(Note: I am assisting with Winds of Change Fallujah briefing. Joe Katzman has assembled an incredible briefing on the battle. Some of the information in this post is derived from entries I submitted for Sunday’s posting. As the battle of Fallujah is winding down, I expect the news from the city to dry up soon.)
The Adventures of Chester reports that Phase II of Operation Al-Fajr is complete and outlines the actions of Coalition forces in the city. Sporadic fighting, humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, intelligence gathering, and a redeployment of forces are on the agenda for the next several weeks. In Fallujah, Marines discovered the mutilated body of a Caucasian woman as well as the bodies of 8 murdered Arab men. More torture chambers and bomb factories are found in the city. Finds such as these will continue to be unearthed as Fallujah is inspected house-by-house, block-by-block.
American casualty numbers are 38 dead and 275 wounded. When compared with modern urban battles these numbers are remarkably low. The fighting is by no means over but the brunt of the casualties would have been expected during the initial assault. According to Marine Lt. Gen. John Sattler, the enemy has taken it on the chin in Fallujah, and not everyone is eager to become a martyr for the cause.
“The enemy right now is broken into very small groups. … They don’t have the means to communicate, so they’re isolated into small pockets,” Sattler said. “If they want to surrender, we are more than happy to accommodate them. We have close to 1,000 military-age males who have surrendered, and who are under our control right now.” In addition to captives, Sattler said that a “conservative” estimate would be that 1,000 to 1,200 enemy fighters have been killed during the battle.
Gen. Sattler also believes terror master Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and some of his fighters have escaped, but explains that Zarqawi’s network has suffered from the Coalition’s actions over the past several months.
“This battle has been shaped for months. Each and every time we had someone from Zarqawi’s leadership identified very precisely, we either … captured him with a direct attack or killed him with a precision-guided munition,” Sattler said. “We really had an impact and an effect on Zarqawi’s command and control structure.”
Because of this preparatory work, most of the terrorist’s top leaders were already gone by the time the operation began. Though Zarqawi and his network were certainly targets, though, Sattler emphasized that they weren’t the only objective. “Our focus was on breaking the backbone of the insurgents and restoring the rule of law in Fallujah,” Sattler said. “We want to give Fallujah back to Fallujah’s people.”
The citizens of Fallujah have grown disenchanted with Zarqwai’s terror. Hannah Allam documents the buyer’s remorse of the residents of Fallujah and the indigenous Iraqi insurgents. Zarqawi attempted to instill Taliban-like atmosphere in Fallujah, much to the dismay of the residents. It seems their zeal in murdering innocents and their brand of Islam was too much for the locals to countenance.
Last week, with U.S. troops battling their way through the Sunni Muslim stronghold, several Fallujah residents said trusting the foreigners who turned the locals’ humble stand against foreign occupation into a sophisticated terror campaign had been a grave mistake.
Once admired as comrades in an anti-American struggle, foreign fighters now draw blamed for U.S. missiles flattening homes and turning Iraq’s City of Mosques into a killing field. The foreigners’ promises of protection went unfulfilled, angry residents said, as they moved on to other outposts and left residents to face a superpower alone.
Fallujah residents, most of them now displaced by the fighting, said hundreds of non-Iraqi Arabs had been in the city before the U.S. offensive began Monday. But, they added, the ties of brotherhood had mostly unraveled and the remaining foreign fighters had tried to intimidate residents into staying as human shields.
A rebel-allied cleric who goes by the name Sheik Rafaa said Iraqi rebels were so infuriated by the disappearance of their foreign allies that one cell had “executed 20 Arab fighters because they left an area they promised to defend.”
Other residents said foreign militants wore out their welcome months ago, when they imposed a Taliban-like interpretation of Islamic law that included public floggings for residents accused of drinking alcohol or refusing to grow beards. Women who failed to cover their hair or remove their makeup were subjected to public humiliation. Those accused of spying for Americans were executed on the spot, residents said.
