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Update [2005-11-28 8:14:16 by Armando]: A companion piece on Iraq withdrawal.

In his WaPo column this morning, William Raspberry said:

So how do the Republicans respond [to recent events]? Sometimes by direct attack, as when they tried to discredit Murtha as a coward. But given a president whose National Guard service was suspect at best and a vice president who was garnering draft deferments while Murtha served, that couldn't work.

And sometimes by simply noting that the Democrats don't have an exit strategy, either. Of course they don't.

If the Democrats had their own Karl Rove, he'd probably tell them not to even try to come up with one. If a sound exit plan means getting out without leaving Iraq less stable than it is now, and with a reasonable chance of becoming an American-style democracy, nobody has one.

If Iraq is most likely to implode into civil war, leaving it a far more dangerous hotbed of terrorism than it was before our invasion, wouldn't the Democrats be smart to let it happen without interference? That isn't to say the Democrats yearn for failure -- but it's a cinch they don't want to be blamed for it.

Well, I have volunteered for the job and have counseled exactly that. Am I being cynical? No. I would argue I am being principled. Raspberry says:

But the quagmire in Iraq involves much more than politics. It involves national honor, the undiminished threat of international terrorism -- and the lives of too many people who deserve better.

It's hardly the time for clever politics.

For those in power who have the ability to formulate and implement Iraq policy this is surely true. That is the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress. Neither is listening to a damn thing Democrats say about Iraq except with regard to how to respond to it politically. The Democrats have no say whatsoever in Iraq policy. And BushCo has decided that this be so.

So what are Dems left to do? Very simple. They have to plan and act in ways designed to allow them to regain power in 2006. So they can try and deal with the Iraq Debacle given us by Bush and the Republicans. This requires offering plans for Iraq when voters can choose between Republicans and Democrats. The 2006 election campaign.

It is the only principled thing to do.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:15 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  not "undiminished threat" (none)
    but, indeed, constantly increasing threat due to our presence in Iraq.  
  •  We're talking purely political here, right? (3.75)
    If so, I'm not sure a plan is a great idea.

    Right now, whenever the story is about Iraq, it's about how badly the Republicans have messed it up. Every headline, every picture, everything is a reflection on the people leading this war right now.  Republicans can spin all they want about who had what info and who voted for what, but they're the ones leading the war, and it's going poorly to say the least, so anything said about the war seems to me to hurt them.

    If Dems offer a concrete plan, Republicans have something to attack. The Iraq conversation becomes less about how badly things are messed up, but about whose idea is better for getting us out. And they control the media because they control every branch the media has an interest in covering.

    So to this inexpert eye, politicaly, keeping quiet seems the better move.

    Daily Kos: turning unanimity into discord since...well...I frickin got here

    by AnnArborBlue on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:19:12 PM PST

    •  Politics and principle (3.83)
      are the same here.

      Principle requires wresting power from the Republicans so we can deal with the Iraq Debacle.

      The Republicans have proven they can not.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:20:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (4.00)
        but politics requires figuring out which way is most likely to wrest control; to plan (publicly) or not to plan (publicly).

        Daily Kos: turning unanimity into discord since...well...I frickin got here

        by AnnArborBlue on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:22:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True (none)
          I've given you my conclusion.

          Not till the campaign.

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:26:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It seems to me... (4.00)

            ...that the problem with sitting back until 2006 is the new noise coming from Republicans.  They are running around, crediting BUSH with a plan for massive troop reductions -- you got it -- RIGHT around the time of the elections!

            I would bet a million bucks their asses get sent straight back if the Rethugs hold congress.

            Anyway, we need a serious, vocal strategy that forces them to eat crow if they follow through with this apparent plan.  Sitting back like a bunch of non-leading wallflowers will not work.

            And THAT is why they got so pissed at Murtha.

            If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!

            by sgoldinger on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:26:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agree -- we need to get in front of it (4.00)
              Withdrawal is going to happen, regardless.  The public is already demanding it.  It's in the Dems best interest to be in the lead on this.

              But it's a two step process:

              1. Pin the failure of Iraq squarely on the Republicans (which is already happening)

              2. Promise a breath of fresh air that will clean up the mess and bring the troops home.

              Whatever we offer up must be sold as a "change of tone" in Washington above all else.  It's their mess, we're just cleaning it up.  If it simply becomes Dem plan vs GOP plan we lose.  
              •  Point 1 (none)
                requires something other than a withdrawal plan.

                It requires a CRITIQUE.

                And that is what I propose for the next 6 months.

                Then the plan.

                The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 04:24:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree with you on strategy... (none)
                  but we can't just let the administration screw up Iraq. The new strategy is absolutely nuts.

                  The fact is we are in a stalemate and the only way to defeat the insurgency is a drawn out slugfest of attrition, which will take 5, 6, 7 years or more + we are loosing about 500 soldiers per year, which means we would see an additional 3,000+ die in order to win the struggle. Finally, it would cost billions of dollars.

                  The Bush people know the costs of the war so in order to reduce casualties they want the Iraqi's to fight alone, but the problem is the Iraqi's have their own agenda and may not fight the war in a manner that would allow us to win, which would be a permanent quagmire. In addition, the source of frustration and resentment that is fueling insurgent recruitment would not be addressed, which is the occupation itself.

                  Bush is going to screw up this war if he moves forward with the latest strategy - read Juan Cole.

                  JuanCole

                  Veteran journalist Seymour Hersh is reporting in the New Yorker that the Bush administration has decided to draw down ground troops in Iraq. Knowledgeable observers strongly suspect that this step would produce a meltdown and possibly even civil war in Iraq (which could become a regional war). Bush's strategy may be to try to control the situation using air power.

                  .....

                  (Seymore) Hersh reports that US Air Force officers are alarmed by the implication that Iraqi targeters may be calling down air strikes using US warplanes. I remember that Iraqi troops (mainly Kurds) were allowed to call down airstrikes in Tal Afar last August, and if my recollection serves, the Tal Afar operation may even have been conceived as an opportunity for Iraqi troops to get practice in doing so. They levelled whole neighborhoods of the Sunni Turkmen (many of whom had thrown in with Saddam in the old days).

                  ....

                  (Seymore) Hersh goes on to tell Blitzer that Bush disparages any information about Iraq that does not fit his preconceived notions, and that he feels he has a (perhaps divine) mission to bring democracy to the country. Hersh's inside sources paint a president who is detached and in the grip of profound utopian delusions, which Hersh charitably characterizes as "idealistic."

                  Congress really has to step in here. Senators and representatives should demand that Bush get the ground troops out without turning control of the US air force over to Shiite clerics like Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. Presidents cannot do anything without money, and Congress controls the money. The wiser and more knowledgeable heads on both sides of the aisle have to start telling Bush "No!" when he comes to them asking for another $100 billion so he can level another Sunni Arab city. He is counting on the public punishing "no" votes on military affairs. But the American public would at this point almost certainly be grateful for it. And apart from telling him "No!" they should put strict reporting requirements on how the money is used. For instance, only defensive operations should any longer be funded.

                  "When the government fears the people, that is Liberty. When the people fear the government, that is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

                  by RichardG on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:36:02 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  In addition, (none)
                    the only reasonable option is a steady drawn down of troops that allows us to leave the country somewhat stable.

                    The utopian idealism needs to be replaced with realism and we need to understand that we can only push the Iraqi's to adopt british common law and to participate in the global economy - trying to manage the social dynamics of the country is no longer a feasable option.

                    "When the government fears the people, that is Liberty. When the people fear the government, that is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

                    by RichardG on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:41:16 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Nothing we can do (none)
                    until 11/06

                    The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                    by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:00:50 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You are correct... (none)
                      but we do need to tell the truth and Murtha who is connected to the military commanders is telling the truth and people like Biden are confusing things with his drawn out withdrawl that is not a solution.

                      The solution, in my view, is candidly saying what our objectives are, which should be relative stability, access to the workplace for women, reasonable religious tolerance, ethnic and racial inclusion.

                      The President and Biden, Hillary and the rest need to give up on trying to impose a secular government. If women have to wear head scarves and men have to wear beards and alchohol is banned in parts of the country then so be it.

                      The country has a constitution that requires religious tolerance and pluralism as well as a 25% representation level for women in parlament.

                      The social and cultural issues need to be worked out by the Iraqi's themselves and it is not worth American blood and treasure, furthermore our policies are antagonizing the Iraqi's and making things worse.

                      We have a moral obligation to speak out against policies that are harmful for America and I hope the Dems do that and I hope they do it sooner rather than later for the good of the country as well as for political gain in 06.

                      "When the government fears the people, that is Liberty. When the people fear the government, that is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

                      by RichardG on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:47:57 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  And Murtha (none)
              has done the work.

              Cutting and running is now what the GOP will do.

              As for plans, to be honest, Dems jave floted so many gawdammed plans for Iraq I can't count them all.

              One more now will make a difference?

              No, the ONLY plan that will be remembered is the one you tell the voters during the election campaign.

              The rest is noise.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 04:23:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  This was Howard Dean's position (none)
            on Meet the Press a few weeks ago.  Russert kept pressing him about the Democrats' plan, and Dean kept reiterating that as the Dems currently control nothing and the majority party regularly excludes them from House and Senate discussions, the appropriate time to discuss Democratic plans will be in the context of the 2006 political campaigns.
            •  Yeah, and he was getting slammed for it (none)
              ...in some circles, at least. Ed Schultz spent a whole day criticizing Dean on his radio show after Dean's "MTP" appearance.

              I'm with Armando and others that say no plan until closer to the election. Let the Republicans continue to stew in their own juices, and encourage people like Jack Murtha to stoke the fire at strategic points in the debate. Then the story remains about Bush's incompetence, not how terrible the Democrats' plan is.

              "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. You've got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight." --Bruce Cockburn, "Lovers In A Dangerous

              by AustinCynic on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:10:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •   Ed Schultz (none)
                is not the greatest of political thinkers but he does think an awful lot about himself.

                If he spent more time listening to people like Howard Dean instead of bragging about how many listeners he has he might learn something.

                •  That's exactly my problem with him (none)
                  The progressive talk station here in Austin, KOKE, started out as a straight Air America affiliate, but started running Schultz from 2-5 on weekdays. Which means only one hour a day of Randi Rhodes.

                  Now, Randi can get on my nerves too, but not because she ever backs down on anything. My problem with Schultz is that frankly he spends too much time mealy-mouthing and criticizing the left wing of the party--as if this is a sop to make him seem "reasonable."

                  Which is precisely what right-wing talkers like Rush and Liddy don't do, and what makes them so effective with their audience, IMO.

                  Ah well. I can always stream the Goddess of Radio. Thank you broadband!

                  "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. You've got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight." --Bruce Cockburn, "Lovers In A Dangerous

                  by AustinCynic on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 11:29:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Just in case (none)
                    you didn't know. You can listen to Randi 'On-Demand' at The Randi Rhodes Archives.

                    http://www.wilem.com/...

                  •  Randi Rhodes.... (none)
                    Yes I agree Schultz can take strange positions and sound uneducated on a lot of subjects BUT Randi is so whiney! All she does is bitch about something the right did over and over again. The reason Rush and others are effective is because they control the content; they set the agenda. Randi just reacts and is thus a tool of the right. If we want to swing votes, not just blow liberals, we have to give solid examples of republican mistakes, then provide creative and strong solutions that create a message. Otherwise we continue to sound like a scared minority party instead of the powerful majority that we actually are.

                    Remeber what you see here today because the media will lie about it. -anonyomous

                    by Young and on the air on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:50:23 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  with election less than year away campaign on now (none)
        •  Bipartisan Solution - - Hear Me Out (none)
          Don't forget that if we win the House in 2006 we gain control over the national budget and even the stuff that is off-budget - like the war.

          Sure Bush has carte blanche over foreign policy but without the funds to carry it out his hands are somewhat tied.

          Perhaps the best plan for the Dems regarding Iraq would to be to campaign on 'accountability & balance of power'. That would require Bush to find a Bipartisan Solution - which I think is what the majority of Americans want anyway on Iraq and on most other issues.

          Campaigning on 'accountability & balance of power' allows us to suggest that a solution for Iraq can be reached in a cooperative way - and without us 'having' to come up with a specific plan that could be attacked by the Right.

    •  Good politics requires we gain the People's trust (4.00)
      And a portion of the citizenry are the men and women fighting in Iraq for a useless war. The Republicans have shown they don't give a damn about our armed forces. We have to show that we do.

      We also have to show that we can clean up after Chimpy's debacle for the sake of our country's general welfare. The longer we stay in Iraq, the longer our power and prestige internationally is compromised.

      This is called leadership. And leadership always means taking risks and taking responsibility. Our leading the call and plan for withdrawal from Iraq is how we gain the trust of the people of the United States.

      •  spot on. damn straight. thanks 4 excellent comment (none)
      •  And there is precedence: Eisenhower & Korea (4.00)
        Truman started the Korean War, but it took Eisenhower to end it. If America liked Ike for bringing America peace and prosperity, America can like us Democrats for doing the same.

        Republicans will be remembered for years as the party of duplicitous, costly, and botched wars. We will remembered as the party of peace, prosperity, and responsibility.

      •  As some one who is currently in Iraq (4.00)
        I agree with you completly. Its not just good politcs, its good leadership. I am saddend by the number of dems who are ok with (and even hoping for) Iraq to fail so that they can pull the "I told you so" card. Right now there are a lot of more moderate voters, such as myself, who are dissapointed in the lack of leadership from the Dems on Iraq. In the Army, we belive that if you have a complaint or problem, instead of just whining about it, you should also have a solution. The goal in Iraq (now that it is plain the WMDs didnt exist)is obviosly to make the new government stable and strong enough to support itself, and then leaving Iraq (how many, if any permant bases we have here it a seprate issue that should be deal with by whoever in is control after the next election.) But, now that we have created a threat to the US, leaving Iraq can only happen after we accomplish our goals. What the Dems need to do is put forth an actual plan to accomplish that goal. Yes, it would be a risk to put out a solid plan, one that involves making our best effort to see success here in Iraq (I personally, through my own observations, think we are having alot more success right now than what is being portrayed in the media. I am thinking of writing a dairy based on what I have seen and summimg up my experiance here.) If the Democratic party continues to whine about being 'duped' by dubya and refuses to show leadership, I know that i will not be voting Democrat in the 2006 MN elections.

        Evil prevails only when good men do nothing

        by Mason6883 on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 01:57:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So you prefer Republicans? (2.66)
          Well that makes you a fool.

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:28:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  positively Murtha-esque (4.00)
            Armando,

            if that poster is indeed on active duty in Iraq, your reply was as inappropriate as the implicaion that Rep. Murtha was a coward.

            •  Why? (none)
              Does being on duty preclude being a fool?

              Oh wait. YOU are a Republican! That explains it.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 09:14:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The OLD Armando Is Back (none)
                Wow! New isn't new for long, is it?

                Maybe the eggnog wore off.

                Stay tuned around Christmas for a new turning of the leaf.

                Flip Flop.

                •  Pffft (none)
                  A New Leaf is for those who deserve it.

                  Apparently you don't know droliver the Republican troll.

                  Are you sure this  site is the right COLOR for you?

                  The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                  by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 09:55:14 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hey Man (none)
                    I'm not into color coding, I'm a Benetton Man.

                    White, black, brown - orange or green...

                    The stadiums are all the same - it's the players that make the difference.

                    Something you might be interested in about leaves...

                    They are all green for a while, and then they die and fall to the ground like all the leaves before them.

                    It's better to be to be the trunk of the tree, bending with the elements, offending none of them - and standing tall rain or shine, season after season.

                    •  These trolls are of a Libby-like fashion (none)
                      It is fall now ... Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work--and life. - Scooter

                      Fitzmas is coming! Which boys and girls get vacations to the Gray Bar Hotel is anyone's guess!

                      by Heartcutter on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 10:42:43 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Hey...using the leaf metaphor (none)
                      Did anyone hear the NPR piece on how trees use their leaves for "chemical warfare?"

                      They drop their leaves, that are high in concentration of nasty shit, to kill off competition...new leaf...new war...

                      (i know its really pushing the metaphor, but i couldn't resist)

                      I've killed people for less...

                      by patsprouseyo on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 10:50:37 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  At least we can all agree (none)
              droliver (who agreed is a troll) is right about calling Mason's "deployment" into question...he sure has a lot of time on his hands to trash DK...

              yeah deployment on battlefield 2? maybe...

