Another Pathetic Fallacy

20040924001204901 Lieberman said the senators met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, and urged him to break his ties with Muqtada al-Sadr and disarm the anti-U.S. cleric’s Mahdi Army militia, which has been blamed along with Sunni Arab insurgents for the sectarian violence and ruthless attacks on U.S. forces.

Al-Sadr controls 30 of the 275 parliament seats and is a key figure in al-Maliki’s coalition.

Lieberman said the delegation left its meetings with al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and other Iraqi officials believing "there is a force of moderates within the context of Iraqi politics coming together to strengthen the center here against the extremists."

He said the delegation was "quite explicit" about "how important it is that the Iraqis themselves begin to take aggressive action to disarm the militias, to stop the sectarian violence and to involve all the people in country to governance," including promised provincial elections."  Yahoo News


More pathetic baloney.  As usual, we Americans insist on believing that some individual bad person must be responsible for resistance to our enlightened ideas.  We seem to think that this must be true since the masses "obviously" would favor what we want for them is they were allowed to accept our ideas by the bad people.  The idea that these poor benighted foreigners might have seriously different plans for themselves is clearly beyond us.

Listen up.  If you kill Muqtada al-Sadr and destroy his militia it WILL NOT stop the war among the peoples in what was Iraq.  pl

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30 Responses to Another Pathetic Fallacy

  1. J says:

    how do we remove the ‘tunnel vision glasses’ off of the current national leadership (both executive and congressional) so they can — see reality — instead of their current rose-colored warped vision? how? i’m at a loss in this regard.

  2. Leigh says:

    Senator McCain is talking up sending more troops to Iraq to work with the Iraqi army. Men in Iraqi army uniforms were responsible for the mass kidnapping today. How would our troops, who are non-Arabic speakers, be able to sort out the real from the fake? And wouldn’t there be a real danger of–I’m not sure of the word–fragging?

  3. semper fubar says:

    Just another pathetic appeal to the mythical “center” on the part of Lieberman (CT for Lieberman – CT). He can’t find much support for his brand of compromise and Bush-appeasement here, so he’s taking it on the road to Iraq, as if they don’t have enough problems without putting up with pompous jackassery from the likes of him.
    It’s embarrassing to me as an American to hear about him over there lecturing the Iraqis on what they “must” and “musn’t” do.

  4. jamzo says:

    col. please don’t confuse “us americans” with “holy joe lieberman”
    lieberman is very pro-israeli and he loves to posture
    it’s a shame he was re-elected, because of the narrow senate majority of the democrats he is probably more powerful than he ever has been
    i can’t believe the bushies are really contemplating trying to “gain control of bagdad”
    i have not figured out what the phrase is code for

  5. Matthew says:

    What is an Iraqi “extremist”? Someone who opposes the American occupation? Can an Iraqi be a “moderate” if they want us out of their country? Someone should ask Lieberman that question.

  6. joe osorio says:

    Well said. In my opinion,al-Sadr may be the last best hope for the Iraqis. I am not looking at this through the proverbial rose-colored glasses. I say this because he is the only leader accepted by both the Suni resistance and the majority of the Shia. Of course he is not pro-American, that is his credibility. But if anyone can be seen to be a rallying point for Iraqis, it is al-Sadr. My opinion.

  7. Frank Durkee says:

    Col. Is there any cost/benefit equation that would work to pull people away from supporting their group’s violence in the absence of effective security? If not, and if we and Iraqi forces cannot provide effective security at the pivotal points in the country , why isn’t this being recognized?

  8. W. Patrick Lang says:

    This calculus depends on what you consider to be “cost” and what “benefit.”

