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September 19, 2005


I made the same equation on seeing the WaPo headline this morning -- body counts + claims of progress = Vietnam.

Of course, there are dead bodies on our side too, as the story makes clear:

Over 17 days this month, guerrillas across Iraq killed at least 116 Iraqi forces and 346 Iraqi civilians in drive-by shootings, bombings and other violence, according to Iraqi officials.

Which makes claims like this seem even more out of touch:

Zarqawi is on the ropes," [military spokesman] Lynch told reporters.

At least he didn't claim to see a light at the end of the tunnel.


Bushco uses a different metaphor, "turning the corner."

I think we ought to start keeping a parallel metric: how many guerillas have "melted away" instead of being killed, as we claim? Count several thousand, I think, in Tora Bora. Ditto Fallujah. Count Moqtada al-Sadr three times (heck, lets count him at 10 points and OBL at 2000, since these guys shouldn't able to melt anywhere). And another several hundred in recent fighting.

We'll need a catchy name for these melt-aways. Maybe the "I Scream Contigent"?

I'm betting it will end like Vietnam, too. I can almost hear, "peace with honor."

As for keeping an alternative metric, it's almost impossible. The very nature of a guerilla/insurgent war makes it impossible to keep track on how many people we are fighting. What's more than likely is that there exists as smaller group of hard-core, full-time fighters who are supported by a much larger contingent of part-time fighters/supporters, who act as the insurgents' logistical tail. Members of the second group move fluidly in and out of the first group as time and the situation demands: Monday they may be ambushing Iraqi soldiers. Wednesday they are back to running their store.

Having a chance at winning this fiasco would require eliminating both groups, which is impossible without massive, and I mean MASSIVE, civilian casualties. What's important to keep in mind is that, according to these guys, the overall trend of American casualties is upwards, not downwards.

Of course, there is no winning this. As Medger Evars knew, "you can kill a man but you can't kill an idea."


Yes--but turning the corner and running smack into ... what?

another corner.


Freakin' brick wall.

There was a very poignant segment on "60 Minutes" last night, some Iraqis talking about what an absolute mess the occupation is. Everything practically is worse than under Saddam, except that they have satellite TVs and cell phones, and they can get passports so have some hope of leaving. Otherwise everything is still a wreck as far as basic services goes.

Finally at the end one woman said something to the effect that if the Americans are going to bring something better to Iraq they should do it already, otherwise please just leave and let the Iraqis heal on their own. they know how to endure hardship and can take care of things if we will just leave.

It really left not a whole lot to say. I still beleive that Bush is going to have to start withdrawing troops early next year both because they are worn out and because the money is running out. The Dems better get in front of this train.

If we are going to make things better for them, we should, and if not, let's just start an orderly, staged withdrawal. Period.

"desperate," "last throes," "turning the corner" - why can't you all see that we are w.i.n.n.i.n.g.?

Why aren't a dozen or two leading Democrats in Congress standing up on a point of personal privilege every day and asking the question regarding Iraq that a once-tough John Kerry asked 34 years ago: "We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

Are they afraid it will hurt their chances of reelection? Are they afraid they will be called traitors? That they will be labeled with the "cut-and-run" smear by a yellowbelly President and his legions of chickenhawks? Do they think that, with another 1900 Americans killed, another couple of hundred thousand Iraqis dead, that the situation will improve, making Iraq a shining example for the entire Middle East?

All those Democrats and others who say "we" must stay to fix what we broke have given us no persuasive argument about how to patch up the Iraq Debacle. Not Russ Feingold, not Wes Clark, though these two deserve a "C-minus" for effort.

Of course, the Iraq invasion was no mistake. So, any leading Democrats who stand up in the House and the Senate ought not to be asking how do you ask a person to be the last person to die for mistake. Rather, they should ask: how do you ask a person to be the last to die for a concocted war, with invented rationales camouflaging real goals?

Any takers?


Well, you know what Karl says about the anti-war movement, of course.

On The Anti-War Movement: Cindy Sheehan is a clown. There is no real anti-war movement. No serious politician, with anything to do with anything, would show his face at an anti-war rally...

Too bad our elected representatives seem to fear and obey Karl as much as the MSM.

This is off-topic, I was just wondering: How are we doing on John Roberts' nomination? I didn't watch the hearings last week, but I have the impression that we didn't score a lot of points. Over at RedState, someone named Leon H has posted a lengthy commentary; the gist is that R's think Roberts did well in the hearings, will be confirmed, and will be a good conservative to replace Rehnquist. This blog hasn't said much about the Roberts hearings, though. So... what's the official TNH analysis?

By the way, it looks like RedState is trying hard to avoid hurricane-related discussions, hence the focus on the Roberts hearings (plus Cindy Sheehan character assassination). I guess no one likes to dwell on bad news.

Until the Democrats offer actual opposition to this war, it is very hard to energize the kind of people who work on campaigns (as opposed to ordinary consumers of electoral politics) to do anything for Democrats. Since Dems are not going to win the money race, losing the volunteer attraction race ought to bother them, but we see no sign of that.

Guess it is not just in the Middle East that democracy is broken, or non-existant.

I think the consensus on Roberts is that he is very skillful at hiding his real views, assuming he has some, but that he is not rigid and doctrinaire like Scalia. I tend to the view that he won't vote to overturn Roe, just slowly bleed the life out of it. I really worry about federal power and especially executive power. The only issue seems to be what is the magic number of Dems that should vote against him to give Bush some pause on the O'Connor replacement without seeming overly much like they would oppose anyone Bush nominates. So I would guess he is confirmed by about 70-30, somewhere between 72-28 and 68-32.

Mimikatz, I agree with your numbers, but I'd not be surprised to learn after Roberts is confirmed that he's Scalia without the barbed tongue. Not that he - or any Justice - will exactly replicate what Scalia says. Even Thomas sometimes breaks ranks. However, I am personally persuaded - call it intuition and my intuition has missed the mark often - that the reason Roberts didn't answer some key questions is because, unlike Thomas, he decided not to lie.

unlike Thomas, he decided not to lie.

Gotta love those law-abiding, principled, far right loons.

janinsanfran, check Pew and the analysis at MyDD.

Pew has a new report out on Congress approval which, among many findings, confirms the 12% generic ballot lead found by Newsweek earlier in the month.

I'm unhappy that Dems are not taking the lead about Iraq, but they're doing quite well in other areas. There's a time and a season for everything. And it's getting time to lay out alternatives.

The only issue seems to be what is the magic number of Dems that should vote against him to give Bush some pause on the O'Connor replacement without seeming overly much like they would oppose anyone Bush nominates.

I hope that works. But considering Bush's usual level of partisanship, I don't think anything short of a meltdown in the Senate would cause him to hesitate on O'Connor's replacement. As it is, he probably thinks he could have done better with Rehnquist's slot, if only the hurricane hadn't gotten in his way.

I quit beleving every fucking thing said after the original invasion of Bagdad when no WMD were used.

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