’41 did not know about Gates.

For all those enamored of the ’41 is "comin’ to town" school of future history, I offer the factoid that Brit Hume announced on FNS today that GHW Bush did not know anything about Gates’ appointment as SECDEF until called about it on the day of junior’s announcement of the appointment.

Now maybe you don’t like Hume? Plausible..  He reminds me a bit of John Wayne, another media hawk, who portrayed a real fighter but never served.

On the same program Bartlett, the White House talking dog, firmly defended the administration’s present course of action in Iraq.

Hume may not be a nice man.  (He snarls a lot), but does anyone doubt his connection to the Bush ’43 White House?

Folks,  it undoubtedly is the hope, plan and aspiration of well meaning people that pressure and adult advice will cause the Decider to decide differently, but that is a futile hope.  People who think that junior will change his position or that he can be prevented from following his present course mistake him and need to study the Constitution.

Unless some catastrophe intervenes, two years from now we will still be fighting in Iraq with much the same number  of forces, and by then decline will have set in at home and abroad in ways that can only be hinted at now.

People in the Washington/New York establishment act and talk as though the Iraq problem is an American political problem and that the Iraqis and other Muslims are acted upon rather than being actors in the drama.  McCain said today on MTP that al-Maliki " has to understand," and that he "has to" to do this or that.  Well, in fact al-Maliki is just one of the players in the ethnic, factional and sectarian struggle for Iraq, and lacks both the power or the will to do anything except work toward the Shia domination of as much of Iraq as the Shia can hang on to.  Bartlett referred today on FNS to the "sovereign government of Iraq."  Well, they may be sovereign, but they are not the sovereign government of Iraq.

Pat Lang

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36 Responses to ’41 did not know about Gates.

  1. arbogast says:

    The reason I was asking my cousin about buying real estate in Uraguay or Argentina is that I was really worried about nuclear fallout in the Northern Hemisphere from the combined Israeli/American air attack on Iran.
    I hope, I pray, that that particular fantasy of the decider’s has abated.
    The war in Iraq is a political disaster for the Republicans. I really wonder how long they will permit it to continue.

  2. semper fubar says:

    Another, perhaps more likely, possibility is that Bush The Lesser is royally pissed that everyone in the entire country is laughing at him now that Poppy just swooped in to bail him out and clean up the mess one more time. Hume is just doing his bidding by trying to spread the absurd idea that nominating Gates was all The Idiot Son’s idea. Right.

  3. Duncan Kinder says:

    People in the Washington/New York establishment act and talk as though the Iraq problem is an American political problem and that the Iraqis and other Muslims are acted upon rather than being actors in the drama.
    This is central – and gives rise to the question of what – if anything – at this late date could possibly done to prevent the upcoming train wreck – even if somehow the Washington establishment has the will and the wisdom to do that.
    Or has the United States entirely been overtaken by circumstances which now are beyond its control?

  4. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Nope. “W” got rid of Rummy becasue he was a PR problem in dealing with the peblic’s displeasure.
    “W” got rid of him because “W” intends to continue the same policy in Iraq.
    If you think “W” is stupid, you have missed it. pl

  5. John says:

    Does this statement describe anyone you know:
    Odds are you’ve run across one of these characters in your career. They’re glib, charming, manipulative, deceitful, ruthless — and very, very destructive. And there may be lots of them in America’s corner offices.

  6. Marcello says:

    “The reason I was asking my cousin about buying real estate in Uraguay or Argentina is that I was really worried about nuclear fallout in the Northern Hemisphere from the combined Israeli/American air attack on Iran.”
    That’s a non issue.A few nuclear bombs (if that is what you meant) going off over Iran will have a negligible effect on world scale. Certainly the dozens of atmospheric nuclear tests carried out in Nevada were not the end of the USA.

