Surrender now? Do I have to take that seriously?

In last week's video announcement, Ayman al Zawahiri confirmed what many have long suspected -- that a primary goal of al Qaeda is to establish an Islamic caliphate in Iraq:

In the unusually long video -- at just over an hour and a half -- al-Zawahri depicted the Islamic State of Iraq as a vanguard for fighting off the U.S. military and eventually establishing a "caliphate" of Islamic rule across the region.
It didn't take long for the New York Times to make an unprecedentedly bold editorial announcement:
It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.
What's going on? Is the New York Times in a hurry for an Islamic caliphate? Or are they just out of their effing minds?

The argument seems to be that we've been in Iraq for too long, so we should leave right now. While a case could have been made for getting out right after removing Saddam Hussein, we're way past that stage. I don't care how stupidly things have been handled, the dynamics on the ground right now are such that if we weren't in Iraq already, we'd be plumb crazy not to go in -- simply because our most fanatic and dedicated enemies are there. And the Times says we should leave? Are they kidding?

Ever since Mogadishu, Al Qaeda has always banked on American weakness, and they're banking on it again.

I cannot think of a better way to lose the war against al Qaeda than to do as the Times says and leave Iraq.

Of course, maybe the Times doesn't think al Qaeda really intends to establish an Islamic caliphate in Iraq. (Yeah, and Castro had no intention of establishing a Communist state in Cuba, and the Ayatollah Khomeini was a holy man who just wanted to kick out the evil U.S. backed Shah.)

I'd rather not take the New York Times surrender plea seriously, and I cannot believe that any sane human being would. But Don Surber, Jules Crittenden, Glenn Reynolds, and Dave Price make me worry that the Times might have more of a say in these matters than it should, so I thought I should at least weigh in (if only by way of expressing amazement).

However, I refuse to start making it a habit to take things seriously which I shouldn't.

Otherwise, I might have to start taking things like Glenn Greenwald seriously.

MORE: Thank you, Glenn Reynolds, for the link, and welcome all!

From the HotAir analysis which Glenn links:

downplaying Al Qaeda has political advantages for a media opposed to the war and eager for it to end regardless of the consequences.
I think that explains the Times' characterization of the war against al Qaeda as a "self- inflicted wound."

Well, there are some people who consider 9/11 a self inflicted wound.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan links this post with the following remarks:

The latest "stab-in-the-back," analysis-free, Instapundit-approved grand-standing blog-post on the Iraq civil war. Sooner rather than later, the far right will surely have to accuse Dick Cheney of "surrendering". A better term, I think, would be cutting our losses in a war we never backed with enough resources or intelligence to win.
My thanks to Andrew for the link!

But, did Glenn really approve? Considering the complexities (and Glenn's sphinx-like style) I'm not sure that I got 100% approval. What I got was a link, and I'm glad to get one from Andrew too! This is an important debate, and yes, I did use the word "surrender" -- whether anyone likes it or not. I don't think Glenn used that word, nor do I think he would.

So what does "approved" mean? A link? By that standard, I'm now "Andrew Sullivan approved." What is this? An inquisition into what thoughts are approved by whom? (I link Clayton Cramer all the time, btw, and I disagree with him on a variety of things. So what?)

I will say that considering what BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson said about "using the right tactics but two years too late," I think this might be as good a time as any to start the war in earnest.

I think that if we leave now, our enemies will see it as a surrender -- even if we don't. (And if al Qaeda sets up a caliphate in Iraq, history will adjudge our withdrawal as a surrender.)

posted by Eric on 07.08.07 at 11:29 PM


You and other sane people like Victor Davis Hanson are so right to worry about an abrupt exodus from Iraq. It's not what will happen there, but what such a show of weakness will produce later. It will be sending an invitation to nuke one of our cities, or worse.
I don't know what the strategy should be now. Perhaps a division of the country would be a start. But whatever we do, leaving under fire would be a disaster.

Frank   ·  July 9, 2007 12:31 AM

I continue to scratch my head over who takes the New York Times seriously. It's leftiness in all matters social, cultural and political, declining circulation and profits say to me it's a niche publication aimed at Manhattanites, San Francisco Democrats and half-educated Hollywood types.

Banjo   ·  July 9, 2007 9:13 AM

Linking the al Zawhiri tape to the NYT editorial is the sort of extremely low cheap shot that supporters of the Iraq war seem to be taking these days. Reprehensible, but not surprising.

As the NYT editorial notes (and you seem to concede), the only reason Al Qaeda even has an outside shot of establishing an Islamicist state in Iraq is because of the U.S. invasion and subsequent post-victory ineptness.