When they swept into Fallujah from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and North Africa, the Arab fighters told wary residents that God favors believers who give up their homes and travel to defend Islam.
But then came the wave of foreign hostage-takings, many ending with gruesome beheadings broadcast for the world to see. Al-Zarqawi also claimed responsibility for massive bombings that spilled the blood of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.
Aghast, Fallujah residents began drawing distinctions between their own fighters, who favored mainly military and police targets, and foreigners encouraged by the fear they inspired through spectacular attacks.
Zarqawi’s brutality towards civilians and his flight from the battlefield have not earned him the respect of the indigenous Iraqi insurgents (Zarqawi may even have flip-flopped on his vow to “Fight to the Death”). It will be interesting to see if the citizens of other Iraqi towns and cities are eager to host his network after the tyranny and abject failure in Fallujah. Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq is looking like a weak horse at the moment, and as the residents of Fallujah have learned, cooperating with this loser comes at a great cost.
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I’m very glad to hear about the growing split between the domestic Iraqis and the foreign insurgents. Let’s hope the word spreads to the rest of the Iraq, and these guys get notice that their welcome has worn out. While US troops can win any given focused military battle, it has to be the people of Iraq that throw those guys out. If the Iraqis still support the insurgents, they will just hide until they can recover and attack again.
On a slightly different but related topic, what’s your take on the CIA shake-up? The White House is saying, pretty much in so many words, “Get those liberals who didn’t support President Bush out of the CIA.”
Now, the point of having an intelligence agency is not to have people who are programmed to give you good news, or always to agree with you. It’s to give you the best available view on reality, whether you like it or not. The CIA got a lot of well-deserved criticism for their failure to demonstrate the lack of WMD in Iraq, but that failure was clearly, in part, their inability to stand up to pressure from Cheney, et al.
McCain says that the CIA needs a real shake-up (//www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50314-2004Nov14.html). This may very well be true.
But how do we distinguish between a shake-up that eliminates disagreements and installs a group of Yes-men, and one that increases the intellectual integrity and diversity of opinion in this agency? The former would be a disservice to the nation. The latter would be less comfortable perhaps, but more valuable.
Let’s hear some concrete predictions of the signs to look for over the next weeks and months that will tell us whether we are seeing a good outcome or a bad outcome at the CIA.
If we get consistent support for the President’s policies, followed by surprises on the ground, that’s a bad outcome, but it comes too late. What I’m looking for are the early warning signs. You and your friends know what to look for.
Beard, I would like to read more on the following statement of yours:
The White House is saying, pretty much in so many words, “Get those liberals who didn’t support President Bush out of the CIA.”
You have to understand that there are always going to be dissenting views in any bureaucracy. That isn’t the issue. No one is being purged for dissenting. The issue is the continuous stream of “anonymous” leaks that are designed to hurt the administration and subvert policy. At some point the CIA must form an opinion on intelligence matters, which is an imperfect business. Concerning WMD, the CIA got some things wrong, but not everything wrong (read the ISG report and you will see this).
Concerning your statment about Cheney influencing the CIA’s views on WMD, the Senate Select Intellignece Committee investigation on Iraq found zero evidence of this. They asked for anyone with information on this to step forward, but noone did. All of the anonymous leakers didn’t have the integrity to stand up and testify when the time came. It demonstrates that the leaks were for political gain, not for reasons of concern about national security.
My real question is whether we can come up with some mutually-agreed predictions about the future, so that, when the facts emerge, we can draw some agreed-upon conclusions.
Human affairs are much more complicated and less amenable to firm predictions than simpler problems like nuclear physics. But still, an important way to approach the truth is to make some predictions, and say “If it comes out X, then we can conclude A, but if it comes out Y, then we should conclude B.”
Many of us treated the Administration’s claims of “irrefutable evidence” of WMD in Iraq in that light. Once we went into Iraq, we would be able to find the truth about that particular question, and we would know whether the prediction was correct. We did so, and we discovered that the claim was wrong.
