Saturday, April 28, 2007

One Good Man

Do we want answers? Do we think we're entitled to the truth? Do we want the truth? Can we handle it? Or do we think we have the luxury of not knowing?

I think everyone is entitled to the truth. So, here it is.
Well, first off, understand that this war was lost the day that George Bush invaded Iraq on a fraudulent basis. Understand that. Now with respect to what’s going on in the Congress, I’m really embarrassed. So we passed — and the media’s in a frenzy right today with what has been passed. What has been passed? George Bush communicated over a year ago that he would not get out of Iraq until he left office. Do we not believe him? We need to find another way. I really would like to sit down with Pelosi and with Reid, and I would hope the other senators would focus on, how do you get out? You pass the law, not a resolution, a law making it a felony to stay there. And I’ll give you the text of it. And if you’re worried about filibuster, here’s what you do tactically. They can pass it in the House. We’ve got the votes there. We’ve got the votes there. In the Senate, let them filibuster it. And let Reid call up every — at 12:00 every day to have a cloture vote. And let the American people see clearly who’s keeping the war going and who’s not. And that’s just the beginning of the tactic, if they’re tough enough to do it.

It’s like going into the Senate. You know, the first time you get there, you’re all excited, “My God, how did I ever get here?” Then, about six months later, you say, “How the hell did the rest of them get here?” (LAUGHTER) And I got to tell you, after standing up with them, some of these people frighten me — they frighten me. When you have mainline candidates that turn around and say that there’s nothing off the table with respect to Iran, that’s code for using nukes, nuclear devices. I got to tell you, I’m president of the United States, there will be no preemptive wars with nuclear devices. To my mind, it’s immoral, and it’s been immoral for the last 50 years as part of American foreign policy.

I’ll include you, too. You have a certain arrogance. You want to — you want to tell the Iraqis how to run their country. I got to tell you, we should just plain get out — just plain get out. It’s their country. They’re asking us to leave. And we insist on staying there. And why not get out? What harm is it going to do? Oh, you hear the statement, “Well, my God, these soldiers will have died in vain.” The entire deaths of Vietnam died in vain. And they’re dying in vain right this very second. And you know what’s worse than a soldier dying in vain? It’s more soldiers dying in vain. That’s what’s worse.

We have no important enemies. What we need to do is to begin to deal with the rest of the world as equals. And we don’t do that. We spend more as a nation on defense than all the rest of the world put together. Who are we afraid of? Who are you afraid of, Brian? I’m not. And Iraq has never been a threat to us. We invaded them. I mean, it is unbelievable. The military industrial complex not only controls our government, lock, stock and barrel, but they control our culture.

I think there has to be a maturation process. And I’m the one that started the nuclear critique in this country. I’m also the one that denied the boots on the ground for George Bush today when I filibustered the end of the draft. And I’m also the one that brought about the Alaska Pipeline by one vote in the Congress. So when you ask about the energy issues or the other issues, let me just tell you — I want to answer the question on the war and on what’s going on. We are mischaracterizing terrorism. Terrorism has been with civilization from the beginning, and it will be there till the end. We’re going to be as successful fighting terrorism as we are fighting drugs with the war. It doesn’t work. What you have to do is to begin to change the whole foreign policy. The Republicans who are charging Democrats about not going for the defense of this country — my God, this invasion brought about more terrorists — Osama bin Laden must have been rolling in his blankets, how – happy he was over our invading Iraq.

With respect to Iran, we’ve sanctioned them for 26 years. We’ve scared the bejesus out of them when the president says they’re evil. Well, you know something? These things don’t work, they don’t work. We need to recognize them. And you know something, who is the greatest violator of the Non-Proliferation Treaty? The United States of America. We signed a pledge that we would begin to disarm, and we’re not doing it. We’re expanding our nukes. Who the hell are we going to nuke?
  • Thanks to Petulant Rumblings who I think assembled this Tube.
  • Thanks to the very, very good folks at Swiftspeech who always wake me up in the morning, tell me the truth, and showed this to me.
  • Thanks to Polstate for the transcripts!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Political Paralysis in Iraq-Nam

We have reached stasis with respect to Iraq.

All pretense of movement and accomplishment is obfuscated, obscured, and contradicted by our corrupt and compromised civilian and military leadership.

Stasis is defined as,
The state of equilibrium or inactivity caused by opposing equal forces; a condition of balance among various forces; motionlessness.
The late theologian, Charles Marsh, once wrote:
Language is a primary element of culture, and stasis in the arts is tantamount to death.
The term also has meaning in pathology, obviously. But what I am after is it historical implications. Stasis is an unhealthy equilibrium: it doesn't connote a sense of tranquility so much as paralysis.

