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  1. #21  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    But what's the difference in the end result of a failed policy and the failed execution of a policy? Perhaps, since you made the assertion, you wouldn't mind sharing what that stated "time table" was.
    There may not be a difference in the end between the two, but in the beginning, I would much rather start off with a failed execution of a policy (at least there was a chance for it to succeed versus a failed policy from the get go.) (and Im not even saying that this policy was failed from the get go.)

    Im not sure what the stated time table WAS (and it might be easier to say what the policy was NOT.) (I think I just read that Rumsfield expects to keep trainers in Iraq through 2009?) link

    Summarize for yourself what we have done (and let me know if any of this is inaccurate). After 3 years:

    -we still have 130,000 troops in Iraq
    -they still don't have a government set up
    -there is still plenty of terrorists committing violence
    -35,000 Iraqi's have been killed
    -2,300 american troops have lost their lives
    -we've spent over 200 billion dollars on it.

    Im not necessarily saying it isn't (or won't) all be worth it but you don't have to be on the left to ask if this is where we thought we would be when the decision was made to invade Iraq for WMD's and to take down Sadaam?
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  2. #22  
    Quote Originally Posted by aprasad
    Any examples here of regular right-wingers who say that Fox News presents a biased one-sided view of things?
    I guess I qualify as a regular right-winger so I'll take this. FoxNews does, in fact, have many shows that present views tilted towards the right; notably Fox and Friends, John Gibson, etc. Now, that's different than saying they "only" present right-wing views. I think they do a pretty good job of presenting both the mainstream Right and mainstream Left views especially on the weekend panel shows. Moreover, I think they present news choices that are of interest to Conservatives. None of this do I think is necessarily bad. People have choices of news media outlets. Several present the news in a left-tilting way and, really, FoxNews is the only major outlet that presents a right-tilting view. Before Fox, the choices were basically limited to vaying degrees of Left-wing bias.

    I might not represent the majority since I ingest quite a bit of news. But I don't just watch Fox or listen to talk radio. I read news from NYT, LAT, WSJ, FT, CSM, as well as J-Times, Al Jeez, INN, The Hindu, etc.
  3. #23  
    Quote Originally Posted by aprasad
    This discussion has no resolution.
    Sure it does. Simply put EVERY single MSM org has a bias. Some promote that bias to the extreme, while others are more moderate in promoting their own bias views.

    There is no doubt that the LA Times & the NYT lean to the left. There is little doubt that CNN leans to the left. There is little doubt that Fox leans to the right. Does that make the news they report false? Usually not (CBS being a huge example against that last statement ).

    What gets me is when I see people on this board say "Cite....and Fox doesn't count!". Fox is a major part of the MSM, just as CNN is.

    The key is recognize that if you only listen to Fox or if you only listen to CNN you are will be missing another point of view of the same story.
  4. #24  
    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    Summarize for yourself what we have done (and let me know if any of this is inaccurate). After 3 years:

    -we still have 130,000 troops in Iraq
    -they still don't have a government set up
    -there is still plenty of terrorists committing violence
    -35,000 Iraqi's have been killed
    -2,300 american troops have lost their lives
    -we've spent over 200 billion dollars on it.

    Im not necessarily saying it isn't (or won't) all be worth it but you don't have to be on the left to ask if this is where we thought we would be when the decision was made to invade Iraq for WMD's and to take down Sadaam?
    I understand that this all looks pretty bad. But we need to view it in context, like everything else. For example, we need to view what other modern day conflicts looked like in duration, numbers of casualties, etc. If we do that then these statistics don't look so bad. We can also look at it in the perspective of our own history:

    - The War of Independence lasted 8 years.
    - 7,000 to 8,000 casualties not including the 130,000 who died from smallpox.
    - It took four years after the end of the war to agree upon a workable constitution.
    - It took another three years for all thriteen colonies to agree to sign the constitution.
    - During and after this time there were several armed rebellions.

    I'm not making any comparisons between Iraq and the US beyond this. AL I'm saying is that it's just too soon to start calling this a complete failure (not saying you are but there are some here who are).
    Last edited by hoovs; 03/23/2006 at 07:26 PM.
  5. #25  
    I was about to post the exact same thing Sir Hoofinator.

    People always thing of the Revolutionary War as "1776." It wasn't until Feb. 1783 that England declared an end to its hostilities, and Sept. of 1783 that a peace treaty was signed.