  7. Walrus says:

    Col. Lang,
    I think that the President is up that river in Egypt “De Nile” about the reality of Iraq.
    This reality has been carefully shaped by Cheney, Rumsfeld, and a host of others, PNAC, AIPAC, Israel and so on. A lot of people invested a lot of treasure and careers to get Bush into Iraq.
    For the record, this “reality” can be summed up as perpetual war by the west against an amorphous muslim terrorist army financed by the country, or organisation, of your choice. Add some evangelical crap about “end times” for spice.
    You can hear this reality in Bush’s stump speaches before the election, you can hear it every day on FoxNews (Did you know that we our soldiers were in Iraq “Fighting for our freedom????), you can see it in those helpful little thinkpieces in the right wing press inciting hatred, ridicule, and contempt for Islam and those who practice it, for example how female circumcision is a muslim thing (its actually an African thing).
    My major concern is that these people are not going to let their investment in “The Decider” go under without a fight, and its going to happen very, very, soon, before the real “reality” can jam its foot in the Whitehouse door and prise it open.
    Now we get Jungian, Bush Jr. has been in his fathers shadow almost all his life. He is still competing with his father deep within his psyche. For Bush Jr. to be seen to accept advice or instruction from his father is actually death to him. I hope and pray Bush Jr. has not seen the cover of Newsweek with its headline “Father Knows Best.” it will send him into orbit.
    So what happens when one is confronted with the ultimate psychological dilemma – being in a “place” where you cannot stay but cannot leave? Bush is going to look anywhere and everywhere for a way out.
    The “best” thing that could happen to Bush Jr. psychologically right now would be for Iran to attack U.S. assets, after which he can easily deflect his fathers attentions and resume his persona as a “War President”, say “I told you so, I was right all along” and drag Congress and the American people along with him into war with Iran.
    The temptation for Israel to mount a false flag operation against American ships in the Gulf and blame it on Iran must be overwhelming right now. They’ve done it before.

  8. sbj says:

    While I don’t necessarily think “W” is “stupid” per se, I do see him as posessessed of the sort of aggressive ignorance, the weaponized ignorance, typical of petulant narcissists whose delusions of grandeur blind them to reality.
    And if this is an accurate take on the “Decider’s” pathology, he becomes vulnerable to the machinations of anyone clever enough to get him to believe his “legacy” will be better served by implementing one strategy over another.
    Maybe I’m naive, but I think Cheney and his Jacobin horde have been the main voices in “W’s” ear since they rode into The White House with him, but now it does seem that the Baker,Scowcroft gang might be trumping the Cheney dogma in a way that will appeal to someone with the cognitive and emotional problems Mr. Bush exhibits on a regular basis.
    I agree that James Baker, et al are not likely to offer a plan for Iraq that appears to be, on the surface, too different from “W’s” stubborn, “stay the course” mantra, but I do think that if Baker stays on top of things and replaces Cheney as primary advisor, at least the military assault against Iran will be sidelined, and some sort of regional cooperation amongst Iraq’s neighbors might be pursued with the intent of protecting themselves from the effects of Iraq’s further descent into chaos and civil war.
    I think Baker & Co. might be able to convince “W” such ideas are worth pursuing, even if they have to do it by appealing to his ego. (And if Baker draws Rice to his side of the table on these matters I suspect his hand will be strengthened considerably.)

  9. arbogast says:

    “A few nuclear bombs”
    With an Iranian civilian population suffering from radiation burns streaming over its borders, I honestly wonder how long Pakistan (which has just bombed a school and killed school children based on “American intelligence”) can stay out of the conflict. Pakistan has nuclear weapons, if I recall. Marcello, I believe you are being a tiny bit too “surgical” in saying this is a non-issue. And think what the response of Europe would be. Do you believe that Europe will rattle its sabers on the side of the US/Israel? Guess again.
    Ah, the Walrus. The Israeli’s are nuts. Completely bat[rhmes with sit] nuts. They are capable of anything, because they believe they are incapable of being in the wrong. And they must realize that their last chance with the US is rapidly approaching. So, yes, Sr. Walrus. You may be right.
    And all this in the context of American Jewish voters (who clearly do not share the psychosis of AIPAC or the Israeli government) voting overwhelmingly for Democrats in the election.
    What a world!

