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Rays Of Hope?
Donald Sensing is sensing signs that the civil war within Islam is shifting toward the reformists. I hope he's right, because the alternative is almost unthinkable. And even if he's right, a long war remains ahead.
[Update a few minutes later]
Claudia Rossett has additional thoughts on the meaning of yesterday's victory (sorry, no scare quotes--it was a huge victory, particularly combined with the government jelling). She offers some badly needed perspective:
...this is an excellent moment to step back and look at just how far in this war we have come. Five years ago, al-Qaeda's commanders, from their safe haven in Afghanistan, were training thousands of terrorists and planning the Sept. 11 strike on a sleeping America. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein ruled by terror, with a record of exporting brutality and war from Baghdad at any opportunity to wherever he could reach - invading his neighbors, rewarding Palestinian suicide bombers, and openly rejoicing over Sept. 11.
This is the benefit. What she doesn't mention is the cost. And in the context of history, it's trivial. I'll use an adjective that many will find appalling, but it's perfectly valid. We did it with the loss of only two or three thousand soldiers. This would have been a small toll for many single battles of past wars, with much less beneficial results. Think about that leverage again. We have liberated fifty million people with the loss of less than 0.01% of that number in American troop losses. Even if one adds in all of the innocent Iraqis who have died (and they're not to be trivialized, but they also have to be balanced against those who would have continued to die under the brutality and deprivation of Saddam's regime), it remains an amazing feat.
In my little satire, recall that the War Between the States cost many tens of thousands of lives of American troops (just on the Union side--many more when adding in the Confederacy). Get a little perspective, people.
To paraphrase someone else, never before have so few had to give their lives for so many.
[Update on Friday morning]
Christopher Hitchens explains the significance of Zarqawi's death, and the dire consequences that would result if we listened to the continuing misguided calls for immediate withdrawal:
Most fascinating of all is the suggestion that Zarqawi was all along receiving help from the mullahs in Iran. He certainly seems to have been able to transit their territory (Herat is on the Iranian border with Afghanistan) and to replenish his forces by the same route. If this suggestive connection is proved, as Weaver suggests it will be, then we have the Shiite fundamentalists in Iran directly sponsoring the murderer of their co-religionists in Iraq. This in turn would mean that the Iranian mullahs stood convicted of the most brutish and cynical irresponsibility, in front of their own people, even as they try to distract attention from their covert nuclear ambitions. That would be worth knowing. And it would become rather difficult to argue that Bush had made them do it, though no doubt the attempt will be made.
Me, too.Posted by Rand Simberg at June 08, 2006 07:39 PM
the War between the states claimed over 680,000 deaths on both sides in the military portion of the conflict.
At Malvern Hill, 7000 Confederates were killed in less than three hours.
At Gettysburg nearly 10,000 were killed in one charge (Picketts)
At Cold Harbor Grant lost 5000 soldiers in 15 minutes.
That is war.
I agree that in context the cost in blood is far lower today for the results gained.
Ummm...Dennis? Is there some significant difference between those numbers and "many tens of thousands"?
"Many," to me, represents a large number.
But thanks for the specifics.Posted by Rand Simberg at June 8, 2006 08:43 PM
Personally, I think it was the other way around... an agreement was reached for the last (and most important) cabinet positions, and as part of the deal the Sunnis burned Zarqawi, both to cash in a chip with us, and to keep him from mucking it up for them.
And as part of the deal, we told everybody that Zaqawi's associates burned him, a win-win for both us and the Sunnis.
Yeah, the cost is trivial until it's your own life, your own family members, or your own friends that are blown away in a meaningless war. But let us keep imposing our holy values on the lesser peoples of the world, shove our way of life down their throats along with our ideas of how a government is to be run because we are the shining city on the hill, and by god, we won't stop killing and dying until the entire planet lives by our values. We are no better then the terrorists we incite into action. Ideological fanatics, whether they be capitalist pigs or religious bigots are all the same arrogant asses in the end.
...blown away in a meaningless war.