    Things do take time. I know we have a "Microwave Mentality," where we stand by the microwave oven, screaming for it to hurry up. But not everything is instant gratification.
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  6. #26  
    Quote Originally Posted by Insertion
    Hoofinator
    I forgot about that one. I might just have to change my handle.
  7. #27  
    When I break up a fight between 2 kids, I never ask the involved parties "what happened"....I ask the kids watching. There are very few "news" shows left. Watch the election news and just look put when they are willing to call a state red or blue. Fox for example is ready to call a red with with 40% of the precincts reporting if there's a 3% lead.....OTOH, they wouldn't call California with 70% reporting and an 18% lead.

    PBS provides good coverage but going back to the kids analogy, I like to follow also the foreign press where they have no personal interests or advertisers to cater to. But what I find interesting at this point when you have a person like William F. Buckley, (difficult to find a more conservative and respectable man whose approach to a difference of opinion is discussion rather than shouting the other side down) saying it's time to recognize the failure and get outta dodge, I start feeling the there's a bunch of people locked in a room still playing fiddles.

    And by the way, my neighbor is a full bird colonel and just got back....he's not a fan. He quoted Clint from the movie Heartbreak Ridge, where Eastwood refers to the situation as a "cluster****". I have also got a cousin who we shared a 2 family house growing up, who has 27 years (CPO) in Navy and hubby has 29.....they both retired short of their 30 year ticket rather then take another shift over there. I have another cousin who is a Medal Of Honor winner (awarded posthuminously), two more who are currently serving and two more who also had military careers. My dad was a marine, my goddaughter is a helicopter medic over there and her hubby is there to.

    While they and their immediate families were split going in, to a man (and woman) they feel we oughta get outta dodge. They also feel betrayed in that while they are over there, they have had benefits cut and parents denied care at veterans facilities because of "new rules". Some have been "warned" about comments made in mail sent home and though I have tried, I can't find people with mindsets like these George seems to find for his TV appearances.
  8. #28  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    I understand that this all looks pretty bad. But we need to view it in context, like everything else.
    I agree but the context has to be fairly relevant for a compelling analysis.

    I find it difficult to compare the War of Independence with the War in Iraq for a couple of reasons:

    1. There is no doubt in my mind that the U.S. has the most powerful and well equipped armed forces in the world. It would be a stretch to make the same claim 200 years ago for the colonies.

    2. The war in Iraq is very different than the war of Independence. In Iraq, we are on their territory, fighting for a country that may not want us there. 200 years ago, we were primarily fighting on our turf and for most (at least in the North) they supported our fight.

    3. Because of number 1, I find it difficult to try to compare 'statistics' like lives lost and such...not saying you can't do it but trying to compare that we only lost x thousand of people in conflict A but we have only lost 2300 in Iraq doesnt mean that it should be accepted in some way (simply because of the advances made in warfare and our current abilities.)


    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    - The War of Independence lasted 8 years.
    Arguably if we measured our progress by how much resistance is left, we may be in Iraq that long. (I hope not.)

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    - 7,000 to 8,000 casualties not including the 130,000 who died from smallpox.
    We are at 2300 after three years, multiple that by 3 for 9 years and that puts us at 6900 (even though we are superior to our enemy).

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    - It took four years after the end of the war to agree upon a workable constitution.
    There really wasnt a 'constitution' in place at the time for us to model from. Iraq has all our support and completely working model-they arent starting from scratch per se. (I hope it doesnt take them 4 years from the end of the war.)

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    - It took another three years for all thriteen colonies to agree to sign the constitution.
    - During and after this time there were several armed rebellions.
    Doesnt this point really cut against trying to force a country that has a political system completely integrated with one religion to all agree to a new constitution with freedom of religion and no state sponsored religion? It seems to me to be a signpost that we are in for a very long battle in implementing 'democracy' in Iraq. I hope not.

    Thanks for the good comments, they are constructive.
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  9. #29  
    A few points:

    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    1. There is no doubt in my mind that the U.S. has the most powerful and well equipped armed forces in the world. It would be a stretch to make the same claim 200 years ago for the colonies.
    True. My point here was to show that things were looking bad back then. Those who were opposed to the war based on the loss of life could very well have used those numbers to show how horrific and unnecessary war is. But, as we know, wars always result in a loss of life. And its always tragic. But we also know that a cheap peace is a short-lived peace.

