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As we rightfully condemn this "Administration" for leading us into a stupid, aggressive and immoral war in Iraq, let us never forget that this war was winnable.

That they could have marched in with neo-conservative imperial aspirations, bombed the shit out of a bunch of brown people they didn't care about, deliberately targeted journalists, conducted their horrific "shock and awe" campaign and aggressive invasion, and gotten away with it with the history books possibly even on their side.

They could have shut us up forever.  They could have had Republican majorities and presidencies based solely on foreign policy for the next decade.

But their own immoral ideology was their very undoing.  The very nature of who they are inexorably demanded the defeat of America at the hands of as pathetic a foe as Iraqi insurgents.

Impossible, you say?  Hardly.  And they KNOW IT.

For all the celebration of William F. Buckley's admission of defeat in Iraq, and the lampooning of Bill Kristol's latest statements on Fox News, it is actually KRISTOL who gets it right.

You see, Buckley remains so myopic about this issue that he has simply joined the chorus of "Operation Blame the Iraqis."  Kristol, on the other hand, puts the blame (though he can't say it too loudly) squarely where it deserves: on Rumsfeld.

What he doesn't go on to say is that Rumsfeld (together with Bremer) was simply doing in Iraq what conservatives are doing to America today.

------------------------------------------------

Much of what is wrong in Iraq today is blamed on incompetence.  But this is really missing the point. IT WASN'T INCOMPETENCE.  It was insouciance--a fundamental failure, amazingly, to even care about the things that you or I would have placed as our top priorities.

Folks, when Bush starts playing the guitar and laughing with hand-picked seniors during the Katrina disaster; when Michael Brown declares himself a "fashion god" as people die in the SuperDome; when Condi Rice goes shoe shopping as the levees fail; THAT IS NOT INCOMPETENCE.  That is a failure to care.  It's insouciance.

When a woman complains to Bush that she is working three jobs, and he tells her, "Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that," that's not incompetence.  That's just a fundamental failure to care on a most basic level.

And when Donald Rumsfeld gives his famous lines about "going to war with the army you have, and not the army you might wish to have", while inadequately supplying our troops with body armor, vehicle armor and even sandbags, that's not incompetence.  It's just the same insouciant failure to care as the rest of it.
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And that conservative insouciance killed us in Iraq.

The war in Iraq was ALWAYS immoral, but it was NOT always hopeless.  It is only hopeless now because they MADE IT that way--and it took Republicans to turn it into a FUBARed disaster.
--------------------------------------------------------

Fundamentally, you see, all true political conservatism (and I'm not talking about the Biblical-literalist fascism that dresses itself in conservatism) really is, when you break it down, is a failure to care.

It's a failure to care about the poor.  The sick. The downtrodden.  The exploited.  The hungry.  The mentally ill.  The wounded in war.  The oppressed of different races from their own.  The nameless, faceless foreigners killed by our indiscriminate bombs.  The children whose schools grow in class size and shrink in efficacy every day.  The laborer, legal and illegal, who toils increasing hours for decreasing wages.  Air quality and the environment.  The plant and animal species disappearing from this earth, never to return.

ALL OF IT is sacrificed at the altar of the eternal ME.  And since the conservative "Me" is typically the rich, business-invested "me", everything good and decent in this world--everything Jesus Christ himself taught us to care for, whether we believe in his divinity or not--is sacrificed at the altar of "What's Good for Business is Good for America."

And they did it in Iraq, too.  They turned Iraq into a laboratory for conservative ideas--and now Iraqis and American soldiers are paying the price.  
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As we concentrate heavily on the horrible emerging violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq, we must not forget WHY they are warring.  There's a lot more to it than religion.

It must be remembered that Sunnis and Shi'ites coexist rather peacefully throughout the rest of the Arab world.

Sectarian violence in Iraq today is an excuse to let out their frustrations with their lives.  And it is the same frustration that America is starting to feel in small thimblefuls that I wrote about in my diary Palpable Rage.

Iraqis are rioting because 70% of them are UNEMPLOYED.

They are rioting because they have no water or electricity.  They are rioting because gasoline is ten times as expensive as it used to be.

And WE JUST DON'T CARE.  In fact, we're making it worse:

The disastrous social conditions that exist for the Iraqi people after decades of war and nearly three years of US occupation are being dramatically worsened as a result of International Monetary Fund (IMF)-dictated economic restructuring.

In order to gain a $685 million IMF loan and the cancellation of some of Iraq's $120 billion debt, the government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari secretly agreed in December to begin eliminating the subsidies that previously delivered the Iraqi people some of the lowest fuel costs in the world.

On December 19--just four days after the elections in which Jaafari's United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) won more than 45 percent of the vote--the first cut in the fuel subsidy was implemented. The immediate impact was to increase the price of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene by an average of 500 percent. Petrol rose from just 3 US cents a litre to between 12 and 17 cents.

And it could all have been avoided--even had we stil gone ahead with the invasion.  But it would have required CARING.
---------------------------------------------------------

You see, Bill Kristol was right: look again at what he said:

KRISTOL: We've been trying, and our soldiers are doing terrifically, but we have not had a serious three-year effort to fight a war in Iraq as opposed to laying the preconditions for getting out.

And why not?  Because Bill Kristol knows that General Shinseki was right.  Bill Kristol knows--in hindsight--THAT WE COULD HAVE WON THIS WAR WITH 400,000 TROOPS.

What Bill Kristol knows is that 400,000 troops could have stopped the looting of Iraq's museums and infrastructure AND secured the oil fields all at the same time.

That 400,000 troops could have secured Baghdad's airport road.

That 400,000 troops could have secured the school, water main, and electricity stations all across Iraq.

That 400,000 troops could have turned Abu Ghraib prison into a high-speed internet access library AND maintained security from common criminals all at the same time.

That 400,000 COULD have won Iraqi hearts and minds.

AND THAT IF IRAQIS HAD WATER, ELECTRICITY AND JOBS, THEY WOULD NOT BE SLIPPING INTO CIVIL WAR TODAY.

But as important as what Bill Kristol knows is, what is even more important is what he does NOT know--or cannot yet admit to himself: that this was by design.
---------------------------------------------------------

You see, Iraq was more than just a Neo-Con attempt to remake the Middle East in our image.  It was an attempt to remake the Middle East in the image they wish they could make America.

Iraq had become a laboratory for Conservative "ideas", including the tying of the hands of government regulators and a 15% cap flat tax.

Iraq--like the "Culture of Corruption" America they creating here--became a place where giant corporations could rake in shitloads of money on the backs of ordinary people with no oversight.  They didn't give a shit about Ahmad Six-Pack.

Iraq was a giant experiment, you see--not in democracy, but in conservative ideology.  Iraq was Grover Norquist's little playground.

They asked the question: Can we invade a country with few troops, maintain a pathetically small security force, destroy the people's infrastructure, give massive handouts to corporations, let the IMF rape the country, do practically nothing to rebuild the country's economy and infrastructure, impose a flat tax and let oil prices bloom, and have a healthy democracy?  Can we care nothing about the regular people, fuck them over, and let big corporate steal all their oil?

And they got a resounding answer: NO.

Iraq needed an FDR after the invasion.  What they got was Ronald Reagan on crack.  And now they're fucked.

But they can't admit it.  They can't admit that this war was winnable, and that their own ideology snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  Because they are desperate to do the same goddamn thing to the United States of America.
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And they're going to lose America the same way.

They've divided our country between urbans and rurals, Reds and Blues, fundamentalists and progressives, whites and non-whites--just as Iraq is divided today.

They've taken away our security, our jobs, our economic well-being, our health, our environment, our schools--just as they did in Iraq.

It's the same ideology--it's just that we had more to start with, and didn't get the shit bombed out of us first.

And in sowing these whirlwinds, they will reap nothing but the wind.
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In the meantime, however, let us never forget.

Let us never forget that Republicans LOST THIS WAR.  They lost it because of insouciance.  They lost it because they simply didn't care about about the common Iraqi.

They lost this war because they're Republicans.

And let us never forget that not only would Democrats never have started this war--Democrats would never have LOST this war had it been started.

[Update:] In no way am I saying that we could have won the occupation as envisioned by the NeoCons, any more than Britain could have "won" in India. What we COULD have done, however, is topple the evil dictator (which is what Saddam was), lock down the country with 400,000 troops, create a massive and expensive Iraqi New Deal that hired Iraqi contractors to rebuild everything as speedily as possible, keep the IMF's dirty nose out of things, set up the basics of democracy, and let them carry it from there. We could have left in under a year, before anti-American sentiments grew too large, and while there was still appreciation for making their lives better than they had been under Saddam. And it would have been less expensive, to boot. It was possible, but it would have taken a 180-degree reversal of ideology.

[Cross-posted at my blog: There Is No Blog: Bending Left]

Originally posted to thereisnospoon (David Atkins) on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:34 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips (3.98)
    I'm so angry right now I can hardly breathe.  What a pass they have brought us to: let us only hope that we can repair the damage before it's too late.
    •  Well Said (4.00)
      Very well said, echos the "Conservatives have no empathy" meme.

      This should be used extensively in the upcoming elections.

      Get busy livin, or get busy dyin...

      by Captain Doug on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:40:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fitzgerald (F. Scott) says it well.... (4.00)
        Nick's quote from Gatsby; just substitute Bush and
        Cheney for Tom and Daisy:

        "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."

        •  and I say, call it out, every time you meet (none)
          it.  At a party, meet a conservative, ask them why.  Why would they be part of a movement that has destroyed America?  Why discard the Constitution?  Why ignore and abet outright suffering of its citizens?  Ask them why, in no uncertain terms, they would even announce the fact that they are a conservative (which now is nothing less than a perjorative term)

          "pulp is fiction, blogs are hope, long live electricity"

          by dash888 on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:09:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  (spin alert) (4.00)
            which now is nothing less than a perjorative term

            which now is nothing more than a perjorative term

            (just tryin' to help)

            BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

            by wystler on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:14:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Totally, whenever you talk to one (4.00)
            We do have to break beyond our own middle-class reticence and politeness and confront our own conservative friends, acquaintances, and family members at this point.  So good to see someone besides me encouraging that for once.  :)

            Check out my lte archive at http://www.livejournal.com/users/tomletters and feel free to use my ideas for your own lte's.

            by DemDachshund on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:56:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Crappy Little Countries (4.00)
          Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.
          - Michael Ledeen, holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute

          I'd say sociopath is the appropriate word.

      •  Well said (3.83)
        Well said, that is, except for the choice of "insouciance" as a key word.  First, semantically, maybe 5% of English-speakers know what it means.  Its the sort of word that triggers a knee-jerk negative reaction among those few (34% was it in the last poll?) that still need persuading.

        Maybe, instead: lack of preparedness, lack of readiness, lack of planning, refusal to see reality, blinding arrogance, willful negligence, willful ignorance, or general indifference to the safety of our troops?

        More fundamentally, it was more than lack of concern or lack of priorities -- in many ways they had the wrong priorities -- e.g., pass the pork to Bechtel and Halliburton (with their $125k per year imported contractors), on massive projects (as opposed to smaller projects) while local unemployment in Iraq spiked north of 50%; e.g., build massive military bases that look permanent to all but the blind.

        They wasted enormous energy trying to write a provisional constitution and legal code (with flat taxes and elimination of tariffs), without recognizing that by international law all of it would become absolutely meaningless upon the CPA hand-off.  Might have helped to have an international lawyer involved, instead of a zillion Heritage Foundation rejects?  (Yes, besides appointing their random relatives to key posts, they literally went through a filing cabinet at the Heritage Foundation, contacting former applicants for jobs at Heritage and offering them random jobs out of the blue.)

        And where the Bushies/CPA had the right priorities -- such as bringing locals into governance and accountability -- they did stupid things.  Bremer strutted in and replaced the 7 original Iraqi "regents" or whatever they were called (6 of whom were heavy-hitters politically, and continue to be heavy-hitters after the recent elections) with something like 20 random obscure people with no credibility.

        All of which is to say that it is dead-wrong to discount the disastrous contributions of incompetence and cronyism to the spiraling debacle.

        Anybody seen my owl?

        by Minerva on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:28:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The older term for it (4.00)
          in economics theory was laissez-faire, meaning, roughly, "let it happen". Damn smartass French, always finding the right words for things.

          There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening. - McLuhan

          by Alien Abductee on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:31:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I suppose 'indifference' would also work (none)
          as the nearest thesaurus word.
          •  I like "Apathy" (none)
            or "duuuuuuuuuuuhhhh..." (drooling) "...duuuhhhhhh - ha ha... ha... fightn' em' over there... ha ha... ha ... ha..."

            Great post! You never cease to meet my expectations of you.

            I think, therefore I am NOT A REPUBLICAN!!!

            by Reality Bites Back on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:27:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Obscene is the word for it, but ... (4.00)
             ... insouciance is the mot-juste.  It might even have a bit of viral meme-ness in it:  get twelve talking heads to pronounce it on the air, right before "Republicans" and followed with "fools and traitors who lost the war, killed the poor, and stole the treasury", and it just might take hold.  Not many people knew what a "nabob" was (and most have, alas, forgotten, as the word is once again useful).  Give Jon Stewart five minutes to mouth the word over and over again on air -- in-soooseeant ... in sooo seeeeeeeee annnt Repubbblicaaaans ... Eh? -- and we'll have a useful bill to spend over and over again in the national currency.