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    My impression is that there is absolutely no Muslim government that has trust in USG policies; there is tremendous amount of confusion among friend and foe regarding the “true” intentions of USG.
    The attitude that Col. Lang is describing is not confined to Iraq; it covers all of the Near Eastern and North African states,

  11. zanzibar says:

    “Unless some catastrophe intervenes, two years from now we will still be fighting in Iraq with much the same number of forces, and by then decline will have set in at home and abroad in ways that can only be hinted at now.” – PL
    I couldn’t agree more.
    Notice that the newly elected Democrats are looking for political cover from ISG. Jim Baker aint going to propose something the Decider does not want. He is not going to embarass the Decider. Withdrawing from Iraq would be a personal failure for the Decider. He is not going to agree to that. Using PL’s yardstick during the IDF-HA conflict, if US forces leave the Iraq battlefield wihout any kind of domestic settlement in Iraq it will be considered defeat by everyone. I am convinced that we will be in Iraq in 2008 and the Democrats will now also get the blame and the American people will be more frustrated with a pox on both houses attitude.
    In addition we are going to witness a major cutback by the American consumer who have financed their profligate spending on the back of the housing ATM and increased debt. Home equity withdrawal has already collapsed in the past year. The Federal Reserve is reporting a near $400 billion reduction on an annualized basis – that’s big money. Additionally the US consumer have increased their debt levels by nearly three times over the last 15 years to over $12 trillion with mortgages representing a significant portion of that debt. As the housing market cools that ATM spigot will be shutting down and the mortagage debt will look more onerous relative to newly repriced lower housing values. Add to that GDP growth rate is decelerating rapidly from 5.5% in the first quarter to 1.6% in the third quarter and we are possibly looking at the first consumer-led recession since 1991 in the near future. We know what that did to GHWB.
    The next 2 years will be a period of major discontent for the average American. I think new politicians like Jim Webb are accurately capturing this oncoming angst wave with a message of economic fairness and redefinition of American foreign and defense policy. Only time will tell how America deals with these challenges.

  12. John Howley says:

    When Nixon went haywire, the healthy bits of the Establishment conspired to bring him down.
    Could it happen again?
    Oops! Sorry, I forgot who the Number Two is.
    Forget I said anything…

  13. matt says:

    Iwould love to see someone…(anyone!) get on one of those talking heads shows and state with the same clarity and focus, the reality of the situation in Iraq. References to the “soveriegn” government & the like, sound increasingly like pure fantasy. The closest I have heard (on TV)was former Ambassador Peter Galbraith’s analysis. His point of view is essentially that Iraq has already begun to disintegrate and that kind of perspective would make our boy-king place his fingers in his ears and make silly noises – or something like that ….

  14. Marcello says:

    “Pakistan has nuclear weapons, if I recall.”
    50-60 or something like that.Even if they use some of them it would still be a non issue in terms of contamination on a global scale.They will probably use fewer than the soviets did to see if nuclear explosion were a workable way to dig canals.
    “Marcello, I believe you are being a tiny bit too “surgical” in saying this is a non-issue.”
    Nuclear fallout beyond the region would be a non issue. Everything else would be hell of course.

  15. lightflyer says:

    I am not sure why you have to introduce nukes over Iran to have a lot of bad things in your future. In no particular order: Pakistan is on the cusp; Afghanistan is set on a downward spiral and the West is going to run out of enthusiasm before long; Iraq (remember Iraq?) is nowhere yet near really bad and the US hasn’t even left yet; think of the breakup of Iraq and imbroglios on every border starting perhaps with a Turkish-Kurdish war; Saudi Arabia wobbling; hurt, damaged, shamed and enraged Arabs and Muslims worldwide (and they know where you live), and so on, etc, etc.
    No, nukes are unnecessary. Remember, less is more. The American President (and thus the United States of America) is doing quite well without nukes.

  16. Frank Durkee says:

    Asd he has done domestically, so also in foreighn affairs, Bush has set the curse for the future even after he leaves. Lik it or not his foreign policy has many of the same attributes ass his domestic policy which is to ‘kill the [Mew Deal ] beast], so also inf foreign policy it is to move out of the ‘realist’ position into a situation of dramitic change in the Near East and other areas of the world. At bes all that can be done now is to pick up the pieces and hope that the damage is not too great. Like it or not he has set the agenda for the near term future both in the US and the world. This I think cincious and planned, part of his wanting to be a dramatic and reveloutionary leader.

