Democracy Has Prevailed.

February 25, 2007

It's Sunday, So Jack Kelly's Spinning

Here's the column.

By my count there are three times (including the sub-title) Commando Kelly uses the phrase "slow bleed" to characterize the Democrat's strategy. Here's an example:
So the Democrats may adopt what's been called the "slow bleed" strategy.
While other members of the so-called liberal media have actively attributed the phrase to the Democrats, Kelly does not. Though carefully he doesn't actually say where the term comes from. It started here in an article at
Top House Democrats, working in concert with anti-war groups, have decided against using congressional power to force a quick end to U.S. involvement in Iraq, and instead will pursue a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration's options.

The writer of that article, John Bresnahan, wrote in a subsequent article at the politico:

The Democratic plan was characterized in The Politico as the “slow-bleed strategy,” which was not a term used by any Democrats or the anti-war groups supporting their efforts.

The RNC, however, attributed the phrase to Democrats, and it was used in their e-mail alert.

And thus according to, it then found its way onto

[The Democrats] call it their 'slow-bleed' plan.
Say it ain't so! The GOP lying about something the Democrats (in this case did not) do?

Needless to say, the phrase "slow bleed" is in itself contentious. Especially when discussing soldiers and marines on the battlefield. Especially when it's been pumped up by the GOP (something, again Commando Kelly neglected to metion) The inclusion of the phrase is meant to spark disgust - and that's Kelly's point.

Nice rhetoric, Jack.

Then there's this:
Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va. surveyed 800 registered voters Feb. 5-7. By identical margins of 57-41 percent, those polled said Iraq was a key part of the war on terror and that U.S. troops should remain until "the job is done." By 56-43 percent, respondents said Americans should stand behind the president in Iraq because we are at war, and by 53-46 percent they said Democrats were going too far, too fast in pressing the president to withdraw troops.
Luckily, we've already blogged on this "poll." Another pollster (a Republican, by the way) has gone on record saying that the questions in that poll were designed to elicit a specific response. In this case, "support dubya's war."

In any case, Public Opinion Strategies is hardly neutral. Take a look at what this polling company released the day after the GOP took a thumping in November. A good indication is the headline:
Nice going, Jack. Another great column.


EdHeath said...

Here's the thing. Yes, we should not have gone in the first place. And I believe that pursuing negotiations with Iraq's neighbors, who probably all (even Iran) want a stable Iraq, is a good idea. But a big part of the issue with Iraq is that has never been stable since we invaded, and it has gotten worse. And part of the reason it was never stable is because we went in with ill-equipped and too few troops for the occupation (IMO). So it is ironic that the first strategy the democrats come up with is to limit the surge.
I mean, the poll you talk about is slanted, yes, absolutely, but still, it would be better to leave an intact, more or less functioning Iraq than to leave a piece of real estate in chaos. No surprise, Americans would prefer to not lose in Iraq. So for the longest time Rumsfeld (and Bush and Cheney) lived in denial, saying there were *enough* troops to do the job. Now the President is tacitly admitting we need(ed) more troops there to do the job, and the democrats want to cut him off at the knees. The democrats should either go along with the surge or demand an immediate withdrawal. I mean, it really ticks me off that the democrats are forcing me into a place where I have to agree with Jack Kelly. If we just maintain current troop levels for the foreseeable future, or start a slow withdrawal, it won’t/doesn’t matter who started the term “Slow Bleed”; it will be accurate. The surge has only a tiny chance of working, but that is better than just leaving the current troops in. Meanwhile, are the democrats pressuring the president to negotiate? Where’s the resolution for that? Shribman wrote that long and as usual confusing piece about presidential attributes. Let’s see the democrats show some courage instead of playing the republicans’ game of politics.

Anonymous said...

Ed, I couldn't disagree with you more. The strategy behind the "surge" has nothing to do with strategy. It's a way of delaying the inevitable. Adding 20% more bodies is like losing ten blackjack hands in a row at $10 and trying to make good with a bet of $12.

To create any chance of a "surge" working, we should send in another 100,000 troops. We could probably stabilize the cities that way. The only problem is we don't have another 100,000 troops to send. The administration knows that; and they know that instituting a draft would be the end of the Republican party.

So since we can't or won't do it right, the Bushies say we should keep doing it half-assed. More dead, more head injuries, less stability. It makes no sense.

I have a problem with your theory that a tactic that has "only a tiny chance of working" is worth more and better American casualties. It's masochism.

However, I do agree with you about the Dems. They are so afraid of being thought of as weak on defense that they do nothing. It's shameful. And as long as we keep electing people like Bob Casey, Mike Doyle, and the like, we can expect more of the same.

EdHeath said...

Well, John, you are probably right. I was approaching this in the sense that this is the best the President will do, and it is more than before. It probably is too little, too late. But right now what we need is a delay. We also need to negotiate and get other countries with an interest in a stable Iraq to try to exert some control. But without the delay of the inevitable, there is no chance of anything working.

I was also making the point that the democrats are playing into the hands of the republicans. By trying to restrict the president *in this way*, the democrats leave our troops over there with no additional help and thus no choice but to keep doing what they are doing, which isn’t working. More Americans will die either way, the only way to avoid that is an immediate withdrawal, which neither party has the political will for.

Frankly, my hope is that this Petraeus, who is supposed to be some kind of genius at counter insurgency, will be able to pull off a minor victory. My hope also is that the democrats will acknowledge that, praise him to high heaven, and then turn around and demand the administration negotiate with Syria, Iran and the rest of Iraq’s neighbors. And try to reform health care and address income inequity and education and so on.

Truthfully we probably should pull out immediately. But I suspect if the troops and the American public were told there is still a small chance for “victory”, they would want to stay a little longer. I think that if we can leave with a stable but brutal anti-American dictator in place, we will have to count that as a victory. And five dollar gas will come maybe a couple of years later, rather then right away.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I don't like the idea of throwing good bodies after dead.

John Murtha, whom I normally detest, has the right idea. Require, that's REQUIRE, that every troop sent to bleed his or her life away in Iraq be properly trained, properly equipped, and properly rested. That's caring for the troops.

I'm afraid your hopes are actually daydreams. This war of lies, by cowards, for profits. It is already a victory in those terms and a catastrophe in any other terms.