    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    2. The war in Iraq is very different than the war of Independence. In Iraq, we are on their territory, fighting for a country that may not want us there. 200 years ago, we were primarily fighting on our turf and for most (at least in the North) they supported our fight.
    Actually, about 20% of the population were British loyalists. Only 40-45% were strong Revolutionary supporters. And there were still 70,000 or so "Tories" by the end of the war. Had these guys stuck around and not fled to Canada they could have caused significant damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    There really wasnt a 'constitution' in place at the time for us to model from. Iraq has all our support and completely working model-they arent starting from scratch per se. (I hope it doesnt take them 4 years from the end of the war.)
    Me too. But I wanted to take issue with your claim about the Constitution. First, we did have models upon which we based our Constitution. The Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights and the Scottish Claim of Right were all early models used for the drafting of our Constitution. Also, one has to agree that the men who drafted our Constitution were brilliant and by any measure of the term. As far as the Iraqi Constitution goes, the US had a clear disadvantage: first, we didn't want to appear to be imposing our ideals on Iraq. Second, Iraqi leaders didn't want to appear to their constituency to just be copying the US Constitution. In some ways, using the US as model may have been a hinderance rather than a help.

    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    Doesnt this point really cut against trying to force a country that has a political system completely integrated with one religion to all agree to a new constitution with freedom of religion and no state sponsored religion? It seems to me to be a signpost that we are in for a very long battle in implementing 'democracy' in Iraq. I hope not.
    Well, the previous government wasn't really integrated with Islam. I will agree, however, that making Sharia compatible with democracy and religious freedoms is going to be a challenge. I was really discouraged when I heard they would be adopting certain points of Sharia law. Unless they adopt an attitude more like the Kurds they're going to have problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    Thanks for the good comments, they are constructive.
    Yours too.
  10. NRG
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    #30  
    Quote Originally Posted by JackNaylorPE

    And by the way, my neighbor is a full bird colonel and just got back....he's not a fan. He quoted Clint from the movie Heartbreak Ridge, where Eastwood refers to the situation as a "cluster****". I have also got a cousin who we shared a 2 family house growing up, who has 27 years (CPO) in Navy and hubby has 29.....they both retired short of their 30 year ticket rather then take another shift over there. I have another cousin who is a Medal Of Honor winner (awarded posthuminously), two more who are currently serving and two more who also had military careers. My dad was a marine, my goddaughter is a helicopter medic over there and her hubby is there to.

    ............ I can't find people with mindsets like these George seems to find for his TV appearances.
    I was wondering the same thing. From all the kids I have talked to, that have been over there, almost 80% say it is F*cked up over there.
  11. #31  
    Quote Originally Posted by NRG
    I was wondering the same thing. From all the kids I have talked to, that have been over there, almost 80% say it is F*cked up over there.
    Well, you guys are hearing a very different story than I am.
  12. #32  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Actually, about 20% of the population were British loyalists. Only 40-45% were strong Revolutionary supporters. And there were still 70,000 or so "Tories" by the end of the war. Had these guys stuck around and not fled to Canada they could have caused significant damage.
    Good points, however in Iraq, a lot of the people ARE sticking around and fleeing to another country (at least those who are fighting against us.)

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Me too. But I wanted to take issue with your claim about the Constitution. First, we did have models upon which we based our Constitution. The Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights and the Scottish Claim of Right were all early models used for the drafting of our Constitution. Also, one has to agree that the men who drafted our Constitution were brilliant and by any measure of the term. As far as the Iraqi Constitution goes, the US had a clear disadvantage: first, we didn't want to appear to be imposing our ideals on Iraq. Second, Iraqi leaders didn't want to appear to their constituency to just be copying the US Constitution. In some ways, using the US as model may have been a hinderance rather than a help.
    As far as the basic documents used that you cited, didnt they go toward establishing individual rights but not issues in the constitution like state soveriegnty, division of powers, etc.? There is so much more in our constitution than just individual rights (hence a separate document "The Bill of Rights"). I agree that the drafters were extremely smart, but that's not to say that those in Iraq aren't as gifted. (I know you arent saying that.)

    Im not sure how credible an argument that one can make that we (the U.S.) ARENT imposing our ideals onto Iraq. We set up their elections, we helped (along with other countries) to supervise the elections, its undoubtable that the U.S. has a stake in how democracy develops in Iraq as well.

