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Thread: The President’s New Plan in Iraq

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    The President’s New Plan in Iraq

    So last night President Bush took responsibility for many of the problems in Iraq, said that he told the Iraq government that US support is not open ended, and that we would send 21,000 new troops for a surge.

    In return, more police stations will be built in neighborhoods that have high levels of insurgency so an Iraqi military presents will remain once the US moves on to clear the other neighborhoods, no neighborhood is “Off Limits” to the US or Iraqi troops, and anyone caught aiding any insurgency will be arrested. They just arrested a group of Iranian’s in the Northern Section of Iraq yesterday.

    What are your thoughts on this new direction? (Here is the Transcript)
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian gicarto's avatar
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    George Bush was not born with the gift of gab and I don't think that he made a case to the people last night. We still have no idea why we are there and what our mission is. This Iraq War is turning our government into a banana republic. You got the right wing saying stay the course and fight the terrorists and the left wing saying cut and run. Nobody has given a logical explaination for why we are there or why we shoulden't be there. Somewhere in the middle the truth lies.
    Trying to get my grubby hands on as much stimulus money as I can.:D

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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Its really more of the same. We decided to remove the leader of a country, but it appears that the reason they had a sucky leader is that there are such irreconcilable differences between factions that only someone that ruthless was able to keep somewhat of a lid on it.

    I personally wonder whether Iraq makes sense as a country at all - maybe its time to do what happened in Yugoslavia and split it up.

    The problem is, we broke it so now the world feels we own it. While I generally would support withdrawing every American troop right now, it is also somewhat irresponsible.

    What's very clear to me after last night:

    (1) Bush got us into a big mess, for whatever reason, and no one knows what to do now;
    (2) all that good will towards America after 9/11 is going to take a long time to earn back after this one;
    (3) we never got Osama, and we probably never will because we're too busy trying to fix what we did in Iraq.
    (4) Afganistan is also a big mess and we can't fix it because we're too busy trying to fix what we did in Iraq.

    There appears to be a reason why we don't attack countries whole-hog based on intelligence. If there really was info about WMD's why didn't the US just do what it does in other situations where we learn that kind of thing- bomb the facility without attacking the country?

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    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    I don't think Bush has any clue how/when he would know that the mission is complete. The more troops we have over there, the more the Iraqi forces will feel they can slack cause we've got their backs. There is a civil war over there, centuries old, and I don't see how he could logically believe that american forces could somehow put an end to it. And I don't know why we should even try. I can't stand when he mentions that the troops are protecting our freedem. How so? And I can't believe he brought up 9-11! Bush insults the intelligence of the American people every time he opens his mouth. Sen. Durbin's response was totally on the mark, and I couldn't agree with him more.

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    My first thoughts on the speech:

    As far as the policy goes: too little too late. This might have worked a year ago, but not now. If I was to define Bush's presidency of the last five years in one word, it would be "unresponsive".

    I believe this was the worst speech Bush has given as president. He did not make a case for why this would work, which based on his approval ratings, he owes to the American people. The burden of proof is on him to prove this method will work rather than on the critics--he has exhausted his foreign policy credibility with his all too frequent mis-steps & misinformation in Iraq & the Middle Eastern region. His past speeches had an almost disarming effect so that even if you disagreed with him, you occassionally found yourself nodding your head. This speech seemed more like a robotic Al Gore of the 2000 presidential race (not the current Al Gore), only without the facts. Also, just because Joe Lieberman supports it does not make it bipartisan! Sorry, you've used all of your 9/11 references.

    The Republican follow-ups certainly didn't inspire me either. Many of their comments were "sure, it might fail, but we gotta try it!". Some leading Republicans are refusing to support it, which speaks volumes considering how loyal that party has been in the past.

    Durbin had a really good response; I was quite impressed.

    I'm dying to know how you felt about it m'skis since you tend to lean further right than many of the rest of us on here. I know you've voiced some concerns in the past about the war and would like to here your thoughts on this shift.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian gicarto's avatar
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    I predict that Congress will not cut funding for the war so we are committed to it. How do we finish the job? Instead of talking about how we shouldn't be there in the first place, we should talk about how we get out of there without cutting and running.

    We are dealing with many cults here and they are not interested in diplomacy. What would you do if you were President?
    Trying to get my grubby hands on as much stimulus money as I can.:D

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    I think the biggest news from the speech is the official recognition of an actual civil war in Iraq. But I think sending more troops and keeping to the "clear, hold and build" strategy is wrong -- we're responding to events that happened a year ago.

