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Cross-posted from

In case you missed it this week, our dear friends at the publication formerly known as Michigan's largest newspaper (a.k.a. The Detroit News) have solved the Iraq problem:

(More below the fold...)

The best choice is to send in more troops.

But send in enough -- possibly as much as 100,000 more -- to show some real progress in stabilizing Iraq. A half-hearted expansion of the
force will only prolong the killing in Iraq and further frustrate the
American people. At the same time, temporarily change the mission in

The objective should shift from training Iraqi soldiers to

police and secure the nation to immediately quelling the violence. Only
then can the training resume with any effectiveness.

If there is
a lesson to remember now, it is that we, as a country, need to do
what's right, rather than what is politically popular or easy. Our
legacy and Iraq's future depends on it. (emphasis added)

100,000 more American troops. Yessir. That ought to do it. That

ought to stop all of those roadside bombs...err..."improvised explosive
devices" from going off all of the time and killing and maiming people.

Obviously, I don't think much of the DN's latest idea (which

coincidentally also seems to be the latest gospel from the White
House/RNC/John McCain). How, you ask, could I ever doubt the strategic analysis of the Detroit News editorial page?  (snark)


To fully answer your question, we must take a very special journey. Join me, dear reader, for a strange and mysterious voyage.  To

the time machine! Come, let us set the clock back...

(Editor's note: as we hurdle across the Detroit News  columnspace-time continuum, please be advised that Michlib doesn't actually have a time machine. But the Library of Michigan does: their microfilm room! I happened to swing by there yesterday and made a few copies...which I have transcribed - in part - for you here.

Unfortunately, it now costs money to access archived copies of the DN online - and I really don't feel like giving them any - especially right now.)

The date is January 12, 2003. The diplomats are

negotiating furiously over whether America ought to go to war against Iraq. In today's DN, columnist Thomas Bray gives us a particularly insightful column entitled "Bush's tax cuts strengthen war on terror." Here's an excerpt:

(T)ax cutting is a legitamite, even a necessary, tactic in fighting the war against terrorism. After all, terror is the tactic of those who lack the physical and material strength to directly confront the

dominant power. Terrorists hope to acheive their goals not through
direct military assault, but through gradual demoralization and
exploitation of internal weaknesses, provoking a collapse from within.
What better antidote to this strategy than a strong economy? 

After all, the four-decade-long Cold War within the context of

steadily declining marginal tax rates. By the time the Berlin Wall cam
tumbling down, tariffs and income tax rates were less than half what
they had been at the outset of the Cold War. Partly as a result, the
American economy had grown so large that the communist masters in the
Kremlin came to understand that they could never match the West's
economic or military resources.

The war against terrorism calls for a similar strategy. While there

may be occasional shooting matches on the periphery, as in Afghanistan
or Iraq, these are likely to be relatively inconsequential.
The real question is who will place the most moral  pressure on the other
side. (emphasis added)

Occasional shooting matches on the periphery? Relatively inconsequential? And that's not even getting into this idea that we can somehow tax cut Osama bin Laden out of existence.

Okay. Back into the time machine now, as we

journey just over a month into the future - to February 19, 2003. In today's editorial, the DN fumes about French president Jacques Chirac's
implication that Eastern European nations might be denied entrance into the
European Union if they support the looming Iraq war:

Chirac's power play is destined to be

brief. Once Saddam is unseated, the Iraqi people liberated and the
threat eliminated, more courageous leaders, specifically Britain's Tony
Blair, will be the ones with the credibility to lead Europe."

Next stop: February 26, 2003. Here's a clip from today's DN editorial:

The United States and its allies in this effort have done what was

asked of them - they've taken their case to the Security Council. It is
a strong case. Saddam has not disarmed as ordered, and as such presents an imminent threat to the stability and security of the world, as well as to the well-being of the Iraqi people. (links added)

March 19, 2003. The war starts. Thousands of people die. Millions of

Americans are mezmerized by all of the exciting "shock and awe"
explosions on Fox News and CNN. Four days later (3/23/03), here's what
the DN has to offer up:

Righting the country will take up to $20 billion a year, and a lot

of up front money will come from the United States and its allies.

