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Obama: The surge succeded but there shouldn't have been one


Hammerhead

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He admitted the surge helped bring down the violence, but he's right to say it has not produced a political solution in Iraq because it hasn't. He's not wrong. Like many simpletons, you are incapable of recognizing nuance and gray areas.

I guess Sadaam Hussein died on his own and the Iraqi elections created themselves.

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If the so called surge had ended the war, this would be an issue. But we're miles away from ending the war. Instead of taking steps back for the last 5 years we have taken one step forward and of course the GOP is touting it as if they had just toppled the Nazis.

 

We have a winner

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If the so called surge had ended the war, this would be an issue. But we're miles away from ending the war. Instead of taking steps back for the last 5 years we have taken one step forward and of course the GOP is touting it as if they had just toppled the Nazis.

For one thing, we haven't only taken steps back for the last five years but that's not even the point. The point is he and his running mate both renounced the surge when it happened but now that it has succeeded, he can't come forward and say, "Yes, I was wrong."

 

His argument and stance on the war would make so much more sense if he could just admit that he was wrong but obviously, that's asking too much.

 

No, the surge didn't end the war but it damn sure didn't hurt our position. We killed off 40,000 insurgents, captured another 20,000 and ran off another 10,000. Not only did that deplete al-Qaeda's forces in Iraq but it f***ed up their worldwide plans as well. And later on, like O'Reilly mentioned, it prevented Iran from taking over southern portions of Iraq. When we finally win this war, people will look back and bookmark the surge as a key move on our road to victory.

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Metaphor time :mischief

 

It's like a batter going 1 for 5 and saying he had a good game.

 

The batter is George Bush. That one hit was a meaningless single in the 5th inning (the surge). If it were a walkoff home run (ending the war), then perhaps Bush could say he had a good game, but in this instance, his agent (The Republican Party) is making way too big of a deal about his one measley hit. After all, Bush is making upwards of 30 million dollars per year (billions upon billions of war dollars), which is the highest salary in baseball history (national debt), and he is not playing up to his worth (wasting money)

 

The manager (the people) of this team (America) is considering replacing him with another player (Obama or McCain), but cannot yet decide.

 

Will the manager choose the old, past-his-prime veteran who plays the game the way it was played many years ago (McCain), or will the manager choose the up-and-coming super prospect who is prepared to take the field in a game that is changing (Obama)?

 

Before the game, a news reporter (Bill O'reilly) asked the super prospect how he thought Bush would do in the game today, and Obama replied by saying "Well, I think he is going to go 0 for 5. I am better than him."

 

Following the game, the reporter comes up to the prospect Obama and says "What happened! I thought you said Bush was going to go 0 for 5!", the prospect Obama replies by saying "eh, it was a cheap hit. It still doesn't change the fact that he had a bad game. If I were in the game I would have done better."

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It doesn't matter. He wants to make the same mistakes in Afghanistan. The surge is a tactic. Obama really isn't anti-war or else he wouldn't keep voting to finance it.

 

Democratic elections in Iraq will not work at this point in history. They especially won't work as long as we are still occupying Muslim soil. And we will be for quite some time given the stated policies of both candidates.

 

No, the surge didn't end the war but it damn sure didn't hurt our position. We killed off 40,000 insurgents, captured another 20,000 and ran off another 10,000. Not only did that deplete al-Qaeda's forces in Iraq but it f***ed up their worldwide plans as well. And later on, like O'Reilly mentioned, it prevented Iran from taking over southern portions of Iraq. When we finally win this war, people will look back and bookmark the surge as a key move on our road to victory.

At the expense of how many American lives and dollars? Are we actually any safer?

 

Frankly the border between Iraq and Iran should be of little concern to us.

Last July, eight months after the surge occured, the American combat death total was the lowest it had been since July 2006 and was one of the five lowest monthly counts since insurgency began in Iraq in 2004. During the first twelve days of October, the totes were even lower. So to answer your question, yes, the surge obviously made our soldiers safer.

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Obama had it right last night when he said that the "goalposts had been moved."

 

If the question is "Did the surge succeed?" or "Was the surge successful?", then there can be no single answer because the question is asked without context. Has the surge stamped down the violence? Well, the answer there is yes, obviously. But that's not seeing the forest for the trees. Has the surge expedited the political transfer of power to the Iraqis? The answer is no, because Maliki is in no better position today to secure his own country without the help and presence of American troops.

