• Marccooper5_1

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Thursday, May 12, 2005



You are looking at it from a military perspective. Why don't you start looking at from an economic perspective.

Unemployment is at about 50% right now. That alone is probably the biggest factor in this, since these folks don't have jobs. They can't feed their families if they are unemployed, a situation made worse by the neoliberal regime Bremer has setup there.

If you want to talk about reducing and eliminating the insurgency, talk about using the reconstruction money to put Iraqis to work. It's time to stop pretending that giving Haliburton large sums of money is working there.



Thanks for setting up the podcasting for RadioNation.


It's late. Much rum. But, Marc, why the baiting? Have you not been bitch slapped enough on this subject?

I'll have more to say tomorrow ...


"Unemployment is at about 50% right now. That alone is probably the biggest factor in this, since these folks don't have jobs."

That's absolutely right and I can speak from experience on this as I'm unemployed and I blow myself up in crowds of people all the time. This is just what happens when you take away well-paying government jobs from hard-working Baathists.


Marc-- they're talking about your piece here: http://www.indybay.org/news/2005/05/1736795_comment.php#1736956


To DC sniper-- Unemployed Iraqis are a big part of the insurgency and they are also not the ones blowing themselves up. Those are largely foriegn fighters mostly Saudis. So before making snide remarks you should at least do your homework on the subject


Ban all cars. Introduce public transportation. WTF? Why is it up to the anti-war left to solve this mess? How about the middle of the road types that supported the war? Where are their ideas? The only thing we have the ability to do is to vote out the incompetants. How do we know it would get worse if we left? I bet a lot of the support for the insurgency would disappear. The people there need to have confidence in their government. That's not happening when the government is viewed as a stooge of the U.S.


Oil worker's union says we can leave:

too many steves

Given that the insurgents (what a nice, sterile term) are targeting those Iraqis that are signing up for the police force and elected government offcials (along with civilians), I think it highly unlikely that anything less than violent overthrow of the government would take place upon our leaving.

And it may feel good, and be justified, for the anti-war folks to shout "you started it, you fix it" but the net result of that behavior is marginalization.

I don't have an answer but it seems obvious to me that leaving now isn't a good one.


There's only one Anti-War message now: We have to work on our own country first. There's no point in calling for a withdrawl when what we most need is an Administration capable of delivering truth to us.

Enlightened minds in the anti-war movement migrated from "anti-war" to "pro-truth" when America voted for Bush a second time. All we can do is put our own house in order, before we start thinking about how to put others together.


Marc...first of all, to think that "the anti-war movement" could possibly, at this point, hold any relevant cards independent of the direction in which mainstream opinion has moved is a fantasy. The truth is that "Bush lied ! People died ! Yada yada !" isn't a chant of the anti-war movement but the visceral knowledge of at least a slim majority of the American people at this point. People in "the heart of America" - to borrow a phrase from Woody - think Howard Dean's campaign was the "anti-war movement" and they see that he's essentially adopted programmatically a position close to where you are. Nobody thinks that we can get back to square one, March 2003.

But before you dismiss any advocacy that U.S. withdrawal is the key to peace in Iraq, you have to deal with the fact that the Iraqi people voted for precisely that. Anyone who touts the "purple fingers" and doesn't acknowledge who won the majority of votes and that their platform was U.S. withdrawal is...I don't know...maybe he's Woody. A position against any prolonged U.S. occupation was at the heart of the elections. The very fact that the insurgency has become a combination of civil war AND Islamic jihad against the U.S. means that no matter how many strides Iraqis take toward settling their own accounts, the very presence of the U.S. in the country will mean the continuation of a terrorist campaign and Iraqis will continue to die in the wake of Bush's incompetence. ("Yada Yada", if you will.)

