Bush Says U.S. Won't Pull Out of Iraq

Because, evidently, stickin’ to your guns is more important than listening to facts. From the AP

President Bush, under pressure to change direction in Iraq, said Tuesday he will not be persuaded by any calls to withdraw American troops before the country is stabilized.
“There’s one thing I’m not going to do, I’m not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete,” he said in a speech setting the stage for high-stakes meetings with the Iraqi prime minister later this week. “We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren.”


  1. Wait… didn’t they already fly the “Mission Accomplished” banner?
    I realize I’m setting catnip out for the same three Bush apologists who troll this board, but: since Mr. Bush never returns my phone calls, can one of you fine folks please tell me, and the rest of the country, what a “completed mission” would look like? Because a few thousand U.S. soldiers and a few hundred thousand Iraqis are literally DYING to know.

  2. Good question, Ben. Even more specific, what is the mission? It remains unbelievable to me that Bush and friends have been able to spend the lives and money they have based on nothing more than such vague language.
    Another question: how does one “win” an occupation? With all the fuss re: nomenclature in the press today, why don’t they (the press) actually go all the way back to 09/11 and review (since they were so illiterate and irresponsible as to just blindly adopt the language spoonfed them by the Bush Administration ever since)?
    An act of “war” actually requires 2 states. An act of mass violence perpetrated by a stateless entity is actually known as an international “crime”. Appropriate responses to internaitonal crime include investigation, arrest of the perpetrators, and prosecution. There is an organization whose job it is to accomplish this stuff. It is called Interpol.
    Similarly a declaration of “war” requires 2 states. One cannot declare war on a word (“war” on “terror”-although next Bush may declare war on the phrase “civil war”).
    An unprovoked and mostly uncontested invasion, upon completion is considered (and, as you pointed out, was announced as having been) “won”, and immediately becomes an “occupation”, which continues until the invading army leaves the invaded nation. An occupation is by definition not winnable since it presupposes a victory.
    If we had concentrated our money, power, and political capital on making Interpol an organization that could really kick some ass as an international police apparatus I have a feeling the world would look very different right now, as would our now empty pockets. And as you mentioned several hundred thousand Iraqis would still be alive.
    I am guessing a “completed mission” probably just looks like the last few bucks Haliburton and other multinational corporate entities can squeeze out of Iraq before the situation collapses to the point where it can no longer be exploited. I hope those motherfuckers wind up spending every dime in court paying to send their sorry asses to jail.

  3. Well…the Democrats will control both houses starting January…now let’s see if they do what the voters apparently wanted. I, for one, am not holding my breath. I fear we may be there at least until the next President, whoever that is….

  4. Benny boy,how goes it? a ‘WIN’
    A capable Iraqi army going through baghdad block by block (because it is most of that city that is fubar, not the rest of the country) killing the scum of the earth jihadis with US forces on the sidelines…if we get there i don’t know…we should have turned fallujah into powder in 2004 and killed sadr, but then you would get the ny times, abc, nbc, cbs, msnbc, katie Koran, Dan blather,Longface Kerry, howard dean and the rest of the wild ones calling it a ‘heavy handed’ response, or even better yet, a war crime. We just can’t fight wars anymore with this pc lefty media robbing us the ability to actually use our weapons that we pay so much for. Chris B, yeah, a ‘crime’. I love your thinking , yes interpol will save us! Why they were just rushing into those caves before 9-11 and also since then i might add. We should have court officers with the troops too to make sure they arrest(not kill) any terrorist and bring then here and give them our own full legal protection, three hots and a cot. Heck yes, Interpol plus the UN would be an unstoppable force. They would waive papers, LEGAL papers mind you as this is all a ‘crime’ and not an act of war, and why bin laden and the rest would come out with their hands up, declare love for apple pie, and become peace loving vegans munching on foi gras in the mountain valleys of afghanistan. See, these islamofascists are smart because they know it is easier not to fight for or from a particular country, but to be stateless, so smart people like chris can sick a lawyer after them. I can hear the laughter of our enemies and it makes me sad (kevin k insert humor here)

