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Baker Hamilton
Barack Obama
George Washington
Iraq, Past wars
Mario Cuomo
Jalexson Iraq
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Mario Cuomo Is Wrong
Topic: Mario Cuomo

response to Mario Cuomo column


The first war fought under the current Constitution was fought during the administration of John Adams on the strength of a naval appropriation after Congress voted against a declaration of war.  It wasn't a very big war under today's standards, but the war with France was significant for the young republic.  

Cuomo claims he wants to reduce the power of the president, but his approach would substantially reduce the nation's flexibility in dealing with foreign threats.  He believes the nation should take an all or nothing approach either a declaration of war with the associated restrictions on civil liberties or no action at all.  Among other things a declaration of war by Congress means that those who criticize the war may be punished for treason.  Such restrictions on  free speech are not possible without a formal declaration. A declaration of war would legitimize military tribunals for those accused of being enemies and potentially prevented the courts from intervening.  The Constitution explicitly authorizes suspension of habeas corpus during war and insurrection.

A declaration of war also can have significant international repercussions.  In some situations a declaration of war by the U.S. could force other nations to enter a conflict against the U.S. or cause other diplomatic repercussions.

Any declaration of war would have been against the government of Iraq which has already been destroyed. The current situation in Iraq is not a war against anyone except as to the extent it is a part of the war against terror.  Who would the United States declare war against in such a situation?  Wars are declared against other nations not against international "criminal" organizations like al Qaeda.  

I realize Democrats cannot understand the idea of responsibility.  We did eliminate the government of Iraq and should feel that we should help the Iraqis establish a new government no matter how long it takes.  Democrats once understood that concept.  President Harry Truman even took on the task of helping all Europeans, including our former enemies, recover from World War II.

Posted by reasonmclucus at 8:22 PM CDT
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Sunday, 19 August 2007
Withdrawal No Option
Topic: Iraq, Past wars

Those who think the United States can withdraw from Iraq with no risk to our troops aren't living in the real world.  On a playground someone who doesn't want to play any more can use his hands to make the letter "T", call "time out" and say he wants to go home.  Iraq isn't a playground.  It's a combat zone and withdrawing  from a combat zone is difficult to do without getting killed.

The first to leave might get out safely, but the last ones would have little hope.  General Douglas MacArthur was able to withdraw only a portion of his force from the Phillipines during World War II safely.  The ones left behind were captured by the Japanese.  Those who survived the Bataan Death March were badly treated in the Japanese prison camp.

The Americans who would be left behind in Iraq wouldn't end up in a prison camp, but would be tortured and killed if captured alive by al Qaeda.  An organization that will fly airliners into office buildings isn't going to just let our soldiers leave without trying to kill as many as possible.  

Soldiers have trouble defending themselves when they are moving away from the battle.  Artillery pieces cannot be moved and fired at the same time, particularly when the artillery shells are loaded in trucks.  An enemy will take advantage of the vulnerability of a retreating army and attack without having to worry about a counterattack.  Even our army would attack a retreating enemy that hadn't first surrendered.  

Leaving a battlefield safely can only be done in three basic ways:

1. Defeat the enemy like the U.S. did in World War II; partial withdrawal can occur as the enemy is weakened as happened in Vietnam and in Europe late in WWII;
2. The army can be replaced by another army as occurred in Vietnam when South Vietnamese forces gradually took over from American forces.  This process is occurring in Iraq, but very slowly.

3. Negotiate with the enemy, including surrendering to the enemy.  World War I ended with negotiations.  The final American forces left Vietnam after the U.S. negotiated a settement with the enemy that resulted in a victoy because our ally  was recognized as the government of South Vietnam - the primary U.S. goal in the Vietnam War.  

In the short run a partial withdrawal of American forces cannot be done without  high risk to those remaining until al Qaeda has been further weakened.   A withdrawal without weakening al Qaeda would allow al Qaeda to claim it is winning the war which could increase its ability to recruit new soldiers by a factor of 10 to 100.

American forces currently have only two options, complete withdrawal or no withdrawal.  Complete withdrawal would only be practical by going north. The Kurds might be able to protect withdrawing American forces leaving through  their territory, but would probably need for us to give them our tanks, artillery and possibly some of our aircraft to do so.  The U.S. might also have to sign a treaty with the Kurds stating that in case of a war between the Kurds and American NATO ally Turkey that the U.S. would not attack the Kurds.