 

Perhaps a better analogy to the baseball one is that of a sick patient that is suffering from an ailment that causes pain. A doctor prescribed a large dose of medicine that reduces the pain tremendously, but doesn't actually eliminate the agent causing the pain. Did the doctor's treatment work? Well, if the goal was reducing pain, the answer is yes. But if the goal was curing the disease, the answer is no.

 

The key to Obama's argument is that the fundamental question is why we are there in the first place (something that O'Reilly seemed to agree when he said that history will show Iraq was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time). The surge is pointless in terms of cleaning up the mess WE started because militaries are not nation builders. The military is not equiped to do the political work of diplomacy. Yes, the soldiers did their job, but their job is not securing or establishing the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, nor establishing a civil society where none existed in the past (and by "civil" I'm talking about Western representative democracy).

 

However, most partisans of the right just want to hear either (a) an opponent say he was "wrong" so that it can validate their inferiority complex (seriously, I don't understand how conservatives can say they want to "take back Washington" when they've been running Washington since 1994; or constantly claim they're the "victims" of media bias when the media is owned by some of the largest corporations in the world -- GE, Disney -- and they have no vested interest in "liberal" policies or politics) or (b) cannot see past their noses and understand the subtle nuances of complex political problems. Once you try to explain the nuances, you're accused of being an elitist or snobby intellectual. Seriously, when did America become an "Idiocracy!"

 

I've now said my rant.

 

I'm SoFlaFish, and I approve this message.

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Well put SoFla.

 

 

When we finally win this war, people will look back and bookmark the surge as a key move on our road to victory.

 

I'm curious, what has to happen (in your opinion) in order to declare victory in this war?

Total extinction of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the basic foundation, even if it doesn't stick (in my opinion it will if they want it to), for a democracy and a stable economy. Also, we need to secure borders by, for lack of a better term, kicking a little Iranian ass.

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I'm not talking about our soldiers.

 

By the way, are we spending less money overseas?

Do wars cost money?

That doesn't answer the question.

I don't know what you want to hear, then. Fact is we're in a war and as long as we're winning it, keeping our country safe and as an added bonus, freeing another country, there's reason to be at war.

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Total extinction of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the basic foundation, even if it doesn't stick (in my opinion it will if they want it to), for a democracy and a stable economy. Also, we need to secure borders by, for lack of a better term, kicking a little Iranian ass.

 

Under that belief, "total victory" will never be attained unless we occupy Iraq for one hundred years (oh, wait, McCain said we're already going to be doing that). Also, if you think that engaging Iran militarily will result in a little "Iranian ass getting kicked," you have another thing coming. The last thing this nation needs is to be engaged in a war with Iran. First off, Iran is no Iraq. That is not a country that can be toppled with strategic air strikes. Second, unlike Iraq, Iran has a much stronger civil society and is more nationally and ethnically united than Iraq. The last thing the U.S. needs is to be the "big bad ass drunk redneck in the bar that needs to prove his balls are bigger by engaging anyone in a fight!" An American attack on Iran would unify the religious leadership with the civilian leadership (something that is not happening today).

 

Why is it that some people think we're always going to be greeted as liberators when we march onto foreign soil? Why is it that some people think the world wants to be "Americanized?" I was once in a conference on the Arab-Israeli conflict with former U.S. Representative Dante Fascell (yes, I know, that may be well before many of your times) when a Palestinian told me, "Why is it that you Americans think the world is made up of Americans who don't happen to speak English?" That really struck me and has molded my thinking of international politics. This is something that applies to both sides of the aisle, so I'm not pinning this on anyone, but we have to stop looking at the world in that light. I'm a liberal democrat, but I truly believe in the world view of Bismark and Kissinger, which is realism and what is in it for the nation's vital interests. As Bismark would say in regards to the Balkans, "The plight of the Balkans is not worth a drop of blood shed from a Pomeranian foot soldier." (Bismark would have never backed the Serbs in 1914 -- oops, my History BA came out there). Same should hold true for the U.S. We don't need to go out and "export democracy and freedom from the end of an M-16!"

 

I close out with what I thought was the most powerful thing said at both conventions. "[P]eople the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power."

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It doesn't matter. He wants to make the same mistakes in Afghanistan. The surge is a tactic. Obama really isn't anti-war or else he wouldn't keep voting to finance it.

