My Kingdom For Plan

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Marshmallow, our liberal denizen in chief, has earned our respect for his knowledge, research skills and feistiness. But I wonder openly and marvel at his claim that asking for an alternative to the President's plan is a 'cheap tactic.' Marshamallow is not engaging in simple name calling, for he reasons that "The gov. has billions of dollars and legions of intelligent folks who they can put to work problem-solving these issues" which is true, on its face. Further more, there are think tanks from both ends of the political spectrum that ponder all that goes on in Iraq and they too attack the problem.

Marshmallow then uses the great sport of baseball to make an analogy, and basically says that one does not need to pitch better than Bonderman to criticize Bonderman's pitching performance in a particular game. This statement is also true on its face. Marshmallow by using baseball to make a point has proven that he is a great American. However, I am not asking Gnossis to pitch. What I am asking him is, "What in particular can Bonderman do to improve his pitching?"

Now, back to Marshmallow's first argument, and why I think he is mistaken. His argument is that he claims the average citizen is not the entity from which a plan should be forthcoming. This is true. However, we as denizens of the web, are able to scour the websites of both major political parties, news outlets, think tanks, and university sites. We should to be able to find the 'loyal' opposition's counter proposal to how Iraq ought to be handled.

In other words a plan by the Democrats, if it exists, can be found. At the very least a detailed synopsis of a DNC proposal can be attained. I am more than happy to argue about this alternative solution to Iraq with all comers. It may very well be superior to our current course of action; it also is not incumbent upon me to find it. Recall in 2004 Kerry claimed definitively to have a plan.

If the Left wants to criticize the American policy in Iraq, then part of that critique must include how they would do it better. If a serious choice is to be given the American public, then it must be based on something more than "We ain't them.", or, "This is bad." Attacking the motives and character of the administration is also not a criticism of the policy. Furthermore a statement that it is the ‘wrong war’ while critical does not address the specifics of how the policy process could be improved or changed.

The Democratic strategery in the 2003 time frame was to claim that the Bush administration did not have a plan to win the war in Iraq. A plan was provided. In broad strokes, it involved training an Iraqi Army, standing up an Iraqi government, and, American help to rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq. Today 300,000 Iraqi troops, who are under their own command, are fighting alongside our men against the Iranian financed guerrillas. Iraq has had three elections, ratified a constitution and stood up a government. In this government the factions are bickering, jockeying for power, and behaving badly. Please note this description can be applied to our government as well. All is not well Iraq, the war goes on; there are many factors in play. Still, this is not surprising to me for no guerrilla war has ever been won in 4 years.

Considering that the guerrilla war in Iraq has been going on for 4 years now; what is the left's (Democrat's) plan for 'saving us' from the evil cabal of Bush, Cheney and Co.? Come now. If it is such a total disaster (as claimed by Marshmallow), then the vaunted intellectuals of the left-o-sphere should have been fully engaged these four years in coming up with a way out of this sordid doom. Surely a plan has been written by now? The left is allegedly the intelligent wing of the political spectrum. They are 'progressive'. They are educated. They are open-minded. Surely someplace in the DNC's webpage there is a cogent, analytical approach for dealing with Iraq in a manner that stands head and shoulders above the miserable mess we are in, compliments of the RNC.

Since the claim is that Democrats (liberals) are smarter than Republicans (conservatives) who are right-wing, ignorant, addle brained, religious crackpots, who reject science in favor of superstitious religious mummery and reason. (Not my words, but a montage of Zim and zimesque like comments that I have seen, and been subjected to.) Then I am sure that a quick email or Google search to/of any political science professor at any Ivy-League school will quickly lead to a link with an alternative, compliments of the party of the intellectually superior. Let us see if this alternative will make more sense than fighting it out with the terrorists and not just leaving the Iraqis behind to their fates a la Vietnam.

So no Marshmallow, I do not expect you, or Gnossis, to have a plan of your own. But something, other than rock throwing and declarations that Iraq is a disaster is in order. The current empty claim “Trust us, we can do it better!!” is actually a disservice to the public being perpetrated by the ‘loyal’ opposition. We as a nation can expect, no, we should demand, that the other side of this American Body Politic have some tangible ideas and more to offer than the execrable 'Bush Lied People Died' rant.


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You saying Stay Puft is your cousin...?

Jack said:

What happened to the Kerry-Edwards Plan, that they touted so much before the 2004 election? Kerry's still a Senator; if he's such a patriot, why hasn't he told the nation his plan?

His plan was get in office then find a plan. Most of the country saw through that.

It is incumbent on Bush & Co. to prove their plan will work; if the country is not assured of this by 2008 it might be seen as preferable to vote for No Plan over a Failed Plan.

