January 21, 2007

Gettin' Giggly at the Standard

On the same day that Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan team up for an article juvenilely titled: All We Are Saying...Is Give Petraeus a Chance (cute, huh?), some 21 American soldiers have died in Iraq (including five in Karbala, likely a harbinger of carnage to come between Shi'a militias and American soldiers getting "surged" in, not least because of Kagan's almost certainly fatally flawed policy prescriptions). But at least it's good to see that Kagan and Kristol can cleverly turn the lyrics to a 70's era anti-war song into the title of a TWS piece that calls for escalation of a conflict, one that has already cost some 3,040 lives. Funny, guys! And hopefully good for a chuckle around the water-cooler too...

As for the piece itself, mightn't they spare us the intimations that we prostrate ourselves at Great Savior Petraeus' lap? After all, such a plea coming from them is rather ironic given all the flak they gave Abizaid and Casey back in the day (as Greenwald aptly reminds).

Then there is this dishonest passage:

It's a far cry from the Democratic party that insisted on sending American forces to stop ethnic cleansing in war-torn Bosnia in the 1990s, to the one that now declares an Iraqi bloodbath no concern of ours.

It's actually mostly Republicans who were dismayed by Warren Christopher's ineffectual approach to the Balkans imbroglio during the Clinton Administration (it later took Dick Holbrooke to save the day after three years of carnage in '95 at Dayton). Republican Bob Dole was one of the key individuals on the Hill calling for us to lift the arms embargo on the Bosnian Muslims, and use NATO to strike Bosnian Serb gunners terrorizing "safe havens" like Gorazde, Zepa, Sarajevo, Bihac and Srebrenica (the so-called "lift and strike" option).

My point? I don't remember anyone, Republican or Democrat, advocating maintaining 160,000 men in Bosnia, certainly before a peace settlement was struck, and in the middle of a raging civil war. But this article is chock-full of such cheap, straw-man arguments. Can't say I'm surprised, though...

Meantime, here's Fred K back in the day when 50K was all the rage...(go to the 2:30 mark).

UPDATE: Fred Kagan: "The guy who is most committed to winning and finding a way to win is the president. He always has been; he's the only reason we are still in this fight."

Posted by Gregory at January 21, 2007 04:25 AM

Holy Chinless Wonder, Batman! Good ol Blood and Gut Freddy K!

Posted by: los at January 21, 2007 05:03 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm sorry: this is very low and foreign of me. But if I were drawing a caricature of a chickenhawk warmonger, it would look like this fat, self-satisfied young man. How Kipling would have spat on him!

Posted by: Andrew Brown at January 21, 2007 10:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mr. Djerejian, apparently you are too young to remember Mr. Lincoln and his civil war. The Union (the North) under Mr. Lincoln consistently lost battles through most of the war, through numerous generals, until Mr. Lincoln was able to find just the right general to lead the Union (the North) to victory.

In Mr. Lincoln's case, the right general was the drunken sott U. S. Grant, and who knows what the sobriety is of Mr. Bush's chosen general is.

Irrespective of the sobriety issue (and I'm sure that Mr. Bush sees himself trodding in Mr. Lincoln's footsteps), it should be evident that the relevant issue is not the propriety of the cause, but the choice of the particular general to lead the cause.


Posted by: raj at January 21, 2007 05:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Let's not forget that not so long ago, Abizaid, whose upbringing had made him more familiar with Middle Eastern cultures than most American officers, was going save our glorious Mesopotamian adventure. And about thirty years ago, dashing Creighton Abrams was going to fix up our New Frontier adventure in Southeast Asia. Of course, the great thing about hanging everything on some general's shoulders is, that it's useful to have a scapegoat handy when boneheaded adventures collapse from their own internal contradictions.

So let's add prediction #389 to our handy field guide, Observations of Right-Wingers in the Wild -- About a year from now, the same cretins and degenerates who are singing Petraeus' praises will turn on him, and blather on about what a "disappointment" he was.

Posted by: sglover at January 21, 2007 10:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

At least Abazaid and Petraeus can look forward to having tanks named after them?

Posted by: Doug H. at January 21, 2007 11:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Chinless? I count at least three, with a couple more probably hidden by the shirt. Why do these people all look like clueless dweebs? A true fanatic. And just how in hell did these war loving chickenhawks come to set defense policy for the United States of America, for christ's sake? Yeah, fatso probably has done a lot of reading and studying - but only stuff that confirms his own preset "beliefs". He and Krystal - there's a pair to run our country! Numbnuts and Mr. Prissy. Jesus.

Posted by: badgervan at January 22, 2007 12:17 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hey, go easy on Mista Krista. He's was Dan Quayle's Chief of Staff fer crissakes!

Posted by: blather at January 22, 2007 12:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, to state the obvious, it’s a variant of the slogan, “All We Are Saying Is Give War a Chance,” which seems less witty now than it did four years ago. I suppose we should be thankful that Kristol & Kagan, who presumably think of themselves as intelligent men, don’t justify escalation under the rubric of ‘Freedom Fries.’

Michael L. Frazer (now at Harvard)

Posted by: KH at January 22, 2007 02:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Given the fact that Freedom Fries were originally given that name by Robert Ney, it would be more appropriate for the House cafeteria to rename them "Felony Fries". (By the way, it was moderate-conservative GOP Rep. Vernon Ehlers of Michigan -- one of exactly three scientists in Congress right now, in an age in which a decent understanding of science and technology is absolutely crucial for mankind's survival -- who quietly walked into the cafeteria and changed the name back to "French Fries".)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at January 22, 2007 10:53 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

At the Pentagon McDonald's it has always been French Fries. Of course in the Pentagon there is no room for petulant spoiled children as there evidently is in Congress!

Posted by: David All at January 24, 2007 02:52 PM | 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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