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» Iraq Index Shows Progress Being Made from All Things Conservative
The Brookings Institution released its latest Iraq Index this week. I would encourage you to read it all, but here are some notable items: Per Capita GDP (USD) for 2005 is forecast to increase from the previous year to $1,051. [Read More]

» Iraq Index Shows Progress Being Made from All Things Conservative
The Brookings Institution released its latest Iraq Index this week. I would encourage you to read it all, but here are some notable items: Per Capita GDP (USD) for 2005 is forecast to increase from the previous year to $1,051. [Read More]

» And More Good News from Blue Crab Boulevard
This is a good day for upbeat news from Iraq. Bill Crawford has the latest numbers from Brookings up - they show real progress is being made in Iraq. Why do I doubt this will show up in the MSM? UPDATE: The Futurist has an analysis and a pred... [Read More]

» Still more good news from Iraq from American Geek
The Brookings Institute has released its latest index report on Iraq, and the numbers show real progress. All Things Conservative provides a good summary of the data, and The Futurist goes into a deeper analysis.... [Read More]

» Great News From Iraq from Dean's World
Good news, lots of it, along with some very interesting data and predictions, here and [Read More]

Comments

AndyS

Dear Futurist:

The GDP numbers are nowhere near as rosy as that. Iraq's nominal GDP per capita was well above $1,500 throughout the 80's. It was driven way down by sanctions after the Gulf War, but still managed to climb above $1,000 in 1999 and 2000. The current GDP is just over $1,000, and even if the growth projections are met the Iraqi's will be worse off than they were 30 years ago.

Don't get me wrong -- improvement is good -- but "prosperity" will not be attained by any means by 2008.

In general, Mr. Crawford at All Things Conservative cherry-picked and distorted the Brookings Report. To the extent your post is inspired by his, you're on loose ground. I'd suggest reviewing the report yourself before quoting it.

GK

AndyS,

I did review in detail. I would say that about 75% of the things are improving in Iraq, and 25% are not.

Sure it is not going to be 'prosperous' in an absolute sense by 2008. China and India are not prosperous yet either. But they are growing quickly and that is where the excitement is. Iraq will be similar.

Bill Crawford

AndyS couldn't be more wrong. My numbers are taken directly from the Index, and no analysis beyond that given. Get a life Andy.

GK

AndyS,

Precisely what has Bill distorted? You may have posted elsewhere, but remind me if you can. I can't seem to find any distortion in what he posted on his blog.

No one is claiming Iraq is as good as Norway or Australia at the moment. But at least 75% of all indicators are moving in very favorable directions, and is already beating many neighboring countries. This is indisputable from the Brookings report.

If you disagree, provide specific metrics (beyond just per capita GDP, which dropping largely during the 1980s and 90s under Saddam, and is now surging back in his absense.)

AndyS

Futurist/GK:

First of all, Crawford has come here to suggest that since he gives no analysis, one can't quarrel with him. I would point out that he describves the numbers he presents as "good news" -- which, implicitly, represents analysis -- and, therefore, subject to challenge when they involve distortion.

Here is some text from my attempted post on Crawford's site (which he deleted!).

* Your points 1 and 2 present Iraq's GDP immediately before the war as a benchmark, and suggest that growth since then represents improvement. But Iraq's nominal GDP per capita was well above $1,500 throughout the 80's. It was driven way down by sanctions after the Gulf War, but still managed to climb above $1,000 in 1999 and 2000. The current GDP is just over $1,000, and even if the growth projections are met the Iraqis will be worse off than they were 30 years ago. More to the point -- the sanctions are now off! GDP ought to increase markedly. The fact that GDP is increasing would represent progress to the extent that Iraqis perceive an improvement; seen in context, the GDP numbers don't suggest any such thing.

* Your point 3 is phrased to make it sound like actionable tips are steadily increasing. Actually, they were somewhat higher in a couple of months last year and have been generally steady for the last 9 months or so.

* Your point 5 presents the fact that oil production in April reached 2.14 million barrels per day as good news. If you read the report, you'll see that production recovered to prewar levels of about 2.40 MBD by early 2004 and remained at that level for several months. Since then, the numbers show a pattern of slow decline. This is bad news, not good!

* Your point 6 reads "Revenues from oil export have only slightly increased from pre-war levels of $0.2 billion, to $0.62 billion in April." On this one, oddly, you got the numbers wrong -- but in the wrong direction! The $0.62 billion number you quoted reflects the fact that the report includes only revenues through April 12th. Actually, monthly oil revenues have been averaging about $2 billion a month for the past year or so.

* Your point 7 is seriously misleading. The relevant part reads: "Electrical output is almost at the pre-war level of 3,958 megawatts. April's production was 3,600 megawatts. In May of 2003, production was only 500 megawatts." Reading the chart on page 31 of the report, you can see that production recovered quickly after the war -- it was over 3,000 megawatts in June of 2003 and had returned to prewar levels by the end of 2003. Since then, it has hovered steadily around 4,000 MW -- the 3,600 megawatt number for April is actually the lowest number in a year.

* Your point 8 points to an unemployment rate of "25-40%" as good news -- an indication of progress. In fact, the unemployment rate in the report has hardly budged since June of 2004, when it was given as "30-40%".

* Your point 9 chooses the peak month in terms of American soldiers wounded, then compares it to the current month to show that progress has been made. In fact, what the report shows is that outside the peak period in late 2004, the number of American soldiers wounded per month has fluctuated between 400 and 600, with no discernible pattern or direction.

GK

1) OK, but remember that India and China are poorer today than they were in 1830. In any event, Iraq is already more prosperous than at any point since Saddam's war with Iran (beginning 1980). Please be sure you are blaming Saddam in addition to merely the sanctions against him.

Your point also proves that the invasion was a good idea, to put the previous disaster to an end.

2) Actionable tips need not always increase for progress to occur. Tips decrease as insurgents decrease.

The other numbers still indicate a positive trend, even if some months are poor on occasion.

What do you make of the fact that 77% are glad Saddam is gone (96% of Shiites and Kurds)? What should the US Democratic Party say to that?

Aaron

Just finished Max Boot's book on small wars.

Paraphrasing somebody: You don't have to "win" insurgencies, you just have to "not lose."

You will see violence in Iraq for many more years, but I don't think the minority Sunnis can win.

TallDave

As someone who reads the Iraq Index weekly, I have to say AndyS is mostly right, with the following exceptions:

-Economically, the Iraqis are much better off, not so much because of GDP bt because they are allowed to buy things like satellite dishes, cars, generators, cell phones, internet access, etc., that were highly restricted under Saddam.

-No one really has any idea what the actual unemployment rate is. We do know it is probably much lower in the Kurdish north where a mini-boom is underway, and highest in the Sunni Triangle where the violence is preventing much from getting done.

The real progress in the Iraq is mostly seen in two areas: political freedom and # of ISF.

There are still many problems to be solved. The nearly unimaginable societal pathology of tribal violence and corruption will take years to remedy -- though that task will fall mostly to Iraqi forces.

AndyS

GK:

I understand your points. The big issue is this: Crawford and others wonder why the "MSM" isn't trumpeting the good news. Don't they consider that their deceptive advertising -- disguised as analysis -- is just another form of preaching to the choir?

It is OK for analysis to have a viewpoint -- but when it does, it's important to walk a very fine line between honesty and polemic. Crawford's work comes nowhere near that fine balance -- it's just a cheap policital commercial.

triticale

"There is a strong case to be made that as the prosperity of a society rises, its tolerance for chaotic violence drops greatly"

Certainly seems to hold true for urban neighborhoods in the US, if we can extrapolate from there.

