Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State Of The Union Thread

Time is too short for me to put up a complete post about last night's SOU address. I am under the gun for time. So here's a thread where you can put your thoughts down for all to see and read.

In a nutshell, it was predictable. The most interesting thing is watching who claps at what, and when. Then it's who stands at what, and when. There were some instances that the Dems clapped and even stood, while the GOP sat motionless.

Would you say that he is reaching out more to the Dems? Or is this just showtime for the cameras?

I'll have time to say more tonight (I hope). Until the then, I yield the floor to you the honorable and distinguished readers of PYY.

29 comments:

Mary Ellen said...

In today's Chicago Tribune the headline reads, "Bush seeks Dem's help". The article goes on to say, "Issuing a bipartisan call "to achieve big things for the American people"...

Didn't Bush already give us big things? A big deficit, a big war, big jumps in prices on prescription drugs, etc. etc.

Another thing that struck me in his speech, his call for a "Civilian Reserve Corps" or whatever he called it. That's what the National Guard was supposed to be. He sent them to Iraq. Does he think he can just invent a new military division , give it another name and then ship them off to Iraq, too?

I'm sorry, I know you guys love this man, but he is out of his mind.

He spoke of this "No child left behind" program, but again, failed to say anything about actually funding it. That's why it failed in the first place. Does he ever learn from his mistakes?

The only good thing from that speech last night was Jim Webb's response. That has been the big news on most of the cable stations today, and it is all positive.

Ok....I'll leave you guys to beat me up now. :-D

Greg said...

The theme of the speech would be "too late." He's finally getting the hang of speeches, but it's too late to change anyone's mind about him.

I thought he was trying to reach out to the Dems now that he needs them. But they aren't listening and can't wait for payback. There's no such thing as bipartisanship anymore. At least, not on Iraq.

There will be no help on Iraq from the Dems. First of all, it's too late to go asking them for help. Second, they don't want to help. I think they'd rather see America leave Iraq in shambles, humiliated and defeated, than see GWB get any credit for something going right there.

I give Bush a little credit for going with an unpopular initiative to try to change the tide in Iraq, instead of being a weathervane like most other politicians. But he should have thought of this before launching us into that country. And I'm not convinced his plan will work now. At best, the barbarians we're fighting in Iraq will hide out, giving everyone the impression that things are going well, then when we leave in the fall, they will come back out with their bombings of markets and shootings of teachers and such. At worst, we'll battle them all through the summer with no visible improvement in security. Still, the plan is no worse than the idea of leaving now.

I guess the speech, at least as it concerned Iraq, left me neither hot or cold.

Mary Ellen said...

Greg

How can you say the Dem's don't want bi-partisanship? When Bush became President and we had a Republican House and Senate, they talked of bi-partisanship and then did everything they could to keep the Dem's out of the government. They kept the Democrats from attending important briefings on Iraq before the war, they refused to let the Democrats have rooms in the House to hold their own meetings, they were usually relegated to the basement in a small room that wouldn't hold the people they needed. And this was all done when they were crying that they wanted bi-partisanship. They are liars, that's why the Dem's don't believe anything that comes out of Bush's mouth.

As usual, you talk as if the Democrats have one option and that is to do what Bush wants. He claims that the Dem's don't have another plan, yet they brought multiple plans for Iraq to him and he ignored them. He ignored his own Pentagon chief's, his own Generals. If we fail in Iraq it will lay on his shoulders.

Saying the Democrats want to lose in Iraq is pure garbage. Unless you forget, there are Democrats who have children fighting in Iraq. Why would they want their kids put in harms way?

Greg said...

Mary-Ellen: I don't argue with your 1st paragraph. There was no bipartisanship before, which is why it's a little embarrassing to watch Bush ask for it in return. He will not get it. Dems want payback, not cooperation.