  17. Charlie Green says:

    I found a news article from the AP which actually outlined all the players in Iraq. Amazing!
    (The original URL is so long it truncates in the preview; use the two halves in the second one to find the story.)
    I agree with Col. Lang about the [non]consequences of the election on WH policies (in Iraq or anywhere else). My perception is that Rummy offered to resign one too many times and W said “Yes.”. Maybe Rove or another moron suggested he do so.
    To characterize this whole thing (like progressives and other groups have been doing) as 41 intervening is an error, I think. He and Bill C. are having too much fun to be concerned. 🙂
    The Colonel is right: we’re doomed to another two years of Iraq death and destruction. Unless the circumstances there make us extraneous. A not unlikely prospect.

  18. different clue says:

    It is good to be reminded
    that the Iraqis are independent actors here.
    One thing we can do, and
    others have put this better,
    is to renounce the permanent
    bases, renounce the Green Zone Embassy, announce that
    we accept whatever approach
    Iraqis take towards oil ownership and oil contracts,
    including cancellation of PSAs and re-nationalization
    of the oilfields. Senator
    elect Webb has already said
    we should renounce the permanent bases. If he can
    get other Democrats in the
    next Congress to pass Sense-of-the-Senate and Sense-of-the-House Resolutions supporting all these renunciations, the Sunni Insurgents, at least, might
    respond positively. If the
    Congress could announce that, seeing as the President tricked the Congress into voting under
    false pretenses for the Authorization of Force; the
    Congress hereby, now knowing
    what the true pretenses are,
    votes to cancel, null out, and render void the Authorization of Force. Such a cancellation could be
    a first step to shutting down the Iraq effort, which
    would stimulate the KurdiShia Bloc to begin good
    faith negotiations with the
    Sunni Bloc to share power, oil, money, etc.
    About Israel staging a false-flag attack on American forces to get America to attack Iran; even
    if they want to, how could
    they reach the Persiarabian
    Gulf? Just as likely, to my
    mind, would be for President
    Bush to order the false-flag
    attack his own self, with
    some kind of parallel forces, either mercenaries
    or other. There is precedent. The Hitler Nazi
    regime staged such a false
    flag attack at Gleiwitz. Or
    the Bush regime could simply
    order certain parts of our
    naval or other forces to violate Iranian airspace and
    waterspace so brazenly and
    repeatedly that Iran is forced to respond. And Bush
    would simply lie about the
    reason for the Iranian response, in a Gulf of Tonkin Incident manner.
    I believe I remember reading that once Hitler realized Germany was defeated, he wanted Germany
    destroyed for being unworthy
    and unable of fulfilling his
    vision of its destiny, and
    his own. President Bush may
    well be inhabiting this sort
    of headspace. He may already be planning to destroy as much of America as he can, in revenge for us
    not giving him his Great Victory, and for voting against him this election.

  19. Dave says:

    “When Nixon went haywire, the healthy bits of the Establishment conspired to bring him down.
    Could it happen again?”
    Funny thing, I just read a pretty good article talking about that.
    Survivor: The White House Edition
    The article is at Vanity Fair. Here’s a smaller URL.
    As with Vietnam, so with Iraq: in the last act of a failed war the backstage action is about saving reputations, not lives. The flurry of exits, finger-pointing, and self-justification exploited by Bob Woodward leaves just three men to blame: Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. Which is where Henry Kissinger, the master survivor, comes in.
    And yes, the author argues:
    [..]Cheney is the new Nixon.
    It’s Kissinger, it’s got to be Kissinger, who tells Bush what he’s got to do with Cheney.
    Cheney, in this respect, is such a gift. Born to be hated. He might even willingly—given his dystopian personality—take the fall. He resigns—his hundred heart attacks could be the gentle cover. But it’s clear: the war’s on him. It’s his mistake. (Since we’ve regarded him as a virtual president anyway, we ought to accept his leave-taking as a virtual impeachment and removal.) McCain is nominated to replace Cheney as V.P. The Republicans go wild because they have a presidential contender in the White House (likewise, the Democrats might not be so unhappy to have McCain suddenly stuck with Iraq). The smarty-media pendulum swings (or at least hesitates) because McCain is McCain and because he might be the next president. A big conference of Arabs is convened. McCain heads a blue-ribbon delegation to Iraq (Powell comes back for this), which determines that the Iraqis are ready to handle their own security. We cut and run, declaring victory.
    And Bush can go to China, or North Korea. With Kissinger.
    The end in Iraq may not yet be near, but it is ordained.