Nate

This is an interesting analysis, though I don't it entirely convincing.

I don't think we are 2/3 of the way there by any means. To say this ignores the political dimension as well as the historical record of developing democracies. Fareed Zakaria has written extensively about how the most critical years for a democracy are not the transitional years, but the first five years after the inception of democracy.

I say the first real day of Iraqi democracy will start in the next month or so, whenever parliament convenes for the first time and all the government posts have been filled. That is when the real test begins, and it should give us all pause that Shite thugs will hold key positions in the government. I know, maybe its better for a society to have these guys where they are accountable, but that doesn't mean they won't use their superior numbers and force for corrupt purposes. Certainly a drawdown of American forces will give them the temptation to use violent means to put down troublesome Sunnis and Kurds meddling in key oil areas. We aren't on the homestretch by any means.


Kevin

*** the US snapped out of the Great Depression in the same way with massive WW2-driven economic growth in 1942-45 ***

That's kind of a myth -- people don't appreciate this but the U.S. "snapped" out of the depression in about 1934, after the wave of bank failures -- which choked off the money supply -- ended in '33. Look at a chart of any economic stats from that point and it's rapid growth across the board.

WW2 ramped things to an uprecedented level of course, as the economy's resources, maxed out, couldn't meet demand. Hence the rationing and shortages.

My Mom thinks she lived through the depression. Ha, it was over before she was born in 1938.

Billy Hollis

"In other words, Iraq can't just be as safe as Germany was by 1949, it has to become safe enough for American tourists to go for vacation in decent numbers (just as they currently go to Israel, Tanzania, or Thailand). That is a very high bar to attain, but unfortunately one we have to meet in this political climate. Only then will the fifth column no longer be able to deceive the fashion sheep that the war is a failure, and a broad perception of victory can emerge."

That's a pretty high bar indeed. I wonder if it won't be sufficient for a couple of hundred thousand troops to have rotated back to the US and spread the word about the true situation in Iraq. Certainly that will at least contribute to the perception that it's not a failure.

Jim Ausman

Falling electricity production, flat unemployment levels and increasing violence are signs of economic growth?

Go back to the original source and show me where there is evidence of economic growth:

http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf

GK

Jim Ausman,

er... Why did you avoid the GDP growth data in the Brookings report?

Jess

Maybe it’s a sign that the msm’s blackout on hope in Iraq is beginning show signs of weakness when those that have obviously been expecting/hoping for a Vietnam style failure in Iraq are now having to spend time frantically trying to stamp out brushfires of guarded optimism in the future of the country instead of gleefully gloating about its decent into bankruptcy/chaos/civil war etc.

AndyP

You mean, we're not all doomed, after all? A lot of leftists are gonna be very disappointed!

SSV70

You say that a 16.8% growth in Iraq (4 times the world average growth) is a hugh surge that will make it the fastest growing country in the world and snap it out of its long misery. Really?

Hmmm...let's do some math here.

What's our cost for a decent living in our country? $35,000 a year?

Let's assume that I make $100,000 and my poor destitute neighbor makes only $10,000 a year. So, I am well-off but my neighbor is miserable and about $25,000 below the decent living income line.

Let's assume that my income grows at 5% a year and my neighbor's income grows at a whopping 20% a year, which is 4 times my growth.

So, next year, I would earn $105,000 and my neighbor would earn a whopping $12,000.

Do you really believe that the hugh surge of $2,000 in my neighbor's income from $10,000 to $12,000 would snap him/her out out the long misery when it takes a good $35,000 a year to make a decent living?

Philip Cassini

SSV70, you should have actually done the math you claim to be championing. Using even your (poor) numbers a "decent" (whatever that means) income would be achieved in only 8 years. That's incredibly fast. The poor person would exceed the rich person's income in only 19 years!

Most rich countries grow by only 2-3% (often just 1% in Europe). A rate of 16% is amazingly good and something that Iraqis and Americans should be proud of. The rest of the Middle East can only aspire to such levels of economic growth. In a decade Iraq could be the richest country in the Mideast bar Israel.

Bob Young

"So why will victory take all the way until 2008 if things are going so well? Because victory cannot be declared until their is a perception of victory. Part of this is President Bush's fault. If he did a better job of advertising exactly the successes highlighted by the Brookings Inst. and repeated them often, this would uplift American morale, British morale, Iraqi morale, etc., and we would already have created the perception of victory in the world."

I appreciate your boldness, the blatant transparency of your spin. Building a "perception of victory" will require a much better job of creating a "perception of truth" stemming from a "perception of reality." Perhaps if you folks become truly proficient at what you do, someday we will be able to meet "perceptions of threats" with "perceptions of war" and we won't have to have any of these truly real, flag-draped coffins coming back to America under cover of darkness. We won't need soldiers anymore, just think tanks, marketing specialists, and PR firms. And as we all know, these people seldom get killed.

ssv70

Phillip Cassini - Point taken. All I am saying is that Iraq's misery will become tolerable after some years (I will leave that calculation in your able hands) but definately not in 2008 as suggested in the article.

GK - a.k.a "closed one-track partisan (and possibly pro-bush) mind." I have two points for you:

1) GDP is just one measure of success. Free speech, civil rights, etc. are a few others. But I don't want to go on a tangent so I will stop here in response to your China argument.

2) It's hilarious that you chose to spin your web to classify me in the anti-bush left camp without having any understanding of where I stand. The choice is yours, my friend: You either keep spinning your web of assumptions, which appears to make you miserable just reading my thoughts or do whatever else it takes to make you happy and peaceful.

GK

ssv70 and Bob young obviously didn't read eaither my article or the Brookings data. I do in fact discuss may things other than GDP, notably the political freedom index and life expectancy.

Let me ask you this :

I say that about 75% of the parameters are trending well in Iraq, and about 25% are not.

What percentage breakdown would you two give? Do you think that 100% of the things are going poorly? If so, why?

Let's quantify how far apart our perceptions of the Iraq data are.

mishu

ssv70, you really need to read Friedrich von Hayek.

Bob Young, there were plenty of flag draped coffins coming out of Germany and Japan after V-E day and V-J day. You can never measure victory by absolutely noone dying.

Bill Crawford

Andy S is criss-crossing the web calling me dishonest, for what reason I don't know. I will tell him again: the numbers are straight out of the Brookings report and there is no dishonesty in my post, and for you to continue to say so Andy, is pretty vile.

GK

Hmm... why the sudden silence from critics? I asked a simple question :

I believe 75% of the economic/political/health data from Iraq is trending positively, and 25% is not.

For those who disagree, please give your own percentages for how much is trending well and how much is not. All we want is your opinion. If you think 100% is trending badly, so be it, just explain why you think that.

Why the hesitation to answer, particularly if you are so convinced that my numbers are wrong?

usnjay

GK:
I was waiting to comment to give the critics a chance to reply, but it’s been awhile so I think you scared them off.

The fact Al Qaeda and other terrorists are fighting so hard in Iraq is proof that THEY think a US victory there would be a serious blow for their plans. As for when a victory will come, I think it’s inevitable unless the US media is successful in their anti-American rhetoric and manage to fool enough Americans to force us to surrender.

Anyone who thinks Iraq is in a civil war has been fooled, b/c it's illogical to think 10% of the population can successfuly start a civil war against both the other 90% as well as the US military. That's like saying Rhode Island could start a civil war against the rest of the US.
usnjay

GK

usnjay,

Yes. Not only that, but Osama's tape 6 months ago offered a 'truce' with the US if the US withdraws from Iraq.

