Carol Platt Liebau: What the War Means to (Some) Democrats

Friday, July 07, 2006

What the War Means to (Some) Democrats

Jamie Rubin, assistant secretary of state to Madeleine Albright, reveals a lot about the Democrats' primary concern when it comes to the war on terror and the war in Iraq.

Of course, he's not responsible for the headline -- "A War Democrats Can Win." That's The New York Times, and it implies that the war in Afghanistan, which the article goes on to discuss, should devolve into a partisan affair -- and essentially counsels Democrats to make policy recommendations based primarily on political calculations, rather than on national security concerns.

Interestingly, Rubin tags the Iraq war as unwinnable ("Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is still winnable") and argues that Democrats should urge for troops not to be brought home from Iraq, but rather transferred to Afghanistan, because that would prevent the Republicans from calling the Dems "quitters" (oh, and incidentally, might help secure the country). What is his evidence, however, that troops are unavailable for deployment to Afghanistan if more qualified people than he determine that they are needed?

Rubin's article purports to marry policy with politics . . . but what it really does is try to articulate a strategy by which Democrats can cut and run in Iraq without it looking like they're weak on terror. And inadvertantly, it reveals that the Democrats' primary goal isn't defeating terrorists or securing the American homeland. It's scoring political points.

It would be shameful if the war on terror were tagged as a "war the Republicans can win" -- and Dems would be screaming if Karl Rove produced a comparable piece. This is shameful, too.


Blogger suek said...

But wait a minute....isn't the UN handling Afghanistan? Wouldn't that be a just send our troops into Afghanistan, when it's already being overseen by the UN?

7:37 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

British troops are now fighting a "major and highly organised insurgency" in Afghanistan, senior Army officers have revealed.

The recent escalation in hostilities has again raised concerns in Whitehall that the British mission does not have sufficient men and equipment to deal with the threat posed by Taliban fighters.

Senior generals last week told Downing Street they needed more troops and aircraft if the mission was to succeed, while Tony Blair has appealed for other Nato states to provide practical support for British troops.;jsessionid=JPIGDBEOCXXWBQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2006/07/02/nafg02.xml

7:57 PM  
Blogger amber said...

I am curious why he thinks we are not winning the war in Iraq and in Afganistan.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...


Try reading this. Odom was director of NSA during Reagan's presidency.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Ditto seems to think that an offensive by the enemy means we've lost, don't know what we're doing, or some other negative "Bush is blowing it" crapola. There's an ebb and flow in war before it's finally over. That an enemy such as what we face in Afghanistan or Iraq might regroup and try again is a surprise only to those on the left.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...


How about cutting out the crap. All I did was sight recent news and Lt. Gen Odom's article.

Stop putting words in people's mouths, attacking and insulting everyone.

10:49 PM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

Afghanistan harbored Bin Laden and his cronies. After 9/11, it was rightly invaded by America and its allies.

What I can't understand is that Afghanistan, after being successfully invaded, is still being partly controlled by Al Queda.

It's a ridiculous situation. Why are there large swathes of countryside still under the control of people who were directly involved in 9/11?

While I totally disagreed with the war in Iraq, Afghanistan was always going to be a "just war" after 9/11.

So why aren't there more troops in Afghanistan? Why aren't they destroying the Taliban?

So long as Afghanistan remains in anarchy, it will be a haven for religious extremists who plot against the West.

Bush and his cronies are therefore doubly responsible for the situation. Not only did they invade a nation that was not a threat, they are also managing to lose control of a nation that was a threat.


2:26 AM  
Blogger amber said...

The reson there are still pockets of enemy controlled areas in Afganistan is that the area is full of caves and it is very difficult to get o all of the areas. I have been in the Himmalayas and there is no way you can do an effective bombing campaing, you have to create a line of people and comb the area, very difficult. We are doing excellant there. No other nation has been able to do in Afganistan what we are doing.

Also, Afganistan did not attack us, a group of terrorists within afganistan attcked the US. Iraq was doing the same thing Afganistan was, allowing people who want to destroy the US to train and live in their country. After living in the mid east I have no doubt what we are doing now in Afganistan and in Iraq is the right thing. I will not go on, you know my position already.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

Of course in another thread Amber said she'd be happy to go along with a regime change in North Korea.

