Friday, September 09, 2005

Powell and Iraq

Colin Powell looks at OIF in retrospect in the Times of London.

"Who knew what the whole mess was going to be like?" He added: "What we didn’t do in the immediate aftermath of the war was to impose our will on the whole country, with enough troops of our own, with enough troops from coalition forces, or by recreating the Iraqi forces, armed forces, more quickly than we are doing now." ...

He said that there was little option now but to continue investing in the Iraqi Armed Forces. Despite his hesitation about the war — "I’m always a reluctant warrior" -- he said that he was glad that Saddam and his regime had been removed.

"A way has to be found for the Sunnis to be brought into the political process. You cannot let . . . Iraq devolve into a mini-state in the north, a larger mini-state in the south and sort of nothing in the middle."

It's a mixed message. Powell seems to believe the operation was worthwhile: he is glad that Saddam was removed, but he is ashamed to have advanced the rationale of the removal of weapons of mass destruction to have done it. Powell's speech at the UN will enter the historical record and he is afraid history will not be kind to it. "George Tenet . . . believed what he was giving to me was accurate". Powell seems to believe that the course should be stayed -- 'little option now but to continue investing in the Iraqi Armed Forces' -- but he clearly desires a unitary Iraq which may not be in the cards: "you cannot let . . . Iraq devolve into a mini-state in the north, a larger mini-state in the south and sort of nothing in the middle".

Powell's assertions will be debated for some time to come. An interesting historical comparison would be the controversy over Yalta. The rapid demobilization of US ground forces following the Second World War; the cession of Eastern Europe to Stalin; the return of 1.5 million former Soviet POWs to the Russians, many of whom went straight to the Gulag, were among the reasons given for charging that Roosevelt had thrown away the victories of the Second World War. Yet despite its blunders and missed opportunities the Second World War and the Korean War for that matter, were American victories. How history will adjudge Iraq remains to be seen.


Blogger 49erDweet said...

Isn't it still too early to tell how history will regard OIF? It seems to me the story is still in the developmental stage and much could yet happen that will affect the outcome.

W asks a good question. Why do so many leaders of the free or western world 'leave so much behind, on the table' after military and political strife? Why are we so anxious to cut and run? The 'devil is in the details' is so true, and yet we seem to give away the farm too many times. Shame on us.

9/09/2005 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

The US coalition has the opportunity to turn back the tide of islamic fascist terrorist perversion. This would change the course of history, saving Europe and much of the currently muslim world from a fascist islamist barbarian takeover.

Western leftists have sided with the islamist fascist barbarians, for reasons of their own. Fortunately they will not get their suicidal wish, for with the downfall of western civilisation would come the downfall of all liberal ideals.

9/09/2005 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Heraclitus said...

Ah yes, the "good old days" with FDR and Harry Hopkins living together in the White House while Morgenthau in the Treasury had Harry Dexter White draw up plans for the post-war occupation.

These Democrats were fortunate to be able to draw upon the prior example of that great statesman and former academic, Woodrow Wilson.

9/09/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Milblogs in Kurdistan .
I was going to ask, decided to ask Google First.
(Yeah, I know Tony:
Liberal Blog Bias.)

9/09/2005 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Zhang Fei said...

49: W asks a good question. Why do so many leaders of the free or western world 'leave so much behind, on the table' after military and political strife? Why are we so anxious to cut and run? The 'devil is in the details' is so true, and yet we seem to give away the farm too many times. Shame on us.

Because our soldiers are not military slaves, unlike the soldiers of authoritarian or totalitarian countries. We do not commit our forces to the field like pieces on a chessboard. They are citizens, and have as much of a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the armchair strategists of every ideology who advocate the expenditure of their lives for the greater good and the people with whom they have been tasked with liberating. There are limits to altruism. It's one thing to ask the average American to send money, and quite another to ask him to send his son. At the end of WWII, he felt that he had shed quite enough blood for other countries.

9/09/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

Armchair quarterbacking from the 'reluctant warrior', and the 'reluctant politician' and the 'reluctant (maybe not so much) diplomat.'

Yes, he's a genius. Yes, he was a great general. But a team player in this administration? Not hardly. He fit right in with the euro-suits in the state dept. Hard to believe that at one time he was the odds-on for president, maybe in either party.

At least he sees the wisdom of finishing the job he helped start.

9/09/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

49, zhang,

Also, people misread the message of the West - you are free to do the right thing.

So when we've beaten them, we must leave them free, but sadly they rarely do the right thing - initially.

But eventually, as in ex communist countries, the message gets through.

Iraq will take a long time for the message to get through, but we had to start somewhere.


9/09/2005 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

If you haven't already done so, it is worth watching this press conference with Jalal Talabani.

It is no small thing to watch a press conference--broadcast from America, in front of and answerable to a free press--of a democratic Kurdish statesman who is also President of a free Iraq, quoting George Orwell while proclaiming liberty and justice for all.

Sometimes even miracles pass unnoticed.

9/09/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

Actually, Colin Powell is NOT going to be well regarded by history. The Cover Your Ass Bureacrats before about 1990 to 1995 are all forgotten now. Many of them are still alive, but who cares?

It actually takes about 10 years for the stink of most of them to evaporate, you know. It has been that way for centuries.

I suspect that all currently serving Demoncratic politicians will share the same fate. (So will the Hagel-Mccain-Chaffee Republicans), but again. WHO CARES?

You disagree (????) .... well, I challenge you to name even one Demoncrat or bureaucrat from before 1990 who has any real influence today?

I am NOT TALKING about the petrified "Demooncrat" Senators. No one sane listens to them anyway.

9/09/2005 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

"A document that the few cannot hold up as a banner of victory is a success for the many. In the new Iraq, there will be no victors, and no vanquished...

Thank you, America, for your dignity and courage. We fought together to end a civil war. There was a civil war, a civil war of Saddam Hussein against the people of Iraq.

Now, we continue to struggle side-by-side to uproot the Iraqi fascism that has long threatened us all. By treating the Iraqi people as partners, the United States has courageously made the final and most important alteration to its policy in the Middle East."

Jalal Talabani, President of a Free Iraq.

Think about it. Whatever this is, it is not a failure.

9/09/2005 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Wild Bill said...

It just realy gives me a bad case of indigestion to think of how Powell is so gotdam worried about how the liberals are gonna portray him in the history books.. The term "suckass" keeps poping up in my mind.. I used to have at least some respect for Powell, but I think now he has destroyed any small amount of respect I had left.. He gives me the impression of a youth that was raised in a conservative household, but now is in his second term at Berkeley.. Makes me wonder who his new circle of friends are now.. Weasley Clarke maybe ??

9/09/2005 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I would like to highlight a colloquial observation from the Talabani conference.

President Talabani was asked about militias being dispersed under the new Constitution, and he said that Kurdistan, for instance, wanted to keep the Peshmerga until the terrorist threat went away, and then would convert them into a type of national guard.

He said that the consequence of immediately dispersing the Peshmerga would be "many Falluja." Falluja in this sense meaning "city taken over by terrorists."

This from Bill Rogio:

"To Fallujah" has now become a verb for Iraqis, Hickey explained later, synonymous with the violent leveling of a recalcitrant city. In mid July, in fact, Baghdad ominously announced that there would be a "solution" to the Tall 'Afar "problem" within 10 days. Three dozen men from Tall 'Afar and Mosul went to Baghdad to meet with the government to circumvent "a Fallujah." In this usage Falluja means "destroyed by America."

Interestingly, we now have proof of the efficacy of force as a meme generator. Because of our actions, in Iraq "city taken over by terrorists" equals "destroyed by America." We have created a new noun with two simultaneous meanings. The meanings are irretrievably linked, so they are both avoided.

9/09/2005 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...


This reminds me of some of the "head-knocking done by my old "Sarge". We lived and learned because of him!

Such actions are known as "civilizing the barbarians". It has gone on since the time of Alexander the Great(if not before that time).

9/09/2005 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/09/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

One more comment, and I'll stop taking up room.

When asked about Syria and Iran, Talabani said that Assad had invited him to visit Damascus, but Talabani replied that he would not come until Assad "prepared the ground for a successful meeting." Then he said,

"I'm sorry to tell you that all Arab media, without exception, is supporting terrorism, morally, by making propaganda for them, describing them as the heroes of the struggle against imperialism and Zionism, and encouraging them to come fight in Iraq.

I'm sorry to tell you that a Palestinian organization, when responding to the crimes in London, said 'I'm sorry to see these people go to London, why they not going to Iraq to fight there?'

At the end of his answer, Talabani used a saying that he could not himself translate into English, so he asked a minister of his to do it for the crowd:

"A man who digs a well for his brother to fall in, but instead it is he who falls in."

9/09/2005 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Hard to believe that at one time he was the odds-on for president, maybe in either party.

But a team player in this administration
Or ANY "Allies?"
I outraged an old friend by saying I'd vote for Clinton over Powell:
Wasn't sure if I was serious, but how can you trust the guy?
He's almost taken fewer real stands than Kerry.
Wife might have talked him into reparations and who knows what else.
Zhang Fei,
In China, EVERYBODY is a Potential Pawn Candidate:
.Rail Line to Tibet Is a Marvel, but China Is Mum .
The man leading the celebrations, Jia Qinglin, the third-ranked figure in the Chinese Communist Party, hailed China's army for having crushed an uprising in Tibet in 1959 and rioting in 1989 by Tibetans hoping for independence for the province, which was seized by China in 1951.

By some estimates, the new train will carry as many as 900,000 people to Tibet each year, with the newcomers overwhelmingly consisting of members of China's Han majority, many of whom will opt to stay, further dampening demands for independence and diluting Tibet's spiritual culture.