And yet the conclusion you reach is that what Iraq needs is X more years of U.S. troops.

The NYT position is eminently sensible for a change -- Iraq's political and religious problems today are beyond the U.S.'s capabilities to fix. All the continued U.S. presences is doing is delaying and intensifying the civil war there.

Its time to admit that the best intentions of intervening in Iraq went astray and get out to let Iraq work out its problems without American troops in the middle.

Brian Carnell   ·  July 9, 2007 9:13 AM

The NYT and the rest of the MSM have been stuck in Vietnam for decades. They decided not to cover the aftermath of leaving there, and so our memories of it are second-hand... and no one holds the media or those that decried an 'unjust war' with an even worse and more brutal unjust peace. There is blood on the hands of those that do not wish to fight... the blood of innocents that expect us to stick to our word when we give it. That is the cost of having liberty and freedom: when you put forth your word to others, you stick to it until the bitter end. Because *not* doing so is vile beyond all bitterness, and destructive of lives far beyond fighting honorably to back up your words.

The NYT has no need of honor, as they do not hold themselves accountable to their views nor the views of those they promote. They look at 'consequences' but not to the consequences of debasing our freedom to mean what we say and back that in terms put to us by the Tree of Liberty. The blood of Patriots and Tyrants. They put material cost and the cost of lives above the cost of debasing liberty and freedom to mere mortal needs. Put a physical price on freedom and liberty and you then make yourself available to the highest bidder willing to go over that price.

America is tested again, and She has failed in the past as well as succeeded. As a Nation She succeeds by carrying through on Her words to defeat tyrants and help those out who have suffered from despotism and tyranny. Help them to stand and teach them the cost for having liberty that only they may pay. We cannot purchase the liberty of others nor give freedom as a handout. But we can and better damn well should teach others of the cost of buying their freedom for themselves and their children. That cost is the same to Iraqis as it is to Americans.

The price of liberty so that the great Tree may give respite to those who sustain it. It is a damned long fight to keep tyranny at bay, and the cost is eternal. And not paying that cost is far, far worse as it means slavery for those unwilling to fight to be free. If America cannot fight to back its words and ideals in Iraq, to a People who have only learned what any shade from the great Tree means... then we had best start measuring our necks, ankles and wrists for the tyrannical butcher will come for us and our children.

There are long term consequences to defeat.

ajacksonian   ·  July 9, 2007 9:20 AM

On a side note, "It didn't take long for the New York Times to make an ..." Does the New York Times set a editorial position and then have someone write the article? And is there no other position posted in the paper that dayIn my local paper the editorial paper will often have two or more positions posted on the same subject on that day, so while it is not hard to say what which way they lean, you could not say it is their position.

Blaine   ·  July 9, 2007 9:37 AM

I agree with what Brian says: since our presence appears to prevent the situation from stabalizing, we should leave and let the factions duke it among each other, hoping the faction that wins is sympathetic to human rights, shared prosperity, and healthy working relationships within the international community. Why should we continue to stay when we can simply leave and cross our fingers, right Brian?

Steve   ·  July 9, 2007 9:48 AM

Brian: Do you really believe that a US withdrawal would do anything but make the situation in Iraq worse?

The problem with withdrawal is that it has already been tried. We did this sort of thing during the Rumsfeld years -- we would clear an area and then leave so that the Iraqis could take over. What happened was the second we'd leave al-Qaeda would attack, the local Iraqi authorities would be slaughtered, and the place would end up being turned into a charnel house by AQI.

Withdrawal would do that on a national scale. Iraq would fall, and we would have a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East that would spread violence and instability throughout the region.

It would be a surrender, it would be playing directly into the hands of al-Qaeda, and it would be a mistake that would ensure that the United States would have no choice but to intervene in Iraq later on down the road -- except we'd have to start from scratch again.

Withdrawal is a mistake, and it is a mistake that sacrifices thousands of Iraqi lives and ensures that all who have died in this war will have died for nothing. It is motivated entirely by petty political calculations, and if we do withdraw we will not only lose in Iraq, but we'll have lost the war on terrorism as a whole. Al-Qaeda will know we can be defeated, and knowing that they will have no compunction about hitting us again.

Jay Reding   ·  July 9, 2007 9:54 AM

"All the continued U.S. presences is doing is delaying and intensifying the civil war there."
Heh, I heard the same thing said years ago, about Viet Nam. There were a bunch of Lefties then that said the only reason the peaceful North was fighting the fascist South was because the US was there. Then the US pulled out.
The peaceful North went ahead with it's plan to cleanse the south of a few million souls that were not able to be retrained. The Left still considers that abandonment with pride, so it's not any wonder why they'd be so quick to want to see another few million killed. A few million dead Yellow people in the '70s, a few million dead brown people in least it's not white people. You have to hand it to Liberals, they are consistently racist across decades.