The whole point of this post was to point out the liberation of fifty million human beings. If you think that meaningless, and that it was a victory of "capitalist pigs," it's not hard to guess where you're coming from, anonymous moron. I guess you're still weeping for the fall of the utopia that was the Soviet Union.Posted by Rand Simberg at June 8, 2006 09:28 PM
Yeah, the cost is trivial until it's your own life, your own family members, or your own friends that are blown away in a meaningless war.
As someone whos father is overseas in the military, whos best friend is working with Special Forces in Iraq, and who is only not in the war due to incapacity: BULL****!
There are some things worth sacrificing even your own life for - and this is one of those things. I realize that you will never understand that - and yet they and I would still stand a line and defend you do our death. I hope that makes you feel small - it should.Posted by David Summers at June 8, 2006 10:37 PM
Actually X, you ought to hope that the entire planet does end up living by our values - they being representational politics (democratic or republican), free speech, the rule of law, property rights and *gasp* the free market. That way *billions* of people are going to have better, freer, healthier and longer lives.
Oh, and to compare the US to terrorists is pathetic.
Very nice post. It's unusual these days to find someone with a sense of military history. Comparing casualty rates from previous wars to this are pretty dramatic.
You'd be proud to see how carefully the coalition works to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage.
PS - It looks like you have a comment filter that won't let me put up the address of my blog. I'm a bl*gspot user. If you want to check it out, look for The Scratching Post.Posted by K T Cat at June 8, 2006 10:45 PM
You've just described my original motivation for supporting this war. The other ideas people put up seemed like a smokescreen or misguided intent. Freeing people is what matters.
I remember wondering how many dictatorships we were going to have to take on with military force before this century is out. I know it is a scary foreign policy 'long pole', but I would support a doctrine that focused on freedom for all by the start of the 22nd. Whatever it takes.Posted by Alfred Differ at June 9, 2006 12:00 AM
I agree with Dennis Summers, both my sons have been over there, and I am damn proud of them!!
What shoiuld have happened in 1979, was we should have annexed Iran as a U.S. Protectorate nd much of this woulld never have happened. Let me try to remember who was in the White House then.....
The slum lord Jimmy Carter!! He showed weakness to that entire group of radical, Whahabist trash, and instead of me and my friends giving blood in that region, I am sending my sons and Dennis is sending his.
X, how would your mother or wife or sister look in a burkha? Because that is what those people want, world domination through Radical Islam. We are NOT trying to make them Christians or Jews or Bhuddists. We are not even trying to force them to be either Shiite or Sunni.
What we have shoved on them is freedom to choose how to live. If they want to be subjagated by the Sharia Courts, and the radical Imams, they'll at least be able to vote that way. Just like I and Dennis, and even you can.Posted by Steve at June 9, 2006 05:40 AM
The Iranians are not Wahhabist. That's the Saudis.Posted by Rand Simberg at June 9, 2006 06:05 AM
X's way of "thinking" clearly establishes that its the lefty/libs in this world who are the true conservatives, wanting a return to the "good ol' days of the Cold War" when their now-failed Utopian dreams at least had a champion in the Soviet Union!
Oh, it took Grant 30 minutes to lose 5000, not 15 minutes, at Cold Harbor. While Hooker lost 2,000 in 20 minutes at Antietam.Posted by Earl T at June 9, 2006 06:22 AM
It does not matter if the tide among the Islamists turns towards the moderates. This will in fact be worse for Israel. The desire to place the Palestinians back in the "occupied territories" will go on and be easier for the West to succumb to. It's easier to fight them when they are all Zarkawis. See what's happening with Iran right now, and imagine if the leader was Rasfanjani instead. If Ahmedenijad can get Uranium enrichment for his thoughts about wiping off Israel, imagine what Bush would have given the "moderate" Rafsanjani. Islamic moderation is the PM of Malaysia wanting the elimination of Israel. The more Zarkawis the easier to "deal" with them.
By the way, Steve, never mind about the slip about Iranians as Wahabists, who cares? Shia, Sunni whatever, they are all Islamofascists who should be eliminated. Anyway, maybe it was the Iranians who helped us with Zarkawi in exchange for the new Uranium enrichment offer from Bush. The timing is amazing isn't it? Think about it, the deal could be the stabilization of Iraq in exchange for limited Uranium enrichment. Never mind the entreaties of Olmert to the contrary. Bush is abandoning Israel.Posted by sia at June 9, 2006 06:26 AM
Ever notice how courageous people like "X" are about offering their opinions openly and attributably?
