Sacrificing a pawn

by Ragnar Schierholz

News reports are spreading that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is resigning in reaction of the loss of yesterday’s election. Despite the fact that Rumsfeld is the member of the Bush administration responsible for the military issues, I don’t think that he’s the primary responsible for the disaster in Iraq nor do I think that his resignation opens the path for a renewal of the Iraq policy or even the entire policy for foreign affairs. I actually think, this is just sacrificing a pawn, especially when considering the short timespan between the results’ announcement and the announcement of the resignation.


Bush in his speech claimed they had decided this yesterday before the election. But then Bush also said Iraq had WMD, and that the US does not torture people.

Last week Bush said Rumsfeld was here to stay. Today he says he's going. Flip Flop, Flip Flop.

Carl Tyler, 2006-11-08

Roll your own.

Volker Weber, 2006-11-08

Getting rid of Rumsfeld isn't the answer. Nor is, necessarily, kicking the GOP out of power in Congress. But both are mandatory steps in the right direction. Now there is the possibility of meaningful progress. Will it happen? Dunno. But at least there's a chance now.

Rob McDonagh, 2006-11-08

Rumsfeld represents the strategy of the war and lack of one for the aftermath. He's been the guy who has the trust of the President and ultimately made the wrong calls on how things would go.

He's also been responsible for a transition on the way the military operates and that hasn't been well taken by (you guessed it) the military.

For all his flaws, he's at least honest about what he's done. He stands there and looks at the camera, says "I'm going to screw you now." Then he does. When finished, he says "See, I just screwed you. If you don't do what I say, I'll do it again."

For Bush to let someone go is a huge big deal. You have to understand the mindset here. He's got this cowboy ethic that he's adopted (regardless of how he was in fact a drunken frat boy at an East Coast Ivy League school). Personal loyalty is probably the most important thing in the world to a guy like that. I've known many people like him from out west where I grew up. If you're in his peer group, hell would freeze over before he'd turn on you. If you're not in his peer group you're not subject to the same loyalty at all.

From Bush's perspective, so long as Rumsfeld was always loyal to him; he'd do everything possible to protect him in return. It's how those guys work.

I'm not a fan of Bush's policies, beliefs, planning, results, or direction and wish this whole administration could be voted out tomorrow (or two years ago). His inability to speak well in public is astonishing for a man in his position and painful to listen to. All that said, it would be a huge mistake to underestimate him (or as he might say "misunderestimate"). He is by all accounts much more intelligent than he seems when he speaks (and I've known people like that) and nobody can argue that he's been ineffective. He's be very effective at getting the things done that he wants. Many of us just don't happen to like those things. I, frankly, wish he were much less effective.

At this point, I'm sure Rumsfeld has really felt completely hamstrung and is increasingly isolated and ineffective as confidence within his own organization erodes. If I were in his shoes I'd be begging to be allowed to resign.

The strange thing is, of all the things Bush has done, I'll be this is one of the one's that he finds most distasteful.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-08

Andrew, I take your point. Most likely this isn't a step President Bush is proud of or which comes easy to him. But if it's true that they had agreed on this before, then I'd even more interpret it as a sacrifice of a pawn. And Andrew, could it not be interpreted as an even stronger act of Rumsfeld's loyalty to President Bush? By resigning he is sacrificing himself (or at least his political himself) in hope that this helps to cure the damage the lost election has done to the administration.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-11-08

Oh no question you're right on both counts, Ragnar. This group of people is extremely tribal in nature.

Think about other self-identifying groups like this and you'll see the link. The idea of "kin" in some parts of the rural south was like this. If you weren't "kin" it really didn't matter what happened to you, but if you were then that changed all the rules. It's usually something you see with oppressed minorities thought, and that's one of the things that's odd. There's nothing oppressed or minority about this group at all. They're at the opposite end of that scale and most have always had the world on a string.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-08

It long overdue that Rumsfeld leaves. He took responsibility for what happened in the Abu Ghraib prison but 'forgot' to resign. Now he's served his last purpose for President Bush and is relieved of his responsibility.