Plus, another earlier tape says the Madrid bombings were punishment for Spain for...their participation in Iraq.

Everyone knows victory in Iraq would be victory in the WoT. The only people who deny this are those who actually want us to fail in Iraq, yet need to pretend that they actually are still 'Patriots'.

None of the opponents has answered my question about what percentage of data from Iraq is trending well, and what percentage is trending badly. I think it is 75%/25%. A greatly differing opinion is welcome, but it appears that those who think the war is going badly are not very proud of their opinions. Hmmm...now why might that be?

wilsonkolb

Wow, "Futurist," you must have one hell of a drug supplier. Where do I get some of your mushrooms?

First off, if (a huge "if") what passes for an economy in Iraq grows by the percentages you and/or your source predict, it would be poorly measured, unevenly distributed and from a very low base. The sad fact is that, ever since the United States destroyed Iraq in order to save it, the place has existed at a lower level than under Saddam's tutelage. The neo-con predictions that reconstruction would be cost-free have turned into a series of sick jokes.

Secondly, your blithe pronouncements of econonomic determinism would be laughable in most settings, but here they are macabre. I guess you consider actual history too boring; you know, the study of past events, such as what happened in Iraq the last time a western power tried to invade it and run it? See: Britain, 1920s. Then see "Santayana, famous quotes."

You know nothing. Your glorious little adventure is falling apart. Next to go will be the U.S. dollar, finally stretched past the breaking point. Then you willm be left to wonder just how it was that the United States fought not one, but two fruitless wars of occupation in 30 years.

The unfolding Iraq defeat is especially embarrassing given that, unlike Vietnam, there is no organized opposition in Iraq to speak of, and no idenitifiable outside supplier. And Jane Fonda wss nowhere to be seen, although I suppose we can blame it all on Cindy Sheehan or Bill Clinton or something.

GK

wilsonkolb,

You obviously didn't read the Brookings Report. Brookings is a left-leaning institution, by the way.

So answer the simple question:

What percentage of data about the economic/political/human life in Iraq is trending well, and what percentage is trending badly?

I think 75% is trending well, and 25% is trending badly. I know you disagree, so put forth your own percentages, with a backup explanation.

Also answer 2 more very simple questions :

1) Do you oppose even the war in Afghanistan after 9/11?
2) 77% of Iraqis are glad Saddam was removed. Do you wish Saddam was not removed?


Chuck the Lucky

GK said
"wilsonkolb,

You obviously didn't read the Brookings Report."

After reading wilsonkolb's comments it is a stretch to believe he has read much of anything at all. His comment was a string of insults, insane declarative statements and stuff he picked up from old Osama bin Laden reruns. It made me giggle like a little girl. Don't expect an answer to your questions to him - or at least not relevant answers. It might involve an output that he has not memorized.

GK

Chuck,

You are right, and perhaps a bit too generous in describing what wilsonkolb really is.

Wilsonkolb,

You obviously didn't answer the questions as they would reveal your extreme hatred of America, not just the Iraq War.

Readers, note that wilsonkolb also rants about opposition to the Afghanistan War after 9/11, and a hope that the US economy collapses. This is pure anti-Americanism, and wilsonkolb is a member of the 8-10% of the US population that actively sides with America's enemies. Yet, they are not proud of enough of their anti-Americanism to admit it, despite being heavily devoted to this cause. This is proof that even they know their cause is evil, jealous, and shameful.

Bill Crawford

GK, congrats on holding your own against an onslaught of critics. I think you make a fair statement. I have not run the numbers myself, but I think it fair to say that many more markers in the Iraq Index are trending positive that negative. The same could be said of the entire situation in that country. You and I call this progress, and judging from some of the angry response you have received we must be right.

GK

Bill,

Thanks. Note that the critics are not merely reading the data wrongly, but they *need* to believe that Iraq is going 100% badly, as their worldview of Bush being the greatest criminal against humanity depends on it.

Now, they even try to suppress any good news coming out of Iraq, as that would change the perception of reality they are trying to indoctrinate people into. They actually *want* Iraq to fail. When you view their actions through this lens, their actions follow a consistent and predictable pattern.

Steven Haskett

I was in Iraq recently and inquired about buying property. The discussions which followed lead me to believe the Iraqis themselves have a strong expectation of the success in the future of their country. Some might even use the phrase "irrational exuberance". At any rate, I can report first hand that there's no fire sale on real estate in Iraq.

Maddy

1) Do you oppose even the war in Afghanistan after 9/11?
No. I’m VERY opposed to the fact that we never caught Osama.
2) 77% of Iraqis are glad Saddam was removed. Do you wish Saddam was not removed?
I'm glad he was removed. I very much doubt that any American would argue he is fit to lead anyone, ever. Then again, wouldn’t it have been nice if we had removed Lenin or Stalin? Why do you suppose we don’t try to take out every dictator, like Hu Jintao maybe? Despite that we claim our sole motivation is to bring democracy to those deprived of it, we don’t actually do this for everyone - it would be impossible. So why, then, did we pick Iraq? Why not China, where people suffer as well? Maybe because we already have an economic relationship with China. Just pointing it out.
Taking out Saddam was necessary to achieve our aims, but it was not ONE of those aims. The aim was to create a democratic, America-friendly Iraq; post liberation, they would rely on us and open up our oil trade. Heck, maybe we could even control the oil industry over there. I don’t even have a problem with using foreign policy this way – economic stability in America is important. But WHY didn’t the President just admit that’s what the war was about, from the beginning?

Besides, neither of these questions is relevant to this topic at all. Why are you bringing them up? Please don't assume that people who question your statistics also question America. Obviously we love America, free speech in particular. That's what blogs are all about! But remember that questioning your leaders and their decisions is healthy. How would we learn if we didn’t question? What if we had just paid the tax on tea to the Brits and NOT fought the Revolutionary War? What if the Iraqis had blindly followed Saddam? Questioning leaders and their potential propaganda is GOOD, and it is PRO-American, not the other way around! What are our troops fighting for, if not these values?

From what I can tell, your 75-25 percentage is an estimation based on the statistics that you've read. It would be impossible to determine whether or not 75% of all statistics about Iraq are "positively leaning." Some are more positively leaning than others, and so on. If a person wanted 75% of stats to be "positive," one could simply take more surveys with probable positive outcomes and refuse to take surveys which might generate negative outcomes. Statistics are, unfortunately, easy to manipulate. The best we can do is read the stats, talk to soldiers, and try to extrapolate what could be going on in Iraq.

If things are going well in Iraq, that's wonderful. I didn't want us to go to Iraq initially, but mainly I’m angry that the administration was, and still is, vague about what’s going on … Democrats and Republicans alike spout nonsense on this issue and it’s very hard to tell fact from fiction. Are things going well, or poorly? It would be nice if we could simplify statistics in the way you suggest, but I’m afraid it just isn’t possible.

I just wish we were having an easier time in Iraq than we are. I wish we were in control of the oil reserves there and that our troops were on their way home, and I’m upset that we don’t seem to be doing that very quickly. I don’t think anybody expected this but it’s time to admit the mistakes we’re making (because we must be doing something wrong over there, or we’d be done by now). If Iraq is going to devolve into civil war, okay. It happened here, it could happen there. But we really don’t need to be involved in that.

I think quibbling about stats is a stupid waste of time. You should continue to publish the stats you know in an unbiased way, and if people have corrections for your stats, investigate them and fix your post if it was wrong. If it wasn't wrong, ignore the liars. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean that they hate America, so please try not to jump to conclusions. We’re all doing our best to communicate, here.