  9. Got A Watch says:

    Lieberman, McCain and their travelling companions are sharing the benefits of their vast worldly experience and sound grasp of geopolitical realities with Iraqis who are obviously crying out for American direction. Errr, no, sorry.
    semper fubar has it exactly right “pompous jackassery”.
    Exactly which sovereign country should put up with clueless Senators from a foreign country telling them how to form their government? Apparently election to the American Senate qualifies you to run any other country’s affairs too, as required. Or maybe they think Iraqis need to out-source their incompetence to a vastly more incompetent large foreign manufacturer, as it were. Now that’s a genuine made-in-America export commodity.
    The only good thing about this is I sense little enthusiasm among genuine Iraqis for these blowhards and their manifestly stupid policies. There is still something highly immoral and unseemly about American politicians using Iraq as a backdrop (like a large poster, only with explosions) to further their domestic political agendas. Or maybe they really are dense enough to think these so called “policies” can work.

  10. rebecca says:

    Col. Lang,
    I wonder if you’ve seen General Odom’s recent “Six brutal truths about Iraq”, and what you think of it?
    “Truth No. 1: No “deal” of any kind can be made among the warring parties in Iraq that will bring stability and order, even temporarily.
    Ever since the war began to go badly in the summer of 2003, a mythology has arisen that a deal among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds could bring peace and stability to Iraq. First, the parliamentary elections were expected to be such a breakthrough. When peace and stability did not follow, the referendum on a constitution was proclaimed the panacea. When that failed, it was asserted that we just had not yet found the proper prime minister. Even today, the Iraq Study Group is searching for this holy grail. It doesn’t exist.”
    (end excerpt)

  11. Soonmyung Hong says:

    “al-Sadr is accepted by both the Suni resistance?”
    He is most feared man by iraq sunni. BY CRUSHING SUNNI’S WILL?

  12. johnf says:

    >Lieberman said the delegation left its meetings with al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and other Iraqi officials believing “there is a force of moderates within the context of Iraqi politics coming together to strengthen the center here against the extremists.”
    Lieberman’s talking about himself again.
    But then the war has always been about and seen in terms of internal American politics. But in situations like this, external reality has a way of breaking in on the delusionists. I’m thinking of Manzikert.
    I wholeheartedly agree with joe osorio – and have thought so since 03. al-Sadr is the best hope of Iraq. A nationalist who thinks above faction and has a vision for Iraq as a whole. There are parallels with Nasrullah in Lebanon.
    They are our last best hope.

  13. Eaken says:

    he wants iraqis to get tough on sectarian violence? but he also would consider a strike on iranian nuke sites?
    i can’t believe this guy got re-elected (actually i can).

  14. FDR_Democrat says:

    Colonel –
    On a related issue, what do you think of the stories of the feud between Saudi Prince Turki al Faisal and Prince Bandar and how this may related to Saudi threats to intervene on the Sunni side in Iraq if the US substantially departs? Link to two issues in other blog here:

  15. Mo says:

    I have always been astounded at how administration after administration in the US has on the one hand claimed to be acting in the interests of a country and on the other branding highly popular, if not the most popular, organisations of that country as extremists/terrorists. Whether it be HA in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine of Al-Sadr in Iraq. And what do these extremists/terrorists have in common? The refusal to bow to the dollar and the maintenance of their pride and integrity.
    Whats even more astounding is the fact they dont quite get that the more they oppose these people the more credibility they give them. And with more credibility comes more support from the masses.
    Currently i believe Al Sadr is publicly not conducting an insurgency. If he were to, and were able to work together with the real insurgency among the Sunnis (rather than the Al-Qaida “we dont care who we kill” criminals) the result would be a disaster for the coalition forces but would probably be the best thing to happen to Iraq.