    We keep trying to prop up an Iraqi government. There IS no Iraqi government, there are only Sunni insurgents and Shia militias/death squads. Neither wants a government (well, maybe the Shia because in a democratically elected government they have numbers on their side, and only then because the government can covertly support the militias). I think we're simply sending in referees in a dangerous game that neither side wants officiated.

    The end result of the "surge" will be that Sunni/Shia fighting will intensify, with American troops in the crossfire. The more closely we become identified with the Iraqi "government", the more closely we become aligned with the majority Shia, and that poses two problems. One, if we don't take decisive action to protect the Shia from Sunni insurgents, they question our ability and legitimacy there, and will start to more visibly align themselves with Iran. Two, we pi$$ off the 90% of the Islam world that is Sunni for supporting what they feel is a bad version of Islam, and risk getting Syria and even Saudi Arabia involved.

    I think Bush's troop surge is the opening salvo in the broader Sunni/Shia Sectarian War that will explode in 2007.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I seriously thought that I was watching Will Farrell last night, but it wasn't a parody. I liked his reasoning on why more troops would work this time, because, essentially, we will be meaner. Good one Mr. President. It took you three months to come up with that? I think last night's speech was an all time low for him. And ofr the administration to tell those who oppose the plan to come up with an alternate shows that they do not care what anyone outside their little circle thinks, alternative approaches have been thrown out for the last few years Mr. President. Wake up and start listening to others. There are brains outside of your inner sanctum.

    From a strategic standpoint, he has put the entire republican party in a very desperate position. If things don't change drastically in Iraq in the next 6 months, those that support the president now are doomed.

    The problem is that there is not any kind of military action that can result in Iraq being a relatively peaceful place. It is all political in the sense that the different factions in Iraq need to find the solution. I have no problem with us helping them rebuild what we destroyed, but they need to stand up and take control of their county. If they want to split it like Yugoslovia, then let them work that out. The problem is that the majority of the resources are in areas controlled by the sunnis and shias and the kurds have very little. That is why the kurds were essentially pushed where they are now, and also to provide a buffer between the Baath stronghold areas and the adjacent countries. This is why this was not a US issue but a UN issue.

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    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by gicarto View post
    we should talk about how we get out of there without cutting and running.
    The only way I can see this ever ending is with the US pulling out, and the "Fall of Baghdad", just like the Fall of Saigon. Otherwise, our children's children will probably end up fighting in this mess. When the president can't even define victory, we need to just cut our loses and get the heck out of there.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by gicarto View post
    I predict that Congress will not cut funding for the war so we are committed to it. How do we finish the job? Instead of talking about how we shouldn't be there in the first place, we should talk about how we get out of there without cutting and running.

    We are dealing with many cults here and they are not interested in diplomacy. What would you do if you were President?
    "President-ing is hard!"

  11. #11
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by gicarto View post
    What would you do if you were President?
    Thinking about what I would do makes me wonder about some of the untold stuff behind Bush’s speech.

    For example if I were President, I would sit down and admit there have been multiple mistakes made regarding the war in Iraq, and in retrospect, we should not have invaded in the manner or timing that we did.

    I would have closed door meeting with the Iraqi government and lay all the cards out on the table. We would supply an increased number of troops for a very short period (as in less than 60 days) after that we would start progressively bringing troops home.

    All Iraqi military is to wear a very specific uniform. If a person is caught holding with a gun, grenade launcher, or similar weapon, they will be shot on site. No questions asked. No public place is closed to any troops of any faith or nationality.

    After 30 days of the increased troops, US would stop taking the lead and act more in a support/ training role.

    I would send the President of Iran a warning that if we find any evidence that Iran is assisting the insurgency, we bomb his country back to the Stone Age.

    Oh and I would pull out of that joke known as the UN with my final statement of, go forth and find Bin Laden, because when he attacks you, you will see no assistance from the US.

    The time sensitive stuff will not be make public, because if everyone in America knows, the news agencies will broadcast it to the Insurgency which will just wait until we leave to take over the county.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  12. #12
    Iraq is creating a crisis for the entire political class. The very foundation of their beliefs is that democracy is the greatest gift in the history of mankind. What happens to them if democracy in fact doesn't work? They cannot allow this to happen, and that is why they will spend and consume whatever they can to keep the illusion going that Iraq will be a democracy.