US and NATO commanders, and president Karzai say Afghanistan is as dangerous as when war war began four and a half years ago.

7:32 AM  
Blogger The Flomblog said...

Afghanistan has been traditionally been a disaster for invaders - Alexander the Great on through the Russians - they all failed. The fact that we did as well as we did was astounding. The ability of special op's to absorb the needed methodology was magnificant. Afghanistan has some of the most difficult terrain on the planet.

The Aghanistani's have now tasted freedom. They will fight to keep it. They just need support and time.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

Commented Hamid Gul, a retired lieutenant-general of the Pakistani army and former director general of the ISI, "The resistance in Afghanistan and Iraq has very much attained a level which the anti-Soviet resistance [in Afghanistan] attained in 1987. The resistance beset the Soviet forces from all sides. By 1987, the Soviets had flexed their maximum muscle and they lost control and ultimately agreed to an exit strategy [1989].

8:20 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

What the Democrats, and some posters, forget is that the Coalition Forces are Aphganistan and Iraq not to fight the Aphgani and Iraquis but to ensure their freedom, and at the invitation of both the Aphgani and Iraquis. The Russians were not invited into Aphganistan. North Vietnam did not invite US forces into their country.

Their freedom is threatened by guerrilla/terrorists. Correct me if I am wrong but terrorists have no chance of winning in either country, whether we "cut and run" or stay.

As someone said, they have had a taste of freedom and aren't going to give it up.

And when other countries see it can be done, it will be done again and again, from North Korea to Iran.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...


You are a major dispenser of crap yourself. All you did was to cite another story that suggests we may be losing. This is typical of you and yours. All I did was respond. Your fixation on the negative aspects of a situation no one would describe as a cake walk at this point is reprehensible in it's transparent delight at a possible Bush failure. And that, sir, is crap.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Patrick Goetz said...

"What the War Means to (Some) Republicans"

Meet Ava Lowery, a 15-year old student and peace activist from Alabama. For the past year she’s been producing her own short animations on her website, Take a gander at some of the things that typical Republicans have been saying to her:

Kind of makes you proud to be an American ... and especially proud to be a member of the Republican party!

Meanwhile, this:
is absolutely treasonous. I'm outraged. Filled with facts, hence completely irrelevant, as Steven Colbert would say. Nevertheless, treasonous. I think that, at the very least, the Republican party should expand its platform to include supporting rape and murder stateside, too; terrorists and their supporters are everywhere, not just in Iraq.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Hey Pat,

I don't know how long it took you to find an obscure website to find such comments from the right. To hear similar from the left, one need only tune into Air America every day. If you can stand it.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

We're such a disgusting, miserable, lowdown sorry
excuse for a country! The,
"American Experiment" has
failed. Our only recourse
now would be to apologise to the world and present
ourselves to our enemies and hang our heads in shame! Maybe then they would put us out of our misery and saw our heads off as we deserve!

8:53 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

While Republicans aren't saying the very words: "A War the Republicans Can Win", they have been packaging their political maneuverings in exactly that tone.

Republicans will fight and win.
Democrats will cut and run.

It may be tacky. But it may also be necessary. We are in a war, like it or not. And the public needs to be made aware of where the political parties stand on this most important issue.

I don't think it so shameful for Democrats to search for a winning strategy concerning the war. I think it shameful they have to.

They've painted themselves into a corner by wishing failure on the Bush Administration. It has made them look weak on national defense. Now they're scrambling to offset the damage they've done to themselves.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Another note on my previous comment:

And Republicans are right to highlight the problems the Democrats have made for themselves. That's politics.


An excellent post until the very last. I think it rather naive to think Iraq was not a threat to the United States.

I'm just an ordinary citizen and therefore have no more particular intelligence details on this matter than anyone else. That's what our government is for. It's their primary responsibility. I believe they DO have more information on this than the average citizen. Besides, at the time many, many other governments (as well as previous U.S. administrations) were making exactly the same case as the Bush Administration:

Sadaam was a threat that had to be dealt with.

The only thing Bush did different from all these other governments (and previous US administrations) was to actually act on this policy.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

differently - not different

Sorry, I'm more than a little embarrassed for the above grammatical error.

6:57 AM  

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