Martijn Mulder, 2006-11-08

"It's how those guys work".

Andrew isn't that how we all work?

"This group of people is extremely tribal in nature."

Who isn't?

Stephen hood, 2006-11-08

Stephen, in politics it is less common. Past Presidents have dropped staff who get into hot water faster than a hot potato. Rumsfeld has been a lightening rod for years.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-08

Andrew, damn it sounds like the Notes community when someone writes something bad about it :-)

Carl Tyler, 2006-11-09

OMG!!! First Britney dumps KFed, and now W. dumps Rummy! What's next?

Richard Schwartz, 2006-11-09

As the German late night host Harald Schmidt said last night, Kevin Federline is no longer known as K Fed but as FedEx ;-)

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-11-09

I find it interesting that it took a Republican defeat in the mid term elections, for Bush to realize that the war in Iraq is mis-managed, and needs a change of direction (and a new pair of eyes).

Villi Helgason, 2006-11-09

The "Gang of four" (Dubya, Condi, Cheney and Rummy) has sacrificed it's most harmful (and faithful) representative.
Who is going to be next?

Pieter Lansbergen, 2006-11-09

Let's not forget the initial strategy for Iraq was handed to W. I guess you'll all forget that Clinton also lied about WMD! Even Rob and I have agreed in the past that Iraq shipped weapons over to Syria right before we invaded.

Now we're either in for a government locked in stalemate for 2 years or we're going to see a lot of changes by the Pelosicrats. We're scared of her, Rob, because for one she supports the inhumanity known as partial birth abortion. Anyone who supports that should probably be strung up with Saddam (politically speaking of course). How anyone can vote to allow the killing of a baby who has already been born with the exception of the head coming out is beyond inhumane. Does that baby cry? Do you supporters of PBA even care if the baby cries or can feel that pain? It blows my mind and now that woman is going to be running our House of Representatives. That's one thing that's scary and it's only a start...

Chris Whisonant, 2006-11-09

Chris, just switch to a different channel. Fox isn't really news.

Volker Weber, 2006-11-09

Chris, the alarmist inaccuracy of your statements do little more than repeat jingoistic rallying points based on emotional appeal and not actual science and are insufferable.

Although my immediate reaction is to tell you to run back to your radio and huddle in the comfort of the hypocritical, drug abusing, deluded, self righteous, fatuous, angry white guy and leave the real decision making to people with a bit of empathy and some depth of understanding. Instead, I'll suggest you shut off fox news and AM radio and go find some real medical literature about the subjects you espouse.

If you were any more idealistically misguided I'd have to compare you with either a communist or a libertarian -- both of which, though at opposite ends of the spectrum, have proven to ultimately fail to take human nature and circumstance into account when considering philosophy.

Clearly in this election you can see that a majority of the population of the United States -- itself way further toward the religious right wing than any other part of the world except the middle east -- finds your positions too extreme and controlling.

Personally, I am no more interested in living in a Christian or Judeo-Christrian theocracy than I am in living in a Muslim one and your comments bear a great deal of similarity to both.

Oh, but Chris .... Have a great day.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-09

Wowowowow... I don't like the tone of this. Guys, can we please calm down a little?

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-11-09

Oh for Pete's sake. Sorry for answering, Volker, since we all know the abortion debate is a waste of comment space and nobody ever changes anyone else's mind, but this idiocy cannot be allowed to stand unopposed:

Chris, you're supposed to be a computer geek. Apply a little logic to the situation, for cryin' out loud. Your made up term for a medical procedure used to provide maximum safety for the mother while performing an abortion doesn't change the salient fact: the fetus is being aborted. Period. Since that particular procedure only happens in the 3rd trimester the reasons for the abortion are LEGALLY REQUIRED to be based on a need to preserve the safety of the mother (and the procedure is irrelevant before because it's unnecessary for, again, MEDICAL reasons) - oops, forgot, neocons hate science. Ergo, thusly, hence, it's blatantly freaking obvious that the procedure in question has to optimize the mother's health and minimize her risk. What possible difference can it make how the doctor chooses to perform that procedure?

