September 19, 2007

Democrats Backing Down On Iraq -- For Now

The Democrats have signaled retreat once again on their push to abandon Iraq, deciding that they have to wait until next summer to regain momentum on timelines for withdrawal. Instead, they will focus on creating obstacles for the Pentagon in its efforts to maintain necessary troop levels, although that effort appears to be failing as well:

Unable to garner enough Republican support, Senate Democratic leaders said yesterday that they are abandoning a bipartisan effort to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq by next spring.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said that Democrats had been willing to make the troop withdrawal a "goal" in order to attract GOP support, but it never materialized. Instead, Reid will again push for a firm deadline, this time June 2008, along with a stronger effort at cutting off war funding. ...

In recent weeks, Reid and other Democratic leaders had indicated they were willing to look for compromise with Republicans. Last week, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, reported to Congress that he might be able to begin a small withdrawal later this year but that force levels would still be about the same next summer as they had been before President Bush's January order of an increase of 21,500 combat troops.

"The Senate faces a series of stark choices -- whether to build on the success of the surge and fight for additional gains, or whether to set a date for American surrender in Iraq and suffer thereby the terrible consequences that will ensue," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a presidential candidate and strong supporter of the war. "As we consider each of the Iraq-related amendments filed on this bill, let us understand the enormous consequences of decisions taken here."

Reid has now asked Republicans to submit their own proposals for funding and managing the war in Iraq. That in itself represents a significant step down from Reid's prior high-handed leadership on the debate. Reid had made it clear that the Democrats only had an interest in hearing acquiesence to Democratic plans from Republicans, and that they should roll over because the Democrats won the last election. That strategy failed miserably, reaching it nadir in the all-nighter publicity stunt that backfired when more Republicans stayed awake through the debate. Reid himself toddled off to bed shortly after midnight, while John McCain and other GOP Senators remained on the floor.

Instead, Reid will pin his hopes on amendments to the supplemental appropriation to fund the war. He especially likes Jim Webb's codicil that will require the Pentagon to allow troops to stay home as long as they were deployed to combat zones. Defense Secretary Robert Gates opposes this, but at one time it had the support of John Warner. However, Warner has recently backed away from these requirements as the Pentagon objections to the inflexibility it imposes gets more play on Capitol Hill.

Also, Joe Biden's amendment to cut Iraq into thirds will garner some attention. Sam Brownback has also championed this legislation, but it's rather arrogant to have the United States Congress divide up another nation. The Iraqi National Assembly would be the proper venue for such a proposal, and so far no one there has introduced it. Why would Democrats (and a few Republicans like Brownback) believe that the US has the power to cut up Iraq -- and why would they believe the Sunnis would sit still while all of the natural resources of Iraq gets wrested completely from their influence?

Susan Collins and Ben Nelson will offer another amendment that would force the Petraeus command to focus only on counterterrorism, border security, and force training. This is another in a line of demands that the US determine whether the people shooting at them are al-Qaeda before responding. In effect, it orders the US to return to the passivity of the pre-surge strategy, waiting for people to attack us before we respond rather than aggressively challenge AQI and Shi'ite militias and keep the momentum. It's exactly the kind of orders one would expect a 535-member Commander-in-Chief-by-committee to produce, which is exactly why the Constitution put the executive in charge of military action rather than Congress.

All of this is weak tea in any case to a Democratic base that demands immediate withdrawal. They're not going to get it, and the Republicans for the most part will not act to pull Harry Reid's chestnuts from the fire. By June 2008, we may have a completely different Iraq, and the defeat-and-retreat caucus will have a lot of explaining to do -- just before the next elections.

Rick Moran has more thoughts this morning. (via Memeorandum)


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Comments (46)

Posted by Jeff | September 19, 2007 9:05 AM

Can we get a codicil that will require Senators to to stay home as long as they were deployed Washington?

Posted by John | September 19, 2007 9:17 AM

Today Reid is proposing a bill to end fighting in Iraq next June. Since he asserts the war is lost, why keep US soldiers fighting and dying until next year? Why he is funding them to die in a lost cause?

Posted by Teresa | September 19, 2007 9:19 AM

My husband and I have a friend who works for a NGO in Nicaragua. He has a friend at one in Iraq. Our friend forwarded an email from Iraq to us this morning dated 9/15/2007. I am curious about what other people think about it. (For the record, I don't know anything about the guy in Iraq or his politics at all.) So here goes:

Hi [name of our friend]...

This part of Iraq is downright rude.... I've been shot at, mortared, and rocketed by 107 mm or 122 mm Iranian made Katusha rockets. Piss me off immensely. Look forward to a few beers in SA near Christmas. Keep in touch and let me know if you want to come over.

Beyond the edge of civilization and in front of tomorrow headlines.

Still living in a movie, but it's a horror show. Attacks and fighting several times a week.