            "indifference" is OK, but hardly ear-grabbing.  Uncaring?  Heartless?  Callous?  They all miss something.  If I had to go with something other than the superb "insouciance" I'd try a phrase, something like:

            selfish, narrow-minded, and hardhearted conservatives.

            But "insouciance" takes the gateau.

            Think like a BUSH: rape America first, burp, then rape the World.

            by Yellow Canary on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:48:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I like "Meanness" (none)
            these people are just plain mean.

            You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

            by dnamj on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:48:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  "Republicans Don't Care". (4.00)
          This would be a good billboard to see in 2006:
          "Republicans Don't Care"

          -N.B.

          "Don't look back... something might be gaining on you..." -Satchel Paige.

          by npb7768 on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:21:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's the one: Republicans Don't Care (none)
            It's short and tart.  Joe Six Pack would get it.
            •  Republicans may not care, but they WILL win in Nov (none)
              I am so angry about this.  But our outrage will do nothing, and opinion polls showing positive signs of cracks in the GOP's hold on this country will also do nothing.  

              BUT THERE IS A GOOD REASON THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY DOES NOT CARE.  THEY ARE GOING TO WIN IN NOVEMBER.  THE ELECTION IS FIXED IN THEIR FAVOR.

              States are racing to install e-voting machines in order (allegedly) to comply with the "Help America Vote (Republican) Act" (HAVA).  Even California's Republican Secretary of State (running for office again) has approved the installation of DIEBOLD's intentionally flawed e-voting machines that are known to "err to the right" -- after receiving a report from Cal Berkeley computer experts said they were hackable.  

              We all know about Florida and Ohia, but do many of us know about Alaska and Arizona?  In Alaska, they cannot actually say for sure who won in 2004!  (See the series of articles on the subject collected at: http://equalize-congress2006.blogspot.com/  Look at http://www.votetrustusa.org.  Check out the articles on the subject at http://www.bradblog.com/)  

              Just last week, Republican Pima County, Arizona's Election Director Brad Nelson (also running for office) flew into a screaming tirade when questioned by a Election Integrity Advocate.  It was a lousy attempt to block the inquisitor from further inquiry into the controversial Diebold touch-screen voting equipment now coming into Arizona (despite a Dept. of Homeland Security warning that their tabulator software is hackable, and a non-partisan GAO report confirming the failures and loss of ballots via electronic voting.)

              This is precisely WHY they don't care.  This is why they are insouciant!

              Zel

        •  Shorter Minerva (4.00)
          Republicans believe that "Might Makes Right."

          Or to get Beatlesque about it, "overwhelming force is all you need."

          "Planning? We don' need no stinkin' planning!"

          There is but one surefire way to vanquish conservatives, and that is to beat the shit out of them."--David Podvin

          by Sharoney on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:52:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Insouciance sounds too "French".... (none)
          Try sociopath.  More on target I think.

          Peace in a world free of Religion, Peace in a world where everyone gets Heaven... -- Toni Halliday

          by Wintermute on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 04:55:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Funny how (4.00)
        these same sociopaths like to point to the 60's generation as self-absorbed and selfish, interested only in drugs, rock music and avoiding the draft. (Some on DailyKos are fond of repeating that meme, adding that boomers ultimately all sold out to the excesses of the 80s and 90s. Needless to say, I beg to differ.)

        Of course, what they don't mention is the effectiveness of the civil rights movement, the women's movement, and the anti-war movement, to name only three of the legacies from that time. Instead, they demonize all these things as examples of left-wing extremism and lawlessness.

        Of course, at the same time they trumpeted how the spoiled and coddled 60s generation ruined America, conservatives were spreading their "every man for himself" and "I've got mine--you get your own," philosophy under Saint Reagan.

        Why? Because conservatives always accuse liberals of the sins they are in fact committing--or plan to committ--themselves.

        Activism makes conservatives uncomfortable. They'd rather lull moron-Americans to sleep with bread and circuses (or soft drinks and TV) so they won't interfere with their power grabs. The only kind of activism they approve of is the kind they can harness through authoritarian organizations like conservative evangelical churches or the "College Republicans," and where often a very real desire to improve the world is perverted into a simple desire to destroy what you don't understand. But hey, at least you can't call them selfish, right?

        There is but one surefire way to vanquish conservatives, and that is to beat the shit out of them."--David Podvin

        by Sharoney on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:49:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another example -- Who cares what you think. (4.00)
        This was posted on Kos a couple of years ago, and has stuck in my mind as emblematic of Bush and his administration. The writer had been invited to a White House affair celebrating something he had been tangentially involved in -- I don't recall what it was but I think it was some PR programme.  Anyway, it was in the spring of 2001 when the tax cuts were on the table.  Bush was still approachable, apparently.  The man went up to Bush, and said, 'I don't think I like your tax proposals.'  Bushes answer -- and this is the quote I remember -- was 'Who cares what you think!'  That remark summed up the Republican administration for me. They have lived true to form.  They are a bunch of upper class shits who never cared for anyone but themselves.  
      •  the insouciant Tony Blair (4.00)
        has fallen to 28% approval ratings.   LINK

        An election does not make a democracy.

        by seesdifferent on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:36:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's sad (none)
          the liberals controlling the UK has been one of the few bright spots in the world over the last decade.  Thatcher as PM was like having Rush Limbaugh as president (ok, not a good metaphor, but I can ignore Rush now, it was hard to ignore Thatcher)
    •  Failure to evolve (4.00)
      Liberals are evolved enough to care about others.  

      Conservatives need to evolve.

      The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

      by TXsharon on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:14:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Terrific job (none)
      You've channeled your rage into a very effective piece.  You hit it with the fat part of the bat.  That's a diary that gives you a release, like it might feel to do a tae kwon do kick and bust a board.  (Not that I've ever actually done that - although my wife did it in her green belt test!)
      •  sticking this in (none)
        so people see it.......sorry, but it's RIGHT ON TOPIC!!!

        Francis Fukuyama, the author of "AMERICA AT THE CROSSROADS," joined Nora O'Donnell on Countdown last night and discussed the failures of the neo-conservative movement.


        He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot - Groucho Marx

        by AlyoshaKaramazov on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 01:10:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Recover? (none)

      I think we will be able to recover economically in a generation;  the damage done to our foreign relations could possibly be repaired by the next Administration if there is a clean sweep of the incompetence, and trust can be restored.

      What worries me most is the permanent damage done to the environment; the loading of greenhouse gases into the atmoshpere, the accelerating extinction of species, and the destabilization of ecological systems across the US landmass have been greatly exacerbated by the ignorance and greed of these people.  We may not recover from that.

      •  Optimist! (4.00)
        You're very optimistic re: your point #2.  If by 'foreign relations' you mean what the peoples of the world think of the USA, I don't think we'd even recovered from VietNam yet.  

        --and that 'clean sweep' is a very tall order.  The planning had better start by about yesterday.
        .

    •  great fucking diary (none)
      whoever didn't give you a 4 is a fucking asshole.
    •  the tag team from Hell (3.85)
      this tag team from Hell has one sole achievement that analysts would have thought impossible. They took a country that most of humanity admired and grieved with on September 11, 2001 and turned it into a grotesque gargoyle so hideous that it made many pause and ponder whether Osama Bin Laden had a point after all.

      ----American Street

      An election does not make a democracy.

      by seesdifferent on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:09:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I love that one (none)
        Basically, we've proven Bin Ladens points, against the better natures of most Americans. Bush HAS turned out to be a greedy imperialist who just wants to desecrate Islam and steal the oil, if we're going by his actions, and the actions of those who follow the orders of the commander in chief.

        Plus, he's NOT tough at all. He's a wuss, and rolls over any time there is opposition, he's the worst waffler the world has ever seen.

        You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

        by dnamj on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:53:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree (none)
          Bush is a definite wuss!!

          Saddam is a definite wuss!!

          Bin Ladin is a definite wuss!!

          These three cowards have sent other men to die for there own Ideologys.

          Bush is such a wimp though he is the worse offender of it all IMO when it comes to tough talk, he should be dropped off in Iraq.

        •  But wait, haven't you heard... (none)
          You might be interested to hear about Bush's next bold front in the war on terror: he's going to personally lead 5,000 personnel including snipers, commandos, and U.S. marines, using helicopters and rocket launchers. He's going into new territory, hostile territory, fraught with Islamic militants. He's breaking new ground, taking bold steps to keep us safe. He's going to fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here. He's going to secure New Delhi, with help from Laura Bush. She's apparently there to make sure he doesn't make any jokes about sandwiches.
    •  Another Good Example (4.00)
      of conservatives not caring is Barbara Bush's famous quote. My sig line.

      But really, this whole thing about not caring about other peoples' petty concerns, this total lack of empathy, is a classic definition of psychopathy. They are true psychopaths. Bush stuck firecrackers up frogs' asses and blew them up. He branded a guy while at Yale. Cheney likes to massacre (not hunt) birds. They honestly don't care about pain in anyone except themselves. Which is why they're all cowards and didn't serve in the military.

      There are maybe 1% or 2% psychopaths in our population. They aren't "sick" or "mentally ill" - this is not a disease that can be cured. They are simply wired differently. Some are the real stupid ones that shoot someone down in cold blood because they simply don't see why they shouldn't, and they go to jail. Others are a little smarter and keep out of jail. They can be glib, and they are very, very self-centered.

      And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (chuckle) is working very well for them. (Barbara Bush)

      by Krusty on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:16:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As long as we've navigated to the intersection ... (4.00)
         ... of insouciance Way and Bush Boulevard, let us stop briefly to read the historical marker here
        But why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's, it's not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch him [son George W. Bush] suffer. Barbara Bush

        Think like a BUSH: rape America first, burp, then rape the World.

        by Yellow Canary on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:58:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  How bout this for '06 (none)
        Our '06 Tag Line;
        "Why Democrats?  Because we give a shit!"
      •  You know (none)
        if they were really crazy, like say they were psychotic or schizophrenic or something, you could almost have sympathy for them.  But that's not the case here.  They are untreatable.  There's something wrong with their brains, but it can't be cured.  They are sociopaths, and they have absolutely no morals.  And they are very, very dangerous.

         

    •  Sorry, no such thing (none)
      ..as America any more...been sold out, given away and subverted.

      But we continue to pay our taxes and not walk on the grass and wait for the next election and the next election and the next election....

      I guess people will also wait as usual till they have absolutely nothing left to lose to revolt.

      Meanwhile read army interrogator, Anthony Lagouranis's testimony about how higher -ups. Col. Pappas and Maj Gen Geoffrey Miller ordered the torture in Iraq...while th eones they ordered to do are the ones being proscuted. I am keeping track of where the Col. and Maj Gen are are so, if and when the revolution ever does start, we know where to go get them.

      http://www.warandpiece.com/

      Hypocrisy in anything may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it....

      by Cal45 on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:01:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Immense appreciation to you Thereisnospoon (none)
      for this and for Palpable Rage, and for your heart and spirit.

      It is all so profoundly painful

      Insouciance -- the blindingly acrid perfume of psychopaths

  •  thereisnospoon (4.00)
    thanks, as always, for a different perspective.

    Dig down, find more. -5.38, -6.10

    by brocktunestudios on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:39:13 AM PST

    •  you're welcome (4.00)
      I think we make a mistake if we say this was a disaster from the very beginning.

      It was immoral--but it took Republicans to turn it into a disaster.

      •  I think it's probably (none)
        more accurate to say that we knew it would be a disaster not because it was unwinnable but we knew the Rethug record of fucking shit up. So if we didn't know at least it wasn't a surprise.

        Dig down, find more. -5.38, -6.10

        by brocktunestudios on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:50:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I would quibble with that take (4.00)
        First Rate excellent Diary; but I feel that this WAS a disaster from the very beginning because it was based on an un-American notion:
        the doctrine of Preemptive War.

        It all sprang from that original sin.

        Continuing the national debate---People for Change --*help us TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK*

        by MikeHickerson on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:28:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  they were two distinct disasters (none)
          Disaster #1: Immoral preemptive invasion not necessary to defend us.

          Disaster #2: Grossly mis-executed invasion which ignored both strategic concerns beyond the initial blitzkreig and subsequent humanitarian concerns that would arise during occupation/reconstruction.

          Some folks might not agree with most of us on the first count, but it's important to make sure that Cheney's hunting incident (don't call it an accident) is a short-form metaphor that's been oft repeated in our years under the Bu$hCo regime. Even if we cannot reach everybody's soul, at least we can help change their mind.

          BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

          by wystler on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:23:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  pre-emptive war = chaos (none)
          it was so clear to me that we had no right to attack iraq. but remember how crazy everyone treated you for saying so at the time? i remember seeing people laying down in times square in a "die in" on my way to work and thinking "i dont want to get arrested".

          i feel so foolish now. embarrassed.

          and then cnn never even showed the "die in". and president bush said "we don't do focus groups". well, now the focus group is the 2006 election. we MUST do EVERYTHING we can to win back as many seats in congress as possible.

          they must be made powerless.

          The sound you are hearing is the Desperate Rhetoric of a Failed Presidency.

          by tchristmann on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:50:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  not always (none)
          empires throughout history have engaged in pre-emptive war and had success in pacifying their conquests--and even in improving their lives.  Just see the history of Rome.