  16. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I think that the wafare in Iraq will end when the sides are exhausted and this will probably be followed by a renewal of diplomatic efforts to resolve a wide variety of regional problems that all are reflected in Iraq. pl

  17. lina says:

    TIME, June 22, 1970:
    “SHOWMANSHIP and semantics seemed to overtake substance as the lingering argument between President Nixon and a clear majority of U.S. Senators over his decision to send troops into Cambodia went into its fourth week. While Senate sentiment still ran against Nixon, time was on his side as U.S. troops prepared to pull out by the June 30 deadline.
    The Administration sent a carefully selected group of hawkish Senators, Congressmen and Governors off on a quickie tour of battlefields and briefings in South Viet Nam and Cambodia. The 13-man mission used seven helicopters to drop in on a muddy mountaintop fire-support base six miles inside Cambodia. They had been preceded by three barbers, who clipped the shaggy locks of G.I.s outfitted in fresh fatigues for the impending visit. Artillery pieces were moved to drier ground, a pathway and railing were constructed to facilitate inspection of an enemy arms cache and enclosures were erected around open-air latrines to provide VIP privacy. The visitors were treated to a spectacular aerial bombardment of a nearby hillside, although no one claimed that there were enemy troops on it. A colonel called the attack ‘reconnaissance by fire.’
    Glowing Words. After four days in Indochina, the group headed home —with a rest stop in Honolulu—while Presidential Counsellor Bryce Harlow wrote a glowing report of the success of the Cambodia invasion. His words were toned down before the team presented the report personally to the President. It called the Cambodia operation a certain short-term military success that helped ensure that U.S. troops would be withdrawn from South Viet Nam on schedule, or possibly even faster. The only dissenter was New Hampshire Senator Thomas J. Mclntyre, a Democrat, who said that the action had “widened the war” and might prolong rather than curtail U.S. involvement.”

  18. Richard Whitman says:

    Col Lang, I agree with you that the warfare in Iraq will end when the sides are exhausted, but I think we have started a historical process that will last for years. As examples look at conflicts in Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Sri Lanka and Columbia. My grandchildren who are college age may see the end of the conflict in Iraq during their lifetimes. It probably will not happen in ours.

  19. Matthew says:

    I remember reading a comparison of the USA and Canada where the author stated that America’s struggle for freedom, i.e., we won our independence, had a profound effect on our national character. That experience was never shared by Canada who took much longer to come out, if they even have completely, from the British shadow. Why would we possibly think that any government in Iraq that cooperates with us is going to be healthy? The real leaders of Iraq will be those fighting foreign domination. Our last colony, the Phillipines, has always been an underperformer.
    Just a thought.

  20. arbogast says:

    Lieberman should watch more NFL.
    How many times do Super Bowl winners repeat? It happens, but look at Pittsburgh or New England.
    Okay, the United States has been winning the Super Bowl around the world since WWII (sort of). In particular, it has been backing dictators in the Middle East for a very long time. And the United States has also identified itself about as closely as it possibly could with Israel who has been winning their own version of the Super Bowl for decades.
    But other NFL teams want nothing more than to knock off the Super Bowl winner. A game with a Super Bowl champion is the greatest possible inspiration to any team in the NFL.
    Which brings us to Hezbollah. Hezbollah won. They beat the Super Bowl champion.
    Any “solution” at all to the problems in Iraq that posits a single American soldier in Iraq will fail. Case closed. The temptation will be much, much too great to kill that soldier on the part of anyone who has a gun. Hezbollah has shown the way.
    Adding more troops to Iraq? I sincerely pray that they will be safe. Currently, it is not convincing that they are. They seem more like sitting ducks.
    I reiterate and guarantee. Ultimately, just as they are in Lebanon, United Nations troops will be in Iraq. Yes, after a “Peace Conference”. But they will be there. The question is, “How many Americans have to die before that happens?”

  21. Larry Kart says:

    While I agree with all that you have to say here, the term “pathetic fallacy” does not mean something that’s “pathetically — as in ‘hopelessly’ or ‘ludicrously’ — in error.” Rather it means “the attribution of human emotions or characteristics to inanimate objects or to nature; for example, angry clouds; a cruel wind.