As for Dems and alternatives on Iraq, the only one I ever heard was "redeployment" (ie., leave). Maybe there are no good alternatives, but redeployment seems to be a guaranteed losing proposition. Perhaps they don't want to lose the war, but I don't think they care that much about winning it. Mostly, I think they think we can't win it no matter what, and what's most important it to make it all Bush's fault and none of their fault. For them (and now most of the Republicans too), it's about how to frame the situation in the best light for their re-elections, not about actually finding solutions.

I think Jim Webb answered your last question when, in response to the President's inquiry, "How's your son," Webb said he wanted him to come home now. I don't know if that is Webb speaking as a father concerned for his son, or a policymaker expressing his view on a path to victory. My guess is that it's the former more than the latter.

Greg said...

http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/01/the_state_of_the_union_is_a_di.php

They speech the President should have given. Not bad....

Mary Ellen said...

Greg

//
As for Dems and alternatives on Iraq, the only one I ever heard was "redeployment" (ie., leave). Maybe there are no good alternatives, but redeployment seems to be a guaranteed losing proposition. Perhaps they don't want to lose the war, but I don't think they care that much about winning it. Mostly, I think they think we can't win it no matter what, and what's most important it to make it all Bush's fault and none of their fault. For them (and now most of the Republicans too), it's about how to frame the situation in the best light for their re-elections, not about actually finding solutions.//

Greg, you need to look a little harder if that is the only plan you've seen. Have you seen Biden's, Obama's or any other plan? I mean, have you actually taken the time to look for these plans and read them, not just take what you hear from right-wing blogs. I have. No one is saying we need to cut and run. Not one.

//I think Jim Webb answered your last question when, in response to the President's inquiry, "How's your son," Webb said he wanted him to come home now. I don't know if that is Webb speaking as a father concerned for his son, or a policymaker expressing his view on a path to victory. My guess is that it's the former more than the latter.//

Maybe you should actually read the entire trasncript where it describes what Webb was speaking about instead of assuming it was based on a particular policy of his. Have you read anything that Jim Webb has written or said about his views on the war? Do you base all your opinions on sound bytes? Again, I would suggest that you need to do a little more homework in order to get an honest assessment on what the Democrats think. You would be quite surprised that they agreed with many of the Generals in the Pentagon. It's Bush who has dismissed them and kept firing the ones that didn't embrace his misguided views on how to achieve success in Iraq.

To say that all the politicians are only thinking of their run for office and basing their opinions on Iraq is just plain cynical, and below you. Greg, you are smarter than that. You don't hear B.Obama rejecting everything Bush says. He often tries to find a middle ground to work with. This is not pandering to a liberal base, it's thinking of the welfare of our soldiers in Iraq and our country.

Many of the Republicans agree with what the Democrats are saying about Iraq. A majority of them are backing away from Bush. Is that because of politics or just the fact that they realize Bush doesn't know what the hell he's doing. I'm not being cynical, I'm being honest.

Mary Ellen said...

Greg

Here is exactly how that conversation went between Webb and Bush.

"“How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

“I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

“That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

“That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House."

Now, if President Bush had any sense of decency, when Webb said that he wanted to get them our of Iraq (isn't that what we all want?), Bush could have replied, Jim, I want that too, lets work on that." No. Instead, Bush shoots off his mouth and puts an even larger divide between him and the Democrats which he suddenly is looking for help from.

Did you read the transcripts from Webb's speech last night? You should.

Greg said...

I've been trying to respond to you for a few hours, but my comment keeps getting eaten.

The essential is that, yes, I have looked at the "alternatives" from the Dems. They are either leave now (Webb, Obama, Dodd, Edwards) or leave soon (Biden). They throw in some crap on top like "step 2 is to take the moral high ground away from the insugency in the eyes of the Muslim world" (Webb); or partition, which in addition to being a bad idea, would require a constitutional amendment and is beyond the control of the US (Biden). Obama, Edwards and Dodd advocate no funding for the troops already on their way to battle. But in the end, they all want us to withdraw no matter what the conditions on the ground, consequences be damned.