  20. little blue hen says:

    I’m more interested in finding out how Mr. Gates might affect any future plans for Iran – thought I read somewhere that he believes in talking to them. If that is true it would certainly be a relief. And publicly, at least, W. hasn’t really stuck his neck out on Iran (that is, locked us into a particular course of action), so perhaps he won’t be as stubborn?

  21. jang says:

    “Shock and Awe”:mesmerize the peasants with your firepower. Accept looting: “free people are free to do bad things”. Remove the former army command structure. Decide that insufficient troops are plenty to do the job if used efficiently. Spend, spend, spend on a Kubla Khan palace of a USA embassy while there is insufficient water and uncertain electrical power for others: the people of Iraq to whom the gift of freedom is being given. Oh yes, it’s time for you to stand up now. Reminds one of the book “Lord of the Flies” by William Fielding where society descends into chaos after the veneer of civilization is ripped away. God love our soldiers in the middle of it all. In retrospect it becomes some mad Darwinian experiment perpetrated on the people of Iraq or a Creationism experiment that has escaped the lab and blown up the building. Survival of the Fittest”orchestrated in part by a man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth whose most difficult battle was putting down the bottle .

  22. taters says:

    The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.
    Ex.-Lieut.-Col. T.E. Lawrence,
    The Sunday Times, 22 August 1920
    We need you more now more than ever, Col. Lang.

  23. anna missed says:

    So, Bush is now polling at 29%, post election. “Big Daddy” Bush makes the cover of Newsweek magazine, posing as “Big Daddy” with little Brick sulking in the background. The Iraq Study Group has reemerged from its pre-election ruse status and lives on as either an exploding victory cigar for the democrats or a hickory switch for little Brick, or perhaps both. But one things for sure, this aint no study group. At least from the Iraqi perspective — and because of that, it really has nothing to do with Iraq perse. Like Vernon Jordan, Sandra Day O’Connor, or Rudolph Giuliani knows squat about Iraq — sure, how to fix Iraq? Lets ask Ed Meese, I bet he’ll know what to do. Jesus. No way never. No. This “sudy group” is nothing less than a political intervention, an overacted and acting out melodrama version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Complete with sanctamonious soliloquies delivered and deliberated upon in the media, all with the requisit grave seriousness. After all, reputations are at stake, ideology is at stake, shit, maybe even the old plantation itself is at stake. And like Cat, they will drill and poke through, just enough of it, the mile deep sludge layer of self obsession and denial built up by the whole families work in Iraq, to reveal just enough of the horror created, to facilitate what might begin to look like a sober re-assessment. What might look like a fresh start. Big Daddy and Brick will go into the basement for a real heart to heart, and maybe discover one another. But what they won’t discover, even if the ISG pulls Brick back into the family fold — is that none of this passion play has a fucking thing to do with what happens in Iraq, and everything to do with how we see it, by not seeing it.

  24. arbogast says:

    Why don’t we hear about the United Nations?
    The UN is the only way out of this. It is the only bandaid we have.
    But of course the reason we don’t hear about the UN is AIPAC. AIPAC and Zion hate the UN.
    So the US is trapped in a box constructed in a foreign land.

  25. Arun says:

    Olmert is visiting with a strong “don’t talk to Iran” message.

  26. Grimgrin says:

    arbogast, We don’t hear about the United Nations because they were already driven out of Iraq. The UN mission in Iraq was targeted very specifically in the early days of the insurgency, one of their top men was killed in a bombing.
    As with so much about this war, if the U.S. had done it early on, it might have worked. At least in the sense that people would now be blaming the UN for the civil war in Iraq rather than the Bush administration. Right now though? That would require John Bolton persuading the member nations of the UN to take over responsibility for a civil war in Iraq.
    I tend to think the way out involves cutting deals with Iran, Syria and Turkey. The US normalize relations with the first two, and pays off Turkey, in exchange Syria takes over security in the West, Iran takes over in the Southeast, Turkey takes over in the north, the US leaves enough mercenaries in Baghdad to keep the nominal government alive, then gets the hell out.
    This means at minimum the Kurds are going to get violently put down, Iran is going to come out of this as the clear winner, and the US has to do an embarrassing about face on Syria. Screwing over the Kurds is nothing new for the US, Iran’s already the clear winner, and America would benefit from having the Syrian intelligence services on side when they get back to fighting Al Queda.

