side of our heads.

Imagine my enthusiasm.

Taka

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smithinjapan,

I don't think you are looking at "Al-Qaida" from the right perspective; it is not some sort of solidly defined entity, with centralized control and a fixed roster of players and assets. It is, instead, a nebulous system of loose and temporary affiliations; a thouroughly 21st century opponent. There is a reason why we refer to "the War on Terror" which is practical, rather than some mere political maneuver.

If you mean, as I think you do, that invading Iraq was not a direct blow against Osama bin Laden, or that the current alliance of terrorist known as AQ in Iraq did not exist before the invasion, then you are correct, but you are also missing the point: Iraq was a destablizing force in the region and a promoter of international terrorism. While the supposed chemical/nuclear threat turned out to be negligable, that does not diminish the harm Saddam was causing nor preculde him from doing further harm in future.

I am well aware that an effort was made on the right to create a direct link between Saddam and Sept. 11th in order to justify the invasion. Just becasue this was disingenous does not, however, automatically invalidate the war effort.

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Triumvere - Excellent post.

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"I am well aware that an effort was made on the right to create a direct link between Saddam and Sept. 11th in order to justify the invasion. Just becasue this was disingenous does not, however, automatically invalidate the war effort."

What effort? The was NO al Qaida in Iraq until the so-called waro on terror allowed any fundie with a grudge to travel there and run amok.

The attempts at revising history by the dregs of the war supporters is comical.

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Close to defeat.....again?

Has Crocker been getting Delusion lessons from Donald Rumsfelt?

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Madverts, "What effort?"

Indeed. I just finished with The Art of War and let me just say that Sun Tzu obviously isn't too popular among the white house crowd.

If the invasion and occupation of Iraq was actually done with the idea of winning and making the world a better place in mind, then I say that not even the parenting book by Lynne Spears was more poorly timed and planned.

Taka

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Madverts - "The was NO al Qaida in Iraq until the so-called waro on terror allowed any fundie with a grudge to travel there and run amok. The attempts at revising history by the dregs of the war supporters is comical."

In addition to my post above citing an article by the Toronto Star, there is this rather shrieky piece from a British newspaper, The Guardian:

By Julian Borger in Washington The Guardian, Saturday February 6 1999 Article history

"Saddam Hussein's regime has opened talks with Osama bin Laden, bringing closer the threat of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, according to US intelligence sources and Iraqi opposition officials. The key meeting took place in the Afghan mountains near Kandahar in late December. The Iraqi delegation was led by Farouk Hijazi, Baghdad's ambassador in Turkey and one of Saddam's most powerful secret policemen, who is thought to have offered Bin Laden asylum in Iraq.

The Saudi-born fundamentalist's response is unknown. He is thought to have rejected earlier Iraqi advances, disapproving of the Saddam Hussein's secular Baathist regime. But analysts believe that Bin Laden's bolthole in Afghanistan, where he has lived for the past three years, is now in doubt as a result of increasing US and Saudi government pressure.

News of the negotiations emerged in a week when the US attorney general, Janet Reno, warned the Senate that a terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction was a growing concern. "There's a threat, and it's real," Ms Reno said, adding that such weapons "are being considered for use."

<Yawn>

Another day, another smackdown

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yawn

Yeah, uhm heh, super_d...,

That intel was so "good" that even Bush Co didn't use it in their manipulation of "intelligence" to scare the weaker-minded Americans into the invasion of Iraq.

This is like that bogus Newsweak article you once patheicaly attempted to submit about imaginary "terror training" camps which were another figment of a journalists wild imagination.

I know the simple fact that the so-called war on terror actually gave al-Qaida a free run in Iraq for the past 5 odd years gives cause for head implosions by the war supporting radicals, but...

..it's fact:

No al-Qaida in Iraq before the US invasion of Iraq put 'em there.

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Madverts - "That intel was so "good" that even Bush Co didn't use it in their manipulation of "intelligence" to scare the weaker-minded Americans into the invasion of Iraq."

Bushco?

Clinton-appointed CIA director George Tenet: "We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qa'eda going back a decade. Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qa'eda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression. We have credible reporting that Al Qa'eda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. Iraq has provided training to Al Qa'eda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs."

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Madverts:

"What effort? The was NO al Qaida in Iraq until the so-called waro on terror allowed any fundie with a grudge to travel there and run amok.

The attempts at revising history by the dregs of the war supporters is comical"

Did you not read my post, or something?

I think its safe to say that Bush never dreamed of an insurgency of any significance. But if you are trying to say the Saddam wasn't connected to terrorism you are either being deceptive or willfully ignorant.

