Pericles Strikes Again

"Politics cannot solve what ails Iraq now. It can help, and certainly the constitution is an important step in that direction. But at the end of the day, it’s only when the so-called dead-enders are either dead or vanquished that one can count on the political process moving decisively forward as most Iraqis desire."

Schmitt, the author of the op/ed referenced below and quoted above is boss of the "Project for the New American Century," a foundation seemingly designed to provide a final refuge for the Jacobin crowd.

This is pretty tough stuff.  I always worry when all this bloodthirsty, death and destruction language pops up in the utterances of those who wish to influence policy and who clearly did so.

This guy is one of the head Neocons.  I was on a panel yesterday in which a former NSC staffer was asked to what extent the Neocons were responsible for President Bush’s decision to go to war.  He said, "They made the Kool-aid that others drank."  Schmitt’s present opinions are clarifying with regard to the quality of the brains in the heads of the men who took us to war.  Nothing is more warlike than a civilian with a political obsession and minimal combat experience.

Contrary to popular mythology and the drivel that soldiers tell women on occasion, there are always a fair number of people in armies who are not personally averse to combat.  They are the people who keep the outfit functioning under fire.  Shh!  Don’t tell anyone!  Nevertheless, it has been my experience that most of those so blessed (or damned) are not willing to advocate an easy resort to arms.  In the years that I spent in the Pentagon, it was almost a joke that the Joint Chiefs of Staff would always advise against war when the government gave them the opportunity to advise.  "A Council of War Never Votes To Fight" is an old military aphorism and I have known it to be true. Now, in the time of Generalissimo Rumsfeld it may be different.

So what is it that this paragon of the civilian tough guy crowd has as an option for extricating ourselves from the mess that he and his pals convinced the president to create?  He says we have to fight until "the so-called dead-enders are either dead or vanquished."

What a brave soul!  "Let’s You and Him fight" might be the summation of this op/ed piece.  Political accommodation of the Sunni Arabs?  No.  A retreat from the lunacy of "One man, One vote" in an essentially tribal society?   No!  A Willingness to talk to the non-Jihadi insurgents?  No! No!

"Let’s You and Him Fight!!!"  This begins to make the idea of recruiting the "Young Republicans" as special counterinsurgency troops more and more attractive.

Yesterday Robert Kagan, who, along with Bill Cristol, advocated intervention in Iraq for years wrote a column in the Washington Post in which he essentially whined over the fact that victory has many friends but misfortune is an orphan.  Translation: People are nasty to us now and those on the Left who engaged their private obsessions on our behalf are now deserting us.  Sob…

People like Kagan schemed for a decade to achieve armed intervention in Iraq.  They wrote and caused to be passed by compliant members, the "Iraq Liberation Act" 0f 1998.  They did it "to force Clinton’s hand" on Iraq.  The staffers who did it boasted to me of their achievement at the time.  And he wants sympathy?  His column ends Thusly:

"It’s interesting to watch people rewrite history, even their own. My father recently recalled for me a line from Thucydides, which Pericles delivered to the Athenians in the difficult second year of the three-decade war with Sparta. "I am the same man and do not alter, it is you who change, since in fact you took my advice while unhurt, and waited for misfortune to repent of it.""  Schmitt

Ah, the Funeral Oration.  My Classics teachers would be glad that it is still remembered, but Pericles was a fighting man as well an orator.

My favorite part of the "Peloponesian War" has always been the "Melian Dialogue" in which Athens attacks and utterly destroys a small, harmless and neutral city state with which the Athenians had no real cause for anger.

it was just "policy" to do so, and the "greater good" of Athenian leadership of the Greek World was served.

Don’t whine!  Any of you!

Pat Lang

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20 Responses to Pericles Strikes Again

  1. Some Guy says:

    Dang Colonel, you are a great read.

  2. McGee says:

    Colonel – great piece, as always! And spot on about the PNAC and their ilk. One tiny, tiny problem with sending the “Young Republicans” into this battle to the death – the current class from Heritage is headed to New Orleans to supervise distribution of contracts for long-awaited Operation CPA II…
    Perhaps their “Young Republican Parents” could go and fight instead? More fitting, really…?

  3. wtofd says:

    “Nothing is more warlike than a civilian with a political obsession and minimal combat experience.”
    This is the root of the problem. How to fix it? Even when we did have a draft politicians were able to get their children out of it. I can’t help but ask my neocon friends, “if you support this war and this administration why don’t you enlist?”
    Short story: is a comprehensive draft without loopholes a way to keep the public wary of war and scrutinizing the administration’s rationale for war?

