Slouching Towards Bethlehem

So, President Bush proposes to not only “surge” in Iraq but expand the war to Iran and Syria.

Because, you know, things have gone so well so far.

The staggering hubris and stupidity of this “plan” are difficult for me to put into words. Here’s a Los Angeles Times article that provides a little perspective on how this is going over in the region (though the title, “Mideast shaking its head” seems a bit of an understatement. “Shaking its head”?!).

Keith Olbermann has a few words as well. If you can’t access youtube, try this crooksandliars link.

A few other words do occur to me, words from John Kerry, who was not always as verbally obtuse as he is now. You’ve probably heard them before.

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

We had to burn the village, etc.

The Discussion: 18 Comments

Bush certainly has his hands full…but he did not get into this mess by himself. There were plenty of people behind him when the US made the first foray into Iraq. However, now that things haven’t gone as expected…the supporters have gone hiding.

Everyone agrees that the US needs to get out of there…but running is not the best exit strategy…

The Iraqis need to take care of themselves…the sooner they can do that the better…and that takes time.

Even Baker’s group said they need to get out…we KNOW that…but how, when and under what conditions are the more important questions.

I will stick by Bush until someone comes up with a better and workable strategy.

The war needs to be won…not run…from…

Blame me…I voted for Bush 😎

January 13, 2007 @ 4:10 am | Comment

I am not very much up to speed with the American media and what they all tell about the war in Iraq, but I do have a subscription to Newsweek and for all I know, the weekly opinion pieces of Fareed Zakaria are the closest I have ever seen to
1. pointing the finger on the real problems and
2. giving a concrete outline for a strategy of reducing troops without pulling out. (The strategy is based on the willingness to let go of the concept of “winning” in favour of “damage control”)

Read his articles of November 6 and December 4 here:

Though I think his strategy relies a little too much on what Iraqi’s should do, the man clearly demonstrates a good set of brains.

January 13, 2007 @ 6:51 am | Comment

Bush is on the nose politically. What better way for him to lift his profile than to escalate the Iraq war and, simultaneously, begin smaller wars elsewhere.

When all the fires are burning then he tells the American people that the whole Muslim world is against America and he, George, the Commander in Chief, will protect them and save them. What a goose!

Driving a wedge between two major religions and two civilizations is the act of a madman.

He must be stopped!

January 13, 2007 @ 8:41 am | Comment

I think the majority of Americans have had enough of Commander Codpiece. His approval ratings are in the toilet. The only people supporting him are the Bush “dead-enders.”

Whether that opposition will be sufficient to stop him is another question entirely.

January 13, 2007 @ 8:47 am | Comment

The war needs to be won…not run…from…

REPEAT AFTER ME…. “The US has LOST the war in Iraq.”

There is NO WAY the war could be WON any more. Any action the US takes… be it a “surge” or a steady withdrawal or an immediate withdrawal… it can only achieve “damage control”. The question now is how to do damage control without killing more US troops.

BTW all the talk of invading Iran and Syria is B.S. The US will NEVER invade Iran or Syria. Invading weakling nations like Iraq and Afghanistan is one thing… invading a country with a trained and equipped armed force is another. The losses on both sides will be collossal…the US electorate will never allow it…

So unless Bush is delusional and thinks of occupying Iran and Syria as some part of God’s grand plan to prepare for the second coming… don’t wait up to see Heraldo reporting from Qom

January 14, 2007 @ 5:54 am | Comment

“I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude and I believe most Iraqi’s express that.”
GEORGE BUSH yesterday
Still waiting for a clear explanation as to what he envisions as “success” and exactly how he sees that being obtained.

January 14, 2007 @ 9:23 am | Comment

Sameer, you speak as though rational people are in charge of America. I wish you were right but the facts say otherwise.

An attack on Iran by the U.S. or its proxy Israel using low-yield nukes will be the first cab off the rank.

My advice: build a bomb shelter!

January 14, 2007 @ 9:48 am | Comment

What pisses me off the most is that Shrubya has finally gotten around to admitting that “Mistakes have been made” in the execution of the war, but they won’t admit that the whole thing was a massive f**k-up to begin with.

I knew it was a horrible, disasterous and criminal idea befoer they did it, and so did a lot of other people.

