Surge skeptic Cordesman: How badly do you want to win in Afghanistan and Iraq?

posted at 9:53 pm on February 24, 2008 by Allahpundit

That would be Anthony Cordesman, formerly a nutroots darling, of late known as “Anthony who?” since he came back from Iraq heralding major progress on every front. There’s actually plenty for the left to like about his new op-ed if they can get past the horrifying prospect of winning both wars. What it’ll take: A redoubled commitment in both theaters by the United States for the next, oh, say, 10 years, plus major assistance from NATO and Pakistan, whose new government is already wilting on the vine in the face of the jihadi menace. The Obama talking points write themselves — war without end, too risky and expensive, better to focus on Afghanistan, which Cordesman says in worse shape than Iraq — but it leaves McCain an opening to try to shift the narrative from “how do we get out of an unwinnable war?” to “do we get out of a war that’s winnable?” Cordesman:

If the next president, Congress and the American people cannot face this reality [that the wars will take years to win], we will lose. Years of false promises about the speed with which we can create effective army, police and criminal justice capabilities in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot disguise the fact that mature, effective local forces and structures will not be available until 2012 and probably well beyond. This does not mean that U.S. and allied force levels cannot be cut over time, but a serious military and advisory presence will probably be needed for at least that long, and rushed reductions in forces or providing inadequate forces will lead to a collapse at the military level.

The most serious problems, however, are governance and development. Both countries face critical internal divisions and levels of poverty and unemployment that will require patience. These troubles can be worked out, but only over a period of years. Both central governments are corrupt and ineffective, and they cannot bring development and services without years of additional aid at far higher levels than the Bush administration now budgets. Blaming weak governments or trying to rush them into effective action by threatening to leave will undercut them long before they are strong enough to act.

If you missed it a few weeks ago, here’s the video of Obama trying to rush the Iraqi government into effective action by threatening to leave. Exit question: With progress on the ground in Iraq and the war fading as an issue relative to the economy and even relative to Iran and Pakistan, which side gains more by making it a campaign issue?


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ITs a wash I think with it not being a goodissue anymore for Barack to attack with and McCain simply has to hold down the fort saying its experience not charisma that is winning in Iraq and Afganistan.

If America can create an “Islam lite” that is the key goal and question. Push the people towards a more secular form of Islam. That is a strategy that really needs to be developed.

William Amos on February 24, 2008 at 9:55 PM

McCain only needs to speak about being “loyal” and “steadfast”, and keep it vague but positive.

Obama (or Hillary) will have to explain why running away from the Big Bad Jihadis -like a little child scared of ghosts- is a position that the world’s only remaining super power would find worthy of its serious responsibilities.

profitsbeard on February 24, 2008 at 10:00 PM

which side gains more by making it a campaign issue?

Remember that great political capital George Bush earned after the smashing victory in the Gulf War in 1988 and 1989?

Yeah, poof.

Helps Obama because he doesn’t have to come up with a plan. Things are muddling through on their own in the background.

So, if the focus is on domestic matters – and it’s impossible to out-promise Obama – and not national security – where the edge goes to Mac – the advantage goes to Barack O’blank-slate.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 10:02 PM

Somebody ask Barry what his beautiful message of hope portends for the average Iraqi.

TexasDan on February 24, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Only liberals believe one can wave a magic wand and fix problems. Hillary just said so herself.

SouthernGent on February 24, 2008 at 10:03 PM

This sounds like a Kodos,Kane dilemma!haha

Me thinks that question,is just enough to commit
the code pinkos to the nut farm out of sheer desperation,
because since the Liberation of Irag,oh might as well
put another nail in the Liberal coffin,the liberation
of Kuwait as well,The surge a success,probably Liberals
don’t want to acknowledge that there is an ongoing war!

canopfor on February 24, 2008 at 10:04 PM

Just one big problem, aside from the retreat committed nutroots, the status of our forces. They are (Army and Marines) tired. Plain, pure and simple. The only thing to fix that is more troops, more equipment, more deployments.
I don’t say this as a defeatist, it just is the way it is. The third tour has about broken this family’s back. A fourth, fifth, and sixth, is something we try not to think about. Our men and women need more depth in the ranks. How the hell do we talk the country into that?

Limerick on February 24, 2008 at 10:05 PM

Obama says this war has not made us safer. So killing your enemy and eating their lunch in their marketplace weakens us? Just keep him sharing his views of our wars and our military and he’ll talk himself out of the presidency.

snaggletoothie on February 24, 2008 at 10:09 PM

Somebody ask Barry what his beautiful message of hope portends for the average Iraqi.

