Barry and the Pirates

There’ve been a number of blog posts over the last couple days accusing President Obama of fecklessness, cowardice, and being out-toughed by the French with regard to his handling of the Somali pirate situation.

Fairness compels me to point out that the current spate of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and East Africa began roughly two years ago and Obama took office roughly  ten weeks ago.  As Jim Easaw’s recent roundup notes, New Atlanticist has been featuring analyses of Somali pirates since last September, with a dozen or so pieces written before Obama was inaugurated.

To be sure, the capture of the Maersk Alabama Americanizes the problem for the first time.  But, as Dave Schuler and I discussed in Wednesday’s episode of OTB Radio (“Piracy, Defense Budgets, and Europe“) the options for dealing with the situation are exceedingly limited.  Most experts agree that this is not a situation that can be resolved through naval power; the ocean’s just too damned big and sustaining a huge navy presence is incredibly expensive.  There aren’t a lot of good options here.

UPDATE: FP’s Anne Lowry says, “we should stop calling them pirates and start calling them something like maritime terrorists, to end any remaining romanticization.”  While doing that would be confusing at this point, I’ll note that, on above-linked program, I pointed out that these pirates are essentially terrorists, both in how they conduct themselves and in the incredible difficulty that presents operationally in dealing with them.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. wolfwalker says:

    I’ll note that, on above-linked program, I pointed out that these pirates are essentially terrorists,

    No, they aren’t. Calling them terrorists gives them a dignity and status they don’t deserve. Pirates fall even below terrorists on the scale of human depravity. The primary fieldmark of the terrorist is that it seeks to bring about political change by violent acts which create fear in the populace and their leaders. The pirates of Somalia, like virtually all pirates throughout known history, are no more than armed robbers who operate at sea: they steal ships and cargos, and sell them for money. Their primary motive is simple greed, not politics.

  2. davod says:

    But, but, they are criminals.

  3. DL says:

    Maybe barry could take a lesson from history. Back in Andrew Jackson’s time (1832) some pirates off of Sumatra in the Straits of Malacca apparently took a US ship (ironically named the Friendship) Jackson sent over a navel officer – a Captain Downs – to look into the matter whereby Downs landed his ship the Potomac in the pirate’s suspected port of Kuala Batu and slaughtered over a hundred people (women and children too) All hell broke loose back home that Jackson was starting an unauthorized war until he reminded congress that this wasn’t against a country -just thugs.
    By the way, the piracy stopped in that area after that.

  4. Floyd says:

    If we can’t call them terrorists, how about “hijackers”?
    That’s less “romanticization.”

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    Technically, this most recent attack doesn’t qualify as a pirate attack. Pirate attacks take place in the vicinity of ports. This latest attack took place in the open sea. That means they’re legally classified as rovers.

  6. JKB says:

    To be fair, the pirate problem has been going on a while but now they have attacked a US flagged vessel crewed by the US Merchant Marine. It is the direct responsibility of the US government to protect US shipping and maritime commerce. That is why a navy is specifically authorized by the constitution.

    The necessity of naval protection to external or maritime commerce does not require a particular elucidation, no more than the conduciveness of that species of commerce to the prosperity of a navy. Federalist 11

    The need for a navy was so accepted that it require little defense by the Federalists as few challenges were raised.

    The palpable necessity of the power to provide and maintain a navy has protected that part of the Constitution against a spirit of censure, which has spared few other parts. Federalist 41

    When the attacks were against foreign flagged ships, they were an annoyance to the US materializing mostly in higher prices and a concern for general free navigation but now that they have attacked a US flagged vessel with the inherent guarantee of the flag state, it is Obama’s responsibility to protect US maritime interests. One long term effect of a failure to protect US shipping will be a further reduction in the few ships sailing under the US flag since US rules impose great cost and the implied benefit of US protection will have been disavowed.