Diggs   ·  July 9, 2007 10:09 AM
"Al-Qaeda will know we can be defeated, and knowing that they will have no compunction about hitting us again. "

I know this. You know this. Why is it so many of our compatriots don't get it? Is it just BDS taken to extremes? Is it severe ADHD? Is there a clinical diagnosis that could respond to medication? Is there any hope left, or is the tsunami of irrational thought radiating out from W. 43rd street too powerful to resist?

Bart   ·  July 9, 2007 10:16 AM

Can't you guys see what is happening?

The N.Y.T. has hired Kent Brockman!

"And I, for one, welcome our new Islamic Fundamentalist overlords...."

wilbur   ·  July 9, 2007 10:31 AM

Had to post one more in response to Diggs. Yes, there is an undercurrent of racism in the liberal POV. I hear it all the time. "You know, those people don't want democracy. Those people don't want to live under democracy." Yada, yada, yada.

"Those people" is one of the most pernicious phrases ever uttered on the face of this Earth. It is always preface to some denigrating description that dehumanizes the targets, rendering them untermenschen whose suffering and travails can be duly disregarded. Whenever I hear those words introducing what passes for thought from those people, I just have to screw up my face and turn away in disgust.

Bart   ·  July 9, 2007 10:32 AM

(Speculative conversation between Gen Petreaus and NYT editors)

"No, really, keep on message... write that we are losing and the insurgents only need to commit some more resources and time to Iraq and then we will be pushed out

...I know that this isn't exactly true but look, we have international terror networks pouring money and men into a country where we really have the freedom to fight them

... we expect that they will fully overextend themselves with just a little bit more encouragement... then you can start broadcasting regular news reports again

... trust us, we admit that it is bad reporting for now, but great strategy and you are really helping us out

... we know that Al Quaeda leadership is fully aware of the NYT, so let's help them think that they are on the verge of winning until they finally dissolve."

John   ·  July 9, 2007 10:53 AM

Banjo is right.

We have lost this war.

It's time to get over it, people. The Republicans in the Senate are abandoning the war. Unless Petraeus takes an openly partisan tone and delivers a stunning, virtuoso, Churchillian performance in September, it is a foregone conclusion that we will be leaving Iraq by summer 2008 at the latest.

Of course, when Baghdad burns far worse than it ever did when we were there, Banjo will not remember his pronouncements about how leaving was the right choice.

When Kurdistan declares independence and Turkey invades it and a long, brutal drawn-out war ensues, Banjo will forget his pronouncements about how it was better for us to run away.

When the genocide and ethnic cleansing in the middle of the country gets to Rwanada levels, which it almost certainly will, Banjo will forget his pronouncements about how we should leave because it is us who is making it worse.

When "the Iraqis have to solve it for themselves" turns out meaning Baghdad and every other major Iraqi city/area with a mixed population turns into a fair approximation of Beirut in the late 70s and early 80s, Banjo will not remember how he said we should have left.

He will not remember any of this.

He will still blame the United States for it all, of course. It all wouldn't have happened if we hadn't invaded!

Of course Banjo's logic is shit; it is irrelevant if al-Qaeda wasn't in Iraq before the war, it is now.

And in 20 years when we invade Iraq again because Iraqi-based terrorists managed to sabotage some major oil complex in Saudi Arabia and world oil supply crashes, Banjo will be right there again telling us how we shouldn't invade and it will be another defeat.

But it is undeniable now that we have lost and it is the United States Congress that has lost the war. Petraeus will be ignored in September no matter what he says, and our military leaders will maintain their silence and not speak out against the pull-out, at least not directly. And in fifteen years we will get a slew of books from ex-generals telling us how they had the rug pulled out from under their feet by the Democratic Party and disgraceful men like Pete Domenici and Richard Lugar and that Voinovich asshole who should have been kicked out of the GOP caucus two years ago.

But we have lost. We should withdraw immediately so as to lengthen the amount of time we have to rebuild and strengthen our military and national spirit, which the Democrats and people like Banjo have deliberately and effectively worn down over the last six years. They are defeatist, they are anti-American, they are traitors, and they have won. Congratulations conservative blogosphere, maybe if you spent more fucking time raising money and doing things that would make your voices important instead of bitch you'd actually have some influence over the GOP right now instead of fucking none. The netroots set Democratic policy, and they want us to lose. What do we do? We bitch at the GOP, we don't bring them any money. If the conservative blogosphere was as influential as the liberal one do you think that Lugar and Domenici would have abandoned the war? Of course, we're more interested in going apeshit over immigration and how we've been betrayed by Bush and how we're sick of him and don't want him anymore than the fucking war. Right-wing bloggers are idiots.