TexasDan on February 24, 2008 at 10:03 PM

He hopes that things will change for the better. Calpyso Louis wins the prize for figuring out what is at the heart of Obama’s flowery rhetoric:

The Associated Press reports today that Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan “says presidential candidate Barack Obama represents hope that the United States will change for the better.”

Buy Danish on February 24, 2008 at 10:12 PM

Buy Danish:Calpyso Louis, Louis Farrakhan,Million Man march.

I was thinking of him and whether or not he was mixed up
with Obama,for the last half hour,couldn’t get my thoughts
together to post!

So,I wonder where the Mother Ship is!haha

canopfor on February 24, 2008 at 10:23 PM

If the next president, Congress and the American people cannot face this reality [that the wars will take years to win], we will lose.”

Wrong. We’ve already won. It’ll be the innocent people of Iraq and Afghanistan that would lose if we left.

Tony737 on February 24, 2008 at 10:23 PM

Speakin’ of the surge, I saw on CNN (of all places) that there’s a U.S. Army rock band in Iraq called … yup, you guessed it, “The Surge”. How perfect is that name?

Tony737 on February 24, 2008 at 10:28 PM

Obama says this war has not made us safer. So killing your enemy and eating their lunch in their marketplace weakens us?

Killing your enemy whilst simultaneously pretending you have no enemy and inviting your enemy to immigrate to Michigan and Dallas does in fact weaken you.

aengus on February 24, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Only liberals believe one can wave a magic wand and fix problems. Hillary just said so herself.

SouthernGent on February 24, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Entelechy on February 24, 2008 at 10:32 PM

Here we go again, sorry about the link mess-up.

Only liberals believe one can wave a magic wand and fix problems. Hillary just said so herself.

SouthernGent on February 24, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Entelechy on February 24, 2008 at 10:34 PM

How badly do you want to win in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Win what?

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 10:38 PM

Three times is a charm…

“Only liberals believe one can wave a magic wand and fix problems…”

SouthernGent on February 24, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Entelechy on February 24, 2008 at 10:38 PM

canopfor on February 24, 2008 at 10:23 PM

Check this out.

aengus on February 24, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Very true.

Buy Danish on February 24, 2008 at 10:39 PM

Stop it! – Diana West
U.S. forces should not ordinarily be engaged in nation-building — sorry, nation-stabilizing — nor should they ever be engaged in Sharia-nation-stabilizing, which is my core problem with our overall strategy in constitutionally Sharia-supreme Iraq as well as constitutionally Sharia-supreme Afghanistan (not to mention the constitutionally Sharia-supreme Palestinian Authority), but that’s another column.

Bottom line? History shows that the conditions that drove the model transformation of [,say] Japan do not exist today with regard to the Islamic Middle East. We’re going to need another strategy — for starters, an immigration policy and new laws to halt the creep of Sharia — to ward off the Islamization of the West.

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 10:41 PM

Win what?

See, there’s this group called al-Qaeda. They, along with assorted other smaller groups, are motivated by a radical brand of Islam that wishes, among other goals, to recapture the lost lands, as they see it, of the Islamic Caliphate.

So, they go into countries and try to terrorize the populace and overthrow the governments. Create chaos, make society unmanageable.

Then, in the vacuum that’s created, they setup base for further operations against those that they see as enemis of true Islam.

We are trying to prevent them from gaining a foothold in these countries to stop them from using those gains for further attacks against our allies and us.

It’s been in all the papers.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 10:43 PM

SteveMG, self and many others have fought MB4 on the war, ad infinitum. It’s a no win argument and could generate numerous comments, on any thread. Keep in mind, though, that MB4 was for the removal of Saddam.

I have lost some interest in the war myself on this issue – for all the fighting/dying on the part of American and other Soldiers, Sharia law still exists in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other places we protect and pay for. This bugs me to no end.

Entelechy on February 24, 2008 at 10:50 PM

We are trying to prevent them from gaining a foothold in these countries to stop them from using those gains for further attacks against our allies and us.

It’s been in all the papers.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 10:43 PM

You are aware that most of the real Al Q is in Pakistan are you not?

And that the “Al Q”, all several hundred to maybe a thousand or two, that is in Iraq is not the real Al Q, but Al Q in Iraq, aka AQI, a faux “Al Q” that took on the name Al Q because it gave them “gravitas”, and was not there, to speak of anyway, until late 2003?

It’s been in all the papers. Well enough of them anyway.

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 10:55 PM

America is bored with this war. No matter who gets in the White House, we can expect to see an early withdrawl.