Taka:

Poorly planned, certainly, if you are speaking in the long term. Actually, the initial invasion and the deposing of Saddam were brilliantly planned and excecuted. (thus the "Mission Accomplished" incident). The problem was, they were fighting a 20th century war. Bush, short sighted as ever, figured we'd charge in crush Saddam and the Republican Guard (we did), and then everything would be smooth sailing after than (it wasn't). Thanks, in part, to people like Rumsfeld, it took us a hell of a long time to admit we needed a change in strategy and actually impliment one. The "good news" we are quibbling about here is due to that strategic shift.

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Congratulations Madverts, Much like dragging Hitler into the discussion, "but...but...but...Bill Clinton __ (fill in the blank)" is internationally known as a sign of defeat.

Here's a hint. Neo-cons prefer to compartmentalize their arguments. While George Tenet was a Clinton appointee, he was not replaced by the bush administration. This is the part neo-cons don't mention. Every president going back to Jimmy Carter has replaced the CIA director upon taking office, except gwb. Trying to pin Tenet's actions on Bill Clinton is just another compartmentalized argument that when taken one step further, falls flat.

It's like how I was told to deal with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Read one verse prior and two verses after the verse they read you and you'll have a better understanding of the truth. As long as they can stick to their shortened version of the truth, they are ok. As soon as the big picture is brought into play, they are as screwed as a drunken prom date.

Taka

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Madverts, And because we're having so much fun, let's just take at super delegate's post a bit further:

"We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qa'eda going back a decade. Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qa'eda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression. We have credible reporting that Al Qa'eda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. Iraq has provided training to Al Qa'eda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs."

Pretty damning and serious stuff, huh? Granted, nothing there indicates any imminent danger to the U.S., but the thinking was, we better invade, just in case. So if CIA intel reports are taken so seriously, even though no mention is made of an imminent threat to America, that we must attack based on them, why nothing after "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.?" Because the initial argument is a bad rationalization made after the fact.

Triumvere, I see where you are headed and in defense of rumsfeld, even the best planning and execution in the world doesn't make a bad idea any better. Fighting two wars when one of them isn't necessary at that time is stupid. Stupid to the point of being criminal.

Taka

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are also missing the point: Iraq was a destablizing force in the region and a promoter of international terrorism

An ascendant Iran. Iraq in the hands of Islamists instead of a secular government. Iraq with a hollowed-out middle class.

And that's stabilizing?

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Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean: "There were contacts between Iraq and al-Qa'eda, a number of them, some of them a little shadowy. They were definitely there."

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"An ascendant Iran. Iraq in the hands of Islamists instead of a secular government. Iraq with a hollowed-out middle class.

And that's stabilizing?"

I don't quite think thats how Bush pictured it working out. I would also say that the war isn't over yet. Infact, it could go on for some time, despite what the candidates are telling you. I would not characterize Iraq as "being in the hands of Islamists". Certainly Islamic parties have a powerful influence. Did you expect it to be otherwise? There was no chance of creating some sort of mini-US in the middle of the desert. But its not like the clerics are running the country. That goes for the ones in Iran, as well. Virtually all Iraqi political groups have ties to Iran. Once again, did you believe it could be otherwise? Certainly not in the begining, at least. But that doesn't make them puppets. We do not need Iraq and Iran to be enemies, or Iraq as some sort of military ally against Iran and Syria. Iraqi people have overwhelmingly rejected Islamist government. If they can be given a working government that represents them and a mesure of stability and safety, then the middle class will not merely return, but thrive. A working, prosperous democracy is the best bulwark that can possibly be found against the malign influence of Iran or Islamism. A big "if", certainly, but that was the gamble which was taken when the decision was made to invade. The way to insure your words come true would be to pull out now, before the job is finished.

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I don't quite think thats how Bush pictured it working out.

Not really relevant.

I would also say that the war isn't over yet.

You initially wrote "Iraq was a destabilizing force." So whether or not the war is over, Triumvere, you seem to think that Iraq is no longer a destabilizing place. My post pointed out that Iraq most certainly is a destabilizing force, and more so than it was before.

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I suppose that CNN--as the epitome of the supposed "MSM"--managed to get it all wrong, but they reported that there was no link between Saddam and bin Laden and that, contrary to Rumsfeld's 2002 claim, al Qaida was not in Iraq.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/03/13/alqaeda.saddam/

Now CNN claims to have extracted this information from a Pentagon report, but since it can't be trusted (CNN, not the Pentagon!) I should probably try to wade through the Pentagon's turgid prose to draw my own conclusions. But wouldn't it be enough to say that determining whether al Qaida was or was not in Iraq prior to the US invasion is not exactly like shooting fish in a barrel?

