So, after absorbing myriad setbacks, and sticking to the old tactics too long, and making mistakes which could not have been reliably foretold, the administration finally concluded that it could not wait out the storm of the insurgency. The Secretary of Defense was replaced, along with the top general in Iraq. A new strategy was devised, and is being implemented by its architect. It is just now being unleashed, and it is too early to tell if it will be effective, yet the early signs are promising.
And this is the time to "redeploy"? I just don't understand this level of fatalism. The prize here is very large; the first possible representative government in the Middle East. Instead of top-down allies, quasi-friendly dictatorships, we could possibly help birth a truly modern nation state in Iraq, with a multi-ethnic polity, and competing groups learning to compromise.
The Iraqi people are learning all of this from scratch. They don't have the luxury of a blended polity, or geographical isolation. They are unfortunately caught in a power struggle between myriad groups who do not have their best interests at the fore. Most of their enemies are horribly ruthless. They are learning how to govern themselves apart from tribalism in a maelstrom of chaos. And yet, given enough time, they may achieve this.
But since the American people have the attention span and historical knowledge of fleas, then those who we elect to represent us-who we expect to give thought to these issues and act on our behalf, who we somewhat naively expect to do what is best, or right, instead of what is expedient-decide to cover their political asses instead of lead. And those of us who do know a little something of history, or think beyond the next election cycle are expected to say OK?
I just don't get it.Comment Posted By Chris On 26.06.2007 @ 14:39
Reagan gets the credit for creating the conditions in which the economy of the 90s could thrive. he favored less taxation and less regulation, removing some of the fetters from the American economy. Clinton had the good sense (or political opportunism) to not mess too much with a good thing, although his initial attempts at reviving a somewhat weakening economy were Keynesian. He had to scale down his government spending package in order to pass it, which mitigated the potential damage it could do.Comment Posted By Chris On 12.06.2007 @ 11:05
It's only a crisis because it's been trumpeted as such for years in the media.Comment Posted By Chris On 30.05.2007 @ 09:43
Well, that didn't take long. Nothing to see here, folks, just business as usual. Don't like the message? Shoot the messenger. That should take care of the problem, except for the stigma now surrounding "political" appointees, carried over to the next administration, and the next one, and the next one.
Go ahead, defenestrate the executive. That can't possibly be a problem for future Democratic administrations, can it?
If you scream loudly enough, the legal picks up the appearance of the illegal, which makes it off-limits. I can't see that being a problem in any way.Comment Posted By Chris On 29.05.2007 @ 14:38
It's Congress's responsibility to expand or contract the armed forces. True, the President should have been asking them to expand them before this, but the commitment wasn't expected to be this total.
Combat troops are always at a premium. We kept units in the front lines until they were worn to a nub in WWII and Korea. That seems to be a military decision, not a political one.
Every time this debate comes up, we hear about what we can't do, how we're in over our heads, how we don't understand our enemies or allies. This is exactly the attitude that aggravates me. We can "win" this war if we put our minds to it. "Victory" would be a functioning democracy in the heart of the Caliphate. The fact that we can't muster the political will to do so because of our bifurcated polity does not mean that we lack the capacity.Comment Posted By Chris On 30.05.2007 @ 09:52
Yes, heaven forbid that when we finally hit upon a strategy that delivers results, incremental though they may be, something that can possibly be built upon, that we stick with that strategy. Obviously the administration was grossly incompetent in trying out other solutions that also presumably needed some time to see if they were working.
The mood of this country is more and more resembling that of a teenager. Inability to concentrate for more than a few months at a time, lack of ability to look more than same time into the future, refusal to contemplate possible consequences of actions because they don't make us feel good.
If we screw this up, and I mean we as a country, not Bush, not the Democrats, all of us, then no one is going to trust us to deliver. We gave welfare reform ten years before we decided it had worked. Too bad we didn't give up on it, either, just because it made people feel bad. Just think of the opportunity to keep repeating that mistake we missed out on.Comment Posted By Chris On 29.05.2007 @ 14:46
Something else just occurred to me. During WWII, the strategic bombing campaign cost us 100,000 American casualties. Originally the bombers flew without fighter cover. This failed. Their original targets were associated the German aircraft industry. That strategy failed. Two years into the campaign, we realized that we had to provide fighter cover for the bombers. We did that. Then we realized that the pinch point in the German economy was not ball bearings, but oil. A concentrated effort against oil targets (which the Army Air Force initially opposed) did much more damage to the German war effort than all the efforts of the British and American bomber forces up to that point.
My point is that four years into this campaign, after changing our strategy from removing the previous regime to building a new one from scratch, fighting first a domestic insurgency, now a foreign-fueled sectarian conflict, suddenly everyone wants to pull up stakes. I am ashamed that the will of this nation is lacking. I am ashamed that our leaders cannot put aside their political differences for the sake of the country. I am ashamed that our leaders cannot explain our strategy or our goals.Comment Posted By Chris On 11.05.2007 @ 14:01
The Bush Doctrine has nothing to do with nation building. The Bush Doctrine was to preemptively remove potential national security threats, which we did by removing Saddam from power. The Bush administration was against nation building in Afghanistan at first. Our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq morphed into nation building exercises by expediency.
I agree with Kurt. Next time, and there will be a next time, we won't bother with winning our enemies' hearts and minds, we'll be spreading them all over the landscape.Comment Posted By Chris On 11.05.2007 @ 13:48
That's a big if, considering this data comes from the UN, which never met a crisis it couldn't blame on the United States.Comment Posted By Chris On 21.03.2007 @ 19:35
Rick, I can't help but notice that you follow the conventional wisdom being meted out by the writers. Just why would nuking a country automatically bring radicals to power? I would think that if the U.S. actually conducted such a warning shot, which of course is just a threat to obliterate the population if sufficiently motivated, would have the opposite effect. I would think that a populace whose government has no effective counter to a nuclear attack would be remarkably focused on not attracting any more attention from the now (for all intents and purposes) psychotic Great Satan. Indeed, I think it would be more likely that an immediate roundup of the leading a$$holes would take place, if for no other reason than for the ruling elites to protect their own backsides, along with their positions.
There is something to be said for clarity of action. Isn't that why this show is so popular, because of Jack's propensity to engage in hyperbolic action to get what he wants?Comment Posted By Chris On 21.03.2007 @ 14:52