DannoJyd on February 24, 2008 at 10:57 PM

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 10:43 PM

What about GWB backing the new Kosovo regime? Kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?

jerrytbg on February 24, 2008 at 11:01 PM

You are aware that most of the real Al Q is in Pakistan are you not?

The “fake” al-Qaeda is just as determined to attack our allies and us as the “real” al-Qaeda.

The al-Qaeda that is in Pakistan is the remnants of the groups that we removed from Afghanistan. They use the northwest territories of Pakistan as a safe base of operations. It’s very remote territory that is extremely difficult to reach. There they have re-assembled their forces and are trying to re-build their networks.

It is impossible to get them without suffering massive casualties and probably the removal of the relatively pro-western regime in Pakistan. It would be a disaster for the US to have a radical anti-western regime with nuclear weapons control Pakistan.

The al-Qaeda in Iraq has been sent there by leaders of the remnants of al-Qaeda, chiefly Ayman Zawahiri. They are trying to destabilize Iraq and establish another base of operations, much like Pakistan, to use to attack our allies and us.

Since we can’t do much right now about al-Qaeda in Pakistan, we need to do as much as we can against them in Iraq.

Ditto Afghanistan.

All of this, as I said before, has been in the newspapers. If all of this is new to you, I can’t help you any further.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:02 PM

Check this out..

Buy Danish on February 24,2008 at 10:39PM.

Buy Danish:
This is scary as h!ll,these people are doing
more than fainting,this is a slow-motion train
wreck thats lasting 8 more months of the cult
driven second coming of!

When does the Mother Ship land in Washington
as in the Day the Earth Stood Still,the Obama
version!

canopfor on February 24, 2008 at 11:04 PM

Entelechy on February 24, 2008 at 10:50 PM

I disagree that’s its a no-win argument. Fellows such as myself and MB4 have won the argument hands down.

Chastising the Brits for surrendering to Islam suggests there there might be something about Islam in and of itself (aside from al-Qaeda) that is objectionable and alien to Western Civillisation.

You should check out Robert Spencer, he’s this scholar who writes about Islam on a blog called….Hot Air.

aengus on February 24, 2008 at 11:05 PM

Exit Q.
Does this twit “Anthony Cordesman, formerly a nutroots darling” now actually give Shillary and/or B Hussein an out? At least some wiggle room? Will we see more of this from the left now, in an attempt to take any advantage away from McCain? (except of course the pinkos who are already brain dead anti-war)

shooter on February 24, 2008 at 11:05 PM

I have lost some interest in the war myself on this issue – for all the fighting/dying on the part of American and other Soldiers, Sharia law still exists in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other places we protect and pay for. This bugs me to no end.

Sorry, but did you expect to have secular, Jeffersonian-type democracies emerge over there in 5 years?

We don’t have many choices. We can try to establish a pro-western, anti-radical Islamist state that, we hope, over time becomes more open and pluralistic. But we are dealing with centuries old traditions and customs that – as in our own case – takes decades to change.

I wish we could support a pro-western, secular, open pluralistic government. But that’s not one of our options.

Much like the Cold War, the US had to align itself with less-than-savory governments. That’s because the alternative was worse.

Life is like that. Your choices are rarely the ideal one.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:07 PM

Since we can’t do much right now about al-Qaeda in Pakistan, we need to do as much as we can against them in Iraq.

LOL. That reminds me of the old joke about the drunk looking for his car keys on the wrong street corner because it had a street light, even though his car keys were a block down where there was no street light.

All of this, as I said before, has been in the newspapers. If all of this is new to you, I can’t help you any further.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:02 PM

Cute response but without substance. Maybe you could have run for President instead of Obama?

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 11:08 PM

That reminds me of the old joke about the drunk looking for his car keys on the wrong street corner because it had a street light, even though his car keys were a block down where there was no street light.

It makes little sense to me to let al-Qaeda take Iraq, or large parts of it and setup camp there, and change tactics to attack them in Pakistan.

Especially since if we go into Pakistan we are, in effect, waging war against the Pakistani government. A government that will not look too favorably with outside forces intervening in what they see as their internal affairs.

And a government with nuclear weapons.

It’s your call.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:17 PM

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 11:08 PM

Be nice now. He can’t be faulted for only reading local newspapers….oh wait,…YES HE CAN…sorry.

jerrytbg on February 24, 2008 at 11:17 PM

Sorry, but did you expect to have secular, Jeffersonian-type democracies emerge over there in 5 years?

Strawman. No one has said anything like that.

We don’t have many choices. We can try to establish a pro-western, anti-radical Islamist state that, we hope, over time becomes more open and pluralistic. But we are dealing with centuries old traditions and customs that – as in our own case – takes decades to change.