"The Han population is rising and the Tibetan language, our mother language, is losing its position among our people," said a Tibetan teacher who fled to India in January after being arrested several times for his views. "The road building jobs and the construction jobs are not open to Tibetans, and young Tibetan girls are turning to prostitution."

If the Chinese wish to help Tibet, said the teacher, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals against his family back home, "they should stop the immigration and give the opportunities to local people so they can improve their lives, and we can protect our culture."

9/09/2005 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Zhang fei,
Obviously, I'm not trying to tell you something you don't already know!

9/09/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Googling for the word "failure "
Gotta see that one Tony!
...and while there, check out Zhang's great post on Chinese Aircraft Carrier.

9/09/2005 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Last Free Plug for Zhang:
. The Leslie Nielsen of terrorist masterminds

9/09/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Zhang Fei said...

Doug, thanks for the Tibet link. Economically, the new railroad is a great thing for Tibet. From a Tibetan standpoint, living standards will rise big time. The problem for them is that much as the railroads to the West marked the end of Indian hopes for remaining independent of the United States, this Chinese railroad represents the end of any hope of Tibetan sovereignty. Tibetans will live better than they would have under native rule, but they and their children will be sinified, much as other Chinese provinces began their existence as distinct kingdoms, but were incorporated at swordpoint into what is now China.

9/09/2005 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Zhang: Great Blog!
Nagin's Nightmares:
But suggest readers check out for some amazing stories.
I just watched this, and as the Dr. says, everybody better learn their lessons well from these horrors.
Personally, I'm beefing up the emergency pack.
Convention center horror (3:39)
A doctor returns to the New Orleans convention center to tell CNN's Anderson Cooper about the horrors he saw there. (September 9)

9/09/2005 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

"Powell's assertions will be debated for some time to come."

Powell's assertions will be debated for two years max, at which point, there will be a functioning Democracy and a large draw down of US troops.

What amazes me is Powell seems to be getting his info from the Post and the Times.

9/09/2005 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger EddieP said...

Iraq is brimming with good news. The Sunni leadership is urging Sunnis to register and vote on the Constitution. Of course the leadership is recommending a vote against it. Reports are that up to 85% of Sunnis have registered.

However, this comes at a time when Zarqawi has again threatened to kill any Sunni that votes. His earlier threat was a factor in the January elections, but it looks now like democracy is winning over even the recalcitrant Sunni.

They may well vote down the Constitution, but they are doing it with the ballot, not the AK-47! That is significant good news. With the open participation of the Sunni in the democratic process of establishing the government, the insurgency is still viable, but mortally wounded.

9/09/2005 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Heraclitus said...

Iraqi Humor:

Background: Through-out Iraq, people from Nasiriyah in the south, Sunni or Shia, are known as delighting in making things miserable for others and cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

Joke 1: Two long time thieves are caught and the judge, having seen them one time too many, sentences them both to death. One thief is from Baghdad, the other from Nasiriyah.

Prior to their impending execution the Baghdad thief is asked what is his last wish. His wish is to see his mother.

When asked what his final wish was, the thief from Nasiriyah points at the other man and responds, "I don't want him to see his mother".

Joke 2: A man from Nasiriyah inherits a large sum of money from his uncle. Radicals visit him and insist upon pain of death he donate a portion of his inheritance to the Palestinians. He does.

The next day, he gives the rest to Israel.

9/10/2005 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger Sophia Phoster said...

Colin Powell will be an interesting historical figure. Warrior-statesmen are not common in our history. Even in that small sample the general-diplomat combo is more rare than the general-president combo.

Powell had the presence of integrity. A rare quality indeed. Unfortunately, he went wobbly after the incompetence/treachery (we'll know in 50 years) of the Tenet CIA made him the fool on the world stage. His reaction and resignation are understandable but that does not dismiss the fact the President and the rest of the administration suffered the same blow but found the fortitude to carry on in spite of it.

One other aspect of Colin Powell that hardly seems worth a mention in real time but which historians may miss is that Colin Powell's race is a totally irrelevant aspect of his character. Of course that's exactly the way it should be but worthy of note in a time when race baiting is still good business for a thankfully diminishing few.

9/10/2005 03:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Or is it?
(race baiting diminishing)
Kofi Annan Hates Iraqis!
Since it is agreed that Katrina has outed GWB as a Racist who does not care about Blacks, must not we also assume that Kofi hates Iraqis, since he oversaw letting Saddam have ~10 Billion Dollars that should have gone to the people of Iraq?

Furthermore, what color/"race" is Gov. Blank0?
That's what I thought.
Therefore aren't all the people trashing Bush while energetically DEFENDING Governor BlankO outing themselves as leftist hacks who don't give a hoot about blacks or the truth?
Just as surely as did the NOW Gals, when they vigorously Defended Bill against Monica, proving it's not about their standing up for women, but standing up for the left, ...again.
(While gratefully accepting taxpayer's dollars from Bill in return.)

. Agreement on crucial document may miss deadline: Annan.
- Hindustan Times - Bush Administration Gives Lukewarm Endorsement to Annan Following ...

"But a prominent U.S. senator has renewed his call for the secretary-general's resignation." (Coleman)
Annan had proposed wide-ranging reforms in his report entitled "In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all." It was released in March and since then the member states are negotiating.

Just as it appeared that some agreement might be reached about three weeks ago, the United States brought in around 500 amendments, which unravelled the entire document and reopened each and every issue.
Damn that Bolton!
Annan's report, a kind of blueprint for the Summit, contained key recommendations on poverty, security and human rights, including increasing official development assistance by developed countries to 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP).

It called for tackling climate change, noting that the Kyoto Protocol containing binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions only extends until 2012, and for a comprehensive anti-terrorism treaty, defining terrorism as any act intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants and intimidate a population or coerce a government or international organisation.
Like threaten to Nuke the UN?

9/10/2005 04:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

IOW, Sophia,
If anyone on the right accused white Honky Gov. Blanco of being an evil racist who proved she does not care when blacks suffer and die as a DIRECT result of her incompetence and (multiple) OBSTRUCTIONIST decisions, they would be tarred and feathered and run out on a rail.
To do excactly the same thing to Bush is SOP, and is applauded by the MSM/Dem cheerleading team.

9/10/2005 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


9/10/2005 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"What amazes me is Powell seems to be getting his info from the Post and the Times."
What better way to insure that he won't offend them?
Always one of his top priorities, imo:
Just like McCain.

9/10/2005 04:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...and if racist thinking is a thing of the past, why does Powell always receive affirmative action bonus points, while Justice Thomas endures ongoing 21st Century lynchings by the MSM?
Conservative Blacks need not apply.

9/10/2005 04:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Then there's Jesse J. and Jew Burner Sharpton, but why flog the obvious?

9/10/2005 04:39:00 AM  
Blogger Me said...

good post....

9/10/2005 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

leaddog2 said...
leaddog2 said...

This reminds me of some of the "head-knocking done by my old "Sarge". We lived and learned because of him!
Such actions are known as "civilizing the barbarians". It has gone on since the time of Alexander the Great(if not before that time).
Yeah, way before Gay Alex there was club wielding and hair dragging, but the civilizing efficacy of that excercise is still in doubt.

9/10/2005 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Avik's latest post shows that for some, cave man jokes are no laughing matter.
. Locked in a room for 20 years .
"After all he is the woman's father," the local police officer said.

9/10/2005 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

I don't know why Powell is so hung up on the WMD issue. He, better than anyone, must realize that the world was never going to get a straight answer to the question of Iraqi WMD as long as Saddam was in power.

That impediment is now gone, so good for it. And good for anyone who helped do it.

9/10/2005 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

When considering Powell's take on Iraq, remember the role of the "Powell Doctrine" in creating the post-Desert Storm Iraq; read: OIF. Maybe he was talking about Desert Storm.

9/10/2005 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Disagree that race doesn't figure in Powell's machinations.I think he's always looking over his shoulder that he won't be a total pariah in the elite black community.I have much greater respect for Condaleeza Rice who in her great dignity and presence could care less.
Bush ought to serve up a plate of gruel to the race baiters and nominate Janice Rogers Brown for the second Supremes seat.That would be fun to watch.
Doug off topic,you seem a talk radio denizen.Did you hear the end of Limbaugh's show yesterday where he divulged the e-mail from his friend in Louisiana ?The one where he said the cop took his life because his family had been horribly destroyed by the looters.Time will sort out the sensational from the hellish I guess.

9/10/2005 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger Reg Jones said...

Wretchard ,

"What we didn’t do in the immediate aftermath of the war was to impose our will on the whole country"

Powell wanted a bigger, initally harsher, initially more intrusive, initally less discriminating occupation "to impose our will" on the sunni regions.

Perhaps. But fundamentally isn't this a debate about two variables: "net force" and "time".

Powell is talking about "force" size when "net force" is the more relevant factor. Net force being our power less the insurgent's power. "Force" and "net force" are not directly correlated if the insurgency is in large part fueled by opposition to the occupation. So a larger force might not just yield "diminishing returns" but under some scenarios negative, potentially catastrophic returns.

"Time" both in terms of "duration" and "sequencing" of events. Is Powell's force optimal when we factor the minimal "duration" of the occuaption? What if Powell's force can't be sustained long enough for mission success? Call it the turtle and rabbit paradox. Big and quick might fail where small and slow succeds.

Which lead us to "Sequencing". Causes and effects are "non-stationary". Example, re-hiring former Baathist generals in the summer of 2003 as opposed to the summer of 2004? Or consider the Fallujah battle in April as opposed to November 2004? Same cause [invasion] totally different reactions [eg shite and sunni acceptance].