 

This is so plainly obvious, and the fact that very few people see it just goes to show how successful the American propaganda machine has been. Everything else you mention is spot-on as well. I would also add that Obama's comments about the Iraqi people "taking responsibility for themselves" is appalling and repugnant. The U.S. invaded Iraq (illegally), murdered over 1 million of its citizens, destroyed its infrastructure, drove millions more from their homes, installed a puppet government, and orchestrated deals to take their oil -- but the Iraqis are at fault for "not taking responsibility for themselves."

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Obama had it right last night when he said that the "goalposts had been moved."

 

If the question is "Did the surge succeed?" or "Was the surge successful?", then there can be no single answer because the question is asked without context. Has the surge stamped down the violence? Well, the answer there is yes, obviously. But that's not seeing the forest for the trees. Has the surge expedited the political transfer of power to the Iraqis? The answer is no, because Maliki is in no better position today to secure his own country without the help and presence of American troops.

 

Perhaps a better analogy to the baseball one is that of a sick patient that is suffering from an ailment that causes pain. A doctor prescribed a large dose of medicine that reduces the pain tremendously, but doesn't actually eliminate the agent causing the pain. Did the doctor's treatment work? Well, if the goal was reducing pain, the answer is yes. But if the goal was curing the disease, the answer is no.

 

The key to Obama's argument is that the fundamental question is why we are there in the first place (something that O'Reilly seemed to agree when he said that history will show Iraq was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time). The surge is pointless in terms of cleaning up the mess WE started because militaries are not nation builders. The military is not equiped to do the political work of diplomacy. Yes, the soldiers did their job, but their job is not securing or establishing the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, nor establishing a civil society where none existed in the past (and by "civil" I'm talking about Western representative democracy).

 

However, most partisans of the right just want to hear either (a) an opponent say he was "wrong" so that it can validate their inferiority complex (seriously, I don't understand how conservatives can say they want to "take back Washington" when they've been running Washington since 1994; or constantly claim they're the "victims" of media bias when the media is owned by some of the largest corporations in the world -- GE, Disney -- and they have no vested interest in "liberal" policies or politics) or (b) cannot see past their noses and understand the subtle nuances of complex political problems. Once you try to explain the nuances, you're accused of being an elitist or snobby intellectual. Seriously, when did America become an "Idiocracy!"

 

I've now said my rant.

 

I'm SoFlaFish, and I approve this message.

 

Well said. The problem is that people want straight answers - black or white, or right and wrong. Unfortunately, life is not so simple, and I appreciate people that recognize nuance.

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The key to Obama's argument is that the fundamental question is why we are there in the first place (something that O'Reilly seemed to agree when he said that history will show Iraq was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time). The surge is pointless in terms of cleaning up the mess WE started because militaries are not nation builders. The military is not equiped to do the political work of diplomacy. Yes, the soldiers did their job, but their job is not securing or establishing the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, nor establishing a civil society where none existed in the past (and by "civil" I'm talking about Western representative democracy).

Then why is Obama supporting the very same nation building in a different Muslim territory (Afghanistan)? Sure, there were far more controversial pretenses surround Iraq but that does not change the fact that we are simultaneously nation building in another Muslim country where we aren't welcomed and are facing a growing insurgency. And he wants to send more troops there against a determined populus with a history for fending off foreign invaders.

 

I like to think Obama had a better stance on the war than someone like Clinton did but because he wasn't in the Senate during the first round of voting it is difficult for me to give him the benefit of the doubt.

 

However, most partisans of the right just want to hear either (a) an opponent say he was "wrong" so that it can validate their inferiority complex (seriously, I don't understand how conservatives can say they want to "take back Washington" when they've been running Washington since 1994; or constantly claim they're the "victims" of media bias when the media is owned by some of the largest corporations in the world -- GE, Disney -- and they have no vested interest in "liberal" policies or politics) or (b) cannot see past their noses and understand the subtle nuances of complex political problems. Once you try to explain the nuances, you're accused of being an elitist or snobby intellectual. Seriously, when did America become an "Idiocracy!"

That's because neo-conservatives are essentially liberals and engage in liberal-minded foreign policy. Clinton was no adversary of nation-building and a significant portion of his intervention escalated to where we are today.

 

This idea that Republicans and Democrats are staunch opponents is purely a myth. If you look closely they are controlled by the same entities and execute the same agendas. The support the two-party system by debating trivial nonsense such as whether or not a tactic was worth executing within a war we have no business fighting within a foreign policy we have no business maintaining. This is where the 'idiocracy' is rooted.