But thanks to its oil reserves, Iraq will be able to boost its own

long-term recovery - much more so than impoverished Afghanistan. (emphasis and links added)

$20 billion a year? Not quite accurate. For fiscal year 2006, the U.S. Congress appropriated $100 billion for the Iraq War - about 400% higher than the what the DN fortold. Total cost for the war of Iraqi liberation is now pegged at over $350 billion!

Not done yet. A quick jump now to March 26, 2003 - for Thomas Bray's

thoughts on French and German demands that the postwar reconstruction
be led by the United Nations:

"There are some surface attractions to that approach, not least that

it might spread the costs of the operation, which have been estimated
in the $100 billion range.
It might help avoid an Arab backlash against
a largely American occupation and free up troops for other duties. It
also might be fitting justice to saddle the United Nations with the
whole mess.

But there are even better reasons for the United States to do the

job itself. Not only will the American military be needed to police the
country in its transition to a post-Saddam regime anyway, but the job
will have to begin immediately - and it will have to be done right.
Otherwise we could find ourselves with yet another war in the region. (emphasis added)

$100 billion...presumably the estimated total cost of the Iraq War.

Wrong (see above). Boy, that go-it-alone thing sure worked out great,
eh, Thomas?

On now to April 9, 2003 - for more of Thomas' Iraq War prophesies:

"Bill Clinton's foreign policy team, headed by former Secretary of

State Madeleine Allbright (sic), spent the days before the war
screeching that the Bush team was getting it all wrong - "incredibly
stupid," is the way Allbright (sic) described the Bush administration
in an Ann Arbor talk on the eve of the fighting - by placing a higher
priority on dealing with Iraq than with nuclear-armed North Korea

But North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has been relatively quiet as

the fighting unfolds in the Middle East. While he blusters about how
Bush's admittedly ill-advised "axis of evil" and "pre-emptive war"
doctrines justify his nuclear program, the success of American arms in
Iraq may nonetheless make it easier to arrive at some sort of diplomatic understanding in Northeast Asia." (links added)

The same day this appeared in the DN, a statue of Saddam Hussein was

toppled in Baghdad. Here's a clip from the DN's editorial the next day.

Finally, the cheering begins. As the war moved closer Wednesday to

its ultimate end, crowds of Iraqis in Baghdad, realizing that
liberation is the real deal this time, erupted into the streets.
they helped tear down and break apart statues of Saddam Hussein.

Even while firefights continued just blocks away, joyous

celebrations broke out in the center of the city. The images beamed
live around the world were as powerful as those of the crowds hammering
down the Berlin Wall in 1989.
(emphasis added)

Powerful indeed. Too bad the whole thing - inculding those crowds

"erupting into the streets" - was staged by U.S. Army psy-ops (see this article from the Los Angeles Times, also more info from the Center for Media and Democracy here).

Now for our final stop. For this we'll travel even further back...w-a-y back through the reaches of time...

(cue video of clocks spinning backward while floating in space)

It's December 22, 1972; precisely 34 years - to the day - before what we know as the present.

Peace negotiations between the U.S. and North Vietnam have just

taken a turn for the worse as President Richard Nixon
decides to celebrate an early Christmas by launching a new large-scale
boming campaign against North Vietnam. Many are horrified by Nixon's
move, dubbed "Operation
Linebacker II
." U.S. Rep. Don Riegle (R-MI) calls it "self-righteous
barbarism" and a "monstrous outrage." The editors of The Detroit News
have a different take:

Except for a few political cynics who would rather see President

Nixon embarrassed than see the Vietnam war settled, everybody feels
keen disappointment at the interruption of peace negotiations and the
resumption of large-scale bombing of North Vietnam.