Finally, is it clear that this insurgency is a bad thing as Powell seems to assume? I'm not saying it's net good or bad. I am saying that it MAY have been inevitable and if so this MAY have been the best time to fight it.

9/10/2005 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

Colin Powell has demonstrated his personal smallness by whining about the possiblity that an act of his, while in service as Secretary of State, may have a negative impact on his historical legacy. Moreover, his characterization of the campaign in Iraq as a 'mess', in the face of its many achievements - the pending vote on the Constitution, the constant and patient effort to include the Sunnis in the political process - constitutes a cheap shot and body blow against the ongoing Democratization effort. This 'me me me' attitude contrasts sharply with his comments made shortly after resigning from the administration.

"We must build a better future even as we deal with the security challenges before us. That is how we'll overcome those challenges, because it's not enough to fight against a negative, like terrorism. We must focus on what inspires us, on what brings the good people of the world together. We've got to fight for the positive — for liberty, for freedom, for democracy."

Powells comments display an implicit acceptance of the view of those who try to compartmentalize the efforts in Iraq as being unrelated to the 'war on terror'. They also brings to mind the acts of another general in American history who chose to oppose his president in a time of war. Could it be that the General will be running for president in 2008? I would guess that he will be running on a Peace Platform (though he may be personally opposed to it). But he will run as a Republican or Democrat?

9/10/2005 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It was Powell, through his proxy, Mr. Bremmer, that put US a year behind schedule, perhaps more, in Iraq.
It was State & CIA that attempted to sideline Minister Chilabi from the new government after the Defeat of the Baathists. The trumped up charges, misinformation and police raids for the MSM consumption only made US look the fool, in the long term.
While this is but a single episode in a long running series, it is indicative of the thinking of Powell and his minions.
He is a product of the Modern Army. It may well be systematic of the mind set that sees a lack of defeat as Victory.

9/10/2005 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Time" both in terms of "duration" and "sequencing" of events. Is Powell's force optimal when we factor the minimal "duration" of the occuaption? What if Powell's force can't be sustained long enough for mission success? Call it the turtle and rabbit paradox. Big and quick might fail where small and slow succeds.

- reg jones

What's the mission of the military in Iraq? It is to prevent the further development of the insurgency - to keep it from evolving into a full-fledged, coherent guerrilla movement with the benefit of dependable, at least semi-permanent sanctuary. We're not out to defeat it, but to limit it to its present, relatively low level of organization, capability and coherence. (That is the enduring "mess" to which Powell refers. It's hardly a controversial characterization.) There is no end-point in this undertaking - no victory or success conventionally (haha) understood. It COULD go on forever, except that we don't have forever to spend doing it to the tune of 130,000 or even 75,000 rotations a year.

We did all that we could, continue to do all that we can, in going long - and have not failed in what was intended - but the turtle, too, has his limits.

9/10/2005 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

An interesting article in WSJ.
Relateing to Iraq, China, future threats and past, present and future prospects.

It is written by Mr. Helprin, a Wall Street Journal contributing editor, is Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute and Distinguished Visiting Fellow of Hillsdale College.

The last to paragraphs sum up his position
'They Are All So Wrong'
Four years after 9/11, Washington keeps courting strategic error.

"...The war in Iraq has been poorly planned and executed from the beginning, and now, like a hurricane over warm water, the insurgency is in a position to take immense energy from the fundamental divisions in that nation. The rise of Chinese military power, although lately noted, has met with no response. America's borders are open, its cities vulnerable, its civil defense nonexistent, its armies stretched thin. We have taken only deeply inadequate steps to prepare for and forestall a viral pandemic that by the testimony of experts is a high probability and could kill scores of millions in this country alone. That we do not see relatively simple and necessary courses of action, and are not led and inspired to them, represents a catastrophic failure of leadership that bridges party lines.

Perhaps this and previous administrations have had an effective policy just too difficult to comprehend because they have ingeniously sheltered it under the pretense of their incompetence. But failing that, the legacy of this generation's presidents will be promiscuous declarations and alliances, badly defined war aims, opportunities inexplicably forgone, ill-supported troops sent into the field, a country at risk without adequate civil protections, and a military shaped to fight neither the last war nor this one nor the next. "

An interesting piece and well worth the read.

'They Are All So Wrong'
Four years after 9/11, Washington keeps courting strategic error

9/10/2005 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Doug Santo said...

"How history will adjudge Iraq remains to be seen."

It is not up to history to determine winners and losers in Iraq. It is up to we here. People who think, express opinions, and share those opinions with others. The U.S. cannot be defeated on the ground in Iraq. The battle for Iraq is taking place in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, and other cities in the U.S. The battle is raged in western media. Insurgents/terrorists play only a minor roll in this battle. They provide debating points taken up by anti-war, anti-bush, anti-US elements in the popular media and government. The fight now is almost entirely between and among Americans.

Now is the time for focus and energy. Through our words and actions we can shape the public debate. We can lead America to victory and Iraq to a new birth of freedom, or we can lead America to another Vietnam failure and ten years of retreat, self mutilation, and shame.

The choice is ours.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

9/10/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

49erdweet 5:17,"W asks a good question. Why do so many leaders of the free or western world 'leave so much behind, on the table' after military and political strife?"

Because the ones willing to fight the wars also believe that our way of life is right. Fight to win, not to destroy.

9/10/2005 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Helprin's just pissing on the everyday parade, Rat.

Aid and comfort, etc.

All we really need is the alarmed cry of Kevin Bacon's ROTC cadet in Animal House: "All is well!"

9/10/2005 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Reg Jones said...


I'm not sure how much we disagree.
You ask, "What's the mission of the military in Iraq?"

The political/military mission is primarily to marginalize the rejectionists. I think we largely agree here.

Powell's use of the word "mess" implied that if we had initially imposed our will with much greater force we would not be in this current "mess".

To which I agree: we might have been in an even greater mess for the reasons I mentioned before. If your point was that any likely outcome would have been somewhat messy I couldn't agree more. [It's interesting that both parts of the left and the right reject a messy outcome as inevitable].

As to the "duration": yes the turtle has it limits but they're reasonably long. The Army reportedly is planning 4 years of 100K troops starting presumably summer 2006. We've been in korea for what 50 years?

Such a scenario is dependent on the legitimacy of Iraqi forces and Iraqi political leaders. It is also dependent on US/Iraqi political will to suceed.

9/10/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

As to the "duration": yes the turtle has it limits but they're reasonably long. The Army reportedly is planning 4 years of 100K troops starting presumably summer 2006.

- reg

Mmmmmmm, no.

The Army is planning on getting the hell out of Dodge, with whatever political/professional decency it can.

9/10/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'm not sure of that trish.
We are not actively engaged in many of the fronts in the Global War on Terror.
Due to a lack of capacity we are continuing the Munich syndrome, in Darfur, for example. One of Helprin's points.
We have had and continue to present poor War Aims or even Enemies list. Another of Helprin's points.
When he says...
"...For more than 20 years prior to September 11, Islamic terrorists imprisoned and murdered our diplomats and military personnel, destroyed our civil aviation, machine-gunned our civilians, razed our embassies, attacked an American warship and, in 1993, the U.S. itself. For varying reasons, none legitimate, we hesitated to mount an offensive against the terrorists' infrastructure, hunt them down, eliminate a single rogue regime that supported them, or properly disconcert our fatted allies whose robes they infested. This was comparable in its way to Munich. ...."

I think he is correct, about that.
When he says...

"...In 1945, we devoted 38.5% of GNP to defense, the equivalent of $4.76 trillion now. The current $400 billion defense budget is a twelfth of that and only 3.2% of GDP, as opposed to the average of 5.7% of GNP in the peacetime years between 1940 and 2000. A false sense of constraint has arisen in every quarter of society. It is the ethos of the administration, the press, the civilian side of the Pentagon, and many of the prominent uniformed military brought to high rank in recent years. ..."

Powell would fit into that description of uniformed military.
He goes on to say...

"... At the end of the Cold War, assuming that history had concluded, we discarded too much military power. This continues through the present, rationalized by reference to transformation. But it is yet further error to believe that military-technical evolution can make up for the kind of deficiencies and poor strategic judgments from which no machine can save an army. Continual and remarkable innovation is both indispensable and expensive, but President Clinton required budgetary choice between innovation and everything else, and his successor has yet to disagree. The root of the error that offers transformation as a substitute for so much that is crucial is the conviction that having both would exceed reasonable military expenditures and somehow break the common weal. ..."

Not sure how that gives 'aid and comfort' to our nameless foe.
The truth is we are not capable of fighting a many front campaign against "Terrorists", I believe we should be able to project our strength where ever and whenever we deem it important. To have a Terrorist regime in Sudan and not stop it's policy of forced relocations and GENOCIDE is comparable to Munich, actually worse. It is like dealing with Hitler after the Holocaust, not before.
The Mohammedans are on the march, across Africa and Central Asia, while we watch from barracks in Iraq.

9/10/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Reg Jones said...


"The Army is planning on getting the hell out of Dodge, with whatever political/professional decency it can."

And your evidence? Here's mine:

"The U.S. Army is making plans to keep the current number of soldiers in Iraq -- well over 100,000 -- for four more years, the Army's top general said Saturday.

In an Associated Press interview, Gen. Peter Schoomaker said the Army is prepared for the "worst case" in terms of the required level of troops in Iraq. He said the number could be adjusted lower, if called for, by slowing troop rotation or by shortening tours for soldiers."
[8/21/05 CNN]

This is a war we can win if we keep our heads. There is a hint of despair in some of the comments. Part of winning is to not let the perfect get in the way of the good enough.

9/10/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Desert Rat,

I was being sarcastic.

Doesn't always work in an internet forum.