Basic services and security have not been restored, so all the locals are living with little water and sewage, electricity, "check points" of Muqtada al Saydr's gangs; and virtually no medical infrastructure to speak of. They know we are going to cut and run, so anyone remotely inclined to help doesn't, because we can't or won't protect them from reprisal. As for pay scales, we screw the local laborer aggregiuosly and expect loyalty. The flood of "Iraqi First" initiatives is going to lead to a lot of dead Americans. There has been a marked change since I was here before.. a small sense of doubt about us has blossomed into full blown skepticism, complete with growing numbers of desperately poor young people joining the local gangs. Iranians are here and helping with sophisticated weapons and lots of cash...not given to the local fighters, but to the town druggies and drunks who with directions from fighters sit outside the wire and launch mortars and rockets until the gunships get them, which is usually pretty quick.

Bottom line is the vast majority of Iraqis are much worse off under us than Sadaam, and standard of living is what it boils down to. We lost all chance of restoring security by not having near enough troops, and the hundreds of millions are now being spent looking inward like that monstrosity of a US Embassy (what an embarrassment... "in your face" with a hundred acres inside the best part of town) and force protection. There is a huge surge where I am at... methinks the average guy on mainstreet is unaware of what is happening near this border.

I predict when we declare the peace, or declare full faith in the Army and government of one of the most corrupt regimes on the planet, there will be an unrelenting bloodbath.
The scope and scale of the atrocities boggle the mind. One of our translators in KUT was kidnapped in front of his 8 year old son last week (seems object lessons to cchildren are a priority with these butchers.) At least Muqtada al Sadr's boys were decent enough to return his body home to his wife an son... in two separate bags.

No matter how much of our American standard of living we give up to "win", it will not prevent the inevitable bloodletting fueled by decades of point counter-point between the multi-faceted groups of victimizers.

Posted by John Wilson | September 19, 2007 9:26 AM

Whew, is that a poltical commentary in the dispatch or what?

Posted by babstinger | September 19, 2007 9:41 AM

It's time to show Congress what the Constitution says about the powers of the Commander in Chief. I'm tired of hearing about Congress debating the issue when they have no authority to dictate troop levels and timelines. What would it take to shut these people up and have them get down to doing the people's business?

Can someone with better writing skills than I draft a letter to our Senators and Reps that we can individually send? I'd be happy to forward it to everyone in my address book for them to send as well. Maybe if they hear it from actual people how fed up we are with their actions, as opposed to a poll showing their low approval rating, we can influence change.

Posted by Scott | September 19, 2007 9:47 AM

It's all pie in the sky at this point

but this could be the beginning of a Republican victory in 2008.

Everything depends, first and foremost, on a stable Iraq. If Iraq is stable by June 2008, the stink will be off the effort, and the Republican candidates will look much wiser than the Dems. (All except Ron Paul).

Iran becomes the second issue. Is military action preferred? Apparently it is to France and Germany. As well as Cheney, of course. (Did you ever think France, Germany and Cheney would agree on foreign policy? Wow!) If France and Germany do the heavy lifting the UN, and then join us in any action against Iran, the Republicans look pretty darned good.

If military action is required against Iran, who knows how that will affect the votes. If the action is provoked by some Iranian indiscretion that even the Dems have to acknowledge, I think it helps. Most of the Republican candidates have been upfront about the need to contain Iran.

14 months to the election is a long time, or a very short time. This could be exciting.

Good post, Cap'n. Yarrr!!!

Posted by Cousin Dave | September 19, 2007 9:50 AM

Teresa: It sounds phony to me. It does not sound like anything a real soldier would write.

Posted by Scott | September 19, 2007 9:52 AM

Cousin Dave, it sounds like a Beauchamp missive, or maybe a form letter.

Fake but accurate, the new standard.

Posted by Silvio Canto, Jr. | September 19, 2007 9:54 AM

Captain Ed:

Can we say that the Dems are cutting and running from "cut and run"?

Posted by Teresa | September 19, 2007 9:55 AM

Cousin Dave -- If you read my preface you would see that he is not a soldier, he works for a non-govermental organization (NGO).

I actually thought there were some "conservative" points in there -- the idea that the country will fall apart if we leave, the presence of Iran in Iraq, etc...

Posted by Nate | September 19, 2007 10:07 AM


I would send your friend an e-mail with a link to Michael Totten's last post (which everyone should read), where he says this:

"I was greeted by friendly Iraqis in the streets of Baghdad every day, but the atmosphere in Ramadi was different. I am not exaggerating in the least when I describe their attitude toward Americans as euphoric."

and this:

Ramadi has changed so drastically from the terrorist-infested pit that it was as recently as April 2007 that I could hardly believe what I saw was real. The sheer joy on the faces of these Iraqis was unmistakable. They weren’t sullen in the least, and it was pretty obvious that they were not just pretending to be friendly or going through the hospitality motions.

“It was nothing we did,” said Marine Lieutenant Colonel Drew Crane who was visiting for the day from Fallujah. “The people here just couldn’t take it anymore.”

What he said next surprised me even more than what I was seeing.

“You know what I like most about this place?” he said.

“What’s that?” I said.

“We don’t need to wear body armor or helmets,” he said.

I was poleaxed. Without even realizing it, I had taken off my body armor and helmet. I took my gear off as casually as I do when I take it off after returning to the safety of the base after patrolling. We were not in the safety of the base and the wire. We were safe because we were in Ramadi.

And then I would ask your friend if that changed his view about what was possible in Iraq.