I am proposing that we agree on some prediction that would let us determine whether the actions of Porter Goss and the Bush Administration are making the CIA into a more functional organization or a less functional one. We would all hope for sufficiently dramatic changes that the outcome will be clear, one way or the other. But if the changes are not clearly good, that actually a bad sign.
So, let’s get some predictions, and let reality settle the argument.
Re: asking for predictions.
Incidentally, this all comes out of the philosophy of Karl Popper, one of the great philosophers of both science and politics of the 20th century. You would probably enjoy his book, “The Open Society and Its Enemies.”
I am sorry, but I do not understand your question. Predictions on what? How to determine the effectiveness and fairness of the purge? That would require a level of knowledge of CIA personnel that I doubt anyone other than Congress and members of the CIA possess. Or you want definitive proof of the intelligence before acting? Impossible.
I refute your claim that we were entirely wrong on WMD. We were wrong on stockpiles, but not intent in capacity. Unfortunately the stockpile issue was hyped. Again, I urge you to read the full ISG report. If not, read this post, with a link to the ISG report Exceutive Summary.
The reason this is important is that you are claiming we were 100% wrong on Iraq’s WMD, and we were not.
Incidentally, I happen to dislike philosophy. I have yet to finish a book on philospohy, they bore me to death. No doubt this makes me some type of Neanderthal, but I think philospohers tend to overthink many issues that seem intuitive to me.
I think philospohy is very important to political discourse, but I do not get caught up in the he-said she-said of the philosophic battles. My eyes glaze over when I see the battles of the philosophers emerge in comments sections of blogs.
I expect to be excoriated for this, but I am being honest.
The problems with predictions are that they are rarely never 100% correct once all of the facts are available. In the case of Iraq’s WMD, I would say we got a lot right (perhaps 70%?) in light of the fact that we were trying to understand a brutal police state intent on obtaining and possessing WMD, and did everything possible to obscure the facts.
I prefer to err on the side of caution after 9-11, and Iraq is not all about WMD anyway. We were at war with Saddam for 12 years and he needed to be dealt with at some point.
Bill, (re: philosophers)
In general, it’s not a bad thing to avoid philosophers. 80% or more of what they write is crap. (However, this follows directly from Sturgeon’s Law, which says that 80% of *everything* is crap.)
Karl Popper is different. However, I have to admit that I personally prefer to read other people interpreting him in a readable way, than to read him in the original.
As a scientist, Popper’s philosophy gives direct, useful advice on how to formulate scientific theories that make a real difference in the world. In short, what a scientist needs to do is to identify *pairs* of theories that make contrasting predictions about what will happen in the world. Then do an experiment to see what the world says. If you have contrasting predictions, then at least one of the two theories will be convincingly refuted.
To become a successful scientist, propose theories that are clearly open to being refuted by specific experimental test. Then if those tests support your theory and refute its competitors, you win. [Nice short book, “Letter to a Young Scientist”, by Peter Medawar, Nobel Prize-winner.]
Part of Popper’s genius was to see that these ideas also apply to politics. If you only propose theories where waffling can cover for any surprises by the world, your theories really aren’t very good. If you suppress any possibility of dissent, your theories are really bad. Only if you are open to dissent and criticism, and hence are capable of changing bad ideas and improving to better ones, can you really win. This ends up being the competitive advantage of open societies over closed ones. If we were to suppress that competitive advantage, by suppressing criticism and dissent, then we would be lost.
Some of us worry about signs of that, for example in John Ashcroft’s claim that judges should not rule against administration actions.
Bill wrote: “We were wrong on stockpiles, but not intent in capacity. Unfortunately the stockpile issue was hyped.”
But that was the important issue. The Bush Administration got support because they said they had “irrefutable evidence” that Saddam *actually had* weapons of mass destruction that could be used, at any moment, against our people. That leads to statements like, “We can’t let the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud over one of our cities.” How can anyone object to that?