When I came of political age, the world was caught on another paralysis. It was the self-infliction of the French who called it le immobilism. In its perilous balance resided the destiny of the Fourth Republic of France, founded after World War II and lasting only a dozen years until 1958. It foundered on the French Colonial war in Algiers.

Wikipedia helps me summarize this period adequately, if simplistically:
Rebellion in Algeria began soon after Indochinese independence. The government was initially successful in containing the rebellion, but the torture methods used by French military and security forces caused an enormous scandal when made public. The use of conscription also made the war extremely socially divisive. While French forces were victorious from a strictly military point of view, a large section of the public questioned the morality of maintaining colonies by force.
As I telegraphed, le immobilism reached its inevitable tipping point in 1958. It was touched off by the quarrelling civilian political leaders who became deadlocked on an hopeless cul de sac of policy and resolved to - guess what - negotiate with the Algerian Front for National Liberation (FLN). Right-wing elements in the French Army, led by a General Jacques Massu seized power in Algiers and threatened to conduct a parachute assault on Paris unless Charles de Gaulle was placed in charge of a new Fifth Republic. De Gaulle assumed power, created a strong executive, ended the stasis, and dispersed the fascists.

Of course, shortly after the French stasis was resolved, America embarked on a path of towards a political deadlock of its own, picking up France's fallen mantel in Vietnam, but that's another story.

The point I'm trying to make is that we are in stasis with respect to Iraq. We know how we got there: a capricious, predetermined and devious conspiracy by a clique consigned to the White House by the Supreme Court. A substantial majority of the American people now understand the invasion and occupation to have been a huge mistake, arguably the worst in our history. But they are confused as to why it has failed and as to what has to be done to put it behind us.

As Coleen Rowley has reminded us, we've been in stasis before, in Vietnam. By 1968, five years into that blunder, all of the arguments on either side of that war were well known (just like in France a decade earlier). Lacking a leader able to rise to the challenge presented by a spate unenlightened policies, we Americans endured five more years and tens of thousands of additional and avoidable KIA's.

The Lesson of my simplified history are clear: representative government is not the magic bullet George Bush claims it is. Whether we are dealing with a French Republic or our own American Democracy, neither provides their nations a guarantee of sound policies in this perilous world. What is required is an intelligent, informed and engaged citizenry making critical judgments of their political leaders.

The French found de Gaulle in 1958; Robert F. Kennedy was taken from us in 1968. Who will we find now to lead us out of this wilderness?

I don't know at this juncture. But I do know we won't find them unless we dare to look outside the boxes in which we find ourselves currently confined.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The End of the Occupation of Iraq Begins with Regime Change in Washington

And that begins with the Introduction of the Articles of Impeachment.

Too extreme for the Main Street Media, too radical for the Democratic Congress, but right and just in time for America.

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis J. Kucinich files articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney, saying his action was driven by a desire to defend Americans' right "to have a government that is honest and peaceful."

Here is your synopsis:

Resolved, That Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Article I

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of Vice President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit:

  1. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Vice President actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction...
  2. Preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq the Vice President was fully informed that no legitimate evidence existed of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Vice President pressured the intelligence community to change their findings to enable the deception of the citizens and Congress of the United States.
  3. The Vice President’s actions corrupted or attempted to corrupt the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, an intelligence document issued on October 1, 2002 and carefully considered by Congress prior to the October 10, 2002 vote to authorize the use of force. The Vice President’s actions prevented the necessary reconciliation of facts for the National Intelligence Estimate which resulted in a high number of dissenting opinions from technical experts in two Federal agencies.
The Vice President subverted the national security interests of the United States by setting the stage for:
  • the loss of more than 3300 United States service members;
  • the loss of 650,000 Iraqi citizens since the United States invasion;
  • the loss of approximately $500 billion in war costs which has increased our Federal debt;
  • the loss of military readiness within the United States Armed Services due to overextension, lack of training and lack of equipment;
  • the loss of United States credibility in world affairs;
  • and the decades of likely blowback created by the invasion of Iraq.
In all of this, Vice President Richard B. Cheney has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as Vice President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and the manifest injury of the people of the United States.Wherefore, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.