As for Ryan Crocker, he would be unlikely to say anything to put a damper on administration efforts in Iraq. And, whereas he may be right, he also sounds a bit like an sportscaster doing a play-by-play of Sisyphus's efforts to get the rock uphill:

"Never closer."

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All these whiners who complain about the liberation of Iraq being poorly planned, etc., for cryin' out loud, at least we finally did something about the cesspool that was Iraq. Everyone else was content to let that dictator continue to run the place into the ground and shoot at U.N.-authorized planes patrolling the no-fly zone.

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Well, let me tell you what I would consider success: When the war is finished, Iraq becomes a free, functioning (albiet imperfect) Middle Eastern democracy which exerts a stabilzing force on the region.

I still beleve that this can be achieved; you may not, and it would be perfectly resonable for you to debate the issue. However, I suspect you are not "waiting for evidence" of success, but rather waiting for defeat and will never be able to interpret events in Iraq as anything but. To you the war is illegitmate and can never have a successful out come.

Triumvere, excellent point.

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Nessie,

I said "was" because we were discussing the dsecision to go to war. Obviously, the current state of Iraq could not have played a role in that process. Certainly, it its current state, Iraq is destablizing to the region (how could it be anything else? it isn't stable itself, yet, though it should be noted that it draws much of that distablization to itself rather than projecting it outward.) I'm not here to play some sort of word game with you, or to score some kind of rhetorical point.

As to the sunk-cost issue; it is human nature to want to make good on an investment, and to irrationally over extend yourself in order to avoid loss. That doesn't mean we have reached the point of futility in this particular situation, though, does it? Do you truly believe that the war is lost, or that no good can come of it significant enough to justify further investment? War is not like sporting event, where you know the rules and can gauge the likely outcomes. A lot of pundits and comentators act like daytraders, declaring success or failure based on the days event. Daytrading is a horrible investment strategy, and works even worse for military conflicts. Do you have any interest in military history? If you'd studied it you'd know that it is nearly impossible to see what lies ahead, and that even when things look their darkest those who persivere may still find victory. And things do not look so dark now, if you are willing to believe in some of the more positive stories recently coming out of Iraq. Furthermore, this is not the issue of merely wheather to "cut your losses." There are far reaching consequences to our defeat which will effect the world for decades to come. This is much bigger than just Iraq and whether we can put it back together or not, and our investment thus far pales in comparison to what our forefathers have sacrificed.

If I believed, as you seem to, that all is lost then, I too, would advocate retreat. But I don't.

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Triumvere,

What you say is true. Yet what it amounts to is holding out hope and optimism as collateral against defeat.

Just as we are not friends of the Saudis (except perhaps the House of Saud), with our current methods we are not likely ever to become friends of either the Sunnis or the Shia. Not ever. The rancor over an infidel incursion will always remain and the best we can hope for Iraq is that it become a somewhat more ill-willed Saudi Arabia. Even if we succeed in quieting the violence, the cause for grievance will remain.

Some have said that we have, in the Middle East, become not trusted, not respected and not feared. This has no military solution. While a solution to this might not preclude use of the military, I think the military will have to proceed on some other basis than the one at present--if at all. We've thrown half a trillion dollars at the problem and have very little to show for it. Afghanistan and Iraq have even less.

Enough with "turning corners". Enough with "having them on the run". Enough with "never closer". If we cannot assist these countries in solving their problems (and there is no clear indication that we can), we should allow them the courtesy of solving their problems themselves or allowing regional players to help them do so.

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Do you truly believe that the war is lost, or that no good can come of it significant enough to justify further investment?

It no longer a war. It's an unwelcome military occupation. As a self-avowed student of military history, you should know how these usually end. The invasion has been won, but the war has been lost; the occupation is unwinnable.

War is not like sporting event, where you know the rules and can gauge the likely outcomes....it is nearly impossible to see what lies ahead

Indeed it isn't. That's why you need a game plan and sound contingency plans. It's been well established that there was no proper planning for any of the likeliest eventualities. Ad hoc is not a plan. And it's especially hard to see what lies ahead when you don't both looking and thinking.

A lot of pundits and comentators act like daytraders, declaring success or failure based on the days event.

My objection is based on the abovementioned principle regarding the unlikelihood of imposing democracy on an unwilling and divided populace. No amount of wishful thinking will change this.

even when things look their darkest those who persivere may still find victory.

This is like faith-based arguments in favor of god. To the true believer, there is no evidence that will convince that success is not just around the corner...no, trust me, I mean the next corner...durnit, the corner after that, no, the next...

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"This is like faith-based arguments in favor of god. To the true believer, there is no evidence that will convince that success is not just around the corner...no, trust me, I mean the next corner...durnit, the corner after that, no, the next..."