9/10/2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


We linked to that story when it hit the wires, a couple of weeks ago, I think. In the interview I read the General said the Iraqi deployment decisions would be made on the ground, in country.
Bush has said "As the ISF stands up, we'll stand down" to paraphrase.
This will be deemed to have occurred in December with the General Elections.
There is not enemy for our Force to fight. There has not been for a number of years, since Saddam's Army folded. We have deployed the WRONG skill sets since then. We did that because the US lacks the personnal in the correct ones.
All of which goes back to funding and the size of the Military. We do not and did not need MORE troops in Iraq, no, we needed the correctly trained troops for the battle. Which we did not have. Still do not, in adequate numbers, for that matter.

9/10/2005 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Tone of voice is hard to detect on the Inet, ask doug, he's tone deaf.

9/10/2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Our troops should be deployed WITH Iraqis. They should be deployed for extended periods of time 18 - 30 months. With leave time, obviously. There should be a company size force (at most 100 troops) integrated into each Iraqi Battalion (700-900 men). This would require a force of about 20,000 of our troops. The US troops would withdraw at the end of the "Transition Period" 18-30 months.

Our major Units should begin withdrawing. We need to transfer some Heavy cabability to the Iraqis ASAP.

9/10/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A last posting for a bit

But why did we not institute a KATUSA program in Iraq. I thought it was a great deal in Korea, both for the Koreans and US

"HISTORY. The Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA) Soldier Program was initiated in July 1950 by an informal agreement between the Honorable Syngman Rhee, President of the Republic of Korea, and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief, United Nations Command. The concept of this program originally was to augment the United States (U.S.) fighting forces just after the outbreak of the Korean War. The first KATUSA recruits, legally part of the ROK Army and administered by the ROK goverment, were assigned as reinforcements for the understrength 7th Infantry Division in Japan, which was preparing for deployment to Korea. The U.S. divisions in combat on the peninsula August 20, 1950, received their initial KATUSA augmentations on an assignment basis of 100 Koreans for each company and battery. At its late 1952 peak, KATUSA strength had reached 27,000, of which 20,000 were in divisions and the remainder in EUSA combat support units. KATUSA strength declined after the cease fire and in July 1971, following the reduction of U.S. ground forces in Korea, stabilized at about 7,000. Replacements, who are selected by the ROK Army, receive on-the-job and school training in a variety of military skills and are assigned to virtually all EUSA combat support and headquarters organizations, thus substantially reducing U.S. troop requirements. Annual cost savings for EUSA are estimated to be at least $80 million, attributed primarily to significant disparities in pay and allowance entitlements of KATUSA and U.S. personnel. The current KATUSA program in effect within Eighth Army is another means by which well-trained specialists and skilled technicians have been provided for both the ROK Army and the civilian economy. The KATUSA soldier is fully integrated into a U.S. unit; he lives, works and trains with his American comrades. Not only does he learn through this association, he raises the operational capability of the unit to which he is assigned and imparts to his American counterparts a better understanding of Korea and its people.

OBJECTIVE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE KATUSA SOLDIER PROGRAM The objective of the KATUSA Soldier Program is to augment EUSA with ROK Army soldiers in order to increase the ROK/U.S. combined defense capability on the Korean peninsula. The KATUSA Soldier Program is significant not only because of the military manpower and monetary savings that it provides to the U.S. Army, but also because it represents ROK/U.S. cooperation and commitment to deter war. The KATUSA Soldier Program is also symbolic of ROK/U.S. friendship and mutual support.


9/10/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Someone - I think it was one of the 4GW guys over at Defense and the National Interest - said he received information, not however from the unit invovled, that the sniper team that was recently taken out was the work of ISF. How likely is this? Pretty likely, I think.

And how many cases of fratricide have there been involving our troops against their official Iraqi allies -or "allies"? We wouldn't hear about it, but it's a good bet that it occurs.

9/10/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If it was honest 'friendly fire', like that which killed Pat Tillman, that would be one thing. If the guys on "OUR" side are really not, well then, time is even shorter.
Good thing Jr. is on his way to the Far East, for his last deployment..

9/10/2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

I think Colin Powell may be the state department leak that Judith Miller went to jail rather than reveal and he's doing a bit of pre-emptive CYA by wringing his hands and washing his dirty linen in public.

Powell is a disgrace and Bush should never have honored him by appointing him SoS.

9/10/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Not honest friendly fire, Rat.

"Friendly fire isn't," as they say. And it's true.

But some are purposefully, rather than accidentally, unfriendly. It's just red in blue cothing. It's a serious problem that extends back at least to Mosul this time last year.

9/10/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

I can almost guarantee that if some of the Iraqis are doing blue on blue, so ar we.

9/10/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Anybudee says - Yes, he's a genius. Yes, he was a great general. But a team player in this administration? Not hardly.

We may have had a little too much of the "only loyalty and being a team player" mindset within the Bush Administration. Blind ideology is never a substitute for thought. All tax cuts shall be pursued, all spending increases vigorously endorsed to cause enough debt to "starve the Gummint Beast later", the mission of FEMA changed after 9/11 to counterterrorism since disasters cause less damage than suicide bombers, the neocons are right - don't cross them and lose your team player status.

Remember what Powell and others like Scowcroft, James Baker III were fighting were a small band of ideologues drunk with power after Afghanistan who were advocating America engage in a series of cakewalk wars in the ME to secure Israel's position and "transform" the ME into democratic secular nations. With some intelligence, somewhere, that would justify starting wars against Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and maybe Saudi Arabia, utimately, if the 4 conquests only took a few weeks each. Iraq was to be a grateful secular democracy, pumping it's oil to Israel and allowing the US tens of billions of oil exploration and construction contracts, plus permanent air bases.

Powell and Bush were skeptical on the intelligence, but were finally swayed.

Rumsfeld has been badly damaged by scandals and at their root - from the botched postwar the DOD demanded it administer, but has to stay on under the premise his departure would signal weakness in a "stay the course" strategy. Powell is going to look cleaner, but he is also at fault for doing his best to shape US policy to be ill-equipped as a occupier.

The people that damaged Bush's Presidency so much are half gone. Pentagon Policy Guru Doug Feith is back to his regular job of being a lawyer tending to his firm's business interests in DC and Tel Aviv. Wolfowitz is going to try using World Bank money as his democratizing, Westernizing force after a brief experiment with soldiers blood providing the "inspiration". "Axis of Evil" writer Frum is back to doing columns. Richard Perle is out from heading the Pentagon Policy Advise Board. William Kristol is trying to shield the neocons at JINSA and AEI by blaming Rumsfeld for all the post war screwups and saying Rummy's head should roll. Anatoly Sharansky, Bush's "Democracy on the Move in the ME" inspiration - blew a gasket over Israel leaving Gaza, while insisting as part of Israel's Far Right Zionist faction, that the Palestinians are unfit for Democracy and military Occupation with no vote is all they deserve.

Cheney and his Chief of Staff "Scooter" Libby remain the most influential neocons left.

Powell is gone. Damaged by Iraq like the other big players now are. Though Condi Rice has escaped approbation somehow, and her role will only be resurrected if she is dumb enough to run for President in 2008.

9/10/2005 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Damaged by Iraq like the other big players now are. Though Condi Rice has escaped approbation somehow, and her role will only be resurrected if she is dumb enough to run for President in 2008.

The perception of Iraq will eventually match the reality on the ground, and instead of being an albatross around one's neck, "being responsible" will be what it really is: a badge of honor.

We are winning in Iraq. I cannot say the same about your arguments.

9/10/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...


Helprin's just pissing on the everyday parade, Rat.Aid and comfort, etc. All we really need is the alarmed cry of Kevin Bacon's ROTC cadet in Animal House: "All is well!"

Great sarcasm. And thanks, Rat, for the Helprin article.

Didn't Cheney have a "All is Well!" moment when he proclaimed "the Insurgency is in it's last throes" 6-7 months ago? Well, at least he wasn't steamrollered.

We are putting ourselves in a bad strategic place under Bush. His observation that if China, thanks to it's military buildup, the US gutting it's industries to transfer most basic and high tech industrial dominance to China, and globalization would mean the terrorists will have a new shield - is scary truth. Not just Islamists "tolerated by China" if they only attack western interests, but also allowing China to resurrect Marxist liberation terrorism.

Helprin's great question - why Bush was reluctant to engage the public in the days after 9/11 in anymore than asking them to repeat his mindless slogans of "evildoers" "WOT!" "I support the troops" - is answerable in greed.

9/11 happened just after Bush got his "It's your money, it's not the Government's surplus" tax cuts. The Right had embraced the ideology of tax cuts no matter what - war, soaring deficits - tax cuts are sacred! But their wealthiest benefactors demanding more Republican payback than just tac cuts - they demanded massive pork - and that pork was not in investing in terrorist or stategic for America's future "people skills" - but pork to corporate America and wealthy investors.

Mobilizing the country post 9/11 was out of the question because it threatened the tax cuts the wealthy had backed the Republicans for 20 years for. It threatened the K-Steet feeding trough.

No launching of expensive new things like Radio Free Arabia. No push on imposing a Israel-Palestine Treaty. No expensive new school programs so top students could get up to where the Koreans, Germans, and Chinese are in math and the sciences, or crash programs to learn "furrin'" languages like Arabic, Pashtun, Chinese - or stock our military or intelligence with additional linguist capacity from the 2-3 million people that already are fluent.

But the greed of Republicans new to the feeding trough eliminated any fiscal restraint.