          Pre-Emptive War, while awful and immoral, doesn't necessarily mean a disaster.  It took Republicans to make an immoral war an utter disaster.

      •  another grand slam (4.00)
        worth repeating:

        Fundamentally, you see, all true conservatism... is a failure to care.

        It's a failure to care about the poor.  The sick. The downtrodden.  The exploited.  The hungry.  The mentally ill.  The wounded in war.  The oppressed of different races from their own.  The nameless, faceless foreigners killed by our indiscriminate bombs.  The children whose schools grow in class size and shrink in efficacy every day.  The laborer, legal and illegal, who toils increasing hours for decreasing wages.  Air quality and the environment.  The plant and animal species disappearing from this earth, never to return.

        ALL OF IT is sacrificed at the altar of the eternal ME.  And since the conservative "Me" is typically the rich, business-invested "me", everything good and decent in this world--everything Jesus Christ himself taught us to care for, whether we believe in his divinity or not--is sacrificed at the altar of "What's Good for Business is Good for America."

        And they did it in Iraq, too.  They turned Iraq into a laboratory for conservative ideas--and now Iraqis and American soldiers are paying the price.  

        the whole diary was good, but this part was especially well put.

        thereisnospoon, you are hitting them out of the park with great frequency lately.  I'm glad you're on our side.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

        by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:28:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Thugly American (4.00)
        ventures out of his bubble, and, really, this just doesn't sound good: (Reuters)
        About 5,000 personnel including snipers, commandos and U.S. marines using helicopters, bomb detectors and electronic jammers will protect President George W. Bush during his visit to India this week, officials said on Monday.
        ...
        "He is a much-threatened VVIP. We are fully geared," Manish Agarwal, a top Delhi police officer involved in security operations, told Reuters.
        ...
        Islamist militants are frequently arrested or killed in gun battles with police in the Indian capital ...

        Besides the inner-ring of security forces, an outer cordon would be deployed "as deep as possible" to thwart any attack by a rocket launcher, Agarwal said.

        "A rocket launcher normally has a 1,000-meter (3,300 ft) range so we would be deployed in forests around venues," he said. "We will have 360-degree rooftop surveillance around all the venues."

        Bush is also due to briefly visit India's southern IT hub of Hyderabad, where some Muslim groups have launched a signature campaign against his policies.

        Hyderabad, which has a sizeable Muslim population, has witnessed big protests against the publication of cartoons lampooning Prophet Mohammad.

        Bush would hop around the city in helicopters to take part in events scheduled for him, police said.

        Hey, they should just not allow anyone in New Delhi but Republicans.

        An election does not make a democracy.

        by seesdifferent on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:30:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bush's outsourcing of Rove's 3D (none)
    politics around the world is part of the doctrine Bush is following. 3D (decietful, deceptive, divisive, politics)are used to purposely change old order and replace it with the users idea of a better version. It was first used in Russia in the Mid 19th century. Bush is well on his way. Feel free to go on my site and download it for free. Everything will all of a sudden make sense. as we all experience, it is not good for the legal lower classes.

    James M Joiner www.anaveragepatriot.com or http://anaverageamericanpatriot.blogspot.com

    by jmsjoin on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:42:22 AM PST

  •  excellent insights (4.00)
    And this is why I left the Rethug party to join the Dems, once my eyes became opened in Bush's second year and I saw how they are totally driven by selfishness and greed, whereas the Dems care about things beyond themselves--other people, nature, the condition of the planet, future generations. And why I will never, as long as I live, vote for another Republican again.
  •  The "war" was won. (4.00)
    It was "won" in just a few days, easily.

    It's the occupation which has failed and that was as predictable as pointing out that the sky is usually blue.

    •  the occupation was always unwinnable (3.87)
      The diarist makes so many good points about the hubris and insouciance (good word) in the occupation's planning and leadership. I agree that Rumsfeld and Co. were nothing if not delusional about Iraq's prospects. For that reason, I'm recommending the diary.

      But to my mind, the occupation was never "winnable." We all now know the WMD was a ruse simply to get us in, so that we could establish permanent bases and a colonial beachhead in the Middle East, all under a puppet Iraqi government. Without the justification of WMD, however, we simply didn't have a right to stay: Iraqis know it, the world knows it, and that truth was painfully clear by the summer of 2003.

      But more to the point, what historians of the last 30 years have come to call "direct empire" (i.e., empire through military occupation) has always been a losing economic proposition for European powers. Such empires always fail in time. This epochal disaster (social, economic, geopolitical) was not only predictable, it was avoidable.

      By all means, we should hold Rumsfeld and friends accountable for their myriad failures following the invasion of Iraq. But the primary offense was committed by the men and women who lied us into war: this was how our country was betrayed. In addition to withdrawing from Iraq, our nation must stare this treason in the face, and serve justice upon it, before we can begin to recover.

      "And I hope you'll understand if any of us come before a court and we can't remember Abramoff, you'll tend to believe us." - Senator Lindsey Graham.

      by QuickSilver on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:46:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  occupations aren't winnable in the sense that (none)
        we couldn't have stayed there forever.

        But we could have gotten a good and stable country running in time for us to leave.

        •  I'm not sure that I recall (none)
          an example of us doing so in the mid-east.  Quite the opposite, I thought.

          I don't agree, though I respect your opinion.  We cannnot simply come in and unilaterally decide to topple a government in most of the world's (and, that country's own) view, then expect society and government to pick back up again in a new form, somewhat within a petri dish environment - that was hubris of the highest caliber, and all indications ahead of time were that sectarian, regional and even terrorist opportunist factions would likely rise to create more division soon afterwards.

          •  The diary was good (none)
            But the basic premise that the war/occupation was winnable is so totally wrong.

            Please read the history of the British experience in Iraq. Most Iraqis have read it, and it is seared into their conciousness. Iraqis don't want to be occupied. They are prepared to kill to gain their independence.

            Add to that the Americans had already lost their credibility in the Arab world by supporting Israel and its settlement program. Whatever system they set up in Iraq would have been dubbed a Trojan horse and whichever ruler it installed would have been judged a stooge and chucked out.

            What is this American obsession with interfering in other people's affairs? Arrogance of power?

    •  the preznint says today (none)
      The presence of the U.S. troops is there to protect as many Iraqis as we possibly can from thugs and violence, but it's also to help the Iraqis protect themselves, and we're making progress in terms of standing up to these Iraqi troops so they can deal with, deal with these incidents of violence.

      ?????????????  how does that work, exactly? when they try to run away, we stand up to them? or what?

      An election does not make a democracy.

      by seesdifferent on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:47:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They needed FDR and they got Reagan on crack (4.00)
    Wow!

    They also got Haliburton, mercenaries,  Abu Grahib, depleted uranium and lots of assholes calling them Hajis and ragheads.

    This war is SO lost.

    Creat diary thereisnospoon!

    Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

    by Shockwave on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:49:07 AM PST

  •  Failure to care (4.00)
    thanks for writing the diary that I have had in my head for the last three years...yet, I could never catch my breath long enough to write it.

    Planned failure is part of the game plan, as it always results in financial reward without any accountability.  

    It is their M.O. and totally S.O.P.

    Claws beat Skin Take Back America

    by polydactyl on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:57:42 AM PST

    •  I Can See It Now... (none)
      A Billboard, with a sad doctor, staring up at the wall clock, taking off his stethoscope.

      With the caption reading: "Cause Of Death...Failure To Care"

      THAT is the meme we need to permeate the '06 campaign season with...The Republicans are KILLING us with "Failure To Care".

      Are you LISTENING, Rahmmy Boy???

      by mlkisler on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:56:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Failure, failure and more (4.00)
    Bush was wrong about WMD, he was wrong about Saddam and Al Quada, he was wrong about how "easy" a war in Iraq would be, he has ignored Afghanistan (and it is not doing well), and now he expects Americans to "trust" him with the port deal?  I think not, and the mistrust comes from the seeds he and his administation have sown.

    Enough, Americans need to wake up to reality and vote the bastards out.

  •  that SNL skit at the beginning of the occupation (none)
    has not become reality.

    the only person capable of ruling IRAQ was Saddam.

    Just turn it over to him, say that we apologize, it was all a  big misunderstanding, here's a pound of yellow cake, and say goodbye.

    there's not much else to do.

    it's all PANTS anyhow.

  •  Excellent anaylsis! (4.00)
     And let us not forget that the

    Dept of Homeland Security designed help the American people in a time of need gets an F for Failure. An F.

      All these people care about is dirty business, not people.

    It is time for a call to put People Before Profits

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:09:37 AM PST

  •  This is one of the best (none)
    and most moving diaries I've read here, and I've read some good shit here.

    Do you mind if I email this far and wide? I'll give you credit of course...

    i know the scoop policy, but I'd just like to run it by the author none-the-less.

    I'm always wary of those who know what to say but not what to do.

    by NeoconSemanticist on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:12:50 AM PST

    •  Oh, and not to shift focus (none)
      But for those who blame Ayn Rand for today's republican ideology, objectivism was a philosophy (should I put philosophy in quotation marks?) built upon a sound foundation of ethics and forethought.

      And Ayn Rand really had it in for the indifferent, just as Jesus did for the hypocrits.

      Just thought I'd throw that out there and try to defend Ayn Rand against that one diary I read about two years ago.

      I'm always wary of those who know what to say but not what to do.

      by NeoconSemanticist on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:22:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ayn Rand sounds good but it is (none)
        ideology that just does not work in real life. From Jesus to Buddha to Gandhi the greats have all tried to tell us how the universe really works. Between them and the Age of Enlightenment (Reason) has been the basis of Liberalism which is the only ruling ideology that has ever worked. It has made middle class countries wherever it has been tried. Look at the record. The problem with objectivism is that corporations do not look for the good of all and the making of money supersedes everything else. Like we need stop lights for traffic, corporations need a set of rules that keep them from being the destructive agents that they have become. Those rules or as our Republican brothers like to sneer, regulations, are there to protect the environment, the stockholders, the public and are there to level the playing field in the market economy. Objectivism leads to the destruction of the environment and to such things as Enron bilking California out of 8 billion dollars. There is such a thing as the public interest.

        Bu$hCo. has a pre-1776 view of the world.

        by Jlukes on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 06:28:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  go for it...and I dont care about credit (none)
      I just care about this meme getting out there, because I think it's been overlooked.
  •  A Different Way of Saying It (4.00)
    You've done a great job of teasing out a thought I expressed a few days ago on some other blog.

    A defining difference between left and right, is in the word "empathy" - what you are getting at with words like "insouciance" and "they don't care".  Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes, among other things.  The left has empathy for the world, and plenty of solutions and ideas to make a better world for all.  The right's lack of empathy drives them into fear-based "solutions", that work only for their tribe, and only for awhile.

    Sun Tsu said that you have to know your enemy.  This is impossible for the empathy-challenged.  Our defeat was therefore pre-ordained.

    I am much less sanguine than you however for our prospects.  I do believe that light will win over darkness, but we have to get a lot smarter about how to fight.  The bad guys are pretty severely entrenched, and are basically looting the country and the world.  That's a lot of power to defeat, a pretty big situation to turn around.

  •  There's another word for it (4.00)
    Sociopathy.

    Or, the more popular clinical definition, Antisocial Personality Disorder.

    Diagnostic criteria from DSM-IV-TR:

    1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
    2. deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others
    3. impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
    4. irritability and aggressiveness
    5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others
    6. consistent irresponsibility
    7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

    Sound like an administration we know?

    •  Sociopathic Messianic Insoucancy (none)
      yes?  Is it arrogant enough?

      I love this diary.  It's a great rallying cry for those who give a shit.

      Nature never breaks her own laws. --da Vinci

      by lale on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:47:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  sounds like... (none)
      sounds like an Administration we know and sounds like a pResident we know.

      sociopaths cannot be reasoned with.  we just need to get them out of office as soon as humanly possible.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

      by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:05:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  sociopathy is more aggressive, though (none)
      I just really think that they're indifferent to the plight of the common man.
    •  psychopath versus sociopath (none)
      Robert Hare, Ph.D - the leading expert on the Psychopathic Personality gives these
      Characteristics of a Psychopath:

      1.superficial charm
      2.self-centered & self-important
      3.need for stimulation & prone to boredom
      4.deceptive behavior & lying
      5.conning & manipulative
      6.little remorse or guilt
      7.shallow emotional response
      8.callous with a lack of empathy
      9.living off others or predatory attitude
      10.poor self-control
      11.promiscuous sexual behavior
      12.early behavioral problems
      13.lack of realistic long term goals
      14.impulsive lifestyle
      15.irresponsible behavior
      16.blaming others for their actions
      17.short term relationships
      18.juvenile delinquency
      19.breaking parole or probation
      20.varied criminal activity

      The only points on which Bush does not score are 11, 17 and 19.

  •  wonderful analysis! (4.00)
    brilliant. i used to teach college writing until i realized the impact of a failing educational system had effectively lost us a generation. you give me hope for the future.
    try terry gilliam's fisher king for the modern interpretation of the Perceval myth: compassion is all.
  •  Dream On (4.00)
    The U.S. barely fought North Korea to a draw.  We couldn't beat North Vietnam with a full half a million troops.  I see no reason to believe Iraqis should be that much more easily vanquished.

    Face it, the U.S. loses wars now.  Just like the last one and probably the next, we lost this war the day we started it.  