Article II

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of Vice President. . . [etc., etc. ] purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in order to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit:
  1. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Vice President actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and the Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda...
  2. Preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq the Vice President was fully informed that no credible evidence existed of a working relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, a fact articulated in several official documents, including...
Article III

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of Vice President [etc., etc.] . . . has openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and done so with the United States proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining the national security of the United States, to wit:

Despite no evidence that Iran has the intention or the capability of attacking the United States and despite the turmoil created by United States invasion of Iraq, the Vice President has openly threatened aggression against Iran as evidenced by the following:
  1. The Vice President, who repeatedly and falsely claimed to have had specific, detailed knowledge of Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction capabilities, is no doubt fully aware of evidence that demonstrates Iran poses no real threat to the United States as evidenced by the following:
  2. The Vice President is fully aware of the actions taken by the United States towards Iran that are further destabilizing the world as evidenced by the following...
  3. In the last three years the Vice President has repeatedly threatened Iran. However, the Vice President is legally bound by the U.S Constitution’s adherence to international law that prohibits threats of use of force...
Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Here is the Text of Resolution as Introduced in the House of Representatives.

Here are the Supporting Documents for the Articles of Impeachment.

I say Shooter is guilty on all charges.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Parable of the Three I's: Iraq, Iran & Israel (Part I)

It's a Friday night rant.

I've had a cluster-fooked up day and I can say any damned thing I want to. While the Silver Bullets in the fridge last, anyways.

So here's the deal.

This fooking war occupation is costing us Americans 10 erased or ruined lives and $177,000,000 each day it goes on. Bush has no surge strategy. It's just a urge & splurge gimmick to deliver the mess to a Democrat president. It's no plan; it's just an attitude. That's why it's so mercurial and changing. But the principle is always the same: hold the slo-bleed course until December 2008.

Enough is enough. It is time to leave Iraq-Nam. Past time.

What are we defending? The puppet Maliki (government) we had them Iraqis elect at the point of our guns? Who won the contests of the purple thumbs? the Shiites? Okay: turn everything over to the Shiites. They're sufficiently armed and trained. They may have poorly regulated militias but they're more regulated than 90% of the N.R.A. in our country. (And we know the N.R.A. is the fountainhead of American Liberty.)

And fook the Sunnis. Let Allah sort them out. They're the ones we're always find sleeping with the al Qaeda, right?

Them Shia are too closely aligned with Iranians? Well, deal with the Iranians then: talk, negotiate and collaborate with the Persians. After all, there were no Persians on the 9-11 attacks, right? As a matter of fact, thousands of Iranians publicly demonstrated sympathy for us after 9-11. As a matter of fact, Iranian government assisted us in Afghanistan and offered assistance to us immediately after Bush's invasion of Iraq. So, what's stopping us from detente with Iran?


It's Israel, isn't it?

Gonzo is Burnt Toast!

Meet your new Attorney General!
Shrub wanted to follow his strong suit (loyalty) and nominate his Bro.... but Jeb neglected to get a law degree. So it's this guy!

It's not too early to study up and get to know him. Here's an advance reading list!
Get ahead of the curve! Be a part of the groundswell!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Failed and Failing Presidency

Reviewing the track record.
Don't forget:
Clicking on the graph will enlarge it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Vietnam vis-a-vis Iraq in Congressional Debate

Lessons Learned? Or Biases Deeply Ingrained?

What, if anything, can be made of the fact that contemporary warhawks rely less on pragmatic analysis of current facts on the ground in Iraq than their prior personally traumatizing experiences in Vietnam?

Whether or not you think there are parallels between the Vietnam and Iraq Wars, the significance cannot be denied of the Vietnam experience nearly 40 years ago in producing two very opposite schools of thought among current congressional leaders. Views on what to do about Iraq seem to divide members of congress substantially based on how they processed their Vietnam experience, since each side's set of "lessons learned" is in direct opposition with the other's.

Vietnam was a terrible mistake

The majority camp consists of many who, having served in Vietnam, now view that war as a terrible mistake, from its inception based upon false reporting about the "Gulf of Tonkin" incident through the fallacy of the "domino theory" and the continuing "fog of war" public deception that lengthened U.S. involvement and casualties. A good example of the majority opinion came from Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), an Army infantryman in Vietnam in 1968, who recently called the President's summons for more troops in Baghdad "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam." Senators John Kerry, Jim Webb and Congressman John Murtha are among those who have voiced similar sentiments.