Then there is Hillary who has explicity advocated a phased withdrawal, but recently told Jim Leherer that she was against a timetable for withdrawal. Whichever way the wind blows, I guess. She also wants to withhold military and economic aid to the Iraqi gov't if things don't improve.

None of the "alternatives" inspire me any more than the President's plan, frankly.

Also, the fact that a lot of republicans are now joining the dems on this only proves my point that they care more about self-preservation than they do about victory. If there's one thing a washington politician knows how to do, it's read an opinion poll.

Mary Ellen said...

Greg

It sounds to me that "stay the course" is your only option, and like Bush, you will not budge. Your take on all those plans was very interesting, false, but telling, nonetheless.

Because the funding of the troops was not included in the plans does not mean that they do not want to or won't fund the troops. Just last night and multiple other interviews, they said, and rightly so, they would not leave our troops without the funding they needed while in war. Your statement that, "But in the end, they all want us to withdraw no matter what the conditions on the ground, consequences be damned." is just wrong and below you, Greg. At least it should be. I can only consider that you never read their plans and you are getting your information from a right wing web site, or you just can't understand the written text.

Why should we give economic aid to the Iraqi government when they don't want to defend their own country? Why should we pay for their lack of interest in a united Iraq? I agree with her.

//Also, the fact that a lot of republicans are now joining the dems on this only proves my point that they care more about self-preservation than they do about victory. If there's one thing a washington politician knows how to do, it's read an opinion poll.//

No, Greg. If you believe that the Republicans, who agree with the Pentagon, that this escalation is wrong, as a political move you are sorely mistaken. It would be easy for those Republicans to follow Bush and try to cater to their base. They instead chose to listen to the experts, the Generals, instead of a boob who couldn't find the time to finish his National Guard Duty. A boob who has not gotten one thing right regarding this war. The losers, are the idiots who think that Bush knows what he is doing.

Keep stumping for Bush, Greg. Stay the course....I'll stick with the group of politicians who actually give a shit about our troops.

JPH said...

I saw the speach on my TV. Could it be that political life in the US is very devicive ? I imagine how it was to be a Dem in the Rep KIngdom. It seems that the Dem are good patriots ! After all...
PS : I didn t understand everything in the speech but .. does it matter ?

Mary Ellen said...

JPH

Well, don't worry about not understanding everything in that speech, it wasn't worth much. I'm impressed that you would try to figure it out to begin with.

I'm one of the minorities on this blog who is a Democrat. But, that doesn't mean I don't respect the others who don't agree with my political views. Greg and I are polar opposites when it comes to party affiliations. However, we both agree that we don't like the New York Yankees baseball team, so that makes up for the rest of our disagreements.

For what it's worth, I think Greg and LA are incredibly smart...just misguided when it comes to politics. :-D

I'm not sure if being a Democrat makes me a better patriot, but I think I score points for bravery coming onto a Conservative blog, don't ya think? ;-)

I'll let you in on a secret...I have two brothers who are Republicans. Yikes!

jph said...

ME. Yes, it is the first time I can write on a Rep blog without being insulted ( as a French I mean). It is a good point for LA and I respect him for that. It is a good Job, and I read his comments with a constructive spirit. I understand more his and your country, to have both Rep and Dem point of views is good . Sometime I wonder, maybe, if I was born in the US, I could have been a rep, why not. ME, Chicago is the best team !! They will win ! Come on !

Mary Ellen said...

JPH

Ok...I think I have a crush on you now. You had me at, "ME, Chicago is the best team !! They will win ! Come on !" :-D

Mary Ellen said...

I guess Senator McCain was less than interested in Bush's speech, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkkTFVIxMQs&eurl=

A.C. McCloud said...

My observation was that ALL the presidential hopefuls had their heads either in the blackberries or were pretending to be bored.