    •  not true (none)
      We weren't just fighting the chinese or vietnamese in Korea and Vietnam.  We were fighting the Chinese by proxy both times.

      And the South Koreans would have some pretty harsh words for you about suggesting we lost in Korea.

      The fact is that we win wars when we are on the side of right, and doing the right things.

      We should never have been in Vietnam, and the people hated us.

      In Iraq, there was a short period of time when the people loved us for toppling Saddam.  We could have rebuilt their country in six months and left the country, leaving them eternally indebted to us.

      But we didn't, of course.

      •  Did we achieve 'our' objectives? (none)
        What was the neocon's objective going into Iraq?  PNAC reasoning may go along these lines:

        One objective is to create a foothold in the Middle East to secure access to dwindling oil supplies.  We succeeded in that.

        If Iraq is intended as a stepping stone for going into Iran and beyond, that could very well happen.  One way is to create such a mess (as we do now) that we'll have to go in Big Time because we do need to keep that oil flowing.

        Another objective might be to permanently turn us into a nation of warriors.  BushCo is making vast progress here.

        And what made this all possible?  Nine Eleven maybe?  And who might have made sure that Nine Eleven happened?  Any clue?

  •  Highly recommended (none)
    and not only because of the line "They didn't give a shit about Ahmad Six-Pack."

    This could be even better than your Rage diary, which was great. I just wish there was a less delicate-sounding word for their attitude than "insouciance"- something more along the lines of "theydidn'tgiveashit."

    Nice job-awesome diary.

    Somewhere a senator sits behind a big wooden desk...he took his money just like all the rest- Neil Young

    by ctami on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:29:16 AM PST

  •  "insouciance" gets you a 4... (none)
    ...although, ain't that one of them thar French words?!?

    O, you elitist liberal traitor!

  •  Iraq was never winnable (4.00)
    Sorry to burst your bubble on this, but at no point was this war "winnable". There was no way to separate the good guys in Iraq from the bad ones. When your brother or daughter or best friend is killed and termed collateral damage, how hard is it to turn someone into an enemy who will fight you with their dying breath. Every innocent life extinguished in Iraq leads to more and more enemies of America and our effort. And there is no way to fight a war without killing innocent civilians. Everything else you mention is important, but the idea we can impose democracy at the point of a gun is the real flaw that should stop us from ever doing this again.

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:33:01 AM PST

    •  The underlying divisions would still be there (4.00)
      The only way we could "win" in Iraq was to become just as brutal and heavy-handed as Saddam and never leave.  The minute we did, all of the societal fissures in Iraq would open anyway.

      I agree that the premise of the diary is flawed.  Iraq needs social evolution, not occupation.

      Rumsfeld, he needs to be hit on the head. --Baghdad Bob

      by Jimmy Jazz on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:56:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are no good wars. (4.00)
      No clean wars.  No wars where only bad guys get killed.  No wars that do not turn ugly, savage and insane.  No wars that do not become a cesspool of greed, cronyism and profiteering, no wars that do not needlessly pillage and destroy precious things.  WAR SUCKS.  Someday, maybe a few centuries down the road, humankind will learn this, and people will stop being conned into this madness by leaders with empty words and fat wallets.

      If not for the cat,
      And the scarcity of cheese
      I could be content.
      --Jack Prelutsky

      by Reepicheep on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:31:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  see my other comment above (none)
      we could never have stayed there forever, and we couldn't ever "win" Iraq like the NeoCons wanted any more than the British could have "won" in India.

      We COULD, however, have toppled Saddam, rebuilt their country, and left.

      There would have been civilians killed in the original toppling, but the history books would have generally been kind about that.

      Now, however, it's a completely different story.

      •  We "could" invade Iran (none)
        We "could" nuke North Korea.  We "can" do a lot of things, but it doesn't mean the result will benefit America.  The endgame for Iraq has always been as an Iranian client state.

        Beyond that, we simply had no right to launch a preemptive war, even if it was in our long term interests.  Go ask the USSR how their experience in Afghanistan turned out.  Go ask the ghosts of 9/11, for that matter.

        Yes, obviously the occupation could have been handled more compently.  Your diary is well-written, but I don't think that comes as any great insight.

        I disagree with the premise that the war could be "won", and by asserting such you're aligning yourself with Wolfowitz and other fantasists.

        Rumsfeld, he needs to be hit on the head. --Baghdad Bob

        by Jimmy Jazz on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 01:35:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you have a different standard for winning (none)
          you care about the plight of the Iraqui people. If the US had been able to do what the poster says: topple Saddam, establish a new regime and leave orderly, do you doubt for a second that the US people would not have seen that as a victory? They would still be cleaning the streets from the biggest victory parade in history. And republicans would win elections with more than 60% support.

          They could have gotten away with it, is what this post is arguing. What killed the whole thing was their indifference and selfishness.

      •  I think there was one point we could have left (none)
        When we decided to disband their military early on. We should have left them alone. The real problem is in how we rebuild a nation. Even if we eliminate Saddam and his regime, there will always be some mid level captain in the army who would very much like to be the next guy in charge. That says nothing about a Shi'a warlord who wants to set things "right". We have to stick around to make sure we don't get someone just as bad. Rebuilding the infrastructure is just as problematic. Do we just fix the roads and buildings we tore up? Do we rebuild schools and hospitals that have deteriorated through years of sanctions? Do we go all out and help them establish their country and economy? If the first, we're looking at another Saddam almost immediately and human suffering for years as a result of our invasion. If the other two, we're looking at long term social, construction and engineering projects where Americans (soldiers and contractors) are very tempting targets for years to come. Essentially, in order to do any rebuilding, we have to be there for a long time, and we need soldiers there to protect the rebuilding effort. That makes any war like this one of occupation, even if the original intent was to help the people.

        Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

        by corwin on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 01:36:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I Disagree (none)
      Germany and Japan are good examples. There were obviously a lot of civilians killed, "collateral damage". But ultimately, after the war, the US genuinely tried to do the right thing. They put a lot of troops in there to stabilize the security situation. They didn't rape or torture. They spent a lot of treasure to get the countries running again. They gave away technology so both countries could establish businesses. The Marshall Plan.

      The difference was that the occupations were run by grownups that knew about war and its aftermath. They could have been petty and vindictive towards the losers, after all a lot of US troops had died. But they had integrity and decency and expected it from those under them. They weren't there simply to subjugate people and grab their resources.

      And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (chuckle) is working very well for them. (Barbara Bush)

      by Krusty on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:30:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can't serve two master (none)
        During WWII our focus was entirely on beating Germany and Japan into submission. Both surrendered unconditionally. Only after they surrendered did we begin to offer our support, and that was nearly two years later with the Marshall Plan in Europe (not sure about the time frame in Japan). In Iraq, we've tried to both fight the insurgents and keep the general populace safe. Trying to do both at the same time is contradictory and ultimately self defeating. If this was truly a war worth fighting, we should have thrown everything we had into it, and dealt with the consequences only after the Iraqis had surrendered. The fact that we could not have done so without appearing to be a tyrranical imperialist regime says to me it was a huge mistake from the beginning and we never should have started this mess in the first place.

        Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

        by corwin on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:52:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  As someone specified earlier today on ... (none)
         ... the rich river of dKos, there is an important difference between

        Nation-building, and

        Colonizing.

        We helped build Germany and Japan into nations.  The actual goal in Iraq has always been to have a colony.  That anyone allowed anyone to act -- let alone drop bombs -- on the colonizing impulse tells you a lot about the ignorance of those in charge.

        Think like a BUSH: rape America first, burp, then rape the World.

        by Yellow Canary on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 01:12:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree (none)
          with both of you. I point out that I used the word "adults" in my comment. In WWII most people, including at the top, didn't want to be in it. But they were adults, sucked it up, and fought all out. And afterwards they were adults, put down their hate, and tried to build a world.

          Remember, the neocons said that when they took over, finally some "adults" would be in charge. Instead, we wound up with petty, vindictive, greedy children.  I'm not exaggerating: in many ways they are like children. An 8 year old doesn't think much beyond the fun he'll have tomorrow. Similarly, these guys don't plan, don't think of consequences, and have no respect for their opponents, some little brown men. Fricken assholes, we'll crush them!

          Ayup. Turns into a problem when the little brown men are absolutely willing to die, and are fighting on their own territory.

          Bush/Cheney/Rummy/Rove: an absolute nightmare for the US. Children in charge of the most powerful nation on earth.

          And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (chuckle) is working very well for them. (Barbara Bush)

          by Krusty on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 02:12:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Plus two others: (none)
            1.  Don't leave out Hadley, Yoo, and Addington.

            2.  They always project their depravity onto those they see as enemies (that's how narcissistic they are).  Everything they say is actually about themselves.  Substitute them for every cry about the other and you will begin to hear something truthful come out of their mouths.

            Think like a BUSH family man: rape America first, burp, then rape the World.

            by Yellow Canary on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 02:34:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think it was ever winnable either (none)
      You got invade with the leadership you have.  It's not an accident these guys are in charge.

      "... in my empire, life is sweet, just ask any bum you meet. You may say that I ain't free but it don't worry me..."

      by lumpenprole on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 05:01:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  calling a spade a spade (none)
    Excellent comments--thank you for straightening out all the shit in my head that I don't have time to remember and articulate myself. "Failure to care"--it could have legs.
    It is terrifically important to keep this shit straight and keep reminding everyone how guilty the cabal is and in so many ways. The "bumbling" Bush is a complete facade--they are--I think Belafonte said it best several years ago--"possessed of evil". It is time to use the "e" word--selling off the National Parks because you've underfunded them INTENTIONALLY to finance an unecessary and illegal and arbitrary war, so you can experiment with your ideas about how far can you fuck people over and get away with it--it rises to the level of evil. Evil doesn't announce itself with Gothic Letters (see "Eichmann in Jerusalem" by Arendt). It is their KNOWING and ABSOLUTELY NOT CARING about anything but their own cronies (if they go on long enough, the thieves will ALL fall out leaving only an abyss) that becomes, on a scale this large, evil.
  •  I have to respectfully disagree with one premise (none)
    I don't agree that this war was winnable. Certainly the initial invasion and defeat of the organized Iraqi armed forces were easily accomplished. But the underlying political goal of the invasion and the necessary occupation and reconstruction were, in my opinion, borderline impossible.
    •  not so (none)
      I believe that 400,000 troops, with a massive reconstruction project contracted by IRAQIS, could have rebuilt there country, and we could have left town before Anti-American occupier sentiments grew too strong.

      Look at Kosovo as a good example of this.

      •  I believe the original estimate was 500,000 (none)
        but Rummy kept trying to bring that number down partly because of his vision of a small, quick strike force for the twenty-first century and partly becasue they needed to do a stealth build-up in the Middle East to hide that fact that they planned on attacking whatever the outcome of the UN talks. Part of the selling point of the war had to be that it would be over quickly and they would soon be building new permanent military bases in a democracy friendly to America, even while they were drawing down in Saudi Arabia. I don't know whether they actually believed the fantasy that the Iraqis would welcome them as liberators or not. Perhaps they envisioned themselves being like Dorothy, wiping out the wicked witch with a well placed bunker buster, and then being hailed as heroes by the grateful Munchkins. But we have a case of two old fools trying to replay the big game they didn't quite win during the Gulf War and the idiot prince whom they had convinced that he was the Churchill of his generation doing battle with the Hitler of his generation. Bush was so enamored of the title of War President that I'm sure nothing else mattered. This was just a thrill ride for him. I remember him trying to stifle his annoying smirk just before announcing the invasion of Iraq in that scene from Fahrenheit 911. That look said it all. This is a man who would enjoy pushing the launch button. None of this has taken any toll on him emotionally or physically. This office generally ages and wears down a man, especially if he presides over a war. Look at photos of Johnson in his final days in office. Bush still looks the same, because he really does not care about any of this. Sure he'd do the same thing over again, not because it was the right thing to do, but because it was probably more of a rush than the cocaine or booze ever were.
      •  But not given the OIL (none)
        this was about the OIL all along, and everyone must keep that in mind. Nobody was going to win over there so easily with so much at stake.

        You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

        by dnamj on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:59:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  most of them are well coiffed, (none)
    I'll say that for 'em.....

    An election does not make a democracy.

    by seesdifferent on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:36:22 AM PST

  •  Insouciance (none)
    Now they'll blame it on the French.
  •  This looked great, until (4.00)
    I got to this part:
    Fundamentally, you see, all true conservatism (and I'm not talking about the Biblical-literalist fascism that dresses itself in conservatism) really is, when you break it down, is a failure to care.

    If you hadn't said "all true conservatism", I wouldn't be complaining. Heck, if you hadn't included "true", I'd have kept my disagreement to myself. But as posted, this is way, way overgeneralized.

    I know conservatives and libertarians who genuinely do care about much the same things you and I do. Their political differences with us usually stem from two fairly axiomatic tenets. (By "axiomatic", I don't mean that these are obviously true. I mean that Conservatives and/or Libertarians assume them to be true, just as progressives assume them to be false.)

    • They may not believe that government has the ability to influence certain issues (poverty, health care, education, environment, etc.) in a positive manner. Similarly, they may believe the unintended consequences of these efforts may cause more harm than good, even to their targeted populations.
    • They may also have a good-faith belief that, despite any positive benefits of governmental intervention, it's still morally wrong to "steal" money from taxpayers to gain those benefits.