Hope? I thought that was Obama’s line? Decades? Americans ain’t going to wait decades while you hope.

I wish we could support a pro-western, secular, open pluralistic government. But that’s not one of our options.

LOL. You have a gift for understatement. I will give you that.

Much like the Cold War, the US had to align itself with less-than-savory governments. That’s because the alternative was worse.

This is nothing like the cold war.

Life is like that. Your choices are rarely the ideal one.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:07 PM

You ever heard of the saying, “Damming by faint praise”? Well, I dunno, maybe you have and maybe you haven’t, but that is what your defense of Bush’s Iraq policy is like.

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 11:19 PM

DannoJyd on February 24, 2008 at 10:57 PM

Not sure what your statement meant, ref ‘bored’. Because of that I’ll try not to let the beer talk for me.

There are many here….many….who have skin in the game.
Yeah, yeah, yeah,,,,we have heard it before Lim. Oh well. Bored is about as far from the truth as could be. My son is more then willing, more then able, more then ready, more then committed. The problem isn’t being bored. Neither the son on the ground there, or the family waiting here. We want to know who the hell is going to help?

In WWII my pop was in for the duration. Makin, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Iwo. Total time in combat, or combat zone, was under two years. My son, at the finish of this tour, will have spent 41 months at war, out of 84 months served.
41 months. WWII lasted 46 months. Where leaders and where are our citizens who are willing to answer that question?

I stated this war as a committed ‘Nation Builder’. So did my son. Not anymore. All we want now is to be allowed to fight it, kill it, and come home. Let em build their own damn society.

Limerick on February 24, 2008 at 11:20 PM

Killing your enemy whilst simultaneously pretending you have no enemy and inviting your enemy to immigrate to Michigan and Dallas does in fact weaken you.

aengus on February 24, 2008 at 10:29 PM

aengus, you’re very wise. I would generalize much further, and I don’t mean to take away from the whole Islamic question which happens to be near and dear to my heart. Half-measures invite terrible defeat. “Compassionate Conservatism” coupled with GWB’s completely confused state about the Islamics is what leading the country to accept Obama. It’s a lot easier to chose between contrasting options than between something half-right and half-wrong on the one side and something wrong on the other.

Igor R. on February 24, 2008 at 11:24 PM

There can be No peaceful coexistence with true Islam (as defined by Muslims themselves) When one recognizes that Islam is more than spiritual belief, that it directs all aspects of life via a socio-political mandate then the reality of Shari law in counties which subscribe to Islam is understandable. The question for us in our countries is how tolerant will we be in the face of Islamic demands. Liberals and the politically correct crowd are blinded by secularism and cannot see the real threat posed by religious intolerance as practiced by true believers of Mohammad! These people constantly under estimate the determination of our enemies and willfully ignore the very words spoken by them. I cannot define, model or understand this sheer ignorance that progressives embrace.

dmann on February 24, 2008 at 11:27 PM

You ever heard of the saying, “Damming by faint praise”? Well, I dunno, maybe you have and maybe you haven’t, but that is what your defense of Bush’s Iraq policy is like.

And your approach is what?

Islam is undergoing a crisis of modernity. It’s a religion of over a billion people that is having, if you will, growth pains.

A segment of that religion has captured the minds and hearts of some of them with calls to a greater past. That the key to restoring the glories of Islam is in a truer purer form.

We need to dissuade the followers of Islam that that path is wrong. And the only way we can do that is to work with the pro-western elements in their fight against the radical elements.

This is an enormously difficult and complex matter. The worst thing that we can do is to simply invade those relatively friendly countries and radicalize the populace against us.

Invading Pakistan would do just that.

Allowing the radical elements, meanwhile, to emerge victorious in Iraq would send a signal to the rest of Islam that the US is not serious in fighting those radical elements. It would embolden our enemies and frighten our friends.

This has nothing to do about Bush at this time. This is about our future approach.

Now, I’d like to hear your policy approach. You can issue complaints by the dozen; let’s hear your solutions as well.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:28 PM

It makes little sense to me to let al-Qaeda take Iraq, or large parts of it and setup camp there, and change tactics to attack them in Pakistan.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:17 PM

Why, never minding that Al Q in Iraq is not Al Q, why do you think that Al Q is going to take over Iraq?

Al Q is Sunni. 60 percent of Iraqi’s are Shiite. 20% are Kurds. Even most Iraqi Sunnis don’t like Al Q. Neighboring Iran is Shiite. Why do you think that Al Q, either one, the real Al Q or the faux Al Q in Iraq will take over Iraq?