Despite the disappointment, we imagine that most Americans support

the President in his current actions and for the same reason that they
rejected the defeatist policies of a dovish Sen. George McGovern.
Although they desperately want a Vietnam settlement, they don't want
that settlement to be outright defeat and retreat.

The President, who knows more about the status of the negotiations

than any of his critics, deems it necessary to exert military pressure
to bring Hanoi's negotiators back to a reasonable position. Patience,
therefore, is once more the order of the day.

Patience was not to be expected, of course, from the knee-jerk

critics of American foreign policy. The reaction from the anti-war
faction has proven discouragingly predictable, hysterical, and
imperceptive. It can only delight Hanoi and hamper the effort to
achieve a reasonable settlement.
(emphasis added)

A total of 741 B-52s were ultimately dispatched to pound North Vietnam with 15,237 tons of bombs during

the 11-day campaign. Fighter bombers reportedly dropped another 5,000
tons of bombs on the North Vietnamese. 15 American B-52s were shot down
or crashed. 33 B-52 crew members lost their lives. Another 33 were taken
captive. On the ground, the North Vietnamese government claimed 1,624
people died as a result of President Nixon's "Christmas Bombings."

In the end, U.S. negotiators got very nearly the same peace deal

they were offered months before Operation Linebacker II started.And today, of course, while the Soviet Union and communist eastern
europe have gone the way of the dodo bird, Vietnam - ALL of Vietnam -
still remains a communist state. Apparently, the "reasonable settlement" didn't quite work out the way the DN figured.

One quick side note: one of the Henry Kissinger's lieutenants during all of this was a

fellow by the name of John Negroponte. The last we heard about him, he was

  • and is - serving as George Bush's Director of National Intelligence (!) -

and still claims that Operation Linebacker II was decisive in forcing
the North Vietnamese to accept American concessions.

One more clip from that 1972 DN editorial:

The negotiations have obviously bogged down, but the administration

has not yet said they are dead. In fact, the intimation is that they
will resume and a satisfactory conclusion will be reached. Those who
want a satisfactory conclusion - not peace at any price - must bide
their time still further. Nobody said it would be easy.

Back into the time machine once more to take us home to December,

2006, where - once again - the following appears on the editorial page
of the DN:

The best choice is to send in more troops.

But send in enough -- possibly as much as 100,000 more -- to show some
real progress in stabilizing Iraq. A half-hearted expansion of the
force will only prolong the killing in Iraq and further frustrate the
American people. At the same time, temporarily change the mission in

The objective should shift from training Iraqi soldiers to

police and secure the nation to immediately quelling the violence. Only
then can the training resume with any effectiveness.

If there is

a lesson to remember now, it is that we, as a country, need to do
what's right, rather than what is politically popular or easy.

Does anybody else hear an echo?

No, Detroit News, the best choice is NOT to send in 100,000

additional troops. I don't give a damn what your talking points say.
And considering how horribly, horribly wrong you were (see above)
during the early days of the war, it's appalling that you guys still
think people ought to trust you on anything dealing with Iraq!

Nearly 3,000 American troops have lost their lives in this war - and

according to one study, as many as 655,000 Iraqi civilians have died as
a consequence of our invasion. And those tallies are only climbing


100,000 troops - even if they're just supposed to be there temporarily - are not going to help. Don't just take my word for it. Just ask the career military guy

who had his reputation mauled in the history books for making your
phony case before the U.N. Security Council (with John Negroponte
looking on).

It's become painfully obvious to nearly everyone not associated with

the White House/Fox News message machine that George Bush blew it. His
credibility at home and abroad is gone. Poof! Wiped out. One would
think even they would get a hint after losing control of the U.S. House
and U.S. Senate. Apparently not.

Someone might be able to patch Iraq up, but it sure doesn't as heck
doesn't look like isn't going to be us. Bring the troops home and start counting the
days until January 20, 2009.