  7. Bithead says:

    This is going to be the basis for a number of foreign policy failures, going forward. It labels, (and correctly, I think) the current administration is completely inept, unqualified and far too willing to bend over forward for any threat that comes along. Consider the kind of message being sent by our inability to deal quickly with a bunch of starving pirates with automatic weapons in a rowboat.

    Your points as regards the pirates having been around for awhile, are well taken, James. Trouble is, the level of activity from them as its spiked until the current administration took up digs at 1600 Pennsylvania. As often happens with new administrations, elements such as these decided to see what Mr. Obama was made of. The answer to that question should frighten every American.

    Our inability to deal with that situation logically raises the question of how we will deal with the much more difficult situation of, say, Iran shutting off the Strait of Hormuz.

    Of course, that pattern of capitulation to any threat has already been well established with our non response to the little gargoyle in north Korea. Our ineffectiveness in being able to raise additional troops from the European Union for our efforts in Afghanistan.

    If we are to take this string of foreign policy setbacks as any indication, (and yes, Somalia is after all under the heading of foreign policy ) the “sackcloth and ashes” tour Obama just made recently, would seem to be an ineffective tool in terms of getting the rest of the world to love us again. As if they ever did.

    That does not of itself suggest that the lesson has been learned. Rather more threateningly, it casts doubt as to whether not the lesson will ever be learned by the Democrats.

  8. I understand the concept behind calling them “maritime terrorists”, but I suspect their main motivation is criminal, not political. As such, pirate fits much better than terrorist. And when you do have real “maritime terrorists” (e.g. Achille Lauro), then you have muddied the water.

  9. Eric says:

    It labels, (and correctly, I think) the current administration is completely inept, unqualified and far too willing to bend over forward for any threat that comes along.

    Jesus, Bitsy. Obama’s been on the job only 10 weeks and you pronounce him a failure already because he hasn’t parted the Red Sea. But I suppose it’s much more satisfying for you to hold him to an impossible standard after having had the bar lowered for so long for your buddy GWB. In any event, as James pointed out above, this problem with the pirates started long before Obama got into office. So, Bit, I await your pronouncement of the Bush Admin’s ineptness and willingness to bend over “forward” [sic] for every threat in this matter too.

    On the other point, I don’t see any vagueness in the term “pirates” for these people. The word’s definition describes quite clearly what these people are and do, and is historically accurate. There is no need to label every criminal a “terrorist” to somehow contemporize their criminality with our current enemy du jour. Besides, we make these sorts of distinctions because they are different, as Wolfwalker points out above.

  10. Bithead says:

    Jesus, Bitsy. Obama’s been on the job only 10 weeks and you pronounce him a failure already because he hasn’t parted the Red Sea

    Isn’t that what he promised?

    But, no, I don’t really expect him to live up to is grandiose campaign claims. I simply expecting to be able to handle the basics of the job. He’s already demonstrated an inability to do even that.

    In any event, as James pointed out above, this problem with the pirates started long before Obama got into office

    Again, true enough. But as has already been pointed out several times by many news organizations it’s only recently that the activity is been ripped up. I submit to you that the reason that activity is revving up just now is because of the already established record of inaction and capitulation from this white house.

    There is no need to label every criminal a “terrorist” to somehow contemporize their criminality with our current enemy du jour.

    Oh, if it’s so simple problem, why hasn’t it been dealt with? Again the answer focuses on the Obama White House and its unwillingness to act in a leadership role. It is only because of that that we are faced with the specter of three guys in a rowboat with a couple a cave 40 sevens holding off essentially the whole of the united states navy.

    I asked the question again, since you danced around it; what kind of message does that send to the resident not cases in Iran and North Korea Russia Venezuela and so on?

    Since you seem reluctant, I’ll answer the question for you; This president cannot be labeled anything but an abject failure. That’s the message being sent. And they are acting accordingly.

  11. anjin-san says:

    The answer to that question should frighten every American.

    Well, at least those who are easily frightened. You for example…

  12. Bithead says:

    Voice module clearly needs recalbing again

  13. Eric says:

    Isn’t that what he promised?