If the Israelis can't stop terrorism on their own land, the U.S. military sure as hell can't stop it in Iraq. Iraq can ultimately normalize, but part of that normalization will mean that U.S. troops must withdraw. Iraqis know how this shit started and they know why it's continuing. As long as the U.S. is in the country it's going to be infinitely more complex than just trying to get Sunni pols involved in the process of building a government, because jihadists are going to be ready, willing and able to poison the well. They don't have to win, they don't have to provide an alternative, they just have to continue to be willing to die. And a segment of the Sunni hardliners will ally with them for their own sectarian purposes. Welcome to "Mission Accomplished" - oh, and "Yada Yada".

Unless and until a combination of two factors takes place, there can be no stability for Iraqis. One is the building of an Iraqi counterinsurgency force - and that is going to be a very brutal gang of thugs who will use Saddamist tactics to succeed and will be drawn from the ranks of Saddam's most experienced men (ref. Peter Maas' excellent piece on the "Salvadorization" of Iraq in the Times Magazine 2 weeks ago.) The second is for the U.S. to get the hell out as soon as there's a reasonably competent Iraqi security force. That's a process that will take a minimum of two to five years.

But beyond that reality, which only nutcases and neocons could argue with, in as few as five years it will be clear to Americans what happened in Iraq - Bush lied, people died, and Iran got a nice compliant Shiite government next door - at the price of several thousand American dead, tens of thousands Americans scarred, tens of thousands of Iraqi dead and 2 hundred billion dollars stolen from our pockets by Republican/Neo-Con swine and compliant Democratic wimps. This isn't a leftist fantasy...it's reality. Yada yada.

All of you Deep Thinkers who eagerly supported this crap from Day One had better learn to deal with it. The consequences for your political camp could get ugly. So as far as finding scapegoats on "the Left", I would advise that you make a valiant attempt at seeking some, because it's the only alternative to the taste of your own Sh*t. It's not likely to fly, because a majority of the public has already turned against the war that was sold to them. But give it your best shot..."Yada Yada".

Reality is the ultimate "anti-war movement" when incredibly bogus policy drives us into a war in the first place. The best thing that serious anti-war folk can do at this point is focus on the truth. Coming up with an alternative program for securing Iraq is truly beyond their capacity or their political impact. Let's be real. Politically, we should focus on realistic options versus neo-con fantasists, but quite frankly political imperatives driving the administration even within itself are going to move in the loonytunes types inevitably in that direction because they know they've overplayed their hand, overstretched our military and been blindsided by the reality on the ground. The truth has never been on the side of the folks who got us into this mess. And over the long term, our best hope is that the truth of what they've wrought will sufficiently humiliate them so that reasonably pragmatic, non-delusional adults can take charge again who at the least don't make thinks worse with moronic policies that have "unintended consequences" like creating long-term regional allies for the Iranian ayatollahs.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of terrorism - did anybody catch Tom Ridges' admission about the pressure for terror alerts to be increased from within the administration. Remember when the folks who made such claims about the politicaztion of terror alerts were dismissed as lefty paranoids and Bush-haters. All I can say is..."yada, yada".

(I'm sorry - I mistakenly posted this same screed on the last little thread.)


Marc, by now you should have gotten the message that liberals don't want to hear what you have to say. That's a shame, because for the most part, you are a voice crying out in the wilderness of the left. Also, I wish more of my side would listen to some of your "reasoned discourse" (nice ring that).

The sad fact of the matter is that if we leave, the Iraqi people are doomed to civil war on a scale not seen since Spain. If we don't, too many are more interested in pointing fingers than in figuring out how to make this a better place. The DU recently "voted" 59% that the organization "Al Qeada" was a fictitious organization. Whoosh....

Your insights and observations are an absolutely necessary part of the discourse, that's one of the reasons so many of us conservative type folk keep coming back. And we WILL keep coming back, if for no other reason than to see how the moonbats react to your "insights and observations." Keep it up, maybe you can enlighten some folk.