If it makes you squeamish, don't become a doctor. Believe me, people who work their asses off to get their medical degrees do it because they have a deep-seated need to heal people - I know, I'm married to one of them. The sure as hell don't invent medical procedures for any reason other than medical necessity. If you think they like performing that procedure, you need to take your brain in for a checkup 'cause it just ain't working. They do it because it is the BEST WAY to preserve the health of the mother. They don't do it because they're soulless demons who spend all their time dreaming up new and sicker ways to kill babies.

You can make a solid case for opposing abortion in all cases. You can make a case for opposing abortion when the fetus has reached viability. You can make a case for opposing abortion unless the mother is likely to suffer serious medical consequences. You cannot make a case for opposing a particular type of abortion based solely on how it is performed. Regardless of how it's done, the result is the same. Why pretend that you would feel better if they could magically make the fetus just disappear? You wouldn't, unless you're a hypocrite, and while I'm not terribly impressed with your grasp of logic in this situation I'm quite confident your objection to abortion is absolute.

Oh, and I don't support a particular type of abortion. I don't support abortion on demand. I support abortion when it is medically necessary, when the mother has been raped or a victim of incest, and - since I know neocons think birth control is abortion - I support the prevention of the implantation of the blastocyst as a matter of convenience for anyone who doesn't choose to have a baby. I also support the right of medical professionals to choose the correct way to perform a medical procedure. I don't support politicizing science, and in fact I hate the neocon anti-science movement with a passion. The vast majority of the American population agrees with me on all of these positions, but don't let that stop you from thinking we're all evil murderers.

Quit whining about Nancy Pelosi. The neocons have had their chance, and the American people have spoken very clearly. Congress has a clear mandate: stop Bush and Company before they make things worse than they already are. Liberals had to live through that massively corrupt and profoundly immoral moron Hastert. You'll survive Pelosi.

Rob McDonagh, 2006-11-09

So let me get this straight - you're for free speech except you want to see me shut up or stop watching a particular station because you don't agree with it. Gotcha. One of the first laws that will attempt to be passed will be a "fairness" act for the airwaves. Apparently the market failed for liberal radio.

Nothing has changed we're just a little more blue. Oh, and I'm glad to see that several pro-life democrats were elected. How did that happen? When conservatism was winning DC in 94 and some years since then you didn't want to talk about the "mandate" but now there is all of a sudden a mandate that you think conservatives should follow? It's politics guys. Like Richard said at his blog about NH becoming a blue state - it won't last long. The Dems will be ousted and then the Reps will be ousted again after that. It's not really as much of a mandate as it is media spin and the public changing its mind because of scandal or cowardice.

@Andrew - "alarmist inaccuracy"? Can you cite an inaccuracy? Because you didn't - you just attacked the vast right wing news outlets because that's the standard line nowadays. By the way, I did vote for the sole libertarian candidate on our ballot... ;)

Don't hide behind rhetoric of "what's best for the mother". When a doctor performs thousands of PBAs on women who are just "depressed" that's sick and it has been documented. Depression doesn't justify "a need to preserve the safety of the mother". I always thought that "human nature" wanted to allow children to get a chance at life. Instead of murdering that baby before his head comes out let's offer him up for adoption!

Don't tell anyone, but I can see where sometimes abortion may be viable. I completely disagree with the practice, but in very rare cases I could understand. However, the proponents of abortion flaunt the rare cases as the norm. It's crazy to do that because abortion is now birth control for the majority of procedures. I will say that I'm glad California passed a parental notification law. That's a huge step to reigning it back in. But, if you can't see the difference between killing a baby at 1 month term and killing it right before it's taking a breath then that's an ethical dilemma you'll need to answer for yourself.

