Cleland: “It is impossible”

Max Cleland made some noise on Iraq today:

Former Democratic Senator Max Cleland spoke out in favor of an exit strategy in Iraq on CNN’s Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. Cleland said, “It is impossible. It is impossible for a military solution, particularly by the United States, to work in Iraq. And yet our young men and women are being blown up as we speak.”

The Vietnam veteran criticized the Bush administration, saying: “This administration for five years has tried to make Iraq the 51st state. It won’t work. It belongs to the Iraqis. And their own history, they’re different from us. They have different religions, a different culture from us. And so we can’t micromanage Iraq. We darn sure can’t micromanage Afghanistan.”

34 comments

  1. John Douglas says:

    Leaving Iraq to the Iraqis is code for leaving Iraq to the fascists who would turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was. Hey Max, dont you think the enemy takes comfort and gains strength from the words of people like you? The surrender declarations from you and your Defeat and Retreat fellow Democrats in DC are turmpeted by your friends in the media and go straight to the enemy. They fight on, and have even acknowledged that the Democrats are working to get us out of Iraq before democracy can survive.

    Also Max, the Ft Dix episode should have been yet another wake up call that these thugs will follow us home, unlike the communists who your party helped win in Vietnam. Just for a moment, dont you think its better to fight them overseas than in our streets? And finally, its impossible to support the troops and not what they are doing. Its just a cover for helping pull the rug out from under them.

    I appreciate your Army service Max…..but your Iraq ideas are off base.

  2. RJL says:

    Turning a phrase — Hey Senator Douglas, don’t you think the enemy takes comfort and gains strength from the words of people like you? Can you plausibly argue against the point that our military won this war four years ago but remains in a quagmire of crosshairs to this day because of the incompetance of the Bush administration?

    Supporting the troops means honest leadership of those who serve. Soldiers must be able to trust the judgement and competancy of their political leaders and believe that taking the ultimate risk has been carefully balanced by the enormity of the national interest. If you can credibly outline a plan for military “victory” (versus the “defeat” or “surrender” you accuse of others), I am certain both the President and our military commanders would enjoy hearing from you tomorrow morning. If not, then you fail the test of honest leadership and support for our military men and women who have done their jobs with integrity.

    Supporting the troops is more than a bumper sticker or pound upon the chest.

  3. shelbinator says:

    Folks like Mr. Douglas continue to surprise me with their tenacious grip on “if we don’t fight ’em there they’ll follow us back here.” The Ft. Dix plot is just another (luckily thwarted) domestic plot in the lines of more tragic episodes like in London and Madrid, where civilians paid the price WHILE their countries were in Iraq, not because they had pulled out and the terrorists followed them home. Terrorists are everywhere at all times, they’re ALREADY following us home, and we need to get smart about finding and catching or killing them and stop generating more of them with botched wars and a foreign policy based on torture.

    You know, with all the Reagansturbation that went on at the debate last week, we should remember who pulled out of Beirut and gave bin Laden his first, biggest piece of propaganda about the paper tiger that they think the U.S. is. If the Democrats do succeed in forcing Bush to abandon a very unpromising “more of the same” strategy, I hope two things happen: (1) we redeploy our forces overseas in a manner that continues to fight dedicated jihadists without becoming embroiled in the urban combat of a civil war, and (2) the bitter Republicans like Mr. Douglas rethink their notion of enemies taking comfort in domestic American rhetoric and stop talking about “retreat” and “surrender” and start talking about “redeployment” and “continuing the pursuit of al Qaeda.” If our enemies really are listening to every scrap of domestic politics like Douglas says, then maybe his ilk ought to quit saying anything and everything to make a reassessment of foreign policy sound like tail-between-the-legs. Democrats want to fight terrorism just as much, if not more, than Republicans, Mr. Douglas, it’s only people like you that keep telling the enemy we’re afraid.

    I don’t agree with everything in Cleland’s quote here, but the simple line about a military solution not being viable in Iraq is by no means a minority opinion. It’s time for a new, political solution. Ask Joe Biden; more and more people are listening.

  4. Jason Pye says:

    we should remember who pulled out of Beirut and gave bin Laden his first, biggest piece of propaganda about the paper tiger that they think the U.S. is.

    I remember the quote about Clinton pulling out of Somalia, but nothing about Reagan.

  5. John Douglas says:

    Shelbinator: I hope two things happen: (1) we redeploy our forces overseas in a manner that continues to fight dedicated jihadists without becoming embroiled in the urban combat of a civil war….

    This is so common and typical of left wing defeatists….surrender in the current war, the next one we will support!!!! I guess that unless we can get them to fight in an open field, we have to sit by and let them do their dirty work?