Posted by Nate | September 19, 2007 10:17 AM

The guy in Iraq is not my friend -- simply a friend of a friend. I would be curious to know what he thinks about Totten as well. I think it is probably possible to get different reactions to the US presence in Iraq in different places and maybe even on different streets in Bagdad(and I'm not sure where in Iraq the emailer is stationed.)

It does sound from the papers today that the US is concerned about public opinion in Bagdad today following the Blackwater thing and is keeping their folks battoned down in the green zone.

Posted by Teresa | September 19, 2007 10:19 AM

Sorry -- that last post was from me, not Nate. Put his name in by mistake thinking about my reply to him.

Posted by ra | September 19, 2007 10:22 AM

"...By June 2008, we may have a completely different Iraq, and the defeat-and-retreat caucus will have a lot of explaining to do -- just before the next elections."

"I'm forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air,
They fly so high,
Nearly reach the sky,
Then like my dreams
They fade and die."

This small-ball game of whack-a-mole ain't gonna bring stability, and it ain't gonna save the Republican Party. I don't know if you've noticed, but the nation has turned against this war. Not even the Petraeus show could shake the polls.

The only way the GOP is going to win an election is if the areas between San Antonio and Norfolk secede and form their own nation.

GOP: you've lost the Midwest. Say goodbye to New England. And the Mountain states aren't looking good. Hell, even Indiana is looking a little purple.

The GOP pretty much has been reduced to hoping for a deadly terror attack to save the party. And that's as sad as anything in the entire world.

Posted by Cycloptichorn | September 19, 2007 10:32 AM


You wrote:

"The Democrats have signaled retreat once again on their push to abandon Iraq, deciding that they have to wait until next summer to regain momentum on timelines for withdrawal."

This is not accurate. Reid has signaled that they will still push for an end to the war, with that end being next summer and not next spring. But they will be pushing for that NOW, not waiting until then to push for it.

Posted by TheRealSwede | September 19, 2007 10:58 AM

We in this country are, at present, burdened with more than our share of some of the most craven politicians - in our entire history. Senator Reid however, puts the worst of them to shame. I can find in him no redeeming qualities.

Posted by FedUp | September 19, 2007 11:06 AM

Another shining example of why politicians should keep their noses out of the war. Either fund it and support our troops or don't fund it and risk the wrath of the public. Harry... SHUT UP! I'm tired of congress playing russian roulette with our military!

Posted by coldwarrior415 | September 19, 2007 11:11 AM

My youngest son spent a tour in Fallujah, as a Marine combat photographer and Marine journalist.

He received several packages a week containing everything from candy, cookies, beef jerky, powdered gator-Aid and soccer balls, and paper and crayons, pencils and books. As he moved about Anbar, he made a point of distributing these to parents, for them to pass along to their children. I ate the cost of these items, he received the friendship of many many families in Anbar. In his duty position he was able to travel extensively in Anbar, and was present at the creation of the "Anbar Awakening," and saw the real Iraq, not that Iraq as viewed from inside the safety and comfort of the Green Zone.

Yes, it will take a generation of young Iraqis to settle the dust out there. But young Iraqis, individually or in groups, are looking at Iraq as a nation, in the distant or nearer future, but a nation, a free and peaceful nation.

My son wrote of suicide bombers blowing themselves up outside of police precincts killing dozens of those who wanted to join the National Police, Sunnis, Shi'as, and others, and finding the next day double the number standing in the same lines, risking their lives, to enroll in police training. Likewise, with military recruitment. He had with him a Sunni and Kurd translator for most of his time in Iraq. He learned not only Arabic, but a bit of Iraqi history and culture along the way. He learned from Iraqis that for most it was worse under Saddam. Yes they had electriccity, but they covered their mouths when they spoke among each other so Saddam's security forces would not hear what they had to say. It was fear, ungodly fear, permeating every aspect of Iraqi life under Saddam day to day that kept these people under the strong arm of Saddam. Those who benefitted most were Sunni's and Sunni's who sold their souls to Saddam for the chance at being part of the ruling elite, or at least within hailing distance of that elite. In the aftermath, yes, Shi'as who suffered most under Saddam took it upon themselves to exact payment of blood fueds, but also a large number of Sunni's went after Sunni's who sole themselve to Saddam.

He made friends out there, and he wrote of his duty out there, and his belief that he was an Ambassador of the United States to each Iraqi he met. His actions and interaction with the Iraqis was ruled by, as he put it, his belief that "I may be the ONLY American a lot of these people will ever meet. I want them to see me as the average American, the prototypical American, to do less would be to condemn all Americans in the eyes of the Iraqis." In essence, he had a "good time" in Anbar, his words, not mine, during his tour out there.

He is stationed stateside now, and chomping at the bit to go back to Iraq. As he puts it, "Dad, we were winning when I left, I want to go back and finish the job." The recently announced pull-out of a Marine battalion or two later this year has made it more difficult for him to go back, as the list of those Marines here in the States and in Marine units worldwide grows daily, all volunteering to go back.

That alone says something about both the character of our young men and women in uniform and more importantly the hope of those who have walked the walk in the goodness of their efforts, and, importantly, their desire to finish the job.

