August 31, 2006

Unity, Then and Now

People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.”

--Otto von Bismark

Time constraints have prevented me from analyzing Donald Rumsfeld's dishonest and repulsive speech (I use these words very advisedly) to the American Legion, but the above quote came to mind while perusing it. Detailed analysis to follow as soon as time allows, but in the meantime, and aside from Rumsfeld's transparent demagoguery, I did want to quote this snippet, and juxtapose it with somewhat similar quotes, Rumsfeld:

"It seems that in some quarters there's more of a focus on dividing our country than acting with unity against the gathering threats."

Unity is an interesting word. It immediately brought to mind Adolf Hitler's February 1933 Berlin Proclamation to the Nation, where he stressed the importance of "unity" no fewer than six times:

1) "With profound distress millions of the best German men and women from all walks of life have seen the unity of the nation vanishing away, dissolving in a confusion of political and personal opinions... (ed. note: "Confusion" is another word both Hitler and Rumsfeld employed liberally, Rumsfeld twice, including this snippet: "And that is important in any long struggle or long war, where any kind of moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong, can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.")

2)" ...Germany has presented a picture of heartbreaking disunity..."

3) "We never received the equality and fraternity we had been promised, and we lost our liberty to boot. For when our nation lost its political place in the world, it soon lost its unity of spirit and will.... "

4) "He called to those of us in nationalist parties and leagues to struggle under him once more, in unity and loyalty, for the salvation of the German nation."

5) "The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and co-operation"

6) "Reichspräsident von Hindenburg has called upon us to bring about the revival of the German nation. Unity is our tool. Therefore we now appeal to the German people to support this reconciliation." [my emphasis throughout]

The point here isn't that Rumsfeld is some Hitler redux, of course. But Rumsfeld's rhetorical tactics of late, it should be noted, are not infrequently rather similar to the Fuhrer's, and this bears noting, I'd think. Especially for someone who tries to wear the mantle of Churchill and who throws the word fascism around so liberally, Rumsfeld might instead take a good, hard look in the mirror, as the relevant historical analogue(s) might not be quite as flattering as he'd wish. Regardless, and analyses of political leader's rhetorical tactics aside, what is quite clear is that as election season kicks into gear, Bush has instructed his two old attack dogs (Rumsfeld and Cheney) to go out, dish some dirt, and play hardball. But this is not devilishly effective Lee Atwater style fare, delivered with calculated punch and resulting in tangible electoral advantage. Rather, it smells like damaged goods, smacks of desperation, and is nakedly divisive fare despite disingenuously masquerading as a call for unity.

Indeed, as the failure of the Bush Administration's war strategy becomes more and more evident to all but the most hardened denialists, as their desperation and incompetence becomes more evident to the American public, as their Middle East policy increasingly lies in tatters, and as they continue to erroneously attempt to conjoin things like the London terror plot with Iraq, without admitting the need for urgent re-appraisal of our overall strategy in the war on terror (they are incapable and/or too exhausted to make significant course corrections)--the rhetoric is beginning to border on dangerously reckless, and I trust the American people to reject this growing demagogy, and vote the Democrats in in November (at least in the House). I take no particular joy in this, as I think the Democrats have distinguished themselves by what I've called their ferocious lameness too often, but I cannot support a party that continues to allow a man this discredited a platform to propagate such gross dissembling, not to mention continues to allow him to prosecute a war where he has failed so dismally to achieve our nation's most basic strategic objectives.

To be sure, Bush will doubtless give a more centrist, 'statesmanlike' speech in the next days. But let us not be fooled. Bush has proven an incompetent, and he has two reckless, even dangerous men advising him in Rumsfeld and Cheney who, rather than disappearing into the early retirement both so richly deserve, are instead being given free rein to engage in the quite disgusting revisionism, cheap historical hyperbole, and demagoguery we've witnessed with the American Legion speech. Bush supports them in this, and so is totally complicit. Enough is enough. The only message these arrogant, discredited men will understand is a blistering one of rejection sent through the ballot-box. Let's try to give it to them, big time, as they say.

MORE: The FT editorializes:

It may be unfashionable to acknowledge this, but Mr Rumsfeld is making one valid and important point. There should be no moral confusion about who is responsible for the heartbreaking violence in Iraq. It is not the American army that is planting car bombs in markets. Some of the most ardent critics of the Iraq war are in danger of almost welcoming further bad news as an opportunity to say "I told you so". They should recognise that it is still overwhelmingly in the interests of those who want a freer and more peaceful Middle East that the Americans and their allies succeed in stabilising Iraq.

The trouble is that while some of Mr Rumsfeld's more ardent critics may be guilty of "moral confusion", the US defence secretary himself gives every sign of intellectual confusion. To call Iraqi insurgents and Islamist terrorists "fascists" and to accuse opponents of the war of "appeasement" may be a useful rhetorical device in the run-up to the American mid-term elections. But it also suggests that the Bush administration is still falling back on tired intellectual categories drawn from the 1930s, rather than thinking seriously and creatively about the new challenges it is facing.

Worse, the Bush administration is sowing further confusion by equating today's war with the struggle against Nazism - and then resisting any suggestion that victory may require higher taxes or more troops. Such a rhetorical mismatch inevitably feeds growing domestic cynicism and disillusionment with the war.

In the coming weeks Mr Bush is expected to make a series of speeches that will seek to rally support for the war in Iraq. He will need to go beyond Mr Rumsfeld's angry denunciation of critics of the war. Instead, the president must lay out a frank and calm analysis of what has gone wrong in Iraq and state clearly what he thinks is now required to help that tortured country to achieve stability. If that means more troops and more money, Mr Bush should say so. For without a convincing and honest analysis of the current situation, he may find that the domestic demand for a rapid American withdrawal from Iraq becomes unstoppable.

Color me deeply unconvinced any "honest analysis" will be forthcoming.

Posted by Gregory at August 31, 2006 05:30 AM
Comments

I wait with bated breath for your detailed analysis of the speech...

Naturally, I would have preferred that you identified in *this* post the parts of the speech that you find "dishonest and repulsive".

But apparently, the task of breathlessly linking Rumsfeld and Hitler based on the oh-so-telling shibboleth "unity" was of such urgent importance that you couldn't spare the time to present an actual analysis or argument. It's especially odd that you gratuitously invoke Hitler in a post criticizing Rumsfeld's "demagoguery".

Your BDS is worsening. This saddens me. Though I often disagree with you, I have in the past found your perspective interesting. Alas, this happens less and less frequently. Based on your increasingly intemperate (and unpersuasive) writing, frankly, I'm concerned for your health, and I hope you are much calmer in person than the seething persona you present here.

James

Posted by: James at August 31, 2006 07:40 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As has been pointed out to me very recently, it would appear that the phrase "Bush Derangement Syndrome" has ceased to mean "people who instinctively reject everything Bush says out of personal hatred for the man".

Its definition now seems to be "failure to line up like good Americans behind every inane statement emanating from the administration."

As for the gratuitous invocation of Hitler, I think it's time to call shenanigans on Godwin's Law - the right wing have been fluffing each other with sexy talk about Islamic Fascism and new Middle Eastern Hitlers for so long I can't remember a time when they talked about anything else.

Posted by: Flying Rodent at August 31, 2006 08:33 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm with James. I really am eager to read your comments. Fred Kaplan at Slate didn't like the speech, but tended to focus on purely policy "questions" Rumsfeld raised. But there were political hits embedded in his speech, and quite hard ones at that.

Posted by: Quiddity at August 31, 2006 09:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I find it hard to imagine what the US might do if it had a leader who was not a cowardly moron led by Nixon-era thieves -- it is becoming unfathomable what it might be like if there was any intelligence in the Administration. I have become used to inept corrupt blundering, and am losing my ability to imagine anything else.

Posted by: j doe at August 31, 2006 09:33 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Your BDS is worsening. This saddens me. Though I often disagree with you, I have in the past found your perspective interesting. Alas, this happens less and less frequently. Based on your increasingly intemperate (and unpersuasive) writing, frankly, I'm concerned for your health, and I hope you are much calmer in person than the seething persona you present here.

Physician, heal thyself.

Rather than be concerned with Greg's health, perhaps you should be asking yourself why someone like Greg -- someone who a few short years ago was as critical of opponents of Bush and his cronies as you are -- has begun to sound like a Daily Kos diarist.

Hint... its not because Greg is sufferning from "Bush derangement syndrome"....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at August 31, 2006 01:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

James and Quiddity=Denialists. Don't like it? Go on over to LGF (I'm sure you do already).

Posted by: v at August 31, 2006 01:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Premature? Alas, both Cheney and Rumsfeld are both well over retirement age. There would be nothing premature in their stepping down.

Posted by: JAG at August 31, 2006 02:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The last few years have conclusively demonstrated that there is only one thing that deserves to be called "Bush Derangement Syndrome".

And that is the deranged and deluded state of anyone who thinks that the Bush administration is competent, honest, or trustworthy.

I'm very glad that Djerejian has overcome his earlier case of BDS.

Don't worry, James, you'll get over yours, too. All it takes is a steady look at the facts. Turning off Fox News helps, too.

Posted by: kid bitzer at August 31, 2006 02:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

jag: i often take the liberty of making very slight edits in posts i've put up in haste. before reading your comment, i had replaced "premature" with "early". just in case anyone is confused by your comment. yours, (in good health!) greg

Posted by: greg at August 31, 2006 02:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,

You say:

I take no particular joy in this, as I think the Democrats have distinguished themselves by what I've called their ferocious lameness too often, but I cannot support a party that continues to allow a man this discredited a platform to propagate such gross dissembling, not to mention continues to allow him to prosecute a war where he has failed so dismally to achieve our nation's most basic strategic objectives.

I wonder if you've bought into the Republican rhetoric that Democrats are soft on terror, and such. That lie has been pressed so hard by Republicans and their cronies in the media, that I believe most Americans think Democrats all voted against the War in Afghanistan, where the REAL war on terror is supposed to be. However, Barney Frank in an op-ed in the Boston Globe shows that Democrats indeed are strong on terror, and would actually do a fine job.

One of the critiques of Kerry during the 2004 elections is that he was too much of an internationalist, yet in 2005 and earlier in 2006 Bush used Kerry's internationalist strategies himself to fight terror. It is disingenous of Republicans to claim Democrats are not strong on terror and then use Democratic strategies to fight terror.

Moreover, since Bush has come to power, and since 9/11, what Democrats have been in a position of authority to execute any portion of the "war on terror?" I challenge you to name one. Can't think of any? That's because Republicans are in control of all three branches of the government right now, and all parts of the execution of the war on terror is on their watch. All failures are at the hands of Republicans.

Do not believe Rove's lie, Mr. Djerejian. He is a charlatan. Any word that comes out of his mouth is politically calculated to make his man look good and his opponent to look bad. He is evil. He is not looking out for the best interests of America, but the best interests of his boss.

Give Democrats a chance to prove themselves.

And for those who bring up the past, and claim that if Clinton had done his job, we wouldn't be in this mess, I would point out that Reagan cut and ran when Hezbollah killed 241 Marines in Beirut. Was that being 'strong on terror?'

Posted by: Dan at August 31, 2006 02:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The fact that Mr. Djerejian is "sounding like a Daily Kos diarist" is a problem in itself, regardless of whether he is justified. Belgravia Dispatch was a place where you could find analysis and commentary -- now it is heavy on invective and light on detail. Not all the time, but enough.

I take Mr. Djerejian's invective seriously because I know that he is informed; but hearing it does not serve to inform me.

He is certainly challenging the conventional wisdom about marriage making people settle down and become more conservative, though.

Posted by: sammler at August 31, 2006 04:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

May I be the first to say: Shrill.

Good on yer.

Posted by: Jim Henley at August 31, 2006 04:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

FT: "critics of the Iraq war are in danger of almost welcoming further bad news as an opportunity to say "I told you so"."

those of us with (CRDDS - current R dominance DS, a subset of those with BSD), are in a double bind. obviously, as civilized people who wish only the best for all, we want good news: an early end to the carnage, all coalition troops home, a free, stable, and prosperous iraq, etc. on the other hand, some truly fear (IMO, legitimately) that continued R dominance of the government would be disastrous and therefore don't want the news in the next two months to be too good.

no rational person could "welcome further bad news" for its ego enhancing value. but anyone failing to recognize the inescapable dilemma just described has fallen into a psycho-babble version of the RNC "opposition is treason" trap of which rumsfeld's remarks are another example.

Posted by: ctw at August 31, 2006 04:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A few replies to various commenters...

Flying Rodent:

BDS was originally defined by Charles Krauthammer as "the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush"

Disagreeing with Bush is NOT a symptom of BDS. Becoming incoherent while doing so is. I *like* that BD disagrees with Bush. It provides a forum for me to read about alternative policies. I dislike, however, that BD increasingly "sounds like a Kos diarist". Sadly, I think "paranoid" is an increasinly apt adjective for BD's recent posts. "King George", Rumsfeld=Hitler, etc... Give me a break.

Also, (and this is a nit), I suspect Godwin's law is slightly different than you think (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law). It is, apparently, a statement of probablility that Hitler will be invoked and is silent about whether or when he should be.


p.lukasiak:
Physician, heal thyself.

Huh? Are my comments intemperate? I suggest you get a new retort generator, one that's more context sensitive.


v:
Denialist

I'm awed by your profound argument.

I don't think I'm in denial. BD is clearly right that Baghdad is not a pleasant place right now. I simply remain unpersuaded by BD's exhortations to apply tens or hundreds of thousands of troops that we do NOT have or having the French (or other "adults") negotiate additional vacant and/or perfidious aggreements on our behalf.

James

Posted by: James at August 31, 2006 04:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I take Mr. Djerejian's invective seriously ... but hearing it does not serve to inform me."

"He is certainly challenging the conventional wisdom about marriage making people ... more conservative"

while appreciating that the second quote was in jest, it does suggest that there's still some "inform[ing]" that you might gain from a closer reading of mr D's (and many others') "invective", viz, that one's commitment to being"conservative" has nothing at all to do with criticism of the current R leadership.

IMO, true conservatives should welcome decisive D victories in '06 and '08 followed by a complete overhaul of the R party and partial (to achieve divided government) victories in '10 and '12.

disclosure: I'm not a R, so this suggestion could well be a ploy to help sabotage the Rs; OTOH, neither am I a D.

Posted by: ctw at August 31, 2006 04:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

james writes: "I simply remain unpersuaded by BD's exhortations to apply tens or hundreds of thousands of troops that we do NOT have or having the French (or other "adults") negotiate additional vacant and/or perfidious aggreements on our behalf."

