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Democrats, Iraq and the Ambassador

It's Iraq Day on Capitol Hill and we are reminded that the Democrats have not moved the dime in Congress and learn that Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker's views may as important as Gen. Petraeus's. The arguments by our RWC (Readers Who Comment) on these articles are very similar, which has been true for months on almost any Iraq-related subject, and underline substantial discontent within the nation about what to do, when to do it and how it should be done. Those in favor of Iraq policy attack those opposed as not understanding the situation, and those who want to get out attack those in favor as not understanding the Iraq situation. And there are not many calls for trying to find a workable middle ground.

We'll start with the article by Shailagh Murray and Dan Balz which noted that "Democrats have not succeeded in forcing a single, substantial change in the president's policy, and they have watched Congress's approval rating... slide to the lowest recorded since Gallup began measuring in 1974."

VirginiaConservative, taunting the Democrats, wrote, "...You people won the election. You have the majority. Yet you still carry on with the same lunatic babbling, instead of offer concrete workable solutions. What is your answer to radical islam?...I would love to hear real, thought out solutions to the problems of threats against America from the left.."

To which SGlover910 replied, "Of course, bad as the Dems are, yahoos like "VirginiaConservative" remind us of how the Republicans are an actual menace. Was invading Iraq an example of your "workable solutions", twit?"

LiberalTarian asked, "Could the 'failure' of Democrats to change the course in Iraq have ANYTHING to do with a bunch of sissy boy Republicans who would rather bleed the country dry of blood and treasure in Iraq than admit their vanity war is the biggest strategic mistake in the history of the USA?..."

craiggger said, "A complete pull out in Iraq would look just like the pull out in Vietnam. SO? The tribal warfare in this region has been going on for thousands of years. SO? Let them keep the hundreds of thousands of arms we have lost. We can negotiate with the winners later. It worked in Vietnam..."

But Imarkex said, "The democrats want President Bush to change course.They want him to declare the war is lost we are going home now. I wonder how these democrats even became Americans much less so called leaders of the democrat party.What a pack of losers..."

And SpacePirate said, "...To leave Iraq is a sound military move, a retreat no, a defeat no. What defeats us is staying.... Use the money and rebuild this country instead..."

And to the specific point of the story, Watcher1 predicted that members of Congress would "...Stomp their feet, wave their hands, jump up and down, hold their breath, blow up their cheeks, get red in the face, gesture, then do absolutely nothing but give the Moron in Chief another 50 Billion dollars and then waddle to the bank with the rest of the gang...."

yarbrougharts said the Democrats could do something in writing, "Allow fillibusters, Bring nothing else to the fllor and shut down goverment. That is something the democracts can do without votes. do it!"

And freespeak reminded us that "...There are only 49 Democrats in the Senate, not 51. It takes 60 votes to even talk about Iraq. It takes 67 votes to stop George W. Bush. Do the math. The blame for not stopping the failed policies of President Bush lie with his own Party, not Democrats."

FLvet's analysis reflects a view we hear often. "The Dems now pander to the left and the Repubs to the right. No one seeks the middle ground for fear of losing the parties base. We need to get rid of political parties period...This us vs them form of governing is ruining us."

Karen DeYoung's article on Ambassador Crocker brought many similar responses (Iraq is Iraq, regardless of what the subtext might be). We'll start with bourassa1, who wrote, "That's funny. The day after a poll reveals that no-one outside the Bush Cult expects Petraeus to tell the truth, they suddenly tell us that the Crocker report is the really important one.
OF course, Crocker's written report was not actually written by Crocker, but by the White House.
I can see this is going to be a really annoying week."

skipmoskey wrote, "The ambassador is going to report "a recent agreement among top Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders to worker harder and more closely together..."? That's it? An agreement to try to play better in the sand box? that and a few crumbs is all we get from the Iraqi government after thousands of American deaths?! Get out now!"

styles1 said, "We were told to wait for September for results of the Surge. We know it has failed. If Democrats cannot forge a bi-partisan majority this time, I will officially stop caring. It hurts to acknowledge this."

cpwash said that "Petraueus shouldn't have an easy time up on the hill - his facts and figure should be challenged and not accepted at face value... Crocker shouldn't have an easy time either. Only 3 of the 18 benchmarks were met, with no political goals among them. Both men need to admit the surge was a failure under oath. The goal of the surge was to give Malaki breathing space so he could make political changes, which he has not."

Aspouse wrote, "Like raging alcoholics or hopeless drug addicts, we've enjoyed the party for six years... This nation needs an intervention, a real one, one that says that we won't tolerate ill behavior any longer; one that demands paying for the debt we've incurred, stopping wars that neither protect nor free us from tyranny or oppression. Our wake-up call shouldn't be the fact that a few hideous people have left government service, but how we allowed them into our homes to corrupt us in the first place."