    Your caviler attitude to terrorism here at home too is disturbing. Luckily domestic security agencies stand guard here while our military does their work overseas. A good “one-two punch” that keeps those who would destroy us off balance.

  6. RJL says:

    C’mon, Senator, put it on the line. Take a position other than the non-sensical “leftist, surrender” wanderings.

    Either you agree that our troops won the war they were sent to fight (prevent WMD, depose Saddam) and have been left in a quagmire by incomptenance, or you disagree and believe our troops have failed to accomplish their mission and you have a plan that no one else can articulate to do so.

    What is our position?

    While we wait for your articulate response, the U.S. will incur $2 billion in debt and the loss of additional life.

  7. Demonbeck says:

    RJL,

    The troops mission is now to secure Iraq and help its citizens create a stable government. They should not leave Iraq until Iraq can take care if itself.

    Quite frankly, I am surprised that no one (on the national stage at least) has mentioned getting UN Troops in there for the rebuilding efforts.

  8. Decaturguy says:

    They should not leave Iraq until Iraq can take care if itself.

    Even if that takes 50 years and hundreds of thousands American lives?

  9. Demonbeck says:

    [sarcasm]The number hasn’t approached tens of thousands yet, but don’t hesitate to demagogue them Decaturguy. [/sarcasm]

    They should not leave Iraq until Iraq can take care of itself.

    We must be diligent in this mission and wary of creating a new Israel-type situation.

  10. RJL says:

    Thank you, Demon, for proving a point: that the mission has changed; it is an expanded (“now”) mission which would, of course, require a plausible strategy (that vital part of any plan that follows the “objective” part you state of “secure(ing) Iraq and help(ing) create a stable government”) – a strategy which neither this Administration or Senator Douglas can put forth.

    Can you?

    If you place confidence in the appraisal of our military commanders, there is no purely military solution to Iraq; the solution is political. Yet, can you confidently describe such a political solution in the middle of a civil war, with a Shiite-dominated government comprised of corrupt agencies, a legislature planning on a two-month vacation without the resolving the critical issues, and a state that has become the proving ground for young Jihadists? Worse, how many lives and how many billions are you willing to endure until you can describe and put such a political solution in place?

    These points relate to my earlier post/point that soldiers must be able to trust the judgment and competency of their leaders for our military to function and our national interests to be protected. Clear indicators of lack of such judgment and competency are soaring debt (for which we borrow from the Chinese), a stretched-to-the-breaking-point military, further destabilization of the Middle East, loss of international influence, and an American public that believes 71-25 that the country in on the wrong track.

    As Gen. Powell once told George Bush, “You break it, you own it.”

    How are you doing so far?

  11. Skeptical says:

    Senator Douglas – I couldn’t get any further than this before I knew your entire bit of screed would be full of shit:

    “Leaving Iraq to the Iraqis is code for leaving Iraq to the fascists who would turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was.”

    Um…hate to be the one to point this out to you, but the Taliban has retaken control of Afghanistan and has actually cracked down even harder than it was before. I guess this is another fine example of Mission Accomplished.

    I’m glad I’m able to put another face to the 28%ers.

    Seriously, would you be able to form a sentence on your own without your right-wing talking points?

  12. rightofcenter says:

    With all due respect Senator, do you get your talking points from Sean Hannity? Namecalling (defeatist, leftist) does nothing to advance your argument. It merely makes you look small-minded.

    I’m a Republican, but honesty requires that our president, who I personally like very much, has looked very incompetent in his handling of this war. I can’t help but contrast his leadership to that of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln didn’t hesitate to relieve generals who weren’t cutting the mustard, and recognized when strategies weren’t working and altered them accordingly. President Bush blindly listened to the neocons and stuck with them way too long. Rumsfeld should have been replaced much, much sooner. Finally, with Gen. Prateus, we have a winner. But did we wait too long?

  13. Rick Day says:

    Dear Senatorjohndouglas.com,

    Hmm, looks like your little Katherine will be almost 18 soon.

    I am sure you believe in this effort enough to persuade her to join the Army and volunteer to front-line deploy within a few months of her graduation.

    Think about the nights you will both sit up and rejoice in your common sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of other proud American parents in sending your child into harms way! Joy!

    Excuse me, er, what? When what freezes over?

    Oh…

    Senator Douglas, you make the baby Jesus cry.

  14. Demonbeck says:

    I have never understood why people who oppose the war think they are speaking for those fighting the war and the opinions of those making decisions in Washington on the war are moot unless they have served previously, are currently serving or have family members currently serving.

    Different people are given different lots and life and are born with different abilities. It has nothing to do with status, race, creed or party affiliation.