Well, then, if Bush isn't going to muster then manpower, I guess we lose to Hitler, right?

Isn't that what you're saying?

Especially since the "Islamofascists" aren't based in Tehran and working under Ahmedinejad's orders, so nuking Iran won't do much to help.

Posted by: Jon H at August 31, 2006 05:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

James,

"Baghdad is not a pleasant place right now"? Yeah, no denial there.

Atlanta in August is not a "pleasant place". OTOH, it's a dry heat in Baghdad. Maybe Atlanta IS less pleasant then.

Posted by: flitter at August 31, 2006 05:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

James, you are obviously suffering from Bush Denial Complex.

Somehow you haven't noticed how awful his lack of policy is working out.Somehow, even after Katrina, you haven't noticed how incompetently the government is being run.

Of course you don't think you're in denial. When have you ever heard about somebody in denial who thought they were in denial?

I think your criticism of Greg's suggestion should be fleshed out some more.

You say we don't have the troops to send more to iraq. This is silly. The way we're doing it, our troops spend less than 1/3 of their time in iraq. They come home and spend as long as they were over there resting, and then as long as they were over there training. Did we do that in WWII? Did we ship our troops home for 2 years after every year they spent europe? Hell no. If we needed to we could easily and quickly put 3 times the troops in iraq and leave them there as long as necessary. The troops wouldn't like it. But they'd put up with it for victory. The trouble is, that wouldn't do much toward victory and the troops know it.

Continuing right along, it takes a long time to train recruits. We could easily send them over with much shorter training, and then we'd have more troops available. We did that in WWII.

If it's vitally important to get a victory in iraq, we could have a draft and get as many troops as necessary. There's a whole lot of unemployment and underemployment in the USA, it wouldn't cause a labor shortage at all. Bush says it's vitally important but he doesn't do anything.

Don't argue that we can't get more troops. The better argument is that more troops wouldn't be any use. That's what Rumsfeld has said. He said if we sent in more troops they'd only be more targets. Imagine if we'd used that approach in WWII. "No, we don't need any more troops in france, if we had more troops they'd only be more targets for the german army." Whew!

See, Bush is like an executive with a poorly-performing subsidiary. It's a loser, but if he sells it off the stockholders will blame him for buying it in the first place. So he keeps it and absorbs the losses and he tells the stockholders he's about to turn it around.

And you're in denial, you want to believe he *will* turn it around. But it would cost too much to actually try for a turnaround that likely wouldn't work anyway, easier to just let it slide and talk about how it's about to get better. That's the kind of executive he is.

Posted by: J Thomas at August 31, 2006 05:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Actually, Greg, at this point Rumsfeld and company remind me not so much of Hitler as of the Wizard of Oz: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" The only real difference is that the Wizard insisted he was at least a very good man, a claim that Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld would have difficulty making with a straight face.

That being said, did you catch William Arkin's Washington Post column yesterday calling Rummy "crazy" and "a menace to America" who might well attempt to pull off a dictatorial coup d'etat if he thought the military would back him up (which they won't)?

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2006/08/rumsfelds_declaration_of_war_o.html

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at August 31, 2006 05:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Just tell us Greg - knowing what you know now - should we have not gone in and toppled Saddam

Please - no "with a better plan" evasions ( a plan you won't supply or if you do it will be based upon fantasies like a dozen French and Chinese divisions in the wan )

Just answer the question

I'd like to see how deep your concern for the people of Iraq is today

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at August 31, 2006 06:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg: I wonder if you've had a chance to review Olbermann's Murrow-esque speech (and yes, it is a speech) from last night, and what your thoughts are on it?

The full text is available on Olbermann's blog.

Posted by: Sam at August 31, 2006 07:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interesting points. Do these attack dogs have any credibility left?

Posted by: Chris at August 31, 2006 07:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
I'd like to see how deep your concern for the people of Iraq is today

The people of Iraq? You mean the ones who are murdered left and right today at such a highly disproportionate rate to make life under Saddam be heaven? 3400 Iraqis were killed in July 2006. That's in a country of 20 million. As a comparison, there are nearly 300 million people in America. Imagine that 42,000 Americans died in July of violent deaths. Now compare that to the crime statistics which showed 16,000 homicides in the entire United States in 2003. That's 16,000 for the whole year, compared to 42,000 in one month. That's how violent Iraq is right now. As we know, 42,000 times 12 is nearly half a million. Can you imagine half a million Americans dying in one year? In the entire Civil War back in the 1860s, 600,000 Americans died. Iraq's death rate is on a much higher scale proportionally speaking.

Do you have any concern for the safety of the Iraqi people today? If so, why do you back Bush and Rumsfeld's failed plans?

Posted by: Dan at August 31, 2006 07:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I can't speak for Greg, but my own answer to Pogue's question upthread would be "in 1991, clearly yes; in 2003, clearly no." And I am not nearly so concerned about the future of Iraqis as I am with American interests.

For what it is worth, I held a different view in 2003, almost entirely because I was too credulous of the assumptions about the state of Iraq's WMD programs. I did liken the idea of building a liberal democracy in Iraq to trying to build a skyscraper in a swamp, if that matters, but I will not claim to have had more well-formed ideas about what to do after eliminating the WMD threat than the administration did. The point is that right now -- and for the forseeable future as far as the administration and a disturbing number of its critics are concerned -- we have a foreign policy dominated by a massive effort with high odds against success to create in one, mid-sized Arab country a system of government that has never existed there before. This is absurd, and directly contrary to American interests in the region and generally.

Per commenters James and sammler upthread I have to say I agree that comparisons between Sec. Rumsfeld and Adolf Hitler, however qualified, are better left unmade. Just as a matter of rhetorical emphasis, once you've compared someone with whose actions or public statements you disagree to Hitler where do you go? If you make that comparison and he's still around in two months, with whom do you compare Rumsfeld then? Could it be, maybe, oh I don't know....SATAN?

Posted by: Zathras at August 31, 2006 07:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

No, you just keep pointing out that some of his rhetoric bears a genuine resemblance to Hitler's. After all, it took a lot longer than two months to get rid of Hitler...

Actually, though, we could take a break from this by making other valid comparisons -- such as the Wizard of Oz (as I mentioned above), or (my personal favorite) Cornelius Fudge, the incompetent head of the Ministry of Magic in the Harry Potter books who homes in obsessively on the wrong enemy and then uses one political dirty trick after another to force the rest of the wizards to go along with him.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at August 31, 2006 08:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And, by the way, isn't it time we stopped the crap about most of the opponents of the Iraq War being in favor of "surrendering to the terrorists? All but one member of Congress voted for the Afghanistan War. There was overwhelming support for it in the polls of American liberals, and that support has not weakened. As for the serious queasiness of a lot of Democrats about getting entangled militarily in Iran: well, that's shared by those two notorious pinkos William F. Buckley and George Will. I'm not sure I'm not actually to the Right of those two gents on this particular issue; but I will agree enthusiastically that we need to try some diplomatic/economic pressure before we move on to the military type, and that even military action should be accompanied by offers of a truce that might be acceptable to both parties (such as a non-aggression pledge by the US against a non-nuclear Iran, or a public offer to let Iran acquire the Bomb after -- and only after -- it becomes a stable and non-aggressive democracy).

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at August 31, 2006 08:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

More and more commentators from the center and center-right are becoming fed up with the toxic combination of mendacity and incompetence that the Bush administration calls policy. Rather than flog BD from the left and right, Greg D should be applauded for his clear sightedness. Don't blame the messenger, blame the message.

Posted by: Tom S at August 31, 2006 08:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Your BDS is worsening. This saddens me. Though I often disagree with you, I have in the past found your perspective interesting. Alas, this happens less and less frequently. Based on your increasingly intemperate (and unpersuasive) writing, frankly, I'm concerned for your health, and I hope you are much calmer in person than the seething persona you present here."

Let's see. Hitler used the word "unity," and he was bad. Rumsfeld also uses the word "unity," so he must be bad, too. Does seem like a bit of a stretch, doesn't it? No sense being defeatist about BD, though. Maybe Gregory just needs to adjust his meds. Then, again, this one is really weird. D'ya think BD could all just be a big psychology experiment, designed to plumb the depths of human credulity? Maybe our 15 minutes of fame will be as subject A and subject B on the pages of "Psychology Today."

Posted by: Helian at August 31, 2006 10:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well the heretic is hated more than the heathen once again.

Do any of you keepers of the faith have anything to say in support of Rumsfeld rather than castigating BD for going all wobbly?

Today Bush called the security situation in Bagdhad a "crisis." How it got to be a crisis in light of three straight years of all the "good news from Iraq ignored by the MSM" remains a mystery.

Since "as they stand up/ we stand down" also needs a little reworking-as it's now they get mowed down/we stand around. So what's the new plan?

Geniuses.

Posted by: Martin Morgan at August 31, 2006 10:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sooner or later, you have to take these people and the facts at face value.
Rhetoric doesn't change either.

Posted by: Larry Thelen at August 31, 2006 10:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Lets get back on track! The Bush Adminsitration has failed in every particular. It is hard to know which is the dominant impulse in the administration: incompetance, arrogance, corruption, unaccountability and so on. The war in Iraq was begun under a false premise of WMD's, later bolstered by a ludicrous claim of democratization. This war isn't winnable, and it has never has been. It is not a matter of 'will' it is a matter of human behavior. There is not one modern example of non westerners welcoming a western occupation, or of a successful occupation. And that is not surprising, no one wants foreign occupation troops, ever.

If I had a plumber work on my house, and he left the plumbing in worse shape than ever, and my basement flooded, no one would blame the water. It is only in politics where we get cause and effect so screwed up. Bush is a failure; to doggedly support his failure is stupid and disloyal to the country.

Posted by: Tom at August 31, 2006 10:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If you think this is a bit of a stretch, it's because it's hard to analyze and respond to Rumsfeld's outlandish talking points without becoming utterly shrill. It's difficult to criticize the magnitude of failure with a calm voice that says "it would be so much better if..."

Really, here's the abbreviated talking points with -- oh dear, shrill! -- responses:
"Can we afford to blame America first?" "Can we afford to let our warmongering continue to create terrorists who repurpose our unexploded muntions and land mines against us?"

"Can we believe that this is all a law enforcement job?" "Can you show me a violent murderous terrorist who got to where they were a serious threat with legal passports, visas, firearm registration, driver registration, pilot's license, et al?"

"Can we negotiate for peace with terrorists?" "Can you show me anybody that will actually say they want to do that? And can we negotiate for peace with North Korea and Iran without having our full military capacity at the ready?"

"Can we afford to appease them?" "Can we afford to continue dumping $8B+ into a single front of a global war with no timeline for completion?"

"Amnesty international doesn't like Gitmo which is arguably our best facility!" "Yes sir, they're the ones arguing that point."

"CNN conceals evidence to slant their reports!" "And we knew where exactly *what* was in Iraq, sir?"

"Newsweek says we're mecenaries!" "Well, folks who sign up for military duty are very likely to collect paychecks while serving and protect Iraqi citizens and help and train the Iraqi army... which does fit the 'a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army' definition of the word pretty closely, sir."

"Our first hero is ignored while our scum are touted by the media!" "Our hero was awarded that medal by an unpopular president two years after he was killed in action earning it. Our hero is dead, sir, just like the terrorists want him to be. But... does that qualify as trying to appease the terrorists?"

Posted by: Jmiller at August 31, 2006 11:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

To paraphrase Sinclair, it's diffuclt to convince a man to see the truth, when his ego depends on him not knowing it. Anyone with any passing knowledge of that area would have know this was a futile exercise from the get go.

Bush today said we're in an epic struggle. If the threat is so epic/great/dangerous, why is the sacrifice not commensurate? I'd like to hear that from the Bush defenders. If we accept the premise that this is something we have to do, why has the nation not been asked to bear some burden?

Bush4ever

Posted by: Bush Rules at August 31, 2006 11:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bush4ever:

We have not been asked to bear any burden, because their is not GWoT. There are a variety of struggles over land that are being lumped together. Commercial and ideological interests are driving these conflicts.

Posted by: Tom Perry at September 1, 2006 12:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Can we negotiate for peace with terrorists?"

Worked with the IRA.

Posted by: Jon H at September 1, 2006 01:11 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Rumsfeld's Salt Lake City speech is important and revealing in many ways. Historically, in times of crisis, the position of secretary of defense and its predecessor posts have been carefully kept above the political fray – a step important to maintaining national consensus with respect to the actual conduct of war. Having a secretary of defense who is simultaneously the most fractious and arguably the most partisan figure in the cabinet breaks with an old and very wise tradition and suggests that for this administration partisan politics is given a higher place than national security.

But the language of the speech itself is deeply disturbing. The themes of unity in the face of adversity, of silent obedience to leadership in a struggle against a foreign enemy, of a new morality which places a premium on this leadership concept and the security it promises – these themes indeed resonate very strongly of 1933. You cite a Hitler proclamation, but I immediately thought of the final passages of Martin Heidegger's Rektoratsrede given at the University of Freiburg in May 1933, which Rumsfeld's language echoes in the eeriest way.

Just exactly what is going on here? A speech summoning to nationality unity and resolve in a struggle against a "new type of fascism" that then intones each of the major images of fascist thought?! This is so preposterous as to defy belief. It's as if Rumsfeld were being set up for massive public ridicule. Whoever wrote this speech must be a saboteur intent on taking Rumsfeld down. And Rumsfeld himself appears almost witless.

Yes, just hearing Rumsfeld speak made me fear for our country's security. Primarily because he is at the helm of the greatest military force in human history, and he seems intent on smashing it to bits. It's enough to make me doubt the Founding Father's wisdom in providing for civilian control of the military. Surely this military would be much better off without its civilian leaders.

Posted by: Diogenes at September 1, 2006 01:21 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What follows is an accurate chronology of United States involvement in the arming of Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war 1980-88. It is a powerful indictment of the president Bush administration attempt to sell war as a component of his war on terrorism. It reveals US ambitions in Iraq to be just another chapter in the attempt to regain a foothold in the Mideast following the fall of the Shah of Iran.

From
Arming Iraq: A Chronology of U.S. Involvement


Whatever his complexes, Khomeini had no qualms about sending his followers, including young boys, off to their deaths for his greater glory. This callous disregard for human life was no less characteristic of Saddam Hussein. And, for that matter, it was also no less characteristic of much of the world community, which not only couldn't be bothered by a few hundred thousand Third World corpses, but tried to profit from the conflict.

From:
The United States and Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988

-------------------------------

Ah yes, America's famous love for Middle Easterners.

Posted by: NeoDude at September 1, 2006 01:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What ever happened to Bin Laden and the Saudis and Pakistanis who financed the attacks on 9-11?

