""We’re constantly changing tactics to achieve a strategic goal," the president said, adding that "stay the course" is only a partial description of his strategy in Iraq. "My attitude is, ‘Don’t do what you’re doing if it’s not working; change,’ " said Bush, who met yesterday with the senior U.S. commander in Iraq to review the progress of the war. " ‘Stay the course’ also means don’t leave before the job is done."" Washpost
I listened to ’43 yesterday. I heard nothing new and the body language and emphasis told me that he has no intention of doing anything different than what he has been doing.
In fact, his evident anger and hectoring tone make it abundantly clear that reporters are lucky that he lacks the power displayed by King Bruno in "Jabberwocky," who, tiring of someone like David Gregory, ordered, "Guard, kill that man!!"
Of late people are asking me if the James Baker led "Iraq"Study Group" is going to issue a report recommending an international conference or some other "artistic" device designed to provide "cover" for "cutting and running" as the administration calls it.
Well, I don’t see how that would work. They can recommend anything they want, but if the "decider" does not change his mind, they are out of luck….
Chicago Dyke has a few words she’d like to share with you on Fareed Zakaria and other notables who helped, “sell the war.”
And, once again I am reminded to never, ever get on the wrong side of Wolcott. Bad idea.
And Pat Lang discusses the merits of ‘jabbe
The mental state of Mr. Bush worries me. There is no benign way to say it, but POTUS continues to put the country at risk. He is truly a scary individual at this point.
“… his evident anger and hectoring tone…”
Col Lang, you’ve hit him on the head with this one.
I am sick and tired of being yelled at by one of my employees. Intervention and forced participation in an anger management program would normally be called for, but this isn’t a Fortune 500 operation, it’s the Nation.
If the elections make him a political cripple (even beyond the usual lame duck status), then we are indeed in for a rough denouement.
Which paintings will he start talking to? Who will keep him away from all the “don’t touch this” buttons?
Keone Michaels >”…POTUS continues to put the country at risk. He is truly a scary individual at this point.”
Just wait till after November 7th, it should become a real side show
“You see what power is – holding someone else’s fear in your hand and showing it to them!” – Amy Tan
Mark Parry has a piece in Consortium News that highlights Bush’s reality distortion field in action. The full piece is here:
I agree with you 100%. This could get really ugly. Not that it is NOT already ugly. The guy is clueless. Clueless. If and when reality breaks through to him…he’s going to flip.
But I am still putting my money, regretfully, on the GOP to hold the House and the Senate. That will reinforce the arrogance of the Great Decider. That could spell disaster to American interests…and to many poor souls. Yeah, it’s going to get ugly. Especially if the Decider begins to suspect that his Father is trying to dominate things via Baker et al.
what happens when the eisenhower strike group gets the order from idiot son to attack iran. he’s worked himself into quite the tight little box; what’s he gonna do to distract and recover that ‘commander codpiece’ aura. are those fundie flyboys that eager to play their part in bringing on the rapture.
I’m actually really interested to see the report that comes out of the Iraq Study Group. As Pat notes, this may just be about creating international legitimacy and domestic cover for an exit strategy. I could also imagine that it would come out with some recommendation of war escalation in a last attempt to pacify the country (wasn’t the bombing of Cambodia supposedly part of the solution to Vietnam?). Is there good evidence to suggest what they will finally say? The only thing I’ve seen is the London Times article that turned out to be wrong. (The article says the group was favoring devolution/decentralization, Baker is stating, publicly at least, that it is not.)
What’s telling is Baker is holding back his recommendations until after the midterms. He says this so they won’t be “politicized”.
This is really not a good sign; Iraq is about to implode like a kicked in TV and folks in DC are more worried about the numbers in Ohio. I’m reminded of the second assault on Fallujah being held back until four more years were assured. This war has been directed in a large part by party hacks more concerned with the petty squabbles of US politics than the future of Iraq and that I’m afraid will continue at least till 08.
Bush won’t change, he does not do realism, plainly regards that as an asset and the really sad thing is its proved a very successful electoral strategy for him.
Those krazed kossacks over at dailykos have started to call it the Tinkerbell strategy or the Tinkerbell POTUS. You know, we all just need to clap louder and everything will be fine. All facts are just opinions, and if we just all really really believe in what they really really believe, we can just create our desired reality.