              I've killed people for less...

              by patsprouseyo on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 10:45:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Go vote for a republican (none)
          and you will have four, five, six, seven...deployments.  What, possibly, can you be thinking??  

          "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

          by adigal on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 04:11:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not so obvious. (none)
          You say, "The goal in Iraq...is obviosly to make the new government stable and strong enough to support itself, and then leaving Iraq."  

          I disagree. This is not a goal but a wish, a fantasy borne of neoconservatives' overweening sense of potency, even omnipotency. Are you saying it's a legitimate MILITARY GOAL "to make the new government stable and strong enough to support itself"? How does a military do that?  Historically, we've done it by setting up a dictator, a "strong" man, like Pinochet or the Shah of Iran. The historical track record for militaries making new governments "stable and strong" is not good.  They may be "strong" in the sense of unabashedly using force to "pacify" their populations and in this way they may make themselves "stable" for a time. Is that what you want? I doubt it. I hope not.

          As for Democrats being "ok with (or even hoping for) Iraq to fail," there may be a few; there are probably even some Republicans and independents who feel that way. If they do, I would think that to be more a matter of political fatigue and cynicism in the face of our mendacious and insular administration rather than an actual sentiment regarding Iraq and Iraqis. The problem for everyone is determining a goal that is both realistic and geopolitically desirable. For myself, it gives me no satisfaction that Dick Cheney, speaking as Bush I's Secretary of Defense, was right, that invading Iraq would be a quagmire and produce instability. But I'm afraid that's how it is. And at this point, I'm inclined to regard our military presence in Iraq more as part of the problem than as part of the solution. Apparently, the Iraqi leadership now also thinks so.

          •  Not so (none)
            Historically, we've done it by setting up a dictator, a "strong" man, like Pinochet or the Shah of Iran.

            Do the concepts of "Germany" or "Japan" mean nothing?

            •  I am not convinced (none)
              that a stable "free" Iraq is a pipedream, but I don't think military action can EVER produce a free society in today's world.

              Japan and Germany(which is not really the best example) could never happen in Iraq.

              For starters, both tose countries already had infrastructure in place, it didn't need to be built.

              Also, both Japan and Germany were industrialized. Iraq, although it has industrial complexes, could hardly be called an industrial nation (and most likely won't be for a long time, since more likely than not, their resources that could move the country towards full industrial capacity, will not even be in their soveriegn control...just like the rest of the middle east).

              Another point could be the lack of national unity in Iraq, you can't build a stable country using unstable parts.

              The list really goes on...no similarities in the situation...

              I've killed people for less...

              by patsprouseyo on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 11:03:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Of course they mean something. (none)
              I only wish that our current administration, the post-colonial patchwork called Iraq, and our invasion and occupation thereof, bore more resemblance to post-WWII Japan and Germany than they do to Vietnam and many other overt and covert misadventures of the last fifty years where we saw fit to decide what governments other countries should have. The success of militaries, ours or anybody else's, in creating coherent polities and "strong" and "stable" governments is a very mixed bag, to say the least. And the job is not made any easier when the horror of sanctioned torture is unleashed, where theft and corruption are rampant, and where there is no reality-feedback loop into the administration.  Has there ever been a success?  Sure. Germany and Japan. Does Iraq look like one of them. No.
      •  We show it (none)
        by regaining power.

        It is fun to jump up and down.

        But real caring begins by working on being able to actually DO SOMETHING!

        The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

        by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 04:20:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  promise an exit strategy (none)
          If elected. Isn't this what Nixon promised while running for office?  

          The dems can say we have a plan we will implement only when we are back in power and are responsible for its success.

          The dems can use the bastardization of homeland security and the patriot act as examples of failures of republican implementation of democratic bills.

          If you take yourself too seriously, no one else will.

          by Yoshimi on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:53:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Eisenhower simply said, I SHALL GO TO KOREA (none)
            It worked for Eisenhower. He got elected and successfully withdrew us from Korea.

            Nixon, on the other hand, said he had a secret plan, which was a bit too clever. He probably didn't even know what he would do, but claimed his plan had to remain secret so as not to give the Vietnamese a heads-up about our strategy. It got him into office, but it helped to undermine his credibility, especially after he ramped up a bombing campaign.

            Even Kerry last year would not commit to concrete plans. At least he was honest as to why: he didn't know what the situation would be by the time he got into office. He simply asked that the electorate trust him. Unfortunately, the electorate somehow trusted Chimpy more.

            I think the debate we're having in this diary isn't quite clear, at least for me. I think we can all agree that we want to signal to the American people that Democrats no longer want to remain in Iraq, especially long term. Where we depart company is articulating what plan we would have for ending our occupation.

            So the debate comes down to whether we articulate the strategy now and give the Republicans the chance to slice and dice the plan and us. Or do we wait until closer to the election, which I think is Armando's suggestion? Or do we simply say we want out, free of any concrete details, because we don't have any leverage anyway because we are out of power?

            If I understand Armando's plan correctly, I think he has a point. Let's continue to put pressure on Bush and the Republicans to pull out. Even if they come up with a plan, the voters will know that pressure to do so came from Democrats. As the election rolls around, we'll have time to make our plans clearer without having provided the other side either a target to critique or a plan that they could co-opt.

      •  Saving lives (none)
        There is a plan that Democrats can offer that is neither cut and run or stay the course.

        The center of it is to get the troops out of harm's way immediately by removing them from the cities and redeploying to the borders of Iraq to prevent the entry of foreign fighters and/or redeploying to buffer zones separating the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish zones.

        Within the protected borders and/or ethnic zones Iraqis will have the opportunity to get their government functioning or, if they prefer, to plunge further into chaos.

        Put a six month limit to this redefined role as border/buffer zone guards and then leave no matter what is going on.

        If Democrats simply sit and wait they will share the responsibility for every subsequent death inflicted on American troops or by American troops.
         

    •  Its a Safe Bet (3.57)
      that the Dems (or at least the leadership) will follow this rotten advice. Or more precisely that they are quite capable of coming to these conclusions on their own without Armando's assistance.

      There are so many things wrong with this diary I don't know where to begin.

      Lets start with the faith that electing Dems in 2006 and 2008 will get us out of this mess. The vast majority of rank and file Dems want the troops home pronto, but the party doesn't belong to them. It belongs to the corporate oligarchs who own and run this country who understand that losing Iraq may well mean losing America's dominance in the world. It is entirely possible that the Dems will retake Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008 and this war will continue. That horrifying prospect is only made MORE likely by what Armando is counseling.

      Loyalty to the Dems is blinding some people here to some fundamental political realities. Each of us here has to decide what is more important to us: stopping the war or electing Democrats regardless of what they are going to do about the fucking war. Refusing to demand that the troops come home now as a strategy for electing Dems may or may not work. But as a strategy for ending the war it stinks.

      I am not suggesting that electoral politics don't matter. I am suggesting that they don't matter in the absence of a larger movement that is able to operate outside of the carefully controlled terms of debate that are allowed in the electoral arena.

      If we want this war to end we need to prioritize ending this war. Which means raising the political costs to everybody who supports it or allows it to continue. This war no longer enjoys the support of the American people. But that opposition remains dispersed and disorganized. Our job is to organize that opposition into a political force that must be dealt with. This can not be done without loudly and repeatedly calling for an immediate end to the war. Indeed it requires making it an inescapable issue in every school, workplace, neighborhood and house of worship. And that can not be accomplished if at the same time we support politicians who refuse to take a forthright stand.

      It should be absolutely clear by now that the Democratic leadership will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to take a principled stand against this war. The folks who visit this site are the ones who need to do the dragging.

      We have no reason to worry that they won't give every consideration to matters of electoral expediency. Our job is not to encourage this deeply instilled tendency but rather tio change the calculus of what is expedient by raising the costs of continuing to support the war.

      We need to hold candlelight vigils, marches and rallies in every town and neighborhood across the country. We need to lay our bodies down in front of the White House, in front Armed Forces Recruiting Stations and in front of planes taking troops to Iraq. We need to be running anti-war candidates in primaries against every Dem that hasn't come out unambiguously against this war. We need to do everything it takes to stop this horror show and the suggestion that we should restrain our demands in order to elect unreliable Dems again in 2006 or 2008 is an outrage. In 2004 the whole anti-war movement (many of whom had rallied to Howard Dean) dutifully folded up their tents in order not to embarrass John Kerry who, following the same cynical logic of electoral expediency that Armando is advocating here, VOTED TO SEND U.S. TROOPS TO KILL AND DIE IN IRAQ.

      Been there. Done that.

      I have no crystal ball. Armando may be right that in this hyper-militarized country of flag-waving fantics calling for the troops to come home -- even when that is what a solid majority of the people want -- is the electoral kiss of death.

      But -- and I know this will be a stretch for some people -- it is entirely possible to LOSE in the 2006 and 2008 elections and still stop the war. Richard Nixon beat George McGovern in the biggest landslide in U.S. electoral history and was nonetheless compelled to get the hell out of Viet Nam.

      (And in spite of that defeat, the McGovern campaign made the Democratic Party a more progressive party. It wasn't enough to displace the power of the corporate elite, of course. It is instructive that where liberals seem embarassed of McGovern, conservative Republicans take pride in the Goldwater campaign and seized on it to build a  coherent MOVEMENT.)

      Maybe this war is such a disaster that it will just end itself. But I don't think we can really afford to assume this and concern ourselves only with positioning the Dems to maximize their electoral advantage once it all goes to shit and the Green Zone has to be evacuated like the U.S. embassy in Saigon. To counsel such a course of (in)action strikes me as the height of irresponsibility. It might help elect President Biden, but it would be a huge disservice to both the U.S. soldiers killing and dying in Iraq for no good purpose and the Iraqi people who want us out now.

      "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories" -- Amilcar Cabral

      by Christopher Day on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:46:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  easy there (none)
        the title of my post was "we're talking purely politically here, right?"

        Daily Kos: turning unanimity into discord since...well...I frickin got here

        by AnnArborBlue on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:49:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  and by the way (4.00)
        I think it's foolish to devote precious resources to defeating every dem who voted for the war in a primary, instead of focusing on defeating the Republicans who started the war in the first place.

        There's only so much cash to go around. Shooting other democrats shouldn't be where it goes in my opinion.

        Daily Kos: turning unanimity into discord since...well...I frickin got here

        by AnnArborBlue on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:59:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed on this point... (none)
          It would be far better to have 46 Senators that are Dems in the mold of Kennedy, Reid, Feingold, etc and 5 Democrat in the mold of former Sen. Zell Miller, and regain control of the Senate, than have 48 Kennedy, Reid, and Feingolds.

          I'd rather (re)elect a few bastard Dems, and regain control so the broader coalition can move a possitive, progressive agenda, then sit in the minority because we refused to support a diverse crop of canidates in the name of "principle."

          ...back to the Rasberry Editorial...

          I've killed people for less...

          by patsprouseyo on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 11:10:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Umm.. (4.00)
        No I am not willing to consider that losing in 2006 and/or 2008 might still end the War. The Republicans have made no progress in ending this War thus far and they have clearly shown their incompetency and chickenhawk attitudes.
        There are also other things at stake in 06 and 08 besides the War. There are other policies and freedoms that the Republicans have severely corrupted and then this budget they just passed is positively obscene. Of all the wasteful spending they could cut, they go after Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Student Loans. But Alaska gets their bridge and heaven forbid, some Republican not to get their big fat tax cut.  Their concern for the wealthy and their total disregard for the poor and middle class is a travesty. And I could go on and on: the Patriot Act, SCOTUS Nominations and Confirmations, Entitlement Programs, Civil Rights, Equal Rights and the list goes on.  

        So I can think of one good thing or one thing that could ever ease the pain of losing in 2006 and 2008.

        America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

        by wishingwell on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 11:03:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I mean (none)
          I cannot think of one good thing or even a bright spot or even a white spot in total blackness that could happened if we lose in 2006 and 2008. NO thank you, I will support Democrats against Republicans anyday and work towards 2006 and for those candidates.

          I have to agree with Armando and Ann Arbor here.

          America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

          by wishingwell on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 11:05:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Eloquent words, Christopher Day. Right on, brother (none)
        Peace.
      •  The War in Iraq is a Single Battle (none)
        in the War for our Country.

        I honestly don't think the Constitution will survive much more Republican control of our Government in recognizable form. Just look back at the damage they've done in 5 years, but that is largely reversible.

        Much harder to reverse is the damage done to the environment through systematic relaxation of regulations and enforcement, and the stupendous deficits they are running up to give tax breaks to rich people. Not to mention our ability to respond to natural disasters...

        The War in Iraq is important, but it's an item on a menu of important things.

        Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life. Your God is a theory with no supporting evidence.

        by The Baculum King on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 12:06:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Armando is right (none)
          Stick our necks out with intellectual honesty and get swiftboated again? No f!@#ing thanks! I'll take Bill Clinton's legacy over McGovern's anyday.

          Fighting the good fight! -The Democratic Party

          by the Artful Dodger on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 12:43:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Clinton's Legacy (none)
            NAFTA.

            Gutting welfare.

            "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

            sanctions and air war against Iraq killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.

            Yes, yes I know about the economic boom of the 90s, but its only a legacy if it lasts. The guy was charming as hell, but from the perspective of progressive politics he was a disaster. All the more so because he demobilized the movements that should have opposed his agenda of advancing corporate power.

            I'm not arguing here for a Quixotic stance of intellectual honesty for its own sake. I'm arguing that we need to stop confusing advancing progressive politics with getting Dems elected. Personally I think that a muscular anti-war movement will actually produce electoral gains  for the Dems in 2006 and 2008. My larger point however was tha this is not the only (or the best) yardstick by which to judge success.

            "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories" -- Amilcar Cabral

            by Christopher Day on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:10:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But (none)
              your first post was arguing ignore politics.

              I like this comment much better.

              I think timing is what we arguing about.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 09:12:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Defining Politics (none)
                My first post wasn't for ignoring politics, but rather presumes a different definition of politics. Progressives can not afford to limit their definition of politics to what occurs in the electoral arena for the simple reason that this is an arena where the rules are written by those who already posess power and in such a manner to preserve their possession of power.

                There are all sorts of structural features of the national electoral system (campaign financing, winner-take-all, the Electoral College, the structure ofthe Senate, super-delegates, obstacles to voter registration) that are essentially anti-democratic firewalls against the real exercise of power by the poor and working class majority of this country. This means that a good deal of the political activity of the effectively excluded must take place OUTSIDE the confines elections, that is to say in the form of social movements and the counter-institutions that support them.

                If a Democratic Congress or a Democratic President acts to get us out of Iraq in a manner that doesn't lay the foundations for fascism it will only be in the context of a massive social movement that compels them to do so. We can't afford to wait to build that movement until the 2006 elections (because as soon as they pass the same argument will be made to wait until 2008 or 2010 or ...). In fact this is one of the de facto FUNCTIONS of elections in this society: to channel popular discontent into acceptable (toothless) forms and away from forms that are more threatening to the powers that be.

                In short the correspondence between electing Dems and winning progressive victories is not a simple one. Sometimes social movements produce Dem electoral gains that may or may not consolidate victories won in the streets. In others they generate backlashes that produce Republican electoral victories that may or may not end out consolidating the gains of the social movements as well. Many of the greatest gains of the movements of the 1960s were written into law under Nixon.

                You can blame Jane Fonda for the rise of the Republican right if you want, but a more honest account would assign the "blame" to Rev. Martin Luther King. It was the Black struggle for civil rights more than anything else that shattered the the alliance of Southern white supremacy and Northern urban political machines that constituted the Democratic majority. An argument quite similar to yours re: Iraq was made repeatedly against the militancy of the civil rtights movement and in favor of a more patient go-slow approach to dismantling racial inequality. Thank goodness Dr. King and the other leaders of the civil rights movement didn't heed this counsel even though many "liberal" Democratic Party officials did. The same can be said of the present moment. I have no illusions that the Dems will show much courage in coming out forcefully against the war. But I fully expect the anti-war movement to grow in numbers, militance and in its insistence that Dems to the right thing, and eventually they will be compelled to do so.