We'll close with BartonKeyes, who comments frequently and at length, but often provides excellent summaries. He wrote, "Unfortunetly the ongoing debate on Iraq has generally concentrated on the short term "metrics" of success: how many car bombs, how many dead Americans and Iraqi civilians, how many meetings on oil sharing, how many Sunnis in the cabinet, etc. The more fundamental questions have generally been ignored: who has the loyalty of most Iraqiis? One's village, region, local mullah? One's religion or one's nation? Is Iraq even viable anymore given the desire of the Kurds for an independent state, and the blood feud between Sunnis and Shiites? Or is a stable Iraq only possible by imposing strong-arm rule via the Shiite majority? And for how long will it stay stable? And at what price? And are we willing to pay that price? Those are the questions I would like asked and answered."

All comments on the Democrats struggle are here.

All comments on Ambassador Crocker are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  September 10, 2007; 9:55 AM ET
 
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Posted by: Nick | September 23, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

George W. Bush is without doubt a pathological liar and a lunatic. This person and his cronies have virtually destroyed our great country with their arrogance, contemptuous behavior towards the rest of the world, and continuing lies to the American People about every subject of importance. It is time that "We The People" say enough is enough and demand that Congress do whatever it takes to stop these madmen. I hope every American who voted for George W. Bush in the last two Presidential elections will honestly examine his/her conscience to determine whether he/she did the right thing. For those that rationally conclude that they were wrong, I hope they will swallow their pride and vote Democratic in 2008. For the others, I simply feel very sorry for them as they are as delusional and irrational as the man for whom they voted. God save this country from the right-wing nut jobs, who are tearing it down!!!

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Posted by: adipex online | September 14, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

For years, US has been the world's strongest country. Backed by its financial strength and superior scientific research, it was logical to predict a few years ago (that was before the invasion of Iraq) that very soon US would be the first to conquer serious diseases such as cancers, diabetes, kidney failures etc. By that time people in the world would be free from these threats and we would be grateful to Americans.

But since the invasion of Iraq, the above prediction has been shattered. I read from newspaper that hundreds of billions of dollars which were supposed to be spent on US infrastructures and scientific researches (including medical ones) were diverted to Iraq. US internal pressing needs such as improvements in dams and bridges were postponed due to lack of funds, not to mention medical researches. Obviously, medical researches and breakthroughs will be delayed indefinitely.

Apparently, President Bush is a catholic. However, to us, he is actually a representative sent by the devil from the hell.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I am US citizen and been in USA for over 17years now after the 9/11 things have change a lot and in every expect working livening you name it. The way USA took step towards going after Iraq and Afghanistan things have changed like no other and every cause they clamed turn out to be wrong and they never made any prove never found any mass distraction weapons neither caught bin laden and yet they still don't get out of the Iraq and Afghanistan (I remember not to long before they attacked prices of GAS was .99cents I think you can see the difference what we are paying for the gas these days and that is just small example) my question when this ever going to end when USA stop going to bud in to other countries and instead they are not even spending any money within USA spending money on things like bridges and things in that nature people wake up before its too late for us to fix our own country instead of worrying about others.

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Posted by: Aslam | September 12, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I am a Hong Kong Chinese. Having lived under British rule for over 100 years, we - HK people - have a special passion on UK/US. Moreover, it is always our feeling that UK/US systems are outstanding. Immediately after 911, we felt very sorry for the US people and condemned the terrorist without any reserve!

However, the invasion of Iraq completely changed our attitude towards UK/US. We found that US/UK governments are actually rogues. They are also arrogant and cold blooded. They invade other countries at will, destroying vast number of innocent people's homes and killing them indiscriminately. Iraq has been turned into a living hell and Iraqis are in dire despair made by US. Now many HK people hate the US and UK, in particular President Bush.

It is President Bush and his hawk team who made us a U-turn from pro US/UK to anti US/UK!

Posted by: a Hong Kong Chinese | September 12, 2007 5:44 AM | Report abuse

FLvet said: "The Dems now pander to the left and the Repubs to the right. No one seeks the middle ground for fear of losing the parties base."

Geez, FLvet, you couldn't have got the Dems more wrong if you tried.

If the left was controlling the Dems, they'd have already stopped funding of the war. Unfortunately, the Dems pander to the middle and the near right. They're, in the main, cowards.

The Repubs, you are correct, DO pander to the right, the extreme right, and that's why we're in trouble: so many Americans still confuse fascism with patriotism.

Posted by: Lyons Steve | September 11, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Your tax dollars will continue to pour into the hands of corporate CEOs in Iraq.
All the rest is just a "smoke screen" to hide this fact. When congress finishes saying nothing and doing nothing,they'll send the money.

Posted by: Awake | September 11, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

It's all just a big game for you Feaver, isn't it?