GK

Maddy,

1) I won't get into the partisan arguing of how Clinton was offered Osama and declined. Instead, I wonder if you understand the ideology behind Al-Qaeda. Do you really think the threats from terror would go away if Osama were killed tomorrow? Do you think that the attacks in London, Madrid, Bali, Beslan, Delhi, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, and Jordan would have all been prevented merely by catching Osama.

The belief that getting Osama stops all this terror is a critical lack of understanding of the dangers that anyone who does not subscribe to this ideology faces.

2) Don't fall for the typical leftist response to any problem - if you can't correct all problems, don't try to correct even one.

Saddam was paying $25K to families of Palestinian suicide bombers, had a hand in the 1993 WTC attacks, and tried to assassinate a US President. Hu Jintao has not done these things. Clinton and Blair believed he had WMDs, and hence conducted Operation Desert Fox in 1998 (which killed several thousand Iraqis). The 2003 invasion was merely a continuation of the 1998 resolution. Go read up on Operation Desert Fox (1998).

Maddy

1.) Of course capturing Osama wouldn't solve all our problems. I’m sorry that you assumed that based on my single sentence about him. Of course ideally we could capture every terrorist leader, ever! We agree there. But surely we can both admit that to hunt down each and every one is impossible, a noble goal but not an economically feasible one. I just want to believe that we are doing the best that we can.
Surely you must admit that his capture has been (perhaps understandably) shunted to the side in light of recent events, and many Americans do not know what is going on with him or other terrorist leaders right now. We are focused on rebuilding Iraq, but even if Iraq has a stable government, that doesn’t prevent some other terrorist group from waging another attack on us. Are we prepared for these potential attacks? Why aren’t they being discussed? Could Osama plan another attack on us, or is he no longer a risk? Why would he not be a risk anymore? As long as he’s alive, he’s a threat of which we are aware.

2.) "The typical leftist response to any problem - if you can't correct all problems, don't try to correct even one."
Huh? Did I say not to solve any problems?

I already know about Operation Desert Fox ... I didn't say anything about Clinton, but I guess I should have mentioned my familiarity with his policies. I'm not really sure what your point is ... just that we were already interested in going to Iraq? I know that, already, too. We were interested in going to Iraq before 9/11. The issue was convincing the American people, which obviously we still haven’t managed to do. It’s shocking how many people are still skeptical about the War, especially if the reasons for being in Iraq are so obvious. Our administration seems confident, and I wish they could communicate that confidence to the people … I certainly don’t have the same confidence, I assume because I don’t have the same information. Ultimately, I don’t think the American people know what’s going on. If they did know, they wouldn’t be as frightened. Fear leads to skepticism and DOUBT. We would have faith in the administration if we heard more about the successes, and I do not just mean repetitive rhetoric about freedom!
I think my main concern is … if we went to Iraq for economic gain, it doesn’t seem to be working very well. The Washington Post just said last April that the war’s cost us about $320 billion so far, and the figure is likely to double before the war ends. That’d make it cost more than Vietnam, so I hope we win and attain a powerful economic and military ally in the process … I do NOT want Iraq to become “another Vietnam.” I am not rooting for Bush’s failure. I want America to succeed in all her endeavors.

I admit, though, that I’ve always been uncomfortable about soldiers and Iraqis dying. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and I care about “feelings,” but I confess it keeps me up at night a lot. I know troops, and I really want them to be safe. I want our boys to come home soon and there’s a part of me that can’t let go of that. I try my best to tell myself it’s important for us to stick it out in Iraq and that it’s important. I know it is. But please don’t see me as a coward just because I can’t help believing these things. I know that war is necessary; every species competes. This is nothing more than “survival of the fittest” – the fittest government methods, the fittest soldiers and countries. I don’t mean to sound as though I want to give up. I’m trying my best to think positively, read as much as I can, and so on.

This blog addresses some of the doubts you have about Hu Jintao’s immorality: http://china-e-lobby.blogspot.com/2005/09/hanyaun-massacre-anti-secession-law.html
Even if you don’t think China’s a threat, I think we really need to keep an eye on them … no matter how economically “friendly” we are. Problem is that their military is huge, at least in terms of manpower. It’s tricky, but what isn’t these days?

The other threats of Korea and Venezuela are addressed here:
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/challenges.php?id=115
Why should we have chosen Iraq first? Which of these threats can be identified as “immediate”? Was it because Clinton began Operation Desert Fox? It’s not like Bush chose to continue any of Clinton’s other policies, hah. The US has committed to defending the Republic of Korea since 1950; we made no such promise about Iraq.

Ultimately, I don’t think it matters anymore why we went to Iraq. Sure, I’d like to know – heck, I’d LOVE to read those confidential files - but obviously the administration is more focused on slugging away out there than providing explanations. At this point, I’m much more interested in us succeeding at getting economic power there and also helping the Iraqis. I can only hope we’re succeeding at these issues already, but I can’t emphasize enough that there isn’t enough information. The stats conflict and the articles conflict. Everything has either a liberal bias or a right-wing bias. We’re all trying to escape that as best we can.

This doesn't have to be partisan. I'm not "leftist" or "rightist." I read and form my own conclusions, and that's all there is to it ... If you can only see things in terms of left and right, that’s a huge blind spot. How about reading some moderate blogs, even leftist ones? I read an eclectic mix. There are good, coherent, intelligent writers on every side of an issue.
Sure, some liberals are total wackos. But so are some libertarians, some conservatives, and so on. That’s because SOME PEOPLE are wackos – it doesn’t have to do with their political party! I assure you, I’m not only sane – I’m also reasonable and convince-able. So treat me as such, thanks.

The more information we know, the more convinced we can be that we’re doing the right thing. Never hate someone merely because their information is inaccurate; be patient with them because they probably don’t know or realize. Don’t just dismiss them as inherently opposed to you. As bloggers we have a duty to help each other and I firmly believe in that, even if it is idealist.

GK

Maddy,

1) I think Osama is in Pakistan, but since we can't send US troops into Pakistan, we can't get him. I also think that beyond being a figurehead, his ability to direct terrorist activities is close to nil at this point.

If I had a choice between getting just one of either Osama or Zarqawi at this point, I would choose Zarqawi.

2) Yes, Bush has done a poor job of explaining the benefits of making Iraq succeed. He should be repeating this every week. By not doing this, he has made the job much harder.

But I still support the invasion. This was something both Bush I and Clinton felt was necessary, but neither was willing to undertake as a difficult task. Bush II has confronted this very difficult and unpleasant problem, for which I am grateful.

War is ugly. There has been no war ever fought in the history of humanity that was not gruesome, brutal, and with many anecdotal instances of unfairness. But if one calculates the number of people benefitted, and by what degree, relative to those who died accidentally at US hands, the Iraq War comes out with one of the best ratios of any war ever.

I have written at length about China's problems, and how those will prevent them from becoming a superpower.

Venezuela, Cuba, and N. Korea are problems, but they are not trying to kill American civilians. I don't worry about Venezuelan or North Koreans hijacking my flight or beheading me on videotape.

Just be patient with Iraq, ignoring the minor details. By the end of 2008, most who love America will be very glad with what we have done in Iraq. Of this, I am confident.

Michael

AndyS says,
"It was driven way down by sanctions after the Gulf War, but still managed to climb above $1,000 in 1999 and 2000."

This is the problem whether your anti-war, or anti-American or not. Words, sentences and pronouncements made as if they were facts.

1) GDP was not driven down by sanctions. It was obliterated by a madman.
2) Even the goods in Oil for Food were corrupted by this man.
3) You have no idea what the true GDP was for Iraq under Saddam. While you can site estimates, the truth is just like CNN lying to the entire world and American public, we never truly knew all the facts under the Saddam regime.
4) In conclusion, now that it is an open society with true institutional regulation being put in place we will have a more accurate measure from now on as the society recovers from 35 years of a lunatic mini-me Hitler.