So while Bush downsized the AF and Navy, they spent recklessly on Big Pharma, education, transportation, and energy pork. Bush, to his discredit, lacked courage to veto any pork. The fiscal mess accelerated with the "cakewalk in Iraq" fiasco. Originally intended as a quick, minimalist "war on the cheap", the amortized costs are thought to be 1.3 trillion dollars the US taxpayers will owe after Bush leaves office. But it did save the "obsolete" Army and Marine mechanized divisions from Rumsfeld's axe - he had intended on transforming them away..


Whoever is elected President after Bush will inherit one staggeringly large domestic, fiscal, and foreign mess.

9/10/2005 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"We did all that we could, continue to do all that we can..."

...within the limitations that are set for us at various levels, by various actors and agencies.

Reminds me of what what my dad said of New Orleans: What that situation needs is one crusty old colonel and one crusty old CSM. Or five of each.

Too simple? Maybe. But I know what he means.

9/10/2005 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger PacRim Jim said...

Interviewer: Is it true that...
Powell: Like me. Love me. I'll say anything you want.

9/10/2005 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

What New Orleans needed was a Gus Pagonis.

9/10/2005 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Are we fighting the same war in Iraq?
The one where POWs released by Iraqi Judges shoot a US Army Lt. Colonel on patrol in Mosul?
The one where Route Irish, from the Airport to the Green Zone cannot be traveled by Americans outside Armored convoys?
The one where explosives and Terrorists cross the Syrian, Iranian and KSA borders without challenge?

Perhaps we are fighting a variety of different conflicts in Iraq, in the least it is a multi phased multiple front battle.

Perhaps on some fronts we are ahead, while on other fronts we may be holding our own. But have no doubt, on some fronts we are losing.

Where the Conflict finishes is unknowable, where we have been seems to be as open to debate as to where we are.

The Goals of OIF will be fulfilled and we will begin to withdrawal from Iraq, in the Spring of '06.
What we leave behind should be the focus of attention, how Victory is defined, in today's world, is an always moving goal post.

9/10/2005 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...


The Bush administration has been an extension of the Clinton administraion, as the Clinton adminitration was as extension of the one before it.

We don't have two parties so much as one party with two camps fighting over the same goods, the same territory - with pretty much the same badly confused, conradictory mix of principles.

Dime's worth of difference.

9/10/2005 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

Pure opinion. But I think some of the commentary is much too harsh and borderline petty (I see no evidence that Powell is more concerned about his personal place in history than he is about the actions in the ME that were initiated while he was an active player.)

Lost in the deafening asault on the radical anti-war movement, coupled with the ideological inconsistency of more moderate leftists, is that a not so small group of less vocal people exist who DO believe in force as a last resort, to be imposed only after negotiations have been pounded into the dirt of bad faith obstinacy. Powell is one of those people and I, for one, will not tar him with the same contempt I hold for ANSWER, MOVE-ON, M. Moore, etc.

9/10/2005 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tis better to be tone deaf than memory impaired, plus that other problem I shall address below:
You seem to forget that each time you called for LESS "Wasteful Spending" on the military, I would give a less informed and intelligent version of Helprin:
" ...In 1945, we devoted 38.5% of GNP to defense, the equivalent of $4.76 trillion now. The current $400 billion defense budget is a twelfth of that and only 3.2% of GDP, as opposed to the average of 5.7% of GNP in the peacetime years between 1940 and 2000. A false sense of constraint has arisen in every quarter of society. It is the ethos of the administration, the press, the civilian side of the Pentagon, and many of the prominent uniformed military brought to high rank in recent years. ...

...Continual and remarkable innovation is both indispensable and expensive, but President Clinton required budgetary choice between innovation and everything else, and his successor has yet to disagree. The root of the error that offers transformation as a substitute for so much that is crucial is the conviction that having both would exceed reasonable military expenditures and somehow break the common weal..
...but that brings up the OTHER "problem."
Are you ready to give up on that Free Viagra YET, for a greater cause?
Big Pharma Indeed.
That and Big Fish Stories.
I will hazard a condensed version of what Helprin is saying:
If the ENTIRE COUNTRY, or at least a plurality thereof, accepted the True Dimensions of the WOT, including all the domestic ramifications, esp to include immigration/border reform, we would be EAGER to spend more and sacrifice more for the War.
Unfortunately NO ONE at any of the various levers of power and influence is even CLOSE to doing what needs to be done to achieve that enlightened state.
...except for farsighted folks like Helprin,
... and me.
And I firmly believe that.

9/10/2005 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Mistakes are always made in war. Some cost more than others, some have hidden consequences that lie latent for years.

However, the trends are inarguably in our favor. Constitutional disagreements are handled with words, not bullets. The Iraqi forces are getting their first big test in urban combat in Tal Afar, and they are performing well. The central government exercises hard power in addition to soft, so when warnings go out to intransigent cities the town leaders rush to parley with Baghdad to avoid another Falluja.

Saudi Arabia is only the latest to officially recognize the Iraqi Government. The President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, has set his sights on Arab media, attacking them as terrorist enablers and sympathizers. The Kurds need a new airport to handle the sudden deluge of people arriving in the north, tourism being one of many booming industries in the fastest growing economy in the world.

The terms of debate have changed in the entire Middle East. There are still messes, but for the first time in a while they are looking soluble. It is not time to celebrate, nor should we stop worrying, but we should pause to consider just how much we have accomplished in the last two and a half years.

9/10/2005 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I agree KATUSA is a great program, but in our sexually integrated force, how do you propose we deal w/all the complaints from those of our troops prone to continually complain about standing on the seat?

9/10/2005 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I also thought Helprin's essay worthwhile, though I disagree with his assessment of what counts as a deterrent with China. Large standing armies are great, but nothing beats the old standby "fires of heaven." We don't need two million people in green to frighten the pants off any wayward regime. We just need that many for occupation, something very unlikely after the Iraq experience. The air campaigns of Kosovo loom large in the memory of the Chinese. They know how punitive America can be from a distance.

Like the frog in slowly boiling water, a slow-burn situation could cause us to make strategic errors. But our enemy's impatience practically ensures that problems are pulsed, and dangers erratic. We can flip over to rampant military expediture like that. If the conflict is escalated, the terrible power of this great nation will be released.

Of that I am sure.

9/10/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

There always was a consensus about Saddam's WMDs, C'fer. Clinton and his dwarfs even believed it, but didn't have the cajones to pull the trigger. Saddam played the Euros, the UN and us rented fiddles.

To me, finishing the job that Bush1 should've was a matter of timing. Maybe we should've gotten OBL's head on a spike and Afganistan (Pakistan) squared away first, but action was going to happen. With or without the neaocon rush. Their agenda just overstretched us (more than a bit) and left GWB open to criticism.

The guys returning to Carson, that I've talked to anyway, say to a man, that removing Saddam and liberating Iraq was worth the blood. And frankly their opinions on that count mean more to me than any I could read.

You're probably right, Trish. Reagan talked a great game but didn't fulfill much to his moral conservative base. And Clinton dissapointed many far lefters with his drift.

9/10/2005 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

truth be told you are right. I am one that thinks we could do more with less. Waste, fraud and abuse being what they are.
I also plead guilty in believing that an Army of 1,500,000 troops could handle Iraq and a couple of other "deals" at the same time. Seems I was wrong, that our Force is streeeched to breaking, even with higher than normal reenlistments.

This is not an acceptable situation for the US, but it is the one we find ourselves in.

Good thing our Army never had to fight a real War with the Soviets.
They'd have overwhelmed US, in Europe, with sheer numbers.

9/10/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Waste, fraud and abuse being what they are."
The Highway Bill alone makes most other examples Pale by comparision.

9/10/2005 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Theistic Revolution said...

Check this out...

9/10/2005 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/10/2005 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sure my impaired hearing missed a few sarcastic tones in that one, but think we both agree our biggest vulnerabilities are here at home.
I was reading a pdf I have on Helprin last. Still trying to find it on the net.

9/10/2005 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

last nite.

9/10/2005 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Literary Warrior .
Great Article on Helprin.

9/10/2005 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Anti Powell.
Despite his stature in contemporary literature, the cultural mandarins have not honored Helprin. He is indifferent to awards, he says, but can volunteer a theory to explain their absence from his walls. “I try to determine the truth of a question and am not deterred by the damage that will be done to me by moving out of the herd,” he says. “I get into lots of trouble all the time.”

In 1983, for example, he published a piece in the New York Times Magazine arguing for the deployment of short-range nuclear missiles in Europe. This was a hot issue during the Reagan administration’s military buildup, amid calls for a nuclear freeze. “I was pilloried for that [article],” Helprin says. “People refused to talk to me. My agent told me, ‘You’ll never get another award in your life.’ And I never did—I’ve never even been nominated. [Prior to that, Ellis Island & Other Stories won the Prix de Rome and was nominated for a National Book Award.] Around political movements, if you go off the reservation, so many people want to punish you.”
Same thing happened to Collier and Horowitz:
From Celebrities to Goats. the eyes of the Asses.

9/10/2005 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Good thing our Army never had to fight a real War with the Soviets.
They'd have overwhelmed US, in Europe, with sheer numbers."

Good thing we never chose it, Rat.

9/10/2005 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You forget our sodden fallen trotskite, Chris Hitchens.

9/10/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Does Hitch still get to make quite a few TV appearances?
Things ARE changing:
Like the continual booing in Boston when that racist jerk was shown on TV.
...Now if we ever see the day when they do that to Ophra (I've seen PART of one show in my life, thank you.) we'll no we're getting somewhere.

9/10/2005 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ophra: The Colin Powell of Entertainment.
... and a Colon to boot.
Or to stick a boot in.

9/10/2005 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Your logic fails you:
If Powell Bremmer and Co. screw something up, it's the NEOCON'S FAULT!