Sure Saddam had intent. Lots of people had intent, and lots still do. But Saddam didn’t have stockpiles, and as it has turned out, he had precious little capacity either, and that was deteriorating.
Certainly Saddam is a bad guy. But without the “imminent threat to our survival” argument, you wouldn’t have gotten the American people to agree to violate a centuries-old principle against attacking someone who hadn’t attacked us first.
Maybe in the end, the USA will come out stronger thanks to this Iraq adventure, and maybe we will come out much weaker and seriously damaged. The returns aren’t in on that, and serious people disagree. It will take a decade at least before we get confidence in the answer to this.
But would the American people have approved of this adventure if they had been told the truth from the beginning? I think not.
Understood on philosophers. And ont eh science angle as well. I have a background in science and am very familiar with the Scientific Method.
Have you read Woodward’s Plan of Attack? Woodward is certainly no Bush patsy. Dissenting opinions were considered by the Bush admin. Because he did not choose the dissenting opinion does not mean it was not considered. At some point the President must balance the available information and make a decision. That is what happened.
You are making claims (the White house is purging the CIA of liberals, WMD evidence was all wrong, Ashcroft’s claim that judges should not rule against administration) without providing supporting evidence. I dispute this. Again, read the ISG report and you will see about the WMD issue.
By the way, you want a prediction from me?
I would say that within the next two years, we will discover that Iran has effective nuclear weapons, and we will get even clearer proof of their efforts to undermine us in Iraq and everywhere else in the Middle East. (not surprising, right?)
So then what will we do? We’ll invade Syria!
Iran, like North Korea, will be too dangerous for us to take on. But we can handle Syria, and they are unquestionably bad guys. So why not?
My prediction is that this will happen before 2007, probably well before the mid-term elections in 2006. I would be happy to be proved wrong.
What do you think?
Bill, I’ll try to provide the evidence you requested this evening, but I have to get back to my day job.
Iraq was bigger than WMD stockpiles, stockpiles was not the most important issue. I fear we will not agree on this issue. The “imminent threat to our survival” argument was never made by President Bush. He said we cannot wait for the threat to become imminent. You are distorting his words, but you are not alone on this.
Concerning your predictions, I have little comment as I really am not in the predictions business at this level. Too little info to go on, and really it is speculation.
I would agree that Syria, as a state sponsor of terrorism would be a valid target regardless of what happens in Iran.
You do not see the threat of state sponsored terrorism and want to attack only when overtly attacked, so acting without provocation is abhorent to you. I disagree and believe states that actively sponsor terrorists are active threats that need to be eliminated. The very act of succorring terrorists is a threat to our survival.
Understood, Beard. Keep in mind this example of the Bush admin’s willingness to employ liberals despite their political leaning.
In the spring of 2003 the Bush administration sent Noah Feldman to Iraq to advise American occupation authorities and the Iraqis on constitution making. The choice was remarkably apt, for Feldman possessed a rare blend of talents. A young and respected professor of constitutional law at New York University, he spoke and read Arabic fluently and held a doctorate in Islamic studies. Nor was his the normal Bush appointee’s resume. A self-described liberal Democrat, Feldman had clerked for Associate Justice David Souter and litigated for Al Gore in the Florida ballot melee in 2000.
The article is fascinating for other reasons as well……
And it’s not only the Iraqis who have an interest in Iraqi democracy, Feldman says. The United States and Europe have for too long erred both morally and strategically in supporting authoritarian governments in the Arab world. In Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, Islamist terrorists ”have long been motivated by their grievances against the authoritarian states in which they live.” Feldman points out that it was a ”cadre of Egyptian Islamist terrorists, defeated and thus displaced from their traditional battle against the Egyptian state in the 1990’s,” who ”joined forces with Osama bin Laden to create Al Qaeda.” The answer to the threat of Islamic terrorism, he says, is to engage in nation-building ”aimed at creating democratically legitimate states that would treat their citizens with dignity and respect.”