The Kurds are the only Iraqi group that might capable of governing themselves.   A functional Iraqi government isn't currently practical.  

Neither Americans nor Iraqis understand the damage Saddam Hussein did to the Iraqi people.  Iraqis lack experience in operating a government, especially in working with members of  other ethnic groups.  Hussein attempted to eliminate anyone who might pose a threat to his leadership, including killing his own generals if he thought them capable of conducting a successful coup.  

Our own founding fathers needed two attempts to set up a successful national government and they had experience with limited self government before the American Revolution.

I realize many Americans support the Ted Kennedy approach to such matters.  You remember Kennedy.  He drove off a bridge and then went home and left his passenger to drown.

As  Secretary of State Colin Powell told President George W. Bush the "pottery barn" rule applies -- "you break it you buy it." We have a responsibility to help the Iraqis develop their own govenment without interference from al Qaeda.  We shouldn't leave them to drown because just because some compassionless politicians don't care.

They didn't ask us to eliminate the tyrant Saddam Hussein.  We are the ones who drove the car off the bridge and we should help them get out.



Posted by reasonmclucus at 12:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, 5 August 2007

Topic: Iraq, Past wars
Bush is correct about al Qaeda.  Using extreme violence can be addictive and his type of violence doesn't require large easily identifiable armies, but those who dress and act like everyone else.  

If al Qaeda can achieve a victory using such methods in Iraq others will think they can also achieve victory even though they have no realistic chance of actually taking over any country.  Al Qaeda has a chance of taking over Iraq because Saddam Hussein eliminated those capable of leadership and instilled a sense of fear in those who survived.  Incidentally, Hussein's killing of potential leaders is a major cause of the inability of the survivors of his reign to form a functional government.  

Even the Sunnis have no real leaders available, they are looking for al Qaeda or someone else to lead.  

40 years ago fictional spies fought international terrorist organizations with science fiction technology rather than foreign governments. UNCLE agent  Napoleon Solo fought Thrush.  James Bond fought Dr. No and Blofeld.  Matt Helm and Our Man Flynn fought private organizations  wanting to take over the world.

Al Qaeda may not have science fiction technology, but it has the same ambitions of the fictional organizations.  Osama bin Laden believes that he doesn't need fictional technology.  He believes he can use random terroristic violence to scare some into not fighting him and convince others to think they cannot defeat him.

Posted by reasonmclucus at 12:01 AM CDT
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Friday, 27 July 2007
President Bush Should Resign If...
Topic: Iraq, Past wars

By Jalexson

The Constitution assigns the President the exclusive power of being Commander in Chief of the nation's military forces.  The President has the sole authority to determine whether to commit troops to battle, how to conduct the battle and when to withdraw troops.  Congress may have the authority to declare war or appropriate money to fight a war, but only the President can decide if troops will fight the war.

If Congress attempts to take away President George Bush's power to determine how troops are used in a combat zone, President Bush should recognize the action as a coup that removes him from office and submit his resignation as President.  Vice President Dick Cheney should then follow his example and allow the person Congress has chosen as Bush's replacement, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to become President.

Then if Congress' decision to retreat from Iraq resulted in a disaster, American voters would hold Pelosi and her fellow Democrats responsible for the disaster.  Democrats want  a situation in which they can claim credit for getting troops out of Iraq and they can blame George W. Bush if the action results in disaster.  If Bush resigned, Democrats wouldn't be able to blame anyone else for their mistake.

We may or may not have made a mistake by electing and reelecting George W. Bush to be president, but until the next election he is the President.  Congress should let him do the job in the way he sees fit until we have a chance to elect his successor.  Congress should not attempt to take away our ability to choose our Commander in Chief. 

Members of Congress are elected to serve local constituencies and local interests.  Only the President is elected to serve the national constituency and national interests.