    Um, no. He never promised to part the Red Sea. He promised change, not miracles.

    I simply expecting to be able to handle the basics of the job. He’s already demonstrated an inability to do even that.

    Really? Lessee… pirates attack first American ship Wednesday, Navy gets to area on, what, Thursday or Friday, and you’re upset that the problem isn’t solved by Saturday afternoon. I think your expectations are unrealistic.

    I submit to you that the reason that activity is revving up just now is because of the already established record of inaction and capitulation from this white house.

    Are you seriously suggesting that these pirates have been watching TV and said to themselves, “Oh, boy, that Obama sure is a pussy–hey, let’s go hijack some ships!!” Haven’t they been doing that already for a while, even on Bush’s watch?

    gain the answer focuses on the Obama White House and its unwillingness to act in a leadership role. It is only because of that that we are faced with the specter of three guys in a rowboat with a couple a cave 40 sevens holding off essentially the whole of the united states navy.

    Seriously, are you daft? Are suggesting the US Navy should just blast its way through, f**k the hostage?

    I asked the question again, since you danced around it; what kind of message does that send to the resident not cases in Iran and North Korea Russia Venezuela and so on?

    Apparently the same message GWB was sending when he allowed North Korea to nuclearize (<–OK, I know, it’s a made-up word) on his watch. Like I said above, this just happened this week, and you’re claiming exponential diplomatic repurcussions already? Please, Bitsy.

    This president cannot be labeled anything but an abject failure.

    Again, 10 weeks on the job and because the Red Sea hasn’t been parted, Lazarus hasn’t been raised from the dead, and thousands of people haven’t been fed from one basket and manna from heaven, you’re declaring Obama a failure. This is nothing more than a straw man argument, Bitsy.

  14. anjin-san says:

    Again the answer focuses on the Obama White House and its unwillingness to act in a leadership role.

    Hmmm. Two weeks ago, the right was shrieking that Obama was not leading on the economy. Funny how they pretty much refuse to engage on that subject at all now…

  15. anjin-san says:

    Seriously, are you daft? Are suggesting the US Navy should just blast its way through, f**k the hostage?

    The right would love that. Then they could shriek about how Obama killed a brave American Captain…

    Guys like bit are great at talking tough from the safety of home, when it is another persons’s ass is on the line.

  16. Bithead says:

    Hmmm. Two weeks ago, the right was shrieking that Obama was not leading on the economy. Funny how they pretty much refuse to engage on that subject at all now…

    No, that fact hasn’t changed. He still isn’t.

    Really? Lessee… pirates attack first American ship Wednesday, Navy gets to area on, what, Thursday or Friday, and you’re upset that the problem isn’t solved by Saturday afternoon. I think your expectations are unrealistic.

    We already had Navy presence in the area. That you don’t know that, suggests to me that perhaps some research on your part is due before discussing the subject further.

    Seriously, are you daft? Are suggesting the US Navy should just blast its way through, f**k the hostage?

    And here again, we see that you really don’t know what’s been going on down there. On at least two occasions that I’m aware of, the hostage slipped off the enclosed lifeboat, and out into open water. On both occasions, the navy did nothing, instead of taking the opportunity to blow the rowboat out of the water. One can only assume some kind of standing order is in play here. Gee, where would an order not to attack would have come from, do you suppose?

    Um, no. He never promised to part the Red Sea. He promised change, not miracles.

    It’s true that he started backpedaling mightily on the rhetoric once he got into office. But that’s about as far as the label of ‘truth’ goes with your statement, however.

  17. Bithead says:

    Are you seriously suggesting that these pirates have been watching TV and said to themselves, “Oh, boy, that Obama sure is a pussy–hey, let’s go hijack some ships!!” Haven’t they been doing that already for a while, even on Bush’s watch?

    As has been acknowledged by most people who have been watching the situation down there, that activity has been massively increasing in the last few months. What world event does that neatly tie in with, do you suppose?