    Good point though that the U.S. is a hinderance on very many levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Well, the previous government wasn't really integrated with Islam. I will agree, however, that making Sharia compatible with democracy and religious freedoms is going to be a challenge. I was really discouraged when I heard they would be adopting certain points of Sharia law. Unless they adopt an attitude more like the Kurds they're going to have problems.
    I agree but I don't think it would be realistic for us to expect that they would completely disregard the Sharia when coming up with their constitution.
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  13. #33  
    For some more perspective, here are the numbers of US casualties in more recent wars:
    WWII - 290,000
    Korean War - 34,000
    Vietnam War - 47,000
    Gulf War I - 150

    I think the American public has developed unrealistic expectations of war over the last couple decades. Most of the recent conflicts have been relatively tiny, and so Iraq has given us the most deaths that many people can remember. We have no tolerance for casualties. We pull out of Somalia after maybe 18 soldiers died. We insist on using UAVs in place of piloted aircraft for dangerous reconnaissance. We expect every single soldier to be equipped with the latest and greatest weapons and armor before seeing any combat. And we also lack patience. We roll into Baghdad after just a few weeks, and so we expect to walk away after a couple months. We expect our technology to help us avoid the dirty work. The public's disconnect from reality makes it hard for the US military to do its job.


    Back to the original topic, I believe that the Administration has made MANY mistakes in Iraq. I don't fault them for the decision to invade, or the blowout with France, or the WMD. But they didn't plan the post-invasion well. Abu Ghraib evaporated virtually all the goodwill we had with the Iraqi people. (I remember polls in Iraq showing a lot of support for the US before Abu Ghraib.) Disbanding the army and de-Baathifying the government fueled the insurgency. Not restoring basic services was a display of incompetence. Not recruiting and training an Iraqi security force from the start was short-sighted. And much more...

    But I look at the progress the country has made, and I'm optimistic. They've had several elections. They have a constitution. They have political parties. The leaders of the various factions all seem to agree that they don't want a civil war, and so far, they've demonstrated an ability to restrain their respective sides, for the most part. (Contrast that to two years ago when no one could control the militias.) The Iraqi army and police force are growing, in number and in competence, and they're gradually taking over responsibility for security. Things are moving in the right direction. And all this has happened while there have been daily car bombings and casualties. To me, the steady flow of blood is a distraction from the greater positive trend. But the media focuses on the blood.

    And in turn, so does the public.

    The media is partly to blame. But then so is the public. In this highly politicized environment, people's views of reality are determined by their pre-established beliefs. Bush is in charge, so everything is going wrong. When nearly 90% of democrats believe the economy is doing poorly despite all the evidence to the contrary, it's going to take a lot to change the views of people on Iraq. And quite frankly, half the country doesn't want to change their opinions on Iraq. They don't want the media to focus on the greater positive trends. Because that would only help evil Bush.
  14. #34  
    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    Good points, however in Iraq, a lot of the people ARE sticking around and fleeing to another country (at least those who are fighting against us.)
    Well, Syria and Iran are implicated too. This isn't just a matter of Iraqis wanting the US out. Its also important to keep in mind that may Iraqis who are opposed to US presence still want a working and fair Iraqi constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    As far as the basic documents used that you cited, didnt they go toward establishing individual rights but not issues in the constitution like state soveriegnty, division of powers, etc.? There is so much more in our constitution than just individual rights (hence a separate document "The Bill of Rights").
    Not exactly. The Magna Carta was used not just as a statement of individual rights but was used to define the scope and rights of the judiciary. It also provided a sort of prototype for parliamentary powers. These ideas were codified later in the English constitution from which Montesquieu borrowed to develop his theory of the separation of powers. This theory was used, though not completely the way Montesquieu envisioned, by the framers of the Constitution. My point, by now completely belabored I'm sure, is that the Founding Fathers had a wealth of material to use in the development of the US Constitution and it still took many years to develop and become accepted as the law of the land.

    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    Im not sure how credible an argument that one can make that we (the U.S.) ARENT imposing our ideals onto Iraq. We set up their elections, we helped (along with other countries) to supervise the elections, its undoubtable that the U.S. has a stake in how democracy develops in Iraq as well.
    I'm not saying that. Of course we imposing our ideals to an extent. Simply by imposing a working constitutional democracy is an imposition. But the US and Iraqi leaders all realize that this constitution has to be uniquely Iraqi to be accepted. It can't be a carbon copy of the US Constitution.