As opposed to the "its already failed" mentality, which has been held by many from day 0?

"The invasion has been won, but the war has been lost; the occupation is unwinnable"

Self fufillling prophecy, and all that. Believe it or not, mentality makes a huge difference in whether or not you win a war. If are convinced you can do nothing but fail, then you most likely will.

But we are hardly at some sort of "darkest before the dawn" moment, are we? Are our soldiers on the verge of being wiped out? Are they cut off, under siege, starving and out of ammunition? Are we completely spent?Nonsense. The worse case senario, at this point, is that a massive civil war breaks out There is a lot of room for optimisim in the current Iraq situation. But you'll never be able to evaluate the situation objectively if you are convinced we've already lost.

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Um, some how lost the mid-section there:

The worst case senario is that a massive civil war breaks out, and out soldiers are stuck weathering the storm until we decide there is nothing more we can do. Cut your losses would indeed be the correct strategy in such a cae. But we aren't anywhere near that yet, for all the infighting between religious and tribal groups, militias and terrorists.

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As opposed to the "its already failed" mentality, which has been held by many from day 0?

It's not a mentality. It's historical precedent. How many historical precedents can you name of long-term multi-ethnic insurgencies being successfully quelled by occupation, particularly without having to resort to atrocities?

Phillipines? No. Afghanistan? No. Vietnam? No.

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We heard about Al-Quaeda being in Iraq before it all started.

Lies, based on fabrication.

We heard they were "deadenders" and then the last throes.

Now that they are in Iraq, they'll go as soon as "they" are good and ready.

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Triumvere,

I don't think that the worst-case scenario is that a civil war breaks out. I think that the worst-case scenario is that we engage in a permanent occupation of Iraq without quelling the opposition to our presence and without bringing anything resembling true stability to Iraq.

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Nessie,

The picture you are painting is of a Iraq where the populace is united against us. I don't think that is the case. While the vast majority of Iraqis want us out, the don't want us to go before the region is stablized. Al-qaida (read foriegn fighters as opposed to OBL) in Iraq and local bathist insurgency geniuinely seem to be on the decline; don't take Mr. Croker's word for it, but instead look at the "Anbar Awakening" and counteless others like it, where Iraqis (especially Sunnis) are turning against criminal "insurgents" who terrorize their neighborhoods. The insurgency simply cannot survive the loss of local support, especially in the case of foriegn combatants who are increasingly not welcome.

Does that mean we are approaching victory? Not nearly; the next big obstacle is dealing the sectarian and tribal militias, as well as gansters which plague Iraq. Iran has a big hand here as well, often supporting multiple groups against each other, the gov't, and the occupation forces. The good news on this end is that the gov't and the Iraqi army are getting stronger, fighting and winning more on their own, and earning the trust and respect of the people. al Sadr's Mejdi army is on the ropes in Sadr City, and Iranian backed militias have been crippled in Basra (note here, what seems now to be a great success for the Iraqi gov't was loudly proclaimed to be a massive failure by the NYT and many other traditional media outlets only moments after the assault was launched.)

So, now the gov't and the army must be established as the center of power in Iraq, so that the rule of law may be restored. Do we have a long way to go? Certainly. To what extent corruption and Iranian influence can be weeded out is unclear. They may take decades or more to fade, and for the government to become a fully functioning democracy. The insurgency, also, in some form may continue into the future. But I truely believe we are making progress slowly toward that goal. US troops may be in Iraq for a very long time to come (if that is what it takes) but the focus will shift from US occupation forces to that of the Iraqi gov't and army until it can stand more or less on its own. The fightmay continue, but I think it will look very different than it does today.

Ask yourself what the Iraqis want: they want their own state, safe and stable, free from terror and independent. Ask yourself what we can do to give them that; I do not think the answer is to pull out now.

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A lot of pundits and comentators act like daytraders, declaring success or failure based on the days event.

Very true Triumvere. There is too much microanalysis of this war. Nobody really seems to want to talk about the importance of what is going on in Iraq in 2020.

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Do I sense a hint of sarcasm?

So the last week saw the lowest number of US casualties since the start of the war: one serviceman killed. Now, if I got up and declaired this as a sign we were winning, you would call BS and take me to task for it; and you would be right to do so.

But it, next week, a bomb goes off somewhere and kills a large number of soldiers, many will hold it up as proof that we are losing, or indeed have alreadly lost. Is that somehow more logical? War doesn't work like that.

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No sarcasm at all. Your posts put it very clearly.

Most posters cant get past their dislike of Bush, USA or the way the war started. I dont like Bush and I dont like the way the war started either, but I still try to look at the war objectively and realisticly.