    As to “watching TV” I will paraphrase someone who decided to get snarky with me with me last week, and suggest to you that there is that global communications thingie. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

  18. Eric says:

    e already had Navy presence in the area. That you don’t know that, suggests to me that perhaps some research on your part is due before discussing the subject further.

    No, I knew that. Perhaps you should research better: “presence in the area” does not mean “20 feet off the starboard bow.” They were probably very far away, i.e., hundreds of miles.

    And here again, we see that you really don’t know what’s been going on down there. On at least two occasions that I’m aware of, the hostage slipped off the enclosed lifeboat, and out into open water. On both occasions, the navy did nothing, instead of taking the opportunity to blow the rowboat out of the water. One can only assume some kind of standing order is in play here. Gee, where would an order not to attack would have come from, do you suppose?

    Um, I’ve never been in the military, but I seriously doubt you can or should assume the navy “did nothing” because of some alleged order tying their hands. They probably were limited by the circumstances. (James, could you please help out here since you have military experience?)

    It’s true that he started backpedaling mightily on the rhetoric once he got into office.

    Name me one elected politician that *hasn’t* backpedaled somewhat once elected? And besides, we were addressing your unrealistic caricature of what Obama promised. As I said, he promised change, not miracles.

  19. Eric says:

    As has been acknowledged by most people who have been watching the situation down there, that activity has been massively increasing in the last few months. What world event does that neatly tie in with, do you suppose?

    Oh, I see. It’s only a problem now that an American ship was attacked. Prior to that, it was all a misunderstanding, huh?

    As to “watching TV” I will paraphrase someone who decided to get snarky with me with me last week, and suggest to you that there is that global communications thingie. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

    Bitsy, get out of your parent’s basement and get some air and sunshine. “TV” was merely for the sake of illustration, not literal. Jeezuz.

  20. Bithead says:

    Name me one elected politician that *hasn’t* backpedaled somewhat once elected?

    Bush.

    Oh, I see. It’s only a problem now that an American ship was attacked. Prior to that, it was all a misunderstanding, huh?

    Not what I said. The pirate activity against all shipping, including of the American Flagged vessels, has gone up since Obama was inaugurated.

    Bitsy, get out of your parent’s basement and get some air and sunshine. “TV” was merely for the sake of illustration, not literal. Jeezuz.

    As was my response.

  21. anjin-san says:

    Name me one elected politician that *hasn’t* backpedaled somewhat once elected?

    Bush.

    A few quotes from Mr. Bush during the 2000 debate with Gore.

    If we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us. And it’s — our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power, and that’s why we have to be humble.

    if we’re a humble nation they’ll respect us.

    And so I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building.

    http://www.debates.org/pages/trans2000b.html

    I could keep this up all day.

    Really bit, I must ask you again. Are you actually an idiot, or do you just play on on a blog?

  22. anjin-san says:

    He still isn’t.

    Actually, recent numbers on confidence in the direction of the country in general and the economy show otherwise.

    I will just assume you are ignorant of this. Assuming ignorance on your part of anything outside the realm of Malkin/Hannity/Beck is a safe bet…

  23. glasnost says:

    I submit to you that the reason that activity is revving up just now is because of the already established record of inaction and capitulation from this white house.

    I submit to you that your “analysis” is emotionally driven, barely informed nonsense. You have no evidence whatsoever that anything is “ramping up”. Your opinion of that is derived from the fact that the US news media and conservative blogosphere has started writing more stories about it. Oh, and that this time there was a US crew involved, although that’s a statistical inevitability. One.

    Two. Even if such a thing as “ramping up” was in fact happening, you have hardly carefully considered and rejected (much less with evidence) other reasons for “ramping up” beyond Obama’s A Wimp And The Pirates Aren’t Scared Of Us Anymore.