“So, we all started to clap. I clapped so long and so hard that my palms hurt and they even started to bleed I clapped so hard. Then suddenly the actress playing Peter Pan turned to the audience and she said, “That wasn’t enough. You did not clap hard enough. Tinkerbell is dead.” And then we all started to cry. The actress stomped off stage and refused to continue with the production. They finally had to lower the curtain. The ushers had to come help us out of the aisles and into the street.”
Also, they can recommend anything they want but which nation(s) are going to be mad enough to provide that cover?
Does anyone in the WH Press Corps(e?) ever follow up this murderous blather by asking precisely how “the job” is defined today so that we might know when it is “done”?
Or what “the course” we are staying on is?
Or what is our “strategic goal” today?
Or even exactly how “we” have changed and are changing “tactics”?
According to the anti-Bush critic on the Newshour, this was a “strong” performance! It is eery to behold a “decider” who apparently thinks bumper sticker slogans represent reality — and is cut so much slack that this nonsense is never seriously challenged and the heavy costs so far have been entirely paid for by others.
Well I suspect Cordesman has stolen Baker’s thunder here:
“The US cannot simply wait to see if its existing strategy and actions will work. They will
not. The situation is spiraling out of control, and the US must either strongly reinforce its
existing strategy or change it. It also needs detailed plans and options for “Plan B,” the
possibility that it may have to withdraw its troops and possibly most or all of its civilian
presence from Iraq.”
James Baker is like “The Wolf” in the movie Pulp Fiction. He fixes horrible messes for a living, and being the Bush family lawyer, he’s had lots of practice. He knows how to negotiate. There may be hell to pay later, but he will at least kick the problem forward. As for Dubya and his daddy, I’m not sure even at this late date if we’re watching MacBeth or King Lear.
consistency is the hobgloblin of little minds. that’s not the failing of Dumbya. When the time comes, he WILL cut’n run. he just needs cover.
And Abizaid will give it to him. “I have to consider what my Genulurls in the fulhld tell me. We got rid of the murdere Suhdam. Gave these puhple der fweedum and dumocracee- time to leave.”
here’s two clues
” General in troop withdrawal call
Thursday October 12, 2006 10:48 PM
The head of the British army called for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq “soon”.
General Sir Richard Dannatt told the Daily Mail that Britain’s presence in the country was “exacerbating” security problems.
“I don’t say that the difficulties we are experiencing round the world are caused by our presence in Iraq but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them,” he said.
Gen Dannatt, who became Chief of the General Staff in August, said we should “get ourselves out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems”.
He told the paper: “We are in a Muslim country and Muslims’ views of foreigners in their country are quite clear. ”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Abizaid (my edit)
As excerpted in Newsweek magazine from State of Denial:
* “On March 16, General John Abizaid, the commander of CENTCOM and thus the top military officer for the Middle East, was in Washington to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He painted a careful but upbeat picture of the situation in Iraq. Afterward, he went over to see Congressman John Murtha, the 73-year old former Marine who had introduced a resolution the previous November calling for the redeployment of troops from Iraq as soon as practicable. Sitting at the round, dark wood table in the congressman’s office, Abizaid, the one uniformed military commander who had been intimately involved in Iraq from the beginning and who was still at it, indicated he wanted to speak frankly. According to Murtha, Abizaid raised his hand for emphasis and held his thumb and forefinger a quarter of an inch from each other and said, “We’re that far apart.””
I did not see much difference in the Deciders press conference compared to his previous ones. Its all sloganeering and the corporate media mostly throw softballs with no real follow-up to get to the crux of the issues although David Gregory and Helen Thomas (if she gets a chance) do throw a few curveballs. And then the TV pundits are all into just the score. He looked “presidential”. The discourse in our country is only about the theatrics. Substance and policy is not good for ratings and soooo boring – time to flip the channel.