It's being taken up in SCOTUS as we speak. Hopefully there is now a legacy of conservatism in the Court as well as the Fed Chairman. Don't whine about it - it's the balance of power you were all hoping for... I've said my peace here on this - thanks for the ear! Just want everyone to know that not all reader's of Voker's Magic Flying Circus agree with liberalism. :)

Chris Whisonant, 2006-11-09

Ragnar, please don't call this discussion off. That's my job. And I really enjoy this insight into the American psyche. I have not seen a witch hunt before. :-)

Volker Weber, 2006-11-09

Volker, I was far from calling it off. Chris is absolutely right, he as much as any other reader has the chance to say his opinion here and elsewhere. But I feel uncomfortable if I look at the tone of the discussion which in my perception is way too personally offending. Or would you want to watch Chris, Andrew and Rob abort each other at Lotusphere? ;-)

Apart from that, I guess you could see as much an emotional discussion if you have similarly clashing points of views in Germany. Just, German politics (especially not these days) doesn't offer as opposing positions as the ones discussed here. But in a way it's interesting to follow, I must admit. From a social science perspective... :-)

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-11-09

Fox News isn't news? Whatever..

Partial Birth Abortion is inhumane and murder. You ever seen the pictures? Look it up.

Rumsfeld was doing a wonderful job. The media blows this up every time a soldier dies. Too much media coverage all around.

David Taylor, 2006-11-09

Thousands of abortions performed by a particular doctor due to a medical evaluation of depression?

First, how exactly has that been documented? Don't point to the O'Reilly show as proof, because Bill didn't provide proof, he made an unsubstantiated claim and presented it as fact (which is par for the course with him, so I'm not suggesting he did it maliciously in this case - it's his schtick in general).

Second, based on what medical background do you claim that depression is not a serious and life-threatening illness? Since I happen to suffer from clinical depression, I would love to hear you try to tell me that it isn't a serious disease. In the Domino blogosphere alone, Stan Rogers, Duffbert, and I would all be fascinated to hear your explanation of how the monster that besets us is trivial. Depression, untreated and allowed to fester, leads directly to suicide. Period. Suicide is fatal. Duh.

You have no scientific basis for making a judgment about the relative severity of someone's medical condition. That's what doctors are for. Get the heck out of their way and let them do their jobs.

By the way, "alarmist inaccuracy" is a spot-on description of your claim that somebody will try to pass a "fairness in broadcasting" law. Won't happen, can't happen, without repealing the First Amendment. And unlike the Radical Right, we leftists are pretty fond of the Bill of Rights - all 10 of them, not just #2.

PS Take heart, Chris - the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is pro-life.

Rob McDonagh, 2006-11-09 refreshing...the um..."people with a bit of empathy and some depth of understanding" known affectionately as the Liberal. Defined in many places as:

> broad: showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; "a broad political stance"; "generous and broad sympathies"; "a liberal newspaper"; "tolerant of his opponent's opinions"
> having political or social views favoring reform and progress
> Giving or generous, or broad minded, tolerant of other ideals, nontraditional.
> Traditionally, the word liberal means to be open to new ideas and tolerant of others. To be liberal politically, is to emphasize political and economic freedom.

So nice to see that mindset being executed flawlessly.

Why is it so offensive to those of a Liberal stance to accept and understand that not EVERYONE believes like they do? Yes, I'm a conservative-first. I really don't care what you believe as a Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian, Green Party, Natural Law Party, etc., but I do expect you to respect my choice in views as I choose to respect yours.

At a minimum, we can all agree that each of us thinks the other is an idiot.

Greg Simmons, 2006-11-09

Promise, this will be my last post on this thread since I've said what I need to. (Except that the "witch hunt" is just about to begin Volker - it's called "the subpoena power of the Pelosicrats").

Ragnar, others, I honestly and truly don't mean this to be personally offending. I have met many of you in person at some point and I truly respect you all as well as your opinions. I have nothing personal against any of you, but I'm just trying to give you the opinion that probably over 40% of Americans have... Thanks for the time...