Posted by: Perry | September 10, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

He didn't get promoted to General by telling the truth.

Posted by: HDaniels | September 10, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"If you're not with us, you're against us" or "a vote against the war, is a vote against the troops" or "don't be like those democrat party who want to cut and run" and "STAY THE COURSE".

I'm so damned tired of this Administration. Somebody shoot me....please?

Posted by: Looken | September 10, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

To Congress:
You didn't ask the tough questions:
1. About why we were really in Iraq in the first place
2. About mistakes made
3. About the inconsistencies of counting deaths, insurgency vs. crime, violence levels, etc.
4. About why the president should be given carte blanche to run out the clock into the term of another president--assuming Bush/Cheney don't cite presidential candidates and anti-war forces as "enemy combatants" and prevent the 2008 elections altogether
5. About why anyone should believe ANYTHING that this president and his minions say.
The most important thing this Congress can do for this country is to bring on impeachment, war crimes trials, an end to the endless Bush's War, and a new beginning for habeas corpus and civil liberties for Americans.

Posted by: New Boston Yankee | September 10, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

There's a lot of critical comments from MoveOn.org about General Petraeus' ability to be objective.
The General's ethics aside, let's all remember another general with a sterling reputation and a good intellect who testified before the United Nations about the undeniable presence of weapons of mass destruction.
If someone of the caliber of Colin Powell can be so fallible, I have at least a few reservations about General Petraeus.

dick brandlon

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

You should note that most comments are OPPOSED TO BUSH-CHENEY B.S. It's not a fifty-fifty split. This is a basic news fact that you IGNORE. THAT IS NOT COMPETENT JOURNALISM.

Posted by: Biased Report on Comments | September 10, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Seems like the same song and dance, and a different 10 billion dollars. "We need more time and paitience. Things are going great. blah blah blah." Meanwhile, Iraq is a training ground for terrorism, we're massivly in debt, troops and Iraqis are dying. Great job W. United we stood.

Posted by: Rainier Wolfcastle | September 10, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Drill, Drill, Drill, More of the same. Blood for Oil, Blood for Oil, Blood for Oil, More of the same. Arbusto George, Arbusto George, Arbusto George, More of the Same. Oil Slick Dick, Oil Slick Dick, Oil Slick Dick, More of the same. Blackwater Missionaries, Regent University, Blackwater Missionaries, more of the same. Hump, hump, hump, more of the same. Gamble, gamble, gamble, more of the same. No-bid Bushies, Bush Pioneers, No-bid Bushies, more of the same. Enhanced techniques, no visible marks, torture, more of the same. Death squads, assassins, duck hunting civil rights leaders, more of the same. Texas Hold'em, Texas Hold'em, Texas Hold'em, more of the same. Florida's 13th District, Broward County, Florida-style Democracy, more of the same. Faith-based White House, faith-based justice, faith-based murders, more of the same. Dead American soldiers, dead Iraqi civilians, cash rebates on all gasoline purchases, more of the same. SUV subsidies, sprawl subsidies, fossil fuel subsidies, more of the same. Voting American sheep, dying American goats and bushy foxes guarding the henhouse, more of the same. More guns, bullets, ammo, more of the same. Wide stance, "protecting" children, praying to Jay-sus, more of the same. Success, Winners, The Best, more of the same. Cunning voting machines, Nixon, special forces, no paper trail, Grand Theft Auto, more of the same.

Posted by: Singing Senator | September 10, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

n/t

Posted by: Blog commenters are idiots | September 10, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I think Tom B. is right. We should go out into the world and just take what we want. Anybody who dosen't like it, gets the hell bombed out of them. Then we send in our companies to take over they're economies.
Hey it worked for Hitler and Tojo. Wait a minute, it didn't work for them. The world had the United States to stop them. I wonder who the world has to stop us?

Posted by: Awake | September 10, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The only real, pertinent question on Iraq (or anything else) relative to American foreign policy decisions is this: what action(s) will have the most benefit for the American people in dollars and cents and their position as world leaders among other peoples on the globe? C'mon guys! We are the ultimate capitalist society. We make all of our important decisions based on the bottom line. For better or for worse, that is who we are.

So, I pose the question: What exact and specific actions do we need to take as a country relative to Iraq that will improve our bottom line as a "corporate entity" (read that, "as a nation")?

Posted by: CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.) | September 10, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Too many factions are armed, dangerous and many are just plainly homicidal. Thanks GW for 'liberating' all those fine folks that still have no way to reconcile cultural and religious divides much less keep out foreign elements.

The citizens of Iraq must decide that they have more in common with each other than not and can bring about unification rather than dwell on ancient hatreds. Our citizens and others of this meager coalition cannot resolve the issues which have resulted in thousands of fatalities. With the small force at hand, civilians cannot be protected from militias and other deadly groups intent on havoc.