Chaos   ·  July 9, 2007 11:02 AM

This is just amazing, really.
BDS? You actually have a little name for it now? Has it occurred to any of you that bush derangement syndrome really doesn't exist? that the feelings of the majority toward bush are due to his actual actions and statements, not on some preconceived 'deranged hatred', but on the lies and the actions of this criminal administration?

Also, learn something about Islam from Muslims, and stop listening the fearmongering liars. As Reza Aslan has stated, if you were to ask residents of Iraq if they were in favor of a Caliphate, most of them would respond by asking what a Caliphate is. They would also recognize such a thing as unIslamic.

And the opening of this article is just so absurd. If we hadn't started this thing in Iraq, we would have to go there now??? What?

d harrington   ·  July 9, 2007 11:07 AM

Forget all the accusations and personal attacks and ask yourself some questions:

-Would we be worying about the caliphate if we hadn't taken Saddam out?

-Has creating an international terrorist training ground made us any safer?

Kreb   ·  July 9, 2007 11:23 AM

BDS was coined by the Washington Post columnist Charles Kauthhammer some years ago.

It is the irrational hatred of the current administration that evidences itself by the use of phrases like "lies" and "criminal" to describe policy differences.

David Jay   ·  July 9, 2007 11:23 AM

I don't understand the pro war mindset. It's not logical. As our military is currently configured we don't have the capability to pacify Iraq for the length of time necessary to cultivate a recognizable democracy. In order to fulfill the dream to which many posters here cling we would need a massive influx of revenue (that's right folks higher taxes) and manpower (draft). Any discussion about occupying Iraq without addressing these glaring necessities is absurd.

Anonymous   ·  July 9, 2007 11:29 AM

I don't understand the pro war mindset. It's not logical. As our military is currently configured we don't have the capability to pacify Iraq for the length of time necessary to cultivate a recognizable democracy. In order to fulfill the dream to which many posters here cling we would need a massive influx of revenue (that's right folks higher taxes) and manpower (draft). Any discussion about occupying Iraq without addressing these glaring necessities is absurd.

illogic   ·  July 9, 2007 11:30 AM

2-3% of insurgents in Iraq are Al Qaeda.

And not very popular. In Anbar where Sunni's dominate, the locals are fighting Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda is evil and tenacious, but hardly omnipotent. We, unfortunately are providing a distraction from their rather unpopular cause in Iraq.

Jeff   ·  July 9, 2007 11:33 AM

The coalition should not have entered Iraq. That is my square one.

It had no stake in Iraq then, but due to the naivite of the designers, the carelessness of many troops, the externalities of air war, the hunger for power among muslim authorities, the ineptness of the contractors, the bellicose blathering of the right, the lack of energy of the left and the utter ignorance of the American people - it has a stake in Iraq now.

The US can just forget its own interests by now. It has not earned the right to think in such a manner. However, it has a moral obligation to prevent more bloodshed now and for a sustainable amount of time. However, a majority of the population in Iraq believes that the coalition forces have a net negative effect on the situation. I seriously doubt the South Vietnamese felt this way.

The US has one duty now - clean up the mess as well as possible and get as good results as possible while bringing the troops home from a country where they have no reason to be.

Xel   ·  July 9, 2007 11:35 AM

Heh. Good point Eric.

As one of the aforelinked bloggers, I do think there's definitely a quality of deliberate irresponsibility here by the NYT, a sense that they know what they're proposing makes no sense and wouldn't be implemented, and the argument is being made more just to push the debate in this direction.

TallDave   ·  July 9, 2007 11:37 AM

I'm no VD Hanson, but can one of the qualified Middle East experts here explain to me how an Al-Qaeda caliphate is a likely outcome of our exit from Iraq, when the entire country and government is now controlled by the Shiites?

Fronts NYC   ·  July 9, 2007 11:38 AM

Question, since you, hot air and the professor have been so wrong for so long, do you think anyone takes your point of view seriously? Don't look now but this little adventure is quickly losing support in Republican circles. This idea that a failed policy can be fixed by continuing that same failed policy is idiotic. You and your right-leaning pals in the blogisphere are fast becoming the only people on the planet that can't grasp that.
Why do you think Republican stalwarts are sounding the alarm within the party? Because they know that if the situation does not change, anyone who runs for office with (R) next to their name is going to be at a distinct disadvantage. And please, save me the noble cause speech. It's no virtue to spill other peoples blood because you're unwilling to admit how stupid you've been.

ny nick   ·  July 9, 2007 11:46 AM

Funny, until we deposed the tyrant Saddam there was no
way that an islamic caliphate COULD BE set up in Iraq.
Our stupidity has caused this situation. End of story.