Of the few complaints he had while out there, and has still today, is that those Americans who ran the Green Zone (our Embassy and other offices) were so far removed from the real day-to-day of Iraq that they may as well been posted in another country, and the press in general who, he says, couldn't distinguish a tank from a howitzer, a lance corporal from a captain. He seethed when he saw the constant reports of bombings and terror attacks, especially those reports from televison reporters, whose producers ran clip after clip of events in Iraq that were a year or two old to bolster their argument that nothing was going right in Iraq. None, he said, reported on the Iraqis who would approach Marines and point and whisper "Ali Baba" and give away the locations of foreign fighters or local insurgents to the Marines, or the daily joy on the faces of young Iraqis and a good number of older Iraqis for the little hospitals, schools, soccer fields, food, bottled water, and so much more, built or provided by Americans, and paid for by American sacrifice.

His is but one perspective on what went dsown in Iraq while he was there. Just one perspective, I admit. But I give it a lot more credence than those reports from the Green Zone with an agenda that have covered the air waves for far too long, and a heck of a lot more credence than the so-called reporting of Beauchamp the left tried to make to be true.

Posted by Teresa | September 19, 2007 11:19 AM

coldwarrior415 -- Thanks for sharing your perspective (and your son's) on Iraq. I know that one of my cousins who served there had a huge operation going on back here in the states getting people to send him soccer equipment to hand out to the kids over there. They have sent over 3,000 soccer balls to Iraq. (You can check out the project at

One problem that some have mentioned is that troop rotations break up the relationships that the locals feel with our soldiers. Just as you get to trust someone, they are gone again. (Although I certainly am not recommending extending stays due to the hardship that places on our soldiers and their families.) It is just one of the frustrations of trying to make progress over there.

Posted by docjim505 | September 19, 2007 11:25 AM

Cap'n Ed: Reid has now asked Republicans to submit their own proposals for funding and managing the war in Iraq.

If I was in the GOP leadership, this would be my reply:

OUR PROPOSAL: Give GEN Petraeus and the Pentagon whatever they ask for. xoxoxo The Senate GOP Caucus

John: Today Reid is proposing a bill to end fighting in Iraq next June. Since he asserts the war is lost, why keep US soldiers fighting and dying until next year? Why he is funding them to die in a lost cause?

Shhhh! Don't ask such awkward questions!

Posted by Proud kaffir | September 19, 2007 12:24 PM

This is more of the same for the Dems. They don't want the responsibilty of outright losing the war but they have to give the moonbat anti-war base some crumbs. They will continue attempting to undermine the troops while knowing that those efforts will fail. It's a horse and pony show- nothing more.

Posted by NahnCee | September 19, 2007 1:34 PM

I'm thinking that if I have the personality and mindset to be working for an NGO, then I will do everything possible to make it seem like what I'm doing is very important, for my own personal ambition as well as for the organization I work for. Can you imagine the UN or the Red Cross going into some sandbox, looking around and pronouncing everything good, and leaving? That really is not what they get paid to do, and how useless would it make a do-gooder feel if they can't find anyone to feel superior to.

Other than that, in Teresa's missive from the friend of a friend I got a distinct whiff of Beauchamps, too -- either that or urban legends heard around the water cooler being reported as personal fact.

(P.S. One of the definitions of an urban legend, in point of fact, is that whatever it is that's being reported happened to the friend of a friend, who is extremely trustworthy and the information is being passed on for the benefit of everyone. It might be interesting to try to track the writer down to see if there really is such a person who really is in Iraq and really is being shot at.)

Posted by NoDonkey | September 19, 2007 1:34 PM

Teresa, your "friend" is incorrect.

“We hand out care packages from the U.S. to Iraqis now that the area has been cleared of terrorists,” one Marine told me. “When we tell them that some of these packages aren’t from the military or the government, that they were donated by average American citizens in places like Kansas, people choke up and sometimes even cry. They just can’t comprehend it. It is so different from the lies they were told about us and how we’re supposed to be evil.”

"Al Qaeda may be a relatively small part of the “insurgency” in Iraq, but their destructive power nearly reached that of a state for a while, at least in this area. I don’t know of any place in Iraq that has suffered this much violence since Saddam Hussein’s genocidal Anfal Campaign against Kurds. Baghdad is nowhere near as torn up as Ramadi.

The city is still in terrible shape, but its regeneration is unmistakable."

Remember, the left is desperate to lose this war, to have Al Qaeda slaughter millions of Iraqis and to encourage the terrorists, because the left lusts for the destruction of western civilization.

Never forget it. The only "peace" the left is interested in is the "peace" of the unmarked grave, the "peace" of opponents seized in the dead of night, the "peace" of a left wing politician's jackboot on the citizen and the "peace" of leftist suppression of dissent.

The left lies and the left kills. Period.

