Hunt_scapegoat Listening to the discussion in the Fox News Sunday panel today it was clear that General John Abizeid is going to be scapegoated for failure and embarrassment in Iraq.  Casey was probably also a candidate for the "honor" but he seems to have jumped on the "surger" bandwagon quickly enough to save himself.  Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, the corps commander in Iraq is said to be "on board" as well, but, then he has a track record from his  previous service in Iraq.  He likes force, massive force and lots of it.  If you doubt that, read about him in Tom Ricks’ book, "Fiasco."

"Security" is clearly going to be the theme of the "surger" campaign in 2007.  "Security" achieved by attempting to destroy the Sunni insurgents in the Baghdad region will be the goal.  The "surgers" believe that when that happens, the government of Iraq will become viable and the Shia will disband their militias from a lack of need.  There appears to be a small area of disagreement among the "surgers" as to whether or not it will be necessary along the way to forcibly disarm the Mahdi Army, but time will tell.

It has become an article of faith amongst the faithful to believe that Syria is somehow, magically, sustaining the Sunni insurgencies in Iraq and that removal of the Assad government will cause the insurgents to disappear, more withering away.  To that end the removal of that government will remain at the top of the Bush Administration’s program.

Iran, ah, yes…. 


The Miami Herald has printed a new version of the piece I wrote with Ray McGovern a few days ago.

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18 Responses to Scapegoat

  1. arbogast says:

    It would seem to me, and perhaps to you, Colonel Lang judging by your Iranian ellipsis, that the surge is going to have to be accompanied by an extensive bombing campaign against Iran.
    Am I correct?
    A casus belli. That’s what Bush and Cheney desperately need. Look how long 9/11 has propped them up. They must pray for another 9/11 every night. Even on Christmas Eve.

  2. jonst says:

    Their ignorance, arrogance, and lack of honor, leave me speechless PL. Other, that is, than to wish you and family a peaceful and happy holiday.

  3. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Ah, yes, escalation to nowhere with no strategic gain; hasn’t work for Israel since 2000 – doubtful it would work better for US.
    On the other hand, it might be that the President’s real policy is to do nothing while appearing to be doing something – in Iraq, in North Korea, and in Iran. In otherwords, no substantive modifications of the current existing situations is contemplated – leave it all to the next President to sort out.

  4. VietnamVet says:

    Colonel; an excellent editorial.
    No one has dared tell the Emperor or his Serfs the terrible costs of the Surge in troops in Mesopotamia in lives, treasury or retribution for generations to come. And, all for nothing.

  5. Got A Watch says:

    Excellent analysis as usual – wonder what Bush loyalists in Florida make of your piece there – must be choking on their cornflakes this morning.
    Questions: how will Saudi Arabia respond to the “surge” hammering their Sunni brethren in Iraq? How does the “surge” deal with al-Sadr, since he seems (on latest reports) to remain solidly in the Iraqi governing coalition with Sistani’s blessing – do they attack part of the “allied government” (which part?), or go it alone and ignore the Maliki government altogether? Seems there is a widening rift between the present Maliki coalition and the Bushies – time for a “coup” to install the “strongman”?
    No matter which way you look at it, it spells major disaster soon to me, and another year of war, death and destruction for Iraqis, and the unfortunate US servicemen tasked to carry out such idiotic orders. The ramifications are mind-boggling. And somewhere in a cave Osama is laughing louder than ever.

  6. Les Izmore says:

    Why have these military men so completely subjugated themselves to the Bush-Cheny-Rumsfeld cabal? Now that the stink of an ignominious defeat is in the air they are being stabbed in the back by men who never served a day in combat. They are being set up to take the blame for a failure to execute the war properly, a lack of resolve on their part. Are they really the weak kneed incompetents that they are going end up being portrayed as? I don’t think so. How could they allow their good names to be put to such shallow uses? It seemed obvious from the start that the intention of the ‘deciders’ was to ignore the advice of the educated experienced commanders while putting the ultimate responsibility squarely on their shoulders. What did they gain from being used in such a cavalier manner? There were many, many people who acurately foretold the tragic outcome of this adventurist fiasco from the days shortly after 9/11 and the declaration of the “War on Terror.” It was obvious from the start that this ‘war’ would be used as a springboard to insert our armed forces into the middle of the Middle East with very predictable results. Outside of craven submission to authority what were the causes of the military leadership’s unflagging cheerleading and overly optimistic forecasts? Are these people really that shortsighted and unaware or is there a deeper motive and strategy that we haven’t tumbled to yet?