Gerald   ·  July 9, 2007 11:54 AM

Will someone explain to me just how this war is lost?

It seems we could fight forever if we had the will. What's wrong with slugging it out with these people in Iraq?

Killing them there and anywhere else we find them can't be a bad thing for us.

Or is it the case that domestic traitors don't want us to survive as the country we are but rather want us destroyed for their One World purposes?

If that's true aren't our real enemies Americans and shouldn't we treat them as the grave threat they are? Shouldn't we see this as a fight to the death between these traitors and Americans who have a sense of Country, Constitution and Individual rights?

Can we at least discuss who the real enemy is and who we should be fighting and defending our country against.

bill   ·  July 9, 2007 12:15 PM

"Ever since Mogadishu, Al Qaeda has always banked on American weakness, and they're banking on it again."

Frankly as long as the NYT and the Democrat Party are run by their current boomer overlords, it seems like a good strategy.

Fat Man   ·  July 9, 2007 12:27 PM

I am seeing some misconceptions in the comments:

"Saddam was secular and him being in power prevented any Caliphate"...well, in fact, he slowly had become more religious starting after the 1979 Iranian revolution. He did this mainly due to the fact that Islamists were a viable opposition to his rule - hmmmm, read that again...they were a source of threat to his rule. So, obviously they were a big enough threat to make him take them seriously.

Let's see...Syria is a secular Baathist regime controlled by Alawis who are at best a cult of Shia. The Syrian Baathists worry about Sunni Islamists in Syria attacking them. And yet the fund Hamas - a Sunni extremist group. OH MY GOD. YOU MEAN THESE PEOPLE WILL AID TERRORISTS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES IF THEY DON'T HAVE AN EFFECT ON THEM PERSONALLY? Next thing you'll tell me that Stalin and Hitler ended up as allies for a few years!

The second biggest misconception is that Al Qaeda is the ONLY threat - NOPE. Iranian extremists, Baathists, etc. ALL are/were threats. Saddam was not a friend, but a scorpion. Get serious.

You know, what if we had not invaded Iraq, but managed to kill Saddam or he died of natural you think Iraq would be better off? This civil war was bubbling under the surface for a long, long time.

Harun   ·  July 9, 2007 12:35 PM


It's quite simple. We made a mistake of historical proportions when we decided to unilaterally invade and occupy Iraq. We created a situation whereby every other regional power or wannabe power had an incentive to forment trouble in Iraq in order to make our task nearly impossible. We compounded this error by not having enough boots on the ground to put down an insurgency. We further ensured our failure by trying to prop up a government that is clearly incapable of establishing their will throughout the country. We have handed our enemies in Iran the one thing they could never have had without our debacle in Iraq, a chance to create a Shi'ite super-regional power. We can continue to send billions of dollars and thousands of young men and women to Iraq for another decade or two but it will not effect the outcome. The players involved will continue to forment violence and make the place ungovernable. If that's what you think is in the best interest of our country, you are wrong. Eventually, whether you like it or not we leave and when we do, it will not be as glorious victors. If you had our best interests at heart, you would recognize the realities of our situation. What all of these pro-war people are really protecting is their fragile little egos. They won't admit their advocacy has been a tragic mistake that has caused immeasurable harm to the country they love. Too bad for them.

ny nick   ·  July 9, 2007 12:41 PM

Bill, one more thing.

"Or is it the case that domestic traitors don't want us to survive as the country we are but rather want us destroyed for their One World purposes?"

Our survival as a country isn't at stake here. There is no danger that we will become an Islamic state. None. That line of defense isn't going to work anymore. Yes, there are terrorists out there who would like to kill us. Yes, we should find them, kill them and then kill everyone who gave them safe harbor or financially supported them. That doesn't require hundreds of thousands of troops sitting in the hot desert, it requires good intelligence and a few marines with guns. These people are bugs that should be swatted away, nothing more. And before you tell me how wrong I am, remember that the terrorists who caused all that damage on 9/11 did so with only a few men carrying box cutters. We will know this country is serious about attacking the terrorist threat when we hear about a few dead Saudi princes.

ny nick   ·  July 9, 2007 12:56 PM

continue to scratch my head over who takes the New York Times seriously. It's leftiness in all matters social, cultural and political, declining circulation and profits say to me it's a niche publication aimed at Manhattanites, San Francisco Democrats and half-educated Hollywood types.