9/10/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, I record it off the internet (1 hour of commercials, saved!)and I've heard all the show BUT that. I will finish it.
I thought Mark Levin and Rush might get to my point about Kofi the racist, but even great minds are sometimes too busy just with all the domestic warfare.

9/10/2005 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The opposite of all the Boston Booing was all the Cooing Cassius Clay got when he turned on us.
Did Allah spare us another Bitter Belafonte in his later years?

9/10/2005 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Far from the topic of Iraq and Powell, but right on the topic of the Politics of Empire, I would endorse the viewing of HBO's new series, "ROME".
While I'm sure that the story is editorially enhanced, the history being fleshed out is compelling.

9/10/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Man I wish I had tv for that:
Do they make DVD's later?

9/10/2005 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If they do, buy it

The precocious Augustus, seems quite reasoned, then when freed from Gaullist raiders, beats one of them to death with a stick.

I've seen two of the episodes and I'm hooked. Decadence, violence, loyalty, cunning, and men to clever by half.

Characters I've read of all my live, brought to my living room via the magic of writing, costuming, film & digital encoding.

It would be worth getting Direct TV, doug

9/10/2005 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

“A lot of people hate heroes,” he continues.
“I was criticized for portraying people who are brave, honest, loving, intelligent.
That was called weak and sentimental.
People who dismiss all real emotion as sentimentality are cowards.
They’re afraid to commit themselves, and so they remain ‘cool’ for the rest of their lives, until they’re dead—then they’re really cool.”

9/10/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

September 10, 2005
Border Shutdown West of Tal Afar
By Bill Roggio
The Iraqi government has instituted a curfew and closed the border crossing in the town of Rabiah, which is directly West of Tal Afar, the city where the Coalition has initiated an assualt. "The decree closed the border to all transportation, including the railroad, except for vehicles with special permission from the Interior Ministry." The border is being sealed tight to prevent al Qaeda reinforcements from streaming in, as well as to close the door on any terrorists that slip the cordon around Tal Afar. This implies that U.S. or Iraqi forces are availble to actually shut the border down and enforce the curfew in the city. Couple the border closing with the berms and cordon established around the city, and checkpoints placed along the roads to Tal Afar, and the military clearly thought this operation through in advance.

9/10/2005 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The link for the above 4:26 post

9/10/2005 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

n September 12, 2001, Helprin characteristically set up his Wall Street Journal column with an historical reference.
“The enemy we face today,” he wrote, “though barbaric and ingenious, is hardly comparable to the masters of the Third Reich, whose doubts about our ability to persevere we chose to dissuade in a Berlin that we had reduced to rubble.”
He soon broached one of his themes, a warning that America takes military strength and preparedness too lightly.
“Let this spectacular act of terrorism be the decisive repudiation of the mistaken assumptions that conventional warfare is a thing of the past...,” he declared, adding,

“Short of a major rebuilding, we cannot now inflict upon Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden the great and instantaneous shock with which they should be afflicted....”

While critics of U.S. military spending note, for example, that America spends more on defense than the next 12 highest-spending nations combined, Helprin cites a different comparison.
“In 1945 we spent close to 50 percent of our gross national product [GNP] on defense,” he says now. “If we did that now, we’d be spending $6 trillion, not $400 billion.
If we spent our average amount for the peacetime years since 1940, 5.7 percent of the GNP, we would spend $650 billion annually now. We are trying to do it on the cheap; Humvees are not armored and the troops are the ones who suffer.”

In this vein, his September 12 column ended with an exhortation:
The course of such a war will bring us greater suffering than it has brought to date, and if we are to fight it as we must we will have less in material things.
But if, as we have so many times before, we rise to the occasion, we will not enjoy merely the illusions of safety, victory, and honor, but those things themselves.
In our history it is clear that never have they come cheap and often they have come late, but always, in the end, they come in flood, and always, in the end, the decision is ours.

Despite his distaste for politics, Helprin publicly demanded the impeachment of President Clinton, long before the Monica Lewinsky scandal; he says he was the first to do so.
Helprin based his case primarily on Chinese officials’ donations to Clinton’s presidential campaign, and Clinton’s waiving of restrictions that limited China’s offensive military capacity.

9/10/2005 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In Iraq we are asked to support for a Policy that is never fully articulated. Victory is never defined beyond "Staying the Course"
Winks & Nods all around, this is supposed to guide a Nation?
Not a chance.
If we were at War that would be one thing, but we are not.
The enemy in our Authorization for Use of Force is defeated, in Iraq.
If there is a greater Goal, other than the General Safety of my grandchildren, the President should articulate it, clearly.

If my grandchildren REALLY are the focus of the WoT, CLOSE the BORDERS to ILLEGAL entry.
That would increase their margin of safety, immediately.
If they stay on the course they have set, then as soon as something happens to Americans, in Iraq, Katrina refugees will be off the lead Fox News story.
We have not heard from Auruba lately, have we?
The War will be back on Page 1.
Above the fold

There will soon be a general feeling of exhaustion within the Public.
To much disaster, to much bad news. Public support for a continued Iraq intervention and policing will diminish, even more.

It will have nothing to do with M. Moore or H. Dean, the Public will just get tired of the percieved continuing problems.
With SO MUCH TO DO here on the Home Front, those Iraqis will have to get along on their own.

To bad we didn't fight the Iraqi campaign on the cheap.

We should learn from Wal Mart and use out sourcing for our military labor needs, overseas.

9/10/2005 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

Ophra: The Colin Powell of Entertainment.

You're a very funny guy - and I mean that.

I don't want to engage on the subject of Oprah, but she has transitioned into a new medium of communication that she thinks is more 'people oriented.' So be it.

I think the vehemence of the vilification for Powell reflects the pressure to support an operation that had substantial geopolitical validity, which I supported, but experienced the - not unexpected, IMO - errors of execution.

Surely people can rise above that and not personally attack an actor who, I believe, behaved out of commitment to a world view - one that may have been flawed or premature, but a vision nonetheless.

With so much political posturing contaminating the public stage, I think it is refreshing to see someone who is navigating the political waters with a sense of dignity (to echo Sophia above).

I could go on, but I think the drift is apparent.

9/10/2005 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Anybudee - The passage frem Helprin I found especially noteworthy is:

Continual and remarkable innovation is both indispensable and expensive, but President Clinton required budgetary choice between innovation and everything else, and his successor has yet to disagree. The root of the error that offers transformation as a substitute for so much that is crucial is the conviction that having both would exceed reasonable military expenditures and somehow break the common weal.
Having made many wrong choices, we find ourselves at yet another strategic crossroads, where invisibly to the general public we are about to choose wrongly again. We are reshaping the military into a gendarmerie, configured for small wars, counterinsurgency, peacekeeping and nation-building, all at the expense of the type of force that could deter or defeat a rising China. Although we need a gendarmerie, we cannot do without heavy formations and the many additional ships required for a navy--now less than half the size of the Reagan fleet and shrinking--to exploit our natural advantage in the Pacific.

Note he did not advocate just more men in green. He noted the "transformation" the high tech "new, space and counterterror" military Rumsfeld so loves, is more and more directed at creating high tech cops able to chase down scattered terrorist "evildoers" and less able to deter a powerful rising nation.

Bush continues the drawdown his father and Clinton started. He has less ships, planes, and tanks than Clinton did. There are so few F-16s, tankers, and F-15s left from having maximum airframe lifespans burned out cutting donuts over cities like Cleveland and Chattanooga, from Afghanistan, and from Iraq - that ANG units and pilots are being disbanded due to insufficient air assets to keep the Reservists in business.

The great strategic eror Helprin sees Bush steering us towards?

The U.S. will chase every terrorist mouse (which is good, unless it means also neglecting the core competencies of the armed forces), while lessening and dispersing its power, and moving from previous centers of gravity (Europe, the Western Pacific) to Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. This will create a long and open alley through which China will run.

Anybuddee - You also make the great error of thinking "the troops" are the wisest on whether or not to persist in fighting a war, and if they are winning or losing.....

The guys returning to Carson, that I've talked to anyway, say to a man, that removing Saddam and liberating Iraq was worth the blood. And frankly their opinions on that count mean more to me than any I could read.

That confuses high fighting morale for seeing the forest for the trees. From it's earliest stages, the Pentagon deluged us with tales of female John Rambos, of troops delighted at building playgrounds in Fallujah or painting schools and picking up garbage on the streets for the Sunnis in Ramadi. All proudly said their service was winning the grateful people over - though the polls and the IEDS planted next to the newly painted schools showed the Noble Iraqi Freedom Loving Purple Fingered people were less enamored of us than those pollyannish soldiers realized.

In every war, the last people to know they are in a disaster are the troops. The Confederate soldiers were likely doomed from the start on industrial resources and population disparities, but they spent 4 years convinced they were winning and kicking Yankee ass. (Military historians generally believe even a Southern victory at Gettysburg wouldn't have mattered in the long run). The soldiers of WWI on both sides were convinced victory was in their grasp for 4 bloody years. All the soldiers thought they were winning, and told any visiting journalist that. Believing just another sacrifice, another battle costing 200,000 lives - and victory was inevitable. Same with the valor of the German troops and Imperial Japanese forces evoking such blind admiration in their leadership that war-fighting strategy was impaired defending indefensible positions, and talk of disengagement took a back seat.

The most recent example was LBJ, who was told the War was lost as early as 1967, but was so inspired by the stories of "Mah Boys" and how they were kicking VC ass that he demurred on withdrawal.

9/10/2005 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

D Rat,
DUring the COld War we had a much bigger force, and we also had a strong German Army (along with the rest of NATO) on our side. I think we would have beaten the Soviets.