If they take over certain small strongholds, all the better to MOAB them at from afar.

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 11:35 PM

Now, I’d like to hear your policy approach. You can issue complaints by the dozen; let’s hear your solutions as well.

Not a problem. Deport Muslims from Western countries to non-Western Islamic countries. The 9/11 attacks were carried out by Muslims from within America. They didn’t fly (hijack) the planes from Iraq and Afghanistan, they flew them from Boston Airport.

aengus on February 24, 2008 at 11:42 PM

Turning over either or both Afghanistan or Iraq to AQ would amount to a stunning defeat by AQ of the US. And they WOULD follow us home and do the same stuff here. We would not see planes into buildings every day but would see stuff blown up here every day. If it can make us run away in either/both nations, it can make us submit to Jihad here.

Cordesman can buy a clue and see it. He can also see that a couple of deeply tribal/Islamist societies are not going to turn into Switzerland overnight but having a long term military presence in both nations is a plus because it can give us levers on Iran and Pakistan to make them do things we want them to do but they don’t. Like crack down some on Jihadists. And/or cool it with nukes.

Lost in Cordesman’s stuff is what happens when (not if) the new Democratically elected Pakistani government cuts off our logistical supply to Afghanistan? Something like 60% of all supplies and most of the fuel comes through Pakistan on trucks into Afghanistan. The easiest play for a new Pakistani (Democratically elected, remember) government is to cut off supply to US/NATO/ISAF forces in Afghanistan because it’s popular (and will appeal to the anti-Musharraf faction in the Army which is a key power player). Also end cooperation in getting Jihadis, action against Taliban/AQ in Waziristan, and keeping a tight rein on nukes. Because all those policy changes would also be very popular and appeal to the Islamist-Taliban-AQ elements in the Army opposed to Musharraf. The record of democratic governments in Pakistan is that they exist only when the Army allows them to exist, since the Army has all the guns.

The only other possibly supply route for Afghanistan is through Central Asia which would require Russian agreement. Not likely given all the issues including Kosovo that divide Russia and the US. A refusal to allow US supply through Pakistan to Afghanistan would guarantee a complete US withdrawal.

Iraq on the other hand can be supplied from the sea, and has the advantage of being an “unsinkable” aircraft carrier next to Iran should we want to make examples out of regime owned property and wealth centers. Or help Azeri, Baluch, and Arab separatists/terrorist in a tit-for-tat game to moderate Iranian behavior.

whiskey_199 on February 24, 2008 at 11:44 PM

Kill jihadis.

Install secular governments.

Otherwise nothing is won but a strengthened, subversive Sharia movement.

profitsbeard on February 24, 2008 at 11:44 PM

Why, never minding that Al Q in Iraq is not Al Q, why do you think that Al Q is going to take over Iraq?

Al Q is Sunni. 60 percent of Iraqi’s are Shiite. 20% are Kurds. Even most Iraqi Sunnis don’t like Al Q. Neighboring Iran is Shiite. Why do you think that Al Q, either one, the real Al Q or the faux Al Q in Iraq will take over Iraq?

If they take over certain small strongholds, all the better to MOAB them at from afar.

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 11:35 PM

You make some good points but you reach the wrong conclusion. No, AQ will never take over Iraq because Iraq is mostly Shiite so you’re right. On the other hand, recent history has demonstrated that AQ is very hard to eradicate from areas where it’s hated without external help. They use such brutal methods that they are able to expand whenever they are not suppressed. So don’t bet on them only controlling small areas if and when the US withdraws. And to suggest that you can use MOAB against AQ strongholds with any good outcome is just so patently ridiculous that it’s not worth getting into the details.

Igor R. on February 24, 2008 at 11:46 PM

Why, never minding that Al Q in Iraq is not Al Q, why do you think that Al Q is going to take over Iraq?

Sorry, you again seem to think that al-Qaeda in Iraq has no connections or relationship with al-Qada in general. As I understand it (Michael Totten uses this analogy), Al-Qaeda is like, to pick an extreme analogy, McDonald’s. They have different “franchises” operating in different areas.

We have repeatedly captured al-Qeada agents operating in Iraq. Agents that were trained in Afghanistan and elsewhere by al-Qaeda. And agents, such as Zarqawi, that were receiving orders and direction from Bin Laden and Zawahiri.

You think Zawahiri has had no role in the operations of al-Qeada in Iraq?

Al Q is Sunni. 60 percent of Iraqi’s are Shiite. 20% are Kurds. Even most Iraqi Sunnis don’t like Al Q. Neighboring Iran is Shiite. Why do you think that Al Q, either one, the real Al Q or the faux Al Q in Iraq will take over Iraq?

