Saturday, January 20, 2007

What Will Happen in Iraq? What We Need to Do.

People are wondering why president Bush is acting against the obvious will of the American People in the case of the Iraq war. The message of the public will is clear and strong, and even the other politicians on both sides of the aisle agree with the public and yet he denies that and chooses to go in the opposite direction. He must have some pretty powerful reasons. Let's look at those reasons. Then let's look at a possible solution to the whole Iraq war.

First, I think there are some basic key factors to keep in mind here in order to understand what is really happening and what will probably happen in Iraq. Specifically:

1) When you pull your hand out of a bucket of water, the water rushes in immediately to fill the hole as you leave. Similarly, as soon as we leave Iraq, the insurgent forces will rush in to fill the space, and we will then be perceived to have failed. It doesn’t matter whether we leave 5 years from now, 2 years from now, next month, or next Tuesday. It doesn’t matter. We can’t stay there indefinitely. We must leave eventually. And when we do – at that moment – we will be perceived to have lost this war.

2) Further, it also doesn’t matter what the disposition of the violence is when we leave. It can be completely quiet at that point. But as soon as we go, the violence erupts back again and suddenly we appear to be weak losers.

3) If one man kicks the bear and gets away with it, all of a sudden, all the men want to kick the bear. It is the trait of predators. Lions can kill any gazelle they want – but they always pick the weakest, slowest one. Less effort, less risk, I suppose. Once we are seen to be weak, and losers of the war, then all the terrorists will want to come and have a kick at us. They will feel they can win. We don’t seem invulnerable anymore. We may be Superman – but they have kryptonite.

4) Bush knows by now he made a terrible mistake invading Iraq. He could win an initial invasion, but could never calm and rebuild a nation of 26 million people with 150,000 troops. Especially when 22 million of them hate us and want us out and 10 million of them are willing to kill themselves to accomplish that end.

5) Clearly then, given Bush’s mentality, he does not want to pull out on his shift. Because then history will blame him for a massive failure. He does not want that. As long as he stays in there fighting, then he hasn’t failed yet. Even setback is just one more setback along the way. But as soon as we pull out, then we lost the war. He will avoid that at all costs.

6) Therefore, I think it is reasonable to assume that he will keep the forces in Iraq until he leaves office in 2 years. That way, the next president will be the one to pull out the troops and will then be perceived to be the one who lost the war.

Since I have offerred some criticism, I should also offer a suggested solution and here it is in point form:

Einstein said: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."

Along those lines, I will say this:
1) We should get out of Iraq as soon as possible, but not sooner.

2) If we get out too soon, then we will be perceived as weak cowards and those forces who like to take advantage of that weakness will attack us at every opportunity. We will have no peace on our own soil or anywhere else, for that matter. Everyone will be taking pot-shots at us with impunity, knowing that we cannot fight back, and that the American public has no appetite for more war.

3) Therefore, we have to leave , not as an impulsive run from a difficult situation, but rather as a part of a large, public strategy planned in advance and announced with a schedule of dates.

4) Specifically, our problem with leaving the situation in Iraq is just that the Iraqi forces seem unprepared to take over primary combat duty, and as long as we remain there in that mode, they never will be. So we need to switch 100% to training Iraqi forces immediately, and spend no more than 3 months on this.

5) Then I believe we need to move our forces to the borders. The biggest problem we have in fighting the terrorists inside Iraq is that they have a steady stream of supplies and manpower coming over the border to refill their needs for food, fuel, ammunition, and manpower. We need to sever those supply lines, and stop that outside influence, and once that is cut off, then the Iraqi forces can clean up the problems in the inner country areas. The insurgent forces will weaken quickly without food, fuel and ammunition being constantly supplied.

6) We continue this until the end of this year, but no more. The vast bulk of our troops should be home by Christmas. And we clean up after ourselves. No messy residue left behind as a negative reminder of our presence there.