 

On a broad level, yes, both parties tend to be internationalists. However, I would say that there is a difference, albeit not the same difference as, for example, an internationalist v. non-internationalist. The difference between Obama and McCain on Afghanistan and Iraq is that Obama believes we must nation-build in Afghanistan because 1) that's where the terrorists trained to attack America and 2) it is more likely to serve as a training ground for future terrorists. In other words, the terrorists have always been there (and it's a fact that Al Queda and the Taliban had and continue to have a symbiotic relationship), so we have to create conditions on the ground there that are unwelcoming to them. Al Queda was never in Iraq. In fact, Al Queda and Iraq are ideologically at odds. McCain wants to be in Iraq because he believes, as do many neo-conservatives, that to win the war on terror over the long run we need democracy in the Middle East, and he wants to start in Iraq.

 

So, despite your insistence that they hold identical ideological views, I disagree. I think Obama's approach (no matter how wrong you happen to think it is) is more practical - go where your enemy was, wipe them out, and create conditions on the ground there so they never return (this does not mean, however, that we have to create a full democracy... you just want a functioning and relatively responsive government... usually people prefer not dying if they're doing okay). McCain's approach is much more ideological - spread democracy to the Middle East and we will no longer have terrorists that attack us like Al Queda did on 9/11. Sure, they're both grounded in fundamentally internationalist ideology, but to say they're identical, I think, is unreasonable.

 

Now, if you truly believe that you can spread the seed of democracy this easily, then it makes sense to be in favor of McCain's approach. I don't think it works that way - democracy cannot 1) be developed so quickly and 2) be forced by outside powers (this is actually an oxymoron). If you agree with McCain's approach, you have to be willing to stay for decades or perhaps even a century. Realistically, you're hoping a society to go from a more feudalistic to a full blown democracy in a matter of years. So you're hoping the society will skip hundreds of years of political development. That's pure fantasy.

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The U.S. invaded Iraq (illegally), murdered over 1 million of its citizens, destroyed its infrastructure, drove millions more from their homes, installed a puppet government, and orchestrated deals to take their oil -- but the Iraqis are at fault for "not taking responsibility for themselves."

Their infrastructure was destroyed long before we got there in 2003. Millions were drove from their homes long before we got there. Saddam needed to be deposed, whether you agree with us doing it or not doesn't change that fact.

 

We wont have peace with the arab world until we leave the region(militarily) and cut ties with Iraq. This is not a conflict of values or how we live our lives, it is a conflict of foreign policy. They dont hate us for being American, they hate us for our government. The second we leave the region the Jihad against our nation ceases. No one in our government realises this, just like they don't realise that our relationship with Israel is counterproductive.

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On a broad level, yes, both parties tend to be internationalists. However, I would say that there is a difference, albeit not the same difference as, for example, an internationalist v. non-internationalist. The difference between Obama and McCain on Afghanistan and Iraq is that Obama believes we must nation-build in Afghanistan because 1) that's where the terrorists trained to attack America and 2) it is more likely to serve as a training ground for future terrorists. In other words, the terrorists have always been there (and it's a fact that Al Queda and the Taliban had and continue to have a symbiotic relationship), so we have to create conditions on the ground there that are unwelcoming to them. Al Queda was never in Iraq. In fact, Al Queda and Iraq are ideologically at odds. McCain wants to be in Iraq because he believes, as do many neo-conservatives, that to win the war on terror over the long run we need democracy in the Middle East, and he wants to start in Iraq.

The fact that Obama buys into the concept of the "war on terror" (just like the failed wars on drugs, poverty, and now global warming) pretty much spells it out that his foreign policy is not considerably different. He has spoken out against the war (despite him repeatedly voting to finance it) but this can conceivably be interpretted as being an act of party politics. The controversy surrounding the pretenses of the Iraq War has more or less forced to to becoming a Republican/Democrat issue but let's not forget that the Democrats under the Clinton administration were calling for a regime change in Iraq and many prominent Democrats supported the war in its initial stages.

 

Obama has also been supportive of AIPAC and has been supportive of globalist agendas such as giving money to Georgia, Israel, he Africa. He also wants to subvert our spending overseas by attempting to meet the global poverty goals established by the United Nations. He's also calling for the expansion of NATO, meaning that we could potentially be fighting the Russians over Stalin's location of birth.

 

I would say that Obama is purely a globalist/trilateralist. To say he's simply committed to eliminating Al Qaeda is a pretty large misrepresentation. The idea that nation-building is essential in making our country safer is rather ignorant as well (read my comments in the current Republicans-9/11 thread). It's also worth noting that the opportunity to eliminate Osama Bin Laden through military force has come and gone. We are about ten years too late and I'm scared that we will start bombing the fringe regions of Pakistan which will result in the same ends: more American lives lost, more dollars spent, and more Islamic hatred of our country.