Did you know 75% of America now lives in Manhattan and San Fransisco? I thought it was getting crowded around here.

fronts NYC   ·  July 9, 2007 1:07 PM

This discussion is getting old and it is also stupid. This particular part of the war on terror is in complete disarray. It was deliberately underfunded and understaffed. If we really wanted to win we would've been out there supporting a major tax increase devoted entirely to combatting the jihadists. But clearly none of us really want to win. We don't want to spend any serious money taking this thing seriously. So the Iraqi adventure is just another stupid ploy for hometown consumption originally that backfired on the idiots who ran it. And everyone in this post is right who says that when we leave (and we will leave) the jihadists will say see what this shows about the usa and they will be right. They will be right. And the political base of the republican party will have created this situation by not insisting that its elected representatives take this all a hell of a lot more seriously five years ago. Sad. And probably tragic down the line. Weinies. All of us.

James Cotten   ·  July 9, 2007 1:22 PM

Of course, it is impossible to know what sort of national government would emerge in Iraq, if any at all, if U.S. troops leave. The country of Iraq has existed for less than 100 years, and tribal and sectarian loyalties appear to be much stronger than national loyalty. I think Iraq will go the way of Yugoslavia, breaking up into several independent states, but who knows?

Chocolatier   ·  July 9, 2007 1:41 PM

to ny nick, It is frustrating to read such drivel as the NYT editorial on withdrawal from Iraq. It is TERRIFYING to know that every Democratic candidate is singing the same song and a few Republicans are joining in.

It isn’t that they are wrong in their projections of what would happen if we don’t WIN. It is that they don’t seem to know the consequences of our failure to win. The chaos and human misery that would occur in the region is nothing to what will occur when the Islamofacists obtain control of oil supply for the world. They would no longer need to do anything but shut the tap and we, along with all of the industrial world would be on our knees. Forget about the price of gas, there wouldn’t be much for us working folks to use at all.

The Democrats wouldn’t mind apparently. They think that they can talk anyone into anything. They have been doing that for a long time. At least in this country where many of us want to believe people. They wouldn’t mind begging the Mullahs to be kind. The President of Iran would just as soon cut off John Kerry’s head as listen to his lectures. How can anyone think that Hillary Clinton would have any influence on anyone in the Mideast.

It is past time to start sweeping the incumbents from office. Particularly those that advocate weakening our ability to obtain the energy that keeps our economy functioning. There is nothing more important. Not Social Security; not health care, not poverty, not anyone’s personal political ambitions; and certainly not the actions of other nations that do not agree with our philosophy of FREEDOM.

A vote for anyone that does not support doing whatever is necessary to win this war is a vote to make slaves of our grandchildren. Yes, our grandchildren because these things don’t happen overnight. It begins by taking the first step toward bending the knee to the Ben Laden’s of the world.

The Sweeper.

Sweeper   ·  July 9, 2007 1:44 PM

You guys who keep talking about "winning" - can you please set out your definition of what, exactly, it would mean to "win" in Iraq?

Ted   ·  July 9, 2007 1:59 PM

I love when Lefties say that we conservatives need to learn something about islam. More conservatives have lived among muslims than have Lefties. I've lived in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq. As a graduate of Univ of Wyoming, I know lots of oil engineers who have lived in the middle east among arabs most of their adult lives. All of them are at least right of center. Every single one. All the soldiers I know who have lived, worked, trained, and fought beside muslims are right of center. I have never once, in all my tours through muslim countries, seen a Leftie among muslims. Never.
So tell me, Leftie, how many muslims have you brushed up against in New York? Or Hollywood?

Diggs   ·  July 9, 2007 2:07 PM

Dear ny nick,
You lost us at "unilateral". Obviously, you're clueless as to what it means. Hint: look it up, consider your irrational spin and accept that that "uni" equals ONE.

RW   ·  July 9, 2007 2:11 PM

Actually, it was "unilaterally" but the gist remains the same (cue the "you lied/were wrong" talking points, nonetheless....not that you excitable Sullivanites are predictable or anything).

RW   ·  July 9, 2007 2:13 PM


Maybe we should have given some of these possiblities a thought or two before we embarked on this adventure? But you don't have anything to offer in the way of a solution other than the self-serving simplicity of "win". You write:

"A vote for anyone that does not support doing whatever is necessary to win this war is a vote to make slaves of our grandchildren."