Jim Baker is not going to suggest anything that has not been pre-approved by the Decider. He is the Bush family fix-it man at the end of the day. Expect a better than Broadway performance though. In any case the situation in Iraq has its own momentum and nothing we do or say is really going to matter. It has to run its course. Iraq is going to be an orphan. The Europeans and Arabs are not going to touch it anytime soon. The Brits want to get out. So we are going to be stuck there with no plan in the middle of this escalating civil war until 2009 when a new President will have to deal with all the mess that the Decider has bequeathed. I don’t envy anyone that wins in 2008. The ME is just one of many intractable problems from our unsustainable exponential growth in debt, trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities, an aging infrastructure and demographic, plunging worldwide credibility and an apathetic public. The therapy is not going to be pleasant for the American middle class and poor. For the top 1% its not going to matter they’ve already stashed a good portion of their green overseas.
According to a story coming out in the NY Sun, there are two option papers the ISG will be presenting:
1) Redeploy and Contain
2) Stability First
“Stabilizing Iraq will be impossible without greater cooperation from Iran and Syria.”
“The United States should aim for stability particularly in Baghdad and political accommodation in Iraq rather than victory.”
This should be interesting. The report has already leaked before the election, and it’s cut and run. I like the solution, which is to get the EU involved and pay off anyone left to stay in Baghdad and call themselves a government with truckfuls of Swiss francs. I agree with you Zanz, Dubya must’ve been on board with this already. Which I guess makes me more optimistic than Pat. Don’t know how they’re getting this to work, but the sunlight of reality is peeking through the clouds, at least.
forgot ISG story link:
1- The New York Sun is a neocon newspaper.
2-Included among the options is “2) Stability First.” That means stability before re-deployment.
Guess what will be the choice.
Yes. You are an optimist. pl
“A foolish consistency is the hobgloblin of little minds.”
is the actual quote, I think…from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Read like this, it’s more applicable to the dauphin.
After the election, Bush will implement whatever Baker says to do. If the Dems take one or both houses of Congress, he’ll get a few Dems to sign off on the plan. Then forever after – whatever the result – will be blamed on the Democratic House or Senate or both.
That’s how you unload the problem in time for 2008.
Why would a neo-con newspaper not publish the real unvarnished truth? Markets ensure the best of all possible worlds anyway.
In the outside world, I’m known as a raging, conversation-stopping pessimist. Being an optimist here just plays to my contrarian nature. 😉
“Stability First” comes second on the List so Bush can choose it. This way he kicks withdrawal onto the back of the next President.
W on N. Korea:
“It ought to say to all the world that we’re dealing with people that, maybe, don’t want peace …”
Stare into the neocon fishbowl: the War President doesn’t find 650,000 extra Iraqi deaths due to his pointless invasion to be credible. Accurate figure or not, it seems that civilian casualties are now part and parcel of modern war, so some of these were surely innocent victims. But they died for peaceful reasons, and any people who die because of N. Korea’s or Iran’s actions will die for warlike reasons … so it’s not the same KIND of death, it doesn’t carry the same value. It’s bad death, not good death, and his administration wages war on civilians because they love peace. See – it’s a war, but it’s really peace.
Lewis Carrol had nothing on these guys, slithy toves and all.
And of course we’ve changed tactics in Iraq. Wasn’t there just a big redeployment from the provinces to Baghdad?
You’re starting to sound like a grumpy old intelligence colonel.
(In the best Graham Greene sense)
General seeks UK Iraq withdrawal
The head of the British Army has said the presence of UK armed forces in Iraq “exacerbates the security problems”.
In an interview in the Daily Mail, Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, is quoted as saying the British should “get out some time soon”.
He also said: “Let’s face it, the military campaign we fought in 2003, effectively kicked the door in.”
BBC political editor Nick Robinson described Sir Richard’s remarks as “quite extraordinary”.
He said the new head of British army was “effectively saying we are making the situation worse in Iraq and worse for ourselves around the world by being in Iraq”.
He said: “I don’t say that the difficulties we are experiencing round the world are caused by our presence in Iraq but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them.”
Sir Richard told the newspaper: “We are in a Muslim country and Muslims’ views of foreigners in their country are quite clear.
“As a foreigner, you can be welcomed by being invited in a country, but we weren’t invited certainly by those in Iraq at the time.”
He added: “Whatever consent we may have had in the first place, may have turned to tolerance and has largely turned to intolerance.”
Original Daily Mail interview:
The head of the Army is calling for British troops to withdraw from Iraq “soon” or risk catastophic consequences for both Iraq and British society.