7) Then, once we are out, we take 1/10th the budget we are currently paying to keep fighting the war in Iraq, and we split that amongst the fighting factions and offer it as an ongoing bribe for peace. If they stop fighting, they get the money or the equivalent in goods and services - we are talking hundreds of millions of dollars per month here. If they attack the other faction, then we deduct financial penalties from their payment and pay it to the other side as compensation.

Suddenly it will become VERY expensive for them to keep fighting. Right now, it is very cheap for them to fight us and everyone else. But then, the threat of witholding significant subsidies - that will make it very expensive to keep on fighting. Also, every attack they make takes money away from them and gives it to their enemy. They certainly don't want THAT!!!
Some might argue that giving them money only gives them the money to buy more weapons to fight us better. But why would they fight against us if we are giving them money? Why would they want that to stop? And since we would take their allotment and give it to their enemy, that would end up making our friends much stronger than our enemies. So it becomes a self-governing, self-levelling peace mechanism.

So here is the bottom-line, net effect of this path:

1) We are out of there and home within this year
2) We cut our current expenditures by 90%
3) We will have provided the Iraqi government with both the means and the incentives to protect themselves and maintain the peace
4) We will have provided incentives to keep the peace after we are gone.
5) We will have significant DISincentives for either sectarian faction to continue or resume fighting.
6) Since we will be gone, there is no more Islamic justification for Jihad against us. We are no longer an 'occupying force" That takes the wind out of the sails of those who would try to build support for a fight against us on any significant scale. Right now, our presence there is itself a rallying cry to allow them to build forces against us. That will all be gone.
7) None of theose groups will have incentives or reasons to come here to attack us. They would not want to have their subsidies cut off.
8) They can go back to work producing oil and we can get our oil supply back. Lowering our costs for oil.
9) Our running deficit is decreased because 90% of our spend is eliminated. Gradually, over time, we reduce the subsidies, and back out gracefully over the next few years.
10) Many many many lives are saved. Ours. Theirs. Children's.

There. Now I have criticized, but I have also offered a short-term and long-term strategic solution. And I think it is a viable one.


At 1/21/2007 11:45 PM, Blogger joe caneen said...

Sounds like a good plan.

Incidentally, when did we start fighting wars based on public opinion?

Reminds me of a true story, starring myself.

Moved into a new neighborhood at the age of 11. First day took a walk with my younger brother. Ran into a group of kids at the next house over. Peter Kerns, the oldest. And 5 brothers, Frankie Caswell being the oldest.

Peter, the instigator, challenged me to a fight with Frankie. I wound up promply on the ground. Wasn't even hurt but I was terrorized.

For the next several years I avoided the "Caswell Gang" at all costs. I was forced to take long circuitous routes to school and to friend's houses.

Then one day I was topping the hill at Stiles road with a friend of mine. There at the bottom was Peter and the Caswell gang.

What little dignity I had left dictated that it was too late to change routes.

So, heart thumping I continued down the hill. And Peter challenged me to a fight with Frankie again.

I knew nothing about how to fight. I just knew I always thought it was silly to beat around the bush with pushing and so forth.

So, much to Frankie's surprise (to say nothing of my own surprise), I pounced on Frankie without warning and brought him to the ground.

And I beat the crap out of him.

Then I got up and left.

Though I lived there a couple years more, I never again saw Peter and the Caswell gang, in spite of the fact that they were both my next door neighbors.

And I walked wherever I wanted to in the neighborhood.

No public opinion required.

And so it goes, I'm sure, in every neighborhood. There are the weak and cowardly "manipulators" who work behind the scenes. And the dumb "henchmen" who are probably just ordinary blokes who became the unwitting strong arm of these spineless "prophets", these "I-was-Jesus-Christ-types, these Svengali's, bin Landens, etc.

Such is the nature of bullies and war.


At 1/22/2007 8:18 PM, Anonymous Igor said...

well, I am not an American, so probably my opinion is irrelevant.

Still I'd say: let's get outta there in 48 hours.

