Right about Iraq? Ha! It was right to go in, maybe implemented poorly, they needed more troops. The left is just shirking its responsibilities.Well, I'm not sure what my responsibilities are as part of the left, but if Steve wants to hector me further, I'll listen. As for the substance of his argument - no, more troops would not have made things better. Why? Because the US did not have enough troops in active duty, national guards, and reserve to adequately occupy Iraq. This was summed up nicely in Matthew Yglesias' article, "The Incompetence Dodge."
“Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki was ridiculed for suggesting that it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq,” wrote Senator Joe Biden in a June 2004 New Republic article. “He looks prescient today.”This turns out to mean an occupying force - including soldiers and civilian police - of about 500,000. (Yglesias is obviously a partisan source, but the RAND study he cites can hardly be called pro-Dem.) Meanwhile, the CBO estimates that the US can only maintain a long-term occupation of Iraq of approximately 100,000 soldiers - at the very most.
Shinseki’s ballpark numbers were based on past Army experience with postconflict reconstruction. A RAND Corporation effort to quantify more precisely that experience, frequently cited by dodgers, concluded that a ratio of 20 foreigners for every 1,000 natives would have been necessary to stabilize Iraq.
In order for the US to keep 500,000 men and women in theatre, they would need an active service roster of some 1.5 million soldiers (to maintain regular service rotations, not the failing back door draft we've got now), not including the 200,000 or so the US needs to maintain its positions across the rest of the world. So we're talking about almost doubling the existing US Armed forces, with most of that going to the Army.
Assuming this is even possible for the Pentagon to finance (how does a $1 trillion defense budget sound?) it would be impossible to find the men unless the White House and Congress brought back the draft. Which simply wouldn't happen.
And all of this speculation is useless when you consider that many authors have now shown that Rumsfeld repeatedly refused demands for more troops for ideological reasons. Even if Rumsfeld had the unlimited hordes of the Roman legion, he didn't want to use them because he wanted to show that the US could win a war on the cheap, as a demonstration that Iraq was just the first of many wars the US would fight.
So in short: The Iraq war wasn't going to be won with more troops, because they weren't there to be used. Even if they had been, Rumsfeld and Bush wouldn't have used them. So the only way to win the war would have been if Rumsfeld and Bush weren't in charge, in which case we wouldn't have gone to fucking war in the first place.
The second comment wasn't about Iraq, but climate change. PhilTaj writes:
heh...right about climate change? As I understand it, human induced climate change has yet to be proven.There are two possible responses to this willful refusal to see facts. One is to cite groups like the NAS, the IPCC, the journals Science and Nature and show that the consensus is that the climate change we are seeing today, and have been seeing since roughly 1950 or so, has been primarily driven by human greenhouse-gas emissions. This is not the same thing as saying that all climate change is driven by humans, but it does mean that we are now the primary cause.
But I'm not sure this is enough for the most stubborn of denialists. I fear that for some - for too many - climate change will never be "proven" unless we actually watch individual carbon atoms actually turn up the planets thermostat. It's a nice racket, because this will never happen, so people who refuse to believe in climate change will forever be able to insulate their mindsets, even as they refuse to insulate their homes.