A Hail Mary

In the course of a long editorial on Iraq, the NYTimes says:

While the strategy described above seems the best bet to us, the odds are still very much against it working. At this point, all plans to avoid disaster involve the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass. In America, almost no one — even the administration’s harshest critics — wants to tell people the bitter truth about how few options remain on the table, and about the mayhem that will almost certainly follow an American withdrawal unless more is done.

Truth will only take us so far, but it is the right way to begin. Americans will probably spend the next generation debating whether the Iraq invasion would have worked under a competent administration. Right now, the best place to express bitterness about what may become the worst foreign policy debacle in American history is at the polls. But anger at a president is not a plan for what happens next.

I don't know. Read the Times plan, if you have faith in their Hail Mary, then by all means embrace it. But frankly, WITHOUT anger at this incompetent President, the worst in history, that pass won't even be thrown.

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    Kevin Tillman on Iraq (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 09:51:08 AM EST
    A Hail Mary (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 12:27:09 AM EST
    wow, what originality of thought! geez, this is pretty close to what the joint chiefs suggested, prior to the invasion.

    you want a "victory" in iraq, here's how you do it:

    1. move 500k to 1m troops into iraq.
    2. seal every conceivable border, between iraq, iran, syria, et al. anywhere a person, and arms, can slip through, close it tight. use ground troops and air power to do it, 24/7.
    3. start a sweep, of the entire country, house to house. where you find weapons caches, burn the bldg. to the ground, arrest all inhabitants.
    provide no advance warning.
    1. anyone who resists is summarily executed, on the spot. no ifs, ands or buts.
    2. if a town, village or city is taken over by a local "militia", that town, village or city is razed to the ground; leave it a charred pile of ashes. none of this going and clearing it out, leaving, and then having to return to clear it out yet again. one time, it ceases to exist, except in memory.
    3. anyone attempting to flee across any border is presumed to be hostile, and is shot on the spot. no warning given.
    4. once the country is entirely cleared, than a "marshal plan" to rebuild is put into effect: rubble cleared, houses, bldgs. and infrastructure rebuilt. this is done by locals, working for contractors at livable wages.
    5. anyone engaging in black market operations is shot, on the spot. anyone caught looting is shot, on the spot.
    6. a new constitution, created by us, not them, is put in place. victors do these things, not losers. start acting like a victor.

    clearly, this is a framework, not the entire plan. will it cost a lot of money? absolutely! but then, so did wwII, our last true "nation building" exercise.

    do i see this happening? absolutely not! certainly, not from the present administration. it would be a flagrant admission of total ineptitude on their part, and it won't happen until a new president is sworn in.

    the only other viable option is to just declare victory, pick up our toys, and go home.

    A Hail Mary (none / 0) (#2)
    by JB on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 08:26:59 AM EST
    [an aside: not sure if the first comment was written by a real person, it's too embarrassing for words.]

    It appears that there is no moral judgment in this A Hail Mary approach.  The only consideration is whatever can get the U.S. out of the super-hell it has created in Iraq without turning super-hell into double-super-hell.

    Until there is a leader who can stand up and confront the fact the U.S. made a mistake with incalculable consequences by invading Iraq, that the U.S. bears the responsibility for cleaning it up - it will never be over.   Yes, yes, the politicians will bring the troops home and there will be parades and so on, but it won't be over.

    yes jb (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 10:20:59 AM EST
    yes jb, i am a real person, who see's the reality of the horrorshow that is iraq, created by bush and the republicans, with dem help, based on a foundation of lies.

    you are easily embarrassed, and apparently not very bright. nor, a student of world history. how, exactly, do you think the allies won wwII? for that matter, this was the same strategy pursued by grant & sherman, in the U.S. civil war. it's called "total war". it's the only way to win, without having exactly what's going on now in iraq go on.

    it actually saves lives, because it shortens hostilities, by completely denying the enemy the werewithal to continue resisting, forcing them to surrender.

    if you're going to have a war, do it the right way, don't pussyfoot around. that costs lives & national treasure.

    am i urging that my approach be taken? hmmmmm, it depends. personally, i questioned the whole basis for invading iraq to begin with, but colin powell convinced me. turns out, he lied too.

    however, absent a legitimately viable third option, only full scale war, or removal make sense at this point.

    A hail Mary (none / 0) (#5)
    by JB on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 11:57:37 AM EST
    cpinva -

    You chose to ignore my point, which I will state again: the U.S. made a horrendous mistake when it invaded Iraq and it therefore has to take responsibility for the consequences.

    The blood and thunder that you seem to advocate (albeit in a kind of third person way) don't sound like the kinds of actions that would actually improve the situation but would, given the lessons of the last 43 months, have the magical effect of adding to the insurgency and the insurmountable difficulties that the U.S military faces.

    And, yes, I recoil with embarrassment and outrage at what the U.S. has wrought in Iraq.  Comparison with WWII is a completely false argument that has no place here.  And I think you know that.  And the statements I made could not possibly give you legitimate grounds for assessing my knowledge of history or any other matter.

    NYT foreshadows US bloodbath in Baghdad (none / 0) (#6)
    by Andreas on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 02:23:22 PM EST
    the New York Times has published a "military analysis" that lays bare the core of the various schemes being discussed to salvage the American occupation of the country.

    At the center of the crisis talks are plans for a military assault on densely populated neighborhoods in the capital city, where anti-American insurgents and militia are entrenched, beginning with Sadr City, the home of some 2 million impoverished Shia and the stronghold of the anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia.

    The commentary, appearing on the front page of Monday's Times and authored by Michael R. Gordon, makes no attempt to disguise the newspaper's support for such an action, which would entail killing on a mass scale. ...

    Gordon's column casts additional light on the newspaper's decision to bury a Johns Hopkins University study released earlier this month that estimates 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the American invasion and occupation of the country. The virtual silence of the Times on this staggering and damning scientific study was not a casual editorial decision, but rather part and parcel of the newspaper's support for an escalation of the killing.

    The Times articulates in broad terms the outlook of the "liberal" establishment in general and the Democratic Party in particular. Gordon's article makes clear that a Democratic victory in the November congressional elections, or even in the 2008 presidential race, will in no way signal a retreat from the Bush administration's policies of militarism and war. The entire US political and media establishment is implicated in the war and committed to avoiding a defeat for US imperialism in Iraq, regardless the cost in Iraqi as well as American lives.

    New York Times "military analysis" foreshadows US bloodbath in Baghdad
    By Barry Grey and Joe Kay, 24 October 2006

    Hail Mary (none / 0) (#7)
    by Sailor on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 05:03:10 PM EST
    Truth will only take us so far, but it is the right way to begin.

    How ironic since the original reason for the war was a lie.

    Americans will probably spend the next generation debating whether the Iraq invasion would have worked under a competent administration.
    No, we won't. We might be debating, like post WWII Germany did, on how the hell we fell for it.

    The NYT misses the whole point, which isn't surprising because they were one of the worst, most inaccurate supporters for the war.

    cpinva, we didn't go into WWII as a nation building exercise, we went in to stop attacks on American soil, something saddam wasn't capable of.