John in the Boro wrote this to comment on “Temporary Friends” and one of Jonst’s thoughts on that piece. I think this comment conveys something that is key to the discussion. pl
Methinks the dog hath caught his tail. Pray he does not choke upon it.
Jonst writes: “Sure, go ahead and use whomever, if it will get us out sooner and safer. It might be asked however, whether announcing, and acknowledging, indeed, trumpeting, this apparent change of ‘stomach’ is helpful, in the utilitarian sense, to the ostensibly desired goal. But in any event the deed is done. And lets leave it to ‘dextox counselors to point out delicious irony of having those, who assured us of a connection between Saddam, and his sunni tribal kin, with AQ, now pay said same kin, essentially, to go after the so called AQ of Mesopotamia.
That recognition of that irony (to the extent they are capable of recognizing irony in general) will however, make for a long stay in detox I suspect.”
The comment I made refers to the disconnect of whatever it is that the Bush administration is trying to accomplish in Iraq and what the military in Iraq does to implement that vision. It seems to me that the military has been chasing a rather ambiguous, ideologically framed, goal (the dog’s tail aka Bush’s vision). When the military fastens on an operational or tactical strategy, the strategy comes up short back in DC. It must be exasperating for the military to have a boss who says, “I don’t know what I want exactly, but I’ll recognize it when I see it”
(choking on the tail). jonst touches this in his comments. The efforts of the military in Iraq to find common ground with Sunni tribes against foreign fighters is another instance of the military adopting a strategy—a praiseworthy effort in my opinion—that would mesh nicely with a wide range of other actions, political and military. The question for me is does this comport with “the whole neocon thesis about the Middle East?” That thesis is long on “Calvinist [Straussian] assumptions” and short on pragmatism, realism, ground truth, and transparency. Will the “commander guy” allow the military commanders on the ground to continue dealing with the tribes, or will he and his entourage denounce the action and impose another catchy slogan? Mind you, I am not a member of the “stabbed in the back” gang. I think Bush’s administration has made a mess out of our foreign relations and has not been forthright in its actions. The military has been given an endless mission in Iraq.
Your post “Temporary Friends” expresses thoughts that most probably are spoken in Iraq.”