9/10/2005 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If we had held at the Fulda Gap.
We may have been able to hold there or, if not stage a fighting withdrawal, the most difficult of ground maneuvers.
I know we had nuke land mines, readily deployable in Germany. Also Arty shells, or so I was told. It would have gotten dirty early, if we held.

Unlike Korea, where we'd have been swamped by a sea of commie Kimsters. The swarms there, again would have taken nukes to stop, not big boys, but smaller tactical weapons. I'm not sure that we could have held the thin line north of Seoul, it was not good ground, scattered with Memorials to fallen, wiped out, UN & US units from before the Cease Fire.

Unless US forces are faced with total disaster, don't look for a preemptive Nuclear release, by US, in any of the Terrorist campaigns.

9/10/2005 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bob Smith,
You of course could be right, but so might I.
You will note my disagreements w/Powell predate any of the present unpleasantries.
My defense of my personal vilification of the man is only relative, and that is in comparison with the number of times this "dignified" man has stabbed someone else in the back with a leak here, a subversive comment there, and etc.
Fit right in at the State Dept in that regard IMO.
But that's all it is, my opinion.
Thanks for the Punning Promotion!

9/10/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I guess that's why Reagan saw to it that Turkey was A-armed, among others, and my unit in Korea had tactical nukes that were not supposed to exist on the peninsula.

9/10/2005 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Turkey was a nuclear launch pad when the Soviets made their move on arming Cuba. It was one of the moral equivalences, as I recall.
Seems we felt it was ok for US to have Nukes on the Soviet border, but not the other way around.

The airstrip on Grenada was also used as a reason for preemptive action, by US.
Turkey is full of airstrips, as is Iraq. We could build some more in Kurdistan if needed.
No wonder the Iranians are nervous

9/10/2005 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

I think that a very real differnce between the way we have handled OIF and previous wars that will be - and should be - questioned is how we have handled the enemy.
All of our previous conflicts brought complaints that we were too rough on the other guy - whether bombing Monte Cassino, aiding the RAF in destroying German cities wholesale, sinking Japanese civil shipping, or nuking Hiroshioma.
There was never any question before about whether we were too easy on the enemy and that such care made it too rough on our own troops.
I think that is a very real question now. For all the wailing about Abe Grabe and collateral damage, compared to previous conflicts we have used the equivalent of a tack hammer and a magnifying glass, and occasionally something more like a microscope and an ice pick - rather than a mailed fist.
And I think there is no question that approach has made it easy on the enemy at the expense of our own people.

9/10/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The part of Helprin's story that struck me was the Munich comparison.
To draw a further analogy to WWII, it could be that we are in the "Phoney War" stage of the conflict.
It certainly was an interesting time in WWII.
"...The term 'Phoney War' was first used, allegedly, by an American senator called Borah. Winston Churchill referred to the same period as the ‘Twilight War’ while the Germans referred to it as ‘Sitzkrieg’ – 'sitting war'.

The Phoney War refers to what happened in Western Europe between September 1939 and the spring of 1940. To assume that nothing was going on in Europe would be wrong as Poland was in the process of being occupied with all that brought for the Polish people. However, in Western Europe very little of military importance did take place. In fact, so little occurred that many of the children who had been evacuated at the start of the war, had returned to their families. To many, war had been declared by Neville Chamberlain, but nothing was actually happening.

In fact, things were happening but the public in Britain were not aware of them – or very few were. The sinking of the ‘Athenia’ sent a clear message to Britain that Germany was prepared to sink passenger liners and not just ships of military importance. The sinking of the ‘Royal Oak’ also brought the war home to Britain. Such was the shock to the government of the ‘Royal Oak’s’ sinking that many people first learned about it from the broadcasts of Lord Haw-Haw. ..."

Phoney War

9/10/2005 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"... During the Phoney War, Britain was also engaged in ‘bombing’ raids over Germany – but it was not bombs that were dropped but propaganda leaflets. Sir Kingsley Wood, Secretary of State for War, called them “truth raids”. The ‘raids’ served two purposes:

The Germans would read about the evils of Nazi Germany

It was show the leaders of Germany just how vulnerable their country was to bombing raids.

Millions of leaflets were dropped over Germany. On September 3rd alone, 6 million copies of “Note to the German People” were dropped in just one night – the equivalent of 13 tons of paper. The main result of these initial raids was that the Germans stepped up their anti-aircraft batteries.

While some politicians believed that the raids served a purpose, others in the military did not.

“My personal view is that the only thing achieved was largely to supply the continent’s requirements of toilet paper for the five long years of the war.”
‘Bomber’ Harris writing at the end of the war.

“It is ignominious to wage a confetti war against an utterly ruthless enemy.”-General Spears

It is certainly true that the general public would have liked a more robust response to the attack on Poland. If our bombers were capable of dropping leaflets, it was surmised, then they should be capable of dropping bombs on important industrial targets to let the Germans know that we meant business. ..."

Sond familar well this is even better, totally modern, millie

"...“The smoke and smell of German forests would teach the Germans, who were very sentimental about their own trees, that war was not always pleasant and profitable, and could not be fought entirely in other people’s countries.”
Hugh Dalton

When the issue of an attack on the Black Forest was raised with Kingsley Wood, he replied:
“Oh you can not do that, that’s private property. You’ll be asking me to bomb the Ruhr next.”

9/10/2005 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe, 7:13,
Could not agree more, have disagreed w/others many times on this point on this forum.
It is a recurrent theme w/ VDH, also.
None dare call it
Politically Correct Warfare.
...the point I can never get past is sacrificing my son in order to be politically correct.
Figure I should be consistent with the rest of our brothers and sisters in arms.

9/10/2005 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Warplanes produced 1940 to 1945:
Great Britain 123,500
USA 301,500
USSR 157,500
Germany 100,200
Japan 74,000

9/10/2005 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It may be politically correct but it had a name "Powell Doctrine".
Over whelming force has to be applied. We operate in a risk adverse arena, with a zero failure tolerance.
Also part of the Doctrine is the "You break it, you own it" policy.
It argued against crossing the Iraqi border in Desert Storm. This precludes actions in Syria as there is not preplanned exit strategy.
A drive to Damascus would not mean the defeat of the Baathists, it would mean responsibility for Civil life.
A better Policy may be
"We broke it, you all fix it, be nice or we'll break it again."

9/10/2005 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Not sure if I got this link here, but here it is, pretty amazing.
. Red Cross at the Astrodome .
And then the Dark Side of the Story.
Listened to radio referenced by Trangbang68 above:
Deputy comes home after working untold hours risking life and limb trying to maintain order amidst the chaos.
Finds his wife and kids raped, murdered and mutilated.
Takes his own life.

9/10/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"It argued against crossing the Iraqi border in Desert Storm."
That sure won a lot of hearts and minds among the Shia and Kurds.
Very dignified approach to war, if I do say so myself.

9/10/2005 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

One big check, or what should have been a big check on Iraq is flag officers who know what war is like being able to resist the likes of the neocons who only had fantasies of how war is waged and victory secured.

But the military are no longer a check on civilian-war waging policy.

The last significant military resignations over policy occured 50 years ago when Gens Matthew Ridgeway and John Gavin resigned (very quietly) over Eisenhower's plan for manning decreases. Since then, a "team player" mentality and a feeling that an active duty resignation would be disloyal, unprofessional has deterred the Brass from ever speaking out, let along resigning.

These officers are survivors. They are the 1 in 250 starting out that make it that far. They finally have OK pay, power, tons of perks. Besides going against the prevailing military culture with a resignation of protest over any Bush policy or dire military situation the civvies won't correct, resignation just means tossing a career overboard or under the tank tracks, the kids don't get college after all, and your name is dirt in the high-paying corporate world of retired officers.

COL. W. PATRICK LANG: Well, you had a professor, you had another professor was on this program a few nights ago who said very specifically that there is no tradition in American military history of resignation in protest over your inability to satisfy a political administration. Maybe we ought to have one but we don't have a tradition like that in fact. I can't recall a single instance in my own mind--

Other countries at least have a tradition of allowing pissed off military people to rise up in coups and kill off the Schumers, Michael Moores, Pelosis, Feiths and Perles before returning the country to civilian control.

Instead of that efficient but admittedly unconstitutional practice, we have the wonderful Kabuki dance, where sadistic Senators like Biden and McCain torment the Brass in open testimony.

"Are you sure you have enough troops"?
"You agree that you have all the equipment you need"?
"The current strategy is the correct one"?
"The unguarded Syrian Border is termed a minor problem. Do you agree"?
"Are you all happy with Rumsfeld's Transformation"?

Which of course gets the expected -
"Yes sir. Yes sir! Yes Sir!! Yes sir!!!"

If you look closely, you will see Biden or McCain appearing somewhat disappointed that at least one Admiral or General's head didn't explode during testimony. Though they do get the pleasure of seeing veins throb as the Brass do their expected Kabuki dance.

At the least, active duty military should have immunity from chain of command loyalty when testifying in front of Congress and not be Shiniseki'd.

Then we in the public would have more confidence that we are getting the straight word on how well the war is going from the leaders fighting it and not get "happy talk" image control featuring proud and valiant lower enlisted soldiers saying what they think is happening over less-than-honest generals and admirals who really do have a big picture concept of how things are going but who are simply saluting the official Pentagon Party Line.

9/10/2005 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Red Cross Link reminds me:
I wonder how many cops/security guards were employeed at Superdome to watch a 4hour football affair?
But Nagging Nagin saw fit to station no credible force there, and in fact gave the cops the day off when the 'cane struck!
...and now proposes a cease fire for rest and recup in Las Vegas!