I thought it was a good speech by Bush, at least where it mattered (nat'l security). He's already a lame duck domestically I think.

As to the Dem's alternate plans, I admit to not reading them in detail, but I believe Pelosi and Reid said, paraphrasing, "this war needs to come to an end" right after gaining their power. I don't read that as redeployment.

But even if we redeploy to bases on the outskirts or Kuwait/UAE and Iraq subsequently falls into civil war we'll be criticized by the entire world for, 1) causing the civil war, and 2) not jumping back in to stop it, or 3) jumping back in to stop it. If we leave entirely, they win.

There appear to be only two choices--tough it out or come home and take our medicine.

LASunsett said...

Well, as I said in the post, I thought the speech was very predictable. Equally, the Dem's reaction was too. No matter what the President said, he was bound to blasted by the Dems. But, that's always the nature of politics. It comes with the territory. That's why I will not even seek a spot on my town council. And believe me, if I ran, I could probably win here, because the bozos that have run the town for years are filing out.

That said, I have to look at the speech from a non-partisan perspective. I know that many think I am Republican, but believe me when I tell, I am not. The Dems and GOP may have different constituencies and supporters, but when you step back and look at both parties objectively, there's not much difference between the two. Both will do what is politically expedient for them and will go out of their way to protect themselves and the institutions they represent, before they protect their constituents and the people they represent.

As for the speech, it was not a surprise that he tried to reach out to Pelosi. He has to. The election has forced his hand. He has to move towards the center a bit, but not too far. He needs some wiggle room and room the compromise. If he moves all at once, the Dems will haggle him into moving him further than he is comfortable doing.

It's also no surprise that he addressed healthcare. It's the single biggest domestic issue , in my estimation. He has to do it in such a way not to invite more bureaucracy in the Federal government. We all know there is enough as it is. And getting the government involved more deeply in our lives, will only create more dependency on it. But before I say that it is the answer, I will have to read more about the specifics and analyze the numbers to see if it will work, effectively.

But the big issue being Iraq, I cannot say that anything is really going to change, with this surge. There are no guarantees that we will be successful, because so much is riding on how well the Iraqis will contribute to the cause.

Looking at the nation of Iraq, I see a very difficult struggle within the hearts and minds of the people. For years it was stabilized by an iron fist that used brutal means to keep it under control. We cannot do that, nor can the present Iraqi regime. Otherwise, we have put our approval on the same tactics that Saddam used.

The people of Iraq will have to make a decision whether or not they want to live in a nation that is free to determine their own future, or they will have to succumb to the forces that want to make it every bit as oppressive as Saddam made it.

A surge of 20,000 more troops will not change their hearts. At best, it will rid the world of a few more bad guys, but it will not change the mindset of the average Iraqi. They have to want to do that and in my estimation, they have been highly reluctant to do that, so far.

But if we see the best case scenario develop, it will not come, if the government doesn't allow the troops to shoot those that are shooting at them. And, we cannot make an overly huge stink about collateral damage. We know it happens in war, we cannot completely prevent it.

Let me explain this further. Have you ever noticed that whenever we hit a terror base of operations, no matter where it is in the world, we always seem to hit a wedding party? Do we hit children? Why is that?

1. Propaganda. They know that if they claim that newlyweds were hit, it may dissuade us from hitting them again, in the same manner.

2. They purposely hide behind innocent civilians, for this very purpose. They try to draw fire into such a situation, to maximize the collateral damage, in order to provoke outrage against out forces. The anti-war people then decry the military based on what may or may not be true, but it still has the same effect as is hoped for, by the enemy.

So, it we tie the military's hands as we have already done, we can expect the same outcome, as we already have. It's not an easy situation to be in, that's for sure. It's a hell of a crapshoot, that's for damned sure. But we can realistically bet that if we pull out, the thing is going to go up in flames anyway.