It appears the jury will still be out on the latter by this November.

PS I still can't figure out this title, J.A., after another re-reading. It has sort of a Tarzan quality to it, I must say.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

well, I hate to go all academic, but it seems like there's a problem with the logic of your critique. See, you've got all these people in the gov. and their think tanks sitting around trying to come up with plans. Asking someone to offer up a better plan than all those folks is effectively asking that someone to beat them at their own game; to out-think the thinkers, or to, "out-pitch Bonderman," as it were.

Of course this you don't expect anyone to offer up a serious plan, so it's always a safe retreat for anyone to say, "I'd like to see you come up with a better plan" I'm not delusional enough to think that I can fix Iraq from the comfort of this arm chair, and attempting to do so would be walking into a trap because I'd be forced to rely on oversimplifications which you could easily point to as weaknesses in my plan.

Any serious plan requires active involvement from as many of the involved parties as possible. The situation is so complex that a plan to foster stability in Iraq would require teams of researchers, finding out exactly who is doing what, both in the US Army and among the key Iraqi players, networking with these people, meeting with them, developing an understanding of the political sentiments of different groups, knowing where the members of each mosque stand on the issues, etc.

I don't have time for all that, personally. Someone might say, "That sounds a lot like what the Army is doing right now." but the fact is that, considering how long it's been since the fall of Saddam, they have not made much progress.

Now there's this idea among people who support this war that history will vindicate their point of view. In 50 years, when Iraq is a functioning democracy, people will look back and thank the US for the sacrifices it made in helping Iraq get there. But in the mean time, Iraqis are worse off not than under Saddam. and in 50 years Iraq could have become a functioning democracy even without an American invasion. We could have waited for Saddam to kick the bucket and then aggressively supported pro-democracy reform movements just like we're gearing up to do in Cuba as soon as Castro's out of the picture.

I actively protested this war before we invaded "Don't do it" was my plan, of course no one listened to little o' me, and here we are today. So does anyone have a plan for Iraq? Every time Bush gives a speech it's "we're not going to abandon Iraq" and "we are determined to achieve victory" it's a lot of meaningless rhetoric, not a plan. Do you have a plan, Mr. Ash? Does the Heritage Foundation? Does the Iraqi Governing Council? Does Muqtada al-Sadr? It seems more and more like Iraq is going all Humpty Dumpty and no one has any idea what to do about it.

Jack said:


You misread the post. Jacob is not asking you to develop a plan, but to just FIND ONE that the "loyal opposition" had developed.

Certainly, if they expect us to vote for them, as Kerry did, because they "have a plan," it is reasonable for us to say, "OK, show us the plan." If we think the plan is better than what Bush is doing, we might vote for them.

But to this date, two years after Kerry was saying he had a plan, he has offered none. So why should we believe there is one.

You see, it's a case of "fool me twice, shame on me." Nixon pulled the same trick. He had a "secret plan" to get us out of Viet Nam. We elected him, and his plan was "run away." Millions were slaughtered after our retreat. We will not be fooled by that again, and leave the Iraqis to be slaughtered.

As for your opposition to the Iraq invasion, apparently then, you were no brighter then, either. Iraq had used chemical weapons on Iran and the Kurds, and all intelligence, including that of the U.N., said he had more. He had expelled the U.N. weapons inspectors. Great Britain had determined that he was trying to get components for nuclear weapons. (And he would have had them eariler if Israel had not bombed the power plant.) He had technology capable of deliving a nuclear warhead to the U.S., and he had threatened us. Sounds to me like those make a damn good case to take him out.

As for "no plan for peace," there was such a plan. The problem with the plan was that it did not consider the importation of outside agitators and terrorists, and it did not anticipate the level of sectarian violence that we have seen. No plan is perfect. Still, the plan seems to be working, although those factors are slowing it. They have had elections, created a constitution, and are rebuilding their infrastructure, which had seriously deteriorated during Hussein's last few years.

So, go to your Democratic websites and think-tanks, find a plan that might work better, and post it here. Then we will discuss it.

When a pitcher is doing poorly, the coach doesn't pull him unless he has someone in the bullpen who can do better.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

I've posted links to such plans here before, Jack. Why do I always get the impression that whenever someone discusses something with you they have to start from scratch?

zimzo said:

"Kerry's still a Senator; if he's such a patriot, why hasn't he told the nation his plan?"

Oh my, the Internets are just too hard for us conservatives to navigate.

Heck of a plan that is. Worthy of a post in itself if the election wasn't already over.

Jacob Ash said:

The link to the Kerry speech is greatly appreciated.