A liberal that gets it. This is so refreshing to me. He has disagreements with the Bush admin’s handling of Iraq which I think are fair, but he understands the cause.
Ashcroft & Rumsfeld are Jews? Someone should tell them, especially that Bible-thumping Ashcroft, perhaps they didn’t get the memo. Your hatred of Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, is palpable.
I will agree with you that we have created problems int he Middle East, but we are not alone. How about Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations? Nah, let’s just blame good ol’ Jew-infested U.S. of A. (this is sarcasm in case anyone doesn’t get it).
Bush is a radical president because he is trying to smash the status quo of supporting corrupt regimes. Iraq and Afghanistan down, many mor eto go. Does that bother you that we freed 50 million people? It sure sounds like it.
I am sure you will respond to the CIA accusations of partisanship with this article from the WaPo.
My take? Goss is shaking things up and the senior staff doesn’t like it. Look at all of the ‘unnamed’ and ‘anonymous’ sources in this article. Sounds like a bunch of whiners upset about the reorganization of the CIA, which I agree is greatly needed. It is kind of hard to shake things up at CIA without shaking things up at CIA.
Here is a link that shows the Clinton Administration did the same thing over 10 years ago, for loyalty reasons no less.
“But would the American people have approved of this adventure if they had been told the truth from the beginning? I think not.”
We didn’t know the “truth” about WMDs until the country was invaded and examined from stem to stern unfettered by Saddam’s thugs. Before then the overwhelming multilateral consensus was that Saddam had WMD. We also didn’t know that Libya had an advanced nuke program until they surrendered the goods to us.
So what you are suggesting? We act based on some type of crystal ball? Do you have any leads where we can find one?
What we can hope for is that our intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA, develop a better track record(might that be what is going on with the personnel turmoil at Langely?)
I disagree with Bill (and argue with him) about a lot of things. Furthermore, I am happy to criticize Israel and its conduct of their relations with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world. But here Bill is just plain right.
We have done a lot of things wrong in the Middle East, like supporting authoritarian dictatorships. But supporting Israel is the right thing to do, both morally and strategically.
I’m happy to listen and respond to arguments with substance, and preferably with citations to back them up, but all I see from you is sloganeering and a hint. Let’s see what you’ve got.
Bill: I enjoyed reading about Noah Feldman. I admit to being impressed that the Bush Administration had taken him on, in spite of his evident liberalism. The rest of his credentials were certainly very unusual.
This appointment stands out exactly because the Bush administration appoints so few people with even moderate Democratic politics. The Clinton administration appointed a Republican to be Defense secretary. Furthermore, one of things that drove Republicans nuts about Clinton was that he was a master of adopting Republican positions on things, and getting them passed with bipartisan support, and then taking credit for them (of course). (Drove some of us liberal Democrats nuts, too, I have to say.)
So, I’m perfectly happy to give credit where credit is due for Noah Feldman. But I’ll be surprised if you can find three more.
Peter Argus wrote: “We didn’t know the “truth” about WMDs until the country was invaded and examined from stem to stern unfettered by Saddam’s thugs. Before then the overwhelming multilateral consensus was that Saddam had WMD.”
Not so. I listened to Hans Blix’ testimony before the UN Security Council. He was very clear and precise about what the inspectors did and did not know, based on the information they had, and the time that had elapsed since they were allowed free access, and the documentation that Iraq had provided. There were certainly unanswered questions, but there was every reason to believe that, if Saddam did have WMD, they were not a major threat to the USA.
Keep in mind, that people are fond of lumping under the “WMD” label chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. What scares the crap out of people is the notion of a nuclear bomb going off in an American city. We *knew* that Saddam was nowhere close to that. Chemical and biological weapons are no joke, but we have defenses against them, and they are harder than you think to deploy effectively.
To the extent that Saddam plausibly had WMD, they were aged artillery shells loaded with chemical weapons, perhaps sarin. Again, no joke, but the stuff doesn’t have a great shelf life, so after 10-15 years, the magnitude of the threat was not all that great. (And, of course, as it worked out, he didn’t even have that. Go figure.)