The majority also includes those who, like Senator John Warner (R-Va) might not be willing to go so far as to call Vietnam an outright mistake but who, as a result of that war, have developed mature, sober assessments of the dangers and costs of war, including the blowback problem of veterans suffering for years from their physical and psychological wounds. A Washington Post news article recently described the guilt that Virginia Sen. John Warner still carries about the Vietnam War which explains "why this pillar of the Republican establishment is leading a bipartisan revolt against the (current) war plans of a president in his own party." The former Navy secretary said in an interview in his Capitol Hill office,
I regret that I was not more outspoken during the Vietnam War. The Army generals would come in, 'Just send in another five or ten thousand.' You know, month after month. Another ten or fifteen thousand. They thought they could win it. We kept surging in those years. It didn't work.
Beginning with the "Pentagon Papers," and other revelations, admissions of error and public apologies like those made by former secretary of defense Robert McNamara, the majority viewpoint had long ago gained substantial acceptance in popular culture and from historians. As a result of the commonly-held "Vietnam syndrome" mindset which began to take root (almost 30 years prior to the commencement of the Iraq War), it was believed leaders would be cautious of military engagement unless "Powell Doctrine" factors of justification, international support and winnability could be met.

Vietnam--the only mistake was in leaving

A minority viewpoint about Vietnam, however, has always quietly seethed, just below the surface, amongst the other camp of Vietnam veterans who turned their anger and shame at "losing" the war and perhaps even some of their "survivor's guilt" upon peace protesters like Jane Fonda, "traitors" like Daniel Ellsberg, the "liberal media" and the American public. According to this view, the United States did not fight long or hard enough despite devoting nearly ten years and sacrificing the lives of 58,000 Americans and 2 million Vietnamese. This group seems to believe that the U.S. could have "won the Vietnam War" had the American media and public opinion not turned against the war and had the presidents at the time not bowed to public and media pressure. In this category, you find Vietnam vets who have become congressmen like Duncan Hunter (R-California), Sam Johnson (R-Tex), John Kline (R-Minn), and former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-California) who apparently lamented they were not given the heroes' welcome home from Vietnam they were due. Some seem to think their early military careers were unnecessarily tarnished as a result. Rep. John Kline flew Marine Corps helicopters during the Vietnam War. In January 2007, while unveiling a resolution opposing any cutoff of funds to troops, Kline said,
I served at a time when we saw the Congress reduce funding for the military. We served at a time when the military did not have the support of the people, the press or the Congress. I don't ever want to see that again.
Recently asked what he thought for an opinion piece on "Lessons of Vietnam--How to Avoid a Repeat," Congressman Kline mentioned
. . . that while the nation was on the retreat in Southeast Asia, disdain for American military power abroad trickled down to disdain for American military personnel at home. And it wasn't only antiwar protestors. In the wake of Vietnam, military personnel were discouraged from wearing uniforms while off duty within the city limits, and the feeling in the ranks was that even senior officials in the government viewed the military as an embarrassment.
Swiftboating other Vietnam vets who learned different lessons

Hunter, Kline and others have consequently turned their anger and swift boat efforts upon the other Vietnam Veteran congressmen in the majority camp. In April 2004 Rep. Sam Johnson denounced Massachusetts Senator Kerry on the 33rd anniversary of his testimony before a Senate panel in which he (Kerry) had sharply criticized the conduct of some U.S. troops in Vietnam. (Kerry, a decorated Navy officer in Vietnam, had emerged as a prominent antiwar spokesman after his discharge.) Johnson, who spent seven years as a North Vietnamese prisoner of war, compared the young Kerry to former antiwar activist Jane Fonda:
. . . blasted our nation, chastised our troops and hurt our morale. . . . What he did was nothing short of aiding and abetting the enemy. . . He's called Hanoi John.
Other Republicans then poured it on with Rep. John Kline saying Kerry's service in the war "does not excuse his joining ranks with Jane Fonda and others in speaking ill of our troops or their service, then or now." Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (Calif.), whose plane was shot down over North Vietnam, said Kerry's 1971 remarks angered Cunningham and his comrades at the time. "We do not need a Jane Fonda as commander in chief," he said.

In May 2004, Rep. John Kline was quoted in a news report about Democrats' criticism of Donald Rumsfeld and the administration's failing policy in Iraq, including its handling of the Abu Ghraib prison abuses, saying, "I am furious (with Murtha). Because when that message gets out to our forces they won't feel love and support. They'll feel betrayal." Kline later made further, similar comments to these in a lengthy interview on the Powerline Blog about his view that progress was being made in Iraq in December 2005. Duncan Hunter was also linked via his staff and a group called "Vietnam Vets for Truth" to the later swiftboating of John Murtha after Murtha's 2005 stance to redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq.