Chris Whisonant, 2006-11-09

Oh, and I'm not saying depression isn't horrible - FAR from it. I have family members that suffer from it and I know that true depression can be. But to claim it as a reason to do an abortion is a stretch at the least and would never have been the intent of Roe v. Wade. I hope that aborting their baby wasn't the cure for their depression.

I'm sorry that you're truly suffering depression and I in no way meant to trivialize that or to offend you or anyone Rob. Accept my apology for that please.

Chris Whisonant, 2006-11-09

Chris, your country has far bigger problems then abortion or gay marriage. Pollution, waste of fossil resources, corruption, war, torture, killings. Ah, and weapons of mass destruction. Maybe you can name a few more.

Volker Weber, 2006-11-09

I suggest those in favor of outlawing abortions don't have one. Nobody is "in favor" of abortion. It is at best a tragedy and a personal horror to be endured when hope is lost. I am not, however, in favor of legislating the decision on when that threshold is crossed, sending those who are in their worst frame of mind running to back alleys, coat hangers, and other dubious and dangerous solutions of the kind employed by women since the time humans first crawled from blind automatic instinct into the realm of self identity and understanding of consequence. I have three daughters, one of whom is old enough to be physically capable of having to face this issue. I desperately hope that my wife and I, as well as the rest of our community, have been successful in giving them the knowledge, values, and power they will need in life so that they will never face such a horrible decision. I also hope that if we have failed in that, we are not living in a society where she is prevented from a safe and legal alternative. I will fight to my last breath to keep that from happening.

I'm done with the abortion topic.

David, you're saying that the real problem with the war in Iraq has been too much media attention? If we could just restrict media access or play down the violence a bit things would be better? Abu Gerab would have been fine if it weren't for the media?

I prefer the idea that sunlight is the best disinfectant, that morality and character are what you do when nobody is watching, and that you cannot install democracy at the point of a bayonet.

If too much media attention has led to the public rejection of the policy and strategy in Iraq, perhaps the system is functioning as desired and the will of the majority is being expressed based on information.

There was a war about forty years ago that involved large numbers of US troops sent to pacify a local population. It went on and on and on, and never really ran into much resistance until the media outlets began to get the real story out. Until then, casualty reports and stories of atrocities were minimized and downplayed. I would not want a repeat.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-09

Volker....quit watching CNN, it's not real news anyway. 8-0

Like many other countries don't have those same problems. Wowza!

Greg Simmons, 2006-11-09


Most common citizens do NOT understand war. They want something quick clean no loss of life. NEWS FLASH that isn't reality!

We should trust our commanders they know what they are doing whether you want to believe that or not is your own problem.

Citizens for the most part DON'T HAVE A CLUE.

Every time a soldier dies the media covers it like it has never happend before. Now I am sorry we had to lose a soldier but, all the Americans hear is we lost a soldier, we lost 3 soldiers, they never hear about things being accomplished.

David Taylor, 2006-11-09

Apology cheerfully accepted, although since no offense was intended, it was not necessary. Depression is tossed around too much (it is over-diagnosed, truly), and as a result many people don't take it seriously. I don't have that luxury, and I will admit that I can be a bit of an over-sensitive jerk on the subject.

re: Depression as a medical justification for a third-trimester abortion - it should be quite rare, but there can be cases where this would be legit. It certainly wouldn't cure the depression (There *is* no cure. Yet. I remain hopeful for the future.), but it could remove a proximal cause of suicidal tendency. It is an entirely subjective judgment call, though, and I don't know how you legislate judgment calls.

Rob McDonagh, 2006-11-09


Citizens for the most part "DON'T HAVE A CLUE"?

1. If I recall correctly, our entire system is based on the idea that as group citizens have the best clue of all.

2. If we're not hearing about the things being accomplished, someone isn't making the case. There is no lack of money or available media to make that case. Perhaps, it isn't correct to say that someone who doesn't agree with you is simply not properly informed. Instead, perhaps they are informed, and disagree with the conclusion you'd like them to reach.