That's right, guys, Stand up for your beliefs. Sort of like the terror leaders who hang back and hide behind air-headed 13 year-old homicide bombers in front of them fighting their war.Posted by Kurmudge at June 9, 2006 06:29 AM
> Is there some significant difference between those numbers and "many tens of thousands"?
You were off by a factor of ten. You should have said "many hundreds of thousands".
Also, I prefer to see our military death rate in the "war on terror" to be virtually zero so far since we are losing less soldiers per year than Jimmy Carter did when we were at "peace". On the other hand, our 3,000 civilian deaths so far has been unacceptable.Posted by lifeboat at June 9, 2006 06:40 AM
I am so glad I am a woman in this right-wing-fascist-capitalist-pig land of the United States of America. My daughter(s) and I can go where we want, when we want, without male company or chaperones, with our faces showing. We drive trucks, run businesses, go to movies, and can worship when, where and who we want. I don't worry about government men grabbing them off the street, or putting their dad in a plastic shredder. May the women of the enslaved world of the Islamofacists know that kind of peaceful living. My son served in Iraq and came home safe, a friend's son had serious injuries, so I understand some of the cost. The US is less likely to be attacked in a serious manner, and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan now have a chance... They will never be "America" but they can a chance to be something far far better than they were. I'm glad I live in America and I appreciate our professional and responsible military. Thank you, US and Iraqi military. Well done.Posted by JA Lyons at June 9, 2006 07:53 AM
I would really like to find a good summary and analysis site of the progress and setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know the Department of State and DoD both provide metrics, but they typically lack some of the more refined analysis.
I am convinced that our progress is essential and positive. Having served in that unpleasant region, the effect on neighboring nations is nothing short of amazing.Posted by Citizen Deux at June 9, 2006 08:01 AM
Just trying to give a little perspective on single day casualties.
Here is a reference on the subject.
This reference is low by half of what most historians count and it is still over 300,000.
"But let us keep imposing our holy values on the lesser peoples of the world, shove our way of life down their throats along with our ideas of how a government is to be run because we are the shining city on the hill, and by god, we won't stop killing and dying until the entire planet lives by our values."
It must hurt to be a leftist today. No, not really leftist (since leftism implies willingness to impose certain values). It must hurt to have no values beyond survival, which in the end is beyond us all. That carries with it no concept of heroism or higher purpose. D-Day? A crass attempt to impose our values on Europe's private affairs.Posted by Dave Hardy at June 9, 2006 09:54 AM
The US is not trying to establish a world wide Caliphate, the US does not try to etablish sharia law in every country in which they gain sufficient political power.
We originally created our navy under Thomas Jefferson to fight Muslim pirates on the Barbary coast, and end the paying of tribute to Caliphates extorting us. It is the islamic jihaadists who you should direct your ire toward.
I know that all this does not serve your worldview, your domestic political agenda, or your twisted logic, unfortunately, that does not make it any less true.Posted by Joel Mackey at June 9, 2006 11:35 AM
By the way, Steve, never mind about the slip about Iranians as Wahabists, who cares? Shia, Sunni whatever, they are all Islamofascists who should be eliminated. Anyway, maybe it was the Iranians who helped us with Zarkawi in exchange for the new Uranium enrichment offer from Bush. The timing is amazing isn't it? Think about it, the deal could be the stabilization of Iraq in exchange for limited Uranium enrichment. Never mind the entreaties of Olmert to the contrary. Bush is abandoning Israel.
sia, assuming you aren't some anti-Zionist troll, you should realize two things. First, US foreign policy doesn't revolve around Israel. Second, Israel isn't going to get a better deal. This postpones Iran's nuclear program or would give the US a pretext for a military strike, if they subvert the agreement. The US supposedly is a nation of laws and in this case, it appears to be following those laws and restraining Iran at the same time. Murdering millions of innocents (what you collectively label "Islamofascists") on your say so is out of the question.
