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Staying What Course?

26 X World Champs

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My comrade, Paul Krugman speaks his mind in Monday's NY Times OP-ED column regarding the mess that is Iraq. We are literally stuck in the sand with no place to go...Did you know that IRAQ is now spelled VIETNAM?

Op-Ed Columnist
Staying What Course?

By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: May 16, 2005

Is there any point, now that November's election is behind us, in revisiting the history of the Iraq war? Yes: any path out of the quagmire will be blocked by people who call their opponents weak on national security, and portray themselves as tough guys who will keep America safe. So it's important to understand how the tough guys made America weak.

There has been notably little U.S. coverage of the "Downing Street memo" - actually the minutes of a British prime minister's meeting on July 23, 2002, during which officials reported on talks with the Bush administration about Iraq. But the memo, which was leaked to The Times of London during the British election campaign, confirms what apologists for the war have always denied: the Bush administration cooked up a case for a war it wanted.

Here's a sample: "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and W.M.D. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

(You can read the whole thing at www.downingstreetmemo.com.)

Why did the administration want to invade Iraq, when, as the memo noted, "the case was thin" and Saddam's "W.M.D. capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran"? Iraq was perceived as a soft target; a quick victory there, its domestic political advantages aside, could serve as a demonstration of American military might, one that would shock and awe the world.

But the Iraq war has, instead, demonstrated the limits of American power, and emboldened our potential enemies. Why should Kim Jong Il fear us, when we can't even secure the road from Baghdad to the airport?

At this point, the echoes of Vietnam are unmistakable. Reports from the recent offensive near the Syrian border sound just like those from a 1960's search-and-destroy mission, body count and all. Stories filed by reporters actually with the troops suggest that the insurgents, forewarned, mostly melted away, accepting battle only where and when they chose.

Meanwhile, America's strategic position is steadily deteriorating.

Next year, reports Jane's Defense Industry, the United States will spend as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. Yet the Pentagon now admits that our military is having severe trouble attracting recruits, and would have difficulty dealing with potential foes - those that, unlike Saddam's Iraq, might pose a real threat.

In other words, the people who got us into Iraq have done exactly what they falsely accused Bill Clinton of doing: they have stripped America of its capacity to respond to real threats.

So what's the plan?

The people who sold us this war continue to insist that success is just around the corner, and that things would be fine if the media would just stop reporting bad news. But the administration has declared victory in Iraq at least four times. January's election, it seems, was yet another turning point that wasn't.

Yet it's very hard to discuss getting out. Even most of those who vehemently opposed the war say that we have to stay on in Iraq now that we're there.

In effect, America has been taken hostage. Nobody wants to take responsibility for the terrible scenes that will surely unfold if we leave (even though terrible scenes are unfolding while we're there). Nobody wants to tell the grieving parents of American soldiers that their children died in vain. And nobody wants to be accused, by an administration always ready to impugn other people's patriotism, of stabbing the troops in the back.

But the American military isn't just bogged down in Iraq; it's deteriorating under the strain. We may already be in real danger: what threats, exactly, can we make against the North Koreans? That John Bolton will yell at them? And every year that the war goes on, our military gets weaker.

So we need to get beyond the clichés - please, no more "pottery barn principles" or "staying the course." I'm not advocating an immediate pullout, but we have to tell the Iraqi government that our stay is time-limited, and that it has to find a way to take care of itself. The point is that something has to give. We either need a much bigger army - which means a draft - or we need to find a way out of Iraq.

E-mail: krugman@nytimes.com
 

apathetic fools

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With one great exception, We had promised to support Vietnam beginning with the Truman administration to prevent the spread of communism. America believed "we should never reward a Bully". Truly, it was a war worth fighting.You really have to fight to compare the war, and the presidents. We never promised Iraq anything. We stormed in and over threw Hussein because we could. Vietnam was a deep rooted belief that communism was evil, and had to be stopped. Johnson did not want to be there, but had to take action for the sake of the promises we made. Johnson was only interested in his "Great Society Programs". Programs that are still empowering America today. Bush on the other hand is busy cutting those programs, and empowering the upper crust of America. (Example: Is it not true that the oil companies have a profit of 35% compared to May of Last year?)Bush has recklessly lead us off to fight a war on terrorism? Where is Bin Laden? I have not forgot.Is he in Iraq? Is he in Saudia Arabia? Who is protecting him? He should be are only interest! Staying what course? How to bully and make the world an enemy? :2bigcry: :2bigcry:
 

akyron

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apathetic fools said:
With one great exception, We had promised to support Vietnam beginning with the Truman administration to prevent the spread of communism. America believed "we should never reward a Bully". Truly, it was a war worth fighting.You really have to fight to compare the war, and the presidents. We never promised Iraq anything. We stormed in and over threw Hussein because we could. Vietnam was a deep rooted belief that communism was evil, and had to be stopped. Johnson did not want to be there, but had to take action for the sake of the promises we made. Johnson was only interested in his "Great Society Programs". Programs that are still empowering America today. Bush on the other hand is busy cutting those programs, and empowering the upper crust of America. (Example: Is it not true that the oil companies have a profit of 35% compared to May of Last year?)Bush has recklessly lead us off to fight a war on terrorism? Where is Bin Laden? I have not forgot.Is he in Iraq? Is he in Saudia Arabia? Who is protecting him? He should be are only interest! Staying what course? How to bully and make the world an enemy? :2bigcry: :2bigcry:


I wish we really had gone there after the oil. Perhaps gas would not be 2$ a gallon on my corner.
 

Fantasea

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26 X World Champs said:
My comrade, Paul Krugman speaks his mind in Monday's NY Times OP-ED column regarding the mess that is Iraq. We are literally stuck in the sand with no place to go...Did you know that IRAQ is now spelled VIETNAM?
No. I thought it was spelled, FREEDOM.

Do you think Comrade Krugman is aware of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act signed into law by then President Clinton on Halloween? And if he is, do you think he thought it was just a Halloween prank?

It makes interesting reading: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c105:H.R.4655.ENR:
 

ludahai

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My cousin has been in Iraq for more than a month now and he hasn't reported to me any incidents of violence. He tells me that the village near where he is stationed now has electricity for the first time, EVER! That is an anecdote, but still one that points to the progress that has been in achieved in many parts of the country.
 
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