GSD

See, if only the world would run exactly as the eggheaded thinktanks told it to, everything would be wonderful.

I mean, look at all the think-tankery and genius mongering that created present day Iraq which saw tens of thousands of Iraqi Shiites chanting "death to Israel" "death to America".

It sure seems like Saddam ran Iraq more efficiently than L. Paul Bremer and the rest of the neo-con dreamers and movers and shakers.

What was the Brookings Isntitutions inside line on Bosnia and Rwanda during their genocides?

Keep sitting in front of the computer, those Brookings Institute folks will have Iraq running aces and eights before you know it.

-GSD

GK

GSD,

It appears that you can't answer a simple question posed in the article :

What percentage of trends in Iraq are going well, and what are going badly. I think 75% are going well, and 25% are going badly. If you disagree, present an alternate assessment.

JB

I think if you agree that our goal in going to war was to ensure a better life for the Iraqi populace, then a 75/25 trend on victory is probably on the conservative side - the polls you cite are evidence enough of the progress being made on that count.

Speaking just for myself, though, this was not the victory I saw associated with the war in the run-up to it. Yes, the WMDs were at issue, and Saddam was a really bad guy, but the unspoken goal was bringing political and economic possibilities to the region that would combat dangerous extremist movements. When our victory is quantified in these terms, the picture is not so rosy. I am not willing to admit that all is lost, because I believe hope for the larger victory still remains. But if you gave me this report in 2003, I would not have supported the war. I doubt many politicians on either side of the aisle would have.

William

JB I agree, although I must say I am even skeptical that Iraq is going to get "better".

Yes, you can try and quantify the term in electricity production and GDP, but none of that does much good when the institutions that make a nation a nation are broken.

Thusfar the government has been incredibly corrupt (and fairly ineffective), I suspect the dominant Shi'ite parties are on their way to becoming Iranian proxies, the militias militarize democracy, and the police has caused almost as much violence as it has stemmed.

So even if they do have more GDP & electricty production, what good will that do them or us if all the new wealth is held by an elite few (see Saudi Arabia), who in turn utilize religion (see Iran), militias (Iran again, Lebanon abit), and corrupt practices (Russia) to hold power in a pseudo-democracy (Russia), while an enduring insurgency maintains the violence (Chechnya)?

That's an extreme vision, but unfortunately in today's environment not half so extreme a vision as "bringing political and economic possibilities to the region that would combat dangerous extremist movements".

I did, for the exact reasons listed by JB, support this war at its onset and still support its continued execution now, but that does not mean I will refrain from criticizing it or saying that, had I known this is where it was going to end up, I would have said its not worth the money, resources, prestige, & trust we have spent on it.

I will also lay blame where blame is due: our administration is incompetent when it comes to occupying a country. 500,000 soldiers from America alone for the first gulf war, & now half that number when we actually intended to occupy the place?!

There have been innumerable other mistakes committed as well, but the failure to lay down the adequate resources in the first place is the most blatant. That is being lazy, being weak willed, and being incompetent.

We could have pulled it off, could have made amazing things happen, but our President screwed up.

At least Kurdistan is doing well.

fawkesey

The forthcoming Baker report would appear to be a bit of a spanner in the works to this post's assertion. On the bright side, although hardly 'shining beacons', Iran and Syria are democracies of a sort.

tony

the only thing well get done by 2008 at this point is sending more troops in harms way. We're there to stand up for people that are just using us. But I'll go again for a third damn time and noone will care.

John Blake

We think there is above all a qualitative vs. quantitative aspect to America's (read, GWB's) determination to foster democracy in post-Saddam Iraq.

Aside from genocidal forays against Kurds and Marsh Arabs, not to mention a years-long war with Iran that registered over a million fatalities, Saddam's Ba'athist regime tortured and murdered in excess of 40,000 souls per annum. Anything --anything at all-- is preferable to inducing misery and suffering on such a scale.

If Iraq in 2008 records not 16% but a 4% GDP, so what? Academics at Brookings Institute might ask themselves just what it is they're analyzing. If Salafist thugs palming petrodollars from Wahabi death-cultists, parasites on Western cultures in the true biologic sense, glorify Saddam and his ilk --which they do-- then anything whatever the Enlightenment does to extirpate them will be of immense value. Should exorcising the Islamofascist spectre result in renewed Western confidence, finally banishing the rancid PCBS doctrines designed by Stalin to demoralize and weaken "capitalist" (read, civilized) opponents, that alone will render every sacrifice worthwhile.

John Blake

Does no-one realize these are epic times, these battles dancing on our 18-inch screens will be remembered ages hence, when Prophetology will be but a sad memory?

Near 175 years ago, we like Macauley best (from "Lays of Ancient Rome", Horatius at the Bridge, recorded c. BC 750):

"Then up spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:

"To all men living on this Earth, death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better than by facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his Fathers and the temples of his Gods?"

Hear also the words engraven on Sparta's monument at Thermopylae, whose hundred warriors blocked Persia's imperial advance:

"Tell the Laecedemonians, passer-by, That here obedient to their Laws we lie."

"Obedient to their laws"... and to the Laws of Honor, of keeping noble Faith. If any reading this disclaim those obligations, then surely they have no claim on their contemporaries, nor will posterity celebrate their craven selfishness in any wise.

Purple Avenger

and no idenitifiable outside supplier

That would be aside from Syria and Iran? (who are quite obviously "suppliers" of chaos in Iraq)

Mister Snitch!

"trending well" often means coming off the bottom. Certainly that's better than digging a new bottom. But you have 30 to 50% unemployment (depending apparently on whom you ask). The economy is overly dependent on the inflow of US dollars and other resources, as well as oil revenue. Because the economy is not well diversified, those large unemployment numbers are unlikely to shrink anytime soon. More important, the lack of legal and governmental structure, as well as the lack of security (personal safety as well as passable roads, consistent power, etc.) inhibits economic growth.

What this report looks like, to me, is that Iraq could not get much worse, economically, than the way Sadaam left it. Therefore, things have improved. But it does NOT tell me that a good foundation for future growth is now being laid.

I wish them well, and I wish growth and stability could happen sooner in that part of the world. But wishing won't make it so.

I am a card carrying Libertarian. Simply put, we believe in leaving you alone and feel you should return the courtesy. Iraq was a mistake made by Republicans and Democrats alike, based on faulty CIA/FBI intelligence. Both of the Clintons and Bush assured us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Only an idiot would believe they didn’t have them, at one time, because they used them on the Kurds. Obviously, Hussein, shipped the remainder of his chemical weapons to another sympathetic country before the start of the war. Finger pointing, as is being done by congress and the white house, solves no problems. Solutions are what they both should be working on.

To save our soldiers, try this. Choose a number of the most trusted democratically elected Iraqis. You pick the number, 100? Allow them to choose a number of their most trusted army people, 100 each? Give these people radios and access to our U.S. Air Force and GET OUR ARMY SOLDIERS OUT OF BAGHDAD or even Iraq itself.

Have these elected Iraqis search, as our guys are doing now, for Al Qaeda and insurgent strongholds. Upon finding such strongholds, phone our U.S. Air Force, now stationed in Kuwait, at which time several A-10 Warthogs will be dispatched to the house or place of designation.

This IMHO is the only logical way to fight the Iraq war. From afar.
__________________
JMO,ICBW
____________
$Bill

Mastodon

GK: You look petulent calling for others to answer your 75/25 assessment question, given that you have provided no such analysis of your own.