I say, this is it. Kill as many as we can and make the area as secure as we can. The, turn the security over to the Iraqis, pull back to the borders and protect them, so Iran and Syria don't get any bright ideas, and let the chips fall where they may. Sometimes the baby bird has to be thrown out of the nest, before it can learn to fly. Same principle, here.

LASunsett said...

JPH

//Chicago is the best team !! They will win ! Come on !//

I bet the Indianapolis Colts are going to have something to say about that. They are favored by a touchdown, but I would also stress that there is reason they play the games. Favorites do not always win. Nevertheless, as we often do in politics, ME and myself will have to part company on this one too.

;)

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//As for Dems and alternatives on Iraq, the only one I ever heard was "redeployment" (ie., leave). Maybe there are no good alternatives, but redeployment seems to be a guaranteed losing proposition.//

I agree. This (withdrawal)is a sure-fire method for failure. The President's plan is not guaranteed to succeed, but redeployment carries a much greater risk of failure than the administration's plan. We all have to stop arguing about the reasons we went to war and deal with the here and now. This is what we have, this is what we must deal with.

LASunsett said...

AC

//But even if we redeploy to bases on the outskirts or Kuwait/UAE and Iraq subsequently falls into civil war we'll be criticized by the entire world for, 1) causing the civil war, and 2) not jumping back in to stop it, or 3) jumping back in to stop it. If we leave entirely, they win.//

The US rarely, if ever, wins in the court of world opinion. If Bush had never toppled Saddam and we (or an ally) were hit by what was proven to be a weapon that was provided by Saddam, he would have been greatly castigated for that too.

LASunsett said...

ME

//I'm sorry, I know you guys love this man, but he is out of his mind.//

I don't love him, don't hate him either. He is what he is. In actuality, i would have preferred McCain in 2000. But I had two choices, Bush or Gore. If I were a Dem, I would have voted to nominate Bradley. i cannot understand why the Dems didn't pick him. He was liberal enough, he just didn't make as much noise as Gore and his followers did. But, he had more integrity.

In 2004, I couldn't choose Kerry. But rest assured, if the Dems would have picked someone that would have been better than him and that person would have taken the bull by the horns, I would have considered voting for him/her.

Anonim said...

Taking another shortcut here. I'd give the link if I had it. I don't, so I'm pasting the whole thing lifted from another blog. IMO, the prospects in Iraq are not very bright no matter what.

------------
The Washington Post November 19, 2006 Sunday Aftershocks; A classic on France’s losing fight against Arab rebels contains troubling echoes of Iraq today.

Reviewed by Thomas E. Ricks

A SAVAGE WAR OF PEACE Algeria 1954-1962

By Alistair Horne

New York Review Books. 608 pp. Paperback, $19.95

When Americans talk about the raging insurgency in Iraq, they often draw parallels with the Vietnam War, but a better analogy is probably the French war against nationalist rebels in Algeria from 1954 to 1962. That’s one reason why the landmark history of that conflict, Alistair Horne’s A Savage War of Peace, has been an underground bestseller among U.S. military officers over the last three years, with used copies selling on Amazon.com for $150. Indeed, “Algeria” has become almost a codeword among U.S. counterinsurgency specialists — a shorthand for the depth and complexity of the mess we face in Iraq. Earlier this year, I referred to Horne’s book while conversing with one such expert in Taji, Iraq, and got a grim nod of agreement.

Now a new paperback edition of Horne’s 1977 classic has been issued, cutting the price of wisdom to a more reasonable $19.95. In a new preface, Horne makes the connection to Iraq explicit. First, he notes, the Algerian insurgents fighting to end France’s colonial control over the country avoided taking on the French army directly; instead, they attacked the police and other more vulnerable targets, thereby demoralizing local supporters of the French presence. Second, Algeria’s porous borders greatly aided the insurgents, who could receive reinforcements, arms and sanctuary from neighboring countries such as Tunisia and Morocco. Third, and most emphatically, he writes that “torture should never, never, never be resorted to by any Western society.”

