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Opening Arguments

Iraq and beyond

Indiana's Sen. Richard Lugar, writing in the Washington Post, seems to be one of the few people in Washington looking beyond Iraq to the larger issues at stake:

The president's plan is an early episode in a much broader Middle East realignment that began with our invasion of Iraq and that may not end for years. Nations throughout the Middle East are scrambling to find their footing as regional power balances shift in unpredictable ways.

At the center of this realignment is Iran, which is perceived to have emerged from our Iraq intervention as the big winner. We paved the way for a Shiite government in Iraq that is much friendlier to Iran than was Saddam Hussein. Bolstered by high oil revenue, Iran has meddled in Iraq, rigidly pursued a nuclear capability, and funded Hezbollah and Hamas.

One of the premises behind going to Iraq is that terrorists, though stateless, need the help of states to facilitate their movements and operations, as they used Afghanistan. The Bush administration might have mishandled Iraq in any number of ways, but that doesn't make the initial premise invalid, and all '08 presidential candidates should be judged partly on their grasp of the broader-than-iraq picture.

Posted in: Current Affairs


Kevin Knuth
Wed, 01/31/2007 - 6:18am


I am going to agree with you and the Senator on this- to a point.

I am frustrated that the new spin is "we really went into Iraq to get to Iran". If Iran was the problem, we really should have started there.

I believe the changes in purpose...make that "announced purpose"... greatly shook Americans confidence in the Iraq War. (remember- we went there because they were involved in 9-11, then it was that they had WMDs, then it was they house terrorists LIKE the ones that attacked us, now we are being told that we only went to Iraq to get a better chance at controlling Iran)

Jeff Pruitt
Wed, 01/31/2007 - 6:51am

In general the premise may not be wrong but that premise applied to Iraq IS wrong. As reported by the 9/11 commission there was no link between al queada and Saddam Hussein.

Also, I think congressmen in Washington as well as everyone running for president grasps the big picture - it's just a difference in HOW to deal w/ the problem...

Wed, 01/31/2007 - 8:38am

I wish that the reader of Senator Lugar's opus could tell whether or not he was giggling when he composed it. It would be truly impressive for any American to be able to keep a straight face while accusing Iran of "meddling" in Iraq.

Steve Towsley
Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:26pm

It's quite true what the senator and Leo are saying. There was always a larger purpose. Liberals don't seem to want to confront the fact that President Bush did not limit his interest to bombing tents in Afghanistan -- he promised to drain the swamp. Iraq was not only a cruel, inhumane and belligerent state, but centrally located in the swamp.

If you replay the early TV documentaries post-9/11, you will find video of Bush talking from the very beginning about dealing sequentially with a number of Middle Eastern states, including Iran AND Syria.

I have little doubt that liberal whittling at home, nay-saying and partisan criticism of our sitting government on a daily basis has had a great deal to do with falling short of that original intention, so far. And of course a great deal to do with the selling of the notion that it was an exclusive Republican plot and/or blunder which got us into the war -- that they all voted for in the first place.

I find it remarkable that partisans in the disloyal opposition would now like to claim that they were duped -- but that their president was duplicitous -- given that everybody's information came, not from a White House black ops source, but unanimously, out of groups from the NSA to MI-6 to Interpol to Iraqi informants.

Saddam took great pains to assure that the world would believe, falsely or not, that he had all the dangerous stuff we weighed in our decision to take him out. If there is fault regarding our intelligence picture of Iraq at the time of the assault, the fault rests with Saddam and his minions. It was unequivocally the broad success of Saddam's own disinformation campaign that got his country invaded, his sons blown up, and got him hung.

I say the above using the premise that Saddam had no WMDs, but of course the competing and plausible premise is STILL that WMDs were trucked across the Syrian border to feign innocence to the court of world opinion.

tim zank
Thu, 02/01/2007 - 4:32pm

Steve, very aptly put. Selective memory is a wonderful tool for the democrats.

Steve Towsley
Thu, 02/01/2007 - 7:01pm

tim --

The democrats have never found the facts of history to be an impediment to a contrary version of things they want to disseminate to their own faithful.

When your party is a patchwork of superradical fringe activist groups from PETA to career hippie pacifists, one cause is more important than any truth, or so I gather from observing decades of their actions.

Jeff Pruitt
Fri, 02/02/2007 - 7:43am

That is a bunch of crap. There were several pieces of information that continued to be trotted out by this administration even AFTER the intelligence community told them it was either untrue or unreliable.

The two most obvious were the "Mobile Weapons Labs", the aluminum tubes and the informant named "Curveball".

All the revisionist history in the world won't change the fact that the intelligence community came to a consensus about these two items and this administration ignored that and LIED to the American people and the world in general.

I challenge ANYONE to account for these lies. Tim, Steve, Leo?