Bush sure did a fine job distracting you all with Iraqis and Persians.

Posted by: NeoDude at September 1, 2006 01:44 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Unity can be good or bad. Yes a united nation following the right strategy to combat a threat is powerful. But a nation united in a wrong strategy is a sure recipe for disaster.

Posted by: vanguardia at September 1, 2006 02:08 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Really, I think you need to actually read the speech, and think about it yourself carefully. Ignore the pudits, and the chattering classes' comments. What does the speech itself say?

What facts can you marshall to refute or support the speech? Opinion, after all, is dross, to be discarded in tommorrow's ash bin. Only the facts will persist.

Dr. Coambs

Posted by: Dr. Coambs at September 1, 2006 03:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"There should be no moral confusion about who is responsible for the heartbreaking violence in Iraq. It is not the American army that is planting car bombs in markets."

The error that the Financial Times makes here is to assume that moral responsibility is a zero-sum quantity. That's wrong.

Suppose that a friend borrows your car, and parks it without taking the time to lock the doors and turn on the burglar alarm. If the car is stolen, both your friend and the person who stole the car are both at fault. Your friend is responsible for his actions (failing to protect the car against theft), and the thief is responsible for his actions (stealing the car). Saying that the thief is responsible for the theft of the car doesn't make your friend any less responsible, and vice versa.

The only moral confusion I see here is on the part of the Financial Times. The insurgents are responsible for the consequences of their actions. That doesn't change the fact that Bush and Rumsfeld are responsible for the consequences of their actions.

Posted by: Kenneth Almquist at September 1, 2006 06:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A little nugget of "moral confusion," the U.S. Army has a street gang problem:

http://www.komo4.com/stories/45247.htm

This is a follow-up story...four of these guys got caught trying to rob a bank near their base last week...sigh.

Posted by: monkyboy at September 1, 2006 06:53 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"What facts can you marshall to refute or support the speech?"

OK, I'll play. let's assume that after wading thru all the rah, rah team acolades to the AL that the don bulleted what he thought were the substantive points - if you will, facts - and see what he's got:

- With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?

it's unclear who the don thinks are the "vicious extremists" (VE) and what he means by "appeased". to start, let's assume that the former means al qaeda. OK, we routed them out of afghanistan with almost unanimous support both at home and abroad. there has been an international effort to break their cells using infiltration, economic disruption, and legal electronic surveillance with little objection from anyone. when some electronic surveillance was found to be needlessly illegal, there was an outcry by civil libertarians who think it's good to follow the law. exactly what part of this constitutes appeasement? the don doesn't say.

or maybe VE means iraq. with bipartisan support, we invaded the country despite there being no WMD, no proven connection with al qaeda, no imminent threat to the US, no connection to 9/11. now that it's unequivocal that the admin totally botched the aftermath, there is growing bipartisan criticism. again, what part of this is appeasing whom? the don doesn't say.

or is VE iran and syria? rational people understand that additional land wars are completely infeasible. is that appeasement? or is it unwillingness to obliterate whole countries using nuclear weapons? the don doesn't say.

- Can folks [don't you just love this down-home touch?] really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?

who is suggesting negotiating peace with what terrorists? certainly not al qaeda. iran? the don doesn't say.

- Can we afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply law enforcement problems, like robbing a bank or stealing a car; rather than threats of a fundamentally different nature requiring fundamentally different approaches?

who is suggesting that terrorists are like bank robbers or car thieves? who is so idiotic as to think that the methods appropriate to dealing with the latter also apply to the former? the don doesn't say.

- And can we really afford to return to the destructive view that America, not the enemy, but America, is the source of the world's troubles?

ah, this at least points to someone identifiable: the person who thinks that maybe, just maybe that since almost any knowledgable foreign policy thinker recognizes that some US actions have had adverse consequences in the ME, there might be a basis other than "they hate us for our freedoms" (which, in a much more subtle way that is conveyed by that ham-handed phrase, is somewhat true) for upset among the peoples of the ME. so, the "destructive view" is acknowledging the role of history in a people's attitudes. ie, he means me - I stand unmasked by the don!

notice the pattern here. the don ascribes a sometimes ill-defined posture vis-a-vis an ill-defined enemy by unnamed groups. where are the facts to be "refuted or supported"?

fortunately, the second set of bullets can be easily and quickly dispatched en masse. their paradigm is: take an isolated factoid (eg, more news articles about bad guys than good guys) and draw a ludicrous conclusion (a media intent on "dividing our country" using "myths and distortions"). the don fails to consider that perhaps the good guy being awarded a medal is simply less newsworthy than the bad guy's unspecified "misconduct" (abusing prisoners? raping and murdering a teenage girl? AWOL? conveniently, the don doesn't say). this is more appropriate to ann coulter than to the US secdef.

the speech was pure politics; there were no facts. one who can't see that is either hopelessly partisan, wilfully ignorant, or IQ-challenged.

- "BA/BS/MA/PhD/1L" ctw (everybody's got credentials these days, doc)

Posted by: ctw at September 1, 2006 06:58 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Note in particular Rummy's quite deliberate confusion of the two different senses of "wrong": anyone who says that this administration's particular military/political strategy is wrong must therefore be saying that the very cause of resisting Islamofascism is wrong. Why, of course! Similarly, anyone who believes that the US must be "unified" in its determination to oppose Islamofascism must surely also think it should be "unified" in its support for the current Administration's strategy, even if it's godawful.

Which idiocy is why it's a judgment call whether Rummy's speech more closely resembled the Fuhrer or the Wizard.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at September 1, 2006 06:58 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A little off-topic point:

We reached a sad milestone I'd mentioned we were approaching in an earlier thread a little sooner than I'd thought we would today:

U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq - 2,641
U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan - 333

U.S. soldier killed in in Iraq + Afghanistan so far - 2,974
People killed on 9/11 - 2,973

Posted by: monkyboy at September 1, 2006 09:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

How utterly bankrupt you Bush haters are

The absurd numbers from Dan with his dangerous Iraq - as if life under Saddam was safe and happy

The disdain for the idea of arab progress toward freedom and democracy that is applauded

Why don't you just come out and say those sand-niggers are incapable of such things and should have been left under Saddams boot - its all they should ever expect


Oh wait - you ARE saying that

What contemptable scumbags you are

I would trade all of you for one free and thoughtful Iraqi who is struggling to live all the while sectarian facist gangs roam the streets and spread anarchy and death randomnly - causing hundreds of innocent dead at a time.

And then these results are trotted out by the Dan's of the West as proof that life under Saddam was BETTER for Iraqi's

How disgustingly obvious that your pov Dan is EXACTLY what encourages these murderous savages

They feel if they can kill enough innocents they will prove arabs cant be free - that their gang rule is the norm over there - among the sand-niggers

And you take their results and build your arguements on the bodies of their victims.


Posted by: Pogue Mahone at September 1, 2006 03:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue...it you who are racist with what amounts to the 21st century version of the "taking up the white mans burden". We need to show those "sand %$%&%$" how to live by force of arms. Bankrupt ourselves financially and morally in process.

The critcs are far from racist to point out that "democracy" does not always work out. How did Wiemar republic work out? It is not only "sand %$%&$%$" that fail at democracy!!!!

Posted by: centrist at September 1, 2006 04:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Is Pouge a leftist pretending to be a right-wing nationalist?

Posted by: NeoDude at September 1, 2006 04:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

NeoDude, I think you're attributing too much subtlety to Pogue. This is what passes for leftie-baiting these days.

And if it gets responses, it can be claimed to work. I don't know whether he's one of the ones who get paid to pollute the discourse, but if so he can count all our responses toward his quota.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 1, 2006 04:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue Mahone, that was a lot of attempts at emotional manipulation.

Let me ask you straight: do YOU care about the liberty and freedom of Iraqis? You have implied it, but I would like your response to a direct question.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at September 1, 2006 04:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

are instead being given free rein

Okay, this is grossly OT, but... +500 points for not spelling it "free reign." For the country that so glorified cowboys, we have too many people who apparently have no idea what a rein is.

Then again, comment threads such as this one also demonstrate a paucity of awareness of "the false dichotomy." And that would probably be a more worthwhile dragon to slay. Ah, well. Back to tracking down inappropriate apostrophe use!

Posted by: mds at September 1, 2006 09:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The critics of this war cannot seem to resist blaming Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld and adding ad hominem attacks. There is much more blame to spread for the war's mistakes and failures than to the three fellows at the top.

1. American culture won't support a grim war in a distant land to hunt down innumerable bad guys. We have to believe that we are on a mission to change the world and that a handful of bad guys are the real problem. Every president who ever propagated a war had to resort to missionary rhetoric and the vilifying of the enemy's leaders.

2. American military culture is built on mobility and concentrated firepower. To win in Iraq, we would need to disperse our large units, train them as snipers and ambushers, train the Iraqis to fight like the insurgents rather than as the U.S. Army, give very young men operational control and intelligence responsibilities of entire city blocks, and make our soldiers "live off the land" when necessary. Instead, we are bunkered in large bases, demoralizing the best soldiers and often promoting the worst. This is what the British did after Bunker Hill, and everyone knows they eventually evacuated Boston.

3. The bunkering affects everyone in the military, but it is at its worst in the White House itself. A long war creates suffocation up the chain of command. I have listened to soldiers returning home over three years, and it seems that morale has dropped remarkably in 12 months and the veteran NCOs no longer believe they can achieve the mission. The situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan is deteriorating. We need to go on a tactical offensive in order to make a strategic retreat, but this administration has lost its drive and creativity. It is merely trying to spin and survive this 2006 election. The administration is as hunkered down in the White House as was LBJ's and Nixon's. It is going to make a bunch of additional mistakes.

I would recommend that the President fire Rumsfeld and every Army general with more than two stars. Replace them with the best battalion and brigade commanders from 2003. Send everyone to school on counterinsurgency. Develop a new strategy, and if necessary, a strategy to pull out, based upon the brains and experience of the soldiers who have fought this war well.

Your analysis of the situation itself is keen, but the analogy of Rumsfeld's speech to Hitler's rhetoric is over the top and means that you are preaching to the anti-war choir instead of to thinking conservatives who want to reform and even reverse some of our policies without renouncing our goal to defeat those who seek to kill us.

Posted by: Tertium Quid at September 1, 2006 09:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

BD: "The point here isn't that Rumsfeld is some Hitler redux, of course. But Rumsfeld's rhetorical tactics of late, it should be noted, are not infrequently rather similar to the Fuhrer's, and this bears noting, I'd think."

Every now and then I drop in, to see if I misjudged BD the last time I was here, but I always leave wincing. Today BD seems to think he's pointed us to some sort of rhetorical parallel between Rumsfeld and Hitler, but where is it? BD's provided us with six lines of text from Hitler's February 1933 Berlin Proclamation to the Nation, each one with the word "unity" or a form of it. And Rumsfeld used the word in a speech, too. BD thinks it's enough to point this commonality out, but a word is not a "rhetorical tactic."

Even as i'm impressed that BD should have Hitler's speech echoing about in the apparently limitless attic of his mind, I'm amazed that he thinks it bears any resemblance to Rumsfeld's. Is it too much to ask him to explain what he's getting at?

Posted by: clazy at September 1, 2006 10:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Reading these comments, I wonder why so few are questioning whether 90's style liberal intervention is a sound strategy. I opposed Iraq II because I thought the best strategy would be along the lines of the Hippocratic Oath - "First, do no harm." If I'd thought we could've made Iraq a better place, I would've reconsidered.

For the life of me I couldn't see how unleashing the might of the US military upon Iraq was likely to improve the lot of the average Iraqi. Gulf War I showed conclusively that the invasion itself would cause horrendous damage and I was deeply suspicious about the motives of those shouting for war, since their track record on human rights is nothing short of abysmal.

I'm still open to the idea of intervention in extremis - say, in 1992 Bosnia to prevent genocide - but the historical record should be fairly clear that international meddling only smears the blood around, rather than mopping it up.

There were many, many voices raised in advance of the invasion of Iraq warning of sectarian conflict, quagmire and partition, but the dominant voices of the era - neo-conservatives, right wing partisans and liberal hawks - refused to brook any dissent from the party line, decrying anyone who objected as an apologist for fascism.

Nationalistic war-fever won the day, and anyone who objected was castigated.That's how we wound up with the abject disaster we have on our hands today, and no amount of boo-hooing about the failure of the Western world to rise in acclaim of our noble deeds are going to pull us out of this hole.

What I'd like to see is a frank reappraisal of strategy in dealing with international hotspots, and preferably before Bush finishes the United States as a superpower by invading Iran.

If anyone would like to quibble with that last point, I'd like to point out that Iran has around 20 million men eligible for military service, lots of guns and a hell of a lot of emnity towards us.

Posted by: Flying Rodent at September 1, 2006 10:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tertium, thank you for the well-thought-out and detailed analysis.

I believe you have missed some key points. First, consider how our urban warfare tactics worked before. We would drive around in unpredictable patterns, and we would set up random roadblocks. When someone acted suspicious at a roadblock etc we'd grab them for questioning. Meanwhile we disrupted traffic, insurgents (and everybody else) needed to find alternate routes. Sometimes we'd send in teams to do a snatch -- informers would tell us about insurgent leaders and we'd sneak in and grab them. And we'd seal off a square block of city that might have insurgents, and search house-by-house, and confiscate weapons and money.

When somebody shot at us we'd respond by shooting at everybody in sight, since we couldn't tell immediately who was the enemy. That didn't make us a lot of civilian friends but it increased the casualties on the other side and decreased our casualties.

The idea was that there were only a few insurgents and they weren't particularly popular. So we could disrupt their operations and prove to them that they couldn't win. If they attacked us we might take a casualty but they'd certainly take casualties. At one point we were suffering, what? 300 attacks a day. And getting on average 2 killed a day. The insurgents were getting a lot more casualties than that, a lot more. They couldn't win. But our military guys said we couldn't win with a military victory, either. They were giving the iraqi politicians time to get organised. When the iraqis saw they were getting a real democracy they'd give up insurgency, and the insurgent sympathisers would stop sympathising and turn in insurgents, and then we'd win.

But sunnis didn't see that they were getting real democracy, and they saw us shooting a lot of sunni civilians, and they kept fighting harder. Our casualties were low but still seemed too high, so we trained a shia army to do the ground fighting. Not command, not logistics, not artillery or air support, just roadblocks and house-to-house searches and urban warfare. They'd fight under our orders and do the dying. The hope was that faced with utter defeat the sunnis would surrender, or the shias might give them some compromise, because we couldn't accept the country getting partitioned. We couldn't *really* win the war militarily even with shia infantry doing the dying, but we could buy time for a political settlement.