    To us it can look very much as if they don't care. (Because, of course, we assume that if they did care about these things, they'd agree that they are areas where government is needed to create a solution.) However, it's just not true that they all care any less than we do.

    I care about this distinction, because I believe that keeping it in mind can make all the difference between drawing someone over to our side of the fence -- even if only temporarily, to help our country cleanse itself of the current evils -- and chasing them even further away, and into wingnut territory.

    "Stay the course" isn't a plan. It isn't a principle. It's a tantrum.

    by Nowhere Man on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:47:08 AM PST

    •  political conservatism (none)
      not necessarily ideological conservatism.

      Good point--i'll make the change.

    •  Nope. Nope. Nope. (none)
      Interesting points, but...!

      While it's futile to claim that all conservatives lack empathy, I think it's becoming clear that, even in the face of grossly failed theories and misguided policies, most conservatives would rather cling to their gutted postulates at the expense of the people (regardless of country!) than admit intellectual defeat.  And that, at the end of the day, is the definition of selfishness, and sociopathy.

      Let's take one of your points... that "they may not believe that government has the ability to influence certain issues".  I think that's duplicitous in the extreme... the truth is that they know that government can affect many of these things, but that government is allowed to do that, it will 1) take resources away from their pet priorities (tax cuts, military spending, support for religious activism, corporate welfare) or 2) prove that they are wrong, as Presidents from FDR to Clinton have already done.  It's a classic case of "me first" -- the belief that government is here to serve us, rather than all of us.  

      Most of my conservative friends, oddly enough, profess genuine concern over things that cry out for it -- poverty, an environment in decline, education, etc. etc.   But when push comes to shove, they are simply unwilling to commit the resources necessary to address these big issues -- preferring to lean on that old Darwinist, hands-off, government-is-bad logic that conservatives love to love, because they're already won the game of economic survival.  They don't admit that taxes and government programs are simply an investment in the common good;  that would be tantamount to admitting that the common good is a mandatory investment.  So, they turn the other way -- and in doing so, make crystal clear that the common good isn't as important as their own.  And that is called sociopathic, isn't it.

      Your second point -- that taxes are equivalent to stolen gold -- is risible, honestly.  The demographics that make up classic conservatism in this country (excluding the lower- and middle-class bible contingent, the recent immigrants with religious perspectives on politics, etc.) are more monied than those for our side;  it's been that way for hundreds of years, even in the years after the Civil War.  You don't make money unless someone has invested in you somewhere along the way, and you've turned that investment into a pile.  And if you don't have money or opportunity, then you need that investment terribly if you're going to move ahead.  In the case of our lower and middle classes, that money comes largely from taxes, and right-minded investments stemming from those taxes.  So to deplore taxation, in the end analysis, is to deplore empathy... and the writer of this diary has it exactly right.

      It's easy to vilify a safety net, and a helping hand, when you've already got yours... especially when you're rather use your money to further your own agenda, and back-handedly fuck the community in which you live.  To dress it up in theories of "self-determination", "trickle-down", or "hands off my civil liberties" is to try, desperately, to cloak the real agenda.  And that agenda is selfish, un-empathetic, and inhumane.

      At some point, we'd better call it what it is, and let the political dynamics work how they will.  Honesty is far better than prevarication, fear and dilution of the truth.  John Kerry taught us that by losing.  Would you rather we learn the lesson again in `08?

      •  Yep, yep, yep (none)
        So there. </snark>

        I wouldn't agree that any of us knows that government can make a positive difference. I don't have time to go into this in any great depth, but I'll say that for many issues, both the progressive and the (true, not neo-) conservative positions can make truthful and valid arguments. But the "truth" and "validity" of these arguments are often based on axioms that might not be universally shared -- or that are assigned very different priorities by different people. What it then comes down to is, what's more important to you, and what axioms do you hold most strongly?

        For example: Suppose you believe that life begins at conception, and hence abortion is murder; and you believe that a woman should have control over her own body. Do you come down as pro- or anti-choice?  (Or do you believe that a person cannot hold both beliefs? If so, can you justify that claim?)

        Or suppose that you're pro-environment. But (for the sake of argument only) also suppose that you have good reason to believe that a certain struggling industry would have to shut down if a new, important piece of environmental legislation is approved, resulting in unemployment for thousands. Do you support the legislation or not? (Does it matter just how many people would be thrown out of work? Or their liklihood of finding similar jobs? Or just how much environmental damage would be prevented by the new legislation?)

        Life is complicated. So are people.

        Given the very real possibility that more people actually voted Republican than Democratic in 2004, I think we need to be reaching out to as many of those folks as we can, rather than pushing them away. Hence I think it's not helpful to obsess about the motivations of people that you don't know. I know that when I hear the likes of Sean Hannity suggest that I'm not patriotic, I don't think "He's right! Oh, damn, I should have voted for Bush after all!" Actually, when at one time I might have considered voting for certain Republican candidates, I've become more of a Democratic loyalist than I've been in a long time.

        I suspect you, too, aren't encouraged to vote Republican by that kind of talk. So by the same token, I'd like you to open up to the possibility that you really don't know what goes on in the hearts and minds of conservatives. They may be more complex creatures than you seem to think they are, just as you may be a more complex person than they (or even I) might think you are.

        I don't even claim to know what motivates Bush. Frankly, I don't even care very much. All I know is that everything he has touched has turned to shit, and I see no reason to hope for any better from him and his cronies. Nor would I waste my time and energy trying to argue with them. But there are millions of folks out there that I believe we can reach, if we don't push them away instead.

        "Stay the course" isn't a plan. It isn't a principle. It's a tantrum.

        by Nowhere Man on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 01:43:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. ;) (none)
          All good points -- who really knows what's in the heart of anyone.  

          But HECK... I think we can make some reasonably informed conclusions, in broad strokes, when policies and philosophies have proved inadequate for the whole citizenry.. and still the philosophers rant on.  And worse, attempt to codify their policies to the demonstrable detriment of others.  That, in a word, sucks.  And I don't think it's a stretch to question the ultimate ethics of those involved.  You can hold yourself as ethical, and still be proven to behave otherwise.  Empiricism trumps marketing, every time.

          BUT... I promise I won't poopoo all over my libertarian ex-girlfriend, the next time she claims that we'd all be better off if left entirely to our own devices.  Really.  I.  Promise.

  •  Gated communities and flat tax (4.00)
    for the rich, lots of prisons and security guard and  retail jobs for the proles - that's the vision.  

    No trash collection in Baghdad for the first 12 months of the occupation?  My rightwing father defends that.  This after all is their image of Detroit, DC, Baltimore and other third world cities - which they wish they could bomb and occupy.  

    We are a 3rd world nation - complete with death squads and swaggering baby-fascists and scuzzy, semi-literate journalists.

  •  Colin Powell (none)
    I heard Colin Powel deliver an address Monday night here in Los Angeles, and what he said illustrates this point perfectly.

    Powell--and this was surprising to me--was speaking like a Friedmanist, and being an administration apologist for everything ranging from the Dubai deal  to the WMD in Iraq.

    But he did say pretty explicitly that he advised Gen. Franks and the White House that they'd need more troops to secure Iraq, and he was ignored.  So it's a perfect demonstration of your point.

  •  Do you do speaking engagements? (none)
    you have a gift. I am working on putting together an event that speaks to peace and faith.  

    We are going to work through churches to expose those parishioners to the truth about republicans and this destruction of all those have-nots in america.  

    We are looking for panel discussions. It will be in Lake County, Illinois. Is this something you would be interested in?

    www.BringOurTroopsHome.com

    by Jean on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:53:58 AM PST

  •  Nice post, but the inevitable "but..." (4.00)
    ...but you have gone too easy on the Democrats, I'm afraid. The Dems would have never gotten us into this war? Have you forgotten Vietnam?

    Have you forgotten the votes to back Bush in this war, even though there was already plenty of reason to be suspicious of Bush's motives and "facts" even then?

    No, I'm afraid the Democrats deserve a part of the blame, not the main part, I grant you, but a significant part. They abdicated. They are still abdicating.

    How many Democrats are calling for the immediate withdrawal (as practicable) of U.S. troops? How many Democrats are calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush?

    The Iraq debacle is an indictment of an entire system, not just one political party.

  •  You offered an excellent... (4.00)
    frame to present this issue.  We'll never really know if the occupation could've ultimately been deemed a "success" had it been properly planned.  If 400,000 troops had been sent in, had they been properly equipped, and had there been a serious campaign to rebuild infrastructure, maybe the country would be the neocon theme park that was envisoned 3 years ago.  We'll never know.

    What we DO know is that everything that POSSIBLY could've been done wrong has been done wrong.  An enemy that intended to undermine American strength could not have done a better job than Cheney, Rummy, et al have done.  American power will be reduced for years to come by this looming defeat.

    We may never be able to sell the broad American public on the concept that the war was a mistake from the start.  It should be child's play, however, to sell the concept that the war has been mismanaged from the start.  People can understand the concept that "supporting the troops" means making sure that they have proper equipment and safe drinking water.  They can understand that destroying a country's infrastructure and torturing its citizens is not the way to win friends and influence people.

    If we can shut up JoeMentum, Biden, and the rest of the "stay the course" crowd, we can score major gains on this issue.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:56:43 AM PST

    •  Power reduced in more than the obvious (none)
      military sense.  The power to lead the world and affect positive change has been gutted.  The power to influence others by winning their affections has been lost.  Moral leadership and international trust: gone.  The good American Brand itself has been horribly damaged.

      Losing the brand has real consequences for the economy.  Consider students no longer coming to America that will go on to win Nobel Prizes.  Their new ideas and inventions that might spawn new American industries will now likely be done elsewhere.  International deals will suffer when  people abroad don't want anything to do with America because it can't be trusted.

      The opportunity costs and harm done to the future by trashing the brand name America are incalculable.

      Impeachment followed by trials for treason, war crimes, fraud, influence peddling, war profiteering and negligent homicide would be a good start to restore faith in the American brand.

      The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

      by mojo workin on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:17:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It will take years... (none)
        if not decades, to assess the full damage that these people managed to inflict in about 3 years.  The Tom Friedmans of the world are just now waking up to the fact that BushCo has permanently upended their little world views.  Unfortunately, it's not the Friedmans who will suffer the real consequences of a catastrophic series of decisions.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:41:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  biden is NOT (none)
      stay the course.

      just an fyi.

      •  What IS Biden? (none)
        Did he call for a timetable for the w/drawal of forces?  If he did, I missed it.  The way that things are going, an orderly timetable may not even be achievable 6 mos from now.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:43:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  he's the polar opposite (none)
          of joe lieberman.

          one says it's going great.

          the other says it's going bad.

          what you're looking for from biden is a feingold/murtha type message.

          and short of that, you're deciding he's saying "it's going great."  like lieberman.

          and HE'S NOT SAYING THAT.  which is my main point to you.

          i think that about sums up the difference between biden and lieberman.

          as well as the difference between biden and murtha/feingold.  

          •  What's Biden saying... (none)
            to do about the fact it's going bad?  At this point, I see no viable options other than the Murtha/Feingold one.   If Biden has a better one, I'd love to hear what it is.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 01:00:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  do what the diarist said (none)
              but FDR in charge or iraq.

              unrealistic.  i know.

              but it's certainly a lot different than what lieberman is saying.

              •  FDR was a very viable option... (none)
                in 2003.  He was still largely viable in 2004.  He was marginally viable at best in 2005.  He's not even worth considering today.

                I'm assuming at this point that the US will leave Iraq the way that the guys from Delta House left the Dexter Lake Club in "Animal House."  The Murtha/Feingold option was vastly better than what we're almost certainly going to get.

                Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

                by RFK Lives on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 01:17:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Iraq was not a mistake, as I ... (none)
      ...pointed out last October here.

      Excerpt:

      Over and over again for three years we've had our faces rubbed in the evidence. Yet, every day, someone calls this perfidious, murderous scheme a mistake. As if invading Iraq were a foreign policy mishap. Oopsy.

      Stop it already. People do not commit treachery by mistake.

      As we full well know, even before George W. Bush was scooted into office 5-to-4, the men he came to front for were already at work plotting their rationale for sinking deeper military and economic roots in the Middle East, petropolitics and neo-imperialist sophistry greedily intertwined. When they stepped into office, as Richard Clarke explained to us , terrorism gave them no worries. They blew off Clarke and they blew off Hart-Rudman with scarcely a fare-thee-well. Then, when they weren't figuring out how to lower taxes on their pals and unravel the tattered social safety net, they focused - as Paul O'Neill informed us - on finding the right excuse to persuade the American people to go to war with Saddam Hussein as a prelude to going to war with some of his neighbors. In less than nine months, that excuse dropped into their laps in the form of Osama bin Laden's kamikaze crews.

      From that terrible day forward, Richard Cheney and his sidekick Donald Rumsfeld and their like-minded coterie of rogues engineered the invasion. They didn't slip the U.S. into Iraq by mistake. Like the shrewd opportunists they have shown themselves to be in the business world, they saw the chance to carry out their invasion plan and they moved every obstacle - most especially the truth - out of their way to make it happen.

      When they couldn't get the CIA to give them the intelligence that would justify their moves they exerted pressure for a change of minds. They exaggerated, reinterpreted and rejiggered intelligence assessments. For icing they concocted their own.