 

So, despite your insistence that they hold identical ideological views, I disagree. I think Obama's approach (no matter how wrong you happen to think it is) is more practical - go where your enemy was, wipe them out, and create conditions on the ground there so they never return (this does not mean, however, that we have to create a full democracy... you just want a functioning and relatively responsive government... usually people prefer not dying if they're doing okay).

It's impractical to believe that at this stage we can destroy the rising insurgency through military force. We probably don't have enough soldiers in our entire military to fight the insurgents on their own rugged land. It's even more impractical to believe that we can establish democracy in a region with radically different ethnicity and political/religious views from ours who already have considerable hatred for our occupation of their lands and our support of their deepest enemies in the region (Israelis, Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis, etc.). The Middle East is already has an incredibly diverse populus and it's rather foolish to believe that they are ready to embrace our freedom ideals being spread through our military force and that all of these problems are going to go away.

 

If Obama were being realistic and practical, he would say that Muslims are attacking us not because of who we are but what we do and that our interventionalism in the Islamic world is of no benefit to the United States. I know you are claiming that Obama is the one merely advocating establishing conditions on the ground (while McCain is supporting full democracy), but you must understand that at this stage there is absolutely no difference between the two. Bin Laden is protecting by local tribesmen in the mountainous regions of Pakistan, making him virtually impossible to eliminate without inciting more jihadists through our occupation and continued military presence in the region.

 

To be honest, I don't think he's stupid enough to think there's a true "war on terror". There's a war against Al Queda and similar organizations that are enemies of the United States. War on terror is kind of a stupid term coined by a simpleton president for simpleton people. (Sorry, don't mean to sound condescending to anyone reading this, but that's what I think). You can't have a war against a method of violence.

 

I don't disagree with anything you said. That said, you haven't shown that I am wrong to say that McCain and Obama do have ideologically different positions. They do. It's just that, to you, the differences between their positions is not meaningful because they are both based on a certain internationalist philosophy to foreign policy. I think the differences are meaningful, but do agree that at their core they're both internationalists. I'm not sure I am being clear here, let me know if I am not. I don't think we're disagreeing here.

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The U.S. invaded Iraq (illegally), murdered over 1 million of its citizens, destroyed its infrastructure, drove millions more from their homes, installed a puppet government, and orchestrated deals to take their oil -- but the Iraqis are at fault for "not taking responsibility for themselves."

Their infrastructure was destroyed long before we got there in 2003. Millions were drove from their homes long before we got there. Saddam needed to be deposed, whether you agree with us doing it or not doesn't change that fact.

 

We wont have peace with the arab world until we leave the region(militarily) and cut ties with Iraq. This is not a conflict of values or how we live our lives, it is a conflict of foreign policy. They dont hate us for being American, they hate us for our government. The second we leave the region the Jihad against our nation ceases. No one in our government realises this, just like they don't realise that our relationship with Israel is counterproductive.

 

It appears as though you did not take Penguino's advice about grammar.

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The U.S. invaded Iraq (illegally), murdered over 1 million of its citizens, destroyed its infrastructure, drove millions more from their homes, installed a puppet government, and orchestrated deals to take their oil -- but the Iraqis are at fault for "not taking responsibility for themselves."

 

Ignoring the claim that the US 'murdered' 1 million Iraqi citizens I will instead restrict myself to something that is a fairly straightforward matter:

 

International Law:

http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/sres0687.htm

http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/sres0688.htm

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2002/SC7564.doc.htm

 

US Law:

 

http://news.findlaw.com/wp/docs/terrorism/sjres23.es.html

http://www.policyalmanac.org/world/archive...esolution.shtml

 

I will help you out with the specifics:

 

The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF):

 

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

 

(a) Authorization.--The President is authorized to use the Armed

Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and

appropriate in order to--

(1) defend the national security of the United States

against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and

(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council

resolutions regarding Iraq.

 

From the War Powers Act of 1973:

 

(b) Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 4(a)(1), whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, ...

 

Regardless of the position one may have on the war, illegal is not a term that applies to it.

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Authorization to use force and authorization to engage in a war are not the same thing. The first authorization you lay out basically gives the president strike capability in case of a threat. It does not say he can engage in a long-term war. There is a distinction there, and you need to recognize it. Under US law, I am not sure it is illegal. Under international law, I believe it is.

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