    They’re naturally going to ramp up over time to the extent their capabilities permit them to, because they make money doing so. And they’ve hijacked ships of Fire-Breathing, Proud Standing Patriots Who Always Hit Stuff With Bombs just like they’ve hijacked the US. They’ve hijacked Russians, Chinese, and all kinds of ships from nasty dictators who tend to see everything like you do, as a test of strength. Furthermore, they weren’t scared of Mad Bomber Bush, either. And they shouldn’t have been; he’d already shot his bolt destroying their country.

    It’s all one variation after another on a corollary to the Green Lantern Theory of Politics, that every undesirable act of violence is based on an apparaisal of the U.S. President’s “toughness”, and that these appraisals are based on a careful review of U.S. policy in the recent past, rather than wild-*ss stereotypes, narcissistic self-confidence, street-level rumor, and plain old rationalization and prejuidice. There’s two parts there. The first one is usually wrong. And in the few times it’s right, the second part is almost always wrong.

    Non-state actors take violent action mostly based on there appraisal of the immediate tactical environment. Their grand theories of President Obama’s panache are not a major factor. Any even half-a*sed study of terrorism and low-level conflict makes immediately clear that whipping out your d*ck and breaking things with it does very little to stop the violence. See Putin, Chechnya; Sudan, various; Afghanistan, Soviet; Kashmir, India; Hussein vs. Kurdish Iraq, et cetera, et cetera, et f*cking cetera ad infinitum.

    Jesus Chr*st. We’re incapable of learning as a species.

  24. davod says:

    “Technically, this most recent attack doesn’t qualify as a pirate attack. Pirate attacks take place in the vicinity of ports. This latest attack took place in the open sea. That means they’re legally classified as rovers”

    Wrong!

    Piracy is a high seas crime. Anything within the a countries boundaries is considered robbery.

    You might want to read Piracy, Policy, and Law,by By Commander James Kraska, JAGC, U.S. Navy, and Captain Brian Wilson, JAGC, U.S. Navy in the December edition of http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/archive/story.asp?STORY_ID=1697 Proceedings.

    I recommend reading the complete article, but I have included extracts below my comments.

    The rub here is the current administration is reinventing a set of guidelines set up by the Bush Administration and codified by the UN and countries around the world.

    What!!! Bush negotiating with the UN and the countries of the world. It cannot be. The One said so.

    Bithead is right these rubes are making the world more dangerous not just for the US but everyone. As you will read, the French have every right in law to do what they are doing.

    “…Less than a year later, a dhow plying the ancient trade route between India and Africa was taken over in international waters by ten Somali pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles. Fortunately for the 16 Indians on board, there was a U.S. warship nearby. When the USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) encountered the besieged dhow, her immediate mission was clear: gain control of the vessel and detain the pirates.

    …Once the pirates were in custody, the way ahead became less clear as the destroyer’s commanding officer, and more broadly, the American government and the international community confronted the myriad diplomatic and legal challenges of piracy suppression in the 21st century. Who would investigate and prosecute the case? Where would the pirates be held, and by whom? What about the Indian crew members, all of them witnesses to the crime, and what would happen to their ship and cargo?

    The successful interdiction by the Churchill sparked a global effort to develop a modern playbook for confronting piracy. In the United States, the Bush administration began to develop a policy consistent with national maritime strategy, which culminated in a comprehensive piracy policy governing diplomatic and legal action and signed by President George W. Bush in 2007. This establishes a framework for warships that encounter or interrupt acts of maritime piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as for agencies charged with facilitating the prosecution of perpetrators and the repatriation of victims and witnesses. But because much of the ocean’s surface is beyond state jurisdiction, effective piracy repression demands international action and coordination…

    Decisive U.S. Action
    The wide-ranging policy signed by President Bush—the broadest presidential articulation of U.S. policy toward international piracy since the time of the Barbary pirates—was developed through the National Security Council by Navy judge advocates in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff. It establishes seven goals, each an important component for addressing piracy…

    …Dramatic Action
    Perhaps most significant, the UN Security Council took historic action against maritime piracy this past summer. Resolution 1816, which was decided under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and therefore legally binding on all states, called on them to cooperate in counterpiracy actions off the coast of Somalia. The resolution authorizes operations inside Somalia’s territorial waters to deny that area as a safe haven for pirates who operate outside the 12-mile limit. It also provides for disposition and logistics of persons-under-control detained as a result of counterpiracy operations.