In the interst of making a more precise point than my last screed, I believe that, aside from bringing the truth to bear so that the misleading and lies can't continue unabated, people who opposed this war should, at this point, simply support Iraqi self-determination. I don't think that it should get much more complicated than that. I, for one, never opposed the war on the basis of it opening up a window for a less oppressive regime in Iraq. Always saw that as the one good that could come of an ill-conceived policy. But since the war wasn't being sold on that basis, it wasn't a serious issue of debate. Anyone who claims it was today is a liar. All of the reasons I opposed the war in terms of American interests have essentially come to fruition. ("Yada Yada".) So as an anti-war person, I have no feelings of "contradiction" in supporting Iraqi self-determination. But that's not going to happen without the Iraqis taking responsibility for their own security as quickly as possible and bidding adieu to the force that attracted jihadists to their country in the first place. If a Shiite semi-theocracy comes to power that doesn't look too different to American eyes than our enemies in Iran, Bush can't fix it without permanent occupation. Americans won't stand for any such madness, because they've already had it up to here with what we've been fed so far. Send Superheroes Michael Totten and Christopher Hitchens to the rescue. Just leave my kid out of it.


The DU recently "voted" 59% that the organization "Al Qeada" was a fictitious organization. Whoosh....


And we WILL keep coming back, if for no other reason than to see how the moonbats react to your "insights and observations."


Mark A. York

This is an op-ed I wrote last fall and it's still pertinent.

Kerry has better plan for Iraq problem

If there was ever any doubt about which candidate is best equipped to solve the dilemma we find ourselves in Iraq, Sen. John Kerry erased it in the first debate.
“I don’t know if (President George W. Bush) really sees what’s happening over there,” Kerry said during the first presidential debate.
I don’t know, either. The insurgency is increasing. The country has become a magnet for outside terrorist groups, including al Qaeda.
For every “stay the course,” “hard work” detail-free slogan promulgated by Bush with annoying repetitiveness, Kerry countered with a solid policy plan.

Could the United States start to get out of Iraq in six months? We could start if certain issues were addressed immediately.

Infrastructure, including electricity, water and waste are still in dismal shape, hindering daily life. Outside American contractors get the bulk of the work, not Iraqis.

NATO needs to be brought in to help secure and maintain the peace.

Because of the current forces’ image as occupiers — American and British troops make up more than 90 percent of the forces — a neutral contingent is necessary to support and train the Iraqi police.
“The president should convene a summit meeting of the world’s major powers and Iraq’s neighbors,” Kerry said in his April 30 speech at New York University. Here Kerry offered several solutions he thought Bush should adopt to address the problem in Iraq. And these have also become part of Kerry’s own plan for Iraq.

Under Kerry’s plan, NATO would take responsibility for the security of Iraq. Kerry’s plan would offer countries that intend to contribute troops low-risk but critical roles, including training the Iraqi police force and helping to secure the borders. Kerry would also give other countries a stake in the future of Iraq, encouraging them to assist in developing its oil resources and allow these countries to bid on contracts.

To date, the Iraqi police force is under-trained and ill-prepared to handle the security leading up to elections in January. Bush said 100,000 Iraqi forces were trained. On the contrary, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s office said 22,000 of them are only marginally trained for the effort and the rest inadequately funded and minimally trained to date. That doesn’t cut it.
In order to win peace in Iraq, the Kerry plan states it will provide “incentives to improve and accelerate military and police recruitment.” Kerry also wants to expand the security forces training program inside and outside Iraq. In order to do this properly, his plan intends calls for the establishment of a common template for police training and another one for military training. Under his plan, the United States would enlist NATO allies to have training centers in their countries.

Kerry’s plan would also include recruiting “thousands of qualified trainers from our allies, especially those who have no troops in Iraq.” And it would also venture to strengthen Iraqi recruits by doubling classroom training time and requiring field training.
Bush has a failed non-plan that miscalculated the effort needed to tackle this enormous nation-building project, which, if I recall correctly, Bush was against when running for the office in 2000. But, as Kerry noted in the debate, “(Bush’s) campaign has a phrase for that.”