Those three parallels are provocative enough, as far as they go. But many other, perhaps less obvious points in Horne’s lucid, well-organized history may do even more to deepen our understanding of the Iraq War.

Again and again, Horne wrote passages about the French in Algeria that could describe the U.S. military in Iraq. As I wrote about the U.S. Army’s big “cordon-and-sweep” operations that detained tens of thousands of civilian Iraqi males in the Sunni Triangle in the fall of 2003, I remembered Horne: “This is the way an administration caught with its pants down reacts under such circumstances. . . . First comes the mass indiscriminate round-up of suspects, most of them innocent but converted into ardent militants by the fact of their imprisonment.”

Like the Americans in Iraq, the French in Algeria consistently misunderstood the nature of the opposition, focusing too much on supposed foreign support and too little on the local roots of the insurgency. Horne also detected a distinctly familiar pattern of official optimism among French officials, who were quick to declare their war “virtually over” four years before it ended in their defeat.

Moreover, A Savage War of Peace draws an important distinction between torture by the police and torture by the military. The former damages mainly individuals and need not be hugely damaging to the war effort; the latter, Horne quotes a former French officer as saying, involves the honor of the nation — as it did at Abu Ghraib and other facilities where Iraqis were abused by American soldiers in 2003-04.

Along the way, Horne offers three other comments that are not particularly encouraging. First, when considering the Bush administration’s policy of having U.S. forces stand down as newly trained Iraqi forces stand up, it is worth noting that throughout the eight years of the Algerian war, more Algerians were fighting on the French side than on the rebel side — and the French still lost.

Second, when trying to understand Iraq’s current violence, it is good to recall Horne’s comment that “such a simultaneous internal ‘civil war’ ” often rages alongside a “revolutionary struggle against an external enemy.”

Finally, when we hear U.S. military officers arguing that they achieved their mission in Iraq but that the rest of the U.S. government failed or the will of the American people faltered, remember Horne’s quotation from a French general, Jacques de Bollardière, who was critical of his army’s performance: “Instead of coldly analysing with courageous lucidity its tactical and strategic errors, it gave itself up to a too human inclination and tried — not without reason, however — to excuse its mistakes by the faults of civil authority and public opinion.”

To be sure, there are huge differences between the two wars. Most notably, the United States isn’t a colonial power in Iraq, seeking to maintain a presence of troops and settlers as long as possible. Rather, in Iraq, victory would consist of getting U.S. personnel out while leaving behind a relatively friendly, open, stable and independent government. And while elements of the French military tried to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle for pulling out from what he termed “a bottomless quagmire,” there is little fear that U.S. officers will go down that rebellious road.

But there are numerous suggestive parallels — mainly relating to conventional Western militaries fighting primarily urban insurgencies in Arab cultures while support for their wars dwindles back home and while the insurgents hope to outlast their better-armed opponents. As such, anyone interested in Iraq should read this book immediately.

Thomas E. Ricks, a Washington Post military correspondent who has reported frequently from Iraq, is the author of “Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq.”

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

//Finally, when we hear U.S. military officers arguing that they achieved their mission in Iraq but that the rest of the U.S. government failed or the will of the American people faltered, remember Horne’s quotation from a French general, Jacques de Bollardière, who was critical of his army’s performance: “Instead of coldly analysing with courageous lucidity its tactical and strategic errors, it gave itself up to a too human inclination and tried — not without reason, however — to excuse its mistakes by the faults of civil authority and public opinion.”//

Interesting article. But this part really stands out enough to make a comment on.

I do not believe that anyone would deny that if we wanted to subdue the Iraqi people in the way that many claim we have done, we could do it with greater casualties as a price for that success. We have the technology and weaponry to flatten the country, but we haven't.