3. Many of the most outspoken people who are against the war are in fact soldiers who have fought and been injured in service. On the other hand, most of those making the policy decisions have not.

My brother came home from Gulf 1 with a Bronze Star. As a result of his time in the Army he speaks several Slavic languages and some Arabic having been deployed in both places. He is very much against the current war. Are you telling me he doesn't know what what such a war is about? Perhaps you're telling me you know more. I doubt it. He is an educated and well read man who follows politics and has actually been in combat.

I find it insulting that you would say that I, as a citizen, am not capable of making a reasoned decision about the policies of my government with respect to killing people and breaking things (which is what armies do).

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-09

Sorry but most soldiers who come back say they would go back in a heartbeat. Ask most of them. Of course the guys who get injured are gonna want to call the war off that is a given.

And I didn't say all citizens, I said most citizens.

I can't even believe you tried to compare this to Nam, look at the differences in our losses.....

David Taylor, 2006-11-09

Differences in our losses? What utter bullshit!

The survivability of wounds, complete air dominance, rapid evacuation and trauma techniques hide horrors on a scale not talked about.

The only thing I've seen that gave a hint of this was CNN's report on the surgical hospitals. I think it was called "Bagdad ER" but maybe not.

Here's a few numbers for you. If you'll allow me to pick out a particularly jarring one, take a look at average number of casualties per year. Keep in mind, many of the security and support jobs are now being done by contractors and are not included in the statistics for the Iraq war.

Vietnam War (1964-1975) (11 years)
Total in-theater deaths: 42,785 (Average 3890/year)
Non-Mortal Woundings: 153,303 (Average 13936/year)
Total causulties: 196088 (Average 17826/year)
Percent of fatal casualties: 22%

Iraq War to date (March 2003- November 2006) (3.5 years)
* Total Deaths: 2825 (Average 807/year)
* Non-Mortal Casualties: 46,137(Average 13812/year)
* Total Casualties: 48,962 (Average 13989/year)
Percent of fatal casualties: 05%

* These numbers do not include contracted civilians working in roles previously handled directly by the military.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-09

By the way, the response I am looking for is something like: "Oh my gosh, Fox News and Rush didn't tell me that! Those numbers are terrible. We really are in a real fighting war over there! I should never have doubted you, Andrew."

Something like that would be fine.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-09

I love the liberals.......You guys don't want war and you will use any means to try and de-justify the war. You don't care about security, the fact is if we leave Iraq now the country will be overrun by the insurgency and they will be worse off then when Saddam was in power.

And Andrew,

What were those numbers supposed to prove?

David Taylor, 2006-11-09

I notice it's mainly men that are commenting on abortion, why could that be I wonder?

I am interested to know why so many people who oppose abortion are normally so pro capital punishment?

Carl Tyler, 2006-11-09


David: "I can't even believe you tried to compare this to Nam, look at the differences in our losses....."

Vietnam Non-Mortal Woundings Average 13936/year
Iraq War: Non-Mortal Casualties Average 13812/year -- not including privatized security roles formerly counted in military statistics.

David: "What were those numbers supposed to prove?"

Wow, do you need pictures?

And David, you're right on your last statements. I do want to try any means to de-justify war. War is a terrible, horrible, and usually ineffective last resort to be avoided in all but the most directly necessary means. Iraq did not have the power to project force into the United States and there was no evidence of it attempting to do so. Yes, now that we've completely destroyed all the infrastructure and security -- along with the pseudo security that comes from a tyrant leader -- we are stuck with the problem and no good solutions.

We need to stop (phase out, but quickly) enforcing security directly and instead fund whichever group or hostile faction will come closest to restoring order with the least homicidal violence until some kind of coalition is built out of sheer exhaustion by the people to whom such a coalition matters. This will be terrible, people will die, and it will be our fault for setting it loose with no plan to contain it. It already is, we just haven't finished seeing the result yet. For what we are spending to do this militarily, we could flood the economy with funds and equipment to put things right. We need to be sending less tanks and more bulldozers; less bullets and more nails.