    I certainly will never expect the Democrats to pull out of Iraq. They all said they wanted more troops, now they will get more troops.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    For example if I were President, I would sit down and admit there have been multiple mistakes made regarding the war in Iraq, and in retrospect, we should not have invaded in the manner or timing that we did.
    Doing so would be admittance that the entire presidency since 2002 was in error. The one issue that this administration has continued to push has been the war in Iraq. It would also be admitting that invading Iraq made us less safe and increased terrorism.

    I would have closed door meeting with the Iraqi government and lay all the cards out on the table. We would supply an increased number of troops for a very short period (as in less than 60 days) after that we would start progressively bringing troops home.
    I agree with some of this. This should have happened more than a year ago.

    All Iraqi military is to wear a very specific uniform. If a person is caught holding with a gun, grenade launcher, or similar weapon, they will be shot on site. No questions asked. No public place is closed to any troops of any faith or nationality.
    Pretty sure the Iraqi military wears a specific uniform. Don't most militiary personel from around the world wear a specific uniform? Presonally I don't have much problem with shooting an unknown person with a grenade launcher or other similar type of weapon. I don't have a problem with a large gun. But any gun is ridiculous. I am not a believer in guns, but if I lived in a situation like the one in Iraq, you can damn well better believe that I will carry a handgun for personal protection.

    After 30 days of the increased troops, US would stop taking the lead and act more in a support/ training role.
    Again, the ultimatum should have been given many months ago when a reasonable time frame could have been gien. Our military cannot train enough people in 30 days to secure a country, what makes us think that iraq can.

    I would send the President of Iran a warning that if we find any evidence that Iran is assisting the insurgency, we bomb his country back to the Stone Age.
    That right, get us involved in another unwinnable conflict. That is the spirit. You were doing all right until now. Hopefully we would have learned from Iraq, that blowing a country all to hell is not the way to bring peace and diminsh whatever sort of threat, trivial or not, there is to us.

    Oh and I would pull out of that joke known as the UN with my final statement of, go forth and find Bin Laden, because when he attacks you, you will see no assistance from the US.
    Because we have been so successful in fining Bin Laden. Terrorism is a world threat and needs to be dealt with on a global platform that includes as many countries as possible. If the majority of the world doesn't want to get involved, perhaps it is not a battle worth fighting. We are the ones who have weakened the UN. We didn't listen to the majority of the world and now we have to deal with the consequences of doing so. To put any sort of blame on the UN is a joke and an insult to the rest of the world.

    The time sensitive stuff will not be make public, because if everyone in America knows, the news agencies will broadcast it to the Insurgency which will just wait until we leave to take over the county.
    The insurgents will increase regardless if we have an announced withdrawal or not. The problem now is that we have put an ultimatum on them that will result in a very nasty civil war in Irag, regardless of if we announce a time line or not.

    The bottom line is that the invasion of Iraq should never of happened. We have screwed the country up beyond anything that we can fully repair. Military solutions will not work because the longer things go one and the longer the Iraq citizens have to continue without electricity, without potable water, without even hope of being secure, the quicker they will resent what we have done and the tide will turn against us even further. The only solution is, and this sucks to say, is to let this run it's course so that the Iraqi people can self determine their own fates. There is no relatively short term win win solution now. regardless of what course we take, we will end up letting things run their course and deal with the damage to our worldwide reputation, particularly in the middle east. This is why Bush II will go down as the worst president of all time. He has failed miserably in getting anything accomplished, the world is not a better place, and our country is not a better place. His administration cannot even provide for the safety or rebuilding of areas of our own country, much less a country the size and with the issues that Iraq has.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    So, Cololi what would you do if say you where appointed to this job tomorrow? Not asking what Bush did wrong in the past or what not, but what would you do if you had the job and this was the case.

    As for the UN, thus far they have taken just short of an avoidance policy regarding preventing or stopping Terrorism. I think that Afghanistan would have been far more successful if we had full UN backing, but a cheese eating smelly French UN representative did not want to get involved.

    I too have lost a lot of faith in Bush’s ability to find a solution for all of this. However he admitted errors on his part regarding the war, but I still agree that just pulling out is the worst idea possible.

    As for how history will view Bush, with some things I think your correct, in others it will be the opposite. They said the same thing about President Ford after he pardoned Nixion... History has shown that he did the right thing. We can’t predict the future, only reflect on the past.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Thinking about what I would do makes me wonder about some of the untold stuff behind Bush’s speech.

    For example if I were President, I would sit down and admit there have been multiple mistakes made regarding the war in Iraq, and in retrospect, we should not have invaded in the manner or timing that we did.

