"Desperate" or "Brazen"--You Decide

The President says the wave of bombings across Baghdad in recent days (including 5 today) is a sign that the enemy is getting desperate.

Or are they getting brazen? After all, they’ve been blowing all sorts of stuff up lately, including the UN, U.S. troops daily, and a daylight attack against the Al Rashid hotel. And so far, we haven’t even come close to stopping them.

So, to cop a phrase: they report, you decide.

Desperate? God forbid they get depressed or resigned, we’d be totally fucked.

I would have to go with brazen I guess. I’m not really sure how this could be categorized as desperate unless the president has a magic definition of the word that only he knows (maybe the explanation for his odd grin).

In New Hampshire, George Bush can survive the loss of Mrs. Cleveland. But he probably can’t afford to lose Sen. John McCain, the avatar of independents who defeated Bush in the 2000 Republican primary there. Bush’s campaign operatives, knowing he beat Al Gore by a mere 7,000 votes in New Hampshire, are expecting to send McCain to campaign. Though there is no love lost between Bush and McCain—the residue of the brutal nomination race—the senator has been a dutiful soldier.

Until now. In a NEWSWEEK interview, McCain for the first time compared the situation in Iraq to Vietnam, where he survived six years of wartime imprisonment, and began openly distancing himself from Bush’s war strategy. McCain, aides say, was rankled by what he saw as a useless, Panglossian classified briefing, especially after reading Donald Rumsfeld’s now infamous internal memo. In it, the secretary of Defense said that Iraq would be a “long slog,” and admitted the government had no “metric” for knowing if it was making net progress in ridding the world of terrorists.
Newsweek Poll: Americans Respond to PR on Iraq

    “This is the first time that I have seen a parallel to Vietnam,” McCain declared, “in terms of information that the administration is putting out versus the actual situation on the ground. I’m not saying the situation in Iraq now is as bad as Vietnam. But we have a problem in the Sunni Triangle and we should face up to it and tell the American people about it.” Also reminiscent of Vietnam, McCain said, was the administration’s reluctance to deploy forces with the urgency required for the quickest victory. “I think we can be OK, but time is not on our side... If we don’t succeed more rapidly, the challenges grow greater.”

Uh oh.

It is as if Bush somehow got a copy of the “Who to Lose the 2004 Election” handbook and is following it chapter by chapter.

I wonder if whoever is reading that book to him will skip the chapter about waking up in bed with a dead hooker.

Pretty damn desperate to blow up the Red Cross, fer cryin’ out loud.

Thing is, once we committed to invading Iraq, what could we do? We go in, conquer, destabilize, and then have to hang around until we get a new government in place that can survive once we withdraw, if we ever withdraw. I don’t know if we could be doing things any better than we have been. The mistake was going in in the first place and snubbing the U.N. in the process. We set ourselves up for misery.

Maybe we need more troops there. Maybe that will fix things. We shot ourselves in the foot with the international community, though.

Fine - but what do you think the “worldwide community” thinks when they hear Mr “Idiot” Bush saying “We got the bad guys so desparate that they are now blowing the shit out of us hourly instead of daily or weekly”? Seriously. If Bush wants to be listened to and respected in the US and out he has to be honest and forthright about the situation. There is more activity of a much more violent nature occuring in Iraq now and he needs to admit it and to admit they need more help, aid, troops to deal with it. Acting like nothing is going on just makes him look like more of a clown then he ever has before.

The target of the most recent bombing was the Red Cross headquarters in Baghdad.

I think I’m going to reiterate that.

The target of the most recent bombing was the Red Cross headquarters in Baghdad.

My answer to the poll question is, “Both.”

The mistake was going in in the first place and snubbing the U.N. in the process.

My follow-up question to the poll question is, “Now that the UN and Red Cross headquarters have both been bombed, at what point will Mark Asher concede that a UN-sanctioned invasion of Iraq would have resulted in just as much nihilistic post-war terrorism?”