With Bush’s leadership, we have lost the peace, but with Kerry, we can find it again. There is a better way out, and Kerry has it.

"simply support Iraqi self-determination"

Who could disagree, but how do you do that? Do they have a paypal account?


"Marc, by now you should have gotten the message that liberals don't want to hear what you have to say."

GMR - on a somewhat less confrontational note, I have to say that I don't know a single anti-war liberal personally who would be likely to take serious issue with marc's points and I know many. Maybe you use liberal and "hard leftist" interchangeably because you're on unfamiliar ground or you've bought into the moonbat rhetoric that's defined even Hillary Clinton as a "leftist" over the last decade or so. But to make the statement you made using the noun "liberal" proves to me that you live in a bizarre bubble. I would suggest that - rather than hanging on Marc's every word about his own view from a lingering leftwing milieu - you start reading what I would call "left-liberal" opinion to get a more useful, competent understanding of actual liberal, "anti-Bush", moderately social-democratic politics in this country. Because I don't think you currently have a clue.

I'd suggest a daily dose of Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, The Washington Monthly, The American Prospect AND for good measure the old standbys, The Nation and New Republic. For a reasoned and extremely well-informed liberal viewpoint on Iraq check out Juan Cole regularly. Then come back here and tell me that "liberals" aren't capable of discussing - or as you ratjer wildly assert, even hearing - the points Marc makes. We are not only capable, we have been for quite some time and rather more competently than anything I've heard coming from your direction on these issues. The thing that happens with Marc is that he obsesses about a fragment of the Left because he was part of it. I was too at one time - almost literally in another life long ago. Personally, now I don't give a shit about that fragment, because it's not important. Not in any sense. Marc still can't come to terms with the liberalism that's consciously come within the pragmatic fold of the Democratic Party. He's has played with bullshit like Nader very recently so he's still dithering about some stuff that's mostly nonsense, in my view, and takes some of the vocal lefties among the anti-war forces too much at face value. This is appealing to you because you can imagine that Marc is some guru that leftists need to hear to cleanse themselves. He's a good journalist and a good guy, but frankly, I think a lot of his dithering about "the left" is pure rear view mirror stuff.

Most serious people on the left aren't anywhere close to the kind of "moonbat" politics you imagine or that marc worries over. The overwhelming majority of anti-war opinion was rooted in very pragmatic stuff that you don't have the honesty to even acknowledge because it makes the fallacies in the assertions that people such as yourself totally bought into over the past couple of years too obvious and makes you look too foolish. I really resent your paltry attitude, to say the least. Mostly because it's so ill-informed and pretentious. Your loss...


GMRoper, you have now attained "skip over" status for me, thanks to your tiresome generalizations of what "liberals believe". I read, say, reg's words and inside I find content; I read yours and I see rhetoric. Big difference. And even someone like Jim Rockford, whose views I more often than not disagree with, has plenty of points for me to ponder and be healthfully challenged by. It may be that others' opinions of your posts don't matter to you, which is fine by me, but if you're in the mood for some self-assessment please think about it.


Marc is solidly refuted by Dennis Perrin:



Hey Marc, you must be really angry at these 'radical leftists'



Marc and Reg...

I don't think you're at odds... You both agree that pulling out immediately would likely be a disaster...and that there needs to be some clear and truthful thinking to fashion some kind of realistic plan to get us out of this mess without causing more damage in a situation that appears to grow more violent by the day.

Marc, Dennis Perrin is using you as a straw man to attack falsely, I guess just for the sake of controversy, which is stupid, since he seems to agree with David Corn, who offers just another variation on your and reg's position:

"....Corn correctly states that no good option exists -- that the invasion has turned Iraq into a living hell and no matter what happens in the near future, chaos and bloodshed will prevail...."

GM...I'm not sure what you're saying except to somehow make it all the fault of the left. What the hell's that about???


