Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wow. Just Wow.

Turns out Dean isn't alone regarding our ability to "win":

When asked "Can we win?" the war on terror, Bush said: "I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."

Then there's that turncoat pinko Chuck Hagel:

"Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

Amazing. The Republicans are admitting defeat, emboldening the enemy, giving up. This should be 10,000,000 times more worrysome to a war supporter than anything Howard Dean says, shouldn't it?


Blogger mkchicago said...

Germy, you're confusing the war on terror with the war in Iraq. They are not direct equivilents. The war in Iraq is a subset of the war on terror. Bush is probably right about winning against a semi-abstract concept (see war on drugs"). Wars in countries have, of course, been won or lost for thousands of years.

As for Hagel, I obviously disagree, but reasonable people can (and should) disagree on the progress of the war. It's the absoluteness of "can't win" that I took issue with.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

What? I know you don't like to "nit-pick," but please work out for me what a "subset war" is. Apparently it's extra-constitutional, since it was never declared by Congress; it doesn't need to conform to internationally accepted standards of warfare (see: white phosphorous, rendition, Abu Ghraib); and the definition of "victory" isn't the surrender of the leader of enemy forces, but rather " Iraqi run government/security structure, friendly to the US that has (relative to mid-east standards) stability."

Still not clear what about the absoluteness of Dean's remarks rubs you the wrong way. This is still America and he can still say whatever he wants, right? And your citations about the dissent among prominent Dems regarding his comments demonstrates the healthy debate going on insude the party and the country at large. Or is unswerving fealty to a pre-determined party line position a "subset" of democracy?

9:56 AM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

I'll see your Hagel and raise you a Lieberman: wsj

"The leaders of America's military and diplomatic forces in Iraq, Gen. George Casey and Ambassador Zal Khalilzad, have a clear and compelling vision of our mission there. It is to create the environment in which Iraqi democracy, security and prosperity can take hold and the Iraqis themselves can defend their political progress against those 10,000 terrorists who would take it from them.

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. ...

Nationwide, American military leaders estimate that about one-third of the approximately 100,000 members of the Iraqi military are able to "lead the fight" themselves with logistical support from the U.S., and that that number should double by next year. If that happens, American military forces could begin a drawdown in numbers proportional to the increasing self-sufficiency of the Iraqi forces in 2006. If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007, but it is also likely that our presence will need to be significant in Iraq or nearby for years to come. ...

These are new ideas that are working and changing the reality on the ground, which is undoubtedly why the Iraqi people are optimistic about their future--and why the American people should be, too. ... "

10:04 AM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

"This is still America and he can still say whatever he wants, right?"
Absolutely. In fact I encourage the the good doctor to speak in this vein as much as possible. I don't see it doing any good for the Democratic cause. I never questioned Dean's rights its his judgement that I take issue with.

As for issues of extra-constitutionality, you are once again getting mired in semantics. The military action was clearly authorized by congress. In the legal sense it's not a "war", but a conflict, military action, etc...

Do you believe Truman and Johnson should have been impeached for their non-declared "wars". Calling it the Iraq war is common parlance, not a legal definition.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

"I never questioned Dean's rights its his judgement that I take issue with."

OK, so your "Wow. Just Wow." is really just shock at how Dean could say something so incredibly stupid, and risk alienating his entire party and their base. Again, polls cite that all sorts of Americans are more sympathetic to his views than to Lieberman's. So if we take his "judgement" to mean his political calculation, it seems pretty shrewd.

I may be a semantical nit-picker, but you were the one who invented the term "subset war." I was just asking for clarification on what that entails. Maybe we should amend the constitution to clearly stipulate who's authorized to throw this "subset war," and to clearly define how we'll know when we've "won" it.

Since Dean's idea of "victory" is different than the nebulous GOP party line, isn't calling him out for declaring the war unwinnable just semantical nitpicking too?

10:55 AM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

you were the one who invented the term "subset war."

I have no idea what a "subset war" is. I said " The war in Iraq is a subset of the war on terror." This simply means that the war (conflict/show of force/ whatever) in Iraq is a part of a broader "war on terror" which includes fighting in Afghanistan and taking your shoes off at the airport.

11:10 AM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

I think the position that this isn't a legal war against a nation state really illustrates just how far behind the left is to today's times.

I think a lot of people yearn for the days when you could capture the enemy's capital and the war is over. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world anymore.

Transnational terrorism is a new phenomenon that our historic laws and systems are not propared for. That is why there is an argument on how to handle detainees from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Geneva accords are signed by nation states and offer protections to those who wear uniforms and serve the nation state. A member of Al Alqada does not wear a uniform of serve a nation state, so technically the Geneva Conventions don't apply. It is healthy to debate whether the protections should be offered anyway, but that is another discussion.

The point is that the nature of the threat is very different than anything faced historically, and requires new thinking on how to deal with it. So saying congress didn't declare war (I think think this is semantics since they passed a resolution giving the President the authority, and everyone new this was going to happen unless Sadam left Iraq) is old thinking.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

MK and Hurtleg: Speaking of old thinking, can you guys cite a couple of modern examples of counterinsurgency wars that have been "won" by Mark's definition, that is, that have left the countries in question with stable governments that are friendly to the occupying country? I can think of the Brits in Malaya in the 1950s, which isn't particularly relevant since the insurgents were Chinese and were hated by a local population that were only too happy to cooperate with the occupiers. I guess you might also count the Indonesian "success" in East Timor, though that was achieved by massacring about a third of the population. Besides those examples, not much else comes to mind.

3:08 PM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

How about Greece and Italy after WWII. El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 80's. Malay is a classic example. The Philipines at the start of the 20th century by the US and again in the 80's by Marcos against the communist forces (never as bad some other countries). Those are off the top of my head.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hurtleg, I think you must have missed the crucial element in my question, which referenced an occupying country. Otherwise it's not particularly relevant to Iraq. Your first Phillipines example is the only one that fits the description, and given that that war only ended when Wilson agreed to independence for the Phillipines, I don't know that it helps your case much.

9:41 PM  

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