I think that there is a host of reasons we have not been successful, and I have made most of them known here. But, the one that I will say is by far the biggest mistake made in this war, is not the going to war. But it is the fact that we miscalculated, underestimated, and have been lulled into an overall poor strategy for winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, at least to the degree that they want to preserve the right to self-determination. Like I said earlier, no one can force them to fight to protect the nation from going into the abyss of anarchy

We may have to realize that the people do not want to have the freedom to choose, because they are so used to having choices made for them.

Mary Ellen said...

Here is the text from Republican Senator Hagel. I couldn't agree with him more and I think he spoke from his heart, something you rarely will see a politician do. He's the guy the Republicans should be running for President, not flip-flop, kiss Bush's ass McCain.

//This is a very real, responsible addressing of the most divisive issue in this country since Vietnam. Yes, sure, it’s tough. Absolutely. And I think all 100 senators ought to be on the line on this.

What do you believe? What are you willing to support? What do you think? Why were you elected?

If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes. This is a tough business. But is it any tougher, us having to take a tough vote, express ourselves and have the courage to step up on what we’re asking our young men and women to do?

I don’t think so.

When I hear, on both sides of this argument, impugning motives and patriotism to our country, not only is it offensive and disgusting but it debases the whole system of our country and who we are.

My goodness. Can’t we debate the most critical issue of our time, out front, in front of the American people?

The expect it. Are we so weak, we can’t do that?

I don’t think so. Like always, the American people are far ahead of us sitting here, far ahead of us. Because we’re concerned about politics. We’re concerned about our position. We’re concerned about our next election.

So we tinker. So we figure out wordsmithing. So should we oppose the president or just not support the president?

Different languages: disagree with the president ; that’s not as harsh as oppose the president.

But you know what, the American people have got this sorted out. They always have. They’re not conflicted with the nuances of life. They understand what’s going on. What we are proposing here — and everyone will have an opportunity to voice their opinion, present their amendments, make their case, as they should.

It’s the strength of who we are, the fabric of our society.

But we owe it to those men and women that we continue to send in that grinder.//

Mary Ellen said...

LA

Ummm...regarding the Bears vs Colts game coming up...weren't the Bears picked as the underdogs to the Saints? How did that work out, eh? :-D

I'm not sure which team will win, but as far as I'm concerned, just getting to the Superbowl says something for those teams. I think you guys may have it over us with the quarterback, Grossman is young and inexperienced. But, I have the feeling our defense will step up to the job. I think the score will either be a win by a field goal, or a blow out. That's as good a prediction I can make. I wish it were being held in Chicago, I'm not so sure the Bears are going to like that warm, Miami weather.

Greg said...

Mary-Ellen:

Give me a little credit. I did go to Webb's site, Edwards' site, Obama's site, etc. to get their positions. That's where I got Webb's precious quote about the "moral high ground." That's where I got all my comments about their positions - directly from the horses' mouths.

I'm not making up the funding issue either. You can google it and find plenty of articles. Obama, in particular, was pretty clear he favors withholding funding.

I also don't say I like the "surge." I say it's our last chance to help the new Iraqi gov't survive, to keep the country from breaking up, to keep Iran, al qaeda or other enemies of the US from taking over. It probably won't work, but it might.

I'm not "stumping for Bush" (I have SOME self-respect!) - I'm trying to find a way forward that works for our country. I understand you are as well....

Mary Ellen said...

Hi Greg

You're right, I'll give you credit that you looked at the sites, but I feel you have to carefully go over every plan and not just cherry pick what doesn't sound good. Personally, I think we need to debate this on the Senate floor or in the House. It needs to be open to the public.

Listen, there will never be a "victory" in Iraq in the sense that we will leave that country running like a clock. We can't fix hundreds of years of hatred and divisions within their own country with our military might.