We will be leaving Iran as a dominant regional power. We need a policy toward Iran similar to Nixon's policy of engagement with China. We need to engagement them in trade and discourse -- tolerating their craziness and the things we find abhorrent in their society and let their own people drive change as their economic situation improves.

It remains true that you do not go to war with people you are doing business with.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-09

Ok so what is your plan with this funding? Trust me pulling out now and sending money will do nothing.

David Taylor, 2006-11-09

I don't advocate sending money. Funds are fungible. Money buys bombs and bullets. I seem to recall saying we should send bulldozers. Send spools of powerline wire and transformers. Send books and medicine. Send food and send desalination plants.

As far as "Trust me..." why? What track record do you stand on that suggest you would be more correct in your statement than anyone else?

Not to mention, your statement this time (and last) that we should now stay because we don't have a better alternative begs the question of how the hell we ended up with no alternative.

The policies and programs the Bush admininistration pressed forward on over the loud objection of so many people in the US and most of the rest of the world, have left us with a hell of a mess to clean up.

Pretending to be justified now because there aren't any good alternatives for cleaning up the mess without admitting that you made the mess is a most disgusting and disingenuous form of hypocrisy.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-09

We were justified with the intel we had at the time. Sadly it was bad intel. However, no one could have planned for what is happening in Iraq now. No one saw it coming. Not even the Democrats so don't pull that one. Everyone supported this war when we started. Let's not forget that. America wanted this war, Congress wanted this war. But apparently people have forgotten about that.

David Taylor, 2006-11-09

No, "we" were not. The intel was known to be flawed, was produced under tremendous pressure, and was not appropriately and completely shared with the senate intellegence committee or the senate armed services committee.

I'm dropping out -- others with more ready facts at hand will no doubt provide for your further edumacation.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-09

Guys, first of all: thanks for becoming reasonable in the tone again.

I do agree with Andrew, the point that an immediate withdrawal (i.e. one without an exit strategy) is now not an option. This would most likely leave the country in anarchy within weeks. But this can't be a justification for the administration that led to this situation in the first place. And I don't see where Andrew demanded this as a next step.

In my opinion, war is not an option to achieve political means or at least it shouldn't be. Please, anyone, provide a convincing example where an invasion in a country has improved the situation of that country/society in the long run. And I say that as a German (ok, I admit I'm not a witness of WWII but I know it wasn't an invasion to remove a government considered inappropriate by the invadors).

Chris, I agree with you, it's probably really just a little more blue now, nothing substantial has changed (yet). We'll see how this will evolve over the next two years. If the Republicans handle it in a smart way, this is a solid basis for a Republican president after George W. Bush. But I disagree that it's all the media's fault. There was a time when a certain part of journalism was called the watch dog journalism. This type of journalism discovered and/or disclosed serious nuisances in the political world (Watergate being the most prominent example). Then there came the picket fences journalism, which discovered and/or disclosed nuisances of a more yellow press style (the probably most famous example leading to Clinton's impeachment trial). Now there is this thing some people refer to as lap dog journalism, which basically discloses what the current administration in power tells them to ("embedded journalists" being the most prominent example).

What I'm trying to say here: The media have a very important function in a functional democracy. To fulfill this function, the media have to be independent or at least there has to be a diversity in the media. Also, the media has to tell inconvenient truths, even if they are inconvenient to the entire society of their readers. Of course, to fulfill this function properly, the journalists also have to obey the rules of their profession, most importantly proper researching of the facts before they are reported. But if I remember correctly, it wasn't bad journalism which spread the claim that Iraq controlled weapons of mass destruction and made this the primary reason to invade Iraq (which was false as we know today).

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-11-09

David, America chose not not listen. Remember the Freedom Fries nonsense?

