Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Was Gates the fallback position?

Austin Bay argues that Robert Gates was part of the James Baker fallback package on Iraq.

Robert Gates (currently president of Texas A&M University) has worked with James Baker on the “War on Terror” strategy evaluation. The Baker ”bi-partisan” political fall-back position for prosecuting the war was already in the works. One of the very smart young officers I know suggests the resignation is political prep for prosecuting the war even more vociferously. I think he’s on to something.

20 Comments:

Blogger 49erDweet said...

Makes immense sense. But is this a case of "too late we get smart"?

Maybe not. Cheers.

11/08/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Samizdata says of the election:

The election will hearten our enemies in Iraq, and we can expect redoubled conflict in that country as they seek to entrench their gains in the American mindspace. The Democratic Congress will seize on this development to push for what they have promised, which happens to be exactly what our enemies want; namely, precipitous American withdrawal. If they get what they want, then the jihadis will have won this campaign, and I think we can look forward to a reinvigorated Islamo-fascist movement worldwide, with all the bloodshed and suffering that entails.

Not to worry, though. The minimum wage will be increased, redistribution of wealth will be accelerated, and many words will be hurled at the real threat, global warming. And isn't that what really matters?


Well we're down to hoping someone has a plan. Baker has one since GWB doesn't and neither does Nancy. But wait, what if Baker doesn't have a plan ...

11/08/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Too bad it's not a movie.

11/08/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe you should give this up and write a book about your Grandmother, Wretchard.
That last comment about her was a riveting and moving read.

11/08/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger DFH said...

I just heard Christopher Hitchens argue that Gates represents the CIA "cut-and-run" philosophy.

11/08/2006 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

For defense secretary, Bush has nominated former CIA Director Robert Gates, who may be a much-needed realist. In a 1994 op-ed for the P-I, for instance, Gates warned that North Korea's development of nuclear weapons had become inevitable.

It's encouraging that Gates is also a member of the bipartisan group looking at Iraq options. If Gates welcomes his generals into honest discussions of strategy, Bush and the new Democratic powers in Congress may have a prayer of salvaging something from a misbegotten, mishandled war.


The Mess

11/08/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

dfh, do you have a hitchens link?

11/08/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

I had to look that word up.

Found out that Bush used it back when.

""The enemy understands a free Iraq will be a major defeat in their ideology of hatred. That's why they're fighting so vociferously."—Presidential debate, Coral Gables, Fla., Sept. 30, 2004"

So are you saying it is our turn now?

Our turn to do what?

Or to do nothing with more noise?

Sorry, don't follow this at all.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

11/08/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Thomas the Wraith said...

I don't think so. It's over gentlemen. The Iraq Study Group, Baker & co and yes, Mr. Gates, are charged with establishing an elaborate euphemism for withdrawal, i.e. retreat. The options, according to leaks from the Group are "Redeploy and Contain" (retreat to some unnamed third country in the region) and "Stability First" (which is about stabilizing Baghdad and making it a model for the rest of Iraq) and leaving a strongman in charge.

The first two are pipe dreams. No 3rd country is willing to create internal unrest and make itself a target for al Qaeda by letting US troops base there. The stability plan is unworkable, as we see. That leaves the strongman.

In any case the elections, Rumsfeld's resignation and Gates' nomination signal that the political establishment is trying to negociate the terms of our departure from Iraq. It's only a matter of time now.

And whatever terms and schedule these brainiacs determine will be at the mercy of enemy forces. We are one big attack away from fleeing Iraq altogether.

A year from now, things will be a lot different and most likely much worse.

11/08/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Well we're down to hoping someone has a plan. Baker has one since GWB doesn't and neither does Nancy. But wait, what if Baker doesn't have a plan

Baker is one of Dubya's daddy's crowd, a checked-pants country club elitist being sent in to clean up the godawful mess left by the neocons. The image is of Sir John Gielgud as the Supreme Being in "Time Bandits" coming to set everything straight as he brushes dust off his cuffs with a slight air of annoyance.

11/08/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

Mr. Gates is trusted by GHWB. Mr. Gates is part of the Iraq Study Group. This is part of the obvious realpolitik that helped create this mess in the Middle East in the first place. Baker, Gates, and GHWB were not exactly a winning combination 2 decades ago.

Our enemies are invigorated by knowing that the people currently in charge of Iraq policy are those who abandoned the Kurds in the first place.

11/08/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger jaed said...

I agree with Thomas the Wraith and think Rumsfeld's firing represents a decision, in case the Republicans lost the house, to put a strongman in place in the name of "stability". He will be "our bastard". And so we go right back to the Cold War strategy of propping up selected dictators.

In my darker and more paranoid moments, I suspect these people are glad Saddam isn't dead yet. After all, he's a proven champion at dictatorship. No need to gamble on unknown quantities here.

(What really breaks my heart is that if that is in fact the plan, the US troops already there will be used to put down any democratic opposition. I don't know what that will do to the military. I suspect we won't have a military worth having for a few decades afterward. How could anyone forget such a betrayal? Who would want to serve after seeing soldiers forced to do such a thing?)

...It could be that I'm reading far to much into this situation and the identities of the dramatis personae. I hope so.

11/08/2006 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

The short list of places to which we could "redeploy" in the region are Kuwait and Kurdistan, in both cases becauses they owe their continued existence to us. They may not be ideal bases, but they could prove adequate -- if we have the will to take the offensive from them.

11/09/2006 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Problem with Kurdistan is supply lines. Take a look at the neighbors.

Otherwise I'd gladly stick them there as a tripwire against the Turks.

11/09/2006 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

"A bomb does not exist if it is not reported..."

And neither does a mess - if it is not the focus of a series of Sunday Supplement articles in the New York Times.

So the "Mess in Iraq" as described by Terista never existed until the Neocons made it. All was sweetness and light according to the carefully threatened and bribe-dispensing reporters.

11/09/2006 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Interesting to see all the folks who chided Bush for selecting cold war era 'dinosaurs' (not my description, mind you) like Cheney and Rumsfeld having no problem bringing back 'detent'-era and Carter administration fossils who set a good bit of what we're dealing with in the middle east in motion.

So, it was never really Rumsfeld's or Cheney's ages, but their ideologies.

Back to the 70's, again. Ugh.

11/09/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

And do we HAVE to always put so many of our cards on the table for our enemies to see?

11/09/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

rwe said:

So the "Mess in Iraq" as described by Terista never existed until the Neocons made it. All was sweetness and light according to the carefully threatened and bribe-dispensing reporters.

There are pissant little hell-holes all over the globe but no one in America considers them a mess because we aren't getting 20 body bags a week from those places.

11/09/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Griswel said...

KLo on NRO said that Gates was a big part of co-ordinating the US's eastern European covert actions against the USSR.

If that's so, maybe Gates is a sign that Bush is going to go on offense the only way he has left: fomenting domestic trouble inside Iran and the rest.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/pos
t/?q=MGY5ZjE2NjAyOWZhNDUwNmMwZjllODF
jYTFhODUwMmU=

sorry, can't figure out the link procedure

11/09/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Sounds like a prelude to a detente and strategic redeployment to me.

11/09/2006 01:53:00 PM  

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