  27. ikonoklast says:

    Not that there’s any trust to be put in the ISG – who knows what half-Bakered recommendations or cheap bandaids they’ll come up with – but Bush Secundus has a history of being bailed out of trouble by Daddy and his friends. His oil companies, his baseball team, his DUI’s and coke problems … all of them fixed by the grownups, leaving him free for further adventures.
    It will be interesting to see his reaction now that the bad boy has the indisputable upper hand. His longterm track record says he’ll roll over and obey. But now that he has his own gang, his new buddies – the neocons, Cheney, Rove et. al. – it may be his best chance to give the final finger to the old man.
    An interesting psychodrama, for sure, but one that is unlikely to affect affairs in Iraq much. As so many have pointed out here, the actors in the Mideast have broken from the US script to take affairs in hand for themselves – regardless of our blathering about “what they have to do.” Do as we say or what? We’ll leave them alone with a civil war and insurrection? HAHAHAHA!!!

  28. arbogast says:

    Grimgrin, don’t you realize that what you have described is more of the same?
    It is a unilateral solution: The US normalize relations with the first two, and pays off Turkey, in exchange Syria takes over security in the West, Iran takes over in the Southeast, Turkey takes over in the north, the US leaves enough mercenaries in Baghdad to keep the nominal government alive, then gets the hell out.
    You want to form a mini-UN composed of the US, Iran, Syria, and Turkey…and, of course, with the US pulling the strings. Get serious.

  29. JD says:

    Meanwhile, Judy Miller is back and is worried about the state of journalism, re:bloggers, among other things:
    DKos has a hilarious diary up on it too.

  30. Walrus says:

    With the greatest of respect, most pundits, and the very occasional poster here, are making the assumption that we still have a choice about what happens in Iraq and can make decisions that will affect outcomes.
    I would suggest that this is untrue, except in the negative sense that our actions can make things infinitely worse for Iraq and ourselves. There are simply no good choices.
    Grimgrin’s solution is about the only option that makes sense to me. For that to succeed, Bush Jr. will have to be muzzled and kept on a short leash. Bolten must be removed. AIPAC and Israel will have to be shown the door. We will then have to engage in serious and professional diplomacy with Syria, Iran, Turkey and the U.N. in a constructive manner not seen since the end of the cold war. There must be a major reduction in military spending. A stake must be placed through the heart of the PNAC as well, after which we can begin a sober debate about what America’s priorities and vision should be. Where should America be in 50 years? What should it look like?
    If these things do not come to pass, I believe there is a real chance America will disintegrate within about five years because we are simply not concentrating on what needs to be done at home. If we bomb Iran, or we have a 1918 style Birdflu pandemic, or the American Economy melts down, Iraq will look like a sideshow.

  31. Grimgrin says:

    arbogast, I probably should have made it clearer, but when I said ‘get the hell out’ I understood it to mean that the US would be ceding any influence over Iraq to Syria, Iran and Turkey. The US would not be pulling any strings, it’d be attempting to cut them altogether.

  32. mlaw230 says:

    Colonel Lang: What do you suggest has a chance of success?
    How do we at least mitigate the disaster? I understand your skepticism regarding the “decider” but simply accepting the disastrous status quo is untenable. We simply have no other moral choice but to try and make it work while we have young men dieing in our name.
    My hope is that Dubya will will attempt to salvage his reputation by “going to China” in the form of Iran, but I am not hopeful that the present administration would be able to pull it off.
    Generally, impeachment is a distraction that solves no problem, but in this case, if he will not change course, out of pure stubborness, than he ought to be impeached, and I think the American people would support it.
    I also wish that our General Staff and civilian leadership had a tradition of resigning in protest rather than lieing on command and writing “I told him so” books later.
    If our efforts are worth the life of a single soldier, why are they not also worth the career of a flag officer?