So now the mixed cities are falling apart. Shia death squads are killing sunnis, maybe official government shia death squads. Sunni terrorists are killing shia civilians. Sometimes they're fighting pitched battles. Officially our goal is supposed to be to restore order. But how would we do that? Would we move in on a pitched battle and fight both sides? We can't very well tell them apart. Would we listen to phone calls by sunnis teling us where the death squads are, and move in to catch them? These are the guys who've been ambushing our patrols for 3 years, and we're going to go right where they tell us to, to fight iraqi government police?

Our army doesn't have a mission in iraq at the moment. There's no more time for us to buy. The politicians sitting in the Green Zone look like our stooges. They've turned irrelevant. The iraqi army under our command might or might not be effective, but it isn't going to stop the cviil war. "You can't tell the players without a program". We're clueless, often we don't even know which militias are fighting.

We can't pull the troops out or it will look like a defeat. What can they do now, that would be better than sitting in their bases?

Posted by: J Thomas at September 1, 2006 11:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gregory, you say Rummy was like Hitler -- but he referenced Churchill, the opposite. Didn't Churchill want "unity" against Hitler? Opposing "unity in evil" with "unity for good"?

I, too, have reduced reading you, because too much of your criticism of Bush is without standards.

If you advocated a strategy to invade Iraq and bring peace at less than 1000 US deaths, I'l be happy to learn I missed it -- DO you have a record of such? Or 2000? Or 3000?

What is your standard of competence? This is where Bush-hate rhetoric is missing, where has Arab democratization AND dictator neutralization been MORE successful? If nowhere, if there are no examples, than claims of incompetence are without much real evidence.

I have my own critiques of Bush: replacing Gen. Garner for no good reason; Bremer avoiding early local muni elections; too much aid, not enough loans & bonds for reconstruction; supporting terrible Proportional Representation, instead of geo- districts, which helps extremists -- but there's not clear evidence my way is better.

Bush is over-optimistic, simplistic, and his supporters are greedy. But his strategy is correct. Democracy to replace dictators.

I say the right strategy, implemented at a "B" level, is better, even far better, than the wrong strategy.

And I say, to call someone incompetent requires a standard to measure competence.
2700 deaths, for me, is a "B", so far. No longer "A" excellent (less than 2500), but still well above C (5000) or D (10 000). Naturally, the intellectually cowardly Bush-haters refuse to quantify their criticism.
It's so much easier to call names, and repeat this, in a spiral of BDS.

Of course, Greg's idea of massive forces is exactly the opposite of what the Dems argue for -- so advocating "unreal perfection" keeps his hands clean. Bah. If it's the Dem cut & run and accept huge Iraqi civil war (600 000 Viet murders didn't bother anti-war folk in the slightest) or else Bush, I say Bush is much better.

Here's Rumsfeld's letter (from Instapundit) to Pelosi:
>> I was concerned about comments attributed to you in the media about the remarks I recently made to the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Thought and careful preparation went into what I said. It is absolutely essential for us to look at lessons of history in this critical moment in the war on terror. I was honored by the reception my statements received from our veterans.

I am sending you the full text of my remarks because I assume your comments to the press were made in reaction to inaccurate media reports, such as the coverage by the Associated Press.

I know you agree that with America under attack and U.S. troops in the field, our national debate on this should be constructive.

If I have to choose who is the greater fascist, the US or the terrorists, I choose to call the anti-human rights terrorists the fascists.

Gregory, do you really think Rumsfeld & Bush are more fascist than the terrorists?

On Unity, with Joe Lieberman, almost the most liberal, big gov't voting Dem in the Senate, but pro-war -- being PC / unity anti-war drummed out of the Dems, aren't the Dems becoming more fascist intolerant?
(Reps still allow some pro-abortionists; some anti-war; some anti-tax cuts ...)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 1, 2006 11:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sheesh.

What is your standard of competence? This is where Bush-hate rhetoric is missing, where has Arab democratization AND dictator neutralization been MORE successful? If nowhere, if there are no examples, than claims of incompetence are without much real evidence.

Have you ever heard of somebody jumping into a cesspool and not getting dirty? If there are no examples then you shouldn't complain about Bush pushing us in.

See, if Bush is trying something that's failing, and we don't have any examples of anybody else succeeding, that *doiesn't* in any way make it less of a failure. It means he was trying to do something unprecedented, something that he had no particular reason to think could succeed. And you want to argue that it's OK because nobody else has done better?

If nobody else has jumped into a cesspool without getting dirty, but Rumsfeld says we will, should you believe him? And then when we get dirty you say we're doing just fine?

Pee You. Sheesh.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 2, 2006 12:16 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

From A Farewell to Arms(1932)

[Gino] "Have you ever noticed the difference [food] makes in the way you think?"

"Yes," I said. "It can't win a war but it can lose one."

"We won't talk about losing. There is enough talk about losing. What has been done this summer cannot have been done in vain."

I did not say anything. I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene besides the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rives, the numbers of regiments and the dates. Gino was a patriot, so he said things that separated us sometimes, but he was also a fine boy and I understood his being a patriot. He was born one. He left with Peduzzi in the car to go back to Gorizia.

Posted by: NeoDude at September 2, 2006 06:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

See, if Bush is trying something that's failing, and we don't have any examples of anybody else succeeding, that *doiesn't* in any way make it less of a failure.

What's the standard for failing?

If it's going to take 5, or 10, or 20 years, how can one claim it's a failure before the right time?

Iraq IS a democracy -- it has a constitution its people voted on, and elected politicians.


It's NOT peaceful, but what are the rates of US soldiers dying in 2004, 2005, 2006? Can the USA sustain that rate? I say yes -- depending on US public support.

Is the metric Iraqis dying? (Since when? How many Vietnamese have to have been killed AFTER the anti-war policy is implemented to say cut and run is a failure?)

'Failure, failure, failure' -- but no standards. That IS defeatist, and it DOES help those actively killing Americans.

Why can't even the most reasonable against Bush specify what their standards for success are? Because they have no standards. They do have endless "cesspools without getting dirty" straw-man analogies -- but neither standards nor even comparisons to prior wars and outcomes.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 2, 2006 11:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Folie de grandieur would be best to describe this one-sided diatribe against Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld was telling us the truth about those enemies wishing us defeat in Iraq, and this piece by Gregory stands out as an exemplar of the contemptible hauteur he displays without butressing his mainly ad hominen attacks with what would work there.

There is no denying that there are problems there, and to lay them at the feet of Rumsfeld is folly of the firt order. The problem of insurgency was not created by Americans as much as it is a symbol of the desperation and utter emptiness of the medieval culture that is pervasive across the Mideast. Those Islamic fascists, yes they are fascists in every sense of the word, cannot sustain that insurgency by beahving like savages we need to exterminate.

And for Gregory to even imply Rumsfeld is using the same tacttics as Hitler did in the '30s is beyond belief and speaks of a mentality that reinforces his hatred of America. I think we welcome dissent on any important issue in this country, but to engage in this kind of drivel drives home the point of Gregory's moral and intellectual confusion. To me he is a public enemy of America and should be scorned as a traitor.

Posted by: RGL at September 2, 2006 12:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue,

you say:

The disdain for the idea of arab progress toward freedom and democracy that is applauded

This is the heart of the pernicious lie of Bush supporters. Somehow you all think that the ONLY possible way to support "arab progress toward freedom" is through Bush's idiocy. What a lie. Moreover, the results of Bush's actions are far from creating a free and democratic world in the Middle East. Tell me, are Iraqis free from fear of death? How free are women in Iraq? Are they not still forced into marriages and then discarded on the streets as whores?

Where's the "progress" in Iraq? Elections are obviously not the end all be all of democracies are they, or Republicans would cheer for joy that Palestinians freely elected Hamas into their government, or that Hezbollah was freely elected in Lebanon, or that Moqtada al-Sadr is "freely" elected and part of the Iraqi government.

Bush and his supporters don't want to hear of any other options. In their eyes, it is either them or the terrorists, damned to hell if they are wrong. How can they make any mistakes when they know they are on a crusade, a mission from God to remake the Middle East as they see fit. Anybody that raises rightful and strong questions must be a terrorist appeaser.

Oh the folly and the bamboozlement of Republicans today! You used to call yourselves men of reason and sound understanding! What the hell has happened? How can you be so foolish? How can you not see the elephant in the room? It stares you down and roars, but you plug your ears and say "la la la la, I can't hear you!" At least Mr. Djerejian has unplugged his ears and stared the elephant down to a mouse. The more that do, the better it will be for America.

Standing up to Republicans and removing them from power in America does not equate appeasing terrorists in the least. Republicans want to cling to power and will say anything, including undermining the democratic process right here in America. But as we know from history, Republicans have had a nack for undermining real democracy because they don't agree with the results (Chile in the 70s and Iran in the 50s, for example). I don't particularly have a high regard for Republican propaganda regarding promoting democracy. Your record stinks.

Meanwhile, what American party has successfully pushed Arab nations to sign peace treaties with Israel? Can Republicans claim any such result? Nope. It was a Democrat, Jimmy Carter (all his other many faults aside), who forcefully pushed Egypt to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, something that has lasted now nearly 30 years. No war that Israel has fought produced such a long peace between Israel and one of her neighbors. The Six Day War produced no lasting peace, as just six years later, Egypt attacked Israel again. But notice that since 1979, Egypt and Israel have been at peace. There is no greater success for peace and reform in the Middle East than peace between Israel and her neighbors, including nations you would not think would make peace with Israel. I'm curious for those who are a little older than me, who were cognizant of those days, just what was the thinking? Could anyone forsee a peace between Israel and Egypt?

A war in Iraq has not brought more peace in the Middle East. In fact, with removing Saddam from power in Iraq, we've unintendedly given Iraq over to Iran, which, according to several studies, now rules the day in Iraq. Yeah, nice job Bush. Well done. You gave Iran exactly what it wanted. What do you think, Bush supporters? How do you feel that you, by your support for Bush, are inadvertently supporting Iran? How does that make you feel?

But I've said this before, calls for peace fall on deaf ears in the last days.

People don't want to talk about peace. They cannot see it. They've been blinded. All they can see is their gods of steel and iron. That's who they bow to and worship. "Oh save us, dear missile," you can hear. "Protect us from our enemies, dear warhead."

If you want progress among the Arab world, then it begins with us. We must stop being violent, we must stop punishing the whole Arab world for the sins of the few. Republicans set up false boogiemen (Evil Islamofascists) and like many who fall to the draw of a straw man, many Muslims take the bait and yell back, "yeah, but you're the Great Satan, so there!" By returning the schoolyard insult, they play right into Republican hands, who retort, "Oh yeah, well i'm not going to talk to YOU!" and, pouting, fold their arms, running to get their big brother to pounce the nerd. We've got to stop being so childish.

The thing about progression is that it takes a long time and a lot of patience. Starting wars does not bring about progression. Wars are all about regression and devastation. The only ones who benefit from war are the makers of weaponry. No one else benefits. Tell me, what is the return for our $200 billion we've spent in Iraq so far? What is our profit to this point? America has not profited yet, nor does it look like it will. But warmakers sure have. Boeing is sitting pretty with their military contracts.

diversion aside, progression in a society can only happen in times of peace, because it takes a long time to change a culture. Stalin and Mao attempted culture changes cold turkey. How did those turn out? Not very well. In fact, they failed miserably. You deride what liberals say about how to change the Middle East, but in actuality, that's the best way, through patience, firm stances, and rewards for good behavior. Forget the bad behavior. Leave them for the past. The only way to change nations and cultures is to reward the good behavior, not punish the bad. The moment we begin punishing the bad, we lose our credibility because we've got bad behavior too, and they will see the hypocrisy, and they'll wonder why we bother with the mote in their eye when we leave the beam in our eye intact. See the problems of fighting? See the benefits of praising the good? There is no hypocrisy and no undermining who we are and what we stand for when we talk of the good vs punishing the bad.

But again, I fear we're long past such understanding, and the world will go up in flames. How sad we humans are. God is weeping over our childishness.

Posted by: Daniel at September 2, 2006 02:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If "The problem of insurgency was not created by Americans as much as it is a symbol of the desperation and utter emptiness of the medieval culture that is pervasive across the Mideast." then shouldn't Rumsfeld et. al. have anticipated it?

How can you have it both ways? It isn't our fault, yet sweeping away Saddams rule made it inevitable? If it wasn't inevitable because of the 'medieval culture" then where was the plan for a better outcome? There is no evidence that Rumsfeld had any plan but rather volumes of evidence that he thought none was necessary.

On either count then Rumsfeld can be criticized. For not anticipating the inevitable chaos or for not planning on fighting it. If neither fits the reality of the situation then please suggest an alternative. Perhaps this outcome, organized sectarian killings on a massive scale and US troops regularly being blown to bits while driving around and spending a half a trillion dollars was the plan. Fair enough but for me and most Americans that would seem to be a really bad plan. In any case it was never suggested that such was the plan so maybe a bit of criticism of Rumsfeld is appropriate.

Posted by: rapier at September 2, 2006 02:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Libbbberty Dad",
You seem to have convinced yourself that the war has not really cost anything. 2600 US dead and 20000 wounded with the only reductions in the rates happening when the troop stay on base. 10 billion per mo. ...again with no slow down in sight. Violence in the region at the highest point in 1973. Oil prices are $40 per brl. higher than when the invasion was launched.... with an "uncertainty premium" up to $30 per brl. Hatred of the US at all time highs according to Pew surveys(terrorism happens some function of this hatred). In the current civil war Iraqis are dieing at 4000 plus per mo. which is a faster rate than under Saddams management of essentially the same civil war. Oil, water and electricity availibility to Iraqi below pre invasion levels. These "minor costs" occiured to me during a 30sec brainstorm...I could come up with more......oh yeah destroying the US Army is another.

Now lets go to the other side of the ledger. What have we really accomplished....."we had an election and created a constitution". BIG DEAL....we achieved that in the South Vietnam as well. How did that work out....as soon we stopped supporting the regieme all the "progress" was swept away like a sand castle at high tide. FOR ALL THE COST OF THIS WAR WE HAVE NOT ACHEIVED ANYTHING THAT WAS NOT ACHEIVED IN VIETNAM!!!

Posted by: centrist at September 2, 2006 04:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Even assuming that we all recognize that evil culture, it would be presumptuous for anybody to know, except in retropect, that those savages would be resorting to blowing themselves up along with their fellow Iraquis.