Everybody want to say get the troops out now. Fine, go ahead and do that, but then what???? The issues/problems may or may not be solved and I think thats what most people dont want to talk about.

Its not so important what happens in Iraq today or next week. Its more important what will be happening in the year 2018

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Very well said!

Sorry to have missunderstood you.

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The issues/problems may or may not be solved and I think thats what most people dont want to talk about.

Isn't that much better than having zero chance of solving the problem?

We cannot solve the problems in Iraq with our occupation when one of the biggest problems in Iraq is our continued occupation.

Taka

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US occupation was a problem in Germany, Japan and South Korea also. Hearts and minds lost all over the place. And their economies, we destroyed them.

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Triumvere,

"But if you are trying to say the Saddam wasn't connected to terrorism you are either being deceptive or willfully ignorant."

Ah, so it's connections to "terrorism" now, not the ubiquitous al Qaida that the invasion allowed to run amok. Heh, I love the way your more intelligent war supporter plays his cards. super, uhm, heh delegate please take note...

The only thing I see is that if we go down your line of argument, of course Hussein had connections to terrorism - Saddam was a terrorist himself of sort. An argument like that, however, makes people who were active participants in the shriek for war, such as the earlier mentioned incompetent Rumsfelt, as also being connected to terrorism by default.

"While the supposed chemical/nuclear threat turned out to be negligable"

Heh. Sound the Revisionist alarm and shove that man into the searchlight....

Negligible?

Thanks for the Monday morning laugh. Hussein's alleged "nuclear program" turned out to be a handfull of Inox bolts and washers buried since '91 in a mad professors garden, and the stocks of "WMD" that afore-mentoined Rumsfelt even claimed "we know where they are", turned out to be non-freakin'-existant.

Really Triumvere, I didn't realize anyone with elequoence still attempted to justify the war via these means, or more in this case, flat out deny that the so-called war on terror opened up Iraq from a nasty secular dictatorship to a monumental breeding ground for terrorists, notably the ubiquitous al-Qaida that are about to be defeated, uhm, again, and has sent what's left of the country more than likely down the road of fundie governance à la Iran when the US government finally reads the writing on the wall an bogs of back home....

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" The mistake of the Bush administration (as well as the democrats) is to assume that the same model would work in a muslim society. It does not."

Make that a muslim society that in general, despises America.

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We cannot solve the problems in Iraq with our occupation when one of the biggest problems in Iraq is our continued occupation.

Taka - Maybe yes, maybe no. But there are many more variables at play here than occupation. Heck, there are even many variables within the variable of occupation.

To say they can not solve Iraq becuase the occupation is a big problem is oversimplifying it just a wee bit. And by the way, all of those variables mentioned above can and do change.

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Well, it would seem that to say the surge is working in Iraq is oversimplifying things a wee bit, too. The variables can and do change, but that is no more a reason for false hope than it is for despair. What should be alarming is the absence of a clearly articulated picture of what success would look like and how the administration proposes to get there from here.

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Re: the surge.

Well, up until now violence has been reduced.

The problems with Sez's "clearly articulated picture of what success would look like and how the administration proposes to get there from here" is that they had that chance, and they blew it.

Or more accurately - it was sheer delusion to think that the Iraqi's were going to accept a US occupation of their country (which they don't), that democracy was to flower on a people who have never known it, or who's ethnic factions had been deceitfully drawn together by the British with the intent of promoting discord between them in the old divide and rule strategy.

Oh, and weren't the Iraqi's supposed to be paying for it all to boot with their oil revenues rather than the US taxpayer? Let's not forget that little gem came from that idiot Wolfowitz - who later went on to be nominated by Bush Co for top position in the World Bank for Pete's sake.

But more importantly - how on earth did the invaders not "plan" for terrorism in the "liberated" Iraq? It is frankly embarassing to think that blood-soaked history of the region and the current Islamic radical penchant for blowing things up was accidently left off the table when Bush Co were "planning" this invasion.

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"but that is no more a reason for false hope than it is for despair"

It's typical gureilla (or however it's spelt) warfare. When they're getting their asses kicked they simply slink off somewhere else, re-group, re-arm and when everyone thinks things are getting better...KABOOOOM!

Unless there is someone out there that can show me a clear defeat of that-word-I-can-never-spell warfare by a superior invading force.

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isn't invading another country a self-defeating act, especially when it creates only more extremism ? taking gasoline straight to a fire instead of water is a really bad idea. to the contrary, al-qaeda's business has been thriving, thanks to rome.

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Madverts,

Yes, violence has been reduced. However, my point was that on that account it would be oversimplifying to say that the surge is "working".