  33. confusedponderer says:

    considering the utter silence and cowardice of democrats in congress, a case for impeachment based on the war in Iraq would not only be a distraction but dishonest. It could be about the unitary executive excesses. In that case it would be a great response. But even with a principled case like that we’d again face the problem of complicity and cowardice.
    Also impeachment is counter-productive, it would give the GOP a chance to protray critique aimed at Dear Leader as part of a purely partisan campaign, aimed on avenging Clinton. No thank you. It would poison the political landscape for another 15 years. The whole process would see the GOP and Dems alike fiddling while Rome is burning.
    To me there is no question Iraq is lost, and beyond US control. The problem US leaders have now, is who will be to blame for ‘losing Iraq’. Bush will not accept that stigma (just think how it would look in the history books, where the deaths in Iraq will be all but a ‘comma’), nor will the Democrats, who do not want to go the 2008 elections as ‘weak on defense’, ‘weak on terror’. That means there will be some ‘compromise’, and the decision on how the US will deal with the failure in Iraq will not be before 2008. Until then the US politicos of both parties will continue throw good money after bad money, and lives into the bonfire, rather than face an inconvenient reality.
    Amazingly, politicos like McCain still utter entertaining nonsense like ‘Maliki has to understand …’ or ‘the next six months will be crucial’ (so were the last 30 or so months), just as if the US had any control over where Iraq will levitate to.
    It could well be that the decision how to deal will not have been take out of their hands till then completely. If Bush’s stance toward Iran won’t change, things may go the road to war on their own steam. Now that would take things out of US hands. It will be the greatest rout for the US since the Chinese intervention in the Korean War.

  34. Coming to grips with losing a war

    He’s referring in particular to the Maliki government in Baghdad. But it could also be a reminder that the enemy also has a say in the outcome of the war. It would not be a good thing if the discussion of a new policy in Iraq makes the assumption tha…

  35. walrus says:

    Confused Ponderer, with the greatest of respect, I suggest you are falling into the trap of seeing Iraq as a domestic political problem.
    You also say “Until then the US politicos of both parties will continue throw good money after bad money, and lives into the bonfire, rather than face an inconvenient reality.”
    What if we are overtaken by events and the Iraqis succeed in defeating us militarily on the ground?
    There is this constant assumption that the U.S. military cannot be defeated militarily and forced to retreat out of Iraq that underlines all comment from both Left and right.
    I believe it is important to challenge that opinion, because in my opinion, 140,000 soldiers cooped up in firebases and the Green zone, are extremely vulnerable, especialy if, as I suspect, they have been ordered to minimize casualties, and as a result are not aggressively patrolling around their bases on foot.
    If bad weather makes close air support difficult or impossible and the insurgents can get some heavier weapons, there could be a tragedy. 140,000 troops are not enough.
    P.S. The Democrats are spineless about Iraq because they are owned more than the Republicans by AIPAC. They will be spineless about Iran in due course.

  36. confusedponderer says:

    of course Iraq is NOT a domestic political problem. My view is just that the DC crowd treats it that way.
    The worst consequences for the US are not domestic but about their international standing and leverage and ultimately about their influence. The DC elites should consider whether the current US global position of dominance is at risk. I think so, and sadly, that’s mostly self inflicted. I’ll get back to that.
    And at home … the whole Iraq war domestically was more about propaganda but about substance. Only the dribble of bad news and lack of credible success eventually deflated the Bush crew’s propaganda bubble. That is, Bush probably defeated himself by losing Iraq. In the essence, the war was made a GOP vessel to boost presidential popularity (carrier landings and other PR stunts with the troops everyone?). Now they got the bill. The degree to which foreign policy had a domestic aspect is, probably thanks to Mr. Rove, unprecedented.
    The other domestic effects, the steady dribble of US casualties, and the deficit, will be painfully notable on a national scale only in a while. Till then, it’s easy to fiddle, to pick up my earlier metaphor. Already the GOP is back into little plays like recess appointing Bolton again, in the knowledge he will fail, and to then be able to pin it on the Dems – accusing them of being obstructive. And a walking dead Bolton will be waited out in New York until he gets the boot. That are all domestic games with foreign policy.
    And then there is the superpower complex. I have the impression that politicos of both parties still like to think that the US are, in virtual perpetuity, “the only superpower left”. The people in DC seem to really believe they can steer Iraq. They are mistaken. The US’ unique position after the end of the cold war aside – that dream of guaranteed US possession of virtually inviolable global dominance was just driven into a brick wall by Bush.
    The US’ formerly overwhelming degree of global power and leverage is quite literally a thing of the past. And worse, I doubt it can be restored. I have even greater doubts that this is fully understood in DC.

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