  5. I really find it interesting that Free Williamsburg, a supposedly left-leaning blog when it comes to politics, would be so inclined to quote Hagel and Kissinger. Don’t you know that they are part of the same “realist” school of foreign policy that perpetrated so many war crimes during the cold war against innocent latin americans led by the CIA and supported so many middle eastern dictatorships (including shaking hands with the devil himself, saddam hussein). All of this in the name of stability and national interest. I thought liberals were better than that. I may not always approve of your means to achieving principled ends (like kow-towing to a corrupt and inefficient UN), but I was under the impression that you had principles to begin wtih (like, say, supporting human rights and democracy). Listen, if you want to try and argue against the three “Bush-loving trolls” on this site in a reasonable manner, don’t do it by quoting insanely unethical, insanely incompetent cold war bureaucrats.
    I’m going to disagree with you on your view on Iraq. I think the sectarian conflict is bad, but it’s not yet a civil war. I don’t think the U.S. is the one that has created the majority of the insurgency, at least not the sectarian conflict and Al-Qaeda attacks. Yes, there are some who resent U.S. occupation. That’s to be expected. But the majority of the violence is aimed at Iraqis and perpetrated by foreign jihadists. If the U.S. leaves, it’ll be disastrous for the IRAQIS. I don’t give a shit about “victory,” but I’m not about to let a mass murder of Iraqis happen on our watch. You think the sectarian conflict will stop if the U.S. leaves? That Sunnis and Shiite extremists will stop hating each other? That Al-Qaeda will miraculously leave everyone in Iraq alone?
    Get real people. And no, not in the sadly perverted “realist” definition of the word.

  6. Drew, jeer all you like but here is some substance for you to chew w/ your cud:
    -there was no Al Queda presence of any consequence in Iraq before we invaded
    -Al Queda were in Afghanistan and were being hosted by the Taliban-fair enough, there we had a legit reason to declare and prosecute a war but
    -instead of finishing the job there we invaded Iraq counter to our national interest and for no comprehensible reason (unless you, or more likely your parents, are a member of GWBush’s narrow corporate constituency), creating a power vacuum for Al Queda and other unfriendlies to fill
    -an international police force w/ combined intelligence and fiscal resources, and yes, manpower, using a prophylactic approach, would be more efficient in combating an international terrorist organization than any single national armed forces could possibly be
    -even with all the recruiting help we have given Al Queda and our own laxity re: real security here in the US, they still haven’t been able to bring it to us again. This is because they just aren’t that dangerous if a modern nation with our resources is paying attention as opposed to just letting them train here to fly our own planes into our buildings. They are a bunch of hillbillies w/ limited resources not criminal masterminds in an Arnold flick
    -the one resource Al queda and similar organizations do have is a willingness to die for a cause. They thrive on martyrdom and, though Bin Laden is still at large, killing them doesn’t accomplish much more than making room for the next 10 martyrs to step up. Apart from genocide (you sound up for that but fortunately most sane people aren’t), the only way to stop what is being referred to as Islamofascism is to remove the conditions that embody it’s habitat.
    -I think you meant they would “wave” papers.
    -considering the behavior of our troops in some cases there should certainly be some interested “court officers” somewhere. Unfortunately though our leaders refuse to recognize anything remotely like an international rule of law.
    Ultimately this is too easy but, Drew, your preferred methods have had their chance for more than 4 years-this BS has gone on longer than our involvement in WWII-cite some positive results?

  7. Josh, my line was “same three Bush apologists who troll this board,” not what you put in quotes. Playing fast and loose with what other people said is partially what got us into this mess. Also: Where did I quote Kissinger or Hegel in my post?
    I’m not looking for an argument, I’m still waiting for a clearly-defined situation under which victory can be delaired by the Bush administration. Drew’s adolescent power fantasy of blowing up brown people isn’t an answer to my question.