    But, also remember that democracy, at least in theory, is not a completely new idea. Saddam did have elections and, though they were a complete mockery of democracy, they were intended to provide the illusion of democracy. Nobody was fooled by Saddam's version, but most people got the concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    Good point though that the U.S. is a hinderance on very many levels.
    Okay, well, I don't think we're in complete agreement on that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by t2gungho
    I agree but I don't think it would be realistic for us to expect that they would completely disregard the Sharia when coming up with their constitution.
    Yeah, I don't know. I mean, not all of the framers of our Constitution completely agreed with the Jeffersonian view of the separation of church and state. And many of the state constitutions did, in fact, provide for a state religion of sorts. Why the Iraqi federal vs provincial constitutions couldn't be framed the same way, I don't know. This is a tough one.
  15. #35  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim
    For some more perspective, here are the numbers of US casualties in more recent wars:
    WWII - 290,000
    Korean War - 34,000
    Vietnam War - 47,000
    Gulf War I - 150

    ...
    Good points samkim! The WWII numbers are especially relevant considering the similar public opinions and circumstances at the beginning of our involvement in the war.
  16. #36  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Well, Syria and Iran are implicated too. This isn't just a matter of Iraqis wanting the US out. Its also important to keep in mind that may Iraqis who are opposed to US presence still want a working and fair Iraqi constitution.
    Good point...it is more complicated with the surrounding countries (which cuts to the point that it makes it that much more difficult to get simply Iraq behind the idea of democracy with all the outside pressure of the surrounding countries.) They probably are against it.

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Not exactly. The Magna Carta was used not just as a statement of individual rights but was used to define the scope and rights of the judiciary. It also provided a sort of prototype for parliamentary powers. These ideas were codified later in the English constitution from which Montesquieu borrowed to develop his theory of the separation of powers. This theory was used, though not completely the way Montesquieu envisioned, by the framers of the Constitution. My point, by now completely belabored I'm sure, is that the Founding Fathers had a wealth of material to use in the development of the US Constitution and it still took many years to develop and become accepted as the law of the land.
    Fair enough...but doesnt that cut to the argument that Iraq isnt starting from scratch with their constitution...we have done much of the 'leg-work' with ours?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    I'm not saying that. Of course we imposing our ideals to an extent. Simply by imposing a working constitutional democracy is an imposition. But the US and Iraqi leaders all realize that this constitution has to be uniquely Iraqi to be accepted. It can't be a carbon copy of the US Constitution.
    Probably true...but then we have to accept that certain things we cherish (personal autonomy) may not eventually be in the Iraqi constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    But, also remember that democracy, at least in theory, is not a completely new idea. Saddam did have elections and, though they were a complete mockery of democracy, they were intended to provide the illusion of democracy. Nobody was fooled by Saddam's version, but most people got the concept.
    This seems a little contradictory. While I agree that Sadaam did have the elections, I doubt anyone was really fooled by them. If they werent fooled by them, then what concept did they express?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Yeah, I don't know. I mean, not all of the framers of our Constitution completely agreed with the Jeffersonian view of the separation of church and state. And many of the state constitutions did, in fact, provide for a state religion of sorts. Why the Iraqi federal vs provincial constitutions couldn't be framed the same way, I don't know. This is a tough one.
    They may have not all agreed but they did (eventually) all sign on to the idea. The real question of consensus is yet to be determined with all the different groups in Iraq.
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  17. #37  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Well, you guys are hearing a very different story than I am.
    Are your hearing those on Fox News?

    :-)

    [Don't take this seriously. I think people sub-conciously look for and filter the information to re-inforce their concepts of events and situations. It is very difficult to be totally unbiased. But one must try.]
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  18. #38  
    Quote Originally Posted by aprasad
    Are your hearing those on Fox News?

    :-)

    [Don't take this seriously. I think people sub-conciously look for and filter the information to re-inforce their concepts of events and situations. It is very difficult to be totally unbiased. But one must try.]
    Yes, one must try. Actually I hear what I hear from family members in the army stationed in Iraq.
  19. #39  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Yes, one must try. Actually I hear what I hear from family members in the army stationed in Iraq.
    That's the best way (other than going there.. I suppose) of learning things ..
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    #40  
    Quote Originally Posted by dutchtrumpet
    by the way...it looks like you and my dog go to the same barber (hair stylist)
    A candidate for the best post of the month.
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