      •  Everything you say is true... (none)
        My point is that, in terms of building a majority coalition, it's a lot easier to convince people that they're governed by a bunch of f-ups than by a bunch of sociopaths.  I pretty well buy the sociopath concept at this point, but you'll never get 51% of the American public to buy it.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 01:03:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The war was morally wrong and the war ... (4.00)
          ...was badly handled. Both true. So I have no problem with using "incompetence" to persuade people to vote against Republicans. But, if incompetence is the only theme expressed, we run a very distinct risk of seeing a wrong, hubristic, sociopathic, neo-imperialistic, counterproductive foreign policy - including wars - continue under competent technicians.    
  •  I agree on most of this, but... (none)
    I think that, for the most part, they just didn't care about breaking Iraq either, or about the long term prospects for Iraq.  What they cared about was short-term, utterly obscene profits for their friends (who will then pump part of that back into reelection campaigns), and that's it.  By that standard they succeeded beautifully, and when they wreck the US with the same tactics they will also succeed beautifully, and move on to the next country to exploit (perhaps China, or Japan) wreck that, rape (not a typo) in the profits, and move to the next country.

    They don't care about the countries, or their people.  They don't care about building anything up or healthy democracies.  They don't even care about being able to make profits over the long term.  All they care about is being able to make the maximum amount of money over the very short term.  That's it.

  •  Iraq does not equal Vietnam (none)
    I disagree completely with the Vietnam analogy--Kerry would never have unilaterally attacked Iraq. It flows directly out their crackpot Straussian, neo-con worldview. Stop shifting the blame onto US!
  •  You lay the blame on the GOP and that is exactly (none)
    where it belongs. I am in complete agreement with the point below and only recollect one other post at WaPo alluding to the same thing. It was in a discussion of Strauss and his Neocon spawn.

    "Because they are desperate to do the same goddamn thing to the United States of America.

    And they're going to lose America the same way.

    They've divided our country between urbans and rurals, Reds and Blues, fundamentalists and progressives, whites and non-whites--just as Iraq is divided today.

    They've taken away our security, our jobs, our economic well-being, our health, our environment, our schools--just as they did in Iraq.

    It's the same ideology--it's just that we had more to start with, and didn't get the shit bombed out of us first."

    Parody - another thing getting harder and harder to do in Bushevik America.

    by Carbide Bit on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:11:34 AM PST

    •  Last two paragraphs in the atimes link above (none)
      "Perhaps the most frightening idea is that Iraq is going exactly as Vice President Dick Cheney, former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of the hardcore neo-realpoliticians hoped it would. While such a scenario is indeed hard to imagine, one thing is for sure: the worse things get, the more money the oil, defense and heavy-industry companies, whose profits have soared thanks to the violence, will grow.

      Iraq might take down Bush, but in the process it will make ExxonMobil, Halliburton and others richer than ever. "

      Parody - another thing getting harder and harder to do in Bushevik America.

      by Carbide Bit on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:29:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm afraid (4.00)
    that a war which is illegal according to international law cannot be 'won'. Not how I count 'winning' anyway.

    The very act of starting this war was losing 'America'.

    Just like Vietnam.

  •  This is the most (none)
    brilliant diary I have read in a long time.

    Thank you.

  •  Excerpt of article in today's Asia Times (4.00)
    http://www.atimes.com/...

    Understanding this dynamic is vital to appreciating the rationales behind a set of US policies in Iraq that at almost every turn have seemed to be characterized by strategic shortsightedness and sometimes outright incompetence. Such criticisms make sense only if we assume that the US has actually sought to create a vibrant, democratic Iraq. If we assume that its true goals have been less philanthropic - for example, securing a long-term if reduced military presence in the country and a strong degree of influence in the disposition of its oil resources - then the chaos, corruption and violence that have plagued the country for the past three years make more sense.

    Parody - another thing getting harder and harder to do in Bushevik America.

    by Carbide Bit on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:24:29 AM PST

  •  Korea, Vietnam, Iraq... (none)
    Umberto Eco writes in his essay "Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt:"

     "When I was a boy I was taught to think of Englishmen as the five-meal people. They ate more frequently than the poor but sober Italians. Jews are rich and help each other through a secret web of mutual assistance. However, the followers of [fascism]must also be convinced that they can overwhelm the enemies. Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak. Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy."

  •  Insouciance? (none)
    Wouldn't that be closer to lazy negligence: IMMORAL NEGLIGENCE.
  •   insouciance - exactly! but it's worse.... (none)
    The Bush gang doesn't care about their insouciance. They just wanted to get into Iraq via cheap labor of our Finest and the US Treasury. Period.
    Failing to plan is planning to fail - by default.

    It's time to be a Democrat!

    by annefrank on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:36:11 AM PST

  •  Naomi Klein in Baghdad Year Zero (4.00)
    Baghdad Year Zero was the first time I had seen this particular concept--That Iraq was meant to be some sort of Laissez-Faire utopia that would pull itself up by it's own bootstraps once we just got that damn government out of the way.

    There is a reason why we have government--Chaos is no better for business than overregulation.  (Well, at it's bad for business if you are in the chaose. It can be pretty lucrative for others....)

    I was also reminded of the most common explanation for what has gone wrong in Iraq, a complaint echoed by everyone from John Kerry to Pat Buchanan: Iraq is mired in blood and deprivation because George W. Bush didn't have "a postwar plan." The only problem with this theory is that it isn't true. The Bush Administration did have a plan for what it would do after the war; put simply, it was to lay out as much honey as possible, then sit back and wait for the flies.

    It appears that as in life, metaphorical flies swarm as readily around rot as around honey.

    I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

    by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:37:32 AM PST

  •  Why they don't care (none)
    While I don't know if I agree that even 400,000 troops in Iraq would have allowed us to "win" there, I agree that the neocon fascists in power in Washington don't care.  And THEY DON'T CARE IF WE KNOW THAT THEY DON'T CARE.

    Why is this?  It is because, due to the cowardness and complicity of the senior members of the Democratic party, the Al Gores, the John Kerry's, the Bill and Hillary Clinton's, the neecon fascists were allowed to consolidate their death-like hold on all 3 branches of the US government.  With no checks and balances existing after the 2002 elections, when the razor-thin Democratic majority was Diebolded out of existence in the Senate, these neocons knew they had total power to implement their agenda.  They know that despite overwhelmingly negative approval ratings for Bush, down down to an almost Nixonian 34% in the latest CBS News poll, despite overwhelming opposition of the American people despite the daily bombardment of pro-corporate, pro-fascist war propaganda in the corporate media, that what Mao said was true- "All power flows out of the barrel of a gun."

    They have the power.  They have no checks and balances.  Democrats cannot even hold a hearing on Capitol Hill these days.  They cannot even have Administration witnesses sworn in when they testify.

    The 2006 elections, and the conduct of them, will show for all time if there is any semblance left of democracy in America.  We have a crowd in power that has no respect for democratic traditions.  If those of us radical voices are right, Diebold and its fellow corrupt election companies will once again consolidate the corrupt Republican majority in Congress.

    If that is the case, and if we are not all rounded up into the new Haliburton security camps by then, then all of us have a very difficult decision to make.  Do we give up, do we leave the country, or do we fight them on the streets to take back our country.  That is the coming hour of decision we are going to face in our nation.
    I hope and pray it does not come down to this, but EVERY indication of the intentions of these corrupt and war-mongering and fascist crowd in power makes me afraid I will not be be wrong in my fears.    

  •  What a tour de force! (none)
    Bravo!
  •  Baghdad Bob: "We're winning!" (none)
    Remember that guy? He was the Iraqi Information Minister...

    He got in front of the cameras as American tanks were rolling into Baghdad and pretended there were no American troops anywhere near the city...

    and his trademark line:

    Before telling reporters something like "no, I'm not worried, and neither should you be" he goes...

    "We're winning!"

    It was hilarious and surreal.  But more accurate when he said it than when Bushco says it today.

    Thank you John Kerry

    by diplomatic on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 11:56:44 AM PST

    •  Iraqi information minister (none)
      "My opinion . . . as usual" is that we are winning.

      I swear he said it with a twinkle in his eye, as in, "I have to say this or they'll shoot me, but we all know it's b.s.."

      Whatever happened to him, I'm afraid to ask.  

  •  For those who missed it (none)
    The Mess from New York Review of Books:
    In his State of the Union address, President Bush told his Iraq critics, "Hindsight is not wisdom and second-guessing is not a strategy." His comments are understandable. Much of the Iraq fiasco can be directly attributed to Bush's shortcomings as a leader. Having decided to invade Iraq, he failed to make sure there was adequate planning for the postwar period. He never settled bitter policy disputes among his principal aides over how postwar Iraq would be governed; and he allowed competing elements of his administration to pursue diametrically opposed policies at nearly the same time. He used jobs in the Coalition Provisional Authority to reward political loyalists who lacked professional competence, regional expertise, language skills, and, in some cases, common sense. Most serious of all, he conducted his Iraq policy with an arrogance not matched by political will or military power.

    Definately of interest to anyone reading this diary.
  •  The theme of this diary and thread (none)
    only gets it half right.  It's much more than they "don't care".
    All of the activities you attribute to negligence are really intentional criminal acts.
    There was never any intent to win Iraq; the intent was to maintain unwinnable quagmire for profit.  Destroy it, make money building it, extorting it, defrauding it, ad infinitem.
    Same w/Katrina - starve the beast, drown it in a bathtub - literally.
    Education, NCLB - construct ignorant society.
    Clear Skies Intitiative - Pollute for Profit.
    Medicare Reform - another form of death for profit.
    You know there's more; it's the grand schemata of wealth concentration; siphoning money from the poor to the getting-richer-by-the-minute.  There's nothing negligent about it.
    To even attribute the possibility of care or not caring, there is no evidence of either.  It's all an intentional criminal act to profit from misery.  That's where the money is.
    We (they) are NEVER leaving Iraq; there's too much money in death and destruction.  Sure, you'll see photo ops of troops coming home in time for elections, but that's just so Johnny can come marching home.  If you don't think so, you're living in a fantasy world not too different from theirs.

    She was only a moonshiner's daughter, but she always made me liquer - Rev. Billy C. Wirtz

    by gatorcog on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:00:52 PM PST

    •  You're right (none)
      I agree, their behavior can't be simply explained as simply "not caring" or negligence or lack of empathy, it is the result of deliberate foresight and evil MALICE  and GREED on levels we have never before seen in this nation until now.  Follow the money trail- this will explain all and take us where we don't want to, but have to go.
  •  While I agree with much of ... (none)
    ...what you say, the idea that the war/occupation could be won if it had just been handled better is bogus; in fact, it has a lot in common with the argument offered after Vietnam that the U.S. could have won in Southeast Asia if it had just sent in more troops, bombed the North harder, hit Cambodia sooner, ignored the protesters, and stifled the media.

    The truth was, if they'd talked with and listened to the French, who had been in Vietnam for 80 years, they would have learned that the war was unwinnable.

    DO NOT accept Kristol's argument. He DOESN'T get it. He's just trying to rewrite his and other NecCons' role in this affair to shift to blame away from the "philosophers" (who laid the "intellectual" underpinnings that drove us into this war) onto the technicians who carried it out. It's bullshit. Don't repeat bullshit to assist it into becoming the conventional wisdom, just as it's the conventional wisdom that the U.S. could have "won" in Vietnam if it had been done right.

    •  Sure it was winnable... (none)
      ...if the goals had been as initially stated:

      1. Remove Iraq's WMD capability
      2. Remove S.H. from power

      By that measure, the war was won.

      Of course, Iraq had no WMDs and the initial stated goals were bullshit. The real goal was to project American military power deeper into the Middle East and (ideally) eventually remove US forces from Saudi Arabia. By that measure the goal was unachievable and was doomed to failure no matter how many troops were poured into the region.

      Still, there are lessons to be learned from the mistakes made in the execution of the war because the administration made all the same mistakes in Iraq and showed all the same poor mismanagement skills that Americans will live with at home for a generation. The administration put political hacks in charge of the planning and execution of the war and failed to listen to their own, professional, experienced experts. Before, during and after the war. We see all these failing stateside as well as well as scientific, financial, military and intelligence professionals are forced out of the administration in droves..

      Wars, like hurricanes are disasterous no matter what you do. Still, with good management and proper planning these disasters can be mitigated somewhat - and the aftermath does not need to turn out as ugly as it did. In our haste to take the neo-cons out to the woodshed we need to be carefull not to ignore the administrations management failings. It is these management failings, so obvious in Iraq and with Katrina, that Americans will be living with for a generation as their daughters go state to state seeking abortions because of the political hacks installed on the Supreme Court.

  •  Others have weighed in (none)
    on the only point I was going to make. There was no "winning" this war, no matter what. 400,000 or a million troops for three or thirty years wouldn't erase the funadmental fault lines that have existed in the region for hundreds of years. Sure we could have become another Saddam, suppressing the culture into our dirty little view of the world, but eventually, inevitably, it would be a house of cards swept away by the heat of another desert storm.  

    Much of what you say is right . . . but the "winning" part is something just beyond wishful thinking.