  8. hey listen, i have nothing against brown people, my name is neither kosmo nor kramer. But do you know how we won ww2? it was not by pussyfooting and waiting for papers, documents, and lawyers. It was destroying cities, bombardment into submission. Same way we won the civil war mind you, good old Ulysses S. Grant (whom the papers refered to as Unconditional Surrender Grant). He F’ed the south up because he knew anything less would only embolden the enemy. Now we fight with kid gloves and shackle the military as to not offend any of the major networks. A war is a war, brutal, not a tennis match. You use what you have to win. This counrty dogged by the liberal red diaper doper babies of the 60’s that now run through government coupled with the thin skinned loser republicans have made a mockery of great men like Roosevelt,reagan and lincoln. So i do like brown people, but if those jihadis were purple , i’d just as soon bomb them to hell. Ben, if you could do it please write what you would see as a winning situation in the war. I know you don’t support it and all but i’d like to hear what you have to say about that.Gidee-up!

  9. Ben, I was simply pointing out that Free Williamsburg’s commentary borrows from thinkers they are ideologically opposed to when it is convenient ie. when they criticize Bush and his Iraq policy.
    As for the terms of victory, I think the political process is going smoother than is expected compared to other nation-building efforts (afterall, UN led missions like Rwanda, Bosnia, and the Congo are all still politically stagnant, with the exception of Bosnia, which still needs to deal with a litany of independence issues). The vast majority of Iraqis, Shiite or Sunni, are willing to cooperate politically with one another. Democracy is not implausible, and is certainly within reach if we can encourage the right kind of dialogue between the two sides (The Kurds are largely proto-independent, although they wouldn’t mind remaining part of Iraq). So my first goal for victory would be a sustainable democracy in Iraq. It already has a democratic constitution and a fairly smooth democratic election process. Elections have been fair, and turnout has been higher in proportion to our own. I hope that when we win we have left Iraq still a democracy.
    My second, and more important term for victory, is stability. The U.S. should leave when the Iraqi military is more than capable of handling the Iraqi insurgency and Al-Qaeda infiltrators on their own, and when it is clear they are making good progress in marginalizing and defeating the insurgents. That is not an unattainable goal. The numbers of Iraqi soldiers is rising, and is now around 110,000. What we need now is simply to increase the number of battalions out of that 110,000 that are combat ready and can conduct operations independent of American accompaniment. Only a few Iraqi battalions can do that at the moment.
    To Chris B, your arguments are in a way very myopic. Winning this war on terror is about winning an ideological war against Islamic Jihadists and Fundamentalists. It is about helping the middle east democratize itself so that it may combat its powerful minority of islamic demagogues within its midst. Taking out one terrorist organization ie. Al Qaeda will be of no importance in the long term if the root of terrorist creation still exists. That root is the Middle Eastern equation of alienation, desperation, and dictatorship. What I mean by that is the effect of corrupt autocracies and authoritarian governments in the middle east is that of alienation, both social and economic, on ordinary people in the middle east. The most severely afflicted are young muslim men. Unemployed, without education, and without services for their families, they are the epitome of Muslim rage. Unlike other similarly crumbling societies around the world (Africa, post-war Eastern Europe, some parts of Latin AMerica), the Middle East possesses a dangerously virulent political ideology of Islamic Fundamentalism that is based on but a perversion of more than 70% of the population’s religion. So what happens when you combine the two? Angry, frustrated young men who cannot voice their grievances to or against their government, let alone legislate them through government, turn to the Madrasas and Demagogue Imams of Islamic Fundamentalist networks. Such networks, built on the same model as the Mafia, provide social services and education, and most importantly, jobs and purposes for these young men as the organization’s terrorist operatives. The same model works in a similar way in Palestine, albeit it is geared towards fighting Israel rather than spreading global jihad. So what’s to be done? If the structure of the Middle Eastern society naturally creates more and more of these angry, ideologically infused young men, taking out one terrorist organization won’t matter. Preventive measures won’t matter. They’ll keep coming back. What should be done is democratization of the Middle East. Because, in the long run, democracies allow angry, frustrated young men (among other people in society) to voice their opinions in public wihtout the government torturing and jailing them. It allows such men to vote for the candidates they like to legislate policies that will benefit them. It will mean politicians who, held accountable to the public, must deliver results like jobs and foreign direct investment. Let us be clear for a moment: the intention is not to completely eliminate the fundamentalist minority. You can never convince those who are completely and delusionally lost to the dark side of ignorance. The intention is to prevent such a minority from growing, as it is rapidly doing so today, and gradually diminish their numbers and keep that number abysmally small permanently. Democracy will do that. Capturing Osama Bin Laden will not. Dr. Salim Mansaur (an Egyptian Muslim), who gave the annual Begin-Sadat Lecture this Thursday at the University of Toronto, said a few things in response to one question about how to end the violence and hatred that spews out of the Middle East: “Establish democracy in Iraq and Afghansitan. Don’t cut and run.” This was not some gun-slinging redneck cowboy. This was an esteemed doctor well-versed in the Quran and well-read on the topic of Middle Eastern society. He knows his shit. I’m more inclined to trust him than James Baker.
    Chris B, I hope I have given you the correct policies to eliminate the conditions for the habitats of Al-Qaeda. I would like to say that they may be a bunch of hill billies, but they sure as hell masterminded crashing two jetliners into the western world’s two greatest symbols of modernity. They are dangerous because of their martyr mentality. Deterrence does no good when the enemy is not a nation, and when they are willing to kill themselves and others to target us.