History gives us lessons that wars, no matter how well we prepare for them, have unintended consequences. For arm-chair experts and hate-mongers to think that bellowing against Rumsfeld for what is now happening in Iraq is sheer lunacy. They want to cut and run, like their idol Murtha, sneering with their sanctimonious creed there is no way to win it. What alternatives, in fact, do these hypocrites have? None, except to keep comforting the fascist enemies we don't have the will to finish what we started.

Patriotism demands the best of us when we need it. Cowardice from poltroons like rapier makes me think he would run away from his country when the times demand it.

Posted by: RGL at September 2, 2006 04:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Liberty dad" ,
We all know you all for "freedom" in the levant, but how about in closer to home? Something tells me you support warrentless wiretape and torture. That sure does not sound like "liberty" to me!!!

Posted by: centrist at September 2, 2006 04:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tom Grey: With all due respect, but in which world are you living? Is it sunny over there? "Success" and "Failure" can't be easily defined in term of metrics. Therefore I find it hardly a fruitful approach trying to set goals like these and then claim "Mission accomplish" once they are met. For example, what good is a democracy if the government has no means to govern? What good is a secular constitution if you cannot afford to wear shorts without being beaten or even killed? What good are 250.000 trained soldiers in the Iraq forces if they can't be used to stop the death squads which are prowling the streets at night in their ethnic cleansing missions?

Do we agree on reality at all? Do you recognize that the number of people killed by the low-but-growing-intensity civil war over there? Do you recognize that unlike before, now a majority in ALL ethnical groups in Iraq want America out of their country - even the Kurds? Do you recognize that the local militias are the effective ruling forces in the country, with the government having no influence outside of the green zone? Do you recognize that these poor helpless figures need to IMPORT FUEL from Syria, and still there are hour-long queues at gas stations? And most of all, do you recognize that the _trend_ for all of these vital indicators is clearly negative?

Your approach might have merit if the current crisis in Iraq was some temporary storm which only had to be braved to survive. Hunker down and wait for sunshine. Unfortunately, that's not what's happening.

So please tell me, what are you basing your optimism on? Assuming that you're not just a blind denialist like RGL (Gregory hating America, good LORD!)

Posted by: Mentar at September 2, 2006 04:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's become a standard practice for Reactionary Zionists to attack the individual person behind every opposing opinion.

They have no argument to justify the repeated invasion and bombing of Arab civilain populations from Gaza to Kurdistan.

So they attack the individuals questioning these policies as "jew haters" or "bush haters". This is right out of the AIPAC playbook.

Just look at the treatment of Walt and Mersheim.

AIPAC insinuated itself into the highest ranks of the Republican party machine and has infected the DOD - probably beyond repair.

The US has lost Iraq and Israel will likely lose the West Bank and Gaza.

The only question is whether the Arabs will allow Israel to remain within its 1948 borders and whether the Israelis will use weapons of mass destruction in their defense

This isn't going to change regardless of how many AIPAC spokesmen insult the majority of American citizens who have seen through this destructive perversion of our foreign policy

Posted by: john in LA at September 2, 2006 05:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Great, Greg, You’ve touched a raw nerve. The old ways don’t work. One of them is the idea of airpower and nuclear weapons.

The US and its allies won WWII because of maximum mobilization and superior numbers. This was no “business as usual war”, as it would have been had we declared war on Hitler in 1940 (Congress would never have gone along) but an existential war for survival after the Pearl Harbor attack. John Robb’s Global Guerillas has wisdom at globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2006/08/playing_at_war.html#comments
He explains how America plays at war, why business as usual wars fail in the era of trans-national insurgencies, and why escalation of tension as Bush and Bolton are foolishly doing with Iran makes things worse.
The Korean War was the first crack in the Pax Americana. Our overwhelming airpower and technology failed because of the North Koreans and their Chinese Communist allies could sacrifice thousands of lives. This worsened in the Vietnam War. Communism lost its ability to compel human sacrifice but the principle that lives trump technology was established. The First Gulf War ended a series of Middle Eastern air and tank wars. Air power won those wars, but the Arabs who fought them were not martyrs. There were no suicide bombers. Superior arms don’t deter suicide bombers. The jihadists understand now. There will be no more tank wars.
Gabriel Kolko expands this theme,
“We live with 21st century technology and also with primitive political attitudes, … cults of heroism and irrationality … Israel must now accept this reality, and if it does not develop the political skills required to make serious compromises, … that it will be liquidated even as it rains destruction on its enemies.
This is the message of the conflicts in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon…. Walls are no longer protection for the Israelis – one shoots over them. Their much-vaunted Merkava tanks have proven highly vulnerable to new weapons”
www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/kolko4.html

Real leadership would end our Middle Eastern hemorrhage, and push the Israelis into a new world- De Gaulle got the French out of Algeria, but didn’t have to deal with religious fundamentalism. American fundamentalists will insist that the US support Israel and keep shipping cluster bombs to the IDF. They can’t convince America that we are in an existential war. Jihadis don’t threaten our survival. The US and Israel will never convince the Palestinians to accept their economic oppression. Israel diverted the Jordan River to provide water for agriculture and to choke out the Palestinians. Water wars will supplant oil wars.
Staying the Middle Eastern course with our mercenaries and proxies will further weaken America. Countries like India and China, if they stay out of the Anglo-American-jihadi wars, will be the winners. There can be no “winner” in Iraq, not the West, not the Iraqis, not the jihadis. Nuclear weapons can destroy but they can’t build. Maybe India and China understand this. Bush and Olmert do not. Who knows what loose cannon Ahmadinejad believes?

Posted by: anciano at September 2, 2006 05:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The cynical use of the term "patriotism" to give cover to the boondogle in Iraq has really orwellian. Casual obervers may be confused, so let me clear it up.
The eggheaded neo-con likudniks who dreamed up the effort in think tanks ARE american PATRIOTS. "five deferment" and war profiteer Dick Cheney and "drunk on duty" champagne squadron flyboy and "heroic wartime leader" who implimented the policy are huge patriots.

Now I will list some ofthe unpatriotic, fascist loving, america haters:Greg(nevermind the years of opinion expressed on his blog), General Wes Clark(nevermind that he was first in class at westpoint and left most of his calf in viet nam), Jack Murtha (nevermind) he is a decorated marine from a family of decorated marines), Generals Zinni and Shalikasville and the dozens of other Generals that recently signed a no cofidence letter on Rumsfeld and dozen of other Generals that endorsed Kerry,Bush Sr who doubted the wisdom of invading Iraq.

We can make this debate about many things about national interest but using patroitism like Bush jr and co. has smacks of McCarthyism towrad the end when he claimed many "communists in the pentegon" were undermining US security.

Mark Twain was correct in his assertion that "patriotism and religion could be last refuge of scoundrels".

Posted by: centrist at September 2, 2006 06:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It seems to me that a number of people missed the point Gregory Djerejian made: that it's always wrong to argue politics by trying to shut down the opposition in the name of "unity". It so happens that Hitler also did it, but that doesn't mean it isn't wrong in the first place.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at September 2, 2006 06:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Monkeyboy mentioned some stats:

U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq - 2,641
U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan - 333

U.S. soldier killed in in Iraq + Afghanistan so far - 2,974
People killed on 9/11 - 2,973

Benladin has been granted a Fatwa to kill 10 million Americans, including women and children. He now has Islamic moral and legal ability to do so.

It's incredible how slow his declared victims are to discover firm moral ground on which to defend their own children.

Posted by: John Richard at September 2, 2006 08:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Benladin has been granted a Fatwa to kill 10 million Americans, including women and children. He now has Islamic moral and legal ability to do so.

What is incredible is how John Richard can't see the difference between potentially killed people and killed people. Perhaps he should ponder how many people the U.S. could kill in Iraq if it really exerted itself.

Bin Ladin is a criminal, but President Bush said about him in 2002: "I truly am not that concerned about him." . Ask yourself why he's not concerned (hint: he cares more about the war in Iraq).

I haven't been able to find any reference to 10 million, but Bin Ladin has stated that in general he favors killing Americans. But again, George W. Bush is not that "concerned" because he doesn't have a country as a base. Bah.

Here is more of the quote (from http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/03/20020313-8.html):

Q But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at September 2, 2006 08:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sitting around waiting to see if someone makes good on a threat is dumb, and in this case morally reprehesible.

The point isn't even Binladen... the fact that a Mufti granted this Fatwa authorizing a precise limit on the number of deaths is the relevant fact. It is now legal for a muslim to use a WMD. Anyone who thinks that is just a funny anecdote is sadly ignorant on what motivates these people.

Any crime requires two things: movtivation and opportunity. They have the first (most important), and are planning the second.

Posted by: John Richard at September 2, 2006 09:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I’m sure when Middle Easterners are being bombed, slaughtered and killed by the U.S.’s weapons; they are comforted by the righteousness in the honorable hearts of all Americans.

Posted by: NeoDude at September 2, 2006 10:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

John Richard, it's George W. Bush who is "sitting around" re Bin Ladin.

As for "mufti" and "legal for a muslim" I think you're listening to conspiracy theories.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at September 2, 2006 10:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There's too much drivel here in the comments and in the basic post to make more than a passing observation:

"You say we don't have the troops to send more to iraq. This is silly. The way we're doing it, our troops spend less than 1/3 of their time in iraq. They come home and spend as long as they were over there resting, and then as long as they were over there training. Did we do that in WWII? Did we ship our troops home for 2 years after every year they spent europe? Hell no. If we needed to we could easily and quickly put 3 times the troops in iraq and leave them there as long as necessary. The troops wouldn't like it. But they'd put up with it for victory. The trouble is, that wouldn't do much toward victory and the troops know it."

"Continuing right along, it takes a long time to train recruits. We could easily send them over with much shorter training, and then we'd have more troops available. We did that in WWII."

"If it's vitally important to get a victory in iraq, we could have a draft and get as many troops as necessary. There's a whole lot of unemployment and underemployment in the USA, it wouldn't cause a labor shortage at all. Bush says it's vitally important but he doesn't do anything."

"Don't argue that we can't get more troops. The better argument is that more troops wouldn't be any use. That's what Rumsfeld has said. He said if we sent in more troops they'd only be more targets. Imagine if we'd used that approach in WWII. "No, we don't need any more troops in france, if we had more troops they'd only be more targets for the german army." Whew!"

J Thomas at August 31, 2006 05:37 PM

Well, now there's a MacArthur in the making! A man who thinks just put every soldier in the Army into Iraq until the insurgency ends or they all die. (I'm sure those who end up divorced, fatigued and spat upon, and with the lowest morale they would ever have will just jump at the chance to reup--but we're breaking the Army right now, doncha know?) We don't need no stinking trainers. (Any kid off the street in 3 months can be trained to be cannon fodder. That's all they'll ever need to be anyway, right?) We don't need to worry about where the recruits will come from. Just draft 'em. (As if Greg and his compatriots would support a draft and wouldn't find a way to ensure they weren't inconvenienced by having to serve) There's plenty of unused labor force in this country right now (where with unemployment at 4.7%? Why bother to train a labor force anyway? Who needs those tax dollars? We'll pay for the troops when they return home and not before!). Training? They don't need it (just ask my father who enlisted in 1942 and made it into combat after his training in 1944) It all worked in WWII. (Of course every swinging dick in the country supported the war after Pearl Harbor -- because Americans were made of sterner stuff then. Today, the Men serve their country without being forced to do so. The pantywaists remain uncommitted to any effort to ensure their continued existence beyond attending cocktail parties and vacationing in Europe with their peers.)

Of course, we know that our forefathers saw with a clearer vision what the threat was than we do now. Our press is controlled by charlatans who can't report the Truth anymore. Our bureaucracy has taken to undermining the very elected officials in charge of them because they don't "agree" with their politics, and the citizenry would rather believe they themselves are the cause of the greatest evil in the world, rather than "militants" who saw people's heads off with a dull knife, rape wives and daughters of sympathetic Iraqis to intimidate them, and who fervently believe that America is filled with drunk, drug addled sluts and gamblers who will do anything to cheat every other nation on the Earth of their God given right to kill themselves.

Does any of that description sound reasonable to you? Does it sound like it fits you or the Americans you know?

If not, welcome to the real world. If it sounds like Bush and Rumsfeld's rhetoric are an abomination or an exaggeration to you, welcome to BDS. I'd wear a steel necktie if I was you.

Subsunk

Posted by: Subsunk at September 3, 2006 01:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have to agree with the first commenter. Your insights are often interesting but your disgust for Donald Rumsfeld is getting the better of you. Why in the world do you think it is rational to draw comparisons between Mr. Rumsfeld and Hitler based on the idea that our nation should show some unity against the very real and present threat of Islamic Fascism? It's just gotten silly. Grow up..

Posted by: Del Simmons at September 3, 2006 03:38 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

No wonder BD usually leaves the comments off--just about none of these comments actually address his post. But then there *is* so little to address, no? BD, why'd you think it was worth leaving the comments on this time?

Posted by: clazy at September 3, 2006 04:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tom, you ask me to come up with rational victory conditions to judge how well the war effort is doing.

But it isn't my job to define the victory conditions. That's Bush's job.

So let's consider the cost. Bush fired the guy who said that the war might cost more than a quarter billion dollars for being defeatist. So I think we can put one condition that it should cost less than a quarter billion dollars. If you include a few indirect costs like replacing equipment that's been thoroughly worn out in iraq, the cost has already passed two trillion dollars. That victory condition has failed and can never be recovered.

A second victory condition is that we should get rid of Saddam's nukes and other WMDs. This victory condition is in a little dispute. Some people claim that they've been gone since 1998 or so, and so it's a victory. Other people claim that while Bush was dilly-dallying around Saddam sent them to Syria or elsewhere. In that case it's a total inexcusible failure. Either way, our army either succeeded or failed 3 years ago and continued occupation is not needed.

A third victory condition is to get Saddam. We did. A little late, but we got him.

A fourth victory condition is that iraq should have a democracy. This is a success. Iraq now has democracy. Done. The democratic government has an income of around $30 billion a year. What is the insurgent budget? The democratic government has more than a quarter million soldiers under arms. How many insurgents are there? The democratic government was voted in by most of the iraqi population while the insurgency has no popular support. Clearly the democratic government is fully successful and our job in that respect is done.

A fifth victory condition is that we should have permanent bases in iraq. This is done also. The iraqi government hasn't yet signed a treaty making those bases permanent but they'll do it whenever we want them to. Done.

A sixth victory condition is that the iraqi government should establish peaceful relations and trade with israel. I expect we're at least 10 years from that, if not 100 years or more, but it's an issue between two sovereign nations and it has nothing to do with the US military.

Clearly, our job fighting in iraq is mostly done. We've accomplished all we set out to do except a few things that we can't possibly accomplish with military force.