  •  Please define "winning" in Iraq (none)
    1. Turning country into a western-style beacon of democracy?
    2. Getting control of  their oil while killing the fewest number of people?
    3. Leave and let them determine their own future and have control of their own resources?
    4. Not Letting them determine their own future and have control of their own resources?
    5. Keeping Israel safe from its perceived/imagined enemies in Iraq?
    6. Keeping US safe from its perceived/imagined enemies in Iraq?
    7. Staying there until any one of the above is achived?

    All but one of the choices look like losers to me.
    •  restoring their economy (none)
      and setting up the basics of democracy.

      The rest would follow suit, no matter what direction they decide to take their country.

      And let them take it from there.

      But we never gave them the chance.

      •  I think all we need to do is (4.00)
        stop standing on their necks, as we have been doing for the past decade.

        After all, Vietnam's economy did pretty well after they threw us (and Pol Pot) out of southeast asia. And, golly gee, they did not spread communism all over the place like the US war-profiteers were scaring us about if we did not buy/use enough of their bombs and napalm on those commies.

        •  mostly agreed (none)
          but the sad truth is that most Middle-East oil states, left to their own devices, end up in horrific tyranny.

          We could have set up the basics, and let them run with it from there.

          •  When have MidEast oil states EVER been left (none)
            to their own devices?

            Post-Colonial Western Europe and the US overthrew oil state leaders, some democratically elected, and installed and manipulated pliant oilCo-friendly, repressive kings, emirs and shaws in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, north Africa and Iran, and supported Saddam to the hilt during his gravy days in the 1980's.

            •  that's true too, but it's more than that (none)
              when economies rely solely on their natural wealth, they don't create tax bases.  Without a tax base, democracy can't take hold properly.

              We could have created the conditions for a middle-class in Iraq, which aren't present in other nations in the Middle East not only because of Western interference, but also because the richest and most powerful men control the oil, and create a "no taxation, but no representation either" system.

  •  this was very well said (none)
    Iraq needed an FDR after the invasion.

    which, if he wasn't such a gasbag, is exactly what biden has been saying about iraq for about 2.5 years now.

  •  Very nicely done. (none)
    The emotions behind diaries like this will one day be woven into the fabric of history as it pertains to this supremely fucked-up era we live in.

    As a general rule, it's about 10% worse than you think.

    by alkland on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:34:33 PM PST

  •  Forget the "incompetence" excuse... (none)
    This war was immoral. It was illegal. It was un-American. And it was doomed to failure from the moment the first American troops landed in the heart of the Arab world.
    I'm tired of hearing the liberal "hawks" who supported the war now claim that failure is the result of incompetence. Nelson Mandella correctly predicted that our preemptive war would result in chaos...and would destabalize the Middle East. Of course he and others who opposed the war, including the Pope, were rediculed by the neo-cons. I suspect that Richard Perle and Bill Cyrstal fully understood what would happen. They are not idiots.
    •  I never supported the war (none)
      but I don't buy the argument that the situation there wouldn't have been better had Bush not used ideological purity as the prime measure of a management in pre and post-war "planning".
    •  for the record, i never supported the war (none)
      but that doesn't mean i don't think it was winnable.

      The Romans won a lot of immoral wars, and the conquered were arguably the better in the end for it--because the Romans were competent.

  •  We could have won the defeat (none)
    The United States did a lot of bad things in Vietnam, but my impression is that the Vietnamese came away from the war mostly liking and respecting the United States because, in general, the people there often tried against terrible odds to do the right thing when that was possible.

    We lost in Vietnam, but, 20 years after we lost, we won in every way that actually mattered.

    In this case, we so clearly did such wrong, awful, stupid things that it's hard to believe that the United States will survive as a country for 20 more years, let alone that the Iraqis will come to forgive us.

    The one wildcard is that maybe, actually, really the typical U.S. soldier in Iraq is behaving in a noble way, and that the Iraqis are subconciously noticing that and that will bear fruit 20 years from now. But it seems as if maybe that's not at all true.

    •  No matter how nice our soldiers are (none)
      they cannot make up for the USA using DU.  The wold is contaminated now, especially the countries we bombed.
      •  Some of the most expensive homes (none)
        in my town are on toxic waste sites that probably weren't very well capped.

        So, on the one hand, yes, we will bear the responsibility for a lot of excess cases of cancer on our heads.

        On the other hand, I think that, in the long run, people can forgive an awful lot of stuff, if they believe that you were at least trying, within the limits of your nature, to do the right thing.

        If we'd just kicked Hussein out and left and a lot of chaos had erupted, well, the Iraqis might have been very angry. But they wouldn't have come away with the sense that we were trying to colonize them.

        On the other hand, when I read what purport to be Iraqi blogs online, what's really interesting is the general lack of anti-Americanism. Some of the bloggers (at what I think are independent blogs, rather than puppet blogs) seem even to accept the idea that maybe the Americans need to stay a little longer to prevent chaos from erupting.

        So, it could be that will still somehow manage to win this defeat, too, in spite of the shadows within us that led us to make Dubya president.

        •  Bland Acceptance (none)
          I do not feel so bland about the future reality that when somebody "wins" in Iraq, what we put down there during the fighting will go on killing innocent people for multi-millions of years.  We have also contaminated parts of our own country with the stuff.  It was not worth it, in my opinion, now was it just a sign of how hard we were trying to do the right thing.  It is disgusting that we unleashed Depleated Unranium and other radioactive toxics on the world!
  •  Very well said (none)
    I gave a very similar speech to my brother and his wife last night.

    They didn't seem to care and when I pushed them about their beliefs, they couldn't stand up for what they thought they believed in.  They are normal Christian Texans who call themselves Independants.

    -Hype

  •  We're Talking About Sociopaths Here (none)
    Certainly, the traditional Republican ideology is geared more to the owners of capital.

    But we're talking here about the 8% of the population (mainly white male, but not always white) who are sociopaths. And who are 40 % of our prison population and responsible for 90% of violent crime. Do you wonder why we have a government with secret prisons. that uses torture, that ignores the Constitution and treaties (for you lawyers, supposedly the highest level of law?) Do you wonder why politics is seen more as a sports event, when all that counts is winning, rather than a debate on policy?

    Sociopaths without guilt, remorse or empathy. Interested only in power, winning, and being on top.  And yet sociopaths invariably screw it up by going too far. The Republican Party is in the hands of sociopathic personalities. They deserve what's going to happen to them.

  •  This is fabulously well put together (none)
    Nicely thought-through.  It articulates (in a way that I couldn't when we sent Bremer in) many of the fears I had when we sent Bremer in and they were talking about making it a conservative experiment in building democracy.  Everything that could go wrong DID go wrong, and not because of Murphy's Law, but because of willful negligence.  Damn these fuckers to hell.

    Great diary!

    -7.88, -6.72. I AM paying attention, and I am so fucking outraged I can't see straight. TORTURE and ILLEGAL SPYING ON AMERICANS are not family values!

    by caseynm on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 01:41:19 PM PST

  •  Maybe winnable; definitely criminal. (none)
    I spit on the Democrats just as much as the Repugs on this war issue.
  •  Anyone, anyone at all, who thinks now, (4.00)
    or thought in 2002, that an invasion of the artificial construct named "Iraq" could EVER succeed*, is either ignorant or delusional. I am sorry if that sounds harsh, and I normally have a great deal of respect for this diarist's opinions, but any other conclusion simply denies and defies the facts of history, and of human nature. The update does not de-fantasize the diary, because you can't massively rebuild a nation at the same time you have it "locked down" against insurgency.

    There was never ANY hope of "success." None. Nada. Zilch. Zero. We are supposed to be a reality-based community here. This diary ia not only a fantasy, it regurgitates old wingnut talking points and anticipates future wingnut excuses for failure. Please, all kossaks and other humans of good sense and good will; stop doing the corporofascists' work for them.

    This section [for just one example] is almost entirely inaccurate.

    It must be remembered that Sunnis and Shi'ites coexist rather peacefully throughout the rest of the Arab world.
    Sectarian violence in Iraq today is an excuse to let out their frustrations with their lives.  And it is the same frustration that America is starting to feel in small thimblefuls. [SNIP]
    Iraqis are rioting because 70% of them are UNEMPLOYED.
    They are rioting because they have no water or electricity.  They are rioting because gasoline is ten times as expensive as it used to be.
    The only accurate sentence from that segment preceeds these. It is
    As we concentrate heavily on the horrible emerging violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq, we must not forget WHY they are warring.  There's a lot more to it than religion.
    There is certainly more to it than religion. I'll address the inaccuracies, sentence by sentence, as follows: Sunni and Shia do not "co-exist rather peacefully" anywhere in the world except under dictatorship. Sectarian violence is always directly related to warring religious ideologies; when other frustrations in a society lead to violence, those frustrations are clearly delineated in the identity of the victims of the violence. The frustrations which Americans are feeling, by the bucketful in my community, are nothing like what the Iraqis are feeling. That is because Iraqis are not rioting because they are 70% unemployed, or because they have no electricity or water [they have both, but than they had, pre-invasion], or because they have to pay ten times as much for gas than they used to.

    They are rioting because they have no assurance that they'll return home alive, once they leave. They are rioting because they aren't even secure in their own homes, from criminal gangs or occupiers. They are rioting because, whatever its price, it can take up to two DAYS to purchase gas [think back to 1973 gas lines here and multiply by ten]. And ALL of these new "gifts" have come from the hands of America. THEY HAD NONE OF THESE THINGS UNDER SADDAM HUSSEIN.

    Why do these details matter? Why do I take enough exception to a worthy diarist's efforts to post a comment in opposition to the diary's theme? Because, until one recognizes the nature of a problem, one cannot solve it. Numbers could no more win us "victory" in Iraq than they could in Vietnam. In 'Nam, we had a half million, against a smaller population. Vietnam's population, supplied from China, had LESS access to munitions than Iraqis. And we lost Vietnam. If we don't want to visit yet another 60,000-name wall of bitter remembrance, all Americans need to stop lying to themselves.

        "For rulers like to lay down laws,
        And rebels like to break them,
        And poor priests like to walk in chains,
        And God likes to forsake them" -October Song

    *if one defines "success" as including preservation of this outsider-created nation without re-installing a dictatorship, and without maintaining that dictator with a huge standing army.

    •  Couldn't agree more (none)
      Anyone who still think that we could have succeeded in Iraq had we done it in another way, either does not understand the interplay of various factors, limitations of conventional American military power, or is ill-informed or disingenuous or afraid to speak the truth..take your pick. Even days before the war started I wrote in a blog that it would be a disaster. I maintained that stance even after the swift and impressive move into Baghdad. Did not have to wait long before I could say 'I told you so'. It doesn't matter what Bush says about the allies in war of terror..none of the countries... none who claim to be our key allies are alllies. None of the five neighbours of Iraq wanted us there. China and Russia didn't like it. Europe balked and India protested as Iraq was one of the more secular society. Bush and his buddies wanted to go it alone possibly with assurance from allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that they would provide help. Recall the photo of Bush and Saudi prince Bandar Bush discussing the war plan. If US can have deceptive foreign policy so can these countries.
      Diarist is also wrong in making following statement:

      It must be remembered that Sunnis and Shi'ites coexist rather peacefully throughout the rest of the Arab world.

      There is a tendency among few posters to avoid saying the unpleasant truth. Shias and Sunnis have an uneasy relationship. Diarist may not be reading about killlings of Shias in Pakistan at regular interval. They are simply mowed down without any reason.

      David hits the bull's eye with this statement

      Until one recognizes the nature of a problem, one cannot solve it.

      A 4 just for that.

      Mushroom cloud for mushroom crowd.

      by Ruffledfeather on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 04:56:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  this used to be true of catholics and protestants (none)
      but if you read closer, there are far deeper and more underlying issues there.

      There is economic stagnation throughout the region, and religious lines are the first and easiest in-group out-group divides through which to vent frustrations.

      I'm not saying it wouldn't have been difficult, but it would have been feasible.

      •  You're referring, I guess, to my (none)
        [and perhaps ruffledfeather's] observation about Sunni-Shia relations. Regretably this is STILL true of Catholocism versus Protestantism --in Northern Ireland*. There, of course, the economic disparities between the two congregations was what inflamed the always-ready [all religions, all cultures, all of recorded history] memories of past opposition and oppression.
        In Iraq, you have a perfect storm: A "nation" whose several cultural segments have serially oppressed each other for centuries, an intra [always more poisonous than inter] -rivalry religious feud which is older than any of the other feuders currently fighting/detesting each other, and a certainty of future economic disparity along sectarian AND ethnic/cultural lines. Furthermore, none of the three main groups have ever peacefully endured invasion or occupation; not even when that occupier was their neighbor, and co-religionist, and had been the boss for centuries.
        Even if America's plan for occupation hadn't been designed in hell by incompetent demons, the enterprise would never have stood any more chance of succeeding than a sand castle built below the high tide line has of surviving the next inundation. Believing anything else is an exercise in canutery.  [Forgive me, shade of a great king, but I couldn't resist.]

        * A modern and current example of religious co-massacres can be also found in India. To be entirely honest, I've also got to admit that, if history is any thing to judge by, the only reason Catholic and Protestant Christians no longer use "sticks and stones" on each other worldwide is because the Pope no longer has any divisions and the Protestants don't have a "unitary pope." --Oh, wait.. Hmm --if I were Rome, I'd up-armor. Jerusalem too. Just sayin'.