Rep. Sam Johnson emerged again as the GOP's point man in mid-February's debate in the House of a non-binding resolution expressing disapproval of President Bush's buildup of U.S. forces in Iraq. Using his POW experience in Vietnam for almost the entire time he was allotted, Johnson linked support of Bush's "surge" strategy with support for the troops. Rep. Sam Johnson was then chosen to give a second impassioned closing speech again linking the Iraq War with Vietnam: "Let my body serve as a brutal reminder that we must not repeat the mistakes of the past." Rep. Kline just took the lead in drafting the letter to House Leader Nancy Pelosi in March in which he and five other Vietnam veteran GOP congressmen argue against setting any timetables for withdrawing our troops from Iraq. His letter apparently blames congressional interference for hurting troop morale which in turn led to the lack of victory in Vietnam.

Fighting to write history

It should be acknowledged that a smaller number of historians who back this minority view may be gaining more prominence in military establishments. In his book Abandoning Vietnam, James Willbanks, a historian at the Combat Studies Institute at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, digs through the Nixon administration's series of decisions that finally resulted in the fall of Saigon in 1975. Mr. Willbanks, a military veteran who saw combat as an infantryman during North Vietnam's 1972 Easter Offensive, tries to show that the Nixon administration was focused more on ending the war than on winning it and that the U.S. came a lot closer to "winning" than many people believe today.

There are, of course, all kinds of other parallels being made between Vietnam and Iraq including the wild overstatements of the threat to the U.S. (LBJ said that if we didn't fight them over there, then we would have to fight them in Hawaii. Bush and McCain likewise claim the Iraqi terrorists will attack us here if we leave Iraq.) And in both wars, the advocates urged staying the course to achieve some unspecified goal of 'winning.' (What a victory in Iraq, however, would look like is hard to say, but most sober analysts think anything that could even be remotely portrayed as a victory in Iraq is receding over the horizon.)

Merging "Vietnam Syndrome" into "Iraq Syndrome"

In any event, we may have to wait to reach some cooler and saner point down the road before social psychologists, historians and/or military strategists are able to make sense of the difference in the radically different "lessons learned" of the two different camps of Vietnam veterans turned Congressmen. I did however recently see the following comment posted to a thought piece by Norman Soloman which might explain things:
As for Senator McCain, he typifies the major enduring difference between many infantry and air power guys, enlisted men and officers, where "learning the lessons of Vietnam" are concerned. . . men who drop bombs from on high are distanced from the sober political realities on the ground. In victory, they tend to take too much credit, and in stalemate or defeat, it's always because the bombing campaign was not intensive enough, or else it was imprecisely targeted. A winning strategic or tactical mix lies always just beyond the horizon, if only the civilian policymakers would just hunker down and persevere.
Exploitation of Vietnam has already taken on such importance in the debate in Congress, that it would be better if the experts could weigh in sooner rather than later. In an odd twist, comparisons of Iraq with Vietnam are now being used more by pro-Iraq War than anti-Iraq War figures. But even now one thing can be discerned about the group who, instead of talking about the harsh, current reality of facts on the ground in Iraq, constantly falls back, in a highly emotional way, on their Vietnam experiences as justification for their insistence upon "staying the course" to achieve "victory in Iraq" no matter the cost. One must question whether this group is being honest with themselves. Ego defense mechanisms do have a way of turning old psychological wounds into deeply ingrained biases. To quote Norman Soloman,
. . .the Congressional Record is filled with insistence that the lessons of Vietnam must not be forgotten. But they cannot be truly remembered if they were never learned in the first place.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blacksburg, VA

Let's take a day for a national time out.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Stinging Indictment of the Bush-Cheney Presidency

Containing impeachable charges in my book, if not in General Zinni's updated masterpiece, The Battle for Peace!

General Zinni appeared on Tim Russert's Meet The Press this morning. In a few short minutes, he (once again) dissected Bush-Cheney's track record as incorrigibly incompetent and as promising only more of the same as long as the two of these warmongers are left unmolested in their offices for anothert 645 days.

I have posted my "money" excerpts, with my boldfacing added:
. . . . Those of us that know this region, have been involved in the planning, knew that this was a fragile society, that if you did not intervene in a way to gain control of the borders, the population, you could cause all sorts of internal issues to erupt into the kind of violence we saw.

. . . . We now know the answers to that question: Poor intelligence, lack of planning, faulty political motivation, incompetent or inexperienced people placed in key positions, flawed assumptions, lack of understanding of the Iraqi culture, arrogance, spin, and the list goes on and on.

. . . . I mean it—we, we did not prepare ourselves for this intervention. We threw away decades worth of planning and understanding of the situation. We discounted those that warned that the assumptions were too optimistic, and we had the results we have now.