The problem isn’t quite more troops, though it could help. The problem is that the US Army isn’t really a peacekeeping institution. It’s designed to kill, in a very efficient and quick method, the enemy. The 1st Armored Division is having nightmares with its supply convoys. Heavy divisions need godawful amounts of supplies and fuel, and those are getting ambushed daily.

The 101st up north is having a much easier time. Much more nimble and less dependent on armor. Though, it’s also obvious that the Kurds up north are happy to have the U.S. Army around, while the Sunni triangle is turning out to be a handful.

But one clear problem is when the Army admits that the explosives being used to blow up GI’s is coming from gigantic arms dumps that are unguarded, because they simply don’t have enough forces to spread around. And somehow, the President and Rumsfeld don’t dare want to appear as if they’re reacting to a situation, because then it looks like they’re not in control. So we don’t send reinforcements in, and the cycle continues.

Wasn’t it the first attack of the day that was against the Red Cross, the others being against other targets?
Morris, I think you’re missing the fact that if the US hadn’t snubbed the UN, the US wouldn’t risk as much as they are now. Because it would be more of the UN’s responsibility. I wonder, though, if the US under a UN flag wouldn’t have pulled out by now, with the increasing bodycount.

The large number of attacks today might have been strategic because the US lifted the curfew in an attempt to normalize the situation as Ramadan starts.

If I was a leader in Iran, I would be supporting and initiating as many of these bombings as possible. A democratic, thriving economy Iraq is their worst nightmare. They already have a rumbling in the country, and if their people see a neighbor who is free and wealthy and thriving it will be hard to keep the people down. And since every bombing attack just increases the apparent pressure for America to pull out, I’d be initiating bombing attacks every hour. The Red Cross and the U.N. buildings would be good targets to try to run out everyone and keep anyone new from coming in.

What I was implying is that it’s harder for us to get international support for our efforts in policing and rebuilding Iraq because we chose to ignore the international community when we made the decision to invade. Heck, I can’t blame any of the other countries for wanting to steer clear. The U.S. and Britain went in and tore up the place. Why should anyone else besides the U.S. and Britain spend money to rebuild it?

Such a deal we’re offering too! “We want your money and your soldiers, but we’ll still be in charge of everything.”

I don’t find blowing up a Red Cross HQ a desperate act. They are trying to help people with their existence in the current Iraq. While they may try remain politically neutral, anything that helps stabilize the status quo could be seen as helping the Americans in their mission.

As for the nihilistic terrorism in post-war Iraq, I agree it probably would have been there even with a UN backed invasion, but the difference would be the united front opposing it. The fact that it exists isn’t the problem (or even at all surprising), but the shambles that represents the opposition (the mixed world opinion, the lackluster international contribution that pushes the US to overextend itself in the face of public opinion…) could have been avoided. Having a UN back invasion would have made a difference.

Who here has the special alternate history time machine so they can properly answer that question?

Other things that are in Iran’s nightmares:

  1. The US literally surrounding them with client states (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Iraq).
  2. The US occupying them and turning them into a client state.

Who here has the special alternate history time machine so they can properly answer that question?

Bush Administration officials seized it, sorry; they’re gonna go back to the Vietnam era to find out how Nixon managed to blame a failing war effort on the hippies and the media.

Who here has the special alternate history time machine so they can properly answer that question?[/quote]

If you’ve been reading the Books forum, apparently Dracula.

And Dan, why does the target matter? It’s more significant to ask how these so-called “deadenders” are managing to mount such organized attacks. Like I’ve been saying for months, it’s only a matter of time before someone launches a Beirut-style attack that kills a couple of hundred American soldiers. They’ll be really pushing for that now, with the runup to the 2004 US election. One big hit like that and Bush will almost certainly lose next November. And the pressure will mount in the meantime for Bush to declare some kind of victory in Iraq and get the hell out ASAP so he can face the voters on a cleaner slate.