You say: "then we will be perceived as weak cowards"
I say: "who cares? I don't care how those arabs/iraqies/etc perceive me. Do you? Why?"

You say: "those forces who like to take advantage of that weakness will attack us at every opportunity"
I say: "Exactly what forces? Exactly what are those opportunities? Exactly how would they attack (which they don't dare to do now)? ---- bring it on!"

You say: "Iraqi forces seem unprepared to take over"
I say: "it's their problem. I won't give a shit"

same for Afganistan.

At 1/22/2007 10:39 PM, Blogger joe caneen said...

Had an urge to expound on my comment, "such is the nature of bullies and war".

One point that could be missed is the fact that I beat up the wrong kid. I beat up Frankie Caswell. I should have beaten up Peter Kerns.

We could say, "well, it worked", but that's a bit short sighted. And what good would it have done to beat up Peter Kerns anyway?

In this case, I was concerned with only my own survival. Not very virtuous. What about the rest of the neighborhood? What other kids were "terrorized". To be sure bullies, like dogs and fire hydrants, seek out as wide a zone as they can control. Why that is so is the subject of another conversation. That it is so is something that man has been observing and writing songs and plays and books and movie scripts about since the dawn of time.

Man's greatest weakness is his confront of evil. He'd rather not see it. He'd sooner "rationalize" things that aren't right and convince himself that they are.

Let's say that I undertook an investigation in the neighborhood to find out what other kids were affected. Then rounded them all up and took them over to wherever "Peter and the Caswell Gang" were. Now let's say I gave Peter and the gang a little talking to about the way things ought to be in the neighborhood. And then, just to punctuate it, beat the shit out of Peter in front of everybody else. Then I'd turn to the Caswell brothers and say, "who's side are you on--you want to keep hanging out with this creep who keeps getting you into fights with everyone else and live a life like that? You want to graduate into a life of crime where you're always having to look over your shoulder for the police or someone like me, or do you want to join the rest of the neighborhood, have fun, play football and stuff and maybe grow up and amount to something?"

In this particular case, I happen to think the Caswells were basically good kids and believe all would have opted to dump Peter. Whether they'd amount to something, nobody can say. But they'd would have had a better chance at it. .

Peter would then have become a recluse. Or run away from home to somewhere where there wasn't someone like me.

And since Man's greatest weakness is his inability to confront evil, he'd find some other place. And he'd learn from his mistake and make a new and better gang with security at his side. And he'd run a prostitution ring or become a drug dealer, arms dealer or religious zealot. And eventually we'd have another on the "most wanted" list, or another madman taking over third world countries.

All because no one in the other neighborhood confronted and handled him while he was still small and vulnerable.

And that's why it takes a leader with a confront of evil to get anything constructive done in the world. You can probably think of a few in the past. Like Churchhill.

And that's why "public opinion" is useless in getting anything constructive done. Public opinion is created and disseminated by bleeding heart, cowardly do-gooders who are the first ones to sneak into the lifeboats when the ship is sinking.

It takes a balance of force and intelligence. War happens when all else fails or wasn't done in the first place.

It's too bad the modern day (post WWI) do-gooders have made public opinion the all-important yardstick of progress. So now we can't even win wars anymore.

That doesn't bode well for the future of this civilization.

It didn't bode well for Rome either. They lasted 1000 years because they didn't have CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, the BBC and all the rest of that ilk promoting the enemy's daily successes and attacking our own leaders and soldiers 24/7.

And now you know where guys like Peter Kerns have found gainful employment.

And THAT is the nature of bullies and war and the rise and fall of civilizations.


At 1/23/2007 7:36 AM, Blogger Val Serrie said...