" But let us keep imposing our holy values on the lesser peoples of the world, shove our way of life down their throats along with our ideas of how a government is to be run because we are the shining city on the hill, and by god, we won't stop killing and dying until the entire planet lives by our values. We are no better then the terrorists we incite into action. Ideological fanatics, whether they be capitalist pigs or religious bigots are all the same arrogant asses in the end."
You go girl! The smelly wives of those losers who've been thrown to plastic shredders agree that killing Zarqawi is just as bad for them as cutting their husbands into a million pieces. We hardly have enough time in between yoga classes, the spa, and Roxy, let alone killing other peoples' killers, in third world countries of all places.
We don't have time for these losers. Haven't they suffered enough from over-exposure to sunlight and 18th century fashions? Besides, all this worrying about the poor and helpless and such are starting to show around my eyebags; and I'm supposed to go out this Saturday. This is not good for my complexion.Posted by pok at June 9, 2006 11:52 AM
Don't worry about our "X" above. And please don't try to reason with him. Just chortle, and then remember: there are so many good Americans, solid and thoughtful Americans, that his ilk will never attain any power over the rest of us. We are secure, and we are safe from them. And they will whine and rage and throw tantrums as they lose election after election. It is clear his ilk HATES America. They have no sense of proportion. We have nothing good in our country worth speaking of. We are to blame for EVERYTHING. Note from his ilk the lack of bile towards every other country. Note them all, my friends, note them all, and how much they hate America.
the difference between the american civil war and the iraq war is one was a war of choice, so the casualty rate isnt comparable (you might compare it to vietnam, and its better than vietnam was, but its still early).
if we invaded because we were feeling charitable, why wouldnt we have invaded sudan instead? maybe they wouldve greeted us as liberators.
i will give you that iraq has a chance to turn out well, and better than under saddam. but right now its not better (and it seems to have been getting worse over the last year or so, so im not hopeful), so you're boasting is premature at best. right now its a war zone.
and its ignorant to conflate the war on terrorism with the war on iraq.
"If we had withdrawn from Iraq already, as the "peace" movement has been demanding, then one of the most revolting criminals of all time would have been able to claim that he forced us to do it. That would have catapulted Iraq into Stone Age collapse and instated a psychopathic killer as the greatest Muslim soldier since Saladin. As it is, the man is ignominiously dead and his dirty connections a lot closer to being fully exposed. This seems like a good day's work to me"
zarqawi wouldnt have taken over iraq. the insurgency is overwhelmingly iraqi sunni, and al qaeda is unpopular. killing off al qaeda is good (though i wonder why we didnt take him alive), but it doesnt solve the problem. by the way, how do we know when we win? does iraq have to become a fully functioning, and stable, democracy first?Posted by , at June 9, 2006 07:11 PM
Things are getting worse over the past year in Iraq? Where in the hell do you get that impression, oh thats right, our very on domestic media.
Regardless, you are very mistaken, not even taking into account the death of zarqawi and the subsequent roll up of his organization, attacks have been falling throughout the year with a brief upsurge in the past month.
What is amazing to me is the implied contempt for the military which all of leftist opinion and much of media reporting requires for thier statements to make sense.
I guess that is why they have to state thier support for the troops so much, because everything else they spout is about as insulting and anti-troop as it is possible to get without actually triggering an ied.Posted by Joel Mackey at June 10, 2006 08:48 AM
X's purpose in life is to make Ann Coulter and Michael Savege look good by justifying their claims on liberalism. Good job proving them righ X ole boy!Posted by Mike Puckett at June 10, 2006 01:10 PM
its not anti-troop to think that we arent winning the iraq war, its anti-bush administration. i think we are beating al qaeda in iraq, but i dont think thats the problem. i would think starting wars of choice in which the goal is ill-defined is anti-troop.
and by the way, since its in the news, guess which party wants to undermine claims of imperialism (and thereby undermine claims that we are a malevolent occupying force) by denouncing permanent military bases. is that pro-troop or anti-troop?Posted by at June 11, 2006 03:55 AM
i think we are beating al qaeda in iraq, but i dont think thats the problem.
If we're beating al Qaeda in Iraq, there is no problem.Posted by McGehee at June 11, 2006 08:30 AM
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