  10. Josh re: your overall prescriptions you are mostly preaching to the choir in your comments to me. I don’t know if you read or comprehended my whole post (long winded as it was). However, though I don’t believe there is any such thing as a “war on terror” (rather I believe that our military agression which has caused over 200,000 unnecessary deaths in the country we supposedly went to help IS terrorism), an “ideological war” is not fought or won militarily, especially in a situation where the opponent cannot easily be distinguished from the civilian population. As long as we continue this approach we will continue to lose the “war on terror”.
    Re: myopia, I don’t single out Al Queda, merely use them as an example (see phrase “…Al Queda and other unfriendlies”). Though I did mention them often I am well aware they are not the only such organization.
    Also, to clarify: I don’t believe that, having created the situation we have in Iraq by invading, we can simply pack up and go home leaving things to sort themselves out-I don’t think we have a choice other than continuing to attempt to police a civil/religious war which we have created. I do think if we are ever to leave honorably we will have to change our approach.
    Re: independence and the Iraqi amred forces, I think it remains to be seen to what extent we are just arming/training factionalism and, in some cases, our opponents.
    Your criticism of UN peacemaking/peace keeping efforts In Bosnia and Rwanda does not take into account what I believe is the primary debilitating factor in those efforts: an unwillingness on our part to participate globally unless such participation is seen by a current US government as being in our narrow, short-term interest. For example the “UN lead mission” in Rwanda might have had a much greater chance of success had the US not sat on its hands while the massacres there went forward… something similar could be said for Bosnia about the US and Great Britain. The point here is that although we refuse to pay our UN dues or recognize UN authority, for the time being we remain the most powerful member of that organization.
    At the root of the “Middle Eastern equation of alienation, desperation, and dictatorship” is colonial manipulation that goes back to WWI and earlier, and accelerated upon the discovery of oil there. Much of that manipulation has been conducted by the US-whatever nonsense is spouted about a lofty purpose, the fact is we are simply continuing an historical tradition of interference and manipulation in Iraq, the object being some measure of control of natural resources there. Let’s not forget who put Saddam Hussein in power to start out with (and who left him there after the Gulf War, a very expensive but interesting decision in my mind).
    The very term “democratization”, describes in Orwellian language the imposition of a system of choice. As long as we contiue to attempt to impose our social system on societies that are fundamentally different both socially and culturally from our own, the results will be murder and mayhem. The only way we can extricate ourselves from this situation is to begin to make it absolutely clear that we accept that and somehow allow a system of choice to happen whether or no we like its ideology, willingness to do business, even if it means the Mullahs show up like they did in Iran (another situation created by US meddling and unfortunately probably the model for the result in Iraq). A good place to start might be in taking a less sanguine attitude toward constant destabilizing actions on the part of Israel.
    Finally, though I totally agree that deterrence does no good in the Middle East, (in fact that is one of my main points), deterrence here in the West is another story-those hillbillies were able to crash “two jetliners into the western world’s two greatest symbols of modernity” because we let them.
    Oh, and Drew-we won WWII by being technologically superior-through advances in cryptography for example, and by sitting on our ass until Russia exhausted itself putting Germany in a position of weakness, leaving Japan w/out its ally. Not by cowboy bullshit like you advocate from your position on your ass. The simple fact is that lawyers and paperwork have not stymied our miltary efforts in Iraq-there has never been an American militray adventure with less oversite-mismanagement and cheap-ass corporate style penny-pinching have. As I wrote before: your preferred methods have had their chance for more than 4 years-cite some positive results?

