« what the people say? we wanna live it up. what the people want? please deliver us | Main | next week's issues, or not »

April 17, 2008



My take is that US troops act as a shock absorber to the more violent tendencies that may exist in iraqi politics. Not that it's an ideal place to be but if the objectives are ever to be realized those tendencies need to be dampened.


My take is that US troops act as a shock absorber

lol, they love suckers like you. the gameplan is for america to play 'big brother' a needed component to help the warring sides from killing eachother...for the next 50 years.

it called divide and conquer.

Not that it's an ideal place to be

oh, but it is. it is exactly the ideal place for the invader to be. needed desperately by both sides. makes for excellent positioning for the gop prior to our election. the benevolent 'peace makers' keeping the savages from eachothers throats.

Non-Arab Arab

Marc, is "strategic patience" anything new? How is this different from the non-stop "it'll be better in 6 months" with no discussion of any details beyond that we've heard for 5 years now?


Since the preoccupation of American foreign policy with the political future of one mid-sized Arab country is the principle thing I object to with respect to the commitment in Iraq, I have a pretty strong feeling about how American interests conflict with Iraqi interests right from the start.

But rather than cover that ground again, I'd only note here that use of the phrase "strategic patience" implies some assumptions about the strategist. I'm actually persuaded that the principle American tacticians in Iraq -- Gen. Petraeus especially, but also Amb. Crocker -- represent improvement over the people who used to occupy that role. But strategy in Iraq originates in Washington, with the same people who landed us in this mess to begin with. "Strategic patience" requires one to believe that a new administration could do no better than to follow the same policy the old one is following today.

I don't like to bring up the analogy to Vietnam, but in that case fair arguments could (and were) made in 1969 that patience was required, arguments that rested in large part on an assumption that the people making the strategy knew what they were doing. Whether those arguments were right or not then, how does one believe them now?


I must admit to being somewhat baffled that you are, at this late date, "somewhat baffled" by the seeming inconsistency of the title of the piece co-authored by O'Hanlon, given the text. I would have been truly baffled if O'Hanlon had offered a way to 'end' this conflict if ending it meant withdrawing any significant amount of American occupying forces.

boat horn billy

that f***er ohanlon is a gd wanker !!!

he should not be getting the space he gets on a seemingly too routine basis !!!

he is a little pos war monger.


Any discussion of 'strategic patience' should take into consideration what 'patience' actually means. People have been saying the war is lost since before the first IED went off. Our own Revolution is instructive. Hostilities began in 1775 and didn't end until the British surrendered at Yorktown in late 1881. George Washington wasn't elected until 1789. Six years of war, then an additional eight years until our first election. Fourteen years, during which there were many tribulations, false starts, setbacks, etc. So why do people, unreasonably in my opinion, expect a functioning democracy in Iraq from the get go?


Actually, some people -- and I include myself among them -- do not expect to see a functioning democracy in Iraq in their lifetimes, and are not persuaded that this is of central importance to the United States.

The analogy to the American Revolution has been a standard Bush administration talking point since sometime in 2003, and its use is as insulting for Americans outside the bovine faction of the Republican Party now as it was then.


I don't think anyone with the slightest knowledge of history would have expected Iraq to have a fully functioning modern democracy within 5 years of invasion. What baffles me is that people who call themselves "conservative" would expect them to have modern democracy at all. That sort of heroic interventionism I associate much more with the Wilson/LBJ/Gene Roddenbury tradition of the Democrats. (I'm not being entirely facetious about Star Trek.)
The War of Independence was launched by radical Whigs informed by Lockean ideas of social contract and property fetishism. Middle-class Yankee businessmen allied with Western frontiersmen and the larger landowning interests in NY state and parts of the South. People with something to lose, people for whom the idea of using populist demagoguery and private militias to maintain personal power at the cost of the society would have been madness. Even then, the first 15-20 years of the Republic were a lot messier than most people know. Critical issues were not resolved until 1865, and there certainly was blood.
The lot running Iraq remind me of nothing so much as corrupt city politicians who maintain their position through ethnic identity politics and "jobs for the lads." Any sensible Republican should take one look at them, cross himself and run screaming.


"Marc, is "strategic patience" anything new? How is this different from the non-stop "it'll be better in 6 months" with no discussion of any details beyond that we've heard for 5 years now?"

Posted by: Non-Arab Arab

Oh, it's clear to anybody who doesn't Hate America - this FU has a metallic blue paint job, and (faux) gilded tailfins; the last one had a metallic red paint job, and (faux) silvered tailfins.

adding on to jonst: I've watched five f*cking years of these guys lying, and five f*cking years of alleged competant FP/policy analysis people accepting each lie, being surprised that the lies don't come true, and accepting the next lie. I've come to the conclusion that the allegedly competant FP/policy analysis people don't mind being lied to.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Blog powered by Typepad