Certainly we shouldn’t have allowed Saddam to chase away the UN weapons inspectors. (That’s the equivalent of you being able to shoo away the county sheriff if he comes to your house with a search warrant. Ain’t going to happen.)
But we could have enforced the rights of the UN weapons inspectors to unfettered inspections, (a) with the enthusiastic support of the entire international community, (b) with them footing the major part of the cost, (c) without violating our centuries-old principle against invading countries that hadn’t attacked us first, and (d) without nearly the loss of US or Iraqi lives and limbs. We would simply be helping to enforce international law. Our military could have demonstrated its untouchable superiority in focused combat, and we wouldn’t have grabbed the tar-baby that this war has become.
Beard, I have been reading your dialogue with Bill and wish to congratulate you for keeping the debate in focus (unlike Brent). However, I believe you may have slipped into some fuzzy thinking in your last paragraph or two of your last comment. I am unaware of any enthusiastic international support for anything in Iraq (prewar) other than the monies flowing from the corrupt *Oil for Food* program. What other countries would have been willing to fund our efforts there? We declared war on Germany after Japan attacked us. To suggest that our effort in Iraq has become a tar baby genuinely besmirches the noble actions of our service men and women there.
To think that we might have been able to have a rerun of Gulf War I or what we did in Kosovo is folly. There are too many differences to begin to try to catalogue here, but suffice it to say that John Kerry would not have been able to build a more cohesive and effective coalition than President Bush has.
You suggest that we should have been able to force Saddam to permit the inspectors unfettered access to his weapons facilities. How??? The UN had little will or incentive to enforce this; how should we have done so?
Bill wrote: “You are making claims (the White house is purging the CIA of liberals, WMD evidence was all wrong, Ashcroft’s claim that judges should not rule against administration) without providing supporting evidence.”
OK. Here’s the source on the White House purging the CIA, perhaps more generally of critics, not just liberals.
The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.
“The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House,” said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. “Goss was given instructions … to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president’s agenda.”
I recognize that the sources are unnamed, and probably include some of the purgees, but I don’t consider them substantially less credible than the Administration on this topic.
Here’s one on Ashcroft criticizing judges. (//www.nbc30.com/news/3914949/detail.html)
Attorney General John Ashcroft is criticizing federal judges who rule against Bush administration decisions on U.S. duties under international treaties.
Ashcroft told the Federalist Society that judges jeopardize national security with such rulings. He termed the rulings a “profoundly disturbing trend” and said a few judges appear to be second guessing what he termed “presidential determinations in these critical areas.”
On WMD. I never said every bit of it was wrong. Surely, someone said something true! But here’s the story on the famous “irrefutable evidence” that turned out to be wrong. (//www.nytimes.com/2004/10/03/international/middleeast/03tube.html)
In 2002, at a crucial juncture on the path to war, senior members of the Bush administration gave a series of speeches and interviews in which they asserted that Saddam Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear weapons program. Speaking to a group of Wyoming Republicans in September, Vice President Dick Cheney said the United States now had “irrefutable evidence” – thousands of tubes made of high-strength aluminum, tubes that the Bush administration said were destined for clandestine Iraqi uranium centrifuges, before some were seized at the behest of the United States.
Those tubes became a critical exhibit in the administration’s brief against Iraq. As the only physical evidence the United States could brandish of Mr. Hussein’s revived nuclear ambitions, they gave credibility to the apocalyptic imagery invoked by President Bush and his advisers. The tubes were “only really suited for nuclear weapons programs,” Condoleezza Rice, the president’s national security adviser, explained on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002. “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
But almost a year before, Ms. Rice’s staff had been told that the government’s foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets.
Phil in OH writes: “To suggest that our effort in Iraq has become a tar baby genuinely besmirches the noble actions of our service men and women there.”