I'm sure you won't try because when you look into these items you won't like what you find...

tim zank
Fri, 02/02/2007 - 9:14am

This is where the liberal goes woefully wrong, to wit: "That is a bunch of crap. There were several pieces of information that continued to be trotted out by this administration even AFTER the intelligence community told them it was either untrue or unreliable." That may well be, but Steve made a valid point and the very first answer out of your mouth is "but they did this, they did that, wahhhhhh...
Steve's observation called for a defense of your party, not another nana nana boo boo point your finger at someone else.
When all the answers in your arsenal are, "well LOOK at what THEY did?" that's a pretty empty weapon...You can't justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior....

Jeff Pruitt
Mon, 02/05/2007 - 10:08am

What exactly was I to defend?

The inference was that every Democrat had the exact same set of facts as the administration. I simply chose to refute this by providing examples that I see (expectedly) nobody wanted to challenge.

You call it whining. I call it introducing facts to counter the argument...

Steve Towsley
Mon, 02/05/2007 - 11:56pm

Jeff postured superficially:
>"That is a bunch of crap..."

This is why the liberals continue to carp that despite the fact they pretty much all voted, with hands over hearts, in favor of the war -- after studying the available evidence for themselves -- they'd now like to take it all back, and pretend that they, by some unspecified card trick, all got bamboozled into voting for the war in the Middle East -- so that they can assert, for purposes of pure and unadulterated election-year partisanship, that it's not equally their war too.

They probably now are ashamed of their singing of "America the Beautiful" on the Capitol steps as well. The video of the event probably sounds far too patriotic to them in retrospect.

"A bunch of crap" is what is foisted on us by radical liberals who pretend to be moderates as election day approaches, after which they will, if elected, cut and run, apologize to the world for our rudeness, and re-define the war on terror as a domestic violence problem which can be quickly curec by banning every American-owned gun they can get their "wrong hands" on. And that would be for starters.

We can argue the details like polite sportsmen, as if they were still in doubt, but in the real world, I can't as a good American claim to find any democrat to vote for that won't immediately kill the economic recovery, botch the war on terror and blame their retreat on Bush, outspend the Republicans in order to increase public assistance programs, and try again to beat the dead horse of banning at least 1/10th, if not more, of the Bill of Rights (the second article to begin with) and be giddily and insanely proud of their unconstitutional and probably treasonous defanging of the nation.

Which will, by the way, continue to be applauded by Al Qaeda, who already compliment us on the last election's democrat gains.

But excuse me for being so wishy-washy on the topic.

Jeff Pruitt
Tue, 02/06/2007 - 9:11am

Yet again, you and everyone else reading this cannot refute the FACTS that the President and his administration LIED about very specific items that certainly led us into war.

And thank you for the good chuckle I received from this line - "botch the war on terror". I can't imagine it having gone much worse to this point. Did you read last year's NIE reports?

tim zank
Tue, 02/06/2007 - 11:06am

Jeff, I certainly can refute it, and you most assuredly cannot prove he lied. That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it, but it ain't proof.

As far as "I can't imagine it having gone much worse to this point." how about another attack on our soil?

Need a little cheese to go with that whine?

Steve Towsley
Tue, 02/06/2007 - 12:12pm

The interesting thing about the use of the word "LIED" is that virtually none of the supposedly disillusioned Republicans in the country use it -- only those of another political stripe. That makes "LIED" a partisan political characterization, not a fact. And that's why there's no need to "prove" otherwise at all, except in your mind.

This is where those disagreements got started about who is in the objective middle in this country. You, Jeff, are not it, I think you should agree.

The real centrists would call our practically universal commitment to enter the war at worst a case of bad intelligence from everywhere, at best a case of WMD programs spirited into Syria or Iran (as Saddam did with his jet fighters rather than lose them to the West in Gulf I -- he lost them to Iran instead).

As for the war on terror, it was never going to be tidy, but I guarantee you haven't seen it botched until the peaceniks of the left get hold of it. Then we can all just sit back and wait, until enough of the protections are dismantled and eroded and replaced with a morass of paper regulations, so that the next wave of terrorists on our soil succeed in another spectacular coordinated attack. The Dems will probably try to blame George W. even if it happens on their own watch. Mark my words.

The Dems will then declare the entire domestic atrocity a police matter (rather than another act of war on our way of life) and try to change the subject pending "investigation," until it happens yet again. Reasonable folks and students of history have to admit that despite the ill-fitting promises of campaign season, once elected the left is both sadly predictable and normally inadequate along these lines.

Jeff Pruitt
Wed, 02/07/2007 - 7:49am

All you have to do to see the proof that the president lied is google the two instances I talked about.

Perhaps I'll blog a timeline that will make these lies obvious to everyone.

Also, I would expect Congressional investigations into this matter soon enough (which we were promised by the Republicans but never happened - remember Phase 2?)