Posted by carol h | September 19, 2007 1:43 PM

My son is currently a US Army soldier deployed in Ramadi. He spent the first nine months of his deployment working out of Camp Ramadi, the next four out of Camp Blue Diamond and is finishing out his 15 month deployment at a COB in downtown Ramadi. It is interesting to me that the post from Michael Totten linked to above was filed from Camp Blue Diamond. The majority of my son's experiences in Camp Blue Diamond mirror Totten's post. It is a former Saddam Hussein palace in a suburban area outside of the city. He said it was a very calm area of the city where nothing much happened and they even (one time!) took off their body armor and went to a restaurant for dinner. His current base, though, is completely different. It is in a very rough area of the city, they patrol on foot rather than the Humvees they used in the more sparsely populated area around Camp Blue Diamond, and are in constant danger especially from snipers. He says that Ramadi is getting "bad again" and that insurgents are moving back into the city. He cites the death of Sheikh Sattar Abu Risha referenced in the Totten post as a particularly bad indicator. He said it was the result of a carefully planned action by the insurgents. I'm a liberal, but my son puts his life on the line for his country every single day, and my husband and I live with that reality every day. Go ahead, read the happy posts from a guy reporting from the safest place in Ramadi, but realize there is a different side to it.

Posted by Teresa | September 19, 2007 2:34 PM

You know I offered up this email as no more than one observor's view point (one which I found interesting because of the insistence of a far greater Iranian influence in Iraq than I have even heard from Micheal Yon or Totten.)

I'm glad to hear from all of you that everything is so rosy over there and that anything possibly negative is just a lie. Wonder why it was that General Petraeus told Lindsey Graham that we would continue to lose 60 plus soldiers a month through next summer? Are they just going to be hugged to death?

Posted by NoDonkey | September 19, 2007 2:45 PM

"I'm glad to hear from all of you that everything is so rosy over there and that anything possibly negative is just a lie."

No one wrote that it's "rosy". We're starting to win. Which is what terrifies the Democrats. Or are you naive enough to think the Democrats want us to win?

"Wonder why it was that General Petraeus told Lindsey Graham that we would continue to lose 60 plus soldiers a month through next summer?"

So the proper response to IEDs etc., is to cut and run? And let the terrorists slaughter the Iraqis who believed in us?

Do you really think that if we cut and run and fulfill Bin Laden's pre-Iraq prophecy, that will be the end of it? And how's that for honoring our dead, to tell them they died in vain?

Not to mention, during the next year, thousands of AMERICAN civilians are going to be murdered in our inner cities (run by your hero Democrats, BTW).

Should we cut and run from our own inner cities? How about our highways?

Posted by Teresa | September 19, 2007 3:07 PM

No Donkey -- Please don't ascribe to me sentiments which I do not hold. I have no desire to "cut and run" from Iraq. If anything, I think we have a moral obligation to the Iraqis to try and help them put together what we destroyed. Now, how many forces that takes, I'm open to discussion about.

I would just like to see some intellectual honesty on your part that serious problems remain in Iraq which need to be addressed (such as some of those laid out in the original email -- which also doesn't want to "cut and run.")

Let me ask you a question, if the surge is working so well and we are starting to "win", why is General Petraeus not asking for MORE troops to go to Iraq? Why start drawing down troops? Are we winning so much that none of the gains we've made can start to falter at this point? Surely, if adding troops has helped so much we should start pulling troops out of Germany or other bases and flood Iraq with even more to help stabilize the situation further.

Posted by Tom W. | September 19, 2007 3:08 PM

"I'm glad to hear from all of you that everything is so rosy over there and that anything possibly negative is just a lie. Wonder why it was that General Petraeus told Lindsey Graham that we would continue to lose 60 plus soldiers a month through next summer? Are they just going to be hugged to death?"
Who says "rosy" in real life? Nobody except liberals. Why do "progressives" always have such canned comments? It's amazing. This is an utterly generic paragraph, down to the snarky lib venom that characterizes most of what they express these days.


As for the stupidity that the Iraqis are worse off now than they were under Saddam, why wasn't there a huge public clamor to put Saddam back in power?

Posted by Monkei | September 19, 2007 3:08 PM

All of this is weak tea in any case to a Democratic base that demands immediate withdrawal

Gee, so what do you think the Democratic base is going to do ... support their local and state GOP candidate ... dream on Captain. While they don't have the numbers they are the only party that can go back to the 60 percent of the population and claim they have tried to get us out of Iraq. It will be strong medicine in November!

Posted by Teresa | September 19, 2007 3:23 PM

Tom W -- I would consider a "zombie" someone who after nearly five years can still say with a straight face that we are winning in Iraq. Your Republican overlords would be proud. ;)

Posted by Teresa | September 19, 2007 3:27 PM

BTW, down here in South Carolina plenty of folks use the word "rosy." You must be a damn Yankee.

Posted by Nate | September 19, 2007 3:36 PM


"I'm glad to hear from all of you that everything is so rosy over there and that anything possibly negative is just a lie.

I think that's a distortion of what has been said here. Its obvious that our ultimate success in Iraq is still greatly in doubt, and that many or most areas of Iraq have not enjoyed the type of "awakening" Totten has described in Ramadi. I, and I think most conservatives, readily admit that all the US efforts in Iraq may never yield the stable democratic ally we are hoping for, and that it's going to be a tough slog to find that out.

But where right believes it is incredibly important to succeed there, that we can succeed through determined effort, and that its worth it to try, the left seems to think that we have failed, that we should not have tried in the first place, and that's its not important anyway.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 19, 2007 3:40 PM

Talk about picking a political direction, and finding your boar tumbling into hot water!

Want some skinny?

Pelosi when to Assad, in Damascus, this summer. Was she trying to get word of Assad's "secret plans" against Israel?

Don't start laughing.