By your standards, any of those you challenged could merely say 10/90, and would have as defendable a position as you have prepared for yourself.

Of course, the difference in your mind would be that because you give the "right" unsupported data, you are pro-American, and since they give the "wrong" unsupported data, they are anti-American. You seem like an intelligent person - surely you can do better than that.

Generally, I agree with you that more balanced coverage of the Iraq situation would invariably lead to the conclusion that things are better than reported by the MSM. But simple minded bashing of those that might disagree with you is appreciated only by those readers who are here to have their pre-determined perspective validated.

GK

Mastodon,

You miss the point. Most of those who are most vehement about blind opposition to the Iraq War simply refuse to give a percentage, whether 10/90 or otherwise. This is demonstrated with many commenters here.

The question traps them, as they would like to parrot the fashionable belief that nothing at all is going well, but realize that an answer of '0/100' makes them look silly and detached from reasoned assessment.

Thus, they are stumped, and exposed as having built an opinion on fashion rather than knowledge or reason.

But simple minded bashing of those that might disagree with you

Those who 'disagree' have the obligation to answer questions about their beliefs. An inability to do that destroys the credibility of their disagreement.

because you give the "right" unsupported data

My data IS supported, by the Brookings Institute - hardly a right-wing organization.

SanFranciscoJim

My prediction: GK will quietly remove these postings from his blog sometime in 2008, when is becomes obvious how completely wrong his prediction has become.

GK

SFJim,

Why? I have been right about everything so far. Plus, unlike your type of people, I am actually honest, and never rescind predictions.

You obviously hope that America will fail, but that is not the same thing as reality backed by facts (which you never provide). Anti-American fifth-columnists like you are getting really worried that even Democrats like Levin, Durbin, etc. are changing their tune with Petreaus's progress. Your panicing that my side (America) is winning, and your side (the terrorists) is losing.

Note that every time I ask SF Jim to actually provide an example of a grossly wrong prediction, he flees in typical, predictable cowardice. No wonder you identify with sneaky terrorists - you lack the ability to last very long in a head-on debate.

SanFranciscoJim

No, I provided you with examples, you just ignored them. Why bother having a discussion with someone who ignores your evidence?

And I don't *want* America to fail, I want you to fail.

Believe it or not, you are not America.

Too bad we can't tax the stupid who got us into this mess. The rest of us will have to clean up after you and your traitorous ilk.

GK

SanFrancisoJim,

Don't lie. You have not provided any examples to back up your claims that my specific predictions have been wrong.

So provide specific examples, or retract the claim. I have requested it repeatedly, and you are too much of a coward to provide examples.

You claim to have already provided them (a laughable lie, verifiable by, you know, actually perusing this thread). So, why not just post the details again to remind me?

Also, who is 'traitorious'? Just throwing out these words without any backup or description is both childish and unhinged (and thus common for immature, small-minded people).

Or am I just traitorious because I am a colored person who is pro-US? That is really what it is about, isn't it?

SanFranciscoJim

You still continue to ignore my statement:

As the anti-war position increasingly becomes the mainstream position, the proponents of it have become calmer and more reasonable, while the Coulterites have become more and more shrill and extreme.

Which was a reply to your prediction:

We will see these fifth-columnists become increasingly shrill and fanatical as Iraq progresses further,

As you can see, I am right and you are wrong. Do I need to give you specific examples to make my point? You are making it right now yourself with your repeated ad-hominum attacks.

GK

SanFrancisoJim,

1) On what basis can you claim the 'anti-war position' is the mainstream position? "Wanting the War to go better" (the majority position) is not the same thing as "hoping the War fails" (your position). Thus, your view is very, very far from mainstream.

So, why has optimism about Iraq increased now that the Surge is working, even while you are doing your best to ignore/discredit the Surge? This shows that your desires are diametrically opposed to those of most Americans.

Prediction : We will see these fifth-columnists become increasingly shrill and fanatical as Iraq progresses further,

This IS happening, and you are an example of it. Look at how much you hate General Petraeus, and how hard you try to deny that the Surge is working.

Your example proves my point, not yours. This is just too easy.

Do I need to give you specific examples to make my point?

er.....let's see......for the 10th time, YES, because this is what I have been demanding all along, and you demonstrated that you have no such examples.

Bottom Line : SFJim cannot provide any example of a predicton of mine that was demonstrably wrong. He badly wants to believe such a thing, but cannot find proof.

while the Coulterites have become more and more shrill and extreme.

What is a 'Coulterite'? Is Joe Lieberman a Coulterite? I'll tell you what - I'll oppose the Iraq War the day Joe Lieberman opposes the Iraq War. He was the Democratic VP candidate in 2000, you know.

Lastly, since you didn't respond to my question on why being a pro-US person of color makes me a traitor in your eyes, shall I take it that by assumption is true?

SanFranciscoJim

I have never said that I "Want the war to fail." That is your typically straw man argument. You are unable to debate your opponents honestly, so you continually resort to exaggeration and caricature.

What makes you think that I "hate" General Petraeus? You have no evidence for such a bizarre proposition.

And yes, it is hard for you to swallow, but an overwhelming majority of Americans want to start withdrawing from Iraq:

http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm

"Do you think the United States should keep its military forces in Iraq until civil order is restored there, even if that means continued U.S. military casualties; or do you think the United States should withdraw its military forces from Iraq in order to avoid further U.S. military casualties, even if that means civil order is not restored there?"

Withdraw 59%
Keep 39%

Here are some gems from "your" side:

"....he left is doing its usual adept job of spewing treasonous rhetoric over things that only exist in their Bush-hating conspiracy-riddled minds."

http://www.northstarwriters.com/dkk074.htm

Bill O'Reilly, one of the leading intellectuals of you r "movement":

"The assassins who work for Media Matters and MoveOn are very well paid. They make six figures. They are doing it for money."

Your personal hero and best-selling Conservative author Ann Coulter:

"I'm not blaming the Democrats for 9-11 alone. I'm blaming them also for the [USS] Cole bombing, for the embassy bombings, for 20 years of attacks that have not been stopped. "

"I think a baseball bat is the most effective way [to talk to liberals] these days."

Rush Limbaugh:

"But when we have reports of, you know, another IED, or pictures of a car on fire -- then the Democrats assume the role of media PR spokespeople for Al Qaeda."

Michael Savage:

"The noose will wind up around their neck, not mine"

Like I said, as your little crowd sees its political power ebb away, you have gotten more and more shrill and more and more pathetic.

As to your preposterous claim about race, it is too silly to be worth replying to.

SanFranciscoJim

More Savage gems:

"Jimmy Carter, the communist, anti-American, anti-Semitic bastard that he is, comes out and says, "Israel is evil for giving back 93 percent of the West Bank. They've got to give back 100 percent." That anti-Semitic bastard."

"Jimmy Carter is a Jew-hater through and through. Jimmy Carter is who caused worldwide Islamic terrorism to proliferate around the globe. Jimmy Carter undermined the shah of Iran. Jimmy Carter encouraged [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini to come back from exile in Paris. As a result, Khomeini spread his Islamic poison around the globe. Jimmy Carter is a war criminal. Now, Jimmy Carter comes out and writes a letter today, and says that Israel, by giving back 93 percent of the West Bank, is being evil, it's the Jews again tricking the Palestinians. Jimmy Carter is like Hitler with the double talk on top of it all. I can't take this crap any more. Why is he even taken seriously? Why don't the Jews get up and spit in his face?"