They took us into a war with no more thought than if they’d been playing fantasy football.

January 14, 2007 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

The thing that irks me about the new plan, besides the fact that it was created by the same people who have gotten it wrong so many times before, is that Bush has called in General David Petraeus who is a counterinsurgency expert. Am I crazy or is the situation in Iraq not an insurgency? Shiite militias are working from within the government to slaughter Sunnis. This is a civil war with many factions vying for power, so how is counterinsurgency going to help win?

January 15, 2007 @ 7:50 am | Comment

I will stick by Bush until someone comes up with a better and workable strategy.

For what? Killing another 600,000 people?

The war needs to be won…not run…from…

Nobody who advocates getting out is “running.” Stop using immature, loaded and insulting language like “running.” Grow up. Adults don’t talk about invading a foreign country and conducting torture, murder, rape, and pillage as if it were a brawl after a high school football game. Adults don’t burn the skin off children, train death squads, imprison human beings in cities and then flatten the cities, bomb schools and hospitals, and install puppet governments with that kind of thinking. Staying in Iraq isn’t a test of manhood, unless by manhood you mean the ability to inflict ever-increasing levels of pain on those weaker than you.

That’s what we’ve done. The next time you want to use a word like “running” think of the children whose faces we’ve seared off, and then search for a language that includes recognition of the sick criminality of that horrible invasion, and the possibility of atonement and punishment for what we have done to the people of Iraq.

Running. Harumph.


January 15, 2007 @ 1:09 pm | Comment

Michael, you remind me so much of former Pres. Clinton. You talk a good thing, but after all is said and done you are left holding an “empty bag”. I don’t necessarily agree with everything President Bush has done, but I do know one thing. Talk to any of our soldiers that are over there in Iraq and you will get a whole different outlook on things. If we don’t clean up and get Iraq half way stable & straightened out, there will be no peace anywhere! Surely you are intelligent enought to know Syria and Iran are the doorunners for most of the violence that is happening right now. Funny you should mention children with their faces seared off and yet we have psycho leaders like Chavez & AhMADinejad running around that have committed all kinds of crimes against humanity! Who’s side are you on anyhow???

January 15, 2007 @ 3:46 pm | Comment

Actually, the last survey of active duty soldiers, conducted by the ARMY TIMES, showed that the majority no longer support the Bush administration’s policies.

Look, we stuck our stick in a hornet’s nest. Now it’s a civil war. Most of the violence in Iraq right now is unfortunately Iraqi on Iraqi. It is NOT being instigated by “outside agitators.” It is not Al Qaeda. It is Iraqis killing Iraqis.

Yeah, Syria and Iran are interferring in Iraq. Iraq is on their borders, and they have a stake in what happens there. But, you know, Syria is a Baathist country, and Iran is Shi’a, so their interests are not in common.

Putting another 21,000 troops in Iraq isn’t going to fix this disaster. We’ve already “surged” in the past and it hasn’t done a damn thing. You can look it up. Troop levels have risen and fallen in the three years the US has been there.

21,000 troops? It’s too late for that. If we could put in, I dunno, another 100,000 troops? 200,000 troops? Maybe that would be enough to put a damper on the violence. But where are we going to get those troops? Do you support a draft? Even if you do, how could they be trained quickly enough to get in there and do some good? Why do you think, in the face of everything that’s happened in the last three years, that throwing more US troops into the meat grinder is going to fix this?

When are you people going to get that this whole thing was an immoral, ill-conceived, criminal disaster from the very beginning? That no good could possibly come of it? And that half-assed, face-saving measures by this fucking clown who shames the office of President and diminishes us all, are going to do anything other than force the next President to clean up the unholy mess that he’s made?

If you don’t care about Iraqis, who have died in the tens of thousands thanks to what the Bush Administration has done, then think about your own countrymen, your sons and daughters, your husbands and wives, who are going to be sacrified, and for what?

January 15, 2007 @ 4:13 pm | Comment

Those people in Iraq would not be fighting amongst themselves if it wasn’t for Iran, Syria and Bin Laden’s radicals constantly stirring the pot. I agree IRAN is evil and they are all just a bunch of war mongers anyway! They are a backwards, women opressing 3rd world country with poor hygiene!!!