9/10/2005 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

Yeah, I did read that yesterday. Helprin's a sharp cookie.But here's where I disagree: I would rather see us leaning high-tech and smaller. We're running huge deficits as it is. And it's the edge that scared the Russians and it's that edge that will keep the Chinese sober. (They're gonna implode anyway. Or break up)

But we ARE overextended. Bush, or anybody, would've responded quicker to Katrina if he wasn't so distracted. But the 'Bush Doctrine' is the course he's chosen, so I'm on board. I didn't want to see us go into Iraq, but once we did, we need to see it through. (And Wretchard's next post is encouraging news) But I don't want to hear anything about going into Syria or Iran - supposed WMDs or not.

As far as listening to the troops? We're already at war, but if they were disapproving, I'd be calling my congressman telling them to bring 'em home.

I make a REAL distinction between what the Pentagon (and LBfrickin'J) put out and what officers back from the field say.

Communications have changed everything. Now every unit commander has a better large picture than Wellington or Eisenhower ever did.

Wars are political actions. We're supposed to be a gov't "of the people, by the people.." So WE'RE the ultimate decision makers as to whether we (at least continue to) prosecute militarily. A president I voted for chooses to fight. I choose to believe he's on the level and has better info. But my check on him is what grunts say. Today's professional soldiers are a lot sharper than yesterday's peasant conscripts. The green beret two houses down has a masters in foriegn policy. I'd trust him over Powell, Albright, Baker, Kissinger, Rusk etc. 'Cause if he didn't know, he'd say so.

9/10/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Huge deficits and committed to growth of spending in the future is due to unlimited spending on domestic social programs.
We are at war, yet being more profligate than Guns and Butter
L. Butthead from Texas J.
was with our pork and "war on poverty"
(for the wealthy retirees as well).
I say more for the military, and less for butter.
...and could not agree more w/your observations about the 'Beret vs the Glitterati.

9/10/2005 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

And did you check out my Helprin Link?
Quite a unique guy in these times.

9/10/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Out of these ashes eventually rose the cautious phoenix of the Weinberger Doctrine and (later) the Powell Corrollary which shaped post-Vietnam American foreign policy more than any other strategic formulation. The six points of the Weinberger Doctrine simply state:

1. The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
2. U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
3. U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
4. The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
5. U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a "reasonable assurance" of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress.
6. The commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort.

While the Powell Corrollary added:

1. Force should be used only as a last resort.
2. Military force should be used only when there is a clear-cut military objective.
3. Military force should be used only when we can measure that the military objective has been achieved.
4. Military force should be used only in an overwhelming fashion.

If you know me, you know that I have mixed feelings about the Weinberger Doctrine and Powell Corrollary. There are aspects of it that make a lot of sense, and I empathize with why they were implemented. But I wouldn't be the first to point out that they "become more problematic upon closer examination," not to mention they overstate the conditions needed to accomplish some missions by applying them to all missions (in other words, they needlessly narrow the dimensions of "the box" that I so despise). And at the same time, both were deliberate efforts to re-craft strategic policy in a manner not to prevent the Army from ever losing another Vietnam, but to keep us from even fighting in the first place. That is, like Nicias demanding the world in order to prevent the Sicilian campaign from ever happening, SECDEF Weinberger and General Powell designed their doctrinal templates to prevent the US Army from ever being committed to another Vietnam in the first place

The Powell and Weinberg doctrine strikes me more as a wishlist than a serious diplomatic and military doctrine that can be applied to the world. They assumed that the United States was no longer built for serious counter-insurgency, rather than accept that the Army took too long in Vietnam to figure it out, and then tried to prevent the army from ever fighting in again. Of course, this did nothing but push the decision making theoretically out of the hands of the politicians and into the army, thereby avoiding the serious work of studying counter-insurgency in favor of declaring that we'd never fight it again. Obviously, the real world is not like that, you must prepare for how you will fight, not how you want to fight, and with the obvious preponderance of American conventional power, we'll be fighting more non-conventional wars than conventional.Thanks to the Mudville Gazette and Outside the Beltway.
posted by _____Cutler at 3:39 PM_____

9/10/2005 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(Search down for Weinberger, or whatever you please)

9/10/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

Yeah I did Doug. And his old man was even more amazing. Kinda shoots down Whittle's "nurture over nature" thing, huh?

I tend to trust what I can find empirically, even though it's narrow, over what I am force fed thru the regular channels. Better a little truth to a whole encyclopedia of lies. Notice how the Able Danger thing was put under the linoleum? Makes me wonder what was REALLY in Sandy Berger's pants.

9/10/2005 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'll Trust,
You Verify.

9/10/2005 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There was a time, in the US Army, in Panama where counter insurgency was studied and taken seriously. The teachers and the students went out and defeated Insurgents across Central America, bringing to it two decades of peace, if not prosperity.
Those lessons seem lost in the modern Army, Powell's Army.

9/10/2005 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

Doug, Desert rat, et al who raised the Weinberger Doctrine and Powell Corollary.

Much better basis for hanging up Powell's hat than what I read before.

Aware of both doctrines, but as a civvie, any critique of this doctrine, which DOES read well, requires a level of study to refute the very logical contentions re force structure guided by clear objectives. Not excusing the doctrine or the architects, but I will be reading more on the subject.

Given VietNam as the motivation behind the doctrine, it seems not completely unreasonable to suggest that Weinberger/Powell may also have been thinking about the political refusual that emerged from a Democratically controlled Congress to fund assistance for the South Vietnamese counter-offensive, just as the tide was turning. Making that 'box' smaller and more carefully crafted might have been a vehicle for ensuring that the politicians and the general were singing in the same choir.

9/11/2005 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

bob smith
That Doctrine and the moving of essential Combat & Combat Support MOS's from the Regular Army, to the National Guard & Reserves, also was designed to keep US from war.

The theory being that it would have to be a SERIOUS event, with broad Public Support to activate the Guard & Reserves.

Four years ago the Public thought we were in the midst of a Serious Event, now the mood drifts and support for the Conflict wanes.

Terror war all but forgotten on home front

makes my point as well, if not better than I can.

9/11/2005 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

Desert Rat

Mark Steyn makes his points better than most of us. I like his lucid writing style and I am also on board with most of his thinking.

I disagree that Bush's poll ratngs reflect lack of support for his policy in the ME. For some reason, and I guess I would attribute it to the usual suspect, MSM, there is significant support from the anonymous American - whatever he is called these days - for the ME effort. I cannot substantiate this assertion with a formal survey, only anecdote, but in my own mind, I believe it is real, perhaps because it supports my belief that this 'average person' is reasonably aware, if not remarkably astute, at times. Another subject.

I would guess that Bush's poll ratings reflect something else that is part psychology and part real - and that is an unease (not to evoke the dreadful 'malaise') over economic security, now coupled with the insidious threat of terrorism.

The relative level of economic prosperity in this country is undisputed, but, aside from the high-tech superachievers (Bourgeois Bohemians), there are still many who are struggling. And this does not even include the current and future retirees who will lose their pensions with the pending bankruptcy of certain insurers that is expected to cost the taxpayer more than the savings and loan debacle.

Enough on that. The average person does not spend his time obscessing over terror, but expects his government to deal with it. This is not reflected on the radar screen of the MSM.

In fact, many of these concerns were subsumed by the sudden eruption of activity subsequent to 9/11. I would suggest that these concerns are now starting to re-emerge in the form of objections to irresponsible government spending.

My take at least. Hard to tell whose ear is closer to the ground.

9/11/2005 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

With further belated thought, let me try to mute some of the cavalier insensitivity of my previous post.

The ME has been a simmering Pandora’s Box that the western world facilitated for too long in order to sustain the natural resources required for the spread of globalization and the emergence of industrialized economies.

The many revelations from opening that box have been dissected repeatedly here (very well) and elsewhere. But one second-tier aspect that has received little attention is the implication of widely divergent development among nation states, and this relates to Steyn’s point and my alternate interpretation.

The alleged American lack of interest in the WoT is not an issue of attention span or insensitivity or a shallow understanding of history that relies on selective and subjective personal interpretations, although any and all of the above are problems to some extent. Many have simply moved beyond it. Look at the black humor. Strapping C4 to your chest and dive-bombing into a crowded arena to die in a glorious inferno of tribute to Yahweh. Doesn’t play - at all - in the modern context. Are you nuts? Yes. Well then.

Unfortunately the nuclear weapons are out there and the ‘bailing wire and bubble gum’ IED’s are all over the area. So the destruction is real, but the ideological drivers are either stale, comical, or delusional. Which is why the Right displays unmitigated attempt for those on the Left who would seek to ‘understand’ the drivers. that are about as close to obvious as they come.

Americans are ‘burned out’ on the failed socialist utopian policies that were trounced in the last century. But the extreme divergence among developed nations means that other countries have not yet escaped this trap.

The perceived lack of interest reflects this understanding, IMO. Americans, as a whole, ‘get it’ - all too well.

Don't know if that made it better or worse. The issues are very serious, but we are living in times when all of the issues are serious, which is another reason for the growing divide between Left and Right - the Left response (the one that receives all the media attention) too often fails to pass the test of gravitas. We are just starting to hear from those who used to consider themselves Left that they uncomfortable with the lack of party voice that represents the full spectrum of their opinions.

Many changes, but Americans are not disinterested. They simply have many cards in play, in all arenas of life - public as well as personal.

9/11/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

If you follow Polls and their accuracy like Polipundit does, you will understand that people like Zogby manufacture stuff out of thin air! They lie ALL of the TIME!

Any Lame Stream media poll is manipulated by cose to 10% (or more)to reflect the outcome the media wants. It used to work, but NOT anymore. Americans ignore them for the most part.

Do you recall the Polls showing Kerry winning by 4 to 6 % over Bush? The real numbers came out in the election.

9/12/2005 09:54:00 AM  

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