  4. Oh, we never thought of that: vanquishing and killing the bad guys. Now, if Schmitt can tell us where to find them, we’ll be all set.
    I’ll add Mr. Schmitt’s recommendation to Krepinevich’s “oil spot” strategy and Tom Friedman’s call for 100,000 more troops in Iraq. More woulda, shoulda (maybe not coulda).
    Meanwhile, I stay in bed later, behind sandbags – too many bangs and crumps in the morning lately.

  5. It’s a bad day here today. I was worried about our grounds and cleaning crew in that big Kadimiya bomb, but they seem to be all here.
    Like a big bomb every hour, yesterday morning and today.

  6. Pat Lang says:

    I didn’t realize you were still there.
    Anyone with guts enough to be there has my respect.

  7. RM says:

    You probably didn’t hear the other shoe drop. We don’t have worry about the availability of the Young Republicans to bolster the ranks of future Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) because the Generalissimo Rumsfeld has allegedly instituted planning for preemptive nuclear attacks. The BCTs will just do the mopping up. My question is where the preemptive attacks will occur: Iran, China, North Korea, Venezuela, or are we just going to nuke those pesky insurgents in Iraq until they glow?

  8. searp says:

    I don’t get it. Hasn’t politics been the linchpin of our strategy since the departure of Bremer? Don’t we measure “progress” with political milestones?
    If we are reverting to a strategy that envisions killing all the bad guys, then we are reverting to a quagmire.

  9. Pat Lang says:

    Good Idea. How do you get to and from the airport?

  10. Pat Lang says:

    Draftees don’t run wars or originate them.
    Politicians are supposed to know better than this. pl

  11. Col.,
    Convoy with armored bus and Apache coverage or helicopter is only way to or from BIAP.

  12. Pat Lang says:

    Saigon was easier.

  13. Col., yes from the movies it looked like a lot of fun compared to this place.
    I was talking to a Vietnam vet here, asked him which was the spookier, more shadowy war, he said “this place, no question.”
    But I used to go out in town unarmed, single vehicle up until Jan 04.

  14. ked says:

    Great analysis (as always), however, you missed Schmitt’s subtle clue on the strategy shift to a Neo 30 Years War, or in the vein of “we had to destroy the village to save it”, to get the Dead-enders, we will produce Endless Dead.

  15. Pat Lang says:

    thought I had beaten him up enough. pl

  16. Pat Lang says:

    when I got to town I would drive around or take a cab to my favorite French and Chinese restaurants.

  17. wtofd says:

    Colonel, I understand the draftees neither start nor run wars. Clearly the politicians do not know better. That is why I wonder if there was a draft w/o loopholes, which brought men and women from every level of America into the military, would this keep public opinion and Congress strong enough to hinder the neocons.

  18. Pat Lang says:

    there has neve been such a draft here or anywhere else.
    The children of the poor fight whether voluntaruly recruited or not.

  19. wtofd says:

    Got it. Thanks.

  20. Mr.Murder says:

    Bush’s Saigon chopper moment was copters getting swarmed outside the Superdome…
    Swear it was like deja-vu. Only I was a small lad at the time and wondered why people were hanging onto the bottom of it…
    Then again I thought Gerald Ford(Warren Commission) was a nice guy just after that. What did a six year old know? Aside from how to buy a folder from a junior high kid for a dime because it had cursive on it, and write the letters for the alphabet only to have a teacher take it away in class… then as today , print was simply boring…
    I didn’t know what the word F-U-C-K meant at the time, but learned to spell it in cursive.
    Ford was Cheney’s first puppet. A F-U-C-K face who still obstructs justice to this day(refused to show birthday invitation in an ethics, securities background vettings scam).
    I knew what the word meant by seeing Ford’s administration, and never really was familiar with the term. Such a time of fornication helped birth the infrastructure that produced an AWOL president at a later time.
    Perhaps the same could have been said in other times, but I don’t know that much greek, so please pardon my french.
    Venezuela was a plan to go covert against. A guy who gets elected by democratic means and a true majority vote, we can’t have that. No matter what President and distinguished Naval Officer(Ret.) Jimmy Carter has to say about it being an honest process.
    Wait until the next news cycle, Carter’s passing, and the short term reich wingers will resume the press campaign Condie Rice continued stridently in the wake of her lost coup with venture backing(Kissinger at GH Venture Partners included).
    You know Exxon has its eye there and awaits the opportunity to take over…
    As for dead-enders, well that’s another man’s term for the word ‘mercenaries’. We’ve replaced draftees with a different segment.
    There was some guy with Iraqi colors on , sounding like he was speaking Latin, on the 150-dead plus bombing spree news that we talked about a day and a half before CBS and their ilk showed it…
    Let me guess- they call random mass bombings “Bremer Bingo” in da zone…
    As for Smith, if anyone was ever fit for a noose…

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