                "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories" -- Amilcar Cabral

                by Christopher Day on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 11:00:54 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your assumption is flawed (none)
                  The assumption that the only way to create a stable Iraq is through the use of military power on the part of the United States is flawed. By any stretch of imagination, no Dem will withdraw 100% of the troops pronto. The Dems actually have been arguing that the US needs to do one of two things. The press continually neglects to adequately report the Dem's argument.

                  Dem's have argued that we need to either send enough troops and commit enough resources to do the job right or quit playing with our selves, and get out.  But, no Dem in power is suggesting that we let Iraq implode. The Dems buy into the whole "pottery barn rule."

                  Also, Thomas Frank's analysis, that you so nicely condensed is not entirely acurate (first Dr. Martin DID take the go-slow approach, I am not entirely sure which approach you were suggesting that he heeded). But you work under the assumption that a backlash is a product of the movement, which it is not, the backlash is the product of the resistance to that movement, which is present from the very begining. Take the depate on creationism (which i think we should stop framing as a debate on darwinism), the current backlash is nothing new, it was the same resistance that said the world was flat, or heliocentric, its always ALWAYS been present. Its a mistake to view it as new, or as a product of progress. If progress always produced suck an result, it wouldn't produce any results, the resistance is mutually exclusive to the progress, think of it as tug of war, sometimes the other team wins...

                  I've killed people for less...

                  by patsprouseyo on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 11:32:22 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Political advice (none)
        that ingores politics may work in the movies but not in real life.

        If your premise is that electing Dems is not the necessary step for getting out of thismess, we disagree completely.

        And you may have stumbled onto the wrong web site.

        You count on that MOVEMENT to stop this mess? Good luck.

        The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

        by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:27:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  people won't dump their favorite reps (none)
        It won't do to challenge Democrates in the primaries.  My British relatives told me that although they were dead set against the Iraq war and Tony Blair, they wouldn't dump their local MP who they liked and was providing good constituency service.  In England voting for Labour means that the party elects their leader to be prime minister.  Blair won again because of loyalty to good local Labour Party MPs and the same could happen here.

        The Labour Party is girding itself to dump Blair in the very near future.

    •  Situation will not be the same next year (4.00)
      I agree that the Democrats do not need a plan at this point.  I think many troops are coming home anyway next year - I've thought this for around  a year now.   Therefore, the situation will be rather different around election time next year.

      Why prepare a plan that will be obsolete by next fall?  Meantime, just keep repeating the words "Murtha plan" at every opportunity and force Bush to begin withdrawing without being able to take any credit for it.  The Democrats in general can make withdrawal a goal without having to have a detailed plan - they can simply say that Republicans completely control the process, have made it clear they do not want to consider anything Democrats say, and that therefore it is impossible to say with assurance that there is any plan.

      I am getting whiplash from the completely different scenarios being thrown out by the Bush administration - 9 or 10 years of occupation, substantial withdrawals to begin immediately, Iraqis are competent, Iraqis are incompetent ... I can't figure out whether this is some kind of master political plan to confuse us all or whether it represents infighting among Bush's top officials.

      One thing I'm sure of:  Bush is incapable of the kind of changes that will make any real difference.  He has a long string of losing games to play out before the season ends.

      My Liberal Values: a clean earth, universal access to health care, human and civil rights, a broader distribution of wealth, and a global perspective

      by Pellice on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:38:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  2006 and Iraq (4.00)
    First, hire all the local Iraqis you can find at twice the minimum wage in Iraq, and give them projects that keep the electricity on, the sewage treated and the water flowing.

    Second, get rid of Halliburton and all the foreign contractors.

    Third, let the Iraqis run the oil fields. They may be corrupt, they may syphon off some money, but they know the payoffs required to make it work.

    That may not be enough to win, but doing the reverse for three years hasn't worked very well either.

  •  If the Democrats Had a Karl Rove (4.00)
    they wouldn't be Democrats.
  •  You hold 'em down... (none)
    ... I'll gag them.

    The Democrats have no say whatsoever in Iraq policy... So what are Dems left to do?

    Uh... absolutely nothing?

    It is the only principled thing to do.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that none of their neurons fire before 2006.


    It's okay to be a sheep, but not at the wheel. -- Cap'n Pluto

    by Pluto on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:25:26 PM PST

  •  the problem with this statement: (none)
    That isn't to say the Democrats yearn for failure -- but it's a cinch they don't want to be blamed for it.

    The Democrats are going to be blamed for whatever goes wrong after "redeployment" anyway.

  •  Demanding exit helps 2006+Iraq situation (4.00)
    Vision from strong Dem opposition party and voices of reason calling for withdrawl (from Murtha, Conyers, Feingold, the public who is fed up, as many of us are) is extremely important in providing an alternative to corrupt gop hawks and pushes for doing the right thing while giving folks something and someone, Dems, to vote for. The jig is up and everyone knows it. Dems do well to keep pushing rather than playin dead IMHO. Demanding answers and an exit is a positive thing. Folks know who's to blame for this mess, and all the corrupt crony disasters this WH has produced. Dems are doing well and gaining great momentum and important to keep pushing for truth, justice and expedient withdrawl. Huge in distinguishing us from pugs. Providing better alternative, not more of same or accepting or emulating gop policy.
  •  Neocon plan for Iraq after Saddam (4.00)
    "SUNBULAH: HONEY 100% NATURAL, made in Saudi Arabia.

    Seeing the sign, I couldn't help but think about something Senator John McCain had said back in October. Iraq, he said, is "a huge pot of honey that's attracting a lot of flies." The flies McCain was referring to were the Halliburtons and Bechtels, as well as the venture capitalists who flocked to Iraq in the path cleared by Bradley Fighting Vehicles and laser-guided bombs. The honey that drew them was not just no-bid contracts and Iraq's famed oil wealth but the myriad investment opportunities offered by a country that had just been cracked wide open after decades of being sealed off, first by the nationalist economic policies of Saddam Hussein, then by asphyxiating United Nations sanctions. "

    It's been posted before (Harper's article on neocon plan for Iraq), but let's remind ourselves that the free market and foreign contractors were supposed to be the salvation of Iraq. And the good ole' US of A was to get long term oil contracts and permanent air bases in exchange for the liberation

  •  Dems need to stop taking advice from pundits. (4.00)
    Which only guys like Biden seem to be doing lately.

    Dems just need to lead.
    And have a plan TO lead.
    State it with CLARITY and CONVICTION, from the heart in a way regular folks can understand.

    And don't take advice from pundits.
    Even me.

    --Liberate your radio--

    by Sam Loomis on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:28:52 PM PST

  •  Democrats can still demand transparency (4.00)
    from the Bush administration.  Legislators could discuss our demands, and give frequent (and loud) updates on what is still being withheld from America's elected representatives.  

    Pentagon issues, SCOTUS related dox, energy meetings, every damn thing.  Every day.  

    I don't see how we can lose on this.  We didn't make the Iraq mess, but we owe ourselves, the military folks, and the world every effort to do our bit while we're sidelined.  Let's make hay out of this being the most secretive administration ever.

    Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

    by soyinkafan on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:30:01 PM PST

  •  As I told a fella I know (4.00)
    who asked a bit saecastically just what would the Dems do about Iraq. I replied, "We wouldn't have ever started the war." And when he said, "Well what are you going to do about it now?" My reply was, "First, we get the people out of office who start such wars so they don't get a chance to start another one.

    When you've crapped your pants, you don't wipe off your underwear, you change it."

    -6.88/-5.64 Right between Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. Dudes! I am sooo into a like totally awsome place!

    by John West on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:32:20 PM PST

  •  It's the old... (4.00)
    "Lead by not leading."

    I generally believe that's a lsoing strategy.  The perception of the Demcratic Party to the mass of uninformed and disinterested Americans equals the perception of John Kerry during the election... A smart guy who is never quite sure where he stands on issues.  (Now, I'm not saying that's my perception of him.  Just of the mass of uninformed and disinterested Americans.)

    Rasberry is srguing for more of the same at a time when we actually need leadership because there is such a vacuum of leadership not only at the Executive level, but throughout the Republican ranks in Congress, as well.  (see: Frist's stock trading troubles and DeLay's wodesperad scandals)

    We need to offer a strong alternative now for no other reason than to force Republicans running for re-election to A) defend this unpopular war and B) to prove just what a alck of plan they have offered as the party in charge.

    I think Rasberry's got this one wrong.

    I'm archiving my crap at my new blog, Satiric Mutt. Stop in and say hello.

    by Bob Johnson on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:33:09 PM PST

    •  yep-had the same freeping impression when I saw it (none)
    •  And the alternative to offer (none)
      is presenting clear goals and conditions that would count as success in Iraq. Dems don't need to come up with a detailed plan of how to succeed (they can say that's up to those in power), they just need to shift the discussion to setting the actual benchmarks that would let it be a withdrawal instead of an ignominious retreat. E.g.:
      • new constitution ratified
      • new government elected
      • Saddam tried
      • x parts of major infrastructure rebuilt
      • x number of soldiers fully trained
      • particular "terrorists" killed/captured
      • insurgent attacks reduced to x/month
      • civilian casualties reduced to x/month
      • x number of barrels of oil back in production
      • some minimum set of civic services being provided
      • etc. etc.
      The goals the dems decide to promote help define their values for the U.S. electorate, help hold repub feet to the fire, and may actually even help get things back on track in Iraq. The goals need to be quite specific and practical. Whether any positive outcome can still be gained in Iraq is questionable, but from a political strategy point of view, I don't see how an approach like this can be a loser for dems.

      The spring is pure, but foul it once with mud and you nevermore will find it fit to drink. --Aeschylus

      by Alien Abductee on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 11:58:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  SERIOUS problem with your alternatives (none)
        Remember, it isn't just about winning, it's about delivering a good enough quality of government to the American people that people will want to buy the Democratic product a second time. An amazing number of people around here seem to have forgotten this.  

        A Democratic President can deliver a withdrawal from Iraq not conditioned on what the Iraqis do or don't do. (I'm assuming that Saddam will be tried and executed, maybe even in that order, long before 2008)

        Just how can any of the other goals you suggest be delivered on without drastically increasing the US presence in Iraq, starting with starting a general military draft?

        Unless you're proposing a Rovian strategy, bash the GOP for not prosecuting the war effectively followed by an immediate withdrawal starting within a week of the inauguration. This strategy got Nixon re-elected. Remember what happened afterwards?

        While it would probably work, almost any Democratic strategy promising to fix what Bush broke should work given anything even remotely close to competent execution. [I mean doing it right, not more death squads!] I don't think we need to lie on the scale you appear to be contemplating in order to do it.

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 02:11:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You misinterpret (none)
          No lying in the least is proposed here. Dems should be initiating a discussion of what would constitute success in Iraq. Right now there are no goals or benchmarks that the administration has offered that would let us know we've achieved success there. Nothing good can come of our involvement there without publicly stated goals to do with our presence there. The goals I've suggested here are examples only to kickstart discussion. Whatever goals the dems propose will define their values as a party. I stated nothing about "Democratic strategy promising to fix what Bush broke." That is definitely a trap dems should avoid.

          The point is to force the discussion to take place, and to get the administration to put some statement of benchmarks on record. When dems take power in 2008, if U.S. troops are still in Iraq, they can use the more complete information they'll then have to reevaluate how desirable and possible achieving those benchmarks still is, and alter course as needed.

          I guess this puts me in the camp of those who think we shouldn't have gotten into Iraq, but now that we're there we have to be very careful about how we get out to keep from creating an even more dangerous situation for the world.

          The spring is pure, but foul it once with mud and you nevermore will find it fit to drink. --Aeschylus

          by Alien Abductee on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 09:51:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  He does (none)
      But so do you.

      WhatDem plan would you like to see proposed NOW Bob?

      And how will it resemble the plan for 6 months from now?

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 04:25:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I actually agree here. (none)

      The plan SHOULD NOT be extremely absolute, but chart some reasonable path, and show that we actually have a plan. For instance....

      1. No more no-bid contracts. Get Halliburton out. It has completely unacceptable ties to the administration, and should be outright banned for that reason alone.
      2. Set a withdrawl date. It can be a year in the future if it needs to be, but the Iraqi government will either be in good shape by then, or it will collapse when we leave, but we will leave on the appointed day. This will eliminate much of the resistance, as it's hard to die for a cause that will be irrelevant in a year.
      3. Punish guilty parties. Security contractors sniping at civilians, soldiers raping and beating prisoners. Demand a full accounting, and the rule of law.
      4. Send batches of the Iraqi police forces back to the states to get training, then return them to Iraq when they have learned a thing or two. Have the FBI and NYPD, and anyone else who is willing help to train them. There is NO reason for the military to be training POLICE. Crossover between military and police always leads to problems.

      I could go on. Keep it simple...

      1. This is what the republicans are doing.
      2. This is what we would do.
      3. This is why we are right.

      Simple as that.
  •  <heavy sigh> (4.00)
    As someone that protested up until the day the war started (because I didn't understand how we would ever get out) I get no joy in saying "I told you so".

    For the record and you can quote me on this, "What a fucking mess we are in."  

    I feel that I'm on a bus that Bush is driving up a mountain road and after he manages to crash the bus through the guardrails and we are plunging in the chasm below the Republicans are saying..."well, what's your plan?"  

    My response... "Maybe if everyone gets on the 'left' side of the bus, we can hit the river instead of the jagged rocks."  

    Anyway, I think the first thing we should do is stop torturing people.  

    •  Murtha's plan (none)
        since he is so close to the Generals is probably a Pentagon plan they leaked to him. Question is: is it a trick? Maybe , but I hope that
      it means the grownups are trying to figure out how to get the drunk away from the wheel of the bus. I never thought I'd hope the military would step in, but, shades of Nixon and Vietnam are all over this war. Even to this diary argument!
            The reepers are po'd because this was/is their stratigery for winning in 2006 I think.
            Edwards is also leading showing Dems how to suck it up, take your deserved lumps and then oppose the war. He said it"I was wrong" and then said why he was wrong on his vote. Only took him what  , $500 million in campaign funds to get there where Russ Feingold was...Dems have to take responsibility for their own fuckups and then sell it. Then they have to expand on Murtha's plan, and  make sure that doesn't mean lots of air strikes instead.

         The loud talking point to be made over and over is that it's already chaos and civil war and has been since the beginning. period.
          The UN idea with us funding it ( we did break it) and the neighbors and UN providing security with US the hell outa the way-I agree, but not fricking lkely even with Bolton in jail...
           Being pretty sure that in effect the Murtha plan is what "Get Out Now" would look like if the job is left to the military, at the directions of us the civilians...we still have that kind of govt right?...that's why I say "Get Out Now" . Other than sending gear the Pentagon won't send them, and cookies and letters and medical care, and paying for their airfare home, and armoring their vehicles for them and ...and...... the only real way for me to "support the troops "is to say come home now.
         The only moral path for the dems is opposition !st, political ass covering way 2nd. I'm not holding my breath for that!
           Think Rove hasn't hoped to keep us fighting over that choice?  Oh yeah, "the get-out-in-6mos. demonstrators just  threw blood on the phased-withdrawl crowd, film at eleven". It's gonna be like the Chicago dem convention 1968 before we're done here kids.
           

      Another good German,-7.95 -7.88

      by KenBee on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 12:30:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Exit Strategy (4.00)
    Actually, we do have an exit strategy. Personally, I rather like the one that John Edwards outlined in his recent Washington Post piece.  

    -Withdraw troops after the new government is seated next year, so we can leave from a position of strength.  At that point, everything will be in the Iraqis' hands.  

    -Withdraw troops in numbers proportional to the number of trained Iraqis, and step up training procedures.  

    -Use more Iraqi businesses and less Halliburton in rebuilding the country.  

    -Get more allies to help out.  

    •  I wish Edwards (none)
      Would appear on some of the cable news programs and outline this. I wish these pundits would invite him to come on and he could talk about this and articulate this. As many people do watch those lousy, awful cable news programs.

      America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

      by wishingwell on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 11:12:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There can be no... (4.00)
    Democratic version of Karl Rove.

    I don't want one if there is one.  We don't need it.

    We need to fight back with tenacity; that is a given.

    But Karl Rover is a liar.  So all we need to do is stick with the truth.  If they have done anything good for us it is to concentrate the truth on our side and not give us any reason or need to lie or exaggerate.