  11. I’ve read these long, boring, hey-lookit-how-smart-I-am samples of keyboard diarreah, and all I’m seeing is a lot of obfuscation and subject-changing. I asked about what “winning” in Iraq means. I was hoping some sober-minded sort would hit me back with two or three bullet-points.
    No such luck.
    My conclusion: even those who support the war have no idea what it was fought to achieve. Okay. That’s what I thought, because this was the most poorly concieved military adventure since some old English king or another decided to attack the ocean.
    If I could talk to Mr. Bush, the Psycho-in-Chief who convinced a terrified cadre of bed-wetting cowards to go crazy right along with him, I’d tell him to give the order: pack your shit, troops. You’re coming home. It would be nice if he apologied, and resigned in disgrace, too. Maybe some private Hari-Kari to secure some final shred of honor would be called for, but I’m not going to insist.
    Leave Iraq to the Iraqis. Let them fight it out. It’s the presence of American troops that’s pissing everyone off. It’s time to leave.
    I know, it seems illogical to end violence by taking all the guns and soldiers away, but let’s give it a shot. It sure beats the insano-logic of putting out the fire by throwing more gasoline and dynamite into it…

  12. Re Ben: If you read my post, I clearly outlined the conditions for victory on a realistic basis. My original view for victory was that we would leave Iraq a relatively stable democracy with Saddam removed from power. I believe in some ways, albeit with modifications, that that goal is attainable and desirable.
    Re Chris:
    1) The total operating budget (that is, with the U.S. paying its shares as well) for the UN is about the size of a small company, so even if the U.S. paid its dues it would be contributing to a relatively small financial goal. The problem with the UN is two-fold: 1) corrupt and inefficienit bureaucracy and 2) corrupt politics. Firstly, the UN wastes most of its operating budget on creating duplicate committees and subcommittees, various new organizations to deal with very similar problems. Like any bureacracy, it has a tendency to grow without any real justifications. Many Bureaucrats and some diplomats regularly take bribes and operate under a spoils system. The UN Oil For Food Fiasco is a good case of all of the above. Secondly, when the UN appoints Sudan to be the African representative on its Human Rights commitee, there is something nefarious going on. Corrupt politics make any positive initiative hardly worth seeking. Want to make Japan or India part of the Security Council? Sorry, China won’t stand for it. Want to economically sanction Iran? Sorry, Russia won’t stand for it. I am not saying that International Law doesn’t exist, merely that the UN is not the correct enforcer of it. I believe that fundamental documents like the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be our guide to determining international law, and I think the U.S. can do a better job of interpreting those documents than the UN. Why? Well, the UN is akin to a law enforcement organization that has everybody from society within it, including the criminals sitting on its policy-making board. So when some kind of crime against humanity is committed, any efforts are surely stifled by the criminals themselves. The nature of said organization makes it far less impartial than a liberal democracy such as the U.S.
    The problem with UN missions, aside from the fact that the areas they go into are difficult to manage as they are, being failed states and all, is that their mandates are incredibly restrictive. UN peacekeepers in Rwanda still aren’t allowed to defend the populace. Most of them just stand by or go away when criminal clans raid villages. The same goes for Sudan: the mandate for the UN sponsored AU forces are allowed to simply observe, and to fire only in self-defense. It really has little to do with their operating budgets.
    2) Yes Chris, I do remember that it was under Reagan that we put Saddam in power, and that it was Bush 41 who left him in power. I think both made terrible mistakes, and I think it’s about time we corrected that error. But Islamic fundamentalism wasn’t created by Western colonialism. It rose to existence after the fall of the Abassid Caliphate in 1258 as an angry political response to the Mongol invaders. It became more prominent under the Ottoman Empire. Islamic Fundamentalism has been around for quite some time. Now, the dictatorships in the middle east have had helping hands from the west. No doubt about it. But doesn’t that mean it’s the west’s responsibility to help these people remove their tyrants? If we imposed dictatorships on them during the mandates system following WWI, then it’s our duty to help them overthrow such dictatorships. Intervention is not in itself bad. It’s the kind of intervention that we need to consider.
    Now, the idea that this new type of intervention is just the same as the culturally illiterate old is proposterous. As a conservative, I generally accept that there are limits to human nature. But I think it’s entirely reasonable to believe that all people want democracy, that it is in their human nature to want a say in government and to be able to hold their leaders accountable to their preferences and desires. Nor, in practice, has this alien culture been unfriendly towards democracy. Look at the two federal elections in Iraq, where Iraqis braved bombs and threats on their life to turn out in numbers proportionately greater than our own election turnouts. Look at the Afghani Parliament, where 1/5 of the democratically elected government is FEMALE. Look at Iran, where the vast majority of their next generation is highly opposed to their Theocratic leaders and want a democracy of their own. In fact, it was in the 1979 Iranian Revolution that the liberals envisioned a democracy. They were, unfortunately, backstabbed by the Mullahs who rose to power. The Middle East isn’t fundamentally opposed to democracy on a cultural or human basis. It is simply that the power structures are disproportionately held in the hands of radicals and dictatorships, who acquired such power in one-time acts of severe illegitimacy.