The Kurds are Sunnis. The Sunnis NOW have turned against al-Qeada and with our help are driving them out. Without our assistance, they would be incapable, in my opinion, of doing that. If we had abandoned Iraq earlier, none of this “awakening” would have occurred.

Second, I never said they would take control of all of Iraq. I said that if we left Iraq before the Iraqi military and police were able to defend the country – which is our goal – that they would be able to use parts of Iraq to setup bases for operations.

In addition, if they were successful in driving us out of Iraq, that would embolden the radicals in the region and frighten our friends.

Furthermore, we need to help the Iraqis establish a stable government to prevent other outside groups such as the Iranian and Syrians from also advancing their interests.

Complex matter, complex solutions.

Again, sorry, I just fundamentally disagree with you that the al-Qaeda in Iraq bears no relationship or connection with al-Qaeda in general.

I’m cutting it off here. We’re going in circles and we have a wide gap in our views on what is taking place.

Thanks.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:48 PM

Islam is undergoing a crisis of modernity. It’s a religion of over a billion people that is having, if you will, growth pains.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:28 PM

Growth pains?

What?

Don’t be so naive. They are what they are – Islamic.

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 11:52 PM

aengus — your solution is not politically practical. We can’t even muster the political will to listen in on Osama’s conversations from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia without a court order beforehand, and immunize telcos from trial lawyer led lawsuits.

Most European governments depend on Muslim votes to stay in power, and maintain their leftist governments. They won’t deport their voting base. And Muslims themselves would riot and rampage — probably with Iranian support and military threats ala Hitler with the Sudenten Germans (sorry, Gresham’s Law, but the analogy is apt). Chirac’s puzzling statement that France has “reconfigured” it’s nuclear arsenal to respond to terrorist threats in 2005 only makes sense wrt overt Iranian threats on behalf of the “youths” in the banlieus.

It seems sad but true that Western democracies will support off-the-news military efforts with no bad news dominating, and not much resources, or a massive, all out, “mobile” war with lots of cool briefings and videos and thunder runs and stuff like that for a very short time (maybe a month or two). Other than that it’s surrender or nuke em all. Neither being very attractive IMHO.

If enough political consensus can be rallied that Iraq is now “won” and we should keep our “W” and not create a loss, and won’t repeat an Iraq, plan for lots of proxy warfare, special forces plus massive air raids, etc. for other places that pop up in crisis we might muddle through crisis and crisis. It’s at least a plan that plays to American strengths and recognizes political constraints at home.

whiskey_199 on February 24, 2008 at 11:52 PM

Complex matter, complex solutions.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:48 PM

Weak platitude. Could be used to excuse almost anything.

Are you sure you don’t mean Charlie Foxtrot matter, Charlie Foxtrot solution ?

MB4 on February 24, 2008 at 11:57 PM

Again, sorry, I just fundamentally disagree with you that the al-Qaeda in Iraq bears no relationship or connection with al-Qaeda in general.

Thanks.

SteveMG on February 24, 2008 at 11:48 PM

Could you tell me where I said “al-Qaeda in Iraq bears no relationship or connection with al-Qaeda in general”?

Thanks.

MB4 on February 25, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Islamic societies are very strong one way (resistant to change) but very weak in another (Cannot adapt to change). They are like cement walls. Can withstand lots of vertical pressure but no horizontal pressure.

Muslims in Chad or other so desperately poor places that there is no contact with the West, not even radios, much less satellite tv or the internet, are not our enemies, are not even aware of America and have no opinion whatsoever about us. They are content to live in their deeply tribal-clan societies as they have always lived.

Muslims in wealthier nations and places are not so lucky, They desperately want the power and wealth and ability (to kill their enemies who are usually right next door) that westernization/modernization brings. But understand very well that it would break the cement walls of their society. The pressure of liberalization of women, ending of polygamy, cousin marriage, rule of men not Allah, rationality, individualism, would erode tribal authority and power in a matter of decades not centuries. Meanwhile they are caught without traditional power structures to protect them from brutal and ruthless enemies (often next door again).

Muslims in these nations see the roaring of the retreating sea of faith in Europe and want no part of that. They do not wish to believe in nothing and belong to nothing. And are afraid of it while they want what comes with it at the same time.

So an external enemy is found: the US foremost, Israel second. I am not unsympathetic to them, millions of Muslims do not wake up in the morning and like a Joss Whedon character say “I’m going to be evil today!” But I don’t see this dynamic changing anytime soon either because it is driven by wanting and hating Modernity/the West at the same time.