  •  OMG (none)
    I dont believe it - I actually agree with Armando

    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST, RIP

    by Chris Dub on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:40:53 PM PST

  •  Dems Cannot Have a Karl Rove (none)
    Karl Rove's larger aims are essentially those of the leadership of the military complex, authoritarian religion and almost the entire rest of the economy. He's got a mob of think-tanks coming up with policy and focus testing ideas and language, he's got most of the national media pushing his talking points and squelching seriously contradicting content and almost all meaningful debate, and he's got authoritarian religion mobilized as the nation's largest-ever grassroots movement.

    That's where Rove starts when he clocks in every morning.

    Even when he was in high school, if he was in politics he was advocating for all of the most powerful interests in human history.

    Democrats have no way to make use of a Rove without the backing the real one has. They need a messiah--at this time, pretty much the Messiah.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:45:26 PM PST

    •  are you serious? (none)
      a messiah?  This is why our side isn't winning anymore, and why their side is, we lack a coach and a game plan and we spend too much time waiting around for the superstar, or  "messiah" to bail us out.  

      absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limit's the freedom of another.

      by jbou on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:34:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Joe Biden (none)
          We got Joe with the big symetrical Teeth. Psyops will tell ya that's what we look for in a good leader. O and a good tan,and just a whiff of a condescending attitude...

        Another good German,-7.95 -7.88

        by KenBee on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 11:42:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe the point is... (none)
    Is we need a master strategist with balls.  

    So we need the inverse Karl Rove except doesn't need to lie and hate... but can use anger to get them motivated ;)

  •  So what happens when Iraq collapses? (4.00)
    Let me play devil's advocate here and ask what the Democrats do if we succeed in pulling out and then watch as the nation degnerates into total civil war and becomes another Afghanistan? Probably Iran would be compelled to invade and set up a client state, the Kurds would declare independence and start a running guerrilla war with Turkey, and general instability runs through the Mideast.
    Are we willing to allow this to happen for the sake of regaining Congress?
    I ask mostly to stimulate debate.
    •  Since we control nothing (none)
      That may be all we can do.

      First things first.  Regain power in at least one house.

    •  As Opposed to the Model of Stability it is Now?? (4.00)
      Iraqis will determine the future of Iraq whenever we leave, next year or next decade.

      The ONLY difference is how much American blood we leave in their sand.

      Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life. Your God is a theory with no supporting evidence.

      by The Baculum King on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:24:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  our problem (none)
        I don't think I buy the chaos-is-inevitable argument, and I don't think it's tolerable either. I hate to use the domino analogy, but if Iraq falls to radicals, what's to prevent it from happening to Saudi Arabia?
        Or is it possible that if we pull out, then the U.N. can go in immediately?
        •  If We Pull Out Tomorrow (4.00)
          The first thing the Iraqis will do is kill or drive out all the outside jihadis, because they will no longer have common cause (us), and because the attacks on civilians have generated as much hatred for the outsiders as they have for us.

          Then they will go about sorting out who is going to control what. The Kurds are well entrenched, so they'll fare well, the rest will have to fight it out among themselves, but they will do that regardless of what we do, the only difference is the timing. As long as they have a common enemy it takes priority.

          The difference between leaving now and leaving later is how many troops we have killed and maimed, and how many civilian dead can rightfully be laid at our door.

          We need to use the elections next month to declare Victory and leave.

          Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life. Your God is a theory with no supporting evidence.

          by The Baculum King on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 11:55:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absofrickinglutely (none)
               It's almost the same as getting your kid to clean his room, trying to make it seem like it's his idea. Too much pressure and he piddles around-' you're not the boss of me.'...Problem here is the dems are the new boyfriend trying to get liked. It's an ugly choice. The tricky but moral choice right now might be for the dems to say -yippee we won good job now leave, let's get the UN in here now/Murtha's pentagon withdrawl plan, 'and things like that and so on'...and  not win as big in 06.
               Me, I don't want blood on my hands, I say it's a civil war, we're floundering around and causing more trouble than we can ever fix-Get The Fuck Out Now. Support the troops by bringing them home now.

            Another good German,-7.95 -7.88

            by KenBee on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 12:49:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Allowing? (none)
      And what in blazes can Dems do about it?

      Until they WIN the 2006 elections I mean.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:24:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  WHAT IS THE GOAL (none)
    Everything about Iraq (forgetting the killing, for a moment, which many of us believe is a big deal too) comes down to this simple question: what strategy is most likely to bring about the goal we are striving to achieve? And, what is that goal?

    I know, I know, Bush has no strategy. Isn't that the problem, Sen. Biden (Kerry)? Uh, well, no. That's just a secondary problem. The first and most obvious problem is that the goal he's shooting for is not worthy of a great nation, or humanity in the 21st century. What is the goal?

    Well, I wish I could be sanguine enough to say it was merely to leave Iraq better than we found it at this point. But I don't believe that. That goal is something that might be accomplished--if not immediately, then in a few years, with a real strategy, a complete change in course (and leadership), and more than a little luck. If Biden were talking about 50/50 and meant this, I'd be willing to listen. Sadly, Biden knows full well that that's a fantasy, so he is "shading the truth" when he speaks of hypotheticals he knows will remain that way.

    No, the goal is still (unbelievably, until you realize what a stooge and arrogant, petulant jerk inhabits 1600 Pennsylvania) to produce a highly-polished legacy for Dubya, and one that really sticks it to dad. A result that proves that every decision made was the right one. A result that guarantees US control of cheap oil, a firm anchor in the Middle East, and continued global hegemony. Heck, let's throw in the undying gratitude of all our servicemen and women while we're at it.

    This is the problem: there is no strategy which can bring about this goal. Biden's other lie about the 50/50 is that we "still have a shot". Bush took us on a wild gamble, telling us "I know how to beat the Vegas system. Give me a half a trillion dollars, your first born and my discretion, and I will parlay that into much more." Well, we've been pulling the handle on the bandits for 2 years now, and we're down by $300 billion and 2100 G.I.s. Only a compulsive gambler would believe that continuing to put quarters in would ever win us back our initial stake, let alone a profit!

    So, naturally, the first thing we have to do if we want to achieve the most we can (not necessarily what we'd like, though) is to shift our goals rather dramatically. In Foundation, Hari Seldon surmises that the most hopeful plan for re-establishing order in the Galaxy will still experience 1 000 years of darkness. There was no shortcut available. Likewise, any reasonable goal must accept the inevitable continuation of some violence and sectarian conflict. No one wants to admit this (at least if they expect to run for Prez in 2008) but that's the only starting point that can get us to a meaningful solution.

    So, accepting this, we can still argue that success, based on where we are today, is an Iraq which is beginning to stabilize and be better than it was within a few years. For the US, the best result would be to regain some of our lost respect, and some influence in global affairs outside of bombs. That means compromise, delegation and, impossible of course, humility. Fat chance.

    Still, if we accept those principles, we could imagine an exit strategy like this: immediate all-party negotiations with Sunni, Shia, Kurd and insurgent representatives, brokered by the UN. An immediate agreement to withdraw as many troops as practicable, under UN supervision (just the plans, not the troops). An agreement to fund and resource at levels similar to what we are spending today the deployment of mixed UN/Iraqi units whose sole role will be to prevent widespread bloodshed. An agreement to continue to fund future activities as needed, in order to allow the UN and Iraq to succeed. An admission of error in launching the war.

    Is that going to give a quick fix? Absolutely not. On top of being a supreme humiliation, even this plan comes no closer than 50/50 to producing a democratic, stable Iraq. Moreover, it isn't clear that the UN is ready and/or willing to do so. But it's clear that no solution which keeps the US directly involved can work. It is just too distrusted and too hated, and ongoing participation other than through fiscal support is simply counterproductive.

    But nothing really matters at all without a willingness to alter our goal for Iraq.

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:59:55 PM PST

    •  So What SHOULD Our Goal for Iraq Be? (3.25)
      Armando says that it should be to get more Democrats elected in 2006.

      I think it needs to be to minimize human suffering and rebuild a semblance of international goodwill, and with it real security, for this country.

      Would that get more Democrats elected? Frankly, who cares.  International peace and the lives of millions of people in Iraq (including, but not limited to, our troops over there) are simply more important.

      Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you/What more can we do

      by GreenSooner on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:18:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  but (none)
        You are not good to have good international relations, peace and lives saved in Iraq with Republicans in the House and Senate plus the White House. I think in order to get a chance at Peace and improved International relations and less bloodshed of our troops and civilians..is to get Republicans out of office! I seriously doubt one can be done without the other..they go hand in hand.

        America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

        by wishingwell on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 11:17:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry (none)
          it is late, missing typos on preview..I meant to say..You are not going to have peace and improve internation relations with other countries while Republicans hold the Majority plus WH.

          America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand-Harry S. Truman

          by wishingwell on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 11:18:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you (none)
            I wish people would understand that simple fact.

            The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

            by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:23:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's true, but... (none)
            It doesn't appear to me to be much more likely even with a majority in Congress and a Dem WH, if they egt elected by agreeing to see things through. Politics has a habit of warping folks' intentions somewhat (or, a fuck of a lot). Getting into power has to be accompanied by promising to fix things--substantially.

            It's much harder to run from doing the right thing if it comes with political risk.

            However, it certainly seems less likely with Augustus Shrub in charge than any other possibility.

            "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

            by thingamabob on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:18:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But the campaign (none)
              is when the choice will be offered.

              That's my point.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 09:10:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  True enough (none)
                Don't take the misinterpretation of your position as anything other than signs we are not worthy of your greatness. ;)

                It's a fair comment, but I think the best reason to NOT deliver a clear Iraq strategy (apart from the fact that there is no such thing, anywhere, at this point. It's rather like asking someone driving through thick fog which fork in the road to take--until we get there we can't see the damn thing) is that it is counter-productive at a time when what voters want is RELIEF, pure and simple.

                I'll re-post part of an earlier comment:

                When confronted with an incompetent, corrupt, arrogant Administration as we have today, it's not only not necessary for the Dems to have a "clear vision" it's counter-productive (and I don't mean politically speaking).

                Things are so bad that the only compelling vision right now is "We will throw the bums out!"

                It's rather like you have just had an accident and broken a bone rather badly. Your fibia is sticking out through your skin and pants as the bottom of your leg hangs limp and excruciating pain radiates throughout your leg. You are in shock. You know what has happened but don't want to believe it. What you need is: 1) to be given a strong pain killer; 2) to have some competent medical personnel take charge; 3) to receive necessary treatment to get better.

                There's no use having the first doctor on the scene tell you about how he knows a terrific contractor who'll help build you your dreamhouse. Heck, there's no point in even telling you about your treatment, there's only stopping the pain.

                Which is why Dems would be well advised to simply show exactly how they are not like Shrubco and the GOP.

                "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

                by thingamabob on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 10:18:01 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  dems doing right thing gets us out=leadership (none)
        Your point is well taken. I do support Dems AND I support doing the right thing without everything coming down to a purely political motive because in my view making the tough decision to get the hell outta dodge now in a timely fashion is the best decision IMHO and it's the right thing to do. For folks concerned about politics, being honest and doing the right thing is always the best thing to do because folks and the public can smell bullshit a mile away anyway so cop outs are futile.

        Murtha is right. Expedient Withdrawl. NOW. soon.
        esp if Iraq gov condones attacks on our troops.

        Resolving this quagmire and getting us the hell out.

        helps Iraq
        helps US
        helps global community
        helps dems
        helps everyone

        Time to stand up and do the right thing dammit.

        •  When can Dems get us out? (none)
          When? How?

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:23:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  dems doing right thing=not cavin 2 pugs (none)
            supporting Murtha's and public's demand for withdrawl is also doin the right thing and a win-win

            this is an issue folks care deeply about. people HATE this war. public is fed up, sick of it and want out. (coppin out + layin low ain't good enough--we know that. enough is enough.) Dems holding pugs accountable and standing up demanding what's right and demonstrating + showing leadership is very important and necessary esp now. That's what we've been doing and it's a good thing. Election is less than a year away and Dems are a strong leadership alternative in 2006 and onward to corrupt clusterfuck we have now. Standing up with conviction as we have been doing only helps, IMHO. We can't let the bastards wear us down. There's too much at stake. Public expects accountability while these wackos keep trying to drive us off a cliff. We need to show Dems=not biz as usual, but stand for a saner alternative that includes getting us the hell outta there ASAP.

            •  But when is the issue (none)
              Murtha did good.

              But when to institutionalize it?

              i say the campaign.

              Why? Cuz that's when voters decide.

              To offer the choice prematurely is a mistake.

              Hold bushCo to account. Agreed. But to offer alternative now is folly.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 09:09:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  agreed-still call em out-hold accountable (none)
                support Murtha's strong call for withdrawl as we begin working toward elections less than a year away now. What we've been doing is good and shows strong leadership and helps us as 2006 is a month away. It's all good. Dems like Murtha + Reid keep up the fight and on keepin on. Public knows what's right and will respond. WH has fubared big time and Dems will do the right thing, folks know that -- we'll give em hope (and instill it ourselves) that we won't let them down like corrupt WH (and those complicit with them) have.

                Go Dems! 2006 is upon us sooner than we imagine!

      •  BS (none)
        That is not what Arando said and it galls the shit out of me that you say it is.

        Why lie? Why did you have to lie?

        The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

        by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:18:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Respectfully Disagree (2.50)
          For those in power who have the ability to formulate and implement Iraq policy this is surely true. That is the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress. Neither is listening to a damn thing Democrats say about Iraq except with regard to how to respond to it politically. The Democrats have no say whatsoever in Iraq policy. And BushCo has decided that this be so.

          So what are Dems left to do? Very simple. They have to plan and act in ways designed to allow them to regain power in 2006.

          This is what Armando said, plain and simple.  On Iraq, the Democrats should simply act so as to gain more power. Nothing more, nothing less.  He even challenges us to call him cynical. Well, I will call him cynical. And wrongheaded as well.  I'm sorry that when I disagree with him, he feels the need to claim that I'm misrepresenting his position (or even "lying").  I think the block quote above nicely indicates that I have not.

          But this is only half the story.  I can imagine someone saying, well, that is a cynical position, but what else are the Democrats to do? The GOP is in control, right? And with the Democrats in charge things, won't things get better in Iraq?  He's my problem with all of that.

          1) The Democrats aren't powerless.  Look. I'm a Green. Grant me this: I know powerless. And the Democrats are far from powerless. They're not even in the neighborhood. The Democrats have enough votes in the Senate to filibuster. And they are very capable of engaging in parliamentary tricks to dramatically slow things down in that body.  If the Democrats were to prioritize making this war more or less impossible to wage, they could do so. I'm not necessarily saying that this is their best course of action.  I'm simply saying they have the numbers to do it.  It is not true that the Dems are powerless over Iraq policy.

          Moreover, the GOP's majorities in both Houses of Congress are very narrow.  With public opinion turning against this war and Bush's lame duck status and falling poll numbers, it might be possible to turn enough GOP votes that, if the Democrats voted as an anti-war block (see below), Congress could pass something like the real Murtha resolution, or simply refuse to fund this war anymore.  Already GOP Senators have shown a lot of independence from this White House on the issue of torture. Republicans are up for reelection, too. And this war is not popular.

          2) The Democratic leadership has yet to reject the Iraq War. This is the 800 lb gorilla in the room. After nearly three disastrous years of this war, after public opinion turning hard against it, even after a major Democratic hawk publicly announces support for immediate withdrawal (the policy favored by at least a plurality of the U.S. public), press reports indicate that only seventy Democratic congresspeople (roughly one third of the caucus) agree with Murtha.  

          The continued Democratic support for this bipartisan war has at least two important consequences.  First, it is one of the chief things standing in the way of the Democrats having the power to do anything about Iraq.  My first point above assumed that the Democrats could act with a semblance of unity on this war.  Of course, the fact is they can do no such thing. And so long as two-thirds, or even one-third, of House or Senate Democrats continue to support this war, they obviously won't be able (or even willing) to do anything to improve the situation in Iraq.

          But, secondly, the continued support for this war means that even if the Democrats somehow retake the House and Senate in 2006, little will change on the Iraq front.  I'm not one of those Greens who think that there's no difference whatsoever between the two major parties. But on the issue of withdrawing from Iraq, there is precious little difference between the Congressional leadership of the two major parties.

          In short, all this talk of Democratic powerlessness and a need to Be Like Karl® strikes me as a lot of windowdressing designed to cover up the leadership of the Democratic Party's continuing refusal to turn against this war.  