  13. Just wanted to respond to a couple of points. Then I’ll shut up w/ the keyboard diahrrea for good on this post. Apologies Ben-but though I am no Bush apologist, you did mention catnip…
    • Josh your description of UN corruption/bureaucracy sounds like a macrocosm of how we find things functioning here in the 21st century USA. How could one nation w/ all the same problems as the more (if not completely) inclusive larger org legitimately presume to interpret international law?
    ‚Ä¢ Not sure about the UN budget but all that corruption you mention is not about peanuts and…
    ‚Ä¢ UN legitimacy and actual power to accomplish things is not just about money-it’s about participation.
    ‚Ä¢ It’s true Islamic fundamentalism has its roots in a reform movement hundreds of years old (underlining another weird linguistic flimflam-it’s called fundmentalism but ain’t fundamental), and that it wasn’t created by western colonialialism…
    ‚Ä¢ … however, it is important to recognize Islamic fundamentalism as distinct from militant Islam. All evidence points to the fact that the exponential growth of militant Islam as we confront it today is reactive. And the West has been supplying the catalyst for nearly a century-that’s if we don’t count the crusades.
    ‚Ä¢ I agree that democracy is something human beings are evolving toward. But the statement that “all people want democracy” is not, unfortunately, true. Progress toward real democracy is constantly being derailed by charismatic extremists like the Mullahs you mention and our own radical right-they are not democracy enthusiasts nor are their constituents-who it must be said are numerous enough to put, and keep, them in power.
    • The idea that one nation could impose democracy on another, like the idea that a single nation could interpret or enforce international law (that would make it national not international), is counterintuitive. Sadly, as was the case in Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq will likely prove to be nasty laboratories for the proof of the above.

  14. josh wrote: “we would leave Iraq a relatively stable democracy …”
    Josh: out here in a place I like to call “reality” your gumdrops and rainbows fantasy looks mighty naive. See also “We’ll be welcomed as liberators” “Sadam has WMDs” and “pigs cleared for take off.”
    And… once more… I thought the “mission” was already “accomplished.”
    And this is where I came in…

  15. I won’t respond to Chris because chances are he’s not coming back, or so he says. If he does indeed come back to this topic I will gladly address his points while wasting my time procrastinating midterm studying.
    Ben, I stated that as my goal for withdrawal. In my mind, and according to my figures, that is still a realistic goal, albeit its realistic nature is diminishing.
    I agree we should change strategy. But changing strategy a dedication to achieving certain tangible goals. Withdrawal is not a strategy.
    Ben, I’m sure you thought the mission was “accomplished.” I never thought it was, and I never accepted Bush’s affirmation. Don’t try to link Bush and me together into one mindset.

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