    I would have closed door meeting with the Iraqi government and lay all the cards out on the table. We would supply an increased number of troops for a very short period (as in less than 60 days) after that we would start progressively bringing troops home.

    All Iraqi military is to wear a very specific uniform. If a person is caught holding with a gun, grenade launcher, or similar weapon, they will be shot on site. No questions asked. No public place is closed to any troops of any faith or nationality.
    We have to remember that any time we say we're supporting the "Iraqi military" or "Iraqi government" now that essentially means "Shia military" or "Shia government", at least since the January 2005 elections. And most people who would have weaponry but no Iraqi uniform would mostly be Sunnis (I understand that the Shia militias are mostly comprised of Iraqi military troops, working independently). Ultimate result -- we would have chosen sides in the civil war.

    After 30 days of the increased troops, US would stop taking the lead and act more in a support/ training role.

    I would send the President of Iran a warning that if we find any evidence that Iran is assisting the insurgency, we bomb his country back to the Stone Age.
    Would you also say the same to Syria? Or Saudi Arabia? Because if we are actively supporting a Shia-led government, the Sunnis will look to Sunni-dominated countries for support against us and a Shia-led Iraq.

    Oh and I would pull out of that joke known as the UN with my final statement of, go forth and find Bin Laden, because when he attacks you, you will see no assistance from the US.

    The time sensitive stuff will not be make public, because if everyone in America knows, the news agencies will broadcast it to the Insurgency which will just wait until we leave to take over the county.
    Now more than ever, we need any forum that forces us to engage with other nations. And this isn't even about Bin Laden anymore, other than the fact that he drew us into the region like he said he would. And lastly, I think the insurgents have better sources of intel than American broadcast news. If we meet privately to say our commitment has a fixed deadline, they'll know as soon as we say it.

    Again, this is the year that Iraq's Shia/Sunni conflict blows up into a regional Shia/Sunni conflict, starring on one side Iran and a Shia-led Iraq, and on the other Syria and (possibly) Saudi Arabia. If this does happen, I think our troops would be best served on the conflict periphery -- Turkey, Pakistan, Israel (!) and Egypt -- making sure it doesn't grow even worse.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post

    Oh and I would pull out of that joke known as the UN with my final statement of, go forth and find Bin Laden, because when he attacks you, you will see no assistance from the US.

    .

    You do realize that when Bin laden attacked us the UN offered us substantial assistance right? Certainly the UN hasn't been as cooperative with the US on the Iraq issue (although maybe that's because they knew better) but they have been very cooperative on the finding Bin Laden issue - adn in fact it's the US that has relegated the hunting down of Bin Laden to a secondary or tertiary priority.

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    Cyburbian gicarto's avatar
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    kudos to michaelskis and masswich for imagining themselves as the president. Masswich is right president-ing is very hard. I understand everyone who wishes that we were not in the war in the first place but we should forget about that now and focus on a strategy for getting out and not looking week.
    Trying to get my grubby hands on as much stimulus money as I can.:D

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    So, Cololi what would you do if say you where appointed to this job tomorrow? Not asking what Bush did wrong in the past or what not, but what would you do if you had the job and this was the case.
    There is no good solution. I would focus our efforts on rebuilding the country and providing essential life infastructure, electricity, water, shelter etc using Iraq people to do the work. Just provide funding. If the uprising occurrs against the Iraqi people, then the Iraqi government needs to be the ones that takes action. Any US troop should be replaced with a UN peace keeping force that we should participate in. This is essentially a full withdrawal of US troops, but we would still be involved through a UN peace keeping force and by funding the rebuilding of infrastructure.

    As for the UN, thus far they have taken just short of an avoidance policy regarding preventing or stopping Terrorism. I think that Afghanistan would have been far more successful if we had full UN backing, but a cheese eating smelly French UN representative did not want to get involved.
    My positon stands, we need to have a real serious discussion if the war on terror is even worth fighting. Terrorism ahs been around for a very long time and we are fullish if we think we can just end it. The eveidence presented to the UN on terrorism was more directed towards Sadam and chemical weapons. I don't blame the UN for seeing the evidence for what it was. They sure were more keen on it than our congress was. For that, I give Bush credit, he pulled the wool over everyone's eyes. But it was also very wrong.