Volker Weber, 2006-11-09

@Volker - I live a witch hunt nearly every day of my life.

@Chris - I've never done anything wrong, but it's still illegal for me to adopt a child without lieing about who I am.

@Rob - Add me to the list. If you couldn't tell from my postings, I'm a little bipolar. :)

@Carl - I'm very strongly for both abortion and capital punishment. What does that say about me?

@David - I don't have a reference handy, but a few months ago I read a 140+ page Congressional report that detailed the President's involvement in intentionally railroading policymakers, Congress and the American public into going along with invading Iraq. The idea that most intel indicated we were doing the right thing can only be based on what we were being told, which as it turns out wasn't the whole truth. GW's abuse of power and deliberate lies with regards to the war in Iraq are corroborated by numerous sources and are a matter of public record.

Personally, I don't care whether we are at war or not. My interest is simply in presenting the facts, regardless of the picture they create. If they showed GW acting in a morally upright and completely forthright manner I would be more pleased, but I'm not gloating that the record shows his deceit and treachery.

Charles Robinson, 2006-11-09

@Charles - It says you're not a hypocrit

Carl Tyler, 2006-11-09

I am not for abortion but I am for capital punishment. Are you saying that makes me a hypocrite Carl?

David Taylor, 2006-11-09

You may find some of the reasons that led to Rumsfeld resigning briefly summarized here.

I found it a most interesting and enlightening article.

Pieter Lansbergen, 2006-11-10

By the premises that you accept as truth, you are not. By a different set of premises that many others accept as truth, res ipsa loquitur.

It is this fundamental difference in premises that makes the debate between these viewpoints unresolvable by reasoned debate.

Richard Schwartz, 2006-11-10

@David, re: ... nobody could have planned for what is happening in Iraq now.

That statement is wrong is so many ways it's hard to know where to begin. Senior generals did recommended using more troops to occupy Iraq including one General Shinseki

He got no thanks for the suggestion.

A group within the State Department, IIRC, was trying to plan for the occupation, but were told to stop. Why? Because their plans brought up all sorts of details that clashed with the rosy projections of the Bush administration.

There's a quite a lot known about occupying a foreign countries effectively. The Allies occupied Germany and Japan after WWII and instituted the Marshal Plan.

Why did the Bush administration think it was going to be easier in Iraq? Probably because they believed their own cherry-picked intel.

It's well known that Cheney and Rumfeld oversaw the creation of special intelligence unit whose purpose was to "stovepipe" positive evidence straight to the highest levels of government. It's well known that one of their major sources, Ahmed Chalabi,

provided a great deal of dubious information, some of which Colin Powell would later use at the UN, despite contemporary warnings that Chalabi was fabricating evidence.

Nobody could have planned for what happened? In this case, that's true only because the Bush administration wouldn't let them. The most charitable interpretation I can come up with is that they fell for their own PR. A bunch of politicians, largely without military experience, overruled their military advisors, and the men and women of our armed services are paying the price. We owe them a better plan than "stay the course".

Bruce Perry, 2006-11-10

I'm late to this (didn't see it take off) and I'm going way back in the thread, but Chris W. said something that other Republicans have been programmed to say for the last 48 hours, which isNow we're either in for a government locked in stalemate for 2 years or we're going to see a lot of changes by the Pelosicrats.Stalemate is apparently the Republican word for "we're not in charge", but it doesn't exactly define the six years that Clinton had to deal with a Republican-controlled House. Even while they examined the placement of the POTUS's penis, that legislative body was somehow able to keep things moving through the largest economic expansion in decades.

Sorry, Chris, by stalemate you mean that we're returning to a time where our system of checks and balances will actually work, where a president might actually have to veto something occasionally, and where violations of the rule of law will be investigated, not flaunted. My faith in all those things I learned in political science classes may yet be restored.

Ed Brill, 2006-11-10

I'm out for this one you liberals can never admit you don't know what you are doing or that what you want to do will not work.

David Taylor, 2006-11-10

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