How convenient. Whatever is necessary? What if what's necessary is a draft? Do you hear any clamor for a draft from the likes of CV or Hot Air or the Professor?
It's like kicking a pig off a cliff and telling it fly. When it fails to take wing, crashes and dies, who's at fault? The pig? If you were serious about winning, those of you on the right would be screaming for the President to resign. He's obviously not up to the job. He is the one responsible for creating this false expectation of quick and easy victory. He is the one who donned the flight suit and declared Mission Accomplished. It was his surrogates who told Congress and the American people that we would be greeted as liberators and that Iraqis would fund the war from their oil revenues. If it's victory you're after, wouldn't it be wise to hold the guy who is most responsible for our lack of victory to account and demand a change? But I get the sense it's more about blame at this point. You want someone else, anyone else to blame other than the boy king. Blaming the president is like blaming yourself. After all, you supported him, you defended him, you trusted him. If that's the case, your search will be a vain one.

ny nick   ·  July 9, 2007 2:16 PM


It was us and the Brits. The rest were always just window dressing. Remember the talking points coming out of the right shortly after the invasion? Remember "New Europe/Old Europe"? How the Bulgarians and Pols were better allies than the French or the Germans? Where are those talking points now? For that matter, where are the Bulgarians and the Pols? Hint, they're not in Iraq. Semantics aside, the fact is, if we had any hope of succeeding in transforming the Middle East, a broad coalition was a requirement. Instead of taking the time and expending the energy to build that coalition, this administration openly mocked those who questioned the wisdom of invading Iraq. Rather than keep their collective mouths shut and quietly work on addressing their concerns, this administration chose confrontation. Well, Old Europe turned out to be correct. We could use their support now but their leaders have their public support at stake and they couldn't help us even if they wanted to. And yet, through all of these mistakes and miscalculations, CV, Hot Air and the Professor continue to carry water for these people and ask you guys to do the same. It must be mentally exhausting.

ny nick   ·  July 9, 2007 2:48 PM

The notion that Al Qaeda insurgents in Iraq could turn a majority Shia state like Iraq into a Sunni Islamic caliphate is beyond laughable. Quite frankly, if we left, it would be the opposite. The Shia would eventually slaughter the Al Qaeda members and many other Sunnis as well.

Mike   ·  July 9, 2007 3:12 PM


What difference does it make whether or not you met more righties than lefties living amongst the muslims? If you have some special knowledge about how to reach them or how to fight them, please pass it up the chain of command. The righties in charge can certainly use the help.

ny nick   ·  July 9, 2007 3:15 PM

If Bush were sincere, we would have seen a real, concerted effort to cut-off the money that funds the likes of al-qaeda, hezbollah, putin, chavez and castro. But his administration isn't serious... We continue to guzzle gas like monica lewinsky guzzles...

We have to have a gas tax. Not to raise money for more government- any increase can be offset by cuts to other taxes. Not save the environment- only nuclear power can effectively cut co2. We have to have a gas tax so that we starve the foreign oil barons of their lucre.

The American SUV driver buys the gas, which was pumped by the tyrant, who funded the organization, that bought the guns, that shot the bullet and killed the son of the SUV driver.

Miami   ·  July 9, 2007 3:18 PM
Diggs wrote:

I love when Lefties say that we conservatives need to learn something about islam.

Personally, I love it when commentators, left or right, create straw arguments against which to argue.

anymouse   ·  July 9, 2007 3:35 PM

"Surrender now? Do I have to take that seriously?"

Obviously not, since you chose to play silly little games rather than "taking it seriously." Come back when you're ready to have a serious discussion.

PaulB   ·  July 9, 2007 3:55 PM

"It seems we could fight forever if we had the will."

"We"? Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that "we" does not include "you"?

PaulB   ·  July 9, 2007 3:59 PM

We could win this battle whenever we summoned the right level of motivation. Of course, it would involve hundreds of thousands of troops, some serious Iraqi casualties and the partition of the country.

Since we're not willing to do anything more than half-assed measures, it seems the wisest thing to do is to pull out. In fact, the best solution in the long run is a complete disengagement from the Middle East (including sending petrodollars that way), but this is unlikely to happen.

What's most likely to happen is a long, slow bleed that will cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars over the next several decades.

KingM   ·  July 9, 2007 5:26 PM

I still don't see how people expect Iraq to pull itself together while we're holding it together. If I offered to pay the rent for my roomie indefinitely, what is his reasoning for getting a job?

LnGrrrR   ·  July 9, 2007 9:20 PM

Ever since Walter Duranty I have always believed in the honesty and veracity of the NYTs.

They are the same great paper they have always been.