  22. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I guess I was a freshman English major when someone explained that in class.
    I had in mind to express the thought that this is yet another kind of pathetic fallacy. pl

  23. VietnamVet says:

    Combine the report that the Saudi Ambassador’s resignation is due to acquiescence to VP Cheney’s Iran bombing campaign and the surge of troops into Baghdad to take on the Mahdi militia; it is a God Damn 1970’s Deja Vu; Cambodia, Forced Evacuation and Never Ending Gas Lines, all over again.

  24. Frank Durkee says:

    Perhaps this is “the insanity fallacy”. Increasing the risk in the hope of a better outcome.
    What makes no sense to me is the business of no continuing presence on the ground in the troubled areas of Iraq, so that there can be a build up of knowledge and interaction with the local population. From a troop perspective one can appreciate the rapid rotation, but from a counterinsurgency perspective it does not seem effecient.

  25. Jon Stopa says:

    Why can’t we join Iran to solve a commmon problem: Afghanistan. That must be starting to worry them. Hey, the West joined with the USSR to crush the Nazi.

  26. walrus says:

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the only real decision that the Bush Administration has any say in is WHEN we leave.
    Even then, I suspect that we may be overtaken by events and be forced out either militarily, possibly with the loss of tens of thousands of American lives, or economically.
    Some of you may be aware that the dollar is getting weaker and that central banks around the world are quietly reducing their dollar exposure and “edging towards the door” so to speak. If Interest rates continue to rise the housing bubble is going to burst dramatically and trigger a recession. If this occurs, we may literally not be able to afford to stay in Iraq.
    Then there is the matter of Iran, and its bombing, something I believe is going to happen, which would effectively seal the doom or end of America as a major world power, given our dependence on oil.
    I’ve watched a little of Bush’s performance recently and it is scary. I’m concerned that we are governed by a mad man, whose ideas are informed by religion and a self interested group of corporate plutocrats, and the dutiful servants of the Likudnik government of Israel.
    Thirty years ago I coined my own law of government:
    “Governments achieve the exact reverse of their stated intentions”
    Bush is going to be remembered as the President who ruined the United States: Militarily, Economically, Constitutionally and Socially, to the point where I believe civil strife and the balkanisation and break up of the United States are a distant but distinct possibility.
    It will take about one hundred years to repair the damage he has done to America’s reputation, Constitution, Economy and Society – if America survives at all, and that may be in the hands of foriegn powers.
    Sorry to be so gloomy, but I see nothing good at all coming from this man and his madness.

  27. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not recall any historical figure that started a war and then ended it voluntarily when it did not go as planned.
    Others might be able to name some such person.
    My point: Highly unlikely that US would leave Iraq between now and 2008.

  28. joe osorio says:

    Soomvung Hong,
    I belive segments of the Mahdi Army operate on their own, you are right some of them likely do attack innocent Sunis. Nevertheless, his militia has fought the US and al-Sadr has repeatedly reached out to the Suni resistance as well as calling for an end to sectarian strife. His group is totally unlike the Badr group or SCIRI.

  29. Mark says:

    For those of you who are saying that al Sadr is “our best hope” I am just curious what your goals for Iraq are?
    An anti-American Iraq?
    An Iraq that is representative of only a small portion of it’s population? (al Sadr’s political bloc did not get widespread support)
    A pro-Iranian bloc?
    Just curious? and what makes you think he has the best interests of Iraq in mind and not just the best interests of his own militia?

  30. joe osorio says:

    Hi Mark,
    Good questions. I shouldn’t have wrote “our best hope”, I meant “Iraq’s best hope”. Sorry. I would assume there will be an anti-American leadership in Iraq, after all the US has done no legitimate government made up of collaborators with an enemy occupation would have any hope of survival. I don’t recall how much support al-Sadr gave to the elections so can’t comment on that. Unlike Hakim al-Sadr is an Iraqi nationalist, not beholden to Iran. Does he have the best interests of Iraq in mind rather than his militi-I feel his reaching out to Sunnis while attempting (not successfully enough-not enough control over his militia?) separates him from other Shia leaders and shows his interests are national rather than strictly Shia. Of course this is all my opinion, I am no expert.

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