          Finally, a word about the cynicism of all this.  There's a minority in my party who truly feels that things need to get worse before they get better, that it's actually better to elect Republicans than Democrats.  I have always rejected this logic, both because there's a real cost to things getting worse, and because it's never been clear to me that voters are much more likely to do the right thing when things do get even worse. Or to put it another way, the ends don't justify the means... and they means may not even get you there.

          Rather than spinning complicated political fantasies, let's keep our eyes on the prize: ending this war, ASAP.

          Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you/What more can we do

          by GreenSooner on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:26:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  More nonsense (none)
            "On Iraq, the Democrats should simply act so as to gain more power. Nothing more, nothing less. "

            There is much more. And you know it. So I call you liar.

            Disagree with me when I say that Dems have no power to change Iraq without gaining power.

            But do not LIE, as you did again, that I said that Dems only goal on Iraq is regain power.

            Power is necessary to change the policy. When we have the power we change the policy.

            I repeat - you are a liar.

            The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

            by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:30:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Now You're Misrepresenting What I Said (none)
              I said that you believe that the Democrats' policy on Iraq should be to do whatever they can to gain power in 2006. You claimed I was lying. I quoted you saying exactly that.

              Now you're claiming that I said that the Dems only goal on Iraq is to gain more power in 2006. Neither I nor you said that.  You're advising the Democrats to take that position. I'm disagreeing.

              Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you/What more can we do

              by GreenSooner on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:35:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You contradict your self (2.50)
                Your first wrote this:

                So What SHOULD Our Goal for Iraq Be? (3.00 / 3)

                Armando says that it should be to get more Democrats elected in 2006.

                That was a lie. I said Dems can do nothing on Iraq UNLESS elected in 2006. compeltely different. You know it is and you chose to lie. Despicable.

                Then you lied again in this last comment:

                I said that you believe that the Democrats' policy on Iraq should be to do whatever they can to gain power in 2006. You claimed I was lying. I quoted you saying exactly that.

                The same lie. And you know it is a lie. Despicable.

                Then you repeat the lie one more time:

                Now you're claiming that I said that the Dems only goal on Iraq is to gain more power in 2006. Neither I nor you said that.  You're advising the Democrats to take that position. I'm disagreeing.

                A serial liar. Despicable.

                One last time in case you really don't understand it. My view is that Dems can do nothing on Iraq UNLESS they gain power in the 2006 election.

                Apparently you disagree with that. Many in the thread so.

                But you are the only person who lies and says that my advice for Dems on Iraq is ONLY to win elections in 2006. My conclusion is that ONLY when Dems win in 2006 can they act on Iraq.

                Do you have some advice of what Dems can do NOW to end the Iraq Debacle? Of course you do not.

                You are a potshotting liar.

                The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:43:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  How Is It A Lie? (none)
                  Here you say that "My view is that Dems can do nothing on Iraq UNLESS they gain power in the 2006 election."  In your original post you wrote something slightly different, "So what are Dems left to do? Very simple. They have to plan and act in ways designed to allow them to regain power in 2006." What's changed is emphasis.

                  You repeatedly quote what I have to say. I won't say it again, since you seem to have gotten the point ;-).  I continue to feel it is a fair representation of what you've written.

                  I know you feel that the Dems can do nothing else. But that's an argument in favor of your position. It doesn't change that position, which is that, for the Democrats, the politics of Iraq can be nothing but the politics of the 2006 election.  Is this all about the difference between "should" and "can be nothing but"?

                  Finally, I have proposed in my second comment on this thread, other things the Dems could do if they united against this war.  You have announced that since I'm "lying," you won't pay any attention to anything else I write. Fine. But that doesn't make your final accusation against me any more true: "Do you have some advice of what Dems can do NOW to end the Iraq Debacle? Of course you do not."

                  Look, I gotta go to work. This has turned into a Monty Python style "argument", with shouts of "liar" substituting for simple contradiction. And since you're now lying about me (actually I think you're simply ignoring what I'm saying, but this is a lot closer to lying than what I'm doing re: you), I'm calling it even.

                  Have a great day, New Armando!

                  Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you/What more can we do

                  by GreenSooner on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:58:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Emphasis? (none)
                    How about question of telling the fucking truth. Your whole approch is BushCo. Here is what I wrote:

                    For those in power who have the ability to formulate and implement Iraq policy this is surely true. That is the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress. Neither is listening to a damn thing Democrats say about Iraq except with regard to how to respond to it politically. The Democrats have no say whatsoever in Iraq policy. And BushCo has decided that this be so.

                    So what are Dems left to do? Very simple. They have to plan and act in ways designed to allow them to regain power in 2006. So they can try and deal with the Iraq Debacle given us by Bush and the Republicans. This requires offering plans for Iraq when voters can choose between Republicans and Democrats. The 2006 election campaign.

                    It is the only principled thing to do.

                    That is not a question of emphasis. That is the whole fucking point!

                    And your point is to lie about me. You wrote:

                    It doesn't change that position, which is that, for the Democrats, the politics of Iraq can be nothing but the politics of the 2006 election.  Is this all about the difference between "should" and "can be nothing but"?

                    Again you lie. The point is UNTIL. Not nothing but. You are either an idiot, which I do not believe, or a liar. Which I am convinced of.

                    I question your character. I think you are a lying weasel.

                    Old and New Armando agree on that.

                    Neither of us tolerate liars.

                    The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                    by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:05:27 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  And the rest of your comment (none)
            becomes mere noise to me as a result.

            Lying about what I said will have that effect.

            I have no respect for your views as a result and will not address them.

            The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

            by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:32:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  BTW (none)
            Titleing your comment "I Respectfully Disagree" does not make the comment respectful or disagreement.

            You lied. That is all you did. Nothing more.

            The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

            by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:52:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure that's what Armando was saying (none)
        But in any event it's an important discussion. It's conceivable that the quickest route to accomplishing our humanitarian goals is to elect as many more Dems as soon as possible--Augustus Shrub is unlikely to change his "thinking"... ever.

        So we need two parallel strategies: one to accomplish as much as we can NOW, with or without the support of a majority Dem Congress; and the other to change the control of Congress and the White House.

        My only reservation regarding the latter is whether electing Biden/Lieberman Dems is really any help at all. Fortunately, I believe Howard Dean and whoever is the 2008 candidate will help purge the party of those folks (or their ideas) once and for all.

        "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:28:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is not what Armando said (none)
          andGreen Sooner knows it.

          He then wonders why folks get hostile with him.

          His penchant for untruths about me is the main one.

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:20:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It IS What You Said, Armando (none)
            See the passage I quote earlier in this thread.  Perhaps you didn't mean to say it. I know I've certainly written things that don't say what I meant them to say. But when people call me on such things, they aren't "lying."  

            Incidentally, I've never been puzzled about why you get hostile with me, Armando. I'm disagreeing with you. That's usually enough, as folks around here well know.

            Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you/What more can we do

            by GreenSooner on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:31:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You lie Green Sooner (none)
              Why must you do so? Why do you feel impelled to lie about me instead of just disagreeing with my views?

              You know what the lie is. I explain what the lie is.

              The quote does not support your lie.

              And you insist on holding to your lie.

              I have no reason to discuss anything with you as your lying and hostility towards me is well documented at your Green place.

              That is cheered over there.

              Here, I will call you to account.

              Stop lying.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:35:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Merely Repeating the Word "Lie"... (none)
                ....doesn't make it so.

                I quoted you saying exactly what I said you said.

                Your response is just to shove your fingers in your ears and repeat "liar, liar, liar."  And give me troll ratings on substantive comments that respond to your accusations.

                And when that's not enough, you try to use me to smear my entire party. Even you must know that's not fair.

                The New Armando looks pretty much like the Old Armando from where I sit.

                I honestly think I am fairly representing what you said.  Now, if I am not, there are two possible things wrong. Either you didn't say what you meant to say or, just as likely, I'm misreading it. If, in the passage quoted in my post above, you did not mean to say that the Democrats should simply act on Iraq in whatever way gets them back into power in 2006, please tell me what you meant to say (and given all your anger towards me, it might also be nice to know why you think my reading of your post, even if it is a misreading, is so unreasonable).

                Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you/What more can we do

                by GreenSooner on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:42:09 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your quote is not the lie (none)
                  Your lie is the lie.

                  Here is one your lies:

                  Now you're claiming that I said that the Dems only goal on Iraq is to gain more power in 2006. Neither I nor you said that.  You're advising the Democrats to take that position. I'm disagreeing.

                  That is not a quote of me. That is a quote of you.

                  You are a despicable liar because you lie when you say "Your're advising the Democrats only goal on Iraq is to gain more power in 2006."

                  There is no quote form me to that effect.

                  You lie again when you say there is.

                  I am not just calling you a liar. I am proving it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

                  I thank you for allowing me to demonstrate your true character once again.

                  The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                  by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:47:27 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Folks know (none)
              about you and your behavior, especially at the Green Place.

              You won't win that battle here.

              Your disdain for daily kos is well documented.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:37:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Green Place (none)
                Whoops...I thought you were attacking my Party. Now I realize that you're attacking BoomanTrib.

                You are a monomaniac, Armando.

                As I've said before, I stand by everything I've posted there. And I really haven't said anything at that site that I haven't said here, despite Armando's repeated insistence here that I have.  I have on occasion been critical of some dKos frontpagers over there; but I've been similarly critical of them over here.  

                This is almost certainly deeply boring to other Kossacks, but if anyone is really interested here, again, is the link to all my BoomanTrib comments.

                Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you/What more can we do

                by GreenSooner on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:46:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your lies (none)
                  are there for all to see.

                  BTW, I also criticize your Party, which has the same conceits and mendacity as you exhibit.

                  As for your behavior there as to here, you crticize all of us, not just FPers.

                  Please stop lying.

                  Or to put it another way, is this comment as truthful as your others on this thread? I think it is.

                  The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                  by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:50:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  BTW (none)
                  The chances of you not running to the Green place for solace after me "being mean" to you are zero.

                  You know it and I know it.

                  The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                  by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:59:42 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  how? demonstrations on the Mall? (none)
        Another poster said it well: Iraq is just a battle in the war. The Patriot Act is in some ways worse than Iraq. (without the constitution, we are history). Eliott Spitzer gave a talk the other night here in Dallas on corruption, unchecked at the Federal level. Freedom of religion. Corruption of science. SCOTUS. The list goes on and on. This is a war for America, not for Iraq.

        Treason's Greetings from Karl Rove and Scooter Libby: Merry Fitzmas and Happy New Smear

        by seesdifferent on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:42:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's fine (none)
      But any plan without the power to implement it is just wankery.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:22:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes (none)
        And any plan that looks like this is wankery that's bound to cause political disaffection of the worst kind. I heard gergen on Crap, Not News discussing Carter's legacy and saying that he was so "down" on America, as if he was blaming Americans for all of the problems.

        Well, no, he was suggesting it was up to Americans to fix some of the problems. But the Gergens and others will portray any implication that Americans need to "take responsibility" as blaming America (and therefore, theoretically, giving the terrorists a pass). It's nonsense and demagoguery, but it's also guaranteed, and therefore not a place we want to go.

        Man I hate CNN.

        "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 11:56:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Pick an Iraqi side! (none)
      Why don't we just pick a side in the Iraqi conflict? Instead of trying to create a balance of the three forces in Iraq, let's just pick an eventual winner, and support them (winner = Shia+Kurds). Sunnis should be protected from an all out genocide, but the Kurds and the Shias will want some payback - official or unofficial. Anyone who thinks that violence will die down after we leave is just hopelessly optimistic. Let the Shia+Kurds make order in that country.

      At this point I think they'd be happy with their own territory and to be left alone, but if they need to, they will pacify the Sunnis, through talks or with weapons. We can try to guide them to at least try the peaceful solution, after that our work is done.

      •  Absolutely not (none)
        1. It's wrong.
        2. It won't help Iraq.
        3. It won't help the US.
        4. It won't help anybody.

        Fact is, the most likely outcome of all of this is the dissolution of Iraq into three areas: the relatively placid, pro-Iranian Shia south, and two in constant foment, the Kurdish north and Sunni middle. This won't last forever, but in the short term it represents the most likely outcome.

        It will then be our duty, unless we wish to prove Bin Laden's point (that we are corrupt, power-hungry, lying sacks of shit), to help in all three arenas. The only reason Augustus Shrub and his minions promised to keep Iraq whole is that they wanted to keep the flow of oil whole. The rest of it was a fantasy. There isn't even a conceivable way to introduce something like "truth and reconciliation" here.

        But forcing a solution which represents "taking sides" in the overall dispute will bite us in the ass sooner rather than later. And let's not forget another thing... IT'S WRONG.

        Why is it so hard to avoid doing those kinds of things?

        "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 11:51:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Exit strategy: Admit the US was wrong to invade (4.00)
    We have lost a lot of political capital in the world, especially in the Middle East. And the Democrats have lost credibility by giving Bush a free ride until his poll numbers started tanking.

    The way to start repairing both problems is not for the Dems to offer no solutions, but to start acting like a serious opposition party. A first step would be to call for Bush & Cheney's resignation, and their impeachment if they refuse. Dems do not have to have majorities in Congress to  simply call for this (as opposed to actually doing it).

    There are two things that together would give the US a decent chance to repair its standing in the Middle East and the rest of the world:

    1. Start an orderly withdrawal and make clear that the US has no intentions to keep permanent bases in Iraq. (This does not require an "immediate" withdrawal.) Substituting air power for withdrawn ground forces does not count.

    2. Bush and Cheney and the other neocons in positions of power are literally war criminals by international law, since they started an illegal war. Therefore, the only honorable thing for the US to do is to hand them over to the World Criminal Court. (Since the Bush administration has caused immeasurable damage to America itself, there are no countervailing national interest issues not to do this.) There is no single act that could do as much to restore America's standing in the world. (Ratifying all the international treaties that the Bush administration has run away from would be a close second.)

    The difference between a liberal and a progressive is that a progressive thinks for himself, but a liberal lets the Republicans do his thinking for him.

    by Alexander on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:01:31 PM PST

    •  I would suggest leaving Bush out of it (none)
      I would suggest going after Cheney and Rumsfeld.  There is plenty of evidence that they sold us down the river and that they have been incompetent. Bush of course will end up having to defend them, which is impossible. That has the desired result.

      Treason's Greetings from Karl Rove and Scooter Libby: Merry Fitzmas and Happy New Smear

      by seesdifferent on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:47:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We don't need a Karl Rove (none)
    We need someone who can be a good adviser to the Democratic leaders without smearing other persons, as Karl Rove likes to do. I for one would be shocked if a Democratic party adviser bugged his own phone and then claimed his opponent did it. But from Karl Rove it is not surprising, because everyone knows what a SOB he is.

    Dick Morris, though no Democrat, was a decent adviser to Bill Clinton. He was the architect of Bill Clinton's revival after the 1994 disaster.

  •  2006 is not enough. (4.00)
    Even if we turned both houses of Congress to the Democratic Party (and tell me what are the chances of that...really?) we still have an Administration that is hell-bent on screwing this enterprise up.

    Frankly, I'm not sure Iraq can be "fixed."

    Let's review.  Bush lied to garner support for an invasion.  We invaded with too few soldiers, thus, the Iraqi infrastructure was completely destroyed.  Two years later, Iraqis still do not have reliable electricity, health care, education, etc...

    We dismantled the army, the police and the entire criminal justice system.  What have we replaced it with?  Soliders that torture, attorneys and judges working under constant threat of death, and a poorly written, vague constitution that 2/3rds of Iraqis approved.

    And we still have soldiers, poorly protected, ill-equipped, trying to fight a home grown, foreign funded insurgency.  We have gold-plated contractors torturing and shooting indiscriminantly and a host of Administrative officials eying the next Middle Eastern experiment in Democracy.

    The only "exit strategy" is to leave and let the chips fall where they may.  Which is what I think the Bush Administration will do by default.  They won't "cut and run."  No...they'll lose interest and move onto the next target.

    Even if we won both houses of Congress, the best we could hope to do is investigate the hell out of this Administration and destroy it's credibility.

    Trying to fix someone else's mess sounds too much like a good deed--that won't go unpunished in 2008.