. . . . obviously after 9/11, they saw a need to change our approaches in the Middle East, to do something dramatic. Unfortunately, I think this was the wrong place at the wrong time. And, and the philosophy or the theory behind this change that this liberation would cause a rising up and a, a, a drive for democracy in the Middle East, it, it didn’t square with the way the culture or the way the thinking and the, and the situation was that we had seen in my time. I think the WMD problem, we’d always had a suspicion of WMD programs, but never any hard evidence. And, as time went on, it seemed less and less likely there was an existing program. I mean the vice president’s term was he was “amassing” weapons of mass destruction. Clearly, there was no evidence of even an existing program, let, let alone amassing of weapons of mass destruction.

. . . . What has disappointed me is there hasn’t been this debate on the strategy, on the policy, a regional strategy on policy, let alone an Iraq policy. We’re, we’re debating the tactics. The, the surge is a tactic. In what context is the surge? You can make an argument for a surge if you were going to withdraw, to cover the withdrawal, for example, or to contain, to reposition forces or to re-engage in a different way or a stronger way. And why we got caught up in the tactical debate, in my mind, is an indication that we don’t understand what we want to do. What should our Middle East policy be? What should our policy be in terms of Iraq and, and the war against the extremists out there or the conflict against extremists? We seem to be strategically adrift, in my view.

. . . . need to rethink that kind of strategy, that kind of positioning. But more importantly, we need to rethink our relationships in that region. We have to build a collective security arrangement, a coalition arrangement to replace the one we destroyed by going into Iraq now.

. . . . I think that any attempt to fix Iraq, if you will, to commit to a larger involvement or intervention probably went away when we didn’t adopt the, the Baker-Hamilton recommendations. I thought that would be a start. Certainly didn’t go far enough. I think, now, the American people are becoming disillusioned. I think it’s, it’s clear, though, that we cannot leave the region, we shouldn’t naively think we’re pulling out, that this is Somalia or Vietnam. And I think the debate should be, amongst the candidates is, is how do we redesign the strategy for this region, protect our interests, create the kind of coalition involvement that would help support this and share the burden. We need that kind of imagination out there. And it isn’t just about Iraq. It’s about how we engage or what do we do about Iran and Syria, our involvement in the Middle East peace process, the rebuilding of relationships with former allies that has been stressed and strained, and, and how we deal with, a cooperative way, to counter the extremism that’s on the rise. The current bombings in, in Algeria and Morocco should, should be of great concern to us and, and to that part of the world.

. . . . you know, what’s, what’s shocking about all this, if you look at past wars, in, in three to four years into a war, we’ve had remarkable transformations of our military. Just think about World War II, where we were when Pearl Harbor was attacked, what our military looked like. I mean, all our equipment was inferior to our enemy, the size of our forces, our organization, our tactics. Three and a half years later, we were a superpower. We dominated in all those areas. Even in Vietnam, at the tactical level, we made adjustments and adaptations, and, and we increased the size of the force to meet the commitment. Although we’ve mouthed the words about this being a long war and a long struggle, the very forces that it places the greatest demand upon, our ground forces, our, our soldiers and Marines, we’ve seen no increase, no change, no adaptability on the battlefield. We’re still confused about the enemy. We’re, we’re, we’re stifled by the IED attacks and, and the problems we face. And, and these adjustments, over four years, have not been made. We have to ask ourselves why. What happened to transformation? Why was the design not right? What have we done to adjust? Our military, especially our Army and Marine Corps, are not going to be able to continue this kind of rotation. Traditionally you need three units for every one you have deployed. That’s the ideal, in terms of training, reconstructing the unit, the kind of quality time, the quality of life and family time necessary to rebuild the unit before it goes out. We’re down to almost one-to-one.

. . . . I—I’m, I’m disturbed, as most Americans I talk to, that the president . . . the president is, is spending too much time and is fully committed in politics, in campaigning. I really believe we need a president that needs to become an elder statesman, that needs to rise above politics. When the American people know the political adviser in the White House better than they know the national security adviser—and I’d offer to you, take that test and, and see how many can identify Hadley vs. Rove—then something’s wrong with our system. We want a president that’s governing, governing all Americans, that, that isn’t bound up in politics. . . .

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A War Czar?

The Latest BIG IDEA in the progressing, incremental, self-impeachment of George W. Bush!

Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the White House had sought advice from a number of people about the warlord job but insisted it had not been offered to anyone.
The White House is looking into creating a higher profile position that would have the single, full-time focus on implementing and executing the recently completed strategic reviews for both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Where did this BIG IDEA come from? It may have been a brain spurt from Frederick W. Kagan, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute:
It would be definitely a good idea. Hope they do it, and hope they do it soon. And I hope they pick the right guy. It's a real problem that we don't have a single individual back here who is really capable of coordinating the effort.
Deputy White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, confirmed yesterday that George Bush was considering restructuring the administration to create a new post, dubbed the "War Czar" by US media. It would involve coordinating the work of the Defense, State and other departments at what she described as a critical stage in the wars we are currently waging.

Excuse me? Isn't this the job of the National Security Council? What does Stephen Hadley do that keeps him too busy to manage the war$ of George W. Bush?

What does this mean? A "War Czar"? We've had our energy, our drug, and our intelligence czars so we shouldn't suspect that we are undergoing "Russification" here. (Right!)

Modern usage of the term "czar" informally implies assignment of an expert who will be in charge of implementing policy in such a manner that it is insulated from the vagaries of media and political agitation. An alternative gimmick is to assign a commission to study a problem. But we've already had that. The Iraq Study Group has met, reported and published. And been ignored. So now Bush wants a Czar? Not that he admits it, but the war-starter needs help being a war-time president because it's "hard work".

We do know that three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position: Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, Army Gen. Jack Keane, and Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston.

Gen. Sheehan has disclosed his reasons for demurring: he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than the pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq.
I've never agreed on the basis of the war, and I'm still skeptical. Not only did we not plan properly for the war, we grossly underestimated the effect of sanctions and Saddam Hussein on the Iraqi people.

The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going. So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,'
Their negative response should be enough to give the lie to Bush's optimism about his surge turning the tide in Iraq: the lame duck president's war & occupation project is itself a lame duck. The Generals know it, the people know it. Only Congress appears to be confused.

This is Bush's attempt to put his ruinous, un-provoked, unnecessary, illegal, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (RUUILUIUOI) on cruise control, automatic pilot, insulated from politics. This war he started is too much for him, now that he has lost his best-of-all-time lightning rod, Don Rumsfeld. (Rummy's ego-centric direction of the RUUILUIUOI is what is credited by some as ruining the NSC system.) The Commander-In-Chief doesn't want this Iraq-nam in his face every morning when he gets up. Dick Cheney, the real "Decider", can't stand actual sunlight and prefers taking sanctuary in his "secure location".

So, who can we find to micro-manage this misbegotten war until Chickenhawk is relieved of his "hard work" burdens 648 days from now?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Gordon Johndroe: Today's Daily Howler

Today, in Najaf, Iraq:

Gordon Johndroe is the chief spokesman for Bush's National Security Council.

At the White House, he dismissed today's anti-American demonstration in Najaf with these words:
Iraq, four years on, is now a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions.

And that was something they could not do under Saddam. And while we have much more progress ahead of us...this is a country that has come a long way from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.
A sentiment which was not shared elsewhere.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

We Are Haunted by the Spectre of a Dead Osama

Under George Bush, we have had to suffer great insult as well as great injury.

The injury occurred on September 11th 2001 when the world's greatest geopolitical power on record lost 3,030 innocent lives to the most brazen and cold-blooded mass murder in American history. So, what could possibly amount to an insult substantial enough to rival that? It's obvious:

The insult is the distinct possibility that Osama bin Laden might die - or has already died - a natural death, like 95% of the rest of the world population. In other words, after poking America in the eye on 11-September 2001, he neither dies of wounds suffered as a result of our just (but abreviated) retaliation against Afghanistan, nor as a prisoner-of-war captive in our custody. Instead of being squashed as a hapless poster boy of terrorism, he gets to die a celebrity's death, in bed, as the world's world's most successful and unpunished jihadist?

World political leaders have been wary of being identified with any premature obituaries of bin Laden. Speculation over his possible death has circulated ever since American forces lost contact with him in November of 2001; and ever since Bush outsourced the pursuit of this butcher to free-lance Afghan warlords and muhadjeen so he could consummate his daddy's uncompleted termination of Saddam. Remember how Bush pulled our crack US Special Forces ground forces from Afghanistan just before the Battle of Tora Bora? Not only that, as Richard Clarke has written, Bush also did not commit the additional thousands of troops necessary to complete and stabilize the liberation of Afghanistan:
I can’t prove this, but I believe they didn’t want to put in a lot of regular infantry because they wanted to hold it in reserve. And the issue is the infantry. A rational military planner who was told to stabilize Afghanistan after the Taliban was gone, and who was not told that we might soon be doing Iraq, would probably have put in three times the number of infantry, plus all the logistics support ‘tail.’ He would have put in more civil-affairs units, too. Based on everything I heard at the time, I believe I can make a good guess that the plan for Afghanistan was affected by a predisposition to go into Iraq. The result of that is that they didn’t have enough people left over to go in and stabilize the country, nor enough people to make sure these guys didn’t get out.
Since then, America has been haunted by the uncertainty as to Osama's life, death or location. George Bush, of course, is clueless and oblivious of the shadowy angst that afflicts Americans.