    As for how history will view Bush, with some things I think your correct, in others it will be the opposite. They said the same thing about President Ford after he pardoned Nixion... History has shown that he did the right thing. We can’t predict the future, only reflect on the past.
    Except Ford was not faced with the worldwide problem that we have created in Iraq. We have a tendency to focus on the positives of ones lifes in death, and rightfully so. And to some extent, we can predict the future by analyzing the past. As the saying goes, those that fail to understand the past are doomed to repeat it.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally posted by gicarto View post
    What would you do if you were President?
    The powers that be didn't ask me, but since you did: I'd go the way of the NHL -- I'd pull the troops off to the sideline so no one else could jump in and let the warring parties beat the bloody snot out of each other till one of 'em couldn't get up. After that was done, I'd assess major- and minors and drop the puck again.

    ...living in a non-hockey area is obviously having an impact on me ...
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally posted by gicarto View post
    kudos to michaelskis and masswich for imagining themselves as the president. Masswich is right president-ing is very hard. I understand everyone who wishes that we were not in the war in the first place but we should forget about that now and focus on a strategy for getting out and not looking week.
    Maybe I can imagine myself as President, and propose this strategy without looking weak:

    1) Tell Prime Minister al-Maliki that we do not intend to become embroiled in a civil war, and that we will redeploy our troops within the region. We tell him that we expect the civil war to get worse before it gets better, and we're not gonna be here for it, but we will do our best to keep the conflict from spreading throughout the Middle East.

    2)How many troops do we have there now, 130,000, 140,000? I say we reduce troop levels to maybe 30,000-50,000, and redeploy them to some of our other Middle East bases in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. We are outta Iraq.

    3)We bring in more Navy aircraft carriers and rotate subs to support our troops.

    4) We tell Iran and Syria to butt out militarily in Iraq, or we'll bring our redeployed military might right to them. But we'll also tell them that they MUST broker a resolution in Iraq (with us, of course).

    5) We'll tell Iran and Syria and the rest of the Middle East that resolving Iraq is Priority Number One, meaning that any discussions on Israeli/Palestinian lands, Hezbollah in Lebanon or other regional conflicts will have to wait until Iraq is resolved.

    Where would all this lead? I don't know -- maybe a partitioned Iraq along Sunni, Shia and Kurd lines, maybe Syria annexes al-Anbar Province and the rest of Iraq except for Kurdistan becomes a Shia theocracy. But doing this would take American troops out as the focal point for fighting, but still allow us to have the influence to resolve the conflict.

    EDIT: Gedunker's hockey analogy is almost exactly what I'm talking about.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Congratulations! Please continue to honor all of those unnecesary dead men and women that died for a vain cause. (I'm not being sarcastic here)

    The thing is quite simple, Iraq is in it's way to balkanization, the only way to stop that would be to create a new Saddam, which as how the first one turned out, would be a bad, if not terrible idea. The benefits of having a united Iraq under one ruler that is feared by all 3 ethnic groups is that it will allow to recreate the former geopolitical counterweight to Iran, and that will stop (or slow down) Iran's Nuclear program on it's tracks better than any UN resolution or sanctions. A united and powerful Iraq keeps Iran under control. Trying to implant a western world Democracy in the middle east is practically impossible and risky to say the least.

    So there's 2 options, make a new Saddam or watch how Iraq balkanizes when the US invasion ends.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian gicarto's avatar
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    At this point of the game, I would probubly implement the policy that pete-rock put forward and allow Iraq to breakup into provinces. I like the idea of keeping troups in the region but not directly involved in the civil war. I would give up on trying to implement a democracy in that region but I will still say that they are better off now that Saddom is gone. We must also work on keeping our democracy intact.
    Trying to get my grubby hands on as much stimulus money as I can.:D

  23. #23
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    pete-rock and skeLeton are both right on target.

    It's a shame that the President is now saying that mistakes were made, when he refuses to admit the biggest mistake of all: You cannot force democracy upon another country.

    There is no way to "make it better". Stand on the sidelines and watch the game.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  24. #24
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    The powers that be didn't ask me, but since you did: I'd go the way of the NHL -- I'd pull the troops off to the sideline so no one else could jump in and let the warring parties beat the bloody snot out of each other till one of 'em couldn't get up. After that was done, I'd assess major- and minors and drop the puck again.

    ...living in a non-hockey area is obviously having an impact on me ...
    I think that is the most intelligent idea I have heard yet. *but unlike much of the NHL, I say let them finish the fight.

    As for missing the puck. Check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTxoM56rKmk
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    I would assume that those appointed or elected to positions to make the decision on this issue are smarter than me, and in a manner of hours we have had multiple options presented. Surely the President has heard similar options but insists on moving forward. This furthers the point that he is a bad leader and is unwilling to consider other alternatives, despite his calling for them.

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