Where does Rummy fit into this? First, he should have had some idea how much the war was likely to cost. He should have spoken up when Bush's underlings were talking about how cheap it would be. That's part of his duty and he failed miserably.

Second, he told us he knew where Saddam's WMDs were before the war. But then he couldn't find them at all. The big convoys of heavy trucks turned out to be carrying gold. Somehow it was like a game of 3-card monte, Rummy knew where the WMDs were and then somehow he just lost them completely. They got to syria but Rummy can't even point to how it happened. This is utterly inexcusible. The one reason everybody agreed on for the war was to get those WMDs and now they're in syria. If Rummy had been working for Saddam and something like that happened Saddam would have had him executed. But Bush lets him keep the same job he failed at so miserably.

Third, about Saddam, we were pretty slow getting him but I can't see blaming Rummy for it. By the time we did get him Saddam wasn't at all important and deserved a low priority. We used reasonable methods to find him, it was all at a level way below Rummy's, and Saddam just turned out to be exceptionally good at hiding.

Fourth, democracy. There's no reason it should have taken more than six months to get elections set up. Garner was well on his way in one month. But Rummy let Garner get replaced by Bremer, who stalled. Rummy is famed for his skill at palace intrigue. He could have kept carte blanc in iraq if he'd wanted it. But he blanched, he let Bremer come in and utterly mess things up for a good long time. This was an error of inaction. He had every reason to keep that under his control and get it handled competently, and he didn't, and it cost us at least 2 years (and all the money and deaths during that time).

Fifth, bases. I have no complaint about this one, it appears to be going on schedule.

Sixth, israel. that one isn't going anywhere but it would be silly to blame Rummy. There isn't anything he could have done to encourage it.

I have to give Rummy a score of F. He failed to correct the administration about the projected costs. He let the WMDs slip through his fingers. He let a bunch of incompetents outside of his chain of command take over reconstruction and democracy promotion, leading to unnecessary delays and casualties and expense.

It is utterly and completely unforgiveable to know where the WMDs were, to have completely satellite photo reconnaissance and special forces on the ground to track them, and promise to get them, and then completely lose them. Rummy can't even point to where the WMDs used to be. This is utter incompetence and he should have resigned or been fired years ago.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 3, 2006 05:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

J Thomas, thanks for doing Greg's work, that's the best anti-Rummy list I've ever seen. Your list for victory is pretty good, too.

The cost overrun, like the strength of the insurgency unseen, are Rummy mistakes -- believing "defeated" Sunnis would be rational and accept American victory was not unreasonable, but not being ready for a much worse case seems bad.

Greg claims "more troops" would be the answer, you don't -- I do NOT believe more US troops would have been much better, though I admit it might have.

Rummy's error on Garner & Bremer is probably more Bush's error -- siding with Colin Powell to let State handle reconstruction. Failure to have local elections, and devolve more authority, sooner, is a huge problem. I give Rummy a pass on this.

You missed the acceptance of extremist-supporting Proportional Representation (party lists), rather than individual geographic-districts, as a Bremer/ State mistake, probably the worst long-term mistake.

You also missed the failure, since Bush 41, of teaching Arabic to more military people.

On WMDs, Rummy didn't do enough to immediately secure the Syrian border, nor the various sites. But it's not clear better action would find the WMDs, by the time the US started the invasion -- so I give Rummy a C on this issue -- but high marks in lots of other areas you didn't mention: reform of the military; few, fast troops; supporting his chosen generals ["D" on accepting alternative viewpoints -- but I think war orders need one viewpoint, only].

Are you willing to give Gregory here a "C" or "D" on his frequent advocating more troops, without mentioning they cost a LOT more AND create more targets, meaning likely more US casualties AND more less-trained soldiers making mistakes/ killing non-guilty?

Rummy won the "war" [A!] -- but didn't win the peace/ reconstruction which was given to State. Let's give him a report card:

War [10 credits] - A
WMD [3 credits] - D
Reconstruction [2 credits] - C
Counter Insurgency US [5 credits] - B
Counter Insurgency Iraq [1 credit] - D
Iraq Constitution/ PR [1 credit] - C
Long War Publicity [1 credit] - F*
Long War Costs [2 credits] - D
Transform US military [5 credits] - A
Interrogation [2 credits] - D

This is a first pass; one can see why I like Rumsfeld. One can also disagree on 3 issues: what is to be graded, what is the grade, and how important (credits). Notice my separate US / Iraq grades and credits for Counter Insurgency.

anciano: "Real leadership would end our Middle Eastern hemorrhage, and push the Israelis into a new world" -- hogwash. Only a US willing to bomb hundreds of thousands of Arabs into submission thru defeat can pacify the ME. It's not Israel that needs to be pushed as much as the Palestinians, into accepting Israel as a country, officialy, in a signed Peace Treaty (no Leb. Armistice of 1949).

centrist: "as soon we stopped supporting the regieme all the "progress" was swept away like a sand castle at high tide." -- this is exactly what Dem cut & run would do.

Gregory at least has the three alternatives: cut out (civil war A-OK, 600 000 die, well, we'll blame Bush!); stay the course (terrible!); more troops (Oppress them into freedom, we're tired of this station!).

I think stay the course seems more correct.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 3, 2006 04:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This is a late comment, but let me write - since it is mentioned in some of the comments above - about the democratization policy of the Bush administration.

There is no democratization policy of the Bush administration in the Middle East.

Consider: Iraq was invaded, and was a dictatorship. Lebanon was let destructed, and is a democracy. On the pro-american side we have Israel, which is a democracy, and Saudi Arabia, which is a dictatorship.

More to the East, there is Pakistan, which is a dictatorship, and India, which is a democracy. The Bush administration is friendly with both and sells weapons to both.

There is no correlation between policy versus the country, on the one hand, and it being a democracy/dictatorship on the other.

Instead, what we have here is an Empire policy. Regimes and countries that are seen as being against American interest are undermined, overthrown, or let be destructed. Regimes and countries that are seen as helpful to America are left alone or supported, regardless of whether they are democracies or dictatorships.

This is the same policy that America has had before in Middle East, but sharper, now including military invasion and possible military attack.

It is a policy that the British Empire could have run 50-100 years ago - especially the British Empire in fact: the British Empire often ruled by supporting local rulers sympathetic to their interests (the French tended to rule their colonies more directly).

So it is a British-style Empire. That is perhaps not so odd, considering that America once was part of the British Empire.

Since none of President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld present their policy as in any way an Empire policy, everything they say about their Middle East policy is a lie. Everything.

It's the facts-on-the-ground that say so.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at September 3, 2006 06:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tom, we need to split it into two different issues.

One is Rummy. He's one of the issues, maybe without him we'd do better.

The other is the war. At what point do we decide it's hopeless to keep this war on life-support and pull the plug?

About Rummy, he might or might not be good for the military apart from the war. He's put out a lot of propaganda that says he is. Our ground forces were starting their own transformation when he throw that all away and stuck them with his plan. I don't know how well it will work. I can't particularly blame Rummy/Bremer for the iraqi constitution. We weren't in a good position to impose all the details of the constitution on them. We had to let them do some pieces of it themselves or they wouldn't have agreed to it.

For the war, losing the WMDs is criminal. He said he knew where they were, and he had special forces going in before and during the war, and he just completely lost them. After that failure, if he does his part toward winning a 20 year occupation he deserves a booby prize.

For the war -- look at the victory conditions the administration put on it themselves. The results after 6 months were way below what they said to begin with. So they moved the goalposts. The results after a year were less than they'd said for 6 months so they moved the goalposts again. After 2 years we weren't doing as well as they had said for one year, and they're far worse now than they said last year.

We're doing badly, and we keep doing worse. How many years of this should we wait before we pull the plug? Vietnam is a bad precedent. I agree that more troops probably won't help at this point any more than it did in vietnam. The current number of troops doesn't seem to be helping either. Maybe what we need is less troops, maybe what we need is no troops in iraq. But it's clear we're in a big long losing streak, and it's easier to consider pulling out or betting bigger than to keep on doing the same things that are failing now.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 3, 2006 06:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tom, so far as I can tell, the only people who think a civil war in Iraq is "A-OK!" are Bush supporters who've decided that Iraqis are nothing more than savages insufficiently grateful for our invasion.

Most people who opposed the war to start with, and who oppose it now, see a civil war as inevitable - if not, in fact, already in progress. Iraqis aren't "savages," they're citizens of a country whose leadership spent generations playing off one ethnic/sectarian group against another, favoring its own supporters and using bestial tactics against everyone else. The same misrule also destroyed whatever social codes or institutions enable people with very different ideologies and philosophies to resolve those differences peacefully. The US invasion removed the pressure cooker that kept those exacerbated grievances from flaring up - and replaced it with a provisional authority that whose ineffectuality was equaled only by its corruption, and then with a government that couldn't even resolve its own internal differences enough to be seated.

The US did all this while having just enough troops on the ground to play Whack-A-Mole with the insurgency de jour - never were there enough troops to establish or maintain order. And the reason there were never enough troops was because your BBFs Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush refused to acknowledge their strategy wasn't working, made it clear that commanders asking for more troops would quickly be shown the door, and insisting every single goddamn day that things in Iraq were just peachy.

There's an old saying that "you start as you mean to go on." The Iraq war was misbegotten from the very git-go, from the planning that preceeded the actual invasion. You don't get a re-set; you don't get a do-over; you don't get to say that "maybe mistakes were made, but let's concentrate on what we can do now" - what can be done "now" is irrevocably tainted, constrained, and limited by the mistakes that were made from the start, and by the arrogance and insanity that refused to even acknowledge the mistakes until it was far too late to do anything about them.

And you sure as hell don't get to set the terms of the debate by making believe no one saw this disaster coming and therefore it's a complete surprise that Bush supporters and war supporters shouldn't be blamed for.

Posted by: CaseyL at September 3, 2006 07:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

New Jersey's GOP Senate nominee, Thomas Kean Jr. -- son of the chairman of the 9-11 Commission -- has now publicly called on Rumsfeld to resign for unfairly sliming war critics:

http://www.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2006/sep/03/nj_sen_goper_kean_calls_on_rumfseld_to_resign

(Note: "rumfseld" is misspelled in the actual URL.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at September 3, 2006 08:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You've nailled it. You did leave yourself open for attack by saying a detailed analysis would follow your initial perusal, but really, how many times do we have to listen to these dangerous fanatics that construct their own reality, at our expense. Oh, and I'm not talking about the Islamist fascists, but our very own wack-jobs. Who believes Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld? That is the question. Who believes anything these three men say?

Posted by: john bull at September 3, 2006 11:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I knew it was going to happen. Eventually POTUS would start referring to Islamo-fascists (OK Islamic fascists were his actual terms), thereby giving all of his one eyed supporters the opportunity to pat themselves on the back for being so right.

Anyone else with half an intellect realises this for what it is. Its creating a boogey man that doesn't really exist. Islamic extremists are NOT Fascists. Fascism and Islamic Extremism are 2 quite different things. Fascism is a political ideology in which the state is placed above the individual. Whilst its essentially about authoritarian rule, its basis for rule it not based upon religious laws or norms, but on nationalisation of the functions of the economy (essentially where national "businesses" run the key functions of the economy). Theocracy is quite simply rule by religion - which is largely unrelated to how the economy is managed.

Sp the 2 are quite different, however fascism is a nice easy term for most people to get - its bad. Islamic extremists are bad also, so its an easy, although totally dishonest tactic to link the 2 things together.

Who cares right - they're bad. It doesn't matter does it??

Unfortunately it does. If you cannot articulate the depth and breadth of the issues that face you without resorting to creating dishonest "boogey men" to scaring people into supporting you then there is simply no possibility that you'll ever achieve what needs to be done.

Look at the split in views here. Almost everyone recognises that we face a very real conflict over core values between the Western and Islamic worlds. But as Sun Tzu said centuries ago "know your enemy". By creating boogey men and linking two completely different political ideologies (rule of religion vs nationalism), you're simply obfuscating the facts. Whilst it doesn't really matter whether people on this site believe in Islamo-fascists or not, when the government of the worlds only superpower are buying into this phraseology, it becomes clear that they do not understand their enemy. And that I believe is why we are standing in Faecal Street without any footwear.

Which has f*ck all to do with Greg's post. Sorry Greg, but the comments section here becomes farcical every time you open it up. Very few comment on what you actually right but simply begin a repeated rehashing of all the old talking points (myself included - but the term Islamofascist really does bug me - its so... unhelpful!)

So to make some amends...

I largely agree with the point I think that you are trying to make here (I could of course be well wrong) - that the administration has no idea whatsoever in how to resolve this predicament (and to be honest I don't think anyone does). Instead its resorting to all sorts of obfuscation, chest beating and trumpet blowing, along with a small admittance here an there that maybe things aren't going that well, as a smokescreen for the fact that as mentioned Iraq largely resembles an open sewer - in comparison with what most people would hold up as a functioning democracy.

The questions probably needs to shift more towards:

1/ What does the Administration intend to do in the Middle East? What is the new plan for the region?

2/ In line with this how does the Administration extricate itself from Iraq without further damaging its interests in the region, or those of Israel.

3/ How does the Administration intend to re-invigorate the WoT, and regenerate the support for this lost through her incompetence in prosecuting the war in Iraq?

4/ As an extension of the above how will the Administration redefine its policy toward Iran, and other nations that pose a threat to either US security or US policy in the middle east (eg Syria and North Korea).

5/ Do we assume that the US will change its policy on the above in light of the Iraq debacle? Or will they assume that somehow they wont repeat the mistakes of Iraq (very important question)

Posted by: Aran Brown at September 4, 2006 01:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Bush malAdministration has two problems. One is that the obviously incompetent Bush is not going to remove himself from office--and, if he were to do so, that would leave the puppet master Cheney in charge.

Secondly, even if the obviously incompetent Rumsfeld were to be put out to pasture (voluntarily or otherwise), who would be his successor? Who would want to be his successor? Who in his right mind would actually want to succeed Rumsfeld in that position?

Neither will happen. Happy two (plus a little) more years.

Posted by: raj at September 4, 2006 05:08 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The point here isn't that Rumsfeld is some Hitler redux, of course. But Rumsfeld's rhetorical tactics of late, it should be noted, are not infrequently rather similar to the Fuhrer's, and this bears noting, I'd think."

You've promised further analysis, but "color me deeply unconvinced any 'honest analysis' will be forthcoming."

Posted by: JM Hanes at September 4, 2006 11:05 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The honest analysis should start with where Iraq IS, where the US wants it to GO, and possible US actions that influence HOW it gets there.