Considering the nature of this poorly titled post, I am duty bound to use it in a new post.

Jack nailed it, Zim did it, and you missed it. I was asking for a web search, nothing more. If you can find something more up to date, I will read that, and write a post based on that.


Jacob Ash said:

I have fixed the title of the post. The reasons for this include vanity, clarity and a burning desire not to be contrued as Marshmallow's kin.

I do not think Marshmallow would recover from the shock of it all.


Jacob Ash said:

If my post is Tarzanesque, then you wind up as either Jane or Cheeta? Please, in the name of ALL that is right, do not answer that.


Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

how about the link to Joe Biden's plan in this post I wrote for Jack et al. only a week ago:

anyone can go to any democratic congressman's website to see their stance on Iraq just as easily as I can. The trouble is that, as I've said, a serious plan for Iraq is a rather complicated thing to construct. The president and his pals are at the helm of the best apparatus the country has to construct such a plan. A senator with a team of interns can't possibly be as effective in finding a solution for Iraq as the Pres. with his cabinet and white house staff that's working closely with the pentagon, the Army, and the various intelligence agencies, etc.

Bush and friends are the only ones with the tools to do this at their disposal. Until another person is given the reigns to those tools, we shouldn't expect to see a thoroughly thought-out plan coming from anywhere in the US government. So like Joe said, we'll have to wait until 2008, but in the meantime it doesn't make sense to insist on seeing a "better plan."

The best we can hope for is a "rough draft" a la Joe Biden or John Kerry. And (as I've said) it'll always be easy to shoot holes through a rough draft plan which, by definition, is incomplete and depends on oversimplifications of the real situation.

Jack said:

Let me try to summarize Kerry's "plan":

(1) redeploy from Iraq, (2) re-commit to Afghanistan,
(3) reduce our dependence on foreign oil,
(4) reinforce our homeland defense, and
(5) restore America’s moral leadership in the world.

Now, my responses:

(1) Leave Iraq to sink or swim, just like Viet Nam. Great.

(2) I'm all for more troops in Afghanistan. Take them out of Germany.

(3) Didn't he vote against ANWR drilling?

(4) How about some border security? Why must it be tied to immigration reform, when we cannot monitor the Student Visa holders? Furthermore, he said, "Today, our ability to intercept terrorist communications remains in a legal and constitutional limbo." Yet the Democrats are the ones trying to stop our intercepting those communications.

(5) One does not improve one's moral standing by abandoning one's allies before they are ready. We are still in Germany. At what point was Germany ready to defend itself against the Warsaw Pact? Why did we not give them a deadline? Why are we still defending Japan and Taiwan? Should we not give them a deadline to protect themselves from China?

One last point. Kerry said that today, "we... commemorate our largest loss of civilian life on a single day in American history." But every single weekday, more children are killed in their mothers' wombs than were killed on September 11th, 2001. That, too, is part of the policy of a "devout Catholic" who want to restore our "moral leadership."

Here's the best response I have to this:

This is like a criminal coming into your house, smashing all of your china, then demanding that you tell him how to fix it.

You folks SCREWED the middle east for a generation.

We're running for office in Congress (see: oversight, war authority, funding), not Secretary of Defense, Commander in Chief, or Pentagon war planner.

Jacob Ash said:

Thank you for the link.

While I see it as very reasonable to say John Q. Citizen does not have the resources to come up with a comprehensive plan to fight Jihadist Islam, it is less so to say as much about a US congressman or a senator.

Frankly, the ranking Democrat on the Senate's Intelligence Committee is briefed by the intelligence services, and better damn well be an expert on such a matter. If he is not, then YOU as a member of that party should be asking why this is so.

“Bush and friends are the only ones with the tools to do this at their disposal.”
You cannot really believe this; I am thunderstruck by this statement.

Furthermore I think you overreach when you say as much about the entire DNC. The party has millions, in dollars and bodies. The party has a duty to piece together planks for its platform. Considering the dissatisfaction that the left has with the conduct of the war one would imagine they would be invested in something better.

Dang you Marshmallow, that is the mother of all copouts! Make a Democrat President, and then we will see what really can be done. A brilliantly formulated argument you scoundrel! Are you saying a Democrat in the office of the president would formulate a plan so perfect us right wingers would not be able to find any holes?

As for “The best we can hope for is a "rough draft" a la Joe Biden or John Kerry. And (as I've said) it'll always be easy to shoot holes through a rough draft plan which, by definition, is incomplete and depends on oversimplifications of the real situation.”
If Biden’s thoughts are all we have to argue over then so be it. I will shoot holes in them. And you (and others) will strive to plug the holes, because you all be able to help yourselves.