I don't think there were any "problems" with my statement regarding the need for clearly articulated goals and strategies. However, I agree that the administration had a chance to do so and failed. I also think it still has that chance but continues to fail.

medievaltimes seemed to me to be holding out hope that because variables can and do change, it is premature to claim the inevitability of defeat. My point was that by the same token it is wearisome to continue to trumpet the possibility of victory.

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Sez,

Well, it would seem that to say the surge is working in Iraq is oversimplifying things a wee bit, too.

Actually, I think it would be just plain wrong.

The surge was put in place to stabalize things so that the Iraqi govt. could stand up. They have not stood up. Saying that the surge has decreased the violence is great. Everyone is for less violence (except the halliburton and blackwater crowd) but that is NOT the bar for success.

Taka

Taka

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Well, it would seem that to say the surge is working in Iraq is oversimplifying things a wee bit, too.

SEZ - Yes, you are correct. However, I never once said in a post "the surge is working". I believe most people who post oversimplify the Iraq thing. Day to day headlines really dont mean too much in the big picture of things. In my earlier post I mentioned "there is too much microanalysis going on". And that goes for both sides.

There seems to be a group of people who can not move past their dislike of Bush or the way the war was initiated. A headline states 27 people were killed by a bomber and within 15 posts WMD is mentioned.

There also seems to be a group of people that scream about bringing the troops home today. Fine. Ok. No problem......but then what??? What happens after that??

There is a very real possibility that if the US pulls out today, they will have to go back in at a later time under worse conditions.

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"A headline states 27 people were killed by a bomber and within 15 posts WMD is mentioned."

You've got to remember that a huge amount of people, most people outside of America in fact, were strongly against the invasion. Since it's turned out to be a disaster, and since some stange people continue to defend the pre-emptive doctrince that has clamed so many lives, I think it's fair to expect continued critisizm when the situation looks so bleak.

If the US pulls out today, or it pulls out in 5 years time, frankly I don't think it will make much difference. The British saw the writing on the wall long ago and deserted Basara (whilst simaltaneously claiming "success".)

Iraq is headed for a fundie governance similar to Iran, no matter how big the Americans have built their embassy.

And to those that would claim a US pullout would "turn Iraq over to the terrorists".....

...I got news for y'all. That happened some time ago.

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"The British saw the writing on the wall long ago and deserted Basara (whilst simaltaneously claiming "success".)"

That's one way of looking at it.

Recent NY Times article and analysis at http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/

“I have been very frustrated at the British,” said Brig. Gen. Edan Jaber, a police commander in Basra. He said the British “gave a high priority to their own security” and “were not forceful with the cases they faced in the street.”

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Taka,

Your correct in that the the surge was put in place to stabalize things. Your also correct in stating that less violence is not the bar for success. However, the bars to success will NEVER be met if the surge doesn't stabalize things and reduce the violance to a level that is managable by the newly trained and organized IG, IA and IP.

Questions:

Has violence decreased since the surge started? Yes, it has. Has the Iraqi government been able to make "forward" motion in getting itself setup and stabalized? At least, at a faster clip than at pre-surge levels? Yes, it has. Has the Iraqi Army taken over more of the security of their nation since the surge commenced? Yes, they have. Has the Iraqi police responded to their training, care of the surge, and taken over more of the security of their communities and neighboorhoods? Yes, they have

Are they at the level they SHOULD be? No, they are not. But, they are getting there at an increased pace, in large part because of the surge.

The surge IS working. It's not setting land speed records for goal accomplishment, but it IS working in every definable way. Those items that are missing are the pieces of the puzzle that belong to the Iraqi Government.

However... Petraeus said it best. The gains made, and they are verifiable, are easily lost if things don't improve on the political front. I'll lead the pack to say the surge is working right now. I'll also lead the pack in 5 or 6 months without any further changes to state that it is sputtering.

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"“I have been very frustrated at the British,” said Brig. Gen. Edan Jaber, a police commander in Basra. He said the British “gave a high priority to their own security” and “were not forceful with the cases they faced in the street.” "

Can you blame them?

They're fighting someone else's war. And avoiding casualties in a war that is extremely un-popular at home?

But then again, you took what you wanted from your blog entry and ignored the rest....

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The surge set out to reduce the chronic violence in Iraq. For the moment, it has achieved its' aims.

But like I've stated many a time, the Americans cannot sustain this position, so basically the terrorists that the invasion allowed to run amok in Iraq will sit out the surge.

General Betryaedus is already talking about reducing troop levels, but then again, we have to judge what is being done and said to influence the US elections and the continued Denial of the mess Bush Co made over there....