  •  Timing is everything (4.00)
    Karl Rove's time is drawing to a close IMO .... and like a vampire, he will shrink into the shadows to continue to do his deeds but not from the position of power he now enjoys.

    Cycles, all of life is cycles.  Clinton would not have been president at another time.  And it was "timing" that allowed W to become president.  

    America wanted a W and now they don't.  It's like the breakup of a marriage; they know what they don't want, but can't see any alternatives at this point.  Just anger, frustration, fear of the future, thinking and rethinking "do I stay in this mess or bail out and hope for better".  In essence we are asking the public to "cheat" on their president and look for someone else to satisfy their wants.  About 33% will be faithful to Bush period; another percentage will keep hanging on to the administration's view because they don't want to admit making a mistake.  

    We don't need a Karl Rove.  America is looking for something, someone else.   Someone that will make them have hope, not fear; someone who is open and honest, not secretive and sneaky; someone who has a plan that he himself is committed to in plucking ourselves from the Iraq debacle.  It CAN be done, not without risk, not without challenge.  It's going to be a man of strong convictions and courage to lead the way.

  •  Until Exxon and Chevron (none)
    ...give it up, the Iraqis will never be happy and the insurgency will continue.  We are there to ensure that those contracts Chalabi signed are enforced when the new government gets in and our big oil corporations can fleece the Iraqis of their oil wealth for decades to come.  Until that is given up for good, then there will never be peace.

    "The survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us." -- Karl Popper

    by eyeswideopen on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:33:28 PM PST

  •  How to use Iraq politically -- Slimebag 101 (none)
    This is a prime example of what caused my move from being a Democrat to being fully independent.

    We need to get out of Iraq. We need to do it now.

    Iraq will not become a haven for terrorism. Terrorism is not looking for real estate. Buying into any of that, the way you are, Armando... and the way Hillary is... turns death into something political.

    You make me feel like vomiting.

    •  I don't feel like vomiting (none)
      but I agree with your observation.

      What I want is honesty, transparency, and accountability.

      If the Democrats try and get clever, the GOP will use it against them in 2006 and 2008, in the same way they are using the Iraq Resolution and the Patriot Act votes (where Democratic representatives voted their cake and are now eating it) against Democrats who will not stand up and say "I made a mistake."

      I don't think the soldiers who will be injured or die between now and whenever the Democrats regain leadership will thank them for their silence.  Their families sure won't.

      •  Well... (none)
        You stated my (evidently our) case a lot better than I did without the vomit.

        I guess I really don't feel like vomiting either.

        Lets just say I'm disgusted by all the talk about political advantage.

      •  Well said, Patricia! (4.00)
        My son, returned from his second tour in Iraq, would appreciate your viewpoint.

        In fact, his thinking is, do whatever it takes to get the country standing on its own ASAP then get the hell out of there.

        We can deal with the political ramifications afterwards, but if the dems step up, keep repeating their plan (JK's during the campaign wasn't half bad - internationalize the effort of training the Iraqi forces) and add Feingold's finding after his mission there earlier this year (giving a timetable will take the wind out of the sails of the insurgents), then the Dems have offered the winning strategy which the Republicans can choose to implement or not (Harry Reid's suggestion again months ago, blogged here too.)

        The big thing is all Dems have to be on the same page, repeating this ad infitinum, talking points 101.

        They can add to this the fact that before the war ever started, they were screaming for an exit strategy too. I'm putting together a diary on that right now.

        I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: that all men are created equal.

        by Moesse on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:46:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Time line (none)
          "In fact, his thinking is, do whatever it takes to get the country standing on its own ASAP then get the hell out of there."

          What if it takes 12 to 15 years? Are you ready and willing?

          Armando: But [I] find your obsession with promotion to be distasteful in the extreme. LMAO!

          by oratorio on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:20:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, the key word was ASAP (4.00)
            The thing is, he, like many others in the military, don't want it to be considered another vietnam.

            My big thing is, we need to be broadcasting that we're getting out, giving a timeline which, like Feingold said, would erase the Iraqis fears that it would be a colonization or occupying force.

            But even more than that, broadcasting this would give other countries, who have been shut out of all of the rebuilding efforts by the greed of the US Cabal, might consider taking up the cause of Iraqi stability if it meant some economic gain to entities other than US Flag Companies a la Haliburton.

            I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: that all men are created equal.

            by Moesse on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:31:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So, in addition to the ASAP Timeline (none)
              for orderly withdrawal of our troops, which would deflate the argument that we are colonizing Iraq to drain it of its resources we need to implement a review of all no-bid reconstruction and security contracts and open up the bidding to non-U.S. based corporations.

              In fact, I think that rebuilding efforts should be using local expertise as much as possible.  The Iraqi professional class included scientists, architects, builders, contractors, and engineers.

              It makes more sense to let Iraqis rebuild Iraqi, supporting their effort to rebuild local economies.

            •  ASAP will not... (none)
              ...allow for enough time to properly trained enough Iraqi troops.
              Civil war is inevitable. NO other country with enough means will step up because this is not a situation which can be won until after the blood is shed. This situation was created by an amateur who found himself President of the USA. Enormous tragedy. Hollywood script made real.

              Armando: But [I] find your obsession with promotion to be distasteful in the extreme. LMAO!

              by oratorio on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:53:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Leave NOW or leave in 20 years (none)
      The results for the Iraqis will be the SAME.  There is going to be upheaval, deaths, brutality, civil war or civil unrest, terrorist attempts to take over that may be successful.  

      Just think how battered and beleaguered we all feel after 5 years of W and a feeling that there is NO hope, that the lies and the failures are so apparent and yet no regime change is in view.

      Democracy and freedom are not something that are "handed to" you.  Besides many of life's greatest challenges are "two steps forward, one step back".

      I think about our own struggle for independence and freedom .... and the US policy included no rights for women, slavery for African peoples, and genocide for American Indians.  

  •  THERE IS NO FREEKING "PLAN" (4.00)
    There is just the truth.

    If Iraq was Bush's "fix" for 9/11, the medicine was far worse than the illness.

    If staying in Iraq is the "fix" for leaving, the medicine is worse than the illness.

    Democrats should do what Murtha did speak the truth and then sell it.

    The truth is that thanks to Bush, we are in a position of picking our poison. No one can know the correct way to go at this point.

    Leaving in an orderly way risks Iraq moving from an 8 on the unmitigated disaster scale to a 10. But we save our army. Staying we can lose or "save" Iraq, but we degrade our army.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:52:34 PM PST

  •  And ... (4.00)
    GET THE DIEBOLD MACHINES out of Florida, Ohio ... and any other state.  If you don't, the GOP will "win" again, no matter how many vote against them.  They are too smart (as if this takes a rocket scientist, but in America 2005, it has become such) to make themselves "win" by a large margin.  Does YOUR state have electronic voting?  Does YOUR state have Diebold?  I live in California and was horrified to learn that there ARE Diebold machines here, although not in MY county.  But -- I got an urgent letter last week -- from someone saying that the ONLY state elected GOPer (other than Congress) -- I THINK it was secretary of state, was trying to get Diebold in the back door.  Come to think of it, this GOPer was NOT elected.  The GOP drummed out the elected Dem and Arnold APPOINTED this scummy GOPer.

    I say now and will always say -- I will NEVER vote on a machine -- ever.  If they bring Diebold in, I will vote absentee.  If 10  million others also voted absentee in CA, perhaps they will get the point.

    •  Should be one of THE issues (none)
      That the Dems should talk and retalk and scream.  We do not have to accuse, just simply point out the possibility of tampering and the possibility of gross errors.  

      And it's really a VERY easy topic because most everyone has participated in a school election involving themselves or their children.  

      NO ONE would tolerate "black box" voting for their child for class president or cheerleader!

      I love your idea of absentee voting ....

    •  Diebold. (none)
      As a Californian you should know that our state's hired some people to actually see whether Diebold machines are riggable or not; handed some experts from other countries a lump of cash to hack and crack till their hearts' content.  Heard it on NPR the other day.  So maybe there are machines in some part of the state, but by the time they ever end up in my county we'll have a much better idea of what Diebold is actually doing, rather than what just seems likely.  The voting question doesn't have to stay up in the air forever, and at least our state's trying to do something about it.
    •  Machines = Robots (none)
      And we all know that robots steal old people's medicine.  We need to repeal the tax cuts for the rich and put that money into robot insurance with Old Glory.  :/
  •  Propose staying (4.00)
    The most effective Democratic proposal, right now, would be a serious plan to stay and really try to accomplish something.  I am talking political tactics, here, more than actual policy, and I don't think Democrats should advocate staying.

    But, Democrats could benefit from putting a serious plan to stay, on the table.  What would it take, to quiet the insurgency?  600,000 men?  1,000,000?  What would it take to have clean water?  What would it take to have a safe highway from the airport to the Green Zone?  What would it take, to have electricity 24/7 in Baghdad?  What would it take to have an Iraqi unemployment rate below 10%?  How many Arabic translators would be needed?  How much would it cost to equip an Iraqi Army?

    A real plan to stay, with a real budget would highlight the reality that Bush does not have a plan to accomplish anything in Iraq.  A real plan to stay would highlight the reality that the $18+ billion reconstruction has failed, and would have to done over!  A real plan would highlight the fact there is no Iraqi Army, and wouldn't be one any time soon, because they have no equipment!

    Like I said, I don't think Democrats need to endorse such a "plan to stay" but putting one on the table would highlight the reality that the Republicans have failed at every step to meet the requirements of reality.  It would speak loudly to those Americans, who have not paid enough attention to date, to know that just toughing it out with too few and too little, will not cut it.

    The effort and cost required to "win" in Iraq -- if such a thing is even possible -- is more than this country is willing to make.  Make that clear, by making explicit what it would take to have even any modicum of success.  Make clear that we have not made that effort, or that the effort to date has been lost in corruption and incompetence.

    The Republicans will say, "the Democrats forced us out of Iraq, and lost the war, because the Democrats undermined the will to stay and win."  That's a real threat, and deserves a real counter, and not just bravado from Armando.

    •  Bruce Bravado (none)
      Now THAT's the ticket.

      Sheesh.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:21:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good point (none)
      People who want to "win" should be informed of precisely what level of commitment is going to be necessary to win. Bush has been quite clever about hiding this.
    •  4 choices (none)
        Bruce, your idea of a plan to win is interesting, and  I think it implies  4 choices:
      1.   Your Plan for Winning
              Details on the enormous scale and cost of the plan to win. This
               is probably already done by the X-Pentagon generals and
               planners. That this is too high a cost and impossible without
                including many other nations and the UN will then be obvious.
                Also obvious will be the complete difference to Rummie's and
               Bush's plan and also  obvious will be their lack of judgement
               and their complete failure.
      2.    A plan to stay.
               Stay the course, tinker with it, and get out 'with honor'
              and draw down slowly and 'honorably.' This plan is a sucker
               plan, it's what the dems will inherit when the desparate voters
               throw the bums out, and they will. This is what Nixon inherited,
               he had a plan, and if the dems do this they will be tagged with it
               for a long long time by rove etc...And the dems will then have
               as much blood on their hands as the reeps, who will then be
              desparate to wipe it on them. Think 'losing Vietnam', it's
              antiwar's fault we are 'shamed' etc.  That dems voted to support
              this war ;   it's going to be impossible to explain away, but
              doing what  Edwards, Murtha, and Feingold have done will get
               some forgiveness.
      3.  Not my problem, we're not in charge.
              Not an uncommon response from people so discouraged by it
              all, can't blame them. However it's not the correct or moral choice
              and it looks like the dems plan to voters when dems say we
             ' don't have power', they want a good alternative to
               thesebums. Obviously they have plenty of power and it looks
               malicious just to make political points.Voters won't respond well
               to this cynicism much longer.
      4.   Get out now
               Them only long term plan for moral and political reasons...
              Murtha's plan is the plan of the people who will actually be
                doing the getting out.
      ---
              Plan 3 is no longer supportable as 'the plan', even tho still a good rap at the reeps and it tags them well and truly.
               Plan 2. is  a big loser and we should avoid  it .  
               Plan 1 is  obviously not going to happen without us saying 'help, we've fallen and we can't get  up' .
               Plan 4  Get Out Now should be the one the dems go with,
      but first going to their voters laying the groundwork and saying they were wrong and why and why they say we should get out. If they can't sell it soon, should campaign funds be spent on them? Sure unless they're named Joe or Zell  ( iknow...) Someone's gonna walk the plank as a blood  penance .  
                 It's the nut of the discussion here, to me, is when do we come out with Plan 4? Now or in two three or four months from now? Start laying the groundwork back home  with the mea culpas now if you voted for the disaster. Stand up now or you won't look anywhere near as good doing it later- and you will have to answer for your vote over and over again.  The reepers have polls too I hear and they are going to try and preempt Get Out Now with some pullback, before the 06 election, that's why they are so mad at Murtha.
                  There have been many good ideas here in the comments to add to Murtha's plan and it will evolve. I just hope it isn't sold out for
      political  calculations.  The antiwar movement is rolling, are the dems going to get on board or wait and see how it goes.....

      Another good German,-7.95 -7.88

      by KenBee on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 02:01:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  gdfdgsg (none)
    "If a sound exit plan means getting out without leaving Iraq less stable than it is now, and with a reasonable chance of becoming an American-style democracy, nobody has one."

    we want diebold in iraq?  isnt halliburton enough, already?  i wish iraq far better things than "american style" democracy.  look at how much its accomplished for us over the past 50 years.

    Neither is listening to a damn thing Democrats say about Iraq except with regard to how to respond to it politically.

    yes, this is true.  the public, however, is listening.  that's how you sieze power, in american-style democracy, right?  you sway the people to your side.

    blech.  this kinda crap is the exact reason congressional dems have a lower rating than cheney.  cant you folks see that?

    •  Saying they are listening (none)
      doesn't prove they are.

      It seems to me you weren't READING.

      Which part of the 2006 election campaign did you not understand?

      If I am harsh it is because your comment was a misstatement of what I wrote.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:21:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  gfdsgddsgfd (none)
        implying they arent listening doesnt prove they arent, durr.

        i understand your line of reasoning re: withdrawal during campaign time.  i just think youre wrong.

        would you care to address my point about congressional dems approval ratings?  that was the gist of the post.  htf do you explain a lower approval rating than darth cheney, hmmm?

        oh, and dont worry about offending me... you gotta be dear to me before you can offend me.

        •  Waiting (none)
          To find out if there's any positive response to Edwards stand up admission on his vote and other recent comments on Iraq, other than here.Comparing that to the parsed approach as was Kerry's should edumacate candidates how to do it. (Bush might even learn something...)  
                This is important obviously, and I'm hoping that it'll show that being honest and not weaselicious with the voters will let candidates at least break even , after the wngrs spew at them. My plan is before the campaign in 2006 that those who 'voted for the war' do what they have to do and take their lumps, and take them early enough that they can then spend more time campaigning for (re)election and not defending against flip flop spewage. They have to be able to turn their changed view of the war into a soundbite talking point slam of everything reepug.
              The challenge of talking to voters with family in Iraq is maybe the toughest. More diaries here on that please, there was at least one here recently that was good.
              Of course all candidates go to the reelection boot camp to get their chops up , right?
               There's got to be a proven way  politicians can change their positions and not get the 'flip flop' crap. Jeez don't we rate our politicians as to how well they  respond to the changing world?
            Ooops,  oh yeah, sorry....
             Oh and did I say Get The Hell Out Of Iraq Now?
          And that includes air support to tribal, ethnic, and religious factions...
             

          Neocon plan for Iraq : Chaos and Corruption.

          by KenBee on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:01:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  this: (none)
    They have to plan and act in ways designed to allow them to regain power in 2006.

    sounds like what they tried to do in 2002 and 2004.

    perhaps i'm just not sure how it's different.

    Sick of the mess they find/On their desert stage/And the bravery of being out of range. -- r. waters

    by BiminiCat on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 01:12:00 AM PST

    •  The plan then (none)
      was to do whatever Bush said on Iraq.

      Bad plan.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:16:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  cause at the time (none)
        bipartisanship behind a president with a 60 - 70 approval rating was seen as a plan and act in ways designed to allow them to regain power in 2002 and 2004.

        at least that's the conventional wisdom.  that a bad plan was arrived at not because people acted according to their beliefs, but because people acted in ways designed to win elections.

