Tom Ricks, Quote Machine

Tom Ricks is the trifecta. The Tricksecta. He's unbelievably good at his day job, he's one of the best interviews on any subject, and he's a stand-up guy. His book, Fiasco, is out in paperbook with a new postscript (which prolly won't be the last), so we're talking to him today. In honor of our hour with Ricks, I thought I would post my three favorite moments from our last interview with him (which is worth another listen for all you Ricks fans out there). I swear, I would listen to this guy talk about auto repair.

File Under: Progress, Hellish
"I mean, you know, but we're talking about degrees of hell, basically. You know? It hadn't descended from the ninth to the 10th circle. It is still on the ninth circle of hell. It's not a great improvement to us to be holding steady in hell."

File Under: Troops, Availability Of
"It's simply that there — as my favorite strategist over the Pentagon says, we're out of Schlitz."

File Under: Shakespeare, Perspicacity Of
"We're a long way from the end in Iraq. I'm a fan of Shakespeare's tragedies. His tragedies have five acts. And I'm pretty persuaded we're only in act three. Fortinbras is - not Fortinbras, but Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are still alive and operating on the stage."

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you say the troops, "blame Americans" for not supporting them or "blame the Iraqis" for whatever reason. But what about "BLAME bush" for taking us to Iraq based on lies!!!!!!!!!????????

Sent by jim ku | 2:18 PM | 8-1-2007

Is there any feeling among the Iraqi people that the US has destroyed their country and that we have some obligation to fix it in some way - at the the infrastructure?

Sent by Susan Wells | 2:30 PM | 8-1-2007

Tom Ricks said the Americans want one thing and the Iraqis another. We are putting forth democracy. What is it that the Iraqis really want? Help me understand.

Sent by Andrea | 2:36 PM | 8-1-2007

If you want politicians really wanted to do something for the troops, Congress would reinstate the draft.
I was a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division. I am of the opinion the civilians do not care because they do not have to pay the price of freedom. Civilians won't get involve until a Congress reinstates the draft. Not until John from suburbia and Juan from the Lower East Side of Manhattan have the equal opportunity of being sent to the Middle East, is the American public going to wake up and do something.
As an American I do not take any joy in saying this, but we Americans have become too complaisant.

Sent by Juan Euvin | 2:44 PM | 8-1-2007

We suffer from the delusion that we can "frankenstein" a american style, western democracy based on parts we have blown off of whatever was there before. Without knowing or caring about the organic culture we are invading. We have botched this Iraqi fiasco so bad it almost boggles the mind.

Mr Ricks book makes a great audio "read" also.

Sent by George from Oregon | 3:13 PM | 8-1-2007

Andrea -- I think Iraqis want what we all want, and that's the right to decide the kind of society they want to live in. Americans, of course, think democracy is the best. Others may not. And of course, Americans don't have the right to impose a political system on others any more than they have the right to do that to us. That may not please us, but we owe the rest of the world the right of self-determination, the right our ancestors fought so hard for here.

To complicate the issue, "Iraqis" are a medley, created 100 years ago as a political convenience, of lots of different groups. Each of those groups wants something. Some want a theocracy; others would love to avoid that. We went in there, split 'em apart, and then told them "create a democracy." Maybe we'll learn something from this horrible mistake, maybe not.

Certainly it's incumbent on us -- voters -- to make sure we don't vote ever again for anyone (president, member of Congress) who believes in the freedom to take us to war without a great deal more proof that war is necessary and that the leadership knows how to prepare for it.

Sent by Sarah | 4:17 PM | 8-1-2007

Iraqis are looking toward Americans' supports for their elected government facing the mutual enemy (Saudis) who kills Americans in NY and Iraqis in Baghdad. Why we continue to support the dictatorship king who is hurting a new born democratic system in Iraq. We have to say No for Saudis who claimed they are our ally but in reality they only destroying all our efforts in Iraq.

Sent by Ali Basim | 6:04 PM | 8-1-2007

The Iraq adventure is symptomatic of how this Bush administration approaches foreign and domestic affairs with a anti-democratic thrust. The intervention and occupation never were planned with aforethought to how democracy develop.

Sent by Mark Magner | 9:24 PM | 8-1-2007

This fisasco, this war is about our dependence on foreign sources of energy. Isn't the real solution to this war, to victory is to get our country off of Oil and onto Hydrogen. Then we will have no need to be there in the first place and our gasoline revenue will not go to fuel Radical Islam. Everytime I watch the news about this region, it seems this part of the world doesn't want to be part of the 21st centry but be part of the 11th century.

Sent by Daniel Day | 2:35 PM | 8-6-2007