<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d32209663\x26blogName\x3dSideways+Mencken\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://sidewaysmencken.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://sidewaysmencken.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d7682481423868601741', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

It's Our War.

It'd be easier if we could blame the king.

George W. Bush is mulish, shallow, close-minded, incurious, incapable of self-examination or self-criticism. He is ignorant of the constitution and indifferent to his oath to defend it. He's divisive, mean and destructive. He's out of his depth. He has lousy judgment. He's been a disaster. He is an awful president. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw his lying, delusional vice-president.

But . . .

The Iraq War, while very much "Mr. Bush's war," is also ours. We are responsible for the outcome because in a democracy we are responsible for having put this dolt in the White House not once but twice. It's an American war, and we're Americans, so we own it.

So set aside Mr. Bush. Set aside the yammering jackasses who've offered him uncritical support as he dug the hole we're now in. Set aside the absolutely justifiable contempt you may have for Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, the GOP, Fox News, the nitwit enablers of the Rightosphere, and ask yourself what the United States should do right now in Iraq.

If your answer is "Get the hell out," I can absolutely understand that. You're not crazy or unpatriotic for reaching that conclusion. This war has been a fiasco. And there is nothing wrong with concluding that we should stop sending men to have their faces blown off in a futile attempt to salvage Mr. Bush's folly.

But I would make this point: the new strategy (okay, half-new) we are pursuing in Baghdad is not a stupid strategy. It is highly unlikely to succeed, but it is not stupid. It's a micro version of the strategy we should have pursued four years ago.

The new strategy is, in effect, the old "take, hold and build," but with the addition of perhaps enough (barely, maybe) to actually do some "holding." Mr. Bush and his generals have not doubled-down on stupidity for once. Instead, driven by desperation and left with no alternative, they've actually reached a rational approach to this war. Probably too late.

Mr. Bush has been driven to this new strategy by the voters, by the Democratic Party, and by GOP critics like Mr. McCain and Mr. Hagel. The critics made this change in policy possible. Mr. Bush's enablers did their best to keep us on the path to defeat. We, the rational and patriotic war critics of all parties, can claim credit for this change: having long rejected deadlines Mr. Bush has now wielded an implicit deadline to bully Mr. Maliki into whatever cooperation he's going to give. The president's enablers have rejected the very sorts of threats and deadlines Mr. Bush is now relying on, and have just as vociferously rejected the very sort of increase in manpower that Mr. Bush is now deploying.

So the point has been made and won by the president's honest critics. The White House has effectively conceded that we needed a firmer hand with Maliki, and more boots on the ground. Yes, too little. Yes, probably too late. But this is the best we can do right now. Yes, yes, it's Mr. Bush's fault that we didn't increase the size of the military and so we find ourselves in this bind, but nevertheless, this is what we can do right now.

The surge doesn't make grand, cosmic, transcendent sense, but down here in the deep hole Mr. Bush dug for us it's as close as we can get to anything that might conceivably salvage this hideous situation.

It is our war. The Iraqi civil war that would almost certainly follow withdrawal would be in part our fault, those deaths on our hands. We can't escape moral responsibility just by pointing an accusing finger at the fool we elected to the presidency. Just as win, lose or draw we won't be able to escape the responsibility for soldiers in coffins and marines in wheelchairs. It's all on us. That's the deal with democracy. It's still our war.

We'll know within a couple of months whether this is going to work. Look for whether we are shooting Shiites or only Sunnis. Look for whether ethnic cleansing is continuing apace. Look for Muqtada to start screaming and threatening -- if he doesn't, if he's okay with all this then we're being played. Don't just look at casualty figures, see whether those casualties are Iraqi army as well as US. If more GI's than Iraqi troops are dying, we're being played.

But give it a couple of months.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

“It's Our War.”

  1. Anonymous Kevin Says:

    I can't say that I'm with you in supporting the surge. It's my opinion that with this administration, "what's the worst that could happen?" is a well with no bottom. So I'm not at all interested in giving them any more rope to hang themselves with.

    Although I give them credit for handing the reins to David Petraeus, I don't see the Surge as enough of a change to turn things around in Iraq. I'd love to be wrong here but this seems more like we're deferring the really hard choices that need to be made in Iraq (split it up?, just leave?, abandon our commitments elsewhere to doubledown on Iraq?).

    That said, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that like it or not we, the people, own this war. We own the outcome and we will have to deal with the consequences. So it's not enough to advocate withdrawal and blithely assume everything will be ok once we leave.