        Sick of the mess they find/On their desert stage/And the bravery of being out of range. -- r. waters

        by BiminiCat on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:42:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  For an Opposition Party (4.00)
          going along is ALWAYS a bad plan.

          Always.

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 04:15:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  why should any party ever agree?? (none)
            with any other party?   they're all opposed to each other.

            if one says "always" then all dem nominated judges should be filibustered by repugs and all repug nominated judges should be filibustered by dems.  and no judge ever will be confirmed as long as the filibuster remains an option.

            that.... ALL wars initiated with a repug in the white house should be opposed by dems.... that ALL wars initiated by a dem in the white house should be opposed by repugs.  by that definition, a REAL opposition party should have also been against the afghanistan campaign initiated right after 9-11.

            in the end, i'm not convinced there aren't just as many people in america who are sick of this kind of attitude in government as there are kossacks who believe there can be no other way.

            Sick of the mess they find/On their desert stage/And the bravery of being out of range. -- r. waters

            by BiminiCat on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 04:36:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Going along (none)
              Look it up. You don't understand the phrase obviously.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:09:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  nope (none)
                it's impossible to understand what you mean when you say "going along."

                so instead of assuming people don't know what they're talking about... lets just ask a question.  and define the term.  it's why i offered the example above.

                were democrats "going along" with repugs on the afghanistan campaign and, if so, was that wrong??

                Sick of the mess they find/On their desert stage/And the bravery of being out of range. -- r. waters

                by BiminiCat on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:26:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nonsense (none)
                  That is what annoys me about you. Never admit a mistake.

                  Avoidance: Conflict and discomfort by going along to get along, hence not getting dismissed.

                  No, Dems were NOT going along on Afghanistan.

                  They wholeheartedly and rightly agreed with the attack on the Taliban and Al Qaida.

                  They WERE going along on Iraq.

                  What is your problem?

                  The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                  by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:52:30 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  because (none)
                    They wholeheartedly and rightly agreed with the attack on the Taliban and Al Qaida.

                    certainly sounds to me like they were "going along" with it.  i'll be happy to admit the  mistake of not seeing what you meant.  

                    now i see when you're saying someone is "going along"...  that means someone is agreeing with something they do not wholeheartedly or rightly agree with.  

                    i really don't want to revisit a debate on the iraq war in this thread.

                    Sick of the mess they find/On their desert stage/And the bravery of being out of range. -- r. waters

                    by BiminiCat on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:52:23 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That's what it means BC (none)
                      Did you really not know that?

                      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

                      by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:57:34 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  this may sound overly glib (none)
                        but if you want an answer, this is the best i can do.

                        if a neighbor goes to see "good night, and good luck" and i "go along" that doesn't mean, in my mind, i don't want to go see that particular movie.  "going along".. honestly.. does not imply against my will or better judgement for me.

                        more particularly, and i said i wouldn't go into this cause it's not what this diary is about, but screw it... it's because i still find the idea that dems "went along" on the iraq war in that sense of the word insulting to those dems.

                        for instance, i don't think congressman Murtha was just "going along" with repugs on iraq.

                        Sick of the mess they find/On their desert stage/And the bravery of being out of range. -- r. waters

                        by BiminiCat on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:14:37 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  awe crap (none)
              that wasn't even my original point....

              my main point is politicians should not ask this question:

              -- what should i say and how should i act to win the election??

              they should ask this question:

              -- what best represents my values and the values of my constituents??

              the most valid criticism i find of HRC is that nobody will ever know for sure where she stands on anything cause she's always asking herself the first question.  not the second question.

              Sick of the mess they find/On their desert stage/And the bravery of being out of range. -- r. waters

              by BiminiCat on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:18:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  We don't need no Stinking Plan; or Stinking Rove (4.00)
    The reason the DC/Euphemedia Analstocracy is frantically obsessed with "Dems Plan" chatter is the same reason they're equally obsessed with what Hilary may or may not do 3 years from now.

    They're strung-out addicts. They need a fix.

    They've been Pavlovianly trained to trash Dems and pander to the neofascists. But the Dems aren't giving them anything to whine about.

    The public's not crying out for a Dem plan. They know what the word quagmire means. It's the chattering class that needs a plan so badly.

    The minute the Dems put out anything like a plan is when the "buzz" will change from how bad it's going in Iraq to how much worse the Dem plan will make things.

    The need to Just Say No. Not now. Not for the 2006 campaign. Not until the bush cabal is gone.

    You want to hear a plan? OK, our plan is to impeach and remove the bushkid cabal for terrorizing the American People with (lies) of "mushroom clouds...in 45 minutes." Then we can deal with the carnage they've inflicted on the nation and the world.

    How's that for a plan?

    And the other thing the Dems don't need is someone trying to be Karl Rove. It would be like republicans trying to be humorous. It just doesn't work.

    Why? Because Rove is no genius, just a thug. He can only succeed by lying and cheating. Something the Dems just can't do (they're the good guys, remember?).

    --
    www.january6th.org

    www.thedeanpeople.org

    by Dusty on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 02:00:34 AM PST

    •  This is a good plan. (none)

      The dems should seriously consider "you want a plan, impeach bush and then we can try to fix his screw ups."

      They probably wouldn't succeed in impeaching him, but they would at least be able to start presenting serious charges, and people would start to ask why not impeach him. That could really be the spark. It will only make the Dems look better. The Repubs impeached Clinton for far less, so if they resist, it only makes them look bad. Also, if they claim that bush didn't do anything wrong, then we get to ask why there hasn't been a real investigation, once again, the look bad.

      No matter how you slice it, it puts Bush on the defensive. He has to actually start defending the indefensible, and the republicans have to stand with the worst, and one of the least popular, presidents in history, or let him be impeached. Not a good choice for them.

      That should be our plan.

      •  I've got a better one (none)
        We could achieve all the benefits of such a plan and increase its likelihood of success by personalizing the effort.

        If we could draft a candidate for President to start campaigning right now to become President in 2007, by being elected Speaker of the House, then impeaching/removing cheneybush.

        My suggestion for a candidate would be John Conyers because he embodies the Stolen Elections issue. And that's where the motherlode of activist energy currently resides (the antiwar movement is too diffuse and intangible to be sufficiently compelling).

        But theoretically any Dem could step up and lead the nation back to the moral high ground with such a campaign.

        Would that the blogs take it up as a cause. They could really rock the boat of the body politic.

        ---
        www.january6th.org

        www.thedeanpeople.org

        by Dusty on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 10:36:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, the 2006 elections are foremost. (none)
    The agenda should be to provide a context in which problems like Iraq can be solved.  My suggestion at this point----

    Education for all
    Social Security for all
    Medicare for all
    Clean Environment for all
    Fair Elections
    Fair Wages
    Fair Representation
    Fair Taxation

    Social security for all would, of course, include national security and the respect for national borders.

    Clean environment for all, on the other hand, would include the environment of North America, the Middle East, etc.

    And so on.

    Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

    by hannah on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:16:58 AM PST

    •  2006 Platform (none)
      The laundry list of objectives fails every time as a party platform.

      Try the following:

      Strong Families
      Strong Communities
      Strong Country

      Repeat as often as necessary. Tie your laundry list to show how it supports one or more of these three campaign / policy focuses.

      Case in point: clean environment.

      This is clearly required for strong families and strong communities. Polluted people and polluted communities are not strong. Finally, the resources required to clean up the messes weakens the nation because it uses resources that are needed to build infrastructure, educate our children and compete in the flat world economy.

  •  You know the wingnuts (none)
    and their supporters are in trouble when Wm the Berry starts criticizing the Dems for not criticizing the Bush admin on Iraq.

    Wm the Berry brings up natl honor in his argument,  when you elect a chickenhawk as pres natl honor is already thrown to the curb as an option or excuse for doing anything.

    Wm also mentions lives lost as a reason, not invading Iraq was the time to consider lives affected and lost, not to mention that Iraq had nothing to do with the excuses for the illegal and immoral invasion of the nation.

    Wm must have too much time on his hands to write a column like this, criticizing the Bush admin and the wingnuts for their war crimes and anti-democratic policies might just be a more appropriate use of that time, in between trips to the gym of course.

    PS - Don't act too desperate Wm, its not becoming even to a wingnut apologist like you.
    PEACE!

  •  Since we are talking campaigns... (none)
    McCain-Feingold left loopholes for non-affiliated single-issue groups to raise money and play attack ads. They were behind the highly effective swiftboating. Can we do something like that? This is my vision: A screen with grainy images of the Iraq mess in the background. Big letters floating in the foreground. "Dismissing the Iraqi army..." "Creating millions of new terrorists..." "No bid contracts to former companies..." "Hundreds of millions for contractors who commit atrocities..." "Turning a blind eye to torture..." "Galvanizing all Iraqis against us..." "Republican incompetence and cronyism during the war has cost the lives of too many of our troops." A grave female voice reads the titles. Also using a simple ad with Cindy Sheehan saying something not too provocative, but getting the message through. Let's see how the GOPhuckers withstand our own version of "shake & bake". We will kill them politically with the truth.

    Fighting the good fight! -The Democratic Party

    by the Artful Dodger on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:41:14 AM PST

  •  Rasberry's Tar Baby (none)
    Rasberry's column is a real tar baby.  He just wants you to punch it.

    And most of this blog seems to be punching away.  "First, duuuh, I would do this..."  Why should the Democrats be at fault if they
    cannot 'save' Iraq?  

    Ridiculous.  Bush is the one who is at fault.  He made a mess out of Iraq.  I personally think Iraq cannot be 'fixed,' in the sense of, 'made into a pro-US state,' at all.

    Bush blew it.

    Shame on you, Rasberry, for blaming the Democrats for the mess.  And shame on you Bloggers for falling for the trick and getting stuck on the tar baby...

    •  Wrong on most counts (none)
      Raspberry doesn't blame the Dems.

      My post doesn't punch the column.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 04:13:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  2006 (none)
      Ignore the war. Remember, its

      Strong Families
      Strong Communities
      Strong Country

      Beat the repubs about the head and shoulders with this set of baseball bats.

      Remind the voters that the guys in power have attacked our families, communities and our nation with their policies.

      Dems are the party that advocate policies that make for

      Strong Families
      Strong Communities
      Strong Country

      Repeat as often as necessary.

  •  If every war supporter under the age of (none)
    40 would just enlist, this war would be won very quickly.  Truly.  I am not being snide here.  But they all want the rush from being at war, and killing/maiming the enemy, but don't want to actually do it.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 04:14:17 AM PST

    •  Chickenhawk Draft (none)
      Agree completely. EVERY war supporter should be putting their money where their mouth is--by force if necessary.

      Colin Powell had one thing right about Iraq--you break it, you bought it. Well, now it's broke but good. And there are some who propose that the Dims buy it from the Bu$hCo. and the Rethugs? I don't think so. It's THEIR mess. And it CAN'T be cleaned up.

      If we stay in Iraq, the situation will deteriorate, and more Americans will die. If we leave, the situation will deteriorate FASTER. The chaos will look like Somalia if we're lucky, post-Soviet Afghanistan if we're not.The tragic Irony of Iraq ia that we can't pull out until the situation is stable, and it'll never be stable as long as we're there.

      As satisfying as it might be to gloat over the massive failures of Bu$hCo. and crow "we told you so", that'll be mighty cold comfort when Al Qeada owns the world's second-largest oil reserves and uses the revenue to buy a nuke from Iran or Pakistan.

      Our only hope--and it's a mighty slim one--is that with Bu$hCo. out of the picture we can somehow cobble together a coalition of relatively secular, moderate Arab nations to go in and try to restore some semblance of order. It'll be bloody, corrupt, and repressive as hell, but it beats the alternative. As for us, we need to be putting that 5 billion a month we're spending over there into R/D of non-oil energy. Oil is the only reason we're there to begin with, and as long as we're addicted to oil, there's no getting out.

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 05:05:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats v/s Change (none)
    The dems can regain power in 2006, but we first have to act in change.

    My running a special election in New York City for the 67th Assembly District (located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan).  The election will be held sometime in early 2006.

    In this race, many of the long standing problems within the party are big and bright; its old school machine dem politics versus new ways of thinking and governance.  
    Rebuilding the party isn't going to start at the US congressional level solely.  Rebuilding the party is going to happen in local elections, in state assemblies, houses and senates.  
    The reason I'm running Lupinacci for Assembly is that Mike Lupinacci cares about issues and sees that machine politics isn't going to win back the mayor's office of New York City, the governor's office of New York State, or the president's office of the United States.  If a candidate has no vision, if there is no desire to make government accountable, if after elected the candidate doesn't have an issues like education, the environment and the economy front and center, then why vote in the first place?

    www.mikelupinacci.com
     

  •  In repeated discussions that I have (none)
    with my GOP friends, I encourage them to learn the histoy of Iraq, from her creation by British mapmakers, the installation of the Iraqi king, the rise of democracy in the 1950's and its overthrow sponsored in part by our own CIA. It is my belief that without knowing the history, and so the fears and angers of those directly involved, we will never come to a plan that may work.

    Of course, there are difficulties. That the Brits did not think it necessary to create a Kurdish state is one. That oil was discovered afterward is another, as well as the years of exploitation by the western multi-nationals (with help from theier governments). The list goes on.

  •  A Democratic Rove? (none)
    I seem to remember that after Gray Davis got re-elected in 2002 some guy called Gary South was being touted as our alternative.
  •  Armando, I agree with you completely. (none)
    My contention is that since no one in government pays any attention to the Dems, why should the onus be on us to come up with "an exit strategy". Let's keep proposing but we know nothing will come of it. At some point the little abysmal jerk will propose an exit strategy to save the repugs and that will be that. Until then we have to knock off as many repugs as we can and gain back the house.
  •  We Over Focus on Rove. (none)
    I know the point you are making, but let's not add to the RoveObsession of Democrats.  Noone is more in love with Rove than Democrats.  Really, the guy has a record of:

    --not electing a President in 2000.

    --Winning midterm elections in '02, one year after the American population was frightened into compliance withe Bush Administration.

    --Winning the worst re-election victory for an incumbent since 1916.  

    --Utilizing a costly 'base-only' strategy that helped the President win one battleground state, but turned Independents against him, voters who would not be sold on the President going into 2005.

  •  I nominate Bartcop (none)
    He has been dead on in his exhortations to the Democrats to "grow a pair."  Every time they do something he advocates, the Republicans get crucified.

    As far as the exit strategy thing goes, its really much simpler. To wit:

    You told your neighbor that his drinking and driving was going to get him in trouble.  Now he has totalled his car and killed 5 people at a bus stop, and he wants you to pay his lawyer bill.  I don't think so.

    "Out here in the middle, where the center's on the right, and the ghost of William Jennings Bryan preaches every night..."

    by Nineteen Kilo on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 06:50:27 AM PST

    •  I second the motion! (none)
      Bartcop is pretty rough around the edges--you'll NEVER sell him to the P.C. feminist crowd--but the man talks sense.

      If Bart were in charge of the DLC, or if they were even listening to him, we'd easily win back the swing voters, moderates, and the rest of the so-called "Nascar dads", "Security moms", and "Reagan Democrats".

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:22:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Strongly disagree, Armando (none)
    As former Sen. Gary Hart points out on 24 August 2005, Iraq is also about the Democratic party's legacy as an opposition party.  "[W]hat will history say about an opposition party that stands silent while all [the things currently happening in Iraq and around the world] go on?" Hart writes.  "... To stay silent during such a crisis, and particularly to harbor the thought that the administration's misfortune is the Democrats' fortune, is cowardly. ..."

    The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

    by jim bow on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:41:37 AM PST

    •  Wait up (none)
      Are we only allowed to critique if we have a plan?

      Who sez?

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 08:14:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No (none)
        Democrats don't need to have a plan for getting out to come to the table, but they need to acknowledge what a grotesque mistake the invasion of Iraq was.  Democrats must embrace some form of benchmarks/timetable to get out of Iraq if only to send a message to the Iraqis that the American occupation in Iraq is not a permanent one.  Whether the timetable is six months, a year, or even two doesn't really matter all that much -- what matters is that we send a signal to the Iraqis that the American presense is not permanent.  Democrats must proclaim as loudly as they can the utter insanity of America using her military might to spread freedom and democracy around the world and also the doctrine of open-ended, unilateral, preemptive war and the need to abandon this radical doctrine that has rejected by the previous 42 Presidents in our nation's history if only to affirm the simple truth that peace is better than war because life is better than death.  This is what the opposition party does.