There are plenty of idiots, in DC, in bed with the Saud's.

Could'a been a decision taken, because IF Israel got hit with a nuke, the Bonkeys would be screaming and yelling at Bush: FOR THE PAYOFF.

Nope. No "pay off" yet. (Or the loot, which was paid for the delivery of Al-Hamed, "got diverted." While the ship, sailing away thinking their mission was accomplished, got a surprise. Ships don't just "change their flags" and disappear from the waters. Let alone if they were carrying suit fulls of cash; in their empty cargo bay.) Kapish?

Maliki also aimed for a distructive headline at Bush. He planned killing Ambassador Crocker, back in Baghdad; as his convoy headed "home." Too bad for Maliki the BLACKWATER contractors "took care of business."

While the Shi'ites can go shi't and stew, now. They're not part of the surge.

Is it possible the tables will turn on Maliki, from his own hound dogs? Why not. There are a bunch of tuchis'es out in the cold. SHort end of the stick. And, all that.

While our "surge" is effectively dividing Irak.

THREE PARTS. Each with a military faction.

While the shi'a are stuck with their goons. ANd, the "halp" they get from damascus and tehran.

Not the smartest players.

And, not the best cards. In this round.

So, yeah. The Bonkeys thought they'd score.

Instead? Olmert did. Don't discount him; even as Ehud Barak's stock now climbs sky high.

Does it put a crimp on Bibi? You bet it does! It will actually make the Likudniks think twice; before the sky falls on their heads; again.

Interesting things playing out, mostly on the Net. The enemy-media isn't worth a damn.

Which is another problem, that's part of the Bonkey's poor planning for what's ahead.

Bush isn't trying to make headlines.

Posted by Teresa | September 19, 2007 3:49 PM

Nate writes: But where right believes it is incredibly important to succeed there, that we can succeed through determined effort, and that its worth it to try, the left seems to think that we have failed, that we should not have tried in the first place, and that's its not important anyway.


I'm not sure we have failed in a final sense, but I think we have been failing until fairly recently and I'm not sure we are winning now. I certainly agree that we should not have gone in the first place (for the same reason I don't think we should go to Darfur-- because it was not in our country's strategic best interests), and I do think it is important now. I think it is important in that I think we need to rebuild Iraq so that it is once again a bulwark against Iran and because we have a moral obligation to the people there having let the country deteriorate to its current condition. I think that AQI never had much of a chance in Iraq because of the makeup of that country and that while they can be deadly that the Iraqis are in a better position than we are to take care of their sorry butts.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 19, 2007 3:52 PM


Congrats on your son's being in the Army.

Today, my kidling goes off to basic.

I also know that Ramadi that was, isn't the same place, that it IS. Defining "IS" upwards.

Most of us didn't understand the "surge." But, yes, we do see that Petraeus was honest; and things seem to be working out.

On my own, I had to figure out "wazzup."

Seems the sunnis thought terror would suffice; and they imported the terrorists. That only brought way more terror to Irak.

THen, came the bets.

THe first to see the light were the Kurds. And, they're self-sufficient. ANd, their areas are safe. Safe enough for trading. Safe enough for building.

Then, there were hot spots, where the sunnis and the shi's were fighting each other for "dominance."

I think the Shi'a lost. And, I think Maliki bet heavy. So, in time? Well, when you gamble as big as Maliki gambled, it has been known to get kneecaps, capped.

While in syria, Assad has had his days "numbered."

At least that's what I'm watching.

Perhaps, you're just not on the same page?

But a bad press is worse than a fake doctor. We're left to find cures; without the usual "analysis." And, during war, we're at another one where the press is only out to give America a bad name.

You bet. I hope the enemy-media loses that battle!

I don't go to them for "news." I stick to the Internet. As you can tell.

And, I enjoy seeing opinions flowing in from many directions. Sometimes, I learn something new, every day.

I certainly know "old photographs" when I see them, too.

And, then? I know I have to account for changes.

Helps to carry an open mind.

Posted by Terry Gain | September 19, 2007 4:02 PM

Don't give up Teresa. If the Democratic leadership gets the sinking feeling that the base believes Iraq is being won they'll hesitate to issue those wonderful defeatist sound bites which will be intrumental to GOP success in 08.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 19, 2007 4:20 PM

2 PM PACIFIC. This is the latest up at DRUDGE.

And, from where I sit?

IF the CIA is pulling out of the Baghdad station, Maliki might as well bend over, giving the view for prayers. As he's gonna be exposed.

The SURGE never gave the Shi'ites an inch. ALL the materials were set to stage a comeback for the sunni's. Who were at the ends of their rope.

But, go ahead. It's a news report. Look for the holes. Or take it at face value. You always get to choose.

CIA Shut Down in Iraq
September 19, 2007 11:58 AM
A perfect storm set to roil Blackwater?

According to exclusive information obtained by Pajamas Media’s Washington editor Richard Miniter, the movement of key CIA station personnel in Baghdad has been all but shut down. Are we witnessing Iran’s counter-strike to the surge?

By Richard Miniter, PJM Washington Editor

Movements of key CIA station personnel in Baghdad—along with most State department diplomats and teams building police stations and schools—have been frozen for the second day in a row, according to a State department source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Essentially, the CIA, State department and government contractors are stuck inside the International Zone, also known as “the Green Zone,” in Central Baghdad. Even travel inside that walled enclave is somewhat restricted.