SanFranciscoJim

More Savage:

"The race baiting, oh, it's going to be a horrible campaign when Hillary starts it. Oh my God. We're liable to have outright race war in America when she starts running. They're crazy. They'd stir up a race war, a civil war in the country to get that hag, that harridan elected. There's no question we're going to have race war, race riots in America.

They'll start in, "Blacks can't vote, didn't get in, the booth was closed, they got there 2 minutes late, it was closed only for black people." I don't understand how they can get away with it. You mean you wanna talk about a hate crime? Her campaign will be one long hate crime against white people. I don't know why black people buy into that. I don't get it. Blacks I met are smart, I don't understand this. They gotta know they're being used by the Clintons. I'm not saying vote for Republican, don't get me wrong. You know, I wouldn't vote for a Republican by and large. But for God sakes, you're going to go for that plantation, that plantation speech again? Here we go again."

It is like shooting fish in a barrel...

GK

SanFranciscoJim,

Now you are really coming unhinged.

I clearly stated that I will support the Iraq War as long as Joe Lieberman supports it. When he gives up, I will. Joe Lieberman was the Democratic VP candidate in 2000, you know.

You shriek that Ann Coulter is my 'personal hero', even though I never have mentioned her name! Is your grasp on sanity this weak?

You quote others who I never myself mentioned. The only reason to do this is to desperately get out of having to answer the simple questions I pose you. This is extraordinarily cowardly.

What makes you think that I "hate" General Petraeus?

Well, he has turned public opinion in Iraq strongly in favor. Do you agree with his assessment that the Surge is working? Do you, then, condemn MoveOn.org's "Betray Us" ad? Surprise us by showing that you have the courage to answer this question.

but an overwhelming majority of Americans want to start withdrawing from Iraq:

Because they know, just as I, Gen. Petraeus, and Joe Lieberman do, that Victory will be solidified in 2008. Of course a phasedown of troops happens by then. Even BUSH has said there will be a post-victory draw-down by 2008. I predicted this back in 2008 (see the above article). Thus, I too want a partial post-victory (2008) withdrawal. There will not, however, be a full withdrawal, for the same reasons we have troops in Germany, Japan, and Korea for 50+ years. Go educate yourself about US bases in these places.

Support for Bush's handling of Iraq is up. This is from the Wall Street Journal, a far more credible publication than anything you have cited.

So this also proves my point splendidly, and humiliatingly obliterates yours.

Still, you cannot support your initial claim that my predictions on Iraq were wrong 'again and again'. Despite being asked 10+ times, you can come up with nothing.

I'm still waiting for you to produce an example.

This, my fellow Americans, is madness. Blind, babbling apoplexy from a lunatic who just can't fathom that a person of color can be pro-US.

By the way, I have published a handy guide on how to demolish anti-Americans in debates about Iraq in just 1-2 sentences. This is how to reduce a thinly educated fifth-columnist to the type of squealing apoplexy that we see from SanFranciscoJim here.

SanFranciscoJim

From your source:

"The proportion of Americans who say the war remains winnable has edged up to 37% from 32% in July..."

You mistakenly (or more likely deliberately) confuse 37% as evidence that Petraus "has turned public opinion in Iraq strongly in favor". Your English comprehension skills are badlt need of improvement.

Do you honestly believe that 37% is a majority?

I believe in an honest and open debate about policy and am strongly supportive of the Constitution, which I took an oath to defend. How many years have you served?

So no, I do not condemn moveon, even though I don't agree with them. I believe in Free Speech, which is something you and your anti-American ilk do not.

I still have you to see you condemn Savage, Coulter, Rush and all the other leading lights of the Conservative movement. So by your twisted logic, you are supportive of what they say as well.

SanFranciscoJim

The sad truth is that the majority of the tiny remnant left of the American public that still supports Bush's war policies directly benefit from it financially. And they have chosen to support their pocketbook and their Party over their Country, which makes them traitors in my book.

And now, like babes pulled from their mother's teat, they have started screaming and wailing, knowing that the gravy train at the tax payer's expense is almost over.

Wait until after Commander-In-Chief Hillary Rodham Clinton takes over in 2009, then you will really see some crying from the babies!

GK

SanFranciscoJim,

You still cannot provide anything to back up your claim than any specific prediction of mine is wrong, despite being asked 11 times. How do you even function in the world, without being able to answer specific, clear questions?

I believe in an honest and open debate about policy...

Through your inability to be a man and answer simple questions, despite being asked 11 times? Through offering no alternative ideas on how to fight terrorists? Through being ignorant of how far your views are from the mainstream?

There is zero substance in anything you have squeaked here.

Ah..but there is more :

43% support Petraeus's plan, while 38% oppose. That is a 5-point lead for those who support. Support for the War and Petraeus is rising, and this is making you very worried.

Once again, I have proven that my (pro-US) side has more members than your (anti-US) side. What is your excuse now?

No matter how much you scream about your fifth-column position being 'mainstream', it is not. In fact, you are so far off the deep end that even Joe Lieberman is the same to Ann Coulter, in your diseased mind.

I see you are far too afraid to acknowledge that Joe Lieberman's views are the same as mine. He was the Democratic VP candidate in 2000, you know (go look it up on Wikipedia).

The sad truth is that the majority of the tiny remnant left of the American public that still supports Bush's war policies directly benefit from it financially.

How am I benefiting financially? Are the troops themselves (of whom 80% voted for Bush in 2004) benefiting financially? I doubt you have ever actually even met someone in the Armed Services.

Also, why do you also oppose the Afghanistan War? The Taliban beheads gays, which means you, "SFJim" would be the first they go after, you know.

Wait until after Commander-In-Chief Hillary Rodham Clinton takes over in 2009

er...Hillary Clinton will not withdraw from Iraq. Perhaps you don't know that she voted for the war. Also, perhaps you don't know that Bill Clinton bombed Saddam twice, on account of Saddam's WMD programs. Go get an education.

Oh, thee of stupefying ignorance, answer this question :

Why did almost all DEMOCRATS, as recently as May 2007, vote to continue funding the war? Why did Democrats vote overwhelming to continue the PATRIOT Act? The Democrats have really made a fool out of you, by duping you one way while voting the opposite. SUCKER!!!!!

(tee hee)

Amazingly, you actually think the Clintons' views on Iraq are much different from Bush's, despite similar words and policy towards Iraq from both WJC and GWB.

SanFranciscoJim

Actually, I realized why you hate me so much and heap such derision upon me: it is because I am a military Vet, isn't it?

You and your ilk hate America and hate the Constitution and the only thing stopping you from illegally seizing power is the millions of Vets like me who are prepared to defend the Constitution.

SanFranciscoJim

Oh and if you doubt my bonafides, go ahead and send email to my personal email address, I know you have it. Just give me an email address, a fax number, or a snailmail address as a contact.

I am happy to fax you a copy of my DD214 (my service record, for you civilians). I am proud of my service and have nothing to hide.

SanFranciscoJim

Oh, and as to your other bogus claim, that Petraus is strongly supported in Iraq, here is a quote from The Economist, a center-right magazine that has been pro-war from the start:

"Iraqis themselves are understandably disillusioned and hostile. As General Petraeus took his flipchart to Capitol Hill, the latest BBC/ABC News poll reported that the proportion of Iraqis who want America to leave at once had risen from 35% to 47% since February. More than two out of three think the surge has made things worse, 85% say they lack confidence in the American or British forces and 57% (93% of Sunnis) consider attacks on them acceptable."

GK

SFJim,

You still won't answer simple questions, despite being asked 10+ times. Either you are too cowardly to answer, or too ignorant (or both).

