August 03, 2004

WaPo Roundup

A mistaken impression has developed that since Sept. 11, 2001, little has been done to improve our intelligence capabilities. This is not true. We are unquestionably a safer nation today than we were three years ago. The legislative and executive branches of government have been reviewing and adjusting our intelligence -- the gathering, processing and management of it -- since Sept. 11. We are vastly more prepared to respond to biological or chemical terrorist attacks than before Sept. 11. Our border security, documentation, information sharing and coordination among government agencies have all been improved.

--rabid Bush partisan Chuck Hagel, writing in today's WaPo.

Don't miss Fareed Zakaria either. Yes, the education of George W. Bush has occasionally been costly--but he's been making pretty good moves of late:

There are other positive trends in the country. Afghans have approached the national elections with huge enthusiasm, exceeding all predictions of voter registration. Polls show that they are highly supportive of Karzai, the United States and the international efforts at reconstruction. The problem in Afghanistan has not been with the Afghans but with the U.S. government.

U.S. policy toward Afghanistan is now on the right track. America and its allies are extending security outside Kabul, helping to build up the Afghan army and police, weakening the warlords, strengthening the central government, funding reconstruction projects, offering farmers alternatives to opium. But it may be too late. Instability is rampant, the drug trade is flourishing and the warlords are entrenched. As in Iraq, the administration seems to have learned from its mistakes, but the education of George Bush has been mighty costly.

Posted by Gregory at August 3, 2004 10:24 AM
Comments

"U.S. policy toward Afghanistan is now on the right track. America and its allies are extending security outside Kabul, helping to build up the Afghan army and police, weakening the warlords, strengthening the central government, funding reconstruction projects, offering farmers alternatives to opium."

There's a world of pain waiting for any central government that tries to expand its writ southwards.

Watch.

Posted by: praktike at August 3, 2004 01:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,

I agree that they are taking a more hands on approach now, and that is a good thing, but what about this quote that follows your bolded section:

"But it may be too late. Instability is rampant, the drug trade is flourishing and the warlords are entrenched."

If it is too late, then this is objectively speaking a failure. Remember, we must honestly assess a situation, and if corrective changes come so late that they are incapable of rehabilitating a mistake ridden campaign, then that is a failure.

If the situation turns out along the lines of the optimistic take, then it will be a success. As someone who does not agree with most of Bush's policies, I would happily grant him that praise (and hope for the sake of goodness and stability that I get that chance).

But let me ask you this, if this thing implodes, will you call a spade a spade?

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 03:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As for Hagel's quote, I agree. Obviosuly we are now much more focused on the threats of international terrorists. This is commendable, but at the same time inevitable. What was the Bush administration, or any administration, really going to do? Not improve on any of these areas: readiness, intelligence gathering, border security, focus of military and intelligence, etc.

The question has never been has Bush done anything. Any administration would have done these things. There was never opposition. That is a straw man.

The question is, are the other non-compulsory strategies and policies helping, hurting or having no effect. Such as the decision to invade Iraq, the conduct of the campaign in Afghanistan, and the attempts to improve our standing in the Middle East in general.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 3, 2004 03:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Chuck Hagel a "rabid Bush partisan"? Are you off your meds? This is the same Chuck Hagel that was hemming and hawing about whether the US should attack Iraq and continually grousing at the president from the Left with the Brent Scowcroft and James A. Baker III realpolitikers from the Bush 41 Administration.

Examples: see here for Hagel criticizing the "rush to war" (a ridiculous concept -- who rushes to war after 18 months of delay?). See also here for Hagel being blasted from the right, and here for Hagel questioning the president's credibility after the President believed the UK, UN, every Clinton Administration official, the French and the Russians about Iraq's WMD capabilities.

Hagel is no rabid Bush supporter any more than Kucinich is a rabid Kerry partisan.

Posted by: The Monk at August 3, 2004 05:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Obviously you don't have html tags enabled so here are the three articles I tried to link in my comment:

Feb. 2003 report on Hagel's speech at Kansas State -- http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_np=0&u_pg=54&u_sid=660054

Sept. 2002 editorial on Hagel's pontificating -- http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry092502.asp

June 2003 article on Hagel questioning Bush's credibility -- http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-06-22-hagel-questions_x.htm

Posted by: The Monk at August 3, 2004 05:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

monk, have you heard of sarcasm?
eric, yeah--in an implosion scenario i'll call a spade a spade.

Posted by: greg at August 3, 2004 07:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Your bare statement, standing alone, is not sarcastic. In the context of your previous criticisms of Hagel, if any (I don't read the BD as often as I read Instapundit), it may register as partisan. But you yourself are not a hard-right NRO-type, therefore your sarcasm is not apparent from the face of your statement.

Posted by: The Monk at August 3, 2004 11:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There is an interesting property to chaos. There is no such thing as a little chaos. It's sort of like watching a juggler, either it is all going around properly or it is all on the floor.
This stability thing works about the same. Although often overrated, stability is usually an illusion. The metaphor has the juggler working his ass off while just a moment away from disaster. This is normal.

Posted by: J_Crater at August 4, 2004 03:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

praktike,

Subduing the warlords in America took several hundred years. Give the Afghanis time.

==============================

Why is it that the people who wish to do nothing at all are the first to complain that things aren't going fast enough? Isn't slow closer to nothing than fast?

==============================

BTW drug prohibition (an an American World Wide Enterprise sonce the Single Convention Treaty) is funding criminals an chaos every where it is applied. Why is this American policy?

Posted by: M. Simon at August 4, 2004 06:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

J Crater,

Of course there can be a little chaos. Compare security in Iraq to security in America.

We have murders and gang warfare. Chaos.

We don't have RPGs and suicide bombers. More chaos.

What you need to watch for is the period doublings. I'm not sure what the metric ought to be though. Clearly there are contending powers with one side, so far, visibly stronger than the other.

We are now in a period in Iraq similar to American history from about 1820 to 1855. War with the tribes. That war was not fully over until the 1880s.

It takes a while to subdue the tribal warrior spirit and get the tribes integrated into the nation.

Gerinimo.

Posted by: M. Simon at August 4, 2004 07:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Fareed Zakaria's "Education of George Bush" meme is total bullsh*t. I challenge ANYBODY to have done a better job in that F'd up country than the Bush team. He is just taking a cheap shot at Bush's expense.

Posted by: j.pickens at August 5, 2004 03:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

J Pickens, if this is as good as it gets in afghanistan, do you think they knew that when they went in? What about Bush's various promises to the afghans? It hurts US credibility for Bush to promise things he knows he can't deliver.

Posted by: J Thomas at August 6, 2004 02:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

810 How can this all be as nice? Check out my site http://www.pai-gow-keno.com

Posted by: pai gow at October 9, 2004 05:41 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

5042 http://www.e-texas-holdem.info

texas holdem

Posted by: texas holdem at October 14, 2004 05:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
Reviews of Belgravia Dispatch
"Awake"
--New York Times
"Must-read list"
--Washington Times
"Always Thoughtful"
--Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit
"Pompous Ass"
--an anonymous blogospheric commenter
Recent Entries
Search
English Language Media
Foreign Affairs Commentariat
Non-English Language Press
U.S. Blogs
Western Europe
France
United Kingdom
Germany
Italy
Netherlands
Spain
Central and Eastern Europe
CIS/FSU
Russia
Armenia
East Asia
China
Japan
South Korea
Middle East
Egypt
Israel
Lebanon
Syria
Columnists
Think Tanks
Security
Books
B.D. In the Press
Archives
Categories
Syndicate this site:
XML RSS RDF

G2E

Powered by