    The resolution encourages states to increase and coordinate their efforts to deter acts of piracy in conjunction with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, a weak ruling authority inside the fractured state. It also calls on states, the IMO, and other international organizations to build a partnership to ensure regional coastal and maritime security, and is designed to bring together flag, port, and coastal states, and other states with jurisdiction under national and international law. They will cooperate in determining criminal jurisdiction for acts of piracy, in its investigation and prosecution, and in rendering disposition and logistics assistance to victims, witnesses, and persons detained…”

  25. anjin-san says:

    As you will read, the French have every right in law to do what they are doing

    Now the bushies are reduced to embracing France. The irony is certainly delicious…

    The One said so.

    Do you have any idea how stupid you sound saying something like that? Even a tiny clue?

  26. davod says:

    “Now the bushies are reduced to embracing France. The irony is certainly delicious…”

    Just like your fellow travelers, you rely on one liners to move the debate. Read the Proceedings article, or at the very least what I included for your education. The US has every legal right to do exactly what the French are doing.

    I would however make the point that in the initial segment of the article I quoted – The USS Winston S. Churchill did not wait for the FBI to negotiate the release of the Indians held hostage. The Churchill’s crew took back the ship. The problem was what to do with the pirates they caught.

  27. tom p says:

    Name me one elected politician that *hasn’t* backpedaled somewhat once elected?

    Bush.

    Keep it up Chuckles, keep it up. You are better than SNL, Keith Olberman, John Stewart, Bill O’Reilly, Rachel Maddow, Rush Limbaugh, Steven Colbert, and Glen Beck all rolled up into one.

    The only difference between you and the above, is that some of them know they are caricatures.

  28. Bithead says:

    I could keep this up all day.

    Not answering the question?
    Yeah, Doubtless.

  29. Bithead says:

    The only difference between you and the above, is that some of them know they are caricatures.

    I’m still waiting for an example of Bush backing down from what he said in the campaign. So far, nada.

  30. anjin-san says:

    I’m still waiting for an example of Bush backing down from what he said in the campaign. So far, nada.

    I guess its possible you are just to dumb to follow:

    And so I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building. – GW Bush

    Clearly, our troops were used by Bush for nation building in Iraq. thats one.

    The mission needs to be clear and the exit strategy obvious. – GW Bush.

    Clearly, this was not the case in Iraq. Bush had no exit strategy. Thats two. He did not just backpedal, he sprinted in the opposite direction..

  31. anjin-san says:

    The US has every legal right to do exactly what the French are doing.

    What if they do? That is not the point. I guess the irony of your embrace of French policy is not written in crayons, hence it is too subtle for you to grasp…

  32. davod says:

    It is not French policy – It is International and US policy. The US chooses not to uses its own laws in this instance.

  33. JKB says:

    Just bad luck for Obama that the pirates took an American flagged vessel under his watch. Given the few ships in the US merchant fleet, it probably was just the odds that kept it from happening sooner.

    But the Somalies did commit an act of piracy in international waters upon a US flagged vessel. The ones holding the captain hostage are still on a US flagged vessel (the lifeboat is a part of the ship). Unlike when foreign flagged ships were taken, the US has the right and the obligation to retake the vessel, free the captain, transport the pirates captured in international waters to the US for trial and upon conviction sentence them to life in prison as outlined in 18 USC 1651. Just an annoyance we don’t hang pirates anymore.

    This is a criminal matter with no diplomatic issues. Just as we don’t let robbers holding hostages go free, neither can we pay a ransom and let the pirates go free.

  34. davod says:

    “Unlike when foreign flagged ships were taken, the US has the right and the obligation to retake the vessel, free the captain, transport the pirates captured in international waters to the US for trial and upon conviction sentence them to life in prison as outlined in 18 USC 1651. Just an annoyance we don’t hang pirates anymore.”