My point about not appearing weak is that we are the bear. If we let one kick us, then they ALL want to kick us.
And we don't have the strength to fight them ALL.
A lion is much stronger than a dog. But a pack of dogs can bring down a lion.
Right now, the whole world hates us, but many do not attack us out of fear of reprisals. If they think that we are powerless to protect ourselves, then no American embassy would be safe. No American travelling anywhere would be safe. They would attack and destroy the people and buildings and holdings of American all over the world. They would come here and attack us here.
We have interfered too much in everyone else's affairs. We have upheld a double standard where it's okay for us to have weapons of mass destruction, but not okay for anybody else to have them. We have placed ourselves in the role of disciplinarian parent to all the other countries on the planet. We have assassinated leaders, we have put in place puppet governments, started wars, manipulated markets. Apparently we have been acting very badly toward a lot of people. Not you and I of course - but the American government, run by the current administration.
And so the world that used to love us and respect us, now hates us. They look for any opportunity to bring us down. If we look like we cannot defend ourselves, we are doomed.

So yes, I agree, we need to get the hell out of Iraq, but we need to do it in a way that does not look like weakness.

We are the bully. We are that nasty kid that terrorized you when you were young. We are the ones that need to be taught the lesson.
And the kids we have terrorized are lining up to punch us in the nose.

And in fighting the evil(us), they now also become evil. If we point the fingers, we have to point them at ourselves too.

Evil begets evil. We just need to stop it and get out of everybody's faces. Let them fight their battles and wage their holy wars. Iraq is now in civil war. We don't have a dog in that fight. Let's get out and go home as soon as possible - without looking like cowards, but according to a sensible strategy. I think we can get our coats and walk out of that party while the others are still dancing. They will be dancing for a long time yet, but it's not our song.

At 1/23/2007 9:59 AM, Anonymous Val said...

One other thought here, Joe.

Bullies rarely ever see themselves as the bully. Usually they think of themselves as just defending themselves, and they see others as getting in their way of taking what is rightfully theirs. And they generally look upon others with some disdain.
Does any of this sound familiar?
We ARE the biggest bully on the block.

A giving power to public opinion is the only way to keep a power-mad megalomaniac in check. Otherwise we end up with a fascist dictator. Some today argue that Bush is exactly that - and their arguments do have some compelling ammunition...

At 1/23/2007 8:29 PM, Anonymous Igor said...


I am afraid you've somehow got way too gloom perception about how world sees USA.

yes, you can say that "the whole world hates USA". But the following is also true: "the whole world loves USA".

how come? easy: because that "hate" towards USA is not kind of hate we feel towards, say, fascists & co. The correct world would be not "hate", but "frustration". The whole world sees and perceive USA as the locomotive of our civilization, the leader. And when people see how the leader behaves (Iraq affair, for example) - it's not hate people feel, but frustration - "what the fuck are you doing, are you idiots, why do allow your government behave like a bunch of corrupted idiots, etc"

Of course, there are some people who REALLY hate America, but there are always some of those, no biggie.

At 1/24/2007 12:13 AM, Blogger joe caneen said...

Val, read "The Looming Tower" by Lawrence Wright for the backstory of what's going on in the fanatical part of the Muslim world.

Your basic assumption that the U.S. is "evil" is 180 degrees out-of-phase.

Remember WWII? Do you think we should have just let Europe sort that little problem out for themselves? Even with our help we almost didn't make it. And at the same time the Japanese were trying to take over the other half of the world (China, Indonesia and America). Do you have any idea how brutal the Japanese were in those attempts--even before they attacked the "sleeping giant" just like Bin Laden did?

I'm not saying it was right to nuke them. That was no intelligence and total force.

And next we had the Soviet empire with its imprisoned population and the millions of dissidents that were killed there by that regime. At least that one was won with a better balance of intelligence and force.

You kid yourself if you think it's "their" holy war over there in the Mideast and all we have to do is leave the party so "they" can sort it all out for themselves. This war started long before Iraq and will continue no matter what happens in Iraq. These are just the opening salvos and a little bit of testing the waters.

The idea that we're the enemy is just enemy propaganda. Unfortunately, it's not just the enemy without that is disseminating it. --All the cowards who stole away in the lifeboats are now running the media (well, they've been running the media since before Viet Nam) and the U.S. congress again.

