Friday, October 19, 2007

What do our troops know that Bush's 30% does not?

The few people who continue to support the Iraq war and claim that we're finally turning things around ("this time we mean it!") point frequently to anecdotes from soldiers over there who are privy to more information than we are. Blog-neighbor Mark has pointed to troop reenlistment rates as a proxy for troop morale as a proxy for evidence that things are going well, presumably because less indirect evidence is difficult to find.

I wonder what they'll make of this?

From January through September, donors affiliated with the military gave more contributions to Republican antiwar candidate Ron Paul than to anyone else. Coming in second place? Democratic antiwar candidate Barack Obama. Coming in third is John McCain, defender of the status quo.

When I said "I wonder..." above, I was just kidding, of course. This isn't going to change anybody's mind. All the Bush 30% have left is ad hoc reasoning. I'm sure that they'll find evidence that the war is going well in the number of bottles of water shipped to Iraq every week or something.*



* I recognize that violence has declined somewhat, at least by certain metrics. It's whether the surge is working politically that I'm referring to, i.e. whether we are getting any closer to leaving behind a successful state.

8 comments:

Theresa said...

Yay Ron Paul!

Anonymous said...

"I recognize that violence has declined somewhat"

Somewhat? Try a 60% drop in the last two months (or a 38% drop in the arguably more relevant year on year comparison). If 60% only merits a description of "somewhat" then what would it take to be significant?

"It's whether the surge is working politically that I'm referring to, i.e. whether we are getting any closer to leaving behind a successful state."

With all due respect, but I'm pretty sure that when the violence was peaking you were saying that it was the level of killing that proved the war was a disaster. Now that the death rate appears to be dropping, are you really saying "it's not the killing, it's the politics"?

And frankly, if we end up with an Iraq where the level of political violence is no greater than in, say, Egypt but where the government is corrupt and incompetent and the main subject of democratic debate is who gets to steal the oil money, I don't see why we shouldn't call that a success. It'd certainly be better than Saddam's Iraq and arguably better than 90% of other countries in the Middle East.

Random

Scott said...

Random, are you an American?

Jewish Atheist said...

Somewhat? Try a 60% drop in the last two months (or a 38% drop in the arguably more relevant year on year comparison). If 60% only merits a description of "somewhat" then what would it take to be significant?

Some sort of cease-fire?

With all due respect, but I'm pretty sure that when the violence was peaking you were saying that it was the level of killing that proved the war was a disaster. Now that the death rate appears to be dropping, are you really saying "it's not the killing, it's the politics"?

There are more ways for it not to work than for it to work. High death rate is one way it might not work. No solution in sight is another.

And frankly, if we end up with an Iraq where the level of political violence is no greater than in, say, Egypt but where the government is corrupt and incompetent and the main subject of democratic debate is who gets to steal the oil money, I don't see why we shouldn't call that a success. It'd certainly be better than Saddam's Iraq and arguably better than 90% of other countries in the Middle East.

Sure, that would look pretty good about now. I doubt it's going to happen though.

Anonymous said...

JA, Rush's comment about "phony soldiers" was about one particular soldier.

Ichabod Chrain

Ezzie said...

I recognize that violence has declined somewhat, at least by certain metrics.

That's disingenuous (what metrics aren't they declining by?), but okay. That's the closest we'll get, right? :)

Mark said...

JA,
Those statistics might be misleading as well, as they poll those "associated" with the military which seems vague. It does not inform how many contributors are serving, or did service in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

"Some sort of cease-fire?"

Like the situation in Anbar province, which has gone from being the most dangerous part of Iraq to one of the safest after the Sunni tribes cut a deal with the central government to bring them into the political process and turned on Al Qaeda? Apparently the surge was critical in convincing the tribes that the US was serious about the war.

"There are more ways for it not to work than for it to work. High death rate is one way it might not work. No solution in sight is another."

With all due respect, but this sounds like a classic piece of goalpost shifting from somebody who has so much invested in the idea that the war is a failure that they are not prepared to consider evidence that it might be turning into a success. To some extent I understand this - after all, there have been so many false claims of victory already but that's still no excuse for closing our eyes.

Scott - no, I'm not. Why do you ask?

Random