Jack said:


It is just as easy to punch holes in a plan currently implemented. So rather than punch holes in plans back and forth, why don't you explain why voting in a Democratic congress would improve matters? Would an opposition congress not simply oppose whatever Bush is trying, so that they can make him a failure, and get a Democratic president elected? Where is the Democrats vested interest in our winning in Iraq if doing so makes Bush and the Republicans look good?

Jacob Ash said:


You DONT sound VERY centrist.

As for the oversight, war funding, etc. That is exactly what is on the line. So you got that much right.

If the Democrats win with the slogan "we ain't them" then we will, as usual, get the government we deserve.


JA -

So........a Centrist would say, "Gosh, you're right on all of your points! You're so smart!"

Jacob Ash said:

First you take actions done in war and cast them as a criminal act. Nice try, but a criminal act by its nature is malicious. One would imagine that administration has done its best to protect the people of this country; hardly malicious in intent.

Then comes the smashing of the china; so, Iraq was just an act of vandalism? Interesting world you live in, try reality, it might be scarier, but it is certainly better for you.

Now we get to the fix it part. Since this is the election season, is not a contest of ideas better than labeling your opponents criminals, vandals, etc, etc?

And lastly regarding the first sentence in your comment “Here's the best response I have to this:” If this is the best you can do … well .. oh well.


Jacob Ash said:

You sound more like one of the fever swamp dwellers form the dailykos.

As for agreeing with me, no I am not a centrist. I am conservative. So a true centrist would have to agree with me half the time more or less.

However, I always feel free to comment on false advertising.


Jacob Ash said:

You sound like Zimzo's evil twin brother.

I look forward to answering your questions, and watching you make inanely snarky comments as you have done above.

Welcome to NOVA Townhall.


Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

zimzo's evil twin!? right now you and Jack are sounding a lot like the SAME person, whose name could only be Jack Ash!

hahaha hehehe hahaha oh man that's good stuff!

but I'm not a member of the democratic party, I'm not campaigning for the upcoming election, and I'm not saying a democrat WOULD do better in office.

All I'm saying is that the Pres. has the power, the access, the intelligence, the bureaucracy, etc. By "tools" I mean the whole decision making apparatus, made up of the white house, the pentagon, the CIA, the Armed forces, etc.

The US has limited control over the sentiments of Iraqi citizens to begin with. We need to be imaginative, creative, wise, prudent, and well timed if we want to "fix" the situation in Iraq. It's not a matter of "We need more troops here, more money here." It isn't about military tactics and establishing superiority in the air, on the land, and at sea, or whatever disagreements over how best to prosecute a war used to be over. the situation seems so complex and the path to success will be so much more intricate, dealing with PR, public opinion, "hearts and minds."

under the circumstances, planning a wise solution demands a lot of processing power, if you will, and the White House has access to more RAM than a senator does. I'm just saying that the only people with all the resources to fully understand what's going on are those at the very top.

That doesn't mean that a democrat would do a better job, it just means that it doesn't make sense to demand a complete plan for this complex situation from people who aren't in the very top echelons of the government/military/intelligence bureaucracy, Jack Ash!


(oh man that's good stuff!)

Puft-Daddy, if your punctuation matched the strength of your arguments I'd boot you to the front page every time. You are right in this debate. The 6th grade English teacher in me simply recoils at times, though.

What the hey, I'm going to clean up your mess and give you the floor...

Jack said:

First, Jacob was Joe, now I'm Jacob. Sure, Puffy. Whatever.

OK, so you admit that the Democrats cannot develop a plan, because they do not have the capacity to do so. So upon what basis should we believe that a Democratic administration would come up with a better plan? For instance, what was Clinton's plan after the first attack on the WTC, and after the USS Cole was attacked? We saw how well that worked. Shall we tear down our military like Carter did?

Jacob Ash said:

I find myself by and large in agreement with your case here. However, I think we managed to talk past one another along the way here to Oz.

I am not looking for an operations plan (which frankly would be classified), but a mid level set of aims or goals with a roadmap of how to attain said goals. Recall the ‘broad strokes’ outline I provided in the original post? The DNC or a ranking Senator is more than capable of doing as much. Would you agree with that?

It is such that can and should be the basis of a set of policy comparisons, between those in and out of the Oval office. Would you agree that such a policy speech could be used for such?

As for calling you a Democrat, when you are not one, I see this as a grave insult and I apologize. Can you ever forgive me?

Finally, with regard to your mangling of my name a la third grade level humor, I am so glad to see you can amuse yourself at my expense. It is the least I can do, considering that I called you a Democrat in the first place.

As for sounding like Jack, I will meet you at dawn. Pistols or swords sir?

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