        For more information, please read the Gary Hart column for which I gave you a link.  Thank you.

        The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

        by jim bow on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 10:31:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  winning should be part of the plan (none)
    for once I agree with Armando. Winning back the Senate and increasing seats in the House is the overwhelming priority for the upcoming elections and obviously that includes a withdrawal strategy for Iraq that includes the realities of not cutting and running which noone is advocating except extreme anti-war supporters.  Keep one thing in mind, if the Democrats do regain either control or close to parity they still have to govern. It is not enought to just win and suit there. Immediately after the elections, as Bush stated after his, the winning party starts to expend political capital and if the Dems are the winners the boots will be on the other foot - they will be the ones criticised for failure, not the Republicans. But obviously in order to win the elections they must have a cohesive policy behind which all Democrats and Independants can rally and tolerate. That's the way the system works.
  •  I don't think (none)
    we need an "Iraq" plan per se. By the time of the '06 elections, no matter what % of troops have been pulled out, the fighting and bombing will continue unless all troops have been pulled out. Besides, who knows what surprises are in store over the next months. If we set our plan in concrete this early, it may turn out to not be the right thing.

    Ever watch a kid eat a cookie by taking little bites all around the edges 'til the whole cookie is gone? That's what we are already doing and it is working. An Iraq nibble, a torture nibble, a Frisk nibble, a Delay nibble, a Katrina nibble, an SS nibble, a Schiavo nibble, a Plame nibble, etc. It IS working. Keep nibbling at them at every opportunity and see what news the Spring has brought to us to hit them hard on.

    The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. -Coco Chanel

    by Overseas on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:57:06 AM PST

  •  Need More Information to Offer A Plan! (none)
    How can we offer a plan without vital information that has been withheld from the Democrats.  For example, what options did military brass offer the Bush Administration before the war?  What intelligence did the Bush Administration really use to formulate their war plans?

    This information has to be shared with Democrats before they can offer a competing plan.  We are not part of the dialogue.  We are being shut out of the conversation.  We would be foolish to take a partial picture of the situation in Iraq and try to offer a comprehensive plan to the nation.

    First, we need to hammer the Republicans to share all information with us.  Then, we can offer a plan.

    Think how easy it would be for the Republicans to discredit a formal plan we propose by just bringing out an assessment from a general that we had no clue existed.

    We Must Demand Information First.

  •  Dems are right not to produce a plan (none)
    I've come to this conclusion after reading Why Republicans Are Desperate to Bait the Antiwar Left, by Jim Sleeper. Sleeper's basic point is that BushCo desperately needs an anti-war movement and/or calls for withdrawal from the Dems to give them political cover. With that, they could blame "losing" Iraq on the anti-war movement, as right-wingers still do in the case of Vietnam. This would minimize long-term damage to the Republican party from the Iraq debacle.

    It is clear that until the Democrats recapture one house of Congress or the executive branch, Republicans will pay not the slightest attention to what Dems (or the American people) say, except to distort it for propaganda and smearing purposes. Therefore, since they have no power and any calls from them would fall on deaf ears, calls for withdrawal from Dems would be counterproductive.

    Instead, what Dems must do incessantly is to call attention to the Bush administration's disastrous incompetence and lawlessness, and its illegitimacy. They should openly call for Bush's and Cheney's resignations.

    No one has done a poll on what percentage of the public favors impeachment. But there have been two other polls: one on whether Bush should be impeached if he lied us into war, and one on whether he lied us into war. A majority now thinks that both are true. Given that there is probably a high correlation between the two, one can conclude that close to half of the American public favors impeachment. If Dems began a sustained call for resignation, this would find such a resonance with the American public that the corporate media would not be able to dampen and suppress it. This would complete the process of exposing that the emperor has no clothes.

    A Democratic Karl Rove would have Dems go after Bush the way Republicans went at Clinton over the Lewinsky affair. This should be obvious. That it is not obvious to everyone shows the extent to which Dems still do not understand that unless they start to act as if politics is a life-and-death matter, as today's Straussian Republican Party sees it, our country is lost.

    The difference between a liberal and a progressive is that a progressive thinks for himself, but a liberal lets the Republicans do his thinking for him.

    by Alexander on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 08:57:21 AM PST

  •  I have come on the thread very late (none)
    I will not add to the detail of the discussion but just make one or two observations on it:

    1- I am impressed by the high principled debate

    2- I understand and sympathise with those who want a Dem plan now. I agree with Armando that it is bad politics to develop this immediately but there is a much stronger argument than just politics against providing an alternative to anything the Republicans propose. This is that the situation is insolvable without taking a high risk with either Allied soldiers or Iraqi citizens or with both. Those who entered this no-win game are those who must take the risk, not least because they have the clearest picture of the situation.

    A blunt truth is that the Democratic members of Congress, and the British Labour party Members of Parliament, supported the invasion based on the limited and inadequate information provided to them. It would be utterly foolish to compound this error by now proposing or supporting a plan with the same limited access to intelligence about the situation.

    It is enough that we say the invasion was based on misleading and incompetently reviewed intelligence, was inadequately planned, was inadequately manned and equipped, led to thousands of unnecessary deaths and must be ended as quickly as possible by those who perpetuated one of the biggest and most costly failures in American foreign policy.

    There will be no heroes at the end of this black part of our history. Only those who cannot see the extent of this failure will believe that there is a plan available that will assuage the anger and shame of the people in our two countries over this damaging and totally ill-advised adventure. There is no honour or high principle in becoming a part of the catastrophe of the necessary withdrawal other than for those who simply state that such withdrawal is now a necessity.

    New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

    by Welshman on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 09:04:25 AM PST

  •  We Do Have a Rove (none)
    We liberals DO have a Rove but the damned DLC and other DINOs refuse to listen to him. His name is George Lakoff and he's already tried to give our party all the tools it needs to not only understand how the GOP spins but how to counter it successfully. I know Professor Lakoff personally and during the 2004 election I asked him why he wasn't helping John Kerry (this was during the swiftboating period). He told me that he had called the DNC, (then run by Terry McAluffe) and offered his services for free. They refused him. John Kerry didn't want to talk to him. At least DNC Chairman Howard Dean not only listened to him but is trying to follow his advice. But the old guard Dem "leaders" still don't understand the political enemy we face and how to beat them. Instead of "reframing" as Lakoff teaches (http://www.winwithlanguage.com/... or his think tank here: http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/) the DCCC is pursuing perhaps the most ill-conceived of campaign approaches. They are ignoring other qualified candidates for Congress and turning over rocks to try and find Democratic Iraqi Vets to run. While this is a nice adjunct concept it is idiotic to center your entire Congressional campaign around such a small group of individuals, (many of whom are really disillusioned traditional Republicans who are conservative on abortion, tax policies, and other civil issues.) Read more about this dumb policy here: (sorry I don't know how to do tinyurls)

    http://g.msn.com/...

  •  A Democratic Karl Rove.... (none)
    ...Is madness!!  Karl Rove has done more to destroy the democratic process in this country than ANYONE else, and that's saying a lot!  He's a disgusting reptile!  He's taken the methods of Goebbels and Goering and taken them further!  His methods are lies, lies, and more lies!  Distract!  Distract!  Distract!  Subversion!  Deception!  Anything but the truth or honest debate about the issues!  He's a traitor of the first rank!  And you want to embrace his PUTRID methods, presumably because you feel 'the end justifies the means'??!!  That's exactly how the pukes in this administration justified all there madness.  They would never make an honest case for their repellant agenda and let the public decide.  They deceived the public!  And THIS is your role model?!!  This repulsive little homonculus is who you want to emulate??  Then you are a traitor, too, and I denounce you and I spit on you!!!  NEVER!  NEVER! NEVER! will I embrace that s---!!!

     - Gregory Slater

  •  Kerry had a plan, too. (none)
    He beat the "I have a plan" meme into the ground.  Didn't work.  Well, okay, it almost worked, but even Kerry supporters like me thought his "plan" for Iraq wasn't really a plan at all, just a pragmatic list of hopeful, pie-in-the-sky no-duh's.

    Because he couldn't properly elucidate how his "plan" would succeed, by repeating he had a plan made him look a bit silly.

    Bush, on the other hand, didn't need one: he just kept repeating his "stay the course" bullshit, which worked because it fit his frame, and it didn't involve giving any details.

    As Juan Cole said 6 months ago, sometimes you're just screwed.  

    The only plan the Democrats should worry about (this means you Biden and Hillary) are flight plans: how quickly we can get our troops home.

    http://www.cafepress.com/turntexasblue

    by JohnStuartMill on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 10:06:17 AM PST

  •  Armando's plan: THE NO PLAN (none)
    >>Democrats don't have an exit strategy, either.

    >>If the Democrats had their own Karl Rove, he'd
    >>probably tell them not to even try to come up
    >>with one.

    >If Iraq is most likely to implode into civil
    >war, leaving it a far more dangerous hotbed of
    >terrorism than it was before our invasion,
    >wouldn't the Democrats be smart to let it
    >happen without interference?

    >Well, I have volunteered for the job and have
    >counseled exactly that... I would argue I am
    >being principled

    How is playing lame politics during a critical time in our nation's history principled? And since when is representing America simply countering the opposing party? You and your supporters are a disgrace!  You are the insufferable portrait of the Republican caracature of a Democrat.  This site is incredible.  If it were up to you people we will have an eternity with the neo-cons.

    >So what are Dems left to do? Very simple. They
    >have to plan and act in ways designed to allow
    >them to regain power in 2006.

    Wow so the Dems just sit around for 1 year and tell the American public that they have a plan, but it's a secret until they can get into office. Very principled?  NO INCREDIBLY STUPID.

    The democrats have to make a plan and a vision forward NOW.  The republicans have already embraced the "stablization" language.  NOW is the time to define the criteria for achieving stability.  And the number one criteria for achieving stability is CIVILIAN DEATHS and CIVILIAN SECURITY.  Having your family members, or friends blown to bits in front of you has a big impact.  Hungry bellies make hungered terrorist. The Iraq war will be won when we stablize the everyday conditions of Iraq.  That means building civil infrastructure is more important than training soldiers for security.  We need to provide the security to build this infrastructure.  The Dems should define the variables needed to achieve stability.  The variables should be quantifiable and have a reasonable time frame.  The Dems are capable of providing the criterion for success in Iraq.  America can't afford your brand of politics ARMANDO.  GET OUT OF THE WAY! AMERICA DOES NOT NEED YOUR HELP.

    •  No...its the only logical thing to do (none)
      Look, I understand that a lot of Dems want to feel and hear that their leaders have a plan, have something of substance. But in reality, the debate is not dictated by our leaders right now. We have no positions of influence in government, and no way to push our agenda.

      If we present a plan, it is very much like showing an enemy where and when we will attack. Is it worth giving you reassurance to give away our ideas? I say not. If we present our ideas as campaign platforms and in the election cycle, we wont be lost in the news cycle, our ideas and agenda will not be cherry picked by the Republicans, and we will actually allow the VOTERS, you know, the people that actually matter, to have a say in what the government does. Up until now, whenever we present our ideas, the Repubs shut them down, then down the road, reintroduce them as "Republican Themes" or whatnot.

      Think past your need for reassurance that the party still works for you, and see the bigger picture. That is a message for all the Doubting Dems!

      I've killed people for less...

      by patsprouseyo on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 11:54:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Originally in my diary (none)
    I posted this in my diary a while back but it got no notice (sob...sob) because it either sucked or I put it up at a bad time.

    Now that the Senate has taken a pass on the last real chance the Republicans had of co-opting the withdrawal issue Democrats are at a critical stage in the fight for the future of the Congress and the nation.

    John Murtha has set the scene and now it is time for the rest of the Democratic Party to follow him through the breach he has made in the administrations conduct of operations in Iraq.  Democrats must return to the election discipline of Bill Clinton - "Its Iraq stupid!"

    Starting today and with a united voice Democrats should demand the following:

        1.  A way ahead in Iraq that includes measurable goals that result in a reduction of US forces in the country.

        2.  A plan for what the US footprint in Iraq will be 5 years from now.

        3.  A comprehensive investigation of abuse of prewar intelligence.

    The first is the most critical.  The Administration is already in the tar and now its time to toss them the tar baby.  This is not a demand for a withdrawal.  This is not a cut and run.  This is a simple request for a plan.  They don't have one and their arrogance will most likely keep them from making one but even if they do, it will be either unrealistic or unacceptable.  

    In October of 2003 CENTCOM developed a plan to reduce US forces in Iraq to 50,000 by October 2004.  It took all 12 months to get to that level and it was based on assumptions that the level of fighting would go down from the July-September 2003 levels.  During that time a total of 114 Americans were killed, an average of less than 1.5 per day.  Since then only one month - February 2004 - has averaged less than 1.5 casualties per day and six have been twice that.  Included in those assumptions were some very optimistic projections of Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police training.  Again, 2 years later exactly ONE Iraqi unit is capable of independent operation.  So based on that, it is reasonable to assume that any plan would take more than one year and that year is like the "golden hour" medical personnel talk about when dealing with critical patients.  Any plan that extends beyond the 2006 elections does not help Republicans.  They are actually better off with the "stay the course" line than any plan that has them half way done at election time.  Why?  Because the danger to US forces will follow a bell curve inverse to our withdrawal.  As forces reduce, the threat goes up because we will lose some ability to interdict the enemy.  In military terms, the enemy will gain freedom of maneuver while we will be in roughly the same fixed positions.  As the reductions continue, we will gain both agility from being smaller and have a reduced footprint making us more compact.  This will reduce our threat level and hopefully our casualty rate.  In theory the peek threat occurs at the half way point.  Since the Administration has already committed to higher troop levels through the elections in December, any withdrawal plan would have to start no earlier than January and reach its halfway point sometime after July meaning the worst news would be arriving just as voters go into the booth.  

    The second point is another trap - there is no right answer.  What the Administration wants but wont say is a strong, Korea style presence of 30-50K troops and 3-5 large combined bases with airfields and pre-positioned equipment for an additional 30-50K troops.  Saying this would result in every government in the region and many out of the region claiming proof of American Imperial designs in Iraq.  Any Iraqi political leader who did not immediately condemn the plan would be fired at best but more likely murdered.  Since speaking the truth is not an option, the Administration would be forced to say that there is no plan for a US presence 5 years from now or more likely claim no decision has been made.  Either choice is bad but they will most likely go with incompetence and claim there is no plan.  

    The theme here is to make the Administration produce a plan, any plan.  Since they are genetically incapable of sharing information and even less capable of making any plan they will either not produce or produce one that is flawed.  Either way is ok for Democrats.  

    The last point ties into this same theme of a plan.  If the prewar intelligence was not abused or "cherry picked" it should be easy to link the intelligence to the plan.  As an example they should be able to point to a report of WMD and a plan to confirm or deny the report.  They should be able to show where the reports of WMD modified the military war plan to either avoid or neutralize that threat.  They will not be able to do this.  Any comprehensive examination will find no link between the intelligence used to justify the war and the plan to execute the war.

    This should be a constant assault across the spectrum of the Democratic party.  John Murtha today talking about withdrawal and pounding Cheney for five deferrals should be followed with Harry Reid asking for progress on prewar intelligence followed by a Democratic Governor asking if his Guard soldiers are going to be in Iraq 5 years from now and so on and so on.  At the same time the DNC should begin targeting every member of congress with simple questions:

        Do you support the Administrations conduct of the war?

        Do you support a plan for the withdrawal of US forces?

        Do you support a plan for the way ahead in Iraq?

        Do you support the investigation of prewar intelligence?

    Each and every one should be forced to answer publicly.  They can either publicly support an unpopular administration or they can turn their back on them and their own party.  Either choice is good for Democrats running for office.  Stick with the Administration and the President shows up to campaign for you.  Turn your back and you get no money from the RNC.  The division of labor should stay the same with Democrats in office attacking the Administration and the DNC pummeling Republicans in Congress.  This lets Democrats "speak for the people" while Republicans look like politicians.  In the background of all this should be a steady drumbeat of reminders to voters of the indictments and investigations swirling around the Administration.

    Democrats have an issue that they can run on.  They have an opponent that has no good answers.  They need to pummel them with that issue and show no mercy.  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 12:56:15 PM PST

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