1) Which specific predictions of mine have been wrong? You have claimed this, but cannot produce any specifics (despite being asked 10+ times).

2) Why do you refuse to acknowledge that Joe Lieberman supports the Iraq War? Do you know that he was the Democrat VP candidate in 2000? I will give up supporting the Iraq War when Lieberman does. This bothers you a great deal, as you know this proves that I am mainstream and you are a fringe extremist.

3) Why did Clinton bomb Iraq twice, on account of Saddam's WMD programs? This disproves your claim that Clinton 'would never do such a thing'.

4) More people support Petraeus' plan, than oppose it, by a 43/38 margin. This disproves your delusional claim that the majority of American's subscribe to your far-left anti-US views.

5) Why do you oppose even the Afghanistan War, rather than just Iraq?

6) Why did the military vote 70% for Bush and just 30% for Kerry in 2004? This shows that the military sides with me, not with you. (Why would they side with a deformed SF hippie who impersonates them)?

I am waiting for you to gather the courage to answer these six questions.

BTW, there is no way you could have served in the military. You are too cowardly, too incoherent, and too twisted. A vet would never approve of the "Betray Us" ad the way you have.

Impersonating a military officer is a federal offense, you know.

SanFranciscoJim

1)I have answered your question numerous times, but I will endeavour to try again. Please pay attention this time. Your prediction was the following:

We will see these fifth-columnists become increasingly shrill and fanatical as Iraq progresses further,

This prediction has proven false. In fact, as the anti-war position increasingly becomes the mainstream position, the "fifth-columnists" (the phrase you bizarrely use to describe those who support The Constitution against its violaters) have faded into the background.

Though I will admit that the recent "Move On" ad lends credence to your viewpoint, you have not even bothered to acknowledge this claim of yours, much less defend it.

Did you or did you not say that remark in italics? Was your prediction accurate or inaccurate and why do you believe that is so? Why won't you answer these simple questions?

2) Just because you agree with Lieberman on one issue, that does not mean that you are a moderate. You believe that the war in Iraq has increased America's security, a position that is shared by 11% of all Americans. Do you think that 11% is a majority?

3) Bombing a country is not the same as invading it. I hope you can see that. If Clinton had wanted to invade Iraq, he would have done so. Unlike Bush, he did not have the Big Oil donors and Defense Contractors to placate. The Democrats mostly focus their political energy on pleasing their constituency, the Unions, Hollywood and Trial Lawyers. None of these special interest groups had anything to gain from a war in Iraq, unlike the GOP base contributors.

4) First off 43% is not a majority, as I hope you already realize. Secondly, when people are given the details of the Petreus plan, they overwhelming are opposed it. Both Americans and Iraqis want America to begin withdrawing troops now.

5) What makes you think that I oppose the Afghanistan War? I supported it initially and think that it would have been a resounding success if we had finished off Bin Laden when we had him trapped at Tora Bora. Why did the White House refuse to reinforce the Special Forces in Afghanistan when we had Bin Laden in our grasp? Do you even know the answer to this question?

Unfortunately, the entire campaign has been fought primarily for political gain, instead of at the advice of the commanders in the field. So it has turned into a botched campaign as well.

I personally believe that we should withdraw the troops from Iraq and focus again on the Afghani-Pakistan border, where the real enemies to America are headquartered.

6) This is a false statement. No one knows exactly how the military voted, since service members have the same right to a secret ballot as the rest of the population. You are repeating a poll from the Army Times, which is a magazine almost entirely read by the Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer Corps, which is much more conservative than the enlisted men. No one knows for sure how the military as a whole voted, but it is certain that your numbers are an exaggeration.

I have offered you proof of my service, but you have ignored my offers. Here is more evidence:

I enlisted in 1984, at the Oakland ETS. There I was sworn-in, when I took my oath to defend the Constitution. From there I was put on the first plane flight of my life, and shipped out to Ft. Jackson, where I did Basic Training. This is what the Army calls Boot Camp. After that I was shipped to Ft. Sam Houston, where I underwent the 10 week training (AIT) necessary to call myself a Medic. I graduated at the top of my class, so I was promoted to PFC at that point and won the MOS identifier of 91A1, Combat Medic. After a short leave, I was then shipped to Ft. Benning, where I underwent Parachutist Training. I almost washed out in the second week, where the Black Hats sent me to the gig pit three times in a row for having a bad shave. I was sent up to the Big House, where I stood at parade rest for at least half an hour before the Duty Officer came out and inspected my shave. He declared it sufficient and gave me some advice to shave down further down my neck, which he said would keep me out of trouble later. He was correct, so I recieved my parachutist wings with my training class 1985-007. I am sorry to admit that I do not remember my chalk and stick numbers, but that was over 20 years ago. I will never forget my first jump though, I have never been so scared in my life.

Upon graduation, I became a 91A1P and was assigned to my unit, the storied 1/505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, which is part of the 82nd Airborne Division. The 505 is one of the most decorated units in American military history and still a unit where they only send the best of the best. Most of my Medic friends got sent to the 307th Medical Battalion, where they served as glorified orderlies, but I actually got to use my training as Combat Medic.

Now I have given you more than enough specific information that only a Vet could possibly now. If you have any friends or family members who have served, you can have them verify what I said. It would be even better if they were Paratroopers. I highly doubt that you actually know any Vets in real life though.

Finally, I have to admit that I worry a bit about your sanity. You have attributed all sorts of bizarre things to me, in the absence of any evidence whatsoever. Twice you have made the claim that I am gay and you have also accused me of being a "deformed hippy." The truth is that I am a middle aged business executive with a wife and child. Why do you believe me to be gay? Did someone tell you that? Did the voices in your head tell you that?

You have also twice made the claim that I "hate" Gen. Petreaus, even after being told to the contrary.

Do you actually hold these delusional beliefs, or is this your idea of a good argumentative technique? I understand the stress you must be under psychologically, with your heroes and belief system crumbling around you, but try to resolve the cognitive dissonance in your mind without resorting to such delusions.

GK

SFJim,

I have already provided both data to support my points, and questions that you refuse to answer. You ignore them.

1) My prediction was right, as proven by data I provided. You refuse to admit it. I win on this point, you lose.

2) You have not provided an explanation on why Lieberman supports the war. And where do you get your ridiculous 11% number from? Insane.

3) You are insane here. Why is bobming Iraq, and killing thousands, any mroe excusable than invading it? The point is, Clinton believed the same things abotu Saddam's WMD programs that Bush does. Hillary does to, which is why she continues to defend her vote for the war, and has vowed to continue it.

You did not address my earlier points about Bosnia or Kosovo, probably because they don't fit your narrative of seeing even genocide within a GOP 'bad' vs. Dems 'good' lens.

You act as though Democrats don't have corrupt donors. I guess you think the Norman Hsu scandal, Clinton's ties with China, etc. are just made up, but every wacky theory you have about Bush is true. Insane.

4) 43% support it, and 38% oppose. More support than oppose, period.

5) You foolishily think that the existence of Islamic terror depends on Osama bin Laden. As if the removal of just this one man would stop all the terror that has happened in 20+ countries since 9/11.

6) Numerous polls on left-wing CNN confirm that the military voted about 70% for Bush. That would be obvious to anyone who has been in the military, and anyone who is pro-US.

You have comprehensively lost this debate in a humiliating manner, projecting your own delusions onto others, making up things like 'your predictions are wrong', 'your are traitors', and 'you oppose the constitution' without any basis. The clinical term for this is projection.

At any rate, I have just posted on why my predictions from 2006, for victory in 2008, are on track. I have listed details on why each prediction is still on track.

You will have to post there from now on.

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