Asian peoples in Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere did not have an easy time of it either (Japanese Militarism? Mao? etc.) and they had much less tribalism, anti-rational religions, and clan-ism to deal with in adopting modernity and the West’s way of life.

whiskey_199 on February 25, 2008 at 12:03 AM

aengus — your solution is not politically practical. We can’t even muster the political will to listen in on Osama’s conversations from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia without a court order beforehand, and immunize telcos from trial lawyer led lawsuits.

It might not be practical, politically or otherwise, yet I maintain it. It will have to be implemented. I reject the idea that alien immigrants, in their expansion, can simply vote the Western world out of existence. Muslims can riot and rampage all they like but when it comes down to the crunch I’ll have some rioting and rampaging of my own to do.

One of two things will happen:

1) The West will roll over and die without a fight.

2) The instinct for self-preservation will reassert itself among the Western peoples and then there will be hell to pay.

aengus on February 25, 2008 at 12:17 AM

I am not unsympathetic to them

I am a little unsympathetic to them.

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 12:17 AM

1) The West will roll over and die without a fight.

2) The instinct for self-preservation will reassert itself among the Western peoples and then there will be hell to pay.

aengus on February 25, 2008 at 12:17 AM

What’s interesting is that if Obama is elected he will create such a nightmare that political correctness may go out the window. It will become a lot easier to say that Islam is evil without too many qualifiers.

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 12:20 AM

whiskey_199 on February 25, 2008 at 12:03 AM

I’m sorry but….does the phrase,”to the shores of Tripoli” mean anything to you, where it came from and why?? Does the word caliphate play in your reasoning?

jerrytbg on February 25, 2008 at 12:27 AM

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 12:20 AM

Greetings.

jerrytbg on February 25, 2008 at 12:29 AM

Greetings.

jerrytbg on February 25, 2008 at 12:29 AM

Ahoy sailor!

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 12:30 AM

whiskey_199,

Your capacity for empathy is a credit to your character and you are one of the most intelligent and thoughtful commenters on the Gates of Vienna blog.

However, I maintain that Muslims must leave the West (the sooner, the better) because they do not belong here. Their presence is an existential threat not just to us but also to them. We risk losing our historic nations to an influx of hostile aliens, they risk realising that their deepest beliefs are illogical and irreconcilable with reason and established scientific notions of reality.

aengus on February 25, 2008 at 12:30 AM

aengus on February 25, 2008 at 12:30 AM

Slam to the mat, 2 points!!

jerrytbg on February 25, 2008 at 12:33 AM

One can’t help but feel a little empathy for the Nazis: here Germany was totally despirited, and this enigmatic guy shows up and just gives everyone hope! I mean, who wouldn’t follow him to wherever?

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 12:34 AM

What’s interesting is that if Obama is elected he will create such a nightmare that political correctness may go out the window. It will become a lot easier to say that Islam is evil without too many qualifiers.

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 12:20 AM

I don’t know. What is the breaking point? What will it take for Western non-Mulims to say “Enough!” and set about reversing the Islamisation of the Western world?

aengus on February 25, 2008 at 12:34 AM

Too bad I have to leave now,(got to get up early), this could get interesting.

jerrytbg on February 25, 2008 at 12:35 AM

I don’t know. What is the breaking point? What will it take for Western non-Mulims to say “Enough!” and set about reversing the Islamisation of the Western world?

aengus on February 25, 2008 at 12:34 AM

We will not defeat them until we hate them more than we hate ourselves. Collectively, of course. We will not defeat them until we can say things IN GENERAL that are contrary to the “generally accepted beliefs” that all cultures are equally deserving of support and understanding, and we will not be able to say that until everything the left has been trying to teach will be shown to be a travesty. That’s the role of Obama. It will be a painful lesson though. If this were Germany, this would be 1933. Only a terrible loss can cure the disease.

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 12:40 AM

Too bad I have to leave now,(got to get up early), this could get interesting.

jerrytbg on February 25, 2008 at 12:35 AM

Enjoy the night-time sea!

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 12:41 AM

Note: AQ in Iraq is indeed AQ, albeit with local footsoldiers. Memos and diaries clearly establish a chain of command.

There are about 3500 of them left from a peak of about 12,000.

Anyone who states that AQ in Iraq isn’t “real” AQ is ignorant or Barack Obama.

BillINDC on February 25, 2008 at 12:50 AM

Did you know that today Louis Farakhan praised Obama at the Saviours’ Day event in Chicago today? And that he compared him to the founder of the Nation of Islam, Fard Muhammad? Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 12:53 AM

2001 Beyond the visits to his Muslim relatives in Africa, Obama has little to say about Islam and Muslims until the events of 9/11. After that date, Obama begins to become more public in his support of Muslims and their cause.