Insugency was forseeable yet our desire for revenge for 9/11 was a big factor supporting and electing GW for eight years.
Would those that support the present course be willing to send their sons and daughters into this killing field? Maybe the GOP should vote on a draft and see how many Americans support it. I think we would see people changing sides very fast and GW's ratings to go even lower.

GW can never have the same respect or be as convincing as FDR before WWII and more Americans are skeptical that this action is nothing more than a stubborness to admit to an error in judgement and the true lack of progress in stabilizing Iraq. Is this worth dying for?

My feeling is that we must step away as we did in Vietnam, admit to the fatal error in judgement and gradually reduce our footprint until a great majority of Iraqis firmly desire a resolution to end whatever divides and kills them. Corruption is only one factor preventing progress; gangs and religious factions are the other. We must warn Iran that any major invasion or infiltration by their armed forces will be seen as aggression with consequences. Iran must not be invited to the table because the government has proven to be anti-west in the extreme, resulting in the deaths of countless Americans and Iraqi civilians. Iraq must heal itself and evolve into this century or become a wasteland devoid of life and commonality. Factions should never feel safe as long as they chose to fight for dominance and power.

Posted by: Frank Manuele | September 10, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Too many factions are armed, dangerous and many are just plainly homicidal. Thanks GW for 'liberating' all those fine folks that still have no way to reconcile cultural and religious divides much less keep out foreign elements.

The citizens of Iraq must decide that they have more in common with each other than not and can bring about unification rather than dwell on ancient hatreds. Our citizens and others of this meager coalition cannot resolve the issues which have resulted in thousands of fatalities. With the small force at hand, civilians cannot be protected from militias and other deadly groups intent on havoc.

My feeling is that we must step away as we did in Vietnam, admit to the fatal error in judgement and gradually reduce our footprint until a great majority of Iraqis firmly desire a resolution to end whatever divides and kills them. Corruption is only one factor preventing progress; gangs and religious factions are the other.

Insugency was forseeable yet our desire for revenge for 9/11 was a big factor supporting and electing GW for eight years.
Would those that support the present course be willing to send their sons and daughters into this killing field? Maybe the GOP should vote on a draft and see how many Americans support it. I think we would see people changing sides very fast and GW's ratings to go even lower.

GW can never have the same respect or be as convincing as FDR before WWII and more Americans are skeptical that this action is nothing more than a stubborness to admit to an error in judgement and the true lack of progress in stabilizing Iraq. Is this worth dying for?

My feeling is that we must step away as we did in Vietnam, admit to the fatal error in judgement and gradually reduce our footprint until a great majority of Iraqis firmly desire a resolution to end whatever divides and kills them. Corruption is only one factor preventing progress; gangs and religious factions are the other. We must warn Iran that any major invasion or infiltration by their armed forces will be seen as aggression with consequences. Iran must not be invited to the table because the government has proven to be anti-west in the extreme, resulting in the deaths of countless Americans and Iraqi civilians. Iraq must heal itself and evolve into this century or become a wasteland devoid of life and commonality. Factions should never feel safe as long as they chose to fight for dominance and power.

Posted by: Frank Manuele | September 10, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Here's a photograph of Bushboy preparing his latest Iraq strategy: http://wwwthepartyofthewidestance.blogspot.com/

Posted by: patriot76 | September 10, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Well said, nthdegree. We get enough phony "balance" in the articles, we don't need it in the comments too.

Barton Keyes commentary may sound "centrist", but he's in a fringe minority if he's still looking for "success" in Iraq.

How can you have success in an immoral war whose ostensible casus belli evaporated within weeks?

Posted by: OD | September 10, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

OK taxpayers. Grit your teeth, because here it comes again.
Lots of talk about this and about that. Some restructuring. A little moving the troops around and giving them new titles and duties. Maybe a benchmark or two. And in the end, another few hundred billion of your tax dollars sent to the CEOs in Iraq.
Funny how the talk about Iraq is always about getting the troops out and never about getting the corporations out. Remember that the troops, military or private, will be there as long as the profits are there. And your tax dollars are required to pay for those private troops and to secure those profits. Not for you, of course. You don't get anything for the billions you send to Iraq. You just hand it over! Bad enough to be mugged on the corner, but how many times are we going to go back to the same corner!!

Posted by: Awake | September 10, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Your column gives the mistaken impression that there is a fifty-fifty split between pro-war and anti-war comments. Anyone who even briefly looks at the comments on these articles can see that their ten times as many anti-war comments as pro-war. Your column is wrong. There is a middle ground. The center in this controversy is overwhelming anti-war and in favor of an immediate withdrawl from Iraq. That is what CENTER means. It is where the average American stands and the average American strongly disapproves of George Bush and his war.

Posted by: nthdegree | September 10, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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