What the current situation in Iraq needs is:
for Sunnis to stop murdering Shia, and for Shia to stop murdering Sunnis.

In both cases, small minorities of each group doing the murders; larger numbers of groups are sympathetic (and willing to lie to cover up for the murderers), but still a minority (I believe).

Nobody knows how to get the fanatics to stop murdering each other.

If replacing Rumsfeld, or Bush, doesn't stop the murders, then it doesn't solve the Iraq problems -- and if it's true that Arabs respect the "strong horse", replacement looks like weakness and thus helps the terrorists.

In Vietnam, the problem was how to get the N. Viet commies to stop fighting -- the anti-war (troops home!) solution was cut and run, and ALLOW 600 000 murders of folks AFTER surrender.

In Iraq, I don't see the "troops home" folk honestly saying that 600 000 murders is OK, as long as it's not the US doing the killing or getting killed. (If the problem is the NEWS of the murders, than getting the US out makes sense -- look how little news of 200 000 dead in Darfur.)

My claim is that only Iraqis can "win" in Iraq, and our purpose is for the US military to stay there and help the democratically elected gov't win -- as quickly or as slowly as THEY do. The US actually DID give freedom, like parents give to college kids, but it's up to the Iraqis to act like civilized adults. They aren't yet -- it's their fault.


A Porkbusters type internet database of all reconstruction cash from the US, to help reduce corruption, should have been an early goal -- and should be a goal now.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 4, 2006 03:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sometimes the external threat is so big that US politicians and the public put aside their partisan issues and all work together. This is not one of those times.

Some people think our army is heading for some serious danger in iraq. That the iraqis might rise up and block all the roads, and we couldn't get enough supplies through, and our bases might get taken apart piecemeal. That isn't going to happen. There's no threat available in iraq big enough to keep us from pulling out in good order on short notice with relatively few casaulties.

Some people think that if we lose in iraq the whole area will solidify into one single america-hating nation that will extract vast sums for its oil and buy advanced european weapons with the money and then conquer europe, and start a nuclear war. That isn't going to happen either.

The current problem is more a tarpit than a quagmire, but it isn't any big immediate danger. We could stay stuck there for years and years before we're actually in real danger. So the republicans will exploit it for whatever political advantage they can get, and to hell with unity.

They planned to pull out some troops before the US elections, but things got worse faster than expected and they can't. Assuming they get through the next election OK, then they have 2 years to decide what to do. I expect the approach will be to blame everything on Bush, and run in 2008 on a reform ticket. They'll say it wasn't republicans doing it, it was just Bush. The republican congress didn't support him any more than anybody else. He fooled everybody. (Fool me twice. He fooled them for *six years*.) Anyway, they'll argue that now we're in such a horrible mess we need somebody responsible to get us out. Not mamby pamby moonbeam democrats. We need good honest conservative republicans to get us out of the mess that Bush got us into. And it wasn't all Bush's fault. The democrats were what drove Bush crazy. He made irrational responses to their irrational attacks. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Unity? How can we have unity until we're in immediate mortal danger?

As an aside, I want to promote a nonpartisan measure that I believe would help us both immediately and in the long run.

Mandatory drug testing for all national elected officials.
Mandatory alcohol testing for every legislator just before every time he votes.

It couldn't hurt....

Posted by: J Thomas at September 4, 2006 03:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tom Grey, perhaps you can come up with a strategy for how the US army can get small numbers of iraqis from killing other iraqis. Come to think of it, that would be a really good thing. After we get iraq cleaned up we could use the same method in our own inner cities.

Well, but no, you don't have any strategy. You just want us to "support the iraqi government" as long as it takes. How about we get the army out of there and we support the iraqi government with money as long as it takes, instead?

I can see that probably wouldn't work, though. The iraqi government has about $30 billion a year in oil money, and that isn't enough for them to do much to slow down the insurgents who have essentially no funding. If we gave them another $120 billion a year instead of spending it keeping the army in iraq, what's the chance that would be enough?

The iraqi government can't solve their problems by spending money, they need the US army to fight for the indefinite future to keep them from being overthrown. Something about this leaves me with a nameless doubt....

Posted by: J Thomas at September 4, 2006 04:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Moonbat blog deleted.

Posted by: PJF at September 4, 2006 08:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"A little off-topic point:

We reached a sad milestone I'd mentioned we were approaching in an earlier thread a little sooner than I'd thought we would today:

U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq - 2,641
U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan - 333

U.S. soldier killed in in Iraq + Afghanistan so far - 2,974
People killed on 9/11 - 2,973"


American service memebrs killed December 7, 1941- 2,400

American service membrs killed in WWII- over 400,000


The fact that we've fought two wars for almost five years and suffered fewer combat deaths than individual battles in our history shows how deranged the BDS sufferers are in their opinion that Bush is so "incompetent." It's been awhile since I've been here and Greg has fallen even farther than what I thought was possible. Bringing up Hitler because Rumsfeld used the words 'unity' and 'confusion' is so far off the wall it's beyond rational discourse.
And finally, when someone is overusing adjectives it means either the person is inarticulate or covering for a weak argument. Hint, hint.


Posted by: andrew at September 4, 2006 10:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Andrew,

Interesting that you compare to WWII. Let's look at all the numbers now, not just cherry picked numbers. How many American soldiers went into Europe and into the Pacific to win the wars? Show us the numbers.

Pardon the pun, but here's the real killer. Roosevelt took three and a half years to completely and fundamentally alter the entire world. Bush has been in Iraq now for three and a half years. Why are Americans still being killed there? We've been in Afghanistan for FIVE YEARS! Why are we still being killed there? Why are the Taliban, the most awfully trained and equipped and funded army on the planet, still around and killing us? Why are they not destroyed? This is something that cannot be blamed on any Democrat. I believe only one democrat voted against the war in Afghanistan. We all agreed to it. It needed to happen. But the execution of this war is the responsibility of Republicans as they are in charge of all three branches right now. Why is Bin Laden still alive? Why are the Taliban still around? Who failed here? Rumsfeld.

Moreover, do not forget that it was Rumsfeld who met and shook hands with Saddam like a true Chamberlain appeaser. Frank Rich nicely berates Rumsfeld and shows what a true charlatan that man is. Rumsfeld must go, and now!

Posted by: Daniel at September 5, 2006 03:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Take it up with George Will, Andrew: "The faux and disintegrating nation of Iraq, from which the middle class, the hope of stability, is fleeing... This farrago of caricature and non sequitur makes the administration seem eager to repel all but the delusional. But perhaps such rhetoric reflects the intellectual contortions required to sustain the illusion that the war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, and that the war... does 'work.'

The other difference between this war and WW II, Andrew, is that during the accumulation of all those casualties in WW II we were actually advancing -- we were, in fact, advancing like a son of a bitch. In this war, during an equally long period, there has never been the slightest sign that we are making progress -- and the reason there have been comparatively few American (as opposed to Iraqi) casualties is precisely that (as Greg quoted the Financial Times as saying) we have never had remotely enough troops in Iraq to establish order in the first place. Moreover, to the extent that our obsession with Iraq has prevented us from dealing adequately with the very real and rapidly growing nuclear threats in Iran, North Korea and Pakistan, there is an excellent chance that it will ultimately end up producing more American casualties than we suffered in WW II -- but this time they will be civilian casualties...

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at September 5, 2006 04:46 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Clearly the suggestion that the "pull out now - Iraq was better off under Saddam" clique here is mightily offended by the clear observation that they don't give a rats ass for the lives and future of these dark skinned folks over there

"Pay any price, bear any burden" - Old Democratic party ala JFK

"Fuck em all" - New Democratic party ala Ned Lamont


You just have to love the detailed explanation given by Aran Brown on why our current threat from the islamo-nazi's can never ever be compared to Facism

Go write a 1000 page book about it Aran - enjoy yourself

Sensible people understand that one can argue any two things are different - yet understand the basic commonality

Hitlers Nazi's and Tojo's automotons were quite different - yet both equally dangerous

Thats why the first offensive action we took in WW2 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was to send a fleet and invade...French NW Africa

I can just see your grandfather saying "we took our eye off the ball - lets get Hirohito!"

This policy will bear fruit - or not - in 10-20 years

Don't pretend you have the answers when all you have is criticism

And as to the question - do I care...yes I do

But more galling to you - Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld care MORE about the Iraqi's and Arabs than you do Aran et al

Pretty grating isn't it

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at September 5, 2006 05:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue,
I wonder if Iraqis themselves feel "loved" by Bush? The most recent polling show the US as the most depised nation for Iraqis. Alas you call tough love or in the case of Lebenon or Palestine VERY tough love.

You have covinced me ...I will hold my criticism for 10-20 years.

Posted by: anon at September 5, 2006 05:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

All this running around quoting polls - you seek each new poll that supports your pre-concieved POV like a truffle hunting pig searching for that wonderful noxious smell you so love

POLL SHOWS MOST IRAQIS DESPAIR

"woo hoo" you shout - I am right - horay for me!

Frankly one would think that even those suffering from the most severe BDS ( like yourself anon ) would have learned the limits of polling on election day 2004 - remember that champagne you popped when those early poll results came in...: )

And that is polling in the US - for an election

Imagine the condition in Iraq today - what to tell the eager foriegn pollster

But no - continue to seek those polls - they are your truth and light


For me I will hold to some basic truths - such as

- we have been attacked by the islamic facists for the past 30+ years - before, on and long after 9/11

- our actions in Iraq have not "created" the terrorist menace ( and if we weren't in Iraq - they would use Afghanistan to justify their actions for your gullible consumption - and it would be just as much a lie but you get the idea I trust )

- George Bush is not infallible - nor are his critics - something you might keep in mind. His plan may not work - or it might - or it might work in some ways and not in others. But it is a plan and it is happening. All the blather of the Clinton admin didn't save a single life yet he is greatly admired by your side


And no - keep criticising during these coming 10-20 years - nothing will stop you anyway and there is always an audience for such harping

Its so much easier to complain that to suggest any actual plan - or to support the election of a candidate who will put into practice any such plan

This is a great thing for us really - the more identified the left is with do nothing bitching the more support it loses

Oh - not according to those Polls right - but behind the curtain when voters had to decide if Bush or Kerry would protect them - what did they decide

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at September 5, 2006 06:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We reached a sad milestone I'd mentioned we were approaching in an earlier thread a little sooner than I'd thought we would today:

U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq - 2,641
U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan - 333

U.S. soldier killed in in Iraq + Afghanistan so far - 2,974
People killed on 9/11 - 2,973"

-----------------------------------------------------


You know I read this earlier and realized right away why there is no coverage of this "news"

Its because the left and MSM and BDS sufferers ( like Greg ) MUST draw a distinction between Iraq and Afghanistan

Afghanistan = GOOD WAR

Iraq = BAD WAR

So the chanpagne won't be popping among the LLL until the magic number of 9/11 deaths = IRAQ WAR ONLY deaths is reached

Of course, try to imagine an alternate universe where we aren't in Iraq but still did the approved Afghan thing - and the Islamic facists are what - using Afghanistan to justify their new attacks on us! And the Gregs of the world are calling for Rumsfelds head for this quagmire in Afghanistan

So you'll have to wait for the 2,794 casualty in Iraq along dhimmi's - and then it will officially be "not worth it" to have deposed people shredder Saddam

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at September 5, 2006 06:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue, if you're going to rave childishly, at least try to get your grammar and spelling right.

As for your content: Djerejian, lest we forget, strongly endorsed Bush over Kerry in 2004. He has since been dragged kicking and screaming into the reluctant conclusion that Bush and Rumsfeld are not just mistaken, but so consistently and disastrously flawed in their military and political strategy that they can only be called criminally negligent. And even now he is extremely reluctant to say that we should leave Iraq; his standard line has been that we should try to put MORE troops into it -- at least until the last few weeks, when the situation has collapsed into such chaos that it's doubtful that any number of American troops can now retrieve it. (The Daily Telegraph -- that notoriously pink publication -- now quotes Ayatollah Sistani as saying that he has totally lost any hope of keeping Iraq from collapsing into civil war, and that he will therefore withdraw entirely from politics and limit himself to religious statements: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/03/wirq03.xml .)

That other notorious pinko and Republican-hater, George Will, has for a long time taken a much dimmer (and, in my opinion, more convincing) view of Bush's overall war strategy than Djerejian has. A few quotes from his Aug. 15 Washington Post column ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/14/AR2006081401163.html ):

"The fake and disintegrating nation of Iraq, from which the middle class, the hope of stability, is fleeing...

"[Bush officials'] farrago of caricature and non sequitur makes the administration seem eager to repel all but the delusional. But perhaps such rhetoric reflects the intellectual contortions required to sustain the illusion that the war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, and that the war, unlike 'the law enforcement approach,' does 'work.' "

In short, Mahone, you're actually a McCarthyist extreme-right hysteric calling everyone who disagrees with you an extremist leftist. (Which, of course, was already obvious for other reasons. Henry Kissinger once said that he'd often been criticized by both the Right and the Left, but that the Left spells better.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at September 5, 2006 07:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well if the Torygraph and George Will say that then maybe I should leap on the "sack Rumsfeld" bandwagon now...

Nothing but the usual criticism of everything here - and Greg has been slinging the criticism for quite some time

The enemy, and there is an enemy, has this one hope - that we tear down people like Bush, Blair, Howard - from within - that we capitulate to them and blame ourselves for our own victimhood

There is a reason Rumsfeld will stay beyond is effectiveness - because if Greg gets rid of him then its on to Cheney and then Bush

Can you spell that - hows that for grammer

Europe is becoming dhimmiland and your content to sling mud at democratically elected leaders of the west - what a safe thing to do

All the while the enemy is caught in Germany and Denmark - surely due to Runsfelds bungling

Defend Greg all you like - he has a severe case of BDS

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at September 5, 2006 08:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

America's right-wingers know nothing about war.

Posted by: NeoDude at September 5, 2006 08:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Of course Neodude - just like all the American right-wingers who are in the volunteer military ( a poll of their opinions and voting patterns would be an eye opener to neodude....dude )

Naturally - these men and women are dismissed as ignorant dupes - cannon fodder and morons - by neodude

Only HE, and those who think like him, "know about war"

He knows war is bad

How deep - how well considered


There are some more interesting parralels being brought forward lately between the US Civil War and the GWOT

The way Lincoln was attacked and caricatured as a simpleton - a hick - an ape and worse

The way the democrats turned against the effort and Lincoln and found their own war hero - McClellen to run against Lincoln in 1864
( wesley clark with sideburns )

The way democrats decided - when things got tough - that freedom for the blacks wasn't really that important after all - but getting back into the White House really was

Some antecedent of neodude was there I am sure - explaining how those right wingers like Sherman and Grant didn't know nothing about war

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at September 5, 2006 10:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue, before World War I Europeans were very militaristic. WWI was started because Europeans were far too eager to go to war. It killed about ten million people. It set up for WWII. You know nothing about war.