Which means the ship will probably sink anyway. And then everyone can be happy that the big bad US got was coming to it. And the poor, victimized fundamentalist Muslims can have a turn at running the world for a little while.

But before all that, I highly recommend that book so you have a better idea of what's coming. There are probably others, but that's the only one I've read that I can recommend as a pure research piece that isn't predicated on anyone's opinion of the U.S. And there are certainly few of those.


At 1/24/2007 7:17 AM, Blogger Val Serrie said...

Propaganda is a tricky thing.
You and I are both the victims of propaganda. Correct me if I'm wrong but neither you nor I have been fighting in Iraq, true?

This means that all we have to go by to judge that situation are the stories we read. So our opinion will generally follow the opinions of the reporters who write the stories that influence us.

I had no idea about what we did in Fallujah, until I came across a blog by accident of a person who was there and he showed photos. We used chemical warfare on the civilians there. Among other things, we burned them with phosphor. This burns the flesh off the bones while the person is still alive. And we didn't just do this to enemy combatants. We did it to just normal civilians. Apparently, the US soldiers just dumped tons of it on entire neighborhoods. I saw pictures of women and children burned and melted.
The Brits also brought phosphor, but the troops dumped it at the border and refused to use it on the basis that it is inhuman.

These images and facts are not permitted to be shown to the public here in the US through official news channels. Just as they are not permitted to show the caskets or funeral services of fallen US soldiers. Because it demoralizes the troops and erodes public support for continuing to fight the war.

It's all propaganda, though we don't like to admit it.
If you watch Fox News, then it's all pro-Bush, Pro-war, Pro-ultra-right wing conservative. If you watch some others, it's more liberal leaning, and they focus more on the human cost and the families of soldiers killed in Iraq.

Honestly, I can't tell what the truth is anymore. Everything we see is skewed and filtered by the perspectives of those with an agenda to pursue.

Like Benjamin Disreali, the Prime Minister of Britain, once said, "The first victim of war is the truth"

At 1/24/2007 8:02 PM, Blogger joe caneen said...

Hi Val,

I'm glad for your response. I worried it might not invite further response.

War is hell to be sure. But my opinion of it and of the US is not based on the news coverage.

You say, in reference to the media, some are "more liberal leaning". Well that's an understatement.

I base my observations on the tone of people who report the news.

I'm sure you've had in your life and in your business a certain type of person. It's the guy who is "looking out for your best interests", the guy with the charming smile and the knife hidden behind his back. You may never find out he's the guy who is stealing from the company, screwing your wife or spreading lies about you behind your back. Such people exist and their behavior is very predictable. They have the following characteristics:

They speak in generalities.

They don't site sources.

They choose the wrong target.

They can't complete projects.

The family, friends and associates around them are in turmoil or just plain sick or both.

They covertly seek to destroy any betterment activity and support any activity which is destructive of betterment activities.

Of course they lie. And they can be very convincing.

If given a communication to pass on, they will alter it to worsen it.

They accuse others of things which they themselves are doing.

They operate on "fixed ideas" and therefore can not really "think"

When challenged, they resort to name-calling, snide comments, denigrating jokes and otherwise seek to undermine or destroy the credibility of the other person.

Turmoil surrounds such people.

They do not change.

Only about 2 1/2 percent of any population is comprised by such people. Another 20 percent or so are deeply affected by these people and are prone to act like them. But if removed from the vicinity of these people, they would improve. They can change.
The 2 1/2 percenters don't. These are INDIVIDUALS (people), not nations or parties. A nation or party can act like this, but it is because of these lunatics behind the scenes controlling the outflow of information. Any modern day tyrant comes to mind.

Based on your earlier statements you might consider Bush one of these. He's not. Though he has been painted as one through a never-ending barrage of "propaganda". Not to say he's flawless or great. Just to make the distinction that he is NOT one of these types.

You know such people.

They are often portrayed in books and movies and have been throughout history.

Smart, observant guys like you do not befriend or trust them. Or fire them. But smart guys like you can also be tricked by them into trusting them. And that is ALWAYS disastrous.