We were told by Bush that our duty was to train the Iraqi army so they can take care of their own country with its new Constitution. If the Iraqi army does not want to be trained or are using their training in order to kill American soldiers, then we can't keep our troops there. It's that simple.

I've heard over and over again that leaving would mean that those soldiers who died will have died for nothing. That's not true. Do you honestly think that those soldiers who gave up their lives would want more soldiers to die in order to appease that idea? No! I heard that same argument during the Viet Nam war!

Look, Bush ignored the Baker plan, he ignored his Generals, he ignored anyone who said anything that Cheney didn't tell him. Our troops deserve better than that. I think Jim Webb has more credibility regarding his ideas on how to fight this war than Bush. He did his stint in the military. He comes from a military family, and most of all his son is there fighting. Just because he is a Democrat does not mean he is wrong.

If you have a better plan, let me hear it. What do you call victory in Iraq? How many of our soldiers are you willing to let me killed to appease Bush and Cheney? Sorry, they have not got ONE thing right with this war and they lied to the American people as to why they went in to begin with. I don't like liars. I don't like using our Americans soldiers for their politics and greed. It't that simple.

Greg said...

M-E: sadly, I do not have any ideas better than the surge.

I couldn't agree more that the mistakes in Iraq by the civilian leadership are staggering in their number and importance. Bush has no credibility on Iraq. I can't blame anyone for saying they don't care what he has to say on it. There's no bigger supporter of the war to topple Saddam than I, and I am furious at Bush/Rumsfeld for screwing it up.

However, Bush, too late, has finally come to see some of his huge mistakes, like making a deal with Sadr instead of disarming him. If the Sadr militias are disarmed, and all authority is restored to the government, and if the daily bombings end, then I will be satisfied that there has been "victory." If the gov't is not serious about disarming Sadr, then I agree there is no reason to stay. More than the "surge", I am somewhat pleased that Bush et al have finally realized what a problem Sadr presents and that a change in strategy in that regard is needed.

Mary Ellen said...

Greg

//However, Bush, too late, has finally come to see some of his huge mistakes, like making a deal with Sadr instead of disarming him. If the Sadr militias are disarmed, and all authority is restored to the government, and if the daily bombings end, then I will be satisfied that there has been "victory."//

Bush has come to see his mistakes? Since when?? When Baker was brought in to try to find a plan to "win" this war, he put out a set of very explicit instructions for Bush. Bush didn't like it, so he ignorned them, just like he ignored, fired or gave "early retirements" to those Generals who told him what he didn't want to hear.

//If the gov't is not serious about disarming Sadr, then I agree there is no reason to stay. More than the "surge", I am somewhat pleased that Bush et al have finally realized what a problem Sadr presents and that a change in strategy in that regard is needed.//

What changed strategy towards Sadr is that? When Dick Cheney was asked by Wolfe Blitzer n that interview yesterday, Cheney blew off the question about arresting or capturing Sadr. They may know he's a problem, but they don't have the balls to put the pressure needed on the Iraqi governement to do anything about it. Instead, what does Bush do? He sends them more troops, offers them a bunch of money (our money) to rebuild schools and infrastructure. How does he expect this to be rebuilt in a country that is torn apart in a civil war? Do you honestly think that money will be used for infrastructure, or will it be used for weapons that are being used against our troops?

You saw the news of the inside job, where the Iraqi police let in the guys dressed like American soldiers through three different checkpoints and they killed, I think, five of our soldiers? This place is a mess! You can't trust the Iraqi police or the Iraqi military!

Bush always says that he will listen, but he doesn't. He does what Cheney tells him to do. He's a liar and will always be a liar and he doesn't care how many of our soldiers he's killing.

BabyHair said...

Not one world about New Orleans or Hurricane Katrina from Bush in his State Of The Union address on Tuesday evening. He cares more about Iraq than our own country. Why doesn't Bush run for Prime Minister of Iraq against Maliki? He seems to care more about Iraq than the United States.