  7. Tim Ryder says:

    With regard to the sudden urge to surge among our three and four star officers. Are there any active duty four star officers who were not appointed to that rank by this regime? Any three star officers? Are there any senior officers, other than Peter Pace, who actually served on the ground in Vietnam?
    LtGen. Odierno must be one of the junior three stars in the Army and has a reputation as a brutal occupation commander. In my opinion a poor choice for his new job.
    Tim Ryder

  8. Matthew says:

    If we commit these troops, suffer substantial casualities, and it doesn’t work, what is Plan B?
    What will Bush do if we really are facing strategic defeat in Iraq?

  9. searp says:

    Nice editorial, but the last shot we had at really affecting this was the 04 election. Our guys are going to die for George Bush’s psychological health.
    Bush is aided and abetted by the usual neocon cranks who were comparing him to Lincoln. To Lincoln! Lincoln, the man who looked on the Civil War as the deepest tragedy, one that he tried desperately to avoid.
    I won’t continue, it is too depressing. I work 12+ hours a day with those same guys W is going to send back for their 3rd and 4th tours. They will do their jobs, but is there a point where we ask too much?
    Is there a point where the fact that the sacrifice isn’t shared, that it is policy to leave us civilians fat, dumb, and happy doesn’t rankle?
    Whatever POTUS may be, he is not Lincoln.

  10. Matthew says:

    Searp: You’re darn right he isn’t Lincoln. Remember the railsplitters beautiful letter to Ms. Bixby:
    “Dear Madam:
    I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic that they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assauge the anquish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom.
    Yours very sincerely and respectfully
    A Lincoln”
    Merry Christmas. Never forget that we were once governed by giants.

  11. pbrownlee says:

    There is no Plan B; there never is a Plan B in a house of cards.

  12. Lightflyer says:

    In 1916 Hans and Tommy met across the wire to make a Christmas exchange cigarettes and liverwurst, then it was back to the surge. And I guess its surge for this new year too. When you think about it, surge is a strategy born of vain power and an absence of thought. It is a modern day equivalent of General Sir Alexander Haigh’s frequent and fruitless attempts at moving his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin (with apologies to Captain Blackadder).

  13. canuck says:

    Congratulations on having one of your editorials published. The Miami Herald is a good a place to start. I expect your common sense approach will eventually make it to the readers of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

  14. Nina says:

    Date: Sunday, 24 December 2006
    Well, isn’t this special? A soldier, one of tens of thousands screwed royally by a country they swore an oath to fight for, did, were wounded, then….then…geesh, were hung out to dry. What a deal….NOT!
    You will love this quote: ” “We have to find out why this happened and we’re going to,” chief medical officer Col. Charles Callahan told the newspaper.”
    HELL, it does not take a rocket scientist to “FIND OUT” what happened. Hello???
    What happened is they just could care a red rats behind about our veterans, that is what happened! Ask a Nam Vet just how much the Imperial Federal Government cares.
    I will be proud of my two step sons if “THE MAN” comes to get them to fight for big business and politicians and they say with a loud shout; BITE ME!
    Wounded Iraq Vet Discharged Too Early
    A soldier was discharged from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. without receiving proper care, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
    Sgt. Ricki Hardyman, admitted to the hospital on Dec. 8 after being wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, was released from the hospital while still sedated by pain medication and wearing only the bloody hospital clothing he was issued.

  15. Tom S. says:

    Based on what Ricks had to say about how Odierno, he should be the last man to take over in Iraq. Maybe he and Petraeus can switch postings.

  16. pangloss says:

    The surge doesn’t, I take it, mean an incremental increase in forces just some slights of hand around extending the stays in that lovely place.
    I’ll bet Bush has his fingers crossed that no one sees or juxtaposes the 2 newspaper articles noted below. If they did the draft could maybe be back for real.
    Wall St. Bonuses: So Much Money, Too Few Ferraris
    The New York Times
    December 25, 2006
    After the war, a struggle to survive – George Bush’s heroes are forced to rely on handouts
    The Sydney Morning Herald
    December 22, 2006
    Having read both the above pieces and your note Colonel I’m swearing off the net for a few days to try and recover my usual Christmas calm.

  17. walrus says:

    We have recently seen a phenomenon termed by other bloggers as “erasure”. That is officials who accidently say something that is not in accord with the Bush Administrations wishes, publicly appearing and reversing their positions.
    It reminds me of Chinas show trials.
    The most famous to date is Cheney’s shooting victim publicly apologising for getting shot.
    There are others.
    War with Iran cannot be far away. I saw Mrs. Cheney interviewed by Faux News on Christmas day – it was simply chilling – I wanted to throw up. The first words out of her mouth were “911” and it was all down hill from there.

  18. Annie Burns says:

    Col. Lang—I suggest the Christian Science Monitor as a possible venue for one of your opinion pieces. But don’t give up on NYT or Wash Post!

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