They are not found in "insane asylums". Only their victims are. And often their care-takers are of this ilk, which is why people never get any better in insane asylums. Nurse Ratchet (One Flew Over the Cukoo Nest) comes to mind.

Now, the next time you watch TV, particular news shows that have guests that they interview, watch for these indicators.
They are unmistakable. And invariable. The easiest indicator to spot is: "they speak in generalities".

"Everybody knows...everybody says..."

Watch them stumble and balk if ever challenged by an observant report who would be smart to ask, "WHO is "everybody?, name the SOURCE". O'Reilly is one of the few who does this. Limbaugh is another.

Watch them never answer the question, change the subject or try to throw off the reporter or reverse the line of attention back to the reporter or someone else. Watch the evasiveness. They are not there to have a conversation. The questions just get in the way of what it was they came there to say, and any question becomes a leap-off point for what they want to say, even if irrelevant to the question.

So as to these slightly liberal media outlets you referred to, they are the home and mouthpieces of these people and have been for 4 decades. Which is what I was referring to when I said, "now you know where the Peter Kerns have found gainful employment". And that's why the far left liberals go there to get their message out because it won't be challenged. They'll be coddled there.

And what are they up to? Well, being of the sort I described, you can not tell by what they SAY, only by what they DO.

So if you're in favor of socialism, big government, legislated morality through the court system, suppression of actual freedom of expression and religious belief, the drugging of school kids because they act like kids, the power of the school system to indoctrinate (not teach) your children without your consent, the eradication of any kind of belief or standard of "right" or "wrong", etc. these are your guys.

They pander to the weak and create an idea that "the government will take care of you". They pander to criminals. They pander to the unproductive people in society that want something for nothing (the definition of criminality). They create the idea that there is no such thing as "personal responsibility" and that the real producers--the "rich" did not create their own wealth fairly and so are obligated to support you. And the minions who fall for it gladly (as it excuses their own incompetence), are the ones who are always blaming the company, or the government, or SOMEBODY ELSE. But never themselves.

If you like the idea of the government taking over your own property under a new liberal interpretation of eminent domain (thousands of cases across the U.S. in progress), these are your guys.

Such "bleeding heart liberals" could care less about these "unfortunate" people. They use them and manipulate their attitudes and opinions for the SOLE purpose of attaining power. They use them.

So back to the war.

I'm not of the "Blame America First" crowd as these people are.

I'd give little credence to these fantastic stories about atrocities you'll find on the net.

I don't doubt there have been some. There are always criminals to get into the military because they're keen on killing people.
There are a few Marines on trial for murder and rape right now.

But to take this small percentage and paint the military and the U.S. with a broad brush is EXACTLY and ONLY and INCESSANTLY what these type of people do. And they're doing it with the SOLE purpose of doing ANYTHING NECESSARY to regain power in the US government, consequences be damned.

Unfortunately there are few people in politics anymore--from either party--who have any spine or values or integrity anymore.
There are a few, but they'd have to be saints to be able to rise above the dirty media and dirty politics and actually be recognized. It has happened before and it could happen again. But the odds are worsening.

You're impression that "the U.S." is the bully misses the point that there are actual people with agendas who have created all the ills you listed out--INCLUDING fomenting a hatred for the U.S.

The question is ask when someone is railing against YOU with generalities--or against the COMPANY--or against the NATION is this: "What do YOU have to hide?" And a pretty good indicator will be found in the maxim stated above: "They accuse others of things which they themselves are doing". Guaranteed.

So we have a much bigger problem than the enemy without.

We have an enemy within.

And so goes the country.

Unless the Voices of Reason start getting heard over the ever-increasing din of little bullies.


P.S. I said I base my opinion on the tone of people who report the news. There is the other side of the coin:

People who speak in specifics and name sources.

People who correctly target.

And so on. The opposite of all those things listed above.

The difference is stark. At least it gives you a better gauge of where you're more likely to hear more accurate information.


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