Saturday, July 26, 2008

What Iraq Would Look Like

... if Obama had defeated the surge.

Senator McCain makes the case against Obama's defeatism in Powerline:

"Senator Obama and I also faced a decision, which amounted to a real-time test for a future commander-in-chief. America passed that test. I believe my judgment passed that test. And I believe Senator Obama's failed.

"We both knew the politically safe choice was to support some form of retreat. All the polls said the "surge" was unpopular. Many pundits, experts and policymakers opposed it and advocated withdrawing our troops and accepting the consequences. I chose to support the new counterinsurgency strategy backed by additional troops -- which I had advocated since 2003, after my first trip to Iraq.

Many observers said my position would end my hopes of becoming president. I said I would rather lose a campaign than see America lose a war. My choice was not smart politics. It didn't test well in focus groups. It ignored all the polls. It also didn't matter. The country I love had one final chance to succeed in Iraq. The new strategy was it. So I supported it. Today, the effects of the new strategy are obvious. The surge has succeeded, and we are, at long last, finally winning this war.

"Senator Obama made a different choice. He not only opposed the new strategy, but actually tried to prevent us from implementing it. He didn't just advocate defeat, he tried to legislate it. When his efforts failed, he continued to predict the failure of our troops. As our soldiers and Marines prepared to move into Baghdad neighborhoods and Anbari villages, Senator Obama predicted that their efforts would make the sectarian violence in Iraq worse, not better.

"And as our troops took the fight to the enemy, Senator Obama tried to cut off funding for them. He was one of only 14 senators to vote against the emergency funding in May 2007 that supported our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Three weeks after Senator Obama voted to deny funding for our troops in the field, General Ray Odierno launched the first major combat operations of the surge. Senator Obama declared defeat one month later: "My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now." His assessment was popular at the time. But it couldn't have been more wrong.

"By November 2007, the success of the surge was becoming apparent. Attacks on Coalition forces had dropped almost 60 percent from pre-surge levels. American casualties had fallen by more than half. Iraqi civilian deaths had fallen by more than two-thirds. But Senator Obama ignored the new and encouraging reality. "Not only have we not seen improvements," he said, "but we're actually worsening, potentially, a situation there."

"If Senator Obama had prevailed, American forces would have had to retreat under fire. The Iraqi Army would have collapsed. Civilian casualties would have increased dramatically. Al Qaeda would have killed the Sunni sheikhs who had begun to cooperate with us, and the "Sunni Awakening" would have been strangled at birth. Al Qaeda fighters would have safe havens, from where they could train Iraqis and foreigners, and turn Iraq into a base for launching attacks on Americans elsewhere. Civil war, genocide and wider conflict would have been likely.

"Above all, America would have been humiliated and weakened. Our military, strained by years of sacrifice, would have suffered a demoralizing defeat. Our enemies around the globe would have been emboldened. ...

"Senator Obama told the American people what he thought you wanted to hear. I told you the truth.

"Fortunately, Senator Obama failed, not our military. We rejected the audacity of hopelessness, and we were right. Violence in Iraq fell to such low levels for such a long time that Senator Obama, detecting the success he never believed possible, falsely claimed that he had always predicted it. ... In Iraq, we are no longer on the doorstep of defeat, but on the road to victory.

"Senator Obama said this week that even knowing what he knows today that he still would have opposed the surge. In retrospect, given the opportunity to choose between failure and success, he chooses failure. I cannot conceive of a Commander in Chief making that choice."

It takes a colossal arrogance and determination to see America defeated to go to Iraq and stare your Big Fat Mistake in the face and claim you were still right after all, as Obama did, and absurdly claim that the US military had nothing to do with the current success in Iraq, that the Sunni sheikhs just spontaneously generated the Anbar Awakening on their own. It's like claiming that the Normandy invasion in WWII was a waste of lives and money because the Germans surrendered on their own initiative.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Penn & Teller's Simple Message To Terrorists

Penn & Teller give their simple message to the suicide skyjackers of September 11 in this video advocating new construction on the site of the World Trade Center, which you can watch here.

There is an emotional appeal to rebuilding the fallen World Trade Center even taller than before as a rebuke to the contemptible Islam which sought to knock them down. On the other hand, the World Trade Center was a bad idea, economically and socially, from the beginning. They cleared away a working neighborhood of businesses to make way for the WTC, which substituted a sterile plaza nobody used. It was the kind of gargantuan urban renewal project which Jane Jacobs rightfully argued was bad for the city. Ric Burns lays out the problems of the WTC in his excellent documentary, "New York."

They could never fill the WTC, either. Even at the end, many of its floors were empty. Worse yet, building so much unwanted and unneeded office space depressed the market in the entire neighborhood. Rather than stimulating the economy of lower Manhattan, the WTC depressed it. It's not clear that committing the same economic error twice would be a sound decision, when the only reward is the emotional satisfaction derived from thwarting the terrorists' goal. We should never be driven by what terrorists think. Instead of spending a couple billion dollars to reconstruct the World Trade Center to impress upon Islamist fanatics the futility of their attacks on America, that money would be better spent simply smashing our Islamist enemies like bugs where ever we find them.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pork BBQ Signals Victory In Baghdad

Bassim Dencha, 32, one of the last Christians left in Iraq and the co-owner of Baghdad's finest supermarket, "Al-Warda" on Karada Street, is now selling pork chops and bratwurst. Ham and ribs had been confined to the Green Zone until now by the depredations of the crazy-ass Muslim fundamentalists who attacked shops and their owners who sold pork products, forbidden by their backward religion. Now that the jihadis have been beaten down and driven away, the Baghdadis are lining up for their brats.

It's another miscalculation in a torrent of mistakes made by the dumb as dirt jihadis. When you make war on barbecue, you have no chance of winning. None. Barbecue conquers all.

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