January 15, 2007 @ 4:21 pm | Comment

Other Lisa, I much prefer the comments on this thread. The one on Beijing is rather….yawn….

I strongly endorse your last comment. It’s nice to see an American with a clear mind and an ability to look at issues fairly and apportion blame where it lies. Well done!

January 15, 2007 @ 4:31 pm | Comment

Wow. Poor hygiene? Say it ain’t so.

I despise regimes and ideologies that oppress women. One of the reasons that I despise the current Saudi regime. You know, our staunch allies…

January 15, 2007 @ 4:31 pm | Comment

Well, Daniel, I’m far from the only American who feels this way, and there have always been plenty of us. Now, Bush’s approval ratings are, what, not quite breaking 30%?

A lot of Americans might not be engaged, initially, they might for quite a while be willing to believe what their leaders tell them, because they have some measure of trust in the system and they love their country and want it to be just. But you can’t fool those people forever. And plenty of them have by now figured out just how bad this war is.

It’s more than a shame – I don’t have the words to label this disaster – that it’s taken this long for so many people to realize that they’ve been lied to and betrayed. I only pray (and I’m not a religious person) that this lesson sticks a little better than Vietnam did. And that somehow all of this is translated into political transformation. I do have hope that it will be. The midterm elections were a very strong signal that most Americans disagree with the current leadership and desire positive change.

January 15, 2007 @ 4:48 pm | Comment

Talk to any of our soldiers that are over there in Iraq and you will get a whole different outlook on things.

No. The policies of Bush are not supported in the military, from the top on down. The Pentagon wants out. So do the ordinary soldiers, as a petition winding its way up to the Congress from the soldiers currently demonstrates. The army is being stretch past its breaking point. Equipment is worn out, recruiting standards have fallen, and the war is eating up valuable funding that could be used for more constructive causes.

Everyone on earth except the whackjobs in the US who support Bush can see that the war is a defeat and we need to leave.

If we don’t clean up and get Iraq half way stable & straightened out, there will be no peace anywhere! Surely you are intelligent enought to know Syria and Iran are the doorunners for most of the violence that is happening right now.

No, the US is. Iran and Syria did not invade Iraq, flatten its cities, bomb its schools and hospitals, depose its government, occupy its historic sites, train death squads, conduct random violence, rape and torture, and debase the economy and the educational system. The US is the main source of violence in Iraq at the moment, and the main reason that Syria and Iran are able to have influence there.

Yes, Syria and Iran suck. In case you haven’t noticed, so does Israel. Also, Egypt, Yemen, and Pakistan. Clearly if peace in the middle east was what you valued, invading Iraq was no way to get it. As many of us foresaw.

Finally, even if Iraq descends into a nightmare civil war, that will have nothing to do with peace anywhere else. How can you write as if peace everywhere depended on us being continually defeated in Iraq?

Funny you should mention children with their faces seared off and yet we have psycho leaders like Chavez & AhMADinejad running around that have committed all kinds of crimes against humanity!

Maybe Chavez and Ah Madinejad really do suck. So do Hu Jintao and Musharaff, and the junta of Burma, as well as the leaders of Vietnam. But no matter how bad those people suck, it won’t legitimate US actions in Iraq. Just because they are bad doesn’t mean we’re good.

Who’s side are you on anyhow???

I’m on the side of truth. Is there another?


January 15, 2007 @ 5:03 pm | Comment

Is Dubya rational, hmmm, let’s see.

Daddy is the richest man in history due to his control over the manufacture and sale of the implements of war, plus some other not-so-nice industries; Carlyle.

Dubya has done dad a big favor (I know, you guys don’t want to talk about it, so I won’t say much) by faking an attack (now proven, not surmised) and getting the war started.

He continues the favor by keeping the war going. Winning produces that very undesireable “peace dividend” – people other than Bush benefit. No way, no how!

So, Dubya has done a terrific service for the richest man in history.

What happens when the richest man in history dies? You think the FL governor Bush who did not have the balls to pull of the biggest crime in history will get the biggest share?

I don’t.

I think Bush is very rational. But, since 911 (oops, sorry) is such a obvious crime, he is worried. History will not be kind, but, hell, his descendents will already have killed another million people by then.

January 18, 2007 @ 7:36 am | Comment

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