    The US can assist any ship being attacked by pirates. See my 7;13 om post.

  35. anjin-san says:

    It is not French policy

    Dude, just come clean. Stop embarrassing yourself. Admit that you love, admire and respect France and get it over with…

  36. JKB says:

    The US can assist any ship being attacked by pirates. See my 7;13 om post.

    Yes, providing assistance to ships at sea in distress is a longstanding tradition and covered by many treaties. However, once the immediate threat is over, the assistance to a foreign flagged vessel is predicated on the permission and agreement of the flag state. If no, US citizens were involved either in person or through ownership, then the prosecution is a matter for the flag state.

    For a US flagged vessel attacked in international waters, the US government has a duty to protect American shipping and has the right and responsibility to prosecute the pirates under US law. As it stands now, these pirates would stand trial in the US with no standing for any other country or the UN to complain.

  37. Bithead says:

    I submit to you that your “analysis” is emotionally driven, barely informed nonsense.

    That’s an amusing response, given what we saw coming out of you for the last few years. I find it difficult however to take it more seriously than that.

    Clearly, this was not the case in Iraq. Bush had no exit strategy. Thats two. He did not just backpedal, he sprinted in the opposite direction..

    An interesting attempt. But tell us, Anjin, which if the Democrat Party objected to the plan as laid out, when we attacked the place? For the first month or two as I recall the whole of Congress, which was as close to 50% as no matter Democrat was singing in Unison. If it was so objectionable… Oh, it never mind, you’ve never been able to figure that one out.

    The point of course see is that while he may not like it, conditions forced it. He’s stating a preference, not an absolute. And the fact of the matter is that had he held that as an absolute, the democrats would and raising hell about his fecklessness as a commander in chief. You, at the head of the parade, torch and tar pot in hand.

    Clearly, this was not the case in Iraq. Bush had no exit strategy

    That exit strategy was pointed to many times.
    1: Win the damn war.

    Interestingly, the Democrat Party spent most of the Bush administration trying to prevent the recurrence. So it is, that we are now faced with a spectacle of Obama standing in front of the troops, cheering the events he tried so hard to prevent.

  38. anjin-san says:

    An interesting attempt. But tell us, Anjin, which if the Democrat Party objected to the plan as laid out, when we attacked the place?

    Irrelevant, though I will not deny many Democrats were craven weenies as they caved in to Bush on Iraq. The point though, despite you attempt as misdirection is that Bush abandoned his campaign position that troops should not be used for nation building. You can squirm all you want, the fact is that you claim about Bush not backpedaling is nonsense. He backpedaled.

    That exit strategy was pointed to many times.
    1: Win the damn war.

    A. Please show where Mr. Bush articulated that, in those words, as his exit strategy.

    B. What then, is victory? We deposed Saddam. Disbanded his military. Captured his capital, and the rest of his country. Dissolved his government. Is that not victory? Well, in this case, clearly not. Please show were Bush clearly articulated what constituted victory in Iraq and said that he would pull out when that was accomplished. Not vague platitudes, but clearly defined objectives that mean something to a soldier.

    I predict a patented bithead “I’m not playing this game” response.

    Oh, and bit? There is no such thing as the “Democrat Party”. Try pulling Rush’s cigar out of your ass. Of course if you continue to parrot him thus, the rest of us will just have to assume you enjoy having it lodged there…

  39. tom p says:

    I’m still waiting for an example of Bush backing down from what he said in the campaign. So far, nada.

    Ummm… North Korea?

    To get a true feeling for the absolute about face GWB took, go
    here.

    “In Bush’s view, to negotiate with an evil regime would be to recognize that regime, legitimize it, and–if the negotiations led to a treaty or a trade–prolong it. To Bush, North Korea’s dictator was the personification of evil. He told one reporter, on the record, that he “loathed” Kim Jong-il.”