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madverts - "They're fighting someone else's war. And avoiding casualties in a war that is extremely un-popular at home?"

Among the enemies of Coalition forces in Iraq is a group calling themselves The 1920 Revolutionary Brigade.

Wonder how they got a name like that.

And why so implacable?

They're as bad as the Leftover Arabs over there in "Palestine"...

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Either way, sorry, heh, super d...,

I can see how you have to spew forth such bile in complete and utter lack of defense on the matter your advocation of the invasion of Iraq, and the subsequent invasion by al Qaida.

In fact, you end up being a terrorist supporter.

Int that funny?

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Taka,

I was attempting to give the benefit of the doubt. I think the surge has reduced violence and I think the Iraqi government is trying to stand up. It is not standing up rapidly enough for the surge to have worked but it may be trying to stand up enough that, charitably, the surge may be said to be working.

Privately, however, I agree with you.

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medievaltimes,

I'm not a person who obsesses over past posts and I don't know what you have or have not said in the past. I take your word for it that you have never claimed that the surge is working. My posts here should speak for themselves in showing that I have never attributed such a statement to you.

What I am talking about is that the argument that variables can and do change is no argument at all. Of course they can. However, we can only work with the variables at the values that they have at present and with the extrapolated arc of of those values as laid out under clear and well-vetted assumptions. And it seems to me that the arc of those values does not hold a lot of promise unless we inject massive doses of optimism in addition to massive doses of money.

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Madverts - "General Betryaedus"

You meant "General Betray-us" right? How about you come back here and post after you grow up a bit more?

"In fact, you end up being a terrorist supporter"

That's rich, coming from you, who would have us surrender to the terrorists.

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Uh, sarge;

"How about you come back here and post after you grow up a bit more?"

Yes, maybe I should start signing in with a military sounding handle to sound more mature.

"who would have us surrender to the terrorists."

As I've repeatedly stated to un-abatted shrieking in protest - the invasion of Iraq and the so-called war on terror has allowed Islamic terrorists to run amok in Iraq.

Deal with it.

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crocker,a bremmer cronie.enough said. 43's admin lies about everything,all the time,are we suppost to belive any numbers they give us"on good faith" anymore. i wish there was a 3rd party w/any viabilty we could trust to give us a true percentage. this admin has turned me into a pesimist,and that was hard to do.

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Madverts - "( unabated ) shrieking"

That would be your posts.

"the invasion of Iraq" blah blah blah

Yeah, you'd also have said, "the invasion of Germany," "the invasion of Okinawa," "the invasion of Korea,"...

"so-called war on terror has allowed Islamic terrorists to run amok in Iraq. Deal with it."

Yeah, life's a bitch. We're dealing with it without your support. If you had your way, that awful "secular" dictator would have continued running Iraq into the ground from his many luxurious palaces, something most Iraqis would never trade for the current situation.

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As of today (May 27) Al-Qaeda admits they have all but lost in Iraq. Internet forums devoted to Jihad and to a new Caliphate are openly discussing the debacle. What went wrong? What could US Democrats have done to further the cause of those opposed to US occupation in Iraq and to Bush's infamous plans, now realised, to secure all that Iraqi crude so that the American economy would have an endless supply of cheap oil?

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htiw/articles/20080527.aspx

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Don't you mean "an endless supply of expensive oil"?

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Uh, sarge;

"We're dealing with it without your support."

You should be dealing with the terrorist situation - you created it.

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Pointing out "the Big Picture" is likely to get you arrested in the European countries/Muslim colonies that madverts and sezwho are from.

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"get you arrested in the European countries/Muslim colonies"

Yes, yes and everyone has to wear a headscarf because of dhummitide. Heh, it get's more paranoid every hour.

One question though uhm, super-d..., if you're so paranoid about the muslims taking over, why the hell did you support and continue to defend invading muslim lands?

Breath deeply. I expect a lucid reply.

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Since when has the US been a European country or Muslim colony? If you have refutations, bring them on. Name-calling is a sign of a lost argument.

Furthermore, pointing out the "the Big Picture" is unlikely to get you arrested in any of the places you name. Granted, your "Big Picture" had better agree with the received "Big Picture". But there's no point in keeping your head if you're not going to use it.

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"If you have refutations, bring them on."

That would be a first.

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Madverts - "You should be dealing with the terrorist situation - you created it."

You secretly pray we defeat the terrorists who would torture and kill you without hesitation or remorse. We didn't create them, but, by golly we're dealing with them.

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You secretly pray we defeat the terrorists who would torture and kill you without hesitation or remorse.

Sarge - Good point. For as bad as the US is made out to be, I sure as heck don't want the other side to win. At least with the US you can pretty much worship as you please. The other side makes a twisted version of Islam mandatory with severe punishment or death if you do not comply.