You’ve missed an important distinction between the heroism of the men and women on the ground who do what they are told, and the potential mistakes and even stupidity of the commanders and political leaders who tell them what to do.
Read “The Charge of The Light Brigade”, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Here it is:
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d ?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!
Honoring the sacrifices and heroism of the men and women on the ground does not protect the decision-makers in Washington from examination and criticism.
Phil in OH wrote: “You suggest that we should have been able to force Saddam to permit the inspectors unfettered access to his weapons facilities. How??? The UN had little will or incentive to enforce this; how should we have done so?”
Yes, I do suggest this. It would have required substantial diplomacy. George H. W. Bush could have done it, and I suspect Colin Powell could have done it. I don’t think that GWB has the knowledge, the instincts, or the patience. (Let me point out that I did not say that he isn’t smart enough.)
With our military acting to enforce access for the UN inspectors, you think Saddam would be able to keep them out?
Iraq is a BIG problem and there need to be some creative solutions to solve the problem. More of the same is not working. This month has had the highest rate of casualties so far of the entire war. Maybe the Sunnis should be offerred some form of autonomous province within Iraq to soothe their fears. It’s not bowing to terrorism. It’s simply being realistic. Zarqawi’s terrorists are not the bulk of the insurgency. The bulk of it is Sunni tribesman who don’t want the Shiites taking over the country. Iraqi Turkmen are also involved in the insurgency in large numbers now too.
I hate to be pessimistic but more of the same of this is going lead to something very similar to the Soviets in Afghistan.
Just got in from watching my Eagles whip the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Yeah!
We are rehashing some very old arguments here. particularly alluminum tubes. There was much debate about this topic, in my opinion the administration took the worst case senario based on the history of Saddam, which included the use of WMD against his own people and the CIA’s mistjudgment of his nuclear capabilities in 1991. Did they get it wrong? Yes. Again, I think you want perfect knowledge and are not considering Saddam’s history or his attempts to bypass the sanctions and kill our airmen patrolling the no fly zone.
Concerning WMD, chemical and biological are jsut as if not as dangerous as nuclear weapons. On this we will disagree.
Your Ashcroft quote is a fragment. I’d love to see something more substantial. Is he right to be concerned the judical branch is ruling in areas that are traditionally the purview of the executive branch? I see nothing threatening about his statements as is and would liek to see something more substantial.
The bottom line is you feel Saddam could be contained. Again, I ask you, did you read the ISG report? It will tell you otherwise. And it was issued by the same rebellious CIA……
Chemical and biological weapons are nowhere near as dangerous as nuclear weapons. This is not a matter of opinion. 100% of experts in the field will give you this answer.
Tell that to the Kurds……
Bah! You’re just as dead if you get run over individually by a bus.
If you’re actually interested in comparing destructiveness, ask the Japanese about the relative devastation of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombs (relatively small ones), versus the Sarin attack in the Tokyo subway, which is more typical of what terrorists would be able to pull off.
I’d say there’s no comparison.
Like I said, we’ll disagree of the effectiveness of chemical and biological weapons. You ignored the rest of my comments and have not provided sources for your claims. Duly noted.
Bill, you always defend your points and conservative values well. I’ve been away in Israel on business and wanted to give my opinions on this thread:
Furthermore, Beard, a comment you wrote struck me as patently ignorant.
“I would say that within the next two years, we will discover that Iran has effective nuclear weapons, and we will get even clearer proof of their efforts to undermine us in Iraq and everywhere else in the Middle East. (not surprising, right?)
So then what will we do? We’ll invade Syria!”
Do you know anything about World War II? Who attacked us and who did we go to war with first? Answers: Japan and Germany, respectively.
We are currently engaged in World War IV and Iraq is a battlefield in that war. It will not be the last battlefield. Comments like yours above reflect the positions of rank and file liberals and exemplify why your leadership cannot be entrusted with high office. You categorically do not understand that peace is achieved through total victory. Total victory is achieved through the aggressive use of force, not the “black hawk down”