Posted by reasonmclucus at 3:03 AM CDT
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Sunday, 22 July 2007
Obama statement
Topic: Barack Obama

Barack Obama's recent statement about not worrying about what might happen to the Iraqis if we left implies he would not have favored keeping federal troops in the south to protect the former slaves after the Civil War. Federal troops stayed for a decade in spite of not being able to fully protect the former slaves. Under the Obama doctrine they wouldn't have stayed that long.  The U.S. government was responsible for the situation the former slaves were in after the war just like the U.S. government is responsible for the situation the people of Iraq find themselves in.  Democrats after the Civil War didn't think the U.S. government had any obligation to help  the former slaves, just like modern Democrats don't believe the U.S. government has any moral obligation to help out the people of Iraq who are attempting to learn how to live under a democracy. 

The withdrawal of federal troops from the south resulted in the former slaves losing most of the rights they were supposed to be guaranteed by Civil War amendments to the Constitution.  What will be the fate of the people of Iraq if we suddenly withdraw? 

For those unfamiliar with 19th U.S. history, the withdrawal of federal troops allowed development of a system in which whites could rape or murder blacks with no fear of punishment and southern blacks lost the right to vote for nearly a century. 

By Jalexson

Discussion at


Posted by reasonmclucus at 6:39 PM CDT
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Democrats lying
Topic: Withdrawal

Democrats should stop lying about Iraq by saying that American forces can simply leave Iraq with no consequences.  Either they are as dumb as Paris Hilton or they think we are.  

Iraq is a combat zone and any attempt to leave will be while under hostile fire.  Al Qaeda forces will be shooting at them.  The militias will be shooting at them.  Those Iraqis whom our soldiers have trained will also likely be firing at the Americans who are "deserting" them.

Combat isn't like a pickup basketball game on the playground.  Armies cannot call "time out" and leave just because they don't want to participate any more.

Al Qaeda members hate Americans and are not going to pass up an opportunity to murder American troops who are "running away" from the battle.  Attacking retreating troops would strengthen al Qaeda's claim that it had forced the Americans out with its terror tactics.  The claim would allow Al Qaeda to substantially increase its recruiting and its terror attacks.   Al Qaeda is not going to agree to a cease fire if it's leaders  know American forces will be leaving anyway.

Do Democrats want a disastrous retreat from Iraq which they would then blame on President Bush?  Or are Democrats as simple minded as Paris Hilton who didn't think she had to worry about any bad consequences for her illegal actions?


 By Jalexson



Posted by reasonmclucus at 6:04 PM CDT
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Tuesday, 1 May 2007
George WAshington
Topic: George Washington

By Jalexson

President George Washington only vetoed two acts of Congress while he was president.  One veto was because Washington believed the act was unconstitutional.  The other was because he believed the act was bad military policy that would make it more difficult to protect Americans.

The Congressional proposal to set a deadline for withdrawal in Iraq should be vetoed for both reasons. 

The Constitution explicitly assigns the power of determining how to use American military forces exclusively to the President because the President is better able to make decisions than the two houses of Congress.  The founding fathers also recognized that foreign policy and military actions sometimes required secrecy to prevent the other side from knowing what the United States was planning to do.

The Constitution authorizes Congress to declare war, but not to declare peace except through ratification of any treaties presented by the President. 

Congressional Democrats are clearly attempting to illegally alter the Constitution and President Bush should veto the act to protect the Constitution.

I'm not a poker player, but I know one important fact about how to play.  If you want to win you never let the other players know how much you are willing to bet on a given hand.  If they know you're limit, one of them needs to bet only one chip more on a hand and you will lose every time.
Democrats are telling al Qaida and other terrorists in Iraq, they only need to continue to kill for a few more months and we will quit.  

There is no reason to quit in Iraq.  The conflict is going much better than others the nation has participated in.

In fact the nation continued to fight wars when the situation was much worse than this conflict.  During the War of 1812 the British invaded the Capital and destroyed several buildings, but the United States didn't surrender.

President Abraham Lincoln had to delay issueing his Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves during the Civil War because his army was having trouble winning any battles.  But President Lincoln didn't give up.  He eventually found a general named Grant who knew how to win.

During World War II the United States left an army behind in the Phillipines because the war began very badly for the U.S., but Americans didn't give up.  General Douglas MacArthur lived up to his promise and returned to defeat the Japanese in the Phillipines and elsewhere.

American forces had to retreat in the Korean War but didn't give up and forced the North Koreans to stay out of South Korea. 