  15. Doug Deal says:

    Demon,

    Lets just be glad these people were not around in significant number during WWII. I can imagine an early Michael Moore suggesting that the US bombed it’s own port, and we just needed to make peace with Germany.

    Peace is the goal of almost everyone. Conservatives seem to be the only one’s who know that peace doesn’t happen just because you laid down your arms.

  16. CobbGOPer says:

    “The Ft. Dix plot is just another (luckily thwarted) domestic plot”

    What exactly do you mean by “domestic?” 5 out of the six arrested were foreign nationals!?

    “…London and Madrid, where civilians paid the price WHILE their countries were in Iraq, not because they had pulled out and the terrorists followed them home.”

    So riddle me this, Batman: why is Spain STILL uncovering Muslim bombing and terror plots on Spanish soil even though they’ve completely pulled out of the Iraqi conflict in compliance with the demands of the Left as well as the threats of terrorist-islamofacists?

    I’ll give you a hint: it’s not because they’re pissed about Spain’s foreign policy…

  17. Decaturguy says:

    The rhetoric from Douglas does sound a little Hannity-esque, doesn’t it?

    But that’s no surprise, really, to expect that he actually thinks for himself.

  18. Doug Deal says:

    Decatur,

    Straight out of the instructions from DNC headquarters I see. When you cannot refute a comment, use innuendo or stock phrases to attackt he messenger.

    I have never seen you post an original idea, a thoughful analysis or anything else that may require a neuron to fire, so your comments are laughable.

    In the future, to save time and bandwidth, instead of posting the entire text, just give us the page and paragraph number from the DNC playbook.

    We will still give you full credit.

  19. RJL says:

    Demon — Is that your response to my challenge for you or Sen. Douglas to put forward some cogent arguments? Bewilderment at the reasons for others’ opinions?

    Ok, so let’s then render your question moot: Sen. Douglas references military service in his bio, and I am a Viet Nam veteran. Sufficiently even footing?

    Shall we debate the merits, Sen. Douglas?

  20. rightofcenter says:

    Doug,
    A rare day it is for me to come to Decatur’s defense, but he was just agreeing with me on Sen. Douglas’s comments. And, no, I certainly don’t get the DNC’s talking points.

  21. IndyInjun says:

    I do not see the GOP pols calling for a) PAYING for this war or b) reinstating the draft to MAN this war.

    The GOP is even more irresponsible and damaging to America than the Dems in launching a war fought with money borrowed from our adversaries and with such inadequate force that it breaks the back of our military.

    Their protestations at this point are laughable, if they were not so lamentable.

  22. griftdrift says:

    There were plenty of people not named Michael Moore who said invading Iraq would be stupid, futile and tragic. Shockingly, some of these people even supported military action in Afghanistan.

    They were right. You were wrong. Now go find some more straw to build yourself another target to knock over.

  23. RJL says:

    Regrettably, I must be away in meetings this afternoon but will look forward to any serious discussion and the response of Senator Douglas. In the interim –

    Doug, et al. – do you happen to remember our involvement in Bosnia, a somewhat similar situation to Iraq with divergent religions, genocide and power struggles? If so, you may remember that the REPUBLICAN House passed quite a number of bills and resolutions, the substance of which you abhor today. There was, for example, H. R. 2606 to prohibit funds, H.Res. 302 expressing “serious concern” over U.S. deployment, and the infamous H.Res. 306 which expressed unequivocal support for our troops, and was DEFEATED by the Republican majority (190-237), not to be outdone in 1997 by the House vote to set a timeline and date certain for withdrawal of American forces from the conflict.

    In Bosnia, despite the consistent efforts of Republicans, we succeeded in 18 months at a cost of $7bn and the loss of no – that’s zero – American soldiers.

    In Iraq, under the leadership of Republicans, we are bogged down over 48 months at a cost approaching $500bn and the loss of over 3,000 American soldiers.

    Over to you.

  24. Doug Deal says:

    Ah,

    I am a moron. I will admit it. I thought he was talking to me, since Douglas is my first name and his comments were so close to mine.

    Sorry Decatur.

  25. Demonbeck says:

    RJL, my last post was in response to Rick Day’s disrespectful post to Sen. Douglas.

    You and I aren’t too far apart on our assessment of where we stand currently. Yes the mission has changed (as has been the case since the now infamous “Mission Accomplished” GWB announcement.) Yes, there is still fighting going on – not to take the government, though – this fighting is over creating a new order – which is much more different. Once order is created then the process of “describ(ing) and put(ting) such a political solution in place” can begin.

  26. RJL says:

    Demon — Something to chew on, and then I must leave for meetings:

    I know of no one in Washington (Dem or Repub, military or civilian, thinker or moron) who believes that the United States is able to create order in Iraq militarily as a prerequiste to finding a political solution to a civil war.