Bin Laden last appeared on video in 2004. There have been poor-quality audio tapes purporting to be of his voice surfacing since then. But last year on the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, not much issued forth from bin Laden or his putative 'spokesmen'.

More recently, the French newspaper L'Est Republicain's in an exclusive report on 23 Sept 06 reported leaks from within the Direction Generale des Services Exterieurs (DGSE) pertaining to the death of Osama bin Laden. This may have been the result of a calculated leak from within the French equivalent of Britain's MI6 which has the responsibility for intelligence gathering abroad.

The newspaper says the information about bin Laden, received by the DGSE on September 19 and graded confidentiel defence, was passed to President Jacques Chirac and PM Dominique de Villepin on September 21.

The contents of L'Est Republicain's report suggests that the newspaper had direct access to this DGSE material: quoting from what appears to be an internal memorandum, it states that a "usually most reliable source" had learned the pertinent information from Saudi Arabian secret services.

Other sources revealed a report suggesting that bin Laden had traveled to Pakistan about a month earlier to seek immediate medical treatment for a severe bout of typhoid which had partially paralyzed his lower body.

The authorities subsequently received information that he had died on September 4: Saudi security agencies were urgently seeking more information, focusing on where bin Laden may have been buried.

Cui bono?

At this point, we have to ask
  • Who would benefit from a factual proof of Osama bin Laden's natural demise?
  • Who benefits from suppressing the fact of Osama bin Laden's passing?
Al Qaeda would certainly not benefit from a factual announcement of the Emir's death. He is worth more to their jihadists as an immortal legend than as a martyr. Should a cadaver be produced and DNA-certified as bin Laden's, al Qaeda loses its putative status as a centralized base operations. Of course that doesn't prevent its brand from being franchised by hundreds of local jihadists all over the world. Were it not for the hornet's nest that Bush has stirred up with his illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, these zealous anarchists would amount to little more than frenzied and faddist nihilists similar to last century's Red Brigades.

And George Bush certainly would not gain from a certification of Osama's death. (Unless it could be established that he died of wounds inflicted by American or NATO forces.) Without a lurking Osama to kick around, Bush has no tangible enemy, nor any tangible casus belli, in Iraq or even Afghanistan. His nebulously conceived global war on terror will have lost what little focus it had.

I submit it is this possibility that bin Laden has permanently evaded retributive American justice is what eats away at our confused mission in Afghanistan. (Despite what our Dear Leader promised, it turned out that Osama could both run and hide.) You can say that's another story, but you have to wonder if it doesn't also eat away at our American psyche? Why else are Americans so uncomfortable and amnestic about Bush's 'mission' in Afghanistan? Our dead, wounded and scarred from 9-11 remain, unavenged.

What is the mission in Afghanistan?
  • Pursuing and capturing of Osama bin Laden?
  • Defeating of al Qaeda?
  • Defeating of the Taliban?
  • Suppressing of Heroin Crops
  • Feeding NATO's appetite for (finally!) a combat raison d'etre?
  • Promulgating democracy?
  • Providing cover for our un-provoked, unnecessary, illegal, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UUILUIUOI)?
Take your pick. But I say, if the mission is not getting Osama bin Laden, "dead or alive", it's not my mission.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Contempt of Congress

Tell the tales of the two Monicas!

Put Monica Goodling on the wheel? Absolutely. If she's going parlay her diploma from Regis University to play with the big boys, she's got to take the oath before the Senate Committee(s)! Absolutely! Bimbo Monica Lewinski had to testify. Why not legal beagle Monica Goodling, the sweet little Christian pettifogger?

Elections have consequences. March madness is over and it's time for baseball. Major League Hardball! The time for Bush leaguers is over. The rhubarb is ripe. Time for a bench clearing brawl.

April Fools Has Passed

Who's the Biggest Fool at Last?
  • Bush is impeaching himself.
  • The Executive has abdicated his diplomatic responsibilities.
  • There's a New Communicator in Town.
  • The Speaker-of-the-House is in Damascus.

wait a few seconds

Watch it now!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

April Fools!

You gotta know what's coming!