      •  Catholics and protestants (none)
        Most Christian countries, catholics and protestants alike, have separation of church and state and are liberal democracies. Decreasing influence of religious dogma has allowed peaceful coexistence. Same is not the case with Muslim countries. In fact it is just the reverse in most Muslim countries where Islam is THE law. It is difficult to see how the differences can be bridged, if there continues to have such narrow interpretation of religion. If one teaches exclusiveness of religion, intolerance, bigotry and violence cannot be far behind.

        There is economic stagnation throughout the region, and religious lines are the first and easiest in-group out-group divides through which to vent frustrations.

        I have to disagree with this too. It is the educated Muslim class which is behind idea of resurgence and unification of Islamic countries and dream of an Islamic empire, almost like neocon's new world order. Poverty has little to do with religious fundamentalism and intolerance. In fact it is other way round. Too much of religion leads to economic decline, eg. southern states.  Follow Pakistan and see how Islamization of that country has led to significant decline of its economy.

        Mushroom cloud for mushroom crowd.

        by Ruffledfeather on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 06:48:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's the occupation, s****** (none)
      People don't like to be occupied by other countries, especially in the 21st century.
  •  Chris DeMuth and American Enterprise Institute (none)
    Last night I posted a diary along the same lines, specifically identifying Chris DeMuth and the American Enterprise Institute as the person and institution that are most responsible for the disaster in Iraq:

    American Enterprise Institute responsible for GENOCIDE in Iraq.

    I will just post here the extended quote from George Packer's 2005 book The Assassin's Gate: America in Iraq which I believe pinpoints the EXACT day and event that doomed the U.S. war in Iraq to failure and bloody disaster.

    Pages 110-112.

    In early 2003, a Marine major on the NSC staff drafted a memo that analyzed force levels and population size in previous peacekeeping operations. If Kosovo were used as a model, half a million troops would be required to secure Iraq. Rice saw the memo (it isn't clear if she showed it to Bush), but it had no effect on the planning. State and Defense were at odds about every issue of the postwar, from the role of exiles in an interim government to the role of Americans in providing security. "This was the most important thing that did not occur in Iraq and did in Kosovo," said a Pentagon official with experience in both operations. "NSC didn't force the departments to reconcile a known disagreement that was very deep between the two agencies. They kind of papered over the differences instead of dealing with them." Looking back on the prewar period, Richard Haass located a failure in Rice's function as the national security adviser. "The N.S.A. is not just an honest broker but an honest balancer. Part of the job is to introduce arguments maybe not held by people around the table. What if there are better arguments not represented?" Rice, in charge of coordinating policy, proved more skillful at seconding the president than obliging him to consider the range of arguments and resolve them in a coherent way. At his meeting with the Iraqi exiles in early January, when the problems of postwar Iraq came up, Bush turned to Rice and said, "A humanitarian army is going to follow our army into Iraq, right?" Right, Rice affirmed, but she glanced down in a way that suggested she knew how inadequate the answer was.

    In October 2002, Leslie Gelb, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, had approached Rice and Hadley with an offer of help. The council and two other think tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, would form a consortium that would gather a panel of experts to provide facts and options for the postwar. Their work would be politically palatable, coming from across the ideological spectrum, not insisting on a single plan that would corner the administration. "This is just what we need," Rice said. "We'll be too busy to do it ourselves." But she didn't want the involvement of Heritage, which had been critical of the idea of an Iraq war. "Do AEI."

    Chris DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, where the administration's neoconservatives drew their support and many of their personnel, neither consented nor refused when Gelb broached the possibility. On November 15, the representatives of the think tanks met with Rice and Hadley in Rice's office at the White House. John Hamre of CSIS went in expecting to pitch the idea to Rice, but the meeting was odd from the start: Rice seemed attentive only to DeMuth, and it was as if the White House was trying to sell something to the American Enterprise Institute rather than the other way around. When Gelb, on speakerphone from New York, began to describe his concept, DeMuth cut him off. "Wait a minute. What's all this planning and thinking about postwar Iraq?" He turned to Rice. "This is nation building, and you said you were against that. In the campaign you said it, the president has said it. Does he know you're doing this? Does Karl Rove know?"

    Without AEI, Rice couldn't sign on.


    Is private credit the friend and patron of industry? -- The Federalist Papers, No. 15, Alexander Hamilton

    by NBBooks on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:31:24 PM PST

    •  Also, Packer's conclusion echoes this diary (none)
      I think it is also worthwhile posting the conclusion Packer is forced to, which exactly echoes your brilliant diary.

      I highly recommend Packer's book, The Assassin's Gate: America in Iraq because it is clear that he is assessing events as truthfully and fairly as he can. He started out supporting the war, based largely on his friendship with a small circle of Iraqi exiles who passed him details on the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein. I know that there are many people who will read this and immediately decide against picking up Packer's book, but they would be making a huge mistake. Because he is not grinding an axe, the parade of events and details Packer presents is all the more horrific and enraging: the absence of ideological polemics allows the story of the Bush administration's incompetence and insouciance to emerge that much more clearly.

      On page 448, Packer writes:

      I came to believe that those in positions of highest responsibility for Iraq showed a carelessness about human life that amounted to criminal negligence. Swaddled in abstract ideas, convinced of their own righteousness, incapable of self-criticism, indifferent to accountability, they turned a difficult undertaking into a needlessly deadly one. When things went wrong, they found other people to blame. The Iraq War was always winnable; it still is. For this very reason, the recklessness of its authors is all the harder to forgive.

      Is private credit the friend and patron of industry? -- The Federalist Papers, No. 15, Alexander Hamilton

      by NBBooks on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 04:12:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Superbly put together (none)
    Thanks for putting this together.  This diary mirrors thoughts that I've developed over the past few years.  A local talk-show host keeps saying how incompetent this admin is, and every time he says this, I wish over and over again that he'd get it:

    They don't care.  That's very different from being stupid and being incompetent.  They fucked up Iraq because it was their little experimental box.  They don't care about Iraqi civilians or US troops.  They care about increasing their wealth and that's it.

    Unless Americans wake up, we'll find a similarly fucked up situation right on our own doorsteps some morning.  I'm doing everything I can so that day never comes.

    "Real conservatives are intolerant, warmongering and irresponsible." Chris Bowers

    by WeatherDem on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:43:17 PM PST

  •  Call a spade a spade! (none)
    ] I suppose 'indifference' would also work (none / 0)

    as the nearest thesaurus word.:  said the diarist!

    Well, I'd say you were all fucked, that is precisely what has happened, the repugs fucked you through and through, no two ways about it. It takes a little more than words to change their mindset, a revolution is what's needed and kick the shit out of Murdoch, send him back to OZ. And get rid of religion.

    I wake up every morning and smell the coffins! GWB

    by Asinus Asinum Fricat on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:55:16 PM PST

  •  Brilliant writing (none)
    I only wish that what you were saying was not true, because it's so true it's nauseating.

    I'm a pretty well-read guy myself, and I've written a fair amount in my life, but insouciant is not a word that's in my vocabulary.  If you see it pop out of a novel somewhere soon you may find your name in the thank-you's.  Very starkly defined.

    Iraq has seen more corners than a two-hundred year old hooker made out of Rubik's Cubes. -- David Rees, GYWO

    by slippytoad on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 03:55:40 PM PST

  •  More too-expensive phraseology: (none)
    "They're not blithering, they're blithe."

    Note also that this is largerly the kernel of the idea within the recent monograph by Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit

    By the way, I'd put the disclaimer that you weren't saying we could win the occupation as well as the war much earlier, since I was spitting and cursing while reading that part of your diary.  More troops would have just kept the lid on longer.  Maybe.

    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

    by Major Danby on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 05:25:44 PM PST

  •  CARE Package (none)
    Remember when we used to send CARE packages around the world? Iraq is a good example of a "Don't CARE" package.

    A President in his own league. The Bush League!

    by Tuba Les on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 05:45:47 PM PST

  •  thank you for the words (none)
    The nameless, faceless foreigners killed by our indiscriminate bombs

    Since day 1 of the war, when the 'Shock and Awe' campaign broadcaste on our televisions, even the name of it was offensive to my ears.  It was wrong for our country to do that and I did care about those people over there, those people and their families and what our bombs were doing to them.  I could never put it in to words, never really put my finger on exactly WHAT was wrong with the story on the news.  In one sentence, you summed it up, exactly.  I am totally against making war and preemptive strikes.  Not if there is any possible way that it can be negotiated through less violent means.  

    Today I heard that old Judy Collins song from the Vietnam days of my childhood, and it made me sad to think that the question was still unanswered:

    And how many times must the cannonballs fire, before they forever are banned?

    The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. Thomas Jefferson

    by Thea VA on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 05:47:49 PM PST

  •  what to do you mean they will? it is already lost! (none)
    you said "they will lose America"? why you are
    using the FUTURE TENSE?

    Let see what America already lost (I will list just
    10 out of very huge list of lost things):

    1. Surplus gone to deficit.
    2. Jobs lost - gone to Asia and elsewhere.
    3. Americans lost respect: everybody hates US.
    4. Dollar lost value since 2000 (very much).
    5. Americans lost ability to produce many things.
    6. 90% of American lost their living standard
    and most even lost their AMERICAN dream.
    1. Opportunity for universal medical benefits is  lost
    2. Our freedom lost - stolen by religious freaks
    3. Even our pseudodemocracy - two-party system -
    is lost and we have friken 1-party system like in Germany 1937.
    10. Our respect for science and creativity lost...

    I challenge you to add to this list;
    let me see how smart you are about this?

    •  We've Lost Our Soul (none)
      If it wasn't gone by Vietnam, this war certainty kills America's soul.

      Of course it's another completely unprovoked war. With prisoners killed in our custody. Torture. Soviet era gulags reopened, and people arbitrarily disappeared into them and into torture chambers run by our dictator allies. White phosphorus used against civilians, as in Vietnam. Depleted uranium scattered willy-nilly about the country. Iraqi hospitals left unrepaired and unsupplied, while oil wells got the privatized guards (some out-of-retirement from being goons in apartheid South Africa). Death Squad John sent as our representative to Iraq, bringing with him "the Salvador option". Lo and behold, the Baghdad morgue is now filled with death squad victims.

      Much of the world looks at America this very moment and rightly says: 'Evil Empire'.

      I am no longer a Patriot. In these times, patriotism truly is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

      Americans voted for this. If they didn't know, it was only because they're too busy watching "Survivor" and "American Idol" and Hannity and March Madness to find out what their horrible government is up to. And in the face of the evil done in their names, that is not an acceptable excuse.

      America has lost its soul.

  •  Great diary! (none)
    albeit really depressing.  

    Could someone please give me a link for this quote:

    When a woman complains to Bush that she is working three jobs, and he tells her, "Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that," that's not incompetence.  That's just a fundamental failure to care on a most basic level.

    I need that ref for future arguments.  These people are FUBAR.

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. - Benjamin Franklin

    by gkn on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 06:13:41 PM PST

  •  thereisnospoon (none)
    kudos...great diary. The heights to which their "insouciance" soars....plus you have a great name.
  •  could 400,000 troops have done it? (none)
    Fabulous post.  I think it laser targets the undrlying naivete/grandiosity that drives and betrays this crowd.  However, I'm not sure we would have done that much better with 400,000 or even 600,000 troops.  Clear advance planning on the responsibilties of occupation troops might have helped - but enough?  I tend to doubt it.
  •  Democrats care about people (none)
    Republicans care about people they know.

    Just because we can, that doesn't mean we should.

    by Simplify on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 01:10:06 AM PST

  •  Non sequitur (none)
    The war in Iraq was ALWAYS immoral, but it was NOT always hopeless

    I agree with most of what you say except for the notion that there is a way to WIN an immoral war.

  •  I know it, I know I've heard this before (none)
    What was that place, that secret place, the place they say doesn't exist.
    The Bohemian Grove!
    Yeah, that's it.
    The Creamation of Care ceremony.
    The worshipping of giant owl statues.
    Oh, hey, ya, I know, that's just all tin foil hat stuff.
  •  asdf (none)
    They screwed up their own bigger plans too.  If you look at a map, Iran is sandwiched by Iraq and Afghanistan.  Conveniently the UAE is just to the south.  

    -6.13, -4.46 * 2297 *

    by BDA in VA on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 06:12:15 AM PST

  •  It's great that we're talking about (none)
    this war in the past tense now.

    Bush should just RESIGN, and slink back under whatever rock he crawled out from under.  And we should flog the word "RESIGN" just as strongly as the word "IMPEACH".

    I'm glad you clarified the impossibility of a good outcome due to their ideology, and not reinforce the meme of "IF ONLY" we'd "lock(ed) down the country with 400,000 troops."  (That one has bugged me to no end.)

    Shinseki's prescription, under Bush-Rumsfeld mis-management, would only have resulted in more dead, on both sides.  Same misbegotten invasion; same insurgency.  And more devotion to "staying the course."

    Of course, the money would have run out twice as fast, as it is now doing.

    END OF THE EMPIRE?  They always exhaust themselves in a final, flailing attempt at recapturing the grandeur of yesteryear.  No difference here.

    Not a bad outcome, methinks.  Sad, but inevitable.

    Victims, all around.  Have we ever gone back and made amends to the tens of millions in Vietnam and Southeast Asia whose lives we devastated?

    Three guesses, and none of them count...

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 07:23:53 AM PST

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