M. Simon   ·  July 9, 2007 10:04 PM


Jeez, do you guys have a manual that you consult somewhere titled "How to write a hysterical and revisionist post on Iraq"? Look, I hate to be mean...but get...a...clue. The majority of American people have figured out that this war is not going well, and they want out. Which is a pretty rationale reaction, considering how things have gone. This post, and the 200,000 others like it written by right-wingers over the last four or so years, are irrational responses. And useless. Just stop.

Xanthippas   ·  July 9, 2007 10:14 PM

What's most likely to happen is a long, slow bleed that will cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars over the next several decades.
KingM � July 9, 2007 05:26 PM

The alternative King proposes is a very fast bleed followed by a long slow bleed.

I know how it is. I read history. Stopping German imperialism was way too costly in the 30s. It got cheaper in the 40s.

Which is the way I expect this mess to turn out. What is way too expensive now will come to be seen as cheap at a hundred times the price.

Wretchard's Three Conjectures

M. Simon   ·  July 9, 2007 10:28 PM

Xanthippas says:

The majority of American people have figured out that this war is not going well, and they want out. Which is a pretty rationale reaction, considering how things have gone.

Giving the Austrian Corporal what he wanted in the 30s seemed like a good idea too. The results were inevitable. I expect no different this time. People are just as stupid as they ever were.

In the 30s I would have been on the side of that warmonger Churchill. I am on the side of the war mongers today. For all the good it will do me.

If people want a world war who am I to stop them?

Sentiment will not change until enough blood has been spilled. Not a trickle. Not a stream. Not even a river. I expect oceans of blood.

M. Simon   ·  July 9, 2007 10:37 PM

James says:

If we really wanted to win we would've been out there supporting a major tax increase devoted entirely to combatting the jihadists.

Actually government revenues have been increasing more than enough to support a bigger military without tax increases. It is called economic growth. The crooks in Congress (Rs and Ds), however, have had other priorities.

M. Simon   ·  July 9, 2007 10:47 PM

Xel · July 9, 2007 11:35 AM says: The US has one duty now - clean up the mess as well as possible and get as good results as possible while bringing the troops home from a country where they have no reason to be.

And if cleaning up the mess requires the troops to stay?

M. Simon   ·  July 9, 2007 11:15 PM


Your post needs to be much better thought out. You've made the mistake of thinking that because Al-Qaeda wants a caliphate Al-Qaeda could get a caliphate. I want an 18 year-old Jenna Jameson to ride my face, but it's not gonna happen. Do you think that the SCIRI or the Mahdi Army are cool with Al-Qaeda? Al-Qaeda running Iraq is about as likely as Ralph Nader winning the presidency in the U.S. The country is just not politically structured in a way for that to happen anytime soon.

Tiga Manter   ·  July 10, 2007 1:20 AM

Excuse me, but my take on liberal thinking here is that they are looking only short term. What will happen when we leave Iraq is that chaos will prevail, and of course they've been there before. Witness Vietnam. They ensured that the re-education camps, the fleeing boat-people dying in Asian seas, being turned back by every country in the region while they sank into into oblivion, and the ensuing Cambodian killing fields would be the result of their cowardice and complicity.
That any of these pathetic excuses for human beings can now muster a voice urging retreat from Iraq is beyond my comprehension.
Kerry? Fonda? They should have long since been tried and convicted of treason.

Those who have posted here who are positing retreat from Islamic killers, who are projecting a Vietnam view of civil war in Iraq, are leading our country, and the West, into suicide.

Frank   ·  July 10, 2007 3:15 AM

Tiga Manter,

The problem is quite straight forward. Just because the jihadis can't get their caliphate doesn't mean they won't die trying, taking as many of us with them as they can.

M. Simon   ·  July 10, 2007 10:08 AM

Al-Quaeda was responsible for 9/11, right? So shouldn't the US be killing as many Al-Quaeda as possible? Whatever else, Iraq seems to be a convenient place to do that. Just sayin'.

Bilwick   ·  July 10, 2007 1:16 PM

Frank repeats this "we can't lose" mantra, like many others but he does not offer a solution other than doing the same thing we've been doing for the past four years.
It's not working. It's making the problem worse. We are strengthing our enemies and alienating our allies. Through a combination of stupidity, incompetence and hubris, we have rushed headlong into an occupation that is not going to end well regardless of what path we choose. These are hard truths, difficult to digest but digest them we must. The fact is, most of you know this already but are searching less for a viable solution and more for a target to pin the blame on. The Bush administration and their enablers are running out the clock. They calculate that when a Democrat takes office in '09, they can offload the blame for failure on them. That's what they care most about. Not the soldiers, not the long suffering Iraqi people, nothing other than their precious little egos.

ny nick   ·  July 10, 2007 1:40 PM

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