PajamasMedia is the first to report that the CIA station is all but motionless—as meetings with informants and Iraqi government officials have been hastily cancelled.

What caused the shut down? Following a firefight between Iraqi insurgents and a Blackwater USA protection detail on Sunday (12:08 PM Baghdad time), Iraqi officials suspended the operating license of the North Carolina-based government contractor. While the Iraqi government is yet to hold a formal hearing on the matter, Blackwater and all it protects remains frozen.

“By jamming up Blackwater, they shut down the movements of the embassy and the [CIA] station,” a State department source told Pajamas Media. He is not cleared to talk to the press.

Blackwater provides Personnel Security Details—or PSDs—for most CIA, State department, and U.S. Agency of International Development officers. In addition, Blackwater’s special-forces veterans guard many of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams—or PRTs—that build schools, clinics, police and fire stations and other structures that house essential Iraqi government services. Work on these vital “hearts and minds” projects has all but stopped across Iraq.

The State department has long insisted on using Blackwater and other private security firms so that its convoys and legations would not be controlled by the Defense department.

There are now more private contractors working in Iraq than U.S. soldiers serving there. Many are not U.S. citizens. Triple Canopy, another private firm, usually hires Peruvians to man the checkpoints inside the International Zone and Ugandans to guard distant airbases. The Peruvians, known as “incas” among Americans there, usually do not speak English or Arabic—a persistent source of complaint by Iraqi politicians who speak one or both languages.

At least eight Iraqis are reported dead after the Sunday shoot out and some press reports refer to the local casualties as “civilians.”

“Initial press accounts were inaccurate,” said Blackwater USA spokeswoman Anne Tyrell. “The ‘civilians’ reportedly fired upon by Blackwater professionals were in fact armed enemies and Blackwater personnel returned defensive fire. Blackwater regrets any loss of life but this convoy was violently attacked by armed insurgents, not civilians, and our people did their job to defend human life.”

“Blackwater professionals heroically defended American lives in a war zone on Sunday and Blackwater will cooperate with any inquiry into this matter.”

It well known in Iraq that dead insurgents become “civilians” as soon as their comrades carry away their AK-47s and spare magazines. Captured al Qaeda manuals detail how militants should use deaths as a propaganda tool.

TIME magazine received a partial copy of the official incident report.

According to the incident report, the skirmish occurred at 12:08 p.m. on Sunday when, “the motorcade was engaged with small arms fire from several locations” as it moved through a neighborhood of west Baghdad. “The team returned fire to several identified targets” before leaving the area. One vehicle engine was hit and disabled by bullets and had to be towed away. A separate convoy arriving to help was “blocked/surrounded by several Iraqi police and Iraqi national guard vehicles and armed personnel,” the report says. Then an American helicopter hovered over the traffic circle, as the U.S. convoy departed without casualties. Some reports have said the helicopter also opened fire on Iraqis, but a Blackwater official told TIME that no shots were fired from the air.

By apparently lifting Blackwater’s license, the democratically elected Iraq government may stall the forward progress created by the Gen. Petraeus’ surge and change in counterinsurgency tactics.

Indeed, some contend that the actions of the Iraq’s Ministry of Interior, which supervises police and some intelligence functions, may be influenced by insurgents or even by Iran.

The staffing and internal rules of the Interior ministry were set up by Biyat Jabr, an affable and charming Shia Muslim who once worked for Saddam Hussein. (He was never a member of the Ba’ath party and thus survived de-Ba’athification with ease.)

Jabr is widely believed to be in the pay of Iranian intelligence services, although U.S. officials caution that there is no firm evidence of this charge. Jabr left the ministry in August 2006 and is now Finance Minister, but before he exited he salted the ranks with people loyal to Iran and hostile to the U.S. “Innocents dying [in the Sunday gun battle with Blackwater] is just a pretext,” the same State department source said.

Enemies of the U.S. inside the Interior ministry have been looking to shut down Blackwater for some time.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has adopted the same hard line against the American company. “This company should be punished. We are not going to allow it to kill Iraqis in cold blood. We have frozen all its activities and a joint panel has been formed to investigate the incident,” the prime minister told wire-service reporters.

“For their own interests, the Americans should hire a new company to protect their people so they can move freely.”

Both the State department and the Congress have signaled that investigations in to Blackwater will begin soon.

The State department hopes to shift blame onto Blackwater’s low-level “trigger pullers,” says the State department source, while Rep. Henry Waxman’s committee is expected to target senior executives at Blackwater and top Bush Administration officials. A perfect storm is set to roil Blackwater.

If Blackwater and other private contractors are shut out of Iraq, Democrats in Congress and Iranian intelligence operatives may have stumbled on a way to end the Iraq War—less than a week after Gen. Petraeus testified that the U.S. is turning the corner.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 19, 2007 4:28 PM

Oh, let me add. Waxman's the guy with the nostrils. And, when he finished his "investigations, back in 1994, Newt's new team was a shoo-in.

So, go ahead. Bring Mr. Nostril's back.