    Sorry for the long comment.

  2. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    Kevin:

    LIke I said you're not crazy or unpatriotic for reaching that conclusion. I'm pretty close to being in agreement with you. As I imagine you noticed, I'm not filled with optimism or trust for this White House.

    Long posts are welcome and anyway that wasn't long.

  3. Blogger cakreiz Says:

    GWB is mulish, shallow, close-minded, incurious, incapable of self-examination or self-criticism. He is ignorant of the constitution and indifferent to his oath to defend it. He's divisive, mean and destructive. He's out of his depth. He has lousy judgment.

    But other than that, he's a great guy. After all, he hands out really funny nicknames, doesn't he? That's gotta count for something.

  4. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    Well, I'm trying to write a documentary -- where we don't know what'll happen, so god knows what I think I'm writing.

    And I'm trying to figure out what a very conservative filmaker wants to do with a book series of ours.

    And I'm chewing my fingernails beacuse I have book submissions out.

    And having seen a hole in the market I'm trying to conceive of the next hot middle reader series.

    And I'm trying to lose 20 pounds in two months because I have to go on camera.

    And finding schools for my kids because they are respectively learning disabled and a genius.

    And I have three or four other books I want/need to write.

    Oh, and I have to figure out the entire history of the US and Europe and the middle east in the next 60 days and manage to distill it all into a couple of graphics-heavy packages.

    And for fun my little sister has apparently terminal cancer.

    I realize I'm totally fucking off as a blogger, but the truth is I am up to my neck in one thing or another. If I thought about it my head would explode.

  6. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    I assume you're either swamped, or traveling, or both, I assume?

  7. Blogger NYkrinDC Says:

    I agree with you with regard to it being our war in the long run. I have disagreed with others, because in making this argument they find a way to remove all culpability from the administration. Here, however, you make a very convincing argument for why we have to get past the partisanship (on both sides) and accept that regardless of what the administration did, and because of it, we have very real problems that we will have to deal with.

    I've reviewed the President's plan in my own blog as well as Sen. Biden's plan for Iraq. To tell you the truth, if the President committed to sending more troops to Iraq (about 120,000 more) I think his plan would have a great chance of pacifying the country. However, given the fact that he is unlikely to do so, and that withdrawal the way some are calling for is not an option, his proposal is better than nothing.

    As for Biden's plan, I think it could work. Again, I think we would need to increase troop levels to make it work, but he has the right idea in dividing the country into three regions under one central government. That is, solve the violence by keeping the sides apart. A lot will have to be done to accomplish this and I have some reservations about the plan but I'm glad that at least one democrat is seriously thinking about it.

  8. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    Just to clarify, my long self-pitying screed there above is a response to Reader I Am's question, which now, is posted after my response. Reversing the space time continuum.

  9. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IB10Ak06.html

    AT often has incisive pieces showing the futility of the Iraq
    War and this one speaks a little to your concerns. You are right that it is Ameria's war and if anything good can come of it, the debacle might completely discredit the US from ever intervening in the Mideast again. Just trying to find a silver lining. ...As a non-interventionist Buchananite, this
    would be a good thing. The Empire has nothing to offer the Mideast,what with the Israeli Lobby owning Congress. Further, our domestic problems highlighted by the Mexican invasion need attending to without distractions
    from overseas. Whoever owns the oil will set it to us at market prices and Israel the albatross should have been cut loose from our pursestrings long ago. Meanwhile we can acheive energy self sufficiency and should have been working on it since the oil embargo of the 1970s set us on notice. Again, an ignominious defeat in Iraq might discredit us out of the region, paradoxically the longer we stay the bigger the defeat could be but also the greater opportunity given the lying warmongers Bush/Cheney to pick an unwarranted fight with Iran. So hold on tight cause Iran
    has plenty of answers for that.

  10. Anonymous GN Says:

    I have been mulling this one over for several days. On first read, the urge to respond(react?) is strong. Reading the responses and many posts on this topic has driven me to reflect from a "macro" view.

    While the argument can be made (by both sides) that regardless of methods used (underhanded and self-centered) by the admin. to take us into this war ... it is also an imperative to realize that "it is our war". I believe M Tak's perspective was given in a hasty fashion it has strong merit.

    When partisans proclaim, from either side, they fail to see past the following fact because of their opposing passion, frustration and the realization that we are in a terrible debacle. regardless of the polls ... regardless of the votes by a duly elected Congress and subsequent changes of heart ..."admit this" ... that the votes were duly counted on 00' and 04' and the man was put in office by the collective"us" and that in itself makes it "Our War"

    Arguments can be made to logically withdrawal or to logically escalate, and when the partisanship is discounted we still have to do "something".