BUT HERE'S THE THING: THE IRONY OF ALL THE ABOVE DISCUSSION...is summed up this morning in a particularly sobering little piece on ABC's "The Note"---which points out that although, yeah, a slim majority of Americans don't think we should have gone in to Iraq, nobody's paying much attention anymore---and, as a consequence, neither is the spineless media. Here are the relevant sections:

Brides gotta run, planes gotta stray, and cable news networks gotta find a way to fill a lot of programming hours as cheaply as possible. (CNBC gets to talk about the booming April retail sales numbers, and the NRA's television network will replay the Secretary of State on Larry King over and over.)

"We say with all the genuine apolitical and non-partisan human concern that we can muster that the death and carnage in Iraq is truly staggering.

"And/but we are sort of resigned to the Notion that it simply isn't going to break through to American news organizations, or, for the most part, Americans.

"Democrats are so thoroughly spooked by John Kerry's loss —- and Republicans so inspired by their stay-the-course Commander in Chief —- that what is hands down the biggest story every day in the world will get almost no coverage. No conflict at home = no coverage."


Read that last line over a couple of times: No conflict at home = no coverage.

So maybe the anti-war movement has it right after all---even if for the wrong reasons. Maybe the only possibility is to take to the streets again waving our pink lingerie and yelling BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED....because it's best available bumper-sticker worthy, sound-bite ready message.

Anything more reasoned and truthful is too nuanced. And, we all know how well nuance plays the evening news: ("I voted against it before I voted for it.") It plays like sh*t.


Dennis (aka bluestater)... Your posts slipped in under mine... but I stand by my strawman comment. Really, don't the bright, articulate progressives around here have someone better to shoot at than each other?

Really. This is getting on my last nerve.


Dennis (aka bluestater)... Your posts slipped in under mine... but I stand by my strawman comment. Really, don't the bright, articulate progressives around here have someone better to shoot at than each other?

No wonder Bush won. Reassess priorities please, immediately if not sooner. This is getting on my last nerve.


Sorry for the double post. I thought I hit review.


I don't think Perrin answers any more of the tough questions than marc...but at least marc admits he doesn't have an answer. I do think Perrin's best point in that linked piece was to call Marc on "somebody better come up with a third way" without doing any heavy lifting himself. I also have to admit, I really don't know who the hell Dennis Perrin is or what faction his opinion may be indicative of. (Is he sort of like the leftward elements of The Nation ??? Is he now or has he ever been a Naderite ???? Friend of Medea Benjamin ??? I'm not up on the fairly-far-but-still-visible-left, because it doesn't particularly interest me.) But the best thing in his article was the link to the poll of Iraqis. Isn't that what we should be talking about. Since the majority of them obviously want the U.S. to leave ASAP. So the question is - and what we should be holding Bush to as regards his rhetoric about democracy (which I presume means some form of majority self-governance) - what can the U.S. do to facilitate the Iraqis taking over all governance and security. Unlike, say Germany or Japan after WWII, wherein the U.S. forces weren't a major attraction drawing suicidal guerrillas into the country to deliberately wreak havoc, it's hard to imagine any Iraqis - with the possible exception of the Kurds who don't even want to be part of Iraq - wanting a prolonged presence of U.S. bases.

(And if Iraqi democratic, trade-union, pro-women, etc. forces did set up a paypal account as suggested above so we can support them the same way we send money to place ads exposing Tom DeLay, that would be a very good idea. This process is mostly out of our hands - hell, it's obviously slipped out of Bush's hands in some fundamental ways, it's tough going for Ubermen of Freedom like Hitchens and Totten whether they admit it or not, and Thomas Friedman openly states he's just glad he's still standing up after supporting Bush on the war and watching the screwups - so I'm not embarrassed that I and the three friends who talk about this stuff over beers don't have the secret ingredient for Iraqi democracy - but it would be nice to at least have the feeling that one can do some little thing to help the folks our country has forced into this corner.)

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