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"We didn't create them"

You created them in Iraq. Sorry your brain can't deal with it.

0 al Qaida in Iraq until the so-called war on terror put them there.

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"For as bad as the US is made out to be, I sure as heck don't want the other side to win."

What "other side"?

Al-Qaida is a simple ideology that any Islamic fundie with a grudge and an internet connection can adhere to.

The biggest mistake made in dealing with al-Qaida, well the biggest mistake right after the gargantuan mistake in Iraq of course, is giving them all the damned publicity - and attributing acts of terror to "the base" that are surely quite often the work of the resistance to US occupation...

...or any other of the red-eyed nutters that the invasion, yes uh, sarge - the invasion allowed to wreak havoc there.

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Who is al-queada? Is Osama hiding in pakistan caves is the leader of this outfit ? Who is running this outfit in Iraq? How the WIN is MEASURED? Is on body counts or by attacks against green zone or by ordinary iraquies walking the streets without fear?

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Madverts.... and pretty soon... 0 al Qaida in Iraq yet again.

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"Madverts.... and pretty soon... 0 al Qaida in Iraq yet again."

Why? Because the US ambassador sez so?

Loki, no one had heard of al Qaida until they were blamed for 9/11.

And Iraq had never had al Qaida bombings until the US invaded.

I'm all for al Qaida being kicked out of Iraq, but Reality, the old enemy of this invasion, sez they're simply hiding out until the surge wanes in true gureilla style.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7425314.stm

According to Iraqi and American propaganda, the city where this happened is considered to be the last urban stronghold of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Then again, we were told the back of the insurgency had been broken sometime in 2003....

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The surge is working. Heh, that must really grind the gears of some posters here.

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" Heh, that must really grind the gears of some posters here."

No it's the terrorist breeding ground thet the US created that grinds my gears. Heh, it grinds your gears too, but not in the same way because you're in Denial, uh, sarge.

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No it's the terrorist breeding ground thet the US created that grinds my gears.

Terrorist breeding ground in the short term sure. Why wouldnt it be? Of course the terrorists are going to flock there. But what is more important is the long run.

The upcoming election and foreign policy will be an important point. But if the troops stay, the US probably will not have a good grasp of things for another couple years.

If the troops pull out, there is a possibility that the US will have to go back in at a later date under worse conditions.

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There's always that possibility. There are also the possibilities that the US will "have to" go back in again under better conditions or that a US pullout will allow Iraq to get this problem sorted expediently on its own.

Possibilities are not the point. The point is the cost of various courses of actions and of probabilites of those actions being successful. "Expected value" is the calculation that we should be trying to understand.

The administration has so far been arguing that its course of action is the only course of action which avoids ruin. In so doing, however, it has both neglected to demonstrate that this is so and ignored the calculations that show its course of action is producing a negative yield.

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No, the U.S. didn't create the terrorists/terrorist breeding ground, but we're dealing with them/it.

"uh, sarge"

Madverts, I'm laughing at the superior intellect.

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"No, the U.S. didn't create the terrorists/terrorist breeding ground"

So it just appeared mysteriously in the aftermath of the invasion?

Phew - I've heard of chronic Delusion before but that takes the biscuit.

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Author Lawrence Wright won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, which traces the development and rise of Al Qaeda.

He is now chronicling a revolt within their ranks and maybe even their demise -

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/02/080602fa_fact_wright?currentPage=1

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Too many people on here have no clue what is going on other than what the read on the internet/newspaper/magazine.

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Too many people everywhere have that problem. Maybe even in the White House.

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But super-d,

That doesn't expalin the phenemenon that al-Qaida didn't exist in Iraq until the invasion put them there.

The few dregs that continue to offer their support for the invasion are truly un-patriotic Americans and supporters of terroroism IMO.

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Nightflesh,

Firstly, nice handle.

Secondly, maybe you could tell us what is really going on then?

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Too many people on here have no clue what is going on other than what the read on the internet/newspaper/magazine.

So, whats your view???

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Madverts - Let me try to explain this to you one more time - No, of course al-Qaida didn't just appear mysteriously in Iraq - they took advantage of the power vacuum caused by all the in-fighting between the various Iraqi factions who couldn't seem to come together after we kicked out the dictator who was running the country into the ground. What's that? Would have been better to leave the dictator in place to continue running the country into the ground? Don't think so. And neither do most Iraqis.

Hey, nightflesh - when are you going to tell us what's really going on?

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" they took advantage of the power vacuum"

Yes, so the invasion gave al-Qaida the oppertunity to run amok.

Please desist now, you're looking silly again.

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