    The collective votes put us there .... let the collective votes determine when and if we get out...and "how" we do that.

    Should be an interesting turn of events considering the Iran connection ... and it will be painful, as it well should be.

    But make no mistake ... as M tak points out rashly or not .... we were played, and being angry and confrontational with the admin is a patriotic emotion, supportive or not.

  11. Blogger 宮保雞丁Alex Says:

    徵信社,尋人,偵探,偵探社,徵才,私家偵探,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,抓猴,出軌,背叛,婚姻,劈腿,感情,第三者,婚外情,一夜情,小老婆,外遇,市場調查,公平交易法,抓姦,債務,債務協商,應收帳款,詐欺,離婚,監護權,法律諮詢,法律常識,離婚諮詢,錄音,找人,追蹤器,GPS,徵信,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信社

  12. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    ninest123 09.23
    ugg boots, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, chanel handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, burberry, replica watches, replica watches, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, burberry outlet online, gucci outlet, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, louboutin outlet, kate spade outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, tiffany and co, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, ugg boots, michael kors, ugg boots, louis vuitton outlet, nike outlet, tiffany jewelry, nike air max, longchamp, ugg boots, louis vuitton, nike free, michael kors outlet, louboutin, jordan shoes, uggs on sale, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, tory burch outlet, christian louboutin outlet, louboutin shoes, longchamp outlet, prada outlet

  13. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    ninest123 09.23
    ugg boots, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, chanel handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, burberry, replica watches, replica watches, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, burberry outlet online, gucci outlet, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, louboutin outlet, kate spade outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, tiffany and co, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, ugg boots, michael kors, ugg boots, louis vuitton outlet, nike outlet, tiffany jewelry, nike air max, longchamp, ugg boots, louis vuitton, nike free, michael kors outlet, louboutin, jordan shoes, uggs on sale, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, tory burch outlet, christian louboutin outlet, louboutin shoes, longchamp outlet, prada outlet

  14. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    vanessa bruno, new balance pas cher, michael kors, hogan, air max, hollister pas cher, nike air max, nike free, mulberry, true religion jeans, hollister, vans pas cher, coach factory outlet, nike air max, air force, hermes, kate spade handbags, michael kors, lululemon, true religion jeans, north face, converse pas cher, north face, oakley pas cher, nike roshe run, michael kors, ray ban pas cher, burberry, nike free run uk, sac longchamp, coach outlet, true religion outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, timberland, longchamp pas cher, air jordan pas cher, coach outlet, nike roshe, michael kors, nike air max, louboutin pas cher, ray ban uk, tn pas cher, sac guess, nike blazer, lacoste pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, ralph lauren uk, coach purses, true religion jeans

  15. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    gucci, beats by dre, north face outlet, reebok shoes, mcm handbags, north face outlet, ferragamo shoes, babyliss, p90x workout, nike roshe, new balance, baseball bats, nike air max, longchamp, converse, iphone 6 cases, birkin bag, vans, timberland boots, valentino shoes, herve leger, lululemon, nike air max, soccer jerseys, wedding dresses, bottega veneta, mont blanc, ralph lauren, nike huarache, asics running shoes, jimmy choo shoes, ray ban, hollister, vans shoes, giuseppe zanotti, converse outlet, insanity workout, nfl jerseys, abercrombie and fitch, ghd, celine handbags, oakley, nike trainers, instyler, soccer shoes, mac cosmetics, hollister, louboutin, chi flat iron, hollister

  16. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    hollister, replica watches, pandora charms, michael kors outlet online, toms shoes, moncler, thomas sabo, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, canada goose, swarovski, juicy couture outlet, links of london, canada goose, marc jacobs, moncler, canada goose outlet, moncler, louis vuitton, lancel, coach outlet, supra shoes, moncler, canada goose, pandora jewelry, moncler, canada goose uk, barbour, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, doke gabbana outlet, wedding dresses, karen millen, doudoune canada goose, moncler outlet, michael kors handbags, sac louis vuitton pas cher, swarovski crystal, louis vuitton, montre pas cher, barbour jackets, canada goose, ugg boots uk, juicy couture outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora charms, pandora jewelry, bottes ugg, louis vuitton, moncler, michael kors outlet, ugg pas cher
    09.23