Posted by reasonmclucus at 12:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, 29 April 2007
Americans Don't Give Up
Topic: Iraq, Past wars

I bought a cheap DVD with old cartoons recently at Walmart. The first one was an WWII cartoon in which Daffy Duck operates a scrap yard to support the war effort. The Nazis send in a goat to eat the scrap. Daffy initially has trouble getting rid of the goat and says "I give up". An apparent dream reminds Daffy that Americans don't give up. Daffy not only takes care of the goat, but it captures a German sub. When he "wakes up" the sub is on top of the scrap heap.

Iraq isn't the worst situation Americans have been involved in. George Washington didn't give up even after spending a very bad winter at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. He and his soldiers survived the winter and went on to win the war because they didn't give up.

Americans didn't give up during the War of 1812 even after British troops invaded the capital and destroyed several buildings. They kept fighting and even won an overwhelming victory in the Battle of New Orleans.

Northern Americans had trouble winning battles in the early years of the Civil War, but didn't give up. They continued to fight and eventually won the war.

Americans didn't give up in World War II even after being forced out of the Phillipines. They came back and defeated the Japanese.

Americans didn't give up in Korea even after being nearly pushed out into the sea.

The situation in Iraq doesn't come close to comparing to the difficulties Americans encountered in these wars so why do Democrats want to give up? Are they as unfamiliar with American history as the people Jay Leno interviews on Jaywalking?

Or, are they losers whose only interest is playing silly little political games? They don't care about America. They only care about their political careers. They would rather lose in Iraq than risk having a Republican President handle it successfully. Democrats want to create a disaster in Iraq so they can blame it on the Republicans


Posted by reasonmclucus at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, 7 December 2006
Baker Hamilton
Topic: Baker Hamilton

The Baker Hamilton report is the same old nonsense, particularly the part about involving Iran and Syria.  The threat of Saudi Arabia entering the situation isn't much of a threat.  If the U.S. wants to scare anyone, it should start talking about bringing in our NATO ally Turkey.  Turkey headed the most recent Middle EAstern empire.

The U.S. needs to set realistic goals and abandon the notion of "winning".  Winning is only possible when there is a specific enemy to defeat. We cannot win by getting the other side to say "uncle" because there is no other side to say "uncle". If winning means completely eliminating violence... well we cannot do that in our own country.

The U.S. needs to recognize that most Iraqis are what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once referred to as "rabbits".  That is they have been conditioned to stay quiet and accept whatever happens. The U.S. needs to find a way to get them to become involved in stopping the violence.  

Even here in the U.S. the cops cannot do it all themselves. They need citizen assistance.  In the U.S., the biggest problem is often in inner city minority neighborhoods where people have a long standing distrust of police.  The Iraqis also have a distrust because of Saddam Hussein's police.  Big city police departments that are having some success in getting minority cooperation with the police could invite Iraqi officers to learn how they are doing it.

U.Sl military officials need to recognize that the most important thing they can do is to train Iraqi police and military.  Instead of discouraging officers from seeking such assignments, the military should try to assign the best qualified officers with guarantees that such assignments would aid their careers.  Colin Powell's first combat assignment was as an observer/advisor to South Vietnamese Army unit.  Any "career counselors" or whatever they are called who have been discouraging officers from seeking such assignments should themselves be reassigned to duties more consistent with their abilities.,1,2605384.column?coll=la-util-op-ed


Too bad they couldn't find some competent people to serve on the panel.  These guys are totally out of touch with the real world.  There is no diplomatic solution for the situation in Iraq.  The lawlessness is primarily an internal problem that has to be dealt with directly not by talk.  The other middle eastern countries have their own problems with violent elements that they are dealing with through totalitarian means.  Is that what the panel means by a "political" solution?  Establish a new tyrant in Iraq who will use arbitrary arrests and torture to keep people in line???

Although al Qaeda is part of the problem in Iraq, the ethnic conflict groups are more similar to the KKK or the Black Panthers.  Trying to appeal to Iran or Syria to deal with them is a waste of time.  They are too preoccupied with trying to foment violence because it is easier than trying to stop it.

the only Muslim country with recent experience controlling the Middle East is Turkey. Perhaps the U.S. could threaten to allow Turkey to take over if the Iraqis don't start getting along.

The U.S  should also reconsider the goal of keeping Iraq together as a country.  Perhaps the U.S. should offer to help those living where they are a minority to move to areas where they are a majority


Posted by reasonmclucus at 12:01 AM CST
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