2001 Obama is protective of civil rights for Muslims in the U.S., saying, “In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging,” he laments. “I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

2001 Obama sponsors Illinois Senate Bill 750 creating the “Halal Food Act,” providing for inspections by the Department of Agriculture to ensure that all food labeled Halal is prepared according to Islamic law.

Islamization — here’s how it works and why Halal food plays a role [link in the original].

2003 Obama calls the Iraq war “a botched and ill-advised U.S. military incursion into a Muslim country.”

2007 On April 8th, Obama shows his Muslim/Palestinian solidarity and sensitivity, by telling Muscatine, Illinois Democratic party activists that he supports relaxing restrictions on aid to the Palestinian people.

He said they have suffered the most as a result of stalled peace efforts with Israel. “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.”

2008 On January 31st, Obama told a French magazine in an interview that if he wins office, he will hold a summit with Muslim countries to better the United States’ image in the world.

“Once I’m elected, I want to organize a summit in the Muslim world, with all the heads of state, to have an honest discussion about ways to bridge the gap that grows every day between Muslims and the West.”

Igor R. on February 25, 2008 at 1:03 AM

Is it fear of conflict that motivates progressives, is it the belief that modeling tolerance and nonjudgmental behavior will effect change? Do pacifists truly think that subjugation and complete lose of freedom is preferable to taking human life in order to defend these hard won values? All I can do is shake my head in utter disbelief and pray we wake up before it is too late.

dmann on February 25, 2008 at 1:46 AM

Anyone who states that AQ in Iraq isn’t “real” AQ is ignorant or Barack Obama.

BillINDC on February 25, 2008 at 12:50 AM

Anyone who disagrees with me is ignorant.

Now that’s a real winner. LOL.

Mark Twain said it much better, but unlike you he was not being serious.

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion my adversaries are insane.
- Mark Twain

MB4 on February 25, 2008 at 3:13 AM

And to suggest that you can use MOAB against AQ [certain small] strongholds with any good outcome is just so patently ridiculous that it’s not worth getting into the details.

Igor R. on February 24, 2008 at 11:46 PM

I almost missed that.

Anyone who disagrees with me is just so patently ridiculous.

Like WOW, what a great argument, now that’s a real big winner too. More LOL.

Yet again, Mark Twain said it much better, but unlike you also, he was not being serious. At least I don’t think he was being serious. No, he was Mark Twain after all, so he was just joshing.

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion my adversaries are insane.
- Mark Twain

MB4 on February 25, 2008 at 3:28 AM

Of course, if the Democrat is elected, it will be amazing how, as the media will report it, “the Iraq War has experienced a major turn-around. Bush did a horrible job, then in the late ’00s, things improved with [insert Dummy-rat] as President…” Even as they forget the economic success of the ’90s started under Bush-41 (not Clinton–and actually built upon Reagan’s success), the recession of the early ’00s started in 2000 under Clinton (not Bush-43) and was exaggerated by 9/11, they will forget the improvement started in 2007 under Bush-43.

As for building a secular Islamic state over there: They are not like the “Muslims” in Turkey or the Balkans. Not too likely. So whereas we are unable to wage a “War on Fundamentalist/Jihadist Islam,” this is about the best we can hope for–weaken them up with democracy so they don’t get as good of a shot at us, while we still get the oil.

Tommygun on February 25, 2008 at 4:41 AM

Iraq was a secular to quasi-secular Islamic state under Saddam, so the war has been a step backwards in that aspect, with the implementation of far more Sharia Law and an Islamist government.

Mister Ghost on February 25, 2008 at 8:12 AM

I guess we’ll find out in November if the American people have had the same change of heart as this guy apparently has or if they’ll vote in even more of those who would run from an enemy that feeds off such weakness more than anything.

Yakko77 on February 25, 2008 at 9:21 AM

Mister Ghost on February 25, 2008 at 8:12 AM

Agreed. Which is why I want to see us get the hell out of there.

No more democracy-building projects.

2Brave2Bscared on February 25, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Speakin’ of the surge, I saw on CNN (of all places) that there’s a U.S. Army rock band in Iraq called … yup, you guessed it, “The Surge”. How perfect is that name?

Tony737 on February 24, 2008 at 10:28 PM

That’s awesome!

eanax on February 25, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Every war is winnable. You just have to take away the distinction between “civilian” and “enemy.”

Sir Andrew on February 25, 2008 at 5:15 PM