You know nothing about colonianism either, but that is a different story. You are either an American-supremacist or you don't know why the American Revolution was fought.

As for your answer to my question, I assume that answer about whether you care was to my question? You still know nothing about colonianism. You don't know what you care about.

Once the resistance starts (like in Iraq), there is no stopping it except killing very large numbers of people. At least hundreds of thousands - like Saddam did. This is the experience from history from colonianism, Pogue.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at September 6, 2006 01:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue, Bill Clinton was "democratically elected". And (since repetition is supposed to be very important in educating the retarded) Greg is a Republican who firmly endorsed Bush over Kerry...

As for "Runsfeld's", Bush's and Cheney's "effectiveness": effectiveness at what? Ruining our entire anti-terrorist military campaign by attacking the wrong fucking target and then refusing to admit their error even when our REAL enemies are either about to acquire the Bomb or already have it and are threatening to use it?

And as for Lincoln: shucks, I hate to point this out, but Lincoln ultimately succeeded precisely because, when his initial military commanders turned out to be boobs as incompetent as Rummy, he had the sense to fire them -- repeatedly -- until he finally found one who could actually do the job. Sorry to foul up your "parralels", but in that situation Bush would have stubbornly stuck with "McClellen" as his general to the end, for fear of having to publicly admit having made a mistake.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at September 6, 2006 01:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"And as for Lincoln: shucks, I hate to point this out, but Lincoln ultimately succeeded precisely because, when his initial military commanders turned out to be boobs as incompetent as Rummy, he had the sense to fire them -- repeatedly -- until he finally found one who could actually do the job."

The case that Rummy is so "incompetent" is pretty shaky and to compare him to Pope, McLellan, Hooker and Burnside who oversaw real disasters is very unserious. And of course the other 800 ton gorilla in the room is that if today's media was controlling the politcal discourse back then like it does now, Gettysburg most likely would have finished Lincoln's political power and the war effort. I shudder to think at what the MSM would have done with those headlines. People wouldn't have even known it was a victory.

Posted by: andrew at September 6, 2006 04:10 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Spot on with you assessment there Bruce. I could go and rebut Pogue, and point out that he's completely missed the point of my argument, but like Andrew, I've since discovered that there is simply no point trying to debate with people like them.

Bruce and Bengt, unlike the real world where one must mix confrontation, diplomacy and negotiation in order the acheive solutions no matter how obstinate your opponent, in the blosphere one can preach confrontation all one wants without ever really having to live with the consequences. Fortunately we have an effective option open to use here in the blogosphere. We can choose to simply ignore the ranting - its hard a first but ultimately it works well.

Save your comments and arguments for those who its worth debating with - its a far more productive use of time.

Yours in racist appeasist derangement

Posted by: Aran Brown at September 6, 2006 10:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Er, Andrew. In the case of Iraq, not even George Will sees what's happening as a victory, probably because it isn't.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at September 6, 2006 02:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Fortunately we have an effective option open to use here in the blogosphere. We can choose to simply ignore the ranting - its hard a first but ultimately it works well.

There's no clear precedent and it's uncertain where we're heading.

In the old days, "freedom of the press" meant freedom for rich people who owned presses. They could pay for the writing they wanted, and regular citizens could read it.

So in the days of yellow journalism, did the press barons actually convince the public we should get into unnecessary wars? I dunno. The press reported that they did. If the public wasn't convinced, who would know? The legislators went along, the army and navy went along, the papers reported that the public by and large went along, what would the public have done that the papers would report as not going along with the war?

But then we got TV. McLuhan wrote about it, and it might be possible to get useful ideas out of what he said. TV is good at giving people images to worship. Extremely weak on details. It doesn't give people a burning desire to jump up and do things. But it gives them a context to put things into. Things that would seem unreal without TV get an aura of reality because those imaged are in people's heads.

I was a kid when JFK died. The TV showed endless pictures of the funeral procession. No cartoons, nothing but gloom. It was easy to get the idea that the whole country was mourning. Compare that with the "riots" a few years later. I lived about a hundred miles from DC, and all we got on TV was a picture of an american flag and a sign asking citizens not to believe rumors. Tune in the next day and the flag and the sign were still there. There were rumors that Washington was burning down. There were rumors (true) that the local gunshop had sold out of guns and tried to order more and couldn't get them, they were on backorder. After it was over and people could drive through DC they said close to half the city had burned. My smalltown newspaper published an editorial thanking the negroes for not doing anything rash and congratulating our town for its racial harmony. But the gunshop owner hadn't sold any guns to any niggers that week.

I was in Greensboro when the A&T riots came. I heard firsthand reports that if you drove anywhere near A&T little african-american kids would throw rocks at your car and wreck the paint and put dents in it. So nobody I knew got close. After it was over I talked with some state police who said they'd been at A&T and got pinned down by a machinegun nest on one of the buildings. It took a long time before the NG managed to kill those guys, and they took casualties themselves. The partner of one of the cops I talked to was in the hospital, shot in the leg.. The media didn't report anything like that.

I talked with a fellow Fortran student who claimed he was in the california national guard and he'd been at Watts. He said his squad killed hundreds of negroes. They'd drag a big pile of bodies into a building and set the building on fire. He claimed the NG was stashing bodies everywhere, that bodies were turning up months later stuffed down manholes or clogging sewers and so on. The media didn't report anything like that, and I didn't know whether to believe him. He was a blowhard about other things.

That's what it was like in those days. There was what the media reported, and there was what you heard, and you couldn't really trust either one but some people chose to trust the media. Every time I heard of that people were *there* they said the media got it badly wrong. But they tended to believe the media about things they didn't know. People told me about the Rockwell burial. He had been part of a nutsy neonazi group, and he'd gotten shot and killed. His group wanted to bury him in a national cemetery but the government wouldn't let them. They'd tried arlington and then they moved to a small town farther out and tried to bury him in a national cemetery that mostly had civil war casualties. The TV showed them throwing themselves at the gate, and a helicopter landed and the national guard ran out and pushed them back. The witnesses said that the neonazis and the NG both just stood around waiting until the TV crews got there. Then the neonazis tried to storm the gate for the cameras, and afterward the NG helicopter landed for the cameras.

In those days the media provided a more-or-less coherent view of the world, and you could take it or leave it. If you didn't take it people thought you were a nut. But then it got real cheap to print things. That was the "counterculture". A lot of people who hadn't had a chance to get together before, got together. And they mostly agreed about an alternative. Not so much because it was an altenative they liked, but because they got credibility through solidarity. If you didn't agree with the mainstream and you didn't agree with the counterculture, they'd both think you were nuts.

Sometimes I wonder about the black experience. Were they really trying to defend themselves at A&T or were they just getting shot at? Did they really lose tens of thousands of people at Watts that first time? Could we really be living in a society where a significant minority of the population is being occasionally repressed by physical force of arms, like it was iraq or chechnya or something, and we don't notice? A few months ago I did a quick websearch about the A&T thing, and there were a few blacks trying to write down what they'd experienced 30 years before. They were pretty hesitant about it. At the time they had no concept that they could publish their side of things.

Now anybody can put stuff on the web, and it's practically free. The consensus that the media used to enforce is dying. In the USA I see three big alternatives so far. There's the liberal way of thought, which roughly corresponds to conservative upper-middle-class thinking 30 years ago. There's the wingnut way of thought, which roughly corresponds to conservative lower-class thinking 30 years ago. And there's the hispanic way which tends to be invisible because it gets expressed in spanish. All of them have noticed that the media consensus doesn't fit reality, and particularly that it doesn't fit their prejudices.

It used to be a few rich people could dominate the news to the point mostly nothing else got expressed. That isn't possible now. But can they dominate the web to the point it looks like there's a consensus in their favor, or at least a plurality? With money? Maybe. First, they can pay people to spread their point of view. Argue down alternative views by sheer repetition. If they could get a fake consensus in 1925, why not now?

And second, they might be able to pay for bots that are good enough you can't tell them from sh*theads. They don't have to pass the turing test to do that. A semiautomated system might be most effective. Have a bunch of canned responses, and add a couple lines of individual response to make it look like you're paying attention.

If your purpose is to have interesting discussions you can just ignore all those. But if you hope for your view not to be drowned out by bots, what can you do? They can make it look like you're surrounded by a giant mob of stupid crazy people, and that mere fact will influence public opinion a whole lot.


I don't have any solutions at this point, but here's a side issue that I think is worth pushing:

Mandatory drug testing for government officials. If we need it for aiirline pilots surely we need it for everybody in government who's as important as an airline pilot.

Mandatory alcohol testing for national legislators, immediately before each vote.

It can't hurt.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 6, 2006 03:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As long as morons like Bengt keep calling the sectarian thugs in Iraq "resistance" there is little point in debating

What kind of resistance is concentrated on blowing up innocent civillians day after day in a cycle of sectarian violence

What are they resisting - the wishes of the people in Iraq?

As usual leftist fucktards like him are always right out in front ( from far away ) explaining and justifying ANY outrage as long as it acts against US FP.

Blow up a mosque - resistance! Slaughter a busload of civillians - resistance! Saw off the head of a Cellular Phone engineer - resistance!


And of course - always the "you don't know history" canard - as if Europeans are somehow infused with some understanding of history because of WW1 and WW2

Oddly the nasty things europeans did - from German crimes to French/Dutch et all collusion in rouding up the victims - CANNOT be transmitted to their grandchildren - that is so unfair right

But this KNOWLEDGE of the horror of war...every asshole from Amsterdam to Paris to Berlin is somehow an expert becuase this is what Europeans KNOW

Sorry - can't have it both ways

Frankly AQ and the Mullahs of Iran ( who just moved to purge the universities of the last remnants of free thought - when is the demonstration in London against that???? ) don't need any assitance in getting accross their propaganda

We have fucktards like the ones on this site whinging about "colonialism" as if this had anything to do with islamic facism of today- and sounding off against Rummy and Cheney - so safe to do that


BTW - I notice no rebuttal to the point about the opinion of the members of the US Military - THEY disagree with you - do they know nothing of war either?

That teenager in Hamburg is the expert right - not the USMC squad leader on his second tour

What a bunch of preening semi-intelectuals this site attracts these days

Posted by: pogue mahone at September 6, 2006 08:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue,
You must have missed the open letter sign by dozens of generals recently that espressed "no confidence" in Rumsfeld at the peril of their post military careers in the MID. Read Ricks book Fiasco which does a great job of the fleshing out the ambivelance of the general staff level professional military about the wisdom of the Iraqi adventure.
The rank and file enlisted military that are still fighting in Iraq to "get those guys that got us on 911"and watching news censored by the dod, holed up in the green zone. In other words they swallow Rumsfeld line and I'm glad they do....or else there would be complete mutiny in the army on top of the rampent gang(we must meet recruiting #s) activity.

Posted by: gomer pyle at September 6, 2006 09:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

BTW - I notice no rebuttal to the point about the opinion of the members of the US Military - THEY disagree with you - do they know nothing of war either?

I normally don't respond to idiots, but I keep seeing this claim. Is there any particular reason to think that there's some member of the US Army or US Marines who has some little bit of respect for Rummy? It seems by the law of averages there ought to be a few. They say there's one in every crowd. OK, let me rephrase that. Do you have any reason to think that more than 5% of the army or marines have any respect for Rummy?

Posted by: J Thomas at September 7, 2006 05:41 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well J - glad you asked

Since large majorities of polled military support the GWOT and President Bush - and he employs ( cue darth vader music ) Don Rumsfeld - I suppose you can take that as evidence

Of course, that 12 career military men - who found their cozy Cold War era reality shattered by the changes Rumsfeld brought to the military - is indicitive of....bitterness by 12 men - whose motives and feelings we can both guess at

I am sure that change is not appreciated by many people - maybe if you ever experienced it you would know that there are always entrenched interests who fight the change

There is a willing audience for this in fucktards like yourself - so they come forward with it

The admiral who loses 1 of his carrier groups so that the new army can deploy an extra Ranger battalion, so much more useful in the GWOT, would be the kind to sign such a letter - get it?


And thanks Gomer Pyle for so clearly putting it - how do you descibe our soldiers in the field

"The rank and file enlisted military that are still fighting in Iraq to "get those guys that got us on 911"and watching news censored by the dod, holed up in the green zone. In other words they swallow Rumsfeld line and I'm glad they do."


Right - ignorant morons iow

May I say on their behalf - fuck you pal

They know more about it that you, or I, ever will

The difference between us is that I know this - and you are disdainful of men 1000 times better than you

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at September 7, 2006 06:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Since large majorities of polled military support the GWOT and President Bush - and he employs ( cue darth vader music ) Don Rumsfeld - I suppose you can take that as evidence

No, that is not in any way evidence that they fail to despise Rumsfeld. Sheesh.

Oh well, I responded to you, I shouldn't have hoped for anything better.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 7, 2006 07:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well J - where is your evidence that they despise Rumsfeld

Some anecdotal stories

Some poll of some kind

Frankly that he hasn't been ridden out of town on a rail is amazing considering what a lightning rod for EVERY FAILURE he has been since day 2 of this war ( but God how we all loved him in Oct 2001 - remember that at all - wonder if this blog goes back that far and we can see if Greg hated him then )

My God man - can you imagine Gen Marshall surviving the floundering DD tanks on D-Day - or the failure to anticipate the hedgerows ( in hedgerow country! ) of Normany and plan for the right countermeasures

More americans killed due to those 2 errors alone, and they were errors, than in this entire war!

I suppose too that every GI in every shitty foxhole in the "good war" just loved Marshall, and FDR, and Patton and all the rest

Like hell they did

So you'll have to do a lot better than "they hate Rumsfeld" to impress me

Shit - you'll even have to do a lot better than "heres a letter signed by 12 generals" - when 69%+ of the military supports the POTUS AND his designated Sec Def


Frankly its a pretty great strategy to have Rumsfeld up there to take all this heat

He's smartter and richer than all of you - and tougher too

You can ankle bite him from now until Jan 2009 - enjoy

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at September 7, 2006 10:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think that Pogue is a professional military recruiter:
Evidence:

- He's much smarter than he lets on
- He's much more knowledgable than he lets on
- He marshalls every prejudice towards signing up for the military
- Uses emotional manipulation for the same thing

Honest men don't pretend to know less than they do.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson at September 8, 2006 01:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.


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