    Perhaps Sen. Douglas will know.

    (your last sentence is the only creative think(ing) I’ve seen here today).

  27. buzzbrockway says:

    Quite a few troops disagree with the esteemed former Senator from Georgia. These troops are the very people in Iraq fighting the terrorists and trying to help the Iraqi’s take control of their country. I’m much more concerned about what they think than the esteemed former Senator from Georgia.

    Over 3000 troops signed a petition that says:

    As an American currently serving my nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to fully support our mission in Iraq and halt any calls for retreat. I also respectfully urge my political leaders to actively oppose media efforts which embolden my enemy while demoralizing American support at home. The War in Iraq is a necessary and just effort to bring freedom to the Middle East and protect America from further attack.

  28. Demonbeck says:

    Using your words…The current mission of the United States must be to assist the Iraqis in creating order in Iraq militarily as a prerequiste to finding a political solution to their problems.

    The insurgents know that as long as there is violence over there, order cannot be created. As long as order is not there, a confidence in the new government cannot grow. Until the people of Iraq are assured that we are there until they can handle their own policing and everyday lives, they will have no confidence in their new government.

    We must be steadfast in our mission to create a sustainable order in Iraq – otherwise every life lost over there will have been for nothing.

    I am all for establishing goals, I oppose a timeline wholeheartedly.

  29. rugby_fan says:

    “Until the people of Iraq are assured that we are there until they can handle their own policing and everyday lives, they will have no confidence in their new government.”

    But that is not what the Iraqis want. If you watched CBS on Sunday, Face the Nation made note that the Iraqis actually want us out and they want a date.

    Buzz; what do you say about the soldiers who oppose the mission, do you care about their opinions?

  30. buzzbrockway says:

    rugby,

    There’s no doubt the war in Iraq is divisive, but we hear every day how the war is lost and the public wants us out now. However, we have a petition signed by over 3000 troops who say the war is not lost and they want finish the mission. Big Media and the Democrats are ignoring them.

    I Googled “anti-war troops” and found this which claims 1934 troops who want us out now. As best I can tell it’s been around since late 2006, whereas “An Appeal For Courage” has only been around since about February. In other words, the “complete the mission” troops have garnered more support in a shorter amount of time.

    The point is, the Big Media and Democrats claim to support the troops but ignore the troops who don’t support the “get out now” mantra currently in vogue.

    Ultimately it’s not up to Big Media or even the troops, it’s up to the President. If the Congress wants the war in Iraq to end let them cut the funding.

  31. rugby_fan says:

    Buzz; the main difference is the insubordination of the troops.

    I would say that it is much easier to get a soldier at any time, regardless of nationality to come out in favor of their mission.

    The fact that there are 1934 who are willing to speak out is unprecedented. Soldiers are willing to accept being courtmartialed and have dishonorable discharges in order to speak out against the mission.

    There is better support for staying in Iraq than this.

  32. DavidAtlanta says:

    “…the Ft Dix episode should have been yet another wake up call that these thugs will follow us home…”

    “Follow us home…”?? What the feck? That makes no sense. As if the poor terrorists can’t find America on a map and stick around Iraq hoping to hitch a ride. That’s the dumbest justification I’ve ever heard for putting American troops in harm’s way. News flash, Sen. Douglas, the United States isn’t hiding in a secret bat cave. The terrorists know where we live.

    GW Bush has had 4 years since “Mission Accomplished” to make something work in Iraq. I’m not sure that there’s anything that can be done to fix Iraq. It’s been bungled too much already.

    If there is a way to fix Iraq, I sure as hell don’t think Bush is the man who can do it. I’ve seen enough. His administration is just too incompetent and too busy covering its ass and trying not to look like a bigger failure than it already is.

    Invading Iraq was a dumb mistake. Staying there is even an even dumber mistake. Watching carbon-copy Republicans come up with one idiotic excuse after another for dragging this fiasco out would be good entertainment if the cost of their ignorance and incompetence didn’t come at such a high price for our country.

    You want to see defeat and retreat? Watch what happens to the GOP in 2008.

  33. shelbinator says:

    CobbGOPer: by “domestic” I mean “in New Jersey.” NJ is still part of the union, yes? As for Spain – I didn’t say that pulling out of Iraq would suddenly mean no threats to the homeland, but that staying in Iraq doesn’t seem do to much to keep the terrorists “over there” and off our native soil, as the whole “fight-them-there-not-over-here” right-wing mantra suggests.

    JD: “This is so common and typical of left wing defeatists….surrender in the current war, the next one we will support!!!!” Uh, we had plenty of Democrats that supported the LAST war, which we’re now losing to the Taliban.

Comments are closed.