How long will it take the parliamentarians to eat Maliki's dish? I have no idea. But I'd bet they're not thrilled.

No headline for Maliki that "street revenge" murdered Ambassador Crocker.

THe next phase? Congress is now down to 11%; and falling. Just what those morons need; another blast at what works in Irak.

Stay tuned. Don't let the Code Pinkers' fool ya.

Posted by dhunter | September 19, 2007 7:25 PM

Thanks for the post Carol Herman. Questions?

Do we have intell of a surge to inflict U.S. casaulties before the vote to fund in the congress? was the attack on Crocker part of it?

Do we have intell something is going to "happen"
to Assad in Syria and we are playing it safe?

If our intell knew Assad was going to try something dumb to retaliate against Isreal how would we react in Iraq?

If we knew that Imadoggonedingdongs nuclear ambitions were going to go up in smoke while he is at the UN what would our forces (CIA) in Iraq be doing.

Or maybe we are just honoring Ramadan the most peaceful holiday on planet Earth?

The quiet coming from the enemies in congress makes me think something large is brewing and it ain't Blackwater being Blackballed its' bigger.

Posted by J. Gocht | September 19, 2007 9:22 PM

"Remember the Alamo...!"

...and the Republican senators who [for the most part] have never served...yet will not allow our dear soldiers and marines "deployed today...[equal] months home for every [equal] month in deadly combat...?

The legislation that failed to pass today, sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., was seen as the Democrats' best shot because of its pro-military premise.
Webb's legislation would have required that troops spend as much time at home training with their units as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Members of the National Guard or Reserve would be guaranteed three years at home before being sent back.

Most Army soldiers now spend about 15 months [or more] in combat with 12 months home.

"In blocking this bipartisan bill, Republicans have once again demonstrated that they are more committed to protecting the [AWOL Texas Air Guard Officer during the Vietnam War] President G.W.Bush than protecting our troops," says this olde soldier...!"

Here's a list of the g--damn sorry SOB's who screwed our precious and fine combat troopers..!

NAYs ---44

[This "no vote" [Naaaaayyyy... 'like a sheep's plaintiff and bleating call...?'] is and does really, really screw our brave troopers...!

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

Mark these sorry bastards for total an ignominious defeat in November of 2008...


VOTE "NAY" ON THESE SORRY...[you state the adjective...!]

Olde soldier sends...

US Army Special Forces...Vietnam, 1962-1966...

Posted by KW64 | September 19, 2007 9:48 PM

J. Gocht Please note:

The Revolutionary War, the war of 1812, the Mexican American War, the Civil war, the Spanish American War, the 1st World War and world war two were fought by troops that did not have limits on their time of deployment other than they got to go home after they won. These wars were Victories!

The Vietnam war had a one year time limit on deployment. This war was lost.

Since Harry Reid says the Iraq war is lost, would adding a one year deployment limit on it constitute a bad trend for this idea?

Posted by Rose | September 19, 2007 10:09 PM

Cap'n Ed: Reid has now asked Republicans to submit their own proposals for funding and managing the war in Iraq.



Posted by Rose | September 19, 2007 10:15 PM

Posted by KW64 | September 19, 2007 9:48 PM

J. Gocht Please note:

The Revolutionary War, the war of 1812, the Mexican American War, the Civil war, the Spanish American War, the 1st World War and world war two were fought by troops that did not have limits on their time of deployment other than they got to go home after they won. These wars were Victories!

The Vietnam war had a one year time limit on deployment. This war was lost.

Since Harry Reid says the Iraq war is lost, would adding a one year deployment limit on it constitute a bad trend for this idea?

MAJOR MEGA DITTOS! My uncles in WW2 spend 4 yr deployments.
My nephew spent one year in Korea, one year home, and one year in Iraq, and helped with their very first free election.

It's rough and I am in no way trying to make light of their service at all - but it is easier duty than any Americans have ever had, and it is better than what Iraqis were living with under Saddam - and infinitely better than what the Islamofascists and Democrats have in mind for Americans at home!

Posted by richard mcenroe | September 19, 2007 10:43 PM

Teresa -- where in Iraq does your friend say he is?

Posted by Dan S | September 20, 2007 8:15 AM

I have to give the Dems a lot of credit: the really do know how to retreat.

Posted by runawayyyy | September 20, 2007 11:24 AM

teresa's friend of a friend said: "Bottom line is the vast majority of Iraqis are much worse off under us than Sadaam, and standard of living is what it boils down to."

Let me give you the clue you obviously lack sweety. The above statement is not based on anything but the writer's opinion, making the entire piece nothing more than propaganda dreamed up by someone who obviously hates Bush just as much as you do.

Where are the studies that cite the differences in standard of living, both today and under saddam? Does such a comparison take into account the total lack of any kind of civil liberties and "now you see them, now you don't" manner in which saddam played with the lives of the Iraqi people?

Note the "vast majority" meme, tired as it is. This is a statement of opinion dressed up as fact so that gullible leftists like you can lap it up and regurgitate it on blogs like this. I personally believe the Captain shows incredible patience with dumbasses like you, though I do hope he keeps it up as such inanities need to see the light of day so we can all know exactly where you stand. Would that hillary could be as open and honest about her desire for American defeat as you so consistently show yourself to be.

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