The repercussions in the UK will be massive – should have some impact in the US too?
Parvati Roma has beaten me to it, but this is REAL news:
In a normal world, either Blair would fire Dannatt, à la Truman, or his government would fall.
Blair does not have the balls to fire Dannatt. His balls only permit him to sniff Bush’s underwear.
So, his government should fall.
If it doesn’t, it means that Britain is a joke.
Increasingly, I see leadership in the world migrating toward China and, perhaps, India. The Chinese are now supporting labor unions. Trying to improve the lot of their workers. I would not be surprised if, in 20 years, China occupied the preeminent position in the world.
Nur at http://nuralcubicle.blogspot.com/
has a pix of the general. He is a handsome devil and is a spitting image of our Col., as well as the hairline anyway.
“British General Sir Richard Dannett, Colonel Commandant of The King’s Division, The Royal Military Police and Army Air Corps, President of the Army Rifle Association and the Soldier’s and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association, Vice President of The Officers Christian Union, Commander-in-Chief Land Command, Chief of the General Staff and a buncha medals and decorations ”
Col – Have you seen Bill Lind’s piece on “Why We Still Fight”.
is this photo doesn’t show King Ubu from Alfred Jarry drama I find some photo from polish movie under this tittle which is based on this drama
Thanks for the William Lind article. Especially appreciated the Bismarck reference in this paragraph:
“There is a great deal of material available to the Democrats to offer an alternative, much of it the product of the Military Reform Movement of the 1970s and 80s. Gary Hart can tell them all about it. There is even a somewhat graceful way out of Iraq, if the Dems will ask themselves my favorite foreign policy question, WWBD – What Would Bismarck Do? He would transfer sufficient Swiss francs to interested parties so that the current government of Iraq asks us to leave. They, not we, would then hold the world’s ugliest baby, even though it was America’s indiscretion that gave the bastard birth.”
Link below – well worth a read or perhaps a thread of its own.
Link to Lind Article
Gen. Dannatt has kicked in the door and its the one with a No 10 on it.
It is exceptional for such a senior British Officer to demonstrate this level of political bravery; that he has a seething phalanx of his Army peers behind him may have helped.
Basra was lost a year ago. Mistook it for Belfast. But it’s thanks largely to the political process that Southern Iraq is now owned by bearded sectarian loons.
Meanwhile there is a proper scrap going on up in Helmand. Ineffectually sitting it out in Iraq is looking more like a charade to keep up appearances for the POTUS than prudent military policy.
Sad but there it is.
Have some faith. All it will take is the right SOB in the right spot, a true son of a Cold War warrior who hasn’t bought into the baby boomers’ tinkerbell belief system (i.e, if we just clap real hard and really really believe, the facts don’t matter). He’ll make it happen and everyone, including the POTUS, will just have to go along. He’ll wheel and deal three security zones, with Baghdad given the kiss-of-death (see 1980s Beirut)’international city’ status. He’ll give Mosul and Kirkuk to the Kurds. He’ll redeploy the pared-down US bulk to ‘Kurdistan’to protect it from Sunnistan and Shiastan on the face of it, but the reality will be to provide a regional over-the-horizon force projection, to have a tripwire to keep the Turks ‘friendly’ and to keep a constant poke-in-the-eye to Syria and Iran. He’ll bend over backwards to get the Turks to accept (EU?) including taking out certain Pesh Merga reluctant to reduce their now-considered impolite lean. Stability will be key in Kurdistan.
But the SOB will know the opposite is desired for Sunnistan and Shiastan, a Shiastan that needs to include our Persian friends. With carrot as well as stick, he’ll promote not only the Shia/Sunni wedge but the Arab/Persian as well. Chaos? Civil war? Yes, our friends. Divert, divide, contain, conquer.
Success measured in the faces of Iranian recoginition of the irrelevance of nukes in their 4GW and their desperation for getting into the security bed AASAP with the Great Satan. And let’s not forget the body piles of AQ operatives provided by a wide array of their pissed-off Muslim brothers.
Our Brezenski-like SOB may not be smooching with the Bush family’s consiglieri, he’s too smart for that. He’s got an eye there, but he”s spending his own time in-country — and that’s much better.