I know it's hard to admit you screwed up, DN, especially when it

involves something as serious as whether to go to war or not.
you wisely said (for once) 34 years ago: nobody said it was going to be easy.

It was back in nineteen forty-two,

I was a member of a good platoon.

We were on maneuvers in-a Loozianna,

One night by the light of the moon.

The captain told us to ford a river,

That's how it all begun.

We were -- knee deep in the Big Muddy,

But the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, are you sure,

This is the best way back to the base?"

"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river

'Bout a mile above this place.

It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.

We'll soon be on dry ground."

We were -- waist deep in the Big Muddy

And the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, with all this equipment

No man will be able to swim."

"Sergeant, don't be a Nervous Nellie,"

The Captain said to him.

"All we need is a little determination;

Men, follow me, I'll lead on."

We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy

And the big fool said to push on.

All at once, the moon clouded over,

We heard a gurgling cry.

A few seconds later, the captain's helmet

Was all that floated by.

The Sergeant said, "Turn around men!

I'm in charge from now on."

And we just made it out of the Big Muddy

With the captain dead and gone.

We stripped and dived and found his body

Stuck in the old quicksand.

I guess he didn't know that the water was deeper

Than the place he'd once before been.

Another stream had joined the Big Muddy

'Bout a half mile from where we'd gone.

We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy

When the big fool said to push on.

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;

I'll leave that for yourself

Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking

You'd like to keep your health.

But every time I read the papers

That old feeling comes on;

We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy

And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep in the Big Muddy

And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep in the Big Muddy

And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a

Tall man'll be over his head, we're

Waist deep in the Big Muddy!

And the big fool says to push on!

Words and music by Pete Seeger (1967) (emphasis added)

TRO (c) 1967 Melody Trails, Inc. New York, NY

Originally posted to fergusonforcongress on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 10:03 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  hope the editorial staff enlists (5+ / 0-)

    of course, they might get congratulated by the President.

  •  Ah, Detroit. What a great city to recruit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dump Terry McAuliffe, leo joad

    the 100,000 soldiers that we don't have.  I'm sure all the young, unemployed men in Detroit are thrilled to see that the News is working out a solution to their job problem.

  •  Good research (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rapala, leo joad, dougymi

    I try very hard to avoid the Detroit News, especially the editorial page.  Too hard on my blood pressure.  They are so smug and sanctimonious in their assertions, which, as you so ably demonstrate, are usually wrong.

    George Bush - the Torture President

    by myrealname on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 10:24:37 AM PST

  •  On the day the Iraq war began, ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rapala, leo joad, myrealname

    I bought a CD with Pete Seeger's "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on it, because that song had been running through my brain incessantly for the previous week or two.  

    It was clear from the moment this began that we were going down the same road we had been down before, and that we would have to replay the same tragic saga in yet another generation.  We're now in 1965, when the number of troops in Vienam at the end of the year reached 184,000 on the way to its peak in 1968.  By the end of 1965, 2,343 Americans had been killed in Vietnam since 1956, all but  9 of them in 1967 or later.

    "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

    by leevank on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 10:25:16 AM PST

  •  Nolan Finley (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dump Terry McAuliffe, dougymi

    is the editorial page right wing editor. He is the aboslute worst partisan of any editor I have ever seen. You should have saw some of the things his editorial page said about Stabenow and Granholm this past year, never anything negative about DeVos and Bouchard. The worst editorial from Finley was giving DeVos advice on keep his real wingnut beliefs of Intelligent Design and extreme view on abortion under wraps. Purely Pathetic

    The Detroit News is a conservative news rag that rivals the Washington Times in its editorial page. They did not endorse any democratic cadidates in the last election cycle except in the US house of reps, (Dingell, Stupak, Levin and Kildee) out of 15 seats. Their solution to all the problems in Michigan is a tax cut. This rag is getting more irrelevant as time goes on.

  •  Tom Bray (0+ / 0-)

    Was let go earlier this year and finally let the paper this week....

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